Sura/Chapter:

Verse:    Count: 73
Tafseer/Commentary:
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Translations:
33: Al-Ahzab - الاحزاب

33:1
[ Original ]
بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ اتَّقِ اللَّهَ وَلَا تُطِعِ الْكَافِرِينَ وَالْمُنَافِقِينَ ۗ إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ عَلِيمًا حَكِيمًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
O Prophet! Fear Allah, and hearken not to the Unbelievers and the Hypocrites: verily Allah is full of Knowledge and Wisdom.
[ Saheeh International ]
O Prophet, fear Allah and do not obey the disbelievers and the hypocrites. Indeed, Allah is ever Knowing and Wise.
Tafseer Commentary

3666 The fifth year A.H. was a critical year in the external history of early Islam, and this Surah must be read in the light of the events that then took place. As explained in the Introduction, the Grand Confederacy against Islam came and invested Madinah and failed utterly. It consisted of the Makkan Unbelievers, the desert Arabs of Central Arabia, the Jews previously expelled for treachery from Madinah, the Jews remaining in Madinah, and the Hypocrites led by 'Abd Allah ibn Ubayy, who have already been described in 9:43-110. Their bond of union was the common hatred of Islam and it snapped under the reverses they met. It is important to note three points. (1) The Jews as a body now lost their last chance of bearing the standard of Islam: the best of them had already accepted the renewal of Allah's Message. (2) A definite status was given to the Prophet's household, after the slanders on 'A'ishah had been stilled (24:11-26), and the true position of the Mothers of the Believers had been cleared. (3) A further exposition of the purity of sexual relations was given, based on the story of Zaynab, the "Mother of the Poor". These points will be referred to in later notes.


33:2
[ Original ]
وَاتَّبِعْ مَا يُوحَىٰ إِلَيْكَ مِنْ رَبِّكَ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ خَبِيرًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
But follow that which comes to thee by inspiration from thy Lord: for Allah is well acquainted with (all) that ye do.
[ Saheeh International ]
And follow that which is revealed to you from your Lord. Indeed Allah is ever, with what you do, Acquainted.
Tafseer Commentary

3667 In the most adverse circumstances, in the midst of the assaults of Evil, the plots of treason and hypocrisy, the darts of slander and false charges, and stupid superstitions and taboos, the Prophet of Allah should steer his course steadily according to Allah's Law and not fear human evil, in whatever form it appears. Men may misjudge, but Allah knows all. Men may try to overthrow Good, but Wisdom is with Allah. (R).


33:3
[ Original ]
وَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللَّهِ ۚ وَكَفَىٰ بِاللَّهِ وَكِيلًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
And put thy trust in Allah, and enough is Allah as a disposer of affairs.
[ Saheeh International ]
And rely upon Allah; and sufficient is Allah as Disposer of affairs.
Tafseer Commentary

3668 We must wholly trust Allah: He is the true and efficient Guardian of all interests. Cf. 4:81, and n. 600.


33:4
[ Original ]
مَا جَعَلَ اللَّهُ لِرَجُلٍ مِنْ قَلْبَيْنِ فِي جَوْفِهِ ۚ وَمَا جَعَلَ أَزْوَاجَكُمُ اللَّائِي تُظَاهِرُونَ مِنْهُنَّ أُمَّهَاتِكُمْ ۚ وَمَا جَعَلَ أَدْعِيَاءَكُمْ أَبْنَاءَكُمْ ۚ ذَٰلِكُمْ قَوْلُكُمْ بِأَفْوَاهِكُمْ ۖ وَاللَّهُ يَقُولُ الْحَقَّ وَهُوَ يَهْدِي السَّبِيلَ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Allah has not made for any man two hearts in his (one) body: nor has He made your wives whom ye divorce by Zihar your mothers: nor has He made your adopted sons your sons. Such is (only) your (manner of) speech by your mouths. But Allah tells (you) the Truth, and He shows the (right) Way.
[ Saheeh International ]
Allah has not made for a man two hearts in his interior. And He has not made your wives whom you declare unlawful your mothers. And he has not made your adopted sons your [true] sons. That is [merely] your saying by your mouths, but Allah says the truth, and He guides to the [right] way.
Tafseer Commentary

3669 Two hearts in his (one) breast: two inconsistent attitudes: such as serving Allah and Mammon; or subscribing to both Truth and Superstition; or hypocritically pretending one thing and intending another. Such a thing is against Allah's Law and Will. Apart from the condemnation of general hypocrisy, two pagan customs of the Times of Ignorance are mentioned, and their iniquity pointed out. See the notes

3670 and

3671 If a man called another's son "his son", it might create complications with natural and normal relationships if taken too literally. It is pointed out that it is only in men's mouths, and should not be taken literally. The truth is the truth and cannot be altered by men's adopting "sons". "Adoption" in the technical sense is not allowed in Muslim Law. Those who have been "wives of your sons proceeding from your loins" are within the Prohibited Degrees of marriage; 4:23 ; but this does not apply to "adopted" sons.


33:5
[ Original ]
ادْعُوهُمْ لِآبَائِهِمْ هُوَ أَقْسَطُ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ ۚ فَإِنْ لَمْ تَعْلَمُوا آبَاءَهُمْ فَإِخْوَانُكُمْ فِي الدِّينِ وَمَوَالِيكُمْ ۚ وَلَيْسَ عَلَيْكُمْ جُنَاحٌ فِيمَا أَخْطَأْتُمْ بِهِ وَلَٰكِنْ مَا تَعَمَّدَتْ قُلُوبُكُمْ ۚ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ غَفُورًا رَحِيمًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Call them by (the names of) their fathers: that is juster in the sight of Allah. But if ye know not their father's (names, call them) your Brothers in faith, or your maulas. But there is no blame on you if ye make a mistake therein: (what counts is) the intention of your hearts: and Allah is Oft- Returning, Most Merciful.
[ Saheeh International ]
Call them by [the names of] their fathers; it is more just in the sight of Allah. But if you do not know their fathers - then they are [still] your brothers in religion and those entrusted to you. And there is no blame upon you for that in which you have erred but [only for] what your hearts intended. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful.
Tafseer Commentary

3672 Freedmen were often called after their master's name as the "son of so and so". When they were slaves, perhaps their fathers' names were lost altogether. It is more correct to speak of them as the Mawtd of so and so. But Mawla in Arabic might also imply a close relationship of friendship: in that case, too, it is better to use the right term instead of the term "son". "Brother" is not objectionable because "Brotherhood" is used in a wider sense than "fatherhood", and is not likely to be misunderstood.

3673 What is aimed at is to destroy the superstition of erecting false relationships to the detriment or loss of true blood relations. It is not intended to penalise an unintentional slip in the matter, and indeed even if a man deliberately calls another his son or father, who is not his son or father, out of politeness or affections, "Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful". It is the action of mischievous parties which is chiefly reprehended, if they intend false insinuations. A mere mistake on their part does not matter. (R).


33:6
[ Original ]
النَّبِيُّ أَوْلَىٰ بِالْمُؤْمِنِينَ مِنْ أَنْفُسِهِمْ ۖ وَأَزْوَاجُهُ أُمَّهَاتُهُمْ ۗ وَأُولُو الْأَرْحَامِ بَعْضُهُمْ أَوْلَىٰ بِبَعْضٍ فِي كِتَابِ اللَّهِ مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَالْمُهَاجِرِينَ إِلَّا أَنْ تَفْعَلُوا إِلَىٰ أَوْلِيَائِكُمْ مَعْرُوفًا ۚ كَانَ ذَٰلِكَ فِي الْكِتَابِ مَسْطُورًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
The Prophet is closer to the Believers than their own selves, and his wives are their mothers. Blood-relations among each other have closer personal ties, in the Decree of Allah. Than (the Brotherhood of) Believers and Muhajirs: nevertheless do ye what is just to your closest friends: such is the writing in the Decree (of Allah..
[ Saheeh International ]
The Prophet is more worthy of the believers than themselves, and his wives are [in the position of] their mothers. And those of [blood] relationship are more entitled [to inheritance] in the decree of Allah than the [other] believers and the emigrants, except that you may do to your close associates a kindness [through bequest]. That was in the Book inscribed.
Tafseer Commentary

3674 In spiritual relationships the Prophet is entitled to more respect and consideration than blood-relations. The Believers should follow him rather than their fathers or mothers or brothers, where there is conflict of duties. He is even nearer-closer to our real interests-thari our own selves. In some Qiraahs, like that of Ubayy ibn Ka'ab, occur also the words "and he is a father of them", which imply his spiritual relationship and connection with the words "and his wives are their mothers". Thus his spiritual fatherhood would be contrasted pointedly with the repudiation of the vulgar superstition of calling any one like Zayd ibn Harthah by the appellation Zayd ibn Muhammad (33:40): such an application is really disrespectful of the Prophet.

3675 See last note. This Surah establishes the dignity and position of the Prophet's wives, who had a special mission and responsibility as Mothers of the Believers. They were not to be like ordinary women: they had to instruct women in spiritual matters, visit and minister to those who were ill or in distress, and do other kindly offices in aid of the Prophet's mission.

3676 No man should deprive his blood-relations of such rights of maintenance and property as they might have. The community of Believers, inhabitants of Madinah and those who had migrated to Madinah from Makkah, also had their mutual rights, but they were not to be put forward as an excuse to defeat the prior rights of natural relationships. In the early Madinah days, Ansar were allowed to inherit from Muhajirs whose natural relations had not emigrated, but this practice was discontinued when normal relations were re-established between Makkah and Madinah.


33:7
[ Original ]
وَإِذْ أَخَذْنَا مِنَ النَّبِيِّينَ مِيثَاقَهُمْ وَمِنْكَ وَمِنْ نُوحٍ وَإِبْرَاهِيمَ وَمُوسَىٰ وَعِيسَى ابْنِ مَرْيَمَ ۖ وَأَخَذْنَا مِنْهُمْ مِيثَاقًا غَلِيظًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
And remember We took from the prophets their Covenant: As (We did) from thee: from Noah, Abraham, Moses, and Jesus the son of Mary: We took from them a solemn covenant:
[ Saheeh International ]
And [mention, O Muhammad], when We took from the prophets their covenant and from you and from Noah and Abraham and Moses and Jesus, the son of Mary; and We took from them a solemn covenant.
Tafseer Commentary

3677 Cf. 3:81. There is an implied covenant on all created things to follow Allah's Law, which is the law of their being: see 5:1. But there is a special implied covenant with all Prophets, strict and solemn, that they shall carry out their mission, proclaim Allah's Truth without fear or favour, and be ever ready in His service in all circumstances. That gives them their position and dignity as explained in the last verse, and their tremendous responsibilities in respect of the people whom they come to instruct and lead to the right Path.


33:8
[ Original ]
لِيَسْأَلَ الصَّادِقِينَ عَنْ صِدْقِهِمْ ۚ وَأَعَدَّ لِلْكَافِرِينَ عَذَابًا أَلِيمًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
That (Allah) may question the (custodians) of Truth concerning the Truth they (were charged with): And He has prepared for the Unbelievers a grievous Penalty.
[ Saheeh International ]
That He may question the truthful about their truth. And He has prepared for the disbelievers a painful punishment.
Tafseer Commentary

3678 The men to whom Allah's Truth has been committed for promulgation will be asked in the Hereafter how the Truth fared in the world-how it was received, who opposed it, and who assisted it. Like all trustees, they will have to give a full account of their trust. Allah knows all, and it will not add to His information. But it will be evidence for and against those to whom it was preached, so that the responsibility of those who dishonoured it may be duly enforced. The primary custodians of spiritual Truth are the Prophets, but in descending degrees all men to whom Allah's Message comes are included.


33:9
[ Original ]
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اذْكُرُوا نِعْمَةَ اللَّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ إِذْ جَاءَتْكُمْ جُنُودٌ فَأَرْسَلْنَا عَلَيْهِمْ رِيحًا وَجُنُودًا لَمْ تَرَوْهَا ۚ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ بَصِيرًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
O ye who believe! Remember the Grace of Allah, (bestowed) on you, when there came down on you hosts (to overwhelm you): But We sent against them a hurricane and forces that ye saw not: but Allah sees (clearly) all that ye do.
[ Saheeh International ]
O you who have believed, remember the favor of Allah upon you when armies came to [attack] you and We sent upon them a wind and armies [of angels] you did not see. And ever is Allah, of what you do, Seeing.
Tafseer Commentary

3679 In this verse is summed up the beginning and the end of the fateful struggle of the Siege of Madinah in A.H. 5. The composition of the unhallowed Confederacy that came to destroy Islam is referred to in the Introduction. They came with a force of ten to twelve thousand fighting men, an unprecedented army for that time and country. The battle is known as the Battle of the Trench.

