وَ مَنۡ یُّوَلِّہِمۡ یَوۡمَئِذٍ دُبُرَہٗۤ اِلَّا مُتَحَرِّفًا لِّقِتَالٍ اَوۡ مُتَحَیِّزًا اِلٰی فِئَۃٍ فَقَدۡ بَآءَ بِغَضَبٍ مِّنَ اللّٰہِ وَ مَاۡوٰٮہُ جَہَنَّمُ ؕ وَ بِئۡسَ الۡمَصِیۡرُ ﴿۱۷﴾
وَمَن يُوَلِّهِمۡ يَوۡمَئِذٖ دُبُرَهُۥٓ إِلَّا مُتَحَرِّفٗا لِّقِتَالٍ أَوۡ مُتَحَيِّزًا إِلَىٰ فِئَةٖ فَقَدۡ بَآءَ بِغَضَبٖ مِّنَ ٱللَّهِ وَمَأۡوَىٰهُ جَهَنَّمُۖ وَبِئۡسَ ٱلۡمَصِيرُ
1106. The verse defines and describes the circumstances in which an apparent retreat or withdrawal of a Muslim force against the enemy is permitted: (a) As war strategy or battle manoeuvre when a fighting force shifts its position to beguile the enemy or to occupy a better position; (b) when a part of the army decides to fall back to join the main body or another Muslim force before giving battle to the enemy. (close)
1106. Important Words:
متحیزا (turning) is derived from تحیز which is derived from حاز. They say حازہ i.e. he drew, collected or gathered it together. حاز الابل means, he drove the camels. تحیز or تحوز means, he or it writhed or twisted about and turned over and over; or he or it was restless, not remaining still on the ground; or he withdrew or retired to a distance; or he drew back. تحیز الیھم means, he turned or withdrew or retired or joined himself to them (company of men). تحیز also means, he turned aside or withdrew to his place or his proper place. حیز means, a place in which a thing is; the proper or natural place of a thing; the container or receptacle of anything (Lane).
فئة (company) is derived either from فاو i.e. he struck or smote or clove, or from فاء i.e. he returned, or he returned to a good state or condition. The word فئة means, a party, division or distinct body; or a company or congregated body of men; or a party or division of men; or a company of soldiers who fight in the rear of another party or company and to whom the latter has recourse in the case of fear or defeat; or a company of men who (in war) have recourse for aid, one to another (Lane).
The verse is important inasmuch as it defines and describes the circumstances in which an apparent retreat or withdrawal of a Muslim force against an enemy force is allowable. Such a retreat is allowed only on two distinct conditions: firstly, as a war strategy or a battle manoeuvre when a fighting force shifts its position not to fly but to hoodwink the enemy or to occupy a better position; secondly, when a force decides to fall back to join the main army or another Muslim force before giving battle to the enemy. No other retreat or withdrawal is allowed. Muslims must either win or die. Those who turn their backs incur the wrath of God and "Hell shall be their abode."
The words, and Hell shall be his abode, have a double significance: (1) that those who turn back from the battlefield, except in the circumstances stated above, shall be awarded the punishment of Hellfire in the Hereafter; (2) that although such runaways think that by turning back from the field of battle they will find security from danger, the truth is that they will thereby be running into the very jaws of fire, for such ignom-inious defeat will embolden the enemy against them and will open the doors of their persecution wider still.
