Surah Muhammad Ayat 1-19

Surah Muhammad

Chapter 47

Which was revealed in Al-Madinah

 

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

{1. Those who disbelieve and hinder (men) from the path of Allah, He will render their deeds vain.

2. But those who believe and do righteous good deeds, and believe in that which is sent down to Muhammad — for it is the truth from their Lord — He expiates from them their sins and amends their Bal.

3. That is because those who disbelieve follow falsehood, while those who believe follow the truth from their Lord. Thus does Allah set forth for mankind their parables.}

 

The Reward of the Disbelievers and the Believers

Allah says, “Those who disbelieve” meaning, in the Ayat of Allah. “and hinder (men)” Others. “from the path of Allah, He will render their deeds vain.” meaning, He renders their deeds vain and futile, and He denies them any rewards or blessings for them. This is similar to His saying, “And We will approach what they have done of deeds and make them as dispersed dust.” (25:23) Allah then says, “And those who believe and do righteous good deeds,” Which means that their hearts and souls have believed, and their limbs and their hidden and apparent acts have complied with Allah’s Law. “And believe in that which has been sent down to Muhammad” Adding this statement to the previous one is a method of adding a specific meaning to a general one. This provides proof that after Muhammad’s advent, believing in him is a required condition for the true faith. Allah then says, “For it is the truth from their Lord.” which is a beautifully placed parenthetical clause. Thus, Allah says “He expiates from them their sins and amends their Bal.” Ibn Abbas, said, “This means their matter.” Mujahid said, “This means their affair.” Qatadah and Ibn Zayd both said, “Their condition.” And all of these are similar in meaning. It has been mentioned (from the Prophet ) in the Hadith of the responding to one who sneezes,

“May Allah guide you and rectify your (Bal) affairs.” (Tuhfat Al-Ahwadhi 8:11)

Then Allah says, “That is because those who disbelieve follow falsehood,” meaning, ‘We only invalidate the deeds of the disbelievers and overlook the sins of the righteous, and amend their affairs, because those who disbelieve follow false- hood.’ Meaning, they choose falsehood over the truth. “while those who believe follow the truth from their Lord. Thus does Allah set forth for the people their parables.” Thus He makes the consequence of their actions clear to them, and He shows them where they will end in their next life — and Allah knows best.

{4. So, when you meet those who disbelieve (in battle), smite (their) necks until you have fully defeated them, then tighten their bonds. Thereafter (is the time) either for generosity or ransom, until the war lays down its burden. Thus, and had Allah so willed, He could have taken vengeance against them;–but (He lets you struggle) so as to test with one another. But those who are killed in the way of Allah, He will never let their deeds be lost.

5. He will guide them and amend their condition.

6. And admit them to Paradise, which He has made known to them.

7. O you who believe! If you support (in the cause of) Allah, He will support you, and make your foothold firm.

8. But as for those who disbelieve, misery awaits them, and (Allah) will make their deeds vain.

9. That is because they hate that which Allah has sent down; so He has made their deeds fruitless.}

 

The Command to strike the Enemies’ Necks, tighten Their Bonds, and then free Them either by an Act of Grace or for a Ransom

Guiding the believers to what they should employ in their fights against the idolators, Allah says, “So, when you meet those who disbelieve (in battle), smite their necks” which means, ‘when you fight against them, cut them down totally with your swords.’ “until you have fully defeated them,” meaning, ‘you have killed and utterly destroyed them.’ “tighten their bonds.” ‘This is referring to the prisoners of war whom you have captured. Later on, after the war ends and the conflict has ceased, you have a choice in regard to the captives: You may either act graciously toward them by setting them free without charge, or free them for a ransom that you require from them.’ It appears that this Ayah was revealed after the battle of Badr. At that time, Allah reproached the believers for sparing many of the enemy’s soldiers, and holding too many captives in order to take ransom from them. So He said then: “It is not for a Prophet to have captives of war until he had made a great slaughter (among the enemies) in the land. You desire the commodities of this world, but Allah desires (for you) the Hereafter. Allah is Mighty and Wise. Were it not for a prior decree from Allah, a severe torment would have touched you for what you took.” (8:67-68) Allah’s saying, “…until the war lays down its burden.” Mujahid said: “Until Isa bin Maryam (peace be upon him) descends.” (At-Tabari 22:157) It seems as if he derived this opinion from the Prophet’s saying,

“There will always be a group of my Ummah victorious upon the truth, until the last of them fight against Ad-Dajjal.” (Abu Dawud 3:11)

