Surat Al-'Anfāl

What is the Qur'an About?

Tafsir Ishraq al-Ma`ani
by
Syed Iqbal Zaheer

تفسير إِشراقُ المَعَاني
سيد إقبال ظهير

PREPARATORY

What is the Qur'an About?
The Qur'an is the Word of Allah and a Book of Guidance. It can be asked, guidance to what? The answer is: “Guidance to Allah Most High, His Attributes, His Will, and the way in which one may conduct oneself to obtain that approval (rida) of Allah after which there is no anger." Imam Shafe`i perhaps had the first part of this statement in mind when he said:

"All that (the scholars of) the Ummah have to say is nothing but the exposition of the Sunnah. All that is in the Sunnah is the exposition of the Qur'an. And the whole of the Qur'an is nothing but the exposition of the Names and Attributes of Allah" (Zarkashi: Al‑Burhan Fi `Ulum al‑Qur'an).

This guidance to Allah, the knowledge of His Attributes and Will, and the guidance to right conduct cannot be obtained by any means other than the Qur'an and its complementary, the Sunnah, (the sayings and practices of Prophet Muhammad, peace be on him).
The Qur'an is also the only source of guidance. Someone who is unaware of its existence, but is a seeker of Truth, (on account of his innate faith in God and disillusionment with the world), will be led to this Book, one way or the other. The Qur'an says (29: 69): "Those who strive in Us, We shall surely guide them unto Our paths."

What is Guidance?
From another angle, it might be said that being on the guidance is to know, acknowledge, and, live by the Truth. In the context of this life, it is
a) the knowledge of what one is required to do, in the right measure, at any particular moment, and
b) the will to live by that knowledge.
In one sense, then, Guidance is knowledge, and in another, the will to act by it. The ‘will to act' is not the same as the ‘power to act.' That is because man has been granted will (or the freedom of choice) in a limited framework, while all power is Allah's. The power, or ability to act ‑ referred to as tawfiq in Islamic terminology ‑ is granted when willingness is demonstrated.
Further, since there is no such thing as half‑guidance, both are essential for salvation: knowledge without the will to act is only an evidence against one's self (hujjah), and deeds (however pretty their appearance), are grains thrown in the sand if they go without the acknowledgement of the Truth.
The Qur'an guides in both the senses. It bestows knowledge (or 'ilm wa 'irfan), giving the seeker the proper concept of the truth, as well as the will‑power and the moral courage to produce a living model of that concept in his own person, overcoming the obstacles he might encounter from within or without.
No other book, writing, philosophy, or person can achieve this. There should be no doubt about it; for any ambiguity in this regard can deprive one of the fruits of study and application.
The above definition illustrates and emphasizes the external, physical, and ephemeral aspect. Guidance has an esoteric, transcendent, and eternal meaning also, which is the fruit and essence of the external aspect. It is that state of mind and soul in which the other world becomes dearer than this one, in which, one eagerly awaits to be transported to the other world in order to heal that pain in the heart, and quench that thirst of the soul which only the company of those on High can heal and quench.
It is when one begins to ‘wait for the next salah after the last one,' when one ‘remembers Allah in his seclusion and the remembrance brings tears to his eyes,' when Allah becomes so dear that one begins to ‘love for Allah and hate for Allah,' and, when ‘the state of sabr and shukr become one and the same,' then it is that a person can said to be, in the words of the Qur'an, "on a guidance from his Lord."

The Path of Knowledge
A hadith of the Prophet (saws) says: "I am leaving behind me two things. So long as you hold fast unto them, you will not be misguided: they are Allah's Book and my practices." Nevertheless, this oft‑quoted hadith is rarely treated seriously. People apply themselves with great fervor to books, writings, speeches and ideologies presented by the scholars of Islam, but not as often do they leave them and their influences aside to turn directly to the Qur'an in complete seriousness. They do not seem to realize that they are not guided by those books and writings but to the extent that they themselves contain the Qur'an and the Sunnah in their pure form and unadulterated meaning.
Further, even when the Qur'an is studied, it is mostly done through the eyes, minds, and explanations of the scholars. The knowledge derived is, therefore, at best second‑hand, vicarious, and not wholly trustworthy. Again, a study of the Qur'an after a lot of other literature has been read has the disadvantage of the earlier readings embossing on the mind impressions that do not allow for the new ones to take place in their pristine form. The result is a jumble of concepts, true, half true, and false.
Alternatively, the Qur'an is read with pre‑conceived ideas. Human ideas are then taken for Divine ideas with citation of Qur’anic verses as evidences.
There are a few other characteristics that distinguish the Qur'an from all other kinds of writings. Firstly, the knowledge that the Qur'an imparts is the true and infallible knowledge. Secondly, the Qur'an succeeds in communicating the ideas it holds. That is, the reader cannot miss the meaning that it intends to communicate. Provided one is sincere, no one can miss its guidance, or, led to a meaning and understanding not intended. That happens with writings other than the Divine; humans say one thing, and the audience understand another thing. Moreover, through its intricate sequencing of the texts, the Qur’an answers to the doubts that arise, so to say, on the spot, and registers its meaning and message without adulteration of doubts menacing the mind, or skeptical notes lying beneath like snakes in the grass.
Therefore, to obtain true knowledge and right guidance from the Qur'an the requirement is to do away with preconceived ideas and study it with the firm intention to live by the meaning as it unfolds itself. With that kind of intention, the student is qualified to receive the true meaning. The meaning obtained is also accompanied by an urge to live by it, which then is the next requirement. That accomplished, that is, the meaning translated into action, the reader demonstrates purity of intention. In consequence, he qualifies to receive a fresh set of true meaning which unfolds themselves with further reading. This goes on until the student reaches that state which has been described in a hadith by Allah (swt) Himself in words, “I become the hands of the slave with which he grips, the feet of the slave with which he walks ... (to the end of the hadith).” But if he fails, that is, he is not true to himself at any given phase, or discontinues the process, then the tawfiq is held back until he amends his ways. The Qur’an has said (7: 146):

{سَأَصْرِفُ عَنْ آيَاتِيَ الَّذِينَ يَتَكَبَّرُونَ فِي الْأَرْضِ بِغَيْرِ الْحَقِّ وَإِنْ يَرَوْا كُلَّ آيَةٍ لَا يُؤْمِنُوا بِهَا وَإِنْ يَرَوْا سَبِيلَ الرُّشْدِ لَا يَتَّخِذُوهُ سَبِيلًا وَإِنْ يَرَوْا سَبِيلَ الْغَيِّ يَتَّخِذُوهُ سَبِيلًا ذَلِكَ بِأَنَّهُمْ كَذَّبُوا بِآيَاتِنَا وَكَانُوا عَنْهَا غَافِلِينَ} [الأعراف: 146]

“I shall turn away from My signs those who wax proud in the land without cause. If they witnessed all the signs, they will not believe in them, and, if they see the path of righteousness, they will not accept it as a path. But if they see the deviated path, they will accept it as a path. That, because they gave a lie to Our signs and were heedless of them.”

How to Obtain the Right Verbal Meaning?
Intention
It is to seek guidance, in the sense delineated above, that one should read the Qur'an. That should be the intention in every session with it.
Dr. Muhammad Iqbal's father well illustrated this point when he asked his son, who was reciting the Qur'an, as to what he was reading. The young son, knowing that the father was aware what he was reading, responded with an indifferent answer. “Who was it revealed to?” was the next question. The embarrassed son replied that it was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (on whom be peace). “This way, my son,” said the father, “you will never profit from the Qur'an. You will only if you read with the belief that the Revelation has just come down, that it has been sent down specifically for you, and that it is you who has been addressed. It is only then that this Book will open itself to you.”
In other words, one should take it as a message unto himself, and allow each verse of the Qur'an free and unhindered access to the mind and heart with the will to be led where it will lead.

Language
In contrast to other revealed Books and religious literatures, in whatever form and language they may exist, the Qur'an should not only be read by oneself, directly, but also in its own language ‑ Arabic. No commentary, however comprehensive, and no exegete, however erudite, can impart what the Qur'an itself can. The following reasons will illustrate the point.

The Miraculous nature of the Qur'an
It is well known that the Qur'an is a miracle. In fact, it is a living miracle; although the true nature of the miracle is not always understood. We cannot elaborate on this point extensively at this juncture. But it might be pointed out that the miracle expresses itself both in its form as well in its content. Both are powerful, unique to the Qur'an, which defy translation. The Prophet said: "Every prophet before me was given a miracle. I have been given the Qur'an. And I hope to have a greater following by its virtue than any prophet of the past."
Consequently, thousands of people from all over the globe are led to Islam every year through their study of the Qur'an. When a non‑Muslim asks a Muslim about Islam, all that he does in most cases is to hand him over a copy of the Qur'an. Invariably, even that mangled thing called ‘the translation of the Qur'an' leads the person to Islam. That is the miracle of the Qur'an. And of course, miracles cannot be translated.
Let us look into a few reasons that make impossible to communicate what the Qur'an itself communicates.

Translations
The Qur'an is in Arabic. It is neither in prose nor in verse but a unique combination of both, unsurpassed in its effect on the mind and soul by any other writing. In the words of John Alden Williams:

"...the Arabic of the Qur'an is by turns striking, soaring, vivid, terrible, tender, and breathtaking ... It is meaningless to apply adjectives such as ‘beautiful' or ‘persuasive' to the Qur'an; its flashing images and inexorable measures go directly to the brain and intoxicate it.
It is not surprising, then, that a skilled reciter of the Qur'an can reduce an Arabic‑speaking audience to helpless tears" (Islam: p.2, Washington Square Press '69).

In the words of Arberry:

"... to produce something which might be accepted as echoing however faintly the sublime rhetoric of the Arabic Koran, I have been at pains to study the intricate and richly varied rhythms which ‑ apart from the message itself ‑ constitute the Koran's undeniable claim to rank amongst the greatest literary masterpieces of mankind" (The Koran Interpreted, Intr. p. x, Oxford Univ. Press '64).

It is this inimitable beauty that challenges mankind to produce its equivalent: in sublimity of language, its instructions, and its sublime effect on the mind and soul. The Qur'anic challenge has remained unanswered by the humans (2: 23, 24):

"O People! If you are in any doubt concerning what We have sent down on Our slave (Muhammad), then produce a piece similar to it (in all its merits). And call (to your aid) your witnesses apart from Allah, if you are true (in your allegation that it is the work of Muhammad). But if you cannot do it ‑ and you can never do it ‑ then beware of the Fire whose fuel is human beings and rocks: prepared for the unbelievers."

The Qur'an then is inimitable and, therefore, untranslatable. Any translation, however accurately done, and however close to the original, cannot reproduce the sense and beauty of the original. Therefore, when one is reading a translation, he is not reading the Qur'an per se. No surprise then that the best effects are lost. No wonder also that the scholars of old would not allow translation of the Qur'an. This is also Ibn Taymiyyah's opinion. In fact there is a consensus of opinion among the scholars that the Qur'an should not be quoted in ‘sense' or ‘meaning' but always in its original textual words. How can then one be allowed to translate the Qur'an and call it the Qur'an?
Accordingly, if permission to translate the Qur'an has been granted due to modern exigencies, it is on condition that sufficient notes are supplied to overcome the deficiencies arising out of the translation. Further, it is required that the new work be called "interpretative translation of the Qur'an" (tarjumah tafsiriyyah), or, "the translation of the meaning of the Qur'an," rather than "the translation of the Qur'an" or, what would be more audacious, "the meaning of the Qur'an," since none of these are within human power (Manahil al `Irfan, Zarqani).

Linguistic Difficulties
There are many linguistic difficulties that make the Qur'an untranslatable. In Arabic one expresses sense rather than meaning. A beautiful Arabic sentence that can enrapture the mind and touch the soul becomes insipid in another language. Not only sentences or words, even single consonant letters are hard to translate. For example, the "fi" of Arabic has a depth that is lacking in the "in" of English. One needs a whole ugly, terse, and unmusical word in English to translate mere letters such as:

و ف إنَّ

Obviously, the complications with the words are far greater than those with the letters. Arabic is a language in which words are based on consonantal roots, from which are derived scores of words in various forms giving out various meanings but remaining, even if loosely and distantly, connected in sense and letter‑content to the root. `Ayn for instance can mean: an eye, a spring, a spy, a group of people, evil‑eye, honor, a flag, a girl, etc. `Afw stands for effacement, obliteration, elimination, forgiveness, amnesty, boon, kindness, favor, surplus, and others. The translated word must on the one hand give out the basic meaning and, on the other, convey several nuances the original carries. Obviously, to achieve that is well‑nigh impossible.
Let us take an example (4: 4):

وَآتُوا النِّسَاءَ صَدُقَاتِهِنَّ نِحْلَةً [النساء : 4]

"Give the women their dowries (as a gift) spontaneous,"
In this example, the word saduqat is derived from the root sadaqa ( صَدَقَ ) which means, with the addition of various suffixes or prefixes: ‘to speak the truth, to be sincere, to prove to be true, to come true, to fulfill one's promise,' and so on. Now, a true translation of the derived term saduqa, (plural: saduqat صَدُقات ), should carry in its overtones the sense of truth and sincerity. That is, ‘a gift that is offered (by the groom to the bride), as an expression of his sincerity toward her and the relationship he is proposing.' To render it as dowry, with the connotation that the language and culture of the readers carry, is to mutilate it.
In addition to the problem of words that yield several meanings, the complex structure of the Qur'anic verses admit of many interpretations (well described by Muhammad Asad as unfolding of "layer upon layer of meaning") from which the translator can choose but one, without necessarily being right in his choice. This means that, granted the translator did not err, the translation conveyed only one meaning out of the several contained in the Qur'an.
As another example, the following is speaking of the unbelievers (11: 20):

يُضَاعَفُ لَهُمُ الْعَذَابُ مَا كَانُوا يَسْتَطِيعُونَ السَّمْعَ وَمَا كَانُوا يُبْصِرُونَ [هود : 20]

"For them the chastisement shall be doubled; (for) they could not hear, neither did they see."
It can be translated in at least six different ways, three of them depending on how the letter "maa" is treated: whether of the same meaning as "lamu kayy," ( لامُ كَي ); as a synonym of "ila," ( إلى ); or as a negative "maa". Obviously such possibilities, which occur quite often, can leave the translator baffled as to his own choice during translation.
Another linguistic difficulty is that many Arabic and Qur'anic terms do not have proper equivalents in other languages, especially the languages of the occident. Allah, al‑Rahman, al‑Rahim, jihad, salah, zakah, sadaqah, `ibadah, al‑ghayb, kufr, nur, fisq, taghut, nabiyy, rasul, ghaniyy, are a few examples from a long list.
If, to the above are added the difficulties of `ijaz (ellipticism), rhetoric, alliteration, resonance and rhythm (all of them present in the Qur'an in their most excellent forms and in the highest degree of expression), then the job of translation becomes a hopeless task.
But the impaired meaning is not the only casualty. The loss in terms of beauty, charm, appeal, elation and the ecstasy that a reader feels on reading the Qur'an in its original is immeasurable.
Therefore, it can be safely said of a person who has always read the Qur'an through translations alone, that he did not read the Qur'an once.

Commentaries
Trying to understand the Qur'an with the help of commentaries is no less hazardous. Some reasons are as follows.
Essentially, commentaries are of two kinds. Those that are based on the Qur'an itself, supported by the hadith and opinions of the Companions, or their next‑generation Followers (tabe`iyyun). These are known as al‑tafsir bi 'l ma'thur ( التفسير بالمأثور ) i.e., interpretation based on report or tradition.
The other category is the one in which the commentator offers an interpretation, based not on a specific accepted source ‑ a Qur'anic verse, a hadith, or a remark of a Companion or one of their Followers ‑ but his personal opinion based on his intellect, knowledge or intuition. This kind of commentary is known as al‑tafsir bi 'l ra'yi ( التفسير بالرأي ). al‑tafsir 'l‑ishari [ التفسير الإشاري ] falls under the same category).
As for the first kind of tafsir, i.e., al‑tafsir bi 'l ma'thur, it can be fully appreciated only when read in Arabic. Many concepts and ideas of the Qur'an are closely tied up with the Arabic language. Further, those concepts and ideas are so subtle that their explanations fall flat and lose their import in another language. The commentaries of Ibn Jarir or Ibn Kathir, for example (which are good examples of the al‑tafsir bi 'l ma'thur) fail to have their impact on the reader in their translated version. Besides, some basic knowledge of hadith classification, fiqh and other disciplines, which in turn require knowledge of Arabic, is necessary to appreciate this kind of commentary.
In short al-tafsir bi ‘l ma’thur does not help much in understanding the core meanings of the Qur’anic texts. The profound part is often missed.
On the other hand, if one tries to understand the Qur'an with the help of the other kind of tafsir, viz. al‑tafsir bi 'l ra'yi, he faces the following hazards.
Firstly, to be able to correctly comment on the Qur'an, one has to have, in addition to the Revealed texts, a thorough knowledge of all the physical and metaphysical sciences and disciplines that have been developed by the humans. The Qur'an deals with history, law, social affairs, morality, worship, economy, psychology, state affairs, spiritual development, eschatology, divinity, and many other disciplines ‑ all in one go. Obviously, since it is beyond one man's capacity to master so many disciplines in a life‑time, it is beyond him also to write a commentary of the Qur'an that conveys the true intent of the Qur’an.
Further, every commentator is a product of his own age, genre, intellectual atmosphere, and cultural background. His problems are the problems of his time ‑ not necessarily of all times. His view of life is from a certain angle ‑ not necessarily the ecumenical and transcendental view of the Qur'an. (So, we often hear from such commentators that “the Qur’an lays down the way of life”: which immediately reduces its message to mundane level. Had they said it lays down the ways to moral and spiritual life, they would have been closer to truth). Such commentators are led, and cannot help but be led, by their personal predispositions and bent of mind, appealing to those of similar dispositions, and not necessarily reaching out to all the inquisitive minds and thirsty souls. Finally, whatever a commentator’s caliber, he remains subjective. True objectivity is not the share of man.
For example, if he is of a sufi bent of mind he detects suggestions that may or may not exist. If he subscribes to a certain philosophy, he may emphasize a certain point, which might be there in the text, but might not be it focal point. Thereby he distorts the overall view. Or, if his interpretation of life is materialistic and earthly, he is quite likely to rush through verses that are, so to say, mawarid al zam'an (watering places for the thirsty), and the hovering grounds of the restless soul, concentrating instead on the wonderful capabilities of Islam to promote material growth and development on earth and bring back to the Muslim Ummah its lost glory!
In short, he is a human dealing with the Word of Allah. To do justice to it is not in his power.
Finally, it is agreed by the scholars of Islam that there are two aspects to the meaning of the Qur'an: the external and the internal. The external or the obvious meaning is that which has come down from the authorities: the hadith, the opinions of the Companions, their next‑generation Followers and the meaning unanimously accepted by the scholars of Islam through and through the ages. The internal, hidden or the secret meaning of the Qur'an comes from deep reflection and a sustained exercise of the mind and soul coupled with righteous living. To take an example, it is reported that the verse (5: 3): "This day I have perfected your religion for you and completed My favor unto you, and have chosen for you as religion al‑Islam," brought tears into the eyes of `Umar ibn al-Khattab The Prophet asked him the reason. He replied: "So far we were witnessing a continuous rise of Islam. Now that it has been completed (i.e. it has reached its zenith), it can only follow a downward direction, as it happens with anything that has achieved its zenith." The Prophet (saws) agreed with him.
Imam Ghazali writes in his eighth book of Ihya' `Ulum 'l‑Din:

"The truth is that to everything pertaining to reflective and intellectual matters, which have become ambiguous to men of reflection, and in which people have differed, there are indications and implications in the Qur'an which can be observed by men of understanding. How can these indications and implications be completely conveyed by translations of its outward meanings and its (outward) exegesis?"

Further down he writes:

"The man who imagines that the Qur'an has no meaning except that which the outward exegesis has translated (and described), is acknowledging his own limitations; he is right in his acknowledgement (because he knows only this measure and is not aware of that which lies beyond this), but is wrong in his judgment which places all other people on the same footing as himself." (The Recitation and Interpretation of the Qur'an: Al-Ghazali's Theory by Muhammad Abdul Quasem, p. 87, 88).

Nevertheless, the scholars are also in agreement that the internal meaning can be attained only after a complete mastery of the external has been achieved. Zarkashi writes:

"The Book of Allah: it is the bottomless sea, whose meaning cannot be unfathomed but by the well-versed in (religious) knowledge; he who fears Allah in open and secret, and gives due esteem to Him in places where he comes across the ambiguous. Its subtleties and truths cannot be grasped but by one who (as the Qur’an said) ‘lends his ear and is attentive...'"

He adds a little further,

"All knowledge can be summed up as that of the ‘Acts' and ‘Attributes' of Allah. The Qur'an contains the knowledge of the Acts, Attributes, and the Essence of the Supreme Being. This fact leads us to another, viz., the field of knowledge is immensely vast. There is room for much more than what is obvious to the mind. The exegesis therefore, that has been passed on to us (by the authorities) do not lay down limits for the attainment of knowledge. Yet, it is not possible to jump over to the hidden without mastery of the obvious. Indeed, the knowledge of the external is absolutely essential to step into the internal and the hidden. Whoever claims to have knowledge of the secret part of the Qur'an while lacking a proper understanding of the external and the obvious, is like he who claims manhood at the threshold of his house (to which he has just crawled) although he has not yet stepped out of the door."

In brief, the Qur'an has two levels of meaning: the external and the internal. It should be obvious, therefore, how difficult it can be for a person to get to the second level, while his first level of understanding is suspect due to his ignorance of the language which leads him to take the words of men for the words of God.
These are some of the reasons why neither a translation nor a commentary can be substituted for the original.
It should not be surprising therefore to note that according to Imam Shafe`i, learning of the Arabic language is obligatory on every Muslim. Imam Abu Yousuf and Zufar, both students of Imam Abu Hanifah, went a step further. They stated that it is makruh (undesirable) for two Muslims who can manage some Arabic, to speak with each other in another language. Ibn Taymiyyah is also of the opinion that learning Arabic is a religious requirement since what is necessary to realize an obligation (wajib) is itself obligatory (wajib).

Pre‑conceived Ideas
In contrast, neglect of the language and study and reliance upon a single commentary of the al-tafsir bi 'l‑ra'yi type, can lead a student of the Qur'an to hold questionable opinions despite long study and painful application. Many of those who could become connoisseurs ended up dilettantes. Imam Ghazali writes about this class of people:

"The sufis have said that knowledge (`ilm) is a veil (between man and God), and by this knowledge they have meant those beliefs (`aqa'id) which most people have been firmly holding either by dogmatically following an authority or by mere reliance on casuistic sentences written by zealots of schools of thought and delivered to them. As for the real knowledge which is the uncovering of the actual condition of the thing known and which is a vision by the light of spiritual insight, how can it be a veil, seeing that it is the ultimate object of desire?
Pure dogmatic following of an authority is sometimes false (in itself) and is, therefore, an obstacle to the understanding of the meaning (of the Qur'an). An example of this is a man who has a (purely dogmatic) belief in Allah's istawa' on the Throne as His being settled on it physically. Then in the case of (the divine name) ‘the Holy One' (al-Quddus), for example, there comes to his mind the meaning that He is pure from all that is ascribable to His creation: but that purely dogmatic belief of his does not make it possible for this meaning to be firmly implanted in his mind. Had it become strengthened in his mind it would have led to a second meaning and a third, which could be inter-connected. But he hastens to drive this meaning away from his mind, because it contradicts his false belief which is held purely dogmatically.
Sometimes purely dogmatic following of an authority is true (in itself), but it too becomes an obstacle to understanding (the meaning of the Qur'an) and to unveiling of them. The truth in which man is obliged to believe has stages and grades, and it has an external beginning and an internal end. Concentration of man's nature on the external aspect prevents him from reading the internal end" (source cited above, p.70, 71).

Finally, every commentator is influenced by the ideas of his time that seem to be so powerful, and therefore of great consequence, which could be so during a particular epoch, but prove not to be so with the passage of time. Moved by those ideas or forces, a commentator might try to give the verses of the Qur'an a new meaning, sometimes at the expense of certain basic and universal truths. This can seriously affect the way in which his readers understand the Qur'an.
The conclusion therefore is that anyone who has not done a course of study in the tafsir of the approved type, but, instead, applies himself to the other type ‑ the tafsir bi 'l‑ra'yi ‑ runs the great risk of ending up with ideas that might not be true, half true or altogether wrong.
Therefore, every serious student of the Qur'an must learn enough Arabic to be able to read the Qur'an himself, directly, and without dependence on a translation to an extraordinary degree. It is only after he has spent sufficient time with the Qur'an (and, in addition, the Sunnah), that he can turn his attention to the translations and commentaries as further aids. It is only those for whom it is beyond their capacity to learn the language that might resort to dependence on translations and commentaries alone, although, to remain in consultation with the scholars is a necessary requirement for not getting misled on concepts.

Interpretations
Al-Tafsir bi 'l Ma'thur
The safest way to derive the right meaning of any part of the Qur'an is to seek its explanation within the Qur'an itself. What is stated in brief at one place is detailed at another, and what is ambiguous at one point is supplemented with elaborations elsewhere. Also, the Qur'an deals with a subject in a variety of ways, at different points, and with emphasis on different aspects in different contexts. The complete meaning can only be obtained by collecting together, either on paper or in the mind, all relevant verses, seeking connections that become apparent with contemplation. The Qur'an then should be understood in the first instance with the Qur'an itself.

The Hadith
Next, one should turn to the hadith. The ahadith are in reality a commentary on the Qur'an. Allah (swt) not only revealed the Word to the Prophet but also its meaning. A verse (4:105) says, "Surely We have sent down a Book to you (O Muhammad) with Truth so that you may judge between the people by what Allah shows you (as its true meaning)."
But it is not only the meaning as expressed in the words of the Prophet (saws) that has to be learnt. It is also the meaning as expressed in his actions that should be applied to one’s own life, to gain an understanding of the Qur'an. The Prophet lived according to the Message he received, not deviating from it in the least. In other words his life was the Qur'an interpreted: "Have you not read the Qur'an?!" was the answer given by `A'isha (ra) when asked about the Prophet's conduct in everyday life.
An example will illustrate how well the Prophet understood and lived by the Qur'an.
The Qur'an uses the term rih (in the sense of ‘winds') in two ways. In some places in the singular form as rih, and in others in the plural form as riyah. In all, it has used these terms on 29 occasions. Now a careful study reveals that when the occasion is the announcement of a punishment or chastisement from Allah, the word is used in its singular form (rih). In contrast, when the context is announcement of a glad tiding, it is the plural form that is chosen (riyah). [The odd deviation from the rule can be explained].
Now, keep the Qur'anic rule in mind and consider the prayer‑words of the Prophet, who, with every stormy weather supplicated in the words:

اللَّهُمَّ اجْعَلْهَا رِيَاحًا وَلا تَجْعَلْهَا رِيحًا

"O Lord! Make it winds (riyah) for us and not wind (rih)."
Another example can be cited. The Qur'an said (9: 103): "Accept (O Muhammad) of their wealth a free-will offering, to purify them and to cleanse them." This injunction came after the declaration that the free-will offering of the hypocrites was not acceptable; and the reference is to the zakah on wealth. The free-will offering, of course, is collected by the State and is distributed following another injunction (9: 60) that cites eight categories of people as the deserving recipients.
However, following the clue that zakah (and sadaqat by implication) purify and cleanse the people ("to purify them and cleanse them"), and, reasoning that the purifying agent cannot itself be clean after its purifying operation (another example is ablution water dropping down a man), the Prophet declared his kinsfolk as undeserving of a share in the zakah (and sadaqat) funds. He told them that the zakah funds were a dirt of the hand and hence unsuitable for them.
The above stray examples demonstrate not only how well the Prophet understood the Qur'an and the extent to which he applied it to himself, but also, how important it is for a reader to gain mastery over the two: the Qur'an and the Sunnah texts, to understand either.

The Companions and their Followers
Any clarification required after the first two sources have been exhausted, should be sought in the opinions of the Prophet's Companions; especially those who were close to him, received his special attention, and specialized in the Qur'an during his life‑time: such as the four khulafa', Ibn `Abbas, Ibn Mas`ud, `Abdullah ibn `Umar, Ubayy b. Ka`ab and others, or those of the Followers who became the pupils of these Companions, such as: Mujahid, `Ikrimah, Sa`id ibn Jubayr, Masruq, `Ata' ibn Rabah, Hassan al Busri, Sa`id ibn al Musayyib, Qatadah, Dahhak, Abu al `Aliyyah and others.
The differences in their opinions, however, should not disturb a student. For, as Ibn Taymiyyah has pointed out in his Muqaddimah fi Usul al Tafsir, in most cases they express the same meaning in different words. The word "hafadah" for instance, has been explained as "daughters" by Ibn Mas`ud and Sa`id b. Jubayr; as "grandsons" by Ibn `Abbas; as "in‑laws" by Ibn Mas`ud; while `Ikrimah, Mujahid, and Hasan al‑Basri say it stands for "servants." They are all of course expressing one or the other aspect of the meaning of the word. For "hafadah" is plural of "hafid" and in its singular form it means "he who is made to serve." At the time the verse was revealed, the word was used in all those senses in which it was adopted by different authorities.
Tafsir bi 'l ma'thur derives its basis from ‑ apart from others ‑ a hadith which says that when the Prophet was deputing Mu`adh ibn Jabal to Yemen he asked him how he was going to judge between the people. "With the Book of Allah," replied Mu`adh. "But what if you do not find (a lead) therein?" the Prophet asked. "With the Sunnah of Allah's Messenger," he replied. "But if you do not find (a lead) therein also?" he asked him. "Then," Mu`adh replied, "I will work out my own opinion." The Prophet expressed his approval (Muqaddimah, Ibn Taymiyyah).
A word of caution however, about this kind of tafsir should be in place. What is recommended is the methodology as enumerated above, and not the entire content of the books of tafasir that have followed this methodology. In some of these works massive amount of Jewish material and comments of the early exegetes have been included without verifications of their authenticity. If not read critically, these can have their own pitfalls. Naivety, for instance, can be perceived in those who rely on these alone and have failed to step into the modern age in intellectual terms.

Al-Tafsir bi al Ra'yi (Personal Opinions)
As stated above, sometimes a commentator uses his intelligence, knowledge, intuition or inspiration to bring out a point in language, history, law, etc. Some of such comments are acceptable, while others are not. Take for example verse (2: 102): "Sulayman blasphemed not, but the Satans blasphemed." A question arises. We know that a prophet does not blaspheme. Why then did the Qur'an have to say that Sulayman (asws) did not blaspheme? For an explanation we have to look into the Bible which alleges that Solomon became an idolater during the last days of his life (Majid). Though not based on an athar, it is a valid explanation and also corroborates with what details classical commentators (such as Ibn Kathir) have recorded as coming from Suddi and Sa`id b. Jubayr.
To take another example, the Qur'an says (2: 273): "(Alms are) for the poor who are restrained in the way of Allah, who can not journey in the land (for trade). The ignorant supposes them rich because of their restraint. You will know them by their mark. They do not beg of people with importunity. And whatsoever of good things that you spend, surely, Allah will know it."
Commenting on the verse, Thanwi says that the words, ‘(Alms are) for the poor who are restrained in the way of Allah,' are telling us that those who are working in the way of Allah deserve to receive first priority in aid. Further, the clause ‘who cannot journey in the land' signifies that it is desirable for those engaged in the path of Allah that they may suspend their efforts at livelihood, if need be, although there is no contradiction between the two (i.e. engagement in the path of Allah, and search for livelihood). Finally, the words ‘the ignorant supposes them rich,' implies that it is undesirable to put on appearances that will distinguish a man from the common people.
This is the kind of Tafsir bi 'l ra'yi that is acceptable since such statements can be corroborated in other ways also. What can be proved as valid either directly through deductions from the Qur'an, Sunnah, opinions of the Companions, their immediate Followers, or that which, in the least, does not contradict any of the above, in word or spirit, is valid and acceptable.
The permission for this kind of interpretation is based on the supplication (du`a) which the Prophet made for Ibn `Abbas. He said:

اللَّهُمَّ فَقِّهْهُ فِي الدِّينِ وَعَلِّمْهُ التَّأْوِيلَ

"O Allah, grant him knowledge of the Qur'an and teach him the interpretation."
Contrary to this is the unprincipled interpretation that has its basis neither in the sources cited above, nor does it agree with the spirit of Islam as understood by the scholars at large.
To explain, any opinion with reference to a Qur’anic text that contradicts with that of the Salaf, in matters involving the Shari`ah, values, morals or spiritual affairs, is Tafsir bi al-Ra’yi, and stands rejected outright. It is about such an interpretation that the Prophet remarked: "Whoever speaks about the Qur'an without knowledge, may seek his abode in the Fire."
The Companions and their Followers were quite careful about offering an interpretation that did not have a Qur'anic verse or hadith in its support. Abu Bakr (ra) used to say: "Which heaven will shelter me, and which earth will support me if I said about Allah's Book, that which I have no knowledge of." Abu Yezid said: "We used to ask Sa`id ibn al‑Musayyib about the ‘lawful' and the ‘unlawful' and would find him the most knowledgeable of men. But when we asked him about a verse of the Qur'an as to how it was to be understood, he would be quiet, turning a deaf ear to us."

Al-Tafsir 'l‑Ishari (Allegorical Interpretation)
By nature, man is awed by the mysterious. It is the inexplicable, the symbolical, and the mysterious that engage his attention. The obvious and the clear‑cut escape him. To seek a solution to a riddle or the meaning of an allegory is a task he undertakes with enthusiasm. The allegorical verses of the Qur'an have provided grist to the minds of its scholars and there have been several interpretations proffered to explain them. Some of these are not readily acceptable and raise controversies. The best course of action about them when they are authentically quoted, by authoritative people, but which seemingly contradicts ideas of the Salaf, is to make no judgment about their acceptance or rejection.
In this work the use of Tafsir 'l Ishari has been restricted. It is inadvisable to read them without the guidance of a specialist. Thanwi’s Masa'il al‑Suluk as footnotes to his Urdu Bayan al‑Qur'an, is of this class. So are Alusi’s notes under this heading.
Nevertheless, it should also be borne in mind that every passage whose meaning is not obvious is not necessarily of the allegorical type, nor is the Qur'an entirely without them. There are some portions of the Qur'an whose true meaning the human mind might never be able to unravel. Ibn `Abbas has said: "There are four kinds of meanings: a) that which is apparent to the Arabs because it is in their language, b) that whose meaning no one can deny on the pretext of ignorance, c) the meaning that is the share of the scholars alone, and, d) the meaning that no one knows save Allah and His Messenger."
Further, one may note that there are Qur’anic texts whose meanings would be understood at the time of death, or subsequent to it.

Application
Following the Qur'anic method, we might end with what we started with. Application is part of the study. One will not travel much on the road if he failed to live by the instructions and inspirations that he received with the study. The Qur'an is the Word of Allah. It has been sent to guide the people. But it guides only those who are willing to be guided. As Rumi has said, the Qur’an is a closed book except for the true ardent seeker; to which we might add, ‘those who would care to apply.’
A further condition is to avoid sins of all kinds. The following is reported to have been said by Imam Shafe`i:

شكوت إلى وكيع سوء حفظى * فأرشدنى إلى ترك المعاصى
وأخـبرنى بـأن العـلم نور * ونور الله لايهدى لعاصى

I complained to Waki` of my forgetfulness
He guided me to give up sins
And taught me that knowledge is Light
And Allah’s Light is not shown to the sinner

The student of the Qur'an will have to develop his mind in such a way as to be skeptical of everything that the senses report, doubt every opinion that is formed by the intellect, and question every information that comes from non‑revealed sources. In the next step, he will have to test all of them against the Qur'an and reject any that contradicts it in word or spirit. Ibn Mas`ud (ra) said: "During the life-time of the Prophet, we used to take ten verses of the Qur'an for study and would not move on to the next ten until we had lived by those ten." It is reported of `Umar ibn al‑Khattab (ra) that he finished surah al‑Baqarah in seven years. According to a report he was so happy at its completion that he slaughtered a camel and invited his friends to a feast.
We can conclude with Zarkashi's remarks. He writes in Al‑Burhan fi `Ulum al‑Qur'an:

"In the final analysis, the derivation of the meaning of the Qur'an is largely dependent on a man's own thoughts and reflections. Let it be known, therefore, that the true meaning of the revelation and the secrets of the veiled knowledge will never be the share of a man whose heart is filled with innovations, or who insists on a sin, or in whose heart resides pride or base desires or love of the world, or that he be of an uncertain faith, or poor of discernment, or dependent on the opinions of a mufassir who has knowledge only of the externals (`ilm al-zahir), or gives precedence to his own thoughts and ideas (during the process of thinking). All these are veils and obstacles, some of which are of greater impedance than others.
"(In contrast), if the man pays full attention to the words of His Lord, is receptive to the meaning that the Attributes of the One addressing him unfold themselves, is always aware of His powers, abandons his own self-established conclusions based on reason and intellect, renounces his own powers and abilities, is ever mindful of the greatness of the Speaker, beseeching Him the grant of the meaning: and all this from a personal state of integrity, a good-natured heart, with the power of knowledge, of a calm disposition to gather the meaning, and to wait for the missed meaning seeking (Divine) help through Prayers and Supplications, (the supplications themselves) presented with the weakness (of the human against Powers of the Divine), and observing patience while waiting for the mind to be opened by Him who is the Opener, the Knowing; and he who strengthens these qualities with a recitation during which his mind is fully attentive to the verbal meaning and bears witness to the Attributes of the One addressing him by anxiously waiting for the promises (of the opening of the heart coming true), and fearing the calamities (that may befall him for his failings), and who warns forcefully .. such is the one who has a good voice for the Qur'an and it is about him that Allah Most High has said (2:121): ‘Those to whom we have given the Book, read it in the manner it should be read. It is these who believe in it'" (p. 180-81, vol.2).

The Methodology in this Work
It has been this writer's endeavor to present in this work, principally, the meaning of the Qur'an as understood by the classical scholars. That is, in the light of the Qur'an itself, traditions of the Prophet and statements of the Companions and their followers. To achieve this, the author first consulted Ibn Jarir Tabari. Since Ibn Jarir was a Muhaddith himself, he did not cite sources to the hadith, or to statements of the Companions that he quoted. Citing the sources was done by Ibn Kathir. Therefore, Ibn Kathir was next consulted. However, Ibn Kathir did not cite sources to the statements of the Salaf. This was done, to some degree, by Shawkani. So, he was consulted next. Although Ibn Kathir cited hadith sources, he did not state the authenticity-status of ahadith. In such cases, this author tried to search the opinion of Hadith Doctors, to add a note about their reliability. Further, if there were differences in opinions over the meaning of a certain verse, Ibn Kathir preferred to adopt the opinion of Ibn Jarir, which, this author indicated. Thus, a meaning emerged as of the Salaf. The translation of the verses reflects this meaning. The author suppressed his own opinion, for whose credibility he lacks the qualification, unless it was a scientific issue, historical, geographical or the like.
Thereunto, the author added the opinions of various other commentators, taking care of course, that such opinions did not clash with the opinions of the Salaf, for in matters of Law, morals (Akhlaq), and spiritual matters, the Salaf were the true authority. The way the first three generations understood the Qur’an, was never understood by any after them. It is they who changed the world, the way no generation could. If a headstrong person thinks that someone’s understanding of the Qur’an and Sunnah, was, or is, as good as that of the Salaf, and as accurate, he might need a course on how `ilm is defined in Islam. Ibn Sirin, a prominent Tabe`i said, “Knowledge is gone. What’s left of it is bits and pieces, scattered among the scholars.” Hasan al-Basri, his contemporary, was told by someone that the “Fuqaha’ say so and so.” He corrected him, “Have you ever seen a Faqih?”

An additional note about the commentaries made by the Companions and their followers might be in order. The Prophet has said: "The best of epochs is my epoch, then that of the Followers, and then that of the Followers." He was referring to the epoch followed by his own, and that of the Companions and the Tabe`iyyun. There were many Companions of the Prophet who received his special attention and specialized in the Qur'an during his life‑time itself. In turn they tutored many among the Tabe`iyyun. The term Salaf applies mainly to these: i.e., the Companions and the two succeeding generations, plus the third (because of some reports). Their opinion is the approved opinion. If they agree over the meaning of a particular word, or a verse, and the issue is purely of a religious nature as indicated above, then any other opinion that contradicts it and cannot be reconciled with it, stands rejected. Of course, there is no such restriction when the subject concerned is of historical, geographical or scientific nature, for, these disciplines were developed after them. Some contemporary commentaries tend to give new meanings to some Qur’anic terms. If they clash with those of the Salaf, they must be ignored; for, the Salaf knew the ‘Arabic of the Qur’an,’ and not the Arabic of those who refer to dictionaries and literary works developed after them to argue their case. `Umar used to say, “If you are in doubt, refer to the Jahiliyy poetry. The Qur’an was revealed in that language.”

The opinions of the Salaf might sometimes surprise the reader. He might consider them as entirely out of context. But, it is the failure to understand the context that creates the confusion. "Jump the line" is a sentence in English that conveys different meanings to different people in different situations. To a sportsman it has one meaning. When spoken by a motorist complaining of the erratic behavior of another motorist it has another meaning. In contrast, to an electrician working on the power grid, the sentence carries a different sense altogether. What we have to realize about the Companions is that they did not merely understand the context; they were themselves the context, and often spoke from the transcendental level; not from the stand point of the misleading cliché of modern times: ‘reason and logic.’

If the reader wishes to make the most of this work, he or she should allocate an area in his mind wherein he stores information obtained from the Salaf, in this work. This is the principal, the most reliable meaning, and the basis on which he can build on further. He might highlight such passages for ease of later reference.

Nonetheless, in order to keep alive interest and help increase knowledge, I have also included material that has so far been the prerogative of the Arabic‑speaking readers: material without which the Qur'anic spectrum of legitimate meaning loses some of its color.
To the above I have added some useful material from commentaries in Urdu and English. But of course, while selecting material from contemporary works, a critical eye has been kept open for errors of the conceptual type and, to the extent possible, those that contradict with a meaning accepted by the Jumhur al‑Ummah (the great majority). Jumhur al‑Ummah is of course not the same thing as the Ijma` al‑Ummah (the consensus of opinion ‑ the research of which is a difficult task, well beyond the scope of this work). The opinions of the Jumhur give us some idea of how the Qur'an has been understood through the ages. When Ibn Jarir, Zamakhshari, Razi, Qurtubi, Ibn Kathir, Thanwi or others consider a point from the previous exegetes as worth quoting, then surely that adds up to the weight of the comment.
I have not reproduced from, or cited reference to, the contemporary commentators if they have discussed those matters that the ancients have already done. In most cases the contemporary scholars have changed the form, picking out from the ancients what would suit them most. I have quoted them only if they have a new idea or a fresh point, with the condition, once again, that such ideas do not, in my limited knowledge, contradict a proven opinion held by the Salaf or Jumhu al-Ummah. Anecdotes, poetry, fiqh points, and comparative study material have been added to break the monotony.