A fight that begins with a single individual, (a Divine Messenger), arrayed against the entire forces of the world, cannot possibly allow at a later stage the retreat of a believing party against a disbelieving host on the basis of disparity in numbers. Where true faith comes in, numbers do not and indeed cannot count. It must be a fight to the finish, for what does a believer await except one of the two good things—victory or martyrdom (9:52)? (close)
فَلَمۡ تَقۡتُلُوۡہُمۡ وَلٰکِنَّ اللّٰہَ قَتَلَہُمۡ ۪ وَ مَا رَمَیۡتَ اِذۡ رَمَیۡتَ وَ لٰکِنَّ اللّٰہَ رَمٰی ۚ وَ لِیُبۡلِیَ الۡمُؤۡمِنِیۡنَ مِنۡہُ بَلَآءً حَسَنًا ؕ اِنَّ اللّٰہَ سَمِیۡعٌ عَلِیۡمٌ ﴿۱۸﴾
فَلَمۡ تَقۡتُلُوهُمۡ وَلَٰكِنَّ ٱللَّهَ قَتَلَهُمۡۚ وَمَا رَمَيۡتَ إِذۡ رَمَيۡتَ وَلَٰكِنَّ ٱللَّهَ رَمَىٰ وَلِيُبۡلِيَ ٱلۡمُؤۡمِنِينَ مِنۡهُ بَلَآءً حَسَنًاۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٞ
1107. The victory at Badr really was not due to any skill or prowess on the part of the Muslims. They were too few, too weak and too ill-equipped to win a victory against a numerically vastly superior and much better equipped and trained army. The throwing of a handful of pebbles and sand by the Holy Prophet bears a remarkable resemblance to the striking of the waters of the sea by Moses with the rod. Just as in the latter case the act of Moses was, as it were, a signal for the wind to blow and the tide to return which led to the drowning of Pharaoh and his hosts in the sea, so was the throwing of a handful of pebbles by the Holy Prophet a signal for a strong wind to blow, which led to the destruction of Abu Jahl (to whom the Holy Prophet had referred as the Pharaoh of his people) and his host in the desert. In both cases the operation of the forces of nature coincided with the acts of the two Prophets under special Divine decree. (close)
a. 33:12. (close)
1107. Important Words:
لیبلی (that He might confer). یبلی is derived from ابلا which is derived from بلاء . They say بلاہ or ابتلاہ i.e. he tried, proved or tested him with something good or evil. ابلاہ اللّٰه بلاء حسنا means, God did to him a good deed. ابلیته معروفا means, I conferred upon him a favour or benefit. بلاء means, the act of trying or testing; a trial or a test; an affliction of any kind by which one’s patience or any other virtue is tried or proved or tested; a benefit, favour or blessing; grief; imposition of a difficult or troublesome thing. بلاء حسن means, a great benefit or favour or blessing of God or a good gift of God. الابتلاءsignifies trying, proving or testing with something; seeking and desiring; choosing or selecting (Lane).
The words, So you killed them not, but it was Allah Who killed them, signify that the victory at Badr was not due to any effort on the part of the Muslims; it was purely an act of God. Thus, as enjoined in the preceding verse, there is no justification for Muslims to flee from a battlefield.
The Battle of Badr, fought in the second year of Hijrah, began with single combats; then there was a general attack. At this juncture the Holy Prophet took a handful of pebbles and cast them towards the enemy. That was a token for the help of God to come, just as striking the water of the sea with the rod by Moses was a signal for God’s aid to arrive. When the Holy Prophet cast the pebbles, there rose a strong gale which, blowing directly in the direction of the enemy, blinded their eyes with sand and thus contributed to their discomfiture and the victory of the Muslims. It is to this incident that the words, it was Allah Who threw, refer, hinting that really it was the hand of God, and not the hand of the Prophet, which cast the pebbles, and that the victory was due to the fact that God had come to the help of the Muslims.
The reader should note that while speaking of the Companions of the Holy Prophet in the words, you killed them not, the verse ascribes no act to the Companions, but simply denies their having killed the enemy, whereas in the case of the throwing of the pebbles by the Holy Prophet the verse says, thou threwest not when thou didst throw, but it was Allah Who threw, thus hinting that although victory came from God, yet the Holy Prophet also had a share in the affair. He contributed his share in the form of earnest prayers which drew the help of God.
The throwing of a handful of pebbles and sand by the Holy Prophet bears a remarkable resemblance to the striking of the waters by Moses with the rod. Just as in the latter case the act of Moses was a signal for the wind to blow, which led to the drowning of Pharaoh and his hosts in the sea, similarly, the throwing of a handful of pebbles by the Holy Prophet was a signal for a strong wind to blow which led to the destruction of Abu Jahl (of whom the Holy Prophet spoke as the Pharaoh of his people) and his host in the desert. Again, after the Battle of Badr, the bodies of Abu Jahl and other leaders of the Quraish were cast into the bottom of a pit or an old well, and thus the similarity of the fate of Abu Jahl with that of Pharaoh was completed; for, just as the latter together with his host was drowned into the depths of the sea, so was the former with his comrades cast into the bottom of a well.
