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Towards Understanding the Quran
With kind permission: Islamic Foundation UK
Introduction to Tafheem | Glossary | Verbs
Other resources: Maarif | Dawat 

 Surah Al-Anfal 8:11-19 [2/10]
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Verse Summary -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
يُغَشِّيكُمُHe covered you
ٱلنُّعَاسَwith [the] slumber,
أَمَنَةًa security
مِّنْهُfrom Him,
وَيُنَزِّلُand sent down
عَلَيْكُمupon you
ٱلسَّمَآءِthe sky
لِّيُطَهِّرَكُمso that He may purify you
بِهِۦwith it,
وَيُذْهِبَand take away
عَنكُمْfrom you
رِجْزَevil (suggestions)
ٱلشَّيْطَـٰنِ(of) the Shaitaan.
وَلِيَرْبِطَAnd to strengthen
قُلُوبِكُمْyour hearts
وَيُثَبِّتَand make firm
بِهِwith it
ٱلْأَقْدَامَyour feet.
رَبُّكَyour Lord
ٱلْمَلَـٰٓئِكَةِthe Angels,
أَنِّى`I am
مَعَكُمْwith you,
فَثَبِّتُواْso strengthen
ٱلَّذِينَthose who
سَأُلْقِىI will cast
قُلُوبِ(the) hearts
ٱلَّذِينَ(of) those who
كَفَرُواْdisbelieved -
ٱلرُّعْبَthe terror,
فَٱضْرِبُواْso strike
ٱلْأَعْنَاقِthe necks
وَٱضْرِبُواْand strike
مِنْهُمْfrom them
بِأَنَّهُمْ(is) because they
وَرَسُولَهُۥ‌ۚand His Messenger.
وَمَنAnd whoever
وَرَسُولَهُۥand His Messenger,
فَإِنَّthen indeed,
شَدِيدُ(is) severe
ٱلْعِقَابِin [the] penalty.
ذَٲلِكُمْThat -
فَذُوقُوهُ`So taste it.`
وَأَنَّAnd that,
لِلْكَـٰفِرِينَfor the disbelievers
عَذَابَ(is the) punishment
ٱلنَّارِ(of) the Fire.
يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوٓاْO you who believe!
لَقِيتُمُyou meet
ٱلَّذِينَthose who
فَلَاthen (do) not
تُوَلُّوهُمُturn to them
ٱلْأَدْبَارَthe backs.
وَمَنAnd whoever
يُوَلِّهِمْturns to them
يَوْمَئِذٍ دُبُرَهُۥٓhis back that day
مُتَحَرِّفًا(as) a strategy
لِّقِتَالٍof war
مُتَحَيِّزًا(to) join
فِئَةٍa group,
بَآءَ(he has) incurred
وَمَأْوَٮٰهُand his abode
جَهَنَّمُ‌ۖ(is) Hell,
وَبِئْسَa wretched
فَلَمْAnd not
تَقْتُلُوهُمْyou kill them,
قَتَلَهُمْ‌ۚkilled them.
وَمَاAnd not
رَمَيْتَyou threw
رَمَيْتَyou threw,
وَلِيُبْلِىَand that He may test
ٱلْمُؤْمِنِينَthe believers
مِنْهُfrom Him
بَلَآءً(with) a trial
سَمِيعٌ(is) All-Hearing,
ذَٲلِكُمْThat (is the case)
وَأَنَّand that,
ٱللَّهَAllah (is)
مُوهِنُone who makes weak
كَيْدِ(the) plan
ٱلْكَـٰفِرِينَ(of) the disbelievers.
تَسْتَفْتِحُواْyou ask for victory
فَقَدْthen certainly
جَآءَكُمُhas come to you
ٱلْفَتْحُ‌ۖthe victory.
وَإِنAnd if
تَنتَهُواْyou desist,
فَهُوَthen it (is)
لَّكُمْ‌ۖfor you,
وَإِنbut if
تَعُودُواْyou return,
نَعُدْWe will return (too).
وَلَنAnd never
تُغْنِىَwill avail
فِئَتُكُمْyour forces
وَلَوْeven if
كَثُرَتْ(they are) numerous.
وَأَنَّAnd that
مَعَ(is) with
ٱلْمُؤْمِنِينَthe believers.

