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 2 (Verses 33:9–33:20): The Allies’ Attack on Madinah
یٰۤاَیُّہَا الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوا اذۡکُرُوۡا نِعۡمَۃَ اللّٰہِ عَلَیۡکُمۡ اِذۡ جَآءَتۡکُمۡ جُنُوۡدٌ فَاَرۡسَلۡنَا عَلَیۡہِمۡ رِیۡحًا وَّ جُنُوۡدًا لَّمۡ تَرَوۡہَا ؕ وَ کَانَ اللّٰہُ بِمَا تَعۡمَلُوۡنَ بَصِیۡرًا ۚ﴿۹﴾
33:9 O you who believe, call to mind the favour of Allah to you when armies came against you,1 so We sent against them a strong wind and forces that you did not see.2 And Allah is ever Seer of what you do.
اِذۡ جَآءُوۡکُمۡ مِّنۡ فَوۡقِکُمۡ وَ مِنۡ اَسۡفَلَ مِنۡکُمۡ وَ اِذۡ زَاغَتِ الۡاَبۡصَارُ وَ بَلَغَتِ الۡقُلُوۡبُ الۡحَنَاجِرَ وَ تَظُنُّوۡنَ بِاللّٰہِ الظُّنُوۡنَا ﴿۱۰﴾
ہُنَالِکَ ابۡتُلِیَ الۡمُؤۡمِنُوۡنَ وَ زُلۡزِلُوۡا زِلۡزَالًا شَدِیۡدًا ﴿۱۱﴾
33:11 There were the believers tried and they were shaken with a severe shaking.
وَ اِذۡ یَقُوۡلُ الۡمُنٰفِقُوۡنَ وَ الَّذِیۡنَ فِیۡ قُلُوۡبِہِمۡ مَّرَضٌ مَّا وَعَدَنَا اللّٰہُ وَ رَسُوۡلُہٗۤ اِلَّا غُرُوۡرًا ﴿۱۲﴾
33:12 And when the hypocrites and those in whose hearts was a disease began to say: Allah and His Messenger promised us (victory) only to deceive.5
وَ اِذۡ قَالَتۡ طَّآئِفَۃٌ مِّنۡہُمۡ یٰۤاَہۡلَ یَثۡرِبَ لَا مُقَامَ لَکُمۡ فَارۡجِعُوۡا ۚ وَ یَسۡتَاۡذِنُ فَرِیۡقٌ مِّنۡہُمُ النَّبِیَّ یَقُوۡلُوۡنَ اِنَّ بُیُوۡتَنَا عَوۡرَۃٌ ؕۛ وَ مَا ہِیَ بِعَوۡرَۃٍ ۚۛ اِنۡ یُّرِیۡدُوۡنَ اِلَّا فِرَارًا ﴿۱۳﴾
33:13 And when a group of them said: People of Yathrib,6 you cannot make a stand, so go back.7 And a party of them asked permission of the Prophet, saying, Our houses are exposed. And they were not exposed. They only desired to run away.
وَ لَوۡ دُخِلَتۡ عَلَیۡہِمۡ مِّنۡ اَقۡطَارِہَا ثُمَّ سُئِلُوا الۡفِتۡنَۃَ لَاٰتَوۡہَا وَ مَا تَلَبَّثُوۡا بِہَاۤ اِلَّا یَسِیۡرًا ﴿۱۴﴾
33:14 And if an entry were made upon them from the outlying parts of it, then they were asked to wage war (against the Muslims), they would certainly have done it, and they would not have stayed in it but a little while.8
وَ لَقَدۡ کَانُوۡا عَاہَدُوا اللّٰہَ مِنۡ قَبۡلُ لَا یُوَلُّوۡنَ الۡاَدۡبَارَ ؕ وَ کَانَ عَہۡدُ اللّٰہِ مَسۡـُٔوۡلًا ﴿۱۵﴾
33:15 And they had indeed made a covenant with Allah before, (that) they would not turn (their) backs. And a covenant with Allah must be answered for.
قُلۡ لَّنۡ یَّنۡفَعَکُمُ الۡفِرَارُ اِنۡ فَرَرۡتُمۡ مِّنَ الۡمَوۡتِ اَوِ الۡقَتۡلِ وَ اِذًا لَّا تُمَتَّعُوۡنَ اِلَّا قَلِیۡلًا ﴿۱۶﴾
33:16 Say: Running away will not benefit you, if you run away from death or slaughter, and then you will not be allowed to enjoy yourselves but a little.
قُلۡ مَنۡ ذَا الَّذِیۡ یَعۡصِمُکُمۡ مِّنَ اللّٰہِ اِنۡ اَرَادَ بِکُمۡ سُوۡٓءًا اَوۡ اَرَادَ بِکُمۡ رَحۡمَۃً ؕ وَ لَا یَجِدُوۡنَ لَہُمۡ مِّنۡ دُوۡنِ اللّٰہِ وَلِیًّا وَّ لَا نَصِیۡرًا ﴿۱۷﴾
33:17 Say: Who is it that can protect you from Allah, if He intends harm for you or He intends to show you mercy? And they will not find for themselves a guardian or a helper besides Allah.
