Surah al-Ahzab (The Confederates) 33 : 37

وَإِذْ تَقُولُ لِلَّذِىٓ أَنْعَمَ ٱللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَأَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيْهِ أَمْسِكْ عَلَيْكَ زَوْجَكَ وَٱتَّقِ ٱللَّهَ وَتُخْفِى فِى نَفْسِكَ مَا ٱللَّهُ مُبْدِيهِ وَتَخْشَى ٱلنَّاسَ وَٱللَّهُ أَحَقُّ أَن تَخْشَىٰهُ ۖ فَلَمَّا قَضَىٰ زَيْدٌ مِّنْهَا وَطَرًا زَوَّجْنَٰكَهَا لِكَىْ لَا يَكُونَ عَلَى ٱلْمُؤْمِنِينَ حَرَجٌ فِىٓ أَزْوَٰجِ أَدْعِيَآئِهِمْ إِذَا قَضَوْا۟ مِنْهُنَّ وَطَرًا ۚ وَكَانَ أَمْرُ ٱللَّهِ مَفْعُولًا

Translations

 
 Muhsin Khan
 Pickthall
 Yusuf Ali
Quran Project
And [remember, O Muhammad], when you said to the one on whom Allāh bestowed favour and you bestowed favour, "Keep your wife and fear Allāh," while you concealed within yourself that which Allāh is to disclose. And you feared the people, while Allāh has more right that you fear Him. So when Zayd had no longer any need for her, We married her to you in order that there not be upon the Believers any discomfort [i.e., guilt] concerning the wives of their claimed [i.e., adopted] sons when they no longer have need of them. And ever is the command [i.e., decree] of Allāh accomplished.

1. Lessons/Guidance/Reflections/Gems

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Explanatory Note

The sūrah then refers to the Prophet’s marriage to Zaynab bint Jaĥsh and the rulings and directives that preceded or followed it.

God’s will then dictated that the Prophet should undertake the annulment of the effects of adoption himself, by marrying Zayd’s divorcee. He was to confront society with this action, which no man could undertake despite the earlier prohibition against adoption. Therefore, God informed His Messenger that Zayd would be divorcing Zaynab and that he would marry her, and all to fulfil God’s purpose. By this time, relations between Zayd and Zaynab were troubled, the parties themselves aware that their marriage would not last long.

Time after time, Zayd complained to the Prophet that his life with Zaynab was not a happy one, saying that he could not carry on with her. Brave as he was in clearly and unhesitatingly confronting his people in matters of faith, the Prophet felt that the burden of Zaynab’s situation was too heavy for him to carry. He was uneasy about confronting people with the practical destruction of their old adoption tradition. Zayd was also very close to the Prophet. Therefore, he said to Zayd: “Hold on to your wife and have fear of God.” In so doing, he was delaying this serious challenge to social norms: “And thus you would hide in your heart that which God wanted to bring to light. You stood in awe of people, whereas it was God alone of whom you should have stood in awe.” The Prophet knew that God would eventually bring it all to light, just as he knew through God’s inspiration that it would take place. It was, thus, not a clear order from God. Had it been so, he would not have hesitated, not delayed for a moment. He would have declared it on the spot no matter what consequences he might have expected. Instead, it was simply an inspiration countered by the outcome he feared would take place. He thus waited until it was God’s will for it to happen, for Zayd to divorce Zaynab with neither of them paying any thought o what would happen next. The prevailing tradition considered Zaynab as divorced by Muĥammad’s son, and as such she was permanently unlawful for Muĥammad to marry. Up to this point, marriage between a man and the divorcee of his former adopted son was still unlawful. Changes to this rule had to wait until the Prophet’s marriage to Zaynab, so that it could be practically established, despite people’s reluctance.

These facts refute all contrary reports upheld by people hostile to Islam, in the past as well as in the present, and who have fabricated all sorts of legends around the situation.

The whole thing was exactly as God said: “When Zayd had come to the end of his union with her, We gave her to you in marriage, so that no blame should attach to the believers for marrying the spouses of their adopted sons when the latter have come to the end of their union with them.” This was, then, one of the heavy burdens the Prophet had o bear in connection with his message. Extremely uneasy, he had to face society with it. Indeed he was reluctant to so confront people, even though he had no hesitation whatsoever in confronting them with the essence of faith based on God’s oneness, or with his denunciation of false deities and alleged partners with God, or with criticizing their forefathers.

“God’s will must be fulfilled.” It cannot be overturned. It just comes about and nothing can stop it. Therefore, the Prophet’s marriage to Zaynab took place after she had completed her waiting period. He then sent Zayd, her former husband and the person he loved most, to carry his proposal o her.

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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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…

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