Surah Al-Hajj Ayat 39-57

{39. Permission (to fight) is given to those (believers) who are fought against, because they have been wronged; and surely, Allah is able to give them victory. 

40. Those who have been expelled from their homes unjustly only because they said: “Our Lord is Allah.” For had it not been that Allah checks one set of people by means of another, Sawami, Biya, Salawat, and Masjids, wherein the Name of Allah is mentioned much, would surely have been pulled down. Verily, Allah will help those who help His (cause). Truly, Allah is All-Strong, All-Mighty.}

Permission to fight

Al-Awfi reported that Ibn Abbas said, “This was revealed about Muhammad and his Companions, when they were expelled from Makkah.” (At-Tabari 18:643)  Ibn Jarir recorded that Ibn Abbas said, “When the Prophet was driven out of Makkah, Abu Bakr said, ‘They have their Prophet. Truly, to Allah we belong and truly, to Him we shall return; surely they are doomed.” Ibn Abbas said, “Then Allah revealed the words:“Permission (to fight) is given to those (believers) fought against, because they have been wronged; and surely, Allah is able to give them victory.” Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “Then I knew that there would be fighting.” (Ahmad 1:216)  Imam Ahmad added: “Ibn Abbas said, ‘This was the first Ayah to be revealed concerning fighting.”’ This was also recorded by At-Tirmidhi and An-Nasa’i in the Book of Tafsir of their Sunans. (Tuhfat Al-Ahwadhi 9:15) At-Tirmidhi said: “It is a Hasan Hadith.” “and surely, Allah is able to give them victory.” means, He is able to grant victory to His believing servants without any fighting taking place, but He wants His servants to strive their utmost in obeying Him.

Ibn Abbas commented on the Ayah, “and surely, Allah is able to give them (believers) victory.” “And this is what He did.” (At-Tabari 18:643)  Allah prescribed fighting at an appropriate time, because when they were in Makkah, the idolators outnumbered them by more than ten to one. Were they to engage in fighting at that time, the results would have been disastrous.

When the idolators went to extremes to persecute Muslims, to expel the Prophet and resolving to kill him; when they sent his Companions into exile here and there, so that some went to Ethiopia and others went to Al-Madinah; when they settled in Al-Madinah and the Messenger of Allah joined them there, and they gathered around him and lent him their support, and they had a place where Islam prevailed, and a stronghold to which they could retreat; then Allah prescribed fighting against the enemy, and this was the first Ayah to be revealed for it.

Allah said: “Permission (to fight) is given to those fought against, because they have been wronged; and surely, Allah is able to give them victory. Those who have been expelled from their homes unjustly” Al-Awfi reported that Ibn Abbas said; “They were driven out of Makkah to Al-Madinah unjustly, i.e., Muhammad and his Companions.” (At-Tabari 18:643) “only because they said: “Our Lord is Allah.” means, they had not done anything to their people or committed any wrongs against them, apart from the fact that they believed in the Oneness of Allah and they worshipped Him Alone, with no partner or associate. But for the idolators, this was the worst of sins, as Allah says: “and have driven out the Messenger and yourselves because you believe in Allah, your Lord!” (60:1). Then Allah says: “For had it not been that Allah checks one set of people by means of another,” meaning, were it not for the fact that He repels one people by means of another, and restrains the evil of people towards others by means of whatever circumstances He creates and decrees, the earth would have been corrupted and the strong would have destroyed the weak. “Sawami surely have been pulled down” means the small temples used by monks. This was the view of Ibn Abbas, Mujahid, Abu Al-Aliyah, Ikrimah, Ad-Dahhak and others. (At-Tabari 18:647) Qatadah said, “This refers to the places of worship of the Sabians;” according to another report, he said, “The Sawami of the Zoroastrians.” Muqatil bin Hayyan said, “These are houses along the roads.” “Biya”. These are larger than the Sawami and accommodate more worshippers; the Christians also have these. This was the view of Abu Al-Aliyah, Qatadah, Ad-Dahhak, Ibn Sakhr, Muqatil bin Hayyan, Khusayf and others. (At-Tabari 18:648) Ibn Jubayr reported from Mujahid and others that this referred to the synagogues of the Jews which are known to them as Salut. And Allah knows best. “Salawat” Al-Awfi reported that Ibn Abbas said, “Salawat means churches.” (At-Tabari 18:649) Ikrimah, Ad-Dahhak and Qatadah said that it referred to the synagogues of the Jews. Abu Al-Aliyah and others said, “Salawat refers to the places of worship of the Sabians.” Ibn Abi Najih reported that Mujahid said, “Salawat refers to places of worship of the People of the Book and of the people of Islam along the roads.” (At-Tabari 18:650) Masjids belong to the Muslims.“wherein the Name of Allah is mentioned much” It was said that the pronoun refers to Masjids, because this is the closest of the words mentioned. Ad-Dahhak said, “In all of them the Name of Allah is often mentioned.” Ibn Jarir said, “The correct view is that the monasteries of the monks, the churches of the Christians, the synagogues of the Jews and the Masjids of the Muslims, in which the Name of Allah is mentioned much, would have been destroyed – because this is the usual usage in Arabic.” (At-Tabari 18:650)  Some of the scholars said, “This is a sequence listing the smallest to the greatest, because the Masjids are more frequented by more worshippers who have the correct intention and way.”

