The Quran

Commentaries for 33.53

Al Ahzab (The allies) - الأحزاب

33.53 Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(O ye who believe! Enter not the dwellings of the Prophet for a meal) this verse was revealed concerning a group of believers who used to enter the rooms of the Prophet (pbuh) in the morning and evening and wait for the food to be served. They used to eat and speak with the wives of the Prophet (pbuh). The Prophet (pbuh) did not like this but felt shy of these believers and could not tell them to stop coming to his rooms without permission, or ask them to leave once they were inside. But Allah forbade them from this, saying: O believers, do not enter the rooms of the Prophet (pbuh) without permission from the Prophet to come and eat (without waiting for the proper time) for the food to be ready, (unless permission be granted you) to come in. (But if ye are invited, enter, and, when, your meal is ended) when you have finished eating, (then disperse) then leave. (Linger not for conversation) with the wives of the Prophet (pbuh). (Lo! That) coming in, sitting down and having conversation with the wives of the Prophet (pbuh) (would cause annoyance to the Prophet) Allah bless him and give him peace, (and he would be shy of (asking) you (to go)) or not to come in the first place; (but Allah is not shy of the Truth) Allah is not shy to command you to leave and not go in his rooms without his permission. (And when ye ask of them (the wives of the Prophet) anything) and when you speak with them, (ask it of them) speak with them (from behind a curtain. That is purer for your hearts and for their hearts) i.e. from doubts. (And it is not for you to cause annoyance to the Messenger of Allah) by entering his rooms without his permission and conversing with his wives, (nor that ye should ever marry his wives after him) after his death. This verse was revealed about Talhah Ibn 'Ubaydullah who had in mind to marry 'A'ishah after the death of the Prophet (pbuh). (Lo! That) your open declaration and intention to marry the Prophet's wives after his death (in Allah's sight would be an enormity) it is an enormous sin which merits severe punishment.
33.53 Jalal - Al-Jalalayn
O you who believe, do not enter the Prophet’s houses unless permission is granted you, to enter by invitation, to [share] a meal, and so you enter, without waiting for the [right] moment, [for] when it is ready (ināhu, a verbal noun from anā, ya’nī). But when you are invited, enter, and, when you have had your meal, disperse, without, lingering for, any [leisurely] conversation, amongst yourselves. Indeed that, lingering, is upsetting for the Prophet, and he is [too] shy of you, to make you leave, but God is not shy of the truth, that you should leave — in other words, He would never refrain from declaring it (a variant reading [for yastahyī] has yastahī). And when you ask anything of [his] womenfolk, in other words, the wives of the Prophet (s), ask them from behind a screen, a curtain. That is purer for your hearts and their hearts, than [entertaining] sinful thoughts. And you should never cause the Messenger of God hurt, in any way; nor ever marry his wives after him. Assuredly that in God’s sight would be very grave, as a sin.
33.53-54 Kathir - Ibn Al Kathir
The Etiquette of entering the Houses of the Prophet and the Command of Hijab
This is the Ayah of Hijab, which includes several legislative rulings and points of etiquette. This is one of the cases where the revelation confirmed the opinion of `Umar bin Al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with him, as it was reported in the Two Sahihs that he said: "My view coincided with that of my Lord in three things. I said, `O Messenger of Allah, why do you not take Maqam Ibrahim as a place of prayer' Then Allah revealed:
وَاتَّخِذُواْ مِن مَّقَامِ إِبْرَهِيمَ مُصَلًّى
(And take you (people) the Maqam (place) of Ibrahim as a place of prayer) (2:125) And I said, `O Messenger of Allah, both righteous and immoral people enter upon your wives, so why do you not screen them' Then Allah revealed the Ayah of Hijab. And I said to the wives of the Prophet when they conspired against him out of jealousy,
عَسَى رَبُّهُ إِن طَلَّقَكُنَّ أَن يُبْدِلَهُ أَزْوَجاً خَيْراً مِّنكُنَّ
(It may be if he divorced you (all) that his Lord will give him instead of you, wives better than you) (66:5), and this is what Allah revealed.'' In a report recorded by Muslim, the prisoners of Badr are mentioned, and this is a fourth matter (in which the view of `Umar coincided with that of his Lord). Al-Bukhari recorded that Anas bin Malik said: "`Umar bin Al-Khattab said: `O Messenger of Allah, both righteous and immoral people enter upon you, so why not instruct the Mothers of the believers to observe Hijab' Then Allah revealed the Ayah of Hijab.'' Al-Bukhari recorded that Anas bin Malik, may Allah be pleased with him, said: "When the Messenger of Allah married Zaynab bint Jahsh, he invited the people to eat, then they sat talking. When he wanted to get up, they did not get up. When he saw that, he got up anyway, and some of them got up, but three people remained sitting. The Prophet wanted to go in, but these people were sitting, then they got up and went away. I came and told the Prophet that they had left, then he came and entered. I wanted to follow him, but he put the screen between me and him. Then Allah revealed,
يأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ لاَ تَدْخُلُواْ بُيُوتَ النَّبِىِّ إِلاَّ أَن يُؤْذَنَ لَكُمْ إِلَى طَعَامٍ غَيْرَ نَـظِرِينَ إِنَـهُ وَلَـكِنْ إِذَا دُعِيتُمْ فَادْخُلُواْ فَإِذَا طَعِمْتُمْ فَانْتَشِرُواْ
(O you who believe! Enter not the Prophet's houses, unless permission is given to you for a meal, (and then) not (so early as) to wait for its preparation. But when you are invited, enter, and when you have taken your meal, disperse...)'' Al-Bukhari also recorded this elsewhere. It was also recorded by Muslim and An-Nasa'i. Then Al-Bukhari recorded that Anas bin Malik said: "The Prophet married Zaynab bint Jahsh with (a wedding feast of) meat and bread. I sent someone to invite people to the feast, and some people came and ate, then left. Then another group came and ate, and left. I invited people until there was no one left to invite. I said, `O Messenger of Allah, I cannot find anyone else to invite.' He said,
«ارْفَعُوا طَعَامَكُم»
(Take away the food.) There were three people left who were talking in the house. The Prophet went out until he came to the apartment of `A'ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, and he said,
«السَّلَامُ عَلَيْكُمْ أَهْلَ الْبَيْتِ وَرَحْمَةُ اللهِ وَبَرَكَاتُه»
(May peace be upon you, members of the household, and the mercy and blessings of Allah.) She said, `And upon you be peace and the mercy of Allah. How did you find your (new) wife, O Messenger of Allah May Allah bless you.' He went round to the apartments of all his wives, and spoke with them as he had spoken with `A'ishah, and they spoke as `A'ishah had spoken. Then the Prophet came back, and those three people were still talking in the house. The Prophet was extremely shy, so he went out and headed towards `A'ishah's apartment. I do not know whether I told him or someone else told him when the people had left, so he came back, and when he was standing with one foot over the threshold and the other foot outside, he placed the curtain between me and him, and the Ayah of Hijab was revealed.'' This was recorded only by Al-Bukhari among the authors of the Six Books, apart from An-Nasa'i, in Al-Yaum wal-Laylah.
