The Surah takes its name from verse 4 in which the word hujurat hasoccurred.
Period of Revelation
Traditions show and the subject matter of the Surah also supports thesame that this Surah is a collection of the commandments andinstructions sent down on different occasions, which have been puttogether because of the relevancy of the theme. Moreover, thetraditions also show that most of these commandments were sent downduring the final stage of the Holy Prophet's life at Madinah. Forinstance, about verse 4 the commentators state that it was sent downconcerning the Bani Tamim whose deputation had arrived in Madinah andstarted calling out to the Holy Prophet from outside the apartments(hujurat) of his wives, and according to all biographical books on theHoly Prophet's life this deputation had visited Madinah in A. H. 9.Likewise, about verse 6 a large number of the traditions of Hadithconfirm that it was sent down concerning Walid bin Uqbah whom the HolyProphet had sent to collect the zakat from the Bani al-Mustaliq, andit is well known that Walid bin Uqabah had become a Muslim on theconquest of Makkah.
Subject Matter and Topics
The subject matter of this Surah is to teach the Muslims the mannersworthy of true believers.
In the first five verses they have beentaught the manners they should observe with regard to Allah and HisMessenger.
Then, they have been given the instruction that it is notright to belive in every news blindly and to act according to it,without due thought. If information is received about a person, agroup or a community, it should be seen carefully whether the means ofthe information is reliable or not. If the means is not reliable, itshould be tested and examined to see whether the news is authentic ornot before taking any action on it.
Then, it has been told whatattitude should the other Muslims adopt in case two groups of theMuslims fall to mutual fighting.
Then the Muslims have been exhortedto safeguard against the evils that corrupt collective life and spoilmutual relationships. Mocking and taunting each other, calling othersby nicknames, creating suspicions, prying into other people's affairsand back biting are the evils which are not only sins in themselves butthey also corrupt society. Allah has mentioned all these evilsseparately and forbidden them as unlawful.
After this, the nationaland racial distinctions that cause universal corruption in the worldhave been condemned. Nations and tribes and families pride of Ancestryand their looking down upon others as inferior to themselves and theirpulling down others only for the sake of establishing their ownsuperiority is an important factor that has filled the world withinjustices and tyranny. Allah in a brief verse has cut at the root ofthis evil by stating that all men are descendants of the same one pairand their division into tribes and communities is only for the sake ofrecognition, not for boasting and pride, and there is no lawful basisof one man's superiority over the other except on the basis of moralexcellence.
In conclusion, the people have been told that the realthing is not the verbal Profession of the Faith but to believe inAllah and His messenger truly, to obey them in practical life and toexert sincerely with one's self and wealth in the cause of Allah. Truebelievers are only those who adopt this attitude. As for those whoprofess Islam merely orally without affirmation by the heart and thenadopt an attitude as if they had done someone a favor by acceptingIslam, may be counted among the Muslims in the world, may even betreated as Muslims in society, but they cannot be counted as believersin the sight of Allah.