Showing posts with label Surah Al Fath. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Surah Al Fath. Show all posts

Wednesday 16 November 2022

Divine Command about Universality of Islam

The race to proclaim one's religion as the best has been going on and on since the first Divine Scripture was revealed. And those who are men of wisdom will find that all Divine Scriptures were an improvement over the previous for the Divine Commands were gradually introduced to man and basically hinged on one central theme: Worship of the One True God.

That is there is really only one true Religion, the Message of Allah submission to the Will of Allah: this is called Islam. It was the religion preached by Moses and Jesus; it was the religion of Abraham, Noah, and all the prophets, by whatever name it may be called. If people corrupt that pure light, and call their religions by different names, we must bear with them, and we may allow the names for convenience. But Truth must prevail over all.

Islam, based on Qur'an, the last of the earlier three Divine Scriptures (Psalms, Torah and Bible), is the last of the Divine religions, revealed through Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) to remain as the beacon light for the entire mankind till the end of this earthly world. And it is for this very reason that more and more non-Muslims are embracing Islam for it answers all queries which cannot be answered by earlier scriptures for Qur'an is the final book encompassing the final commandments of Allah.

The verse selected for this post today is the 28th verse from Surah 48. Al Fath (The Victory) in which Allah has proclaimed that He has sent His Messenger with the true religion which will prevail over every religion:

هُوَ الَّذِىۡۤ اَرۡسَلَ رَسُوۡلَهٗ بِالۡهُدٰى وَدِيۡنِ الۡحَـقِّ لِيُظۡهِرَهٗ عَلَى الدِّيۡنِ كُلِّهٖ​ؕ وَكَفٰى بِاللّٰهِ شَهِيۡدًا ؕ‏ 
(48:28) He it is Who sent His Messenger with the True Guidance and the Religion of Truth that He may make it prevail over every religion. Sufficient is Allah as a witness (to this).
The reason why this thing has been mentioned here is that when at Hudaibiyah the peace treaty was going to be written down, the disbelievers had objected to the use of the words Rasul-Allah (Messenger of Allah) with the name of the Holy Prophet, and on their insistence the Holy Prophet himself had wiped off these words from the document. At this Allah says: "Our Messenger's being a Messenger is a reality which remains unaffected whether someone believes in it or not. If some people do not believe in it, they may not, for "Allah is enough for a witness" over it. Their denial will not change the reality, but the Guidance and the true Faith which this Messenger has brought from Us, shall prevail over all religion, no matter how hard the deniers try to obstruct its progress."

"All religion" implies all those ways of life which include the nature of din (religion). We have explained it fully in verse 2 of Surah Az-Zumar, reproduced herein under for easy assimilation:

(Surah 39 Az Zumar verse :2)
اِنَّاۤ اَنۡزَلۡنَاۤ اِلَيۡكَ الۡكِتٰبَ بِالۡحَقِّ فَاعۡبُدِ اللّٰهَ مُخۡلِصًا لَّهُ الدِّيۡنَ ؕ‏ 
(O Prophet), it is We Who have revealed this Book to you with Truth. So serve only Allah, consecrating your devotion to Him.
This is a very important verse which states the real objective of the message of Islam. Therefore, one should not pass over it superficially, but should try to understand its meaning and intention. It has two basic points: (1) That the demand is to worship Allah. (2) That the demand is of such worship as may be performed by making religion exclusively Allah’s. Ibadat is derived from abd, and this word is used as an antonym of freeman for the slave and bondsman in Arabic. Accordingly, ibadat contains two meanings: (1) Worship and devotion. (2) Humble and willing obedience, as is borne out by the well known and authoritative Arabic Lexicon, Lisan al- Arab. Thus, according to the authentic lexical explanation, the demand is not only of Allah’s worship but also of willing and sincere obedience to His commands and laws.
The Arabic word Deen contains several meanings:
  • (1) Domination and sovereignty, rule and political power and authority to enforce one’s decisions on others.
  • (2) Obedience, compliance with commands and servitude.
  • (3) The practice and the way that a man follows.
In view of these three meanings, Deen in this verse means: The way of life and attitude which a man adopts after acknowledging the supremacy and accepting the obedience of another; and to worship Allah making one’s religion exclusively His. This means that one should refrain from combining another’s worship with the worship of Allah, but should worship Allah alone, should follow His guidance alone, and should comply with His commands and injunctions only. 
In the aforesaid verse from Surah 48. Al Fath, what Allah has stated in clear words is: The purpose of the Holy Prophet's appointment as a Prophet was not merely to preach this Religion but to make it prevail over all others. In other words, he did not bring this Religion so that it might survive in a limited compartment of life which is allowed it by the dominant religion, while the rest of the spheres of life, by and large, should remain under the relentless control of some false religion. But he had brought it so that it should be the dominant Religion of life and any other religion should survive, if at all it survives, only within the limits in which it allows it to survive. (For further explanation, see tafsir of Surah Az-Zumar verse 29: "(39:29) Allah propounds a parable: there is a man whose ownership is shared by several quarrelsome masters, each pulling him to himself; and there is another who is exclusively owned by one man. Can the two be alike? All praise and thanks be to Allah. But most of them are unaware."). 

Tafsir Ibn-Kathir:  The Good News that Muslims will conquer the Known World, and ultimately the Entire World: Allah the Exalted and Most Honored said, while delivering the glad tidings to the believers that the Messenger will triumph over his enemies and the rest of the people of the earth,

(He it is Who has sent His Messenger with guidance and the religion of truth, هُوَ الَّذِي أَرْسَلَ رَسُولَهُ بِالْهُدَى وَدِينِ الْحَقِّ) with beneficial knowledge and righteous good deeds. Indeed, the Islamic Shari`ah has two factors, knowledge and deeds. The true religious knowledge is by definition true, and the accepted Islamic acts are by definition accepted. Therefore, the news and creed that this religion conveys are true and its commandments are just:
(That He may make it superior to all religi- ons.) all the religions of the people of the earth, Arabs and non-Arabs alike, whether having certain ideologies or being atheists or idolators.
(And All-Sufficient is Allah as a Witness.) that Muhammad is His Messenger and that He will grant him victory. Allah the Exalted and Most Honored has the best knowledge.

Muhammad Asad Explanation:
Sc., "through the revelations which He grants to His prophets". See also 3:19 - "the only [true] religion in the sight of God is [man's] self-surrender unto Him": from which it follows that any religion (in the widest sense of this term) which is not based on the above principle is, eo ipso, false.

Yusuf Ali Explanation
The divine disposition of events in the coming of Islam and its promulgation by the holy Prophet are themselves evidence of the truth of Islam and its all-reaching character; for there is nothing which it has not influenced. See also lxi. 9, n. 5442, reproduced herein under:
(61:9) It is He Who has sent His Apostle with Guidance and the Religion of Truth that he may proclaim it over all religion even though the Pagans may detest (it). 
"Over all religion": in the singular: not over all other religions, in the plural. There is really only one true Religion, the Message of Allah submission to the Will of Allah: this is called Islam. It was the religion preached by Moses and Jesus; it was the religion of Abraham, Noah, and all the prophets, by whatever name it may be called. If people corrupt that pure light, and call their religions by different names, we must bear with them, and we may allow the names for convenience. But Truth must prevail over all.
Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation:
This is a mention of the last victory. The implication is that they should trust the God Who has shown such exploits. He has not sent His messenger to be subdued. Hence, after this near victory they have achieved at Ḥudaybiyah, the conquest of Makkah is not far off. The established practice of God regarding His messengers is that after they conclusively communicate the truth to their addressees, God grants them dominance over those who disbelieve them.

Tafsir Qur'an Wiki:
The religion of truth prevailed, and not only in the Arabian Peninsula. Within half a century it prevailed across many of the inhabited parts of the earth. It subdued the entire Persian Empire and took over much of the Byzantine Empire. It marched as far as India and China before moving into Malaysia, southern Asia and Indonesia. In the sixth and seventh centuries, these areas constituted most of the then known world.

This true religion continues to prevail over all religions, even after its political retreat from much of the areas it moved into, particularly in Europe and the major islands in the Mediterranean. It prevails even though the power of its people is very weak compared to the new powers that have recently emerged in the East and the West. Indeed, as a religion, Islam prevails over all else. It carries within itself and in its nature the elements of its strength. It moves forward, supported by neither sword nor gun drawn by its people. Its advance is due only to its inherent harmony with human nature and the natural laws of the universe, and to the fact that it satisfies, with perfect ease, the requirements of mind and soul, progress and civilization, regardless of whether people live in tents or in skyscrapers.

Any religious person who looks objectively at Islam is bound to recognize the soundness and inherent strength of this religion. Nor can they help but recognize its ability to lead humanity with wisdom and to answer its progressive needs in an easy and straightforward way: "Sufficient is God as a witness." (Verse 28)

We see, then, that God's promise was fulfilled in the immediate, political form, before one century had elapsed after the Prophet's mission. God's promise continues to be fulfilled in its substantive form, as Islam prevails over all other religions. in fact, it is the only religion that continues to act and lead in all situations. Perhaps only the Muslims do not understand this truth. Other people know it and take it into account as they draw up their policies and programmes.

