The surah can be divided into the following three sections.
Section I (1-5)
The Prophet (sws) has been checked in a particular matter in which though his
motivating force was fairly admirable yet since he was to become an example for
the whole Ummah, any virtuous deed which crosses the limits set by Allah is not
permissible. The Prophet (sws) might be doing something to console and please
his wives and he might be showing sympathy to their perfectly human weaknesses,
yet owing to his position as a Prophet (sws) he must remain within the bounds
set by Allah even in the smallest of affairs.
Similarly, the pious wives have been checked in a matter in which something
said by the Prophet (sws) to a particular wife was disclosed by her to another
wife, though in an atmosphere of mutual trust. However, since they too are to
become an example for all women of the Ummah, even a small instance which
crosses the limits set by Allah cannot be tolerated from them. The higher the
position and status of a person, the higher the extent of his accountability.
Section II (6-8)
After checking the Prophet (sws) and his wives, the general Muslims are urged
to check and restrain their near ones. Everyone should remember that the angels
who guard hell are strict and stern. They shall show no lenience to anyone. On
the Day of Judgement, no excuse of a person will be acceptable, for he shall be
facing only what he deserves and no one shall be punished for more than what he
has done. Only those will triumph on that Day whose pure repentance makes them
eligible for the Almighty's blessings. It will be a Day of success for the
Prophet (sws) and his Companions. The Almighty shall perfect their light which
shall lead them to paradise. Everyone else shall be doomed forever.
Section III (9-12)
The Prophet (sws) has been emphatically directed to tell the disbelievers and
the hypocrites sternly to change their attitude lest they should end up in the
raging fire of hell which, of course, is the worst abode. At the end, examples
of the wives of the Prophet Noah (sws) and the Prophet Lot (sws) are cited to
the disbelievers and those of the wife of the pharoah and Hadhrat Maryam (rta)
to the Muslims, the object being to prove that only a person's deeds will be of
any benefit to him in the Hereafter. If a woman has not done righteous deeds,
she cannot benefit in the Hereafter even if she is the wife of a Prophet.
Similarly, if a woman has lived a pious life, she shall be rewarded in the
Hereafter even though she is the wife of a person as rebellious as the Pharoah.
(Translated from "Tadabbur-i-Quran") ---Shehzad Saleem