Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(Lo! those who call thee from behind the private apartment) this was revealed about a folk from Banu 'Anbar, from the Khuza'ah tribe to whom the Prophet (pbuh) sent a military expedition under the leadership of 'Uyaynah Ibn Hisn al-Fazari. When they heard of the advance of this expedition towards them, they fled, leaving behind their wives and children and properties. Their wives and children were taken captive and brought to the Prophet (pbuh). The men who fled went to Medina to ransom their wives and children and entered the city at the time of the siesta. They called: “O Muhammad, come out to see us”, while he was sleeping. Allah censured them for doing so, saying: (Lo! those who call you from behind the private apartment most of them) all of them (have no sense) do not understand Allah's command or divine Oneness nor the reverence due to Allah's Messenger.
The following was revealed regarding a group of people who came to see the Prophet (s) during the midday [resting] period while he was in his house, and called out to him: Truly those who call you from behind the apartments, the [private] chambers of his womenfolk (hujurāt is the plural of hujra, which is an area of ground on which stones are laid [yuhjaru ‘alayhi] to form a wall or the like), and it happened that each one of them called out, in that rough and crude Bedouin manner, from behind one of the apartments, as they did not know in which apartment he was, most of them do not understand, given the way in which they acted, your exalted status and the reverence that befits it.
(And if they had patience till you could come out to them, it would have been better for them.) it would have earned them the better benefit of this life and the Hereafter. Allah, Worthy of all praise, then encourages them to turn to Him in repentance.
وَاللَّهُ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ
(And Allah is Forgiving, Most Merciful.) It was reported that this Ayah was revealed about Al-Aqra` bin Habis At-Tamimi, may Allah be pleased with him, according to more than one source. Imam Ahmad recorded that Al-Aqra` bin Habis said that he called the Messenger of Allah from behind his dwellings, saying, "O Muhammad! O Muhammad!'' "O Allah's Messenger!'' according to another narration, but the Messenger did not answer him, Al-Aqra` said, "O Allah's Messenger.
Investigating the Reliability of the News conveyed by Wicked People
Allah the Exalted ordered investigating the news that sinners and the wicked bring, to make sure of its authenticity. Otherwise, if the sinner's word is taken for granted and a decision is based on it, regardless of whether the information is true or not, the authorities will be taking the lead of the sinners. Allah the Exalted and Most Honored forbade taking the path of the corrupted and sinners. This is why groups of the scholars of Hadith refuse to accept narrations from narrators whose reliability is unknown, for they might be from among the wicked people, in reality.
The Prophet's Decision is Better
Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
The people who in the blessed time of the Holy Prophet had received training in Islamic etiquette and manners under the Holy Prophet himself had a full regard for his person. They fully realized how busy he remained in performing the mission entrusted to him by Allah; they also understood full well that during those tiresome activities he must necessarily have some time for rest, time for his important occupations and also time for attending to his domestic affairs. Therefore, they would come to visit him only at the time when he was available outside his house, and if ever they did not find him outside his living quarters among his Companions, they would sit and await his emergence and would avoid giving him the trouble of coming out of his house unless there was a special need for it. But many a time it so happened that the people from far flung areas, who had had no opportunity to receive training in good manners, would come to visit the Holy Prophet with the idea that the one who invited others to Allah and was working for the reformation of the people had no right to have rest at any time, and they had the right to visit and see him any time they pleased in the day or night and it was his duty that whenever they happened to arrive he should be ready to receive them. Some of these people who came to see the Holy Prophet from different parts of Arabia were so uncouth and impolite that they would not take the trouble to inform him of their arrival through some attendant, but would start shouting from outside the apartments of his wives to call him out. Several such incidents have been reported by the Companions in the Hadith. This sort of behavior troubled him much, but he was tolerant on account of his natural clemency. At last, Allah had to intervene, Who reproved the people for their uncivilized behavior and gave this instruction: whenever they came to see the Holy Prophet and did not find him, they should wait for him patiently until he came out to them himself, instead of shouting to call him out, from the house.
This is, "Whatever had happened until then will be over-looked and forgiven by Allah and He will not hold those people accountable for the trouble they had been causing to His Messenger on account of His mercy and kindness, but they should not repeat such behavior in the future.
