اَفَلَا یَتَدَبَّرُوۡنَ الۡقُرۡاٰنَ ؕ وَ لَوۡ کَانَ مِنۡ عِنۡدِ غَیۡرِ اللّٰہِ لَوَجَدُوۡا فِیۡہِ اخۡتِلَافًا کَثِیۡرًا ﴿۸۳﴾
أَفَلَا يَتَدَبَّرُونَ ٱلۡقُرۡءَانَۚ وَلَوۡ كَانَ مِنۡ عِندِ غَيۡرِ ٱللَّهِ لَوَجَدُواْ فِيهِ ٱخۡتِلَٰفٗا كَثِيرٗا
b. 47:25. (close)
639. "Discrepancy" may either refer to contradictions in the text of the Qur’an and the teachings contained therein; or to lack of agreement between the Quranic announcements in the form of prophecies and their result or fulfilment. (close)
The word اختلاف (disagreement) may have two meanings: (1) either it may refer to contradictions in the text of the Quranand the teachings contained therein; or (2) it may refer to the non-agreement between the Quranic announcements in the form of prophecies and their result or fulfilment. The Quran is free from اختلاف (disagreement) in both these respects. In spite of covering an extremely vast field of reform—spiritual, moral, social, economic, political, legal, etc.—its teachings are perfectly harmonious, no part clashing in letter or spirit with another, no section nourished at the cost of another.
Taken in the second sense, the verse means that all the different announcements and prophecies made by the Quran are proving, and will prove, to be true; and there can be no disagreement in this respect either. If the Quran had not been the Word of God, but the fabrication of man, most of the prophecies and promises made by it under extremely adverse conditions would have failed to materialize.
So the fact that the prophecies made in the Quran have been, and are being, fulfilled against all calculations and all expectations and in a most wonderful manner is a proof positive of the fact that it is the revealed Word of God.
The word, much, qualifying the word disagreement should not be construed to mean that some disagreement in the Quran is possible. The expression is simply intended to mean that, whereas otherwise there would have been much disagreement, the Quran being the Word of God, there is, in fact, none. (close)
وَ اِذَا جَآءَہُمۡ اَمۡرٌ مِّنَ الۡاَمۡنِ اَوِ الۡخَوۡفِ اَذَاعُوۡا بِہٖ ؕ وَ لَوۡ رَدُّوۡہُ اِلَی الرَّسُوۡلِ وَ اِلٰۤی اُولِی الۡاَمۡرِ مِنۡہُمۡ لَعَلِمَہُ الَّذِیۡنَ یَسۡتَنۡۢبِطُوۡنَہٗ مِنۡہُمۡ ؕ وَ لَوۡ لَا فَضۡلُ اللّٰہِ عَلَیۡکُمۡ وَ رَحۡمَتُہٗ لَاتَّبَعۡتُمُ الشَّیۡطٰنَ اِلَّا قَلِیۡلًا ﴿۸۴﴾
وَإِذَا جَآءَهُمۡ أَمۡرٞ مِّنَ ٱلۡأَمۡنِ أَوِ ٱلۡخَوۡفِ أَذَاعُواْ بِهِۦۖ وَلَوۡ رَدُّوهُ إِلَى ٱلرَّسُولِ وَإِلَىٰٓ أُوْلِي ٱلۡأَمۡرِ مِنۡهُمۡ لَعَلِمَهُ ٱلَّذِينَ يَسۡتَنۢبِطُونَهُۥ مِنۡهُمۡۗ وَلَوۡلَا فَضۡلُ ٱللَّهِ عَلَيۡكُمۡ وَرَحۡمَتُهُۥ لَٱتَّبَعۡتُمُ ٱلشَّيۡطَٰنَ إِلَّا قَلِيلٗا
640. The reason why tidings relating to peace have been mentioned before those relating to fear is that the Qur’an is here speaking of war, and during war it is sometimes more dangerous to give publicity to matters likely to lead to happy results than to matters of fear. Under normal conditions, too, the injunction mentioned is very important, exercising direct influence on the discipline and well-being of society. The words, those in authority, refer to the Holy Prophet or his Successors or to the Chiefs appointed by them. (close)
c. 4:60. (close)
a. 4:60. (close)
The reason why tidings or matters relating to peace have been mentioned before those relating to fear is that the Quranis here speaking of war, and during war it is sometimes more dangerous to give publicity to matters likely to lead to happy results than to matters of fear. For instance, if any information comes that the forces of the enemy are about to attack, the publication of this news among the people may not prove so dangerous as disclosure of, for example, the news that the Muslim army was going to attack the enemy at a certain weak point of the latter. The latter class of news would disclose the intentions of the Muslim army to the enemy and he would take immediate steps to strengthen his position at the threatened point. Under normal conditions too the injunction is very important, exercising direct influence on the discipline and well-being of society.