“Verily, Allah will help those who help His (cause).” This is like the Ayah:“O you who believe! If you help (in the cause of) Allah, He will help you, and make your foothold firm. But those who disbelieve, for them is destruction, and (Allah) will make their deeds vain.” (47:7-8) “Truly, Allah is All-Strong, All-Mighty.” Allah describes Himself as being All-Strong and All-Mighty. By His strength He created everything and measured it exactly according to its due measurements; by His might nothing can overpower Him or overwhelm Him, rather everything is humbled before Him and is in need of Him. Whoever is supported by the All-Strong, the All-Mighty, is indeed supported and helped, and his enemy will be overpowered. Allah says:“And, verily, Our Word has gone forth of old for Our servants, the Messengers, that they verily, would be made triumphant, and that Our soldiers! They verily, would be the victors.” (37:171-173) “Allah has decreed: “Verily, it is I and My Messengers who shall be the victorious.” Verily, Allah is All-Powerful, All-Mighty.” (58:21)

{41. Those who, if We give them power in the land, establish the Salah, enforce the Zakah, and they enjoin the good and forbid the evil. And with Allah rests the end of (all) matters.}

The Duties of the Muslims when They attain Power

Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Uthman bin Affan said, “The Ayah:“Those who, if We give them power in the land, (they) establish the Salah, enforce the Zakah, and they enjoin the good and forbid the evil.” was revealed concerning us, for we had been expelled from our homes unjustly only because we said: ‘Our Lord is Allah.’ Then we were given power in the land, so we established regular prayer, paid the Zakah, enjoined what is good and forbade what is evil, and with Allah rests the end of (all) matters. This is about my companions and I.” (Ibn Abi Hatim 8:2496)  Abu Al-Aliyah said, “They were the Companions of Muhammad .” As-Sabah bin Suwadah Al-Kindi said, “I heard Umar bin Abdul-Aziz give a speech and say:“Those who, if We give them power in the land….” Then he said, “This is not obligatory only for those who are in authority, it also applies to those who are governed by them. Shall I not tell you what you can expect from your governor, and what duties those who are ruled owe to him? Your rights over your governor are that he should check on you with regard to your duties towards Allah and restore the rights that you have over one another, and that he should guide you to the straight path as much as possible. Your duties towards him are that you should obey him without cheating and without resentment, and you should obey him both in secret and openly.” Atiyah Al-Awfi said, “This Ayah is like the Ayah: “Allah has promised those among you who believe and do righteous good deeds, that He will certainly grant them succession to (the present rulers) in the land” (24:55).“And with Allah rests the end of (all) matters.” This is like the Ayah: “And the good end is for those who have Taqwa” (28:83). Zayd bin Aslam said: “And with Allah rests the end of (all) matters.” And with Allah will be the reward for what they did.” (Ibn Abi Hatim 8:2498)

{42. And if they deny you, so did deny before them the people of Nuh, Ad and Thamud. 

