|25 Allah has helped you on many occasions,
including the Day of Hunayn
when your great numbers delighted you
but did not help you in any way,
and the earth seemed narrow to you
for all its great breadth,
and you turned your backs.
(The Day of Hunayn) is joined to "occasions (mawatin)" or it is accusative due to the action of the verb. This is better for two reasons: one is that the words, "when your great numbers pleased you" is particular to Hunayn and not valid for any other place. Therefore it is weak for the "Day of Hunayn" to be joined to "occasions" because of the the difference between them in that respect. The other is that "occasions" is a adverb of place and "the Day of Hunayn" is in fact an adverb of time. It is weak that one be joined to the other. By 'mawatin' He means times. "Hunayn" is the name of a place which takes its name from a man whose name was Hunayn.
(when your great numbers delighted you) They were 12,000 that day. Some of them said, "Today we will not be defeated by a few." Allah wanted to demonstrate their powerlessness. So the people fled, leaving the Messenger of Allah behond until his mule remained with only a small group surrounding it. Then he asked for Allah's help and took a handful of dust and threw it in the faces of the unbelievers. He said, "May the faces be ugly!" He called for his Companions and they returned to him and Allah defeated the unbelievers.
(for all its great breadth) i.e. it seemed narrow in spite of its great expanse.
(Allah has helped you on many occasions) in war, like the Battles of Badr, Qurayza and an-Nadir. (On the Day of Hunayn) Hunayn is between Makka and at-Ta'if, meaning the day on which you fought Hawazin in Shawwal, 8 AH. (when your great numbers delighted you) You said: "We will not be defeated today due to small numbers". They were 12,000 and the unbelievers were 4000. (but did not help you in any way, and the earth seemed narrow to you for all its great breadth) ma is a verbal noun, i.e. in spite of its expanse, you did not find a place in which you felt at ease because of the intensity of the fear which you felt. (and you turned your backs) retreating while the Messenger of Allah remained firm on his white mule and only al-'Abbas and Abu Sufyan, who was holding its rein, were with him.
|26 Then Allah sent down His serenity
on His Messenger and on the muminun,
and sent down troops you could not see,
and punished those who were kafir.
That is how the kuffar are repaid.
(He sent down troops you could not see) i.e. the angels.
(His serenity) peace of mind. (on His Messenger and on the muminun) The Muslims returned to the Messenger of Allah. Al-'Abbas called them with the Prophet's permission and they fought alongside him.
[As-Sawi: Al-'Abbas had a voice which could be heard for a distance of about eight miles.]
[As-Sawi: They did not fight, but were sent down to strengthen the hearts of the Muslims.]
(punished those were kafir) with killing and capture.
|27 Then after that Allah will turn to anyone He wills.
Allah is Ever-Forgiving, Most Merciful.
(Then Allah will turn) indicating that the tribe of Hawazin who had fought the Muslims at Hunayn became Muslim.
|28 You who have iman! the mushrikun are unclean,
so after this year they should not come near
the Masjid al-Haram.
If you fear impoverishment,
Allah will enrich you from His bounty if He wills.
Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise.
(The mushrikun are unclean) It is said that they are impure because of their rejection. It is said that it is by janâba (impurity as a result of sexual intercourse).
(they should not come near the Masjid al-Haram) This is a text barring the idolaters from the Masjid al-Haram. The scholars agree on that. By analogy, Malik took mushrikun to apply all the unbelievers of the People of the Book and others. By analogy, he makes the Masjid al-Haram to apply to all mosques. Thus he forbids all unbelievers from entering any mosque. Ash-Shafi'i made it particular to the unbelievers and the Masjid al-Haram. He forbade all unbelievers from entering the Masjid al-Haram in particular and permits them to enter other mosques. Abu Hanifa confines it to the position of the text. He forbids the idolaters in particular from entering the Masjid al-Haram in particular but allowed them to enter other mosques and he permits the People of the Book to enter the Masjid al-Haram and other mosques.
(after this year ) meaning 9 AH when Abu Bakr went on hajj with the people and 'Ali recited the Sura at-Tawba to them.