3680 After a close investment of two to four weeks, during which the enemy were disheartened by their ill success, there was a piercing blast of the cold east wind. It was a severe winter, and February can be a very cold mondi in Madinah, which is about 3,000 feet above the sea level. The enemy's tents were torn up, their fires were extinguished, the sand and rain beat in their faces, and they were terrified by the portents against them. They had already well nigh fallen out amongst themselves, and beating a hasty retreat, they melted away. The Madinah fighting strength was no more than 3,000, and the Jewish tribe of the Banu Qurayzah who were in their midst was a source of weakness as they were treacherously intriguing with the enemy. And further there were the Hypocrites: see n. 3666 above. But there were hidden forces that helped the Muslims. Besides the forces of nature there were moral forces-mutual distrust and bickering in the enemy camp, and on the other side, perfect discipline among the real Muslims, and the superb leadership of the Prophet.

3681 Allah sees everything. Therefore we may conclude that the discipline and moral fervour of the Muslims, as well as the enemy's insincerities, intrigues, and reliance on brute force, were all contributory causes to his repulse, under Allah's dispensation. There were many hidden causes which neither party saw clearly.


33:10
[ Original ]
إِذْ جَاءُوكُمْ مِنْ فَوْقِكُمْ وَمِنْ أَسْفَلَ مِنْكُمْ وَإِذْ زَاغَتِ الْأَبْصَارُ وَبَلَغَتِ الْقُلُوبُ الْحَنَاجِرَ وَتَظُنُّونَ بِاللَّهِ الظُّنُونَا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Behold! they came on you from above you and from below you, and behold, the eyes became dim and the hearts gaped up to the throats, and ye imagined various (vain) thoughts about Allah.
[ Saheeh International ]
[Remember] when they came at you from above you and from below you, and when eyes shifted [in fear], and hearts reached the throats and you assumed about Allah [various] assumptions.
Tafseer Commentary

3682 The psychology of the combatants is described with matchless vigour in the Holy Test. The onrush of the enemy was really tremendous. The Trench round MadTnah was between the defenders and the huge attacking force, which had some high ground behind them "above you": when any of them came through the valley or over the Trench they seemed to come from below. The showers of arrows and stone on both sides must also have seemed to come from the air.


33:11
[ Original ]
هُنَالِكَ ابْتُلِيَ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ وَزُلْزِلُوا زِلْزَالًا شَدِيدًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
In that situation were the Believers tried: they were shaken as by a tremendous shaking.
[ Saheeh International ]
There the believers were tested and shaken with a severe shaking.

33:12
[ Original ]
وَإِذْ يَقُولُ الْمُنَافِقُونَ وَالَّذِينَ فِي قُلُوبِهِمْ مَرَضٌ مَا وَعَدَنَا اللَّهُ وَرَسُولُهُ إِلَّا غُرُورًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
And behold! The Hypocrites and those in whose hearts is a disease (even) say: "(Allah) and His Messenger promised us nothing but delusion!"
[ Saheeh International ]
And [remember] when the hypocrites and those in whose hearts is disease said, "Allah and His Messenger did not promise us except delusion,"
Tafseer Commentary

3683 Before this year's mass attack on Madinah, the Muslims had successfully reached the Syrian border on the north, and there were hopes of reaching Yemen in the south. The Prophet had seen signs of expansion and victory for the Muslims. Now that they were shut within the Trench on the defensive, the Hypocrites taunted them with having indulged in delusive hopes. But the event showed that the hopes were not delusive. They were realised beyond expectations in a few years.


33:13
[ Original ]
وَإِذْ قَالَتْ طَائِفَةٌ مِنْهُمْ يَا أَهْلَ يَثْرِبَ لَا مُقَامَ لَكُمْ فَارْجِعُوا ۚ وَيَسْتَأْذِنُ فَرِيقٌ مِنْهُمُ النَّبِيَّ يَقُولُونَ إِنَّ بُيُوتَنَا عَوْرَةٌ وَمَا هِيَ بِعَوْرَةٍ ۖ إِنْ يُرِيدُونَ إِلَّا فِرَارًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Behold! A party among them said: "Ye men of Yathrib! ye cannot stand (the attack)! therefore go back!" And a band of them ask for leave of the Prophet, saying, "Truly our houses are bare and exposed," though they were not exposed they intended nothing but to run away.
[ Saheeh International ]
And when a faction of them said, "O people of Yathrib, there is no stability for you [here], so return [home]." And a party of them asked permission of the Prophet, saying, "Indeed, our houses are unprotected," while they were not exposed. They did not intend except to flee.
Tafseer Commentary

3684 All the fighting men of Madinah had come out of the City and camped in the open space between the City and the Trench that had been dug all round. The disaffected Hypocrites sowed defeatist rumours and pretended to withdraw for the defence of their homes, though their homes were not exposed, and were fully covered by the vigilant defensive forces inside the Trench.


33:14
[ Original ]
وَلَوْ دُخِلَتْ عَلَيْهِمْ مِنْ أَقْطَارِهَا ثُمَّ سُئِلُوا الْفِتْنَةَ لَآتَوْهَا وَمَا تَلَبَّثُوا بِهَا إِلَّا يَسِيرًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
And if an entry had been effected to them from the sides of the (city), and they had been incited to sedition, they would certainly have brought it to pass, with none but a brief delay!
[ Saheeh International ]
And if they had been entered upon from all its [surrounding] regions and fitnah had been demanded of them, they would have done it and not hesitated over it except briefly.
Tafseer Commentary

3685 The brunt of all the fighting was on the north side, but the whole Trench was guarded. At one or two points enemy warriors did break within the circuit of the Trench, but they were soon disposed of. 'Ali particularly distinguished himself in many fights, wearing the Prophet's own sword and armour. If any of the enemy had been able to penetrate into the City, the disaffected element, which was only sitting on the fence, would have risen against the Muslims at once-with no delay except what might have been necessary to put on their armour and arms.


33:15
[ Original ]
وَلَقَدْ كَانُوا عَاهَدُوا اللَّهَ مِنْ قَبْلُ لَا يُوَلُّونَ الْأَدْبَارَ ۚ وَكَانَ عَهْدُ اللَّهِ مَسْئُولًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
And yet they had already covenanted with Allah not to turn their backs, and a covenant with Allah must (surely) be answered for.
[ Saheeh International ]
And they had already promised Allah before not to turn their backs and flee. And ever is the promise to Allah [that about which one will be] questioned.
Tafseer Commentary

3686 Apparently, after the battle of Uhud, certain men who had then shown cowardice were forgiven on undertaking that they would behave better next time. A solemn promise made to the Messenger of Allah is a promise to Allah, and it cannot be broken with impunity.


33:16
[ Original ]
قُلْ لَنْ يَنْفَعَكُمُ الْفِرَارُ إِنْ فَرَرْتُمْ مِنَ الْمَوْتِ أَوِ الْقَتْلِ وَإِذًا لَا تُمَتَّعُونَ إِلَّا قَلِيلًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Say: "Running away will not profit you if ye are running away from death or slaughter; and even if (ye do escape), no more than a brief (respite) will ye be allowed to enjoy!"
[ Saheeh International ]
Say, [O Muhammad], "Never will fleeing benefit you if you should flee from death or killing; and then [if you did], you would not be given enjoyment [of life] except for a little."
Tafseer Commentary

3687 The coward in a fight does not usually save himself from death. He is subject, after desertion, to the fury both of the enemy and of his own side for cowardice and desertion. Assuming that he did escape with his life, where could he go to? The brand of cowardice will be on him, and he will be subject to the vengeance of his own people. In any case, his life would be in ignominy and would be brief, and he would have lost irretrievably the meed of valour.


33:17
[ Original ]
قُلْ مَنْ ذَا الَّذِي يَعْصِمُكُمْ مِنَ اللَّهِ إِنْ أَرَادَ بِكُمْ سُوءًا أَوْ أَرَادَ بِكُمْ رَحْمَةً ۚ وَلَا يَجِدُونَ لَهُمْ مِنْ دُونِ اللَّهِ وَلِيًّا وَلَا نَصِيرًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Say: "Who is it that can screen you from Allah if it be His wish to give you punishment or to give you Mercy?" Nor will they find for themselves, besides Allah, any protector or helper.
[ Saheeh International ]
Say, "Who is it that can protect you from Allah if He intends for you an ill or intends for you a mercy?" And they will not find for themselves besides Allah any protector or any helper.
Tafseer Commentary

3688 It is still worse if the cowardice or desertion is shown in a Cause, which because of the high issues of truth and justice, may be called the Cause of Allah. How can anyone escape Allah's Punishment? And in the same way, how can anyone prevent another from obtaining Allah's mercy by repentance and amendment? The better path, therefore, is to stand firm in Allah's Way, and if you fail through human weakness, to repent and seek Allah's Mercy. Cf. 33:24, and n. 3698 below.


33:18
[ Original ]
قَدْ يَعْلَمُ اللَّهُ الْمُعَوِّقِينَ مِنْكُمْ وَالْقَائِلِينَ لِإِخْوَانِهِمْ هَلُمَّ إِلَيْنَا ۖ وَلَا يَأْتُونَ الْبَأْسَ إِلَّا قَلِيلًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Verily Allah knows those among you who keep back (men) and those who say to their brethren, "Come along to us", but come not to the fight except for just a little while.
[ Saheeh International ]
Already Allah knows the hinderers among you and those [hypocrites] who say to their brothers, "Come to us," and do not go to battle, except for a few,

33:19
[ Original ]
أَشِحَّةً عَلَيْكُمْ ۖ فَإِذَا جَاءَ الْخَوْفُ رَأَيْتَهُمْ يَنْظُرُونَ إِلَيْكَ تَدُورُ أَعْيُنُهُمْ كَالَّذِي يُغْشَىٰ عَلَيْهِ مِنَ الْمَوْتِ ۖ فَإِذَا ذَهَبَ الْخَوْفُ سَلَقُوكُمْ بِأَلْسِنَةٍ حِدَادٍ أَشِحَّةً عَلَى الْخَيْرِ ۚ أُولَٰئِكَ لَمْ يُؤْمِنُوا فَأَحْبَطَ اللَّهُ أَعْمَالَهُمْ ۚ وَكَانَ ذَٰلِكَ عَلَى اللَّهِ يَسِيرًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Covetous over you. Then when fear comes, thou wilt see them looking to thee, their eyes revolving, like (those of) one over whom hovers death: but when the fear is past, they will smite you with sharp tongues, covetous of goods. Such men have no faith, and so Allah has made their deeds of none effect: and that is easy for Allah.
[ Saheeh International ]
Indisposed toward you. And when fear comes, you see them looking at you, their eyes revolving like one being overcome by death. But when fear departs, they lash you with sharp tongues, indisposed toward [any] good. Those have not believed, so Allah has rendered their deeds worthless, and ever is that, for Allah, easy.
Tafseer Commentary

3689 Ashihhah: covetous, grasping, miserly. Here the meaning is twofold: (1) they spare themselves in the fight as compared with you; they are miserly with themselves as against you; they contribute little either in personal effort or with their money and resources; and (2) they covet any gains made or booty won, on the part of the real fighters.

3690 In time of danger; they would look to the Prophet for protection, and keep themselves snugly from the fight. When the danger is past, they will come and brag and wrangle and show their covetousness or greed for gain though they gave of themselves but sparingly.

3691 Even any good they may have done becomes vain because of their motives of envy, greed, and covetousness and their cowardice.

3692 It is not surprising that men's deeds fall as it were dead because there is no pure motive behind them. For men it may be difficult to probe motives, but it is easy for Allah, Whom hypocrisy or false show can never deceive.


