(Translated from Tadabbur-i Qur'ān by Shehzad Saleem)
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِذَا تَنَاجَيْتُمْ فَلَا تَتَنَاجَوْا بِالْإِثْمِ وَالْعُدْوَانِ وَمَعْصِيَتِ الرَّسُولِ وَتَنَاجَوْا بِالْبِرِّ وَالتَّقْوَى وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ الَّذِي إِلَيْهِ تُحْشَرُونَ (9)
These verses inform the Muslims that najwā (secret conversation) in itself is nothing bad. There are a lot of occasions in our social lives when the need to mutually consult one another arises. Consultation is one of the foundations of collective life, and it may also need to be kept a secret. If such a consultation relates to virtue, piety and mutual correction and reformation, then it is a means of blessing. So whenever Muslims consult in secret, they should do so for a noble purpose. However, secret consultation in which the Hypocrites indulge and which relates to sin, transgression and disobedience to the Prophet (sws) is satanic in nature. Believers should abstain from it and keep fearing the God in Whose presence everyone will be gathered, and Who is fully aware of their secret consultations, as is stated earlier.
إِنَّمَا النَّجْوَى مِنَ الشَّيْطَانِ لِيَحْزُنَ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَلَيْسَ بِضَارِّهِمْ شَيْئًا إِلَّا بِإِذْنِ اللَّهِ وَعَلَى اللَّهِ فَلْيَتَوَكَّلِ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ (10)
This verse assures the sincere believers that the source of all these secret conversations of the Hypocrites is the incitement of Satan, and what best Satan can do is to inflict some sorrow and grief on the hearts of the Muslims. He can do nothing beyond this. Without the permission of God, he cannot harm people; so the believers should disregard these evil suggestions and provocations of Satan and adhere to their stance; they should trust God that He will protect them from the mischief of every miscreant.
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِذَا قِيلَ لَكُمْ تَفَسَّحُوا فِي الْمَجَالِسِ فَافْسَحُوا يَفْسَحِ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ وَإِذَا قِيلَ انشُزُوا فَانشُزُوا يَرْفَعِ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مِنكُمْ وَالَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْعِلْمَ دَرَجَاتٍ وَاللَّهُ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ خَبِيرٌ (11)
These secret conversations of the Hypocrites would take place in every place and gathering, however they would specially indulge in them in the gatherings of the Prophet (sws) because it was here that they found the greatest opportunities to cast aspersions on Islam, to inflict sorrow and dismay in the hearts and to make fun and show disrespect to the Prophet (sws). Consequently, they would sit in groups in these gatherings and would not allow others to sit among them so that they could easily and freely comment on the conversation of the Prophet (sws). At times, when he would leave these gatherings or when the end of these gatherings would be announced, they would keep sitting to accomplish their evil objectives; in this way, they would get the opportunity to spread evil suggestions among the people present or make schemes of some new trick. This situation called for some directives for the gatherings of the Prophet (sws) so that the Hypocrites could be stopped from their satanic whisperings.
It is evident from the context that the word مَجْلِس in إِذَا قِيلَ لَكُمْ تَفَسَّحُوا فِي الْمَجَالِسِ فَافْسَحُوا refers primarily to the gatherings of the Prophet (sws); however, since the word is used in its plural form in the verse, the purpose is to guide Muslims to manners and etiquette they should observe in all gatherings so that each of their gatherings becomes a reflection of the gatherings of the Prophet (sws). Similarly, at some instances, the word مساجد used is in the plural form; though it primarily refers to the Baytullāh as in إِنَّمَا يَعْمُرُ مَسَاجِدَ اللهِ (9: 18) yet since the word occurs in the plural what is intended to be conveyed is that the guidance given relates to all mosques because they are subservient to this great mosque.
The implication is that when the head of the gathering directs the people to sit with spaces between them, then this directive should be obeyed without any hesitation and people should sit at a distance from each other so that it is easier for others who would join to sit comfortably and it becomes difficult for the Hypocrites to sit together and indulge in whispering. I have stated earlier that the Hypocrites would sit closely together in the form of a group in the gatherings of the Prophet (sws) so that no one from outside them was able to infiltrate their groups; this would make it easier for them to show whatever response they wanted without any external interference; in this way, they would also be able to conceal their whisperings, gestures and sarcastic comments. At times, with this attitude they were able to create a lot of commotion the details of which can be seen in history books and the Qur'ān has also referred to them. At the time of revelation of this sūrah, their mischief had spread a lot. In order to curb it, it was told that when the head of the gathering asks people to sit at a distance, then this directive should be obeyed without any hesitation.
