Monday 27 April 2020

Surah At Tawbah (The Repentance): 9th Chapter of Quran (Exegesis Part I)

Sūrat At Tawbah " ٱلتَّوْبَة " is the 9th surah / chapter of the Holy Qur'an with 129 ayahs with sixteen rukus / sections, part of the 10th-11th Juzʼ. This Surah is known by two names: At Tawbah and Al-Bara'at. It is called At Tawbah because it enunciates the nature of Tawbah (repentance) and mentions the conditions of its acceptance.(verses 102. 118). The second name Bara'at (Release) is taken from the first word of the Surah.

As mentioned in the Overview of the Sürah, the exegesis of the Sürah has been divided into three parts as per the three discourses so discussed in it. We now present the first part related to the The first discourse (verses 1-37), which was revealed in Zil-Qa'adah (11th month of Islamic calendar)  A.H. 9 or thereabout. As the importance of the subject of the discourse required its declaration on the occasion of Haj the Holy Prophet dispatched Hadrat Ali to follow Hadrat Abu Bakr, who had already left for Makkah as leader of the Pilgrims to the Ka'abah. He instructed Hadrat Ali to deliver the discourse before the representatives of the different clans of Arabia so as to inform them of the new policy towards the mushriks.

Let us now read the translation and exegesis / tafseer in English of the Part I of the Sürah. You may listen to its recitation in Arabic with English subtitles at the end.

Note: This is the only Sürah to which the usual formula of Bismillah is not prefixed. It was among the last of the Sürahs revealed, and though the Prophet had directed that it should follow Sürah VIII, it was not clear whether it was a separate Sürah or only a part of Sürah VIII. It is now treated as a separate Sürah, but the Bismillah is not prefixed to it as there is no warrant for supposing that the Prophet used the Bismillah before it in his recitation of the Qur'an.  Therefore the Companions did not prefix it and their successors followed them. This is a further proof of the fact that utmost care has been taken to keep the Quran intact so that it should remain in its complete and original form.

Ruku / Section 1 [Verses 1-10]
Verses 1 - 12This portion deals with the sanctity of treaties and lays down principles, rules and regulations which must be kept in view before breaking them, in case the other party does not observe them sincerely. 

بَرَاءَةٌ مِّنَ اللَّـهِ وَرَسُولِهِ إِلَى الَّذِينَ عَاهَدتُّم مِّنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ 
( 1 )   [This is a declaration of] disassociation, from Allah and His Messenger, to those with whom you had made a treaty among the polytheists.
As has already been stated in the preface to this Surah, this discourse (Ayats 1-37) was revealed in A.H.9, when Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) had left for Makkah as leader of the pilgrims to the Kaabah. Therefore the companions said to the Prophet (peace be upon him), “Send it to Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him), so that he may proclaim it on the occasion of Hajj.” He replied, “The importance and nature of the declaration demands that this should be proclaimed on my behalf by someone from my own family.” Accordingly, he entrusted this duty to Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) and instructed him to proclaim it openly before the pilgrims, and also make these four announcements: (1) No one who rejects Islam shall enter Paradise. (2) No mushrik should perform Hajj after this. (3) It is forbidden to move round the Kaabah in a naked state. (4) The terms of the treaties which are still in force (i.e. with those who have not broken their treaties with the Messenger of Allah up to that time) would be faithfully observed till the expiry of the term of the treaties.

In this connection, it will be worthwhile to know that the first Hajj of the Islamic period after the conquest of Makkah was performed in A.H. 8 according to the old customs. Then in A.H. 9 the second Hajj was performed by the Muslims in the Islamic way, and by the mushriks in their own way. But the third Hajj, known as "Hajja-tul- Widaa", was performed in A.H. 10 in the purely Islamic way under the guidance of the Prophet (peace be upon him) himself. He did not perform Hajj during the two previous years because up to that time the mushriks had not been forbidden from it, and so there were still some traces of shirk associated with it.

This declaration of the abrogation of the treaties with the mushriks was made in accordance with the law enjoined in Surah Al-Anfaal: 58 regarding the treacherous people, for it is treachery from the Islamic point of view to wage war against any people with whom a treaty of peace had been made, without openly declaring that the treaty had been terminated. That is why a proclamation of the abrogation of the treaties was necessitated against those clans who were always hatching plots against Islam in spite of the treaties of peace they had made. They would break the treaties and turn hostile on the first opportunity for treachery, and the same was true of all the mushrik clans with the exception of Bani Kananah, Bani Damrah and one or two other clans.

This proclamation practically reduced the mushriks of Arabia to the position of outlaws and no place of shelter was left for them, for the major part of the country had come under the sway of Islam. As this released the Muslims from the obligations of the treaties made with them and forestalled them, they were driven into a tight corner. For, this smashed all their evil designs of creating trouble by inciting civil war at the time of a threat from the Roman and the Iranian Empires, or after the death of the Prophet (peace be upon him). But Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him) turned the tables on them before the opportune moment for which they were waiting. Now the only alternatives left with them were either to accept Islam that had become the state religion of Arabia, or to fight against it and be exterminated, or to emigrate from the country.

The wisdom of this grand plan became apparent when the mischief of apostasy broke out in different parts of Arabia a year and a half after this at the death of the Prophet (peace be upon him). This disturbance was so sudden and violent that it shook to its foundations the newly created Islamic state and would have done a far greater harm if the organized power of shirk had not been broken beforehand by this abrogation. It may be asserted that, but for this timely action the mischief of apostasy, that rose at the very beginning of the caliphate of Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him), would have done tenfold harm by rebellion and civil war, and might have changed the whole history of Islam.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Baraat: usually translated "immunity". I do not think that word correctly represents the Arabic word in this context. I retain it as I cannot think of any single English word as an equivalent. The general sense is explained in the introduction to this Surah. In verse 3 below I use the periphrasis "dissolve treaty obligations," which goes some way to explain the meaning. The Pagans and enemies of Islam frequently made treaties of mutual alliance with the Muslims. The Muslims scrupulously observed their part, but the Pagans violated their part again and again when it suited them. After some years, experience it became imperative to denounce such treaties altogether. This was done in due form, with four months' notice, and a chance was given to those who faithfully observed their pledges, to continue their alliance.

  فَسِيحُوا فِي الْأَرْضِ أَرْبَعَةَ أَشْهُرٍ وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّكُمْ غَيْرُ مُعْجِزِي اللَّـهِ ۙ وَأَنَّ اللَّـهَ مُخْزِي الْكَافِرِينَ 
( 2 )   So travel freely, [O disbelievers], throughout the land [during] four months but know that you cannot cause failure to Allah and that Allah will disgrace the disbelievers.
The respite of four months from the tenth of Zil-Haj (the date of the proclamation) to the tenth of Rabi-uththani was granted to give time to the mushriks so that they should consider their position carefully and decide whether to make preparation for war or to emigrate from the country or to accept Islam.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Four Months: Some Commentators understand by this the four forbidden months in which warfare by ancient Arabian custom was unlawful, viz., Rajab, Zul-qa'dah, Zul-hijjah, and Muharram: See ii. 194 n. But it is better to take the signification of the four months immediately following the Declaration. Assuming that the Surah was promulgated early in Shawwal (see Introduction), the four months would be Shawwal, Zul-qa'dah, Zul-hijjah, and Muharram, of which the last three would also be the customary Prohibited Months.

Ibn Kathir Explanation:
(to those of the Mushrikin, with whom you made a treaty. So travel freely (Mushrikin) for four months (as you will) throughout the land) [9:1-2]. This Ayah refers to idolaters who had indefinite treaties and those, whose treaties with Muslims ended in less than four months. The terms of these treaties were restricted to four months only. As for those whose term of peace ended at a specific date later (than the four months), then their treaties would end when their terms ended, no matter how long afterwards,

  وَأَذَانٌ مِّنَ اللَّـهِ وَرَسُولِهِ إِلَى النَّاسِ يَوْمَ الْحَجِّ الْأَكْبَرِ أَنَّ اللَّـهَ بَرِيءٌ مِّنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ ۙ وَرَسُولُهُ ۚ فَإِن تُبْتُمْ فَهُوَ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ ۖ وَإِن تَوَلَّيْتُمْ فَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّكُمْ غَيْرُ مُعْجِزِي اللَّـهِ ۗ وَبَشِّرِ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا بِعَذَابٍ أَلِيمٍ 
( 3 )   And [it is] an announcement from Allah and His Messenger to the people on the day of the greater pilgrimage that Allah is disassociated from the disbelievers, and [so is] His Messenger. So if you repent, that is best for you; but if you turn away - then know that you will not cause failure to Allah. And give tidings to those who disbelieve of a painful punishment.
Hajj-i-akbar refers to the 10th of Zil-Hajjah and is also known as Yaum-un-Nahr. This has been explained by the Prophet (peace be upon him) in an authentic tradition. On the 10th of Zil-Hajjah, during the last Hajj of the Prophet (peace be upon him), he asked the people, “What is this day?” The people answered, “It is the day of sacrifice.”

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “This is the day of Hajj-i-akbar”. Here the word Hajj-i-akbar (greater pilgrimage) has been used in contrast to Hajj-i-asghar which the Arabs used for Umrah. Thus, the Hajj which is performed in the prescribed dates of Zil-Hajj is called Hajj-i-akbar.

  إِلَّا الَّذِينَ عَاهَدتُّم مِّنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ ثُمَّ لَمْ يَنقُصُوكُمْ شَيْئًا وَلَمْ يُظَاهِرُوا عَلَيْكُمْ أَحَدًا فَأَتِمُّوا إِلَيْهِمْ عَهْدَهُمْ إِلَىٰ مُدَّتِهِمْ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُتَّقِينَ 
( 4 )   Excepted are those with whom you made a treaty among the polytheists and then they have not been deficient toward you in anything or supported anyone against you; so complete for them their treaty until their term [has ended]. Indeed, Allah loves the righteous [who fear Him].
“So, fulfill to them their treaty.” For your violation in such cases shall be against piety. And Muslims should remain pious under all circumstances “Indeed, Allah loves those who are righteous” only.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
The sacred duty of fulfilling all obligations of every kind, to Muslims and non Muslims, in public as well as private life, is a cardinal feature of Muslim ethics. The question what is to be done with those who abuse this principle by failing in their duty but expect the Muslims to do their part is not to be solved (in the case of treaties) by a general denunciation of treaties but by a careful consideration of the cases where there has been fidelity and not treachery. There we are enjoined to give the strictest fidelity, as it is a part of righteousness and our duty to Allah.

Ibn Kathir Explanation:
(So fulfill their treaty for them until the end of their term)[9:4]. So whoever had a covenant with Allah's Messenger then it would last until its period expired, this was reported from Muhammad bin Ka`b Al-Qurazi and others. We will also mention a Hadith on this matter. Abu Ma`shar Al-Madani said that Muhammad bin Ka`b Al-Qurazi and several others said, "The Messenger of Allah sent Abu Bakr to lead the Hajj rituals on the ninth year (of Hijrah). He also sent `Ali bin Abi Talib with thirty or forty Ayat from Bara'ah (At-Tawbah), and he recited them to the people, giving the idolaters four months during which they freely move about in the land. He recited these Ayat on the day of `Arafah (ninth of Dhul-Hijjah). The idolaters were given twenty more days (till the end) of Dhul-Hijjah, Muharram, Safar, Rabi` Al-Awwal and ten days from Rabi` Ath-Thani. He proclaimed to them in their camping areas, `No Mushrik will be allowed to perform Hajj after this year, nor a naked person to perform Tawaf around the House.'''

  فَإِذَا انسَلَخَ الْأَشْهُرُ الْحُرُمُ فَاقْتُلُوا الْمُشْرِكِينَ حَيْثُ وَجَدتُّمُوهُمْ وَخُذُوهُمْ وَاحْصُرُوهُمْ وَاقْعُدُوا لَهُمْ كُلَّ مَرْصَدٍ ۚ فَإِن تَابُوا وَأَقَامُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَآتَوُا الزَّكَاةَ فَخَلُّوا سَبِيلَهُمْ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ 
( 5 )   And when the sacred months have passed, then kill the polytheists wherever you find them and capture them and besiege them and sit in wait for them at every place of ambush. But if they should repent, establish prayer, and give zakah, let them [go] on their way. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.
Here “the sacred months” are not those four months during which war is forbidden for the sake of Hajj and Umrah but the four months that were made unlawful for the Muslims to attack those mushriks who were granted respite by Ayat 2.

That is, “Mere repentance from disbelief and shirk will not end the matter. But they shall have to perform the prescribed prayer and pay Zakat dues. Without these it will not be considered that they had given up disbelief and embraced Islam." Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) based his decision on this verse in the case of the apostates, after the death of the Prophet (peace be upon him), who argued that they were not rejecting Islam, because they offered Salat, even though they had refused to pay the Zakat dues. This argument roused doubts in the minds of the companions in general that they had no right to fight with such people as these. But Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) removed their doubts, saying, “Verse 5 enjoins us to let those people go their way who fulfill all the three conditions, repentance from shirk, the establishment of Salat, and the payment of Zakat. We cannot forbear them, because they do not fulfill one of these three conditions.”

