Showing posts with label Part II. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Part II. Show all posts

Tuesday 13 April 2021

Sūrah Yāʾ Sīn: Exegesis / Tafsir of 36th Chapter of Quran (Part Two - Ruku 4-5, Verses 51-83)

Sūrah Yāʾ Sīn is the seventieth sürah with 83 āyāt with five  rukus, part of the 22-23 Juzʼ  of the Qur'ān. In chronology it belongs to the last stage of the middle Makkan period, or it is one of those Surahs, which were sent down during the last stage of the Holy Prophet's stay at Makkah.
The surah begins with Yāʾ Sīn " يٰسٓ ", the disjointed words called the muqaṭṭaʻāt. The mysterious letters are combinations of between one and five Arabic letters figuring at the beginning of 29 out of the 114 chapters (surahs) of the Quran just after the Bismillāh Islamic phrase. The letters are also known as fawātiḥ (فَوَاتِح) or "openers" as they form the opening verse of their respective surahs.  Read more about the Huroof Muqatta’at, or the abbreviated / disjointed letters

We have already published two posts about Sūrah Yāʾ Sīn; The Overview/Summary and Exegesis of Ruku 1-3 (verses 1-50) as Part I. Now we continue with the exegesis of the remaining two Ruku (4-5) covering the last verses (51-83) as Part II:

Part Two (Ruku 4-5 Verses 51-83)
  • Ruku Four (Verses 51-67): Wherein verses 51-54 paint a scene from the Day of Judgement, verses 55-58 explain Allah's greeting to the residents of Paradise and verses 59-67 are about Allah's address to the criminal sinners and On the Day of judgement hands and feet shall testify.
  • Ruku Five (Verses 68-83): In verses 68-76 exhibit that Al-Quran is to warn those who are alive and to establish charge against the disbelievers and the concluding verses 77-83 dwell on the theme that Allah, Who has created the man, shall give him life again, for accountability on the Day of Judgement
بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْمِ 
"In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful"

Ruku Four (Verses 51-67)
Verses 52 – 58 A scene from the Day of Resurrection: The people will ask who has raised us from our sleeping place (generally agreed to be the grave) and they will be told that this is the promise made to you by the Most Merciful (God) and what the messengers warned about.  It will be but one single blast and lo and behold, all of humankind will be brought before God.  On that Day no one will be wronged, everyone will be recompensed for what they did; all will be repaid for their deeds.  The people of Paradise will be rewarded handsomely; they will be with their spouses seated on couches in the shade.  They will have therein all kinds of fruits and whatever they wish for.  And in addition to this their Lord will greet them with "peace". 

وَنُفِخَ فِى الصُّوۡرِ فَاِذَا هُمۡ مِّنَ الۡاَجۡدَاثِ اِلٰى رَبِّهِمۡ يَنۡسِلُوۡنَ‏  
( 51 )   And the Horn will be blown; and at once from the graves to their Lord they will hasten.
Blowing of the "Trumpet": 
As regards to the nature of the blowing of the Trumpet on the Day of Resurrection, it may be likened to the blowing of the bugle in the army to muster or disperse the soldiers. It is obvious that these words and terms have been used because these are known to the people. Therefore it will be wrong to consider the Trumpet to be exactly like the bugles and trumpets of this world.
As for the length of the interval between the first blowing of the Trumpet and its second blowing, we have no information. The interval maybe of hundreds and thousands of years. Hadrat Abu Hurairah has related that the Holy Prophet said: "Israfil has put the Trumpet to his mouth and is looking up to the Divine Throne, awaiting orders for blowing it. The Trumpet will be blown thrice:

On the first blowing (called nafakhat al-faza ) everything in the earth and heavens will be struck with terror. On the second blowing (nafakhat as-Sa'q) everyone will fall down dead. Then, when none shall remain except Allah, the One, the Everlasting, the earth will be changed altogether and will be spread flat and smooth without a crease or wrinkle in it. Then Allah will administer a rebuke to His Creation, whereupon everyone will rise at the spot where he had fallen dead, on the changed earth, and this will happen on the third blowing of the Trumpet (nafakhat al qiyam li-Rabbil- `Alamin). This is supported by several allusions in the Qur'an also.

For more, see explanation of:
Surah Ibrahim:(14:48) (Do warn them of the) Day when the heavens and the earth shall be altogether changed;57 when all will appear fully exposed before Allah, the One, the Irresistible!
Surah Ta Ha: 105-108: (20:105) They ask you concerning the mountains: "Where will they go?" Say: "My Lord will scatter them like dust, (20:106) and leave the earth a levelled plain (20:107) in which you shall find no crookedness or curvature. (20:108) On that Day people shall follow straight on to the call of the summoner, no one daring to show any haughtiness. Their voices shall be hushed before the Most Compassionate Lord, so that you will hear nothing but a whispering murmur. 

Yusuf Ali  Explanation:  Traditionally, the angel who will sound the Trumpet is Israfil, but the name does not occur in the Qur'an. The Trumpet is mentioned in many places: e.g., vi. 73; lxxviii. 18, etc. 

قَالُوۡا يٰوَيۡلَنَا مَنۡۢ بَعَثَنَا مِنۡ مَّرۡقَدِنَاۘهٰذَا مَا وَعَدَ الرَّحۡمٰنُ وَصَدَقَ الۡمُرۡسَلُوۡنَ‏ 
( 52 )   They will say, "O woe to us! Who has raised us up from our sleeping place?" [The reply will be],  "This is what the Most Merciful had promised, and the messengers told the truth."
That is, "At that time they will not realize that they had been dead and had been raised back to life after a long period, but they will be thinking that they had fallen asleep, and had been woken up suddenly by some terrible catastrophe, and were running away from it." (For further explanation, sec Ta Ha: 103, AI-Hajj: 1-2). 
(Surah 20 Ta Ha :103) يَّتَخَافَـتُوۡنَ بَيۡنَهُمۡ اِنۡ لَّبِثۡتُمۡ اِلَّا عَشۡرًا‏  They shall whisper among themselves: "You stayed on the earth barely ten days."
(Surah 22. Al Hajj: 1): يٰۤـاَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اتَّقُوۡا رَبَّكُمۡ​ۚ اِنَّ زَلۡزَلَةَ السَّاعَةِ شَىۡءٌ عَظِيۡمٌ‏ O mankind, fear the (wrath of) your Lord! Indeed, the earthquake of the Hour (of Judgement) will be an awesome thing.
(Surah 22 AI-Hajj:2) يَوۡمَ تَرَوۡنَهَا تَذۡهَلُ كُلُّ مُرۡضِعَةٍ عَمَّاۤ اَرۡضَعَتۡ وَتَضَعُ كُلُّ ذَاتِ حَمۡلٍ حَمۡلَهَا وَتَرَى النَّاسَ سُكٰرٰى وَمَا هُمۡ بِسُكٰرٰى وَلٰـكِنَّ عَذَابَ اللّٰهِ شَدِيۡدٌ‏  On the Day when you witness it, the suckling woman shall utterly neglect the infant she suckles, and every pregnant woman shall cast her burden, and you will see people as though they are drunk, when they are not drunk; but dreadful shall be Allah's chastisement.
Here, it is not clear as to who will give this answer. It may be that they themselves would realize after some time to their horror that it was the same thing of which the Messengers of God used to inform them and they used to belie them. It may also be that the believers will remove their misunderstanding and tell them that it was not waking up from sleep but the second life after death. And it may also be that they will understand this from the general conditions prevailing on the Day of Resurrection and the angels might tell them this.

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: The dead will rise as in a stupor, and they will be confused in the new conditions! They will gradually regain their memory and their personality. They will be reminded that Allah in His grace and mercy had already announced the Hereafter in their probationary lives, and the word of Allah's messengers, which then seemed so strange and remote, was true and was now being fulfilled!

اِنۡ كَانَتۡ اِلَّا صَيۡحَةً وَّاحِدَةً فَاِذَا هُمۡ جَمِيۡعٌ لَّدَيۡنَا مُحۡضَرُوۡنَ‏  
( 53 )   It will not be but one blast, and at once they are all brought present before Us.

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: Time and Space, as we know them here, will be no more. The whole gathering will be as in the twinkling of an eye. Cf. xxxvi. 49 above.

فَالۡيَوۡمَ لَا تُظۡلَمُ نَفۡسٌ شَيۡـئًا وَّلَا تُجۡزَوۡنَ اِلَّا مَا كُنۡتُمۡ تَعۡمَلُوۡنَ‏ 
( 54 )   So today no soul will be wronged at all, and you will not be recompensed except for what you used to do.
This is what Allah will tell the disbelievers and the polytheists, the sinners and the culprits, when they will be presented before Him. 

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: The Judgment will be on the highest standard of Justice and Grace. Not the least merit will go unrewarded, though the reward will be for the righteous far more than their deserts. No penalty will be exacted but that which the doer himself by his past deeds brought on himself. Cf. xxviii. 84.

اِنَّ اَصۡحٰبَ الۡجَـنَّةِ الۡيَوۡمَ فِىۡ شُغُلٍ فٰكِهُوۡنَ​ۚ‏ 
( 55 )   Indeed the companions of Paradise, that Day, will be amused in [joyful] occupation -
To understand this one should remember that the righteous believers will not be withheld in the Plain of Resurrection, but in the very beginning they will be sent to Paradise without accountability, or after a mild reckoning, because their record will be clean. There will be no need to keep them waiting during the hearing by the Court. Therefore, Allah will tell the culprits, who will be required to render their accounts, in the Plain of Resurrection: "Look! the righteous people whom you used to mock and regard as foolish in the world, are today enjoying the pleasures of Paradise because of their wisdom, and you, who in your own judgment were very prudent and sagacious, are being condemned to accountability for your misdeeds." 

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: Notice the subtle gradation in the description. First, in this verse, we have the nature of the mise en scene and the nature of the joy therein. It will be a Garden i.e., everything agreeable to see and hear and feel and taste and smell; delightfully green lawns and meadows, trees and shrubs; the murmur of streams and the songs of birds: the delicate texture of flowers and leaves and the shapes of beauty in clouds and mist; the flavours of fruits; and the perfumes of flowers and scents. The joy in the Garden will be an active joy, without fatigue: whatever we do in it, every employment in which we engage there, will be a source of joy without alloy.

هُمۡ وَاَزۡوَاجُهُمۡ فِىۡ ظِلٰلٍ عَلَى الۡاَرَآئِكِ مُتَّكِـُٔوۡنَ‏ 
( 56 )   They and their spouses - in shade, reclining on adorned couches.

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: Secondly, the joy or happiness is figured to be, not solitary, but shared by associates.

Muhammad Asad Explanation: In the Qur'anic descriptions of paradise, the term zill ("shade") and its plural zilal is often used as a metaphor for "happiness" - thus, for instance, in 4:57 , where zill zalil signifies "happiness abounding" 
The primary meaning of zill is "shade", and so the expression zill zalil could be rendered as "most shading shade" - i.e., "dense shade". However, in ancient Arabic usage, the word zill denotes also "a covering" or "a shelter" and, figuratively, "protection" (Raghib); and, finally, "a state of ease, pleasure and plenty" (cf. Lane V, 1915 f.), or simply "happiness" - and in the combination of zill zalil, "abundant happiness" (Razi) - which seems to agree best with the allegorical implications of the term "paradise".
The "couches" on which the blessed are to recline are obviously a symbol of inner fulfilment and peace of mind, as pointed out by Razi in his comments on 18:31 and 55:54 .

لَهُمۡ فِيۡهَا فَاكِهَةٌ وَّلَهُمۡ مَّا يَدَّعُوۡنَ​ ۖ​ۚ‏ 
( 57 )   For them therein is fruit, and for them is whatever they request [or wish]

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: Thirdly, besides any external conditions of Bliss, the Bliss in the Hereafter has an inner quality.

سَلٰمٌ قَوۡلًا مِّنۡ رَّبٍّ رَّحِيۡمٍ‏ 
( 58 )   [And] "Peace," a word from a Merciful Lord.

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: Fourthly, we reach the highest grade of bliss, the salutation "Peace!" from Allah Most Merciful. Cf. x. 10. That Word sums up the attainment of the final Goal. For it explains the nature of the Most High;-He is not only a Lord and Cherisher, but a Lord Whose supreme glory is Mercy, Peace, and Harmony!

Muhammad Asad Explanation: This composite expression is, I believe, the nearest approach in English to the concept of salam in the above context. For a further explanation of this term, see explanation  on 5:16 , where salam is rendered as "salvation" - reproduced herein under:
The word salam, here rendered as "salvation", has no proper equivalent in the English language. It denotes inner peace, soundness and security from evil of any kind, both physical and spiritual, and the achievement of what, in Christian terminology, is described as "salvation": with the difference, however, that the Christian concept of salvation presupposes the existence of an a-priori state of sinfulness, which is justified in Christianity by the doctrine of "original sin", but is not justified in Islam, which does not subscribe to this doctrine. Consequently, the term "salvation" - which I am using here for want of a better word - does not adequately convey the full meaning of salam. Its nearest equivalents in Western languages would be the German Heil or the French salut, both of which express the idea of spiritual peace and fulfilment without being necessarily (i.e., linguistically) connected with the Christian doctrine of salvation.
Verses 59 – 65 God addresses the disbelievers: Then God will say, stand apart you criminals.  Remove yourselves from the ranks of the believers so that you are distinguishable from them.  God says, "Did I not enjoin upon you, O children of Adam, that you not worship Satan – for he is a clear enemy to you.  And that you worship [only] Me?" This is a straight path, says God and he (Satan) has led great numbers of you astray, could you not use your reason to see this? The disbelievers are told to enter Hellfire because of what they denied and refused to believe and because they refused to heed God’s commands.  God will seal their mouths but their hands and feet will speak and bear witness to all.

وَامۡتَازُوا الۡيَوۡمَ اَيُّهَا الۡمُجۡرِمُوۡنَ‏ 
( 59 )   [Then He will say], "But stand apart today, you criminals.
This can have two meanings:

(1) "Get you apart from the righteous believer:, for in the world even if you belonged to the same community and the same clan and the same brotherhood, here you have no connection and relationship left with them;" and

(2) "get you apart from one another: now you can no longer remain a group: all your parties have been disbanded: all your relations and connections have been severed. Now each of you will be held answerable in your personal capacity for your actions and deeds."

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: Notice how this finely balanced passage, after reaching the summit of sublimity in describing the state of the Blessed, in the word Salam, gradually takes us down to contemplate the state of the Sinners in a graduated descent. In the first place, it refers to their negative state, their state of isolation. From this Day of Judgment, they will no longer have the chance of being with the Blessed and perhaps of profiting spiritually by that proximity. The first feature of the Day of Judgment is that it is a Day of Separation-of sorting out. Each soul now finds its own true level, as the period of probation is over.

اَلَمۡ اَعۡهَدۡ اِلَيۡكُمۡ يٰبَنِىۡۤ اٰدَمَ اَنۡ لَّا تَعۡبُدُوا الشَّيۡطٰنَ​​ۚ اِنَّهٗ لَـكُمۡ عَدُوٌّ مُّبِيۡنٌ ۙ‏ 
( 60 )   Did I not enjoin upon you, O children of Adam, that you not worship Satan - [for] indeed, he is to you a clear enemy -

For the meaning of what the Qur'an describes as "worship of Satan", see explanation on 19:44 - reproduced herein under:
The absurdity inherent in the attribution of divine qualities to anything or anyone but God is here declared, by implication, to be equivalent to "worshipping" the epitome of unreason and ingratitude symbolized in Satan's rebellion against his Creator. In this connection it should be noted that the term shaytan is derived from the verb shatana, signifying "he was [or "became"] remote [from the truth];' (Lisan al-'Arab, Taj al-'Arus); hence, the Qur'an describes every impulse that inherently offends against truth, reason and morality as "satanic", and every conscious act of submission to such satanic influences as a "worship of Satan".

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: Secondly, there is a gentle reproach to the wrong-doers, more in sorrow than in anger. They are addressed as "children of Adam", to emphasise two facts, (1) that they have disgraced their ancestry, for Adam after his Fall repented and was forgiven, and the high Destiny of mankind has been the prize open to all his descendants, and (2) that Allah Most Merciful has throughout the ages continued to warn mankind against the snares laid by Satan, the avowed enemy of man, and that Allah's Grace was ever on the watch to help all to freedom from those snares.

وَّاَنِ اعۡبُدُوۡنِىۡ ​ؕ هٰذَا صِرَاطٌ مُّسۡتَقِيۡمٌ‏ 
( 61 )   And that you worship [only] Me? This is a straight path.
Here again Allah has used `ibadat in the sense of ita'at (obedience). This subject has already been explained above in Al-Baqarah: 172, An-Nisa': 117, AI-An'am: 121, 137, At-Taubah; 31, Ibrahim: 22, Al-Kahf: 52, Maryam: 42, Al Qasas: 63 Surah Saba: 42. 

In this connection, the fine explanation given of it by Imam Razi in his Tafsir Kabir is also noteworthy. He writes: "Do not worship Satan means: Do not obey him, the reason being that only falling prostrate before him is not forbidden, but following him and obeying his commands also is forbidden; therefore, ita et (obedience) is ibadat (worship). " After this, the Imam raises the question: If `ibadat means ita'at, then have the Muslims been commanded to worship the Prophet and the rulers in the verse: Ati `ullaha wa ati '-ur-rasula wa ulil--amr-i min-kum? He himself answers it thus: "If obedience to theta is in accordance with the Commands of Allah, it will be Allah's worship ('ibadat) and His obedience (ita`at. Did not the angels fall prostrate before Adam in obedience to Allah's Command? This was nothing but worship of Allah. Obedience of the rulers will be their worship only in cases where they are obeyed in matters in which Allah has not given leave to obey them." Then he writes: "If a person comes to you and commands you to do something, you should see whether his command is in accordance with the Command of Allah or not. If it is not, Satan is with him; and if you obeyed him in this, you worshiped him and his Satan. Likewise, if your self urges you to do something, you should see whether it is permissible to do it according to the Sahari'ah or not. If it is not permissible, your self is Satan itself, or Satan is with it. If you obeyed him, you in fact became guilty of worshiping him." Further on, he writes: "But there are different degrees of the worship of Satan. Sometimes it so happens that a man does a work and his limbs and his tongue also join him in this, and his heart also cooperates. At another time it so happens that a man uses his limbs to do a work but his heart and tongue do trot cooperate in this. Some people commit a sin while their heart is disagreeable and their tongue is invoking Allah for forgiveness, and they confess that they are committing an evil. This is Satan's worship with external limbs. There are other people who commit a crime with a cool mind and express pleasure and satisfaction with the tongue also. ..........Such people are the worshipers of Satan from outside as well as from inside. (Tafsir Kabir, vol. VII, pp. 103-104). 

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: Thirdly, besides the negative warning, a positive Way was shown to them-the Straight Way, the Way of those who receive Allah's Grace and attain to Bliss, the Rope which would save them from shipwreck, the Shield which would save them from assault, the key to the door of proximity to Allah.

وَلَقَدۡ اَضَلَّ مِنۡكُمۡ جِبِلًّا كَثِيۡرًا​ ؕ اَفَلَمۡ تَكُوۡنُوۡا تَعۡقِلُوۡنَ‏  
( 62 )   And he had already led astray from among you much of creation, so did you not use reason?
That is, "If you had been deprived of reason and you had served your enemy instead of your Lord, you could have the reason to offer an excuse. But you, in fact, had been blessed with reason by Allah and you were using it to advantage in all the affairs of the world, and you had been warned by Allah through the Prophets as well, yet, when you were deceived by your enemy and he succeeded in leading you astray, you could not be excused from the responsibility of your folly." 

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: Fourthly, it is pointed out that they were given Understanding ('aql), so that by their own faculties they could have judged their own best interests, and yet they betrayed or misused those faculties, and deliberately threw away their chance! And not only a few, but so many! They went gregariously to ruin in spite of the individual care which their Lord and Cherisher bestowed on them!

هٰذِهٖ جَهَنَّمُ الَّتِىۡ كُنۡتُمۡ تُوۡعَدُوۡنَ‏ 
( 63 )   This is the Hellfire which you were promised.

Yusuf Ali Explanation: Fifthly, the naked fact is now placed before them,-the Hell,-the state of damnation, which they could so easily have avoided!

Muhammad Asad Explanation: The phrase "This, then, is the hell" points to the fact that the sinners' realization of their having gone astray despite repeated warnings by the prophets will, in itself, be a source of intense suffering ('adhab) in the life to come. The element of repetition or persistence is implied in the use of the auxiliary verb kuntum both here and in the next verse.

اِصۡلَوۡهَا الۡيَوۡمَ بِمَا كُنۡتُمۡ تَكۡفُرُوۡنَ‏ 
( 64 )   [Enter to] burn therein today for what you used to deny."

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: As they deliberately and persistently rejected all teaching, guidance, and warnings, they are now told to experience the Fire of Punishment, for it is but the consequence of their own acts.

اَلۡيَوۡمَ نَخۡتِمُ عَلٰٓى اَفۡوَاهِهِمۡ وَتُكَلِّمُنَاۤ اَيۡدِيۡهِمۡ وَتَشۡهَدُ اَرۡجُلُهُمۡ بِمَا كَانُوۡا يَكۡسِبُوۡنَ‏ 
( 65 )   That Day, We will seal over their mouths, and their hands will speak to Us, and their feet will testify about what they used to earn.
This command will be given in respect of the stubborn culprits, who will refuse to confess their crimes, will belie the witnesses, and will also not acknowledge the genuineness of their conduct-book. Then will Allah Almighty command: "Well, stop your babbling. Just see what your own limbs say about your misdeeds. " In this connection, here only the evidence to be given by the hands and the feet has been mentioned. But at other places it has been said that their eyes and their ears and their tongues, and the very skins of their body, will tell how they had been employed in the world. "They should not forget the Day when their own tongues and their own hands and feet will bear testimony to their misdeeds.' (An-Nur: 24) "Then, when all will have reached there, their ears and their eyes and their very skins will bear witness against them concerning what they had been doing in the world." (Ha Mim Sajdah: 20). The question arises: On the one hand, Allah says: "We shall seal their mouths," and on the other, in the verse of Surah An-Nur, He says: "Their tongues will bear testimony against them." How can these two things be reconciled ? The answer is: "To seal the mouths means to deprive them of their power of speech. That is, after this they will not be able to say whatever they like with their tongue. The testimony of their tongues mans that their tongues themselves will tell how the wicked people had used them, what blasphemies and lies they had been made to utter, what mischiefs they had invented and what falsehoods they had been made to say on different occasions.

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: The ungodly will now be dumbfounded. They will be unable to speak or offer any defence. (The consequences of all acts, which follow according to Allah's Law, are, in Quranic language, attributed to Allah). But their silence will not matter. Their own hands and feet will speak against them. "Hands and feet" in this connection are symbolical of all the instruments for action which they were given in this life. The same extended meaning is to be understood for "eyes" in the following verse. Cf. also xli. 20- 21, where eyes, ears, and skins are all mentioned as bearing witness against such as misused them.

Muhammad Asad Explanation: A metaphor for their being unable really to excuse or defend their past actions and attitudes.

Verses 66 – 76 The Quran is a warning, a gauge between right and wrong
God could have left humankind without guidance but because of His mercy he did not.  They could have been left blind without the means to see, or deformed without the means to move either forward or backward but He did not.  Prophet Muhammad is not a poet; he was not given mere poetry; rather, he was given a clear book of guidance, the Quran.  It is a warning, so that God’s judgment can be passed according to it.  God then informs us of one of the many blessings He has bestowed upon us: livestock. He created it for our general use, to be used as a means of transportation, for food and milk, and for other benefits. Instead of giving thanks to God for this blessing, the disbelievers have taken other deities besides God for worship and even call upon them for help but they cannot help! Even an entire army of false gods combined cannot help in the least.  God tells Prophet Muhammad not to be distressed at what they say because He (God) knows what they reveal and what they conceal.

وَلَوۡ نَشَآءُ لَـطَمَسۡنَا عَلٰٓى اَعۡيُنِهِمۡ فَاسۡتَبَقُوا الصِّرَاطَ فَاَنّٰى يُبۡصِرُوۡنَ‏ 
( 66 )   And if We willed, We could have obliterated their eyes, and they would race to [find] the path, and how could they see?

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: "If it had been Our Will": i.e., if such had been the Will and Plan of Allah. If Allah had not intended to give man his limited free-will, or power of choice, the case would have been different: there would have been no moral responsibility which could have been enforced. They could have had no sight or intelligence, and they could not have been blamed for not seeing or understanding. But such is not the case.

Muhammad Asad Explanation: Lit., "We could surely have effaced their eyes": a metaphor for "We could have created them morally blind" and, thus, devoid of all sense of moral responsibility - which, in its turn, would constitute a negation of all spiritual value in human life as such. (Cf. 2:20 - "if God so willed, He could indeed take away their hearing and their sight".)

In this instance - as, e.g., in 20:96 - the verb basura ("he became seeing" or "he saw") is obviously used in its tropical sense of "perceiving [something] mentally". According to Ibn 'Abbas, as quoted by Tabari, the phrase anna yubsirun signifies "how could they perceive the truth".

وَلَوۡ نَشَآءُ لَمَسَخۡنٰهُمۡ عَلٰى مَكَانَتِهِمۡ فَمَا اسۡتَطَاعُوۡا مُضِيًّا وَّلَا يَرۡجِعُوۡنَ‏ 
( 67 )   And if We willed, We could have deformed them, [paralyzing them] in their places so they would not be able to proceed, nor could they return.
After depicting the scene of Resurrection, the people are being warned to this effect: "The Resurrection may seem yet far off to you, but even if you consider seriously your life in this world of which you are so proud, you will see how helpless you are in the powerful grip of Allah. Your eyes by virtue of whose sight you are carrying out all your obligations in the world can be blinded at one command of Allah. Your legs on whose strength you are showing All this activity can become paralyzed as and when Allah wills. As long as the powers and capabilities granted by Allah continue to function, you remain lost in the arrogance of your self, but as soon as one of them fails to function, you come to understand how helpless you are!" 

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: If Allah's Plan had been to grant no limited freedom of choice or will to men, He could have created them quite different, or could have transformed them into stationary creatures, either in physical form as in the case of trees, or in moral or spiritual qualities, where there was no possibility either of progress or deterioration. Man would then have been unable to reach the heights of grandeur which are now open to him, or, if he goes wrong, to return through the door of repentance and mercy, and still pursue his path of ascent. But it was Allah's Plan to give man all these privileges, and man must shoulder all the responsibilities that go with them.

Muhammad Asad Explanation: I.e., if it had been God's will that men should have no freedom of will or moral choice, He would have endowed them from the very beginning with a spiritually and morally stationary nature, entirely rooted in their instincts ("in their places"), devoid of all urge to advance, and incapable either of positive development or of retreat from a wrong course.

Ruku Five (Verses 68-83)

وَمَنۡ نُّعَمِّرۡهُ نُـنَكِّسۡهُ فِى الۡخَـلۡقِ​ؕ اَفَلَا يَعۡقِلُوۡنَ‏ 
( 68 )   And he to whom We grant long life We reverse in creation; so will they not understand?
"Reverse him in nature," means that in old age Allah turns him back to the state of childhood. He becomes unable to stand and walk without the help and support of others; he is fed by others; he urinates and defecates in bed; talks childishly and is laughed at by others. In short, towards the end of life he returns to the same state of weakness with which he had started lift in this world." 

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: This connects on with the last verse. Everything is possible with Allah. If you doubt how man can be transformed from his present nature, contemplate the transformations he already undergoes in his present nature at different ages. As a child powers of mind and body are still undeveloped. As he grows, they grow, and certain moral qualities, such as courage, daring, the will to conquer, unfold themselves. In extreme old age these are again obscured, and a second childhood supervenes. The back of the man who walked proudly straight and erect is now bent. If these transformations take place even in his present nature and constitution, how much easier was it for Allah to cast him in an immobile mould? But Allah granted him instead the high possibilities and responsibilities referred to in the last note.

Muhammad Asad Explanation: I.e., man should never postpone his exercise of moral choice - for if human beings are superior creatures inasmuch as they have been endowed with the faculty of discernment and a wide measure of free will, let them also remember that "man has been created weak" ( 4:28 ) and liable to decline still further in old age, so that the time at his disposal is short.

وَمَا عَلَّمۡنٰهُ الشِّعۡرَ وَمَا يَنۡۢبَغِىۡ لَهٗؕ اِنۡ هُوَ اِلَّا ذِكۡرٌ وَّقُرۡاٰنٌ مُّبِيۡنٌۙ‏ 
( 69 )   And We did not give Prophet Muhammad, knowledge of poetry, nor is it befitting for him. It is not but a message and a clear Qur'an
This is a rejoinder to the disbelievers, who slighted the Holy Prophet and his message by branding him a poet when he preached Tauhid and talked of the Hereafter, life-after-death, and Hell and Heaven. (For further explanation, see Ash-Shu'ara: 224-227). 

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: Cf. xxvi. 224 and explanation Reproduced herein under:
( And the Poets it is those straying in Evil who follow them ) The Poets: to be read along with the exceptions mentioned in verse 227 - reproduced below:

(Except those who believe work righteousness engage much in the remembrance of Allah and defend themselves only after they are unjustly attacked. And soon will the unjust assailants know what vicissitudes their affairs will take!) - Poetry and the fine arts which are to be commended are those which emanate from minds steeped in Faith, which try to carry out in life the fine sentiments they express in their artistic work, aim at the glory of Allah rather than at self-glorification or the fulsome praise of men with feet of clay, and do not (as in Jihad) attack anything except aggressive evil. In this sense a perfect artist should be a perfect man. Perfection may not be attainable in this life, but it should be the aim of every man, and especially of one who wishes to become a supreme artist, not only in technique but in spirit and essentials. Among the commendable poets contemporary with the holy Prophet may be mentioned Hassan and Labid: the latter had the honour of being one of the seven whose poems were selected for "hanging" (the Mu'allaqat) in the Days of Ignorance.

These were the scurrilous rhymesters, who were doomed to come to an evil end.

Poetry and other arts are not in themselves evil, but may on the contrary be used in the service of religion and righteousness. But there is a danger that they may be prostituted for base purposes. If they are insincere ("they say what they do not") or are divorced from actual life or its goodness or its serious purpose, they may become instruments of evil or futility. They then wander about without any set purpose, and seek the depths (valleys) of human folly rather than the heights of divine light. 
Here "Poetry" is used as connoting fairy tales, imaginary descriptions, things futile, false, or obscure, such as decadent Poetry is, whereas the Qur-an is a practical guide, true and clear.

Muhammad Asad Explanation: This passage resumes the theme enunciated in the opening verses of this surah, namely, the revelation of the Qur'an. As in 26:224 , we have here an allusion to the allegation of Muhammad's opponents, in his own as well as in later times, that what he described as divine revelation was in reality an outcome of his own poetic invention. This the Qur'an refutes by alluding to the fundamental difference between poetry - especially Arabic poetry - and divine revelation as exemplified by the Qur'an: whereas in the former the meaning is often subordinated to the rhythm and the melody of language, in the Qur'an the exact opposite is the case, inasmuch as here the choice of words, their sound and their position in the sentence - and, hence, its rhythm and melody - are always subordinated to the meaning intended. (Cf. also 26:225 and explanation)

For this composite rendering of the adjective mubin " مُّبِيۡنٌۙ‏ ", see explanation surah {12:1}explained herein under: 
The participial adjective mabin may denote an attribute of the noun which it qualifies ("clear", "manifest", "obvious", etc.) as well as its function ("making clear" or "manifesting", i.e. the truth), either of which meanings is dictated by its context. In the consensus of authoritative opinion, both these meanings are comprised in the above instance; consequently, a compound phrase is necessary in order to render the term appropriately.
Literally, the above phrase reads, "a reminder and a [divine] discourse...". etc., with the conjunctive particle wa ("and") being used here, as in 15:1 , to point out that the Qur'an is an integral element in the process of divine revelation.

لِّيُنۡذِرَ مَنۡ كَانَ حَيًّا وَّيَحِقَّ الۡقَوۡلُ عَلَى الۡكٰفِرِيۡنَ‏ 
( 70 )   To warn whoever is alive and justify the word against the disbelievers.
"Every living person" : Every person who is capable of thinking and understanding, who is not like a stone, which neither hears nor understands nor moves from its place* however rationally and sympathetically one may explain the distinction between the truth and falsehood and give admonition before him. 

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: "Alive", both in English and Arabic, means not only "having physical life", but having all the active qualities which we associate with life. In religious language, those who are not responsive to the realities of the spiritual world are no better than those who are dead. The Message of Allah penetrates the hearts of those who are alive in the spiritual sense.

Cf. xxviii. 63. If people reject Truth and Faith after they have been admonished and warned, the charge against them, of willful rebellion, is proved. They cannot then plead either ignorance or inadvertence.

Muhammad Asad Explanation: Lit., "may come [or "be proved"] true", i.e., on the Day of Judgment (cf. verse {7} of this surah ).

