Surah Al-Fath Ayat 1-17

Surah Al-Fath

(The Victory)

Chapter 48

Which was revealed in Al-Madinah

The Merit of Surah Al-Fath 

Imam Ahmad recorded from Abdullah bin Mughaffal, who said that Allah’s Messenger recited Surah Al-Fath on the (day) of the conquest of Makkah, riding on his she-camel. He recited it in a vibrating and pleasant tone. Muawiyah (a subnarrator) added: “Were I not afraid that the people would crowd around me, I would surely try to imitate and produce his recitation.” Both Al-Bukhari and Muslim recorded this Hadith through Shubah.

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

{1. Verily, We have given you a manifest victory.

2. That Allah may forgive you your sins of the past and the future, and complete His favor on you, and guide you on the straight path,

3. And that Allah may help you with strong help.}

The Reason behind revealing Surat Al-Fath

This honorable Surah was revealed after the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, returned from the area of Al-Hudaybiyyah, during the month of Dhul-Qadah, in the sixth year of Hijrah. This is when the idolators prevented him from reaching Al-Masjid Al-Haram to perform the Umrah he intended. They stopped the Prophet from reaching Makkah at that time, but then were prone to peace negotiations. A peace treaty was conducted stipulating that the Messenger would return this year and then come back for Umrah the following year. The Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, agreed. However, some of the Companions disliked these terms, including Umar bin Al-Khattab, as we will mention in detail, Allah willing, while explaining this Surah. After the Prophet slaughtered his sacrificial animals in the area where he was stopped and headed back to Al-Madinah, Allah the Exalted and Most Honored revealed this Surah about what occurred between him and the idolators. Allah declared the Al-Hudaybiyyah peace treaty a manifest victory, because of the benefits peace would carry and the good results that did originate from it. Abdullah bin Masud and other Companions said, “You consider the conquering of Makkah to be Al-Fath (the victory), while to us, Al-Fath is the treaty conducted at Al-Hudaybiyyah.” Jabir (bin Abdullah) said, “We only considered Al-Fath to be the day of Hudaybiyyah!” (At-Tabari 22:201) Al-Bukhari recorded that Al-Bara’ (bin Azib) said, “You consider Al-Fath to be the conquest of Makkah, which was indeed a victory. However, we consider Al-Fath to be the pledge of Ar-Ridwan on the Day of Al-Hudaybiyyah. Then, we were fourteen hundred with the Messenger of Allah. Al-Hudaybiyyah had a well, whose water we consumed, not leaving a drop of water in it. When the news of what happened reached the Messenger of Allah , he came towards us and sat on the edge of the well. Then he asked to be brought a bucket of water and used it for ablution. He next rinsed his mouth, invoked Allah and poured that water into the well. Soon after, that well provided us, as well as our animals, with sufficient water, in whatever amount of water we wished.” (Fath Al-Bari 7:505)

Imam Ahmad recorded that Umar bin Al-Khattab said, “We were with the Messenger of Allah on a trip, and I asked him about a matter three times, but he did not answer me. So I said to myself, ‘May your mother lose you, O son of Al-Khattab! You were stubborn in repeating your question three times to the Messenger of Allah; each time he did not respond to you.’ So I mounted my animal, my camel, and went ahead for fear that a part of the Qur’an might be revealed in my case. Suddenly, I heard a caller calling, ‘O Umar!’ So, I went to the Messenger while fearing that part of the Qur’an was revealed about me. The Prophet said,

“Last night, a Surah was revealed to me that is dearer to me than this life and all that it contains: “Verily, We have given you a manifest victory. That Allah may forgive you your sins of the past and the future.” (Ahmad 1:31)

Al-Bukhari, At-Tirmidhi and An-Nasa’i collected this Hadith from several chains of narration through Malik, may Allah grant him His mercy. (Fath Al Bari 8:675, Tuhfat Al-Ahwadhi 9:167, An-Nasai in Al-Kubra 6:461) Ali bin Al-Madini commented, “This is a good chain of narration consisting of the scholars of Al-Madinah.” Imam Ahmad recorded that Anas bin Malik said, “This Ayah was revealed to the Prophet, “That Allah may forgive you your sins of the past and the future,” on his return from Al-Hudaybiyyah. The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“Tonight, an Ayah, that is dearer to me than all that the earth carries, was revealed to me.”

