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Holy Quran Section > English Translation and Commentary of the Holy Quran by Maulana Muhammad Ali (Table of Contents) > Chapter 49 (Al-Hujurat- The Apartments) > Section 1 (Verses 1 to 10)



Section/Ruku 1 [Verses 1 to 10]: Respect for the Prophet:
Chapter 49: (Al-Hujurat: The Apartments)
(Revealed at Madinah: 2 sections; 18 verses)

1. Introduction:

The chapter takes its title from v. 4, which enjoins the Muslims not to call out to the Prophet from behind the private apartments. It was revealed to teach good manners as well as good morals when large masses began to enter Islam and deputation after deputation came to Madinah. The Holy Prophet was not only the spiritual head of a people; he was also a Prophet who had to direct his people in their religious and temporal affairs. He had to decide their cases and to make laws for them; to lead them to prayer, to bow before God and into the field to fight against a powerful enemy; and, therefore, it was necessary that the new converts to Islam should appreciate the value of his time. It, however, teaches respect not only for the Prophet’s privacy but also for each other’s privacy.

The chapter was revealed at Madinah in the year 9 A.H. The opening verses are unanimously taken to refer to the time of the visit of the deputation of the Bani Tamim. As the previous chapter speaks of victories for the Muslims, and as victory brings ease, this chapter denounces the vices of a civilised society living in ease and comfort. Opening with an injunction as to the manners to be observed towards the Holy Prophet, the section is concluded with a direction requiring the Muslims to make peace between Muslims. The second section teaches the Muslims some of the social virtues, and enjoins them to avoid certain vices which are the bane of society, showing that brotherhood in Islam is not based on the distinctions of tribes and families, but on piety and righteousness.

2. Translation:

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.

1 O you who believe, be not forward in the presence of Allah and His Messenger, and keep your duty to Allah. Surely Allah is Hearing, Knowing.a

2 O you who believe, raise not your voices above the Prophet’s voice, nor speak loudly to him as you speak loudly one to another, lest your deeds become null, while you perceive not.a

3 Surely those who lower their voices before Allah’s Messenger are they whose hearts Allah has proved for dutifulness. For them is forgiveness and a great reward.

4 Those who call out to thee from behind the private apartments, most of them have no sense.a

5 And if they had patience till thou come out to them, it would be better for them. And Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.

6 O you who believe, if an unrighteous man brings you news, look carefully into it, lest you harm a people in ignorance, then be sorry for what you did.a

7 And know that among you is Allah’s Messenger. Were he to obey you in many a matter, you would surely fall into distress; but Allah has endeared the faith to you and has made it seemly in your hearts, and He has made hateful to you disbelief and transgression and disobedience. Such are those who are rightly guided —

8 A grace from Allah and a favour. And Allah is Knowing, Wise.

9 And if two parties of the believers quarrel, make peace between them. Then if one of them does wrong to the other, fight that which does wrong, till it return to Allah’s command. Then, if it returns, make peace between them with justice and act equitably. Surely Allah loves the equitable.a

10 The believers are brethren so make peace between your brethren, and keep your duty to Allah that mercy may be had on you.

3. Commentary:

1a. The presence of Allah means the presence of His commandments. The words imply the utmost obedience. [Back to verse 1]

2a. The Qur’an not only inculcates high morals but also regulates social conduct, because its teachings are intended for all grades of men. When large numbers of men began to enter Islam such directions became necessary, and they will always be needed by the masses in any society. A loud voice is expressive of arrogance or resentment. [Back to verse 2]

4a. As already pointed out, when the masses began to enter Islam many of them were ignorant even of the ordinary social rules, and they called out to the Prophet with loud voices while he was within his house. The practice is deprecated because it meant disrespect to the Holy Prophet. [Back to verse 4]

6a. Such a direction was expedient when a condition of war necessitated prompt action to be taken against the enemy. But even the exigencies of war were to be carried out with the utmost carefulness, so that friendly people should not suffer loss. [Back to verse 6]

9a. It is related that the occasion of the revelation of this verse was a quarrel between the Aus and the Khazraj, the two chief tribes of Madinah; but this does not mean that the verse is applicable only to that case. The verse, in fact, requires the Muslims not to be indifferent when one party of them quarrels with another. In such cases they must bring every kind of pressure within their reach to bear upon the party in error. It is the duty of every Muslim to maintain the unity of Islam. An attitude of indifference towards fatwas of kufr, directed against their own brethren by ignorant Mullas, has dealt a fatal blow to the union of Muslim brotherhood, and, if the Muslims do not raise their voice against these fatwas, they must never hope to make any progress towards real union. [Back to verse 9]



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Section 2: Respect for Muslim brotherhood

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Chapter 48: Al-Fath (The Victory)

Chapter 50: Qaf

Holy Quran Section > English Translation and Commentary of the Holy Quran by Maulana Muhammad Ali (Table of Contents) > Chapter 49 (Al-Hujurat- The Apartments) > Section 1 (Verses 1 to 10)

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