Surah Hujrat From the Book of ‘Sirat E Mustaqim’ by Prof. Abdul Qayyum Natiq


The following context is written from the book ‘SIRAT E MUSTAQIM’ by ‘PROF. ABDUL QAYYUM NATIQ’. All rights reserved no part of this publication can be reproduced, either written or printed in any form without the legal permission of the publisher.

Surah Hujrat


Surah Hujrat is of Medina which was revealed after the sojourn of the Holy Prophet from Mecca. Before this, in the Meccan period, the verses revealed were addressed to the Meccite disbelievers and the polytheist and mostly dealt with faith and belief. These verses contained apt and strong refutation of their erroneous conviction and fall faith and such verses were called “Verses of Argument”.

After this began the Madni period of revelation, which was though briefer than the Meccan phase, yet this is the important period when the preaching of Islam was extensive and intense. In this period of the foundation of the Islamic state was laid and for these reasons, the verses containing Islamic Canon and Commandments were specially revealed. Therefore, this period in spite of its brevity is the most important one.

(a) During the Madni Period, God Almighty together with the importance of monotheism also revealed universal verses concerning social, economic, individual and collective life of the Muslims. By these revelations, God Almighty ordained such principles and Canon for the inner and outer purification and rectification following which the Muslims could claim themselves to be the best of the people. In this period Surah al-Hujrat was revealed.

(b) This Surah contains 2 Ruku and 18 Verses which mostly deals with the attachment with the Holy Prophet and deriving benefit from his Holy self. (Then it also contains the precepts for the mutual social and cultural life of the Muslims which convey the force of an edict or commandment).

When we observe this then the first thing to strike our mind was that in the Surah there is a clear proof of the greatness of the Holy Prophet and the exalted position which the God Almighty bestowed on him. The divine verdict is that the apostle is the best of the persons among Muslims and he is loved by God.

Therefore it was declared imperative for the Muslims not to follow the dictate of their personal thinking at any juncture, but to await patiently for the order from the Holy Prophet, and not to render themselves sinful by any of their erratic conduct, which might mitigate the position of the Holy Prophet.

For example, while they must not overpass the prophet, while talking must not supervene him, because the Apostle of God is the guide send by Him to lead the people on the right path, so he must not be treated on par with other people. After this, issues of forth the divine order on social life which cautions the Muslims not to rely upon words of the impious lest it may land them in trouble and misery, they have to repent at last. After this, there is the order not to believe information without verifying it first, so that any regret might not follow this. Similarly, there have been prescribed another social code that when a difference arises between two Muslims then being brethren together it is the duty of the Muslim’s to arrange reconciliation between them, and if any of the two does not obey their decision then they should rise collectively against the dissenter. If he ultimately gives up his tenacity then they should decide their contention justly and without any favor.

After this, for the social welfare and reform it is laid down that a group of the Muslims should not ridicule the other group, and even doing this individually is also prohibited, for this poisons the environment. The Muslim male and female both have been cautioned to obey this order.

The seventh commandment is that no Muslim should make a sarcastic remark on other Muslim because this creates an ill feeling and affects sincerity and brotherhood adversely. The eighth law is that no Muslim should be called by a bad name, as this results in the damage of mutual goodwill and good relation. The ninth edict is that no ill thought or misgivings against other Muslims should be entertained in mind because doubts and bias often prove wrong, and the society may not be thus harmed.

The tenth order is that no Muslim should spy on the activity of other Muslim for this also destroys mutual peace. The eleventh order is that no Muslim should backbite or speak ill of other Muslim in his absence, this will hurt him and it is so hateful to Allah that this bad habit has been equated with eating the flesh of a dead brother.

The 12th order is that it is imperative on every Muslim that in spite of one’s wealth, property, power and post and position they should honor only those who are pious and posses fear of God. So that our attachment should be to please God and not to satisfy one’s physical desire.

These are touchstone on which every body’s life can be tested.

