What does أَخْدَانٍ (used in verse 4:25 and 5:5) mean?

...مُحْصِنِينَ غَيْرَ مُسَافِحِينَ وَلَا مُتَّخِذِي أَخْدَانٍ...

I have checked a few tafseers like Al Tabari, Ibn Kathir, and Al-Mizan but still not sure about the meaning.

Since illicit sexual relations seems to have been stated previously and separately as مُسَافِحِينَ does أَخْدَانٍ refer to nonsexual/nonphysical relations, i.e. close friends or platonic lovers?

I have also seen some translate this as "secret lovers" or "secret (male) friends". Is "secret" implied by the word? Is it synonym with الصَّديق في السِّر or الصَّديق? Or does it mean a friend so close that one shares secrets with?

1 Answer 1


غير مسافحات ولا متخذات أخدان

The word خدن means friend, but in the Ayah it means a women taking a secret lover, or having sexual relationship with one man, where مسافحات is where a women goes and has sexual relations with any man. Also it might be said that مسافحات are those women who have sexual relations and make it public, while متخذات أخدان are those women who have sexual relations in secret.

For more information see Tafseer Al Qurtubi


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