Suratul Ahzab (verse 7-9)

This means that the law of inheritance where only blood relations can inherit from each other has already been written in the Lawhul Mahfooz. Other commentators have stated that it refers to the laws of inheritance.

Sura Al Ahzab goes further in verse 7 to mention the covenant which Allah took from the Prophets. The verse states:

7. And (remember) when We took from the Prophets their covenant, and from you (O Muhammad), and from Nûh, Ibrâhim, Mûsa, and ‘Isa, son of Maryam. We took from them a strong covenant.

Here, Allah tells the Prophet (S.A) to recall to man the time when Allah took a pledge from all the Prophets. Although the covenant was taken from all prophets, only the names of a few have been mentioned like, Nuh, Ibraheem, Moosa, Isa and the Prophet (S.A), since these were the most eminent and renowned prophets who were given their own Shariahs. (Tafseer Al Qurtubi vol.14 pg. 115)

The nature of this pledge/covenant taken from the prophets was that of discharging their duties of prophethood and to testify to the truthfulness of other prophets. They were also required to help each other. (Tafseer Al Qurtubi vol.14 pg. 115; Tafseer Ibn Katheer vol.3 pg. 469; Tafseer Ibn Jareer vol.21 pg. 143; Tafseer Al Bahrul Muheet vol.8 pg. 455).

According to other narrations, as narrated by Qatada, it is stated that in this covenant, a pledge was taken from all the other prophets that they must proclaim that Muhammad (S.A) is a Messenger of Allah and that there will be no prophet after him. (Tafseer Al Bahrul Muheet vol.8 pg. 455)

It is about this, the verse in Sura Al Imran refers to when it states, ‘And (remember) when Allah took the Covenant of the Prophets, saying: “Take whatever I gave you from the Book and Hikmah (understanding of the Laws of Allah, etc.), and afterwards there will come to you a Messenger (Muhammad) confirming what is with you; you must, then, believe in him and help him.” Allah said: “Do you agree (to it) and will you take up My Covenant (which I conclude with you)?” They said: “We agree.” He said: “Then bear witness; and I am with you among the witnesses (for this).”

Allah concludes the verse by saying, ‘We took from them a strong covenant’. It means that the pledge taken from them (the prophets) was a very strong one which was compulsory upon them to fulfill. They had to perform their duties which Allah had placed upon them and implement the orders of Allah – based on the covenant which Allah took from them. It was in order to fulfill the requirements of this pledge, we see that the prophets had sacrificed their lives and had gone through the greatest trials in order to ‘carry out’ the duty which was placed upon them.

Having spoken about the pledge of the prophets, Allah says in verse 8:

8. That He may ask the truthful ones (Allah’s Messengers and His Prophets) about their truth. And He has prepared for the disbelievers a painful torment.

The verse means that on the Day of Judgment, Allah will ask the truthful ones (i.e. the Prophets) about their truth. That is, they will be asked regarding their propagation and conveying the message of truth to their people. It can also mean that they will be asked whether they fulfilled the conditions of the covenant or not, or may be questioned regarding those who accepted them as prophets from among their people. All these explanations have been given by the commentators of the Holy Quran which is based upon different verses. For example, in Sura A’raf verse 6, it states, ‘Then surely, We shall question those (people) to whom it (the Book) was sent and verily, We shall question the Messengers’.

The verse further says, ‘And He has prepared for the disbelievers a painful torment (Hellfire)’. It means that on account of the disbelief, denial and rejection of accepting the true message, they will be thrown into a torment which Allah has already prepared for them. While speaking on the wisdom of Allah’s questioning the prophets on the Day of Judgement, commentators of the Holy Quran have stated that, ‘it will be done as a means of reproach and rebuke to the unbelievers’. (Safwatut Tafseer vol.12 pg. 48)

Sura Ahzab goes further from verse 9 to mention about the ‘Battle of Ahzaab’. The verse states:

9. O you who believe! Remember Allah’s Favour to you, when there came against you hosts, and We sent against them a wind and forces that you saw not. And Allah is Ever All-Seer of what you do.

Here, the believers are asked to remember Allah’s great favor to them when he protected them from their enemies. It was a time when a large army came upon them, to attack and destroy them, but Allah out of His kindness defended them. It is narrated that in Shawwal of 5A.H, the Quraish mustered a large army of fighters against the Muslims. The hosts (or confederates) known as ‘Ahzaab’ came from the Quraish, the Ghatfan tribe and the Jews of Banu Quraidha and Banu Nadheer.

This battle came about after the Jewish tribe, Banu Nadheer was exiled. Upon this, their leader Huyai bin Akhtab along with other Jewish leaders went to Makka in a negotiation to fight alongside the Quraish against the Muslims. Kinanah bin Rabi went to the tribe of Ghatfaan in an effort to prepare them for a battle against the Muslims, and other delegations went to different tribes calling them to do the same.

The Quraish, Kinanah and other tribes from the south all responded positively, and the other tribes from the east gave the same response. Collecting a large army of approximately ten thousand fighters, they all headed towards Madinah at a time agreed upon. This was the large army (hosts) which verse 9 referred to when it said, ‘when a large army came upon you’.

The Messenger of Allah (S.A) received the news of their attack and immediately called a meeting to discuss their plans. After much discussion, the decision was made (upon the opinion of Salman Farsi (R.A)) to dig a long and wide trench around the city as defensive lines. Regarding this, Salman (R.A) said, ‘O Messenger of Allah! When siege was made to us in Persia, we used to dig trenches to defend ourselves’.

In order to implement this plan, the Messenger of Allah (S.A) immediately gave orders for a trench to be dug around the blessed city of Madinah. In doing this, he allocated forty yards to each group of ten to dig. He himself was seen digging the trench with stones tied onto his stomach due to hunger. The Muslims, along with the Prophet (S.A) worked arduously, and within a period of six days, they had completed digging the trench.

The unbelievers eventually arrived in Madinah and camped close to Uhud. The Messenger of Allah (S.A) gathered three thousand of his companions and waited at the mountain of Sila, with the trench being between both armies. On attempting to attack the Muslims and break into Madinah, the unbelievers were surprised to see a wide trench which stood as an obstruction to them. This took them by surprise as it was not an Arab custom. Consequently, they decided to lay siege to Madinah and began to maneuver around the trench, trying hard to find a spot through which they can enter into Madinah.

This was a most difficult time upon the Muslims, in that all the tribes, inside and outside Madinah all gathered to attack them. They were surrounded from all directions. The number of the army was much more than the number of Muslims living in Madinah. The Muslims became fearful and many different thoughts penetrated their hearts. This trial became unbearable for the hypocrites and they soon began to  make petty excuses to return to their homes (by leaving the Prophet (S.A) and the believers).

Notwithstanding the fear that had crept into the hearts of the Muslims, they stood firm and steadfast in their faith and obedience to Allah and His Messenger (S.A). With the trench standing between the two armies, the unbelievers continued in their efforts to move into Madinah, but to no avail. The Muslims kept on hurling arrows towards them which stopped them from their plan. Two weeks had passed after laying siege to Madinah and no battle took place. The unbelievers decided to send a group of fighters who must work their way through the trench and challenge the Muslims to a duel. This plan seemed to work for a little while, but later failed when the leader was killed by Ali (R.A).

With this, others fled from the site in a state of confusion. The unbelievers continued to use different strategies in attacking the Muslims, but all failed.