43. And the people of Ibrahim and the people of Lut, 

44. And the dwellers of Madyan; and denied was Musa. But I granted respite to the disbelievers for a while, then I seized them, and how (terrible) was My punishment! 

45. And many a township did We destroy while they were given to wrongdoing, so that it lie in ruins, and a deserted well and castle Mashid! 

46. Have they not traveled through the land, and have they hearts wherewith to understand and ears wherewith to hear Verily, it is not the eyes that grow blind, but it is the hearts which are in the breasts that grow blind.}

The Consequences for the Disbelievers

Here Allah consoles His Prophet Muhammad for the disbelief of those among his people who opposed him.“And if they deny you, so did deny before them the people of Nuh” until His saying,“and denied was Musa.” means, despite all the clear signs and evidence that they brought.“But I granted respite to the disbelievers for a while,” means, ‘I delayed and postponed.’ “then I seized them, and how (terrible) was My punishment!” means, ‘how great was My vengeance against them and My punishment of them!’ In the Two Sahihs it is reported from Abu Musa that the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him said:

“Allah lets the wrongdoer carry on until, when He seizes him, He will never let him go.”

Then he recited: “Such is the punishment of your Lord when He seizes the towns while they are doing wrong. Verily, His punishment is painful (and) severe.” (11:102) (Fath Al-Bari 8:205) Then Allah says: “And many a township did We destroy” “while they were given wrongdoing” meaning, they were rejecting their Messengers.“so that it lie in ruins,” Ad-Dahhak said, “[Leveled to] their roofs,” (At-Tabari 18:653) i.e., their houses and cities were destroyed.“and (many) a deserted well” means, they draw no water from it, and no one comes to it, after it had been frequented often by crowds of people.“and a castle Mashid!” Ikrimah said, “This means whitened with plaster.” (At-Tabari 18:654) Something similar was narrated from Ali bin Abi Talib, Mujahid, Ata’, Said bin Jubayr, Abu Al-Mulayh and Ad-Dahhak. (At-Tabari 18:655) Others said that it means high and impenetrable fortresses. All of these suggestions are close in meaning and do not contradict one another, for this sturdy construction and great height did not help their occupants or afford them any protection when the punishment of Allah came upon them, as He says:“Wheresoever you may be, death will overtake you even if you are in Buruj Mushayyadah!” (4:78) “Have they not traveled through the land,” means, have they not traveled in the physical sense and also used their minds to ponder? That is sufficient, as Ibn Abi Ad-Dunya said in his book At-Tafakkur wal-Itibar, “Some of the wise people said, ‘Give life to your heart with lessons, illuminate it with thought, kill it with asceticism, strengthen it with certain faith, remind it of its mortality, make it aware of the calamities of this world, warn it of the disasters that life may bring, show it how things may suddenly change with the passing of days, tell it the stories of the people of the past, and remind it what happened to those who came before.” Walk through their ruins, see what they did and what became of them, meaning, look at the punishments and divine wrath that struck the nations of the past who belied,“and have they hearts wherewith to understand and ears wherewith to hear” meaning, let them learn a lesson from that.“Verily, it is not the eyes that grow blind, but it is the hearts which are in the breasts that grow blind.” means, the blind person is not the one whose eyes cannot see, but rather the one who has no insight. Even if the physical eyes are sound, they still cannot learn the lesson.

{47. And they ask you to hasten on the torment! And Allah fails not His promise. And verily a day with your Lord is as a thousand years of what you reckon. 

