Surah Ahzab Ayat 50 in Arabic Text
Here you can read various translations of verse 50
O Prophet, indeed We have made lawful to you your wives to whom you have given their due compensation and those your right hand possesses from what Allah has returned to you [of captives] and the daughters of your paternal uncles and the daughters of your paternal aunts and the daughters of your maternal uncles and the daughters of your maternal aunts who emigrated with you and a believing woman if she gives herself to the Prophet [and] if the Prophet wishes to marry her, [this is] only for you, excluding the [other] believers. We certainly know what We have made obligatory upon them concerning their wives and those their right hands possess, [but this is for you] in order that there will be upon you no discomfort. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful.
O Prophet! We have made lawful to thee thy wives to whom thou hast paid their dowers; and those whom thy right hand possesses out of the prisoners of war whom Allah has assigned to thee; and daughters of thy paternal uncles and aunts, and daughters of thy maternal uncles and aunts, who migrated (from Makka) with thee; and any believing woman who dedicates her soul to the Prophet if the Prophet wishes to wed her;- this only for thee, and not for the Believers (at large); We know what We have appointed for them as to their wives and the captives whom their right hands possess;- in order that there should be no difficulty for thee. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.
O Prophet, We have made lawful for you your wives whose bridal dues you have paid, and the slave-girls you possess from among the prisoners of war, and the daughters of your paternal uncles and paternal aunts, and the daughters of your maternal uncles and maternal aunts who have migrated with you, and a believing woman who gives herself to the Prophet and whom he wants to take in marriage. (O Prophet), this privilege is yours alone to the exclusion of other believers. We know well what restrictions We have imposed upon them as regards their wives and those whom their right hands possess, (and have exempted you from those restrictions) that there may be no constraint upon you. Allah is Most Forgiving, Most Merciful.
O Prophet (Muhammad SAW)! Verily, We have made lawful to you your wives, to whom you have paid their Mahr (bridal money given by the husband to his wife at the time of marriage), and those (captives or slaves) whom your right hand possesses – whom Allah has given to you, and the daughters of your ‘Amm (paternal uncles) and the daughters of your ‘Ammah (paternal aunts) and the daughters of your Khal (maternal uncles) and the daughters of your Khalah (maternal aunts) who migrated (from Makkah) with you, and a believing woman if she offers herself to the Prophet, and the Prophet wishes to marry her; a privilege for you only, not for the (rest of) the believers. Indeed We know what We have enjoined upon them about their wives and those (captives or slaves) whom their right hands possess, – in order that there should be no difficulty on you. And Allah is Ever OftForgiving, Most Merciful.
O Prophet! Lo! We have made lawful unto thee thy wives unto whom thou hast paid their dowries, and those whom thy right hand possesseth of those whom Allah hath given thee as spoils of war, and the daughters of thine uncle on the father’s side and the daughters of thine aunts on the father’s side, and the daughters of thine uncle on the mother’s side and the daughters of thine aunts on the mother’s side who emigrated with thee, and a believing woman if she give herself unto the Prophet and the Prophet desire to ask her in marriage – a privilege for thee only, not for the (rest of) believers – We are Aware of that which We enjoined upon them concerning their wives and those whom their right hands possess – that thou mayst be free from blame, for Allah is ever Forgiving, Merciful.
O you paternal Prophet, surely We have made lawful for you your spouses to whom you have brought their rewards, and what your right hand possesses of what Allah has conceded you (as war prisoners), and the daughters of your paternal uncle, and the daughters of your paternal aunts, and the daughters of your maternal uncle, and the daughters of your maternal aunts maternal who have emigrated with you, and (any) believing woman (Literally: wife) in case she bestows herself to the Prophet, in case the Prophet is willing to marry her. (Or: marry her anyone) (This is) for you exclusively, apart from the believers. We already know what We have ordained upon them concerning their spouses and what their hands possess, so that there may be no restriction on you. And Allah has been Ever-Forgiving, Ever-Merciful.
Prophet, We have made lawful for you the wives whose bride gift you have paid, and any slaves God has assigned to you through war, and the daughters of your uncles and aunts on your father’s and mother’s sides, who migrated with you. Also any believing woman who has offered herself to the Prophet and whom the Prophet wishes to wed- this is only for you [Prophet] and not the rest of the believers: We know exactly what We have made obligatory for them concerning their wives and slave-girls- so you should not be blamed: God is most forgiving, most merciful.