A word about quotations from the Sufiya' would be in order. We all know that an unclean person in dirty clothes would hardly improve himself by applying perfume. He first needs to cleanse himself. How can it be any different in matters pertaining to the soul? A heart filled with pride or preferential love of this world will hardly improve through wisdom-words or supererogatory exercises. Something needs to be done first to remove the impurities. Sufism is all about this removal of impurities. This centrist position however, lies between two extremes. It should not be imagined that by quoting the Sufiya' we are approving the extreme positions, practices, or the so‑called "ways of the Gnostic" that have no basis in the Shari`ah.

Hadith Authenticity
The most difficult task has been to present only those ahadith or reports from the Companions or others that are authentic, since no noteworthy work has been done by the hadith experts on Qur'anic commentaries. Mahmud Shakir's attempt at Tabari has remained incomplete. Hussain b. Ibrahim and Sayyid Ibrahim have done some useful, although not exhaustive work on Ibn Kathir and Shawkani. Occasionally, I have either traced the ahadith to their sources, and when not in the Sahih works, have depended on works on the topic by Hadith experts. I have tried not to quote anything less than Hasan in status. If I have quoted some weak reports, it is only those that are not very weak or are strengthened by other, although weak, ahadith, or the personal opinions of the Companion or others.

Ideological Interpretations
Some readers might be surprised to note the lack of a single string of thought in this work, as it is also lacking in classical commentaries: one strand, so to say, that weaves into itself the "philosophy of the whole of the Qur'an." This is a naive idea. To speak of the Qur'an in such terms is to presume a certain meaning, a certain philosophy, a certain ideology, and reduce the Word of Allah to human definitions.
It is common knowledge that this terrestrial existence is too complex to be interpreted in terms of a single philosophy. Life cannot be reduced to equations. Even the inorganic does not render itself to such simplification. At this very moment, scientists at a billion dollar apiece Accelerators (commonly known as atom smashers) are at their wit’s end trying to determine if the building blocks of an atom (which were once thought to be electrons, protons, neutrons and a few other elementary particles) are quarks, those 300 subatomic particles visible for a fraction of a second when the nucleus is smashed with highly accelerated protons, or there is more to it. No one can say for sure if there will be an end to it!! The wave and particle function of the sub-atomic particles is another intriguing issue. If solid matter is proving so complex, what should one think of the uncreated ‘Word’ of Allah?
Moreover, such a demand betrays the failure to understand the very basics of life in terms of human fears, hopes, aspirations, creativity and interactions. At every moment of his existence a man has several options before him, only one of which is the optimum best for him. What can guide him to the right choice but a criterion backed by a vast set of concepts, data and ideas that have their own quality to fuse themselves, in a flash of a second, into one homogenized whole and present a single, synchronized, workable idea or a suggestion ‑ that the man may accept or reject!?
Again, the Qur'an is, from one angle, a long essay in the education of concepts: the divisions are for human convenience. No detail can be missed in any area but at the loss of a concept; sometimes it might be the most valuable concept acting as the central link to a maze of ideas, and, a powerful magnet to iron flakes flying by in every direction. Hence the presentation in the style I have adopted. The reader will have to pick up bits and pieces, and put them together into a homogenous meaningful whole that is pertinent to his situation, and would be useful perhaps to him alone.

Acknowledgment
Rarely has a work of such dimensions and a task so demanding been attempted by a man as poorly qualified as this author. Yet, no efforts were spared to locate material necessary to produce the "aid for understanding the Qur'an" that he has aimed at producing. Although, it must be admitted, that efforts are no substitute for abilities.
The author’s dependence, therefore, on those who are pioneers in similar efforts should be quite evident. In the rendering of the Qur'anic text into English for instance, A.J. Arberry's influence can be easily detected. Yusuf `Ali, Asad and Pickthall have been in constant reference. N.J. Dawood and several others have also been consulted. To make it easier for the beginners and non‑Muslims (and following the recommendation of the fuqaha'), words and phrases have been added in parenthesis while rendering the text into English. Such interpolations are, nonetheless, based on an accepted interpretation.
Without trying to be humble, it can be said with a fair amount of accuracy that for all that is good and useful in this work, the credit is due to someone else, while the shortcomings are the contributions of this author who seeks Allah's forgiveness, and the reader's help in overcoming them.

Syed Iqbal Zaheer
March 2015

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References, abbreviations, and technical terms

Clue to References
Ahmad: Musnad by Imam Ahmed ibn Hanbal (d. 241 A.H.).
Albani: Silsilah al-Ahadith al-Sahiha, Muhammad Nasiruddin Albani, (d. 1420 A.H.).
Albani: Silsilah al-Ahadith al-Da`eefah wa al-Mawdu`ah, Muhammad Nasirudding Albani, , Al-Maktab al-Islami.
Alusi/Ruh: Ruh al Ma`ani Fi Tafsir Qur’an al `Azim Wa al Sab` al Mathani by Shihab al Din Sayyid Mahmood Alusi (d.1291 A.H.)
`Aqidah: `Aqidah Tahawiyyah, commentary Ibn Abi al-`Izz, (tr. By Syed Iqbal Zaheer, as Funamentals of Islamic Creed), World Assembly of Muslim Youth, Dammam, Saudi Arabia
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Hussain: Tafsir ibn Kathir, Hussain b. Ibrahim Zahran, ed.
Ibn Is-haq: Sirah Rasulullah, by Muhammad ibn Ishaq (d. 151 A.H.).
Ibn Jarir/Tabari: Jami` al Bayan Fi Tafsir al Qur’an by Ibn Jarir al-Tabari (d.310 A.H.)
Ibn Kathir: Tafsir al Qur’an al `Azim by `Imad al Din Abul Fida Isma`il ibn `Amr ibn Kathir (d.774 A.H.)
Ibn Majah, Sunan, Muhammad b. Yazid al-Qazwini, Maktabah al-`Ilmiyyah, Beirut.
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Jami` Saghir: Fayd al-Qadir Sharh Jami` Saghir (of Jalaluddin Suyuti) by Muhammad `Abdul Ra’uf al-Munawi.
Kabir al: Al-Tafsir Al-Kabir, tafsir notes of Imam Ibn Taymiyyah (d.728 A.H) collected by Dr. `Abdul Rahman `Umayrah.
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Ma`arif /Shafi`: Ma`arif al Qur’an by Mufti Muhammad Shafi` Deobandi (d. 1396 A.H.).
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Mughni al, Ibn Qudamah, al-Maqdisi, Ri’asat al-Idaratu al-Buuth al-`Ilmiyyah, Saudi Arabia.
Mulhim: Fath al-Mulhim, Shabbir Ahmad `Uthmani, and, Takmilatu Fath al-Mulhim, Taqiuddin `Uthmani, Dar al-Ulum, Karachi.
Muwatta’: Muwatta’ by Imam Malik ibn Anas (d. 179 A.H.).
Nasa’i, Ahmad b. Shu`ayb, Sunan al-Nasa’i, Dar al-Rayyan li al-Turath, Cairo.
Nawawi: Sharh Sahih Muslim by Imam Sharfuddin al-Nawawi (d. 261 A.H.)
Penrice: A Dictionary and Glossary of the Qur’an, John Penrice, Gaurav Publishing House, 187
Qurtubi: Al-Jam`i Li ‘l Ahkam al Qur’an by Abu `Abdullah Muhammad ibn Ahmad al Ansari al Qurtubi (d.671 A.H.)
Raghib: Mu`jam Mufradat al-Qur’an by al-Raghib al-Asfahani (d. 503 A.H.)
Rawa‘e`: Rawa‘e` al-Bayan Tafsir Ayat al-Ahkam by Muhammad `Ali Sabuni.
Razi: Tafsir al Fakhr al Razi by Muhammad al-Razi Fakhr al Din ibn Dia al Din `Umar (d.604 A.H.)
Sabuni: Safwatu al Tafasir by Muhammad `Ali Sabuni.
Sahih ibn Hibban bi-Tarteeb Ibn Balban, `Ala’uddin `Ali b. Balban, , Mu’assasah al-Risalah, Beirut.
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Se`di: Taysir al-Karim al-Rahman, fir Tafsir al-Mannan, `Abdul Rahman b. Nasir Se`id.
Shawkani: Al-Fut-h al-Qadir by Muhammad ibn `Ali Shawkani (d.1255 A.H.)
S. Ibrahim: Ed. Al-Fath al-Qadir, by Shawkani
Sihah: Taj al-Lugha wa Sihah al-`Arabiyyah, Isma`il b. Nasr Hammad al-Jawhari, 393 A.H.
Sirah: Al-Sirah al-Nabawiyyah fi Daw Masadir al-Athliyyah, Dr. Mahdi Rizqallah, Saudi Arabia 1992.
Sayyid Qutb/Qutb/Zilal: Fi Zilal al Qur’an by Sayyid Qutb (d.1386 A.H.).
Thanwi/Bayan: Bayan al Qur’an by Ashraf `Ali Thanwi (d.1361 A.H.)
Tuhfah: Tuhfah al-Ahwazi bi Sharh Jami` al-Tirmidhi by Muhammad ibn `Abdul Rahman Mubarakpuri.
Yusuf Ali: The Glorious Qur’an, Meaning and Translation by Abdullah Yusuf Ali (d. 1953 A.H.).
Zafar Ahmad `Uthmani, I`la al-Sunan, Idaratu al-Islam wa `Ulum al-Islamiyyah, Karachi, Pakistan.
Zamakhshari/Kashshaf: Haqa’iq al- Tanzil Wa `Uyun al-Aqawil Fi Wujuh at-Ta‘wil by Abu al-Qasim Jarallah Mahmood b.`Umar al-Zamakhshari (d.538 A.H.).
Zarkashi: Al-Burhan Fi `Ulum al-Qur’an by Badruddin Muhammad bin `Abdullah al-Zarkashi (d. 794 A.H.), Dar al-Ma`rifa, Beirut.
Note: The list above is not a complete bibliography, but rather books sort of more often referred.

________________________

Abbreviations as in
Abdul Majid Daryabadi’s English Commentary

(1) BOOKS OF THE BIBLE
Ac. = Acts of the Apostles.
Am. = Amos.
1. Ch. = The First Book of the Chronicles.
2. Ch. = The Second Book of the Chronicles.
1. Cor. = Paul’s First Epistle of the Apostles.
1. Ch. = The First Book of the Chronicles.
2. Ch. = The Second Book of the Chronicles.
1. Cor. = Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians.
2. Cor. = Paul’s Second Epistle to the Corinthians.
Dn. = The Book of Daniel.
Dt. = Deuteronomy: The Fifth Book of Moses.
Ex. = Exodus: The Second Book of Moses.
Ez. = Ezra.
Ezek. = The Book of the Prophet Ezekiel.
Ga. = Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians.
Ge. = Genesis: The First Book of Moses.
He. = Paul’s Epistle to the Hebrews.
Ho. = Hosea.
Is. = Isiah.
Ja. = The General Epistle of James.
Jn. = Gospel according to St. John.
Jo. = Joel.
Job. = The Book of Job.
Jon. = The Book of Jonah.
Josh. = The Book of Joshua.
Judg. = The Book of Judges.
Je. = The Book of Jeremiah.
1. Ki. = The First Book of the Kings.
2. Ki. = The Second Book of the Kings.
La. The Lamentations of Jeremiah.
Lk. = The Gospel according to St. Luke.
Le. = Leviticus: The Third Book of Moses.
Mi. = Micah.
Mk. = Gospel according to St. Mark.
Mt. = Gospel according to St. Matthew.
Na. = Nahum.
Ne. = The Book of Nehemiah.
Nu. = Numbers: The Fourth Book of Moses.
1. Pe. = The First Epistle General of Peter.
2. Pe. = The Second Epistle General of Peter.
Ph. = Paul’s Epistle to the Philippians.
Pr. = The Proverbs.
Ps. = The Book of Psalms.
Re. = The Revelation of St. John.
Ro. = Paul’s Epistle to the Romans
1. Sa. = The First Book of Samuel.
2. Sa. = The Second Book of Samuel.
So. = The Song of Solomon.
1. Thes. = Paul’s First Epistle to the Thessalonians.
2. Thes. = Paul’s Second Epistle to the Thessalonians.
1. Ti. = Paul’s First Epistle to Timothy.
2. Ti. = Paul’s Second Epistle to Timothy.
Tt. = Paul’s Epistle to Titus.
Ze. = Zechariah.

(2) GENERAL
“Ant.” = Josephus’ ‘Antiquities of the Jews.’ (Routledge London).
Aq. = Shah Abdul Qadir Dehlavi (D. 1241 A.H./1826 C.E.). Urdu translator and commentator of the Holy Qur’an.
ASB. = Asad’s English Translation of Sahih al-Bukhari.
AV. = Authorized Version of the Bible.
AYA. = `Abdullah Yusuf `Ali. English translator and commentator of the Holy Qur’an.
Bdh. = Nasir-ud-Din `Abdullah Baidhavi (D. 685 A.H./1282 C.E.). Commentator of the Holy Qur’an.
BK. = ‘Book of Knowledge,’ 4 Vols. (Educational Book Co., London)
CD. = Pallen and Wynne’s ‘New Catholic Dictionary.’ (New York).
CE. = McDannell’s ‘Concise Encyclopedia,’ 8 Vols. (New York).
C.E. = Christian Era.
DB. = Hastings’ ‘Dictionary of the Bible,’ 5 Vols. (Clarke, London).
DCA. = Smith and Cheetham’s ‘Dictionary of Christian Antiquities,’ 2 Vols. (Murray, London).
DV. = Douay Version of the Bible.
EBi. = Cheyne and Black’s ‘Encyclopedia Biblica,’ 4 Vols. (Black, London).
EBr. = ‘Encyclopedia Britannica,’ 29 Vols. 11th Edition. (London).
Encyclopedia Britannica,’ 24 Vols. 14th Edition. (London and New York). Where no edition is specified, the reference is to 14th edition.
EI. = Houtsma and Wensink’s ‘Encyclopedia of Islam,’ 5 Vols. (Luzac, London).
EMK. = Hammerton’s ‘Encyclopedia of Modern Knowledge,’ 5 Vols. (Waverly, New York).
ERE. = Hastings’ ‘Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics,’ 13 Vols. (Clarke, London).
ESS. = Seligman’s ‘Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences,’ 15 Vols. (Macmillan, London).
FWN = Frazer’s ‘Worship of Nature,’ 2 Vols. (Macmillan, London).
GB. = Ragg’s ‘The Gospel of Barnabas.’ (Oxford).
GRE. = Gibbon’s ‘Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,’ 7 Vols. (Methuen, London).
HHW. = ‘Historians’ History of the World,’ 25 Vols. (The Times, London).
HJ. = The Hibbert Journal. (Constable, London).
IA. = Hadhrat `Abdullah Ibn-i-`Abbas. (D. 68 A.H./688 C.E.) (A companion and cousin of the Holy Prophet).
IQ. = Ibn-i-Qutaiba. (D. 276 A.H./890 C.E.) Author of ‘Arabic Glossary of the Holy Qur’an.
JE. = ‘The Jewish Encyclopedia,’ 12 Vols. (Funk and Wagnalls, New York).
LL. = Lane’s ‘Arabic-English Lexicon,’ 8 Vols. (Williams and Norgate, London).
LSK. = Lane and Lane-Poole’s ‘Selections from the Kuran.” (Trubner, London).
M.A. = Maulana Mohammad `Ali: (D. 1349 A.H./1931 C.E.) Indian Muslim leader. (Not to be confused with his namesake of Lahore and a translator of the Qur’an). The references are to his unpublished work, ‘Islam: The Kingdom of God’ (since published as ‘My Life – A Fragment’ by Sh. M. Ashraf, Lahore).
NSD. = ‘New Standard Dictionary of the English Language,’ 4 Vols. (Funk and Wagnalls, New York).
NT. = The New Testament.
OT. = The Old Testament.
PC. = Tyler’s ‘Primitive Culture,’ 2 Vols. (Murray, London).
RV. = Revised Version of the Bible.
RZ. = Imam Fakhruddin Razi. (D. 659 A.H./1209 C.E.). Well-know commentator of the Holy Qur’an.
SOED. = ‘Shorter Oxford English Dictionary,’ 2 Vols. (Oxfor).
SPD. = Sale’s ‘Preliminary Discourse to the Translation of the Kuran,’ prefixed as Introduction to Wherry’s ‘Commentary on the Kuran,’ 4 Vols. (Trubner, London)
Th. = Maulana Ashraf `Ali Thanvi. (B. 1280 A.H./1864 C.E.). Translator and commentator of the Holy Qur’an
UHW. = Hammerton’s ‘Universal History of the World,’ 8 Vols. (New York).
VJE. = Vallentine’s ‘One Volume Jewish Encyclopedia.’ (London).
WGAL. = Wright’s ‘Grammar of the Arabic Language,’ 2 Vols. (Cambridge).
Zm. = Jar-ul-lah Zamakhsari (D. 538 A.H./1144 C.E.). Commentator of the Holy Qur’an.

_______________________

Abbreviations - General
asws: `Alayhi al‑Salat wa al‑Salam (on him be peace and blessing).
ra: Radi Allahu `anhu/`anha (may Allah be pleased with him/her).
Au.: Author.
Sahihayn: Bukhari and Muslim.
saws: Sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam (May Allah send peace and blessing upon him).
swt: Subhanahu wa Ta`ala (glorified be He, the Exalted).

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Technical Terms
Da`if: A weak report but not a fabricated one nor entirely untrustworthy. It has some weakness in its text or in its isnad. A kind of hadith, therefore, before which one can place a question mark.
Gharib: That report in which the isnad has a single narrator after the Companion.
Hasan: A da`if report but above in strength over the one classified as da`if. Several da`if versions (unless too weak) render a hadith hasan.
Isnad: Chain of narrators.
Mawquf: A report whose chain of narration stops at a Companion.
Munkar: A kind of da`if hadith that has no other report through any other chain of narrators for a double check.
Mursal: A hadith which has been transmitted directly from the Prophet (saws) by a tabe`i, without a Companion in between Mutawatir: A report by such a large number of narrators whose agreement upon a lie is inconceivable.
Sahih: A trustworthy report.

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Transliteration
The transliteration method used in this work neither conforms to the international standards, nor it has been applied extensively. It is only where it was thought that some confusion might occur that a few marks have been added. However, the method is as follows:
( ث ) is transliterated as "tha" ; ( ح ) as "ha" ; ( ذ ) as "dhal" ; ( ز ) and ( ظ ) both as "za" ; ( ص ) as "sad" ; ( ض ) as "dad" ; ( ع ) as "`ayn" ; and hamza ( ه ) as “ ' “ e.g. Jibra’il.

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Vowels
Vowels have been expressed in the following manner
( ا ) is expressed as "a", so that ( باب ) is written as "bab" ; (و ) is expressed with "u" , as for example ( نون ) is written as "nun"; ( ي ) is expressed with "i", as in the word (سين ) which is written as "sin".

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  • Surah No. 8

    Merits of the surah
    According to reports in Tabarani's Al-Kabir (declared trustworthy by Haythamiyy: S.Ibrahim), the Prophet recited this chapter quite regularly in his Maghrib Prayers (Shawkani).
    Foreword to the Surah
    The following is Yusuf Ali's abridged foreword to the Surah: "In (a) previous Introduction .. we have shown how each Surah is a step or gradation in the teaching of the Qur'an. The first seven Suras, comprising a little less than one-third of the Qur'an, form a gradation, sketching the early religious history of man and leading up to the formation of the new Ummat or community of the Holy Messenger. Now we begin another gradation, consolidating that Ummat and directing us as to various phases in our new collective life .. The date of this Surah is shortly after the battle of Badr, which was fought on Friday, the 17th of Ramadan, in the second year of the Hijra .. The battle of Badr was a testing time, and showed how virtue and valor can conquer against odds. Steadfastness and obedience; faith, courage, and fearlessness; due preparation and free expenditure of resources and energy:- these are expected from you by Allah, and His help is all-sufficient (viii. 38-64) .. Even tenfold odds against you do not count if you are fighting for truth and faith against enemies of truth and faith; but remember clemency and consideration in the hour of victory (viii. 65-75)."
    Sayyid Qutb prefaces this chapter with a long note speaking at length about the nature of the Islamic state and the jihad that it is required to conduct. A full translation will run into 40-50 pages. Here is a shortened account:
    Often we come across the statement that this chapter was revealed after surah al-Baqarah following the battle of Badr, somewhere 19 months after hijrah. But we need to understand this statement. For, although al-Baqarah began to be revealed at the beginning of the Madinan phase, its various parts continued to be revealed right up to the end of that period. In other words, al-Baqarah remained open, while this chapter was being revealed. Therefore, it is more apt to say that this chapter was revealed after the first few passages of al-Baqarah.
    Of course, its major theme is the battle of Badr. The Qur'an named it, "the Day of Criterion." Its repercussions were not only this worldly, but also next worldly. Allah said (22: 19-24), "These are two groups who disputed over their Lord. In consequence, those who disbelieved will have garments cut out of fire. Boiling water will be poured over their heads. It will melt the contents of their bellies and their skins. And for them are hooked iron rods. Every time they try to get out of it - because of the anguish - they will be pushed back to it and (said), `Taste the punishment of the Fire.' Verily, Allah will admit those who believed and acted righteously to Gardens beneath which rivers flow. They will be adorned therein with bracelets of gold and pearls. And their dresses therein will be of silk. They had been guided to a Good Word and they had been guided to a path praiseworthy." The allusion is to the two groups that fought at Badr. And the statement should give us some idea of importance of that event.
    But the true nature of the event will not be obvious to us if we do not first grasping the nature of jihad in Islam. And, the nature of jihad in Islam will not be understood without first understanding the nature of the religion of Islam itself. That will lead us to an understanding of how jihad forms a link among the several links that go into making the body of Islam.
    We might conveniently begin the discussion by first presenting a selection from Imam ibn al-Qayyim who has very neatly summarized the nature of the religion of Islam, and the importance of jihad in it, in his Zad al-Ma`ad. He wrote: "The first revelation sent to the Prophet by his Lord was, ‘Read in the name of thy Lord.' That was the beginning of his mission. Allah ordered him to recite it to himself, not requiring him to take the message to others. Then He revealed, ‘O you cloaked in a blanket, rise and warn.' Thus, Allah made him a Prophet by ordering, ‘Read,' and declared him a Messenger by revealing ‘O you cloaked ...rise up and warn.' Next, He ordered him to warn his close kinsfolk. Accordingly, the Prophet first warned his tribe. Next he warned those around Makkah. Then he warned all the Arabs. Finally, he warned the entire mankind. Thus he remained ten years or more after his Prophethood, warning the people but neither fighting them nor demanding jizyah. Indeed, in that state he was ordered to pursue his mission with patience and forgiveness. Finally, he was asked to migrate. That accomplished, he was asked to fight those who fought him, and spare those who spared him. Next he was ordered to fight the pagans until the Religion became Allah's. With that, insofar as jihad was concerned, the unbelievers became three kinds: Those that had entered into a treaty with him, those who were at war with him, and those who had submitted themselves to him and were paying jizyah. In that stage he was ordered to be true to the treaties with such of those as remained true to their treaties, until the terms of the treaties expired. However, if he perceived dishonesty on their part, he was to pull out of the treaty but was not to fight until he was sure that they had actually breached the trust. But, if he did find breach of trust, he was to fight them. When surah Bara`ah (another name of surah al-Tawbah) came, it gave him fresh orders concerning the three kinds of unbelievers mentioned above. He was ordered to fight his enemies from among the Scriptuaries (People of the Book) until they either paid jizyah or entered Islam. He was also ordered therein to fight the common unbelievers and the hypocrites and, to be tough with them. Accordingly, he fought the unbelievers with the sword, and the hypocrites with the pen. That chapter also commanded him to announce that he was quit of the unbelievers, ordering him to pull out of all treaties that he had made with the unbelievers. In other words, the chapter declared those who had entered into treaties with him as of three kinds: the first kind which had broken its treaty. He was ordered to fight them. Accordingly, he fought them and overcame them. A second kind was of those who had entered into a time-bound treaty and had not broken the word of promise. He was ordered to honor the treaty with them until the expiry of the term. A third kind was of those who had not entered into any treaty with him and had not fought him; or they had entered into a treaty, but the period was not specified. He was ordered to give them four months time. At the end of this period he was to fight them. Accordingly, he fought those who had breached the treaties and gave four months to those who had not entered into any treaty with him, or had done so but without specifying a period. As for those that had entered into a time-bound treaty and had not breached it, he left them to themselves. It is another thing that all these categories of the people entered Islam without waiting for the period to expire. As for those who had submitted, he levied jizyah on them. Eventually, with the revelation of surah Bara'ah, the unbelievers once again became three kinds: the belligerent ones, those who had entered into a treaty, and those who had submitted and were paying jizyah. As regards the belligerent ones, the true situation was that they feared him. Thus, so far as he was concerned, mankind split into three kinds: (i) believers, (ii) those who had surrendered, and, (iii) the belligerent ones, but fearful of him. As for his treatment of the hypocrites, he was ordered to accept them on their face value, leaving their secrets to Allah. Nevertheless, he was to wage a struggle against them with knowledge and evidences as his weapon. Otherwise, he was to avoid them, press hard against them, but say honorable words. He was forbidden from Praying on one of them dying, and that he should stand by his grave seeking Allah's forgiveness for him. He was informed that Allah would not forgive them, even if he sought their forgiveness seventy times. These were his ways with the unbelievers and the hypocrites."
    After the above from Ibn al-Qayyim, Sayyid continues: From this short but succinct discourse on the pattern of jihad conducted in early Islam, a few characteristics of the nature of the Islamic movement are brought to fore. In sum and substance they could be stated as under:
    (i) Realism
    The strain of realism that runs through and through should be apparent. It is a realistic religion which encounters its adversaries with realism, employing means that are in reality available to it. It encounters a pagandom that is built on certain beliefs and practices, commanding a certain way of life, supported by men of material power .. it encounters it - step by step, act by act - with what is at its disposal. It is not a movement that depends on expressions and protestations alone in the face of those in possession of material power, nor does it try to win its adversaries with the help of material power alone. Rather, it faces them off with the power of jihad to destroy the system and its custodians.
    (ii) Plan of Action
    A second characteristic stems from the first: it has a plan of action that runs through phases. Each phase employs its own means to meet the demands of the situation. Each phase leads to a well-defined next. Thus, it does not face off the situations with mere ideologies nor with frozen means and methods. Those who try to work out an understanding of the concept of jihad as embodied in the Qur'an, but neglect this fact, end up with confused notions. They regard every text that they come across, as containing a textual command in itself, free of all other texts and independent by itself. They are unable to co-relate the various texts and reach an overall understanding. They say - those with defeated mentality, to such of their descendants who are left with nothing of Islam but an identity - that Islam knows of no other war but (iii) Consistency
    A third point is that this religion is a persisting, continuous movement, with renewed means, never bending over its principles and never relenting on its objectives. So that, from the first day of its call, whether it addressed the close kinsfolk, whole of the Arabs, or whole of the world, whenever it called, it was the same consistent message: surrender unto one Lord alone and free yourselves from the slavery of human beings.
    (iv) Relationship
    A fourth point of note is the set of rules and principles governing the relationship of the world of Islam with the rest of the world, on a pattern as delineated by Ibn al-Qayyim. Its theme is that Islam is the central principle to which all peoples of the world should relate themselves. To achieve its objectives, Islam will not allow any political power to come in between its message and the individuals at large: who should be allowed to choose Islam of their own free will or reject it. But, it will not allow anyone to adopt a belligerent attitude towards it, without waging a war against him until Islam finishes him off, or he surrenders to its will.
    These in short, are the characteristics of the Islamic movement in reference to jihad. But the defeated ones among the Muslims who write on jihad, twist the meanings and concepts, in order to present Islam as one that will fight only a defensive war. They get mixed up between two operational principles: there is no coercion in Islam, and, the use of force to remove the obstacles in the way of Islamic message reaching the masses.
    Let's get it clearly then: This religion is a proclamation of man's freedom from slavery to man, as well as his slavery to his own base self. In the first step it proclaims the lordship of Allah over the entire created world. This proclamation is a declaration of war on the "lordship" of man: whatever form it may take. To accept some of the humankind as the lawgivers would imply their lordship. Others are automatically reduced to their slavery. This kind of lordship has to be destroyed in the first step for the reasons of establishing Allah's complete sovereignty over the earth. In the words of the Qur'an (43: 84):


    وَهُوَ الَّذِي فِي السَّمَاءِ إِلَهٌ وَفِي الْأَرْضِ إِلَهٌ [الزخرف : 84]


    "And, it is He who is the deity in the heaven and the deity in the earth."
    And (12: 40):


    إِنِ الْحُكْمُ إِلَّا لِلَّهِ أَمَرَ أَلَّا تَعْبُدُوا إِلَّا إِيَّاهُ ذَلِكَ الدِّينُ الْقَيِّمُ [يوسف : 40]


    "The command is Allah's. He has ordered that you worship none but Him. That is the well-established religion."
    And (3: 64):


    قُلْ يَا أَهْلَ الْكِتَابِ تَعَالَوْا إِلَى كَلِمَةٍ سَوَاءٍ بَيْنَنَا وَبَيْنَكُمْ أَلَّا نَعْبُدَ إِلَّا اللَّهَ وَلَا نُشْرِكَ بِهِ شَيْئًا وَلَا يَتَّخِذَ بَعْضُنَا بَعْضًا أَرْبَابًا مِنْ دُونِ اللَّهِ فَإِنْ تَوَلَّوْا فَقُولُوا اشْهَدُوا بِأَنَّا مُسْلِمُونَ [آل عمران : 64]


    "Tell them, ‘O people of the Book! Come to an equitable term between us and you: that we worship none but Allah and associate not aught with Him, and some of us do not declare others as Lords besides Allah.' But if they turn their backs, say, ‘Bear witness that we are Muslims.'"
    That understood, it must also be borne in mind that the establishment of Allah's rule on the earth, the stripping away of the powers (of legislation) from the people, acceptance of His Law as the only law in existence, and declaration of man-made laws as null and void .. all these cannot be achieved through persuasion alone. Those who hold the reins of power, and draw advantages therewith, are not going to relinquish it without struggle. On the other hand, the proclamation of the rule for Allah alone and none else, was never meant to be a philosophical idea with no plan of action and no intention to enforce it. It always was, during the long history of the Messengers of Allah, a positive and practical proposition. This last piece of fact, accorded the struggle started by the Messengers the form of a movement; a movement that faced the ground realities, on all fronts, with every kind of means that could be employed. Islam too was obliged to continue with the task.
    However, the precautionary note might be repeated that it was not Islam's objective to force the people into belief. Islam is not a set of doctrines. Islam is the other name of freeing people from the slavery of the people and binding them to the slavery of Allah. This required that the power bases be destroyed, the power brokers be broken and the power holders be stripped off their power. It is only after these are accomplished that the people can be said to be truly free of their yoke. It is after this that the people will in truth have the unrestrained choice to either accept the Islamic faiths and doctrines or reject them. They might live under the Islamic system of life. But they are free to reject its faiths and practices and follow their own religions. It is only the hindering forces that are rendered powerless. This is done through what is known as jihad. Jihad is not conducted to force people into believing in its dogmas. It is conducted to neutralize the antagonistic forces that prevent them from making a free choice. Islam then, cannot be called a "defensive religion" or, "a religion on the defense."
    Therefore, what was finally achieved through the success of the jihad policy, has to be kept by the Muslim community as the goal before them, and not the contingencies of the situations at the beginning, or during the middle period of the struggle. The final situation obtained by the Islamic state should be what Ibn al-Qayyim described as: "Eventually, with the revelation of surah Bara'ah, the unbelievers became three kinds: (a) the belligerent ones, (b) those who had entered into a treaty, and (c) those who had submitted and were paying the tribute. As regards the belligerent ones, the true situation was that they feared him (the Prophet). Consequently, mankind split into three kinds: believers, those who had surrendered, and, the belligerent ones, but fearful of him."
    Jihad has been instituted for the Muslim Ummah to arrive at this end and not at the ends adopted by the defeatists under the pressure of the ‘present-day situation,' nor at the ends that have been defined by the cunning Orientalists.
    What other meaning of jihad is affordable in view of the numerous Qur'anic injunctions, hadith clarifications, and the events of early Islamic history? How else one is to understand the meaning and objectives of jihad when one has the very first revealed in this connection before him (22: 40):


    وَلَوْلَا دَفْعُ اللَّهِ النَّاسَ بَعْضَهُمْ بِبَعْضٍ لَهُدِّمَتْ صَوَامِعُ وَبِيَعٌ وَصَلَوَاتٌ وَمَسَاجِدُ يُذْكَرُ فِيهَا اسْمُ اللَّهِ كَثِيرًا [الحج : 40]


    "If not for Allah checking the people - some at the hands of others - surely, many of the monasteries, churches, synagogues, and mosques in which Allah is remembered much, would have been demolished." (In other words, this religion also defends other religions while it fights off the usurpers of people's rights to choose between right and wrong: Au.).
    In fact, in Makkah too - a training phase - Islam was not without the sword, except that the sword was not in its own hands. It was Banu Hashim who held the sword and defended the Prophet there. Further, armed struggle in Makkah would have meant plunging the area into a blood bath that would not have had a short run. Every home would have turned into a battle-field, leaving in its wake a very negative effect. Already it was being said: ‘Muhammad creates discord between father and son.' Moreover, there were many amongst the antagonist Makkans who were later to turn into the champions of Islam. With armed struggle ensuing at an early stage, their services would have been lost. These then were the reasons why jihad was not instituted there, at Makkah, and not because Islam is a defensive religion.
    That said, what other justification is required after the plain Qur'anic injunctions in this regard? How else can one explain the following? (4: 74-76):


    فَلْيُقَاتِلْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ الَّذِينَ يَشْرُونَ الْحَيَاةَ الدُّنْيَا بِالْآخِرَةِ وَمَنْ يُقَاتِلْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ فَيُقْتَلْ أَوْ يَغْلِبْ فَسَوْفَ نُؤْتِيهِ أَجْرًا عَظِيمًا (74) وَمَا لَكُمْ لَا تُقَاتِلُونَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ وَالْمُسْتَضْعَفِينَ مِنَ الرِّجَالِ وَالنِّسَاءِ وَالْوِلْدَانِ الَّذِينَ يَقُولُونَ رَبَّنَا أَخْرِجْنَا مِنْ هَذِهِ الْقَرْيَةِ الظَّالِمِ أَهْلُهَا وَاجْعَلْ لَنَا مِنْ لَدُنْكَ وَلِيًّا وَاجْعَلْ لَنَا مِنْ لَدُنْكَ نَصِيرًا (75) الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا يُقَاتِلُونَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ وَالَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا يُقَاتِلُونَ فِي سَبِيلِ الطَّاغُوتِ فَقَاتِلُوا أَوْلِيَاءَ الشَّيْطَانِ إِنَّ كَيْدَ الشَّيْطَانِ كَانَ ضَعِيفًا [النساء : 74 - 76]


    "Let them then fight - in the way of Allah - those who (readily) sell the life of this world for the next. Whoso fights in the way of Allah and is slain, or overcomes (the enemy), We shall surely bestow on him a mighty reward. How is it with you that you do not fight in the way of Allah, while the (weak and the) oppressed men, women, and children are pleading: ‘Our Lord, rescue us from the people of this tyrannous town, and appoint to us a protector from You, and appoint to us a helper from You?' The believers fight in the way of Allah, while the unbelievers fight in the way of the Devil. Fight then, against the friends of Shaytan. Shaytan's guile is weak indeed."


    And (8: 38-40):
    قُلْ لِلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا إِنْ يَنْتَهُوا يُغْفَرْ لَهُمْ مَا قَدْ سَلَفَ وَإِنْ يَعُودُوا فَقَدْ مَضَتْ سُنَّتُ الْأَوَّلِينَ (38) وَقَاتِلُوهُمْ حَتَّى لَا تَكُونَ فِتْنَةٌ وَيَكُونَ الدِّينُ كُلُّهُ لِلَّهِ فَإِنِ انْتَهَوْا فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ بِمَا يَعْمَلُونَ بَصِيرٌ (39) وَإِنْ تَوَلَّوْا فَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّهَ مَوْلَاكُمْ نِعْمَ الْمَوْلَى وَنِعْمَ النَّصِيرُ [الأنفال : 38 - 40]


    "Say to the unbelievers, if they desist, they will be forgiven what was in the past. But, if they return (to their old ways), then, surely, the way (of punishment) of the earlier ones has already passed. (As for you, O Muslims), fight them until idolatry is no more, and the Religion - all of it - is Allah's. But if they desist, then, surely Allah is Seeing of what they do. However, if they turn away (in rejection), then (fear them not, rather) know that Allah is your Protector - an excellent Protector and an excellent Helper."
    And (9: 29-32):


    قَاتِلُوا الَّذِينَ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ وَلَا بِالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ وَلَا يُحَرِّمُونَ مَا حَرَّمَ اللَّهُ وَرَسُولُهُ وَلَا يَدِينُونَ دِينَ الْحَقِّ مِنَ الَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْكِتَابَ حَتَّى يُعْطُوا الْجِزْيَةَ عَنْ يَدٍ وَهُمْ صَاغِرُونَ (29) وَقَالَتِ الْيَهُودُ عُزَيْرٌ ابْنُ اللَّهِ وَقَالَتِ النَّصَارَى الْمَسِيحُ ابْنُ اللَّهِ ذَلِكَ قَوْلُهُمْ بِأَفْوَاهِهِمْ يُضَاهِئُونَ قَوْلَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا مِنْ قَبْلُ قَاتَلَهُمُ اللَّهُ أَنَّى يُؤْفَكُونَ (30) اتَّخَذُوا أَحْبَارَهُمْ وَرُهْبَانَهُمْ أَرْبَابًا مِنْ دُونِ اللَّهِ وَالْمَسِيحَ ابْنَ مَرْيَمَ وَمَا أُمِرُوا إِلَّا لِيَعْبُدُوا إِلَهًا وَاحِدًا لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا هُوَ سُبْحَانَهُ عَمَّا يُشْرِكُونَ (31) يُرِيدُونَ أَنْ يُطْفِئُوا نُورَ اللَّهِ بِأَفْوَاهِهِمْ وَيَأْبَى اللَّهُ إِلَّا أَنْ يُتِمَّ نُورَهُ وَلَوْ كَرِهَ الْكَافِرُونَ (32) هُوَ الَّذِي أَرْسَلَ رَسُولَهُ بِالْهُدَى وَدِينِ الْحَقِّ لِيُظْهِرَهُ عَلَى الدِّينِ كُلِّهِ وَلَوْ كَرِهَ الْمُشْرِكُونَ [التوبة : 29 ، 33]


    "Fight those People of the Book who do not believe in Allah nor in the Hereafter, nor do they forbid what Allah and His Messenger have forbidden, nor do they accept the true religion - until they pay Jizyah by hand in humiliation. The Jews said, ‘`Uzayr is a son of God.' And the Christians claimed, ‘Jesus is the son of God.' That is a statement from their mouths. They (blindly) repeat the claims of the unbelievers of the past. May Allah destroy them, where are they being driven? They took their scholars, monks, and Jesus the son of Mary, as lords besides Allah; although, they were not ordered but to worship one God. There is no Lord but He. He is exalted above what they ascribe. They wish to extinguish Allah's light by (the blow of their) mouths. But Allah spurns (the idea) except that He should complete His light even if the unbelievers are averse to it."
    Such are the revelations. What other justification is needed after them? How else is the Allah's sovereignty to be understood in the light of above? This is how the earliest ones understood the verses. Those of the first generation Muslims who came out in jihad did not say, "We came out to defend our motherland." Nor did they say, "We have come out to get rid of the Persian (or Roman) yoke on our necks." They would say what Riba`i b. `Amir, Hudhayfah b. Muhsin and Mughira b. Sho`bah said to Rustam the commander-in-chief of the Persian armies when he gave three Muslim representatives separate audiences on three different occasions. He would ask, "What has brought you here?" They'd reply, "We have come to relieve the people from the slavery of men of their own kind and bind them to the slavery of one God; and to bring them out from the constrictions of this world to usher them into the expanses of the Hereafter; and from the oppression of other religions to the justice of Islam. Allah sent His Messenger with His religion. Whoever accepted it from us, we will accept him (as a brother-Muslim), shall leave him (to himself) and go back to our lands. As for him who refused, we shall fight him until we end up in Paradise, or are granted victory."
    The justification then, spelled out above, is part and parcel of this religion. It will spring to action, depending on the situation and the means available. Such action will not depend on whether the Muslims have been oppressed in the lands or not. In contrast, those who claim that jihad is justified on the grounds of defense of one's nation, place the religion of Allah one level below their nation. This concept is foreign to Islam. Indeed, the lands are, by themselves, worthless in the sight of Islam.
    Obviously, the world of the unbelievers around the world of Islam cannot accept any threat to its survival. Those who control the reins of power will not give up their power without a struggle. Having known the nature of Islam, they will surely take the first step and strike before they are struck. (As it happened in early Islam: Au.). That will lead to a struggle between the two worlds. There is no escape from such a struggle. There is no other choice. If Islam does not take the first action, others will. However, if that were to happen, that is, they strike first, then, although at the beginning there would seem to be no difference between the two situations - whether it was Islam that took the first step, or others - but, at the end of the road a serious difference would show up. It would mean a serious corruption in the understanding of the Islamic concepts.
    Therefore, it is an Islamic duty that the first steps be taken. For Islam is not a national religion. It is not the system for running a government. It is Allah's very religion and a system for the whole of the world. It is its right that it should take the first step towards the destruction of all other systems in order to remove the obstacles - not the individuals, with whom Islam has no quarrel - rather the systems that take away the people's freedom of choice.
    This religion's main objective is the freedom of man. Its target is Man: not the Arabs. Its field of action is the earth - the whole of the earth (and not a patch of it).
    It is in the light of the above discussion that we are now in a better position to appreciate the battle of Badr and the reasons that led to the clash - as a sequel to which the chapter at hand was revealed.
    Nevertheless, it might also be pointed out, despite the fear of repetition, but because of the need to stress, that the battle at Badr was not the first ever jihad event that took place in Islam. A few skirmishes had taken place earlier, although only one of them resulted in bloodshed: the one led by `Abdullah b. Jahash. The Prophet had not participated in it. All other clashes that had taken place earlier, followed the principles laid out above. Of course, all the skirmishes preceding the battle of Badr had targeted the Quraysh. Those people had not respected the sacredness of the Grand Mosque, neither after the advent of Islam nor before it. But that was not the only reason why they were targeted. Rather, the main reason was that Islam proclaimed man's freedom from the slavery of others. It insisted on complete sovereignty for Allah over the whole of the earth and the destruction of the devilish powers that the people worshipped. Quraysh happened to be the leaders of the devilish powers and in direct control of the power base. Therefore, they had to be taken on first. There might have been other reasons that led to the clash at Badr, or, for that matter, to other battles. But those reasons were incidental and secondary. While studying jihad, we will do well not to ignore the central theme, the main principles, and the general strategy of the Islamic struggle.”
    Quotation from Sayyid's preface ends here.

    بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ يَسْأَلُونَكَ عَنِ الْأَنْفَالِ ۖ قُلِ الْأَنْفَالُ لِلَّهِ وَالرَّسُولِ ۖ فَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَأَصْلِحُوا ذَاتَ بَيْنِكُمْ ۖ وَأَطِيعُوا اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ مُؤْمِنِينَ (1)

    8|1| They ask you concerning the spoils of war.2 Say, ‘The spoils of war belong to Allah and the Messenger.'3 Therefore, fear Allah, set things right between yourselves,4 and obey Allah and His Messenger, if you are believers.5


    1. Ibn `Abbas has said that the whole of the chapter is Madinan except for verses 30 to 36, which are Makkan (Qurtubi). A few other verses are also reported to be Madinan (Manar).
    Sayyid Qutb remarks that to say with absolute certainty that this or that part of the Qur'an is Makkan or Madinan is extremely difficult. At best, what can be said is that a certain chapter belongs to this or that period, without being very specific about its entire content. It is only a few verses that can be said to belong to a certain period because of confirmed reports. Therefore, (going by approximate dates of revelation) and attempting to work out, on their basis, the sequences and stages of the Islamic revolution, is to be treading on uncertain grounds.
    He also adds that the best that can be said about the exact period of revelation of the chapter at hand is that it was revealed after surah al-Baqarah. However, the fact must not be lost sight of that al-Baqarah itself was not revealed as one whole. Quite a few verses were revealed almost at the end of the Madinan period, while some verses might have been revealed in between. In fact, when the reports speak about a particular chapter as having been revealed after another chapter, what was meant is that the opening verses were revealed after that chapter, and not necessarily the whole of that chapter.
    Rashid Rida reproduces parts of a lengthy discussion taken up by Suyuti and Alusi concerning why this surah was placed here in the Qur'an: after al-A`raf and before al-Bara'ah, He offers his own opinion that whatever `Uthman (ra) had to say about their placement, the Prophet (saws) himself used to recite the whole of the Qur'an in Ramadan. Had not `Uthman's arrangement agreed with the Prophet's recitation, the Companions would not have agreed to the order that has come down to us from them.
    2. Although various interpretations have been offered to the word "anfal" as occurring here, there is no difference of opinion that this verse came down on the occasion of the battle of Badr, in reference to a dispute that arose over the spoils. Ibn `Abbas, `Ikrimah, Mujahid, Dahhak and others are of the opinion that the term "anfal" is a generic term applicable to all kinds of spoils of war. (Here, in this verse, the term has been employed in this sense). However, Ibn `Abbas, along with `Ata, has also said that it applies to those of the enemy materials or man-power that are left over, or secured, after the division of the spoils of war. A third opinion is that the reference is to the fifth (khumus) of the spoils of war after four-fifths of it has been distributed among the mujahidin. The Prophet was entitled to dispose it the way he thought appropriate (Ibn Jarir).
    Razi, Ibn Kathir and Shawkani quote authorities that since, [in the words of Asad] "nafl" (of which anfal is the plural) denotes, in its purely linguistic sense, "an accretion or addition received beyond one's due" or "something given in excess of one's obligation," (hence "nawafil" for supererogatory Prayers, and "We bestowed him Is-haq, and Ya`qub in addition [nafilah]", 21: 72), and since the spoils of war that had remained unlawful to previous nations were declared lawful to this Ummah, they have been designated as "anfal" - being an addition over the original commandments contained in previous Scriptures.
    (Another term used in the Qur'an for spoils of war is "faiy." Alusi lists various opinions about the difference between this term and "ghanimah." One of the opinions is that ghanimah is that spoils of war which is secured by a fight [before or after the battle] whereas "faiy" is that spoils of war which is obtained without a fight).
    The term "nafl" has a special meaning too. It is that spoils of war which the amir bestows on someone as a gift over and above his personal share (Shafi`).
    Another explanation is that it means "one-fifth of the one-fifth" (Shanqiti).
    As regards what occasioned the revelation of this verse, Imam Razi states the following as one of the several reasons: There were 3 men from the Muhajirun and 5 from the Ansar whom the Prophet gave shares in the booty although they had not participated in the battle of Badr: (1) Uthman b. `Affan: because the Prophet's daughter (`Uthman's wife) was sick, so he was left behind to look after her; (2) Talha and (3) Sa`id b. Zayd: the Prophet had sent these two toward the Syrian regions to gather news. [These were the three Muhajirun]; (4) Abu Lubabah b. Marwan: he was left in charge of Madinah; (5) `Asim: the Prophet had left him in charge of the uplands of Madinah; (6) Harth b. Hatib: when the Prophet had reached Rawha' he asked him to return to attend to some affair involving `Amr b. `Awf; (7) Harth b. al-Sumh: he fell sick by Rawha' and had to return on the Prophet’s order; and (8) Khuwat b. Jubayr. When the Prophet gave each of these a share in the spoils of war, others objected and this verse was revealed.
    Other commentators however, such as Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir, Shawkani and others, do not mention the above report of Razi. They cite the following as the reason of revelation: Before the start of the battle of Badr, the Prophet had said that those who accomplished such and such feats would be rewarded in such and such a manner. Accordingly, the younger men advanced far afield but the older and matured ones stayed around the Prophet in fear of a rear attack. When the spoils were collected, those who had advanced said that they deserved it all to the exclusion of others, because it was they in truth who had defeated the enemy. The older ones maintained that if they had stayed behind, it was for the safety of the Prophet. A third group, the standard-bearers, also claimed their stake. Claims turned into arguments, in which, according to a version preserved in Musnad Ahmad, in the words of `Ubadah b. Samit, "we showed the evil side of our character" and Allah revealed this verse. (This report is in Abu Da'ud, Nasa'i, Ibn Hibban and Hakim, who declared it Sahih, as well as in other hadith collections: Shawkani).
    Some contemporary commentators have thought that it was a serious failing on the part of the Companions to have quarreled over the booty. Someone has remarked, "matters went to such a head that ill feelings entered their hearts." They could have been misled by the reported words: "Our conduct was blameworthy." But the apparent words do not reflect the true situation. The fact should not be lost sight of that with the slightest of deviation from the norm, the Companions used strong words for themselves. Also, it should not be forgotten that those were a people who had either migrated leaving all their wealth and property behind them in Makkah, or those who had given them refuge in Madinah, giving them precedence over their own wives and children. They could not be fighting for booty in a cheap manner. However, that said, they were Arabs: keen on their rights. When they felt something was theirs, they vehemently claimed it. But once told it was not theirs, they would not look at it twice. Had they set an eye on another's property, or harbored ill-feelings for the companions, surely, a single command concerning whom the spoils of war belonged to in truth, would not have cured them of their moral failing. Their character was such that had some of them been given the loot while others denied, they would have promptly gifted others from their share no sooner had they got hold of it. They had not fought for loot. If they did, Hudhayfah would not have stood quiet while his father's corpse, killed in the same battle, was dragged by and thrown into a pit. No remark should be made about them, which does not agree with their general character, which was, without being over-generous with them, nothing less than noble (Au.).
    To take on the thread of the main discussion again, these verses were revealed to declare that "anfal" were primarily the right of Allah and His Messenger. The Prophet then distributed it equally among the participants. However, he gave away certain items to certain participants as special gifts. For instance, Sa`d b. Abi Waqqas says, "My brother `Umayr was killed during the battle of Badr. I slew (his killer) Sa`id b. al-`As and took possession of his sword. Then I went to the Prophet. He told me to deposit it along with other booty items. I obeyed, but Allah knows the thoughts that were passing through my mind. However, as I was returning Allah revealed these verses and the Prophet told me: "You may keep the sword." (This report is in Tirmidhi, who rated it Sahih, as well as in Nasa'i, Ibn Marduwayh and Hakim who has also declared it trustworthy: Alusi, Shawkani).
    It should be obvious that Sa`d would not have desired after that particular sword but for the fact that it had been used to kill his brother, and hence a war-memorial rather than a piece of booty (Au.).
    Similarly, the Prophet gave away swords of the fallen enemy heroes to Sa`d b. Malik and Arqam b. al-Arqam. Some have said that this verse is abrogated by another verse which reduced the amount under the Prophet's discretion to one-fifth (khumus). It said (8: 41):


    وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّمَا غَنِمْتُمْ مِنْ شَيْءٍ فَأَنَّ لِلَّهِ خُمُسَهُ [الأنفال : 41]


    "Know that of what you gain of the spoils of war, one-fifth belongs to Allah and the Messenger." Accordingly, in the battles that followed the Prophet divided four-fifths among the mujahedin and one-fifth among the poor and destitute class of the general population. But the abrogation idea is incorrect. Rather, all that this first verse is saying is that in principle the spoils belong to state authorities, who will dispense of it the way they deem fit.
    After quoting the above from Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir shows that these reports are well preserved in Muslim, Abu Da'ud, Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah and others. Accordingly, Sa`id ibn al-Mussayyib used to say that after the Prophet there is no "nafl." The state authorities, Ibn Jarir notes, should decide, with the Prophet's practice as the guiding principle, about how the booty should be expended.
    Qurtubi states that if there are many differences in opinion over the distribution of spoils of war, it is because the Prophet's practice varied on various occasions. However, there is no difference in opinion that in view of verse 41, one-fifth was for the Prophet to dispense off the way he deemed fit. That was the khumus referred to by the Qur'an. He said in a hadith,


    إِنَّهُ لاَ يَحِلُّ لِي مِمَّا أَفَاءَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْكُمْ قَدْرَ هَذِهِ إِلاَّ الْخُمُسُ ، وَالْخُمُسُ مَرْدُودٌ عَلَيْكُمْ


    "I have no share whatsoever in what Allah bestows on you except one-fifth, and this one-fifth is returned to you." (A hadith close to this meaning is in Muslim: Au.).
    But, Rashid Rida adds, Ibn Zayd's opinion was that the Imam can give away anything from the spoils to anyone before the division, and before the one-fifth is separated out. This is the nafl spoken of in this first verse.
    In any case, the anfal that were obtained at Badr consisted of, according to Miur, "115 camels, 14 horses, an endless store of vestments and carpets, articles of fine leather, with much equipage and armour" (Majid).
    3. Mawdudi comments: "Before the advent of Islam, a soldier used to appropriate all that he could lay his hands on, claiming to be its rightful owner, or else the spoils were seized either by the king or the commander of the army. In the former case, mutual conflicts ensued among soldiers of the victorious army, with the frequent result that their victory turned into defeat. On the other hand, if the spoils were seized by the commander of the army or the ruler, soldiers often concealed and stole the spoils. By declaring that the spoils belong to Allah and His Messenger, the Qur'an made it obligatory on all soldiers to commit all spoils of war to the custody of the commander, concealing not even something as trivial as a sewing needle. Subsequently, the Qur'an laid down an elaborate set of laws to distribute the spoils of war. According to it, one-fifth of the spoils is to be deposited in the public treasure for public welfare and to provide support for the poor, while four-fifths is to be distributed among the soldiers."
    4. Ibn Kathir writes: Abu Ya`lah has preserved a report worth reproducing. Anas b. Malik said,


    بينا رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم جالس إذ رأيناه ضحك حتى بدت ثناياه فقال له عمر : ما أضحكك يا رسول الله بأبي أنت و أمي ؟ قال : رجلان من أمتي جثيا بين يدي رب العزة فقال أحدهما : يا رب خذلي مظلمتي من أخي فقال الله تبارك و تعالى للطالب : فكيف بأخيك و لم يبق من حسناته شيء ؟ قال : يا رب فليحمل من أوزاري قال : و فاضت عينا رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم بالبكاء ثم قال : إن ذاك اليوم عظيم يحتاج الناس أن يحمل عنهم من أوزارهم فقال الله تعالى للطالب ارفع بصرك فانظر في الجنان فرفع رأسه فقال : يا رب أرى مدائن من ذهب و قصورا من ذهب مكللة باللؤلؤ لأي نبي هذا أو لأي صديق هذا أو لأي شهيد هذا ؟ قال : هذا لمن أعطى الثمن قال : يا رب و من يملك ذلك ؟ قال : أنت تملكه قال : بماذا قال : بعفوك عن أخيك قال : يا رب فإني قد عفوت عنه قال الله عز و جل : فخد بيد أخيك فادخله الجنة


    "Once, we were in the Prophet's company when he suddenly smiled widely. `Umar asked, ‘May my parents be sacrificed for you, what made you smile O Messenger of Allah?' The Prophet replied, ‘Two of my Ummah were presented to Allah. One of them said, "My Lord. Get him to compensate for the wrong he did to me." Allah said (to the other man), "Compensate him for the wrong you did to him." The man said, "My Lord. Nothing of my good deeds is left with me." At that, the other man said, "My Lord. In that case, let him bear some of my burden of sins."' At that the Prophet's eyes became wet. He said, "That would be a terrible day. People would be in need of someone to off-load their sins." ‘At that Allah said to the man, "Look up at the gardens." The man will look up and say, "My Lord. I see fields filled with silver, and palaces of gold embellished with pearls. To which Prophet are they assigned? For which Siddiq are they? For which martyr are they?" Allah will say, "They are for anyone who will pay the price." He will ask, "But who possesses its price?" Allah will say, "You do." He will ask, "What is it O my Lord?" Allah will say, "Forgive your brother." The man will say, "O my Lord. I have forgiven him." Allah will say, "Hold thy brother's hand and enter you two into Paradise."' Then the Prophet recited this verse, "Therefore, fear Allah, set things right between yourselves," for (if they do not, then) Allah will set things right between them on the Day of Judgment."
    5. A clear inference is that he who did not fear Allah, and is not obedient to His and His Messenger's commands, is not a believer in any degree (Shawkani).

    إِنَّمَا الْمُؤْمِنُونَ الَّذِينَ إِذَا ذُكِرَ اللَّهُ وَجِلَتْ قُلُوبُهُمْ وَإِذَا تُلِيَتْ عَلَيْهِمْ آيَاتُهُ زَادَتْهُمْ إِيمَانًا وَعَلَىٰ رَبِّهِمْ يَتَوَكَّلُونَ (2)

    8|2| Surely, believers are those whose hearts tremble when Allah is mentioned,6 and, when His revelations are read to them, they cause increase in their faith;7 and they place their trust in their Lord.8


    6. What is wajl? Shahar b. Hawshab reports in explanation that Umm Darda' said: "Trembling (wajl) of the heart is its burning: in the manner of the burning of a palm-leaf. Do you any time feel a trembling of that kind, O Shahar b. Hawshab?" I said, "Yes, I do." She said: "Supplicate then, at that moment, because that is the state in which supplications are likely to be accepted." It is reported of Thabit al-Bunani that he said: "So and so said, ‘I know when my Prayers would be answered.' It was asked, ‘How do you know?' He answered, ‘When my skin shivers, my heart trembles and the eyes are filled, then I know that it is one of those moments when my Prayers will be answered.'" `A'isha (ra) said: "Wajl can be likened to the spark of a burning palm-leaf. When one of you feels that, let him resort to supplications (Ibn Jarir, Alusi, Shawkani, Manar and others).
    Discussing the term "wajl" Imam Razi points out that of "wajl" there are two kinds: fear of punishment, and the awe that rises out of one’s knowledge of Allah's Greatness and Magesty. A sinner experiences the first kind. As for the second kind, there is no escape from it for anyone, whether a Prophet or an angel close to Allah. Just about everyone experiences this in some degree or the other. The allusion here is to the first kind.
    Suddi has said that that person is a believer who, when he intends a sin or a wrong, is reminded of Allah and told, "Fear Allah," his heart is shaken by fear and he desists (Qurtubi, Ibn Kathir).
    Qurtubi adds: This then is the quality of true believers. The Qur'an said about them elsewhere (5: 83):


    وَإِذَا سَمِعُوا مَا أُنْزِلَ إِلَى الرَّسُولِ تَرَى أَعْيُنَهُمْ تَفِيضُ مِنَ الدَّمْعِ مِمَّا عَرَفُوا مِنَ الْحَقِّ يَقُولُونَ رَبَّنَا آمَنَّا فَاكْتُبْنَا مَعَ الشَّاهِدِينَ [المائدة : 83]


    "And when they hear what has been revealed to the Prophet, you will see their eyes overflowing with tears for what they have known of the Truth. They say, ‘Our Lord. We have believed and, therefore, write us down among the witnesses.'"
    It is reported that,


    روى مسلم عن أنس بن مالك أن الناس سألوا النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم حتى أحفوه في المسألة، فخرج ذات يوم فصعد المنبر
    فقال: "سلوني لا تسألوني عن شئ إلا بينته لكم ما دمت في مقامي هذا ".فلما سمع ذلك القوم أرموا ورهبوا أن يكون بين (يدي) أمر قد حضر. قال أنس: فجعلت ألتفت يمينا وشمالا فإذا كل إنسان لاف رأسه في ثوبه يبكي.


    Once, the people asked the Prophet questions going to extremes. So, one day he came out, climbed the pulpit and said, "Ask. You will not ask me a question but I will answer it so long as I am on this place." When they heard those words, they thought the world's end was at hand. Anas the reporter says I turned to look around at the audience, and did not find anyone but he had hid his face in his cloak and was crying.
    ‘Irbad b. Saiyyar has reported a Sahih hadith which he begins with words,


    وعظنا رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم موعظة بليغة ذرفت منها العيون، ووجلت منها القلوب.


    "Once, the Prophet admonished us in words that brought tears in our eyes and drove fear into our hearts." ‘Irbad did not say, (Qurtubi remarks), "We jumped with the Prophet's words," or, "We began to dance," or, "We began to sway," not even, "We rose up (in commotion)." Rather, he said, "We cried." Such were the reactions of those who are an example for us and not those, who, touched by some kind of madness, shout and dance and are considered pious by the masses.
    7. Going by this verse and several others of similar meaning, the great majority of scholars have ruled that faith is liable to increase and decrease (Ibn Kathir). A few example of such verses are as follows. It was said after the battle of Uhud (3: 173):


    الَّذِينَ قَالَ لَهُمُ النَّاسُ إِنَّ النَّاسَ قَدْ جَمَعُوا لَكُمْ فَاخْشَوْهُمْ فَزَادَهُمْ إِيمَانًا وَقَالُوا حَسْبُنَا اللَّهُ وَنِعْمَ الْوَكِيلُ [آل عمران : 173]


    "Those, to whom the people said, ‘Surely, the (enemy) forces have gathered against you, therefore fear them.' But that increased them in their faith and they said, ‘Allah is sufficient for us, an excellent Trustee (He is)."
    It was said in surah al-Ahzab (33: 22):


    وَلَمَّا رَأَى الْمُؤْمِنُونَ الْأَحْزَابَ قَالُوا هَذَا مَا وَعَدَنَا اللَّهُ وَرَسُولُهُ وَصَدَقَ اللَّهُ وَرَسُولُهُ وَمَا زَادَهُمْ إِلَّا إِيمَانًا وَتَسْلِيمًا [الأحزاب : 22]


    "When the believers saw the enemy troops they said, ‘This is what Allah and His Messenger had promised us. Allah and His Messenger spoke the truth. It did not cause them increase in anything but faith and obedience."
    Or, (48: 4):


    هُوَ الَّذِي أَنْزَلَ السَّكِينَةَ فِي قُلُوبِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ لِيَزْدَادُوا إِيمَانًا مَعَ إِيمَانِهِمْ [الفتح : 4]


    "It is He who sent down Sakinah in the hearts of the believers so that they may add faith upon faith" (Manar).
    `Umar b. `Abdul `Aziz wrote to someone:


    إِنَّ لِلْإِيمَانِ فَرَائِضَ وَشَرَائِعَ وَحُدُودًا وَسُنَنًا فَمَنْ اسْتَكْمَلَهَا اسْتَكْمَلَ الْإِيمَانَ وَمَنْ لَمْ يَسْتَكْمِلْهَا لَمْ يَسْتَكْمِلْ الْإِيمَانَ


    "Faith is (the other name of) supererogatory acts, obligatory acts, and (observation of) the Law. Whoever observed them faithfully, completed his faith. Whoever did not, did not complete his faith (Zamakhshari).
    The words above are from Bukhari (Au.).
    Razi about how Iman is to be increased: The strength and quantity of faith depends upon the evidences that one obtains, of which of course, there is no end. It is a shore-less ocean. Every time one discovers the wisdom behind a creation, he moves on to the wisdom behind the creation of another, and so on, each step causing increase in his faith.
    Qurtubi remarks: That is because there are states, which depend upon one's application and knowledge. Someone asked Hasan al-Busri, "O Abu Sa`id, are you a believer?" He replied, "There are two kinds of beliefs. If you are asking me about belief in Allah, His angels, His Books, His Messengers and in Paradise, the Fire, Resurrection and Reckoning, then, yes, I am a believer. But if you ask me about the verse, ‘Surely, believers are those whose hearts tremble when Allah is mentioned (before them) .. until .. these are in truth the believers,' then I am not too sure whether I belong to this category" (Zamakhshari). Therefore, adds Qurtubi, the Ahl al-Sunnah say that true believer is he alone who is judged (in the Hereafter) as one deserving Paradise. Until then his state is a secret unto all but Allah, and, therefore, to refer to anyone as a true believer is incorrect.
    Imam Abu Hanifah however disagreed that there could be any increase in faith. (He defined "iman" as "testimony" of which of course no divisions can be made. It is the strength of belief that can go up and down by a scale, but testimony is indivisible. Accordingly, Abu Hanifa's opinion that faith, which to him was equivalent of testimony, does not increase or decrease: Au.).
    It is said that he asked Qatadah why he should say "I am a believer, if Allah willed?" (Instead of saying with certainty that he was in truth a believer: Au.). Qatadah replied, "Following Ibrahim (asws) who said (26: 82),


    وَالَّذِي أَطْمَعُ أَنْ يَغْفِرَ لِي خَطِيئَتِي يَوْمَ الدِّينِ [الشعراء : 82]


    ‘Of whom (i.e., Allah) I hope He will forgive me my sins.'"
    Abu Hanifah replied, "Why did he not you follow him in those of his words which report to us that when Allah asked him, (2: 260),


    أَوَلَمْ تُؤْمِنْ قَالَ بَلَى [البقرة : 260]


    ‘Have you not believed? He replied, ‘Indeed (I have).'" (That is, he did not add, "insha Allah") - Zamakhshari.
    Although one should not fail to miss the point in Allah's words above, viz., "when His Revelations are recited to them, they cause increase in faith," that is, Revelations alone cause increase in faith; even before any action is taken, (in fact, not all revelations contain commandments), Mawdudi goes one step aside to explain how faith could be increased through deeds. He writes: "A man's faith grows as he is able to confirm and submit to the command of God which he comes across. This is especially so where he submits to commands which go against his own personal predilections. A man's faith attains great heights if instead of trying to twist and distort the commands of God and the Prophet (peace be on him), he develops the habit of accepting and submitting to all the commands of God and the Prophet (peace be on him); if he strives to shape his conduct to the teaching which go against his personal opinions and conceptions, which are contrary to his habits, interests and conveniences, which are not in consonance with his loyalties and friendships. For, if he hesitates to respond positively to God's commands, his faith is diminished. One thus learns that faith is not a static, immobile object. Nor is every act of belief or unbelief, of the same quality. An act of belief may be better or worse than another act of belief. Likewise, an act of unbelief may differ in quality from another.
    "All this concerns the essence of belief or unbelief. However, when belief and unbelief are mentioned as a basis for membership of the Muslim community or in connection with legal rights and responsibilities as necessary corollaries of that membership, a clear line of demarcation has to be drawn between those who believe and those who do not. In this respect the determination of who is a believer and who is not will depend on the basic minimum of belief, regardless of the quality of belief."
    8. Accordingly, (whenever something unpleasant results aftermath of an act of obedience), a believer's words should be: "Allah and His Messenger spoke the truth." His reaction should not be like that of the hypocrites who said: "Allah and His Messenger did not make but false promises to us." Further, the three states in order may be noted: (i) Fear of Allah (ii) His obedience (iii) Trust in Him alone (Razi).
    Ibn Kathir writes: True believers pin their hopes on none but Allah, aim at pleasing none but Him, seek refuge with none but Him, seek the help of none but Him, incline toward none but Him, and know that what He willed, happened and what He did not will, did not happen, and that He alone is the Decision-maker in His Kingdom, the One God besides whom there is no other god, whose command cannot be repelled, and Who is quick at reckoning. Hence Sa`id b. Jubayr has said that trust in Allah is the sum and substance of faith in Him.
    Ibn `Abbas has said in explanation of the whole verse: Nothing by way of Allah's remembrance enters the heart of a hypocrite at the time of Prayers. They do not believe in any of Allah's revelation. They have no trust in Him. They do not Pray when out of sight of the people and do not expend in charity. Allah has informed us that they are not believers. Rather, "believers are those whose hearts tremble when Allah is mentioned (before them). And when His Revelations are recited to them, they cause increase in their faith, and they place their trust in their Lord" (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir).
    Sayyid adds: Resorting to means is not - as the common belief goes - against having trust in Allah (tawakkul). Resorting to the means, within the limits imposed by the Shari`ah, is part of the deeds of obedience. It is indeed obedience in itself. This, despite the fact, that the believer does not depend on the means as affecting the outcome. The resorting to means is for rewards. Outcome rests with Allah alone, coming down by His decree, who does not depend on the means that were adopted to execute His will, nor is affected by the quantity or quality of the measures taken. His will is independent. This is a religious truth that modern thought is also prepared to accept it - after centuries of confidence in the rigid law of cause and effect. Today, no one claims that cause "A" will definitely lead to effect "B". Rather, they are saying that cause "A" will most probably lead to effect "B" but the possibilities of effects "C", "D", or whatever, cannot be ruled out. We do not live in a world of certainties but that of possibilities.
    Sayyid's could have been referring to the famous "uncertainty principle" of the Quantum mechanics, which holds that both the speed and position of a (sub-atomic) particle cannot be determined at any particular moment of time. It is in a state of uncertainty or, in other words, possibilities. Although little understood, because of its complication, but often quoted, the concept, first proposed by Heisenberg in 1927, involves "the principle that it is meaningless to speak of a particle's position, momentum or other parameters, except as a result of measurements. Measuring, however, involves an interaction (such as a photon of light bouncing off the particle under study), that must disturb the particle, though the disturbance is noticeable only at an atomic scale. The principle implies that one cannot, even in theory, predict the moment-to-moment behavior of such a system." (The New American Desk Encyclopedia).
    It should be obvious from the above that the principle essentially holds good at the micro level, because of the minute scale of interaction. However, and generally speaking, although the principle remains true at the macro level also, the results are predictable in view of previous observations. Hence, the insistence by the Shari`ah of Islam, on the adoption of means, since, after all, from a steady state, one will only get a steady state, if no action was initiated. Nevertheless, since, the reactions are only predictable, but impossible of precise determination, the balancing act of dependence not on the means, rather on Allah, i.e., the state of tawakkul has been suggested, both of which Muslim scholars always emphasize, as does Sayyid here (Au.).

    الَّذِينَ يُقِيمُونَ الصَّلَاةَ وَمِمَّا رَزَقْنَاهُمْ يُنْفِقُونَ (3)

    8|3| Those, who perform the Prayer (well)9 and expend of what We have provided them.

    9. Qatadah has said that "iqamatu al-salah" means to wait for the time the Prayers in anticipation, do the ablution thoroughly, as well as the bows and prostrations, while Muqatil added: “recite the Qur’an therein, recite the testimony (during the sitting posture), and send peace to the Prophet:” these are all acts that constitute iqamah (Ibn Kathir).

    أُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ حَقًّا ۚ لَهُمْ دَرَجَاتٌ عِنْدَ رَبِّهِمْ وَمَغْفِرَةٌ وَرِزْقٌ كَرِيمٌ (4)

    8|4| These in truth are the believers.10 For them are ranks with their Lord,11 forgiveness and noble provision.


    10. Thus we have four qualities of true believers mentioned here: two external and two internal. Prayers and charity are two external qualities, while trembling of the heart and trust in Allah are internal ones (Thanwi).
    Tabarani has preserved a report which says that Haritha b. Malik happened to pass by the Prophet He asked him,


    كيف أصبحت يا حارثة قال : أصبحت مؤمنا حقا قال : فقال رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم : انظر ما تقول فإن لكل حق حقيقة إيمانك قال : فقال : عزفت نفسي عن الدنيا فأسهرت ليلي و أظمأت نهاري و كأني أنظر إلى عرش ربي بارزا و كأني أنظر إلى أهل الجنة كيف يتزاورون فيها و كأني انظر إلى أهل النار كيف يتعادون فيها فقال : فقال له النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم : أبصرت فالزم مرتين (و قال) مؤمن نور الله قلبه


    "In what condition have you done this morning O Haritha?" He replied, "This morning I am a true believer." The Prophet said, "Consider what you say. Everything has a reality. What is the reality of your faith?" He replied, "I have become averse to this world. So I keep vigil in the nights and keep myself thirsty during the days. And, as if I can see the `Arsh of my Lord right above me; as if I see the people of Paradise visiting each other therein, and, as if I can see the people of the Fire therein." The Prophet said, "O Harith. You have known. Now, remain steady," saying that twice. Then he added, “A believer whose heart Allah filled with light” (Ibn Kathir).
    The hadith has weak narrators, but has a few lessons (Manar).
    But, Haritha’s later behavior confirmed his state of iman. The same sources (Bayhaqi: Shu`ab) reports the following:


    فنودي يوما في الخيل يا خيل الله إركبي فكان أول فارس ركب و أول فارس استشهد فجاءت أمه إلى النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم فقالت : يا رسول الله أخبرني عن ابني حارثة أين هو إن يكن في الجنة لم أبك و لم أحزن و إن يكن في النار بكيت ما عشت في الدنيا قال : فقال : لها رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم يا أم حارثه إنها ليست بجنة و لكنها جنان و حارثة في الفردوس الأعلى قال : فانصرفت و هي تضحك


    “Then, one of those days it was announced, ‘O soldiers of Allah, unto your horse.’ He (Haritha) was the first to respond, and the first to be martyred. His mother came to the Prophet and said, ‘Messenger of Allah. Let me know about Kharijah. Where is he? If he is in the Garden, let me not cry and let me not be sorry. But if he is the Fire, I shall cry for the rest of my life.’ The Prophet answered, ‘O mother of Haritha. It is not a Garden but Gardens. Haritha is in the Firdaws.’ She returned smiling.”
    Imam Razi adds: Imam Shafe`i has said that if asked, one might not say that he is a true believer. Rather, he should say, "Insha Allah, I am;" not out of any doubt, but rather out of humbleness. Such as if one is asked, "Are you brave?" He would reply, "Insha Allah, I am." In contrast, Imam Abu Hanifah has said that he should say, "Yes. I am a true believer." The difference in opinion between the two is that Imam Shafe`i includes deeds in the definition of the term iman, whereas, to Imam Abu Hanifah, testimony alone is iman, which can neither increase nor decrease.
    Imam Razi sides with Imam Shafe`i and adduces several arguments. (So does Alusi, who, being a Hanafiyy, says that to follow an Imam's opinion in such matters is suitable for the laity alone). Thawri however has put forward a litmus test. He said whoever said that he is surely a believer, but did not claim that he is of the Paradise, believed in only half of the verse.
    11. Ibn Kathir writes: Referring to this verse, Dahhak has said that some of the people of Paradise will be over and above others in position. Those above will see those below. But those below will not be able to see those above, to regret that someone has been preferred over them. In fact, Ibn Kathir adds, there is a hadith in the Sahihayn which says that the Prophet said:


    إِنَّ أَهْلَ عِلِّيِّينَ لَيَرَاهُمْ مَنْ هُوَ أَسْفَلَ مِنْهُمْ كَمَا يُرَى الْكَوْكَبُ فِي أُفُقِ السَّمَاءِ


    "Those of the higher ranks in Paradise (`Illiyyun) will be seen by those below them as you see the stars above you."
    Another report (of the Sahihayn: Au.) says,


    إِنَّ أَهْلَ الْجَنَّةِ يَتَرَاءَوْنَ أَهْلَ الْغُرَفِ مِنْ فَوْقِهِمْ كَمَا يَتَرَاءَوْنَ الْكَوْكَبَ الدُّرِّيَّ الْغَابِرَ فِي الْأُفُقِ مِنْ الْمَشْرِقِ أَوْ الْمَغْرِبِ لِتَفَاضُلِ مَا بَيْنَهُمْ قَالُوا يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ تِلْكَ مَنَازِلُ الْأَنْبِيَاءِ لَا يَبْلُغُهَا غَيْرُهُمْ قَالَ بَلَى وَالَّذِي نَفْسِي بِيَدِهِ رِجَالٌ آمَنُوا بِاللَّهِ وَصَدَّقُوا الْمُرْسَلِينَ


    "The people of Paradise will see those above them in the higher ranks as you see the stars as you see the lone shining star in the horizon, in the east or the west. This is because of the differences in levels between them. The Companions asked, "Are those the abodes of the Prophets, not the share of the common people?" He replied, "Nay, by Him in whose hands is my life. They are for people who believed in Allah and testified to the Messengers.
    According to another hadith in Ahmad, narrated by Abu Sa`id, he said,


    وَإِنَّ أَبَا بَكْرٍ وَعُمَرَ لَمِنْهُمْ وَأَنْعَمَا


    “And Abu Bakr and `Umar would be of those blessed (that way)."

    كَمَا أَخْرَجَكَ رَبُّكَ مِنْ بَيْتِكَ بِالْحَقِّ وَإِنَّ فَرِيقًا مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ لَكَارِهُونَ (5)

    8|5| As12 your Lord brought you out of your dwelling13 with truth, although a section of the believers were reluctant;14


    12. One of the many explanations, as for example that of `Ikrimah, for starting the verse in this abrupt manner would render the meaning as follows: ‘As your Lord brought you out of your dwelling in truth - despite the fact that a party of the believers was averse to it - so were a party of the believers arguing with you over the Truth after it had become apparent' (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir).
    Qurtubi quotes Zajjaj as of opinion that the ellipsis is, ‘As did Allah declare the spoils for you, O Muhammad, ... (so did He bring you out of your dwelling, although a group of believers was reluctant).' There are, of course, several other explanations possible. Another being, "As your Lord brought you out ... as He did this, and that, and that, .. so, now you ought to thank Him."
    13. Although the textual word is "bayt", the allusion is to Madinah, since that was the Prophet's hometown (Razi).
    14. Ibn Is-haq quotes the opinion of the Companions that when the Prophet (saws) had started the journey hoping to catch on the trade caravan headed by Abu Sufyan, they learnt on the way that the Quraysh had already started off from Makkah and were on their way to resist his attempt. Since - being unarmed, having come out with the intention only to intercept the trade caravan - they were unprepared for an encounter with the best of fighters of the day, and a section of the believers were reluctant that they should continue with their onward march (Ibn Jarir, Razi).

    يُجَادِلُونَكَ فِي الْحَقِّ بَعْدَمَا تَبَيَّنَ كَأَنَّمَا يُسَاقُونَ إِلَى الْمَوْتِ وَهُمْ يَنْظُرُونَ (6)

    8|6| Arguing with you15 concerning the truth16 after it had become clear,17 as if they were being driven to death18 while they were looking on.19


    15. The point of argument of those who did not advise a fight was that they had not come out but to waylay the caravan (hence not in the best shape to fight) -Razi.
    Such disagreement with the Prophet, when his own inclination was known, was something unacceptable. Hence the use of the stronger term "argument" (based on a hint from Thanwi).
    16. The words "concerning the Truth" allude to the fact of being told that they had missed the caravan and had to, instead, confront the Quraysh troops (Razi). In other words, they had heard the Prophet say that they will have to fight the Quraysh - and will never encounter the caravan - but they were reluctant to believe (that they had missed the caravan), although they knew that a Prophet speaks only the truth (Ibn Kathir).
    17. In explanation of the words, ‘after it had become clear,' Ibn Jarir writes: That is, after it had become clear that in such affairs (of importance) the Prophet did not act by himself, rather, he followed the commands from on High.
    Ibn Zayd however has said that this verse is in reference to the unbelievers, who argued with the Prophet over the truth as if by encouraging them to accept Islam he was driving them to death. But, Ibn Jarir adds, such an interpretation does not fit the context. The reference here is clearly to a party of the believers who, when told to fight the Quraysh, reacted as if they were being driven to death.
    Imam Razi says that the words, "after it had become clear" allude to the fact that their reluctance was despite the fact that the Prophet had promised them that they would receive help from Allah.
    The promise that Razi alludes to, was contained in Allah's words that one of the two: either the caravan or the troops, would be theirs (Au.).
    18. They were fearful because (i) they were greatly outnumbered (ii) they were on their feet, (with just a horse or two) and (iii) they had no arms to fight with (Razi).
    19. Prompted by the Orientalists' attack on the life of the Prophet, some contemporary commentators and writers disregarded the reports about the Prophet's intention to intercept Abu Sufyan's caravan. But, if their proposition is accepted, we face the following problems:
    (i) If we reject the relevant ahadith as untrustworthy, what shall we do with dozens of Sirah, Maghazi and history works, which do not always depend on hadith sources, and which unanimously report that the Prophet's original intention was to intercept the trade caravan? Are we going to re-write Islamic history in the manner of other nations who re-write their histories every hundred years?
    (ii) Had the Prophet) started off only after learning of the Quraysh advance, he could not have arrived at Badr earlier than them. He would have lost a few days in the communication of the news (by the prevalent slow means of transport) and, a few more days in preparations at Madinah. By that time the Quraysh would have been at the gates of Madinah.
    (iii) There is a report in Muslim that the Prophet had sent a Companion to gather news about Abu Sufyan's caravan. But there are no reports to the effect that he had sent men to gather news about the Quraysh preparations at Makkah. Why did the Prophet think it unnecessary to be abreast of news about Quraysh movements on this important occasion, when he had kept an eye on them all along?
    (iv) How can one explain the Prophet's refusal to allow time to some of his Companions to get ready and join him for the campaign? The report narrated by Anas b. Malik in Muslim (no. 3520) runs as follows: The Prophet sent Busaysah to bring news about Abu Sufyan's caravan. When he had returned and reported to the Prophet in private, he went out to speak to those in the mosque. He told them: "We have a campaign before us. Therefore, whoever has his mount ready with him may join us." Some people sought his permission to get their beasts from the uplands of Madinah. He told them, "No. Let only those accompany us who have their mounts ready at hand."
    (v) If there was no intention to intercept Abu Sufyan's caravan, why had the Quraysh come out of Makkah with a hastily assembled army? Surely, they'd have known that Muslims would not be less than a couple of thousands at Madinah, and so a thousand against them, in their own territory, would be quite risky. Moreover, there was no hurry. They could have prepared themselves well before leaving, just as they did later, for the Uhud campaign.
    (vi) If the Prophet had learnt of the Quraysh advance at Madinah itself, why is it that he did not consult his Companions whether they should fight off the on-coming Quraysh from within the city or go out and meet them in the open? If it was necessary to consult them at the time of Uhud, why was it not so at the time of Badr?
    (vii) If the Prophet had informed his Companions at Madinah itself (and not later, on the way to Badr), that he intended to confront the Quraysh army, (something that made some of them feel that "they were being driven to death"), then, why had they started off without arms and beasts to ride?
    (viii) What shall one do with the hadith in Bukhari, Muslim, Tirmidhi, Ahmad and others which reports Ka`b b. Malik as saying (in connection with his failure to participate in the Tabuk expedition): "I had not participated in the Badr battle; but those who had not were not censured because the Prophet had intended only to intercept Abu Sufyan's caravan?"
    (ix) How do we explain the narration in Abu Da'ud, Ahmad, and Bazzar, declared trustworthy by Haythamiyy, which says that arriving at Badr the Muslims caught two bedouins collecting water for the Quraysh? They beat them for saying that they were working for the Quraysh army, but spared them when they said they were Abu Sufyan's men. If they had started off from Madinah with the knowledge that they were to fight the Quraysh, why would they not believe that a huge Quraysh army was advancing toward them?
    (x) How does one explain the following report? Tirmidhi, who declared the report Hasan Sahih, recorded that after the Badr battle was over the Prophet intended to chase Abu Sufyan's caravan. When ‘Abbas learnt of it he said that that would not be right since Allah had promised him one of the two groups and had already given him victory over one. Now, if the Prophet had intended to chase the caravan after the battle of Badr, why could he did not do that before?
    (xi) Prefixed ideas blind. The Qur'an itself said in verse seven of this chapter, "Behold, when Allah promised you that one of the two parties will be yours." Should Allah promise one of the two parties, but we should claim that the Prophet intended only one, because the cunning Orientalists do not approve of it?
    Now, if it is asked, is it becoming of a Prophet that he should attack a trade-caravan for loot? The answer is, it has to be ascertained whether it is a Prophet we are talking of. If he is, then it is right of him to do that. Whatever a Prophet does, if proven by authentic reports, is right. Further, should we allow the Quraysh to raid and loot Muslim property and kill whoever of them they encounter, but refuse the Muslims retaliation of the same nature? Again, it was not loot. It was an attempt at weakening the enemy strength by confiscating his wealth. Had not the USA confiscated the Iranian assets (in the 80s) in the American banks without even a war between them?
    Finally, with his usual subtlety, Shabbir places his finger on the core of the issue: "It is strange that some people would allow the Muslims to attack the lives of the enemy, but would not allow their property to be attacked. That is, in retaliation to their enemy rendering their lives, property, and honor unsafe, the Muslims could make their lives too unsafe, but not their property!"

