1. For explanation, see( E.Ns 1, 2 of Surah Al-Hadid). The object of this introductory sentence before making an appraisal of the banishment of the Bani an-Nadir is to prepare the mind to understand the truth that the fate this powerful tribe met was not the result of the power of the Muslims but a manifestation of the power of Allah.
2. Here, the reader should understand one thing at the outset so as to avoid any confusion about the banishment of the Bani an-Nadir. The Prophet (peace be upon him) had concluded a formal written treaty with the Bani an-Nadir. They had not broken this agreement as such that it should have become void. But the reason why they were attacked was that after making different kinds of minor violations of it, they at last committed such an offense which amounted to the breach of trust. That is, they plotted to kill the leader of the other party to the treaty, i.e. the Islamic State of Al- Madinah. The plot became exposed, and when they were accused of breaking the agreement they could not deny it. Thereupon, the Prophet (peace be upon him) told them either to leave Al-Madinah or to be ready for a war. This notice was in accordance with this injunction of the Quran: If you ever fear treachery from any people, throw their treaty openly before them. (Surah Al-Anfal, Ayat 58). That is why Allah is describing their exile as His own action, for it was precisely in accordance with divine law. In other words, they were not expelled by the Prophet (peace be upon him) and the Muslims but by Allah Himself. The other reason why Allah has described their exile as His own action has been stated in the following verses.
3. The word hashr in the text means to gather the scattered individuals togather or to take out scattered individuals after mustering them together. Thus, the words li-awwal-ilhashr mean: with the first hashr or on the occasion of the first hashr. As for the question, what is implied by the first hashr here, the commentators have disagreed on it. According to one group it implies the banishment of the Bani an-Nadir from Al-Madinah, and this has been described as their first hashr in the sense that their second hashr took place in the time of Umar, when the Jews and the Christians were expelled from the Arabian peninsula, and the final hashr will take place on the Day of Resurrection. According to the second group it implies the gathering of the Muslim army together to fight the Bani an- Nadir; and li-awwal-il-hashr means that as soon as the Muslims had gathered together to fight them, and no blood yet had been shed, they, by the manifestation of Allah’s power, offered to be banished from Al-Madinah of their own accord. In other words, these words have been used here in the meaning of at the very first assault. Shah Waliullah has translated it at the first gathering of the army. Shah Abdul Qadir has translated it at the first mustering. In our opinion this translation very nearly gives the meaning of these words.
4. To understand this one should keep in mind the fact that the Bani an-Nadir had been well established here for centuries. They lived in compact populations outside Al- Madinah without any lien element. Their settlement was well fortified, which had fortified houses as are generally built in feud-ridden tribal areas. Then their numerical strength also equaled that of the Muslims, and inside Al- Madinah itself many of the hypocrites were their supporters. Therefore, the Muslims could never expect that they would, even without fighting, be so unnerved by the siege as to leave their homes willingly. Likewise, the Bani an-Nadir also could not have imagined that some power would compel them to leave their homes within six days. Although the Bani Qainuqa had been expelled before them, and their false pride of valor had proved to be of no avail, they lived in a locality inside Al-Madinah and did not have any separate fortified settlement; therefore, the Bani an- Nadir thought that their inability to withstand the Muslims was not exceptionable, Contrary to this, in view of their own fortified settlement and strongholds, they could not imagine that some power could turn them out so easily. That is why when the Prophet (peace be upon him) served a notice on them to leave Al-Madinah within ten days, they boldly retorted, saying: We are not going to quit, you may do whatever you please.
Here, the question arises, on what basis has Allah said: They were thinking that their fortresses would save them from Allah. Did the Bani an-Nadir really know that they were not facing Muhammad bin Abdullah (peace be upon him) but Allah? And did they, in spite of knowing this, think that their fortresses would save them from Allah? This is a question which would confound every such person who does not know the psychology of the Jewish people and their centuries-old traditions. As regards the common men, no one can imagine that despite their knowing consciously that they were facing Allah, they would entertain the false hope that their forts and weapons would save them from Allah. Therefore, an ignorant person would interpret the divine word, saying that the Bani an-Nadir in view of the strength of their forts were apparently involved in the misunderstanding that they would remain safe from the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) attack, but in reality they were fighting Allah and from Him their forts could not save them. But the fact is that the Jews in this world are a strange people, who have been knowingly fighting Allah: they killed the Prophets of Allah knowing them to be His Prophets, and they declared boastfully and arrogantly that they had killed the Prophets of Allah. Their traditions say that their great Patriarch, the prophet Jacob (peace be upon him), wrestled with Allah throughout the night and Allah could not throw him even till daybreak. Then, when at daybreak Allah asked Jacob to let Him go, Jacob replied that he would not let Him go until He blessed him. Allah asked him his name, and he answer Jacob. Allah said that his name would no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you strove with God and with men, and prevailed. (See Gen. 32: 25-29 in the latest Jewish translation; The Scriptures, published by the Jewish Publication Society of America 1954). In the Christian translation of the Bible too this subject has been rendered likewise. In the footnote of the Jewish translation, Israel has been explained as: He who striveth with God. In the Cyclopedia of Biblical Literature the meaning given of Israel by the Christian scholars is: Wrestler with God. Then in Hosea (O.T.) the Prophet Jacob (peace be upon him) has been praised thus: By his strength he had power with God: yea, he had power over the angel, and prevailed. (Ch. 12: 3-4). Now, obviously, the people of Israel are the children of the same Prophet Israel who, according to their faith, had striven with God and wrestled with Him. For them it is not at all difficult that they should stand firm and fight even God. On this very basis, they, even according to their own profession, killed the Prophets of God, and under the same false pride they put the Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) on the cross and bragged: We have killed Jesus Christ, son of Mary, Messenger of Allah. Therefore, it was not against their traditions that they fought Muhammad (peace be upon him) despite their knowledge that he was Allah’s Messenger. If not their common people, their rabbis and learned men knew well that he was the Messenger (peace be upon him) of Allah. The Quran itself contains several evidences to this effect. (For instance, see (E.Ns 79, 95 of Surah Al-Baqarah); (E.Ns 190, 191 of Surah An-Nisa); (E.Ns 70, 73 of Surah As-Saaffat).
5. Allah’s coming down upon them does not mean that Allah was staying in another place whence He attacked them. But this is a metaphoric expression. The object is to give the idea that while facing Allah they were thinking that Allah could chastise them only by bringing an army against them from the front and they were confident that they would resist that force by their fortifications. But Allah attacked them from whence they had not thought it possible; and this was that He made than weak and broke their power of resistance from within after which neither their weapons nor their strongholds could help them.
6. That is, the destruction occurred in two ways: from outside the Muslims besieged them and started demolishing their fortifications, and from within, first they raised obstacles of stone and wood to stop the Muslims from advancing, and for this purpose broke their own houses for the material; then, when they became certain that they would have to vacate the place, they started pulling down their houses, which they had so fondly built and decorated, with their own hands, so as to render them useless for the Muslims later. When they settled peace with the Prophet (peace be upon him) on the condition that they would be spared their lives but would have the permission to carry away whatever they could, except the weapons and armor, they started removing the frames of the doors and windows, even pegs, so much so that some people removed the beams and wooden ceilings, which they put upon the back of their camels and left.
7. There are many lessons which one can learn from this event, which have been alluded to in this brief but eloquent sentence. These Jews were none other but the followers of the former Prophets: they believed in God, in the Book, in the former Prophets and the Hereafter. Accordingly, they were the former Muslims. But when they turned their back on religion and morality and adopted open hostility to the truth only for the sake of their selfish desires and worldly motives and interests, and showed scant regard for their treaties and agreements, Allah’s grace was turned away from them, otherwise Allah had no personal enmity with than. Therefore, first of all, the Muslims themselves have been admonished to heed their fate and learn a lesson from it, lest they too should start behaving as if they were the beloved children of God, as the Jews did, and should be involved in the misunderstanding that their being included among the followers of the last Prophet of God would by itself guarantee for them Allah’s bounty and His support, apart from which they were not bound to adhere to any demand of religion and morality. Besides, those people of the world also have been asked to learn a lesson from this event, those who oppose the truth consciously, and then place reliance upon their wealth and power, their means and resources, thinking that these would save them from the divine punishment. The Jews of Al-Madinah were not unaware that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) had not risen for the supremacy of a people or tribe, but he was presenting an ideological invitation the addressees of which were all men, and every man, no matter what race or country he belonged to, could join his ummah by accepting the invitation, without discrimination or distinction. They were themselves witnessing that Bilal of Habash, Suhaib of Rome, and Salman of Persia enjoyed the same position and status in the Muslim community as was enjoyed by the people of the Prophet's (peace be upon him) own house. Therefore, they were not feeling any danger that the Quraish and the Aus and the Khazrij would gain an upper hand over them. Nor were they unaware that the ideological invitation that he was presenting was precisely the same as their own Prophets had been presenting. The Prophet (peace be upon him) never put forward any claim that he had come with a new religion, unknown to the people, and that the people should give up their former religion and accept his religion instead. But what he claimed was that the religion being presented by him was the same that the Prophets of God had been preaching and presenting since the beginning of creation. And from their Torah they could themselves confirm that it was actually the same religion, the principles of which were not any different from the principles of the religion of the Prophets. On the same basis they were told in the Quran: Affirm faith in the teaching sent down by Me, which confirms the teaching that you already possess, and you should not be its first deniers. They were also witnessing what character and morals the Prophet (peace be upon him) possessed, and what revolution had taken place in the lives of those who had accepted his message. For a long time the Ansar of Al- Madinah had been their closest neighbors. They knew what kind of people they had been before embracing Islam and what they became after their conversion to Islam. Thus, they were well aware of the invitation of the inviter and of the results of accepting the invitation. But in spite of witnessing and knowing all this, only on account of their racial prejudice and worldly interests, they spent all their energy against the message of truth about which there was no room for doubt at least in their minds. After such an obvious and open hostility to the truth they expected that their strongholds would save them from Allah, whereas the whole human history bears evidence that the one who is resisted by the power of God, cannot save and protect himself by any weapon, means or device.