اے نبی! ہم نے تیرے لئے تیری وه بیویاں حلال کر دی ہیں جنہوں تو ان کا مہر دے چکا ہے اور وه لونڈیاں بھی جو اللہ تعالیٰ نے غنیمت میں تجھے دی ہیں اور تیرے چچا کی لڑکیاں اور پھوپھیوں کی بیٹیاں اور تیرے ماموں کی بیٹیاں اور تیری خاﻻؤں کی بیٹیاں بھی جنہوں نے تیرے ساتھ ہجرت کی ہے، اور وه باایمان عورت جو اپنا نفس نبی کو ہبہ کردے یہ اس صورت میں کہ خود نبی بھی اس سے نکاح کرنا چاہے، یہ خاص طور پر صرف تیرے لئے ہی ہے اور مومنوں کے لئے نہیں، ہم اسے بخوبی جانتے ہیں جو ہم نے ان پر ان کی بیویوں اور لونڈیوں کے بارے میں (احکام) مقرر کر رکھے ہیں، یہ اس لئے کہ تجھ پر حرج واقع نہ ہو، اللہ تعالیٰ بہت بخشنے اور بڑے رحم واﻻ ہے
Quran 33 Verse 50 Explanation
For those looking for commentary to help with the understanding of Surah Ahzab ayat 50, we’ve provided two Tafseer works below. The first is the tafseer of Abul Ala Maududi, the second is of Ibn Kathir.
(33:50) O Prophet, We have made lawful for you your wives whose bridal dues you have paid, and the slave-girls you possess from among the prisoners of war, and the daughters of your paternal uncles and paternal aunts, and the daughters of your maternal uncles and maternal aunts who have migrated with you, and a believing woman who gives herself to the Prophet and whom he wants to take in marriage. (O Prophet), this privilege is yours alone to the exclusion of other believers. We know well what restrictions We have imposed upon them as regards their wives and those whom their right hands possess, (and have exempted you from those restrictions) that there may be no constraint upon you. Allah is Most Forgiving, Most Merciful.
87. This, in fact, is an answer to the objection of the people who said that Muhammad (peace be upon him) forbade others to keep more than four wives at a time but had himself taken a fifth wife. This objection was raised because at the time the Prophet (peace be upon him) married Zainab, he already had four wives with him:
(1) Saudah, whom he had married in the 3rd year before the Hijrah,
(2) Aishah, whom he married in the 3rd year before the Hijrah but who came to live with him in Shawwal, A.H. 1,
(3) Hafsah, whom he married in Shaban, A.H. 3, and,
(4) Umm Salamah, whom he married in Shawwal. A.H. 4. Thus, Zainab was his fifth wife. May Allah be pleased with them all. Here Allah has answered the objection of the disbelievers and the hypocrites, as if to say, O Prophet, We have made lawful for you all these five wives whom you have married by giving them their dowers. In other words, the answer means this: “It is We who have imposed the restriction of four wives on others, and it is also We ourselves who have made Our Prophet an exception to the restriction. When We could impose the restriction, We could also make the exception.”
Also, about this answer one should note that it was not meant to satisfy the disbelievers and the hypocrites but those Muslims to whom the opponents of Islam were trying to impart evil suggestions. Since they believed that the Quran is Allah’s speech and has been sent down in Allah’s own words, Allah declared through a clear and decisive verse that the Prophet (peace be upon him) had not made himself an exception from the general law about four wives of his own accord, but the exception in regard to him had been decreed by Allah.
88. Besides making the fifth wife lawful for the Prophet, Allah in this verse also granted him the permission to marry a few other kinds of the women:
(1) The woman who came into his possession from among the slave-girls granted by Allah. According to this the Prophet (peace be upon him) selected for himself Raihanah from among the prisoners of war taken at the raid against the Bani Quraizah, Juwairiyah from among the prisoners of war taken at the raid against the Bani al- Mustaliq, Safiyyah out of the prisoners of war captured at Khaiber, and Mariah the Copt, who was presented by Maqauqis of Egypt. Out of these he set three of them free and married them, but had conjugal relations with Mariah on the ground of her being his slave-girl. In her case there is no proof that the Prophet (peace be upon him) set her free and married her.