The words, those in authority, refer to the Holy Prophet or his Successors or the chiefs appointed by both. (close)
فَقَاتِلۡ فِیۡ سَبِیۡلِ اللّٰہِ ۚ لَا تُکَلَّفُ اِلَّا نَفۡسَکَ وَ حَرِّضِ الۡمُؤۡمِنِیۡنَ ۚ عَسَی اللّٰہُ اَنۡ یَّکُفَّ بَاۡسَ الَّذِیۡنَ کَفَرُوۡا ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ اَشَدُّ بَاۡسًا وَّ اَشَدُّ تَنۡکِیۡلًا ﴿۸۵﴾
فَقَٰتِلۡ فِي سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ لَا تُكَلَّفُ إِلَّا نَفۡسَكَۚ وَحَرِّضِ ٱلۡمُؤۡمِنِينَۖ عَسَى ٱللَّهُ أَن يَكُفَّ بَأۡسَ ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْۚ وَٱللَّهُ أَشَدُّ بَأۡسٗا وَأَشَدُّ تَنكِيلٗا
641. The command to fight does not relate to the Holy Prophet alone. If that had been the case, the second clause in the verse would have read as Illa Nafsuka, i.e. none is made responsible except thyself, and not as Illa Nafsaka, i.e. thou art not made responsible except for thyself, as in the verse. What the verse means is that every Muslim, not excluding the Holy Prophet, was individually answerable to God. But the duty of the Holy Prophet was twofold, (1) to fight himself, and (2) to urge his followers to fight, though he was not responsible for them. (close)
a. 8:66. (close)
The words, Fight therefore in the cause of Allah, do not mean that the command to fight is related to the Holy Prophet alone. If that had been the case, the second clause in the verse would have read as لا تکلف الا نفسك (illa nafsuka), i.e. none is made responsible except thyself, and not as لاتکلف الانفسك (illa nafsaka), i.e. Thou art not made responsible except for thyself, as in the verse. What the verse means is that every Muslim, not excluding the Prophet, was individually answerable to God. But the duty of the Holy Prophet was twofold: (1) to fight, and (2) to urge his followers to fight. He was, however, not answerable for them. He was only to communicate to them the divine behests, and if they disobeyed, they themselves were answerable for it. The commandment making jihad obligatory on Muslims had already been revealed (4:78).
The clause, It may be that Allah will restrain the might of those that disbelieve, means that God will bring into existence such circumstances as will make war cease of itself, or that the enemy will fail to exert his power to the full and will finally collapse. Thus we see that at the Battle of the Ditch and at the Fall of Mecca providential circumstances helped the Muslims. (close)
مَنۡ یَّشۡفَعۡ شَفَاعَۃً حَسَنَۃً یَّکُنۡ لَّہٗ نَصِیۡبٌ مِّنۡہَا ۚ وَ مَنۡ یَّشۡفَعۡ شَفَاعَۃً سَیِّئَۃً یَّکُنۡ لَّہٗ کِفۡلٌ مِّنۡہَا ؕ وَ کَانَ اللّٰہُ عَلٰی کُلِّ شَیۡءٍ مُّقِیۡتًا ﴿۸۶﴾
مَّن يَشۡفَعۡ شَفَٰعَةً حَسَنَةٗ يَكُن لَّهُۥ نَصِيبٞ مِّنۡهَاۖ وَمَن يَشۡفَعۡ شَفَٰعَةٗ سَيِّئَةٗ يَكُن لَّهُۥ كِفۡلٞ مِّنۡهَاۗ وَكَانَ ٱللَّهُ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيۡءٖ مُّقِيتٗا
642. The verse signifies that the act of intercession or recommendation should not be treated lightly; for the person who intercedes on behalf of another is answerable for his act. If the intercession or recommendation is right and just, he will have a suitable reward; otherwise he will be held responsible for the evil consequences thereof. It is further noteworthy that in connection with "righteous intercession" the word used is Nasib (share or fixed share) whereas in connection with "evil intercession" the word is Kifl (like portion). This is to point out that whereas the punishment of an evil intercession will only be the like thereof, the good reward of a righteous intercession will have no such restriction but will be as large as God has fixed it, i.e. ten times greater. (close)
554. Important Words:
For the significance of the words شفیع and شفاعة see under 2:49.
