SURAH ANFAL AYAH No 31 to 60
وَإِذَا تُتْلَى عَلَيْهِمْ آيَاتُنَا قَالُوا قَدْ سَمِعْنَا لَوْ نَشَاءُ لَقُلْنَا مِثْلَ هَذَا إِنْ هَذَا إِلاَّ أَسَاطِيرُ الأَوَّلِينَ (الأنفال: 31).
وَإِذْ قَالُوا اللَّهُمَّ إِنْ كَانَ هَذَا هُوَ الْحَقَّ مِنْ عِنْدِكَ فَأَمْطِرْ عَلَيْنَا حِجَارَةً مِنْ السَّمَاءِ أَوْ ائْتِنَا بِعَذَابٍ أَلِيمٍ (الأنفال: 32).
وَمَا كَانَ اللَّهُ لِيُعَذِّبَهُمْ وَأَنْتَ فِيهِمْ وَمَا كَانَ اللَّهُ مُعَذِّبَهُمْ وَهُمْ يَسْتَغْفِرُونَ (الأنفال: 33).
وَمَا لَهُمْ أَلاَّ يُعَذِّبَهُمْ اللَّهُ وَهُمْ يَصُدُّونَ عَنْ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ وَمَا كَانُوا أَوْلِيَاءَهُ إِنْ أَوْلِيَاؤُهُ إِلاَّ الْمُتَّقُونَ وَلَكِنَّ أَكْثَرَهُمْ لاَ يَعْلَمُونَ (الأنفال: 34).
وَمَا كَانَ صَلاَتُهُمْ عِنْدَ الْبَيْتِ إِلاَّ مُكَاءً وَتَصْدِيَةً فَذُوقُوا الْعَذَابَ بِمَا كُنتُمْ تَكْفُرُونَ (الأنفال: 35).
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا يُنْفِقُونَ أَمْوَالَهُمْ لِيَصُدُّوا عَنْ سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ فَسَيُنفِقُونَهَا ثُمَّ تَكُونُ عَلَيْهِمْ حَسْرَةً ثُمَّ يُغْلَبُونَ وَالَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا إِلَى جَهَنَّمَ يُحْشَرُونَ (الأنفال: 36).
لِيَمِيزَ اللَّهُ الْخَبِيثَ مِنْ الطَّيِّبِ وَيَجْعَلَ الْخَبِيثَ بَعْضَهُ عَلَى بَعْضٍ فَيَرْكُمَهُ جَمِيعًا فَيَجْعَلَهُ فِي جَهَنَّمَ أُوْلَئِكَ هُمْ الْخَاسِرُونَ (الأنفال: 37).
قُلْ لِلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا إِنْ يَنتَهُوا يُغْفَرْ لَهُمْ مَا قَدْ سَلَفَ وَإِنْ يَعُودُوا فَقَدْ مَضَتْ سُنَّةُ الأَوَّلِينَ (الأنفال: 38).
وَقَاتِلُوهُمْ حَتَّى لاَ تَكُونَ فِتْنَةٌ وَيَكُونَ الدِّينُ كُلُّهُ لِلَّهِ فَإِنْ انتَهَوْا فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ بِمَا يَعْمَلُونَ بَصِيرٌ (الأنفال: 39).
وَإِنْ تَوَلَّوْا فَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّهَ مَوْلاَكُمْ نِعْمَ الْمَوْلَى وَنِعْمَ النَّصِيرُ (الأنفال: 40).
وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّمَا غَنِمْتُمْ مِنْ شَيْءٍ فَأَنَّ لِلَّهِ خُمُسَهُ وَلِلرَّسُولِ وَلِذِي الْقُرْبَى وَالْيَتَامَى وَالْمَسَاكِينِ وَابْنِ السَّبِيلِ إِنْ كُنتُمْ آمَنْتُمْ بِاللَّهِ وَمَا أَنزَلْنَا عَلَى عَبْدِنَا يَوْمَ الْفُرْقَانِ يَوْمَ الْتَقَى الْجَمْعَانِ وَاللَّهُ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ (الأنفال: 41).
إِذْ أَنْتُمْ بِالْعُدْوَةِ الدُّنْيَا وَهُمْ بِالْعُدْوَةِ الْقُصْوَى وَالرَّكْبُ أَسْفَلَ مِنْكُمْ وَلَوْ تَوَاعَدتُّمْ لاَخْتَلَفْتُمْ فِي الْمِيعَادِ وَلَكِنْ لِيَقْضِيَ اللَّهُ أَمْرًا كَانَ مَفْعُولاً لِيَهْلِكَ مَنْ هَلَكَ عَنْ بَيِّنَةٍ وَيَحْيَا مَنْ حَيَّ عَنْ بَيِّنَةٍ وَإِنَّ اللَّهَ لَسَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ (الأنفال: 42).
