Surah Al-Anfaal (8): Read Online and Download - English Translation

This page contains all verses of surah Al-Anfaal in addition to Interpretation of all verses by Maarif-ul-Quran (Mufti Muhammad Shafi). In the first part you can read surah الأنفال ordered in pages exactly as it is present in the Quran. To read an interpretation of a verse click on its number.

Information About Surah Al-Anfaal

Surah Al-Anfaal in the Quran

Surah Al-Anfaal is the eighth chapter of the Quran and consists of 75 verses. The name "Al-Anfaal" translates to "The Spoils of War" and the surah primarily deals with the aftermath of the Battle of Badr, which took place in the second year of the Islamic calendar.

The surah addresses various aspects of warfare, including the distribution of spoils, the importance of steadfastness, and the significance of faith and trust in Allah. It also emphasizes the concept of divine decree and the ultimate victory of the believers.

Surah Al-Anfaal provides guidance on the conduct of Muslims during times of conflict, emphasizing the principles of justice, unity, and obedience to the Prophet Muhammad. It also highlights the importance of preparation, strategy, and reliance on Allah in the face of adversity.

The surah encourages believers to remain steadfast in their faith and to trust in Allah's wisdom and mercy. It also emphasizes the importance of charity, compassion, and forgiveness, even in the midst of conflict and struggle.

Overall, Surah Al-Anfaal serves as a source of guidance and inspiration for Muslims, providing valuable lessons on faith, resilience, and the ethical conduct of warfare in accordance with Islamic principles.

Surah Al-Anfaal
سُورَةُ الأَنفَالِ
Page 177 (Verses from 1 to 8)

يَسْـَٔلُونَكَ عَنِ ٱلْأَنفَالِ ۖ قُلِ ٱلْأَنفَالُ لِلَّهِ وَٱلرَّسُولِ ۖ فَٱتَّقُوا۟ ٱللَّهَ وَأَصْلِحُوا۟ ذَاتَ بَيْنِكُمْ ۖ وَأَطِيعُوا۟ ٱللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُۥٓ إِن كُنتُم مُّؤْمِنِينَ إِنَّمَا ٱلْمُؤْمِنُونَ ٱلَّذِينَ إِذَا ذُكِرَ ٱللَّهُ وَجِلَتْ قُلُوبُهُمْ وَإِذَا تُلِيَتْ عَلَيْهِمْ ءَايَٰتُهُۥ زَادَتْهُمْ إِيمَٰنًا وَعَلَىٰ رَبِّهِمْ يَتَوَكَّلُونَ ٱلَّذِينَ يُقِيمُونَ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ وَمِمَّا رَزَقْنَٰهُمْ يُنفِقُونَ أُو۟لَٰٓئِكَ هُمُ ٱلْمُؤْمِنُونَ حَقًّا ۚ لَّهُمْ دَرَجَٰتٌ عِندَ رَبِّهِمْ وَمَغْفِرَةٌ وَرِزْقٌ كَرِيمٌ كَمَآ أَخْرَجَكَ رَبُّكَ مِنۢ بَيْتِكَ بِٱلْحَقِّ وَإِنَّ فَرِيقًا مِّنَ ٱلْمُؤْمِنِينَ لَكَٰرِهُونَ يُجَٰدِلُونَكَ فِى ٱلْحَقِّ بَعْدَمَا تَبَيَّنَ كَأَنَّمَا يُسَاقُونَ إِلَى ٱلْمَوْتِ وَهُمْ يَنظُرُونَ وَإِذْ يَعِدُكُمُ ٱللَّهُ إِحْدَى ٱلطَّآئِفَتَيْنِ أَنَّهَا لَكُمْ وَتَوَدُّونَ أَنَّ غَيْرَ ذَاتِ ٱلشَّوْكَةِ تَكُونُ لَكُمْ وَيُرِيدُ ٱللَّهُ أَن يُحِقَّ ٱلْحَقَّ بِكَلِمَٰتِهِۦ وَيَقْطَعَ دَابِرَ ٱلْكَٰفِرِينَ لِيُحِقَّ ٱلْحَقَّ وَيُبْطِلَ ٱلْبَٰطِلَ وَلَوْ كَرِهَ ٱلْمُجْرِمُونَ
177

Listen to Surah Al-Anfaal (Arabic and English translation)

Tafsir of Surah Al-Anfaal (Maarif-ul-Quran: Mufti Muhammad Shafi)

English Translation

They ask you, [O Muhammad], about the bounties [of war]. Say, "The [decision concerning] bounties is for Allah and the Messenger." So fear Allah and amend that which is between you and obey Allah and His Messenger, if you should be believers.

English Transliteration

Yasaloonaka AAani alanfali quli alanfalu lillahi waalrrasooli faittaqoo Allaha waaslihoo thata baynikum waateeAAoo Allaha warasoolahu in kuntum mumineena

Commentary

This verse is related to an event which came to pass in the battle of Badr. If this event is kept in sight before going to the detailed explanation of the verse, it will make it easy to understand.

What happened is that Muslims, when they won in the battle of Badr - the first confrontation of Kufr and Islam - they had some war spoils on their hands. Its distribution led to a state of affairs among the noble Companions which did not befit the high standard of sincerity and unity around which the whole life of these blessed souls was moulded. Therefore, it was within the very first verse, that the standing policy on this subject was settled for ever - so that, there remains nothing in the hearts of this group of people blessed with sanctity, except truth, sincerity, unity and sacrifice.

Details of this event have been reported in the Musnad of Ahmad, Tirmidhi, Mustadrak of Hakim and elsewhere in the words of Sayyidna ` Ubadah ؓ who was a participant in the battle of Badr. According to the report, someone asked Sayyidna ` Ubadah ibn Samit about the meaning of the word: al-anfal in the verse cited above. He said, 'This verse has,, of course, been revealed about us, .that is, about participants in the battle of Badr. This was in the background of some difference of opinion which arose among us as to the distribution of war spoils and which affected our moral conduct adversely. Then, through this verse, Allah Ta` ala took away the spoils from our hands and entrusted them with the Holy Prophet ﷺ who distributed them equally over all those who had participated in the Jihad of Badr.

The situation at the battle of Badr was that all of us marched out with the Holy Prophet ﷺ . It was after a tough fight between the two groups that Allah Ta` ala had the enemy defeated. At this

point, our forces were split in three sub-groups. Some pursued the enemy so that they would not come back. Some went on to collect spoils left by the disbelievers, while some others formed a cordon around the Holy Prophet ﷺ and kept guarding him against any surprise attack by the enemy in ambush somewhere. When fighting was over, the night came and everyone returned to home base, those who had collected spoils said: We have collected this booty, therefore, no one but us has a share in it. And those who had pursued the enemy said: You do not deserve it more than us because we were the ones who forced the enemy to retreat and run and which gave you the opportunity to collect spoils in peace . And those who remained standing around the Holy Prophet ﷺ to protect him said: If

we wanted to, we too could have joined you in collecting the spoils with you, but we devoted ourself to the task of seeing that the Holy Prophet ﷺ remains protected, so, we too are deserving of it.

This conversation among the Companions ؓ ultimately reached the Holy Prophet ﷺ whereupon this verse cited above was revealed. It made it very clear that the spoils belonged to Allah. There was none to own it or stake a claim over it, except the one to whom the Holy Prophet ﷺ would give it. As for the Holy Prophet ﷺ he distributed the spoils equally over all participants of the Jihad as ordained Divinely. (Ibn Kathir) Everyone was pleased with this decree of Allah and His Messenger - and naturally ashamed of the unbecoming state of affairs which arose between them because of their mutual approach to remain ahead of the others.

Also in the Musnad of Ahmad, reported there is another event which spells out the background in which this verse was revealed. It has been narrated by Sayyidna Sa'd ibn Abi Waggas ؓ . He says: ` My brother, ` Umayr fell a martyr in the battle of Badr. Out of the disbelievers who were arrayed against him, I killed Said ibn al-` As. I took his sword and presented myself before the Holy Prophet ﷺ I wished that this sword be given to me. But, the Holy Prophet ﷺ ordered me to deposit it with the spoils. I was duty-bound to obey his order, but my heart ached with the thought that my brother laid down his life in this Jihad and I killed the enemy confronting him and took possession of his sword, yet that too was taken away from me. However, despite this thought, I stepped forward to carry out the Commander's command and deposit the sword with the spoils. But, I had hardly gone far enough when this verse of Surah Al-Anfal was revealed to the Holy Prophet ﷺ who called me back and let me have this sword.' According to some other narrations, it is also reported that Sayyidna Sa'd ؓ had himself requested the Holy Prophet ﷺ that the particular sword be given to him, but he had said: ` This is not my property which I could give to someone, nor is this owned by you. Deposit it with the rest of the spoils. This matter will be decided in accordance with what Allah decrees.' (Ibn Kathir, Mazhari)

It is not unlikely that both these events may have come to pass and the verse may have been revealed in answer to both.

A detailed explanation of the verse:

Here, the word: انفال (al-anfal) is the plural of نفل nafl which means grace and reward. Nafl Salah, Sawm and Sadaqah are called Nafl because they are not compulsory or obligatory on anyone. Those who do these do so out of their free will. In the terminology of Qur'an and Sunnah, the words nafl and anfal are also used for spoils or booty obtained from the disbelievers at the time of Jihad. But, the Qur'an has used three words to carry this sense, that is, انفال : anfal, ghanimah and fai'. The word: anfal appears right here in the present verse. As for the word: غنیمہ ghanimah, its details will appear in verse 41 of this very Surah. Then, details relating to the word: is فییء fai' find mention in Surah Al-Hashr: وَمَا أَفَاءَ اللَّـهُ ; (and what Allah made His Messenger get - 59:6). The meanings of these three words differ with slight variation. Since the difference between them is slight, there are occasions when one word is used for the other to mean spoils in the absolute sense. Ghanimah generally carries the sense of booty obtained from the adversary through fighting in Jihad. Fai': is booty obtained from the disbelievers without active fighting and killing, whether they abandon it or agree to give it up voluntarily. Then, nafl and anfal are also used to refer to the reward which the Supreme Commander of Jihad may bestow upon a particular Mujahid in return for his exemplary performance. This meaning has been reported from Sayyidna ` Abdullah ibn ` Abbas ؓ as in Tafsir Ibn Jarir. (Ibn Kathir) Then, there are occasions when spoils as such are also identified through the terms of nafl and anfal. In this verse, most commentators have gone by this very general meaning. The same general meaning has been reported from Sayyidna ` Abdullah ibn ` Abbas ؓ in the Sahih of Al-Bukhari. The truth of the matter is that this word is used to carry both meanings, the general and the particular. Therefore, no difference exists here. And the best explanation in this connection has been given by Imam Abu ` Ubayd in his Kitab al-Amwal. He says: Lexically, nafl means grace, reward or gift - and it is a very special blessing of Allah Ta` ala bestowed upon the Muslim Ummah, the most fortunate recipients of His mercy - in that the properties obtained from disbelievers through fighting in Jihad were made lawful for Muslims. Otherwise, the practice did not exist among past communities. In fact, the law which governed spoils was that such property was not lawful for anyone. All spoils were collected and deposited at one place, then, a fire or lightening would come from the heavens and burn it up. This was supposed to be a sign indicating that the God-oriented fighting was acceptable in His sight. If spoils so collected and deposited were not burnt up by the lightening from the heaven, it was supposed to be a sign that the effort was not acceptable. Therefore, the later spoils were considered rejected and ill-omened because of which it was not used by anyone.

Based on a narration from Sayyidna Jabir ؓ عنہ appearing in Al Bukhari and Muslim, the Holy Prophet ﷺ has been reported to have said: I have been blessed with five things which were not given to any prophet or his community before me. One of the five is: اُحِلَّت لی الغنایم ولم تحل لاحد قبلی that is, 'made lawful for me are the spoils, though they were not lawful for anyone before me.'

The injunction of 'anfal' given in the cited verse is: "The spoils are for Allah and the Messenger." What it means is that its real ownership is that of Allah while the right of their disposal rests with the Messenger of Allah who distributes these in accordance with the command of Allah at his discretion.

Therefore, a group of leading authorities in Tafsir, with Sayyidna ` Abdullah ibn ` Abbas ؓ Mujahid, ` Ikrimah, Suddiyy and some others among them, have said that this injunction was operative during the early period of Islam when the law of the distribution of spoils which is going to appear in the fifth section of this very verse was yet to be revealed - because there spoils as a whole have been left at the discretion of the Holy Prophet ﷺ who was to dispose them off as he wished.

The detailed injunctions which appear later enjoin that one-fifth of the entire spoils should be deposited in the Bayt al-Mal (Treasury of the Muslim State) to cover the needs of common Muslims, and the remaining four-fifth should be distributed among Jihad participants under a particular law the details of which appear in authentic Ahadith. This detailed statement abrogated the first verse of Surah Al-Anfal - and some respected elders have stated that there is no case of abrogation at this place. Instead, the difference here is that of brevity and detail. The first verse of Surah Al-Anfal is brief with its details appearing in verse 41. However, Fai' property the injunctions about which have been taken up in Surah Al-Hashr (59) has been placed totally at the disposal of the Holy Prophet ﷺ who may act as he wishes at his discretion. Therefore, when describing the injunctions at that place, it has also been said: وَمَا آتَاكُمُ الرَّ‌سُولُ فَخُذُوهُ وَمَا نَهَاكُمْ عَنْهُ فَانتَهُوا (that is, and what the Messenger gives you take it, and what he stops you from leave it - 59:7).

These details tell us that 'spoils' refers to properties which are obtained through Jihad confrontation, and Fai' properties are what is obtained without fighting and killing in Jihad. As for the word: al-Anfal, it is used for both, whether the sense be general or particular, and it is also used for the reward which is bestowed by the Commander-in-Chief of Jihad on a Ghazi (living Muslim warrior of a victorious Jihad force).

In this connection, there are four forms of giving awards to Ghazies in Jihad which date back to the blessed times of the Holy Prophet ﷺ :

1. That it is proclaimed that whoever kills an adversary will become the owner of properties obtained from the soldier killed by him. This property will just not be deposited with the rest of the spoils.

2. That a group is taken out from the larger army and is sent on Jihad to a particularly targeted area with the orders that the spoils obtained from that area will belong to the particular group sent there - subject to the obligation that one-fifth of the property thus obtained will be deposited in Bayt al-Mal (Treasury of the Muslim State) to be used to cover the needs of common Muslims.

3. That a particular Ghazi is given something out of the one-fifth of spoils deposited in the Bayt al-Mal in return for his distinct achievement by the Amir of Jihad under his discretion.

4. That a certain portion from the entire spoils is set aside to be given as reward to the serving cadre of the Jihad force, such as those who attend to the horses of Mujahidin and help them with their chores. (Ibn Kathir)

The substance of the verse is: Addressing the Holy Prophet ﷺ ، Allah Ta` ala has said: People ask you about the spoils. You tell them that the spoils are for Allah and the Messenger, that is, no one holds a claim on them, or is their owner. Whatever the Messenger of Allah decides under the command of Allah Ta` ala shall be the operative law.

Unity among People is Based on Taqwa

In the last sentence of the verse, it was said: فَاتَّقُوا اللَّـهَ وَأَصْلِحُوا ذَاتَ بَيْنِكُمْ ۖ وَأَطِيعُوا اللَّـهَ وَرَ‌سُولَهُ إِن كُنتُم مُّؤْمِنِينَ (So, fear Allah, and set your relations right, and obey Allah and His Messenger, if you are believers). This is addressed to the Companions of the Holy Prophet ﷺ . The reference is to what happened at the battle of Badr when the noble Companions ؓ had differed among themselves about the distribution of spoils and which posed the danger that their mutual relations may become strained. Through this verse, Allah Ta` ala has Himself settled the matter of the distribution of spoils. Now, they are to retrain- their hearts for the better and set their relations right. The core of the method proposed is Taqwa, the fear of Allah, the sense of being responsible before Him.

Experience bears out that under the active influence of a heart filled with the fear of Allah and 'Akhirah, major disputes get resolved in no time and deep-rooted hatreds evaporate in thin air.

Therefore, after proposing the method of Taqwa in this verse, it was said: أَصْلِحُوا ذَاتَ بَيْنِكُمْ , of that is, 'set your relations right' through Taqwa.

After that, it was further explained by saying: إِن كُنتُم مُّؤْمِنِينَ (and obey Allah and His Messenger, if you are believers) that is, the obedience to Allah and the Messenger should be total and perfect, if you are believers. In other words, 'Iman (faith) demands I to ah (obedience) and Itaah (obedience) is the outcome of Taqwa (the fear of Allah). When people become the practitioners of these virtues, their mutual disputes shall stand resolved automatically and hearts shall be filled with love rather than hostility.

English Translation

The believers are only those who, when Allah is mentioned, their hearts become fearful, and when His verses are recited to them, it increases them in faith; and upon their Lord they rely -

English Transliteration

Innama almuminoona allatheena itha thukira Allahu wajilat quloobuhum waitha tuliyat AAalayhim ayatuhu zadathum eemanan waAAala rabbihim yatawakkaloona

Commentary

Particular Attributes of the Believer

Described in the verses cited above are particular attributes which should be the hallmark of every believer. The hint given here is that every believer should keep checking on his or her physical and spiritual condition and assess if these attributes are present in his or her person. If they are, this calls for being grateful to Allah that He blessed His servant with the attributes of true believers. And should it be that none of these attributes is present there, or is weak or feeble despite being present, then, one must either start being concerned about acquiring them or making them stronger than what they are.

The First Attribute: The Fear of Allah

The first attribute described here is: الَّذِينَ إِذَا ذُكِرَ‌ اللَّـهُ وَجِلَتْ قُلُوبُهُمْ (those whose hearts are filled with fear when { the name of} Allah is mentioned -2). It means that their hearts are soaked in and brimming with the realization of Allah's greatness and their love for Him. This state of the heart demands that there be an attending aura of awe and fear around it. This has been mentioned in another verse of the Qur'an as a state which deserves glad tidings for all people of love: وَبَشِّرِ‌ الْمُخْبِتِين الَّذِينَ إِذَا ذُكِرَ‌ اللَّـهُ وَجِلَتْ قُلُوبُهُمْ (that is, give glad tidings to those humble and soft people whose hearts are filled with fear when (the name of) Allah is mentioned - Al-Hajj, 22:34). In both these verses, identified there is a very special pre-requisite of the mention, thought and remembrance of Allah (Dhikr) which is awe and fear. Then, in yet another verse, also enumerated there is a particular property of Dhikrullah, that is: أَلَا بِذِكْرِ‌ اللَّـهِ تَطْمَئِنُّ الْقُلُوبُ (Listen! Hearts find peace through the remembrance of Allah - Al-Ra` d, 13:28).

This tells us that the fear and awe mentioned in this verse are not contrary to the peace and tranquility of the heart. For instance, the fear of a beast or enemy disturbs one's peace of heart. But, the fear which is generated in the heart as a result of the Dhikr of Allah is totally different from that. Therefore, the word used here is not the exact counterpart of 'fear.' It has been called: وجل (wajal) which does not mean fear (khawf) in the absolute sense. Instead, it is the awe, a respectful feeling of fear which emerges in the heart because of the majesty of the most exalted. Some commentators have said that, at this place, the mention and remembrance of Allah means that a person was intending to commit some sin, but when he happened to think of Allah, it made him scared of His punishment as a result of which he turned away from that sin - under this situation, such a fear would mean nothing but the fear of punishment. (A1-Bahr Al-Muhit)

The Second Attribute: Increase in in

The second attribute of the believer has been identified by saying: 'and when His verses are recited before him, they increase them in faith.' What is the meaning of increase in faith? A meaning upon which all scholars, commentators and Hadith experts agree is that 'Iman or faith does increase in strength, quality and light. It is also confirmed by experiment and observation that good deeds give strength and stability to the state of one's faith. The heart is so laid open to the acceptance of truth that good deeds become one's natural habit; if he leaves them, he feels the pinch; and he develops in himself a natural distaste for sin to the limit that he does not go even near them. This is the great station of 'Iman, of faith which has been identified in Hadith by the term: The sweetness of 'Iman:

و اذا حلت الحلاوۃ قلبا نشطت فی العبادۃ الاعضاء

When the sweetness of 'Iman settles down in someone's heart

All parts of his body start relishing its taste in acts of worship!

In short, the verse puts the second attribute of a perfect believer as: 'When the "Ayat of Allah Ta` ala are recited' - his faith should become more pronounced in polish and progress, as well as in the desire to do good deeds. This also helps us realize that the way Muslims at large recite and listen to the Qur'an - paying no heed to the due etiquette and reverence of the Qur'an nor having any idea of the greatness of Allah Ta` ala - produces a recitation which is not what is desired, and certainly not what could be expected to generate the best of results, even if that too may not be devoid of thawab (reward).

The Third Attribute : Trust in Allah

The third attribute of a believer identified here is that he or she should place their trust in Allah. The Arabic word: Tawakkul means trust. The sense is that the believer should have total trust in Allah, One and Pure, free of all conceivable associations and ascriptions, not simply theoretically, but in deeds too, and in all states and conditions of one's life as well. In a sound Hadith, the Holy Prophet ﷺ has said: This does not mean that one should abandon material causes and means when it comes to taking care of one's legitimate needs. The point is that one should not consider material means and instruments as sufficient for real success, instead of which, one should do his best, subject to his ability and courage, to assemble and utilize necessary material means. It is only after that one should entrust his matter with Allah Ta` ala believing that He is the One who has created all means and He is certainly the One who makes means to bear fruits. What would come to be has to be what He wills. In another Hadith, he said: اجملوا فی الطلب و توکلوا علیہ . It means: Make a moderate effort to procure what you need through material means, and then place your trust in Him. In other words, do not let your heart and mind get bogged down with nothing but material ways and means.

English Translation

The ones who establish prayer, and from what We have provided them, they spend.

English Transliteration

Allatheena yuqeemoona alssalata wamimma razaqnahum yunfiqoona

The Fourth Attribute: Establishment of Salah

The fourth attribute of the believers has been described as: ' (They are) those who establish Sarah.' At this point, it is worth keeping in mind that the text is not talking about making, saying, offering or performing Salah, instead, what has been mentioned here is Iqamah of Salah. Literally, Iqamah means 'to make something stand straight.' The sense of Iqamah (translated as 'establish' in absence of a precise equivalent) is that one should carry out the obligation of Salah with the fullest consideration for its etiquette and relevant conditions, exactly as explained and demonstrated by the Holy Prophet ﷺ through his word and deed. If there is any shortcoming in observing the etiquette, and conditions, you may call it the saying or making of Salah, but you cannot call it the Iqamah or establishment of Salah. As for the benefits, effects and blessings of Salah mentioned in the Holy Qur` an: إِنَّ الصَّلَاةَ تَنْهَىٰ عَنِ الْفَحْشَاءِ وَالْمُنكَرِ‌ (of course, Salah stops from immodesty and sinfulness - A1-'Ankabat, 29:45) those too depend on nothing but the proper establishment (Iqamah) of Salah as due. When the etiquette of Salah has not been observed as due, the Salah would though be counted as permissible as far as Fatwa or juristic ruling is concerned, but the blessings of Salah will be reduced to the measure of shortcoming in observing it - and in some situations one may be totally deprived of these blessings.