(if you fear impoverishment) i.e. being in need. The idolaters used to bring food to Makka and people feared they would lack provision because of that if the idolaters were prevented from coming there. Allah promised them that He would give them what would be enough for them from His bounty. All the Arabs became Muslim and the bringing in of food to Makka continued. Then Allah conquered all the cities.
(The mushrikun are unclean) impure because of their inward foulness. (they should not come near the Sacred Mosque) They should not enter the Haram.
[As-Sawi: Scholars that the lands of Islam fall into three categories in respect of the kafirun. One is the Haram: it is not permitted for the rejector to enter it in any case, although Abu Hanifa permits someone who has a treaty to enter it. The second is the Hijaz and it is not permitted for a kafir to enter it without permission, and he cannot remain it more than three days. This comes from the hadith, "There should not remain two deens in the Arabian peninsula." That extends from furthest Aden to the land of Iraq and from Jidda and the coast to the edge of Syria. The third is the rest of Muslim lands where the rejectors is permitted to reside when they are granted the dhimma or a safe passage. A kafir should not enter mosques except for a valid reason.]
(if you fear impoverishment) poverty by the cutting off of trade.
[As-Sawi: The people of Makka feared poverty since the rejectors could not come and trade with them.]
(Allah will enrich you) Allah will enrich you by means of conquests and payment of jizya.
(The mushrikun are unclean) This is used as a proof by those who say that they are actually impure so that they must do ghusl if they become Muslim and one must do wudu' after shaking hands with them. (they should not come near the Masjid al-Haram) An unbeliever is forbidden to enter the Haram; he is not permitted to enter it for trade or anything else, even if there is a peace treaty because the Sacred Mosque applies to the entire Haram. Ibn Abi Hatim transmitted that from Ibn 'Abbas, Sa'id ibn Jubayr, Mujahid, 'Ata' and others. The literal meaning of the verse is used by those who say that it is permitted for them to enter other mosques (as ash-Shafi'i). Abu Hanifa says that People of the Book are not prevented because it is specific to idolaters.
|29 Fight those of the people who were given the Book
who do not have iman in Allah and the Last Day
and do not make haram
what Allah and His Messenger have made haram
and do not take as their deen the deen of Truth,
until they pay the jizya with their own hands
in a state of complete abasement.
(Fight those of the people who do not have iman in Allah and the Last Day) A command to fight the People of the Book and denying their belief in Allah because of the words of the Jews, "'Uzayr is the son of Allah" and the words of the Christians, "The Messiah is the son of Allah." Their belief in the Last Day is denied because their belief in it is incorrect. They do not accept the Next World or the Reckoning.
(who do not make haram what Allah and His Messenger have made haram) because they consider as lawful carrion, blood, pork, etc. (and do not take as their deen the deen of Truth) i.e. they do not enter Islam.
(who were given the Book) Clarifying those they were commanded to fight. When this ayat was revealed, the Messenger of Allah set out onthe expedition to Tabuk to fight the Christians.
(until they pay the jizya) Scholars agree about accepting jizya from the Jews and Christians. The Magians/Zoroasterians have been added to them going by the words of the Prophet, "Treat them as People of the Book." There is disagreement about accepting it from idolatrs and Sabians. It is not collected from women, children or the insane. Malik says that it is 4 dinars for the people whp use gold and 40 dirhams for the people who use silver. It is a head tax. (with their own hands) This has two interpretations. One is that the dhimmi pays it with his own hand and does not send anyone with it nor postpone it as is said, "from hand to hand." The second is submission and obedience as you say, "he gave his hand to so-and-so [an expression meaning "he surrendered to so-and-so"]." (state of abasement) i.e. they are humble.
(Fight those of the people who do not have iman in Allah and the Last Day) Otherwise, they would believe in the Prophet.
[As-Sawi: Fighting the people of the Torah and the Gospel is mentioned after the clarification regarding fighting the Arab idolaters. This ayat was revealed when the Messenger of Allah was commanded to fight the Byzantines. When it was sent down, the Messenger of Allah prepared for the expedition to Tabuk.]