Imam Ahmad recorded from Jubayr bin Nufayr who reported from Salamah bin Nufayl that he went to the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessing of Allah be upon them, and said, “I have let my horse go, and thrown down my weapon, for the war has ended. There is no more fighting.” Then the Prophet, peace and blessing of Allah be upon him, said to him,

“Now the time of fighting has come. There will always be a group of my Ummah dominant over others. Allah will turn the hearts of some people away (from the truth), so they (that group) will fight against them, and Allah will bestow on them (war spoils) from them (the enemies) — until Allah’s command comes to pass while they are in that state. Verily, the center of the believers’ abode is Ash-Sham. And goodness is tied around the horses’ foreheads till the Day of Resurrection.” (Ahmad 4:104)

An-Nasa’i also recorded this narration. (An-Nasai 6:214)

Allah then says, “Thus, and had Allah so willed, He could have taken vengeance against them” which means that had He so willed, He could have taken immediate vengeance against the disbelievers with a chastisement or exemplary punishment directly from Him. “but (He lets you struggle) so as to test with one another.” meaning, He has ordered Jihad and fighting against the enemies in order to try you and test your affairs. Allah also expresses His wisdom by the legislation of Jihad in the following two Surahs, Al Iman and At-Tawbah, in which He says, “Or did you think that you would enter the Paradise before Allah had made evident those of you who fight in His cause and made evident those who are steadfast?” (3:142) “Fight them; Allah will then punish them by your hands, disgrace them, grant you victory over them, satisfy the breasts of a believing people, and remove the fury of their (the believers’) hearts. Allah turns in forgiveness to whom He wills; Allah is Knowing and Wise.” ( 9:14-15)

Merit of the Martyrs

Since it is customary during wars that many of the believers die, Allah says: “But those who are killed in the way of Allah, He will never let their deeds be lost.” which means that He would not let their good deeds go to waste, but would rather multiply and increase them. Some of them will continue being rewarded for their good deeds for the entire length of their stay in Al-Barzakh. This has been mentioned in a Hadith recorded by Imam Ahmad in his Musnad on the authority of Kathir bin Murrah, who reported from Qays Al-Judhami, may Allah be pleased with him, that Allah’s Messenger, peace and blessing of Allah be upon him, said,

“As the first drop of his blood gushes forth, a martyr is granted six merits: all of his sins are forgiven, he is shown his place in Paradise, he is married to wide-eyed Huris, he is secured from the great fear (on Judgement Day) and the torment of the grave, and he is adorned with the adornments of Iman.”

Ahmad was alone in recording this Hadith. (Ahmad 4:200) Abu Ad-Darda’, may Allah be pleased with him, reported that Allah’s Messenger, peace and blessing of Allah be upon him, said,

“A martyr is allowed to intercede for seventy members of his household.”

This was recorded by Abu Dawud, (Abu Dawud 2522) and there are numerous other Hadiths mentioning the merits of the martyrs.

As for Allah’s saying, “He will guide them” meaning, He will guide them to Jannah. This is similar to Allah’s saying, “Indeed, those who have believed and done righteous good deeds, their Lord will guide them because of their Faith: beneath them rivers will flow in the Gardens of Pleasure.” (10:9) Allah says, “and amend their condition.” meaning, their situation and affairs. “And (He will) admit them to Paradise, which He has made known to them.” It means that He has acquainted them with Paradise and guided them to it. Mujahid said: “The people of Paradise will be guided to their houses and dwellings and whatever sections Allah has ordained for them in it. They will not make mistakes in this, nor will they ask anyone for directions to their dwellings — as if they had dwelt in it from the time they were first created.” (At-Tabari 22:160)

Al-Bukhari recorded from Abu Said Al-Khudri, may Allah be pleased with him, that Allah’s Messenger, peace and blessing of Allah be upon him, said,

“After the believers securely pass the Fire (on the Day of Judgement), they will be held back upon a bridge between Paradise and the Fire. There, they will have any acts of injustice that they committed against one another in the life of this world rectified. After they are completely purified and cleansed (from injustice), they will be admitted into Paradise. By the One in Whose Hand is my soul, each one of them will find his way to his dwelling in Paradise better than he found his way to his dwelling in the worldly life.” (Al-Bukhari 6535)

Support Allah’s Cause, He will then support You

Allah then says: “O you who believe! If you support (the cause of) Allah, He will support you and make your foothold firm.” This is similar to His saying, “Indeed, Allah will surely support those who support Him (His cause).” (22:40) That is because the reward is comparable to the type of deed that is performed. Thus, Allah says here, “and make your foothold firm.” Allah then says, “But as for those who disbelieve – misery awaits them” This misery is the opposite of making firm the footholds of the believers who support the cause of Allah and His Messenger, peace and blessing of Allah be upon them. It has been confirmed in a Hadith that Allah’s Messenger, peace and blessing of Allah be upon him, said,

