﴿10﴾ يَاأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِذَا جَاءَكُمُ الْمُؤْمِنَاتُ مُهَاجِرَاتٍ فَامْتَحِنُوهُنَّ اللَّهُ أَعْلَمُ بِإِيمَانِهِنَّ فَإِنْ عَلِمْتُمُوهُنَّ مُؤْمِنَاتٍ فَلاَ تَرْجِعُوهُنَّ إِلَي الْكُفَّارِ لاَ هُنَّ حِلٌّ لَهُمْ وَلاَ هُمْ يَحِلُّونَ لَهُنَّ وَآتُوهُم مَا أَنفَقُوا وَلاَ جُنَاحَ عَلَيْكُمْ أَن تَنكِحُوهُنَّ إِذَا آتَيْتُمُوهُنَّ أُجُورَهُنَّ وَلاَ تُمْسِكُوا بِعِصَمِ الْكَوَافِرِ وَسْأَلُوا مَا أَنفَقْتُمْ وَلْيَسْأَلُوا مَا أَنفَقُوا ذلِكُمْ حُكْمُ اللَّهِ يَحْكُمُ بَيْنَكُمْ وَاللَّهُ عَلِيمٌ حَكِيمٌ
10. O you who believe! When believing women [separated from disbelieving husbands] come unto you as emigrants, examine them [in terms of faith]. Allah knows best as to their faith. Then, if you ascertain that they are true believers, send them not back to the disbelievers. They are not lawful for the disbelievers nor are the disbelievers lawful for them. But give them that [amount of money] which they have spent on them. And keep not the disbelieving women as wives and ask for [the return of] that which you have spent [as mahr or bridal gift] and let them [the disbelievers] ask back for that which they have spent [had the women converted to the Islamic faith and had joined you]. That is the Decree of Allah by Which He judges between you and Allah is Omniscient, All-wise.
Occasion of Revelation. Some Qur’an exegetes narrate that Allah's Messenger (SAW) concluded a treaty with Meccan polytheists at Hudaybiyya as per which any Meccan who joins Muslims should be returned to Mecca, but if any of the Muslims forego his faith and returns to Mecca, he may not be returned. A certain woman by the name of Subay‘a converted to the Islamic faith at the time and joined the
Muslims at Hudaybiyya. Her husband went to the Noble Prophet (SAW) and asked for her return to him as per the newly concluded treaty. The blessed Verse in question was revealed commanding the Muslims to examine the emigrant women in terms of their faith. Ibn ‘Abbās is quoted as saying that they were examined by being asked to take an oath to the effect that their emigration had not been owing to hatred against their husbands nor liking for the new land nor for any other mundane goal but they had emigrated solely for the sake of the Islamic faith. The woman in question took the oath. Thus, Allah's Messenger (SAW) reimbursed the mahr paid by her husband and the other expenses borne by him saying that the treaty solely includes men rather than women. Such occasion of Revelation is mentioned in the majority of Sunnī and Shī‘ī exegetic sources.
The blessed Verse depicts a clear picture of the Islamic faith as the one fostering justice. Firstly, the emigrated woman is not left on her own. Secondly, the right of the disbelieving husband is not ignored but the mahr and other expenses borne by him are reimbursed from the Muslim public treasury (bayt al-māl). Thirdly, the female instinctual and emotional needs and also her financial needs are being met by the two commands "marry them" and "pay them their mahr." It is worthy of note that emigration may stem from fleeing from one's husband, liking for living a new life, espionage, gaining possessions, or reunion with relatives. Thus, the incentives are supposed to be clarified. The blessed Verse in question treats of emigrant women and it includes seven decrees which mainly concerns emigrant women and some of them pertain to disbelieving women as follows:
1. The first decree regards emigrant women. Addressing the believers the blessed Verse is saying: "O you who believe! When believing women emigrate unto you, do not send them away but examine them. Examination
of believing women is owing to the point that some of them said the formula of faith, namely "There is no god but Allah and Muhammad (SAW) is Allah's Messenger (SAW) and thus they joined the believers but their belief was supposed to be ascertained by having them take an oath to the effect that their emigration had been for conversion to the Islamic faith rather than out of enmity against their husbands or love for other men or Medina and the like. The twelfth blessed Verse of the Chapter in question may provide further exposition on the manner of the examination of emigrant women according to which they were supposed to pledge allegiance to the Noble Prophet (SAW) to the effect that they refrain from treading the path of polytheism, theft, immoral acts, slaying children and the like but they totally submit to the commands of Allah's Messenger (SAW).
2. According to the next decree, when their faith was ascertained and thereby there were recognized as true believers, they are not supposed to be returned to disbelievers. According to the imposed treaty of Hudaybiyya, Muslims emigrating from Mecca to Medina were supposed to be returned to Mecca, but it did not include women. Thus, the Noble Prophet (SAW) never returned them to disbelievers since women were extremely weak in that society and returning them unto believers was quite perilous.
3. The third decree which in fact substantiates the preceding one proceeds to say that neither these believing women are lawful for those disbelieving men nor disbelieving men are lawful for these believing women, since belief and disbelief are mutually exclusive and the sacred bonds of marriage may not be established between believers and disbelievers as they tread opposite paths. The point is that wedlock is
supposed to establish some sort of harmony between the two parties and belief and disbelief may never stand in harmony with each other.
4. It was the common practice amongst Arabs that bridal gift (mahr) was paid in advance. Therefore, the fourth decree is saying that the expenses borne by disbelieving husbands for their marriage should be reimbursed to them. Even though the husbands are disbelievers, but since the separation is motioned by the woman, Islamic justice necessitates that the husband should be compensated for the losses incurred. The significant point is that the Islamic government and the Muslim public treasury are seemingly supposed to undertake the obligations for which no party has been specified. The plural form of address bears further evidence to the same effect.
5. The next decree says that there is no sin on your part if you marry such women when you pay their bridal gift. Even though such women have already received their bridal gifts from their former husbands and the money has been reimbursed to them, but the new husbands are supposed to pay the bridal gift to respect the believing women. It is of worthy of note that the believing woman separates from her disbelieving husband without divorce, but she is supposed to keep the waiting term (‘idda) before remarriage whose detailed discussions are to be found in Jurisprudential sources, e.g. Kitāb Jawāhir, vol. 30, p. 54.
6. In case the husband converts to the Islamic faith but the wife remains in her disbelief, the marital bond is annulled, as the blessed Verse in question is saying that disbelieving wives are not supposed to be kept. The Arabic word ‘asam is the plural form of ‘isma denoting hindrance and hereby connoting hindrance to matrimony. The Arabic word kawāfir is the plural
form of kāfira denoting disbelieving woman.
7. The last decree treats of those women who turn away from the Islamic faith to join disbelievers saying whoever of the women turning away from the Islamic faith is supposed to pay the bridal gift in the same manner as those women who turn to the Islamic faith and whose bridal gift is supposed to be paid to their former husbands. It reflects justice and mutual respect in Islam. The blessed Verse in question closes by laying emphasis on the foregoing decrees saying that these are Divine Decrees through which God Almighty judges between you and He is the Omniscient, the All-Wise. Such Decrees spring from Divine Omniscience reflecting His Wisdom. The rights of all people are stipulated in such Decrees and They all stand in harmony with Islamic justice and equity. Taking into account the fact that they have been all decreed by God Almighty is the best security for their implementation.