Surah An-Nisa’ Part 8 Ayat 84-94

{84. Then fight in the cause of Allah, you are not tasked (held responsible) except for yourself, and incite the believers (to fight along with you), it may be that Allah will restrain the evil might of the disbelievers. And Allah is Stronger in might and Stronger in punishing.

85. Whosoever intercedes for a good cause, will have the reward thereof; and whosoever intercedes for an evil cause, will have a share in its burden. And Allah is Ever All-Able to do everything.

86. When you are greeted with a greeting, greet in return with what is better than it, or (at least) return it equally. Certainly, Allah is Ever a Careful Account Taker of all things.

87. Allah! None has the right to be worshipped but He. Surely, He will gather you together on the Day of Resurrection about which there is no doubt. And who is truer in statement than Allah?}

Allah Commands His Messenger to Perform Jihad

Allah commands His servant and Messenger, Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, to himself fight in Jihad and not to be concerned about those who do not join Jihad. Hence Allah’s statement, ”you are not tasked (held responsible) except for yourself” Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Abu Ishaq said, “I asked Al-Bara bin Azib about a man who meets a hundred enemies and still fights them, would he be one of those referred to in Allah’s statement, ”And do not throw yourselves into destruction (by not spending your wealth in the cause of Allah)” He said, ‘Allah said to His Prophet, ”Then fight in the cause of Allah, you are not tasked (held responsible) except for yourself, and incite the believers (to fight along with you).” Imam Ahmad recorded Sulayman bin Dawud saying that Abu Bakr bin Ayyash said that Abu Ishaq said, “I asked Al-Bara, ‘If a man attacks the lines of the idolators, would he be throwing himself to destruction’ He said, ‘No because Allah has sent His Messenger and commanded him, ”Then fight in the cause of Allah, you are not tasked (held responsible) except for yourself” That Ayah is about spending [in Allah’s cause].” (Ahmad 4:281)

Inciting the Believers to Fight

Allah said, ”and incite the believers” to fight, by encouraging them and strengthening their resolve in this regard. For instance, the Prophet said to the believers at the battle of Badr, while organizing their lines, ”Stand up and march forth to a Paradise, as wide as the heavens and Earth.” (Muslim 3:1510) Al-Bukhari recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said, ”Whoever believes in Allah and His Messenger, offers prayer, pays the Zakah and fasts the month of Ramadan, will rightfully be granted Paradise by Allah, no matter whether he migrates in Allah’s cause or remains in the land where he is born.” The people said, ‘O Allah’s Messenger! Shall we acquaint the people with this good news?’ He said, ‘Paradise has one hundred grades which Allah has reserved for the Mujahidin who fight in His cause, the distance between each two grades is like the distance between the heaven and the Earth. So, when you ask Allah, ask for Al-Firdaws, which is the best and highest part of Paradise, above it is the Throne of the Most Beneficent (Allah) and from it originate the rivers of Paradise.” (Fath Al-Bari 6:14)

There are various narrations for this Hadith from Ubadah, Muadh, and Abu Ad- Darda. Abu Said Al-Khudri narrated that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said, ”O Abu Said! Whoever accepts Allah as his Lord, Islam as his religion and Muhammad as the Prophet, then he would rightfully acquire Paradise.” Abu Said liked these words and said, “O Allah’s Messenger! Repeat them for me.” The Prophet repeated his words, then said,”And (there is) another deed for which Allah raises the servant a hundred grades in Paradise, between each two grades is the distance between heaven and Earth.” Abu Said said, “What is it, O Allah’s Messenger?” He said, ”Jihad in Allah’s cause.” (Muslim 3:1501)

Allah’s statement, ”it may be that Allah will restrain the evil might of the disbelievers.” means, by your encouraging them to fight, their resolve will be strengthened to meet the enemy in battle, to defend Islam and its people and to endure and be patient against the enemy. Allah’s statement, ”And Allah is Stronger in might and Stronger in punishing.” means, He is able over them in this life and the Hereafter, just as He said in another Ayah,

”But if it had been Allah’s will, He Himself could certainly have punished them (without you). But (He lets you fight) in order to test some of you with others” (47:4).

