Tafsir Surah Al-Anfal Ayat 45-75 (end)

{45. O you who believe! When you meet (an enemy) force, take a firm stand against them and remember Allah much, so that you may be successful.

46. And obey Allah and His Messenger, and do not dispute (with one another) lest you lose courage and your strength departs, and be patient. Surely, Allah is with the patients.}

Manners of War

Allah instructs His faithful servants in the manners of fighting and methods of courage when meeting the enemy in battle, “O you who believe! When you meet (an enemy) force, take a firm stand against them” In the Two Sahihs, it is recorded that Abdullah bin Abi Awfa said that during one battle, Allah’s Messenger waited until the sun declined, then stood among the people and said,

“O people! Do not wish to face the enemy (in a battle) and ask Allah to save you (from calamities). But if you should face the enemy, then be patient and let it be known to you that Paradise is under the shadows of the swords.”

He then stood and said,

“O Allah! Revealer of the (Holy) Book, Mover of the clouds, and Defeater of the Confederates, defeat them and grant us victory over them.” (Fath Al-Bari 6:140) 

The Command for Endurance when the Enemy Engaging

Allah commands endurance upon meeting the enemy in battle and ordains patience while fighting them. Muslims are not allowed to run or shy away, or show cowardice in battle. They are commanded to remember Allah while in that condition and never neglect His remembrance. They should rather invoke Him for support, trust in Him and seek victory over their enemies from Him. They are required to obey Allah and His Messenger in such circumstances adhering to what He commanded them, and abstaining from what He forbade them. They are required to avoid disputing with each other, for this might lead to their defeat and failure, “lest your strength departs”, so that your strength, endurance and courage do not depart from you, “and be patient. Surely, Allah is with the patients.”

In their courage, and obedience to Allah and His Messenger, the Companions reached a level never seen before by any nation or generation before them, or any nation that will ever come. Through the blessing of the Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, and their obedience to what he commanded, the Companions were able to open the hearts, as well as, the various eastern and western parts of the world in a rather short time. This occurred even though they were few, compared to the armies of the various nations at that time. For example, the Romans, Persians, Turks, Slavs, Berbers, Ethiopians, Sudanese tribes, the Copts and the rest of the Children of Adam. They defeated all of these nations, until Allah’s Word became the highest and His religion became dominant above all religions. The Islamic state spread over the eastern and western parts of the world in less than thirty years. May Allah grant them His pleasure, as well as, be pleased with them all, and may He gather us among them, for He is the Most Generous, and Giving.

{47. And be not like those who come out of their homes boastfully and to be seen of men, and hinder (men) from the path of Allah; and Allah is Muhit (encompassing and thoroughly comprehending) all that they do.

48. And (remember) when Shaytan made their (evil) deeds seem fair to them and said, “No one of mankind can overcome you this day (of the battle of Badr) and verily, I am your neighbour (for each and every help).” But when the two forces came in sight of each other, he ran away and said “Verily, I have nothing to do with you. Verily, I see what you see not. Verily, I fear Allah for Allah is severe in punishment.”

49. When the hypocrites and those in whose hearts was a disease (of disbelief) said: “These people (Muslims) are deceived by their religion.” But whoever puts his trust in Allah, then surely, Allah is All- Mighty, All-Wise.}

 

The Idolators leave Makkah, heading for Badr

After Allah commanded the believers to fight in His cause sincerely and to be mindful of Him, He commanded not to imitate the idolators, who went out of their homes “boastfully” to suppress the truth, “and to be seen of men”, boasting arrogantly with people. When Abu Jahl was told that the caravan escaped safely, so they should return to Makkah, he commented, “No, by Allah! We will not go back until we proceed to the well of Badr, slaughter camels, drink alcohol and female singers sing to us. This way, the Arabs will always talk about our stance and what we did on that day.” However, all of this came back to haunt Abu Jahl, because when they proceeded to the well of Badr, they brought themselves to death; and in the aftermath of Badr, they were thrown in the well of Badr, dead, disgraced, humiliated, despised and miserable in an everlasting, eternal torment. This is why Allah said here, “and Allah is Muhit (encompassing and thoroughly comprehending) all that they do.” He knows how and what they came for, and this is why He made them taste the worst punishment. (Ibn Hisham 2:329) Ibn Abbas, Mujahid, Qatadah, Ad-Dahhak and As-Suddi commented on Allah’s statement, “And be not like those who come out of their homes boastfully and to be seen of men” “They were the idolators who fought against the Messenger of Allah at Badr.” (At-Tabari 14:8-9) Muhammad bin Kab said, “When the Quraysh left Makkah towards Badr, they brought female singers and drums along. Allah revealed this verse, “And be not like those who come out of their homes boastfully and to be seen of men, and hinder (men) from the path of Allah; and Allah is Muhit (encompassing and thoroughly comprehending) all that they do.”

Shaytan makes Evil seem fair and deceives the Idolators

Allah said next, “And (remember) when Shaytan made their (evil) deeds seem fair to them and said, “No one of mankind can overcome you today and verily, I am your neighbour.”

Shaytan, may Allah curse him, made the idolators’ purpose for marching seem fair to them. He made them think that no other people could defeat them that day. (At-Tabari 14:11) He also ruled out the possibility that their enemies, the tribe of Bani Bakr, would attack Makkah, saying, “I am your neighbour.” Shaytan appeared to them in the shape of Suraqah bin Malik bin Jushum, the chief of Bani Mudlij, so that, as Allah described them, “He [Shaytan] makes promises to them, and arouses in them false desires; and Shaytan’s promises are nothing but deceptions” (4:120).

