Surat At-Tawbah

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).

_______________________

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.

________________________

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.

______________________

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. 9

    Merits of the Surah

    Here is a shortened version of what Rashid Rida had to write as the background story of this chapter: Allah Most High raised a Messenger sending down Islam through him as the final and complete religion. He revealed the Qur'an as an all time miracle and a proof of the authenticity of His Messenger. He directed that the call be made (to His Religion) on the basis of rational evidences and practical wisdom. He forbid coercion and resort to force. But the pagans chose to oppose. They persecuted those who responded favorably preventing the common people from giving the call an ear. They reacted so violently that none who embraced the truth could feel his life and property safe unless shielded by one of them. Those who could flee, fled. The Quraysh turned their attention to the Prophet (saws), insulting him, hurting him, boycotting him and, finally, deciding to assassinate him. So Allah (swt) ordered him to move out of Makkah, which he did as well as everyone who could: seeking refuge in Madinah. There they found a people who helped them for Allah's sake, giving them preference over their own selves. On the other hand, an extremely hostile situation was created between the Muslims at Madinah and the Quraysh at Makkah. The Prophet entered into a treaty of understanding and co operation with the Jews of Madinah. But they proved to be dishonest and broke their treaty. At heart they were with the Makkans and aided them whenever war broke out.
    (After several years of futile opposition) the pagans also entered into a treaty with the Prophet at Hudaybiyyah for a period of 10 years. The Prophet compromised a lot for the treaty to come through: not out of weakness but out of the desire to spread his mission through peaceful means backed by evidences. In this treaty, the Khuza`ah tribe sided with him while Banu Bakr sided with the Quraysh. But, later, Banu Bakr breached the treaty by attacking Banu Khuza`ah. The Quraysh helped Banu Bakr with arms. (In fact, they fought along with them under the cover of night: Thanwi). That led to a situation of war between the Prophet (saws) and the Quraysh. The Prophet’s action led to the fall of Makkah. That weakened the pagans of the Peninsula. But, (although without the Quraysh on their side) whenever they could, they did not refrain from fighting against the Prophet. Some of them proved that they cared for no treaty and no word of promise. It was clear that the Muslims would never live in peace with them in the same piece of land, so long as they remained pagans. How could they be trusted for treaties if those who were expected to be mindful of the treaties the people of the Book broke their words of promise so often? Accordingly, notices were served to them through this chapter. The objective was to clear the Arabian Peninsula of paganism in order to make it a haven for Islam and Muslims.
    Thanwi points out that various parts of the surah were revealed at various times in keeping with the needs. Although a major part of it might have been revealed as one whole, some verses were revealed at the time of the Makkan expedition, some after Hunayn battle, some before the Tabuk expedition, while others such as the first few verses after Tabuk expedition in Shawwal 9 A.H.

    بَرَاءَةٌ مِنَ اللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ إِلَى الَّذِينَ عَاهَدْتُمْ مِنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ (1)

    9|1| (This is) a (declaration of) disavowal of Allah and His Messenger for those of the pagans with whom you have made a treaty.3


    1. Ibn `Abbas is reported to have said that this chapter, (also known as Bara`ah: Au.) has several other names. One of them is "The Debasing One." That is because it took all classes of people, (believers, unbelievers, hypocrites, city dwellers, bedouins, Pagans, Jews, Christians, just about everyone: Au.) to severe questioning of their positions, censuring them (and exposing their weaknesses: Au.) Kashshaf, Razi, Qurtubi.
    2. This is the last Surah to be revealed, although not the last verse to be revealed is in this Surah. Bukhari has recorded Bara' b. `Azib as saying: The last verse to be revealed was (4: 176), They consult you (O Prophet). Tell them Allah directs you thus in the matter of a person without heir in the direct line.” But, as stated above, the last chapter to be revealed was this one (Ibn Kathir).
    Absence of the Basmalah
    The surah is not preceded by the customary "basmalah" (invocatory prayer) because that is how the Companions wrote the chapter in their personal copies of the Qur'an. They followed what `Uthman had done at the time of the first compilation. Tirmidhi has the full report. It says that Ibn `Abbas enquired `Uthman why surah Al-Anfal had been placed among the long ones (although short) and why basmalah was not written between it and Bara'ah? `Uthman explained, "When verses and chapters were revealed, it was customary of the Prophet to get them written down, while also indicating the position they were to occupy. Al-Anfal was one of the firsts to be revealed at Madinah and Bara'ah the last. But the Prophet did not have the opportunity to say where the latter was to be placed. Now, content wise they seem to be very close, so I put them together without a basmalah in between, and therefore, placed the two among the long ones" (Razi, Qurtubi, Ibn Kathir).
    The report is also in Ahmad, Abu Da'ud, and Ibn Hibban, with the last mentioned declaring the report sahih on the conditions of the Sheikhayn. It is also known, however, that the first few passages of this chapter were revealed immediately after the Tabuk campaign (Ibn Kathir).
    In other words, Thanwi and Shafi` explain, `Uthman did not wish to take any risk with the Qur'an. All he knew was that al Anfal and Tawbah were normally recited together. But he did not have a clear instruction from the Prophet to combine them as one. So he separated them in his compilation. However, since he was not sure whether the two together constitute one single surah or not, he did not place the basmalah before it. Accordingly, if one recites al Anfal and continues down the lines to recite Tawbah, he might not say the basmalah. But, if he happens to start his recitation with Tawbah, or anywhere in between, he could recite the basmalah.
    Qurtubi adds that there are a few other reasons why the basmalah was dropped. One of them is that the chapter starts with a threat, whereas basmalah promises peace and mercy. (Alusi points out that there are other chapters that start with a threat, e.g., no. 83, although, it is true that the whole surah is not full of harsh criticism). Another reported reason is that the chapter used to be as long as surah al Baqarah. But Allah made the Prophet forget a part of it, and basmalah went with the forgotten part. This report is in Malik's Muwatta. Further, the above leads us to another point viz., as Ibn al `Arabiyy has pointed out, `Uthman's action lends authenticity to the principle of analogy (qiyas).
    3. Tabari writes: Ibn Is haq has reported that the Prophet sent Abu Bakr in command of Hajj in the ninth year of hijrah so that he might lead the Muslims in the performance of Hajj following Islamic rules, while the polytheists observed their own Hajj rites. (The Prophet himself wished to perform the Hajj but held himself back because the pagans circumambulated the Ka`bah naked: Ibn Kathir and others). After Abu Bakr had departed, this chapter was revealed breaking the treaty between the Prophet and the pagans to the effect that no one intending the House was to be prevented nor should anyone be threatened during the pilgrimage season. This became a special treaty between the Prophet and the Makkan pagans. As for the rest of the pagan tribes, there were several separate treaties between them and the Prophet of various specified terms. These verses were revealed concerning them as well as the disaffected ones who had remained behind the Tabuk expedition. Ibn `Abbas has said that the first few verses of this chapter prescribed a period of four months to those with whom the Prophet had entered into a treaty and specified a term, while, on the other hand, it gave time until the end of Sacred Months about 50 days from that day, the tenth of Dhu al Hijjah to those who had entered into a treaty with the Prophet but had not specified a term (such as Banu Khuza`ah, Banu Mudlaj and others: Mujahid). Qatadah added that upon revelation of these verses, the Prophet sent `Ali ibn Abi Talib (with 30 40 verses: Muhammad b. Ka`b) to make the announcements (at different places and on different occasions: Au.; and adding the words: no pagan will be allowed to perform Hajj after this year and no one will be allowed to circumambulate the Ka`bah naked after this: Muhammad b. Ka`b. This report is a sahih hasan one according to Tirmidhi: Qurtubi). Abu Bakr remained leading the Muslims in Hajj. (According to a report in Ibn Hibban and Ibn Marduwayh, Abu Bakr returned to ask the Prophet whether a verse had been revealed against him. The Prophet assured him: "You are my brother, my companion in the cave and at the Pond. But I would like one of my kinsfolk to deliver this message": Alusi. According to other reports, `Ali confirmed that Abu Bakr remained the leader of the faithful in Hajj. When he joined Abu Bakr, he asked him, "As a leader or as a follower?" `Ali replied, "As a follower." Accordingly, on the Day of `Arafah, it was Abu Bakr who delivered the sermon on topics concerning ways and methods of performing Hajj, followed by `Ali who read out the verses of Bara`ah: Qurtubi). Another thing "we said," added Abu Hurayrah (who took over the announcements whenever `Ali's voice failed due to shouting) "is that, no one but a believer will enter Paradise." However, Tabari adds his own remark, that there are differences in opinion over who exactly was allowed respite until what exact time.
    Abu Hurayrah's report is in Bukhari, while other parts are in Ahmad and other hadith collections. However, the report as found in some works that `Ali was sent later to take back the verses from Abu Bakr and make announcements instead of him, is weak (Ibn Kathir, Alusi).
    Zamakhshari, Qurtubi and Alusi add that the reason why `Ali was sent, despite Abu Bakr's presence, is that it was the practice of the Arabs of those times that when they had to break a treaty, it was done either by the one who had signed it, or by someone he deputed of his household.

    فَسِيحُوا فِي الْأَرْضِ أَرْبَعَةَ أَشْهُرٍ وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّكُمْ غَيْرُ مُعْجِزِي اللَّهِ ۙ وَأَنَّ اللَّهَ مُخْزِي الْكَافِرِينَ (2)

    9|2| Therefore, you may (O unbelievers) go about in the land freely for four months, but know that you will not be able to frustrate Allah, and that Allah will humiliate the unbelievers.


    وَأَذَانٌ مِنَ اللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ إِلَى النَّاسِ يَوْمَ الْحَجِّ الْأَكْبَرِ أَنَّ اللَّهَ بَرِيءٌ مِنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ ۙ وَرَسُولُهُ ۚ فَإِنْ تُبْتُمْ فَهُوَ خَيْرٌ لَكُمْ ۖ وَإِنْ تَوَلَّيْتُمْ فَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّكُمْ غَيْرُ مُعْجِزِي اللَّهِ ۗ وَبَشِّرِ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا بِعَذَابٍ أَلِيمٍ (3)

    9|3| And (this is) an announcement from Allah and His Messenger to the people on the great day of Hajj4 that Allah is quit of those who associate and so is His Messenger. Therefore, if you repent, that would be better for you. But if you turn away then know that you will not be able to frustrate Allah. And give glad tidings to the unbelievers of a painful chastisement.


    4. Which day is this great day of Hajj? There are two opinions. One comes from `Umar ibn al Khattab, Sa`id ibn Musayyib, Ibn Zubayr, Mujahid and `Ikrimah and others that it is the 9th of Dhu al Hijjah. But `Ali, `Abdullah (ibn Mas`ud), Ibn `Umar, Ibn abi Awfa, Ibn `Abbas, Sa`id ibn Jubayr, `Ata', Suddi and a great many others have said that it is the day of sacrifice (10th of Dhu al Hijjah). There have been other opinions too. The message itself contained in this chapter was delivered on two days. When Abu Bakr had delivered his sermon on the 9th of Hajj in `Arafah, he said: "Now, `Ali. Rise up and deliver the message the Prophet has sent you with." `Ali got up and recited the first 40 verses of this chapter. However, `Ali thought that it was not enough since everyone could not have heard. So he went about on the 10th of Dhu al Hijjah in Mina, visiting the tents and making the announcement (Ibn Jarir).
    In fact, there are reports right from the Prophet himself, recorded in Abu Da'ud, to the effect that the day of sacrifice (10th of Dhu al-Hijjah) is the Great Day of Hajj (Qurtubi). Ibn Abi Hatim and Ibn Marduwayh have similar reports (Ibn Kathir).

    إِلَّا الَّذِينَ عَاهَدْتُمْ مِنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ ثُمَّ لَمْ يَنْقُصُوكُمْ شَيْئًا وَلَمْ يُظَاهِرُوا عَلَيْكُمْ أَحَدًا فَأَتِمُّوا إِلَيْهِمْ عَهْدَهُمْ إِلَىٰ مُدَّتِهِمْ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُتَّقِينَ (4)

    9|4| Except for those of the pagans with whom you have struck a treaty,5 and then they did not fall short of it in anyway, nor did they back anyone against you, such (of them), fulfill your treaty with them until the treaties have run their term.6 Surely, Allah approves of the God-conscious.7


    5. There have been several opinions about the identity of these polytheists such as, the Quraysh, a few of Banu Khuza`ah, and some of the Banu Kinanah. But Banu Kinanah seem to qualify best (Ibn Jarir).
    6. The only people that seem to fit this clause is a clan of the Banu Bakr tribe who did not participate with the main body of the tribe in their attack on Banu Khuza`ah, nor sided with the Quraysh, rather remained aloof and true to their treaty of Hudaybiyyah. This is supported by the statements of Suddi and Mujahid. Further, this class of people, in fact many others, did not wait long as Ibn al Qayyim has pointed out before entering into Islam (Sayyid).
    The above is the opinion of Ibn `Abbas as in Zamakhshari who adds that 9 months were left for the treaty to expire and the Prophet completed the term of the treaty with them.
    7. By relating the honoring of the treaties to piety, Allah tells us by implication that being true to a treaty is not simply a good Islamic principle, nor should it be attempted merely because it promises to be beneficial. Rather, in Islam it acquires the status of a devotional act. A Muslim observes these kinds of things hoping to win Allah's approval. It is another thing that it saves the community from contradictions and inconsistencies. But, more importantly, it raises the human soul to higher moral plain (Sayyid).

    فَإِذَا انْسَلَخَ الْأَشْهُرُ الْحُرُمُ فَاقْتُلُوا الْمُشْرِكِينَ حَيْثُ وَجَدْتُمُوهُمْ وَخُذُوهُمْ وَاحْصُرُوهُمْ وَاقْعُدُوا لَهُمْ كُلَّ مَرْصَدٍ ۚ فَإِنْ تَابُوا وَأَقَامُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَآتَوُا الزَّكَاةَ فَخَلُّوا سَبِيلَهُمْ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَحِيمٌ (5)

    9|5| So, when the Sacred Months8 pass away, slaughter the associators9 wherever you lay your hands on them, capture them, besiege them, and sit in wait for them at every point of ambush.10 But if they repent, offer Prayers11 and pay the Zakah, then let them go their way.12 Indeed Allah is All forgiving, All kind.13


    8. The Sacred months of this context are: Shawwal, Dhu al Qa`idah, Dhu al Hijjah and Muharram (Ibn Jarir).
    Ibn Kathir however believes that what is to be understood from the statements of Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid and others is that the textual term "ash haru ‘l hurum" is not referring to the well known Sacred Months, rather to the four months allotted to the pagans from the day of announcement.
    9. The allusion is to the pagan Arabs.
    Rashid Rida questions the opinion of some commentators that this verse declares war on every pagan, in view of two reports from the Prophet. One of them is in Tabarani, but, as Ibn Hajr has said, well known among the Companions. It says,


    اتْرُكُوا التُّرْكَ مَا تَرَكُوكُمْ


    "Leave alone the Turks so long as they leave you alone." (The allusion perhaps was to the Mongols: Au.).
    Ibn al-Jawzi declared this hadith as fabricated. But Haythamiyy said that it is a Hasan report (Au).
    Abu Da'ud has the other report. It says,


    اتْرُكُوا الْحَبَشَة مَا تركوكم فَإِنَّهُ لَا يسْتَخْرج كنز الْكَعْبَة إِلَّا ذُو السويقتين من الْحَبَشَة


    "Let alone the Abyssinians so long as they leave you alone. For, Ka`ba's treasure will not be seized but by a wide legged man from Abyssinia."
    The hadith can be trusted: Haythamiyy (Au.).
    A third report in Abu Da'ud and Nasa'i combines the two. It says, "Let alone the Abyssinians so long as they let you alone and let alone the Turks so long as they let you alone." Khattabi has said that the verse herewith might be an unconditional one, but the hadith could be restricting its application. However, Rashid Rida thinks that the verse in point cannot be used to declare war on every pagan of the world.
    Whether or not is another matter, but, as pointed out, first hadith is weak, and the other is not speaking of pagans. The Abyssinians then were perhaps Christians (Au.).
    Qurtubi cautions against another aspect. He says that although the term is general, women, children, and the priestly class were excluded from the command of slaughter.
    10. Yusuf Ali comments: "When war becomes inevitable, it must be prosecuted with vigour. According to the English phrase, you cannot fight with kid gloves."
    Hudhayfa used to say that on hearing this verse Abu Sufyan (became so fearful of his life) that he had given up going into his wife (Ibn Jarir).
    11. Qurtubi writes: Imam Malik has been reported as saying that whoever believed in Allah, in His Messenger, but refused to Pray (despite being chided and warned: Au.), may be killed. (This is the prescribed Shari`ah punishment for not Praying, and not because he has altogether become an unbeliever [haddan, la kufran]: Rashid Rida). Abu Thawr, Hammad b. Zayd, Mak hul, Waki` and Imam Shafe`i's pupils share this opinion with him. (Imam Shafe`i has also expressed a similar opinion: Alusi). Abu Hanifah however says that the man may be imprisoned, beaten, but not killed. This is also the opinion of Ibn Shihab and Da'ud ibn `Ali. (Also of Imam Muzani, Shafe`i's famous pupil: Manar). They justify their stand by the hadith of the Prophet which reports him as saying: "A Muslim's life is sacrosanct, except in three cases: apostasy after belief, adultery after marriage, killing someone without cause." Nevertheless, many of the Companions were of the opinion that a man who gave up a single Prayer, without a good cause, refusing to do it even after its time had passed, and said, "I will not Pray," is an unbeliever who should be killed. His dependents cannot inherit him.
    But, adds Alusi, as against the opinion of certain scholars, one who does not pray and does not pay out the Zakah, remains a Muslim, although a sinner. (What he means perhaps that the man does not, although admits that these two are pillars of Islam: Au.).
    Rashid Rida quotes those ahadith that support the above opinions. One of them is in several collections. Bukhari's version says:


    أُمِرْتُ أَنْ أُقَاتِلَ النَّاسَ حَتَّى يَقُولُوا لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ فَإِذَا قَالُوهَا وَصَلَّوْا صَلَاتَنَا وَاسْتَقْبَلُوا قِبْلَتَنَا وَذَبَحُوا ذَبِيحَتَنَا فَقَدْ حَرُمَتْ عَلَيْنَا دِمَاؤُهُمْ وَأَمْوَالُهُمْ إِلَّا بِحَقِّهَا وَحِسَابُهُمْ عَلَى اللَّهِ


    "I have been ordered to fight the people until they say that there is no god besides Allah. If they say that, Pray like we do, face our Qiblah and slaughter the way we slaughter, then their life and property is forbidden unto us save by right. (As for their other deeds), their reckoning is with Allah."
    Another version, which reaches the Tawatur status says:


    أُمِرْتُ أَنْ أُقَاتِلَ النَّاسَ حَتَّى يَقُولُوا لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ فَمَنْ قَالَهَا فَقَدْ عَصَمَ مِنِّي مَالَهُ وَنَفْسَهُ إِلَّا بِحَقِّهِ وَحِسَابُهُ عَلَى اللَّهِ .


    "I have been ordered to fight the people until they say that there is no god besides Allah and that I am Allah's Messenger. If they say that, their life and property is forbidden unto me save by right. And their (final) reckoning is with Allah."
    Another report preserved by Muslim, Abu Da'ud, Tirmidhi and Ahmad says:


    إِنَّ بَيْنَ الرَّجُلِ وَبَيْنَ الشِّرْكِ وَالْكُفْرِ تَرْكَ الصَّلاَةِ

     

    "Between a man and disbelief and polytheism, lie the Prayers."
    Another version reported by all the authors of the Sunan except the Sheikhayn says:


    الْعَهْدُ الَّذِى بَيْنَنَا وَبَيْنَهُمْ الصَّلاَةُ فَمَنْ تَرَكَهَا فَقَدْ كَفَرَ


    "The covenant between us and them is the Salah. He who gave it up, committed disbelief.”
    As for the hadith in the Sahihayn, the one which includes Salah and Zakah apart from the testimonies, as the minimum, Hafiz ibn al Hajr has a note that the hadith has to be treated with some caution. Imam Ahmad, for instance, despite the vastness of his collection, has not chronicled this hadith.
    Rashid Rida also reproduces an argument between Ibn Hanbal and Shafe`i. Shafe`i asked: "Do you believe that one who did not Pray committed disbelief?" Ahmad said, "Yes." Shafe`i asked, "If he became an unbeliever, how is he to become a believer?" Ahmad replied, "By beginning to Pray." Shafe`i said, "But the Prayer of an unbeliever is invalid." Imam Ahmad had no answer.
    Nonetheless, there is no denying the extreme importance of the Prayers. Some of the Companions also believed in one's Kufr if he gave up Praying. A report in Tirmidhi and Hakim says that the Companions did not consider any sin that was tantamount to Kufr except abandoning of the Prayers. Prayers then, cannot be separated from the testimony.
    Rashid Rida's quote ends here.
    To put it otherwise and following the Hanafiyy line: If it is a polytheist, then the minimum required of him is the testimony, "There is not god save one Allah." If he testified to that, we shall declare him a Muslim. But, if he already believes in the Oneness of Allah, (such as a Jew: Manar), then both the testimonies (oneness of Allah and Messengership of Muhammad) will have to be pronounced before he is declared a Muslim. If he is a Christian, then apart from the two testimonies, he will be required to declare that Jesus Christ is no more than a Messenger of Allah, His Word and slave.
    Finally, after their declarations, only those will be treated as true Muslims who Pray. Those who do not are of two kinds, (i) the ignorant ones: they will have to be educated, and (ii) those who refused despite the knowledge: they will be punished.
    On the negative side, only those will be treated as non Muslims who nullify their testimonies by denying them, or denying the validity of any one of Islam's well known obligations, of the nature of beliefs or deeds, by word or act, overtly or covertly.
    At the community level, those who refused to pay the obligatory Zakah will be fought against by the Islamic state. Finally, those who embrace Islam will be are obliged to practice the whole of it at once, and not in gradual steps. However, on violation, (and of the non criminal nature), factors affecting their denunciation apart from others will be their knowledge or ignorance, newly converted or old. And, to allow fair play to people's choice, no one will be spied upon, nor would the authorities give ear to what the people do in private, so long as the evil remains confined to the individuals (Au.).
    12. Ibn Zayd has said: Allah mentioned Salah and Zakah together as if He would not accept one without the other. May Allah show mercy to Abu Bakr, how well he understood this verse (to have fought those who refused to pay the Zakah) Ibn Jarir.
    To strengthen the above, Ibn Kathir adds a hadith of the Sahihayn. It reports the Prophet as having said:


    أُمِرْتُ أَنْ أُقَاتِلَ النَّاسَ حَتَّى يَشْهَدُوا أَنْ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ وَأَنَّ مُحَمَّدًا رَسُولُ اللَّهِ وَيُقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَيُؤْتُوا الزَّكَاةَ


    "I have been commanded to fight the people until they testify to Allah's Oneness, my Prophethood, Pray and pay the Zakah."
    Bukhari has another version. It says,


    أُمِرْتُ أَنْ أُقَاتِلَ النَّاسَ حَتَّى يَقُولُوا لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ فَإِذَا قَالُوهَا وَصَلَّوْا صَلَاتَنَا وَاسْتَقْبَلُوا قِبْلَتَنَا وَذَبَحُوا ذَبِيحَتَنَا فَقَدْ حَرُمَتْ عَلَيْنَا دِمَاؤُهُمْ وَأَمْوَالُهُمْ إِلَّا بِحَقِّهَا وَحِسَابُهُمْ عَلَى اللَّهِ


    "I have been commanded to fight the people until they testify to Allah's oneness. If they testify to this, Pray like we Pray, orient themselves to our Qiblah, slaughtered in the manner we slaughter, then their blood and their property is unlawful to us, except by right.
    13. Note the magnanimity of Islam. The pagans persecuted, waylaid the Muslims, attacked and battled against them for over 20 years. But the Qur'an tells them that if they repent, they are still acceptable (as on par with those they persecuted, waylaid, attacked and battled against) and what's more, their past deeds would be forgiven; for "Allah is All forgiving, All kind" (Sayyid).
    Ibn `Abbas and Dahhak have said that this verse revoked every treaty that the Prophet had entered into, with any kind of unbelievers, to any period. And `Ali ibn Abi Talib has said in a shortened report preserved by Ibn Abi Hatim: "Allah sent four swords for the polytheist of Arabia. (As regards the first sword) Allah said: ‘Slaughter the associators wherever you lay your hands on them.' The report does not speak of the other three swords. So Ibn Kathir speculates them as follows. The second sword was the Prophet's war against the people of the Book. Allah said (9: 29), "Fight those who do not believe in Allah or the Last Day and do not declare unlawful what Allah and His Messenger declared as unlawful, and do not accept the true religion, from those who were given the Book, until they pay tribute by their hands in humiliation." The third sword was the war against the hypocrites. Allah said (9: 73): "O Prophet. Fight against the unbelievers and the hypocrites." And, the fourth sword was against the rebelling Muslims. Allah said (49: 9), "And, if two Muslim groups fight each other, then make peace between them. But if one of them rebels against the other, then fight against the rebellion group until it returns to the command of Allah." However, Ibn Kathir goes on, there is difference of opinion over the present verse, whether it remains in force, or is it abrogated by the commandment in another verse (47: 4): "Then, either (show) favor or (seek) ransom." Dahhak and Suddi have said that this present verse is abrogated. But Qatadah has said it is not, it remains "muhkam" (well grounded).

    وَإِنْ أَحَدٌ مِنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ اسْتَجَارَكَ فَأَجِرْهُ حَتَّىٰ يَسْمَعَ كَلَامَ اللَّهِ ثُمَّ أَبْلِغْهُ مَأْمَنَهُ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ بِأَنَّهُمْ قَوْمٌ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ (6)

    9|6| And, if one of the polytheists seeks your protection, give him protection until he has heard Allah's words,14 and then deliver him to his place of safety.15 That is because, these are a people who do not know.16


    14. What if an individual Muslim offers someone protection? The majority answer is that the protection holds good. This opinion is based on a hadith. A variant opinion is that the ruler will have the discretion to either uphold or withdraw it (Qurtubi).
    15. This verse is a clear proof that blind following is not the best course of action in religion. One's religion should have its roots in knowledge and evidences (Razi, Manar).
    16. Rashid Rida comments on the benefit of escorting the man to safety: So that the man, once in the safety of his own land and people, might feel free to either choose Islam or not to.
    Obviously, the rule would apply to those who come into the Islamic state from another country (Au.). And the period allowed is a maximum of one year before they should leave the country (Ibn Kathir).
    Ibn Kathir also adds: Following this rule we see that when Musaylimah the Liar's ambassador came to the Prophet, he asked him, "Do you believe that Musaylimah is a Messenger of Allah?" The man replied, "Yes, I do." The Prophet said, "If not for the rule that ambassadors should not be killed, I would have got you beheaded." But, the Prophet's words did come true. The man, identified as Ibn al Nawaha, re appeared in Kufa during the governorate of Ibn Mas`ud. He still believed in Musaylimah's messengership. Ibn Mas`ud told him that he had lost his immunity since he was no more an ambassador and got him beheaded.
    Imam Razi adds that the jurists have generally held the opinion that a Harbi unbeliever (of a party at war with Muslims), would be treated as a ghanimah in normal circumstances, unless he has obtained permission to enter Muslim lands. And, such permission can be granted to him both for religious reasons "until he has heard Allah's words" or for worldly purposes such as, trade.
    Alusi has stated the opinion of the scholars that the words "until he has heard Allah's words" imply that until he has heard the whole of the Qur'an.
    Taking cue from this verse, one might add that there is no reason why every university in the Islamic world including those of Makkah and Madinah should not offer special courses on Islam to non Muslims? Such of them as interested, could come into the Islamic world, (for a year at a stretch) and learn about Islam in Islamic environment, rather than study, as they do now, courses designed and taught by Jews and Christian in secular institutions of Europe and America (Au.).

    كَيْفَ يَكُونُ لِلْمُشْرِكِينَ عَهْدٌ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ وَعِنْدَ رَسُولِهِ إِلَّا الَّذِينَ عَاهَدْتُمْ عِنْدَ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ ۖ فَمَا اسْتَقَامُوا لَكُمْ فَاسْتَقِيمُوا لَهُمْ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُتَّقِينَ (7)

    9|7| How can there be a treaty for the polytheists with Allah and with His Messenger, except for those with whom you made a treaty near the Grand Mosque? Therefore, so long as they are upright with you, be upright with them.17 Surely, Allah approves of the God-conscious.


    17. Accordingly, the Prophet completed the four month term after which those that did not embrace Islam fled the country. Eventually, a few came back as Muslims such as `Ikrimah b. Abu Jahl and Safwan b. Umayyah (Ibn Kathir).

    كَيْفَ وَإِنْ يَظْهَرُوا عَلَيْكُمْ لَا يَرْقُبُوا فِيكُمْ إِلًّا وَلَا ذِمَّةً ۚ يُرْضُونَكُمْ بِأَفْوَاهِهِمْ وَتَأْبَىٰ قُلُوبُهُمْ وَأَكْثَرُهُمْ فَاسِقُونَ (8)

    9|8| How? If they overcome you, they will not regard in reference to you, any kinship18 or covenant of protection. They please you with their mouths; but their hearts spurn (compliance). And most of them are ungodly.19


    18. The textual word "Ill" has several connotations: (i) Kinship: this is the opinion of Ibn `Abbas. (ii) Allah: Mujahid has adopted this meaning. Hebrew and Syriac languages also use this word in this sense. (iii) Oath: Qatadah has opted for this, (iv) Pact: Ibn Zayd preferred this meaning. However, the same authorities have expressed other opinions at other times (Ibn Jarir).
    19. Literally, the textual word "fasaqa" is used for something sprouting out, or emerging. For instance, when the date fruit emerges out of its skin, they say "fasaqa al ratabu." The word then, as used in the Qur'an, has to be understood in accordance with the context in which it appears (Manar).

    اشْتَرَوْا بِآيَاتِ اللَّهِ ثَمَنًا قَلِيلًا فَصَدُّوا عَنْ سَبِيلِهِ ۚ إِنَّهُمْ سَاءَ مَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ (9)

    9|9| They bartered Allah's signs against a paltry gain20 and averted (people) from His path. Surely, evil was that which they were doing.


    20. It is reported that when Abu Sufyan decided to break the Hudaybiyyah pact, he invited the Quraysh to a sumptuous dinner and obtained their assent. The reference here is to that. Others have said that the reference is to the people of Ta'if who sent their contributions to the Quraysh to fight against the Prophet. But the earlier report seems to be more correct (Manar).

    لَا يَرْقُبُونَ فِي مُؤْمِنٍ إِلًّا وَلَا ذِمَّةً ۚ وَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْمُعْتَدُونَ (10)

    9|10| They will not observe toward a believer kinship or covenant of protection. They are the transgressing ones.


    فَإِنْ تَابُوا وَأَقَامُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَآتَوُا الزَّكَاةَ فَإِخْوَانُكُمْ فِي الدِّينِ ۗ وَنُفَصِّلُ الْآيَاتِ لِقَوْمٍ يَعْلَمُونَ (11)

    9|11| However, if they repent, offer the Prayers, and pay the Zakah, then they are your brothers in faith.21 Thus We detail out the verses for a people who (wish to) believe.


    21. In the light of this verse, faith in Allah and His Messenger, Prayers and charity, can be considered as the basis of brotherhood in Islam. Hence we have Ibn Zayd's statement: "May Allah show mercy to Abu Bakr. How well he understood this verse when he said, ‘I shall not differentiate between the two that Allah placed together?'" That is, Salah and Zakah. As for the doubt as to how Zakah could be made a condition when there are always poor people in a society; the answer is, it is enough for such people that they should know and believe that paying out the Zakah is a condition for belonging to the Islamic brotherhood and to actually do so whenever it becomes obligatory on them (Manar).

    وَإِنْ نَكَثُوا أَيْمَانَهُمْ مِنْ بَعْدِ عَهْدِهِمْ وَطَعَنُوا فِي دِينِكُمْ فَقَاتِلُوا أَئِمَّةَ الْكُفْرِ ۙ إِنَّهُمْ لَا أَيْمَانَ لَهُمْ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَنْتَهُونَ (12)

    9|12| But, if they break their oaths after their treaties and defame your religion22 then, fight the leaders of disbelief23 who care for no oaths,24 haply they will desist.


    22. Majid comments: "(The word ta`n) conveys more than anything else the idea of defiance. Reviling God's religion is blasphemy in its worst form and blasphemy, both in the Jewish and Christian religions, is punishable with death. ‘And he that blasphemeth the name of the Lord, he shall surely be put to death, and all the congregation shall certainly stone him.' (Le. 24: 16). It also stood, till recently, in the secular laws of Europe as an indictable offence punishable with the capital sentence. ‘By the law of Scotland, as it originally stood, the punishment of blasphemy was death, ... In France ... the punishment was death in various forms, burning alive, mutilation, torture, or corporeal punishment.' (EBr. IV, p. 44, 11th Ed.)."
    This verse is the basis of the rule that anybody who insults the Prophet deserves to be put to death. This was the opinion of Malik, Layth, Ahmad, Is haq and of Shafe`i. It is said that someone quipped before `Ali, "Ka`b b. al Ashraf was not killed but by treachery." `Ali ordered the man to be beheaded. Someone made a similar statement in the presence of Mu`awiyyah. Muhammad b. Maslamah was there. He said to Mu`awiyyah, "Is that uttered in your presence and you do not act? By Allah, after this I shall never share the same roof with you. And, if I come across this man elsewhere, I shall kill him."
    However, if a Dhimmi insults the Prophet, he might not be killed without given the opportunity to express regret. That is because Allah has added the words, "if they break their oath." This is the opinion of Abu Hanifah. Another opinion is that he should be killed without respite since he already broke the oath. On the topic, it might be appropriate to mention that there was a woman in Madinah during the Prophet’s time who used to insult the Prophet. She was the former slave of a blind man who had attained the free status by virtue of having given birth to two sons by her master. One night she began to insult the Prophet until the blind Muslim could not stand it anymore. He killed her with an axe and admitted his crime the next day. The Prophet did not punish him (Qurtubi).
    23. Ibn Abi Hatim has recorded that when Abu Bakr was sending his troops to the Syrian region (ruled by the Romans), he instructed Ibn Jubayr b. Nufayr: "When you run into a combat with the people there, slaughter them. For, to kill one of them is better unto me than fifty others. This is because Allah has said: ‘Fight the leaders of disbelief’” (Ibn Kathir).
    24. It is widely reported that the allusion is to the Quraysh tribes that had entered into a no war pact with the Prophet but soon crossed swords with Banu Khuza`ah, one of the Prophet's ally, committing aggression in support of Banu Bakr, their ally. In fact, it is said that the battle was the result of a quarrel that started between two individuals. One of them, belonging to Banu Bakr, sang a satire against the Prophet. Another, a Khuza`i told him, "If you repeat it before me, I'll break your jaw." The man repeated and he broke his jaw. Their quarrel led to the battle, and ultimately, when the Khuza`ah complained to the Prophet, it led to the subjugation of Quraysh and fall of Makkah (Qurtubi, Ibn Kathir).
    On the basis of this verse, the Hanafiyyah have said that the oath of an unbeliever is worthless (when he sets it against a believer: Au.) Manar.

    أَلَا تُقَاتِلُونَ قَوْمًا نَكَثُوا أَيْمَانَهُمْ وَهَمُّوا بِإِخْرَاجِ الرَّسُولِ وَهُمْ بَدَءُوكُمْ أَوَّلَ مَرَّةٍ ۚ أَتَخْشَوْنَهُمْ ۚ فَاللَّهُ أَحَقُّ أَنْ تَخْشَوْهُ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ مُؤْمِنِينَ (13)

    9|13| Will you not fight against a people who broke their oaths and were determined to expel the Messenger, and they are the ones who were the first to begin (war) against you? Do you fear them? Allah is more deserving that He should be feared if you are believers.


    قَاتِلُوهُمْ يُعَذِّبْهُمُ اللَّهُ بِأَيْدِيكُمْ وَيُخْزِهِمْ وَيَنْصُرْكُمْ عَلَيْهِمْ وَيَشْفِ صُدُورَ قَوْمٍ مُؤْمِنِينَ (14)

    9|14| Make war on them, Allah will chastise them at your hands. He will humiliate them and help you against them, and will heal the hearts of a believing people.25


    25. According to Ibn `Abbas, the allusion by the words, "and will cure the hearts of a believing people," is to those of the Banu Khuza`ah (a tribe from the interiors of Yemen and Saba') who embraced Islam and visited the Grand Mosque. But they were treated badly in Makkah. They sent a complaint to the Prophet. He said in reply, "Be of good cheer. Rescue is close" (Kashshaf, Alusi).
    Ibn `Asakir has recorded that when `A'isha got angry the Prophet would hold her by her nose and say, "O `Uwaysh. Say,


    اللَّهُمَّ رَبَّ مُحَمَّدٍ النَّبِيِّ اغْفِرْ لِي ذَنْبِي وَأَذْهِبْ غَيْظَ قَلْبِي وَأَجِرْنِي مِنْ مُضِلَّاتِ الْفِتَنِ

    وَيُذْهِبْ غَيْظَ قُلُوبِهِمْ ۗ وَيَتُوبُ اللَّهُ عَلَىٰ مَنْ يَشَاءُ ۗ وَاللَّهُ عَلِيمٌ حَكِيمٌ (15)

    9|15| He will remove the fury in their hearts. And Allah turns in forgiveness to whomsoever He will. Allah is the All knowing, the All wise.


    أَمْ حَسِبْتُمْ أَنْ تُتْرَكُوا وَلَمَّا يَعْلَمِ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ جَاهَدُوا مِنْكُمْ وَلَمْ يَتَّخِذُوا مِنْ دُونِ اللَّهِ وَلَا رَسُولِهِ وَلَا الْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَلِيجَةً ۚ وَاللَّهُ خَبِيرٌ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ (16)

    9|16| Or, do you think you will be spared when Allah has not yet known those of you who fought in His cause,26 and took not friends apart from Allah, His Messenger, or the believers?27 And Allah is Aware of what you do.28


    "O Lord of Prophet Muhammad, forgive me my sin, remove the anger of my heart and save me from tribulations that lead to misguidance" (Ibn Kathir).
    26. Verses of similar nature are many. E.g. (3: 142): 

     

    أَمْ حَسِبْتُمْ أَنْ تَدْخُلُوا الْجَنَّةَ وَلَمَّا يَعْلَمِ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ جَاهَدُوا مِنْكُمْ وَيَعْلَمَ الصَّابِرِينَ [آل عمران : 142]


    "Do you think you will enter Paradise when Allah has not yet known those among you who fought."
    And (2: 214):

    "Do you think you will enter Paradise when that has not yet come upon you which came upon those before you?"


    أَمْ حَسِبْتُمْ أَنْ تَدْخُلُوا الْجَنَّةَ وَلَمَّا يَأْتِكُمْ مَثَلُ الَّذِينَ خَلَوْا مِنْ قَبْلِكُمْ [البقرة : 214]
    And (29: 2 3),


    أَحَسِبَ النَّاسُ أَنْ يُتْرَكُوا أَنْ يَقُولُوا آمَنَّا وَهُمْ لَا يُفْتَنُونَ (2) وَلَقَدْ فَتَنَّا الَّذِينَ مِنْ قَبْلِهِمْ فَلَيَعْلَمَنَّ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ صَدَقُوا وَلَيَعْلَمَنَّ الْكَاذِبِينَ [العنكبوت : 2 ، 3]


    "Alif. Lam. Mim. Do the people think that they will be left alone if they said, ‘We have believed,' without being tried? Surely, we tried those before them. Surely Allah will find out those who are truthful and those who are liars" (Ibn Jarir).
    27. The words, "and took not friends apart from Allah, His Messenger or the believers," have been added to check out the hypocrites who might fight along with the Muslims but, at heart, in sympathy with the unbelievers (Razi).
    28. That is, Allah is aware of the intentions behind the deeds, nothing is hidden from Him and He will not accept, as Ibn `Abbas has said, a contradiction between the open and the secret (Razi).
    Thanwi offers a fairly complicated explanation of the passage ending with verse 16 and says that he took several years to come to this conclusion, but is still not too sure if he is absolutely right. His commentary itself, although short, is pretty difficult to translate. A good amount of explanation will have to be added, which might give the commentary another coloring. We have merely intended to point out how diligent and cautious scholars have been with the Qur'an (Au.).

    مَا كَانَ لِلْمُشْرِكِينَ أَنْ يَعْمُرُوا مَسَاجِدَ اللَّهِ شَاهِدِينَ عَلَىٰ أَنْفُسِهِمْ بِالْكُفْرِ ۚ أُولَٰئِكَ حَبِطَتْ أَعْمَالُهُمْ وَفِي النَّارِ هُمْ خَالِدُونَ (17)

    9|17| And, it was not for the polytheists that they tend29 Allah's Sanctuaries,30 while they bear witness infidelity against themselves.31 They .. their deeds have fallen to nothing and in Fire they shall abide forever.


    29. The textual word `imarah denotes construction (of a place), maintenance, habitation therein, as well as visit for purposes of worship, or, as Yusuf Ali has written, "fill with light and life and activity." Hence Bayt al Ma`mur meaning, the House of worship, or, the House that is served.
    However, Zamakhshari has cautioned that it is not used in the sense of i`tamara, i.e., offering of an `Umrah. But, when it is said "`amara Allaha", it means he worshiped Allah, or "`ammara fulanan rakatayni" would mean, so and so offered two cycles of Prayer. Raghib has said that `imarah is the antonym of khirab, i.e., destruction. Raghib also disagrees with Zamakhshari when he says that one might not use `amara in the sense of i`tamara, i.e., he performed an `Umrah. According to Raghib, such usage is allowed. Deductively, the verse under discussion denies the unbelievers `imarah in all the above senses, that is, entry into the mosques for the purposes of worship, service, maintenance, building, custodianship, or pilgrimage (Manar).
    In Yusuf Ali's words: "Before the preaching of Islam the Pagans built, repaired, and maintained the Mosque, and celebrated Pagan ceremonies in it. They made an income out of it. Islam protested, and the Pagans ejected Muslims and their Leader from Makkah and shut them out from the Ka`bah itself. When the Muslims were strong enough to re take Makkah (A.H. 8), they purified the Mosque and re established the worship of the true God. If they became Muslims, it was a different matter. Then the further question arose: should they be allowed to visit it and practice their unseemly Pagan rites? Obviously this would be derogatory to the dignity and honour of the Mosque, and was forbidden. This was the particular occasion to which the verse refers. The general deduction is clear. A house of Allah is a place of sincere devotion, not a theater for vulgar rites nor a source of worldly income."
    Rashid Rida also expresses the opinion that if a non Muslim donates money for the construction of a mosque, it could be used since mere donation does not entail a hold over the mosque. However, if that is feared, then it might not be accepted. Thanwi points out that that is also the ruling stated in the Hanafiyy work Hidayah (as also in Radd al Muhtar, Shami and Maraghi: Shafi`).
    30. Earlier, Allah announced that He and His Prophet were quit of the polytheists. The polytheists of course disapproved of this, saying, ‘there should be cooperation and collaboration, especially when we are the ones who tend to the Grand Mosque.' In answer, Allah pointed out that there could be no co operation or collaboration with such glaring contradictions as disbelief in He, for whom the Grand Mosque was built and themselves who believed in stone gods (Razi).
    Rashid Rida writes: When Allah got His House cleared of the filth of idols, He gives orders that the House be cleansed of the filth of their worshippers: the polytheists.
    31. Suddi has said that the unbelievers bear witness to their unbelief. If you asked a Christian what his religion is, he will reply, "I am a Christian." If you asked a Jew what his religion is, he will reply, "Judaism." If you asked a pagan what his religion is, he will reply, "I am a polytheist" (Razi, Qurtubi). That is, none of them will say he is submitted to One Allah (Au.).

    إِنَّمَا يَعْمُرُ مَسَاجِدَ اللَّهِ مَنْ آمَنَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ وَأَقَامَ الصَّلَاةَ وَآتَى الزَّكَاةَ وَلَمْ يَخْشَ إِلَّا اللَّهَ ۖ فَعَسَىٰ أُولَٰئِكَ أَنْ يَكُونُوا مِنَ الْمُهْتَدِينَ (18)

    9|18| Surely, those tend Allah's Sanctuaries who believe in Allah and the Hereafter,32 offer Prayers, pay the Zakah, and fear none other than Allah.33 These .. haply34 these will be of those that are guided.


    32. Allah thus bore witness to the faith of him who frequents Allah's mosques. We have a hadith too on this topic. Preserved by Tirmidhi who declared it hasan gharib (a kind of weak report: Au.), [as well as in Ibn Marduwayh and Hakim: Ibn Kathir], which says,


    إذا رأيتم الرجل يعتاد المساجد فاشهدوا له بالإيمان


    "When you see a man frequenting the mosques, bear witness to his faith." Then the Prophet recited this verse: "Surely, those tend to Allah's Sanctuaries who believe in Allah and the Hereafter."
    Ibn al `Arabiyy has cautioned that this frequenting the mosque, however, will not be considered enough for a man to be accepted as a witness (in the courts). For, to be a witness, one has to meet other qualifications (Qurtubi). Another hadith preserved by Ahmad says:


    إِنَّ الشَّيْطَانَ ذِئْبُ الْإِنْسَانِ كَذِئْبِ الْغَنَمِ يَأْخُذُ الشَّاةَ الْقَاصِيَةَ وَالنَّاحِيَةَ فَإِيَّاكُمْ وَالشِّعَابَ وَعَلَيْكُمْ بِالْجَمَاعَةِ وَالْعَامَّةِ وَالْمَسْجِدِ


    "Satan is man's wolf, just like the wolf for sheep which seizes the stray one. Lo! Be with the people, be with the community and the common people and (frequent) the mosques" (Ibn Kathir).
    The hadith is also in Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah and Hakim, who rated it sahih (Alusi).
    On the topic of mosques, Majid has the following to quote: "After remarking that Islam ‘has preserved the character of pure monotheism much more faithfully than the Mosaic and Christian religions,' he (Haeckel) proceeds: ‘When I visited the East for the first time in 1873, and admired the noble mosques in Cairo, Smyrna, Brussa, and Constantinople, I was inspired with a feeling of real devotion by the simple and tasteful decoration of the interior, and the lofty and beautiful work of the exterior. How noble and inspiring these mosques appear in comparison with the majority of Catholic churches, which are covered normally with gaudy pictures and gilt, and are outwardly disfigured by an immoderate crowd of human and animal figures' (Haeckel, Riddle of the Universe, p. 233)."
    33. The "fear of none but Allah" has been coupled with "belief in Him" because fear of other than Allah betrays secret association (shirk al khafiyy) Sayyid.
    34. Muhammad b. Is haq b. Yasar has said that every `asa (haply) coming from Allah is a firm promise (Ibn Kathir).

    أَجَعَلْتُمْ سِقَايَةَ الْحَاجِّ وَعِمَارَةَ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ كَمَنْ آمَنَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ وَجَاهَدَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ ۚ لَا يَسْتَوُونَ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ ۗ وَاللَّهُ لَا يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الظَّالِمِينَ (19)

    9|19| Have you made the providing of the pilgrims with drinks, and tending the Grand Mosque equal to one who believed in Allah and the Hereafter, and fought in the way of Allah?35 They are not equal in the sight of Allah. And Allah does not guide a transgressing people.


    35. Several incidents are quoted as those occasioning this verse. Nu`man b. Bashir al Ansari says, "I was sitting by the pulpit of the Prophet's mosque along with a few others. One of them said that he was not bothered about anything after Islam except that he wished he could supply water to the pilgrims. Another said, "Rather, maintain the Grand Mosque." A third said that Jihad in the cause of Allah was the best of deeds. `Umar interrupted and told us not to make noise near the Prophet's pulpit, rather wait for the Friday Prayer to be over to ask him about the best of deeds and this verse was revealed. (Qurtubi says that probably the verse was revealed earlier, so, when the Prophet was asked, he recited it in reply).
    Another incident quoted is that of `Abbas who said, when taken prisoner at Badr, "Well, you might have overtaken us in Islam, hijrah and Jihad, but we on our part maintained the Grand Mosque, supplied water to the pilgrims, and relieved the distressed."
    A third report says that Talha b. Shaybah, `Abbas and `Ali disputed between themselves over the best of deeds. Ibn Shaybah said: "I own the keys of the House of Ka`bah and can, if I wish, sleep inside it." `Abbas said: "I am the one who is in charge of supplying water to the pilgrims." `Ali remarked: "I do not know what you two are talking about. All I know is that I Prayed facing the Qiblah six months before the rest of the people did, and I fought in the way of Allah." In response, Allah revealed this verse.
    Ibn `Abbas added that in fact the pagans were proud of their maintenance of the Grand Mosque and supply of water to the pilgrims, but turned away from Allah in arrogance. Allah said about them (23: 66 67): "Surely, My signs were recited to you but you turned away on your backs in arrogance, spending evenings in evil talk" (Ibn Jarir).
    Supplying water to the pilgrims was, in those days of scarcity, of no small benefit. Scores of pilgrims died of thirst. Yet, it was counted out as a deed of no value in the absence of faith (Au.).
    Yusuf Ali offers his perceptive comments applicable to peoples of all times: "Giving drinks of cold water to thirsty pilgrims, and doing material services to a mosque are meritorious acts, but they are only external. If they do not touch the soul, their value is slight. Far greater, in the sight of Allah, are Faith, Endeavour, and self surrender to Allah. Men who practice these will obtain honor in the sight of Allah. Allah's light and guidance comes to them, and not to those self sufficient beings who think that a little show of what the world considers piety is enough."

    الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَهَاجَرُوا وَجَاهَدُوا فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ بِأَمْوَالِهِمْ وَأَنْفُسِهِمْ أَعْظَمُ دَرَجَةً عِنْدَ اللَّهِ ۚ وَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْفَائِزُونَ (20)

    9|20| Those who believed, migrated, and fought in the way of Allah with their wealth and their persons, they are of higher status with Allah, and they indeed .. they are successful.


    يُبَشِّرُهُمْ رَبُّهُمْ بِرَحْمَةٍ مِنْهُ وَرِضْوَانٍ وَجَنَّاتٍ لَهُمْ فِيهَا نَعِيمٌ مُقِيمٌ (21)

    9|21| Their Lord gives them glad tiding of a mercy from Him and approval,36 and of gardens for them wherein is enduring pleasure.37


    36. Jabir b. `Abdullah reports the Prophet:


    إذا دخل أهل الجنة الجنة، قال الله سبحانه: أُعطيكم أفضل من هذا، فيقولون: ربَّنا، أيُّ شيء أفضل من هذا؟ قال: رِضْواني


    "When the people would have entered Paradise, Allah will say, ‘I shall give you something better than all these things.' They will ask, ‘What could be better than these blessings?' He will say, ‘My Approval (ridwan)'" Ibn Jarir.
    The above hadith is declared trustworthy and has its equivalent in roughly the same words in Bukhari and other collections (Au.).
    37. Note that in verse 20 Allah of three kinds of deeds: belief in Allah, hijrah and jihad in His cause. In verse 21 He followed it up with three kinds of rewards: mercy, being pleased, and, gardens. Also note that the three deeds are in the order of their importance, higher to lower. The rewards too are in the order of their importance: higher to lower (Au.).

    خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا أَبَدًا ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عِنْدَهُ أَجْرٌ عَظِيمٌ (22)

    9|22| Abiding therein forever. Verily with Allah are great rewards.


    يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَتَّخِذُوا آبَاءَكُمْ وَإِخْوَانَكُمْ أَوْلِيَاءَ إِنِ اسْتَحَبُّوا الْكُفْرَ عَلَى الْإِيمَانِ ۚ وَمَنْ يَتَوَلَّهُمْ مِنْكُمْ فَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الظَّالِمُونَ (23)

    9|23| Believers! Do not take your fathers and brothers as allies if they prefer disbelief over belief.38 Then, whosoever of you took them as allies they indeed they are the transgressors.39


    38. Asad comments on the general meaning: "The term walayah ("alliance" or "friendship") is used in this context in the sense of an alliance against other believers, as in 3: 28. That it does not refer to "friendship" in the sense of normal human affection is obvious from the many exhortations in the Qur'an to be good to one's parents and kinsfolk; and, more explicitly, from 60: 8 9, where the believers are reminded that friendly relations with unbelievers who are not hostile to the Muslim community are permissible.."
    But Qurtubi is more specific. He writes: Obviously, the verse is of general nature, applicable to believers of all times, but at the time of its revelation, special reference was to those who had embraced Islam but had remained in the unbelievers' lands, whether in Makkah, or other places, while the Prophet had already emigrated to Madinah. The Muslims were told, in this and the next verse, that they ought to prefer their religion over everything else. Although of course, the main point remains, viz. Muslims should not take the unbelievers to their heart. It is love of Allah alone that should reside there. One of the Sufis has said:

     

    يقولون لي دار الاحبة قد دنت
    وأنت كئيب إن ذا لعجيب
    فقلت وما تغني ديار قريبة
    إذا لم يكن بين القلوب قريب
    فكم من بعيد الدار نال مراده
    وآخر جار الجنب مات كئيب


    They tell me the house of the beloved is close
    Yet strange that you appear downcast
    I said, it matters not how close the houses
    If the hearts be not close
    How many distantly placed have not achieved their desires?
    While another next door died gloomy.

    Ibn Kathir writes: The theme of this verse is expressed in a slightly different manner elsewhere in the Qur'an. It says (58: 22):


    لَا تَجِدُ قَوْمًا يُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ يُوَادُّونَ مَنْ حَادَّ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ وَلَوْ كَانُوا آبَاءَهُمْ أَوْ أَبْنَاءَهُمْ أَوْ إِخْوَانَهُمْ أَوْ عَشِيرَتَهُمْ أُولَئِكَ كَتَبَ فِي قُلُوبِهِمُ الْإِيمَانَ وَأَيَّدَهُمْ بِرُوحٍ مِنْهُ وَيُدْخِلُهُمْ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي مِنْ تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ [المجادلة : 22]


    "You will not find a people who believe in Allah and the Hereafter, having affection for those who opposed Allah and His Messenger, even if they were their fathers, sons, brothers, or kinsfolk. Such, Allah has written faith in their hearts and has helped them with a Spirit from Him and shall admit them into Gardens beneath which rivers flow."
    It is reported by Hafiz al Bayhaqi that during the Badr battle Abu `Ubaydah's father, al Jarrah began chanting praises of his deities. Initially Abu `Ubaydah avoided encounter with him. But when he would not stop, he confronted him. The two fought, and Abu `Ubaydah killed his father. Allah revealed the verse, "You will not find .."
    On the topic of love of Allah and His Messenger, Ibn Kathir also writes that a hadith of Bukhari tells us that once the Prophet was strolling with his hand in `Umar's when `Umar said,


    يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ لَأَنْتَ أَحَبُّ إِلَيَّ مِنْ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ إِلَّا مِنْ نَفْسِي فَقَالَ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ لَا وَالَّذِي نَفْسِي بِيَدِهِ حَتَّى أَكُونَ أَحَبَّ إِلَيْكَ مِنْ نَفْسِكَ فَقَالَ لَهُ عُمَرُ فَإِنَّهُ الْآنَ وَاللَّهِ لَأَنْتَ أَحَبُّ إِلَيَّ مِنْ نَفْسِي فَقَالَ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ الْآنَ يَا عُمَرُ


    "By Allah. You are dearer to me than anything else in this world, save for my own soul." The Prophet remarked, "A man is not a true believer until he loves me more than his own self." At that `Umar said, (according to some reports, being quiet for a while, consulting his inner self: Au.), "By Allah, now you are dearer to me than my own soul." The Prophet said, "Now, O `Umar." (That is, now you have become a true believer: Au.).
    It is also reported (by Bukhari: Hussain b. Ibrahim) that the Prophet (saws) said:


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


    "One of you does not believe in me until I am dearer to him than his father, sons and the rest of the people." (There is a hadith that strongly disapproves of the love of this world against the love of the Hereafter: Au.).
    The Prophet said in a hadith preserved by Abu Da'ud:


    إِذَا تَبَايَعْتُمْ بِالْعِينَةِ وَأَخَذْتُمْ أَذْنَابَ الْبَقَرِ وَرَضِيتُمْ بِالزَّرْعِ وَتَرَكْتُمُ الْجِهَادَ سَلَّطَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْكُمْ ذُلاًّ لاَ يَنْزِعُهُ حَتَّى تَرْجِعُوا إِلَى دِينِكُمْ


    "When you begin to deal in `Ina (a dealing with a tinge of usury), hold on to the tails of the oxen (i.e., cattle-breeding) and are quite satisfied with farming, and give up Jihad, then Allah will impose on you such humiliation that He will not remove from you until you return to your religion."
    39. The verse forbids approval of the unbelievers as long as they remain unbelievers. For, as the scholars say, to show approval of disbelief is itself disbelief and to approve of wickedness is itself wickedness. The verse however, does not forbid being dutiful to unbelieving parents, or, employing an unbeliever. Forbidden is love or approval of their ways (Au.). Bukhari has a report coming down from Asma'. She asked the Prophet (saws),


    قَدِمَتْ أُمِّي وَهِيَ مُشْرِكَةٌ ..فَاسْتَفْتَيْتُ النَّبِيَّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ ..أَفَأَصِلُهَا قَالَ نَعَمْ صِلِي أُمَّكِ


    "My mother has come down to me (from Makkah) although she is still a pagan. I asked the Prophet, ‘Should I treat her well?" He replied, "Treat your mother well" (Qurtubi).
    A longer version of the above report is in Bukhari (Au.)

    قُلْ إِنْ كَانَ آبَاؤُكُمْ وَأَبْنَاؤُكُمْ وَإِخْوَانُكُمْ وَأَزْوَاجُكُمْ وَعَشِيرَتُكُمْ وَأَمْوَالٌ اقْتَرَفْتُمُوهَا وَتِجَارَةٌ تَخْشَوْنَ كَسَادَهَا وَمَسَاكِنُ تَرْضَوْنَهَا أَحَبَّ إِلَيْكُمْ مِنَ اللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ وَجِهَادٍ فِي سَبِيلِهِ فَتَرَبَّصُوا حَتَّىٰ يَأْتِيَ اللَّهُ بِأَمْرِهِ ۗ وَاللَّهُ لَا يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الْفَاسِقِينَ (24)

    9|24| Say, ‘If your fathers, your sons, your brothers, your spouses, your clan, the wealth you have acquired, the commerce that you fear may slacken,40 and the dwellings in which you take pleasure are dearer to you than Allah, His Messenger and fighting in His cause,41 then, wait until Allah executes His command. And Allah does not guide a transgressing people.42


    40. An alternative interpretation put forward by Ibn al Mubarak is that the allusion is to the daughters and sisters who, one fears, might not get married if the guardian emigrated. This kind of usage has precedence in poetical works (Qurtubi).
    41. A hadith of Bukhari and Nasa'i says the Prophet said:


    إِنَّ الشَّيْطَانَ قَعَدَ لِابْنِ آدَمَ بِأَطْرُقِهِ فَقَعَدَ لَهُ بِطَرِيقِ الْإِسْلَامِ فَقَالَ لَهُ أَتُسْلِمُ وَتَذَرُ دِينَكَ وَدِينَ آبَائِكَ وَآبَاءِ أَبِيكَ قَالَ فَعَصَاهُ فَأَسْلَمَ ثُمَّ قَعَدَ لَهُ بِطَرِيقِ الْهِجْرَةِ فَقَالَ أَتُهَاجِرُ وَتَذَرُ أَرْضَكَ وَسَمَاءَكَ .. َ فَعَصَاهُ فَهَاجَرَ قَالَ ثُمَّ قَعَدَ لَهُ بِطَرِيقِ الْجِهَادِ فَقَالَ لَهُ .. فَتُقَاتِلُ فَتُقْتَلُ فَتُنْكَحُ الْمَرْأَةُ وَيُقَسَّمُ الْمَالُ قَالَ فَعَصَاهُ فَجَاهَدَ


    "Shaytan sat in the path of Adam's son at various points. He sat by the path of Islam and said, ‘Will you embrace Islam and abandon your ancestral religion?' (The man) disobeyed him and embraced Islam. Then he sat by the path of hijrah saying, ‘Will you emigrate abandoning your land and your sky?' The man opposed him and emigrated. Then he sat by the path of jihad in person and with his wealth and said, ‘Will you fight to be killed, your wife be married to another man and your wealth distributed?' The man did not give him an ear and participated in jihad" (Qurtubi).
    The hadith is in Ibn Hibban and, according to Shu`ayb Arna’ut, of a good chain of narrators (Au.).
    42. This is one of the toughest verses of the Qur'an for the faithful. It offers a criterion by which everyone can check about himself whether he meets the requirement of faith or not (Zamakhshari).
    At the Ummah level, we have the following that should drive fear into every heart. The Prophet said,


    عَنِ ابْنِ عُمَرَ عَنْ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ لَئِنْ تَرَكْتُمْ الْجِهَادَ وَأَخَذْتُمْ بِأَذْنَابِ الْبَقَرِ وَتَبَايَعْتُمْ بِالْعِينَةِ لَيُلْزِمَنَّكُمْ اللَّهُ مَذَلَّةً فِي رِقَابِكُمْ لَا تَنْفَكُّ عَنْكُمْ حَتَّى تَتُوبُوا إِلَى اللَّهِ وَتَرْجِعُوا عَلَى مَا كُنْتُمْ عَلَيْهِ (قال الحافظ فى " البلوغ " 1 / 172 : رواه أبو داود من رواية نافع عنه و فى إسناده مقال ، و لأحمد نحوه من رواية عطاء و رجاله ثقات ، و صححه ابن القطان) .

     

    “If you abandoned Jihad, took hold of the tails of the cows, and did sale purchase by the rules of ‘`Eenah’, surely Allah will fasten humility in your necks, that will not be removed until you repent and return to originally what you were on.”
    Hafiz Ibn Hajr remarked that this report has been recorded by Abu Da’ud, but through a questionable chain. However, the one in Ahmad (which is the version here) has sound narrators that Ibn al-Qattan declared as Sahih.
    And, ‘`Eenah’ is a kind of trade in which usury is surreptitiously involved (Au.).

    لَقَدْ نَصَرَكُمُ اللَّهُ فِي مَوَاطِنَ كَثِيرَةٍ ۙ وَيَوْمَ حُنَيْنٍ ۙ إِذْ أَعْجَبَتْكُمْ كَثْرَتُكُمْ فَلَمْ تُغْنِ عَنْكُمْ شَيْئًا وَضَاقَتْ عَلَيْكُمُ الْأَرْضُ بِمَا رَحُبَتْ ثُمَّ وَلَّيْتُمْ مُدْبِرِينَ (25)

    9|25| Allah has already helped you in many places and on the day of Hunayn when your numbers pleased you. But it did not avail you at all and the earth became, for all its breadth, narrow for you and you fled backwards.43


    43. As usual, we shall collect reports on Hunayn battle as found in various tafsir works, with Ibn Jarir's commentary coming from Qatadah as the basis:
    Hunayn
    Hunayn is a watering place between Ta'if and Makkah. (A deep and irregular valley, with clusters of palm trees, situated at a day's journey from Mecca on one of the roads to Ta’if: Majid). The Prophet fought the tribes of Hawazin and Thaqif at this place. (Banu Sa`d, Banu Awza`, Banu `Amir, Banu `Awn and a few of Banu Hilal, were also with them: Ibn Kathir). The chief instigator of the war was Malik b. `Awf. He coaxed the surrounding tribes to war against the Prophet. Some responded to the call, some refused. It was he who had suggested that they take their women, children and beasts along, so that their men do not flee leaving behind their women and children. This he though would ensure victory. When the Prophet heard of the preparations, he decided to advance to meet them in the open. (He left behind `Attab b. Asid as the governor of Makkah and Mu`adh ibn Jabal as the teacher: Shafi`). The Banu Hawazin were led by Malik b. `Awf, and Banu Thaqif by `Abd Ya Leel b. `Amr. (They first landed at a valley called Awtas: Qurtubi). It is said that the Prophet had 12,000 men with him, 10,000 of whom were from the Ansar and Muhajirun and the rest new Muslims. (Apart from the 2,000 Makkans, a large number of uncommitted non Muslim Makkans also followed him, hoping to cash on in case of Muslim defeat: Shafi`). The forces that had lined up against the Muslims were only 8000. It is also reported that the Prophet borrowed a couple of hundred breast-shields from a pagan called Safwan ibn Umayyah b. Khalf and some 30 to 40,000 in cash from Rabi`ah al Makhzumi. (It is noticeable that the Prophet, having subdued Makkah: Au.] could as well have seized the arms from the Makkan Pagans. But he did not, rather, took them on loan: Shafi`. The report is in Ibn Majah: Qurtubi). Thus equipped the Prophet marched out. (It is said that the request made to the Prophet to the effect that a “Dhat Anwat” be established for them was made during this journey: Qurtubi. It is also reported that the famous incident of a bedouin taking the Prophet by surprise under a tree also occurred in this journey. The Prophet woke up to find a bedouin flashing his sword over him. "Who will save you now?" The bedouin asked. "Allah," was the calm answer from the Prophet. Those words struck terror into the heart of the unbeliever. His sword fell off his hand. The Prophet picked it up and asked, "Who will save you now?" The bedouin replied, "Be the best of those who take up [the sword]." The Prophet forgave him: Shafi`).
    (As they descended into the Hunayn valley, the Prophet sent `Abdullah b. Hidad to spy on the unbelievers' army. He spent two days among them. Malik b. `Awf was telling them that Muhammad was yet to face real fighters: Shafi`). As the Muslims prepared themselves for the battle, somebody remarked that they could not lose that day's battle for want of numbers. (The Prophet did not like the statement: Shawkani from Ibn Abi Hatim. Some others have said that the Prophet himself had made the statement: Ibn Jarir, Zamakhshari. But, Imam Razi remarks that such a statement is least expected from a man of such character as the Prophet). [Some others have said that it was Salamah b. Salaamah b. Waqsh who made that statement, but all the reports narrated in this connection are weak: Dr. Mahdi Rizqullah in his Seerah: Au.].
    At all events, when fighting began, most of the Muslims fled. (What happened was that) Banu Hawazin had hidden their archers behind the hills. As soon as the Muslims advanced, they showered them with arrows. As the Muslims dispersed in confusion, their swordsmen attacked them from all sides. The Muslims fled: Ibn Kathir. (‘On leaving the narrow oasis of Hunayn, the road enters winding gorges suitable for ambuscade. In them Malik b. `Awf awaited the Muslims, coming along in no order and not suspecting to the presence of the enemy'.. "Staggered by the unexpected onslaught, column after column fell back and choked the narrow pass. Aggravated by the obscurity of the hour and the straitness of the ragged road, panic seized the army.. In the narrow and precipitous pass, their great numbers, of which they had been vaingloriously proud, only added to the difficulty.: Majid from ‘EI' and "W. Muir").
    According to Suddi, Abu Sufyan and Ayman b. Umm Ayman (who was later martyred in the same battle: Qurtubi), were of those who did not flee. (Actually, some 100 men remained with the Prophet, including Usama b. Zayd: Ibn Kathir. Qurtubi adds: Also among those that remained with him were Abu Bakr, `Umar, and, of all, Umm Sulaym holding the reins of Abu Talha's camel, with a dagger in her hand).
    According to a report originating from `Abbas himself, when he discovered that the people had fled, except for Abu Sufyan, he went to the Prophet and took the reins of his mule (a grey beast called Duldul: Qurtubi) in his hand (to prevent it from advancing any further: Ibn Kathir.). The Prophet came down his mule and asked `Abbas to call back the Ansar and the Muhajirun. (`Abbas was a man of loud voice). He called out: ‘Where are the Ansar? where are the Muhajirun?' and added, "Where are the people of surah al Baqarah?" According to another report, the Prophet told him to call out in words, "Where are the people of the Tree," i.e., of By`ah al Ridwan. At that the Ansar and Muhajirun turned back and flocked around the Prophet. `Abbas said they came back running to him like a she camel hurrying toward its young one. (Shawkani reports from Ibn Abi Hatim that the Ansar burst into tears when they heard their name called).
    The Prophet picked up a handful of sand and threw it on the pagans. (Later, the Hawazin men reported that when the Prophet threw the sand in their faces, ‘Not one of us was left whose eyes were not filled with sand. And we heard the sounds of steel, as if someone was rubbing a piece of iron on a steel plate’: Musnad Ahmad Ibn Kathir). Allah sent down His help and the Muslims emerged victorious collecting plenty of booty. (In fact, Hunayn was not a battle: it was the story of two routs: first of the Muslims and second of the Hawazin. The pagans retreated in such haste that they left behind their women and children, some of whom were, in fact, killed in the confusion: Majid. Even Malik b. `Awf fled and escaped to his fort having abandoned his wife and children: Shafi`). Some 6000 of them men, women and children were taken captives. `And the number of camels captured were a staggering 24,000:' Majid from ‘EI'. The number of goats captured were somewhere 40,000: Shafi`).
    Abu Is haq has reported that he heard a conversation between Bara' b. `Azib and another man. The man said, "Did you flee the battle field in Hunayn?" Bara' said, "Very much, but not the Prophet. You see, what happened was that the Banu Hawazin were very good archers. When the battle began, we attacked them with swords. They could not withstand that and fled. We went after the booty. They re assembled and showered arrows on us. We fled. But the Prophet did not flee. I saw him on his white mule with Abu Sufyan holding the reins. He came down saying:


    أَنَا النَّبِىُّ لاَ كَذِبْ
    أَنَا ابْنُ عَبْدِ الْمُطَّلِبْ


    I'm a Prophet, that's not a lie
    I'm a son of ibn `Abdul Muttalib.
    With that, the Banu Hawazin were routed.
    The last report cited above is in the Sahihayn also (Ibn Kathir).
    Quote from Ibn Jarir ends here.
    Jabir brought home an insightful point. He was asked by Wahab b. Munabbih if the Muslims had taken any booty at the fall of Makkah. He replied, as in Abu Da'ud, "Nothing, although they were ten thousand in numbers with their beasts all needing great amounts of provision. (They would have suffered a lot but for the fact that) Allah moved the hearts of the Banu Hawazin pagans (who came to fight for no obvious reason). He also put it in their hearts that they should carry their wealth in terms of beasts, livestock, women, children, and even slaves to the battle field." It looked as if, Rashid Rida adds, Allah prepared the grounds for hosting the Muslims as His guests at Makkah. Further, when the pagans had lost everything, the Muslims impressed on them that they did not need their women, children, and slaves. That way Allah softened their hearts and they all turned Muslims (Rashid Rida).

    ثُمَّ أَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ سَكِينَتَهُ عَلَىٰ رَسُولِهِ وَعَلَى الْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَأَنْزَلَ جُنُودًا لَمْ تَرَوْهَا وَعَذَّبَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا ۚ وَذَٰلِكَ جَزَاءُ الْكَافِرِينَ (26)

    9|26| Then Allah sent down His tranquility upon His Messenger and upon the believers44 and sent down forces that you perceived not,45 and punished the unbelievers.46 And that indeed is the (right) recompense of the unbelievers.


    44. Ibn Mas`ud is recorded by Bayhaqi and Ahmad as having said: "I was with the Prophet when the people fled - except for about 80 of the Muhajirun and Ansar. We did not show our backs. It is upon them that Allah sent down His Sakinah. The Prophet told me, "Give me a handful of dust" (Ibn Jarir).
    Shawkani writes that the above report is in Hakim also, who declared it trustworthy. (But Dhahabi has disagreed with him, finding fault with two narrators. Haythamiyy on the other hand thinks only one of them has been questioned for his integrity, but has been declared trustworthy by some doctors of hadith: S. Ibrahim).
    Rashid Rida quotes a very interesting passage from one of the Shi`ah writers which reflects their beliefs. First the writer states that none stayed with the Prophet except three: `Ali, `Abbas and Abu Sufyan. Then he extends the figure to about nine, since that is the opinion of one of the Shi`ah Shuyukh. Then he praises `Ali who, while the Muhajirin and Ansar fled, stood his ground and saved the religion and the Islamic state from sure demise. Finally he asks (the Sunnis): "By your Lord, give up pretensions and tell me honestly, ‘Were `Ali too to have run away, do you think the rest of the nine, who largely depended on his courage, have remained with the Prophet? Had `Ali fled, surely they too would have followed him on his heels, and the Prophet would have got killed. In consequence, neither the religion of Islam nor the Islamic state would have come to exist. `Ali's exemplary courage saved the day, in fact, save the humanity from sure destruction.’ After reporting him, Rashid Rida proceeds to comment on the statements, but we drop them as unnecessary. For, anyone who believes in phantasmagorical ideas has, to say the least, an abnormal mind.
    45. Ibn Jarir writes: `Abd al Rahman has also reported a man who fought on the side of the pagans that day. He said, "Actually, we overcame the Muslims in no time. We kept pushing them until we came face to face with your man (i.e., the Prophet) upon a white mule. But, as we advanced, we encountered several fair men of beautiful countenance. They said, `Afouled be the faces. Get back.' So we fled" (Ibn Jarir, Razi). Those were the forces the Muslims did not perceive (Ibn Kathir).
    Ibn Kathir also quotes a few other narratives. Bayhaqi has an account that reports Shaybah (who was a new Muslim) as saying: "When the Muslims fled leaving the Prophet unprotected, I remembered the death of my father and uncle (at the hands of the Muslims) and those of our men that `Ali and Hamza had killed. I said to myself, this is the time for revenge. So I tried to advance on him from his right side. But `Abbas was there standing erect well armored. I said to myself, ‘he will not betray his nephew.' So I sought to get him from the left hand side. But as I got closer, it was Abu Sufyan standing by his side. I said to myself, ‘this man will not betray his cousin.' So I went back and advanced on him from the rear. But, I was not as far away as a sword's reach when a flame flashed before me blinding me. I placed my hand on my breast and tried to back off. The Prophet turned to me and said, "Shaybah, get closer." Then he added, "O Allah, distance him away from Shaytan." I raised my eyes toward him and suddenly he was dearer to me than my hearing and sight. He said, "Shaybah. Go forward and fight the unbelievers." (There were others too who had come with the same intention: Shafi`). Bayhaqi has another report coming down from Shaybah's son. He said that his father Shaybah said, "By God. I did not go out with the Prophet to Hunayn for the sake of Islam. In fact, I knew nothing about Islam. But, I feared that the Hawazin guys will overcome the Quraysh. Then, as I was in the battle field, I told the Prophet, ‘Messenger of Allah, I can see a black and white striped horse.' He replied, ‘Shaybah! None but an unbeliever sees it.' Then he slapped me on the breast and said, ‘O Allah. Guide Shaybah.' He did that three times. And, by Allah, there was not a person dearer to me after that, than him.
    Ibn Is haq has another report from Jubayr b. Mut`im who said: "When the two forces met I saw a (huge) striped shroud descending from the heavens. It landed between us and the unbelievers, and, in a moment they were like ants filling the whole valley. We never doubted that those were angels (Ibn Kathir). But, Razi and Shawkani add: As is generally accepted, angels did not take part in any battle except that of Badr. And there too, it was only to spread fear and panic among the pagans and strengthen the hearts of the believers. (What the two meant to say perhaps is that the angels came down to plant fear and dread, they did not participate in the killing: Au.).
    46. Zamakhshari and Ibn Jarir (the latter placing the note against the earlier verse) write: After the battle, the Banu Hawazin's men came back to the Prophet as Muslims. (That was about 20 days after the battle: Ibn Kathir). What happened was that when the Banu Hawazin lost the battle, they shut themselves up in their forts. The Prophet laid siege. After 15 days of fruitless efforts, the Companions requested that he seek Allah's curse for them. But, instead of cursing them, the Prophet supplicated for their guidance and ordered the siege lifted. On his return journey, he stopped at Ji`rana and decided to offer an `Umrah before returning to Madinah. A great many Makkans who had accompanied his army, hoping to see him annihilated, became Muslims at this point. It was here that he decided to distribute the booty which had been left in Abu Sufyan's charge. And then on a sudden 14 chiefs of Ta'if showed up, declaring their faith in Islam. (The emissary included the Prophet's foster uncle Abu Yerqan, and was led by Zuhayr b. Sard: Shafi`, and `Awf b. Malik: Qurtubi). They went up to the Prophet and said, "Messenger of Allah. You are a good and generous man. You have with you all our wealth as well as our women and children as captives." He told them, "Choose between your wealth and women and children." They chose women and children. So the Prophet spoke to his Companions saying, "These people have chosen their women and children against their wealth. So, whoever wishes to free their captives, let him. But if someone disagrees, let him hand over his captives to us, we shall pay the compensation." The Companions said, "We shall free them unconditionally." The Prophet said, "Not this way. There might be some unwilling. So let your leaders go about seeking the consent of the individuals." That was done and the women and children were released without any ransom. (This demonstrates that in matters of rights, it is not enough that collective will is measured or sought. Each individual involved must be consulted: Shafi`).
    Later, Ibn Jarir continues, the Prophet assembled his men at Ji`rana and distributed the booty there, giving huge amounts to the fresh Makkan Muslims such as Abu Sufyan, Harth b. Hisham, Suhayl b. `Amr, Aqra` b. Habis and others. Someone of the Ansar remarked, "It looks like he is inclined to his people." When the remark was brought to his notice, the Prophet ordered the Ansar gathered near his leather tent. When they had assembled, he asked them,


    "يا معشر الأنصار ما قالة بلغتني عنكم؟ ووجدة وجدتموها في أنفسكم؟ ألم تكونوا ضلالاً فهداكم الله بي، وعالة فأغناكم الله، وأعداء فألف بين قلوبكم". قالوا: بل الله ورسوله أمن وأفضل، قال: "ألا تجيبوني يا معشر الأنصار؟". قالوا: وبماذا نجيبك يا رسول الله، ولله ولرسوله المن والفضل؟ قال: "أما والله لو شئتم لقلتم فلصَدقتم ولصُدقتم، أتيتنا مكذَّباً فصدقناك، ومخذولاً فنصرناك، وطريداً فآويناك، وعائلاً فواسيناك. أوجدتم في أنفسكم يا معشر الأنصار في لعاعة من الدنيا؟ تألفت بِهَا قوماً ليسلموا؟ ووكلتكم إلى إسلامكم، ألا ترضون يا معشر الأنصار أن يذهب الناس بالشاة والبعير وترجعون برسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم في رحالكم؟ فوالذي نفس محمد بيده إنه لولا الهجرة لكنت امرأ من الأنصار، ولو سلك الناس شعباً لسلكت شعب الأنصار، اللهم ارحم الأنصار وأبناء الأنصار وأبناء أبناء الأنصار".
    قال: فبكى القوم حتى أخضلوا لحاهم وقالوا: رضينا برسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قسماً وحظاً. ثم انصرف رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم وتفرقوا.


    "O Ansar. What is it that I hear you saying? And what is it that you have in your hearts? Is not it true that I found you unguided and then Allah guided you by me? Is it not true that you were poor but Allah provided you: and that you were enemies unto each other, but He created love among you?” They said, “But rather, Allah and His Messengers are better as bestowers and preferable.” He asked, “Will you not answer me, O Ansar?” They said, “How shall we answer Messenger of Allah? Allah and His Messenger are better as bestowers and preferable.” He said, “By Allah, if you wished, you could say, and you would have spoken the truth, ‘You came to us denied, but we testified you; forsaken, but we helped you; abandoned, but we sheltered you; and impoverished but we comforted you. Do you find desire in your hearts for the little that is left of this world, O Ansar which I used to attract people to Islam; and left you to your Islam? Are you not satisfied O Ansar that the people go back with goats and camels, and you go back with the Prophet of Allah in your company? For, by Him in whose hands is Muhammad’s life, if not for Hijrah, I would have been one of the Ansar. If the people walk through a mountain-pass, I would go by the mountain-pass of the Ansar.” (Then he added): “O Allah, show mercy to Ansar, to the children of Ansar, and Ansar’s children’s children.”
    The narrator said: At that the Ansar wept until their beards were wet. They said in one voice, “We are satisfied with the Prophet’s division and with our share.” Then the Prophet left them and they dispersed (Au.).
    Qatadah also reports that one of those days Halimah, the Prophet's foster mother, came up to him seeking the release of some of her kinsfolk. The Prophet told her, "I have no power over that. But come to me tomorrow when I am in the assembly of the people. I will give away my share which might prompt other men to give away their shares." Accordingly, Halimah showed up the next day, spread her cloth on the ground, and sought the Prophet's help in the release of her kinsfolk. The Prophet freed for her those who were his share. At that the other people also freed those who were their shares.

    ثُمَّ يَتُوبُ اللَّهُ مِنْ بَعْدِ ذَٰلِكَ عَلَىٰ مَنْ يَشَاءُ ۗ وَاللَّهُ غَفُورٌ رَحِيمٌ (27)

    9|27| Allah might turn thereafter (in mercy) to whomsoever He will.47 And Allah is All forgiving, All Merciful.


    47. That is, Allah (swt) might replace the unbelief residing in the hearts with belief (Razi).

    يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِنَّمَا الْمُشْرِكُونَ نَجَسٌ فَلَا يَقْرَبُوا الْمَسْجِدَ الْحَرَامَ بَعْدَ عَامِهِمْ هَٰذَا ۚ وَإِنْ خِفْتُمْ عَيْلَةً فَسَوْفَ يُغْنِيكُمُ اللَّهُ مِنْ فَضْلِهِ إِنْ شَاءَ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ حَكِيمٌ (28)

    9|28| Believers! Indeed the polytheists are unclean,48 so let them not come near the Holy Mosque49 after this year of theirs. And, if you fear poverty,50 Allah will soon enrich you by His bounty, if He will.51 Surely, Allah is All knowing, All wise.


    48. Ibn `Abbas, Qatadah, Hasan and others have thought that the uncleanliness mentioned here refers to the physical uncleanliness (Ibn Jarir).
    Ibn `Abbas has further elaborated by saying that it is because the pagans do not bathe after sexual intercourse and do not wash themselves after the nature's call (Razi).
    But the great majority of scholars have thought otherwise since Allah has allowed Muslims to eat food prepared by them (Ibn Kathir). That is, the allusion is to their moral and spiritual uncleanliness and not physical (Au.).
    Asad explains: "To this day, the bedouin of Central Arabia and Eastern Arabia who, contrary to the modern town dwellers, have preserved the purity of the Arabic idiom to a high degree describe a person who is immoral, faithless or wicked as najas."
    In fact, there is no difference in opinion among the earlier and the later scholars, including the four schools of Fiqh that the uncleanliness mentioned in this verse is not physical. The Prophet himself ate, drank and made ablution out of their dishes as well as allowed them to enter his mosque (Shawkani). A hadith to the effect that one might repeat his ablution or wash his hands after hand shake with a pagan, is, according to Suyuti, untrustworthy (S. Ibrahim).
    Accordingly, Qurtubi comments, it is not obligatory on one to wash himself before saying the Testimony of entry into Islam. It is only desirable. If the Prophet ordered some of them to wash themselves before saying the Shahadah, it was perhaps because those people were unclean after sexual intercourse.
    49. Qatadah and `Umar ibn `Abdul `Aziz have said that although the textual word is "Masjid al Haram," it is whole of Makkah that is meant (Ibn Jarir). Indeed, the allusion is to the boundaries of the Haram, which extend several miles around the Holy Mosque (Shafi`).
    As for their entry into mosques, there are several variant opinions. Imam Shafe`i has said that apart from the Grand Mosque at Makkah, pagans may be allowed entry into any other mosque (so long as there is a good purpose). Imam Abu Hanifah has said that they could enter any mosque without any special reason, differing with Shafe`i on this point who placed the condition of "purpose" for their entry into mosques. Imam Abu Hanifah also differs with him in that he says that they could enter the Masjid al Haram also, if the Muslims grant permission. In other words, the verse is giving the Muslims the right of discretion, though not giving the pagans the right of entry. The purport of the verse seems to be, according to Abu Hanifah, similar as when someone says, "I would not like to see you here." What he means is to express his unhappiness over the man's presence, and is not expressing the unlawfulness of his entry (Shawkani).
    Although, Mufti Shafi` adds, the Prophet has said in a hadith, "I do not declare a mosque lawful for one in menstruation, nor for one requiring major ablution," Imam Shafe`i has allowed unbelievers' entry into the mosque going by the Prophet's precedence of tying up Thumamah b. Uthal to a column of his own mosque. Similarly, after the fall of Makkah when the pagan Thaqif emissary visited Madinah, the Prophet put them up in his mosque. And, Imam Abu Hanifa's position, as stated in earlier paragraph, is strengthened by a hadith in which the Prophet said: "Let no pagan enter a mosque, unless he is a slave of a Muslim going there for a purpose."
    50. Ibn `Abbas, `Ikrimah, Sa`id b. Jubayr and others have said that it worried the Muslim that since the pagans had been barred from entering the Holy precincts it would affect Muslim trade and business also. So Allah revealed this verse (Ibn Jarir).
    51. Qatadah has said that Allah kept His promise and soon the Companions of the Prophet began to receive tributes on monthly and yearly basis being sent to them from across the lands (as Ibn Is haq said), by the People of the Book (Ibn Jarir).

    قَاتِلُوا الَّذِينَ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ وَلَا بِالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ وَلَا يُحَرِّمُونَ مَا حَرَّمَ اللَّهُ وَرَسُولُهُ وَلَا يَدِينُونَ دِينَ الْحَقِّ مِنَ الَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْكِتَابَ حَتَّىٰ يُعْطُوا الْجِزْيَةَ عَنْ يَدٍ وَهُمْ صَاغِرُونَ (29)

    9|29| Fight those who do not believe in Allah nor in the Last Day,52 nor do they consider unlawful what Allah and His Messenger have declared unlawful, neither do they adopt the religion of truth of those who were given the Book (earlier)53 until they pay the tribute54 out of hand55 and they are humbled.56


    52. Jews and Christians do not believe in physical resurrection. They believe in spiritual resurrection alone. Further, they do not believe in physical pleasures of Paradise. Now, since these are emphatically and categorically mentioned in the Qur'an, whoever disbelieved in a Hereafter of the Qur'anic concept, disbelieved in the Hereafter altogether (Razi).
    53. These words differentiate the people of the Book from polytheists. The polytheists had two choices (in the Arabian Peninsula): Islam or war. The people of the Book had three choices: Islam, war or tribute (Razi).
    It is also said that this verse commanded the Prophet to turn his struggle toward the Romans. Accordingly, he went up to Tabuk to face them off (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir).
    As to who are included among those who are classified as "ahl al kitab," Rashid Rida and others state that apart from the Jews and Christians the Prophet treated the Zoroastrians also as the "ahl al kitab." For instance, the Prophet accepted jizyah of the Bahrayn people, although it was known that they were Zoroastrians. `Umar however hesitated to accept jizyah of the Zoroastrians, until `Abdul Rahman al `Awf told him that the Prophet had accepted jizyah from the people of Hajr. This is also reported of `Ali as stated by Imam Shafe`i in his work Al Umm." As for Sabians, they are closer to being of the "ahl al kitab" than the Zoroastrians.
    54. Imam Shafe`i and Ahmad have said that in view of this verse tribute should not be accepted from anyone but the people of the Book, or those who are close to them such as the Zoroastrians. Imam Abu Hanifah however has expressed the opinion that tribute could be accepted from anyone save Arab pagans (who should be fought against: Au.). But tribute could be accepted from Arab ‘People of the Book’ (Ibn Kathir).
    Jizyah
    Majid comments: "(Jizyah) was a tax levied on able bodied males of military age as a substitute for compulsory military service, the exemptions being the destitute, females, children, slaves, monks and hermits. Non Muslims under the Muslim state were exempted from compulsory military service, and it was only just and equitable that they should pay some little amount in return for the protection afforded by Muslim soldiery. How rigidly the Muslims observed the condition of ability to afford protection is well evidenced by an incident in the reign of the second Caliph. ‘The Emperor Heraclius had raised an enormous army with which to drive back the invading forces of the Muslims, who had in consequences concentrated all their energies on the impending encounter. The Arab general Abu `Ubaydah, accordingly, wrote to the governors of the conquered cities of Syria, ordering them to pay back the jizyah that had been collected from the cities, and wrote to the people, saying, "... The agreement between us was that we should protect you, and as this is not now in our power, we return you all that we took..." In accordance with this order, enormous sums were paid back out of the state treasury, and the Christians called down blessings on the heads of the Muslims saying, "May God give you rule over us again and make you victorious over the Romans; had it been they, they would not have given us back anything." (Arnold, Preaching of Islam, pp. 60 61). ‘It is very noticeable that when any Christian people served in the Muslim army, they were exempted from the payment of this tax' (p. 61)."
    Rashid Rida adds: "It should not be imagined however that the promise to defend the jizyah paying folks was some empty talk, meant to pacify the unbelievers. Anyone who looked into the compacts made by the Companions will feel convinced that they did not make a pact and did not state a condition therein but held it hard with their teeth going to the extreme lengths to remain true to the word. Qadi Abu Yusuf (d. 179 A.H.) for instance has recorded in his Kitab al Kharaj reporting through Mak hul that when the Companions entered into treaties with the Christians of the north, they actually became their allies after experiencing their fair deal. They spied for them, and informed them of the troop movements of their former compatriots. Once it so happened that their news carriers arrived from several fronts to report that the Romans were planning a huge attack on the Muslims and raising a very large army to stage a decisive battle. When the news was confirmed through other sources, Abu `Ubaydah wrote to all his provincial governors to return the entire tribute that had been paid by the people. He told them to explain to them that they were constrained to take this action because the tribute had been collected on the condition that the Muslims would defend them against any attack on their life or property. But now the Muslims find themselves in a critical situation and do not see how they can defend others. In any case we shall be back on the same terms as agreed between you and us in the past, once Allah grants us victory over our enemies." When the provincial governors returned the tribute to the people of the towns and villages, they exclaimed, "May God help you and may you return victorious. Had they (the former rulers) been in your place, they would never return anything. In fact they would claim more, leaving nothing in our hands" (Slightly reworded).
    Asad comments: "It (Jizyah) is intimately bound up with the concept of the Islamic state as an ideological organization: and this is a point which must always be borne in mind if the real purport of this tax is to be understood. In the Islamic state, every able bodied Muslims is obliged to take up arms in jihad (i.e., in a just war in God's cause) whenever the freedom of his faith or the political safety of his community is imperiled: in other words, every able bodied Muslim is liable to compulsory military service. Since this is, primarily, a religious obligation, non Muslim citizens, who do not subscribe to the ideology f Islam, cannot in fairness be expected to assume a similar burden. On the other hand, they must be accorded full protection of all their civic rights and of their religious freedom: and it is in order to compensate the Muslim community for this unequal distribution of civic burdens that a special tax is levied on non Muslim citizens (ahl adh dhimmah, lit., "covenanted" [or "protected"] people", i.e., non Muslims whose safety is statutorily assured by the Muslim community). Thus, jizyah is no more and no less that an exemption tax in lieu of military service and in compensation for the "covenant of protection" (dhimmah) accorded to such citizens of the Islamic state. (The term itself is derived from the verb jaza, "he rendered [something] as a satisfaction," or "as a compensation [in lieu of something else]" cf. Lane II, 422)."
    As for the amount payable per head as jizyah, Shawkani states various opinions and concludes that it is left to the discretion of the authorities.
    Imam Abu Hanifa's opinion is that tribute will be levied only on those who have an earning. The unemployed and poor of the unbelievers are exempted (Zamakhshari).
    Accordingly, we find a report in Muslim that once Hisham b. Hakim saw some people in Palestine that were forced to stand in the sun. He enquired the reason and was told that it was because they had not paid the tribute. He went to the Governor `Umayr b. Sa`d and told him that the Prophet had said (in a hadith of Muslim: Au.),


    إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُعَذِّبُ الَّذِينَ يُعَذِّبُونَ النَّاسَ فِى الدُّنْيَا


    "Allah will torture those who torture people in this world." The Governor released them. On the point of inability to pay, it may be pointed out that rich individuals would not be asked to pay tribute on behalf of the poor. Abu Da'ud has related the Prophet:


    أَلاَ مَنْ ظَلَمَ مُعَاهَدًا وَانْتَقَصَهُ وَكَلَّفَهُ فَوْقَ طَاقَتِهِ أَوْ أَخَذَ مِنْهُ شَيْئًا بِغَيْرِ طِيبِ نَفْسٍ مِنْهُ فَأَنَا حَجِيجُهُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ


    "Whoever wronged a Dhimmi, or disparaged, or levied on him more than he has the strength for, or took away something from him without his free consent, will find me (i.e., the Prophet) counseling in favor of him (the dhimmi) on the Day of Judgment" (Qurtubi).
    Qurtubi also adds the following: There is more or less agreement among the scholars that Jizyah is levied on those capable of fighting. Old men, women, the disabled, children, monks, and others of the kind would be exempted. No other tax would be levied on them, save on trade (which is levied on Muslims too), and, in return they shall have full freedom to the extent that so long as they do not trade in, or consume openly, even their secret manufacture and consumption of wine would be overlooked. So also, they will be free to follow their religion in their personal lives. But if attacked by their enemies, Muslims would be obliged to defend them, they themselves being exempt of military services. But they would not be allowed to construct new places of worship or additions over the old ones.
    Mufti Shafi` writes: The tribute amount that the Prophet charged the people of Najran was a pair of shroud costing around one awqiyah silver. (Those days one awqiyah of silver was equivalent of 40 Dirhams). All in all they were to send across 2000 pairs. For the Christians of Banu Taghlib, `Umar Faruq had fixed it as twice the Zakah rate. In other places he had fixed it as 4 Dirhams for every well to do person, per month, 2 Dirhams for a person of average earnings and one Dirham for tradesmen. (A Dirham in those times was 3.5 masha of silver). As for the destitute, they were exempted, so were women, children, old men, priests, and monks.
    55. The textual phrase "`an yadin" is used by the Arabs for a subdued giving, a handing over despite unwillingness, or demonstration of submission (Ibn Jarir).
    56. `Ikrimah has said that the term "they are humbled" implies that when they come to pay the tribute they remain standing while the Muslim accepts it while seated (Ibn Jarir). And that the receiver holds them by their beard and says, "Shell down the tribute" although, he would have come to pay the tribute. Some others have said that they should come walking and not riding (Razi, Shawkani).
    Ibn Kathir adds: In other words, they ought to be humbled. According to a hadith in Muslim, the Prophet said:


    لاَ تَبْدَءُوا الْيَهُودَ وَلاَ النَّصَارَى بِالسَّلاَمِ فَإِذَا لَقِيتُمْ أَحَدَهُمْ فِى طَرِيقٍ فَاضْطَرُّوهُ إِلَى أَضْيَقِهِ


    "Do not be the first to greet the Jews and Christians, and, if you encounter one of them in the lane, push him to its narrowest area."

    وَقَالَتِ الْيَهُودُ عُزَيْرٌ ابْنُ اللَّهِ وَقَالَتِ النَّصَارَى الْمَسِيحُ ابْنُ اللَّهِ ۖ ذَٰلِكَ قَوْلُهُمْ بِأَفْوَاهِهِمْ ۖ يُضَاهِئُونَ قَوْلَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا مِنْ قَبْلُ ۚ قَاتَلَهُمُ اللَّهُ ۚ أَنَّىٰ يُؤْفَكُونَ (30)

    9|30| The Jews said, ‘`Uzayr is the son of God;'57 while the Christians say, ‘Jesus is the son of God.'58 That is a (mere) utterance of their mouths. They imitate the words of those who disbelieved earlier.59 May Allah destroy them.60 How they are deluded!