اِذۡ يُغَشِّيۡكُمُ النُّعَاسَ اَمَنَةً مِّنۡهُ وَيُنَزِّلُ عَلَيۡكُمۡ مِّنَ السَّمَآءِ مَآءً لِّيُطَهِّرَكُمۡ بِهٖ وَيُذۡهِبَ عَنۡكُمۡ رِجۡزَ الشَّيۡطٰنِ وَلِيَرۡبِطَ عَلٰى قُلُوۡبِكُمۡ وَيُثَبِّتَ بِهِ الۡاَقۡدَامَؕ‏  اِذۡ يُوۡحِىۡ رَبُّكَ اِلَى الۡمَلٰۤـئِكَةِ اَنِّىۡ مَعَكُمۡ فَثَبِّتُوا الَّذِيۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا​ ؕ سَاُلۡقِىۡ فِىۡ قُلُوۡبِ الَّذِيۡنَ كَفَرُوا الرُّعۡبَ فَاضۡرِبُوۡا فَوۡقَ الۡاَعۡنَاقِ وَاضۡرِبُوۡا مِنۡهُمۡ كُلَّ بَنَانٍؕ‏  ذٰ لِكَ بِاَنَّهُمۡ شَآ قُّوا اللّٰهَ وَرَسُوۡلَهٗ​ ۚ وَمَنۡ يُّشَاقِقِ اللّٰهَ وَرَسُوۡلَهٗ فَاِنَّ اللّٰهَ شَدِيۡدُ الۡعِقَابِ‏  ذٰ لِكُمۡ فَذُوۡقُوۡهُ وَاَنَّ لِلۡكٰفِرِيۡنَ عَذَابَ النَّارِ‏  يٰۤـاَيُّهَا الَّذِيۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡۤا اِذَا لَقِيۡتُمُ الَّذِيۡنَ كَفَرُوۡا زَحۡفًا فَلَا تُوَلُّوۡهُمُ الۡاَدۡبَارَ​ۚ‏  وَمَنۡ يُّوَلِّهِمۡ يَوۡمَـئِذٍ دُبُرَهٗۤ اِلَّا مُتَحَرِّفًا لِّقِتَالٍ اَوۡ مُتَحَيِّزًا اِلٰى فِئَةٍ فَقَدۡ بَآءَ بِغَضَبٍ مِّنَ اللّٰهِ وَمَاۡوٰٮهُ جَهَـنَّمُ​ؕ وَبِئۡسَ الۡمَصِيۡرُ‏  فَلَمۡ تَقۡتُلُوۡهُمۡ وَلٰـكِنَّ اللّٰهَ قَتَلَهُمۡ وَمَا رَمَيۡتَ اِذۡ رَمَيۡتَ وَ لٰـكِنَّ اللّٰهَ رَمٰى​ ۚ وَلِيُبۡلِىَ الۡمُؤۡمِنِيۡنَ مِنۡهُ بَلَاۤءً حَسَنًا​ ؕ اِنَّ اللّٰهَ سَمِيۡعٌ عَلِيۡمٌ‏  ذٰ لِكُمۡ وَاَنَّ اللّٰهَ مُوۡهِنُ كَيۡدِ الۡـكٰفِرِيۡنَ‏  اِنۡ تَسۡتَفۡتِحُوۡا فَقَدۡ جَآءَكُمُ الۡفَتۡحُ​ۚ وَاِنۡ تَنۡتَهُوۡا فَهُوَ خَيۡرٌ لَّـكُمۡ​ۚ وَ اِنۡ تَعُوۡدُوۡا نَـعُدۡ​ۚ وَلَنۡ تُغۡنِىَ عَنۡكُمۡ فِئَتُكُمۡ شَيۡـئًـا وَّلَوۡ كَثُرَتۡۙ وَاَنَّ اللّٰهَ مَعَ الۡمُؤۡمِنِيۡنَ‏ 
(8:11) And recall when Allah brought on you drowsiness,8 giving you a feeling of peace and security from Him, and He sent down rain upon you from the sky that He might cleanse you through it and take away from you the pollution of Satan and strengthen your hearts, and steady your feet through it.9 (8:12) And recall when your Lord inspired the angels: 'I am certainly with you. So make firm the feet of those who believe. I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. So strike at their necks and strike at every pore and tip.10 (8:13) This is because they defied Allah and His Messenger. Whoever defies Allah and His Messenger must know that Allah is severe in punishment.11 (8:14) That is your punishment (from Allah). So taste this punishment,12 and know that for the unbelievers is the punishment of the Fire. (8:15) Believers, whenever you encounter a hostile force of unbelievers, do not turn your backs to them in flight. (8:16) For he who turns his back on them on such ar occasion - except that it be for tactical reasons, or turning to join another company - he shall incur the wrath of Allah and Hell shall be his abode. It is an evil destination. 13 (8:17) So the fact is that it was not you, but it was Allah Who killed them; and it was not you when you threw [sand at them], but it was Allah Who threw it,14 (and the believers were employed for the task) that He might cause the believers to successfully pass through this test. Allah is All-Hearing, All-Knowing. (8:18) This is His manner of dealing with you. As for the unbelievers, Allah will surely undermine their designs. (8:19) (Tell the unbelievers:) 'If you have sought a judgement, then surely a judgement has come to you. 15 And if you desist from disobedience, it is all the better for you. But if you revert to your mischief, We will again chastise you; and your host, howsoever numerous, will never be of any avail to you. Know well, Allah is with the believers.'