In the light of the above commandments, it is quite clear that the God Almighty, for the purity of the social life of Muslims, has laid down his commands and guidance so prominently that by practicing them one can render all the movements, acts and behavior of his life into prayer.


  1. O ye who believe! Be not forward in the presence of Allah and His messenger, and keep your duty to Allah. Lo! Allah is Hearer, Knower.

REFERENCE: In order of arrangement the preceding Sura is the Sura Fath (VICTORY) towards the end of which Almighty Allah has especially extolled the high status and eminence of the companion (RA). Now in this Sura (Hujrat) the companions especially and Muslims generally, are taught rules of conduct, so by acting according to them their reverence and eminence are maintained.

THE FIRST RULE: This verse illustrates that to overstep the command of the Prophet is impudence because the prophet is the nominee of God. Thus Muslims are commanded against haste in the presence of the Holy Prophet to precede him, so much so that is forbidden to walk ahead of the Holy Prophet. This is a general injunction which covers both word and action.

Side by side we are told that word and action being in their place, God hears you converse among yourselves in the absence of the Holy Prophet for He is the greatest in hearing and if you conceal any thought in your heart. Allah has the best knowledge of it. So behave with extreme caution neither openly overstepping the Holy Prophet nor covertly nursing a doubt.

2. O ye who believe! lift not up your voices above the voice of the Prophet, nor shout when speaking to him as ye shout one to another, lest your works be rendered vain while ye perceive not.

Second injunction: this second injunction illustrates the deference, regard, and reverence due to the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H). To raise your voice in his presence is a sin of such a magnitude the punishment of which is to lay waste all your good deeds; you would not be conscious of it.

3. Lo! they who subdue their voices in the presence of the messenger of Allah, those are they whose hearts Allah hath proven unto righteousness. There will be forgiveness and immense reward,

This verse has a continuing reference to the preceding verse. Those who speak softly in the presence of the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) by their behavior provide proof of their fear of God and a token of their reverence of the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H). Such people shall be rewarded and blessed by Allah for their deeds. On the revelation of the preceding some companions who before this, spoke loudly in the presence of the Holy Prophet shuddered, and in future lowered their voices to such an extent that they were asked to repeat their words such as the conduct of the Revered Companions.

4. Lo! Those who call thee from behind the private apartments, most of them have no sense.

5. And if they had, had patience till thou camest forth unto them it had been better for them. And Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.

This is the third command that according to general custom to call the Holy Prophet outside by raising one’s voice is ill-mannered and impolite, for the Holy Prophet is not like ordinary men, so, one is to wait for the Prophet outside his house.

I was customary in Arabia to call out a person from his house by shouting and perhaps they called out the Holy Prophet from his house in a similar fashion as the Exegesists have explained, so out of deference to the Holy Prophet such conduct was forbidden.

6. O ye who believe! If an evildoer brings you tidings, verify it lest ye smite some folk in ignorance and afterward repent of what ye did.

7. And know that the messenger of Allah is among you. If he were to obey you in much of the government, ye would surely be in trouble; but Allah hath endeared the faith to you and hath beautified it in your hearts, and hath made disbelief and lewdness and rebellion hateful unto you, Such are they who are the rightly guided.

8. (It is) a bounty and a grace from Allah and Allah is Knower, Wise.

This is the fourth command, Do not heed what is said by evildoers, because they are not trustworthy. Thus we have been commanded, when a sinner brings some news, to first confirm, otherwise unknowingly if you take some step it will cause you humiliation. Perhaps during the lifetime of the Holy Prophet, some such incidence did take place, followed by the revelation of this verse; but this command is universal, applicable to all.

The companions were told that the messenger of God was in their midst, who rules and judges according to the will of God; he does not act on their advice otherwise they would have been caught up in difficulties, but after faith had been planted in their heart, Allah saved them from difficulties. The clear meaning of this is, that in each matter the obedience of God and his Prophet (P.B.U.H) ensures safety.

9. If two parties of believers fall to fighting, then make peace between them. And if one party of them. And if one of them doeth wrong to the other, fight ye that which doeth wrong till it return unto the ordinance of Allah; then if it returns, make peace between justly, and act equitably. Lo! Allah loveth the equitable.