إِذْ يُرِيكَهُمُ اللَّهُ فِي مَنَامِكَ قَلِيلاً وَلَوْ أَرَاكَهُمْ كَثِيرًا لَفَشِلْتُمْ وَلَتَنَازَعْتُمْ فِي الأَمْرِ وَلَكِنَّ اللَّهَ سَلَّمَ إِنَّهُ عَلِيمٌ بِذَاتِ الصُّدُورِ (الأنفال: 43).
وَإِذْ يُرِيكُمُوهُمْ إِذْ الْتَقَيْتُمْ فِي أَعْيُنِكُمْ قَلِيلاً وَيُقَلِّلُكُمْ فِي أَعْيُنِهِمْ لِيَقْضِيَ اللَّهُ أَمْرًا كَانَ مَفْعُولاً وَإِلَى اللَّهِ تُرْجَعُ الأُمُورُ (الأنفال: 44).
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِذَا لَقِيتُمْ فِئَةً فَاثْبُتُوا وَاذْكُرُوا اللَّهَ كَثِيرًا لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ (الأنفال: 45).
وَأَطِيعُوا اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ وَلاَ تَنَازَعُوا فَتَفْشَلُوا وَتَذْهَبَ رِيحُكُمْ وَاصْبِرُوا إِنَّ اللَّهَ مَعَ الصَّابِرِينَ (الأنفال: 46).
وَلاَ تَكُونُوا كَالَّذِينَ خَرَجُوا مِنْ دِيَارِهِمْ بَطَرًا وَرِئَاءَ النَّاسِ وَيَصُدُّونَ عَنْ سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ وَاللَّهُ بِمَا يَعْمَلُونَ مُحِيطٌ (الأنفال: 47).
وَإِذْ زَيَّنَ لَهُمْ الشَّيْطَانُ أَعْمَالَهُمْ وَقَالَ لاَ غَالِبَ لَكُمْ الْيَوْمَ مِنْ النَّاسِ وَإِنِّي جَارٌ لَكُمْ فَلَمَّا تَرَاءَتِ الْفِئَتَانِ نَكَصَ عَلَى عَقِبَيْهِ وَقَالَ إِنِّي بَرِيءٌ مِنْكُمْ إِنِّي أَرَى مَا لاَ تَرَوْنَ إِنِّي أَخَافُ اللَّهَ وَاللَّهُ شَدِيدُ الْعِقَابِ (الأنفال: 48).
إِذْ يَقُولُ الْمُنَافِقُونَ وَالَّذِينَ فِي قُلُوبِهِمْ مَرَضٌ غَرَّ هَؤُلاَءِ دِينُهُمْ وَمَنْ يَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللَّهِ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٌ (الأنفال: 49).
وَلَوْ تَرَى إِذْ يَتَوَفَّى الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا الْمَلاَئِكَةُ يَضْرِبُونَ وُجُوهَهُمْ وَأَدْبَارَهُمْ وَذُوقُوا عَذَابَ الْحَرِيقِ (الأنفال: 50).
ذَلِكَ بِمَا قَدَّمَتْ أَيْدِيكُمْ وَأَنَّ اللَّهَ لَيْسَ بِظَلاَّمٍ لِلْعَبِيدِ (الأنفال: 51).
كَدَأْبِ آلِ فِرْعَوْنَ وَالَّذِينَ مِنْ قَبْلِهِمْ كَفَرُوا بِآيَاتِ اللَّهِ فَأَخَذَهُمُ اللَّهُ بِذُنُوبِهِمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ قَوِيٌّ شَدِيدُ الْعِقَابِ (الأنفال: 52).
ذَلِكَ بِأَنَّ اللَّهَ لَمْ يَكُ مُغَيِّرًا نِعْمَةً أَنْعَمَهَا عَلَى قَوْمٍ حَتَّى يُغَيِّرُوا مَا بِأَنفُسِهِمْ وَأَنَّ اللَّهَ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ (الأنفال: 53).
كَدَأْبِ آلِ فِرْعَوْنَ وَالَّذِينَ مِنْ قَبْلِهِمْ كَذَّبُوا بِآيَاتِ رَبِّهِمْ فَأَهْلَكْنَاهُمْ بِذُنُوبِهِمْ وَأَغْرَقْنَا آلَ فِرْعَوْنَ وَكُلٌّ كَانُوا ظَالِمِينَ (الأنفال: 54).
