Chapter 24: The Light
SECTION 1: Law Relating to Adultery
In the name of God,
Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
1. A Revelation which We have sent down and which We have ordained: in it have We sent down clear Signs, in order that you may receive admonition.
2. The woman and the man guilty of adultery or fornication, — flog each of them with a hundred stripes: let not compassion move you in their case, in a matter prescribed by God, if you believe in God and the Last Day: and let a party of the Believers witness their punishment. 3. Let no man guilty of adultery or fornication marry any but a woman similarly guilty, or an Unbeliever: nor let any but such a man or an Unbeliever marry such a woman: to the Believers such a thing is forbidden.
4. And those who launch a charge against chaste women, and produce not four witnesses (to support their allegations),—flog them with eighty stripes; and reject their evidence ever after: for such men are wicked transgressors; — 5. Unless they repent thereafter and mend (their conduct); for God is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.
6. And for those who launch a charge against their spouses, and have (in support) no evidence but their own,—their solitary evidence (can be received) if they bear witness four times (with an oath) by God that they are solemnly telling the truth; 7. And the fifth (oath) (should be) that they solemnly invoke the curse of God on themselves if they tell a lie. 8. But it would avert the punishment from the wife, if she bears witness four times (with an oath) by God, that (her husband) is telling a lie; 9. And the fifth (oath) should be that she solemnly invokes the wrath of God on herself if (her accuser) is telling the truth. 10. If it were not for God’s grace and mercy on you, and that God is Oft-Returning, full of Wisdom,—(you would be ruined indeed).
A Revelation which We have sent down and which We have ordained: in it have We sent down clear Signs, in order that you may receive admonition. (24:1)
SECTION 2: ‘Ā’ishah’s Slanderers
11. Those who brought forward the lie are a body among yourselves: think it not to be an evil to you; on the contrary it is good for you: to every man among them (will come the punishment) of the sin that he earned, and to him who took on himself the lead among them, will be a Penalty grievous. 12. Why did not the Believers—men and women—when you heard of the affair,—put the best construction on it in their own minds and say, “This (charge) is an obvious lie”? 13. Why did they not bring four witnesses to prove it? When they have not brought the witnesses, such men, in the sight of God, (stand forth) themselves as liars! 14. Were it not for the grace and mercy of God on you, in this world and the Hereafter, a grievous penalty would have seized you in that you rushed glibly into this affair. 15. Behold, you received it on your tongues, and said out of your mouths things of which you had no knowledge; and you thought it to be a light matter, while it was most serious in the sight of God. 16. And why did you not, when you heard it, say?—“It is not right of us to speak of this: Glory to God! This is a most serious slander!”
17. God does admonish you, that you may never repeat such (conduct), if you are (true) Believers. 18. And God makes the Signs plain to you: for God is full of knowledge and wisdom. 19. Those who love (to see) scandal published broadcast among the Believers, will have a grievous Penalty in this life and in the Hereafter: God knows, and you know not. 20. Were it not for the grace and mercy of God on you, and that God is full of kindness and mercy, (you would be ruined indeed).
SECTION 3: Slanderers of Women
21. O you who believe! Follow not Satan’s footsteps: if any will follow the footsteps of Satan, he will (but) command what is shameful and wrong: and were it not for the grace and mercy of God on you, not one of you would ever have been pure: but God does purify whom He pleases: and God is One Who hears and knows (all things). 22. Let not those among you who are endued with grace and amplitude of means resolve by oath against helping their kinsmen, those in want, and those who have left their homes in God’s cause: let them forgive and overlook, do you not wish that God should forgive you? For God is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. 23. Those who slander chaste women, indiscreet but believing, are cursed in this life and in the Hereafter: for them is a grievous Penalty, — 24. On the Day when their tongues, their hands, and their feet will bear witness against them as to their actions. 25. On that Day God will pay them back (all) their just dues, and they will realize that God is the (very) Truth, that makes all things manifest. 26. Women impure are for men impure, and men impure for women impure and women of purity are for men of purity, and men of purity are for women of purity: these are not affected by what people say: for them there is forgiveness, and a provision honorable.