    57. According to some commentators, it was in actual fact only a single individual Finhas who had said that `Uzayr is the son of God, (but it was attributed to all because they did not denounce him for saying that: Au.), although another opinion says that it was a group of Jews who had said that. Ibn `Abbas has said (in a report preserved in Ibn Is haq, Ibn Abi Hatim, Abu al Sheikh and Ibn Marduwayh: Manar) that once Sallam b. Muhkam, No`man b. Abi Awfa and Shas b. Qays went to see the Prophet. During the talk, they said, "How do you expect us to follow you when you do not think that `Uzayr was a son of God?" Allah revealed this verse. (Naqqash has said that no Jew is left now who believes that `Uzayr was a son of God: Qurtubi. But that’s not correct. See Shabbir’s note below: Au.). Ibn `Abbas has also said that once the Israelites became so rebellious that Allah withdrew the Tawrah from their breasts and they lost its hard copy along with the (holy) Chest (Tabut). Their enemies captured it as war spoils. (According to another report, it was the `Amaliqa [Amalekites] who overcome them, killed their scholars, destroyed the copies of the Tawrah, and took away the Chest which had the [oldest] written copy). `Uzayr had taken refuge in the mountains. He supplicated to Allah and the Tawrah was re inspired to him. But the Israelites remained skeptic of the Tawrah he was reciting, until they regained the Chest and compared the hard copy with `Uzayr's recitation. When they found the two matching they declared that he must be a son of God (Ibn Jarir, Razi).
    Majid writes: "(The allusion by the term `Uzayr is to the) Ezra of the Bible, whose official title in the Jewish tradition is the ‘Scribe of the words of the commandments of the Lord and His statutes for Israel,' (Friedlander, Jewish Religion, p. 125) and whose work constitutes a landmark in the history of Judaism. (JE. V. p. 321) Spinoza goes so far as to attribute the composition of the Pentateuch, not to Moses, but to Ezra, which view appears to have existed even in the time of the Apocrypha' (IX. p. 590). ‘He is said to have restored not only the law, which had been burnt, but also all the other Hebrew scriptures which had been destroyed, and seventy apocryphal works in addition' (EBr. IX, p. 14), ‘With the Return', i.e., since the era of Ezra ‘began the codification of the Torah and scriptures, the translation and exegesis, and the development of their intensive teaching. From now onwards Judaism can be spoken of as distinct from the religion of Israel.' (VJE. p. 339) ‘He succeeded in reviving with increased strength the old Jewish national religious ideal; and because he did so he is called the father of Judaism' (The Columbia Encyclopedia, p. 599). He was the first of the scribes or soferin. But who exactly were they? and what standing had they in the Jewish theology? Not only were they ‘the great authorities on the text of the Scriptures and on its interpretation' but it was they who first ‘fixed the norm of Jewish religious practice,' and they were considered competent to effect whatever changes they liked even in the Scriptures. In fact they did introduce ‘eighteen changes into the text of the Pentateuch, chiefly in order to soften expressions which were considered too harsh by a later age. They also modified some of the precepts of the Pentateuch in order to meet the spirit of the age and the needs of the times. These modifications are called in the Talmud dibre soferin, "the words of the Scribes," and were accepted as binding by later generations' (VJE, pp. 585 586). His traditionary tomb is on the bank of the Tigris, near its junction with the Euphrates (Layard, Nineveh and Babylon, p. 282 f.n.)."
    Although, the interpretation of son ship as offered by Asad does not sound too convincing, we might present what he writes: "... Ezra occupies a unique position in the esteem of all Jews, and has always been praised by them in the most extravagant terms. It was he who restored and codified the Torah after it had been lost during the Babylonian Exile, and `edited’ it in more or less the form which it has today; and thus ‘he promoted the establishment of an exclusive, legalistic type of religion that became dominant in the later Judaism’ (Encyclopedia Britannica, 1963, vol. IX, p. 15). Ever since then he has been venerated to such a degree that his verdicts on the Law of Moses have come to be regarded by the Talmudists as being practically equivalent to the Law itself: which, in Qur'anic ideology, amounts to a quasi divine law giver and the blasphemous attribution to him albeit metaphorically of the quality of ‘sonship’ in relation to God."
    Contemporary Jewish works confirm what the classical Muslim commentators wrote. The Jewish author Max I. Dimont writes in his best seller "Jews, God and History" (p.69 70): "In the year 458 B.C., with the permission of the Persian king, Ezra headed the second mass exodus of 1,800 Jews from Babylonia to Jerusalem. Here Ezra joined hands with Nehemiah. The first move of the alliance between the priest and the aristocrat was a ban on intermarriage between Jews and non Jews, the first in Jewish history, and the first such ban on intermarriage in the world. This action did not sit well with many nations... It did not sit well with many Jews either, and the Book of Ruth is considered to have been written at this time as a protest against such discrimination. However, it must be stressed that this action was not motivated by a philosophy of superiority, or rejection of other people as inferior, but was strictly a defense against future religious dilution. The Chosen people should stay chosen...
    "As a second measure toward forging a national religious and spiritual Jewish character, Ezra and Nehemiah decided not only to revise the Book of Deuteronomy but to add to it four other books of Moses. Under their directions, priests and scholars labored diligently to fuse the most important of the divergent of Mosaic documents, including the Deuteronomy of Josiah, into the five books of the Pentateuch, namely, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. All five books of Moses were now made divine.
    "... Heralds were sent into every corner of the Persian Empire to spread the news that on the Jewish New Year's Day the Five books of Moses, written by Moses, would be read aloud to all the people."
    We have another evidence from a French writer. Commenting on the Qur’anic charge that the Jews treated ‘Uzayr as a son of God, he writes (Maxim Rodinson, Mohammed, Pantheon Books, 1971, p. 238), “The Jews claimed that ‘Uzayr (Esdras, or Ezra) was the son of God, a status which the Christians attribute to Jesus.
    “The first of these assertions begins to look less unjustified than it seems at first sight when we find, in a first-century Jewish ‘Apocrypha’ which later enjoyed great popularity, the fourth book of Esdras, the following words spoken to Esdras by an angel: ‘Thou shalt be taken up from [among] men, and henceforth thou shalt remain with my son … Let go from thee the cares of morality; cast from thee the burden of man” (Au.).
    Shabbir writes that he was told by a trustworthy Muslim who had toured the Palestine region (early in the 20th century) that he had come across some Jews who held the belief of Uzayr's Divinity and were locally known as Uzayrites.
    58. Majid comments: "`Children of God' and `Sons of God' are both Biblical phrases. In the former, the favourite phrase of St. John, `the idea of origin is most prominent'; while the latter, so frequently used by St. Paul, emphasises `rather the notion of relation and privilege' (DG. II, p. 215). The doctrine of Jesus being `a child of God' is distinct from his Sonship, though the two ideas later on coalesced into one. Both are equally blasphemous and derogatory to the dignity of God."
    59. "Pagan mythologies and polytheistic theologies are full of the underlying notion of the fatherhood of God, man's generic relationship with Him, and community of nature between man and God. `The idea of divine Fatherhood had not failed to make its appearance in the Jewish scriptures, canonical and uncanonical, as it indeed appears in many religions.' (EBr. XIII, p. 21). There may be special reference to the great influence on the Christian theology of Greece which `supplied the philosophy of the Christian religion' and Rome of which `the stubborn local traditions survive in Catholic Europe to this day.' (UHW, IV, p. 2083)" Majid.
    60. The literal translation of "qatalahum Allah" is close to the interpretation of Ibn `Abbas who said that every usage of this kind in the Qur'an means to curse. But, Qurtubi adds, the term expresses another meaning also, viz., wonder. This kind of usage has its precedence in poetry. Asma`i has said:

     

    يا قاتل الله ليلى كيف تعجبني
    واخبر الناس أني لا أباليها


    May Allah kill Layla, how she amazes me
    While people pass the word that I do not care for her.

    اتَّخَذُوا أَحْبَارَهُمْ وَرُهْبَانَهُمْ أَرْبَابًا مِنْ دُونِ اللَّهِ وَالْمَسِيحَ ابْنَ مَرْيَمَ وَمَا أُمِرُوا إِلَّا لِيَعْبُدُوا إِلَٰهًا وَاحِدًا ۖ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ ۚ سُبْحَانَهُ عَمَّا يُشْرِكُونَ (31)

    9|31| They took their rabbis and monks, and the Messiah the son of Mary, as lords besides Allah,61 while they were not commanded but that they should worship one God. There is no god besides He. Exalted is He, high above what they associate (with Him).


    61. `Adiyy b. Hatim reports:


    أَتَيْتُ النَّبِىَّ -صلى الله عليه وسلم- وَفِى عُنُقِى صَلِيبٌ مِنْ ذَهَبٍ قَالَ فَسَمِعْتُهُ يَقُولُ (اتَّخَذُوا أَحْبَارَهُمْ وَرُهْبَانَهُمْ أَرْبَابًا مِنْ دُونِ اللَّهِ) قَالَ قُلْتُ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ إِنَّهُمْ لَمْ يَكُونُوا يَعْبُدُونَهُمْ. قَالَ : أَجَلْ وَلَكِنْ يُحِلُّونَ لَهُمْ مَا حَرَّمَ اللَّهُ فَيَسْتَحِلُّونَهُ وَيُحَرِّمُونَ عَلَيْهِمْ مَا أَحَلَّ اللَّهُ فَيُحَرِّمُونَهُ فَتِلْكَ عِبَادَتُهُمْ لَهُمْ.


    "I went up to the Prophet. I had a cross hanging by my neck. When he saw me he said, ‘O `Adiyy. Throw that pagan mark away.' So I threw it away. The Prophet was reciting surah Bara'ah. When he reached, ‘They took their scholars and monks, and the Messiah the son of Mary, as lords besides Allah,' I protested, ‘We never worshiped them O Messenger of Allah.' He replied, ‘Is it not true that they declared the unlawful as lawful and lawful as unlawful and you followed them? ‘That was taking them lords besides Allah'" (Ibn Jarir). The narration is in Tirmidhi who thought that the report is of gharib status, i.e., weak (Qurtubi).
    Ibn Kathir writes: The report is in Ahmad also wherein it ends in the following manner. The Prophet said,


    يَا عَدِيُّ بْنَ حَاتِمٍ مَا أَفَرَّكَ أَنْ يُقَالَ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ فَهَلْ مِنْ إِلَهٍ إِلَّا اللَّهُ مَا أَفَرَّكَ أَنْ يُقَالَ اللَّهُ أَكْبَرُ فَهَلْ شَيْءٌ هُوَ أَكْبَرُ مِنْ اللَّهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ قَالَ فَأَسْلَمْتُ فَرَأَيْتُ وَجْهَهُ اسْتَبْشَرَ وَقَالَ إِنَّ الْمَغْضُوبَ عَلَيْهِمْ الْيَهُودُ وَالضَّالِّينَ النَّصَارَي


    "`Adiyy! What makes you flee from saying, ‘there is no god but Allah? Is there any deity save Allah? What makes you flee from saying, ‘Allah is the greatest?’ Is there anything greater than Allah?” `Adiyy said, “So I embraced Islam, and his face brightened up. He said, "Jews are ‘the angered upon,' and the Christians are ‘those who lost the way'" (Ibn Kathir).

    يُرِيدُونَ أَنْ يُطْفِئُوا نُورَ اللَّهِ بِأَفْوَاهِهِمْ وَيَأْبَى اللَّهُ إِلَّا أَنْ يُتِمَّ نُورَهُ وَلَوْ كَرِهَ الْكَافِرُونَ (32)

    9|32| They wish to extinguish Allah's Light with their mouths.62 But Allah refuses except to perfect His Light, though the unbelievers be averse (to it).


    62. Yusuf Ali writes: "With their mouths: there is a two fold meaning: (1) the old fashioned open oil lamps were extinguished by blowing with the mouth; the Unbelievers would like to blow out Allah's Light as it is a cause of offence to them; (2) false teachers and preachers distort the Message of Allah by the false word of their mouths."

    هُوَ الَّذِي أَرْسَلَ رَسُولَهُ بِالْهُدَىٰ وَدِينِ الْحَقِّ لِيُظْهِرَهُ عَلَى الدِّينِ كُلِّهِ وَلَوْ كَرِهَ الْمُشْرِكُونَ (33)

    9|33| He it is who sent His Messenger with Guidance and the religion of truth in order that He give it ascendancy over every other religions,63 though the idolaters be averse (to it).


    63. Although Abu Hurayrah has been reported to be of the view that this ascendancy will be finally and fully achieved with the second coming of `Isa (asws), the opinion of Ibn `Abbas is that the allusion is to the superiority that Islamic religion and Law enjoy over those of other religions (Ibn Jarir).
    Imam Razi sees three possible explanations:
    1. If what is meant by the ascendancy, is the ascendancy of Islam over the Arabian Peninsula, then, that was achieved.
    2. If it is over the whole world that is meant, then, it will happen with the appearance of Mahdi and `Isa (asws).
    3. If it is superiority of the Islamic religion over all others is meant, then that too has been achieved, except that this is a weak opinion, since that was achieved with the very first revelation.
    Ibn Kathir adds: The Prophet has said,


    إِنَّ رَبِّى زَوَى لِىَ الأَرْضَ فَرَأَيْتُ مَشَارِقَهَا وَمَغَارِبَهَا وَإِنَّ مُلْكَ أُمَّتِى سَيَبْلُغُ مَا زُوِىَ لِى مِنْهَا


    "My Lord folded the earth for me and I saw its east and west and my followers’ rule will extend to was folded for me." (The hadith is in Muslim: Hussain b. Ibrahim).
    Another report in Ahmad says that once in a certain neighborhood when the people had done their dawn Prayer, a young man got up and said,


    إِنَّهُ سَيُفْتَحُ لَكُمْ مَشَارِقُ الْأَرْضِ وَمَغَارِبُهَا وَإِنَّ عُمَّالَهَا فِي النَّارِ إِلَّا مَنْ اتَّقَى اللَّهَ وَأَدَّى الْأَمَانَةَ


    "I heard the Prophet say, ‘Allah will grant you victory over the east and the west of the lands, and that the (Muslim) state officials will be in Fire, but for those who feared Allah and stayed true to the trust.'"
    Shu`ayb Arna’ut thought that the hadith is weak.
    The Musnad of Ahmad also has a report coming through Tamim Dariyy. The Prophet said,


    لَيَبْلُغَنَّ هَذَا الْأَمْرُ مَا بَلَغَ اللَّيْلُ وَالنَّهَارُ وَلَا يَتْرُكُ اللَّهُ بَيْتَ مَدَرٍ وَلَا وَبَرٍ إِلَّا أَدْخَلَهُ اللَّهُ هَذَا الدِّينَ بِعِزِّ عَزِيزٍ أَوْ بِذُلِّ ذَلِيلٍ عِزًّا يُعِزُّ اللَّهُ بِهِ الْإِسْلَامَ وَذُلًّا يُذِلُّ اللَّهُ بِهِ الْكُفْرَ


    "This religion will ultimately reach the lands that are visited by the day and night. Allah will not leave out a house or tent but this religion would have entered it: by the honor of an honorable person, or by the humiliation of a disgraced person: an honor whereby Allah honors Islam and a disgrace whereby Allah disgraces disbelief.”
    Yet another report, also in Ahmad, narrates `Adiyy b. Hatim as saying, I visited the Prophet. He told me,


    يَا عَدِيُّ بْنَ حَاتِمٍ أَسْلِمْ تَسْلَمْ ثَلَاثًا قَالَ قُلْتُ إِنِّي عَلَى دِينٍ قَالَ أَنَا أَعْلَمُ بِدِينِكَ مِنْكَ فَقُلْتُ أَنْتَ أَعْلَمُ بِدِينِي مِنِّي قَالَ نَعَمْ أَلَسْتَ مِنْ الرَّكُوسِيَّةِ وَأَنْتَ تَأْكُلُ مِرْبَاعَ قَوْمِكَ قُلْتُ بَلَى قَالَ فَإِنَّ هَذَا لَا يَحِلُّ لَكَ فِي دِينِكَ قَالَ فَلَمْ يَعْدُ أَنْ قَالَهَا فَتَوَاضَعْتُ لَهَا فَقَالَ أَمَا إِنِّي أَعْلَمُ مَا الَّذِي يَمْنَعُكَ مِنْ الْإِسْلَامِ تَقُولُ إِنَّمَا اتَّبَعَهُ ضَعَفَةُ النَّاسِ وَمَنْ لَا قُوَّةَ لَهُ وَقَدْ رَمَتْهُمْ الْعَرَبُ أَتَعْرِفُ الْحِيرَةَ قُلْتُ لَمْ أَرَهَا وَقَدْ سَمِعْتُ بِهَا قَالَ فَوَالَّذِي نَفْسِي بِيَدِهِ لَيُتِمَّنَّ اللَّهُ هَذَا الْأَمْرَ حَتَّى تَخْرُجَ الظَّعِينَةُ مِنْ الْحِيرَةِ حَتَّى تَطُوفَ بِالْبَيْتِ فِي غَيْرِجِوَارِ أَحَدٍ وَلَيَفْتَحَنَّ كُنُوزَ كِسْرَى بْنِ هُرْمُزَ قَالَ قُلْتُ كِسْرَى بْنُ هُرْمُزَ قَالَ نَعَمْ كِسْرَى بْنُ هُرْمُزَ وَلَيُبْذَلَنَّ الْمَالُ حَتَّى لَا يَقْبَلَهُ أَحَدٌ قَالَ عَدِيُّ بْنُ حَاتِمٍ فَهَذِهِ الظَّعِينَةُ تَخْرُجُ مِنْ الْحِيرَةِ فَتَطُوفُ بِالْبَيْتِ فِي غَيْرِ جِوَارٍ وَلَقَدْ كُنْتُ فِيمَنْ فَتَحَ كُنُوزَ كِسْرَى بْنِ هُرْمُزَ وَالَّذِي نَفْسِي بِيَدِهِ لَتَكُونَنَّ الثَّالِثَةُ لِأَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَدْ قَالَهَا


    "‘O `Adiyy, enter the religion and enter security.' I said, `I'm already on a Religion.' He replied, ‘I know your religion better than you do.' I said, ‘Do you?' He said, ‘Yes, I do. Do you not follow a religion that is half Christian, half Sabian? Do you no charge your people one fourth of their produce (for religious services)?' I admitted, ‘That's true.' He said, ‘Well. That is not allowed in your religion, is it?' `Adiyy said, ‘With that I felt a bit subdued.' He added, ‘I know what prevents you from Islam. You say, “Weak sections of the society follow it: those who have no power and those whom the Arabs discarded.” Then he said, ‘Have you seen Hira?' I said, ‘Well, I have not. But I have heard about the place.' He said, ‘By Him in whose Hand is my life, this affair (Islam) will reach a stage when a camel riding (woman) will travel from Hira and circumambulate the Ka`ba without anyone in her company. And surely the treasures of Kisra b. Hurmuz will be captured.' I exclaimed, ‘Kisra b. Hurmuz?' He replied, ‘Sure. Kisra b. Hurmuz. And a time will come when wealth will be distributed and there will be no takers.' `Adiyy used to say, ‘I have seen a woman traveling alone all the way from Hira and circumambulating Ka`ba without anyone harming her. I was one of those who participated in the Persian battles to capture the treasures of Kisra b. Hurmuz. And, I am sure the third prophecy will also come true.'" (It came true during the time of `Umar b. `Abdul `Aziz: Au.). Yet, having said the above, we might add, says Ibn Kathir, that historical events will turn back the clock so that as a hadith of Muslim reports `A'isha’s words,


    لاَ يَذْهَبُ اللَّيْلُ وَالنَّهَارُ حَتَّى تُعْبَدَ اللاَّتُ وَالْعُزَّى. فَقُلْتُ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ إِنْ كُنْتُ لأَظُنُّ حِينَ أَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ (هُوَ الَّذِى أَرْسَلَ رَسُولَهُ بِالْهُدَى وَدِينِ الْحَقِّ لِيُظْهِرَهُ عَلَى الدِّينِ كُلِّهِ وَلَوْ كَرِهَ الْمُشْرِكُونَ) أَنَّ ذَلِكَ تَامًّا قَالَ إِنَّهُ سَيَكُونُ مِنْ ذَلِكَ مَا شَاءَ اللَّهُ ثُمَّ يَبْعَثُ اللَّهُ رِيحًا طَيِّبَةً فَتَوَفَّى كُلَّ مَنْ فِى قَلْبِهِ مِثْقَالُ حَبَّةِ خَرْدَلٍ مِنْ إِيمَانٍ فَيَبْقَى مَنْ لاَ خَيْرَ فِيهِ فَيَرْجِعُونَ إِلَى دِينِ آبَائِهِمْ.


    "I heard the Prophet say, ‘Days and nights will not stop their rotation before Lat and `Uzza are once again worshipped.' I asked, ‘Messenger of Allah. When Allah revealed the verse, "He it is who sent His Messenger with Guidance and the religion of truth ..", I thought that was the end of it.' He replied, ‘That surely will be fulfilled. None the less, Allah will send a pleasant breeze thereafter which will take the life of every individual who has even the littlest of Faith in his heart. Only those will remain who have no good in them. They will return to the religion of their predecessors (before Islam).'"
    With his usual brevity Yusuf Ali expresses a good amount of meaning in this short comment: "Every religion which commends itself widely to human beings and lasts through some space of time has a glimpse of Truth in it. But Islam being the perfect light of Truth is bound to prevail. As the greater Light, through its own strength, outshines all lesser lights, so will Islam outshine all else, in spite of the displeasure of those to whom light is an offence."
    Majid adds clarity: "Note that it is the religion of Islam, as such, that is to outshine and outlive all other religions; and there is no necessary connection between the religious superiority of Islam and the political supremacy of the Muslim states."

    يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِنَّ كَثِيرًا مِنَ الْأَحْبَارِ وَالرُّهْبَانِ لَيَأْكُلُونَ أَمْوَالَ النَّاسِ بِالْبَاطِلِ وَيَصُدُّونَ عَنْ سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ ۗ وَالَّذِينَ يَكْنِزُونَ الذَّهَبَ وَالْفِضَّةَ وَلَا يُنْفِقُونَهَا فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ فَبَشِّرْهُمْ بِعَذَابٍ أَلِيمٍ (34)

    9|34| Believers! Surely, many of the priests and monks64 devour people's wealth by false means65 and hinder from the way of Allah.66 As for those who treasure up67 gold and silver and do not expend in Allah's cause, give them glad tidings of a painful chastisement.68


    64. According to Suddi, the reference by the word "ahbar" is to Jewish priestly class, and by the word "ruhban" to Christian priestly class (Ibn Jarir). Accordingly, Sufyan b. `Uyayna used to say, "Whoever of the scholars of this ummah became corrupt, will be found on the pattern of the Jews, and whoever of the Muslim masses got corrupt will be on the pattern of the Christians." And the Prophet has said,


    لَتَتَّبِعُنَّ سَنَنَ الَّذِينَ مِنْ قَبْلِكُمْ شِبْرًا بِشِبْرٍ وَذِرَاعًا بِذِرَاعٍ حَتَّى لَوْ دَخَلُوا فِى جُحْرِ ضَبٍّ لاَتَّبَعْتُمُوهُمْ. قُلْنَا يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ آلْيَهُودَ وَالنَّصَارَى قَالَ فَمَنْ


    "You will follow the ways of those that preceded you, hand-span by hand-span, foot by foot. So that, if they entered a lizard hole, you will follow them." We asked, "You mean Jews and Christians?" He replied, "Who else?" (Ibn Kathir).
    The above text is from Bukhari, which varies slightly from Ibn Kathir’s text (Au.).
    Zamakhshari writes that it is possible that the criticism is directed against Muslims, and the crime of those who do not pay the Zakah is compared in seriousness to the wealth devouring attitudes of the people of the Book.
    65. The allusion is to the tilth, other taxes, and fee the Jewish and Christian religious scholars, priests and monks received from their masses for issuing religious decrees. This practice prevented them from embracing Islam although they were convinced of its truth (Ibn Kathir).
    Majid quotes from the Biblical and Christian sources: "As regards the Jews: `The heads thereof judge for reward and the priests thereof teach for hire' (Mi. 3: 11).' `Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows' houses (Mt. 23: 14)'... As regards the Christians: `The morality of the clergy was exposed to no ordinary temptation by their growing power and wealth; and specially by the right which the Church acquired under Constantine of holding landed property and inheriting it by bequest' (DCA. II. p. 1916)."
    66. Imam Razi points out that if someone closely watched the deceptive behavior of those who profess to be highly religious among the Muslims, he would think that this verse was revealed in reference to them.
    67. The textual term is "yaknizun" which means those who treasure or hoard up. Now what does a treasure constitute? That is, when can a hoarded amount be called a treasure?
    Kanz
    According to Ibn `Umar, any kind of wealth of which Zakah has not been paid is treasure (kanz), even if kept open and, conversely, any kind of wealth over which Zakah has been paid is not treasure even if it is buried deep in the earth. Ibn `Abbas, `Ikrimah and Suddi are with him in this opinion. (`Umar b. al Khattab and `Umar ibn `Abd al `Aziz were also of the same opinion: Ibn Kathir). In fact, Bukhari and Ibn Majah have a report of Ibn `Umar which says: "This was before the revelation of the Zakah verses. Now Zakah is the purifying agent. So, I do not care if I have a huge treasure of wealth over which I pay the Zakah and expend the rest seeking Allah's Good Pleasure" (Shawkani).
    `Ali's opinion however is that any wealth above 4,000 Dirham is a treasure. (But this is a rare opinion: Ibn Kathir. `Ali was stating the preferable situation. Otherwise, there were many among the Companions who were rich. Nobody ever criticized them for their wealth. But, of course, everything has a limit: Zamakhshari).
    A third opinion is that anything that is beyond one's needs is treasure. It is reported that when the above verse came down the Companions got worried. `Umar (ra) told them that he will get their doubt cleared. He asked the Prophet, "What kind of wealth can we keep?" He replied,


    لساناً ذاكراً وقلباً شاكراً وزوجة تعين أحدكم على دينه


    "A tongue that remembers Allah much, a heart that is grateful, a believing woman who helps in religious affairs." (The hadith is in Ahmad, as also in different words in Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah. A similar report declared sahih on the conditions of Bukhari and Muslim by Hakim, has been recorded by Abu Hatim and Abu Da'ud. In that report the additional words of the Prophet are,


    إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ لَمْ يَفْرِضِ الزَّكَاةَ إِلاَّ لِيُطَيِّبَ بِهَا وَإِنَّمَا فَرَضَ الْمَوَارِيثَ فِى أَمْوَالٍ تَبْقَى بَعْدَكُمْ


    "Zakah has not been instituted but to purify the remaining wealth and Allah has instituted the laws of inheritance for what you leave behind you." Then he added,


    أَلاَ أُخْبِرُكَ بِخَيْرِ مَا يَكْنِزُ الْمَرْءُ ، الْمَرْأَةُ الصَّالِحَةُ إِذَا نَظَرَ إِلَيْهَا سَرَّتْهُ ، وَإِذَا أَمَرَهَا أَطَاعَتْهُ ، وَإِذَا غَابَ عَنْهَا حَفِظَتْهُ.


    "May I not tell you about the best of wealth? It is a woman who pleases you when you look at her, when you ask her to do something she does it, and when you are away from her, she guards [the property and her own honor]": Ibn Kathir).
    It is also reported that once one of the people of the Platform died. They found a Dinar on him. The Prophet said, "That is one stamping (in the Fire)." Later, another died and they found 2 Dinar on him. The Prophet (saws) said, "That's two stampings" (Ibn Jarir, Razi, Alusi). One version of the hadith above has come through `Ali b. Abi Talib as in Ahmad (Ibn Kathir).
    It is clear from the Zakah rules, adds Ibn Jarir, that whatever amount of wealth over which Zakah has been paid, cannot be the treasure of the above verse. When a man is asked to pay the Zakah, over say a mountain of gold, and he did it, then he is blameless and cannot be punished for keeping the rest. This is also supported by a hadith which tells us in clear terms as to who it is who will be stamped with their hoarded wealth on the Day of Judgment. The Prophet (saws) said,


    مَا مِنْ صَاحِبِ كَنْزٍ لَا يُؤَدِّي حَقَّهُ إِلَّا جُعِلَ صَفَائِحَ يُحْمَى عَلَيْهَا فِي نَارِ جَهَنَّمَ فَتُكْوَى بِهَا جَبْهَتُهُ وَجَنْبُهُ وَظَهْرُهُ حَتَّى يَحْكُمَ اللَّهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ بَيْنَ عِبَادِهِ فِي يَوْمٍ كَانَ مِقْدَارُهُ خَمْسِينَ أَلْفَ سَنَةٍ مِمَّا تَعُدُّونَ ثُمَّ يُرَى سَبِيلَهُ إِمَّا إِلَى الْجَنَّةِ وَإِمَّا (إِلَى النَّارِ .. إلى آخر الجديث)


    "Whoever did not pay Zakah over his wealth will have it turned to hot plates with which he will be stamped throughout the Day which will be 50,000 years long by your count. It is then that he will know what his destination is: whether Paradise or Hell .. to the end of the hadith. (In different words the hadith is in Muslim also: Ibn Kathir).
    Abu Dharr however was of the opinion that any wealth over and above one's needs is treasure. It is said that Zayd b. Wahab passed by Abu Dharr who was living in Rabdha (some 20 km off Madinah." He asked him, "What brought you here?" Abu Dharr replied, "I was in Syria. But I and Mu`awiyyah disagreed over the verse concerning the treasure. I said it applies to every kind of wealth. Mu`awiyyah said it applied to the people of the Book. He complained to (the then Khalifah) `Uthman. He asked me to come back to Madinah. But when I arrived at Madinah people followed me like flies. I complained to `Uthman. He told me to go a little out of Madinah, but not too far. But I shall not give up saying what I had been saying (Ibn Jarir).
    Alusi adds that some people had pointed out to Abu Dharr that if savings were disallowed in Islam, why did Allah institute the laws pertaining to inheritance!
    Ibn Kathir adds: The above report of Tabari is in Bukhari also. And Abu Dharr's opinion is well known. He believed that any hoarding, small or big, deserved the warning the verse pronounces. He used to openly preach that opinion in Syria and crowds followed him until Mu`awiyyah felt that he might cause commotion and so wrote to `Uthman. Mu`awiyyah also tested Abu Dharr whether he practiced what he said. He sent him a thousand gold pieces. Abu Dharr promptly spent it in charity by the end of the day. Next day the man returned and said, "I made a mistake about the gold pieces I gave you yesterday. They were meant for someone else. So, do you think you can return the money?" Abu Dharr told him, "It is all gone. However, give me some time, until I get some money. When that happens I shall return you the money." Abu Dharr has also reported a hadith (collected by Bukhari: Hussain b. Ibrahim), which says that the Prophet told him,


    مَا يَسُرُّنِي أَنَّ لِي أُحُدًا ذَهَبًا تَأْتِي عَلَيَّ ثَالِثَةٌ وَعِنْدِي مِنْهُ دِينَارٌ إِلَّا دِينَارٌ أَرْصُدُهُ لِدَيْنٍ عَلَيَّ


    "It does not please me that I should have gold equal to Mount Uhud, three days pass by, and I am still left with any of it, except for maybe a Dinar to pay my debt."
    Imam Ahmad has another report of `Abdullah b. Samit I visited the Prophet. He told me, who says that he was with Abu Dharr when he received his allowance. His slave girl was with him. He began to pay off for various needs until he was left with seven. He told his slave girl to buy fish-scales with it. "I said," says ibn Samit, "You could have saved it for your needs." Abu Dharr replied,


    إِنَّ خَلِيلِي عَهِدَ إِلَيَّ أَنْ أَيُّمَا ذَهَبٍ أَوْ فِضَّةٍ أُوكِيَ عَلَيْهِ فَهُوَ جَمْرٌ عَلَى صَاحِبِهِ حَتَّى يُفْرِغَهُ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ


    "My friend (meaning the Prophet) told me that any piece of gold or silver that is hoarded will be a piece of fire, until he spends it in the way of Allah the Mighty."
    Imam Razi writes that although it is true that any wealth left after the payment of Zakah cannot be treated as "kanz," and that some of the Companions of the Prophet were extremely rich, there are several reasons why one should not go after wealth:

    (1) When a man works hard to earn wealth, it is because it happens to be of carnal pleasure to him to be possessing it. So, every time he adds wealth, he adds carnal pleasure. It goes on without end. Therefore, it is better not to start the cycle.
    (2) Earning wealth itself is hard but maintaining to be rich is harder. So, a man tires himself out, either for obtaining wealth, or for maintaining it, although he makes use of very little of it.
    (3) Increase in wealth normally leads to rebellion against Allah's commands. Allah said (96: 6): "Man rebels because he sees himself self sufficient."
    (4) Allah has declared Zakah as obligatory which results in decrease of wealth. Had an increase been of advantage, He would not have prescribed the Zakah.

    Imam Razi also mentions that according to the school of Law he follows (Shafe`i), Zakah is due on jewelry that women wear. A single report from the Prophet against this has been declared weak by Abu `Isa Tirmidhi.
    68. Yusuf Ali writes: "Misuse of wealth, property, and resources is frequently condemned, and in three ways: (1) do not acquire anything wrongfully or on false pretences; (2) do not hoard or bury or amass wealth for its own sake but use it freely for good, whether for yourself or for your neighbors; and (3) be particularly careful not to waste it for idle purposes, but only so that it may fructify for the good of the people."
    Sufi commentator Thanwi adds: The threat in this verse is also applicable to the Shuyukh who accept gifts from their followers but fail to tell them the bitter truth (concerning their religious situation), out of the fear of losing their following.

    يَوْمَ يُحْمَىٰ عَلَيْهَا فِي نَارِ جَهَنَّمَ فَتُكْوَىٰ بِهَا جِبَاهُهُمْ وَجُنُوبُهُمْ وَظُهُورُهُمْ ۖ هَٰذَا مَا كَنَزْتُمْ لِأَنْفُسِكُمْ فَذُوقُوا مَا كُنْتُمْ تَكْنِزُونَ (35)

    9|35| The Day when it will be heated up on the Fire of Jahannum, then their foreheads, sides and backs stamped therewith.69 ‘This is what you hoarded for yourselves. Taste then what you were hoarding.'70


    69. It has been said that there is a relationship between the stamping on the foreheads, sides and backs and the attitude of the rich toward the poor in this world. When in their earthly lives they encountered a poor, they displayed lines of scorn on their "foreheads," when asked for help, they turned "sideways" and when persisted, showed their "backs" (based on Zamakhshari).
    70. Ahnaf b. Qays says, "I traveled to Madinah. One day I found a group of Quraysh sitting together. A man turned up. He was coarse of countenance, coarse of gait, coarse of clothes. He stood over them and, after a while said, ‘Give glad tidings to the hoarders of stamping with the fire of Hell. It will be placed on the breast and it will emerge from his shoulder blades. It will be placed on the shoulder blades and will emerge from the breast.' I noticed," continues Ahnaf, "that the folks lowered their heads. Not one of them spoke a word. The man who had spoken those words turned back. I followed him. He sat down a little distance away. I told him, ‘I do not think they liked to hear what you told them.' He replied, ‘These people have no sense'" (Ibn Jarir). That was Abu Dharr (Au.).
    However, and to repeat, there is general agreement that the warning in the verse is for those who do not pay the Zakah. A hadith reported by Thawban says,


    مَنْ تَرَكَ كَنْزًا فَإِنَّهُ يُمَثَّلُ لَهُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ شُجَاعًا أَقْرَعَ يَتْبَعُهُ لَهُ زَبِيبَتَانِ فَمَا زَالَ يَطْلُبُهُ يَقُولُ وَيْلَكَ مَا أَنْتَ قَالَ يَقُولُ أَنَا كَنْزُكَ الَّذِي تَرَكْتَ بَعْدَكَ قَالَ فَيُلْقِمُهُ يَدَهُ فَيَقْضَمُهَا ثُمَّ يُتْبِعُهُ بِسَائِرِ جَسَدِهِ


    "Whoever left a treasure behind him will have it turned into an extremely poisonous snake. It will follow him on the Day of Judgment. He will say, ‘Woe unto you, what are you?' The snake will say, ‘I am the treasure you left behind.’ It will keep on following him until it will chew his hand and then proceed to the rest of the body" (Ibn Jarir).
    The hadith is in the Sahihayn coming from Abu Hurayrah of varying textual contents (Au.).

    إِنَّ عِدَّةَ الشُّهُورِ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ اثْنَا عَشَرَ شَهْرًا فِي كِتَابِ اللَّهِ يَوْمَ خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ مِنْهَا أَرْبَعَةٌ حُرُمٌ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ الدِّينُ الْقَيِّمُ ۚ فَلَا تَظْلِمُوا فِيهِنَّ أَنْفُسَكُمْ ۚ وَقَاتِلُوا الْمُشْرِكِينَ كَافَّةً كَمَا يُقَاتِلُونَكُمْ كَافَّةً ۚ وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّهَ مَعَ الْمُتَّقِينَ (36)

    9|36| Surely, the number of months with Allah are twelve months in the Book of Allah from the day He created the heavens and the earth,71 of which four are consecrated.72 This is the right religion, therefore, wrong not yourselves concerning them.73 And fight the pagans together,74 as they fight you together, and know that Allah is with the pious75


    71. Imam Razi writes: The decision that there would be twelve months in a year was written down in the Book of Allah, i.e., the Lawh al Mahfuz. A second opinion is that although the decision had been taken right at the beginning, the commandment came through the Qur'an later.
    72. It is reported in explanation of this verse that the Prophet (saws) gave a sermon in the Tashriq Days of the Farewell Hajj. He said,


    إِنَّ الزَّمَانَ قَدِ اسْتَدَارَ كَهَيْئَتِهِ يَوْمَ خَلَقَ اللَّهُ السَّمَوَاتِ وَالأَرْضَ السَّنَةُ اثْنَا عَشَرَ شَهْرًا مِنْهَا أَرْبَعَةٌ حُرُمٌ ثَلاَثَةٌ مُتَوَالِيَاتٌ ذُو الْقَعْدَةِ وَذُو الْحِجَّةِ وَالْمُحَرَّمُ وَرَجَبٌ شَهْرُ مُضَرَ الَّذِى بَيْنَ جُمَادَى وَشَعْبَانَ


    "Time has taken a full circle to return to what it was when Allah created the heavens and the earth. Months are twelve, of which four are consecrated. Three are continuous: Dhu al Qa`idah, Dhu al Hijja and Muharram And (the fourth) is Rajab of Mudar (tribe) which comes between Jumada and Sha`ban" (Ibn Jarir).
    The above hadith is in Bukhari in greater detail (Ibn Kathir).
    73. What exactly does the "zulm" of the text imply? Ibn Is haq has said that the meaning is, "Do not treat its lawful as unlawful and unlawful as lawful" (Ibn Jarir).
    Qatadah has said: Transgression in the consecrated months is a greater sin than in other months, though transgression is always a great sin. But Allah enhances significance as He will. For instance, Allah chose the best of angels and men to be His envoys, chose His own remembrance from all speech, of the earth He chose the mosques, of the months He chose Ramadan and the consecrated months, of the days He chose Friday, of the nights He chose the Night of Qadr. Therefore, treat those as important which Allah declared important (Ibn Jarir). Ibn `Abbas has made a similar statement (Ibn Kathir).
    In fact, adds Ibn Kathir, according to Imam Shafe`i, blood wit will be enhanced for a murder committed in these consecrated months.
    Mufti Shafi` adds: This verse shows that so far as the Shar`i obligations are concerned, they will go by the lunar calendar (which is "easily observable" and "more natural": Asad): such as Zakah, Fasts, Hajj, etc. However, following the solar calendar (which has "arbitrarily fixed months": Asad), for other purposes it is not unlawful. This is in light of the verse (10: 5) which said,


    لِتَعْلَمُوا عَدَدَ السِّنِينَ وَالْحِسَابَ [يونس : 5]


    "So that you might count (the years) and reckon (the time)," though not preferable.
    74. What is the connection between this part of the verse, with its earlier parts? The answer is that although Allah has declared four months of the year to be sacrosanct, but, if you are attacked by the pagans, then you may retaliate and fight them all (Ibn Ashur).
    The translation of "kaffatan" as "together all of you" is the understanding of Suddi as in Ibn Jarir and Ibn Kathir. But the understanding of Ibn `Abbas and Qatadah is, as also endorsed by Ibn Jarir, “fight them all.”
    75. The scholars are divided over the issue of war in the consecrated months. Some say, the verse above is abrogated since the Prophet fought a few times in the holy months. See al Baqarah note 448.

    إِنَّمَا النَّسِيءُ زِيَادَةٌ فِي الْكُفْرِ ۖ يُضَلُّ بِهِ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا يُحِلُّونَهُ عَامًا وَيُحَرِّمُونَهُ عَامًا لِيُوَاطِئُوا عِدَّةَ مَا حَرَّمَ اللَّهُ فَيُحِلُّوا مَا حَرَّمَ اللَّهُ ۚ زُيِّنَ لَهُمْ سُوءُ أَعْمَالِهِمْ ۗ وَاللَّهُ لَا يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الْكَافِرِينَ (37)

    9|37| Verily, the transposing76 (of a consecrated month) is an addition to unbelief by which the unbelievers are led away from the truth. They make it lawful one year and unlawful another year in order to agree with what Allah has forbidden and to make lawful for themselves what He has forbidden. Their evil deeds have been made pleasing to them. Allah does not guide an unbelieving folk.


    76. As Ibn Jarir has explained, textually the word "nasi'" is employed both for increase as well as decrease, and hence transposing could be the nearest single word and the reference is to the practices of the pagan Arabs involving Quraysh, Banu Hawazin, Ghatafan, Banu Sulaym and Banu Kinanah. They shifted the months as they liked in order to declare the lawful of them as unlawful, and unlawful as lawful. Ibn `Abbas and others have explained that in the pagan days one of their leaders would announce that the approaching month of Safar, for instance, would be treated as consecrated and the people would treat it so. Another year he would declare Muharram as non consecrated and they would treat it so. They did that to make fighting lawful in those months. They also played with the months, renaming say Muharram as Dhu al Hijjah and playing up with pilgrimage to have it twice in a single year. In addition, they kept shortening the year or lengthening it by means of addition or deletion of months, until when the Prophet came for his Farewell Hajj, Dhu al Hijjah once again matched with the true and original Dhu al Hijjah. This explains his words, "Time has turned a full circle." One year earlier Abu Bakr had in fact made his pilgrimage in the month of Dhu al Qa`idah. Ibn Hajr offers an explanation similar to this in his Fath al-Bari (Manar).
    Ibn Kathir disagrees with that part of the above report which says that Abu Bakr performed Hajj in Dhu al-Qa`idah. He argues that in this Surah itself the year in which he performed Hajj was referred to as “the Great Day of Hajj.” How could Allah do that, if the month itself was Dhu al Qa`idah and not Dhu al-Hijjah? To him, "nasi'" was nothing but interchanging of the months (and not shortening of the year: Au.).
    But, Ibn Kathir's disagreement with the great majority over shortening of the years, does not seem to be well placed since interchanging of the months also entailed that the Hajj was performed in the wrong months. Nevertheless, he could be right in that Abu Bakr’s Hajj was performed in Dhu al-Hijjah and not Dhu al-Qa`idah.
    As for “the Great Day of Hajj,” any day on which Hajj is performed, is the “Great Day of Hajj.” Error in moon-sighting does not render the performance of deeds with important days or nights (such as “Laylatu al-Qadr) as null and void (Au.).

    يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مَا لَكُمْ إِذَا قِيلَ لَكُمُ انْفِرُوا فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ اثَّاقَلْتُمْ إِلَى الْأَرْضِ ۚ أَرَضِيتُمْ بِالْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا مِنَ الْآخِرَةِ ۚ فَمَا مَتَاعُ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا فِي الْآخِرَةِ إِلَّا قَلِيلٌ (38)

    9|38| Believers! What is the matter with you that when you are told, ‘Go forth in the way of Allah,' you cling to the earth?77 Are you content with the life of this world in preference to that of the Next?78 But the comforts of this life in comparison with the Next are but little.79


    77. Mujahid has said that the reference is to the Tabuk expedition. After the expeditions of Makkah, Ta'if, and Hunayn, following each other on close heels, the Muslims were asked to march out to Tabuk. The time was midsummer when the shade of a tree was one of the most pleasant things and, in addition, just at that moment the trees were full with fruits ready to be plucked. They began to say, "Amongst us some are old, others impoverished and some have work to do." Allah revealed this verse in response (Ibn Jarir).
    We shall present an account of the Tabuk expedition presently. (See note 172 below). For the moment, here is a short account as given by Yusuf Ali in his "introduction" to the chapter: "Tabuk is a place near the frontier of Arabia, quite close to what was then Byzantine territory in the Province of Syria (which includes Palestine). It is on the Hijaz Railway, (or, used to be, until it was destroyed and never re built: Au.) about 350 miles (600 km.) north west of Madinah, and 150 miles south of Ma`an. It had a fort and a spring of sweet water. In view of strong and persistent rumors that the Byzantines (Romans) were preparing to invade Arabia and that the Byzantine Emperor himself had arrived near the frontier for the purpose, the Prophet (saws) collected as large a force as he could, and marched to Tabuk. (The Romans had actually sent their armies across to the borders and the Emperor had ordered the soldiers be paid their salaries in advance for a whole year: Shafi`). The Byzantine invasion did not come off. (They actually dispersed when they heard that the Prophet was himself advancing towards them: Shafi`). But the Prophet took the opportunity of consolidating the Muslim position in that direction and making treatise of alliance with certain Christian and Jewish tribes near the Gulf of `Aqaba."
    Mufti Shafi` adds: With the Prophet's instruction that the Muslims prepare themselves for the Tabuk expedition, the people got divided into six categories:

    (1&2) Those who registered themselves immediately, and those who did that only after some hesitation. The great majority belonged to this category, some 30,000, who were mentioned in the verse (9: 117) which said:


    لَقَدْ تَابَ اللَّهُ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ وَالْمُهَاجِرِينَ وَالْأَنْصَارِ الَّذِينَ اتَّبَعُوهُ فِي سَاعَةِ الْعُسْرَةِ مِنْ بَعْدِ مَا كَادَ يَزِيغُ قُلُوبُ فَرِيقٍ مِنْهُمْ ثُمَّ تَابَ عَلَيْهِمْ إِنَّهُ بِهِمْ رَءُوفٌ رَحِيمٌ [التوبة : 117]


    "Surely, Allah turned (in mercy) to the Prophet, the Emigrants, the Helpers, and those who helped them in the hour of difficulty, after the hearts of some of them had well-nigh swerved. Then He turned to them (in mercy); surely, he was Kind and Merciful to them."
    (3) Those who had a good reason for staying back. It was said about them (9: 91):


    لَيْسَ عَلَى الضُّعَفَاءِ وَلَا عَلَى الْمَرْضَى [التوبة : 91]


    "There is no sin upon the weak, the sick .."
    (4) Those who did not have a good reason for staying back, but were sincere Muslims. They were dealt with in the verse (9: 102):


    وَآخَرُونَ اعْتَرَفُوا بِذُنُوبِهِمْ [التوبة : 102]


    "And there are others who admitted their sins ...", and in verse (9: 106),


    وَآخَرُونَ مُرْجَوْنَ لِأَمْرِ اللَّهِ [التوبة : 106]


    "And others deferred until the command came...," and (9: 118),


    وَعَلَى الثَّلَاثَةِ الَّذِينَ خُلِّفُوا [التوبة : 118]


    "And (He turned in mercy) towards those three who were kept waiting (to be judged)..."
    (5) Hypocrites who could not conceal their hypocrisy. They proffered false reasons and stayed back.
    (6) Finally, those hypocrites who were able to conceal their hypocrisy in the beginning, but exposed themselves during the campaign. Indeed they had only gone to sow seeds of discord and to spy on the Muslims. They were spoken of in verse (no. 47):


    وَفِيكُمْ سَمَّاعُونَ لَهُمْ [التوبة : 47]


    "And amongst you are their spies .."
    78. Imam Razi points out that in view of this verse Jihad is obligatory on the Ummah as a whole, although fard kifayah on the individual. Had it been obligatory only when the Muslims are attacked, Allah would not have censured those who stayed back from Tabuk, which in fact was a preemptory act of the Prophet (saws).
    79. The Prophet has said in a hadith preserved by Muslim:


    وَاللَّهِ مَا الدُّنْيَا فِى الآخِرَةِ إِلاَّ مِثْلُ مَا يَجْعَلُ أَحَدُكُمْ إِصْبَعَهُ هَذِهِ - وَأَشَارَ يَحْيَى بِالسَّبَّابَةِ - فِى الْيَمِّ فَلْيَنْظُرْ بِمَ يَرْجِعُ


    "This world when compared to the next is no more than what if one of you were to dip his finger – (the narrator) Yahya pointed to his little finger - in a sea and let him see how much (water) is there when withdrawn" (Ibn Kathir).

    إِلَّا تَنْفِرُوا يُعَذِّبْكُمْ عَذَابًا أَلِيمًا وَيَسْتَبْدِلْ قَوْمًا غَيْرَكُمْ وَلَا تَضُرُّوهُ شَيْئًا ۗ وَاللَّهُ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ (39)

    9|39| If you do not go forth (in Allah’s cause), He will inflict you with a painful chastisement and replace you with a people other than you, and you will not harm Him in the least.80 And Allah has power over all things.


    80. Some scholars have said that this verse is abrogated by another of this chapter (no.122) which says,


    وَمَا كَانَ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ لِيَنْفِرُوا كَافَّةً فَلَوْلَا نَفَرَ مِنْ كُلِّ فِرْقَةٍ مِنْهُمْ طَائِفَةٌ لِيَتَفَقَّهُوا فِي الدِّينِ وَلِيُنْذِرُوا قَوْمَهُمْ إِذَا رَجَعُوا إِلَيْهِمْ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَحْذَرُونَ [التوبة : 122]


    "And, it is not right of the believers to go forth together (in an expedition) all at once. Why should it not be that from every group of them a few people go forth so that they may understand the religion and warn their people when they return to them, so that they may act cautiously."
    But that's not correct, since, the reference in the present verse is to a battle which was commanded by the Prophet himself.

    إِلَّا تَنْصُرُوهُ فَقَدْ نَصَرَهُ اللَّهُ إِذْ أَخْرَجَهُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا ثَانِيَ اثْنَيْنِ إِذْ هُمَا فِي الْغَارِ إِذْ يَقُولُ لِصَاحِبِهِ لَا تَحْزَنْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ مَعَنَا ۖ فَأَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ سَكِينَتَهُ عَلَيْهِ وَأَيَّدَهُ بِجُنُودٍ لَمْ تَرَوْهَا وَجَعَلَ كَلِمَةَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا السُّفْلَىٰ ۗ وَكَلِمَةُ اللَّهِ هِيَ الْعُلْيَا ۗ وَاللَّهُ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٌ (40)

    9|40| If you do not help him, then surely Allah helped him when the unbelievers drove him out, second of the two,81 when they were in the cave, when he was saying to his companion,82 ‘Grieve not. Allah is with us.'83 Then Allah sent down His sakinah on him84 and helped him with forces you perceived not and made the word of the unbelievers the lowest. And Allah's word is the uppermost.85 And Allah is All Powerful, All Wise.


    81. Imam Razi points out that according to Arabic usage, when it is said, "second of the two," then the reference can be to either of the two.
    82. It is reported by Al Harith that once Abu Bakr asked someone to recite this chapter for him. When he reached this verse, Abu Bakr remarked, "I am the one mentioned here," (that is, second of the two), and then wept (Ibn Jarir).
    In fact, Imam Razi and Rashid Rida add, Abu Bakr was the "second of the two" in great many affairs of the Prophet: in preaching Islam, converting six immediately after his own conversion, remaining by the Prophet's side and in his service during every battle, deputing him in the Prayers before his death when he himself (Prophet) fell sick, his deputy after him as the first caliph, and, finally, buried by his side as the second of the two. (According to a hadith, Abu Bakr will be by the side of the Prophet at the Pond also: Alusi).
    Angered by the Shi`i scholars corrupting their masses, Rashid Rida follows Alusi in presenting several reasons to demonstrate the important position held by Abu Bakr. Here are some:
    (a) The Prophet trusted none but Abu Bakr when confronted with the most difficult venture of his mission, hijrah.
    (b) In a verse which left none of the Companions of the Prophet uncensored, Allah exempted Abu Bakr by saying, "the second of the two." This opinion has reportedly come from none other than `Ali himself.
    (c) When `Ali was sent to Makkah during the Hajj days to announce that Allah was quit of the unbelievers, the verse in question was also included in the recitation which should open the eyes of the Shi`ah.
    (d) The Prophet himself gave Abu Bakr a place that no one else could covet. Bukhari reports that once Abu Bakr and `Umar exchanged heated words. Subsequently, Abu Bakr sought forgiveness from `Umar. `Umar refused. It was mentioned to the Prophet. He said, "May Allah forgive Abu Bakr (three times)." Subsequently, `Umar felt sorry that he had not forgiven Abu Bakr. He went to his house but he was not there. From there he proceeded to the Prophet. As he arrived he greeted him. But the Prophet's face became red with anger, so that Abu Bakr (who was present) went down on his knees and said, "It was my fault, Messenger of Allah (twice)." The Prophet only said, "Allah commissioned me as a Messenger. You said, ‘You are lying.' But Abu Bakr said, ‘You are speaking the truth.' He pressed his own person and his wealth to my service. Will you then leave to me my Companion?"
    (e) Allah sent down Sakinah on Abu Bakr.
    (f) He aided him with unseen forces.
    (g) Although not named, but Abu Bakr was the only one of the Companions who was praised by Allah.