33:20
[ Original ]
يَحْسَبُونَ الْأَحْزَابَ لَمْ يَذْهَبُوا ۖ وَإِنْ يَأْتِ الْأَحْزَابُ يَوَدُّوا لَوْ أَنَّهُمْ بَادُونَ فِي الْأَعْرَابِ يَسْأَلُونَ عَنْ أَنْبَائِكُمْ ۖ وَلَوْ كَانُوا فِيكُمْ مَا قَاتَلُوا إِلَّا قَلِيلًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
They think that the Confederates have not withdrawn; and if the Confederates should come (again), they would wish they were in the deserts (wandering) among the Bedouins, and seeking news about you (from a safe distance); and if they were in your midst, they would fight but little.
[ Saheeh International ]
They think the companies have not [yet] withdrawn. And if the companies should come [again], they would wish they were in the desert among the bedouins, inquiring [from afar] about your news. And if they should be among you, they would not fight except for a little.
Tafseer Commentary

3693 This completes the picture of the psychology of the Hypocrites, begun in verse 12. Let us analyse it. (1) When they first saw the enemy they were already in a defeatist mood, and thought all was over (verse 12). (2) Not content with disloyalty themselves, they tried to infect others, who made paltry excuses to withdraw from the fight (verse 13). (3) They were ready to betray the City to the enemy if the enemy had gained entrance (verse 14). (4) They forgot all the promises of fidelity which they had previously sworn (verse 15). (5) In their paltry calculations they forgot that cowardice in war does not pay (verses 16-17). (6) Without taking much part in the actual defence, they were ready to talk glibly and claim a lion's share in the fruits of the victory (verses 18-19). (7) Even when the enemy had withdrawn, their cowardly minds were still afraid that the enemy would return, and were already meditating what they would do in that case; perhaps they would dwell in the deserts and spy on Madinah from a safe distance: and if caught in Madinah they would fight little and intrigue much. It was a miracle that with such men in their midst, the Prophet and his band won through.


33:21
[ Original ]
لَقَدْ كَانَ لَكُمْ فِي رَسُولِ اللَّهِ أُسْوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ لِمَنْ كَانَ يَرْجُو اللَّهَ وَالْيَوْمَ الْآخِرَ وَذَكَرَ اللَّهَ كَثِيرًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Ye have indeed in the Messenger of Allah a beautiful pattern (of conduct) for any one whose hope is in Allah and the Final Day, and who engages much in the Praise of Allah.
[ Saheeh International ]
There has certainly been for you in the Messenger of Allah an excellent pattern for anyone whose hope is in Allah and the Last Day and [who] remembers Allah often.
Tafseer Commentary

3694 We now have the psychology of the Believers-God-fearing men, led by that pattern of men and of leaders, Muhammad,

3695 Cf. 26:227: see especially the last clause of that verse in a Makkan Surah, which was amply fulfilled in Madinah.


33:22
[ Original ]
وَلَمَّا رَأَى الْمُؤْمِنُونَ الْأَحْزَابَ قَالُوا هَٰذَا مَا وَعَدَنَا اللَّهُ وَرَسُولُهُ وَصَدَقَ اللَّهُ وَرَسُولُهُ ۚ وَمَا زَادَهُمْ إِلَّا إِيمَانًا وَتَسْلِيمًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
When the Believers saw the Confederate forces, they said: "This is what Allah and His Messenger had promised us, and Allah and His Messenger told us what was true." And it only added to their faith and their zeal in obedience.
[ Saheeh International ]
And when the believers saw the companies, they said, "This is what Allah and His Messenger had promised us, and Allah and His Messenger spoke the truth." And it increased them only in faith and acceptance.
Tafseer Commentary

3696 This is in contrast to what the Hypocrites said in verse 12 above. The divine promise of help and success is contingent upon our striving and faith. Nothing comes to the poltroon and the sceptical idler. Dangers and difficulties, and conflict with Evil, are foretold us, and we must meet them with fortitude and courage.


33:23
[ Original ]
مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ رِجَالٌ صَدَقُوا مَا عَاهَدُوا اللَّهَ عَلَيْهِ ۖ فَمِنْهُمْ مَنْ قَضَىٰ نَحْبَهُ وَمِنْهُمْ مَنْ يَنْتَظِرُ ۖ وَمَا بَدَّلُوا تَبْدِيلًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Among the Believers are men who have been true to their covenant with Allah. of them some have completed their vow (to the extreme), and some (still) wait: but they have never changed (their determination) in the least:
[ Saheeh International ]
Among the believers are men true to what they promised Allah. Among them is he who has fulfilled his vow [to the death], and among them is he who awaits [his chance]. And they did not alter [the terms of their commitment] by any alteration -
Tafseer Commentary

3697 In the fight for Truth were (and are) many who sacrificed their all-resources, knowledge, influence, life itself- in the Cause, and never wavered. If they won the crown of martyrdom, they were blessed. Such a one was Sa'd ibn Mu'adh,. the chief of the Aws tribe, the intrepid standard-bearer of Islam, who died of a wound he had received in the Battle of the Trench. Other heroes fought valiantly and lived, always ready to lay down their lives. Both classes were staunch, they never changed or wavered.


33:24
[ Original ]
لِيَجْزِيَ اللَّهُ الصَّادِقِينَ بِصِدْقِهِمْ وَيُعَذِّبَ الْمُنَافِقِينَ إِنْ شَاءَ أَوْ يَتُوبَ عَلَيْهِمْ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ غَفُورًا رَحِيمًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
That Allah may reward the men of Truth for their Truth, and punish the Hypocrites if that be His Will, or turn to them in Mercy: for Allah is Oft- Forgiving, Most Merciful.
[ Saheeh International ]
That Allah may reward the truthful for their truth and punish the hypocrites if He wills or accept their repentance. Indeed, Allah is ever Forgiving and Merciful.
Tafseer Commentary

3698 Before the Throne of Allah's Mercy there is always room for repentance and forgiveness, even after treason and crime: but the forgiveness will be according to Allah's Will and Plan, which willjudge the penitent's sincerity and capacity for good to the nicest degree in his favour. Cf. also 33:17 above.


33:25
[ Original ]
وَرَدَّ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا بِغَيْظِهِمْ لَمْ يَنَالُوا خَيْرًا ۚ وَكَفَى اللَّهُ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ الْقِتَالَ ۚ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ قَوِيًّا عَزِيزًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
And Allah turned back the Unbelievers for (all) their fury: no advantage did they gain; and enough is Allah for the believers in their fight. And Allah is full of Strength, able to enforce His Will.
[ Saheeh International ]
And Allah repelled those who disbelieved, in their rage, not having obtained any good. And sufficient was Allah for the believers in battle, and ever is Allah Powerful and Exalted in Might.
Tafseer Commentary

3699 In spite of the mighty preparations and the great forces which the Makkans, in concert with the Central Arabian Bedouins, the discontented Jews, and the treacherous Hypocrites, brought to the siege of Madinah, all their plans were frustrated. Their fury availed them nothing. They departed in hot haste. This was the last and dying effort. The initiative thereafter lay with the forces of Islam.

3700 For the meaning of 'Aziz, see n. 2818 to 22:40 .


33:26
[ Original ]
وَأَنْزَلَ الَّذِينَ ظَاهَرُوهُمْ مِنْ أَهْلِ الْكِتَابِ مِنْ صَيَاصِيهِمْ وَقَذَفَ فِي قُلُوبِهِمُ الرُّعْبَ فَرِيقًا تَقْتُلُونَ وَتَأْسِرُونَ فَرِيقًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
And those of the people of the Book who aided them - Allah did take them down from their strongholds and cast terror into their hearts. (So that) some ye slew, and some ye made prisoners.
[ Saheeh International ]
And He brought down those who supported them among the People of the Scripture from their fortresses and cast terror into their hearts [so that] a party you killed, and you took captive a party.
Tafseer Commentary

3701 The reference is to thejewish tribe of the Banu Qurayzah. They counted among the citizens of Madinah and were bound by solemn engagements to help in the defence of the city. But on the occasion of the Confederate siege by the Qurash and their allies, they intrigued with the enemies and treacherously aided them. Immediately after the siege was raised and the Confederates had fled in hot haste, the Prophet turned his attention to the treacherous "friends" who had betrayed his City in the hour of danger.

3702 The Banu Qurayzah (see last note) were filled with terror and dismay when Madinah was free from the Qurash danger. They shut themselves up in their castles about three or four miles to the east (or north east) of Madinah, and sustained a siege of 25 days, after which they surrendered, stipulating that they would abide by the decision of their fate at the hands of Sa'd ibn Mu'adh, chief of the Aws tribe, with which they had been in alliance.

3703 Sa'd applied to them the J ewish Law of the Old Testament, not as strictly as the case warranted. In Deut. 20:10-18, the treatment of a city "which is very far off from thee" is prescribed to be comparatively more lenient than the treatment of a city "of the people, which the Lord thy God does give thee for an inheritance," i.e., which is near enough to corrupt the religion of the Jewish people. The punishment for these is total annihilation: "thou shall save alive nothing that breatheth" (Deut. 20:16 ). The more lenient treatment for far-off cities is described in the next note. According to the Jewish standard, then, the Banu Qurayzah deserved total extermination-of men, women, and children. They were in the territory of MadTnah itself, and further they had broken their engagements and helped the enemy.

3704 Sa'd adjudged them the mildest treatment of the "far-off" cities which is thus described in the Jewish Law: "Thou shalt smite every male thereof with the edge of the sword: but the women and the little ones, and the cattle, and all that is in the city, even all the spoil thereof, shalt thou take unto thyself, and thou shalt eat the spoil of thine enemies, which the Lord thy God hath given thee" (Deut. 20:13-14). The men of the Qurayzah were slain: the women were sold as captives of war: and their lands and properties were divided among the Muhajirs.


33:27
[ Original ]
وَأَوْرَثَكُمْ أَرْضَهُمْ وَدِيَارَهُمْ وَأَمْوَالَهُمْ وَأَرْضًا لَمْ تَطَئُوهَا ۚ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
And He made you heirs of their lands, their houses, and their goods, and of a land which ye had not frequented (before). And Allah has power over all things.
[ Saheeh International ]
And He caused you to inherit their land and their homes and their properties and a land which you have not trodden. And ever is Allah, over all things, competent.
Tafseer Commentary

3705 If this part of the Surah was revealed after the autumn of the Hijrah year 7, it refers to the result of the Khaybar expedition of that autumn. Khaybar is a Harrah or volcanic tract, well-watered with many springs issuing from its basaltic rocks. It has a good irrigation system and produces good harvests of grain and dates in its wet valleys, while the outcrop of rocks in the high ground affords sites for numerous fortresses. At present it is inhabited chiefly by men of the race of Bilal (the Abyssinian) who played a prominent part in the expedition. It is a sort of island in the deserts on the outskirts of Najd . In the Prophet's time there were Jewish colonies settled here, but they were a source of constant trouble, especially after the Siege of Madinah. It became a nest of all the hostile Jewish elements expelled for their treachery from elsewhere. Its capital, Khaybar, is about 90 miles due north of Madinah. Its inhabitants offered some resistance, and 'Ali, though he had just risen from a bed of illness, performed prodigies of valour. After its surrender, a land settlement was made, which retained the cultivators of the soil on the land, but brought them under control, so that no further focus of active hostility should remain near Madinah. The terms of the settlement will be found in the Maghazi of al Waqidi.


