Tuesday 20 December 2022

Be fully equipped and ready to defend yourself at all times (Selected verses from Qur'an)

Islam has always been under aggression since its earlier days. And this state still continues. Every man, irrespective of his religion, faith and aspirations, has the right to live peacefully and honourably. Yet Muslims have always been targeted for being threat to non-Muslims. Therefore, they have been cautioned about the machinations of their adversaries and asked in clear words to keep them ready for any eventuality that more often than not props up to threaten their way of life and beliefs.

The following verse from Surah 8. Al Anfal (The Battle Spoils) is one such Divine commandment for Muslims to be ready to take on enemies that threaten their religious ideology.

وَاَعِدُّوۡا لَهُمۡ مَّا اسۡتَطَعۡتُمۡ مِّنۡ قُوَّةٍ وَّمِنۡ رِّبَاطِ الۡخَـيۡلِ تُرۡهِبُوۡنَ بِهٖ عَدُوَّ اللّٰهِ وَعَدُوَّكُمۡ وَاٰخَرِيۡنَ مِنۡ دُوۡنِهِمۡ​ ۚ لَا تَعۡلَمُوۡنَهُمُ​ ۚ اَللّٰهُ يَعۡلَمُهُمۡ​ؕ وَمَا تُـنۡفِقُوۡا مِنۡ شَىۡءٍ فِىۡ سَبِيۡلِ اللّٰهِ يُوَفَّ اِلَيۡكُمۡ وَاَنۡـتُمۡ لَا تُظۡلَمُوۡنَ‏ 
(8:60) And make ready your strength, to the utmost of your power including sinews of war, to strike terror into the hearts of enemies of Allah, and others besides them, whom you know not but Allah does know. And whatever you expend in the cause of Allah shall be repaid onto you and you shall not be treated unjustly.
The above quoted verse was revealed more than 1400 years ago when horses were considered to be superior game changers. Now these have been replaced by tanks and many other modern gadgetries and equipment that need to be acquired and kept ready to challenge the enemy. Besides, the 5th generation warfare, which has added yet another dimension to the art of warfare, should never be lost sight of. Now it is the cumulative effect of a high state of motivation, armies well equipped, superior strategy and all means that are force multiplier should be made use of to thwart enemy designs much before battles are fought.

It may also be kept in mind that amassing weapons and war fighting machines only is not the answer. The men must be trained well to handle these when time comes. Men who have superior intellect, well versant with strategies to fight war and be also proficient in making use of non-military means and intelligence to forestall any misadventure by the enemy before battle drums start to sound. 

It may be clarified here that there are non-Muslims who single out these verses from Qur'an and then label Muslims as war mongers. But quite the opposite is true. Muslims are never encouraged to wage wars. But they are asked to defend themselves with full might when war is waged on them.  

Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi Explanation:
This means, "You should always keep in readiness the necessary military equipment and an organized standing army so that you may be able to take military action immediately without the least delay, should the enemy attack you suddenly. These precautionary measures should be taken so that there should be no confusion and no hurry to urge you to enlist half-trained and ill-equipped volunteers; nor would there be any fear that the enemy would take you unawares and inflict irreparable losses on you before you could get ready for the defense".

Muhammad Asad Explanation:
(Hence, make ready against them whatever force and war mounts) Lit., "tethering of horses" (ribat al-khayl): an expression which signifies "holding in readiness mounted troupes at all points open to enemy invasion (thughur)"; hence, tropically, the over-all maintenance of military preparedness. 

(You are able to muster, so that you might deter thereby the enemies of God, who are your enemies as well,) Lit., "God's enemy and your enemy" - implying that every "enemy of God" (i.e., everyone who deliberately opposes and seeks to undermine the moral laws laid down by God) is, eo ipso, an enemy of those who believe in Him. 

(And others besides them of whom you may be unaware, [but] of whom God is aware; and whatever you may expend) I.e., of resources, efforts and sacrifice of life.

Yusuf Ali Explanation
The immediate occasion of this injunction was the weakness of cavalry and appointments of war in the early fights of Islam. But the general meaning follows. In every fight, physical, moral, or spiritual, arm yourself with the best weapons and the best arms against your enemy, so as to instill wholesome respect into him for you and the Cause you stand for.

There are always lurking enemies whom you may not know, but whom Allah knows. It is your duty to be ready against all, for the sacred Cause under whose banner you are fighting.

Be always ready and put all your resources into your Cause. You do not do so in vain. Allah's reward will come in various forms. He knows all, and His reward will always be more generous than you can possibly think of.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation:
(As much as you can, prepare against them an army) The actual word is: قوة. It is evident from other instances in the Qur’ān that it is also used for numerical power. The implication is that now they must have an organized force of warriors at their disposal at all times so that it may be used against the disbelievers when needed. It should not be the case that whenever an attack is to be launched a call for volunteers is given. Now believers should have an organized army as far as they are capable of and it should also be in large numbers as far as possible.

(And trained horses) This refers to horses which have been trained for this very purpose. This has been said because in those times horses had the same status as tanks and fighter planes have today. 