The Prophet recited the Ayah to them. They said, ‘Congratulations, O Allah’s Messenger! Allah the Exalted and Most Honored has stated what He will do with you. So what will He do with us’ These Ayat were revealed to the Prophet , ”That He may admit the believing men and the believing women to Gardens under which rivers flow…”, until, “…a supreme success.” (Ahmad 3:197) This Hadith is recorded in the Two Sahihs.  (Fath Al-Bari 7:516, Muslim 3:1413) Imam Ahmad recorded that Al-Mughirah bin Shubah said, “The Prophet used to pray until both his feet were swollen. He was asked, ‘Has not Allah forgiven you all your sins of the past and of future’ He said, “Should I not be a thankful servant?” (Ahmad 4:55) The two collectors of the Sahihs collected this Hadith, as well as, the rest of the Group, except Abu Dawud. (Al-Bukhari no.4836, Muslim 2819, At-Tirmidhi 412, An-Nasai 3:219 and Ibn Majah 1419)

Allah’s statement, “Verily, We have given you a manifest victory.” means, clear and apparent victory. This Ayah is about the treaty at Al-Hudaybiyyah, which resulted in great goodness, including people embracing Islam in large crowds and having the chance to meet each other openly. During that time, the believers preached to the idolators and thus beneficial knowledge and faith spread all around. Allah’s statement, “That Allah may forgive you your sins of the past and the future,” contains one of the special virtues of the Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, and no one else shares this honour with him. There is not an authentic Hadith that states that any person other than the Messenger earned forgiveness for all of his sins of the past and future on account of performing good deeds. This, indeed, is a great honor for the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, who fulfilled the requirements of Allah’s obedience, righteousness and straightness at a level never surpassed by a human being in past generations, nor will it ever be surpassed in the generations to come. Muhammad is the perfect human being and the leader and chief of all mankind in this life and the Hereafter. And since he was, and will always be, the most obedient of Allah’s creation to Him and the most honoring of Allah’s commands and prohibitions, he said when his she- camel insisted on kneeling down, “He Who stopped the elephant, has stopped her too.” The Prophet then declared, “By the Name of Him in Whose Hand my soul is, this day, if they ask me anything which will respect the ordinances of Allah, I will grant it to them.” (Fath Al-Bari 5:388) And when the Messenger obeyed Allah and accepted the peace offer from the Quraysh, Allah the Exalted said to him, “Verily, We have given you a manifest victory. That Allah may forgive you your sins of the past and the future, and complete His favor on you,” in this life and the Hereafter, “and guide you on the straight path,” with the glorious legislation and the straight religion that He ordains on you, “And that Allah may help you with strong help.” due to your obedience of the orders of Allah, the Exalted and Most Honored; Allah will elevate your status and give you victory above your enemies. An authentic Hadith states, “No servant pardons but Allah grants him honour, and none humbles himself for Allah except that Allah the exalted and sublime raises him (in rank).” (Muslim 4:2001) Umar bin Al-Khattab said, “You will never punish someone who disobeyed Allah with you better than obeying Allah the Exalted and Most Honored with him.”

{4. He it is Who sent down As-Sakinah into the hearts of the believers, that they may grow more in faith along with their faith. And to Allah belong the armies of the heavens and the earth, and Allah is Ever All-Knower, All-Wise.

5. That He may admit the believing men and the believing women to Gardens under which rivers flow to abide therein forever, and He may expiate from them their sins; and that is with Allah supreme success,

6. And that He may punish the hypocrites men and women, and also the idolators men and women, who think evil thoughts about Allah, for them is a disgraceful torment. And the anger of Allah is upon them, and He has cursed them and prepared Hell for them and worst indeed is that destination.

