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Towards Understanding the Quran
With kind permission: Islamic Foundation UK
Introduction to Tafheem | Glossary | Verbs
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 Surah At-Tawbah 9:11-16 [2/16]
  
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Verse Summary -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
فَإِنBut if
تَابُواْthey repent
وَأَقَامُواْand establish
ٱلصَّلَوٲةَthe prayer
وَءَاتَوُاْand give
ٱلزَّكَوٲةَthe zakah,
فَإِخْوَٲنُكُمْthen (they are) your brothers
فِىin
ٱلدِّينِ‌ۗ[the] religion.
وَنُفَصِّلُAnd We explain in detail
ٱلْأَيَـٰتِthe Verses
لِقَوْمٍfor a people
يَعْلَمُونَ(who) know.
﴿١١﴾
وَإِنAnd if
نَّكَثُوٓاْthey break
أَيْمَـٰنَهُمtheir oaths
مِّنۢ بَعْدِafter
عَهْدِهِمْtheir treaty
وَطَعَنُواْand defame
فِى[in]
دِينِكُمْyour religion,
فَقَـٰتِلُوٓاْthen fight
أَئِمَّةَthe leaders
ٱلْكُفْرِ‌ۙ(of) [the] disbelief,
إِنَّهُمْindeed, they -
لَآno
أَيْمَـٰنَoaths
لَهُمْfor them,
لَعَلَّهُمْso that they may
يَنتَهُونَcease.
﴿١٢﴾
أَلَاWill not
تُقَـٰتِلُونَyou fight
قَوْمًاa people
نَّكَثُوٓاْwho broke
أَيْمَـٰنَهُمْtheir oaths
وَهَمُّواْand determined
بِإِخْرَاجِto drive out
ٱلرَّسُولِthe Messenger
وَهُمand they
بَدَءُوكُمْbegan (to attack) you
أَوَّلَfirst
مَرَّةٍ‌ۚtime?
أَتَخْشَوْنَهُمْ‌ۚDo you fear them?
فَٱللَّهُBut Allah
أَحَقُّ(has) more right
أَنthat
تَخْشَوْهُyou should fear Him,
إِنif
كُنتُمyou are
مُّؤْمِنِينَbelievers.
﴿١٣﴾
قَـٰتِلُوهُمْFight them -
يُعَذِّبْهُمُ ٱللَّهُAllah will punish them
بِأَيْدِيكُمْby your hands
وَيُخْزِهِمْand disgrace them
وَيَنصُرْكُمْand give you victory
عَلَيْهِمْover them,
وَيَشْفِand will heal
صُدُورَ(the) breasts
قَوْمٍ(of) a people
مُّؤْمِنِينَ(who are) believers.
﴿١٤﴾
وَيُذْهِبْAnd remove
غَيْظَ(the) anger
قُلُوبِهِمْ‌ۗ(of) their hearts.
وَيَتُوبُ ٱللَّهُAnd Allah accepts repentance
عَلَىٰof
مَنwhom
يَشَآءُ‌ۗHe wills.
وَٱللَّهُAnd Allah
عَلِيمٌ(is) All-Knower,
حَكِيمٌAll-Wise.
﴿١٥﴾
أَمْOr
حَسِبْتُمْ(do) you think
أَنthat
تُتْرَكُواْyou would be left
وَلَمَّاwhile not
يَعْلَمِ ٱللَّهُAllah made evident
ٱلَّذِينَthose who
جَـٰهَدُواْstrive
مِنكُمْamong you,
وَلَمْand not
يَتَّخِذُواْtake
مِن دُونِ ٱللَّهِbesides Allah
وَلَاand not
رَسُولِهِۦHis Messenger
وَلَاand not
ٱلْمُؤْمِنِينَthe believers
وَلِيجَةً‌ۚ(as) intimates?
وَٱللَّهُAnd Allah
خَبِيرُۢ(is) All-Aware
بِمَاof what
تَعْمَلُونَyou do.
﴿١٦﴾


فَاِنۡ تَابُوۡا وَاَقَامُوا الصَّلٰوةَ وَاٰتَوُا الزَّكٰوةَ فَاِخۡوَانُكُمۡ فِى الدِّيۡنِ​ؕ وَنُفَصِّلُ الۡاٰيٰتِ لِقَوۡمٍ يَّعۡلَمُوۡنَ‏  وَاِنۡ نَّكَثُوۡۤا اَيۡمَانَهُمۡ مِّنۡۢ بَعۡدِ عَهۡدِهِمۡ وَطَعَنُوۡا فِىۡ دِيۡـنِكُمۡ فَقَاتِلُوۡۤا اَـئِمَّةَ الۡـكُفۡرِ​ۙ اِنَّهُمۡ لَاۤ اَيۡمَانَ لَهُمۡ لَعَلَّهُمۡ يَنۡتَهُوۡنَ‏  اَلَا تُقَاتِلُوۡنَ قَوۡمًا نَّكَثُوۡۤا اَيۡمَانَهُمۡ وَهَمُّوۡا بِاِخۡرَاجِ الرَّسُوۡلِ وَهُمۡ بَدَءُوۡكُمۡ اَوَّلَ مَرَّةٍ​ ؕ اَتَخۡشَوۡنَهُمۡ​ ۚ فَاللّٰهُ اَحَقُّ اَنۡ تَخۡشَوۡهُ اِنۡ كُنۡتُمۡ مُّؤۡمِنِيۡنَ‏  قَاتِلُوۡهُمۡ يُعَذِّبۡهُمُ اللّٰهُ بِاَيۡدِيۡكُمۡ وَيُخۡزِهِمۡ وَيَنۡصُرۡكُمۡ عَلَيۡهِمۡ وَيَشۡفِ صُدُوۡرَ قَوۡمٍ مُّؤۡمِنِيۡنَۙ‏  وَيُذۡهِبۡ غَيۡظَ قُلُوۡبِهِمۡ​ ؕ وَ يَتُوۡبُ اللّٰهُ عَلٰى مَنۡ يَّشَآءُ ؕ وَاللّٰهُ عَلِيۡمٌ حَكِيۡمٌ‏  اَمۡ حَسِبۡتُمۡ اَنۡ تُتۡرَكُوۡا وَلَـمَّا يَعۡلَمِ اللّٰهُ الَّذِيۡنَ جَاهَدُوۡا مِنۡكُمۡ وَلَمۡ يَتَّخِذُوۡا مِنۡ دُوۡنِ اللّٰهِ وَلَا رَسُوۡلِهٖ وَلَا الۡمُؤۡمِنِيۡنَ وَلِيۡجَةً​ ؕ وَاللّٰهُ خَبِيۡرٌۢ بِمَا تَعۡمَلُوۡنَ‏ 
[9:11] But if they repent and establish Prayer and give Zakah they are your brothers in faith. Thus do We expound Our revelations to those who know.14 [9:12] But if they break their pledges after making them and attack your faith, make war on the leaders of unbelief that they may desist, for they have no regard for their pledged words.15 [9:13] Will you not fight16 against those who broke their pledges and did all they could to drive the Messenger away and initiated hostilities against you? Do you fear them? Surely Allah has greater right that you should fear Him, if you are true believers. [9:14] Make war on them. Allah will chastise them through you and will humiliate them. He will grant you victory over them, and will soothe the bosoms of those who believe, [9:15] and will remove rage from their hearts, and will enable whomsoever He wills to repent.17 Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise. [9:16] Do you imagine that you will be spared without being subjected to any test? Know well that Allah has not yet determined who strove hard (in His cause), and has not taken any others instead of His Messenger and the believers as his trusted allies?18 Allah is well aware of all that you do.

14. Here too, it has explicitly been stated that those who repent will not become your brethren in faith without the observance of Salat and Zakat.

“Then they are your brothers in religion”: This means that if they fulfill those conditions, then not only shall their lives and properties become unlawful for you but also they shall enjoy equal rights with you in the Islamic community. There shall be no distinction between them and the other Muslims in regard to social, cultural, legal and political rights, and nothing will stand in their way to the progress for which they are otherwise qualified.