لاَ تَدْخُلُواْ بُيُوتَ النَّبِىِّ
(Enter not the Prophet's houses,) the believers were prohibited from entering the houses of the Messenger of Allah without permission, as they used to do during the Jahiliyyah and at the beginning of Islam, until Allah showed His jealousy over this Ummah and commanded them to seek permission. This is a sign of His honoring this Ummah. Hence the Messenger of Allah said:
«إِيَّاكُمْ وَالدُّخُولَ عَلَى النِّسَاء»
(Beware of entering upon women...) Then Allah makes an exception, when He says:
إِلاَّ أَن يُؤْذَنَ لَكُمْ إِلَى طَعَامٍ غَيْرَ نَـظِرِينَ إِنَـهُ
(unless permission is given to you for a meal, (and then) not (so early as) to wait for its preparation.) Mujahid, Qatadah and others said: "This means, without waiting for the food to be prepared.'' In other words, do not watch the food as it is being cooked to see if it is nearly ready, then come and enter the house, because this is one of the things that Allah dislikes and condemns. This indicates that it is forbidden to watch out for food being prepared, which is what the Arabs called Tatfil (being an uninvited guest). Al-Khatib Al-Baghdadi wrote a book condemning those who watch out for food being prepared, and mentioned more things about this topic than we can quote here. Then Allah says:
وَلَـكِنْ إِذَا دُعِيتُمْ فَادْخُلُواْ فَإِذَا طَعِمْتُمْ فَانْتَشِرُواْ
(But when you are invited, enter, and when you have taken your meal, disperse) In Sahih Muslim it is recorded that Ibn `Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, said: "The Messenger of Allah said:
«إِذَا دَعَا أَحَدُكُمْ أَخَاهُ فَلْيُجِبْ عُرْسًا كَانَ أَوْ غَيْرَه»
(When anyone of you invites his bother, let him respond, whether it is for a wedding or for any other reason.)'' Allah says:
وَلاَ مُسْتَأْنِسِينَ لِحَدِيثٍ
(without sitting for a talk.) meaning, as those three people did who stayed behind and chatted, and forgot themselves to such an extent that this caused inconvenience for the Messenger of Allah as Allah says:
إِنَّ ذَلِكُمْ كَانَ يُؤْذِى النَّبِىِّ فَيَسْتَحْيِى مِنكُمْ
(Verily, such (behavior) annoys the Prophet, and he is shy of (asking) you (to go);) It was said that what was meant was, your entering his houses without permission causes him inconvenience and annoyance, but he did not like to forbid them to do so because he felt too shy,' until Allah revealed that this was forbidden. Allah says:
وَاللَّهُ لاَ يَسْتَحْىِ مِنَ الْحَقِّ
(but Allah is not shy of (telling you) the truth.) meaning, `this is why He is forbidding and prohibiting you from doing that.' Then Allah says:
وَإِذَا سَأَلْتُمُوهُنَّ مَتَـعاً فَاسْـَلُوهُنَّ مِن وَرَآءِ حِجَابٍ
(And when you ask (his wives) for anything you want, ask them from behind a screen,) meaning, `just as it is forbidden for you to enter upon them, it is forbidden for you to look at them at all. If anyone of you has any need to take anything from them, he should not look at them, but he should ask for whatever he needs from behind a screen.'
Prohibition of annoying the Messenger and the Statement that His Wives are Unlawful for the Muslims
وَمَا كَانَ لَكُمْ أَن تؤْذُواْ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ وَلاَ أَن تَنكِحُواْ أَزْوَاجَهُ مِن بَعْدِهِ أَبَداً إِنَّ ذَلِكُمْ كَانَ عِندَ اللَّهِ عَظِيماً
(And it is not (right) for you that you should annoy Allah's Messenger, nor that you should ever marry his wives after him (his death). Verily, with Allah that shall be an enormity.) Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Ibn `Abbas said concerning the Ayah;
وَمَا كَانَ لَكُمْ أَن تؤْذُواْ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ
(And it is not (right) for you that you should annoy Allah's Messenger,) "This was revealed concerning a man who wanted to marry one of the wives of the Prophet after he died. A man said to Sufyan, `Was it `A'ishah' He said, `That is what they said.''' This was also stated by Muqatil bin Hayyan and `Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam. He also reported with his chain of narration from As-Suddi that the one who wanted to do this was Talhah bin `Ubaydullah, may Allah be pleased with him, until this Ayah was revealed forbidding that. Hence the scholars were unanimous in stating that it was forbidden for anyone to marry any of the women who were married to the Messenger of Allah at the time when he died, because they are his wives in this world and in the Hereafter, and they are the Mothers of the believers, as stated previously. Allah regarded that as a very serious matter, and issued the sternest of warnings against it, as He said:
إِنَّ ذَلِكُمْ كَانَ عِندَ اللَّهِ عَظِيماً
(Verily, with Allah that shall be an enormity.) Then He said:
إِن تُبْدُواْ شَيْئاً أَوْ تُخْفُوهُ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ بِكُلِّ شَىْءٍ عَلِيماً
(Whether you reveal anything or conceal it, verily, Allah is Ever All-Knower of everything.) meaning, `whatever you conceal in your innermost thoughts, it is not hidden from Him at all.'
يَعْلَمُ خَآئِنَةَ الاٌّعْيُنِ وَمَا تُخْفِى الصُّدُورُ
(Allah knows the fraud of the eyes, and all that the breasts conceal.) (40:19).
