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As the title says. I see it so common (especially on Salafi websites). The verse about women needing to stay at home was a direct command to the Prophet's WIVES. If the verse said "all believing women", then it would make sense. But the verse does NOT say that at all. So why are people purposely misinterpreting the verse?

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    Does this answer your question? Is this hadith about women emerging from home authentic?
    – UmH
    Commented Aug 13, 2022 at 10:31
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    If verses in the Qur'an are specific commands for specific people what's the use of this book for others?. As far as I know you are the only person claiming this please bring your evidence for such a statement. The aim of this site is to discuss and explain Islam based on acknowledged wisdom not on personal beliefs.
    – Medi1Saif
    Commented Aug 20, 2022 at 22:14
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    Every single tafseer indicates the verse was a command to the Prophets wives only. Or, you can start reading from verse 33:28 and see how Allah is directly talking to the Prophet's wives only. As well, did you know the Quran tells the Prophet's wives to not re-marry after they have been divorced? Are you going to apply this to regular Muslim women of today? The reason I say this is because you said "what's the use of this book for others?".
    – Ali
    Commented Aug 21, 2022 at 23:48
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    The given answer shows the fallacy examples of your claims. The verse might address the wives if the prophet for the reason given later which is that the punishment for them is double of that of any other women so why would the Qur'an mention this if the content only applies on them?
    – Medi1Saif
    Commented Aug 28, 2022 at 21:49
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    Once again, the Quran is commanding the Prophet's WIVES. As I also mentioned, the Quran tells women not to re-marry after they have been divorced by the Prophet. Tell me, does this verse apply to all Muslim women as well?
    – Ali
    Commented Aug 29, 2022 at 19:50

1 Answer 1

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The verse is as follows:

وقرن في بيوتكن ولا تبرجن تبرج الجاهلية الأولى وأقمن الصلاة وآتين الزكاة وأطعن الله ورسوله إنما يريد الله ليذهب عنكم الرجس أهل البيت ويطهركم تطهيرا

And abide in your houses and do not display yourselves as [was] the display of the former times of ignorance. And establish prayer and give zakah and obey Allah and His Messenger. Allah intends only to remove from you the impurity [of sin], O people of the [Prophet's] household, and to purify you with [extensive] purification.

Quran 33:33

This verse has been interpreted as being applicable to all women by the exegetes and the jurists among the scholars who understood very well how to correctly interpret the Quran and how to derive rulings from it - being thoroughly acquainted with the science of exegesis and jurisprudence and with other sources of law. It is not just the Salafi websites or one school of thought which holds this stance, but rather it is held by scholars in general. For examples:

Abu Bakr al-Jassas (Hanafi) wrote:

وفيه الدلالة على أن ذلك حكم سائر النساء في نهيهن عن إلانة القول للرجال على وجه يوجب الطمع فيهن ويستدل به على رغبتهن فيهم ... وفيه الدلالة على أن النساء مأمورات بلزوم البيوت منهيات عن الخروج

This verse (33:32) proves the command for all women that they are prohibited from being soft in speech with men ... and this verse (33:33) proves that women are commanded to stay in their homes and forbidden from going out of them.

Tafsir al-Jassas

Qurtubi (Maliki) wrote:

معنى هذه الآية الأمر بلزوم البيت ، وإن كان الخطاب لنساء النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم فقد دخل غيرهن فيه بالمعنى

The meaning of this verse is that women are commanded to remain in their homes, and while the wives of the Prophet ﷺ are addressed, other women are also included in its meaning.

Tafsir al-Qurtubi

Ibn Kathir (Shafi'i) wrote:

هذه آداب أمر الله ـ تعالى ـ بها نساء النبي - صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم -، ونساء الأمة تبع لهن في ذلك

These are the good manners which Allah enjoined upon the wives of the Prophet ﷺ so that they would be an example for the women of the Ummah to follow.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir

al-Aloosi (Shafi'i\Hanafi) wrote:

أمرهن رضي الله تعالى عنهن بملازمة البيوت وهو أمر مطلوب من سائر النساء

They (the wives of the Prophet ﷺ) have been commanded to remain in their homes and this is also required from all other women

Tafsir al-Aloosi

The Jurists too have used this verse to derive rulings for all women, some examples:

Kaasaani (Hanafi) wrote:

ومنها ملك الحبس والقيد، وهو صيرورتها ممنوعة عن الخروج والبروز لقوله تعالى {أسكنوهن} [الطلاق: ٦] ، والأمر بالإسكان نهي عن الخروج والبروز والإخراج إذ الأمر بالفعل نهي عن ضده، وقوله عز وجل {وقرن في بيوتكن} [الأحزاب: ٣٣] ، وقوله عز وجل {لا تخرجوهن من بيوتهن ولا يخرجن} [الطلاق: ١]

One of the rights of marriage is the right to confine the woman, meaning that it is forbidden for her to go out of her house. Because Allah says "Lodge them" and the command to stay is a prohibition of leaving, displaying and going out - as a command to do something is a prohibition of doing its opposite. And similarly Allah has said: "And abide in your houses" and "Do not turn them out of their [husbands'] houses, nor should they [themselves] leave"

