يأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ لِيَسْتَأْذِنكُمُ الَّذِينَ مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَـنُكُمْ وَالَّذِينَ لَمْ يَبْلُغُواْ الْحُلُمَ مِنكُمْ ثَلاَثَ مَرَّاتٍ مِّن قَبْلِ صَـلَوةِ الْفَجْرِ وَحِينَ تَضَعُونَ ثِيَـبَكُمْ مِّنَ الظَّهِيرَةِ وَمِن بَعْدِ صَلَوةِ الْعِشَآءِ ثَلاَثُ عَوْرَاتٍ لَّكُمْ لَيْسَ عَلَيْكُمْ وَلاَ عَلَيْهِمْ جُنَاحٌ بَعْدَهُنَّ طَوَفُونَ عَلَيْكُمْ بَعْضُكُمْ عَلَى بَعْضٍ كَذَلِكَ يُبَيِّنُ اللَّهُ لَكُمُ الاٌّيَـتِ وَاللَّهُ عَلِيمٌ حَكِيمٌ – وَإِذَا بَلَغَ الاٌّطْفَالُ مِنكُمُ الْحُلُمَ فَلْيَسْتَأْذِنُواْ كَمَا اسْتَأْذَنَ الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِهِمْ كَذلِكَ يُبَيِّنُ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ ءَايَـتِهِ وَاللَّهُ عَلِيمٌ حَكِيمٌ
(58. O you who believe! Let your slaves and slave-girls, and those among you who have not come to the age of puberty ask your permission on three occasions: before the Fajr prayer, and while you put off your clothes during the afternoon, and after the `Isha’ prayer. (These) three (times) are of privacy for you; other than these times there is no sin on you or on them to move about, attending to each other. Thus Allah makes clear the Ayat to you. And Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise.)
(59. And when the children among you come to puberty, then let them (also) ask for permission, as those senior to them (in age) ask permission. Thus Allah makes clear His Ayat for you. And Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise.)
These Ayat include a discussion of how people who are closely related should seek permission to enter upon one another. What was mentioned earlier in the Surah had to do with how unrelated people should seek permission to enter upon one another. Allah commanded the believers to ensure that their servants and their children who have not yet reached puberty should seek permission at three times: the first is before the Fajr prayer, because people are asleep in their beds at that time.
[وَحِينَ تَضَعُونَ ثِيَـبَكُمْ مِّنَ الظَّهِيرَةِ]
(and while you put off your clothes during the afternoon,) means, at the time of rest, because a man may be in a state of undress with his wife at that time.
[وَمِن بَعْدِ صَلَوةِ الْعِشَآءِ]
(and after the `Isha’ prayer.) because this is the time for sleep. Servants and children are commanded not to enter upon household members at these times, because it is feared that a man may be in an intimate situation with his wife and so on. Allah says:
[ثَلاَثُ عَوْرَاتٍ لَّكُمْ لَيْسَ عَلَيْكُمْ وَلاَ عَلَيْهِمْ جُنَاحٌ بَعْدَهُنَّ]
((These) three (times) are of privacy for you; other than these times there is no sin on you or on them) If they enter at a time other than these, there is no sin on you if you let them enter, and no sin on them if they see something at a time other than these times. They have been given permission to enter suddenly, because they are those who go around in the house, i.e., to serve you etc., and as such they may be forgiven for things that others will not be forgiven. Although this Ayah is quite clear and has not been abrogated, people hardly follow it, and `Abdullah bin `Abbas denounced the people for that. Abu Dawud recorded that Ibn `Abbas said: “Most of the people do not follow it, the Ayah that speaks about asking permission, but I tell my servant woman to seek permission to enter.” Abu Dawud said: `Ata’ also narrated that Ibn `Abbas commanded this. Ath-Thawri narrated that Musa bin Abi `A’ishah said, “I asked Ash-Sha`bi [about the Ayah]:
[لِيَسْتَأْذِنكُمُ الَّذِينَ مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَـنُكُمْ]
(Let your slaves and slave-girls ask your permission.) He said, `It has not been abrogated.’ I said: `But the people do not do that.’ He said, `May Allah help them.”’ Then Allah says:
[وَإِذَا بَلَغَ الاٌّطْفَالُ مِنكُمُ الْحُلُمَ فَلْيَسْتَأْذِنُواْ كَمَا اسْتَأْذَنَ الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِهِمْ]
(And when the children among you come to puberty, then let them (also) ask for permission, as those senior to them (in age)) meaning: when the children who used to seek permission at the three times of privacy reach puberty, then they have to seek permission at all times, i.e., with regard to those who are non-relatives, and at times when a man may be in a state of intimacy with his wife, even if it is not one of the three times stated above.