“Misery awaits the servant of the Dinar; misery awaits the servant of the Dirham; misery awaits the servant of velvet. Misery awaits him, and degeneracy; and if he is pricked by a thorn, may he not find anyone to pull it for him.” (Fath Al Bari 6:95 and Ibn Majah 2:1386)

This means may Allah not cure him. Then Allah says, “and (Allah) will make their deeds vain.” meaning, He will nullify them and make them fruitless. Thus, Allah says, “That is because they hate that which Allah has sent down” which means that they did not want or like what Allah revealed. “so He made their deeds fruitless”

{10. Have they not traveled through the earth and seen what happened in the end to those before them? Allah destroyed them completely, and a similar (awaits) the disbelievers.

11. That is because Allah is the Protector of those who believe, whereas the disbelievers have no protector.

12. Certainly Allah will admit those who believe and do righteous good deeds, into Gardens under which rivers flow (Paradise); while those who disbelieve enjoy their life and eat as cattle eat; but the Fire will be their abode.

13. And how many a town mightier than your town that has driven you out We have destroyed, with none to help them!}

 

Admonition and Fire for the Disbelievers; Paradise for Those Who have Taqwa

Allah says, “Have they not traveled” meaning, those who associate partners with Allah and deny His Messenger, peace and blessing of Allah be upon them. “through the land and seen what happened in the end to those before them Allah destroyed them completely,” which means that Allah punished them because of their denial and disbelief, and saved the believers from among them. That is why He says, “and a similar (end awaits) the disbelievers.” Then Allah says, “That is because Allah is the Protector of all those who believe, whereas the disbelievers have no protector.” After the battle of Uhud, Abu Sufyan Sakhr bin Harb, the commander of the idolators at that time, inquired about the Prophet , Abu Bakr, and Umar, may Allah be pleased with them. When he heard no response, he announced: “Verily, those three have died!” Umar then responded to him: “You lie, O enemy of Allah! Allah has indeed saved those who will displease you. Indeed, those whom you mentioned are all alive!” Abu Sufyan then said: “Well, today makes up for (the defeat on) the day of Badr, and the war has its ups and downs. And indeed, you are going to find mutilation (in the bodies of your dead) that I did not command, nor did I prohibit.” Then he turned around chanting: “Glory to Hubal (their greatest idol), Glory to Hubal.” Allah’s Messenger, peace and blessing of Allah be upon him, said:

“Aren’t you going to respond to him?”

The Companions said: “What should we say, O Messenger of Allah?” He said:

“Say: “Allah is Most High and Most Glorious.”

Then Abu Sufyan said: “We have Al-Uzza (their second idol), and you have no Uzza. (honor).” Allah’s Messenger, peace and blessing of Allah be upon him, said:

“Aren’t you all going to respond to him?”

They said: “What should we say, O Messenger of Allah?” He said:

“Say: “Allah is our Protector, and you have no protector.” (Fath Al-Bari 6:188)

Allah then says, “Verily, Allah will admit those who believe and do righteous good deeds into Gardens through which rivers flow.” meaning, on the Day of Resurrection. “Whereas those who disbelieve enjoy their life and eat as cattle eat.” Which means that the disbelievers enjoy their worldly life and eat in it like animals, munching and gnawing (with greed). They have no concern other than that. Thus, it has been confirmed in the Sahih that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessing of Allah be upon him, said,

“A believer eats with one intestine, and a disbeliever eats with seven intestines.” (Fath Al-Bari 9:446)

Then Allah says, “but the Fire will be their abode.” meaning, on the Day of their Reckoning. Allah then says, “And how many a town mightier than your town that has driven you out” meaning, Makkah. “We have destroyed, with none to help them!” This is a great threat and severe warning to the people of Makkah because they rejected Allah’s Messenger, peace and blessing of Allah be upon them, who was the chief of the Messengers and the last of the Prophets. If Allah had destroyed the previous nations because of their denial of their Messengers, what then would those (people of Makkah) expect that Allah would do to them in the worldly life and the Hereafter And if the torment were to be lifted off some of them in this life by the blessing of the presence of the Messenger, the Prophet of Mercy, the torment will be stored for them in their next life, as Allah says, “Their torment will be doubled! They could not bear to hear (the preaching), and they used not to see (the truth).” (11:20) Concerning Allah’s saying, “than Your town that has driven you out” This means, ‘its people who have driven you (Muhammad) out from amongst them (the people of Makkah).’ Ibn Abi Hatim recorded from Ibn Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, that when Allah’s Messenger left Makkah (at the time of Hijrah – migration), and he reached the cave and hid inside it, he looked back toward Makkah and said,

“You are the most beloved to Allah among Allah’s lands, and you are also the most beloved to me among Allah’s lands. Were it not that the idolators have driven me out from you, I would never have left you.”

Ibn Abbas then said, “The worst of enemies is he who transgresses against Allah in His own sacred place, who kills a person who is not trying to kill him, or who kills because of Jahiliyyah vengeance. Allah then revealed to His Prophet , “And how many a town mightier than your town that has driven you out have We destroyed, with none to help them!” (At-Tabari 22:165)

{14. Can then he, who stands on clear evidence from his Lord, be like those for whom their evil deeds are beautified for them, while they follow their own lusts

15. The description of Paradise which is promised to those who have Taqwa, (is that) in it are rivers of water that are not Asin, rivers of milk the taste of which never changes, rivers of wine delicious to those who drink it, and rivers of refined honey; and therein for them are all kinds of fruits, and forgiveness from their Lord. Can this be likened to those who abide eternally in the Fire and are given to drink boiling water that severs their intestines?}

The Worshipper of the Truth and the Worshipper of Lust are not Equal

Allah says: “Can then he, who stands on clear evidence from his Lord…” This means a person who is upon clear vision and certainty concerning Allah’s commands and His religion, because of the guidance and knowledge that Allah has revealed in His Book, and because of the pure nature upon which Allah has created him. “(Can he) be likened to those for whom their evil deeds are beautified for them, while they follow their own lusts?” which means that they cannot be equal. This is similar to Allah’s saying, “Can he who knows that what has been revealed unto you from your Lord is the truth be like him who is blind?” (13:19) And, “Not equal are the people of the Fire and the people of Paradise. The People of Paradise will be the successful ones.” (59:20)

Description of Paradise and Its Rivers

Allah then says: “The description of Paradise which is promised for those who have Taqwa…” Ikrimah said, “The description of Paradise” “This means its description.” “In it are rivers of water that are not Asin” Ibn Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, Al-Hasan, and Qatadah all said, “It does not change.” (At-Tabari 22:166) Qatadah, Ad-Dahhak, and Ata’ Al-Khurasani all said, “It is not foul-smelling.” The Arabs say Asin if its (water) scent changes. (At-Tabari 22:167) “rivers of milk, the taste of which never changes,” which means that the milk is of utmost whiteness, sweetness, and richness. It has been mentioned in a Hadith attributed to the Prophet “Their milk did not come out of the udders of cattle.” “rivers of wine delightful to those who drink it,” which means that the wine does not have a bad taste or foul smell like that of the worldly life. Rather, it is good in its appearance, taste, smell, and effect, as Allah says, “it (the wine) has no bad effects, nor does it cause intoxication.” (37:47) and, “From which (the wine) they will have no headache, nor will they be intoxicated.” (56:19) “white, delicious to the drinkers.” (37:46) It has been mentioned in a Hadith attributed to the Prophet, peace and blessing of Allah be upon him,

“Their wine was not pressed under men’s feet.”

“and rivers of refined honey” which means that the honey is of utmost purity and pleasant color, taste, and smell. It has been mentioned in a Hadith attributed to the Prophet , “Their honey did not come out of the bellies of bees.”

Imam Ahmad recorded from Hakim bin Muawiyah who narrated from his father that Allah’s Messenger, peace and blessing of Allah be upon him, said,

“Verily, there is in Paradise a lake of milk, a lake of water, a lake of honey, and a lake of wine. The rivers then gush out of them.” (Ahmad 5:5)

At-Tirmidhi reported this narration in his section of the Description of Paradise, and he said, “Hasan Sahih. (Tuhfat Al-Ahwadhi 7:287) In the Sahih, it is recorded that Allah’s Messenger, peace and blessing be upon him, said,

“When you ask Allah, ask Him for Al-Firdaws, because it is the central and highest part of the Paradise, and from it gush the rivers of the Paradise and above it is the Throne of the Most Merciful.” (Fath Al-Bari 6:14)

Allah says, “…and therein for them are all kinds of fruits, …” This similar to His saying, “They will call in it for every kind of fruit in peace and security.” (44:55) And His saying, “In them will be every kind of fruits in pairs.” (55:52) Allah says “…and forgiveness from their Lord.” meaning, in addition to all of the above. Allah says, “Can this be likened to those who abide eternally in the Fire?” meaning, ‘can those that We have described their position in the Paradise be like those who will abide eternally in the Fire’ They are not equal, and nor are those who will be in the high ranks (in the Paradise) and those who will be in the lowest depths (Hell). “and are given to drink boiling water” meaning, extremely hot; so hot that it is unbearable. “that severs their intestines” meaning, that will cut their insides – both bowels and intestines. We seek refuge in Allah from that.

