Commentary : Verse 20
(20) وَإِنْ أَرَدتُّمُ اسْتِبْدَالَ زَوْجٍ مَّكَانَ زَوْجٍ وَآتَيْتُمْ إِحْدَاهُنَّ قِنطَارًا فَلاَ تَأْخُذُواْ مِنْهُ شَيْئًا أَتَأْخُذُونَهُ بُهْتَاناً وَإِثْماً مُّبِيناً
- " And if you intend to take one wife in place of another and you have given one of them a considerable property then do not take anything of it. Would you take it by slandering (her) and with manifest wrong ? "
At the Age of Ignorance, when some men desired to marry another wife, he would denigrate his first wife so that she had to remit her dower in order that the husband might divorce her. After that, the husband could marry another woman with the same dower that he had taken back. This verse blames the custom of the pagans of that time.
- Remarriage is admissible from the point of Islam.
" And if you intend to take one wife in place of another. ..."
Divorce is in the authority of man.
Islam is the defender of the rights of women, and prohibits it if the second marriage might waste the rights of the first wife.
"... and you have given one of them considerable property ..."
- Wives have possession and their whole wealth must be given to them completely.
"... then do not take anything of it. ..."
- One of the worst sorts of transgression is taking the property of others by justifying, denigrating and defaming them. "... would you take it by slandering (her) and with manifest wrong ? "
Commentary : Verse 21
(21) وَكَيْفَ تَأْخُذُونَهُ وَقَدْ أَفْضَى بَعْضُكُمْ إِلَى بَعْضٍ وَأَخَذْنَ مِنكُم مِّيثَاقًا غَلِيظًا
- " And how can you take it (back) when one of you has already gone in to the other and they have taken from you a firm covenant ? "
This verse indicates that in the fulfilment of propagations and forbidding wrong, human's affections should be utilized either. (You that, for a long time, have had a whole relationship with your wife and have obtained your wishes, why do you take back her dower unjustly now ?) Then, at the time of misfortunes of life, former pleasures should be remembered, too.
" And how can you take it (back) when one of you has already gone in to the other? ..."
The marriage contract is a firm covenant; therefore, breach of promise is not proper.
"... and they have taken from you a firm covenant."