Chapter Scripts

Surah Al-Mumtahanah 60:1-13

In The Name of God, The Most Gracious, The Dispenser of Grace.

60:1 O You who have attained to faith! Do not take My enemies – who are your enemies as well – for your friends, showing them affection even though they are bent on denying whatever truth has come unto you, [and even though] they have driven the Apostle and yourselves away, [only] because you believe in God, your Sustainer! If [it be true that] you have gone forth [from your homes] to strive in My cause, and out of a longing for My goodly acceptance, [do not take them for your friends] inclining towards them in secret affection, for I am fully aware of all that you may conceal as well as of all that you do openly. And any of you who does this has already strayed from the right path.


Lit., “and your enemies” – implying that people who deliberately reject God’s messages are ipso facto inimical to those who believe in them.

60:2 If they could but overcome you, they would [still] remain your foes, and would stretch forth their hands and tongues against you with evil intent, for they desire that you [too] should deny the truth. But [bear in mind that] neither your kinsfolk nor.


Historically, this is a reference to the forced emigration of the Prophet and his followers from Mecca to Medina. In a more general sense, however, it is an allusion to the potential persecution of believers of all times by “those who are bent on denying the truth”, i.e., those who are averse to religious beliefs as such.

60:3 But [bear in mind that] neither your kinsfolk nor [even] your own children will be of any benefit to you on Resurrection Day, [for then] He will decide between you [on your merit alone] and God sees all that you do.


As is shown in verses 7-9, this prohibition of taking unbelievers for friends relates only to such of them as are actively hostile towards the believers (cf. 58:22 and the corresponding note).

60:4 Indeed, ‘you have had a good example in Abraham and those who followed him, when they said unto their [idolatrous] people “Verily, we are quit of you and of all that you worship instead of God, we deny the truth of whatever you believe, and between us and you there has arisen enmity and hatred, to last until such a time as you come to believe in the One God!” The only exception was Abraham’s saying to his father “I shall indeed pray for [God’s] forgiveness for thee, although I have it not in my power to obtain anything from God in thy behalf.” [And Abraham and his followers prayed] “O our Sustainer! In Thee have we placed our trust, and unto Thee do we turn, for unto Thee is all journeys’ end.


Since the adverb abadan is immediately followed by the particle hatta (“until such a time as…”), it is obviously erroneous to give it the meaning of “forever”, as has been hitherto done in all translations of the Qur’an into Western languages. In view of the original connotation of the noun abad as “time” or “long time”, i.e., of indefinite duration (Jawhari, Zamakhshari’s Asas, Mughni, etc.), abadan is best rendered in the present context as “to last [until] …”, etc.

60:5 O our Sustainer! Make us not a plaything for those who are bent on denying the truth! And forgive us our sins, O our sustainer, for Thou alone art, Almighty, Truly Wise!”


Lit., “Except for”: i.e., an exception from Abraham’s statement, “between us and you there has arisen enmity and hatred, to last…”, etc. In other words, his filial love prevented Abraham from including his father in his declaration of “enmity and hatred”: although later – after his father had died as an idolater – Abraham could not but disavow him (cf. 9:114).

60:6 In them, indeed, you have a good example for everyone who looks forward [with hope and awe] to God and the Last Day. And if any turns away, [let him know that] God is truly self-sufficient, the One to whom all praise is due.”


Cf. 19:47-48.

60:7 [But] it may well be that God will bring about [mutual] affection between you [O believers] and some of those whom you [now] face as enemies, for, God is All-Powerful – and God is Much Forgiving, a Dispenser of Grace.


Lit., “temptation to evil” (fitnah): cf. 10:85, where the term fitnah has the same meaning as in the present instance.

60:8 As for such [of the unbelievers] as do not fight against you on account of [your] faith, and neither drive you forth from your homelands, God does not forbid you to show them kindness and to behave towards them with full equity, for, Verily, God loves those who act equitably.


As in the similar phrase in 33:21, this double connotation is implied in the verb rajawa and all the noun-forms derived from it.

60:9 God only forbids you to turn in friendship towards such as the fight against you because of [your] faith and drive you forth from your homelands, or aid [others] in driving you forth, and as for those [from among you] who turn towards them in friendship, it is they, they who are truly wrongdoers!