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

Reading the Qur'ān should be a daily obligation of a Muslim - Reading it with translation will make it meaningful. But reading its Exegesis / Tafsir will make you understand it fully. It will also help the Muslims to have grasp over social issues and their answers discussed in the Qur'an and other matter related to inter faith so that they are able to discuss issues with non-Muslims with authority based on refences from Qur'an.

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

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

For more Selected Verses, please refer to our reference page: Selected Verses from the Qur'anYou may also refer to our Reference Pages  and Understanding Al Qur'an for knowing more about Islam and Qur'ān.
Photo | Tafsir References: | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 |

An effort has been made to gather explanation / exegesis of the surahs of the Qur'ān from authentic sources and then present a least possible condensed explanation of the surah. In that the exegesis of the chapters of the Quran is mainly based on the "Tafhim al-Qur'an - The Meaning of the Qur'an" by one of the most enlightened scholars of the Muslim World Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi.  
In order to augment and add more explanation as already provided, additional input has been interjected from the following sources: 
  • Tafsir Ibn Khatir
  • Muhammad Asad Translation
  • Yusuf Ali Translation
  • Translation Javed Ahmad Ghamidi / Al Mawrid
  • Qur'an Wiki
  • Verse by Verse Qur'an Study Circle
  • Towards Understanding the Quran
In addition, references of other sources which have been explored have also been given above. Those desirous of detailed explanations and tafsir (exegesis), may refer to these sites.

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Saturday 6 April 2019

Surah Al Fath - The Victory: Exegesis of 48th Chapter of the Holy Quran

Sūrat al-Fatḥ is the forty eighth surah with 29 ayahs with four rukus, part of the 26th Juzʼ  of the Holy Qur'an.

A detailed Overview and the circumstances after which this important surah was revealed has already been presented in one of our earlier posts, for it was necessary to understand the reference to the context to understand fully the why of revelation of this surah. Today we in this post present the exegesis / tafsir of the surah verse by verse. 

Just to remind the readers, Surah Al Fath was revealed after the a peaceful treaty was concluded between the Muslims and the disbelievers of Makkah, known as the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah. It stipulated that : (1) War would remain suspended for ten years, and no party would indulge in any hostility, open or secret, against the other. (2) If any one during that period from among the Quraish went over to Muhammad, without his guardian's permission, he would return him to them, but if a Companion of Muhammad came over to the Quraish, they would not return him to him. (3) Every Arab tribe would have the option to join either side as its ally and enter the treaty. (4) Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his men would go back that year and could come the following year for Umrah and stay in Makkah for three days, provided that they brought only one sheathed sword each, and no other weapon of war. In those three days the Makkans would vacate the city for them (so that there was no chance of a clash), but they would not be allowed to take along any Makkan on return.

Although the treaty was signed much to the satisfaction of the Prophet of Allah and many of his companions, some were apprehensive of the terms and conditions of the treaty and considered these unfavorable for the Muslims. 

The treaty was quite controversial initially for many reasons. Originally, the treaty referred to Muhammad as the Messenger of Allah, but this was unacceptable to the Quraish ambassador Suhayl ibn Amr. So the Prophet of Allah compromised, and asked Ali to strike out the wording. But Ali said, “I will not be the person to rub the words Muhammad, the messenger of Allah”. Upon this the Prophet of Allah asked him where were the words  Muhammad, the messenger of Allah" were written for the Prophet of Allah was illiterate.  When Ali pointed out to the words, the Prophet of Allah himself erased whatever followed after word Muhammad. The believers were also apprehensive of handing over two Muslims to Makkans as per the clause of the treaty.

This in order to alleviate the apprehensions of those some that this Surah was revealed for ALLAH reserved the applause of ‘a great victory,’ not for any armed struggle, but for a peace treaty, which the common Muslim opinion held as acceptance of humiliating terms by the prophet  and even considered it as a defeat. Nonetheless, the Prophet accepted the terms, and the treaty worked quickly and decisively to the advantage of the Muslim side. The freedom of any tribe to ally with either the Muslims or the Quraysh absolved the tribes of their former alliances, and some that had been allied with the Quraysh quickly switched to the Muslims. The concluding of a treaty with the Quraysh clearly demonstrated that the Muslims had acquired at least equal footing with the Quraysh, which was a feat in and of itself.

Thus this treaty lays down an amazing emphasis on peace, dialogue and coexistence in Islam as opposed to armed struggle and war, even if defensive!

Let us now read the translation and exegesis in English of the Surah (For Arabic Text / recitation of the surah, please listen to the video at the end of the post):

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

The surah takes its name from the words "Inna fatah-na laka fat-han mubina" of the very first verse. This is not only a name of the Surah but also its title in view of the subject matter, for it deals with the great victory that Allah granted to the Holy Prophet and the Muslims in the form of the Truce of Hudaibiyah. The surah was revealed while the Prophet was returning to Madinah from the area of Hudaybiyah, just outside of Makkah, during the month of Dhu’l-Qa‘ dah in the year 6/628:

إِنَّا فَتَحْنَا لَكَ فَتْحًا مُّبِينًا 
1. We have granted you a conspicuous victory.

Upon its revelation, the Prophet of Allah remarked, 'Tonight there has been revealed to me a Surah which is dearer to me than that on which the sun shines (i.e. the world).' The fact that there was no actual fighting at Hudaibiyah has led many to think that the words contain a prophecy about the conquest of Makkah, which, however, is referred to later on in the third section of this chapter. 