8. Would have punished them in this world: world have caused them to be annihilated. That is, had they fought instead of surrendering to save their lives, they would have been completely wiped out. Their men would have perished in the war and their womenfolk and children would have been taken prisoners and there would be no one to have them ransomed.
9. The reference is to the fact that the Muslims cut down or burnt many of the palm-trees that stood in the oases around the settlement of the Bani an-Nadir in order to facilitate the siege, However, they left those trees standing which did not obstruct the military operations. At this the hypocrites of Al-Madinah and the Bani Quraizah, and the Bani an-Nadir themselves raised a clamor, saying that, on the one hand, Muhammad (peace be upon him) prohibited spreading disorder in the world, but, on the other hand, fruit trees were being cut down by his command, which amounted to spreading disorder in the world. At this Allah sent down the command: Whatever trees you cut down, or whatever you left standing, your neither act was unlawful, but it had Allah’s permission. The legal injunction that is derived from this verse is that the destruction caused for the sake of military operations does not come under spreading disorder in the world. But spreading disorder in the world is that an army under the fit of war hysteria should intrude into the enemy territory and start destroying the crops, cattle, gardens, houses and everything in its way without any reason. In this matter, the general instruction is the same which Abu Bakr Siddiq gave while dispatching the Muslim army to Syria: Do not cut down fruit trees, do not destroy crops, do not ravage the settlements. This was precisely in accordance with the Quranic teaching, which condemns those who spread chaos: When they get power they direct all their efforts towards spreading corruption in the land, destroying harvests and killing people. (Surah Al-Baqarah, Ayat 205). But the specific command in respect of the war exigencies is that if destruction is necessary for military operations against the enemy, it is lawful. Thus, Abdullah bin Masud has given this explanation in the commentary of this verse: The Muslims had cut down only those trees of the Bani an- Nadir that stood on the battlefield. (Tafsir Nisaburi). Some of the Muslim jurists have overlooked this aspect of the matter and expressed the opinion that the permissibility of cutting the trees of the Bani an-Nadir was confined only to that particular event. It does not make it generally permissible that whenever war necessitates, trees of the enemy be cut down and burnt. Imam Auzai, Laith and Abu Thaur hold this same opinion. But the majority of the jurists hold the view that for the sake of important military operations it is permissible. However, this is not permissible for the purpose of mere destruction and pillage.
One may ask: This verse of the Quran could satisfy the Muslims, but how could those who did not accept the Quran as divine word be satisfied at this reply to their objection that both acts were permissible as they had Allah’s permission for it? The answer is: This verse of the Quran was sent down to satisfy only the Muslims; it was not sent down to satisfy the disbelievers. Since due to the objection of the Jews and the hypocrites, or due to their own thinking, they had been involved in the misgiving whether they were guilty of spreading disorder in the earth. Allah gave them the satisfaction that both the acts, cutting down some trees to facilitate the siege and leaving some other trees standing which did not obstruct the siege, were in accordance with divine law.
The traditionists in their traditions have disagreed the point whether the order to cut and burn the trees had been given by the Prophet (peace be upon him) himself, or whether the Muslims had done it of their own accord, and then later asked the Prophet (peace be upon him) about its legal aspect. Abdullah bin Umar has reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) himself had ordered it. (Bukhari, Muslim, Musnad Ahmad, Ibn Jarir). The same also has been reported by Yazid bin Ruman (Ibn Jarir). On the contrary, Mujahid and Qatadah say that the Muslims had on their own cut down the trees, then a dispute arose among them whether what they had done was permissible or not. Some said it was permissible and some said it was not. At last Allah sent down this verse and approved the act of both. (Ibn Jarir). The same thing is supported by a tradition of Abdullah bin Abbas: The Muslims were confused because some of them had cut the trees and others had not; therefore, they wanted to ask the Prophet (peace be upon him) as to who would be rewarded for the act and who would be punished (Nasai). Those of the jurists who have preferred the first tradition give the argument that this was the Prophet’s personal judgment, which was later ratified by revelation from Allah, and this is a proof of the fact that in matters where no divine command existed, the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to follow his personal judgment. On the other hand, those jurists who have preferred the second tradition argue that the two groups of the Muslims had adopted two different views on the basis of their own personal judgments and Allah ratified both. Therefore, if the learned men arrive at different conclusions by judicious exercise of their personal judgment, then although their opinions might differ, they would all be correct in the divine Shariah.
10. That is, Allah willed that they should be disgraced if you cut down the trees and also if you left them standing. In the first case, they were disgraced when they saw that the trees of the gardens which they had planted with their own hands and which they had owned since ages, were being cut down before their very eyes and they were watching it helplessly. Even an ordinary peasant and gardener cannot tolerate another’s misappropriation or intrusion into his field or garden. He would protect his field or garden at the risk of his life if somebody tried to destroy it in his presence. For, if he cannot prevent destruction of his property, it would be a sign of his extreme humiliation and weakness. But here a whole tribe, which had been living at this place fearlessly and boldly for centuries, was watching helplessly that its neighbors had invaded its gardens and were destroying the trees while it could do nothing. After this even if they stayed on in Al-Madinah, they would have lived in disgrace and humility. In the second case, they were disgraced when on leaving Al-Madinah they saw that the lush green gardens which had been in their possession till the previous day were now passing into the possession of the Muslims. If they had the power they would have laid waste the entire gardens by their own hands so that not a single whole tree passed into the hands of the Muslims. But in their helplessness they left the city, despaired and griefstricken, leaving everything intact behind.
11. From here to the end of verse 10, Allah explains how the lands and properties that were restored to the Islamic State after the exile of the Bani an-Nadir, are to be managed and administered. As it was the first occasion that a land was conquered and included in the Islamic territory, and many more lands were destined to be conquered in the future, the law governing the conquered lands was enunciated at the outset. Here, a note-worthy point is that Allah at this place has used the words: Ma-afa-Allahu ala Rasuli-hi-min-hum: Whatever Allah restored to His Messenger from them. These words clearly imply that the rebels of Allah Almighty are not entitled to own the earth and things existing on it. If they have become their owners and are appropriating them, their ownership and appropriation of these things is, in fact, in the nature of usurpation of a master’s property by a dishonest servant. The real right of these properties is that these should be spent and used in the service and obedience of their real Master, Allah, Lord of the worlds, according to His will, and their this use is possible only through the agency of the righteous believers. Therefore, the true position of the properties which pass from the ownership of the disbelievers into the hands of the Muslims as the result of a lawful war, is that their real Owner has withdrawn them from His disobedient and disloyal servants, and restored them to His obedient and loyal servants. That is why, in the terminology of the Islamic Law such properties have been described as Fai (restored properties).
12. That is, the restoration of these properties to the Muslims is not the result of the effort of the actual fighting army so that the army on that basis may have the right that the properties may be distributed among the soldiers, but its real nature is that Allah by His bounty has given dominance to His Messengers and the system that they represent over them. In other words, the passing of these properties into the Muslims’ hands is not the direct result of the effort and struggle of the fighting army, but the result of the total strength that Allah has bestowed on His Messenger and his community and the system established by him. Therefore, these properties are quite different in nature from the spoils of war and so cannot be distributed among the soldiers as such.