    وَإِذْ يَعِدُكُمُ اللَّهُ إِحْدَى الطَّائِفَتَيْنِ أَنَّهَا لَكُمْ وَتَوَدُّونَ أَنَّ غَيْرَ ذَاتِ الشَّوْكَةِ تَكُونُ لَكُمْ وَيُرِيدُ اللَّهُ أَنْ يُحِقَّ الْحَقَّ بِكَلِمَاتِهِ وَيَقْطَعَ دَابِرَ الْكَافِرِينَ (7)

    8|7| When Allah was promising you that one of the two parties will be yours20 although you were wishing that the one unarmed21 should be yours.22 But Allah was wishing that He demonstrate the Truth by His Words, and cut off the roots of the unbelievers.23


    20. Yahya b. Bukayr and `Abdul Razzaq both have preserved with reliable chain of narrators that when the battle of Badr was over and the captives taken, someone suggested that they should now go after the Abu Sufyan caravan. But `Abbas b. Muttalib, (who was taken prisoner and had overheard the conversation between the Muslims: Qurtubi), spoke out, "That would not be right of you." The Prophet asked him why. He replied, "Allah had promised you one of the two groups and has already helped you overpower one of them" (Ibn Kathir).
    21. The textual word is "ghayra dhatis-shawkati." Abu `Ubayd has said that "shawkah" is any vegetational growth that has a sharp end (such as a thorn). Hence arms are known as shawkah.
    22. The background story of this Qur'anic passage is as follows. Badr is one of the most important events in the history of Islam. Indeed, it is one of the most important battles in human history. The outcome changed the course of history, giving it an entirely new direction and influencing every major event since then. Allah Himself called it (8: 41),


    يَوْمَ الْفُرْقَانِ يَوْمَ الْتَقَى الْجَمْعَانِ [الأنفال : 41]


    "the Day of Criterion, the day the two forces met."
    Also see note 39 below for Asad's remarks.
    The Background
    With the prophetic mission made impossible to carry out at Makkah, and the hopes of the Makkans ever embracing Islam reduced to zero, the Prophet was ordered to move out 500 km to a conglomeration of settlings called Yethrib. Henceforth it would be known as Madinah, a short form of "Madinatu al-Nabiyy" (the Prophet's city). If the migrant Muslims, deprived of their wealth, property, personal possessions, and livelihood, were hoping to re-build their shattered lives at Madinah, quietly and peacefully, even if painfully, they were soon to receive a few rude shocks. Whatever else, there was not going to be peace around them for some time. The Quraysh threatened the Yethrebites that if they did not evict the Prophet and his Companions to the expanses of the deserts, they, the Quraysh, would be obliged to carry out the ugly, but the necessary operation themselves. In the process they might disassemble every brick of the Yethrebite hamlets. Did the Yethrebites doubt the ability of the Quraysh to accomplish it? If they did, they'd soon be counting not the fallen bricks, but corpses in the battle fields and damsels carried back by the mighty Quraysh. After a day's work, the Quraysh would have some fun in the evening. Would the Yethribites then, dare to resist?
    (Islam had no choice. Either it resisted, or went the way Nicaragua, Honduras, Panama, Guatemala in Central America went in the fifties, sixties and seventies of the last century, at the hands of the Americans, who brought horrendous death and destruction to these countries when their democratically elected governments refused the Americans continuous exploitation of their people and lands).
    Those were not empty words of the Quraysh. When the Ansar evinced every intention to keep the words of promise they had made to the Prophet at `Aqabah, to the effect that they would defend him as they defended their wives and children, the Quraysh began to send warning signals to them. A skirmish here, an attack there, and, consequently, the trade routes were closed for the Madinans. When the Quraysh came, they would find bony structures staring at them from their hollow eyes, as starving as to be glad to be killed.
    (Again, to find a parallel: Iraq after 13 years of relentless bombing by the Americans and British who well knew that Iraq had no weapons of Mass Destruction and that it did not have any connection with the bogey called Al-Qa’idah).
    But, although few were the people that the Prophet had under his command, he displayed great courage and determination. He replied skirmish with skirmish, attack with attack and blocking of trade-routes with blocking of trade routes. Any reason he should have acted differently? One may ask the Orientalists, sitting pretty on the booty amassed over last two hundred years of scorch-earth policy in the East, whether a prophetic mission was unbecoming, because it employed a sword in its defense? With the erudition of past three centuries on their backs, a load aptly described by the Qur'an in 62: 5, they would all but furnish the humanity the specifications of a Prophetic mission. Would they not?
    Never the less, seventeen months after the migration the Quraysh sent a huge caravan carrying prized goods to the Roman markets in Syria. It was heading back to Makkah with hundreds of camels loaded with all kinds of merchandise, under the leadership of Abu Sufyan, escorted by some forty to seventy men, one of them `Amr b. al-`As (Au.).
    Ibn Jarir presents several reports on the authority of several narrators. Here is a summary: When the Prophet heard of Abu Sufyan heading back from Syria, he summoned the Muslims and told them: ‘This is the Quraysh caravan coming from Syria. So, go out and attack it. Maybe Allah will bestow it on you as booty. The people responded positively. Some of them came out armed, others took it lightly. This is because they were not expecting that a fight worth the name would ensue. On his part, when Abu Sufyan reached Hijaz he spread out his spies and personally went around questioning every traveler if he had noticed something unusual. He got wind that the Prophet and his followers were on their way to attack him. Immediately he hired a man called Damdam b. `Amr al-Ghiffari to rush up to Makkah and inform the Quraysh about it. (During those very days a sister of `Abbas saw a dream in which she saw an angel from the heaven hurling a huge rock at Makkah. Not a house of the town escaped its fragments. When Abbas spoke of the dream to Abu Jahl he quipped: "Is it not enough for Banu Hashim that one of their men should claim prophethood, that they should now claim that they have a Prophetess also?": Razi). Damdam on the other hand, did a good job. He went to Makkah and put up such a show as to give the impression that all was lost, not only for the caravan, but also for the Quraysh, if they did not rise to answer the challenge. The panic however was understandable since there was not a family in Quraysh which had not invested some money or goods in Abu Sufyan's caravan. It is estimated that the merchandise it was carrying was worth 50,000 Dinars, equivalent of a couple of millions today (Shafi`).
    Consequently, within two or three days the Quraysh managed to raise a sizable force towards the expenses of which the rich contributed handsomely. `Abdullah ibn Rabi`ah donated 500 Dinars. Huwaytab b. `Abdul `Uzza contributed a similar sum. To`aymah b. `Adiyy offered 20 camels laden with provision. Whosoever could not go when the army marched out, replaced another, fully equipped fighter in his stead (Sayyid from Al-Miqrizi).
    In the meanwhile, the Prophet kept on marching. (On the second or third day of march he ordered a count. They told him they were 313. He was pleased. He said, "The same numbers as the Companions of Talut.": Shawkani). He kept on going until he reached a valley called Zufran. He had not crossed it but received the news of the Quraysh contingent that had left Makkah to face him in defense of their caravan. They were about 950 men, a hundred on horse back with seven hundred camels in command. They were accompanied by musicians and singers who sang and danced for them at every halt. According to some reports, it was at that time that the Prophet received the revelation that Allah had promised him one of the two groups: one loaded with goods, and the other heavily armed. On the other side, Abu Sufyan changed his route and (traveling day and night without stoppage: Au.) managed to dodge the Muslims and escape unmolested. Once out of reach of the Muslims, Abu Sufyan sent word to the Quraysh that they could return. But Abu Jahal refused. He said they would march up to Badr, camp there for three days, slaughter animals, drink wine, sing, and dance until the news spread that the Quraysh had fitfully responded to the Prophet's challenge. When Abu Sufyan came to know of the Quraysh decision to continue marching forward, despite the safe return of the caravan, he disagreed and expressed the fear that the Prophet and his Companions could slaughter them. (Probably he had no idea of the small numbers with the Prophet and that they were unarmed: Au.). Banu Zuhra, however, returned, finding no reason for confrontation. At that point Abu Jahl made a remark against Talib b. Abi Talib, saying he suspected the loyalty of Banu Hashim. So Talib b. Abu Talib also returned along with those who returned: Sayyid and others).
    At all events, the Prophet also learnt of Abu Sufyan's escape. But he continued to march. They had seventy camels in all and one or two horses. They rode the camels in turns. The Prophet shared a camel with `Ali ibn Abi Talib and Marthad ibn Abi Marthad (i.e., Abu Lubabah. When the two suggested to the Prophet that he continue riding in their place as they could easily walk, he declined, saying, "Neither I am weaker than you, nor lesser in need of rewards": Shafi`). Hamza b. `Abdul Muttalib, Zayd b. Haritha and Abu Kabsha shared a camel. Abu Bakr, `Umar and `Abdul Rahman b. `Awf shared another camel ... and so on. His Companions, however, hoped to encounter only Abu Sufyan's caravan. The Prophet sought the counsel of his Companions, informing them of the Quraysh contingent. (According to a report in Ibn Marduwayh, the Prophet asked: "What do you think of fighting those who have been informed about you and are heading toward you?" We said: "No, O Messenger of Allah. We do not have the strength to fight them. We came out for the caravan." The Prophet repeated: "What do you think of fighting the Quraysh?" We repeated our answer. (This is what the Qur'an was referring to when it said, "Arguing with you concerning the truth after it had become clear, as if they were being driven into death while they were looking on”: Au.).
    According to some other reports, the Prophet evinced signs during consultations that he was losing his cool with them. (Companions close to him noticed that, and guessed that he was inclined to fight them and so), Abu Bakr got up and spoke out. And he spoke well. Then `Umar got up and also spoke well. Then Miqdad b. `Amr got up and said: "Messenger of Allah. Go up to where you will. We are with you. By Allah, we will not tell you as the Israelites told Musa: ‘Go, you and your Lord, and fight. We shall remain seated where we are.' Rather, we say, ‘Go, you and your Lord, and fight, we are right with you. By Allah, if you went up to an Abyssinian town we shall not abandon your company." At that the Prophet spoke well of him and prayed for him. However, he continued to seek opinions saying, ‘People! Advise me.' It was apparent that he was seeking to know the Ansar's mind. That is because they were in the majority. (According to one report, out of the three hundred and odd men with him, 270 were of the Ansar and the rest Muhajirun). That was also because when they had entered into allegiance at `Aqabah, they had pledged that ‘they would be only responsible for his safety once he had set foot in Madinah.' From those words the Prophet had deduced that the Ansar were not obliged to fight in his defense outside Madinah. They were not bound by their pledge to go out into the enemy territory and fight for him. Even as the Prophet was thinking along those lines, Sa`d b. Mu`adh (a leader of the Ansar) rose up and asked: "As if you intend us O Messenger of Allah!" The Prophet replied, "That's right." Sa`d said, "We believe in you, testify to you, and bear witness that what you have brought is the Truth. We have pledged our hands on that, and that, we shall hear and obey. Therefore, go ahead, O Messenger of Allah, and attempt what you will. For, by Him Who sent you with the Truth, if you asked us to plunge into the sea, yourself plunging into it, surely, we shall plunge down too. None of us will remain behind. We are not at all averse that we shall meet with the enemy tomorrow. Indeed, we are patient in the battle-field and true to the word when we meet the enemy. Maybe Allah will show you something of us that will prove to be the cool of your eyes. Therefore, start off with us, with Allah's mercy." Those words of Sa`d pleased the Prophet. He praised him and said, "Go, with Allah's mercy, and be glad to hear that Allah has promised me one of the two groups. By Allah, as if I can see the places where the members of the enemy forces will fall tomorrow." It was at that point that he handed over the standards to `Ali, Mus`ab b. `Umayr, and Sa`d b. Mu`adh, and ordered them to display their arms. He arrived at Badr on the night of a Friday, seventeenth of Ramadan.
    What happened there onward is perhaps well known. In a couple of hours the pagans were fleeing in every direction and the Muslims cutting their stalwarts of war, men known for their courage, famed warriors, like carrots.
    23. Zamakhshari placed a nice remark here: “That is to say, ‘You look for immediate and superficial gains. You would like to avoid what would cause a hurt to your body or your wealth. But Allah aimed loftier ends: that which would lead to the establishment of this religion, victory for the Truth, raising aloft of the Word, and success in both the worlds. The two objectives then, (yours and His), had a great gulf between them. Accordingly, He chose for your encounter the well-armed group, destroying their strength by your weakness, overcoming their big numbers by your small numbers, humiliating them and honoring you, and He gave you what cannot be compared with what the trade-caravan was carrying.'”
    With reference to the words, "And cut off the roots of the unbelievers" one could say that although not all of the Quraysh were killed at Badr, the most avowed enemies of Islam were eliminated, rendering the rest decimated. The following were some of the stalwarts to fall: Abu Jahl, `Uqbah ibn Abi Mu`ayt, `Utbah b. Rabi`ah, Shaybah b. Rabi`ah, Walid b. `Utbah, Harith b. `Amir, Zam`a b. al-Aswad, Harith b. Zam`a, Nadr b. al-Harith, `Aas ibn Hisham, Umayyah ibn Khalaf and several others (Au.).

    لِيُحِقَّ الْحَقَّ وَيُبْطِلَ الْبَاطِلَ وَلَوْ كَرِهَ الْمُجْرِمُونَ (8)

    8|8| So that He might confirm the Truth and prove Falsehood as falsehood, though the criminals should be averse to it.

    إِذْ تَسْتَغِيثُونَ رَبَّكُمْ فَاسْتَجَابَ لَكُمْ أَنِّي مُمِدُّكُمْ بِأَلْفٍ مِنَ الْمَلَائِكَةِ مُرْدِفِينَ (9)

    8|9| When you were beseeching your Lord,24 He responded to you, ‘I shall extend help unto you with a thousand angels,25 (coming down) in succession.'


    24. `Umar (ra) is reported to have said: "When the Prophet looked at the Quraysh and their numbers comparing them with his outnumbered followers, he turned toward the Qiblah and began to supplicate, ‘O Allah. Keep the promise You made me. O Allah. If this band of believers perishes, You will not be worshiped anymore.' He kept beseeching Allah until his cloak slipped down. Abu Bakr put it back on his shoulders. Then he came up from the rear and said, ‘Enough, Messenger of Allah. May my parents be sacrificed for you. Allah will keep the word He gave you.' And Allah revealed the words, ‘When you were beseeching your Lord ..'" to the end of the verse (Ibn Jarir). The hadith is in Ahmad also (Ibn Kathir).
    Imam Razi points out that usage of the plural form in "when you were beseeching" is an indicator that just as the Prophet was beseeching his Lord, many others were also doing so (although not from behind him: Au.).
    Rashid Rida comments: That day, the Prophet also supplicated in words: "O My Lord. Here are the Quraysh. They have come with their horses, full of arrogance, challenging You, and rejecting Your Messenger. O Lord. Send me the help that You had promised": Manar).
    25. According to reports in Abu Ya`la and Bazzar’s collections, declared trustworthy by Haythamiyy, a sign of the angels was powerful gusts of wind that accompanied their descent (Au.).
    Some commentators have thought that although the angels did descend as promised by Allah, they did not participate in the combat. None the less, a report originating from Ibn `Abbas says that Jibril and Mika'il each were at the head of 500 angels in front of the Muslim army. According to another report of Ibn `Abbas in Muslim, as one of the Muslims was hotly chasing a pagan, he heard the sound of a whip and that of a horse-rider from above saying, "Advance, O Hayzoom." When he looked at the pagan again, he found him fallen with a deep green whip mark running across his face. The Ansari reported to the Prophet. He told him, "You spoke the truth. That was the help from the third heaven." So they killed 70 that day and captured 70 (Ibn Kathir).
    The above hadith is in the chapter titled, "Angels' help" in the Sahih of Muslim (Au.).

    وَمَا جَعَلَهُ اللَّهُ إِلَّا بُشْرَىٰ وَلِتَطْمَئِنَّ بِهِ قُلُوبُكُمْ ۚ وَمَا النَّصْرُ إِلَّا مِنْ عِنْدِ اللَّهِ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٌ (10)

    8|10| He granted that not but as a good tiding and so that your hearts might be comforted thereby.26 Otherwise, help is from none but Allah. Surely, Allah is All-mighty, All-wise.


    26. Abu Sa`id (al-Khudri) used to say in his old-age when he had lost his eye sight: "Were I to be with you at Badr now, and were I not to be blind, I would show you the gorge from which the angels emerged" (Alusi).

    إِذْ يُغَشِّيكُمُ النُّعَاسَ أَمَنَةً مِنْهُ وَيُنَزِّلُ عَلَيْكُمْ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ مَاءً لِيُطَهِّرَكُمْ بِهِ وَيُذْهِبَ عَنْكُمْ رِجْزَ الشَّيْطَانِ وَلِيَرْبِطَ عَلَىٰ قُلُوبِكُمْ وَيُثَبِّتَ بِهِ الْأَقْدَامَ (11)

    8|11| (Remember), When He was causing slumber to overcome you:27 as an assurance from Him, and He was sending down water from the heaven to cleanse you therewith, remove from you Satanic defilement,28 strengthen your hearts, and steady your feet therewith.29


    27. Imam Razi writes: Since one loses his sleep in moments of fear, Allah said: "When He caused slumber overcome you." Another miracle consisted in so many being overcome by slumber at one time. Further, it remained a slumber. Had they slept off soundly, the enemy would have attacked them.
    (No report from the Prophet about slumber at Badr seems to have come down, except that: Au.), Ibn Is-haq has recorded `Ali as saying, "We did not have a horseman amongst us except for Miqdad al-Aswad. And I did not see anyone amongst us but fast asleep, except for the Prophet. He was under a tree - Praying and weeping - until it was morning." (This also seems to be the situation of night: Au.). Nonetheless, it is reported in Sahih works that on the day of the battle, while the Prophet was in the temporary structure in the company of Abu Bakr, both in supplications, he was overtaken by slumber. He woke up smiling and said: "Be of good cheer Abu Bakr. Here is Jibril on the mountain peaks." Then he came out reciting Allah's words (54: 45), "Soon the troops will be defeated and they will show their backs" (Ibn Kathir).
    Ibn Mas`ud has said that slumber in the battle-field is from Allah, while in the Prayers it is from Satan (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir).
    28. Ibn `Abbas has said that when the Muslims arrived at Badr they found that the Quraysh had already taken possession of its wells. That was a set back. Moreover, the Quraysh seemed to enjoy strategic advantage. They were on an upper plateau while the Muslims were at a lower patch of land with slippery sand under their feet. Moreover, they experienced wet dreams and were forced to Pray (on tayammum) because of shortage of water. (This was before the advice of Hubab b. al-Mundhir was accepted: Sayyid). On top of that, Satan came to them and planted doubts saying, ‘You believe you are Allah's friends and that you have a Prophet among you! Do you? But, here you are, thirsty, and Praying in this unclean state.' (Being unclean was especially worrisome to them because the commandments of tayammum were revealed three years later: Sayyid). As they got real disturbed over these issues, rains came down. They washed themselves, felt cleansed, watered their beasts, and filled their buckets. (They also dug a quick pit in the earth and stored water: Razi). The rains also washed off the sands from under their feet, rendering it hard-crusted and firm for their feet once dry. (In contrast, the pagans were on a slimy ground. When it became wet, they began to slip: Razi). The allusion then, was to these issues when it was said: "He sent down water from the heaven to cleanse you therewith, remove from you Satanic defilement, .." (Ibn Jarir).
    There are reports, however, that say that the Muslims were in control of some of the wells. Probably there were several wells spread over a wide area, with a few - those of the strategic locations - in the hands of the Quraysh, and some, in less strategic locations, in the hands of the Muslims. However, the wells could not have had enough water for an army of three hundred to bathe with. From some other reports one gets the impression that the water was in a pond which the Muslims diverted toward themselves. The report in the next note is suggestive of that (Au.).
    29. Umawiyy has reported in his "Maghazi" that one of the Companions, Hubab b. al-Mundhir, disagreed with the site chosen by the Prophet and recommended that if the choice was not dictated by Allah they should move away to a better site from where they could prevent the Quraysh from drawing water, and construct for themselves a cistern in the ground. At that an angel came down and told the Prophet: "Allah sends you his Salam and says that Hubab's suggestion is a good one." At that the Prophet turned to Jibril and asked him who that angel was. Jibril said, "Not every angel in the heavens do I know, O Muhammad" (Qurtubi and Ibn Kathir in parts).
    Malik said that Jibril asked the Prophet,


    جَاءَ جِبْرِيلُ إِلَى النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فَقَالَ مَا تَعُدُّونَ أَهْلَ بَدْرٍ فِيكُمْ قَالَ مِنْ أَفْضَلِ الْمُسْلِمِينَ أَوْ كَلِمَةً نَحْوَهَا قَالَ وَكَذَلِكَ مَنْ شَهِدَ بَدْرًا مِنْ الْمَلَائِكَةِ


    "What do you think of those who participated in the battle of Badr?" The Prophet replied, "We think of them as the best of Muslims." Jibril said, "So do we reckon those of the angels who were at Badr."
    We have taken the text from Bukhari (Au.).
    This is because, Qurtubi adds, the best of men are those who are the best of deeds. The best of deeds is jihad and the best of jihad was that of Badr. It was the victory at Badr that laid the foundation stone for the Islamic state.

    إِذْ يُوحِي رَبُّكَ إِلَى الْمَلَائِكَةِ أَنِّي مَعَكُمْ فَثَبِّتُوا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا ۚ سَأُلْقِي فِي قُلُوبِ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا الرُّعْبَ فَاضْرِبُوا فَوْقَ الْأَعْنَاقِ وَاضْرِبُوا مِنْهُمْ كُلَّ بَنَانٍ (12)

    8|12| When your Lord was revealing to the angels, ‘I am with you, so steady the believers.30 I will soon cast terror in the hearts of the unbelievers, so, smite them above the necks, and strike them at every joint.'31


    30. It is reported that some of the angels (appearing in human form: Au.) would speak to the Muslims telling them, "I have heard the pagans say that if the Muslims attacked them, probably they would not be able to withstand the onslaught, and might retreat in disorder." The Muslims then would spread the word among themselves spreading reassurance along with it. This is the meaning of the words: "When your Lord revealed to the angels, ‘I am with you, so steady the believers'" (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir).
    31. Other interpretations would render the translation as: "So, smite them on their heads, and strike them on every side," (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir), or, alternatively, as Asad has done, "strike off every one of their finger-tips."
    Sayyid writes: We do not know much about the angels, except that they are Allah's creations who execute His commands faithfully and meticulously. So, when He ordered them to strengthen the feet of the believers, they did that. When He ordered them to strike them on the heads and on every joint, they did that. We do not know how.

    ذَٰلِكَ بِأَنَّهُمْ شَاقُّوا اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ ۚ وَمَنْ يُشَاقِقِ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ شَدِيدُ الْعِقَابِ (13)

    8|13| That, because they contended with Allah and His Messenger. And whosoever contended with Allah and His Messenger, surely Allah is terrible in retribution.32


    32. Qurtubi quotes a little further up Muslim's hadith which says that the Prophet left the pagan corpses unattended at Badr for three days. Then he went and called out to them,


    يَا أَبَا جَهْلِ بْنَ هِشَامٍ يَا عُتْبَةُ بْنَ رَبِيعَةَ يَا شَيْبَةُ بْنَ رَبِيعَةَ يَا أُمَيَّةُ بْنَ خَلَفٍ هَلْ وَجَدْتُمْ مَا وَعَدَكُمْ رَبُّكُمْ حَقًّا فَإِنِّي وَجَدْتُ مَا وَعَدَنِي رَبِّي حَقًّا قَالُوا يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ تُنَادِي قَوْمًا قَدْ جَيَّفُوا قَالَ مَا أَنْتُمْ بِأَسْمَعَ لِمَا أَقُولُ مِنْهُمْ وَلَكِنَّهُمْ لَا يَسْتَطِيعُونَ أَنْ يُجِيبُواََََ


    "O Abu Jahl b. Hisham, O `Utbah b. Rabi`ah, O Shaybah b. Rabi`ah, O Umayyah b. Khalaf, have you found your Lord's promise to you true? I have found my Lord's promise to me true." They said, "Messenger of Allah! Are you speaking to those who have turned into carcasses? He said, "You do not hear me any better than they do, but they ca not reply."
    Then he ordered that they be dragged and thrown into one of the pits of Badr.

    ذَٰلِكُمْ فَذُوقُوهُ وَأَنَّ لِلْكَافِرِينَ عَذَابَ النَّارِ (14)

    8|14| That; taste it then, and (know) that for the unbelievers is the chastisement of the Fire.

    يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِذَا لَقِيتُمُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا زَحْفًا فَلَا تُوَلُّوهُمُ الْأَدْبَارَ (15)

    8|15| Believers! When you encounter the unbelievers in a thick array,33 never show your backs to them.


    33. The translation expresses one of the connotations of the textual word "zahaf." Literally, it implies the act of an infant inching forward on its buttocks (from its sitting position) before it learns to stand up. The term has been employed here since the troops also inch forward slowly when in the combat field (Razi).

    وَمَنْ يُوَلِّهِمْ يَوْمَئِذٍ دُبُرَهُ إِلَّا مُتَحَرِّفًا لِقِتَالٍ أَوْ مُتَحَيِّزًا إِلَىٰ فِئَةٍ فَقَدْ بَاءَ بِغَضَبٍ مِنَ اللَّهِ وَمَأْوَاهُ جَهَنَّمُ ۖ وَبِئْسَ الْمَصِيرُ (16)

    8|16| Whoso showed his back to them that day, unless swinging back to fight back,34 or retreating to join another group, will surely return to Allah's anger.35 His abode is in the Fire: an evil resort.


    34. Sa`id b. Jubayr has explained it as someone first penetrating deep into the enemy lines, then turning back speedily to withdraw one or more of their soldiers out of line, then turning again to attack him (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir).
    35. Abu Musa, Abu Sa`id al-Khudri, Nafi`, Dahhak and Hasan al-Busri are all of the opinion that the threat of Allah's anger on those who show their backs in the battle-field was specific to the battle of Badr, for that day there was no one to withdraw to, except the Prophet. After him however, the same rule does not apply. Accordingly, we find `Umar commenting about Abu `Ubayd's martyrdom in words, ‘I wish he had withdrawn to me, I was his rallying point (fi'ah).' Abu Habib has gone so far as to say that the threat in this verse is not applicable to those who retreated during the Uhud or Hunayn battles. Ibn `Abbas however believed that the rule remains and, therefore, whoever fled from a battle-field without a good cause will face Allah's anger. Ibn Jarir seconds this opinion.
    Ibn Kathir and Qurtubi however report a hadith of Ahmad, Tirmidhi, Abu Da'ud and Ibn Majah with Tirmidhi declaring it of Hasan status which, narrated by Ibn `Umar, says,


    عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ عُمَرَ قَالَ كُنْتُ فِي سَرِيَّةٍ مِنْ سَرَايَا رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فَحَاصَ النَّاسُ حَيْصَةً وَكُنْتُ فِيمَنْ حَاصَ فَقُلْنَا كَيْفَ نَصْنَعُ وَقَدْ فَرَرْنَا مِنْ الزَّحْفِ وَبُؤْنَا بِالْغَضَبِ ثُمَّ قُلْنَا لَوْ دَخَلْنَا الْمَدِينَةَ فَبِتْنَا ثُمَّ قُلْنَا لَوْ عَرَضْنَا أَنْفُسَنَا عَلَى رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فَإِنْ كَانَتْ لَهُ تَوْبَةٌ وَإِلَّا ذَهَبْنَا فَأَتَيْنَاهُ قَبْلَ صَلَاةِ الْغَدَاةِ فَخَرَجَ فَقَالَ مَنْ الْقَوْمُ قَالَ فَقُلْنَا نَحْنُ الْفَرَّارُونَ قَالَ لَا بَلْ أَنْتُمْ الْعَكَّارُونَ أَنَا فِئَتُكُمْ وَأَنَا فِئَةُ الْمُسْلِمِينَ قَالَ فَأَتَيْنَاهُ حَتَّى قَبَّلْنَا يَدَهُ


    "I was in a campaign when the people fled from the battle field. I was one of them. We said, ‘What shall we do now? We fled from the battle-field into Allah's anger.' Finally, we decided that we shall enter Madinah, spend a night and then present ourselves to the Prophet in the morning. If repentance is possible, well and good, otherwise, we shall return. Accordingly, we presented ourselves to him before the dawn Prayers. When he came out he asked, ‘Who are you?' We said, "We are the escapists." He said, "Rather, you are the ones who retreated (to a safe point). I am your rallying point (fi'ah). I am the rallying point of the Muslims." We went forward and kissed his hands.
    Qurtubi and Alusi add: Most scholars are of the opinion that if the Muslims are half in numbers against their enemy, then retreat is forbidden. Alternatively, if they are 12,000 in number, they cannot retreat. This is in view of a hadith which says,


    لن يغلب اثنا عشر ألفا من قلة


    "Twelve thousand will not be overcome because of numbers."
    The above hadith is from Sahih of Ibn Khuzaymah (Au.).

    فَلَمْ تَقْتُلُوهُمْ وَلَٰكِنَّ اللَّهَ قَتَلَهُمْ ۚ وَمَا رَمَيْتَ إِذْ رَمَيْتَ وَلَٰكِنَّ اللَّهَ رَمَىٰ ۚ وَلِيُبْلِيَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ مِنْهُ بَلَاءً حَسَنًا ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ (17)

    8|17| Then, you did not slay them, rather, Allah slew them. And you did not throw (O Prophet), when you threw, rather, Allah threw.36 So that He might confer on the believers a goodly trial from Himself. Verily, Allah is All-hearing, All-knowing.


    36. Muhammad b. Ka`b al-Qurazi reported: When the battle was about to begin, the Prophet tossed a handful of dust at the Quraysh saying,


    شَاهَتِ الْوُجُوهُ


    "Afouled are the faces." It fell into everyone's eye. The Prophet's Companions fell upon them even as they were rubbing their eyes, killing them and capturing them. Their defeat then was caused by the Prophet's throw" (Ibn Jarir).
    Hakim b. Hizam has a similar report in Ibn Abi Hatim, Tabarani and Ibn Marduwayh. Another report is in Tabarani, Abu al-Sheikh and Ibn Marduwayh as narrated by Ibn `Abbas (Shawkani).
    It has been pointed out however, that none of the ahadith on the subject are in the six Sahih collections. Accordingly, we find some scholars saying that the allusion is to the Prophet throwing a short spear at Ubayy b. Khalaf on the day of Uhud (Alusi).
    But the incident is well reported in biographies of the Prophet (Au.).
    Imam Razi points out that this verse supports the view that man acquires the deeds that flow out of him although they are Allah's creation. (It did not deny human's participation by saying: "You did not throw," rather, confirmed his participation by adding: "When you threw." And, finally, took the credit off him for its creation by saying: "Rather, Allah threw": Au.).
    After noting what Razi has to say, Alusi writes: I believe man has power and ability over his deeds that play their role (in the appearance of the consequences) - the power and ability that have been created and invested in him by Allah, so that what He wills happens and what He does not, does not happen. It cannot be said that man has no power over anything, as the Jabriyyah claimed, nor that he has power, but one that is, by its nature, inactive, as the Ash`ariah say, nor would it be right to say that he has the power and ability to influence his deeds independent of the Allah's Will, as the Mu`tazilah maintained.

    ذَٰلِكُمْ وَأَنَّ اللَّهَ مُوهِنُ كَيْدِ الْكَافِرِينَ (18)

    8|18| That; and Allah was to weaken the scheme of the unbelievers.

    إِنْ تَسْتَفْتِحُوا فَقَدْ جَاءَكُمُ الْفَتْحُ ۖ وَإِنْ تَنْتَهُوا فَهُوَ خَيْرٌ لَكُمْ ۖ وَإِنْ تَعُودُوا نَعُدْ وَلَنْ تُغْنِيَ عَنْكُمْ فِئَتُكُمْ شَيْئًا وَلَوْ كَثُرَتْ وَأَنَّ اللَّهَ مَعَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ (19)

    8|19| If you were looking for a decision (O unbelievers), then surely, a decision has came to you.37 But, if you desist, that will be better for you. Nevertheless, if you return (with crimes), We shall return (with punishments).38 And your hosts will avail you nothing, though it be numerous. And Allah is with the believers.39


    37. Although the textual word "istaftahu" requires to be rendered literally as "(if) you seek victory", the present translation follows the explanation offered in Tabari by Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, `Ikrimah and others who have said that Abu Jahl had prayed prior to the battle: "O God. Decide between us." So Allah showed them what His decision was. Suddi, `Atiyyah and Ibn Zayd have said that before starting off from Makkah, some of the Quraysh had prayed to God with the drape of the Ka`ba in their hands, saying, "O God. Of the two of us, help the more mighty, the more honorable and the better one (thus giving Allah the choice to decide between the two). And Ibn Is-haq has said that one connotation of the term "istiftah" is to be fair and balanced in one's supplication. Nasa'i, Hakim, who declared the report trustworthy, Ibn Abi Shaybah and several others have preserved reports of this nature (Shawkani).
    38. That is, if you return to crying lies, We shall return to retribution (Ibn Jarir).
    39. Muhammad Asad sums up Badr’s influence on history: "It was the first open battle between the pagan Quraysh and the young Muslim community of Medina; and its outcome made the Quraysh realize that the movement inaugurated by Muhammad was not an ephemeral dream but the beginning of a new political power and a new era different from anything that the Arabian past had known. The Meccan apprehensions, which had already been aroused by the exodus of the Prophet and his Companions to Medina, found a shattering confirmation on the day of Badr. Although the power of Arabian paganism was not finally broken until some years later, its decay became apparent from that historic moment. For the Muslims, too, Badr proved to be a turning-point. It may safely be assumed that until then only a very few of the Prophet's Companions had fully understood the political implications of the new order of Islam. To most of them their exodus to Medina had meant, in those early days, no more than a refuge from the persecutions which they had to endure in Mecca. After the battle of Badr, however, even the most simple-minded among them became aware that they were on their way towards a new social order. The spirit of passive sacrifice, so characteristic of their earlier days, received its complement in the idea of sacrifice through action. The doctrine of action as the most fundamental, creative element of life was, perhaps for the first time in the history of man, consciously realized not only by a few select individuals but by a whole community; and the intense activism which was to distinguish Muslim history in the coming decades and centuries was a direct, immediate consequence of the battle of Badr."

    يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَطِيعُوا اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ وَلَا تَوَلَّوْا عَنْهُ وَأَنْتُمْ تَسْمَعُونَ (20)

    8|20| Believers! Obey Allah and His Messenger. Do not turn away from him40 even as you hear.41


    40. The personal pronoun as used here in singular form, alludes to the Prophet, since Allah's obedience is included by default. Other explanations have also been suggested (Alusi).
    41. What kind of listening it is if it is not followed by acts of obedience? Is it the kind of listening that the Jews were used to who said (2: 93),


    سَمِعْنَا وَعَصَيْنَا [البقرة : 93]


    "We have heard, but shall not obey."
    Or, was it the kind of listening that the unbelievers did who said, as in the following verse (no. 31),


    قَدْ سَمِعْنَا لَوْ نَشَاءُ لَقُلْنَا مِثْلَ [الأنفال : 31]


    "We have heard. If we wished we could say something similar to it" (Shabbir).
    Rashid Rida noted: Rather, you ought to be like those who said (2: 285):


    سَمِعْنَا وَأَطَعْنَا غُفْرَانَكَ رَبَّنَا [البقرة : 285]


    "We heard and obeyed, therefore, (we seek) Your forgiveness and to You is the return;" and be among them about whom Allah said (39: 17, 18):


    فَبَشِّرْ عِبَادِ (17) الَّذِينَ يَسْتَمِعُونَ الْقَوْلَ فَيَتَّبِعُونَ أَحْسَنَهُ أُولَئِكَ الَّذِينَ هَدَاهُمُ اللَّهُ وَأُولَئِكَ هُمْ أُولُو الْأَلْبَابِ [الزمر : 17 ، 18]


    "Therefore, give glad tidings to My slaves who listen to the word and then follow it in a goodly manner. They are the ones whom Allah has guided and they are the men of understanding."
    Alusi comments that speaking out (the truth) has been preceded by hearing since, one can only speak out the truth if he listens to it.
    To the above we might add that this pattern is noticeable elsewhere in the Qur'an. Whenever it mentioned man's inability to speak, it preceded it by expressing his inability to hear. This is in agreement with the biological phenomenon that a man only learns to speak if he is capable of hearing. If he cannot hear, he cannot recognize voices and, consequently, cannot imitate them. No deaf can ever be made to speak. It must be concluded therefore, that had this been the Prophet's own writing, he could not have been careful enough to maintain a scientific point that a deaf is necessarily dumb, repeating it four times, in statements made over a period of 23 years. A sole exception is in surah al-Isra', where the Qur'an reversed the order of the three faculties: speech, hearing, and sight, perhaps for reasons of eloquence (Au.).

    وَلَا تَكُونُوا كَالَّذِينَ قَالُوا سَمِعْنَا وَهُمْ لَا يَسْمَعُونَ (21)

    8|21| And be not like those who said, ‘We heard;' but they hear not.42


    42. Ibn Is-haq has said: O Muslims, do not be like the hypocrites who put up a show of obedience but they conceal disobedience (Ibn Jarir). Allah said about them (47: 16):


    وَمِنْهُمْ مَنْ يَسْتَمِعُ إِلَيْكَ حَتَّى إِذَا خَرَجُوا مِنْ عِنْدِكَ قَالُوا لِلَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْعِلْمَ مَاذَا قَالَ آنِفًا [محمد : 16]


    "And, among them are some who listen to you, until, when they go away from you they ask those of knowledge, ‘What did he say just now?'" (Manar).

    إِنَّ شَرَّ الدَّوَابِّ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ الصُّمُّ الْبُكْمُ الَّذِينَ لَا يَعْقِلُونَ (22)

    8|22| Surely, the worst of beasts in the sight of Allah are the deaf and the dumb - those who do not use reason.43


    43. `Ikrimah has said that the allusion in this context was to the chiefs of the Quraysh who were deaf to the Prophetic message and, even if they heard, were dumb to acknowledge it as true. They were the standard bearers of the unbelievers on the day of Badr (Ibn Jarir). A report in Bukhari has ibn `Abbas saying that the allusion was to some of the men of `Abd al-Daar tribe (Qurtubi).
    Rashid Rida comments: These people lack the faculties which helps distinguish between right and wrong, between vice and virtue. Had they possessed the faculty of reason, they would have conducted an enquiry. Had they enquired, they would have heard and known the difference. Had they heard, they would have spoken it out and proclaimed it. Had they proclaimed it, they would have received admonition and would have admonished others. But now the situation with them is, as if they lack all these faculties. Not because they did not receive them. Rather, because they corrupted them.

    وَلَوْ عَلِمَ اللَّهُ فِيهِمْ خَيْرًا لَأَسْمَعَهُمْ ۖ وَلَوْ أَسْمَعَهُمْ لَتَوَلَّوْا وَهُمْ مُعْرِضُونَ (23)

    8|23| Had Allah known any good in them, He would have made them hear.44 But, if He made them hear, they would turn away in declination.


    44. "The meaning is: these infidels are totally wanting in the will to believe; had there been any such will in them, God was sure to have led them to the right path" (Majid).
    Rashid Rida further clarifies: This, and along with some other texts, such as (10: 44),


    إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يَظْلِمُ النَّاسَ شَيْئًا وَلَكِنَّ النَّاسَ أَنْفُسَهُمْ يَظْلِمُونَ [يونس : 44]


    ‘Allah does no injustice to the people, rather, the people themselves do injustice to themselves,' throws dust into the mouth of those who claim that the verse confirms that some people are forced into disbelief by the Divine Decree and that man has no say in the choice of belief or disbelief. How many people have not been there who listened, and the listening profited them indeed? We have the example of a French physician who, upon reading what the Qur'an has to say on hygiene, moderation and avoiding wastage, acknowledged that it confirmed with the latest scientific ideas and so embraced Islam. Or another man called Brown who read Sale's translation of the Qur'an and concluded that Muhammad must have been a great sea-explorer. But, when he learned that Muhammad had not even seen an ocean in his life and that he was unlettered who had read no book, concluded that this book could not have been written by him. He too embraced Islam.
    But the situation with the Muslims of today is that many of them hear the reciter recite the Qur'an, wherewith they intend to draw no more than blessings and mental pleasure. Some of the recitals are of the musical kind: accompanied by swaying, repetition of the verses, occasional loss of the self-control or falling into trance and so forth. But they do not listen to the Qur'an in the true manner of listening.

    يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اسْتَجِيبُوا لِلَّهِ وَلِلرَّسُولِ إِذَا دَعَاكُمْ لِمَا يُحْيِيكُمْ ۖ وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّهَ يَحُولُ بَيْنَ الْمَرْءِ وَقَلْبِهِ وَأَنَّهُ إِلَيْهِ تُحْشَرُونَ (24)

    8|24| Believers! Respond to the call of Allah and His Messenger when He calls you to that which will give you life.45 Be aware that Allah comes in between a man and his heart,46 and that to Him you shall be mustered.


