Who Does the Verse about Speaking from behind a Curtain Refer To?

Answered by Shaykh Irshaad Sedick

Question

Is Surah Ahzab 33:53 stating that there should be a curtain while communicating with the Prophet’s wives (Allah be pleased with them), specific for them, or is it general for every Muslim?

Answer

In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate.

May Allah guide every dimension of our lives to that which pleases Him.

Allah says: “O believers! Do not enter the homes of the Prophet without permission ˹and if invited˺ for a meal, do not ˹come too early and˺ linger until the meal is ready. But if you are invited, then enter ˹on time˺. Once you have eaten, go on your way, and do not stay for casual talk. Such behavior is truly annoying to the Prophet, yet he is too shy to ask you to leave. But Allah is never shy of the truth. And when you ˹believers˺ ask his wives for something, ask them from behind a barrier. This is purer for your hearts and theirs. And it is not right for you to annoy the Messenger of Allah, nor ever marry his wives after him. This would certainly be a major offense in the sight of Allah.” [Quran, 33:53]

Based on the context of the verse, its reason of revelation, and the exegesis of the mufassirun, verse 33:53 refers to the wives of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace and be pleased with them). Still, however, the general ethos of modesty in this verse and the rest of the chapter holds lessons for and applies to all believers, and Allah knows best. [Baghawi, Ma‘alim Al-Tanzil]

I pray this is of benefit and that Allah guides us all.
[Shaykh] Irshaad Sedick
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani