Word by Word
to the people
to the people
This because those who reject Allah follow vanities, while those who believe follow the Truth from their Lord: Thus does Allah set forth for men their lessons by similitudes.
That, rendering void of their works and the absolution of evil deeds, is because those who disbelieve follow falsehood, Satan, and because those who believe follow the truth, Al-Qur'an, from their Lord. Thus, in the same manner of clarification, does God strike for mankind similitudes of themselves, [that is how] He clarifies for them their states, in other words, the disbeliever has his work rendered void while the believer is forgiven.
Tafsir of Surah Muhammad
The Reward of the Disbelievers and the Believers,
Those who disbelieve, (meaning, in the Ayat of Allah).
and hinder (men) (Others).
عَن سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ أَضَلَّ أَعۡمَالَهُمۡ
from the path of Allah, He will render their deeds vain.
meaning, He renders their deeds vain and futile, and He denies them any rewards or blessings for them. This is similar to His saying,
وَقَدِمۡنَأ إِلَى مَا عَمِلُواۡ مِنۡ عَمَلٍ فَجَعَلۡنَاهُ هَبَأءً مَّنثُوراً
And We will approach what they have done of deeds and make them as dispersed dust. (25:23)
Allah then says
وَالَّذِينَ امَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ
And those who believe and do righteous good deeds,
Which means that their hearts and souls have believed, and their limbs and their hidden and apparent acts have complied with Allah's Law.
وَامَنُوا بِمَا نُزِّلَ عَلَى مُحَمَّدٍ
And believe in that which has been sent down to Muhammad,
Adding this statement to the previous one is a method of adding a specific meaning to a general one. This provides proof that after Muhammad's advent, believing in him is a required condition for the true faith.
Allah then says,
وَهُوَ الۡحَقُّ مِن رَّبِّهِمۡ
For it is the truth from their Lord.
which is a beautifully placed parenthetical clause.
Thus, Allah says,
كَفَّرَ عَنۡهُمۡ سَيِّيَاتِهِمۡ وَأَصۡلَحَ بَالَهُمۡ
He expiates from them their sins and amends their Bal.
Ibn Abbas, said,
This means their matter.
This means their affair.
Qatadah and Ibn Zayd both said,
And all of these are similar in meaning.
It has been mentioned (from the Prophet) in the Hadith of the responding to one who sneezes,
يَهۡدِيكُمُ اللهُ وَيُصۡلِحُ بَالَكُم
May Allah guide you and rectify your (Bal) affairs.
Then Allah says
ذَلِكَ بِأَنَّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا اتَّبَعُوا الۡبَاطِلَ
That is because those who disbelieve follow falsehood,
meaning, `We only invalidate the deeds of the disbelievers and overlook the sins of the righteous, and amend their affairs, because those who disbelieve follow false- hood.' Meaning, they choose falsehood over the truth.
وَأَنَّ الَّذِينَ امَنُوا اتَّبَعُوا الۡحَقَّ مِن رَّبِّهِمۡ
كَذَلِكَ يَضۡرِبُ اللَّهُ لِلنَّاسِ أَمۡثَالَهُمۡ
while those who believe follow the truth from their Lord. Thus does Allah set forth for the people their parables.
Thus He makes the consequence of their actions clear to them, and He shows them where they will end in their next life -- and Allah knows best.
The Command to strike the Enemies' Necks, tighten Their Bonds, and then free Them either by an Act of Grace or for a Ransom
Guiding the believers to what they should employ in their fights against the idolators, Allah says,
فَإِذا لَقِيتُمُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا فَضَرۡبَ الرِّقَابِ
So, when you meet those who disbelieve (in battle), smite their necks,
which means, `when you fight against them, cut them down totally with your swords.'
حَتَّى إِذَا أَثۡخَنتُمُوهُمۡ
until you have fully defeated them,
meaning, `you have killed and utterly destroyed them.'
tighten their bonds.
فَإِمَّا مَنًّا بَعۡدُ وَإِمَّا فِدَاء
Thereafter (is the time) either for generosity or ransom,
`This is referring to the prisoners of war whom you have captured. Later on, after the war ends and the conflict has ceased, you have a choice in regard to the captives:You may either act graciously toward them by setting them free without charge, or free them for a ransom that you require from them.'