The reference in the words, Allah is All-Hearing All-Knowing, is to the prayers of the Holy Prophet which God heard and accepted and in response to which He conferred such a signal victory on the Muslims. (close)
ذٰلِکُمۡ وَ اَنَّ اللّٰہَ مُوۡہِنُ کَیۡدِ الۡکٰفِرِیۡنَ ﴿۱۹﴾
ذَٰلِكُمۡ وَأَنَّ ٱللَّهَ مُوهِنُ كَيۡدِ ٱلۡكَٰفِرِينَ
اِنۡ تَسۡتَفۡتِحُوۡا فَقَدۡ جَآءَکُمُ الۡفَتۡحُ ۚ وَ اِنۡ تَنۡتَہُوۡا فَہُوَ خَیۡرٌ لَّکُمۡ ۚ وَ اِنۡ تَعُوۡدُوۡا نَعُدۡ ۚ وَ لَنۡ تُغۡنِیَ عَنۡکُمۡ فِئَتُکُمۡ شَیۡئًا وَّ لَوۡ کَثُرَتۡ ۙ وَ اَنَّ اللّٰہَ مَعَ الۡمُؤۡمِنِیۡنَ ﴿٪۲۰﴾
إِن تَسۡتَفۡتِحُواْ فَقَدۡ جَآءَكُمُ ٱلۡفَتۡحُۖ وَإِن تَنتَهُواْ فَهُوَ خَيۡرٞ لَّكُمۡۖ وَإِن تَعُودُواْ نَعُدۡ وَلَن تُغۡنِيَ عَنكُمۡ فِئَتُكُمۡ شَيۡـٔٗا وَلَوۡ كَثُرَتۡ وَأَنَّ ٱللَّهَ مَعَ ٱلۡمُؤۡمِنِينَ
b. 32:29. (close)
1108. The disbelievers demanded from the Holy Prophet Divine judgment in the form of victory. They are told that Divine judgment has indeed come in the form they had demanded. (close)
a. 32:29. (close)
1108. Important Words:
تستفتحوا (if you sought a judgement) is derived from استفتح which again is derived from فتح which means, he opened or he unlocked. فتح الحاکم بین الناس means, the judge or magistrate judged between the people. استفتح means, he asked or sought or demanded victory; or he asked or sought or demanded judgement (Lane & Aqrab).
The verse is addressed to the disbelievers who demanded the sign of victory or God’s judgement from the Holy Prophet. They said, "If you are a true Messenger of God, why does He not help you and grant you victory?" They are here told that God’s judgement in the form of victory has indeed come and that if they now desist from fighting, it will be well for them; but if they return to war, God will show them further signs of victory and they shall be defeated and brought low in spite of their great superiority in numbers and resources, for Allah is with the believers. (close)
یٰۤاَیُّہَا الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡۤا اَطِیۡعُوا اللّٰہَ وَ رَسُوۡلَہٗ وَ لَا تَوَلَّوۡا عَنۡہُ وَ اَنۡتُمۡ تَسۡمَعُوۡنَ ﴿ۚۖ۲۱﴾
يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوٓاْ أَطِيعُواْ ٱللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُۥ وَلَا تَوَلَّوۡاْ عَنۡهُ وَأَنتُمۡ تَسۡمَعُونَ
c. 3:33; 4:60; 8:47; 24:55. (close)
a. 3:33; 4:60; 8:47; 24:55. (close)
As God was the source of all strength and the Prophet was a means thereof, so the Faithful are here enjoined to obey God and His Messenger. Muslims had by this time witnessed many signs of God; they had only just witnessed a mighty sign in the Battle of Badr. Having witnessed so many signs, it was incumbent on them to be obedient to God and His Messenger. Those who had taken part in the Battle of Badr were all true Muslims; there was no hypocrite among them except perhaps one. But