Thus, the Shariah has made a distinction between ghanimah (spoils of war) and fai (restored properties). The injunction in respect of the ghanimah has been given in Surah Al-Anfal, Ayat 41, and it is this: It should be divided in five parts, four parts of which be distributed among the fighting army and the fifth deposited in the Public Treasury (Bait al-Mal), and expended on the items mentioned in the verse. As for the fai, the injunction is that it should not be distributed among the army, but it should be reserved for the items of expenditure being stated in the following verse. The distinction between the two has been made plain by the words: You have not rushed your horses and camels on them, which imply the military operations. Thus, the properties which are taken as a direct result of such operations are the ghanimah and those which are not the result of these operations are the fai. The distinction between ghanimah and fai that has been mentioned in this verse, has been explained in greater detail by the jurists of Islam. Ghanimah are only those transferable properties which are taken from the enemy during military action; other than these things, e.g. lands, houses and other transferable and nontransferable properties of the enemy, are excluded from the definition of ghanimah and are fai. The source of this explanation is the letter that Umar had written to Saad bin Abi Waqqas after the conquest of Iraq. In that letter he wrote: Distribute the properties and goods which the soldiers of the army collected and brought to your camp among the Muslims who participated in the war, and leave the lands and the canals with those who work on them so that the proceeds thereof are used for the salaries of the Muslims. (Abu Yusuf, Kitab al-Kharaj, p. 24; Abu Ubaid, Kitab al-Amwal, p. 59; Yahya bin Adam, Kitab al-Kharaj, pp. 27-28, 48). On this very basis, Hasan Basri says: Whatever is taken from the enemy camp is the right of those who won victory over it, and the lands are for the Muslims. (Yahya bin Adam, p. 27). And Imam Abu Yusuf says: Whatever the Muslims take from the enemy troops, and whatever goods and arms and cattle they collect and bring to their camp is ghanimah; from this one-fifth will be deducted and the rest distributed among the soldiers. (Kitab al-Kharaj, p. 18). The same is the opinion of Yahya bin Adam, which he has expressed in his Kitab al- Kharaj (p. 27). Even more than this, what makes the distinction between ghanimah and fai is that after the Battle of Nahawand when the ghanimah had been distributed and the conquered lands had been included in the Islamic State, a man named Saib bin Aqra found two bags of jewels outside the fort. He was confused whether it was the ghanimah which should be distributed in the army, or the fai which should be deposited in the Bait al-Mal. Consequently, he came to Al-Madinah and put the matter before Umar, who decided that it should be sold and the price should be deposited in the Bait al-Mal. From this it becomes clear that ghanimah are only those transferable properties which are taken by the soldiers during the war. After the war is over, the transferable properties also, like the nontransferable properties, become fai. Imam Abu Ubaid relates this event and says: The properties that are seized from the enemy by the use of force, when the war is still in progress, are ghanimah and what is taken after the war is over, when the territory has become dar al-Islam (abode of Islam), is fai, which should be reserved for the common people of the dar al-Islam; the law of the one-fifth (khums) will not be applicable to it. (Kitab al-Amwal p. 254).
After defining ghanimah thus, the rest of the properties, wealth and lands, which pass from the disbelievers ownership to the Muslims may be divided into two main kinds, first those which are taken as a result of actual fighting (fanwatan in Fiqh terminology); second, those which are taken by the Muslims as a result of the peace terms whether peace is concluded because of the pressure of the military power of the Muslims, or their dread and awe, and in this are also included all those properties which pass into the Muslims ownership in every other way than as a result of actual fighting. The differences that have arisen among the jurists of Islam have been only concerning the first kind of the properties in order to determine their correct legal position, for they do not come under those upon which you have not rushed your horses and camels. As regards to the second kind of the properties, all agree that they are fai, for the Quran has explicitly laid down the injunction about them. Below we shall discuss in detail the legal position of the first kind of the properties.
13. In the preceding verse what was pointed out was why these properties should not be distributed among the fighting army like the spoils, and why the legal injunction concerning them is different from that concerning the spoils. Now in this verse it is being stated as to who are entitled to have a share in these properties.
The first share in these is of Allah and His Messenger. The detail of how the Prophet (peace be upon him) acted on this injunction has been related by Malik bin Aus bin al- Hadathan on the authority of Umar, thus: The Prophet (peace be upon him) used to take from it necessary expenses for himself and his family and the rest he used to spend on arranging arms and conveyances for Jihad. (Bukhari, Muslim, Musnad Ahmad, Daud, Tirmadhi, Nasai and others). After the passing away of the Prophet (peace be upon him) this share was transferred to the Public Treasury of the Muslims so that it is spent in the service of the mission which Allah had entrusted to His Messenger (peace be upon him). Imam Shafai is reported to have expressed the opinion that the share which was specifically meant for the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) person, is for his caliph after him, for the Prophet (peace be upon him) was entitled to it on the basis of his office of leadership and not on the basis of the office of Apostleship. But the view of the majority of the Shafei jurists in this matter is the same as of the other jurists, viz. that this share now is reserved for the religious and collective welfare of the Muslims, and not for any particular person.
The second share is of the kinsfolk, and this implies the kinsfolk of the Prophet (peace be upon him), i.e. the Bani Hashim and the Bani al-Muttalib. This share was set aside so that, besides meeting his own and his family’s requirements, the Prophet (peace be upon him) could also fulfill his obligations towards those of his relatives who stood in need of his help, or whom he felt like helping. After the death of the Prophet (peace be upon him), this ceased to be a separate and independent source, because like the right of the orphans and the wayfarers and the indigent among the Muslims, looking after the rights of the needy among the Bani Hashim and the Bani al-Muttalib also became the responsibility of the Public Treasury. However, they were treated as superior to others in so far as they had no share in the zakat. Abdullah bin Abbas has related that in the time of Abu Bakr and Umar and Uthman, the first two shares were dropped and only the remaining three shares (i.e. those for the orphans and the indigent and the wayfarers) were kept as of those entitled to fai. Then Ali also acted on the same in his time, Muhammad bin Ishaq has related on the authority of Imam Muhammad Baqir that although Ali’s personal opinion was the same as of the people of his house (that this share should be given to the relatives of the Prophet, peace be upon him), he did not think that he should act against the practice of Abu Bakr and Umar. Hasan bin Muhammad bin Hanafiyah says that after the Prophet (peace be upon him), a difference of opinion arose about these two shares (i.e. the share of the Prophet, peace be upon him, and the share of his relatives). Some people said that the first share should go to the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) caliph, some said that the second share should go to the relatives of the Prophet (peace be upon him), and still others said that the second share should be given to the relatives of the caliph. At last, a consensus was reached that both the shares be spent on the requirements of Jihad. Ata bin Saib says that Umar bin Abdul Aziz in his time had started sending the share of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and the share of the relatives to the Bani Hashim. The opinion of Imam Abu Hanifah and of most of the Hanafi jurists is that in this matter the same practice is correct as was being followed in the time of the righteous Caliphs. (Abu Yusuf, Kitab al-Kharaj pp. 19-21). Imam Sharei’s opinion is that both the rich and the needy from among the people whose being descended from the Bani Hashim and the Bani al-Muttalib is confirmed, or is well known, can be given shares from fai. (Mughni alMuhtaj). The Hanafis say that only their needy people can be helped from this; however, their right to this is greater than that of others. (Ruh al-Maani). According to Imam Malik, there is no restriction on the government in this matter. It can spend on any head that it deems fit and proper, but the better course is that it should give preference to the people of the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) house. (Hashiyah ad-Dusuqi ala-sh-Sharh-al-Kabir).
About the remaining three shares there is no dispute among the jurists. However, the difference between Imam Shafei and the other Imams is that according to Imam Shafei the total properties of fai are to be divided into five equal parts one part of which is to be spent on the abovementioned heads in such a way that one-fifth of it is spent on the common benefits of the Muslims, one-fifth on the Bani Hashim and the Bani al-Muttalib, one-fifth on the orphans, one-fifth on the indigent and one-fifth on the wayfarers. However, Imam Malik, Imam Abu Hanifah and Imam Ahmad do not concur with this division. Their opinion is that the whole of fai is for the welfare and common benefit of the Muslims. (Mughni al-Muhtaj).
