Qur'anic Exegesis

بَرَآءَۃٌ مِّنَ اللّٰہِ وَ رَسُوۡلِہٖۤ اِلَی الَّذِیۡنَ عٰہَدۡتُّمۡ مِّنَ الۡمُشۡرِکِیۡنَ ؕ﴿۱﴾ فَسِیۡحُوۡا فِی الۡاَرۡضِ اَرۡبَعَۃَ اَشۡہُرٍ وَّ اعۡلَمُوۡۤا اَنَّکُمۡ غَیۡرُ مُعۡجِزِی اللّٰہِ ۙ وَ اَنَّ اللّٰہَ مُخۡزِی الۡکٰفِرِیۡنَ ﴿۲﴾ وَ اَذَانٌ مِّنَ اللّٰہِ وَ رَسُوۡلِہٖۤ اِلَی النَّاسِ یَوۡمَ الۡحَجِّ الۡاَکۡبَرِ اَنَّ اللّٰہَ بَرِیۡٓءٌ مِّنَ الۡمُشۡرِکِیۡنَ ۬ۙ وَ رَسُوۡلُہٗ ؕ فَاِنۡ تُبۡتُمۡ فَہُوَ خَیۡرٌ لَّکُمۡ ۚ وَ اِنۡتَوَلَّیۡتُمۡ فَاعۡلَمُوۡۤا اَنَّکُمۡ غَیۡرُ مُعۡجِزِی اللّٰہِ ؕ وَ بَشِّرِ الَّذِیۡنَ کَفَرُوۡا بِعَذَابٍ اَلِیۡمٍ ۙ﴿۳﴾ اِلَّا الَّذِیۡنَ عٰہَدۡتُّمۡ مِّنَ الۡمُشۡرِکِیۡنَ ثُمَّ لَمۡ یَنۡقُصُوۡکُمۡ شَیۡئًا وَّ لَمۡ یُظَاہِرُوۡا عَلَیۡکُمۡ اَحَدًا فَاَتِمُّوۡۤا اِلَیۡہِمۡ عَہۡدَہُمۡ اِلٰی مُدَّتِہِمۡ ؕ اِنَّ اللّٰہَ یُحِبُّ الۡمُتَّقِیۡنَ ﴿۴﴾ فَاِذَا انۡسَلَخَ الۡاَشۡہُرُ الۡحُرُمُ فَاقۡتُلُوا الۡمُشۡرِکِیۡنَ حَیۡثُ وَجَدۡتُّمُوۡہُمۡ وَ خُذُوۡہُمۡ وَ احۡصُرُوۡہُمۡ وَ اقۡعُدُوۡا لَہُمۡ کُلَّ مَرۡصَدٍ ۚ فَاِنۡ تَابُوۡا وَ اَقَامُوا الصَّلٰوۃَ وَ اٰتَوُا الزَّکٰوۃَ فَخَلُّوۡا سَبِیۡلَہُمۡ ؕ اِنَّ اللّٰہَ غَفُوۡرٌ رَّحِیۡمٌ ﴿۵﴾ وَاِنۡ اَحَدٌ مِّنَ الۡمُشۡرِکِیۡنَ اسۡتَجَارَکَ فَاَجِرۡہُحَتّٰی یَسۡمَعَ کَلٰمَ اللّٰہِ ثُمَّ اَبۡلِغۡہُمَاۡمَنَہٗ ؕذٰلِکَ بِاَنَّہُمۡ قَوۡمٌ لَّا یَعۡلَمُوۡنَ﴿۶﴾

A declaration of acquittal is made from God[1]and His Messenger for the Idolaters with whom you have made agreements.[2]So,[3][O Idolaters of Arabia!] walk about in the land for four more months and be informed that you cannot defeat God and that God will humiliate those who deny [his prophet.[4]Then when the time of hajj arrives,] in order to communicate to all the people [of this land,] a general declaration should be made from God and His Messenger on the day of the big hajj[5] that God is free from [all] obligations to these Idolaters and so is His Messenger.[6]So, If you people repent,it is better for you, but if you turn away, then bear in mind that you cannot escape from God. [O Prophet!] Give tidings of a painful torment to these disbelievers. Those Idolaters however are an exception from this declaration of acquittal with whom you have a treaty and who did not leave any stone unturned [in honouring it] and did not support anyone against you. So honour their treaty to the end of their term because God loves those who abide by the limits[7][in fulfilling promises. After this declaration [on the day of the great hajj] when the sacred months have passed,[8]kill these Idolaters wherever you find them, and [for this purpose] capture them and besiege them, and lie in wait for them in each and every ambush.[9]Then if they repent and are diligent in the prayer, and pay zakah, then leave them alone. Indeed, God is Ever-Forgiving, Most-Merciful.[10]And if at this instance of onslaught any of these Idolaters seeks asylum from you [because he wants to hear out your message] grant him asylum until he is able to hear the word of God. Then take him to his place of safety. This is because these are a people who do not know [the words of God].[11](1-6)

کَیۡفَ یَکُوۡنُ لِلۡمُشۡرِکِیۡنَ عَہۡدٌعِنۡدَ اللّٰہِ وَ عِنۡدَ رَسُوۡلِہٖۤ اِلَّا الَّذِیۡنَ عٰہَدۡتُّمۡ عِنۡدَ الۡمَسۡجِدِ الۡحَرَامِۚفَمَا اسۡتَقَامُوۡا لَکُمۡ فَاسۡتَقِیۡمُوۡا لَہُمۡؕاِنَّ اللّٰہَ یُحِبُّ الۡمُتَّقِیۡنَ﴿۷﴾ کَیۡفَ وَ اِنۡ یَّظۡہَرُوۡا عَلَیۡکُمۡ لَا یَرۡقُبُوۡا فِیۡکُمۡ اِلًّا وَّ لَا ذِمَّۃً ؕیُرۡضُوۡنَکُمۡ بِاَفۡوَاہِہِمۡ وَ تَاۡبٰی قُلُوۡبُہُمۡۚوَ اَکۡثَرُہُمۡ فٰسِقُوۡنَۚ﴿۸﴾ اِشۡتَرَوۡا بِاٰیٰتِ اللّٰہِ ثَمَنًا قَلِیۡلًا فَصَدُّوۡا عَنۡسَبِیۡلِہٖ ؕاِنَّہُمۡ سَآءَمَا کَانُوۡا یَعۡمَلُوۡنَ﴿۹﴾ لَا یَرۡقُبُوۡنَ فِیۡمُؤۡمِنٍ اِلًّا وَّ لَا ذِمَّۃً ؕوَ اُولٰٓئِکَ ہُمُ الۡمُعۡتَدُوۡنَ﴿۱۰﴾ فَاِنۡتَابُوۡا وَ اَقَامُوا الصَّلٰوۃَوَ اٰتَوُا الزَّکٰوۃَ فَاِخۡوَانُکُمۡ فِی الدِّیۡنِؕوَ نُفَصِّلُ الۡاٰیٰتِ لِقَوۡمٍ یَّعۡلَمُوۡنَ ﴿۱۱﴾ وَ اِنۡنَّکَثُوۡۤا اَیۡمَانَہُمۡ مِّنۡۢ بَعۡدِ عَہۡدِہِمۡ وَ طَعَنُوۡا فِیۡدِیۡنِکُمۡ فَقَاتِلُوۡۤا اَئِمَّۃَالۡکُفۡرِۙاِنَّہُمۡ لَاۤ اَیۡمَانَ لَہُمۡ لَعَلَّہُمۡ یَنۡتَہُوۡنَ﴿۱۲﴾

How can a treaty remain in the sight of God and His Messenger with these Idolaters?[12]Yes, those who made a treaty with you [in Hudaybiyah] near the Sacred Mosque;[13]so, as long as they remain straight with you, you also remain straight with them[14]because God likes those who abstain [from breaking promises][15]– how can it remain when such is the situation that if at some instance they overpower you, they neither give regard to any familial ties nor any treaty?[16]They want to please you through words of their mouth but their hearts are denying and most of them do not keep their promises. They accepted a paltry price in exchange for God's revelations;[17]then they stopped from His path. Indeed, very evil is what they are doing. In the matter of a Muslim, they neither have regard for familial ties nor any promise and they are the ones who commit excesses. So, if they repent, are diligent in the prayer and pay zakah, they are your brethren in religion.[18]We are explaining Our revelations for those who want to know.[19]And if even after this treaty they have made,[20]they go back on their word and find blamein your religion, then fight also these leaders of disbelief.[21]Their words and promises are baseless. [Soon or late they will break their promise;] so, fight them until they abstain [from disbelief and polytheism]. (7-12)

___________

اَلَا تُقَاتِلُوۡنَ قَوۡمًا نَّکَثُوۡۤااَیۡمَانَہُمۡ وَ ہَمُّوۡا بِاِخۡرَاجِ الرَّسُوۡلِ وَ ہُمۡبَدَءُوۡکُمۡ اَوَّلَ مَرَّۃٍ ؕ اَتَخۡشَوۡنَہُمۡۚفَاللّٰہُ اَحَقُّ اَنۡتَخۡشَوۡہُ اِنۡ کُنۡتُمۡ مُّؤۡمِنِیۡنَ﴿۱۳﴾ قَاتِلُوۡہُمۡ یُعَذِّبۡہُمُ اللّٰہُ بِاَیۡدِیۡکُمۡ وَ یُخۡزِہِمۡ وَ یَنۡصُرۡکُمۡ عَلَیۡہِمۡ وَ یَشۡفِ صُدُوۡرَ قَوۡمٍ مُّؤۡمِنِیۡنَ﴿ۙ۱۴﴾ وَ یُذۡہِبۡ غَیۡظَ قُلُوۡبِہِمۡؕوَ یَتُوۡبُ اللّٰہُ عَلٰی مَنۡ یَّشَآءُ ؕوَ اللّٰہُ عَلِیۡمٌ حَکِیۡمٌ﴿۱۵﴾

[Believers![22]] Will you still not fight those who broke their promises and [before this] had the audacity to expel the messenger [from his territory],[23]and it is they who have taken the initiative in waging war with you.[24]Do you fear them? So, God is more worthy that you fear Him if you really are believers. Fight them; God will punish them through your hands[25]and will humiliate them[26]and will grant you dominance through His help and will soothe the hearts of one group of believers[27][through this] and eliminate the sorrow and anger of their hearts and [from among these disbelievers] grant whomsoever He wills the urge to repent. God is all-knowing, wise.[28](13-15)

اَمۡ حَسِبۡتُمۡ اَنۡتُتۡرَکُوۡا وَ لَمَّا یَعۡلَمِ اللّٰہُ الَّذِیۡنَ جٰہَدُوۡا مِنۡکُمۡ وَ لَمۡ یَتَّخِذُوۡا مِنۡدُوۡنِ اللّٰہِ وَلَا رَسُوۡلِہٖوَ لَا الۡمُؤۡمِنِیۡنَ وَلِیۡجَۃً ؕوَ اللّٰہُ خَبِیۡرٌۢ بِمَا تَعۡمَلُوۡنَ﴿۱۶﴾ مَا کَانَ لِلۡمُشۡرِکِیۡنَ اَنۡیَّعۡمُرُوۡا مَسٰجِدَ اللّٰہِ شٰہِدِیۡنَعَلٰۤی اَنۡفُسِہِمۡ بِالۡکُفۡرِؕاُولٰٓئِکَ حَبِطَتۡ اَعۡمَالُہُمۡۚۖوَ فِی النَّارِ ہُمۡ خٰلِدُوۡنَ﴿۱۷﴾اِنَّمَا یَعۡمُرُ مَسٰجِدَ اللّٰہِ مَنۡ اٰمَنَ بِاللّٰہِوَ الۡیَوۡمِ الۡاٰخِرِ وَ اَقَامَ الصَّلٰوۃَ وَ اٰتَی الزَّکٰوۃَوَ لَمۡ یَخۡشَ اِلَّا اللّٰہَ فَعَسٰۤی اُولٰٓئِکَ اَنۡیَّکُوۡنُوۡا مِنَ الۡمُہۡتَدِیۡنَ﴿۱۸﴾ اَجَعَلۡتُمۡ سِقَایَۃَالۡحَآجِّ وَ عِمَارَۃَالۡمَسۡجِدِ الۡحَرَامِ کَمَنۡ اٰمَنَ بِاللّٰہِ وَ الۡیَوۡمِ الۡاٰخِرِ وَ جٰہَدَ فِیۡسَبِیۡلِ اللّٰہِؕلَا یَسۡتَوٗنَ عِنۡدَ اللّٰہِؕوَ اللّٰہُ لَا یَہۡدِی الۡقَوۡمَ الظّٰلِمِیۡنَ﴿ۘ۱۹﴾ اَلَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا وَ ہَاجَرُوۡا وَ جٰہَدُوۡا فِیۡسَبِیۡلِ اللّٰہِ بِاَمۡوَالِہِمۡ وَ اَنۡفُسِہِمۡۙاَعۡظَمُ دَرَجَۃً عِنۡدَ اللّٰہِؕوَاُولٰٓئِکَ ہُمُ الۡفَآئِزُوۡنَ﴿۲۰﴾ یُبَشِّرُہُمۡ رَبُّہُمۡ بِرَحۡمَۃٍمِّنۡہُوَرِضۡوَانٍ وَّ جَنّٰتٍ لَّہُمۡ فِیۡہَا نَعِیۡمٌ مُّقِیۡمٌ﴿ۙ۲۱﴾ خٰلِدِیۡنَ فِیۡہَاۤ اَبَدًاؕاِنَّ اللّٰہَ عِنۡدَہٗۤ اَجۡرٌ عَظِیۡمٌ﴿۲۲﴾

Do you reckon that you will be left like this even though God has not yet known those among you who waged jihad and did not befriend anyone except God, His Messenger and his followers.[29][Remember,] whatever you are doing is fully in the knowledge of God. [You regard them to be the custodians of the House of God and on this basis have sympathy for them? In reality,] these Idolaters do not have the right to manage the mosques[30]of God when they are witness to their own disbelief.[31]It is they all of whose deeds have gone waste[32]and they are the ones who will abide forever in Hell. Only those should manage God's mosques who believe in God and the last day, are diligent in the prayer, pay zakah and do not fear anyone except God.[33]So, it is hoped that it is these people who will succeed.[34]Have you equated providing water to the pilgrims and managing the mosque to those who professed faith in God and the Last Day and who have waged jihad for the cause of God? The two cannot be equal in the sight of God. [In reality, these custodians of the House of God have been unjust to themselves] and [now] God will not guide these unjust people.[35]In the sight of God, high is the status of those[36]who professed faith, migrated and waged jihad through their persons and wealth for the cause of God. It is they who will succeed. Their Lord gives glad tidings to them of His mercy, pleasure and orchards in which they will have eternal favours. They will abide in them forever. There is no doubt that with God lies great reward. (16-22)