    45. While several of the Salaf have said that by the words "what will give you life," the allusion is either to the Qur'an or Islam (Ibn Jarir), `Urwah ibn Zubayr has said that the allusion is to jihad (Qurtubi, Ibn Kathir). Whatever the choice, this Ummah's existence depends on its following the call of Allah and His Messenger. Accordingly, when the Prophet called Abu Sa`id but he did not answer immediately on the grounds that he was in the Prayers, the Prophet asked him, "Has not Allah said, ‘Believers! Respond to the call of Allah and His Messenger when He calls you to what will give you life?'" (Ibn Kathir, Shawkani).
    A similar incident took place in which Ubayy b. Ka`b was involved as in Tirmidhi and Hakim (Rashid Rida).
    Going by this verse Imam Shafe`i has ruled that a believer should not delay attending to a call of Islam; a rule which is applicable to its injunctions too (Qurtubi).
    Ibn al-Qayyim writes: "This verse carries a few implications. One of them is that a fruitful life results from a positive response to Allah and His Messenger. He who does not respond positively, does not posses life: although biologically he is alive. The true, good life, is of those alone who respond to the call both outwardly (with actions) and inwardly (with proper attention and intention). They are truly alive, even after death. Others are dead, even if they are physically alive. And, all that Allah and His Messenger call to, generates life in a man. Whoever missed a part of it missed that part of life, being alive in the same ratio in which he responded...
    "As there is no life in a man in whom the angel of life did not blow in the spirit sent by Allah, in a similar fashion there is no life in the soul of a man in whom the Messenger of Allah did not blow the Message that Allah bestowed on him. Allah said (16: 2):


    يُنَزِّلُ الْمَلَائِكَةَ بِالرُّوحِ مِنْ أَمْرِهِ عَلَى مَنْ يَشَاءُ مِنْ عِبَادِهِ [النحل : 2]


    ‘He sends down angles with the Spirit by His order upon whomsoever of His slaves He will.'
    He also said (40: 15):


    يُلْقِي الرُّوحَ مِنْ أَمْرِهِ عَلَى مَنْ يَشَاءُ مِنْ عِبَادِهِ [غافر : 15]


    ‘He casts the Spirit by His order on whomsoever of His slaves He will.'
    He also said (42: 52):


    وَكَذَلِكَ أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَيْكَ رُوحًا مِنْ أَمْرِنَا مَا كُنْتَ تَدْرِي مَا الْكِتَابُ وَلَا الْإِيمَانُ وَلَكِنْ جَعَلْنَاهُ نُورًا نَهْدِي بِهِ مَنْ نَشَاءُ مِنْ عِبَادِنَا [الشورى : 52]


    ‘And that is how We have revealed unto you a Spirit by Our command. You did not know what is a Book nor what is faith, but We made it a Light by which We guide whom We will of Our slaves.'
    Thus, Allah informed us that His revelation is the Spirit and the Light. True life is the outcome of two blows: one of the angelic-messenger and the other of the human-messenger. Whoever received the two blows received the two lives. Whoever received one, missed the other. Allah said (6: 122),


    أَوَمَنْ كَانَ مَيْتًا فَأَحْيَيْنَاهُ وَجَعَلْنَا لَهُ نُورًا يَمْشِي بِهِ فِي النَّاسِ كَمَنْ مَثَلُهُ فِي الظُّلُمَاتِ لَيْسَ بِخَارِجٍ مِنْهَا [الأنعام : 122]


    ‘What? Can one who was dead, then We gave him life and appointed a Light whereby he strides among the people, be like him who is in darknesses out of which he cannot emerge?'"
    Sayyid is close to these sentiments but is also closer to the earthly realities. He writes: "The Messenger calls the Muslims to a faith that will quicken their hearts and minds, release them off the lassoes of ignorance and superstition, of the pressures of delusions and myths of the past, of weakness before the means and rigid rules, from obedience unto other than Allah, and from bending down before the humans or to one's own base desires.
    "The Messenger calls them to the way of life coming from Allah, that frees Man and appoints him to a high status that he enjoys before his Lord, and places the entire mankind in one row, on equal footing, in which no man rules over others, nor a class over the nation, nor a people over other people. All of them march into the future, as equals, under the banner of the Shari`ah sent down by their Lord.
    "He calls them to a way of life, to a way of thought, and to a set of concepts, seeking to free them of all bonds of slavery, except the natural bonds, and to ties that help restore and preserve the constructive and creative power of man. It does not suppress these powers in any way, nor comes in the way of any constructive activity.
    "He calls them to strength and honor and an ascent by means of faiths and ways, trust in their religion and in their Lord, and by directing their efforts to the world, together as one people, for the purposes of freeing men from the yoke of other men, and win back for the humans the humanness that they have been robbed off.
    "He also calls them to jihad in the way of Allah, in order to establish the Oneness of Allah on the earth and in the life of the people, and for the destruction of those that are worshiped besides Allah and pursuit of the oppressors until they bend down to the rule of Allah.
    "It is with the accomplishment of these objectives that the Religion will finally become Allah's."
    46. After reporting several interpretations of the Salaf, Ibn Jarir reconciles them by saying that the meaning is that, Allah is the One who holds sway over a man's inner self - whether a believer or unbeliever - and not the man himself, so that he cannot make any decision about himself without His leave. It was perhaps keeping in with this meaning, Ibn Kathir adds, that the Prophet used to pray in words:


    اللَّهُمَّ ثَبِّتْ قَلْبِي عَلَى دِينِكَ


    "O My Lord! Make my heart firm in my religion."
    When he was asked why he prayed in those words he replied,


    إِنَّ الْقُلُوبَ بَيْنَ إِصْبَعَيْنِ مِنْ أَصَابِعِ الرَّحْمَنِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ يُقَلِّبُهَا


    "Because people's hearts are between two fingers of the Merciful. He turns them (how He will)." Reports of this nature are also in the Sihah books. Zamakhshari is also close to adopting this meaning.
    Rashid Rida reproduces the personal experience of someone he knew, who was soaked in vice. One day he went boating in the river Dijlah, along with his friends, singing on the tambour and drinking wine. It should so happen, that another boat passed by. Someone was reciting the Qur'an as it sailed by. When he recited the Surah (no. 81),


    إِذَا الشَّمْسُ كُوِّرَتْ [التكوير : 1]


    "When the Sun will be darkened," the man was struck by the awesome note and began to listen attentively. When the reciter reached (v. 10),


    وَإِذَا الصُّحُفُ نُشِرَتْ [التكوير : 10]


    "When the scrolls (of deeds) will be spread," the man's heart was filled with remorse and fear over what his Scroll was filled with. He poured his wine into the river, broke the musical instruments, and returned home repentant.

    وَاتَّقُوا فِتْنَةً لَا تُصِيبَنَّ الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا مِنْكُمْ خَاصَّةً ۖ وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّهَ شَدِيدُ الْعِقَابِ (25)

    8|25| And, beware of a tribulation47 that will not touch exclusively those among you who transgressed.48 And beware, that Allah is severe in chastisement.


    47. "Fitnah has many meanings: (1) the root meaning is trial or temptation, as in ii. 102 and vii. 28; (2) an analogous meaning is trial or punishment, as in v. 71; (3) tumult or oppression, as in ii. 193, and here, and in viii. 39 (4) there is here (viii. 25) the further shade of meaning suggested: discord, sedition, civil war" (Yusuf Ali).
    48. The Companions said that they realized the true meaning of the verse after `Uthman, the third caliph was murdered.
    Majid explains: "The Divine chastisement visits not only those who are the actual perpetrators of crime but it falls on those also who keep indifferent to the sin and vice around them, and do not admonish the wicked. Islam does not expect of its followers to be passive spectators of guilt and crime; it requires them to be active opponents, so far as in their power, to all forms of irreligion and impiety."
    What exactly does "transgression" imply here? The answer is, several. It could be the refusal to stand for the truth when falsehood is being perpetrated, neglect of the task of enjoining the truth and preventing vice, silence in the face of innovations, fighting shy of jihad, or other acts of this nature (Alusi).
    Ibn `Abbas has said that Allah has warned the believers against being complacent with the wicked ones living among them (Ibn Jarir).
    Qurtubi and Ibn Kathir support this latter meaning with several ahadith of the same content from Musnad Ahmad, Ibn Majah and Abu Da'ud. One of them says,


    إِذَا ظَهَرَتِ الْمَعَاصِي فِي أُمَّتِي عَمَّهُمُ اللَّهُ بِعَذَابٍ، قُلْتُ: يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ، أَمَا فِي النَّاسِ يَوْمَئِذٍ نَاسٌ صَالِحُونَ، قَالَ:بَلَى، قُلْتُ: فَكَيْفَ يَصْنَعُ أُولَئِكَ؟، قَالَ: يُصِيبُهُمْ مَا أَصَابَ النَّاسَ، ثُمَّ يَصِيرُونَ إِلَى مَغْفِرَةٍ مِنَ اللَّهِ وَرِضْوَانٍ (رواه أحمد بإسنادين رجال أحدهما رجال الصحيح (الهيثمي)


    "When sins appear in my Ummah, Allah will send down punishment covering them all.” (Umm Salamah, the narrator) said: “I asked, Messenger of Allah, will there be pious ones among them at that time?” He said, “Indeed, yes.” I asked, “So, what about them?” He answered, They will be struck by what strikes the people, but (the pious ones) will be taken away to the Mercy of Allah and His good pleasure."
    The above is from Ahmad, which Haythami recorded as coming through narrators of Sahih works (Au.).
    Another hadith says:


    وَالَّذِي نَفْسِي بِيَدِهِ لَتَأْمُرُنَّ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَلَتَنْهَوُنَّ عَنِ الْمُنْكَرِ أَوْ لَيُوشِكَنَّ اللَّهُ أَنْ يَبْعَثَ عَلَيْكُمْ عِقَابًا مِنْ عِنْدِهِ ثُمَّ لَتَدْعُوُنَّهُ فَلاَ يَسْتَجِيبُ لَكُمْ


    "By Him in whose hands is my soul, you will enjoin the virtuous and prohibit the vice or it is feared that Allah will send down one of His chastisement on you so that you supplicate to him but you are not be answered."
    The above report has been variously graded, but others of similar meaning have been treated trustworthy by Haythamiyy (Au.).
    Bukhari has a very pertinent report. Nu`man b. Bashir reports the Prophet as once delivering a sermon in which he said:


    مَثَلُ الْقَائِمِ عَلَى حُدُودِ اللَّهِ وَالْوَاقِعِ فِيهَا كَمَثَلِ قَوْمٍ اسْتَهَمُوا عَلَى سَفِينَةٍ فَأَصَابَ بَعْضُهُمْ أَعْلَاهَا وَبَعْضُهُمْ أَسْفَلَهَا فَكَانَ الَّذِينَ فِي أَسْفَلِهَا إِذَا اسْتَقَوْا مِنْ الْمَاءِ مَرُّوا عَلَى مَنْ فَوْقَهُمْ فَقَالُوا لَوْ أَنَّا خَرَقْنَا فِي نَصِيبِنَا خَرْقًا وَلَمْ نُؤْذِ مَنْ فَوْقَنَا فَإِنْ يَتْرُكُوهُمْ وَمَا أَرَادُوا هَلَكُوا جَمِيعًا وَإِنْ أَخَذُوا عَلَى أَيْدِيهِمْ نَجَوْا وَنَجَوْا جَمِيعًا


    "The example of one who is mindful of Allah's prohibitions and one who intends to disregard them or actually does that, is like a people in a boat. Some of them were in the upper deck while others in the lower. Now, whenever those at the bottom felt thirsty they went up to those in the upper deck inconveniencing them. So they said to themselves, ‘If we drilled a hole in the bottom, we will save those in the upper deck from annoyance.' Now, if those of the upper deck let them do what they intend, they would all drown. But if they prevent them, they would all be rescued."
    Another report in Musnad Ahmad says that Abu al-Riqad once chanced upon the assembly around Hudhayfah b. al-Yaman. He was saying: "A man could utter a single word during the Prophet's life and be counted a hypocrite because of it. Today, I hear a man using the same word four times in a single sitting. It appears to me, that very soon you will have the worst of you as your rulers, when the best of you may make supplications but will not be answered." Accordingly, Qurtubi adds, Malik has ruled that one might not reside in an area in which vices are openly committed and people do nothing about their prevention. When that becomes common, one might emigrate. Abu Darda', as in a Sahih report, left the lands ruled by Mu`awiyyah when he allowed the sale of a golden goblet in exchange of gold more than its weight, which Abu Darda' considered a kind of riba'.
    Alusi adds: Another hadith of Tirmidhi says,


    إِنَّ أَوَّلَ مَا دَخَلَ النَّقْصُ عَلَى بَنِى إِسْرَائِيلَ كَانَ الرَّجُلُ يَلْقَى الرَّجُلَ فَيَقُولُ يَا هَذَا اتَّقِ اللَّهِ وَدَعْ مَا تَصْنَعُ فَإِنَّهُ لاَ يَحِلُّ لَكَ ثُمَّ يَلْقَاهُ مِنَ الْغَدِ فَلاَ يَمْنَعُهُ ذَلِكَ أَنْ يَكُونَ أَكِيلَهُ وَشَرِيبَهُ وَقَعِيدَهُ فَلَمَّا فَعَلُوا ذَلِكَ ضَرَبَ اللَّهُ قُلُوبَ بَعْضِهِمْ بِبَعْضٍ


    "The first corruption that entered into the polity of the Israelites is that a man would meet another and say, ‘Man. Give this up, because it is not lawful for you. But when he met him the next day he would not prevent him. That was because he was his companion in food, drink and assembly. When they did that, Allah turned some of their hearts as similar to the hearts of the others.”
    Other reports add that they were cursed by the tongue of Da'ud and `Isa ibn Maryam. That is because they sinned and because they transgressed (Au.).
    The above report also occurs in Tirmidhi who classified it as Hasan (Au.).
    Mawdudi elaborates: "What is true of unsanitary conditions in a physical sense, also holds true for filth and uncleanliness in a moral sense. If immoral practices remain confined to a few people here and there but the overall moral concern of the society prevents those practices from becoming widespread and public, their harmful effects remain limited. But when the collective conscience of the society is weakened to a point whereby immoral practices are not suppressed, when people indulge in evils without any sense of shame and even go around vaunting their immoral deeds, when good people adopt a passive attitude and are content with being righteous merely in their own lives and are unconcerned with or silent about collective evils, then the entire society invites its doom. Such a society then becomes the victim of a scourge that does not distinguish between the grain and the chaff."
    Although the application is general, when Zubayr b. al-`Awwam was asked: "O Abu `Abdullah! You allowed a Khalifah (`Uthman) to be killed! And now you have come seeking justice?!" He replied: "During the time of the Prophet and his three successors, we used to recite the verse, ‘And beware of a tribulation that will not touch exclusively those among you who transgressed,' but it never occurred to us that it was we who could be meant until we fell in the trap of the battle of Jamal." Suddi has said that the first to whom the verse would apply is those participants of the battle of Badr who later fell in the battle of Jamal" (Ibn Jarir, Qurtubi, Ibn Kathir, Alusi and others).

    وَاذْكُرُوا إِذْ أَنْتُمْ قَلِيلٌ مُسْتَضْعَفُونَ فِي الْأَرْضِ تَخَافُونَ أَنْ يَتَخَطَّفَكُمُ النَّاسُ فَآوَاكُمْ وَأَيَّدَكُمْ بِنَصْرِهِ وَرَزَقَكُمْ مِنَ الطَّيِّبَاتِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ (26)

    8|26| Recall when you were few, oppressed in the land, fearful that people might abduct you.49 Then He sheltered you, supported you with His help, and provided you with the good things, haply that you will give thanks.


    49. Although Ibn Jarir disagrees that this is the right interpretation of the verse, we reproduce Qatadah's words from him, Zamakhshari, Ibn Kathir and Manar, to portray the Arab situation before Islam. These words still have a meaning for those who think over these issues: "(Before the advent of Islam) The Arabs were the most wretched of people, toiling under the worst living conditions, the hungriest, dressed in tatters, and most misguided. Whoever of them lived, led a wretched life, and whoever died was sent to the Fire. They were eaten and not given to eat. By God, we do not know of any other people as wretched as the Arabs were until Allah sent Islam to them. Then on, He established them in the land by its virtue, fed them thereby, and made them rulers over the people. It was by the grace of Islam that Allah bestowed on them what He bestowed. Therefore, be grateful to Allah for His bestowals, for your Lord is the Bestower who is pleased with the grateful and, remember, those who give thanks, receive more from their Lord."

    يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَخُونُوا اللَّهَ وَالرَّسُولَ وَتَخُونُوا أَمَانَاتِكُمْ وَأَنْتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ (27)

    8|27| Believers!50 Betray not Allah and the Messenger,51 nor betray your trusts, while you know.


    50. The textual term in its root is "khawn" which is to give back less than the due. In contrast, "wafa" is to give back in full (Zamakhshari, Shawkani).
    51. Ibn `Abbas, Ibn Is-haq, Suddi and others expressed the same meaning differently, viz., "Do not fall short on the commandments of Islam, showing two faces, doing one thing before the Prophet and another behind him" (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir).
    The Prophet has said:


    أَرْبَعٌ مَنْ كُنَّ فِيهِ كَانَ مُنَافِقًا خَالِصًا وَمَنْ كَانَتْ فِيهِ خَلَّةٌ مِنْهُنَّ كَانَتْ فِيهِ خَلَّةٌ مِنْ نِفَاقٍ حَتَّى يَدَعَهَا إِذَا حَدَّثَ كَذَبَ وَإِذَا عَاهَدَ غَدَرَ وَإِذَا وَعَدَ أَخْلَفَ وَإِذَا خَاصَمَ فَجَرَ


    "There are four qualities that, whoever has, is a pure hypocrite, and if one of them is there in a man, he has one quality of hypocrisy until he gives up: when he speaks, he lies; when he gives his word, he betrays, when he promises, he breaks the promise; and when he quarrels, he takes to speaking foul." According to another version, the Prophet added the following words: 

    "Even if he fasted, Prayed and assumed that he is a believer" (Manar).


    Rashid Rida used another version, but we chose to present the version as in the Sahihayn (Au.).
    Sayyid points out that the refusal on the part of the Muslims to bear the burden of Islam, bearing testimony to the Oneness of Allah, and the refusal to work to establish His total sovereignty over every affair of human life and activity, is to betray the trust. This Ummah pledged to the Prophet to defend and establish Islam. And Islam is not the name of testimony with the tongue, or of a few rituals, or the name of a few claims. It is the complete way of life that touches upon its every aspect. It is the way to build life on the principle embodied in the words, "there is no deity worthy of worship save Allah." It is to turn the people to the worship of one Lord alone, to make the society accept the sovereignty of its Lord, to bend the tyrants to Allah's Lordship and His Command. It is a promise to secure justice for all, to judge between the people by the standards of justice alone, and to construct and develop the earth acting by the requirements of the vicegerency. All these are trusts. Whoever did not work on them, betrayed his trust. These things of course mean sacrifices and demand that one place the wealth and dear ones on the anvil. Hence Allah followed it up by saying, "know that your wealth and progeny are a (means of) trial."
    Apart from the general meaning, several incidents have been narrated as the context of revelation of this verse. One is that of a hypocrite who sent a message to Abu Sufyan, informing him of the likely attack by the Prophet. Another is that of Abu Lubabah. He was sent as a messenger to the Banu Qurayzah for negotiations. They asked him in apprehension what treatment could they expect (from Sa`d b. Mu`adh: Qurtubi), for their treachery. Abu Lubabah - a bit kind on them because his wife and children lived among them - pointed to his throat, but in seconds realized that he had betrayed the Prophet. In great remorse he went into the Prophet's mosque and tied himself to a post saying he would not eat and drink until he was forgiven or died in that state. A week passed and he had all but fainted on the post before the news of the acceptance of his repentance was revealed to the Prophet. But he vowed that he would not untie himself. So the Prophet untied him. He declared that by way of expiation he would give away all his wealth in the way of Allah. The Prophet prevented him, telling him to spend only one-third (Zamakhshari, Ibn Kathir, Alusi).
    It is said that (while Abu Lubabah was tied up in the mosque) the Prophet asked his wife: "Does the man Pray, fast and bathe after intercourse?" She replied, "He Prays, fasts and bathes after intercourse. And he loves Allah and His Messenger." The Prophet perhaps make that enquiry to confirm that Abu Lubabah was not a hypocrite, leading different lives in private and public (Manar).

    وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّمَا أَمْوَالُكُمْ وَأَوْلَادُكُمْ فِتْنَةٌ وَأَنَّ اللَّهَ عِنْدَهُ أَجْرٌ عَظِيمٌ (28)

    8|28| And be aware that your wealth and your children are but a trial,52 and that, Allah - with Him is a great reward.


    52. Majid comments: "I.e., a trial, a test, to find out who mishandles these gifts of God and who uses them in a proper legitimate way. Note that ‘temptation' (or trial: Au.) is not synonymous with sin, nor is the love of children or fondness for wealth in itself sinful. Such emotions, appetites, instincts, etc., are part of man, as it has pleased God to make him. It is only the human will that can shape them into sins."
    Ibn Mas`ud has said: "There is not one amongst you but is to face trials. So whenever you seek refuge, seek refuge from a trial of faith" (Ibn Jarir).
    The report is also in Ibn Abi Hatim and Abu Al-Sheikh (Shawkani).
    Ibn Kathir writes: Rather than the love of wealth and children, it is the love of the Messenger that should precede all other love. A hadith of Muslim says:


    لَا يُؤْمِنُ أَحَدُكُمْ حَتَّى أَكُونَ أَحَبَّ إِلَيْهِ مِنْ وَالِدِهِ وَوَلَدِهِ وَالنَّاسِ أَجْمَعِينَ


    "One of you cannot be a believer until I am dearer to him than himself, his parents, his children, and all mankind."

    يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِنْ تَتَّقُوا اللَّهَ يَجْعَلْ لَكُمْ فُرْقَانًا وَيُكَفِّرْ عَنْكُمْ سَيِّئَاتِكُمْ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ ۗ وَاللَّهُ ذُو الْفَضْلِ الْعَظِيمِ (29)

    8|29| Believers! If you fear Allah, He will grant you a Criterion,53 acquit you of your sins54 and forgive you.55 And Allah is the possessor of great bounty.


    53. Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, `Ikrimah and Dahhak have all interpreted the textual word "furqan" as "a way out." Ibn Is-haq however has interpreted it as "criterion" or the "power to discern between truth and untruth (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir).
    Rashid Rida writes: Since revelation helps distinguish between right and wrong, it has also been called al-furqan. Allah said (25: 1):


    تَبَارَكَ الَّذِي نَزَّلَ الْفُرْقَانَ عَلَى عَبْدِهِ لِيَكُونَ لِلْعَالَمِينَ نَذِيرًا [الفرقان : 1]


    "Blessed is He who sent down the Furqan upon His slave so that he might be a warner unto the peoples of the world."
    Mawdudi explains: "`Criterion' signifies that which enables one to distinguish between true and false; between real and fake. This is the shade of meaning conveyed by the Qur'anic term ‘furqan.' If a man is God-fearing and tries his best to refrain from acts which displease God, God will create in him the ability to discern for himself at every step which actions are proper and which are not; which attitude conduces to God's good pleasure and which is likely to incur His wrath. This inner light will serve as a pointer at every turn and crossing, at every up and down in life, guiding him as to when he should proceed and when he should refrain, telling him which is the path of truth and leads to God, and which is false and leads to Satan."
    54. One implication of "acquitting (a slave) of the sins" is to cover them up in this world, conceal them from the people, and not expose them (Ibn Kathir, Alusi).
    55. Sayyid remarks: "This then - taqwa - this is the provision (for those who take up the journey towards fulfillment of the trust), and this then - furqan - is the equipment for the way. The provision of taqwa enlivens the heart mobilizing therein acts of alertness and precaution while the equipment (of furqan) helps him know the twists and turns. Doubts and skepticism do not block the vision of the path. The provision and equipment come in handy, especially, when material provisions run short and one fails to come up with the right quantity and quality of deeds. But of course, this taqwa and this furqan are not something that can be described successfully in words. Only he understands the meaning who has tasted and experienced them.

    وَإِذْ يَمْكُرُ بِكَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا لِيُثْبِتُوكَ أَوْ يَقْتُلُوكَ أَوْ يُخْرِجُوكَ ۚ وَيَمْكُرُونَ وَيَمْكُرُ اللَّهُ ۖ وَاللَّهُ خَيْرُ الْمَاكِرِينَ (30)

    8|30| And, (recall O Prophet), when the unbelievers were plotting against you to either imprison you, murder you, or exile you.56 But, (as) they were plotting, Allah was (also) plotting;57 and Allah is the best of plotters.58


    56. It is reported that Abu Talib asked the Prophet what his people were thinking about him. He replied that they were thinking of either imprisoning him, exiling him, or killing him. Abu Talib asked him who had told him that. "My Lord," the Prophet replied. Abu Talib said, "That's a good Lord of yours. You should wish Him well." The Prophet asked, "Should I wish Him well, or should He wish me well!?" (Ibn Jarir). Ibn Kathir however thinks this may not be a reliable report.
    As for the context of revelation, Ibn Jarir writes: Ibn `Abbas, `Ikrimah, Suddi and others have reported that during the last days of the Prophet's stay at Makkah, one night the Quraysh assembled in their Council Hall. Shaytan also entered with them in the form of an impressive old man. They asked him who he was. He replied, "Well, I am a chieftain of the Najd (tribe). I heard that you are to discuss the issue of this man and thought you should not miss my advice. Maybe I'll have something useful to say.” They said, "Fine. You may join us." As the discussions started, one of the participants suggested that they imprison Muhammad. The Najdi Sheikh cried out, "No, by Lord. His followers will release him some way or the other." Another person suggested that they exile him. The Najdi Sheikh again interjected, "That will not do. In fact, that will work in his favor. He will join his followers and then come back on you to destroy you." Finally, Abu Jahl suggested that they take a young volunteer from every family of the Quraysh who should jointly bring down their swords upon Muhammad, so that it could never be determined with certainty as to who had killed him. In that event Banu Hashim would not want to fight all of the Quraysh tribes and will have no recourse but to accept blood-wit." At this suggestion the Sheikh jumped and said that he seconded the opinion of "this young man" (i.e., Abu Jahl). They dispersed having agreed on the plan. Accordingly, one night they surrounded the Prophet's house, waiting, with unsheathed swords in their hands to strike when he emerged. The Prophet came out and walked past right through their cluster, but they were blinded from seeing him. (According to some reports, the Prophet threw a handful of dust on them saying, "Afouled are the faces," and, reciting the first few verses of Surah Ya-Sin, went his way without they seeing him: Ibn Kathir). He went to Abu Bakr's house and the two started off on their journey. In the morning the Quraysh found `Ali in his place who told them that he knew nothing about him. They launched a search for him while he hid in a cave for three days. A spider spread its net over the mouth of the cave. When they saw the net, they concluded that he could not have entered it. And Allah revealed this verse.
    The report about the spider spreading its net is at least of Hasan status if not above it. See Al-Sirah al-Nabawiyyah by Dr. Mahdi Rizqallah (Au.).
    Zamakhshari, Ibn Kathir, Qurtubi and several others have also reported the above, with Shawkani tracing out similar reports in `Abd ‘l-Razzaq, Ahmad, `Abd b. Humayd, Ibn al-Mundhir, Tabarani, Abu Al-Sheikh, Ibn Marduwayh and Abu Nu`aym.
    57. The word makr is commonly employed by the people in a bad sense, such as to scheme a conspiracy against someone. That may be, but linguistically, makr can include both connotations, good as well as bad. Allah said (35: 43):


    اسْتِكْبَارًا فِي الْأَرْضِ وَمَكْرَ السَّيِّئِ وَلَا يَحِيقُ الْمَكْرُ السَّيِّئُ إِلَّا بِأَهْلِهِ [فاطر : 43]


    "Waxing proud in the land, and evil scheming (makr al-sayy'). And evil scheming does not backfire but on their authors."
    Hence also the words of a hadith in Abu Da'ud:


    وامكُر لِي ولا تَمكُر عَليَّ


    "O Allah, scheme in my favor, not against me (Manar).
    58. "So He defeated their purpose and frustrated their plots" (Majid).

    وَإِذَا تُتْلَىٰ عَلَيْهِمْ آيَاتُنَا قَالُوا قَدْ سَمِعْنَا لَوْ نَشَاءُ لَقُلْنَا مِثْلَ هَٰذَا ۙ إِنْ هَٰذَا إِلَّا أَسَاطِيرُ الْأَوَّلِينَ (31)

    8|31| When Our verses are recited to them they say, ‘(Enough) We have heard. If we wished we could say (things) similar to this. This is nothing but fables of old.'59


    59. The textual word is asatir, sing. astar, ustur, etc., which is employed for anything that comes in rows, such as a row of trees (Manar); in this instance, a row of words (Au.).
    Ibn Jarir comments: According to Sa`id b. Jubayr, Suddi and Ibn Jurayj, one of those who used to say that, was Nadr b. al-Harith. He was a widely travelled man and had collected some poetical masterpieces, epic works, stories, and the likes from various sources. Whenever he heard the Qur'an he would say he could produce something similar. (What prevented him? asks Alusi).
    To the above Shabbir adds: "It is like saying, if my horse trotted well enough, I could reach London." It was he again who had said, ‘O Lord! If this (message) be truly from You, rain down upon us stones from the heaven, or send upon us a painful chastisement.'
    The reports are in Bukhari and Muslim.
    Ibn Kathir adds: He also conducted his assemblies in which he recited what he had learnt during his travels and asked his audience: "Who do you think is a better story-teller? I, or Muhammad?"
    In fact, the man talked so much nonsense in refutation of the Qur'an, that more than ten verses were revealed censuring him. (It is said that verse 31 of surah Luqman was also revealed to censure him: "And of the people there is one who purchases vain talk to deviate the people from the path of Allah - without knowledge - treating it as jest": Manar).
    He was one of those three who were taken prisoners at Badr and ordered killed because of his persistent blasphemies against the Qur'an. The other two being To`aymah b. `Adiyy and `Uqbah b. Abi Mu`ayt (Ibn Jarir). But this (part of the report, about he being killed at Badr after being taken a prisoner) is weak (Shawkani).
    Sayyid comments: "Nadr b. al-Harith's attempt at detraction was not the last one of its sort. It has been attempted again and again, in various forms and manners. The enemies of this religion have always tried to turn the Muslims away from the Qur'an unto other things, relegating the Qur'an to the functions of musical recitation, a charm against evil, and so forth. They are led to believe that by indulging in such things they have treated the Qur'an in a manner deserving of it. As for organization of this life, of the community and the state, as for their laws and concepts and values, the people are handed down alternatives and told, ‘Look. This religion is a great religion. And this Qur'an is a thing well-guarded. It is recited unto you morning and evening, every now and then, and on every occasion. So what more do you want of the Qur'an? As for your ideologies, your concepts, your ways and conduct, your laws and ordinances, your values and criterion, for all these things, there is another qur'an to which you should turn.'"

    وَإِذْ قَالُوا اللَّهُمَّ إِنْ كَانَ هَٰذَا هُوَ الْحَقَّ مِنْ عِنْدِكَ فَأَمْطِرْ عَلَيْنَا حِجَارَةً مِنَ السَّمَاءِ أَوِ ائْتِنَا بِعَذَابٍ أَلِيمٍ (32)

    8|32| And when they said, ‘O Lord! If this (message) be the truth from You, then rain down upon us stones from the heaven, or bring upon us a painful chastisement.'60


    60. Bukhari's report is that this was said by Abu Jahl. It is possible that he was the first to say that, and others followed him. Tabarani has it that it was Nadr b. al-Harith who had uttered these words. Qastalani has said in his (Hadith) commentary that when Nadr b. al-Harith said, "these are fables of old," the Prophet warned him, "Woe unto you man. These are Allah's words." At that he and Abu Jahl said the words, "O Lord, if this be ..." The self-conceit is apparent.
    It is reported (Zamakhshari) that Mu`awiyyah once said to a man from Saba' (Yemen), "What kind of ignorant blokes your people were that they appointed a woman as their head (in pre-Islamic times)." The man replied, "Your people were greater blokes in ignorance to say, ‘O Lord! If this (message) be truly from You, then rain down upon us stones from the heaven, or send upon us a painful chastisement.' Why could they not say, ‘O Lord, if it be truly from You, guide us to it?'" (Manar).

    وَمَا كَانَ اللَّهُ لِيُعَذِّبَهُمْ وَأَنْتَ فِيهِمْ ۚ وَمَا كَانَ اللَّهُ مُعَذِّبَهُمْ وَهُمْ يَسْتَغْفِرُونَ (33)

    8|33| But Allah would not punish them with you among them (O Muhammad); and Allah would not punish them while they sought forgiveness.61


    61. Opinions have varied over the exact implication of the two verses. Some of the Salaf have said that by the words: "Allah was not to punish them while you were among them," alluded to the situation when the Prophet had not yet migrated from Makkah. The words, "And Allah was not to punish them while they were seeking forgiveness," alluded to those days when he had left Makkah, but the weak ones remained behind, who (as believers in secret) sought Allah's forgiveness. (Tayyibi has said that sometimes the seeking of forgiveness by a few can turn away punishment from many: Alusi). [Hafiz (ibn Hajr) has stated in his (Hadith) commentary that after having said, ‘O Lord, if it be truly from You ..' they felt remorseful by the evening and cried out, ‘Your forgiveness, O our Lord': Rashid Rida].
    Finally, the words, "And what is (special) with them that Allah should not punish them when they prevent people from the Sacred Mosque," alluded to the situation when the weak ones too had left Makkah. Another opinion is that this Ummah has two barriers against Allah's chastisement. One is gone, viz., the Prophet, but the other remains, viz., seeking of forgiveness. There are other possible meanings too (Ibn Jarir).
    This last interpretation has a hadith in support preserved by Ahmad and Hakim, who declared it reliable, in words:


    وَعِزَّتِكَ يَا رَبِّ لَا أَبْرَحُ أُغْوِي عِبَادَكَ مَا دَامَتْ أَرْوَاحُهُمْ فِي أَجْسَادِهِمْ قَالَ الرَّبُّ وَعِزَّتِي وَجَلَالِي لَا أَزَالُ أَغْفِرُ لَهُمْ مَا اسْتَغْفَرُونِي


    "(Shaytan said), ‘My Lord. By Your honor, I shall keep trying misguiding the people until they have their spirits in their body.' Allah replied, ‘By My Greatness and Majesty, I shall keep forgiving them so long as they keep seeking forgiveness from Me'" (Ibn Kathir).
    Alusi adds: The Prophet also understood the verse this way. Accordingly, Abu Da'ud and Tirmidhi (in his Shama'il) and Nasa'i note that once when Solar eclipse occurred, the Prophet got up and offered two cycles of lengthy Prayers after which he supplicated in these words:


    رَبِّ أَلَمْ تَعِدْنِى أَلاَّ تُعَذِّبَهُمْ وَأَنَا فِيهِمْ ، أَلَمْ تَعِدْنِى أَنْ لاَ تُعَذِّبَهُمْ وَهُمْ يَسْتَغْفِرُونَ


    "My Lord! Have You not promised me that You will not punish them while I am with them? My Lord! Did You not promise me that You will not punish them so long as they seek forgiveness? And we seek Your forgiveness." He finished the Prayers and the eclipse was over.

    وَمَا لَهُمْ أَلَّا يُعَذِّبَهُمُ اللَّهُ وَهُمْ يَصُدُّونَ عَنِ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ وَمَا كَانُوا أَوْلِيَاءَهُ ۚ إِنْ أَوْلِيَاؤُهُ إِلَّا الْمُتَّقُونَ وَلَٰكِنَّ أَكْثَرَهُمْ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ (34)

    8|34| And what is (special) with them that Allah should not punish them, when they prevent people from the Sacred Mosque, while they are not its guardians? Indeed, its guardians62 are the godfearing, but most of them know not.63


    62. Abu Ja`far and Hasan seem to have believed that the personal pronoun in "Awliya-`u-hu" alludes to Masjid al-Haram (and hence the translation (Au.), although some others have said that it alludes to Allah, in which case the rendering should be, "His Friends are ..." (Alusi).
    63. Alusi, although himself a Sufi, comes down heavily on the pseudo-sufis. He writes: If we accept the pronoun in awliya' to be representing Allah, the meaning would be "the most pious ones are Allah's Friends (awliya')." But the ignorant masses of our times believe that the more outwardly mad, dressed in tattered clothes, uttering incomprehensible words, and putting up a weird appearance that can chase the decent ones away from him .. the truer waliyy the man is, and with greater authority in the kingdom of Allah. Some of them believe that the sign of a true waliyy is that he should have given up living according to the Shari`ah. Some others think that he is someone who engages himself in nothing but acts of devotion, although his inner condition happens to be in total contradiction to his outer appearance. They believe it is such as these who have known the truth. They call such a man a "murshid" (guide). No doubt, murshid he is; but to the Fire. Hujjatul Islam Imam Ghazali has said that to kill one of these pervert ones is better in the sight of Allah than killing a hundred of the unbelievers (in the battle-field). Sheikh al-Akbar, (Muhiyuddin ibn al-`Arabiyy) has also censured them strongly in his Futuhat. Alusi then quotes a poetical piece:


    إلى الماء يسعى من يغص بلقمة
    إلى أين يسعى من يغص بماء


    One choked in his throat rushes to water for relief
    To what should one rush if choked on water?

    وَمَا كَانَ صَلَاتُهُمْ عِنْدَ الْبَيْتِ إِلَّا مُكَاءً وَتَصْدِيَةً ۚ فَذُوقُوا الْعَذَابَ بِمَا كُنْتُمْ تَكْفُرُونَ (35)

    8|35| In fact, their Prayer at the House (of Allah) was nothing more than whistling and hand-clapping.64 Therefore, taste the punishment for what you were denying.


    64. This is to criticize the Quraysh who used to clap their hands and whistle while circumambulating the Ka`ba. Sometimes they did these things to distract the Prophet from his Prayers in the Sacred Mosque (Zamakhshari, Manar, Shawkani and others).
    Another meaning could be that by whistling and clapping in a holy place, they had as if replaced their devotional acts with these vile acts (Razi, Alusi).
    Majid comments: "Witness also the present-day practices of many a creed which not only allow but prescribe the use of musical instruments during public worship. Worse still, dancing has formed part.. of the chief acts of devotion and worship in many religions."

    إِنَّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا يُنْفِقُونَ أَمْوَالَهُمْ لِيَصُدُّوا عَنْ سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ ۚ فَسَيُنْفِقُونَهَا ثُمَّ تَكُونُ عَلَيْهِمْ حَسْرَةً ثُمَّ يُغْلَبُونَ ۗ وَالَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا إِلَىٰ جَهَنَّمَ يُحْشَرُونَ (36)

    8|36| Those who have disbelieved spend their wealth to hinder from the path of Allah.65 They shall spend it,66 and then it will be a source of regret to them and then they shall be overcome. Those who disbelieved shall be collected together in Jahannum.67


    65. After Allah had spoken of the corruption in the devotional acts of the unbelievers, now He comments on the corruption in their charitable acts. Badr, Uhud, Khandaq .. on several occasions the pagan chiefs had contributed funds to counter Islam (Shawkani).
    It is widely reported that after Badr, the sons, fathers, and brothers of those who were slain at Badr went to Abu Sufyan and urging revenge, appealed for funds. Abu Sufyan, although a stingy person, donated 40 Awqiyah of gold, while each Awqiyah was equivalent of 42 Mithqal (Zamakhshari, Manar).
    (A Mithqal is 4.3 gm approx.: Au.).
    66. At this point (after Badr) the Qur'an predicted that they will raise funds in the future also. Consequently, a little later we find Abu Sufyan going about among the Quraysh coaxing them to bear the cost of a new battle (Shawkani and others).
    67. "The Qur'anic expression treats them (the enemies of Truth) as if they are a heap of scrap to be dumped into the Fire with least consideration" (Sayyid).

    لِيَمِيزَ اللَّهُ الْخَبِيثَ مِنَ الطَّيِّبِ وَيَجْعَلَ الْخَبِيثَ بَعْضَهُ عَلَىٰ بَعْضٍ فَيَرْكُمَهُ جَمِيعًا فَيَجْعَلَهُ فِي جَهَنَّمَ ۚ أُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْخَاسِرُونَ (37)

    8|37| So that Allah might chaff out the impure from the pure, place the impure one upon another, heap it all together, and then dump it into Jahannum. They, they (indeed), are the losers.

    قُلْ لِلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا إِنْ يَنْتَهُوا يُغْفَرْ لَهُمْ مَا قَدْ سَلَفَ وَإِنْ يَعُودُوا فَقَدْ مَضَتْ سُنَّتُ الْأَوَّلِينَ (38)

    8|38| Say to the unbelievers, if they desist, they will be forgiven what was in the past.68 But, if they return (to old ways), then, surely, the way (of punishment) of the earlier ones has already passed.


    68. The Prophet has said, (in a hadith recorded in the Sahihayn: Hussain):


    مَنْ أَحْسَنَ فِى الإِسْلاَمِ لَمْ يُؤَاخَذْ بِمَا عَمِلَ فِى الْجَاهِلِيَّةِ وَمَنْ أَسَاءَ فِى الإِسْلاَمِ أُخِذَ بِالأَوَّلِ وَالآخِرِ


    "Whoever did well in Islam will not be questioned about the sins of the pagan days. But whoever did badly in Islam will be questioned for the latter as well as the previous sins" (Ibn Kathir).
    Ahmad, Muslim and others have entered the following report in their works: `Amr b. al-`As says, " When Islam had entered into my heart I went up to the Prophet (saws) and said:


    فَقُلْتُ ابْسُطْ يَمِينَكَ فَلأُبَايِعْكَ. فَبَسَطَ يَمِينَهُ - قَالَ - فَقَبَضْتُ يَدِى. قَالَ « مَا لَكَ يَا عَمْرُو ». قَالَ قُلْتُ أَرَدْتُ أَنْ أَشْتَرِطَ فَقُلْتُ ابْسُطْ يَمِينَكَ فَلأُبَايِعْكَ. فَبَسَطَ يَمِينَهُ - قَالَ - فَقَبَضْتُ يَدِى. قَالَ « مَا لَكَ يَا عَمْرُو ». قَالَ قُلْتُ أَرَدْتُ أَنْ أَشْتَرِطَ قَالَ « تَشْتَرِطُ بِمَاذَا ». قُلْتُ أَنْ يُغْفَرَ لِى. قَالَ « أَمَا عَلِمْتَ أَنَّ الإِسْلاَمَ يَهْدِمُ مَا كَانَ قَبْلَهُ وَأَنَّ الْهِجْرَةَ تَهْدِمُ مَا كَانَ قَبْلَهَا وَأَنَّ الْحَجَّ يَهْدِمُ مَا كَانَ قَبْلَهُ


    ‘Give me your hand so that I can swear allegiance.' When he stretched out his hand, I withdrew mine. He asked, ‘What's the matter with you?' I said, ‘I have a condition.' (`Amr did it twice stating that there was a condition). The Prophet said, ‘Spell it out.' I said, ‘That my previous sins be forgiven.' He said, ‘Have you not known that Islam obliterates previous sins, Hijrah obliterates previous sins, and Hajj obliterates previous sins?'" (Shawkani).
    Going by this verse, Imam Abu Hanifah has ruled that if an apostate repents and re-enters into Islam, he does not need to do his Prayers of the days of apostasy (Razi).
    This was the opinion of Imam Malik too. Accordingly, Hanafiyy books of fiqh say that someone returning to Islam after being apostate will not be punished for his crimes of murder, theft etc. However, people's rights cannot be forgiven. He will have to pay the blood-wit (if he murdered) or return people's property (if he stole), etc. (Alusi).

    وَقَاتِلُوهُمْ حَتَّىٰ لَا تَكُونَ فِتْنَةٌ وَيَكُونَ الدِّينُ كُلُّهُ لِلَّهِ ۚ فَإِنِ انْتَهَوْا فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ بِمَا يَعْمَلُونَ بَصِيرٌ (39)

    8|39| (O Muslims), Fight them until persecution is no more, and the Religion - all of it - is Allah's.69 But if they desist, then, surely Allah is Seeing of what they do.


