Exposition of the Holy Quran – 66 At-Tahreem (G A Parwez)

Surah 66: At-Tahreem

(1) O Nabi! Given whatever Allah Almighty has made legal for you, why did you impose prohibitions on yourself just to please your wives? (You have been warned so that) You should not have shortage of protection and development (which would be a natural consequence of declaring things legal or illegal). This is important because your actions do not remain confined to your person. You may leave something because you do not like it; but your followers might think that this thing is intrinsically bad and consider it forbidden. Therefore, you have to be extra cautious.
(2) (If you have taken an oath in this regard, then do not worry.) The divine laws have already made provision to break such oaths and atonement has to be made (2:225, 5:89). Allah surely is your protector. (Accordingly, He has made provisions in the law to expiate for mistakes or human emotions.) He is well aware (of such weaknesses) and therefore has based His law on wisdom.
(3) (This other episode is also worth mentioning.) The Nabi said something in confidence to one of his wives. She divulged it to another woman (although she should not have done so) but Allah made it known to the Nabi (through that other woman(1)). Then he narrated a portion of that to his wife and withheld a part from her (he did not disclose the source). She asked him, “Who has told you this?” Whereupon he said “This has been told to me by the one to whom you disclosed the secret; and this is how she came to know about it.”

(4) At this Allah said, “It would be good if both you women (who share this secret) seek Allah’s forgiveness, because you have behaved abnormally. However, if both of you team up and oppose the Nabi, then remember (you cannot do any harm to him, as he is right and because) Allah Almighty, His law as revealed to him through Gabriel, the jama of righteous momineen and the malaika, are with him. They shall all support him.
(5) (A husband and wife should live in peace and affection; otherwise it is better for them to part. As such, if you continue to oppose him then he will have no choice but to divorce you. If this happens, keep in mind that) His Rabb shall find him women who would be better wives than you. They would be better in the sense that they would submit to the divine laws; believe completely in their truth; and reserve all their capabilities for this mission. Should they slip up, they would take immediate steps to correct it. They would obey the divine laws under all circumstances and accompany the Nabi in his travels and in jihad (9:112).
Women having these qualities would be willing to marry him, whether they are divorcees, widows or virgins.
(6) (O Jamat-ul-Momineen! These family laws are being revealed to you so that you may) Ward off evil and save yourself and your family members from the disastrous results of erroneous ways; from the chastisement of jahannam, where the deeds of human beings who enter, add fuel to the fire. In fact they are not human beings but stones, because they lose their capabilities of growth. This destruction sometimes comes in the form of war and sometimes in the shape of the negative results of an unjust system (2:24).Very severe and powerful heavenly forces are appointed as wardens of this jahannam. They do not disobey and forthwith carry out whatever command is given to them.
(7) (At the time of judgment) People who at this time refuse to adopt the right course of life will be told, “You will not gain anything from making lame excuses. You shall be but recompensed for what you were doing.”
(8) O Jamat-ul-Momineen! You should always remain conscious that if during the course of your life you take a step in the wrong direction, take immediate corrective measures and come back to the right course. Thereafter, stick to it so firmly that you never drift to the erroneous course again. In this way the Law of Mukafat would efface the ill effects of your omissions and also grant you a heavenly life, the freshness of which will never fade. At that time, the Nabi and his companions will not feel humiliated anywhere. They will enjoy all the pleasures and successes of life. Their light (of insight) will travel ahead of them and on their right (and left). In this way all avenues of their life would be illuminated and they would continue to advance with the prayer, “O our Rabb! Make this light of ours perfect in every way and keep us safe from all pitfalls. Undoubtedly everything happens here according to measures determined by You.”
(9) O Nabi! Tell them that the way to realizing their prayers is to continuously struggle against the mischief of the munafiqeen and the opposition of the kuffar. Keep yourselves steadfast and attain complete supremacy over them with a stern hand. It is in this way that your opponents will meet the chastisement of jahannam. How vile their end will be!
(10) (While discussing the immutability of the Law of Mukafat) Allah sets forth for those who deny this law, the example of the wives of Noah and Lot. They were wedded to two of Our most righteous people, but both of them were not faithful to them (in that they did not share their eiman with them). Their noble husbands could render them no help against the divine Law of Mukafat. These women perished along with other people who were destroyed.
(11) On the contrary, for the momineen, Allah sets forth the example of the Pharaoh’s wife. She always used to pray, “O my Rabb! Build a house for me in janna and save me from the Pharaoh and his erroneous deeds; rather from the entire nation that perpetuates oppression and zulm.” (This example shows that the erroneous deeds of the husband have no adverse effect on the wife)
(12) And the third example is that of Mary, daughter of Imran. She kept her chastity in the monastery where the immoral priests sought the innocent girl. She never allowed anyone even to touch her. We gave a spark of divine energy into her newly born baby (as is done in the case of each human offspring). She thus testified to the truth of the divine laws revealed by her Rabb and His books. She was one of the most obedient subjects of Allah.
(In these examples it is apparent that bonds of relationship or the effects of one’s surroundings cannot become an obstacle to one’s eiman. Man has been bestowed with a strong will power with which he can overcome all such hindrances. This was the basis of Allah’s proclamation to Satan, that he would never be able to influence His subjects – 15:40, 17:65).


(1) Everything that human beings ordinarily learn or which can be learned by normal means, many a times can be attributed to Allah. For example in 5:4, the method of training dogs has been attributed to Allah, even though it is common knowledge that any man, who has learnt how, can teach dogs. (Similarly see 2:282, 96:4-5, 55:4.)

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