14. This is one of the most important verses of the Quran, which lays down the basic principle of the economic policy of the Islamic community and government. Wealth should circulate among the whole community and not only among the rich lest the rich should go on becoming richer day by day and the poor becoming poorer. This policy has not merely been enunciated in the Quran, but for the same objective the Quran has forbidden interest, made the zakat obligatory, enjoined that khums (one-fifth) be deducted from the booty, exhorted the Muslims to practice voluntary charity, has proposed such forms of different kinds of atonements that the flow of wealth is turned towards the poor classes of society, and has made such a law of inheritance that the wealth left by every deceased person spreads among the largest circle of the people. Apart from this, stinginess has been condemned and generosity commended as a noble moral quality, the well-to-do people have been told that in their wealth there is a definite share of the beggar and the indigent, which they must discharge not as charity but as the right of the concerned people, and the law enjoined in respect of a major source of revenue of the Islamic government (i.e. fai) is that its one portion must necessarily be spent on supporting the poor class of society. In this connection, it should also be borne in mind that there are two main sources of the revenue of the Islamic government: zakat and fai. The zakat is charged from the Muslims on their total extra capital, cattle, wealth, trade goods and agricultural produce, which is over and above the minimum exemption limit (nisab), and most of it is reserved for the poor. And fai comprises all the revenues including jizyah and taxes which are received from the non- Muslims; a major part of this is also set aside for the poor. This gives a clear hint to the effect that an Islamic government should manage its revenues and expenditure and the financial and economic affairs of the country on the whole in such a manner that the wealthy and influential people are not allowed to have their monopoly over the means and resources of wealth, and the flow of wealth is neither turned from the poor to the rich nor it should remain circulating only among the rich.
15. In view of the context the verse means: Accept without question whatever decision the Prophet (peace be upon him) gives about the management of the properties of the Bani an-Nadir, and likewise about the distribution of fai properties and goods afterwards. One should take whatever the Prophet (peace be upon him) gives him, and the one whom he does not give anything, should neither protest nor demand it. But since the words of the command are general, its application is not restricted to the distribution of the fai properties and goods only, but its intention is that in all matters the Muslims should obey the Prophet (peace be upon him). This intention of the command becomes all the more clear when we consider that as against “whatever the Messenger gives you” the words used are “whatever he forbids you” and not “whatever he does not give you.” If the object of the command were restricted to call obedience to the distribution of all properties and goods only, then as against “whatever he gives you” the words should have been “whatever he does not give you.” The use of the forbidding or restraining words in this context by itself shows that the object of the command is to enjoin obedience to the Prophet (peace be upon him) in whatever he commands and forbids. The same thing has been stated by the Prophet (peace be upon him) himself. According to Abu Hurairah he said: When I command you to do a thing, do it as far as you can; and when I forbid you to do a thing, restrain from it. (Bukhari, Muslim). About Abdullah bin Masud it has been related that once during a speech he said: Allah has cursed the woman who practices such and such a fashion. Thereupon a woman approached him and asked: Wherefrom have you derived this thing? For I have not seen such a thing anywhere in the Book of Allah. Abdullah replied: Had you studied the Book of Allah, you would certainly have found it therein. Have you not read the verse: Ma ata-kum ar-rasulu fa-khudu hu wa ma nahakum anhu fantahu: Take whatever the Messenger gives you, and refrain from whatever he forbids you. When she said that she had read this verse, Abdullah said: So the Prophet (peace be upon him) has forbidden this act, and has given the news that Allah has cursed the women who practice it. The woman agreed that she had understood the command. (Bukhari, Muslim, Musnad Ahmad, Musnad Ibn abi Hatim).
16. This implies those people who at that time had been expelled from Makkah and other parts of Arabia only because they had embraced Islam. Before the conquest of the territory of the Bani an-Nadir these emigrants had no permanent means of sustenance. Therefore, it was commanded that in the properties which were then taken, and in the fai properties which are taken in future there is also a share of these people along with the common poor people and the orphans and the wayfarers. With these properties all such people should be helped, who are forced to emigrate for the cause of Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him) to the abode of Islam. Accordingly, the Prophet (peace be upon him) distributed a part of the properties taken from the Bani an-Nadir among the emigrants and the oases which the Ansar had set aside for the support and maintenance of their emigrant brothers were returned to them. But it is not correct to think that the emigrants had this share in the fai only at that time. In fact, the intention of the verse is to point out that till Resurrection it is the duty of the Islamic government of the country to settle the people who are exiled and compelled to take refuge in it because of being Muslims and to enable them to stand on their feet economically; and it should also spend on this head from the fai properties besides the zakat funds.
17. This implies the Ansar. In other words, not only are the emigrants entitled to fai but those Muslims also are entitled to receive their share from it who were already living in the abode of Islam (Al-Madinah).
18. This is in praise of the Ansar, the Muslims of Al- Madinah. When the emigrants came from Makkah and other places to their city, they offered their gardens and oases to the Prophet (peace be upon him) with the request that he distribute them among their emigrant brethren-infaith. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: These people do not know gardening: they have come from a region where there are no gardens. Could it not be that you (the Ansar) continue to work in the gardens and oases and make the emigrants partners in the produce? The Ansar submitted: We have heard and obeyed. (Bukhari, Ibn Jarir). Thereupon the emigrants said: We have never seen any people so self-sacrificing as the Ansar, for they would work and labor and make us partners in the produce. We think they would thus be entitled to all spiritual rewards. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: Nay, as long as you would praise them and pray for their well-being, you also would get your rewards. (Musnad Ahmad). Then, when the territory of the Bani an-Nadir was taken, the Prophet (peace be upon him) made this proposal to the Ansar: Now one way of managing it is that your properties and the gardens and the oases left by the Jews be combined together and then the whole distributed among you and the emigrants. The second way is that you take back your properties, and the lands vacated by the Jews be distributed among the emigrants. The Ansar said: You may please distribute these evacuee properties among the emigrants and may give them of our properties also as you please. At this Abu Bakr cried out: May Allah reward you, O assembly of the Ansar, with the best of everything. (Yahya bin Adam, Baladhuri). Thus, with the willing consent of the Ansar the properties left by the Jews were distributed only among the emigrants, and from among the Ansar only Abu Dujanah, Sahl bin Hunaif and (according to some) Harith bin as-Simmah were given shares, for they were poor people. (Baladhuri, Ibn Hisham Ruh al-Maani). The same self-sacrificing spirit was shown by the Ansar when the territory of Bahrain was annexed to the Islamic State. The Prophet (peace be upon him) wished that the conquered lands of that territory be given to the Ansar, but they submitted: We would not take any share from it unless a similar share was given to our emigrant brothers. (Yahya bin Adam). Allah has praised the Ansar for this very spirit of self-sacrifice.
19. The word used here means “is saved” and not “was safe”, for without Allah's help and succor no one can attain to the wealth of the heart (liberal-mindedness) by his own power and effort. This is a blessing of God, which one can attain only by God’s bounty and grace. The word shuhha is used for stinginess and miserliness in Arabic. But when this word is attributed to the self of man, it becomes synonymous with narrow-mindedness, niggardliness, mean spiritedness and small-heartedness, and not mere stinginess: it is rather the root cause of stinginess itself. Because of this very quality man avoids acknowledging even the good qualities of another, not to speak of recognizing his rights and discharging them. He wants that he alone should gather up everything in the world, and no one else should have anything of it. He never feels content with his own right, but usurps the rights of others, or at least wants to have for himself all that is good in the world and should not leave anything for others. On this very basis one’s being saved from this evil has been described in the Quran as a guarantee for success. The Prophet (peace be upon him) has counted it among the most evil qualities of man which are the root cause of corruption and mischief. Jabir bin Abdullah has reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: Avoid shuhha for it was shuhha which ruined the people before you. It incited them to shed each other’s blood and make the sacred and forbidden things of others lawful for themselves. (Muslim, Musnad Ahmad, Baihaqi, Bukhari in Al-Adab). The tradition of Abdullah bin Umar contains the following words: It led them to commit wickedness and they committed it. It commanded them to commit sins and they committed sin. It urged them to break off all connections with the kindred and they broke off all connections with them. (Musnad Ahmad, Abu Daud, Nasai). Abu Hurairah has reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: Faith and shuhha of the self cannot combine in one and the same heart. (Ibn Abi Shaibah, Nasa Baihaqi in Shuab al-Iman, Hakim). Abu Said Khudri has stated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: Two of the qualities are such that they cannot combine in a Muslim: stinginess and misbehavior. (Abu Daud, Tirmidhi, Bukhari in Al-Adab). It is as a result of this very teaching of Islam that, apart from individuals, the Muslims as a nation are still the most generous and liberal minded people in the world.
