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Sura 33
Aya 6
النَّبِيُّ أَولىٰ بِالمُؤمِنينَ مِن أَنفُسِهِم ۖ وَأَزواجُهُ أُمَّهاتُهُم ۗ وَأُولُو الأَرحامِ بَعضُهُم أَولىٰ بِبَعضٍ في كِتابِ اللَّهِ مِنَ المُؤمِنينَ وَالمُهاجِرينَ إِلّا أَن تَفعَلوا إِلىٰ أَولِيائِكُم مَعروفًا ۚ كانَ ذٰلِكَ فِي الكِتابِ مَسطورًا

Yusuf Ali

The Prophet is closer to the Believers than their own selves,1 and his wives are2 their mothers. Blood-relations among each other have closer personal ties, in the Decree of God, than (the Brotherhood of) Believers and Muhājirs:3 nevertheless do ye what is just to your closest friends: such is the writing in the Decree (of God).
  • In spiritual relationships the Prophet is entitled to more respect and consideration than blood-relations. The Believers should follow him rather than their fathers or mothers or brothers, where there is conflict of duties. He is even nearer—closer to our real interests—than our own selves. In some Qirāats, like that of Ubaai ibn Kaʿb, occur also the words “and he is a father of them”, which imply his spiritual relationship and connection with the words “and his wives are their mothers”. Thus his spiritual fatherhood would be contrasted pointedly with the repudiation of the vulgar superstition of calling any one like Zaid ibn Ḥāritha by the appellation Zaid ibn Muḥammad (33:40): such an application is really disrespectful of the Prophet.
  • See last note. This Sūra establishes the dignity and position of the Prophet’s wives, who had a special mission and responsibility as Mothers of the Believers. They were not to be like ordinary women: they had to instruct women in spiritual matters, visit and minister to those who were ill or in distress, and do other kindly offices in aid of the Prophet’s mission.
  • No man should deprive his blood-relations of such rights of maintenance and property as they might have. The community of Believers, inhabitants of Medīna and those who had migrated to Medīna from Mecca, also had their mutual rights, but they were not to be put forward as an excuse to defeat the prior rights of natural relationships. In the early Medīna days, Anṣār were allowed to inherit from Muhājirs whose natural relations had not emigrated, but this practice was discontinued when normal relations were re-established between Mecca and Medīna.