In his explanation of Suratu Nnur, Ayah 26, Imam Al-Qurtubi quotes Ibn Zayd as saying: “It means that impure women are for impure men, and pure men are for pure women.” Mujahid, Ibn-Jubair, `Ata’ and most of the exegetes interpret it to mean that impure words are for impure men and women. Similarly pure words are uttered by pure men and women. In his book “Meanings of the Qur’an, An-Nahhas states: “This is the best explanation for the previous verse, on the ground of Allah’s saying ‘… these are not affected by what people say’ meaning that `A’ishah and Safwan are innocent of what some impure men and women have falsely accused them of.”

Also, another explanation says the previous verse refers to Allah’s saying: ” Let no man guilty of adultery or fornication marry any but a woman similarly guilty, or an Unbeliever: nor let any but such a man or an Unbeliever marry such a woman: to the Believers such a thing is forbidden.” (An-Nur: 3) This indicates that adulterers and adulteresses are normally impure while virtuous people are morally pure. An-Nahhas goes with this explanation, which also goes in line with the view of Ibn Zayd, who maintains that the verse ‘…these are not affected by what people say: for them there is forgiveness, and a provision honourable’ is general and the phrase “not affected” means innocent.

Some erudite scholars say: “When Yusuf (peace be upon him) was accused of adultery, Allah exonerated him from the charge through the testimony given by a baby still in his cradle. And when Mary was accused of adultery, her innocence was made high and known via her son, Jesus (peace and blessings be upon him), who miraculously spoke out while in cradle. But, when `A’ishah was accused of adultery, her innocence was acclaimed in the Qur’an; not through a baby or a Prophet, and this serves as a great honour indeed. Based on the above-mentioned facts, it’s clear that as a rule or principle Allah has made it a rule and a religious principle that pure men should propose to pure women and vice versa. But at the same time, just like the case with any other religious matter, He attached considerable flexibility with it. This is quite different from matters that are out of man’s control, such as the cosmic laws, respiration…etc. Thus, whenever a bad woman happens to fall to the lot of a righteous man and vice versa, there must be a great wisdom behind that, and this might mean a trial for both of them.

Almighty Allah knows best.