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
The emphasis is on the first clause; it is only when the four months of grace are past, and the other party show no signs of desisting from their treacherous designs by right conduct, that the state of war supervenes-between Faith and Unfaith.

When war becomes inevitable, it must be prosecuted with vigour. According to the English phrase, you cannot fight with kid gloves. The fighting may take the form of killing, capture, or siege, or ambush and other stratagems. But even then there is room for repentance and amendment on the part of the guilty party, and if that takes place, our duty is forgiveness and the establishment of peace.

The repentance must be sincere, and that is shown by conduct-a religious spirit of true prayer and charity. In that case we are not to bar the gate against the repentant. On the contrary we must do all we can to make their way easy, remembering that Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.

Ibn Kathir Explanation:
This is the Ayah of the Sword: Mujahid, `Amr bin Shu`ayb, Muhammad bin Ishaq, Qatadah, As-Suddi and `Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam said that the four months mentioned in this Ayah are the four-month grace period mentioned in the earlier Ayah,

(So when the Sacred Months have passed...), meaning, `Upon the end of the four months during which We prohibited you from fighting the idolaters, and which is the grace period We gave them, then fight and kill the idolaters wherever you may find them.' Allah's statement next, (then fight the Mushrikin wherever you find them), means, on the earth in general, except for the Sacred Area, for Allah said, (And fight not with them at Al-Masjid Al-Haram, unless they fight you there. But if they attack you, then fight them. )﴿2:191﴾

Allah said here, (and capture them), executing some and keeping some as prisoners, (and besiege them, and lie in wait for them in each and every ambush), do not wait until you find them. Rather, seek and besiege them in their areas and forts, gather intelligence about them in the various roads and fairways so that what is made wide looks ever smaller to them. This way, they will have no choice, but to die or embrace Islam,

(But if they repent and perform the Salah, and give the Zakah, then leave their way free. Verily, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.) Abu Bakr As-Siddiq used this and other honorable Ayat as proof for fighting those who refrained from paying the Zakah. These Ayat allowed fighting people unless, and until, they embrace Islam and implement its rulings and obligations. Allah mentioned the most important aspects of Islam here, including what is less important. Surely, the highest elements of Islam after the Two Testimonials, are the prayer, which is the right of Allah, the Exalted and Ever High, then the Zakah, which benefits the poor and needy. These are the most honorable acts that creatures perform, and this is why Allah often mentions the prayer and Zakah together.

In the Two Sahihs, it is recorded that Ibn `Umar said that the Messenger of Allah said, (I have been commanded to fight the people until they testify that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, establish the prayer and pay the Zakah.) This honorable Ayah (9:5) was called the Ayah of the Sword, about which Ad-Dahhak bin Muzahim said, "It abrogated every agreement of peace between the Prophet and any idolater, every treaty, and every term.'' Al-`Awfi said that Ibn `Abbas commented: "No idolater had any more treaty or promise of safety ever since Surah Bara'ah was revealed. The four months, in addition to, all peace treaties conducted before Bara'ah was revealed and announced had ended by the tenth of the month of Rabi` Al-Akhir.''

The Sword Verse [6]:
Many mainstream Islamic scholars, assert that this verse relates to a very specific event in early Islamic history i.e. the covenant that was made and consecutively broken by the polytheist tribes of Mecca.[28]:74-91 According to Asma Afsaruddin, citing various early exegetes' opinions regarding the Arab polytheists, the consensus among the earliest commentators has been that this does not translate into indiscriminate killing.[28]:88-89

Mujāhid said that this verse guarantees the safety of people in general (insān) who came to listen to the Prophet recite from the Qurān until they had returned to the place of refuge whence they came.
The Tanwīr al-miqbās says that the verse commands the Prophet to grant safe conduct to anyone from among the polytheists who asks for it, so that he may hear the recitation of the speech of God. If he does not believe (sc. embrace Islam), then he is to be granted safe passage back to his land (waṭanahu). This is so because they are people ignorant of the commandments of God and His oneness.

— Asma Afsaruddin, Striving in the Path of God: Jihad and Martyrdom in Islamic Thought, 2013, pp. 88-89

Similarly, Western Islam-scholar Rudolph Peters also asserts that indiscriminate killing is not supported in this verse.

  وَإِنْ أَحَدٌ مِّنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ اسْتَجَارَكَ فَأَجِرْهُ حَتَّىٰ يَسْمَعَ كَلَامَ اللَّـهِ ثُمَّ أَبْلِغْهُ مَأْمَنَهُ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ بِأَنَّهُمْ قَوْمٌ لَّا يَعْلَمُونَ 
( 6 )   And if any one of the polytheists seeks your protection, then grant him protection so that he may hear the words of Allah. Then deliver him to his place of safety. That is because they are a people who do not know.
That is, if during a fight, an enemy makes a request that he should be given an opportunity to understand Islam, the Muslims should give him a surety of protection and allow him to visit them. They should then present Islam before him in order to make him understand it. If, after this, he does not embrace Islam, they should convey him safely to his place. Such a person who comes to Dar-ul-Islam under the above mentioned protection is called mustamin in the Islamic code.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Even among the enemies of Islam, actively fighting against Islam, there may be individuals who may be in a position to require protection. Full asylum is to be given to them, and opportunities provided for hearing the Word of Allah. If they accept the Word, they become Muslims and brethren, and no further question arises. If they do not see their way to accept Islam, they will require double protection: (1) from the Islamic forces openly fighting against their people, and (2) from their own people, as they detached themselves from them. Both kinds of protection should be ensured for them, and they should be safely escorted to a place where they can be safe. Such persons only err through ignorance, and there may be much good in them.

Maaman: place or opportunity of being secure from all harm.

Ibn Kathir Explanation:
(And if anyone of the Mushrikin), whom you were commanded to fight and We allowed you their blood and property,' (seeks your protection), asked you for safe passage, then accept his request until he hears the Words of Allah, the Qur'an. Recite the Qur'an to him and mention a good part of the religion with which you establish Allah's proof against him, (and then escort him to where he can be secure) and safe, until he goes back to his land, his home, and area of safety, (that is because they are men who know not.)

The Ayah says, `We legislated giving such people safe passage so that they may learn about the religion of Allah, so that Allah's call will spread among His servants. Ibn Abi Najih narrated that Mujahid said that this Ayah, "Refers to someone who comes to you to hear what you say and what was revealed to you (O Muhammad). Therefore, he is safe until he comes to you, hears Allah's Words and then proceeds to the safe area where he came from.'' The Messenger of Allah used to thereafter grant safe passage to those who came to him for guidance or to deliver a message. On the day of Hudaybiyyah, several emissaries from Quraysh came to him. They came mediating between him and the Quraysh pagans. They witnessed the great respect the Muslims had for the Prophet, which astonished them, for they never before saw such respect for anyone, kings nor czars. They went back to their people and conveyed this news to them; this, among other reasons, was one reason that most of them accepted the guidance.

When Musaylimah the Liar sent an emissary to the Messenger of Allah, he asked him, "Do you testify that Musaylimah is a messenger from Allah'' He said, "Yes.''
The Messenger of Allah said, (I would have cut off your head, if it was not that emissaries are not killed.) 
That man, Ibn An-Nawwahah, was later beheaded when `Abdullah bin Mas`ud was the governor of Al-Kufah. When it became known that he still testified that Musaylimah was a messenger from Allah, Ibn Mas`ud summoned him and said to him, "You are not delivering a message now!'' He commanded that Ibn An-Nawwahah be decapitated, may Allah curse him and deprive him of His mercy. In summary, those who come from a land at war with Muslims to the area of Islam, delivering a message, for business transactions, to negotiate a peace treaty, to pay the Jizyah, to offer an end to hostilities, and so forth, and request safe passage from Muslim leaders or their deputies, should be granted safe passage, as long as they remain in Muslim areas, until they go back to their land and sanctuary.

كَيْفَ يَكُونُ لِلْمُشْرِكِينَ عَهْدٌ عِندَ اللَّـهِ وَعِندَ رَسُولِهِ إِلَّا الَّذِينَ عَاهَدتُّمْ عِندَ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ ۖ فَمَا اسْتَقَامُوا لَكُمْ فَاسْتَقِيمُوا لَهُمْ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُتَّقِينَ 
( 7 )   How can there be for the polytheists a treaty in the sight of Allah and with His Messenger, except for those with whom you made a treaty at al-Masjid al-Haram? So as long as they are upright toward you, be upright toward them. Indeed, Allah loves the righteous [who fear Him].
Yusuf Ali Explanation:
In this section we have the reasons why the treaties with treacherous Pagan foes were denounced. The clause introducing the exception is a parenthetical clause. The word "Pagans" must be connected with verse 8 which follows. In that verse the word kaifa resumes the clause introduced by the word kaifa at the beginning of verse 7. The exceptional Pagan tribes which remained true to their word were the Banu Hamza and the Banu Kinana, who swore their treaty near the Sacred Mosque and faithfully observed it. They were to be given the full benefit of their fidelity even though their kindred tribes were treacherous.

Ibn Kathir Explanation:
Allah mentions the wisdom in dissolving all obligations to the idolators and giving them a four month period of safety, after which they will meet the sharp sword wherever they are found.

(How can there be a covenant for the Mushrikin), a safe resort and refuge, while they persist in Shirk with Allah, and disbelief in Him and His Messenger, (except those with whom you made a covenant near Al-Masjid Al-Haram), on the day of Hudaybiyyah. Allah said in another Ayah [concerning the day of Hudaybiyyah], (They are the ones who disbelieved and hindered you from Al-Masjid Al-Haram and detained the sacrificial animals, from reaching their place of sacrifice.) [48:25]

Allah said next, (So long as they are true to you, stand you true to them.), if they keep the terms of the treaties you conducted with them, including peace between you and them for ten years, (then stand you true to them. Verily, Allah loves those who have Taqwa.) The Messenger of Allah and the Muslims preserved the terms of the treaty with the people of Makkah from the month of Dhul-Qa`dah in the sixth year ﴿of Hijrah﴾, until the Quraysh broke it and helped their allies, Banu Bakr, against Khuza`ah, the allies of Allah's Messenger . Aided by the Quraysh, Banu Bakr killed some of Bani Khuza`ah in the Sacred Area! The Messenger of Allah led an invasion army in the month of Ramadan, of the eighth year, and Allah opened the Sacred Area for him to rule over them, all thanks are due to Allah. The Messenger of Allah freed the Quraysh who embraced Islam after they were overpowered and defeated. These numbered around two thousands, and they were refereed to by the name `Tulaqa' afterwards. Those among them who remained in disbelief and ran away from Allah's Messenger were sent promises of safe refuge for four months, during which they were allowed to move about freely. They included Safwan bin Umayyah, `Ikrimah bin Abi Jahl and many others. Allah later on guided them to Islam, and they became excellent believers. Surely, Allah is worthy of all praise for all His actions and decrees.

  كَيْفَ وَإِن يَظْهَرُوا عَلَيْكُمْ لَا يَرْقُبُوا فِيكُمْ إِلًّا وَلَا ذِمَّةً ۚ يُرْضُونَكُم بِأَفْوَاهِهِمْ وَتَأْبَىٰ قُلُوبُهُمْ وَأَكْثَرُهُمْ فَاسِقُونَ 
( 8 )   How [can there be a treaty] while, if they gain dominance over you, they do not observe concerning you any pact of kinship or covenant of protection? They satisfy you with their mouths, but their hearts refuse [compliance], and most of them are defiantly disobedient.
That is, “Though outwardly they negotiated for peace treaties, they cherished evil intentions in their hearts, and waited for an opportune moment to break them. And this was borne by later experiences.”

They were evil-doers because they had no sense of moral responsibilities nor did they hesitate to break moral limits.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
The exceptions having been stated parenthetically in verse 7, the indictment of the general mass of Pagan tribes is now set out briefly but fully and convincingly. After that kind of behaviour how can treaty be possible with them? The counts are: (1) that whenever they got a slight advantage, they disregarded the ties both of kinship and of covenant as against the Muslims because of their Faith, thus proving doubly treacherous; (2) that they spoke fair words, but had venom in their hearts; (3) that their attitude was one of rebellion against their plighted word; (4) that they disregarded the solemn words of Allah for some miserable worldly gain; (5) that they tried to prevent other people from coming to the Way of Allah. The first clause is repeated again as the last clause, to emphasize their double treachery, and round off the argument.

Among the Arabs the ties of kinship were so strong as to be almost unbreakable. The Pagan Arabs went out of their way to break them in the case of the Muslims, who were kith and kin to them. Besides the bond of kinship there was the further bond of their plighted oath in the Treaty. They broke that oath because the other parties were Muslims!

Ibn Kathir Explanation:
Allah encourages the believers to show enmity to the idolaters and to dissociate from them, affirming that they do not deserve to enjoy a covenant of peace, because of their Shirk in Allah and disbelief in Allah's Messenger

If these disbelievers have a chance to defeat Muslims, they will cause great mischief, leave nothing unharmed, disregard the ties of kinship and the sanctity of their vows. `Ali bin Abi Talhah, `Ikrimah and Al-`Awfi narrated that Ibn `Abbas said, "Ill means kinship, while, Dhimmah means covenant.'' Ad-Dahhak and As-Suddi said similarly.

  اشْتَرَوْا بِآيَاتِ اللَّـهِ ثَمَنًا قَلِيلًا فَصَدُّوا عَن سَبِيلِهِ ۚ إِنَّهُمْ سَاءَ مَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ 
( 9 )   They have exchanged the signs of Allah for a small price and averted [people] from His way. Indeed, it was evil that they were doing.
 That is, when they had to make a choice between the divine guidance and the transitory worldly ambitions, they chose the latter, because they did not comprehend the comparative values of the two. Whereas the revelations of Allah were inviting them to goodness, righteousness and observance of the divine law, which lead to eternal bliss. They chose to follow the unbridled lusts of their selves which gained some transitory worldly benefits for them, but consequently led them to eternal perdition.

Those evil-doers “hindered (people) from His Way”, for they not only chose misguidance for themselves but also tried to prevent others from following the right way. They put every kind of obstruction in the way of the invitation to righteousness; nay, they tried their best to gag the mouths of those who were extending that invitation and make their lives hard for them. In short, they did all they could to prevent the establishment of the righteous system of life that Allah required the people to establish.

  لَا يَرْقُبُونَ فِي مُؤْمِنٍ إِلًّا وَلَا ذِمَّةً ۚ وَأُولَـٰئِكَ هُمُ الْمُعْتَدُونَ 
( 10 )   They do not observe toward a believer any pact of kinship or covenant of protection. And it is they who are the transgressors.
The catalogue of their sins being set out, it is clear that they were aggressors in the worst possible ways; and war became inevitable.

Ruku / Section 2 [Verses 11-16]

 فَإِن تَابُوا وَأَقَامُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَآتَوُا الزَّكَاةَ فَإِخْوَانُكُمْ فِي الدِّينِ ۗ وَنُفَصِّلُ الْآيَاتِ لِقَوْمٍ يَعْلَمُونَ 
( 11 )   But if they repent, establish prayer, and give zakah, then they are your brothers in religion; and We detail the verses for a people who know.
Here too, it has explicitly been stated that those who repent will not become your brethren in faith without the observance of Salat and Zakat.

“Then they are your brothers in religion”: This means that if they fulfill those conditions, then not only shall their lives and properties become unlawful for you but also they shall enjoy equal rights with you in the Islamic community. There shall be no distinction between them and the other Muslims in regard to social, cultural, legal and political rights, and nothing will stand in their way to the progress for which they are otherwise qualified.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
The chance of repentance and mercy to the worst enemies is again emphasized, in order that people with any understanding may not be misled into thinking that war was an easy or light matter. This emphasis is balanced by the emphasis in the next verse on the causes which made war inevitable for those with any self-respect.

  وَإِن نَّكَثُوا أَيْمَانَهُم مِّن بَعْدِ عَهْدِهِمْ وَطَعَنُوا فِي دِينِكُمْ فَقَاتِلُوا أَئِمَّةَ الْكُفْرِ ۙ إِنَّهُمْ لَا أَيْمَانَ لَهُمْ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَنتَهُونَ 
( 12 )   And if they break their oaths after their treaty and defame your religion, then fight the leaders of disbelief, for indeed, there are no oaths [sacred] to them; [fight them that] they might cease.
In the context, the words, oaths, and compacts mean the compact of the acceptance of Islam. Therefore, the question of making a new compact with them does not arise. As regards the old pacts, they had already broken all of them. It is on account of this that the declaration of immunity (from obligations) by Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him) has been clearly made. It has also been stated that such people are not worthy of any treaty and they can only be let off if they repent of their disbelief and shirk and establish Salat and pay Zakat dues. This verse states clearly how the renegades should be treated. As a matter of fact, this verse forestalled the mischief of apostasy that broke out a year and a half after its revelation and Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) followed the guidance given in this verse to crush it.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Not only did the enemies break their oaths shamelessly, but they even taunted the Muslims on their Faith and the "simple-minded" way in which they continued to respect their part of the treaty, as if they were afraid to fight!

Ibn Kathir Explanation:
Allah says, if the idolaters with whom you conducted peace treaties for an appointed term break, (their oaths) meaning, terms of their treaties, and covenants, (and attack your religion...) with disapproval and criticism, it is because of this that one who curses the Messenger, peace be upon him, or attacks the religion of Islam by way of criticism and disapproval, they are to be fought.

This is why Allah said afterwards:
(then fight (you) against the leaders of disbelief -- for surely, their oaths are nothing to them -- so that they may stop.) so that they may refrain from the disbelief, rebellion and the transgression they indulge in. 
Qatadah and others said that the leaders of disbelief were Abu Jahl, `Utbah and Shaybah, Umayyah bin Khalaf, and he went on to mention several others. Al-A`mash narrated from Zayd bin Wahb from Hudhayfah; "The people of this Ayah were never fought again.'' A similar statement was reported from `Ali bin Abi Talib, may Allah be pleased with him. However, this Ayah is general, even though the specific reason behind revealing it was the idolaters of Quraysh. So this Ayah generally applies to them and others as well, Allah knows best.

Al-Walid bin Muslim said that Safwan bin `Amr narrated that `Abdur-Rahman bin Jubayr bin Nufayr said that when Abu Bakr sent an army to Ash-Sham, he advised them, "You will find some people with shaved heads. Therefore, strike the swords upon the parts that contain the devil, for by Allah, it is better to me to kill one of these people than to kill seventy other men. This is because Allah said: (then fight (you) against the leaders of disbelief.)''

Verses 13 - 37 In this portion the Muslims have been urged to fight in the Way of Allah with the mushrik Arabs, the Jews and the Christians, who were duly warned of the consequences of their mischievous and inimical behavior. 

أَلَا تُقَاتِلُونَ قَوْمًا نَّكَثُوا أَيْمَانَهُمْ وَهَمُّوا بِإِخْرَاجِ الرَّسُولِ وَهُم بَدَءُوكُمْ أَوَّلَ مَرَّةٍ ۚ أَتَخْشَوْنَهُمْ ۚ فَاللَّـهُ أَحَقُّ أَن تَخْشَوْهُ إِن كُنتُم مُّؤْمِنِينَ 
( 13 )   Would you not fight a people who broke their oaths and determined to expel the Messenger, and they had begun [the attack upon] you the first time? Do you fear them? But Allah has more right that you should fear Him, if you are [truly] believers.
In this passage the addressees are the Muslims. They have been urged to fight perseveringly in the Way of Allah, without paying the least heed to their ties of blood and relationship and to their worldly interests. In order to understand fully the spirit of this passage, the reader should keep in view the state of affairs at the time, when the abrogation of the treaties was declared. Though Islam was reigning supreme in the greater part of Arabia and there was no greater power to challenge its supremacy, still superficial observers saw a number of dangers in the extreme step which was being taken at that time.
First, it was feared that the abrogating of the treaties with all the mushrik clans at one and the same time, and debarring them from Hajj and changing the guardianship of the Kaabah and abolishing all the rituals of ignorance, would so incite the mushriks and the hypocrites and kindle such fire of enmity that they would be ready to shed the last drop of their blood for safeguarding their interests and prejudices.
Secondly, it was feared that the mushriks would be greatly enraged by this declaration which granted freedom of movement to the Muslims to perform Hajj, whereas it forbade the non-Muslims. Obviously this would also affect adversely their economic condition, for Hajj played a very important part in the economic life of Arabia during that period of her history.
Lastly, it was feared that this would put to a hard trial those people who had embraced Islam recently after the peace treaty of Hudaibiyah and the conquest of Makkah. For many of their kith and kin were still mushriks. Some of whom had their interests closely bound up with those offices of ignorance which were abolished. Now it was obvious that the total war against the mushriks demanded that these new Muslims should not only kill their own near and dear ones but should also themselves abolish those ancient offices and distinctions which they had enjoyed for centuries.
Though, it is true that none of these dangers took any practical shape, there were good reasons for these apprehensions, for none could foresee the trends of events at the time of the abrogation of the treaties. And the dangers were averted because these commandments had prepared them beforehand to meet them. More than that: this preparedness produced other good results. The delegates from the remnants of the mushriks, their chiefs and rulers began to visit Al-Madinah and take the oath of allegiance to Islam and obedience to the prophet (peace be upon him), who let them retain their old positions and offices. These things proved that if the Muslims had not been in a state of readiness to take immediate action for enforcing the terms of the declaration with the sword, the events which followed might have taken a different direction. Therefore it was the need of the hour that the Muslims should have been vehemently urged for Jihad, and their apprehensions removed. That is why it was being enjoined that they should not let anything hinder them from doing the will of Allah. And this is the theme of this discourse.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
The argument now takes a new turn. An appeal is made to the Muslims on various grounds: (1) the shameless disregard of treaties by the enemy, (2) the under-hand plots to discredit the Holy Prophet, and turn him out of Madinah as he had been turned out of Makkah, (3) the aggressive taken by the Quraish and their confederates in Madinah after the treaty of Hudaibiya (A.H. 6, Zul-qa'dah. Feb. 628), (4) the manly attitude that fears Allah rather than men, and (5) the need to prove our sincere faith by test and trial and struggle and sacrifice (ix. 16).

Ibn Kathir Explanation:
These Ayat (13-14) encourage, direct and recommend fighting against the idolaters who break the terms of their covenants, those who tried to expel the Messenger from Makkah.

Allah said in other Ayat:
And (remember) when the disbelievers plotted against you to imprison you, or to kill you, or to expel you; they were plotting and Allah too was plotting; and Allah is the best of those who plot.) [8:30]
(...and have driven out the Messenger and yourselves (from your homeland) because you believe in Allah your Lord!) [60:1], and,
(And verily, they were about to frighten you so much as to drive you out from the land.) [17:76] 
Allah's statement: (while they did attack you first), refers to the battle of Badr when the idolaters marched to protect their caravan. When they knew that their caravan escaped safely, they still went ahead with their intent to fight Muslims out of arrogance, as we mentioned before. It was also said that these Ayat refer to the idolaters breaking the peace agreement with Muslims and aiding Bani Bakr, their allies, against Khuza`ah, the ally of the Messenger of Allah . This is why the Messenger of Allah marched to Makkah in the year of the victory, thus conquering it, all thanks and praise is due to Allah.

Allah said: (Do you fear them Allah has more right that you should fear Him if you are believers.) Allah says here, `Do not fear idolaters, but fear Me instead, for I am worthy of being feared by the servants due to My might and punishment. In My Hand lies the matter; whatever I will occurs, and whatever I do not will does not occur.' Allah next said, while ordering the believers and explaining the wisdom of ordaining Jihad against them, all the while able to destroy their enemies with a command from Him,

  قَاتِلُوهُمْ يُعَذِّبْهُمُ اللَّـهُ بِأَيْدِيكُمْ وَيُخْزِهِمْ وَيَنصُرْكُمْ عَلَيْهِمْ وَيَشْفِ صُدُورَ قَوْمٍ مُّؤْمِنِينَ 
( 14 )   Fight them; Allah will punish them by your hands and will disgrace them and give you victory over them and satisfy the breasts of a believing people
Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Heal the breasts of believers, i.e., of wounds that they may have sustained from the assaults, taunts, and cruelty of the enemy.

Ibn Kathir Explanation:
(Fight against them so that Allah will punish them by your hands, and disgrace them and give you victory over them, and heal the breasts of a believing people.) This Ayah includes all believers, even though Mujahid, `Ikrimah and As-Suddi said that it refers to Khuza`ah.

Concerning the believers, Allah said;
(and remove the anger of their hearts), then (Allah accepts the repentance of whom He wills), from His servants, (Allah is All-Knowing), in what benefits His servants, (All-Wise), in His actions and statements, whether narrative or legislative. Allah does what He wills, decides what He wills, and He is the Just Who never wrongs any. Not even the weight of an atom of good or evil is ever neglected with Him, but rather, He compensates for it in this life and the Hereafter.

