Surah Al-Hujuraat (49): Read Online and Download - English Translation

This page contains all verses of surah Al-Hujuraat in addition to Interpretation of all verses by Maarif-ul-Quran (Mufti Muhammad Shafi). In the first part you can read surah الحجرات ordered in pages exactly as it is present in the Quran. To read an interpretation of a verse click on its number.

Information About Surah Al-Hujuraat

Surah Al-Hujuraat

Surah Al-Hujuraat is the 49th chapter of the Quran and is composed of 18 verses. It is a Madinan surah, revealed after the migration of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) to Medina. The surah is named after the private chambers (hujurat) where the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) used to receive guests and hold meetings.

The surah addresses various aspects of social conduct, manners, and etiquette, emphasizing the importance of good behavior, respect, and unity within the Muslim community. It also provides guidance on how to verify information before believing or spreading it, and highlights the significance of resolving conflicts peacefully.

Surah Al-Hujuraat emphasizes the principles of privacy, respect for others, and the need to avoid suspicion and backbiting. It encourages believers to maintain strong bonds of brotherhood and to avoid mocking or ridiculing one another. The surah also emphasizes the importance of seeking forgiveness and rectifying mistakes when conflicts arise.

The surah also addresses the etiquette of addressing the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and the importance of obeying his commands. It emphasizes the need for believers to verify news and information before acting upon it, and to avoid spreading false rumors or engaging in negative assumptions.

Overall, Surah Al-Hujuraat serves as a comprehensive guide for fostering harmonious relationships, promoting ethical conduct, and nurturing a strong sense of community among believers. It provides valuable insights into the principles of communication, respect, and unity, and offers timeless wisdom for navigating social interactions and resolving conflicts in a manner that aligns with the teachings of Islam.

Surah Al-Hujuraat
سُورَةُ الحُجُرَاتِ
Page 515 (Verses from 1 to 4)

Tafsir of Surah Al-Hujuraat (Maarif-ul-Quran: Mufti Muhammad Shafi)

English Translation

O you who have believed, do not put [yourselves] before Allah and His Messenger but fear Allah. Indeed, Allah is Hearing and Knowing.

English Transliteration

Ya ayyuha allatheena amanoo la tuqaddimoo bayna yadayi Allahi warasoolihi waittaqoo Allaha inna Allaha sameeAAun AAaleemun

Background of Revelation

According to Qurtubi, there are six narratives cited as the background of revelation of these verses. Qadi Abu Bakr Ibn ` Arabi confirms that all the narratives are correct, because they all are included in the general meaning of the verses. One of the narratives, reported by Bukhari, is that once some people from the tribe of Tamim came to the Holy Prophet ﷺ . During their stay, one of the issues under discussion was to appoint someone as a ruler of this tribe. Sayyidna Abu Bakr ؓ suggested the name of Qa` qa' Ibn Ma'bad, while Sayyidna ` Umar ؓ proposed the name of Aqra' Ibn Habis. Both of them discussed the issue for a while during which the voices of both became loud. These verses were revealed in this background.

لَا تُقَدِّمُوا بَيْنَ يَدَيِ اللَّـهِ وَرَ‌سُولِهِ (...do not proceed ahead of Allah and His Messenger - 49:1) The phrase بَینَ الیَدَین literally, means "between the two hands", but in Arabic usage it means 'in front of or 'ahead of. It means: do not go ahead of or in front of Allah's Messenger ﷺ . The Qur'an does not say in what matter they are prohibited from preceding him. It would appear that the general prohibition includes preceding by word or deed. Wait for the Messenger's ﷺ reply unless he himself appoints someone to reply. Likewise if he is walking, no one should overtake him. If they are sitting in a dining session, no one should start eating before him. If there is a clear indication or strong evidence that he himself wants to send someone forward, this would be possible, for example some people used to be asked to go on a journey or war ahead of the Holy Prophet ﷺ .

Respect for Islamic Scholars and Religious Leaders

Some of the scholars have ruled that Muslims should observe the same rule in respect of Islamic scholars and spiritual masters as enjoined by the Qur'an, because they are the heirs of the Holy Prophet's ﷺ .One day the Holy Prophet ﷺ saw Sayyidna Abud-Darda' ؓ walking in front of Sayyidna Abu Bakr ؓ ، he reprimanded him saying: "you are walking in front of a person who is better than you in this world and in the hereafter". Then he added: "The Sun did not rise or set on any man better than Abu Bakr ؓ in the world besides the Prophets (علیہم السلام) . (Ruh-u1-Bayan on the authority of Kashf-ul-Asrar). Therefore, scholars have ruled that teachers and spiritual guides should be treated with similar respect.

English Translation

O you who have believed, do not raise your voices above the voice of the Prophet or be loud to him in speech like the loudness of some of you to others, lest your deeds become worthless while you perceive not.