The wordsفَافْسَحُوا يَفْسَحِ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ say that if people make room for others, the Almighty will make room for them. The apparent sense of these words is that the Almighty will create room for them in Paradise; however, the truth of the matter is for the person who widens his heart for others, the Almighty widens the hearts of others for him. Every deed of a person whether apparent or hidden, good or evil has a natural impact; its true manifestation will take place in the Hereafter yet its consequences are also seen in this world as well provided a person has eyes to see them.
The words وَإِذَا قِيلَ انشُزُوا فَانشُزُوا say that if in a similar manner, the head of the gathering asks for people to disperse, then this directive too should be obeyed without any hesitation and without any feeling of inferiority.
The nature of this directive can be individual as well as collective. The implication is that when all the gathering is dispersed, people should whole-heartedly accept this, and should not think that they have been disgraced or that the Prophet's personal comfort has been given preference to a need of the collectivity and that they were not allowed to express themselves.
Similarly, if a person is individually asked to get up and sit at some other place or leave the gathering or give up his place to someone else, then he should obey this directive without complaining. If out of respect for the collective system he behaves in this altruistic manner, the Almighty will accept his sacrifice and elevate him as a result.
The words فَانشُزُوا يَرْفَعِ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَآمَنُوا مِنكُمْ وَالَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْعِلْمَ دَرَجَاتٍ وَاللَّهُ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ خَبِيرٌ occur in contrast to فَافْسَحُوا يَفْسَحِ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ. Even if this standing up and giving up one's place may seemingly be humiliating, the Almighty will make this a means of elevation for the believers.
The words الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مِنكُمْ وَالَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْعِلْمَ دَرَجَاتٍ here are very meaningful. The implication is that the Hypocrites who have infiltrated in the ranks of the Muslims will definitely raise objections against such a directive; they will regard giving space to others by getting up as tantamount to disgracing them. Some of them would even think that they are inferior to others with regard to knowledge and deeds because of which they have been given preference over them; however, men of knowledge and the faithful who will whole-heartedly obey this directive will be greatly rewarded in the Hereafter by the Almighty.
The words assure the men of knowledge and faith that the Almighty is aware of all their deeds. In order to become aware of them, He does not need that an advertisement of their deeds and services be published in newspapers. Whatever sacrifice they make for the betterment of faith and the Muslim ummah and for the respect of the collectivity is fully in the knowledge of God and He will duly reward them for this.
Though this etiquette has been spelled out for the gatherings of the Prophet (sws), it should be observed in all gatherings, as has been indicated earlier. Today while blindly following the West, the ways which have been adopted are regarded to be very modern and developed, however, it is because of them that our parliaments and council have become more of places of duels. In them, various parties form factions only to defeat one another, make evil gestures, indulge in secret conversation and pass sarcastic remarks. At times, matters reach the extent that they even engage in brawls and hurl shoes and chairs at one another and the leader of the house, instead of reminding them of congregational etiquette, has to seek the help of the police.
Section III (Verses 12-13)
Just as in the previous verses, certain measures have been suggested to shield prophetic meetings from clandestine talks, in the same manner, in the succeeding verses a measure has been suggested in order to shield the person of the Prophet (sws) from the evil of those who indulge in these clandestine talks,. When this mischief spread and the Qur'ān condemned it, many Hypocrites started having long meetings with the Prophet (sws) to try to prove themselves to be innocent and incriminate others for their own crimes. These people did not have the courage to do this in open gatherings and hence each of them would try to meet the Prophet (sws) in private. This situation demanded that certain restrictions be imposed on meeting him in private so that each person should not waste his time. This was an emergency directive. When the objective was achieved, this directive was abrogated and the abrogated verses were placed right before the abrogating ones so that one does not have any difficulty in appreciating the coherence in the discourse.
Readers may now continue to study the succeeding verses.
