فَاِمَّا تَثۡقَفَنَّہُمۡ فِی الۡحَرۡبِ فَشَرِّدۡ بِہِمۡ مَّنۡ خَلۡفَہُمۡ لَعَلَّہُمۡ یَذَّکَّرُوۡنَ ﴿۵۸﴾
فَإِمَّا تَثۡقَفَنَّهُمۡ فِي ٱلۡحَرۡبِ فَشَرِّدۡ بِهِم مَّنۡ خَلۡفَهُمۡ لَعَلَّهُمۡ يَذَّكَّرُونَ
1135. The believers are enjoined never to take up arms without a valid cause. But once they do, they should fight so valiantly and deal such deadly blows as should strike terror in the hearts of their enemies. A feebly pursued and lingering war is never a wise policy. If there is to be fighting it should be swift and deadly. (close)
1145. Important Words:
شرد (strike fear) is derived from شرد (sharada) which means, he (a horse, etc.) took fright and fled or ran away at random; or simply he fled or ran away. شردہ or شرد به (sharrada) means, he made him take fright and flee or run away at random; or he drove him away. تشرید also signifies the act of dispersing or scattering. شردبه also means, he rendered him notorious by exposing his vices or faults. شرد به من خلفھم means, disperse or scatter by them or through them those who are or who shall come after them; or terrify by or through them those who are, or who shall come after them; or make them notorious to those who are, or who shall come, after them (Taj).
The Quran uses the word تثقفنھم (for which see 2:192) meaning thou catchest them with a view to pointing to the fact that when a disbeliever meets a believer on a field of battle, the former is, as it were, in the very grip of the latter. Thus when believers have to fight, they are expected to fight like valiant men and the enemy who opposes them should be considered as having come within their grasp and should not be able to escape from their hands. The expression تشرید (striking fear) has also been used to point to the same truth. A believer is always slow to take up arms; but when he does so, he fights so valiantly that he not only takes the enemy in his iron grip but deals such blows to him as may strike terror in the hearts of those that are behind the enemy, as well as those that may come after him. A feebly-pursued and lingering war is never a good policy. If there is to be a war, it should be swift and exemplary. This is why the verse enjoins that, when forced to fight, Muslims should fight the enemy so valiantly that not only those who are actually engaged in fighting should be routed, but even their supporters who are behind them, should be struck with terror. In fact, Islam not only requires its followers to excel others in things moral and spiritual, but also expects them to surpass others even in the physical sphere. They have to set the highest example in all matters. If they must fight, they should excel others in fighting as well. (close)
وَ اِمَّا تَخَافَنَّ مِنۡ قَوۡمٍ خِیَانَۃً فَانۡۢبِذۡ اِلَیۡہِمۡ عَلٰی سَوَآءٍ ؕ اِنَّ اللّٰہَ لَا یُحِبُّ الۡخَآئِنِیۡنَ ﴿٪۵۹﴾
وَإِمَّا تَخَافَنَّ مِن قَوۡمٍ خِيَانَةٗ فَٱنۢبِذۡ إِلَيۡهِمۡ عَلَىٰ سَوَآءٍۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ لَا يُحِبُّ ٱلۡخَآئِنِينَ
a. 4:108. (close)
1136. If a people with whom Muslims have entered into a covenant dishonour it, they should be plainly told that the covenant has come to an end and Muslims, if attacked, would fight back with all the force at their command. But under no circumstances are Muslims permitted to make a surprise attack, without giving a prior notice. ‘Ala Sawa’in means, on terms of equality, i.e. in such a manner that each party should know that it is free of its obligations. (close)
a. 4:108. (close)