    Even Ibn Umm Maktum does not share this honor with Abu Bakr, since there (in the verses of ch. `Abasa, no. 80), it is a quality that has been praised and not the person.
    Rashid Rida also pointed out (at other places) that while all other misguided sects have died down, it is only the Shi`ah sect that survives. The foundation stone of Shi`a's hatred of Abu Bakr and `Umar, was laid down by the early atheist fifth-columnists, working among the Muslims to divide them. The earliest Shi`ah leaders were especially angry with Abu Bakr and `Umar because it is they who sent their armies to Persia and subdued their land to Islam. Today's Shi`ah scholars, they are on the footsteps of the secret fifth column of the earlier times, blackening pages against senior Companions, sowing hatred in the hearts, although in today's scenario it is of no profit to anyone, yet they do that only to please their fanatical followers on whom depend their leadership and material interests.
    Quote from Rashid Rida ends here and, in this context we might present as an aside, the following from Muhammad Asad’s “The Road to Makkah” (Adam Publishers, p. 277-279): “When, in the middle of the seventh century, the armies of Caliph Umar conquered the ancient Sasanian Empire, bringing Islam with them, Iran’s Zoroastrian cult had already long been reduced to rigid formalism and thus was unable to oppose effectively the dynamic new idea that had come from Arabia. But at the time the Arab conquest burst upon it, Iran was passing through a period of social and intellectual ferment which seemed to promise a national regeneration. This hope of an inner, organic revival was shattered by the Arab invasion; and the Iranians, abandoning their own historic line of development, henceforth accommodated themselves to the cultural and ethical concepts that had been brought in from outside.
    “The advent of Islam represented in Iran, as in so many other countries, a tremendous social advance; it destroyed the old Iranian caste system and brought into being a new community of free, equal people; it opened new channel for cultural energies that had long lain dormant and inarticulate; but with all this, the proud descendants of Darius and Xerxes could never forget that the historic continuity of their national life, the organic connection between their Yesterday and Today, had suddenly been broken. A people whose innermost character had found its expression in the baroque dualism of the Zand religion its almost pantheistic worship of the four elements – air, water, fire and earth – was now faced with Islam’s austere, uncompromising monotheism and its passion for the Absolute. The transition was too sharp and painful to allow the Iranians the supranational concept of Islam. In spite of their speedy and apparently voluntary acceptance of the new religion, they subconsciously equated the victory of the Islamic idea with Iran’s national defeat; and the feeling of having been defeated and irrevocably torn out of the context of their ancient cultural heritage – a feeling desperately intense for its vagueness – was destined to corrode their national self-confidence for centuries to come. Unlike so many other nations to whom the acceptance of Islam gave almost immediately a most positive impulse to further cultural development, the Iranians’ first – and, in a way, most durable – reaction to it was one of deep humiliation and repressed resentment.
    “That resentment had to be repressed and smothered in the dark folds of the subconscious, for in the meantime Islam had become Iran’s own faith. But in their hatred of the Arabian conquest, the Iranians instinctively resorted to what psychoanalysis describes as ‘overcompensation’: they began to regard the faith brought to them by their Arab conquerors as something exclusively their own. They did it by subtly transforming the rational, unmystical God-consciousness of the Arabs into its very opposite: mystical fanaticism and somber emotion. A faith which to the Arab was presence and reality and a source of composure and freedom, evolved, in the Iranian mind, into a dark longing for the supernatural and symbolic. The Islamic principle of God’s ungraspable transcendency was transfigured into the mystical doctrine (for which there were many precedents in pre-Islamic Iran) of God’s physical manifestation in especially chosen mortals who would transmit this divine essence to their descendants. To such a tendency, an espousal of the Shia doctrine offered a most welcome channel: for there could be no doubt that the Shiite veneration, almost deification, of Ali and his descendants concealed the germ of the idea of God’s incarnation and continual reincarnation – an idea entirely alien to Islam but very close to the Iranian heart.
    “It had been no accident that the Prophet Muhammad died without having nominated a successor and, indeed, refused to nominate one when a suggestion to that effect was made shortly before his death. By his attitude he intended to convey, firstly, that the spiritual quality of Prophethood was not something that could be ‘inherited’, and, secondly, that the future leadership of the community should be the outcome of free election by the people themselves and not of an ‘ordination’ by the Prophet (which would naturally have been implied in his designation of a successor); and thus he deliberately ruled out the idea that the community’s leadership could ever be anything but secular or could be in the nature of an ‘apostolic succession.’ But this was precisely what the Shia doctrine aimed at. It not only insisted – in clear contradiction to the spirit of Islam – on the principle of apostolic succession, but reserved that succession exclusively to the ‘Prophet’s seed’, that is, to his cousin and son-in-law Ali and his lineal descendants.
    “This was entirely in tune with the mystical inclination of the Iranians. But when they enthusiastically joined the camp of those who claimed that Muhammad’s spiritual essence lived on in Ali and the latter’s descendants, there was yet another, sub-conscious motivation for their choice. If Ali was the rightful heir and successor of the Prophet, the three Caliphs who preceded him must obviously have been usurpers – and among them had been Umar, that same Umar who had conquered Iran! The national hatred of the conquest of the Sassanid Empire could be rationalized in terms of religion – the religion that had become Iran’s own: Umar had ‘deprived’ Ali and his sons Hasan and Husayn of their divinely ordained right of succession to the Caliphate of Islam and, thus, had opposed the will of God; consequently, in obedience to the will of God, Ali’s party was to be supported. Out of a national antagonism, a religious doctrine was born.”
    83. The reference is to the hijrah journey of the Prophet and Abu Bakr. They lay hidden in a cave called Thawr of a mountain called Nur. When the pagans came searching after them, Abu Bakr evinced signs of worry. The Prophet assured him by asking, "Abu Bakr, what do you think of the two whose third is Allah?" When the pagans got very close, Abu Bakr said that if they merely peeped down they could spot them. The Prophet reassured him by saying: "Grieve not. Allah is with us."
    Alusi wrote: Ibn `Asakir has a report which says that once the Prophet asked Hassan b. Thabit, the poet of Islam, if he had said something about Abu Bakr. He recited the following:


    وثاني اثنين في الغار المنيف
    وقد طاف العدو به إذ صاعد الجبلا
    وكان حب رسول الله قد علموا
    من البرية لم يعدل به رجلا


    And the second of the two in the cave, the outstanding
    While the enemy was prowling around, when the two climbed the hill
    He is the beloved of Allah's Messenger, they knew that
    Those of all lands, none of the men being equal to him.

    In connection with concealment because of fear of persecution, Alusi writes: Just as the Prophet, Imam Ahmad too had to abscond and remain hidden for a few days during the disturbing days in connection with the question concerning the Qur'an (whether it was a created Word or uncreated). "And so had I to," adds Alusi, "conceal myself and lay hidden for three days after the fall of Baghdad in the year 1247 A.H., fearing the masses and a few of the elites because of false accusations spread against me by some hypocrites. But, thereafter, Allah sent His special succor, and I came into the open safe and sound."
    It has been pointed out that this verse is a proof of the Prophet's authenticity. For, if he was not a true Prophet, he would not have been sitting calmly in the cave while Abu Bakr was restless. As a false Prophet he should have been in great fear. Indeed, he should have been in greater fear than Abu Bakr, and Abu Bakr should have been telling him not to worry, because it was he that the pagans were after and not Abu Bakr. Further, the situation in the cave cannot be denied as having been truly as depicted by the Qur'an. For, if the Qur'anic verse was not narrating the true situation in the cave, Abu Bakr would have been the first to repudiate. He would have told the Prophet: "Come on. At least this part is no revelation from Allah. I was there with you and you were shaking like a leaf out of fear, were you not?" This writer first heard this argument from a Canadian new Muslim, a professor of Mathematics, Garry Miller (Au.).
    The Shi`ah however, writes Imam Razi, have used this verse to cast aspersions on the personality of Abu Bakr. They say e.g. that the Prophet did not take him along except for the reasons that he was afraid that Abu Bakr would betray him if he left him behind. But, as some scholars have said, did not Abu Bakr have the chance to betray the Prophet while they were in the cave? (Going by this argument, could not someone say something similarly absurd, viz., the Prophet did not leave `Ali in his bed the night of his hijrah journey, but to get rid of him since the Quraysh could have killed him in the dark only to discover later that they had killed the wrong man?: Rashid Rida). The Shi`ah also say that Abu Bakr earned Allah's reproach for being full of anxiety in the cave, in comparison to `Ali who slept peacefully in the Prophet's bed, as instructed by the Prophet. The scholars have answered that (when the danger is right on your head, then) to be fearful is human. Allah said about Musa (20: 68): "Do not fear. You will have the upper hand."
    Abu Bakr’s fear was on account of the Prophet and not himself – something entirely praiseworthy (Au.).
    84. Whom does the personal pronoun in "`alayhi" refer to? Ibn Abi Hatim, Abu al Sheikh, Ibn Marduwayh and others have reported the opinion of Ibn `Abbas, that it refers to Abu Bakr. And, there is no inconsistency in saying that the personal pronoun in "ayyadahu" refers to the Prophet. Arabic language and Qur'anic style allow for such expressions, although one opinion is that in this instance also the personal pronoun refers to Abu Bakr. In fact there is a report to this effect coming down right from the Prophet (Alusi). Rashid Rida is of the same opinion, although the report coming from the Prophet could not be traced for its authenticity (Au.).
    85. By the textual word "kalimah" the allusion is to the testimony, "La ilaha illa Allah" (Ibn Kathir).
    Most of the commentators have mentioned in parts event of the hijrah journey while Rashid Rida has done it with his usual thoroughness. Here is an account from different sources:
    The Hijrah Journey
    It was in Allah's wisdom that when He sent the final Messenger He prepared for his mission a people who were straight in their logic, strong in application, intelligent in their affairs, highly developed of language and previously never enslaved by any ruling class, political or religious. It was also in His wisdom that the Prophet's own powerful tribe should be the one to oppose his mission. This removed any doubt that establishment of tribal hegemony was the objective.
    Protected by his uncle Abu Talib and quietly backed by his wife Khadijah, the Prophet could in the beginning face off the opposition of the Quraysh. But, in the seventh year, both these pillars answered to the call of death within a week. That emboldened the Quraysh who left no method untried to force the Prophet give up his mission. Finally, they decided to do away with him. Even as they were planning and scheming, the believers were allowed to move out first to Habasha (Abyssinia), and later to Yethrib. Ultimately, the Prophet himself was ordered to move out to the latter place which thenceforth came to be known as Madinatu al Nabiyy – the City of the Prophet.
    Bukhari has the following narration to offer in his Kitab al Hijrah: `A'isha said "I did not step out of childhood to become conscious of things around me but found my parents Muslims; and a day did not pass by when the Prophet did not visit us, either in the morning or in the evening. Now, as the Muslims were being persecuted, Abu Bakr decided to migrate to Habasha. He had not been up to Bark al Ghimad, a place five days journey from Makkah, but met Ibn al Dughna, a powerful man of the Qara tribe. He asked Abu Bakr as to where he was heading. He replied that his people had thrown him out and so he had decided to go about in the land worshiping none but his Lord. Ibn al Dughna told him, ‘A man of your sort should not leave and should not be expelled. You work for the unemployed, do good to the kin, help the orphan, treat the guests well and support every good cause. (Rashid Rida adds: Perhaps `A'isha borrowed these words from the description made by Khadijah to describe the Prophet). I am your protector. So, go back to your place and worship your Lord in the manner you see is right.' Ibn al Dughna traveled with Abu Bakr and repeated his words in front of the Quraysh. (The possibility exists that either the Prophet or both he and Abu Bakr had known of Ibn al Dughna's regard for Abu Bakr and sent him across to Bark al Ghimad to gain his sympathy and protection: Au.). The Quraysh told him to ask Abu Bakr to Pray within his house and recite what he will (of the Qur'an) but not to irk them much, nor influence their women and children. Ibn al Dughna placed these conditions on Abu Bakr who agreed. But, subsequently, Abu Bakr constructed a little niche for worship in the front yard of his house where he recited the Qur'an in his Prayers. His recitation attracted Qurayshi women and their young ones what with Abu Bakr's crying and sobbing during his recitation! That alarmed the Quraysh. So they sent word to Ibn al Dughna, reminding him of the conditions and informing him that Abu Bakr had half kept, half broken his words of promise by constructing a mosque in his front yard. They insisted that the original understanding was that Abu Bakr will Pray inside his house, within the rooms. The Quraysh asked Ibn al Dughna to withdraw his protection since they did not wish to spoil their relations with him. So Ibn Dughna spoke to Abu Bakr who readily returned him his protection, opting for Allah's protection.
    "In the meanwhile, the Prophet told his Companions, ‘I have been shown your place of migration between two lava stretches and some orchards.' So, not only the freshers, but also those who had gone to Habasha began to re migrate to Madinah. Abu Bakr also prepared himself to leave for Madinah. The Prophet told him, ‘Hold on for a while. It may be that I will also be granted the permission to migrate.' So, Abu Bakr held himself back in the hope that he will accompany the Prophet. He got ready two camels for that purpose.
    "One day," continues `A'isha, "as we were sitting around in the house of Abu Bakr at noon when somebody said, ‘Here's the Prophet.' That was a time of the day when he never visited them. He sought permission to be let in and asked for privacy. Abu Bakr told him that there was not anyone around but the household people. He told him that he had been allowed to migrate. Abu Bakr asked him if he was allowed to accompany him and was told yes. (And, by Allah, `A'isha added, never before had we seen Abu Bakr weep with joy). Abu Bakr offered one of his two beasts but the Prophet accepted it only at cost. [Rashid Rida adds in the footnote: It is said that the Prophet preferred to buy the beast despite the fact that Abu Bakr had earmarked all his wealth in the cause of Islam, because he wished to earn the reward in a cause as great as hijrah]. So we quickly prepared for the two,” continues `A'isha. “As they started off, they hid themselves in the Thawr cave, staying put for three nights. `Abdullah, Abu Bakr's young sharp son, used to sleep with them, leaving them before dawn to mingle with the Quraysh and bring back news by the evening. `Amir b. Fuhayra, Abu Bakr's freed slave, used to tend his flock near about, watching movements, and supplying them with milk (and mutton: Ibn Is haq) by the evenings. (Incidentally, his flock removed any trace of `Abdullah's footmarks: Au.).
    The Makkans, having discovered that the Prophet was gone, quickly spread volunteers to lay hold of them, announcing reward of a hundred camels for each. One of their search parties came so close to the cave that, as Abu Bakr put it, had they looked down at their feet they would have discovered them. In fact, they saw the cave. But a spider had in the meanwhile spun her nest at the mouth. They said to themselves that had anyone entered through the hole, the nest could not be there in tact.
    The Prophet and Abu Bakr had hired an expert guide, a pagan called `Abdullah ibn Urqud, to lead them to Yethrib. He arrived at the appointed hour on the third day. (It was on this last day that Asma', Abu Bakr's daughter, had brought them food to carry. Having forgotten to bring a rope, when she found nothing else, she tore her girdle [or belt] into two to use one for tying the bundle to the camel. Thereafter, she came to be known as the Dhat al Nitaq ["she of the girdles]": Ibn Is haq). The guide took them by the shore route. Abu Bakr ordered `Amir b. Fuhayrah to accompany them.
    (In the meanwhile the original heat was dissipated, the enthusiasm ran low, and the Quraysh cooled down a bit, resigned to having lost their prize. One of those evenings while Suraqah ibn Malik sat in the company of his tribesmen Banu Mudlaj a traveler dropped in and said to him that he had spotted on the horizon figures which he suspected to be the Prophet and his companion. Suraqah knew immediately that it must be the two. But he said, emphatically, "That’s not correct. Rather, they are so and so, who left us a while ago." Then, allowing for a respectable gap of time, he left the company and heading home he ordered his slave girl to lead his horse to such and such a place and wait for him. Then, slipping out from the rear, he rushed to his horse and galloped away in the direction the traveler had pointed. And, for sure, it was the Prophet that he had caught up with. But, as he advanced, his horse sank into the sand. He jumped down and pulling out the divining arrows tried to ascertain if he should proceed or stop there. The arrows told him what he feared. A firm no. So he ignored them and pulling out the horse he tried to gallop forward again. He was as near as to hear the recitation of the Prophet, who paid him no attention, when his horse sank again. Suraqah consulted the arrows again, and, blast them, he received the same hateful answer. He also saw a lightening in the sky accompanied by smoke. That convinced him that the affair was a bit different from what he had thought. "There must be some truth to this," Suraqah told himself. He says in the continuation of the story, "I advanced upon them and told them the story of the prize of hundred camels on their heads. (According to another version, Suraqah knew that the sinking of the horse was the work of Muhammad. He sought peace and assured them that he will keep the news concerning the direction of their escape, secret: Alusi). ‘I also offered them provision for the rest of the journey, but it was promptly rejected. They did not ask anything in return except for saying, ‘keep the news about us to yourself.' ‘I asked for (the covenant of peace between me and him) to be written down and he ordered `Amir b. Fuhayrah to do it on a parchment. I thrust it into the sheath of my sword and traced back my trail, speaking nothing about it to anyone. Several years later, when the Prophet had overcome Makkah, had lifted the Ta'if siege and was camping at Ji`rana that I went forward to meet him. But the Ansar kept beating me and saying, ‘Be off with you man, what on earth do you want?’ But I kept pursuing until when the Prophet mounted his beast and I could see his shank in the stirrup which looked like a trunk of a palm tree, I closed in on him and lifted my hand with the document and told him who I was. He said, ‘Let him. Today, it is the day for repaying goodness.' So I closed up and embraced Islam. Then I remembered something that I had wanted to ask. I said, "Sometimes my cistern is full of water, and camels not belonging to me stray up to it. Will I be rewarded for letting them drink?” He replied, ‘Yes. For watering every thirsty creature, there is a reward.'
    `Abdullah ibn Urqud took them along the sea lane, crossing the road below `Usfan, then below Amaj; then, after passing Qudayd by way of al Kharrar and Thaniyyatu 'l Marra to Liqf. From there he took them down to Maljatu Mahaj, Marjih Mahaj, Marjih Dhu al Ghadwayn, then across the valley of Dhu Kashr; then by al Jadajid, al Ajrad, Dhu Salam of A`da', the water hole of Ta`hin, then by al `Abadid, Fajja, to `Arj. Here one of his mounts dropped back, so another guide from the Aslam tribe, Aws b. Hajr, took over and led them to Madinah through Thaniyyatu `l A'ir, to the right of Rakuba, through the valley of Ri'm, to finally arrive on a Monday, the 12th of Rabi` al Awwal at Quba' by noon.
    The Madinans, who had received the news of the Prophet's departure from Makkah, went out every morning to the edge of the town and waited until the sun was high. One day, as they had just returned, a Jew spotted the two from his balcony and instantly shouted: "Here is your man, O Madinans." They rushed out the young of them and the old full of joy. Meanwhile, the Prophet had alighted and was sitting under a palm tree. The advancing Madinans did not know who was who the two being of equal age until as the shadow slipped, Abu Bakr held a cloth over the Prophet to protect him from the sun.
    Back at Makkah, `Ali, having handed over the people's trusts back to them, as instructed by the Prophet, also followed them, joining them at Quba. `Ali used to say that an unmarried Muslim woman lived nearby his quarters (in Quba'). He noticed that a man came in the middle of the night, knocked on her door and, as she opened it, handed over something to her. `Ali became very suspicious of what was going on. He asked her to explain the meaning of this nightly performance as she was a Muslim and without a husband. She told him that it was Sahl b. Hunayf who knew that she was alone and so broke the idols of his tribe and secretly brought the pieces to her which she promptly used as fuel. `Ali used to talk of this incident until Sahl died in Iraq while he was with him.
    The Prophet stayed for a while in Quba', and then moved into Madinah, on to where the Grand Mosque now stands.
    86. The terms "light" and "heavy" have been explained by some as "poor" and "rich," by others as "inactive" and "active," and yet as "the unmounted" and the "mounted." (Fat and thin, healthy and sick, old and young are other explanations: Zamakhshari). Hasan, Abu Saleh, Mujahid and others have said that by the words "light" and "heavy" the allusion is to the young and old. In fact, it is reported of Abu Talha that he explained the terms that way and then said, "Allah will not accept anyone's excuse" and left for Syria (to fight in the way of Allah) until he died. Another incident concerns an old man who went to Sa`d b. Waqqas (a local commander) seeking his permission to participate in jihad. Sa`d told him, "You are too old." The man replied, "Allah says, “Go out, be you light or heavy." So he went to fight and was martyred. Subsequently `Umar asked, "What happened to the old man of Banu Hashim?" They told him, "He was martyred." Hibban b. Zayd has narrated another story. He says, "We were led in the Hims zone by Safwan b. `Amr. I met an extremely old man from Dimashq whose eye lashes had fallen down on his eyes. He was marching forward in full swing toward the front. I told him, `Uncle dear. Allah has exempted you.' The man lifted up his eye lashes with his hand and said, `Dear nephew. Allah has commanded the light and the heavy to go out and fight. Allah puts to test whomsoever he loves. And then He brings him back and keeps him alive (if He wills). He tests only those of His slaves who are grateful, persevering, remember Him much, and are devoted to none but Him.'" Again, Abu Rashid al Harrani says, "I found Miqdad al Aswad, the horseman of the Prophet, placed in a litter to be taken to the battle field of Hims. I said, `Allah has exempted you.' He replied, ‘The (Qur’anic) chapter commanding expedition has reached us'" (Ibn Jarir).
    Ibn Kathir adds: Another report tells us that when Abu Talha read this verse he said, "As I see it, our Lord demands that we go out to fight, the young of us and the old of us." He ordered his sons to make preparations for him. They said, "May Allah show you mercy. You fought with the Prophet (saws) until he died. You fought with Abu Bakr until he died. Then you fought with `Umar until he died. So, stay back and let us your sons fight now.” But he would not listen. He mounted a ship but died on the way. They did not find any land for seven days so as to bury him. But his body did not get decompose. Finally, they found an island and buried him there.

    انْفِرُوا خِفَافًا وَثِقَالًا وَجَاهِدُوا بِأَمْوَالِكُمْ وَأَنْفُسِكُمْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ ۚ ذَٰلِكُمْ خَيْرٌ لَكُمْ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ (41)

    9|41| Go forth, whether you be light or heavy,86 and fight with your wealth and your own selves in the way of Allah, that is good for you, only if you knew.87


    87. That is, fighting in the way of Allah is entirely good for you, even if you dislike it. Muslim has preserved a report coming from Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet (saws) said: "The best of livelihood is that of a man who is ever ready with the reins of his horse in his hand to jump on its back in the way of Allah. Every time he hears a cry, or a fearful noise, he flies in that direction earnestly seeking death” (Ahmad).
    The Prophet (saws) once told a man to embrace Islam. The man said, "I have a dislike for it in my heart." The Prophet told him, "Embrace Islam, even if you have a dislike for it." The lesson is, we should carry out the commandments - in this case jihad - whether we like it or not (Ibn Kathir). Another lesson contained in the hadith last quoted is, Islam is wholly good. If someone has some reservations, let him not attach it a lot of importance. Once he embraces Islam and begins to live by it, that dislike would be gone. He would never regret having embraced Islam (Au.).

    لَوْ كَانَ عَرَضًا قَرِيبًا وَسَفَرًا قَاصِدًا لَاتَّبَعُوكَ وَلَٰكِنْ بَعُدَتْ عَلَيْهِمُ الشُّقَّةُ ۚ وَسَيَحْلِفُونَ بِاللَّهِ لَوِ اسْتَطَعْنَا لَخَرَجْنَا مَعَكُمْ يُهْلِكُونَ أَنْفُسَهُمْ وَاللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ إِنَّهُمْ لَكَاذِبُونَ (42)

    9|42| Had the gain been immediate, and the journey short, surely they would have followed you. But the hardship made them feel it far away. They will surely swear by Allah, ‘Had we the means, we would have gone forth with you.' They destroy their own souls. And Allah knows that they are liars.


    عَفَا اللَّهُ عَنْكَ لِمَ أَذِنْتَ لَهُمْ حَتَّىٰ يَتَبَيَّنَ لَكَ الَّذِينَ صَدَقُوا وَتَعْلَمَ الْكَاذِبِينَ (43)

    9|43| Allah has forgiven you.88 Why did you exempt them?89 until the truthful had become distinguished to you and you had known the liars.90


    88. In the words of Yusuf Ali, "Imam Razi understands the expression to mean an exclamation, as one might say in English, "God bless you!"
    89. Ibn `Awn is reported by Ibn Abi Hatim as having said, "Have you heard of a better manner of reproach? The Prophet’s forgiveness was announced before he was reproached" (Ibn Kathir).
    Mufti Shafi` adds: It would have been unbearable for the Prophet (saws), seeing his great love for Allah, to be merely asked, "Why did you exempt them?" even if he was to be forgiven later. Therefore, the order was reversed. He was first forgiven and then addressed with a mild reproach. Further, it was not a sin that the Prophet (saws) had committed. Rather, out of several choices he preferred one that did not prove to be Allah's first choice.
    90. When the occasion for the expedition of Tabuk came, the hypocrites began showing up seeking the Prophet's permission to stay back, citing various pretexts. The Prophet (saws) let everyone stay back who wished to stay back. This verse told him that he should not have because, these were the kind of people who would have stayed back anyway, whether you had allowed them or not. If you had not allowed them, they would have stayed back all the same and exposed themselves (Based on Ibn Jarir).

    لَا يَسْتَأْذِنُكَ الَّذِينَ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ أَنْ يُجَاهِدُوا بِأَمْوَالِهِمْ وَأَنْفُسِهِمْ ۗ وَاللَّهُ عَلِيمٌ بِالْمُتَّقِينَ (44)

    9|44| Those who believe in Allah and the Last Day will not seek exemption from you, that they should fight with their wealth and their selves. And Allah is Aware of the pious.91


    91. Following the hint concealed here, it is said that a man should not wait, or seek a brother's leave, to do him good. Similarly, a host should not ask his guest if he wishes to eat or drink something. To inquire (if it is apparent that they are in need) is another way of communicating the idea that you do not wish to do it out of your heart. We have the example of Ibrahim (asws) who slipped out in secret (11: 69 and 51: 26) to roast a calf for his guests without asking them if they needed some food (Alusi).
    Rashid Rida goes one step further to say that if (you happen to be a guest and) your host asks you if you'd like to eat or drink something, then you better say no since he never intended to host you.

    إِنَّمَا يَسْتَأْذِنُكَ الَّذِينَ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ وَارْتَابَتْ قُلُوبُهُمْ فَهُمْ فِي رَيْبِهِمْ يَتَرَدَّدُونَ (45)

    9|45| Surely, only those seek exemption from you who do not believe in Allah and the Last Day, and their hearts are in doubts so that they go backward and forward in their doubts.92


    92. It is said that in total they were 39 men (Zamakhshari).

    وَلَوْ أَرَادُوا الْخُرُوجَ لَأَعَدُّوا لَهُ عُدَّةً وَلَٰكِنْ كَرِهَ اللَّهُ انْبِعَاثَهُمْ فَثَبَّطَهُمْ وَقِيلَ اقْعُدُوا مَعَ الْقَاعِدِينَ (46)

    9|46| Had they indeed intended to go, they would have prepared some provision for it. But, rather Allah disliked their setting forth and so He dispirited them93 and it was said to them, ‘Sit (back) among those who sit.'


    93. The meaning of “dispirited them,” is from Razi.
    `Abdullah ibn Abi Sallul, Jadd b. Qays, Rifa`ah b. al Tabut, and Aws b. Qayzi all of them important men were some of those who did not go and whom Allah did not approve that they should go (Ibn Jarir).
    Thanwi relates it to those weak in faith: "The verse demonstrates the error of those who delay in taking up good works for one reason or another. The truth is, they never make up their minds resolutely. Had they done that, they would not have gone forward and backward thinking over the issue but never taking any action, rather, would have taken some firm steps towards accomplishing it."

    لَوْ خَرَجُوا فِيكُمْ مَا زَادُوكُمْ إِلَّا خَبَالًا وَلَأَوْضَعُوا خِلَالَكُمْ يَبْغُونَكُمُ الْفِتْنَةَ وَفِيكُمْ سَمَّاعُونَ لَهُمْ ۗ وَاللَّهُ عَلِيمٌ بِالظَّالِمِينَ (47)

    9|47| Had they gone forth with you, they would not have added (anything) except disorder. And surely, they would have placed in your midst (discord), intending to stir up sedition among you. And, amidst you are spies (working) for them. Allah is well Aware of the transgressors.


    لَقَدِ ابْتَغَوُا الْفِتْنَةَ مِنْ قَبْلُ وَقَلَّبُوا لَكَ الْأُمُورَ حَتَّىٰ جَاءَ الْحَقُّ وَظَهَرَ أَمْرُ اللَّهِ وَهُمْ كَارِهُونَ (48)

    9|48| Indeed, they had planted sedition before94 and upset matters with you until the Truth came, and Allah's command became supreme, even though they were averse (to it).95


    94. That happened several times. For instance, at the time of Uhud, `Abdullah b. Ubayy broke off with 300 of his followers, in an effort to dishearten the Muslims (Ibn Jarir).
    95. It is reported by several narrators that when the Prophet (saws) intended to travel to Tabuk, he announced his destination, and the purpose: to take on the Romans, as against the normal habit of not letting them know his intentions. That increased the dislike of some people who did not think they could fight the Romans. However, the Prophet (saws) began to make preparations and appealed for material help to meet with the cost. Then, as he set out, he pitched his camp at Thaniyyatu al Wada`. But `Abdullah ibn Ubayy pitched his camp a little lower down the valley. When the Prophet (saws) started off after a few days, `Abdullah ibn Ubayy remained behind and marched back to Madinah.

    وَمِنْهُمْ مَنْ يَقُولُ ائْذَنْ لِي وَلَا تَفْتِنِّي ۚ أَلَا فِي الْفِتْنَةِ سَقَطُوا ۗ وَإِنَّ جَهَنَّمَ لَمُحِيطَةٌ بِالْكَافِرِينَ (49)

    9|49| Among them are some who say, ‘Exempt me and do not expose me to temptation.'96 Lo. They fell into temptation (already). And surely, Jahannum is circumscribing the unbelievers.


    96. Ibn `Abbas has said that when the Prophet ordered the Companions to prepare themselves for Tabuk, Jadd b. Qays came up and told him, "You know that the Roman women are pretty. I do not think I can restrain myself if I am to encounter them. So, do not put me into trial, but rather let me stay back. I'll help you with funds." The Prophet allowed him to stay back and this verse was revealed. He was the chief of the Banu Salamah tribe. Displeased, the Prophet asked the Banu Salamah people as to who their leader was. They said, "Jadd b. Qays, except that he is a miser and a coward." The Prophet said, "What disease could be worse than miserliness. Rather, your chief is Bara' b. Ma`rur" (Ibn Jarir). Ibn Kathir however identifies him as "Bishr b. Bara' b. Ma`rur.
    It might be remembered that when the Prophet the Companions were pledging their hands to fight to the end during the Hudaybiyyah affair, Jadd b. Qays was hiding behind a camel (Au.)

    إِنْ تُصِبْكَ حَسَنَةٌ تَسُؤْهُمْ ۖ وَإِنْ تُصِبْكَ مُصِيبَةٌ يَقُولُوا قَدْ أَخَذْنَا أَمْرَنَا مِنْ قَبْلُ وَيَتَوَلَّوْا وَهُمْ فَرِحُونَ (50)

    9|50| If a good thing happens to you, it grieves them. But if a hardship befalls you they say, ‘We had indeed taken precautions beforehand.' Then they return and they are mighty pleased.


    قُلْ لَنْ يُصِيبَنَا إِلَّا مَا كَتَبَ اللَّهُ لَنَا هُوَ مَوْلَانَا ۚ وَعَلَى اللَّهِ فَلْيَتَوَكَّلِ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ (51)

    9|51| Say, ‘Nothing will strike us but what Allah has ordained for us. He is our Protector. And, indeed, it is in Allah alone that the believers should place their trust.97


    97. The placing of trust in Allah does not preclude putting up efforts, rather, it is dependence on them for the outcome which is disapproved (Alusi). "Trust" (tawakkul) is certainly not the other name of despair (Shafi`).

    قُلْ هَلْ تَرَبَّصُونَ بِنَا إِلَّا إِحْدَى الْحُسْنَيَيْنِ ۖ وَنَحْنُ نَتَرَبَّصُ بِكُمْ أَنْ يُصِيبَكُمُ اللَّهُ بِعَذَابٍ مِنْ عِنْدِهِ أَوْ بِأَيْدِينَا ۖ فَتَرَبَّصُوا إِنَّا مَعَكُمْ مُتَرَبِّصُونَ (52)

    9|52| Say, ‘Do you expect for us but either of the two good things: (martyrdom or victory)?'98 But we expect for you that Allah will either strike you with a punishment from Him or by our hands. Therefore, wait. We are also waiting with you.


    98. The words in parenthesis are explanation offered by Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid and others as in Ibn Jarir.

    قُلْ أَنْفِقُوا طَوْعًا أَوْ كَرْهًا لَنْ يُتَقَبَّلَ مِنْكُمْ ۖ إِنَّكُمْ كُنْتُمْ قَوْمًا فَاسِقِينَ (53)

    9|53| Say, ‘Expend willingly or unwillingly: it shall never be accepted of you,99 for you are a wicked people.'100


    99. What is meant by non acceptance is “that acceptance which entails rewards in the Hereafter.” Otherwise, the charitable works of an unbeliever are (accepted and) rewarded in this world itself. The Prophet said:


    إِنَّ اللَّهَ لاَ يَظْلِمُ مُؤْمِنًا حَسَنَةً يُعْطَى بِهَا فِى الدُّنْيَا وَيُجْزَى بِهَا فِى الآخِرَةِ وَأَمَّا الْكَافِرُ فَيُطْعَمُ بِحَسَنَاتِ مَا عَمِلَ بِهَا لِلَّهِ فِى الدُّنْيَا حَتَّى إِذَا أَفْضَى إِلَى الآخِرَةِ لَمْ تَكُنْ لَهُ حَسَنَةٌ يُجْزَى بِهَا


    "Allah does not do injustice to a believer who is led to a good deed in this world and rewarded in the Hereafter. In contrast, the unbeliever is rewarded for his good deeds in this world itself, until when he rises on the Day of Judgment, he will have no deed left to be rewarded for" (Qurtubi).
    Yusuf Ali explains why the alms of a hypocrite are not acceptable:
    "They Hypocrites, who secretly plotted against Islam, might sometimes (and they did) make a show of making some contribution to the Cause in order to keep their pretense. Their contributions were not acceptable, whether they seemed to give willingly or unwillingly, because rebellion and disobedience were in their hearts. Three reasons are specifically given for their rejection, in the next verse: (1) they did not believe; (2) their prayers were not earnest, but for mere show; and (3) in reality their hearts were not behind the contributions which they offered. Nothing is acceptable to Allah which does not proceed from a pure and sincere heart."
    100. (Though general to all hypocrites: Razi), Ibn `Abbas has said that the verse was revealed in reference to Jadd b. Qays who wished to stay away from Jihad on a pretext offering monetary help instead. He was told that whether he expended willingly or unwillingly, in either case his expending will do him no any good (Ibn Jarir).

    وَمَا مَنَعَهُمْ أَنْ تُقْبَلَ مِنْهُمْ نَفَقَاتُهُمْ إِلَّا أَنَّهُمْ كَفَرُوا بِاللَّهِ وَبِرَسُولِهِ وَلَا يَأْتُونَ الصَّلَاةَ إِلَّا وَهُمْ كُسَالَىٰ وَلَا يُنْفِقُونَ إِلَّا وَهُمْ كَارِهُونَ (54)

    9|54| And nothing prevented their contributions from being accepted from them except that they disbelieved in Allah and His Messenger. They come not to the Prayers except as sluggards101 and expend not but unwillingly.102


    101. The implication of the word "kusala" is that they are sluggish and half hearted about the Prayers, doing them when in congregation and abandoning them in private (Razi). Zamakhshari adds: "Kusala" is the plural of "kaslan", a sluggard, lazy person. Probably taking cue from the usage here, it is reported that a believer should never say he was "kaslan" about one of the good acts he did not do.
    102. "Such is the condition of the hypocrites of all times: fear and appeasement, a heart twisted and a conscience disturbed, appearances devoid of the spirit, and putting up shows against what the inner self conceals" (Sayyid).
    The verse tells us by implication that acts of worship have to be out of heart to please the Lord. Not done in that spirit, they could be profitless; in fact, even harmful (Razi).
    The above does not absolve, rather only warns. The obligations of Islam, of whatever nature they be, must be performed, whatever the condition of the heart, and then forgiveness should be sought for deficiencies (Au.).

    فَلَا تُعْجِبْكَ أَمْوَالُهُمْ وَلَا أَوْلَادُهُمْ ۚ إِنَّمَا يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ لِيُعَذِّبَهُمْ بِهَا فِي الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَتَزْهَقَ أَنْفُسُهُمْ وَهُمْ كَافِرُونَ (55)

    9|55| So let not their wealth and children amaze you.103 Allah desires only to punish them therewith in the life of this world104 and that their souls should depart while they are in a state of disbelief.105


    103. Mawdudi comments: "Almost all the hypocrites of Madinah were rich and elderly people. According to the description of the hypocrites in Ibn Kathir's "Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah," (vol.3, pp. 237 41), only one of them was young and absolutely none of them was poor."
    Sayyid writes: "Sometimes, wealth and children are a blessing from Allah that are sent down upon one of His slaves. That proves to be so when he is also granted the inducement to gratitude, repair the damage done to the earth, turn to Allah much thereof. If he does that, he is peaceful of heart, cool of inner self, and clear of conscience. Every time that he spends, he counts it as a treasure that he deposited for himself in the Hereafter. On the other hand, if he suffers a loss in wealth or children, he counts it too as a means of reward. His soul is peaceful and his hope on Allah moves him on. However, sometimes wealth and children are a curse from Allah. That happens when man does nothing but corruption. His worries over his wealth and children turn his life into Hell. His greed eats him up and saps his strength. Whenever he spends, it goes waste and brings back only pain and regret. He is at pain with his children when they are sick and when they are healthy. How many people have not been targets of torment because of their children?"
    104. Majid comments in his succinct style: "Imagine not (O reader: Au.), that the hypocrites with their portion of wealth and offspring are the favourites of God; they are but ensnared therewith."
    Yusuf Ali brings out the same point more elaborately: "If they appeared to be prosperous, with their purses and their quivers full (metaphorically), they were not to be envied. In reality their wealth and their sons might themselves be a snare: Cf. viii, 28. On this particular occasion this was proved to the hilt. The wealth of the Pagans filled them with pride, darkened their understanding, and led to their destruction. Their sons and followers adopted the Faith which their fathers had fought against, much to the chagrin of the fathers, whose spiritual death was even worse than their discomfiture in this world."
    105. The translation herewith follows the textual arrangement.
    The understanding of Ibn `Abbas as in Tabari, is that there has been what is known as "taqdim" of the phrase "in the life of this world." The verse should therefore be understood in the following way: ‘Let not their wealth and their children dazzle you in the life of this world. Allah only desires to punish them therewith in the Hereafter.'
    Hasan al Busri and Ibn Zayd however believed that the literal meaning is likelier. Allah wishes to punish the hypocrites in this world itself. Ibn Jarir is himself inclined to this second opinion, as are Razi and Ibn Kathir.

    وَيَحْلِفُونَ بِاللَّهِ إِنَّهُمْ لَمِنْكُمْ وَمَا هُمْ مِنْكُمْ وَلَٰكِنَّهُمْ قَوْمٌ يَفْرَقُونَ (56)

    9|56| They swear by Allah that they are of you although they are not of you, but rather they are a people who dread.106


    106. The textual word "yafraqun" has in its root in "farq" meaning fear. It is said, "rajulun faruqun" meaning, "a frightened man" (Razi).
    What it means is that the hypocrites are afraid that their true identity will be exposed.
    "The hypocrites on the one hand concealed their infidelity lest the Muslims should treat them like the open infidels, and on the other never hesitated to declare their contempt and hatred of Islam when they thought they could do so with impunity" (Majid).

    لَوْ يَجِدُونَ مَلْجَأً أَوْ مَغَارَاتٍ أَوْ مُدَّخَلًا لَوَلَّوْا إِلَيْهِ وَهُمْ يَجْمَحُونَ (57)

    9|57| If they could find a shelter, or some caverns, or any place to creep into,107 surely they would turn about thereto as they bolt away.108


    107. The textual word "muddakhalan" is understood by Ibn `Abbas and Qatadah as a hole, an opening, or a tunnel into the earth (Ibn Jarir).
    108. The textual word jamaha implies, in the words of Yusuf Ali, "to be ungovernable, to run like a runaway horse, to rush madly and obstinately."

    وَمِنْهُمْ مَنْ يَلْمِزُكَ فِي الصَّدَقَاتِ فَإِنْ أُعْطُوا مِنْهَا رَضُوا وَإِنْ لَمْ يُعْطَوْا مِنْهَا إِذَا هُمْ يَسْخَطُونَ (58)

    9|58| Of them there are some who find fault with you over Zakah (funds).109 If they are given thereof, they are satisfied. But if they are not given thereof, behold, they are indignant.


    109. Abu Sa`id has said that once the Prophet was distributing (some gold and silver) when Ibn Dhi al Khuwaysarah happened to drop in. He remarked, "Be just O Messenger of Allah." The Prophet replied, "Woe unto you man. If I did not administer justice, who will?" `Umar said, "Allow me O Allah's Messenger to chop his head off." The Prophet replied, "Leave him alone. He shall have companions who will be of such order that in comparison to their Prayers and fasts you will consider your own as worthless. But they would have left Islam just as an arrow through a hunted animal. The man looks at the feather but finds no sign (of the arrow having hit the game). Then he looks at the head but finds nothing. Then he looks at its shaft but finds nothing. That is because the arrow left the body before the blood or waste could come into contact with it. Their sign is that one of their men will have his hands swollen as a woman's breast, or like a piece of flesh that shakes. They will appear among the people after a while." This verse came down in reference to that incident (Ibn Jarir).
    Slightly differently worded, the above report is in the Sahihayn also (Ibn Kathir).
    Another incident happened at the time of distribution of the Hunayn booty. When the Prophet was finished with its distribution, someone remarked, "This is a division by which Allah's Pleasure was not sought." Ibn Mas`ud transmitted the words to the Prophet. He remarked, "Musa was said more painful things, but he bore with patience" (Alusi).

    وَلَوْ أَنَّهُمْ رَضُوا مَا آتَاهُمُ اللَّهُ وَرَسُولُهُ وَقَالُوا حَسْبُنَا اللَّهُ سَيُؤْتِينَا اللَّهُ مِنْ فَضْلِهِ وَرَسُولُهُ إِنَّا إِلَى اللَّهِ رَاغِبُونَ (59)

    9|59| If only they had been content with what Allah and His Messenger had bestowed on them and said, ‘Sufficient unto us is Allah. Surely Allah will give us out of His bounty, and (so will) His Messenger, and to Allah we turn in hope.'110


    110. That is, had they said that, it would have been better for them (Au.).
    The verse shows by implication that to hanker after the world, seeking after more than what is necessary for a man, leads to hypocrisy. It is better to have trust in Allah and fasten good hope on Him rather than hanker for more and more (Razi).