20. In the injunctions laid down up to here, it has been ruled that in the fai properties there are the rights of Allah and His Messenger and the Messenger’s relatives and the orphans and the indigent and the wayfarers and the emigrants and the Ansar and of the Muslim generations which will be born till the Day of Resurrection. It is this important legal ruling of the Quran in the light of which Umar introduced the new system in respect of the lands and properties of the conquered territories of Iraq, Syria and Egypt and of the possessions of the previous governments and rulers of those countries. When these countries were conquered; some of the distinguished companions among whom were included prominent men like Zubair, Bilal, Abdur Rahman bin Auf and Salman Farsi, insisted that these should be distributed among the armies who had fought and conquered them. They thought that those properties did not come under those upon which you have not rushed your horses and camels, but the Muslims had conquered them by rushing their horses and camels on them. Therefore, except for those cities and territories which surrendered without the war, all the rest of the conquered lands came under ghanimah for which the legal command is that one fifth of the lands and the people be given to the public treasury and the remaining four parts be distributed among the soldiers. But this opinion was not correct on the ground that the Prophet (peace be upon him) had not distributed the lands and the people of any territory conquered by fighting in his time after the deduction of one-fifth, like the booty. Two of the most conspicuous precedents of his time were the conquest of Makkah and the conquest of Khaiber. Of these he handed over Makkah intact to its inhabitants. As for Khaiber, according to Bushair bin Yasar, he divided it into 36 parts, of which he set aside 18 parts for collective benefits and requirements of the Muslims and distributed the remaining 18 among the army. (Abu Daud, Baihaqi, Abi Ubaid: Kitab al-Amwal; Yahya bin Adam: Kitab al-Kharj Baladhuri: Futuh al-Buldan; Ibn Human: Fath al-Qadir). This action of the Prophet (peace be upon him) made it clear that the command in respect of the conquered lands, even if they might have been taken by fighting, is not the same as of the ghanimah otherwise he would never have given the whole of Makkah intact to the people of Makkah, and would have set aside exactly one-half of the properties of Khaiber for the common benefits of the Muslims instead of deducting its one-fifth for the public treasury. Thus, what was established on the basis of the Sunnah was: In respect of the territories conquered by fighting, the ruler of the Muslims has the authority that he may take any decision that he deems fit keeping in view the conditions of the time. He can distribute them if he so likes but if a territory has an unusual nature and importance, as Makkah had, he can also treat its inhabitants with favor, as the Prophet (peace be upon him) treated the people of Makkah.
But as the conquests had not yet become common in the Prophet’s time and separate injunctions in respect of the different kinds of conquered territories had not yet become clearly known to the people, so when big countries were annexed to Islam in the time of Umar, the companions were faced with the problem whether the territories conquered by force were in the nature of ghanimah or fai. After the conquest of Egypt, Zubair demanded: Distribute this, whole land just as the Prophet (peace be upon him) had distributed Khaiber. (Abu Ubaid). About the conquered territories of Syria and Iraq, Bilal insisted: Distribute all the lands among the fighting forces just as the spoils are distributed. (Abu Yusuf, Kitab al-Kharaj). On the other hand, Ali gave this opinion: Leave these lands in possession of the peasants so that they continue to remain a source of income for the Muslims. (Abu Yusuf, Abu Ubaid,). Likewise, the opinion of Muadh bin Jabal was: If you distributed these lands, evil consequences would occur. Because of this distribution large properties will pass into the hands of those few people, who have conquered them. Then, when these people pass away and their properties pass on to their heirs and there is left only one woman or only one man from among them, nothing might remain for the future generations to meet their needs and even to meet the expenses of safeguarding the frontiers of the Islamic State. Therefore, you should so settle things that the interests of both the present and of the future generations are equally safeguarded. (Abu Ubaid, p. 59; Fath al-Bari, vol. vi, p. 138). Umar calculated and found that if the territories of Iraq were distributed, each individual would receive two or three peasants on the average as his share, (Abu Yusuf. Abu Ubaid). Thereupon he arrived at the judicious conclusion that those territories should not be distributed. Thus, the replies that he gave to those who demanded their distribution, were as follows:
Do you want that for the people who come afterwards there should not remain anything. (Abu Ubaid).
What will happen of the Muslims who came afterwards when they find that the land along with its peasants has been distributed and the people have inherited their forefathers? This is not at all just. (Abu Yusuf).
What will be left for the Muslims who came after you? I am afraid if I distribute it, you would fight among yourselves over water. (Abu Yusuf). Had I no thought for those who would come afterwards, I would distribute every territory that I conquered just as the Messenger of Allah had distributed Khaiber. (Bukhari, Muwatta, Abu Ubaid).
Nay: this is the real estate. I will withhold it so that the needs and requirements of the conquering forces and of the common Muslims continue to be met by it. (Abu Ubaid). But the people were not satisfied with these replies, and they started saying that he was being unjust. At last, Umar convened a meeting of the consultative body of the companions and put the matter before it. Here are some of the sentences of the speech that he made on this occasion: I have given you this trouble so that you may join me in shouldering the trust that has been put in me for governing your affairs. I am one of you, and you are the people who affirm the truth today. Every one of you has the option to agree to or differ from what I say. I do not wish that you should follow my desire. You have the Book of Allah, which states the whole truth. By God, if I have said something which I want to enforce, I have no object in view except the truth. You have heard those who think that I am being unjust to them and want to deprive them of their rights, whereas I seek Allah’s refuge that I should commit an injustice. It would be vicious on my part if I withheld from them something which actually belonged to them and gave it to another. But I can see that no other land after the land of the Khosroe is going to fall. Allah has given the properties of the Persians and their lands and their peasants in our possession. I have distributed the booty taken by our armies among them after the deduction of the khums (one fifth), and am thinking of distributing the rest which yet remains. But as for the lands my opinion is that I should not distribute them and their peasants, but should levy revenue on the lands and jizyah on the peasants, which they should always pay, and this should be the fai for the common Muslims and their children and the armies of today and for the generations yet to come. Don’t you see that we need the troops who should be appointed to protect these our frontiers? Don’t you see that in territories like Syria, AI-Jazirah, Kufah, Basra, Egypt we should station our troops, and they should be regularly for their services? So, if I distribute these lands along with their peasants, how shall we meet these expenses.
The debate went on for two or three days. Uthman, Ali, Talhah, Abdullah bin Umar and others concurred with Umar, but nothing could be decided. At last, Umar rose and said: I have found an argument in the Book of Allah, which is decisive in this matter. Then, he recited these very verses of Surah Al-Hashr from Ma afaa Allahu to Rabbana innaka Raufur-Rahim, and argued: The people of this day only are not entitled to receive a share in these properties bestowed by Allah, but Allah has also joined with them those people who will come after them. Then, how can it be that we should distribute the fai properties which are meant for all, only among the conquerors and leave nothing for the later generations? Moreover, Allah says: So that this wealth does not remain circulating among your rich people only. But if distribute it among the conquerors, it will remain circulating only among your rich and nothing would be left for others. This argument satisfied everybody and consensus was reached that all the conquered territories should be declared fai for the common benefits of the Muslims, which should be left with those who work on those lands and they should be put under revenue and jizyah. (Abu Yusuf Kitab al-Kharaj, pp. 23-27, 35; Al- Jassas, Ahkam al-Quran).
Accordingly, the real position of the conquered lands that came to be established was that the Muslims in their collective capacity are their owners; the people who were already working on them would be recognized as cultivators on behalf of the Muslims; they would continue to pay the prescribed revenue to the Islamic government on those lands, their rights as cultivators would pass from generation to generation as heritage, and they would even be allowed to sell those rights, but they will not be the real owners of the land, but its real owners will be the Muslim community. Imam Abu Ubaid in his Kitab al-Amwal has stated this legal position, thus:
Umar left the lands of the territory of Iraq in the hands of its people; he levied tax on their lands and jizyah per head on the people. (p. 57).
When the head of the Islamic government leaves the lands in the hands of the people of the conquered territories, they would be allowed to pass the lands on as heritage and would also be allowed to sell them. (p. 84).
In the time of Umar bin Abdul Aziz, Shabi was asked: Is there a treaty with the people of the territory of Iraq. He replied: There is no treaty, but when the revenue was accepted from them, it amounted to a treaty with them. (Abu Ubaid, p. 49; Abu Yusuf, p. 28).
In the time of Umar, Utbah bin Furqad purchased a piece of land by the Euphrates. Umar asked him from whom he had purchased the land. He replied that he had purchased it from its owners. Umar said: Its owners are these people, i.e. the emigrants and the Ansar. Thus, Umar held the opinion that the real owners of those lands were the Muslims. (Abu Ubaid, p. 74).
Accordingly, the properties of the conquered countries which were declared as the collective property of the Muslims were the following:
(1) Those lands and territories which come under the control of the Islamic government in consequence of a peace treaty.
(2) The ransom or revenue or jizyah which the people of a territory may have agreed to pay, without fighting, in order to seek refuge from the Muslims.
(3) Those lands and properties which the owners might have abandoned and fled.
(4) The properties the owners of which were slain and no survivor was left to own them.
(5) The lands which were not under any ownership previously.
(6) The lands which were already in the ownership of the people, but were left with their previous owners and they were put under jizyah and revenue.
(7) Estates of the previous ruling dynasties.
(8) Properties of the previous governments.