(who do not make haram what Allah and His Messenger have made haram) like wine, etc. (and do not take as their deen the Deen of Truth) which is firm and abrogates other deens. It is the deen of Islam. (who were given the Book) meaning the Christians and the Jews. (they pay the jizya) which they have to pay every year.
[As-Sawi: It is called jizya because it spares them from being fought and accords them security. Jazâ means to compensate for something.]
(with their own hands) An adverbial expression, i.e. in obedience and directly with their own hands without any deputy. (state of abasement) humble and obedient to the judgements of Islam.
(Fight those of the people who do not have iman in Allah and the Last Day) This is the basis for accepting jizya from the People of the Book, and it is a refutation of those who accept it from others. "With their own hands". It is related by Abu Hatim from Qatada to be by force, and by Abu Sufyan to be by ability. Its literal meaning is that it is not taken from someone in a state of hardship as Ibn al-Majishun stated. Ibn 'Uyayna said that "with thier own hands" means that it is not sent with someone else. This is used as evidence by those who say that a Muslim cannot be delegated to do it, nor can he guarantee it for him nor transfer it from him to himself, but the dhimmi must pay it in person.
(state of abasement) Ibn 'Abbas said: they are pushed. Ibn Abi Hatim transmitted that. It is transmitted that al-Mughira told Rustam, "I call you to Islam or else you must pay the jizya while you are in a state of abasement." He said, "I know what jizya means, but what does 'a state of abasement' mean?" He replied, "You pay it while you are standing and I am sitting and the whip hanging is over your head." Abu'sh-Shaykh related that Sa'id ibn al-Musayyab said, "I prefer that the people of the dhimma become tired by paying the jizya since He says, 'until they pay the jizya with their own hands in a state of complete abasement.'" It is used as a proof by those who say that it is taken in a humiliating way, and so the taker sits and the dhimmi stands with his head bowed and his back bent. The jizya is placed in the balance and the taker seizes his beard and hits his chin. This is rejected according to an-Nawawi who said, "This manner is invalid." This ayat is used as a proof by those who say that the people of the dhimma are left in the landa of Islam because it is understood that one refrains from fighting them when they pay it.
|30 The Jews say, ' 'Uzayr is the son of Allah,'
and the Christians say, 'The Messiah is the son of Allah.'
That is what they say with their mouths,
copying the words of those who were kafir before.
Allah fight them! How perverted they are!
(The Jews say, "'Uzayr is the son of God") Ibn 'Abbas said that this is what four Jews said: Sallam ibn Mushkam, Nu'man ibn Awfa, Shas ibn Qays and Malik ibn as-Sayf. It is said that only Finhas said it. It is ascribed to all of them because they followed those who said it. It is apparent that all of them said it since they did not deny it when it was attributed to them. The reason it they said that was that they had lost Torah and only 'Uzayr knew it by heart and he taught it to them, and so they said, "Allah only taught 'Uzayr the Torah because he was His son."
(The Christians say: "The Messiah is the son of Allah") Abu'l-Mu'ala said, "The Christians agree that the Messiah is God and the son of God, and that is atrocious disbelief."
(with their mouths) This contains two meanings. One is that they hold to this statement and confirm it. The other is that they have no proof of it. It is only a claim like what you say to the one you call a liar: "This what you say with your tongue." (copying the words of those who were kafir before) His words, "those who were kafir before" indicates the Arabs when they said that the angels were the sons of Allah, and they were the first unbelievers, or it refers to the Sabian, or it refers to all previous communities. If the pronoun refers to the Christian or Jewish contemporaries of the Prophet, those who rejected before were their earlier ancestors.
(Allah fight them!) A curse on them. It is said that it means, "May Allah curse them!"
(How perverted they are) Amazement at how they can turn away from the truth and what is correct.
(what they say with their mouths) since they relied on it. (copying) they make it like what was said (Allah fight them!) Curse them.
[As-Sawi: May He put them far from His mercy, therefore it is a curse on them.]
(How perverted they are) turned away from the truth although the proof is established.
|31 They have taken their rabbis and monks as lords besides Allah,
and also the Messiah, son of Maryam.
Yet they were commanded to worship only one God.
There is no god but Him!
Glory be to Him above anything they associate with Him!
(They have taken their rabbis and monks as as lords) i.e. they obey them as the Lord is obeyed, even if they do not worship them. (and the Messiah) joined to rabbis and monks.
(They were commanded to worship only one God) i.e. 'Isa and Muhammad commanded them to do that.
(They have taken their rabbis and monks as as lords besides from Allah) since they follow them in making lawful what He has made unlawful and forbidding what he has made lawful. (Yet they were commande) in the Torah and the Gospel.
|32 They desire to extinguish Allah's Light with their mouths.
But Allah refuses to do other than perfect His Light,
even though the kafirun detest it.
(They desire to extinguish Allah's light) i.e. they want to wipe out the prophethood of Muhammad and what he brought in respect of worshipping Allah and proclaiming that He is one. (with their mouths) An indication of their words as when they said, "he is sorcerer and poet". It is also an indication of the inability of their devices to accomplish what they desired.
(They desire to extinguish Allah's light) His Shari'a and proofs.
[As-Sawi: The proofs are three: outward miracles; the Qur'an, and His deen which He commanded be followed. That is the deen of Islam. It does not contain anything which does not exalt Allah and His obedience.]
(with their mouths) their words about it. (to perfect) to manifest.
|33 It is He who sent His Messenger
with guidance and the Deen of Truth
to exalt it over every other deen,
even though the mushrikun detest it.
(to exalt it over every other deen) The pronoun refers to the Messenger or to the deen. Its clear meaning is to put it above all other deens and to make it strong so that it embraces the east and the west. It is said that that will be when 'Isa descends and then only the deen of Islam will remain.
(He who sent His Messenger) Muhammad.
(with guidance and the Deen of Truth) As-Sawi says that Guidance is the Qur'an and the Deen of Truth is the deen of Islam.
|34 You who have iman! many of the rabbis and monks
devour people's property under false pretences
and bar people from access to the Way of Allah.
As for those who hoard up gold and silver
and do not spend it in the Way of Allah,
give them the news of a painful punishment
35 on the Day it is heated up in the fire of Hell
and their foreheads, sides and backs are branded with it:
'This is what you hoarded for yourselves,
so taste what you were hoarding!'
(those who hoard up gold and silver) It is related in hadith that wealth that on which zakat is paid is not hoarded, and that on which zakat is not paid is hoarded. Abu Dharr and a group of ascetics said, "Whatever a man has more than he needs is treasure." (and do not spend it) The pronoun refers to all wealth and treasure which the meaning contains. It is said that it refers to silver, which spares the need for mentioning gold since they have the same authority.
(the day it is heated up) The pronoun refers to the same thing that the pronoun in "they spend it" refers to.
(devour people's property under false pretences) like accepting bribes in return for giving favourable judgement.
[As-Sawi: It is said that it is by lightening the laws in order to make things easy for them. It is said that it is by altering the description of the Prophet in the Torah and Gospel. It is said that it is more general, and that is the best interpretation.]
(bar people from access to the way of Allah) His deen and do not pay what is due on it in the form of zakat and charity.
[As-Sawi says that they prevent people from entering Islam.]
(are branded with it) burned (and their foreheads and sides and backs) their skin is stretched out so that all the money they hoarded can be placed on it. Then they are told: "This is what..." (taste what you were hoarding) i.e. the repayment for it.
[Ibn Kathir says: They will punished by this wealth since they amassed it and preferred it to the pleasure of Allah. It will become the most harmful of things for them in the Next Abode since it will be heated up and they will be burned with it. It is related from Abu Hurayra that the Messenger of Allah said, "In the case of any man who does not pay the zakat on his wealth, on the Day of Rising it will be made into pages of fire for him and his side, face and back will be branded with it in a day whose length is 50,000 years.']
(those who hoard up gold and silver) Two ayats revealed about those who refuse to pay zakat as al-Hakam and Ibn 'Abbas related.
|36 There have been twelve months with Allah in the Book of Allah,
from the day He first created the heavens and earth.
Four of them are haram.
That is the True Deen.
So do not wrong one another during them.
However, fight the mushrikun totally
just as they fight you totally,
and know that Allah is with those who have taqwa.
(twelve) They are the well-known months. The first of them is Muharram and the last is Dhu'l-Hijja. The person who made Muharram the first month of the year was 'Umar ibn al-Khattab. (in the Book of Allah) i.e. in the Preserved Tablet; and it is also said that it means the Qur'an, but the former is the more likely because He says, "the day when He first created the heavens and the earth."
(Four of them are haram) Haram means sacred. They are: Rajab, Dhu'l-Qa'da, Dhu'l-Hijja and Muharram.
(That is the True Deen) i.e. considering the sacred months sacred is the True Deen, the deen of Ibrahim and Isma'il. The Arabs kept to them until some of them altered them.
[NOTE: They added a thirteenth month to bring the lunar calendar in harmony with the solar calendar.]
(So do not then wrong one another during them) The pronoun (them) refers to the sacred months out of respect for them. Committing wrong actions in them is worse, even though wrong actions are also, of course, forbidden in other months. It is said that the pronoun belongs to all twelve, or even that all time is referred to. The first is more likely.
(Fight the mushrikun totally) i.e. fight them in the sacred months as well. This abrogates the prohibition against fighting during them [in Surat al-Baqara].
(in the Book of Allah) The Preserved Tablet (True) Upright and Straight (fight the mushrikun totally) all together in all months. (Allah is with those who have taqwa) by means of assistance and help.
[ As-Sawi: This ayat abrogates the ayat in Surat al-Baqara which forbids fighting in the Sacred months.]
(the number of months with Allah...) The ayat contains judgements of the Shari'a connected to the Arab lunar months, not the solar months. It mentions the the sacred months and the terrible nature of wrongdoing in them which is worse than in other months. Here is also the prescription of making blood-money hard in the case of killing.... (Fight the mushrikun totally) It is used as a proof by those who say that in the time of the Prophet, jihad was an obligation incumbent on every individual.
|37 Deferring a sacred month is an increase in kufr
by which the kuffar lead many people astray.
One year they make it profane and another sacred
to tally with the number Allah has made sacred.
In that way they profane what Allah has made sacred.
Their bad actions are made to seem good to them.
Allah does not guide kafir people.
(Deferring a sacred month) This refers to deferring the sacredness of one month to another month. That is because the Arabs used to have wars and raids. The sacredness of the sacred months was hard for them to abandon, so they made them profane and made other months sacred instead. They might make Muharram profane and Safar sacred so that there would be the full four sacred months in the year.
(One year they make it profane and another sacred) i.e. sometimes sacred and sometimes not, and does not mean the actual "year". (to tally with the number which Allah has made sacred) i.e. to accord with the number of sacred months - four. (In that way they make profane what Allah has made sacred) i.e. they consider it lawful to fight in the sacred months.
(Deferring a sacred month) i.e. deferring the sacredness of a month to another month, as took place in the Jahiliyya. (is an increase in kufr) by their rejection of Allah's judgement concerning it. (lead astray) There are two readings for this: yudill, 'led astray,' and yadill, 'lead astray'. (to tally) to agree by making one month sacred and another profane. (that Allah which has made sacred) of the months, so that there are no more and no less than four sacred months, while they do not mind about the individual months themselves. (Their bad actions are made to seem good to them) so they think them attractive.
[As-Sawi: Shaytan is the One who makes those actions seem attractive.]
(Allah does not guide kafir people) It was sent down when the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, called people to take part in the expedition of Tabuk, in 10 AH, and it was very hot and the journey was arduous for them.
|38 You who have iman! what is the matter with you
that when you are told,
'Go out and fight in the way of Allah,'
you sink down heavily to the earth?
Are you happier with the dunya than the akhira?
Yet the enjoyment of the dunya is very small
compared to that of the akhira.
(What is the matter with you that when you are told: 'Go out...') This is a rebuke to those who stayed behind the expedition to Tabuk. (you sink down heavily to the earth) A metaphor for staying behind.
(O you who have iman!)
[Ibn Kathir: This begins to censure those who stayed behind the Prophet in the expedition to Tabuk when the fruits were ripe and sweet and there was shade at home from the intense heat. "O you who believe", i.e. when you are called to jihad in the way of Allah.]