33.53-54 Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
This is an introduction to the general Command that was given in Surah An-Nur: 27 about a year later. In the ancient times the Arabs would enter one another's house unceremoniously. If a person had to see another person he did not drink it was necessary to call at the door or take permission for entry, but would enter the house and ask the womenfolk and children whether the master was at home or not, This custom of ignorance was the cause of many evils and would often give rise to some serious evils. Therefore, in the beginning a rule was made in respect of the houses of the Holy Prophet that no person, whether a close friend or a distant relative, could enter them without permission. Then in Surah An-Nur a general command was given to enforce this rule for the houses of all the Muslims.
This is the second command in this connection. An uncivilized practice prevalent among the Arabs was that the visitors would call on a friend or acquaintance right at the time of the meals, or would come and prolong their stay till the meals time approached. This would often cause the master of the house great embarrassment. He could neither be so discourteous as to tell the visitors to leave because it was his meals time, nor could feed so many unexpected guests together. For it is not always possible for a person to arrange meals immediately for as many visitors as happened to call on him at a time. Allah disapproved of this practice and commanded that the visitors should go for meals to a house only when invited. This Command did not in particular apply to the Holy Prophet's house only but the rules were in the beginning enforced in that model household so that they become general rules of etiquette in the houses of the other Muslims as well.
This was to reform yet another foolish practice. The guests at a feast, after they had finished eating, would sit down to endless gossip and discussions much to the inconvenience of the people of the house. They would often embarrass the Holy Prophet also by this practice, but he would forbear and forget. At last on the day of the marriage feast of Hadrat Zainab the embarrassment thus caused crossed all limits. According to the Holy Prophet's special attendant, Hadrat Anas bin Malik, the feast was held at night. Most of the people left after taking food but a couple or two of them got engaged jn gossip. Disconcerted the Holy Prophet rose and went round to his wives. When he returned he found the gentlemen still sitting. He turned back and sat in Hadrat 'A'ishah's apartment. When a good deal of the night had passed he came to know that the gentlemen had left. Then he returned and went to the apartment of Hadrat Zainab. After this it became inevitable that Allah Himself should warn. the people of these evil practices. According to Hadrat Anas these verses were sent down on this occasion. (Muslim, Nasa'i Ibn Jarir).
This is the verse which is called "the verse of the veil". Bukhari has related on the authority of Hadrat Anas that before the coming down of this verse, Hadrat 'Umar had made a suggestion several times to the Holy Prophet to the effect: "O Messenger of Allah, all sorts of the people, good and bad, come to visit you. Would that you commanded your wives to observe hijab. According to another tradition, once Hadrat 'Umar said to the holy wives, "If what I say concerning you is accepted, my eyes should never see you. " But since the Holy Prophet was not independent in making law, he awaited Divine Revelation. At last, this Command came down that except for the mahram males (as being stated in v. SS below) no other man should enter the Holy Prophet's houses, and whoever had to ask some thing from the ladies, should ask for it from behind a curtain. After this Command curtains were hung at the doors of the apartments of the wives, and since the Holy Prophet's house was a model for the Muslims to follow, they too hung curtains at their doors. The last sentence of the verse itself points out that whoever desire that the hearts of the men and women should remain pure, should adopt this way.
Now whosoever has been blessed with understanding by Allah can himself see that the Book which forbids the men and women to talk to each other face to face and commands them to speak from behind a curtain because `this is a better way for the purity of your as well as their hearts," could not possibly permit that the men and women should freely meet in mixed gatherings, educational and democratic institutions and offices, because it did not affect the purity of the hearts in any way. For him who does not want to follow the Qur'an, the best way would be that he should disregard its Commands and should frankly say that he has no desire to follow it. But this would be the height of meanness that he should violate the clear Commandments of the Qur'an and then stubbornly say that he is following the ¦spirit" of Islam which he has extracted. After all, what is that spirit of Islam which these people extract from sources outside the Qur'an and the sunnah?
The allusion is to the false allegations that were being made in those days against the Holy Prophet, and some weak-minded Muslims also were joining the disbelievers and the hypocrites in doing this.
This is the explanation of what has been said in verse 6:"...the Prophet's wives are mothers of the believers."