{16. And among them are some who listen to you till when they go out from you, they say to those who have received knowledge: “What is it that he has said just now?” Such are men whose hearts Allah has sealed because they followed their lusts.

17. And as for those who accept guidance, He increases them in guidance and bestows on them their Taqwa.

18. Do they then await except that the Hour should come upon them suddenly? But already there have come (some of) its portents; and when it (actually) is on them, how can they benefit then by their reminder

19. So know that La ilaha illallah and ask forgiveness for your sin, and also for (the sin of) believing men and women. And Allah knows well your moving about, and your place of rest.}

 

The Description of the Situation of the Hypocrites and the Command to maintain Tawhid and seek Forgiveness

Allah describes the hypocrites’ stupidity and limited understanding. They used to sit before Allah’s Messenger and listen to his words without understanding anything. Then when they left from his presence, “they say to those who have received knowledge” from the Companions “What is it that he has said just now?” meaning, at this moment. They did not understand what he said, nor did they care about it. Allah says, “Such are the men whose hearts Allah has sealed because they followed their lusts.” which means that they had neither sound understanding nor correct intentions. Allah then says, “And as for those who accept guidance, He increases them in guidance” which means that those who seek guidance, Allah facilitates it for them; He guides them to it, makes them firm on it, and gives them more of it. “and bestows on them their Taqwa.” meaning, He inspires them to their righteous guidance. Allah then says, “Do they then await except that the Hour should come upon them suddenly?” meaning, while they are unaware of it. “But already there have come (some of) its portents” meaning, the signs of its approach. This is similar to Allah’s saying, “This is a warner of the warners of old. The approaching Day has drawn near.” (53:56-57) And His saying, “The Hour has drawn near, and the moon has split.” (54:1) And His saying, “The command of Allah is coming, so do not be impatient for it.” (16:1) And His saying, “The people’s Day of Reckoning has approached while they turn away in heedlessness.” (21:1) Thus, the Messenger’s advent is one of the signs of the Hour, because he is the Finality of the Messengers. With him, Allah has completed the religion and established the evidence against all people in a way that was never done by a previous Prophet. Allah’s Messenger, peace and blessing of Allah be upon him, has most clearly informed about the signs and indications of the Hour, as we have discussed elsewhere. Al-Bukhari recorded from Sahl bin Sad, may Allah be pleased with him, that he saw Allah’s Messenger bring his index and middle fingers together while he said,

“I have been sent before the Hour as these two (fingers).” (Fath Al-Bari 8:560)

Allah continues, “and when it (actually) is on them, how can they benefit then by their reminder” meaning, how would remembering benefit the disbelievers when the Hour comes upon them This is similar to Allah’s saying, “On that Day will the human being remember, but what would that remembrance avail him then” (89:23) And His saying, “They will say (in the Hereafter): “Now we believe in it!” But how could they claim belief from such a far place” (34:52) Allah then says, “So know that La ilaha illallah” This is a declaration that there is no true God except Allah. It is not something that is easy for him to command the people to have knowledge of. That is why Allah connected it with, “and ask forgiveness for your sin and for the believing men and women.” In the Sahih, it is recorded that Allah’s Messenger used to say,

“O Allah, forgive my sin, my ignorance, my immoderation in my affairs, and all that You know better about my (faults) than myself. O Allah, forgive for me my joking, my seriousness, my unintended error, and my deliberate (mistakes) – and I have done of all that.” (Fath Al-Bari 11:200)

It is also reported in the Sahih that he used to say at the end of the prayer,

“O Allah, forgive for me what I have previously done, what I may commit in future, what I have committed secretly, what I have committed openly, what I have done excessively, and all sins that You know better than me. You are my God. There is no (true) God except You.” (Fath Al-Bari 13:473)

It is also recorded in the Sahih that he used to say,

“O people! Repent to your Lord! Verily, I ask Allah for forgiveness and repent to Him more than seventy times every day.” (Fath Al-Bari 11:104)

Allah then says, “And Allah knows well your moving about, and your place of rest.” means, He knows how you behave during the day, and where you settle at night. This is similar to His saying, “It is He Who takes your souls by night and knows all that you do by day.” (6:60) And He says, “And there is no moving creature on earth but its provision is up to Allah, and He knows its dwelling place and its deposit (before birth and after death) — all is in a clear register.” (11:6)

Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged) Vol 9 Pages 84-106

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