8. In the Battle of Uhud the Muslims passed through a similar experience see (Al'lmran 3: 154) above. On both occasions, when prevalent conditions should have produced intense fear and panic among them, God filled their hearts with such peace and tranquillity that they were overpowered with drowsiness.

9. This refers to the heavy downpour on the night preceding the Battle of Badr. It helped the Muslims in three ways. First, it provided them with an abundant water supply which they quickly stored in large reservoirs. Second, rain compacted the loose sand in the upper part of the valley where the Muslims had pitched their tents. This helped the Muslims plant their feet firmly and facilitated their movement. Third, where the Quray'sh army was stationed in the lower part of the valley, the ground turned marshy.

The defilement caused by Satan which occurs in the verse refers to the fear and panic which initially, afflicted the Muslims.

10. In view of the general principle propounded in the Qur'an we presume that the angels did not take part in the actual fighting. What we may suggest is that the angels helped the Muslims and as a result their blows became more accurate and effective.

11. In recounting the events of the Battle of Badr, the Qur'an aims to explain the significance of the word al-anfal (spoils of war). In the opening verse of the surah the Muslims were told that they should not deem the spoils to be a reward for their toil. Rather, the spoils should constitute a special reward granted to the Muslims by God, to Whom the spoils rightfully belong. The events recounted here support this. The Muslims could reflect on the course of events and see for themselves to what extent the victory they had achieved was due to God's favour, and to what extent it was due to their own efforts.

12. Here the discourse is suddenly directed to the unbelievers who we mentioned in( verse 13) as deserving of God's punishment.

13. The Qur'an does not forbid orderly retreat under strong pressure from the enemy provided it is resorted to as a stratagem of war, for example seeking reinforcements or joining another party in the rear. What the Qur'an does forbid is disorderly flight produced by sheer cowardice and defeatism. Such a retreat takes place because the deserter holds his life dearer than his cause. Such cowardice has been characterized as one of those three major sins which, if committed, can be atoned for by no other good deed whatsoever. These three sins are: ascription of divinity to anyone or anything other than God, violation of the rights of parents, and flight from the battlefield during fighting in the way of God. (See al-Mundhiri, 'Kitab al-Jihad', 'Bab al-Tarhib min al-Firar min al-Zahf'- Ed.) In another tradition the Prophet (peace be on him) has mentioned seven deadly sins which totally ruin a man's Next Life. One of these is flight from the battlefield in an encounter between Islam and Unbelief. (Muslim, 'K. al-lman', 'Bab al-Kabi'ir wa Akbaruha'; Bukhari, 'K. al-Wasaya', 'bab - fi Qawl Allah - Tala: inna al-ladhina Ya'kuluna Amwal al-Yatami Zulman' - Ed.) This has been declared a deadly sin because in addition to being an act of sheer cowardice, it demoralizes others and can generate demoralization which can have disastrous consequences. An individual soldier's desertion might cause a whole platoon, or even a whole regiment, and ultimately the whole army, to take flight. For once a soldier flees in panic, it is hard to control the others.

14. This refers to the occasion wnen the armies of the Muslims and the unbelievers stood face to face in the Battle of Badr and were on the verge of actual fighting. At that moment, the Prophet (peace be on him) threw a handful of dust at the enemy saying: 'May, their faces be scorched.' So saying the Prophet (peace be on him) made a gesture and the Muslims started their charge. (See Ahmad b. Hanbal, Musnad, vol. 1, p. 368; Ibn Hisham, vol. 1, p. 668; Ibn Kathir, comments on the verse - Ed.)

15. Before marching out from Makka the unbelievers held the covering of the Ka'bah and prayed: 'O God! Grant victory to the better of the two parties.' Abu Jahl, in particular invoked God's judgement: 'O God! Grant victory to the one who is in the right and cause humiliation to the wrong-doer.' God answered these prayers fully and the outcome of the battle clearly pointed to the party which was in the right.