in future battles, there were to be hypocrites also; hence there was the greater need for Muslims to be on their guard and to be more careful in the matter of obedience. The fact is that until the Battle of Badr, ‘Abdullah bin Ubayy, the arch-hypocrite, and his confederates had been under the delusion that Islam was only a passing show and that the little group of Muslims would soon disappear. The victory at Badr, therefore, came to them as a severe shock, and their false hopes were shattered. So from this time onward, they became increasingly more active in their machinations against Islam and the Holy Prophet. Hence, the need of an exhortation to Muslims to be ever obedient to God and His Messenger, for it was in obedience and in unity that lay the secret of their future success and prosperity. (close)
وَ لَا تَکُوۡنُوۡا کَالَّذِیۡنَ قَالُوۡا سَمِعۡنَا وَ ہُمۡ لَا یَسۡمَعُوۡنَ ﴿۲۲﴾
وَلَا تَكُونُواْ كَٱلَّذِينَ قَالُواْ سَمِعۡنَا وَهُمۡ لَا يَسۡمَعُونَ
a. 2:94; 4:47. (close)
a. 2:94; 4:47. (close)
True Muslims are here warned against following the example of hypocrites, who say they listen but they listen not. (close)
اِنَّ شَرَّ الدَّوَآبِّ عِنۡدَ اللّٰہِ الصُّمُّ الۡبُکۡمُ الَّذِیۡنَ لَا یَعۡقِلُوۡنَ ﴿۲۳﴾
۞إِنَّ شَرَّ ٱلدَّوَآبِّ عِندَ ٱللَّهِ ٱلصُّمُّ ٱلۡبُكۡمُ ٱلَّذِينَ لَا يَعۡقِلُونَ
b. 8:56; 98:7. (close)
b. 8:56; 98:7. (close)
The verse primarily refers to the hypocrites. They have ears but they listen not to the Word of God, so truly speaking they are deaf; they have tongues, but they do not seek after and inquire about the truth, so they are dumb; they have hearts, but they do not ponder over the truth, so they have no sense and do not understand. Indeed, if the gifts of hearing and of speaking and of thinking are taken away from man, he is left no better than a beast. Nay, he virtually becomes "the worst of beasts" for, in spite of possessing the faculty and power of hearing and speaking and thinking, he does not use these powers. (close)
وَ لَوۡ عَلِمَ اللّٰہُ فِیۡہِمۡ خَیۡرًا لَّاَسۡمَعَہُمۡ ؕ وَ لَوۡ اَسۡمَعَہُمۡ لَتَوَلَّوۡا وَّ ہُمۡ مُّعۡرِضُوۡنَ ﴿۲۴﴾
وَلَوۡ عَلِمَ ٱللَّهُ فِيهِمۡ خَيۡرٗا لَّأَسۡمَعَهُمۡۖ وَلَوۡ أَسۡمَعَهُمۡ لَتَوَلَّواْ وَّهُم مُّعۡرِضُونَ
1109. The expression "makes them hear" means that if in their present condition God should force them to accept the truth, they would in their heart of hearts remain unconverted and would never become true Muslims. (close)
The expression اسمعھم (made them hear) in the first place mean that if God had known any good in them, He would have made them hear and accept the truth. The verse thus shows that it is only those whose hearts are wholly corrupt that are caused or allowed to go astray by God. Those in whose hearts there is any good are always led by God to the acceptance of the truth.
