The Quran

Commentaries for 33.8

Al Ahzab (The allies) - الأحزاب

33.8 Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(That He may ask the loyal of their loyalty) that He may ask the conveyors of the message about their conveyance, and the loyal about their loyalty and the believers about their faith. (And He hath prepared a painful doom) whose pain extends to their hearts (for the unfaithful) for the disbelievers in Scriptures and messengers.
33.8 Jalal - Al-Jalalayn
that He, God, may question the truthful about their truthfulness, in delivering the Message, as a way thereby to [justifiably] reproach the disbelievers; and He, exalted be He, has prepared for those who disbelieve, in them, a painful chastisement (‘adhāban alīman is a supplement to akhadhnā, ‘We took’).
33.7-8 Kathir - Ibn Al Kathir
The Covenant of the Prophets
Allah tells us about the five Mighty Messengers with strong resolve and the other Prophets, how He took a covenant from them to establish the religion of Allah and convey His Message, and to cooperate and support one another, as Allah says:
وَإِذْ أَخَذَ اللَّهُ مِيثَـقَ النَّبِيِّيْنَ لَمَآ ءَاتَيْتُكُم مِّن كِتَـبٍ وَحِكْمَةٍ ثُمَّ جَآءَكُمْ رَسُولٌ مُّصَدِّقٌ لِّمَا مَعَكُمْ لَتُؤْمِنُنَّ بِهِ وَلَتَنصُرُنَّهُ قَالَ ءَأَقْرَرْتُمْ وَأَخَذْتُمْ عَلَى ذلِكُمْ إِصْرِى قَالُواْ أَقْرَرْنَا قَالَ فَاشْهَدُواْ وَأَنَاْ مَعَكُمْ مِّنَ الشَّـهِدِينَ
(And when Allah took the covenant of the Prophets, saying: "Take whatever I gave you from the Book and Hikmah, and afterwards there will come to you a Messenger confirming what is with you; you must, then, believe in him and help him.'' Allah said: "Do you agree, and will you take up My covenant'' They said: "We agree.'' He said: "Then bear witness; and I am with you among the witnesses.'') (3:81) This covenant was taken from them after their missions started. Elsewhere in the Qur'an, Allah mentions five by name, and these are the Mighty Messengers with strong resolve. They are also mentioned by name in this Ayah and in the Ayah:
شَرَعَ لَكُم مِّنَ الِدِينِ مَا وَصَّى بِهِ نُوحاً وَالَّذِى أَوْحَيْنَآ إِلَيْكَ وَمَا وَصَّيْنَا بِهِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَمُوسَى وَعِيسَى أَنْ أَقِيمُواْ الدِّينَ وَلاَ تَتَفَرَّقُواْ فِيهِ
(He (Allah) has ordained for you the same religion which He ordained for Nuh, and that which We have revealed to you, and that which We ordained for Ibrahim, Musa and `Isa saying you should establish religion and make no divisions in it.) (42:13) This is the covenant which Allah took from them, as He says:
وَإِذْ أَخَذْنَا مِنَ النَّبِيِّيْنَ مِيثَاقَهُمْ وَمِنْكَ وَمِن نُّوحٍ وَإِبْرَهِيمَ وَمُوسَى وَعِيسَى ابْنِ مَرْيَمَ
(And when We took from the Prophets their covenant, and from you, and from Nuh, Ibrahim, Musa, and `Isa son of Maryam.) This Ayah begins with the last Prophet, as a token of respect, may the blessings of Allah be upon him, then the names of the other Prophets are given in order, may the blessings of Allah be upon them. Ibn `Abbas said: "The strong covenant is Al-`Ahd (the covenant).
لِّيَسْأَلَ الصَّـدِقِينَ عَن صِدْقِهِمْ
(That He may ask the truthful about their truth.) Mujahid said: "This refers to, those who convey the Message from the Messengers.''
وَأَعَدَّ لِلْكَـفِرِينَ
(And He has prepared for the disbelievers) i.e., among their nations,
عَذَاباً أَلِيماً
(a painful torment.) i.e., agonizing. We bear witness that the Messengers did indeed convey the Message of their Lord and advised their nations, and that they clearly showed them the truth in which there is no confusion, doubt or ambiguity, even though they were rejected by the ignorant, stubborn and rebellious wrongdoers. What the Messengers brought is the truth, and whoever opposes them is misguided. As the people of Paradise will say:
لَقَدْ جَآءَتْ رُسُلُ رَبِّنَا بِالْحَقِّ
(Indeed, the Messengers of our Lord did come with the truth.) (7:43)
33.7-8 Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
Allah in this verse has reminded the Holy Prophet that, like all other Prophets, He has taken from him too a solemn covenant which he should abide by strictly. A study of the preceding verse shows that the Covenant implies: "The Prophet will first himself obey and follow every Command received from Allah, and then make others also to obey and follow it: he will convey Allah's Commands intact to others and will show no laxity in the struggle to enforce them practically." This Covenant has been mentioned at several other places in the Quran, e.g.
(1)"He has appointed for you the same way of life whim he appointed for Noah and which (O Muhammad,) We have now revealed to you, and which We had already enjoined on Abraham and Moses and Jesus, stressing : `Establish this Way and be not divided in it." (Ash-Shura:13).
(2) "And remember that Allah had made the Covenant with the people who had been given the Scripture, and enjoined: `You shall spread the teachings of the Book among the people and shall not conceal them. " (Al`Imran: 187).
(3)"Remember that We made a solemn Covenant with the children of Israel to the effect: `Worship (and submit to) none save Allah." (AI-Baqarah: 83).
(4) "Has not the Covenant of the Book been taken from them...: `Hold fast the Book We have given you, and keep in mind what it contains: it is expected that you will refrain from wrong ways." (Al-A'raf: 169-171).
(5) "Keep in mind the blessing Allah has bestowed on you and do not forget the solemn Covenant which He made with you, when you said, `We have heard and submitted.' " (A1-Ma`idah: 7)
