please click here to login first
This is followed by a fine touch inspired by the close intimacy which exists in family life: “How can you take it away when each of you has been privy with the other, and they have received from you a most solemn pledge?” (Verse 21) The Arabic expression used here and which we have rendered as “being privy with the other” has much wider and finer connotations. It is by no means limited to physical intimacy. It does not merely mean that a couple have given themselves to one another. It includes feelings, responses and the sharing of secrets, problems and concerns. When we reflect on this verse, numerous images of married life come to mind, depicting what happens between a man and his wife at every moment of the night and day. Past memories are recalled. They have been privy with one another in their expressions of love, in their happy moments, in what they had shared of hopes and problems, in their aspirations for a happier present and a brighter future, in their shared thoughts about their children.
Compared with all these associations and memories which are recalled by the expression “when each of you has been privy with the other,” the importance of physical love seems too small. Hence, the divorcing husband would be too shy to ask for a refund of part of the dowry he gave to his wife. Another factor is introduced by the last part of this verse: “And they have received from you it most solemn pledge” (Verse 21) That pledge is the pledge of marriage. Marriage which is given in the name of God and according to the method He has made lawful. It is a very solemn pledge that must be respected and cherished by every believer. Hence, the Qur’ān calls on believers to respect it.