اَوَلَمۡ يَرَوۡا اَنَّا خَلَقۡنَا لَهُمۡ مِّمَّا عَمِلَتۡ اَيۡدِيۡنَاۤ اَنۡعَامًا فَهُمۡ لَهَا مٰلِكُوۡنَ‏ 
( 71 )   Do they not see that We have created for them from what Our hands have made, grazing livestock, and [then] they are their owners?
The word "hands" has been used metaphorically for Allah. This does not mean that, God forbid, Allah has a body and He works with the hands like human beings, but it means to impress that Allah has made these things Himself, and none else has any share in the matter of their creation. 

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: If they are blind to other Signs of Allah, they can at least see the simple homely things of life in which they receive so many benefits from Allah's mercy. How is it that wild animals can be domesticated, and in domestication can be so useful to man? Man can use them for riding or for drought; he can use their flesh for food and drink their milk; he can use their hair or wool. Cf. xvi. 66, 80: and xxiii. 21-22.

Muhammad Asad Explanation: I.e., "which We alone have or could have created" (Zamakhshari and Razl). The above metaphorical expression is based on the concept of "handiwork" in its widest sense, abstract as well as concrete.

وَذَلَّـلۡنٰهَا لَهُمۡ فَمِنۡهَا رَكُوۡبُهُمۡ وَمِنۡهَا يَاۡكُلُوۡنَ‏ 
( 72 )   And We have tamed them for them, so some of them they ride, and some of them they eat.

Muhammad Asad Explanation: Lit., "made them submissive (dhallalnaha " ذَلَّـلۡنٰهَا ") to them": implying also that man is morally responsible for the manner in which he uses or misuses them.

وَلَهُمۡ فِيۡهَا مَنَافِعُ وَمَشَارِبُ​ؕ اَفَلَا يَشۡكُرُوۡنَ‏ 
( 73 )   And for them therein are [other] benefits and drinks, so will they not be grateful?
It is ingratitude to regard a blessing as a gift of someone outer than the donor, to be grateful to another for it, and to cherish the hope of receiving it or to seek it from another than the donor. Likewise, it is also ingratitude that one should use a blessing against the will of the donor. Therefore, a mushrik or a disbeliever or a hypocrite or a sinful person cannot be regarded as a grateful servant of God when he utters words of thankfulness only with the tongue. The disbelievers of Makkah did not deny that the cattle had been created by Allah; none of them said that the other deities had any hand in their creation. Hut despite knowing All this when they paid homage to their deities for the blessings granted by Allah, presented offerings before them and prayed to them for more blessings and offered sacrifices for their sake, their verbal gratitude became meaningless. That is why Allah has regarded them as guilty of ingratitude and thanklessness.

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: Such as skins for leather, furs for warmth, sheep's wool or camel's hair for blankets or textiles, musk for perfume, and so on.

The whole argument turns on this. 'Our teaching is for your own benefit. We confer all these blessings on you, and yet ye turn away from the Giver of all, and run after your own vain imaginations!

وَاتَّخَذُوۡا مِنۡ دُوۡنِ اللّٰهِ اٰلِهَةً لَّعَلَّهُمۡ يُنۡصَرُوۡنَؕ‏ 
( 74 )   But they have taken besides Allah [false] deities that perhaps they would be helped.

Muhammad Asad Explanation: Or: "other deities beside God" - alluding, in either case, to objects of worship consciously conceived as such - i.e., idols, imaginary deities, deified persons, saints, etc. - as well as to abstract concepts like power, wealth or "luck", which may not be consciously "worshipped" but are nevertheless often revered in an almost idolatrous fashion. The verb ittakhadhu " اتَّخَذُوۡ " (lit., "they took [or "have taken"] for themselves"), used in the Qur'an in this and in similar contexts, is particularly suited for the wide range of meanings alluded to inasmuch as it bears the connotation of adopting something - whether it be concrete or abstract - for one's own use or adoration.

لَا يَسۡتَطِيۡعُوۡنَ نَصۡرَهُمۡۙ وَهُمۡ لَهُمۡ جُنۡدٌ مُّحۡضَرُوۡنَ‏ 
( 75 )   They are not able to help them, and they [themselves] are for them soldiers in attendance.
That is, the poor false gods themselves are dependent upon their worshipers for their survival and their safety and their needs. But for their multitudes they could not survive as gods even for a day. These people are behaving as their humble servants. They are setting up and decorating their shrines; they carry out propaganda for them; they fight and quarrel with others for their sake. Then only arc they recognized as gods. They are not the teal God, Who, whether someone recognizes Him or not, is ruling over the whole universe by His own might and authority. 

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: There is some difference of opinion among Commentators as to the exact meaning to be attached to this clause. As I understand it, the meaning seems to be this. Man is apt to forget or turn away from the true God, the source of all the good which he enjoys, and to go after imaginary powers in the shape of gods, heroes, men, or abstract things like Science or Nature or Philosophy, or superstitious things like Magic, or Good-Fortune or Ill-Fortune, or embodiments of his own selfish desires. He thinks that they might help him in this Life or in the Hereafter (if he believes in a Hereafter). But they cannot help him: on the contrary all things that are false will be brought up and condemned before Allah's Judgment-seat, and the worshippers of the Falsehoods will also be treated as a troop favouring the Falsehoods and therefore worthy of condemnation. The Falsehoods, therefore, instead of helping them, will contribute to their condemnation.

فَلَا يَحۡزُنۡكَ قَوۡلُهُمۡ​ۘ اِنَّا نَـعۡلَمُ مَا يُسِرُّوۡنَ وَمَا يُعۡلِنُوۡنَ‏  
( 76 )   So let not their speech grieve you. Indeed, We know what they conceal and what they declare.
The address is to the Holy Prophet. Here the allusion is to the campaign of vilification which the chiefs of the disbelievers of Makkah were carrying on against him. They knew in their hearts and acknowledged in their private assemblies that the charges they brought against him were absolutely baseless. In order to create suspicions against him in the minds of the people, they branded him a poet, sorcerer, magician, madman, etc. But their consciences recognized, and they also acknowledged before one another, that whatever they were uttering Was false, which they were forging only to frustrate his mission. That is why Allah says to His Prophet: "Do not grieve at their absurd and meaningless talk. Those who are opposing and resisting the Truth with falsehood shall ultimately meet with failure in this world and see their evil end in the Hereafter, too.”

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: If men are so foolish as to reject Allah, let not the men of Allah grieve over it. They should do their duty, and leave the rest to Allah. Allah knows all the open and secret motives that sway the wicked, and His Plan must ultimately prevail, however much appearances may be against it at any given time.

Verses 77 – 83 The Creator is the Only One to bring back to life
Humankind seems to forget their origin so God reminds us that we were created from a drop of fluid.  Yet even then they dispute openly asking who could give life back to bones after they have decayed? God says that the One who gave them life in the first place will bring them back; it is only He who has knowledge of every act of creation.  It is He who produced fire so that humankind can benefit from it; it is He who created the heavens and the earth so is it not then easy for Him to bring back the people? Of course it is! When God wills something to be, He says "Be" and it is.  All glory belongs to God, who controls everything and it is to Him that humankind will be resurrected.

اَوَلَمۡ يَرَ الۡاِنۡسَانُ اَنَّا خَلَقۡنٰهُ مِنۡ نُّطۡفَةٍ فَاِذَا هُوَ خَصِيۡمٌ مُّبِيۡنٌ‏ 
( 77 )   Does man not consider that We created him from a [mere] sperm-drop - then at once he is a clear adversary?
Here the disbelievers' question cited in verse 48 above, is being answered by reason and argument. The question, "When will the threat of Resurrection be carried out?" had not been asked with a view to find out the exact date of the coming of the Hereafter. But they asked it because they thought it was impossible, rather irrational, that human beings would be raised back to life after death. That is why, in reply to their question, arguments are being given for the possibility of the Hereafter.
According to the traditions related by Ibn 'Abbas, Qatadah and Said bin Jubair, one of the chiefs of Makkah, on this occasion, came up with a rotten bone of a dead person, from the graveyard. He broke and crushed it into pieces before the Holy Prophet and scattering its particles in the air, said.-"O Muhammad, you say that the dead will be raised back to life. Tell us who will give life to these decayed and rotten bones?" The answer was given immediately in the form of these verses.
"We caused the sperm-drop which contained nothing but the basic germ of life to develop to an extent that it started moving and eating like the animals. Furthermore, it has developed such powers of intellect and reasoning and disputation and speech, which arc not possessed by any animal; so much so that now he dares stand up as an adversary before his Creator !" 

  : Man's disobedience and folly are all the more surprising, seeing that-apart from Allah's greatness and mercy-man is himself such a puny creature, created out of something that is less than a drop in the vast ocean of Existence. Yet man has the hardihood to stand out and dispute with his Maker, and institute idle comparisons as in the next verse!

Muhammad Asad Explanation: See similar passage in 16:4 , as well as the explanation - reproduced below:
(He creates man out of a [mere] drop of sperm: and lo! this same being shows himself endowed with the power to think and to argue!)
Lit., "he becomes an open contender in argument (khasim)". According to Zamakhshari and Razi, the above phrase is liable to two interpretations. In the words of Zamakhshari, "one interpretation is that after having been a [mere] drop of sperm, a particle of matter without consciousness or motion, man becomes highly articulate (mintiq), able to argue on his own [for or against a proposition], courageously facing disputes, and clearly formulating his arguments: [and herein lies] an indication of God's creative power. The other [interpretation] is that man is [prone to become] a contender in argument against his Sustainer, refusing to acknowledge his [very] Creator." Razi, on his part, gives his unqualified support to the first of these two interpretations, "because the above verses are meant to stress the evidence of the existence of a wise Creator, and not the fact of men's insolence and their proneness to blasphemy and ingratitude". However, in view of {36:77-78} (revealed at a considerably earlier period), I am of the opinion that the above two interpretations are not mutually exclusive but, rather, complementary, inasmuch as this passage is meant to bring out man's unique quality as a rational being - a quality that may lead him to great heights of achievement, but may equally well lead him utterly astray: hence my free rendering of this profound, elliptic phrase.
Completing the interpretation advanced in his (and Zamakhshari's) commentary on the above-mentioned verse, Razi equates here the term khasim (lit., "contender in argument") with the highest manifestation of what is described as natiq ("articulate [or "rational"] being").

وَضَرَبَ لَـنَا مَثَلًا وَّ نَسِىَ خَلۡقَهٗ​ ؕ قَالَ مَنۡ يُّحۡىِ الۡعِظَامَ وَهِىَ رَمِيۡمٌ‏ 
( 78 )   And he presents for Us an example and forgets his [own] creation. He says, "Who will give life to bones while they are disintegrated?"
That is, "He regards Us powerless and weak like the creation, and flunks that just as man cannot raise the dead back to life, so also can't We." 

"Forgets his own creation": "Forgets that We created the basic germ of life from dead matter, which became the means of his creation; then We caused the germ to develop to such an extent that now he stands before Us as a disputant."

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: That is, man thinks that Allah is like His creatures, who at best have very limited powers, or man draws idle parallels like that mentioned at the end of this verse. 'Who can give life to dry bones, and decomposed ones at that?' Man certainly cannot, and no power in nature can do that. But why compare the powers and capacities of Allah's creatures with the powers and capacities of the Creator? The first creation-out of nothing-is far more difficult for us to imagine than a second or subsequent process for which there is already a basis. And Allah has power over all things.

Muhammad Asad Explanation: Lit., "he coins for Us a simile (mathal)" - an elliptic allusion to the unwillingness of "those who deny the truth" to conceive of a transcendental Being, fundamentally different from all that is graspable by man's senses or imagination, and having powers beyond all comparison with those which are available to any of the created beings. (Cf. 42:11 , "there is nothing like unto Him", and 112:4 , "there is nothing that could be compared with Him".) Since they are enmeshed in a materialistic outlook on life, such people deny - as the sequence shows - all possibility of resurrection, which amounts to a denial of God's creative powers and, in the final analysis, of His existence.

قُلۡ يُحۡيِيۡهَا الَّذِىۡۤ اَنۡشَاَهَاۤ اَوَّلَ مَرَّةٍ​ ؕ وَهُوَ بِكُلِّ خَلۡقٍ عَلِيۡمُ ۙ‏  
( 79 )   Say, "He will give them life who produced them the first time; and He is, of all creation, Knowing."

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: Allah's creative artistry is evident in every phase of nature, and it works every minute or second. The more man understands himself and the things within his reach, the more he realizes this. How foolish, then, for any one to set imaginary limits to Allah's powers? There are more ways of creation than are dreamt of in man's imagination!

اۨلَّذِىۡ جَعَلَ لَـكُمۡ مِّنَ الشَّجَرِ الۡاَخۡضَرِ نَارًا فَاِذَاۤ اَنۡـتُمۡ مِّنۡهُ تُوۡقِدُوۡنَ‏ 
( 80 )   [It is] He who made for you from the green tree, fire, and then from it you ignite.
It either means that He has placed the inflammable matter in the green trees due to which people kindle fire from the pieces of wood. Or, it is an allusion to the markh and 'afar trees, whose green branches the Arabs struck against each other to produce the sparks. In ancient times the Bedouins used this method of kindling the fire and might even be using the same today. 

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: Even older and more primitive than the method of striking fire against steel and flint is the method of using twigs of trees for the purpose. In the E.B., 14th edition. ix. 262, will be found a picture of British Guiana boys making a fire by rotating a stick in a round hole in a piece of wood lying on the ground. The Arab method was to use a wooden instrument called the Zinad. It consisted of two pieces to be rubbed together. The upper one was called the 'Afar or Zand, and the lower the Markh. The markh is a twig from a kind of spreading tree, the Cynanchuin viminale, of which the branches are bare, without leaves or thorns. When they are tangled together, and a wind blows, they get ignited and strike fire (Lane's Arabic Lexicon). In modern Arabic Zand is by analogy applied to the flint pierce used for striking fire with steel.

Muhammad Asad Explanation: Cf. the ancient Arabian proverb, "In every tree there is a fire" (Zamakhshari): evidently an allusion to the metamorphosis of green - i e., water-containing - plants into fuel, be it through desiccation or man-made carbonization (charcoal), or by a millenial, subterranean process of decomposition into oil or coal. In a spiritual sense, this "fire" seems also to symbolize the God-given warmth and light of human reason spoken of in verse {77} above.

اَوَلَيۡسَ الَّذِىۡ خَلَقَ السَّمٰوٰتِ وَالۡاَرۡضَ بِقٰدِرٍ عَلٰٓى اَنۡ يَّخۡلُقَ مِثۡلَهُمۡؕ بَلٰی وَهُوَ الۡخَـلّٰقُ الۡعَلِيۡمُ‏ 
( 81 )   Is not He who created the heavens and the earth Able to create the likes of them? Yes, [it is so]; and He is the Knowing Creator.

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: Cf. lxxix. 27. Which is the more difficult to create,-man, or the heavens and the earth, with all creatures? Allah created the heavens and the earth, with all creatures, and He can create worlds and worlds like these in infinity. To Him it is small matter to raise you up for the Hereafter.

اِنَّمَاۤ اَمۡرُهٗۤ اِذَاۤ اَرَادَ شَیْـئًـا اَنۡ يَّقُوۡلَ لَهٗ كُنۡ فَيَكُوۡنُ‏  
( 82 )   His command is only when He intends a thing that He says to it, "Be," and it is.

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: And His creation is not dependent on time, or instruments or means, or any conditions whatsoever. Existence waits on His Will, or Plan, or Intention. The moment He wills a thing, it becomes His Word or Command, and the thing forthwith comes into existence. Cf. ii. 117; xvi. 40, n. 2066; etc.

Muhammad Asad Explanation: This is the meaning of the phrase innama amruhu " اِنَّمَاۤ اَمۡرُهٗۤ " - the term amr being synonymous, in this instance, with sha'n ("state [or "manner"] of being"). The exclusiveness of God's creative Being is stressed by the restrictive particle innama.

فَسُبۡحٰنَ الَّذِىۡ بِيَدِهٖ مَلَـكُوۡتُ كُلِّ شَىۡءٍ وَّاِلَيۡهِ تُرۡجَعُوۡنَ‏  
( 83 )   So exalted is He in whose hand is the realm of all things, and to Him you will be returned.

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: All things were created by Allah; are maintained by Him; and will go back to Him. But the point of special interest to man is that man will also be brought back to Allah and is answerable to Him, and to Him alone. This Message is the core of Revelation; it explains the meaning of the Hereafter; and it fitly closes a Sura specially connected with the name (Ya-Sin) of the Holy Prophet.

Please refer to our Reference Page "114 Chapters (Sūrahs) of the Holy Qur'an" for translation, explanation and exegesis of all other chapters of the Qur'an. You may also refer to our Reference Pages for knowing more about Islam and Quran.
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 / 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.  [1]
  • The plain translation and explanation has also been taken from the Holy Quran officially published by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. [2]
In order to augment and add more explanation as already provided by [2], additional input has been interjected from following sources (links to Reference Pages given below):  
  • Towards Understanding the Quran
  • Tafsir Ibn Khatir
  • Muhammad Asad Translation
  • Al-Quran, Yusuf Ali Translation
  • Javed Ahmad Ghamidi / Al Mawrid
  • Verse by Verse Qur'an Study Circle
  • Tafsir Nouman Ali Khan
In addition the references of  other sources which have been explored have also been given below. Those desirous of detailed explanations and tafsir (exegesis), may refer to these sites:

Photo | References: | 1 |  2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 67 | 8

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Thursday 30 April 2020

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

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 Part II related to the The Second Discourse (verses 38-72) which was sent down in Rajab (7th month of Islamic calendar) A.H. 9 or a little before this, when the Holy Prophet was engaged in making preparations for the Campaign, of Tabuk. In this discourse, the Believers were urged to take active part in Jihad, and the shirkers were severely rebuked for holding back their wealth and for hesitation to sacrifice their lives in the way of Allah because of their hypocrisy, weak faith or negligence.

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.

In this discourse, the Muslims have been told clearly and explicitly that they will inherit the rewards promised by Allah only if they take active part in the conflict with kufr, for that is the criterion which distinguishes true Muslims from hypocrites. Therefore true Muslims should take active part in Jihad, without minding dangers, obstacles, difficulties, temptations and the like. 

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

Ruku / Section 6 [Verses 38-42]

يٰۤـاَيُّهَا الَّذِيۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا مَا لَـكُمۡ اِذَا قِيۡلَ لَـكُمُ انْفِرُوۡا فِىۡ سَبِيۡلِ اللّٰهِ اثَّاقَلۡـتُمۡ اِلَى الۡاَرۡضِ​ ؕ اَرَضِيۡتُمۡ بِالۡحَيٰوةِ الدُّنۡيَا مِنَ الۡاٰخِرَةِ​ ۚ فَمَا مَتَاعُ الۡحَيٰوةِ الدُّنۡيَا فِى الۡاٰخِرَةِ اِلَّا قَلِيۡلٌ‏ 
( 38 )   O you who have believed, what is [the matter] with you that, when you are told to go forth in the cause of Allah, you adhere heavily to the earth? Are you satisfied with the life of this world rather than the Hereafter? But what is the enjoyment of worldly life compared to the Hereafter except a [very] little.
 “The enjoyment of the life of this world” may imply two meanings. First: “When you will find that the life in the Hereafter is eternal and see that the good things and the provisions of enjoyment are countless, you will realize that the potential and the actual enjoyments of the temporary life of this world were nothing as compared with the blessings of that great kingdom. At that time you will regret why you deprived yourselves of this everlasting happiness and bliss for the sake of a very little and short lived enjoyments of the mortal life of this world.” Second: “The goods of this worldly life are of no value in the Hereafter, howsoever abundant they might be. You shall have to give up each and everything as soon as you breathe your last. For nothing of this world can go with you to the next world. Of course, you will get credit for what you sacrificed for the pleasure and love of Allah, and love of Islam.”

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
The immediate reference is to the expeditions to Tabuk (A.H. 9), for which see the Overview to this Surah. But the lesson is perfectly general. When a call is made on behalf of a great cause, the fortunate ones are those who have the privilege of responding to the call. The unfortunate ones are those who are so engrossed in their parochial affairs that they turn a deaf ear to the appeal. They are suffering from a spiritual disease.

The choice is between two courses: will you choose a noble adventure and the glorious privilege of following your spiritual leader, or grovel in the earth for some small worldly gain or for fear of worldly loss? The people who hesitated to follow the call of Tabuk were deterred by (1) the heat of the summer, in which the expedition was undertaken on account of the threat to the existence of the little community, and (2) the fear of losing the fruit harvest, which was ripe for gathering.

Ibn Kathir Explanation:
Allah admonishes those who lagged behind the Messenger of Allah in the battle of Tabuk, at a time when fruits were ripe and shades tempting in the intense and terrible heat. Imam Ahmad recorded that Al-Mustawrid, a member of Bani Fihr, said that the Messenger of Allah said:
(The life of this world, compared to the Hereafter, is just like when one of you dips his finger in the sea, let him contemplate how much of it his finger would carry.) The Prophet pointed with his index finger. Muslim collected this Hadith. 
Ath-Thawri narrated that Al-A`mash said about the Ayah: (But little is the enjoyment of the life of this world compared to the Hereafter.) "What compares to the provision a traveler takes.'' `Abdul-`Aziz bin Abi Hazim narrated that his father said, "When `Abdul-`Aziz bin Marwan was dying he said, `Bring the shroud I will be covered with so that I inspect it.' When it was placed before him, he looked at it and said, `Is this what I will end up with from this life' He then turned his back and cried, while saying, `Woe to you, O life! Your abundance is truly little, your little is short lived, we were deceived by you.'''

اِلَّا تَـنۡفِرُوۡا يُعَذِّبۡكُمۡ عَذَابًا اَلِيۡمًا   ۙ وَّيَسۡتَبۡدِلۡ قَوۡمًا غَيۡرَكُمۡ وَلَا تَضُرُّوۡهُ شَيۡـئًـا​ ؕ وَاللّٰهُ عَلٰى كُلِّ شَىۡءٍ قَدِيۡرٌ‏ 
( 39 )   If you do not go forth, He will punish you with a painful punishment and will replace you with another people, and you will not harm Him at all. And Allah is over all things competent.
A general rule of the Islamic conduct has been derived from, “If you do not go forth, He will punish you with a painful punishment.” When the Muslims are commanded to go to Jihad by a public proclamation from their leader, it becomes an obligatory duty for those who are called upon to do Jihad, whether they belong to any particular group or region. So much so that the faith of those who do not go for Jihad without a genuine excuse becomes doubtful. But even in cases where the Muslims are called upon to go forth for Jihad and there is no command for the compulsory enrollment of every able-bodied Muslim of a particular group or region, it is a religious duty (though not obligatory), and it shall be considered to have been performed even if only some Muslims go forth for it.

That is, “Allah’s work does not depend on you and will be accomplished only if you do it. It is Allah’s grace and bounty that He is affording you the golden opportunity of serving the cause of His Way. Therefore if you miss this opportunity because of any foolish assumption, Allah will raise another people and bestow on them the opportunity and capability of doing His work, and you will be losers”.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Tanfiru= go forth, march onward, be ready to strive and suffer. For this is the condition of all progress in the spiritual and moral, as well as in the physical, world. According to the homely English proverb, God helps those who help themselves. Inactivity and lethargy are fatal. No one can rest on his oars. Man is not necessary to Allah, but Allah is necessary to man. If a nation receives favours and fails to deserve them, it will be replaced by another: as has so often happened in history. We may take this as a special warning to Islamic nations.

Ibn Kathir Explanation:
Allah warns those who do not join Jihad, (If you march not forth, He will punish you with a painful torment) Ibn `Abbas said, "Allah's Messenger called some Arabs to mobilize, but they lagged behind and Allah withheld rain from coming down on them, and this was their torment.''

Allah said: (and will replace you by another people), who will give aid to His Prophet and establish his religion.

Allah said in another Ayah: (And if you turn away (from the obedience to Allah), He will exchange you for some other people and they will not be your likes.) [47:38]Ibn Kathir Explanation:
Allah warns those who do not join Jihad, (If you march not forth, He will punish you with a painful torment) Ibn `Abbas said, "Allah's Messenger called some Arabs to mobilize, but they lagged behind and Allah withheld rain from coming down on them, and this was their torment.''

Allah said: (and will replace you by another people), who will give aid to His Prophet and establish his religion.

Allah said in another Ayah: (And if you turn away (from the obedience to Allah), He will exchange you for some other people and they will not be your likes.) [47:38]

اِلَّا تَـنۡصُرُوۡهُ فَقَدۡ نَصَرَهُ اللّٰهُ اِذۡ اَخۡرَجَهُ الَّذِيۡنَ كَفَرُوۡا ثَانِىَ اثۡنَيۡنِ اِذۡ هُمَا فِى الۡغَارِ اِذۡ يَقُوۡلُ لِصَاحِبِهٖ لَا تَحۡزَنۡ اِنَّ اللّٰهَ مَعَنَا​ ۚ فَاَنۡزَلَ اللّٰهُ سَكِيۡنَـتَهٗ عَلَيۡهِ وَاَ يَّدَهٗ بِجُنُوۡدٍ لَّمۡ تَرَوۡهَا وَجَعَلَ كَلِمَةَ الَّذِيۡنَ كَفَرُوا السُّفۡلٰى​ ؕ وَكَلِمَةُ اللّٰهِ هِىَ الۡعُلۡيَا ؕ وَاللّٰهُ عَزِيۡزٌ حَكِيۡمٌ‏
( 40 )   If you do not aid the Prophet - Allah has already aided him when those who disbelieved had driven him out [of Makkah] as one of two, when they were in the cave and he said to his companion, "Do not grieve; indeed Allah is with us." And Allah sent down his tranquility upon him and supported him with angels you did not see and made the word of those who disbelieved the lowest, while the word of Allah - that is the highest. And Allah is Exalted in Might and Wise.
This refers to the occasion when the disbelievers had decided to assassinate the Prophet (peace be upon him), and the very night, fixed for his assassination, he had left Makkah for Al-Madinah. By that time most of the Muslims had migrated to Al-Madinah in twos and threes and only a few helpless ones had remained behind in Makkah. As he was sure that he would be pursued, he took only Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) with him and went southward instead of following the northern route to Al- Madinah and remained hidden in the Thaur cave for three days. In the meantime the blood thirsty enemies had begun to make a thorough search for him all around Makkah and some of them reached the very mouth of the cave where he was hidden. On this critical occasion Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) naturally felt alarmed lest they should peep into the cave, and see them. But the Prophet (peace be upon him) remained as calm as before and reassured his companion, saying, “ لَا تَحۡزَنۡ اِنَّ اللّٰهَ مَعَنَا​ ۚ Do not grieve, indeed Allah is with us.”

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
The Tabuk expedition was not a failure. Though some hesitated, many more joined in. But a more striking example was when the Prophet was hunted out of Makkah and performed his famous Hijrat. His enemies plotted for his life. He had already sent his followers on to Madinah. Ali had volunteered to face his enemies in his house. His single companion was Abu Bakr. They two concealed themselves in the cave of Thaur, three miles from Makkah, for three nights, with the enemy prowling around in great numbers in fruitless search of them. "We are but two," said Abu Bakr. "Nay," said Muhammad, "for Allah is with us." Faith gave their minds peace, and Allah gave them safety. They reached Madinah, and a glorious chapter opened for Islam. The forces that helped them were not seen, but their power was irresistible.

"The second of two," which afterwards became Abu Bakr's proud title.

Cf. ix. 26.

The superlatives in the Arabic I have rendered by the periphrasis, "humbled to the depths" and "exalted to the heights," as they accord better with the genius of the English language. The enemies of Islam had boasted that they would root it out: the result showed them up as ridiculous and despicable.

Ibn Kathir Explanation:
Allah said: (If you help him not), if you do not support His Prophet , then it does not matter, for Allah will help, support, suffice and protect him, just as He did, (when the disbelievers drove him out, the second of the two;) During the year of the Hijrah, the idolaters tried to kill, imprison or expel the Prophet , who escaped with his friend and Companion, Abu Bakr bin Abi Quhafah, to the cave of Thawr. They remained in the cave for three days so that the pagans who were sent in their pursuit, returned (to Makkah), and they proceed to Al-Madinah. While in the cave, Abu Bakr was afraid the pagans might discover them for fear that some harm might touch the Messenger .

The Prophet kept reassuring him and strengthening his resolve, saying: (O Abu Bakr! What do you think about two, with Allah as their third) Imam Ahmad recorded from Anas that Abu Bakr said to him, "I said to the Prophet when we were in the cave, `If any of them looks down at his feet, he will see us.'

He said: (O Abu Bakr! What do you think about two with Allah as their third)'' This is recorded in the Two Sahihs.

This is why Allah said: (Then Allah sent down His Sakinah upon him) sent His aid and triumph to His Messenger , or they say it refers to Abu Bakr,

(and strengthened him with forces which you saw not), the angels, (and made the word of those who disbelieved the lowermost, while the Word of Allah that became the uppermost;) Ibn `Abbas commented, "'The word of those who disbelieved', is Shirk, while, `The Word of Allah' is `La ilaha illallah.'' It is recorded in the Two Sahihs that Abu Musa Al-Ash`ari said, "The Messenger of Allah was asked about a man who fights because of courage, or out of rage for his honor, or to show off. Whom among them is in the cause of Allah'

The Prophet said: (He who fights so that Allah's Word is superior, then he fights in Allah's cause.)''

Allah said next: (and Allah is All-Mighty), in His revenge and taking retribution, He is the Most Formidable and those who seek refuge with Him and take shelter by adhering to what He instructs are never made to suffer injustice, (All-Wise), in His statements and actions.

اِنْفِرُوۡا خِفَافًا وَّثِقَالًا وَّجَاهِدُوۡا بِاَمۡوَالِكُمۡ وَاَنۡفُسِكُمۡ فِىۡ سَبِيۡلِ اللّٰهِ​ ؕ ذٰ لِكُمۡ خَيۡرٌ لَّـكُمۡ اِنۡ كُنۡتُمۡ تَعۡلَمُوۡنَ‏
( 41 )   Go forth, whether light or heavy, and strive with your wealth and your lives in the cause of Allah. That is better for you, if you only knew.
 The words, “light-armed and heavy-armed” have a very comprehensive meaning: when it is enjoined to march forth for Jihad, you must go forth anyhow, whether you like it or not: whether you are in a state of prosperity or indigence, whether you are well-equipped or ill-equipped: whether the circumstances are favorable or adverse: whether you are young and healthy or old and weak.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Whether equipped lightly or heavily: to be taken both literally and metaphorically. All were invited, and they were to bring such resources as they had, light- armed or heavy-armed, on foot or mounted, experienced men for posts of danger, raw men for duties for which they were fit. All would and should help. Even those who were too old or feeble to go could contribute such money or resources as they had.

Ibn Kathir Explanation:
Sufyan Ath-Thawri narrated from his father from Abu Ad-Duha, Muslim bin Subayh, who said,

"This Ayah: (March forth, whether you are light or heavy) was the first part to be revealed from Surah Bara'ah.'' Mu`tamir bin Sulayman narrated that his father said, "Hadrami claimed that he was told that some people used to declare that they will not gain sin (if they lag behind the forces of Jihad) because they are ill or old.

Allah commanded mass mobilization together with the Messenger of Allah for the battle of Tabuk, to fight the disbelieving, People of the Book, the Romans, Allah's enemies. Allah ordained that the believers all march forth with the Messenger regardless whether they felt active, lazy, at ease or had difficult circumstances,

Ali bin Zayd narrated that Anas said that Abu Talhah commented (on this Ayah), "Whether you are old or young, Allah did not leave an excuse for anyone.'' Abu Talhah marched to Ash-Sham and fought until he was killed.

In another narration, Abu Talhah recited Surah Bara'ah until he reached this Ayah: (March forth, whether you are light or heavy, and strive hard with your wealth and your lives in the cause of Allah.) He then said, "I see that Allah had called us to mobilize whether we are old or young. O my children! Prepare my supplies.'' His children said, `May Allah grant you His mercy! You conducted Jihad along with the Messenger of Allah until he died, then with Abu Bakr until he died, then with `Umar until he died. Let us perform Jihad in your place.'' Abu Talhah refused and he went to the sea ﴿under the command of Mu`awiyah﴾ where he died. They could not find an island to bury him on until nine days later, during which his body did not deteriorate or change and they buried him on the island.

As-Suddi said: whether you are rich, poor, strong, or weak. A man came forward, and he was fat, complained, and asked for permission to stay behind [from Jihad], but the Prophet refused. Then this Ayah was revealed, and it became hard on the people.

So Allah abrogated it with this Ayah: (There is no blame on those who are weak or ill or who find no resources to spend, if they are sincere and true (in duty) to Allah and His Messenger) [9:91]﴾.''

Ibn Jarir said that Hibban bin Zayd Ash-Shar`abi narrated to him, "We mobilized our forces with Safwan bin `Amr, who was the governor of Hims towards the city of Ephsos appointed to the Jerajima Christian expatriates (in Syria). I saw among the army an old, yet active man, whose eyebrows had sunk over his eyes (from old age), from the residents of Damascus, riding on his animal. I said to him, `O uncle! Allah has given you an excuse (to lag behind).' He said, `O my nephew! Allah has mobilized us whether we are light or heavy. Verily, those whom Allah loves, He tests them. Then to Allah is their return and eternal dwelling. Allah tests from His servants whoever thanks (Him) and observes patience and remembrance of Him, all the while worshipping Allah, the Exalted and Most Honored, and worshipping none else.'''

