﴿27﴾ قَالَ إِنّـِي أُرِيدُ أَنْ اُنكِحَكَ إِحْدَي ابْنَتَيَّ هَاتَيْنِ عَلَي أَن تَأْجُرَنِي ثَمَانِيَ حِجَجٍ فَإِنْ اَتْمَمْتَ عَشْراً فَمِنْ عِندِكَ وَمَآ أُرِيدُ أَنْ أَشُقَّ عَلَيْكَ سَتَجِدُنِي إِن شَآءَ اللَّهُ مِنَ الصَّالِحِينَ

27. “ He said: ‘Verily I intend to wed one of these two daughters of mine to you on condition that you serve me for eight years, but if you complete ten, it will be of your own free will, and I do not wish to be hard to you, if Allah wills, you will find me one the righteous ones.”


Here Shu‘ayb welcomed the suggestion of her daughter, as it is mentioned in the translation of the verse. But there are a few questions in this regard. Firstly, doubt in marrying one of these two girls is meaningless, since both husband and wife must be specified. Secondly, doubt in the length of time, where eight years or ten years, is not correct either. Thirdly, the contract of hire is on behalf of Shu‘ayb, whereas the wife is the possessor of the wedding gift.

The answers tothese questionsare asfollows: A, doubt here means that each of the girls that both parties agree is defined at the time of marriage. B, the contract of hire is based on eight years, but at last, if Moses desires, he can add two years. C, it does not matter that the wife appoints her dower on benefit of someone else. For example, she may say that her dower is one hundred Dollars which will be given to the poor as charity. Some Islamic narrations indicate that at the time of the Messenger of Allah (p.b.u.h.) many people married with the dower of teaching a Sura of the Qur’ān, or one derham, or a


pound of wheat given to the poor. However, Moses (a.s.) accepted to be at the service of Shu‘ayb. In the mead-time, Shu‘ayb (a.s.) said he did not want that during that time (eight or ten years) to be strict and severe to Moses and put on his shoulder some labours other than protecting their sheep. The verse says:

“ He said: ‘Verily I intend to wed one of these two
daughters of mine to you on condition that you serve me
for eight years, but if you complete ten, it will be of your
own free will, and I do not wish to be hard to you, if Allah
wills, you will find me one the righteous ones.”

The last sentence of the verse means: if Allah lets him (Moses) be alive, they will find righteousness and competency in him; otherwise, Allah may take his life from him and He does not give him the success of offering righteousness and competency from him.

Yahy-ibn-Salām says: “Shu‘ayb told Moses that every new born lamb whose colour was not like that of its mother would belong to Moses. Then all the new born lambs had a colour different from their mothers.”

Some other commentators have said that Shu‘ayb promised Moses that in that year every lamb whose head was black and its body was white it would belong to Moses. Then all the children of the sheep were born in the same colour.

Some Points:

1- Thereare two main conditions for correct administration.

In the short sentence which was mentioned in the above verses from the tongue of Shu‘ayb’s daughter about employing Moses, the Most important and the most methodical conditions of administration were stated in a summarized and general form: power and trustworthiness.


It is evident that the purpose of power is not only the bodily strength, but the objective is the power and ability of performing the responsibility. A powerful and trustworthy physician is the one who is acknowledged enough of his job and has a full dominance on it.

A strong administrator is a person who knows his realm of mission well, is rather aware of the ‘motives’, is mastered in planning, has enough share of originative faculty, and has the necessary skill in ‘arranging the affairs’. He must make the aims clear, and mobilize the powers for reaching the aim. In the meantime, he must be kind, sympathetic, benevolent, trustworthy and honest.

Those who suffice to only trustworthiness and honesty for giving the responsibilities and jobs to someone are in fault as much as they consider that, for accepting responsibility, having expertness is enough. The treacherous specialists and evil conversant factors are as harmful as the unaware honest persons.

If we decide to destroy a country, we must give the affairs to one of these two groups: the treacherous administrators, and the honest ones who are not administrator, and the fruit of both is the same.

The logic of Islam is that every affair should be given to some powerful, capable, and trustworthy persons so that the system of the society ends properly. If we study the causes of the defection of governments in the length of history, we will see that the main factor has been giving the affairs to one of the abovementioned two groups.

It is interesting that everywhere in Islamic programs often ‘knowledge’ and ‘piety’ have come beside each other. An authority of imitation must be just and expert in the Islamic jurisprudence. A judge and a leader must be both expert in


Islamic jurisprudence and also be just. (Besides these two conditions there are also some other conditions, but these two are the basic ones: ‘knowledge’ and cognizance accompanied with justice and piety).

The second subject is the answer to a few questions about the marriage of Shu‘ayb’s daughter with Moses.

We said that the above noble verses have caused a lot of questions to come forth all of which must be answered in a condensed way:

A: Is it correct that a girl who wants to be married with a person may not be precisely distinguished, and at the time of reciting the marriage contract it is said to the bridegroom that one of these two girls is married with you?

Answer: It is not definite that the above expression has been said at the time of the recitation of marriage contract, but the apparent is that at first there is the primary debate and agreement, and after the agreement of Moses, the two parties choose each other and then the formula of marriage contract is executed.

B: Can dower be set ambiguously, and between a small and a large sum?

Answer: From the tone of the verse, it is clearly understood that the real dower had been serving for eight years, and the other two years depended on the will and desire of Moses.

C: In principal, can ‘working and service’ be set as dower? And how this spouse can be touched and associated with while the time of the payment of the dower has not come yet, and he is not even able to pay all of it at once?

Answer: There is no evidence for the lack of permission of such a dower, but in our religion, everything which has value is also included for dower. It is not compulsory that the entire of the dower must be paid in a lamp. It is enough that all of it


is in protective covenant of the husband and the wife owns it. The principle of health and ‘authorizing the previous state’ also judges that this husband will remain alive and will have the ability of doing this service.

D: In principal, how can serving to the father be the dower of the daughter? Is the girl a material that may be sold for a service?

Answer: No doubt Shu‘ayb had got the agreement of his daughter about this issue, and he had a representation and authority to execute the formula of such a marriage contract. In other words, the main owner of Moses’ protective covenant was that very daughter of Shu‘ayb, but in view of the fact that the living of all of them was passing in a common form with utmost serenity, and purity so that there was not any separation between them, (as even now in many old or rural families it is seen that the living of a family is completely mixed), it was no problem that how that debt ought to be paid. Shortly speaking, the owner of the dower was only the daughter, not the father, and the service of Moses (a.s.) was also in this way.

E: The dower of Shu‘ayb’s daughter had been a rather heavy dower, because if we count the work of an ordinary worker in a month and in a year and then multiply it to eight, it will be a considerable sum.

Answer: Firstly, this marriage was not a simple marriage, but it was a preliminary cause for Moses to remain in the school of Shu‘ayb. It was a preparation for Moses to study in a great university during that long term, and only Allah knows how many things Moses learnt from the learned old man of Madyan.

Moreover, if Moses worked for Shu‘ayb during this term, instead of it Shu‘ayb would safeguard all the living of Moses and his wife from the same way. Therefore, if we decrease the


expenditure of Moses and his wife from the wage of this labour, there will not remain so considerable sum, and we ‘will attest that it was a simple and light dower’.

The third matter is that it is understood from this story that our nowadays custom that we consider the suggestion of the father and relations of the girl for marriage with a youth as a blemish, is not correct. There is no impediment that the close relatives of the girl find a person who is appropriate for marrying their child and suggest him, as Shu‘ayb did. Similar to this action has been seen among some of the notables of Islam.

* * * *

The fourth matter is that the names of Shu‘ayb’s daughters have been recorded ‘Safūrah’ (or Safūrā) and ‘Layā’, that the former married Moses.[1]

* * * *

The fifth matter: Labour and labourer: Allah has desired people to work and make the earth habitable, which will not obtain unless with effort and endeavour. The Qur’ān says: “… It is He Who produced you from the earth and settled you therein: …”[2] The Qur’ān thoroughly emphasized on righteous deed which has a very vast meaning. Many prophets of Allah have been farmer, shepherd, tailor, and carpenter. In Islam working is worship and it is considered as Holy Struggle, [3] and the invocation of a jobless person is not accepted.