    69. The fitnah of the text has been widely interpreted by the earliest scholars as polytheism (Ibn Jarir). Accordingly, when `Abdullah ibn `Umar b. al-Khattab was criticized for staying away from the political quarrels of his time, and was chided that he should be fighting until there was no fitnah, he replied: "That we did at the time of the Prophet: fighting until there was no fitnah and religion was Allah's. But today you fight so that there be fitnah and religion be for other than Allah" (Ibn Kathir).
    In other words, the fight has to go on until polytheism is destroyed in all parts of the world, or until the Mahdi's appearance who will deal it the final death blow (Alusi).
    If the Muslims do not, and drop their gauntlets, they will face a similar situation as in Spain: either Christianity, death, or exile (Shabbir). Or, as in Bosnia (during the last quarter of the 20th century), where their enemies operated under a different guise: ethnic cleansing and killed a million of them (Au.).
    Thanwi adds: The fitnah, however, according to Imam Abu Hanifah and his followers, refers to the fitnah of Arabian Peninsula paganism. Armed struggle was to continue against them until they were annihilated.
    Also see al-Baqarah, note 397 for further discussions.
    Sayyid comments: "As we have stated earlier several times over, Islam has come to free man of everything that binds him to the slavery of his kind as well as from slavery to his own base desires. This is achieved by the proclamation of divinity for none but Allah, demanding the lordship for Him alone. Apparently, this kind of proclamation is a call to a revolution that culminates in the removal of all those from the positions of power who have established their own rule in lieu of Allah's - in whatever form they might be functioning. That is the meaning of making religion purely for Allah ..
    "A doubt commonly raised at this point needs to be clarified. By saying, ‘until religion is Allah's,' what is meant is the removal of those impediments and obstacles that come in the way of Allah and His servants: obstacles that take the form of rules by those who do not implement the Divine law. When these obstacles are removed, the people would have achieved the full freedom they deserve as human beings. Thereafter they might choose, freely, acting under no constraint, their faith and beliefs. But the rule remains Allah's, which means power is taken away from those who would utilize it to influence the people into choosing other than what they would if they were free... Unto this end the believers must fight."

    وَإِنْ تَوَلَّوْا فَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّهَ مَوْلَاكُمْ ۚ نِعْمَ الْمَوْلَىٰ وَنِعْمَ النَّصِيرُ (40)

    8|40| But if they turn away, then know that Allah is your Protector - an excellent Protector and an excellent Helper.

    وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّمَا غَنِمْتُمْ مِنْ شَيْءٍ فَأَنَّ لِلَّهِ خُمُسَهُ وَلِلرَّسُولِ وَلِذِي الْقُرْبَىٰ وَالْيَتَامَىٰ وَالْمَسَاكِينِ وَابْنِ السَّبِيلِ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ آمَنْتُمْ بِاللَّهِ وَمَا أَنْزَلْنَا عَلَىٰ عَبْدِنَا يَوْمَ الْفُرْقَانِ يَوْمَ الْتَقَى الْجَمْعَانِ ۗ وَاللَّهُ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ (41)

    8|41| And know70 that whatever71 you secure as spoils of war72 - one-fifth thereof is: for Allah, for the Messenger,73 the kin (of the Prophet),74 the orphans, the needy, and the wayfarer75 - if you believe in Allah and in what We sent down on Our slave76 on the Day of Criterion,77 the day the two forces met. And Allah has power over all things.


    70. What it means when Allah says "know" is that, "know and act according to its demands," since mere knowledge is shared by the believers and unbelievers alike (Zamakhshari).
    71. It has been said that the use of the word "whatever" (min shay'in) implies that every little thing, including a needle and thread of the spoils of war, should be handed over to the authorities (Zamakhshari).
    Nevertheless, Qurtubi adds, the lands of the unbelievers are excluded by consensus. `Umar (ra) did not distribute the conquered lands amongst the mujahedin. It is only movable property (taken in the battle-field) that is classified as ghanimah.
    Also, he writes further, several authorities believe that the bodily possessions of the enemy soldier is not the property of the one who slew him, unless the Amir announces to that effect, such as to say, ‘whoever killed one of the enemy will have such and such a reward, (or may keep his bodily belongings to himself: Au.).'
    72. It has been reported as Qatadah’s opinion that this verse abrogates that verse of surah al-Hashr which says (59: 7):


    مَا أَفَاءَ اللَّهُ عَلَى رَسُولِهِ مِنْ أَهْلِ الْقُرَى فَلِلَّهِ وَلِلرَّسُولِ وَلِذِي الْقُرْبَى وَالْيَتَامَى وَالْمَسَاكِينِ وَابْنِ السَّبِيلِ [الحشر : 7]


    "Whatever Allah restored to His Messenger from the people of the towns, is for Allah, for the Messenger, for (his) relatives, the orphans, the destitute and the wayfarer..."
    But the difficulty is that surah al-Hashr was revealed after the campaign of Banu Nadir which took place after Badr. (That is, an earlier verse cannot abrogate the one revealed later: Au.). Hence, some scholars have said that the verse of al-Hashr is speaking of "faiy," whereas this present one is speaking of spoils of war in general. Obviously, he who thinks that spoils of war and "faiy" are both at the discretion of the leader of the believers, obviously, he does not think there is any contradiction between the two verses (Ibn Jarir).
    Qurtubi writes: There is no difference in opinion that "ghanimah" is that spoil of war which is obtained from the unbelievers by the believers overcoming their resistance: one requiring some efforts - even if a mere chase, (whether a fight took place or not), whereas, "faiy" is such materials which are obtained by the Muslims peacefully, without any effort on their part. These can be kharaj, jizyah, or one-fifth of the spoils of war. (There is no khumus over this latter kind, i.e., faiy: Rashid Rida).
    73. The topic of spoils of war is dealt with quite extensively by the commentators. Here is a summary:
    Spoils of War
    Although reports and opinions vary, Ibn Jarir is inclined to believe in what has been reported as Qatadah's opinion. He said that when war spoils were brought to the Prophet, he divided them into five parts. Four-fifths went to those who had taken part in the battle. The remaining one-fifth was again divided into five parts. One-fifth thereof was for Allah and His Messenger, and the rest for the other four categories mentioned in the verse under discussion, viz., "the kin, the orphans, the needy, and the wayfarer." Thus, one-fifth of one-fifth alone was the share of Allah and His Messenger. And, out of this one-fifth of the one-fifth, the Prophet marked out a suitable share - as some reports suggest - for the Grand Mosque at Makkah. Or - as some other reports suggest - when he had divided the whole into five parts, he took out a handful of its one-fifth, and marked it for the Haram at Makkah, and then divided the rest into five equal parts. (That is, the one-fifth was divided into six parts, one of which went for the Grand Mosque: Shawkani). [The four-fifth remained untouched: Au.]. Of these five parts, one part went to the Prophet. Yet, he spent his own share, along with the one-fifth marked out for the kin, on his kinsfolk, keeping nothing of it for himself (Ibn Jarir). But according to other reports, he spent his share on his wives (Shawkani).
    It should be evident from the above, as well as other reports, that the Prophet dealt with the booty differently, on different occasions, depending perhaps on circumstances (Au.).
    Ibn Kathir adds: The above is also the opinion of Ibrahim al-Nakha`i, Hasan b. Muhammad b. al-Hanafiyyah, Hasan al-Busri, Sha`bi, `Ata' ibn abi Rabah, Mughira and several others and is confirmed by a Sahih report of Bayhaqi which records that a man went up to the Prophet while he was in the Qura valley examining horses. He asked him about the spoils of war and the Prophet replied: "One-fifth is for Allah and four-fifth for those who participated in the battle." And Miqdam b. Ma`dikarab al-Kindi has reported that once he was in a company which included `Ubadah b. Samit, Abu Darda', and Harith b. Mu`awiyyah al-Kindi. Abu Darda' asked `Ubadah, “Do you recall what the Prophet said during such and such a campaign with regard to the one-fifth?" `Ubadah replied, "(Yes), the Prophet Prayed behind the camels that had been obtained as the spoils of war. Their load was still on them. After the Prayers, he got up with a ball of wool in his hand. He said,


    أَلا إِنَّ هَذَا مِنْ غَنَائِمِكُمْ ، وَلَيْسَ لِي مِنْهُ إِلاَّ الْخُمُسُ ، وَالْخُمُسُ مَرْدُودٌ عَلَيْكُمْ فَأَدُّوا الْخَيْطَ ، وَالْمَخِيطَ ، وَأَصْغَرَ مِنْ ذَلِكَ ، وَأَكْبَرَ ، وَإِيَّاكُمْ وَالْغُلُولَ فَإِنَّ الْغُلُولَ عَارٌ عَلَى أَهْلِهِ فِي الدُّنْيَا ، وَالآخِرَةِ ، وَجَاهِدُوا النَّاسَ فِي اللَّهِ الْقَرِيبَ مِنْهُمْ وَالْبَعِيدَ ، وَلا يَأْخُذْكُمْ فِي اللَّهِ لَوْمَةُ لائِمٍ ، وَأَقِيمُوا حُدُودَ اللَّهِ فِي الْحَضَرِ ، وَالسَّفَرِ ، وَعَلَيْكُمْ بِالْجِهَادِ فَإِنَّهُ بَابٌ مِنْ أَبْوَابِ الْجَنَّةِ عَظِيمٌ يُنَجِّي اللَّهُ بِهِ مِنَ الْهَمِّ وَالْغَمِّ


    ‘Well. These are your spoils of war. I have no right in them but over one-fifth. And even that one-fifth will be returned to you. Therefore, hand over even thread and needle, anything smaller than that, or bigger, and deceive not. Anything obtained by deceit is a vile thing and constitutes a Fire for its owner in this world and the next. And fight the people in Allah’s cause; against those near, as well as those far away, and worry not about the criticism of the critic. Execute the punishments commanded by Allah at home and during journey. And fight in the way of Allah, for jihad is one out of several doors leading to Paradise: a great act, by which Allah gets you rid of anxieties and worries.'"
    After narrating the hadith, Ibn Kathir adds: This is a great hadith and parts of it are reported in other narrations such as one in Nasa'i and another in Abu Da'ud. However, at other times the Prophet marked out some of the spoil of war for himself. (It was known as "Safiyy"). For example., the sword Dhu al-Fiqar, which he kept for himself after Badr, or Safyah (bint Huyayy b. Ukhtab) whom he reserved for himself. These reports are in Abu Da'ud and Nasa'i. Another narration in Ahmad, Abu Da'ud and Nasa'i reports Yezid b. `Abdullah as saying that once we were in cattle yard, when a man entered with a parchment in his hand. We read it. It said, "From Muhammad the Messenger of Allah to the tribe of Zuhayr b. Uqaysh. If you testify that there is no deity save Allah, and that Muhammad is His Messenger, establish the Prayers, pay the Zakah, and hand over one-fifth of the spoils of war as the Prophet's share, and the Prophet's choice (Safiyy), then you will be in peace granted by Allah and His Messenger." We asked the man, "Who wrote this to you?" He answered, "The Prophet." All these reports confirm the opinion stated above as that of the majority of scholars.
    As regards Allah’s share, that of His Messenger, and that of his kinsfolk, the opinion of Ibn `Abbas is that after the Prophet’s death, it is to be spent on defense and for public welfare. We find Abu Bakr and `Umar spending them on such causes. Someone asked Hasan b. Muhammad b. al-Hanafiyyah, (a great grandson of `Ali: Au.), whether `Ali agreed with that. He replied, "Well, `Ali applied it more rigorously" (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir).
    In fact, Qurtubi writes, all the four Khulafa' spent it that way. (This is also the opinion stated in the famous Hanafiyy fiqh work, Hidayah: Shafi`).
    However, Ibn Kathir adds, some scholars have ruled that the share of the Prophet's kinsfolk should go to Banu Hashim and Banu al-Muttalib; for, as a hadith of Muslim says (as well as one in Bukhari: S. Ibrahim), they are a united body in Islam, as they were a united body during paganism, when they supported the Prophet, despite remaining unbelievers themselves. Nevertheless, there are reports in Muslim, Abu Da'ud, Tirmidhi and Nasa'i that mention Ibn `Abbas as saying in reply to a question: "It is we (who are the kinsfolk, deserving the share of the ‘relatives'). But the people would not agree to it."
    Ibn Kathir's commentary - most of which is also in Kashshaf and Razi - ends here.
    Rashid Rida adds the note that when the Prophet was boycotted in Makkah and barricaded for three years in a valley, Banu `Abdul Muttalib stayed with them, while Banu `Abd Shams and Banu Nawfal did not. (This is the meaning of the Prophet's words, "a united body during paganism": Au.).
    Shawkani writes: Hakim has a report that he declared Sahih. It quotes `Ali as saying: "The Prophet had deputed me to distribute the share of his kinsfolk. I did that during his lifetime and continued during the time of Abu Bakr and `Umar." (Shafi` adds: It is quite possible that the share of the kinsfolk of the Prophet, of which `Ali was given the charge of distribution during the time of Abu Bakr and `Umar, was taken out from the share of the poor).
    Zamakhshari writes: Abu Hanifa's opinion with regard to the spoils of war is that during the time of the Prophet one-fifth of one-fifth was for the Prophet, one-fifth for his kinsfolk that went to the Banu Hashim and Banu `Abdul Muttalib (excluding Banu `Abd Shams and Banu Nawfal, since the former two had stayed together both during paganism as well as in Islam). The rest of the three shares were for the orphans, the poor, and the wayfarer. After the death of the Prophet, his share stands canceled, and so does the share of his kinsfolk. (This portion is now to be used for general welfare purposes). As for the kinsfolk of the Prophet, they might be given as any poor is given, but not if they are rich. (This is how `Umar did during his caliphate: Shafi`). It is reported of Abu Bakr that he did not divide the share of the Prophet's kinsfolk among everyone of the Banu Hashim saying, "It is only your poor who will get a share, and not the rich." Zayd b. `Ali is also reported to have said, "It is not for us to build palaces out of it." (Alusi states that although the textual word is "qurba" meaning kinsfolk, the Prophet's own practice of not giving to everyone of his kinsfolk [such as, Banu `Abd Shams but giving to Banu `Abdul Muttalib, although they did not convert in Makkah: Au.], leads us to believe that the meaning of the term "qurba" is, "those who helped." Now, since, after the Prophet, there is no need of that kind of help, their share is written off).
    According to Imam Shafe`i the division should be in the following manner: One-fifth of the one-fifth to the Prophet, which, after him, on defense, general welfare, etc.; another one-fifth to his kinsfolk as was the practice during his life-time, and the rest of the three-fifths to the orphans, the poor and the wayfarer.
    Imam Malik's opinion about the Prophet's share and that of his kinsfolk was that the matter should be left to the discretion of the leader of the faithful. Hasan b. `Ali had the same opinion about the ‘share of the Prophet' after his death.
    Zamakhshari's notes end here.
    Qurtubi writes: The practice during paganism was that the leader of the tribe kept one-fourth of the choicest of the booty for himself. Islam did away with that practice. He also writes: Following a hadith in Bukhari, the four-fifths that is the share of the mujahedin who participated in a battle, is to be divided in the ratio of two shares for the horse and one share for the rider, while the foot-soldier gets only one share. (The government then did not provide the mujahedin with arms or beasts for ride: Au.). Abu Hanifah has ruled, however, that the horse gets a share, the rider one, and the foot-soldier one. Alusi adds that Imam Abu Hanifah's rule is based on a report of Ibn `Abbas that the Prophet gave two shares to the rider and one to the non-rider. (A hadith in Muslim transmitted by Ibn `Umar confirms that the Prophet gave two shares to the horsemen and one to the foot soldier: Au.).
    Those that accompany a Muslim army as non-combatants, (such as civil service employees), they do not have any right in the spoils of war.
    If women and slaves participate in a battle, then, the majority opinion is that although they are not entitled to receive a share in the booty equal to the male fighters - since women and children have been spared from fighting - yet they may be given suitable gifts.
    There are differences in opinion over the unbeliever's share if he fought along with the Muslims, or those of the Muslims who wished to join but could not because of a good reason. But, with regards to those who did not participate at all, there is no difference in opinion, that they have no share at all. If the Prophet gave a few non-participants shares from the Khyber spoils, it was only to those who had participated in Hudaybiyyah, since those who had participated in that campaign, were promised spoils of war by Allah in words (48: 20): "Allah promises you great amount of spoils of war that you will be taking." As for those at Badr, who did not participate in the battle, but received shares there, there were good reasons for that. (See note 2 above: Au.).
    Qurtubi's remarks end here.
    74. Shafi` writes: As pointed out by Tahawi, the introduction of a “lam” over the first three heads of expenditure: (li)Allah, (li)rrasul and (li)dhi 'l qurba, (while it is missing from the rest of the other three categories (al-yatama, al-masakin, and, ibn al-sabil) carries the hint that the Prophet enjoyed discretion on the whole. That is, he could spend on any of the six categories, in any proportion he thought fit. He could, for instance, spend on maybe four of the six categories mentioned here (or spend the whole amount on one category alone: Thanwi). Accordingly, we find that when Fatimah (ra) came to him seeking a slave out of the khumus, the Prophet told her that he could not give her anything because of the pressing need of the As-haab al-Suffa (those of the Platform: a group of indigent Muslims living on a platform in the Prophet’s mosque).
    [The above implies that the Prophet gave away from the share of his kinsfolk to the As-haab al-Suffah because of their greater need: Au.].
    75. Ibn `Abbas has said that by the term "wayfarer," the allusion is to those Muslim travelers who arrive at the towns in a state of destitution (Ibn Jarir).
    Alusi points out that the Shi`ah interpretation of the above verse is that the one-fifth of the spoils of war should be divided into six parts. The (three) parts meant for Allah, His Messenger and his kinsfolk, should be given to the Imam (a direct descendant of Fatimah: Au.) while the three remaining parts should be divided among the orphans, the poor and wayfarer of the kinsfolk of the Prophet (and not to the orphans, the poor and the wayfarer of the Muslims in general: Au.). Alusi then suggests that if the first three parts of (Allah, His Messenger and his kinsfolk), are supposedly to be given to the Imam, then perhaps, these are now to be buried in the ground since the twelfth Imam has gone underground!
    The Shi`ah say that the above division is based on a report in Tabari which has `Abdullah b. Muhammad b. `Ali as saying that when Allah said "the orphans, the poor and the wayfarer," He meant those of the Prophet's kinsfolk. It is true that the report is in Tabari. But, firstly, the report is of dubious authenticity. Secondly, it is a single report against a dozen others in the same work which say that it is the orphan, the poor and the wayfarer of the Muslims in general that have been given their share by the Qur'an. Thirdly, `Ali himself did not distribute it according to the Shi`ah interpretation. Further, the Shi`ah claim that the above "ghana'im" include all the earnings of the life-time of a Shi`a Muslim, and that the whole of it must be handed over to the Imam. This is their Zakah, See "Tafsir Hasan al-`Askari," by Imam Hasan al `Askari, "Tafsir Majma`ul Bayan" by `Ali b. Ibrahim al-Qummi, and others (Au.).
    76. Allah (swt) emphasized belief in the distribution-ratio of the spoils as part of belief in Him and His Messenger. Accordingly, we find that when the `Abd al Qays delegation came to the Prophet he told them:


    آمُرُكُمْ بِأَرْبَعٍ وَأَنْهَاكُمْ عَنْ أَرْبَعٍ آمُرُكُمْ بِالإِيمَانِ بِاللَّهِ وَحْدَهُ أَتَدْرُونَ مَا الإِيمَانُ بِاللَّهِ؟ شَهَادَةُ أَنْ لاَ إِلَهَ إِلاَّ اللَّهُ وَأَنَّ مُحَمَّدًا رَسُولُ اللَّهِ وَإِقَامُ الصَّلاَةِ وَإِيتَاءُ الزَّكَاةِ وَصَوْمُ رَمَضَانَ وَأَنْ تُعْطُوا مِنَ الْمَغَانِمِ الْخُمُسَ


    "I order you four things and forbid you four things. The four things I order you are: (i) Belief in Allah. Now, do you know what is belief in Allah? Well, it is to testify that there is no deity save Allah, and that Muhammad is Allah's Messenger, (ii) to Pray, (iii) pay the Zakah and (iv) fasts in Ramada; and, in addition, that you should remit one-fifth of war spoils (to the state)."
    It can be seen in this hadith that following this verse the Prophet counted paying up one-fifth of the spoils as part of iman (faith) - Ibn Kathir.
    77. According to `Ali ibn Abi Talib, Ibn `Abbas, Dahhak, Qatadah, Muqatil, and many others, the allusion is to the day of Badr when Allah distinguished between Truth and falsehood (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir, Shawkani). It was, according to most reports, the seventeenth of Ramadan, and a Friday. Some have said it was the nineteenth. A report in Hakim, of the same status as reports of the Sahihayn, has Ibn Mas`ud saying that the Muslims ought to look for Laylatu al-Qadr (the Night of Power) when 11 days of Ramadan are left, since the next day of this date was the Day of Badr (Ibn Kathir, Shawkani).
    Majid comments: "It is not for nothing that the Qur'an has characterized this battle as the ‘Day of Distinction'. A different result would have changed the entire fate of mankind. If there is any single episode in history of which it can be said that on it depended the march of the world's events, it was this. Even skeptics and rejecters have not entirely failed to grasp this significance. The day ‘both for internal and external policies was of incalculable advantage to Islam.' (EBr. XV. p. 648) ‘Seldom has such an insignificant conflict had such far-reaching consequences .. The Prophet had received undeniable proof that God was on his side.' (Andrae, p. 205) ‘Not only was a most decisive victory gained over a force three times his own in number, but the slain on the enemy's side included in a remarkable manner many of his most influential opponents' (Muir, p. 236)."

    إِذْ أَنْتُمْ بِالْعُدْوَةِ الدُّنْيَا وَهُمْ بِالْعُدْوَةِ الْقُصْوَىٰ وَالرَّكْبُ أَسْفَلَ مِنْكُمْ ۚ وَلَوْ تَوَاعَدْتُمْ لَاخْتَلَفْتُمْ فِي الْمِيعَادِ ۙ وَلَٰكِنْ لِيَقْضِيَ اللَّهُ أَمْرًا كَانَ مَفْعُولًا لِيَهْلِكَ مَنْ هَلَكَ عَنْ بَيِّنَةٍ وَيَحْيَىٰ مَنْ حَيَّ عَنْ بَيِّنَةٍ ۗ وَإِنَّ اللَّهَ لَسَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ (42)

    8|42| (They day) When you were on the near side of the valley, and they on the farther side with the caravan on your lower side.78 Had you (and the pagans) agreed (to meet), you would have failed the appointment;79 but, in order that Allah might accomplish an affair that was destined to happen. So that he who died might die on a clear evidence, and he who lived might live on a clear evidence.80 Verily, Allah is All-hearing, All-knowing.


    78. Qatadah, Ibn Is-haq and others have explained that (before the two forces confronted each other: Au.) the Muslims were initially at one end of the valley, with their backs to Madinah while the Makkans at the other end, with their backs to Makkah. On the other hand the trade-caravan of Abu Sufyan was travelling by the sea-shore and hence at a much lower level (Ibn Jarir, Shawkani).
    Qurtubi comments: The word in the original, "rakb," is employed for a caravan of camels. If it is of horses then this word cannot be used.
    79. Ibn Is-haq explained: That is to say, if you had, O Muslims, agreed on a date and place for a battle, then, on learning of the heavy tilt of balance in favor of the pagans in terms of man-power and equipment, you would have backed off. Instead, as it should happen, both were surprised to find each other at the waters of Badr, staring into each other's face with disbelief (Ibn Jarir).
    Ibn Is-haq has also written in his Sirah: When the Prophet reached the waters of Safra', he sent Basbas b. `Amr and `Adiyy b. abi Zaghba' to bring news about Abu Sufyan. The two went up until Badr and took position on a hill. Then they descended to the waters with an old water-skin. At the well they overheard two girls talking to each other. One was demanding her money back. The other was saying, "Look, tomorrow, or maybe day after, Abu Sufyan should be here. I will work for them and promise you I'll pay back the money." Another man called Majdi b. `Amr happened to be there. He interjected, "Yes, you are right." When the two heard those words, they mounted their camels and rode off to inform the Prophet. A little later Abu Sufyan showed up at the well, sniffing around for the Prophet's men. He asked if anyone had noticed anything unusual. Majdi told him that he had not noticed anything except for two riders who had tied their camels yonder there and had come down to collect water. Abu Sufyan went up to the spot, picked up fresh dung and broke it. He found it had date-stones. He said, "By God. This is Madinan fodder," and hurried away. Hitting the sea-shore, he changed the direction of his caravan and leaving Badr on his left, travelled away at a quick pace. Once in safe territory, he sent word to the Quraysh that he had escaped and that they could return. Some time later, the Prophet sent across `Ali ibn Abi Talib, Sa`d b. Abi Waqqas and Zubayr ibn al-`Awwam to gather fresh news. They came up to the waters and chanced upon two young chaps drawing water for the Quraysh. They escorted them to the Prophet. He was Praying. In the meantime the Companions began questioning them. They said they had been hired by the Quraysh. The Companions were not pleased with those words. They wished to hear that they were Abu Sufyan's men. So they beat them up. When they beat them, the two knew that they could only escape by saying that they were Abu Sufyan's men. So they said they belonged to Abu Sufyan. When they said that, the Companions let them alone. When the Prophet finished his Prayers, he remarked that they beat them when they spoke the truth and spared them when they lied. Then he enquired them about the Quraysh numbers. They said a great many but could not give the exact figure. So he asked them about the number of camels they slaughtered everyday. They said, "One day nine and the next day ten." So the Prophet knew they were between nine hundred and a thousand. Then he enquired about the nobles and the chieftains as to how many had come along. They named `Utbah b. Rabi`ah, Shaybah b. Rabi`ah, Abu al-Bakhtari b. Hisham, Hakim b. Hizam, Nawfal b. Khuwaylid, Harith b. `Amir, Tu`aymah ibn `Adiyy, Nadr b. al-Harith, Zam`ah b. al-Aswad, Abu Jahl b. Hisham, Umayyah b. Khalaf, Nabih and Munabbih the sons of Hajjaj, Suhayl b. `Amr and `Amr b. Abd Wudd. The Prophet told his Companions, "Makkah has thrown out pieces of its liver to you." (Meaning: the best of its men).
    Ibn Is-haq has also reported that before the two forces met, Sa`d b. Muadh suggested to the Prophet that they build a hut or a booth (`Arish in Arabic) for him and station a few fast beasts around so that, ‘if we overcome the enemy, well and good; but if we are defeated, you could use the mounts to go back to the people we have left behind in Madinah whose love for you is no lesser than their love for their own selves. They will help you continue with your mission.' The proposal was accepted with thanks and supplications, and a kind of booth was erected for him. The Prophet and Abu Bakr stayed in it, and no one else (Ibn Kathir).
    Today, that spot has a mosque called Masjid al-`Arish. It overlooks a valley, pretty deep at about 10-12 meters, where a spring throws out enough water for a palm grove that covers the wide trapezoidal-shaped valley. This is the valley where the battle took place. Although when first visited in 1980, there were a few houses around, the `Arish mosque was way out of the town of Badr. But, in recent times residential quarters have sprung up all around, and the old mosque has been replaced by a new and much larger one. The cemetery where the thirteen martyrs of Badr lie buried, is about a kilometer away from the spot and is now a town cemetery. Although it is enclosed with a full-height wall, with a guard at the gate, the graves of the thirteen Companions within it are further enclosed with a meter high block-work. There are no markings, no tomb stone, nothing: just plain sand. But an awe-inspiring sight that steals a heart beat. With the new highway to Madinah that avoids to mention the exit for Badr, one must now, after about 150 km. on the highway, take the road to Rabigh and then, after about another 30-40 km. enter into the Badr lane (Au.).
    80. Ibn Is-haq once again explained: That is, the event of Badr was accompanied by such irrefutable signs of the truth as truth, and falsehood as falsehood, that whoever died after that should die on a clear evidence (of falsehood as falsehood: Zamakhshari), and whoever lived after that should live assured that he follows the truth (Ibn Jarir).
    Another explanation is: So that, whoever wished to disbelieve, could disbelieve, and whoever wished to believe could believe after he had seen the great signs at Badr (Ibn Kathir).

    إِذْ يُرِيكَهُمُ اللَّهُ فِي مَنَامِكَ قَلِيلًا ۖ وَلَوْ أَرَاكَهُمْ كَثِيرًا لَفَشِلْتُمْ وَلَتَنَازَعْتُمْ فِي الْأَمْرِ وَلَٰكِنَّ اللَّهَ سَلَّمَ ۗ إِنَّهُ عَلِيمٌ بِذَاتِ الصُّدُورِ (43)

    8|43| When Allah was showing them to you (O Prophet) in your dream as few.81 Had He showed them as many you would have been (O believers), discouraged and would have disputed over the affair (of the battle).82 But Allah saved. Verily, He is aware of that which is in the breasts.


    81. Thanwi, himself a Sufi, brings out a subtle point for the followers of the Sufis: In this verse is a lesson for the over-zealot followers of the Sufi Shuyukh. They seem to place great trust in the so called "inspirations" or "the inner revelations" and the (esoteric) meanings derived from their dreams. How much more they would not believe in their Shuyukh were their Shuyukh to experience those things in real life situations? Yet, here we have a verse concerning no less than the Prophet himself, saying: "When Allah was showing them to you (O Messenger) in your dream as few!"
    (That is, although they were not few but Allah was showing them few. How then can one put his blind faith into what the Shuyukh claim they experience in their dreams: Au.)?
    82. Mujahid has said that Allah showed the Prophet the enemy few in number. When he woke up he told his Companions that he thought they were not very large in numbers. That acted as morale booster (Ibn Jarir).

    وَإِذْ يُرِيكُمُوهُمْ إِذِ الْتَقَيْتُمْ فِي أَعْيُنِكُمْ قَلِيلًا وَيُقَلِّلُكُمْ فِي أَعْيُنِهِمْ لِيَقْضِيَ اللَّهُ أَمْرًا كَانَ مَفْعُولًا ۗ وَإِلَى اللَّهِ تُرْجَعُ الْأُمُورُ (44)

    8|44| And when He was showing them to you (O believers) - when you encountered them - as few in your eyes,83 and He made you (appear) as few in their eyes,84 so that Allah may accomplish an affair that was destined to be.85 And to Allah are returned the affairs.


    83. `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud said: "At Badr we reckoned that the pagans were a small bunch. I turned to the Companion by my side and asked, ‘Do you think they are 70.' He replied, ‘Nope. I believe they are a hundred.' It was only when we had captured one of them that he told us about their real numbers" (Ibn Jarir, Zamakhshari, Qurtubi). The report is in Ibn Abi Hatim (Ibn Kathir, Shawkani).
    84. So that the pagans said to each other about the Muslims: "These (few) should prove an easy fodder (for us)" - Zamakhshari, Qurtubi.
    Suddi has reported that someone suggested to the Quraysh that since Abu Sufyan had escaped unmolested, they should return. Abu Jahl vehemently opposed the move and suggested that they should use the opportunity to destroy the Muslims root and branch. He also said: "When you meet them in combat, spare the use of your arms. Instead, rope them in (so as to carry them as slaves)" - Ibn Jarir.
    Majid writes: "The actual strength of the two armies according to Muir was as follows:
    Muslim Pagan
    Men 302 905
    Camels 70 700
    Horses 2 100
    (Quraysh horsemen were all mail-clad).
    85. Ibn Kathir writes: There is no contradiction between this verse and the verse in Al-`Imran which says (3: 13):


    قَدْ كَانَ لَكُمْ آيَةٌ فِي فِئَتَيْنِ الْتَقَتَا فِئَةٌ تُقَاتِلُ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ وَأُخْرَى كَافِرَةٌ يَرَوْنَهُمْ مِثْلَيْهِمْ رَأْيَ الْعَيْنِ [آل عمران : 13]


    "There was a sign for you in the two forces that met (at Badr). One group fighting in Allah's cause, and the other, the unbelievers, (fighting in the Devil's cause). They saw them - as the eye sees - twice themselves (in numbers)."
    To explain, initially, when they came face to face with each other, both saw each other as lesser than actually they were. This was to encourage both to a good fight. But when the combat began, and the angels descended, the unbelievers began to see the Muslims as twice their own numbers. That disheartened them and reduced their morale.
    For an alternative explanation see note 23 of Al-`Imran (Au.).

    يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِذَا لَقِيتُمْ فِئَةً فَاثْبُتُوا وَاذْكُرُوا اللَّهَ كَثِيرًا لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ (45)

    8|45| Believers! When you encounter a force, stay firm,86 and remember Allah much, haply that you might succeed.


    86. We have a hadith of the Sahihayn in explanation. `Abdullah ibn Abi Awfa said: "During one of his campaigns the Prophet waited until the sun started going down. Then he got up and said,


    لاَ تَتَمَنَّوْا لِقَاءَ الْعَدُوِّ وَسَلُوا اللَّهَ الْعَافِيَةَ فَإِذَا لَقِيتُمُوهُمْ فَاصْبِرُوا وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ الْجَنَّةَ تَحْتَ ظِلاَلِ السُّيُوفِ


    ‘People, do not wish to meet the enemy. Instead, seek Allah's protection. But if you meet them, then be patient and know that Paradise is in the shade of the swords.'
    Then he rose again after a while and began to supplicate in words,


    اللَّهُمَّ مُنْزِلَ الْكِتَابِ ، وَمُجْرِيَ السَّحَابِ ، وَهَازِمَ الأَحْزَابِ اهْزِمْهُمْ ، وَانْصُرْنَا عَلَيْهِمْ


    ‘O our Lord. Sender of the Book, Mover of the clouds, Annihilator of the forces: inflict defeat on them and help us against them.'"
    According to another report, he added the words,

    فإن صخبوا وصاحوا فعليكم بالصمت

    ‘If they shout and make noise (let them, but) you stay quiet.'
    (Hakim also has a Sahih report about not being noisy at the time of a battle: Shawkani).
    Differences in attitudes can be observed even today. In real-time films made in the battle-fields right when fighting is going on, one can see the Americans laughing, shouting, and cursing using foul language, while the Afghans are calm and gracious (Au.).
    According to another report, the Prophet said:


    إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ يُحِبُّ الصُّمْتَ عِنْدَ ثَلاثَ : عِنْدَ تِلاوَةِ الْقُرْآنِ وَعِنْدَ الزَّحْفِ وَعِنْدَ الْجِنَازَةِ .


    "Allah approves of silence on three occasions: when the Qur'an is recited, when the battle is on and when the coffin is carried."
    Yet another report (in Tirmidhi: S. Ibrahim) reports Allah’s words:


    إن عبدي كل عبدي الذي يذكرني وهو مناجز قرنه


    "Verily, that servant is My complete servant who remembers Me on the horse-back." That is, he remembers Allah in every situation.
    Ata' has said however, that during the battle Muslims could raise their voice slightly in remembrance of Allah (Ibn Kathir).

    وَأَطِيعُوا اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ وَلَا تَنَازَعُوا فَتَفْشَلُوا وَتَذْهَبَ رِيحُكُمْ ۖ وَاصْبِرُوا ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ مَعَ الصَّابِرِينَ (46)

    8|46| And obey Allah and His Messenger. Do not dispute, or you will lose heart and your strength will depart.87 And observe patience. Surely, Allah is with the patient.


    87. As it happened, says Mujahid, at Uhud. They disputed with the Prophet's instructions and, in consequence, met with defeat (Ibn Jarir, Shawkani).

    وَلَا تَكُونُوا كَالَّذِينَ خَرَجُوا مِنْ دِيَارِهِمْ بَطَرًا وَرِئَاءَ النَّاسِ وَيَصُدُّونَ عَنْ سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ ۚ وَاللَّهُ بِمَا يَعْمَلُونَ مُحِيطٌ (47)

    8|47| Be not like those who came forth from their homes boastful and showing off88 to the people,89 and obstructing the path of Allah.90 And Allah encompasses what they do.


    88. The textual word for "showing off" is riya'. The difference between nifaq and riya' is as follows. Nifaq is to show off faith while concealing unfaith, and riya' is to show off obedience while concealing disobedience (Razi).
    That is, one is the act of the heart, the other of the body (Au.).
    89. Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, Suddi, Dahhak and others have said that when Abu Sufyan reached safe territory, he sent word to the Makkan army to return. But they said they would not. (Except for Banu Zuhra and Banu `Adiyy, who returned seeing no point in a fight: Ibn Kathir). The Quraysh said they would rather go up to Badr, camp there for three days, drink wine, listen to songs and music, and demonstrate to the people their heroism, so that the stories of their pomp and show would be long remembered in Hejaz towns (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir, Shawkani).
    Zamakhshari and Razi add that earlier too, when one of the pagan chiefs sent his sons to Abu Jahl with the message that if he wished he would send his warriors to fight alongside him, Abu Jahl thanked him but turned down his offer saying, "Tell your father, ‘If we are fighting Allah, as Muhammad claims, then there is no way we will win. But if we are fighting men, then, we have enough man-power.'" Then he added, "Rather, we shall go up to Badr, stay there for three days ..."
    90. They did that by discouraging those who wished to embrace Islam and torturing and fighting those of them who had already embraced this religion (Ibn Jarir).

    وَإِذْ زَيَّنَ لَهُمُ الشَّيْطَانُ أَعْمَالَهُمْ وَقَالَ لَا غَالِبَ لَكُمُ الْيَوْمَ مِنَ النَّاسِ وَإِنِّي جَارٌ لَكُمْ ۖ فَلَمَّا تَرَاءَتِ الْفِئَتَانِ نَكَصَ عَلَىٰ عَقِبَيْهِ وَقَالَ إِنِّي بَرِيءٌ مِنْكُمْ إِنِّي أَرَىٰ مَا لَا تَرَوْنَ إِنِّي أَخَافُ اللَّهَ ۚ وَاللَّهُ شَدِيدُ الْعِقَابِ (48)

    8|48| When Satan decked out fair to them their deeds and said, ‘No one of the people can overcome you today. Indeed, I am by your side.' (But) When the two forces encountered each other, he turned on his heels saying, ‘I am quit of you. I see what you do not see. I fear Allah;91 and (surely) Allah is severe of chastisement.'


    91. Ibn `Abbas, Suddi, Ibn Is-haq and others have said that when they started for Badr, Iblis appeared before the Quraysh in the form of a man called Suraqah b. Malik al-Ju`tham al-Kinani, the poet. (The Quraysh were in fact at war with this tribe and feared an attack in their absence because of old enmity: Razi). He joined their ranks and egged them on to fight the Muslims with such encouraging words as, "I am with you." He assured them that in their absence his tribe will not strike at Makkah. And, pointing to the Satans he had brought with him in men's guise he said, "These Kinanians will fight alongside you." But when the angels descended and Jibril advanced toward him while he was strolling in the field with his hand in the hand of a pagan, he disengaged himself and began to back off quick. The pagan cried out, ‘Suraqah! You were supposed to be with us?!" Iblis replied, "I am quit of you. I see what you do not see and I fear Allah. And Allah is severe of chastisement" (Zamakhshari, Ibn Jarir, Shawkani).
    Reports in Waqidi and Tabarani say that when Harith tried to prevent Iblis' retreat, under the impression that he was Suraqah, Iblis gave him a big push on the chest. Harith fell down and Iblis began to run until he reached the sea, exclaiming, "O Lord. Your promise, that you will give me respite until the Day of Judgment!" Some other reports say that after Suraqa's retreat Abu Jahl told his people not to lose heart at the trick Muhammad had played on them in co-operation with Suraqah (Ibn Kathir).
    It is reported that later the Quraysh questioned Suraqah b. Malik about his behavior. He flatly denied that he ever said those things (or that he had accompanied them to Badr: Au.) - Shawkani.
    Thanwi quotes a point from Ruh: The ineffectiveness of Satan's fear which he stated in words, "I fear Allah," proves that it is not the natural fear of Allah that is required of a believer. It is the fear which grows out of one's faith in Him which is demanded of him.

    إِذْ يَقُولُ الْمُنَافِقُونَ وَالَّذِينَ فِي قُلُوبِهِمْ مَرَضٌ غَرَّ هَٰؤُلَاءِ دِينُهُمْ ۗ وَمَنْ يَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللَّهِ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٌ (49)

    8|49| When the hypocrites and those in whose heart is sickness were saying, ‘Their religion has deluded these (Muslims).'92 But (the truth is) whoever placed his trust in Allah, then, surely, Allah is Mighty, Wise.93


    92. `Amir, Mujahid, Hasan and others have said that there were some people in Makkah who were inclined toward Islam but were held back by some doubts. They had come out along with the pagans. But when they saw a few Muslims ready to take on the formidable Quraysh, they remarked, "These have been deluded by their religion." Mujahid named them as Qays b. al-Walid b. al-Mughirah, Harith b. Zam`ah b. al-Aswad b. al-Muttalib, `Ali b. Umayyah and `Aas b. Munabbih b. al-Hajjaj (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir, Shawkani).
    93. Rashid Rida, known in his own time as a "rationalist" writes: There are examples of individuals of this Ummah who gave up all material means, placing their trust in Allah, and, so Allah placed His bounties at their disposal. Such things happened to them for which no other explanation could be offered save that Allah treated them in accordance with their trust in Him. We have the example of people such as Ibrahim b. Ad-hum. He was formerly a prince. He abandoned his kingdom and devoted himself to Allah's worship without bothering about the means of sustenance; or others, such as Ibrahim al-Khawas, or Shaqiq al-Balkhi. In fact, in our own times we encountered an example of the ancients. It was `Abdul Baqi, an Afghani scholar who, after the completion of his studies went to India to master philosophy and dialectics. But he dreamed that a very handsome person was telling him that he was playing with human secretion. He interpreted the dream as pointing to his occupation with the Greek philosophy. So he gave it up and dedicated his time to devotions. He migrated to the Arab world. He performed Hajj on foot every year and returned to Syria, dividing his time there with us in Qalmun, Tripoli (now in Lebanon) and Hims. Then he would start off for Hijaz for the next Hajj. That was his routine every year without ever carrying with him any money. All that he would carry was a book which, after he had finished reading, would give away to someone. In free time he gave lessons in Tawhid and Principles of Religion (Usul al-Din). My own friend `Abdul Hamid Zahrawi told me that "if we had not seen this man with our own eyes, and tried him in several ways for years together, we would not have believed that this Ummah would have created characters such as Ibrahim b. Ad-hum or Khawas al-Balkhi."
    Rashid Rida follows up with the story of his own mentor (Sheikh Muhammad `Abduh) who was living in exile in Beirut. He was approached by a close associate who told him that his father had died and he needed some money immediately. The Sheikh says, "I had no money with me but the month's salary that I had received from the Madrasah in which I taught. And the money was meant to pay off the store from which we bought our provisions of the month. I put my trust in Allah and gave the money to the man. And what a surprise? The same day I received by telex transfer a larger sum from a man who owed it to me for a long time. The interesting part is that I had been urging the man in the past to pay back, since I was hard up, but to no avail. What other explanation was there, except that Allah had induced him to pay, and, on that particular day?"

    وَلَوْ تَرَىٰ إِذْ يَتَوَفَّى الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا ۙ الْمَلَائِكَةُ يَضْرِبُونَ وُجُوهَهُمْ وَأَدْبَارَهُمْ وَذُوقُوا عَذَابَ الْحَرِيقِ (50)

    8|50| If you could see when the angels take the souls of the unbelievers, hitting on their faces and backs, and (saying), ‘Taste the scourge of the Blazing Fire.'94

    94. Although, the immediate reference is to the pagans of Badr, but since this verse has been repeated in other chapters, it helps us understand that the application is general. Every unbeliever faces this at the time of his death (Ibn Kathir).