But when after the treaty of Hudaibiyah, this good news of the VICTORY was announced, the people could not comprehend why and how the treaty could be called a victory. It is said that upon hearing this verse, Umar asked: Is it a victory, O Messenger of Allah? The Prophet (peace be upon him) replied: Yes. On arriving at Madinah, a rather disturbed Muslim asked others: What sort of a victory is it? We were debarred from the House of Allah; our sacrificial camels also could not go to their right places; the Messenger of Allah had to halt at Hudaibiyah, and in consequence of this truce two of our oppressed brothers (Abu Jandal and Abu Basir) were handed over to their oppressors. When this thing reached the Prophet, he said: 
A very wrong thing has been uttered, it indeed is a great victory. You reached the very home of the polytheists, and they had to persuade you to go back by soliciting you to perform Umrah the following year. They themselves expressed the desire to suspend hostilities and have peace with you, whereas their malice and enmity against you is too well known. Allah has granted you the upper hand over them. Have you forgotten the day when you were fleeing from Uhud and I was calling you back from behind? Have you forgotten the day when the enemy had descended on us from every side in the battle of the Trench and the hearts were coming up to the throats? (Baihaqi on the authority of Urwah bin Zubair). 
However, as time went by, the believers started to realize why Allah has termed this truce as a victory. RVC Bodley writes in his biography of the Prophet Muhammad, The Messenger:
In point of fact, that treaty was Mohammed’s masterpiece of diplomacy. It was a triumph. No one, except perhaps Soheil, had thought back as had Mohammed when the Quraishite stood before him. No one, except those two, recollected the beatings, the stoning, the escape by night, the hiding in the cave. No one thought of the hazardous exile with the seventy followers. The contrast between now and then was unbelievable, miraculous. That the Quraishites were willing to treat with Mohammed at all, to recognize him as someone worthy of their attention, to admit him as the ruler of an Arab community, was beyond the bounds of all expectations. But, apart from his personal triumph over men who had vowed to capture him, alive or dead, Prophet of Allah saw what no other Muslim did, the far‑reaching effects of the treaty. In fact what Prophet of Allah chiefly saw in having this peace treaty with Makkah was the effect it would produce on the local tribes. He was right in this too. Within a few days of signing the document which had caused so much stir among his own people, chiefs from all around were coming to swear allegiance.
To understand the verse 2 below, one must keep the context in which this sentence occurs is kept in view, one will certainly feel that the faults referred to here imply those shortcomings and weaknesses that had remained in the struggle that the Muslims had been making for the success and victory of Islam, under the leadership of the Prophet (peace be upon him), for the past nineteen years or so.
2. That Allah may forgive you your sin, past and to come, and complete His favors upon you, and guide you in a straight path.
These shortcomings are not known to any one because the intellect is absolutely helpless to find out any weakness in that struggle. But according to the highest standards of perfection in the sight of Allah there had remained some weakness because of which the Muslims could not attain a decisive victory so soon over the pagans of Arabia. What Allah means to say is this: If you had carried on your struggle along with those weaknesses, it would have taken you much longer to subdue Arabia, but We have overlooked all those weaknesses and shortcomings and compensated for them only through Our grace, and opened for you at Hudaibiyah the door to victory and conquest which you could not have achieved only by your ordinary endeavors, and:
3. And help you with an unwavering support.
هُوَ الَّذِىۡۤ اَنۡزَلَ السَّكِيۡنَةَ فِىۡ قُلُوۡبِ الۡمُؤۡمِنِيۡنَ لِيَزۡدَادُوۡۤا اِيۡمَانًا مَّعَ اِيۡمَانِهِمۡ​ ؕ وَلِلّٰهِ جُنُوۡدُ السَّمٰوٰتِ وَالۡاَرۡضِ​ؕ وَكَانَ اللّٰهُ عَلِيۡمًا حَكِيۡمًا ۙ‏
4. It is He who sent down tranquility into the hearts of the believers, to add faith to their faith. To Allah belong the legions of the heavens and the earth. Allah is Knowing and Wise.
In verse 4 above, Sakinat in Arabic means calmness and tranquility and peace of mind. Here Allah calls its being sent into the hearts of the believers an important factor in the victory that Islam and the Muslims achieved at Hudaibiyah. From a study of the conditions of the time, one comes to know what kind of a Sakinat it was that was sent down into the hearts of the Muslims during that period and how it became a source of victory. If at the time when the Prophet (peace be upon him) expressed his intention to go for Umrah to Makkah, the Muslims had become terror-stricken and started behaving like the hypocrites as if they were going into the very jaws of death, or if at the time when they heard the news on the way that the disbelieving Quraish were coming out in great strength to fight them, they had been alarmed as to how they would face the enemy un-armed, and thus become panic-stricken. Then, if at the time when at Hudaibiyah the disbelievers had stopped the Muslims from going any further, and when they had tried to provoke them by launching against them repeated sudden attacks, and when the rumor of Uthman’s martyrdom had spread, and when Abu Jandal had appeared on the scene as the very image of oppression and persecution, the Muslims had actually become provoked and broken the discipline that the Prophet (peace be upon him) had instilled in them, the result would have been disastrous. Above all, if at the time when the Prophet (peace be upon him) was going to conclude the treaty on the conditions which were unacceptable to the entire party of the Muslims, the Muslims had happened to disobey him, the great victory of Hudaibiyah would have turned into a humiliating defeat. Thus, it was all because of Allah’s bounty that on all these critical moments the Muslims were blessed with full peace of mind with regard to the leadership and guidance of the Prophet (peace be upon him), the truth of Islam and the truthfulness of their mission. This is why they decided with a cool mind that they would face and accept whatever hardships they would encounter in the way of Allah. That is why they remained safe from fear, confusion, provocation and despair; that is why perfect discipline continues to prevail in the camp; and that is why, in spite of being deeply grieved at the conditions of peace, they submitted to the decision taken by the Prophet (peace be upon him). This was the sakinat that Allah had sent down into the hearts of the Muslims, and it was all because of this that the dangerous step of undertaking a journey for performing Umrah became the prelude to a unique victory.
5. He will admit the believers, male and female, into Gardens beneath which rivers flow, to abide therein forever, and He will remit their sins. That, with God, is a great triumph.
In the Quran generally mention of the rewards for the believers is made collectively and separate mention is not made of the rewards for the men and the women. But here, since the general mention of giving the rewards could cause the doubt that this reward may perhaps be only meant for the men. Allah has made a separate mention of the believing women, saying that they too would be equal partners in this reward with the believing men. The reason is obvious. Those God-fearing women who encouraged their husbands, sons, brothers and fathers to proceed on the dangerous journey instead of stopping them from it and discouraging them by crying and wailing, and who did not even feel the alarm lest at the sudden departure of 1,400 of the companions the disbelievers and hypocrites of the surrounding areas would attack the city, should certainly have become equal partners with their men in the reward of jihad although they stayed behind in their homes.
6. (He also did this) to chastise the hypocrites, both men and women, and those who associate others in His Divinity, both men and women, and who harbour evil thoughts about Allah. They shall be afflicted with misfortune, Allah is wroth with them. He has laid His curse upon them and has prepared for them Hell. What an evil end!
The hypocrites living in the suburbs of Madinah were thinking, as has been stated in (verse 12) below, that the Prophet (peace be upon him) and his companions would not return alive from that journey. As for the polytheists of Makkah and their pagan companions, they were thinking that they had successfully put to rout the Prophet (peace be upon him) and his companions by preventing them from performing Umrah. In fact, whatever these two groups had thought, they had this misunderstanding about Allah that He would not help His Messenger (peace be upon him). And in the conflict between the truth and falsehood, He would allow falsehood to defeat and frustrate the truth. And that they were encompassed by the same evil fate which they wanted to avoid and against which they had devised all those plans, and their same plans caused the evil fate to be hastened.
7. To Allah belong the legions of the heavens and the earth. Allah is Mighty and Wise.
In verse 7, the theme of verse 4 has been reiterated for another object. There, the object was to state that Allah, instead of employing His supernatural hosts to fight the disbelievers, had employed the believers for it only because He willed to favor them. Here, the theme has been repeated to say that in order to punish the one whom Allah wills to punish He can employ whichever of His countless hosts He likes for the purpose; no one has the power to avert His punishment by his own plans.
8. (O Prophet) We sent you as a witness, and a bearer of good news, and a warner.
Here the bearer of witness means the witness to the truth. However, the meaning of the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) being a “witness” is very vast. It includes three kinds of evidence:
  • Verbal evidence, i.e. the Prophet (peace be upon him) should bear out the truth of the realities and principles on which Allah’s religion is based and tell the world plainly that they are the truth and all that is opposed to them is falsehood. He should rise to proclaim without hesitation and fear the Being of Allah and His Unity, the existence of the angels, the coming down of revelation, the occurrence of life-after-death, the Hell and Heaven, all are realities, even if they appear strange to the world, and the people mock the one presenting them, or call him a madman. Likewise, the Prophet (peace be upon him) should openly present before the people the concepts, values, principles and rules pertaining to morality and civilization and social life that God has revealed to him, and reject as wrong all the concepts and ways which are prevalent and are opposed to them. Similarly, the Prophet (peace be upon him) should proclaim as lawful what is lawful in Allah’s law even if the whole world regards it as unlawful, and should proclaim as unlawful whatever is unlawful in Allah’s law even if the world regards it as lawful and pure.
  • Practical evidence: That is, the Prophet (peace be upon him) in his own life should practically demonstrate all that he has been commissioned to present before the world. His life should be free from every shade of that which he calls evil, and his own character should clearly reflect that which he calls good; he should be the foremost in carrying out what he regards as obligatory, and most cautious in refraining from what he calls sinful. His own character and conduct should bear out how sincere and truthful he is in his invitation; and his own self should be such a model of his teaching that anyone who sees him should know what kind of a man he wants to produce by the faith to which he invites the world, what kind of a character he wants to instill in him and what system of life he wants to be established through him in the world.
  • Evidence in the Hereafter: That is, when the court of Allah is established in the Hereafter, the Prophet (peace be upon him) should give evidence to prove that he had conveyed to the people the entire message, without making any alteration or changes in it, that had been entrusted to him, and that he had shown no slackness in making the truth manifest before them, by word and by deed. On the basis of this evidence, it will be determined what reward the believers deserve and what punishment the disbelievers deserve.
From this one can have an idea of how great a responsibility had Allah placed upon the Prophet (peace be upon him) by raising him to the position of a “witness”, and how great should be the personality worthy of that high position. Evidently, there has been no slackness whatever on the part of the Prophet (peace be upon him) in the matter of giving evidence with regard to the faith, verbally as well as practically. That is why in the Hereafter, he will be able to testify that he had made the truth plain to the people, and that is how Allah’s argument will be established against them; otherwise, if, Allah forbid, there had been any slackness on the part of the Prophet (peace be upon him) in providing evidence, he could neither be a witness against them in the Hereafter nor could any case be established against the deniers of the truth.
9. That you may believe in Allah and His Messenger, and support Him, and honor Him, and praise Him morning and evening. 
The verses 10 and 18 describe the pledge that the believers took at the hand of  the holy Prophet Muhammad, may peace be on him. This pledge has a special importance in the history of Islam and is known as ‘Bai’at-al-Rizwan’ (Covenant of the pleasure of Allah). Everyone of those who took the oath remained proud of it to the end of his days.