Text and Translation
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِذَا نَاجَيْتُمُ الرَّسُولَ فَقَدِّمُوا بَيْنَ يَدَيْ نَجْوَاكُمْ صَدَقَةً ذَلِكَ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ وَأَطْهَرُ فَإِن لَّمْ تَجِدُوا فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ (12) أَأَشْفَقْتُمْ أَن تُقَدِّمُوا بَيْنَ يَدَيْ نَجْوَاكُمْ صَدَقَاتٍ فَإِذْ لَمْ تَفْعَلُوا وَتَابَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْكُمْ فَأَقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَآتُوا الزَّكَاةَ وَأَطِيعُوا اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ وَاللَّهُ خَبِيرٌ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ (13)
Believers! When you confer in secret with the Messenger, give some charity before such conversation. This is best and more noble for you. But if you lack the means, God is Forgiving and Merciful. (12)
Have you become apprehensive that you will have to give in charity before conversing secretly with him? So, when you did not do this, and God had mercy on you, then be diligent in your prayer and pay the zakāh and show obedience to God and His Messenger. And God is well aware of all that you do. (13)
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِذَا نَاجَيْتُمُ الرَّسُولَ فَقَدِّمُوا بَيْنَ يَدَيْ نَجْوَاكُمْ صَدَقَةً ذَلِكَ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ وَأَطْهَرُ فَإِن لَّمْ تَجِدُوا فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ (12)
As indicated before, this directive was given at the time when the epidemic of a whispering campaign was at its height; the purpose was to stop the Hypocrites from interfering with the cherished time of the Prophet (sws). When these people were taken to task for this attitude, each one of them wanted to meet the Prophet (sws) in private to satisfy him with his obsequious talk, and if possible to attribute the burden of his sins to some other person. Since the Prophet (sws) had not imposed any condition on meeting in private, such selfish people would take undue advantage of his generosity. In this period also, they must have tried to specially take advantage of it. For this reason, a condition was imposed on them by the Almighty: anyone who wanted to meet him in private to talk secretly with him, would first have to spend in charity in the way of God. The indigent were exempted from this directive so that this should not become a burden for the poor among the Muslims. Similarly, the amount of charity was also not determined so that people should not feel its burden.
The real purpose of this directive, as indicated earlier, was to discourage the ever-increasing campaign of whispering and secret conversation launched by the Hypocrites. They were generally plagued with the malady of greed and stinginess. The Qur'ān has pointed out this malady of theirs at various places. For this reason, the Qur'ān imposed this condition so that meeting the Prophet (sws) in private became a serious affair. Such people because of their miserliness would in the first place not even have the courage to do it, and if they did, their spending became a means of their spiritual purification and they were blessed with the urge to refrain from mischief.
The wordsذَلِكَ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ وَأَطْهَرُ state the purpose of this directive: if they sincerely followed it, it would become a means for their betterment and success both in this world and in the Hereafter, and a source of cleansing their hearts. Thus the words also indicate that this directive was not given for the personal comfort of the Prophet (sws); it was meant to show them the path to success and salvation provided they gave it due importance.
The words فَإِن لَّمْ تَجِدُوا فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ say that as before the poor and the indigent can continue to meet the Prophet (sws) in private for their conversation without any such restriction.
أَأَشْفَقْتُمْ أَن تُقَدِّمُوا بَيْنَ يَدَيْ نَجْوَاكُمْ صَدَقَاتٍ فَإِذْ لَمْ تَفْعَلُوا وَتَابَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْكُمْ فَأَقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَآتُوا الزَّكَاةَ وَأَطِيعُوا اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ وَاللَّهُ خَبِيرٌ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ (13)
This verse was revealed some time later to abrogate the previous directive mentioned in the preceding one. It was placed right after the previous verse in the middle of the sūrah so that the abrogated and abrogating verses are adjacent to one another. Obviously, a period of time must have elapsed between the two verses that the objective of the initial directive would have been fulfilled; in other words, the mischief of secret conversations of the Hypocrites must have ceased for which the above-mentioned directive of paying charity before meeting the Prophet (sws) had been revealed. Some exegetical narratives show that the two verses were just separated by morning and evening. Probably, the reason for this could be that both verses occur adjacent to one another. However, this cannot be the reason for saying that there is little or no difference between the time of revelation of the two verses. There are examples found in the Qur'ān such that the abrogating verse was revealed after sometime; however, it was placed right after the abrogated verse. A very clear example of this exists in Sūrah Muzzammil.