____________

یٰۤاَیُّہَا الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا لَا تَتَّخِذُوۡۤا اٰبَآءَکُمۡ وَاِخۡوَانَکُمۡ اَوۡلِیَآءَاِنِ اسۡتَحَبُّوا الۡکُفۡرَ عَلَی الۡاِیۡمَانِؕوَ مَنۡ یَّتَوَلَّہُمۡ مِّنۡکُمۡ فَاُولٰٓئِکَ ہُمُ الظّٰلِمُوۡنَ﴿۲۳﴾ قُلۡ اِنۡکَانَ اٰبَآؤُکُمۡ وَ اَبۡنَآؤُکُمۡ وَاِخۡوَانُکُمۡ وَ اَزۡوَاجُکُمۡ وَ عَشِیۡرَتُکُمۡ وَاَمۡوَالُۨ اقۡتَرَفۡتُمُوۡہَا وَ تِجَارَۃٌتَخۡشَوۡنَ کَسَادَہَا وَ مَسٰکِنُ تَرۡضَوۡنَہَاۤ اَحَبَّ اِلَیۡکُمۡمِّنَ اللّٰہِ وَ رَسُوۡلِہٖ وَ جِہَادٍ فِیۡسَبِیۡلِہٖفَتَرَبَّصُوۡا حَتّٰی یَاۡتِیَاللّٰہُ بِاَمۡرِہٖ ؕوَ اللّٰہُ لَا یَہۡدِی الۡقَوۡمَ الۡفٰسِقِیۡنَ﴿۲۴﴾ لَقَدۡ نَصَرَکُمُ اللّٰہُ فِیۡمَوَاطِنَ کَثِیۡرَۃٍ ۙوَّ یَوۡمَ حُنَیۡنٍۙاِذۡ اَعۡجَبَتۡکُمۡ کَثۡرَتُکُمۡ فَلَمۡ تُغۡنِ عَنۡکُمۡ شَیۡئًا وَّ ضَاقَتۡ عَلَیۡکُمُ الۡاَرۡضُ بِمَا رَحُبَتۡ ثُمَّ وَلَّیۡتُمۡ مُّدۡبِرِیۡنَ﴿ۚ۲۵﴾ ثُمَّ اَنۡزَلَ اللّٰہُ سَکِیۡنَتَہٗعَلٰی رَسُوۡلِہٖوَ عَلَی الۡمُؤۡمِنِیۡنَ وَ اَنۡزَلَ جُنُوۡدًا لَّمۡ تَرَوۡہَا وَ عَذَّبَ الَّذِیۡنَ کَفَرُوۡاؕوَذٰلِکَ جَزَآءُ الۡکٰفِرِیۡنَ﴿۲۶﴾ ثُمَّ یَتُوۡبُ اللّٰہُ مِنۡۢ بَعۡدِ ذٰلِکَ عَلٰی مَنۡیَّشَآءُ ؕوَ اللّٰہُ غَفُوۡرٌ رَّحِیۡمٌ﴿۲۷﴾

Believers![37]Do not befriend your fathers and your brothers if they hold disbelief dearer than belief. Those who befriend them, will be ones who are unjust [to their own selves]. Tell them [O Prophet]: "If your fathers, your sons, your brothers, your wives, your family, the wealth you have earned, the trade whose loss you fear, and the homes you like[38]– all these are dearer to you than God, His Messenger and the struggle for His cause,[39]then wait until God delivers His Judgement[40]and [keep this in mind that] God does not guide such people who break their promises."[41]In reality, God has helped you at many instances. In the recentpast, on the day of the [battle of] Hunayn also when you were feeling proud of your large number. Then it was of no use to you and the earth despite its vastness became narrow upon you. Then you tuned on your heels and fled away. At last, God made His tranquillity descend on His Messenger and on his followers[42]and sent His armies [to help them] which you did not see[43]and punished those who rejected [the Messenger] and such is the punishment for such rejecters.[44]Then [you have seen that] God provides the urge to repent to whomsoever He wills. God is forgiving; ever-merciful.[45](23-27)

یٰۤاَیُّہَا الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡۤا اِنَّمَا الۡمُشۡرِکُوۡنَ نَجَسٌ فَلَا یَقۡرَبُوا الۡمَسۡجِدَ الۡحَرَامَ بَعۡدَ عَامِہِمۡ ہٰذَاۚ وَاِنۡ خِفۡتُمۡ عَیۡلَۃًفَسَوۡفَ یُغۡنِیۡکُمُ اللّٰہُ مِنۡفَضۡلِہٖۤ اِنۡشَآءَ ؕاِنَّ اللّٰہَ عَلِیۡمٌ حَکِیۡمٌ﴿۲۸﴾

Believers! These Idolaters are absolutely impure. So, they must not come near the Sacred Mosque after this year[46]and if [as a consequence] you fear poverty [rest assured], if God wills He will soon make you rich through His grace.[47]Undoubtedly, He is all-knowing and all-wise.[48](28)

قَاتِلُوا الَّذِیۡنَ لَا یُؤۡمِنُوۡنَ بِاللّٰہِ وَ لَا بِالۡیَوۡمِ الۡاٰخِرِ وَلَا یُحَرِّمُوۡنَ مَا حَرَّمَ اللّٰہُ وَ رَسُوۡلُہٗ وَلَا یَدِیۡنُوۡنَ دِیۡنَ الۡحَقِّ مِنَ الَّذِیۡنَ اُوۡتُوا الۡکِتٰبَ حَتّٰی یُعۡطُوا الۡجِزۡیَۃَ عَنۡ ‌یَّدٍ وَّ ہُمۡ صٰغِرُوۡنَ﴿۲۹﴾

[Besides these Idolaters,] fight those from among the People of the Book who believe not in God or the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which has been forbidden by God and His Messenger, nor adopt the religion of truth as their own religion;[49][fight them] until they pay the jizyah after being subdued and live a life of submission.[50](29)

[1]. The formulaic basmallah is not written at the beginning of the surah. In the opinion of this writer, the reason for this is that this surah announces punishment for the addressees of Muhammad (sws) that is necessarily meted out to those who deny messengers of God. This surah is the account of the last worldly punishment of God in which the believers are directed to kill the Idolaters en masse and bring the People of the Book into subjugation. Thus it was not appropriate at all to cite God's mercy and graciousness before the words with which the surah begins. It is an instance in which the wrath and anger of God is expressed. Hence, the surah does not begin with the basmallah.

