They ask thee concerning (things taken as) spoils of war. Say: "(Such) spoils are at the disposal of Allah and the apostle: so fear Allah and keep straight the relations between yourselves: obey Allah and His apostle if ye do believe." 1178 1179
For believers are those who when Allah is mentioned feel a tremor in their hearts and when they hear His signs rehearsed find their faith strengthened and put (all) their trust in their Lord.
Who establish regular prayers and spend (freely) out of the gifts We have given them for sustenance: 1180
Such in truth are the believers: they have grades of dignity with their Lord and forgiveness and generous sustenance.
Just as thy Lord ordered thee out of thy house in truth even though a party among the believers disliked it. 1181
Disputing with thee concerning the truth after it was made manifest as if they were being driven to death and they (actually) saw it. 1182
Behold! Allah promised you one of the two (enemy) parties that it should be yours: ye wished that the one unarmed should be yours but Allah willed to justify the truth according to His words and to cut off the roots of the unbelievers. 1183
That He might justify and prove falsehood false distasteful though it be to those in guilt.
Remember ye implored the assistance of your Lord and He answered you: "I will assist you with a thousand of the angels ranks on ranks." 1184
Allah made it but a message of hope and an assurance to your heart: (in any case) there is no help except from Allah: and Allah is exalted in power wise. 1185
Remember He covered you with a sort of drowsiness to give you calm as from Himself and He caused rain to descend on you from heaven to clean you therewith to remove from you the stain of satan to strengthen your hearts and to plant your feet firmly therewith. 1186 1187 1188
Remember thy Lord inspired the angels (with the message): "I am with you: give firmness to the believers: I will instil terror into the hearts of the unbelievers: smite ye above their necks and smite all their finger-tips off them." 1189
This because they contended against Allah and His apostle: if any contend against Allah and His apostle Allah is strict in punishment.
Thus (will it be said): "Taste ye then of the (punishment): for those who resist Allah is the penalty of the fire."
O ye who believe! when ye meet the unbelievers in hostile array never turn your backs to them. 1190
If any do turn his back to them on such a day unless it be in a stratagem of war or to retreat to a troop (of his own) He draws on himself the wrath of Allah and his abode is Hell and evil refuge (indeed)!
It is not ye who slew them; it was Allah: when thou threwest (a handful of dust) it was not thy act but Allah's: in order that He might test the believers by a gracious trial from Himself: for Allah is He who heareth and knoweth (all things). 1191 1192
That and also because Allah is He who makes feeble the plans and stratagems of the unbelievers.
(O unbelievers!) if ye prayed for victory and judgment now hath the judgment come to you: if ye desist (from wrong) it will be best for you: if ye return (to the attack) so shall We. Not the least good will your forces be to you even if they were multiplied: for verily Allah is with those who believe. 1193
O ye who believe! obey Allah and his apostle and turn not away from him when ye hear (him speak).
Nor be like those who say "we hear" but listen not: 1194
For the worst of beasts in the sight of Allah are the deaf and the dumb those who understand not. 1195
If Allah had found in them any good He would indeed have made them listen; (as it is) if He had made them listen they would but have turned back and declined (faith).
O ye who believe! give your response to Allah and His apostle when He calleth you to that which will give you life; and know that Allah cometh in between a man and his heart and that it is He to whom Ye shall (all) be gathered. 1196 1197
And fear tumult or oppression which affecteth not in particular (only) those of you who do wrong and know that Allah is strict in punishment. 1198
Call to mind when ye were a small (band) despised through the land and afraid that men might despoil and kidnap you; but He provided a safe asylum for you strengthened you with his aid and gave you good things for sustenance: that ye might be grateful. 1199
O ye that believe! betray not the trust of Allah and the apostle nor misappropriate knowingly things entrusted to you. 1200
And know ye that your possessions and your progeny are but a trial; and that it is Allah with whom lies your highest reward. 1201
O ye who believe! if ye fear Allah He will grant you a criterion (to judge between right and wrong) remove from you (all) evil (that may afflict) you and forgive you: for Allah is the Lord of grace unbounded. 1202
Remember how the unbelievers plotted against thee to keep thee in bonds or slay thee or get thee out (of thy home). They plot and plan and Allah too plans but the best of planners is Allah. 1203
When Our signs are rehearsed to them they say: "we have heard this (before): if we wished we could say (words) like these: these are nothing but tales of the ancients." 1204
Remember how they said: "O Allah! if this is indeed the truth from Thee rain down on us a shower of stones from the sky or send us a grievous penalty." 1205
But Allah was not going to send them a penalty whilst thou wast amongst them; nor was He going to send it whilst they could ask for pardon.