If a people with whom Muslims have entered into a covenant begin to commit acts of hostility towards them and it is feared that they are going to play false, then it should be openly and plainly declared to them that the covenant between them and the Muslims had come to an end. Then if, after such a declaration, they should fight the Muslims, the latter should also fight them. Thus Muslims are not allowed to make a surprise attack on any people without due notice. The Holy Prophet is reported to have said لا تفرط ولا تفجأ i.e. "Do not exceed the bounds in fighting, nor make a surprise attack on the enemy." Even in war, Islam enjoins strict justice and mercy. (close)
وَ لَا یَحۡسَبَنَّ الَّذِیۡنَ کَفَرُوۡا سَبَقُوۡا ؕ اِنَّہُمۡ لَا یُعۡجِزُوۡنَ ﴿۶۰﴾
وَلَا يَحۡسَبَنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ سَبَقُوٓاْۚ إِنَّهُمۡ لَا يُعۡجِزُونَ
b. 3:179. (close)
b. 3:179. (close)
This verse contains the great prophecy that the enemies of Islam who had waged war against the Muslims would never prevail. Such a prophecy could not be made by a human being in the circumstances in which it was made; for it is an established historical fact that at the time when this prophecy was made the Muslims were extremely weak both in number and equipment and no mortal could predict that such a weak and ill-equipped community could vanquish their numerous and powerful enemies. Only God, Who is Almighty and Omniscient, could predict victory for the Muslims in such circumstances; and the promised victory did actually come to pass. (close)
وَ اَعِدُّوۡا لَہُمۡ مَّا اسۡتَطَعۡتُمۡ مِّنۡ قُوَّۃٍ وَّ مِنۡ رِّبَاطِ الۡخَیۡلِ تُرۡہِبُوۡنَ بِہٖ عَدُوَّ اللّٰہِ وَ عَدُوَّکُمۡ وَ اٰخَرِیۡنَ مِنۡ دُوۡنِہِمۡ ۚ لَا تَعۡلَمُوۡنَہُمۡ ۚ اَللّٰہُ یَعۡلَمُہُمۡ ؕ وَ مَا تُنۡفِقُوۡا مِنۡ شَیۡءٍ فِیۡ سَبِیۡلِ اللّٰہِ یُوَفَّ اِلَیۡکُمۡ وَ اَنۡتُمۡ لَا تُظۡلَمُوۡنَ ﴿۶۱﴾
وَأَعِدُّواْ لَهُم مَّا ٱسۡتَطَعۡتُم مِّن قُوَّةٖ وَمِن رِّبَاطِ ٱلۡخَيۡلِ تُرۡهِبُونَ بِهِۦ عَدُوَّ ٱللَّهِ وَعَدُوَّكُمۡ وَءَاخَرِينَ مِن دُونِهِمۡ لَا تَعۡلَمُونَهُمُ ٱللَّهُ يَعۡلَمُهُمۡۚ وَمَا تُنفِقُواْ مِن شَيۡءٖ فِي سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ يُوَفَّ إِلَيۡكُمۡ وَأَنتُمۡ لَا تُظۡلَمُونَ
c. 3:201. (close)
1137. Quwwah signifies all the forces at the command of Muslims, including all sorts of implements of war, etc. (close)
1138. For Ribat see 554, 555. (close)
1139. The verse tells Muslims that efficient preparation is the best means of preventing war and enjoins them that they should not only keep sufficient force inside the country but should also station adequate troops on the frontiers and should conduct themselves with such wisdom, faith and energy that the enemy in areas far away from the site of fighting should be so impressed as to give up all idea of fighting them. The verse also points to the necessity of spending freely in war. It seems to contain also a warning and a prophecy for believers. The prophecy is that the pagan Arabs are not their only enemies. There are other people who would attack them in the near future. The prophecy referred to the Byzantine and the Persian Empires with whom Muslims had to fight soon after the death of the Holy Prophet. (close)
a. 2:273; 9:121; 64:18; 65:8. (close)
a. 3:201. (close)
b. 2:273; 9:121; 64:18; 65:8. (close)
1148. Important Words:
رباط الخیل (mounted pickets at the frontier). For رباط see 3:201. خیل is derived from خال i.e. he thought or fancied. اختال means, he was proud and haughty. خیل means, horses collectively, so called because of the pride and conceit in their gait; also horsemen (Lane).
This verse teaches Muslims that efficient preparation is the best means of preventing war. It teaches them that they should not only keep a sufficient fighting force in the country but also an adequate number of troops on the frontier so that the enemy might refrain from attack, thus enabling the Faithful to live in peace. The verse also points to the necessity of spending freely in war.
It is worthy of note that the verse does not simply say "your enemy" but the enemy of Allah and your enemy, thus hinting that disbelievers had become hostile to Muslims for the sole reason that the latter had accepted Islam, the religion of God. These words throw interesting light on the causes of early Islamic wars.
The verse further informs Muslims that the pagan Arabs were not the only enemies of Islam. There were other nations also which would attack Muslims in the future, as the Arabs had already done. So Muslims were told to keep their frontiers strong and well-protected and to spend freely in the cause of Allah. This prophecy referred to the Greeks and the Persians with whom Muslims came in contact soon after the death of the Holy Prophet. (close)
وَ اِنۡ جَنَحُوۡا لِلسَّلۡمِ فَاجۡنَحۡ لَہَا وَ تَوَکَّلۡ عَلَی اللّٰہِ ؕ اِنَّہٗ ہُوَ السَّمِیۡعُ الۡعَلِیۡمُ ﴿۶۲﴾
۞وَإِن جَنَحُواْ لِلسَّلۡمِ فَٱجۡنَحۡ لَهَا وَتَوَكَّلۡ عَلَى ٱللَّهِۚ إِنَّهُۥ هُوَ ٱلسَّمِيعُ ٱلۡعَلِيمُ
1140. The verse, besides embodying an important principle about making of peace-treaties, throws interesting light on the character of the wars undertaken by Islam. Muslims did not resort to war to force men to embrace Islam but to establish and maintain peace. If any people after having made war upon Muslims sued for peace the latter were enjoined not to reject the offer, even if the enemy might be suing for peace only to deceive them and gain time. This shows to what lengths Islam goes to establish peace among nations. (close)
This verse, besides embodying an important principle about the formation of peace-treaties, throws interesting light on the character of the wars undertaken by Islam. Muslims did not resort to war to force men to embrace Islam, but simply to maintain peace. Hence, if any people after making war against Muslims sued for peace, the latter were enjoined to desist from war and make peace with them, in spite of their being disbelievers. Even the consideration that the enemy might be suing for peace simply to deceive the Muslims and to gain time was not to deter them from making peace. This shows that what the Muslims desired was nothing but peace, and they were bidden to welcome it at all hazards. See also the verse that follows. (close)
وَ اِنۡ یُّرِیۡدُوۡۤا اَنۡ یَّخۡدَعُوۡکَ فَاِنَّ حَسۡبَکَ اللّٰہُ ؕ ہُوَ الَّذِیۡۤ اَیَّدَکَ بِنَصۡرِہٖ وَ بِالۡمُؤۡمِنِیۡنَ ﴿ۙ۶۳﴾
وَإِن يُرِيدُوٓاْ أَن يَخۡدَعُوكَ فَإِنَّ حَسۡبَكَ ٱللَّهُۚ هُوَ ٱلَّذِيٓ أَيَّدَكَ بِنَصۡرِهِۦ وَبِٱلۡمُؤۡمِنِينَ
b. 8:65. (close)
a. 8:65. (close)
An offer of peace by the enemy must be accepted, even if there is the risk of his playing false. See note on the preceding verse. (close)
وَ اَلَّفَ بَیۡنَ قُلُوۡبِہِمۡ ؕ لَوۡ اَنۡفَقۡتَ مَا فِی الۡاَرۡضِ جَمِیۡعًا مَّاۤ اَلَّفۡتَ بَیۡنَ قُلُوۡبِہِمۡ وَ لٰکِنَّ اللّٰہَ اَلَّفَ بَیۡنَہُمۡ ؕ اِنَّہٗ عَزِیۡزٌ حَکِیۡمٌ ﴿۶۴﴾