[1] Majma'-ul-Bayān, Vol. 7, P. 249

[2] Sura Hūd, No. 11, verse 61

[3] Wasā'il-ush-Shī'ah, Vol. 12, P. 43


Work is a means of training both body and spirit, filling the hours of leisure, a hindrance of mischief and disturbance. It is a factor of growth, genius, originative faculty, economic development, honour, self-sufficiency, and helping others. The Qur’ān says: “It is He Who has made the earth manageable for you, so traverse you through its tracts and enjoy of the sustenance which He furnishes …”[1] Islam has considered a special value and respect for labour, and has advised that the right of labourer must be observed, his consent be gained, his wage be paid quickly with some addition to the appointed one, and respecting him in all instances. In Islam, satiating the trees by a farmer deserves the satiating believers.

Hadrat Ali (a.s.) advised one of his governor-generals that the farmers might not be done unjustly, and they should be favoured when taking tax from them.[2]

In Islam mental activities are also valued highly, so much that a useful hour of contemplation is better than some hours of worship. Laziness and carelessness in work is criticized. The Messenger of Allah (p.b.u.h.) said: “Allah likes that whoever does a thing, he does it well.”[3]

The Qur’ān advises that after finishing an important action another action should begin. Therefore, laziness is forbidden. The Qur’ān says: “So when you have finished (with your immediate task), still strive hard, (then toil).”[4]

Yes, idleness causes fatigue, laziness, weariness, and a chancefor Satanto penetrate,creation of corruption, and spread of vice.

[1] Sura Al-Mulk, No. 67, verse 15

[2] Tafsīr-i-Nūr, No. 9, P. 4

[3] Ibid

[4] Sura 'Inshirāh, No. 94, verse 7


Islam, of course, has assigned some hours and wages for working, and those who work during holidays are entitled ‘oppressors’.[1]

      Hadrat Imam Rida (a.s.) said: “A believer must divide his busy time into four parts: a part for working, a part for worship, a part for friends and dealing with social affairs. Otherwise, man will turn to be a greedy person who deserves all critics which are about greed.”[2]

Islam has a special attention to the quality of the work, not its quantity. The Qur’ān says: “… which of you is the best in conduct. …”[3]

However, Islam attaches importance to work, so much that we read in Islamic traditions: “Allah takes the one who sleeps too much and an idle, jobless (disengaged) person as an enemy.”[4]

Imam Bāqir (a.s.) said: “He who is lazy in his worldly work, is also lazy in his hereafter work.”[5]

A tradition indicates that once a poor jobless man came to the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) and asked help. The Prophet asked the companions whether there was anyone who had an ax in his home. Someone answered he had. He fetched it and the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) equipped it with a steak and gave it to that jobless man and said: “Here is the tool of job, but you must strive yourself.”[6]

We can understand several points from this tradition, as follows:

[1] Sura Al-Baqarah, No. 2, verse 65

[2] Tafsīr-i-Nūr, Vol. 2, P. 41

[3] Sura Hūd, No. 11, verse 7

[4] Wasā'il-ush-Shī'ah, Vol. 11, P. 37

[5] Ibid

[6] Tafsīr-i-Nūr, Vol. 9, P. 42


1- The Divine prophets take the life of people under consideration, too.

2- The weakest person of the society can meet the first personality of the society.

3- Society is in need of help and cooperation. One gives an ax, another person provides its stick, and the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) arranges them and makes an ax. 

4- For struggling against poverty, the implements of production must be given to the active factors of the society. However, for employing persons, they necessarily must have two elements of: ability (expertness) and trustworthiness.

The abilities and trustworthiness of persons of course, must be made known and defined in ordinary conditions and without the attention of the concerning person. (Many persons cover their reality artificially, flatteringly and hypocritically. But Hadrat Moses, in a natural scene, showed himself by a supporting action and a modestly meeting.)