The Fifth Attribute: Spending in the Way of Allah

The fifth attribute of a believer, as stated in the verse, is that they spend in the way of Allah out of what Allah has provided them with. This 'spending in the way of Allah' is general. It is inclusive of all charitable spendings (Sadaqat and Khairat), endowments (Waqf) and gifts and grants to relatives. Also included under this category are Islamic legal obligations such as Zakah and the Sadaqatul-Fitr, and voluntary charities, donations and contributions (Nai Sadaqat and Tabarru` at) as well as any financial assistance amiably provided to guests, friends and respected elders.

English Translation

Those are the believers, truly. For them are degrees [of high position] with their Lord and forgiveness and noble provision.

English Transliteration

Olaika humu almuminoona haqqan lahum darajatun AAinda rabbihim wamaghfiratun warizqun kareemun

After describing these five virtues of the model believer, it was said: أُولَـٰئِكَ هُمُ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ حَقًّا Those are the believers in reality) - that is, they are the same, outwardly and inwardly, they say what is there in their heart, otherwise, there are those who say: اَشھَدُ اَنَّ لا إله إلا اللہ و اَشھَدُ اَنَّ مُحَمَّدَ رَّسُولُ اَلله (I testify that there is no god worthy of worship but Allah and I testify that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah) which is only verbal as far as it goes. Their hearts do not throb with belief in the Oneness of Allah, nor do they have the passion for obedience to His prophet. What they do contradicts what they say. There is a hint in the verse which points out that every truth has its reality and unless you get to that reality, you cannot arrive at the truth.

Someone asked the famous Hasan al-Basri (رح) : '0 Abu Said, are you a believer?' He said: 'Brother, there are two kinds of 'Iman (faith). If you are asking whether or not I am a believer in Allah Ta` ala and His angels, Books and Messengers, and in Paradise and Hell, and in the accounting and retribution of the Last Day, then, my answer is: Of course, I am a believer. And if you are asking whether or not I am the perfect believer mentioned in the verses of Surah Al-Anfal, then, I just do not know whether or not I am one of those. The verses of Surah Al-Anfal referred to here are the same verses the discussion of which is before you right now.

After having described the attributes and marks of true believers in the verses cited above, it was said: لَّهُمْ دَرَ‌جَاتٌ عِندَ رَ‌بِّهِمْ وَمَغْفِرَ‌ةٌ وَرِ‌زْقٌ كَرِ‌يمٌ (For them there are high ranks with their Lord, and forgiveness, and dignified provision).

Promised here are three things: (1) high ranks, (2) forgiveness and (3) dignified provision.

According to Tafsir Al-Bahr Al-Muhit, the attributes of true Muslims mentioned in the previous verses are of three kinds: (1) Those which relate to one's heart, the inward human dimension, such as, belief in Allah, fear of Allah and trust in Allah. (2) Those which relate to physical deeds, such as, Salah etc., and (3) Those which relate to one's wealth, such as, spending in the way of Allah.

Counter-poised against these three kinds, three rewards have been mentioned. High ranks have been set against inward and spiritual attributes; forgiveness has been placed against deeds which are related to outward human physique, like Salah and Sawm. Salah, as in Hadith, becomes the Kaffarah (expiation) of sins. Finally, 'dignified provision' has been set against spending in the way of Allah, that is, one would get what is much better and much more than what one has spent in the mortal life.

English Translation

[It is] just as when your Lord brought you out of your home [for the battle of Badr] in truth, while indeed, a party among the believers were unwilling,

English Transliteration

Kama akhrajaka rabbuka min baytika bialhaqqi wainna fareeqan mina almumineena lakarihoona

Commentary

It has already been stated at the beginning of the Su-rah that most of the subjects taken up in Surah Al-Anfal relate to the retribution and punishment which visited the disbelievers and polytheists, and to the favour shown and reward given to Muslims. Also, described there as a corollary are injunctions which provide for both parties necessary lessons and advices. Out of what had transpired between them, the first and the most important event was that of the battle of Badr in which the polytheists were defeated, suffering heavy losses in men and materials, despite the support of military hardware, numbers and strength at their disposal - and Muslims were blessed with a great victory despite their overall lack of men and materials. Beginning from the verse cited above, there appears in this Surah a detailed description of the battle of Badr.

The Battle of Badr: A Detailed Description

The first verse mentions that some Muslims did not like to take the risk of initiating and advancing for Jihad on the occasion of' Badr. But, when Allah Ta` ala commanded the Holy Prophet ﷺ to initiate the Jihad through His special decree, those who had disliked the idea came along with him. The phraseology of the Qur'an employed to state this situation is worth consideration from many angles.

First of all, the verse begins with: كَمَا أَخْرَ‌جَكَ (It is like when your Lord made you leave ...). Here the word: كَمَا (kama) is a word used for comparison. Now, the point is what is being compared here, and with what? Commentators have given various interpretations possible here. Abu Hayyan has reported fifteen such statements. Out of these, three are more likely as probable:

1. The simile aims to state that the way the Companions had encountered some mutual difference at the time of the distribution of spoils obtained from the battle of Badr, then, they all obeyed the command of the Holy Prophet ﷺ under Divine decree, and its blessings and good results became manifest before them - similarly, at the beginning of this Jihad, there was an expression of dislike from some people, then, it was under Divine decree that everyone obeyed and the beneficial outcome and superb rewards it brought in its wake were witnessed by everyone openly. This interpretation is credited to Farra' and al-Mubarrad (Al-Bahr Al-Muhit). Maulana Ashraf Thanavi (رح) has preferred the same view in Tafsir Bayan al-Qur'an.