وَأَلَّفَ بَيۡنَ قُلُوبِهِمۡۚ لَوۡ أَنفَقۡتَ مَا فِي ٱلۡأَرۡضِ جَمِيعٗا مَّآ أَلَّفۡتَ بَيۡنَ قُلُوبِهِمۡ وَلَٰكِنَّ ٱللَّهَ أَلَّفَ بَيۡنَهُمۡۚ إِنَّهُۥ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٞ
c. 3:104 (close)
b. 3:104. (close)
The verse is intended to meet any possible demur on the part of believers in the matter of accepting a peace offer made by the enemy. It is no favour of the believers upon God or His Messenger, if they have helped the Prophet; on the other hand, it is God’s favour upon them that He has put affection "between their hearts," for, before their acceptance of Islam they too were enemies of one another. (close)
یٰۤاَیُّہَا النَّبِیُّ حَسۡبُکَ اللّٰہُ وَ مَنِ اتَّبَعَکَ مِنَ الۡمُؤۡمِنِیۡنَ ﴿٪۶۵﴾
يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلنَّبِيُّ حَسۡبُكَ ٱللَّهُ وَمَنِ ٱتَّبَعَكَ مِنَ ٱلۡمُؤۡمِنِينَ
a. 8:63. (close)
c. 8:63. (close)
The words من اتبعك (those who follow thee) are grammatically in apposition to the pronoun (thee) in حسبك (sufficient for thee). It is thus wrong to translate the verse as "Allah is sufficient for thee and so are those who follow thee." The sufficing of God relates both to the Prophet and his followers. (close)
یٰۤاَیُّہَا النَّبِیُّ حَرِّضِ الۡمُؤۡمِنِیۡنَ عَلَی الۡقِتَالِ ؕ اِنۡ یَّکُنۡ مِّنۡکُمۡ عِشۡرُوۡنَ صٰبِرُوۡنَ یَغۡلِبُوۡا مِائَتَیۡنِ ۚ وَ اِنۡ یَّکُنۡ مِّنۡکُمۡ مِّائَۃٌ یَّغۡلِبُوۡۤا اَلۡفًا مِّنَ الَّذِیۡنَ کَفَرُوۡا بِاَنَّہُمۡ قَوۡمٌ لَّا یَفۡقَہُوۡنَ ﴿۶۶﴾
يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلنَّبِيُّ حَرِّضِ ٱلۡمُؤۡمِنِينَ عَلَى ٱلۡقِتَالِۚ إِن يَكُن مِّنكُمۡ عِشۡرُونَ صَٰبِرُونَ يَغۡلِبُواْ مِاْئَتَيۡنِۚ وَإِن يَكُن مِّنكُم مِّاْئَةٞ يَغۡلِبُوٓاْ أَلۡفٗا مِّنَ ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ بِأَنَّهُمۡ قَوۡمٞ لَّا يَفۡقَهُونَ
b. 4:85. (close)
1141. The verse seems to give 20 as the minimum number that makes a fighting party. (close)
1142. Because they are mercenaries, and do not realize the righteousness of the cause they fight for, they feel no real interest for it. Or the meaning may be that they have no higher ideals which they seek to pursue and serve. (close)
a. 4:85. (close)
As disbelievers were not going to desist from fighting, as they were invited to do (8:23 & 8:39 above), but were determined to carry on war of aggression against Islam, therefore the Holy Prophet has been asked in this verse to urge Muslims also to fight in self-defence.
The verse promises victory to Muslims over an enemy ten times their number because they are a people who do not understand. Fighters should understand the purpose of their fighting. They should look upon the war, they are engaged in, as their own. They should know the advantage which will accrue to their community if they win, and they should also know the losses which they will have to suffer if they are defeated. Mere hirelings, or men, who are blindly led to war by their leaders but who do not understand its object and feel no personal interest in it, cannot win. The forces that fought against Islam were mostly composed of men, who took part in the war merely because they were called upon to do so by their mischievous leaders-the wicked and avowed enemies of Islam. They felt no personal interest in the war against the new religion.