It appears that this Ayah was revealed after the battle of Badr. At that time, Allah reproached the believers for sparing many of the enemy's soldiers, and holding too many captives in order to take ransom from them. So He said then:
مَا كَانَ لِنَبِىٍّ أَن يَكُونَ لَهُ أَسۡرَى حَتَّى يُثۡخِنَ فِي الاٌّرۡضِ تُرِيدُونَ عَرَضَ الدُّنۡيَا وَاللَّهُ يُرِيدُ الاٌّخِرَةَ وَاللَّهُ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٌ لَّوۡلَا كِتَـبٌ مِّنَ اللَّهِ سَبَقَ لَمَسَّكُمۡ فِيمَأ أَخَذۡتُمۡ عَذَابٌ عَظِيمٌ
It is not for a Prophet to have captives of war until he had made a great slaughter (among the enemies) in the land. You desire the commodities of this world, but Allah desires (for you) the Hereafter. Allah is Mighty and Wise. Were it not for a prior decree from Allah, a severe torment would have touched you for what you took. (8:67-68)
حَتَّى تَضَعَ الۡحَرۡبُ أَوۡزَارَهَا
until the war lays down its burden.
Until `Isa bin Maryam (peace be upon him) descends.
It seems as if he derived this opinion from the Prophet's saying,
لَاا تَزَالُ طَايِفَةٌ مِنۡ أُمَّتِي ظَاهِرِينَ عَلَى الۡحَقِّ حَتۡى يُقَاتِلَ اخِرُهُمُ الدَّجَّال
There will always be a group of my Ummah victorious upon the truth, until the last of them fight against Ad-Dajjal.
Imam Ahmad recorded from Jubayr bin Nufayr who reported from Salamah bin Nufayl that he went to the Messenger of Allah and said,
I have let my horse go, and thrown down my weapon, for the war has ended. There is no more fighting.
Then the Prophet said to him,
الاۡنَ جَاءَ الۡقِتَالُ لَا تَزَالُ طَايِفَةٌ مِنۡ أُمَّتِي ظَاهِرِينَ عَلَى النَّاسِ يُزِيغُ اللهُ تَعَالَى قُلُوبَ أَقۡوَام فَيُقَاتِلُونَهُمۡ وَيَرۡزُقُهُمُ اللهُ مِنۡهُمۡ حَتۡى يَأۡتِيَ أَمۡرُ اللهِ وَهُمۡ عَلَى ذلِكَ أَلَا إِنَّ عُقۡرَ دَارِ الۡمُوۡمِنِينَ الشَّامُ وَالۡخَيۡلُ مَعۡقُودٌ فِي نَوَاصِيهَا الۡخَيۡرُ إِلَى يَوۡمِ الۡقِيَامَة
Now the time of fighting has come. There will always be a group of my Ummah dominant over others. Allah will turn the hearts of some people away (from the truth), so they (that group) will fight against them, and Allah will bestow on them (war spoils) from them (the enemies) -- until Allah's command comes to pass while they are in that state. Verily, the center of the believers' abode is Ash-Sham. And goodness is tied around the horses' foreheads till the Day of Resurrection.
An-Nasa'i also recorded this narration.
Allah then says,
ذَلِكَ وَلَوۡ يَشَاء اللَّهُ لَانتَصَرَ مِنۡهُمۡ
Thus, and had Allah so willed, He could have taken vengeance against them;
which means that had He so willed, He could have taken immediate vengeance against the disbelievers with a chastisement or exemplary punishment directly from Him.
وَلَكِن لِّيَبۡلُوَ بَعۡضَكُم بِبَعۡضٍ
but (He lets you struggle) so as to test with one another.
meaning, He has ordered Jihad and fighting against the enemies in order to try you and test your affairs.
Allah also expresses His wisdom by the legislation of Jihad in the following two Surahs, Al `Imran and At-Tawbah, in which He says,
أَمۡ حَسِبۡتُمۡ أَن تَدۡخُلُواۡ الۡجَنَّةَ وَلَمَّا يَعۡلَمِ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ جَـهَدُواۡ مِنكُمۡ وَيَعۡلَمَ الصَّـبِرِينَ
Or did you think that you would enter the Paradise before Allah had made evident those of you who fight in His cause and made evident those who are steadfast. (3:142)
قَـتِلُوهُمۡ يُعَذِّبۡهُمُ اللَّهُ بِأَيۡدِيكُمۡ وَيُخۡزِهِمۡ وَيَنۡصُرۡكُمۡ عَلَيۡهِمۡ وَيَشۡفِ صُدُورَ قَوۡمٍ مُّوۡمِنِينَ
وَيُذۡهِبۡ غَيۡظَ قُلُوبِهِمۡ وَيَتُوبُ اللَّهُ عَلَى مَن يَشَأءُ وَاللَّهُ عَلِيمٌ حَكِيمٌ
Fight them; Allah will then punishes them by your hands, disgrace them, grant you victory over them, satisfy the breasts of a believing people, and remove the fury of their (the believers') hearts. Allah turns in forgiveness to whom He wills; Allah is Knowing and Wise. (9:14-15)
Merit of the Martyrs
Since it is customary during wars that many of the believers die, Allah says:
وَالَّذِينَ قُتِلُوا فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ فَلَن يُضِلَّ أَعۡمَالَهُمۡ
But those who are killed in the way of Allah, He will never let their deeds be lost.
which means that He would not let their good deeds go to waste, but would rather multiply and increase them. Some of them will continue being rewarded for their good deeds for the entire length of their stay in Al-Barzakh.
