This page contains all verses of surah At-Tahrim in addition to Interpretation of all verses by Maarif-ul-Quran (Mufti Muhammad Shafi). In the first part you can read surah التحريم ordered in pages exactly as it is present in the Quran. To read an interpretation of a verse click on its number.
Cause of Revelation
It is recorded in Sahih of Bukhari and in other collection of Ahadith, on the authority of Sayyidah ` A'ishah ؓ that it was a daily practice of the Messenger of Allah to visit each of his wives after ` asr prayer for a short time inquiring about their welfare. Once he visited Sayyidah Zainab ؓ and spent more time with her than normal and had some honey offered by her. Sayyidah ` A'ishah ؓ says: "I developed some envy and in consultation with Hafsah ؓ decided that when the Messenger of Allah ﷺ would visit any one of us, she should say to him 'you have had Maghafir', (a herb that resembled gum with a slightly unpleasant smell.) "1 They executed their plan. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: "I have not had any Maghafir. I only had some honey." The Holy wife said: "It is possible that the honeybee might have sat on the Maghafir shrub and drank its nectar. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ ، because of his natural dislike for unpleasant odour, swore and promised not to take honey any more. However, he did not want the feelings of Sayyidah Zainab ؓ to be hurt, and therefore he said to his wife that the incident should be kept secret and should not be recounted to anyone else. But she told about it to another wife.
[ 1] It should be noted here that these words were spoken by them in an interrogative accent, and therefore it was not a false statement. (Muhammad Taqi Usmani).
Some reports say that it was at the house of Sayyidah Hafsah that he was served with honey, and that the wives who planned were Sayyidah ` A'ishah, Saudah and Safiyyah ؓ . Other reports recount the incident in other ways. It is possible that many incidents of similar nature might have taken place and these verses were revealed after them. [ Bayan-ul-Qur’ an ].
In brief, these verses tell us that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ banned a lawful thing [ honey ] on himself by swearing an oath. If such an act is done for a genuine need or expedience, [ maslahah ], it is permissible; it is not a sin. But the incident does not show that there was no such need for him to have the trouble of baning a lawful thing on himself. He had done this for the pleasure of his holy wives. In such circumstances, it was not necessary for him to have pleased them. Therefore, the verse, compassionately addresses the Holy Prophet ا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ لِمَ تُحَرِّمُ مَا أَحَلَّ اللَّـهُ لَكَ ۖ تَبْتَغِي مَرْضَاتَ أَزْوَاجِكَ ۚ وَاللَّـهُ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ ( O Prophet, why do you ban (on yourself) something that Allah has made lawful for you, seeking the pleasure of 'your wives? And Allah is Most-Forgiving, Very Merciful... 66:1) According to the principles of general stylistics, the Qur'an does not address the Holy Prophet' by his name but by his Prophetic title thus: '0 Prophet' which is his special honour. Although this is a loving question posed by way of compassion, it could have created the misunderstanding that he has committed a major error and he is being questioned about it. The concluding phrase allays this suspicion: وَاللَّـهُ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ; meaning that even if it would have been a sin (for the sake of argument), then 'Allah is Most-Forgiving, Very Merciful.'
There are three ways in which one can prohibit a 'lawful thing' for himself, the details of which were given under verse [ 87] of Surah Al-Ma` idah in Ma’ ariful Qur'an Vol.3/pp239-241. يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تُحَرِّمُوا طَيِّبَاتِ مَا أَحَلَّ اللَّـهُ لَكُمْ '0 those who believe, do not make unlawful good things that Allah has made lawful for you__[ 5:87] The three ways may be summarised here thus: [ 1] If someone holds a lawful thing as unlawful as part of his religious belief, it is kufr and an enormous sin. [ 2] If he does not believe it as unlawful in religion, but bans something on himself by swearing an oath without any need to do so, it is a sinful act, and it is necessary for him to break the oath and expiate, which will be discussed later. However, If this is done for some need or advantage, it is permissible but undesirable. [ 3] If someone neither believes a lawful thing to be unlawful, nor swears an oath to ban it on himself, but makes a resolve in his/her mind to abandon the lawful thing for ever. If this resolution for permanent abandonment is with the intention of reward, it would be an innovation (bid'ah) in the established religion and monasticism which is a reproachable sin. If such a restriction is not with the intention of reward, but rather for some other reason, such as for treatment of a physical ailment or spiritual malady, it is absolutely permissible. Reports about some noble Sufis who abandoned some lawful things fall under this last category.