  وَيُذْهِبْ غَيْظَ قُلُوبِهِمْ ۗ وَيَتُوبُ اللَّـهُ عَلَىٰ مَن يَشَاءُ ۗ وَاللَّـهُ عَلِيمٌ حَكِيمٌ 
( 15 )   And remove the fury in the believers' hearts. And Allah turns in forgiveness to whom He wills; and Allah is Knowing and Wise.
This was a subtle reference to the possibility of what actually was going to happen afterwards. “And He will remove”: this was to remove the misunderstandings of the Muslims who apprehended a bloody war as a result of the declaration. They were told that it was also possible that some of the enemies might repent and embrace Islam. This was not made quite plain lest it should slacken the war preparations of the Muslims on one side and weaken the force of the warning to the mushriks on the other. The latter thing might have hindered the mushriks from giving a serious thought to the critical position they were in that finally led them to embrace Islam.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
When the victory comes and the wounds are healed, a great peace comes to the hearts of those who have suffered, striven, and struggled. The fighting was necessity forced by injustice and oppression. When Allah's Law is established, the fire of indignation is quelled, and the true Peace of Islam is attained.

Allah's mercy is unlimited. When evil is destroyed, many of those who were enticed by evil will come into the fold of truth and righteousness, and the cessation of war and conflict will bring peace, certainly to those who fought for the right, but also possibly to those whose eyes have been opened to the working of Allah's Law and who in healing reconciliation become members of the Brotherhood of Peace in Islam.

 أَمْ حَسِبْتُمْ أَن تُتْرَكُوا وَلَمَّا يَعْلَمِ اللَّـهُ الَّذِينَ جَاهَدُوا مِنكُمْ وَلَمْ يَتَّخِذُوا مِن دُونِ اللَّـهِ وَلَا رَسُولِهِ وَلَا الْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَلِيجَةً ۚ وَاللَّـهُ خَبِيرٌ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ 
( 16 )   Do you think that you will be left [as you are] while Allah has not yet made evident those among you who strive [for His cause] and do not take other than Allah, His Messenger and the believers as intimates? And Allah is Acquainted with what you do.
The addressees in Ayat 16 were those Muslims who had recently embraced Islam. It means to tell them plainly: “Now that you have embraced Islam, you shall have to give a genuine proof by a trial that you have accepted it because you believe in its truth and not because it has become supreme in the country by the exertions of the true believers. The trial is that you shall have to sacrifice your lives, wealth, and your near and dear ones for the sake of Allah and His Way. Then and only then, you will be regarded as true believers.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
We must all be tested and tried, but Allah knows our inmost hearts, and He will support those who strive in His way, out of sincere love for Him, His Prophet, and the body of the true men of faith.

Ibn Kathir Explanation:
Among the Wisdom of Jihad is to test the Muslims. Allah said,
(Do you think), O believers that We will leave you untested with matters that make apparent those who have pure, good intent from those who have false intent 
This is why Allah said next: (while Allah has not yet tested those among you who have striven hard and fought and have not taken Walijah besides Allah and His Messenger, and the believers...), meaning, supporters and confidants. Rather, they are sincere for Allah and His Messenger inwardly and outwardly.

Allah has also said;
(Alif-Lam-Mim. Do people think that they will be left alone because they say: "We believe,'' and will not be tested. And We indeed tested those who were before them. And Allah will certainly make known those who are true, and will certainly make known those who are liars...) [29:1-3],
(Do you think that you will enter Paradise before Allah tests those of you who fought (in His cause) and (also) tests those who are patient)[3: 142[, and,
(Allah will not leave the believers in the state in which you are now, until He distinguishes the wicked from the good)[3:179]. 
In summary, since Allah legislated Jihad for His servants, He explained that the wisdom behind doing so includes testing His servants, distinguishing between those who obey Him and those who disobey Him. Allah, the Exalted, is the All-Knower of what occurred, what will occur, and the true essence of what might occur had He decided it. Therefore, Allah knows everything before it occurs and how it will occur, there is no deity worthy of worship except Him, nor a Lord except Him. Truly, there is none who can avert Allah's judgment and decision.

Ruku / Section 3 [Verses 17-24]

 مَا كَانَ لِلْمُشْرِكِينَ أَن يَعْمُرُوا مَسَاجِدَ اللَّـهِ شَاهِدِينَ عَلَىٰ أَنفُسِهِم بِالْكُفْرِ ۚ أُولَـٰئِكَ حَبِطَتْ أَعْمَالُهُمْ وَفِي النَّارِ هُمْ خَالِدُونَ 
( 17 )   It is not for the polytheists to maintain the mosques of Allah [while] witnessing against themselves with disbelief. [For] those, their deeds have become worthless, and in the Fire they will abide eternally.
This lays down the general principle for the guardianship of the places of worship that have been built exclusively for the worship of Allah. Obviously, those people who associate others with Allah in His essence, His rights and His powers cannot be the proper persons to be the guardians, the servants, the managers etc. of such sacred places. And when they themselves reject the invitations to Tauhid, and openly declare that they are not going to dedicate their worship and obedience exclusively o Allah, they automatically forfeit any right they had for the guardianship of such places of worship that had been built for the worship of Allah alone. Though the principle is of a general nature, it has been mentioned here with the particular object of removing the mushriks from the guardianship of the Kaabah and Masjid-i-Haram and establishing permanently the guardianship of the worshipers of one God over them.

“Their deeds have become worthless”: including the little real service they did to the house of Allah because they mixed with it shirk and other practices of ignorance. Their little good was destroyed by their far greater evils.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Amara as applied to mosques implies the following ideas: (1) to build or repair: (2) to maintain in fitting dignity: (3) to visit for purposes of devotion: and (4) fill with light and life and activity. For brevity I have only used "maintain" in the Translation. Before the preaching of Islam the Pagans built, repaired, and maintained the Mosque, and celebrated Pagan ceremonies in it. They made an income out of it. Islam protested, and the Pagans ejected Muslims and their Leader from Makkah and shut them out from the Ka'ba itself. When the Muslims were strong enough to re-take Makkah (A.H. 8), they purified the Mosque and re-established the worship of the true God. If they became Muslims, it was a different matter. The further question arose: should they be allowed to visit it and practice their unseemly Pagan rites? Obviously this would be derogatory to the dignity and honour of the Mosque, and was forbidden. This was the particular occasion to which the verse refers. The general deduction is clear. A house of Allah is a place of sincere devotion, not a theatre for vulgar rites nor a source of worldly income. Only sincere Believers have a right of entry. Who the sincere Believers are, is explained in the next verse.

Ibn Kathir Explanation:
Allah says that it is not fitting that those who associate others with Allah in worship should maintain the Masjids of Allah that were built in His Name alone without partners. Those who read the Ayah, "Masjid Allah'', said that it refers to Al-Masjid Al-Haram, the most honored Masjid on the earth, which was built, from the first day, for the purpose of worshiping Allah alone without partners. It was built by Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham, peace be upon him). The idolaters do this while they themselves testify to their disbelief with their statements and actions. As-Suddi said, "If you ask a Christian, `What is your religion', He will tell you he is a Christian. If you ask a Jew about his religion, he will say he is a Jew, and the same for a Sabi' and a Mushrik!'''

Allah said in another Ayah: (And why should not Allah punish them while they hinder (men) from Al-Masjid Al-Haram, and they are not its guardians None can be its guardians except those with Taqwa, but most of them know not.) [8:34]
  إِنَّمَا يَعْمُرُ مَسَاجِدَ اللَّـهِ مَنْ آمَنَ بِاللَّـهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ وَأَقَامَ الصَّلَاةَ وَآتَى الزَّكَاةَ وَلَمْ يَخْشَ إِلَّا اللَّـهَ ۖ فَعَسَىٰ أُولَـٰئِكَ أَن يَكُونُوا مِنَ الْمُهْتَدِينَ 
( 18 )   The mosques of Allah are only to be maintained by those who believe in Allah and the Last Day and establish prayer and give zakah and do not fear except Allah, for it is expected that those will be of the [rightly] guided.
Yusuf Ali Explanation:
See the previous note. Sincere Believers are those who have faith in Allah and the future, and have a spirit of devotion and charity-a true and abiding spirit, not merely isolated acts now and again. Moreover they must not bow to worldly greed or ambition, which produces fear of worldly power.

Others may call themselves by what names they like. True guidance is shown by the tests here indicated.

  أَجَعَلْتُمْ سِقَايَةَ الْحَاجِّ وَعِمَارَةَ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ كَمَنْ آمَنَ بِاللَّـهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ وَجَاهَدَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّـهِ ۚ لَا يَسْتَوُونَ عِندَ اللَّـهِ ۗ وَاللَّـهُ لَا يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الظَّالِمِينَ 
( 19 )   Have you made the providing of water for the pilgrim and the maintenance of al-Masjid al-Haram equal to [the deeds of] one who believes in Allah and the Last Day and strives in the cause of Allah? They are not equal in the sight of Allah. And Allah does not guide the wrongdoing people.
This question has been posed to bring home the fact that the guardianship of a shrine or attendance at it or other religious acts that are done for show, and are exploited by worldly people to establish and maintain the show of their piety, have no value whatsoever in the sight of Allah. The real worth of a person with Allah is that he should be sincere in his beliefs and make sacrifices in the Way of Allah, no matter whether he enjoys or does not enjoy such distinctions or happens to descend or not from a family of saints. On the contrary, those people who lack these excellence have no value with Allah, no matter whether they be the descendants of saints or inherit the guardianship of shrines from a long line of saints, or perform some religious acts for show on special occasions. And it is not lawful in any way that the guardianship, etc. of sacred places and institutions should be left in the hands of these worthless people just because they happen to inhere such rights from their forefathers.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Giving drinks of cold water to thirsty pilgrims, and doing material services to a mosque are meritorious acts, but they are only external. If they do not touch the soul, their value is slight. Far greater, in the sight of Allah, are Faith, Endeavour, and self- surrender to Allah. Men who practice these will obtain honour in the sight of Allah. Allah's light and guidance comes to them, and not to those self-sufficient beings who think that a little show of what the world considers piety is enough.

  الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَهَاجَرُوا وَجَاهَدُوا فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّـهِ بِأَمْوَالِهِمْ وَأَنفُسِهِمْ أَعْظَمُ دَرَجَةً عِندَ اللَّـهِ ۚ وَأُولَـٰئِكَ هُمُ الْفَائِزُونَ 
( 20 )   The ones who have believed, emigrated and striven in the cause of Allah with their wealth and their lives are greater in rank in the sight of Allah. And it is those who are the attainers [of success].
Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Here is a good description of Jihad. It may require fighting in Allah's cause, its a form of self-sacrifice. But its essence consists in (1) a true and sincere Faith, which so fixes its gaze on Allah, that all selfish or worldly motives seem paltry and fade away, and (2) an earnest and ceaseless activity, involving the sacrifice (if need be) of life, person, or property, in the service of Allah. Mere brutal fighting is opposed to the whole spirit of Jihad, while the sincere scholar's pen or preacher's voice or wealthy man's contributions may be the most valuable forms of Jihad.

  يُبَشِّرُهُمْ رَبُّهُم بِرَحْمَةٍ مِّنْهُ وَرِضْوَانٍ وَجَنَّاتٍ لَّهُمْ فِيهَا نَعِيمٌ مُّقِيمٌ 
( 21 )   Their Lord gives them good tidings of mercy from Him and approval and of gardens for them wherein is enduring pleasure.
  خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا أَبَدًا ۚ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ عِندَهُ أَجْرٌ عَظِيمٌ 
( 22 )   [They will be] abiding therein forever. Indeed, Allah has with Him a great reward.
Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Those who strive and suffer in Allah's cause are promised (1) a mercy specially from Himself, (2) His own good pleasure, (3) gardens of perpetual delight, (4) the supreme reward. Allah's own nearness. These are in gradation: (1) is a special mercy, higher than flows out to all creatures: (2) is a consciousness of Allah's good pleasure, which raises the soul above itself: (3) is that state of permanent assurance, and (4) is the final bliss, which is the sight of Allah Himself.