Ibn Jurayj said that Ibn Abbas commented on this Ayah, (8:48) “On the day of Badr, Shaytan, as well as, his flag holder and soldiers, accompanied the idolators. He whispered to the hearts of the idolators, ‘None can defeat you today! I am your neighbour.’ When they met the Muslims and Shaytan witnessed the angels coming to their aid, “he ran away”, he went away in flight while proclaiming, “Verily, I see what you see not.” (At-Tabari 14:9) Ali bin Abi Talhah said, that Ibn Abbas said about this Ayah, “No one of mankind can overcome you today and verily, I am your neighbour” “Shaytan, as well as, his devil army and flag holders, came on the day of Badr in the shape of a Suraqah bin Malik bin Jushum, man from Bani Mudlij, Shaytan said to idolators, ‘None will defeat you this day, and I will help you.’ When the two armies stood face to face, the Messenger of Allah took a handful of sand and threw it at the faces of the idolators, causing them to retreat. Jibril, peace be upon him, came towards Shaytan, but when Shaytan, while holding the hand of a Mushrik man, saw him, he withdrew his hand and ran away with his soldiers. That man asked him, ‘O Suraqah! You claimed that you are our neighbour’ He said, ”Verily, I see what you see not. Verily, I fear Allah for Allah is severe in punishment” Shaytan said this when he saw the angels.” (At-Tabari 14:7)

The Position of the Hypocrites in Badr

Allah said next, “When the hypocrites and those in whose hearts was a disease (of disbelief) said: “These people (Muslims) are deceived by their religion.” Ali bin Abi Talhah said that Ibn Abbas commented, “When the two armies drew closer to each other, Allah made the Muslims look few in the eyes of the idolators and the idolators look few in the eyes of the Muslims. The idolators said, “These people (Muslims) are deceived by their religion.” because they thought that Muslims were so few. They believed, without doubt, that they would defeat the Muslims. Allah said, “But whoever puts his trust in Allah, then surely, Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise.” (Ad-Durr Al-Manthur 4:78) Qatadah commented, “They saw a group of believers who came in defense of Allah’s religion. We were informed that when he saw Muhammad and his Companions, Abu Jahl said, ‘By Allah! After this day, they will never worship Allah!’ He said this in viciousness and transgression.” (At-Tabari 14:14) Amir Ash- Shabi said, “Some people from Makkah were considering embracing Islam, but when they went with the idolators to Badr and saw how few the Muslims were, they said, “These people (Muslims) are deceived by their religion.”  “But whoever puts his trust in Allah”, and relies on His grace, “then surely, Allah is All-Mighty”, and verily, those who take His side [in the dispute] are never overwhelmed, for His side is mighty, powerful and His authority is All-Great, “All-Wise” in all His actions, for He places everything in its rightful place, giving victory to those who deserve it and defeat to those who deserve it.

{50. And if you could see when the angels take away the souls of those who disbelieve (at death); they smite their faces and their backs, (saying): “Taste the punishment of the blazing Fire. ”

51. “This is because of that which your hands forwarded. And verily, Allah is not unjust to His servants.”}

The Angels smite the Disbelievers upon capturing Their Souls

Allah says, if you witnessed the angels capturing the souls of the disbelievers, you would witness a tremendous, terrible, momentous and awful matter, “they smite their faces and their backs”, saying to them, “Taste the punishment of the blazing Fire.” Ibn Jurayj said that Mujahid said that, “and their backs”, refers to their back sides, as happened on the day of Badr. Ibn Jurayj also reported from Ibn Abbas, “When the idolators faced the Muslims [in Badr], the Muslims smote their faces with swords. When they gave flight, the angels smote their rear ends.” (At-Tabari 14:16)

Although these Ayat are describing Badr, they are general in the case of every disbeliever. This is why Allah did not make His statement here restrictive to the disbelievers at Badr, “And if you could see when the angels take away the souls of those who disbelieve (at death); they smite their faces and their backs.”

In Surat Al-Qital (or Muhammad chapter 47) there is a similar Ayah, as well as in Surat Al- Anam, “And if you could but see when the wrongdoers are in the agonies of death, while the angels are stretching forth their hands (saying): “Deliver your souls!” (6:93) The angels stretch their hands and smite the disbelievers by Allah’s command, since their souls refuse to leave their bodies, so they are taken out by force. This occurs when the angels give them the news of torment and Allah’s anger. There is a Hadith narrated from Al-Bara’ that when the angel of death attends the disbeliever at the time of death, he comes to him in a terrifying and disgusting shape, saying, “Get out, O wicked soul, to fierce hot wind, boiling water and a shadow of black smoke.” The disbeliever’s soul then scatters throughout his body, but the angels retrieve it, just as a needle is retrieved from wet wool. In this case, veins and nerve cells will be still attached to the soul. (Ahmad 4:287-288) Allah states here that angels bring news of the torment of the Fire to the disbelievers. Allah said next, “This is because of that which your hands forwarded.” meaning, this punishment is the recompense of the evil deeds that you have committed in the life of the world. This is your reckoning from Allah for your deeds, “And verily, Allah is not unjust to His servants.”