Interceding for a Good or an Evil Cause

Allah said, “Whosoever intercedes for a good cause, will have the reward thereof” meaning, whoever intercedes in a matter that produces good results, will acquire a share in that good. ‘‘And whosoever intercedes for an evil cause, will have a share in its burden.” meaning, he will carry a burden due to what resulted from his intercession and intention. For instance, it is recorded in the Sahih that the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

”Intercede and you will gain a reward of it. Yet, Allah shall decide whatever He wills by the words of His Prophet.” (Fath Al-Bari 3:351)

Mujahid bin Jabr said, “This Ayah was revealed about the intercession of people on behalf of each other.” Allah then said, ”And Allah is Ever Muqit over everything.” Ibn Abbas, Ata’, Atiyah, Qatadah and Matar Al- Warraq said that, ”Muqit” means, “Watcher.” Mujahid said that Muqit means, ‘Witness’, and in another narration, ‘Able to do.’ (At-Tabari 8:583)

Returning the Salam, With a Better Salam

Allah said, ”When you are greeted with a greeting, greet in return with what is better than it, or (at least) return it equally.” meaning, if the Muslim greets you with the Salam, then return the greeting with a better Salam, or at least equal to the Salam that was given. Therefore, the better Salam is recommended, while returning it equally is an obligation. Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Raja’ Al-Utaridi said that Imran bin Husayn said that a man came to the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, and said, “As-Salamu Alaykum”. The Prophet returned the greeting, and after the man sat down he said, “Ten.” Another man came and said, “As-Salamu Alaykum wa Rahmatullah, O Allah’s Messenger.” The Prophet returned the greeting, and after the man sat down he said, “Twenty.” Then another man came and said, “As-Salamu Alaykum wa Rahmatullah wa Barakatuh.” The Prophet returned the greeting, and after the man sat down he said, “Thirty.” (Ahmad 4:439)

When the Muslim is greeted with the full form of Salam, he is obliged to return the greeting equally. As for Ahl Adh-Dhimmah the Salam should not be initiated nor should the greeting be added to when returning their greeting. Rather, as recorded in the Two Sahihs their greeting is returned to them equally. Ibn Umar narrated that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

”When the Jews greet you, one of them would say, ‘As-Samu Alayka (death be unto you).’ Therefore, say, ‘Wa Alayka (and the same to you).” (Fath Al-Bari 12:293)

In his Sahih, Muslim recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

”Do not initiate greeting the Jews and Christians with the Salam, and when you pass by them on a road, force them to its narrowest path.” (Muslim 4:1707)

Abu Dawud recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

”By He in Whose Hand is my soul! You will not enter Paradise until you believe, and you will not believe until you love each other. Should I direct you to an action that would direct you to love each other? Spread the Salam among yourselves.” (Abu Dawud 5:378)

Allah said, ”Allah! none has the right to be worshipped but He” informing that He is singled out as the sole God of all creation. Allah then said, ”Surely, He will gather you together on the Day of Resurrection about which there is no doubt.” swearing that He will gather the earlier and latter generations in one area, rewarding or punishing each person according to his or her actions. Allah said, ”And who is truer in statement than Allah?” meaning, no one utters more truthful statements than Allah, in His promise, warning, stories of the past and information of what is to come; there is no deity worthy of worship nor Lord except Him.

{88. Then what is the matter with you that you are divided into two parties about the hypocrites Allah has cast them back because of what they have earned. Do you want to guide him whom Allah has made to go astray? And he whom Allah has made to go astray, you will never find for him a way.

89. They wish that you reject faith, as they have rejected, and thus that you all become equal (like one another). So take not Awliya’ from them, till they emigrate in the way of Allah. But if they turn back, take (hold of) them and kill them wherever you find them, and take neither Awliya’ nor helpers from them.