2. The second probable interpretation is that a promise of 'high ranks, forgiveness and dignified provision' in the Hereafter was made for true believers in previous verses (4). In these verses, the fact of this promise being certain was described in a manner which pointed out that - though the promise due to be fulfilled in the Hereafter is not yet openly visible for eyes to see, but the promise of Divine help and victory does stand fulfilled in the case of the battle of Badr all too manifestly. So, take your lesson from here and be certain that the way this promise has been fulfilled right here in this mortal world, so it shall be with the promise of the Hereafter - that too shall come to be definitely fulfilled. (Tafsir al-Qurtubi with reference to Al-Nahhas)

3. The third probability is what Abu Hayyan states after having reported fifteen interpretative positions taken by commentators. He says: I was not comfortable with any of these positions. One night, pondering over this verse, I went to sleep. Then, I saw in a dream that I am going somewhere and there is a person with me. I am discussing this verse with him and I am telling him that I have never faced a difficulty similar to what I have faced in the case of the words of this verse. It seems that there is an elision of some word here. Then, all of a sudden, right there within the dream sequence, it transpired into my heart that the elision here is that of the word: نَصَرَکَ , (nasaraka : He helped you). This I liked and so did the other person I was talking to in the dream. When I woke up, I thought about it. My difficulty was all gone since, in this situation, the word: كَمَا 'kama' has not been used for comparison, instead, it has been used for the statement of cause. Thus, the verse comes to mean that the cause of the very special help and support given to the Holy Prophet ﷺ by Almighty Allah on the occasion of the battle of Badr was that he did what he did in this Jihad, not by some wish or discretion of his own, but by remaining obedient to the Divine Command exclusively. It was under His Command that he left his home and what happened thereafter should have happened precisely as it did - and it always does - that Divine support accompanies such a person.

Nevertheless, in this sentence of the verse, all these three meanings are probable and sound. Next, let us consider why the Holy Qur'an has elected not to mention that the Holy Prophet ﷺ came out for this Jihad on his own. Instead of that, the text states: 'your Lord made you leave.' Embedded here is a hint towards the perfect servitude and obedience of the Holy Prophet ﷺ . It signifies that his act is, in reality, the act of God which issues forth from the parts of his body - as it appears in an Hadith al-Qudsi wherein the Holy Prophet ﷺ is reported to have said: When a servant of Allah is blessed with nearness to Allah through obedience and servitude, Allah says about him (or her): 'I become his eye. What he sees, he sees through Me. I become his ears. What he hears, he hears through Me. I become his hands and feet. Whomsoever he grips, he overpowers through Me and towards whomsoever he walks, he walks through Me.' The essential outcome is that a very special help and support from the most exalted Allah accompanies him all along. It means that the acts which obviously seem to issue forth from his eyes and ears or hands and feet are, in reality, the workings of the power of Allah.

To sum up, it is by the use of the word: أَخْرَ‌جَكَ (akhajaka: made you leave), a clear indication has been given that the act of the Holy Prophet ﷺ in coming out for Jihad was really the act of God which made him leave, though manifested through his deed.

Also worth noticing here is that the text chooses to say: أَخْرَ‌جَكَ رَبَّکَ (your Lord made you leave) which mentions Allah Almighty with His attribute of being the Rabb, the Nurturer and Sustainer of all. This points out to the fact that the act of making him leave for this Jihad was undertaken as required by the majesty of the Supreme Nurturer and Sustainer and in the interest of teaching and training His prophet and the Muslim community through him. The reason is that, through this arrangement, the oppressed and subdued Muslims were to be made victorious and the arrogant and unjust disbelievers were to be subjected to their first taste of punishment.

The next phrase: مِن بَیتِکَ means 'from your home.' The sense of the sentence is: 'Your Lord made you leave your home.' According to the majority of commentators, this 'home' means the home in Madinah, or the fair city of Madinah itself where he came to live after Hijrah - for the event of Badr took place during the second year of Hijrah. Then, by adding the expression: بِالحَق (bil-haqq) translated as: 'for the sake of truth,' it has been made very clear that the entire action has been initiated to see that truth prevails and the false stands frustrated. Thus, also established here is that this action has not been triggered because of hunger of land or anger of monarch, as customary with other states.

At the conclusion of the verse, it was said: وَإِنَّ فَرِ‌يقًا مِّنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ لَكَارِ‌هُونَ (while a group from the believers were averse to it). The sense is that a group from among the Muslims took the idea of this Jihad to be burdensome and unpleasant. How and why the noble Companions came across this unpleasant situation is something which needs to be understood. In fact, not only to understand the present statement but to fully understand verses which will soon follow, it is appropriate to first find out the initial circumstances and causes of the battle of Badr. So, let us first go to what happened at the battle of Badr.

According to the report of the event as narrated by Ibn 'Uqbah and Ibn ` Amir, the Holy Prophet ﷺ heard the news in Madinah that Abu Sufyan was on his way to Makkah al-Mu` azzamah with a trading caravan carrying merchandise from Syria and that all Quraysh tribes of Makkah were partners in this business venture. According to the statement of Ibn 'Uqbah, there was no Quraysh man or woman in Makkah who did not hold a share in this venture. If someone had even one mithqal (approximately 4.50gr.) of gold, he or she had still taken a share in it. As for the total invested capital of this trade caravan, it was fifty thousand dinars - as reported by Ibn 'Uqbah. Dinar is a gold coin which weighs approximately 4.50 grams. According to current (1970) market rates for gold, it is equal to Rupees fifty two and the value of the total capital of the caravan comes to Rupees twenty six lakhs Let us bear in mind that these rupees are not what we know them to be now. Instead, they are twenty six lakhsl which belong to a period 1400 years behind us - which, it goes without saying, had value and strength of its own, much higher than twenty six crones2 of our time. It is interesting to note that seventy strong youngmen and their chiefs accompanied this trade caravan to manage the security and business concerns of the enterprise. This tells us that this trade caravan was, in real terms, a trading corporation of the Quraysh of Makkah.