Certainly, Allah does not wrong any of His creatures, for He is the Just, who never puts anything in an inappropriate place. Honored, Glorified, Exalted and Praised be He, the All- Rich, Worthy of all praise. Muslim recorded that Abu Dharr said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said;

“Allah, the Exalted, said, ‘O My servants! I have prohibited injustice for Myself, and made it prohibited to you between each other. Therefore, do not commit injustice against each other. O My servants! It is your deeds that I am keeping count of, so whoever found something good, let him praise Allah for it. Whoever found other than that, has only himself to blame.” (Muslim 4:1994) 

This is why Allah said,

{52. Similar to the behavior of the people of Firawn, and of those before them – they rejected the Ayat of Allah, so Allah punished them for their sins. Verily, Allah is All-Strong, severe in punishment.}

Allah says, ‘The behavior of these rebellious disbelievers against what I sent you with, O Muhammad, is similar to the behavior of earlier disbelieving nations. So We behaved with them according to Our Da’b, that is, Our behavior [or custom] and way, as We did with them with what We often do and decide concerning their likes, the denying people of Firawn and the earlier nationswho rejected the Messengersand disbelieved in Our Ayat,”so Allah punished them for their sins.” Because of their sins, Allah destroyed them, “Verily, Allah is All-Strong, severe in punishment.” none can resist Him or escape His grasp.

{53. That is so because Allah will never change a grace which He has bestowed on a people until they change what is in themselves. And verily, Allah is All-Hearer, All-Knower.

54. Similar to the behavior of the people of Firawn, and those before them. They belied the Ayat of their Lord, so We destroyed them for their sins, and We drowned the people of Firawn for they were all wrongdoers.}

Allah affirms His perfect justice and fairness in His decisions, for He decided that He will not change a bounty that He has granted someone, except on account of an evil that they committed. Allah said in another Ayah, “Verily, Allah will not change the (good) condition of a people as long as they do not change their state (of goodness) themselves. But when Allah wills a people’s punishment, there can be no turning it back, and they will find besides Him no protector.” (13:11)

Allah said next, “Similar to the behaviour of the people of Firawn” meaning, He punished Firawn and his kind, those who denied His Ayat. Allah destroyed them because of their sins, and took away the favors that He granted them, such as gardens, springs, plants, treasures and pleasant dwellings, as well as all of the delights that they enjoyed. Allah did not wrong them, but it is they who wronged themselves.

{55. Verily, the worst of living creatures before Allah are those who disbelieve, – so they shall not believe.

56. They are those with whom you made a covenant, but they break their covenant every time and they do not have Taqwa.

57. So if you gain the mastery over them in war, then disperse those who are behind them, so that they may learn a lesson.}

Striking Hard against Those Who disbelieve and break the Covenants

Allah states here that the worst moving creatures on the face of the earth are those who disbelieve, who do not embrace the faith, and break promises whenever they make a covenant, even when they vow to keep them, “and they do not have Taqwa” meaning they do not fear Allah regarding any of the sins they commit. “So if you gain the mastery over them in war”, if you defeat them and have victory over them in war, “then disperse those who are behind them” by severely punishing [the captured people] according to Ibn Abbas, Al-Hasan Al-Basri, Ad-Dahhak, As-Suddi, Ata’ Al-Khurasani and Ibn Uyaynah. (At-Tabari 14:23-24) This Ayah commands punishing them harshly and inflicting casualties on them. This way, other enemies, Arabs and non-Arabs, will be afraid and take a lesson from their end, “so that they may learn a lesson.”

As-Suddi commented, “They might be careful not to break treaties, so that they do not meet the same end.”

{58. If you fear treachery from any people, throw back (their covenant) to them (so as to be) on equal terms. Certainly Allah likes not the treacherous.}

Allah says to His Prophet, “If you fear from any people”, with whom you have a treaty of peace, “treachery”, and betrayal of peace treaties and agreements that you have conducted with them, “then throw back (their covenant) to them”, meaning their treaty of peace. “on equal terms”, informing them that you are severing the treaty. This way, you will be on equal terms, in that, you and they will be aware that a state of war exists between you and that the bilateral peace treaty is null and void, “Certainly Allah likes not the treacherous.” This even includes treachery against the disbelievers. Imam Ahmad recorded that Salim bin Amir said, “Muawiyah was leading an army in Roman lands, at a time the bilateral peace treaty was valid. He wanted to go closer to their forces so that when the treaty of peace ended, he could invade them. An old man riding on his animal said, Allahu Akbar (Allah is the Great), Allahu Akbar! Be honest and stay away from betrayal.’ The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“Whoever has a treaty of peace with a people, then he should not untie any part of it or tie it harder until the treaty reaches its appointed term. Or, he should declare the treaty null and void so that they are both on equal terms.”

When Muawiyah was informed of the Prophet’s statement, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, he retreated. They found that man to be Amr bin Anbasah, may Allah be pleased with him.” (Ahmad 4:111) This Hadith was also collected by Abu Dawud At-Tayalisi, Abu Dawud, At-Tirmidhi, An-Nasa’i and Ibn Hibban in his Sahih. At-Tirmidhi said, “Hasan Sahih.” (Abu Dawud At-Tayalisi:157)

{59. And let not those who disbelieve think that they can outstrip (escape from the punishment). Verily, they will never be able to save themselves (from Allah’s punishment).

60. And make ready against them all you can of power, including steeds of war to threaten the enemy of Allah and your enemy, and others besides them, whom you may not know but whom Allah does know. And whatever you shall spend in the cause of Allah shall be repaid unto you, and you shall not be treated unjustly.}

Making Preparations for War to strike Fear in the Hearts of the Enemies of Allah

Allah says to His Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, in this Ayah, “those who disbelieve think that they can outstrip”, Do not think that such disbelievers have escaped Us or that We are unable to grasp them. Rather, they are under the power of Our ability and in the grasp of Our will; they will never escape Us.’ Allah also said, “Or think those who do evil deeds that they can outstrip Us (escape Our punishment) Evil is that which they judge!” (29:4), “Consider not that the disbelievers can escape in the land. Their abode shall be the Fire, and worst indeed is that destination.” (24:57), and, “Let not the free disposal (and affluence) of the disbelievers throughout the land deceive you. A brief enjoyment; then their ultimate abode is Hell; and worst indeed is that place for rest.” (3:196-197)

Allah commands Muslims to prepare for war against disbelievers, as much as possible, according to affordability and availability. Allah said, “And make ready against them all you can” whatever you can muster, “of power, including steeds of war”. Imam Ahmad recorded that Uqbah bin Amir said that he heard the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, saying, while standing on the Minbar;

“And make ready against them all you can of power.” 

