Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
He said: (The Prophet is closer to the believers) the Prophet has a better right to preserve the children of the believers (than their selves) after they die, due to the saying of the Prophet (pbuh): " Whoever dies and leaves behind a burden I will carry it for him, or a debt I will pay it back for him, or wealth it will go to his inheritors ", (and his wives) the wives of the Prophet (pbuh) (are (as) their mothers) are like their mother in unmarriageability. (And the owners of kinship) those related with ties of kinship (are closer one to another) have more right to one another in relation to inheritance (in the ordinance of Allah) thus it is written in the Guarded Tablet; and it is said: thus it is written in the Torah; and it is said: thus it is written in the Qur'an (than (other) believers and the fugitives (who fled from Mecca) except that ye should do kindness) a bequest not exceeding a third of the whole inheritance (to your friends) your custodians in religion or your friends. (This) inheritance for relatives and bequests for friends or clients (is written in the Book) in the Guarded Tablet; it is also said: it is written in the Torah and the Children of Israel practise it.
The Prophet is closer to the believers than their [own] souls, in terms of what he calls them to and what their own souls have called them to contravene, and his wives are their mothers, insofar as they [the believers] are forbidden to marry them. And those related by blood, kinsmen, are more entitled, to inherit [from], one another in the Book of God than the [other] believers and the Emigrants, in other words, than inheriting on account of [their sharing] faith and the Emigration, which had been the case at the beginning of Islam but was then abrogated; barring any favour you may do your friends, by [making] a bequest, which is permissible. This, namely, the abrogation of inheritance on account of [shared] faith and Emigration by the inheritance on account of kinship, is written in the Book — in both instances al-kitāb, ‘the Book’, denotes the Preserved Tablet (al-lawh al-mahfūz).
Loyalty to the Prophet ; and his wives are Mothers of the Believers
Allah tells us how His Messenger is merciful and sincere towards his Ummah, and how he is closer to them than they are to themselves. His judgement or ruling takes precedence over their own choices for themselves, as Allah says:
(But no, by your Lord, they can have no faith, until they make you judge in all disputes between them, and find in themselves no resistance against your decisions, and accept with full submission.) (4:65) In the Sahih it says:
(By the One in Whose Hand is my soul, none of you truly believes until I am dearer to him than his own self, his wealth, his children and all the people.) It was also reported in the Sahih that `Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, said: "O Messenger of Allah, by Allah, you are dearer to me than everything except myself.'' He said,
If any believer leaves behind any wealth, let his own relatives inherit it, but if he leaves behind any debt or orphans, bring them to me and I will take care of them.) This was recorded only by Al-Bukhari, and he also recorded it in the Book of Loans.
(and his wives are their mothers.) means, they are unlawful for marriage. In terms of honor, respect and veneration, it is not permissible for them to be alone with them, and the prohibition of marriage to them does not extend to their daughters and sisters, according to scholarly consensus.
(And blood relations among each other have closer personal ties in the decree of Allah than the believers and the Muhajirin, ) This is an abrogation of the rule that existed previously, whereby they could inherit from one another by virtue of the oath of brotherhood among them. Ibn `Abbas and others said: "A Muhajir would inherit from an Ansari even though they were not related by blood, because of the brotherhood established between them by the Messenger of Allah.'' This was also stated by Sa`id bin Jubayr and others among scholars of the earlier and later generations.
(except that you do kindness to those brothers.) means, the idea of inheriting from one another has gone, but there remains the duty to offer support and kindness, to uphold ties of brotherhood and to offer good advice.
كَانَ ذلِك فِى الْكِتَـبِ مَسْطُورًا
(This has been written in the Book.) This ruling, which is that those who are blood relatives have closer personal ties to one another, is a ruling which Allah has decreed and which is written in the First Book which cannot be altered or changed. This is the view of Mujahid and others. (This is the case) even though Allah legislated something different at certain times, and there is wisdom behind this, for He knew that this would be abrogated and the original ruling that was instituted an eternity ago would prevail, and this is His universal and legislative decree. And Allah knows best.
Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
That is, "The relationship of the Holy Prophet with the Muslims and of the Muslims with the Holy Prophet is of a superior nature, over and above all human relationships. No other relationship is in any way comparable with the relationship that exists between the Holy Prophet and the believers. The Holy Prophet (may Allah's peace and blessings be upon him) is more compassionate and affectionate and a greater well-wisher of the Muslims than their own parents, even theft own selves. Their parents and their wives and children can harm them, can treat them in a selfish manner and mislead them, can make them commit errors and mistakes, can push them into Hell, but the Holy Prophet's cast is different: he will do for them only that which results in and leads to their eternal well-being and enduring happiness. They can commit follies resulting in their own ruin and disaster, but the Holy Prophet will wish for them only that which is beneficial and useful for them. And when it is so, the Holy Prophet also has a right on the Muslims that they should regard him dearer than their own parents, their own children, even their own selves. They should lout him more than anything and anybody else in the world; should prefer his judgment and opinion to their own and should submit to every command that he gives.
