Surah al-Anfal (41-75) (1/2)

Surah al-Anfal (41-75) (1/2)


Qur'anic Exegesis

بِسۡمِ اللّٰہِ الرَّحۡمٰنِ الرَّحِیۡمِ

وَ اعۡلَمُوۡۤااَنَّمَا غَنِمۡتُمۡمِّنۡشَیۡءٍ فَاَنَّ لِلّٰہِ خُمُسَہٗوَ لِلرَّسُوۡلِ وَ لِذِی الۡقُرۡبٰی وَ الۡیَتٰمٰی وَ الۡمَسٰکِیۡنِ وَ ابۡنِ السَّبِیۡلِۙاِنۡ کُنۡتُمۡ اٰمَنۡتُمۡبِاللّٰہِوَ مَاۤ اَنۡزَلۡنَا عَلٰی عَبۡدِنَا یَوۡمَ الۡفُرۡقَانِ یَوۡمَ الۡتَقَی الۡجَمۡعٰنِؕوَ اللّٰہُ عَلٰی کُلِّ شَیۡءٍ قَدِیۡرٌ﴿۴۱﴾

[You had asked; so] be informed[1] that a fifth of whatever spoils of war you have acquired belongs only to God, His Prophet, the near relatives [of the Prophet], the orphans, the needy and the wayfarer.[2] If you believe in God and that what We had sent down to Our servant on the day of decision[3] when the two armies met, [then follow this directive without the slightest of hesitation and bear in mind that] God has power over all things.[4] (41)

اِذۡ اَنۡتُمۡبِالۡعُدۡوَۃِالدُّنۡیَا وَ ہُمۡ بِالۡعُدۡوَۃِالۡقُصۡوٰی وَ الرَّکۡبُ اَسۡفَلَ مِنۡکُمۡؕوَ لَوۡ تَوَاعَدۡتُّمۡ لَاخۡتَلَفۡتُمۡ فِی الۡمِیۡعٰدِۙوَ لٰکِنۡلِّیَقۡضِیَاللّٰہُ اَمۡرًا کَانَ مَفۡعُوۡلًا۬ۙلِّیَہۡلِکَ مَنۡ ہَلَکَ عَنۡۢبَیِّنَۃٍوَّ یَحۡیٰی مَنۡ حَیَّعَنۡۢ بَیِّنَۃٍ ؕوَاِنَّ اللّٰہَ لَسَمِیۡعٌ عَلِیۡمٌ﴿ۙ۴۲﴾اِذۡ یُرِیۡکَہُمُاللّٰہُ فِیۡمَنَامِکَ قَلِیۡلًاؕوَ لَوۡ اَرٰىکَہُمۡ کَثِیۡرًا لَّفَشِلۡتُمۡ وَ لَتَنَازَعۡتُمۡ فِی الۡاَمۡرِ وَ لٰکِنَّ اللّٰہَ سَلَّمَؕاِنَّہٗ عَلِیۡمٌۢ بِذَاتِ الصُّدُوۡرِ﴿۴۳﴾وَاِذۡ یُرِیۡکُمُوۡہُمۡ اِذِ الۡتَقَیۡتُمۡ فِیۡۤاَعۡیُنِکُمۡ قَلِیۡلًا وَّ یُقَلِّلُکُمۡ فِیۡۤ اَعۡیُنِہِمۡ لِیَقۡضِیَاللّٰہُ اَمۡرًا کَانَ مَفۡعُوۡلًاؕوَ اِلَی اللّٰہِ تُرۡجَعُ الۡاُمُوۡرُ﴿۴۴﴾

Recall when you were at the near end[5] of the valley and they were at the far end and the caravan was below you. If you had co-ordinated with one another before departing, you would certainly have missed one another.[6] But [God did not allow this to happen] in order that God decide this matter that was ordained so that he who dies can die after seeing the proof and he who lives, can live after seeing the proof.[7] Indeed, God hears and knows all.[8] Remember [O Prophet] when God was showing them to you few in number in your dream.[9] Had He shown them to be more, you would definitely have felt defeated and would have quarreled[10] with one another regarding the issue at hand. But God saved you.[11] Indeed, He even knows what is in the hearts. And recall when at the time you met He was showing them to you few in number and showing you to them few in number so that God may decide this matter that was bound to happen.[12] [In reality,] all matters return to God alone. (42-44)

یٰۤاَیُّہَا الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡۤا اِذَا لَقِیۡتُمۡ فِئَۃًفَاثۡبُتُوۡا وَ اذۡکُرُوا اللّٰہَ کَثِیۡرًا لَّعَلَّکُمۡ تُفۡلِحُوۡنَ﴿ۚ۴۵﴾وَ اَطِیۡعُوا اللّٰہَ وَ رَسُوۡلَہٗ وَ لَا تَنَازَعُوۡا فَتَفۡشَلُوۡا وَ تَذۡہَبَ رِیۡحُکُمۡ وَ اصۡبِرُوۡاؕاِنَّ اللّٰہَ مَعَ الصّٰبِرِیۡنَ﴿ۚ۴۶﴾وَ لَا تَکُوۡنُوۡاکَالَّذِیۡنَ خَرَجُوۡامِنۡدِیَارِہِمۡبَطَرًاوَّ رِئَآءَالنَّاسِ وَ یَصُدُّوۡنَ عَنۡ سَبِیۡلِ اللّٰہِؕوَ اللّٰہُ بِمَا یَعۡمَلُوۡنَ مُحِیۡطٌ﴿۴۷﴾وَاِذۡ زَیَّنَ لَہُمُ الشَّیۡطٰنُ اَعۡمَالَہُمۡ وَ قَالَ لَا غَالِبَ لَکُمُ الۡیَوۡمَ مِنَ النَّاسِ وَاِنِّیۡجَارٌ لَّکُمۡۚفَلَمَّا تَرَآءَتِ الۡفِئَتٰنِ نَکَصَ عَلٰی عَقِبَیۡہِوَ قَالَ اِنِّیۡبَرِیۡٓءٌ مِّنۡکُمۡ اِنِّیۡۤ اَرٰی مَا لَا تَرَوۡنَ اِنِّیۡۤ اَخَافُ اللّٰہَؕوَ اللّٰہُ شَدِیۡدُ الۡعِقَابِ﴿۴۸﴾اِذۡ یَقُوۡلُالۡمُنٰفِقُوۡنَ وَالَّذِیۡنَ فِیۡقُلُوۡبِہِمۡمَّرَضٌ غَرَّہٰۤؤُ لَآءِدِیۡنُہُمۡؕوَ مَنۡیَّتَوَکَّلۡ عَلَی اللّٰہِ فَاِنَّ اللّٰہَ عَزِیۡزٌ حَکِیۡمٌ﴿۴۹﴾

Believers! When [in future also] you have to fight an army, remain steadfast and remember God in abundance[13] so that you may succeed.[14] And obey God and His Messenger[15] and do not quarrel with one another for as its consequence you will feel defeated and your resolve will weaken. Remain steadfast because God is with those who are steadfast.[16] Be not like those who came out of their homes boastfully and displaying their grandeur[17]and whose attitude is that they stop [people] from the way of God even though God fully encompasses what they do.Recall when Satan made their deeds appear fair to them and said: "There is no one among people today who can dominate you, and [rest assured] I am with you." But when the two groups met, he took to his heels and said: "I am done with you and see what you cannot. I fear God; in reality, God is stern in punishment."[18] Recall when the hypocrites and those also who have an ailment in their hearts were saying [about you]: "Their religion has deceived them,"[19] even though those who trust God [are definitely helped by Him]. This is because God is powerful and wise. (45-49)