Badaa'i' as-Sanaa'i', also see here

Ibn Rush al-Jadd (Maliki) wrote:

الجهاد لا يتأتى للمرأة إلا بضد ما أمرت به من الستر والقرار في بيتها. قال الله عز وجل: {يا أيها النبي قل لأزواجك وبناتك ونساء المؤمنين يدنين عليهن من جلابيبهن} [الأحزاب: ٥٩]، وقال عز وجل: {وقرن في بيوتكن ولا تبرجن تبرج الجاهلية الأولى وأقمن الصلاة} [الأحزاب: ٣٣]

Jihad is not required from women because they have been commanded to cover and remain at their home. Allah says: "O Prophet, tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to bring down over themselves [part] of their outer garments." and Allah says: "And abide in your houses and do not display yourselves as [was] the display of the former times of ignorance. And establish prayer."

Muqaddimmat al-Mumahhidaat

And there are numerous other scholars who have stated the same.

Any command\recommendation that is addressed to the wives of the Prophet ﷺ is also addressed to all other Muslim women unless there is explicit evidence to the contrary. The wives of the Prophet ﷺ are Muslim women and not some distinct genus. Generally everything that is applicable to one is also applicable to the other so it will be treated as the default rule and anyone claiming an exception for something will be asked to bring explicit evidence for his claim.

The fact that a verse is addressed to specific Muslim women is not evidence that the rest of them are free from its obligations. For example consider the following ahadith:

يا علي إذا جلس إليك الخصمان فلا تقض بينهما حتى تسمع من الآخر كما سمعت من الأول

O Ali, when two disputants sit before you, do not judge between them until you listen to the second one as you listened to the first.

Musnad Ahmad

يا عائشة ارفقي فإن الرفق لم يكن في شىء قط إلا زانه ولا نزع من شىء قط إلا شانه

O Aisha! show gentleness, for if gentleness is found in anything, it beautifies it and when it is taken out from anything it damages it.

Abu Dawud

These ahadith are directly addressed to only Aisha and Ali, however it is understood that their lesson applies to all Muslims. One can not argue that they are only applicable to Ali and Aisha. The same applies to numerous ahadith which are addressed to certain sahaba but the ruling derived from them is inclusive of all Muslims.

It is also common within the Quran that a verse is explicitly addressed to a specific person or group but implicitly also applies to others. For example verse 4:102 addresses the Prophet ﷺ and lays down the commands about fear prayer - it is widely agreed upon that this also applies to other Muslims after the Prophet ﷺ. Verse 65:1 addresses the Prophet ﷺ and lays down some commandments regarding divorce - it is agreed upon that these also apply to other Muslim men. Verse 9:103 addresses the Prophet ﷺ and commands receiving Zakat, and it is agreed upon that this also applies to other Muslim rulers after him. Verse 5:45 addresses the details of Qisas and was addressed to the Children of Israel at the time of Moses, however the Prophet ﷺ applied it to the Muslims (Bukhari 4611). Verse 20:14 was addressed to Moses, but the Prophet ﷺ applied it to the Muslims (Bukhari 597). And there are numerous other examples.

Hence 33:32-33 also applies to other Muslim women - evidence is needed to exclude them, not to include them.

There is also evidence within the verse that it applies to all women. Among the evidence is the fact that the verses say:

And abide in your houses and do not display yourselves as [was] the display of the former times of ignorance. And establish prayer and give zakah and obey Allah and His Messenger. Allah intends only to remove from you the impurity [of sin], O people of the [Prophet's] household, and to purify you with [extensive] purification.

It is absurd to claim that Allah wishes for the normal Muslims to follow the ways of ignorance or to remain impure. Hence the teachings in this verse apply to all Muslim women.

As for the part of the verse 33:32:

O wives of the Prophet, you are not like anyone among women.

This applies to their status, reward and punishments and not to the religious obligations applicable to them. The verse is to be understood in the context which precedes it:

يا نساء النبي من يأت منكن بفاحشة مبينة يضاعف لها العذاب ضعفين وكان ذلك على الله يسيرا

ومن يقنت منكن لله ورسوله وتعمل صالحا نؤتها أجرها مرتين وأعتدنا لها رزقا كريما

يا نساء النبي لستن كأحد من النساء

O wives of the Prophet, whoever of you should commit a clear immorality - for her the punishment would be doubled two fold, and ever is that, for Allah, easy.

And whoever of you devoutly obeys Allah and His Messenger and does righteousness - We will give her her reward twice; and We have prepared for her a noble provision.

O wives of the Prophet, you are not like anyone among women ...

Quran 33:32-32

There is no indication that it is referring to the applicability of the obligations which will be mentioned later. In fact the claim that it means the obligations is easily disproved if you consider the whole text of verses 33:32-33 because the list of obligations is as follows:

  • do not be soft in speech [to men] ... but speak with appropriate speech
  • abide in your houses
  • do not display yourselves like the women of the times of ignorance
  • establish prayer
  • give zakah
  • obey Allah and His Messenger

وقرن في بيوتكن ولا تبرجن تبرج الجاهلية الأولى وأقمن الصلاة وآتين الزكاة وأطعن الله ورسوله

And abide in your houses and do not display yourselves as [was] the display of the former times of ignorance. And establish prayer and give zakah and obey Allah and His Messenger.