يٰۤاَ يُّهَا الَّذِيۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا لَا تَتَّخِذُوۡۤا اٰبَآءَكُمۡ وَاِخۡوَانَـكُمۡ اَوۡلِيَآءَ اِنِ اسۡتَحَبُّوا الۡـكُفۡرَ عَلَى الۡاِيۡمَانِ​ ؕ وَمَنۡ يَّتَوَلَّهُمۡ مِّنۡكُمۡ فَاُولٰۤـئِكَ هُمُ الظّٰلِمُوۡنَ‏ 
( 23 )   O you who have believed, do not take your fathers or your brothers as allies if they have preferred disbelief over belief. And whoever does so among you - then it is those who are the wrongdoers.
 قُلۡ اِنۡ كَانَ اٰبَآؤُكُمۡ وَاَبۡنَآؤُكُمۡ وَاِخۡوَانُكُمۡ وَاَزۡوَاجُكُمۡ وَعَشِيۡرَتُكُمۡ وَ اَمۡوَالُ ۨاقۡتَرَفۡتُمُوۡهَا وَتِجَارَةٌ تَخۡشَوۡنَ كَسَادَهَا وَ مَسٰكِنُ تَرۡضَوۡنَهَاۤ اَحَبَّ اِلَيۡكُمۡ مِّنَ اللّٰهِ وَرَسُوۡلِهٖ وَ جِهَادٍ فِىۡ سَبِيۡلِهٖ فَتَرَ بَّصُوۡا حَتّٰى يَاۡتِىَ اللّٰهُ بِاَمۡرِهٖ​ ؕ وَاللّٰهُ لَا يَهۡدِى الۡقَوۡمَ الۡفٰسِقِيۡنَ‏ 
( 24 )   Say, [O Muhammad], "If your fathers, your sons, your brothers, your wives, your relatives, wealth which you have obtained, commerce wherein you fear decline, and dwellings with which you are pleased are more beloved to you than Allah and His Messenger and jihad in His cause, then wait until Allah executes His command. And Allah does not guide the defiantly disobedient people."
That is: “The judgment will deprive them of the blessings of the true faith, and of the honor of bearing its standard and leading the world towards its guidance and bestow these on others”.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Man's heart clings to (1) his own kith and kin-parents, children, brothers and sisters, husbands or wives, or other relatives, (2) wealth and prosperity, (3) commerce or means of profit and gain, or (4) noble buildings, for dignity or comfort. If these are a hindrance in Allah's cause, we have to choose which we love most. We must love Allah even if it involves the sacrifice of all else.

If we love our earthly ties and comforts , profits and pleasures, more than we love Allah, and therefore fail to respond to Allah's consciousness it is not Allah's cause which will suffer. Allah's purpose will be accomplished, with or without us. But our failure to respond to His will must leave us bereft of grace and guidance: "for Allah guides not the rebellious." This is of universal application. But it was strikingly illustrated in the case of those faithful ones who obeyed the Prophet's call, left the comfort of their homes in Makkah and suffered exile in Madinah, gave up their trade and their possessions, strove and fought for Allah's cause, sometimes against their own kith and kin or their own tribesmen who were enemies of Islam. They won through. Others were not prepared for such sacrifice, but their failure did not stop the accomplishment of Allah's plan and purpose.

Ruku / Section 4 [Verses 25-29]

لَقَدْ نَصَرَكُمُ اللَّـهُ فِي مَوَاطِنَ كَثِيرَةٍ ۙ وَيَوْمَ حُنَيْنٍ ۙ إِذْ أَعْجَبَتْكُمْ كَثْرَتُكُمْ فَلَمْ تُغْنِ عَنكُمْ شَيْئًا وَضَاقَتْ عَلَيْكُمُ الْأَرْضُ بِمَا رَحُبَتْ ثُمَّ وَلَّيْتُم مُّدْبِرِينَ 
( 25 )   Allah has already given you victory in many regions and [even] on the day of Hunayn, when your great number pleased you, but it did not avail you at all, and the earth was confining for you with its vastness; then you turned back, fleeing.
This has been mentioned to allay the fears of those who were afraid of the consequences of the declaration of the abrogation of the treaties, as if to say, “Why are you afraid of war.” That Allah, Who helped you in far worse and dangerous situations on so many occasions before this, is there even now to help you. Had this mission depended on your might, it could not have come out victorious in the hard trials at Makkah, nor in the battle of Badr when the odds were heavily against you. This is because Allah’s power has been helping you, and past experiences have shown you how effective that power is. Rest assured that the same power will help you to succeed in your mission.

The battle of Hunain " حنين " had taken place in the valley of Hunain between Ta'aif and Makkah in the month of Shawwal A.H. 8, a year or so before the revelation of this discourse. This was the first battle in which the Muslim army consisted of 12,000 fighters and this far outnumbered the army of the disbelievers. But in spite of this the archers of the Hawazin clan wrought havoc among the Muslim army and put them to rout. The Prophet (peace be upon him) and a few of his bravest companions, however, firmly stood their ground and rallied the routed army, and ultimately won the victory. It was because of their perseverance that the army reassembled and the Muslims ultimately won the victory; otherwise they would have lost much more at Hunain than they had gained by the conquest of Makkah.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Hunain is on the road to Ta'aif from Makkah about fourteen miles to the east of Makkah. It is a valley in the mountainous country between Makkah and Ta'aif. Immediately after the conquest of Makkah, (A.H. 8), the Pagan idolaters, who were surprised and chagrined at the wonderful reception which Islam was receiving, organised a great gathering near Ta'aif to concert plans for attacking the Prophet. The Hawazin and the Thaqif tribes took the lead and prepared a great expedition for Makkah, boasting of their strength and military skill. There was on the other hand a wave of confident enthusiasm among the Muslims at Makkah, in which the new Muslims joined. The enemy forces numbered about 4,000 but the Muslim force reached a total of ten or twelve thousand, as every one wished to join. The battle was joined at Hunain, as described in the next note.

For the first time the Muslims had at Hunain tremendous odds in their favour. But this itself constituted a danger. Many in their ranks had more enthusiasm than wisdom, more a spirit of elation than of faith and confidence in the righteousness of their cause. The enemy had the advantage of knowing the ground thoroughly. They laid an ambush in which the advance guard of the Muslim forces was caught. The country is hilly, in which the enemy concealed himself. As soon as the Muslim vanguard entered the Hunain valley, the enemy fell upon them with fury and caused havoc with their arrows from their places of concealment. In such ground the numbers of the Muslims were themselves a disadvantage. Many were slain, and many turned back in confusion and retreat. But the Prophet, as ever, was calm in his wisdom and faith. He rallied his forces and inflicted the most crushing defeat on the enemy.

Ibn Kathir Explanation:
Ibn Jurayj reported from Mujahid that this was the first Ayah of Bara'ah in which Allah, the Exalted, reminds the believers how He favored and blessed them by giving them victory in many battles with His Messenger . Allah mentioned that victory comes from Him, by His aid and decree, not because of their numbers or adequate supplies, whether the triumphs are few or many. On the day of Hunayn, the Muslims were proud because of their large number, which did not avail them in the least; they retreated and fled from battle. Only a few of them remained with the Messenger of Allah Allah then sent down His aid and support to His Messenger and the believers who remained with him, so that they were aware that victory is from Allah alone and through His aid, even if the victorious were few. Many a small group overcame a larger opposition by Allah's leave, and Allah is ever with those who are patient. We will explain this subject in detail below, Allah willing.

The battle of Hunayn occurred after the victory of Makkah, in the month of Shawwal of the eighth year of Hijrah. After the Prophet conquered Makkah and things settled, most of its people embraced Islam and he set them free. News came to the Messenger of Allah that the tribe of Hawazin were gathering their forces to fight him, under the command of Malik bin `Awf An-Nadri, as well as, the entire tribe of Thaqif, the tribes of Banu Jusham, Banu Sa`d bin Bakr, a few people of Awza` from Banu Hilal and some people from Bani `Amr bin `Amir and `Awf bin `Amir. They brought their women, children, sheep and camels along, in addition to their armed forces and adequate supplies. The Messenger of Allah marched to meet them with the army that he brought to conquer Makkah, ten thousand from the Muhajirin, the Ansar and various Arab tribes. Along with them came the Tulaqa' numbering two thousand men. The Messenger took them along to meet the enemy. The two armies met in Humayn, a valley between Makkah and At-Ta'if. The battle started in the early part of the morning, when the Huwazin forces, who were lying in ambush, descended on the valley when the Muslims entered. Muslims were suddenly struck by the ambush, the arrows descended on them and the swords struck them. The Huwazin commander ordered them to descend and attack the Muslims as one block, and when they did that, the Muslims retreated in haste, just as Allah described them. The Messenger of Allah remained firm in his position while riding his mule, Ash-Shahba'. He was leading his mule towards the enemy, while his uncle Al-`Abbas was holding its right-hand rope and ﴿his cousin﴾ Abu Sufyan bin Al-Harith bin `Abdul-Muttalib was holding the left rope. They tried to hold the mule back so it would not run faster toward the enemy.

Meanwhile, the Messenger of Allah was declaring his name aloud and saying, (O servants of Allah! Come back to me! I am the Messenger of Allah! He repeated these words,
(I am the Prophet, not lying! I am the son of Abdul-Muttalib!) 
There remained between a hundred and eighty Companions with the Prophet . These included Abu Bakr, `Umar, Al-`Abbas, `Ali, Al-Fadl bin `Abbas, Abu Sufyan bin Al-Harith, Ayman the son of Umm Ayman and Usamah bin Zayd. There were many other Companions, may Allah be pleased with them. The Prophet commanded his uncle Al-`Abbas, whose voice was rather loud, to call at the top of his voice, "O Companions of the Samurah ﴿tree﴾'' referring to the Muhajirin and Ansar who gave their pledge under the tree during the pledge of Ridwan, not to run away and retreat. He also called, "O Companions of Surat Al-Baqarah.'' Upon hearing that, those heralded started saying, "Here we are! Here we are!'' Muslims started returning in the direction of the Messenger of Allah . If the camel of one of them did not obey him (as the people were rushing to the other direction in flight) he would wear his shield and descend from his camel and rush to the side of the Messenger of Allah on foot. When a large crowd gathered around the Messenger of Allah , he commanded them to fight in sincerity and took a handful of sand and threw it in the faces of the disbelievers, after supplicating to Allah,

(O Allah! Fulfill Your promise to me!) Then he threw that handful of sand which entered the eyes and mouth of all the disbelievers, thus distracting them from fighting, and they retreated in defeat. The Muslims pursued the enemy, killing and capturing them. The rest of the Muslim army (returning to battle gradually) rejoined their positions and found many captured disbelieving soldiers kept tied before the Messenger of Allah . In the Two Sahihs, it is recorded that Shu`bah said that Abu Ishaq said that Al-Bara' bin `Azib said to a man who asked him, "O Abu `Amarah! Did you run away during Hunayn and leave the Messenger of Allah '' Al-Bara' said, "But the Messenger of Allah did not run away. Hawazin was a tribe proficient with their arrows. When we met them we attacked their forces and they ran away in defeat. The Muslims started to worry about collecting the spoils of war and the Hawazin started shooting arrows at us, then the Muslims fled.

I saw the Messenger of Allah proclaiming, -- while Abu Sufyan was holding the bridle of his white mule, (I am the Prophet, not lying, I am the son of `Abdul- Muttalib!)

This shows the great courage on behalf of the Prophet in the midst of confusion, when his army ran away and left him behind. Yet, the Messenger remained on his mule, which is a slow animal, not suitable for fast battle moves or even escape. Yet, the Messenger of Allah was encouraging his mule to move forward towards the enemy announcing who he was, so that those among them who did not know who he was came to know him. May Allah's peace and blessings be on the Messenger until the Day of Resurrection. This indicates the tremendous trust in Allah and reliance upon Him, as well as, sure knowledge that He will give him victory, complete what He has sent him for and give prominence to his religion above all other religions.

  ثُمَّ أَنزَلَ اللَّـهُ سَكِينَتَهُ عَلَىٰ رَسُولِهِ وَعَلَى الْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَأَنزَلَ جُنُودًا لَّمْ تَرَوْهَا وَعَذَّبَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا ۚ وَذَٰلِكَ جَزَاءُ الْكَافِرِينَ 
( 26 )   Then Allah sent down His tranquility upon His Messenger and upon the believers and sent down soldiers angels whom you did not see and punished those who disbelieved. And that is the recompense of the disbelievers.
Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Sakina: calm, peace, security, tranquility. Cf. ii. 248. The Prophet never approved of over-weening confidence, or reliance merely upon human strength, or human resources or numbers. In the hour of danger and seeming disaster, he was perfectly calm, and with cool courage relied upon the help of Allah, Whose standard he carried. His calmness inspired all around him, and stopped the rout of those who had turned their backs. It was with Allah's help that they won, and their victory was complete. They followed it up with an energetic pursuit of the enemies, capturing their camps, their flocks and herds, and their families, whom they had boastfully brought with them in expectation of an easy victory.

Ibn Kathir Explanation:
Allah said, (Then Allah did send down His Sakina on His Messenger), He sent down tranquility and reassurance to His Messenger, (and on the believers), who remained with him,

(and sent down forces which you saw not, ) this refers to angels. Imam Abu Ja`far bin Jarir ﴿At-Tabari﴾ said that Al-Qasim narrated to them, that Al-Hasan bin `Arafah said that Al-Mu`tamir bin Sulayman said from `Awf bin Abi Jamilah Al-`Arabi who said that he heard `Abdur-Rahman, the freed slave of Ibn Barthan saying, "A man who participated in Hunayn with the idolaters narrated to me, `When we met the Messenger of Allah and his Companions on the day of Hunayn, they did not remain in battle more than the time it takes to milk a sheep! When we defeated them, we pursued them until we ended at the rider of the white mule, the Messenger of Allah . At that time, men with white handsome faces intercepted us and said: `Disgraced be the faces! Go back. So we ran away, but they followed us. That was the end for us.'''