33:28
[ Original ]
يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ قُلْ لِأَزْوَاجِكَ إِنْ كُنْتُنَّ تُرِدْنَ الْحَيَاةَ الدُّنْيَا وَزِينَتَهَا فَتَعَالَيْنَ أُمَتِّعْكُنَّ وَأُسَرِّحْكُنَّ سَرَاحًا جَمِيلًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
O Prophet! Say to thy Consorts: "If it be that ye desire the life of this World, and its glitter,- then come! I will provide for your enjoyment and set you free in a handsome manner.
[ Saheeh International ]
O Prophet, say to your wives, "If you should desire the worldly life and its adornment, then come, I will provide for you and give you a gracious release.
Tafseer Commentary

3706 We now come to the subject of the position of the Consorts of Purity ( azwaj mutahharat), the wives of the Prophet. Their position was not like that of ordinary women or ordinary wives. They had special duties and responsibilities. The only youthful marriage of the Prophet was his first marriage-that with Khadijah, the best of women and the best of wives. He married her fifteen years before he received the call to Prophethood; the married life lasted for twenty-five years, and their mutual devotion was of the noblest, judged by spiritual as well as social standards. During her life he had no other wife, which was unusual for a man of his standing among his people. When she died, his age was 50, and but for two considerations, he would probably never have married again, as he was most abstemious in his physical life. The two considerations which governed his later marriages were: (1) compassion and clemency, as when he wanted to provide for suffering widows, who could not be provided for in any other way in that stage of society; some of them, like Sawdah, had issue by their former marriage, requiring protection; (2) help in his duties of leadership, with women, who had to be instructed and kept together in the large Muslim family, where women and men had similar social rights.'A'ishah, daughter of Abu Bakr, was clever and learned, and in Hadith she is an important authority on the life of the Prophet. Zaynab, daughter of Khuzaymah, was specially devoted to the poor: she was called the "Mother of the Poor". The other Zaynab, daughter of Jahsh, also worked for the poor, for whom she provided from the proceeds of her manual work, as she was skilled in leather work. But all the Consorts in their high position had to work and assist as Mothers of the Ummah. Theirs were not idle lives, like those of Odalisques, either for their own pleasure or the pleasure of their husband. They are told here that they had no place in the sacred Household if they merely wished for ease or worldly glitter. If such were the case, they could be divorced and amply provided for.


33:29
[ Original ]
وَإِنْ كُنْتُنَّ تُرِدْنَ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ وَالدَّارَ الْآخِرَةَ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ أَعَدَّ لِلْمُحْسِنَاتِ مِنْكُنَّ أَجْرًا عَظِيمًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
But if ye seek Allah and His Messenger, and the Home of the Hereafter, verily Allah has prepared for the well-doers amongst you a great reward.
[ Saheeh International ]
But if you should desire Allah and His Messenger and the home of the Hereafter - then indeed, Allah has prepared for the doers of good among you a great reward."
Tafseer Commentary

3707 They were all well-doers. But being in their exalted position, they had extra responsibility, and they had to be specially careful to discharge it. In the same way, their reward would be "great", for higher services bring higher spiritual satisfaction, though they were asked to deny themselves some of the ordinary indulgences of life.


33:30
[ Original ]
يَا نِسَاءَ النَّبِيِّ مَنْ يَأْتِ مِنْكُنَّ بِفَاحِشَةٍ مُبَيِّنَةٍ يُضَاعَفْ لَهَا الْعَذَابُ ضِعْفَيْنِ ۚ وَكَانَ ذَٰلِكَ عَلَى اللَّهِ يَسِيرًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
O Consorts of the Prophet! If any of you were guilty of evident unseemly conduct, the Punishment would be doubled to her, and that is easy for Allah.
[ Saheeh International ]
O wives of the Prophet, whoever of you should commit a clear immorality - for her the punishment would be doubled two fold, and ever is that, for Allah, easy.
Tafseer Commentary

3708 Evident unseemly conduct: i.e., proved misconduct, as opposed to false slanders from enemies. Such slanders were of no account, but if any of them had behaved in an unseemly manner, it would have been a worse offence than in the case of ordinary women, on account of their special position. (Cf. 33:32). Of course none of them were in the least guilty.

3709 Cf. 33:19 and n. 3692. The punishment in this life for a married woman's unchastity is very severe: for adultery, public flogging with a hundred stripes, under 24:2; or for lewdness (see 4:15 ) imprisonment; or stoning to death for adultery, according to certain precedents established in Canon Law. But here the question is not about this kind of punishment or this kind of offence. Even minor indiscretions, in the case of women who were patterns of decorum, would have been reprehensible; and the punishment in the Hereafter is on a higher plane, which we can scarcely understand. But Allah can appreciate every shade of motive in us. More or less is possible there, which might not be possible in the rough and ready law which we administer here, (see also n. 523-526 and n. 2954-2960).


33:31
[ Original ]
وَمَنْ يَقْنُتْ مِنْكُنَّ لِلَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ وَتَعْمَلْ صَالِحًا نُؤْتِهَا أَجْرَهَا مَرَّتَيْنِ وَأَعْتَدْنَا لَهَا رِزْقًا كَرِيمًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
But any of you that is devout in the service of Allah and His Messenger, and works righteousness,- to her shall We grant her reward twice: and We have prepared for her a generous Sustenance.
[ Saheeh International ]
And whoever of you devoutly obeys Allah and His Messenger and does righteousness - We will give her her reward twice; and We have prepared for her a noble provision.
Tafseer Commentary

3710 Twice, i.e., once as a righteous woman and again as a Mother of the Believers, serving the believing women and thus showing her devotion to Allah and His Prophet.

3711 Sustenance: in the spiritual sense: all that is necessary to sustain her in happiness in her future life.


33:32
[ Original ]
يَا نِسَاءَ النَّبِيِّ لَسْتُنَّ كَأَحَدٍ مِنَ النِّسَاءِ ۚ إِنِ اتَّقَيْتُنَّ فَلَا تَخْضَعْنَ بِالْقَوْلِ فَيَطْمَعَ الَّذِي فِي قَلْبِهِ مَرَضٌ وَقُلْنَ قَوْلًا مَعْرُوفًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
O Consorts of the Prophet! Ye are not like any of the (other) women: if ye do fear ((Allah)), be not too complacent of speech, lest one in whose heart is a disease should be moved with desire: but speak ye a speech (that is) just.
[ Saheeh International ]
O wives of the Prophet, you are not like anyone among women. If you fear Allah, then do not be soft in speech [to men], lest he in whose heart is disease should covet, but speak with appropriate speech.
Tafseer Commentary

3712 This is the core of the whole passage. The Prophet's Consorts were not like ordinary women, nor was their marriage an ordinary marriage, in which only personal or social considerations enter. They had a special position and special responsibilities, in the matter of guiding and instructing women who came into the fold of Islam. Islam is a Way of Life, and the Muslims are a family: women have as much place in Islam as men, and their intimate instruction must obviously be through women.

3713 While they were to be kind and gentle to all, they were to be guarded on account of their special position lest people might misunderstand or take advantage of their kindness. They were to make no vulgar worldly displays as in the times of Paganism.


33:33
[ Original ]
وَقَرْنَ فِي بُيُوتِكُنَّ وَلَا تَبَرَّجْنَ تَبَرُّجَ الْجَاهِلِيَّةِ الْأُولَىٰ ۖ وَأَقِمْنَ الصَّلَاةَ وَآتِينَ الزَّكَاةَ وَأَطِعْنَ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ ۚ إِنَّمَا يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ لِيُذْهِبَ عَنْكُمُ الرِّجْسَ أَهْلَ الْبَيْتِ وَيُطَهِّرَكُمْ تَطْهِيرًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
And stay quietly in your houses, and make not a dazzling display, like that of the former Times of Ignorance; and establish regular Prayer, and give regular Charity; and obey Allah and His Messenger. And Allah only wishes to remove all abomination from you, ye Members of the Family, and to make you pure and spotless.
[ Saheeh International ]
And abide in your houses and do not display yourselves as [was] the display of the former times of ignorance. And establish prayer and give zakah and obey Allah and His Messenger. Allah intends only to remove from you the impurity [of sin], O people of the [Prophet's] household, and to purify you with [extensive] purification.
Tafseer Commentary

3714 Obedience to Allah's Law sums up all duties. Regular Prayer (seeking nearness to Allah) and Regular Charity (doing good to fellow-creatures) are mentioned as specially symbolical of our Religion.

3715 Notice the transition in this clause to the masculine gender, while before this the verbs and pronouns were in the feminine gender as referring to the Consorts. The statement in this clause is now more general including (besides the Consorts) the whole family, namely Fatimah the daughter, 'AIi the son-in-law, and their sons AI Hasan and Al Husayn, the beloved grandsons of the Prophet. The masculine gender is used generally, in speaking of a mixed assembly of men and women.


33:34
[ Original ]
وَاذْكُرْنَ مَا يُتْلَىٰ فِي بُيُوتِكُنَّ مِنْ آيَاتِ اللَّهِ وَالْحِكْمَةِ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ لَطِيفًا خَبِيرًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
And recite what is rehearsed to you in your homes, of the Signs of Allah and His Wisdom: for Allah understands the finest mysteries and is wellacquainted (with them).
[ Saheeh International ]
And remember what is recited in your houses of the verses of Allah and wisdom. Indeed, Allah is ever Subtle and Acquainted [with all things].
Tafseer Commentary

3716 The verb is u dhkurna, feminine gender, as referring to the Azwaj again. It means not only "remember" but "recite", "teach", "make known", "publish", the Message which ye learn at home from the Prophet, the fountain of spiritual knowledge. The "Signs of Allah" refer specifically to the verses of the Qur'an, and Wisdom to the resulting instruction derived therefrom.

3717 Cf. 22:63 and n. 2844. Allah's understanding is perfect in every detail, however minute. Therefore use His Revelation for every phase of life.


33:35
[ Original ]
إِنَّ الْمُسْلِمِينَ وَالْمُسْلِمَاتِ وَالْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَاتِ وَالْقَانِتِينَ وَالْقَانِتَاتِ وَالصَّادِقِينَ وَالصَّادِقَاتِ وَالصَّابِرِينَ وَالصَّابِرَاتِ وَالْخَاشِعِينَ وَالْخَاشِعَاتِ وَالْمُتَصَدِّقِينَ وَالْمُتَصَدِّقَاتِ وَالصَّائِمِينَ وَالصَّائِمَاتِ وَالْحَافِظِينَ فُرُوجَهُمْ وَالْحَافِظَاتِ وَالذَّاكِرِينَ اللَّهَ كَثِيرًا وَالذَّاكِرَاتِ أَعَدَّ اللَّهُ لَهُمْ مَغْفِرَةً وَأَجْرًا عَظِيمًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
For Muslim men and women,- for believing men and women- for devout men and women, for true men and women, for men and women who are patient and constant, for men and women who humble themselves, for men and women who give in Charity, for men and women who fast (and deny themselves), for men and women who guard their chastity, and for men and women who engage much in Allah's praise,- for them has Allah prepared forgiveness and great reward.
[ Saheeh International ]
Indeed, the Muslim men and Muslim women, the believing men and believing women, the obedient men and obedient women, the truthful men and truthful women, the patient men and patient women, the humble men and humble women, the charitable men and charitable women, the fasting men and fasting women, the men who guard their private parts and the women who do so, and the men who remember Allah often and the women who do so - for them Allah has prepared forgiveness and a great reward.
Tafseer Commentary

3718 Islam, or submitting our will to Allah's Will, includes all the virtues, as particularly specified in this verse. See n. 3720.

3719 A number of Muslim virtues are specified here, but the chief stress is laid on the fact that these virtues are as necessary to women as to men. Both sexes have spiritual as well as human rights and duties in an equal degree, and the future "reward" of the Hereafter, viz., Spiritual Bliss, is provided for the one as for the other.

3720 The virtues referred to are: (1) Faith, hope, and trust in Allah, and in His benevolent government of the world; (2) devotion and service in practical life; (3) love and practice of truth, in thought and intention, word and deed; (4) patience and constancy, in suffering and in right endeavour; (5) humility, the avoidance of an attitude of arrogance and superiority; (6) charity, i.e., help to the poor and unfortunate ones in life, a special virtue arising out of the general duty of service (No. 2); (7) self-denial, typically in food, but generally in all appetites; (8) chastity, purity in sex life, purity in motive, thought, word, and deed; and (9) constant attention to Allah's Message, and cultivation of the desire to get nearer to Allah.


33:36
[ Original ]
وَمَا كَانَ لِمُؤْمِنٍ وَلَا مُؤْمِنَةٍ إِذَا قَضَى اللَّهُ وَرَسُولُهُ أَمْرًا أَنْ يَكُونَ لَهُمُ الْخِيَرَةُ مِنْ أَمْرِهِمْ ۗ وَمَنْ يَعْصِ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ فَقَدْ ضَلَّ ضَلَالًا مُبِينًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
It is not fitting for a Believer, man or woman, when a matter has been decided by Allah and His Messenger to have any option about their decision: if any one disobeys Allah and His Messenger, he is indeed on a clearly wrong Path.
[ Saheeh International ]
It is not for a believing man or a believing woman, when Allah and His Messenger have decided a matter, that they should [thereafter] have any choice about their affair. And whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger has certainly strayed into clear error.
Tafseer Commentary

3721 We must not put our own wisdom in competition with Allah's wisdom. Allah's decree is often known to us by the logic of facts. We must accept it loyally, and do the best we can to help in our own way to carry it out. We must make our will consonant to Allah's Will. (R).