But what plea have they that Allah should not punish them when they keep out (men) from the sacred Mosque and they are not its guardians? No men can be its guardians except the righteous; but most of them do not understand.
Their prayer at the house (of Allah) is nothing but whistling and clapping of hands: (its only answer can be) "taste ye the penalty because ye blasphemed."
The unbelievers spend their wealth to hinder (men) from the path of Allah and so will they continue to spend; but in the end they will have (only) regrets and sighs; at length they will be overcome: and the unbelievers will be gathered together to Hell.
In order that Allah may separate the impure from the pure put the impure one on another heap them together and cast them into hell. They will be the ones to have lost. 1206
Say to the unbelievers if (now) they desist (from unbelief) their past would be forgiven them; but if they persist the punishment of those before them is already (a matter of warning for them).
And fight them on until there is no more tumult or oppression and there prevail justice and faith in Allah altogether and everywhere; but if they cease verily Allah doth see all that they do. 1207 1208
If they refuse be sure that Allah is your protector the best to protect and the best to help.
And know that out of all the booty that ye may acquire (in war) a fifth share is assigned to Allah and to the apostle and to near relatives orphans the needy and the wayfarer if ye do believe in Allah and in the revelation We sent down to Our servant on the day of testing the day of the meeting of the two forces. For Allah hath power over all things. 1209 1210 1211
Remember ye were on the hither side of the valley and they on the farther side and the caravan on lower ground than ye. Even if ye had made a mutual appointment to meet ye would certainly have failed in the appointment: but (thus ye met) that Allah might accomplish a matter already enacted; that those who died might die after a clear sign (had been given) and those who lived might live after a clear sign (had been given). And verily Allah is He Who heareth and knoweth (all things). 1212 1213
Remember in thy dream Allah showed them to thee as few: if He had shown them to thee as many ye would surely have been discouraged and ye would surely have disputed in (your) decision: but Allah saved (you): for He knoweth well the (secrets) of (all) hearts.
And remember when ye met He showed them to you as few in your eyes and He made you appear as contemptible in their eyes: That Allah might accomplish a matter already enacted: for to Allah do all questions go back (for decision). 1214
O ye who believe! when ye meet a force be firm and call Allah in remembrance much (and often); that ye may prosper.
And obey Allah and His apostle; and fall into no disputes lest ye lose heart and your power depart; and be patient and persevering: for Allah is with those who patiently persevere. 1215
And be not like those who started from their homes insolently and to be seen of men and to hinder (men) from the path of Allah: for Allah compasseth round about all that they do. 1216
Remember satan made their (sinful) acts seem alluring to them and said: "No one among men can overcome you this day while I am near to you": but when the two forces came in sight of each other he turned on his heels and said: "Lo! I am clear of you; lo! I see what ye see not; lo! I fear Allah; for Allah is strict in punishment. 1217
Lo! the hypocrites say and those in whose hearts is a disease: "these people--their religion has misled them." But if any trust in Allah behold! Allah is Exalted in might Wise. 1218
If thou couldst see when the angels take the souls of the unbelievers (at death) (how) they smite their faces and their backs (saying): "Taste the penalty of the blazing fire. 1219
"Because of (the deeds) which your (own) hands sent forth: for Allah is never unjust to His servants: 1220
"(Deeds) after the manner of the people of Pharaoh and of those before them: they rejected the signs of Allah and Allah punished them for their crimes: for Allah is strong and strict in punishment:
"Because Allah will never change the grace which He hath bestowed on a people until they change what is in their (own) souls: and verily Allah is He Who heareth and knoweth (all things)." 1221
"(Deeds) after the manner of the people of Pharaoh and those before them": they treated as false the signs of their Lord; so We destroyed them for their crimes and We drowned the people of Pharaoh: for they were all oppressors and wrong-doers. 1222
For the worst of beasts in the sight of Allah are those who reject Him: They will not believe. 1223
They are those with whom thou didst make a covenant but they break their covenant every time and they have not the fear (of Allah). 1224
If ye gain the mastery over them in war disperse with them those who follow them that they may remember.
If thou fearest treachery from any group throw back (their covenant) to them (so as to be) on equal terms: for Allah loveth not the treacherous.
Let not the unbelievers think that they can get the better (of Allah): they will never frustrate (them).
Against them make ready your strength to the utmost of your power including steeds of war to strike terror into (the hearts of) the enemies of Allah and your enemies and others besides whom ye may not know but whom Allah doth know. Whatever ye shall spend in the cause of Allah shall be repaid unto you and ye shall not be treated unjustly. 1225 1226 1227
But if the enemy incline towards peace do thou (also) incline towards peace and trust in Allah: for He is the one that heareth and knoweth (all things). 1228
Should they intend to deceive thee verily Allah sufficeth thee: He it is that hath strengthened thee with his aid and with (the company of) the believers: 1229
And (moreover) He hath put affection between their hearts: not if thou hadst spent all that is in the earth couldst thou have produced that affection but Allah hath done it: for He is Exalted in might Wise. 1230
O Apostle! sufficient unto thee is Allah (unto thee) and unto those who follow thee among the believers. 1231
O apostle! rouse the believers to the fight. If there are twenty amongst you patient and persevering they will vanquish two hundred: if a hundred they will vanquish a thousand of the unbelievers: for these are a people without understanding. 1232
For the present Allah hath lightened your (task) for He knoweth that there is a weak spot in you: but (even so) if there are a hundred of you patient and persevering they will vanquish two hundred and if a thousand they will vanquish two thousand with the leave of Allah: for Allah is with those who patiently persevere. 1233
It is not fitting for an apostle that he should have prisoners of war until he hath thoroughly subdued the land. Ye look for the temporal goods of this world; but Allah looketh to the hereafter; and Allah is Exalted in might Wise. 1234
Had it not been for a previous ordainment from Allah a severe penalty would have reached you for the (ransom) that ye took. 1235
But (now) enjoy what ye took in war lawful and good: but fear Allah: for Allah is Oft-Forgiving Most Merciful. 1236
O apostle! say to those who are captives in your hands: "If Allah findeth any good in your hearts He will give you something better than what has been taken from you and He will forgive you: for Allah is Oft-Forgiving Most Merciful." 1237
But if they have treacherous designs against thee (o apostle!) they have already been in treason against Allah and so hath He given (thee) power over them and Allah is He who hath (full) knowledge and wisdom. 1238
Those who believed and adopted exile and fought for the faith with their property and their persons in the cause of Allah as well as those who gave (them) asylum and aid these are (all) friends and protectors one of another. As to those who believed but came not into exile ye owe no duty of protection to them until they seek your aid in religion it is your duty to help them except against a people with whom ye have a treaty of mutual alliance: and (remember) Allah seeth all that ye do. 1239 1240 1241
The unbelievers are protectors one of another: unless ye do this (protect each other) there would be tumult and oppression on earth and great mischief. 1242
Those who believe and adopt exile and fight for the faith in the cause of Allah as well as those who give (them) asylum and aid these are (all) in very truth the believers: for them is the forgiveness of sins and a provision most generous. 1243
And those who accept faith subsequently and adopt exile and fight for the faith in your company they are of you. But kindred by blood have prior rights against each other in the Book of Allah. Verily Allah is well acquainted with all things. 1244 1245
The occasion was the question of the division of the booty after the battle of Badr. See Introduction to this Sura.
Booty taken in a lawful and just war. It belongs to the Cause, in this case the Cause of Allah, as administered by His Messenger. The chief thing is to remain staunch to the Cause of Allah, and have no differences among those who stand for the Cause. Our internal relations must be kept straight: they must not be disturbed by cupidity or worldly considerations of gain, for any windfalls of this kind should be outside our calculations.
Sustenance: The object is to warn off from the love of booty. To all true Believers Allah gives generous sustenance in any case.
Just as: the comparison takes us back to the first clause in verse 4: "such in truth are the Believers"-just as thy Lord also is just and true in ordering thee out to fight against heavy odds, when the alternative was to fight against the unarmed caravan which would have given thee abundant booty almost without a fight. To appreciate the full meaning, remember that the word haqq, translated "truth" means also "right," "just", "what is becoming." The true Believers believe in truth and do right in obedience to Allah's command. So Allah also, in asking them to fight against odds, is not asking them to rush to destruction, but is providing them with an opportunity of vindicating the truth in scorn of worldly advantage. And He made good His promise by giving them victory.
