*1 When after the treaty of Hudaibiyah this good news of the victory was announced, the people wondered as to how the treaty could be called a victory. The Muslims did believe in this Divine Revelation as true on the basis of their Faith, but no one could understand what aspect of the victory it had. On hearing this verse, Hadrat 'Umar asked: "Is it a victory, O Messenger of Allah?" The Holy Prophet replied: "Yes." (lbn Jarir) Another Companion came before the Holy Prophet and he also put the same question; whereupon the Holy Prophet replied: "By Him in Whose hand is the life of Muhammad, this indeed is a victory." (Musnad Ahmad, Abu Da'ud) On arriving at Madinah still another person said to his companions: "What sort of a victory is it? We were debarred from the House of Allah; our sacrificial camels also could not go to their right places; the Holy Messenger of Allah had to halt at Hudaibiyah, and in consequence of this truce two of our oppressed brothers (Abu Jandal and Abu Basir) were handed over to their oppressors." When this thing reached the Holy Prophet, he said; "A vary wrong thing has been uttered: it indeed is a great victory. You reached the very home of the polytheists, and they had to persuade you to go back by soliciting you to perform 'Umrah the following year; they themselves expressed the desire to suspend hostilities and have peace with you, whereas-their malice and enmity against you is too well-known. Allah has granted you the upper hand over them. Have you forgotten the day when you were fleeing from Uhud and I was calling you back from behind? Have you forgotten the day when the enemy had descended on us from every side in the Battle of the Trench and the hearts were coming up to the throats?" (Baihaqi on the authority of 'Urwah bin Zubair) . But not long after this the truce's being a victory began to become manifest, and everyone realized that the triumph of Islam had begun with the treaty of Hudaibiyah. Almost one and the same thing has been related from Hadrat 'Abdullah bin Mas'ud, Hadrat Jabir bin `Abdullah and Hadrat Bara' bin 'Azib. They are reported to have said: "The people look upon the Conquest of Makkah as the victory, but we regard the truce of Hudaibiyah as the real victory." (Bukhari, Muslim, Musnad Ahmad, Ibn Jarir).(48:2) so that Allah may forgive you your shortcomings, whether earlier or later,2 and may complete His favours upon you3 and guide you to the Straight Way,4
*2 If the context in which this sentence occurs is kept in view, one will certainly feel that the faults referred to here imply those shortcomings and weaknesses that had remained in the struggle that the Muslims had been making for the success and victory of Islam, under the leadership of the Holy Prophet, for the past nineteen years or so. These shortcomings are not known to any one because the intellect is absolutely helpless to find out any weakness in that struggle. But according to the highest standards of perfection in the sight of Allah there had remained some such weakness in it because of which the Muslims could not attain a decisive victory so soon over the pagans of Arabia. What AIlah means to say is this: °If you had carried on your struggle along with those weaknesses, it would have taken you much longer to subdue Arabia, but We have overlooked all those weaknesses and shortcomings and compensated for them only through Our grace, and opened for you at Hudaibiyah the door to victory and conquest which you could not have achieved only by your ordinary endeavors" . Here, this thing also should be understood well that for the weaknesses that might occur and remain in the struggle and endeavor that a group might be making for an object, the leader and guide of the group only is addressed. This does not mean that the weaknesses are the leader's personal weaknesses. Those are, in fact, the weaknesses of the struggle that the group is making as a whole; but the address is made to the leader to tell him that his work suffers from such and such a weakness. However, as the address is directed to the Holy Prophet and declared that AIIah has forgiven him all his former and latter faults, the general words also give this meaning that Allah pardoned all the shortcomings (which were the shortcomings in view of his high position) of His Holy Messenger. That is why when the Companions saw that he took extraordinary pains over his worship, they would say: `Why do you subject yourself to such hardships when alI your former and latter errors and shortcomings have been pardoned ?" the Holy Prophet would reply: "Should I not behave as a grateful servant ?" (Ahmad, Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Da'ud).
*3 "Perfection of his blessings" implies that the Muslims should become wholly free to live their lives in accordance with Islamic civilization, Islamic law and commandments, secure from every fear, every resistance and every external interference, and they should also be blessed with the power that they may uphold Allah's Word throughout the world. Dominance of disbelief and wickedness which may be a hindrance in the way of Allah's worship and an obstacle in the struggle in propagating Allah's Word, is the greatest calamity for the believers; the Qur'an calls it 'fitnah " (mischief). Delivered and freed from this calamity when they arc able to achieve an abode of Islam (dare/-Islam) in which the Divine Religion is enforced in its entirety, and along with that they are also provided with the means and resources by which they may establish faith and righteousness on Allah's earth in place of disbelief and wickedness, this would be the perfection of Allah's blessing on them. As this blessing was achieved by the Muslims only through the Holy Prophet, AIIah addressed only him and said: "We willed to complete Our blessing on you; therefore we have granted this victory to you."
*4 'The right way": the way to conquest and success. In other words, it implies that by causing the treaty to be concluded at Hudaibiyah AIIah paved the way for and inspired the Holy Prophet with the plan by which he could subdue aII the forces that were resisting Islam.(48:3) and that Allah may bestow upon you a mighty help.5
*5 Another translation can be: "Bestow on you an unprecedented victory," for the word aziz in the original may mean mighty as well as unprecedented and unparalleled. According to the first meaning, the sentence means: "By means of this treaty AIIah has helped you in a way as to make your enemies helpless"; and according to the second, it means: "Seldom has this novel method ever been adopted to help somebody, that a thing which apparently is a mere peace treaty, and that too a treaty concluded from a weak position, would turn into a decisive victory."(48:4) He it is Who bestowed inner peace on the hearts of the believers6 so that they may grow yet more firm in their faith.7 To Allah belong the legions of the heavens and the earth; Allah is All-Knowing, Most Wise.8
*6 "Sakinat" in Arabic is calmness and tranquillity and peace of mind. Here AIIah calls its being sent into the hearts of the believers an important factor in the victory that Islam and the Muslims achieved at Hudaibiyah. From a study of the conditions of the tuns one comes to know what kind of a Sakinat it was that was sent down into the hearts of the Muslims during that period and how it became a source of victory. If at the time when the Holy Prophet expressed his intention to go for 'Umrah to Makkah, the Muslims had become terror-stricken and started behaving like the hypocrites as if they were going into the very jaws of death, or if at the time when they heard the news on the way that the disbelieving Quraish were coming out in great strength to fight them, they had been alarmed as to how they would face the enemy un-armed, and thus become panic-stricken, obviously no benefits would have resulted from Hudaibiyah at all. Then, if at the time when at Hudaibiyah the disbelievers had stopped the Muslims from going any further, and when they had tried to provoke them by launching against them repeated sudden attacks, and when the rumor of Hadrat 'Uthman's martyrdom had spread, and when Abu Jandal had appeared on the scene as the very image of oppression and persecution, the Muslims had actually become provoked and broken the discipline that the Holy Prophet had instilled in them, the result would have been disastrous. Above all, if at the time when the Holy Prophet was going to conclude the treaty on the conditions which were un-acceptable to the entire party of the Muslims, the Muslims had happened to disobey him, the great victory of Hudaibiyah would have turned into a humiliating defeat. Thus, it was alI because of Allah's bounty that on all these critical moments the Muslims were blessed with full peace of mind with regard to the leadership and guidance of the Holy Prophet, the truth of Islam and the truthfulness of their mission. This is why they decided with a cool mind that they would face and accept whatever hardships they would encounter in the way of Allah; that is why they remained safe from fear, confusion, provocation and despair; that is why perfect discipline continues to prevail in the camp; and that is why, in spite of being deeply grieved at the conditions of peace, they submitted to the decision taken by the Holy Prophet. This was the sakinat that AIIah had sent down into the hearts of the Muslims, and it was aII because of this that the dangerous step of undertaking a journey for performing 'Umrah became the prelude to a unique victory.
*7 That is, "One Faith they already had before they set out on this expedition; they attained the additional Faith when they remained steadfast on the way of sincerity, piety and obedience in every trial that they faced in connection with the expedition. " This verse is one of those verses which show that Faith is not a static state which is incapable of growth, but it develops as well as decays and deteriorates. After embracing Islam till death the believer at every step in his life continues to be confronted with such tests and trials in which he has to take a decision whether in following the Divine Religion he is prepared to sacrifice his life, his wealth, his sentiments, desires, time, comforts and interests or not. If at the time of every such trial he adopts the way of sacrifice, his Faith progresses and develops, and if he turns away his Faith decays and deteriorates till a time may also come when the initial state of the Faith with which he had entered Islam is even endangered to be lost and destroyed. (For further explanation. see E.N. 2 of Surah AI-Anfal and E.N. 38 of AI-Ahzab).
*8 It means this: AIIah has such hosts by which He can destroy and exterminate the disbelievers completely whenever He wills, but He has deliberately and by wisdom only placed this responsibility on the believers that they should enter a conflict with the disbelievers and struggle to make the Religion of AIIah prevail and prosper in the world. In this way alone does a door to the enhancement of their ranks and successes in the Hereafter open as is being indicated in the following verse'.(48:5) (He did this) to admit the believers, both men and women,9 to Gardens beneath which rivers flow, wherein they shall abide, and to efface their evil deeds from them.10 That, in Allah's sight, is the supreme triumph.
*9 In the Qur'an generally mention of the rewards for the believers is made collectively and separate mention is not made of the rewards for the men and the women But here, since the general mention of giving the rewards could cause the doubt that this reward may perhaps be only meant for the men. Allah has made a separate mention of the believing women, saying that they too would be equal partners in this reward with the believing men. The reason is obvious. Those God-fearing women who encouraged their husbands, sons, brothers and fathers to proceed on the dangerous journey instead of stopping them from it and discouraging them by crying and wailing, who looked after their houses, their properties, their honor and children in their absence faithfully, who did not even feel the alarm lest at the sudden departure of 1,400 of the Companions the disbelievers and hypocrites of the surrounding areas would attack the city, should certainly have become equal partners with their men in the reward of Jihad although they stayed behind in their homes.
