*78 This (v. 39) is the first verse of the Qur'an in which permission to tight was given in the month of Zil-Hajj in the first year after Hijrah according to our research. Then the command to fight was given in vv. 190, 191, 193, 216 and 244 of Chapter II (Al-Baqarah) in Rajab or Sha`ban of A.H. 2.
*79 ".....and Allah is certainly able to help them": this assurance was urgently needed by the persecuted Muslims whose fighting strength at that time was very meagre-not even a thousand including all the migrants and the Muslims of al-Madinah. On the other hand, the fighting strength of the Quraish by themselves was much greater. Besides, they had all the other mushrik clans of Arabia at their back and were joined later by the Jews as well. Therefore, this assurance was most opportune and the challenge to the disbelievers was very significant, for itmeant to say that they were not fighting against a small number of the Muslims but against Allah. Therefore, "You are. welcome to fight if you dare". '(22:40) those who were unjustly expelled from their homes80 for no other reason than their saying: "Allah is Our Lord."81 If Allah were not to repel some through others, monasteries and churches and synagogues82 and mosques wherein the name of Allah is much mentioned, would certainly have been pulled down.83 Allah will most certainly help those who will help Him. Verily Allah is Immensely Strong, Overwhelmingly Mighty.
*80 The mention of their expulsion from their homes in v. 40 is a clear proof that this portion of Surah al-Hajj was revealed at al-Madinah.
In order to have an idea of the severe persecution of the Muslims, a few instances of this are cited.
(1) Hadrat Suhaib Rumi was deprived of everything, when he was about to migrate to al-Madinah. When he reached there, he had nothing with him except the clothes he was wearing. Though he had earned all that through his own labours he was deprived of everything by the disbelievers of Makkah.
(2) When Hadrat Abu Salmah was about to leave Makkah with his wife and a suckling child, his in-laws forcibly separated his wife from him, and then the people of his own family tore away the child from them. Thus the poor woman had to pass one whole year in sorrow and grief. After a year, she secured the child somehow and journeyed from Makkah to al-Madinah with it all alone on a dangerous route.
(3) `Ayyash bin Rabi`ah was a half brother of Abu Jahl: When he migrated to alMadinah, he was followed by Abu Jahl and another brother of his, and they told him the lie: "Your mother has taken the oath that she will not move from the sun to the shade nor comb her hair until she should see you (`Ayyash) You should therefore go back with us to Makkah,' show her your face and then come back". He was taken in by this trick. When they were journeying back the two brothers made him a prisoner, took him to Makkah with his hands and feet tied, and proclaimed, "O people of Makkah, this is how these lads should be treated and set right". He remained in that state for a long time and was at last rescued by a brave Muslim.
*82 Saumah (pl. Swami), Biy`ah and Salawat in the original Text are the places of worship of the monks who have left the world, the Christians and the Jews respectively. Salawat was Salauta in Aramaic, which might be the origin of the English words salute and salutation.
In this sentence, a Divine principle has been stated:
"Allah dces not let a group of people or a community have authority for ever. Every now and then He repels one group by means of another".
If this had not been the case, the permanent dominator would have created chaos not only in the political and economic spheres, but would have encroached upon the places of worship as well. This "principle" has also been stated in v. 251 of Chapter II (Al-Baqarah).
*84 Those "who help Allah" are the people who invite mankind to Tauhid and exert their utmost to establish the "True Faith" and righteousness. For further explanation see E.N. 50 of Chapter III (AI-i-`Imran).
*85 ".......if We give them power ...... evil": In this one sentence, the real aim of the Islamic State and the characteristics of those who conduct its affairs have been stated concisely but comprehensively. Those who help Allah and deserve His succour behave righteously, establish Salat, make arrangements for the collection of Zakat and use their power and authority to propagate good and eradicate evil.
*86 That is, "It is Allah Who decides whom to give power in the land and when" . This is meant to remove the misunderstanding of the proud and arrogant people who think that the destiny of the land and its dwellers is in their hands, and there is none to depose them from power. But Allah dethrones the most haughty ruler in supernatural ways and gives power to the most humble in order to show that He is All-Powerful, All-Mighty.(22:42) (O Prophet), if they87 give the lie to you, then before them the people of 'Ad and Thamud, also gave the lie (to the Prophets),
*87 "The disbelievers of Makkah".(22:43) and so too did the people of Abraham and the people of Lot;
*(22:44) and so did the dwellers of Midian, and Moses too was branded a liar. Initially I granted respite to the unbelievers for a while and then seized them.88 How dreadful was My punishment!89
*88 The instances of some peoples who rejected their Prophets have been cited to impress that they were given respite to reform themselves before they were punished. Therefore, "O people of Makkah, you should not be deluded by the delay in your punishment. When the term of respite comes to an end, you shall also be punished like the former people, if you do not mend your ways in the meantime" .
The Arabic word Nakir is very comprehensive and implies two meanings:
(1) Displeasure at the evil conduct of the other, and
(2) a terrible punishment which disfigures the culprit so badly that he cannot even be recognized. The sentence therefore will mean: "Just see when I seized them for this evil conduct, how terrible was My chastisement".
*90 In Arabic a "well" is synonymous with a "habitation". Thus "many a well .... useless" means "many a habitation has been destroyed".(22:46) Have they not journeyed in the land that their hearts might understand and their ears might listen? For indeed it is not the eyes that are blinded;91 it is rather the hearts in the breasts that are rendered blind.
*91 The words ".... the hearts .... blind" have been used in the metaphorical and not in the literal sense. Since the heart is regarded as the centre of emotions, feelings and of mental and moral qualities, these words have been used to imply that their obduracy has inhibited them from feeling and acting rationally.(22:47) They ask you to hasten the punishment.92 Allah shall most certainly not fail His promise; but a Day with your Lord is as a thousand years of your reckoning.93
*92 This refers to the oft-repeated challenge by the disbelievers: "Well, if you are a true prophet, why dces not that chastisement come with which you have been threatening us, for we have been rejecting your claim of being a true Prophet of Allah ?"
*93 That is, "The decisions of Allah do not follow your time and calendar, nor do the consequences of your wrong attitudes appear immediately after the deeds". Therefore it will be very foolish nn the part of a people to argue that the threat of punishment was empty just because a decade or a century had passed since they had adopted a wicked attitude and conduct with impurity.(22:48) How many towns did I respite at first though they were steeped in iniquity, and then I seized them! To Me are all destined to return.