10. The believers are naught else than brothers. Therefore, make peace between your brethren and observe your duty to Allah that haply ye may obtain mercy.

The fifth injunction is regarding creating peace and harmony and removing mutual discord in the interest of a good society.

It is in this light that it is affirmed that Muslims are brothers unto each other and it is a duty of a Muslim to bring about peace between two brothers (or two groups of Muslims) using all their goodwill and influence to this end. and if one of the parties does not accept the ruling then the Muslims should stand up against the rebels, and combat him, but when he repents of his conduct, then bring about peace and understanding between them.

11. O ye believe! Let not a folk deride a folk who may better than they(are), nor let women (deride), women who may be better than they are.

This is the sixth injunction, relating to the ordering of a good society and for passing a pleasant lifetime so that relations between Muslims do not become distasteful or unpleasant. First Mulsim men are addressed and told that no Muslims should ridicule or degenerate another Muslim. They are prevented because perhaps the person whom you are humiliating may be better than you because Allah alone has the knowledge, of lightness, inner state, and feelings. thereafter women are addressed, no women should laugh at another woman, perhaps that women may be better in the sight of God.

And do not taunt your people and tease not, neither defame one another nor insult one another by nicknames bad is the name of lewdness after faith and whose turneth not in repentance such are evildoers.

Now, this is the seventh rule in which it is forbidden to taunt another Muslim; for taunts and invectives hurt feelings which creates dissension and hatred among Muslims. By saying it is implied you are all descended from one father and one mother, Adam and Eve, therefore to taunt a human being like yourself cannot be permissible, that is to say, his failing is your failing. The wound of the sword heals the wound of the tongue does not. In Arabic, the equivalent of taunt literally means a spear.

In this verse is the eighth command, do not call names to a Muslim or tease him in this manner if somebody before becoming a Muslim was a Jew or Christian, then after his joining the faith do not call him Jew, Christian or a Hindu, etc. So that he should feel shame for his past life and realize that even after his accepting the faith he is the object of suspicion and hatred.

Apart from these, this command includes such names as one would not like for oneself like, lame, wall-eyed, blind, etc. Since these all hurt feelings, we have been forbidden from using them.

12. O ye who believe! Shun much suspicion; for lo! some suspicion is a crime. And spy not.

This is the ninth divine injunction, O Muslims, keep yourself safe from mutual misunderstandings, for suspicion is the root of strife. That is to say unless there are proper reasons or news confirmed do not think evil of any person this can also become the source of discord which causes love and sincerity to disappear from social life. Some suspicions are sinful, for to think evil of any man without confirmation is a sin.

Do not probe, neither backbite one another. Would one of you love to eat the flesh of his dead brother? Ye abhor that (so abhor the other)! And keep your duty (to Allah). Lo! Allah is Relenting, Merciful.

This tenth injunction is due to the purpose of preventing people from undue suspicion, for probe about a person, or surreptitious surveillance is in itself unwholesome and evil. Thus Muslims have been forbidden to probe the actions or habits of any person; do not occupy yourselves in probing him. You must not be bent on investigating the circumstances of any individual for this gives rise to evils.

Exegetes have recounted an event in connection with this verse. A person who brought before Abdullah bin Masood (R.A) with the charge that wine was dripping from his beard. He replied that we have been prevented from the undue probe. Yes if a misdeed is apparent we will take account of it (Abu Dawood). The Holy Prophet has said ‘if you insistently search for the faults of a Muslim evil shall be done.

The Eleventh rule relates to backbiting which means speaking of a man behind his back, in a manner that if present, the subject of the discussion, would dislike it. This is the meaning of backbiting. Sahih Muslim contains a Hadith which explains the meaning of backbiting. The companions asked the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H). Do you know what backbiting is? They replied that God and His Apostle knew best, so he replied: To speak of a brother in a manner which he would think ill. Some companions enquired if such a speech contained truth? The Holy Prophet replied that was precisely the meaning of backbiting, for if it is untrue it will be slander.