وَ لَوۡ تَرٰۤی اِذۡ یَتَوَفَّی الَّذِیۡنَ کَفَرُواۙالۡمَلٰٓئِکَۃُیَضۡرِبُوۡنَ وُجُوۡہَہُمۡ وَاَدۡبَارَہُمۡۚ وَ ذُوۡقُوۡا عَذَابَ الۡحَرِیۡقِ﴿۵۰﴾ذٰلِکَ بِمَا قَدَّمَتۡ اَیۡدِیۡکُمۡ وَاَنَّ اللّٰہَ لَیۡسَ بِظَلَّامٍ لِّلۡعَبِیۡدِ﴿ۙ۵۱﴾

Had you been able to see [you would have known what happened at that time] when the angels were claiming the souls of these disbelievers whilst striking them on their faces and their backs and while saying: "Taste now the torment of the fire!" This is the punishment for what you had sent ahead and because God does not do the slightest of injustice to His servants.[20] (50-51)

کَدَاۡبِ اٰلِ فِرۡعَوۡنَۙوَ الَّذِیۡنَ مِنۡقَبۡلِہِمۡؕ کَفَرُوۡا بِاٰیٰتِ اللّٰہِ فَاَخَذَہُمُ اللّٰہُ بِذُنُوۡبِہِمۡؕاِنَّ اللّٰہَ قَوِیٌّشَدِیۡدُالۡعِقَابِ﴿۵۲﴾ذٰلِکَ بِاَنَّ اللّٰہَ لَمۡ یَکُ مُغَیِّرًا نِّعۡمَۃًاَنۡعَمَہَا عَلٰی قَوۡمٍ حَتّٰی یُغَیِّرُوۡا مَا بِاَنۡفُسِہِمۡۙوَ اَنَّ اللّٰہَ سَمِیۡعٌ عَلِیۡمٌ﴿ۙ۵۳﴾کَدَاۡبِ اٰلِ فِرۡعَوۡنَۙوَ الَّذِیۡنَ مِنۡقَبۡلِہِمۡؕکَذَّبُوۡا بِاٰیٰتِ رَبِّہِمۡ فَاَہۡلَکۡنٰہُمۡبِذُنُوۡبِہِمۡ وَ اَغۡرَقۡنَاۤ اٰلَ فِرۡعَوۡنَۚوَ کُلٌّ کَانُوۡا ظٰلِمِیۡنَ﴿۵۴﴾

The same thing happened to them as happened to the people of the Pharaoh and those before them.[21] They denied the revelations of God; so God seized them for their sins. Indeed, God is mighty and stern in retribution. This happened because God does not change a favour He has blessed a nation with unless they change themselves. [Moreover,] because God hears and knows all.[22] The same had happened with the people of the Pharaoh and those before them. They rejected the signs of their Lord; so, [at last,] We destroyed them because of their sins and drowned the Pharaoh's people.[23] All these were unjust people. (52-54)

اِنَّ شَرَّ الدَّوَآبِّ عِنۡدَ اللّٰہِالَّذِیۡنَ کَفَرُوۡا فَہُمۡ لَا یُؤۡمِنُوۡنَ﴿ۖۚ۵۵﴾اَلَّذِیۡنَ عٰہَدۡتَّ مِنۡہُمۡ ثُمَّ یَنۡقُضُوۡنَ عَہۡدَہُمۡ فِیۡ کُلِّ مَرَّۃٍ وَّ ہُمۡ لَا یَتَّقُوۡنَ﴿۵۶﴾فَاِمَّا تَثۡقَفَنَّہُمۡ فِی الۡحَرۡبِ فَشَرِّدۡ بِہِمۡمَّنۡ خَلۡفَہُمۡ لَعَلَّہُمۡ یَذَّکَّرُوۡنَ﴿۵۷﴾وَ اِمَّا تَخَافَنَّ مِنۡقَوۡمٍ خِیَانَۃً فَانۡۢبِذۡ اِلَیۡہِمۡ عَلٰی سَوَآءٍ ؕاِنَّ اللّٰہَ لَا یُحِبُّ الۡخَآئِنِیۡنَ﴿۵۸﴾