“Verily, Power is shooting! Power is shooting.” (Ahmad 4:156) 

Muslim collected this Hadith. (Muslim 3:1522)

Imam Malik recorded that Abu Hurayrah said, “The Messenger of Allah said,

“Horses are kept for one of three purposes; for some people they are a source of reward, for some others they are a means of shelter, and for some others they are a source of sin. The one for whom they are a source of reward, is he who keeps a horse for Allah’s cause (Jihad) tying it with a long tether on a meadow or in a garden. The result is that whatever it eats from the area of the meadow or the garden where it is tied, will be counted as good deeds for his benefit; and if it should break its rope and jump over one or two hillocks then all its dung and its footmarks will be written as good deeds for him. If it passes by a river and drinks water from it, even though he had no intention of watering it, then he will get the reward for its drinking. Therefore, this type of horse is a source of good deeds for him. As for the man who tied his horse maintaining self – sufficiency and abstinence from begging, all the while not forgetting Allah’s right concerning the neck and back of his horse, then it is a means of shelter for him. And a man who tied a horse for the sake of pride, pretense and showing enmity for Muslims, then this type of horse is a source of sins.”

When Allah’s Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, was asked about donkeys, he replied,

“Nothing has been revealed to me from Allah about them except these unique, comprehensive Ayat: “Then anyone who does an atom’s weight of good, shall see it. And anyone who does an atom’s weight of evil, shall see it.” (99:7-8) (Al-Muwatta 2:414)

Al-Bukhari and Muslim collected this Hadith, this is the wording of Al-Bukhari. (Al-Bukhari:2860) Imam Ahmad recorded that Abdullah bin Masud said that the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“There are three reasons why horses are kept: A horse that is kept for Ar-Rahman (the Most Beneficent), a horse kept for Shaytan and a horse kept for the man. As for the horse kept for Ar-Rahman, it is the horse that is being kept for the cause of Allah (for Jihad), and as such, its food, dung and urine, etc., (he made mention of many things). As for the horse that is for Shaytan, it is one that is being used for gambling. As for the horse that is for man, it is the horse that one tethers, seeking its benefit. For him, this horse will be a shield against poverty.” (Ahmad 1:395) 

Al-Bukhari recorded that Urwah bin Abi Al-Jad Al-Bariqi said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“Good will remain in the forelocks of horses until the Day of Resurrection, (that is) reward, and the spoils of war.” (Fath Al-Bari 6:66) 

Allah said next, “to threaten”, or to strike fear, “the enemy of Allah and your enemy”, the disbelievers, “and others besides them”, such as Bani Qurayzah, according to Mujahid, (At-Tabari 14:36) or Persians, according to As-Suddi. (At-Tabari 14:36)

Muqatil bin Hayyan and Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam said that this Ayah refers to hypocrites, (At-Tabari 14:36) as supported by Allah’s statement, “And among the bedouins around you, some are hypocrites, and so are some among the people of Al-Madinah who persist in hypocrisy; you know them not, We know them.” (9:101).

Allah said next, “And whatever you shall spend in the cause of Allah shall be repaid to you, and you shall not be treated unjustly.”

Allah says, whatever you spend on Jihad will be repaid to you in full.

We also mentioned Allah’s statement, “The parable of those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah, is that of a grain (of corn); it grows seven ears, and each ear has a hundred grains. Allah gives manifold increase to whom He wills. And Allah is All-Sufficient for His creatures’ needs, All-Knower.” (2:261)

{61. But if they incline to peace, you also incline to it, and trust in Allah. Verily, He is the All- Hearer, the All-Knower.

62. And if they intend to deceive you, then verily, Allah is All- Sufficient for you. He it is Who has supported you with His help and with the believers.

63. And He has united their (believers’) hearts. If you had spent all that is in the earth, you could not have united their hearts, but Allah has united them. Certainly He is All-Mighty, All-Wise.}

The Command to Facilitate Peace when the Enemy seeks a Peaceful Resolution

Allah says, if you fear betrayal from a clan of people, then sever the peace treaty with them, so that you both are on equal terms. If they continue being hostile and opposing you, then fight them, “But if they incline”, and seek, “to peace”, if they resort to reconciliation, and seek a treaty of non-hostility, “you also incline to it”, and accept offers of peace from them. This is why when the pagans inclined to peace in the year of Hudaybiyah and sought cessation of hostilities for nine years, between them and the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, he accepted this from them, as well as, accepting other terms of peace they brought forth. Abdullah bin Al-Imam Ahmad recorded that Ali bin Abi Talib said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“There will be disputes after me, so if you have a way to end them in peace, then do so.” (Ahmad 1:90) 

Allah said next, “and trust in Allah.” Allah says, conduct a peace treaty with those who incline to peace, and trust in Allah. Verily, Allah will suffice for you and aid you even if they resort to peace as a trick, so that they gather and reorganize their forces, “then verily, Allah is All-Sufficient for you”.

Reminding the Believers of Allah’s Favor of uniting Them

Allah mentioned His favor on the Prophet, in that He aided him with believers, the Muhajirin and the Ansar, “He it is Who has supported you with His help and with the believers. And He has united their hearts.”