In the verse cited above Allah has called backbiting an evil so hateful that He likened it to eating the flesh of a dead brother. In this simile, Almighty has likened the absent person to the dead, and this simile brings out the abhorrence and disgusting nature of such a deed.

Near the conclusion, the phrase fears God is used to underlining that such action is a great sin, so if you have done such a misdeed then repent before Allah, and resolve firmly to abstain from such sin in future; then Allah will forgive you your sin, for He is Merciful despite our sins.

13. O mankind! Lo! We have created you male and female, and have made you nations and tribes that ye may know one another, Lo! the noblest of you, in the sight of Allah, is the best in conduct, Lo! Allah is Knower, Aware.

In the twelveth command, Almighty Allah enjoins us to be God-fearing. We have given a single origin to your creation and we spread you over the earth and divided you into tribes and groups so that you can distinguish each other, not for you to take pride in your origin. This verbal pride, wealth, comeliness, and power have no value before God; does not bring honor to you, the real honor is to be God-fearing. So amongst you, he who is most God-fearing, he is the most honorable before God.

14. The wandering Arabs say: We believe. Say (unto them O Muhammad): Ye believe not, but rather say ‘We submit’, for the faith hath not yet not entered into your hearts. Yet, if ye obey Allah and His messenger, He will not withhold from you aught of (the reward of) your deeds. Lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.

Mujahid explaining the circumstances of the revelation of these verses had related that the Banu Asad came during the time of famine and stated their claim on having accepted Islam; thereupon this verse was revealed that if you have accepted Islam place your matter in the hands of Allah and his Apostle, for this is the sign of faith, otherwise to count acceptance of Islam as a favor is unbecoming. Now if knowingly you have done so, repent Allah will grant you pardon for He is the most Merciful.

15. The (true) believers are those only who believe in Allah and His messenger and afterward doubt not, but strive with their wealth and their lives for the cause of Allah. Such, are sincere.

In these verses, the sincerity of purpose, true faith, and abstinence have been described, the sign of faith is never being in doubt after having accepted the faith, and when the time comes, to spend our wealth to obtain the will of God, and if the need arrives to risk our life for Islam and God and not seek recompense for it, are the signs of the truly Muslim and really faithful.

16. Say (unto them, O Muhammad): Would ye teach Allah your religion, when Allah Knoweth all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth, and Allah is Aware of all things?

In the above verses, the divine word again gave guidance to the Bani Asad that they must have faith that God knows all circumstances and thoughts and what to say of them Allah has the greatest knowledge of everything in the heavens and on earth. Although these verses were addressed to the Banu Asad, till the day of reckoning they apply to every such person who seeks to make Islam the instrument of worldly attainments.

17. They make it a favor unto thee (Muhammad) that they have surrendered (unto Him). Say: Deem not your surrender a favor unto me; nay but Allah doth confer a favor on you, inasmuch as He hath led you to the Faith if ye are earnest.

In these verses, not only the Banu Asad but all such people are addressed who consider their acceptance of Islam as a favor to Allah and His Apostle. Actually, they should count it a favor of Allah and His Apostle that they have been saved from perversity and from the doom and also from waywardness and destruction in this world.

18. Lo! Allah Knoweth the Unseen of the heavens and the earth. And Allah is Seer of what ye do.

This verse is also connected with the preceding verses, in which those people have been shown guidance who pay lip service to Islam but do not obey God and His Prophet from the core of their hearts. All such people have been warned that nothing in the skies or the face of the earth is hidden from God and He sees all, and the demand of faith is to subserve ourselves wholly to the commands of God and Sunnah of His Prophet, and to surrender before them our personal options is the sign of faith and sincerity.


The following context is written from the book ‘SIRAT E MUSTAQIM’ by ‘PROF. ABDUL QAYYUM NATIQ’. All rights reserved no part of this publication can be reproduced, either written or printed in any form without the legal permission of the publisher.

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