1. $ 48, 148

2. $ 4, 81, 481

On the authority of narrations from Sayyidna Ibn ` Abbas ؓ and others, Al-Baghawi reports that there were forty Quraysh chiefs among the mounted force accompanying the caravan, with ` Amr ibn al-` As and Mukhramah ibn Nawfal being noteworthy among them. Then, it is also established that the strongest base of power the Quraysh had was no other but this very trading activity and the financial support of the capital which backed it. In fact, this was their seemingly innocent weapon with which they had harassed and compelled the Holy Prophet ﷺ to leave Makkah. In this background, when the Holy Prophet ﷺ came to know about the return of this trading caravan after their visit to Syria, it occurred to him that this was the time to confront the caravan and break the main source of strength the Quraysh had. He consulted his Companions ؓ . But, these were the days of Ramadan. They had made no battle plans in advance. So, some of them supported the idea readily and courageously, but some others were a little hesitant. Under this situation, he too did not make participation in this Jihad compulsory for all. Instead, he ordered that those who have a ride should go with him. At that time, there were many people who stayed behind unable to go on Jihad. As for those who wanted to go, their rides were in the adjoining villages. They sought permission to go and bring their rides before they could go with him. But, there was not much time to wait. Therefore, the order given was that only those who have their rides with them and do wish to go on Jihad should get ready to go. There was no time left to summon rides from outside. Therefore, only a few participants who were ready to go could be assembled together. As for those who did not intend to go from the very outset, that too was caused by the absence of a general call for Jihad. The Holy Prophet ﷺ had not made participation in this Jihad obligatory on everyone. Then, people thought that they were to handle a trade caravan, not an army which could need a matching force of fighters. Therefore, a fairly large number of the Companions did not take part in this Jihad.

After reaching Bi'r Suqya, the Holy Prophet ﷺ ordered Qays ibn Sa` sa` ah ؓ to count the number of mujahidin with him. He counted and told him that they were three hundred and thirteen. Hearing that, he was delighted. He said, 'This is the number of the companions of Talut.1 Therefore, this is a good omen, that of victory.' The noble Companions ؓ had a total of seventy camels with them. There was one camel for every three of them. They would ride turn by turn. This applied to the Holy Prophet ﷺ as well. Besides him, there were two other riding partners in the one camel allotted to them. They were Sayyidna Abu Lubabah ؓ عنہ and Sayyidna Ali ؓ . When came his turn to walk, they would submit: 'You ride. We shall do the walking for you.' The reply he gave was - as it would be from the one created to be mercy for all creation: 'Neither are you stronger than me, nor am I need-free of the reward of the Hereafter that I let you have the chance of earning a little thawab for myself.' Therefore, when it was his turn to walk, the Holy Prophet too used to walk.

1. An Israeli King (Saul). See for details v.1, p. 627, 628

On the other hand, someone reached as far as ` Ain al-Zarqa', a well-known place in Syria and passed on information to Abu Sufyan, the leader of the trade caravan, that the Holy Prophet ﷺ is waiting for the caravan and will definitely come after them. Abu Sufyan made necessary precautionary arrangements to meet the threat. When this caravan entered Hijaz, he picked up an intelligent and efficient agent known as Damdam (ضمضم) ibn ` Umar, gave him 20 mithqal of gold (about 90 grams) as his wages, and made him agree to rush to Makkah on a speedy camel, and tell them about the danger the caravan apprehended from the companions of the Prophet of Islam.

To proclaim the danger, Damdam ibn ` Umar followed the particular custom of that time, cut off the ears and the nose of his she-camel, tore off his shirt from the front and the back and placed the camel-litter or seat upside down on the back of the camel. These signs served as danger bells during those days. When he entered Makkah in that style, the entire city was electrified. Everyone from the Quraysh was ready to put up a defence. Those who could go out to fight went out personally and those who were unable to do so for some reason, they arranged for someone to go and fight in their behalf. Thus, it was within three days that they had an armed force with necessary support ready to march.

When they noticed someone hesitating from participating in this battle, they suspected them, taking them to be pro-Muslim. Therefore, they particularly forced such people to come out and fight. There were others who professed Islam openly but were unable to migrate due to their personal compulsions. Having no choice, they had just stayed out in Makkah. These people too - as well as anyone from the family of Banu Hashim about whom it was suspected that he had his sympathies with Muslims - they were all cornered and goaded to come out for this fight. Right there among these helpless people, there was Sayyidna ` Abbas ؓ the uncle of the Holy Prophet ﷺ and the two sons of Abu Talib namely Talib and ` Aqil also.

Thus, this Makkan army which had one thousand armed men, two hundred horses, six hundred coats of mail, female war-song chanters and their drums marched out to Badr. On every stage of their journey, ten camels were slaughtered to feed them.

On the other side, it was on Saturday, the 12th of Ramadan that the Holy Prophet ﷺ moved out of Madinah with preparations good enough to confront a trade caravan. After covering several stages, when he reached close to Badr, he sent an advance reconnaissance party of two men to gather information about the caravan of Abu Sufyan. (Mazhari)

The informers came back with the report that Abu Sufyan's caravan being aware of the coming of the Holy Prophet ﷺ in hot pursuit after them had passed by keeping close to the sea shore, and that an army of one thousand men was coming from Makkah to give cover to the caravan and fight the Muslims off. (Ibn Kathir)

As obvious, this information changed all plans as projected. Given the gravity of the situation, the Holy Prophet ﷺ went into consultation with his Companions ؓ to determine whether or not they have to fight against this advancing army. Sayyidna Abu Ayyub al-Ansari ؓ and some other Companions submitted that they do not have the necessary force to fight against them, nor have they come out there for that purpose. Thereupon, Sayyidna Abu Bakr رضی اللہ تعالیٰ عنہ rose and pledged his obedience to whatever the Messenger of Allah decided. Then, rose Sayyidna ` Umar ؓ pledging his obedience to him and his readiness for Jihad in the same spirit. Finally, it was Sayyidna Miqdad ؓ who stood up and said:

Ya Rasul Allah! Go by the command of Allah you have been given and enforce it. We are with you. By Allah, we shall never say to you what was said to Sayyidna Musa (علیہ السلام) by the Bani Isra'il: اذْهَبْ أَنتَ وَرَ‌بُّكَ فَقَاتِلَا إِنَّا هَاهُنَا قَاعِدُونَ (Go, you and your Lord, and fight. As for us, we are sitting right here - 5:24). By the Being that has sent you with the true faith, if you were to take us as far as Bark al-Ghamad in Ethiopia, we shall follow you to fight there.'

