Sūrat al-Ahzāb

Sūrah No. 33, Revealed in Madīnah. 73 verses.

The Sūrah gets its name from the battle of Ahzāb (also known as battle of Khandaq) which is discussed in a major part of the verses of this Sūrah. The battle was an important turning point in the history of Islam. The Sūrah is significant in highlighting the status of the Prophet a in Islam and the address to his wives.

Merits of reciting the Sūrah

Whoever recites Sūrat al-Ahzāb often will be in the company of Muhammad a and his family and his wives on the Day of Judgment. Imam Ja‘far al-Sādiq (a).(Tafsīr Majma‘ al-Bayān).

Note: This reward could be due to the many verses that talk about the Prophet a, his family and his wives in this Sūrah. Reflecting on these verses inspires love for the holy family and the desire to follow their teachings.

General synopsis of contents

1) Annulling pre-Islamic Arabian practices

2) The battle of Ahzab

3) The status of the Holy Prophet a

4) Address to the wives of the Prophet a

5) Importance of modesty in society

6) Warning to the disbelievers of the punishment in the hereafter

Selected Lessons

1) Fear and doubts are the tests of the believer (vv. 10-11)

2) Making excuses is the way of hypocrites (verse 13)

3) Fear changes a person’s physical expressions as well as his inner attitude (verse 19)

4) The Messenger of Allah is an example for a certain group of people (verse 21)

5) Hijab is an identity for a believing woman (verse 59)

Important Messages

1) The Holy Prophet a has a very special rank with Allah.

2) During difficulties the hypocrites are distinguished from the believers.

3) The enemies of a movement use the hypocrites within the movement to destabilize it.

4) Recognition of a role model is necessary for training and growth towards perfection.

5) The danger of worldly attachment is present even in the homes of the Prophets.

6) Men and women who believe and do good deeds are equal in their merit and reward.

7) The blessings of intelligence and free will given to the human being are a trust from Allah.

Suggested verses for reflection and memorization.

1) 33:17 – Say, ‘Who is it that can protect you from Allah if He desires to cause you harm or desires to grant you His mercy?’ Besides Allah they will not find for themselves any protector or helper.

2) 33:41-42 – O you who have faith! Remember Allah with frequent remembrance and glorify Him morning and evening.

3) 33:70 – O you who have faith! Be wary of Allah and speak upright words.

Activities for self-study

1) This Sūrah has many verses that extol the special status of the Holy Prophet a. Check verses 6, 21, 33, 36, 40, and 45-46 for the different injunctions regarding the Prophet a.

2) Verse 57 talks about the salawāt. How is this directive different from the ones on other acts of worship?

3) Read the passage that addresses the wives of the Prophet a – verses 28-33. What are the different points made in these verses regarding them? How does the last part of verse 33 differ from the rest of that passage?