In verse 6 we have again the word "truth": some of the Believers disputed concerning "the truth": they did not feel sure that the course recommended was the right course. They thought it would be certain destruction: they saw death almost staring them in the face.
Just before Badr there were two alternatives before the Muslims in Madinah to save themselves from being overwhelmed by the Makkan Quraish with all their resources from the rich Syrian trade. One, which had least danger for the time being, and also promised much booty, was to fall upon the Quraish caravan returning from Syria to Makkah richly laden, and led by Aba Sufyan with only 40 men unarmed. From a wordly point of view this was the safest and most lucrative course. The other alternative, was to leave the booty out boldly against the well-armed and well-equipped Quraish army of 1,000 men coming from Makkah. The Muslims had no more than 300 men, ill-armed, to oppose this force. But if they could defeat it, it would shake the selfish autocracy which was in possession of Makkah. By Allah's help they won a splendid victory, and the standard of Truth was established, never to be lowered again.
Cf. iii. 123, 125, 126. The number of angels, a thousand at Badr and three thousand and five thousand at Uhud, is equal to the strength of the enemy.
All help comes ultimately from Allah. In special cases it may take special forms to put heart into us, and to fit in with our feelings and our psychology.
Cf. iii. 154 for Uhud. Calm (presence of mind) is essential in battle and in 'ill posts of danger. If the mind is too much in a state of excitement, it cannot carry out a well-considered or well-concerted plan. This spirit of calm confidence on the part of the Muslims won against the blustering violence of the Quraish.
The rain was welcome for many reasons. (1) Water was scarce both for drinking and ablutions; (2) the muslim band, without baggage or equipment or comforts, found that their thirst aggravated their fatigue; (3) the sand was loose, and the rain consolidated it and enabled them "to plant their feet firmly."
"Stain of Satan". Dirt is physically a symbol of evil, and the Muslims were particular about ablutions before prayer. But the rain also refreshed their spirits and removed any lurking doubts in their minds (suggestions of the Evil) that victory might be impossible in such adverse circumstances.
The vulnerable parts of an armed man are above the neck. A blow on the neck, face or head, finishes him off. If he has armour it is difficult to get at his heart. But if his hands are put out of action, he is unable to wield his sword or lance or other weapon, and easily becomes a prisoner.
The laws of Jihad are exactly similar to those enforced by military virtue and discipline. Meet your enemy fairly and squarely, not rashly, but after due preparation. Zahfan in the text (meeting in hostile array) implies a slow and well-planned proceeding towards a hostile army. When once in combat, carry it through: there is no room for second thoughts. Death or victory should be the motto of every soldier: it may be death for himself individually, but if he has faith, there is triumph in either case for his cause. Two exceptions are recognised: (1) reculer pour mieux sauter, to go back in order to jump forward; or to deceive the enemy by a feint; (2) if an individual or body is, by the chances of battle, isolated from his own force, he can fall back on his force in order to fight the battle. There is no virtue in mere single-handedness. Each individual must use his life and his resources to the best advantage for the common cause.
When the battle began, the Holy Prophet prayed, and threw a handful of dust or sand at the enemy, which, as described in traditions, struck the eyes of the enemy. This had a great psychological effect,
Numerically the odds against the Muslims were three to one. In other ways they were at a disadvantage: of arms and equipment they had but little, while the enemy were well-found: they were inexperienced, while the Quraish had brought their foremost warriors. In all this there was a test, but the test was accompanied by gracious favours of countless value: their Commander was one in whom they had perfect faith, and for whom they were ready to lay down their lives; the rain refreshed them; their spirit was unshaken; and they were fighting in Allah's cause. Thus the trial or test became itself a blessing.
Fath = victory, decision, judgment. The Quraish in Makkah had prayed for victory: they were confident that their superior numbers, equipment, and experience would be decisive. With a play on the word, they are told that the decision had come, and the victory-but not in the sense they had hoped for!
Cf. ii. 93.
Cf. ii. 18.
There are two points to note. (1) Note that after Allah and His Messenger are mentioned, the pronoun and verb in the next clause are singular: everything that Allah's Messenger put forward as an injunction came by inspiration from Allah: the Messenger made his will coincide completely with Allah's will. (2) We are asked actively to give our response in deed and life to the call of duty and conscience, for that call leads to real life, the life eternal, even though it may apparently mean in this world the loss of things that make life dear or the loss of life itself. If we refer this to Jihad, i.e., fighting in and for the Cause, both literally and metaphorically, the meaning becomes quite clear.
If the human heart is refractory and refuses to obey the call of Allah, that is not the end of the matter. Allah has to be reckoned with. The refusal may be because there was some pet human scheme which the heart of man was not willing to give up for Allah's Cause. Will that scheme come to fruition by refusing to serve the higher Cause? By no means. Man proposes, but God disposes. If the scheme or motive was perfectly secret from men, it was not secret from Allah. The heart is the innermost seat of man's affections and desires: but Allah intervenes between man and his heart.
Fitna has many meanings: (1) the root meaning is trial or temptation, as in ii. 102 and viii. 28; (2) an analogous meaning is trial or punishment, as in v. 71; (3) tumult or oppression, as in ii. 193, and here: and in viii. 39 (4) there is here (viii. 25) the further shade of meaning suggested, discord, sedition, civil war. This warning against internal discord or tumult was very necessary in the Civil Wars of early Islam, and was never more necessary than it is now. For it affects innocent and guilty alike.
On the immediate occasion the Muslims were reminded that they were a small band in Makkah despised and rejected; living in a state of insecurity for their persons, their lives, their property, and those of their dependents, persecuted and exiled and how by the grace of Allah they found a safe asylum in Madinah how they found friends and helpers, how their many needs were cared for, and how at length they gathered strength and numbers enough to defeat the forces of godlessness, injustice, and oppression.
Trusts may be of various kinds: (1) property, goods, credit, etc.; (2) plans, confidences, secrets, etc.; (3) knowledge, talents, opportunities, etc., which we are expected to use for our fellowmen. Men may betray the trust of Allah and His Prophet by misusing property, or abusing the confidence reposed in them, or the knowledge or talents given to them. On that special occasion, when the plans for the protection of Allah's worshippers against annihilation were of special importance, the Prophet's trust and confidence had to be guarded with special care. Occasions for scrupulously respecting the trust and confidence of our fellow-men occur every day in our life, and few of us can claim perfection in this respect. Hence the special distinction of the Prophet of Allah, who earned the title of Al-Amin, the one who was true to every trust reposed in him.
A big family-many sons-was considered a source of power and strength: iii. 10, 116. So in English, a man with many children is said to have his "quiver full": Cf. Psalms, cxxvii. 4-5: "As arrows are in the hands of a mighty man, so are the children of thy youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them; they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate." So with property and possessions: they add to a man's dignity, power, and influence. But both possessions and a large family are a temptation and a trial. They may turn out to be a source of spiritual downfall, if they are mishandled, or if the love of them excludes the love of Allah.
Cf. ii. 53 and ii. 185. The battle of Badr is called the Furqan in Muslim theology, because it was the first trial of strength by battle, in Islam, between the powers of good and evil. Evil was defeated, and those who had real faith were tested and sorted out from those who had not faith enough to follow the banner of Faith. See also viii. 41 and n. 1210.
The plots against Al-Mustafa in Makkah aimed at three things. They were not only foiled, but Allah's wonderful working turned the tables, and brought good out of evil in each case. (1) They tried to hold the Prophet in subjection in Makkah by putting pressure on his uncles, relatives, and friends. But the more they persecuted, the more the little Muslim community grew in faith and numbers. (2) They tried to injure or slay him. But the wonderful example of his humility, perseverance, and fearlessness furthered the cause of Islam. (3) They tried to get him and his followers out of their homes. But they found a new home in Madinah from which they eventually reconquered not only Makkah but Arabia and the world. A) Cf. iii. 54.
Cf. vi. 25.
This was actually a challenge thrown out by the Infidels in Makkah not seriously but as a taunt. The answer is in the two following verses. Allah punishes in His own good time, not according to the foolish and frivolous taunts of the Unbelievers. While the Holy Prophet was with them, he-the Mercy of the Worlds-conferred a certain amount of immunity to them. There were also other Muslims, just men who asked for forgiveness. And Allah keeps the door of repentance and forgiveness open to all as long as they make it possible. But let them not be puffed up with pride, or think that they have lasting immunity. What became of Abu Jahl? He and some of his greatest warriors were slain at Badr. The little autocratic clique that prevented Muslims from access to the Sacred Mosque had their punishment not long afterwards. They pretended to be its guardians. But were they? Could they be? Only the righteous could be true guardians to Allah's places of worship, and particularly to the Central House of the Ka'ba. It was to be a place of pure worship, while their idolatrous worship was mere mummery,- whistling and clapping of hands. All false worship advertises itself by noise and unseemly riot: it is said that the Pagans used to go naked round the Ka'ba.