7. And to Allah belong the armies of the heavens and the earth. And Allah is Ever All-Powerful, All-Wise.}

Allah sent down the Sakinah into the Hearts of the Believers

Allah the Exalted said, “He it is Who sent down As-Sakinah”, meaning, tranquility. Qatadah commented, “Grace into the hearts of the believers”, that is, the Companions, may Allah be pleased with them, on the Day of Al-Hudaybiyyah. The companions were they, who accepted the call of Allah and His Messenger and obeyed the decisions of Allah and His Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. When their hearts felt content with acceptance and were at peace, Allah increased their faith, joining it to the faith they already had. Al-Bukhari, and other Imams, relied on this Ayah as proof that faith increases and decreases in the hearts. Allah the Exalted said next that had He willed, He would have inflicted defeat on the disbelievers, Allah says; “And to Allah belong the armies of the heavens and the earth” and had He willed to send only one angel to them, that angel would have brought destruction to all what they had. However, Allah the Exalted willed Jihad and fighting to be established for, and by, the believers for great wisdom, clear reasons and unequivocal evidences that He had in all this. This is why Allah the Great said next, “and Allah is Ever All-Knower, All-Wise.” Allah the Exalted and Most Honored said, “That He may admit the believing men and the believing women to Gardens under which rivers flow to abide therein forever,” We mentioned the Hadith that Anas narrated in which the Companions said, “Congratulations, O Allah’s Messenger! This good news is for you, so what good news do we have” Allah the Exalted sent down this Ayah, “That He may admit the believing men and the believing women to Gardens under which rivers flow to abide therein forever,” (Fath Al-Bari 7:516) meaning they will remain in Paradise forever, “and He may expiate from them their sins” Allah will not punish them for their errors and mistakes. Rather, He will forgive, absolve and pardon them and cover the errors, grant mercy and appreciate, “and that is with Allah supreme success.” Allah the Exalted said in a similar Ayah, “And whoever is removed away from the Fire and admitted to Paradise, he indeed is successful.” (3:185) Allah said, “And that He may punish the hypocrites, men and women, and also the idolators, men and women, who think evil thoughts about Allah,” who question the wisdom in Allah’s decisions and think that the Messenger and his Companions, may Allah be pleased with them, might be killed and exterminated. This is why Allah the Exalted said, “for them is a disgraceful torment. And the anger of Allah is upon them, and He has cursed them” He has cast them away from His mercy, “and prepared Hell for them – and worst indeed is that destination.” Allah the Exalted and Most Honored asserted His ability to take revenge from the enemies of Islam and all disbelievers and hypocrites, “And to Allah belong the armies of the heavens and the earth. And Allah is Ever All-Powerful, All-Wise.” 

{8. Verily, We have sent you as a witness, as a bearer of glad tidings, and as a warner.

9. In order that you (O mankind) may believe in Allah and His Messenger and that you Tuazziruh and Tuwaqqiruh, and Tusabbihuh Bukrah and Asila.

10. Verily, those who give pledge to you, they are giving pledge to Allah. The Hand of Allah is over their hands. Then whosoever breaks his pledge, breaks it only to his own harm; and whosoever fulfills what he has the covenants he makes with Allah, He will bestow on him a great reward.}

Qualities of the Messenger of Allah

Allah the Exalted says to His Prophet, Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, “Verily, We have sent you as a witness,” of the creation, “as a bearer of glad tidings,” to the believers, “and as a warner.” to the disbelievers. We explained these meanings in the Tafsir of Surat Al-Ahzab. Allah said, “In order that you may believe in Allah and His Messenger, and that you Tuazziruh” or you honour him, according to Abdullah bin Abbas and several others, (At-Tabari 22:207) “and Tuwaqqiruh”, where Tawqir means, respect, honor and high regard, “and that you Tusabbihuh”, glorify Allah’s praises, “Bukrah and Asila”, the early and late part of the day.

The Pledge of Ar-Ridwan

Allah the Exalted and Most Honoured honours, regards and praises His Messenger by saying, “Verily, those who give pledge to you, they are giving pledge to Allah.” Allah the Exalted and Most High said in another Ayah, “He who obeys the Messenger, has indeed obeyed Allah.” (4:80) Allah said, next, “The Hand of Allah is over their hands.” meaning, He is with them, hearing their statements and witnessing their stand, having full knowledge of them inwardly and outwardly. Therefore, Allah the Exalted was indeed taking the pledge from them through His Messenger , “Verily, Allah has purchased of the believers their lives and their properties for which theirs shall be the Paradise. They fight in Allah’s cause, so they kill and are killed. It is a promise in truth, binding on Him in the Tawrah and the Injil and the Qur’an. And who is truer to his covenant than Allah Then rejoice in the bargain you have concluded. That is the supreme success.” (9:111) Allah said, “…and whosoever fulfills what the covenants he makes with Allah, He will bestow on him a great reward.” a generous reward. The pledge mentioned here is the pledge of Ar-Ridwan which was pledged under a tree, a Samurah, in the area of Al-Hudaybiyyah. The number of the Companions who gave their pledge to Allah’s Messenger at that time was either 1,300, 1,400 or 1,500. However, 1,400 is the better choice.

Hadiths about the Pledge at Al-Hudaybiyyah

Al-Bukhari recorded that Jabir bin Abdullah, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “We numbered one thousand and four hundred on the day of Hudaybiyyah.” (Fath Al-Bari 8:451) Muslim also collected this Hadith. (Muslim 3:1484)

The Two Sahihs recorded that Jabir said; “We numbered one thousand and four hundred at that time. The Messenger placed his hand in the water and it started gushing forth from between his fingers until everyone had quenched their thirst.” (Fath Al-Bari 7:505 and Muslim 3:1484) This is a short form of the story. Another narration of it mentioned that the Companions became thirsty on the day of Al-Hudaybiyyah and the Messenger of Allah gave them an arrow from his quiver. They took the arrow, placed it in the well of Al-Hudaybiyyah and the water gushed out until they all satisfied their thirst. Jabir was asked how many of them there were on that day and he said, “We were one thousand and four hundred. And had we been a hundred thousand, that water would still have been sufficient to satisfy us all.” (Fath Al-Bari 7:504) In another narration collected in the Two Sahihs, Jabir bin Abdullah said that they were one thousand and five hundred at the time. (Fath Al-Bari 7:507 and Muslim 3:1484)

Al-Bukhari recorded that Said bin Al-Musayyib was asked by Qatadah, “How many were present for the pledge of Ar-Ridwan” Said said, “One thousand and five hundred.” Qatadah posed, “Jabir bin Abdullah, may Allah be pleased with them both, said that they were one thousand and four hundred.” Said said, “He forgot. He told me that they were one thousand and five hundred.” (Fath Al-Bari 7:507) However, Al-Bayhaqi commented, “This narration testifies that Jabir used to state that they were one thousand and five hundred, but later on remembered the true number and said that they were one thousand and four hundred.” (Dalail An-Nubuwwah 4:97)

The Reason behind conducting the Pledge of Ar-Ridwan

Muhammad bin Ishaq bin Yasar said in his book on Sirah: “The Messenger of Allah beckoned Umar bin Al-Khattab in order to send him to Makkah, so that he could inform the chiefs of Quraysh of the Prophet’s intent (to perform Umrah at Makkah). Umar said, ‘O Allah’s Messenger! I fear the Quraysh for my being. There are no longer any chiefs from the tribe of Bani Adi bin Kab remaining in Makkah who would protect me, in addition, the Quraysh know my enmity and harshness against them. However, I could tell you about a man who is mightier than I in Makkah: Uthman bin Affan. We should send him to Abu Sufyan and the chiefs of the Quraysh informing them that you did not come to fight them, but to visit this House and to honor its holiness.’ Uthman left to Makkah. He met Aban bin Said bin Al-As upon entering Makkah or just before that. As a result, Aban took Uthman with him and extended his protection to him so he could deliver the message of Allah’s Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. Uthman indeed went to Abu Sufyan and the chiefs of Quraysh and imparted the Prophet’s message that he was sent with. When Uthman finished delivering the Prophet’s message to them they said to him, ‘If you wish, you can perform Tawaf around the House.’ Uthman replied, ‘I would not do that before the Messenger of Allah gets the chance to perform Tawaf around it.’ So the Quraysh kept Uthman waiting in Makkah. However, the Messenger of Allah and the Muslims were told that Uthman had been killed.” Ibn Ishaq continued, “I was told by Abdullah bin Abu Bakr that when news of Uthman’s death was conveyed to him, the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“We will not leave until we fight the people.’ [Ibn Hisham 3:329-330. This part of the narration is not authentic but its general meaning is found in the upcoming references]

Ibn Ishaq continued, “The Messenger of Allah called the Muslims to give a pledge of allegiance, resulting in the pledge of Ar-Ridwan being conducted under the tree. Later, people used to say that the Messenger of Allah took the pledge from them to die. However, Jabir bin Abdullah said, ‘The Messenger of Allah did not ask us to give a pledge to die (or be victorious), but that we would not run away (from battle).’ [See the references for Muslim that follow] The Muslims gave their pledge and none among them held back from giving it, except Al-Jadd bin Qays from the tribe of Bani Salamah. Jabir used to say afterwards, ‘By Allah, it is as if I am looking at him now next to the shoulder of his camel taking refuge behind it, so that the people did not see him.’ Soon afterwards, news came to the Messenger of Allah that the story of Uthman’s death was not true.” (Ibn Hisham 3:329-330)