(Lo! those who call thee from behind the private apartments, most of them have no sense) [49:4]. Ahmad ibn 'Ubayd Allah al-Makhladi informed us> Abu Muhammad 'Abd Allah ibn Muhammad ibn Ziyad al-Daqqaq> Muhammad ibn Ishaq ibn Khuzaymah> Muhammad ibn Yahya al-'Ataki> al-Mu'tamir ibn Sulayman> Dawud al-Tafawi> Abu Muslim al-Bajali> Zayd ibn Arqam who said: “Some people went to see the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, and found him in his private apartment, so they started calling him: 'O Muhammad! O Muhammad!' Allah, exalted is He, then revealed (Lo! those who call thee from behind the private apartments, most of them have no sense)”. Muhammad ibn Ishaq and others said: “This verse was revealed about some uncouth people from Banu Tamim. A delegation of the Banu Tamim went to see the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace. They entered the mosque and called the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, who was in his private apartment: 'O Muhammad, come out to meet us, for our praise is nice while our censure is nasty'. Their shouting annoyed the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, and so he came out to see them. They said: 'O Muhammad, we have come to brag to you'. Allah, exalted is He, revealed about them (Lo! those who call thee from behind the private apartments, most of them have no sense). Among these people were al-Aqra' ibn Habis, 'Uyaynah ibn Hisn, al-Zibriqan ibn Badr and Qays ibn 'Asim”. This incident of bragging was related to us by Abu Ishaq Ahmad ibn Muhammad al-Muqri'> al-Hasan ibn Muhammad ibn al-Hasan al-Sadusi> al-Hasan ibn Salih ibn Hani'> al-Fadl ibn Muhammad ibn al-Musayyab> al-Qasim ibn Abi Shaybah> Mu'alla ibn 'Abd al-Rahman> 'Abd al-Hamid ibn Ja'far> 'Umar ibn al-Hakam> Jabir ibn 'Abd Allah who said: “A delegation from Banu Tamim came to see the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace. They called him from outside his doorstep: 'O Muhammad, come out to meet us, for our praise is nice while our censure is nasty'. The Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, heard them and came out, saying: 'Indeed, it is only Allah whose praise is nice and censure nasty'. They said: 'We are people from Banu Tamim; we have brought our poet and our orator to show you our excellence over you in poetry and brag about our merits'. The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, said: 'I was not sent with poetry nor was I commanded to brag. But let us see what you have!' al-Zibriqan ibn Badr said to one of their youths: 'Stand up and mention your merit and the merit of your people'. The youth stood up and said: 'Praise be to Allah Who has made us the best of His created beings; He gave us riches with which we do as we please. We are, therefore, of the best among the inhabitants of the earth and of those who have more means, wealth and arms. Whoever denies what we have said, let him say words better than our words and mention works better than ours'. The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, said to Thabit ibn Qays ibn Shimas: 'Stand and respond to him!' Thabit stood up and said: 'Praise be to Allah; I praise Him and seek His assistance; I believe in Him and in Him I fully trust. I bear witness that there is no deity except Allah, alone without any partners, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger who called the Emigrants amongst his cousins - who are endowed with the most beautiful faces and the greatest intelligences - and they followed him. So praise be to Allah Who made us the helpers and aids of His Messenger and a cause for the triumph of His religion. We therefore fight people until they bear witness that there is no deity except Allah. Whoever utters the expression of faith renders his own person and wealth inviolable as far as we are concerned. But whoever rejects faith, we kill him and killing him for the sake of Allah, exalted is He, would indeed be easy for us. I say these words of mine and seek Allah's forgiveness for the believing men and women'. Al-Zibriqan ibn Badr then addressed one of their youths, saying: 'Stand up, O so-and-so, and say some poetry in which you mention your merit and the merit if your people'. A youth stood up and said: We are the nobles, no tribe is our equal The leaders are amongst us and the fourth of all booties is given to us. In time of drought we feed all people From the thin clouds of Autumn when wind-driven clouds fail to show. If we scorn, none can stand up to us Thus upon boasting do we rise. The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, sent for Hassan ibn Thabit and when the emissary reached him, Hassan said: 'What does he want, I was with him just a while ago?' The emissary said: 'Banu Tamim brought their poet and orator and the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, commanded Thabit ibn Qays to respond to their orator, and he has sent for you to respond to their poet'. When Hassan arrived, the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, commanded him to respond to their poet. Hassan said: 'O Messenger of Allah, ask him to repeat what he composed'. When the poetry was repeated to him, he said: We supported Allah's Messenger and religion by force In spite of the enemy of the desert and settlements. Do we not embrace death in the turmoil of battle When the resort of death becomes sweet among armies. And we strike the heads of armoured fighters as we belong To a lineage from the root of the mighty Ghassan. If it were not for diffidence toward Allah we would say, displaying our nobleness to people, at the base of the two mountains, is there any who would like to fight. Our living ones are of the best of those who have set foot on the ground And our dead are the best inhabitants of the graveyards. At this point al-Aqra' ibn Habis stood up and said: 'By Allah, I have come for something other than that which these people have come for. I have composed some poetry, so hear it!' He said: 'Let us hear it'. Al-Aqra' said: To you we have come so that people recognise our merit When they boast to us upon mentioning noble traits. We are the leaders of people at any company In the land of Hijaz there is nothing like Darim. In every single raid we have a fourth of the booty Whether the raid is in Najd or the land of al-Taha'im. The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, said: 'Stand up, O Hassan, and respond to him'. Hassan stood up and said: Banu Darim, do not boast, for your boasting Turns to your disadvantage upon mentioning noble traits. You lost your minds when you boasted to us when you are Our chattels, some of you wet nurses and some servants. The best glory and high rank you could ever get Is to come next to us upon mentioning those who are nobler. If you have come to spare your lives And wealth and share what is to be shared, Then ascribe not an equal to Allah and embrace Islam And do not boast to the Prophet about Darim. Otherwise, by the Lord of the House, our hands will strike Your necks with sharp swords. Al-Aqra' ibn Habis said: 'Indeed, Muhammad is assisted; I do not know what this matter is. Their orator spoke better than ours and their poet composed better poetry than that of our poet'. Al-Aqra' then drew closer to the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, and said: 'I bear witness that that there is no deity except Allah and that you are the Messenger of Allah', upon which the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, said to him: 'Whatever happened before will not harm you!' The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, gave them gifts and clothed them. Voices were raised and much clamour ensued before the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace. Allah, exalted is He, therefore revealed these verses (Lift not up your voices above the voice of the Prophet…) up to His words (… and immense reward)”.