90. Except those who join a group, between you and whom there is a treaty (of peace), or those who approach you with their breasts restraining from fighting you as well as fighting their own people. Had Allah willed, indeed He would have given them power over you, and they would have fought you. So, if they withdraw from you, and fight not against you, and offer you peace, then Allah has made no way for you against them.

91. You will find others that wish to have security from you and security from their people. Every time they are sent back to Fitnah, they yield thereto. If they withdraw not from you, nor offer you peace, nor restrain their hands, take (hold of) them and kill them wherever you Thaqiftumuhum. In their case, We have provided you with a clear warrant against them.}

Censuring the Companions for Disagreeing over the Hypocrites who Returned to Al-Madinah Before Uhud

Allah criticizes the believers for disagreeing over the hypocrites. There are conflicting opinions over the reason behind revealing this Ayah. Imam Ahmad recorded that Zayd bin Thabit said that Messenger of Allah marched towards Uhud. However, some people who accompanied him went back to Al-Madinah, and the Companions of the Messenger of Allah divided into two groups concerning them, one saying they should be killed and the other objecting. Allah sent down, ”Then what is the matter with you that you are divided into two parties about the hypocrites” The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

 ”She (Al-Madinah) is Taybah, and she expels filth, just as the billow expels rust from iron.” (Ahmad 5:184)

Allah said, ”Allah has cast them back because of what they have earned.” meaning, He made them revert to, and fall into error. Ibn Abbas said that, ”Arkasahum” means, ‘cast them’ . (At-Tabari 9:15) Allah’s statement, ”because of what they have earned” means, because of their defiance and disobedience to the Messenger and following falsehood. ”Do you want to guide him whom Allah has made to go astray? And he whom Allah has made to go astray, you will never find for him a way.” meaning, there will be no path for him, or way to guidance. Allah’s statement, ”They wish that you reject faith, as they have rejected, and thus that you all become equal.” means, they wish that you fall into misguidance, so that you and they are equal in that regard. This is because of their extreme enmity and hatred for you. Therefore, Allah said, ”So take not Awliya’ from them, till they emigrate in the way of Allah. But if they turn back” if they abandon Hijrah, as Al-Awfi reported from Ibn Abbas. (At-Tabari 9:17) As-Suddi said that this part of the Ayah means, “If they make their disbelief public.”

Combatants and Noncombatants

Allah excluded some people; ”Except those who join a group, between you and whom there is a treaty (of peace)” meaning, except those who join and take refuge with a people with whom you have a pact of peace, or people of Dhimmah, then treat them as you treat the people with whom you have peace. This is the saying of As-Suddi, Ibn Zayd and Ibn Jarir. (At-Tabari 9:19)

In his Sahih, Al-Bukhari recorded the story of the treaty of Al-Hudaybiyyah, where it was mentioned that whoever liked to have peace with Quraysh and conduct a pact with them, then they were allowed. Those who liked to have peace with Muhammad and his Companions and enter a pact with them were allowed. It was reported that Ibn Abbas said that this Ayah was later abrogated by Allah’s statement,

”Then when the Sacred Months have passed, kill the idolators wherever you find them” Allah said, ”or those who approach you with their breasts restraining” referring to another type of people covered by the exclusion from fighting. They are those who approach the Muslims with hesitation in their hearts because of their aversion to fighting the Muslims. They do not have the heart to fight with the Muslims against their own people. Therefore, they are neither with nor against Muslims.

”Had Allah willed, indeed He would have given them power over you, and they would have fought you.” meaning, it is from Allah’s mercy that He has stopped them from fighting you. ”So, if they withdraw from you, and fight not against you, and offer you peace” meaning, they revert to peace, ”then Allah has opened no way for you against them” you do not have the right to kill them, as long as they take this position.

