At-Taḥrīm (Arabic: التحريم, "Banning, Prohibition") is the 66th Surah or chapter of the Quran and contains 12 verses (ayah).[1] This Surah deals with questions regarding Muhammad's wives.[2][3]

Sura 66 of the Quran
The Banning
Other namesThe Prohibition, The Forbidding
PositionJuzʼ 28
No. of Rukus2
No. of verses12

The Surah's name is derived from the words lima tuharrimu of the first verse. This is not a title of its subject matter, but the name implies that it is the Surah in which the incident of tahrim (prohibition, forbiddance) has been mentioned.[4]


Probable date of revelation

In connection with the incident of tahrim referred to in this Surah, the traditions of the Hadith mention two ladies who were among the wives of Muhammad at that time Safiyya bint Huyayy and Maria al-Qibtiyya. The former (i. e. Safiyyah) was taken to wife by Muhammad after the conquest of Khaiber, and Khaiber was conquered, as has been unanimously reported, in A. H. 7. The other lady, Mariyah, had been presented to Muhammad by Al-Muqawqis, the ruler of Egypt, in A. H. 7 and she had borne him his son, Ibrahim ibn Muhammad, in Dhu al-Hijjah, A. H. 8. These historical events almost precisely determine that this Surah was sent down some time during A.H. 7[6] or A. H 8.[7][8]

Asbab al-nuzul

Asbāb al-nuzūl, an Arabic term meaning "occasions/circumstances of revelation", is a secondary genre of Qur'anic exegesis (tafsir) directed at establishing the context in which specific verses of the Qur'an were revealed. Though of some use in reconstructing the Qur'an's historicity, asbāb is by nature an exegetical rather than a historiographical genre, and as such usually associates the verses it explicates with general situations rather than specific events. According to Sale, the occasion of this chapter was as follows: "There are some who suppose this passage to have been occasioned by Muhammad’s protesting never to eat honey any more, because, having once eaten some in the apartment of Hafsa bint Umar or of Zaynab bint Jahsh, three other of his wives, namely, Aisha, Sawda bint Zamʿa, and Safiyya bint Huyayy, all told him they smelt he had been eating of the juice which distils from certain shrubs in those parts, and resembles honey in taste and consistency, but is of a very strong savour, and which the Prophet had a great aversion to."[9] Muhammad al-Bukhari recorded that Aisha narrated:

The Prophet (ﷺ) used to stay (for a period) in the house of Zaynab bint Jahsh (one of the wives of the Prophet ) and he used to drink honey in her house. Hafsa bint Umar and I decided that when the Prophet (ﷺ) entered upon either of us, she would say, "I smell in you the bad smell of Maghafir (a bad smelling raisin). Have you eaten Maghafir?" When he entered upon one of us, she said that to him. He replied (to her), "No, but I have drunk honey in the house of Zaynab bint Jahsh, and I will never drink it again." Then the following verse was revealed: 'O Prophet ! Why do you ban (for you) that which Allah has made lawful for you?. ..(up to) If you two (wives of the Prophet (ﷺ) turn in repentance to Allah.' (66.1-4) The two were `Aisha and Hafsa And also the Statement of Allah: 'And (Remember) when the Prophet (ﷺ) disclosed a matter in confidence to one of his wives!' (66.3) i.e., his saying, "But I have drunk honey."...[10]


Javed Ahmad Ghamidi, a Pakistani Muslim theologian, Quran scholar, Islamic modernist, exegete and educationist (born 1951) has summarised the theme of the surah as follows:

The theme of Surah At-Tahrim is to inform Muslims how, at times of showing love and affection, they should try to keep themselves and their families within the limits prescribed by God. Moreover, it is emphasized that each person should remain aware that the only thing that will be of avail to him before God is his deeds. In their absence, association with the greatest of personalities will not be of any benefit.


The first and foremost exegesis/tafsir of the Qur'an is found in hadith of Muhammad.[11] Although scholars including ibn Taymiyyah claim that Muhammad has commented on the whole of the Qur'an, others including Ghazali cite the limited amount of narratives, thus indicating that he has commented only on a portion of the Qur'an.[12] Ḥadīth (حديث) is literally "speech" or "report", that is a recorded saying or tradition of Muhammad validated by isnad; with Sirah Rasul Allah these comprise the sunnah and reveal shariah. According to Aishah,[13][14] the life of Prophet Muhammad was practical implementation of Qur'an.[15][16][17] Therefore, mention in hadith elevates the importance of the pertinent surah from a certain perspective. Ibn Abbas is known for his knowledge of traditions as well as his critical interpretation of the Qur'an. From early on, he gathered information from other companions of Muhammad and gave classes and wrote commentaries.[18]