The Ayah says, ‘it is Allah who gathered the believers’ hearts, believing, obeying, aiding and supporting you – O Muhammad,’ “If you had spent all that is in the earth, you could not have united their hearts.” because of the enmity and hatred that existed between them. Before Islam, there were many wars between the Ansar tribes of Aws and Khazraj, and there were many causes to stir unrest between them. However, Allah ended all that evil with the light of faith, “And remember Allah’s favour on you, for you were enemies one to another, but He united your hearts, so that, by His grace, you became brethren, and you were on the brink of a pit of Fire, and He saved you from it. Thus Allah makes His Ayat clear to you, that you may be guided.” (3:103)

In the Two Sahihs, it is recorded that when the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, gave a speech to the Ansar about the division of war booty collected in the battle of Hunayn, he said to them,

“O Ansar! Did I not find you misguided and Allah guided you by me, poor and Allah enriched you by me, and divided and Allah united you by me?”

Every question the Prophet asked them, they said, “Truly, the favor is from Allah and His Messenger.” (Fath Al-Bari 7:644) Allah said, “But Allah has united them. Certainly He is All-Mighty, All-Wise.” He is the Most Formidable, and the hopes of those who have trust in Him, never end unanswered; Allah is All-Wise in all of His decisions and actions.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged) Volume 4 Pages 330-351

{64. O Prophet! Allah is sufficient for you and for the believers who follow you.

65. O Prophet! Urge the believers to fight. If there are twenty steadfast persons among you, they will overcome two hundred, and if there be a hundred steadfast persons they will overcome a thousand of those who disbelieve, because they (the disbelievers) are people who do not understand.

66. Now Allah has lightened your (task), for He knows that there is weakness in you. So if there are of you a hundred steadfast persons, they shall overcome two hundred, and if there are a thousand of you, they shall overcome two thousand by the leave of Allah. And Allah is with the patient.}

Encouraging Believers to fight in Jihad; the Good News that a Few Muslims can overcome a Superior Enemy Force

Allah encourages His Prophet and the believers to fight and struggle against the enemy, and wage war against their forces. Allah affirms that He will suffice, aid, support, and help the believers against their enemies, even if their enemies are numerous and have sufficient supplies, while the believers are few. Allah said, “O Prophet! Urge the believers to fight”, encouraged and called them to fight. The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, used to encourage the Companions to fight when they faced the enemy. On the day of Badr when the idolators came with their forces and supplies, he said to his Companions,

“Get ready and march forth towards a Paradise as wide as the heavens and earth.”

Umayr bin Al-Humam said, “As wide as the heavens and earth?”

The Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“Yes”

Umayr said, “Excellent, Excellent!” The Messenger of Allah peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said

“What makes you say, ‘Excellent! Excellent!’?”

He said, “The hope that I might be one of its dwellers.” The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“You are one of its people.”

Umayr went ahead, broke the scabbard of his sword, took some dates and started eating from them. He then threw the dates from his hand, saying, “Verily, if I lived until I finished eating these dates, then it is indeed a long life.” He went ahead, fought and was killed, may Allah be pleased with him. (Muslim 3:1511)

Allah said next, commanding the believers and conveying good news to them, “If there are twenty steadfast persons among you, they will overcome two hundred, and if there be a hundred steadfast persons, they will overcome a thousand of those who disbelieve.” The Ayah says, one Muslim should endure ten disbelievers. Allah abrogated this part later on, but the good news remained. Abdullah bin Al-Mubarak said that Jarir bin Hazim narrated to them that, Az-Zubayr bin Al-Khirrit narrated to him, from Ikrimah, from Ibn Abbas, “When this verse was revealed, “If there are twenty steadfast persons among you, they will overcome two hundred…” it became difficult for the Muslims, when Allah commanded that one Muslim is required to endure ten idolators. Soon after, this matter was made easy, “Now Allah has lightened your (task)”, until, “they shall overcome two hundred…”

Allah lowered the number [of adversaries that Muslims are required to endure], and thus, made the required patience less, compatible to the decrease in numbers.” (Abu Dawud 3:105) Al-Bukhari recorded a similar narration from Ibn Al-Mubarak. (Fath Al-Bari 8:163) Muhammad bin Ishaq recorded that Ibn Abbas said, “When this Ayah was revealed, it was difficult for the Muslims, for they thought it was burdensome since twenty should fight two hundred, and a hundred against a thousand. Allah made this ruling easy for them and abrogated this Ayah with another Ayah, “Now Allah has lightened your (task), for He knows that there is weakness in you…”

Thereafter, if Muslims were half as many as their enemy, they were not allowed to run away from them. If the Muslims were fewer than that, they were not obligated to fight the disbelievers and thus allowed to avoid hostilities.” (Al-Bukhari: 4652-4653)

{67. It is not (fitting) for a Prophet that he should have prisoners of war until he has fought (his enemies thoroughly) in the land. You desire the goods of this world, but Allah desires (for you) the Hereafter. And Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise.

68. Were it not a previous ordainment from Allah, a severe torment would have touched you for what you took.

69. So enjoy what you have gotten of booty in war, lawful and good, and have Taqwa of Allah. Certainly, Allah is Oft- Forgiving, Most Merciful.}

 

Imam Ahmad recorded that Anas said, “The Prophet asked the people for their opinion about the prisoners of war of Badr, saying, “Allah has made you prevail above them.” Umar bin Al-Khattab stood up and said, ‘O Allah’s Messenger! Cut off their necks,’ but the Prophet turned away from him. The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, again asked,

“O people! Allah has made you prevail over them, and only yesterday, they were your brothers.”

