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 6 (Verses 33:41–33:52): The Prophet’s Marriages
یٰۤاَیُّہَاالَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوا اذۡکُرُوا اللّٰہَ ذِکۡرًا کَثِیۡرًا﴿ۙ۴۱﴾
وَّ سَبِّحُوۡہُ بُکۡرَۃً وَّ اَصِیۡلًا ﴿۴۲﴾
ہُوَ الَّذِیۡ یُصَلِّیۡ عَلَیۡکُمۡ وَ مَلٰٓئِکَتُہٗ لِیُخۡرِجَکُمۡ مِّنَ الظُّلُمٰتِ اِلَی النُّوۡرِ ؕ وَ کَانَ بِالۡمُؤۡمِنِیۡنَ رَحِیۡمًا ﴿۴۳﴾
33:43 He it is Who sends blessings on you, and (so do) His angels, that He may bring you forth out of darkness into light. And He is ever Merciful to the believers.1
تَحِیَّتُہُمۡ یَوۡمَ یَلۡقَوۡنَہٗ سَلٰمٌ ۖۚ وَ اَعَدَّ لَہُمۡ اَجۡرًا کَرِیۡمًا ﴿۴۴﴾
33:44 Their greeting on the day they meet Him will be, Peace! and He has prepared for them an honourable reward.
یٰۤاَیُّہَا النَّبِیُّ اِنَّاۤ اَرۡسَلۡنٰکَ شَاہِدًا وَّ مُبَشِّرًا وَّ نَذِیۡرًا ﴿ۙ۴۵﴾
33:45 O Prophet, surely We have sent you as a witness, and a bearer of good news and a warner,
وَّ دَاعِیًا اِلَی اللّٰہِ بِاِذۡنِہٖ وَ سِرَاجًا مُّنِیۡرًا ﴿۴۶﴾
33:46 and as an inviter to Allah by His permission, and as a light-giving sun.2
وَ بَشِّرِ الۡمُؤۡمِنِیۡنَ بِاَنَّ لَہُمۡ مِّنَ اللّٰہِ فَضۡلًا کَبِیۡرًا ﴿۴۷﴾
33:47 And give the believers the good news that they will have great grace from Allah.
وَ لَا تُطِعِ الۡکٰفِرِیۡنَ وَ الۡمُنٰفِقِیۡنَ وَ دَعۡ اَذٰىہُمۡ وَ تَوَکَّلۡ عَلَی اللّٰہِ ؕ وَ کَفٰی بِاللّٰہِ وَکِیۡلًا ﴿۴۸﴾
33:48 And do not obey the disbelievers and the hypocrites, and disregard their annoying talk,3 and rely on Allah. And Allah is sufficient as having charge of affairs.
یٰۤاَیُّہَا الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡۤا اِذَا نَکَحۡتُمُ الۡمُؤۡمِنٰتِ ثُمَّ طَلَّقۡتُمُوۡہُنَّ مِنۡ قَبۡلِ اَنۡ تَمَسُّوۡہُنَّ فَمَا لَکُمۡ عَلَیۡہِنَّ مِنۡ عِدَّۃٍ تَعۡتَدُّوۡنَہَا ۚ فَمَتِّعُوۡہُنَّ وَ سَرِّحُوۡہُنَّ سَرَاحًا جَمِیۡلًا ﴿۴۹﴾
33:49 O you who believe, when you marry believing women, then divorce them before you touch them, you have in their case no term which you should reckon. But make provision for them and let them go in a gracious manner.