    ذَٰلِكَ بِمَا قَدَّمَتْ أَيْدِيكُمْ وَأَنَّ اللَّهَ لَيْسَ بِظَلَّامٍ لِلْعَبِيدِ (51)

    8|51| This is for what your hands have forwarded, and that Allah is not unjust to the slaves.95

    95. "This marks out the Just God of Islam from the capricious gods of polytheism and also from the ‘jealous' God of the Bible. Cf. the OT: ‘I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the inequity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me.' (Ex. 20: 5)" - Majid.

    كَدَأْبِ آلِ فِرْعَوْنَ ۙ وَالَّذِينَ مِنْ قَبْلِهِمْ ۚ كَفَرُوا بِآيَاتِ اللَّهِ فَأَخَذَهُمُ اللَّهُ بِذُنُوبِهِمْ ۗ إِنَّ اللَّهَ قَوِيٌّ شَدِيدُ الْعِقَابِ (52)

    8|52| In the manner of Fir`awn's folk and those (who went) before them. They disbelieved in Allah's Signs. So Allah seized them for their sins. Surely, Allah is Powerful, severe of chastisement.

    ذَٰلِكَ بِأَنَّ اللَّهَ لَمْ يَكُ مُغَيِّرًا نِعْمَةً أَنْعَمَهَا عَلَىٰ قَوْمٍ حَتَّىٰ يُغَيِّرُوا مَا بِأَنْفُسِهِمْ ۙ وَأَنَّ اللَّهَ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ (53)

    8|53| That because Allah would never withdraw a blessing that He conferred on a people, unless they changed what was within their selves.96 And that, Allah is All-hearing, All-knowing.

    96. The immediate reference was, according to Suddi, to the Quraysh whom Allah blessed with a Prophet, but they were not grateful about it, so He turned him over to the Ansar (Ibn Jarir, Qurtubi, Shawkani).
    Zamakhshari has another point. He asks the question as to what blessing did Fir`awn and his folk or the Quraysh possessed that was replaced with an evil? It was not after all an approved situation, that they should have been led into a disapproved one. And then answers that just as an approved situation can be altered to a disapproved one, so also, a disapproved situation can be altered to something worse than that. These people were pagans, worshiping idols: an evil situation. But, after Prophets were sent to them, but they had rejected them, their situation was turned into a worse one, calling for a punishment.
    Rashid Rida adds: The wrong notion into which people keep falling, such as the Jews and Christians, or the Muslims after them, is the assumption that once Allah has placed a blessing on a people, He would not withdraw it, no matter how they respond to it. They overlook the fact that leadership of the world falls in the hands of the morally superior.
    Thanwi brings out a point from Alusi's "Bab-al-Isharah": One implication of the verse is that when one gives up a voluntary good deed he used to practice, he suffers spiritual loss.
    Shabbir has brought out another point from Shah `Abdul Qadir: "The textual words "ma bi-anfusihim" imply that primarily, blessings are not withdrawn without a change of heart, i.e., an alteration in beliefs and intentions. (Perhaps what he meant is that inner conditions play a greater role than the outer ones: Au.).

    كَدَأْبِ آلِ فِرْعَوْنَ ۙ وَالَّذِينَ مِنْ قَبْلِهِمْ ۚ كَذَّبُوا بِآيَاتِ رَبِّهِمْ فَأَهْلَكْنَاهُمْ بِذُنُوبِهِمْ وَأَغْرَقْنَا آلَ فِرْعَوْنَ ۚ وَكُلٌّ كَانُوا ظَالِمِينَ (54)

    8|54| In the manner of Fir`awn's folk and those before them; they cried lies to the signs of their Lord, so We destroyed them for their sins and drowned Fir`awn’s folk, for, they were all transgressors.

    إِنَّ شَرَّ الدَّوَابِّ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا فَهُمْ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ (55)

    8|55| Surely, the worst of beasts97 in the sight of Allah are those who have rejected (this message) and, therefore, they will not believe.


    97. The textual word is "dawabb" (sing. daabbah), which is employed in common parlance for beasts. Its use here for those who make little use of their power of intellect is to say in other words that they are little better than beasts (Manar and others).

    الَّذِينَ عَاهَدْتَ مِنْهُمْ ثُمَّ يَنْقُضُونَ عَهْدَهُمْ فِي كُلِّ مَرَّةٍ وَهُمْ لَا يَتَّقُونَ (56)

    8|56| Those, of whom you took a pledge; but every time they dishonor their pledge,98 and they do not fear (the consequences).99


    98. Mujahid has said that the allusion was to Banu Qurayzah who were used to making and breaking pacts with the turn of the wind (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir, Shawkani).
    Zamakhshari writes: (The order in the above verse may be noted). The worst of men are the unbelievers. Then among the unbelievers the worst are those who persist in their disbelief. And the worst of those who persist are those who break their pacts after every renewal.
    Shabbir adds: Those who have decided on disbelief and rebellion, and are unmindful of their ultimate end, such indeed are the worst of animals. Pharaohs were people of the same order. The Qur'an said about them: "Whenever a wrath fell upon them they cried out: ‘O Musa. Supplicate to your Lord by the promise you have. If you will relieve us (O Musa) from this wrath, we shall believe in you and shall let go with you the Children of Israel.' But when We relieved them of the wrath until a term they were to come to, behold, they went back (on their word)." This is how the Jews behaved with the Prophet. Every time they made a treaty with him to the effect that they will not aid the pagans, they broke it. When reminded, they'd say, "Oh, we had forgotten about it."
    Mawdudi comments: "After arriving in Madina, the Prophet (peace upon him) concluded a treaty of mutual co-operation and good neighborliness with them (the Jews)... But somehow the Jewish rabbis and scholars were irked by the Prophet's preaching of pure monotheism and moral uprightness, let alone his scathing criticism of the deviations which appeared in Jewish belief and conduct. They were constantly engaged, therefore, in efforts to sabotage the new religious movement. In this respect, they left no stone unturned. They collaborated with the hypocrites who were apparently an integral part of the Muslim body-politic. To serve the same end they fanned flames to rejuvenate the old animosities between the Aws and Khazraj tribes which had brought about bloodshed and fratricide in pre-Islamic times. They attempted to hatch conspiracies against Islam in collaboration with the Quraysh and other tribes. What was all the more deplorable was that they indulged in these nefarious activities despite their treaty of friendship and co-operation with the Prophet (peace be on him.).
    "... Apprehending that the victory in the battle of Badr would help the Muslims consolidate their position, they carried out their hostile activities against Islam even more vigorously. Ka`b b. Ahsraf, a Jewish chief, went to Makka personally and recited stirring elegies for their dead warriors with a view to provoking the Quraysh into hostile action against the Muslims. It was the same Ka`b b. Ashraf who considered the Muslim victory in the battle of Badr such a catastrophe that he regarded death to be better than life. In his own words: ‘The earth’s belly has become preferable to us than its back.' Banu Qaynuqa', a Jewish tribe, in brazen violation of their agreement of friendship and alliance with the Muslims, took to indecent molestation and teasing the Muslim women who passed through their quarters. Whey the Prophet (peace be on him) reproached them for this shameful conduct, they threatened the Prophet (peace on him), saying: ‘Do not be deluded by your encounter with a people who had no knowledge of warfare, and so you had good luck with them. By God, if we were to wage war against you, you will know that we are the men.'"
    Majid writes: "Of the three Jewish classes here referred to, two were sent into exile and the third exterminated. (Then he quotes): ‘They were a turbulent sect, always setting the people of Medina by the ears .. Both tribes had violated the original treaty, and had endeavored in every way to bring Mohammad and his religion to ridicule and destruction. The only question is whether their punishment was not too light. Of the third class a fearful example was made, not by Mohammad, but by an arbiter appointed by themselves' (LSK)."
    99. That is, they do not fear anything: neither the disgrace (of this world) nor the Fire (of the next) - Kashshaf.

    فَإِمَّا تَثْقَفَنَّهُمْ فِي الْحَرْبِ فَشَرِّدْ بِهِمْ مَنْ خَلْفَهُمْ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَذَّكَّرُونَ (57)

    8|57| If you come upon them in war, disperse by (means of) them those that are behind them (waiting to strike).100 Haply they might remember.


    100. The textual word "sharrid" literally stands for dispersal. But, some of the earliest commentators have said that it means, "hand down an exemplary punishment" (Razi).
    Ibn `Abbas, Qatadah, Sa`id ibn Jubayr, Hasan al-Busri and others have said that the Prophet was commanded to punish those he overpowered of his opponents - who broke their pledges every now and then - in an exemplary manner so as to discourage others who were watching the events and waiting for their own chance to strike at the Muslims (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir, Shawkani).
    Razi comments: There are many verses that direct the Prophet to be kind and forbearing. For instance (21: 107):

    وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ إِلَّا رَحْمَةً لِلْعَالَمِينَ [الأنبياء : 107]

    "We have not sent you but as mercy for the worlds."


    And, (3: 159):
    فَبِمَا رَحْمَةٍ مِنَ اللَّهِ لِنْتَ لَهُمْ [آل عمران : 159]


    "But, by Allah’s grace, you are soft with them."
    But here, he was ordered to be harsh on the unbelievers because they were a people who had stayed firm on disbelief through and through (despite clear signs) and (in addition), had broken their pledges.

    وَإِمَّا تَخَافَنَّ مِنْ قَوْمٍ خِيَانَةً فَانْبِذْ إِلَيْهِمْ عَلَىٰ سَوَاءٍ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يُحِبُّ الْخَائِنِينَ (58)

    8|58| And if you fear treachery from a people,101 throw back (their covenant) to them, on equal terms.102 Verily, Allah does not approve of the treacherous.103


    101. Ibn Jarir, Qurtubi and others point out that although "khawf" is the textual word used here, meaning. ‘if you fear,' or, ‘if you are apprehensive,' it has actually been used in the sense of "yaqin" and therefore the meaning is, "if you have definite proof of their on-coming treachery."
    102. That is, even if definite signs of treachery are noticed, the Prophet was not to strike at them immediately, rather, he was to announce that he was quit of the treaty so that they could prepare themselves for a war (that is the meaning of the words "on equal terms"), in which event he could not be said to have dishonored a treaty. This is what happened with Banu Qurayzah, who secretly lobbied with Abu Sufyan for revenge (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir, Shawkani).
    Razi points out that the rule enunciated in the verse applies to the situation where there is a strong sign of the on-coming treachery. But, when a treaty is actually broken, then, no respite need be given. For example, when the Makkans broke the treaty by attacking Banu Khuzaa`ah, there was no need to send them the information that the treaty was null and void.
    Rashid Rida writes: Islam lays great stress on honoring the treaties; why not, when Allah says (8: 58):


    إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يُحِبُّ الْخَائِنِينَ [الأنفال : 58]


    "Allah does not love the treacherous?"
    A hadith preserved in Bayhaqi's Shu`ab al-Iman reports Maymun b. Mahran as narrating: "In three things believers and unbelievers are ruled alike: When you have given your word, keep it, whether the other person is a Muslim or non-Muslim. If there is blood-relationship between you and another person, be true to the relationship, whether the other person is a Muslim or a non-Muslim. And, whoever entrusted you with a trust (amanah), honor it, whether the person is a Muslim or a non-Muslim."
    Mawdudi notes: "To annul a treaty unilaterally and to launch an armed attack without any warning was a common practice in the time of ancient jahiliyyah (Ignorance). That practice remains in vogue in the ‘civilized' jahiliyyah of the present day as well. Recent instances in point are the Russian invasion of Germany and the Russian and British military action against Iran during the Second World War. Such actions are usually justified on the ground that a pervious warning would have put the enemy on the alert and would have enabled him to put up even stiffer resistance. It is also justified by saying that a military initiative has the effect of pre-emptying a similar military initiative by the enemy. If such pleading can absolve people of their moral obligations, then every offence is justifiable..."
    Two decades after Mawdudi, pure jungle law prevails on the globe. The single super-power, the United State of America, goes about bombing, in peace time, any country at will, on such false pretexts as unjustifiable to its own public (Au.).
    Mawdudi also writes: "It should also be pointed out that an unannounced attack, according to Islamic law, is lawful in one situation: when the ally (perhaps he means the treaty signee: Au.) has clearly violated the treaty and has blatantly indulged in hostile action. In deriving this rule Muslim jurists have drawn on the Prophet's own conduct in regard to the Quraysh who had breached the Hudaybiyyah Treaty in dealing with Banu Khuza`ah. In this instance, the Prophet did not notify them that the treaty had been annulled. On the contrary he invaded Makkah without a warning."
    103. "All this implies disapproval of counter-treachery even in self-defense as justified and approved by some other religions" (Majid). Therefore, Shafi` writes, no preparations for war should be made before an official announcement of annulment of the treaty is made, so that the enemy too has the same time at its disposal for preparations, as Muslims have.
    Other commentators write: The earliest Muslims were very conscious of any act of treachery. Once at the time of Mu`awiyyah they had made a time-bound peace-treaty with the Romans. He wished to use the time he had until the end of the term to get his forces nearer to the enemy lines (for ease of attack as soon as the date expired). An old rider protested. He said: "Allah is Great. Allah is Great. Be true to your word and do not be treacherous. The Prophet has said,


    من كان بينه وبين قوم عهد فلا يشد عقدة ، ولا يحلها حتى يمضي أمدها ، وينبذ إليهم على سواء


    ‘Whenever there is a treaty between a people, let them not fortify it, nor be treacherous until it expires. And then throw it back to them, on equal footing.'" These words reached Mu`awiyyah and he gave up the idea. The Sheikh was `Amr b. `Anbasah and the narration is in Abu Da'ud, Tirmidhi, Nasa'i, and Ibn Hibban. Tirmidhi graded it Hasan Sahih.
    Tirmidhi has also reported that once when Salman al-Farsi arrived at the foot of the (enemy) forts he told his forces: "Let me alone, until I have invited them to Islam in the manner the Prophet used to." Then he (advanced close to the walls and) called out: "I was one of you. Then Allah guided me to Islam. If you embrace Islam, you shall enjoy the same privileges as we enjoy with the same kind of responsibilities. But if you refuse, then alternatively, agree to pay jizyah in humiliation. But if you refuse to do that also, then we will fight out. And Allah does not approve of the treacherous." He did that for three days. Then, on the fourth day they attacked them and by Allah's grace they were victorious. Tirmidhi graded this report Hasan Sahih (Qurtubi, Ibn Kathir).
    Qurtubi also writes: The Prophet has said in a hadith of Muslim:


    لِكُلِّ غَادِرٍ لِوَاءٌ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ يُرْفَعُ لَهُ بِقَدْرِ غَدْرِهِ أَلاَ وَلاَ غَادِرَ أَعْظَمُ غَدْرًا مِنْ أَمِيرِ عَامَّةٍ


    "Every treacherous person shall have a flag with him on the Day of Judgment that will go up in height in proportion to the seriousness of his treachery. Lo! There is not a treachery worse than that committed by the leader of a people."
    Sayyid Qutb offers his remarks: "We might also recall at this point that these commandments were being revealed at a time when the humans did not know of any other law in affairs of war but the law of the jungle; in other words the law of force, which cannot be challenged but by force. It might also be pointed out that it was the law of the jungle which remained prevalent even after these revelations in the rest of the non-Islamic world - until the eighteenth century. Until this time, Europe had no law of its own to follow while dealing with nations and of which we can only get some details out of what transpired between it and the Islamic world. And, even when formulated, and developed, it is still far away from the lofty ideals embodied in the Islamic law. Those who are over-impressed by the Western laws would do well to compare the two."
    Without provoking any controversy, one might point out that once again in the 21st century, the Western world demonstrated that it has returned to the jungle law. The “Iran-Contra Affair” reveals that those in charge of subversion of foreign countries in USA, openly admitted that they believed in no law when the security of their country was, presumably, involved. The Jews in Palestine regularly rape boys, the Americans raped them in Iraq, and the allied Western forces in Afghanistan cut out body parts of the fallen Afghans as trophies. They are too soon back to the jungle-law, after a brief pretense of civilization.
    Here are excerpts from a single article on atrocities in Iraq:
    “Casual killing started early in the invasion. Corporal Russ Aston, who later died in an assault on a police station in Al Majar, wrote, in March 2003 : " I've shot 4-5 Iraqis and one of them was quite young, about 14-15 ... I felt bad at the time, but I'm OK now." In a call to his mother he reportedly said: "It's just killing for killing's sake out here ... I don't know how I am going to cope with what I've seen."
    Perhaps the most detailed account of the treatment of Iraqis by the British forces can be found in the legal Inquiry in to the death of Baha Mousa (26) a receptionist at Basra's Haitham Hotel. The father of two, whose 22 year old wife had recently died of cancer, was arrested with nine others, on 14th September 2003, by personnel of the 1st Battalion, The Queen's Lancashire Regiment. Two days later he was dead, with "at least" ninety three injuries to his body, including fractured ribs and a broken nose
    Deaths at the hands of the army, disputed by the Ministry of Defence, include twenty Iraqis, which witnesses claimed were taken to the British base at Amara, on 14th May 2004. Undisputed is that the next day twenty bodies were returned to their families. Injuries alleged included evidence of torture, mutilation, removal of eyes, and stab wounds, according to lawyers. (See source below).
    The above account is not the tip of the iceberg. Thousands of pages will be required for a fuller account of the jungle law.
    "... killed wantonly, tortured ... the people of that unhappy land have lost everything — their homes, their schools, their electricity, their clean water, their environment, their neighborhoods, their mosques, their archaeology, their jobs, their careers, their professionals, their state-run enterprises, their physical health, their mental health, their health care, their welfare state, their women's rights, their religious tolerance, their safety, their security, their children, their parents, their past, their present, their future, their lives ...
    “More than half the population either dead, wounded, traumatized, in prison, internally displaced, or in foreign exile ... The air, soil, water, blood and genes drenched with depleted uranium ... the most awful birth defects ... unexploded cluster bombs lie in wait for children to pick them up ... a river of blood runs alongside the Euphrates and Tigris ... through a country that may never be put back together again." (Source: British Military in Iraq: A Shocking Legacy, By Felicity Arbuthnot, Global Research.ca/, USA Trends, etc.)
    What happened in Iraq, Afghanistan, and happens in Palestine on daily basis, is so horrendous, that it has led many intellectuals to lose hope in humanity, and consider the situation in the West as irredeemable (Au.).

    وَلَا يَحْسَبَنَّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا سَبَقُوا ۚ إِنَّهُمْ لَا يُعْجِزُونَ (59)

    8|59| And let not the unbelievers think they have outsmarted (Us). They will not be able to frustrate (Us).104


    104. Plainly, the allusion is to those who escaped unscathed at Badr (Qurtubi); as also those unbelievers who never participated in that battle (Razi).

    وَأَعِدُّوا لَهُمْ مَا اسْتَطَعْتُمْ مِنْ قُوَّةٍ وَمِنْ رِبَاطِ الْخَيْلِ تُرْهِبُونَ بِهِ عَدُوَّ اللَّهِ وَعَدُوَّكُمْ وَآخَرِينَ مِنْ دُونِهِمْ لَا تَعْلَمُونَهُمُ اللَّهُ يَعْلَمُهُمْ ۚ وَمَا تُنْفِقُوا مِنْ شَيْءٍ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ يُوَفَّ إِلَيْكُمْ وَأَنْتُمْ لَا تُظْلَمُونَ (60)

    8|60| And prepare against them105 whatever you are able of power106 and tethered horses107 to terrify thereby Allah’s enemy, and your enemy,108 and those others besides them whom you do not know.109 Allah knows them. And whatsoever you expend in the way of Allah will be repaid to you in full, and you shall not be wronged.110


    105. This verse is connected with verses 57 and 58 in which the Prophet was asked to act tough with the unbelievers, fling their treacherous treaties at their faces, and prepare himself to fight against them if they chose to fight (Razi).
    106. `Uqbah b. `Amir has reported that the Prophet (saws) spoke from the pulpit:


    أَلاَ إِنَّ الْقُوَّةَ الرَّمْىُ أَلاَ إِنَّ الْقُوَّةَ الرَّمْىُ


    "Lo! Shooting (ramyu) is the power - twice." It should be obvious, however, adds Ibn Jarir, that what is meant is all kinds of arms and equipment.
    The hadith is in Muslim (Qurtubi), while one in Ahmad says,


    ارْمُوا وَارْكَبُوا وَأَنْ تَرْمُوا أَحَبُّ إِلَىَّ مِنْ أَنْ تَرْكَبُوا


    "Shoot and ride, but to me, that you shoot is better than that you ride" (Ibn Kathir).
    Another hadith (of Muslim) says:


    سَتُفْتَحُ عَلَيْكُمْ أَرَضُونَ وَيَكْفِيكُمُ اللَّهُ فَلاَ يَعْجِزُ أَحَدُكُمْ أَنْ يَلْهُوَ بِأَسْهُمِهِ


    "Shortly you will conquer territories. Allah will be sufficient for you. But do not give up shooting practice."
    We have another tradition in Abu Da'ud, Tirmidhi and Nasa'i. It says:


    إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ يُدْخِلُ بِالسَّهْمِ الْوَاحِدِ ثَلاَثَةَ نَفَرٍ الْجَنَّةَ : صَانِعَهُ يَحْتَسِبُ فِى صَنْعَتِهِ الْخَيْرَ وَالرَّامِىَ بِهِ وَمُنْبِلَهُ


    "Allah sends to Paradise three people because of a single arrow: the one who manufactured it seeking Allah's Pleasure, the one who shot it, and the one who collected it."
    Shooting is therefore, one of the best of military exercises. It drives fear into the enemies. The Prophet has also said:


    ارْمُوا يَا بَنِى إِسْمَاعِيلَ فَإِنَّ أَبَاكُمْ كَانَ رَامِيًا


    "Shoot, O sons of Isma`il. Your father was a shooter."
    Accordingly, learning to shoot and to ride horses is a conditional obligation (fard al-kifayah).
    Quotations from Qurtubi end here.
    Is there anything, in today's warfare better than shooting - bullets, bombs and missiles (Au.)?
    107. Asad writes: ‘Lit., "tethering of horses" (ribat al-khayl): an expression which signifies "holding in readiness mounted troops at all points open to enemy invasion (thughur)"; hence, tropically, the over-all maintenance of military preparedness.'
    Ibn Sirin was asked about someone who had willed that one-third of his wealth was to be spent in the construction of a fort. (But since there was no fort around under construction) what was to be done? He replied, "Let them buy a horse and send it to the front so that someone could fight on it." They asked, "But the man had left the money for a fort!" Ibn Sirin replied, "Have you not heard the poetical piece: "Surely, the fort of horses that deters, is the wall for the villagers."
    It is reported of the Prophet that there was nothing dearer to him after women than horses. (In fact, the Prophet was so fond of horses that) he even named the kinds and classes that might be kept. There are ahadith in Muslim, Abu Da'ud, Tirmidhi and others to this effect (Alusi).
    It is also said that the Jinn do not come near dwellings that have horses tied around (Ibn Jarir, Qurtubi).
    A hadith in Nasa'i transmitted by Abu Wuhayb al-Jushamiyy says:


    وَأَحَبُّ الْأَسْمَاءِ إِلَى اللَّهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ عَبْدُ اللَّهِ وَعَبْدُ الرَّحْمَنِ وَارْتَبِطُوا الْخَيْلَ وَامْسَحُوا بِنَوَاصِيهَا وَأَكْفَالِهَا


    " The names most approved of by Allah are `Abdullah and `Abdul Rahman. And keep horses. Stroke them on their foreheads and backs" (Shortened) - Qurtubi.
    A hadith of the Sahihayn says:


    الْخَيْلُ لِرَجُلٍ أَجْرٌ وَلِرَجُلٍ سِتْرٌ وَعَلَى رَجُلٍ وِزْرٌ فَأَمَّا الَّذِي لَهُ أَجْرٌ فَرَجُلٌ رَبَطَهَا فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ فَأَطَالَ بِهَا فِي مَرْجٍ أَوْ رَوْضَةٍ فَمَا أَصَابَتْ فِي طِيَلِهَا ذَلِكَ مِنْ الْمَرْجِ أَوْ الرَّوْضَةِ كَانَتْ لَهُ حَسَنَاتٍ وَلَوْ أَنَّهُ انْقَطَعَ طِيَلُهَا فَاسْتَنَّتْ شَرَفًا أَوْ شَرَفَيْنِ كَانَتْ آثَارُهَا وَأَرْوَاثُهَا حَسَنَاتٍ لَهُ وَلَوْ أَنَّهَا مَرَّتْ بِنَهَرٍ فَشَرِبَتْ مِنْهُ وَلَمْ يُرِدْ أَنْ يَسْقِيَ كَانَ ذَلِكَ حَسَنَاتٍ لَهُ فَهِيَ لِذَلِكَ أَجْرٌ وَرَجُلٌ رَبَطَهَا تَغَنِّيًا وَتَعَفُّفًا ثُمَّ لَمْ يَنْسَ حَقَّ اللَّهِ فِي رِقَابِهَا وَلَا ظُهُورِهَا فَهِيَ لِذَلِكَ سِتْرٌ وَرَجُلٌ رَبَطَهَا فَخْرًا وَرِيَاءً وَنِوَاءً لِأَهْلِ الْإِسْلَامِ فَهِيَ عَلَى ذَلِكَ وِزْرٌ


    "There are three kinds of horses: (i) that of a man for whom it is a (source of) reward, (ii) that of a man for whom it is a shield, and (iii) that of a man upon whom it is a burden. The man who has the reward is the one who kept it for Allah's cause. When he lets it loose with a long rope into a grazing ground or in an orchard, then, whatever is circumscribed of the reeds or leaves of grass by its rope thereof, brings him as many rewards. And, if by chance it breaks loose and jumps over a few hedges, then whatever dung it throws out or the marks of its hoofs that it leaves behind, will bring him rewards. If it stops at a spring and drinks thereof, even if the owner did not intend to water it, yet, it brings rewards to him. In contrast, another man keeps a horse as a means of wealth, so that he may shield himself (from poverty). He does not forget Allah's right on its neck or the back (i.e., pays zakah on what he earns using it as a puller or as a beast of ride), then for such a man it is a shield. As for him who kept it for pride, to show off, or in offence of the Muslims, then, for such a man it is a burden." At that somebody asked him about donkeys. The Prophet (saws) replied,


    مَا أُنْزِلَ عَلَيَّ فِيهَا شَيْءٌ إِلَّا هَذِهِ الْآيَةُ الْجَامِعَةُ الْفَاذَّةُ {فَمَنْ يَعْمَلْ مِثْقَالَ ذَرَّةٍ خَيْرًا يَرَهُ وَمَنْ يَعْمَلْ مِثْقَالَ ذَرَّةٍ شَرًّا يَرَهُ


    "Nothing specific has come down to me about donkeys, except for the comprehensive verse (99: 7, 8): ‘Therefore, whoever did a good deed the size of an atom, will see it. And whoever did an evil deed the size of an atom, will see it (also).'"
    The version above is that of Bukhari. Another hadith in Ahmad puts it plainly. It says:


    الْخَيْلُ ثَلَاثَةٌ فَفَرَسٌ لِلرَّحْمَنِ وَفَرَسٌ لِلْإِنْسَانِ وَفَرَسٌ لِلشَّيْطَانِ فَأَمَّا فَرَسُ الرَّحْمَنِ فَالَّذِي يُرْبَطُ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ فَعَلَفُهُ وَرَوْثُهُ وَبَوْلُهُ وَذَكَرَ مَا شَاءَ اللَّهُ وَأَمَّا فَرَسُ الشَّيْطَانِ فَالَّذِي يُقَامَرُ أَوْ يُرَاهَنُ عَلَيْهِ وَأَمَّا فَرَسُ الْإِنْسَانِ فَالْفَرَسُ يَرْتَبِطُهَا الْإِنْسَانُ يَلْتَمِسُ بَطْنَهَا فَهِيَ تَسْتُرُ


    "Of horses there are three kinds: for the Rahman, for Satan and for man. The horse for the Rahman is the one which is kept for Allah's cause (i.e., jihad). Its fodder, dung, and urine (all bring rewards to the master). As for the horse for Satan, it is that which is kept for betting (i.e., for races). As for the horse for man, it is that which is kept for earning livelihood. It shields the master from poverty."
    Another report in Bukhari has the Prophet (saws) saying:


    الْخَيْلُ مَعْقُودٌ فِي نَوَاصِيهَا الْخَيْرُ إِلَى يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ الْأَجْرُ وَالْمَغْنَمُ


    "Horses' forehead are bound with blessings until the day of Judgment: rewards and spoils of war" (Ibn Kathir).
    Majid writes: "In ancient times of course, ‘battles were won and lost by cavalry, and campaigns were conducted in terms of cavalry,' and ‘almost every decisive tactical movement was a movement of horse' (Hilaire Belloc, The Crusades, p. 50)."
    108. Asad comments: ‘Lit., "God's enemy and your enemy" - implying that every "enemy of God" (i.e., everyone who deliberately opposes and seeks to undermine the moral laws laid down by God) is, eo ipso, an enemy of those who believe in Him.'
    109. Apart from many others, Imam Razi counts the hypocrites also as those who will be terrified and may, consequently, give up their machinations. They might as well be led to adopt Islam sincerely, since they are easily impressed by the display of strength.
    110. That is, whatever you will expend in preparation of defense of Islam will bring its reward both in this world as well as in the next (Ibn Jarir).

    وَإِنْ جَنَحُوا لِلسَّلْمِ فَاجْنَحْ لَهَا وَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللَّهِ ۚ إِنَّهُ هُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ (61)

    8|61| | However, if they incline to peace, then you incline to it (also)111 and place your trust in Allah. Surely, He is the Hearing, the Seeing.112


    111. "In working for peace there may be a certain risk of treachery on the other side. We must take that risk; because the men of Faith have Allah's aid to count upon and the strength of the united body of the righteous" (Yusuf Ali).
    Although, the verb form is that of a command, the Prophet (saws), and after him the faithful have a choice. If they think making peace would suit them, they could. Further, the words "if they incline to peace" suggest that it is the enemies who show readiness to work out a peace formula and not the Muslims. It is not the Muslims who should offer the proposal since that would be construed as weakness on their part (Shafi`).
    The rule here applies however, add Qurtubi and Razi, only to the Holders of the Book. As for the polytheists, there should be no peace with them. Rather, Muslims should fight on until either they embrace Islam or cough out Jizyah. Further, the period of peace agreement will depend on the situation. If the Muslims are strong, they might allow them a year. But if they are weak, they might allow them 10 years, but no more than that. In fact, according to Imam Shafe`i it is not lawful to strike a peace deal with the pagans lasting more than ten years. This is following the Prophetic Sunnah who had allowed the pagans 10 years at Hudaybiyyah.
    112. Yusuf Ali writes: "While we must always be ready for the good fight lest it be forced on us, even in the midst of the fight we must always be ready for peace if there is any inclination towards peace on the other side. There is no merit merely in a fight by itself. It should be a joyful duty not for itself, but to establish the reign of peace and righteousness and Allah's law."

    وَإِنْ يُرِيدُوا أَنْ يَخْدَعُوكَ فَإِنَّ حَسْبَكَ اللَّهُ ۚ هُوَ الَّذِي أَيَّدَكَ بِنَصْرِهِ وَبِالْمُؤْمِنِينَ (62)

    8|62| But if they try to deceive you, then, Allah is sufficient for you.113 He it is who supported you (O Muhammad) with His help and with the believers.114


    113. Mawdudi comments: "In international dealings Muslims should not act with timidity. They should rather have faith in God and should act with courage and bravery. However, as soon as the enemy is inclined to reconciliation, they should welcome the move and should not be reluctant to make peace even if they are unsure whether or not the enemy is sincere about peace, and whether or not he intends to use the settlement as a ruse to commit later treachery. Since it is impossible to know the true intention of others, allowance should be made for their words. If the enemy is sincere in his offer of reconciliation, the Muslims should not continue bloodshed because his insincerity, in their eyes, is suspect. On the contrary, if the enemy is insincere, the Muslims should have courage, thanks to their trust in God, and should go forth for reconciliation. They should stretch out their hand of peace in answer to the enemy's outstretched hand, for that is an index of their moral superiority. As for the hand of friendship which has been hypocritically stretched out in enmity, Muslims should have the strength to smash that hand to pieces."
    114. Imam Razi asks: Is there a need for any other's help after Allah's? Obviously not. Why then did Allah add the support of the believers after His own? He answers that of help there are two kinds: the apparent and the unapparent. Allah's help is unapparent. But when it descends, it has to take the form of visible means. That has been termed here as the help coming from the believers.

    وَأَلَّفَ بَيْنَ قُلُوبِهِمْ ۚ لَوْ أَنْفَقْتَ مَا فِي الْأَرْضِ جَمِيعًا مَا أَلَّفْتَ بَيْنَ قُلُوبِهِمْ وَلَٰكِنَّ اللَّهَ أَلَّفَ بَيْنَهُمْ ۚ إِنَّهُ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٌ (63)

    8|63| And He brought their hearts together (in love). Had you spent all that the earth holds, you could not have brought their hearts together.115 Rather, it was Allah who brought them together.116 Surely He is All-mighty, All-wise.117


    115. The interminable wars between the Aws and Khazraj tribes can be cited as an instance of hatred and intolerance toward each other. These kinds of protracted warfare cannot be brought to an abrupt end. Every last battle demands a new one. And the people involved, in those times, were so conscious of their rights that a tribe would fight another if one of its members was slapped by a member of another tribe. But the light of belief brought the episodes to a sudden close. Even more. After Islam, a man fought against his father or son in a battle, not hesitating to kill him. It was the power of faith that had conquered the hearts. Allah said (3: 103):


    وَاذْكُرُوا نِعْمَتَ اللَّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ إِذْ كُنْتُمْ أَعْدَاءً فَأَلَّفَ بَيْنَ قُلُوبِكُمْ فَأَصْبَحْتُمْ بِنِعْمَتِهِ إِخْوَانًا [آل عمران : 103]


    "Recall Allah's favor unto you (such as) when you were enemies He joined your hearts in love so that by His grace you became brothers (unto each other)" (based on Razi, Ibn Kathir).
    Herewith the same point in Mawdudi's words: "It was barely a couple of years before their acceptance of Islam that the two clans (Aws and Khazraj) virtually thirsted for each other's blood. During the battle of Bu`ath both seemed set to totally exterminate each other. To turn such severe enmity into deep cordiality and brotherhood within a span of two or three years and to join together mutually repellant elements into a unity as firm as that of a solid wall as was witnessed in regard to the Muslim community during the life of the Prophet (peace on him) was doubtlessly beyond the power of any mortal."
    And, Ibn `Abbas has said: "Blood relationships are severed. Good turns are denied. But nothing has been observed equaling the coming together of hearts" (Ibn Kathir).
    Walid ibn Abi Mughith says that once when he met Mujahid he said, "When two Muslims meet each other and shake hands, they both are forgiven their sins." Walid asked, "Merely by virtue of a hand-shake?" Mujahid replied, "Have you not heard Allah say, ‘Had you spent all that is there in the earth, you could not have brought their hearts together?'"
    According to another report when Mujahid said, "When two Muslims meet and shake hands, their sins fall like the leaves of a tree in Fall," somebody remarked, "That's pretty easy, is it not?" Mujahid said, "Do not say that. Has not Allah said, ‘Had you spent ...'" (Ibn Jarir).
    The above narration, concerning the sins of two Muslims falling off like leaves when they greet each other with a hand-shake, has been preserved in Tabarani as a hadith (Ibn Kathir).
    Imam Razi adds: Only that love can be long-lasting that has a long-lasting relationship as its basis, in this case, the Hereafter. All other kinds of love are ephemeral, because in their final analysis, they are material-based. Friends fall apart as soon as worldly reasons that brought them together disappear.
    Thanwi adds a Sufistic point: The verse demonstrates that to put a good quality into the heart of a disciple is not in the power of the Sheikh.
    116. Mufti Shafi` comments: The need for of unity is something over which there can be no second opinion. But, although everyone speaks of it, there are few who realize how it can be achieved. They do not understand that it cannot be achieved by material means. It is only Allah who can create it among a people and the requirement is His obedience. The Qur'an has therefore instructed us (3: 103):


    "Hold on unto the rope of Allah together, and do not differ."
    That is, if everyone held the rope of Allah, viz., the Qur'an and Sunnah, unitedly, all the differences will dissolve and a true unity will appear. The Qur'an has promised us (19: 96):


    إِنَّ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ سَيَجْعَلُ لَهُمُ الرَّحْمَنُ وُدًّا [مريم : 96]


    "Surely, those who believed and did righteous deeds, Allah will create love among them."
    There would still be room for differences in opinion: but since everyone would remain within the Shari`ah directives, it will not lead to a split in the people. It is only when the Shari`ah rules are ignored, that differences leading to disunity arise. If the Shari`ah is not the basis, then, obviously, everyone will have his own opinion and hence a true unity will remain a dream, and, even if achieved, would have a short life.
    A unity which has Allah’s love as the basis, can never lead to disunity. When the battle of Jamal was over, fighters of both the sides - `Ali and `A’isha – met in the tents the same evening and cried bitterly for what had transpired in the battle-field (Au.).
    117. Sayyid presents a few ahadith on the subject of ‘love in God.' The Prophet has said in a hadith of Abu Da'ud:

    "There are some among the people who are neither Prophets nor martyrs. But Prophets and martyrs will envy them on the Day of Judgment because of their rank with Allah." His Companions asked: "Messenger of Allah. Will you let us know who they are?" He replied: "They are a people who love each other in Allah, without being related by blood, nor because of monetary dealings between them. By Allah, their faces will be shining bright and they will be (seated) upon (couches of) Light. They will not be in fear when everyone will be in a state of fear and will not grieve when others grieve."
    In another report preserved by Tabarani he said:

    "When a Muslim meets a brother-Muslim, and holds his hand, their sins fall off, as the leaves fall down in autumn from a dried tree on a day of hard winds. And their sins are forgiven even if they be equal to the foam of the seas."

    يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ حَسْبُكَ اللَّهُ وَمَنِ اتَّبَعَكَ مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ (64)

    8|64| O Prophet! Sufficient for you is Allah and those who have followed you of the believers.118


    118. It is widely reported of Ibn `Abbas and Sa`id ibn Jubayr - as in Zamakhshari and others - that this verse was revealed when `Umar became the fortieth man to embrace Islam.

    يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ حَرِّضِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ عَلَى الْقِتَالِ ۚ إِنْ يَكُنْ مِنْكُمْ عِشْرُونَ صَابِرُونَ يَغْلِبُوا مِائَتَيْنِ ۚ وَإِنْ يَكُنْ مِنْكُمْ مِائَةٌ يَغْلِبُوا أَلْفًا مِنَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا بِأَنَّهُمْ قَوْمٌ لَا يَفْقَهُونَ (65)

    8|65| O Prophet! Urge on the believers to fight.119 If there be twenty of you - steadfast - they will overcome two hundred. And if there be a hundred of you, they will overcome a thousand of those who have disbelieved120 - because they are a people who do not understand.121


    119. Accordingly, we find that whenever the forces lined up, the Prophet urged the believers to fight for Paradise. For instance, at Badr he addressed them in words,


    قُومُوا إِلَى جَنَّةٍ عَرْضُهَا السَّمَوَاتُ وَالأَرْضُ. قَالَ يَقُولُ عُمَيْرُ بْنُ الْحُمَامِ الأَنْصَارِىُّ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ جَنَّةٌ عَرْضُهَا السَّمَوَاتُ وَالأَرْضُ قَالَ « نَعَمْ ». قَالَ بَخٍ بَخٍ. فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ -صلى الله عليه وسلم- « مَا يَحْمِلُكَ عَلَى قَوْلِكَ بَخٍ بَخٍ ». قَالَ لاَ وَاللَّهِ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ إِلاَّ رَجَاءَةَ أَنْ أَكُونَ مِنْ أَهْلِهَا. قَالَ « فَإِنَّكَ مِنْ أَهْلِهَا ». فَأَخْرَجَ تَمَرَاتٍ مِنْ قَرْنِهِ فَجَعَلَ يَأْكُلُ مِنْهُنَّ ثُمَّ قَالَ لَئِنْ أَنَا حَيِيتُ حَتَّى آكُلَ تَمَرَاتِى هَذِهِ إِنَّهَا لَحَيَاةٌ طَوِيلَةٌ - قَالَ - فَرَمَى بِمَا كَانَ مَعَهُ مِنَ التَّمْرِ. ثُمَّ قَاتَلَهُمْ حَتَّى قُتِلَ.


    "Rise up for a Paradise whose expanse is the heavens and the earth." At that `Umayr b. al-Humam asked, "The expanse of the heavens and the earth?!" The Prophet replied, "Yes." He said, "Bravo. Bravo." The Prophet asked, "What made you say that?" He replied, "Hoping to be one of its inhabitants." The Prophet said, "You are one of its inhabitants." The man advanced, broke the sheathe of his sword, and bringing out some dates began to chew. Then he threw them away, muttering, "If I am to stay alive until I have finished them, that would be a long life." Then he advanced into the enemy lines until he was martyred (Ibn Kathir).
    120. It has been reported that when it was said by the Qur'an that Muslims were not to retreat against a force ten times their size, they felt it hard to do that and so Allah granted them concession. Now they are not to be disheartened confronting a force twice their size (Ibn Jarir).
    A report to this effect is in Bukhari (Ibn Kathir).
    Thus, the second alternative does not abrogate the first (Qurtubi).
    121. To combine and summarize what Ibn Jarir has to report of the opinions of the first generation scholars is as follows: The implication of the words, "that is because they are a people who do not understand," is that the unbelievers have no understanding of the truth or falsehood, and therefore, cannot justify, in their hearts, what they are fighting for. This lack of conviction about the causes leads them to an inner weakness and consequently to defeat.
    Sayyid Qutb elaborates: "What's the connection between victory and understanding? Apparently, there seems to be none. But there is an underlying powerful connection. The Muslim-group stands out because it knows its path and understands its direction. It knows the purpose of its own existence and is cognizant of its ultimate goal. It knows the truth of Divinity and the truth of submission. It has the understanding that the Divinity has to have an over-arching position and that submission has to be for Him alone and none else. The Muslim Ummah knows that it has to be guided by Allah's guidance, that it has to move forward by the leave of Allah for the release of the people from the slavery of their own kind, and to bind them to the slavery of Allah. It realizes that it happens to be Allah's vicegerent on the earth: enjoying its existence not for its own sake, rather to hold aloft Allah's Word by way of its own utmost struggle, in order that the earth may be inhabited by right and the judgment among the people be by right, and, in order that Allah's kingdom be established on the earth. Realizations of this sort fill the heart of the Muslim-group with light, trust, power, and faith. These inner forces urge the group onward to jihad with confidence in the future adding to its power. In contrast, its adversaries are a people who "do not understand." Their hearts are locked up, eyes are blind, and strength weak - whatever the apparent material strength - for the power they possess has been severed off its source."