As explained earlier, the restriction imposed on meeting the Prophet (sws) in private was given in a certain period of time and was meant to curb a specific type of mischief. This restriction must have been lifted when this mischief had been checked or when the feeling of abstaining from it arose in the people. This purpose cannot be achieved in a few hours. Some time must have necessarily elapsed, and for this reason there must been such time difference between the two directives as is necessary to achieve an objective.
It is evident from the words أَأَشْفَقْتُمْ أَن تُقَدِّمُوا بَيْنَ يَدَيْ نَجْوَاكُمْ صَدَقَاتٍ that the increasing tendency of speaking in private with the Prophet (sws) was curtailed after this directive. The Hypocrites must have desisted because of their miserliness, while the sincere must have desisted not only due to their poverty but also because they must have realized that the Almighty does not approve of conversing in private with the Prophet (sws). Nevertheless when the objective of giving this contingent directive was fulfilled, it was abrogated.
What is firstly evident from the words فَإِذْ لَمْ تَفْعَلُوا وَتَابَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْكُمْ is that neither did the people dare to talk in private with the Prophet (sws) nor did the event of paying charity for it arise. The second thing which is evident from it is that people generally felt ashamed that what they had hitherto being doing was not approved by God, and for this reason they were rebuked by Him. The expression تَابَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْكُمْ means "God accepted your repentance". Obviously, this acceptance by God must have been after they had proved worthy of it by being ashamed of this behaviour. It is possible that there could have been some hard-hearts who did not take heed even after this warning; however, it is evident from the verse that generally people were ashamed of their behaviour. It is the practice too of the Almighty that when a good sentiment is found in most individuals of a community, then He values this attitude. Consequently, the restriction was lifted.
The words فَأَقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَآتُوا الزَّكَاةَ وَأَطِيعُوا اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ وَاللَّهُ خَبِيرٌ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ are said as a caution: though the restriction has been lifted, yet as a watchful measure Muslims must specially be diligent in the prayer, in paying zakāh and in obeying the Prophet (sws) so that the society does not face any more crisis and Satan is not provided with another opportunity to spread the menace of whispering.
Section IV (Verses 14-22)
The abrogating and abrogated verses which came in between were of the genre of a parenthetical sentence. As soon as it ends, the discourse once again returns to the discussion regarding the Hypocrites. It is said that their real association is not with Islam; it lies with the Jews, who are the enemies of Islam. They befriend them, and on the basis of their false oaths have infiltrated among the Muslims. Their real malady is love for this world because of which they have become accomplices of Satan, and it is the inalterable verdict of God that He and His messengers shall always prevail and the faction of Satan will be vanquished. Faith in God cannot be combined with friendship with the enemies of religion. True believers are those who sever all ties with such people even if they are their close relatives. It is they who are the faction of God, and they only will succeed.
In the light of this background, readers may now proceed to the next section of verses.