It is only when matters are brought to an issue that evil is separated distinctly from the good. Then evil consorts with evil, and good with good. The evil will be piled into a heap. When the cup is full, the punishment will come. There will be no mistake about it. The good should not be discouraged, because in fighting against them, all forces of evil join together and pool their resources together. The more they do so, the easier is the final arbitrament. It is all in Allah's Plan.
Cf. ii. 193 and n.
If they cease from fighting and from the persecution of truth, Allah judges then by their actions and their motives, and would not wish that they should be harassed with further hostility. But if they refuse all terms, the righteous have nothing to fear: Allah will help and protect them.
The rule is that a fifth share is set apart for the Imam (the Commander) and the rest is divided among the forces. The fifth share reserved is expressed to be for Allah and the Prophet, and for charitable purposes for those to whom charity is due. Ultimately everything is at the disposal of Allah and His Prophet: viii. 1: but four-fifths are divided, and only one-fifth is retained for the special purposes. The Imam has discretion as to the mode of division. In the Prophet's life-time a certain portion was assigned to him and his near relatives.
Testing: Furqan: Criterion between right and wrong, decision between the forces of faith and unbelief. The battle of Badr is called by this name. See viii. 29 and n. 1202.
Allah's power is shown in the events detailed in the three verses following (vv. 42-44), leading to the complete victory of the Muslims over the pagan Quraish.
The little Islamic force from Madinah went out to meet the big Makkan army, and they met on the two sides of a valley at Badr, while the Quraish caravan was on lower ground towards the sea, about 3 miles from Badr.
They were all at cross purposes. The caravan was making for Makkah, but scarcely thought it could get there. The Quraish force was trying to save the caravan and then annihilate the Muslims. The Muslims had decided to attack the Quraish army from Makkah which turned out to be big, more than three times their number. Yet the two forces met, precisely at the spot and at the time when a decisive battle should take place and the Muslims dispose of the pretensions of the Makkans. If they had carefully planned a mutual appointment, they could not have carried it out more precisely. On the Muslim side the few martyrs knew that the victory was theirs and those who survived the battle enjoyed the fruits of the victory. On the pagan side, both those who died and those who lived knew fully the issue joined. Even psychologically both sides went in with full determination to decide the issue.
The Muslim army though they knew their worldly disadvantage, did not realise the full odds against them. The Makkans came exulting in any case, and they despised the contemptible little force, opposed to them. Even though they thought the Muslim force was twice as great as it was (iii. 13), still that number was contemptible, when taken with its poor equipment. Both these psychological visions subserved the main Plan, which was to bring the matter to a decisive issue, whether the Pagans of Makkah were to continue their arrogant oppression, or the religion of Allah was to be established in freedom and honour.
A fine description of the Muslim virtues which make for success and whose loss brings about humiliation and failure. "Power": literally, "wind",-the favourable wind for a sailing ship.
A true description of the Makkan army which met its doom.
It is the way with the leaders of evil, when they find their cause lost, that they wash their hands of their followers and leave them in the lurch. They see more clearly than their dupes. They are not simpletons: they know the consequences of the wrath of Allah. Satan's "fear" of Allah is terror combined with hatred,-the very opposite of the feeling which is described in Taqwa viz., the desire to avoid doing anything against Allah's will, such desire being founded on trust in Allah and the love of Allah.
Cf. ii. 10 "disease in the heart." Trust in Allah brings its own reward: our eyes are opened, and we see how great, good, and wise is the Cherisher of the Worlds. Others may sneer and despise. But the blessing of Allah keeps our minds fresh and our hearts contented.
In contrast to the taunt against those who trust in Allah, "that their religion has misled them," is shown the terrible punishment, after death, of those who laughed at Faith.
The punishment is shown to be due to their own deeds of wrong, because Allah is never unjust to the least of His servants.
Allah bestows His grace freely, but He never withdraws it arbitrarily. Before He changes their state and circumstances, an actual state of rebellion and contumacy has arisen in their own souls, which brings about its inevitable punishment.
