Surah 33:52 Restriction On Prophet Muhammed (p)

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Madinan verse (Mawdudi, and Dr. Muhammed Asad).

Analysing Verse

“Not lawful to you, [O Muhammad], are [any additional] women after [this], nor [is it] for you to exchange them for [other] wives, even if their beauty were to please you, except what your right hand possesses. And ever is Allah, over all things, an Observer.” – Quran 33:52


George Sale commentary:

“Z The commentators differ as to the express meaning of these words. Some think Mohamed was thereby forbidden to take any more wives than nine, which number he then had, and is supposed to have been his stint, as four was that of other men; some imagine that after this prohibition, though any of the wives he then had should die or be divorced, yet he could not marry another in her room: some think he was only forbidden from this time forward to marry any other woman than one of the four sorts mentioned in the preceding passage; and others are of opinion that this verse is abrogated by the two preceding verses, or one of them, and was revealed before them, though it be read after them.” (The Koran translated by George Sale, online source )

Malik Ghulam Farid:

“2364. This verse was revealed in 7 A.H. after which the Holy Prophet contracted no further marriage. He was also not allowed to divorce any of the existing wives, possibly in deference to their dignity as ‘Mothers of the Faithful’ and perhaps also because they had preferred the rigour and austerity of the Holy Prophet’s domestic life to worldly comforts. God appreciated their sacrifice and forbade the Holy Prophet to marry any more wife or to divorce any of the existing wives.”
(The Holy Qur’an – Arabic Text With English Translation & Short Commentary By Malik Ghulam Farid, page 862)

Maulana Muhammad Ali:

“52a. When the Prophet’s wives chose to remain with him, limitation was placed upon the Holy Prophet, viz., that he should not take any other wife. The Prophet did not contract any marriage after the seventh year of the Hijrah, when this verse was revealed. 52b. This is another limitation, viz., that it was not after this allowed to the Prophet to divorce anyone of those who had chosen to remain with him. 52c. By those whom thy right hand possesses are indicated the wives of the Prophet whom he had lawfully married.” (The Holy Quran Arabic Text with English Translation, Commentary and comprehensive Introduction [Year 2002 Edition] by Maulana Muhammad Ali, page 841)

Dr. Muhammad Asad:

“65 Some commentators (e.g., Tabari) assume that this restriction relates to the four categories of women enumerated in verse 50 above: it is, however, much more probable that it is a prohibition barring the Prophet from marrying any woman in addition to those to whom he was already married (Baghawi, Zamakhshari). Some of the earliest, most outstanding authorities on the Qur’an, like Ibn ‘Abbas, Mujahid, Ad-Dahhak, Qatadah, Ibn Zayd (all of them cited by Ibn Kathir), or Al-Hasan al-Basri (quoted by Tabari in his commentary on verses 28-29), link this prohibition of further marriages with the choice between the charms of worldly life and the good of the hereafter with which the wives of the Prophet were confronted on the strength of verses 2~29, and their emphatic option for “God and His Apostle” (cf. note 32 above). All those early authorities describe the revelation of verse 52 – and the assurance which it was meant to convey to the wives of the Prophet – as God’s reward, in this world, of their faith and fidelity. Since it is inconceivable that the Prophet could have disregarded the categorical injunction, “No [other] women shall henceforth be lawful to thee”, the passage in question cannot have been revealed earlier than the year 7 H., that is, the year in which the conquest of Khaybar and the Prophet’s marriage with Safiyyah – his last marriage – took place. Consequently, verses 28-29 (with which, as we have seen, verse 52 is closely connected) must have been revealed at that later period, and not, as some commentators think, in the year 5 H. (i.e., at the time of the Prophet’s marriage with Zaynab).
66 I.e., to divorce any of them with a view to taking another wife in her stead (with the prohibitive accent on the ‘supplanting” – i.e., divorcing – of any of his wives).
67 In my opinion, the expression ma malakat yaminuka (lit., “what thy right hand possesses”, or “has come to possess”) has here the same meaning as in 4:24, namely, “those whom thou hast come to possess through wedlock” (see surah 4, note 26); thus, the above verse is to be understood as limiting the Prophet’s marriages to those already contracted.” (The Message of The Quran translated and explained by Dr. Muhammad Asad, page 900 – 901, online source )

Maulana Mufti Muhammed Shafi:

“One is that no women are lawful for you after the present wives. Some noble companions and leading commentators have adopted this meaning. Sayyidina Anas has stated that when the blessed wives were given the choice by Allah Ta’ala to ether opt for the pleasure of the worldly life and its charms but separation from the Holy Prophet or to remain with him and be context with every economic condition they may face, all of them gave up their demand for increase in maintenance and elected to remain with him.
Allah Ta’ala, as a reward for their decision, restricted the Holy Prophet to those nine wives, and it was no more permissible for him to marry other women. (Al-Baihaqi, as quoted by Ruh-il – Ma’ani)
Sayyidina Ibn Abbas has stated that Allah Ta’ala has restricted the blessed wives exclusively to the Holy Prophet in that they could not marry anybody after him. Similarly, the Holy Prophet has been restricted to the blessed wives in the sense that he could not marry any other women. Sayyidina Ikrimah has also given this explanation as per one narration.” (Maarif ul Quran – Quran Translation and Commentary [Translation by Prof. Muhammad Hasan Askari & Prof. Muhammad Shamim Revised by Justice Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani], by Maulana Mufti Mohammad Shafi, page 199)

Ali Unal:

“29. This prohibition is related to other women than those mentioned in verse 50. However, since the verse was revealed when the Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, already had nine wives, it also forbids him to marry again. This implies that the purposes for his marriages have already been fulfilled.” (The Qur’an With Annotated Interpretation in Modern English Ali Unal, page 819 – 820)



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