Next, Allah encourages spending in His cause and striving with one's life in His pleasure and the pleasure of His Messenger:
(and strive hard with your wealth and your lives in the cause of Allah. This is better for you, if you but knew.) Allah says, this is better for you in this life and the Hereafter. You might spend small amounts, but Allah will reward you the property of your enemy in this life, as well as, the honor that He will keep for you in the Hereafter.

The Prophet said: (Allah promised the Mujahid in His cause that if He brings death to him, He will enter him into Paradise. Or, He will return him to his house with whatever reward and war spoils he earns.)

So Allah said; (Jihad is ordained for you (Muslims) though you dislike it, and it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. Allah knows but you do not know.)[2:216]

لَوۡ كَانَ عَرَضًا قَرِيۡبًا وَّسَفَرًا قَاصِدًا لَّاتَّبَعُوۡكَ وَلٰـكِنۡۢ بَعُدَتۡ عَلَيۡهِمُ الشُّقَّةُ ​ ؕ وَسَيَحۡلِفُوۡنَ بِاللّٰهِ لَوِ اسۡتَطَعۡنَا لَخَـرَجۡنَا مَعَكُمۡ ۚ يُهۡلِكُوۡنَ اَنۡفُسَهُمۡ​ ۚ وَاللّٰهُ يَعۡلَمُ اِنَّهُمۡ لَـكٰذِبُوۡنَ‏ 
( 42 )   Had it been an easy gain and a moderate trip, the hypocrites would have followed you, but distant to them was the journey. And they will swear by Allah, "If we were able, we would have gone forth with you," destroying themselves [through false oaths], and Allah knows that indeed they are liars.
They felt the journey to Tabuk to be hard because they had to fight with the army of the great and powerful Roman Empire: because they had to journey in the scorching heat of the summer season of the desert: because there was a famine in the country and the new harvest on which they had pinned their hopes was ready for reaping.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
The arts and excuses of the Hypocrites are here exposed. If there had been booty in sight or an easy walk-over, they would have come. All their oaths are false, and in taking the false oaths they are destroying their spiritual life. Indeed the backsliders are jeopardizing their own physical lives in hanging back. If the enemy succeeded, they would all suffer.

Ruku / Section 6 [Verses 43-59]

عَفَا اللّٰهُ عَنۡكَ​ۚ لِمَ اَذِنۡتَ لَهُمۡ حَتّٰى يَتَبَيَّنَ لَكَ الَّذِيۡنَ صَدَقُوۡا وَتَعۡلَمَ الۡـكٰذِبِيۡنَ‏ 
( 43 )   May Allah pardon you, [O Muhammad]; why did you give them permission [to remain behind]? [You should not have] until it was evident to you who were truthful and you knew [who were] the liars.
Allah did not approve of the exemption which the Prophet (peace be upon him) had granted to the hypocrites who had put forward lame excuses. Though he knew it well that they were inventing false excuses, he gave them leave to stay behind because of his inherent kindness. But Allah warned him that such a leniency was not well placed as he gave them an opportunity of hiding their hypocrisy. Had they remained behind without getting an exemption, the false profession of their faith would have been exposed.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Literally, "Allah give thee forgiveness!" But there is no question of fault here, and Imam Razi understands the expression to mean an exclamation,-as one might say in English, "God bless you!" In Shakespeare "God save you!" is a simple friendly greeting, without any question of danger: e.g., in "Much Ado about Nothing." iii. 2,. iii. 152, last clause, "forgiveness" is put in juxtaposition to "grace" as having closely allied meanings. What the Holy Prophet had done in the Tabuk expedition was that he had been granting exemptions which may appear from a military point of view too liberal. He was not actuated by motives of kindness as well as policy:- kindness, because, in the urgency of the moment he did not wish any one who had a real excuse to be refused exemption: and policy, because, if any one did not come with hearty good-will, he would be a burden instead of a help to the army. The policy was justified, because in fact 30,000 men or more followed him. But that did not in any way justify the slackers, and in a review of the position, the slackers and hypocrites are justly condemned.

 Ibn Kathir Explanation:
Moderately criticizing the Prophet for allowing the Hypocrites to stay behind: Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that `Awn said, "Have you heard criticism softer than this, starting with forgiveness before criticism,

(May Allah forgive you. Why did you grant them leave...)'' Muwarriq Al-`Ijli and others said similarly. Qatadah said, "Allah criticized him as you read here, then later revealed to him the permission to allow them to lag behind if he wants, in Surat An-Nur,
(So if they ask your permission for some affairs of theirs, give permission to whom you will of them) [24:62].'' `
Ata' Al-Khurasani said similarly. Mujahid said, "This Ayah was revealed about some people who said, `Ask permission from the Messenger of Allah [to stay behind], and whether he agrees, or disagrees, remain behind!'''

Allah said: (...until those who told the truth were manifest to you), in reference to valid excuses, (and you had known the liars) Allah says, `Why did you not refuse to give them permission to remain behind when they asked you, so that you know those who truly obey you and the liars, who were intent on remaining behind even if you do not give them permission to do so, Allah asserts that none who believe in Allah and His Messenger seek his permission to remain behind from fighting,

لَا يَسْتَأْذِنُكَ الَّذِينَ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّـهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ أَن يُجَاهِدُوا بِأَمْوَالِهِمْ وَأَنفُسِهِمْ ۗ وَاللَّـهُ عَلِيمٌ بِالْمُتَّقِينَ 
( 44 )   Those who believe in Allah and the Last Day would not ask permission of you to be excused from striving with their wealth and their lives. And Allah is Knowing of those who fear Him.
 إِنَّمَا يَسْتَأْذِنُكَ الَّذِينَ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّـهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ وَارْتَابَتْ قُلُوبُهُمْ فَهُمْ فِي رَيْبِهِمْ يَتَرَدَّدُونَ  
( 45 )   Only those would ask permission of you who do not believe in Allah and the Last Day and whose hearts have doubted, and they, in their doubt, are hesitating.
This verse shows clearly that the conflict between Islam and kufr is the criterion to distinguish between a true believer and a hypocrite. The one who supports Islam in this conflict with the whole of his heart and expends all of his energies and resources in order to make it victorious and does not hesitate in the least to make any sacrifices for this purpose, is a true believer. On the contrary, the one who hesitates to support Islam in this conflict and refrains from making sacrifices in its way, when he confronts the threat of the victory of kufr, is a hypocrite, for such an attitude is itself a proof of the fact that there is no faith in his heart.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Doubt takes away all stability of conduct, while Faith makes a man firm in action and cool and collected in mind.

  وَلَوْ أَرَادُوا الْخُرُوجَ لَأَعَدُّوا لَهُ عُدَّةً وَلَـٰكِن كَرِهَ اللَّـهُ انبِعَاثَهُمْ فَثَبَّطَهُمْ وَقِيلَ اقْعُدُوا مَعَ الْقَاعِدِينَ 
( 46 )   And if they had intended to go forth, they would have prepared for it [some] preparation. But Allah disliked their being sent, so He kept them back, and they were told, "Remain [behind] with those who remain."
Allah held them back for He did not like that they should join Jihad unwillingly without any sincere intention for it. As they had no mind to make sacrifices to exalt the cause of Islam, and, therefore, would have taken part in it half-heartedly to escape the taunts of the Muslims or to create mischief. This would have resulted in a greater evil, as has been stated explicitly in the next verse 48.

لَوۡ خَرَجُوۡا فِيۡكُمۡ مَّا زَادُوۡكُمۡ اِلَّا خَبَالًا وَّلَاْاَوۡضَعُوۡا خِلٰلَـكُمۡ يَـبۡغُوۡنَـكُمُ الۡفِتۡنَةَ ۚ وَفِيۡكُمۡ سَمّٰعُوۡنَ لَهُمۡ​ ؕ وَاللّٰهُ عَلِيۡمٌۢ بِالظّٰلِمِيۡنَ‏ 
( 47 )   Had they gone forth with you, they would not have increased you except in confusion, and they would have been active among you, seeking [to cause] you fitnah. And among you are avid listeners to them. And Allah is Knowing of the wrongdoers.
Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Khilal has more than one meaning, but I follow the interpretation of Ragib and the majority of accepted Commentators, who take it to mean "in your midst".

 لَـقَدِ ابۡتَغَوُا الۡفِتۡنَةَ مِنۡ قَبۡلُ وَقَلَّبُوۡا لَكَ الۡاُمُوۡرَ حَتّٰى جَآءَ الۡحَـقُّ وَظَهَرَ اَمۡرُ اللّٰهِ وَهُمۡ كٰرِهُوۡنَ‏ 
( 48 )   They had already desired dissension before and had upset matters for you until the truth came and the ordinance of Allah appeared, while they were averse.
Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Evil plotters against Truth are only too glad to get an opportunity of meddling from within with affairs which they want to spoil or upset. They plot from outside, but they like to get into the inner circle, that their chances of intrigue may be all the greater. They are, however, unwilling to incur any danger or any self-sacrifice. Their whole activities are directed to mischief. Great wisdom is required in a leader to deal with such a situation, and the best of such leaders must need divine guidance, as was forthcoming in this case.

 وَمِنۡهُمۡ مَّنۡ يَّقُوۡلُ ائۡذَنۡ لِّىۡ وَلَا تَفۡتِنِّىۡ​ ؕ اَلَا فِى الۡفِتۡنَةِ سَقَطُوۡا​ ؕ وَاِنَّ جَهَـنَّمَ لَمُحِيۡطَةٌ ۢ بِالۡـكٰفِرِيۡنَ‏ 
( 49 )   And among them is he who says, "Permit me [to remain at home] and do not put me to trial." Unquestionably, into trial they have fallen. And indeed, Hell will encompass the disbelievers.
 Some of the hypocrites, who were requesting the Prophet (peace be upon him) to give them leave to stay behind on one pretext or the other, were so impudent that they were inventing excuses of a religious or moral nature for refraining from Jihad in the Way of Allah. One of these was Jad-bin-Qais, who, according to traditions came to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and said. “I am a lover of beauty and my people know that I am very weak in regard to women: therefore I am afraid to go forth lest the beauty of the Roman women should beguile me into sin. Therefore, “do not put me into trial.”

Though they wanted exemption, they had already fallen as a prey to the temptations of telling lies, of double dealings and hypocrisy. They deluded themselves that they would be considered pious people, if they would put forward the fear of temptations to avoid Jihad, when, in fact; they had already fallen into the greatest possible temptation of refraining from Jihad in the conflict between Islam and kufr.

That is, “Such a show of piety has not taken them away from Hell; nay, on the other hand, the same thing has caused them to be entangled in the clutches of Hell.”

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Fitnat, as explained in viii. 25, may mean either trial or temptation, or else tumult, turmoil, or sedition. The Commentators here take the former meaning, and explain that some Hypocrites claimed exemption from service in the Tabuk expedition in the direction of Syria on the plea that they could not withstand the charms of Syrian women and ought best to stay at home. The answer is: "But you have already fallen into temptation here by refusing service and disobeying the call." But perhaps the other meaning of "turmoil" may also be permissible as a secondary echo; in that case they object to be drawn into the turmoil of war, but they are told that they are already in a moral turmoil in advancing a disingenuous plea. In using the English word "trial" in the translation, I have also had in my mind the two shades of meaning associated with that word in English.

اِنۡ تُصِبۡكَ حَسَنَةٌ تَسُؤۡهُمۡ​ ۚ وَاِنۡ تُصِبۡكَ مُصِيۡبَةٌ يَّقُوۡلُوۡا قَدۡ اَخَذۡنَاۤ اَمۡرَنَا مِنۡ قَبۡلُ وَيَتَوَلَّوْا وَّهُمۡ فَرِحُوۡنَ‏ 
( 50 )   If good befalls you, it distresses them; but if disaster strikes you, they say, "We took our matter [in hand] before," and turn away while they are rejoicing.
 قُلْ لَّنۡ يُّصِيۡبَـنَاۤ اِلَّا مَا كَتَبَ اللّٰهُ لَـنَا ۚ هُوَ مَوۡلٰٮنَا​ ۚ وَعَلَى اللّٰهِ فَلۡيَتَوَكَّلِ الۡمُؤۡمِنُوۡنَ‏ 
( 51 )   Say, "Never will we be struck except by what Allah has decreed for us; He is our protector." And upon Allah let the believers rely.
In this passage a demarcation has been made between the attitudes of a man of the world and of a man of God. Whatever the man of the world does, he does it to please his own self. He exults if he attains some worldly ends but feels utterly dejected if he fails to attain them. Besides, he depends entirely on his material resources for his success and feels encouraged if these are favorable, but loses heart if these are unfavorable.

In contrast to the man of the world, whatever the man of God does, he does it to please Him and trusts in Him and not in his own powers nor in material resources. Therefore he is neither exultant over his success in the cause of Allah, nor loses heart by failure, for he believes that it is the will of God that is working in both the cases. Therefore he is neither disheartened by disasters nor is filled with conceit by successes. This is because he believes that both prosperity and adversity are from Allah and are nothing but a trial from Him. Therefore his only worry is to do his best to come out successful in His test. Besides, as there are no worldly ends before him, he does not measure his success or failure by the achievement or failure of his ends. On the other hand, the only object before him is to sacrifice his life and wealth in the Way of Allah, and he measures the success or failure of his efforts by the standard he achieves in the performance of this duty. Therefore if he is satisfied that he has done his best to perform this duty, he believes that he has come out successful by the grace of God, though he might not have been able to accomplish anything from the worldly point of view; for he believes that his Allah in whose cause he has expended his life and wealth will not let go waste the reward of his efforts. As he does not depend on the material resources only, he is neither grieved if they are unfavorable, nor feels exultant when these are favorable. His entire trust is in God who is the controller of all the resources; therefore he goes on doing his duty even under the most unfavorable circumstances with the same courage and perseverance that is shown by the worldly people unfavorable circumstances alone. That is why Allah asked the Prophet (peace be upon him) to say to the hypocrites, “There is a basic difference between you and us in regard to the conduct of affairs. We believe that both the good and the bad are from Allah: therefore the apparent result does not make us happy or sad. Moreover, we depend on Allah in our affairs and you depend on material resources: so we are content and happy in all circumstances.”

قُلۡ هَلۡ تَرَبَّصُوۡنَ بِنَاۤ اِلَّاۤ اِحۡدَى الۡحُسۡنَيَيۡنِ​ؕ وَنَحۡنُ نَتَرَبَّصُ بِكُمۡ اَنۡ يُّصِيۡبَكُمُ اللّٰهُ بِعَذَابٍ مِّنۡ عِنۡدِهٖۤ اَوۡ بِاَيۡدِيۡنَا ​ۖ  فَتَرَبَّصُوۡۤا اِنَّا مَعَكُمۡ مُّتَرَبِّصُوۡنَ‏ 
( 52 )   Say, "Do you await for us except one of the two best things while we await for you that Allah will afflict you with punishment from Himself or at our hands? So wait; indeed we, along with you, are waiting."
This is the answer to those who, as usual, were not taking any part in the conflict between Islam and kufr, but were very wisely watching it from a distance to see whether the Prophet (peace be upon him) and his companions would return victorious from Tabuk or would be totally destroyed by the powerful Roman army. They were told that either of the two results, they were awaiting, would be good for the Muslims. For it was obvious that it would be a good thing if they won victory. But even if they were killed in the Way of Allah, it would be a success from their point of view, though not in the sight of the world, as the Muslims’ standard of measurement is different from that of the hypocrites and the like. A believer considers it his success if he sacrifices his life and wealth in the Way of Allah, irrespective of whether he succeeds in conquering some country, or in establishing a government or not. According to him the criterion of success or failure is whether he has extended or not all the powers of his body and soul, his head and his heart to elevate the word of Allah, though from the worldly point of view the result of his efforts might be nothing at all.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
The waiting of the Unbelievers and that of the Believers are in different senses. The Unbelievers wish for disaster to the Believers, but the Believers will either conquer or die as martyrs in the Cause, in either case happy in the issue. The Believers expect punishment for the Unbelievers for their infidelity, either through their own instrumentality, or in some other way in Allah's Plan, and the Unbelievers would not like it in either case. Cf. vi. 158.

قُلۡ اَنۡفِقُوۡا طَوۡعًا اَوۡ كَرۡهًا لَّنۡ يُّتَقَبَّلَ مِنۡكُمۡ​ؕ اِنَّكُمۡ كُنۡتُمۡ قَوۡمًا فٰسِقِيۡنَ‏ 
( 53 )   Say, "Spend willingly or unwillingly; never will it be accepted from you. Indeed, you have been a defiantly disobedient people."
This verse is a sharp retort to those hypocrites who desired exemption froth Jihad but, at the same time, wanted to make some monetary contributions in order to avoid the exposure of their hypocrisy, They said, “Please grant us leave from military service because we are unable to do this, but we are ready to make monetary contributions towards it.” To this Allah retorted, saying, “Whatever you may contribute, it shall not be accepted.”

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
The Hypocrites, who secretly plotted against Islam, might sometimes make a show of making some contribution to the Cause in order to keep up their pretence. Their contributions were not acceptable, whether they seemed to give willingly or unwillingly, because rebellion and disobedience were in their hearts. Three reasons are specifically given for their rejection, in the next verse: (1) they did not believe; (2) their prayers were not earnest, but for mere show: and (3) in reality their hearts were not behind the contributions which they offered. Nothing is acceptable to Allah which does not proceed from a pure and sincere heart.

وَمَا مَنَعَهُمۡ اَنۡ تُقۡبَلَ مِنۡهُمۡ نَفَقٰتُهُمۡ اِلَّاۤ اَنَّهُمۡ كَفَرُوۡا بِاللّٰهِ وَبِرَسُوۡلِهٖ وَلَا يَاۡتُوۡنَ الصَّلٰوةَ اِلَّا وَهُمۡ كُسَالٰى وَلَا يُنۡفِقُوۡنَ اِلَّا وَهُمۡ كٰرِهُوۡنَ‏ 
( 54 )   And what prevents their expenditures from being accepted from them but that they have disbelieved in Allah and in His Messenger and that they come not to prayer except while they are lazy and that they do not spend except while they are unwilling.
Ibn Kathir Explanation:
(And nothing prevents their contributions from being accepted from them except that they disbelieved in Allah and in His Messenger, and that they came not to the Salah (the prayer) except in a lazy state, and that they offer not contributions but unwillingly.) The Truthful, to whom the Truth was revealed, Muhammad, peace be upon him, said that Allah does not stop giving rewards until you (believers) stop performing good deeds, and that Allah is Tayyib [Good and Pure] and only accepts what is Tayyib. This is why Allah does not accept charity or good deeds from the people described in these Ayat, because He only accepts it from those who have Taqwa. 

فَلَا تُعۡجِبۡكَ اَمۡوَالُهُمۡ وَلَاۤ اَوۡلَادُهُمۡ​ؕ اِنَّمَا يُرِيۡدُ اللّٰهُ لِيُعَذِّبَهُمۡ بِهَا فِى الۡحَيٰوةِ الدُّنۡيَا وَتَزۡهَقَ اَنۡفُسُهُمۡ وَهُمۡ كٰفِرُوۡنَ‏  
( 55 )   So let not their wealth or their children impress you. Allah only intends to punish them through them in worldly life and that their souls should depart [at death] while they are disbelievers
 “Allah only intends to punish them through them in the life of the world”, because of their great love for their children and wealth as these misled them to adopt the hypocritical attitude which, in turn, degraded them in the Muslim society. Consequently, in the Islamic system they would lose the respect, tire reputation and the prestige they enjoyed in the pre-Islamic society. On the contrary, even the Muslim slaves and the sons of slaves, the farmers and the shepherds, who proved the sincerity of their faith would win honor in the new system, and the big hereditary chiefs, who refrained from this because of their love of the world, would lose their fame, honor and prestige.

In order to illustrate the above, we cite an incident that happened during the caliphate of Umar (may Allah be pleased with him). Once some big chiefs of the Quraish including Suhail-bin-Amr and Harith-bin-Hisham, went to see caliph Umar and took their seats near him. Soon after this some humble people from among the Muhajirin and the Ansar came there. The caliph asked those chiefs to make room for them, and seated these humble people near his own seat. This went on for some time till these chiefs reached the remotest corner in the assembly. When they came out, Harith-bin-Hisham said to his companions, “You have noticed what a humiliating treatment has been meted out to us today!” Suhail-bin-Amr replied, “It is no fault of Umar but it is our own fault. When we were invited to Islam, we turned away from it, but these humble people accepted it and made sacrifices for it.” Then both of them returned to the meeting and said, “Today we have noticed your treatment and we feel that it is all due to our own shortcomings, but tell us if there is a way for us to make atonements for our past failures”. The caliph did not give any reply but merely pointed towards the Roman territory, which meant that the only way of regaining their prestige was to expend their lives and wealth in doing Jihad there.

“Their souls shall pass away while they are disbelievers” because of their hypocrisy, which would not let them attain sincere faith till they die. Thus after ruining their moral and spiritual lives in this world, they would leave it in the state of unbelief, which will ruin their lives in the Hereafter in a far worse way.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
If they appeared to be prosperous, with their purses and their quivers full (metaphorically), they were not to be envied. In reality their wealth and their sons might themselves be a snare: Cf. viii. 28. On this particular occasion this was proved to the hilt. The wealth of the Pagans filled them with pride, darkened their understanding, and led to their destruction. Their sons and followers adopted the Faith which their fathers had fought against, much to the chagrin of the fathers, whose spiritual death was even worse than their discomfiture in this world.

Cf. iii. 176-178.

وَيَحۡلِفُوۡنَ بِاللّٰهِ اِنَّهُمۡ لَمِنۡكُمۡؕ وَمَا هُمۡ مِّنۡكُمۡ وَلٰـكِنَّهُمۡ قَوۡمٌ يَّفۡرَقُوۡنَ‏
.( 56 )   And they swear by Allah that they are from among you while they are not from among you; but they are a people who are afraid.
 لَوۡ يَجِدُوۡنَ مَلۡجَاً اَوۡ مَغٰرٰتٍ اَوۡ مُدَّخَلًا لَّوَلَّوۡا اِلَيۡهِ وَهُمۡ يَجۡمَحُوۡنَ‏ 
( 57 )   If they could find a refuge or some caves or any place to enter [and hide], they would turn to it while they run heedlessly.
 This was the condition of the hypocrites of Al- Madinah, the majority of whom were rich and old. We find from a list of the hypocrites, cited by Ibn-Kathir in Al- Badayah-wan-Nihayah, that only one of them was young and none was poor. These people had large properties and flourishing businesses in Al-Madinah. They were worldly wise and their wide experience had taught them expediency, but their sense of self-interest had put them into a dilemma. When Islam reached Al-Madinah and a large majority of the population embraced it sincerely and enthusiastically, they found thems in a very perplexing situation. They could not reject it outright for the majority of their own people, nay, their own sons and daughters, were filled with enthusiasm for Islam. If they had remained unbelievers, they would have lost their high position, their prestige and reputation and run the risk of a rebellion by the Muslims of their own household. On the other hand, if they sincerely embraced Islam, they would incur the danger of war, not only with the whole of Arabia but also with the adjoining nations and empires. Above all, self interest had so blinded them that, in resolving the dilemma, they would not consider the problem from the point of view of truth and righteousness which by themselves are worthy of every sacrifice. Therefore they decided that the best thing for them was to profess Islam outwardly in order to make their positions, properties and businesses secure, but to adopt a hypocritical attitude towards it so that they might be able to avoid the losses and perils inherent in the sincere acceptance of Islam.

This verse 57 depicts the dilemma of the hypocrites, as if to say, “In reality these people are not Muslims, though they swear that they are Muslims like you; they profess Islam simply because they are afraid of losses they might incur, if they reject it outright. Then they dare not stay at Al- Madinah as non-Muslims for they would lose the high positions they enjoyed and might even have to cut off their connection with their wives and children; and if they decided to emigrate from Al-Madinah, they would have to abandon their properties and business. But they are not prepared for these sacrifices for they have no sincere attachment even to kufr. Therefore they are compelled against their beliefs by the force of circumstances to remain in Al-Madinah: they offer their Salat but regard this as forced labor: they pay the Zakat dues but as a penalty, for they are in their hearts averse to these things. To add to their calamities they are asked every now and then to make sacrifices of their lives and their wealth and to go forth for Jihad and to fight with one enemy or the other. They are so much afraid of these calamities that, in order to escape from them, they would run in frantic haste to take refuge in any hole, if they hoped that it would provide immunity against these calamities.

وَمِنۡهُمۡ مَّنۡ يَّلۡمِزُكَ فِى الصَّدَقٰتِ​ ۚ فَاِنۡ اُعۡطُوۡا مِنۡهَا رَضُوۡا وَاِنۡ لَّمۡ يُعۡطَوۡا مِنۡهَاۤ اِذَا هُمۡ يَسۡخَطُوۡنَ‏ 
( 58 )   And among them are some who criticize you concerning the [distribution of] charities. If they are given from them, they approve; but if they are not given from them, at once they become angry.
The people referred to were the hypocrites, who felt depressed on every occasion of the distribution of the Zakat collections, for they thought that they were not being given their due share. Then they would taunt the Prophet (peace be upon him) with making unfair distributions. This happened when the payment of Zakat was made an obligatory duty on all those Muslims whose possessions exceeded the prescribed limits. They were required to contribute from their agricultural products, animals, commercial commodities, minerals dug out of mines and the gold and silver they possessed, at different rates, varying from 2.5% to 20%, and all these were collected and spent in a systematic way from a central place.

As a result of this so much wealth flowed into the hands of a single person, the Prophet (peace be upon him), that it had no parallel in the whole territory of Arabia. Naturally the materialists looked at these things with greedy eyes and wanted to grab as much as possible out of this wealth. But their greed could not be satisfied, for the Prophet (peace be upon him), who had made the use of Zakat fund unlawful for his own person and for his own relatives, could not be expected to give anything out of it to anyone who did not deserve it. It is thus obvious that they found fault with the Prophet (peace be upon him) not because he was unfair in the distribution of the Zakat collections but because he did not allow the hypocrites to grab anything from these without any right to them. They, however, very cunningly hid their real grievance, and accused the Prophet (peace be upon him) of showing partiality and injustice in the distribution of the Zakat collection.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Sadaqa = alms, that which is given in Allah's name, mainly to the poor and needy, and for the cognate purposes specified in the next verse but one: Zakat is the regular and obligatory charity in an organised Muslim community, usually 2 1/2 per cent, of merchandise and 10 per cent, on the fruits of the earth. There is a vast body of literature on this subject. The main points may be studied in the Hidaya tilfuru of Shaikh Burhanud-din 'All. As against Zakat the term sadaqah has a much wider connotation, and is inclusive of Zakat as in the verse 60 of this Surah.

وَلَوۡ اَنَّهُمۡ رَضُوۡا مَاۤ اٰتٰٮهُمُ اللّٰهُ وَرَسُوۡلُهٗۙ وَقَالُوۡا حَسۡبُنَا اللّٰهُ سَيُؤۡتِيۡنَا اللّٰهُ مِنۡ فَضۡلِهٖ وَ رَسُوۡلُهٗۙ اِنَّاۤ اِلَى اللّٰهِ رٰغِبُوۡن
( 59 )   If only they had been satisfied with what Allah and His Messenger gave them and said, "Sufficient for us is Allah; Allah will give us of His bounty, and [so will] His Messenger; indeed, we are desirous toward Allah," [it would have been better for them].
That is, it would have been much better for them if they had been content with their share of the spoils which the Prophet (peace be upon him) gave them and what they earned by the grace of Allah and with the prosperity Allah had bestowed on them.

It would have been good for them to adopt this attitude: “Sufficient is Allah for us,” for they ought to have known that they would receive their due shares besides the Zakat collections out of the wealth that would come to the state treasury, just as they were receiving their shares previously.

“Indeed to Allah we are suppliants” means we give our attention to Allah and His grace and not to the world and its worthless riches and we desire to obey His will: we direct our expectations and hopes to Him and we are content with what He bestows on us.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Selfish men think that charitable funds are fair game for raids, but the Islamic standards on this subject are very high. The enforcement of such standards is always unpopular, and even the Holy Prophet was subjected to obloquy and slander for his strictness to principle. In doubtful cases, claimants who are disappointed should not blame the principles or those who enforce them, but put their trust in Allah, whose bounties are unbounded, and are given to all, whether rich or poor, according to their needs and their deserts. For every one it is excellent advice to say: deserve before you desire.

Ruku / Section 6 [Verses 60-66]

 إِنَّمَا الصَّدَقَاتُ لِلْفُقَرَاءِ وَالْمَسَاكِينِ وَالْعَامِلِينَ عَلَيْهَا وَالْمُؤَلَّفَةِ قُلُوبُهُمْ وَفِي الرِّقَابِ وَالْغَارِمِينَ وَفِي سَبِيلِ اللَّـهِ وَابْنِ السَّبِيلِ ۖ فَرِيضَةً مِّنَ اللَّـهِ ۗ وَاللَّـهُ عَلِيمٌ حَكِيمٌ 
( 60 )   Zakah expenditures are only for the poor and for the needy and for those employed to collect [zakah] and for bringing hearts together [for Islam] and for freeing captives [or slaves] and for those in debt and for the cause of Allah and for the [stranded] traveler - an obligation [imposed] by Allah. And Allah is Knowing and Wise.
According to the Arabic usage, fuqara are all those people who depend on others for the necessities of life. The Arabic word fuqara is a general word for all those who are needy because of some physical defects, or old age, or temporarily out of living means, and can become self-supporting if they are helped like orphans, widows, the unemployed, etc.

According to the Arabic usage, masakin are those indigent people who are in greater distress than the needy people usually are. The Prophet (peace be upon him) especially enjoined the Muslims to help such people as are unable to find the necessary means to satisfy their wants and are in very straitened circumstances, but are so self-respecting that they would not beg for anything, nor would others judge from their outward appearance that they were deserving people. According to a tradition miskin is one who cannot make ends meet, though his appearance does not show that he needs help nor does he beg for help. In short, he is a self-respecting person who has become needy.

“Those employed to administer thereof” are those who collect Zakat dues, supervise the collections and keep accounts, and help in their distribution, irrespective of the fact whether or not they are needy or indigent; their remunerations shall be paid out of the Zakat funds. In this connection it should be noted well that the Prophet (peace be upon him) had declared the Zakat funds to be unlawful for himself and for the members of his own family (Bani Hashim). Accordingly, he never received any remuneration for collecting or distributing Zakat funds. As regards the other members of Bani Hashim, they were allowed to do this service without receiving any remuneration, but otherwise it is unlawful for them. On the contrary, the payment of the Zakat dues was obligatory on Bani Hashim if their possessions warranted this under the prescribed limits, but under no circumstances whatsoever were they allowed to accept anything out of Zakat collected from others.

There is, however, a difference of opinion as to whether they should accept anything out of the collections made from their own family or not. Imam Abu Yusuf opines that they are allowed to accept these when they are needy or poor or wayfarers, but the majority of the jurists regard this also unlawful.

A portion of Zakat funds may also be given to win over to Islam those who might be engaged in anti-Islamic activities or to those in the camp of the unbelievers who might be brought to help the Muslims or to those newly converted Muslims, who might be inclined to revert to kufr if no monetary help was extended to them. It is permissible to award pensions to them or give them lump sums of money to make them helpers of Islam or submissive to it or at least to render them into harmless enemies. A portion of the spoils or other incomes may be spent on them and, if need be, also a portion of Zakat funds. In such cases, the condition of being needy or indigent or on a journey etc. is also waived; nay, they might be even rich people or chiefs who are otherwise not eligible for anything from Zakat funds.

All are agreed that during the time of the Prophet (peace be upon him) pensions and gifts were given under the category of winning over people, but there is a difference of opinion whether this category of expenditure was abolished or not after his death. Imam Abu Hanifah and his followers are of the opinion that it was abolished during the caliphate of Umar (may Allah be pleased with him), and now it is not lawful to spend anything under this category. Imam Shafii is of the opinion that something may be given to sinful Muslims under this category from Zakat funds but not to unbelievers, while other jurists are of the opinion that expenses under this category are lawful even now, if a need arises for them.

The Hanafis base their opinion on an incident that happened after the death of the Prophet (peace be upon him). Uyainah bin Hisan and Aqraa bin Habis came to Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) and asked him to allot to them a certain piece of land. So he gave them a written order for this. They took it to some other highly placed companions for further confirmation and some of them endorsed this order. But when they took it to Umar (may Allah be pleased with him), he tore the paper into pieces before their very eyes, saying, it is true that the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to give something to win over your hearts because Islam was weak at that time, but now Allah has made Islam so strong that it does not stand in need of people like you. At this they went to Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) and complained to him about it and taunted him, saying” Are you the caliph or Umar (may Allah be pleased with him)? But he took no notice of this, nor did any of the companions differ with Umar's (may Allah be pleased with him) opinion. The Hanafis conclude from this incident that when the number and power of Muslims increased by the grace of Allah and they no longer stood in need of any support from such people; the reason for which expenses under this category were permitted in the first instance remained no longer there. Therefore the companions unanimously abolished expenditure under this head.