In this verse and in verse 18 of this surah, Allah has called in very pithy language, loyalty and submission to the Prophet Muhammad as loyalty and submission to Allah, as he is the messenger and representative of Allah. In a similar metaphor describing the battle of Badr, Allah says: “And you (Muhammad) threw not the pebbles when you did throw, but it was Allah Who threw, that He might overthrow the disbelievers and that He might confer on the believers a great favour from Himself. Surely, Allah is All-Hearing, All-Knowing.” (8:17)
10. Those who pledge allegiance to you are pledging allegiance to Allah. The hand of Allah is over their hands. Whoever breaks his pledge breaks it to his own loss. And whoever fulfills his covenant with Allah, He will grant him a great reward.
Some allies of the Makkans urged them to let the Muslims perform the Ummrah. “The Muslims are not asking for anything major, they only want to perform Umrah, let us not deprive them of this right,” the allies advised. But, their admonition fell on deaf ears.  Seeing such adamant behavior, the tribal allies were fed up with the Makkans. They said that the Makkans did not want peace and they threatened to dissociate themselves from the Makkans.  This softened the Makkan’s attitude. On learning about these developments, the Holy Prophet decided to send another emissary, to the Makkans, to directly put across to them his peaceful intentions. To ensure the security of the emissary he wanted to send someone who would be well connected in Makkah. He chose Hazrat Uthman (later the third Caliph of Islam). Since Uthman belonged to a resourceful family of Makkah, it was hoped that his position would shield him from any danger that propped up. The Holy Prophet also gave a letter to him for the Quraish. He also instructed him to try to contact the poor Muslims left behind in Makkah, in order to reassure them that Allah would soon open some way for them and that they should continue to be patient and steadfast. Hazrat Uthman received protection from his relatives and conveyed the message to the Quraish. The Quraish received the message and because of Hazrat Uthman’s ties with some of the influential people they offered him to perform the circuit if he so willed. But, the faithful Hazrat Uthman declined, “No, thank you, I will not perform the circuit unless it is in company of my master”. Hazrat Uthman repeatedly tried to persuade the Makkan leaders to pay heed to the Holy Prophet’s suggestions.     But, the Makkans were insistent that they will not let Muslim’s perform circuit this year.  So Hazrat Uthman finally decided to return, at that point a section of the Quraishites decided to detain him, in order to negotiate better terms from the Muslims.     Meanwhile, rumor spread in the Muslim camp that he had been murdered. Anxiety and alarm spread through out the camp. The Holy Prophet himself began to suspect deceit.     He assembled the companions and addressed them very passionately, “The life of an envoy is held sacred among all nations. I have heard that the Makkans have murdered Uthman. If this be true, then equitable retaliation in the matter of the slain is prescribed for us. We will undertake that no matter what the consequences are.” The companions were hearing him spell bound, the Holy Prophet continued: “Those of you who will solemnly promise that if they have to go further, they will not turn back except as victors, should come forth to take a pledge on my hand.” The Holy Prophet had hardly finished speaking when all companions rushed forward enthusiastically to take the pledge. All those who could fit in close to the Holy Prophet put their hands together and the Holy Prophet put his right hand on top of them. Those who could not squeeze in close to the Holy Prophet put their hands on the shoulders of those ahead of them. When every body was assembled, the Holy Prophet put his left hand on other hands and said: “This is for Uthman, for if he had been here, he would not have hesitated in making this holy pact, but, he is busy with the work of Allah and His messenger.” Of the fifteen hundred present that day all took the pledge except one hypocrite who held back. They all sedately promised that if the Muslim envoy had been murdered, they would not go back. They would either take Makkah by dusk or they would all die fighting.

As on this occasion it was not yet certain whether Uthman actually had been killed or was still living, the Prophet (peace be upon him) placed one of his own hands on the other and pledged allegiance on his behalf, and thus bestowed a unique honor on Uthman in that he made Uthman a partner in the pledge by making his own sacred hand represent the hand of Uthman. The Prophet’s (peace be upon him) taking the pledge of allegiance on his behalf necessarily meant that he had full confidence that if Uthman had been present he would certainly have pledged the allegiance.

That is, the hand on which the Muslims were swearing allegiance was not the hand of the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) person but of Allah’s representative, and this allegiance was in fact being sworn to Allah through His Messenger.
11. The Desert-Arabs who remained behind will say to you, “Our belongings and our families have preoccupied us, so ask forgiveness for us.” They say with their tongues what is not in their hearts. Say, “Who can avail you anything against Allah, if He desires loss for you, or desires gain for you?” In fact, God is Informed of what you do.
In verse 11, people living in the suburbs of Al- Madinah have been referred to whom the Prophet (peace be upon him) had invited to accompany him in his march out for Umrah, but they had not left their homes in spite of their claim to faith just because they were afraid of death. Traditions show that these were the people of the tribes of Aslam, Muzainah, Juhainah, Ghifar, Ashja, Dil and others. The verse sums up in saying that Allah’s decision will be on the basis of the knowledge that He has about the reality of your actions. If your actions deserve the punishment and I pray for your forgiveness, my prayer will not save you from Allah’s punishment. And if your actions do not deserve the punishment, and I do not pray for your forgiveness, my failure to pray will not do any harm to you. Everything is in Allah’s control, not mine, and no one’s empty words can deceive Him. Therefore, even if I accept as true what you say and then also pray for your forgiveness on its basis, it will be vain and without result.
12. But you thought that the Messenger and the believers will never return to their families, and this seemed fine to your hearts; and you harbored evil thoughts, and were uncivilized people.
That is, you were delighted to think that you had saved yourselves from the danger into which the Messenger (peace be upon him) and his believing supporters were going. You thought you had done so by dint of your great wisdom; and you also did not feel any compunction in rejoicing at the thought that the Messenger (peace be upon him) and the believers would not return alive from their expedition. You did not feel uneasy in spite of your claim to the faith but were pleased to think that you did not put yourselves in the danger by accompanying the Messenger (peace be upon him).
13. He who does not believe in God and His Messenger, We have prepared for the disbelievers a Blazing Fire. 14. To God belongs the kingdom of the heavens and the earth. He forgives whomever He wills, and He punishes whomever He wills. God is Forgiving and Merciful.
The mention of Allah’s being All-Forgiving and All- Merciful, after the foregoing warning, contains in it a subtle aspect of admonition. It means this: Even now if you give up your insincere attitude and way of life and adopt sincerity, you will find Allah All-Forgiving and All- Merciful. He will forgive you your previous shortcomings and will treat you according to the quality of your sincerity in the future.
15. Those who lagged behind will say when you depart to collect the gains, “Let us follow you.” They want to change the Word of Allah. Say, “You will not follow us; Allah has said so before.” Then they will say, “But you are jealous of us.” In fact, they understand only a little.
That is, the time is approaching when these very people who were shirking accompanying you on the dangerous journey, would see you going on an expedition in which there would be the possibility of attaining easy victory and much booty. Then they would come running and request you to take them also along. Such a time came just three months after the truce of Hudaibiyah, when the Prophet (peace be upon him) marched to Khaiber and took it easily. At that time everyone could see that after the truce with the Quraish not only Khaiber but the Jewish settlements of Taima, Fadak, Wadi-al-Qura and also others from northern Arabia would not be able to withstand the might of the Muslims and would easily fall to the Islamic State. Therefore, Allah in these verses forewarned the Prophet (peace be upon him) that the opportunists of the suburbs of Al-Madinah would come up to take part in and receive their share when they would see easy victories being attained, and that he should tell them plainly: You will never be allowed to take part in these, because only those who had gone forth to offer their lives in the conflict at Hudaibiyah regardless of every danger would be entitled o them.

The words “Thus did Allah say before” caused the people the misunderstanding that this refers to some other command bearing upon the same subject that might have been sent down before this verse, and since no such command is found in this Surah before this verse, they started looking for it at other places in the Quran till they found (verse 84 of Surah At-Taubah), in which this very subject has been dealt with for another occasion. But that verse, in fact, does not apply to this, for it was sent down in connection with the Battle of Tabuk, and its period of revelation is three years after the period of revelation of Surah Al-Fatah. The fact of the matter is that this verse refers to( verses 18-19) of this Surah itself, and Allah’s already having said this does not mean its having been said before this verse but its having been said to the laggards before this conversation. This conversation with the laggards about which advance instructions are being given to the Prophet (peace be upon him) was to take place at the time of the expedition to Khaiber, and this whole Surah, including (verses 18-19), had been sent down three months earlier on return from Hudaibiyah on the way. A careful study of the context shows that Allah here is giving this instruction to His Messenger: When after your return at Al-Madinah the laggards come to you with their excuses, you should give them this reply, and when they express their desire to accompany you in the expedition to Khaiber, you should tell them this.
16. Say to the Desert-Arabs who lagged behind, “You will be called against a people of great might; you will fight them, unless they submit. If you obey, God will give you a fine reward. But if you turn away, as you turned away before, He will punish you with a painful punishment.” 17. There is no blame on the blind, nor any blame on the lame, nor any blame on the sick. Whoever obeys God and His Messenger—He will admit him into gardens beneath which rivers flow; but whoever turns away—He will punish him with a painful punishment.
Verse 17 above lays down the rule for people who are exempted from fighting when Muslim armies march out. That is, the one who has a genuine excuse for not joining jihad is not accountable, but if the able-bodied, strong people make excuses for not joining it, they cannot be regarded as sincere with regard to Allah and His religion, and they cannot be given the opportunity to take advantage of the gains as members of the Muslim community, but when time comes for making sacrifices for Islam, they should lag behind and seek the safety of their lives and properties.

Here, one should know that two kinds of the people have been exempted from jihad duty by the Shariah: (1) Those who are not physically fit for jihad, e.g. young boys, women, the insane, the blind and such patients as cannot perform military duties, and such disabled people as cannot take part in war. (2) Those for whom it may be difficult to join jihad for other sound reasons, e.g. the slaves, or those persons who may be ready for jihad but may not afford weapons of war and other necessary equipment, or such debtors who may have to pay their debts at the earliest opportunity and the creditors may not be willing to allow them more time, or such people whose parents (or a parent) might be alive, who stand in need of the children’s help.