Umar again stood up and said, ‘O Allah’s Messenger! Cut off their necks.’ The Prophet ignored him and asked the same question again and he repeated the same answer. Abu Bakr As-Siddiq stood up and said, ‘O Allah’s Messenger! I think you should pardon them and set them free in return for ransom.’ Thereupon the grief on the face of Allah’s Messenger vanished. He pardoned them and accepted ransom for their release. Allah, the Exalted and Most Honored, revealed this verse, “Were it not a previous ordainment from Allah, a severe torment would have touched you for what you took.” (Ahmad 3:243)

Ali bin Abi Talhah narrated that Ibn Abbas said about Allah’s statement, “Were it not a previous ordainment from Allah…”, “In the Preserved Book, that war spoils and prisoners of war will be made allowed for you, “would have touched you for what you took”, because of the captives, “a severe torment” Allah, the Exalted said next, “So enjoy what you have gotten of booty in war, lawful and good.” Al-Awfi also reported this statement from Ibn Abbas. (At-Tabari 14:65) A similar statement was collected from Abu Hurayrah, Ibn Masud, Said bin Jubayr, Ata’, Al-Hasan Al-Basri, Qatadah and Al-Amash. (At-Tabari 14:65-69) They all stated that, “Were it not a previous ordainment from Allah” refers to allowing the spoils of war for this Ummah.

Supporting this view is what the Two Sahihs recorded that Jabir bin Abdullah said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“I have been given five things which were not given to any Prophet before me. (They are) Allah made me victorious by awe, (by His frightening my enemies) for a distance of one month’s journey. The earth has been made a place for praying and a purifyer for me. The booty has been made lawful for me, yet it was not lawful for anyone else before me. I have been given the right of intercession (on the Day of Resurrection). Every Prophet used to be sent to his people only, but I have been sent to all mankind.” (Fath Al-Bari 1:519) 

Al-Amash narrated that Abu Salih said that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah said,

”War booty was never allowed for any among mankind except us.”

[Abu Hurayrah said] This is why Allah the Most High said, “So enjoy what you have gotten of booty in war, lawful and good.” (Tuhfat Al-Ahwadhi 8:474)

The Muslims then took the ransom for their captives. In his Sunan, Imam Abu Dawud recorded that Ibn Abbas said that the Messenger of Allah fixed four hundred (Dirhams) in ransom from the people of Jahiliyyah in the aftermath of Badr. (Abu Dawud 3:139) The majority of the scholars say that the matter of prisoners of war is up to the Imam. If he decides, he can have them killed, such as in the case of Bani Qurayzah. If he decides, he can accept a ransom for them, as in the case of the prisoners of Badr, or exchange them for Muslim prisoners. The Messenger exchanged a woman and her daughter who were captured by Salamah bin Al-Akwa, for exchange of some Muslims who were captured by the idolators, or if he decides he can take the prisoner as a captives.

{70. O Prophet! Say to the captives that are in your hands: “If Allah knows any good in your hearts, He will give you something better than what has been taken from you, and He will forgive you, and Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”

71. But if they intend to betray you, they indeed betrayed Allah before. So He gave (you) power over them. And Allah is All-Knower, All-Wise.}

 

Pagan Prisoners at Badr were promised better than what They lost, if They become Righteous in the Future

Ibn Abbas said, “On the eve after Badr, the Messenger of Allah spent the first part of the night awake, while the prisoners were bound. His Companions said to him, ‘O Allah’s Messenger! Why do you not sleep?’ Al-Abbas had been captured by a man from Al-Ansar, and the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said to them,

”I heard the cries of pain from my uncle Al-Abbas, because of his shackles, so untie him.”

When his uncle stopped crying from pain, Allah’s Messenger went to sleep.” (At-Tabaqat by Ibn Sad 4:13) In his Sahih, Al- Bukhari recorded a Hadith from Musa bin Uqbah who said that Ibn Shihab said that Anas bin Malik said that some men from Al-Ansar said to the Messenger of Allah , “O Allah’s Messenger! Give us permission and we will set free our maternal cousin Al-Abbas without taking ransom from him.” He said,

“No, by Allah! Do not leave any Dirham of it.” (Fath Al-Bari 7:373) 

And from Yunus Bikkir, from Muhammad bin Ishaq, from Yazid bin Ruwman, from Urwah, from Az-Zuhri that several people said to him, “The Quraysh sent to the Messenger of Allah concerning ransoming their prisoners, and each tribe paid what was required for their prisoners. Al-Abbas said, ‘O Allah’s Messenger! I became a Muslim before.’ The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

”Allah knows if you are Muslim! If what you are claiming is true, then Allah will compensate you. As for your outward appearance, it was against us. Therefore, ransom yourself, as well as, your nephews Nawfal bin Al-Harith bin Abdul-Muttalib and Aqil bin Abu Talib bin Abdul- Muttalib, and also your ally Utbah bin Amr, from Bani Al-Harith bin Fihr.”

Al-Abbas said, I do not have that (money), O Allah’s Messenger!’ The Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

”What about the wealth that you and Umm Al-Fadl buried, and you said to her, ‘If I am killed in this battle, then this money that I buried is for my children Al-Fadl, Abdullah and Quthm?”

Al- Abbas said, ‘By Allah, O Allah’s Messenger! I know that you are Allah’s Messenger, for this is a thing that none except Umm Al-Fadl and I knew. However, O Allah’s Messenger! Could you count towards my ransom the twenty Uwqiyah (pertaining to a weight) that you took from me (in the battle)?’ The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

”No, for that was money that Allah made as war spoils for us from you.”

