Word by Word
O ye who believe! Take your precautions, and either go forth in parties or go forth all together.
O you who believe, take your precautions, against your enemy, that is, be wary of him and be vigilant against him; then move forward, prepare to fight him, in companies, in separate groups, one raiding party followed by the next; or move forward all together, in one assembly.
"The Necessity of Taking Necessary Precautions Against the Enemy
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ امَنُواۡ خُذُواۡ حِذۡرَكُمۡ فَانفِرُواۡ ثُبَاتٍ أَوِ انفِرُواۡ جَمِيعًا
you who believe! Take your precautions, and either go forth (on an expedition) in parties, or go forth all together.
Allah commands His faithful servants to take precautions against their enemies, by being prepared with the necessary weapons and supplies, and increasing the number of troops fighting in His cause.
(in parties) means,
group after group, party after party, and expedition after expedition.
Ali bin Talhah reported that Ibn Abbas said that,
(and either go forth in parties) means,
""In groups, expedition after expedition,
أَوِ انفِرُواۡ جَمِيعًا
(or go forth all together), means, all of you.""
Similar was reported from Mujahid, Ikrimah, As-Suddi, Qatadah, Ad-Dahhak, Ata Al-Khurasani, Muqatil bin Hayyan and Khusayf Al-Jazari.
Refraining from Joining Jihad is a Sign of Hypocrites
وَإِنَّ مِنكُمۡ لَمَن لَّيُبَطِّيَنَّ
There is certainly among you he who would linger behind.
Mujahid and others said,
""this Ayah was revealed about the hypocrites.""
Muqatil bin Hayyan said that,
(linger behind) means,
stays behind and does not join Jihad.
It is also possible that this person himself lingers behind, while luring others away from joining Jihad. For instance, Abdullah bin Ubayy bin Salul, may Allah curse him, used to linger behind and lure other people to do the same and refrain from joining Jihad, as Ibn Jurayj and Ibn Jarir stated. This is why Allah said about the hypocrite, that when he lingers behind from Jihad, then:
فَإِنۡ أَصَابَتۡكُم مُّصِيبَةٌ
If a misfortune befalls you,
death, martyrdom, or - by Allah's wisdom - being defeated by the enemy.
قَالَ قَدۡ أَنۡعَمَ اللّهُ عَلَيَّ إِذۡ لَمۡ أَكُن مَّعَهُمۡ شَهِيدًا
he says, ""Indeed Allah has favored me that I was not present among them.""
meaning, since I did not join them in battle. Because he considers this one of Allah's favors on him, unaware of the reward that he might have gained from enduring war or martyrdom, if he was killed.
وَلَيِنۡ أَصَابَكُمۡ فَضۡلٌ مِّنَ الله
But if a bounty comes to you from Allah,
such as victory, triumph and booty.
لَيَقُولَنَّ كَأَن لَّمۡ تَكُن بَيۡنَكُمۡ وَبَيۡنَهُ مَوَدَّةٌ
he would surely say - as if there had never been ties of affection between you and him,
meaning, as if he was not a follower of your religion.
يَا لَيتَنِي كُنتُ مَعَهُمۡ فَأَفُوزَ فَوۡزًا عَظِيمًا
""Oh! I wish I had been with them; then I would have achieved a great success.""
by being assigned a share of the booty and taking possession of that share. This is his ultimate aim and objective.
The Encouragement to Participation in Jihad
Allah then said
the believer with an aversion (to fighting),
فِي سَبِيلِ اللّهِ الَّذِينَ يَشۡرُونَ الۡحَيَاةَ الدُّنۡيَا بِالاخِرَةِ
those who trade the life of this world with the Hereafter,
referring to those sell their religion for the meager goods of the world, and they only do this because of their disbelief and lack of faith.
Allah then said;
وَمَن يُقَاتِلۡ فِي سَبِيلِ اللّهِ فَيُقۡتَلۡ أَو يَغۡلِبۡ فَسَوۡفَ نُوۡتِيهِ أَجۡرًا عَظِيمًا
And whoever fights in the cause of Allah, and is killed or gets victory, We shall bestow on him a great reward.
meaning, whoever fights in the cause of Allah, whether he was killed or triumphant, he will earn an immense compensation and a great reward with Allah.
The Two Sahihs recorded,
وَتَكَفَّلَ اللهُ لِلۡمُجَاهِدِ فِي سَبِيلِهِ إِنۡ تَوَفَّاهُ أَنۡ يُدۡخِلَهُ الۡجَنَّةَ أَوۡ يَرۡجِعَهُ إِلى مَسۡكَنِهِ الَّذِي خَرَجَ مِنۡهُ بِمَا نَالَ مِنۡ أَجۡرٍ أَوۡ غَنِيمَة
Allah has guaranteed the Mujahid in His cause that;
He will either bring death to him, admitting into Paradise;
or, He will help him return safely to his home with whatever reward and booty he gained.
Encouraging Jihad to Defend the Oppressed
وَمَا لَكُمۡ لَا تُقَاتِلُونَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللّهِ وَالۡمُسۡتَضۡعَفِينَ مِنَ الرِّجَالِ وَالنِّسَاء وَالۡوِلۡدَانِ
And what is wrong with you that you fight not in the cause of Allah, and for those weak, ill-treated and oppressed among men, women, and children,
Allah encouraged His believing servants to perform Jihad in His cause and to strive hard to save the oppressed Muslims in Makkah, men, women and children who were restless because of having to remain there.
This is why Allah said,
الَّذِينَ يَقُولُونَ رَبَّنَا أَخۡرِجۡنَا مِنۡ هَـذِهِ الۡقَرۡيَةِ
whose cry is:""Our Lord! Rescue us from this town,
referring to Makkah.
In a similar Ayah, Allah said,
وَكَأَيِّن مِّن قَرۡيَةٍ هِىَ أَشَدُّ قُوَّةً مِّن قَرۡيَتِكَ الَّتِى أَخۡرَجَتۡكَ
And many a town, stronger than your town which has driven you out. (47:13)
Allah then describes this town,
الظَّالِمِ أَهۡلُهَا وَاجۡعَل لَّنَا مِن لَّدُنكَ وَلِيًّا وَاجۡعَل لَّنَا مِن لَّدُنكَ نَصِيرًا
whose people are oppressors; and raise for us from You one who will protect, and raise for us from You one who will help.
meaning, send protectors and helpers for us.
Al-Bukhari recorded that Ibn Abbas said,
""I and my mother were from the oppressed (in Makkah).""
Allah then said
الَّذِينَ امَنُواۡ يُقَاتِلُونَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللّهِ وَالَّذِينَ كَفَرُواۡ يُقَاتِلُونَ فِي سَبِيلِ الطَّاغُوتِ
Those who believe, fight in the cause of Allah, and those who disbelieve, fight in the cause of the Taghut.
Therefore, the believers fight in obedience to Allah and to gain His pleasure, while the disbelievers fight in obedience to Shaytan.
Allah then encourages the believers to fight His enemies,
فَقَاتِلُواۡ أَوۡلِيَاء الشَّيۡطَانِ إِنَّ كَيۡدَ الشَّيۡطَانِ كَانَ ضَعِيفًا
So fight against the friends of Shaytan; ever feeble indeed is the plot of Shaytan."
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