In this incident, the Messenger of Allah ﷺ swore an oath to abstain from honey. After the revelation of the verse, he broke the oath and expiated for it. As reported in Ad-Durr-ul-Manthur, he emancipated a slave in payment of his expiation. [ Bayan-ul-Qur’ an ]
قَدْ فَرَضَ اللَّـهُ لَكُمْ تَحِلَّةَ أَيْمَانِكُمْ (Allah has prescribed [ the way on absolution from your oaths....66:2). This verse reminds that where it is necessary or better to break the oath, Allah has prescribed a way to absolve oneself from the liability of the oath by expiation, the details of which are given in other verses.
وَإِذْ أَسَرَّ النَّبِيُّ إِلَىٰ بَعْضِ أَزْوَاجِهِ حَدِيثًا (And [ remember ] when the Prophet ﷺ told one of his wives something in secret...66:3). The Holy Prophet ﷺ confided a certain secret in one of his wives. According to most versions of the authentic report, the 'secret' in this verse refers to the ban the Holy Prophet ﷺ imposed on himself about honey, but at the same time he did not want Sayyidah Zainab's ؓ feelings to be hurt and therefore he directed the wife to keep it secret from others, but the disclosing wife divulged the secret to another wife, as follows in the next verse. Although there are some other reports that explain the 'secret' in some other way, what has been mentioned above is in accordance with the most authentic narrations.
فَلَمَّا نَبَّأَتْ بِهِ وَأَظْهَرَهُ اللَّـهُ عَلَيْهِ عَرَّفَ بَعْضَهُ وَأَعْرَضَ عَن بَعْضٍ (So, when she disclosed it [ to another wife ], and Allah made it known to him, he told [ the disclosing wife ] part of it, and bypassed another part...66:3). In other words, when the disclosing wife divulged the secret to another wife, and Allah disclosed this fact to the Holy Prophet ﷺ ، he complained to the disclosing wife about her disclosure, but he did not convey to her the whole information. Instead, he communicated part of it to her and withheld part of it. This was because of the Holy Prophet's magnanimity and high morals. If he had disclosed the entire information he had received from Allah, it would have embarrassed her most profoundly. Who was the disclosing wife and who was the one to whom the secret was disclosed? The Qur'an is silent on their identity and does not name them. According to the best received narratives, it would appear that it was Sayyidah Hafsah ؓ whom the Holy Prophet ﷺ directed to keep the matter secret, and she divulged it to Sayyidah ` A'ishah ؓ as recorded in Bukhari on the authority of Sayyidna Ibn ` Abbas ؓ which will be narrated later.
Some narratives report that when Sayyidah Hafsah ؓ divulged the secret, the Holy Prophet ﷺ decided to divorce her, but Allah sent Jibra'l (علیہ السلام) to him, preventing him from divorcing her on the ground that she offered many prayers and kept fasts abundantly. Her name appears in the list of his wives in Paradise. [ Mazhari ]
إِن تَتُوبَا إِلَى اللَّـهِ فَقَدْ صَغَتْ قُلُوبُكُمَا [ 0 two wives of the Prophet,] If both of you repent to Allah, then [ your conduct calls for it, because ] your hearts have diverted....66:4). The reference here is made to two of his blessed wives who, as mentioned above in brief, contrived to draw the Holy Prophet ﷺ into swearing an oath and making the aforementioned promise to abstain from honey. Who are they? Bukhari and other collections of Traditions record a lengthy Tradition about this on the authority of Ibn ` Abbas ؓ who narrates that he was always on the look-out to enquire of Sayyidna ` Umar ؓ as to who were the two wives to whom reference had been made in the above verse. So, when Sayyidna ` Umar ؓ was on his way to pilgrimage, the former joined him. One day, in the course of the journey, the latter went to answer the call of nature. When he returned, the former had arranged water for the latter's ablution. He poured water on his hands. Whilst pouring the water for ablution, he enquired as to who were the two wives to whom reference is made in the dual verb اِن تَتُوبَآ (If both of you repent) Sayyidna ` Umar ؓ asked him in surprise: 'Do you not know who they were?' Ibn ` Abbas ؓ said: 'No!' Sayyidna ` Umar ؓ said they were Hafsah and 'A'ishah ؓ and then proceeded to recount a lengthy story related to this incident which also contained some incidents that took place earlier. The details of the incident are available in Tafsir Mazhari. This verse addresses the two blessed wives of the Holy Prophet ﷺ and requires them to turn to Allah as their hearts have deviated, albeit what they did, stem from their love for the Holy Prophet ﷺ ، but in the process they, in consultation with one another, adopted a way that hurt the Holy Prophet ﷺ . This is a sin for which repentance was necessary.