*10 That is, that He may pardon whatever errors they might have committed because of human weaknesses, remove every trace and mark of the errors from them before admitting them into Paradise so that they may enter Paradise absolutely free from every evil that may cause them embarrassment.(48:6) (He also did this) to chastise the hypocrites, both men and women, and those who associate others in His Divinity, both men and women, and who harbour evil thoughts about Allah.11 They shall be afflicted with misfortune,12 Allah is wroth with them. He has laid His curse upon them and has prepared for them Hell. What an evil end!
*11 The hypocrites living in the suburbs of Madinah were thinking, as has been stated in verse 12 below, that the Holy Prophet and his Companions would not return alive from that journey. As for the polytheists of Makkah and their pagan companions, they were thinking that they had successfully put to rout the Holy Prophet and his Companions by preventing them from performing `Umrah. In fact, whatever these two groups had thought they had this misunderstanding about Allah that He would not help His Messenger and in the conflict between the Truth and falsehood would allow falsehood to defeat and frustrate the Truth.
*12 That is, "They were encompassed by the same evil fate which they wanted to avoid and against which they had devised all those plans, and their same plans caused the evil fate to be hastened."(48:7) To Allah belong the legions of the heavens and the earth. Allah is Most Mighty, Most Wise.13
*13 Here the theme of verse 4 has been reiterated for another object. There, the object was to state that AIlah instead of employing His supernatural hosts to fight the disbelievers had employed the believers for it only because He willed to favor them. Here, the theme has been repeated to say that in order to punish the one whom Allah wills to punish He can employ whichever of His countless hosts He likes for the purpose; no one has the power to avert His punishment by his own plans.(48:8) (O Prophet), We have sent you forth as a witness,14 as a bearer of good news, and as a warner15
*14 Shah Waliyullah has translated shahid as "a bearer of witness to the truth", and other translators translate it as "a bearer of the witness". The word shahadat comprehends both these meanings. For explanation, sec E.N. 82 of Surah Al-Ahzab.
*15 For explanation, see E.N. 33 of Surah Al-AhzaB.(48:9) so that (all of) you may all believe in Allah and His Messenger, and support him, and revere him, and celebrate Allah's glory, morning and evening.16
*16 According to some commentators the verse means: ".... and help the Messenger, and honour him, and glorify Allah morning and evening", and according to others: "... and help Allah, and honour Him and glorify Him morning and evening. " Glorifying Allah morning and evening does not mean glorifying Him only in the morning and the evening but at all times. It is just like saying about something that it is well-known in the east and the west when one actually means to say that it is well-known everywhere in the world.(48:10) Those who swore fealty to you, (O Prophet),17 in fact swore fealty to Allah. The Hand of Allah is above their hands.18 So whoever breaks his covenant breaks it to his own hurt; and whoever fulfils the covenant that he made with Allah,19 He will bestow on him a great reward.
*17 The reference is to the pledge that the Holy Prophet took from his Companions at Hudaibiyah at the rumor that Hadrat `Uthman had been killed at Makkah. According to some traditions it was a pledge unto death, and according to others it was an undertaking that they would not nut away from the battlefield. The first thing has been reported from Hadrat Salamah bin Akwa' and the second from Hadrat Ibn `Umar, Jabir bin `Abdullah and Ma'qil bin Yasar. The purport of both is the same. The Companions had pledged allegiance on the Holy Prophet's hand with the express object that if the news of Hadrat `Uthman's martyrdom proved to be true, they would settle the matter with the Quraish there and then even if they were cut to pieces in the clash. As on this occasion it was not yet certain whether Hadrat `Uthman actually had been killed or was still living, the Holy Prophet placed one of his own hands on the other and pledged allegiance on his behalf, and thus bestowed a unique honour on Hadrat `Uthman in that he made Hadrat 'Uthman a partner in the pledge by making his own sacred hand represent the hand of Hadrat `Uthman. The Holy Prophet's taking the pledge of allegiance on his behalf necessarily meant that he had full confidence that if Hadrat `Uthman had been present he would certainly have pledged the allegiance.
*18 That is, the hand on which the Muslims were swearing allegiance was not the hand of the Prophet's person but of Allah's representative, and this allegiance was in fact being sworn to Allah through His Messenger. .
*19 Here, instead of `alaih-illah the words used in the original are alaihullah, which is a departure from the general rule of Arabic. `Allama Alusi has given two reasons for the unusual use of the vowel points here. First, the object on this special occasion is to express the great glory, eminence and majesty of the Being to Whom the pledge was being sworn for which alaih-u is more appropriate than `alaih-i; second, the ha in alaih-i actually represents howe; therefore, adhering here to the vowel points of the original goes well with the theme of the aIlegiance.