Al-Bukhari recorded that Nafi said, “People said that Abdullah bin Umar embraced Islam before Umar, but this is not true. What happened is that on the Day of Hudaybiyyah, Umar sent Abdullah to bring his horse that he kept with a man from Al-Ansar, so he could use it to fight. The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, was then taking the pledge from the Muslims under the tree while Umar was unaware. So, Abdullah conducted his pledge and fetched the horse and brought it to Umar, who was wearing his armor in preparation for battle. Abdullah told Umar that the Messenger of Allah was accepting the pledge under the tree. Umar proceeded with Abdullah and gave his pledge to the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. This is why some people thought that Abdullah bin Umar embraced Islam before Umar, may Allah be pleased with them both.” (Fath Al-Bari 7:521)

Al-Bukhari also recorded Ibn Umar saying that, the people who were with the Messenger of Allah scattered under the shade of trees. Suddenly, the people gathered around the Prophet and Umar said, “O Abdullah! Investigate why the people are gathering around Allah’s Messenger.” Ibn Umar found the people giving their pledge. He gave his pledge, then went back and told Umar, who also went and gave his pledge. (Fath Al-Bari 7:521) In a Hadith collected by Muslim, (Muslim 3:1483) Jabir bin Abdullah said, “On the day of Al-Hudaybiyyah, we were one thousand and four hundred. We gave the pledge of allegiance to the Prophet while Umar was holding the Prophet’s hand under the tree, which was a Samurah (a kind of thorny tree). We gave the pledge to him not to run away (from battle). We did not give the pledge to die.”

Muslim recorded that Maqil bin Yasar, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “On the day of the Tree, while the Prophet was taking the pledge from the people, I was holding a branch of that tree away from his head. We were fourteen hundred. We did not give him our pledge to die, but gave the pledge not to run from battle.” (Muslim 3:1485)

However, Al-Bukhari recorded that Salamah bin Al-Akwa, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “I gave the pledge to the Messenger of Allah under the tree.” Yazid asked him, “O Abu Maslamah, to what did you pledge at that time” Salamah said, “To die!” (Fath Al-Bari 6:136) Al-Bukhari also collected a Hadith from Salamah bin Al-Akwa that he said, “I gave my pledge to the Messenger of Allah on the day of Hudaybiyyah. I stood to the side and the Messenger said,

“Why not give the pledge, O Salamah?”

and I said, ‘I did.’ He said,

“Come and give pledge.”

I went close to him and gave him my pledge. Salamah was asked, “What was the pledge that you gave then, O Salamah?” Salamah said, “To die.” (Fath Al-Bari 12:211) Muslim collected this Hadith (Muslim 3:1486) as well, while Al-Bukhari collected from Abbad bin Tamim that the pledge they gave was to die. (Fath Al-Bari 6:136)

Al-Bayhaqi recorded that Salamah bin Al-Akwa, may Allah be pleased with him said, “We went to Al-Hudaybiyyah with the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, and we numbered fourteen hundred at that time. We reached the well and found around fifty sheep drinking from it, but its water was barely sufficient for them. The Messenger of Allah sat on its rim, invoked Allah and spat in the well and its water gushed out. We made our animals drink from it and also drank from it. Next, the Messenger of Allah called the people to give the pledge when he was under the tree, and I was among the first to give the pledge to him. The remaining people then started giving the pledge. When about half the people have given the pledge, the Messenger said to me,

“Give me the pledge, O Salamah!”

I said, ‘O Allah’s Messenger! I have already pledged my pledge in the first group of people.’ He said,

“Do it again.”

So I pledged my pledge again. He also saw that I was not wearing any armor and gave me some. He went on accepting the pledge from the people. When they were about to finish, he said,

“Will you not give me your pledge, O Salamah!”

I said, ‘O Allah’s Messenger! I have given you the pledge in the beginning and the middle. ‘ He said,

“Do it again,”

I gave him my pledge for a third time. The Messenger of Allah asked me,

“Where is the armour that I gave you O Salamah?”

I said, ‘O Allah’s Messenger! Amir met me and I found that he did not have a shield, so I gave it to him.’ The Messenger of Allah laughed and said to me,

“You are just like the man of old times who said, ‘O Allah! Give me a dear person who is dearer to me than myself!”

Then the idolators of Makkah sent a delegation asking for a peace treaty, and we agreed to make peace. I used to work for Talhah bin Ubaydullah, may Allah be pleased with him, by providing water for his horse. For taking care of it, Talhah gave me a portion of his food. I had left my family and wealth and migrated to Allah and His Messenger (so I was poor). After the people of Makkah and us conducted peace and were freely mingling with each other, I went by a tree, removed its thorny branches and rested under its shade. Four of the idolators of Makkah stood close to me and started mentioning the Messenger of Allah in an improper way and I hated being close to them. So, I moved under the shade of another tree. They hanged their weapons and rested under it. Meanwhile, a caller shouted these words from the bottom of the valley, ‘O Emigrants! Ibn Zunaym was killed,’ so I held my sword and went after the four idolators. They were asleep, so I took possession of their weapons and held them in my hand, saying, ‘By He Who has honored the face of Muhammad, if any one of you raises his head, I will strike that which holds his eyes!’ I brought them to the Messenger of Allah, while my uncle Amir brought another man, an idolator, whose name was Mikraz, and I and my uncle brought the men to the Messenger of Allah. The number of captured idolators swelled to seventy. The Messenger of Allah looked at them and said,

“Let them go, for theirs will be the initiation of hostilities and its burden.”

The Messenger of Allah forgave them and Allah the Exalted and Most Honored said, “And He it is Who has withheld their hands from you and your hands from them in the midst of Makkah, after He had made you victors over them.” (48:24) (Dalail An-Nubuwwah4:138) Muslim collected a narration that is the same or similar. (Muslim 1807)

The Two Sahihs recorded that Said bin Al-Musayyib said, “My father was among those who gave the pledge to the Messenger of Allah under the tree. He said, ‘In the following year, we went for Hajj and we could not find the tree.’ Therefore, if you know where that tree is, then you have more knowledge!” (Fath Al-Bari 7:512, Muslim 3:1485)

Abu Bakr Al-Humaydi recorded that Jabir said, “When the Messenger of Allah called the people to the pledge, we found a man from our tribe whose name is Al-Jadd bin Qays, hiding under the shoulder of his camel.” (Musnad Al-Humaydi 2:537) Muslim collected this Hadith. (Muslim 3:1483) Al-Humaydi also recorded that Amr said that he heard Jabir say, “On the day of Hudaybiyyah, we were one thousand and four hundred and the Messenger of Allah said to us,

“Today, you are the best people on the earth.”

Jabir went on saying, “If I still had my sight, I would have shown you the tree.” (Musnad Al-Humaydi 2:514, Muslim 4811) Sufyan commented that the Companions later on differed over the location of the tree of Al-Hudaybiyyah; the Two Sahihs collected this statement from him. (Fath Al-Bari 7:507, Muslim 3:1484) Imam Ahmad recorded that Jabir said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“None among those who gave the pledge under the tree shall enter Hellfire.” (Ahmad 3:350)

Abdullah bin Imam Ahmad recorded that Jabir said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“He who ascends Thaniyyah (i.e. a mountainous pass), the Thaniyyah of Al-Murar, will have as much of his sins relieved for him as the sins that were relieved from the Children of Israel.”

The first to ascend that hill were the horsemen of (the Ansar tribe of) Banu Al-Khazraj, then the Muslims followed suit. The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“All of you will be forgiven, except the owner of the red camel.”

We said to him, “Come, let the Messenger of Allah invoke Allah to forgive you,” but he said, “By Allah! Finding my lost camel is dearer to me than having your companion invoke Allah to forgive me.” That man was only looking for his lost camel. Muslim collected this Hadith from Ubaydullah (from Jabir). (Muslim 4:2144)

Muslim also recorded that Abu Az-Zubayr heard Jabir say, “Umm Mubashshir told me that she heard the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, saying, while he was with Hafsah,

“Allah willing, none of the Companions of the tree, who gave the pledge under it, will ever enter Hellfire.”