(you sink down heavily) i.e. you are slow and turn away from jihad. (to the earth) you sit on it. The question is a rebuke. (Are you happier with the dunya) with the life of this world and its pleasures. (than the Akhira) instead of the delights of the Next World. (very small) insignificant.
|39 If you do not go out to fight,
He will punish you with a painful punishment
and substitute another people in your place.
You will not harm Him in any way.
Allah has power over all things.
(If you do not go out to fight, He will punish you) A precondition whose result is punishment in this world and the Next.
(go out to fight) i.e. go out with the Prophet on jihad. (and substitute another people in your place) i.e. bring them to replace you.
[As-Sawi: It is said to mean the Persians or the people of Yemen.]
(You will not harm Him) "Him" can refer to Allah or to the Prophet. (in any way) by not helping Him. Allah will help His deen. (Allah has power over all things) part of which is by helping His deen and His Prophet.
|40 If you do not help him, Allah did help him
when the kuffar drove him out
and there were two of them in the Cave.
He said to his companion,
'Do not be despondent, Allah is with us.'
Then Allah sent down His serenity upon him
and reinforced him with troops you could not see.
He made the word of the kuffar undermost.
It is the word of Allah which is uppermost.
Allah is Almighty, All-Wise.
(If you do not help him, Allah did help him) The pronoun (him) refers to the Messenger of Allah.
(when the kuffar drove him out) i.e. drove him out of Makka so that he had to make hijra to Madina. "Driving out" refers to the unbelievers because they harmed him to the extent of driving him out. (two of them) who was Abu Bakr as-Siddiq. (when he said to his companion,'Do not be despondent') i.e. to Abu Bakr (Allah is with us) i.e. by means of His help and kindness.
(Allah sent down His serenity upon him) "Him" refers to the Messenger, or it is also said to Abu Bakr because the sakina (serenity) was sent down with the Prophet. But that is a weak interpretation because the following pronouns refer to the Messenger.
(and reinforced him with troops you did not see) i.e. the angels at Badr and elsewhere.
(He made the word of the kuffar undermost) meaning He abased it and disproved it. (It is the word of Allah which is uppermost) It is said that it is the words "There is no god but Allah" and it is said that it is the whole deen.
(If you do not help him) the Prophet (when the kuffar drove him out) of Makka, i.e. they forced him to seek refuge by leaving Makka when they wanted to kill him or imprison him or exile him after their meeting at ar an-Nadwa. (two of them) The other was Abu Bakr. The meaning is that just as Allah helped him in that situation, He will not fail him in other situations. (when they were in the cave) in a hole in Mt Thawr. (he said to his companion) Abu Bakr ,who said to him when he saw the feet of the idolaters, "If one of them were to look under his feet, he would see us." (on him) It is said that it is on the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and it is said that it is on Abu Bakr. (reinforced him) i.e. the Prophet. (with troops you did not see) angels in the cave and in situations where he fought. (the word of the kuffar) i.e. the claim of disbelief. (undermost) defeated (the word of Allah) i.e. the shahada. (uppermost) overcoming and dominant. (Allah is Almighty) in His kingdom (All-Wise) in what He does.
(When he said to his companion) Abu Bakr said, "I was the companion, by Allah" Ibn Abi Hatim related that. Thus the Malikis say that anyone who denies that Abu Bakr was that companion has rejected and should be killed, in contradistinction to other Companions, because the text of the Qur'an states that he was the companion.
|41 Go out to fight, whatever your circumstances or desires,
and do jihad with your wealth and yourselves
in the Way of Allah.
That is better for you if you only knew.
(Go out to fight, whatever your circumstances (lit. both light and heavy)) A command to go forth to raid. "Light" designates those who can travel with ease. "Heavy" refers to those who can only do so with difficulty. Some scholars said that "light" means the rich and "heavy" means the poor. It is said that "light" means youth and "heavy" old men. It is said that "light" means energetic and "heavy" lazy. These are all similar statements about the light and heavy. It is said that this ayat was abrogated when He said, "Nothing is held against the weak and the sick..." (9:91)
(Go out to fight, both light and heavy) i.e. energetic and not energetic; strong and weak, or rich and poor. It was abrogated by "Nothing is held against the weak." (9:91) (That is better for you if you only knew), that it is better for you, you would not sit back heavily. It was sent down about the hypocrites who stayed behind.