This was the position of Banu Hashim (the tribe of the Prophet ), such as Al-Abbas, who accompanied the idolators in the battle of Badr, for they joined the battle with great hesitation. This is why the Prophet commanded that Al-Abbas not be killed, but only captured. Allah’s statement, ”You will find others that wish to have security from you and security from their people.” refers to a type of people who on the surface appear to be like the type we just mentioned. However, the intention of each type is different, for the latter are hypocrites. They pretend to be Muslims with the Prophet and his Companions, so that they could attain safety with the Muslims for their blood, property and families. However, they support the idolators in secret and worship what they worship, so that they are at peace with them also. These people have secretly sided with the idolators, just as Allah described them, ”But when they are alone with their Shayatin, they say: “Truly, we are with you”. In this Ayah, Allah said, ”Every time they are sent back to Fitnah, they yield thereto.” meaning, they dwell in Fitnah. As-Suddi said that the Fitnah mentioned here refers to Shirk. (At-Tabari 9:28) Ibn Jarir recorded that Mujahid said that the Ayah was revealed about a group from Makkah who used to go to the Prophet [in Al-Madinah] pretending to be Muslims. However, when they went back to Quraysh, they reverted to worshipping idols. They wanted to be at peace with both sides. Allah commanded they should be fought against, unless they withdraw from combat and resort to peace. (At-Tabari 9:27) This is why Allah said, ”If they withdraw not from you, nor offer you peace” meaning, revert to peaceful and complacent behaviour, ”nor restrain their hands” refrain from fighting you, ”take (hold of) them”, capture them, ”and kill them wherever you Thaqiftumuhum”, wherever you find them, ”In their case, We have provided you with a clear warrant against them”, meaning an unequivocal and plain warrant.

 

{92. It is not for a believer to kill a believer except by mistake; and whosoever kills a believer by mistake, he must set free a believing slave and submit compensation (blood money) to the deceased’s family unless they remit it. If the deceased belonged to a people at war with you and he was a believer, the freeing of a believing slave (is prescribed); and if he belonged to a people with whom you have a treaty of mutual alliance, then compensation (blood money) must be paid to his family, and a believing slave must be freed. And whoso finds this beyond his means, he must fast for two consecutive months in order to seek repentance from Allah. And Allah is Ever All-Knowing, All-Wise.

93. And whoever kills a believer intentionally, his recompense is Hell to abide therein; and the wrath and the curse of Allah are upon him, and a great punishment is prepared for him.}

 

The Ruling Concerning Killing a Believer by Mistake

Allah states that the believer is not allowed to kill his believing brother under any circumstances. In the Two Sahihs, it is recorded that Ibn Masud said that the Messenger of Allah said, ”The blood of a Muslim who testifies that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah and that I am the Messenger of Allah, is sacred, except in three instances. (They are:) life for life, the married adulterer, and whoever reverts from the religion and abandons the Jama’ah (community of the faithful believers).” When one commits any of these three offenses, it is not up to ordinary citizens to kill him or her, because this is the responsibility of the Muslim Leader or his deputy. Allah said, ”except by mistake”. There is a difference of opinion concerning the reason behind revealing this part of the Ayah. Mujahid and others said that it was revealed about Ayyash bin Abi Rabiah, Abu Jahl’s half brother, from his mother’s side, Asma bint Makhrabah. Ayyash killed a man called Al-Harith bin Yazid Al-Amiri, out of revenge for torturing him and his brother because of their Islam. That man later embraced Islam and performed Hijrah, but Ayyash did not know this fact. On the Day of the Makkan conquest, Ayyash saw that man and thought that he was still a disbeliever, so he attacked and killed him. Later, Allah sent down this Ayah.

Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam said that this Ayah was revealed about Abu Ad-Darda’ because he killed a man after he embraced the faith, just as Abu Ad-Darda’ held the sword above him. When this matter was conveyed to the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, Abu Ad-Darda’ said, “He only said that to avert death.” The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said to him,

“Have you opened his heart?” (At-Tabari 9:34)

The basis for this story is in the Sahih, but it is not about Abu Ad-Darda’.