English Transliteration

Ya ayyuha allatheena amanoo la tarfaAAoo aswatakum fawqa sawti alnnabiyyi wala tajharoo lahu bialqawli kajahri baAAdikum libaAAdin an tahbata aAAmalukum waantum la tashAAuroona

لَا تَرْ‌فَعُوا أَصْوَاتَكُمْ فَوْقَ صَوْتِ النَّبِيِّ do not raise your voices above the voice of the Prophet ﷺ . - 49:2) This is another etiquette to be observed while in the presence of the Holy Prophet ﷺ . This verse teaches the believers that they should not raise their voices above the voice of the Holy Prophet ﷺ nor speak aloud to him as one speaks aloud to another in general discussions. The verse warns that neglecting this etiquette may entail nullification of one's virtuous deeds, because this is a kind of disrespect to the Holy Prophet ﷺ . Thus when this verse was revealed, the blessed Companions ؓ became very apprehensive and very cautious. Sayyidna Abu Bakr ؓ said: "By God! 0 Messenger of Allah, from now till my last breath, I shall speak to you as if someone is whispering." (Ad-Durr-ul Manthur on the authority of Baihaqi) When this verse was revealed, Sayyidna ` Umar's ؓ voice became so low that the Holy Prophet ﷺ had to ask him to repeat what he said, so that he could understand what he was saying to him (Sihah). Thabit Ibn Qays ؓ had a naturally loud voice. When he heard this verse, he feared that his good deeds would be rendered void, he wept and lowered his voice (Ad-Durr-ul-Manthur on the authority of Baihaqi).

It is Prohibited to Greet and Speak Aloud in front of the Holy Prophet’ s ﷺ Mausoleum

Qadi Abu Bakr Ibn ` Arabi says that respect for the Holy Prophet ﷺ after his demise is just as compulsory as it was during his life-time. Therefore, some of the scholars have expressed the view that it is disrespectful to say salam or speak very loudly in front of the Holy Prophet's mausoleum. Likewise it is discourteous to make noise where Prophetic traditions are recited, because when the blessed words of the Holy Prophet ﷺ are being recited, it is compulsory to listen to them silently. In the same manner, it is an unmannerly behaviour to raise voices after his demise when his noble words are repeated.

Ruling

As the Qur'anic injunction "do not proceed ahead of Allah and His Messenger ﷺ applies to ` Ulama' as the heirs of the Holy Prophet ﷺ ، likewise the injunction "do not raise your voices above the voice of the Prophet ﷺ " is applicable to the great scholars of Islam also. When sitting in their assembly, it is impolite to raise voices so loudly that their voices are suppressed (Qurtubi).

أَن تَحْبَطَ أَعْمَالُكُمْ وَأَنتُمْ لَا تَشْعُرُ‌ونَ (lest your good deeds become void while you are not aware - 49:2.) This clause is indicating the reason why the Muslims are directed not to raise their voices above the voice of the Holy Prophet ﷺ . They are warned that non-compliance of the rule may nullify their virtuous deeds. According to the axioms of Shari` ah and universally established principles, a few perturbing questions arise here. First of all, according to the unanimous view of Ahl-us-Sunnah wal-Jama'ah, the only thing that can destroy righteous deeds is kufr or disbelief. No sin can destroy good deeds. Here the Qur’ an addresses the noble Companions ؓ and the believers. It addresses them by calling them "0 believers" which goes to show that they are "believers" and not "disbelievers" - so how can their righteous works be rendered void? The second point is that "faith" is an act of free will. A person cannot be a believer unless he embraces faith with his own free will. Likewise "disbelief' [ kufr ] is an act of free will. A person does not become kafir [ unbeliever ] unless he adopts disbelief with his own free will. The concluding phrase "while you are not aware" seems to be against this principle: Failure of good deeds is the punishment of disbelief which ought to be a result of one's own free will and the phrase shows that the punishment lacks "free will". So how can the good deeds go to waste?

My master, the honorable sage of the Ummah has in his Bayan-ul-Qur'an explicated the passage in such a manner that all these perturbations are resolved. He says the meaning of the verse is thus: 0 Muslims, avoid raising your voices above the voice of the Holy Prophet ﷺ or speaking loudly to him, because in so doing there is the fear that your deeds should be thwarted. The danger in raising your voices above that of the Holy Prophet ﷺ lies in the fact that it is tantamount to discourtesy to the Holy Prophet ﷺ which is the same as vexing him. It is unthinkable that the noble Companions would intentionally attempt to hurt him. However, it is possible that certain deeds and actions, such as "advancing forward" and "raising voices", without the intention of hurting could upset or offend him. Therefore, all such conducts have been absolutely prohibited, forbidden and regarded as sin. The essential characteristics of some of the sins are such that the people who commit them lose the Divine aid of repentance and the ability or capacity to perform righteous works. As a result, he gets so engrossed in sins that they lead him to "disbelief' and thus the righteous deeds fail. Likewise hurting one's religious leader, teacher or spiritual guide is a sin that runs the risk of losing the Divine aid. Thus conducts such as "advancing before the Holy Prophet ﷺ "or" raising voices" are such sinful conducts that can cause the Divine help to be taken away. This situation eventually leads one to "disbelief' which destroys one's good works. Because the believer may not have intentionally performed the act of hurting, thus he would not even perceive how he got involved in the process of "disbelief', and "thwarting of good deeds". Some of the scholars have expressed the view that if someone has taken a righteous, holy person as his spiritual guide, then he shows disrespect 'to him, then such a person may suffer the same consequences: that is, sometimes it becomes the cause of Divine aid being removed and of incurring His wrath which eventually destroys the treasure of "faith". We seek refuge with Allah from it!

