59 - Al Hashr (Exile)

4 Tafsir(s) related to verse 59.1


All that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth glorifies God, that is to say, [all that is in them] exalts Him as being transcendent (the lām [of li’Llāhi, ‘God’] is extra; the use of mā [instead of the personal min] is meant to indicate a predominance [of non-rational beings in the heavens and the earth]). And He is the Mighty, the Wise, in His kingdom and [in] His actions [respectively].

Asbab Al-Nuzul by Al-Wahidi

(All that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth glorifieth Allah" Allah is Able to do all things) [59:1-6]. The commentators of the Qur'an said: "This verse was revealed about Banu'l-Nadir. When the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, moved to Medina, they signed a treaty with him in which they agreed not fight against him or with him and the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, consented. Then when the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, defeated the idolaters at Badr, Banu'l-Nadir said: 'By Allah, he is the Prophet whose description we find in the Torah; he will not be defeated'. However, when the Muslims were defeated at Uhud, they broke their pledge and showed enmity toward the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, and Muslims. The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, surrounded them and then they signed a settlement treaty in which it was agreed that they leave Medina". Abu Muhammad al-Hasan ibn Muhammad al-Farisi informed us> Muhammad ibn 'Abd Allah ibn al-Fadl al-Tajir> Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn al-Husayn al-Hafiz> Muhammad ibn Yahya> 'Abd al-Razzaq> Ma'mar> al-Zuhri> Ibn Ka'b ibn Malik> one of the Companions of the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, who related that the unbelievers of Quraysh wrote the following to the Jews after the Battle of Badr: "You are people of armaments and fortresses. Verily, you either fight our man or we shall do this and that, such that nothing will prevent us from the bracelets on your women's anklets". When their letter reached the Jews, the Banu'l-Nadir were unanimously in favour of treason. They sent to the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, saying: "Come with thirty of your men and we will send thirty of our men. Let us meet in a location halfway between you and us so that our men hear you and if they believe in you, we will all believe in you". However, when they reached a certain location, some Jews said: "How are you going to get to him when he has with him thirty of his Companions who all desire to die before him? Send to him and say: 'How are we going to understand [what you are going to say to us] when there are sixty of us? Come along with three of your Companions and three of our scholars will meet you. If they believe in you, we will all believe in you and follow'. The Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, proceeded with three of his Companions. On the other side, three Jews proceeded armed with knives, intending to kill the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace. A sincere woman advisor from Banu'l-Nadir sent a message to her brother, a Muslim from the Helpers, informing him of the treachery which the Banu'l-Nadir were planning against the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace. Her brother hurriedly set off to see the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace. He caught up with him and informed him of the plan, and so the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, went back. The following day, he sent troops to them. He besieged their fortress and fought them until they agreed to move out of Medina, carrying with them anything their camels could carry, except for armaments. They proceeded to destroy their own houses and take whatever wood they could take with them. Allah, exalted is He, therefore, revealed (All that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth glorifieth Allah" Allah is Able to do all things)". (Whatsoever palm-trees ye cut down") [59:5]. When the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, headed toward Banu'l-Nadir and they took refuge in their fortresses, he ordered the cutting down and burning of their palm-trees. The enemies of Allah were alarmed. They said: "You claim, O Muhammad, that you seek goodness, is there any goodness in damaging productive trees and cutting down palm-trees?" They also said to him: "Is corruption in the earth part of what you claim has been revealed to you?" The Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, was distressed upon hearing this, and the Muslims were affected and feared that this may be an act of corruption. And they disagreed amongst themselves. Some said: "Do not cut the palm-trees down for it is part of what Allah has given us as spoils". Others said: "We should rather cut them down!" And so Allah, glorified and exalted is He, revealed (Whatsoever palm-trees ye cut down") confirming the opinion of those who warned against cutting the palm-trees down and, at the same time, stating the lawfulness of cutting them down. He informed that the cutting down of trees or leaving them standing is only by the leave of Allah, exalted is He. Abu 'Abd Allah Muhammad ibn Ibrahim al-Muzakki informed us> his father> Muhammad ibn Ishaq al-Thaqafi> Qutaybah> al-Layth ibn Sa'd> Nafi'> Ibn 'Umar who related that the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, burnt and cut down the palm-trees of Banu'l-Nadir which were at al-Buwayrah. And so Allah, exalted is He, revealed (Whatsoever palm-trees ye cut down or left standing on their roots, it was by Allah's leave, in order that He might confound the evil-livers). This was narrated by Bukhari and Muslim from Qutaybah. Abu Bakr ibn al-Harith informed us> 'Abd Allah ibn Muhammad ibn Ja'far> Abu Yahya al-Razi> Sahl ibn 'Uthman> 'Abd Allah ibn al-Mubarak> Musa ibn 'Uqbah> Nafi'> Ibn 'Umar who related that the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, burnt and cut down the palm-trees of Banu'l-Nadir at al-Buwayrah, and it is about this that Hassan said: The trees of Banu Lu'ayy were deemed unworthy In front of the raging fire at al-Buwayrah. It is also about this that this verse (Whatsoever palm-trees ye cut down or left standing on their roots, it was by Allah's leave"). This was narrated by Muslim> Sa'id ibn Mansur> Ibn al-Mubarak. Abu Bakr informed us> 'Abd Allah> Salm ibn 'Isam> Rustah> 'Abd al-Rahman ibn Mahdi> Muhammad ibn Maymun ibn al-Tammar> Jurmuz> Hatim al-Najjar> 'Ikrimah> Ibn 'Abbas who said: "A Jew came to the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, and said: 'I will stand up and pray', The Prophet said to him: 'Allah has decreed for you that you pray'. The man said: 'I will sit down', and the Prophet said to him: 'Allah has decreed for you that you sit down'. The Jew said: 'I will proceed to this tree and cut it down', and the Prophet said: 'Allah has decreed for you that you cut it down'. Gabriel, peace be upon him, then came and said: 'O Muhammad, you have been taught your proof just as Abraham, peace be upon him, was taught it'. And so Allah, exalted is He, revealed (Whatsoever palm-trees ye cut down or left standing on their roots, it was by Allah's leave, in order that He might confound the evil-livers), i.e. the Jews".

Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an

For explanation, see E.N.'s 1, 2 of Surah Al-Hadid. The object of this introductory sentence before making an appraisal of the banishment of the Ban; an-Nadir is to prepare the mind to understand the truth that the fate this powerful tribe met was not the result of the power of the Muslims but a manifestation of the power of Allah.

Here, the reader should understand one thing at the outset so as to avoid any confusion about the banishment of the Bani an-Nadir. The Holy Prophet (upon whom be Allah's peace) had concluded a formal written treaty with the Bani an-Nadir. They had not broken this agreement as such that it should have become void But the reason why they were attacked was that after making different kinds of minor violations of it, they at last committed such an offense which amounted to the breach of trust. That is, they plotted to kill the leader of the other party to the treaty, i. e. the Islamic State of Madinah. The plot became exposed, and when the were accused of breaking the agreement they could not deny it Thereupon, the Holy Prophet (upon whom be Allah's peace) told them either to leave Madinah or to be ready for a war. This notice was in accordance with this injunction of the Qur'an: "If you ever fear treachery from any people, throw their treaty openly before them. " (AI-Anfal: 58) That is why Allah is describing their exile as His own action, for it was precisely in accordance with Divine Law. In other words, they were not expelled by the Holy Prophet (upon whom be Allah's peace) and the Muslims but by Allah Himself. The other reason why Allah has described their exile as His own action, has been stated in the following verses.

The word hashr in the Text means to gather the scattered individuals to gather or to take out scattered individuals after mustering them together. Thus, the words li-awwal-il-hashr mean: with the first hashr or on the occasion of the first hashr. As for the question, what is implied by the first hashr here, the commentators have disputed it. According to one group it implies the banishment of the Bani an-Nadir from Madinah, and this has been described as their first hashr in the sense that their second hashr took place in the time of Hadrat `Umar, when the Jews and the Christians were expelled from the Arabian peninsula, and the final hashr will take place on the Day of Resurrection. According to the second group it implies the gathering of the Muslim army together to fight the Bani an-Nadir; and li-awwal-il-hashr means that as soon as the Muslims had gathered together to fight them, and no blood yet had been shed, they, by the manifestation of Allah's power, offered to be banished from Madinah of their own accord. In other words, these words have been used here in the meaning of "at the very first assault". Shah Waliullah has translated it "at the first gathering of the army". Shah 'Abdul Qadir has translated it "at the first mustering." In our opinion this translation very nearly gives the meaning of these words.

