The contents of this Surah testify that it was sent down after the Hijrah to Madinah after the revelation of Surahs Al-Hajj and Al-Baqarah in which fighting was enjoined, but before the battle of Badr.
- Allah voids the deeds of the disbelievers.
- In war thoroughly subdue the unbelievers before taking them as prisoners of war.
- If you help the cause of Allah, Allah will help and protect you.
- True believers do not follow their own desires in the matter of religion.
- Allah put the believers to test to know the valiant and the resolute.
- In the case of war Allah is on the side of the true believers.
- Do not be miserly if you are asked to give in the cause of Allah.
The theme of this Surah is to prepare the believers for war through providing them instructions to that effect. This is why this Surah is also called Al-Qital. The two groups were confronting each other at that time, one which had refused to accept the Truth (disbelievers) and the other group which had accepted the Truth (believers) which had been sent down by Allah to His servant, Muhammad (pbuh). Allah in His final decision, has rendered fruitless and vain all the works of the disbelievers and set right the condition and affairs of the believers.
The believers (Muslims) have been given instructions relating to war and are reassured of Allah's help and guidance. They are given hope for the best rewards on offering sacrifices and struggle in the cause of Allah, both in this world and in the hereafter. Then the discourse turns towards the hypocrites, who were claiming to be sincere Muslims before the command to fight. They were confounded after this command. They began to conspire with the disbelievers in order to save themselves from the hazards of war. They are plainly warned that the acts and deeds of the hypocrites are not acceptable to Allah
In conclusion, the Muslims are invited to spend their wealth in the cause of Allah, although at that time, they were economically very weak. They are clearly warned that anyone who adopts a miserly attitude would not harm Allah but would result in his own destruction, for Allah does not stand in need of help from men. If one group of men shirk from offering sacrifices in the cause of Allah, He would remove it and bring another group in its place.