In this regard, it should also be known that the children should not join jihad without the permission of their parents if they are Muslims, but if they (the parents) are non-Muslims, it is not permissible for a person to stay away from jihad in case they refuse permission.
18. Allah was pleased with the believers, when they pledged allegiance to you under the tree. He knew what was in their hearts, and sent down serenity upon them, and rewarded them with an imminent conquest.
Verse 18 is regarding the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah. This is called Baiat Ridwan. For, Allah in this verse has given the good news that he became well pleased with those who on this dangerous occasion did not show the least hesitation in offering their lives for the cause of Islam and gave an express proof of their being true in their faith by taking the pledge on the hand of the Prophet (peace be upon him). The word sakinat has again been used here that means that state of the heart on whose strength a man throws himself into dangers with complete calm and peace of mind for the sake of a great objective and resolves without fear and consternation to undertake it regardless of the consequences.
19. And abundant gains for them to capture. God is Mighty and Wise. 20. Allah has promised you abundant gains, which you will capture. He has expedited this for you, and has restrained people’s hands from you; that it may be a sign to the believers, and that He may guide you on a straight path.
The spoils referred to in verse 19 are in reference to the conquest of Khaiber and its rich spoils and this verse expressly points out that Allah had reserved this reward only for those people who had taken part in the Baiat Ridwan; apart from them no one else was entitled to take part in the victory and have a share in the spoils. That is why when the Prophet (peace be upon him) marched out to attack Khaiber in Safar, A.H. 7, he took only those people with him.

The mention of instantly granted victory in verse 20 here implies the treaty of Hudaibiyah which has been described as a manifest victory in the beginning of the Surah. Restraining the hands of people from you in this verse means that Allah restrained the disbelieving Quraish from attacking you at Hudaibiyah although from all appearances they were in a much better position and yours was a much weaker side militarily. Furthermore, it also implies that no enemy power could muster courage to attack Al-Madinah in those days, whereas after the departure of 1,400 soldiers the Al-Madinah front had become very weak, and the Jews, the polytheists and hypocrites could take advantage of the situation. Sin to the believers means how Allah helps the one who remains steadfast on obedience to Allah and His Messenger and comes out to support and defend the truth and righteousness with his trust and faith in Allah.

Verse 21 is important:
21. And other things, of which you were incapable, but Allah has encompassed them. God is Capable of everything.
Many scholars believe that most probably this is a reference to the conquest of Makkah. It seems to mean this: Though Makkah has not yet fallen to you, Allah has encircled it, and as a result of this victory at Hudaibiyah, it will also fall to you.
22. If those who disbelieve had fought you, they would have turned back and fled, then found neither protector nor helper.
That is, Allah did not prevent fighting at Hudaibiyah because there was a possibility of your being defeated there, but there were other reasons for it, which are being stated in the following verses. Had that factor not been there and Allah had allowed the war to take place, the disbelievers would surely have been routed and Makkah would have fallen to you at that very time.
23. It is God’s pattern, ongoing since the past. You will never find any change in God’s pattern. 24. It is He who withheld their hands from you, and your hands from them, in the valley of Makkah, after giving you advantage over them. Allah is Observer of what you do. 
Verse 25 is rather long and has many things encompassed in it:
25. They are the ones who disbelieved and barred you from the Inviolable Mosque and prevented the animals you had designated for sacrifice from reaching the place of their offering.[1] If it had not been for the believing men and believing women (who lived in Makkah and) whom you did not know, and had there not been the fear that you might trample on them and unwittingly incur blame on their account, (then fighting would not have been put to a stop. It was stopped so that) Allah may admit to His Mercy whomsoever He pleases. Had those believers been separated from the rest, We would certainly have inflicted a grievous chastisement on those of them [i.e. the Makkans) who disbelieved. [2]
[1] That is, Allah was seeing the sincerity and the selfless devotion with which you had become ready to lay down your lives in the cause of the true faith and were obeying the Prophet (peace be upon him) without asking any question. Allah was also seeing that the disbelievers were being unfair. The demand of this situation was that they should have been punished there and then through you, but in spite of that, Allah restrained your hands from them and their hands from you.

[2] This was the reason why Allah did not allow fighting to take place at Hudaibiyah. This has two aspects:

That at that time there were quite a number of the Muslim men and women living in Makkah, who were either hiding their faith, or were being persecuted because of their faith as they had no means to emigrate. Had there been fighting and the Muslims had pushed back the disbelievers and entered Makkah, these Muslims would also have been killed in ignorance along with the disbelievers. This would not only have grieved the Muslims but the Arab polytheists also would have gotten an opportunity to say that the Muslims did not even spare their own brethren in faith during wartime. Therefore, Allah took pity on the helpless Muslims and averted the war in order to save the companions from grief and infamy. The other aspect of the expedience was that Allah did not will that Makkah should fall to the Muslims as a result of the defeat of the Quraish after a bloody clash but He willed that they should be encircled from all sides so that within two years or so they should become absolutely helpless and subdued without offering any resistance, and then the whole tribe should accept Islam and enter Allah’s mercy as it actually happened on the conquest of Makkah.

Here the juristic dispute has arisen that if during a war between the Muslims and the disbelievers, the disbelievers should bring out some Muslim men and women, children and old men, in their possession and put them in the forefront as a shield for themselves, or if there is some Muslim population also in the non-Muslim city under attack by the Muslim forces, or if on a warship of the disbelievers, which is within gunfire, the disbelievers have also taken some Muslims on board, can the Muslim army open fire on it? In answer to it the rulings given by different jurists are as follows:

Imam Malik says that in such a case fire should not be opened, and for this he cites this very verse as an argument. He contends that Allah prevented the war at Hudaibiyah only in order to save the Muslims. (Ibn al-Arabi, Ahkam al Quran). But this in fact is a weak argument. There is no word in the verse which may support the view that launching an attack on the enemy in this case is unlawful and forbidden. At the most what one can say on the basis of this verse is that the launching of an attack in such a case should be avoided in order to save the Muslims, provided that it does not put the disbelievers in an advantageous position against the Muslims militarily, or does not diminish the Muslims’ chances of gaining an upper hand in the conflict.

Imam Abu Hanifah, Imam Abu Yusuf, Imam Zufar and Imam Muhammad say that it is lawful to open fire in such a case; so much so that even if the disbelievers use the children of the Muslims as a shield by putting them in the forefront, there is no harm in shooting at them, and it is not obligatory for the Muslims to expiate and pay any blood money for the Muslims thus killed, (Al-Jassas, Ahkam al- Quran; Imam Muhammad, Kitab as-Siyar).

Imam Sufyan Thauri also in this case regards opening of the fire as lawful, but he says that although the Muslims will not pay the blood-money of the Muslims thus killed, it is obligatory for them to expiate the sin. (Al-Jassas, Ahkam al-Quran).

Imam Auzai and Laith bin Saad say that if the disbelievers use the Muslims as a shield, fire should not be opened on them. Likewise, if it is known that in their warship our own prisoners also are on board, it should not be sunk. But if we attack a city of theirs and we know that there are also Muslims in the city, it is lawful to open fire on the city, for it is not certain that our shells will only hit the Muslims, and if a Muslim becomes a victim of this shelling, it will not be willful murder of a Muslim but an inadvertent accident. (Al-Jassas, Ahkam alQur an).

Imam Shafei holds the view that in such a case if it is not inevitable to open fire. It is better to try to save the Muslims from destruction; although it is not unlawful to open fire in this case, it is undesirable. But if it is really necessary and it is feared that in case fire is not opened it will put the disbelievers in a better position militarily against the Muslims, it is lawful to resort to shelling, but even then every effort should be made to save the Muslims as far as possible. Furthermore, Imam Shafei also says that if during a conflict the disbelievers put a Muslim in front as a shield and a Muslim kills him, there can be two possible alternatives: either the killer knew that the murdered person was a Muslim, or he did not know that he was a Muslim. In the first case, he will be under obligation to pay compensation for manslaughter as well as do expiation; in the second case he will only do expiation. (Mughni alMuhtaj).

26. Those who disbelieved filled their hearts with rage—the rage of the days of ignorance. But God sent His serenity down upon His Messenger, and upon the believers, and imposed on them the words of righteousness—of which they were most worthy and deserving. God is aware of everything. 

لَـقَدۡ صَدَقَ اللّٰهُ رَسُوۡلَهُ الرُّءۡيَا بِالۡحَـقِّ​ ۚ لَـتَدۡخُلُنَّ الۡمَسۡجِدَ الۡحَـرَامَ اِنۡ شَآءَ اللّٰهُ اٰمِنِيۡنَۙ مُحَلِّقِيۡنَ رُءُوۡسَكُمۡ وَمُقَصِّرِيۡنَۙ لَا تَخَافُوۡنَ​ؕ فَعَلِمَ مَا لَمۡ تَعۡلَمُوۡا فَجَعَلَ مِنۡ دُوۡنِ ذٰلِكَ فَتۡحًا قَرِيۡبًا‏
27. Allah has fulfilled His Messenger’s vision in truth: “You will enter the Sacred Mosque, Allah willing, in security, heads shaven, or hair cut short, not fearing. He knew what you did not know, and has granted besides that an imminent victory.”
This is the answer to the question that was constantly agitating the minds of the Muslims. They said: The Prophet (peace be upon him) had seen in his vision that he had entered the Masjid al-Haram and went around the Ka'bah in worship. Then how is it that they were returning without performing Umrah? In answer to this, although the Prophet (peace be upon him) had told them that in his vision he had not seen that they would perform the Umrah that very year, still there remained some suspicion in the hearts. Therefore, Allah Himself explained that it was He Who had shown the vision and it was a true vision and it would certainly be fulfilled.

