Surah al-Ahzab (The Confederates) 33 : 14

وَلَوْ دُخِلَتْ عَلَيْهِم مِّنْ أَقْطَارِهَا ثُمَّ سُئِلُوا۟ ٱلْفِتْنَةَ لَءَاتَوْهَا وَمَا تَلَبَّثُوا۟ بِهَآ إِلَّا يَسِيرًا

Translations

 
 Muhsin Khan
 Pickthall
 Yusuf Ali
Quran Project
And if they had been entered upon from all its [surrounding] regions and fitnah [i.e., disbelief] had been demanded of them, they would have done it and not hesitated over it except briefly.

1. Lessons/Guidance/Reflections/Gems

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Explanatory Note

The sūrah pauses a little here in order to draw a mental picture for those hypocrites as to how hollow their faith was and how they were always ready to break ranks, even for the slightest reason. They would not even try to cover their weaknesses: “Had their city been stormed from all sides, and had they been asked to renounce their faith they would have done so without much delay.” The attitude described in the previous verses was the one they adopted when the enemy were still outside Madinah, unable to storm it. No matter how hard and stressful a situation is, a potential danger is far less than a real one. Should their worst fears come true and Madinah be stormed from all sides, and should they be asked to renounce Islam, they would do so with little hesitation, or a few would hesitate for a while before then reverting to disbelief. In essence, their claimed faith lacked firm roots while their cowardice made them unable to resist.

2. Linguistic Analysis

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Frequency of Root words in this Ayat used in this Surah *


3. Surah Overview

4. Miscellaneous Information

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5. Connected/Related Ayat

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6. Frequency of the word

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7. Period of Revelation

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The Surah discusses three important events which are: the Battle of the Trench (or Al-Ahzab: the Confederates) which took place in the month of Shawwal 5 A.H.; the raid on Banu Quraythah which was made in Dhil-Qa’dah 5 A.H.; and the Prophet’s marriage with Zaynab which also was contracted in Dhil-Qa’dah 5 A.H. These historical events accurately determine the period of the revelation of this Surah.

8. Reasons for Revelation

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9. Relevant Hadith

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10. Wiki Forum

Comments in this section are statements made by general users – these are not necessarily explanations of the Ayah – rather a place to share personal thoughts and stories…

11. Tafsir Zone

 

Overview (verses 14 - 17)

Where to Escape Death
 
The sūrah pauses a little here in order to draw a mental picture for those hypocrites as to how hollow their faith was and how they were always ready to break ranks, even for the slightest reason. They would not even try to cover their weaknesses: “Had their city been stormed from all sides, and had they been asked to renounce their faith they would have done so without much delay.” (Verse 14) The attitude described in the previous verses was the one they adopted when the enemy were still outside Madinah, unable to storm it. No matter how hard and stressful a situation is, a potential danger is far less than a real one. Should their worst fears come true and Madinah be stormed from all sides, and should they be asked to renounce Islam, they would do so with little hesitation, or a few would hesitate for a while before then reverting to disbelief. In essence, their claimed faith lacked firm roots while their cowardice made them unable to resist.
 
Thus the Qur’ān exposed their reality and put them naked before the mirror to see themselves as they truly were. It then accused them of breaking their clear pledges which they had earlier given to none other than God. Yet they were heedless of their promises and pledges: “They had previously vowed before God that they would never turn their backs in flight. A vow made to God must surely be answered for.” (Verse 15)
 
Ibn Hishām reports: “This is a reference to the Ĥārithah clan who, together with the Salamah clan, were about to desert the Muslim camp before the Battle of Uĥud. They subsequently vowed before God they would never do so again. Therefore, the sūrah reminds them of their earlier undertaking.
 
At Uĥud, God saved them and spared them from the consequences of desertion. This was one example of the practical lessons of the early days of Jihād. Now, with the lapse of time ensuring greater experience, they had to be put face to face against their reality.
 
At this point the Qur’ān restates an important value, one that corrects their notions about life and death, which had caused them to break their pledges and try to desert:
 
Say: Flight will benefit you nothing. If you flee from natural death or from being slain, you will only be left to enjoy life for a little while. Say: Who can keep you away from God if it be His will to harm you, or if it be His will to show you mercy? Other than God they can find none to protect them or to bring them support. (Verses 16-17)
 

It is God’s will that determines events and destinies, directing them along a certain way that leads to a definite result. Death, whether in battle or by natural causes, is inevitable and occurs at the appointed moment: it comes neither a second early nor a moment late. Flight from battle will not spare the deserter what God has willed. Should they flee from battle, they are certain to meet their inevitable death soon, at the appointed time. All times in this present life are soon, and all life extensions are short. No one can protect anyone else against God’s will; no one can prevent it running its course. Should He will to harm someone or show them mercy, His will shall be done. Hence, the only proper attitude for anyone is to submit to God, obey His orders, and honour the vows given to Him in all situations of comfort and hardship. It is far better to place oneself in God’s hand, placing one’s trust completely in Him. He will, in any case do what He pleases.
 


12. External Links

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