    إِنَّمَا الصَّدَقَاتُ لِلْفُقَرَاءِ وَالْمَسَاكِينِ وَالْعَامِلِينَ عَلَيْهَا وَالْمُؤَلَّفَةِ قُلُوبُهُمْ وَفِي الرِّقَابِ وَالْغَارِمِينَ وَفِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ وَابْنِ السَّبِيلِ ۖ فَرِيضَةً مِنَ اللَّهِ ۗ وَاللَّهُ عَلِيمٌ حَكِيمٌ (60)

    9|60| 111 Surely,112Zakah (funds)113 are for the114 poor, the needy,115 those who are in charge thereof,116 those whose hearts are to be won over,117 for118 the bonded,119 those in debt,120 in the way of Allah121 and for the wayfarer122 a decree from Allah.123 And Allah is All knowing, All wise.124


    111. When the hypocrites criticized the Prophet over the spending of the Zakah funds, Allah revealed this verse to say that after all His Messenger was not pocketing the Zakah funds himself. He was spending on the kinds and classes of people listed herewith (Ibn Jarir, Razi).
    112. Razi points out quoting poetical pieces in support that the use of the textual article "innama" (translated here as "surely") is indicative of the fact that Zakah sums have to be spent exclusively on one of the eight categories mentioned here.
    113. There is no difference in opinion that although the term used here is "sadaqat" (which today means voluntary charity), it is "Zakah" (obligatory poor due) that is meant (Razi). In fact, adds Qurtubi, unless the context proves otherwise, whenever the term "sadaqah" is used in the Qur'an, the allusion is to "Zakah."
    Imam Razi writes: In Zakah is a cure for excessive love of wealth; which in its turn leads to forgetfulness of Allah and takes time off preparations for the Hereafter. In addition, wealth invariably leads to power. And power has its own allurement. Once a man has tasted power, he wishes more of it. The desire for more power leads him to seeking more of what brought it originally, viz., wealth. This leads a man into a vicious circle: more wealth, more power, more wealth, more power there is no end to it. Zakah cuts open the circular course to weaken the love of power and wealth and introduce love of Allah. A third consequence of excessive wealth is arrogance. Allah said (96: 6):


    إِنَّ الْإِنْسَانَ لَيَطْغَى (6) أَنْ رَآهُ اسْتَغْنَى [العلق : 6 ، 7]


    "Man rebels, that he sees himself self sufficient." Zakah checks this tendency. Again, wealth is a cause of envy. But when a man expends on Zakah, and the more wealth, the more he spends, he becomes lovable in the eyes of the people, who pray for his well being. He lives a life better than others. This is the meaning of Allah's words (13: 17):


    وَأَمَّا مَا يَنْفَعُ النَّاسَ فَيَمْكُثُ فِي الْأَرْضِ [الرعد : 17]


    "As for that which is beneficial to the people, it survives on the earth."
    These are some of the advantages of paying the Zakah. Conversely, of course, non payment will result in economic imbalance and increase in crimes.
    114. The "lam" preceding "fuqara'" serves the functions of both "lam al takhsis" (denoting specificity) as well as "lam al tamlik" (denoting possession). See Fiqh notes below.
    115. Differences prevailed between the scholars over the distinction between "faqir" and "miskin." According to Ibn `Abbas, Hasan, Zuhri, Ibn Zayd and Mujahid, "faqir" is that destitute who does not ask whereas "miskin" is the one who asks. (Hence Imam Shafe`i's position that they are one and the same: Qurtubi. That is, economically they are of the same class, except that one asks and the other does not: Au.). There are other opinions but this one is the preferred one. This is because unto the Arabs "maskanah" implies humility. We have the example of this usage in the following verse (2: 61):


    وَضُرِبَتْ عَلَيْهِمُ الذِّلَّةُ وَالْمَسْكَنَةُ [البقرة : 61]


    "Humiliation and wretchedness (maskanah) were stamped upon them."
    "Miskin" therefore, is that destitute who earns humiliation by stretching his hand before the people. This is supported by a hadith of the Prophet in which he said,


    لَيْسَ الْمِسْكِينُ الَّذِى تَرُدُّهُ التَّمْرَةُ وَالتَّمْرَتَانِ ، وَلاَ اللُّقْمَةُ وَاللُّقْمَتَانِ . إِنَّمَا الْمِسْكِينُ الَّذِى يَتَعَفَّفُ ». اقْرَءُوا إِنْ شِئْتُمْ (لاَ يَسْأَلُونَ النَّاسَ إِلْحَافًا)


    "(A true) miskin' is not the one who can be turned back with a date or two, a mouthful or two. Rather ‘miskin' is someone who does not ask. Read if you will (2: 273), ‘They do not ask the people importunately.'"
    This hadith has not been stated for distinguishing the two the "faqir" and the "miskin." In fact, the Prophet used the term ‘miskin' in place of ‘faqir' because of the closeness in meaning and application. Otherwise, what he meant is that there are two types of people in want: one who goes about asking, another who does not. Now, which of them is a `miskin' is determined by the verse that the Prophet quoted. It says (2: 273):


    لِلْفُقَرَاءِ الَّذِينَ أُحْصِرُوا فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ لَا يَسْتَطِيعُونَ ضَرْبًا فِي الْأَرْضِ يَحْسَبُهُمُ الْجَاهِلُ أَغْنِيَاءَ مِنَ التَّعَفُّفِ تَعْرِفُهُمْ بِسِيمَاهُمْ لَا يَسْأَلُونَ النَّاسَ إِلْحَافًا [البقرة : 273]


    “(Charity is) due to the destitute who are (wholly) preoccupied in Allah's cause, (and hence) cannot travel in the land (in quest of providence). The ignorant supposes them prosperous on account of their restraint. (But) You can recognize them by their looks. They do not beg of men importunately." [Note the use of the word "fuqara'" in this verse] Ibn Jarir.
    What Ibn Jarir means is that although the Prophet was not trying to draw a distinction between the two class of destitute people the "faqir" and the "miskin," it can be deduced from the verse he quoted that since "faqir" is one who does not ask, by implication, "miskin" is one who asks (Au.).
    There is no any notable difference between the great majority that a "faqir" is more needy than a "miskin" and hence more deserving of Zakah. In fact, a "miskin" can own something such as, for example the "masakin" whose boat Khadir broke. It was said (18: 79),


    أَمَّا السَّفِينَةُ فَكَانَتْ لِمَسَاكِينَ يَعْمَلُونَ فِي الْبَحْرِ [الكهف : 79]


    "As for the boat, it belonged to the masakin working at sea..."
    So, they were miskin, despite owning a boat. Further, the Prophet sought to be a miskin in his supplications, (while seeking to be spared "faqr" Qurtubi), although he possessed meager means of life. He used to say:
    اللَّهُمَّ أَحْيِنِى مِسْكِينًا
    "O Allah, let me live the life of a "miskin."
    Again, the Qur'an said (51: 19):


    وَفِي أَمْوَالِهِمْ حَقٌّ لِلسَّائِلِ وَالْمَحْرُومِ [الذاريات : 19]


    "In their wealth is a share for the beggar and the destitute."
    The textual word "mahrum" also leads us to believe that the destitute who begs is the "miskin" and the non begging destitute the "faqir" (Razi).
    That said, interestingly, although the Hanafiyyah accept that "miskin" is one who asks, they conclude that he must be greater in need to be forced to ask (Al Arba`ah), and, therefore, more deserving of Zakah (Au.).
    As to who is a destitute to begin with, once again various opinions prevail. Most of the scholars have said that whoever possesses 40 Dirhams is not a destitute. Daraqutni has even a hadith to this effect. In any case, it is reported by Abu Da'ud that the Prophet said: "Charity is not lawful unto the rich and able bodied, capable of work" (Qurtubi). In simpler words, adds Mufti Shafi`, faqir and miskin are those who do not have anything in excess of their very basic necessities of life. A house, furniture, utensils are included in basic necessities. Anybody who has something in addition to these basic necessities is not qualified to receive Zakah funds. Another way to put it is to say that anyone who is not himself obliged to pay Zakah and is not able bodied, or cannot work for himself (for one reason or another), is eligible to receive Zakah.
    The above said, since the term "miskin" is often misunderstood, the following might help. Rashid Rida quotes Ibn `Arafah through Fairozabadi: "If the maskanah be because of poverty, then the person is eligible to receive Zakah: he is a miskin cum faqir. But, if his maskanah is due to other reasons, and not poverty then he is not eligible. For, (miskin is also one who is extremely humble), so that the people say, "The miskin was badly treated by so and so," or, "they did wrong to the miskin," although the man concerned could have been financially well off." Miskin then, can also be a quiet, mild, gentle and genteel person who can take a lot without reacting agitatedly. Perhaps it is in this sense that the Prophet would pray:


    اللَّهُمَّ أَحْيِنِى مِسْكِينًا وَتَوَفَّنِى مِسْكِينًا وَاحْشُرْنِى فِى زُمْرَةِ الْمَسَاكِينِ


    "O Allah, grant me the life of a miskin, the death of a miskin and raise me up (on the Day of Judgment) among the masakin" (Au.).
    116. The allusion is to those who are hired by the government for the collection, accounts, distribution and other such purposes. They must be Muslims (Au.).
    Citing the example set by `Umar ibn al Khattab, Zuhri and Ibn Zayd have said that (it is not one eighth of the whole that will be necessarily spent on the collectors and distributors or accountants employed thereof, rather: Au.), they will be paid in accordance with their services. This is the preferred opinion (Ibn Jarir).
    Further, Ibn Kathir adds, the kinsfolk of the Prophet can be neither given out of Zakah funds nor employed (at cost) for the purpose. This is in view of the hadith in Muslim which reports that `Abdul Muttalib b. Rabi`ah and Fadl b. `Abbas went to the Prophet requesting to be employed for the collection of Zakah. He told them,


    إِنَّ الصَّدَقَةَ لاَ تَنْبَغِى لآلِ مُحَمَّدٍ. إِنَّمَا هِىَ أَوْسَاخُ النَّاسِ


    "Charity money is not fit for Muhammad and his kinsfolk. They are dirt of the people."
    117. Under this head, funds may be paid to those who are on the border, hesitating about their Islam, or, are yet to set their feet firmly, even if they have crossed the borders and come into the fold of Islam, or, even if they are entirely on the other side, but it is believed that a hand out will win them over to the Islamic cause (Au.).
    Majid quotes a Christian historian: "These ‘costly presents' in the case of half hearted converts ‘wrought effectively,' and ‘in most cases a genuine conversion followed in time.'"
    According to Yahya ibn Kathir, in his time the Prophet paid out under this definition to Abu Sufyan, Al Harth b. Hisham, Safwan b. Umayyah, Suhayl b. `Amr, Hakim b. Hizam, Aqra` b. Habis, `Abbas b. al Mardas, and others. He gave them in the hope of winning them to Islam. The dividends paid off. Safwan b. Umayyah for instance said after receiving the money (while still a pagan), "The Messenger of Allah gave me in a state when he was the most hateful in my sight. But he kept on giving until he became the most beloved of the people to me" (Ibn Jarir).
    Qurtubi adds: One of those the Prophet gave, belonging to this category was Hakim b. Hizam, who lived 60 years of his life as an unbeliever and 60 years as a believer. (Huwaytab b. `Abdul `Uzza was a second known case). It is reported that a few years later Hakim spent off in charity all that he had ever received from the Prophet out of the Zakah funds.
    Ibn Kathir writes that the above report is both in Muslim and Tirmidhi and adds that to some the Prophet gave in order to strengthen them in their religion. For instance he gave a hundred camels each to the Quraysh leaders (who had already embraced Islam) saying (Bukhari and Muslim),


    إِنِّي لَأُعْطِي الرَّجُلَ وَغَيْرُهُ أَحَبُّ إِلَيَّ مِنْهُ خَشْيَةَ أَنْ يَكُبَّهُ اللَّهُ فِي النَّارِ


    "Some times I give a man while another is dearer to me. That I do because I'm afraid that otherwise Allah might shove him headlong into Hellfire."
    Zuhri said that the Prophet gave out of these funds even to those Jews and Christians who had newly converted to Islam. He was asked if they could be given even if they were rich? In reply he said yes (Ibn Jarir).
    However, Hasan, `Amir, and even `Umar ibn al Khattab believed that those days had passed. No more should those be given whose Islam is sought. When `Uyayna b. Hisn went to `Umar, (he refused to give him). Instead, he recited the verse (18: 29):


    الْحَقُّ مِنْ رَبِّكُمْ فَمَنْ شَاءَ فَلْيُؤْمِنْ وَمَنْ شَاءَ فَلْيَكْفُرْ [الكهف : 29]


    "The Truth is from your Lord. So let him who will, believe, and let who will, disbelieve."
    It is said that `Uthman and `Ali also did not allot these kind of people any share. This happens to be the opinion of Imam Abu Hanifah, and Shafe`i (Manar).
    But others have maintained that this category remains forever until the end of the world. This however is the correct opinion since the Prophet gave the Makkans after the fall of Makkah when he did not need their services, rather, purely hoping to win them to Islam (Ibn Jarir, Razi, Ibn Kathir). Ibn al `Arabiyy has said that the situations when the class of people whose Islam is coveted may arise in the future, and therefore, the rule will remain in force. After all, has not the Prophet said,


    إِنَّ الإِسْلامَ بَدَا غَرِيبًا ، وَسَيَعُودُ غَرِيبًا

     

    "Islam began as a stranger and will become a stranger again" (Qurtubi).
    118. The introduction of "fi" (on "al riqab") seems to emphasize the greater need of the latter four categories because (despite the "lam" preceding earlier), a "fi" was added, Zamakhshari, Shafi`.
    119. There is no difference in opinion that any slave who has entered into a deal with his master over his emancipation, might be helped out of the funds. But differences in opinion prevail over whether slaves could be outright purchased and set free with the funds. Some are found saying yes, others saying no. The problem here is that Zakah funds have to be handed over to a recipient. Now, in this case, the amounts cannot be handed over to the master of a slave, since he does not deserve it. And, if handed over to the slave, the amount becomes the master's by default (since the slaves property is the master's property). Perhaps it is complications of this sort that has led the great majority of the fuqaha' to rule that the funds cannot be used for freeing slaves unless they have entered into a deal (mukatabah) with their masters (Shafi`).
    120. In the words of Asad: "the term "gharimun" describes people who are overburdened with debts contracted in good faith , which through no fault of theirs they are subsequently unable to redeem." Therefore, an added condition is that the man may not have entered into debts because of sinful activities. This is the opinion of Abu Ja`far, Mujahid and Qatadah (Ibn Jarir).
    Similarly, those who run into debts because of unnecessary marriage expenses may not be helped out of Zakah funds (Shafi`).
    121. The introduction of another "fi," (despite a "fi" and "lam" preceding), seems to emphasize that this category should receive precedence over all others (Zamakhshari, Shafi`).
    Jihad is exclusively "the way of Allah." So that, the sums may be utilized to equip a Mujahid (if he is not a paid soldier: Hanabilah) heading to the battle front. According to some of the authorities, the rule remains in force even if he is rich, but according to most others if only he is poor. Other categories of “ways of Allah" are not included by implication, such as, propagation work, publications, support of religious studies, or institutions.
    122. Just about any wayfarer is included in this class, even if he happens to be rich, but for the moment cut off from his wealth. This is the opinion of Mujahid, Zuhri and Dahhak (Ibn Jarir). Indeed, a destitute starter might also be paid out of Zakah funds (Ibn Kathir).
    123. There can be no addition or deletion to these eight categories. The Prophet has said, "Allah did not wish anyone's say, neither of a close angel, nor of a Messenger sent, in the distribution of Zakah funds. He did it Himself" (Razi).
    In another context Qurtubi quotes this hadith from Abu Da'ud in full. It says that a man went to the Prophet asking to be helped. The Prophet told him,


    إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَمْ يَرْضَ فِي الصَّدَقَاتِ بِحُكْمِ نَبِيٍّ وَلا غَيْرِهِ حَتَّى جَعَلَهَا ثَمَانِيَةَ أَجْزَاءَ ، فَإِنْ كُنْتَ مِنْهُمْ أَعْطَيْتُكَ حَقَّكَ


    "Allah did not wish anyone's say, neither of a close angel, nor of a Messenger sent, in the distribution of Zakah funds. He did it Himself. Now, if you belong to one of the eight categories, I shall give you."
    Shafi` added: After having determined the categories that could receive Zakah funds, Allah commanded His Prophet to specify the rates of Zakah. And, the Prophet attached so much importance to the affair that he got Zakah rates written down by `Umar, `Amr b. al-Hazm, and others so that no one could ever have any say in the affair any time in the future.
    124. There is not any notable difference in opinion that the one who pays out, or disburses, may spend the Zakah amount on anyone of the eight categories that he deems fit (Ibn Jarir).
    Fiqh Points:

    1. Zakah funds are to be spent on Muslims alone. This is in view of the Prophet's instruction to Mu`adh ibn Jabal that he dictated to him at the time he dispatched him to Yemen. He said then, "You are going to a people who had received the Holy Scriptures earlier. Call them to the testimony that there is no deity save Allah and that I am His Messenger. If they obey you in that, then let them know that Allah has declared obligatory on them five Prayers for every day. If they obey you, then let them know that He has declared obligatory charity that will be taken from their rich and distributed among their poor. If they obey you in that then be careful and avoid taking the best part of their wealth. And fear the supplications of the oppressed. For, there is no barrier between it and Allah."
    2. Although it is preferable to distribute the Zakah funds in the area of collection alone, it is allowable to transfer the funds to other areas, if there is no need for it locally or, the need elsewhere is more pressing. Mu`adh ibn Jabal used to send cloth from Yemen to Madinah. In fact, if someone has kinsfolk spread out in other towns, he can transfer his sums to them to gain the double reward promised in the ahadith: of joining the kin and paying the Zakah (Shafi`). The Hanabilah and Shafe`iyyah have set some additional conditions (Au.).
    3. If a man has wealth overseas, he is still required to spend the Zakah in his own town.
    4. Although some differences prevail, one opinion is that Zakah can be collected both in cash as well as in kind. For instance, it would do if someone gave the value of goats due in currency (Qurtubi). The Hanabilah are notably in disagreement with this (Au.).
    5. However, as Imam Abu Hanifah has pointed out, if cash is due, then simply any kind is not acceptable. For instance, if an amount of 10 is due, a man cannot let a poor man live in his house and adjust the rent (Qurtubi).
    6. If someone gave away Zakah funds in good intention but discovered to his surprise that the man was undeserving, Zakah would be considered paid (Qurtubi). But some fuqaha' have said that the man must make an effort to recover the amount from the undeserving person (Au.).
    7. The kinsfolk of the Prophet the Hashimites are not eligible to receive the Zakah, nor even the sadaqat. (They are eligible to receive gifts alone). A rare opinion of some of the Hanafiyy scholars however is that a Hashimite can give Zakah to another Hashimite.
    8. Similarly, a Hashimite can also give a Hashimite sadaqat, although they cannot receive from non Hashimites. The above is in view of the fact that `Abbas, `Ali and Fatimah had, in their times, opened trusts (awqaf) in favor of some of the Banu Hashim (Qurtubi).
    9. Zakah money cannot be given to one’s husband, wife, children, parents or grand parents, since one is obliged to support them anyway (Shafi`).
    10. The state can collect Zakah funds. However, if it is suspected that the authorities do not spend on right causes, it is suggested that the man should himself hand over to the deserving (Manar).
    11. It is not allowed that organizations handling Zakah funds, invest the funds in business, and then support one or more of the above categories, out of profits accrued. That is because the "laam" preceding the eight categories is "laam al tamlik" (the "laam" of possession), and, therefore, carries the implication that the Zakah amount should be handed over to a recipient and become his property for it to be deemed paid (Au.).
    12. Except for "reconciling the hearts" (ta'lif al qulub), Zakah funds cannot be spent on non Muslims; they can only receive from sadaqat funds. Nor can Sadaqat al Fitr be given to them. This is the Hanafiyy position (Shafi`).
    13. According to the Hanafiyyah, the cost of those hired to collect and administer Zakah can at most run as high as one half of the Zakah collected. In simpler words, the cost of hiring the Zakah collectors and distributors should not exceed one half of the total Zakah collected. If it goes beyond that, then their hiring costs must be reduced.
    14. Zakah funds once collected by the collectors cannot be saved for a rainy day. They must be distributed as early as possible (Shafi`).
    15. By consensus of the four schools of Fiqh, Zakah funds cannot be utilized for general welfare purposes, nor for constructing mosques, religious schools, etc. Had these been included in the category called "in the way of Allah," there was no need to categorize the deserving into eight kinds. The following have dealt with this subject thoroughly in their works: Among the Hanafiyyah, Sarakhsi in his "Al Mabsut" and "Sharh Seer;" among the Shafi`iyyah Abu `Ubayd in "Kitab al Amwal;" among the Malikiyyah Dardiz in his "Sharh Mukhtasar al Khalil;" and among the Hanabilah Muwaffaq (in his "Al Mughni") Shafi`.
    16. Without any second opinion, the four Fiqh schools are agreed that Zakah funds cannot be invested in business on behalf of the recipients. Rather, they should be first handed over the sums. If the recipients – in full agreement - hand back a whole or part of it for business purposes, after having gained complete possession of the sums, then there can be no objection. Similarly, feeding the poor out of the funds, is also disallowed. The poor must be handed over the sums or commodity for Zakah which alone would be considered as the payment of Zakah (Shafi`).
    17. When paid to the kinsfolk, it is not necessary that they be told that it is Zakah money. They could be led to assume that it is a gift – if such be the need (Shafi`).
    18. According to the Malikiyyah, a trustworthy unbeliever if employed as a spy, could also be paid under the head "in the way of Allah" (Al Arba`ah).
    19. It would not be right to hand over Zakah to atheists or irreligious persons: those that sit in the cafeterias sipping tea and smoking even while Friday Prayers are being held in mosques right in front of the cafeterias. Instead, one may look out for practicing Muslims (Manar).

    وَمِنْهُمُ الَّذِينَ يُؤْذُونَ النَّبِيَّ وَيَقُولُونَ هُوَ أُذُنٌ ۚ قُلْ أُذُنُ خَيْرٍ لَكُمْ يُؤْمِنُ بِاللَّهِ وَيُؤْمِنُ لِلْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَرَحْمَةٌ لِلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مِنْكُمْ ۚ وَالَّذِينَ يُؤْذُونَ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ لَهُمْ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ (61)

    9|61| And of them there are some who cause pain to the Prophet, and say, ‘He is (all) ear.'125 Say, ‘He is (all) ear for your good.'126 He believes in Allah and in (reports of the) faithful and is a mercy unto those of you who have believed. Those who cause pain to the Messenger of Allah, theirs shall be a painful chastisement.127

    125. It is reported that some of the hypocrites passed remarks on the Prophet. One of their kind told them not do that out fear that they might be conveyed to him. Jullas b. Suwayd said, "Rather, we shall say what pleases us. If reported to him, we shall deny on oath, and he will hear because he is ‘all ear'" (Razi).
    That is, he listens to everyone's report, believing in everyone; in other words, gullible (Au.).
    126. The translation here follows one opinion. Another understanding is: "The Prophet listens only to the good and not to the evil." This is the understanding of the majority (Ibn Jarir). A possible interpretation is that the Prophet is a good listener in the sense that he does not pass on all that he hears to others, exposing the hypocrites, and, further, does not open up inquiries to bring out what lies concealed in the hearts, rather, accepts the excuses presented to him in good faith (Zamakhshari).
    What the hypocrites meant is that the Prophet ought not to believe in what was being reported of their words and deeds. If he believed in their lies, it was alright (Au.).
    Mawdudi elaborates: "The Qur'anic response to these taunting remarks is an exhaustive one and covers two points: First, the Prophet (peace be upon him) does not pay any attention to reports that are likely to give rise to evil and mischief; he acts only on those reports which bring good to all, the reports which are conducive to the best interests of Islam and Muslims. Second, that the Prophet's propensity to listen to everybody is in fact in the interests of the hypocrites themselves. For had the Prophet (peace be on him) not been forbearing and cool tempered he would not have listened with patience to their false professions to faith, to their specious protestations of goodwill, to their lame excuses to justify their shying away from fighting in the way of God. Had he been otherwise, the Prophet (peace be on him) would have dealt severely with the hypocrites and would have made their life in Madinah extremely difficult. In short, the hypocrites have every reason to be thankful for this trait in the Prophet's character."
    127. Some scholars have said that just as causing pain to the Prophet (saws) in his life time was tantamount to disbelief, it is the same even after his death, so that, one could not marry one of his wives after him. Another example is to speak harshly of his parents, since that would have caused him pain if he was alive although, this latter act would not be considered equal to disbelief, rather, only a sinful act. Nevertheless, this should not be taken too far to say, for instance, that whoever caused pain to one of his kinsfolk, caused pain to him (Manar).
    128. It is reported that one of the hypocrites said, "By God, these (that is, hypocrites of his sort) are the most honorable of us. If what Muhammad says is true then surely, these are worse than donkeys." A Muslim who heard him retorted in anger, "Rather you are worse than a donkey," and then reported the words to the Prophet. But when the Prophet summoned the man he denied that he had said any such thing. He swore on God and began to curse. The Muslim said, "O Allah, expose the liar and the truthful." In response Allah sent down this verse (Ibn Jarir).

    يَحْلِفُونَ بِاللَّهِ لَكُمْ لِيُرْضُوكُمْ وَاللَّهُ وَرَسُولُهُ أَحَقُّ أَنْ يُرْضُوهُ إِنْ كَانُوا مُؤْمِنِينَ (62)

    9|62| They swear by Allah in order to please you,128 although Allah and His Messenger have the greater right that they should please him,129 if they are (truly) believers.


    129. The singular pronoun here (in place of the dual) is for the Prophet and it draws the following comment from Alusi and Rashid Rida: The use of the singular personal pronoun (in "an yurduhu" "that they should please him"), is meant to bring out (in inimitable elliptic form so characteristic of the Qur'an: Asad) the idea that Allah's pleasure is in following His Messenger. (Or, the good pleasure of one of them, was the good pleasure of the other: Zamakhshari). Using the dual pronoun (huma) would not have been right since, it might be thought that one needs to please both, whereas, pleasing the Prophet is to please Allah, especially when the previous verse speaks of the hypocrites displeasing him.
    However, Ibn Jarir believes the personal third person pronoun is for Allah, while Ibn `Aashour states that both are covered by a single pronoun.

    أَلَمْ يَعْلَمُوا أَنَّهُ مَنْ يُحَادِدِ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ فَأَنَّ لَهُ نَارَ جَهَنَّمَ خَالِدًا فِيهَا ۚ ذَٰلِكَ الْخِزْيُ الْعَظِيمُ (63)

    9|63| Have they not learnt that whoever opposes Allah and His Messenger, shall have the Fire of Hell (as abode), abiding therein forever? That surely is the supreme disgrace.


    يَحْذَرُ الْمُنَافِقُونَ أَنْ تُنَزَّلَ عَلَيْهِمْ سُورَةٌ تُنَبِّئُهُمْ بِمَا فِي قُلُوبِهِمْ ۚ قُلِ اسْتَهْزِئُوا إِنَّ اللَّهَ مُخْرِجٌ مَا تَحْذَرُونَ (64)

    9|64| The hypocrites are fearful lest a chapter should be revealed against them, informing them what is in their hearts.130 Say, ‘Mock on. Allah is about to expose what you fear.'131


    130. Although the hypocrites could not restrain their tongues, they dearly hoped half in seriousness, half in jest that God would not reveal to others what they talked amongst themselves in private.
    131. The earliest generation of Muslims used to call this surah "Al Fadihah," i.e., "the Exposer," because it exposed the hypocrites (Tabari).

    وَلَئِنْ سَأَلْتَهُمْ لَيَقُولُنَّ إِنَّمَا كُنَّا نَخُوضُ وَنَلْعَبُ ۚ قُلْ أَبِاللَّهِ وَآيَاتِهِ وَرَسُولِهِ كُنْتُمْ تَسْتَهْزِئُونَ (65)

    9|65| Should you question them, they will surely say, ‘We were merely indulging (in idle talk)132and jesting.'133 Say, ‘Were you mocking at Allah, His revelations and His Messenger?'134


    132. (Although the common meaning of the textual word "khawd" is to indulge), literally it refers to any stepping into dirt, such as, for instance, stepping into a pool of filthy water (Razi).
    133. One of the hypocrites told `Awf b. Malik during the Tabuk expedition, (perhaps imagining that he was one of them), "What's wrong with these (Qur'anic) reciters? They seem to be the most gluttonous, the most lying, and the most chicken hearted when faced with an enemy." `Awf cried out, "You are lying, and you are a hypocrite. I shall report this to the Prophet." However, the Revelation overtook him. That is, it came down before `Awf could report to the Prophet. `Abdullah ibn `Umar says, "I saw the man holding on to the Prophet's camel's side strap, with the stones hurting his feet, pleading, ‘We were merely jesting, O Messenger of Allah,' and the Prophet (paying him no attention: Ibn Kathir). He only remarked, ‘Were you jesting with Allah, His revelations, and His Messenger?'" (Ibn Jarir).
    It might be noticed that the hypocrites mocked the Companions alone; but Allah said, ‘Were you jesting with Allah, His revelations, and His Messenger?’ This demonstrates the status of the Companions in the sight of Allah (Au.).
    134. It is reported by Qatadah that while the Prophet and some of his Companions were passing by a group of hypocrites during the Tabuk expedition one of them remarked: "Do you think this kind of people will be able to conquer the forts and palaces of the Romans? Huh." Allah informed His Messenger about it. He asked them to be presented. When they came, he asked them, "Did you say, such and such a thing?" They swore to God that they were merely jesting (Ibn Kathir).
    It should be obvious that jesting is disallowed in religious matters (Razi and Qurtubi).
    Qurtubi adds: In fact, there are other issues in which jesting is not allowed. Even if someone did one of them out of jest, it will be considered an act in earnest with the legal binding. For instance, if somebody entered into a marriage and then said he was jesting, it would not be accepted of him. This is in view of the Prophet's hadith, reported by several authorities, with varying degree of reliability, that he said:


    ثَلاَثٌ لَيْسَ فِيهِنَّ لَعِبٌ النِّكَاحُ وَالطَّلاَقُ وَالْعِتْقُ


    "There is no jesting in three things: marriage, divorce and enfranchisement" (Qurtubi).

    لَا تَعْتَذِرُوا قَدْ كَفَرْتُمْ بَعْدَ إِيمَانِكُمْ ۚ إِنْ نَعْفُ عَنْ طَائِفَةٍ مِنْكُمْ نُعَذِّبْ طَائِفَةً بِأَنَّهُمْ كَانُوا مُجْرِمِينَ (66)

    9|66| Do not offer excuses now. You disbelieved after declaring your faith.135 Even if We forgive a few of you, We shall punish a few others, because they are criminals.136


    135. Explaining this verse `Ikrimah said, "I used to know a man whom I hope Allah will forgive. He used to say, ‘O Allah, I hear a verse that drives fear into the heart. O Lord! Let my death be in Your path in such a way that nobody should say, ‘I washed him. I wrapped him in the shroud, I buried him.’ The man fell on the Day of Yamamah (battle) and every fallen Muslim’s body was found but his (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir).
    Perhaps what `Ikrimah meant was that it was one of those hypocrites who passed remarks against the Prophet but repented later and sought to die unknown. Some reports identify this person as Makhshiyy b. Himyar (Au.).
    136. Asad adds a useful point here: "The above Qur'anic sentence expresses the doctrine that in His final judgement God will take into account all that is in a sinner's heart, and will not indiscriminately condemn everyone who has been sinning out of weakness or out of an inner inability to resolve his doubts, and not out of a conscious inclination to evil."
    While the above is worth noting, Yusuf Ali has another explanation: "Hypocrisy is a half way house, a state of indecision in the choice between good and evil. Those who definitely range themselves with good obtain forgiveness; those who pass definitely to evil suffer the penalties of evil."

    الْمُنَافِقُونَ وَالْمُنَافِقَاتُ بَعْضُهُمْ مِنْ بَعْضٍ ۚ يَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمُنْكَرِ وَيَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمَعْرُوفِ وَيَقْبِضُونَ أَيْدِيَهُمْ ۚ نَسُوا اللَّهَ فَنَسِيَهُمْ ۗ إِنَّ الْمُنَافِقِينَ هُمُ الْفَاسِقُونَ (67)

    9|67| The hypocrites men and women137 some of them are of the others:138 they enjoin evil, forbid the virtuous, and keep their hands closed.139 They forgot Allah140 so He He has forgotten them. Surely, the hypocrites they are the wicked ones.141


    137. The two unbelieving men and women have been separately mentioned in order to register the message that the female hypocrites were no better than male hypocrites, but rather, possessed the same qualities (Razi).
    That the female hypocrites were separately addressed is a sign of Allah's mercy. In contrast to the male hypocrites who were occasionally named by their acquaintances, nobody knew of the female ones, nor did anyone ever speak of them. If Allah had not spoken of them, nobody would have even suspected, including themselves, that hypocrisy existed among them also. But Allah did not deny them His warning and admonition (Au.).
    138. The translation is literal. But commentators such as Ibn Jarir and Ibn Kathir have understood the words to mean ‘they are similar to each other,' i.e., they are alike in their attitudes towards truth and falsehood. And, in explanation of the article "min" (of), Alusi says that the sentence is of the same order as the Prophet's words to `Ali:


    أَنْتَ مِنِّي بِمَنْزِلَةِ هَارُونَ مِنْ مُوسَى


    "You are unto me (anta minni) like what Harun was to Musa."
    That is, when the Prophet (saws) said anta minni, (lit. you are `of' me), he meant, ‘you are unto me’ (Au.).
    Sayyid writes: "The hypocrites men and women are from one soil and are of one nature .. in every place and in every epoch. Their deeds and words might differ but it all amounts to the same, and spring out from the same springs. They are of evil designs, mean guiles, full of jibes, intrigues, afraid to look straight into the eyes, and fearful of openness. These are their unfailing signs. As for their deeds, they forbid the good and bid the evil, niggardly of wealth unless they be spending in order to put up a show .. They have completely forgotten Allah and, therefore, are concerned about nothing except material advantages."
    139. Since opening the hands means to be very liberal, its opposite, closing them means to be parsimonious. That is, the hypocrites do not spend anything in the right cause (Alusi and others).
    140. Since a man cannot forget God, the obvious implication is that they ignored to act by His commandments. And He in turn denied them His mercy (Razi).
    141. The textual word is "fasiq" and the meaning is, they are perfect in fisq. The use of this word in such a strong manner to describe the hypocrites, should be a warning to those of the believers whose life style evokes the same criticism from the tongues of the believers (from Zamakhshari with some addition).
    Asad offers the rejoinder, "It is to be borne in mind that this and the following verses refer to the conscious hypocrites spoken of in the last sentence of the preceding verse, and not to the waverers, whose hypocrisy is an outcome of inner fears and uncertainties.”

    وَعَدَ اللَّهُ الْمُنَافِقِينَ وَالْمُنَافِقَاتِ وَالْكُفَّارَ نَارَ جَهَنَّمَ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا ۚ هِيَ حَسْبُهُمْ ۚ وَلَعَنَهُمُ اللَّهُ ۖ وَلَهُمْ عَذَابٌ مُقِيمٌ (68)

    9|68| Allah has promised the hypocrites, men and women, and the unbelievers Fire of Jahannum, abiding therein forever. Sufficient it is for them.142 Allah has cursed them;143 and for them is an abiding punishment.


    142. That is, it is enough of a chastisement, to which nothing need be added for severity (Alusi and others).
    143. Yusuf Ali explains the meaning of Allah's curse: "Curse, here as elsewhere, is deprivation of grace and mercy, brought about by the rejection of Allah by the Unbelievers."

    كَالَّذِينَ مِنْ قَبْلِكُمْ كَانُوا أَشَدَّ مِنْكُمْ قُوَّةً وَأَكْثَرَ أَمْوَالًا وَأَوْلَادًا فَاسْتَمْتَعُوا بِخَلَاقِهِمْ فَاسْتَمْتَعْتُمْ بِخَلَاقِكُمْ كَمَا اسْتَمْتَعَ الَّذِينَ مِنْ قَبْلِكُمْ بِخَلَاقِهِمْ وَخُضْتُمْ كَالَّذِي خَاضُوا ۚ أُولَٰئِكَ حَبِطَتْ أَعْمَالُهُمْ فِي الدُّنْيَا وَالْآخِرَةِ ۖ وَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْخَاسِرُونَ (69)

    9|69| Like those before you: they were mightier than you in power and more abundant of wealth and offspring. They enjoyed to their full their share, as you have enjoyed your share, exactly as those who were before you enjoying their share.144 You have also indulged (in wrongs) as they indulged. Those their works failed in this world and the next; those it is they who are the losers.


    144. The repetition of the words, "you enjoyed," "they enjoyed," confuse some people. The commentators, such as Zamakhshari, have explained that it is like telling someone: ‘You are like Fir`awn. He used to do this and that, etc. You also do like he used to do. So, you are like Fir`awn in doing things that he did.'

    أَلَمْ يَأْتِهِمْ نَبَأُ الَّذِينَ مِنْ قَبْلِهِمْ قَوْمِ نُوحٍ وَعَادٍ وَثَمُودَ وَقَوْمِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَأَصْحَابِ مَدْيَنَ وَالْمُؤْتَفِكَاتِ ۚ أَتَتْهُمْ رُسُلُهُمْ بِالْبَيِّنَاتِ ۖ فَمَا كَانَ اللَّهُ لِيَظْلِمَهُمْ وَلَٰكِنْ كَانُوا أَنْفُسَهُمْ يَظْلِمُونَ (70)

    9|70| Has not the news of the past peoples reached them: the people of Nuh, `Ad, Thamud, the people of Ibrahim,145 the men of Madyan,146 and those (towns) that were turned upside down?147 Their Messengers went to them with clear signs. Allah was not such as to wrong them, rather they were wronging themselves.148


    145. “The reference to "Abraham's people" seems to point to the Babylonians, who rejected the monotheism preached by him, and to the overthrow of their first empire, at about 1100 B.C., by the Assyrians" (Asad).
    146. The reference is to the people of Shu`ayb.
    147. The allusion is to the people of Lut. They dwelt in three towns which were turned upside down when they denied their Messenger and continued with their evil ways (Tabari and others).
    148. That is, if they were destroyed it was because they had committed wrongs despite warnings conveyed to them by their messengers. They were given every opportunity to choose the right course, but they scoffed at them and insisted on doing things their way. The destruction that followed, in the form of various calamities, was in consequence of their repeated wrong choices. They were not destroyed, as the secularist historians portray, for no fault of theirs (Au.).
    Sayyid comments: "A deviated soul is encouraged to recklessness by power and, therefore, does not respond to reminders. It is blinded by the material welfare and so, does not see. Stories of the past and admonitory sentences do not benefit it. That cannot happen unless someone were to open his eyes to realize that the ways of Allah (Sunnatu Allah) do not alter over time, are not suspended, and do not spare any of the nations. But, most of those whom Allah tries with power and wealth are blinded by them. They cannot see the end of the powerful that went before them nor do they observe the fate of the rebellions. When they persist in denial, then Allah's Sunnah takes over. It is then that Allah seizes them the seizing of the Powerful, the All capable, the while they are in their enjoyments and gloating over their power. But in the meanwhile Allah is circumscribing them from their rear. It is nothing but heedlessness, blindness, and ignorance that we see as characteristics of the rich and the powerful. And we see them in every place, in every epoch, save for a few to whom Allah showed mercy."

    وَالْمُؤْمِنُونَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَاتُ بَعْضُهُمْ أَوْلِيَاءُ بَعْضٍ ۚ يَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَيَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنْكَرِ وَيُقِيمُونَ الصَّلَاةَ وَيُؤْتُونَ الزَّكَاةَ وَيُطِيعُونَ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ ۚ أُولَٰئِكَ سَيَرْحَمُهُمُ اللَّهُ ۗ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٌ (71)

    9|71| The believers men and women they are patrons unto each other.149 They enjoin the virtuous, forbid evil, Pray, pay the alms150 and obey Allah and His Messenger.151 These Allah will show them mercy. Surely, Allah is All mighty, All wise.


    149. Imam Razi raises the question. Why did Allah say about the hypocrites that ‘some of them are of the others,' whereas He said about the believers that they are believing men and women, awliya' unto each other (and not some of them of others)? Then he answers that the hypocrites were a people who followed the example of hypocritical men of the past. So they were of them. In contrast, the believers used the faculty of the intellect provided to them to decide between right and wrong, and, as a reward, were made awliya' unto each other.
    On the topic of the believers being awliya' unto each other, a few of the Prophet's traditions can be quoted here. He said in a hadith (of Bukhari: Hussain),


    المؤمن للمؤمن كالبنيان يشد بعضه بعضا


    "(The example of) a believer as related to another is like a wall, some of which strengthens the others” then he inserted the fingers of one hand into the other to demonstrate. In another hadith, (also of Bukhari: Hussain) he said,


    مَثَلُ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ فِى تَوَادِّهِمْ وَتَعَاطُفِهِمْ وَتَرَاحُمِهِمْ مَثَلُ الْجَسَدِ إِذَا اشْتَكَى مِنْهُ عُضْوٌ تَدَاعَى سَائِرُ الْجَسَدِ بِالسَّهَرِ وَالْحُمَّى


    "The example of the believers in their love, tenderness, and kindness toward each other is like a body. When one of its limbs feels pain the whole of the body responds to it with fever and sleeplessness" (Ibn Kathir).
    150. Thus, the believers are endowed with qualities that are the opposite of the qualities of hypocrites: against the hypocrites enjoining evil, they enjoin virtue; against the hypocrites forbidding virtue, they forbid evil; against their heedlessness to Allah, the believers perform the Prayers; and against their withholding of the wealth, the believers expend in charities. Finally, while the believers obey Allah in all matters, the hypocrites are always sinning, the fasiqun (Au.).
    151. Mawdudi comments: "The Muslims and hypocrites stood apart, each a separate entity. Superficially they seemed identical insofar as both groups recognized Islam as their religion and outwardly followed the same set of religious practices. Nevertheless, they differed in character, temperament, behaviour, and habits; in short, in their total orientation. In the case of the hypocrites, faith was a mere verbal claim devoid of true conviction. This claim was repudiated by their life style. Their case is similar to that of a man who fills up a container with filth, and labels it perfume; a claim which will instantly be known to be false by the stench it gives off.
    "In the case of the true believers, their claim can be verified by reference to their character and conduct. The label of perfume is justified by the sweet smell. The hypocrites and true believers passed off as members of the same Muslim community due to the label of Islam. Nevertheless, the characteristics of the two were so different that they could not be considered one community. The hypocrites, by dint of their heedlessness to God, their instinctive interest in evil, their revulsion against goodness, their unwillingness to co operate with good causes, were a community by themselves. On the other hand, the true believers men and women constituted a distinct community because they shared many traits."

    وَعَدَ اللَّهُ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَاتِ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي مِنْ تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا وَمَسَاكِنَ طَيِّبَةً فِي جَنَّاتِ عَدْنٍ ۚ وَرِضْوَانٌ مِنَ اللَّهِ أَكْبَرُ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ هُوَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِيمُ (72)

    9|72| Allah has promised the believing men and believing women152 gardens beneath which rivers flow, abiding therein forever,153 and dwellings pleasant in the Gardens of Eden.154 But the Good Pleasure of Allah is the greatest (of blessings).155 That indeed is the great triumph.


    152. To mention believing women separately is to impress that in Islam both men and women are treated equal in rewards (Manar).
    153. Ibn Kathir quotes several ahadith that describe Paradise. The Prophet (saws) said,


    إن للمؤمن في الجنة لخيمة من لؤلؤة واحدة مجوفة طولها ستون ميلاً في السماء! للمؤمن فيها أهلون يطوف عليهم لا يرى بعضهم بعضا


    "For the believer there will be a tent in Paradise made up of a single hollow pearl of length sixty miles in the heavens. There will be spouses for him whom he will visit, but they wo not be seeing each other" (Sahihayn).
    In another hadith of the Sahihayn he said:


    مَنْ آمَنَ بِاللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ وَأَقَامَ الصَّلاَةَ وَآتَى الزَّكَاةَ وَصَامَ رَمَضَانَ كَانَ حَقًّا عَلَى اللَّهِ أَنْ يُدْخِلَهُ يَعْنِى الْجَنَّةَ هَاجَرَ فِى سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ أَوْ مَاتَ فِى أَرْضِهِ الَّتِى وُلِدَ فِيهَا ». قَالُوا : يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ أَفَلاَ نُنْبِئُ النَّاسَ بِذَلِكَ قَالَ :« إِنَّ فِى الْجَنَّةِ مِائَةَ دَرَجَةٍ مَا بَيْنَ كُلِّ دَرَجَتَيْنِ كَمَا بَيْنَ السَّمَاءِ وَالأَرْضِ أَعَدَّهَا اللَّهُ لِلْمُجَاهِدِينَ فِى سَبِيلِهِ فَإِذَا سَأَلْتُمُ اللَّهَ فَسَلُوهُ الْفِرْدَوْسَ فَإِنَّهُ وَسَطُ الْجَنَّةِ وَأَعْلَى الْجَنَّةِ وَمِنْهُ تَفَجَّرُ أَنْهَارُ الْجَنَّةِ وَفَوْقَهُ عَرْشُ الرَّحْمَنِ


    "Whosoever believed in Allah and His Messenger, Prayed and fasted in Ramadan, it is binding on Allah that He admit him into Paradise, whether he migrated in the way of Allah or was restricted to the land he was born in." The people asked, "Messenger of Allah. Should we not inform the people?" He said, "There are a hundred levels of Paradise that Allah has prepared for the mujahidin in His cause. Between each level is the distance like between the earth and the heavens. So, when you supplicate, supplicate for Firdaws Paradise. It is the highest of Paradises and is in the best part of them. From here spring forth the rivers of Paradise and above it is `Arsh of the All-merciful."
    In another hadith, also of the Sahihayn he said,


    إِنَّ أَهْلَ الْجَنَّةِ لَيَتَرَاءَوْنَ الْغُرَفَ فِي الْجَنَّةِ كَمَا تَتَرَاءَوْنَ الْكَوْكَبَ فِي السَّمَاءِ


    "The inhabitants of Paradise will see each other's chambers as you see stars in the heavens."
    In another hadith of Ahmad reported by Abu Hurayrah he said in answer to how Paradise was constructed:


    لَبِنَةُ ذَهَبٍ وَلَبِنَةُ فِضَّةٍ وَمِلَاطُهَا الْمِسْكُ الْأَذْفَرُ وَحَصْبَاؤُهَا اللُّؤْلُؤُ وَالْيَاقُوتُ وَتُرَابُهَا الزَّعْفَرَانُ مَنْ يَدْخُلُهَا يَنْعَمُ وَلَا يَبْأَسُ وَيَخْلُدُ وَلَا يَمُوتُ لَا تَبْلَى ثِيَابُهُ وَلَا يَفْنَى شَبَابُهُ


    "A brick of gold over a brick of silver cemented with misk and gravel of white and red pearls and plaster of saffron. Whoever entered will be in bliss, never wretched, eternal, and never dying. His clothes will never get worn and his youth will never slip into old age."
    The hadith has been evaluated as Sahih by Arna’ut (Au.).
    154. In explanation of what is `Adn (Eden), opinions among the Salaf varied between a place of permanent habitation, a place completely unknown and unimaginable to the humans, a lush green garden, a place in the center of Paradise, a very special palace, a city with a river around on the two banks of which is Paradise (Ibn Jarir).
    Ibn Kathir quotes a hadith of Bukhari and Muslim. The Prophet said,


    جَنَّتَانِ مِنْ فِضَّةٍ آنِيَتُهُمَا وَمَا فِيهِمَا وَجَنَّتَانِ مِنْ ذَهَبٍ آنِيَتُهُمَا وَمَا فِيهِمَا وَمَا بَيْنَ الْقَوْمِ وَبَيْنَ أَنْ يَنْظُرُوا إِلَى رَبِّهِمْ إِلَّا رِدَاءُ الْكِبْرِ عَلَى وَجْهِهِ فِي جَنَّةِ عَدْنٍ


    "Two gardens with all dishes and goblets and what they contain in silver. And two gardens with dishes and goblets and what they contain in gold. And, there will be nothing between the people and the sight of their Lord but the Veil of Greatness on His face in the Garden of Eden."
    155. In explanation of this verse, the following may be quoted. Abu Sa`id al Khudri reports the Prophet:


    يَا أَهْلَ الْجَنَّةِ فَيَقُولُونَ لَبَّيْكَ رَبَّنَا وَسَعْدَيْكَ فَيَقُولُ هَلْ رَضِيتُمْ فَيَقُولُونَ وَمَا لَنَا لَا نَرْضَى وَقَدْ أَعْطَيْتَنَا مَا لَمْ تُعْطِ أَحَدًا مِنْ خَلْقِكَ فَيَقُولُ أَنَا أُعْطِيكُمْ أَفْضَلَ مِنْ ذَلِكَ قَالُوا يَا رَبِّ وَأَيُّ شَيْءٍ أَفْضَلُ مِنْ ذَلِكَ فَيَقُولُ أُحِلُّ عَلَيْكُمْ رِضْوَانِي فَلَا أَسْخَطُ عَلَيْكُمْ بَعْدَهُ أَبَدًا


    "Allah will address the inhabitants of Paradise with these words, ‘O people of Paradise.' They will answer, ‘Here we are O our Lord, at Your service.' He will ask, ‘Are you satisfied?' They will answer, ‘Why should we not be satisfied when You have given us what You did not give any of Your creation?' He will say, ‘I shall give something better than that.' They will ask, ‘What could be better than this?' He will reply, ‘My good pleasure, so that I shall never be angry at you again'" (Ibn Jarir, Razi).
    The hadith is in Bukhari (Hussain).

    يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ جَاهِدِ الْكُفَّارَ وَالْمُنَافِقِينَ وَاغْلُظْ عَلَيْهِمْ ۚ وَمَأْوَاهُمْ جَهَنَّمُ ۖ وَبِئْسَ الْمَصِيرُ (73)

    9|73| O Prophet! Fight against the unbelievers and hypocrites,156 and be tough with them.157 Their abode is Jahannum a wretched destination.


    156. Ibn `Abbas has said: (The Prophet was required to) fight against the unbelievers with sword and against the hypocrites with words (Ibn Jarir).
    `Ali (ra) has said that the Prophet was sent with four swords. A sword against the pagans. Allah said (9: 5):


    فَإِذَا انْسَلَخَ الْأَشْهُرُ الْحُرُمُ فَاقْتُلُوا الْمُشْرِكِينَ [التوبة : 5]


    ‘So, when the Sacred Months have passed, slaughter the associators (with Allah).'
    A sword against the people of the Book. He said (9: 29):


    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 [التوبة : 29]


    ‘Fight those who do not believe in Allah nor in the Last Day, nor do they treat unlawful what Allah has declared unlawful, and what His Messenger (has declared unlawful), neither do they adopt the religion of truth of those who were given the Book (earlier) until they pay the tribute out of hand and they are humbled.'
    Third, a sword against the hypocrites. He said (9: 73):


    يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ جَاهِدِ الْكُفَّارَ وَالْمُنَافِقِينَ [التوبة : 73]


    Fight against the (common) unbelievers and the hypocrites.'
    Fourth, a sword against the rebellious. He said (49: 9):


    فَقَاتِلُوا الَّتِي تَبْغِي حَتَّى تَفِيءَ إِلَى أَمْرِ اللَّهِ [الحجرات : 9]


    ‘Fight against the rebelling party until it submits to Allah's commands.'"
    This means that if the hypocrites openly display their hypocrisy, they may be fought against with sword. Most other scholars believe however that the hypocrites are to be fought with words alone (Ibn Kathir).
    The Shi`ah claim that the Ahl al Bayt (People of the House [of the Prophet]) have read the verse to mean: "O Prophet, fight the unbelievers with the help of the hypocrites." (The allusion by the ‘hypocrites' is to the Companions, who according to the Shi`ah, were either hypocrites or turned apostates after the death of the Prophet: Au.). After reporting this lovely commentary, Alusi offers a livelier comment: "No such thing is reported of the Ahl al Bayt, rather they the Shi`ah (who make idols of the Ahl al Bayt) are a Bayt al Kadhib (House of Liars)."
    157. Qurtubi points out that acting tough with the hypocrites means, being tough in the application of Islamic laws and rules of conduct. It does not mean misbehaving with them or using uncivilized language. A hadith says,


    إِذَا زَنَتْ أَمَةُ أَحَدِكُمْ فَتَبَيَّنَ زِنَاهَا فَلْيَجْلِدْهَا الْحَدَّ وَلاَ يُثَرِّبْ عَلَيْهَا


    "If one of your slave girls fornicates, she may be flogged, but do not address her in foul language."
    Mufti Shafi` strengthens the above point by quoting a Qur'anic verse (3; 159):


    وَلَوْ كُنْتَ فَظًّا غَلِيظَ الْقَلْبِ لَانْفَضُّوا مِنْ حَوْلِكَ [آل عمران : 159]


    "Had you been (O Prophet) foul of mouth, insensible of heart, surely, they would have dispersed away from you." He then remarks that it is sad to note that what has been prohibited for the unbelievers is a fashion among the believers today.