English Translation

Indeed, those who lower their voices before the Messenger of Allah - they are the ones whose hearts Allah has tested for righteousness. For them is forgiveness and great reward.

English Transliteration

Inna allatheena yaghuddoona aswatahum AAinda rasooli Allahi olaika allatheena imtahana Allahu quloobahum lilttaqwa lahum maghfiratun waajrun AAatheemun

English Translation

Indeed, those who call you, [O Muhammad], from behind the chambers - most of them do not use reason.

English Transliteration

Inna allatheena yunadoonaka min warai alhujurati aktharuhum la yaAAqiloona

الَّذِينَ يُنَادُونَكَ مِن وَرَ‌اءِ الْحُجُرَ‌اتِ أَكْثَرُ‌هُمْ لَا يَعْقِلُونَ (As for those who call you from behind the apartments, most of them lack understanding. - 49:4) In this verse, Allah Ta’ ala has mentioned a third etiquette about dealing with the Holy Prophet ﷺ . It is directed that when he is at home, one should not call him from outside. Particularly calling him by his name is an unmannered attitude. Reasonable persons would not do it. The term hujurat (translated above as 'apartments' ) is the plural of hujrah. Lexically, it refers to a four-walled apartment or dwelling, comprising a courtyard and a roofed building. In Madinah, the Holy Prophet ﷺ had nine wives. Each one of them had a separate apartment, where on different days, he used to stay in succession.

The Apartments of the Mothers of the Faithful

Ibn Sa'd on the authority of ` Ata' Al-Khurasani gives a description of these dwellings. He writes that these apartments were built of palm branches and their doors were covered with thick black woolen curtains. Imam Bukhari ؓ in Al-'Adab-ul- Mufrad and Baihaqi in his collection record that Dawud Ibn Qais reports that he had visited these "apartments" and estimated that from the door of the "apartment" to the roofed part of the building, it must be about seven cubits, the room about ten cubits and the height of the roof about eight cubits1. These apartments of the Mothers of the faithful were included in the Holy Prophet’ s ﷺ mosque during the reign of Walid Ibn ` Abd-ul-Malik at his own command. On that day in Madinah, people were lamenting and bewailing.

(1) One Cubit= about 18 inches

Occasion of Revelation

Imam Baghawi, on the authority of Qatadah (رح) reports that the delegation of Banu Tamim arrived in Madinah in the afternoon and came up to the Holy Prophet ﷺ when he was resting in one of his apartments. These bedouins were not acquainted with the social manners and etiquette of a civil society. They stood outside the apartment and called out: 0 Muhammad, come out to us! On this occasion, verse [ 4] was revealed (Musnad of Ahmad, Tirmidhi, and others record similar reports in differential wordings as quoted by Mazhari).

Additional Notes

The noble Companions ؓ and their followers showed the same respect and courtesy to their scholars and spiritual masters as enjoined by the Qur'an for the Holy Prophet ﷺ . It is recorded in Bukhari and other collections that when Sayyidna Ibn ` Abbas ؓ wanted to inquire about any Prophetic Tradition from any knowledgeable Companion, he would go to his house and sit at the threshold without calling him or knocking at the door. He would wait there until the Companion himself comes out. When he came out on his own, he would ask him about the Tradition. However, the scholar himself would say to Sayyidna Ibn ` Abbas: "0 cousin of Allah's Messenger, why did you not knock at the door and inform me about your arrival?" Sayyidna Ibn ` Abbas ؓ would reply: "A scholar in his community is like a prophet, and Allah has directed us that we should wait until he comes out on his own. Sayyidna Abu ` Ubaidah says, "I never knock on the door of any scholar at any time, but I wait until he himself has emerged and then meet him (Ruh-ul-Ma’ ani).

Ruling

In the clause of verse حَتَّىٰ تَخْرُ‌جَ إِلَيْهِمْ "...until you come out to them...49:5", the prepositional phrase ilaihim "to them" is a restrictive phrase, and it implies that people must wait until the Holy Prophet ﷺ emerges to talk to them, but if he has emerged for some other reason or purpose, even in this case it is not appropriate to talk to him. The speakers should wait until a suitable situation or occasion arises for them to speak: that is, they should speak about their particular issue when the Holy Prophet ﷺ turns his attention to them for that purpose.

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