39. Permission (to fight) is given to those (believers) who are fought against, because they have been wronged; and surely, Allah is able to give them victory. 40. Those who have been expelled from their homes unjustly only because they said: "Our Lord is Allah.'' For had it not been that Allah checks one set of people by means of another, Sawami`, Biya`, Salawat, and Masjids, wherein the Name of Allah is mentioned much, would surely have been pulled down. Verily, Allah will help those who help His (cause). Truly, Allah is All-Strong, All-Mighty.
Al-`Awfi reported that Ibn `Abbas said, "This was revealed about Muhammad and his Companions, when they were expelled from Makkah.'' Mujahid, Ad-Dahhak and others among the Salaf, such as Ibn `Abbas, `Urwah bin Az-Zubayr, Zayd bin Aslam, Muqatil bin Hayan, Qatadah and others said, "This is the first Ayah which was revealed about Jihad.'' Ibn Jarir recorded that Ibn `Abbas said, "When the Prophet was driven out of Makkah, Abu Bakr said, `They have their Prophet. Truly, to Allah we belong and truly, to Him we shall return; surely they are doomed.''' Ibn `Abbas said, "Then Allah revealed the words:
(Permission (to fight) is given to those (believers) fought against, because they have been wronged; and surely, Allah is able to give them victory.)'' Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, said, "Then I knew that there would be fighting.'' Imam Ahmad added: "Ibn `Abbas said, `This was the first Ayah to be revealed concerning fighting.''' This was also recorded by At-Tirmidhi and An-Nasa'i in the Book of Tafsir of their Sunans. At-Tirmidhi said: "It is a Hasan Hadith.''
(and surely, Allah is able to give them victory.) means, He is able to grant victory to His believing servants without any fighting taking place, but He wants His servants to strive their utmost in obeying Him, as He says:
(So, when you meet those who disbelieve, strike necks till when you have killed and wounded many of them, then bind a bond firmly. Thereafter either for generosity, or ransom, until war lays down its burden. Thus, but if it had been Allah's will, He Himself could certainly have punished them. But (He lets you fight) in order to test some of you with others. But those who are killed in the way of Allah, He will never let their deeds be lost. He will guide them and set right their state. And admit them to Paradise which He has made known to them.) ﴿47:4-6﴾
(Fight against them so that Allah will punish them by your hands, and disgrace them, and give you victory over them, and heal the breasts of a believing people, and remove the anger of their (believers') hearts. Allah accepts the repentance of whom He wills. Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise.) ﴿9:14-15﴾
(And surely, We shall try you till We test those who strive hard and the patient, and We shall test your facts.) ﴿47:31﴾. And there are many similar Ayat. Ibn `Abbas commented on the Ayah,
(and surely, Allah is able to give them (believers) victory.) "And this is what He did.'' Allah prescribed Jihad at an appropriate time, because when they were in Makkah, the idolators outnumbered them by more than ten to one. Were they to engage in fighting at that time, the results would have been disastrous. When the idolators went to extremes to persecute Muslims, to expel the Prophet and resolving to kill him; when they sent his Companions into exile here and there, so that some went to Ethiopia and others went to Al-Madinah; when they settled in Al-Madinah and the Messenger of Allah joined them there, and they gathered around him and lent him their support, and they had a place where Islam prevailed, and a stronghold to which they could retreat; then Allah prescribed Jihad against the enemy, and this was the first Ayah to be revealed for it. Allah said:
(Permission (to fight) is given to those fought against, because they have been wronged; and surely, Allah is able to give them victory. Those who have been expelled from their homes unjustly) Al-`Awfi reported that Ibn `Abbas said; "They were driven out of Makkah to Al-Madinah unjustly, i.e., Muhammad and his Companions.''
(only because they said: "Our Lord is Allah.'') means, they had not done anything to their people or committed any wrongs against them, apart from the fact that they believed in the Oneness of Allah and they worshipped Him Alone, with no partner or associate. But for the idolators, this was the worst of sins, as Allah says:
(and have driven out the Messenger and yourselves because you believe in Allah, your Lord!) ﴿60:1﴾. Then Allah says:
(For had it not been that Allah checks one set of people by means of another,) meaning, were it not for the fact that He repels one people by means of another, and restrains the evil of people towards others by means of whatever circumstances He creates and decrees, the earth would have been corrupted and the strong would have destroyed the weak.
(Sawami` surely have been pulled down) means the small temples used by monks. This was the view of Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, Abu Al-`Aliyah, `Ikrimah, Ad-Dahhak and others. Qatadah said, "This refers to the places of worship of the Sabians;'' according to another report, he said, "The Sawami` of the Zoroastrians.'' Muqatil bin Hayyan said, "These are houses along the roads.''
(Biya`.) These are larger than the Sawami` and accommodate more worshippers; the Christians also have these. This was the view of Abu Al-`Aliyah, Qatadah, Ad-Dahhak, Ibn Sakhr, Muqatil bin Hayyan, Khusayf and others. Ibn Jubayr reported from Mujahid and others that this referred to the synagogues of the Jews which are known to them as Salut. And Allah knows best.
(Salawat) Al-`Awfi reported that Ibn `Abbas said, "Salawat means churches.'' `Ikrimah, Ad-Dahhak and Qatadah said that it referred to the synagogues of the Jews. Abu Al-`Aliyah and others said, "Salawat refers to the places of worship of the Sabians.'' Ibn Abi Najih reported that Mujahid said, "Salawat refers to places of worship of the People of the Book and of the people of Islam along the roads.'' Masjids belong to the Muslims.
(wherein the Name of Allah is mentioned much,) It was said that the pronoun refers to Masjids, because this is the closest of the words mentioned. Ad-Dahhak said, "In all of them the Name of Allah is often mentioned.'' Ibn Jarir said, "The correct view is that the monasteries of the monks, the churches of the Christians, the synagogues of the Jews and the Masjids of the Muslims, in which the Name of Allah is mentioned much, would have been destroyed -- because this is the usual usage in Arabic.'' Some of the scholars said, "This is a sequence listing the smallest to the greatest, because the Masjids are more frequented by more worshippers who have the correct intention and way.''
(Verily, Allah will help those who help His (cause).) This is like the Ayah:
(O you who believe! If you help (in the cause of) Allah, He will help you, and make your foothold firm. But those who disbelieve, for them is destruction, and (Allah) will make their deeds vain.) ﴿47:7-8﴾
(Truly, Allah is All-Strong, All-Mighty.) Allah describes Himself as being All-Strong and All-Mighty. By His strength He created everything and measured it exactly according to its due measurements; by His might nothing can overpower Him or overwhelm Him, rather everything is humbled before Him and is in need of Him. Whoever is supported by the All-Strong, the All-Mighty, is indeed supported and helped, and his enemy will be overpowered. Allah says:
(And, verily, Our Word has gone forth of old for Our servants, the Messengers, that they verily, would be made triumphant, and that Our soldiers! They verily, would be the victors.) ﴿37:171-173﴾
(Allah has decreed: "Verily, it is I and My Messengers who shall be the victorious.'' Verily, Allah is All-Powerful, All-Mighty.) ﴿58:21﴾