Madinat al-Muslimeen Islamic Message Board
|Why women are described as tilth|
|08/14/01 at 05:33:21|
|Assalamu Alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh|
Why women are described as tilth
Could you please explain the meaning of Verse 223 of Surah 2?
The verse to which you refer is closely connected with the one preceding it. It is better, therefore, to consider them both together and explain their meaning. In translation they may be rendered as follows: "They ask you about menstruation. Say: 'It is an unpleasant condition. Keep, therefore, aloof from women during menstruation and do not draw near to them until they are cleansed. When they have purified themselves you may go in unto them whence God has bidden you to do. Truly God loves those who turn to Him in repentance, and He loves those who keep themselves pure.'"
"Your wives are as a tilth for you. Go, then, to your tilth as you may desire, but first provide something for your souls. Fear God and know that you are sure to meet Him. Give, therefore, glad tidings to the believers."
From the Islamic point of view, sex is a natural desire that is closely related to the continuity of life through procreation. During the period of menstruation, sex may give physical pleasure, but it may have some harmful or unhealthy effects on both partners, and it cannot achieve its higher purpose. Moreover, human nature is not keen on sex when it is not conducive to life and procreation, because it is internally governed by the same law which governs life. On the other hand, in the period of cleanliness and purity, sex achieves both the physical pleasure and its natural objective of the continuity of life. Hence, the first verse prohibits intercourse during menstruation, although the preliminaries of sex are permissible.
Moreover, sex is not left unrestrained. It is regulated and kept within certain limits: "When they have purified themselves you may go in unto them whence God has bidden you to do." This is a reference to the place where conception can be achieved. While sex gives physical pleasure and satisfies a desire, its aim is to preserve life and to do God's bidding. A Muslim is always keen to comply with what God bids him. God enacts His legislation to help His servants remain pure. He loves those who, when they commit a sin, turn to Him in repentance and pray for His forgiveness: "Truly God loves those who turn to Him in repentance, and He loves those who keep themselves pure."
That particular aspect of marital relations which fits most perfectly with the foregoing reasoning is then brought into sharp relief: "Your wives are as a tilth for you. Go, then, to your tilth as you may desire." The expression here is very precise. It has certain well-defined connotations with respect to that aspect of marital relations and its purposes. That aspect, however, does not embrace all the relationships between man and wife. Other aspects are referred to elsewhere in the Quran, in their appropriate places. We have such references as: "They (i.e. your wives) are a garment to you and for them you are a garment." (2: 187) "One of His signs is that He has created for you wives from among yourselves so that you may lean toward them. He has bonded you together with affection and compassion." (30: 21)
Each such statement describes, at the correct place, one side of that multisided, profound relationship. Within the present context, the notion of tilth is most fitting. The subject here is that of fertility, procreation and preservation of life. Since the matter is one of tilth, then we are free to go about it in the way we like, provided that we confine our sexual activity to the place of conception which makes the notion of tilth a reality: "Go, then, to your tilth as you may desire."
At the same time we have to remember the ultimate objective. As we work toward it, we have to be conscious of God and to fear Him. Thus, what we do becomes a good deed which we add to our credit. We must also feel certain of meeting God, who will reward us for what we have done: "But first provide something for your souls. Fear God and know that you are sure to meet Him."
The two verses are concluded with giving the believers the happy news of being in the proper place when they meet God. They will be rewarded for what they provide for their souls in connection with that tilth. For whatever the believer does is good and beneficial if his aim is to please God: "Give, therefore, glad tidings to the believers."
[i]Arab News - 18 October 1996[/i]
Wassalamu Alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh
Haniff (with 2 f's)
Individual posts do not necessarily reflect the views of Jannah.org, Islam, or all Muslims. All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective owners. Comments are owned by the poster and may not be used without consent of the author.The rest © Jannah.Org