48. And many a township did I give respite while it was given to wrongdoing. Then I seized it (with punishment). And to Me is the (final) return (of all).}

The Disbelievers Demand for the Punishment

Allah tells His Prophet: “And they ask you to hasten on the torment!” meaning, these disbelievers who disbelieve in Allah and His Book and His Messenger and the Last Day. This is like the Ayat: “And (remember) when they said: ‘O Allah! If this is indeed the truth from You, then rain down stones on us from the sky or bring on us a painful torment.”(8:32) “They say: “Our Lord! Hasten to us Qittana (our punishment) before the Day of Reckoning!” (38:16). “And Allah fails not His promise.” means, His promise to bring about the Hour and wreak vengeance upon His enemies, and to honor His close friends. “And verily a day with your Lord is as a thousand years of what you reckon.” means, He does not hasten, for what is counted as a thousand years with His creation is as one day with Him, and He knows that He is able to exact revenge and that He will not miss a thing, even if He delays and waits and postpones. Hence He then says: “And many a township did I give respite while it was given to wrongdoing. Then I seized it (with punishment). And to Me is the (final) return (of all).” Ibn Abi Hatim recorded from Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:

“The poor among the Muslims will enter Paradise half a day before the rich – five hundred years.” 

This was recorded by At-Tirmidhi and An-Nasa’i from the Hadith of Ath-Thawri from Muhammad bin Amr. At-Tirmidhi said, “Hasan Sahih.” (Tuhfat Al-Ahwadi 7:21)

Abu Dawud recorded at the end of Book of Al-Malahim in his Sunan from Sad bin Abi Waqqas that the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:

“I hope that it will not be too much for my Ummah if Allah delays them for half a day.”

It was said to Sad, “What does half a day mean?” He said, “Five hundred years.” (Abu Dawud 4:517)

{49. Say: “O mankind! I am (sent) to you only as a plain warner.” 

50. So those who believe and do righteous good deeds, for them is forgiveness and Rizq Karim. 

51. But those who strive against Our Ayat to frustrate them, they will be dwellers of the Hellfire.}

The Recompense of the Righteous and the Unrighteous

Allah said to His Prophet , when the disbelievers asked him to hasten on the punishment for them:“Say: “O mankind! I am (sent) to you only as a plain warner.” meaning, ‘Allah has sent me to you to warn you ahead of the terrible punishment, but I have nothing to do with your reckoning. Your case rests with Allah: if He wills, He will hasten on the punishment for you; and if He wills, He will delay it for you. If He wills he will accept the repentance of those who repent to Him; and if He wills, He will send astray those who are decreed to be doomed. He is the One Who does whatsoever He wills and wants and chooses.“There is none to put back His judgement and He is swift at reckoning.” (13:41) “I am (sent) to you only as a plain warner. So those who believe and do righteous good deeds,” means, whose hearts believe and whose actions confirm their faith. “for them is forgiveness and Rizq Karim.” means, forgiveness for their previous bad deeds, and a great reward in return for a few good deeds. Muhammad bin Ka`b Al-Qurazi said, “When you hear Allah’s saying:“Rizq Karim” this means Paradise.” (Ad-Durr Al-Manthur 6:63) “But those who strive against Our Ayat to frustrate them,” Mujahid said, “To discourage people from following the Prophet .” (At-Tabari 18:662)  This was also the view of `Abdullah bin Az-Zubayr, “to discourage.”(Ad-Durr Al-Manthur 6:64)  Ibn Abbas said, “To frustrate them means to resist the believers stubbornly.”(Ad-Durr Al-Manthur 6:64) “they will be dwellers of the Hellfire.”

This refers to the agonizingly hot Fire with its severe punish-ment, may Allah save us from it. Allah says:“Those who disbelieved and hinder (men) from the path of Allah, for them We will add torment to the torment because they used to spread corruption” (16:88)

{52. Never did We send a Messenger or a Prophet before you but when he did recite (the revelation or narrated or spoke), Shaytan threw (some falsehood) in his recitation (of the revelation). But Yansakh Allah that which Shaytan throws in. Then Allah establishes His revelations. And Allah is All-Knower, All-Wise: 

53. That He (Allah) may make what is thrown in by Shaytan a trial for those in whose hearts is a disease and whose hearts are hardened. And certainly, the wrongdoers are in an opposition far-off (from the truth). 

