English Translation and Commentary of the Holy Quran (2010)

by Maulana Muhammad Ali

Chapter 33: Al-Ahzab — The Allies (Revealed at Makkah: 9 sections, 73 verses)

Section 1 (Verses 33:1–33:8): Spiritual and Physical Relationship


بِسۡمِ اللّٰہِ الرَّحۡمٰنِ الرَّحِیۡمِ

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.

یٰۤاَیُّہَا النَّبِیُّ اتَّقِ اللّٰہَ وَ لَا تُطِعِ الۡکٰفِرِیۡنَ وَ الۡمُنٰفِقِیۡنَ ؕ اِنَّ اللّٰہَ کَانَ عَلِیۡمًا حَکِیۡمًا ۙ﴿۱﴾

33:1 O Prophet, keep your duty to Allah and do not obey the disbelievers and the hypocrites.1 Surely Allah is ever Knowing, Wise;

وَّ اتَّبِعۡ مَا یُوۡحٰۤی اِلَیۡکَ مِنۡ رَّبِّکَ ؕ اِنَّ اللّٰہَ کَانَ بِمَا تَعۡمَلُوۡنَ خَبِیۡرًا ۙ﴿۲﴾

33:2 and follow what is revealed to you from your Lord. Surely Allah is ever Aware of what you do;

وَّ تَوَکَّلۡ عَلَی اللّٰہِ ؕ وَ کَفٰی بِاللّٰہِ وَکِیۡلًا ﴿۳﴾

33:3 and trust in Allah. And Allah is enough as having charge (of affairs).

مَا جَعَلَ اللّٰہُ لِرَجُلٍ مِّنۡ قَلۡبَیۡنِ فِیۡ جَوۡفِہٖ ۚ وَ مَا جَعَلَ اَزۡوَاجَکُمُ الِّٰٓیۡٔ تُظٰہِرُوۡنَ مِنۡہُنَّ اُمَّہٰتِکُمۡ ۚ وَ مَا جَعَلَ اَدۡعِیَآءَکُمۡ اَبۡنَآءَکُمۡ ؕ ذٰلِکُمۡ قَوۡلُکُمۡ بِاَفۡوَاہِکُمۡ ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ یَقُوۡلُ الۡحَقَّ وَ ہُوَ یَہۡدِی السَّبِیۡلَ ﴿۴﴾

33:4 Allah has not made for any man two hearts within him;2 nor has He made your wives whom you desert by Ẓihār, your mothers, nor has He made those whom you assert (to be your sons) your sons. These are the words of your mouths. And Allah speaks the truth and He shows the way.3

اُدۡعُوۡہُمۡ لِاٰبَآئِہِمۡ ہُوَ اَقۡسَطُ عِنۡدَ اللّٰہِ ۚ فَاِنۡ لَّمۡ تَعۡلَمُوۡۤا اٰبَآءَہُمۡ فَاِخۡوَانُکُمۡ فِی الدِّیۡنِ وَ مَوَالِیۡکُمۡ ؕ وَ لَیۡسَ عَلَیۡکُمۡ جُنَاحٌ فِیۡمَاۤ اَخۡطَاۡتُمۡ بِہٖ ۙ وَ لٰکِنۡ مَّا تَعَمَّدَتۡ قُلُوۡبُکُمۡ ؕ وَ کَانَ اللّٰہُ غَفُوۡرًا رَّحِیۡمًا ﴿۵﴾

33:5 Call them by (the names of) their fathers; this is more equitable with Allah; but if you do not know their fathers, then they are your brethren in faith and your friends. And there is no blame on you in that about which you make a mistake, but (you are answerable for) what your hearts intend. And Allah is ever Forgiving, Merciful.