Allah said, ”and whosoever kills a believer by mistake, he must set free a believing slave and submit compensation (blood money) to the deceased’s family” thus, ordaining two requirements for murder by mistake. The first requirement is the Kaffarah (fine) for the great sin that has been committed, even if it was a mistake. The Kaffarah is to free a Muslim slave, not a non-Muslim slave. Imam Ahmad recorded that a man from the Ansar said that he brought a slave and said, “O Messenger of Allah! I have to free a believing slave, so if you see that this slave is a believer, I will free her.” The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, asked her, “Do you testify that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah?” She said, “Yes.” He asked her, “Do you testify that I am the Messenger of Allah?” She said, “Yes.” He asked, “Do you believe in Resurrection after death?” She said, “Yes.” The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said, “Then free her.” (Ahmad 3:451) This is an authentic chain of narration, and not knowing the name of the Ansari Companion does not lessen its authenticity.

Allah’s statement, “and submit compensation (blood money) to the deceased’s family” is the second obligation which involves the killer and the family of the deceased, who will receive blood money as compensation for their loss. The compensation is only obligatory for the one who possesses one of five; as Imam Ahmad, and the Sunan compilers recorded from Ibn Masud. He said; “Allah’s Messenger determined that the Diyah (blood money) for unintentional murder is twenty camels which entered their fourth year, twenty camels which entered their fifth year, twenty camels which entered their second year, and twenty camels which entered their third year.” (An-Nasa’i no. 4799)  This Diyah is required from the elders of the killer’s tribe, not from his own money.

In the Two Sahihs, it is recorded that Abu Hurayrah said, “Two women from Hudhayl quarreled and one of them threw a stone at the other and killed her and her unborn fetus. They disputed before the Messenger of Allah and he decided that the Diyah of the fetus should be to free a male or a female slave. He also decided that the Diyah of the deceased is required from the elders of the killer’s tribe.” This Hadith indicates that in the case of what appears to be intentional murder, the Diyah is the same as that for killing by virtual mistake. The former type requires three types of Diyah, just like intentional murder, because it is somewhat similar to intentional murder.

Al-Bukhari recorded in his Sahih that Abdullah bin Umar said, “The Messenger of Allah sent Khalid bin Al-Walid to Banu Jadhimah and he called them to Islam, but they did not know how to say, ‘We became Muslims.’ They started saying, ‘Saba’na, Saba’na (we became Sabians). Khalid started killing them, and when this news was conveyed to the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, he raised his hands and said, “O Allah! I declare my innocence before You of what Khalid did.” (Fath Al-Bari 7:653)

The Messenger sent Ali to pay the Diyah of those who were killed and to compensate for the property that was destroyed, to the extent of replacing the dog’s bowl. This Hadith indicates that the mistake of the Leader or his deputy (Khalid in this case) is paid from the Muslim Treasury.

Allah said, ”unless they remit it”, meaning, the Diyah must be delivered to the family of the deceased, unless they forfeit their right, in which case the Diyah does not become necessary. Allah’s statement, “If the deceased belonged to a people at war with you and he was a believer, the freeing of a believing slave (is prescribed)” means, if the murdered person was a believer, yet his family were combatant disbelievers, then they will receive no Diyah. In this case, the murderer only has to free a believing slave. Allah’s statement, “and if he belonged to a people with whom you have a treaty of mutual alliance” meaning, if the family of the deceased were from Ahl Adh-Dhimmah or with whom there is a peace treaty, then they deserve his Diyah; full Diyah if the deceased was a believer, in which case the killer is required to free a believing slave also. “And whoso finds this beyond his means, he must fast for two consecutive months” without breaking the fast (in the days of) the two months. If he breaks the fast without justification, i.e. illness, menstruation, post-natal bleeding, then he has to start all over again. Allah’s statement, “to seek repentance from Allah. And Allah is Ever All-Knowing, All-Wise.” means, this is how the one who kills by mistake can repent, he fasts two consecutive months if he does not find a slave to free. “And Allah is Ever All-Knowing, All-Wise”, we mentioned the explanation of this before.

