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Sura 58
Aya 1

Chapter 58

The Pleader
al-Mujādilah ( المجادلة )

22 verses • revealed at Medinan

»The surah that mentions the complaint of Khawlah bint Thaʿlabah to the Prophet as The Pleader for dignity of women against the abominable practice whereby husbands estranged their wives from intimacy on false pretext. It takes its name from the phrase “pleads with you” (tujādiluka) mentioned in verse 1. The surah disallows a specific pagan divorce practice. It goes on to state that those who oppose God and His messenger, who secretly ally themselves with Satan, who lie in their oaths and make intrigues against the Prophet, will be defeated and suffer humiliation both in this world and in the next (verse 5 and verse 20), while those on God’s side will triumph (verse 22).«

The surah is also known as: She Who Argued, She Who Pleaded, The Disputant, The Dispute, The Disputer, The Disputing Woman, The Pleading Woman, The Woman Who Pleads.

بِسمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحمٰنِ الرَّحيمِ


قَد سَمِعَ اللَّهُ قَولَ الَّتي تُجادِلُكَ في زَوجِها وَتَشتَكي إِلَى اللَّهِ وَاللَّهُ يَسمَعُ تَحاوُرَكُما ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ سَميعٌ بَصيرٌ

Ali Unal

Consisting of 22 verses, this sūrah was revealed in Madīnah, most probably after the Battle of the Trench, in the fifth year after Hijrah. It derives its name from the first verse, where a woman’s plea to the Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, to solve a problem between her and her husband is recounted. It decisively abolishes the pre-Islamic custom of a form of divorce that took effect when a man said to his wife, “You are henceforth like my mother’s back to me.” It also denounces the hypocrites for their holding secret counsels against the Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, and forbids the believers from taking as guardians those whom God has condemned to eternal punishment. Finally, it orders that support be given to God’s Religion.
God has indeed heard (and accepted) the words of the woman who pleads with you concerning her husband and refers her complaint to God. God hears the dialogue between you.1 Surely God is All-Hearing, All-Seeing.2
  • There is reference here to a pre-Islamic custom among the pagan Arabs. A husband would say to his wife, “You are henceforth as my mother’s back to me,” thus forbidding himself from conjugal relations with her. This meant an irrevocable divorce, but a woman thus divorced was not allowed to remarry. In Sūrat al-Ahzāb (verse 4), which was revealed before this sūrah, the Qur’ān took the first step towards abolishing this custom (it was called zihār), by declaring that a woman whose husband had pronounced her to be as his mother’s backwas in no way his mother in reality. Aws ibn Sāmit, from the Aws tribe, among the Muslims of Madīnah, was angry with his wife for some reason, and declared that she was as unlawful to him as his mother’s back. Afterwards, he regretted having done so, but according to custom, he was not able to return to his wife. So his wife, Hawlah bint Tha’labah, appealed to God’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, and told him about the case. She added that her children had grown up and she lived alone with her husband. So if her husband left her, she would have been left alone without anyone to protect her, and she added that her husband would agree to re-accept her as his wife. During her conversation with the Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, God revealed this and the following verses concerning the same subject, thereby decisively and permanently abolishing the pagan custom.
  • The verse concludes: “God is All-Hearing, All-Seeing.” God hears everything, even the conversation between a woman and the Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, about a particular, personal, and private matter between her and her husband. A woman is generally more compassionate than a man, and is a source of care and tenderness that inspires self-sacrifice. As a requirement of His being All-Compassionate, Almighty God heard her complaint and considered it a matter of great importance through His Name, the Truth. In that He expresses a universal principle in relation to a particular event, we may realize that the One Who hears, sees and weighs a particular, minor incident must hear, see and weigh all things. One Who claims Lordship over the universe must be aware of the troubles of any creature who has been wronged and hear its cries, for one who cannot do so cannot be Lord. Thus, God being All-Hearing and All-Seeing, establishes these two mighty truths (The Words, “The 25th Word,” 446).