Quran 33:33

Everyone agrees that at least the last three apply to all other women. This would suggest that the first few should also apply to every woman. Claiming that some of these obligations apply to everyone while some only apply to the wives of the Prophet ﷺ is a baseless assumption that requires evidence - no such evidence exists.

To the contrary there is evidence which corroborates that this teaching is also applicable to other Muslim women. There are ahadith which say this about women in general:

لا تمنعوا نساءكم المساجد وبيوتهن خير لهن

Do not prevent your women from visiting the mosque; but their houses are better for them

Abu Dawud

المرأة عورة، وإنها إذا خرجت استشرفها الشيطان، وإنها لا تكون إلى وجه الله أقرب منها في قعر بيتها

Woman is ‘awrah (that which must be concealed), and when she goes out the Shaytaan’s hopes are raised. She is never closer to Allaah than in the inner part of her house.

Sahih Ibn Khuzaimah and Saheeh Ibn Hibban - classed as Sahih

And there are also other traditions with similar meaning. When a woman is discouraged from going out for righteous acts such as Salah and Jihad, then it is more suitable that she be discouraged from going out needlessly. Similarly when the most righteous and chaste women (the wives of the Prophet ﷺ) are discouraged from needlessly going out of their homes, then it is more appropriate that the common women also follow their example.

Ref: https://islamicstudies.info/tafheem.php?sura=33&verse=28&to=34


Appendix A:

The following is in response to an objection that is raised by the OP in the comments on the question. This objection is that widows of the Prophet ﷺ can not be remarried:

وما كان لكم أن تؤذوا رسول الله ولا أن تنكحوا أزواجه من بعده أبدا

And it is not [conceivable or lawful] for you to harm the Messenger of Allah or to marry his wives after him, ever.

Quran 33:53

So why do we not apply this to other Muslim women?

The answer is that it is explicitly stated in the Quran that other Muslim widows can remarry after their iddah:

والذين يتوفون منكم ويذرون أزواجا يتربصن بأنفسهن أربعة أشهر وعشرا فإذا بلغن أجلهن فلا جناح عليكم فيما فعلن في أنفسهن بالمعروف ... ولا تعزموا عقدة النكاح حتى يبلغ الكتاب أجله

And those who are taken in death among you and leave wives behind - they, [the wives, shall] wait four months and ten [days]. And when they have fulfilled their term, then there is no blame upon you for what they do with themselves in an acceptable manner ... And do not determine to undertake a marriage contract until the decreed period reaches its end.

Quran 2:234-235

Hence there is clear cause to interpret 33:53 as exclusive to the Prophet ﷺ.

On the other hand, there is no evidence whatsoever that other women are exempt from verse 33:32-33 i.e. the prescription to remain at home. On the other hand there is evidence that they are included in it as mentioned above.


Appendix B:

Majority View or Minority View

One answer has claimed that this is a minority view and that the majority view is that "this verse is specifically directed towards the prophet's wives [only]". AFAIK, this claim is false, as scholars have rather claimed the opposite:

فقوله تعالى: {وقرن في بيوتكن} ليس مقصورا على نساء النبي - صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم - وهو قول جمهور المفسرين

The saying of Allah: {And abide in your houses} is not limited to the wives of the Prophet ﷺ and this is the saying of the majority of the mufassireen (exegetes)

https://shamela.ws/book/36157/1064

I would further add:

  • Some tafsirs do not mention that this verse applies to all women. However silence or a lack of mention is not evidence of negation. Not all tafsirs go in depth and examine every tangential ruling.

  • Of-course this verse is addressed to the wives of the Prophet (ﷺ), but saying that does not negate its applicability as a recommendation to other women.

  • Even if some scholars do not use this verse as evidence, they still hold that it is prescribed for all women to remain at their homes because of the other evidence mentioned above, such as the ahadith.

  • I am not aware of any reputable orthodox scholar who has explicitly denied the fact that this teaching applies to all women.

  • The ruling of this verse is not absolute, rather there are obviously situations when a woman is allowed to go out such as to fulfill her essential needs, or to meet her parents, or to fulfill her religious obligations, or to go and earn when the husband is poor and unable to provide for her, or for fear of death or harm such as if her house is on fire or about to collapse etc.

    ‏ قد أذن لكن أن تخرجن لحوائجكن

    You have been allowed by Allah to go out for your needs

    Bukhari

    اكفف عليك رمحك وادخل البيت حتى تنظر ما الذي أخرجن

    Keep your spear away and enter the house until you see that which has made me come out.

    Muslim

    Using the exceptions to claim negation of the rule is a fallacious deduction. The above ahadith clearly prove that the norm is that women are expected to remain at home.

So the sources presented in this answer are in harmony with the views of mainstream and majority of the scholars.

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