[Q-ID0557] The Qur’an says ‘pious men are for pious women’ – so why were the wives of some Prophets not pious?

‍QUESTION:

What do the scholars and muftis of the noble Shari’ah say regarding the following matter; Allah states in Surah al-Nur that pious women are for pious men and pious men are for pious women. The Pharaoh was not pious, but his wife was a pious woman. Similarly, the wives of some Prophets were not pious. For example, the wife of Sayyiduna Lut (peace be upon him) was not pious. Why was it so?       

Questioner: A brother from UK

ANSWER:

بسم اللہ الرحمن الرحیم
الجواب بعون الملک الوھاب اللھم ھدایۃ الحق والصواب

You have not understood the meaning and understanding of this noble verse of the Qur’an correctly. The meaning and understanding of this verse is other than what you have understood.

Firstly, this noble verse was revealed when the hypocrites slandered the Mother of the Believers, Sayyidah ‘Aishah Siddiqah (may Allah be pleased with her). Allah ﷻ declared the slander of the vile hypocrites as vile. He ﷻ revealed many verses in order to exonerate her. Among those verses is the verse:

اَلْخَبِیۡثٰتُ لِلْخَبِیۡثِیۡنَ وَ الْخَبِیۡثُوۡنَ لِلْخَبِیۡثٰتِۚ وَ الطَّیِّبٰتُ لِلطَّیِّبِیۡنَ وَ الطَّیِّبُوۡنَ لِلطَّیِّبٰتِ

Translation: “Vile talks (slandering) are for vile hypocrites and vile hypocrites for vile talks. Good talks are for good people and good people for good talks.” [Surah al-Nur, 26]

This is according to what Imam Fakhr al-Din al-Razi (may Allah have mercy upon him) stated in al-Tafsir al-Kabir:

اعْلَمْ أَنَّ الْخَبِيثَاتِ يَقَعُ عَلَى الْكَلِمَاتِ الَّتِي هِيَ الْقَذْفُ الْوَاقِعُ مِنْ أَهْلِ الْإِفْكِ فَإِنْ حَمَلْنَاهَا عَلَى الْقَذْفِ الْوَاقِعِ مِنْ أَهْلِ الْإِفْكِ۔۔۔ كَانَ الْمَعْنَى الْخَبِيثَاتُ مِنْ قَوْلِ أَهْلِ الْإِفْكِ لِلْخَبِيثَيْنِ مِنَ الرِّجَالِ، وَبِالْعَكْسِ وَالطَّيِّبَاتُ مِنْ قَوْلِ مُنْكِرِي الْإِفْكِ لِلطَّيِّبِينَ مِنَ الرِّجَالِ وبالعكس

[al-Tafsir al-Kabir, vol. 23, pg. 355]

Secondly, even if khabithat and tayyibat are meant to be used for women and khabithin and tayyibin are meant to be used for men, as a particular tafsir (exegesis of the Qur’an) states, then the meaning would not be the one that is mentioned in the question. Because, khabath here means adultery and not ugliness of the inner self, i.e. disbelief and sin. Also, tayyib means chastity and not faithfulness and piety. Therefore, the meaning of the verse would be, adulterers are suitable for adulteresses and adulteresses for adulterers, and chaste women are suitable for chaste men and chaste men for chaste women. This is according to Imam Fakhr al-Din al-Razi’s explanation:

وَإِنْ حَمَلْنَاهُ حَمَلْنَاهُ عَلَى الزَّوَانِي فَالْمَعْنَى الْخَبِيثَاتُ مِنَ النِّسَاءِ لِلْخَبِيثِينَ مِنَ الرِّجَالِ وَبِالْعَكْسِ

[al-Tafsir al-Kabir, vol. 23, pg. 355]

Thus, for a woman to be chaste, it is not necessary that she be a believer as well as pious. It is necessary for her to be chaste. It is true that the wives of all the Prophets (peace be upon them) were chaste, including the wife of Sayyiduna Lut (peace be upon him).

If it is assumed that the meaning of this verse is that pious women are lawful only for pious men, and vice versa, then why did Allah ﷻ declare marriage with the women of the People of the Book (Jews and Christians) as halal (lawful)? If this verse is understood in this way, then such a marriage should have been haram (prohibited). Because, a Muslim is pious due to faith. A Christian or Jewish woman, let alone be pious, is not even a believer and is purely a disbeliever. However, this is not the case. The Qur’an has declared marriage with women from the People of the Book to be permissible. Allah ﷻ states:

وَالْمُحْصَنٰتُ مِنَ الَّذِیۡنَ اُوۡتُوا الْکِتٰبَ مِنۡ قَبْلِکُمْ

Translation: “…chaste women from amongst those given the Book before you (are lawful for you) …” [Surah al-Ma’idah, 5]

Thirdly, if this verse means that pious men are suitable for pious women, then a ruling of our Shari’ah can be proven from it. The kufu (suitable partners) of pious women are pious men only. The kufu of impious and sinful women can be impious men. This ruling is in our Shari’ah and not in previous laws. Therefore, we cannot raise objections on how the Pharaoh became kufu of Sayyidah Asiyah (may Allah be pleased with her) and why Sayyiduna Lut (peace be upon him) married a disbeliever, because both the cases took place in previous laws.

واللہ تعالی اعلم ورسولہ اعلم صلی اللہ علیہ وآلہ وسلم
کتبہ ابو الحسن محمد قاسم ضیاء قادری

Answered by Mufti Qasim Zia al-Qadri
Translated by the SeekersPath Team

Read the original Urdu answer here: [Q-ID0557] The Qur’an says ‘pious men are for pious women’ – so why were the wives of some Prophets not pious?

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