(For details, see Bada-i as-Sanai, vol. vii, pp. 116-118; Yahya bin Adam Kitab aI-Kharaj. pp. 22, 64; Mughni al- Muhtaj, vol. iii, p. 93; Hashiyah ad-Dusuqi ala-sh-Sharah al-Kabir, vol. ii, p. 190; Ghayat al-Muntaha, vol. i, pp. 467- 471).
Since these properties were declared as fai with the consensus of the companions, the jurists of Islam also have agreed in principle on their being regarded as fai. However, they have differed in certain matters, the details of which arc briefly as follows:
The Hanafis say that as regards to the lands of the conquered territories the Islamic government (Imam in juristic terminology has the option that it may distribute them among the forces of conquest after deduction of the khums (one fifth), or may leave them with the former owners and put the owners under jizyah and the lands under revenue. In this case the land will be regarded as a legacy for the Muslims. (Badai as-Sanai, Al-Jassas, Ahkam al-Quran; Sharah al-Anayah al al-Hedayah; Fath al- Qadir). The same view has Abdullah bin Mubarak cited for Imam Sufyan Thauri. (Yahya bin Adam; Abu Ubaid, Kitab al-Amwal).
The Malikis say that as soon as the lands have been conquered they automatically become a legacy for the Muslims. It does not need the Imam’s ruling or the willingness of the Muslim soldiers to declare them a legacy. Besides, the well known view among the Malikis is that not only the lands but the houses and buildings of the conquered territories are also, as a matter of fact, a legacy for the Muslims. However, the Islamic government will not charge the rent for them. (Hashiyah ad-Dusuqi).
The Hanbalis agree with the Hanafis that the Imam has the option to distribute the lands among the soldiers or to declare them as a legacy for the Muslims, and with the Malikis that although the houses of the conquered territories are included in the legacy, no rent will be levied on them. (Ghayatal Muntaha which is a collection of the legal rulings of the Hanbali School of juristic thought and a source book for legal rulings since the 10th century).
The Shafei’s viewpoint is that all the transferable properties of the conquered territory are ghanimah, and all the non-transferable properties (lands, houses, etc.) are fai. (Mughni al-Muhtaj).
Some jurists have expressed the opinion that if the Imam wants to declare the lands of the territory taken by fighting as a legacy for the Muslims, he must first obtain the willingness of the conquering forces. For this they cite this argument: Umar, before the conquest of Iraq, had promised Jarir bin Abdullah al-Banali, the people of whose tribe constituted one-fourth of the army, which fought the Battle of Qadisiyah, that they would be given one-fourth of the conquered territory. Thus, they retained this territory for two or three years. Then Umar said to them: Had I not been responsible and answerable in the matter of division, I would have left with you whatever has been given to you. But now I see that the people have grown in numbers; therefore, my opinion is that you return it to the common people. Jarir acceded to this, and Umar gave him 50 dinars as a prize. (Abu Yusuf, Kitab al-Kharaj; Abu Ubaid, Kitab al-Amwal). From this they argue that Umar had decided to declare the conquered territories as a legacy for the Muslims only after obtaining the willingness of the conquerors. But the majority of the jurists do not admit this argument. For in respect of all the conquered territories no such willingness of the conquerors ever was taken. Only in the case of Jarir bin Abdullah this was done because Umar had made a promise with him prior to any collective decision about the conquered lands. Therefore, he had to obtain his willingness only in order to be free from the obligation of the promise. This cannot be cited as a general law.
Another section of the jurists says that even after declaring the lands as a legacy, the government retains the option that it may redistribute the lands among the conquerors. For this they argue from this tradition: Once Ali said to the people in an address: Had not there been the apprehension that you would fight among yourselves, I would have distributed the suburban lands among you. (Abu Yusuf, Kitab al-Kharaj; Abu Ubaid, Kitab al-Amwal). But the majority of jurists do not admit this argument either. They are unanimous that when the people of the conquered territory have once been allowed to retain their lands and put under jizyah and revenue, the decision can never be changed later. As for the tradition attributed to Ali, Abu Bakr al-Jassas has discussed it at length in his Ahkam al- Quran and proved it to be not authentic.
21. In this verse although the real object is only to point out that in fai not only the people of the present generation but the Muslims of the later periods and their future generations also have a share, yet, besides, the Muslims have also been taught an important moral lesson that they should never have any malice against other Muslims in their hearts, and they should continue to pray for the forgiveness of the Muslims who have gone before them instead of cursing and abusing them. The bond that binds the Muslims together is that of a common faith. If a person values his faith as the most important thing in his heart, inevitably he would be a well-wisher of all those people who are his brethren-in faith. He can have ill-will and malice and hatred towards them in his heart only when the value of the faith decreases in his sight and he starts valuing other things more. Therefore, it is the requirement of faith that a believer’s heart should be free from every trace of malice and hatred against the other believers. In this matter the best lesson is given by a Hadith which Nasai has related from Anas. According to him, once it so happened that for three days continuously the Prophet (peace be upon him) declared in his assembly that a person was going to appear before them who belonged to the dwellers of Paradise, and every time it would be a certain person from among the Ansar. At this Abdullah bin Amr bin Aas became curious as to what deeds the person concerned performed on the basis of which the Prophet (peace be upon him) had repeatedly given the good news of his admission to Paradise. Thus, he made an excuse and spent three consecutive nights in his house to see how he performed his worship, but during the night he did not see anything unusual. At last, he asked him directly as to what special acts and devotions he performed on the basis of which the Prophet (peace be upon him) had given the great good news about him. He replied: You have seen how I perform my worship, but there is one thing which might have carved me this reward: I do not harbor any malice or evil design against any Muslim, nor feel jealous of him on account of any good that Allah might have bestowed on him.
This does not mean that if a Muslim finds an error in another Muslim’s word or deed, he should avoid calling it an error. Faith does not demand this. But to describe an error as a mistake on the basis of an argument and to state it to be so in a polite and decent manner is one thing and harbor malice and hatred and resort to invective and abuse is quite another thing. It is wrong if one resorts to this in respect of his contemporaries, but worse if one resorted to this in respect of the dead people of the past. For the person indulging in such a thing would be a most filthy person for he is not even inclined to forgive the dead. And the worst would be that a person should resort to invective and abuse in respect of those illustrious people who had done full justice to the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) companionship in a period full of extreme tribulations and hardships and had struggled with their lives to spread the light of Islam in the world and enabled us today to be blessed with the faith. One can hold any opinion if he thinks that such and such party of them was in the right and such and such in the wrong in its viewpoint in the differences that arose between them, and can even express his opinion in a reasonable and decent way, but to resort to exaggeration in support of one party so that the heart is filled with spite and hatred against the other is an evil which no God-fearing person would commit. Those who indulge in such a thing against the clear teaching of the Quran, generally present the excuse that the Quran forbids to bear malice towards the believers and the ones towards whom they bear the malice were not believers but hypocrites. But this allegation is even worse than the sin in defense of which the excuse is presented. For these very verses of the Quran in the context of which Allah has taught the Muslims of the later generations not to bear malice towards the Muslims who have gone before them and to pray for their forgiveness, are sufficient to refute this allegation. In these verses three groups have been mentioned, one after the other, who are entitled to receive a share in fai. the Emigrants, the Ansar and the Muslims coming after them; and the Muslims of the later periods have been enjoined that they should pray for the forgiveness of the Muslims who had embraced the faith before them. Obviously, in this context those who had embraced the faith before them could not be any other than the Emigrants and the Ansar. Then Allah in (verses 11-17 of this Surah Al-Hashr) itself has told us who were the hypocrites. This makes it absolutely clear that the hypocrites were the people who had encouraged the Jews on the occasion of the battle of the Bani an-Nadir; as against them, the believers were those who were on the side of the Prophet (peace be upon him) in this battle. After this, can a Muslim who has any fear of God in his heart, have the boldness to deny the faith of the people to whose faith Allah Himself has borne the testimony.
Imam Malik and Imam Ahmed arguing from this verse, have expressed the opinion that there is no share in fai for the people who malign the companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him). (Ibn al-Arabi, Ahkam al-Quran; Ghayat al-Muntaha). But the Hanafis and the Shafeis have not concurred with this, the reason being that Allah while declaring the three groups to be entitled to fai, has praised a conspicuous quality of each group but none of these qualities is a condition which may determine whether a group should or should not be given a share in fai. About the Emigrants it has been said: They seek Allah’s bounty and His goodwill, and are ever ready to succor Allah and His Messenger. This does not mean that an Emigrant who lacks this quality, is not entitled to have a share in fai. About the Ansar, it has been said: They love those who have migrated to them and entertain no desire in their hearts for what is given to them and prefer others about themselves even though they be needy themselves. This also does not mean that a member of the Ansar who has no love for the Emigrants and who is desirous of getting for himself what is being given to them, has no share in fai. Therefore, the quality of the third group that they pray for the forgiveness of those who embraced the faith before them and they pray that they should not have any malice in their hearts towards any other believer is also no condition to make one entitled to fai, but this is in praise of a good quality and an instruction as to what should be the attitude of the believers towards the other believers and especially in respect of those believers who have gone before them.