  ثُمَّ يَتُوبُ اللَّـهُ مِن بَعْدِ ذَٰلِكَ عَلَىٰ مَن يَشَاءُ ۗ وَاللَّـهُ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ 
( 27 )   Then Allah will accept repentance after that for whom He wills; and Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.
“Allah will accept repentance” refers to the large number of the disbelievers who embraced Islam after the victory at Hunain as a result of the kind and generous treatment they received from the Prophet (peace be upon him), in spite of their former antagonism. This was mentioned to allay the anxiety of those new Muslims who feared that, as a result of the declaration, all of their mushrik relatives would be put to death. (E.N. 16). They have been told to expect, in the light of the previous experiences, that the mushriks would be obliged to accept Islam, when they realize that neither any hope of the revival of the order of ignorance was left nor of any props to support it.

Ibn Kathir Explanation:
(Then after that Allah will accept the repentance of whom He wills. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.) Allah forgave the rest of Huwazin when they embraced Islam and went to the Prophet , before he arrived at Makkah in the Ji`ranah area. This occurred twenty days after the battle of Hunayn. The Messenger gave them the choice between taking those who were prisoner or the war spoils they lost, and they chose the former. The Prophet released six thousand prisoners to them, but divided the war spoils between the victors, such as some of the Tulaqa', so that their hearts would be inclined towards Islam. He gave each of them a hundred camels, and the same to Malik bin `Awf An-Nasri whom he appointed chief of his people (Huwazin) as he was before. Malik bin `Awf said a poem in which he praised the Messenger of Allah for his generosity and extraordinary courage.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Examples of Allah's mercy and grace in difficult circumstances in one case illustrate His grace and mercy at all times to those who have faith.

 يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِنَّمَا الْمُشْرِكُونَ نَجَسٌ فَلَا يَقْرَبُوا الْمَسْجِدَ الْحَرَامَ بَعْدَ عَامِهِمْ هَـٰذَا ۚ وَإِنْ خِفْتُمْ عَيْلَةً فَسَوْفَ يُغْنِيكُمُ اللَّـهُ مِن فَضْلِهِ إِن شَاءَ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ عَلِيمٌ حَكِيمٌ 
( 28 )   O you who have believed, indeed the polytheists are unclean, so let them not approach al-Masjid al-Haram after this, their [final] year. And if you fear privation, Allah will enrich you from His bounty if He wills. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Wise.
This prohibition was meant to root out all the vestiges of shirk and ignorance. For the mushriks were prohibited not only from the performance of Hajj and attendance at the Al Masjid-Al Haram but also from entering into its sacred precincts.

They are unclean in their creeds, in their morals, in their deeds, and in their ways of ignorance, and not in their physical bodies by themselves. That is the reason why they have been prohibited from entering the sacred precincts of the holy place.

This prohibition has been interpreted in different ways. Imam Abu Hanifah is of the view that it prohibits them only from the performance of Hajj and Umrah, and from the observance of the rites of ignorance in the holy precincts. But Imam Shafii is of the opinion that they have been forbidden even to enter the Al Masjid-Al Haram for any purpose whatsoever. Imam Malik is of the opinion that they are forbidden not only to enter Al Masjid-Al Haram but any mosque at all. It is, however, obvious that the last opinion is not correct, as the Prophet (peace be upon him) himself permitted mushriks to enter the Prophet’s mosque at Al-Madinah.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Unclean: because Muslims are enjoined to be strict in cleanliness, as well as in purity of mind and heart, so that their word can be relied upon.

This year of theirs: there is a two-fold meaning: (1) now that you have complete control of Makkah and are, charged with the purity of worship there, shut out all impurity from this year: (2) you have seen how the Pagans have behaved this year; their year of power and misuse of that power may be called their year; it is over, and now you Muslims are responsible.

The concourse in Makkah added to the profits of trade and commerce. "But fear not," we are told: "the Pagans are a waning power, bound to disappear, and you should strengthen your own community, that they may more than counter-balance the apparent loss of custom; and Allah has other means of improving your economic position." This actually happened. The Pagans were extinguished from Arabia, and the concourse of pilgrims from all parts of the world increased the numbers more than a hundred-fold. Here is commonsense, wisdom, and statesmanship, even if we look at it from a purely human point of view.

Ibn Kathir Explanation:
Idolaters are no longer allowed into Al-Masjid Al-Haram: Allah commands His believing servants, who are pure in religion and person, to expel the idolaters who are filthy in the religious sense, from Al-Masjid Al-Haram. After the revelation of this Ayah, idolaters were no longer allowed to go near the Masjid. This Ayah was revealed in the ninth year of Hijrah. The Messenger of Allah sent `Ali in the company of Abu Bakr that year to publicize to the idolaters that no Mushrik will be allowed to perform Hajj after that year, nor a naked person allowed to perform Tawaf around the House. Allah completed this decree, made it a legislative ruling, as well as, a fact of reality. `Abdur-Razzaq recorded that Jabir bin `Abdullah commented on the Ayah,

(O you who believe! Verily, the Mushrikin are impure. So let them not come near Al-Masjid Al-Haram after this year) "Unless it was a servant or one of the people of Dhimmah.'' Imam Abu `Amr Al-Awza'i said, "Umar bin `Abdul-`Aziz wrote (to his governors) to prevent Jews and Christians from entering the Masjids of Muslims, and he followed his order with Allah's statement: (Verily, the Mushrikin are impure.) `Ata' said, "All of the Sacred Area [the Haram] is considered a Masjid, for Allah said: (So let them not come near Al-Masjid Al-Haram (at Makkah) after this year.)'' This Ayah indicates that idolators are impure and that the believers are pure.

In the Sahih is the following: (The believer does not become impure.) Allah said: (and if you fear poverty, Allah will enrich you, out of His bounty.) Muhammad bin Ishaq commented, "The people said, `Our markets will be closed, our commerce disrupted, and what we earned will vanish.'

So Allah revealed this verse: (and if you fear poverty, Allah will enrich you, out of His bounty), from other resources, (if He wills), until, (. ..and feel themselves subdued.) This Ayah means, `this will be your compensation for the closed markets that you feared would result.' Therefore, Allah compensated them for the losses they incurred because they severed ties with idolators, by the Jizyah they earned from the People of the Book.'' Similar statements were reported from Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, `Ikrimah, Sa`id bin Jubayr, Qatadah and Ad-Dahhak and others.

Allah said, (Surely, Allah is All-Knowing), in what benefits you, (All-Wise), in His orders and prohibitions, for He is All-Perfect in His actions and statements, All-Just in His creations and decisions, Blessed and Hallowed be He. This is why Allah compensated Muslims for their losses by the amount of Jizyah that they took from the people of Dhimmah.

قَاتِلُوا الَّذِينَ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّـهِ وَلَا بِالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ وَلَا يُحَرِّمُونَ مَا حَرَّمَ اللَّـهُ وَرَسُولُهُ وَلَا يَدِينُونَ دِينَ الْحَقِّ مِنَ الَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْكِتَابَ حَتَّىٰ يُعْطُوا الْجِزْيَةَ عَن يَدٍ وَهُمْ صَاغِرُونَ  
( 29 )   Fight those who do not believe in Allah or in the Last Day and who do not consider unlawful what Allah and His Messenger have made unlawful and who do not adopt the religion of truth from those who were given the Scripture - [fight] until they give the jizyah willingly while they are humbled.
Though the people of the Book professed to believe in Allah and the Hereafter, in fact they believed in neither. For only that person really believes in Allah who acknowledges Him as the only one God and the only one Lord, and does not associate with Him any other, whatsoever, in His Being, in His characteristics, in His rights and in His powers and authority. But according to this definition of shirk both the Christians and the Jews were guilty of shirk as has been made plain in the verses that follow: therefore their profession of belief in Allah was meaningless. Likewise they did not really believe in the Hereafter, in spite of the fact that they believed in resurrection. For it is not enough: one must also believe that on that Day absolute justice will be done on the basis of one’s belief and actions. One should also believe that no ransom and no expiation and no spiritual relationships with any saint shall be of any avail on that Day. It is absolutely meaningless to believe in the Hereafter without this. And the Jews and the Christians had polluted their faiths because they believed that such things would protect them against justice on that day.

The second reason why Jihad should be waged against them is that they did not adopt the law sent down by Allah through His Messenger.

This is the aim of Jihad with the Jews and the Christians and it is not to force them to become Muslims and adopt the Islamic way of life. They should be forced to pay jizyah in order to put an end to their independence and supremacy so that they should not remain rulers and sovereigns in the land. These powers should be wrested from them by the followers of the true faith, who should assume the sovereignty and lead others towards the right way, while they should become their subjects and pay jizyah. Jizyah is paid by those non-Muslims who live as zimmis (proteges) in an Islamic state, in exchange for the security and protection granted to them by it. This is also symbolical of the fact that they themselves agree to live in it as its subjects. This is the significance of “they pay the tribute out of (their) hand,” that is, “with full consent so that they willingly become the subjects of the believers, who perform the duty of the vicegerents of Allah on the earth.”

At first this command applied only to the Jews and the Christians. Then the Prophet (peace be upon him) himself extended it to the Zoroastrians also. After his death, his companions unanimously applied this rule to all the non Muslim nations outside Arabia.

This is jizyah of which the Muslims have been feeling apologetic during the last two centuries of their degeneration and there are still some people who continue to apologize for it. But the way of Allah is straight and clear and does not stand in need of any apology to the rebels against Allah. Instead of offering apologies on behalf of Islam for the measure that guarantees security of life, property and faith to those who choose to live under its protection, the Muslims should feel proud of such a humane law as that of jizyah. For it is obvious that the maximum freedom that can be allowed to those who do not adopt the Way of Allah but choose to tread the ways of error is that they should be tolerated to lead the life they like. That is why the Islamic state offers them protection, if they agree to live as its zimmis by paying jizyah, but it cannot allow that they should remain supreme rulers in any place and establish wrong ways and impose them on others. As this state of things inevitably produces chaos and disorder, it is the duty of the true Muslims to exert their utmost to bring to an end their wicked rule and bring them under a righteous order.

As regards the question, “What do the non-Muslims get in return for jizyah”, it may suffice to say that it is the price of the freedom which the Islamic state allows them in following their erroneous ways, while living in the jurisdiction of Islam and enjoying its protection. The money thus collected is spent in maintaining the righteous administration that gives them the freedom and protects their rights. This also serves as a yearly reminder to them that they have been deprived of the honor of paying Zakat in the Way of Allah, and forced to pay jizyah instead as a price of following the ways of error.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Jizyah: the root meaning is compensation. The derived meaning, which became the technical meaning, was a poll-tax levied from those who did not accept Islam, but were willing to live under the protection of Islam, and were thus tacitly willing to submit to its ideals being enforced in the Muslim State. There was no amount permanently fixed for it. It was in acknowledgment that those whose religion was tolerated would in their turn not interfere with the preaching and progress of Islam. Imam Shafi'i suggests one dinar per year, which would be the Arabian gold dinar of the Muslim States. The tax varied in amount, and there were exemptions for the poor, for females and children (according to Abu Hanifa), for slaves, and for monks and hermits. Being a tax on able-bodied males of military age, it was in a sense a commutation for military service. But see the next note.

'An Yadin (literally, from the hand) has been variously interpreted. The hand being the symbol of power and authority. I accept the interpretation "in token of willing submission." The Jizyah was thus partly symbolic and partly a commutation for military service, but as the amount was insignificant and the exemptions numerous, its symbolic character predominated. See the last note.

Ibn Kathir Explanation:
(Fight against those who believe not in Allah, nor in the Last Day, nor forbid that which has been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, and those who acknowledge not the religion of truth among the People of the Scripture, until they pay the Jizyah with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.) Therefore, when People of the Scriptures disbelieved in Muhammad , they had no beneficial faith in any Messenger or what the Messengers brought. Rather, they followed their religions because this conformed with their ideas, lusts and the ways of their forefathers, not because they are Allah's Law and religion. Had they been true believers in their religions, that faith would have directed them to believe in Muhammad , because all Prophets gave the good news of Muhammad's advent and commanded them to obey and follow him. Yet when he was sent, they disbelieved in him, even though he is the mightiest of all Messengers. Therefore, they do not follow the religion of earlier Prophets because these religions came from Allah, but because these suit their desires and lusts. Therefore, their claimed faith in an earlier Prophet will not benefit them because they disbelieved in the master, the mightiest, the last and most perfect of all Prophets .

