Surah Hujarat: The Private Chambers

Introduction

According to Seyyed Hossein Nasr and colleagues in their recent commentary, in the introduction to this surah:

The surah was most likely revealed in the year 9/630 after the Muslims had captured Makkah and most of Arabia had come under the Prophet’s rule. As such, it addresses the complexities of ruling over this larger and more diverse community and instructs more recent members in proper conduct toward the Prophet. This is most evident in the first part of the surah (vv. 1-5), which instructs the Muslim community in the proper etiquette for their encounters with the Prophet.

The second section (vv. 6-12) focuses upon the ties of brotherhood within the Muslim community and the forms of behavior that should be avoided in order to facilitate it. This unifying theme can be seen as following directly upon the description of those who are with the Prophet at the end of the previous surah (see 48:29). As Ibn ‘Ajibah states, “After giving them the good news of forgiveness [in 48:29], God instructed the companions in proper conduct (adab) because it is among the greatest means for obtaining forgiveness and proximity [to God].” The last part of this surah (vv. 13-18) clarifies the true nature of faith and belief, providing one of the most famous lines of the Quran: Surely the most noble of you before God are the most reverent of you (v. 13).

But, what happens after the prophet dies? For this please read this article: Demystifying Prophethood, Theocracy, Democracy and Dictatorship.

بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

49:1. O ye who believe, do not push yourselves forward in the presence of Allah and His Messenger, and be mindful of your duty to Allah. Allah is All-Hearing, All-Knowing.

 يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تُقَدِّمُوا بَيْنَ يَدَيِ اللَّـهِ وَرَسُولِهِ ۖ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّـهَ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ

49:2. O ye who believe, do not raise your voices above the voice of the Prophet, and speak not aloud to him, as you speak aloud to one another, lest your works become cancelled out without you knowing it.

 ا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَرْفَعُوا أَصْوَاتَكُمْ فَوْقَ صَوْتِ النَّبِيِّ وَلَا تَجْهَرُوا لَهُ بِالْقَوْلِ كَجَهْرِ بَعْضِكُمْ لِبَعْضٍ أَن تَحْبَطَ أَعْمَالُكُمْ وَأَنتُمْ لَا تَشْعُرُونَ

49:3. Those who lower their voices in the presence of the Messenger of Allah are the ones whose hearts Allah has disposed towards righteousness. For them is forgiveness and a great reward.

  إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَغُضُّونَ أَصْوَاتَهُمْ عِندَ رَسُولِ اللَّـهِ أُولَـٰئِكَ الَّذِينَ امْتَحَنَ اللَّـهُ قُلُوبَهُمْ لِلتَّقْوَىٰ ۚ لَهُم مَّغْفِرَةٌ وَأَجْرٌ عَظِيمٌ

49:4. Most of those who shout to you from without your apartments are lacking in understanding.

  إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يُنَادُونَكَ مِن وَرَاءِ الْحُجُرَاتِ أَكْثَرُهُمْ لَا يَعْقِلُونَ

49:5. Were they to wait patiently until you came out to them, it would be the better for them. But Allah is Most Forgiving, Ever Merciful.

 وَلَوْ أَنَّهُمْ صَبَرُوا حَتَّىٰ تَخْرُجَ إِلَيْهِمْ لَكَانَ خَيْرًا لَّهُمْ ۚ وَاللَّـهُ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ

49:6. O ye who believe, when an untrustworthy person comes to you with serious intelligence, do check up on it, lest you harm a people in ignorance, and then be remorseful over that which you have done.

  يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِن جَاءَكُمْ فَاسِقٌ بِنَبَإٍ فَتَبَيَّنُوا أَن تُصِيبُوا قَوْمًا بِجَهَالَةٍ فَتُصْبِحُوا عَلَىٰ مَا فَعَلْتُمْ نَادِمِينَ 

49:7. Remember, you have the Messenger of Allah among you. Were he to follow your wishes in most matters, you would be involved in trouble. But Allah has endeared faith to you and has made it look fair to your hearts and He has made you averse to disbelief, wickedness and disobedience. Such are those who follow the right course,

  وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ فِيكُمْ رَسُولَ اللَّـهِ ۚ لَوْ يُطِيعُكُمْ فِي كَثِيرٍ مِّنَ الْأَمْرِ لَعَنِتُّمْ وَلَـٰكِنَّ اللَّـهَ حَبَّبَ إِلَيْكُمُ الْإِيمَانَ وَزَيَّنَهُ فِي قُلُوبِكُمْ وَكَرَّهَ إِلَيْكُمُ الْكُفْرَ وَالْفُسُوقَ وَالْعِصْيَانَ ۚ أُولَـٰئِكَ هُمُ الرَّاشِدُونَ

49:8. through the grace and favor of Allah. Allah is All-Knowing, Wise.

 فَضْلًا مِّنَ اللَّـهِ وَنِعْمَةً ۚ وَاللَّـهُ عَلِيمٌ حَكِيمٌ

49:9. If two parties of believers should fall out with each other and start fighting, make peace between them. If one of them should transgress against the other, fight the one that transgresses until it submits to the command of Allah. Then make a just and even-handed reconciliation between the two of them, and act justly. Indeed, Allah loves the just.

 وَإِن طَائِفَتَانِ مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ اقْتَتَلُوا فَأَصْلِحُوا بَيْنَهُمَا ۖ فَإِن بَغَتْ إِحْدَاهُمَا عَلَى الْأُخْرَىٰ فَقَاتِلُوا الَّتِي تَبْغِي حَتَّىٰ تَفِيءَ إِلَىٰ أَمْرِ اللَّـهِ ۚفَإِن فَاءَتْ فَأَصْلِحُوا بَيْنَهُمَا بِالْعَدْلِ وَأَقْسِطُوا ۖ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُقْسِطِينَ

49:10. All believers are brothers; so make peace between your brothers, and be mindful of your duty to Allah that you may be shown mercy.

 إِنَّمَا الْمُؤْمِنُونَ إِخْوَةٌ فَأَصْلِحُوا بَيْنَ أَخَوَيْكُمْ ۚوَاتَّقُوا اللَّـهَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُرْحَمُونَ

49:11. O ye who believe, let no people deride another people, it may be that they may be better than the ones ridiculing; nor let one group of women deride another, it may be that the last may be better than the first. Defame not your people, nor call them offensive nicknames. How bad it is to be called a mischief-maker after having believed! Those who do not repent are the wrongdoers.

 يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا يَسْخَرْ قَوْمٌ مِّن قَوْمٍ عَسَىٰ أَن يَكُونُوا خَيْرًا مِّنْهُمْ وَلَا نِسَاءٌ مِّن نِّسَاءٍ عَسَىٰ أَن يَكُنَّ خَيْرًا مِّنْهُنَّ ۖ وَلَا تَلْمِزُوا أَنفُسَكُمْ وَلَا تَنَابَزُوا بِالْأَلْقَابِ ۖ بِئْسَ الِاسْمُ الْفُسُوقُ بَعْدَ الْإِيمَانِ ۚ وَمَن لَّمْ يَتُبْ فَأُولَـٰئِكَ هُمُ الظَّالِمُونَ

49:12. O ye who believe, avoid making too many assumptions; for some assumptions may be harmful. Also spy not, nor backbite one another. Would any of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? Surely you would loathe such an action. Be mindful of your duty to Allah. Surely, Allah is Oft Returning with Compassion, and is Ever Merciful.

 يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اجْتَنِبُوا كَثِيرًا مِّنَ الظَّنِّ إِنَّ بَعْضَ الظَّنِّ إِثْمٌ ۖوَلَا تَجَسَّسُوا وَلَا يَغْتَب بَّعْضُكُم بَعْضًا ۚ أَيُحِبُّ أَحَدُكُمْ أَن يَأْكُلَ لَحْمَ أَخِيهِ مَيْتًا فَكَرِهْتُمُوهُ ۚ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّـهَ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ تَوَّابٌ رَّحِيمٌ

49:13. O mankind, We have created you from a male and a female; and We have divided you into tribes and sub-tribes for greater facility of interaction.

Indeed, the most honored among you in the sight of Allah is he who is the most righteous among you. Surely, Allah is All-Knowing, All-Aware.

 يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنَّا خَلَقْنَاكُم مِّن ذَكَرٍ وَأُنثَىٰ وَجَعَلْنَاكُمْ شُعُوبًا وَقَبَائِلَ لِتَعَارَفُوا ۚ إِنَّ أَكْرَمَكُمْ عِندَ اللَّـهِ أَتْقَاكُمْ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ عَلِيمٌ خَبِيرٌ

49:14. The Arabs of the desert say: We have believed. Say to them: You have not believed yet, but say rather: We have submitted; for faith has not yet entered into your hearts. But if you will obey Allah and His Messenger, He will not detract anything from your good deeds. Allah is Most Forgiving. Ever Merciful.

 قَالَتِ الْأَعْرَابُ آمَنَّا ۖ قُل لَّمْ تُؤْمِنُوا وَلَـٰكِن قُولُوا أَسْلَمْنَا وَلَمَّا يَدْخُلِ الْإِيمَانُ فِي قُلُوبِكُمْ ۖوَإِن تُطِيعُوا اللَّـهَ وَرَسُولَهُ لَا يَلِتْكُم مِّنْ أَعْمَالِكُمْ شَيْئًا ۚ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ

49:15. The believers are only those who have faith in Allah and His Messenger and leave all doubt behind, and strive with their belongings and their persons in the cause of Allah. It is they who are truthful.

 إِنَّمَا الْمُؤْمِنُونَ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا بِاللَّـهِ وَرَسُولِهِ ثُمَّ لَمْ يَرْتَابُوا وَجَاهَدُوا بِأَمْوَالِهِمْ وَأَنفُسِهِمْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّـهِ ۚ أُولَـٰئِكَ هُمُ الصَّادِقُونَ

49:16. Say to them: Will you teach Allah about your faith, while Allah knows whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth, and Allah knows all things well.

 قُلْ أَتُعَلِّمُونَ اللَّـهَ بِدِينِكُمْ وَاللَّـهُ يَعْلَمُ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الْأَرْضِ ۚ وَاللَّـهُ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمٌ

49:17. They behave as if they have done you a favor by embracing Islam. Say to them: Deem not your embracing Islam a favor to me. On the contrary, Allah has done you a favor in that He has guided you to the faith, if you are truthful.

 يَمُنُّونَ عَلَيْكَ أَنْ أَسْلَمُوا ۖ قُل لَّا تَمُنُّوا عَلَيَّ إِسْلَامَكُم ۖ بَلِ اللَّـهُ يَمُنُّ عَلَيْكُمْ أَنْ هَدَاكُمْ لِلْإِيمَانِ إِن كُنتُمْ صَادِقِينَ

49:18. Allah knows the secrets of the heavens and the earth. Allah sees all that you do.

 إِنَّ اللَّـهَ يَعْلَمُ غَيْبَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ ۚ وَاللَّـهُ بَصِيرٌ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ

Commentary

49:10

“All believers are brothers; so make peace between your brothers, and be mindful of your duty to Allah that you may be shown mercy.”

According to Seyyed Hossein Nasr:

This is among the most important verses in the  Quran for understanding the structure of the Muslim community (ummah), regarding the unity of which the Prophet said, ‘The believers are like a single structure, each part supporting the other.’ The centrality of brotherly love in Islam may be best expressed in this famous Hadith: ‘None of you truly believes until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.’ This Hadith goes to the heart of this surah, which emphasizes a bond of faith that transcends those of kinship and suggests that one should no longer make alliances based merely upon tribal bonds (see 9:23; 58:22). As another Hadith states, ‘God helps His servant as long as the servant helps his brother.’ Bonds of faith are esteemed so highly in Islam that among the seven types of people whom the Prophet said will be granted Paradise, he lists ‘two men who love each other for the sake of God, meeting for that reason, and parting with this love.’ In another Hadith, the love of another for God’s sake is combined with the love of the Prophet and the fear of disbelief to make up the three qualities needed for entrance into Paradise: ‘Whosoever possesses these three qualities will have the sweetness of faith: the one to whom God and His Messenger become dearer than anything else; one who loves a person and loves him only for God’s sake; and one who hates to revert to disbelief as he would hate to be thrown into the Fire.’ And a famous Hadith qudsi states, ‘God will ask on the Day of Judgment, ‘Where are those who loved each other for the sake of My Glory? Today, on a day wherein there is no shade but Mine, I shall shade them with My shade.’