[2]. The reason for which human beings have been given an opportunity to live in this world is not because they have any entitlement to it but because they have to undergo a test. Once a messenger conclusively communicates the truth to His addressees, this test ends and thus no need remains to keep them alive. The addressees of Muhammad (sws) had reached this stage. Thus the directive of mass killing mentioned ahead is actually a manifestation of the established practice of God according to which the addressees of a messenger are punished in this very world once they deny the truth the messenger conclusively communicates to them. The decision on this punishment is made solely by God and those who are to be punished are also pointed out by Him. No one, not even a messenger of God, can take this decision on his own. Surah al-Tawbah is a declaration of this decision. However, it was ethically essential that all treaties made by the Prophet (sws) with people for the purpose of preaching and conclusive communication of the truth first be declared null and void. This declaration of acquittal relates to these treaties. In this verse, the preposition occurs اِلَیafter بَرَآءًة. This signifies that the verb "communicate" is encompassed in this construction. In other words, it would mean that the declaration of acquittal be communicated to them.

[3]. Here the direction of address changes and turns directly to the idolaters. This change shows that this threat should not be taken casually. It is a decisive threat of which the results will not manifest themselves with full certainty.

[4]. When was this respite of four months given before the punishment? An exact date for this cannot be determined. However, it is evident from the subsequent verses that it was given when the Quraysh had not yet breached the treaty of Hudaybiyah.

[5]. This refers to hajj itself. The Arabs called 'umrah as hajj-e asghar (the small hajj) and in contrast to it called hajj as hajj-e akbar.

[6]. The implication is that once the respite of four months given to them earlier ends, people to whom this declaration of acquittal can be communicated should be seized. After this, Muslims should wait for hajj. People from all over Arabia will gather at that time. Through them, this declaration of acquittal should then be communicated to the rest of the Arabs; the respite they had from God has now expired; they are now targets of God's punishment; thus all treaties have been revoked and in future also no such treaty will be made. In a secondary way, this declaration also shows that soon Muslims will be given the opportunity to do hajj and also will be able to dominate the disbelievers to such an extent that they shall be in a position to make such a declaration. This hajj was done under the leadership of Abu Bakr (rta) and, in accordance with the Prophet's directive, these verses were read out to people by 'Ali (rta). As a result, it became possible that this declaration reach the whole of Arabia. (Ibn Kathir, Tafsir al-Qur'an al-'Azim, vol. 2, 436)

[7]. This is a mention of the treaties which were an exception to the declaration of acquittal. The implication is that treaties of which the time of expiry has not been designated will be terminated as soon as the time of respite ends. Similarly, shall also be terminated the treaties of which the time of expiry has been designated but the other party has violated them. However, time-designated treaties that have not been breached in any way shall not be terminated. They will be abided by till the time prescribed. However, once this time expires, they too shall stand terminated and the process of seizing the idolaters with whom they had been made shall begin the way it has been directed.

[8].They do not refer to the four months referred to earlier. They in fact refer to the four designated sacred months. This expression is used as a technical term for such months and hence cannot refer to any other months. After hajj-e akbar, on which this declaration of acquittal was made, 20 days of Dhu al-Hijjah and 30 days of Muharram will remain. While referring to these days it is said that since war is prohibited during them, once they pass, then, as a result of this declaration, action can be taken people against whom it is needed. No action however is to be taken before this time expires. Referring to these 50 days of Dhu al-Hijjah and Muharram is much like the way we at times say in our language in the months of November or December: when this year ends, then such and such a task shall be carried out.

[9]. This directive of killing the idolaters of Arabia en masse is precisely the same in its nature as the punishment that always descends on the addressees of a messenger who deny him.

[10]. Ie., in order to remain secure from this punishment it is not sufficient that these idolaters give up their disbelief and polytheism and accept Islam; it is equally essential that they, as a testimony to their faith and religion, show diligence in the prayer and pay zakah to the public treasury in order to run the administrative affairs of the state. After this, the words used are: فَخَلُّوۡا سَبِیۡلَہُمۡ (then leave them alone). This means that at the state and legal level no further demand can be made from them to fulfill the rights of faith and religion. The reason is that when the Almighty has not allowed this to His messenger in His own government, this cannot be allowed to others.

[11]. I.e., they are not much aware of religion and the institution of prophethood and hence deserve to be treated with lenience. It may well be possible that after a long period of preaching and pursuasion some aspect still remains in the conclusive communication of the truth. Hence, if any one of these people need asylum to hear and understand what was being presented to them, Muslims must give him this respite and after reciting and making him understand the word of God transport him to his place of safety so that he can calmly reflect and decide whether he has to accept Islam or die. After this, obviously he too will have to face the same directive that is mentioned earlier.