The same thing has been said by the Holy Prophet in a Hadith, which Bukhari and Muslim and others have related with a little difference in wording: "No one of you can be a believer until I become dearer to him than his own father and his own children and all mankind. "
On the basis of the special relationship mentioned above, another characteristic of the Holy Prophet is that his wives are forbidden to the Muslims just like their own real mothers although their adopted mothers are in no sense their real mothers. This thing is peculiar only to the person of the Holy Prophet and of no other man in the world.
In this connection, one should also know that the wives of the Holy Prophet are mothers of the believers only in the sense that the Muslims are under obligation to have reverence and respect for them, and no Muslim could marry them. As for other matters they are not like the mothers. For example, apart from their real relatives, all other Muslims were non-mahram for them from whom they had to observe Purdah; their daughters were not like real sisters for the Muslims, so that no Muslim could marry them; their brothers and sisters were not like the maternal uncles and aunts for the Muslims; they could not be inherited by a Muslim, unless a close relative, as a mother is inherited by her son.
Another noteworthy point in this connection is that according to the Qur'an, this status accrues to all the wives of the Holy Prophet among whom Hadrat 'A'ishah is also included. But, when a section (of the Muslims) made Hadrat `AIi and Fatimah (may Allah be pleased with them) and their children the center of their Faith and made the whole system of religion revolve around them, and made Hadrat `A'ishah also, along with many other Companions, the target of curse and abuse, this verse became a hindrance for them, for according to it every person who claims to be a believer has to acknowledge her as his mother. Consequently, to overcome this difficulty a strange claim was made to the effect: The Holy Prophet had given Hadrat 'Ali the authority that after his death he could allow any of his wives he liked to retain her position of the holy wife and divorce any other on his behalf. Abu Mansur Ahmad bin Abu Talib Tabrasi has written this in Kitab al-Ihtijaj and Suleman bin `Abdullah al-Bahrani has related that the Holy Prophet said to Hadrat `Ali "O Abul Hasan: this honor will last till the time that we remain steadfast on obedience to Allah. Therefore, you may divorce any of my wives, who after me disobeys Allah by revolting against you, and deprive her of the honor that belongs to the mothers of the faithful. "
This is a false -tradition even according to the principles of reporting Hadith. But if one studies vv. 28-29 and 51-52 of this very Surah Al-Ahzab itself, one finds that this tradition goes against the Qur'an as well. For after the revelation of the "verse of the option" (v. 29), the Holy Prophet's right of divorce against those of his wives who chose to remain with him through every difficulty had been curtailed. For further explanation, see E.N.'s 42 and 93 below.
Moreover, if an unbiased person only uses his common sense and considers this tradition carefully, he will find that it is utterly absurd and highly derogatory in respect to the Holy Prophet. The rank and position of the Messenger of Allah is very high and exalted. It cannot even be expected of an ordinary man that he would think of divorcing his wife after his death and on leaving the world would authorize his son-in-law to divorce her on his behalf if there arose a dispute between him and her in the future. This shows what regard these sectarians have for the honor and reverence of the Holy Prophet himself; and even for the Divine Law.
The verse means this: As for the' Holy Prophet the nature of the Muslims' relationship with him is unique. Hut as far as the common Muslims are concerned, their mutual relationship will be based on the principle that the rights of the relatives on one another are given priority over the rights of others. No charity is right if a person overlooks the needs and requirements of his own parents and children and brothers and sisters, and gives away charities to others: The Zakat money also will be used first of all to help one's own poor relatives and then the other needy people. The inheritance will necessarily be divided among those who are nearest in relation to the deceased. As for others, the dying person may give them a part of his wealth as a gift or by trust and will. But in no case is he allowed to deprive his rightful heirs and give away everything to others. After this Divine Command the system of "Brotherhood" that had been established between the Muhajirin and the Ansar after the Hijrah also became abolished, for according to it the Muhajirin and the Ansar became heirs to one another only on the basis of their relationship of being the brethren in faith. Allah enjoined the law that inheritance will be divided only on the basis of blood relationship; however, a person could help his brother-in-faith by making him a gift or through a will if he so liked.
The Prophet is closer to the believers than their [own] souls… He said:Whoever does not see himself [or his soul] as belonging to the Messenger and does not see the patronage (wilāya) of the Messenger in every situation, has in no way tasted the sweetnessof his Sunna. This is because the Prophet is the closest to the believers, and the Prophet says, ‘None of you believes until I am dearer to him than his soul, his wealth, his children and everyone else.’ His words, Exalted is He: