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19 October 2017 CE | 28 Muharram 1439 AH
Explanation below

Hadith Explanation


Lian


“An Ansari man came to Allah’s Messenger (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) and said, ‘O Allah’s Messenger! If a man saw another man with his wife, should he kill him, or what should he do?’ So Allah revealed concerning his affair what is mentioned in the Quran about the affair of those involved in a case of Lian. The Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said, ‘Allah has given His verdict regarding you and your wife.’ So they carried out Lian in the Masjid while I was present there. When they had finished, the man said, ‘O Allah’s Messenger! If I should now keep her with me as a wife then I have told a lie about her.’ Then he divorced her thrice without being ordered by Allah’s Messenger (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) when they had finished the Lian process. So he divorced her in front of the Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam).” [Sahih Bukhari]

Ibn Shihab added, “After their case, it became a tradition that a couple involved in a case of Lian should be separated by divorce. That lady was pregnant then, and later on her son was called by his mother’s name. The tradition concerning their inheritance was that she would be his heir and he would inherit of her property the share Allah had prescribed for him. The Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said, ‘If that lady delivers a small red child like a lizard, then the lady has spoken the truth and the man was a liar, but if she delivers a child with black eyes and huge lips, then her husband has spoken the truth.’ Then she delivered it in the shape one would dislike (as it proved her guilty).” [Sahih Bukhari]

This hadith describes how the ruling of Lian came about. A man came distressed to the Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) asking what he should do if he saw his wife committing adultery. Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) then revealed the following Ayaat concerning his case and all such cases to occur in the future:

“And as for those who accuse their own wives [of adultery], but have no witnesses except them¬selves, let each of these [accusers] call Allah four times to witness that he is indeed telling the truth, and the fifth time, that Allah’s curse be upon him if he is telling a lie. But [as for the wife, all] chastisement shall be averted from her by her calling Allah four times to witness that he is indeed telling a lie, and the fifth [time], that Allah’s curse be upon her if he is telling the truth.”  [Quran: Surah Noor 6-9]

The Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) would then make the husband and wife do this swearing in the Masjid. It is obvious that if a man is accusing his wife of adultery and she is swearing that she is innocent of it, both cannot be telling the truth. He would exhort them to tell the truth, saying, “Allah knows that one of you two is a liar; so will one of you repent?” [Sahih Bukhari] If neither admitted to be lying then their case was left for Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) to deal with, the process of Lian would be completed, and the husband and wife would be separated by divorce.

This method of resolving such cases is called Lian because both husband and wife invoke Allah’s curse (La’ana) on themselves if they are lying. In this incident, the woman gave birth to a baby boy who looked just like the man she was accused of having committed adultery with. However, she was not given the punishment for adultery because she had already invoked Allah’s curse upon herself if she were lying. This is definitely a worse deal than being punished and purified of the sin in this world. May we all be favoured with the opportunity to repent and beg Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) for His forgiveness.

After such cases the child born takes the mother’s name, not her ex-husband’s. The child inherits from her and not from her ex-husband.

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