    لْآنَ خَفَّفَ اللَّهُ عَنْكُمْ وَعَلِمَ أَنَّ فِيكُمْ ضَعْفًا ۚ فَإِنْ يَكُنْ مِنْكُمْ مِائَةٌ صَابِرَةٌ يَغْلِبُوا مِائَتَيْنِ ۚ وَإِنْ يَكُنْ مِنْكُمْ أَلْفٌ يَغْلِبُوا أَلْفَيْنِ بِإِذْنِ اللَّهِ ۗ وَاللَّهُ مَعَ الصَّابِرِينَ (66)

    8|66| (However) Allah has now lightened it for you122 knowing that there is weakness in you. So, if there be a hundred of you - steadfast - they will overcome two hundred. And if there be a thousand of you, they will overcome two thousand by the leave of Allah.123 And Allah is with the steadfast.


    122. This part of the verse makes it clear that the earlier part was a commandment and not the statement of a fact. That is, twenty Muslims were required to fight 200 unbelievers (Razi).
    123. When a few face a difficult task, everybody puts in his best efforts knowing that his slackness can lead to failure of the group. But when they are in a large number, then the individual takes the efforts of the others for granted, and assumes that his own slackness will not have a serious effect. This could be the reason why Allah lightened and ordered that if the Muslims are a thousand, they should not flee against two thousand (Thanwi).

    مَا كَانَ لِنَبِيٍّ أَنْ يَكُونَ لَهُ أَسْرَىٰ حَتَّىٰ يُثْخِنَ فِي الْأَرْضِ ۚ تُرِيدُونَ عَرَضَ الدُّنْيَا وَاللَّهُ يُرِيدُ الْآخِرَةَ ۗ وَاللَّهُ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٌ (67)

    8|67| It is not for any Prophet that he should have captives124 before he has inflicted massacre in the land.125 You desire the chance goods of the world, but Allah desires the Hereafter.126 And Allah is All-mighty, All-wise.


    124. Asad points out what some Qur’anic readers miss to note: ‘As almost always in the Qur'an, an injunction addressed to the Prophet is, by implication, binding on his followers as well. Consequently, the above verse lays down that no person may be taken, or for any time retained, in captivity unless he was taken prisoner in jihad - that is, a holy war in defence of the Faith or of freedom - and, therefore, the acquisition of a slave by "peaceful" means, and the keeping of a slave thus acquired, is entirely prohibited: which to all practical purposes, amounts to a prohibition of slavery as a "social institution".'
    125. Yusuf Ali comments: ‘Destruction and slaughter, however repugnant to a gentle soul like that of Muhammad, were inevitable where evil tried to suppress the good. Even Jesus, whose mission was more limited, had to say: "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace but a sword." (Matt, x. 34).'
    Majid explains Jihad and quotes from older Scriptures. He writes: "The object of the Islamic jihad being the extirpation of the forces of paganism and the restoration of the kingdom of God, there was no sense in the warrior-prophet sheathing his sword until the culprits had got their desert and their capacity for mischief utterly smashed. Cf. the far more rigid military law of the OT:- ‘And when the Lord thy God hath delivered it into thine hands thou shalt smite every male thereof with the edge of the sword' (Dt. 20: 13). ‘And this is the thing that ye shall do. Ye shall utterly destroy every male, and every woman that hath lain by man' (Ju. 21: 11). Among the Jews, ‘if a city resisted their summons, the males without distinction, were put to the sword; the seven nations of Canaan were dashed to destruction; and neither repentance nor conversion could shield them from the inevitable doom, that no creature within their precincts should be left alive' (GRE. V. p. 359)."
    126. The following has come down as the context of revelation. It is reported by `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud that when seventy of the Quraysh were taken captive, the Prophet sought counsel of the Companions as to what should be done with them. Abu Bakr suggested, "Messenger of Allah. They are your kinsfolk and tribesmen. So, hold on for a while. Maybe Allah will turn to them in mercy." `Umar said, "They are a people who cried lies to you and banished you. So, behead them all." Another companion, `Abdullah ibn Rawaha suggested, "Look for a wooded valley. Shut them up therein and set the whole place on fire." At that `Abbas said to him, "Man. You have severed blood-ties." The Prophet himself said nothing. So the opinion of the people got divided between the opinions of Abu Bakr, `Umar and `Abdullah ibn Rawaha. Finally, he came out to them and said, "There are people whose hearts are as soft as milk. There are others whose heart is as hard as stones. Your example, O Abu Bakr is similar to that of Ibrahim who said,


    فَمَنْ تَبِعَنِي فَإِنَّهُ مِنِّي وَمَنْ عَصَانِي فَإِنَّكَ غَفُورٌ رَحِيمٌ [إبراهيم : 36]


    ‘Whoever followed me, is of me. As for him who disobeyed me, then, You are, (our Lord,) All-forgiving, All-Kind.' And, your example, O Abu Bakr, is similar to that of Jesus who said,


    وَإِنْ تَغْفِرْ لَهُمْ فَإِنَّكَ أَنْتَ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ [المائدة : 118]


    ‘If you forgive them (today), then, (after all) they are Your slaves.' And your example, O `Umar, is similar to that of Nuh who said,


    رَبِّ لَا تَذَرْ عَلَى الْأَرْضِ مِنَ الْكَافِرِينَ دَيَّارًا [نوح : 26]


    ‘My Lord. Do not leave of the unbelievers any dwelling in the land.' And your example, O Abu Rawaha is that of Musa who said,


    رَبَّنَا اطْمِسْ عَلَى أَمْوَالِهِمْ وَاشْدُدْ عَلَى قُلُوبِهِمْ فَلَا يُؤْمِنُوا حَتَّى يَرَوُا الْعَذَابَ الْأَلِيمَ [يونس : 88]


    ‘O Allah, destroy their wealth and harden their hearts so that they do not believe until they have experienced a severe chastisement.' Then the Prophet added, "Today you are in poor economic circumstances. Therefore, do not release any of them without a ransom, or behead him." At that `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud interjected, "Save for Suhayl ibn Bayda' for he used to indulge in disinformation against Islam." The Prophet stayed quiet for a while and `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud says he was so fearful during those moments as never before in his life. He feared that a stone from the heaven would crash on his head, until the Prophet said, "Except for Suhayl b. Bayda'." Then came down the verse,


    مَا كَانَ لِنَبِيٍّ أَنْ يَكُونَ لَهُ أَسْرَى حَتَّى يُثْخِنَ فِي الْأَرْضِ [الأنفال : 67]


    "And it is not for any Prophet that he should have captives (of war) before he has inflicted a massacre in the land."
    (The hadith is also in Hakim's Mustadrak and, in his opinion, of trustworthy narrators: Ibn Kathir).
    That said, the report about the Prophet’s words, viz., “Today you are in poor economic circumstances” has been declared weak by Shu`ayb al-Arna’ut (Au.).
    According to other reports, when `Umar was consulted on that occasion, he said: "I do not agree with Abu Bakr's opinion. I believe you should hand over to each of us, his kin taken captive, so that he can behead him. So, let `Ali kill (his brother) `Aqil, Hamza kill (his brother) `Abbas and let me kill so and so (who was related to `Umar on his wife's side)." Later, `Umar happened to chance upon the two - the Prophet and Abu Bakr - and found them weeping. He asked, "Tell me, what is it about that you weep so that I could also weep, or at least make an effort." The Prophet replied, "I weep because of what my Companions were exposed to because of their acceptance of ransom (from the captives)." Then, pointing to a tree nearby he added, "Your chastisement was shown to me nearer than this tree." Some other reports, e.g., one in Ibn Is-haq, say that had the chastisement come down none would have escaped (of the Companions) but `Umar and Sa`d b. Mu`adh. That is because, while the Companions were collecting booty, Sa`d’s face betrayed displeasure. He was then guarding the Prophet. He remarked: "It looks like you do not approve of what the people are doing." Sa`d replied: "Yes. This is the first occasion and I believe a thorough massacre was the right thing to attempt" (Zamakhshari, Razi, Qurtubi, Ibn Kathir and others).
    Sayyid adds: "There was another meaning that was meant to be impressed on the minds. It was best paraphrased by `Umar when he said: ‘(The massacre should have been carried on) in order that Allah knows that there is no soft corner for the pagans in our hearts.'"
    Ibn `Abbas, Dahhak and others have said, however, that this rule (of a good measure of massacre before prisoners are taken) applied only to Badr, because Muslims were then weak, and few in numbers. (They ought to have aimed at eliminating their enemy, especially the chiefs of the Quraysh: Au.). Subsequently, Allah revealed (47: 4):


    فَإِمَّا مَنًّا بَعْدُ وَإِمَّا فِدَاءً [محمد : 4]


    "Then, after that, either confer favor (upon them) or (impose) ransom."
    With the revelation of this verse Muslims were free to either slaughter their enemies in the battle-field or take them prisoners. Thereafter, they were free to release them without ransom, or, alternatively, demand ransom (Ibn Jarir).
    There is another report in Hakim's Mustadrak which says that `Abbas was taken prisoner by an Ansari. The Ansar threatened him that they would kill him. The report reached the Prophet. He said, "I did not sleep last night, worried over my uncle `Abbas who has been threatened with death by the Ansar." `Umar asked, "Shall I go to them?" He replied, "Yes." So `Umar went to the Ansar and demanded that `Abbas be released. They refused. `Umar asked, "Even if we have the Prophet's approval?" They said, "If you have the Prophet's approval, then you can take him with you." Having secured his release `Umar told `Abbas, "`Abbas, I wish you would accept Islam. By Allah, your conversion to Islam is dearer to me than that of (my father) Khattab. And that is because I believe the Prophet would be pleased if you embraced Islam" (Ibn Kathir).
    Qurtubi and Ibn Kathir also report under the following verses that the Prophet could not sleep the night after Badr-battle. When somebody inquired, he said that he could hear the sound of `Abbas' chains. So they unbound him and the Prophet slept thereafter. Bukhari also reports that the Ansar wished to free him without ransom. But the Prophet opposed the idea saying, "Do not forgive anything." Other reports say that when ransom was demanded of `Abbas, he appealed to the Prophet saying, "Messenger of Allah, you know that I was a Muslim (all along)." The Prophet told him, "Allah knows best about your Islam. If you are true, Allah will recompense you. As for us, apparently, you were with the unbelievers. Therefore, you ought to not only release yourself on ransom but pay up for your nephews Nawfal b. Harith and `Aqil b. Abi Talib too, as well as for your ally `Utbah b. `Amr." `Abbas protested, "Where am I going to get all the money from?" The Prophet asked, "What about the treasure you and your wife Umm al-Fadl secretly buried? You told her, ‘If I am struck, then this money is for you, for Fadl's children `Abdullah and Quthum.'" `Abbas said, "By Allah, O Allah’s Apostle, you are surely a Messenger of Allah. (According to another narration: "I was in some doubt about it, but today I feel very sure"). No one knew about this except me and Umm al-Fadl. In any case, if you have to take ransom from me then treat the 20 Awqiyah that I had on me when I was captured as part of the sum (It had been confiscated of him)." The Prophet told him, "That will not do. That was Allah's bounty that He bestowed on us." So, `Abbas released himself and the others and Allah revealed:


    يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ قُلْ لِمَنْ فِي أَيْدِيكُمْ مِنَ الْأَسْرَى إِنْ يَعْلَمِ اللَّهُ فِي قُلُوبِكُمْ خَيْرًا يُؤْتِكُمْ خَيْرًا مِمَّا أُخِذَ مِنْكُمْ [الأنفال : 70]


    "O Prophet! Say to the prisoners in your hand, ‘If Allah knows of goodness in your hearts, He will grant you better than what has been taken from you.'"
    Qurtubi adds: Some reports suggest that it was on that day that `Abbas embraced Islam. It is also said that `Abbas was a huge man, while his captor was a puny Ansari. The Prophet told the Ansari: "An angel helped you in capturing him."
    Rashid quotes from Hafiz ibn Hajr's "Isabah" that although `Abbas embraced Islam that day, he returned to Makkah to remain a Muslim in secrecy. He used to write to the Prophet the movements of the Quraysh. He migrated just before the fall of Makkah. He accompanied the Prophet in his Makkan campaign and fought with him at Hunayn.
    Another incident of note is that one of those taken prisoners was Abu al-`Aas al-Harbi. He was Zaynab's husband, the Prophet's daughter - still in Makkah. Zaynab sent a necklace to release him. When the Prophet saw the necklace, he recalled that originally it belonged to Khadijah. He could not suppress his feelings. He pleaded to the Ansar: "If you could release this man without a ransom?!" They agreed and let Abu al-`Aas go free. Once in Makkah, Abu al-`Aas allowed Zaynab to go away to her father. But, as she was leaving with her brother-in-law, they were caught up by a few Makkans who had got wind of her departure. They came out in hot pursuit. A man called Habbar b. al-Aswad threatened her with a spear. Zaynab suffered a miscarriage. Her brother-in-law vowed to fight on. But Abu Sufyan happened to turn up. He told her not to hurt the Quraysh's feelings more by traveling to her father so openly. She could delay the journey for a few days and then go away secretly. Accordingly, a few days later she left secretly at night. From the other side, the Prophet learnt of her departure and sent two men to escort her from a point off Makkah. She arrived safely and Abu al-Aas joined her later as a Muslim.
    Ibn Jarir notes that the ransom on that occasion was 100 Awqiyah. Each Awqiyah was 40 Dirham or about 6 Dinar.
    That was for those that could pay. Alternatively, those who were literate, they were required to teach the art of reading and writing to ten Muslims to regain freedom (Au.).

    لَوْلَا كِتَابٌ مِنَ اللَّهِ سَبَقَ لَمَسَّكُمْ فِيمَا أَخَذْتُمْ عَذَابٌ عَظِيمٌ (68)

    8|68| If not for a writing of Allah preceding, surely, a mighty chastisement would have touched you for what you took.127


    127. Ibn `Abbas, Abu Hurayrah, Hasan al-Busri and A`mash have said that the reference is to taking of prisoners at Badr and then releasing them on ransom. And by the words, "If not for a writing of Allah preceding," the allusion is to the spoils of war, which would have been in any case made lawful to the Muslims, after they had remained unlawful in earlier times - because that was how it was decreed. But they invited the reproach by taking the spoils of war and the ransom before the release of a specific commandment from Allah.
    However, a few others, such as Sa`id, Mujahid, Qatadah and Hasan have said that by the words, "If not for a writing of Allah preceding," the allusion is to the fact that Allah had written it that He will not punish those who participated in the battle of Badr. A third opinion is that of Mujahid and Muhammad, who said that the allusion is to the rule set by Allah that He does not punish before He has sent the prohibiting commandment. Further, there are reports that the Prophet had warned his Companions that if they released their prisoners on ransom, they would have to pay a similar price in consequence, when they would lose seventy of their own men (Ibn Jarir, Qurtubi).
    Reports as referred to by Ibn Jarir in his last lines above are in Tirmidhi, Nasa'i and Ibn Hibban. However, it is a gharib report (Ibn Kathir). Gharib is a hadith which is difficult to explain and to reconcile with other reports on the same topic. Nonetheless, a hadith close in meaning, is in Ahmad also. And, Shu`ayb al-Arna'ut has said in his notes on Ibn Hibban (vol. 11, p. 119) that the hadith, although difficult to explain, is classified Sahih by Hakim with Dhahabi agreeing with him that it meets with the criterion of Bukhari and Muslim (Au.).
    Mufti Shafi` further explains the situation: Tirmidhi, Nasa'i and Ibn Hibban have preserved a report by `Ali which says that Jibril came down to say that the Prophet and his Companions had a choice between killing the captives and destroying the enemy strength forever, or, alternatively, accept ransom from them. But, in the latter case they would lose equal number of their men next year. Now, although the Companions had a choice, the inclusion of the condition gave indication that Allah preferred them to opt for the first option. Some of the Companions however thought that if they released the captives on ransom, there was a chance they would embrace Islam. The idea that the money coming in would also release them from worrisome economic woes and, in fact, help prepare for future battles, was also at the back of their minds and which evoked Allah's displeasure. (The disapproval of the love of this world was known, anyway, through earlier revelations: Thanwi). As for equal numbers to be martyred in return, they did not think much of that: ‘was it not, after all, a great thing to be martyred?’ So, the censure was both for going for booty in haste, as well as for acceptance of ransom, since, in the true sense, money got out of ransom was also a kind of booty.
    A fiqh principle, continues Shafi`, might also be borne in mind. If today, someone makes a deal which accrues profit, but learns later that the deal was disallowed, then, the profits thus accrued are illegal, although the deal itself is forgivable. One should not be misled by the above verse to believe that the profits are also as forgivable as the collection of booty or taking of ransom was to the Companions - although promulgation about it came later.
    To some it might sound strange that a people should be given a choice and then should be reproached as it happened with the Companions. They were given a choice between killing and accepting ransom. But when they chose they were censured! The answer given by Shabbir is as follows: The choice was by way of test and was of the same nature as presented to the wives of the Prophet when they were told to choose between the riches of the world and the Prophet as their husband, or, when the Prophet was presented with milk and wine during the Mi`raj journey and then, upon choosing milk being told by Jibril that if he had chosen wine his Ummah would have gone astray. Further, it is likely that the Companions, although given a choice, did not exert their best efforts on making the choice. Being in the high-ranking position as they were, it amounted to a serious failure. Another example can be cited. During a campaign, a man wounded in the head experienced a wet dream. He asked the other Companions whether he was necessarily required to take a full bath. They told him yes. He washed himself head to foot and died. When the Prophet came to know, he remarked: "They killed him, may Allah kill them." That is, they had not exerted their best efforts before ruling that the man should take a full bath in that condition. Finally, by bringing the punishment as close as ‘the tree yonder there,’ was by way of vision of the punishment (and not to threaten him); as, for example, once when in Prayers, the Prophet was shown Heaven and Hell as close as the wall in front of him.
    Thanwi cautions: If a Prophet, who is saved from (grave) errors, can make an erroneous judgment, then, what about ordinary mortals? How correct are those then who, when they are handed down a wrong opinion by a Sheikh, insist that since it has come from the Sheikh, surely there must be a good thing hidden in it?
    Rashid Rida discusses in some detail Ibn al-Qayyim's opinion expressed in his Zad al-Ma`ad to the effect that Abu Bakr's opinion - with reference to the captives of Badr - was the preferred opinion with Allah and not that of `Umar ibn al-Khattab. Rashid Rida demonstrates that, with all respect to the great scholar, it can be definitely said that Ibn al-Qayyim committed an error here. The Qur'anic verses 67 and 68 are pretty clear about what should have been preferably done with the captives of Badr: "It is not for a ..."

    فَكُلُوا مِمَّا غَنِمْتُمْ حَلَالًا طَيِّبًا ۚ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَحِيمٌ (69)

    8|69| So eat now (freely),128 of what you have secured of the spoils: lawful, goodly,129 and fear Allah. Verily, Allah is All-forgiving, All-kind.


    128. It is said that when the previous verse was revealed the Companions held themselves back from expending out of the booty and the ransom until Allah revealed this verse (Razi, Alusi).
    129. With reference to the textual words "halalan tayyiban" Sabuni points out that they are explained by a hadith (in Bukhari: Au.) which says:


    جُعِلَ رِزْقِي تَحْتَ ظِلِّ رُمْحِي


    "My sustenance has been placed under the shade of my lance."

    يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ قُلْ لِمَنْ فِي أَيْدِيكُمْ مِنَ الْأَسْرَىٰ إِنْ يَعْلَمِ اللَّهُ فِي قُلُوبِكُمْ خَيْرًا يُؤْتِكُمْ خَيْرًا مِمَّا أُخِذَ مِنْكُمْ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ ۗ وَاللَّهُ غَفُورٌ رَحِيمٌ (70)

    8|70| O Prophet! Say to the prisoners in your hand, ‘If Allah knows of goodness in your hearts, He will grant you better than what has been taken from you.130 And He will forgive you.131 Allah is All-forgiving, All-merciful.132


    130. Asad comments: ‘I.e., "If God finds in your hearts a disposition to realize the truth of His message, He will bestow on you faith and, thus, the good of the life to come: and this will outweigh by far your defeat in war and the loss of so many of your friends and companions." Although these words relate primarily to the pagan Quraysh taken prisoner in the battle of Badr, they circumscribe the Islamic attitude towards all unbelieving enemies who might fall in the believers' hands in the course of war.'
    Ibn Hajr has written that when the Prophet charged `Abbas a 100 Awqiyah for himself and 80 for `Aqil, `Abbas chided him: "Is this how you pay me for being related to you?" And Allah revealed, "Say to the captives in your hand ..."
    131. Ibn Is-haq has reported that on the day of Badr the Prophet said: "A few of the Banu Hashim have been forced into this conflict against their will. Therefore, whoever comes across Abu al-Bakhtari, let him not kill him. Whoever comes across `Abbas ibn `Abdul Muttalib, let him not kill him." Upon that Hudhayfah b. `Utbah remarked, "Are we to slaughter our fathers, sons, brothers, and kinsfolk but spare `Abbas? By Allah, if I overpower him, I shall put him to the sword.' His words reached the Prophet. He said to `Umar, "O Abu Hafs - and this was the only time in his life that he addressed `Umar as Abu Hafs - will the face of the Prophet's uncle be struck?" `Umar retaliated, "Shall I kill him, O Messenger of Allah? I think the man is a hypocrite." Ibn `Utbah says, "I was never in peace from what I said that day and was always afraid Allah (will chastise me) unless Allah were to cleanse me of it through martyrdom." And, to be sure, he was martyred in the battle of Yamamah (Ibn Kathir).
    `Abbas (ra), who was taken a prisoner at Badr, used to say about himself: "I am one of those who had the promise fulfilled on himself. I paid 40 Awqiyah of gold on that day for my release, but later, Allah (swt) gave me 40 slaves. And I hope to be forgiven my sins (as promised in the verse)" - Ibn Jarir.
    Abu Bakr al-Bayhaqi has a report that much later the governor of Bahrayn region sent so much goods as the Prophet never received before or after. The Prophet ordered that it to be laid out in the yard of the mosque. He emerged for the Prayers but did not even look at the heap. After the Prayers he began to distribute. No one passed by but he called him in and gave him some. Then `Abbas showed up and said, "Give me now, O Messenger of Allah, in return of what I spent on ransom." The Prophet told him, "Help yourself." `Abbas gathered so much in his shirt that he could not lift it. He asked someone standing there if he could help him lift it. The man declined. Then he asked `Ali to help him lift it. But he too declined. The Prophet suggested that he lessen the load and lift it himself. `Abbas did that, but could only do it with difficulty. The reporter says the Prophet fixed his gaze on `Abbas until he disappeared - wondering at his avarice. After him the Prophet (saws) left the place only after he was left with not a single Dirham. Bukhari has parts of this report spread over different parts of his collection (Razi in parts and Ibn Kathir).
    Bahrayn of those times referred to the Western boundary of the Arabian Peninsula, minus Oman (Au.).
    132. Yusuf Ali writes: "Note how comprehensive is Allah's care. He encourages and strengthens the Muslims, at the same time condemning any base motives that may have entered their minds. He consoles the prisoners of war and promises them better things if there is any good in them at all. And He offers comfort to those who have left their homes in His Cause, and knits them into closer fellowship with those who have helped them and sympathized with them."
    With reference to the words, ‘If Allah knows of goodness in your hearts, He will grant you better than what has been taken from you; and He will forgive you,' Thanwi points out that this verse leads to the conclusion that obedience evokes blessings of both this world as well as the next, although the rewards of the next world are worthier.

    وَإِنْ يُرِيدُوا خِيَانَتَكَ فَقَدْ خَانُوا اللَّهَ مِنْ قَبْلُ فَأَمْكَنَ مِنْهُمْ ۗ وَاللَّهُ عَلِيمٌ حَكِيمٌ (71)

    8|71| But if they intend to be dishonest then they have been dishonest with Allah before. But He protected you from them. Allah is All-knowing, All-wise.133


    133. The allusion is to some of those prisoners at Badr who showed signs of inclination toward Islam. However, they seemed to be merely wishing to be friendly with the Muslims without damaging their relationships with the unbelievers (Ibn Jarir, Qurtubi).
    But Qatadah has said that the allusion is to Ibn Abi Sarh who was one of the Prophet’s revelation writers. Subsequently, he became an apostate and joined up with the pagans at Makkah. When Makkah fell, the Prophet announced that three people were not to be given shelter. One of them was `Abdullah ibn Abi Sarh. But `Uthman brought him to the Prophet seeking his pardon. While they stood there an Ansari came up with an unsheathed sword, circling the man. Initially the Prophet did not say anything. Finally he pardoned him. Later he remarked that if he had delayed the pardon, it was because he was expecting the Ansari to behead him. The Ansari remarked that he could have signaled him with his eye. The Prophet replied, "A Prophet does not signal with his eye" (Ibn Jarir).

    إِنَّ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَهَاجَرُوا وَجَاهَدُوا بِأَمْوَالِهِمْ وَأَنْفُسِهِمْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ وَالَّذِينَ آوَوْا وَنَصَرُوا أُولَٰئِكَ بَعْضُهُمْ أَوْلِيَاءُ بَعْضٍ ۚ وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَلَمْ يُهَاجِرُوا مَا لَكُمْ مِنْ وَلَايَتِهِمْ مِنْ شَيْءٍ حَتَّىٰ يُهَاجِرُوا ۚ وَإِنِ اسْتَنْصَرُوكُمْ فِي الدِّينِ فَعَلَيْكُمُ النَّصْرُ إِلَّا عَلَىٰ قَوْمٍ بَيْنَكُمْ وَبَيْنَهُمْ مِيثَاقٌ ۗ وَاللَّهُ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ بَصِيرٌ (72)

    8|72| Surely, those who believed, emigrated,134 and struggled with their wealth and their selves in Allah's cause, and those who sheltered and helped (them), they are friends of one another.135 As for those who believed but did not migrate, you have no duty of friendship toward them until they emigrate.136 However, if they seek your help on religious grounds, then it is your duty to help them, except against a people between whom and you there is a pact.137 And Allah is well aware of what you do.138


    134. "Hijrah is not ‘emigration' or ‘flight' pure and simple, but emigration with a religious motive" (Majid).
    135. Another verse of the Qur'an describes the nature of the "wilayah" between the Muhajirun and Ansar. It says (59: 8-9):


    لِلْفُقَرَاءِ الْمُهَاجِرِينَ الَّذِينَ أُخْرِجُوا مِنْ دِيَارِهِمْ وَأَمْوَالِهِمْ يَبْتَغُونَ فَضْلًا مِنَ اللَّهِ وَرِضْوَانًا وَيَنْصُرُونَ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ أُولَئِكَ هُمُ الصَّادِقُونَ (8) وَالَّذِينَ تَبَوَّءُوا الدَّارَ وَالْإِيمَانَ مِنْ قَبْلِهِمْ يُحِبُّونَ مَنْ هَاجَرَ إِلَيْهِمْ وَلَا يَجِدُونَ فِي صُدُورِهِمْ حَاجَةً مِمَّا أُوتُوا وَيُؤْثِرُونَ عَلَى أَنْفُسِهِمْ وَلَوْ كَانَ بِهِمْ خَصَاصَةٌ وَمَنْ يُوقَ شُحَّ نَفْسِهِ فَأُولَئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ [الحشر : 8 ، 9]


    "(The spoils are) for the poor emigrants who were expelled from their homes and their properties, seeking bounty from Allah, (His) approval, and supporting Allah and His Messenger. Those are the truthful ones. And (also for) those who were settled in the home (i.e., the Ansar), and (adopted) the faith before them. They love those who emigrated to them and find not any want in their breasts for what they (the emigrants) were given, instead, they give (them) preference over their own selves, although they are (themselves) in want."
    Ibn Kathir explains the last phrase as meaning that they do not envy them over the superiority that Allah gave the Emigrants over the Helpers because of their emigration.
    136. The first generation scholars have said that the "wilayah" (rendered here as friendship) as spoken of in these set of verses, (of which "ukhuwwah" is one manifestation: Au.), included inheritance between them. So that, those Muhajir and the Ansari Muslims between whom the Prophet had declared ukhuwwah (brotherhood) received their share of inheritance from each other (even before the kinsfolk could get their share: Ibn Kathir from Bukhari). In contrast, a Muslim who did not migrate to Madinah was not inherited by his Muslim relatives who had migrated, and vice versa (just as a Muslim and pagan did not inherit each other: Au.). This remained until the fall of Makkah (when mu'akha [brotherhood pact] ended: Au.). This is what verse 75 of this chapter is speaking of, announcing (that the mu'akha rule was for the special circumstances of the early days and) that those related by blood are nearer, implying that henceforth they - the kin - will inherit each other (Ibn Jarir).
    Ibn Jarir's own opinion is that by "wilayah" of these verses, it is only material and moral help that is meant.
    The Prophet has however plainly said in a report preserved by Hakim and declared trustworthy:


    لاَ يَتَوَارَثَ أَهْلُ مِلَّتَيْنِ شَتَّى لَا يَرِثُ الْمُسْلِمُ الْكَافِرَ وَلَا الْكَافِرُ الْمُسْلِمَ


    "Members of two religious communities will not inherit each other. Neither a Muslim can inherit an unbeliever, nor an unbeliever a Muslim."
    Similar reports are found in piece-meal in the Sahihayn and Tirmidhi (Ibn Kathir).
    A report in Muslim makes things clearer. It says that when the Prophet sent his Companions out in a campaign, he instructed them in words:


    اغْزُوا بِاسْمِ اللَّهِ فِى سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ قَاتِلُوا مَنْ كَفَرَ بِاللَّهِ اغْزُوا وَ لاَ تَغُلُّوا وَلاَ تَغْدِرُوا وَلاَ تَمْثُلُوا وَلاَ تَقْتُلُوا وَلِيدًا وَإِذَا لَقِيتَ عَدُوَّكَ مِنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ فَادْعُهُمْ إِلَى ثَلاَثِ خِصَالٍ - أَوْ خِلاَلٍ - فَأَيَّتُهُنَّ مَا أَجَابُوكَ فَاقْبَلْ مِنْهُمْ وَكُفَّ عَنْهُمْ ثُمَّ ادْعُهُمْ إِلَى الإِسْلاَمِ فَإِنْ أَجَابُوكَ فَاقْبَلْ مِنْهُمْ وَكُفَّ عَنْهُمْ ثُمَّ ادْعُهُمْ إِلَى التَّحَوُّلِ مِنْ دَارِهِمْ إِلَى دَارِ الْمُهَاجِرِينَ وَأَخْبِرْهُمْ أَنَّهُمْ إِنْ فَعَلُوا ذَلِكَ فَلَهُمْ مَا لِلْمُهَاجِرِينَ وَعَلَيْهِمْ مَا عَلَى الْمُهَاجِرِينَ فَإِنْ أَبَوْا أَنْ يَتَحَوَّلُوا مِنْهَا فَأَخْبِرْهُمْ أَنَّهُمْ يَكُونُونَ كَأَعْرَابِ الْمُسْلِمِينَ يَجْرِى عَلَيْهِمْ حُكْمُ اللَّهِ الَّذِى يَجْرِى عَلَى الْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَلاَ يَكُونُ لَهُمْ فِى الْغَنِيمَةِ وَالْفَىْءِ شَىْءٌ إِلاَّ أَنْ يُجَاهِدُوا مَعَ الْمُسْلِمِينَ فَإِنْ هُمْ أَبَوْا فَسَلْهُمُ الْجِزْيَةَ فَإِنْ هُمْ أَجَابُوكَ فَاقْبَلْ مِنْهُمْ وَكُفَّ عَنْهُمْ فَإِنْ هُمْ أَبَوْا فَاسْتَعِنْ بِاللَّهِ وَقَاتِلْهُمْ.


    "Go out: in the name of Allah, in the path of Allah. Fight him who rejects Allah. When you meet your enemies, invite them to one of the three and accept from them whichsoever of the three they choose. Invite them to Islam. If they accept, restrain yourselves. Then urge them to migrate from their homes to the land of the emigrants (Madinah). If they do that, they shall get what the emigrants get. If they refuse, and choose to remain in their places, then tell them that they will be counted among the bedouin-Muslims, and to be ruled by Allah's commandments - just as other Muslims. But they shall have no share in the spoils of war: of any kind, unless they fight alongside the Muslims. If they decline to accept the offer, then let them choose to pay tribute. If they accept that, then restrain yourselves against them. But if they decline, then seek Allah's help and fight against them" (Ibn Kathir).
    Mufti Shafi` adds: In the light of the above verse, some scholars have ruled that just as the difference in religion is a bar to inheritance, difference in lands (ikhtilaf al-daarayn) is also a bar to inheritance. Details might be seen in fiqh books.
    137. Although (those who remain in Dar al-Harb) are Muslims, and Allah has commanded the general body of Muslims to help them when they ask for help, an exception has been made: a situation in which the Muslims have entered into a no-war pact (with the Dar al-Harb in question) - Shafi`. However, if the Dar al-Harb Muslims sought help, while the main body of Muslims is bound by a treaty, then, they might revoke the treaty if they think that the situation demands it (Thanwi). Further, if the Dar al-Harb Muslims have entered into a pact with the non-Muslims, those of Dar al-Islam are not bound by such a treaty (Shabbir).
    138. The rule remains for the future also. If, in any land, it is not possible for Muslims to follow the commandments of the Shari`ah, it is obligatory on them to emigrate. If they do not, without a good reason, then, even if they do not become unbelievers altogether, the law of the muhajir and non-muhajir (in Dar al-Harb) of no inheritance between them will come into force (Shafi`).

    وَالَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا بَعْضُهُمْ أَوْلِيَاءُ بَعْضٍ ۚ إِلَّا تَفْعَلُوهُ تَكُنْ فِتْنَةٌ فِي الْأَرْضِ وَفَسَادٌ كَبِيرٌ (73)

    8|73| As regards those who have disbelieved, some of them are friends of the others.139 If you do not do that, there will be sedition and great corruption in the land.140


    139. Accordingly, the Hanafiyyah say that all kinds of unbelievers can inherit each other; so that a Christian may inherit a Hindu, etc. (Razi).
    In fact, Mufti Shafi` adds, even the division of inheritance will follow the rules that the non-Muslims normally apply to themselves. In other words, as minorities, they have the freedom to live by their Personal Law. If that is not done, it will, as the verse warns, lead to corruption in the land.
    140. What the verse means to say is that ‘if you do not treat the believers, wherever they might be, as your friends and natural allies, and do not go to their help, then, there will be great sedition and corruption in the lands (Au).
    Incidentally, it might be mentioned that the Prophet did not treat those as Muslims who had not emigrated to Madinah (Ibn Jarir). He has said in a tradition of Abu Da'ud and Ibn Majah:


    إِنِّي بَرِيءٌ مِنْ كُلِّ مُسْلِمٍ مُقِيمٍ بَيْنَ أَظْهُرِ الْمُشْرِكِينَ ، قَالُوا : يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ ، وَلِمَ ؟ قَالَ : لاَ تَتَرَاءَى نَارَاهُمَا


    "I am quit of every Muslim who chooses to live in the lands of the pagans. The two should not see each other's fires." They asked, “Why is that so, Messenger of Allah?” He replied, “Fires of the two will not see each other.” (Ibn Kathir). Meaning, by the last phrase, perhaps, that when the two, Muslim and non-Muslim encamp, the Muslims should keep enough distance between themselves and the pagans. Another interpretation (as in Ikmal al-Mu`allim Sharh Sahih Muslim) is that the two will not have houses in Paradise together (Au.).
    Another hadith of Abu Da'ud (declared Sahih by Albani) says,


    مَنْ جَامَعَ الْمُشْرِكَ وَسَكَنَ مَعَهُ فَإِنَّهُ مِثْلُهُ


    "Whoever intermingled with a pagan and lived with him is of him." According to another version the above hadith ends with the words, “he will be raised with him,” (i.e., with the pagan). If the Muslims do not do that then "there will be sedition and great corruption in the land" (Ibn Kathir).
    Yusuf Ali speaks of another aspect of the meaning: "Evil consorts with evil. The good have all the more reason for drawing together and not only living in mutual harmony, but being ready at all times to protect each other. Otherwise the world will be given over to aggressions by unscrupulous people, and the good will fail in their duty to establish Allah's Peace and to strengthen all the forces of truth and righteousness."

    وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَهَاجَرُوا وَجَاهَدُوا فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ وَالَّذِينَ آوَوْا وَنَصَرُوا أُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ حَقًّا ۚ لَهُمْ مَغْفِرَةٌ وَرِزْقٌ كَرِيمٌ (74)

    8|74| Those who believed, emigrated and struggled in Allah's cause, and those who sheltered and helped, they are the true believers. For them is forgiveness, and a noble provision.

    وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مِنْ بَعْدُ وَهَاجَرُوا وَجَاهَدُوا مَعَكُمْ فَأُولَٰئِكَ مِنْكُمْ ۚ وَأُولُو الْأَرْحَامِ بَعْضُهُمْ أَوْلَىٰ بِبَعْضٍ فِي كِتَابِ اللَّهِ ۗ إِنَّ اللَّهَ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمٌ (75)

    8|75| As for those who believed thereafter, emigrated and struggled along with you, they are of you,141 although of the kinsfolk some have precedence over others in the Book of Allah.142 Surely, Allah has knowledge of all things.


    141. Yusuf Ali also explains: "Those who come into the fold last are none the less brethren in the fullest acceptance of the term. But any special provisions made in the special circumstances of the first martyrs for the Cause will not of course apply to them as the special circumstances which made them necessary have ceased to exist."
    We have a hadith of the Prophet in this context. He said,


    الْمُهَاجِرُونَ وَالأَنْصَارُ بَعْضُهُمْ أَوْلِيَاءُ بَعْضٍ فِي الدُّنْيَا وَالآخِرَةِ ، وَالطُّلَقَاءُ مِنْ قُرَيْشٍ ، وَالْعُتَقَاءُ مِنْ ثَقِيفٍ بَعْضُهُمْ أَوْلِيَاءُ بَعْضٍ فِي الدُّنْيَا وَالآخِرَةِ


    "Surely, Muhajirun and Ansar are each others' supporters (awliya'). So also, the freed ones of the Quraysh and the freed ones of the Thaqif tribe are supporters of each other - until the Day of Judgment" (Ibn Kathir).
    142. In the opinion of Ibn Zubayr, this verse abrogated the practice in pagan times of the two friends entering into a compact to the effect that one would inherit the other (Ibn Jarir).
    Alusi adds: The verse is the basis of the recommendation that the nearest of kin should lead in the funeral Prayers.
    Mufti Shafi` explains the inheritance rules: Verses 11 and 12 of surah al-Nisa' had already spoken of those who receive the first preference in the division of inheritance. The inheritors named there are technically known as "Dhu al-fara'id." They are the first recipients. However, if anything is left after distribution among them, then it goes to the "Ulu al-arham" as stated in the present verse. But the textual word "Ulu al-arham", meaning "the kinsfolk" is of a general nature, applicable to every one of the family, however distantly related. In fact, it can be extended to the last man on earth since all are sons of Adam. It is ahadith which tell us that in matters of inheritance, the nearest of kin are considered for eligibility before the distant ones. It says: "As for the fara’id (primary heirs) distribute it among those who deserve it. What remains thereafter is for the nearest male of the kinsfolk." In simpler words, whatever is left after the division according to the Qur'anic injunction in verses 11 and 12 of surah al-Nisa' is to go to the nearest of male kin on the father's side, and then to the one more distant, and so on. These are technically known al `Asabat. Finally, if anything is still left, it is to be divided among the "Ulu al-arham" which, when used with reference to the Laws of Inheritance, becomes a technical term comprising maternal uncles, maternal aunts, etc. Details might be seen in fiqh books.
    Sayyid comments: With the surah drawing to a close, it offers us the final lessons. On the one hand, it speaks of the nature of relationship that exists between members of a Muslim society, while, on the other, it delineates the society's relationship with other societies. It states the rules that bind one individual with the others. These rules also shed light on the "nature" of the Muslim society and the foundations on which it rests. Lo, they are not the relationships of blood, region, race, past history, language, or economy. These are not the basis of the relationships. It is Faith which is the basis of all relationship.. The basis is leadership .. and the Movement.. Those who believed and emigrated to the Land of Islam, cutting asunder all kinds of bindings that could hold them back: the land, the homes, the people and other considerations, .. and then fought in the way of Allah with their own souls and their own wealth, .. and those who sheltered them, helped them and took them close to themselves for the sake of Faith under a single leadership, being transformed into a single surging current .. such, they are the friends and supporters of each other .. to the extent that they were to inherit each other. As for those who disbelieved, they are friends and supporters of their likes."
    Further down the lines he writes: "The effect on the Islamic polity and the society it gave birth to, of the phenomenon that was laid out above was something incredibly wonderful. It was a society bonded by no other factor than Faith. Race, color, geographical location, language or other considerations played no role whatsoever. Consequently, the Islamic society became open for all kinds and classes of people, of variety of colors, speaking different dialects, facing no stumbling blocks of any kind. Varieties of people poured into the melting pot and then the elements were made to fuse into each other to give rise to an admixture, within a very short period. In its sequel, this small band of men brought into being a great civilization stretching over a vast area of the globe at a lightning pace despite the fact that it was an age in which movements were slow and means of communication crude.
    "The new civilization had fused into itself Arabs, Persians, Syrians, Egyptians, Moroccans, Turks, Chinese, Indians, Romans, Greeks, Indonesians, Africans and the rest of the varieties of people. Together, its parts created a massive whole that came to be known as the Islamic civilization. Yet, not for a single day it was ‘Arabic' or ‘nationalistic.' It was always ‘Islamic' founded on Faith.
    The new elements fused together to create a civilization in which they were all equal, bound to others by love. Everyone poured in his efforts, and everyone contributed his specialty and pooled in individual as well as collective experiences to build a civilization to which they all related themselves as equals. Their unity within it was by the bond of love for their Lord and it was their humanity alone that was brought to fore, without any obstacles .. a coming together of humankind that was never experienced before in history.
    "Earlier and later, other efforts to unite the people under one banner had met with failures: the Roman empire, the British empire, the European hegemony, and finally, the Communist regimes. All of them miserably failed in their efforts to unite the people.
    "It was Islam and Islam alone that succeeded. Yet, how ironic it is, that today that its own adherents should look for alternatives and bank on failed formulas to unite the Muslims?"