I gather from reading this sura that it was revealed sometime after Muhammad became a religious celebrity in the community because it's quite a collection of rules for the people concerning Muhammad's wives and family and also instructions for Muhammad's wives in regard to their conduct, keeping themselves separated from the community at large and also a prohibition from ever remarrying. While remarriage is acceptable in Islam for those who have lost spouses, an exception was given for Muhammad's family. This is not the only exception facing this household as we all know unlike other Muslim men who were limited to only marrying four women, Muhammad was allowed to marry any woman willing to become his wife. And apparently his adopted son's wife desired to marry him. This created quite a stir in the community because they had a set of societal norms that a dad didn't marry his son's wife. Conveniently a revelation was given by God to free Muhammad from any perceived wrongdoing. God declared adoption illegal, therefore, in reality Muhammad's adoption was invalid rendering adopted son as no relative. Adopted son's wife was now merely friend's wife. Therefore, she was OK to marry. Personally I have huge ethical and moral problems with this whole scenario, but who am I to question how God wanted to treat this most-favored man who ever walked the earth?
I wanted to say a few things about adoption and also fathers.
4. God has not provided two hearts in the breast of a man, nor made your wives, whom you pronounce "mothers" (in order to divorce them), your real mothers, nor has He made your adopted sons your real sons. This is only what your lips pronounce. God says what is just, and shows the right way.
5. Call them by the names of their fathers. This is the right course in the sight of God. If you do not know their fathers, they are then your brothers in religion and your friends. It will not be a sin if you make a mistake, unless you do so intentionally; for God is forgiving and kind.
First about fathers. I'd like to make the case that a "father" is not a mere man who impregnates a woman. Any fool can do this. A father is a man who loves, cares for, provides for, nurtures and guides a child. Ideally the same father who biologically-produced a child would do these wonderful things, however, this is not always the case. Men often enjoy the act of creating life, but don't love the act of caring and providing for that same life. Therefore a biological "father" isn't necessarily worthy for his "child" carrying on his name.
And about adoption which relates to the "father" thing somewhat. I have many friends who have adopted children, some from as far away as China, Vietnam, Korea and Guatemala whereas a few have adopted children domestically. I applaud them for opening their hearts and lives and making these non-blood related people their true children. It's not one of these situations where they feel these children are not their own simply because they don't share the same bloodline. One may accidentally become pregnant, but no one is accidentally adopted. Parents lovingly open their lives and hearts to children who need families. It's often a very costly, involved and time-consuming process. It's not something to lightly dismiss. I've heard a little saying about an adopted child asking her mom the difference between being adopted and being born into a family. The mother lovingly and wisely explained in little-child terms that you didn't grow in my tummy; you grew in my heart.
The Bible tells us to care for orphans and many people have taken this to heart by adopting children who have no "forever families" and caring for them as their own. Why is adoption so important to me? Besides the physical side as I've already discussed, the Bible teaches that we are adopted into God's family!
14because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father." 16The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children.
12Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God.
26You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, 27for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.
4But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, 5to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. 6Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, "Abba, Father." 7So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir.
I remember a few years back when I was talking to a Muslim friend who insisted that being a "slave of Allah" was better than being a "child of God." Muslim friend said being a slave was more desirable and a better and closer position than being a son or daughter. To that I replied with bemusement, "What planet do you live on?!" All in good fun of course, but in what world does a slave have more rights and privileges and more relationship and love than a child? In what world does a slave, servant, maid or even the person next door have more love and rights bestowed on him than a parent gives his own child? It's an honor and privilege for God to choose us to be not a mere slave, but a child of His whom He can love, protect, provide for and guide. Yes, we should serve God with our lives, however, the relationship is that of Father and daughter or Father and son. Not merely a relationship of Master and slave.
41. O you who believe, remember God a great deal, 42. And sing His praises morning and evening. 43. It is He who sends His blessings on you, as (do) His angels, that He may lead you out of darkness into light, for He is benevolent to the believers.
Loved this! See again singing praises to God is good so Muslims who think singing is haram aren't reading their own Quran! :)