Overview - Surah 49: al-Hujurat (The Chambers )

Surah Introduction

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The purpose of the Surah is to give Muslims teachings about the social manners.  How to respect their leader the Prophet (saw) and how to deal with each other.  It has comprehensive guidelines to make a peaceful and harmonious society.


  1. Respect of the Prophet.  Proper manner of dealing with reports.  Relations among the Believers.
  2. Moral and ethical teachings to keep group harmony and solidarity. Relations with groups and tribes.  Faith is a favor of Allah to the Believers.

This Surah takes its name from the Ayat, إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يُنَادُونَكَ مِن وَرَاءِ الْحُجُرَاتِ أَكْثَرُهُمْ لَا يَعْقِلُونَ "Indeed, those who call you, [O Muhammad], from behind the chambers - most of them do not use reason." (49:4).

There are 18 Ayat in this Surah.


Total Ayat18
Total Words *347
Root Words *115
Unique Root Words *4
Makki / MadaniMadani
Chronological Order* 106th (according to Ibn Abbas)
Year of Revelation* 22th year of Prophethood (9th Year Hijri)
Events during/before this Surah*
Hajj led by Abu Bakr - Expedition of Tabuk, Conquest of Makkah - Battle of Hunain, , Treaty of Hudaiybiyah - Letters to Kings and Rulers, Battle of Ahzab - Expedition of Banu Quraydhah, , Battle of Uhud, Change of Qiblah from Jerusalem to Makkah - Battle of Badr, Migration from Makkah to Madinah - Building of Masjid Nabi in Madinah - Treaty with Jews of Madinah - Marriage of Prophet to Aishah, , 2nd Pledge of Aqabah, 1st Pledge of Aqabah, Death of Abu Talib - Death of Khadijah - Stoning at Ta'if - al-Isra wal Mi'raj - Night Journey, Boycott of Banu Hashim Yr 3, Boycott of Banu Hashim Yr 2, Boycott of Banu Hashim Yr 1, 2nd Migration to Abyssinia, Physical beating and torture of some Muslims - 1st Migration of Muslims to Abyssinia, Public Invitation to Islam - Persecution of Muslims; antagonism - ridicule - derision - accusation - abuse and false propaganda., Revelation begins - Private Invitation to Islam , Revelation begins - Private Invitation to Islam , Revelation begins - Private Invitation to Islam
Events during/after still to occur*
Farewell Hajj by Prophet - Death of Prophet - End of Divine Revelation
Names of Prophets Mentioned
No Prophets names are mentioned in this Surah
Surah Index
God (hard strivers rewarded better) , God (knows that beyond comprehension) , God (loves those who behave equitably) , Bedouin, Behaviour (avoid guesswork about one another) , Behaviour (don’t deride others) , Behaviour (don’t speak ill of each other) , Behaviour (don’t spy on each other) , Belief (nature of) , Fighting (between two groups of believers) , Humankind (creation of) (from male and female), Jihad (striving hard in God’s cause) , Judgement (verify reports and rumours) , Kufr, Privacy (Prophet’s household) , Prophet (don’t raise your voice above) , Sin

Central Theme

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Theme 1: Mannerisms and how the Believers should deal with the Prophet and between themselves. The Surah itself teaches the Muslims the manners worthy of a true believer and the first five verses in particular relate to the manners that should be observed with regard to God and His Messenger.

The instruction has been given that it is not correct to believe in every piece of news blindly, without due consideration. If information is received about a person, a group or a community it should be reviewed carefully, whether the information comes from reliable means or not. If the means are not reliable, it should be examined to see whether the news is authentic before taking any action.

Next, it has been told what attitude the Muslims should adopt if two groups of the Muslims fall into mutual fighting. Then the Muslims have been exhorted to safeguard against the evils that corrupt communities and spoil mutual relationships. Mocking and taunting each other, calling others by bad nicknames, creating suspicion, prying into other people’s affairs and backbiting are evil sins that corrupt the wider society. God individually mentions these evils and forbids them.

After this, the national and racial distinctions that cause universal corruption have been condemned. Nationalism, tribalism, pride of ancestry, looking down upon others as inferior to oneself and pulling down others to establish ones own superiority are important factors that have filled the world with injustices and tyranny. God in a brief verse has cut the root of this evil by stating that all men are descendants of the same one pair (Adam and Eve) and their division into tribes and communities is only for the sake of recognition, not for boasting and pride, and there is no lawful basis of one man’s superiority over another except by a higher status of piety and morality.

In conclusion, the people have been told that the real issue is not the verbal profession of the faith but to truly believe in God and His Messenger, to obey them in their practical life and to sincerely exert ones self and wealth in the cause of God. True believers are those who adopt this attitude. As for those who profess Islam merely orally without affirmation by the heart and then adopt an attitude as if they have done someone a favour by accepting Islam, may be counted among the Muslims in the world but will not be counted as believers in the sight of God.

Connection of the name of the Surah and its Ayaat

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Mannerisms and how the Believers should deal with the Prophet and between themselves is expounded upon in this Surah and the incident of those calling the Prophet from outside his liveing chambers with rasied voices symbolises the inappropriate manners used by some.

Connection between the beginning and the ending of the Surah

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  • The begining and the end of Surah mention atrributes of the general Muslims and the Believers.  
  • Allah is Aleem [most knowledgeable] - mentioned in the begining and end of the Surah
    يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تُقَدِّمُوا بَيْنَ يَدَيِ اللَّـهِ وَرَسُولِهِ ۖ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّـهَ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ " O you who have believed, do not put [yourselves] before Allah and His Messenger but fear Allah. Indeed, Allah is Hearing and Knowing." (49:1)

    قُلْ أَتُعَلِّمُونَ اللَّـهَ بِدِينِكُمْ وَاللَّـهُ يَعْلَمُ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الْأَرْضِ ۚ وَاللَّـهُ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمٌ " Say, "Would you acquaint Allah with your religion while Allah knows whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth, and Allah is Knowing of all things?" (49:16)

    إِنَّ اللَّـهَ يَعْلَمُ غَيْبَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ ۚ وَاللَّـهُ بَصِيرٌ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ "Indeed, Allah knows the unseen [aspects] of the heavens and the earth. And Allah is Seeing of what you do." (49:18)

Manuscripts / Inscriptions

Connection of the Surah to the Surah before/after it

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  • The Prophet Muhammad.The last Ayat of the previous Surah, al-Fath ends with the mention of the Prophet Muhammad and those with him (48:29) and this Surah begins with how those around the Messenger should behave (49:1-5)

The Virtues of the Surah

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Special Features of the Surah

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  • The phrase, يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا "O you who Believe," has been mentioned five times. (49:1) (49:2) (49:6) (49:11) (49:12).

Important key and unique words of the Surah

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Total Word Count per Ayat (shows how many words per Ayat) = 4*

Unique Root Words to this Surah only

4 unique root words that do not appear in any other Surah *

Top 10 Most Frequent Root Words used in this Surah

Root Word Frequency
in Surah
in Qur'an
أ ل ه 27 2851
أ م ن 15 879
ٱلَّذِى 10 1464
ع ل م 8 854
ق و ل 6 1722
ب ي ن 5 523
ر س ل 5 513
و ق ي 5 258
ب ع ض 5 158
إِلَىٰ 4 742

Period of Revelation

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This Surah is a collection of the commandments and instructions sent down on different occasions. Moreover, the hadith also show that most of these commandments were sent down during the final stage of the Prophet’s life at Madinah. For instance, the commentators of the Qur’an state that verse 4 was sent down concerning the Bani Tamim. This deputation had arrived in Madinah and started calling out to the Prophet from outside the apartments (hujurat) of his wives, and according to all biographical books on the Prophet’s life this deputation had visited Madinah in 9 A.H. Likewise, verse 6, a large number of the hadith confirm that it was sent down concerning Walid bin Uqbah whom the Prophet had sent to collect the financial obligation (Zakah) from the Bani al-Mustaliq, and it is known that he had become a Muslim on the conquest of Makkah.