33:37
[ Original ]
وَإِذْ تَقُولُ لِلَّذِي أَنْعَمَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَأَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيْهِ أَمْسِكْ عَلَيْكَ زَوْجَكَ وَاتَّقِ اللَّهَ وَتُخْفِي فِي نَفْسِكَ مَا اللَّهُ مُبْدِيهِ وَتَخْشَى النَّاسَ وَاللَّهُ أَحَقُّ أَنْ تَخْشَاهُ ۖ فَلَمَّا قَضَىٰ زَيْدٌ مِنْهَا وَطَرًا زَوَّجْنَاكَهَا لِكَيْ لَا يَكُونَ عَلَى الْمُؤْمِنِينَ حَرَجٌ فِي أَزْوَاجِ أَدْعِيَائِهِمْ إِذَا قَضَوْا مِنْهُنَّ وَطَرًا ۚ وَكَانَ أَمْرُ اللَّهِ مَفْعُولًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Behold! Thou didst say to one who had received the grace of Allah and thy favour: "Retain thou (in wedlock) thy wife, and fear Allah." But thou didst hide in thy heart that which Allah was about to make manifest: thou didst fear the people, but it is more fitting that thou shouldst fear Allah. Then when Zaid had dissolved (his marriage) with her, with the necessary (formality), We joined her in marriage to thee: in order that (in future) there may be no difficulty to the Believers in (the matter of) marriage with the wives of their adopted sons, when the latter have dissolved with the necessary (formality) (their marriage) with them. And Allah's command must be fulfilled.
[ Saheeh International ]
And [remember, O Muhammad], when you said to the one on whom Allah bestowed favor and you bestowed favor, "Keep your wife and fear Allah," while you concealed within yourself that which Allah is to disclose. And you feared the people, while Allah has more right that you fear Him. So when Zayd had no longer any need for her, We married her to you in order that there not be upon the believers any discomfort concerning the wives of their adopted sons when they no longer have need of them. And ever is the command of Allah accomplished.
Tafseer Commentary

3722 This was Zayd, son of Harithah, one of the first to accept the faith of Islam. He was freedman of the Prophet, who loved him as a son and gave him in marriage to his own cousin Zaynab. The marriage however turned out unhappy. See next note.

3723 Zayd's marriage with the Prophet's cousin Zaynab, daughter of J ahsh, did not turn out happy. Zaynab the high-born looked down upon Zayd the freedman who had been a slave. And he was not comely to look at. Bom were good people in their own ways, and both loved the Prophet, but there was mutual incompatibility, and this is fatal to married life. Zayd wished to divorce her, but the Prophet asked him to hold his hand, and he obeyed. She was closely related to the Prophet; he had given a handsome marriage gift on her marriage to Zayd; and people would certainly talk if such a marriage was broken off. But marriages are made on earth, not in heaven, and it is no part of Allah's Plan to torture people in a bond which should be a source of happiness but actually is a source of misery. Zayd's wish-indeed the mutual wish of the couple-was for the time being put away, but it became eventually an established fact, and everybody came to know of it. (R).

3724 All actual facts are referred to Allah. When the marriage is unhappy, Islam permits the bond to be dissolved, provided that all interests concerned are safeguarded. Apparently there was no issue here to be considered. Zaynab had to be considered, and she obtained the dearest wish of her heart in being raised to be a Mother of the Believers, with all the dignity and responsibility of that position. See n. 3706 to 33:28 above.

3725 The 'Iddah or period of waiting after divorce ( 2:28 , and n. 254) was duly completed.

3726 The Pagan superstition and taboo about adopted sons had to be destroyed. See 33:4-5 and notes n. 3671-3672 above.


33:38
[ Original ]
مَا كَانَ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ مِنْ حَرَجٍ فِيمَا فَرَضَ اللَّهُ لَهُ ۖ سُنَّةَ اللَّهِ فِي الَّذِينَ خَلَوْا مِنْ قَبْلُ ۚ وَكَانَ أَمْرُ اللَّهِ قَدَرًا مَقْدُورًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
There can be no difficulty to the Prophet in what Allah has indicated to him as a duty. It was the practice (approved) of Allah amongst those of old that have passed away, And the command of Allah is a decree determined.
[ Saheeh International ]
There is not to be upon the Prophet any discomfort concerning that which Allah has imposed upon him. [This is] the established way of Allah with those [prophets] who have passed on before. And ever is the command of Allah a destiny decreed.
Tafseer Commentary

3727 See n. 3724 above.

3728 The next clause is parenthetical. Those words then connect on with verse 39. Among the people of the Book there was no taboo about adopted sons, as there was in Pagan Arabia.

3729 Allah's ordering of the world is always full of wisdom. Even our unhappiness and misery may actually have a great meaning for ourselves or others or both. If our first Plan seems to fail, we must not murmur and repine, but retrieve the position by adopting a course which appears to be the best position in the light of our duties as indicated by Allah. For Allah's Plan is framed on universal principles that cannot be altered by human action.


33:39
[ Original ]
الَّذِينَ يُبَلِّغُونَ رِسَالَاتِ اللَّهِ وَيَخْشَوْنَهُ وَلَا يَخْشَوْنَ أَحَدًا إِلَّا اللَّهَ ۗ وَكَفَىٰ بِاللَّهِ حَسِيبًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
(It is the practice of those) who preach the Messages of Allah, and fear Him, and fear none but Allah. And enough is Allah to call (men) to account.
[ Saheeh International ]
[Allah praises] those who convey the messages of Allah and fear Him and do not fear anyone but Allah. And sufficient is Allah as Accountant.
Tafseer Commentary

3730 Our responsibility is to Allah, not to men. Men's opinions may have a bearing in our own interpretation of duty, but when that duty is clear, our only course is to obey Allah rather than men.


33:40
[ Original ]
مَا كَانَ مُحَمَّدٌ أَبَا أَحَدٍ مِنْ رِجَالِكُمْ وَلَٰكِنْ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ وَخَاتَمَ النَّبِيِّينَ ۗ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Muhammad is not the father of any of your men, but (he is) the Messenger of Allah, and the Seal of the Prophets: and Allah has full knowledge of all things.
[ Saheeh International ]
Muhammad is not the father of [any] one of your men, but [he is] the Messenger of Allah and last of the prophets. And ever is Allah, of all things, Knowing.
Tafseer Commentary

3731 When a document is sealed, it is complete, and there can be no further addition. The Prophet Muhammad closed the long line of Messengers. Allah's teaching is and will always be continuous, but there has been and will be no Prophet after Muhammad. The later ages will want thinkers and reformers, not Prophets. This is not an arbitrary matter. It is a decree full of knowledge and wisdom, "for Allah has full knowledge of all things."


33:41
[ Original ]
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اذْكُرُوا اللَّهَ ذِكْرًا كَثِيرًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
O ye who believe! Celebrate the praises of Allah, and do this often;
[ Saheeh International ]
O you who have believed, remember Allah with much remembrance

33:42
[ Original ]
وَسَبِّحُوهُ بُكْرَةً وَأَصِيلًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
And glorify Him morning and evening.
[ Saheeh International ]
And exalt Him morning and afternoon.

33:43
[ Original ]
هُوَ الَّذِي يُصَلِّي عَلَيْكُمْ وَمَلَائِكَتُهُ لِيُخْرِجَكُمْ مِنَ الظُّلُمَاتِ إِلَى النُّورِ ۚ وَكَانَ بِالْمُؤْمِنِينَ رَحِيمًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
He it is Who sends blessings on you, as do His angels, that He may bring you out from the depths of Darkness into Light: and He is Full of Mercy to the Believers.
[ Saheeh International ]
It is He who confers blessing upon you, and His angels [ask Him to do so] that He may bring you out from darknesses into the light. And ever is He, to the believers, Merciful.
Tafseer Commentary

3732 Blessings: good wishes and mercies. Allah wishes well to all His creatures, and His angels carry out His work, for their will is in all things His Will. His chief and everlasting blessing is that He gives us a knowledge of the spiritual world, and helps us towards its attainment. For the symbolic meaning of Light and Darkness, see 24:35-40, and notes.

3733 His Mercies are for all His creatures, but for those who believe and trust in Him, there are special mercies, "a generous Reward" as in the next verse.


33:44
[ Original ]
تَحِيَّتُهُمْ يَوْمَ يَلْقَوْنَهُ سَلَامٌ ۚ وَأَعَدَّ لَهُمْ أَجْرًا كَرِيمًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Their salutation on the Day they meet Him will be "Peace!"; and He has prepared for them a generous Reward.
[ Saheeh International ]
Their greeting the Day they meet Him will be, "Peace." And He has prepared for them a noble reward.

33:45
[ Original ]
يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ إِنَّا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ شَاهِدًا وَمُبَشِّرًا وَنَذِيرًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
O Prophet! Truly We have sent thee as a Witness, a Bearer of Glad Tidings, and Warner,-
[ Saheeh International ]
O Prophet, indeed We have sent you as a witness and a bringer of good tidings and a warner.
Tafseer Commentary

3734 The Prophet was sent by Allah in five capacities. Three are mentioned in this verse, and the other two in the verse following. (1) He comes as a Witness to all men about the spiritual truths which had been obscured by ignorance or superstition, or by the dust of sectarian controversy. He did not come to establish a new religion or sect. He came to teach Religion. He is also a witness to Allah about men's doings and how they receive Allah's Message; see 4:41 and n. 560. (2) He comes as a Bearer of the Glad Tidings of the Mercy of Allah. No matter how far men may have transgressed, they have hope if they believe, repent, and live a good life. (3) He also comes as a Warner to those who are heedless. This life will not last. There is a Future Life, and that is all-important. See next note.


33:46
[ Original ]
وَدَاعِيًا إِلَى اللَّهِ بِإِذْنِهِ وَسِرَاجًا مُنِيرًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
And as one who invites to Allah.s (grace) by His leave, and as a lamp spreading light.
[ Saheeh International ]
And one who invites to Allah, by His permission, and an illuminating lamp.
Tafseer Commentary

3735 See last note. The two other capacities in which the Prophet was sent are here specified. (4) He comes as one who has a right to invite all men to repentance and the forgiveness of sins; but he does this, not of his own authority, but by the permission and authority given to him by Allah. This is said lest people may deny the Prophet as they did with other Prophets before him. The personal responsibility of each individual remains, but the Prophet can lead him on to the Right and help him. (5) The Prophet also comes as a Light of a Lamp (Siraj) to illuminate the whole world. In 71:16 and elsewhere the same word (Siraj) is used for the sun. The comparison is apt. When the sun appears, all the lesser lights pale before his light. And the Message of Islam, i.e., of the Universal Religion, is to diffuse Light everywhere.


33:47
[ Original ]
وَبَشِّرِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ بِأَنَّ لَهُمْ مِنَ اللَّهِ فَضْلًا كَبِيرًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Then give the Glad Tidings to the Believers, that they shall have from Allah a very great Bounty.
[ Saheeh International ]
And give good tidings to the believers that they will have from Allah great bounty.
Tafseer Commentary

3736 The light of Islam is the Biggest Bounty possible and if they truly understand it, they should glory in it.


33:48
[ Original ]
وَلَا تُطِعِ الْكَافِرِينَ وَالْمُنَافِقِينَ وَدَعْ أَذَاهُمْ وَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللَّهِ ۚ وَكَفَىٰ بِاللَّهِ وَكِيلًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
And obey not (the behests) of the Unbelievers and the Hypocrites, and heed not their annoyances, but put thy Trust in Allah. For enough is Allah as a Disposer of affairs.
[ Saheeh International ]
And do not obey the disbelievers and the hypocrites but do not harm them, and rely upon Allah. And sufficient is Allah as Disposer of affairs.
Tafseer Commentary

3737 Men of little or no Faith will often lay down the law and tell better men than themselves what to do. In case of refusal they shower insults and injuries. No attention is to be paid to them. It is their way. All will be right under the government of Allah.