Read in the light of the context the words, Whoso makes a righteous intercession…may mean that a person who persuades others to fight in the cause of God shall have an ample reward, while he who dissuades them from fighting shall suffer punishment for doing so. The verse also signifies that people should not look upon the subject of intercession or recommendation lightly; for the person who intercedes on behalf of, or recommends, another is answerable for his act. If the intercession or recommendation is right and just, he will have a suitable reward; otherwise he will share and be responsible for the evil consequence thereof.
Taking the word شفاعة in the sense of connection, the verse may also be rendered as, "whoso forms a good connection shall have a share thereof and whoso forms a bad connection shall have a like portion thereof," thus emphasizing the importance of forming a good connection whether with God or with His Prophets or with other people. Whereas a good connection may be the cause of rise and progress, a bad one may result in downfall and ruin. For a full discussion of the subject of شفاعة (intercession) see detailed note under 2:49.
It is noteworthy that in connection with "righteous intercession", the word used is نصیب (share or fixed share) whereas in connection with "evil intercession" the word used is کفل (like portion). This is to point out that, whereas the punishment of an evil intercession will only be the like thereof, the good reward of a righteous intercession will have no such restriction but will be as large as God has fixed it, i.e. ten times greater. (close)
وَ اِذَا حُیِّیۡتُمۡ بِتَحِیَّۃٍ فَحَیُّوۡا بِاَحۡسَنَ مِنۡہَاۤ اَوۡ رُدُّوۡہَا ؕ اِنَّ اللّٰہَ کَانَ عَلٰی کُلِّ شَیۡءٍ حَسِیۡبًا ﴿۸۷﴾
وَإِذَا حُيِّيتُم بِتَحِيَّةٖ فَحَيُّواْ بِأَحۡسَنَ مِنۡهَآ أَوۡ رُدُّوهَآۗ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ كَانَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيۡءٍ حَسِيبًا
643. The verse points to a social duty. (close)
555. Important Words:
حییتم (when you are greeted) and تحیة (prayer) and حیوا are all derived from حیی i.e. he lived or he had life; or he was or became in good condition. حیاہ means, he greeted him with a prayer for long and good life; or he prayed for his life; or simply he prayed for him. حیاك الله means, may God prolong thy life or preserve thy life; or may He make thy life free from harm and evil; or may He honour thee and bestow favour on thee; or may He grant thee dominion and kingship. حیاہ بتحیة المؤمن means, he greeted him with the usual greetings of a believer, i.e. said السلام علیکم to him viz. peace be on you. تحیة means greeting or salutation or benediction; endless or everlasting life; freedom and security from all evils; also dominion and kingship (Lane & Aqrab).
The verse, besides being general in its significance, also draws the attention of Muslim to the great boons and blessings that have come to them through the Holy Prophet and tells them that they are now morally bound to return the good they have received, by helping him to the best of their power in the furtherance of the cause he holds so dear. This would be a token of gratitude for the numerous and manifold divine favours received by them through him. The Prophet’s message of life was a greeting on his part, so let the Faithful respond to it in a befitting manner.
The verse also enjoins on Muslims that they should greet and return each other’s greeting in a most becoming manner when they meet. This is a social and moral duty, the neglect of which will render one guilty of it accountable before God, as the concluding words of the verse point out.
The usual formula of greeting prescribed by Islam is السلام علیکم i.e. "peace be on you", to which are often added the words ورحمة الله وبرکاته "and God’s mercy and His blessings." Pious Muslims would often add to the formula some additional prayer in compliance with the injunction, greet ye with a better prayer or at least return it. But the verse is much more general in its significance and extends to all forms of greetings, wishes, prayers, etc.