Here, about the words Insha-Allah (if Allah so wills), which Allah Himself has used with His promise, one can raise the objection that when Allah Himself is making this promise, what is the meaning of making it conditional upon His own willing it? The answer is: Here the words Insha- Allah have not been used in the sense that if Allah does not will, He will not fulfill His promise, but in fact these relate to the background in which this promise was made. The presumption on the basis of which the disbelievers of Makkah had played the drama of preventing the Muslims from Umrah was that only he whom they would allow would perform Umrah, and would perform it only when they would allow it. At this Allah has said: This depends on Our, not on their, will. The reason why Umrah has not been performed this year is not because the disbelievers of Makkah did not allow it to be performed, but because We did not will it to be performed. In the future Umrah will be performed if We will, no matter whether the disbelievers allow it or disallow it. Besides, these words also contain the meaning that the Muslims too, will perform Umrah not by their own power but because We would will that they should perform it. Otherwise, if We do not will, they do not possess any power to perform it by themselves.

This promise was fulfilled in the following year in Dhil- Qadah A.H.7. This Umrah is well known in history as Umrah al-Qada. The words clearly point out that it is not obligatory to get the head shaved in Umrah and Hajj, but it is also right to get the hair cut short. However, it is better to have the head shaved, for Allah has mentioned it first and then mentioned having the hair cut short.
28. It is He who sent His Messenger with the guidance and the religion of truth, to make it prevail over all religions. Allah suffices as Witness.
The reason why this thing has been mentioned here is that when at Hudaibiyah the peace treaty was going to be written down, the disbelievers had objected to the use of the words Rasul-Allah (Messenger of Allah) with the name of the Prophet (peace be upon him), and on their insistence the Prophet (peace be upon him) himself had removed these words from the document. At this Allah says: Our Messenger’s being a Messenger is a reality which remains unaffected whether someone believes in it or not. If some people do not believe in it, they may not, for Allah is enough for a witness over it. Their denial will not change the reality, but the guidance and the true faith which this Messenger (peace be upon him) has brought from Us, shall prevail over all religion, no matter how hard the deniers try to obstruct its progress.
29. Muhammad is the Messenger of  Allah. Those with him are stern against the disbelievers, yet compassionate amongst themselves. You see them kneeling, prostrating, seeking blessings from  Allah and approval. Their marks are on their faces from the effects of prostration. Such is their description in the Torah, and their description in the Gospel: like a plant that sprouts, becomes strong, grows thick, and rests on its stem, impressing the farmers. Through them He enrages the disbelievers. Allah has promised those among them who believe and do good deeds forgiveness and a great reward.
The last verse is about the companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him) who described are as hard against the disbelievers: They are not such that the disbelievers may mould them as they like. They can neither be cowed nor purchased by any inducement. The disbelievers have no power to turn them away from the great objective for the sake of which they have joined and followed the Prophet (peace be upon him) even at the cost of their lives.

And whatever their hardness and severity, it is only for the disbelievers, not for the believers. As regards the believers they are soft, merciful, affectionate, sympathetic and compassionate. Their unity of aim and object has produced in them love and harmony and complete accord among themselves.

Here the marks on faces do not mean the mark that appears on the forehead of some people on account of prostrations, but it implies the marks and traces of the fear of God, munificence, nobility and goodness of manner that naturally appears on the face of a person on account of bowing down before God. Man’s face is an open book on the pages of which different states of a man’s self can be seen easily. A vain and arrogant person’s face is different from the face of a humble, modest and unassuming person; an immoral person’s face is clearly distinguished from the face of a righteous and well mannered person; and there is a marked difference between the facial appearance of a wicked man and of a noble and virtuous man. What Allah means to say is: The companions of Muhammad (peace be upon him) are such that one can recognize them on first sight to be the best of mankind, because their faces shine forth with the light of God worship and God consciousness. This is the same thing about which Imam Malik has said that when the armies of the companions entered Syria, the Syrian Christians remarked: These people possess the very same qualities and characteristics of the disciples of the Prophet Jesus Christ (peace be upon him).

The allusion probably is to Deuteronomy, 33: 2-3, in which the Holy Prophet’s (peace be upon him) advent has been foretold and the word saints has been used for his companions. Apart from this, if some other quality of the companions has been mentioned in the Torah, it is not found in the existing, corrupted Torah.

This parable is found in a sermon of the Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) that has been reported in the New Testament, thus:
And he said, So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground: And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how. For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear. But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come. And he said, Where unto shall we liken the kingdom of God? Or with what comparison shall we compare it? It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when it is sewn in the earth, is less than all the seeds that be in the earth. But when it is sown, it groweth up, and becometh greater than all herbs, and shouted out great branches; so that the fowls of the air may lodge under the shadow of it.
The last portion of this sermon is also found in Matthew, 13: 31-32.

A section of the Muslims translates this verse, thus: Allah has promised forgiveness and a great reward to those from among these people who have believed and done good works. Thus, they invent a way to vilify and slander the companions, and claim that according to this verse many people among the companions were not believers and righteous. But this commentary goes against verses 4, 5, 18 and 26 of this very Sarah, and does not even accord with the initial sentences of this verse itself. In verses 4-5, Allah has made mention of sending down sakinat (tranquility) and of effecting increase in the faith of all those companions who were present with the Prophet (peace be upon him) at Hudaibiyah, and given them without any exception the good news of admission into Paradise. In (verse 18), Allah has expressed His good pleasure for all those who took the pledge to the Prophet (peace be upon him), and in this also there is no exception. In (verse 26), Allah has also used the word muminin (believers) for all the companions, has mentioned of sending down His sakinat to them, and obliged them to be righteous and pious, for they were most worthy and deserving of all mankind. Here also, it was not said that the news was being given only abut those who were believers among them. Then also in the initial sentences of this verse itself the characteristics mentioned are of all those people who were with the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). The words are to the effect that all the people who are with him have this quality and characteristic. After this, suddenly in the last sentence there could be no excuse to say that some of them were the believers and others were not.

The understanding of this surah is important as it carries many lessons for the believers and their faith on Allah. Doubting what has been sent on the Prophet of Allah and seeing it in very instant or prevailing environment can be misleading for there is nothing from Allah that can be misleading or fruitless for the believers. So be a believer with strong conviction and do not waver in the face of any advantage going to the disbelievers for at the end the believers will prevail and be rewarded for their steadfastness, reverencer and faith in Allah.

You may now like to listen to Arabic recitation of Sūrat al-Fatḥ 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 Part backwards for chapters in 30th Part are shorter and easier to understand). 

Photo | References: | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 |
An effort has been made to gather explanation / exegesis of the surahs of the Holy Qur'an from authentic souses and then present a least possible condensed explanation of the surah. However, the exegesis of the chapters of the Holy Quran are basically based on the "Tafhim al-Qur'an - The Meaning of the Qur'an" by one of the most enlightened scholars of the Muslim World Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi. In 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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Tuesday 2 April 2019

Surah Al Fath - The Victory: Overview of 48th Chapter of the Holy Quran

Sūrat al-Fatḥ is the forty eighth surah with 29 ayahs with four rukus, part of the 26th Juzʼ  of the Holy Qur'an.

As already mentioned in the exegesis of Surah Muhammad, the 47th chapter/surah of the Holy Qur'an that there are three surahs that were revealed in Medina having a similar framework and are thus so grouped; 
  • Surah Muhammad (the 47th chapter / surah) was revealed just before the Battle of Badr and described how Muslims should fight the disbelievers, the instructions regarding the prisoners of war
  • Surah Al Fath (The 48th chapter): It was revealed in Medina after the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah, and details the circumstances and terms of that treaty along with other general religious advice. The details will be covered in this post.
  • Surah Al Hujurat (the 49th chapter): Its subject-matter is the manners to be observed by the members of the rapidly-growing Muslim community, among themselves and towards its Leader, the Prophet of Allah (peace be upon him). 
In order to understand the mood set prevailing in Medina after the signing of the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah, one must understand the circumstances under which the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah was signed between the Muslims and the disbelievers of Medina. Herein under are the detailed the circumstances which led to the revelation of Surah Al Fath:

One may recount that while the Prophet of Allah was leaving Makkah after being coerced and even physically assaulted by the disbelievers for the propagation of Islam, he did it with a very heavy heavy heart and would often yearn to go back to Makkah, the place of his birth and the place where he was appointed on the honour of prophet hood. Thus one day the Holy Prophet saw in a dream that he had gone to Makkah with his Companions and had performed the Umrah there. Obviously, the Prophet's dream could not be a mere dream and fiction for it is a kind of Divine inspiration as Allah Himself has confirmed in verse 27 below and said that He Himself had shown that dream to His Messenger. Therefore, it was not merely a dream but a Divine inspiration which the Holy Prophet had to obey and follow.