إِنَّ شَرَّ الدَّوَابِّ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا فَهُمْ لاَ يُؤْمِنُونَ (الأنفال: 55).
الَّذِينَ عَاهَدْتَ مِنْهُمْ ثُمَّ يَنقُضُونَ عَهْدَهُمْ فِي كُلِّ مَرَّةٍ وَهُمْ لاَ يَتَّقُونَ (الأنفال: 56).
فَإِمَّا تَثْقَفَنَّهُمْ فِي الْحَرْبِ فَشَرِّدْ بِهِمْ مَنْ خَلْفَهُمْ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَذَّكَّرُونَ (الأنفال: 57).
وَإِمَّا تَخَافَنَّ مِنْ قَوْمٍ خِيَانَةً فَانْبِذْ إِلَيْهِمْ عَلَى سَوَاءٍ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لاَ يُحِبُّ الْخَائِنِينَ (الأنفال: 58).
وَلاَ يَحْسَبَنَّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا سَبَقُوا إِنَّهُمْ لاَ يُعْجِزُونَ (الأنفال: 59).
وَأَعِدُّوا لَهُمْ مَا اسْتَطَعْتُمْ مِنْ قُوَّةٍ وَمِنْ رِبَاطِ الْخَيْلِ تُرْهِبُونَ بِهِ عَدُوَّ اللَّهِ وَعَدُوَّكُمْ وَآخَرِينَ مِنْ دُونِهِمْ لاَ تَعْلَمُونَهُمُ اللَّهُ يَعْلَمُهُمْ وَمَا تُنفِقُوا مِنْ شَيْءٍ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ يُوَفَّ إِلَيْكُمْ وَأَنْتُمْ لاَ تُظْلَمُونَ (الأنفال: 60).
(8:31) And when Our verses are recited to them, they say: ‘We have heard. We could, if we willed, compose the like of it. They, are nothing but fables of the ancient times.’
(8:32) And also recall when they said: ‘O Allah! If this indeed be the truth from You, then rain down stones upon us from heaven, or bring upon us a painful chastisement.’26
26. These words were uttered by way of challenge rather than a prayer to God. What they meant was that had the message of the Prophet (peace be on him) been true, and from God, its rejection would have entailed a heavy scourge, and stones would have fallen on them
from heaven. Since nothing of the sort happened, it was evident that the message was neither true nor from God.
(8:33) But Allah was not to chastise them while you are in their midst; nor was Allah going to chastise them while they sought His forgiveness. 22
27. This is a rejoinder to the challenge implicit in the above-mentioned remark of the unbelievers. In response it was explained why people were spared heavenly scourge during the Makkan period of the Prophet’s life. The first reason being that God does not punish a
people as long as the Prophet is in their midst, busy inviting them to the truth. Such people are rather granted respite and are not deprived of the opportunity to reform themselves by sending a scourge all too quickly. Second, if there are a good number of people in a land
who recognize that they have been negligent and heedless and have been guilty of iniquity, who seek God’s forgiveness and strive to reform themselves, there remains no legitimate ground for subjecting them to a heavenly scourge. The time for such a scourge comes when
a Prophet who has spared no efforts to reform his people feels that he has exhausted all his efforts, and concludes that his people have no justification to persist in their iniquity, and departs from that land or is banished from it by its people or is murdered by them. A scourge from on high then becomes imminent since the people of that land have proven by their deeds their inability to tolerate any righteous element in their midst.
(8:34) But what prevents Allah from chastising them now when they are hindering people from the Holy Mosque, even though they are not even its true guardians. For its true guardians are none but the God-fearing, though most of them do not know that.
(8:35) Their Prayer at the House is nothing but whistling and handclapping. Taste, then, this chastisement for your denying the truth.
28. This is to dispel a misconception common among the Arabs of those days. They were
generally inclined to assume that since the Quraysh were the guardians and keepers of the Ka ‘bah and were also engaged in worship at that holy spot, they were recipients of God’s
special favors. Here people are told that the defacto guardianship of the Ka,bah should not be confused with its de jure guardianship. For only the God-fearing and pious are the rightful guardians of the Ka,bah. As for the Quraysh, far from behaving in a manner becoming of the guardians of the Ka,bah they had virtually installed themselves as its masters, and were guilty of preventing people from worshipping there at will. This attitude blatantly betrayed their impiety, and un righteousness. As for their worship in the Ka,bah. it was altogether devoid of religious devotion and sincerity. They neither turned earnestly to God, nor displayed any genuine submission or humility, nor engaged in worshipfully remembering Him. Their worship consisted of meaningless noise and clamor, of acts which seemed closer to play and jest than acts of religious devotion. How could such a guardianship of the Ka’bah and such non-serious acts in the name of worship win God’s favor for them, or secure for them immunity from God’s scourge?