22. From the style of this whole section (verses 11-17), it appears that it was revealed at the time when the Prophet (peace be upon him) had served a notice on the Bani anNadir to leave Al-Madinah within ten days, but had not yet laid siege to their quarters. As has been mentioned about, when the Prophet (peace be upon him) served the notice to the Bani an-Nadir, Abdullah bin Ubayy and other leaders of the hypocrites of Al-Madinah sent them a message to the effect that they would come to their aid with two thousand men, and that the Bani Quraizah and the Bani Ghatafan would also rise in their support; therefore, they should stand firm and should never surrender to the Muslims. For if the Muslims waged a war against hem, they would fight them from their side; and if they expelled hem, they also would go out with them. Thereupon Allah sent down these verses. Thus, chronologically this section is an earlier revelation and the first section a later revelation, when the Bani an-Nadir had actually been driven out of Al-Madinah. But in the Quran the order of the two passages has been reversed for the reason that the subject matter of the first section is of greater importance
23. That is, the reason why they dare not face you openly in the field is not that they are Muslim: and have fear of God in their hearts and are afraid that despite their claim to the faith when they come out to help the disbelievers as against the believers, they will be held accountable before God. But what actually restrains them from facing you is that when they see your profound love and spirit of selfsacrifice and devotion for Islam and the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and the great unity and concord in your ranks, they become dispirited. They know well that although you are few in number, the spirit of martyrdom which has turned each single individual among you into a gallant warrior and the organization which has molded you into a solid body, will also crush them along with the Jews when they clash with you in the battlefield. Here one should bear in mind the fact that if a person harbors the fear of another than God in his heart, it is in fact a negation of the fear of God. Obviously, the person who considers one of the dangers as lesser and the other greater, pays no heed to the first but does whatever he can to safeguard himself against the greater danger.
24. A great truth has been expressed in this brief sentence. A person who has sense knows that the real power to be feared is the power of Allah and not the power of men. Therefore, he will avoid every such thing as may call for the punishment of Allah, whether there is any human power to call him to account for it or not, and he will come out to accomplish any duty which Allah has enjoined on him, whether he is opposed and hindered by all the powers of the world. But a man, who has no sense, determines his attitude and conduct in view of the human powers, instead of Allah's power, in all matters of lift, because Allah’s power for him is imperceptible and human powers are perceptible. If he avoids something, he will avoid it, not because of the fear of Allah’s punishment for it, but because of a human power, which may be there to take him to task. And if he does something he will do is not because Allah has enjoined it, but because some human power has ordered or approved of it, and will reward him for it. This very distinction between intelligence and folly, in fact, distinguishes the character and conduct of a believer from that of an unbeliever.
25. This refers to the second weakness of the hypocrites. The first weakness was that they were cowardly. They feared the men instead of fearing God and had no higher aim of life before them like the believers, which might impel them to fight for it even at the cost of life. And their second weakness was that they had no common tie between them except hypocrisy, which might unite them together into a strong band. The only thing that had brought them together was that they were all feeling highly upset at the flourishing leadership and rule of Muhammad (peace be upon him), who was an outsider in their city, and at the warm reception and help which their own compatriots, the Ansar, were giving to the Emigrants. Because of this jealousy they wanted them to join hands together and in conspiracy with the enemies of Islam of the surrounding areas should somehow put an end to this alien power and authority. But apart from this negative objective there was no positive common aim to unify them. Each of their chiefs had his own separate band, each craved for his own leadership. No one was sincere to the other, but each bore such jealousy and malice for the other that they could neither forget their mutual enmities nor desist from harming the other fatally even while facing those whom they regarded as their common enemy.
Thus, at the outset, even before the battle against the Bani an-Nadir took place, Allah analyzed the internal state of the hypocrites and informed the Muslims that there was no real danger from their side; therefore, they should not feel alarmed at the rumors that when they lay siege to the Bani an-Nadir, the leaders of the hypocrites would attack them from the rear with two thousand men, and also bring the Bani Quraizah and the Bani Ghatafan along against them. All this was empty boasting which would be exposed at the very beginning of the trial.
26. The allusion is to the disbelievers of the Quraish and the Jewish clan of the Bani Qrainuqa who had been defeated by a handful of ill-equipped Muslims in spite of their larger numbers and superior equipment, due mainly to these weaknesses.
27. That is, these hypocrites are treating the Bani an-Nadir in much the same way as Satan treats men. Today they are urging them to stand firm and go forth and clash with the Muslims making them believe that they would come to their aid, but when they actually clash with the Muslims, they would renounce their pledges and promises and would never even look back to see their fate. The same way does Satan treat every disbeliever, and a similar treatment had he given to the disbelieving Quraish at Badr, as has been mentioned in (Surah al-Anfal, Ayat 48). First, he incited them with false hopes and brought them out to confront the Muslims, saying: Today no one can overcome you, for I am with you. But when the two forces met in battle, he took to his heels, saying: I have nothing to do with you. I see that which you cannot see. Indeed, I fear Allah.
28. It is a rule of the Quran that whenever the hypocritical Muslims are taken to task for their hypocrisy, they are given admonition also so that whoever of them has some life left in his conscience, may feel remorse for his conduct and attitude and may make an effort, out of the fear of Allah, to come out of the pit into which his worship of the self has thrown him. This whole section (verses 18-24) consists of such admonition.
29. For tomorrow: for the Hereafter. That is, this whole worldly life is “today”, whose “tomorrow” is the Day of Resurrection, which is going to follow it. Adopting this style Allah has, in a wise manner, made man understand the truth that just as that person is highly foolish, who gambles away his all for the enjoyment of today and does not realize whether tomorrow he would be left with anything to eat and a place of shelter or not, so is also that person only working for his own doom, who is too absorbed in making his world to pay heed to the Hereafter, whereas the Hereafter is to follow this world just as today is to be followed by tomorrow, and there he would find nothing if he has sent nothing ahead for the morrow. Besides, the other wise point here is that every person has been appointed his own censor. Unless a person develops in himself the sense of what is good for him and what is evil, he cannot appreciate whether what he is doing will make his future in the Hereafter or mar it. And when this sense becomes active in himself, he will have to calculate and see for himself whether the way in which he is spending his time, his wealth, his energies and capabilities leads to Heaven or Hell. To do so is in his own interest; for if he does not do so he will ruin his own future itself.
30. That is, forgetfulness of God inevitably leads to forgetfulness of one’s own self. When man forgets that he is slave to the Almighty, he will inevitably form a wrong view of his position in the world, and his whole life will go wrong because of this basic error. Likewise, when he forgets that he is slave to nobody except Allah, he does not serve the one whose slave actually he is not. This also is a grave and allpervading misunderstanding, which corrupts his whole life. Man’s real position in the world is that of a slave; he is not free and self-sufficient; and he is slave of only One God, and is no one else’s slave beside Him. The person who does not know this truth, does not in fact know himself. And the person who in spite of knowing this, forgets it at any moment, may commit an act at that very moment, which a disbeliever, or a polytheist or a man forgetful of God only would commit. Man’s remaining firm and steadfast on the right path entirely depends on his remembering God at all times. For as soon as he, becomes heedless of Him, he becomes heedless of himself and this very heedlessness turns him into sinfulness.
31. The parable means that if a huge creation like a mountain had the sense and knowledge that it had been made responsible and accountable, like man, before Allah Almighty, for its deeds, it would have trembled from the fear of it. But how heedless, senseless and thoughtless is the man, who understands the Quran, and has known the whole truth through it, yet he is neither seized by any fear nor feels worried as to what answer he would make to his God about the responsibilities that have been placed on him. On the contrary, when he reads the Quran, or hears it being read, he remains un-moved as if he were a lifeless and senseless stone, which is not supposed to hear and see and understand anything. (For further explanation, see (E.N. 120 of Surah Al-Ahzab).
32. These verses explain what kind of God He is, and what are His attributes, Who has sent this Quran to you, Who has placed these responsibilities on you, and before Whom you have to render an account of your deeds in the end. This mention of the divine attributes immediately after the above theme automatically gives man the feeling that he has not to deal with an ordinary being but with Almighty Allah Who has such and such attributes. Here, one should also understand that although in the Quran, the attributes of Allah Almighty have been stated in a unique way, which gives a clear concept of the divine Being, there are two places where the attributes of Allah have been mentioned in a most comprehensive way, in the verse of the Alkursi (Al- Baqarah, Ayat 255) and in these verses of Surah Al-Hashr.