[12]. From here, the direction of the discourse shifts to the people who wanted that more respite be given to the idolaters. It was very evident to them that as a result of this declaration they would have to fight their own relatives and their friends that belonged to their age of jahiliyyah. Since these people were weak in faith, they naturally came face to face with this very tough trial. Whatever is said subsequently is said while keeping in view the mentality of the weak in faith.

[13]. The actual words are: الَّذِينَ عَاهَدتُّمْ عِندَ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ. Everyone who has in him a flair for language can clearly see that if these words can be appropriate for a treaty it can only be for the treaty of Hudaybiyah. After migration, there were indeed many treaties made by the Prophet (sws) with the idolaters but none can be worthy of being referred to in this manner near the House of God. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:

... A mention of this treaty by this reference on the one hand introduced it and on the other also highlighted its sanctity: it is no ordinary a treaty; it was made near the House of God; there cannot be any other place holier than it. (Amin Ahsan Islahi,Tadabbur-i Qur'an, vol. 3, 543)

[14]. Though it has already been mentioned earlier that all time-related treaties which had not been breached would be honoured yet since the treaty of Hudaybiyah had an extra-ordinary significance and was valid for ten years, the discourse was paused to warn Muslims that this treaty would be abided by as long as the Quraysh abide by it.

[15]. The actual words is: تَقْوَى. It literally means "to abstain." The thing from which this abstension is required is evident from the context. Hence it has not been mentioned in words. This word occurs in this meaning in the Qur'an at many instances. The word فِسْق is also used in a similar way ahead.

[16]. The actual words are إلاّand ذِمَّة. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi has explained them thus:

Two things form the basis of relationships: social relationships are based on due regard to blood relationships and political relationships are based on due regard to the obligations imposed by mutual treaties. The first of these is referred to by the word إِلّ. It alludes to the rights which are automatically imposed because of the commonality of lineage, similarity of origin and familial and neighbourly ties. The second one is referred to by the word ذِمَّة. This refers to the responsibilities which are imposed on the concerned parties. (Amin Ahsan Islahi,Tadabbur-i Qur'an, vol. 3, 542)

[17]. Ie., they gave preference to the trivial provisions of this world and became its slaves by leaving aside the revelations of God. The word اِشْتَرَاءis used to connote this meaning. In ancient times, things were bought and sold through barter. It is this background that has incorporated this meaning in the word اِشْتَرَاء.

[18]. Earlier after stating these very conditions the words mentioned were: فَخَلُّوۡا سَبِیۡلَہُمۡ. Here they are substituted by the words فَاِخۡوَانُکُمۡ فِی الدِّیۡنِ (then they your brethren in religion). Both these expressions taken together fully explain the directive. The implication is that once these conditions are fulfilled they shall not be asked for anything further, they shall be considered as Muslims in the eyes of the law and the state, and they shall be entitled to all the rights which, as Muslims, they should have in their government. There will be no difference in the rights and obligations of those who had earlier accepted faith. Similarly, once this relationship of brotherhood is established all responsibilities which sense and human nature entail between brothers shall be imposed on each of them.

[19]. This is a warning for both the believers and the disbelievers. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:

... The implication is that for those who want to know and understand, God's directives have been fully explained. No ambiguity remains. Now if a Muslim independently deals with the idolaters in a particular matter, then he is solely responsible for it. Similarly, if an idolater pins hope on a Muslim independently, then he too is solely responsible for it. (Amin Ahsan Islahi,Tadabbur-i Qur'an, vol. 3, 544)

[20]. Ie., the treaty of Hudaybiyah that has been referred to earlier. These words occur here to emphasize its importance and do not refer to any other treaty.

[21]. The actual words are: اَئِمَّۃَالۡکُفۡرِ. None other than the Quraysh can be implied by them. It is they who were the leaders of all Arabia and all Arabs followed them in matters of religion as well. The implication is that even if the Quraysh break their treaty, the believers should fight them and if they do not accept faith kill them wherever they are found. This is the directive of God regarding all the idolaters of Arabia. No lenience should now be shown to them.

[22]. This surah consists of various independent decrees of divine guidance that were revealed to Muhammad (sws) in deference to each phase of the punishment meted out to those who disbelieved in him. These decrees have been collected in this surah in accordance with the sequence of these phases. The first of these decrees ended on verse 12. From here begins the second one. Its very first verse makes it evident that this decree was revealed after some time. This is because earlier a directive was given in the scenario of the Quraysh breaking the treaty, and this verse shows that the Quraysh had actually done so.

[23]. The implication is that this is not their first crime. They have already shown the audacity to expel God's messenger from his homeland. It is evident from various insinuations of the Qur'an that when after rejecting its messenger a nation decides to kill him or expel him from his homeland, its period of reprieve ends. This is an established practice of God regarding His messengers. The Qur'an has referred to it here. This is a further testimony to the fact that these verses are about the Quraysh and do not relate to any other tribe.