Indeed, in the sight of God, the vilest animals are the people who have denied and are not prepared in any way to believe.[24] [In particular, people] with whom you made a treaty; then they break their treaty at every instance and fear not the slightest [what the consequences will be].[25] So, when you find them in a battle strike them in such a way that those behind them[26] are also routed that they may learn a lesson. [You people, however, must always abide by the treaty] and if you fear any treachery from a people, throw back their treaty to them on equal terms.[27]In reality, God does not like the treacherous.[28](55-58)

وَ لَا یَحۡسَبَنَّ الَّذِیۡنَ کَفَرُوۡا سَبَقُوۡاؕ اِنَّہُمۡ لَا یُعۡجِزُوۡنَ ﴿۵۹﴾وَاَعِدُّوۡا لَہُمۡمَّا اسۡتَطَعۡتُمۡمِّنۡقُوَّۃٍوَّ مِنۡرِّبَاطِ الۡخَیۡلِ تُرۡہِبُوۡنَ بِہٖعَدُوَّ اللّٰہِ وَ عَدُوَّکُمۡ وَاٰخَرِیۡنَ مِنۡدُوۡنِہِمۡۚلَا تَعۡلَمُوۡنَہُمۡ ۚاَللّٰہُ یَعۡلَمُہُمۡؕوَ مَا تُنۡفِقُوۡا مِنۡشَیۡءٍ فِیۡ سَبِیۡلِ اللّٰہِ یُوَفَّ اِلَیۡکُمۡ وَ اَنۡتُمۡ لَا تُظۡلَمُوۡنَ﴿۶۰﴾

These rejecters must be under the misconception that they can get away. They can never go beyond Our grasp.[29] [As much as you can,] prepareagainst them all the army[30]and trained horses[31]at your disposal so that you can strike awe into the enemies of God and of the believers and others beside them who may be unknown to you. God knows them.[32][For this purpose,] whatever you spend for the cause of God shall be fully repaid to you.[33]And you shall not be given any less. (59-60)

[1].Since very unbecoming questions had been raised about the spoils of war, after commenting on the weakness of the people, God has now given His verdict and the opening sentence is in the form of a warning.

[2].It has been stated earlier that God has not granted any right to the warriors on the spoils of war in the battles fought in the times of the Prophet (sws). It is thus said that all of them belong to God and His messenger. Here is it is stated that instead of all the wealth only one-fifth of it will be used for collective needs and the rest would be graciously distributed among the warriors. It is evident that this distribution was done because people had in fact fought the war and made use of their personal provisions and other needs like weapons, camels and horses. Consequently, in military campaigns, where the services of Muslim warriors and combatants were not used, they were told by the Qur'an in verses 6-8 of Surah al-Hashr that all the booty obtained would be used for the collective purposes of the state and religion and for the poor and needy: none of it would be given to the warriors. The verse under discussion has explained the heads of these collective needs.

First and foremost, the share of the Almighty is stated. God Almighty is above all needs and does not need anything. His share is actually reserved for the requirements of His religion. Consequently, under this head, wealth will be expended on fulfilling such needs as helping the cause of Islam at the state level as an obligation. This includes measures that protect and promote it.

The second share stated is that of the Prophet (sws). Besides carrying out his duties as a Messenger, he was also the head of the Islamic state and as such spent every moment of his life in discharging them. To earn a livelihood while discharging these duties was not possible for him. In these circumstances, it was necessary that he be granted a share in the spoils of war. Of course, the nature of this share was such that it was not given to him in his personal capacity so that it may be distributed among his heirs after him. Consequently, after his death, this share was expended by the state on his behalf and in his prophetic capacity to fulfil the collective needs of the Muslims.

The third share stated is that of the near relatives. Obviously, by these are meant those relatives who were dependent on the Prophet (sws) for their livelihood and about the fulfilment of whose needs the Prophet (sws) considered himself to be morally responsible. He was a father to all Muslims. Consequently, this responsibility too, in accordance with the dictates of both the shari'ah and social conventions, was transferred to the state after the Prophet (sws) and his kin remained the recipients of this share as long as they lived.