To understand this one should keep in mind the fact that the Bani anNadir had been well established here for centuries. They lived in compact populations outside Madinah without any lien element. Their settlement was well fortified, which had fortified houses as are generally built in feud-ridden tribal areas. Then heir numerical strength also equaled that of the Muslims, and inside Madinah itself many of the hypocrites were their supporters..Therefore, the. Muslims could never expect that they would, even without fighting, be so unnerved by the siege as to leave their homes willingly. likewise, the Bani an-Nadir also could not have imagined that some power would compel them to leave their homes within six days, Although the Bani Qainuqa' had been expelled before them, and their false pride of valor had proved to be of no avail, they lived in a locality inside Madinah and did not have any separate fortified settlement; therefore, the Bani an-Nadir thought that their inability to withstand the Muslims was not exceptionable, Contrary to this, in view of their own fortified settlement and strongholds they could not imagine that some power could turn them out so easily. That is why when the Holy Prophet (upon whom be Allah's peace) served a notice on them to leave Madinah within ten days, they boldly retorted, saying: We are not going to quit: you may do whatever you please."

Here, the question arises: On what basis has Allah said: 'They were thinking that their fortresses would save them from Allah'. Did the Bani an-Nadir really know that they were not facing Muhammad bin `Abdullah (upon whom be Allah's peace) but Allah? And did they, in spite of knowing this, think that their fortresses would save them from Allah?.This is a question which would confound every such person who does not know the psychology of the Jewish people and their centuries-old traditions. As regards the common men, no one can imagine that despite their knowing consciously that they were facing Allah, they would Entertain the false hope that their forts and weapons would save them from Allah. Therefore, an ignorant person would interpret the Divine Word, saying that the Bani an-Nadir in view of the strength of their forts were apparently involved in the misunderstanding that they would remain safe from the Holy Prophet's attack, but in reality they were fighting Allah and from Him their forts could not save them. But the fact is that the Jews in this world are a strange people, who have been knowingly fighting Allah: they killed the Prophets of Allah knowing them to be His Prophets, and they declared boastfully and arrogantly that they had killed the Prophets of Allah. Their traditions say that their great Patriarch, the prophet Jacob, wrestled with Allah throughout the night and Allah could not throw him even till daybreak..Then, when at daybreak Allah asked Jacob to let Him go, Jacob replied that he would not let Him go until He blessed him. Allah asked him his name, and he answer `Jacob Allah said that his name would no longer be Jacob, but Israel, "because you strove with God and with men, and prevailed." (See Gen. 32: 25-29 in the latest Jewish translation; The Scriptures Scriptures, published by the Jewish Publication Society of America 1954). In the Christian translation of the Bible too this subject has been rendered likewise. In the footnote of the Jewish translation, "Israel" has been explained as: He who striveth with God. " In the Cyclopaedia of Biblical Literature the meaning given of Israel" by the Christian scholars is: "Wrestler with God." Then in Hosea (O.T.) the Prophet Jacob has been praised thus: "By his strength he had power with God: yea, he had power over the angel, and prevailed. " (Ch. 12: 3-4). Now, obviously, the people of Israel are the children of the same Prophet Israel who, according to their faith, had striven with God and wrestled with Him. For them it is not at all difficult that they should stand firm and fight even God. On this very basis, they, even according to their own profession, killed the Prophets of God, and under the same false pride they put the Prophet Jesus on the cross and bragged: "We have killed Jesus Christ, son of Mary, Messenger of Allah. " Therefore, it was not against their traditions that they fought Muhammad (upon whom be Allah's peace) despite their knowledge that he was Allah's Messenger. If not their common people, their rabbis and learned men knew full well that he was the Messenger of Allah. The Qur'an itself contains several evidences to this effect. (For instance, see E:N.'s 79, 95 of Al-Baqarah, E.N.'s 190, 191 of An-Nisa, E.N.'s 70, 73 of As-Saaffat).

Allah's coming down upon them does not mean that Allah was staying in another place whence He attacked them. But this is a metaphoric expression. The object is to give the idea that while facing Allah they were thinking that Allah could chastise them only by bringing an army against them from the front and they were confident that they would resist that force by their fortifications, But Allah attacked them from whence they had not thought it possible; and this was that He made than weak and broke their power of resistance from within after which neither their weapons nor their strongholds could help them.