She said, ‘No, O Allah’s Messenger.’ The Prophet rebuked her but Hafsah said, “There is not one of you but will pass over it (Hell)” (19:71) but the Prophet responded,

“Allah the Exalted said next, “Then We shall save those who had Taqwa and We shall leave the wrongdoers therein on their knees.” (19:71) (Muslim 4:1942)

Muslim also narrated that Jabir said, “A slave of Hatib bin Abi Balta’ah came to the Messenger complaining against Hatib and saying, ‘O Allah’s Messenger! Hatib shall surely enter Hell.’ The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, replied,

“You lie, he shall never enter the Fire; he participated in Badr and Al-Hudaybiyyah.” (Muslim 4:1942)

This is why Allah the Exalted said while praising these Companions, “Verily, those who give pledge to you, they are giving pledge to Allah. The Hand of Allah is over their hands. Then whosoever breaks his pledge, breaks it only to his own harm; and whosoever fulfils whatever covenant he has made with Allah, he will bestow on him a great reward.” Allah the Exalted and Most Honoured said in another Ayah, “Indeed, Allah has pleased with he believers when they gave the pledge to you under the tree, he knew what was in their hearts, and He sent down tranquillity upon them, and He rewarded them with a near victory.” (48:18)

{11. Those of the bedouins who lagged behind will say to you: “Our possessions and our families occupied us, so ask forgiveness for us.” They say with their tongues what is not in their hearts. Say: “Who then has any power at all (to intervene) on your behalf with Allah, if He intends you hurt or intends you benefit Nay, but Allah is Aware of what you do.

12. Nay, but you thought that the Messenger and the believers would never return to their families, and that was made fair seeming in your hearts, and you did think an evil thought and you became a Bura.”

13. And whosoever does not believe in Allah and His Messenger, then verily, We have prepared for the disbelievers a blazing Fire.

14. And to Allah belongs the sovereignty of the heavens and the earth. He forgives whom He wills, and punishes whom He wills. And Allah is Forgiving, Most Merciful.}

The Fabricated Excuse offered by Those Who lagged behind and did not participate in Al-Hudaybiyyah

Allah informs His Messenger of the excuses that the bedouins who lagged behind would offer him, those bedouins who preferred to remain in their homes and possessions and did not join the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. They offered an excuse for lagging behind, as that of being busy – in their homes and with their wealth! They asked the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, to invoke Allah to forgive them, not because they had faith in the Prophet and his invocation, but to show off and pretend. This is why Allah the Exalted said about them, “They say with their tongues what is not in their hearts. Say: “Who then has any power at all (to intervene) on your behalf with Allah, if He intends you hurt or intends you benefit” Allah says, none can resist what Allah has decided in your case, all praise and honor belong to Him. Allah is the Knower of your secrets and what your hearts conceal, even if you pretend and choose to be hypocritical with us. This is why Allah the Exalted said, “Nay, but Allah is Ever All-Aware of what you do.” then He said, “Nay, but you thought that the Messenger and the believers would never return to their families,” ‘for your lagging behind was not an excusable act or just a sin. Rather, your lagging behind was because of hypocrisy and because you thought that the Muslims would be killed to the extent of extermination, their lives would be extinguished and none of them will ever come back,’ “and you did think an evil thought and you became a people Bur” going for destruction, according to Abdullah bin Abbas, Mujahid and several others. (At-Tabari 22:214) Qatadah explained Bur to mean, corrupt (At-Tabari 22:214) and some said that it is a word used in the Arabic dialect of the area of Oman. Allah the Exalted then said, “And whosoever does not believe in Allah and His Messenger,” Allah states here that whoever does not purify his actions outwardly and inwardly for Allah’s sake, then Allah the Exalted will punish him in the Blazing Fire, even if he pretends to show people that he follows the faith, contradicting his true creed. Allah the Exalted then states that He is the Only Authority, King and Owner Who has full control over the residents of the heavens and earth, “He forgives whom He wills, and punishes whom He wills. And Allah is Forgiving, Most Merciful.” with those who repent, return and submit to Him with humiliation.

{15. Those who lagged behind will say, when you set forth to take the spoils, “Allow us to follow you.” They want to change Allah’s Words. Say: “You shall not follow us; thus Allah has said beforehand.” Then they will say: “Nay, you envy us.” Nay, but they understand not except a little.}