(2) The ladies from among his first cousins, who emigrated along with him. The words “who emigrated with you” do not mean that they accompanied the Prophet (peace be upon him) in his migration journey but this that they also had migrated in the way of Allah for the sake of Islam. The Holy Prophet was given the choice to marry any one of them he liked. Accordingly, in A.H. 7 he married Umm Habibah. (Incidentally, in this verse it has been elucidated that the daughters of one’s paternal and maternal uncles and aunts are lawful for a Muslim. In this regard the Islamic Law is different both from the Christian Law and from the Jewish Law. Among the Christians one cannot marry a woman whose line of descent joins one’s own anywhere in the last seven generations, and among the Jews it is permissible even to marry one’s real niece, i.e. daughter of one’s brother or sister.
(3) The believing woman who gives herself to the Prophet (peace be upon him), i.e. who is prepared to give herself in marriage to the Prophet (peace be upon him) without a dower, and he may like to marry her. On account of this permission the Prophet (peace be upon him) took Hadrat Maimunah as his wife in Shawwal, A.H. 7, but he did not think he should have conjugal relations with her without paying her the dower. Therefore, he paid her the dower even though she did not demand or desire it. Some commentators say that the Prophet (peace be upon him) did not have any wife who had offered herself to him; but this in fact means that he did not keep any wife without paying her the dower although she offered herself to him.
89. If this sentence is taken to be related with the preceding sentence, it will mean that it is not permissible for any Muslim to take in marriage a woman who gives herself to him, without paying her the dower; and if it is taken to be related with the whole preceding passage, it will imply that the concession to marry more than four wives is only reserved for the Prophet (peace be upon him), not for the other Muslims. This verse also shows that certain commandments are specifically meant for the Prophet (peace be upon him) to follow and are not applicable to the other Muslims. A study of the Quran and Sunnah reveals several such commandments. For example, the Tahajjud prayer was obligatory for the Prophet (peace be upon him) but is voluntary for the Ummah. It is unlawful for him and his family to receive charities though it is not so for others. The inheritance left by him cannot be divided; as for the inheritance left by others relevant commandments have been given in Surah An-Nisa. Keeping of more than four wives was made lawful for him though he was not enjoined to do equal treatment with them. He was permitted to marry a woman who gave herself to him without any dower, and after his death his wives were forbidden for the Ummah. None of these privileges could be enjoyed by any other Muslim. Another special thing that the commentators have mentioned in this regard is that it was forbidden for the Prophet (peace be upon him) to marry a woman from among the people of the Book though it is lawful for the Muslims to do so.
90. This is the reason why Allah made the Prophet (peace be upon him) an exception to the general rule. “That there should be no difficulty (restraint) upon you.” does not mean that he was, God forbid, a very lustful person, and therefore, he was permitted to marry several wives so that he might not feel any hindrance due to the restriction to four wives. This meaning will be understood only by the person who, blinded by prejudice, forgets that the Prophet (peace be upon him) at the age of 25 married a lady who was 40 years old, and lived a happy, contented married life with her for full 25 years. Then, when she died, he marred another old lady Saudah, who remained his only wife for the next four years. Now, no sensible and honest person can imagine that when he became over fifty-three he was suddenly filled with lust and needed to have more and more wives. In fact, in order to understand the meaning of “no restraint”, one should, on the one hand, keep in view the great task whose responsibility Allah had placed on the Prophet (peace be upon him), and on the other hand, understand the conditions and circumstances under which he had been appointed to accomplish the great task. Anyone who understands these two things with an unbiased mind, will certainly realize why it was necessary to grant him freedom in respect of the wives and what hindrance was there for him in the restriction to four wives.
The task entrusted to the Prophet (peace be upon him) was that he should mold and chisel by all-round education and training an uncouth, uncultured nation which was not uncivilized only from the Islamic point of view but from a general viewpoint as well, into a highly civilized, refined and virtuous nation. For this purpose an unbiased mind will certainly realize why it was necessary to grant him freedom in respect of the wives and what hindrance was there for him in the restriction to four wives. For this purpose it was not enough only to train men but the training of the women was also equally necessary. However, the principles of social life and civilization which he had been appointed to teach forbade free mixing of the sexes together, and it was not possible for him to impart direct training to the womenfolk without violating this rule. Therefore, for imparting education to the women the only alternative left for him was that he should marry several women of different ages and mental capabilities and should prepare them by education and training to become his helpers, and then employ them to give religious instructions to the young, middle-aged and old women of the city and desert and teach them the new principles of morality and civilization. Moreover, the Prophet (peace be upon him) had also been appointed to abolish the system of life of the pre-Islamic days of ignorance and replace it with the Islamic system of life practically. For the accomplishment of this task a conflict was inevitable with those who upheld the system of ignorance, and this conflict was being encountered in a country where the tribal system of life was prevalent with all its peculiar customs and traditions. Under these conditions, besides other devices, it was also necessary that the Prophet (peace be upon him) should marry in different families and clans in order to cement many ties of friendship and put an end to enmities. Thus, the selection of the ladies whom he married was to some extent determined by this object besides their personal qualities. By taking Aishah and Hafsah as wives he further strengthened and deepened the relations with Abu Bakr and Umar. Umm Salamah was the daughter of the family to which Abu Jahl and Khalid bin Walid belonged, and Umm Habibah was the daughter of Abu Sufyan. These marriages neutralized the enmity of these families to a large extent; so much so that after Umm Habibah’s marriage Abu Sufyan never confronted the Prophet (peace be upon him) on the battlefield. Safiyyah, Juwairiah and Raihanah belonged to Jewish families. When the Prophet (peace be upon him) married them after setting them free, the hostile Jewish activities against him subsided. For according to the Arab traditions when the daughter of a clan or tribe was married to a person, he was regarded as the son-in-law of not only the girl’s family but of the entire tribe, and it was disgraceful to fight the son-in-law.
