As-salaam wa-alaikum, brothers and sisters.
Today’s selection is from Surah 9, At-Tauba or Repentance, verses 43-59. These verses assert that those who do not participate in Jihad or struggle are hypocrites and then lists the excuses of the hypocrites for not bearing arms against the unbelievers. This latter part of Surah At-Tauba was revealed after the Tabūk expedition in the late summer of A.H. 9 (around October 630 AD in the modern Gregorian calendar).
Tafseer for this selection is a short historical exposition on the Tabūk region of northwestern Arabia.
Allah, give you grace! But why did you (O Muhammad) give them leave to stay behind? (You yourself should have not given them leave) so that it would have become clear which of them spoke the truth and which of them invented false excuses. Those who believe in Allah and the Last Day will never ask you for exemption from fighting with their wealth and their persons. Allah is aware of those who are righteous. Only those people ask for exemption who do not believe in Allah and the Last Day and whose hearts are filled with doubt, and are wavering because of their doubts. If they had intended to march forth, they would certainly have made some preparation for it; but Allah did not like their going forth; so He made them lag behind and they were told “stay behind with those who stay behind.” Had they gone with you they would have added nothing but mischief, and they would have made efforts to create disorder among your ranks, and there would have been some among you who would have listened to them. Allah knows the wrongdoers. Indeed they had plotted sedition before and created disturbance to make you unsuccessful until the truth came through and the decree of Allah prevailed, even though they disliked it. 9:[43-48]
Among them there is someone (Jad-bin-Qais) who said: “Grant me exemption and do not expose me to temptation (of Roman women’s beauty).” Have they not fallen into temptation (of telling lies, double dealings and hypocrisy) already? Surely hell has encircled these disbelievers. If you gain success, it grieves them, but if you face a setback, they say “We had taken our precautionary measures,” and turn away, rejoicing. O Prophet, tell them: “Nothing will happen to us except what Allah has ordained for us; He is our protector;” and in Allah let the believers put their trust. Further tell them: “Can you expect for us anything other than two excellent things (victory or martyrdom)? But we are waiting for Allah to afflict you with punishment either from Himself or by our hands. So wait if you will; we too are waiting.” Say: “Whether you give willingly or with reluctance, it will not be accepted from you; for you are the people who are transgressors.” The reasons which prevent their contributions from being accepted are: that they disbelieve in Allah and His Messenger, that they come to offer Prayer but reluctantly, and that they offer contributions but unwillingly. Let neither their wealth nor their children dazzle you: in reality, Allah intends to punish them with these things in this life and that their souls may depart while they are still unbelievers. They swear by Allah that they are indeed believers like you yet they are not of you. In fact, they are afraid to appear to you in their true colors. If they could find a place of refuge or a cave, or any hiding-place, they would certainly run to it with an obstinate rush. There are some among them who criticize you (O Muhammad) concerning the distribution of sadaqãt. If they are given from it they are pleased, and if they are not given from it, lo! They are full of rage. It would have been better for them, if they had only been pleased with what Allah and His Messenger had given them and said: “Allah is all-sufficient to us! Soon Allah will give us of His bounty, and so will His Messenger. Indeed to Allah do we turn our hopes.” 9:[49-59]
Concerning the Tabūk region of northwestern Arabia, where Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) led an expedition in A.H. 9:
Tabūk is a place near the frontier of Arabia, quite close to what was then Byzantine territory in the Province of Syria (which included Palestine). It is on the Hijaz Railways, about 350 miles northwest of Madinah, and 150 miles south of Ma’an. … In consequences of strong and persistent rumors that the Byzantines (Romans) were preparing to invade Arabia and that the Byzantine Emperor himself had arrived near the frontier for that purpose, the Prophet collected as large a force as he could and marched to Tabūk. The Byzantine invasion did not come off. But the Prophet took the opportunity of consolidating the Muslim position in that direction and made treaties of alliance with certain Christian and Jewish tribes near the Gulf of ‘Aqabah. On his return to Madinah, he considered the situation. During his absence the hypocrites had played, as always, a double game; and the policy hitherto followed, of free access to the sacred centre of Islam to Muslims and Pagans alike – was now altered, as it had been abused by the enemies of Islam.
This concludes today’s episode of the 17 Verses Podcast. I hope that this selection has helped increase your understanding of the holy Qur’an just a little bit.
Thank you and be well.