[ Ibn Kathir: i.e. it is better for you in this world and the Next because you suffer little outlay in expenses while Allah enriches you with the wealth of your enemy in this world, in addition to the honour which is stored up for you in the Next world, as the Prophet said, "Allah gives an guarantee to the one who does jihad in His way that if he dies, he will enter the Garden, and if He returns him to his home, it is with what he obtains of the reward or with booty."]
(Go out to fight, whatever your circumstances )This is used as a proof by those who say that everyone must go forth in case of necessity or when the unbelievers attack. It is transmitted from Ibn Abi Hatim from al-Miqdad ibn al-Aswadand Abu Ayyub al-Ansari that they used to say, "We were commanded to go out in every case" and they quoted this ayat. It is transmitted from Anas that Abu Talha recited this ayat and said, "I think that our Lord calls on us to go out, both old and young. Make provision for me." It is said that it is abrogated and it is said that it was particular to the time of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace.
|42 If it had been a case of easy gains and a short journey,
they would have followed you,
but the distance was too great for them.
They will swear by Allah:
'Had we been able to, we would have gone out with you.'
They are destroying their own selves.
Allah knows that they are lying.
(If it was a case of easy gains and a short journey) This ayat and much of what follows it in this sura is about the hypocrites who stayed behind the Tabuk expedition. That was because the target was a distant land and it was in a time of great heat when the dates were ripe and there was plenty of shade. So it was arduous for them. In this ayat Allah states that if the journey had been for goods of this world or if it had been an easy journey, then they would have gone on it.
(The distance was too great for them) i.e. the road and the distance involved.
(They will swear by Allah) This is information about the unseen about how they would swear and offer false excuses. (destroying their own selves) i.e. causing themselves to fall into destruction by making false oaths or by holding back from the expedition.
(Allah knows that they are lying) in what they say. The Prophet gave permission to a group to stay behind by his own ijtihad and this was sent down to censure that. Pardon comes first to put his heart at ease.
|43 Allah pardon you!
Why did you excuse them until it was clear to you
which of them were telling the truth
and until you knew the liars?
(May Allah pardon you! Why did you excuse them...) Some of the hypocrites asked the Prophet for permission to stay behind from the Tabuk expedition and he gave them permission. Allah censured him for giving permission. Pardon came first to honour him. It is said that, "May Allah pardon you!" does not mean it was a wrong action or imply censure, but it is to begin speaking as one says, "May Allah put your right."
(until it was clear to you which of them were telling the truth and until you knew the liars?) They said, "Ask him for permission to stay behind. If he gives us permission, we will stay behind, and if he does not give us permission, we will still stay behind." So then the truth and the lie would have been evident. If you had not given them permission, then the rebels and hypocrites would have stayed behind and the obedient would have gone with you.
(Why did you excuse them) to stay behind. Why didn't you leave them until it was clear (which were telling the truth) in respect of their excuse.
(May Allah pardon you! Why did you excuse them) This is used as a proof by those who say that itjihad was permissible for him, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, because if he had excused them by Revelation, he would not have been censured. It is used as proof by those who say that his ijtihad could err, but that when that happened, he was made aware of it immediately. Ibn Abi Hatim transmitted that 'Awn said, "Have you heard any admonishment better than this? He begins with forgiveness before criticism."
|44 Those who have iman in Allah and the Last Day
do not ask you to excuse them from doing jihad
with their wealth and themselves.
Allah knows the people who have taqwa.
(Those who believe in Allah do not ask you to excuse them...) Those who believe in Allah and the Last Day do not ask your permission to stay behind the expedition without an excuse.
(Those who believe in Allah do not ask you to excuse them...) so that they can stay behind.
[Ibn Kathir: because they see it as an act of nearness. When they are asked to do it, they hasten to it and obey.]
|45 Only those who do not have iman in Allah and the Last Day
ask you to excuse them.
