33 - Al Ahzab (The allies)

5 Tafsir(s) related to verse 33.1


O Prophet! Fear God, remain in fear of Him, and do not obey the disbelievers and the hypocrites, [and so follow them] in what contravenes your Law. Truly God is Knower, of what will happens before it happens, Wise, in what He creates.

Asbab Al-Nuzul by Al-Wahidi

(O Prophet! Keep thy duty to Allah and obey not the disbelievers and the hypocrites…) [33:1]. This verse was revealed about Abu Sufyan, ‘Ikrimah ibn Abi Jahl and Abu’l-A‘war al-Sulami [‘Amr ibn Sufyan]. After the fighting at Uhud, they travelled to Medina and stayed as guests at ‘Abd Allah ibn Ubayy’s. The Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, had allowed them to come to speak with him with his assurance of protection. They went to see the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, accompanied by ‘Abd Allah ibn Sa‘d ibn Abi Sarh and Tu‘mah ibn Ubayriq. They said to the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, who had ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab with him: “Reject the mention of our idols al-Lat, al-‘Uzza and Manat and say that they have benefit and the power of intercession for those who worship them, and we will leave you alone with your Lord!” Their words hurt the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace. ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab, may Allah be well pleased with him, said: “Let me kill them, O Messenger of Allah!” The Prophet said: “I have given them my assurance of protection”, upon which ‘Umar said to them: “Leave with Allah’s curse and wrath upon you”. The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, commanded ‘Umar to drive them out of Medina, and then Allah, glorious and majestic is He, revealed this verse.

Ibn Al Kathir

The Command to defy the Disbelievers and Hypocrites by following the Revelation of Allah and putting One's Trust in Him

Here Allah points out something lower by referring to something higher. When He commands His servant and Messenger to do this, He is also commanding those who are lower than him, and the command is addressed to them more so. Talq bin Habib said: "Taqwa means obeying Allah in the light of the guidance of Allah and in hope of earning the reward of Allah, and refraining from disobeying Allah in the light of the guidance of Allah and fearing the punishment of Allah.''

وَلاَ تُطِعِ الْكَـفِرِينَ وَالْمُنَـفِقِينَ

(and obey not the disbelievers and the hypocrites.) means, do not listen to what they say and do not consult them.

إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ عَلِيماً حَكِيماً

(Verily, Allah is Ever All-Knower, All-Wise) means, He is more deserving of your following His commandments and obeying Him, for He knows the consequences of all things and is Wise in all that He says and does. Allah says:

وَاتَّبِعْ مَا يُوحَى إِلَـيْكَ مِن رَبِّكَ

(And follow that which is revealed to you from your Lord.) meaning, of the Qur'an and Sunnah.

إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ خَبِيراً

(Verily, Allah is Well-Acquainted with what you do.) means, nothing at all is hidden from Him, and put your trust in Allah, i.e., in all your affairs and situations.

وَكَفَى بِاللَّهِ وَكِيلاً

(and sufficient is Allah as a Wakil.) means, sufficient is He as a Trustee for the one who puts his trust in Him and turns to Him.

Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an

As we have mentioned in the introduction to the Surah, these verses were sent down at a time when Hadrat Zaid had already divorced Hadrat Zainab., Then the Holy Prophet himself was feeling, and Allah also had inspired him with this, that that was the right time for striking at the root of the tradition and customs of ignorance regarding the adopted relations, and that he should take the initiative and marry the divorced wife of his adopted son (Zaid) so that the custom was completely eradicated. But the reason why he was hesitant in this regard was the fear that this would provide a strong excuse to the disbelievers and the hypocrites; who were already burning with jealousy at his successive victories, to start a propaganda campaign against him. This fear was not due to any apprehension for personal defamation, but for the reason that it would harm Islam; it would cause mistrust of Islam among the people who were inclined towards it; it would make the neutral people to join the enemy; and it would cause the weak-minded people among the Muslims themselves to be involved in doubts and suspicions. Therefore, the Holy Prophet thought it was unwise to take a step for the eradication of a custom of ignorance, which would harm the greater interests and objectives of Islam.

In the first very sentence, in the beginning of the discourse, Allah removed all the apprehensions of the Holy Prophet, as if to say: "We know better what is useful and beneficial for ow Religion and what is not. We know what would be wise and what unwise in this regard. Therefore, you should not behave in a manner which would suit the disbelievers and the hypocrites, but you should behave in a manner which is according to Our W ill. You should fear Us and not the disbelievers and the hypocrites."

This sentence is addressed to the Holy Prophet as well as to the Muslims and the opponents of Islam. It means : "If the Prophet earns defamation by acting according to the Command of Allah, and bears patiently the attacks of the enemy on his honor, his devoted and sincere services will not remain hidden from Allah.. The state of the Muslims who remain steadfast in their loyalty to the Prophet and of those who are involved in doubts and suspicions will be known to Allah. And Allah will also not remain unaware of the attempts of the disbelievers and the hypocrites who try to defame the Prophet."

The addressee of this sentence is again the Holy Prophet. He is being instructed to the effect "Carry out the duty that is being entrusted to you with full confidence in Allah, and do not care at all even if the whole world turns hostile to you." When a man comes to know with certainty that a certain Command has been given by Allah, he should have the satisfaction that his whole well-being and his good lies in its compliance. Then, it is not for him to see and understand its wisdom, but he should carry it out with full confidence in Allah. Allah is enough for him that the servant should entrust all his affairs to Him. He is enough for his guidance as well as help, and He alone is also responsible that the one working under His guidance should never meet with evil consequences.

Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs

And from his narration on the authority of Ibn 'Abbas that he said regarding the interpretation of Allah's saying (O Prophet! Keep thy duty to Allah): '(O Prophet! Keep thy duty to Allah) He says: fear Allah in relation to breaking your pledge before the time of its expiry (and obey not the disbelievers) from among the people Mecca: Abu Sufyan Ibn Harb, 'Ikrimah Ibn Abi Jahl and Abu'l-A'war al-Aslami (and the hypocrites) of Medina: 'Abdullah Ibn Ubayy Ibn Salul, Mu'attib Ibn Qushayr and Jadd Ibn Qays; do not obey them in what they ask you to commit of transgression. (Lo! Allah is Knower) of what they say and of their intent to kill you, (Wise) He enjoined that one should honour one's pledge and forbade breaking pledges.