Note that in verse 51, the words were that they rejected the Signs of Allah and were punished: here the words are that they treated the Signs as false and were destroyed:-a higher degree of guilt deserved a severer punishment.
In viii. 22 we were warned against "the worst of beasts in the sight of Allah", who do not make use of their faculties of hearing, speaking and understanding, in the service of Allah, and in fact misuse their faculties to blaspheme Allah. The same brute creatures are shone here in another light: they are faithless both to Allah and man.
The immediate occasion was the repeated treachery of the Banu Quraiza after their treaties with the Muslims. But the general lesson remains, as noted in the two following verses. Treachery in war is doubly wrong, for it endangers so many lives. Such treachery should be punished in such a way that it gets no chance again. Not only the actual perpetrators but those who follow their standard should be rendered powerless. And the broken treaty should be denounced so that the innocent party can at least fight on equal terms. From actual physical warfare we can carry the same lesson to spiritual warfare. A truce or understanding is possible with those who respect definite principles, not with those who have no principles and are merely out for oppression and wickedness. A) The purpose of the verse is to urge Muslims to act against their enemies described above with a severity and resoluteness which would serve as a deterrent to other enemies of Islam who might be inclined to follow their example and act treacherously towards Muslims.
The immediate occasion of this injunction was the weakness of cavalary and appointments of war in the early fights of Islam. But the general meaning follows. In every fight, physical, moral, or spiritual, arm yourself with the best weapons and the best arms against your enemy, so as to instil wholesome respect into him for you and the Cause you stand for.
There are always lurking enemies whom you may not know, but whom Allah knows. It is your duty to be ready against all, for the sacred Cause under whose banner you are fighting.
Be always ready and put all your resources into your Cause. You do not do so in vain. Allah's reward will come in various forms. He knows all, and His reward will always be more generous than you can possibly think of.
While we must always be ready for the good fight lest it be forced on us, even in the midst of the fight we must always be ready for peace if there is any inclination towards peace on the other side. There is no merit merely in a fight by itself. It should be a joyful duty not for itself, but to establish the reign of peace and righteousness and Allah's Law.
In working for peace there may be a certain risk of treachery on the other side. We must take that risk: because the men of Faith have Allah's aid to count upon and the strength of the united body of the righteous.
On the immediate occasion, the greatest miracle and most wonderful working of Allah's grace was the union of hearts produced among the jarring, war-like, excitable clements of Arabia under the gentle, firm, and wise guidance of Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah. At all times we must pray to Allah for this gift above all,-union, understanding, and pure and sincere affection among those who take Allah's name. With it there is strength and success. Without it there is humiliation, slavery, and moral degradation. There may be many causes of difference and dispute. The reconciliation can only come from the glory and wisdom of Allah.
The Believers: mere lip-profession of belief, or even the kind of belief that does not result in action, is not enough. To those whose belief is so sincere that it results in complete trust in Allah and in fearless action in His service, the consequences on this earth do not matter. Allah's good pleasure is enough for them.
In a fight, odds of ten to one against any one are appalling. But they do not daunt the men of faith. Whether they personally win or die, their Cause prevails. They are sure to win: because (1) they have divine aid, and (2) even humanly speaking, those who take up arms against truth and righteousness are fools, and their seeming power is but a broken reed.
Given equal conditions, Muslims on account of their faith could win against odds of ten to one. But where their organization and equipment are weak, as was the case about the time of Badr, they were set a lighter task, and asked to tackle no more than odds of two to one against them. As a matter of fact at Badr they won through against odds of more than three to one.
An ordinary war may be for territory or trade, revenge or military glory,-all "temporal goods of this world." Such a war is condemned. But a Jihad is fought under strict conditions laid down by Islam, and solely for the cause of Allah. All baser motives, therefore are strictly excluded. The gain in the shape of ransom from captives has no place in such warfare. At the same time, if there has been heavy loss of life already, captives may be taken, and it would be for the Imam to exercise his discretion as to the time when it was safe to release them, and whether the release should be free or on parole or on a fine by way of punishment. Destruction and slaughter, however repugnant to a gentle soul like that of Muhammad, were inevitable where evil tried to suppress the good. Even Jesus, whose mission was more limited, had to say: "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace but a sword." (Matt. x. 34). Seventy captives were taken at Badr, and it was decided to take ransom for them. While the general principle of fighting for the purpose of taking captives in order to get their ransom is condemned, the particular action in this case was approved in vv. 68-71.