Allah characterizes the bedouins who lagged behind the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, during the Umrah of Hudaybiyyah, saying that when the Prophet and his Companions later went on to conquer Khaybar, the bedouins asked them to take them along. They were hoping to collect war booty, having been absent when it was time to fight the enemy and enduring with patience therein. Allah the Exalted ordered His Messenger to refuse to give them permission to accompany him, being a punishment that is similar to their error. Allah has promised those who were present at Al-Hudaybiyyah to earn Khaybar’s war spoils alone, not shared in that with the bedouins who lagged behind. Therefore, the legislation that Allah gave in this regard was joined to the destiny that He decided, occurring just as He decided. Allah’s statement, “They want to change Allah’s Words”, which refers to the promise that Allah gave those who were present at Al-Hudaybiyyah, according to the explanation reported from Mujahid, Qatadah, Juwaybir and which Ibn Jarir preferred. (At-Tabari 22:215) Allah said, “Say: “You shall not follow us; thus Allah has said beforehand.” ‘when He promised the participants of Al-Hudaybiyyah before you asked to join them,’ “Then they will say: “Nay, you envy us.” ‘you do not want us to share the war spoils with you,’ “Nay, but they under- stand not except a little.” the truth is nothing close to what they claimed, but they understand not.

{16. Say to the bedouins who lagged behind: “You shall be called to fight against a people given to great warfare, then you shall fight them, or they shall surrender. Then if you obey, Allah will give you a fair reward; but if you turn away as you did turn away before, He will punish you with a painful torment.”

17. No blame or sin is there upon the blind, nor is there sin upon the lame, nor is there sin upon the sick. And whosoever obeys Allah and His Messenger, He will admit him to Gardens beneath which rivers flow; and whosoever turns back, He will punish him with a painful torment.}

Allah conveys the News that there will be Many Cases of Jihad, and that Jihad distinguishes the Ranks of the Believers and exposes the Hypocrite

Scholars of Tafsir differ over who the people mentioned here are. They are people experienced at warfare who will be called to fight. There are many opinions, first, they are the tribe of Hawazin, as Shubah narrated from Abu Bishr from Said bin Jubayr, or Ikrimah, or both of them. (At-Tabari 22:220) Hushaym narrated this explanation from Abu Bishr, from both Said bin Jubayr and Ikrimah. (At-Tabari 22:220) Qatadah, as narrated from him in one version, held the same view. (At-Tabari 22:220) The second view is that these people are the tribe of Thaqif, according to Ad-Dahhak. The third view is that they are Banu Hanifah, according to Juwaybir and Az-Zuhri, as Muhammad bin Ishaq narrated from him. (At-Tabari 22:220) Similar was narrated from Said bin Jubayr and Ikrimah. (At-Tabari 22:220) The fourth opinion is that they are the Persians, according to Ali bin Abi Talhah who reported that from Abdullah bin Abbas. This is also the view of Ata’, Mujahid, and Ikrimah. (At-Tabari 22:219, Al-Qurtubi 16:272) Kab Al-Ahbar said that they are the Romans, (At-Tabari 22:221) while Ibn Abi Layla, Ata, Al-Hasan and Qatadah — in a different narration from him, said that they are the Persians and Romans. (At-Tabari 22:219) Mujahid also said that they are the idolators. (Ad-Durr Al-Manthur 22:219) In another narration Mujahid said, “They are men given to great warfare,” and did not specify any particular people. This last explanation is the view preferred by Ibn Jurayj and Ibn Jarir.

Allah’s statement, “Then you shall fight them, or they shall surrender.” means, ‘you are called to fight them in Jihad, through constant warfare, until you become victorious over them or they surrender. Or, they will embrace your religion without a fight, but with their full consent.’ Allah the Exalted and Most Honored said next, “Then if you obey,” ‘if you accept the call to Jihad and prepare for it and fulfill your duty in this regard,’ “Allah will give you a fair reward; but if you turn away as you turned away before,” ‘on the day of Al-Hudaybiyyah, when you were called to Jihad, yet lagged behind,’ “He will punish you with a painful torment.”

Acceptable Reasons for not joining Jihad

Allah then mentions the legal reasons that allow one to be excused from joining the Jihad, such as blindness and being lame, and various illnesses that strike one and are remedied in few days. When one is ill, he is allowed to remain behind and will have a valid excuse to do so, until his illness ends. Allah the Exalted and Most honoured then said, while ordaining joining the Jihad and obeying Allah and His Messenger, “And whosoever obeys Allah and His Messenger, He will admit him to Gardens beneath which rivers flow; and whosoever turns back,” from joining the Jihad and busies himself in his livelihood, “He will punish him with a painful torment.” in this life with humiliation and in the Hereafter with the Fire. Allah the Exalted has the best knowledge.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged) Vol 9 Pages 122-148

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