49:13

“O mankind, We have created you from a male and a female; and We have divided you into tribes and sub-tribes for greater facility of interaction.

Indeed, the most honored among you in the sight of Allah is he who is the most righteous among you. Surely, Allah is All-Knowing, All-Aware.”

No where is the holy Quran Allah mentions that all the humans are from Adam and Eve as that will be clearly against the theory of evolution. The holy Quran does say in this verse that all of us came from a a male and a female. This should be taken as the first primate couple where the ancestry of all humans and all the chimpanzees converge. Allow us to invite all readers to the humility needed to acknowledge that the family tree of each one of us, our ancestors, our prophets ultimately leads to primates.

If we cannot accept this well established fact than I am afraid we may have a part of arrogance or stubbornness to stick with old ideas, whether true or not.

Now a wonderful video about the human family and how we are all related to each other. Please watch Journey of Man: A Genetic Odessy by Spencer Wells:

According to Seyyed Hossein Nasr:

This is among the most famous verses of the Quran.  From a male and a female can be understood as a reference to Adam and Eve (Q), but also to the creation of each human being from the fluid of a man and a woman (T). That people have been divided into diverse peoples and tribes that they may come to know one another indicates the manner in which differences in tribe, race, ethnicity, language, nationality, and religion can be sources through which human beings gain a deeper appreciation for the reality of the human condition. In this regard, the Prophet has said, “God does not look at your bodies, nor at your forms. He looks at your hearts.” In another hadith, the heart is presented as the reality that determines all other dimensions of one’s being: “There is in man a clump of flesh. If it is pure, the whole body is pure. If it is polluted, the whole body is polluted. It is the heart.” The outward diversity that divides human beings is thus one of the greatest tests that human beings confront in the life of this world, as in 5:48: And had God willed, He would have made you one community, but [He willed otherwise], that He might try you in that which He has given you. So vie with one another in good deeds. Unto God shall be your return all together, and He will inform you of that wherein you differ.  The combination of nobility and reverence marks a remarkable transition from the attitudes of pre-Islamic Arabia, in which reverence (taqwa, which also has the sense of ‘God-fearing,’ or just ‘fearing’ in pre-Islamic Arabia) and nobility were considered polar opposites. This late Madinan verse thus signals a revamping of the moral order of Arabia to one in which true worth is no longer determined by lineage and grandiose displays of valor and generosity, but by the depth of faith and piety. In this vein, the Prophet is reported to have said, ‘Truly God has ennobled those who were lowly during the Age of Ignorance. Through Islam, God removed the zealotry of the Age of Ignorance and its custom of vainglorious boasting regarding kinsfolk and noble descent. Today, all the people, be they white, black, Qurayshi, Arab or non- Arab, are seen to be descendants of Adam. And, assuredly, God created Adam from clay, and the people most beloved by God on the Day of Resurrection will be the most obedient and the most reverent among them.’

In the English commentary written under the auspices of Mirza Tahir Ahmad and available online, it is stated in the commentary of this verse:

From the subject of Islamic brotherhood to which the reference has been made in the preceding two verses, the surah proceeds to lay down, in the verse under comment, the basis of an all-comprehensive, all pervading brotherhood of man. The verse, in fact, constitutes the Magna Carta of human fraternity and equality. It has firmly laid the axe at the false and foolish notions of superiority, born of racial arrogance and national conceit. All men having been created ‘from a male and a female’ as human beings have been declared equal in the sight of God. The worth of a man is not to be judged by the pigment of his skin, the amount of wealth he possess or by his rank or social status, descent or pedigree, but by his moral greatness and the way in which he discharges his obligations to God and man. The whole human race is but one family. Divisions into tribes, nations and races is meant to give them a better knowledge of one another, in order that they might benefit from one another’s national characteristics and good qualities.

From here if we can take a leap of faith to the complete human equality, universal brotherhood and sisterhood and Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Read further to grasp the biological significance of this verse: What Does the Quran Mean: O Mankind We Created You From a Male and a Female?

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