Religiously speaking also, they were a people who did not "understand", whereas Muslims did understand what faith meant. They were moved by love for their God, their Prophet and their religion. Disbelievers, on the other hand, were not as devoted to their idols as the Faithful were to their God in Whom they had a living faith.
The verse gives the number twenty as the minimum number for Muslims to win sure victory over their enemy because that was the least number that made a regular fighting party. If the number of men was less than twenty, it was not to be regarded as a fighting force and the laws relating to war did not apply to them.
Thus, a party of twenty persons, the minimum comprising a fighting unit, was bound to fight if they met an enemy as many as ten times their strength, and they were forbidden to flee. The question of retiring before the enemy is not to be decided by the men but by their officers, who may act as they may think best in the interest of war. See also 8:16. (close)
اَلۡـٰٔنَ خَفَّفَ اللّٰہُ عَنۡکُمۡ وَ عَلِمَ اَنَّ فِیۡکُمۡ ضَعۡفًا ؕ فَاِنۡ یَّکُنۡ مِّنۡکُمۡ مِّائَۃٌ صَابِرَۃٌ یَّغۡلِبُوۡا مِائَتَیۡنِ ۚ وَ اِنۡ یَّکُنۡ مِّنۡکُمۡ اَلۡفٌ یَّغۡلِبُوۡۤا اَلۡفَیۡنِ بِاِذۡنِ اللّٰہِ ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ مَعَ الصّٰبِرِیۡنَ ﴿۶۷﴾
ٱلۡـَٰٔنَ خَفَّفَ ٱللَّهُ عَنكُمۡ وَعَلِمَ أَنَّ فِيكُمۡ ضَعۡفٗاۚ فَإِن يَكُن مِّنكُم مِّاْئَةٞ صَابِرَةٞ يَغۡلِبُواْ مِاْئَتَيۡنِۚ وَإِن يَكُن مِّنكُمۡ أَلۡفٞ يَغۡلِبُوٓاْ أَلۡفَيۡنِ بِإِذۡنِ ٱللَّهِۗ وَٱللَّهُ مَعَ ٱلصَّـٰبِرِينَ
1143. The verse should not be understood to abrogate the preceding one. The two verses refer to two different states of the Muslim Community. In the beginning they were weak, ill-equipped and ill-trained in the art of war. In that state of weakness they could successfully fight against only their double number. But as with the passage of time their all-round condition, fighting experience and military resources had very much improved they could defeat an enemy ten times their number. In the battles of Badr, Uhud and of the Trench, the disparity between the number of forces of both sides progressively increased, yet the Muslims quite successfully held their own, till at the Battle of Yarmuk, mere 60,000 Muslims defeated an army of more than a million strong. (close)
This verse does not abrogate the previous verse, but only temporarily relieves Muslims in view of the then existing condition of their faith. Their faith, though sincere and true, was "weak" as compared with its future condition when it was to grow stronger by their witnessing more and more heavenly signs and by their becoming more and more organized.
The words, For the present Allah has lightened your burden, show that the previous verse contains not a prophecy, but a commandment. It does not announce by way of prophecy that Muslims will prevail over an enemy ten times their number; it simply gives the injunction that if twenty believers have to face 200 disbelievers, they must fight them, and that if they turn their backs, they will be sinners. In the present verse, however, in view of the then weak condition of Muslims, the limit of disparity has been reduced to twice the number of the believers.
History tells us that in later times, Muslims had sometimes to fight an enemy even more than ten times their number and still they were victorious. Thus, at the Battle of Yarmuk the Muslim army numbered 30,000, according to the lowest calculation, while the enemy numbered at least 600,000 (the highest figures being respectively 60,000 and 1,000,000) and the battle ended in a decisive victory for the Muslims. (close)