Ayah 232 stops the unjust treatment meted out to divorced women, that is, they are discouraged to marry again. In some case the first husband oppose the idea of his divorced wife marrying someone else and considers this to be violation of his honor. In some families, the guardians of the divorced woman stop her from marrying a second time. Some of them do that out of greed hoping to let her marry only when there is some financial gain for them. There are times when the divorced woman agrees to remarry her former husband, but the guardians and relatives develop hostility toward him after the incident of divorce. They oppose their remarriage even after the couple agrees to it.
Stopping free women, without any valid reason admitted by Islamic law, from marrying at their choice, is a grave injustice whether it comes from the former husband or from the guardians of the woman. This injustice has been prevented through this ayah.
Remember that in the ayah a condition has been placed, “if they agree among themselves on an acceptable basis.” It means when a man and woman agree to marry in accordance with the rules set by the Shari’ah, then do not stop them from getting married.
Here it was hinted that the absence of an agreement between the two, or compulsion from any quarter, is a valid reason for people around to stop them. Or, it may be that there is mutual agreement of the couple, but it is not in accordance with the method prescribed by the Shari’ah. For instance, the couple may agree to live together without marrying; or may, in between them, enter into a new nikkah illegitimately after three divorces.
Should there be an intention to marry another husband during the ‘iddah, the family and other Muslims have the right to stop them from doing so.
Similarly, if a girl wishes to marry outside her kaf [equal, like] without the permission of her guardians, or wishes to enter into marriage on a dower which is less than her mahr al-mithl [a dower approximately similar to the one customary in her family] then this affects the family. Since she has no right to do this, her consent is also not in accordance with the method prescribed by the Shari’ah. In this situation, the guardians of the girl have a right to stop her from this marriage. However, the words if they agree among themselves point out that a sane and puberty girl cannot be given in marriage without her consent or permission.
Toward the end of ayah 232, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says, “That is instructed to whoever of you believes in Allah and the Last Day.” Here it was hinted that the necessary outcome of believing in Allah and the Last Day is that man should observe the commands of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. Those who fall short in following these commands should realize that their emaan is in disarray.
Later it was said, “That is better for you and purer…” It means if sane, puberty and young girls were prevented from marriage, it would, on one hand, be an act of cruelty to them and a denial of their rights and on the other, this would put their modesty and chastity in danger. Thirdly, if Allah forbid, they get involved in sin, the resulting curse will also fall on those who prevented them from marrying.
And if they were not prevented from marriage, but were forced to enter into marriage with a person not of their choice and liking that too will result in hostility, discord and strife, or divorce and annulment of marriage. Its unpleasant effects are obvious. It was, therefore, said that in not preventing them from marrying the husbands of their choice there is for you easy access to purity and cleanliness.
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says, “and Allah knows and you know not,” meaning people who prevent divorced women from marrying see benefits coming to them according to their conjecture. For instance, the notion of retaining honor and prestige or the hope of extracting some money on the pretext of their marriage.
In order to remove this Satanic deception and unjust expediency, it was said: Allah knows and you know not. He knows what is suitable or beneficial for you – so, when commands are given, these considerations are already taken care of.
Since you do not know the reality of things and the end of affairs, you go ahead with your imperfect thoughts and faulty opinion, taking such things to be suitable or beneficial at times, while in them there is nothing but ruin and destruction for you.
[SOURCE: Ma’arif ul Qur’an by Mufti Muhammad Shafi Usmani]
May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala allow us to take the right decisions in our lives – decisions that are closer to the right conduct. And may He prevent us from mocking His ayaat, aameen.