یٰۤاَیُّہَا النَّبِیُّ اِنَّاۤ اَحۡلَلۡنَا لَکَ اَزۡوَاجَکَ الّٰتِیۡۤ اٰتَیۡتَ اُجُوۡرَہُنَّ وَ مَا مَلَکَتۡ یَمِیۡنُکَ مِمَّاۤ اَفَآءَ اللّٰہُ عَلَیۡکَ وَ بَنٰتِ عَمِّکَ وَ بَنٰتِ عَمّٰتِکَ وَ بَنٰتِ خَالِکَ وَ بَنٰتِ خٰلٰتِکَ الّٰتِیۡ ہَاجَرۡنَ مَعَکَ ۫ وَ امۡرَاَۃً مُّؤۡمِنَۃً اِنۡ وَّہَبَتۡ نَفۡسَہَا لِلنَّبِیِّ اِنۡ اَرَادَ النَّبِیُّ اَنۡ یَّسۡتَنۡکِحَہَا ٭ خَالِصَۃً لَّکَ مِنۡ دُوۡنِ الۡمُؤۡمِنِیۡنَ ؕ قَدۡ عَلِمۡنَا مَا فَرَضۡنَا عَلَیۡہِمۡ فِیۡۤ اَزۡوَاجِہِمۡ وَ مَا مَلَکَتۡ اَیۡمَانُہُمۡ لِکَیۡلَا یَکُوۡنَ عَلَیۡکَ حَرَجٌ ؕ وَ کَانَ اللّٰہُ غَفُوۡرًا رَّحِیۡمًا ﴿۵۰﴾
33:50 O Prophet, We have made lawful to you your wives whom you have given their dowries,4 and those whom your right hand possesses, out of those whom Allah has given you as prisoners of war, and the daughters of your paternal uncle and the daughters of your paternal aunts, and the daughters of your maternal uncle and the daughters of your maternal aunts who migrated with you; and a believing woman, if she gives herself to the Prophet, if the Prophet desires to marry her. (It is) especially for you, not for the believers5 — We know what We have ordained for them concerning their wives and those whom their right hands possess in order that no blame may attach to you. And Allah is ever Forgiving, Merciful.
تُرۡجِیۡ مَنۡ تَشَآءُ مِنۡہُنَّ وَ تُــٔۡوِیۡۤ اِلَیۡکَ مَنۡ تَشَآءُ ؕ وَ مَنِ ابۡتَغَیۡتَ مِمَّنۡ عَزَلۡتَ فَلَا جُنَاحَ عَلَیۡکَ ؕ ذٰلِکَ اَدۡنٰۤی اَنۡ تَقَرَّ اَعۡیُنُہُنَّ وَ لَا یَحۡزَنَّ وَ یَرۡضَیۡنَ بِمَاۤ اٰتَیۡتَہُنَّ کُلُّہُنَّ ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ یَعۡلَمُ مَا فِیۡ قُلُوۡبِکُمۡ ؕ وَ کَانَ اللّٰہُ عَلِیۡمًا حَلِیۡمًا ﴿۵۱﴾
33:51 You may put off (by divorce) whom you please of them, and take to yourself whom you please. And whom you desire of those whom you had separated provisionally, no blame attaches to you. This is most proper so that they may be comforted and they may not grieve, and that they should be pleased, all of them, with what you give them.6 And Allah knows what is in your hearts. And Allah is ever Knowing, Forbearing.
لَا یَحِلُّ لَکَ النِّسَآءُ مِنۡۢ بَعۡدُ وَ لَاۤ اَنۡ تَبَدَّلَ بِہِنَّ مِنۡ اَزۡوَاجٍ وَّ لَوۡ اَعۡجَبَکَ حُسۡنُہُنَّ اِلَّا مَا مَلَکَتۡ یَمِیۡنُکَ ؕ وَ کَانَ اللّٰہُ عَلٰی کُلِّ شَیۡءٍ رَّقِیۡبًا ﴿٪۵۲﴾
33:52 It is not allowed to you to take wives after this, nor to change them for other wives,7 though their beauty be pleasing to you, except those whom your right hand (already) possesses.8 And Allah is ever Watchful over all things.