    يَحْلِفُونَ بِاللَّهِ مَا قَالُوا وَلَقَدْ قَالُوا كَلِمَةَ الْكُفْرِ وَكَفَرُوا بَعْدَ إِسْلَامِهِمْ وَهَمُّوا بِمَا لَمْ يَنَالُوا ۚ وَمَا نَقَمُوا إِلَّا أَنْ أَغْنَاهُمُ اللَّهُ وَرَسُولُهُ مِنْ فَضْلِهِ ۚ فَإِنْ يَتُوبُوا يَكُ خَيْرًا لَهُمْ ۖ وَإِنْ يَتَوَلَّوْا يُعَذِّبْهُمُ اللَّهُ عَذَابًا أَلِيمًا فِي الدُّنْيَا وَالْآخِرَةِ ۚ وَمَا لَهُمْ فِي الْأَرْضِ مِنْ وَلِيٍّ وَلَا نَصِيرٍ (74)

    9|74| They swear by Allah that they said no such thing.158 But, in actual fact, they did say the word of unbelief, disavowed after their surrender, and strived to achieve what they could not.159 And they took not revenge but (for the fact) that Allah had enriched them by His grace, and (so had) His Messenger.160 Nevertheless, if they repent, that will be better for them.161 But if they turn away, Allah will chastise them with a painful chastisement in this world and in the next. And they shall not have in the land a protector or a helper.162


    158. Some scholars have said that the reference is to Jullas b. Suwayd. Another opinion is that the allusion is to `Abdullah ibn Ubayy. It is reported that when two Muslims belonging to two different tribes squabbled over something, he called his henchmen saying, "By God. Muhammad's example is like someone who said, ‘Fatten your dog and it will eat you up.'" But when questioned, he denied that he had said any such thing (Ibn Jarir, Razi, Qurtubi, Ibn Kathir).
    The report is Mursal, a kind of weak narration (Au.).
    Tabarani, Abu al Sheikh and Ibn Marduwayh have another report which says that the Prophet was resting under the shade of a tree when he remarked, "A man is about to appear before you who sees with the eyes of Satan. When he comes do not speak to him." It was not too long when a neat and clean person appeared. The Prophet beckoned him to himself. When he came close he asked him, "Why do your friends speak evil of me?" The man turned back and swiftly brought back his companions. They swore that they said nothing about him and prevailed until they extracted his pardon and Allah revealed this verse (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir, Shawkani and others).
    The report is in Majma` al Zawa'id with Haythami declaring it trustworthy (Syed Ibrahim).
    159. The allusion is to the attempts by the unbelievers and the hypocrites to assassinate the Prophet (Ibn Jarir).
    Ibn Kathir reports Hudhayfah b. al Yaman who said in narrations of Ahmad and others, "I was holding the reins of the Prophet's camel (during the Tabuk return journey). Either me or `Ammar were in the lead. When we were in a narrow pass I encountered some twelve men who tried to scare the camel. The Prophet shouted at them. They dispersed. He asked, "Did you recognize them?" We said, "No, O Messenger of Allah. They had covered themselves. But we could recognize their mounts.” He said, "They were hypocrites who will remain so until the Day of Judgment. Do you know what they intended?” We said, "No." He said, "They tried to crowd around the Messenger of Allah and push him down into the gorge" (Shortened).
    They were all either from the Yethrib tribe or their allies. Ibn Kathir has picked up the names from Tabarani. They were: Mu`tab b. Bashir, Wadi`ah b. Thabit, Jadd b. `Abdullah, Harith b. Yezid al Ta'iyy, Aws b. Qayzi, Harith b. Suwayd, Sa`d b. Zurarah, Qays b. Fahd, Suwayd and Da`is of the Banu al Hubla, Qays b. `Amr, Zayd b. al Lasit and Sulalah b. al Hammam (Manar).
    It is reported of Imam Baqir that he believed 8 of them were from the Quraysh. But the report is not worth looking at. There was not a single Qurayshi among them (Alusi).
    The report could be of Shi`ah concoction (Au.).
    160. According to Ibn `Abbas, `Urwah and Qatadah, the allusion is to the Prophet's monetary assistance they received in connection with blood wit on behalf of one, or a few of them (Ibn Jarir).
    161. It is said that Jullas was one of those who had repented (Ibn Jarir, Qurtubi and others).
    162. The hypocrites were rich and powerful men of their tribes. Time and again, their tribesmen defended their leaders against any calamity befalling them. Allah informed them that when His chastisement descends they will not find them around for help and protection (Ibn Jarir).

    وَمِنْهُمْ مَنْ عَاهَدَ اللَّهَ لَئِنْ آتَانَا مِنْ فَضْلِهِ لَنَصَّدَّقَنَّ وَلَنَكُونَنَّ مِنَ الصَّالِحِينَ (75)

    9|75| And, of them there are some who promised Allah, ‘If He bestowed on us of His bounty, we shall expend in charity, and be truly of the righteous.'


    فَلَمَّا آتَاهُمْ مِنْ فَضْلِهِ بَخِلُوا بِهِ وَتَوَلَّوْا وَهُمْ مُعْرِضُونَ (76)

    9|76| Nevertheless, when He bestowed on them of His bounty, they were niggardly therewith163 and went back (on the promise)164 being averse (to fulfilling it).165


    163. Abu Hafs has defined "bukhl" (niggardliness) as "the refusal to give preference to the needs of others in situations of want" (Thanwi).
    164. Ibn `Abbas and Umama al Bahiliyy have reported that the verse came down in response to an incident involving Tha`labah b. Hatib al Ansari. He went to the Prophet and requested him to supplicate for his wealth. The Prophet told him, "Little that is thanked for is better than a lot whose burden you cannot bear.” But he persisted promising that if enriched he would give everyone his due. Finally the Prophet supplicated for him and his wealth. He reared some goats which began to multiply like insects until Madinah became too constricted for him. He moved out of the town to a valley, coming in only for the `Asr and Zuhr Prayers. But the goats kept on multiplying in numbers until he gave up coming to the mosque except for Friday Prayers. Finally, he stopped showing up for Friday Prayers also. The Prophet enquired about him and was told that the man seemed to be busy with his goats. Then he sent two men to collect Zakah from him and another man of Banu Sulaym. When Tha`labah read the Prophet's letter, he remarked, "I can not see a difference between this and jizyah (tribute). This is jizyah's sister. I do not know what this is." Then he added, "Alright. Pass by me on your way back."
    When the Sulaym man read the letter, he chose the best of his camels. But the Prophet's envoy refused to accept on the grounds that the Prophet had forbidden that the best of the people's wealth be accepted as Zakah. But the man insisted saying that he was offering it willingly. On their way back they stopped at Tha`labah's place. He told them, "Let's see that letter again." Then, looking into it he remarked, "I do not think this is any different from jizyah. Why do not you go back now and allow me time to think?" So they left him and reported to the Prophet; and Allah revealed this verse in response. Some scholars have thought that two men were involved: one Tha`labah and the other Mu`tab b. Qushayr (Ibn Jarir).
    Ibn Kathir adds: A relative of Tha`labah informed him about the revelation of this verse. He hurried up to the Prophet offering his Zakah. The Prophet told him that Allah had ordered him not to accept his charity. Tha`labah began to weep, threw dust on his head and returned. During Abu Bakr's caliphate he went to him offering Zakah. Abu Bakr told him that he was not going to accept it from someone from whom the Prophet had not accepted. `Umar and `Uthman during whose reign he died also refused to accept his Zakah.
    Qurtubi writes that Tha`labah b. Hatib was one of those who had participated in the Badr battle. Therefore, there is something wrong with the report. He narrates Ibn `Abbas as of opinion that the person involved was Hatib b. Balta`ah. Imam Razi uses both the names Hatib b. Balta`ah as well as Tha`labah, which speaks of the confusion over the identity of the person. Rashid Rida also wonders how a man who wept when told that his charity was not acceptable could be regarded as a hypocrite. (Unable to recall the details now, this writer remembers having read a well researched article a long time back proving that there was a mix up in names - if there were not two Tha`labahs). Moreover, although Tha`laba's incident is widely quoted by the commentators, S. Ibrahim notes that the report has been declared "very weak" by Haythami in his "Majma` al Zawa'id." Finally, the plural form suggests that there were a few other men who went back on their promise (Au.).
    Abu al Sheikh has reported that the verse actually came down concerning one of the Ansar who promised Allah that if he was bestowed wealth he would give everyone his due. It should so happen that a rich cousin of his died, leaving his entire wealth to him. But the man went back on his promise and began to act parsimoniously (Shawkani).
    165. The allusion by the term sadaqah as used above is not to Zakah since Allah added that the man acted niggardly (bukhl); and the term bukhl becomes applicable when one does not spend what is obligatory on him (Razi).

    فَأَعْقَبَهُمْ نِفَاقًا فِي قُلُوبِهِمْ إِلَىٰ يَوْمِ يَلْقَوْنَهُ بِمَا أَخْلَفُوا اللَّهَ مَا وَعَدُوهُ وَبِمَا كَانُوا يَكْذِبُونَ (77)

    9|77| So, as a consequence He placed hypocrisy in their hearts (to last) until the Day they meet Him for that they failed Allah in what they promised Him and for that they were lying.166


    166. Asad comments on the reasons that give birth to hypocrisy: "Thus, the Qur'an states that it is excessive love of worldly possessions which gives rise, in certain type of man, to the attitude of mind described as "hypocrisy" and not vice versa."
    Ibn Jarir points out that the verse gives us two signs of hypocrisy: lying and turning back on promises. (Ahadith count a few more). A hadith reported by `Abdullah ibn `Umar and Muhammad b. Ka`b al Qurazi says:


    آيَةُ الْمُنَافِقِ ثَلاَثٌ إِذَا حَدَّثَ كَذَبَ وَإِذَا اؤْتُمِنَ خَانَ وَإِذَا وَعْدَ أَخْلَفَ


    "The marks of a hypocrite are threefold: when he speaks, he lies; when he promises, he breaks his promise; and when he is trusted, he betrays." (The hadith is in Bukhari also: Hussain).
    Another version reported by Hasan adds the words:


    وَإِنْ صَامَ وَصَلَّى وَزَعَمَ أَنَّهُ مُسْلِمٌ


    "Even if such a man Prayed and fasted."
    It is reported of `Amr b. Wa'il that when his death approached he said, "So and so had asked me for my daughter's hand. I had told him something about her going through the waiting period. (A device he concocted for refusal: Au.). But, by Allah, I shall not meet with Allah as “one third hypocrite.” Be witness that I give my daughter in marriage to the man." In fact, some people have included one's intentions in the application of the term "promise." Sulayman al Taymi says that he traveled by sea. "They were struck by a storm and everybody vowed something or the other. I did not say a word but vowed to myself without uttering it. When I returned, I asked Abu Sulayman his opinion." He said, "You better act according to your intention."
    When Sa`id b. Thabit was asked about such situations as when people promise something without spelling it out, he recited the verse (78), "Do they not know that Allah knows their secret (thoughts) and what they conspire together, and that Allah knows well the Unseen?"
    Razi however maintains that so long as one has not spoken out his intention, he is not bound to fulfill it. The verse under discussion refers to what the particular man had spoken out (and not simply intended). A hadith says,


    إِنَّ اللَّهَ تَجَاوَزَ عَنْ أُمَّتِي مَا حَدَّثَتْ بِهِ أَنْفُسَهَا مَا لَمْ تَعْمَلْ أَوْ تَتَكَلَّمْ


    "Allah has forgiven my Ummah what the inner self considers so long as one does not do it or speak about it."
    (In view of this hadith, Qatada's opinion as in Bukhari with regard to divorce was that it does not come into effect if someone merely intended it Au.).
    As regards the application of hypocrisy to someone who possesses one or more of the qualities stated in the ahadith, Hasan al Busri's opinion was that anyone afflicted with any of the three traits is surely a hypocrite. But Wasil b. `Ata reports that someone went up to him and asked, "Allah has narrated to us the story of Ya`qub's sons. They lied, gave the word but broke it, were trusted and failed in the trust. Were they hypocrites?" Hasan had no reply.
    Probably Hasan could not think of an immediate reply. But the scholars have explained that when these things are committed habitually, they point to hypocrisy (Au.).

    أَلَمْ يَعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّهَ يَعْلَمُ سِرَّهُمْ وَنَجْوَاهُمْ وَأَنَّ اللَّهَ عَلَّامُ الْغُيُوبِ (78)

    9|78| Do they not know that Allah knows their secret (thoughts) and what they whisper (to each other),167 and that Allah is the Knower of the Unseen?


    167. Both the words "sirr" and "najwa" of the text have the connotation of secrecy but the former is applied to thoughts and ideas that one conceals in his heart, while the latter to that which is secretly shared with others (Razi).

    الَّذِينَ يَلْمِزُونَ الْمُطَّوِّعِينَ مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ فِي الصَّدَقَاتِ وَالَّذِينَ لَا يَجِدُونَ إِلَّا جُهْدَهُمْ فَيَسْخَرُونَ مِنْهُمْ ۙ سَخِرَ اللَّهُ مِنْهُمْ وَلَهُمْ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ (79)

    9|79| Those who find fault with such of the believers who give freely in charity, as well as with those who do not find but their paltry saving.168 They ridicule them.169 Allah ridicules them; and for them is a painful chastisement.170


    168. The word "juhd" refers to a trifle amount, being the utmost that one can manage to offer (Rashid Rida).
    169. Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, Qatadah, Ibn Is haq and others have said that once `Abdul Rahman b. `Awf brought in 40 Awqiyah of gold as charity while another person brought in a small measure (of grain). The hypocrites remarked, "By God. `Abdul Rahman did not intend anything but to make a show of charity. As for the other man, surely, Allah and His Messenger do not stand in need of his paltry contribution." Allah revealed this verse (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir).
    Bukhari has a similar report without naming the persons and without stating their charitable amounts (Au.).
    Another report says that once the Prophet appealed for charity, a punitive black man, ugly of appearance, came up riding a beautiful camel to offer his charity. One of the hypocrites remarked in a low voice: "His camel is better than he." The Prophet heard him and said angrily, "Rather, he is better than the camel and better than you," and this verse came down (Ibn Kathir and others).
    Imam Razi points out that what the hypocrites failed to realize was that the worth of charity is not in the amount of it. The rewards depend on sincerity and the situation of the person concerned. He might himself have been in great need of the little that he spent, but he spent it seeking Allah's good pleasure. Or, the little that he donated, might be all that he possessed. Should it earn the same reward as that charity which was large but only one half of what one possessed? The former demonstrates the donor’s total self control, and complete trust in Allah Most High.
    170. Asad has a point: "The above verse, however, does not allude merely to these historical incidents but serves to illustrate the mentality of the hypocrite whose own sincerity colors his view of all other people."

    اسْتَغْفِرْ لَهُمْ أَوْ لَا تَسْتَغْفِرْ لَهُمْ إِنْ تَسْتَغْفِرْ لَهُمْ سَبْعِينَ مَرَّةً فَلَنْ يَغْفِرَ اللَّهُ لَهُمْ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ بِأَنَّهُمْ كَفَرُوا بِاللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ ۗ وَاللَّهُ لَا يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الْفَاسِقِينَ (80)

    9|80| Whether you seek forgiveness for them (O Prophet) or do not seek forgiveness (it is all the same) even if you sought forgiveness for them seventy times, Allah will not forgive them.171 That because they disbelieved in Allah and His Messenger, and (because) Allah does not guide an ungodly people.


    171. It is said that `Abdullah ibn Ubayy used to say to his friends, "If you stopped spending on Muhammad and the men around him, they will abandon him and disperse." When he died, his son came requesting the Prophet to attend his burial. He also asked him for his shirt. The Prophet gave him his shirt and attended his funeral service, Praying over him despite `Umar's protest (as in Bukhari, Tirmidhi and others: Shawkani), and then stood near his grave for a while. In fact, according to some reports (in Muslim: Rashid Rida) the corpse was placed in the pit when the Prophet arrived. So he got his body out, applied his saliva to him, and then let him be buried. (This part is in Bukhari and Muslim, with some modifications: Hussain). So Allah revealed, "Whether you seek forgiveness for them (O Prophet) or did not seek forgiveness (it is all the same) even if you sought forgiveness for them seventy times, Allah will not forgive them." The Prophet said, "In that case I shall seek forgiveness for them more than seventy times." So Allah added (9: 80), "It is the same for them whether you seek forgiveness for them or do not seek forgiveness for them. Allah will never forgive them."
    Some other reports add that Ibn `Ubayy himself had sent for the Prophet from his death bed. When the Prophet entered he said, "Love of the Jews destroyed you." Ibn `Ubayy replied, "Prophet of Allah, I have not called you in to reproach me. I wish you could seek forgiveness for me."
    Yet other reports say that after his burial the Prophet said, "Neither my shirt nor my Prayers will do him any good with Allah. I did all that hoping to win over a thousand of his tribesmen." And, in fact, moved by this gesture, a thousand of his tribesmen are reported to have embraced Islam (Ibn Jarir and others).
    The fuller version in Bukhari is as follows:


    لَمَّا تُوُفِّيَ عَبْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ أُبَيٍّ جَاءَ ابْنُهُ عَبْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ إِلَى رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فَسَأَلَهُ أَنْ يُعْطِيَهُ قَمِيصَهُ يُكَفِّنُ فِيهِ أَبَاهُ فَأَعْطَاهُ ثُمَّ سَأَلَهُ أَنْ يُصَلِّيَ عَلَيْهِ فَقَامَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ لِيُصَلِّيَ عَلَيْهِ فَقَامَ عُمَرُ فَأَخَذَ بِثَوْبِ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فَقَالَ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ تُصَلِّي عَلَيْهِ وَقَدْ نَهَاكَ رَبُّكَ أَنْ تُصَلِّيَ عَلَيْهِ فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ إِنَّمَا خَيَّرَنِي اللَّهُ فَقَالَ {اسْتَغْفِرْ لَهُمْ أَوْ لَا تَسْتَغْفِرْ لَهُمْ إِنْ تَسْتَغْفِرْ لَهُمْ سَبْعِينَ مَرَّةً} وَسَأَزِيدُهُ عَلَى السَّبْعِينَ قَالَ إِنَّهُ مُنَافِقٌ قَالَ فَصَلَّى عَلَيْهِ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فَأَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ: وَلَا تُصَلِّ عَلَى أَحَدٍ مِنْهُمْ مَاتَ أَبَدًا وَلَا تَقُمْ عَلَى قَبْرِهِ


    When Ibn `Ubay was dead, his son came to the Prophet requesting his shirt to wrap him up with. The Prophet gave it to him. Then he asked that he Pray for him. However, when the Prophet intended to do so, `Umar caught him by his shirt tail and said, "Messenger of Allah. Will you Pray for him when Allah has prevented you? The Prophet replied, "Allah has given me the choice (by saying, ‘Whether you seek forgiveness for them or do not seek forgiveness for them. Even if you sought forgiveness for them seventy times ...').' And I shall supplicate for him over and above seventy times. `Umar said, “He is a hypocrite.” But the Prophet prayed for him and Allah revealed these two verses, `And do not Pray for any of them that dies...' (Shawkani).
    Commentary works offer detailed discussions over how the Prophet prayed for the man although everyone knew he was a hypocrite (Au.)? Imam Razi points out that the Prophet gave his shirt when the man was still alive. There was every possibility that putting on the shirt, he would have felt remorse and embraced Islam in sincerity. Further, the Prophet was asked the shirt, so, he had to give it because Allah had instructed him (93: 10), "As for the one who asks, do not repulse him." Finally, the person who had gone to him with the request was a proven true Muslim (although the son of a hypocrite). The Prophet had to oblige him.
    Zamakhshari points out (and Ibn Kathir seconds him) that the Prophet gave Ibn Ubayy his shirt in return of the shirt he had given to `Abbas. When the latter was captured and brought to Madinah, no shirt would fit him because of his size but that of Ibn `Ubayy. It is also reported that once when `Umar intended to attend a funeral Prayer, during his tenure, Hudhayfah b. al Yaman signaled him to stay away.
    The standing itself, by the grave, is a proven practice of the Prophet. Abu Da'ud has reported:


    كان رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم إذا فرغ من دفن الميت وقف عليه وقال: "استغفروا لأخيكم واسألوا له التثبيت فإنه الآن يسأل


    "When someone died, the Prophet Prayed for him and stood by the side of the grave for a while. He would say, ‘Seek forgiveness for your brother and pray for his steadfastness. At the moment he is being questioned'" (Ibn Kathir).
    Zamakhshari raises a question and then answers it. Herewith a slightly modified translation: It is commonly known that the Arabs use the number seventy only to express the largeness of a number, and not in the literal sense. Was this unknown to the Prophet who was one of the most eloquent of the language? The answer is, the Prophet knew well the exact implication of the word, yet said what he said and did what he did in demonstration of his kindness toward the people. Had not Ibrahim said (14: 36):


    كَانَ النَّبِىُّ -صلى الله عليه وسلم- إِذَا فَرَغَ مِنْ دَفْنِ الْمَيِّتِ وَقَفَ عَلَيْهِ فَقَالَ: اسْتَغْفِرُوا لأَخِيكُمْ وَسَلُوا لَهُ التَّثْبِيتَ فَإِنَّهُ الآنَ يُسْأَلُ


    "As for him who disobeyed me, well, You (O Allah) are the Forgiving, the Merciful"?
    In simpler words, the Prophet said he would supplicate more than seventy times and actually offered the Prayer for a hypocrite because he did not wish to give up so long as he saw a streak of light at the end of the tunnel. Ibn Hajr has dealt with the verse in great detail but which still leaves some issues unclear. Ibn `Abbas seems to have preceded others in summing up the issue by saying, as in Zamakhshari, "I do not know what kind of Prayer it was that the Prophet offered for Ibn Ubayy except that I know that a Prophet never acts dishonestly (Au.).

    فَرِحَ الْمُخَلَّفُونَ بِمَقْعَدِهِمْ خِلَافَ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ وَكَرِهُوا أَنْ يُجَاهِدُوا بِأَمْوَالِهِمْ وَأَنْفُسِهِمْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ وَقَالُوا لَا تَنْفِرُوا فِي الْحَرِّ ۗ قُلْ نَارُ جَهَنَّمَ أَشَدُّ حَرًّا ۚ لَوْ كَانُوا يَفْقَهُونَ (81)

    9|81| Rejoice those who were left behind172 at their sitting back behind the Messenger of Allah and hated that they should struggle with their possessions and their selves in Allah's cause. They said, ‘Do not venture out in the heat.'173 Say, ‘The Fire of Hell is hotter.'174 If only they understood.


    172. Now onward, the Tabuk expedition will be often referred to. It will be in order therefore, to present the background story:
    The Tabuk Expedition
    It was the 9th year after Hijrah. Makkah had fallen. The Prophet (saws) was in Madinah when he received the news that the Romans were raising a huge army at Tabuk to launch an attack on Madinah. He decided to take the initiative and ordered preparations for an immediate march to Tabuk. It was not the right time though. The crops in Madinah were near ready for harvest; the Muslims were feeling both the economic as well as the physical strains of previous excursions; and this year's summer was exceptionally hot. But no excuses were acceptable. Every able person was to go. And, as against the normal practice of concealing the intent of an expedition, this time the Prophet publicly announced that he was making for the Romans in Tabuk. The journey was long some 600 km the weather dry, provisions low, and the enemy in great strength.
    The Prophet urged his Companions to help out those who intended to go but could not because they lacked means. In response, `Uthman and `Abdul Rahman b. `Awf donated huge sums. Others too brought in what they could.
    Hypocrites began to stream in presenting false excuses and requesting permission to be left behind. The Prophet allowed them to stay back. He learnt that the hypocrites were assembling in the house of Suwaylim the Jew keeping men away from joining him in the expedition. He sent Talha b. `Ubaydullah along with a few others, with orders to burn down the house. When his orders were executed, Dahhak b. Khalifa jumped down from the top of the house and broke his leg. His companions rushed out and escaped.
    After a hectic preparation lasting a week or so, the Prophet set off with some 30,000 men. Some of the true believers were slow to make up their minds. Ka`b b. Malik, Murara b. Rabi` and Hilal b. Umayyah were among them. Their Islam was above suspicion, but by the time they could make up their mind, the Prophet and his Companions were far afield.
    Having set out, the Prophet pitched his first camp by Thaniyat al Wada`. `Abdullah ibn Ubayy pitched his camp separately below him at a distance. At Madinah, the Prophet had ordered `Ali to remain behind. The hypocrites spoke ill of him saying that he was a burden on the Prophet and that he wanted to get rid of him. So `Ali seized his weapons and hastened to catch up with the Prophet. He informed him of what the hypocrites were saying about him. The Prophet told him, "Are you not content that you stand to me as Harun stood to Musa except that there will be no Prophet after me?" So `Ali returned and the Prophet continued with his march. Abu Khaythumah was also one of those who had delayed his decision. But, when he went to his orchard, after the Prophet had left, he told himself, "Here I am in the cool of the orchard, while the Prophet is out in the sun." Ashamed, he did not even enter the farm house, rather, went straight to his camel, saddled it, picked up his journey stuff, and hastened at full speed to join up with the Prophet. `Umayr b. Wahb was another late starter. Abu Khaythumah caught up with him on the way yet the two were able to catch up with the Prophet only at Tabuk. When they got close, Abu Khaythumah told `Umayr to tarry behind a while until he had gone and seen the Prophet. As he approached, the Companions drew his attention to a man on the road. The Prophet involuntarily said, "Be it Abu Khaythuma." And so it was.
    When they passed by al Hijr the Prophet covered his face with his cloak, urged his camel on and said, "Do not go among the houses of those who sinned (and were destroyed) unless you are riding fast, weeping, for fear that you meet with the same end." Some people collected water from its wells. But he ordered them to empty their pitchers saying, "Do note drink or make ablution with it. If you have made dough with it, feed it to the camels." The men did as they were told. He allowed them water from the well from which Saleh's camel used to drink. He also disallowed that any man venture out alone except with a companion. Two men however disobeyed him and went afield alone. One was choked (although he recovered) and another blown away by the winds that dropped him in the mountains of Tayy. Next day when the Companions complained of water, the Prophet prayed for it and the rains came in a heavy downpour. When one of the hypocrites was asked if he still harbored doubts about the Messengership of the Prophet, he replied, "It was a passing cloud."
    The hypocrites that had accompanied created several problems on the way. One of them remarked, "Do you think fighting the Romans is like fighting the Arabs? By God I can see ourselves bundled up in ropes tomorrow." When at one point the Prophet's camel strayed away, one of them remarked, "Look at this man. He claims to be a Prophet giving you news of the heavens but he does not even know where his camel is." When informed the Prophet said, "By Allah I know only what Allah tells me. And He has (just now) informed me that it is in such and such a glen of such and such a valley." They went after it and brought it back.
    As he advanced, hypocritical men began to drop behind. Whenever the Messenger was told that so and so had dropped behind, he would remark, "Let him. There was no good in him." Until, when he was told that Abu Dharr had dropped behind, he said the same thing. Actually, Abu Dharr's camel had failed him. So, when he felt that it was no use prodding it up on the road, he dropped the camel behind and began to march on foot. He caught up with the Prophet as he pitched his camp for a halt. When they spotted someone plodding up the desert track, the Prophet said, "Be it Abu Dharr." And when told that it was indeed he, he remarked, "May Allah show him mercy. He walks alone, will die alone and will be raised alone."
    The journey proved to be strenuous and they reached Tabuk in 22 days, hungry and thirsty. Sometimes a dozen men chewed a single date in turns. At Tabuk the Prophet addressed them on several occasions. Once he leaned against a tree trunk and said: "Should I not tell you about the best of the people and the worst of the people? The best of the people is he who goes into the way of Allah on the back of his horse, or camel, or on his feet, (and continues) until death overtakes him. And the worst of the people is that audacious man who reads the Qur'an but pays no attention to its demands."
    The Romans, impressed by the Prophet's courage, seemed to have dispersed and no fighting took place. Some say that although there had been some movement of the troops, the rumors had gone too far. In any case, the Prophet sent troops to surrounding areas to subdue the tribes. Yuhanna b. Ru`aba submitted and agreed to pay tribute. Khalid b. Walid was dispatched to the governor of Duma, Ukaydar b. `Abdul Malik. He was captured and brought to the Prophet, his golden brocaded gown having preceded him. Some say Ukaydar had sent it as a gift. The Muslims were feeling and admiring it. The Prophet said, "Do you admire this? By Allah Sa`d's (b. Mu`adh) napkin in Paradise is better than this." The Prophet made peace with Ukaydar and released him. He had agreed to pay tribute. A few other tribes also submitted and agreed to pay jizyah.
    In another 20 days time the Prophet and his men were back on the same trail, marching home through the same difficult terrain. On the way back they stopped at a place called Mushaqqaq where water was issuing forth from a rock in quantity just enough for two or three riders. The Prophet ordered that none was to draw water from it until he came. But a number of the hypocrites got there and drew water. When he arrived he found it dry. He asked who had drawn the water, and cursed them when told their names. He dismounted from his camel, sprinkled some water on the rock and prayed until water burst forth. He remarked, "If you lived long enough, you will hear that this valley is more fertile than its neighbors." (A prediction which is reported to have come true: Au.). During the journey a Companion died. `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud reports that I woke up in the middle of the night. I saw light near the camp. I went up to find that the Messenger, Abu Bakr, `Umar and `Abdullah Dhu 'l Bijadayn had dug a grave. Abu Bakr and `Umar had lifted the corpse and the Prophet was inside the grave. He was saying, ‘Gently. Hand me over your brother.' As he placed him in the niche he said, ‘O Allah, I am pleased with him. Be You pleased with him too.' Ibn Mas`ud used to say, ‘Would that I had been in the grave.'
    Abu Ruhm Kulthum was one of those who had traveled to Tabuk. He reports, "During one of those night journeys, sleep was heavy on me. I only woke up when my mount got too close to the Prophet's. Once my camel jostled against the Prophet's. I heard a voice, ‘Watch out.' I asked his pardon and moved my mount away. He began to ask me about those who had dropped out from Banu Ghifar. I named them. He asked me about the people with long straggling red beards and I told him that they had dropped out too. Then he asked me about men with short curly hair and I confessed that I did not know that they were of us. ‘But yes,' he exclaimed, ‘they are the ones who own camels in Shabakatu Shadakh.' Then I remembered that they were of the Banu Ghifar, but I did not remember them until I recalled that they were a clan of Aslam who were our allies. When I told him that, he remarked, ‘What prevented one of these when he fell out from mounting a camel in the way of Allah? The most painful thing to me is that any of the Muhajirun, Ansar, B. Ghifar and Aslam should stay back.'" (There was somebody there who was worried about those who had fallen out, in the middle of the night during that arduous journey: Au.).
    It was during one of those night journeys that twelve of the hypocrites tried to bolt off the Prophet's camel so that he might fall down a cliff. He also learned through revelation of the construction of a mosque by disaffected ones for the purpose of planning mischief against Islam and Muslims. He got it destroyed after his return. When he entered Madinah, he first entered the mosque, offered two rak`ah of prayers before going home. The hypocrites began to stream in seeking to be excused for not having participated. He accepted their excuses.
    173. Majid quotes: "The summer is the worst and the hardest season in Arabia. Wells, few as they are, are dried up, even the last vestiges of posture are burnt up, and the intensity of the blazing, scorching sun is ferocious. `Painful indeed was the distress of the march; lassitude and thirst were aggravated by the scorching and pestilential winds of the desert' (GRE. V.p.372)."
    No few words will ever faithfully describe the summer heat of the Arabian Peninsula. Birds drop down dead, the sky is silvery, the land pale, and the spirits broken. To venture into the open even for a few minutes is a voyage postponed for the evening. Nothing moves. Restricted to the shades, the restless body demands nothing but liquids. The inexperienced who stray into the desert are collected dead after a couple of hours. Carpets left in the sun can be collected as dust at the end of the season. Perhaps the best single sentence describing the heat came from T.E.Lawrence in his Seven Pillars of Wisdom. On arrival at Jeddah he described the first shock in words, "The heat left us speechless" (Au.).
    It is reported that when the Prophet urged the Companions to the Tabuk expedition, a man went and told him, "Messenger of Allah. It's extremely hot. We can not venture out. So, do not go forth." In response Allah revealed, "Say, the Fire of Hell is hotter" and the Prophet told him to join in (Ibn Jarir). The report is also in Ibn Marduwayh (Shawkani). This of course does not rule out, as pointed out by Rashid Rida, that the hypocrites urged each other to stay back (Au).
    174. Ibn `Abbas, Qatadah and Muhammad b. Ka`b al Qurazi have said that the reference is to the hypocrites sitting back from the Tabuk expedition which took place in mid summer and in conditions of drought (Ibn Jarir).
    Ibn Kathir notes that the Sahihayn have a hadith according to which the Prophet said,


    نَارُكُمْ جُزْءٌ مِنْ سَبْعِينَ جُزْءًا مِنْ نَارِ جَهَنَّمَ


    "Your fire is one seventieth of the Fire of Hell."
    According to another sahih report of Tirmidhi and Ahmad he said,


    إِنَّ نَارَكُمْ هَذِهِ جُزْءٌ مِنْ سَبْعِينَ جُزْءًا مِنْ نَارِ جَهَنَّمَ وَضُرِبَتْ بِالْبَحْرِ مَرَّتَيْنِ وَلَوْلَا ذَلِكَ مَا جَعَلَ اللَّهُ فِيهَا مَنْفَعَةً لِأَحَدٍ


    "This fire of yours is one seventieth part of the Fire of Hell. Moreover, it has been dipped into the sea twice. If not for that, it would have been of no use to any creature."
    The above is Ahmad’s version (Ahmad).
    Another hadith (of Muslim: Hussain) says,


    أَدْنَى أَهْلِ النَّارِ عَذَابًا رَجُلٌ يُجْعَلُ لَهُ نَعْلَانِ يَغْلِي مِنْهُمَا دِمَاغُهُ


    "The least punished people of the Hell fire will wear shoes of Fire. That will boil his brain."
    The above is Ahmad’s version (Au.).

    فَلْيَضْحَكُوا قَلِيلًا وَلْيَبْكُوا كَثِيرًا جَزَاءً بِمَا كَانُوا يَكْسِبُونَ (82)

    9|82| Let them, then, laugh a little (now) and weep a lot (later):175 a recompense for what they were earning.176


    175. Abu Razin is widely reported as having said: This life has a short span during which the unbelievers may laugh. But the Hereafter is for ever. There they will cry forever (Ibn Jarir). The Prophet said in a hadith preserved by Ibn Majah,


    يا أيها الناس ابكوا فإن لم تبكوا فتباكوا فإن أهل النار يبكون حتى تسيل دموعهم في وجوهم كأنها جداول حتى تنقطع الدموع فتسيل الدماء فتقرح العيون, فلو أن سفناً أزجيت فيها لجرت


    "People! Cry. And if you cannot cry, make crying faces. The companions of the Fire will cry until they will shed tears of blood running like water in the canals. It will damage their eyes. They'd cry so much that you could sail a boat in their tears" (Qurtubi, Ibn Kathir).
    The above report has been termed weak (Au.).
    In another report of Tirmidhi the Prophet said,


    لَوْ تَعْلَمُونَ مَا أَعْلَمُ لَضَحِكْتُمْ قَلِيلاً وَلَبَكَيْتُمْ كَثِيرًا وَمَا تَلَذَّذْتُمْ بِالنِّسَاءِ عَلَى الْفُرُشِ وَلَخَرَجْتُمْ إِلَى الصُّعُدَاتِ تَجْأَرُونَ إِلَى اللَّهِ تَعَالَى


    "By Allah, if you knew what I know, you would laugh little and cry a lot. You would not go into the women in the beds, but would go out into the deserts seeking Allah's protection."
    The above report was thought as weak by Tirmidhi (Au.).
    Therefore, a person like Hasan al Busri never laughed out of the fear of the Hereafter. However, the Companions laughed. It is only the excess that is undesirable. According to a hadith excessive laughing deadens the heart (Qurtubi).
    176. Sufi Thanwi cautions that the verse does not contain a command to cry as some people have thought. They go to the Shuyukh and complain about themselves "I am not able to cry, try however much I may." Do they not notice that the verse adds, "a recompense for what they were earning (of the evil deeds)"? That is, they will cry a lot in the Hereafter as a recompense for what they earned in this life. Yes, it is laudable that one cry over the sins of the past, or for other legitimate reasons, but to cry or not is not in the power of man. And what is not in the power of man is not declared obligatory.

    فَإِنْ رَجَعَكَ اللَّهُ إِلَىٰ طَائِفَةٍ مِنْهُمْ فَاسْتَأْذَنُوكَ لِلْخُرُوجِ فَقُلْ لَنْ تَخْرُجُوا مَعِيَ أَبَدًا وَلَنْ تُقَاتِلُوا مَعِيَ عَدُوًّا ۖ إِنَّكُمْ رَضِيتُمْ بِالْقُعُودِ أَوَّلَ مَرَّةٍ فَاقْعُدُوا مَعَ الْخَالِفِينَ (83)

    9|83| If, then, should Allah bring you back to face some of them,177 and they seek your permission to go forth (in an expedition), say, ‘You will never go forth with me (to any expedition) nor will you ever fight an enemy together with me. You were well pleased to sit back on that first occasion.178 Sit back now with those who sat back.'179


    177. At the time of the revelation of this verse, the Prophet was in Tabuk. It was possible that by the time he returned, some of the hypocrites in Madinah would have died. Accordingly, Allah said, “If, then, should Allah bring you face to face with some of them ..” (Shabbir).
    Another possibility is that they would have absconded, avoiding to see him altogether (Au.).
    178. That is, ‘since you were well pleased to stay back the first time, surely, even if you are allowed to accompany in the future expeditions, you will again sit back on one pretext or the other. You will never fight an enemy with us. Therefore, it is better that you sit back with those who sit back (i.e. with women)' - Thanwi.
    179. As noted by Ibn Jarir earlier, it is also reported of Ibn `Abbas as saying that when the Prophet ordered his Companions to participate in the Tabuk expedition, some people came to him to say that it was too hot and so he better postpone the journey. In reply Allah revealed, "Say, `The Fire of hell is hotter.'"
    Nevertheless, some people preferred to stay back. Only three of them felt sorry and caught up with him as he was journeying. The rest remained behind to the end. Allah revealed this verse during the journey, "If, then, should Allah take you back to some of them," ... until, "those who stay back" (Ibn Jarir).
    Another opinion is that the allusion by the words "those who stay back" is to women, children, old men, the sick and handicapped who were not required to participate in jihad. A third opinion is that the textual word "khalifin" has been used in the sense of the pervert, the corrupt or the evil as, for example, the word "khaluf," i.e., foul smell (of the fasting man's mouth) Alusi.

    وَلَا تُصَلِّ عَلَىٰ أَحَدٍ مِنْهُمْ مَاتَ أَبَدًا وَلَا تَقُمْ عَلَىٰ قَبْرِهِ ۖ إِنَّهُمْ كَفَرُوا بِاللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ وَمَاتُوا وَهُمْ فَاسِقُونَ (84)

    9|84| And Pray not ever, over any of them that dies, nor stand by his grave.180 They disbelieved in Allah and His Messenger and died while they were perversely rebellious.181


    180. This is in reference to the Prophet's participation in the burial of `Abdullah ibn Ubayy. After the revelation of this verse the Prophet gave up attending the burial of known hypocrites (Ibn Jarir). Similar reports are in Bukhari and others (Ibn Kathir).
    Alusi uses the occasion to discuss the issue of the Prophet's visit to his mother's grave. (How could he do it, knowing that apparently she died on kufr)? He points out that although the verse in question speaks of hypocrites, by analogy it can be extended to the polytheists. It might be said that the visit took place in the year of Hudaybiyyah (6 A.H.) whereas the prohibition came after the expedition of Tabuk (9 A.H.); but, had not the Prophet sought Allah's permission and was granted to visit his mother's grave? So, what does the visit imply? Well, it implies that his mother died believing in Oneness of Allah. Had she been a polytheist, Allah would not have allowed him to visit her grave. He also points out that although there is difference in opinion over visits to the graves of the unbelievers, he is inclined to believe that it is undesirable to do so. (With due respect to his mother, it might be pointed out however, that the Prophet was not given the permission to seek forgiveness for his mother. The text of the hadith is: I sought my Lord’s permission to visit my mother's grave and pray for her. He allowed me to visit but did not allow me to pray for her forgiveness: Au.).
    Thanwi has another useful note. The Prophet's action of standing near the grave and supplicating for the dead implies that such standing and supplication is profitable to the dead. This is confirmed by the condition added in the later part of the verse, viz., "they disbelieved in Allah and His Messenger and died while they were perversely rebellious." (That is, his standing would have profited them, had they not been unbelievers who died in the state of unbelief). The verse also implies that supplicating near the grave for the dead is not just the same as supplicating from anywhere else away from their graves. The former course is more beneficial to the dead.
    Thanwi also adds in another note that if visitation to the graves leads to religious corruption, then such visits should be disallowed.
    181. It is reported that out of the great many hypocrites of the Prophet's time, twelve were to die as hard core hypocrites. They did not repent as most others did. These were the same twelve who had attempted to push him down a ravine during the Tabuk return journey. The Prophet knew their identity and had shared the secret with Hudhayfah b. al Yaman. Accordingly, during his caliphate `Umar watched Hudhayfah if he would participate in the funeral Prayers of a dead person. If he slipped away, `Umar too would not Pray for him (Au).

    وَلَا تُعْجِبْكَ أَمْوَالُهُمْ وَأَوْلَادُهُمْ ۚ إِنَّمَا يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ أَنْ يُعَذِّبَهُمْ بِهَا فِي الدُّنْيَا وَتَزْهَقَ أَنْفُسُهُمْ وَهُمْ كَافِرُونَ (85)

    9|85| Let not their wealth and offspring amaze you. Allah wishes to punish them therewith in the life of this world and let their souls depart while they are unbelievers.


    وَإِذَا أُنْزِلَتْ سُورَةٌ أَنْ آمِنُوا بِاللَّهِ وَجَاهِدُوا مَعَ رَسُولِهِ اسْتَأْذَنَكَ أُولُو الطَّوْلِ مِنْهُمْ وَقَالُوا ذَرْنَا نَكُنْ مَعَ الْقَاعِدِينَ (86)

    9|86| When a chapter is revealed (enjoining) that ‘You should believe in Allah and fight along with His Messenger,' the affluent ones among them seek excuse of you, saying, ‘Leave us behind to be with those who sit (back).'


    رَضُوا بِأَنْ يَكُونُوا مَعَ الْخَوَالِفِ وَطُبِعَ عَلَىٰ قُلُوبِهِمْ فَهُمْ لَا يَفْقَهُونَ (87)

    9|87| They were well pleased to be with those left behind.182 A seal is set upon their hearts, therefore, they will not understand (anything).183


    182. Ibn `Abbas, `Atiyyah, Dahhak and others have said that the reference by the textual word "khawalif" is to women who are not required to participate in Jihad (Ibn Jarir).
    183. Sayyid writes: "Had those people understood the benefits of jihad, in terms of power, honor, and an honorable living, they would not have showed their backs to it out of weakness, so unmindful of humiliation, and disgraceful destruction. Surely, there is a price to be paid for dishonor as there is a price to be paid for honor. But, most of the time the price of dishonor is more overburdening than that to be paid for honor. But weak personalities imagine that the price of honor is a back breaking one. They opt for dishonor and ignominy in their effort to escape from the burdensome requirements of honor. In consequence, they live a worthless, cheap life, always fearful, worrisome, scared of their own shadows, and startled by their own echoes. (As the Qur'an said), ‘They believe every calamity is upon them; you will find them the most greedy of this life..’. These dishonored ones pay the price for their choice greater than what they would pay for honor. They pay a whole lot of price for their choice. They pay them by way of their shrunk personalities, by way of the loss of values, by way of reputation, by way of peace, and, quite often by way of their lives and property, although they do not realize. Who is it we are talking of? Well, none other than those ‘Who were well pleased to be with those left behind. A seal is set upon their hearts; therefore, they do not understand.'"

    لَٰكِنِ الرَّسُولُ وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مَعَهُ جَاهَدُوا بِأَمْوَالِهِمْ وَأَنْفُسِهِمْ ۚ وَأُولَٰئِكَ لَهُمُ الْخَيْرَاتُ ۖ وَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ (88)

    9|88| But the Messenger and the believers with him struggled with their possessions and their selves. For them are the good (returns); and they are the ones that are prospererers.


    أَعَدَّ اللَّهُ لَهُمْ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي مِنْ تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا ۚ ذَٰلِكَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِيمُ (89)

    9|89| Allah has prepared for them gardens underneath which rivers flow, abiding therein forever. That is the great success.


    وَجَاءَ الْمُعَذِّرُونَ مِنَ الْأَعْرَابِ لِيُؤْذَنَ لَهُمْ وَقَعَدَ الَّذِينَ كَذَبُوا اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ ۚ سَيُصِيبُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا مِنْهُمْ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ (90)

    9|90| And those with excuses from among the bedouins184 came up to you to be permitted (to stay back);185 while those sat back (without permission) who were false to Allah and His Messenger.186 Surely, a painful chastisement will strike those of them who disbelieved.187


    184. After speaking of the town hypocrites, Allah now takes up the case of the country hypocrites (Alusi).
    185. The understanding of Ibn `Abbas, based on a variant reading, is that the reference by this part of the verse ("The excuse seeking bedouins showed up asking for leave [to stay back"]) is to a few bedouins who had good reasons to be excused from participating in the Tabuk expedition. So, they were excused. The later part of the verse ("and sat back those who were false to Allah and His Messenger") starting with an "and" is indicative of another meaning derived from the earlier part of the verse. This verse then, is speaking of two kinds of people. Those Bebouins who sought excuse on good grounds, and so were excused, and others who sat back being false to Allah and His Messenger. Another opinion is that the whole verse is speaking of one class of people. But the opinion of Ibn `Abbas seems to be more correct (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir).
    This happens to be the opinion of Zajjaj, Farra' and Ibn al Anbari also (Shawkani).
    Rashid Rida writes: Another possible reading of the term mu`azzirun is mu`zirun (with single ‘z’ those seeking forgiveness). The beauty in the choice of the word is that the two readings together allow for several meanings, covering a wide range of bedouin attitudes. Among them were some who had good reasons to stay back. Others thought they had good reasons, but actually did not, (they needed to look hard into their situation), since at heart they knew that they did not have a honest reason to stay back. Then there were some who had weak reasons. They knew that investigation could expose the true cause for staying back. And there were others who had no reason whatsoever. They were liars. The readings cover all these kinds of people. This is the power of the Qur'an that no man can imitate.
    186. That is, this class of people never showed up. They did not bother to either seek exemption before the expedition, nor offered any excuse thereafter (based on Rashid Rida).
    187. Many of those who stayed back became true Muslims later. Hence the addition of the clause "of them" in the verse, viz., "A painful chastisement will strike those of them who remain unbelievers" (Au.).

    لَيْسَ عَلَى الضُّعَفَاءِ وَلَا عَلَى الْمَرْضَىٰ وَلَا عَلَى الَّذِينَ لَا يَجِدُونَ مَا يُنْفِقُونَ حَرَجٌ إِذَا نَصَحُوا لِلَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ ۚ مَا عَلَى الْمُحْسِنِينَ مِنْ سَبِيلٍ ۚ وَاللَّهُ غَفُورٌ رَحِيمٌ (91)

    9|91| There is no sin upon the weak,188 nor upon the sick, neither upon those who do not find anything to spend,189 so long as they are true to Allah and His Messenger.190 There is no ground (for punishment) of those who do (things) well;191 and Allah is All-forgiving, All-kind.


    188. Men of advanced age, women, children and the handicap are covered by the term "weak."
    189. Rashid Rida clarifies a point: The mujahidin are required to bear their own expenses of Jihad. Therefore, those who do not find means for the journey, or for the dependents they leave behind, will be excused. However, if the state provides the expenses, then there can be no excuse.
    Ibn Kathir, Shawkani and others state a few ahadith about those who could not participate because of a good reason. One hadith in ibn Abi Hatim (and Abu Da'ud: Qurtubi) says,


    لقد خلفتم بالمدينة أقواماً ما أنفقتم من نفقة ولا قطعتم وادياً ولا نلتم من عدو نيلاً إلا وقد شركوكم في الأجر" ثم قرأ: وَلا عَلَى الَّذِينَ إِذَا مَا أَتَوْكَ لِتَحْمِلَهُمْ قُلْتَ لا أَجِدُ مَا أَحْمِلُكُمْ عَلَيْهِ


    "You did not spend anything, did not cross a valley, nor did you meet with an enemy, but there are people you have left behind in Madinah who shared the rewards with you." Then he recited the verse, " Nor is there (any blame) on such of those who came to you for you to mount them. You said to them, ‘I do not find anything to mount you
    The Sahihayn have a similar narration. It says,


    إِنَّ بِالْمَدِينَةِ أَقْوَامًا مَا سِرْتُمْ مَسِيرًا وَلَا قَطَعْتُمْ وَادِيًا إِلَّا كَانُوا مَعَكُمْ قَالُوا يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ وَهُمْ بِالْمَدِينَةِ قَالَ وَهُمْ بِالْمَدِينَةِ حَبَسَهُمْ الْعُذْرُ


    "There are people in Madinah who, you did not travel (on plain ground), nor did you cross a valley, but they were with you." They asked, "Messenger of Allah, while they are in Madinah?" He replied, "(Yes) while they are in Madinah. A good reason held them back."
    190. What is the meaning of the word "nasahu" translated here as being true? Qurtubi notes that "nasihah" implies a deed devoid of any deception. Hence "tawbatu al nasuh" of the Qur'an (66: 8). Naftawayh has said that "nasihah" is sincerity. The Prophet said in a hadith of Muslim,


    قال: "الدِّينُ النَّصِيحَةُ": قُلْنَا لِمَنْ قَالَ: لِلَّهِ وَلِكِتَابِهِ وَلِرَسُولِهِ وَلأَئِمَّةِ الْمُسْلِمِينَ وَعَامَّتِهِمْ


    "Religion is nasihah," repeating it three times. They asked, "Nasihah for whom O Messenger of Allah?" He replied, "Nasihah for Allah, His Messenger, His Book, leaders of the ‘mmah and the ordinary Muslims."
    In this hadith, nasihah has been used in the sense of sincerity. Scholars have explained that "nasihah" for Allah would mean to believe in His Oneness, attributing to Him the Attributes of Lordship and declaring Him free of any defect. It would include hastening up to act according to His commands and avoiding those deeds that evoke His anger. "Nasihah" for Allah's Book would imply studying, understanding, and living in accordance with it. "Nasihah" for the Messenger requires belief in his Messengership, obedience him in all affairs, loving him and his kinsfolk, befriending his friends and antagonizing his enemies, respecting him and his Sunnah, and reviving them after his death. "Nasihah" for the leaders would mean not revolting against them, guiding them to what is right, obeying them, and reminding them about their duties toward the Muslims. And "nasihah" for the Muslims in general would mean to look after their interests, supplicating for them, and loving the pious among them (Qurtubi).
    Imam Razi adds that in this particular context, exercising nasihah toward Allah and His Messenger meant that if they opted to stay in the town, in preference of going out to participate in a campaign, they were not to spread mischief, rather attend to the needs of the Mujahidin who left for the front, and serving the families they left behind.
    191. Ibn Kathir notes that once Bilal b. Sa`d was leading the Prayers for rain (Salat al Istisqa). He turned to the people and asked, "People. Do you not admit that you who have committed evil?" They said, "By Allah, yes, we do." He supplicated, "O Allah, we have heard You saying, ‘There is no ground (for punishment) of those who do well.' Now, we admit that we have done evil. Therefore, forgive us, show us mercy and send down rains." He raised his hands, the people raised their hands, and the rains came down.