That is, "If a person entertains an evil thought in his heart against the Holy Prophet, or harbors an evil intention about his wives, it will not remain hidden from Allah, and he will be punished for it. "
33.53 Wahidi - Asbab Al-Nuzul by Al-Wahidi
(O Ye who believe! Enter not the dwellings of the Prophet…) [33:53]. Most of the commentators of the Qur’an said: “When the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, married Zaynab bint Jahsh, he organised a wedding feast in which was offered dates and a mush of wheat and he slaughtered a sheep. Anas said: ‘My mother Umm Sulaym sent him a container made of stone. The Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, then commanded me to invite his Companions to eat and so I did. Groups of people came, ate and then left. I said: ‘O Prophet of Allah, I have invited everybody and there is no one else to invite’. He said: ‘Take away your food’. They took away the food and people left, except for three people who stayed in the room talking among themselves. They stayed so long that they annoyed the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, who was extremely bashful [such that he could not ask them to leave]. And so this verse was revealed, and the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, drew a veil between him and me’ ”. Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Faqih informed us> Abu Umar Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Hiri> ‘Imran ibn Musa ibn Mujashi‘> ‘Abd al-A‘la ibn Hammad al-Nursi> al-Mu‘tamir ibn Sulayman> his father> Abu Majlaz> Anas ibn Malik who said: “When the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, married Zaynab ibn Jahsh, he invited people to a wedding ceremony. People ate and then remained in their seats talking to each other. The Prophet made as if he was preparing himself to leave but people did not get the hint. He then left the room and people left with him, except for three people who remained sitting. When the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, returned and found them still sitting, he went out again. When they saw this, the three men left. I went and informed the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, that they had left. He returned and entered his room. I wanted to enter with him but he drew the curtain between him and me. Allah, exalted is He, then revealed (O Ye who believe! Enter not the dwellings of the Prophet for a meal without waiting for the proper time…) up to His words (Lo! that in Allah’s sight would be an enormity)”. This was narrated by Bukhari from Muhammad ibn ‘Abd Allah al-Riqashi and also by Muslim from Yahya ibn Habib al-Harithi; both al-Riqashi and al-Harithi related it from al-Mu‘tamir. Isma‘il ibn Ibrahim al-Wa‘iz informed us> Abu ‘Amr ibn Nujayd> Muhammad ibn al-Hasan ibn al-Khalil> Hisham ibn ‘Ammar> al-Khalil ibn Musa> ‘Abd Allah ibn ‘Awn> ‘Amr ibn Shu‘ayb> Anas ibn Malik who said: “I was with the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, when he passed by one of his rooms and saw people there sitting and talking. He then returned and entered the room and drew the curtain in my face. I went to Abu Talhah and related to him what had happened. He said: ‘If what you say is true, Allah, exalted is He, will reveal some Qur’an about it’. Allah, exalted is He, then revealed (O Ye who believe! Enter not the dwellings of the Prophet for a meal without waiting for the proper time)”. Ahmad ibn al-Hasan al-Hiri informed us> Hajib ibn Ahmad> ‘Abd al-Rahim ibn Munib> Yazid ibn Harun> Humayd> Anas who said: “‘Umar ibn al-Khattab, may Allah be well pleased with him, said: ‘I said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, the righteous and the corrupt enter in on you, why do you not command the mothers of the believers to be out of the sight of men’, and so Allah, exalted is He, revealed the verse of segregation (Ayat al-Hijab)’ ”. This was narrated by Bukhari> Musaddid> Yahya ibn Abi Za’idah> Humayd. Abu Hakim al-Jurjani informed us through verbal authorisation> Abu’l-Faraj al-Qadi> Muhammad ibn Jarir> Ya‘qub ibn Ibrahim> Hushaym> Layth> Mujahid who related that the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, was once eating with his Companions when the hand of one of them touched the hand of ‘A’ishah who was with them. The Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, was upset because of this, and the verse of segregation was revealed. (… nor that ye should marry his wives after him…) [33:53]. ‘Ata’ related that Ibn ‘Abbas said: “One of the nobles of Quraysh said: ‘I would marry ‘A’ishah if the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, were to die’, and so Allah, exalted is He, revealed this verse”.