That is, The destruction occurred in two ways: from outside the Muslims besieged them and started demolishing their fortifications, and from within, first they raised obstacles of stone and wood to stop the Muslims from advancing, and for this purpose broke their own houses for the material; then, when they became certain that they would have to vacate the place, they started pulling down their houses, which they had so fondly built and decorated, with their own hands, so as to render them useless for the Muslims Later, when they settled peace with the Holy Prophet (upon whom be Allah's peace) on the condition that they would be spared their lives but would have the permission to carry away whatever they could, except the weapons and armor, they started removing the frames of the doors and windows, even pegs; so much so that some people removed the beams and wooden ceilings, which they put upon the back of their camels and left."

There are many lessons which one can learn from this event, which have been alluded to in this brief but eloquent sentence These Jews were none other but the followers of the former Prophets: they believed in God, in the Book, in the former Prophets and the Hereafter. Accordingly, they were the former Muslims. But when they turned their back on religion and morality and adopted open hostility to the truth only for the sake of their selfish desires and worldly motives and interests, and showed scant regard for their treaties and agreements, Allah's grace was turned away from them, otherwise Allah had no personal enmity with than. Therefore, first of all, the Muslims themselves have been admonished to heed their fate and Learn a lesson from it, lest they too should start behaving as if they were the beloved children of God, as the Jews did, and should be involved in the misunderstanding that their being included among the followers of the Last Prophet of God would by itself guarantee for them Allah's bounty and His support, apart from which they were not bound to adhere to any demand of religion and morality. Besides, those people of the world also have been asked to learn a lesson from this event, who oppose the truth consciously, and then place reliance upon their wealth and power, their means and resources, thinking that these would save them from the Divine punishment. The Jews of Madinah were not unaware that the Holy Prophet Muhammad (upon whom be Allah's peace and blessings) had not risen for the supremacy of a people or tribe, but he was presenting an ideological invitation the addressees of which were all men, and every man, no matter what race or country he belonged to, could join his Ummah by accepting the invitation, without discrimination or distinction. They were themselves witnessing that Bilal of Habash, Suhaib of Rome, and Salman of Persia enjoyed the same position and status in the Muslim community as was enjoyed by the people of the Holy Prophet's own house. Therefore, they were not feeling any danger that the Quraish and the Aus and the Khazrij would gain an upper hand over them. Nor were they unaware that the ideological invitation that he was presenting was precisely the same as their own Prophets had been presenting. The Holy Prophet never put forward the claim that he had come with a new religion, unknown to the people, and that the people should give up their former religion and accept his religion ' instead. But what he claimed was that the religion being presented by him was the same that the Prophets of God had been preaching and presenting since the beginning of creation. And from their Torah they could themselves confirm that it was actually the same religion, the principles of which were not any different from the principles of the religion of the Prophets. On the same basis they were told in the Qur'an: Affirm faith in the teaching sent down by Me, which confirms the teaching that you already possess, and you should not be its first deniers." They were also witnessing what character and morals the Holy Prophet (upon whom be Allah's peace) possessed, and what revolution had taken place in the lives of those who had accepted his message. For a long time the Ansar of Madinah had been their closest neighbors. They knew what kind of people they had been before embracing Islam and what they became after their conversion to Islam. Thus, they were well aware of the invitation, of the inviter and of the results of accepting the invitation. But in spite of witnessing and knowing all this, only on account of their racial prejudice and worldly interests, they expended all their energy against the message of truth about which there was no room for doubt at least in their minds. After such an obvious and open hostility to the truth they expected that their strongholds would save them from Allah, whereas the whole human history bears evidence that the one who is resisted by the power of God, cannot save and protect himself by any weapon, means or device.

Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs

And from his narration on the authority of Ibn 'Abbas that he said about the interpretation of Allah's saying (All that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth glorifieth Allah): '(All that is in the heavens) He says: all that is in the heavens of creation (and all that is in the earth) of created beings (glorifieth Allah) pray to Allah; and it is also said this means: remember Allah, (and He is the Mighty) in His kingdom and dominion, (the Wise) in His command and decree; He commanded that none should be worshipped except Him.