Ayah

أَلَمۡ تَرَ إِلَى ٱلۡمَلَإِ مِن بَنِىٓ إِسۡرَٰٓءِيلَ مِن بَعۡدِ مُوسَىٰٓ إِذۡ قَالُواْ لِنَبِىٍّ لَّهُمُ ٱبۡعَثۡ لَنَا مَلِكًا نُّقَٰتِلۡ فِى سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ ۖ قَالَ هَلۡ عَسَيۡتُمۡ إِن كُتِبَ عَلَيۡكُمُ ٱلۡقِتَالُ أَلَّا تُقَٰتِلُواْ ۖ قَالُواْ وَمَا لَنَآ أَلَّا نُقَٰتِلَ فِى سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ وَقَدۡ أُخۡرِجۡنَا مِن دِيَٰرِنَا وَأَبۡنَآئِنَا ۖ فَلَمَّا كُتِبَ عَلَيۡهِمُ ٱلۡقِتَالُ تَوَلَّوۡاْ إِلَّا قَلِيلًا مِّنۡهُمۡ ۗ وَٱللَّهُ عَلِيمٌ بِٱلظَّٰلِمِينَ

Translation

Hast thou not Turned thy vision to the Chiefs of the Children of Israel after (the time of) Moses? they said to a prophet (That was) among them: "Appoint for us a king, that we May fight in the cause of Allah." He said: "Is it not possible, if ye were commanded to fight, that that ye will not fight?" They said: "How could we refuse to fight in the cause of Allah, seeing that we were turned out of our homes and our families?" but when they were commanded to fight, they turned back, except a small band among them. But Allah Has full knowledge of those who do wrong.<br/>

Tafsir

Have you not seen, the story and the tale of, the council, an assembly, of the Israelites, after, the death of, Moses, when they said to a prophet of theirs, namely, Samuel, 'Send, establish, for us a king, to unite us and to whom we can refer [matters], and we will fight, with him, in God's way'. He, the prophet, said, to them: 'Might it be that ('asaytum, or 'aseetum) if fighting is prescribed for you, you will not fight? (allaa tuqaatiloo is the predicate of 'asaa, 'might it be'; the interrogative is intended to confirm the expectation that follows [sc. that they will not fight]). They said, 'Why should we not fight in God's way, when we have been expelled from our habitations and our children?', as a result of these latter being taken captive or killed, that which they suffered at the hands of Goliath and his men. The meaning is, 'There is nothing to stop us fighting, provided the requirement [we demanded] is forthcoming'. God, exalted be He, says, Yet when fighting was prescribed for them, they turned their backs, from fighting in cowardice, except a few of them, the ones that crossed the river with Saul (Taaloot), as will be mentioned; and God has knowledge of the evildoers, and will requite them accordingly. The prophet then asked his Lord to send forth a king, and God responded by sending forth Saul.

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