Surah al-Anfal (1-30)

Surah al-Anfal (1-30)


Qur'anic Exegesis

بِسۡمِ اللّٰہِ الرَّحۡمٰنِ الرَّحِیۡمِ

یَسۡـَٔلُوۡنَکَ عَنِ الۡاَنۡفَالِ ؕ قُلِ الۡاَنۡفَالُ لِلّٰہِ وَ الرَّسُوۡلِ ۚ فَاتَّقُوا اللّٰہَ وَ اَصۡلِحُوۡا ذَاتَ بَیۡنِکُمۡ ۪ وَ اَطِیۡعُوا اللّٰہَ وَ رَسُوۡلَہٗۤ اِنۡ کُنۡتُمۡ مُّؤۡمِنِیۡنَ ﴿۱﴾اِنَّمَا الۡمُؤۡمِنُوۡنَ الَّذِیۡنَ اِذَا ذُکِرَ اللّٰہُ وَجِلَتۡ قُلُوۡبُہُمۡ وَ اِذَا تُلِیَتۡ عَلَیۡہِمۡ اٰیٰتُہٗ زَادَتۡہُمۡ اِیۡمَانًا وَّ عَلٰی رَبِّہِمۡ یَتَوَکَّلُوۡنَ ۚ﴿ۖ۲﴾الَّذِیۡنَ یُقِیۡمُوۡنَ الصَّلٰوۃَ وَ مِمَّا رَزَقۡنٰہُمۡ یُنۡفِقُوۡنَ ؕ﴿۳﴾اُولٰٓئِکَ ہُمُ الۡمُؤۡمِنُوۡنَ حَقًّا ؕ لَہُمۡ دَرَجٰتٌ عِنۡدَ رَبِّہِمۡ وَ مَغۡفِرَۃٌ وَّ رِزۡقٌ کَرِیۡمٌ ۚ﴿۴﴾

In the name of God, the Most Gracious, the Ever Merciful.

They ask[1] you about the spoils of war.[2] Tell them: "All these spoils belong to God and the Messenger."[3] Therefore, fear God; [do not create any dispute in this matter] and reform your mutual affairs[4] and obey God and His Messenger if you are believers. [Bear in mind[5]] believers are those whose hearts are filled with awe[6] at the mention of God, and when His revelations are recited before them, they strengthen their faith[7] and they put their trust[8] in their Lord. They are diligent in the prayer and spend [in Our cause] what We have given them.[9] Such are the true believers. For them are ranks before their Lord and forgiveness and a very honourable sustenance.[10] (1-4)

کَمَاۤ اَخۡرَجَکَ رَبُّکَ مِنۡۢ بَیۡتِکَ بِالۡحَقِّ ۪ وَ اِنَّ فَرِیۡقًا مِّنَ الۡمُؤۡمِنِیۡنَ لَکٰرِہُوۡنَ ۙ﴿۵﴾یُجَادِلُوۡنَکَ فِی الۡحَقِّ بَعۡدَ مَا تَبَیَّنَ کَاَنَّمَا یُسَاقُوۡنَ اِلَی الۡمَوۡتِ وَ ہُمۡ یَنۡظُرُوۡنَ ؕ﴿۶﴾وَ اِذۡ یَعِدُکُمُ اللّٰہُ اِحۡدَی الطَّآئِفَتَیۡنِ اَنَّہَا لَکُمۡ وَ تَوَدُّوۡنَ اَنَّ غَیۡرَ ذَاتِ الشَّوۡکَۃِ تَکُوۡنُ لَکُمۡ وَ یُرِیۡدُ اللّٰہُ اَنۡ یُّحِقَّ الۡحَقَّ بِکَلِمٰتِہٖ وَ یَقۡطَعَ دَابِرَ الۡکٰفِرِیۡنَ ۙ﴿۷﴾لِیُحِقَّ الۡحَقَّ وَ یُبۡطِلَ الۡبَاطِلَ وَ لَوۡ کَرِہَ الۡمُجۡرِمُوۡنَ ۚ﴿۸﴾

A similar situation arose[11] when your Lord brought you out from your house for a true purpose[12] and this was very detestable to one group of the Muslims.[13] They were disputing with you regarding this true purpose, even though it was fully evident [to them]. It was as if they were being led to death before their very eyes.[14] Remember the time when God was promising you that you will take hold of one of the groups.[15] You wanted to get the unarmed one[16] while God, through His words,[17] wanted to grant superiority to the truth and root out the disbelievers so that He could show the truth to be the truth and falsehood to be falsehood, however much these wrongdoers may dislike it.[18] (5-8)