29. The Quraysh believed that God’s punishment necessarily takes the form of some natural calamity or a rain of stones from the sky. They are, however, told that their decisive defeat in the Battle of Badr, which ensured the survival of Islam and spelled death for their much- cherished Jahiliyah was a form of God’s punishment for them.
(8:36) Surely those who deny the truth spend their wealth to hinder people from the way of Allah, and will continue to so spend until their efforts become a source of intense regret for them, and then they will be vanquished, and then these deniers of the truth will be driven to Hell
(8:37) So that Allah may separate the bad from the good, and join together all those who are bad into a pile one upon another, and cast them into Hell. They, it is they who are the losers.22
30. What can be more calamitous than a person’s discovery at the end of the road that all the time, energy, ability and the very quintessence of his life which he has devoted has driven him straight to his utter ruin; that his investments far from yielding any interest or dividend
will require from him the payment of a grievous penalty instead.
(8:38) [O Prophet!] Tell the unbelievers that if they desist from evil, their past shall be forgiven and if they revert to their past ways, then it is well known what happened with the people of the past.
(8:39) And fight against them until the mischief ends and the way prescribed by Allah – the whole of it prevail ‘Then, if they give up mischief, surely Allah sees what they do.
31. This is a reiteration of the purpose, mentioned earlier in al-Baqarah 2: 193, for which Muslims are required to wage war. The purpose is two-fold. Negatively speaking, the purpose is to eradicate ‘mischief’. The positive purpose consists of establishing a state of affairs wherein all obedience is rendered to God alone. This alone is the purpose for which the believers may, rather should, fight. Fighting for any other purpose is not lawful. Nor does it behoove men of faith to take part in wars for worldly purposes. (For further explanation see Towards Understanding the Qur’an, vol. 1, (al-Baqarah 2, nn.. 204 and 205
(8:40) But if they turn away, then know well that Allah is your Protector – an excellent Protector and an excellent Helper.
(8:41) Know that one fifth of the spoils that you obtain belongs to Allah, to the Messenger, to the near of kin, to the orphans, and the needy, and the wayfarer.22 This you must observe if you truly believe In Allah and in what We sent down on Our servant on the day when the true was distinguished from the false, the day on which the two armies met in battle. Allah has power over all things.
32. This verse lay’s down the law for distributing the spoils of war. Spoils of war, as mentioned earlier, essentially belong to God and His Messenger. They alone have the right to dispose of them. As for the soldiers who fight, they are not the rightful owners of the spoils; whatever they do receive should be considered an extra reward from God rather than their legitimate right.
Here it is stated how God and His Messenger decided to dispose of the spoils. The prescribed rule is that the soldiers should deposit all the spoils with the ruler or the commander without making any effort to conceal anything. One-fifth of the spoils thus deposited would be assigned for the purposes mentioned in the present verse and four-
fifths would be distributed among the soldiers who had taken part in the fighting. In keeping with the directive contained in the present verse, after every battle the Prophet (peace be on him) used to proclaim: ‘These are your spoils. My own share in them is no more than one-fifth and even that fifth is spent on you. Bring everything, even if it be a piece of thread or a needle, or anything bigger or smaller, and take nothing by stealth (ghulal), for taking by stealth is a shameful deed, and would lead to Hell.’ (Ahmad b. Hanbal, Musnad,
vol. 5, p. 316 – Ed.) It is pertinent to remember that the share of God and His Messenger (peace be on him) in the spoils signifies that a part of the spoils should be earmarked for the struggle to exalt the Word of God and to establish Islam as an operational system of life..
As to the word ‘kinsmen’ in the verse, during the Prophet’s lifetime, it stood for his relatives.
Since the Prophet (peace be on him) devoted all his time to the cause of Islam, he was not in a position to earn his own living. Hence, some arrangement had to be made for the maintenance of the Prophet (peace be on him) as well as for his family, and the relatives dependent upon him for financial support. Hence a part of khums (one-fifth of the spoils of war) was specified for that purpose. There is, however, some disagreement among jurists as to whom this share should go to after the Prophet’s death. Some jurists are of the view that after the Prophet’s death the rule stands repealed. According to other jurists, this part should go to relatives of those who succeeded him to Caliphate. Other jurists are of the view that this share should be distributed among the poor members of the Prophet’s family. To
the best of my knowledge, the Rightly-Guided Caliphs followed the last practice. (See the comments of Qurtubi, Ibn Kathir and Jassas on the verse. See also Ibn Rushd, Bidayat al- Mujtahid, vol. 1, pp. 377-8 – Ed. )
33. This refers to the support and help from God which brought about victory for the Muslims.
(8:42) And recall when you were encamped at the nearer end of the valley (of Badr) and they were at the farther end and the caravan below you (along the seaside). Had you made a mutual appointment to meet in encounter, you would have declined. But encounter was brought about so that Allah might accomplish what He had decreed, and that he who was to perish should perish through a clear proof, and who was to survive might survive through a clear proof.“ Surely Allah is All-Hearing, All- Knowing.
34. The living and the dead spoken of in the above verse do not signify the individuals who survived the battle or those killed during it. The reference here is to the ideological entities of Islam and Jahiliyah.
35. God is neither blind nor deaf nor ignorant. On the contrary, He is All-Knowing, All- Seeing, All-Wise. Hence, we find reflection of God’s knowledge, wisdom and justice in history.
(8:43) And recall when Allah showed them to you in your dream to be few in number. And had He showed them to you to be numerous, you would have flagged and disagreed with one another about fighting them. But Allah saved you. Surely Allah knows what is hidden in the breasts.
36. This refers to the time when the Prophet (peace be on him) was leaving Madinah along with the Muslims, or was on his way to Badr for the encounter with the Quraysh and did not have any definite information about the strength of the enemy. In a dream, however, the
Prophet (peace be on him) had a vision of the enemy. On the basis of that vision, the Prophet (peace he on him) estimated that the enemy, was not too powerful. Later when the Prophet (peace be on him) narrated his dream to the Muslims, they; were also encouraged and
boldly went ahead to confront the enemy,
(8:44) and recall when He made them appear as few in your eyes when you met them in the battle just as He lessened you in their eyes so that Allah might accomplish what had been decreed. To Allah are all matters referred for decision.
(8:45) Believers! When you encounter a host in battle, stand firm and remember Allah much that you may triumph.
(8:46) And obey Allah and His Messenger, and do not quarrel with one another lest you should lose courage and your power depart. Be steadfast, surely Allah is with those who remain steadfast.
37. The believers were asked to exercise self-restraint. They were required to refrain from haste, panic, consternation, creed and uncalled-for enthusiasm. They were counselled to proceed cool-headedly and to take well-considered decisions. They were also asked not to relent an inch even in the face of crave dangers: refrain from acting rashly under provocation; to desist from taking hasty action out of impatience. They were also asked to exercise control over themselves lest they were tempted by worldly gains. All these
instructions are implicit in the Qur’anic directive of patience given to the Muslims. God extends all help and support to those who exercise ‘patience’ (sabr) in the above sense.
(8:47) And be not like those who came forth from their homes exulting, with a desire to be seen of men, and hindering others from the way of Allah.38 Allah encompasses all that they do.
38. This alludes to the army of the disbelieving Qurayash, which, when it proceeded on a military expedition against the Muslims, was accompanied by singing and dancing minstrels. (See Ibn Sa’d. vol. 2, p. 13 – Ed.) Whenever the army halted, dancing and drinking parties were held. Also the army arrogantly vaunted its military power and numerical strength before the tribes and localities which fell on the way, and boasted of its invincibility. (See al-Waqidi, vol. 1, p. 39 – Ed.) This much is about the moral state of the Quraysh army.
What was even worse was the object of their fighting. They were not fighting for any lofty ideal. What they aimed at was merely to defeat the forces of truth and justice, to suppress and obliterate the only group which sought to uphold the truth. They simply did not want
any one to champion the cause of truth and justice.
This occasion was considered appropriate to warn the Muslims not to let themselves degenerate into a group like the Quraysh. God had favored them with faith and devotion to the truth. and gratitude to God for this favor required that they should purify both their
conduct and their reason for fighting.
This directive was not meant just for the time in which it was revealed. It is equally applicable today, and will remain applicable in all times to come. The forces of Unbelief today are no different from those in the time of the Prophet (peace he on him) for the moral state of the present-day armies is no better than of armies in the past. Arrangements for prostitution and drinking are as much a part of the present-day armies of unbelievers as ever before. The soldiers in these armies feel no shame in openly demanding the maximum
amount of alcoholic drinks and as many call-girls as possible. Without any sense of shame the soldiers virtually ask their compatriots to make available to them their daughters and sisters for the gratification of their lust. That being the case how can one expect that the soldiers of today would not go about committing debauchery and polluting the life of the people in the lands which they happen to conquer?