[24]. I.e., when they did not succeed in killing Muhammad (sws) at the time of migration, they attacked on the baseless excuse of protecting their caravan. In this way, they were guilty of open aggression against God's messenger and his followers. This is a reference to the battle of Badr of which the events have been mentioned earlier and clearly shows that it was the Quraysh who took the initiative in it.

[25]. Here the Qur'an itself has clarified that the en masse killing which was given earlier was actually God's punishment that was being meted out by the companions of the last messenger to those who had rejected His messengers.

[26]. It is stated that the real reason of denying a messenger is arrogance and the punishment of arrogance is humiliation in this world and the next.

[27]. Reference is to the group which was persecuted for several years after it had accepted Islam. To appease their emotions, they are told that the time has come for the punishment of the people who had oppressed them. They should rest assured that such will be the exemplary nature of this punishment that they will be soothed and comforted.

[28]. One group of the Muslims wished that instead of facing God's punishment their relatives accept faith. They are given glad tidings here that their wish shall be fulfilled to a certain extent and God will grant whomsoever He wants the urge and will to repent and reform.

[29]. The implication is that Muslims have not been fully cleansed and those among them those who are true warriors and who do not care about any friendship and relationship except that with God and His messenger and their followers have not been completely separated. It is essential to set them apart as a group for the worldly retribution of God that is taking place now in the presence of the messenger. This trial is being conducted for this very purpose. Otherwise it was not at all difficult for God to send down punishment from the heavens and those against whom the believers are being asked to wage war be wiped out by Him from the face of the earth the way He wiped out the 'Ād and the Thamud.

[30]. This is the Qur'an's eloquence. Though this word refers to the House of God (the Baytullah), yet the expression "mosques of God" has not only generalized the directive but also made its underlying reason fully evident.

[31]. The Quraysh themselves acknowledged and admitted their polytheism. It is called disbelief here. This is because accepting multiple dieties including God is tantamount to not accepting God.

[32]. God does not accept any act of virtue with polytheism. It is thus statedthat the deeds they are doing while serving the House of God will not gain them any reward in the Hereafter. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:

... The only act of virtue that carries any weight with God is one that is done while professing the belief of monotheisn. In religious scriptures, a polytheist is compared to an adultress. Just as the love and affection of such a woman for her husband is of no significance, similarly none of the good deeds of a person are of any signifance if they are done while associating partners with God. (Amin Ahsan Islahi,Tadabbur-i Qur'an, vol. 3, 550)

[33]. I.e., they have no fear of anyone except God. These words actually refute polytheism through its real cause. The implication is that indeed the custodianship of the House of God has been given to the progeny of Abraham (sws); however, it is essential for this that they have in them the attributes that are necessary to fulfill the conditions of this responsibility. The most important of these conditions is that they do not associate partners with God.

[34]. The actual word is اهْتَدَآء. This guidance refers to the destination. In other words, they successfully reach in the Hereafter the destination that has been prescribed for them. The word عَسَیin the verse is also worthy of attention. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:

By using the word عَسَی in stating this sentence, there is a reference to the fact that this is no easy a way. There are hardships and trials in it at every step. Only those people can adhere to the right path whom God blesses with this urge and who acquire support through God's attributes(Amin Ahsan Islahi,Tadabbur-i Qur'an, vol. 3, 550)

[35]. Ie., He will take not these people to the destination that is ordained for the believers.

[36]. This statement is not meant for comparison. It is to express grandeur and majesty. The implication is that these people have a very high status with God.

[37]. From here begins the third episode of this surah. It is evident from its contents that it was revealed sometime before hajj in 9 AH in which acquittal was proclaimed from all the people of Arabia.

[38]. Deliberation shows that there is a subtle psychological sequence in the attractions mentioned in this verse. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:

... Fathers, sons, brothers, wife and family are mentioned first. It is their love and bias which become a source of trial and hindrance for people in the cause of the truth. After that wealth, trade and assets are alluded to. These become attractions primarily with respect to the relations mentioned above and if a person does not have insight, they become a means of trial for him. Wealth is qualified by the word اِقۡتَرَفۡتُمُوۡہَا. The word اِقْتِرَاف means "to earn." This qualification shows the cherished nature of this merchandise. It is a common principle that the wealth that is earned and nurtured by a person himself is much more dear to him. Similarly, the word merchandise is qualified by the expression تَخْشَوْنَكَسَادَهَا . It refers to trade that is functioning well and is successful. This is because it is such a trade about which a businessman is always anxious that it should not lose its worth. To circumvent this danger, he takes all sorts of measures until he becomes a literal slave to his trade and worships it like a deity. At such a stage, what is allowed and disallowed to him neither remains of any importance to him nor can he bear the trials of migration, war and abstension from evil for the cause of God. It is stated that each of these is an idol and unless a person is prepared to smash every idol for the cause of God, he cannot fulfill the requisites of faith. (Amin Ahsan Islahi,Tadabbur-i Qur'an, vol. 3, 553)

[39]. This becomes evident at the instance when on the one hand there exists a requirement from God and His messenger and on the other a requirement from one of the things mentioned in the verse. If at that time, a person does not gives priority to the requirement of God and His messenger, then this would clearly mean that he holds these things dearer to himself. Islam and faith do not require that these things should not be dear to a person. It only requires that they should not be dearer to him than God, his messenger and waging jihad for his cause.