The expression “God does not forbid you” implies in this context a positive exhortation (Zamakhshari). See also note 29 on 58:22.

60:10 O You who have attained to faith! Whenever believing women come unto you, forsaking the domain of evil, examine them, [although only] God is fully aware of their faith, and if you have thus ascertained that they are believers, do not send them back to the deniers of the truth, [since] they are [no longer] lawful to their erstwhile husbands, and these are [no longer] lawful to them. Nonetheless, you shall return to them whatever they have spent [on their wives by way of dower], and [then, O believers] you will be committing no sin if you marry them after giving them their dowers. On the other hand, hold not to the marriage-tie with women who [continue to] deny the truth, and ask but for [the return of] whatever you have spent [by way of dower] – just as they [whose wives have gone over to you] have the right to demand [the return of] whatever they have spent. Such is God’s judgment, He judges between you [in equity] – for God is All-Knowing, Wise.


Lit., “as emigrants” (muhajirat). For an explanation of my rendering of this term as above, see surah 2, note 203.

60:11 And if any of your wives should go over to the deniers of the truth, and you are thus afflicted in turn, then give unto those whose wives have gone away the equivalent of what they had spent [on their wives by way of dower], and remain conscious of God, in whom you believe!


Under the terms of the Truce of Hudaybiyyah, concluded in the year 6 H. between the Prophet and the pagan Quraysh of Mecca, any Meccan minor or other people under guardianship who went over to the Muslims without the permission of his or her guardian was to be returned to the Quraysh (see introductory note to surah 48). The Quraysh took this stipulation to include also married women, whom they considered to be under the “guardianship” of their husbands. Accordingly, when several Meccan women embraced Islam against the will of their husbands and fled to Medina, the Quraysh demanded their forcible return to Mecca. This the Prophet refused on the grounds that married women did not fall within the category of “persons under guardianship”. However, since there was always the possibility that some of these women had gone over to the Muslims not for reasons of faith but out of purely worldly considerations, the believers were enjoined to make sure of their sincerity; and so, the Prophet asked each of them: “Swear before God that thou didst not leave because of hatred of thy husband, or out of a desire to go to another country, or in the hope of attaining to worldly advantages: swear before God that thou didst not leave for any reason save the love of God and His Apostle” (Tabari). Since God alone knows what is in the heart of a human being, a positive response of the woman concerned was to be regarded as the only humanly attainable – and, therefore, legally sufficient – proof of her sincerity. The fact that God alone is really aware of what is in a human being’s heart is incorporated in the shar’i principle that any adult person’s declaration of faith, in the absence of any evidence to the contrary makes it mandatory upon the community to accept that person – whether man or woman – as a Muslim on the basis of this declaration alone.

60:12 O Prophet! Whenever believing women come unto thee to pledge their allegiance to thee, [pledging] that [henceforth] they would not ascribe divinity, in any way, to aught but God, and would not steal, and would not commit adultery, and would not kill their children, and would not indulge in slander, falsely devising it out of nothingness, and would not disobey thee in anything [that thou declarest to be] right – then accept their pledge of allegiance, and pray to God to forgive them their [past] sins, for, Behold, God is Much-Forgiving, a Dispenser of Grace.


Lit., “to them”. Thus, if a wife embraces Islam while her husband remains outside its pale, the marriage is considered, from the Islamic point of view, to have been automatically annulled.

60:13 O You who have attained to faith! Be not friends with people whom God has condemned! They [who would befriend them] are indeed bereft of all hope of a life to come – just as those deniers of the truth are bereft of all hope of [ever again seeing] those who are [now] in their graves.


Such an annulment is to be subject to the same conditions as a khul’ (dissolution of marriage, at the wife’s instance, from her Muslim husband – see note 218 on the second paragraph of 2:229): that is to say, since the non-Muslim former husband is presumed to have been innocent of any breach of his marital obligations as such, the wife is to be considered the contract-breaking party and has, therefore, to refund the dower (mahr) which she received from him at the time of concluding the marriage. In case of her inability to do so, the Muslim community is obliged to indemnify the erstwhile husband: hence the plural form in the imperative “‘you shall return” (lit., “give”).


The divine scriptures are God’s beacons to the world. Surely God offered His trust to the heavens and the earth, and the hills, but they shrank from bearing it and were afraid of it. And man undertook it.
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