The Quran

Commentaries for 49.5

Al Hujraat (The apartments) - الحجرات

49.5 Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(And if they) the Banu 'Anbar (had patience till thou camest forth unto them) for the prayer, (it had been better for them) he would have freed all their wives and children; instead he freed half of them and agreed the ransom of the remaining half. (And Allah is Forgiving) He forgives whoever repents of them, (Merciful) in that He did not hasten His punishment on them.
49.5 Jalal - Al-Jalalayn
And had they been patient (annahum, ‘they’, has independent status, on account of inceptiveness; alternatively, it is said to govern an implied verb such as thabata, ‘had [their patience] been maintained’) until you came out to them, it would have been better for them; and God is Forgiving, Merciful, to those of them who repent.
49.4-6 Kathir - Ibn Al Kathir
Admonishing Those Who call the Prophet from behind Dwellings
Allah the Exalted and Most Blessed admonished those, such as the uncivilized bedouins, who used to call to the Prophet from behind the dwellings which belong to his wives,
أَكْثَرُهُمْ لاَ يَعْقِلُونَ
(most of them have no sense.) Allah the Exalted and Most Honored then ordains the better behavior in this regard,
وَلَوْ أَنَّهُمْ صَبَرُواْ حَتَّى تَخْرُجَ إِلَيْهِمْ لَكَانَ خَيْراً لَّهُمْ
(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
Allah said,
49.4-5 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.