Warning Against Intentional Murder

After Allah mentioned the ruling of unintentional murder, He mentioned the ruling for intentional murder. Allah said, “And whoever kills a believer intentionally” This Ayah carries a stern warning and promise for those who commit so grave a sin that it is mentioned along with Shirk in several Ayat of Allah’s Book. For instance, in Surat Al-Furqan, Allah said, “And those who invoke not any other god along with Allah, nor kill such person as Allah has forbidden, except for just cause”. Allah said, “Say: “Come, I will recite what your Lord has prohibited you from: Join not anything in worship with Him.” (6:151)

There are many Ayat and Hadiths that prohibit murder. In the Two Sahihs, it is recorded that Ibn Masud said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“Blood offenses are the first disputes to be judged between the people on the Day of Resurrection.” (Fath Al-Bari 11:402)

In a Hadith that Abu Dawud recorded, Ubadah bin As-Samit states that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

 ”The believer will remain unburdened in righteousness as long as he does not shed prohibited blood. When he sheds forbidden blood, he will become burdened.” (Abu Dawud no.4270)

Another Hadith, states,

”The destruction of this earthly life is less significant before Allah than killing a Muslim man (or woman).” (Tuhfat Al-Ahwadhi 4:652)

Will the Repentance of those who Commit Intentional Murder, be Accepted?

Ibn Abbas held the view that the repentance of one who intentionally murders a believer, will not be accepted. Al-Bukhari recorded that Ibn Jubayr said, “The people of knowledge of Al- Kufah differed on this subject, I traveled to Ibn Abbas to ask him about it. He said, ‘This Ayah, ”And whoever kills a believer intentionally, his recompense is Hell” was the last revealed [on this subject] and nothing abrogated it.”’ (Fath Al-Bari 8:106) However, the majority of scholars of the earlier and later generations said that the killer’s repentance can be accepted. If he repents, and goes back to Allah humbly, submissively, and performing righteous deeds, then Allah will change his evil deeds into good deeds and compensate the deceased for his loss by rewarding him for his suffering. Allah said, “And those who invoke not any other god along with Allah”, until, “Except those who repent and believe, and do righteous deeds”.

The Ayah we just mentioned should not be considered abrogated or only applicable to the disbelievers [who become Muslim], for this contradicts the general, encompassing indications of the Ayah and requires evidence to support it. Allah knows best.

Allah said, “Say: “O My servants who have transgressed against themselves! Despair not of the mercy of Allah”. This Ayah is general, covering all types of sins, including Kufr, Shirk, doubt, hypocrisy, murder, sin, and so forth. Therefore, everyone who repents sincerely from any of these errors, then Allah will forgive him. Allah said, “Verily, Allah forgives not that partners should be set up with Him (in worship), but He forgives except that (anything else) to whom He wills”. This Ayah is general and includes every sin except Shirk, and it has been mentioned in this Surah, both after this Ayah and before it, in order to encourage hope in Allah, and Allah knows best. It is confirmed in the Two Sahihs, that an Israeli killed one hundred people then he asked a scholar, “Is it possible for me to repent” So he replied, “What is there that would prevent you from repentance” So he told him to go to another land where Allah was worshipped. He began to emigrate to it but died on the way, and the angel of mercy was the one to take him. Although this Hadith is about an Israeli, it is even more suitable for the Muslim community that their repentance be accepted. Indeed, Allah relieved Muslims from the burdens and restrictions that were placed on the Jews, and He sent our Prophet with the easy Hanifiyyah way (Islamic Monotheism).

As for the honorable Ayah, “And whoever kills a believer intentionally”, Abu Hurayrah and several among the Salaf said that this is his punishment, if Allah decides to punish him. And this is the case with every threat that is issued for every sin. For instance, there could be good deeds that this person has done that would prevent him from being punished for that, and Allah knows best. Even if the murderer inevitably enters the Fire – as Ibn Abbas stated because his repentance was not accepted, or he did not have good deeds to save him, he will not remain there for eternity, but only for a long time. There are Mutawatir Hadiths stating that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

 “Whoever has the least speck of faith in his heart shall ultimately depart the Fire.” (Al-Bukhari no.44)