Text and Translation
أَلَمْ تَرَ إِلَى الَّذِينَ تَوَلَّوْا قَوْمًا غَضِبَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِم مَّا هُم مِّنكُمْ وَلَا مِنْهُمْ وَيَحْلِفُونَ عَلَى الْكَذِبِ وَهُمْ يَعْلَمُونَ (14) أَعَدَّ اللَّهُ لَهُمْ عَذَابًا شَدِيدًا إِنَّهُمْ سَاء مَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ (15) اتَّخَذُوا أَيْمَانَهُمْ جُنَّةً فَصَدُّوا عَن سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ فَلَهُمْ عَذَابٌ مُّهِينٌ (16) لَن تُغْنِيَ عَنْهُمْ أَمْوَالُهُمْ وَلَا أَوْلَادُهُم مِّنَ اللَّهِ شَيْئًا أُوْلَئِكَ أَصْحَابُ النَّارِ هُمْ فِيهَا خَالِدُونَ (17) يَوْمَ يَبْعَثُهُمُ اللَّهُ جَمِيعًا فَيَحْلِفُونَ لَهُ كَمَا يَحْلِفُونَ لَكُمْ وَيَحْسَبُونَ أَنَّهُمْ عَلَى شَيْءٍ أَلَا إِنَّهُمْ هُمُ الْكَاذِبُونَ (18) اسْتَحْوَذَ عَلَيْهِمُ الشَّيْطَانُ فَأَنسَاهُمْ ذِكْرَ اللَّهِ أُوْلَئِكَ حِزْبُ الشَّيْطَانِ أَلَا إِنَّ حِزْبَ الشَّيْطَانِ هُمُ الْخَاسِرُونَ (19) إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يُحَادُّونَ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ أُوْلَئِكَ فِي الأَذَلِّينَ (20) كَتَبَ اللَّهُ لَأَغْلِبَنَّ أَنَا وَرُسُلِي إِنَّ اللَّهَ قَوِيٌّ عَزِيزٌ (21) لَا تَجِدُ قَوْمًا يُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ يُوَادُّونَ مَنْ حَادَّ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ وَلَوْ كَانُوا آبَاءهُمْ أَوْ أَبْنَاءهُمْ أَوْ إِخْوَانَهُمْ أَوْ عَشِيرَتَهُمْ أُوْلَئِكَ كَتَبَ فِي قُلُوبِهِمُ الْإِيمَانَ وَأَيَّدَهُم بِرُوحٍ مِّنْهُ وَيُدْخِلُهُمْ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي مِن تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُمْ وَرَضُوا عَنْهُ أُوْلَئِكَ حِزْبُ اللَّهِ أَلَا إِنَّ حِزْبَ اللَّهِ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ (22)
Have you not seen those who befriend people who incurred the wrath of God? They belong neither to you nor to them. And they intentionally swear to falsehood. God has prepared for them a grievous torment. Evil indeed is that which they are doing. They use their oaths as a shield, and have desisted from the path of God. So a humiliating punishment awaits them. (14-16)
Their wealth and children shall in no way be able to protect them from God. They are the inmates of Hell. They shall abide in it forever. On the day when God raises them all to life, they will swear to Him as they now swear to you and will think that they have a basis. Be informed that they are absolute liars. Satan has gained possession of them. Thus he has made them forget God's remembrance. They are the faction of Satan; Listen up! The faction of Satan will surely be the losers. (17-19)
Those who oppose God and His Messenger shall be humiliated. God has decreed: "I Myself and my Messengers will surely triumph." Indeed, God is Powerful and Mighty. (20-21)
You shall not find any community who believes in God and in the Last Day on friendly terms with those who oppose God and His Messenger, even though they be their fathers, their sons, their brothers, or their family. It is these people in whose hearts God has stamped faith, and strengthened them with a special blessing of His own. And He will admit them to gardens watered by running streams, where they shall dwell forever. God is well pleased with them, and they are well pleased with Him. They are the faction of God: and listen up! God's faction will surely triumph. (22)
أَلَمْ تَرَ إِلَى الَّذِينَ تَوَلَّوْا قَوْمًا غَضِبَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِم مَّا هُم مِّنكُمْ وَلَا مِنْهُمْ وَيَحْلِفُونَ عَلَى الْكَذِبِ وَهُمْ يَعْلَمُونَ (14)
This is an expression of wonder on these Hypocrites; on the one hand, they are friends to those who have incurred the wrath of God, and on the other hand, they testify on oath that they are with the Muslims. The fact of the matter is that they are neither with those who have incurred God's wrath nor with the Muslims. They are not with the Muslims because professing faith in God and His Prophet (sws) in simultaneity with befriending the enemies of God are two opposites; they can never exist together. They are also not with those who have incurred God's wrath because their friendship revolves around their own interest. If they are faced with trying circumstances, these Hypocrites will never be ready to bear any assault and will only declare their dissociation like Satan.
The words وَيَحْلِفُونَ عَلَى الْكَذِبِ وَهُمْ يَعْلَمُونَ say that they fully know that they are with no one except with their interests; however, by swearing false oaths they want to please both the Muslims and these people.