Apart from moral corruption, the soldiers of the present-day armies are known for their arrogance and effrontery to the conquered peoples. Their gestures and conversation – both of ordinary soldiers and officers – bespeak of their arrogance. Arrogance is also reflected in
the statements made by the statesmen of the militarily-strong and triumphant nations who in effect boastfully say to their people, in the words of the Quran: ‘No one shall overcome you today’ (al-Anfal 8: 48) and challenging the whole world in their vainglory: ‘Who is
greater than us in strength?’ (Fusilat 41: 15).
These powers are evidently wicked, but the purposes for which they wage war are even more so. These powers are keen, out of sheer trickery, to assure the rest of the world that in waging war they are prompted only by the welfare of mankind. In actual fact, they might
have either one motive for waging war or another, but it is absolutely certain that the motive is not the welfare of mankind. Their purpose is to establish their exclusive control and to exploit the resources created by God for all mankind. Their goal is to reduce other nations to the position of hewers of wood and drawers of water and to subject them to thralldom and servitude. Here Muslims are being told, in effect, that they should eschew the ways of non Muslims and desist from devoting their lives, energy, and resources to the evil purposes for which non-Muslims engage in warfare.
(8:48) And recall when Satan made their works seem fair to them and said: ‘None shall overcome you today. and I am your supporter.’ But when the two armies faced each other, he turned on his heels, and said: ‘Surely Iam quit of you for I behold that which you do not. Indeed I fear Allah, and Allah is stern in punishment.’
(8:49) And recall when the hypocrites and those whose hearts were diseased said: ‘Their faith has deluded these (believers).22 But he who puts his trust in Allah shall find Allah All-Mighty. All-Wise.’
39. Observing that a small band of resource less Muslims was getting ready to confront the powerful Quraysh, the hypocrites as well as those who were heedless of God and cared only for worldly interests, often tended to say to one another that the religious passion of the
Muslims had driven them to utter fanaticism and zealotry. They were sure that the Muslims would face a total rout on the battlefield. They were puzzled by how the Prophet (peace be on him), in whom the Muslims believed, had cast such a spell over them that they were
altogether incapable of rational calculation and were hence rushing straight into the very mouth of death.
(8:50) And if you could only see when the angels took away the souls of the unbelievers, striking them on their faces and backs, saying: ‘Taste the torment of burning.
(8:51) This is your punishment for what your hands wrought. Allah is not unjust in the least to His creatures.’
(8:52) Their case is like that of the people of Pharaoh and those before them. They denied the signs of Allah and so Allah seized them for their sins. Surely Allah is All- Powerful, Stern in retribution.
(8:53) This happened because Allah is not one to change the favor which He has bestowed upon a people until they have changed their attitude.“ Surely Allah is All- Hearing, All-Knowing.
40. Unless a nation renders itself totally unworthy of God’s favor, it is not deprived of it.
(8:54) Their case is like that of the people of Pharaoh and those before them: they rejected the signs of their Lord as false and so We destroyed them for their sins, and caused the people of to drown. For they were wrong-doers all.
(8:55) Surely the worst moving creatures in the sight of Allah are those who definitively denied the truth and are therefore in no way prepared to accept it;
(8:56) (especially) those with whom you entered into a covenant and then they broke their covenant time after time, and who do not fear Allah.42
41. This refers especially to the Jews. After arriving in Madinah, the Prophet (peace be on him) concluded a treaty of mutual co-operation and good neighbor lines with them. Not only did the Prophet (peace be on him) take the initiative in this connection, he also tried his best
to maintain pleasant relations with them. The Prophet (peace be on him) also felt greater affinity with the Jews than with the polytheists of Makka. As a rule he always showed preference to the customs and practices of the People of the Book over those of the polytheists. But somehow the Jewish rabbis and scholars were irked by the Prophet’s
preaching of pure monotheism and moral uprightness, let alone his scathing criticism of the deviations which appeared in Jewish belief and conduct. They were constantly engaged, therefore, in efforts to sabotage the new religious movement. In this respect, they left no
stone unturned. They collaborated with the hypocrites who were apparently an integral part of the Muslim body-politic. To serve the same end they fanned flames to rejuvenate the old animosities between the Aws and Khazraj which had brought about bloodshed and
fratricide in pre-Islamic times. They attempted to hatch conspiracies against Islam in collaboration with the Quraysh and other tribes. What was all the more deplorable was that they indulged in these nefarious activities despite their treaty of friendship and co-operation with the Prophet (peace be on him).