Though any motive of worldly gain, which may have been in the minds of some among the victorious Muslim army, is condemned as worthy of a severe penalty, what actually happened is ascribed to the Plan of Allah, which was preordained. Among the prisoners taken were the Prophet's uncle 'Abbas and Hadhrat 'Ali's brother, Aqil, who afterwards became Muslims. 'Abbas was an ancestor of the founder of the celebrated 'Abbasi Dynasty which played such a notable part in Islamic history. In his case the promise made in verse 70 was amply fulfilled. In the case of all prisoners, if there was any good in their hearts, their very fight against Islam and their capture led to their being blessed with Islam. Thus does Allah's Plan work in a marvellous way, and evolve good out of seeming evil.
Enjoy: literally, eat. See vii. 19. n. 1004, and v. 66, n. 776.
This is a consolation to the prisoners of war. In spite of their previous hostility, Allah will forgive them in His mercy if there was any good in their hearts, and confer upon them a far higher gift than anything they have ever lost. This gift in its highest sense would be the blessing of Islam, but even in a material sense, there was great good fortune awaiting them. Note how comprehensive is Allah's care. He encourages and strengthens the Muslims, at the same time condemning any baser motives that may have entered their minds, He consoles the prisoners of war and promises them better things if there is any good in them at all. And He offers comfort to those who have left their homes in His Cause, and knits them into closer fellowship with those who have helped them and sympathised with them.
If the kindness shown to them is abused by the prisoners of war when they are released, it is not a matter for discouragement to those who showed the kindness. Such persons have in their treachery shown already their treason to Allah, in that they took up arms against Allah's Prophet, and sought to blot out the pure worship of Allah. The punishment of defeat, which opened the eyes of some of their comrades, evidently did not open their eyes. But Allah knows all, and in His wisdom will order all things for the best. The Believers have done their duty in showing such clemency as they could in the circumstances of war. For them "Allah sufficeth" (viii. 62).
The reference is to the Muhajirin and the Ansar, the Emigrants and the Helpers, the people who forsook their homes and adopted voluntary exile from Makkah in company with their beloved Leader, and their good friends in Madinah, who gave them asylum and every kind of assistance, moral and material. Under the magnetic personality of the Holy Prophet these two groups became like blood-brothers, and they were so treated in matters of inheritance during the period when they were cut off from their kith and kin.
The Believers (Muslims) were entitied to all assistance in matters of religion. But if they were not strong enough to suffer voluntary exile on behalf of the Cause and make the personal sacrifices which their more ardent brethren in faith made, they could not reasonably ask for political or military assistance or protection.
If a community suffers voluntary exile on account of persecution and oppression, and some of its weaker brethren stay behind, holding fast to faith but not prepared for the higher sacrifice, the exiles have still a duty to help their weaker brethren in matters of religion. The exiles, being at open war against the State which oppressed them, would be free to fight against such State. But if the weaker brethren are in a State in mutual alliance with the Community, the Community cannot in honour interfere with that State, whether it is Muslim or not. Presumably the alliance implies that the grievances of the weaker brethren will be redressed by the State itself. But it is not honourable to embarrass your own ally.
Evil consorts with evil. The good have all the more reason for drawing together and not only living in mutual harmony, but being ready at all times to protect each other. Otherwise the world will be given over to aggressions by unscrupulous people, and the good will fail in their duty to establish Allah's Peace and to strengthen all the forces of truth and righteousness.
Believers who make all sacrifices in the Cause of Allah have given the best possible proof of their Faith by their actions. They have loved Allah much, and much will be forgiven them. What they sacrificed was, perhaps, judged by universal standards, of small value, but its value will be estimated by the precious love behind it, and its reward will be of no ordinary kind. It will not be a reward in the ordinary sense at all, for a reward is given once for all. It will be a provision which last for ever, and is on the most generous scale.
Those who come into the fold last are none the less brethren in the fullest acceptation of the term. But any special provisions made in the special circumstances of the first martyrs for the Cause will not of course apply to them as the special circumstances which made them necessary have ceased to exist. See next note.
The Book of Allah,- i.e., the Eternal Decree, the Preserved Tablet (lxxxv. 22). Blood-relationship and its rights and duties do not depend on special circumstances of a temporary nature. Any temporary rights of mutual inheritance established between the early Emigrants and Helpers (n. 1239) would not apply after the revelation of this verse any more.