The fourth share is that of the poor, the orphans and the wayfarers. While stating this share, the particle ل(lam) is not repeated in this verse. This particle is appended to all the three shares stated before. This fourth category of shares is actually mentioned under the third stated share of near relatives. The reason is to honour the recipients of this category as if they are also the near relatives of the Prophet (sws). This head needs no explanation. A society which is not sensitive to the requirements of these sections, and a society in which orphans are subjected to misery and in which there is no one to take care of the wayfarers cannot in any way be given the noble name of an Islamic society.

[3].Ie., the divine help in the battle of Badr. The "day of decision" refers to the day of the battle of Badr. The reason for naming it so has been referred to earlier.

[4].This is has been stated because the addressees are the ones who had raised objections about the spoils of war. Another aspect of this sentence is worth noting. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:

... The words used are not: "If you believe in the help that We sent down to you." On the contrary, they are: "That We sent down to Our servant." It is evident from them that no group should think that this success was because of its own doing. Whatever happened was God's work and the blessing of His messenger for whose help God sent His army. God has power over everything. Neither God nor His messenger is dependent on anyone. Whenever God wants, He will send His army to help His messenger. (Amin Ahsan Islahi,Tadabbur-i Qur'an, vol. 3, 483)

[5].Ie., the end which was nearer to Madinah.

[6].The implication is that if both groups had come out while deciding for themselves that one of them has to attack on the false pretext of protecting the caravan and the other taking advantage of this opportunity wanted to teach a lesson to the attackers and to overawe it, they would never have met one another in such a way that the caravan would still be in range of the Muslims while both armies are face to face. It was more likely that before the huge army of the Quraysh arrived, the caravan would have safely left and they would have not been left with any pretext to attack it. Thus their own people would have insisted that the fear on account of which they had come out proved baseless and that now there is no reason to attack and thus they would have been compelled to return to Madinah without any war in spite of all the preparations.

[7].The preposition عَنْis used after هَلَكَand حَيَّin this verse. It signifies the origin and fountainhead. In Arabic,a preposition occurs for this meaning as well. Death and life here refers to spiritual death and life and the word proof (bayyinah) refers to the furqan that manifested itself in the battle of Badr and which made truth and falsehood evident to every upright person.

[8].These divine attributes are cited with reference to the whole scheme mentioned above. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:

... The implication is that regardless of wherever the Muslims, the Quraysh and the caravan were, the Almighty, God who knew the secrets of each of these factions, was aware of their whisperings and cognizant of their intentions and then gathered all of them to realize the objective that He had set because He sees and knows all. (Amin Ahsan Islahi,Tadabbur-i Qur'an, vol. 3, 483)

[9].At times, things are depicted symbolically in a dream. This happened at this instance as well and the Prophet (sws) saw the army of the Quraysh in an extremely small number. This small number actually referred to their small number in essence and reality.

[10].These words are addressed to the group which is under discussion since the beginning of the surah. The implication is that if the army of the Quraysh had been shown in large numbers in which it actually was, the Prophet (sws) would have mentioned them the way it was. The consequence of this would have been that the weak Muslims who had no courage to fight even when the Quraysh army was mentioned to them in small number, would have totally given up and a difference of opinion would have resulted and it would have become impossible to come out to fight.

[11].Ie., saved them from expressing weakness and, after some discussion, even the weak Muslims became ready for the battle.

[12].Ie., the reason for showing one another in few numbes is that both groups are not overcome by fear and that the furqan manifests itself which had been decided in God's scheme.

[13].God's remembrance is a means of procuring steadfastness and steadfastness is necessary because without it, God's help cannot be secured. Here Muslims are told to remember God in abundance. The reason is that if the circumstances are extremely adverse, then this remembrance is also needed copiously.