The words, return it, signify that if one cannot respond with a better greeting, one should at least respond with a similar one. (close)
اَللّٰہُ لَاۤ اِلٰہَ اِلَّا ہُوَ ؕ لَیَجۡمَعَنَّکُمۡ اِلٰی یَوۡمِ الۡقِیٰمَۃِ لَا رَیۡبَ فِیۡہِ ؕ وَ مَنۡ اَصۡدَقُ مِنَ اللّٰہِ حَدِیۡثًا ﴿٪۸۸﴾
ٱللَّهُ لَآ إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَۚ لَيَجۡمَعَنَّكُمۡ إِلَىٰ يَوۡمِ ٱلۡقِيَٰمَةِ لَا رَيۡبَ فِيهِۗ وَمَنۡ أَصۡدَقُ مِنَ ٱللَّهِ حَدِيثٗا
Taking the particle الی (till) in the sense of فی (in or on for which see Lane), the clause لیجمعنکم الی یوم القیامة may also be rendered as, "He will certainly assemble you on the Day of Resurrection" but the more correct rendering is that given in the text, i.e. He will certainly (continue to) assemble you till the Day of Resurrection. The difference in meaning is obvious. People are born and die and will go on doing so till the Last Day. Thus the process of assembling is always going on and will continue till the Day of Resurrection, when God will call all to account. (close)
فَمَا لَکُمۡ فِی الۡمُنٰفِقِیۡنَ فِئَتَیۡنِ وَ اللّٰہُ اَرۡکَسَہُمۡ بِمَا کَسَبُوۡا ؕ اَتُرِیۡدُوۡنَ اَنۡ تَہۡدُوۡا مَنۡ اَضَلَّ اللّٰہُ ؕ وَ مَنۡ یُّضۡلِلِ اللّٰہُ فَلَنۡ تَجِدَ لَہٗ سَبِیۡلًا ﴿۸۹﴾
۞فَمَا لَكُمۡ فِي ٱلۡمُنَٰفِقِينَ فِئَتَيۡنِ وَٱللَّهُ أَرۡكَسَهُم بِمَا كَسَبُوٓاْۚ أَتُرِيدُونَ أَن تَهۡدُواْ مَنۡ أَضَلَّ ٱللَّهُۖ وَمَن يُضۡلِلِ ٱللَّهُ فَلَن تَجِدَ لَهُۥ سَبِيلٗا
644. Believers disagreed among themselves as to how the Hypocrites living in the suburbs of Medina, i.e. the Bedouin tribes of the countryside, should be treated. Some sympathized with them and recommended leniency towards them, hoping that in this way they might gradually reform themselves, while others looked upon them as a serious menace to Islam and advocated strict measures. Muslims are here told that these Hypocrites are the enemies of God and that they should not allow themselves to be divided on their account. (close)
557. Important Words:
ارکسھم (has overthrown them). See 4:92.
Believers disagreed among themselves as to how the hypocrites living in the suburbs of Medina, i.e. the Bedouin tribes of the countryside, were to be treated. Some sympathized with them and recommended leniency towards them, hoping that in this way they might gradually reform themselves, while others looked upon them as a serious menace to Islam and Muslims and advocated severity towards them. As this disagreement was likely to cause a split among Muslims and divide them into two parties, the Quran here expresses its disapproval of such a course. Muslims, it says, should beware of becoming divided among themselves due to the hypocrites. They should remember that a split in their own ranks was a much more serious affair than a danger from outside. The hypocrites were the enemies of God, and believers should not allow them- selves to be divided on their account. (close)
وَدُّوۡا لَوۡ تَکۡفُرُوۡنَ کَمَا کَفَرُوۡا فَتَکُوۡنُوۡنَ سَوَآءً فَلَا تَتَّخِذُوۡا مِنۡہُمۡ اَوۡلِیَآءَ حَتّٰی یُہَاجِرُوۡا فِیۡ سَبِیۡلِ اللّٰہِ ؕ فَاِنۡ تَوَلَّوۡا فَخُذُوۡہُمۡ وَ اقۡتُلُوۡہُمۡ حَیۡثُ وَجَدۡتُّمُوۡہُمۡ ۪ وَ لَا تَتَّخِذُوۡا مِنۡہُمۡ وَلِیًّا وَّ لَا نَصِیۡرًا ﴿ۙ۹۰﴾
وَدُّواْ لَوۡ تَكۡفُرُونَ كَمَا كَفَرُواْ فَتَكُونُونَ سَوَآءٗۖ فَلَا تَتَّخِذُواْ مِنۡهُمۡ أَوۡلِيَآءَ حَتَّىٰ يُهَاجِرُواْ فِي سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِۚ فَإِن تَوَلَّوۡاْ فَخُذُوهُمۡ وَٱقۡتُلُوهُمۡ حَيۡثُ وَجَدتُّمُوهُمۡۖ وَلَا تَتَّخِذُواْ مِنۡهُمۡ وَلِيّٗا وَلَا نَصِيرًا
a. 2:110; 4:45; 14:14. (close)
645. The reference is to the Bedouin tribes of the desert. The Qur’an forbids Muslims to have anything to do with them, or make friends with them or seek their help. (close)
646. As Qatl is also used in the sense of severing all social contacts (2:62), the expression Uqtuluhum may also mean, "have nothing to do with them." This meaning of the expression finds support from the words, take no friend nor helper from among them. (close)
The word کفر (disbelief) as used in this verse stands for hypocrisy, as a hypocrite is none but a disbeliever at heart. The hypocrites belonging to the Bedouin tribes of the desert, referred to in the preceding verse, claimed to be believers but rendered no help to Islam. Believers are enjoined to have nothing to do with them.