54. And that those who have been given knowledge may know that it (this Qur’an) is the truth from your Lord, so that they may believe therein, and their hearts may submit to it with humility. And verily, Allah is the Guide of those who believe, to the straight path.}

How the Shaytan threw some Falsehood into the Words of the Messengers, and how Allah abolished that

At this point many of the scholars of Tafsir mentioned the story of the Gharaniq and how many of those who had migrated to Ethiopia came back when they thought that the idolators of the Quraysh had become Muslims, but these reports all come through Mursal chains of narration [A chain that stops before a Companion] and I do not think that any of them may be regarded as Sahih. And Allah knows best.

Al-Bukhari said, “Ibn Abbas said, “in his recitation (of the revelation).” “When he spoke, the Shaytan threw (some falsehood) into his speech, but Allah abolished that which the Shaytan threw in.” (Fath Al-Bari 8:292) “Then Allah establishes His revelations.” Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn `Abbas said,“when he did recite (the revelation), Shaytan threw (some falsehood) in it” “When he spoke, the Shaytan threw (some falsehood) into his speech.” (At-Tabari 18:667) Mujahid said: “when he did recite” “When he spoke.” (At-Tabari 18:7) It was said that it refers to his recitation, whereas,“but they trust upon Amani” means they speak but they do not write. [See Tafsir of Surah Al-Baqarah 2:78] Al-Baghawi and the majority of the scholars of Tafsir said:“he did recite” “Reciting the Book of Allah.” “Shaytan threw (some falsehood) in it” “In his recitation.” (Al-Baghawi 3:293)

Ad-Dahhak said: “when he did recite” “When he recited.” (At-Tabari 18:668) Ibn Jarir said, “This comment is more akin to interpretation.” “But Yansakh Allah that which Shaytan throws in.” The meaning of the word Naskh in Arabic is to remove or lift away. Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn Abbas said, “This means, Allah cancels out that which the Shaytan throws in.” (At-Tabari 18:668) “And Allah is All-Knower,” means, He knows all matters and events that will happen, and nothing whatsoever is hidden from Him. “All-Wise.” means, in His decree, creation and command, He has perfect wisdom and absolute proof, hence He says:“That He (Allah) may make what is thrown in by Shaytan a trial for those in whose hearts is a disease” meaning, doubt, Shirk, disbelief and hypocrisy. Ibn Jurayj said: “those in whose hearts is a disease” “The hypocrites, and “and whose hearts are hardened.” means the idolators.” (At-Tabari 18:669) “And certainly, the wrongdoers are in an opposition far-off.” means, far away in misguidance, resistance and stubbornness, i.e., far from the truth and the correct way. “And that those who have been given knowledge may know that it is the truth from your Lord, so that they may believe therein,” means, ‘so that those who have been given beneficial knowledge with which they may differentiate between truth and falsehood, those who believe in Allah and His Messenger, may know that what We have revealed to you is the truth from your Lord, Who has revealed it by His knowledge and under His protection, and He will guard it from being mixed with anything else.’ Indeed, it is the Wise Book which, “Falsehood cannot come to it from before it or behind it, (it is) sent down by the All-Wise, Worthy of all praise (Allah).” (41:42) “so that they may believe therein,” means, that they may believe that it is true and act upon it.“and their hearts may submit to it with humility.” means, that their hearts may humble themselves and accept it. “And verily, Allah is the Guide of those who believe, to the straight path.” means, in this world and in the Hereafter. In this world, He guides them to the truth and helps them to follow it and to resist and avoid falsehood; in the Hereafter, He will guide them to the straight path which leads to the degrees of Paradise, and He will save them from the painful torment and the dismal levels of Hell.

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