[14].The actual words are: لَّعَلَّکُمۡ تُفۡلِحُوۡنَ. In the terminology of the Qur'an, فلاح(success) is a comprehensive word. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:

... This comprises success both in this world and in the next. Mere dominanace can be achieved without God's remembrance, but it cannot be a means of success. Success can only be acquired through that dominance whose door is opened with the help of God's remembrance and in which those who attain this dominance live in God's company. (Amin Ahsan Islahi,Tadabbur-i Qur'an, vol. 3, 487)

[15].A special meaning of obeying God and His Messenger is also understood here that while combating the enemy full discipline is shown in following the directives of God and His Messenger. This is because just as lack of God's remembrance causes disruption in the mind and heart of a person, lack of discipline disturbs the order and system of a group.

[16].This statement was given earlier with relation to individuals. Here it has been given with relation to collectivities. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:

.. The implication is that if they want God's help and close association, they should prove themselves worthy by their collective character. God does not help an indisciplined mob. He helps those who fight for His cause in a united and orderly way. (Amin Ahsan Islahi,Tadabbur-i Qur'an, vol. 3, 488)

[17].This is a reference to the pomp and show displayed by the Quraysh when they came out for the battle of Badr. The purpose is to tell Muslims that pomp and show is not befitting for believers. Whether they are at war or living peacefully, humility and servitude should reflect from them because their war is not mere war, it is tantamount to worshipping God and it is essential that this majesty of war should remain intact at every place. Whatever they need to do, they should do it for God and seek its reward in the Hereafter only. Just as this sincerity is needed from them in worship, it is also needed from them in war.

[18].Obviously these statements were not given by Satan by exposing himself before others. He actually followed his set pattern of expressing them through his followers among human beings. It is evident from certain other instances in the Qur'an that the Jews of Madinah acted as Satan's agents in this matter. It is very likely that as this instance too, they would have urged and encouraged the Quraysh to come forward and fight by saying that none can match their might. However, when the time came they must have backed out lest they too are seized by God's torment. The reason was that they knew full well that Muhammad (sws) is the very messenger of God whose arrival had been prophecied in their scriptures. In the words of the Qur'an, they recognized him the way a father recognizes his estranged son. It is true that they were never prepared to accept any prophet or messenger outside their nation. Hence they wanted someone else to endanger himself and relieve them of this trial they had been inflicted with after the arrival of Muhammad (sws). After seeing both armies face to face, whatever Satan said manifested itself in the attitude of the Jews as well even though after encouraging the Quraysh they never ventured forth in the battlefield to openly help the Quraysh. The Qur'an has warned them here in a subtle way and also told the Muslims who is actually behind what they apparently see.

[19].Ie., after divesting them of sense and reason, made them infatuated with that in spite of being underdogs they can fight a superior army and even though they are more of a mole hill, they can take on a mountain.

[20].Thus He is dealing with them in precisely the same manner they have become worthy of because of their misdeeds. The actual words are: وَ مَاۤ اَنَا بِظَلَّامٍ لِّلۡعَبِیۡدِ. Here the negation on the exaggerated statement is meant to exaggerate the negation. I have translated this expression keeping in view this fact. What is stated here is the same mentioned elsewhere in the Qur'an thus: اِنَّ اللّٰہَ لَا یَظۡلِمُ مِثۡقَالَ ذَرَّۃٍ(40:4) (God is not the slightest bit unjust, (4:40)) and (44:10) اِنَّ اللّٰہَ لَا یَظۡلِمُ النَّاسَ شَیۡئًا (God is not the slightest bit unjust to people, (10:44)). Examples of this style are found in the Qur'an and in classical Arabic as well.

[21].This refers to the punishments that descended on them one after the other so that they pay heed and are prepared to listen to their Prophet (sws). Precisely this is what happened with the Quraysh in the battle of Badr. It is thus stated that they have been treated in the same way as the people of the Pharoah and those before them.

