English Translation and Commentary of the Holy Quran (2010)

by Maulana Muhammad Ali

Chapter 66: At-Tahrim — The Prohibition (Revealed at Madinah: 2 sections, 12 verses)

Section 1 (Verses 66:1–66:7): Holy Prophet’s Domestic Relations


بِسۡمِ اللّٰہِ الرَّحۡمٰنِ الرَّحِیۡمِ

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

یٰۤاَیُّہَا النَّبِیُّ لِمَ تُحَرِّمُ مَاۤ اَحَلَّ اللّٰہُ لَکَ ۚ تَبۡتَغِیۡ مَرۡضَاتَ اَزۡوَاجِکَ ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ غَفُوۡرٌ رَّحِیۡمٌ ﴿۱﴾

66:1 O Prophet, why do you forbid (yourself) what Allah has made lawful for you? Do you seek to please your wives? And Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.1

قَدۡ فَرَضَ اللّٰہُ لَکُمۡ تَحِلَّۃَ اَیۡمَانِکُمۡ ۚ وَ اللّٰہُ مَوۡلٰىکُمۡ ۚ وَ ہُوَ الۡعَلِیۡمُ الۡحَکِیۡمُ ﴿۲﴾

66:2 Allah indeed has sanctioned for you the expiation of your oaths; and Allah is your Patron, and He is the Knowing, the Wise.2

وَ اِذۡ اَسَرَّ النَّبِیُّ اِلٰی بَعۡضِ اَزۡوَاجِہٖ حَدِیۡثًا ۚ فَلَمَّا نَبَّاَتۡ بِہٖ وَ اَظۡہَرَہُ اللّٰہُ عَلَیۡہِ عَرَّفَ بَعۡضَہٗ وَ اَعۡرَضَ عَنۡۢ بَعۡضٍ ۚ فَلَمَّا نَبَّاَہَا بِہٖ قَالَتۡ مَنۡ اَنۡۢبَاَکَ ہٰذَا ؕ قَالَ نَبَّاَنِیَ الۡعَلِیۡمُ الۡخَبِیۡرُ ﴿۳﴾

66:3 And when the Prophet confided an information to one of his wives — but when she disclosed it (to others), and Allah informed him of it, he made known part of it and passed over (another) part. So when he told her of it, she said: Who informed you of this? He said: The Knowing, the One Aware, informed me.3

اِنۡ تَتُوۡبَاۤ اِلَی اللّٰہِ فَقَدۡ صَغَتۡ قُلُوۡبُکُمَا ۚ وَ اِنۡ تَظٰہَرَا عَلَیۡہِ فَاِنَّ اللّٰہَ ہُوَ مَوۡلٰىہُ وَ جِبۡرِیۡلُ وَ صَالِحُ الۡمُؤۡمِنِیۡنَ ۚ وَ الۡمَلٰٓئِکَۃُ بَعۡدَ ذٰلِکَ ظَہِیۡرٌ ﴿۴﴾

66:4 If both of you (wives) turn to Allah, then indeed your hearts are inclined (to this already); and if you back up one another against him, then surely Allah is his Patron, and Gabriel and the righteous believers, and the angels after that are the aiders.

عَسٰی رَبُّہٗۤ اِنۡ طَلَّقَکُنَّ اَنۡ یُّبۡدِلَہٗۤ اَزۡوَاجًا خَیۡرًا مِّنۡکُنَّ مُسۡلِمٰتٍ مُّؤۡمِنٰتٍ قٰنِتٰتٍ تٰٓئِبٰتٍ عٰبِدٰتٍ سٰٓئِحٰتٍ ثَیِّبٰتٍ وَّ اَبۡکَارًا ﴿۵﴾

66:5 Maybe, his Lord, if he divorce you, will give him in your place wives better than you: submitting (to Allah), believing, obedient (to Allah), penitent, serving (Allah), fasting, widows, and virgins.4

یٰۤاَیُّہَا الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا قُوۡۤا اَنۡفُسَکُمۡ وَ اَہۡلِیۡکُمۡ نَارًا وَّ قُوۡدُہَا النَّاسُ وَ الۡحِجَارَۃُ عَلَیۡہَا مَلٰٓئِکَۃٌ غِلَاظٌ شِدَادٌ لَّا یَعۡصُوۡنَ اللّٰہَ مَاۤ اَمَرَہُمۡ وَ یَفۡعَلُوۡنَ مَا یُؤۡمَرُوۡنَ ﴿۶﴾

66:6 O you who believe, save yourselves and your families from a Fire whose fuel is people and stones; over it are angels, stern and strong. They do not disobey Allah in what He commands them, but do as they are commanded.

یٰۤاَیُّہَا الَّذِیۡنَ کَفَرُوۡا لَا تَعۡتَذِرُوا الۡیَوۡمَ ؕ اِنَّمَا تُجۡزَوۡنَ مَا کُنۡتُمۡ تَعۡمَلُوۡنَ ٪﴿۷﴾

66:7 O you who disbelieve, make no excuses this day. You are rewarded only as you did.


  1. The reference here is to the well-known temporary separation from his wives which the Prophet resorted to, on account of his wives demanding more of worldly comforts (see 33:28), regard­ing which the Holy Prophet made a vow.
  2. The expiation of oaths is sanctioned in 5:89. The custom of īlā’, or making a vow not to have conjugal relations with one’s wife, is mentioned as an introduction to the subject of divorce in 2:226, but it is actually prohibited here.
  3. There is no trustworthy report showing what particular incident is referred to here. But as these verses speak of the temporary separation of the Holy Prophet from his wives, it is likely that this incident was also in connection with that separation. From what is related in connection with this incident, it appears that originally Aishah and Hafsah led this demand and later on the other wives joined. And when the Prophet on receiving Divine revelation gave an option to his wives either to remain in his house without more worldly comforts or to part company with him and have the desired comforts, he told Aishah not to take a decision without consulting her parents (Bukhari, 46:25). Maybe it was this matter which Aishah disclosed to the others, and hence their united decision to remain in the Prophet’s house with all the worldly privations.
  4. This shows that all those qualifications which are mentioned here were met with in the Holy Prophet’s wives. He had been given a choice to divorce any of his wives whom he did not desire but, when the wives decided not to leave him despite the extreme austerity of his home life, he did not divorce any of them; see 33:51–52.