Once Imam Sādiq (a.s.) was asked which girl went after Moses (a.s.). He answered: “The one who became his wife.” They asked him which term of the two terms Moses finished. Imam answered the longer and more complete one, (that is, ten years). They asked whether Moses wedded his wife before ten years or after it. He answered: “Before ten years”. They asked him whether a man can marry a woman and makes a condition with her father to be hired for two months for him. He answered: “Moses knew that he would finish this condition.” They asked: “How did he know it?” Imam (a.s.) said: “He knew that he would remain alive and act according to the condition.”[1]


[1] Majma'-ul-Bayān, following the verse


The Importance of Marriage

Some Islamic narrations indicate that marriage causes half of the person’s religion to be protected. Two units prayer of the person who has spouse is better than seventy units prayer of those who are not married. The sleep of the married persons is better than the fast of the wakeful unmarried ones.[1]

Yes, in spite of those who think of marriage as the factor of poverty, the Messenger of Allah (p.b.u.h.) said: “Marriage causes the sustenance to be increased.” Also he said: “He who abandons marriage because of the fear of poverty is not of us, and has thought ill of Allah.”[2]

Some Islamic narrations denote: he, who takes an action on the marriage of his brethren, will be favoured by a special favour of Allah on the Day of Hereafter.[3]

Regarding the ‘formation of a family’ and taking an action for marriage, the Holy Qur’ān has seriously ordered and recommended not to be afraid of poverty. If you are poor, Allah will enrich you out of His grace. (Sura An-Nūr, No. 24, verse 32)

Marriage is a means of peace, (the Holy Qur’ān, Sura Ar-Room, verse21). Bymarriage families approach each other and the hearts will become kind,then thesuitable ground of training a pure generation with a spirit of cooperation will be prepared.

We read in Islamic narrations to hasten for marriage. The girl whose term of marriage has come is like a ripe fruit that if it does not be separated from the tree, it will decay.[4]

* * * *

[1] Mīzān-ul-Hikam, narrated from Bihār-ul-'Anwār, Vol. 103, P. 25/221

[2] Kanz-ul-'Ummāl, No. 44460

[3] Kāfī, Vol. 5, P. 331

[4] Wasā'il-Ush-Shī'ah, Vol. 14, chapter 33 and 38


Choosing a Spouse

The criterions of choosing a good spouse among people are: wealth, beauty, linage and nobility, while an Islamic tradition indicates that you must pay attention to belief, kind of thought and insight.[1]

Another tradition indicates that there had been many beauties that caused destruction, and wealth that caused disobedience.[2]

The Messenger of Allah (p.b.u.h.) said: “If a person came to solicit your daughter in marriage and you approved his religion and trustworthiness, you should not refuse him, else you will get into a great disturbance and decadence.”[3]

Hadrat Imam Hassan (a.s.) told the one who was consulting him (a.s.) for the marriage of his daughter: “Choose a pious bridegroom so that if he loves your daughter, he will respect her, and if he does not love her, because of his piety he will not do unjustly to her.”[4]

Some Islamic narrations indicate that daughters must not bemarried tomen whodrink alcoholic liquors, are ill-tempered, and have not a safe line of thought, and those who have grown up in corruptive families.[5]

Once the Messenger of Allah (p.b.u.h.), addressing people, said: “Avoid the plants grown in ruins.” He was asked: “What are the plants grown in ruins?” He said: “A beautiful lady who has been grown up in a corrupt family.”[6]

[1] Kanz-ul-'Ummāl, No. 46602

[2] Sunan Ibn-Mājeh, No. 1859, and Mīzān-ul-Hikam, Vol. 5, P. 2256

[3] Bihār, Vol. 103, P. 372

[4] Makārim-ul-Akhlāgh, Vol. 1, P. 446

[5] Bihār-ul-'Anwār, Vol. 79, P. 142 and Mīzān-ul-Hikam, Vol. 5, P. 2558

[6] Bihār, Vol. 103, P. 232


The Holy Prophet (p.b.u.h.) said: “The best women of my Ummah are the most beautiful ones and have the least dower.”[1]

It should also be mentioned that marriage is of two kinds: permanent marriage and temporary marriage about both of which there are special commandments and recommendations in the Qur’ān and Islamic narrations. Unfortunately, because of someincorrect customsand pretexts and undue expectations of some of the members of the family of bride or bridegroom and having vain desires, the permanent marriage has appeared in the form of a difficult, puzzle or an impracticable pass; and the temporary marriage has also been counted so ugly and reprobated that indecency has occupied its place.

* * * *

[1] Bihār, Vol. 103, P. 237