No contradiction between verses [24:5] and [24:23]
Fatwa No: 326512

Question

Assalamu alaykum Scholars. May Allaah send His blessings upon his prophet, sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam, his pure family and Companions, and everyone who follows them in righteousness. I have a question regarding the slander of women. I would like to know how these verses should be understood: 24:5 and 24:23. How should they be understood, and how can we reconcile between them since there is no contradiction in the book of Allaah. It is only our understanding that may fail. I have read about this in Tafseer Ibn Kathir, and it seems that 24:23 is about ‘Aa'ishah, may Allaah be pleased with her. However, other scholars say that it is applicable to all women. If we say - for the sake of argument - that it is applicable to all women, then how should it be understood in the light of 24:5? May Allaah bless you, Scholars, with all good in this life and in the next.

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

Indeed, you are correct in saying that there is no contradiction in the Book of Allaah; it is only our understanding that may fail because of our limited reasoning.

Allaah says (what means): {Then do they not reflect upon the Quran? If it had been from [any] other than Allaah, they would have found within it much contradiction.} [Quran 4:82]

There is no contradiction between the two mentioned verses. The scholars determined that the threat mentioned in the texts may delay from afflicting the person due to the existence of what prevents the fulfillment of that threat, and this meaning was mentioned by Shaykh Muhammad Al-Ameen Ash-Shinqeeti in Adhwaa’ Al-Bayaan, as he said:

The more correct view is that the verse of Allaah: {Indeed, those who [falsely] accuse chaste, unaware and believing women are cursed in this world and the Hereafter; and they will have a great punishment. On a Day when their tongues, their hands and their feet will bear witness against them as to what they used to do.} [Quran 24:23-24] applies if they did not repent and do good; but if they repent and do good, then the threat will not affect them. The evidence about this is the saying of Allaah (which means): {And those who accuse chaste women and then do not produce four witnesses - lash them with eighty lashes and do not accept from them testimony ever after. And those are the defiantly disobedient. Except for those who repent thereafter and reform, for indeed, Allaah is Forgiving and Merciful.} [Quran 24:4-5]

The general texts of the Quran and the Sunnah prove that if a person sincerely repents to Allaah from his sin, then Allaah will accept his sincere repentance and will expiate his sin, even if it were a major sin. Hence, you should know that some prominent scholars of Tafseer said that the verse: {And those who accuse chaste women and then do not produce four witnesses}, in which Allaah mentioned repentance: {Except for those who repent} is general, and that the verse: {Indeed, those who [falsely] accuse chaste, unaware and believing women are cursed in this world and the Hereafter} [Quran 24:23] is specifically about those who falsely accused ‘Aa'ishah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  her or other wives of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) and that whoever accused them falsely, his repentance is not accepted; is  contrary to the reliable opinion and Allaah knows best.

Allaah knows best.

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