33. That is, He is the One besides Whom none else has the rank, position, attributes and powers of Godhead so that he may be worshiped and served as god.
34. That is, He knows whatever is hidden from the creatures as well as whatever is known and visible to them. Nothing of this universe is unknown to Him. He directly knows whatever has happened in the past, whatever exists at present and whatever will happen in the future. He does not stand in need of any means or medium of knowledge.
35. That is, He alone is the Being Whose mercy is limitless, which covers the whole universe and blesses and benefits everything in it. None else in the world is the bearer of such all-pervading, infinite mercy. The mercy of every other being, characterized by the ability of mercy, is partial and limited, and that quality too is not essentially its own, but bestowed by the Creator for a specific need and purpose. He has created the quality of mercy for some other creature. He has created it in order to make one creature a means for the development and well-being of the other creature. This by itself is a proof that Allah’s Mercy is infinite.
36. The word used in the original is al-Malik, which means that He alone is the real Sovereign. Moreover, the word al- Malik in its general sense also gives the meaning that He is King of the entire universe and not of a particular region or of a specific country. His Sovereignty and rule comprehends the entire universe.
He is Master of everything. Everything submits itself to His command and power and authority, and there is nothing to delimit His Sovereignty. At different places in the Quran all aspects of Allah’s Sovereignty have been presented and explained fully.
And whoever exists in the heavens and the earth, belongs to Him. All are obedient to Him. (Surah Ar-Room, Ayat 26).
He administers the affairs of the world from the heavens to the earth. (Surah As-Sajdah, Ayat 5).
To Him belongs the dominion of the earth and the heavens, and all matters are referred to Him for decision.( Surah Al- Hadid, Ayat 5).
He has no partner in His sovereignty. (Surah Al-Furqan, Ayat 2).
In His hand is the absolute control of everything. (Surah Ya Seen, Ayat 83).
Doer of whatever He wills. (Surah Al-Burooj, Ayat 16).
He is accountable to none for what He does, but all others are accountable (to Him). (Surah Al-Anbiyia, Ayat 23).
Allah rules and there is none to reverse His decrees. (Surah Ar-Raad, Ayat 41).
The Being Who gives protection while none can give protection against Him. (Surah Al-Momin, Ayat 88).
Say: O Allah, Sovereign of the Kingdom, You bestow kingdom on whomever You will, and You take it away from whomever You will. You exalt whomever You will and You abase whomever You will. All that is good is in Your power; indeed You have full power over all things. (Surah Aal-i-Imran, Ayat 26).
These explanations make it abundantly clear that Allah is not King in some limited or metaphoric sense but He is real King in the most perfect and complete sense of sovereignty. As a matter of fact, if sovereignty in its true sense is at all found somewhere, it is found only in Allah’s Kingship. Apart from this, wherever it is claimed to be, whether in the person of a king or dictator, or in a class or group or family, or in some nation, he or it possesses no sovereignty at all, for sovereignty is not a gift, which may at one time be granted and at another time withdrawn, which may be in danger of being usurped, the establishment and existence of which may be temporary and temporal, and the sphere of power and authority of which may be circumscribed and restricted by many other conflicting powers.
37. Al-Quddus is a superlative. It means that Allah is far exalted that He should have a fault or defect or demerit. He is the purest Being. No evil can be imagined about Him. Here, one should clearly understand that the attribute of holiness is a foremost accompaniment of sovereignty. Man’s intellect and nature refuse to believe that a being who is the bearer of sovereignty may be mischievous, ill behaved, ill-natured, who may be characterized with these base qualities from whose power and authority his subjects might be in danger of suffering evil instead of being blessed with good. That is why wherever man thinks sovereignty is centered, he assumes holiness also to be there, even if it is not there, for absolute sovereignty is inconceivable without holiness. But, obviously, there is no real Sovereign, nor can there be, except Allah, Who is the Holy. Whether it is monarchy, or sovereignty of the people, or dictatorship of the socialist system, or some other form of human rule, in any case holiness for it is inconceivable.
38. The word As-Salam as used in the original means peace and Secure, Allah’s being called As-Salam means that He is peace and safety personified. He is far exalted that some calamity or weakness or defect should befall Him, or His Perfection should suffer a decline or blemish.
39. The word Al-Mumin is derived from amun, which means to secure from fear, and Mumin is one who provides security to others. Allah has been called Al-Mumin in the sense that He provides security to His creatures. His creatures are secure from the fear that He would ever wrong them, or deprive them of their rights, or allow their rewards to go to waste, or would violate the promises He has made with them. Then, since no object has been mentioned with this subject, but the epithet of Al-Mumin has been used absolutely, it automatically gives the meaning that His security comprehends the entire universe and all that it contains.
40. The word Al-Muhaimin has three meanings:
(1) The Guardian and Protector.
(2) The Observer who sees what everyone does.
(3) The Being Who has taken up the responsibility to fulfill the needs and requirements of the people.
Here also, since the word Al-Muhaimin has been used absolutely, and no object has been mentioned of this subject, therefore, it by itself gives the implied meaning that He is guarding and protecting all creatures, is watching the acts and deeds of everyone, and has taken up the responsibility of sustaining and providing for every creature in the universe with its needs and requirements.
41. Al-Aziz: such an Almighty Being against Whom no one may dare raise his head, no one may have the power to resist His decrees, before Whom everyone may be helpless and powerless.
42. The word al-Jabbar as used in the original is derived from jabr which means setting something right by use of power, reforming something by force. Allah has been called Al-Jabbar in the sense that He sets the system of His universe right by the use of power and enforces His will, which is entirely based on wisdom. Moreover, the word Jabber also contains the meaning of greatness and glory. Thus, a palm-tree which is too tall for the people to pluck its fruit is called jabber in Arabic. Likewise, an act which is grand and glorious is called amal jabbar.
43. The word Al-Mutakabbir has two meanings.
(1) The one who is not actually great but poses as great.
(2) The one who is actually great and sets himself up as such.
Whether it is man or Satan, or some other creature, since greatness does not, in fact, belong to it, its posing itself as great and claiming superiority over others is, a false claim and a vice. Contrary to this, Allah Almighty is truly Great and greatness actually belongs to Him, and everything in the universe is low and insignificant as against Him. Therefore, His being Great and setting Himself up as Great is no false claim but reality; it is not an evil quality but a virtue and excellence, which no one else has but Allah.
44. That is, those who regard a creature as an associate in His powers, authority, attributes, or in His Being, in fact, utter a grave falsehood, for Allah is far exalted that anybody or anything should be an associate with Him in any sense.
45. That is, the entire world and everything in it, from the initial plan of its creation till its coming into existence in its final, finished form, is entirely Allah’s work of creation. Nothing has come into existence by itself nor come about accidentally, nor has anyone else the least share in its creation and development. Here, Allah’s act of creation has been described in three separate stages, which take place one after the other. First is the stage of khalq, which means to ordain, or to plan. It is like an engineer’s conceiving the design of a building, which he intends to build for a specific purpose and draws out its detailed diagram and model. The second stage is barr, which actually means to separate, to cut, to split asunder. The Creator has been called Al-barii in the sense that He enforces the plan He has conceived and brings out the thing from non-existence into existence. It is Analogous to the engineer’s putting marks on the ground of the full measurements of the building according to the plan, digging the foundations, raising the walls and completing all the practical preliminaries of the construction work. The third stage is taswir, which means to give shape; here it implies giving something its final complete shape. In all these three stages there is no resemblance whatever between Allah’s work and human works. None of human plans is such as may not have been derived from previous models and plans. But each of Allah’s plans is, unique and His own original creation. Whatever man makes, he makes it by combining the substances created by Allah. He does not bring anything from nonexistence into existence, but composes and constructs by different methods whatever is present and available. Contrary to this, Allah has brought everything from non-existence into creation, and the substance itself of which He has made the universe is created by Him. Likewise, in the matter of giving shape also man is not the inventor but an imitator, and only a poor imitator. The real Maker of forms and shapes is Allah, Who has given a unique and matchless shape to every species and individual and has never repeated exactly the same shape or from.
46. Names imply the adjectives, and “His are the excellent names” means that those adjectives which indicate or express some kind of defect are not appropriate for Him. He should be remembered by those names which express His attributes of Perfection. In the Quran these beautiful names of Allah have been mentioned here and there, and in the Hadith 99 names of that Exalted and Pure Being have been enumerated which Timidhi and Ibn Majah have related on the authority of Abu Hurairah. If one studies these names as mentioned in the Quran and the Hadith carefully, he can easily understand what words would be appropriate and suitable if one has to remember Allah in another language.
47. That is, everything proclaims with the tongue, or otherwise, that its Creator is free from every fault and defect, weakness and error.
48. For explanation, see E.N. 2 of Surah