Hence Allah's statement:
(Fight against those who believe not in Allah, nor in the Last Day, nor forbid that which has been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, and those who acknowledge not the religion of truth among the People of the Scripture,) This honorable Ayah was revealed with the order to fight the People of the Book, after the pagans were defeated, the people entered Allah's religion in large numbers, and the Arabian Peninsula was secured under the Muslims' control. Allah commanded His Messenger to fight the People of the Scriptures, Jews and Christians, on the ninth year of Hijrah, and he prepared his army to fight the Romans and called the people to Jihad announcing his intent and destination. The Messenger sent his intent to various Arab areas around Al-Madinah to gather forces, and he collected an army of thirty thousand. Some people from Al-Madinah and some hypocrites, in and around it, lagged behind, for that year was a year of drought and intense heat. The Messenger of Allah marched, heading towards Ash-Sham to fight the Romans until he reached Tabuk, where he set camp for about twenty days next to its water resources. He then prayed to Allah for a decision and went back to Al-Madinah because it was a hard year and the people were weak, as we will mention, Allah willing.

Paying Jizyah is a Sign of Kufr and Disgrace: Allah said: (until they pay the Jizyah), if they do not choose to embrace Islam, (with willing submission), in defeat and subservience, (and feel themselves subdued.), disgraced, humiliated and belittled. Therefore, Muslims are not allowed to honor the people of Dhimmah or elevate them above Muslims, for they are miserable, disgraced and humiliated.

Muslim recorded from Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet said: (Do not initiate the Salam to the Jews and Christians, and if you meet any of them in a road, force them to its narrowest alley.)

This is why the Leader of the faithful `Umar bin Al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with him, demanded his well-known conditions be met by the Christians, these conditions that ensured their continued humiliation, degradation and disgrace. The scholars of Hadith narrated from `Abdur-Rahman bin Ghanm Al-Ash`ari that he said, "I recorded for `Umar bin Al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with him, the terms of the treaty of peace he conducted with the Christians of Ash-Sham:
`In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. This is a document to the servant of Allah `Umar, the Leader of the faithful, from the Christians of such and such city. When you (Muslims) came to us we requested safety for ourselves, children, property and followers of our religion. We made a condition on ourselves that we will neither erect in our areas a monastery, church, or a sanctuary for a monk, nor restore any place of worship that needs restoration nor use any of them for the purpose of enmity against Muslims. We will not prevent any Muslim from resting in our churches whether they come by day or night, and we will open the doors ﴿of our houses of worship﴾ for the wayfarer and passerby. Those Muslims who come as guests, will enjoy boarding and food for three days. We will not allow a spy against Muslims into our churches and homes or hide deceit ﴿or betrayal﴾ against Muslims. We will not teach our children the Qur'an, publicize practices of Shirk, invite anyone to Shirk or prevent any of our fellows from embracing Islam, if they choose to do so. We will respect Muslims, move from the places we sit in if they choose to sit in them. We will not imitate their clothing, caps, turbans, sandals, hairstyles, speech, nicknames and title names, or ride on saddles, hang swords on the shoulders, collect weapons of any kind or carry these weapons. We will not encrypt our stamps in Arabic, or sell liquor. We will have the front of our hair cut, wear our customary clothes wherever we are, wear belts around our waist, refrain from erecting crosses on the outside of our churches and demonstrating them and our books in public in Muslim fairways and markets. We will not sound the bells in our churches, except discretely, or raise our voices while reciting our holy books inside our churches in the presence of Muslims, nor raise our voices ﴿with prayer﴾ at our funerals, or light torches in funeral processions in the fairways of Muslims, or their markets. We will not bury our dead next to Muslim dead, or buy servants who were captured by Muslims. We will be guides for Muslims and refrain from breaching their privacy in their homes.' 
When I gave this document to `Umar, he added to it, `We will not beat any Muslim. These are the conditions that we set against ourselves and followers of our religion in return for safety and protection. If we break any of these promises that we set for your benefit against ourselves, then our Dhimmah (promise of protection) is broken and you are allowed to do with us what you are allowed of people of defiance and rebellion.'''

Ruku / Section 5 [Verses 30-37]

وَقَالَتِ الْيَهُودُ عُزَيْرٌ ابْنُ اللَّـهِ وَقَالَتِ النَّصَارَى الْمَسِيحُ ابْنُ اللَّـهِ ۖ ذَٰلِكَ قَوْلُهُم بِأَفْوَاهِهِمْ ۖ يُضَاهِئُونَ قَوْلَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا مِن قَبْلُ ۚ قَاتَلَهُمُ اللَّـهُ ۚ أَنَّىٰ يُؤْفَكُونَ 
( 30 )   The Jews say, "Ezra is the son of Allah "; and the Christians say, "The Messiah is the son of Allah." That is their statement from their mouths; they imitate the saying of those who disbelieved [before them]. May Allah destroy them; how are they deluded?
Uzair (Ezra) lived during the period around 450 B.C. The Jews regarded him with great reverence as the revivalist of their Scriptures which had been lost during their captivity in Babylon after the death of prophet Solomon. So much so that they had lost all the knowledge of their law, their traditions and of Hebrew, their national language. Then it was Ezra who re-wrote the Old Testament and revived the law. That is why they used very exaggerated language in his reverence which misled some of the Jewish sects to make him ‘the son of God’. The Quran, however, does not assert that all the Jews were unanimous in declaring Ezra as the son of God. What it intends to say is that the perversion in the articles of faith of the Jews concerning Allah had degenerated to such an extent that there were some among them who considered Ezra as the son of God.

“Those who disbelieved before” were the Egyptians, the Greeks, the Romans, the Persians, etc. The Jews and the Christians were so influenced by their philosophies, their superstitions and fancies that they also invented erroneous creeds like theirs. (See explanation of verse 77 of Al-Maidah).

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
In v. 18, 1 have quoted passages from the Old Testament, showing how freely the expression "sons of Allah" was used by the Jews. A sect of them called 'Uzair a son of Allah, according to Baidhawl. In Appendix II (Sura v.) I have shown that the constitution of Judaism dates from 'Uzair (Ezra). The Christians still call Christ the Son of Allah.

Taking men for gods or sons of Allah was not a new thing. All ancient mythologies have fables of that kind. There was less excuse for such blasphemies after the Prophets of Allah had clearly explained out true relation to Allah than in the times of primitive ignorance and superstition.

Cf. v. 75.

  اتَّخَذُوا أَحْبَارَهُمْ وَرُهْبَانَهُمْ أَرْبَابًا مِّن دُونِ اللَّـهِ وَالْمَسِيحَ ابْنَ مَرْيَمَ وَمَا أُمِرُوا إِلَّا لِيَعْبُدُوا إِلَـٰهًا وَاحِدًا ۖ لَّا إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ ۚ سُبْحَانَهُ عَمَّا يُشْرِكُونَ 
( 31 )   They have taken their scholars and monks as lords besides Allah, and [also] the Messiah, the son of Mary. And they were not commanded except to worship one God; there is no deity except Him. Exalted is He above whatever they associate with Him.
“They have taken their rabbis and monks as their lords”. The Prophet (peace be upon him) himself explained its true significance. According to a tradition, when Adi bin Hatim (may Allah be pleased with him), who was formerly a Christian, came to the Prophet (peace be upon him) with the intention of understanding Islam, he asked several questions in order to remove his doubts. One of these was: “This verse accuses us of taking our scholars and monks as our lords. What is its real meaning. For we do not take them as our lords.”

As a reply to this, the Prophet (peace be upon him) put him a counter question: “Is it not a fact that you accept as unlawful what they declare to be unlawful, and lawful what they declare to be lawful?” Adi confessed, “Yes, it is so.” The Prophet (peace be upon him) replied, “This amounts to making them your lords.” Incidentally, this tradition shows that those who themselves set limits to the lawful and the unlawful without the authority of Allah’s Book, assume for themselves the rank of godhead, and those who acknowledge their right of making laws take them as their lords.

It should be noted that they have been charged with (a) attributing sons to Allah, and (b) giving the right of making laws to others than Allah. These are to prove that their claim that they believed in Allah is false, even though they should believe in His existence. But such a wrong conception of Allah makes their belief in Allah meaningless.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Ahbar: doctors of law; priests; learned men. Cf. v. 44. where they are associated with Rabbis. Ruhban: monks, ascetics, anchorites, men who have renounced the world; where there is a celibate clergy, the term can be applied to them as well as to members of monastic orders. It is also permissible to apply the term to "saints", where they are deified or credited with divine powers, or where people pray to them as they do in the Roman Catholic Church.

Priest worship, and the worship of saints and ascetics is a form of superstition to which men have been prone in all ages. The growth of Jewish superstition is shown in the Talmud, and of Christian superstition in the doctrine of papal infallibility and the worship of saints. The mere idea of a separate order of priesthood to stand between Allah and man and be the exclusive repository of Allah's secrets is derogatory to the goodness and all-pervading grace of Allah. The worship of "lords many and gods many" was not confined only to the Pagans. The deification of the son of Mary is put here in a special clause by itself, as it held (and still holds) in its thrall a large portion of civilized humanity.

Cf. vi. 100.

Ibn Kathir Explanation:
(They took their rabbis and their monks to be their lords besides Allah, and the Messiah, son of Maryam) [9:31].

Imam Ahmad, At-Tirmidhi and Ibn Jarir At-Tabari recorded a Hadith via several chains of narration, from `Adi bin Hatim, may Allah be pleased with him, who became Christian during the time of Jahiliyyah. When the call of the Messenger of Allah reached his area, `Adi ran away to Ash-Sham, and his sister and several of his people were captured. The Messenger of Allah freed his sister and gave her gifts. So she went to her brother and encouraged him to become Muslim and to go to the Messenger of Allah . `Adi, who was one of the chiefs of his people (the tribe of Tai') and whose father, Hatim At-Ta'i, was known for his generosity, went to Al-Madinah. When the people announced his arrival, `Adi went to the Messenger of Allah wearing a silver cross around his neck.

The Messenger of Allah recited this Ayah;
(They took their rabbis and their monks to be their lords besides Allah). `Adi commented, "

I said, `They did not worship them.''' The Prophet said: (Yes they did. They (rabbis and monks) prohibited the allowed for them (Christians and Jews) and allowed the prohibited, and they obeyed them. This is how they worshipped them.)

The Messenger of Allah said to `Adi: (O `Adi what do you say Did you run away (to Ash-Sham) so that 'Allahu Akbar' (Allah is the Great) is not pronounced Do you know of anything greater than Allah What made you run away Did you run away so that `La ilaha illallah' is not pronounced Do you know of any deity worthy of worship except Allah)

The Messenger invited `Adi to embrace Islam, and he embraced Islam and pronounced the Testimony of Truth. The face of the Messenger of Allah beamed with pleasure and he said to `Adi: (Verily, the Jews have earned the anger (of Allah) and the Christians are misguided.) Hudhayfah bin Al-Yaman, `Abdullah bin `Abbas and several others said about the explanation of,

(They took their rabbis and their monks to be their lords besides Allah...) that the Christians and Jews obeyed their monks and rabbis in whatever they allowed or prohibited for them.

This is why Allah said: (while they were commanded to worship none but One God), Who, whatever He renders prohibited is the prohibited, whatever He allowed is the allowed, whatever He legislates, is to be the law followed, and whatever He decides is to be adhered to; (None has the right to be worshiped but He. Hallowed be He above what they associate (with Him).) Meaning, exalted, sanctified, hallowed above partners, equals, aids, rivals or children, there is no deity or Lord worthy of worship except Him.

 يُرِيدُونَ أَن يُطْفِئُوا نُورَ اللَّـهِ بِأَفْوَاهِهِمْ وَيَأْبَى اللَّـهُ إِلَّا أَن يُتِمَّ نُورَهُ وَلَوْ كَرِهَ الْكَافِرُونَ  
( 32 )   They want to extinguish the light of Allah with their mouths, but Allah refuses except to perfect His light, although the disbelievers dislike it.
Yusuf Ali Explanation:
With their mouths: there is a twofold meaning: (1) the old-fashioned open oil lamps were extinguished by blowing with the mouth; the Unbelievers would like to blow out Allah's Light as it is a cause of offence to them; (2) false teachers and preachers distort the Message of Allah by the false words of their mouth. Their wish is to put out the light of Truth for they are people of darkness; but Allah will perfect His Light, i.e., make it shine all the brighter in the eyes of men. His Light in itself is ever perfect, but it will penetrate the hearts of men more and more, and so become more and more perfect for them.