The words غَضِبَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِم refer to the Jews who are alluded to by the words مَغْضُوْبِ عَلَيْهِم in the very first sūrah of the Qur'ān. Though these Hypocrites were also friendly with the Idolaters of Makkah, the details of which will be found in the coming sūrahs, however, here reference is specifically to their friendship with the Jews. I have indicated earlier that these Hypocrites were primarily reared and guided by the Jews, and had infiltrated among the Muslims as their agents.
أَعَدَّ اللَّهُ لَهُمْ عَذَابًا شَدِيدًا إِنَّهُمْ سَاء مَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ (15)
The implication of the verse is that these unfortunate people think that they have behaved very wisely by satisfying both through their oaths; In actual fact this is not wise policy they have adopted; it is a trick which lead them to doom. As a result of it, the Almighty has prepared a very grievous punishment for them which they will face. They will encounter the punishment in this world reserved for the enemies of God and His Prophet (sws) besides the punishment of the Hereafter.
اتَّخَذُوا أَيْمَانَهُمْ جُنَّةً فَصَدُّوا عَن سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ فَلَهُمْ عَذَابٌ مُّهِينٌ (16)
These Hypocrites have made their oaths as their shields. Whenever they are called to account on any of their mistakes, they make use of their fake oaths to assure others of their innocence, and in this way they think that they have saved themselves. They have sought refuge in these oaths in order to save themselves from the demands of religion. They have retracted from the step they had taken for the cause of God by declaring faith, and now instead of moving forward, they want to feign religiosity by swearing oaths; however, till when will they be able to do continue with this? At last, they will have to face a humiliating punishment.
The word صَدٌّ is used both transitively and intransitively. Here it is used in the latter sense implying that they have desisted from moving towards God.
لَن تُغْنِيَ عَنْهُمْ أَمْوَالُهُمْ وَلَا أَوْلَادُهُم مِّنَ اللَّهِ شَيْئًا أُوْلَئِكَ أَصْحَابُ النَّارِ هُمْ فِيهَا خَالِدُونَ (17)
This verse refers to the yokes which have hampered their advance to God: they have been lured away by the love of their wealth and of their wives and children, and for this reason they are not finding in them the courage to proceed to the path of religion. They do not know that their wealth and children will not be able to save them in the slightest of ways from the torment of God. The governing noun (mudāf) is ellipsed in the expression:
مِنَ اللَّهِ ie.مِنَ عَذَابِ اللَّهِ . The implication is that if they remain entrapped in the love of their wealth and children in this way, then this thing will lead them to Hell where they will abide forever.
يَوْمَ يَبْعَثُهُمُ اللَّهُ جَمِيعًا فَيَحْلِفُونَ لَهُ كَمَا يَحْلِفُونَ لَكُمْ وَيَحْسَبُونَ أَنَّهُمْ عَلَى شَيْءٍ أَلَا إِنَّهُمْ هُمُ الْكَاذِبُونَ (18)
If these people keep running from the demands of their faith while being lured away by the love of wealth and children, then they should remember the day when God will raise them and their children, and on that day too they will have no refuge but their false oaths on which they depend today. On that day, they will swear oaths to exonerate themselves from blame the way they are today swearing oaths before the Muslims. It is mentioned in verse 23 of Sūrah An'ām that when the Idolaters will see their imminent punishment, they will swear to their innocence: قَالُواْ وَاللّهِ رَبِّنَا مَا كُنَّا مُشْرِكِينَ(23:6)(By God! Our Lord, we were never among those who worshipped other gods. (6:23)
The implication of the words وَيَحْسَبُونَ أَنَّهُمْ عَلَى شَيْءٍ is that by swearing false oaths they will think that they have furnished a very strong argument in favour of their innocence, and will think that just as in this world they had deceived many people through their false oaths, this deception of theirs will also work in the Hereafter; however, their deception will be of no avail to them. On that day, the Almighty will seal the tongues of the criminals, and their hands and feet and other limbs will themselves bear witness to their crimes after which no possibility of offering any excuse by anyone will remain.
The words أَلَا إِنَّهُمْ هُمُ الْكَاذِبُونَ say that everyone should listen that if anyone has regarded them to be veritable, he should dispel this thought. They are the real liars, and have deceived others in this world because of their lies and in the Hereafter too will be audacious enough to try to deceive God.