This has been mentioned in a Hadith recorded by Imam Ahmad in his Musnad on the authority of Kathir bin Murrah, who reported from Qays Al-Judhami, may Allah be pleased with him, that Allah's Messenger said,
يُعۡطَى الشَّهِيدُ سِتَّ خِصَالٍ عِنۡدَ أَوَّلِ قَطۡرَةٍ مِنۡ دَمِهِ تُكَفَّرُ عَنۡهُ كُلُّ خَطِييَةٍ وَيَرَى مَقۡعَدَهُ مِنَ الۡجَنَّةِ وَيُزَوَّجُ مِنَ الۡحُورِ الۡعِين وَيَأۡمَنُ مِنَ الۡفَزَعِ الاَۡكۡبَرِ وَمِنۡ عَذَابِ الۡقَبۡرِ وَيُحَلَّى حُلَّةَ الاِۡيمَان
As the first drop of his blood gushes forth, a martyr is granted six merits:
all of his sins are forgiven,
he is shown his place in Paradise,
he is married to wide-eyed Huris,
he is secured from the great fear (on Judgement Day) and
the torment of the grave, and
he is adorned with the adornments of Iman.
Ahmad was alone in recording this Hadith.
Abu Ad-Darda, may Allah be pleased with him, reported that Allah's Messenger said,
يُشَفَّعُ الشَّهِيدُ فِي سَبۡعِينَ مِنۡ أَهۡلِ بَيۡتِه
A martyr is allowed to intercede for seventy members of his household.
This was recorded by Abu Dawud, and there are numerous other Hadiths mentioning the merits of the martyrs.
As for Allah's saying
He will guide them,
meaning, He will guide them to Jannah.
This is similar to Allah's saying,
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواۡ وَعَمِلُواۡ الصَّـلِحَاتِ يَهۡدِيهِمۡ رَبُّهُمۡ بِإِيمَانِهِمۡ تَجۡرِى مِن تَحۡتِهِمُ الاٌّنۡهَـرُ فِي جَنَّـتِ النَّعِيمِ
Indeed, those who have believed and done righteous good deeds, their Lord will guide them because of their Faith:beneath them rivers will flow in the Gardens of Pleasure. (10:9)
and amend their condition.
meaning, their situation and affairs.
وَيُدۡخِلُهُمُ الۡجَنَّةَ عَرَّفَهَا لَهُمۡ
And (He will) admit them to Paradise, which He has made known to them.
It means that He has acquainted them with Paradise and guided them to it.
The people of Paradise will be guided to their houses and dwellings and whatever sections Allah has ordained for them in it. They will not make mistakes in this, nor will they ask anyone for directions to their dwellings -- as if they had dwelt in it from the time they were first created.
Al-Bukhari recorded from Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri, may Allah be pleased with him, that Allah's Messenger said,
إِذَا خَلَصَ الۡمُوۡمِنُونَ مِنَ النَّارِ حُبِسُوا بِقَنۡطَرَةٍ بَيۡنَ الۡجَنَّةِ وَالنَّارِ يَتَقَاصُّونَ مَظَالِمَ كَانَتۡ بَيۡنَهُمۡ فِي الدُّنۡيَا حَتۡى إذَا هُذِّبُوا وَنُقُّوا أُذِنَ لَهُمۡ فِي دُخُولِ الۡجَنَّةِ وَالَّذِي نَفۡسِي بِيَدِهِ إِنَّ أَحَدَهُمۡ بِمَنۡزِلِهِ فِي الۡجَنَّةِ أَهۡدَى مِنۡهُ بِمَنۡزِلِهِ الَّذِي كَانَ فِي الدُّنۡيَا
After the believers securely pass the Fire (on the Day of Judgement), they will be held back upon a bridge between Paradise and the Fire. There, they will have any acts of injustice that they committed against one another in the life of this world rectified. After they are completely purified and cleansed (from injustice), they will be admitted into Paradise. By the One in Whose Hand is my soul, each one of them will find his way to his dwelling in Paradise better than he found his way to his dwelling in the worldly life.
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