اِذۡ تَسۡتَغِیۡثُوۡنَ رَبَّکُمۡ فَاسۡتَجَابَ لَکُمۡ اَنِّیۡ مُمِدُّکُمۡ بِاَلۡفٍ مِّنَ الۡمَلٰٓئِکَۃِ مُرۡدِفِیۡنَ ﴿۹﴾ وَ مَا جَعَلَہُ اللّٰہُ اِلَّا بُشۡرٰی وَ لِتَطۡمَئِنَّ بِہٖ قُلُوۡبُکُمۡ ۚ وَ مَا النَّصۡرُ اِلَّا مِنۡ عِنۡدِ اللّٰہِ ؕ اِنَّ اللّٰہَ عَزِیۡزٌ حَکِیۡمٌ ﴿۱۰﴾اِذۡ یُغَشِّیۡکُمُ النُّعَاسَ اَمَنَۃً مِّنۡہُ وَ یُنَزِّلُ عَلَیۡکُمۡ مِّنَ السَّمَآءِ مَآءً لِّیُطَہِّرَکُمۡ بِہٖ وَ یُذۡہِبَ عَنۡکُمۡ رِجۡزَ الشَّیۡطٰنِ وَ لِیَرۡبِطَ عَلٰی قُلُوۡبِکُمۡ وَ یُثَبِّتَ بِہِ الۡاَقۡدَامَ ﴿ؕ۱۱﴾اِذۡ یُوۡحِیۡ رَبُّکَ اِلَی الۡمَلٰٓئِکَۃِ اَنِّیۡ مَعَکُمۡ فَثَبِّتُوا الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا ؕ سَاُلۡقِیۡ فِیۡ قُلُوۡبِ الَّذِیۡنَ کَفَرُوا الرُّعۡبَ فَاضۡرِبُوۡا فَوۡقَ الۡاَعۡنَاقِ وَ اضۡرِبُوۡا مِنۡہُمۡ کُلَّ بَنَانٍ ﴿ؕ۱۲﴾ذٰلِکَ بِاَنَّہُمۡ شَآقُّوا اللّٰہَ وَ رَسُوۡلَہٗ ۚ وَ مَنۡ یُّشَاقِقِ اللّٰہَ وَ رَسُوۡلَہٗ فَاِنَّ اللّٰہَ شَدِیۡدُ الۡعِقَابِ ﴿۱۳﴾ذٰلِکُمۡ فَذُوۡقُوۡہُ وَ اَنَّ لِلۡکٰفِرِیۡنَ عَذَابَ النَّارِ ﴿۱۴﴾

Remember when you werepleading to yourLord;[19]so, He heard your pleading [and said:] "I am sending one thousand angels for your help who will keep coming to you one after the other."[20] God did this only to make it a glad tiding for you and that your hearts are reassured through this. [Otherwise, in reality] help comes from God alone.[21] Indeed, He is very powerful and wise. Remember when God was making you doze off from Himself to comfort you[22] and was sending down water on you from the heavens[23] so that He may purify you through it and get rid from you the filth of Satan[24] and [put you to sleep for a while] to strengthen your heart through it and plant your feet.[25] Recall when your Lord was sending His revelation to the angels:[26] "I am with you; so keep the believers steadfast.[27] I will instill awe in the hearts of these disbelievers;[28] so, you strike at their necks and inflict injury on every section of their fingers."[29] This is because they rose against God and His Messenger, and those who rise against God and His Messenger, then God sternly punishes [such people] – this is [your punishment]. So, taste it as well and be informed that the punishment of Hell [awaits] the disbelievers.[30] (9-14)

یٰۤاَیُّہَا الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡۤا اِذَا لَقِیۡتُمُ الَّذِیۡنَ کَفَرُوۡا زَحۡفًا فَلَا تُوَلُّوۡہُمُ الۡاَدۡبَارَ ﴿ۚ۱۵﴾وَ مَنۡ یُّوَلِّہِمۡ یَوۡمَئِذٍ دُبُرَہٗۤ اِلَّا مُتَحَرِّفًا لِّقِتَالٍ اَوۡ مُتَحَیِّزًا اِلٰی فِئَۃٍ فَقَدۡ بَآءَ بِغَضَبٍ مِّنَ اللّٰہِ وَ مَاۡوٰىہُ جَہَنَّمُ ؕ وَ بِئۡسَ الۡمَصِیۡرُ ﴿۱۶﴾فَلَمۡ تَقۡتُلُوۡہُمۡ وَ لٰکِنَّ اللّٰہَ قَتَلَہُمۡ ۪ وَ مَا رَمَیۡتَ اِذۡ رَمَیۡتَ وَ لٰکِنَّ اللّٰہَ رَمٰی ۚوَ لِیُبۡلِیَ الۡمُؤۡمِنِیۡنَ مِنۡہُ بَلَآءً حَسَنًا ؕ اِنَّ اللّٰہَ سَمِیۡعٌ عَلِیۡمٌ ﴿۱۷﴾ذٰلِکُمۡ وَ اَنَّ اللّٰہَ مُوۡہِنُ کَیۡدِ الۡکٰفِرِیۡنَ ﴿۱۸﴾اِنۡ تَسۡتَفۡتِحُوۡا فَقَدۡ جَآءَکُمُ الۡفَتۡحُ ۚ وَ اِنۡ تَنۡتَہُوۡا فَہُوَ خَیۡرٌ لَّکُمۡ ۚ وَ اِنۡ تَعُوۡد تُغۡنِیَ عَنۡکُمۡ فِئَتُکُمۡ شَیۡئًا وَّ لَوۡ کَثُرَتۡ ۙ وَ اَنَّ اللّٰہَ مَعَ الۡمُؤۡمِنِیۡنَ ﴿۱۹﴾