Imam Shafii says that there is nothing to prove that the Prophet (peace be upon him) ever spent anything out of Zakat funds under this category. All the incidents mentioned in the traditions show that whatever he spent for the purpose of winning over hearts to Islam, was spent out of the spoils of war and not out of Zakat funds.

In my opinion there is nothing to show that the expenses for winning over hearts have been made unlawful forever up to the Last Day. There is no doubt that the action taken by Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) was absolutely right, for if and when the Islamic state does not consider it necessary to spend anything under this head, Islam does not make it obligatory to spend something for winning hearts. On the other hand, if need for this arises at any time, it is authorized to incur expenses under this category for Allah has kept a provision for this. Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) and the other companions agreed only on this that there was no need to give anything for this purpose at that time because the circumstances did not warrant it. But there is no reason to conclude from this that the companions disallowed forever the expenses that were permitted by the Quran under certain circumstances for the good of Islam.

As regards the opinion of Imam Shafii, it appears to be correct in so far as it is not lawful to spend anything under this category out of Zakat funds, if these expenses can be met out of other funds. But if it is necessitated that something should be spent under this category out of Zakat funds, there is no reason why a differentiation should be made in this regard between sinful Muslims and unbelievers. For the Quran has not allocated the share because of the faith of the prospective recipients but because Islam required to win their hearts for its own good and because this could not be achieved except by giving them a portion of wealth. Therefore the Quran allows the Amir of the believers to spend a part of the Zakat funds to achieve this end, if, when and where the required conditions exist. The fact that the Prophet (peace be upon him) did not spend anything from the Zakat funds on unbelievers for this purpose does not mean that it is unlawful to do so, for he did not spend from this fund because there was enough money in other funds for this purpose. Had it been unlawful to spend anything from Zakat funds on unbelievers, he would have explicitly forbidden it.

A portion of Zakat funds may be spent for the ransoming of slaves in two ways. First, help may be given to a slave for the payment of the ransom money, if he enters into an agreement with his master that he will set him free, if the slave pays him a certain amount of money. The second way is that the Islamic government may itself pay the price of his freedom and set him at liberty. There is a consensus of opinion about the first way, but there is difference of opinion about the second way. Ali (may Allah be pleased with him), Said bin Jubair, Laith Thauri, Ibrahim Nakhi, Shaabi, and Muhammad bin Sirin, (Hanafis and Shafiis) consider this as unlawful while Ibn, Abbas, Hasan Basri, Malik, Ahmad and Abu Thaur consider this as lawful expenditure from this fund.

Help may be given out of Zakat funds to such debtors as would be reduced to a state of poverty, if they paid off all their debts out of their own possessions, irrespective of the fact whether they are earning any money or not, whether they are indigent in the general sense or well off. According to some jurists, the only exceptions to this are those debtors who are spendthrifts or involve themselves in debts by spending money on wicked deeds. Help may be given to them only if and when they repent.

“For Allah’s cause” is a general term which implies all those good works which please Allah. That is why some jurists are of the opinion that Zakat funds may be spent on every kind of good work. But the fact is, and the majority of the earliest Muslim scholars have opined, that here the ‘Allah’s cause’ stands for Jihad in the path of Allah, that is, the struggle to eradicate the systems based on kufr and to establish the Islamic system in their stead. Therefore the Zakat funds may be utilized to meet the expenses of the journeys the people make, or for procuring means of conveyance, equipment, weapons and other articles needed for Jihad, irrespective of the fact whether they are so well off or not as to need any help for personal requirements. Likewise help of a temporary or permanent nature may also be given to those people who devote all of their time and energies, temporarily or permanently, for this work

It should also be noted that there has arisen a misunderstanding regarding the “cause of Allah” for the early scholars usually use for Jihad the Arabic word as (ghazyah) which is synonymous with “fight”. They, therefore, are of the opinion that Zakat fund may only be used for the purpose of fighting. But Jihad in the Way of Allah is a much more comprehensive term than mere fighting in the Way of Allah. Jihad applies to all those efforts that are made to degrade the word of kufr and to exalt the word of Allah and to establish the Islamic system of life, whether by propagating the message of Allah in the initial stage or by fighting in the final stage of the struggle.

Help from Zakat funds may be given to a wayfarer on a journey even though he might be quite well off at home.

Some of the jurists are of the opinion that according to this verse only that wayfarer who does not undertake a journey for a sinful purpose may be helped out of Zakat funds. But no such condition has been laid down in the Quran or the Hadith to this effect. Besides this, we learn from the fundamental principles of Islam that the sins of a needy person would in no way prevent us from helping him. As a matter of fact, such a help may prove very useful in reforming sinful and depraved persons. For if they get a support in the time of need, it may reasonably be expected that they would turn towards purifying their souls.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Alms or charitable gifts are to be given to the poor and the needy and those who are employed in their service. That is, charitable funds are not to be diverted to other uses, but the genuine expenses of administering charity are properly chargeable to such funds. Who are the needy? Besides the ordinary indigent, there are certain classes of people whose need is great and should be relieved. Those mentioned here are: (1) men who have been weaned from hostility to Truth, who would probably be persecuted by their former associates, and require assistance until they establish new connections in their new environment: (2) those in bondage, literally and figuratively: captives of war must be redeemed: slaves should be helped to freedom-, those in the bondage of ignorance or superstition or unfavourable environment should be helped to freedom to develop their own gifts: (3) those who are held in the grip of debt should be helped to economic freedom: (4) those who are struggling and striving in Allah's Cause by teaching or fighting or in duties assigned to them by the Islamic State, who are thus unable to earn their ordinary living: and (5) strangers stranded on the way. All these have a claim to charity. They should be relieved by individual or organised effort, but in a responsible way. In this verse, the word sadaqat refers to obligatory charity (Zakat).

Ibn Kathir Explanation:
Expenditures of Zakah (Alms)
After Allah mentioned the protest that the ignorant hypocrites mentioned to the Prophet about the distribution of alms. He stated that it is He who divided the alms, explained its rulings and decided in its division; He did not delegate this decision to anyone else. Allah mentioned the expenditures of Zakah in this Ayah, starting with the Fuqara' (the poor) because they have more need than the other categories, since their need is pressing and precarious. It was reported that Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, Al-Hasan Al-Basri, Ibn Zayd and several others said that the Faqir is a graceful person who does not ask anyone for anything, while the Miskin is the one who follows after people, begging. Qatadah said, "The Faqir is the ill person, while the Miskin is physically fit.'' We will now mention the Hadiths about each of these eight categories:

(1) The Fuqara' (Poor):  Ibn `Umar said that the Messenger of Allah said:  (The alms should not be given to the wealthy and the physically fit.) Ahmad, Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi collected this Hadith.

(2) The Masakin (Needy): Abu Hurayrah narrated that the Messenger of Allah said:
(The needy person is not the one who goes round the people and asks them for a mouthful or two (of meals) or a date or two). They asked, "Then who is the needy person, O Allah's Messenger!'' He said, (The one who does not have enough to satisfy his needs and whose condition is not known to others, that others may give him something in charity, and who does not beg of people.) 
(3) Those employed to collect Alms: Those employed to collect alms deserve a part of the alms, unless they are relatives of the Messenger of Allah , who are not allowed to accept any Sadaqah.

Muslim recorded that `Abdul-Muttalib bin Rabi`ah bin Al-Harith and Al-Fadl bin Al-`Abbas went to the Messenger of Allah asking him to employ them to collect the alms. The Messenger replied,
(Verily, the alms are not allowed for Muhammad nor the relatives of Muhammad, for it is only the dirt that the people discard.) 
Al-Mu'allafatu Qulubuhum There are several types of Al-Mu'allafatu Qulubuhum. There are those who are given alms to embrace Islam. For instance, the Prophet of Allah gave something to Safwan bin Umayyah from the war spoils of Hunayn, even though he attended it while a Mushrik. Safwan said, "He kept giving me until he became the dearest person to me after he had been the most hated person to me.'' Imam Ahmad recorded that Safwan bin Umayyah said, "The Messenger of Allah gave me (from the spoils of) Hunayn while he was the most hateful person to me. He kept giving me until he became the most beloved person to me.'' Muslim and At-Tirmidhi collected this Hadith, as well. Some of Al-Mu'allafatu Qulubuhum are given from alms so that they become better in Islam and their heart firmer in faith.

For instance, the Prophet gave some of the chiefs of the Tulaqa' a hundred camels each after the battle of Hunayn, saying: (I give a man (from the alms) while another man is dearer to me than him, for fear that Allah might throw him on his face in the fire of Jahannam.)

It is recorded in the Two Sahihs that Abu Sa`id said that `Ali sent the Messenger of Allah a gold nugget still in its dirt from Yemen. The Prophet divided it between four men: Al-Aqra` bin Habis, `Uyaynah bin Badr, `Alqamah bin `Ulathah and Zayd Al-Khayr, saying: (To draw their hearts closer.) Some people are given because some of his peers might embrace Islam, while others are given to collect alms from surrounding areas, or to defend Muslim outposts. Allah knows best.

The Riqab
Al-Hasan Al-Basri, Muqatil bin Hayyan, `Umar bin `Abdul-`Aziz, Sa`id bin Jubayr, An-Nakha`i, Az-Zuhri and Ibn Zayd said Riqab means those slaves who make an agreement with the master to pay a certain ransom for their freedom.'' Similar was reported from Abu Musa Al-Ash`ari. Ibn `Abbas and Al-Hasan said, "It is allowed to use Zakah funds to buy the freedom of slaves,'' indicating that `Riqab' has more general meanings than merely giving money to slaves to buy their freedom or one's buying a slave and freeing him on an individual basis. A Hadith states that for every limb [of the servant﴾ freed, Allah frees a limb of the one who freed him from slavery, even a sexual organ for a sexual organ, for the reward is equitable to the deed,
(And you will be requited nothing except for what you used to do.) [37:39]
Virtue of freeing Slaves
In the Musnad, there is a Hadith from Al-Bara' bin `Azib that a man asked, "O Allah's Messenger! Direct me to an action that draws me closer to Paradise and away from the Fire.'' The Messenger of Allah said: (Emancipate the person and free the neck (slave).)

The man asked, "O Allah's Messenger! Are they not one and the same'' He said: (No, you emancipate a person by freeing him on your own, but you untie a neck (slave) by helping in its price.)

Al-Gharimun (the Indebted)
There are several types of indebted persons. They include those who incur expenses in solving disputes between people, those who guarantee a loan that became due, causing financial strain to them, and those whose funds do not sufficiently cover their debts. It also includes those who indulged in a sin and repented from it. These types have a right to a part of alms ﴿designated for Al-Gharimun﴾. Qabisah bin Mukhariq Al-Hilali said, "I carried a debt ﴿resolving a dispute between people﴾ and went to the Messenger of Allah asking him to help pay it.

The Messenger said: (Be patient until some alms are brought to us so that we give it to you.) He then said,
(O Qabisah! Begging is only allowed for three: a man who incurred debts solving disputes, so he is allowed to beg until he collects its amount and then stops. A man who was inflicted by a disaster that consumed his wealth, he is allowed to beg until he collects what suffices for his livelihood. And a man who was overcome by poverty, that three wise relatives of his stand up and proclaim, `So-and-so was overcome by poverty.' This man is allowed to beg until he collects what sustains his livelihood. Other than these cases, begging is an unlawful amount that one illegally devours.) 
 Muslim collected this Hadith. Abu Sa`id said, "During the time of the Messenger of Allah , a man was struck by disaster because of fruits that he bought, causing him extensive debts. The Prophet said,
(Give him charity.) The people did that but the amount collected did not cover his debts. The Prophet said to the man's debtors, (Take what was collected, you will have nothing beyond that.)'' Muslim collected this Hadith.
In the Cause of Allah
In the cause of Allah is exclusive for the benefit of the fighters in Jihad, who do not receive compensation from the Muslim Treasury.

Ibn As-Sabil (Wayfarer)
Ibn As-Sabil is a term used for the needy traveler in a land, where he does not have what helps him continue his trip. This type has a share in the Zakah for what suffices him to reach his destination, even if he had money there. The same is true for whoever intends to travel from his area but does not have enough money. This type also has a share in the Zakah money to suffice for his trip and back. This is proven in the Ayah as well as the following Hadith.

Imams Abu Dawud and Ibn Majah recorded that Ma`mar said that Zayd bin Aslam said that `Ata' bin Yasar said that Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri said that the Messenger of Allah said: (Sadaqah is not rightful for a wealthy person except in five cases: those employed to collect it, one who bought a charity item with his money, a Gharim (debtor), a fighter in the cause of Allah, or a poor man who gets a part of the Zakah so he gives it as a gift to a rich man.)

Allah's statement, فَرِيضَةً مِّنَ اللَّهِ (a duty imposed by Allah), means, a decision, decree and division ordained by Allah, وَاللَّهُ عَلِيمٌ حَكِيمٌ (And Allah is All-Knower, All-Wise), knowledgeable of all things outwardly and inwardly and what benefits His servants, (All-Wise), in all what he declares, does, legislates and decides, there is no true deity or lord except Him.

 وَمِنْهُمُ الَّذِينَ يُؤْذُونَ النَّبِيَّ وَيَقُولُونَ هُوَ أُذُنٌ ۚ قُلْ أُذُنُ خَيْرٍ لَّكُمْ يُؤْمِنُ بِاللَّـهِ وَيُؤْمِنُ لِلْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَرَحْمَةٌ لِّلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مِنكُمْ ۚ وَالَّذِينَ يُؤْذُونَ رَسُولَ اللَّـهِ لَهُمْ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ 
( 61 )   And among them are those who abuse the Prophet and say, "He is an ear." Say, "[It is] an ear of goodness for you that believes in Allah and believes the believers and [is] a mercy to those who believe among you." And those who abuse the Messenger of Allah - for them is a painful punishment.
This was one of the charges which the hypocrites leveled against the Prophet (peace be upon him). As he used to listen to everyone and let him say freely whatever he had to say, they would find fault with him, saying, “He is a credulous person. Everyone can approach him freely and may say whatever he pleases, and he readily believes whatever he hears” Though it was a good thing that he heard everyone, the hypocrites intentionally spread it as a vice, so that the poor and humble Muslims should be kept away from coming near the Prophet (peace be upon him). The hypocrites did not like that these true believers should inform the Prophet (peace be upon him) about their plots, mischief and hostile talks. They resented it very much that the Prophet (peace be upon him) listened to and believed in the talk of these humble people against such “respectable” people as themselves.

The answer to this charge implies two things. First, “Though the Prophet (peace be upon him) listens to everything, he attends only to that which is good and is for the welfare of the community, for he is not the one who would listen to or encourage mischievous things.” Secondly, “It is good for yourselves that he listens patiently to everyone; otherwise he would not have allowed you to put forward lame excuses for your negligence from the struggle in the Way of Allah. Had he not been forbearing, he would not have paid attention to your false professions of faith and hypocritical expressions of good wishes for Islam, but would have taken you to task for your mischief and made it difficult for you to live at Al-Madinah. It is thus obvious that it is good for you that he listens to everyone.

That is, you are wrong that he listens to everyone. He puts his trust only in the true believers. Accordingly, he believed only in those things about you that were conveyed to him by good and trustworthy people, who were neither liars nor tale-bearers. Therefore, whatever they said about you was true and should have been taken as true.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
The assonance of the Arabic words "Y-zuna" and "uzunun" is of course lost in the Translation. But the sense remains. Detractors of the Prophet said. "O! he listens to everybody!" "Yes," is the answer, "he listens for their good: he is a mercy and a blessing to all men of Faith, but specially to you (who are addressed)." The general statement is emphasised for the particular people addressed.

  يَحْلِفُونَ بِاللَّـهِ لَكُمْ لِيُرْضُوكُمْ وَاللَّـهُ وَرَسُولُهُ أَحَقُّ أَن يُرْضُوهُ إِن كَانُوا مُؤْمِنِينَ 
( 62 )   They swear by Allah to you [Muslims] to satisfy you. But Allah and His Messenger are more worthy for them to satisfy, if they should be believers. 
  أَلَمْ يَعْلَمُوا أَنَّهُ مَن يُحَادِدِ اللَّـهَ وَرَسُولَهُ فَأَنَّ لَهُ نَارَ جَهَنَّمَ خَالِدًا فِيهَا ۚ ذَٰلِكَ الْخِزْيُ الْعَظِيمُ 
( 63 )   Do they not know that whoever opposes Allah and His Messenger - that for him is the fire of Hell, wherein he will abide eternally? That is the great disgrace.
 يَحْذَرُ الْمُنَافِقُونَ أَن تُنَزَّلَ عَلَيْهِمْ سُورَةٌ تُنَبِّئُهُم بِمَا فِي قُلُوبِهِمْ ۚ قُلِ اسْتَهْزِئُوا إِنَّ اللَّـهَ مُخْرِجٌ مَّا تَحْذَرُونَ 
( 64 )   They hypocrites are apprehensive lest a surah be revealed about them, informing them of what is in their hearts. Say, "Mock [as you wish]; indeed, Allah will expose that which you fear."
The hypocrites were afraid that their secret plans would be disclosed in the Quran to their great discomfort. Though they did not believe that the Prophet (peace be upon him) was a Messenger of Allah, they were convinced from their experience of the last nine years or so that he possessed some supernatural powers by which he learned their hidden secrets, and revealed these through the Quran (which according to them was written by him).

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
The dissection of the motives of the Hypocrites alarmed them. For it meant that they would fail in their policy of having the best of both worlds and undermining the loyalty of the weaker members of the Muslim community. So they turn it off as a jest. But they are sharply rebuked: "Can you make such solemn matters subjects of playful jokes? Fie upon you! You are found out, and your guile is of no effect."

  وَلَئِن سَأَلْتَهُمْ لَيَقُولُنَّ إِنَّمَا كُنَّا نَخُوضُ وَنَلْعَبُ ۚ قُلْ أَبِاللَّـهِ وَآيَاتِهِ وَرَسُولِهِ كُنتُمْ تَسْتَهْزِئُونَ 
( 65 )   And if you ask them, they will surely say, "We were only conversing and playing." Say, "Is it Allah and His verses and His Messenger that you were mocking?"
This refers to the hypocrites who used to make fun of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and the true Muslims in their secret meetings when they were making preparations for the expedition to Tabuk. In this way, they used to discourage those Muslims who sincerely and honestly intended to go forth for Jihad. We learn many things in this connection from the traditions. For instance, in one of their meetings, when the hypocrites were having a gossip, one of them remarked, “I say: Do you think that the Romans are no better than the Arabs? You will see that in the near future these brave men will be bound with ropes.” Another responded to this, “What a fun it would be if after this each one of them is lashed with a hundred stripes.” Still another, ridiculing the preparations by the Prophet (peace be upon him) for the expedition, remarked, “Look at this man, and his preparations. He intends to go forth to conquer the forts in Syria and the Roman Empire.”

  لَا تَعْتَذِرُوا قَدْ كَفَرْتُم بَعْدَ إِيمَانِكُمْ ۚ إِن نَّعْفُ عَن طَائِفَةٍ مِّنكُمْ نُعَذِّبْ طَائِفَةً بِأَنَّهُمْ كَانُوا مُجْرِمِينَ 
( 66 )   Make no excuse; you have disbelieved after your belief. If We pardon one faction of you - We will punish another faction because they were criminals.
That is, “Those foolish buffoons, who take interest in such conversations and mock even at serious things because there is nothing serious in the world for them, may be pardoned. But there are others who mock at these serious things deliberately with evil intentions, because they consider the Messenger (peace be upon him) and the way taught by him as ridiculous in spite of their professions of faith. As their real object is to discourage the believers from making preparations for Jihad, they are criminals and not buffoons; therefore they shall not be pardoned at all.”

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
See last note. Hypocrisy is a half-way house, a state of indecision in the choice between good and evil. Those who definitely range themselves with good obtain forgiveness: those who pass definitely to evil suffer the penalties of evil.

Ruku / Section 6 [Verses 67-72]

الْمُنَافِقُونَ وَالْمُنَافِقَاتُ بَعْضُهُم مِّن بَعْضٍ ۚ يَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمُنكَرِ وَيَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمَعْرُوفِ وَيَقْبِضُونَ أَيْدِيَهُمْ ۚ نَسُوا اللَّـهَ فَنَسِيَهُمْ ۗ إِنَّ الْمُنَافِقِينَ هُمُ الْفَاسِقُونَ 
( 67 )   The hypocrite men and hypocrite women are of one another. They enjoin what is wrong and forbid what is right and close their hands. They have forgotten Allah, so He has forgotten them [accordingly]. Indeed, the hypocrites - it is they who are the defiantly disobedient.
These are the common characteristics of all hypocrites. All of them are interested in evil and inimical to good. If someone undertakes to do an evil thing, they would dedicate all their sympathies, counsels, encouragements, contributions, good wishes, praises, and their approvals to such a one. They would join hands to accomplish that evil thing and persuade others to take part in it and encourage others in every way. Moreover, they would show in every way their hearty pleasure if they perceived that the evil thing was progressing satisfactorily. On the other hand, if someone undertakes to do a good thing, they are shocked to bear the very news of it for it pains their hearts; nay, they do not even like that such a thing should be undertaken at all. Then, if they see someone coming forward to help it, they feel very uncomfortable and try their best to hinder him from it, and if he does not give it up, they would wish that he should fail in it. Then all of them have this common characteristic that they do not spend anything at all for good ends irrespective of the fact whether they be otherwise parsimonious or generous. At any rate, their wealth is either for hoarding or for evil deeds. As a matter of fact, they would spend large sums on evil works generously but would not be willing to spend a farthing for good things.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Literally, "the Hypocrites... are of each other". The forms of hypocrisy may vary, but they are all alike, and they understand each other's hypocrisy. They hold together.

The English phrase "close-fisted" would cover only a part of the meaning. The hand is the symbol of power, help, and assistance. This may be financial, or it may be in other ways. The Hypocrites pretend a great deal, but are of no use or real help to any one.

Cf. vii. 51. They ignore Allah: and Allah will ignore them.

  وَعَدَ اللَّـهُ الْمُنَافِقِينَ وَالْمُنَافِقَاتِ وَالْكُفَّارَ نَارَ جَهَنَّمَ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا ۚ هِيَ حَسْبُهُمْ ۚ وَلَعَنَهُمُ اللَّـهُ ۖ وَلَهُمْ عَذَابٌ مُّقِيمٌ
( 68 )   Allah has promised the hypocrite men and hypocrite women and the disbelievers the fire of Hell, wherein they will abide eternally. It is sufficient for them. And Allah has cursed them, and for them is an enduring punishment.
Yusuf Ali Explanation:
"Curse," here as elsewhere, is deprivation of grace and mercy, brought about by the rejection of Allah by the Unbelievers.

  كَالَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ كَانُوا أَشَدَّ مِنكُمْ قُوَّةً وَأَكْثَرَ أَمْوَالًا وَأَوْلَادًا فَاسْتَمْتَعُوا بِخَلَاقِهِمْ فَاسْتَمْتَعْتُم بِخَلَاقِكُمْ كَمَا اسْتَمْتَعَ الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُم بِخَلَاقِهِمْ وَخُضْتُمْ كَالَّذِي خَاضُوا ۚ أُولَـٰئِكَ حَبِطَتْ أَعْمَالُهُمْ فِي الدُّنْيَا وَالْآخِرَةِ ۖ وَأُولَـٰئِكَ هُمُ الْخَاسِرُونَ 
( 69 )   [You disbelievers are] like those before you; they were stronger than you in power and more abundant in wealth and children. They enjoyed their portion [of worldly enjoyment], and you have enjoyed your portion as those before you enjoyed their portion, and you have engaged [in vanities] like that in which they engaged. [It is] those whose deeds have become worthless in this world and in the Hereafter, and it is they who are the losers.
In the preceding verse, they were being mentioned in the third person, but here they are being addressed directly in the second person.

Ibn Kathir Explanation:
(Such are they whose deeds are in vain), their deeds are annulled; they will not acquire any rewards for them because they are invalid, (in this world and in the Hereafter. Such are they who are the losers.) because they will not acquire any rewards for their actions.

Ibn `Abbas commented, "How similar is this night to the last night, (Like those before you...) These are the Children of Israel, with whom we were compared. The Prophet said,

(By He in Whose Hand is my life! You will imitate them, and even if a man of them entered the den of a lizard, you will enter it likewise!)'' Abu Hurayrah narrated that the Messenger of Allah said,

(By He in Whose Hand is my soul! You will follow the traditions of those who were before you a hand span for a hand-span and forearm's length for forearm's length, and an arm's length for an arm's length. And even if they enter the den of a lizard, you will also enter it.) They asked, "Who, O Allah's Messenger, the People of the Book'' He said, (Who else)'' This Hadith is similar to another Hadith collected in the Sahih.

  أَلَمْ يَأْتِهِمْ نَبَأُ الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِهِمْ قَوْمِ نُوحٍ وَعَادٍ وَثَمُودَ وَقَوْمِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَأَصْحَابِ مَدْيَنَ وَالْمُؤْتَفِكَاتِ ۚ أَتَتْهُمْ رُسُلُهُم بِالْبَيِّنَاتِ ۖ فَمَا كَانَ اللَّـهُ لِيَظْلِمَهُمْ وَلَـٰكِن كَانُوا أَنفُسَهُمْ يَظْلِمُونَ 
( 70 )   Has there not reached them the news of those before them - the people of Noah and [the tribes of] 'Aad and Thamud and the people of Abraham and the companions of Madyan and the towns overturned? Their messengers came to them with clear proofs. And Allah would never have wronged them, but they were wronging themselves.
Again they are being mentioned in the third person.

“They used to wrong themselves” for they were themselves responsible for their destruction. Allah had no enmity with them and had no desire to destroy them. As a matter of fact, they themselves adopted the way of life that led to destruction, whereas Allah had sent His Messengers to them and afforded them the opportunities of thinking, understanding, and reforming. His Messengers admonished and warned them of the consequences of treading wrong paths, and presented very clearly before them the way that leads to success, and also the ways that lead to destruction. But when they did not benefit from the opportunities that were offered to them to mend their ways, and persisted in treading the ways that led to destruction, they inevitably met with the end for which they were heading. And this horrible end was not due to Allah’s will to be unjust to them but due to their own evil doings."

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
The story of Noah is told in vii. 59-64: of 'Ad in vii. 65-72; and of Thamud in vii. 73-79; of Abraham in numerous places, but see specially vi. 74-82; of Midianites in vii. 85-93; and of Lot and the Cities of the Plain overthrown for their wickedness, in vii. 80-84.

In the case of Noah and Abraham, the word I have translated as "people of..." is qaum: these prophets were messengers each to his own people or nation, as was also Hud to the 'Ad people and Salih to the Thamud people. The word used for the Midianities is As-hab-i-Madyan, which I have translated "men of Midian" for want of a better word. The Midianites were for the greater part of their history nomads, with pasture grounds but no settled territory or town. The town of Madyan on the Gulf of 'Aqaba refers to much later times when the Midianites as a people had ceased to count. See n. 1053 to vii, 85.

The Cities of Plain, Sodom and Gomorrah, to whom Lot preached in vain to desist from their abominations: vii. 80-84.

 وَالْمُؤْمِنُونَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَاتُ بَعْضُهُمْ أَوْلِيَاءُ بَعْضٍ ۚ يَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَيَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَيُقِيمُونَ الصَّلَاةَ وَيُؤْتُونَ الزَّكَاةَ وَيُطِيعُونَ اللَّـهَ وَرَسُولَهُ ۚ أُولَـٰئِكَ سَيَرْحَمُهُمُ اللَّـهُ ۗ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٌ 
( 71 )   The believing men and believing women are allies of one another. They enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and establish prayer and give zakah and obey Allah and His Messenger. Those - Allah will have mercy upon them. Indeed, Allah is Exalted in Might and Wise.
 The contrast between the characteristics of the hypocrites (Ayat 67) and of the true believers (Ayat 71) clearly shows that the two are entirely different from each other, in spite of their outwardly similar profession of faith in Islam and obedience to it. The difference lies in their morals, conducts, habits, attitudes and ways of thinking. On the one hand, are the hypocrites whose tongues are never tired of professing faith in Islam, but who are void of sincere faith, and whose conduct belies their professions. They are, as it were, like bottles which have labels of musk, but contain cow-dung which may easily be recognized from its appearance and unpleasant odor. On the other hand, are the true believers, who are like those bottles which contain musk which may be tested in any way by its appearance, its smell and other characteristics to be the musk. Likewise, though the outward label of Islam apparently makes both of them one community of Muslims, the real characteristics of the hypocritical Muslims are so different from those of the true Muslims that they have, in fact, become two different communities. The hypocritical Muslims, men and women, form a separate community with those who have similar characteristics. They all are neglectful of Allah, take interest in evil things and deviate from all that is good and never cooperate with true believers. In short, they are allies to one another and practically dissociate themselves from true believers and form a group of their own. In contrast to them, the true believers, men and women, have practically become one community. All of them take interest in what is good, and abhor what is evil. They remember Allah day and night and cannot think of life without the constant remembrance of Allah. They are very generous in spending in the Way of Allah, and obey Him and His Messenger (peace be upon him) without any mental reservations. These common characteristics have dissociated them from the hypocrites and united them in one community and made them allies to one another.

  وَعَدَ اللَّـهُ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَاتِ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي مِن تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا وَمَسَاكِنَ طَيِّبَةً فِي جَنَّاتِ عَدْنٍ ۚ وَرِضْوَانٌ مِّنَ اللَّـهِ أَكْبَرُ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ هُوَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِيمُ 
( 72 )   Allah has promised the believing men and believing women gardens beneath which rivers flow, wherein they abide eternally, and pleasant dwellings in gardens of perpetual residence; but approval from Allah is greater. It is that which is the great attainment.
Ibn Kathir Explanation:
Allah describes the joys and eternal delight He has prepared for the believers, men and women in, (Gardens under which rivers flow to dwell therein forever) for eternity, (and beautiful mansions), built beautifully in good surroundings.

In the Two Sahihs, it is recorded that Abu Musa, `Abdullah bin Qays Al-Ash`ari said that the Messenger of Allah said:
(Two gardens, their pots and whatever is in them are made of gold, and two gardens, their pots and whatever is in them are made of silver. Only the Veil of Pride of Allah's Face separates the people from gazing at Him, in the garden of Eden.) 
He also narrated that the Messenger of Allah said:
(For the believer in Paradise there is a tent like a hollow pearl which is sixty miles high in the sky, and in the tent the believer will have (so large) a family that he visits them all and some of them would not be able to see the others. ) 
The Two Sahihs collected this Hadith. It is recorded in the Two Sahihs that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah said:
(Whoever believes in Allah and His Messenger, offers prayer perfectly and fasts the month of Ramadan, will rightfully be granted Paradise by Allah, no matter whether he emigrates in Allah's cause, or remains in the land where he is born.) The people said, "O Allah's Messenger! Shall we acquaint the people with this good news'' He said, (Paradise has one-hundred grades which Allah has prepared for the Mujahidin who fight in His cause, the distance between each two grades is like the distance between the heaven and the earth. So, when you ask Allah, ask Him for Al-Firdaws which is the best and highest part of Paradise, from it gush forth the rivers of Paradise and above it is the `Arsh (Throne) of the Beneficent.) 
Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Hurayrah said, that the Messenger of Allah said:
(If you invoke Allah for Salah (blessings) on me, then also invoke Him to grant me Al-Wasilah.) He was asked, "What is Al-Wasilah, O Allah's Messenger'' He said, (The highest grade in Paradise, it will be for only one man, and I hope I am that man.) 
The Musnad contains a Hadith from Sa`d bin Mujahid At-Ta'i, that Abu Al-Mudillah said, that Abu Hurayrah said, "We said, `O Allah's Messenger! Talk to us about Paradise, what is it built of' He said:
(A brick of gold and a brick of silver. Its mortar is from musk, its gravel is pearls and rubies. Its sand is saffron. Whoever enters it will enjoy the delights, will never be hopeless, and will live forever and will not die. His clothes will never decay nor will his youth ever end.)''

Allah said next: (But the greatest bliss is the good pleasure of Allah)[9:72], meaning, Allah's pleasure is more grand, greater and better than the delight the believers will be enjoying [in Paradise].

Imam Malik narrated, that Zayd bin Aslam said that `Ata' bin Yasar said that Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri said that the Messenger of Allah said:
(Allah, the Exalted and Ever High, will say to the people of Paradise, `O residents of Paradise!' They will say, `Labbayka (here we are!), our Lord, and Sa`dayk (we are happy at your service!) and all the good is in Your Hand.' He will ask them, `Are you pleased' They will say, `Why would not we be pleased, O Lord, while You have given us what You have not given any other of your creation' He will say, `Should I give you what is better than all this' They will say, `O Lord! What is better than all this' He will say, `I will grant you My pleasure and will never afterwards be angry with you.') 
The Two Sahihs collected the Hadith of Malik.

Here we come to the end of the detailed discussion on the Second Discourse discussed in verses 38-72. The last of the three discourses will be discussed in Part III.

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.
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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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