[40]. Ie., will lead them to the evil fate that is mentioned earlier for the disbelievers. It is evident from this that the priority that is mentioned earlier is such a requirement of faith which if not fulfilled, can render the same the fate of a believer and a disbeliever.

[41]. Earlier it was stated about the idolaters that God will not guide them. Here precisely the same statement is given about those who promise to adhere to faith and then adopt an attitude of hypocrisy and refuse to fulfil the requirements of their faith.

[42]. Ie., engendered determination, courage and assurance in their hearts.

[43]. This is a reference to the unseen forces of the angels which would always remain at the side of the Muslims in the prophetic era.

[44]. The hesitant among Muslims who were exhorted to wage jihad earlier are encouraged here: what they are being urged to is the work of God; their small or large number does not matter much in this regard. Earlier too it was accomplished through God's help and now also it will be accomplished with His help. They should trust him. If they adhere to piety and remain steadfast, He will never deprive them of His help. In this regard, the battle of Hunayn is specially mentioned. This took place in the valley of Hunayn between Makkah and Ta'if after the conquest of Makkah in shawwal 8 AH. A twelve thousand army of the Muslims fought this battle. In the circumstances of those times, it can be called a large army. The enemy army on other hand was very small in number. However, in spite of this, the archers of the Hawazin tribe made them turn back and the Muslims ran away after being defeated. The reason for this was that on that day they showed arrogance on their large number. Thus God's remembrance left most of them. Also they lacked the discipline, obedience, sincerity and devotion to which Surah Anfal had earlier asked them to diligently adhere. Nevertheless, a very small number of the Prophet's companions remained fully steadfast in the battle. Consequently, it was because of their courage that after some warning and admonition the Almighty ultimately granted victory to the Muslims.

[45]. This is the same topic that was brought up earlier in verse 15.

[46]. This is the completion of the declaration of acquittal with which the surah began. The implication is that because of the filth in faith which the idolaters are afflicted with, they cannot enter the limits of the House of God even for hajj and 'umrah. This House is the centre for monotheism. Now, it cannot be tolerated that any of the idolaters enter it. After denying the messenger of God, they have two options only: either accept Islam or face death. However, even if some of them have been granted reprieve to fulfill their treaties, they will not be permitted to enter this House after this year. This directive obviously was for the idolaters whose filth of polytheism had been conclusively communicated to them. It has no bearing after them on people who want to visit this centre of monotheism and understand its message.

[47]. In those times, hajj and 'umrah had a great significance with respect to trade and business. It is with consideration to this aspect that it is stated that no one should be worried because of this directive that if the idolaters do not come, it will badly effect their trade and business. As a result, the economic condition of the Muslims – which was already in doldrums – will become worse. They should rest assured that God will help them. Very soon, He will make Muslims self-sufficient in this sphere too. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:

... It is an established fact that this promise was fulfilled and fulfilled in a manner that the Makkan trade was not effected by this embargo even for a day.It was not long before the treasures of Egypt, Syria, Byzantine and Persia came in multitudes on camel-back to the Muslim public treasury and God through His grace made Muslims self-sufficient to such an extent that people would go out in the street with their zakahto find its recipients but they would find none. (Amin Ahsan Islahi,Tadabbur-i Qur'an, vol. 3, 556)

There exists a lesson in this for Muslims: if at some instance they sacrifice their economic interests to safeguard their religious values, they must trust God. He will make up their loss in such a way that they cannot even imagine.

[48]. The implication is that Muslims think according to their own narrow vision, yet God is all wise and all knowing. If He has given this directive, then its consequences are also not hidden from Him. They must trust Him: all His works are based on knowledge and wisdom.

[49]. Though these people laid claim to faith, yet in reality believed in nothing. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:

... The first condition for faith is that it should be subservient to the conditions imposed by God. Yet the faith of these people was compliant to their own desires and religious innovations. By inventing polytheistic beliefs they had refuted God; by regarding themselves to be His chosen and forgiven people, they belied the Hereafter and by allowing themselves things forbidden by God and His messenger, they had revoked the shari'ah. Then to top all these wrongdoings, they not only rejected the religion sent by God through His last messenger in accordance with His promise, they went about opposing it full force and persisted in conniving against it. (Amin Ahsan Islahi,Tadabbur-i Qur'an, vol. 3, 559)

[50]. I.e., after being subjugated and while accepting this subjugation they pay jizyah as its symbol. Earlier the punishment of the idolaters has been stated: if they do not accept faith, they should be killed. Now the punishment of the People of the Book is mentioned who did not accept faith even after Muhammad (sws) conclusively communicated the truth to them. This concession was given to them because the People of the Book were primarily monotheists. No doubt they were involved in polytheism but like the Ishmaelites had not adopted polytheism as their religion. At another instance, the Qur'an has made it clear that if people are not polytheists, then in the Hereafter also they will be similarly entitled to concession. Here it may be kept in mind that this directive of the Qur'an is also a corollary of its law of conclusive communication of the truth and specifically relates to the nations to whom the last messenger of God had directly and conclusively communicated the truth. They were worthy of the same punishment which had always been sent down to those who deny messengers of God. After them, it does not relate to any non-Muslim of this world.

______________