Summary of Quran Chapter 58, Surah Al-Mujadilah, The Woman
Who Disputes 

In this passage, there are four main topics being

Zihar [Az-Zihar, is the saying of a husband to his
wife that, You are to me like the back of my mother (i.e. unlawful for me to
] (The First Topic): This refers to a practice in pre-Islamic
Arabia where a husband would say to his wife that she is like his mother’s
back, which was considered taboo. This chapter starts by mentioning the rules
regarding this practice, which will be explained in detail in the following

Secret Conspiracies (The Second Topic): Some Jews and
hypocrites used to secretly engage in activities that would raise concerns
among Muslims that they were plotting against them. Likewise, some honorable
companions of Muhammad wanted to seek advice or discuss certain matters with
him in private. In this regard, the rules regarding these confidential
discussions have been explained. 

surah al-mujadilah the woman who disputes

Social Etiquette (The Third Topic): The chapter discusses
the etiquette and conduct that Muslims should observe when participating in
social gatherings. 

Munafiqun (The Hypocrites – The Fourth and Final Topic):
The last topic is about the hypocrites, those who outwardly claimed to be
believers but secretly harbored enmity against the Muslims and aided the
enemies. This chapter highlights the characteristics and actions of such

The name of this chapter is “Al-Mujadilah”
(meaning “The Pleading Woman”), which is derived from the first verse
that mentions a woman who came to plead her case. The incident involving the
woman is described in the passage below. 

“The revelation of this verse is about Hazrat Khawla, who
was a woman married to Hazrat Aus bin Samit (may Allah be pleased with him), an
elderly man. On one occasion, she said to her husband, “You are to me as
the back of my mother” (meaning that she considered him like a forbidden
relationship, i.e., she used a term that implied she had made him haram for

When a person says such a statement to his wife, it is
called “Zihar.” Before Islam, as a result of such statements,
husbands and wives would be permanently separated, and there was no way for
them to reconcile. Although Hazrat Aus bin Samit uttered this statement
impulsively, he later felt ashamed. 

Distressed by the consequences, Khawla came to the
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) seeking guidance. She asked him about the
ruling in such a situation. 

She repeatedly mentioned to the Prophet (peace be upon
him) that her husband had not explicitly pronounced divorce. The verse was then
revealed to address this issue and to provide a ruling on the matter. The verse
allowed for a process to reconcile and showed that such an utterance was not an
explicit divorce. 

In the verse, she starts her complaint to Allah, saying,
“O Allah, I appeal to You, my little children will be lost.” This
incident led to the clarification of the legal status of such statements and
emphasized the importance of proper divorce procedures and the protection of
family ties. 

Dr. Israr Ahmed’s Opinion: 

The beginning of Surah Al-Mujadila addresses a specific
family matter, but this issue is only briefly mentioned in the first four
verses as an incidental topic. Afterward, the central theme of Surah Al-Hadid
(The Iron) is introduced in this Surah. The central theme of Surah Al-Hadid is
related to the establishment of a system of justice and equity. The
establishment of this system requires organized and connected communities
working together. 

It’s not a task for an individual or a small group of people.
If it were, then Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) would have accomplished it
without seeking the support of his people. When he called his people for Jihad
(struggle or striving), they responded with a clear and united answer: 

They said: “O Musa (Moses)! We shall never enter it as
long as they are there. So go you and your Lord and fight you two, we are
sitting right here.” (Quran Chapter: 5:24, Al-Maidah, The Table Spread with

They said with one voice, ‘At that time, 

He [Musa (Moses)] said: “O my Lord I have power only over
myself and my brother, so separate us from the people who are the Fasiqun
(rebellious and disobedient to Allah)!”. (Quran Chapter: 5:25, Al-Maidah, The
Table Spread with Food)

You were not alone; you had three other companions with
you.’ That is, your brothers Harun (Aaron), Joshua bin Nun, and Caleb bin Yufna
were with you. Nevertheless, you expressed your dissatisfaction with deep
regret to Allah, leaving the mission of divine governance incomplete. 

So it becomes clear that this task is not the work of a
few individuals; rather, it requires a strong and organized community to
dismantle the unjust system and establish a system of justice and equity. It is
evident that once this community is formed and actively engaged in completing
its mission, Satan will not sit idly by; instead, he will tirelessly strive to
obstruct their path, encouraging them to abandon their mission of upholding
divine governance. 

In this way, these two forces will stand face-to-face with each other. Therefore, in this Surah, mention is made not only of the
group working towards the establishment of the system of justice and equity,
known as Hizbullah (the Party of Allah) but also of the opposing group, the
Hizbush-Shaytan (the Party of Satan). In this context, some useful guidelines
are provided to the members of Hizbullah. 

The existence of Hizbullah is a source of great concern
to Satan, so he constantly strives to infiltrate it and undermine its unity. To
counter such satanic attacks, the Quran provides instructions to the believers. 

The purpose of the social and ethical guidelines given in
Surah Al-Hujurat is also to promote unity and solidarity among Muslims and
prevent any action that may harm their unity. 

Clearly, such actions harm the unity and solidarity of
Muslims in the end. Likewise, in Surah Al-Hujurat, believers are instructed to
mediate and reconcile if two groups of believers are in conflict so that the
Party of Allah remains strong and steadfast. 

In any case, the central theme of Surah Al-Mujadilah is
related to Hizbullah. Hizbullah is the sign of goodness and the strength of
righteousness. If this group is strong, the call to goodness will be loud and
clear. If it becomes weak, it is evident that the Party of Satan will gain the
upper hand in society.