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Qur'an 33: 28-29

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Verse of Choice
Verse's Information
Name of Verse: Al-Takhyir
Sura: Qur'an 33
Verse: 28, 29
Juz': 21
Content Information
Place of Revelation: Medina
Topic: Ethics, Jurisprudential
about: The choice given to wives of the Prophet

Al-Takhyir Verse (Arabic: آية التخییر), or the Verse of Choice, refers to verses twenty eight and twenty nine of Qur'an 33. They concern the choice given to wives of the Prophet (s) to get a divorce or to continue to live with him.

The verse was revealed subsequently to an offensive argument of some of the Prophet's wives with him over their material requests. At the command of God, the Prophet (s) gave his wives the choice to live a simple life with him, or get a divorce and enjoy financial prosperity. The Verse of Choice has led to contentions between Shi'as and Sunnis over how divorce takes place.

Text and Translation

The Occasion of the Revelation and the Content

After the victory of Muslims in the Battle of Khaybar, the treasure of the household of Abu l-Haqiq was surrendered to the Prophet (s). According to some accounts of the occasion of the revelation of the verse, the Prophet (s) divided up the contents of the treasure among Muslims at the command of God. However, his wives asked him to give the treasure to them, and when the Prophet (s) told them about what he was going to do with the treasure, they told him, "do you think if you divorce us, there is no one in our people who would marry us?" As a consequence, the Prophet (s) stayed away from his wives for twenty nine days at the command of God, until the above verses were revealed.

In al-Kafi, there is a hadith from Imam al-Sadiq (a) according to which the wife who argued with the Prophet (s) was Hafsa, and according to another hadith, the wife was Zaynab bt. Jahsh. According to Tafsir-i nimuna, the request was in circumstances in which many believers lived in hardship and had no house to live in.

According to other hadiths cited by al-Tabari, a Sunni exegete of the Qur'an, the verse was revealed because 'A'isha asked the Prophet (s) to increase her alimony or something else, or because of her jealousy of other wives of the Prophet (s).

According to 'Allama Tabataba'i and Ayatollah Makarim Shirazi, if the Prophet (s) divorced them, he would give them some money with which they could go on to live, in addition to their mahr.

In Majma' al-bayan, al-Tabrisi quotes some exegetes as saying that the choice here was that between this world and the afterlife.

Jurisprudential Disagreement

The Verse of Choice has led to jurisprudential controversies. Some Sunni scholars appeal to the verse to show that no divorce formula is needed for divorce to be enforced. Thus, divorce takes place if a woman chooses to separate from her husband, rather than live with him. Moreover, some people believe that to give one's wife a choice to stay or to leave is a kind of divorce. However, Shiite scholars believe that to give such a choice does not count as divorce. Moreover, the divorce formula which meet further particular conditions is required for divorce.

References

  • The material for this article is mainly taken from آیه تخییر in Farsi WikiShia.