اسْتَحْوَذَ عَلَيْهِمُ الشَّيْطَانُ فَأَنسَاهُمْ ذِكْرَ اللَّهِ أُوْلَئِكَ حِزْبُ الشَّيْطَانِ أَلَا إِنَّ حِزْبَ الشَّيْطَانِ هُمُ الْخَاسِرُونَ (19)
The expression اسْتَحْوَذَ عَلَيْهِمُ means تَسَلَّطَ عَلَيْهِمْ. Satan has taken complete hold of them. People who are seized by Satan become indifferent to God because of him, and those who forget God become members of the faction of Satan. Here one should remember that as far as implanting evil suggestions is concerned, Satan tries to attack every person through them; however, only those who open their hearts to them, and regard Satan to be their guide and counsel are led away by these suggestions. The hearts of those who become his disciples in this way become devoid of God's remembrance, and they entrust their reins to Satan while disregarding the Hereafter. All such people become members of Satan's faction and Satan becomes their leader; he makes them wander wherever he wants them to. The real protection of a person is God's remembrance. After being deprived of it, he is lured away by Satan and then he does not find a way to escape from his clutches.
The words أَلَا إِنَّ حِزْبَ الشَّيْطَانِ هُمُ الْخَاسِرُونَ signify that though every person has been given a period of respite in this world as per the law of the Almighty and as a result even the faction of Satan has this time to spread whatever mischief it can, yet everyone must know that ultimately the faction of Satan is destined to doom.
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يُحَادُّونَ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ أُوْلَئِكَ فِي الأَذَلِّينَ (20)
The real work of Satan's faction is to oppose God and His Prophet and to show rivalry to them. The verse says that the more respite they are given, the more they show antagonism against God and His Prophet (sws); however, they will end up among those who had been humiliated earlier on by showing this attitude.
كَتَبَ اللَّهُ لَأَغْلِبَنَّ أَنَا وَرُسُلِي إِنَّ اللَّهَ قَوِيٌّ عَزِيزٌ (21)
The Almighty has declared his established practice in this verse which He has ordained from the very beginning: in the struggle between God and the Prophet (sws) and between the faction of Satan, God and His Prophets shall always prevail. The faction of Satan will be humiliated. I have explained this established practice of God at a number of places in this tafsīr that every messenger (rasūl) (as opposed to nabī (prophet)) sent by God to his people is a symbol of divine justice. He necessarily decides their fate in this world. If collectively these people denied their messenger, the Almighty destroyed them through some natural calamity after sifting out the messenger and those who professed faith in him. In case the believers were in substantial numbers, then after conclusive communication of the truth to the people, the believers were asked to wage war against them and shatter their power so that the world is cleansed of their mischief. It is evident from the history of messengers presented by the Qur'ān that most messengers encountered the first of the above-mentioned situation: after migration of the messenger and companions, a torment befell the people. It was only in the case of Muhammad (sws) that the second situation arose: after migration he was directed to wage jihād, and his companions were humbled by the swords of his companions until they were totally routed.
The words إِنَّ اللَّهَ قَوِيٌّ عَزِيزٌ substantiate the premise why God and His messengers should necessarily prevail. God is not a weak being: He is Powerful and Mighty. When He sends His messenger to His people, then that messenger is His envoy who comes to people to inform them of the directives of their real king. If people rise to obey the directives of their real master, they are granted sovereignty by Him in the land and are blessed with His favours. On the other hand, if they take to opposing God, they are regarded as rebels, and once the truth is conclusively communicated to them, the Almighty cleanses the earth of them.
لَا تَجِدُ قَوْمًا يُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ يُوَادُّونَ مَنْ حَادَّ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ وَلَوْ كَانُوا آبَاءهُمْ أَوْ أَبْنَاءهُمْ أَوْ إِخْوَانَهُمْ أَوْ عَشِيرَتَهُمْ أُوْلَئِكَ كَتَبَ فِي قُلُوبِهِمُ الْإِيمَانَ وَأَيَّدَهُم بِرُوحٍ مِّنْهُ وَيُدْخِلُهُمْ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي مِن تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُمْ وَرَضُوا عَنْهُ أُوْلَئِكَ حِزْبُ اللَّهِ أَلَا إِنَّ حِزْبَ اللَّهِ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ (22)
Here at the end, a very clear standard is put forth before the Hypocrites so that no confusion remains between the faction of God and the faction of Satan, and whoever they choose, they can do so by conscious consideration. The implication is that they can only adopt one of the two. It is not possible that they side with both at the same time. The verse says that it is impossible that a people believe in God and in the Hereafter and then befriend people who oppose God and His messenger. If a group befriends such people and also claims faith, then it is not true to this claim at all. The reason is that both these are opposites and cannot co-exist. A person only has one heart not two and he cannot harbour two opposing and contradictory things in one heart.