33:49
[ Original ]
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِذَا نَكَحْتُمُ الْمُؤْمِنَاتِ ثُمَّ طَلَّقْتُمُوهُنَّ مِنْ قَبْلِ أَنْ تَمَسُّوهُنَّ فَمَا لَكُمْ عَلَيْهِنَّ مِنْ عِدَّةٍ تَعْتَدُّونَهَا ۖ فَمَتِّعُوهُنَّ وَسَرِّحُوهُنَّ سَرَاحًا جَمِيلًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
O ye who believe! When ye marry believing women, and then divorce them before ye have touched them, no period of 'Iddah have ye to count in respect of them: so give them a present. And set them free in a handsome manner.
[ Saheeh International ]
O You who have believed, when you marry believing women and then divorce them before you have touched them, then there is not for you any waiting period to count concerning them. So provide for them and give them a gracious release.
Tafseer Commentary

3738 See n. 254 to 2:228. The 'Iddah counts for three monthly courses, or if there are no courses, for three months (see 2:34 and 65:4).

3739 This present is held, by some, to be in addition to the half dower due to them under 2:237. If the dower had not been fixed, the gift would presumably be larger, and it would absorb the gift prescribed n 2:236.

3740 The gift should be given with good grace, and the freedom of the woman should not be interfered with in any way. If she chooses to marry again immediately, no obstacle should be placed in her path. On no pretext should she be allowed to remain doubtful about her freedom.


33:50
[ Original ]
يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ إِنَّا أَحْلَلْنَا لَكَ أَزْوَاجَكَ اللَّاتِي آتَيْتَ أُجُورَهُنَّ وَمَا مَلَكَتْ يَمِينُكَ مِمَّا أَفَاءَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْكَ وَبَنَاتِ عَمِّكَ وَبَنَاتِ عَمَّاتِكَ وَبَنَاتِ خَالِكَ وَبَنَاتِ خَالَاتِكَ اللَّاتِي هَاجَرْنَ مَعَكَ وَامْرَأَةً مُؤْمِنَةً إِنْ وَهَبَتْ نَفْسَهَا لِلنَّبِيِّ إِنْ أَرَادَ النَّبِيُّ أَنْ يَسْتَنْكِحَهَا خَالِصَةً لَكَ مِنْ دُونِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ ۗ قَدْ عَلِمْنَا مَا فَرَضْنَا عَلَيْهِمْ فِي أَزْوَاجِهِمْ وَمَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَانُهُمْ لِكَيْلَا يَكُونَ عَلَيْكَ حَرَجٌ ۗ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ غَفُورًا رَحِيمًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
O Prophet! We have made lawful to thee thy wives to whom thou hast paid their dowers; and those whom thy right hand possesses out of the prisoners of war whom Allah has assigned to thee; and daughters of thy paternal uncles and aunts, and daughters of thy maternal uncles and aunts, who migrated (from Makka) with thee; and any believing woman who dedicates her soul to the Prophet if the Prophet wishes to wed her;- this only for thee, and not for the Believers (at large); We know what We have appointed for them as to their wives and the captives whom their right hands possess- in order that there should be no difficulty for thee. And Allah is Oft- Forgiving, Most Merciful.
[ Saheeh International ]
O Prophet, indeed We have made lawful to you your wives to whom you have given their due compensation and those your right hand possesses from what Allah has returned to you [of captives] and the daughters of your paternal uncles and the daughters of your paternal aunts and the daughters of your maternal uncles and the daughters of your maternal aunts who emigrated with you and a believing woman if she gives herself to the Prophet [and] if the Prophet wishes to marry her, [this is] only for you, excluding the [other] believers. We certainly know what We have made obligatory upon them concerning their wives and those their right hands possess, [but this is for you] in order that there will be upon you no discomfort. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful.
Tafseer Commentary

3741 This introduces no new exemption or privilege. Verses 50-52 merely declare the points in which, on account of the special circumstances (see n. 3706 above), the Prophet's marriages differed from those of ordinary Muslims. This is considered under four heads, which we shall examine in the four notes following.

3742 Head 1. Marriage with dower (4:4): this is the universal Muslim marriage. The difference in the Prophet's case was that there was no limitation to the number of four (4:3), and women of the People of the Book (5:5) were not among his wives, but only Believers. These points are not expressly mentioned here, but are inferred by his actual practice. Obviously women who are expected to instruct other women in Islam must be Muslims.

3743 Head 2. Women Prisoners of War: the same remark as the last note. The point does not now arise, as the whole condition and incidents of war have been altered and slavery has been abolished by international agreement.

3744 Head 3. These are first cousins, and not within the Prohibited Degrees of Marriage (see 4:23 -24). These are specially mentioned here by way of limitation. None of them could marry the Prophet unless she had performed the Hijrah with him. If she had not so performed it in spite of her close relationship, she could not be credited with any great fervour for Islam, or be considered suitable for instructing other women in Islam.

3745 Head 4. A believing woman who dedicates her soul to the Prophet: obviously this case, like the last, is only applicable to the Prophet, and is hedged around with the limitations that the Prophet considers it a suitable and proper case of true service to the community, and not merely a sentimental woman's freak. Some Commentators think there was no such case. But others, with whom I agree, think that this applies to Zaynab bint Khuzaymah, who had dedicated herself to the poor and was called the Mother of the Poor ( Umm al masakin). Similarly, the last head might possibly refer to Zaynab bint Jahsh, who was a daughter of the Prophet's paternal aunt, herself a daughter of 'Abd al Muttalib.

3746 The ordinary law of Muslim marriage will be found chiefly in 2:221-235, 4:19-25, 4:34-35, and 5:5.

3747 The words "this only for thee . . . right hands possess" are parenthetical, and the words "in order that. . ." connect on with the previous clauses beginning with "O Prophet, We have made lawful . . . wishes to wed her."

3748 Marriage is an important relationship not only in our physical life, but in our moral and spiritual life, and its effects extend not only to the parties themselves but to children and future generations. A number of special problems arise according to special circumstances. Every man and woman must seriously consider all sides of the question and must do the best in his or her power to temper instincts and inclinations with wisdom and guidance from Allah. Allah wishes to make every one's path easy, for He is indeed "Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful".


33:51
[ Original ]
تُرْجِي مَنْ تَشَاءُ مِنْهُنَّ وَتُؤْوِي إِلَيْكَ مَنْ تَشَاءُ ۖ وَمَنِ ابْتَغَيْتَ مِمَّنْ عَزَلْتَ فَلَا جُنَاحَ عَلَيْكَ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ أَدْنَىٰ أَنْ تَقَرَّ أَعْيُنُهُنَّ وَلَا يَحْزَنَّ وَيَرْضَيْنَ بِمَا آتَيْتَهُنَّ كُلُّهُنَّ ۚ وَاللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ مَا فِي قُلُوبِكُمْ ۚ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ عَلِيمًا حَلِيمًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Thou mayest defer (the turn of) any of them that thou pleasest, and thou mayest receive any thou pleasest: and there is no blame on thee if thou invite one whose (turn) thou hadst set aside. This were nigher to the cooling of the eyes, the prevention of their grief, and their satisfaction - that of all of them - with that which thou hast to give them: and Allah knows (all) that is in your hearts: and Allah is All- Knowing, Most Forbearing.
[ Saheeh International ]
You, [O Muhammad], may put aside whom you will of them or take to yourself whom you will. And any that you desire of those [wives] from whom you had [temporarily] separated - there is no blame upon you [in returning her]. That is more suitable that they should be content and not grieve and that they should be satisfied with what you have given them - all of them. And Allah knows what is in your hearts. And ever is Allah Knowing and Forbearing.
Tafseer Commentary

3749 In 4:3 it is laid down that more than one wife is not permissible "If ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly with them". In a Muslim household there is no room for a "favourite wife" in the sense that such a wife is recipient of favours denied to other wives. In the special circumstances of the Prophet there were more than one, and he usually observed the rule of equality with them, in other things as well as in the rotation of conjugal rights. But considering that his marriages, after he was invested with the Prophetic office, were mainly dictated by other than conjugal or personal considerations (see n. 3706, 33:28), the rotation could not always be observed, though he observed it as much as possible. This verse absolved him from absolute adherence to a fixed rotation. There are other interpretations, but I agree with most of the Commentators in the view I have explained. (R).

3750 Where the rotation was, for some reason, interfered with, it was permissible, by another interference with the usual rotation, to bring satisfaction to one who had been previously set aside. This was not only permitted, but commended, as tending to remove dissatisfaction and cheer and comfort the eyes and hearts of those who were disappointed in their turn.

3751 Cooling the eyes: an Arabic idiom for cheering and comforting eyes which yearn to see those they love. A verse of Zeb al Nisa', daughter of the Mughal Emperor Awrangzeb, may be rendered thus: "My heart is glad whenever lover-wise I dwell upon thy beauties and thy grace! But how can I content my hungry eyes, That ask continually to see thy face?"

3752 There was not much in the way of worldly goods or satisfaction that the Prophet could give them: see 33:28 above. But he was kind, just, and true-the best of men to his family, and they all clung to him.

3753 Our human hearts, however good on the whole, may yet, in their motives, have possibly some baser admixture. The feminine hearts are not more immune in this respect than the masculine. But everything is known and understood by Allah, Who will in His Mercy make allowances for our human weaknesses. His title of "Most Forgiving" (Halim} also gives His devoted worshippers the cue: why should we not also forbear with the faults and weaknesses of our neighbours and fellow-creatures?


33:52
[ Original ]
لَا يَحِلُّ لَكَ النِّسَاءُ مِنْ بَعْدُ وَلَا أَنْ تَبَدَّلَ بِهِنَّ مِنْ أَزْوَاجٍ وَلَوْ أَعْجَبَكَ حُسْنُهُنَّ إِلَّا مَا مَلَكَتْ يَمِينُكَ ۗ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ رَقِيبًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
It is not lawful for thee (to marry more) women after this, nor to change them for (other) wives, even though their beauty attract thee, except any thy right hand should possess (as handmaidens): and Allah doth watch over all things.
[ Saheeh International ]
Not lawful to you, [O Muhammad], are [any additional] women after [this], nor [is it] for you to exchange them for [other] wives, even if their beauty were to please you, except what your right hand possesses. And ever is Allah, over all things, an Observer.
Tafseer Commentary

3754 This was revealed in A.H. 7. After that the Prophet did not marry again, except the handmaiden, Mary the Copt, who was sent as a present by the Christian Muqawqas of Egypt . She became the mother of Ibrahim, who died in his infancy.