(At your disposal so that you can strike awe into the enemies of God and of yours and others beside them too who you do not know. God knows them.) This is a reference to those elements and forces which hitherto had not come to the fore but God knew that soon or late they will manifest themselves in some form or the other. For example, Jews and hypocrites with whom the Prophet (sws) had made treaties of remaining impartial. Similarly, the Romans, the Ghassanids and the Persians too had become concerned with what was happening in Arabia and were looking at it with apprehension.

([For this purpose,] whatever you spend for the cause of God shall be fully repaid to you.) Ie., repaid to them in accordance with the principal God has prescribed for the reward of virtue.

Tafsir Qur'an Wiki:
Islam, however, sets out to make real preparations that are within the capability of the Muslims so that victory becomes achievable. It does not raise the sights of the Muslim community towards that sublime horizon without making sure that it has firm ground on which it can stand. Islam also takes every practical step which has been proven through experience to be of immense value in the achievement of victory. Islam also makes sure that the Muslim community is well prepared for its practical tasks that serve its sublime objectives: The verse gives a clear order to prepare all forces and power within the means of the Muslim community. It makes special mention of cavalry because that was then the main equipment in war. Had the Qur’ān ordered them to prepare equipment that was unknown to them, they would have found these a complete mystery. Far be it from God to address anyone with mysteries. What is most important to remember here is that the directive is of a very broad nature. 

There is nothing to be ashamed of in the nature of the Islamic approach. Islam does not have a man-made system, and does not seek to establish the authority of a leader, a state, a class, or a race. It does not try to enslave serfs so that they cultivate the plantations of the aristocracy, like the Romans used to do. Nor does it try to exploit markets and raw materials, as Western capitalism has been doing. It is not the aim of Islam to impose a human system devised by a shortsighted, narrow-minded and ignorant human being, as Communism was keen to do. Islam has a system devised by God whose knowledge and wisdom are absolute. It aims to establish God’s absolute sovereignty in order that all mankind be free from subjugation to any worldly authority.

Thus, right at the outset, Islam rules out any war undertaken for the glory of individuals and states. It rejects all campaigns that seek to exploit resources and open markets, or to subjugate and humiliate other communities. Islam has nothing to do with any war that tries to establish the superiority of one class, race, nation, or state over another. The only type of campaign which Islam approves of is one undertaken for God’s cause. Needless to say, God does not wish to grant supremacy to any one race, nation, class, or individual. He only wants His own sovereignty and authority to be recognized by all people. God is in no need of anyone or any community. The recognition of His sovereignty and submission to Him alone brings honour, freedom, goodness and blessings to all mankind.

For interpretation of the above quoted verse by Ibn e Kathir, please go to the link here.

Now you may listen to the following short clipped video to explanation of the aforesaid Ayat by eminent Muslim scholar Nouman Ali Khan:
May Allāh (سبحانه و تعالى‎) help us understand Qur'ān and follow the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, which is embodiment of commandments of Allah contained in the Qur'ān. May Allah help us to be like the ones He loves and let our lives be lived helping others and not making others' lives miserable or unlivable. May all our wrong doings, whether intentional or unintentional, be forgiven before the angel of death knocks on our door. 
وَمَا عَلَيۡنَاۤ اِلَّا الۡبَلٰغُ الۡمُبِيۡنُ‏ 
(36:17) and our duty is no more than to clearly convey the Message.”
That is Our duty is only to convey to you the message that Allah has entrusted us with. Then it is for you to accept it or reject it. We have not been made responsible for making you accept it forcibly, and if you do not accept it, we shall not be seized in consequence of your disbelief, you will yourselves be answerable for your actions on Day of Resurrection.

Reading the Qur'ān 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. It will also help the Muslims to have grasp over social issues and their answers discussed in the Qur'an and other matter related to inter faith so that they are able to discuss issues with non-Muslims with authority based on refences from Qur'an.

May Allah forgive me if my posts ever imply a piety far greater than I possess. I am most in need of guidance.

Note: When we mention God in our posts, we mean One True God, we call Allah in Islam, with no associates. Allah is the Sole Creator of all things, and that Allah is all-powerful and all-knowing. Allah has no offspring, no race, no gender, no body, and is unaffected by the characteristics of human life.

For more Selected Verses, please refer to our reference page: Selected Verses from the Qur'anYou may also refer to our Reference Pages  and Understanding Al Qur'an for knowing more about Islam and Qur'ān.
Photo | Tafsir References: | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 |

An effort has been made to gather explanation / exegesis of the surahs of the Qur'ān from authentic sources and then present a least possible condensed explanation of the surah. In that the exegesis of the chapters of the 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.  
In order to augment and add more explanation as already provided, additional input has been interjected from the following sources: 
  • Tafsir Ibn Khatir
  • Muhammad Asad Translation
  • Yusuf Ali Translation
  • Translation Javed Ahmad Ghamidi / Al Mawrid
  • Qur'an Wiki
  • Verse by Verse Qur'an Study Circle
  • Towards Understanding the Quran
In addition, 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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