- This section deals with the marriages of the Holy Prophet and fittingly opens with a statement showing how he had made God the greatest force in the lives of a people who had never known God. Again it was by means of the transformation wrought by him that his companions were led out of the darkness of ignorance. How could it be that the man who purified others was himself impure? Could a sensual man, a slave of his passions, turn a nation of idolatrous and ignorant men into a godly people? This argument is then further expanded. ↩
- The words imply that one who could give light to others and raise them from the depth of vice and immorality to the height of purity and perfection could not himself be in the darkness of impurity. The Prophet is here spoken of first as one bearing witness to lost humanity, to people who had lost all idea of God-consciousness, that there is a God. More than that he was a bearer of good news to humanity that God still remembered mankind, and that He had sent His Prophet to make this fallen humanity rise to spiritual eminence, but he was also a warner, and told them that, if they persisted in their evil ways, they would suffer evil consequences; thus he was an Inviter to Allah and the Sun of righteousness. ↩
- In the mention of annoying talk there is a clear reference to the carpings of his petty-minded critics, who try to misrepresent the greatest source of righteousness which the world has ever witnessed, as an evil. The Prophet is told to disregard this annoying talk, as the time would come when the question would be asked: how is it that the Prophet illumined the world and opened the flood-gates of light to a benighted world, if it was darkness that reigned supreme in his own mind? (Editor’s Note: “Disregard their annoying talk” also shows that a Muslim must not become inflamed by verbal abuse of his religion, and if his reply has no effect on the abuser then he should simply ignore the hurtful comments.) ↩
- This revelation came after 4:3, which limits the number of wives a man can take under exceptional circumstances to four. The Prophet was, however, told that he should not divorce the excess number for this reason. The marriages of the Holy Prophet have furnished his critics with the chief implement of attack on him. Therefore we give some details about them below. (1) Up to the age of 25, the Holy Prophet lived a celibate life, a life of transcendent purity among a people who prided themselves on loose sexual relations. (2) At the age of 25, he married a widow, Khadijah, who was 40 years old, and passed all the years of his youth and manhood with her as his only wife till she passed away when he reached the age of 50. Then while still at Makkah he married Saudah, a widow of advanced age. He also married Aishah, his only virgin wife, while still at Makkah, but her marriage was consummated five years afterwards in the 2nd year of the Hijra. (3) From the age of 54 to 60, after the emigration to Madinah, he contracted several marriages at the same time. The women he married were mostly widows of his followers who had been killed in battle or otherwise died. Besides these widows whom it fell to his lot to take under his protection, the Prophet took three widows of his enemies in marriage, and in each case this step led to the union and pacification of a whole tribe. The marriage with Zainab has already been mentioned; she was a divorced woman. (4) The last period was when war came to an end; a reference to this is contained in v. 52: “It is not allowed to you to take wives after this”. Thus it will be seen that all these marriages of the Prophet were due either to feelings of compassion for the widows of his faithful followers or to put a stop to bloodshed and ensure union with some tribe. ↩
- The Prophet was specially allowed to retain all his wives when the number allowed was brought down to four in the case of other believers. This was the only privilege allowed to the Prophet and it is to this that the words, especially for you, refer. ↩
- This verse must be read along with verses 28 and 29, where a choice is given to the Prophet’s wives to remain with him or to depart. A similar choice is given here to the Prophet. And when his wives preferred to lead simple lives with him rather than seek worldly goods by leaving him, the Prophet was no less considerate for their feelings; for despite the choice given to him to retain such of his wives as he liked, he did not exercise this choice to the disadvantage of anyone of them, but retained them all, as they had chosen to remain with him. A reference is, indeed, contained to verses 28 and 29 in the words that they should be pleased, all of them, with what you give them, which indicate that this was altogether a new arrangement in which both parties were given free choice and both sacrificed all other considerations to the sanctity of the marriage-tie. ↩
- When the Prophet’s wives chose to remain with him, the limitation was placed upon the Holy Prophet that he should not take any other wife nor should he divorce anyone of those who had chosen to remain with him. ↩
- By those whom your right hand possesses are indicated the wives of the Prophet whom he had lawfully married. ↩