The words, until they migrate in the way of Allah, show that the hypocrites referred to in this verse did not belong to the town of Medina but to outside territory. They attached no value to faith and through cowardice wished that all should become like themselves, making friends with the enemies of Islam and mixing with them as they liked. The Quran forbids Muslims to take such people as friends, or to seek help from them, unless they migrate in the way of God and sever all connection with the enemy.
As the word قتل is also used in the sense of boycotting (see 2:62), the words اقتلوھم (kill them) may also mean boycott them, i.e. have nothing to do with them; treat them in the same manner in which you treat those with whom they have made common cause. This meaning finds support in the fact that the expression اقتلوھم (kill them) is followed by the words, take no friend nor helper from among them. (close)
اِلَّا الَّذِیۡنَ یَصِلُوۡنَ اِلٰی قَوۡمٍۭ بَیۡنَکُمۡ وَ بَیۡنَہُمۡ مِّیۡثَاقٌ اَوۡ جَآءُوۡکُمۡ حَصِرَتۡ صُدُوۡرُہُمۡ اَنۡ یُّقَاتِلُوۡکُمۡ اَوۡ یُقَاتِلُوۡا قَوۡمَہُمۡ ؕ وَ لَوۡ شَآءَ اللّٰہُ لَسَلَّطَہُمۡ عَلَیۡکُمۡ فَلَقٰتَلُوۡکُمۡ ۚ فَاِنِ اعۡتَزَلُوۡکُمۡ فَلَمۡ یُقَاتِلُوۡکُمۡ وَ اَلۡقَوۡا اِلَیۡکُمُ السَّلَمَ ۙ فَمَا جَعَلَ اللّٰہُ لَکُمۡ عَلَیۡہِمۡ سَبِیۡلًا ﴿۹۱﴾
إِلَّا ٱلَّذِينَ يَصِلُونَ إِلَىٰ قَوۡمِۭ بَيۡنَكُمۡ وَبَيۡنَهُم مِّيثَٰقٌ أَوۡ جَآءُوكُمۡ حَصِرَتۡ صُدُورُهُمۡ أَن يُقَٰتِلُوكُمۡ أَوۡ يُقَٰتِلُواْ قَوۡمَهُمۡۚ وَلَوۡ شَآءَ ٱللَّهُ لَسَلَّطَهُمۡ عَلَيۡكُمۡ فَلَقَٰتَلُوكُمۡۚ فَإِنِ ٱعۡتَزَلُوكُمۡ فَلَمۡ يُقَٰتِلُوكُمۡ وَأَلۡقَوۡاْ إِلَيۡكُمُ ٱلسَّلَمَ فَمَا جَعَلَ ٱللَّهُ لَكُمۡ عَلَيۡهِمۡ سَبِيلٗا
559. Important Words:
یصلون (are connected) is derived from وصل. They say وصل الشیء بالشیء i.e. he joined or connected this thing with that; he brought the two things together. وصله means, he had close and friendly relations with him. وصل الیه means, he or it arrived at, or came to, or reached him or it. اتصل الی بنی فلان means, he belonged to, or was connected with, that tribe (Aqrab).
سلطھم علیکم (given them power against you). سلط (sallata) is derived from سلط (salata) for which see the succeeding verse. سلط علیه (sallata) means, he made him to overcome him or to prevail over him or to have power or force over him, etc. They also say سلط علیه الکلاب i.e. he set the dogs upon him (Lane).