33:53
[ Original ]
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَدْخُلُوا بُيُوتَ النَّبِيِّ إِلَّا أَنْ يُؤْذَنَ لَكُمْ إِلَىٰ طَعَامٍ غَيْرَ نَاظِرِينَ إِنَاهُ وَلَٰكِنْ إِذَا دُعِيتُمْ فَادْخُلُوا فَإِذَا طَعِمْتُمْ فَانْتَشِرُوا وَلَا مُسْتَأْنِسِينَ لِحَدِيثٍ ۚ إِنَّ ذَٰلِكُمْ كَانَ يُؤْذِي النَّبِيَّ فَيَسْتَحْيِي مِنْكُمْ ۖ وَاللَّهُ لَا يَسْتَحْيِي مِنَ الْحَقِّ ۚ وَإِذَا سَأَلْتُمُوهُنَّ مَتَاعًا فَاسْأَلُوهُنَّ مِنْ وَرَاءِ حِجَابٍ ۚ ذَٰلِكُمْ أَطْهَرُ لِقُلُوبِكُمْ وَقُلُوبِهِنَّ ۚ وَمَا كَانَ لَكُمْ أَنْ تُؤْذُوا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ وَلَا أَنْ تَنْكِحُوا أَزْوَاجَهُ مِنْ بَعْدِهِ أَبَدًا ۚ إِنَّ ذَٰلِكُمْ كَانَ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ عَظِيمًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
O ye who believe! Enter not the Prophet's houses,- until leave is given you,- for a meal, (and then) not (so early as) to wait for its preparation: but when ye are invited, enter; and when ye have taken your meal, disperse, without seeking familiar talk. Such (behaviour) annoys the Prophet: he is ashamed to dismiss you, but Allah is not ashamed (to tell you) the truth. And when ye ask (his ladies) for anything ye want, ask them from before a screen: that makes for greater purity for your hearts and for theirs. Nor is it right for you that ye should annoy Allah's Messenger, or that ye should marry his widows after him at any time. Truly such a thing is in Allah.s sight an enormity.
[ Saheeh International ]
O you who have believed, do not enter the houses of the Prophet except when you are permitted for a meal, without awaiting its readiness. But when you are invited, then enter; and when you have eaten, disperse without seeking to remain for conversation. Indeed, that [behavior] was troubling the Prophet, and he is shy of [dismissing] you. But Allah is not shy of the truth. And when you ask [his wives] for something, ask them from behind a partition. That is purer for your hearts and their hearts. And it is not [conceivable or lawful] for you to harm the Messenger of Allah or to marry his wives after him, ever. Indeed, that would be in the sight of Allah an enormity.
Tafseer Commentary

3755 The rules of refined social ethics are as necessary to teach today as it was with the rude Arabs whom the Prophet had to teach in his day. Those mentioned in this verse may be briefly recapitulated thus: (1) Enter not a friend's house without permission; (2) if invited to dine, don't go too early; you are asked to dine, not to wait for the preparation of the food; (3) be there at the time appointed, so that you enter when you are expected and invited; (4) after the meal, don't get familiar with your host, especially if there is a great distance between him and you; (5) don't waste time in tittle-tattle, causing inconvenience and perhaps annoyance to your host; (6) understand what is proper behaviour for you, he may be too polite to ask you to depart. All this has a spiritual as well as a social bearing: respect and delicate consideration for others are among the highest virtues.

3756 The actual manner of showing respect to ladies may be different in different circumstances. But it is an essential principle of good society to show the greatest deference to them. To the "Mothers of the Believers" this respect was due in an exceptional degree.

3757 Considering his position, the Prophet deserved to be respected before all other men and nothing should be done to cause him the least harm and annoyance. This applied not only during his lifetime, but it applies now, because his teaching and personality are alive to us. It was not fitting that his widows, both for their own position and for the position of the Prophet, should be married by other men after him. And this mark of respect was duly observed in history.

3758 "Annoy": Adha may equally mean to vex, to cause hurt or injury, to insult, to ill-treat by slander or unseemly conduct, or hurt the feelings of (someone). The Prophet came with a divine mission to teach and reclaim the world, and he is entitled to the respect of all, even of those who do not consciously acknowledge his mission, for his mission works constantly like the forces of nature. In a minor degree the "Mothers of the Believers" are also entitled to respect.


33:54
[ Original ]
إِنْ تُبْدُوا شَيْئًا أَوْ تُخْفُوهُ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Whether ye reveal anything or conceal it, verily Allah has full knowledge of all things.
[ Saheeh International ]
Whether you reveal a thing or conceal it, indeed Allah is ever, of all things, Knowing.
Tafseer Commentary

3759 Respect or opposition may be shown overtly or in devious hidden ways. All good and evil are open before Allah, and He will take due account of everything.


33:55
[ Original ]
لَا جُنَاحَ عَلَيْهِنَّ فِي آبَائِهِنَّ وَلَا أَبْنَائِهِنَّ وَلَا إِخْوَانِهِنَّ وَلَا أَبْنَاءِ إِخْوَانِهِنَّ وَلَا أَبْنَاءِ أَخَوَاتِهِنَّ وَلَا نِسَائِهِنَّ وَلَا مَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَانُهُنَّ ۗ وَاتَّقِينَ اللَّهَ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ شَهِيدًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
There is no blame (on these ladies if they appear) before their fathers or their sons, their brothers, or their brother's sons, or their sisters' sons, or their women, or the (slaves) whom their right hands possess. And, (ladies), fear Allah. for Allah is Witness to all things.
[ Saheeh International ]
There is no blame upon women concerning their fathers or their sons or their brothers or their brothers' sons or their sisters' sons or their women or those their right hands possess. And fear Allah. Indeed Allah is ever, over all things, Witness.
Tafseer Commentary

3760 This refers back to the Hijab (screen) portion of verse 53 above. The list of those before whom the Prophet's wives could appear informally without a screen is their fathers, sons, brothers, brothers 1 or sisters' sons, serving women, and household slaves or servants. Commentators include uncles (paternal and maternal) under the heading of "fathers". Their women is held to mean all women who belonged to the Muslim community: other women were in the position of strangers, whom they received not so intimately, but with the formality of a screen as in the case of men. Compare with this list and the wording here the list and the wording in 24:31, which applies to all Muslim women. In the list here, husbands and husbands' relatives are not necessary to be mentioned, as we are speaking of a single household, that of the central figure in Islam, nor men-servants nor children, as there were none. In the wording note that for Muslim women generally, no screen or Hijab (Pardah) is mentioned, but only a veil to cover the bosom, and modesty in dress. The screen was a special feature of honour for the Prophet's household, introduced about five or six years before his death.


33:56
[ Original ]
إِنَّ اللَّهَ وَمَلَائِكَتَهُ يُصَلُّونَ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ ۚ يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا صَلُّوا عَلَيْهِ وَسَلِّمُوا تَسْلِيمًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Allah and His angels send blessings on the Prophet: O ye that believe! Send ye blessings on him, and salute him with all respect.
[ Saheeh International ]
Indeed, Allah confers blessing upon the Prophet, and His angels [ask Him to do so]. O you who have believed, ask [Allah to confer] blessing upon him and ask [Allah to grant him] peace.
Tafseer Commentary

3761 Allah and His angels honour and bless the Prophet as the greatest of men. We are asked to honour and bless him all the more because he took upon himself to suffer the sorrow and afflictions of this life in order to guide us to Allah's Mercy and the highest inner Life.


33:57
[ Original ]
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يُؤْذُونَ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ لَعَنَهُمُ اللَّهُ فِي الدُّنْيَا وَالْآخِرَةِ وَأَعَدَّ لَهُمْ عَذَابًا مُهِينًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Those who annoy Allah and His Messenger - Allah has cursed them in this World and in the Hereafter, and has prepared for them a humiliating Punishment.
[ Saheeh International ]
Indeed, those who abuse Allah and His Messenger - Allah has cursed them in this world and the Hereafter and prepared for them a humiliating punishment.
Tafseer Commentary

3762 Cf. n. 3758 above.


33:58
[ Original ]
وَالَّذِينَ يُؤْذُونَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَاتِ بِغَيْرِ مَا اكْتَسَبُوا فَقَدِ احْتَمَلُوا بُهْتَانًا وَإِثْمًا مُبِينًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
And those who annoy believing men and women undeservedly, bear (on themselves) a calumny and a glaring sin.
[ Saheeh International ]
And those who harm believing men and believing women for [something] other than what they have earned have certainly born upon themselves a slander and manifest sin.
Tafseer Commentary

3763 Cf. 4:112. In that passage we were told that anyone who was himself guilty but accused an innocent man of his guilt, was obviously placing himself in double jeopardy; first, for his own original guilt, and secondly for the guilt of a false accusation. Here we take two classes of men instead of two individuals. The men and women of faith (if they deserve the name) and doing all they can to serve Allah and humanity. If they are insulted, hurt, or annoyed by those whose sins they denounce, the latter suffer the penalties of a double guilt, viz., their sins to start with, and the insults or injuries they offer to those who correct them. Instead of resenting the preaching of Truth, they should welcome it and profit by it.


33:59
[ Original ]
يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ قُلْ لِأَزْوَاجِكَ وَبَنَاتِكَ وَنِسَاءِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ يُدْنِينَ عَلَيْهِنَّ مِنْ جَلَابِيبِهِنَّ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ أَدْنَىٰ أَنْ يُعْرَفْنَ فَلَا يُؤْذَيْنَ ۗ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ غَفُورًا رَحِيمًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
O Prophet! Tell thy wives and daughters, and the believing women, that they should cast their outer garments over their persons (when abroad): that is most convenient, that they should be known (as such) and not molested. And Allah is Oft- Forgiving, Most Merciful.
[ Saheeh International ]
O Prophet, tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to bring down over themselves [part] of their outer garments. That is more suitable that they will be known and not be abused. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful.
Tafseer Commentary

3764 This is for all Muslim women, those of the Prophet's household, as well as the others. They were asked to cover themselves with outer garments when walking around. (R).

3765 J ilbab, plural Jalabib: an outer garment: a long gown covering the whole body, or a cloak covering the neck and bosom.

3766 The object was not to restrict the liberty of women but to protect them from harm and molestation. In the East and the West a distinctive public dress of some sort or another has always been a badge of honour or distinction, both among men and women. This can be traced back to the earliest civilisations. Assyrian Law in its palmiest days (say, 7th century B.C.), enjoined the veiling of married women and forbade the veiling of slaves and women of ill fame: see Cambridge Ancient History, III, 107.

3767 That is, if a Muslim woman sincerely tries to observe this rule, but owing to human weakness falls short of the ideal, then "Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful" ( Cf. 24:30-31). (R).


33:60
[ Original ]
لَئِنْ لَمْ يَنْتَهِ الْمُنَافِقُونَ وَالَّذِينَ فِي قُلُوبِهِمْ مَرَضٌ وَالْمُرْجِفُونَ فِي الْمَدِينَةِ لَنُغْرِيَنَّكَ بِهِمْ ثُمَّ لَا يُجَاوِرُونَكَ فِيهَا إِلَّا قَلِيلًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Truly, if the Hypocrites, and those in whose hearts is a disease, and those who stir up sedition in the City, desist not, We shall certainly stir thee up against them: Then will they not be able to stay in it as thy neighbours for any length of time:
[ Saheeh International ]
If the hypocrites and those in whose hearts is disease and those who spread rumors in al-Madinah do not cease, We will surely incite you against them; then they will not remain your neighbors therein except for a little.
Tafseer Commentary

3768 It was necessary to put down all kinds of unseemly conduct in the Prophet's City. And here is the warning in the plainest terms. And the warning had its effect. The "Hypocrites" were men who pretended to be in Islam but whose manners and morals were anti-Islamic. Those "with diseased hearts" may have been the ones that molested innocent women. "Those who stirred up sedition" put false rumours in circulation to excite the crowd. Alas! we must ask ourselves the question: "Are these conditions present among us today?"


33:61
[ Original ]
مَلْعُونِينَ ۖ أَيْنَمَا ثُقِفُوا أُخِذُوا وَقُتِّلُوا تَقْتِيلًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
They shall have a curse on them: whenever they are found, they shall be seized and slain (without mercy).
[ Saheeh International ]
Accursed wherever they are found, [being] seized and massacred completely.
Tafseer Commentary

3769 They will be deprived of the blessing and guidance of Allah. They sought to cause disorder in Allah's world-moral as well as material, but they will themselves be destroyed. Those who become outlaws, rebels against the Law, will themselves be destroyed by the Law. Capital punishment is the only adequate punishment for treason and crimes of sustained concerted violence-for the protection of the hearths and homes of innocent citizens and the honour of their women.


33:62
[ Original ]
سُنَّةَ اللَّهِ فِي الَّذِينَ خَلَوْا مِنْ قَبْلُ ۖ وَلَنْ تَجِدَ لِسُنَّةِ اللَّهِ تَبْدِيلًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
(Such was) the practice (approved) of Allah among those who lived aforetime: No change wilt thou find in the practice (approved) of Allah.
[ Saheeh International ]
[This is] the established way of Allah with those who passed on before; and you will not find in the way of Allah any change.
Tafseer Commentary

3770 The Jewish Law was much more severe: see notes n. 3703 and n. 3704 to 33:26. That severity is mitigated in Islam. But it is a universal principle that any element which deliberately refuses to obey law and aggressively tries to subvert all order in society, secretly and openly, must be effectively suppressed, for the preservation of the life and health of the general community.