  • Sa'id ibn Jubayr narrated that Ibn 'Abbas said: "A man came to him and said: 'I have made my wife forbidden to myself.' He said: 'You are lying, she is not forbidden to you.' Then he recited this Verse: 'O Prophet! Why do you forbid (for yourself) that which Allah has allowed to you.'(At-Tahrim) (And he said): 'You have to offer the severest form of expiation: Freeing a slave.'"[19]

Placement and coherence with other surahs

The idea of textual relation between the verses of a chapter has been discussed under various titles such as nazm and munasabah in non-English literature and coherence, text relations, intertextuality, and unity in English literature. Hamiduddin Farahi, an Islamic scholar of the Indian subcontinent, is known for his work on the concept of nazm, or coherence, in the Quran. Fakhruddin al-Razi (died 1209 CE), Zarkashi (died 1392) and several other classical as well as contemporary Quranic scholars have contributed to the studies.[20]

This surah is the last surah of 6th group of surahs which starts from surah Qaf (50) and runs till At-Tahrim(66) and the recurring theme of this section of Quran is Arguments on afterlife and the requirements of faith in it.[21] With regards to the subject-matter, this surah forms a pair with the previous one (At-Talaq).[22] Tadabbur-i-Quran is a tafsir (exegeses) of the Qur'an by Amin Ahsan Islahi based on the concept of thematic and structural coherence, which was originally inspired by Allama Hamiduddin Farahi. The tafsir is extended over nine volumes of six thousand pages. It describes At-Tahrim as a supplement to the previous surah with respect to the central theme.[23] According to Javed Ahmad Ghamidi

Surah al-Talaq (65) and Surah al-Tahrim (66) both these surahs form a pair with regard to their subject-matter. In the first surah, the limits which should be observed by a believer while parting from wives are explained while in the second surah, the limits he should observe at instances of expressing love to them are described. Both surahs are addressed to the Muslims, and it is evident from their subject-matter that they were revealed in Madinah in the tazkiyah wa tathir phase of the Prophet Muhammad’s (sws) preaching mission.[24][25]


  1. "al-Tahrim".
  2. "The Meaning of the Qur'an". English Tafsir.
  3. "Translation of Quran In English".
  4. "Tanzil - Quran Navigator | القرآن الكريم".
  5. Wherry, Elwood Morris (1896). A Complete Index to Sale's Text, Preliminary Discourse, and Notes. London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner, and Co. This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  6. Muhammad Asad - The Message of The Qur'an - (1980), an influential translation and interpretation of the Qur'an
  7. Abul A'la Maududi - Tafhim-ul-Quran
  8. Al-Zamakhshari
  9. George Sale - Mohammed, The Quran, vol. 4 [1896]
  10. Sahih al-Bukhari 6691 In-book reference  : Book 83, Hadith 68 USC-MSA web (English) reference  : Vol. 8, Book 78, Hadith 682 (deprecated numbering scheme)
  11. Şatibi, El-muvafakat
  12. Muhsin Demirci, Tefsir Usulü, 120
  13. Grade : Sahih (Al-Albani) صحيح (الألباني) حكم  : Reference  : Sunan Abu Dawud 1342 In-book reference  : Book 5, Hadith 93 English translation  : Book 5, Hadith 1337
  14. Al-Adab al-Mufrad » Dealings with people and good character – كتاب English reference  : Book 14, Hadith 308 Arabic reference  : Book 1, Hadith 308
  15. Sahih Al- Jami' AI-Saghir, No.4811
  16. Sunan Ibn Majah 2333 In-book reference  : Book 13, Hadith 26 English translation  : Vol. 3, Book 13, Hadith 2333
  17. Grade : Sahih (Darussalam) Reference  : Sunan an-Nasa'i 1601 In-book reference  : Book 20, Hadith 4 English translation  : Vol. 2, Book 20, Hadith 1602
  18. "'Abd Allah ibn al-'Abbas". Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. I: A-Ak - Bayes (15th ed.). Chicago, Illinois: Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. 2010. pp. 16. ISBN 978-1-59339-837-8.
  19. Sunan an-Nasa'i 3420 In-book reference  : Book 27, Hadith 32 English translation  : Vol. 4, Book 27, Hadith 3449
  20. Hamiduddin Farahi, translated by Tariq Mahmood Hashmi (2008). Exordium to coherence in the Quran : an English translation of Fātiḥah Niẓām al-Qurʼān (1st ed.). Lahore: al-Mawrid. ISBN 978-9698799571.
  21. Tadabbur-i-Quran
  22. Dr. Israr Ahmed - Bayan ul Quran
  23. Amin Ahsan Islahi - Tadabbur-i-Quran - Chapter 65 & 66
  24. Javed Ahmad Ghamidi
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