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Thursday, January 17, 2019

Surah Al Hashr - The Gathering: Exegesis of 59th Chapter of the Holy Quran

Surah al-Hashr is the fifty ninth surah with 24 ayahs with three rukus, part of the 28th Juzʼ  of the Holy Qur'an. The chapter is named al-Hashr because the word Hashr, meaning 'exile' or 'banishment', appears in verse 2, describing the expulsion of Jewish Banu Nadir tribe from their settlements. Thus this surah was revealed concerning the battle against the Bani an-Nadir just as Surah Al-Anfal was sent down concerning the Battle of Badr. This battle against the Jews of Bani an Nadir is said to have taken place six months after the Battle of Badr. Besides, the last three verses of the surah features 15 attributes of Allah.  


Let us now read explanation of the Surah segmented into portions as per the subject matter:

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْمِ 
"In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful"

Rukhu 1 [Verses 1-10]
In the first four verses the world has been admonished to take heed of the fate that had just befallen the Bani an-Nadir. A major tribe which was as strong in numbers as the Muslims, whose people boasted of far more wealth and possession who were by no means ill equipped militarily and whose forts were well fortified could not stand siege even for a few Days, and expressed their readiness to accept banishment from their centuries old, well established settlement even though not a single man from among them was slain. Allah says that this happened not because of any power possessed by the Muslims but because the Jews had tried to resist and fight Allah and His Messenger, and those who dare to resist the power of Allah, always meet with the same fate.

The first of the surah begins with an introductory sentence before making an appraisal of the banishment of the Bani an-Nadir with a view to preparing the mind to understand the truth that the fate this powerful tribe met was not the result of the power of the Muslims but a manifestation of the power of Allah.
1. Whatever is in the heavens and on earth, let it declare the Praises and Glory of Allah. for He is the Exalted in Might, the Wise.
Before reading the second verse of the surah, one must understand the circumstances which led to the exile of the Jewish tribe, Bani an Nadir. The Prophet (ﷺ) had concluded a formal written treaty with the Bani an-Nadir, but the Jewish tribe kept making violations of it and their offense was such that it was tantamount to the breach of trust. That is, they plotted to kill the leader of the other party to the treaty, i.e. the Islamic State of Al- Madinah. The plot became exposed, and when they were accused of breaking the agreement they could not deny it. Thereupon, the Prophet (ﷺ) told them either to leave Al-Madinah or to be ready for a war. This notice was in accordance with this injunction of the Quran: If you ever fear treachery from any people, throw their treaty openly before them. (Surah Al-Anfal, Ayat 58). 

That is why Allah is describing their exile as His own action, for it was precisely in accordance with divine law. In other words, they were not expelled by the Prophet (peace be upon him) and the Muslims but by Allah Himself. The other reason why Allah has described their exile as His own action has been stated in the following verses.


هُوَ الَّذِىۡۤ اَخۡرَجَ الَّذِيۡنَ كَفَرُوۡا مِنۡ اَهۡلِ الۡكِتٰبِ مِنۡ دِيَارِهِمۡ لِاَوَّلِ الۡحَشۡرِ​ؔؕ
2. He it is Who drove out the disbelievers among the people of the Scripture (i.e. the Jews of the tribe of Bani An-Nadir) from their homes at the first gathering. You did not think that they would get out. And they thought that their fortresses would defend them from Allah! But Allah's (Torment) reached them from a place whereof they expected it not, and He cast terror into their hearts, so that they destroyed their own dwellings with their own hands and the hands of the believers. Then take admonition, O you with eyes (to see).
The word Hashr in the above verse means to gather the scattered individuals together or to take out scattered individuals after mustering them together. Thus, the words li-awwal-ilhashr mean: with the first Hashr or on the occasion of the first Hashr. As for the question, what is implied by the first Hashr here, the commentators have disagreed on it.
  • According to one group it implies the banishment of the Bani an-Nadir from Al-Madinah, and this has been described as their first hashr in the sense that their second hashr took place in the time of Umar, when the Jews and the Christians were expelled from the Arabian peninsula, and the final hashr will take place on the Day of Resurrection. 
  • According to the second group it implies the gathering of the Muslim army together to fight the Bani an- Nadir; and li-awwal-il-hashr means that as soon as the Muslims had gathered together to fight them, and no blood yet had been shed, they, by the manifestation of Allah’s power, offered to be banished from Al-Madinah of their own accord. In other words, these words have been used here in the meaning of at the very first assault. 
3. And had it not been that Allah had decreed exile for them, He would certainly have punished them in this world, and in the Hereafter theirs shall be the torment of the Fire.

4. That is because they opposed Allah and His Messenger (Muhammad ). And whosoever opposes Allah, then verily, Allah is Severe in punishment.

In verse 5 below, the rule of the law of war that has been enunciated is: the destruction caused in the enemy territory for military purposes does not come under "spreading mischief in the earth."
5. What you (O Muslims) cut down of the palm-trees (of the enemy), or you left them standing on their stems, it was by Leave of Allah, and in order that He might disgrace the Fasiqun (rebellious, disobedient to Allah).
In verses 6-10 it has been stated how the lands and properties which come under the control of the Islamic State as a result of war or peace terms, are to be managed. As it was the first ever occasion that the Muslims took control of a conquered territory, the law concerning it was laid down for their guidance.
6. And what Allah gave as booty (Fai') to His Messenger (Muhammad ﷺ) from them, for which you made no expedition with either cavalry or camelry. But Allah gives power to His Messengers over whomsoever He wills. And Allah is Able to do all things. 
7. What Allah gave as booty (Fai') to His Messenger (Muhammad ﷺ) from the people of the townships, - it is for Allah, His Messenger (Muhammad ), the kindred (of Messenger Muhammad ), the orphans, Al-Masakin (the poor), and the wayfarer, in order that it may not become a fortune used by the rich among you. And whatsoever the Messenger (Muhammad ) gives you, take it, and whatsoever he forbids you, abstain (from it) , and fear Allah. Verily, Allah is Severe in punishment.
8. (And there is also a share in this booty) for the poor emigrants, who were expelled from their homes and their property, seeking Bounties from Allah and to please Him. And helping Allah (i.e. helping His religion) and His Messenger (Muhammad ). Such are indeed the truthful (to what they say);-
9. And those who, before them, had homes (in Al-Madinah) and had adopted the Faith, love those who emigrate to them, and have no jealousy in their breasts for that which they have been given (from the booty of Bani An-Nadir), and give them (emigrants) preference over themselves, even though they were in need of that. And whosoever is saved from his own covetousness, such are they who will be the successful.
10. And those who came after them say: "Our Lord! Forgive us and our brethren who have preceded us in Faith, and put not in our hearts any hatred against those who have believed. Our Lord! You are indeed full of kindness, Most Merciful.
Rukhu 2 [Verses 11-17]
In verses 11-17 the attitude that the hypocrites had adopted on the occasion of the battle against the Bani an-Nadir has been reviewed and the causes underlying it have been pointed out.
11. Have you (O Muhammad ﷺ) not observed the hypocrites who say to their friends among the people of the Scripture who disbelieve: "(By Allah) If you are expelled, we (too) indeed will go out with you, and we shall never obey any one against you, and if you are attacked (in fight), we shall indeed help you." But Allah is Witness, that they verily, are liars.
12. Surely, if they (the Jews) are expelled, never will they (hypocrites) go out with them, and if they are attacked, they will never help them. And if they do help them, they (hypocrites) will turn their backs, so they will not be victorious.
13. Verily, you (believers in the Oneness of Allah - Islamic Monotheism) are more awful as a fear in their (Jews of Bani An-Nadir) breasts than Allah. That is because they are a people who comprehend not (the Majesty and Power of Allah).
14. They fight not against you even together, except in fortified townships, or from behind walls. Their enmity among themselves is very great. You would think they were united, but their hearts are divided, that is because they are a people who understand not.
15. They are like their immediate predecessors (the Jews of Bani Qainuqa', who suffered), they tasted the evil result of their conduct, and (in the Hereafter, there is) for them a painful torment;-
16. (Their allies deceived them) like Shaitan (Satan), when he says to man: "Disbelieve in Allah." But when (man) disbelieves in Allah, Shaitan (Satan) says: "I am free of you, I fear Allah, the Lord of the 'Alamin (mankind, jinns and all that exists)!"
17. So the end of both will be that they will be in the Fire, abiding therein. Such is the recompense of the Zalimun (i.e. polytheists, wrong-doers, disbelievers in Allah and in His Oneness, etc.).
Rukhu 3 [Verses 18-24]
The whole of the last rukhuj / section is an admonition for all those people who had professed to have affirmed the faith and joined the Muslim community, but were devoid of the true spirit of the faith. In it they have been told what is the real demand of the Faith, what is the real difference between piety and wickedness, what is the place and importance of the Quran which they professed to believe in, and what are the attributes of Allah in Whom they claimed to have believed.
18. O you who believe! Fear Allah and keep your duty to Him. And let every person look to what he has sent forth for the morrow, and fear Allah. Verily, Allah is All-Aware of what you do .
19. And be not like those who forgot Allah (i.e. became disobedient to Allah) and He caused them to forget their own selves, (let them to forget to do righteous deeds). Those are the Fasiqun (rebellious, disobedient to Allah).
20. Not equal are the dwellers of the Fire and the dwellers of the Paradise. It is the dwellers of Paradise that will be successful.
In the verse 21, Allah the Almighty and Exalted emphasizes the greatness of the Qur’an, its high status and of being worthy of making hearts humble and rent asunder upon hearing it, because of the true promises and sure threats that it contains
21.  Had We sent down this Qur'an on a mountain, you would surely have seen it humbling itself and rending asunder by the fear of Allah. Such are the parables which We put forward to mankind that they may reflect .
As mentioned earlier, the last three verses contain 15 attributes of Allah. Now here are the three last verses and the mention of the attributes:


هُوَ اللّٰهُ الَّذِىۡ لَاۤ اِلٰهَ اِلَّا هُوَ​ ۚ عٰلِمُ الۡغَيۡبِ وَالشَّهَادَةِ​ ۚ هُوَ الرَّحۡمٰنُ الرَّحِيۡمُ
22. He is Allah, than Whom there is La ilaha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshiped but He) the All-Knower of the unseen and the seen (open). He is the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful.
هُوَ اللّٰهُ الَّذِىۡ لَاۤ اِلٰهَ اِلَّا هُوَ​ۚ اَلۡمَلِكُ الۡقُدُّوۡسُ السَّلٰمُ الۡمُؤۡمِنُ الۡمُهَيۡمِنُ الۡعَزِيۡزُ الۡجَـبَّارُ الۡمُتَكَبِّرُ​ؕ سُبۡحٰنَ اللّٰهِ عَمَّا يُشۡرِكُوۡنَ
23. He is Allah than Whom there is La ilaha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshiped but He) the King, the Holy, the One Free from all defects, the Giver of security, the Watcher over His creatures, the All-Mighty, the Compeller, the Supreme. Glory be to Allah! (High is He) above all that they associate as partners with Him.
هُوَ اللّٰهُ الۡخَـالِـقُ الۡبَارِئُ الۡمُصَوِّرُ​ لَـهُ الۡاَسۡمَآءُ الۡحُسۡنٰى​ؕ يُسَبِّحُ لَهٗ مَا فِى السَّمٰوٰتِ وَالۡاَرۡضِ​ۚ وَهُوَ الۡعَزِيۡزُ الۡحَكِيۡمُ‏ 
24. He is Allah, the Creator, the Inventor of all things, the Bestower of forms. To Him belong the Best Names . All that is in the heavens and the earth glorify Him. And He is the All-Mighty, the All-Wise.
We are in the process of explaining each attribute of Allah in separate posts, which can be read from the list given in our earlier post: 99 Attributes of Allah.

You may now like to listen to Arabic recitation of Surah al-Hashr with English subtitles:

You may refer to our post "114 Chapters (Sūrahs) of the Holy Qur'an" for translation, meaning and summary of other chapters (Though not complete but building up from 30th Part backwards for chapters in 30th Part are shorter and easier to understand). 

Photo | References: | 1 | 2 | 3 |
An effort has been made to gather explanation of the surahs of the Holy Qur'an from authentic souses and then present a least possible condensed explanation of the surah. However, those wanting detailed explanations and tafsir (exegesis), may refer to sites the references of which are given above.

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