33:63
[ Original ]
يَسْأَلُكَ النَّاسُ عَنِ السَّاعَةِ ۖ قُلْ إِنَّمَا عِلْمُهَا عِنْدَ اللَّهِ ۚ وَمَا يُدْرِيكَ لَعَلَّ السَّاعَةَ تَكُونُ قَرِيبًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Men ask thee concerning the Hour: Say, "The knowledge thereof is with Allah (alone)": and what will make thee understand?- perchance the Hour is nigh!
[ Saheeh International ]
People ask you concerning the Hour. Say," Knowledge of it is only with Allah. And what may make you perceive? Perhaps the Hour is near."
Tafseer Commentary

3771 Cf. 7:187 and n. 1159, where the idea is further explained. The knowledge of the Final Hour is with Allah alone. The fact of its coming is certain: the exact time when it will come has not been revealed. If it were, it would disturb our thoughts and life. "Heavy were its burden through the heavens and the earth." But at any given moment it cannot be far distant. In theological language, each individual's death is a Final Hour, a Qiyamah Sughra (Lesser Day of Judgement). In that sense it is not the same for all individuals, and is certainly always near, "In the midst of life we are in death", as the Anglican Prayer-Book says in its Burial Service.


33:64
[ Original ]
إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَعَنَ الْكَافِرِينَ وَأَعَدَّ لَهُمْ سَعِيرًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Verily Allah has cursed the Unbelievers and prepared for them a Blazing Fire,-
[ Saheeh International ]
Indeed, Allah has cursed the disbelievers and prepared for them a Blaze.

33:65
[ Original ]
خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا أَبَدًا ۖ لَا يَجِدُونَ وَلِيًّا وَلَا نَصِيرًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
To dwell therein for ever: no protector will they find, nor helper.
[ Saheeh International ]
Abiding therein forever, they will not find a protector or a helper.

33:66
[ Original ]
يَوْمَ تُقَلَّبُ وُجُوهُهُمْ فِي النَّارِ يَقُولُونَ يَا لَيْتَنَا أَطَعْنَا اللَّهَ وَأَطَعْنَا الرَّسُولَا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
The Day that their faces will be turned upside down in the Fire, they will say: "Woe to us! Would that we had obeyed Allah and obeyed the Messenger."
[ Saheeh International ]
The Day their faces will be turned about in the Fire, they will say, "How we wish we had obeyed Allah and obeyed the Messenger."
Tafseer Commentary

3772 The face is the expression of their Personality, their Self; and turning upside down is a sign of degradation and ignominy. When the Retribution comes, the evil ones will be humiliated, and they will wish that they had followed right guidance when they had the chance. They will then fall to accusing their leaders who misled them. But they forget their own personal responsibility.


33:67
[ Original ]
وَقَالُوا رَبَّنَا إِنَّا أَطَعْنَا سَادَتَنَا وَكُبَرَاءَنَا فَأَضَلُّونَا السَّبِيلَا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
And they would say: "Our Lord! We obeyed our chiefs and our great ones, and they misled us as to the (right) Path.
[ Saheeh International ]
And they will say, "Our Lord, indeed we obeyed our masters and our dignitaries, and they led us astray from the [right] way.

33:68
[ Original ]
رَبَّنَا آتِهِمْ ضِعْفَيْنِ مِنَ الْعَذَابِ وَالْعَنْهُمْ لَعْنًا كَبِيرًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
"Our Lord! Give them double Penalty and curse them with a very great Curse!"
[ Saheeh International ]
Our Lord, give them double the punishment and curse them with a great curse."
Tafseer Commentary

3773 Cf. 25:69 and n. 3129, and 11:20 and n. 1515. The double Penalty invoked will be because (1) they went wrong themselves and (2) they misled others.


33:69
[ Original ]
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَكُونُوا كَالَّذِينَ آذَوْا مُوسَىٰ فَبَرَّأَهُ اللَّهُ مِمَّا قَالُوا ۚ وَكَانَ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ وَجِيهًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
O ye who believe! Be ye not like those who vexed and insulted Moses, but Allah cleared him of the (calumnies) they had uttered: and he was honourable in Allah.s sight.
[ Saheeh International ]
O you who have believed, be not like those who abused Moses; then Allah cleared him of what they said. And he, in the sight of Allah, was distinguished.
Tafseer Commentary

3774 The people of Moses often vexed him and rebelled against him and against Allah's Law. Here the reference seems to be to Num. 12:1-15. It is there said that Moses's own sister Miriam and his brother Aaron spoke against Moses because Moses had married an Ethiopian woman. Allah cleared Moses of the charge of having done anything wrong: "My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all mine house." Miriam was afflicted with leprosy for seven days as a punishment, after which she was forgiven, as also was Aaron. This is the Old Testament story. The Prophet was also attacked because of his marriage with Zaynab bintjahsh, but not by his own circle; his motives were of the highest and were completely vindicated as we have seen above.


33:70
[ Original ]
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَقُولُوا قَوْلًا سَدِيدًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
O ye who believe! Fear Allah, and (always) say a word directed to the Right:
[ Saheeh International ]
O you who have believed, fear Allah and speak words of appropriate justice.
Tafseer Commentary

3775 We must not only speak the truth as far as we know it, but we must always try to hit the right point; i.e., we must not speak unseasonably, and when we do speak, we must not beat about the bush, but go straight to that which is right, in deed as well as in word. Then Allah will make our conduct right and cure any defects that there may be in our knowledge and character. With our endeavour directed straight to the goal, we shall be forgiven our errors, shortcomings, faults, and sins of the past.


33:71
[ Original ]
يُصْلِحْ لَكُمْ أَعْمَالَكُمْ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ ذُنُوبَكُمْ ۗ وَمَنْ يُطِعِ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ فَقَدْ فَازَ فَوْزًا عَظِيمًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
That He may make your conduct whole and sound and forgive you your sins: He that obeys Allah and His Messenger, has already attained the highest Achievement.
[ Saheeh International ]
He will [then] amend for you your deeds and forgive you your sins. And whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger has certainly attained a great attainment.
Tafseer Commentary

3776 This is salvation, the attainment of our real spiritual desire or ambition, as we are on the highway to nearness to Allah.


33:72
[ Original ]
إِنَّا عَرَضْنَا الْأَمَانَةَ عَلَى السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَالْجِبَالِ فَأَبَيْنَ أَنْ يَحْمِلْنَهَا وَأَشْفَقْنَ مِنْهَا وَحَمَلَهَا الْإِنْسَانُ ۖ إِنَّهُ كَانَ ظَلُومًا جَهُولًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
We did indeed offer the Trust to the Heavens and the Earth and the Mountains; but they refused to undertake it, being afraid thereof: but man undertook it;- He was indeed unjust and foolish;-
[ Saheeh International ]
Indeed, we offered the Trust to the heavens and the earth and the mountains, and they declined to bear it and feared it; but man [undertook to] bear it. Indeed, he was unjust and ignorant.
Tafseer Commentary

3777 The Trust is something given to a person, over which he has a power of disposition: he is expected to use it as directed or expected, but he has the power to use it otherwise. There is no trust if the trustee has no power, and the trust implies that the giver of the trust believes and expects that the trustee would use it according to the wish of the creator of the trust, and not otherwise.

3778 What is the meaning of the offer of the Trust to the Heavens, the Earth, and the Mountains? Cf. 59:21, where the hypothetical sending down of the Qur'an to the Mountains is mentioned, and it is mentioned that such Parables are put forth in order to aid men to reflection. We may therefore take the Mountains, the Earth, and the Heavens as symbolical. The mountains stand for firmness and stability: they have been created for this quality, and they are always true to that quality. An earthquake or a volcano has to do with movements within the earth's crust: it has nothing to do with the Mountain's will. In fact it has no free will of any kind: there is no question of any Trust here. If we take the Earth as a whole, as a part of the solar system or a compendium of the terrestrial Nature we see around us, it obeys the fixed laws of Allah, and there is no Will or Trust. If we take the Heavens either as celestial space, or as symbolical of the Angels, they absolutely obey Allah's Will and law: they have no will of their own.

3779 The Heavens, the Earth, and the Mountains, i.e., other creatures of Allah, besides man, refused to undertake a Trust or a responsibility, and may be imagined as happy without a choice of good or evil being given through their will. In saying that they refused, we imply a will, but we limit it by the statement that they did not undertake to be given a choice between good and evil. They preferred to submit their will entirely to Allah's Will, which is All-Wise and Perfect, and which would give them far more happiness than a faculty of choice, with their imperfect knowledge. Man was too audacious and ignorant to realise this, and the result has been that man as a race has been disrupted: the evil ones have betrayed the trust and brought Punishment on themselves, though the good have been able to rise far above other Creation, to be among the muqarrabin, the nearest ones to Allah: 56:11 and 56:88. What can be higher than this for any creature? It follows incidentally from this that the Heavens and the Earth were created before man was created, and this is in accordance with what we know of the physical world in science: man came on the scene at a comparatively late stage.

3780 Hamala: to undertake, bear, carry (the Trust or responsibility), to be equal to it. This is the ordinary meaning, and the majority of Commentators construe so. But some understand it to mean "to carry away, run away with, to embezzle (the thing entrusted); hence to be false to the Trust, to betray the Trust." In that case the sense of verses 72-73 would be: "Allah offered the Trust to other creatures, but they refused, lest they should betray it, being afraid from that point of view: but man was less fair to himself: in his ignorance he accepted and betrayed the trust, with the result that some of his race became Hypocrites and Unbelievers and were punished, though others were faithful to the Trust and received Allah's Mercy." The resulting conclusion is the same under both interpretations.

3781 See 2:30 -34 and notes. Allah intended a very high destiny for man, and placed him in his uncorrupted state even above the angels, but in his corruption he made himself even lower than the beasts. What was it that made man so high and noble? The differentiating quality which Allah gave man was that Allah breathed something of His own spirit into man (32:9; 15:29 and n. 1968; and other passages). This meant that man was given a limited choice of good and evil, and that he was made capable of Forbearance, Love, and Mercy. And in himself man summed up Allah's great world: man is in himself a microcosm.

3782 That man should undertake the God-like attributes (in however small a degree) of Will, Forbearance, Love, and Mercy, brought him nearer to Allah than was possible for any other creature of Allah. This was part of Allah's Will and Plan, but little did man realise then what a tremendous task he was undertaking or question himself whether he would be equal to it. Zalum (translated "unjust") and Jahul (ignorant) are both in the Arabic intensive form; as much as to say, 'man signally failed to measure his own powers or his own knowledge'. But Allah's Grace came to his assistance. Where man did his best, he won through by Allah's Grace, even though man's Best was but a poor Good. How did man generically undertake this great Responsibility, which made him Vicegerent of Allah ( 2:30 )? Here comes in the mystic doctrine of a Covenant, expressed or implied, between Allah and Humanity. See 7:172-73 and notes n. 1146-1148, also 5:1 and n. 682. A Covenant (Mithaq) necessarily implies Trust, and its breach necessarily implies Punishment.


33:73
[ Original ]
لِيُعَذِّبَ اللَّهُ الْمُنَافِقِينَ وَالْمُنَافِقَاتِ وَالْمُشْرِكِينَ وَالْمُشْرِكَاتِ وَيَتُوبَ اللَّهُ عَلَى الْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَاتِ ۗ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ غَفُورًا رَحِيمًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
(With the result) that Allah has to punish the Hypocrites, men and women, and the Unbelievers, men and women, and Allah turns in Mercy to the Believers, men and women: for Allah is Oft- Forgiving, Most Merciful.
[ Saheeh International ]
[It was] so that Allah may punish the hypocrite men and hypocrite women and the men and women who associate others with Him and that Allah may accept repentance from the believing men and believing women. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful.
Tafseer Commentary

3783 Man's generic Covenant, which flowed from his exercising the option given him, choosing Will, Forbearance, Love, and Mercy, made it necessary that breach of it should carry its own punishment. Breach of it is here classed under two heads: those who betray their Trust act either as Hypocrites or as Unbelievers. Hypocrites are those who profess Faith but bring not forth the fruits of Faith. Unbelievers are those who openly defy Faith, and from whom therefore no fruits of Faith are to be expected.

3784 Those who remain firm to their Faith and their Covenant (see notes n. 3781-3782) will receive the aid of Allah's Grace; their faults and weaknesses will be cured: and they will be made worthy of their exalted Destiny. For Allah is Oft- Returning and Most Merciful. So ends a Surah which deals with the greatest complications and misunderstandings in our throbbing life here below, and points upwards to the Great Achievement, the highest Salvation


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