15. In the context, the words, oaths, and compacts mean the compact of the acceptance of Islam. Therefore, the question of making a new compact with them does not arise. As regards the old pacts, they had already broken all of them. It is on account of this that the declaration of immunity (from obligations) by Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him) has been clearly made. It has also been stated that such people are not worthy of any treaty and they can only be let off if they repent of their disbelief and shirk and establish Salat and pay Zakat dues. This verse states clearly how the renegades should be treated. As a matter of fact, this verse forestalled the mischief of apostasy that broke out a year and a half after its revelation and Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) followed the guidance given in this verse to crush it.

16. In this passage the addressees are the Muslims. They have been urged to fight perseveringly in the Way of Allah, without paying the least heed to their ties of blood and relationship and to their worldly interests. In order to understand fully the spirit of this passage, the reader should keep in view the state of affairs at the time, when the abrogation of the treaties was declared. Though Islam was reigning supreme in the greater part of Arabia and there was no greater power to challenge its supremacy, still superficial observers saw a number of dangers in the extreme step which was being taken at that time.

First, it was feared that the abrogating of the treaties with all the mushrik clans at one and the same time, and debarring them from Hajj and changing the guardianship of the Kaabah and abolishing all the rituals of ignorance, would so incite the mushriks and the hypocrites and kindle such fire of enmity that they would be ready to shed the last drop of their blood for safeguarding their interests and prejudices.

Secondly, it was feared that the mushriks would be greatly enraged by this declaration which granted freedom of movement to the Muslims to perform Hajj, whereas it forbade the non-Muslims. Obviously this would also affect adversely their economic condition, for Hajj played a very important part in the economic life of Arabia during that period of her history.

Lastly, it was feared that this would put to a hard trial those people who had embraced Islam recently after the peace treaty of Hudaibiyah and the conquest of Makkah. For many of their kith and kin were still mushriks. Some of whom had their interests closely bound up with those offices of ignorance which were abolished. Now it was obvious that the total war against the mushriks demanded that these new Muslims should not only kill their own near and dear ones but should also themselves abolish those ancient offices and distinctions which they had enjoyed for centuries.

Though, it is true that none of these dangers took any practical shape, there were good reasons for these apprehensions, for none could foresee the trends of events at the time of the abrogation of the treaties. And the dangers were averted because these commandments had prepared them beforehand to meet them. More than that: this preparedness produced other good results. The delegates from the remnants of the mushriks, their chiefs and rulers began to visit Al-Madinah and take the oath of allegiance to Islam and obedience to the prophet (peace be upon him), who let them retain their old positions and offices. These things proved that if the Muslims had not been in a state of readiness to take immediate action for enforcing the terms of the declaration with the sword, the events which followed might have taken a different direction. Therefore it was the need of the hour that the Muslims should have been vehemently urged for Jihad, and their apprehensions removed. That is why it was being enjoined that they should not let anything hinder them from doing the will of Allah. And this is the theme of this discourse.

17. This was a subtle reference to the possibility of what actually was going to happen afterwards. “And He will remove”: this was to remove the misunderstandings of the Muslims who apprehended a bloody war as a result of the declaration. They were told that it was also possible that some of the enemies might repent and embrace Islam. This was not made quite plain lest it should slacken the war preparations of the Muslims on one side and weaken the force of the warning to the mushriks on the other. The latter thing might have hindered the mushriks from giving a serious thought to the critical position they were in that finally led them to embrace Islam.

18. The addressees in Ayat 16 were those Muslims who had recently embraced Islam. It means to tell them plainly: “Now that you have embraced Islam, you shall have to give a genuine proof by a trial that you have accepted it because you believe in its truth and not because it has become supreme in the country by the exertions of the true believers. The trial is that you shall have to sacrifice your lives, wealth, and your near and dear ones for the sake of Allah and His Way. Then and only then, you will be regarded as true believers.