Background Reasons for Revelation

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Relevant Hadith

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  • حَدَّثَنَا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ الْمُثَنَّى، حَدَّثَنَا مُؤَمِّلُ بْنُ إِسْمَاعِيلَ، حَدَّثَنَا نَافِعُ بْنُ عُمَرَ بْنِ جَمِيلٍ الْجُمَحِيُّ، حَدَّثَنِي ابْنُ أَبِي مُلَيْكَةَ، حَدَّثَنِي عَبْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ الزُّبَيْرِ، أَنَّ الأَقْرَعَ بْنَ حَابِسٍ، قَدِمَ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم فَقَالَ أَبُو بَكْرٍ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ اسْتَعْمِلْهُ عَلَى قَوْمِهِ ‏.‏ فَقَالَ عُمَرُ لاَ تَسْتَعْمِلْهُ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ ‏.‏ فَتَكَلَّمَا عِنْدَ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم حَتَّى ارْتَفَعَتْ أَصْوَاتُهُمَا فَقَالَ أَبُو بَكْرٍ لِعُمَرَ مَا أَرَدْتَ إِلاَّ خِلاَفِي ‏.‏ فَقَالَ عُمَرُ مَا أَرَدْتُ خِلاَفَكَ قَالَ فَنَزَلَتْ هَذِهِ الآيَةُ ‏:‏ ‏(‏ يا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لاَ تَرْفَعُوا أَصْوَاتَكُمْ فَوْقَ صَوْتِ النَّبِيِّ ‏)‏ فَكَانَ عُمَرُ بْنُ الْخَطَّابِ بَعْدَ ذَلِكَ إِذَا تَكَلَّمَ عِنْدَ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم لَمْ يُسْمِعْ كَلاَمَهُ حَتَّى يَسْتَفْهِمَهُ ‏.‏ قَالَ وَمَا ذَكَرَ ابْنُ الزُّبَيْرِ جَدَّهُ يَعْنِي أَبَا بَكْرٍ ‏.‏ قَالَ أَبُو عِيسَى هَذَا حَدِيثٌ حَسَنٌ غَرِيبٌ ‏.‏ وَقَدْ رَوَى بَعْضُهُمْ عَنِ ابْنِ أَبِي مُلَيْكَةَ مُرْسَلٌ وَلَمْ يَذْكُرْ فِيهِ عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ الزُّبَيْرِ

    Narrated 'Abdullah bin Az-Zubair, "Al-Aqra' bin Habis arrived to meet the Prophet (ﷺ)" - he said - "so Abu Bakr said: 'O Messenger of Allah! Appoint him over his people.' 'Umar said: 'Do not appoint him O Messenger of Allah!' They continued talking before the Prophet (ﷺ) until they raised their voices. Abu Bakr said to 'Umar: 'You only wanted to contradict me.' So ['Umar] said: 'I did not want to contradict you.'" He said: "So this Ayah was revealed: 'O you who believe! Do not raise your voices above the voice of the Prophet (49:2).'" He said: "After that, when 'Umar spoke before the Prophet (ﷺ), his speech could not be heard until he told him he could not understand him." He (one of the narrators) said: "And Ibn Az-Zubair did not mention his grandfather" meaning Abu Bakr." Tirmidhee no. 3266


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  • Investigate the news of a sinful person. 
  • Universal brotherhood of Muslims.
  • Allah commanded lowering ones voice in the presence of the Prophet. (49:2) (49:5)
  • Make peace between the believers if they fight among themselves.
  • Islamic etiquettes of moral behavior:
  • Do not laugh at another to down degrade him.
  • Do not defame another through sarcastic remarks.
  • Do not call another by offensive nicknames.
  • Avoid immoderate suspicions, for in some cases it is a sin.
  • Do not spy on one another.
  • Do not backbite one another.
  • Importanc of verifiying information/news (49: 8)
  • Islamic brotherhood (49:12)
  • All mankind is created from one man and one woman, therefore, no one has superiority over another and noblest is he who is the most righteous
  • True believer is he who believes in Allah, His Rasool and make Jihad with his wealth and person in the Way of Allah.

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Miscellaneous Issues

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