When the Battle of Badr took place, they took it for granted that the Muslims would not be able to survive the very first attack of the Quraysh. However, when the outcome of the battle dashed their hopes, they became all the more spiteful. Apprehending that the victory in the Battle of Badr would help the Muslims consolidate their position, they carried out their hostile activities against Islam even more vigorously’. Ka’b b. Ashraf, a Jewish chief, went to Makkah personally and recited stirring elegies for their dead warriors with a view to provoking the Quray’sh into hostile action against the Muslims. It was the same Ka’b b. Ashraf who considered the Muslim victory in the Battle of Badr such a catastrophe that he regarded death to be better than life. In his own words: ‘The belly of the earth has become
preferable to us than its back.’ (Ibn Hisham, vol. 2. p. 51 – Ed.) Banu Qaynugqa’, a Jewish tribe, in brazen violation of their agreement of friendship and alliance with the Muslims, took to indecent molestation and teasing the Muslim women who passed through their quarters.
When the Prophet (peace be on him) reproached them for this shameful conduct, they threatened the Prophet (peace be on him), saying: ‘Do not be deluded by your encounter with a people who had no knowledge of warfare, and so you had good luck with them. By
God, if we were to wage war against you, you will know that we are the men.'(Ibn Hisham, vol. 2, p. 47 – Ed.)
(8:57) So if you meet them in war, make of them a fearsome example for those who follow them that they may he admonished.
42. The verse makes it lawful for Muslims to feel absolved of the obligations of a treaty with a people who, despite that alliance, threw the obligations of the treaty overboard and engaged in hostile actions against the Muslims. It would even be lawful for the Muslims to
engage in hostilities against them. Likewise, if the Muslims are engaged in hostilities against a people and the non-Muslims who are bound in treaties of alliance or friendship with the Muslims, array themselves on the side of the enemy and fight against the Muslims, it would he lawful for the Muslims to treat them as enemies and kill them. For by their brazen violation of the obligations of the treaty concluded with their people, they had made it absolutely lawful for Muslims to disregard the terms of that treaty concerning the inviolability of the lives and properties of at least those individuals.
(8:58) And if you fear treachery from any people and whom you have a covenant) then publicly throw their covenant at them.2 Allah does not love the treacherous.
43. According to the above verse, it is not lawful for Muslims to decide unilaterally that their treaty with an ally is annulled either because of their grievance that their ally did not fully observe the terms of the treaty in the past or on ground of the fear that he would treacherously breach it in the future. There is no justification for Muslims to make such a decision nor to behave as if no treaty bound the two parties. On the contrary, whenever the Muslims are forced into such a situation they are required to inform the other party, before embarking on any hostile action, that the treaty was terminated. This step is necessary in
order that both parties are clear in their minds as to where things stand. Guided by this principle, the Prophet (peace be on him) laid down a basic rule of Islamic international law in the following words: ‘Whoever is bound in treaty with a people may not dissolve it until
either its term expires, or he flings it at them (i.e. publicly declares that it had been annulled).’ (Abu Da’ud, ‘Jihad’, Babfi al-Iman yakunbaynaha al-‘Aduw ‘Ahad, vol. 2, p. 75; Ahmad b. Hanbal, Musnad, vol. 4, pp. 111 and 113 – Ed.) The Prophet (peace be on him) further elucidated this by sayling: ‘Do not be treacherous even to him who is treacherous to
you’ (Abu Da’ud, Kitab al-Buyu’, ‘Bab fi al-Rajul Ya’khudh Hakkahu man tahe Yadih’, vol. 2, p. 260 – Ed.)
These directives were not given merely in order that preachers might preach them from the pulpit or embellish them in religious books. On the contrary, Muslims were required to folow these directive in their everyday lives, and they did in fact do so. Once Mu’awiyah during his reign, concentrated his troops on the borders of the Roman Empire in order to carry out a sudden attack immediately after the expiry of the treaty. ‘Amr b. ‘Anbasah, a Companion, strongly opposed this maneuver. He supported his opposition by reference to a tradition from the Prophet (peace he on him) in which he condemned such an act of treachery. Ultimately Mu’awiyah had to yield and call off his troops. (See the comments on the verse by Qurtubi and Ibn Kathir. See also Ahmad b. Hanbal, Musnad , vol. 4, pp. 113 and 389 – Ed,)
To annul a treaty unilaterally and to launch an armed attack without any warning was common practice in the time of ancient jahiliyah (Ignorance). That practice remains in vogue in the civilized jahiliyah of the present day as well. Recent instances in point are the Russian
invasion of Germany and the Russian and British military action against Iran during the Second World War. Such actions are usually justified on the ground that a previous warning would have put the enemy on the alert and would have enabled him to put up even stiffer resistance. It is also justified by saying that a military initiative has the effect of pre-empting a similar military initiative by the enemy. If such pleading can absolve people of their moral obligations, then every offence is justifiable. In such a case even those who commit theft,
robbery, illegitimate sexual intercourse, homicide, or forgery can proffer either one pretext or the other for so doing. It is also amazing that acts which are deemed unlawful for individuals are deemed perfectly lawful when they are committed by nations.