Practical reformation of the society and abolition of its customs of ignorance was also included among the duties of his office. Therefore, he had to undertake one marriage for this purpose also, as has been related in detail in this Surah Ahzab itself.
For these reasons it was essential that there should be no restriction for the Prophet in respect of marriage so that in view of the requirements of the great mission entrusted to him he could marry as many women as he wanted.
This also brings out the error of the view of those people who think that polygamy is permissible only under special personal requirements and apart from these there can be no other object for which it may be permissible. Evidently, the reason for the Prophet (peace be upon him) to marry more wives than one was not that the wife was sick, or barren, or that he had no male child, or that there was the question of the bringing up of some orphans. Without these restrictions, he married all his wives either in view of the educational requirements, or for the reformation of society, or for political and social objectives. The question is, when Allah Himself has not kept polygamy restricted to a few particular needs, which are being mentioned these days and the Messenger of Allah took several wives for many purposes other than these, how is another person entitled to propose some restrictions in the law and then claim that he is imposing these in accordance with the Shariah? As a matter of fact, the root cause for the imposition of these restrictions is the Western concept that polygamy is an evil in itself. That very concept has given rise to the idea that this unlawful thing can become lawful only in case of extreme circumstances. Now, however hard one may try to label this imported concept with Islam artificially, it is entirely alien to the Quran and Sunnah and the whole Muslim literature.
50. O Prophet! Verily, We have made lawful to you your wives, to whom you have paid their due (dowery), and those (slaves) whom your right hand possesses — whom Allah has given to you, and the daughters of your paternal uncles and the daughters of your paternal aunts and the daughters of your maternal uncles and the daughters of your maternal aunts who migrated with you, and a believing woman if she offers herself to the Prophet, and the Prophet wishes to marry her — a privilege for you only, not for the (rest of) the believers. Indeed We know what We have enjoined upon them about their wives and those (slaves) whom their right hands possess, in order that there should be no difficulty on you. And Allah is Ever Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.
Allah says, addressing His Prophet that He has made lawful for him of women his wives to whom he has given the dowery, which is what is meant by “their due”, which is used here, as was stated by Mujahid and others. The dowery which he gave to his wives was twelve and half `Uqiyah (measures of gold) so they all received five hundred Dirhams except for Umm Habibah bint Abi Sufyan, to whom An-Najashi, may Allah have mercy on him, gave four hundred Dinars (on behalf of the Prophet ) Safiyyah bint Huyay, whom he chose from among the prisoners of Khaybar, then he set her free, making her release her dowery. A similar case was that of Juwayriyah bint Al-Harith Al-Mustalaqiyyah — he paid off the contract to buy her freedom from Thabit bin Qays bin Shammas and married her. May Allah be pleased with them all.
(those (slaves) whom your right hand possesses whom Allah has given to you,) means, `the slave-girls whom you took from the war booty are also permitted to you.’ He owned Safiyyah and Juwayriyah, then he manumitted them and married them, and he owned Rayhanah bint Sham`un An-Nadariyyah and Mariyah Al-Qibtiyyah, the mother of his son Ibrahim, upon him be peace; they were both among the prisoners, may Allah be pleased with them.