اَلنَّبِیُّ اَوۡلٰی بِالۡمُؤۡمِنِیۡنَ مِنۡ اَنۡفُسِہِمۡ وَ اَزۡوَاجُہٗۤ اُمَّہٰتُہُمۡ ؕ وَ اُولُوا الۡاَرۡحَامِ بَعۡضُہُمۡ اَوۡلٰی بِبَعۡضٍ فِیۡ کِتٰبِ اللّٰہِ مِنَ الۡمُؤۡمِنِیۡنَ وَ الۡمُہٰجِرِیۡنَ اِلَّاۤ اَنۡ تَفۡعَلُوۡۤا اِلٰۤی اَوۡلِیٰٓئِکُمۡ مَّعۡرُوۡفًا ؕ کَانَ ذٰلِکَ فِی الۡکِتٰبِ مَسۡطُوۡرًا ﴿۶﴾

33:6 The Prophet is closer to the faithful than their own selves, and his wives are (as) their mothers.4 And the possessors of relationship are closer to one another in the ordinance of Allah than (other) believers, and those who fled (their homes), except that you do some good to your friends.5 This is written in the Book.

وَ اِذۡ اَخَذۡنَا مِنَ النَّبِیّٖنَ مِیۡثَاقَہُمۡ وَ مِنۡکَ وَ مِنۡ نُّوۡحٍ وَّ اِبۡرٰہِیۡمَ وَ مُوۡسٰی وَ عِیۡسَی ابۡنِ مَرۡیَمَ ۪ وَ اَخَذۡنَا مِنۡہُمۡ مِّیۡثَاقًا غَلِیۡظًا ۙ﴿۷﴾

33:7 And when We took a covenant from the prophets and from you, and from Noah and Abraham and Moses and Jesus, son of Mary, and We took from them a solemn covenant,6

لِّیَسۡـَٔلَ الصّٰدِقِیۡنَ عَنۡ صِدۡقِہِمۡ ۚ وَ اَعَدَّ لِلۡکٰفِرِیۡنَ عَذَابًا اَلِیۡمًا ٪﴿۸﴾

33:8 that He may question the truthful of their truth, and He has prepared for the disbelievers a painful punishment.


  1. The chapter was revealed at a time when the powerful and combined forces of the Arabian tribes threatened Madinah from without and the hypocrites and the Jews assisted them from within to crush the Muslims. It was necessary at such a critical time that the Muslims, who are really addressed here through the Prophet, should not in any way be compliant to their deadly enemies. Or, the meaning is that the Holy Prophet should not be troubled by his critics, for their object was only to carp, and one course of action was as well calculated to give them occasion for carping as another.
  2. This passage does not relate to what follows but sums up what is said in the previous verse. The Prophet is there told not to be compliant to the disbelievers and the hypocrites, but to trust in Allah alone, because the same heart cannot simultaneously entertain love for Allah and love for His enemies.
  3. This passage abolishes two ignorant customs of pre-Islamic times. The first of these was called ẓihār which consisted in a man saying to his wife you are to me as the back of my mother. No sooner were the words pronounced than the relation between husband and wife ended as by a divorce, but the woman was not at liberty to leave the husband’s house and marry elsewhere. She remained in the same house, as a deserted wife. The other custom was that of regarding the adopted son as if he were a real son. This passage abolishes both customs on the same ground; a wife cannot be a real mother, nor a stranger a real son. The subject of ẓihār is fully discussed in the first section of chapter 58.
  4. The Prophet was indeed much more than a father to the believers. He had raised them to the dignity of manhood from a state of savagery, consequently the tie of love which united them to him was stronger than the ordinary ties of love and friendship. The statement that his wives are their mothers has reference to spiritual relationship, because they were helpful in bringing up the faithful spiri­tually; see v. 33 and 34.
  5. When the Muslims first came to Madinah, a brotherhood was estab­lished between those who fled and the helpers, one of the former becoming a brother of one of the latter, and each of the two thus united was entitled to a share of inheritance on the death of the other, according to an old Arab custom. The passage abolishes this custom, maintaining only the brotherhood of Islam in a wider sense, and allowing inheritance only to actual relatives. But a Muslim could assist his brother in Islam by a gift or by making a will in his favour. This is the significance of the words except that you do some good to your friends.
  6. The covenant referred to here may be in relation to the delivery of the message with which the prophets are entrusted. But see 3:81, which speaks of a covenant with the prophets with regard to the advent of the Holy Prophet. The covenant spoken of as having been made with the Holy Prophet evidently refers to the Prophet’s verifying all previous revela­tion. Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus are specially mentioned by name on account of their importance.