SECTION 4: Preventive Measures
27. O you who believe! Enter not houses other than your own, until you have asked permission and saluted those in them: that is best for you, in order that you may heed (what is seemly). 28. If you find no one in the house, enter not until permission is given to you: if you are asked to go back, go back: that makes for greater purity for yourselves: and God knows well all that you do. 29. It is no fault on your part to enter houses not used for living in, which serve some (other) use for you: and God has knowledge of what you reveal and what you conceal.
30. Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty: that will make for greater purity for them: and God is well acquainted with all that they do. 31. And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands’ fathers, their sons, their husbands’ sons, their brothers or their brothers’ sons, or their sisters’ sons, or their women, or the slaves whom their right hands possess, or male servants free of physical needs, or small children who have no sense of the shame of sex; and that they should not strike their feet in order to draw attention to their hidden ornaments. And O you Believers! Turn you all together towards God, that you may attain Bliss.
32. Marry those among you who are single, or the virtuous ones among your slaves, male or female: if they are in poverty, God will give them means out of His grace: for God encompasses all, and He knows all things. 33. Let those who find not the wherewithal for marriage keep themselves chaste, until God gives them means out of His grace. And if any of your slaves ask for a deed in writing (to enable them to earn their freedom for a certain sum), give them such a deed if you know any good in them: indeed, give them something yourselves out of the means which God has given to you. But force not your maids to prostitution when they desire chastity, in order that you may make a gain in the goods of this life. But if anyone compels them, yet, after such compulsion, is God, Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful (to them).
34. We have already sent down to you verses making things clear, an illustration from (the story of) people who passed away before you, and an admonition for those who fear (God).
O you who believe! Enter not houses other than your own, until you have asked permission and saluted those in them: that is best for you, in order that you may heed (what is seemly). (24:27)
SECTION 5: Manifestation of Divine Light
35. God is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The Parable of His Light is as if there were a Niche and within it a Lamp: the Lamp enclosed in Glass: the glass as it were a brilliant star: lit from a blessed Tree, an Olive, neither of the East nor of the West, whose oil is well-nigh luminous, though fire scarce touched it: Light upon Light! God does guide whom He will to His light: God does set forth Parables for men: and God does know all things. 36. (Lit is such a light) in houses, which God has permitted to be raised to honor; for the celebration, in them, of His name: in them is He glorified in the mornings and in the evenings, (again and again), — 37. By men whom neither traffic nor merchandise can divert from the remembrance of God, nor from regular Prayer, nor from the practice of regular Charity: their (only) fear is for the Day when hearts and eyes will be transformed (in a world wholly new), — 38. That God may reward them according to the best of their deeds, and add even more for them out of His Grace: for God does provide for those whom He will, without measure.
39. But the Unbelievers,—their deeds are like a mirage in sandy deserts, which the man parched with thirst mistakes for water; until when he comes up to it, he finds it to be nothing: but he finds God (ever) with him, and God will pay him his account: and God is swift in taking account. 40. Or (the Unbelievers’ state) is like the depths of darkness in a vast deep ocean, overwhelmed with billow topped by billow, topped by (dark) clouds: depths of darkness, one above another: if a man stretches out his hand, he can hardly see it! For any to whom God gives not light, there is no light!
SECTION 6: Manifestation of Divine Power
41. See you not that it is God Whose praises all beings in the heavens and on earth do celebrate, and the birds (of the air) with wings outspread? Each one knows its own (mode of) prayer and praise. And God knows well all that they do. 42. Indeed, to God belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth; and to God is the final goal (of all). 43. See you not that God makes the clouds move gently, then joins them together, then makes them into a heap?—then will you see rain issue forth from their midst. And He sends down from the sky mountain masses (of clouds) wherein is hail: He strikes therewith whom He pleases and He turns it away from whom He pleases. The vivid flash of His lightning well-nigh blinds the sight. 44. It is God Who alternates the Night and the Day: verily in these things is an instructive example for those who have vision! 45. And God has created every animal from water: of them there are some that creep on their bellies; some that walk on two legs; and some that walk on four. God creates what He wills for verily God has power over all things. 46. We have indeed sent down Signs that make things manifest: and God guides whom He wills to a Way that is straight.