قَدۡ یَعۡلَمُ اللّٰہُ الۡمُعَوِّقِیۡنَ مِنۡکُمۡ وَ الۡقَآئِلِیۡنَ لِاِخۡوَانِہِمۡ ہَلُمَّ اِلَیۡنَا ۚ وَ لَا یَاۡتُوۡنَ الۡبَاۡسَ اِلَّا قَلِیۡلًا ﴿ۙ۱۸﴾
33:18 Allah indeed knows those among you who hinder others and those who say to their brethren, Come to us. And they do not come to the fight but a little,
اَشِحَّۃً عَلَیۡکُمۡ ۚۖ فَاِذَا جَآءَ الۡخَوۡفُ رَاَیۡتَہُمۡ یَنۡظُرُوۡنَ اِلَیۡکَ تَدُوۡرُ اَعۡیُنُہُمۡ کَالَّذِیۡ یُغۡشٰی عَلَیۡہِ مِنَ الۡمَوۡتِ ۚ فَاِذَا ذَہَبَ الۡخَوۡفُ سَلَقُوۡکُمۡ بِاَلۡسِنَۃٍ حِدَادٍ اَشِحَّۃً عَلَی الۡخَیۡرِ ؕ اُولٰٓئِکَ لَمۡ یُؤۡمِنُوۡا فَاَحۡبَطَ اللّٰہُ اَعۡمَالَہُمۡ ؕ وَ کَانَ ذٰلِکَ عَلَی اللّٰہِ یَسِیۡرًا ﴿۱۹﴾
33:19 being miserly with regard to you. But when fear comes, you will see them looking to you, their eyes rolling like one fainting because of death. But when fear is gone they strike you with sharp tongues, being greedy for wealth. These have not believed, so Allah makes their deeds fruitless. And that is easy for Allah.
یَحۡسَبُوۡنَ الۡاَحۡزَابَ لَمۡ یَذۡہَبُوۡا ۚ وَ اِنۡ یَّاۡتِ الۡاَحۡزَابُ یَوَدُّوۡا لَوۡ اَنَّہُمۡ بَادُوۡنَ فِی الۡاَعۡرَابِ یَسۡاَلُوۡنَ عَنۡ اَنۡۢبَآئِکُمۡ ؕ وَ لَوۡ کَانُوۡا فِیۡکُمۡ مَّا قٰتَلُوۡۤا اِلَّا قَلِیۡلًا ﴿٪۲۰﴾
33:20 They think the allies are not gone, and if the allies should come (again), they would wish to be in the deserts with the dwellers of the desert, asking for news about you. And if they were among you, they would not fight but a little.
- The events narrated here relate to the siege of Madinah by the combined forces of the Quraish and their allies, aided by the Jewish tribe of the Bani Nadir and the Bani Quraizah, the latter of whom had made a treaty of alliance with the Muslims — the entire forces numbering from ten to twenty thousand according to different versions, while the Muslims were only about thirteen or fourteen hundred. The Prophet decided to remain within the town and a ditch was dug as a protective measure against the onrush of the powerful force. The battle continued for several days, the enemy eventually taking to flight on a stormy night without being able to inflict any loss upon the Muslims. ↩
- A great hurricane caused the enemy to flee. The forces which could not be seen were the angelic hosts which disheartened the enemy. The angelic assistance is promised in 3:125. ↩
- One allied tribe pitched on the east side of the town, on the higher part of the valley, and the Quraish on the west side, on the lower part. ↩
- The description of the eyes and the hearts indicates the natural Muslim fear. The diverse thoughts signify the fears of the weak-hearted and the hypocrites that Allah’s promise would not prove true and that the enemy would destroy them. As regards the thoughts of the faithful, see v. 22. ↩
- There was an unmistakable promise of victory, but the circumstances were decidedly against the fulfilment of that promise, and hence the weak-hearted said that the promise of victory was given only to deceive them. ↩
- Yathrib was the name by which Madinah was known before the Prophet’s flight to that city. On the Prophet’s flight there, it received the name of Madīnat al-Nabī or the City of the Prophet, or simply Madinah. ↩
- That is, go back to idolatry to save your lives, or make a retreat and return to your houses. ↩
- These verses describe the condition of the hypocrites, who advanced excuses for not fighting against the opponents of the Muslims. If an enemy had entered into the city from another side and invited them to join hands with him to fight against the Muslims, they would have been ready to fight. The concluding words show that they would have even left Madinah to attack the Muslims and would not then have cared for the protection of their houses. ↩