Their hearts are full of doubt
and in their doubt they waver to and fro.
(Their hearts are full of doubt) i.e. doubtful. This ayat was revealed about 'Abdullah ibn Ubayy ibn Salul and al-Jadd ibn Qays.
(their hearts are full of doubt) regarding the deen. (waver to and fro) in confusion.
[As-Sawi: doubt is ascribed to the heart because it is its place as it is also the place of belief and gnosis.]
|46 If they had really desired to go out,
they would have made proper preparations for it,
but Allah was averse to their setting out
so He held them back and they were told:
'Stay behind with those who stay behind.'
(If they had really desired to go out) i.e. if they had had the intention to raid and been ready for it before its time came. (to their setting out) i.e. to their going forth.
(He held them back) i.e. broke their resolution and put laziness in their hearts.
(They were told, 'Stay') It is possible that it was Allah who told them to stay. That refers to it being decreed for them to stay behind. It is possible that they said that to each other. (with those stay behind) with the women and children and people with valid excuses. That entails blame for them since they are included with those people in their staying behind.
(If they had really desired to go out) with you. (they would have made proper preparations for it) preparations consisting of equipment and food.(but Allah was averse to their setting out) He did not wish them to go out.
[As-Sawi: because that would entail opportunities for them to bring about corruption and confusion.]
(He held them back) by making them lazy. (Stay behind with those who stay behind) the sick, the women and the children, i.e. Allah has decreed that.
|47 If they had gone out among you,
they would have added nothing to you but confusion.
They would have scurried about amongst you
seeking to cause conflict between you,
and among you there are some who would have listened to them.
Allah knows the wrongdoers.
(if they had gone out among you, they would have added nothing to you but confusion) i.e. evil and corruption. (and would have scurried) i.e. moved quickly. Ida' is to travel quickly. The meaning is that they travel quickly to corruption and blame. (seeking to cause conflict) trying to corrupt you and cause unrest (fitna). (listened to them) It is said they will listen to their news and transmit it to others.
(confusion) by making the believers lose hope. (they would have scurried about amongst you) i.e rushed between you spreading slanders. (conflict) Fitna meaning sedition and enmity. (listened to them) to what they say. Listening is accepting.
[ As-Sawi: It is possible that what is meant are spies among them who listen to your reports, and it is possible that the pronoun "among you" refers to the believers, meaning that the believers whose hearts are weak would have listened to what the hypocrites say which would cause them to lose hope and be corrupted.]
|48 They have already tried to cause conflict before,
and turned things completely upside down for you,
until the truth came and Allah's command prevailed
even though they detested it.
(They have already tried to cause conflict before) i.e. they sought to bring about corruption. It is related that it was sent down about 'Abdullah ibn Ubayy ibn Salul and his fellow hypocrites. (and turned things completely upside down for you) i.e. turned them around in every aspect. But Allah rendered their efforts fruitless.
(They have already tried to cause conflict before) when you first came to Madina. (and turned things completely upside down for you) i.e. devoted their thoughts to tricking you and to proving your deen to be false. (until the truth came) to you in the form of victory (Allah's Command) His deen. (though they detested it) nevertheless they entered it.
|49 Among them are there some who say,
'Give me permission to stay.
Do not put temptation in my way.'
Have they not fallen into that very temptation?
Hell hems in the kafirun.
(Among them are some who say, 'Give me permission to stay. Do not put temptation in my way") When the Prophet called on people to take part in the expedition to Tabuk, al-Jadd ibn Qays, one of the hypocrites, said, "Give me permission to stay behind and do not tempt me by the sight of the Greeks. I will not be patient without their women." (Have they not fallen into that very temptation) i.e. into the temptation from which they were fleeing.
(Give me permission) to stay behind (do not put temptation in my way) This refers to was al-Jadd ibn Qays. The Prophet asked him, "Will you fight the Greeks?" He replied, "I am infatuated by women and I fear that if I see the Greek women, I will not be able to restrain myself from them and I will be tempted." (Have they not fallen into that very temptation) by staying behind. (Hell hems in the kafirun) and they cannot avoid it.
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