So Al-Abbas ransomed himself, his two nephews and an ally, and Allah revealed this verse,

”O Prophet ! Say to the captives that are in your hands: “If Allah knows any good in your hearts, He will give you something better than what has been taken from you, and He will forgive you, and Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (8:70) Al-Abbas commented, “After I became Muslim, Allah gave me twenty servants in place of the twenty Uwqiyah I lost. And I hope for Allah’s forgiveness.” [Al-Qurtubi 8:52. This hadith is not authentic but some of the information is supported by a hadith recorded in At-Tabarani and others.]

Al-Hafiz Abu Bakr Al-Bayhaqi recorded, that Anas bin Malik said, “The Prophet was brought some wealth from Bahrain and said;

“Distribute it in my Masjid”

and it was the biggest amount of goods Allah’s Messenger had ever received. He left for prayer and did not even look at the goods. After finishing the prayer, he sat by those goods and gave some of it to everybody he saw. Al-Abbas came to him and said, ‘O Allah’s Messenger! Give me (something) too, because I gave ransom for myself and Aqil. ‘ Allah’s Messenger told him to take. So he stuffed his garment with it and tried to carry it away but he failed to do so. He said, ‘Order someone to help me in lifting it.’ The Prophet refused. He then said to the Prophet , ‘Will you please help me to lift it?’ Allah’s Messenger refused. Then Al-Abbas dropped some of it and lifted it on his shoulders and went away. Allah’s Messenger kept on watching him till he disappeared from his sight and was astonished at his greediness. Allah’s Messenger did not get up until the last coin was distributed.” (Al-Bayhaqi 6:356)  Al-Bukhari also collected this Hadith in several places of his Sahih (Al-Bukhari: 421, 3049) with an abridged chain, in a manner indicating his approral of it.

Allah said, “But if they intend to betray you, they indeed betrayed Allah before” meaning, “But if they intend to betray you” in contradiction to what they declare to you by words. “they indeed betrayed Allah before”, the battle of Badr by committing disbelief in Him, “So He gave (you) power over them”, causing them to be captured in Badr, “And Allah is All-Knower, All-Wise.” He is Ever Aware of his actions and All-Wise in what He decides.

{72. Verily, those who believed, and emigrated and strove hard and fought with their property and their lives in the cause of Allah as well as those who gave (them) asylum and help, – these are (all) allies to one another. And as to those who believed but did not emigrate, you owe no duty of protection to them until they emigrate, but if they seek your help in religion, it is your duty to help them except against a people with whom you have a treaty of mutual alliance; and Allah is the All-Seer of what you do.}

 

The Muhajirin and Al-Ansar are the Supporters of One Another

Here Allah mentions the types of believers, dividing them into the Muhajirin, who left their homes and estates, emigrating to give support to Allah and His Messenger to establish His religion. They gave up their wealth and themselves in this cause. There are also the Ansar, the Muslims of Al-Madinah, who gave asylum to their Muhajirin brethren in their own homes and comforted them with their wealth. They also gave aid to Allah and His Messenger by fighting alongside the Muhajirun. Certainly they are, “allies to one another”, for each one of them has more right to the other than anyone else. This is why Allah’s Messenger forged ties of brotherhood between the Muhajirin and Ansar, as Al- Bukhari recorded from Ibn Abbas. (Fath Al-Bari 12:30) They used to inherit from each other, having more right to inheritance than the deceased man’s relatives, until Allah abrogated that practice with the fixed share for near relatives. Imam Ahmad recorded that Jarir bin Abdullah Al-Bajali said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessing of Allah be upon him, said,

“The Muhajirun and Al-Ansar are the supporters of each other, while the Tulaqa’ of Quraysh (whom the Prophet set free after conquering Makkah) and Utaqa’ from Thaqif (whom the Prophet set free from captivity after the battle of Hunayn) are supporters of each other until the Day of Resurrection.”

Only Ahmad collected this Hadith. (Ahmad 4:363)

Allah praised the Muhajirin and the Ansar in several Ayat of His Book and His Messenger (also praised them too). Allah said, “And the foremost to embrace Islam of the Muhajirun and the Ansar and also those who followed them exactly. Allah is well-pleased with them as they are well-pleased with Him. He has prepared for them gardens under which rivers flow (Paradise).” (9:100)

“Allah has forgiven the Prophet, the Muhajirin and the Ansar who followed him in the time of distress.” (9:117), and,

“And there is also a share in this booty for the poor Muhajirin, who were expelled from their homes and their property, seeking bounties from Allah and (His) good pleasure, and helping Allah and His Messenger. Such are indeed the truthful. And those who, before them, had homes (in Al-Madinah) and adopted the faith, love those who emigrate to them, and have no jealousy in their breasts for that which they have been given, and give them (emigrants) preference over themselves even though they were in need of that” (59:8-9).

The best comment on Allah’s statement, “…and have no jealousy in their breasts for that which they have been given” is that it means, they do not envy the Muhajirin for the rewards that Allah gave them for their emigration. These Ayat indicate that the Muhajirin are better in grade than the Ansar, and there is a consensus on this ruling among the scholars.

The Believers Who did not emigrate did not yet receive the Benefits of Wilayah

Allah said, “And as to those who believed but did not emigrate, you owe no duty of protection to them until they emigrate,” (8:72).

This is the third category of believers, those who believed, but did not perform Hijrah and instead remained in their areas. They do not have any share in the war booty or in the fifth [designated for Allah and His Messenger, the relatives of the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, the orphans, the poor and the wayfarer], unless they attend battle.