[22].The implication is that the torment of God follows a law. It is based entirely on God's sight and hearing. Thus after choosing a nation to rise above all, if He decides to destroy them, then the reason is their misdeeds. This is the relentless practice of God regarding the rise and fall of nations. It is mentioned in verse 58 of Surah Bani Isra'il that God is dealing with each and every nation of this world in this manner and will continue to do so till the Day of Judgement. After the advent of His messengers, this dealing can be observed. If after conclusive communication of the truth from them, a nation denies God's revelations, then this shows that it has totally gone astray. It is thus consigned to total doom.

[23].Ie., beyond admonition, a phase has also reached which arose in the case of the previous nations in which they would even deny clear signs of God. The Quraysh too acted similary in the battle of Badr even after observing God's furqan. Hence, they should now get ready to face its consequences. The fate the Pharaoh in his armies met after this adopting this attitude was that God had them drowned.

It is evident from this explanation that though the words کَدَاۡبِ اٰلِ فِرۡعَوۡنَ occur twice in these verses, they are not meant for repetition. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:

... This is not a repetition; in fact, two different things are stated at both places. First it is said that this is the same admonition that was meted out to the Pharaoh and other nations. It is then stated that if they do not benefit from this admonition, then they too will ultimately be afflicted with the same decisive torment that these nations were afflicted with. (Amin Ahsan Islahi,Tadabbur-i Qur'an, vol. 3, 497)

[24].This is because a human being remains a human being as long as he has the ability to think and understand and is able to take decisions in the light of knowledge and intellect. If a person becomes devoid of this ability, he is no different from an animal. The words شَرَّ الدَّوَآبِّoccur in the verse. The stress and intensity they carry has already been explained earlier in verse 22.

[25].This is a reference to the Jews and other tribes with whom the Prophet (sws) made agreements after his migration in order to mutually help one another and live as good neighbours. However, whenever the circumstances for which these agreements were made would arise, they never abide by them and would always break them.

[26].This refers to those people who had yet to enter combat and were ready waiting for their turn.

[27].The actual words are: عَلَی سَوَآءٍ. What do they mean? Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:

... The expression عَلَی سَوَآءٍmeans that Muslims also have the right to retaliate on equal footing. It is evident from it that the revenge should never exceed the harm inflicted: it should be commensurate with it. Some people have derived from this expression that it is essential to inform the opposite party about the termination of a treaty. I could find no argument for this deduction in it. However, what is evident is that a mere hypothetical fear is not enough to end a treaty. The other party must have practically breached it. In the first place the verb تَخَافَنَّhas emphasis in it. Secondly, the condition عَلَی سَوَآءٍalso points to this. (Amin Ahsan Islahi,Tadabbur-i Qur'an, vol. 3, 499)

[28].Ie., if God does not like it, then the believers should also not like it.

[29].The actual words are: اِنَّہُمۡ لَا یُعۡجِزُوۡنَ. They have the same meaning as the expression: أعجزه الصيد. Ie., فاته و لم يقدر عليه.

[30].The actual word is: قوة. It is evident from other instances in the Qur'an that it is also used for numerical power. The implication is that now a they must have an organized force of warriors at their disposal at all times so that they may be used against the disbelievers when needed. It should not be the case that whenever an attack is to be launched a call for volunteers is given. Now believers should have an organized army as far as they are capable of and it should also be in large numbers as far as possible.

[31].This refers to horses which have been trained for this very purpose. This has been said because in those times horses had the same status as tanks and fighter planes have today.

[32].This is a reference to those elements and forces which were hitherto hidden but God knew that soon or late they will manifest themselves in some form or the other. For example, Jews and hypocrites with whom the Prophet (sws) had made treaties of remaining impartial. Similarly, the Romans, Ghassanids and the Persians too had become concerned with what was happening in Arabia and were looking at it with apprehension.

[33].Ie., repaid to them in accordance with the principle God has prescribed for the reward of virtue.

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Surah al-Anfal (41-75) (2/2)




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