It should also be pointed out that an unannounced attack. according to Islamic law, is lawful in one situation: when the ally has clearly violated the treaty and has blatantly indulged in hostile action. Only in such an eventuality it is not binding on Muslims to first declare the
dissolution of the treaty. Not only that, in such a circumstance it is also lawful to launch an unannounced military action. In deriving this legal rule, Muslim jurists have drawn on the Prophet’s own conduct in regard to the Quraysh who had breached the Hudaybiyah Treaty
in dealing with Bana Khuza’ah. In this instance the Prophet (peace be on him) did not notify them that the treaty had been annulled. On the contrary, he invaded Makka without warning. (See Qurtubi’s comments on the verse – Ed.) Nonetheless, while acting on this exceptional provision one should be cautious and take into account the totality of
circumstances in which the Prophet (peace be on him) took this step. That alone will help one to properly follow the Prophet’s example. For one should try to imitate the Prophet’s example in its totality rather than just one or other aspect of it depending on one’s whim.
What we know from the Sirah and Hadith with regard to this is the following:
First, that the Quraysh had so openly violated the treaty that its annulment had become absolutely clear. Even men of the Quraysh themselves acknowledged that the treaty was no longer in operation. It is because of this realization that the Qurayrsh had deputed Abu
Sufyan to Madina to negotiate for its renewal (Al-Tabari. Ta’rikh, vol. 3, p. 46 -Ed.) This fact clearly indicates that the Quraysh were in no doubt that the treaty stood dissolved. It is immaterial whether the party which annulled the treaty verbally declared so or not for it had been violated so blatantly that no room for doubt was left.
Second, after the annulment of the treaty the Prophet (peace be on him) did not say anything, either in clear or ambiguous terms, which could justify the impression that he still regarded the Quraysh to be his allies or that the treaty relations with them were still intact.
All relevant reports, on the contrary, suggest that when Abu Sufyan pleaded for the renewal of the treaty, the Prophet (peace be on him) did not accede to that request, (Ibn Hisham. vol. 2, p. 395 – Ed.)
Third, the Prophet (peace he on him) himself initiated military action against the Quraysh and he did so openly. There was no element of duplicity or fraud in the Prophet’s behavior; there was no trace of pretense to be at peace while secretly engaging in belligerent activities.
This is the full picture of the Prophet’s attitude on the occasion. Hence the directive of flinging the treaty in the face of the other party as embodied in the above verse (i.e. informing the other party that the treaty had been terminated) may only be disregarded in
very special circumstances such as those existing then. And should it be disregarded then this should be done in the straightforward and graceful manner adopted by the Prophet (peace be on him).
Moreover, if some dispute arises with a people with whom the Muslims have a treaty and the dispute remains unresolved even after direct negotiations or international mediation; or if the other party appears bent upon forcing a military solution to the problem, it would be lawful for Muslims to resort to force. However, according to the above verse, force may be used by Muslims after making a clear proclamation of the annulment of the treaty, and that the action taken should be overt. To carry out military action by stealth is an immoral act and can nowhere be found among the teachings of Islam.
(8:59) Let not the deniers of the truth be deluded that they will gain any advantage. Surely, they, can never overcome Us!
(8:60) Make ready for an encounter against them all the forces and well-readied horses you can muster“ that you may overawe the enemies of Allah and your own enemies and others besides them of whom you are unaware but of whom Allah is aware. Whatever you may spend in the cause of Allah shall be fully repaid to you, and you shall not be wronged.
44. Muslims should he equipped with military resources and should have a standing army in a state of preparedness, in order that it may be used when needed. Never should it happen that the Muslims are caught unawares and have to hurriedly look around right and
left to build up their defenses and collect arms and supplies in order to meet the challenge of the enemy. For then it might be too late and the enemy might have accomplished its purpose.