Imam Ahmad recorded that Buraydah bin Al-Hasib Al-Aslami said, “When the Messenger of Allah would send a commander with an expedition force or an army, he would advise him to have Taqwa of Allah and be kind t o t he Muslims under his command. He used to say,

“Fight in the Name of Allah, in the cause of Allah. Fight those who disbelieve in Allah. When you meet your Mushrik enemy, then call them to one of three choices, and whichever they agree to, then accept it and turn away from them. Call them to embrace Islam, and if they agree, accept it from them and turn away from them. Then call them to leave their area and cometoareasinwhichtheMuhajirinreside. Makeknowntothemthat if theydothis, theywill have the rights, as well as, the duties of the Muhajirin. If they refuse and decide to remain in their area, make known to them that they will be just like Muslim bedouins, and that Allah’s law applies to them just as it does to all believers. However, they will not have a share in the war booty or Fai’ (booty without war), unless they perform Jihad along with Muslims. If they refuse all of this, then call them to pay the Jizyah, and if they accept, then take it from them and turn away from them. If they refuse all these ␣ three␣ options, then trust in Allah and fight them.” (Ahmad 5:352) 

Muslim collected this Hadith. (Muslim 3:1357)

Allah said next, “But if they seek your help in religion, it is your duty to help them.” Allah commands, if these bedouins, who did not perform Hijrah, ask you to aid them against their enemy, then aid them. It is incumbent on you to aid them in this case, because they are your brothers in Islam, unless they ask you to aid them against disbelievers with whom you have a fixed-term treaty of peace. In that case, do not betray your treaties or break your promises with those whom you have treaties of peace. This was reported from Ibn Abbas. (At-Tabari 14:83)

{73. And those who disbelieve are allies of one another, (and) if you (Muslims) do not do so (protect one another), there will be Fitnah on the earth, and great corruption.}

 

The Disbelievers are Allies of Each Other; the Muslims are not their Allies

After Allah mentioned that the believers are the supporters of one another, He severed all ties of support between them and the disbelievers. In his Mustadrak, Al-Hakim recorded        that Usamah said that the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“No followers of two religions inherit from each other. Therefore, neither a Muslim inherits from a disbeliever nor a disbeliever from a Muslim.”

The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, recited this Ayah, “And those who disbelieve are supporters of one another, (and) if you (Muslims) do not do so (protect one another), there will be Fitnah on the earth, and great corruption.” Al-Hakim said, “Its chain is Sahih, and they did not record it.” (Al-Hakim 2:240) However, the following, from Usamah bin Zayd, is in the Two Sahihs; the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said, “Neither a Muslim inherits from a disbeliever nor a disbeliever inherits from a Muslim.” (Fath Al-Bari 12:51 and Muslim 3:1233)

Allah said next, “If you do not do so, there will be Fitnah and oppression on the earth, and a great corruption”, meaning, if you do not shun the idolators and offer your loyalty to the believers, Fitnah will overcome the people. Then confusion [polytheism and corruption] will be rampant, for the believers will be mixed with disbelievers, resulting in tremendous, widespread trials, [corruption and mischief] between people.

{74. And those who believed, and emigrated and strove hard in the cause of Allah (Al-Jihad), as well as those who gave (them) asylum and aid — these are the believers in truth, for them is forgiveness and a generous provision.

75. And those who believed afterwards, and emigrated and strove hard along with you, they are of you. But kindred by blood are nearer to one another (regarding inheritance) in the decree ordained by Allah. Verily, Allah is the All-Knower of everything.}

 

Believers in Truth

After Allah affirmed the ruling of loyalty and protection between the believers in this life, He then mentioned their destination in the Hereafter. Allah also affirmed the faith of the believers, just as mentioned in the beginning of this Surah, and that He will reward them with forgiveness and by erasing their sins, if they have any. He also promised them honorable provisions that are abundant, pure, everlasting and eternal; provisions that never end or run out, nor will they ever cause boredom, for they are delightful and come in great varieties. Allah then mentioned that those who follow the path of the believers in faith and performing good deeds, will be with them in the Hereafter. Just as Allah said, “And the foremost to embrace Islam…” (9:100), until the end of the Ayah. He also said, “And those who came after them…” (59:10).

A Hadith that is in the Two Sahihs, which is Mutawatir and has several authentic chains of narrations, mentions that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“One will be in the company of those whom he loves.” (Fath Al-Bari 10:573) 

Another Hadith states,

“He who loves a people is one of them”, and in another narration, he said,

“…will be gathered with them (on the Day of Resurrection).” (At-Tabarani 3:19)

Inheritance is for Designated Degrees of Relatives

Allah said, “But kindred by blood are nearer to one another (regarding inheritance) in the decree ordained by Allah”, meaning, in Allah’s decision. This Ayah encompasses all relatives, not only the degrees of relative who do not have a fixed, designated share in the inheritance, as some people claim and use this Ayah to argue. According to Ibn Abbas, Mujahid, Ikrimah, Al-Hasan, Qatadah and several others (Abu Dawad 3:291), this Ayah abrogated inheriting from those with whom one had ties of treaties or brotherhood, as was the case in the beginning of Islam. So it applies to all relatives, and as for those who do not inherit, then this is supported by the Hadith,

“Indeed Allah had alloted every right to the one who deserves it, so there may be no will for an heir.” (Abu Dawud 3:291) 

Therefore, this Ayah also includes those who have a fixed share of inheritance. Allah knows best.

This is the end of the Tafsir of Surat Al-Anfal, all praise and thanks are for Allah, in Him we trust, and He is sufficient for us, what an excellent supporter He is.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged) Volume 4 Pages 350-368

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