    وَلَا عَلَى الَّذِينَ إِذَا مَا أَتَوْكَ لِتَحْمِلَهُمْ قُلْتَ لَا أَجِدُ مَا أَحْمِلُكُمْ عَلَيْهِ تَوَلَّوْا وَأَعْيُنُهُمْ تَفِيضُ مِنَ الدَّمْعِ حَزَنًا أَلَّا يَجِدُوا مَا يُنْفِقُونَ (92)

    9|92| Nor is there (any blame) on such of those who came to you for you to mount them. You said to them, ‘I do not find anything to mount you upon,'192 they turned with their eyes overflowing with tears of grief, because they could not find anything to spend.193


    192. The beauty in not naming the kind of mount in the words, "I do not find anything to mount you," is that room is left for the means of conveyance that would be developed later by the humans (Rashid Rida).
    193. It is reported that a group of people, including `Irbad b. Sariyyah and `Abdullah ibn Mughaffal (as well as Ma`qal b. Yasar: Shawkani) went up to the Prophet requesting him to provide them with mounts so that they could participate in the Tabuk expedition. The Prophet expressed his inability to do so. (To some he did provide as recorded by Bukhari and Muslim: Qurtubi). They returned disappointed with their eyes overflowing with tears of grief (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir).
    The textual word haml (of "ahmilukum") can also be understood as something that can carry the weight of a person on his feet, such as, a pair of shoes (Au.).
    Ibn al Mundhir has reported someone of Juhaynah tribe as saying, "We met some of those who had gone to the Prophet seeking something to mount. They told us, ‘We did not ask for camels. We had only asked for shoes that could carry us'" (Shawkani).

    إِنَّمَا السَّبِيلُ عَلَى الَّذِينَ يَسْتَأْذِنُونَكَ وَهُمْ أَغْنِيَاءُ ۚ رَضُوا بِأَنْ يَكُونُوا مَعَ الْخَوَالِفِ وَطَبَعَ اللَّهُ عَلَىٰ قُلُوبِهِمْ فَهُمْ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ (93)

    9|93| Surely there are grounds (for punishment) against those who seek excuse of you although they are rich. They were well pleased to be with those who stayed back.194 Allah has set a seal on their hearts, therefore, they realize not.


    194. The verse hit those who prided on strength, courage, masculinity and warring abilities hardest where it hurt most: You seem to be pleased to sit back with women and children! (Based on a point from Rashid Rida).

    يَعْتَذِرُونَ إِلَيْكُمْ إِذَا رَجَعْتُمْ إِلَيْهِمْ ۚ قُلْ لَا تَعْتَذِرُوا لَنْ نُؤْمِنَ لَكُمْ قَدْ نَبَّأَنَا اللَّهُ مِنْ أَخْبَارِكُمْ ۚ وَسَيَرَى اللَّهُ عَمَلَكُمْ وَرَسُولُهُ ثُمَّ تُرَدُّونَ إِلَىٰ عَالِمِ الْغَيْبِ وَالشَّهَادَةِ فَيُنَبِّئُكُمْ بِمَا كُنْتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَ (94)

    9|94| They will put forward excuses to you when you return to them. Say, ‘Offer no excuses. We will never believe you. Allah has already informed us of your tidings.195 Nevertheless, Allah will observe your (future) actions, and (so will) His Messenger. Then you will be returned to the Knower of the Unseen and the Seen, and He will let you know what you were doing.'196


    195. Ibn Abi Hatim and Abu al Sheikh have reported Suddi as saying that the Prophet instructed his Companions, "Do not talk to them, do not sit with them. Avoid them as Allah has instructed you" (Shawkani).
    196. Sayyid clears a doubt that often arises in the minds of those who cannot distinguish between the human point of view and the Divine point of view: "The Unseen and the Seen are with reference to the humans. Equal unto Allah are the Unseen and the Seen."

    سَيَحْلِفُونَ بِاللَّهِ لَكُمْ إِذَا انْقَلَبْتُمْ إِلَيْهِمْ لِتُعْرِضُوا عَنْهُمْ ۖ فَأَعْرِضُوا عَنْهُمْ ۖ إِنَّهُمْ رِجْسٌ ۖ وَمَأْوَاهُمْ جَهَنَّمُ جَزَاءً بِمَا كَانُوا يَكْسِبُونَ (95)

    9|95| When you return to them they will swear by Allah so that you ignore them. Shun them.197 They are unclean. Their abode is Jahannum, a recompense for what they were earning.198


    197. With some modification, Zamakhshari's note could be paraphrased in the following words: "Avoid them": that is, do not reproach them. It is decent men who care for their character and when reproached over sins and errors, feel ashamed. But these people are unclean: unclean of heart and tainted of faith. Reproach will have no effect on them.
    198. It is reported that when the Prophet (saws) returned from the Tabuk journey, those who had stayed behind began to roll in, swearing that they had very good reasons for staying back. They were upward of eighty men. The Prophet accepted them and their excuses on their face value. Allah (swt) revealed this verse (Ibn Jarir).

    يَحْلِفُونَ لَكُمْ لِتَرْضَوْا عَنْهُمْ ۖ فَإِنْ تَرْضَوْا عَنْهُمْ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يَرْضَىٰ عَنِ الْقَوْمِ الْفَاسِقِينَ (96)

    9|96| They swear for your sake, so that you may be pleased with them. But, even if you are pleased with them, surely Allah is not pleased with an ungodly people.199


    199. The textual word is "fasiqin." In its original the word "fasaqa" means to come out. Here it means to come out with the intention of corruption. Hence a rat is called "fuwaysaqa" because it comes out of its hole to spread pollution. When dates appear in their bunch, it is said, "fasaqat al rutbatu." In Islamic terminology, "fasaqa" is to cross the boundaries of Islamic law, although verbally acknowledging the legitimacy of Islam. Further, the verse implies that if Allah is not pleased with certain people, for whatever reason, then anyone who is pleased with them would be considered a fasiq as well (Au.).

    الْأَعْرَابُ أَشَدُّ كُفْرًا وَنِفَاقًا وَأَجْدَرُ أَلَّا يَعْلَمُوا حُدُودَ مَا أَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ عَلَىٰ رَسُولِهِ ۗ وَاللَّهُ عَلِيمٌ حَكِيمٌ (97)

    9|97| The bedouin Arabs200 are severest in disbelief and hypocrisy201 and deserve not to know the bounds202 of what Allah has sent down on His Messenger.203 And Allah is All knowing, All wise.


    200. Imam Razi points out that the textual word "A`raab" is not the plural of `Arab; rather, it is the plural of A`raabiyy. Linguistically, A`raabiyy is someone who lives in the deserts. In contrast, those who live in the (Arabian) towns are called "`Arab", singular: "`Arabiyy" on the condition that they speak the Arabic language. Accordingly, Muhajirun and Ansar cannot be referred to as A`raab. In fact, even a bedouin is upset when addressed as an A`raabiyy, but pleased when called an `Arab. And, Arabic language of course, is the most eloquent of languages.
    Then, perhaps noting the complete decline (by his time) of the Arab contribution to science, arts, culture and civilization, he adds that he read somewhere the following: The wisdom of the Romans is in their brains, for the wonderful devices that they invent; the wisdom of the Indians is in their superstitious beliefs; the wisdom of the Greeks is in their hearts for all their intellectualization; and the wisdom of the Arabs is in their tongue for the sweetness of their words!
    201. With these words Allah warned the Prophet that (just as the city dwellers), the bedouin Arabs could also be divided into three categories: unbelievers, hypocrites and believers, probably meaning that political or economic reasons were not the only causes of hypocrisy and unbelief. The Prophet had to be warned that unbelief and hypocrisy of the bedouins was of the severest type, coming from a people coarse of manners, tough of bodies, and hard of hearts (Au.).
    202. The term "hudud" refers to the obligatory commands vis a vis the lawful and unlawful in Islam.
    203. Why should the bedouin Arabs be so described? It is because living away from the civilizing life of the cities, in the difficult climate of the deserts, more in the company of animals than mankind, exposed to extreme heat, cold, hunger, thirst and other hardships, they are rendered tough of body and coarse of mind and sentiment. In addition, they miss the company of the learned men. These factors made the quality of the bedouin hypocrisy so severe that it was best for them not to know the revelations of Allah. They would only apply the commandments to everyone's disadvantage. Hence we notice that the Prophet insisted that the Arabs of the outlying areas necessarily visit him after their Islam and spend some time in Madinan atmosphere (Au.).
    In the words of Asad: "Owing to their nomadic way of life and its inherent hardship and crudity, the bedouin find it more difficult than do settled people to be guided by ethical imperatives unconnected with their immediate tribal interests a difficulty which is still further enhanced by their physical distance from the centers of higher culture and, consequently, their comparative ignorance of many religious demands. It was for this reason that the Prophet often stressed the superiority of a settled mode of life to a nomadic one: cf. his saying, "He who dwells in the desert (al badiyah) becomes rough in indisposition", recorded by Tirmidhi, Abu Da'ud, Nasa'i and Ibn Hanbal on the authority of Ibn `Abbas, and a similar tradition on the authority of Abu Hurayrah, by Abu Da'ud and Bayhaqi."
    It is reported that Zayd b. Sawhan was talking to his students when a bedouin happened to drop by. Ibn Sawhan had lost a hand in the famous Nahawind battle. The bedouin remarked, "By Allah, your words sound beautiful but your hand renders me skeptic." Sawhan asked, "Why should my hand render you skeptic when it is the left hand?" The bedouin replied, "By God. I do not know whether they cut the left or the right hand (when one commits theft)." Zayd b. Sawhan said, "Allah spoke the truth when he said, ‘The bedouin Arabs are the severest in disbelief and hypocrisy and deserve that they remain ignorant of the bounds of what Allah has sent down to His Messenger'" (Ibn Jarir).
    The verse tells us by implication, how important it is to seek the company of scholars (Thanwi).
    Ibn Kathir adds: Accordingly, the Prophet has said in a hadith of Abu Da'ud, Tirmidhi and Nasa'i,


    مَنْ سَكَنَ الْبَادِيَةَ جَفَا وَمَنْ تَبِعَ الصَّيْدَ غَفَلَ وَمَنْ أَتَى السُّلْطَانَ افْتُتِنَ.


    "Whoever lived in the deserts suffered hardness of heart; whoever followed a game, became heedless; and whoever went to a ruler (seeking material help), faced a trial." (The hadith is sahih: S. Ibrahim).
    Accordingly Allah did not send a Messenger to the countryside as He said (12: 109):


    وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَا مِنْ قَبْلِكَ إِلَّا رِجَالًا نُوحِي إِلَيْهِمْ مِنْ أَهْلِ الْقُرَى [يوسف : 109]


    "And We did not raise a Messenger before you but men, and of the people of the cities sending messages to them." And hence too, when the Prophet was given a gift by a bedouin, he had to return in good measure before the man was happy. That led him to say,


    لَقَدْ هَمَمْتُ أَنْ لَا أَقْبَلَ هَدِيَّةً إِلَّا مِنْ قُرَشِيٍّ أَوْ أَنْصَارِيٍّ أَوْ ثَقَفِيٍّ أَوْ دَوْسِيٍّ


    "I intend not to accept a gift from anyone but a Qurashi, Thaqafi, Ansari or Dawsi."
    Those mentioned by him lived in the major towns of the time: Makkah, Ta'if, Madinah and Yemen, much softer of hearts when compared to the hard hearted bedouins. There is another report which confirms the hardened attitudes of the bedouins. It is in Muslim. It reports `A'isha as saying,


    قَدِمَ نَاسٌ مِنَ الأَعْرَابِ عَلَى رَسُولِ اللَّهِ -صلى الله عليه وسلم- فَقَالُوا أَتُقَبِّلُونَ صِبْيَانَكُمْ فَقَالُوا نَعَمْ. فَقَالُوا لَكِنَّا وَاللَّهِ مَا نُقَبِّلُ. فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ -صلى الله عليه وسلم- وَأَمْلِكُ إِنْ كَانَ اللَّهُ نَزَعَ مِنْكُمُ الرَّحْمَةَ


    "Some bedouins came into town. One of them asked while in the presence of the Prophet, ‘Do you kiss your children?' The people replied, ‘Yes, we do.' They said, ‘We never do.' The Prophet remarked, ‘Do I have any say if Allah has withdrawn kindness from your hearts?'"
    Alusi warns however, that one need not be swept into prejudice, for it is some of them that were so described by the Qur'an, not all. Ibn Sirin used to say therefore, that whoever reads this verse should also read the next one which speaks of the believing bedouins.

    وَمِنَ الْأَعْرَابِ مَنْ يَتَّخِذُ مَا يُنْفِقُ مَغْرَمًا وَيَتَرَبَّصُ بِكُمُ الدَّوَائِرَ ۚ عَلَيْهِمْ دَائِرَةُ السَّوْءِ ۗ وَاللَّهُ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ (98)

    9|98| Among the bedouin Arabs are those who treat what they expend as a penalty204 and await disasters for you. Upon them is an evil disaster. And Allah is All hearing, All knowing.


    204. Thanwi notes from Ruh that whoever thought himself as the owner of what he possesses will reckon giving away a little in the way of Allah as plenty.

    وَمِنَ الْأَعْرَابِ مَنْ يُؤْمِنُ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ وَيَتَّخِذُ مَا يُنْفِقُ قُرُبَاتٍ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ وَصَلَوَاتِ الرَّسُولِ ۚ أَلَا إِنَّهَا قُرْبَةٌ لَهُمْ ۚ سَيُدْخِلُهُمُ اللَّهُ فِي رَحْمَتِهِ ۗ إِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَحِيمٌ (99)

    9|99| On the other hand, among the bedouin Arabs there are some who believe in Allah and the Last Day and treat what they expend as (a means of) nearness to Allah and (for obtaining) supplications205 of the Messenger. Lo! For them it is a (means of) nearness (to Allah).206 Allah will surely admit them into His mercy. Surely, Allah is All forgiving, All merciful.


    205. The textual word is "salawat" plural of "salah" which has its root in "sala." In the noun-form "salah" means prayers and supplications. Here it means supplications (of forgiveness that the Prophet would make for them) Au.
    Rashid Rida comments: When Allah uses the word Salah for Himself, such as in verse 43 of surah Al Ahzab, then it means "to send mercy." When it is used for angels as in verse 56, or when used by the Prophet, as in this present verse and, when used by the believers for the Prophet, as again in verse 56, then it means "to supplicate" or "to seek forgiveness" from Allah.
    Alusi cautions that by common agreement the supplicatory words "Salat wa salam" may not be used for other than the Prophets. It would not be appropriate to say, for instance, "`Ali `alayhi al salam." Not that linguistically or religiously that's not allowable. But the understanding is that the honorific phrase is reserved for Prophets and Messengers; just as linguistically it will not be wrong to say, "Muhammad, `azza wa jalla," since, the Prophet was after all, the honored and exalted one; but, the words have been reserved for Allah `azza wa jalla.
    The above of course has to be observed when the phrase, either "salla Allah `alayhi" or "`alayhi al salam" is used for individuals other than Prophets and Messengers. When others of the lower order are included along with one of them, then there is no harm. In fact we say all the time: "Allah humma salli `ala Muhammad, wa `alaa alihi wa ashabihi ajma`in" (Au.).
    206. If these bedouin Arabs were different from other hypocritical Arabs, it was because having believed, they enjoyed access to the scholars and were able to get rid of the evil side of character (based on Thanwi).
    Shabbir notices the normally unnoticed. He writes: Glory to Allah. It is the same bedouin Arabs, who, (exposed to the difficult climate of the deserts, more in the company of animals than mankind, exposed to extreme heat, cold, hunger, thirst and other hardships: Au.), tough of body and coarse of heart, who did not deserve to know the revelation, were turned by the miraculous Qur'an and by the company of the Prophet, into such `arifin (as to earn Allah's praise).

    وَالسَّابِقُونَ الْأَوَّلُونَ مِنَ الْمُهَاجِرِينَ وَالْأَنْصَارِ وَالَّذِينَ اتَّبَعُوهُمْ بِإِحْسَانٍ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُمْ وَرَضُوا عَنْهُ وَأَعَدَّ لَهُمْ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي تَحْتَهَا الْأَنْهَارُ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا أَبَدًا ۚ ذَٰلِكَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِيمُ (100)

    9|100| As for the early outrunners of the Immigrants and Helpers207 and those who followed them in good stead,208 Allah is pleased with them and they are pleased with Him. He has prepared for them gardens underneath which rivers flow, abiding therein forever. That is the great triumph.209


    207. Who are the "early outstrippers" from among the large body of Emigrants and Helpers (seeing that migration continued till the fall of Makkah: Au.)? While Sha`bi and `Amir believed that it is those who preceded the Ridwan pledge (of the sixth Hijrah year), Abu Musa al Ash`ari, Sa`id b. al Musayyib and Qatadah were of the opinion that those are entitled to the honor who embraced Islam before the Qiblah was changed from Bayt al Maqdis to Ka`bah (in the second year after Hijrah). However, some others have said that all the Companions of the Prophet are included in this category (including those who committed some errors later, but not of course the hypocrites: Au.). [In which case the "min" of the text will be treated as "bayaniyyah" {explanatory}: Shafi` from Tafsir Maz hari].
    Humayd b. Ziyad's following story is quoted in support. He says he asked Ka`b al Qurazi (formerly a Jew: Au.), about the Companions, ‘I meant to know what to think of them in view of their quarrels among themselves after the Prophet.' Ka`b said, "Allah forgave their sins and promised them Paradise in His Book those who were exemplary as well as those who were not. Ibn Ziyad says, "I asked him, ‘Where did He promise them that?'" Ka`b replied, "Allah be glorified. Did he not say, ‘As for the early outrunners of the Migrants and the Helpers, and those who followed them in good stead, Allah is pleased with them and they are pleased with Him?' You can see that He promised His good pleasure and Paradise unto all of them and declared those who follow them as deserving of the same treatment, except for placing a condition." Ibn Ziyad asked, "What is that condition?" Ka`b replied, "It is expressed in the words, ‘And those who followed them in good stead.' That is, they should follow them in good deeds and not in those that are not of the same class." Ibn Ziyad said, "I felt as if I had never read the verse earlier" (Imam Razi).
    The subtle point that Ka`b brought out is that when Allah said, "And those who followed them in good stead," it meant that He was speaking of a group of people whose deeds were both good as well as otherwise. This meant that all of the Companions were included, including those who erred in some of their judgements later (Au.).
    Imam Razi adds that Abu Bakr is included by default. How could he be left out who was the first among men to embrace Islam, the first to have brought to the Prophet six new converts including such figures as Talha, Zubayr and `Uthman and the one who accompanied the Prophet in his hijrah journey. How could he be left out and, instead, cursed, as the Shi`ah do? Again, he was of those about whom Allah said that He was pleased with them. Now, if it is said that those who outstripped others in faith, with whom Allah was pleased, later became hypocrites, as the Shi`ah allege, then, the words of Allah should not have been unconditional; rather, the words should have been, "Allah is pleased with them, on condition that they do not change later."
    The following from Qurtubi should be of general interest:
    (a) There is a general agreement among the scholars that the best of the Companions were the four Khulafa` followed by the rest of the ten that were given the tidings of Paradise (`ashara mubashsharah: Abu Bakr, `Umar ibn al Khattab, `Uthman b. `Affan, `Ali ibn Abi Talib, Talha b. `Ubaydullah, Zubayr b. al `Awwam, `Abd al Rahman ibn `Awf, Sa`d b. Abi Waqqas and Sa`id b. Zayd).
    (b) After them, it were the Badri Companions, then those of Uhud and then
    (c) those who participated in the Ridwan pledge.
    (d) Of the Followers (Tabe`iyyun), the most virtuous was Sa`id b. al Musayyib, then `Alqamah, then Al Aswad.
    (e) Others who followed them are Qays, Abu `Uthman, Masruq, `Ata' and Hasan.
    (f) The best scholars among them were known as "the Seven Jurists of Madinah." They were, Sa`id b. al Musayyib, Qasim b. Muhammad, `Urwah ibn Zubayr, Kharijah b. Zayd, Abu Salamah b. `Abd al Rahman, `Abdullah b. `Utbah ibn Mas`ud and Sulayman b. Yasar.
    (g) Among the female Followers the best were Hafsa bint Sirin, `Umrah bint `Abd al Rahman and Umm Darda'.
    208. An interesting incident reveals how meticulously the Companions listened to every recitation of the Qur'an, and how meticulously it was preserved. Once `Umar heard someone recite this verse in the manner it is now in the Qur'an. He was surprised. He asked the man who had taught him to read it that way, because, `Umar had all along read that there was no "waw" (“and”) after the word Ansar. That meant, the verse was to be understood as: "As for the early outrunners of the Migrants and the Helpers who followed them in good stead," instead of the present day recitation: "As for the early outstrunners of the Migrants and the Helpers and those who followed them in good stead." (The introduction of a “waw” makes them three categories: Au.). The man named Ubayy b. Ka`b (the Ansari) as the one who had taught him that way. `Umar went up to Ubayy and asked him to explain. Ubayy told him, "That is how the Prophet taught me while you were away selling (bean) pods at Baqi`. `Umar said, "True. If you wished you could add, ‘We were present when you were away, helped him (the Messenger) when we abandoned him, and sheltered him when you expelled him’" (Zamakhshari).
    209. It is significant that when the Companions had to decide a starting date for the Islamic calendar, the choice fell on the event when the Hijra journey was undertaken, a turning point in the history of Islam, and an event by which the first batch of the Muhajirun and Ansar came together into a religion which has its strength in emigration by some, and help by others (Au.).

    وَمِمَّنْ حَوْلَكُمْ مِنَ الْأَعْرَابِ مُنَافِقُونَ ۖ وَمِنْ أَهْلِ الْمَدِينَةِ ۖ مَرَدُوا عَلَى النِّفَاقِ لَا تَعْلَمُهُمْ ۖ نَحْنُ نَعْلَمُهُمْ ۚ سَنُعَذِّبُهُمْ مَرَّتَيْنِ ثُمَّ يُرَدُّونَ إِلَىٰ عَذَابٍ عَظِيمٍ (101)

    9|101| And among those around you of the bedouin Arabs, (some) are hypocrites; as also (some) of the city dwellers. They are obstinate in hypocrisy.210 You do not know them.211 We know them.212 We shall punish them twice.213 Then they will be returned to a great chastisement.


    210. Rashid Rida points out that the worst of hypocrites in our own times are the Muslim ruling classes. They befriend the enemies of Islam and with their help enslave the Muslim masses. Some of them are in secret league with the enemies of Islam and co operate with them to ravage the Muslim lands. Where the Muslim masses are educated, these hypocrites deceive them and where they are not, they do not bother to conceal their intentions. The worst of such hypocrites are the rich and influential men who act against the interest of the Muslims, and the most harmful are those who pretend to be scholars while they are in the service of the rulers.
    211. That is, "O Prophet, you do not know all of them." So, the Prophet knew only some of them. Once when someone complained to him of an indecent remark he heard from another, the Prophet bent down to him and confided, "Some of those who (profess to) follow me are hypocrites." But he was not keen on knowing their identities. Ibn `Asakir has reported that a man called Harmalah went up to him and said, "Here pointing to his tongue is faith, but here pointing to his heart is hypocrisy, and it does not remember Allah but little." The Prophet supplicated for him to cure him of his hypocrisy. The man said, "Messenger of Allah. I used to be in the company of hypocrites. And I was their ring leader. Shall I expose them by bringing them to you? The Prophet replied, "Whoever comes to us (following his free will), we shall supplicate for him. As for those who turn away, Allah is their custodian. (As for you), never expose anyone's secrets to others." (Ibn Kathir).
    The authenticity of the hadith could not be traced (Au.).
    Qatadah has said: It is strange of the people that they say, so and so is in Paradise and so and so is in Hellfire, whereas, when they are asked about themselves, as to where they will be, they say they are not sure. How can they, being doubtful of themselves, although they know their own deeds better than those of others, judge the fate of others? They speak out on issues over which the Prophet stayed silent (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir).
    212. In this is an unequivocal denial of the Prophet's knowledge of the unknown and the unseen (Alusi, Thanwi).
    213. Opinions vary over which two punishments have been alluded to. A report coming from Ibn `Abbas and Abu Malik says that once the Prophet (saws) interrupted his sermon to say, "O so and so, get out. You are a hypocrite. O so and so, get out. You are a hypocrite." He expelled several of them from the mosque. As they were going out, they encountered `Umar coming in. He was late for the Friday prayer. And, seeing them leaving, he thought that the Prayer was over, and so, out of shame, he concealed himself from them and they concealed themselves from him because they did not wish him to know them as hypocrites. But when `Umar entered, he found that they had not done the Prayers yet. Someone told him, "Be of good cheer, `Umar. Allah exposed the hypocrites today." This was, Ibn `Abbas says, the first punishment. The second punishment will be in the grave. Others however have said that the reference is to the adversities of various kinds in this life, and torture in the grave respectively (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir).

    وَآخَرُونَ اعْتَرَفُوا بِذُنُوبِهِمْ خَلَطُوا عَمَلًا صَالِحًا وَآخَرَ سَيِّئًا عَسَى اللَّهُ أَنْ يَتُوبَ عَلَيْهِمْ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَحِيمٌ (102)

    9|102| Then there are others who confessed their sins, mixing good deeds with other evil ones.214 It may be that Allah will relent towards them;215 surely, Allah is All forgiving, All merciful.


    214. To whom is the allusion? A tradition originating with Ibn `Abbas says that there were ten Companions who did not join with the Prophet in the Tabuk campaign. When he came back, five to eight of them went to the Prophet's mosque and tied themselves to its columns, in shame and atonement. The Prophet enquired about them and was told who they were, and that they wished to be unbound by him. He said he was not going to do that until Allah accepted their excuse and sent down His pardon. They vowed that they would not untie themselves until Allah sent down His pardon. Finally, Allah sent this verse. Other versions add that when the pardon came down, Abu Lubaba (who was one of them) was so pleased that he went to the Prophet and said, "I think it is right that as a way of fulfilling my repentance I should move out of the place where I committed the sin and spend all my wealth in the way of Allah." The Prophet told him, "It would be enough if you spent one third" (Ibn Jarir).
    215. Qurtubi, Ibn Kathir and others explain that the verse is applicable to everyone who mixes up good deeds with evil ones. He quotes Bukhari who narrated the following hadith in explanation of the verse. The Prophet said,


    أَتَانِي اللَّيْلَةَ آتِيَانِ فَابْتَعَثَانِي فَانْتَهَيْنَا إِلَى مَدِينَةٍ مَبْنِيَّةٍ بِلَبِنِ ذَهَبٍ وَلَبِنِ فِضَّةٍ فَتَلَقَّانَا رِجَالٌ شَطْرٌ مِنْ خَلْقِهِمْ كَأَحْسَنِ مَا أَنْتَ رَاءٍ وَشَطْرٌ كَأَقْبَحِ مَا أَنْتَ رَاءٍ قَالَا لَهُمْ اذْهَبُوا فَقَعُوا فِي ذَلِكَ النَّهْرِ فَوَقَعُوا فِيهِ ثُمَّ رَجَعُوا إِلَيْنَا قَدْ ذَهَبَ ذَلِكَ السُّوءُ عَنْهُمْ فَصَارُوا فِي أَحْسَنِ صُورَةٍ قَالَا لِي هَذِهِ جَنَّةُ عَدْنٍ وَهَذَاكَ مَنْزِلُكَ قَالَا أَمَّا الْقَوْمُ الَّذِينَ كَانُوا شَطْرٌ مِنْهُمْ حَسَنٌ وَشَطْرٌ مِنْهُمْ قَبِيحٌ فَإِنَّهُمْ خَلَطُوا عَمَلًا صَالِحًا وَآخَرَ سَيِّئًا تَجَاوَزَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُمْ


    "Last night two incoming beings came to me. They took me to a city that was built with bricks, one of gold and the next of silver. There we came across men whose one half was the most beautiful ever seen, but the other, the worst spotted ever. The two (angels) told them, ‘Go to that stream and take a dip.' They did that and came back to us in a most beautiful form, all their ugliness gone. The two told me, ‘This is Paradise and this is your abode.' And then they added, ‘As for those you saw: one half beautiful, another half ugly, they were people who had adulterated their good deeds with evil ones. Allah forgave them.'"
    Some scholars have said that this verse holds out the most hope: "Then, there are others who admitted sins, adulterating good deeds with other evil ones .." to the end of the verse. Mutarraf is reported to have said, "When I lie down in my bed and think over the Qur'anic verses, I compare my deeds with the deeds of those who will be in Paradise. Their deeds were of a high order. Little did they sleep at night (51: 17). They spent their nights in prostrations and standing (25: 64). Is he then who spends the night in prostrations and standing [before his Lord equal to someone who does not] (39: 9). I do not find myself belonging to this group. Then I compare my deeds with those about whom the Qur'an said (74: 42), ‘What led you to Hell fire? They will say, "We were not of those who Prayed."' I do not find myself belonging to this group either. Then, as I search, I come across this verse, ‘Then, there are others who admitted sins, adulterating good deeds with other evil ones .." to the end of the verse. I hope," Mutarraf concluded, "myself and yourself, all of us belong to this group” (Alusi).

    خُذْ مِنْ أَمْوَالِهِمْ صَدَقَةً تُطَهِّرُهُمْ وَتُزَكِّيهِمْ بِهَا وَصَلِّ عَلَيْهِمْ ۖ إِنَّ صَلَاتَكَ سَكَنٌ لَهُمْ ۗ وَاللَّهُ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ (103)

    9|103| (So) accept from their wealth alms,216 cleansing and purifying them therewith.217 And supplicate for them. Surely, your supplication for them is a source of comfort for them. And Allah is All hearing, All knowing


    216. Ibn `Abbas, Zayd b. Aslam, Sa`id b. Jubayr and others have said that initially when Abu Lubaba and other true repentant men offered their wealth in charity, the Prophet said that he had not received any directive about it from Allah. So Allah revealed this verse. But Ibn Zayd has said that even those are included who suffered a strain of hypocrisy and so had remained behind without a good cause. Nevertheless, after the Prophet's return they expressed sincere regret and repented anew. Allah revealed this verse concerning them (Ibn Jarir).
    Asad points out that the reason why their charity was not accepted initially is that its acceptance implied that they were Muslims: then a matter of doubt because of their hypocritical behavior.
    217. Shabbir comments: Although they had repented sincerely, and were forgiven, meaning that they would not be questioned for that sin in the Hereafter, in this world, however, sins leave a mark on the sinner's soul. Zakah cleanses it.
    After the Prophet, his successors, or governments in place will collect the Zakah. Further, Zakah is not a tax. It is for purification of wealth, although it might help in solving economic problems of the poor. But that is secondary. Hence, in nations previous to Islam, Zakah was put to fire. If it was a tax, it would not have been burnt (Shafi`).
    (Shafi`’s allusion to the religious practice, as stated in the Torah, whereby the Israelites placed their alms. A fire appeared from the heaven and burnt it down – Au.).

    أَلَمْ يَعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّهَ هُوَ يَقْبَلُ التَّوْبَةَ عَنْ عِبَادِهِ وَيَأْخُذُ الصَّدَقَاتِ وَأَنَّ اللَّهَ هُوَ التَّوَّابُ الرَّحِيمُ (104)

    9|104| Have they not known that it is Allah who accepts repentance from His slaves, and accepts alms, and that Allah is the Oft turning, Most Kind?218


    218. This was to impress on the Companions that the Prophet had little to do in their affairs with Allah. It was Allah who accepted their repentance, or their alms (based on Ibn Jarir's note).

    وَقُلِ اعْمَلُوا فَسَيَرَى اللَّهُ عَمَلَكُمْ وَرَسُولُهُ وَالْمُؤْمِنُونَ ۖ وَسَتُرَدُّونَ إِلَىٰ عَالِمِ الْغَيْبِ وَالشَّهَادَةِ فَيُنَبِّئُكُمْ بِمَا كُنْتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَ (105)

    9|105| Tell them, ‘Keep working.' Allah, His Messenger and the believers will observe your deeds.219 And then you will be returned to the Knower of the Unseen and the Seen and He will let you know (the truth of) what you were doing.'220


    219. Although the reference is to the hypocrites, Ibn Kathir uses the occasion to draw attention to a hadith about deeds of the living brought to the notice of the dead believers. Jabir b. `Abdullah narrates in a report in Ahmad that the Prophet said,


    إِنَّ أَعْمَالَكُمْ تُعْرَضُ عَلَى أَقَارِبِكُمْ وَعَشَائِرِكُمْ مِنْ الْأَمْوَاتِ فَإِنْ كَانَ خَيْرًا اسْتَبْشَرُوا بِهِ وَإِنْ كَانَ غَيْرَ ذَلِكَ قَالُوا اللَّهُمَّ لَا تُمِتْهُمْ حَتَّى تَهْدِيَهُمْ كَمَا هَدَيْتَنَا


    "Your deeds are reported to your dead kinsfolk. If they are good, they rejoice. But if they are otherwise, they say, O Allah, do not deal them death until you have guided them as You guided us.'"
    The hadith was declared weak by Haythamiyy (Au.).
    220. In other words, mere words of repentance or feelings or remorse, were not sufficient. They had to be backed by deeds. And, although they would be judged by their deeds alone in this world, in the Hereafter sincerity would also count when they are presented to the Knower of the Unseen and the Seen who will let them know the truth of what they were doing (Au.).

    وَآخَرُونَ مُرْجَوْنَ لِأَمْرِ اللَّهِ إِمَّا يُعَذِّبُهُمْ وَإِمَّا يَتُوبُ عَلَيْهِمْ ۗ وَاللَّهُ عَلِيمٌ حَكِيمٌ (106)

    9|106| And those others who were held on hope (waiting) for Allah's decision, He might punish them or might relent towards them.221 Allah is All knowing, All wise.


    221. It was widely believed by the earliest scholars that the allusion is to Ka`b b. Malik, Hilal b. Umayyah and Murarah b. al Rabi`. These three did not bind themselves to the pillars in the mosque and did not seek to be excused. They knew that they had committed a wrong by not joining in the campaign and felt so dejected that they spoke nothing on the subject, not even to the Prophet. They knew that they had no case for themselves and so deserved to be punished and, therefore, moved about in fear and apprehension (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir).

    وَالَّذِينَ اتَّخَذُوا مَسْجِدًا ضِرَارًا وَكُفْرًا وَتَفْرِيقًا بَيْنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَإِرْصَادًا لِمَنْ حَارَبَ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ مِنْ قَبْلُ ۚ وَلَيَحْلِفُنَّ إِنْ أَرَدْنَا إِلَّا الْحُسْنَىٰ ۖ وَاللَّهُ يَشْهَدُ إِنَّهُمْ لَكَاذِبُونَ (107)

    9|107| As for those who established a mosque out of mischief and disbelief,222 to divide the believers223 and a place of ambush for him who warred against Allah and His Messenger aforetime224 .. they will surely swear, ‘We intended nothing but good.' Allah bears witness that they are liars.


    222. The following report has come from several sources. As the Prophet was preparing for Tabuk, a few people came to him and said, "Messenger of Allah, we have built a mosque in our neighborhood for the sick and the old and for nights of bad weather. We should like you to come and pray in it." The Prophet told them that he was busy with the Tabuk affair, but would, Allah willing, come and pray in it after the expedition. But, as he was an hour's journey or so during his return journey to Madinah, Allah revealed this verse to inform him that the mosque had been built by the hypocrites for nefarious purposes. The Prophet sent a few men to destroy it. (Wahshi the killer of Hamza at Badr was one of those sent: Zamakhshari, Qurtubi). They pulled it down and burnt it. According to some reports, the Prophet had even asked for his outer shawl to be brought to him so he could go to the new mosque when this verse was revealed (Ibn Jarir).
    Zamakhshari adds the warning note: It is said that any mosque that is built in competition, show off, or for reasons other than pleasing Allah, or out of unlawful income, is of the class as the original mosque of mischief. Accordingly, when large enemy territories fell to Islamic power during the time of `Umar, he ordered that mosques be built everywhere, but warned that no two mosque were to be in one locality in such a way that one affected (attendance of) the other.
    Qurtubi points out that this is the reason why some jurists have disallowed two congregations with two Imams in the same mosque. This breaks up the congregation into two.
    Asad adds: "Although the whole of this verse relates primarily to the historical occasion explained (above), it has a definite bearing on all attempts at creating sectarian divisions among the Muslims..."
    223. The newly built mosque was quite close to the Quba' mosque and the intention was to divide the Muslims congregation between the two mosques and cause division. It was so close that they promised that when it was not raining and the night clear, they would pray in the Quba' mosque itself (Ibn Jarir).
    224. The reference is to a man called Abu `Amir, the Khazraji, who had acquired knowledge of the Christian religion and was heavily influenced by it, if he had not converted to that religion for all intents and purposes.
    `Amir al-Rahib
    He was given to ascetic ways and was nick named "Al Rahib" (the Monk). When the Prophet arrived he decided to disbelieve and began to conspire against Islam. (When the Quraysh were defeated at Badr, he could not take it anymore. He told the Prophet, "So long as I find someone fighting you, I shall fight against you along with him," and migrated to Makkah.
    He was one of those who had instigated Makkan invasion in revenge of the defeat at Badr, resulting in the assault of Uhud. It was he who had dug a few pits in that battle field into one of which the Prophet fell and injured himself. He invited the Ansar to a duel but they refused to fight him and cursed him: Ibn Kathir). It was he who had worked to convince the Quraysh and other tribes to attack Madinah as one body rather than fight him singly, and had succeeded in bringing them together at the gates of Madinah in the 5th year after Hijrah for the famous Battle of the Ditch.
    Subsequently, with the failure of the invasions, and the expected fall of Makkah, he moved out to Syria to join with the Romans and seek their help in overthrowing the Prophet. He remained in constant correspondence with his followers at Madinah. Following a scheme hatched out in Syria, he wrote to his tribesmen, Banu Ghanam b. `Awf and other secret followers, to build a mosque which could be used as an assembly point for them and a shelter for him when he decided to return: a rallying place for all the disgruntled ones, if he prevailed upon the Romans to raid Madinah.
    It is said that it is his efforts that resulted in the Roman decision to take the first step toward uprooting the new political entity at Madinah by raising an army at Tabuk comprised mainly of the same class of men as Muslims: tough bedouins of the desert, so that steel could meet steel. When that scheme also failed, but instead, the Prophet surprised them by taking the initiative, which resulted in the dispersion of the bedouins off the area of recruitment, Abu `Amir remained with the Romans, kicking the bucket some time later. No wonder when somebody referred to the man as `Amir the Rahib (the Monk), the Prophet remarked, "Do not say ‘`Amir the Rahib,' rather, say ‘`Amir the Fasiq."'
    An interesting point about Abu `Amir is that he was the father of the famous Hanzala who was given a wash by the angels when he was martyred in the battle of Uhud because he was in an unclean state when he heard of the battle call, and rushed to join the ranks without taking a bath. A second interesting part of the man’s episode is that whatever Abu `Amir's companions experienced in the Roman lands, and, surely, it could not have been very salubrious, the result was that most of them changed their minds, returned to Madinah and embraced Islam at the Prophet's hand in earnest. Lastly, during one heated conversation with the Prophet, the man had lost his temper and had said, "May Allah cause the lying one between me and you to die as an outcast in a lonely state" (Au.).
    Ibn `Abbas has said that actually the man had conspired before he left, ordering his followers to construct a mosque and use it for concealing weapons until he came back with a Roman army to oust the Prophet. The Prophet had come to know of their construction and at one point had asked one of the hypocrites what they were up to. He was told, "We wish nothing but good." Others have added that the man first went to Makkah where he recruited a few others to his cause and traveled to Syria in their company seeking Roman help (Ibn Jarir).

    لَا تَقُمْ فِيهِ أَبَدًا ۚ لَمَسْجِدٌ أُسِّسَ عَلَى التَّقْوَىٰ مِنْ أَوَّلِ يَوْمٍ أَحَقُّ أَنْ تَقُومَ فِيهِ ۚ فِيهِ رِجَالٌ يُحِبُّونَ أَنْ يَتَطَهَّرُوا ۚ وَاللَّهُ يُحِبُّ الْمُطَّهِّرِينَ (108)

    9|108| Do not ever stand therein. Rather, a mosque that was established on piety225 from the first day is worthier that you stand therein. Therein are men who love to be cleansed. And Allah approves of those who seek to be cleansed.227


    Ibn Kathir reports that the smoke was noticed kept billowing out of the burnt mosque for several years.
    225. Opinions are divided over which mosque has been alluded to. The opinion of Ibn `Umar, Zayd b. Thabit, Abu Sa`id, and Sa`id b. al Musayyib is that it is the Prophet's mosque: the Masjid al Nabi. In fact, Abu Sa`id al Khudri even narrated from the Prophet that it was his mosque that was "built on piety." (The narration is in Muslim: Ibn Kathir). But Ibn `Abbas and `Urwa ibn Zubayr held the opinion that it was the mosque at Quba' that was alluded to in this verse. Al `Awfa too narrated that he heard the Prophet say that it was the mosque at Quba' that is the one "built on piety" (Ibn Jarir, Qurtubi and others).
    Ibn Kathir points out that there is no reason why both the mosques should not be the mosque "built on piety," for both the mosques were built on piety from day one. The Prophet visited the Quba' mosque every now and then, both on mount as well as on foot and said in a hadith preserved by Ibn Majah,


    صَلاَةٌ فِى مَسْجِدِ قُبَاءٍ كَعُمْرَةٍ


    "Prayer in the Quba' mosque is equal to an `Umrah."
    There has been no consensus over trustworthiness of this hadith. Hakim declared it Sahih. But Tirmidhi himself, who placed it in his compilation, declared it weak; but Ibn Kathir said it is Sahih (Au.).
    226. Over half a dozen narrators have reported that when this verse was revealed the Prophet asked the people of Quba', "What is it you do that Allah said about you, ‘in it are people who liked to be cleansed.'" They replied, "We always use water after the nature's call (as against many others in those times who used stones or mud balls to cleanse themselves: Au.)" Ibn Jarir.
    One version of the above report is in the Sahih of Ibn Khuzaymah. And some versions say that the people of Quba' had picked up the practice from the Jews (Ibn Kathir).
    Rashid Rida thinks however that the allusion is to the acts of devotion, Prayers and remembrance of Allah morning and evening that evoked the remark.
    227. Ibn Kathir comments: Staying clean and pure is a habit that has Allah's approval. It is reported in a hadith of Ahmad that once the Prophet recited surah al Rum but committed an error in the recitations. When he was finished he said,


    إنه يلبس علينا القرآن إن أقواماً منكم يصلون معنا لا يحسنون الوضوء, فمن شهد الصلاة معنا فليحسن الوضوء


    "We get confused over the Qur'an. Among you are men who do not perform their ablution well. Let him who comes here for Prayers do his ablution well."
    Shu`ayb Arna’ut thought the report is weak.

    أَفَمَنْ أَسَّسَ بُنْيَانَهُ عَلَىٰ تَقْوَىٰ مِنَ اللَّهِ وَرِضْوَانٍ خَيْرٌ أَمْ مَنْ أَسَّسَ بُنْيَانَهُ عَلَىٰ شَفَا جُرُفٍ هَارٍ فَانْهَارَ بِهِ فِي نَارِ جَهَنَّمَ ۗ وَاللَّهُ لَا يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الظَّالِمِينَ (109)

    9|109| Is he then, who laid the foundation of his house on Allah's fear and (His) good pleasure, better, or he who laid the foundation of his house on the edge of a cliff,228 ready to crumble? So it crumbled along with him into the Fire of Hell? And, surely, Allah does not guide a transgressing folk.


    228. What has been rendered as "cliff" has in its original the word "juruf" which is used for the bank of a river the underside of which has been eroded of its sand (Au.).

    لَا يَزَالُ بُنْيَانُهُمُ الَّذِي بَنَوْا رِيبَةً فِي قُلُوبِهِمْ إِلَّا أَنْ تَقَطَّعَ قُلُوبُهُمْ ۗ وَاللَّهُ عَلِيمٌ حَكِيمٌ (110)

    9|110| The structure that they constructed will remain a (source of) doubt within their hearts unless their hearts are cut to pieces.229 And Allah is All knowing, All wise.


    229. Zamakhshari explains that since the mosque was built with mischievous intentions, the destruction left a deep mark of anger, disappointment, and regret in the hearts of those who had built it. That caused an increase in their hypocrisy and in doubts. Hence Allah's words, "The structure that they constructed will remain a (source of) doubt in their hearts until their hearts are cut to pieces."

    إِنَّ اللَّهَ اشْتَرَىٰ مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ أَنْفُسَهُمْ وَأَمْوَالَهُمْ بِأَنَّ لَهُمُ الْجَنَّةَ ۚ يُقَاتِلُونَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ فَيَقْتُلُونَ وَيُقْتَلُونَ ۖ وَعْدًا عَلَيْهِ حَقًّا فِي التَّوْرَاةِ وَالْإِنْجِيلِ وَالْقُرْآنِ ۚ وَمَنْ أَوْفَىٰ بِعَهْدِهِ مِنَ اللَّهِ ۚ فَاسْتَبْشِرُوا بِبَيْعِكُمُ الَّذِي بَايَعْتُمْ بِهِ ۚ وَذَٰلِكَ هُوَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِيمُ (111)

    9|111| Behold, Allah has purchased from the believers their lives and their possessions (in exchange) for that there is for them Paradise;230 they fight in the cause of Allah,231 slay, and are slain a true promise binding on Him in the Tawrah, the Injil and the Qur'an. And who could be more faithful to his promise than Allah? Rejoice then in the deal that you have struck with Him.' That indeed is the supreme triumph.


    230. It is reported as context of revelation that `Abdullah ibn Rawaha said to the Prophet (on the occasion of the second `Aqabah pledge: Qurtubi, Ibn Kathir), “Set your terms.” He replied, “My terms with respect to my Lord is that you shall worship Him and not associate partners with him. As far as I am concerned, my terms are that you will shield me against what you shield your lives and properties.” They asked him, “What do we get if we did that?” He replied, “Paradise.” They said, “That's a good bargain.” And Allah revealed this verse (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir, Shawkani).
    Sayyid Ibrahim adds that the report about `Abdullah ibn Rawaha is weak. But, there are other reports, as presented by Shawkani, of similar content that confirm its authenticity (Au.).
    When they said that a certain incident was the cause of revelation of a verse, what the earliest scholars meant is that the particular incident could be related to that verse and explained in its light; although it may happen that the verse in question would have been revealed several years earlier, or even later. In this case also, the event of the pledge at `Aqabah was applicable to this verse although it was revealed a decade after the event. Obviously, it sustains its general meaning and application (Au.).
    Commenting on the importance of Jihad, evident from this verse, Ibn Kathir ends by saying: Hence we have a hadith in the Sahihayn which says,

     

    تَضَمَّنَ اللَّهُ لِمَنْ خَرَجَ فِى سَبِيلِهِ لاَ يُخْرِجُهُ إِلاَّ جِهَادًا فِى سَبِيلِى وَإِيمَانًا بِى وَتَصْدِيقًا بِرُسُلِى فَهُوَ عَلَىَّ ضَامِنٌ أَنْ أُدْخِلَهُ الْجَنَّةَ أَوْ أَرْجِعَهُ إِلَى مَسْكَنِهِ الَّذِى خَرَجَ مِنْهُ نَائِلاً مَا نَالَ مِنْ أَجْرٍ أَوْ غَنِيمَةٍ


    “Allah has guaranteed that whoever started off in His cause, ‘to which nothing prompted him but Jihad in My cause and belief in My Messenger,' then it is under My assurance that I should admit him to Paradise or return him to his home from which he started, having either gained reward or booty.”
    Hasan al Busri has remarked that Allah entered into a deal with the believers, offering them Paradise, but setting a high price.
    Mawdudi comments: "... it is evident that God is the Owner of all that man has his life, his wealth, his everything for He is the Creator of man as well as of all his possessions. Viewed from this angle, any transaction of sale and purchase between man and God is, strictly speaking, out of the question. For man does not possess anything of his own which he might sell. Nor is there anything which God does not own and which would necessitate purchase on His part. Nonetheless, God has bestowed upon man free will and freedom of choice and this is the basis of the transaction mentioned above..."
    Further down, he writes, "... Paradise is not given for merely professing that one has sold one's life and possessions to God. Rather it is a reward granted to him who abstains from using his life and wealth as though he has the right to use them as he pleases. Thus, the transaction will mature only when the life of man the seller will come to an end and it is proved that he did truly abide by the terms of the transaction he had made with God. Then, but not before, can it be decided how he should be recompensed.
    "It will be illuminating to look at this matter by reference to its circumstantial context in the Qur'an. It occurs in connection with those who claimed to be believers and yet had not lived up to that claim. When put to test, they preferred not to sacrifice their time, wealth, material interests and lives for the sake of God and His religion. They were either lazy, insincere or downright hypocritical. The attitude demonstrated by these groups of people was subjected to a severe reproach in the Qur'an, and the people themselves were told unequivocally that faith does not consist of a mere verbal affirmation of God's existence and unity. True profession of faith rather amounts to affirming that one's life and wealth all belong to God alone. If some people do not sacrifice their lives and wealth in compliance with God's command and use those possessions in opposition to the Will of God, their profession of faith is blatantly false."
    231. If it is asked, how does the deal become effective so that the believers can be said to have paid out, the answer is, "They fight in the cause of Allah" (Shawkani with some modification).
    In other words, Alusi explains, if it is asked, how do the believers pay out their lives and properties, the answer is, by fighting in the cause of Allah. And hence the Prophet has said,


    الْجَنَّةَ تَحْتَ ظِلاَلِ السُّيُوفِ


    "Paradise is under the shade of the swords."