{94. O you who believe! When you go (to fight) in the cause of Allah, verify (the truth), and say not to anyone who greets you: “You are not a believer;” seeking the perishable goods of the worldly life. There is much more benefit with Allah. Even as he is now, so were you yourselves before, till Allah conferred on you His Favors, therefore, be cautious in discrimination. Allah is Ever Well-Aware of what you do.}

 

Greeting with the Salam is a Sign of Islam

Imam Ahmad recorded that Ikrimah said that Ibn Abbas said, “A man from Bani Sulaym, who was tending a flock of sheep, passed by some of the Companions of the Prophet and said Salam to them. They said (to each other), ‘He only said Salam to protect himself from us.’ Then they attacked him and killed him. They brought his sheep to the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, and this Ayah was revealed, “O you who believe!”, until the end of the Ayah.”  (Ahmad 1:272)

Al-Bukhari recorded that Ibn Abbas commented; “and say not to anyone who greets you: “You are not a believer”, “A man was tending his sheep and the Muslims caught up with him. He said, ‘As-Salamu Alaykum.’ However, they killed him and took his sheep. Allah revealed the Ayah; “And say not to anyone who greets you: “You are not a believer; seeking the perishable goods of the worldly life.” Ibn Abbas said; “The goods of this world were those sheep.” And he recited, “Peace” (Fath Al-Bari 8:107)

Al-Bukhari recorded that Ibn Abbas said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said to Al-Miqdad,

“You killed a believing man who hid his faith with disbelieving people, after he had announced his faith to you. Remember that you used to hide your faith in Makkah before.”

Al-Bukhari recorded this shorter version without a complete chain of narrators. (Al-Bukhari no.6866) However a longer version with a connected chain of narrators has also been recorded. Al-Hafiz Abu Bakr Al-Bazzar recorded that Ibn Abbas said, “The Messenger of Allah sent a military expedition under the authority of Al-Miqdad bin Al-Aswad and when they reached the designated area, they found the people had dispersed. However, a man with a lot of wealth did not leave and said, ‘I bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah.’ Yet, Al-Miqdad killed him, and a man said to him, ‘You killed a man after he proclaimed: “There is no deity worthy of worship except Allah. By Allah I will mention what you did to the Prophet .’ When they went back to the Messenger of Allah, they said, ‘O Messenger of Allah! Al-Miqdad killed a man who testified that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah.’ He said, ”Summon Al-Miqdad before me. O Miqdad! Did you kill a man who proclaimed, “There is no deity worthy of worship except Allah” What would you do when you face, “There is no deity worthy of worship except Allah tomorrow?” Allah then revealed; “O you who believe! When you go (to fight) in the cause of Allah, verify (the truth), and say not to anyone who greets you: “You are not a believer;” seeking the perishable goods of the worldly life. There are much more profits and booties with Allah. Even as he is now, so were you yourselves before till Allah conferred on you His Favors, therefore, be cautious in discrimination”.

The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said to Al-Miqdad,

 “He was a believing man who hid his faith among disbelieving people, and he announced his faith to you, but you killed him, although you used to hide your faith before, in Makkah.” (Majma’ Az-Zawaid 7:9)

Allah’s statement, “There is much more benefit with Allah.” means, better than what you desired of worldly possessions which made you kill the one who greeted you with the Salam and pronounced his faith to you. Yet, you ignored all this and accused him of hypocrisy, to acquire the gains of this life. However, the pure wealth with Allah is far better than what you acquired. Allah’s statement, “so were you yourselves before, till Allah conferred on you His Favours.” means, beforehand, you used to be in the same situation like this person who hid his faith from his people. We mentioned the relevant Hadiths above. Allah said, “And remember when you were few and were reckoned weak in the land”.

Abdur-Razzaq recorded that Said bin Jubayr commented about Allah’s statement, “so were you yourselves before”, “You used to hide your faith, just as this shepherd hid his faith.” (Abdur-Razzaq 1:170) Allah said, “Allah is Ever Well-Aware of what you do.” and this part of the Ayah contains a threat and a warning, as Said bin Jubayr stated.

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