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  Sura 33 of the Quran  
The Clans

Arabic text · English translation

Classification Medinan
Other names The Coalition, The Combined Forces, The Allies, The Confederates, The Joint Forces
Position Juzʼ 22
Number of Rukus 9
Number of verses 73
Section from verses 73 of Sura al-Ahzab

Sūrat al-Aḥzāb (Arabic: سورة الأحزاب‎, "The Clans, The Coalition, The Combined Forces") is the 33rd sūrah of the Qur'an with 73 ayat. The sūrah takes its name from the mention of the parties (al-aḥzāb), or confederates (an alliance among the Quraysh and other tribes), who fought the Muslims at the Battle of the Trench (5/627), also known as the Battle of the Parties and as the Siege of Madinah. [1]


This sura mentions what happened at the Battle of the Trench to remind believers the mercy and power of God since God made the various tribes who attacked Medina leave. Since this sura is a Medinan sura, it also contains instructions regarding treatment of the Prophet and his wives and warns the hypocrites of their bad behavior.[2] According to some scholars, Medinan verses are concerned with the legal matters in Islamic society.[3] These suras generally contain rules and regulations for the believers to follow.

Verses 5-6 are concerned with the differences between adopted and blood-related persons. Verse 5 refers to Adoption in Islam and verse 6 contains a reference to the term Mother of Believers, who were Prophet's wives. This perhaps suggests their elevated standing with the community and in the later verses, these women are described as "unlike any other." [4]

Verses 7-8 show that God will test even the sincerity of the prophets. The beginning of the sura seems to be concerned with truthfulness. The sura reinforces that "God is enough to trust...All this is written in the Scripture...God will question [even] the truthful about their sincerity, and for those who reject the truth He has prepared a painful torment...speak in a direct fashion." [5] Truthfulness and trust seem to be emphasized for believers and Muhammad since he was dealing with hypocrites and betrayers in Medina, who spread lies, deserted the army during the battle, or supported the attackers.[6]

Verses 9-27 are concerned with the believers and hypocrites' reactions to the Battle of the trench (or sometimes known as the Battle of the Ditch). The believers are those who remain steadfast in their belief and courage whereas the hypocrites try to run for safety, abandon the Muslim army, and doubt God and Prophet Muhammad. Verse 26 contains a reference to the Siege of the Banu Qurayza and consequent taking of the betrayer's possessions.

Verses 28-34 contain a reference to Muhammad's wives and tell the believers the proper conduct with Muhammad and his household. The prophet's wives are called the Mothers of the Believers and thus have to follow certain rules and regulations as women who are "unlike other women." [7] As such, some scholars have suggested that these rules apply exclusively to only Prophet's wives.[8] According to Shi'a interpretation, verse 33 contains a reference to Ahl al-Bayt (the Event of the Cloak) and Verse of purification.

Verses 35-36 show the characteristics of people who will be forgiven and rewarded by God. Some scholars take these verses to mean equal worth of women and men and thus reject claims that women are inferior to men.[9]

Verses 37-47 reaffirm that God needs to be trusted, obeyed, and glorified. Verse 40 contains a reference to Finality of Prophethood. See last prophet.

Verses 49-52 detail who the prophet can marry or not. Verse 50 was revealed pertaining to Maymuna bint al-Harith.

Verses 53-58 tell the believers how they should interact with Muhammad when visiting him and his household.

Verse 59 uses the phrase adna al-jilbab which is sometimes understood as 'wrap around' and is used to force women to cover themselves, in some cases, cover completely and leave the eyes visible when they leave the house.[10] Other scholars believe that "adna al-jilbab" means 'make it hang low' rather than wrap around and thus do not support the assertion that women must cover their heads. Some scholars say that this verse was revealed to women to protect them "(when abroad); that is most convenient, that they should be known [as free, not slaves] and not molested [by the] hypocrites...," a practice that was part of the "slave-owning jahili society, that no longer exists" suggesting that women don't need to cover anymore.[11]

Verses 60-73 tell the actions that God will take with the disbelievers and believers and will direct Muhammad to take against the hypocrites. The last verse ends with the proclamation that God will punish both hypocrites and idolaters, whether they are men and women, and reward the believers of both genders. Both genders are presented as equal since they are both punished or redeemed without any differences when judged by God.


  1. ^ Joseph E. B. Lumbard, "Introduction to Sūrat al-Aḥzāb in The Study Quran, ed. S. H. Nasr, Caner Dagli, Maria Dakake, and Mohammed Rustom (HarperOne, 2015).
  2. ^ Haleem, M.A.S. Abdel (2004). The Qur'an. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 266–271. 
  3. ^ Donner, Fred. Muhammad and the Believers. p. 81. 
  4. ^ Haleem, M.A.S. Abdel (2004). The Qur'an. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 268. 
  5. ^ Haleem, M.A.S. Abdel (2004). The Qur'an. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 268. 
  6. ^ Donner, Fred. Muhammad and the Believers. p. 81. 
  7. ^ Haleem, M.A.S. Abdel (2004). The Qur'an. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 268. 
  8. ^ Wadud, Amina (1999). Qur'an and Woman. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 34. 
  9. ^ Wadud, Amina (1999). Qur'an and Woman. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 99. 
  10. ^ al-Din al-Mahalli, al-Din al-Suyuti, Jalal, Jalal (2007). Tafsir al-Jalalayn. Amman: Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought. p. 485. 
  11. ^ Barlas, Asma (2006). The Cambridge Companion to the Qur'an: Women's readings of the Qur'an. New York: Cambridge University Press. pp. 267–268. 

External links[edit]

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