The second clause of the verse indicates that while Allah makes good men accept and follow guidance, He never forces anyone to go astray. The expression اسمعھم (made them hear) in the second place, therefore, means that if in their present condition God should force them to accept the truth, the result would be that their hearts would remain unconverted and they would never become true Muslims. (close)
یٰۤاَیُّہَا الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوا اسۡتَجِیۡبُوۡا لِلّٰہِ وَ لِلرَّسُوۡلِ اِذَا دَعَاکُمۡ لِمَا یُحۡیِیۡکُمۡ ۚ وَ اعۡلَمُوۡۤا اَنَّ اللّٰہَ یَحُوۡلُ بَیۡنَ الۡمَرۡءِ وَ قَلۡبِہٖ وَ اَنَّہٗۤ اِلَیۡہِ تُحۡشَرُوۡنَ ﴿۲۵﴾
يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ ٱسۡتَجِيبُواْ لِلَّهِ وَلِلرَّسُولِ إِذَا دَعَاكُمۡ لِمَا يُحۡيِيكُمۡۖ وَٱعۡلَمُوٓاْ أَنَّ ٱللَّهَ يَحُولُ بَيۡنَ ٱلۡمَرۡءِ وَقَلۡبِهِۦ وَأَنَّهُۥٓ إِلَيۡهِ تُحۡشَرُونَ
c. 4:60; 8:47; 24:55. (close)
1109A. The pronoun "he" refers to the Messenger, for it is the Messenger who actually calls. Calling by God is also through His Messenger. Or, "he" may be taken to refer to both Allah and the Messenger separately, i.e. when Allah calls you or when the Messenger calls you. (close)
1110. The giving of life to the dead when ascribed to a Prophet of God should be taken in its metaphorical or spiritual sense. (close)
1110A. The words "Allah comes in between a man and his heart" signify that man (or his ego) has no control over his heart, so he cannot make it obey his dictates. The words may also mean that one should hasten to listen and respond to Divine Call because if one delays doing so, unforeseen circumstances may intervene to make one’s heart hard or rusty and then one may refuse to listen to it. (close)
Though the verse enjoins the Faithful to respond to both Allah and His Messenger, it does not say "when they (Allah and His Messenger) call you" but simply "when he calls you." The pronoun "he" obviously refers to the Messenger, for it is the Messenger who actually calls. Calling by God is also through His Messenger. Or the singular pronoun "he" may be taken to refer to both Allah and the Messenger taken separately, i.e. when Allah calls you or when the Messenger calls you.
The words, that he may give you life, embody a great truth. The calling of the Messenger is always for the purpose of giving life to those who believe. It must, however, be remembered that when the quickening of, or the giving of life to, the dead is ascribed to a Prophet of God, the words should be taken not in their physical but in their spiritual sense.
The words, know that Allah comes in between a man and his heart, are important. There are two powers in men, firstly, the will-power of the "I". This power has its seat in the mind and has, therefore, been referred to in the verse as "man". The second power lies in the heart. The "I" or the will-power, or in other words "the man," issues its command and it is for the heart to obey it. But an unpurified heart does not always obey the command emanating from the mind. The words, Allah comes in between a man and his heart, therefore, signify that God has His position between the "I" and the heart. Man has not the power to purify his heart, i.e. he cannot make it obey the dictates of the "I", for he has no control over it. But God controls the heart and can purify it. So we should obey God that He may purify our heart and make it follow the will of the "I". The expression is figurative and means that it is God alone Who can make the dictates of the "I" have the desired effect on the heart.
The verse also hints that one should always hasten to hear and obey a good call; for if one delays doing so, the law of God, meant for those who hesitate to accept the truth and keep back from it, is likely to come in, and make the heart rusty, with the result that it becomes all the more disinclined to accept the truth. (close)
وَ اتَّقُوۡا فِتۡنَۃً لَّا تُصِیۡبَنَّ الَّذِیۡنَ ظَلَمُوۡا مِنۡکُمۡ خَآصَّۃً ۚ وَ اعۡلَمُوۡۤا اَنَّ اللّٰہَ شَدِیۡدُ الۡعِقَابِ ﴿۲۶﴾
وَٱتَّقُواْ فِتۡنَةٗ لَّا تُصِيبَنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ ظَلَمُواْ مِنكُمۡ خَآصَّةٗۖ وَٱعۡلَمُوٓاْ أَنَّ ٱللَّهَ شَدِيدُ ٱلۡعِقَابِ
a. 11:114. (close)
1111. It is not enough to make ourselves good. We are not safe unless we also reform our environment. A house surrounded by a raging fire is likely to fall a victim to it any moment. (close)
1114. Important Words:
فتنة (affliction). See 2:192.
The verse embodies a great and important truth. It is not enough that you should become good yourselves. If you are surrounded by wicked and ungodly persons, you cannot escape the contagion and its consequences. Thus, even a good man may sometimes be overtaken by Divine punishment, if he is living among wicked people and does not shun their society. Hence, we should not only try to lead righteous lives ourselves, but should also endeavour to make others do the same. We should not only reform ourselves but try to reform the society in which we move and the people among whom we live. We cannot long enjoy safety if the houses surrounding ours are on fire. (close)