Believers! When as an organized army you meet these disbelievers,[31] do not turn your backs on them. And [fully understand that] whoever turns his back to them at that time – unless it be a stratagem of war, or to retreat to a part of his army, – he will draw upon himself God's wrath. And his abode is Hell, and evil indeed is that destination![32] [Believers! Why should you show reluctance when God fights for you?] So, [in reality,] you did not slay them [in this battle]; it is, in fact, God Who has slain them, and [O Prophet!] When you threw [dust] on them, it was not you but God Who threw it[33] [to show His majesty to the disbelievers] and to grant a great favour from Himself to the Muslims.[34] Indeed, God sees and hears all. All this happened in front of you[35] and [with it] this [glad tiding] also that God will certainly humble all the plans of these disbelievers.[36] If you wanted a judgement, then [O People of the Quraysh!] this judgement has come.[37] If [even now] you desist, it will be better for you and if you do it again, We will also do it again and your group, however large it may be, will not be of any benefit to you. And fully understand that God is with the believers.[38] (15-19)

یٰۤاَیُّہَا الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡۤا اَطِیۡعُوا اللّٰہَ وَ رَسُوۡلَہٗ وَ لَا تَوَلَّوۡا عَنۡہُوَ اَنۡتُمۡ تَسۡمَعُوۡنَ﴿ۚۖ۲۰﴾وَ لَا تَکُوۡنُوۡا کَالَّذِیۡنَ قَالُوۡا سَمِعۡنَا وَ ہُمۡ لَا یَسۡمَعُوۡنَ﴿۲۱﴾اِنَّ شَرَّ الدَّوَآبِّعِنۡدَ اللّٰہِ الصُّمُّ الۡبُکۡمُ الَّذِیۡنَ لَا یَعۡقِلُوۡنَ﴿۲۲﴾وَ لَوۡ عَلِمَ اللّٰہُ فِیۡہِمۡ خَیۡرًا لَّاَسۡمَعَہُمۡؕوَ لَوۡ اَسۡمَعَہُمۡ لَتَوَلَّوۡا وَّ ہُمۡ مُّعۡرِضُوۡنَ﴿۲۳﴾

Believers![39] Obey God and His Messenger [the way they should be obeyed][40] and do not desist from the [call of the] Messenger[41] when you are listening [to him].[42] Be not like those who claimed: "We listened," but they never listened.[43] Indeed, before God the worst of animals are these who are deaf and dumb who do not reason out.[44] Had God seen any good in them, He would have definitely given them the urge to listen[45] and if He had made them listen [without this], they would have turned away in indifference.[46] (20-23)

یٰۤاَیُّہَا الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوا اسۡتَجِیۡبُوۡا لِلّٰہِ وَ لِلرَّسُوۡلِ اِذَا دَعَاکُمۡ لِمَا یُحۡیِیۡکُمۡۚوَ اعۡلَمُوۡۤا اَنَّ اللّٰہَ یَحُوۡلُ بَیۡنَ الۡمَرۡءِ وَ قَلۡبِہٖ وَ اَنَّہٗۤ اِلَیۡہِ تُحۡشَرُوۡنَ﴿۲۴﴾وَ اتَّقُوۡا فِتۡنَۃً لَّا تُصِیۡبَنَّ الَّذِیۡنَ ظَلَمُوۡا مِنۡکُمۡ خَآصَّۃً ۚ وَ اعۡلَمُوۡۤا اَنَّ اللّٰہَ شَدِیۡدُ الۡعِقَابِ ﴿۲۵﴾

Believers! Respond to the call of God and His Messenger when the Messenger is inviting you to that which gives life to you[47] and bear in mind that [after giving respite till a certain period of time] God becomes a barrier between a person and his heart[48] and [remember] that [one day] you will be gathered to Him alone. Fear the trial with which the wrongdoers only will not be afflicted[49] and keep in mind that God is stern in retribution. (24-25)

وَ اذۡکُرُوۡۤا اِذۡ اَنۡتُمۡ قَلِیۡلٌ مُّسۡتَضۡعَفُوۡنَ فِی الۡاَرۡضِ تَخَافُوۡنَ اَنۡ یَّتَخَطَّفَکُمُ النَّاسُ فَاٰوٰىکُمۡ وَ اَیَّدَکُمۡ بِنَصۡرِہٖ وَرَزَقَکُمۡ مِّنَ الطَّیِّبٰتِ لَعَلَّکُمۡ تَشۡکُرُوۡنَ ﴿۲۶﴾یٰۤاَیُّہَا الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا لَا تَخُوۡنُوا اللّٰہَ وَ الرَّسُوۡلَ وَ تَخُوۡنُوۡۤا اَمٰنٰتِکُمۡوَ اَنۡتُمۡ تَعۡلَمُوۡنَ ﴿۲۷﴾وَ اعۡلَمُوۡۤا اَنَّمَاۤ اَمۡوَالُکُمۡ وَ اَوۡلَادُکُمۡ فِتۡنَۃٌ ۙ وَّ اَنَّ اللّٰہَ عِنۡدَہٗۤ اَجۡرٌ عَظِیۡمٌ ﴿۲۸﴾

Recall the time when you were small in number; you were regarded weak in the land; you would fear that people might get hold of you. Then God gave you shelter and backed you with His help and granted you with noble sustenance so that you may be grateful.[50] Believers! Do not deliberately be insincere to God and His Messenger and be not dishonest in what is entrusted to you.[51] And bear in mind that your wealth and your children are a trial and that great reward lies with God alone.[52] (26-28)

یٰۤاَیُّہَا الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡۤا اِنۡ تَتَّقُوا اللّٰہَ یَجۡعَلۡ لَّکُمۡ فُرۡقَانًا وَّ یُکَفِّرۡ عَنۡکُمۡ سَیِّاٰتِکُمۡ وَ یَغۡفِرۡ لَکُمۡ ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ ذُو الۡفَضۡلِ الۡعَظِیۡمِ ﴿۲۹﴾وَ اِذۡ یَمۡکُرُ بِکَ الَّذِیۡنَ کَفَرُوۡا لِیُثۡبِتُوۡکَ اَوۡ یَقۡتُلُوۡکَ اَوۡ یُخۡرِجُوۡکَ ؕ وَ یَمۡکُرُوۡنَ وَ یَمۡکُرُ اللّٰہُ ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ خَیۡرُ الۡمٰکِرِیۡنَ ﴿۳۰﴾

Believers! If you keep fearing God,[53] He will reveal the furqan to you,[54] brush away your sins from you and pardon you.[55] [In reality,] God is immensely bountiful. Bear in mind the time [O Prophet!] when the disbelievers were conspiring in your matter: to imprison you or slay you or banish you [from the land].[56] This was what they were conspiring and God was also making His scheme and God is the best of schemers.[57] (29-30)

(Translated by Dr Shehzad Saleem)

[1]. This question is actually an objection which was raised regarding the spoils of war received in the battle of Badr. In the age of jahiliyyah, the custom was that the wealth looted in a battle belonged to the person who made the effort. It is evident from narratives that this question arose when others, because of their contribution to the war, demanded a share in these spoils from those who looted them. This demand took that shape of a harsh dispute. The question was raised in this background by a group among the Muslims. (Ibn Hisham, Al-Sirah al-nabawiyyah, vol. 2, 570)

[2]. The word used in the verse is: الۡاَنۡفَالِ. The word نفلrefers to what is given as an additional amount beyond what is required. A very subtle aspect is concealed in using this word: as far as the reward of undertaking jihad for the cause of God is concerned, its reward is permanently saved with God; besides this reward, the spoils of war which are gained from the enemy are an additional share for such people; before the Day of Judgement, the Almighty grants these to the warriors.

[3]. Ie., God's verdict about the spoils of war that have been collected at this time is that no one has any right over them. All of them belong to God and His messenger and they hold discretion in dispensing them in whatever way they like. This verdict was given because most wars fought in the times of Muhammad (sws) were fought to punish people who deliberately denied the truth after it had been conclusively communicated to them. Those who fight these wars are no more than agents of the implementation of this Divine scheme. It is at the behest of God that they entered the battlefields and won these battles with the direct help of His angels. It was for this very reason that they did not have any share in the booty obtained from these wars. However, in spite of this, they are told later in the surah that only one-fifth of it will be used by the Almighty and His Prophet (sws) for collective needs. The rest, out of God's grace, will be distributed among the warriors.

[4]. The implication is that if in the heat of the moment some bad emotions and wrong estimations or any feelings of envy and jealousy have mutually arisen, then people should mend their ways. This jealousy could be because someone was made a recipient of these spoils. It is stated that all of them are brothers to one another. Their mutual relations should be on the basis of brotherhood, mercy and affection. It is against faith and piety that jealousy and selfishness should prevail in their hearts. Hence, they must correct themselves.

[5]. From here onwards is a desrciption of true believers. It is presented to people who are addressed by the words: "if you are believers." The implication is that if they lay claim to faith, they must adopt these traits. In their absence, this claim is not befitting.

[6]. This is the first sign of true believers: they have a true comprehension of God's exaltedness, grandiosity and majesty. Hence, whenever something is presented to them from God, they listen intently to it with the understanding that everyone must have fear of the displeasure of the being who is being mentioned and whose words are being communicated to them. This intense feeling shakes their hearts.

[7]. This is the second sign: concomitant indications show that the word "revelations" here refers to those verses of the Book of God which mention God's directives and laws. The implication is that when the believers listen to these directives and laws, they regard them to be a manifestion of faith and an explication of what is implied by faith. So, when they see these fruits on the pure trees of their faith, their faith strengthens. Similarly, when they fulfill these requirements of their faith they have to pass through various trials. When they receive God's help in these trials and the feeling of success after surmounting these trials increases their faith evermore. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:

It is also evident from the style in زِدْنَاهُمْ اِیۡمَانًا that when the requirements of faith come before those who already have faith in them, they welcome these requirements with full vigour. They regard these requirements to be a fruit of the tree and harvest of the crop they themselves had sown. And just as every farmer feels elated to see the fruit of his tree and the harvest of his crop, these believers feel ecstatic at this advancement of their faith. This, in other words, is a subtle sarcasm on those who lay claim to faith but when its requirements come before them, instead of feeling happy consternation strike them as if they were encountering a calamity. (Amin Ahsan Islahi,Tadabbur-i Qur'an, vol. 3, 432)

[8]. This is the third sign: they trust their Lord in times of trials and tribulations. They have full conviction that whatever He has directed them to do and whatever trial He has made them pass through is for their own good. Thus they think that concealed in all directives and trials is some wisdom and betterment for them, which will soon manifest itself.

[9]. This is the fourth sign: it consists of elements that are comprehensive and protects other signs. The traits which faith wants to produce in a person are engendered in him by two things: the prayer and spending in the cause of God. These two are mentioned at various instances in the Qur'an in this capacity.

[10]. Ie., in proportion to their extent of faith and conviction and their manifestation, these people will have different status. God is very forgiving as regards to their mistakes and shortcomings. They will furthermore be given a sustenance that will be given to them with the honour that it is actually their right to have it.

It may be kept in mind that the faith mentioned in these verses is not the one in the legal sense by which the rights and obligations of people are ascertained. It refers to the essence of faith and this essence is not something static. By remembering God, reciting His revelations and seeing the manifestations of these revelations in the world within a person and that outside, increases a person's faith. At another instance, the Qur'an has compared it to a tree whose roots are deep in the earth and the expanse of whose branches spreads in the heavens. Thus if a person instead of nurturing his faith with sound knowledge and righteous deeds does what is against its requirements, it reduces and in some circumstances totally vanishes.

[11]. The actual word is: کَمَاۤ. It is also used to express the similarlity of two incidents. In such cases, the compared and the compared to are not mentioned in specific words. They are found in the incident as a whole. Here too the situation is no different. Earlier, a dispute regarding the spoils of war is mentioned. Similarly, an incident before departing for the war had taken place. In order to purify the Muslims and separate them from the disbelievers, the Qur'an took this up as a topic right after it.

[12]. This has been explained subsequently. The true purpose was that the truth prevail and the roots of those who had denied the Prophet (sws) be severed. Through this, the Qur'an has refuted the historical narratives which state that the Prophet (sws) set off from his house to loot the trade caravan of the Quraysh that was returning from Syria under the leadership of Abu Sufyan (rta). The Almighty has made it evident that since the very beginning the purpose was to humble and humiliate the Quraysh and it was at the behest of God Himself that Muslims had set off so that both the truth become evident and evil exposed. This obviously could not have been achieved by plundering the trade caravan.

[13]. It is evident from the word فَرِیۡقًا that the number of people who were awe struck seeing that the purpose was to intercept the army of the Quraysh and not the trade caravan, and that it was to counter the army that the Prophet (sws) was setting off. Yet, this group consisted of a considerable number of people so that its attitude was befittingly mentioned for the purification of the believers and its isolation from the disbelievers.

[14]. The actual word is: یُجَادِلُوۡنَکَ. It means to make the addressee accept ones stance on the basis of alluringexcuses. The implication is that though they knew that the Prophet (sws) wanted to counter the army, for fear of death they kept presenting lame excuses till the very end and kept pressing him to plunder the trade caravan for this would help the Muslims financially.

[15]. There is vagueness in this promise. It is not stated explicitly that the Quraysh have sent an army on the false pretext of protecting their caravan and that they must go out and fight it and that God willmake them overpower it. What is stated is vague: two groups of the Quraysh are coming – one of which will be given to the Muslims. The reason for adopting this style is to distinguish the sincere believers from the hypocrites so that before people embark for a big campaign, it becomes known who stands where. Thus, it is evident from the speeches of the leaders of the muhajirun and the ansar delivered at that occasion and in historical narrative (Ibn Hisham, Al-Sirah al-nabwawiyyah, vol. 2, 233) that this purpose was achieved. In the words of Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi, such was nature of those speeches that their reverberation will forever be preserved in Islamic history. Each and every word they uttered was like a martial song. The flame of faith that came out of them still shines brightly in spite of a passage of fourteen centuries. Obviously, these speeches were not delivered to attack a trade caravan.

[16]. This is a reference to the small group of people afflicted with weak faith that has been mentioned earlier. As stated, they fully knew what the truth was but because of their cowardice they wanted that the unarmed trade caravan be plundered so that they are not facedwith any danger and are also able to gain some looted wealth.

[17]. This refers to the words which were uttered to bring the Prophet (sws) out from his house for the battle and then later to provide help to him.

[18]. The picture of the battle of Badr that becomes evident from what is stated in these verses is entirely different from the one which is portrayed in the books of war history. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi has explained this. He writes:

It is evident from the Qur'an that the Prophet (sws) and the Muslims had no intention to go after the trade caravan of the Quraysh. It was the Qurasyh who plotted to attack Madinah and for this fabricated the false pretext of providing protection to their caravan. The Quraysh were scared to see Muslims spreading their roots in Madinah. Besides religious malice, they also reckoned that from then on the trade route of Syria and Makkah would also not be safe for them to tread. For this reason, after the migration of the Prophet (sws), they were in search of some pretext to destroy the Muslims before they could become a force. Whether Abu Sufyan (rta), the leader of the caravan, smelled any unfounded danger of a Muslim attack and therefore sent a person to inform the Quraysh of an imminent Muslim attack or the leaders of the Quraysh were already conniving for this – in any case a strong army of the Qurasyh departed for Madinah at the news given to them by Abu Sufyan (rta).

After this, the Prophet (sws) decided to leave Madinah for Badr and to gaugethe extent of Muslim sentiment presented the whole situation to them in a vague manner saying that two groups of the Quraysh were coming. Muslims will fight one of them and defeat them. As soon as the Prophet (sws) said this, all the muhajirun and the ansar understood that an army of the Quraysh was approaching and they will have to reckon with it. Thus their leaders assured the Prophet (sws) with full force and enthusiasm that they would remain faithful to him and even lay down their lives for Islam if the need arose. However, there were a handful of people who stressed that instead of the army, they should go for the trade caravan so that they could earn heavy spoils without even shedding any blood. It was to expose this small faction that the Prophet (sws) had expressed the whole undertaking in vague terms so that those in whom some weakness was concealed were revealed and the sincere and the hypocrites among the Muslims were distinguised even before the war. (Amin Ahsan Islahi,Tadabbur-i Qur'an, vol. 3, 439)

[19]. Since the number of Muslims in that battle was very small and they were also without resources, for this reason, in the words of Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi each person had become an embodiment of humility and prayer. The way people prayed from the depth of their hearts can be gauged to some extent from the prayer which the Prophet (sws) himself uttered on the occasion. He pleaded: "God! These Quraysh have come over with their deceptive provisions to prove your messenger small. O God! Send now the help you had promised. O God! If these handful of people are destroyed, none will remain on the face of this earth to worship you." ((Ibn Hisham, Al-Sirah al-nabawiyyah, vol. 2, 570; Ibn Kathir, Tafsir al-Qur'an al-'Azim, vol. 2, 383)

[20]. This was stated because the greatest factor that keeps the determination of the warriors intact is they are very sure that as soon as the need arises more reinforcements will arrive.

[21]. The implication is that if jihad is waged for the cause of God, it is only His help that comes to the rescue of the believers. And they too would have received it. The only reason that they have been told about it is that it becomes a glad tiding for them and becomes a means to reassure them.

[22]. A verb in the indefinite tense is used in the verse. If the word إذis used with it, the meaning of an incomplete verb is automatically implied in it and is not needed to be expressed in words. Same is the case earlier with the verbs يَعِدُكُمْ and تَسْتَغِيْثُوْنَ. The verse mentions "dozing off" instead of "sleeping." This means that if in such a situation a person is able to get some sleep if he is able to doze off. Hence the word النُّعَاسَ used is very apt. With His special grace, the Almighty covered the Muslims with it, as is evident from the word: یُغَشِّیۡکُم, and they were able to sleep the night before the battle. This soothed their minds and nerves and they were fresh when they entered the battlefield. This was a manifestation of God's help. It is not easy to sleep a day before facing a huge army. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:

... Sleeping in the battlefield on such occasions is, in the first place, a great blessing but a greater blessing is to benefit from it on such occasions. This is because it is not merely sufficient to get an opportunity to sleep; it actually depends on the state of the mind and not every one can achieve peace of mind. Only those are able to reap its blessings on whom God, the Changer of Hearts, grants this comfort from His own grace. (Amin Ahsan Islahi,Tadabbur-i Qur'an, vol. 3, 445)

[23].Ie., if water was not available, He, as a special favour, directed the heavens to rain down all its water. This is the third form of God's help after the night's sleep and before it the advent of the angels at Badr.

[24].This is a reference to the evil thoughts that can plague the mind when a person is not physically clean and right in the battlefield deprive people of God's remembrance and of trust in His help and support. Here it may be kept in mind that since everyone knows the material benefits of water, God has not mentioned them and instead referred to its spiritual blessings. To a believer, these are much more important. On such occasions, the companions of the Prophet (sws) could have been worried on the availability of water for ablution or for the ceremonial bath so that they could ritually cleanse themselves and pray.

[25].The actual words are: وَ لِیَرۡبِطَ عَلٰی قُلُوۡبِکُمۡ وَ یُثَبِّتَ بِہِ الۡاَقۡدَامَ. Both these things relate to sleep and not to water. In fact, their nature can only relate them to sleep. The Qur'an has adopted an ascending order arrangement here. First the benefits of water are mentioned and then those of sleep. A similar style can be seen in verse 186 of Surah al-Baqarah. It is precisely for this reason that the letter لis repeated in وَلِيَرْبِط.

[26].It is evident from this that in spite of their exalted status, angels do not have direct access to God. It is through revelation that they receive His directives.

[27].Two things are evident from this: first, even the angels cannot do anything without God's behest and second, in the battle of Badr too, the real thing was the bravery and perseverance of the Muslims. Angels did not fight in their place. They only brought the disbelievers before the swords of the believers and to make the latter steadfast.

[28].The real force of combatants is their courage. Hence striking awe in the hearts of the disbelievers was no ordinary thing. It meant that they would not be able to even do what they were able to do.

[29].Ie. through the swords of the believers. This is a picture of helplessness of the disbelievers as a result of being struck by awe. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:

... As long as an enemy has strength, it seldom gives the opportunity to its rivals to strike them at will. However, once it becomes mentally weak, it can be hauled and mauled without any resistance. When a place is also specified for strike, then this style also depicts its humiliation, and this also indicates its helplessness. (Amin Ahsan Islahi,Tadabbur-i Qur'an, vol. 3, 449)

[30].In accordance with the general style of the Qur'an the address of the discourse has shifted and now this has been said while addressing the Quraysh.

[31].Ie., not in the form of guerilla warfare in which an attack is launched, wealth is plundered and then a withdrawal takes place but in the form of an organized battle.

[32].It is evident from this that if at the behest of God holy war is waged, it is prohibited to show cowardice and flee from the battlefield. No believer should do this come what may. This is the crime of showing distrust in God's help, giving preference to this world over the next and regarding death and life to be a product of one's own strategy which cannot co-exist with faith.

[33].It is mentioned in the narratives that when the armies of the Muslims and the disbelievers met, the Prophet (sws) picked up a handful of dust from the earth and declaring: شاهت الوجوه threw it towards the disbelievers. This sentence signifies a curse and a way to curse others since the earliest times. Right after it, the Muslims launched a sudden attack. It is to this incident that the Qur'an has referred here. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi states:

Here a linguistic style must be kept in mind: at times the negation of a verb is not meant for its negationbut a negation of the ascription of the grand consequences which manifested themselves in the wake of the verb: decimating the armor-clad armies of the Quraysh by a handful of Muslims or the transformation of a handful of dust thrown by the Prophet (sws) into a dust-storm that blinded all the disbelievers – all these were not the feats of the blood-stained swords of the Muslims or the throw of the Prophet (sws). These were in fact feats of God's help that was concealed in the sheaths of the Muslims and in the arm of the Prophet (sws). (Amin Ahsan Islahi,Tadabbur-i Qur'an, vol. 3, 451)

[34].The actual words are: وَ لِیُبۡلِیَ الۡمُؤۡمِنِیۡنَ مِنۡہُ بَلَآءً حَسَنًا. Its copulative clause (ma'tuf 'alayh) is suppressed as per linguistic principles because it is self-evident from these words.

[35].The actual word is ذٰلِکُمۡ. When it occurs like this it takes the place of a whole sentence. The translation has unraveled it. The copulative particle وَahead relates to the meaning of this sentence. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:

... This sentence occurs in exact parallel to verse 14: ذٰلِکُمۡ فَذُوۡقُوۡہُ وَ اَنَّ لِلۡکٰفِرِیۡنَ عَذَابَ النَّارِ. In other words, this is an immediate reversal suffered by the disbelievers at Badr and for the believers it is a great victory that they have notched up. Now, it is Hell that awaits the disbelievers and for the believers are the glad tidings that all the conspiracies of the disbelievers will utterly fail and the religion of truth shall triumph. (Amin Ahsan Islahi,Tadabbur-i Qur'an, vol. 3, 452)

[36].The actual word used is: كَيْدْ. It is absolutely evident from this word that the battle of Badr was not the result of any initiative from the believers. It emanated from the conspiracies of the leaders of the Quraysh. They fabricated the excuse of protecting the trade caravan and came out to decimate the Muslims from the face of the earth with a huge army. Precisely for this reason, the Almighty called this onslaught and what they would do afterwards as كَيْدْ which means a plot and a conspiracy.

[37].It is evident from historical narratives that the Quraysh were fully convinced of their victory in this battle. Before departing for Badr, while holding the curtains of the Holy Ka'bah, they had prayed: "God! Help the army which is the finest among the two groups, which is the most honourable among the two and which is the best among the two." (Ibn Kathir, Tafsir al-Qur'an al-'Azim, vol. 2, 392). In this way, they themselves came to regard it as a decisive barometer between truth and falsehood. The decision thus arrived. In verse 41 ahead, the Qur'an has called it یَوۡمَ الۡفُرۡقَانِ for this very reason.

[38].This complete verse is an advice and an admonition as well. The implication is that at best they can think that in future they will attack with more force and might. They should know that this too will be of no avail to them because God is with the believers. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:

... This [last] part is the real force of the whole verseand its two words contain a whole world of threats for the disbelievers and glad tidings for the believers. It says that whoever wants to come and fight should come now and gather as many people as he can in support; God's support lies with the believers! May God be praised. (Amin Ahsan Islahi,Tadabbur-i Qur'an, vol. 3, 453)

[39].Though this address is general, it is directed to the weak and the hypocrites among Muslims which are under discussion since the beginning of the surah.

[40].The word اَطِیۡعُوا occurs in the verse. It is in its complete form and as such has been translated thus.

[41].Earlier God and His messenger both are mentioned. Here, however, the pronoun occurs in the singular. It is evident from this that turning away from the call of the messenger is tantamount to turning away from God. This is because the sole means of establishing a relationship with God and obeying Him is the messenger.

[42].These words express the grave nature of their attitude: if this is how they behave in the presence of the messenger and after directly hearing from him, then what will they do after him?

[43].Those who have an appreciation of the stylistics of the Qur'an can well understand that this is a reference to the Jews.

[44].This is stated because the distinctive feature of a human being is listening, understanding and using his intellect. If he deprives himself of these, then he becomes a two-legged animal, in fact the worst of animals. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:

… The worst of animals because however bad an animal may be it is bound by its instincts and holds a benefit in a certain capacity. However, if a human being is deprived of his distinctive trait, he even beats Satan in his evil-doings. If he uses his intellect and insight, then just as there is no limit to his excellence, there is no limit to his lowliness if he does not use his intellect and insight. (Amin Ahsan Islahi,Tadabbur-i Qur'an, vol. 3, 457)

[45].This is God's law about providing guidance. If a person keeps alive in him the ability to distinguish good and evil and keeps using it, the Almighty increases this urge and ability and the person continues to develop and improve to reach excellence in his ideology and deeds.

[46].This is because it would not have been able to find root in it and man would have definitely done away with it. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:

… However nutritious food may be, if the stomach is in disorder, it will not accept it. He may swallow a little but very soon he will throw up. For the proper upbringing of a plant, merely its own health is sufficient. Also needed is fertile land. If a gardener sows a very healthy plant in infertile land, then the plant may thrive for some time because of its innate abilities but when it does not receive its required nutrition from the land, it will ultimately wither away. Similar is the case with the seeds of piety and guidance. It nurtures only in fertile human nature as per its own abilities. If someone's human nature has become infertile, then seeds can be sown by providence in it but it is the law of providence itself that they will not grow and develop in it. (Amin Ahsan Islahi,Tadabbur-i Qur'an, vol. 3, 458)

[47].I.e., it gives real and eternal life. In the words of Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi, accepting turns sight into insight. It is because of it that intellect receives the light that opens for it the secrets found within a person as well as outside him. It is through it that such life is received by the heart that a piece of flesh becomes a place that receives radiance and enlightenment from God.

[48].This barrier refers to the barrier caused by God's law. Deliberation shows that this is a very severe admonition. The implication is that if they deliberately turn away from the call of God's messenger, a time will come when they reach a point of no return. After that, God's law will become a barrier between them and this call – the law which relates to providing guidance. Thus after repeated reminders, if they do not mend their ways then, because of this wrongdoing, their hearts will be sealed and God will eternally deprive them of guidance.

[49].In this world, the law of God is that at times because of the wrongdoing of a group a whole nation has to suffer a punishment. They are warned about this and told to mend their ways otherwise they may be afflicted by a calamity that will visit the whole group – in fact, the later generations. For this reason, it has been made an obligation on people by the religion of God to urge others to do righteous deeds and stop them from evil. The Qur'an calls this as amr bi al-ma'ruf and nahi 'an al-munkar. It is in accordance with this directive that the Prophet enjoined: "When any person among you sees an evil [in his circle of authority], he should try to curb it by [the force of] his hands. If he does not have the faith to do it, he should try to curb it by his tongue and if [even] this is not possible, he should consider it bad in his heart and this is the lowest level of faith." (Muslim, Al-Jami' al-sahih, 42, (no. 177))

[50].Here the Almighty has recounted His favours to emphasize on people to respond to the demand of obeying God and His prophet.

[51].The actual words are: وَ تَخُوۡنُوۡۤا اَمٰنٰتِکُمۡ وَ اَنۡتُمۡ تَعۡلَمُوۡنَ. They are connected to the previous sentence but the letter لاis not repeated. This is because showing insincerity to God and His Messenger opens the way for people to show insincerity and dishonesty in the responsibilities entrusted to them. This verse is in exact parallel to the directive which is mentioned in verse 24. What is said in an affirmative way in that verse is stated here such that people are stopped from indulging in its opposite. The implication is that the covenant of obeying God and His Messenger that they have made is a trust. If they break it, whether openly or secretly, it would amount to dishonesty and breaching this trust. They should not commit this breach and after acknowledging the words (we listened and we obeyed), they should not show insincerity and treachery to God and His Messenger. It is the directive of God that no breach should be made in any trust. The condition "deliberately" is meant to reprimand people who are referred to here. However, it is a separate fact that an act becomes a crime in the eyes of God when it is done intentionally after knowing that it is wrong.

[52].At the end, the real ailment is pointed to: it is the love of wealth and children that is the cause of this attitude. Though this love is found in human nature, yet when it overcomes a person in such a manner that it leads to insincerity with God and His Messenger or breaching the rights of others, then he should know that it has become a means of trial for him. At this instance, one should bear in mind that those who are not insincere to God and His Messenger while being lured away by the love of wealth and children are abundantly rewarded by God.

[53].Ie., they should not break the promise they made with God and His Messenger and while fearing God follow the directives given to them.

[54].Furqanconnotes something which distinguishes good and evil. In verse 41 ahead, the battle of Badr is called Furqan for precisely this reason. The implication is that soon the Almighty will create such circumstances that even the blind will see the sun of the truth has risen with full splendour and no room remains for any doubt.

[55].I.e., if they continue to adhere to piety in future, then even if some mistakes have been committed, the Almighty will forgive these errors and forgive them.

[56].This is a reference to the consultative meeting held by the Quraysh at the Dar al-Nadwah in which they discussed various suggestions to take a final decision regarding the Prophet (sws). It is evident from historical narratives that there finally emerged a consensus on killing him. The strategy adopted for this was that all the families of the Quraysh would participate. Here this event has been recalled in order to emphasize the promise of furqan mentioned earlier. Its details can be looked up in books of Hadith and biographies of the Prophet (sws). The aspect of conspiracy in them was that when all the families were a part of this crime the blame would have to be distributed over all of them and as a result it would not be possible for the Banu 'Abd Munaf to fight with everyone. They would thus be compelled to settle the matter on diyat.

[57].The implication is that he should trust the Lord Who even after the decision taken by leaders of the Quraysh made such a plan that the Prophet (sws) escaped their treachery. Those who went after him were also humbled and Muslims were able to acquire a place for migration which actually decided the fate of Islam in Arabia. Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:

… The most fertile and helpful land for the development of Islam was Madinah towards which the disbelievers themselves pushed Muslims to go. Thus does God realize His schemes. Enemies think that they have won the battle but in reality it is the strategy of God that succeeds. Whenever He intends, He uses the enemies to accomplish the very task of reaping victory for the truth and destroying the enemy. (Amin Ahsan Islahi,Tadabbur-i Qur'an, vol. 3, 467)

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The Shari‘ah of Jihad

The Shari‘ah of Preaching

The Economic Shari‘ah

The Political Shari‘ah

The Social Shari‘ah

The Shari‘ah of Worship Rituals

The Phases and Abodes of the Day of Judgement

The Signs and Events of the Day of Judgement