|Translation:||The Combined Forces|
About Surah: Al-Ahzab
This is a Madni Surah, named after the combined forces of the enemies that came to attacks the Muslims in Madina. The Quraysh were able to incite the neighboring tribes of the region and also received support from the Jewish tribes settled in Madina, hence their attack left the Muslims very helpless and desperate. But help from Allaah (SWT), as well as the use of a new war strategy as suggested by Salman Farsi, helped the believers and they were able to avert a full confrontation.
This surah clarifies that adopted sons were not at par with biological ones, and so everyone must be called by their father’s name only. Zaid, the freed slave of the Prophet ﷺ whom he adopted as a son, used to be called as Zaid ibn Muhammad, but after this order, his name was changed back to Zaid ibn Harithah. Zaid was married to Zainab bint Jahsh, who was also the cousin of the Prophet ﷺ. After Zaid (RA) divorced her, she was married to the Prophet ﷺ, as Zaid was not the biological son of the Prophet ﷺ and so it was not prohibited upon the Prophet ﷺ to marry his former wife.
The wives of the Prophet ﷺ were declared to be like mothers to the believers and should be accorded due respect. That’s why they are addressed as Ummuhaatul-Mumineen, “Mothers of the Believers”, and it was prohibited for anyone to marry them after the Prophet ﷺ. They are unlike ordinary women, although they were also an example to the believing women. That’s why the order to cover up while going out began with addressing the wives of the Prophet ﷺ and then directed the believing women in general.
The believers, although afraid, stood firmly to face the attack of the Confederates who had united against the Muslims to obliterate them. Salmaan Farsi (RA) who originated from Persia, suggested to dig trenches all around the front entrance of Madina, to prevent the enemies from entering the city, and this was a strategy that was used by the Persians. The Prophet ﷺ adopted his suggestion, and they all worked together to dig the trenches which rendered it impossible for the Confederates to launch a full attack on the Muslims. They camped for about a month outside Madina, but the weather grew cold and they ran out of resources to survive on, hence decided to retreat without inflicting any loss on the Muslims.