47. They say, “We believe in God and in the Messenger, and we obey”: but even after that, some of them turn away: they are not (really) Believers. 48. When they are summoned to God and His Messenger, in order that he may judge between them, behold, some of them decline (to come). 49. But if the right is on their side, they come to him with all submission. 50. Is it that there is a disease in their hearts? Or do they doubt, or are they in fear, that God and His Messenger will deal unjustly with them? Nay, it is they themselves who do wrong.
And God has created every animal from water: of them there are some that creep on their bellies; some that walk on two legs; and some that walk on four. God creates what He wills for verily God has power over all things. (24:45)
SECTION 7: Establishment of the Government of Islam
51. The answer of the Believers, when summoned to God and His Messenger, in order that he may judge between them, is no other than this: they say, “We hear and we obey”: it is such as these that will attain felicity. 52. It is such as obey God and His Messenger, and fear God and do right, that will win (in the end), 53. They swear their strongest oaths by God that, if only you would command them, they would leave (their homes). Say: “Swear you not; obedience is (more) reasonable; verily, God is well acquainted with all that you do.” 54. Say: “Obey God, and obey the Messenger.” But if you turn away, he is only responsible for the duty placed on him and you for that placed on you. If you obey him, you shall be on right guidance. The Messenger’s duty is only to preach the clear (Message).
55. God has promised, to those among you who believe and work righteous deeds, that He will, of a surety, grant them in the land, inheritance (of power), as He granted it to those before them; that He will establish in authority their religion — the one which He has chosen for them; and that He will change (their state), after the fear in which they (lived), to one of security and peace: ‘They will worship Me (alone) and not associate aught with Me.’ If any do reject Faith after this, they are rebellious and wicked. 56. So establish regular prayer and give regular charity; and obey the Messenger; that you may receive mercy. 57. Never think you that the Unbelievers are going to frustrate (God’s Plan) on earth: their abode is the Fire,—and it is indeed an evil refuge!
SECTION 8: Respect for Privacy
58. O you who believe! Let those whom your right hands possess, and the (children) among you who have not come of age ask your permission (before they come to your presence), on three occasions: before morning prayer; the while you take off your clothes for the noonday heat; and after the late-night prayer: these are your three times of undress: outside those times it is not wrong for you or for them to move about attending to each other: thus does God make clear the Signs to you: for God is full of knowledge and wisdom. 59. But when the children among you come of age, let them (also) ask for permission, as do those senior to them (in age): thus does God make clear His Signs to you: for God is full of knowledge and wisdom. 60. Such elderly women as are past the prospect of marriage, — there is no blame on them if they lay aside their (outer) garments, provided they make not a wanton display of their beauty: but it is best for them to be modest: and God is One Who sees and knows all things.
61. It is no fault in the blind nor in one born lame, nor in one afflicted with illness, nor in yourselves, that you should eat in your own houses, or those of your fathers, or your mothers, or your brothers, or your sisters, or your father’s brothers or your father’s sisters, or your mother’s brothers, or your mother’s sisters, or in houses of which the keys are in your possession, or in the house of a sincere friend of yours: there is no blame on you, whether you eat in company or separately. But if you enter houses, salute each other — a greeting of blessing and purity as from God. Thus does God make clear the Signs to you: that you may understand.
SECTION 9: Matters of State to take Precedence
62. Only those are Believers, who believe in God and His Messenger: when they are with him on a matter requiring collective action, they do not depart until they have asked for his leave; those who ask for your leave are those who believe in God and His Messenger; so when they ask for your leave, for some business of theirs, give leave to those of them whom you will, and ask God for their forgiveness: for God is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. 63. Deem not the summons of the Messenger among yourselves like the summons of one of you to another: God does know those of you who slip away under shelter of some excuse: then let those beware who withstand the Messenger’s order, lest some trial befall them, or a grievous Penalty be inflicted on them. 64. Be quite sure that to God does belong whatever is in the heavens and on earth. Well does He know what you are intent upon: and one day they will be brought back to Him, and He will tell them the truth of what they did: for God does know all things.
Be quite sure that to God does belong whatever is in the heavens and on earth. Well does He know what you are intent upon: and one day they will be brought back to Him, and He will tell them the truth of what they did: for God does know all things. (24:64)