    التَّائِبُونَ الْعَابِدُونَ الْحَامِدُونَ السَّائِحُونَ الرَّاكِعُونَ السَّاجِدُونَ الْآمِرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَالنَّاهُونَ عَنِ الْمُنْكَرِ وَالْحَافِظُونَ لِحُدُودِ اللَّهِ ۗ وَبَشِّرِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ (112)

    9|112| (Those who) repent,232 the devoted, those who praise (Him), who fast,233 bow down (to Him), prostrate themselves, those who enjoin virtue and forbid vice,234 and those who observe the bounds of Allah;235 and give (O Prophet) glad tidings to the believers.236


    232. These are the qualities of the believers spoken of at the end of the previous verse (Shawkani).
    In the light of the general meaning of the word ‘taba' being ‘to return to', Ibn Jarir explains it here as those who `return' from acts of Allah's disapproval towards those that win His good pleasure: in common terms, those who repent. Hasan al Busri emphasized however that the allusion is to give up association with Allah and hypocrisy. Rashid Rida points out that there is no need to restrict the meaning: it is applicable to the polytheists who repent Association, to the hypocrites who embrace Islam sincerely, to the sinning believers who repent their sins, and even to those who had stayed behind at the time of Tabuk expedition. All of them could return to Allah, which is the literal meaning of the term ‘ta'ib.'
    233. Abu Hurayrah reports a hadith which says that by the term “sa'ihun” the allusion is to those who fast (Ibn Jarir). Ibn Kathir however believes this is Abu Hurayrah's personal opinion. Sa`id b. Jubayr, `Ata, Dahhak and others have held the same opinion. At another place the Qur'an has used the same term in the sense of those who fast. It is in surah Tahrim, verse 5, where it described believing women as:


    عَابِدَاتٍ سَائِحَاتٍ [التحريم : 5]


    “The devoted women, those who fast ..”
    Other explanations are: i) those who travel for knowledge and, 2) the Mujahidin, in the light of the following hadith.


    يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ ائْذَنْ لِى فِى السِّيَاحَةِ فَقَالَ :« إِنَّ سِيَاحَةَ أُمَّتِى الْجِهَادُ فِى سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ


    A man sought the Prophet's leave to lead the life of a hermit. The Prophet replied, “Jihad in Allah’s cause is my Ummah's asceticism” (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir, Shawkani).
    Rashid Rida points out that Imam Ghazali has an incomparably beautiful article on this topic in his epic work Ihya al `Ulum al Din under the chapter Travels.
    234. Hasan al Busri has said that a man cannot be counted as one enjoining virtue until he himself lives by what he enjoins and cannot be counted as one forbidding vices until he himself gives them up (Ibn Jarir).
    What he meant perhaps is that a non practicing man should also practice what he preaches; and not that he should give up enjoining or forbidding altogether because he cannot practice (Au.).
    235. Allah's bounds are those acts that have a commandment or a prohibition behind them (Ibn Jarir). In simpler words, the obligations and the forbidden (Au.).
    236. Ibn `Abbas has said that the preceding qualities are a condition that Allah has placed on those who fight in His cause. They ought to be endowed with these qualities (Shawkani). But some others are of the opinion that the qualities mentioned in the verse are of those who cannot (because of a good reason) participate in a Jihad (Qurtubi). That is, if they do not participate in a Jihad, they do not sit back in relaxation. Rather, they are such as to turn to Allah, pray a lot, fast, etc. (Au.).

    مَا كَانَ لِلنَّبِيِّ وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَنْ يَسْتَغْفِرُوا لِلْمُشْرِكِينَ وَلَوْ كَانُوا أُولِي قُرْبَىٰ مِنْ بَعْدِ مَا تَبَيَّنَ لَهُمْ أَنَّهُمْ أَصْحَابُ الْجَحِيمِ (113)

    9|113| It was not (proper) for the Prophet and the faithful to seek pardon for the polytheists,237 even if they were near of kin, after it became clear to them that they are companions of the Fire.238


    237. Although opinions vary as to the exact cause of revelation of this verse, the weighty opinion is that it was revealed when the Prophet (saws) wished to supplicate forgiveness for his mother. Once he visited his mother's grave


    إني استأذنت ربي في زيارة قبر أمي فأذن لي واستأذنته في الاستغفار لها فلم يأذن لي" فما رئي باكياً أكثر من يومئذ


    “He said, ‘I sought my Lord's leave to visit my mother's grave and He allowed me. I also sought His leave to pray for her forgiveness but He refused me that.’” And he was not seen crying as much as he did that day.
    Once when a Muslim's Jewish father died, the son did not participate in his funeral ceremony. Ibn `Abbas commented that he could have participated in the services without seeking Allah's forgiveness for him.
    Another cause of revelation cited in connection with this verse is that once `Ali ibn abu Talib heard a man say, “O Allah forgive my parents.” He asked him, “Do you seek forgiveness for those who died in pre-Islamic times?” The man replied, “Why not, when Ibrahim sought forgiveness for his parents?” `Ali reported it to the Prophet and this verse was revealed (Ibn Jarir, Qurtubi, Ibn Kathir). `Ali's report is in Ahmad, Tirmidhi, Ibn Abi Hatim and many others, with Hakim declaring it trustworthy (Shawkani).
    238. Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid and others have explained that by the words, “after it had become clear to them,” the allusion is to their death. In other words, once a man has died on polytheism, it is confirmed that he is Allah's enemy and that he will enter Hell fire. His forgiveness could be sought so long as he was alive. But once dead, forgiveness for him cannot be sought (Ibn Jarir).

    وَمَا كَانَ اسْتِغْفَارُ إِبْرَاهِيمَ لِأَبِيهِ إِلَّا عَنْ مَوْعِدَةٍ وَعَدَهَا إِيَّاهُ فَلَمَّا تَبَيَّنَ لَهُ أَنَّهُ عَدُوٌّ لِلَّهِ تَبَرَّأَ مِنْهُ ۚ إِنَّ إِبْرَاهِيمَ لَأَوَّاهٌ حَلِيمٌ (114)

    9|114| Ibrahim’s prayer of forgiveness for his father was not except because of a promise he had made him. Nevertheless, when it became apparent to him that he was an enemy to Allah, he disavowed him. Indeed Ibrahim (was of) a pleading (nature),239 much forbearing.


    239. The translation follows the explanation offered by the Prophet to the term “awwah” as in Ibn Kathir. Another explanation is that the allusion is to the suppliant. Another opinion, being that of Ibn `Abbas, `Ata, `Ikrimah and others, is that the allusion is to a firm believer. ‘A man of understanding,’ ‘someone fearful of Allah,’ are other explanations that have also been offered (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir).
    Mawdudi comments: “The word awwah used in respect of Abraham in the above verse denotes a tender hearted, lamenting, tearful and wistful person. The other word which has been used here halim denotes someone who can keep control over himself, who does not lose control of himself in anger, hostility and opposition.

    وَمَا كَانَ اللَّهُ لِيُضِلَّ قَوْمًا بَعْدَ إِذْ هَدَاهُمْ حَتَّىٰ يُبَيِّنَ لَهُمْ مَا يَتَّقُونَ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمٌ (115)

    9|115| And, it is not for Allah to misguide a people after He has guided them until He has made clear to them what they should avoid.240 Verily, Allah is Knowing of all things.


    240. The meaning seems to be that those who died on unbelief and whose forgiveness is forbidden to ask, were not led into error by Allah. He made His message clear to them, and they made their choice. However, Mujahid's interpretation as in Tabari is that the reference is to the believers. They have been warned not to seek forgiveness for the pagans. It is up to them now to comply or not to comply.
    But, obviously, the verse can be understood differently also. Rashid Rida picks up a report from Ibn al-Mundhir that `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud used to conduct classes for his students every Thursday evening. He would always end up by saying, “Whoever of you wishes to become a scholar or a student, may make an intention to that effect. Let him not intend anything else. For, the scholar and the student are equal in rewards. People, I am not afraid that you will be taken to task for what has not been made clear to you since Allah has said: ‘It is not for Allah to misguide a people after He has guided them until He has made clear to them what they should avoid.' And, (as you know) He has made clear to you what you should avoid.” And, Rashid Rida continues, one of the off shoots of the meaning offered by the verse is that when one comes across a verse which carries a somewhat ambiguous commandment, but one's own mind is inclined to a meaning that is certain to him, then, he ought to act by the meaning that is certain to him. (Unless, of course, the scholars have explained differently, in which case, the meaning offered by the scholars has to be accepted as the intended meaning: Au.).

    إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَهُ مُلْكُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ ۖ يُحْيِي وَيُمِيتُ ۚ وَمَا لَكُمْ مِنْ دُونِ اللَّهِ مِنْ وَلِيٍّ وَلَا نَصِيرٍ (116)

    9|116| Verily, Allah's is the kingdom of the heavens and the earth. He grants life and deals death;241 and there is not for you, besides Allah, either a protector or a helper.


    241. Attention is drawn to one of the qualities of the believers: they fight in the cause of Allah. Why should they not when Allah gives life and deals death? (Ibn Jarir).

    لَقَدْ تَابَ اللَّهُ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ وَالْمُهَاجِرِينَ وَالْأَنْصَارِ الَّذِينَ اتَّبَعُوهُ فِي سَاعَةِ الْعُسْرَةِ مِنْ بَعْدِ مَا كَادَ يَزِيغُ قُلُوبُ فَرِيقٍ مِنْهُمْ ثُمَّ تَابَ عَلَيْهِمْ ۚ إِنَّهُ بِهِمْ رَءُوفٌ رَحِيمٌ (117)

    9|117| Surely, Allah turned (in mercy)242 to the Prophet, the Immigrants, the Helpers - those who helped him in the hour of difficulty,243 after the hearts of some of them had wellnigh swerved.244 Then He turned to them (in mercy); surely, He was Kind and Merciful to them.245


    242. When the word “taba,” which literally means to turn to, is used for Allah in reference to His slaves, it has two connotations: (a) His turning in mercy and (b) His inducement to repentance (Manar).
    “Relenting” expresses another aspect of the meaning, but, by itself it is a weak word and does not carry the full connotation. However, sometimes it fits into the translation better (Au.).
    243. The reference is to the difficult expedition of Tabuk when the Muslims were short of water, food and beasts of ride. When `Umar was asked about the “hour of difficulty,” he explained, “We started off with the Prophet at a time when the weather was intensively hot. On the way, we encountered extreme thirst to the extent that we though our necks would sever off our heads. A man would scout around for water but find none. It came to such a pass that a man was forced to slaughter his camel. He would squeeze its intestine and drink what it would yield of water, and then place the intestines on his breast for cooling himself. Abu Bakr suggested to the Prophet, ‘Messenger of Allah. Allah answers your prayers. Why should you not pray for us?' He asked, ‘Do you wish me do that?' Abu Bakr said, ‘Yes.' So he raised his hands and prayed until the rain began falling, for everyone to fill his vessels. Then, as we started off, we discovered that outside the camp it had not rained at all” (Ibn Jarir, Qurtubi, Ibn Kathir).
    This report is found in several works, with Hakim declaring it sahih (Shawkani).
    244. The reference is to those who, unable to bear the hardships of the journey, intended to fall back, but did not (Alusi).
    245. The original terms are “Al-ra'fa and Arahmah.” The first has the connotation of kindness towards the weak, whereas the latter is general in application (Manar).

    وَعَلَى الثَّلَاثَةِ الَّذِينَ خُلِّفُوا حَتَّىٰ إِذَا ضَاقَتْ عَلَيْهِمُ الْأَرْضُ بِمَا رَحُبَتْ وَضَاقَتْ عَلَيْهِمْ أَنْفُسُهُمْ وَظَنُّوا أَنْ لَا مَلْجَأَ مِنَ اللَّهِ إِلَّا إِلَيْهِ ثُمَّ تَابَ عَلَيْهِمْ لِيَتُوبُوا ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ هُوَ التَّوَّابُ الرَّحِيمُ (118)

    9|118| And (He turned in mercy too) towards those three246 who were kept waiting (to be judged)247 until, when the earth for all its vastness became (too) narrow for them and their own souls became constricted,248 and they knew that there was no refuge from Allah but in Him. Then He turned to them (in mercy) so that they may repent. Verily, Allah is Oft turning, Most Merciful.249


    246. They were Ka`b b. Malik, Hilal b. Umayyah and Murarah b. Rabi`ah, all from the Ansar (Ibn Jarir).
    Shabbir wrote under an earlier verse: All in all, there were three kinds of people who stayed away from the Tabuk expedition.
    (i) The hypocrites who offered false excuses when the Prophet returned to Madinah;
    (ii) those who bound themselves to the pillars of the Prophet's mosque, spoken of in verse 106; and
    (iii) those who neither offered false excuses nor tied themselves to the pillars of the Prophet's mosque.
    247. The opinion of most early commentators is that the allusion is to the three named above, who stayed back from the Tabuk expedition, who repented, but whose repentance was not accepted, rather they were kept waiting (Ibn Jarir).
    248. When Abu Bakr al Warraq was asked about what constituted “Tawbatun Nasuh?” He replied that when the earth, despite all its vastness, becomes narrow to the repentant, and his own soul feels constricted like that of Ka`b b. Malik, then that is Tawbatun Nasuh (Alusi).
    249. The following narration of Ka`b himself is a widely reported story (Ibn Jarir), as found in Bukhari, Muslim and Ahmad (Qurtubi, Ibn Kathir).
    The following is primarily based on Ibn Is haq's version as translated by Alfred Guillaume.
    The Story of the Deferred Three
    `Abdullah b. Ka`b, one of the sons of Ka`b who used to be his guide when Ka`b had gone blind, said that Ka`b b. Malik said, “I had never held back from any expedition that the Prophet undertook except that of Tabuk. Of course I was absent from that of Badr also, but nobody was censured for having remained behind then because the Prophet had gone out chasing the (trade) caravan. It was only coincidence that had brought him and the Quraysh face to face at Badr. I was present with the Prophet at `Aqabah when we pledged faith in Islam, and I would not have preferred to be at Badr, rather than at `Aqabah although the battle of Badr is more famous. The fact was that when I stayed behind in the expedition of Tabuk, I had never been stronger and wealthier. By Allah, I never possessed two mounts as I had at the time of the expedition.
    “The Prophet started off at the time of intense heat. He was aware of a long journey to face a powerful enemy. He made clear the difficulties to the Muslims and told them of his destination so that they might prepare themselves well. And the Muslims too who accompanied him were many, beyond the record of registers so that, if someone stayed back, nobody could notice, unless Allah revealed concerning him. Also, the Prophet started on that expedition at a time when the fruits were ripe on the trees, and the shades under the trees enticing.
    “Anyway, the Prophet prepared himself, and so did the Muslims. As for me, I would want to prepare myself, but do nothing about it. Next day I would again wish to prepare myself but do nothing about it. Finally, they all left while I kept procrastinating. Then I thought I would catch up a day or two later, but I did not. I wish I had. But it was not destined that I should.
    “After the Prophet had gone, I would go out and it would pain me to see that no one was left but he who had a mark of hypocrisy on his face or someone whom Allah had excused because of women to look after. The Prophet did not mention me until he had reached Tabuk. As he was sitting with some people, he asked, ‘What happened to Ka`b b. Malik?’ One of the Banu Salamah said, ‘He was prevented by his fine clothing and the conceit of his appearance. The Prophet remained silent.
    “While he was in that state he noticed a man in a white cloak emerging out of the mirage. The Prophet remarked, ‘Be he Abu Khaythumah.’ He happened to be Abu Khaythumah of the Ansar. He was the one who had given a bunch of dates in charity which the hypocrites had belittled.
    “When I learnt that the Prophet was returning from Tabuk, I was overtaken by various thoughts and began to consider lying to him to escape his anger and get my home folk to support me in that. Nevertheless, when I heard that the Prophet was near at hand, falsehood left me and I knew that I could only escape by speaking the truth.
    “Now, whenever the Prophet returned from an expedition, he would first enter the mosque, do two rak`ah of Prayers and then sit down to receive the people. Those who had stayed behind began coming in seeking to be excused swearing falsely. They were some eighty men. The Prophet accepted their declarations and oaths and asked Allah's forgiveness, leaving their hidden motives to Allah, until I went in. When I greeted him, he smiled the smile of an angry man. Then he said, ‘Get closer.’ I went up to him and sat down right in front of him. He asked, ‘What held you back? Had you not bought your mount?’ I said, ‘Allah’s Messenger. By Allah, if someone else of the people were to be sitting before me, I could count on escaping his anger with an excuse, and I am astute in argument. But, by Allah, you know that if I spoke out a lie today that would satisfy you, but it is possible that Allah will invoke in you anger against me. In contrast, if I spoke the truth, you might be displeased, but Allah might forgive me. By Allah, I had no excuse. I was never stronger and in easier circumstances than at the time I stayed behind.’ The Prophet remarked, ‘As for this man, he has spoken the truth. Now, get up until Allah decides about you.’ So I got up.
    “Some of Banu Salamah men followed me in annoyance. They said, ‘We have not known you having committed a wrong earlier. Could you not have sought excuse like so many others who stayed behind did? The Prophet's supplication for your forgiveness would have been sufficient for you.’ They kept pressing until I was about to go back to the Prophet and give the lie to myself. Then I asked them if there was anyone else who was in the same state. They said, ‘Yes. Two more men have also admitted to what you admitted and they too have been given the same reply.’ I asked them who they were. They named me persons who had participated in the Battle of Badr. So, I decided I would rather do nothing.
    “The Prophet forbade anyone to speak to the three of us, so people avoided us and showed demeanor that changed the world around me completely. We endured this for fifty nights. As for my companions, they felt humiliated and stayed at home. But I was younger and hardier and used to go about, attend to Prayers with the Muslims, and go around the markets. But no one spoke to me. I would go to the Messenger, greet him while he sat with the people after the Prayers, asking myself if his lips moved in reply or not. Then I would pray near him and steal a look. I found that when I was engaged in my Prayers, he would look at me but when I paid him attention, he would turn away.
    When the hardship from the Muslims became long for me, I went and climbed Abu Qatadah's wall. He was my cousin and the dearest of men to me. I saluted him. By Allah, he did not return my greeting. I said, ‘O Abu Qatadah. I adjure you, do you not know that I love Allah and his Messenger?’ He said not a word in reply. I adjured him again and repeated my question. He again remained silent. Once again I adjured him. He only said, ‘Allah and His Messenger know best.’ My eyes were filled with tears. I climbed down the wall and returned.
    “Then, as I was walking through the Madinan market a Nabti from the Syrian region who had come to town to sell food was asking, ‘Can someone lead me to Ka`b b. Malik. The people guided him to me. He handed over a letter from the ruler of Ghassan, and I knew how to read and write. It said, ‘We hear that your companion (meaning Muhammad) has treated you badly. God has not meant you to be humiliated and lost. Come and join us. We will treat you most fairly.’ I told myself that this too was a trial from Allah. I threw the letter into the oven.
    “Thus went on forty of the fifty nights when a messenger of the Messenger of Allah arrived to say that I was to separate from my wife. I asked if I was to divorce her? He said, ‘No. But do not go near her.’ The other two were also sent similar orders. I told my wife, ‘Go and live with your family until Allah sends His command.’ But Hilal's wife went to the Prophet and told him that he was an old man, lost without a servant, was there any objection to her staying with him? He said, ‘No. But do not go near him.’ She said, ‘By God, he made no movement towards me. In fact, he has been crying all the time.’ Some people suggested to me that I too should seek from the Prophet that my wife remain with me. I said I was not going to ask him that, not knowing what would he say to me. After all, I am a young man.
    “Ten more nights passed over us to make it fifty.” (According to some reports Ka`b said that what he feared most was that either he should die in that state, unforgiven, or the Prophet should die, in which event his case would remain undecided forever. The people would not ever pray for him Alusi).
    Ka`b continued, “One morning I did my Fajr Prayers on top of one of our (tribal) houses. Then, as I sat there very much in the state which Allah had described as the earth having become narrow despite all its vastness when I suddenly heard the voice of a crier coming over the mountain saying, ‘Good news, Ka`b b. Malik.’ I fell into prostration knowing that the relief had come.
    (According to a report in Bukhari, Umm Salamah was very kind to say some words of recommendation to the Prophet, assuring him that this was a good man. The Prophet was in her house when the revelation about the acceptance of repentance came. It was the early part of the night. Umm Salamah asked him if she should announce the acceptance of revelation to the people. The Prophet told her, ‘Do not. The people will start milling around in celebration and will not let us get any sleep this night’ Alusi).
    “The Prophet announced the acceptance of repentance of we three in the morning Prayers. People started pouring out to convey the good news. Some people went to the other two to announce the good news while a horseman galloped off to me. And a runner from Banu Salamah ran up towards me until he reached the mountain. His voice was faster than the horse. Then, as the crier announcing the good news appeared, I took off my clothes and gave them to him in jubilance. By Allah, I did not have clothes other than them. (That is, good quality outer garments: Au.). I borrowed two pieces of clothes and set off for the Prophet. On the way, streams of people met me to congratulate me on the acceptance of my repentance. I entered the mosque. The Prophet was sitting there with people around him. Talha b. `Ubaydullah got up and hurried towards me to congratulate me. No one else of the immigrants rose up for me except him. (Ka`b never forgot that good gesture). I saluted the Prophet. His face was shining with happiness. He said, ‘Good news of a day better than which has never passed over you from the day your mother gave birth to you.’ I asked, ‘Is the pardon from you O Messenger of Allah, or from Allah?’ He replied, ‘Rather, from Allah.’ We knew that when the Prophet was happy, his face shone like the moon.
    “When I sat down before him I said, ‘As an act of penitence I should offer all my wealth as charity to Allah and His Messenger.' He said, ‘Hold back some of your wealth with you. That's better for you.' I said, ‘I shall retain my share at Khayber.' I also said, ‘Messenger of Allah. Allah saved me because of truth. And, it is part of my penitence that I should not speak but the truth the rest of my life.' And, by Allah, since the day I said those words to the Prophet, no one was ever treated better for his truthfulness than me from that day onwards. By God, I never even intended to lie since that day, and I hope it will remain so until I remain. And Allah revealed, ‘As for the three ...'
    Imam Razi points out that one of the lessons of the story is that it is not binding upon Allah to accept repentance. In the case involving Ka`b and the other two, they had already repented, and quite sincerely. But, repentance was accepted until after some 50 days.
    Rashid Rida adds: The story of the three touches the soft parts of the heart. It is said that no other verse of the Qur'an would induce Imam Malik to weep more than this verse and the story that goes with it.

    يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَكُونُوا مَعَ الصَّادِقِينَ (119)

    9|119| Believers! Fear Allah and be among those who are truthful.250


    250. Hence `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud has reported in a hadith of the Sahihayn the Prophet's words,


    عَلَيْكُمْ بِالصِّدْقِ فَإِنَّ الصِّدْقَ يَهْدِى إِلَى الْبِرِّ وَإِنَّ الْبِرَّ يَهْدِى إِلَى الْجَنَّةِ وَمَا يَزَالُ الرَّجُلُ يَصْدُقُ وَيَتَحَرَّى الصِّدْقَ حَتَّى يُكْتَبَ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ صِدِّيقًا وَإِيَّاكُمْ وَالْكَذِبَ فَإِنَّ الْكَذِبَ يَهْدِى إِلَى الْفُجُورِ وَإِنَّ الْفُجُورَ يَهْدِى إِلَى النَّارِ وَمَا يَزَالُ الرَّجُلُ يَكْذِبُ وَيَتَحَرَّى الْكَذِبَ حَتَّى يُكْتَبَ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ كَذَّابًا


    “Always speak the truth. Truthfulness leads to virtue, and virtue leads to Paradise. A man keeps on speaking the truth and being truthful until he is written with Allah as a truthful person. And avoid lies. Lies lead to perversion and corruption, and perversions and corruption lead to the Fire. A man keeps lying and practicing lies until he is written with Allah as a liar.”
    Ibn Mas`ud has himself said, “Lying is disallowed in all circumstances, whether seriously or jokingly. And, let not one of you promise a thing to his child and then not keep it. Consider Allah's words, ‘And be among the truthful.' Do these words leave license to anyone?” (Zamakhshari, Ibn Kathir).
    Qurtubi adds in this context that scholars do not accept hadith narration of a person who lied at any time, on any occasion, even if such lying was in worldly matters, unrelated to hadith narrations.
    Alusi points out however that there are instances when lying is allowable. Ibn Abi Shaybah has preserved the hadith that says,


    كُلُّ الْكَذِبِ يُكْتَبُ عَلَى ابْنِ آدَمَ إِلَّا ثَلَاثَ خِصَالٍ رَجُلٌ كَذَبَ عَلَى امْرَأَتِهِ لِيُرْضِيَهَا أَوْ رَجُلٌ كَذَبَ فِي خَدِيعَةِ حَرْبٍ أَوْ رَجُلٌ كَذَبَ بَيْنَ امْرَأَيْنِ مُسْلِمَيْنِ لِيُصْلِحَ بَيْنَهُمَا


    “Every lie that Adam's son utters is recorded against him, except for three: a man lying to his wife in order to win her good pleasure, or a man speaking as deception in war, or a man speaking to make peace between two people.”
    The above hadith has been thought to be weak because of one narrator, although that narrator himself was half accepted, half rejected (Au.).

    مَا كَانَ لِأَهْلِ الْمَدِينَةِ وَمَنْ حَوْلَهُمْ مِنَ الْأَعْرَابِ أَنْ يَتَخَلَّفُوا عَنْ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ وَلَا يَرْغَبُوا بِأَنْفُسِهِمْ عَنْ نَفْسِهِ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ بِأَنَّهُمْ لَا يُصِيبُهُمْ ظَمَأٌ وَلَا نَصَبٌ وَلَا مَخْمَصَةٌ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ وَلَا يَطَئُونَ مَوْطِئًا يَغِيظُ الْكُفَّارَ وَلَا يَنَالُونَ مِنْ عَدُوٍّ نَيْلًا إِلَّا كُتِبَ لَهُمْ بِهِ عَمَلٌ صَالِحٌ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يُضِيعُ أَجْرَ الْمُحْسِنِينَ (120)

    9|120| It was not (proper) for the people of Madinah and the bedouin Arabs of their neighborhood that they should stay behind the Messenger of Allah or prefer their lives to his. That because they (the believers) did not suffer thirst, or fatigue, or hunger in the cause of Allah, nor they tread a place that angered the unbelievers, nor scored any gain from an enemy, but a good deed was registered thereby in their account. Verily, Allah does not allow for the wastage of the reward of those who do good.251


    251. Qatadah and others have said that this verse was applicable only at the time of the Prophet. (That is, Jihad was wajib on every Muslim during the time of the Prophet: Alusi). After him, it is verse 122 of this chapter that will remain in force. It says,


    وَمَا كَانَ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ لِيَنْفِرُوا كَافَّةً [التوبة : 122]


    “And, it is not right of the believers to go forth together (in an expedition) all at once”

    وَلَا يُنْفِقُونَ نَفَقَةً صَغِيرَةً وَلَا كَبِيرَةً وَلَا يَقْطَعُونَ وَادِيًا إِلَّا كُتِبَ لَهُمْ لِيَجْزِيَهُمُ اللَّهُ أَحْسَنَ مَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ (121)

    9|121| And they did not expend anything, small or big, nor crossed a valley, but it was registered in their account in order that Allah may requite them with better than what they were doing.252

    252. At the time of its revelation, the verse was applicable to `Uthman b. al `Affan most. Imam Ahmad has preserved the report that while preparing the army for the Tabuk expedition, the Prophet climbed the pulpit and appealed for funds. `Uthman got up and offered a hundred camels, fully equipped. The Prophet came down. He climbed up again to appeal for funds. `Uthman offered another hundred fully equipped camels. Then the Prophet made a third appeal, and `Uthman offered another fully equipped hundred camels. The Prophet was well pleased with him and remarked, ‘Nothing that `Uthman does after this will do him any harm’ (Ibn Kathir).

    وَمَا كَانَ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ لِيَنْفِرُوا كَافَّةً ۚ فَلَوْلَا نَفَرَ مِنْ كُلِّ فِرْقَةٍ مِنْهُمْ طَائِفَةٌ لِيَتَفَقَّهُوا فِي الدِّينِ وَلِيُنْذِرُوا قَوْمَهُمْ إِذَا رَجَعُوا إِلَيْهِمْ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَحْذَرُونَ (122)

    9|122| And, it is not right of the believers to go forth together (in an expedition) all at once. Why should it not be that from every group of them a few people go forth so that they may understand the religion253 and warn their people when they return to them, so that they may act cautiously?254


    253. The term in the original for “understanding” has its root in “faqiha.” Fiqh in Islamic literature is applied to knowledge of the Shari`ah and what would help obtain it, such as knowledge of the Arabic language, its grammar, or knowledge of principles of religion (Shawkani).
    Speaking of knowledge, Qurtubi quotes several ahadith attributed to the Prophet expressing its importance. In one report he said,


    فَضْلُ الْعَالِمِ عَلَى الْعَابِدِ كَفَضْلِي عَلَى أَدْنَاكُمْ


    “The superiority of a knowledgeable person over one devoted to acts of worship (`alim) is like my superiority over the lowest of you.”
    Tirmidhi recorded it but declared it weak (Au.).
    Imam Shafe`i has said that to engage in obtaining knowledge is better than supererogatory prayers. Another hadith of Muslim says:


    مَنْ يُرِدِ اللَّهُ بِهِ خَيْرًا يُفَقِّهْهُ فِى الدِّينِ وَلاَ تَزَالُ عِصَابَةٌ مِنَ الْمُسْلِمِينَ يُقَاتِلُونَ عَلَى الْحَقِّ ظَاهِرِينَ عَلَى مَنْ نَاوَأَهُمْ إِلَى يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ


    “Whosoever Allah wished to show His grace, gave him the knowledge of this religion. And, a group of my Ummah will keep fighting for the truth, overcoming those who oppose them, until the Day of Judgment.” Qurtubi believes that the first part of the hadith is directly related to the second. (That is, knowledge of the religion leads to Jihad: Au.).
    Alusi however has the following to offer. Imam Ghazali has said that among the first generation Muslims the word fiqh was used for:
    i) knowledge of the Hereafter,
    2) knowledge of the things harmful to the soul,
    3) those things that destroyed the good effects of deeds,
    4) the power to belittle this world,
    5) an impassioned desire to obtain the blessings of the next world, and
    6) the heart being overtaken by the fear (of Allah).
    It was not used in the sense of the knowledge of the rules of divorce, trade, renting out buildings, etc. It is said that when Hasan (al Busri) replied to Farqad al Sanji over a question he had asked, Farqad told him ‘But the Fuqaha' have a different opinion.’ Hasan told him, ‘May your mother cry over you. Have you ever set your eyes on a Faqih? A Faqih is someone who is not inclined to this world, rather, is inclined to the Hereafter, well aware of the quality of his religion, all the time devoted to his Lord, abstains from touching upon the honor of the Muslims, disinterested in their possessions, and always concerned of their welfare.
    254. As to who should teach whom, there have been two explanations: (i) those that go out into an expedition may gain circumstantial evidences of their religion and teach those that stayed back when they return; and (ii) those who stay back may engage themselves in learning their religion so as to teach the religion to their brothers returning from jihad. Tabari prefers the former explanation.
    Alusi points out that one would have expected the Qur'an to say here ‘so that they might teach them,’ in place of ‘warn their people when they return to them,’ and, ‘so that they may learn’ instead of ‘so that they may act cautiously.’ This is to throw the hint that the objective of the teacher should be to warn, and the end result of the learning process should be to learn to fear.
    With reference to the Mujahidin obtaining knowledge through their Jihad excursions, so that they could warn those who had stayed back, Sayyid discusses issues that have been missed by almost all commentators. He writes:
    “Several opinions have come to us concerning the identity of those who should learn their religion and concerning those they should warn when they return. What seems to us as the right interpretation is that, not all believers should go out at once in an expedition. Rather, from every group of them, a few should go, others waiting for their turn in order that the group that sets out may understand, through Jihad, and, when they return, warn those who did not go in the expedition.
    “This is the opinion of Ibn `Abbas and Hasan al Busri, and preferred by Ibn Jarir and Ibn Kathir. That is because this religion is a religion of the active people. Those who do not get active cannot understand it. Those who go out in Jihad are the most qualified to understand this religion, because of the realities, meanings and secrets of religion that they grasp as they travel about in the land, and because of the practical application of the verses of the Qur'an to real situations. Those who sit back need to obtain this understanding from those who were in the field for they would not have witnessed what those that had gone forth would have witnessed, and so would not understand the way they understand, failing to obtain the secrets of knowledge that those obtained who went forth, especially, when they were in the company of the Prophet...
    “Maybe, what comes to mind as the meaning is the opposite of what we have stated that those who did not go forth, may engage themselves in learning, behind those who did. But this does not match with the spirit of this religion. Movement is the foundation stone of this religion. None will derive a good comprehension of this religion except those who move about (in a struggle), to establish this religion, to make it overcome pagandom - of all kinds by means of struggle in the field.
    “Experience tells us that those who refuse to move out in the struggle, do not have a good understanding of this religion, notwithstanding how much they free themselves for its cold studies. The secrets of this religion open up for those alone who venture out in Jihad in order to establish the religion in the world of reality. It does not open up for those who are sunk in books, depending on written material alone...”

    يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا قَاتِلُوا الَّذِينَ يَلُونَكُمْ مِنَ الْكُفَّارِ وَلْيَجِدُوا فِيكُمْ غِلْظَةً ۚ وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّهَ مَعَ الْمُتَّقِينَ (123)

    9|123| Believers! Fight against those of the unbelievers who are nearest to you;255 and let them find harshness in you.256 And be aware that Allah is with the righteous.


    255. Ibn Kathir explains: The meaning is, first fight those unbelievers who are nearest to you, then those that come after them, and so on. That is what the Prophet did. He first fought the Makkans. Then he turned to Ta'if, Yemen, Yamamah, Hijr, Khayber, Hadr Mawt respectively. After he had subdued them, he traveled to Tabuk to take on the Romans, who were the closest. He would have extended the struggle but for his death. However, his successors carried on. Abu Bakr sent forces against the Romans and Persians. They fell to Islam during `Umar's reign when Egypt also fell. `Uthman the third caliph also pursued the policy of fighting those closest, extending the Islamic rule to parts of Africa, Asia and other territories. In consequence, the Islamic faith spread all over the globe. All this was following the directive given in this verse: ‘Believers! Fight those of the unbelievers who are nearest to you.’ Then weakness set in, and the Muslims, greedy of this world, busied themselves with themselves. Whenever they did that, and neglected Jihad, they lost territories, and whenever they took up the struggle, in the cause of Allah, they regained territories, in proportion to their obedience to Allah's commands.
    Faced with the Judaeo Christian Western hypocrisy, we might reproduce here Yusuf `Ali's comments, (which he wrote under verse 111): “The Jewish wars were ruthless wars of extermination. The Old Testament does not mince matters on this subject. In the New Testament St. Paul, in commending the worthy fruits of Faith, mentions Gideon, Barak, and other warriors of the Old Testament as his ideals, “Who through faith subdued kingdoms ... waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens ..” (Hebrews, xi, 32 34). The monkish morality of the Gospels in their present form has never been followed by any self respecting Christian or other nation in history. Nor is it commonsense to ignore the lust of blood in unregenerate man as a form of evil which has to be combated “within the limits,” set by Allah (Q. ix. 112).
    Sayyid Qutb however, has a long commentary here on the importance of conducting Jihad. Here are some important passages:
    “We are ordered here to fight those of the unbelievers who are nearest to us. The verse does not say that the fighting should be against those alone who attack us or our homes. From this verse we can deduce that this is the guiding principle that will remain in force: that is, ours has to be an offensive Jihad. It is not defensive, as was the rule in early Islam, when the rules were of provisional nature.
    “But those who speak on the Islamic rules related to international relations, or Jihad ordinances, or, comment on verses of Jihad, wish to bind this final, unconditional call and command to the conditional commands sent down for the initial, temporary, phase. They make it conditional to an actual attack or a preemptive attack on the life and property of Muslims. But the Qur'anic text here is unconditional. And it is the last of the texts to be revealed. We also know from the Qur'anic style, that when delivering ordinances, it is very specific, clear and unambiguous. It chooses very specific words, not ignoring the exceptions, conditions and specialities, if there happen to be, in the same text...
    “But the problem is, those who speak on international relations as directed by Islam, or on Jihad ordinances, or explanation of verses speaking of Jihad, for them it is hard to swallow that these are Islamic injunctions, and that Allah himself should ask them to fight against the unbelievers nearest to them, and that they should thereafter fight those next to them, that is, every time they find the unbelievers close to them they should fight them. They find this hard to understand. Therefore, they try to make conditional what is unconditional.
    “They forget, however, that Jihad in Islam is Jihad in the way of Allah. It is an effort to establish Allah's lordship on the earth and to do away with those who usurp Allah's rights. It is a Jihad to liberate man from the slavery of others of his kind .. from the tribulations of a religion that is not Allah's – “until there is no tribulation and the religion is Allah's, altogether.” It is not a fight for imposing one kind of rules made by humans in place of another kind of rules also made by humans. It is for imposing Allah's rule over the rule of men. It is not conducted for the establishment of a human rule over the earth. It is conducted to establish Allah's rule and sovereignty over the earth. Hence, it is necessary that it should be applied to the whole of the earth, for the liberation of the whole of the mankind, without exception: whether they be within the borders of Islam or outside of it, as long as it is inhabited by the humans who are ruled by those who rebel against Allah...
    “But, unfortunately, the Muslim apologists have to face the Western, Christian, cunning, dirty propaganda that says, ‘Islam spread by the sword...'
    “If that was the case, then, obviously, it could not have been acceptable. But the affair in truth is far different from how it is presented. Islam is based on a firm principle: ‘There is no coercion in Islam.'
    “But, if that is so, why does the Mujahid come out with a sword? And why has Allah purchased from the believers their life and property in return of Paradise? Why do they fight in the way of Allah, kill and get killed? The answer is that Jihad has nothing to do with faith and beliefs. It is not conducted to coerce people into believing. Rather, it is conducted to guarantee freedom of opinion, faith and beliefs. Islam conducts Jihad against those who are opposed to man's total freedom, allowing him to choose his faith and beliefs. But those who have established their own rule on the earth, take away this freedom, in a subtle, unfelt manner. Islam comes in to break up these powers. Jihad liberates the people. After that they are free to embrace Islam or reject it. If they choose to come in, they are brothers unto old Muslims, with the same rights and obligations as others. If they choose not to accept, then, they pay the tribute, a symbol of submission to the rule of Islam, and as a return for the safety provided to them from the oppression of their likes. (Otherwise, they are free to choose their faith).”
    256. That is, there need be no compassion. Unbelief must be uprooted. Compassion is reserved for the believers. The Prophet said about himself,


    أنا الضحوك القتال


    “I am the smiling warrior.” That is, he smiled when among the believers, but fought vigorously with the unbelievers (Ibn Kathir).
    The hadith is found in Ibn Faris, but in none of the other collections, whether well-known, or obscure; and is declared weak. It seems to have spread around because of Ibn Taymiyyah who mentioned it in several of his books, Ibn Qayyim who also mentioned in his works, and, of course Ibn Kathir who mentioned it twice in his Tafsir (Au.).

    وَإِذَا مَا أُنْزِلَتْ سُورَةٌ فَمِنْهُمْ مَنْ يَقُولُ أَيُّكُمْ زَادَتْهُ هَٰذِهِ إِيمَانًا ۚ فَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا فَزَادَتْهُمْ إِيمَانًا وَهُمْ يَسْتَبْشِرُونَ (124)

    9|124| Whenever a chapter is sent down, there are some among them who ask, ‘Which of you had his faith increased thereby?' As for those who have believed, it surely increased their faith and they rejoice.


    وَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ فِي قُلُوبِهِمْ مَرَضٌ فَزَادَتْهُمْ رِجْسًا إِلَىٰ رِجْسِهِمْ وَمَاتُوا وَهُمْ كَافِرُونَ (125)

    9|125| But, as for those in whose heart is a disease, it added evil to their (pre existing) evil so that they died in a state of unbelief.257


    257. Yusuf `Ali comments: “Just as the light, which to healthy eyes gives enlightenment, causes pain to the diseased eye, which emits unclean matter, so to those spiritually diseased. Allah's grace is unwelcome, and they put forth more doubts to cover their diseases. And they die in their disease, and of their disease.

    أَوَلَا يَرَوْنَ أَنَّهُمْ يُفْتَنُونَ فِي كُلِّ عَامٍ مَرَّةً أَوْ مَرَّتَيْنِ ثُمَّ لَا يَتُوبُونَ وَلَا هُمْ يَذَّكَّرُونَ (126)

    9|126| Do they not observe that they are tried every year once or twice?258 Yet they do not repent nor do they take heed.259


    258. To what is the allusion? The answer is, either there happened an expedition or two organized against the pagans every year, which tried the hypocrites and exposed their hypocrisy, or, a false rumor or two circulated which put them into fresh doubts about Islam (Ibn Jarir).
    A related hadith is in Ibn Majah. Anas says,


    لا يزداد الأمر إلا شدة ولا يزداد الناس إلا شحاً وما من عام إلا والذي بعده شر منه


    “Things will get more and more difficult. People will get greedier. And there will not be a year but the one following it would bear greater evil. I heard this from your Prophet (Ibn Kathir).
    The hadith is not to be found in any collection; and, although Ibn Kathir traces it to Ibn Jarir, it is not to be found in his Tafsir either (Au.).
    The Hanafiyyah (and perhaps also the Hanabilah) have, however, deduced from this verse that an Islamic state should conduct Jihad at least once or twice every year (Au.).
    259. It is said that when a man falls sick, regains health subsequently, but does not receive a lesson to correct his ways, then the angels say about him, “We administered him the medicine but the medication did not seem to have cured him” (Alusi).

    وَإِذَا مَا أُنْزِلَتْ سُورَةٌ نَظَرَ بَعْضُهُمْ إِلَىٰ بَعْضٍ هَلْ يَرَاكُمْ مِنْ أَحَدٍ ثُمَّ انْصَرَفُوا ۚ صَرَفَ اللَّهُ قُلُوبَهُمْ بِأَنَّهُمْ قَوْمٌ لَا يَفْقَهُونَ (127)

    9|127| And, whenever a chapter comes down, they glance at each other, ‘Does anyone see you?' Then they slip away. Allah has turned their hearts away, because they are a people who do not understand.260


    260. Mawdudi offers the following comment: “Whenever a surah was revealed to the Prophet (peace be on him), he recited it at a public gathering of Muslims. While the Prophet (peace be on him) recited it, the true believers listened to it in rapturous attention. The hypocrites, however, behaved at such gatherings in an altogether different way. They attended those meetings as it was obligatory for every believer to do so and their absence would have exposed their hypocrisy. Nonetheless, they evinced no interest in the Prophet's recitation, and their presence was only half hearted. Their only concern was to register their physical presence at the gathering, and they would depart at the first opportunity. The above Qur'anic verse presents a graphic account of their conduct.”
    Yusuf `Ali takes us to a wider horizon of meaning, mixing admonition with illustration: “Even the Unbelievers, in their heart and conscience, feel uncomfortable when they turn away from Faith and Truth, and therefore their turning aside is figured by furtive glances, such as we may suppose literally to have been cast by the Hypocrites in the assemblies of the Holy Prophet. Then they slink away, feeling superior in their minds. And yet, if they only knew it, their contumacy deprives them of Allah's grace and light. They are turning Grace away, when Allah withdraws it altogether, they perish utterly.”

    لَقَدْ جَاءَكُمْ رَسُولٌ مِنْ أَنْفُسِكُمْ عَزِيزٌ عَلَيْهِ مَا عَنِتُّمْ حَرِيصٌ عَلَيْكُمْ بِالْمُؤْمِنِينَ رَءُوفٌ رَحِيمٌ (128)

    9|128| Indeed, a Messenger has come to you from among yourselves. Grievous it is to him what (might make) you suffer, very concerned about you,261 and, towards the faithful most tender and compassionate.262


    261. The Prophet drew a simile to explain his concern of the Ummah. He said in a hadith preserved by Ahmad, reported by Ibn `Abbas:


    أَتَاهُ فِيمَا يَرَى النَّائِمُ مَلَكَانِ فَقَعَدَ أَحَدُهُمَا عِنْدَ رِجْلَيْهِ وَالْآخَرُ عِنْدَ رَأْسِهِ فَقَالَ الَّذِي عِنْدَ رِجْلَيْهِ لِلَّذِي عِنْدَ رَأْسِهِ اضْرِبْ مَثَلَ هَذَا وَمَثَلَ أُمَّتِهِ فَقَالَ إِنَّ مَثَلَهُ وَمَثَلَ أُمَّتِهِ كَمَثَلِ قَوْمٍ سَفْرٍ انْتَهَوْا إِلَى رَأْسِ مَفَازَةٍ فَلَمْ يَكُنْ مَعَهُمْ مِنْ الزَّادِ مَا يَقْطَعُونَ بِهِ الْمَفَازَةَ وَلَا مَا يَرْجِعُونَ بِهِ فَبَيْنَمَا هُمْ كَذَلِكَ إِذْ أَتَاهُمْ رَجُلٌ فِي حُلَّةٍ حِبَرَةٍ فَقَالَ أَرَأَيْتُمْ إِنْ وَرَدْتُ بِكُمْ رِيَاضًا مُعْشِبَةً وَحِيَاضًا رُوَاءً أَتَتَّبِعُونِي فَقَالُوا نَعَمْ قَالَ فَانْطَلَقَ بِهِمْ فَأَوْرَدَهُمْ رِيَاضًا مُعْشِبَةً وَحِيَاضًا رُوَاءً فَأَكَلُوا وَشَرِبُوا وَسَمِنُوا فَقَالَ لَهُمْ أَلَمْ أَلْقَكُمْ عَلَى تِلْكَ الْحَالِ فَجَعَلْتُمْ لِي إِنْ وَرَدْتُ بِكُمْ رِيَاضًا مُعْشِبَةً وَحِيَاضًا رُوَاءً أَنْ تَتَّبِعُونِي فَقَالُوا بَلَى قَالَ فَإِنَّ بَيْنَ أَيْدِيكُمْ رِيَاضًا أَعْشَبَ مِنْ هَذِهِ وَحِيَاضًا هِيَ أَرْوَى مِنْ هَذِهِ فَاتَّبِعُونِي قَالَ فَقَالَتْ طَائِفَةٌ صَدَقَ وَاللَّهِ لَنَتَّبِعَنَّهُ وَقَالَتْ طَائِفَةٌ قَدْ رَضِينَا بِهَذَا نُقِيمُ عَلَيْهِ – مجمع الزوائد ومنبع الفوائد: رواه أحمد والطبراني والبزار وإسناده حسن.


    “Two angels came down to the Prophet in his dream. One of them stood at the head of the bed, while the other at the foot of it. The one at the foot asked the one at the head to give an example of him and his followers. He said, ‘The example of him and his followers is like a people who traveled to reach close to their destination. But they did not have enough provision to complete the little bit left, nor were they able to return. They were in that state when a man appeared in a silken shawl. He said, ‘Would you follow me if I led you to a rich garden with free flowing streams?' They said, ‘Yes.' So he led them to a rich garden with free flowing streams. They ate, drank and grew fat. (The man came back and) asked them, ‘Is it not true that I found you in that state and you promised to follow me if I led you to a rich garden with free flowing streams?' They replied, ‘Yes.' He asked, ‘There lies ahead of you another garden richer than this one and with streams flowing more freely. Therefore, follow me.' Thereupon, a group said, ‘He spoke the truth and by Allah we shall follow him.' But another group said, ‘We are satisfied with this and shall stay put here' (Ibn Kathir).
    262. It is said that `Umar would not accept any verse to be written in the Mus haf without two witnesses. But for this verse he said he did not need any witness since the Prophet indeed was as described in this verse (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir).

    فَإِنْ تَوَلَّوْا فَقُلْ حَسْبِيَ اللَّهُ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ ۖ عَلَيْهِ تَوَكَّلْتُ ۖ وَهُوَ رَبُّ الْعَرْشِ الْعَظِيمِ (129)

    9|129| Yet, if they turn away, say, ‘Allah suffices me. There is no god besides He. I place my trust in Him. And He is the Lord of the Great `Arsh.'”


    263. Some scholars have explained the term `Arsh as appearing here to mean ”kingdom” (Alusi).
    According to Ubayy b. Ka`b the last two verses of this chapter are the last to be revealed (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir). But there are other opinions about what was revealed last. Ibn `Abbas has said that the last to be revealed was verse 281 of Al Baqarah (Alusi).