The Quran

Commentaries for 2.216

Al Baqara (The cow) - البقرة

2.216 Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(Warfare is ordained for you) in times of a general call to arms with the Prophet (pbuh) (though it is hateful unto you) hard on you; (but it may happen that ye hate a thing) fighting in the way of Allah (which is good for you) in that you obtain martyrdom and spoils, (and it may happen that ye love a thing) abstaining from fighting in the way of Allah (which is bad for you) in that you will not obtain martyrdom or spoils. (And Allah knoweth) that fighting in His way is better for you, (ye know not) that abstention from fighting in His way is bad for you. This was revealed about Sa'd Ibn Abi Waqqas, al-Miqdad Ibn al-Aswad and their associates. It was then revealed regarding 'Abdullah Ibn Jahsh and his companions who killed 'Amr Ibn al-Hadrami and their asking about warfare during the sacred month-in reference here to Rajab: i.e. the last afternoon of Jumada II, before seeing the moon of Rajab-for the unbelievers had censored them from doing so.
2.216 Jalal - Al-Jalalayn
Prescribed for you, obligatory [for you], is fighting, disbelievers, though it be hateful to you, by nature, because of the hardship involved. Yet it may happen that you hate a thing which is good for you; and it may happen that you love a thing which is bad for you: because the soul inclines towards those desires which result in its destruction and its rejection of the religious obligations that would bring about its happiness. Perhaps, then, even if you are averse to it, you will find much good in fighting, as a result of victory, booty, martyrdom or reward; while, if you were to reject fighting, even if you would like to do so, you will find much evil, because then you may be subjugated, impoverished and denied the reward; God knows, what is good for you, and you know, this, not, so strive in what He commands you.
2.216 Kashani - Kashani
Prescribed for you is, to fight against the soul and Satan 'though it be hateful to you', more bitter than the taste of colocynth and more terrible than the bone-crunching bite of a lion. Yet it may happen that you hate a thing which is good for you, because you veil yourselves with the caprice of the soul and the love of quick pleasure from what is within [that struggle] in the way of much good and tremendous spiritual pleasure that scorns that shortlived hardship when compared with that enduring good and timeless everlasting pleasure; the same applies to the opposite [statement] [and it may happen that you love a thing which is bad for you]. And God knows, the good and the evil that affairs entail, and you do not know, these things because of your being veiled by the here and now from what will be and by the manifest from the hidden.
2.216 Kathir - Ibn Al Kathir
Jihad is made Obligatory
In this Ayah, Allah made it obligatory for the Muslims to fight in Jihad against the evil of the enemy who transgress against Islam. Az-Zuhri said, "Jihad is required from every person, whether he actually joins the fighting or remains behind. Whoever remains behind is required to give support, if support is warranted; to provide aid, if aid is needed; and to march forth, if he is commanded to do so. If he is not needed, then he remains behind.'' It is reported in the Sahih:
«مَنْ مَاتَ وَلَمْ يَغْزُ وَلَمْ يُحَدِّثْ نَفْسَهُ بِالْغَزْوِ، مَاتَ مِيتَةً جَاهِلِيَّــة»
(Whoever dies but neither fought (i.e., in Allah's cause), nor sincerely considered fighting, will die a death of Jahiliyyah (pre-Islamic era of ignorance).)
On the day of Al-Fath (when he conquered Makkah), the Prophet said:
«لَا هِجْرَةَ بَعْدَ الْفَتْحِ وَلكِنْ جِهَادٌ وَنِيَّةٌ، وَإِذَا اسْتُنْفِرْتُمْ فَانْفِرُوا»
(There is no Hijrah (migration from Makkah to Al-Madinah) after the victory, but only Jihad and good intention. If you were required to march forth, then march forth.)
Allah's statement:
وَهُوَ كُرْهٌ لَّكُمْ
(...though you dislike it) means, `Fighting is difficult and heavy on your hearts.' Indeed, fighting is as the Ayah describes it, as it includes being killed, wounded, striving against the enemies and enduring the hardship of travel. Allah then said:
وَعَسَى أَن تَكْرَهُواْ شَيْئًا وَهُوَ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ
(...and it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you) meaning, fighting is followed by victory, dominance over the enemy, taking over their lands, money and offspring. Allah continues:
وَعَسَى أَن تُحِبُّواْ شَيْئًا وَهُوَ شَرٌّ لَّكُمْ
(...and that you like a thing which is bad for you.)
This Ayah is general in meaning. Hence, one might covet something, yet in reality it is not good or beneficial for him, such as refraining from joining the Jihad, for it might lead to the enemy taking over the land and the government. Then, Allah said:
وَاللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ وَأَنتُمْ لاَ تَعْلَمُونَ
(Allah knows, but you do not know.) meaning, He has better knowledge than you of how things will turn out to be in the end, and of what benefits you in this earthly life and the Hereafter. Hence, obey Him and adhere to His commands, so that you may acquire the true guidance.
2.216 Qushairi - Al-Qushairi
Prescribed for you is fighting though it be hateful to you. Yet it may happen that you hate a thing which is good for you; and it may happen that you love a thing which is bad for you; God knows and you know not. The engagement with fighting is difficult for the lower selves. [God] explained that the comforts of the lower selves are deferred muÌajjala because they follow the ordinance of discipline taÌdīb. It is the opposite for the comforts of the hearts which are immediate muʿajjala since they follow the property of drawing near taqrīb. Happiness lies in opposing mukhālafa the lower selves for anyone who conforms wāfaqa to them has abandoned the exemplary path al-maḥajjat al-muthlā. Likewise happiness lies in conforming muwāfaqa to the hearts for anyone who opposes khālafa them deviates from the highest way al-sunnat al-ʿulā. It is better to accept the good news of the Real's guarantee of ease than the anxious thoughts of the lower selves that warn of impending difficulty and harm.