Apparently, there was no possible way of acting on this inspiration. The disbelieving Quraish had debarred the Muslims from proceeding to the Ka'bah for the past six years and no Muslim had been allowed during that period to approach the Ka'bah for the purpose of performing hajj and Umrah, the smaller pilgrimage. Therefore, it could not be expected that they would allow the Holy Prophet to enter Makkah along with a party of his Companions. If they had proceeded to Makkah in the pilgrim garments with the intention of performing Umrah, along with their arms, this would have provoked the enemy to war, and if they had proceeded unarmed, this would have meant endangering his own as well as his Companions' lives. Under conditions such as these nobody could see and suggest how the Divine inspiration could be acted upon.

But the Prophet's position was different. It demanded that he should carry out whatever Command his Lord gave fearlessly and without any apprehension and doubt. Therefore, the Holy Prophet informed his Companions of his dream and began to make preparations for the journey. Among the tribes living in the suburbs also he had the public announcement made that he was proceeding for Umrah and the people could join him. Those who could only see the apparent conditions thought that he and his Companions were going into the very jaws of death none of them therefore was inclined to accompany him in the expedition. But those who had true faith in Allah and His Messenger were least bothered about the consequences. For them this information was enough that it was a Divine inspiration and Allah's Prophet had made up his mind to carry it into effect. After this nothing could hinder them from accompanying the Messenger of Allah. Thus, 1,400 of the Companions became ready to follow him on this highly dangerous journey.

This blessed caravan set off from Madinah in the beginning of Dhil Qa'dah, A. H. 6. At Dhul Hulaifah they entered the pilgrims robe with the intention of Umrah, took 70 camels with collars round their necks indicating that they were sacrificial animals; kept only a sword each in sheaths, which the pilgrims to the Ka'bah were allowed to carry according to the recognized custom of Arabia, but no other weapon. Thus, the caravan set out for the Ka'bah, the House of Allah, at Makkah, chanting the prescribed slogan of Labbaik, Allahuma Labbaik meaning Here I am, O'Lord here I am.

The nature of the relations between Makkah and Madinah in those days was known too well to every Arab. Just the previous year, in Shawwal A. H. 5, the Quraish mustering the united strength of the Arab tribes had invaded Madinah and the well known Battle of the Trench had taken place. It may be added that the mention of Battle of Trench has already been made in Surah Al Ahzab, the 33rd chapter / surah of the Holy Qur'an.

Therefore, when the Holy Prophet along with such a large caravan set off for the home of his blood-thirsty enemy, the whole of Arabia looked up with amazement, and the people also noticed that the caravan was not going with the intention to fight but was proceeding to the House of Allah in a forbidden month in the pilgrims garb carrying sacrificial animals and was absolutely unarmed.

The Quraish were confounded at this bold step taken by the Holy Prophet. Dhil-Qa'dah was one of those forbidden months which had been held as sacred for pilgrimage in Arabia for centuries. Nobody had a right to interfere with a caravan which might be coming for hajj or Umrah in the pilgrims garb in this month; so much so that even an enemy tribe could not hinder it from passing through its territory according to the recognized law of the land. The Quraish therefore were caught in a dilemma, for if they attacked this caravan from Madinah and stopped it from entering Makkah, this would arouse a clamor of protest in the whole country, and all the Arab tribes would have the misgiving that the Quraish had monopolized the Ka'bah as exclusively their own, and every tribe would be involved in the mistrust that now it depended on the will of the Quraish to allow or not to allow anyone to perform hajj or Umrah in the future and that they would stop any tribe with which they were angry from visiting the Ka'bah just as they had stopped the Madinese pilgrims. This they thought would be a grave mistake, which would cause the entire Arabia to revolt against them. But, on the other hand, if they allowed Muhammad (upon whom be Allah's peace and blessings) and his large caravan to enter their city safely, they would lose their image of power in Arabia and the people would say that they were afraid of Muhammad. At last, after a great deal of confusion, perplexity and hesitation they were overcome by their false sense of honor and for the sake of their prestige they took the decision that they would at no cost allow the caravan to enter the city of Makkah.

The Holy Prophet had dispatched a man of the Bani Ka'b as a secret agent so that he may keep him fully informed of the intentions and movements of the Quraish. When the Holy Prophet reached Usfan, he brought the news that the Quraish had reached Dhi Tuwa with full preparations and they had sent Khalid bin Walid with two hundred cavalry men in advance towards Kura'al-Ghamim to intercept him. The Quraish wanted somehow to provoke the Holy Prophet's Companions into fighting so that they may tell the Arabs that those people had actually come to fight and had put on the pilgrims garments for umrah only to deceive others.

Immediately on receipt of this information the Holy Prophet changed his route and following a very rugged, rocky track reached Hudaibiyah, which was situated right on the boundary of the sacred Makkan territory. Here, he was visited by Budail bin Warqa the chief of the Bani Khuza'ah, along with some men of his tribe. They asked what he had come for. The Holy Prophet replied that he and his Companions bad come only for pilgrimage to the House of Allah and for going round it in worship and not for war. The men of Khuza'ah went and told this to the Quraish chiefs and counseled them not to interfere with the pilgrims. But the Quraish were obstinate. They sent Hulays bin Alqamah, the chief of the Ahabish, to the Holy Prophet to persuade him to go back. Their object was that when Muhammad (upon whom be Allah's peace) would not listen to Hulays, he would come back disappointed and then the entire power of the Ahabish would be on their side. But when Hulays went and saw that the whole caravan had put on the pilgrims garments, had brought sacrificial camels with festive collars round their necks, and had come for doing reverence to the House of Allah and not to fight, he returned to Makkah without having any dialogue with the Holy Prophet and told the Quraish chiefs plainly that those people bad no other object but to pay a visit to the Ka'bah; if they debarred them from it, the Ahabish would not join them in that, because they had not become their allies to support them if they violated the sacred customs and traditions.

Then the Quraish sent `Urwah bin Mas'ud Thaqafi; he had lengthy negotiations with the Holy Prophet in an effort to persuade him to give up his intention to enter Makkah. But the Holy Prophet gave him also the same reply that he had given to the chief of the Khuza'ah, that they had not come to fight but to do honor to the House of Allah and carry out a religious duty. Urwah went back and said to the Quraish: "I have been to the courts of the Caesar and Khosroes, and the Negus also, but by God, never have I seen any people so devoted to a king as are the Companions of Muhammad (upon whom be Allah's peace and blessings) to him. If Muhammad makes his ablutions they would not let the water thereof fall on the ground but would rub it on their bodies and clothes. Now you may decide as to what you should do."

In the meantime when the messages were coming and the negotiations were going on, the Quraish tried again and again to quietly launch sudden attacks on the Muslim camp in order to provoke the Companions and somehow incite them to war, but every time they did so the Companions' forbearance and patience and the Holy Prophet's wisdom and sagacity frustrated their designs. On one occasion forty or fifty of their men came at night and attacked the Muslim camp with stones and arrows. The Companions arrested all of them and took them before the Holy Prophet, but he let them go. On another occasion 80 men came from the direction of Tan'im right at the time of the Fajr Prayer and made a sudden attack. They were also caught, but the Holy Prophet forgave them, too. Thus, the Quraish went on meeting failure after failure in every one of their designs.

At last, the Holy Prophet sent Hadrat Uthman (may Allah be pleased with him) as his own messenger to Makkah with the message that they had not come to fight but only for pilgrimage and had brought their sacrificial camels along, and they would go back after performing the rite of pilgrimage and offering the sacrifice. But the Quraish did not agree and withheld Hadrat Uthman in the city. In the meantime a rumor spread that Hadrat Uthman had been killed; and when he did not return in time the Muslims took the rumor to be true. Now they could show no more forbearance. Entry into Makkah was different for there was no intention to use force. But when the ambassador was put to death, the Muslims had no alternative but to prepare for war. Therefore, the Holy Prophet summoned all his Companions together and took a solemn pledge from them that they would fight to death. In view of the critical occasion it was not an ordinary undertaking. The Muslims numbered only 1400 and had come without any weapons, were encamping at the boundary of Makkah, 250 miles away from their own city, and the enemy could attack them in full strength, and could surround them with its allies from the adjoining tribes as well. In spite of this, none from the caravan except one man failed to give his pledge to fight to death, and there could be no greater proof of their dedication and sincerity than that in the cause of Allah. This pledge is well known in the history of Islam as the pledge of Ridwan.

Later it was known that the news about Hadrat Uthman was false. Not only did he return but under Suhail bin 'Amr from the Quraish also arrived a deputation to negotiate peace with the Holy Prophet. Now, the Quraish no more insisted that they would disallow the Holy Prophet and his Companions to enter Makkah. However, in order to save their face they only insisted that he went back that year but could come the following year to perform the Umrah. After lengthy negotiations peace was concluded on the following terms:

  • War would remain suspended for ten years, and no party would indulge in any hostility, open or secret, against the other.
  • If any one during that period from among the Quraish went over to Muhammad, without his guardian's permission, he would return him to them, but if a Companion of Muhammad came over to the Quraish, they would not return him to him.
  • Every Arab tribe would have the option to join either side as its ally and enter the treaty.
  • Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his men would go back that year and could come the following year for Umrah and stay in Makkah for three days, provided that they brought only one sheathed sword each, and no other weapon of war. In those three days the Makkans would vacate the city for them (so that there was no chance of a clash), but they would not be allowed to take along any Makkan on return.

When the conditions of the treaty were being settled, the whole of the Muslim army was feeling greatly upset. No one understood the expedience because of which the Holy Prophet was accepting the conditions. No one was far sighted enough to foresee the great benefit that was to result from this treaty. The disbelieving Quraish looked at it as their victory, and the Muslims were upset as to why they should be humiliated to accepting those mean conditions. Even a statesman of th caliber of Hadrat Umar says that he had never given way to doubt since the time he had embraced Islam but on this occasion he also could not avoid it. Impatient he went to Hadrat Abu Bakr and said "Is he (the Holy Prophet) not Allah's Messenger, and are we not Muslims, and are they not polytheists? Then, why should we agree to what is humiliating to our Faith?" He replied "O Umar, he is surely Allah's Messenger, and Allah will never make him the loser." Unsatisfied he went to the Holy Prophet himself and put the same questions to him, and he also gave him the same replies as Hadrat Abu Bakr had given. Afterwards Hadrat Umar continued to offer voluntary prayers and give aims so that Allah may pardon his insolence that he had shown towards the Holy Prophet on that occasion.

Two things in the treaty were highly disturbing for the Muslims first, the second condition, about which they said that it was an expressly unfair condition, for if they had to return a fugitive from Makkah, why should not the Quraish return a fugitive from Madinah? To this the Holy Prophet replied: "What use would be he to us, who fled from us to them? May Allah keep him away from us!And if we return the one who flees to us from them, Allah will create some other way out for him." The other thing that was rankling in their minds was the fourth condition. The Muslims thought that agreeing to it meant that they were going back unsuccessful and this was humiliating. Furthermore, the question that was causing them feel upset wad that they had accepted the condition of going back without performing the pilgrimage to the Ka'bah, whereas the Holy Prophet had seen in the vision that they were performing tawaf at Makkah. To this the Holy Prophet replied that in his vision the year had not been specified. According to the treaty conditions, therefore, they would perform the tawaf the following year if it pleased Allah.

Right at the time when the document was being written, Suhail bin 'Amr's own son, Abu Jandal, who had become a Muslim and been imprisoned by the pagans of Makkah somehow escaped to the Holy Prophet's camp. He had fetters on his feet and signs of violence on his body. He implored the Holy Prophet that he help secure his release from imprisonment. The scene only increased the Companions' dejection, and they were moved beyond control. But Suhail bin 'Amr said the conditions of the agreement had been concluded between them although the writing was not yet complete; therefore, the boy should be returned to them. The Holy Prophet admitted his argument and Abu Jandal was returned to his oppressors.

When the document was finished, the Holy Prophet spoke to the Companions and told them to slaughter their sacrificial animals at that very place, shave their heads and put off the pilgrim garments, but no one moved from his place. The Holy Prophet repeated the order thrice but the Companions were so overcome by depression and dejection that they did not comply. During his entire period of apostleship on no occasion had it ever happened that he should command his Companions to do a thing and they should not hasten to comply with it. This caused him a great shock, and he repaired to his tent and expressed his grief before his wife, Hadrat Umm Salamah. She said, "You may quietly go and slaughter your own camel and call the barber and have your head shaved. After that the people would automatically do what you did and would understand that whatever decision had been taken would not be changed." Precisely the same thing happened. The people slaughtered their animals, shaved their heads or cut their hair short and put off the pilgrim garb, but their hearts were still afflicted with grief.

Later, when this caravan was returning to Madinah, feeling depressed and dejected at the truce of Hudaibiyah, this Surah came down at Dajnan (or according to some others, at Kura' al-Ghamim), which told the Muslims that the treaty that they were regarding an their defeat, was indeed a great victory. After it had come down, the Holy Prophet summoned the Muslims together and said: "Today such a thing has been sent down to me, which is more valuable to me than the world and what it contains." Then be recited this Surah, especially to Hadrat Umar, for he was the one who was feeling most dejected.

Although the believers were satisfied when they heard this Divine Revelation, not much longer afterwards the advantages of this treaty began to appear one after the other until every one became fully convinced that this peace treaty indeed was a great victory:
In it for the first time the existence of the Islamic State in Arabia was duly recognized. Before this in the eyes of the Arabs the position of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (upon whom be Allah's peace) and his Companions was no more than of mere rebels against the Quraish and other Arab tribes, and they regarded them as the outlaws. Now the Quraish themselves by concluding this agreement with the Holy Prophet recognized his sovereignty over the territories of the Islamic State and opened the way for the Arab tribes to enter treaties of alliance with either of the political powers they liked.
By admitting the right of pilgrimage to the House of Allah for the Muslims, the Quraish also admitted that Islam was not an anti-religious creed, as they had so far been thinking, but it was one of the admitted religions of Arabia, and like the other Arabs, its followers also had the right to perform the rites of hajj and umrah. This diminished the hatred in the Arabs hearts that had been caused by the propaganda made by the Quraish against Islam.
The signing of a no-war pact for ten years provided full peace to the Muslims, and spreading to every nook and corner of Arabia they preached Islam with such spirit and speed that within two years after Hudaibiyah the number of the people who embraced Islam far exceeded those who bad embraced it during the past 19 year or so. It was all due to this treaty that two years later when in consequence of the Quraish's violating the treaty the Holy Prophet invaded Makkah, he was accompanied by an army 10,000 strong, whereas on the occasion of Hudaibiyah only 1,400 men had joined him in the march.
After the suspension of hostilities by the Quraish the Holy Prophet had the opportunity to establish and strengthen Islamic rule in the territories under him and to turn the Islamic society into a full fledged civilization and way of life by the enforcement of Islamic law. This is that great blessing about which Allah says in verse 3 of Surah Al-Ma'idah:"Today I have perfected your Religion for you and completed My blessing on you and approved Islam as the Way of Life for you." 
Another gain that accrued from the truce with the Quraish was that being assured of peace from the south the Muslims overpowered all the opponent forces in the north and central Arabia easily. Just three months after Hudaibiyah, Khaiber, the major stronghold of the Jews, was conquered and after it the Jewish settlements of Fadak, Wad-il Qura, Taima and Tabuk also fell to Islam one after the other. Then all other tribes of central Arabia, which were bound in alliance with the Jews and Quraish, came under the sway of Islam. Thus, within two years after Hudaibiyah the balance of power in Arabia was so changed that the strength of the Quraish and pagan gave way and the domination of Islam became certain.

These were the blessings that the Muslims gained from the peace treaty which they were looking upon as their defeat and the Quraish as their victory. However, what had troubled the Muslims most in this treaty, was the condition about the fugitives from Makkah and Madinah, that the former would be returned and the latter would not be returned. But not much long afterwards this condition also proved to be disadvantageous for the Quraish, and experience revealed what far reaching consequences of it had the Holy Prophet fore seen and then accepted it. A few days after the treaty a Muslim of Makkah, Abu Basir, escaped from the Quraish and reached Madinah. The Quraish demanded him back and the Holy Prophet returned him to their men who had been sent from Makkah to arrest him. But while on the way to Makkah he again fled and went and sat on the road by the Red Sea shore, which the trade caravans of the Quraish took to Syria. After that every Muslim who succeeded in escaping from the Quraish would go and join Abu Basir instead of going to Madinah, until 70 men gathered there. They would attack any Quraish caravan that passed the way and cut it into pieces at last, the Quraish themselves begged the Holy Prophet to call those men to Madinah, and the condition relating to the return of the fugitives of itself became null and void.

Thus the exegesis of Surah in our next post should be read with this historical background to understand the contents of Surah Al Fath. However, before that you may now like to listen to an enlightening overview commentary of Sūrat al-Fatḥ by renowned Muslim scholar and teacher Nouman Ali Khan:

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 Part backwards for chapters in 30th Part are shorter and easier to understand). 

Photo | References: | 1 | 2 | 3 |
An effort has been made to gather explanation / exegesis of the surahs of the Holy Qur'an from authentic souses and then present a least possible condensed explanation of the surah. However, the exegesis of the chapters of the Holy Quran are basically based on the "Tafhim al-Qur'an - The Meaning of the Qur'an" by one of the most enlightened scholars of the Muslim World Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi. In 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. 

If you like Islam: My Ultimate Decision, and to keep yourself updated on all our latest posts to know more about Islam, follow us on Facebook

Please share this page to your friends and family members through Facebook, WhatsApp or any means on Social Media so that they can also be benefited by it and better understand Islam and the Holy Qur'an - Insha Allah (Allah Willing) you shall be blessed with the best of both worlds.

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