وَإِن تَظَاهَرَا عَلَيْهِ فَإِنَّ اللَّـهَ هُوَ مَوْلَاهُ وَجِبْرِيلُ (And if you back each other against him [ the Prophet ﷺ ], then Allah is his supporter, and Jibra'l (علیہ السلام) and righteous believers and, after all that, angels are his helpers....66:4). The current verse warns the wives that if they do not repent and please the Messenger of Allah ﷺ ، they will not cause any loss to him, because Allah is his Protector, and so are Jibril, every right-acting believer and, furthermore, the other angels too will come to his support, and it will be the wives themselves who will suffer loss.
عَسَىٰ رَبُّهُ إِن طَلَّقَكُنَّ أَن يُبْدِلَهُ أَزْوَاجًا خَيْرًا مِّنكُنَّ (It is hoped that, if he divorces you, Allah will give him in your place wives better than you, submissive to Allah, believing, devout, penitent, steadfast in worship, fasting, previously married and virgins....66:5). The verse refutes the possible thought of the wives that if they are divorced, the Holy Prophet ﷺ will probably not get women better than themselves. The verse under comment responds to their assessment of the situation. It purports to say that nothing is beyond Allah's power. If he divorces them, Allah will give him in exchange better wives than he has at the moment. This does not necessarily imply that there were better wives than the present holy wives at that time. Possibly such women were not available at that point of time, but, should the need have arisen, He could make other women better than they are. These verses specifically dealt with the holy wives of the Holy Prophet ﷺ ، their deeds, their moral reform, their discipline and training. Similar injunctions are given in the verses that follow for the general body of Muslims and believers.
قُوا أَنفُسَكُمْ وَأَهْلِيكُمْ (0 those who believe, save yourselves and your families from a fire...66:6). This verse addresses the general body of Muslims and enjoins upon them to safeguard themselves and their families from a fire of Hell whose fuel is people and stones. Then the verse goes on to describe the intensity and horror of the Hell-Fire. Towards the end of it the angels in charge of it, whose name is Zabaniah, are described. They are harsh and terrible from whom no inmate of Hell will be able to rescue himself by force, power, strength, flattery or bribery.
The word أَهْلِيكُمْ (your families) comprehends wife, children and slaves [ males as well as females ]. It is not inconceivable to include full-time servants in the imperative like slaves. When this verse was revealed, Sayyidna ` Umar ؓ inquired: "O Messenger of Allah, we understand how to save ourselves from Hell, that is, we guard ourselves against sins and carry out the Divine injunctions, but how do we safeguard our families from Hell?" The Messenger of Allah ﷺ replied: "Instruct them to refrain from deeds that Allah has prohibited, and ask them to carry out deeds that Allah has enjoined. This will rescue them from the Hell-Fire." [ Ruh-u1-Ma’ ani ]
Education and Training of Wife and Children: Every Muslim's Responsibility
The jurists have pointed out that, according to the verse under comment, it is the responsibility of every Muslim to educate the wife and children in matters of Shari obligations, and in matters of halal and Haram and train them diligently to act upon them. A hadith says, "May Allah shower His mercy upon a person who says: '0 my wife and children, (be mindful of) your prayers, your fasting, your alms, your indigent, your orphan, your neighbour! It is hopeful that Allah will gather all these with him in Paradise" 'Your prayers, your fasting' and so on' implies 'Take care of them. Do not ignore them.' The phrase مسکینکم یتیمکم 'Your indigent, your orphan and so on' implies 'Fulfill their rights towards them willingly and readily.' Righteous elders have said that the person deepest in punishment on the Day of Judgment will be the one whose family is ignorant and unaware of the religion. [ Ruh ]
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا لَا تَعْتَذِرُوا الْيَوْمَ ۖ إِنَّمَا تُجْزَوْنَ مَا كُنتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَ (0 those who disbelieve, do not make excuses today. You will only be recompensed for what you have been doing....66:7) After advising the general body of believers, the current verse turns attention to the non-believers who are asked not to try to make excuses, because they will not be accepted. They will be told that they are merely being repaid for what they did.