The Holy Prophet ﷺ was very pleased. He made prayers for them. But, an expression of support was yet to come from the Ansar which seemed to point out to the probability that the pledge of help and support given to the Holy Prophet ﷺ by the Ansar of Madinah was limited to and valid within the city of Madinah, and that they were not bound to extend their support for areas outside Madinah. Therefore, he addressed the gathering once again asking them to advise him whether or not he should take the initiative in this Jihad. This address was beamed at the Ansar. Sayyidna Sa'd ibn Mu` adh al-Ansari ؓ got the point and asked him: 'Ya Rasul Allah! Are you asking us?' He said: 'Yes.' Sayyidna Sa'd ibn Mu'dh then submitted:

'Ya Rasul Allah! We have believed in you and we have testified that everything you say is all true, and we have given solemn pledges to you that we shall obey you under all condi-tions. Therefore, enforce whatever command you have been given by Allah Ta` ala. By the Being that has sent you with the true faith, if you take us into the sea, we shall go with you into the sea and no one from among us shall lag behind you. It is all right for us if you were to take us as soon as tomorrow and throw us against the enemy. We strongly hope that Allah Ta` ala will have you witness conditions generated by our deeds, conditions which would become the delight of your eyes. Take us wherever you wish in the name of Allah.'

The Holy Prophet ﷺ was pleased with the response and ordered the group of Mujahidin to march forward with the name of Allah. And to them he gave the good news that Allah Ta` ala has promised him that they shall overcome one of the two groups. The two groups mentioned here mean: One, the trade caravan of Abu Sufyan; and the other, this army coming from Makkah. Then, he said: 'By Allah, it is as if I am seeing the killing fields of disbelievers with my own eyes.' (This whole event has been taken from Tafsir Ibn Kathir and Mazhari)

Explanation of Verses in the Light of the Details of the Event

After having heard the details of the event, let us go back to the verses cited above. That it has been said in the first verse (5): وَإِنَّ فَرِ‌يقًا مِّنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ لَكَارِ‌هُونَ (while a group from the believers was averse to this Jihad) is actually a hint towards the state of mind which some noble Companions were in while being consulted on the advisability of waging Jihad and to which they seemed to be averse or not courageous enough to undertake it.

English Translation

Arguing with you concerning the truth after it had become clear, as if they were being driven toward death while they were looking on.

English Transliteration

Yujadiloonaka fee alhaqqi baAAdama tabayyana kaannama yusaqoona ila almawti wahum yanthuroona

Then, the same event has been alluded to in the second verse (6): يُجَادِلُونَكَ فِي الْحَقِّ بَعْدَ مَا تَبَيَّنَ كَأَنَّمَا يُسَاقُونَ إِلَى الْمَوْتِ وَهُمْ يَنظُرُ‌ونَ (they were disputing with you about the truth after it became clear, as if they were being driven to a death being seen by them).

Though the noble Companions had not disobeyed any command given to them - in fact, what they had done was a certain expression of their weakness and lack of courage as part of their response when consulted. But, even such expression of personal opinion coming from the Companions of the Messengers of Allah when juxtaposed with the high station they were blessed with was unwelcome in the sight of Allah Ta` ala. Therefore, it was set forth in words which spell out displeasure.

English Translation

[Remember, O believers], when Allah promised you one of the two groups - that it would be yours - and you wished that the unarmed one would be yours. But Allah intended to establish the truth by His words and to eliminate the disbelievers

English Transliteration

Waith yaAAidukumu Allahu ihda alttaifatayni annaha lakum watawaddoona anna ghayra thati alshshawkati takoonu lakum wayureedu Allahu an yuhiqqa alhaqqa bikalimatihi wayaqtaAAa dabira alkafireena

English Translation

That He should establish the truth and abolish falsehood, even if the criminals disliked it.

English Transliteration

Liyuhiqqa alhaqqa wayubtila albatila walaw kariha almujrimoona

Commentary

The verses cited above describe the event of Badr and point out to blessings which descended upon Muslims in the form of Divine help and support during the Battle.

In the first (7) and the second (8) verses, it has bees% stated that at the time the Holy Prophet ﷺ and the noble Companions ؓ got the information that a virtual army of the Quraysh has already left Makkah to give a security cover to their trade caravan, Muslims found that they now have two groups to deal with. One of the two was the trade caravan which has been called: عِیر (` ir) in relevant narrations. The other one was this very armed group which had dashed out from Makkah and which has been called: نفیر (nafir). According to the statement given in the verse, that was the time when Allah Ta` ala had made a promise to His Messenger ﷺ - and to all Muslims through him - to the effect that they will totally overcome one of the two groups so much so that they would be able to deal with it as they wished.

Now, it is obvious that overcoming a trade caravan was easy and danger-free while dealing with an armed force was fraught with all sorts of difficulties and dangers. Therefore, after hearing this seemingly ambiguous promise, it occurred to many Companions, that it would be convenient if the Divine promise, made to Muslims that they would overcome one of the two groups, were to be about the group which was simply an unarmed trading caravan. But, the Holy Prophet ﷺ and many of his leading Companions intended otherwise as Divinely guided and settled for overcoming an armed force as the better choice.

In this verse, Muslims seeking to overcome an unarmed group have been warned that they, on their part, preferred to overcome an unarmed trading caravan in view of their tilt towards personal convenience and a danger-free option. But, Allah Ta` ala intended it to be otherwise so that the real objective of Islam stands achieved, that is, truth gets to be established as the ultimate truth and the very root of disbelievers is cut off. It is obvious that this objective could be achieved only when the confrontation is against an armed force and Muslims overwhelm and overpower them.

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