Ward was included in Michael O'Neill's 24-man squad despite not having played for his club since the end of September due to an ongoing hamstring problem.
And boss Nigel Clough insisted there was no chance of him being rushed back into action.
"He won't be fit," Clough said. "I can understand they want him but firstly he has to be fit for us.
"He's not looking like he'll be back this week, so it would be difficult for him to make next week's international."
The Irish Football Association confirmed the 26-year-old's withdrawal soon after, with a brief statement that read: "Jamie has been ruled out of Northern Ireland's World Cup Qualifier against Azerbaijan next week as a result of a hamstring injury."
No replacement has been named.