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Surah Al-’Ahzab, Chapter 33

(The Clans)
No. 33 (Revealed at Medina)
73 Verses in 9 Sections

The Feature of the Surah Al-’Ahzab

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيمِ

In The Name of Allah, The Beneficent, The Merciful

This Surah was revealed in Medina and contains seventy three verses.

In the fifth year of Hijrah the Jews of Medina, pagans of Mecca, and the hypocrites hidden amongst the Muslims united to fight against the Muslims. Then the Prophet (S) and his followers dug a deep ditch around Medina to defend against their attack.

This battle was designed by different groups and thus it was called ‘The Battle of Clans’, and since the Muslims dug a ditch in order to defend themselves, this battle became known as ‘The Battle of Ditch’.

On the whole, seventeen verses of this Surah are about the Battle of clans, and since in verses 20 and 22, the Arabic word /’ahzab/ (the clans) is used for three times, this Surah was called Al-’Ahzab (the clans).

In addition to the explanation concerning the Battle of Clans, there are some other matter mentioned in this Surah about ‘injurious assimilation’, divorce in the Age of Ignorance, the ordinances of adoption (adopted son), the subject of veiling of women, and paying attention to Resurrection.

The Virtue of Surah Al-’Ahzab

All knowledgeable men of Islam believe that this Surah was revealed in Medina, and, as we said before, the whole verses of it are seventy three; and since a great part of this Surah refers to ‘The Battle of Clans’, the name of Al-’Ahzab has been chosen for it.

Upon the virtue of this Surah, it is sufficient that the holy Prophet of Islam (S) in a tradition said:

“Whoever recites Surah Al-’Ahzab and teaches it to his family members…will be secure from the chastisement of the grave.”1

Imam Sadiq (as) in a tradition said:

“Whoever recites Surah Al-’Ahzab frequently, on the Hereafter Day, will be in the neighbourhood of Muhammad (S) and his Ahlul Bayt (as).”2

We have repeatedly said that these kinds of virtues and honours are not obtained by a mere recitation which is empty of any kind of contemplation and action. A recitation is needed that is the origin of contemplation, a contemplation that makes the horizon of man’s thought so bright that the rays of which appear in his deeds.

  • 1. Majma‘-ul-Bayan, Vol. 8, P. 234
  • 2. Ibid

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