(and the daughters of your paternal uncles and the daughters of your paternal aunts and the daughters of your maternal uncles and the daughters of your maternal aunts) This is justice which avoids going to either extreme, for the Christians do not marry a woman unless there are seven grandfathers between the man and the woman (i.e., they are very distantly related or not at all), and the Jews allow a man to marry his brother’s daughter or his sister’s daughter. So the pure and perfect Shari`ah came to cancel out the extremes of the Christians, and permitted marriage to the daughter of a paternal uncle or aunt, or the daughter of a maternal uncle or aunt, and forbade the excesses of the Jews who allowed marriage to the daughter of a brother or sister which is an abhorrent thing.
(and a believing woman if she offers herself to the Prophet, and the Prophet wishes to marry her — a privilege for you only,) means, `also lawful for you, O Prophet, is a believing woman if she offers herself to you, to marry her without a dowery, if you wish to do so.’ This Ayah includes two conditions. Imam Ahmad recorded from Sahl bin Sa`d As-Sa`idi that a woman came to the Messenger of Allah and said, “O Messenger of Allah, verily, I offer myself to you (for marriage).” She stood there for a long time, then a man stood up and said, “O Messenger of Allah, marry her to me if you do not want to marry her.” The Messenger of Allah said:
(Do you have anything that you could give to her as a dowery) He said, “I have only this garment of mine.” The Messenger of Allah said:
(If you give her your garment, you will be left with no garment. Look for something.) He said, “I do not have anything.” He said:
(Look for something, even if it is only an iron ring.) So he looked, but he could not find anything. Then the Messenger of Allah said to him:
(Do you have ﴿know﴾ anything of the Qur’an) He said, “Yes, Surah such and such and Surah and such,” he named the Surahs. So, the Messenger of Allah said:
(I marry her to you with what you know of the Qur’an.) It was also recorded by (Al-Bukhari and Muslim) from the Hadith of Malik. Ibn Abi Hatim recorded a narration from his father that `A’ishah said: “The woman who offered herself to the Prophet was Khawlah bint Hakim.” Al-Bukhari recorded that `A’ishah said, “I used to feel jealous of those women who offered themselves to the Prophet and I said, `Would a woman offer herself’ When Allah revealed the Ayah:
(You can postpone whom you will of them, and you may receive whom you will. And whomsoever you desire of those whom you have set aside, it is no sin on you) I said, `I see that your Lord hastens to confirm your desires.”’ Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Ibn `Abbas said: “The Messenger of Allah did not have any wife who offered herself to him. ” This was recorded by Ibn Jarir. In other words, he did not accept any of those who offered themselves to him, even though they were lawful for him — a ruling which applied to him alone. The matter was left to his own choice, as Allah says:
(and ﴿if﴾ the Prophet wishes to marry her) meaning, if he chooses to do so.
(a privilege for you only, not for the (rest of) the believers.) `Ikrimah said: “This means, it is not permissible for anyone else to marry a woman who offers herself to him; if a woman offers herself to a man, it is not permissible for him (to marry her) unless he gives her something.” This was also the view of Mujahid, Ash-Sha`bi and others. In other words, if a woman offers herself to a man, when he consummates the marriage, he has to give her a dowery like that given to any other woman of her status, as the Messenger of Allah ruled in the case of Barwa` bint Washiq when she offered herself in marriage; the Messenger of Allah ruled that she should be given a dowery that was appropriate for a woman like her after her husband died. Death and consummation are the same with regard to the confirmation of the dowery, and the giving of a dowery appropriate to the woman’s status in the case of those who offer themselves to men other than the Prophet is an established ruling. With regard to the Prophet himself, he is not obliged to give a dowery to a woman who offers herself to him, even if he consummated the marriage, because he has the right to marry without a dowery, Wali (representative) or witnesses, as we have seen in the story of Zaynab bint Jahsh, may Allah be pleased with her. Qatadah said, concerning the Ayah:
(a privilege for you only, not for the (rest of) the believers.) no woman has the right to offer herself to any man without a Wali or a dowery, except to the Prophet .
(Indeed We know what We have enjoined upon them about their wives and those (servants) whom their right hands possess,) Ubayy bin Ka`b, Mujahid, Al-Hasan, Qatadah and Ibn Jarir said, concerning the Ayah:
(Indeed We know what We have enjoined upon them about their wives) means, `concerning the limiting of their number to four free women, and whatever they wish of slave-girls, and the conditions of a representative, dowery and witnesses to the marriage. This is with regard to the Ummah (the people), but We have granted an exemption in your case and have not imposed any of these obligations upon you.’
(in order that there should be no difficulty on you. And Allah is Ever Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.)
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