Men are a degree above the women
Surah ‘Al-Baqarah (The Cow) – Chapter – 2)
Stage – 1, Verses – 228b to 229a of 286, Section – 29 of 40 (Part - 2)
In the name of God, the Beneficent, the Merciful
228b. And their husbands would do better to take them back in that case if they desire a reconciliation. And they (women) have rights similar to those (of men) over them in kindness, and men are a degree above them. And Allah is Mighty, Wise.
228b. Wa bu- uulatuhunna ‘ahaqqu bi-raddihinna fii zaalika ‘in ‘araaduuu ‘islaahaa. Wa la-hunna mislullazii ‘alayhinna bil-ma’-ruuf, wa lir-rijaali ‘alayhinna darajah. WAllaahu ‘Aziizun Hakiim.
Zaalika – (in that case, in it), that is to say; in the term/period of three months.
‘Ahaqqu bi-raddihinna – (they have more rights to take them back). This proves from it that the husband should not take quite last decision till the time he can delay and it is better if they both (husband and wife) establish themselves again from the beginning, and the time of their separation doesn’t come forever.
The Divine law of Islam has kept it (divorce) lawful only as remedy at the time of necessity and last disposal. It has neither been induced positively to divorce, nor is it liked without need. The words “ ‘Abgazul-mubahaat” have been used in one Hadith of the Sayings of Last Messenger (grace, glory, blessings and peace be upon Him) which means ‘most disliked act near God Almighty out of prescribed lawful acts by Him’ i.e. the divorce. So after meditation and consideration; the husbands would do better to take them back in that case if they desire reconciliation. They can cancel the divorce. Technically it is called looking back (towards marriage).
After permitting return (to wife); Allah Almighty has admonished also that the divorce should only be abolished if both the life partners remain in peace and truce with one another in future, and it should not be the purpose to torture the woman. Although, the husband can cancel the divorce legally, but his good behavior doesn’t relate to the law, moreover; it depends only on his courtesy and good intention. So, the human should adopt the way of good outward and natural behavior.
Then it is told that as the men have rights over the women, like this, the women also have rights over men. It has been intimated to the world, “you should not deem that only the men have rights over the women, as well as they also have rights over men. However, the man has some degree above the woman in excellence and merit. This excellence and virtue of the man is due to his wisdom and strength. These all commands are from God Almighty which we have to admit because He is most Mighty and Wise.
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229a. Divorce must be pronounced twice and then (a woman) must be retained in honour or released in kindness. And it is not lawful for you that ye take from them aught of that which ye have given them; except (in the case) when both fear that they may not be able to keep within the limits (imposed by) Allah.
229a. ‘At-talaaqu marrataan: fa- ‘imsaakum-bima’-ruufin ‘aw tasriihum- bi- ‘ihsaan. Wa laa yahillu lakum ‘an- ta’-khuzuu mimmaaa ‘aatay-tumuuhunna shay- ‘an ‘illaaa ‘any-yakhaafaaa ‘allaa yuqiimaa HuduudAllaah.
Fa- ‘imsaakum – (then (a woman) must be retained), that is to say; to retain that wife who has already been divorced once.
Bima’-ruufin – (in honour, according to the Divine Rule of religion), its detail can be gotten from the religious law books.
Bi- ‘ihsaan – (in kindness) removing tense and unpleasant condition which had become purpose of divorce. Dishearten, scorn or lowering the woman down should not be the purpose.
Maaa ‘aatay-tumuuhunna shay- ‘an – (taking from the women aught of that which you have given them), many Commentators have explained it as the amount of kindness (Maher) but some Scholars have extended it as entire that wealth and goods which the husband has given to her wife i.e. ornaments and clothes etc.
It was a custom before Islam that the husband used to divorce her wife many times as he wished, but then he used to revoke from it. This verse revealed to remove this evil and told that revocation can be only after divorcing two times. He has been empowered up to two divorces that if the husband wishes during the time of term (‘iddat), then either he can retain her according to rule or leave her with kindness. But after the expiry of term (‘iddat) revocation doesn’t remain further. However, if they both agree, they can re-marry. And if he has divorced at the third time, then there is no chance of re-wedding too, till the time that woman doesn’t live in any other husband’s home and that husband either doesn’t die or divorce her.
Sometimes the husband divorces in anger, and then he also oppresses to snatch that entire wealth or goods which he has given to her wife till then. During the days of ignorance; this rule had been spread more in the Arabians. Here this cruel principal has been prohibited and declared that amount of the kindness (Maher) etc. which you have paid already, cannot get back now.
Meaning of ‘imsaakum-bima’-ruufin and tasriihum- bi- ‘ihsaan is that if the husband revokes then he should remain and live with honor and kindness, and if he wants to bid her good-bye then also he should see her off with comfort and nicely. It means that stress of kindness and good behavior should be in all conditions.