The words وَلَوْ كَانُوا آبَاءهُمْ أَوْ أَبْنَاءهُمْ أَوْ إِخْوَانَهُمْ أَوْ عَشِيرَتَهُمْ signify that what to speak of other relations, even the father, the son, the brother and other close of relatives of the familyto whom a person has a natural affiliation also do not have the status that they can have a place in his heart if they oppose his faith.
The words أُوْلَئِكَ كَتَبَ فِي قُلُوبِهِمُ الْإِيمَانَ وَأَيَّدَهُم بِرُوحٍ مِّنْهُ say that people who are ready to evaluate themselves or who let others evaluate them as per this standard are in fact the very people in whose hearts the Almighty has etched faith and has helped them with a special spiritual blessing of His. As far as people who claim to be adherents to faith, and also have ties with the enemies of God and His messenger are concerned, they are Muslims in name only; their hearts are not conversant with the faith.
The words وَأَيَّدَهُم بِرُوحٍ مِّنْهُ refer to the fact that a person's relationship with his father, son, brother, family and tribe is deeply rooted in his heart. It is not easy at all to sever it. However, when people whose hearts are alive with the sanctity and honour of faith are faced with such a delicate trial, the Almighty helps them with His special spiritual blessings, and they come out of this test with flying colours:
فیض روح القدس ار باز مدد فرماید
دیگراں ہم بکنند آنچہ مسیحا کرد
(If the blessings of the Holy Spirit are at hand, then a person can do what Jesus was able to.)
It was as a result of this spiritual blessing that in the battle of Uhud, Abū 'Ubaydah ibn al-Jarrāh (rta) raised his sword against his father 'Abdullāh al-Jarrāh, Abū Bakr (rta) challenged his son in the battle of Badr, Mus'ab ibn 'Umayr killed his brother 'Ubayd ibn 'Umayr, 'Umar (rta) killed his maternal uncle 'Ās ibn Hishām, and 'Alī (rta), Hamzah (rta) and Abū 'Ubaydah (rta) sent 'Utbah, Shaybah and Walīd ibn 'Utbah respectively to the gallows.
The words وَيُدْخِلُهُمْ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي مِن تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا signify that these people were blessed by God with strong faith and spiritual gains and made them persevere in the path of truth and after their death will be admitted by Him to Paradise where they will abide forever.
The words رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُمْ وَرَضُوا عَنْهُ depict the greatest reward they will reap. The Almighty will be pleased with them because they duly fulfilled the obligations of the faith they laid claim to and passed in each trial they were put through and they displayed the very character in all the trials that the Almighty required of them. For this reason, the Almighty will congratulate them on the fact that He is happy with them. They did what He wanted them to do. They will now get from God whatever they desire.
The fact that they were pleased with God means that the promises on which they lived and died in this world will be fulfilled in a far better manner than what they expected or imagined, and as a result they will be very happy because all their desires will be fulfilled.
The words أُوْلَئِكَ حِزْبُ اللَّهِ أَلَا إِنَّ حِزْبَ اللَّهِ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ say that it is these people who will be worthy of being counted among the faction of God, and it is they only who will succeed. The characteristics of the faction of Satan have been delineated earlier. Now with the mention of the faction of God, this sūrah comes to it end.فَلْحَمْدُ لِلهِ عَلَى ذَالِك (gratitude be to God for this) and اللّهُمَّ اَرِنَا الحَقَّ حَقّاً وَارْزُقْنَا اِتِّبَاعَهُ وَاَرِنَا البَاطِلَ بَاطِلًا وَارْزُقْنَا اِجْتِنَابَهُ (God! Show us the truth the way it is and make us follow it and show us falsehood the way it is and make us abstain from it.)
10th January, 1978 AD
29th Muharram al-Harām, 1398 AH