  هُوَ الَّذِي أَرْسَلَ رَسُولَهُ بِالْهُدَىٰ وَدِينِ الْحَقِّ لِيُظْهِرَهُ عَلَى الدِّينِ كُلِّهِ وَلَوْ كَرِهَ الْمُشْرِكُونَ 
( 33 )   It is He who has sent His Messenger with guidance and the religion of truth to manifest it over all religion, although they who associate others with Allah dislike it.
The Arabic word ad-din has been translated into ‘ways’. For the word deen, as has already been explained in verse 193, Al-Baqarah, is used for the ‘way of life’ or the ‘system of life’, which is followed in obedience to the supreme authority.

Now let us try to understand the significance of this verse. The object of the mission of the Messenger is to make the guidance and the right way he has brought from Allah dominant over all the other ways and systems of life. In other words, the Messenger is not sent to allow Allah’s Way to remain subordinate to other ways in order to enjoy concessions from them. He is sent by the Sovereign of the earth and the heavens to make His Way dominant over all other ways. And if a wrong way is at all allowed to remain on the earth, it should be tolerated only under its own protection by the payment of jizyah under the limits conferred by the divine system as in the cast of the system of life of the zimmis who pay jizyah.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Every religion which commends itself widely to human beings and lasts through some space of time has a glimpse of Truth in it. But Islam being the perfect light of Truth is bound to prevail. As the greater Light, through its own strength, outshines all lesser lights, so will Islam outshine all else, in spite of the displeasure of those to whom light is an offence. See also xlviii. 28 and lxi. 9.

 يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِنَّ كَثِيرًا مِّنَ الْأَحْبَارِ وَالرُّهْبَانِ لَيَأْكُلُونَ أَمْوَالَ النَّاسِ بِالْبَاطِلِ وَيَصُدُّونَ عَن سَبِيلِ اللَّـهِ ۗ وَالَّذِينَ يَكْنِزُونَ الذَّهَبَ وَالْفِضَّةَ وَلَا يُنفِقُونَهَا فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّـهِ فَبَشِّرْهُم بِعَذَابٍ أَلِيمٍ 
( 34 )   O you who have believed, indeed many of the scholars and the monks devour the wealth of people unjustly and avert [them] from the way of Allah. And those who hoard gold and silver and spend it not in the way of Allah - give them tidings of a painful punishment.
These religious leaders are guilty of two sins. First, they devour the wealth of the common people by selling false decrees, and by taking bribes, gifts and presents on different pretexts. They invent religious regulations and rituals as tempt people to buy their salvations and fortunes in life from them and make deaths and marriages dependent on the payment of due price to these monopolists of Paradise. To add to this another sin, they debar the people from the Way of Allah by involving them into different sorts of deviations and by obstructing the way of every righteous mission with the obstacles of learned doubts and pious suspicions.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Bil-batili = in falsehood, i.e., by false means, pretences, or in false or vain things. This was strikingly exemplified in the history of Medieval Europe. Though the disease is apt to attack all peoples and organisations at all times. Priests got rich by issuing indulgences and dispensations; they made their office a stepping stone to worldly power and possessions. Even the Monastic Orders, which took vows of poverty for individuals grew rich with corporate property, until their wealth became a scandal, even among their own nations.

Misuse of wealth, property, and resources is frequently condemned, and in three ways: (1) do not acquire anything wrongfully or on false pretences; (2) do not hoard or bury or amass wealth for its own sake but use it freely for good, whether for yourself or for your neighbours; and (3) be particularly careful not to waste it for idle purposes, but only so that it may fructify for the good of the people.

  يَوْمَ يُحْمَىٰ عَلَيْهَا فِي نَارِ جَهَنَّمَ فَتُكْوَىٰ بِهَا جِبَاهُهُمْ وَجُنُوبُهُمْ وَظُهُورُهُمْ ۖ هَـٰذَا مَا كَنَزْتُمْ لِأَنفُسِكُمْ فَذُوقُوا مَا كُنتُمْ تَكْنِزُونَ 
( 35 )   The Day when it will be heated in the fire of Hell and seared therewith will be their foreheads, their flanks, and their backs, [it will be said], "This is what you hoarded for yourselves, so taste what you used to hoard."
Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Gold and silver, symbolizing wealth which these people cherished even more than the good pleasure of their Lord, will not only be the cause but the instrument whereby they would receive a grievous punishment.

The voice enforces the moral: "did you expect satisfaction or salvation from the treasures that you misused? Behold! they add to your torment!"

 إِنَّ عِدَّةَ الشُّهُورِ عِندَ اللَّـهِ اثْنَا عَشَرَ شَهْرًا فِي كِتَابِ اللَّـهِ يَوْمَ خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ مِنْهَا أَرْبَعَةٌ حُرُمٌ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ الدِّينُ الْقَيِّمُ ۚ فَلَا تَظْلِمُوا فِيهِنَّ أَنفُسَكُمْ ۚ وَقَاتِلُوا الْمُشْرِكِينَ كَافَّةً كَمَا يُقَاتِلُونَكُمْ كَافَّةً ۚ وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّـهَ مَعَ الْمُتَّقِينَ 
( 36 )   Indeed, the number of months with Allah is twelve [lunar] months in the register of Allah [from] the day He created the heavens and the earth; of these, four are sacred. That is the correct religion, so do not wrong yourselves during them. And fight against the disbelievers collectively as they fight against you collectively. And know that Allah is with the righteous [who fear Him].
This means that ever since Allah created the sun, the moon and the earth, the new moon takes place only once in a month; thus the year has always been of twelve months.

This has been mentioned to refute the practice of nasi (Ayat 37) whereby the pagan Arabs increased the number of the months of a year to 13 or 14 to enable them to interpose in the calendar the forbidden month which had been made lawful by them.

“So do not wrong yourselves in them.” Do not let go waste the good things for which fighting has been made unlawful during these months by creating disorder in them that will ultimately be harmful to you also. The four forbidden months are Zil-Qadah, Zil-Hajjah and Muharram for Hajj and Rajab for Umrah.

That is, “If the mushriks do not desist from fighting during these months, you should also fight them and present a united front against them, just as they put up a united front against you”. This verse has been explained by Ayat 194 of Al-Baqarah.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
This and the following verse must be read together. They condemn the arbitrary and selfish conduct of the Pagan Arabs, who, because there was a long-established custom of observing four months as those in which fighting was forbidden, changed the months about or added or deducted months when it suited them, to get an unfair advantage over the enemy. The four Prohibited Months were: Zul-qa'dah, Zul- hijjah, Muharram, and Rajab. If it suited them they postponed one of these months, and so a prohibited month became an ordinary month: while their opponents might hesitate to fight, they got an undue advantage. It also upset the security of the Month of Pilgrimage. This very ancient usage made for fair dealing all round, and its infraction by the Pagans is condemned. The question of a solar astronomical year as against the lunar Islamic year does not arise here. But it may be noted that the Arab year was roughly luni solar like the Hindu year, the months being lunar and the intercalation of a month every three years brought the year nearly but not accurately up to the solar reckoning. From the year of the Farewell Pilgrimage (A.H.10) the Islamic year was definitely fixed as a purely lunar year of roughly 354 days, the months being calculated by the actual appearance of the moon. After that, every month of the Islamic year came about 11 days earlier in the solar year, and thus the Islamic months travelled all round the seasons and the solar year.

The Muslims were at a disadvantage on account of their scruples about the Prohibited Months. They are told not to wrong themselves in this. If the Pagans fought in all months on one pretence or another, they were allowed to defend themselves in all months. But self-restraint was (as always) recommended as far as possible.

  إِنَّمَا النَّسِيءُ زِيَادَةٌ فِي الْكُفْرِ ۖ يُضَلُّ بِهِ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا يُحِلُّونَهُ عَامًا وَيُحَرِّمُونَهُ عَامًا لِّيُوَاطِئُوا عِدَّةَ مَا حَرَّمَ اللَّـهُ فَيُحِلُّوا مَا حَرَّمَ اللَّـهُ ۚ زُيِّنَ لَهُمْ سُوءُ أَعْمَالِهِمْ ۗ وَاللَّـهُ لَا يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الْكَافِرِينَ 
( 37 )   Indeed, the postponing [of restriction within sacred months] is an increase in disbelief by which those who have disbelieved are led [further] astray. They make it lawful one year and unlawful another year to correspond to the number made unlawful by Allah and [thus] make lawful what Allah has made unlawful. Made pleasing to them is the evil of their deeds; and Allah does not guide the disbelieving people.
The pagan Arabs practiced nasi in two ways. Whenever it suited them, they would declare a prohibited month to be an ordinary month in which fighting, robbery and murder in retaliation were lawful for them. Then they would declare an ordinary month to be a prohibited month instead of this month in order to make up for the deficiency caused in the number of the prohibited months.

The other way of nasi was the addition of a month in order to harmonize the lunar with the solar year so that the Hajj should always fall in the same season and they should be saved from the bother and inconvenience that are experienced by its observance according to the lunar year. In this way Hajj was observed for 36 years on dates other than the actual dates. Then in the thirty seventh year it was again observed on the 9th and 10th of Zil-Hajjah, as they should have actually fallen according to the lunar calendar. It so happened that on the occasion when the Prophet (peace be upon him) performed Hajja-tul-Widaa (his last Hajj). these dates by rotation coincided with the actual dates of Hajj according to the lunar calendar. So he declared during the course of his historic address at Arafat: “This year the dates of Hajj have again occurred exactly at their natural and proper time after a long period of circulation.” Accordingly, since that last Hajj of A.H. 9, it is being observed up to this day according to the correct dates of the lunar year.

By making nasi unlawful and forbidding it, the law declared that the two objects for which it was practiced were also sinful. First, they not only made lawful what Allah had made unlawful but also tried to practice deception on Allah by the seeming observance of the law. As regards the second object of making the season of Hajj fixed permanently according to the solar calendar, this too, was in fact the worst kind of rebellion against the divine law, although it appeared to be a harmless thing done for public good. But it defeated the very object of the divine law which prescribed the lunar calendar instead of the solar calendar for the observance of obligatory duties. Allah did this to ensure many good things for the Muslims, one of which is that His servants should be so trained as to obey His commandments at all times of the year and under all circumstances. For instance, the month of Ramadan circulates among all the seasons of the year and the Muslims get used to obeying His commandments whether it be summer or winter, dry or rainy season. This gives them that excellent moral training which is the real object of all the obligatory duties imposed by the divine law. Likewise, the dates of Hajj according to the lunar calendar, fall during different seasons: therefore the servants of Allah have to travel during all the seasons, favorable and unfavorable. Thus they come out successful in the divine test under all the circumstances and learn to be steadfast in their obedience.

It is obvious that such a training will make them stand good in many other fields in which one has to fight the battle for the truth.

Now it would have become quite clear why nasi was made unlawful and forbidden. It was designed to fix the season of Hajj in order to suit their own conveniences though it defeated the divine purpose of Hajj and of the forbidden months. It meant that they had rebelled against Allah and become independent of Him; this is kufr. Besides this, Islam is a universal religion and for all human beings. It is obvious that the periods of fasting and performing Hajj cannot satisfy all if they be fixed in accordance with the months of the solar year. For if they are performed in fixed months according to the solar year, the one and the same month will not equally suit all for the simple reason that it will fall during the same seasons in different places, summer or winter or very hot or very cold or rainy or dry or harvesting or sowing, year after year.

In this connection it may also be kept in view that the proclamation about the prohibition of nasi was made on the occasion of Hajj in A.H. 9 and next year the Hajj was performed on right dates which were in accordance with the lunar year. Since that time Hajj is being performed according to exact dates.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
To meddle with an old-established custom of close time for warfare during Prohibited or Sacred Months was not only a demonstration of the Unbelievers against the Muslims on account of their Faith, but was wrong and unjust in itself, as it abolished a wholesome check on unregulated warfare, and prejudiced the law-abiding side by arbitrary decisions.

Cf. vi. 122. The lawless man thinks he is doing a great thing in getting the better of those who are careful to observe a law they believe in. But the lawless man loses the guidance of Faith he will therefore lose in the end.

You may now like to listen to Arabic recitation of Sūrat At Tawbah with English subtitles:

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

You may also refer to our Reference Pages for knowing more about Islam and Quran.
Photo | References: | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 |
Reading the Holy Quran should be a daily obligation of a Muslim - Reading it with translation will make it meaningful. But reading its Exegesis / Tafsir will make you understand it fully.

An effort has been made to gather explanation / exegesis of the surahs of the Holy Qur'an from authentic sources and then present a least possible condensed explanation of the surah. In that:
  • The plain translation has been taken from the Holy Quran officially published by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. [1]
  • The exegesis of the chapters of the Holy Quran is mainly based on the "Tafhim al-Qur'an - The Meaning of the Qur'an" by one of the most enlightened scholars of the Muslim World Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi.  [2]
In order to augment and add more explanation as already provided by [2], additional input has been interjected from following sources: 
In addition the references of  other sources which have been explored have also been given above. Those desirous of detailed explanations and tafsir (exegesis), may refer to these sites.

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