The preceding verses enjoined the taking of disciplinary action against the Bedouin hypocrites of the countryside around Medina. This verse makes exceptions in the case of: (1) those who went over to, or were connected with, some tribe having an alliance with the Muslims; and (2) those who came over to Medina and had leanings towards Islam, though their attitude was still one of hesitancy and vacillation. In fact, Islam attaches great importance to pacts, express or implied, and would in no case tolerate their breach. Incidentally, the verse also shows that جھاد (jihad) is permitted only against those who first make war upon the Muslims or their allies or from whom an attack is apprehended. (close)
سَتَجِدُوۡنَ اٰخَرِیۡنَ یُرِیۡدُوۡنَ اَنۡ یَّاۡمَنُوۡکُمۡ وَ یَاۡمَنُوۡا قَوۡمَہُمۡ ؕ کُلَّمَا رُدُّوۡۤا اِلَی الۡفِتۡنَۃِ اُرۡکِسُوۡا فِیۡہَا ۚ فَاِنۡ لَّمۡ یَعۡتَزِلُوۡکُمۡ وَ یُلۡقُوۡۤا اِلَیۡکُمُ السَّلَمَ وَ یَکُفُّوۡۤا اَیۡدِیَہُمۡ فَخُذُوۡہُمۡ وَ اقۡتُلُوۡہُمۡ حَیۡثُ ثَقِفۡتُمُوۡہُمۡ ؕ وَ اُولٰٓئِکُمۡ جَعَلۡنَا لَکُمۡ عَلَیۡہِمۡ سُلۡطٰنًا مُّبِیۡنًا ﴿٪۹۲﴾
سَتَجِدُونَ ءَاخَرِينَ يُرِيدُونَ أَن يَأۡمَنُوكُمۡ وَيَأۡمَنُواْ قَوۡمَهُمۡ كُلَّ مَا رُدُّوٓاْ إِلَى ٱلۡفِتۡنَةِ أُرۡكِسُواْ فِيهَاۚ فَإِن لَّمۡ يَعۡتَزِلُوكُمۡ وَيُلۡقُوٓاْ إِلَيۡكُمُ ٱلسَّلَمَ وَيَكُفُّوٓاْ أَيۡدِيَهُمۡ فَخُذُوهُمۡ وَٱقۡتُلُوهُمۡ حَيۡثُ ثَقِفۡتُمُوهُمۡۚ وَأُوْلَـٰٓئِكُمۡ جَعَلۡنَا لَكُمۡ عَلَيۡهِمۡ سُلۡطَٰنٗا مُّبِينٗا
647. The reference seems to be to the two tribes, Asad and Ghatfan who had no treaty of alliance with the Muslims. They played a double game and awaited their opportunity. When invited by their people to join them in fighting against the Muslims, they readily accepted the invitation. The directions contained in these verses come into operation when a virtual state of war exists and danger stalks along the land. (close)
648. By Fitnah is here meant, war with the Muslims. (close)
a. 33:15. (close)
b. 9:5. (close)
a. 33:15. (close)
560. Important Words:
ارکسوا (fall headlong) is in the passive voice and the right translation of it would be, "are made to fall headlong", or "are overthrown" etc. but for the sake of clearness the word has been translated here in the active voice. ارکسوا is formed from رکس. They say رکس الشیء i.e. he turned the thing over or upside down. ارکس الشیء means, he turned the thing to its former state; he turned or threw it over upon its head; he reversed it or turned it back; he made the first part of it to be the last. أرکس الله عدوك means, may God turn thine enemy upon his head; or may He overthrow him or change or reverse his condition (Lane & Aqrab).
الفتنة (hostility) generally meaning, (1) persecution, (2) mischief, (3) discord and dissension, (4) civil war, etc., also means war, i.e. hostility (Lane). See also 2:192.
سلطان (authority) is the noun-infinitive from سلط which means, he or it overcame, prevailed or predominated; he became firm or established in superior power; he possessed power or dominion or sovereignty; he was or became sharp; it was or became hard or strong; he was or became chaste or perspicuous in speech, or eloquent and sharp in tongue. They say قد جعلت لك سلطانا علی اخذ حقی من فلان i.e. I have given you the power or authority to take my dues from such a one. سلطان means, strength, might, force or power; predominance; power or authority; the sovereign or ruling power; king or ruler; sharpness; hardness; proof or argument; evidence; plea (Lane & Aqrab).
The reference in this verse is to those people who had no alliance with Muslims or any tribe having an alliance with them. They were time-servers who awaited their opportunity. The difference between these people and those mentioned in the previous verse is that the latter had some sort of alliance with this or that party though they did not
possess the strength to assert themselves, while the former only sought security by deceitful means and hastened to make common cause with the enemies of Islam whenever invited to do so. Fighting was enjoined against this class of people, unless they entered into a treaty of peace with Muslims and loyally observed its terms. (close)