The reason why Allah is reminding of this Covenant in this context is that the Holy Prophet was feeling hesitant to break the custom of ignorance in respect of the adopted relations due to the apprehension that the enemies of Islam would put him to a disadvantage. He was feeling shy time and again at the thought: The question is of marrying a woman. I may take this initiative with the purest intention only for the sake of a social reform, but the enemies will certainly say that I have done so for the purpose of satisfying my sensual desires, and I am in fact trying to deceive others under the guise of a reformer. That is why Allah assures him, saying: "You arc a Prophet appointed by Us. Like all other Prophets, you also are bound in the Covenant that you will carry out whatever Command We give yourself and command others to follow it. Therefore, you should not bother at all about taunts and derision by others, do dot be afraid and fight shy of others, and carry out without hesitation the service that We want to take from you."
A section of the people think that this Covenant is the covenant that was taken from all the Prophets and their communities, who came before the Holy Prophet, to the effect that they would believe in the Prophet who came afterwards and cooperate with him. On the basis of this interpretation they claim that the door to Prophethood is still open after the Holy Prophet and this covenant has been taken from the Holy Prophet too, that his followers will believe in the prophet who will come after him. But the context in which the verse occurs is explicit that this interpretation is absolutely wrong, There is no occasion whatever in the context to indicate that other prophets will come also after the Holy Prophet and his followers should believe in them. If the verse is read in this sense, it becomes irrelevant and incoherent. Moreover, there is no indication in the words of the verse to show which covenant is implied here. Therefore, to find out the nature of the covenant, we shall have to turn to other verses of the Qur'an in which mention has been made of the covenants taken from the Prophets. Now, if only one sort of the covenants had been mentioned in the entire Qur'an, i.e., the covenant that the people shall believe in the prophets coming afterwards, it would be correct to think that here also the covenant implied the same covenant. But anyone who has studied the Qur'an with an open mind knows that it has mentioned many covenants, which were taken from the Prophets and their followers. Therefore, only that covenant from among the different covenant would be implied here, which fitted in with the context here, and not the one which was altogether irrelevant. Such wrong interpretations reveal the mentality of the people who wish to draw no guidance from the Qur'an but want to reinterpret it instead.
That is, "Allah has not just taken the covenant but will also question as to how far it has been kept. Then only those who will have kept Allah's Covenant faithfully, will be declared to be the truthful. "
To understand the theme of vv. 1-8 well these should be read together with vv. 36-41 of this Surah.
33.8 Tustari - Al-Tustari
so that He may question the truthful (ṣādiqīn) about their veracity. And he has prepared for those who disbelieve a painful chastisement. ʿAbd al-Wāḥid b. Zayd said:Veracity (ṣidq) is being faithful (wafāʾ) to God in your act[s].Sahl was asked about veracity and said:Veracity is fear concerning [our] end (khātima), and patience (ṣabr) is the proof [lit. witness (shāhid)] of veracity. Truly, veracity is hard for the veracious (ṣiddīqūn), sincerity (ikhlāṣ) is hard for the sincere (mukhliṣūn), and repentance (tawba) is hard for the repentant (tāʾibūn), for these three require [extraordinary] exertion of the spirit (badhl al-rūḥ). Aḥmad b. Mattā was asked about its meaning [ṣidq] and said:It is that there no longer remains a share for a person’s lower self.Sahl said:No one will get a whiff of the fragrance of veracity as long as he panders to his lower self or to others. Rather, veracity is that a person feels in his innermost secret (sirr) that there is no one on the face of the earth from whom God has demanded servanthood besides him. Furthermore, his hope is his fear, and his fear is [of] his demise (intiqāl). Then when God, Exalted is He, sees them [the veracious] in this state, He takes upon himself the care of their affairs (tawallā umūrahum) and suffices for them (kafāhum), and every hair on their bodies speaks [as one] with God (maʿa’Llāh) in gnosis (maʿrifa). Thereafter God, Exalted is He, says to them on the Day of Judgement, ‘For whom did you work, and what did you desire?’ They will reply, ‘We worked for You, and You alone did we desire.’ He will say to them, ‘You have spoken the truth.’ And by His Might, His words of testimony affirming their veracity are a greater source of joy to them than the bliss of Paradise.Aḥmad b. Mattā was asked about the meaning of his [Sahl’s] saying, that the hope of veracity is his fear, and that his fear is [of] his demise (intiqāl). He said:It is because veracity (ṣidq) is their hope and what they seek, but they fear that they are not veracious in their quest (ṭalab), so that God will not accept it from them. He has said regarding this: and [those] who give what they give while their hearts tremble [with awe] [23:60], meaning that they are in trepidation while doing acts of obedience, for fear that they will suffer rejection.His words: