8 - Al Anfal (Spoils of war)

5 Tafsir(s) related to verse 8.47

Al-Jalalayn

And do not be like those who went forth from their dwellings, to defend their caravan and but did not return after it had passed safely, in recklessness and to show off to men — when they said, ‘We will not return until we have drunk wine, sacrificed the camels, and have been entertained by singers at Badr, and [until] people have heard about this — barring, people, from the way of God, while God encompasses, in knowledge, what they do (ya‘malūna, also read ta‘malūna, ‘you do’), and will requite them for it.

Ibn Al Kathir

The Idolators leave Makkah, heading for Badr

After Allah commanded the believers to fight in His cause sincerely and to be mindful of Him, He commanded not to imitate the idolators, who went out of their homes

بَطَراً

(boastfully) to suppress the truth,

وَرِئَآءَ النَّاسِ

(and to be seen of men), boasting arrogantly with people. When Abu Jahl was told that the caravan escaped safely, so they should return to Makkah, he commented, "No, by Allah! We will not go back until we proceed to the well of Badr, slaughter camels, drink alcohol and female singers sing to us. This way, the Arabs will always talk about our stance and what we did on that day.'' However, all of this came back to haunt Abu Jahl, because when they proceeded to the well of Badr, they brought themselves to death; and in the aftermath of Badr, they were thrown in the well of Badr, dead, disgraced, humiliated, despised and miserable in an everlasting, eternal torment. This is why Allah said here,

وَاللَّهُ بِمَا يَعْمَلُونَ مُحِيطٌ

(and Allah is Muhit (encompassing and thoroughly comprehending) all that they do.) He knows how and what they came for, and this is why He made them taste the worst punishment. Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, Qatadah, Ad-Dahhak and As-Suddi commented on Allah's statement,

وَلاَ تَكُونُواْ كَالَّذِينَ خَرَجُواْ مِن دِيَـرِهِم بَطَراً وَرِئَآءَ النَّاسِ

(And be not like those who come out of their homes boastfully and to be seen of men,) "They were the idolators who fought against the Messenger of Allah at Badr.'' Muhammad bin Ka`b said, "When the Quraysh left Makkah towards Badr, they brought female singers and drums along. Allah revealed this verse,

وَلاَ تَكُونُواْ كَالَّذِينَ خَرَجُواْ مِن دِيَـرِهِم بَطَراً وَرِئَآءَ النَّاسِ وَيَصُدُّونَ عَن سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ وَاللَّهُ بِمَا يَعْمَلُونَ مُحِيطٌ

(And be not like those who come out of their homes boastfully and to be seen of men, and hinder (men) from the path of Allah; and Allah is Muhit (encompassing and thoroughly comprehending) all that they do.)

Shaytan makes Evil seem fair and deceives the Idolators

Allah said next,

وَإِذْ زَيَّنَ لَهُمُ الشَّيْطَـنُ أَعْمَـلَهُمْ وَقَالَ لاَ غَالِبَ لَكُمُ الْيَوْمَ مِنَ النَّاسِ وَإِنِّي جَارٌ لَّكُمْ

(And (remember) when Shaytan made their (evil) deeds seem fair to them and said, "No one of mankind can overcome you today and verily, I am your neighbor.'')

Shaytan, may Allah curse him, made the idolators' purpose for marching seem fair to them. He made them think that no other people could defeat them that day. He also ruled out the possibility that their enemies, the tribe of Bani Bakr, would attack Makkah, saying, "I am your neighbor.'' Shaytan appeared to them in the shape of Suraqah bin Malik bin Ju`shum, the chief of Bani Mudlij, so that, as Allah described them,

يَعِدُهُمْ وَيُمَنِّيهِمْ وَمَا يَعِدُهُمْ الشَّيْطَـنُ إِلاَّ غُرُوراً

(He Shaytan makes promises to them, and arouses in them false desires; and Shaytan's promises are nothing but deceptions)4:120.

Ibn Jurayj said that Ibn `Abbas commented on this Ayah, (8:48) "On the day of Badr, Shaytan, as well as, his flag holder and soldiers, accompanied the idolators. He whispered to the hearts of the idolators, `None can defeat you today! I am your neighbor.' When they met the Muslims and Shaytan witnessed the angels coming to their aid,

نَكَصَ عَلَى عَقِبَيْهِ

(he ran away), he went away in flight while proclaiming,

إِنِّي أَرَى مَا لاَ تَرَوْنَ

(Verily, I see what you see not.)''

`Ali bin Abi Talhah said, that Ibn `Abbas said about this Ayah,

لاَ غَالِبَ لَكُمُ الْيَوْمَ مِنَ النَّاسِ وَإِنِّي جَارٌ لَّكُمْ

("No one of mankind can overcome you today and verily, I am your neighbor')

"Shaytan, as well as, his devil army and flag holders, came on the day of Badr in the shape of a Suraqah bin Malik bin Ju`shum, man from Bani Mudlij, Shaytan said to idolators, `None will defeat you this day, and I will help you.' When the two armies stood face to face, the Messenger of Allah took a handful of sand and threw it at the faces of the idolators, causing them to retreat. Jibril, peace be upon him, came towards Shaytan, but when Shaytan, while holding the hand of a Mushrik man, saw him, he withdrew his hand and ran away with his soldiers. That man asked him, `O Suraqah! You claimed that you are our neighbor' He said,

إِنِّي أَرَى مَا لاَ تَرَوْنَ إِنِّي أَخَافُ اللَّهَ وَاللَّهُ شَدِيدُ الْعِقَابِ

(Verily, I see what you see not. Verily, I fear Allah for Allah is severe in punishment)

Shaytan said this when he saw the angels.''

The Position of the Hypocrites in Badr

Allah said next,

إِذْ يَقُولُ الْمُنَـفِقُونَ وَالَّذِينَ فِي قُلُوبِهِم مَّرَضٌ غَرَّ هَـؤُلاءِ دِينُهُمْ

(When the hypocrites and those in whose hearts was a disease (of disbelief) said: "These people (Muslims) are deceived by their religion.'')

`Ali bin Abi Talhah said that Ibn `Abbas commented, "When the two armies drew closer to each other, Allah made the Muslims look few in the eyes of the idolators and the idolators look few in the eyes of the Muslims. The idolators said,

غَرَّ هَـؤُلاءِ دِينُهُمْ

(These people (Muslims) are deceived by their religion.) because they thought that Muslims were so few. They believed, without doubt, that they would defeat the Muslims. Allah said,

وَمَن يَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللَّهِ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٌ

(But whoever puts his trust in Allah, then surely, Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise.) Qatadah commented, "They saw a group of believers who came in defense of Allah's religion. We were informed that when he saw Muhammad and his Companions, Abu Jahl said, `By Allah! After this day, they will never worship Allah!' He said this in viciousness and transgression.'' `Amir Ash-Sha`bi said, "Some people from Makkah were considering embracing Islam, but when they went with the idolators to Badr and saw how few the Muslims were, they said,

غَرَّ هَـؤُلاءِ دِينُهُمْ

(These people (Muslims) are deceived by their religion.)

Allah said next,

وَمَن يَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللَّهِ

(But whoever puts his trust in Allah), and relies on His grace,

فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ عَزِيزٌ

(then surely, Allah is All-Mighty), and verily, those who take His side in the dispute are never overwhelmed, for His side is mighty, powerful and His authority is All-Great,

حَكِيمٌ

(All-Wise) in all His actions, for He places everything in its rightful place, giving victory to those who deserve it and defeat to those who deserve it.

Kashani

And do not be, like the disbelieving ego-centric faculties, who went forth from, the dwellings of their resting-places, their loci and bounds in recklessness and to show off to people and to feign stamina against the senses.

Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an

As the Arabic word (sabr) which has been translated into fortitude is very comprehensive in meaning, 'practice fortitude' implies: "Keep your feelings and passions under control; avoid rashness, bewilderment, despair, and greediness: keep cool and calm and make considered decisions; remain firm and steadfast in the face of dangers and difficulties; don't take any wrong step even under the greatest provocations; don't lose your senses even when you are attacked by afflictions and are in a sad plight; don't take any hasty action in your impatience to achieve your objective without delay with the help of some seeming effective device and don't be enticed by the temptation of some worldly interest or gain or lust". Allah helps those who practice fortitude (sabr) in accordance with the above implications.

The Muslims have been forewarned never to behave like the disbelievers of Makkah, who had marched arrogantly out of their homes and who were debarring the Muslims from the Way of Allah. They had singing girls with them and they held singing, dancing and drinking parties at many halting places. Moreover, they made a great display of their power, grandeur, numerical strength and equipment before the clans and habitations which came in their way and freely bragged that none could have the courage to fight with them. This was the state of their morality but the objective for which they were marching out was even worse than this. They had not marched out to raise the standard of truth, righteousness and justice, but to prevent it from rising up. Their objective was to annihilate the only people who were exerting to raise up that standard. This bad example was held out before the Muslims so that they should guard against such behavior for their Faith required that their conduct should be righteous and their war aim should be pure and noble.

It may also be noted that this guidance was not needed only at that time but it is equally needed even today and will be needed in future as well, for the moral condition of the armies of the modern `civilized' nations is the same as of the disbelievers of Makkah. Prostitutes indecent recreations and wine constitute their essential parts, and they do not ask for these things secretly but openly and brazen-facedly. More than that! their soldiers openly demand from their own people that they should present their own daughters to them for the gratification of their lusts. How can, then, any other people expect from them that they would spare their women and will not make them the plaything of their passions? As regards their arrogance, suffice it to say that each and every soldier and officer of their army is an embodiment of pride and vanity. Then their politicians are never tired of bragging like this: 'None is able to defeat us today for none is more powerful than we". And their war aims are still more wicked. Whereas everyone of their leaders most solemnly and cunningly assure the world that they have nothing but the good of humanity before them, they might have, in fact, all other aims but this. They wage war in order to capture all the resources of the earth that God has created for all mankind, and to monopolize these for the benefit of their own country and nation, and make all other people their servants and dependents. That is why the Qur'an forbids the Muslims to follow the evil ways of those wicked people and enjoins them to refrain from expending their wealth and life for the achievement of the objective for which the wicked people fight.

Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs

(Be not) in transgression (as those who came forth from their dwellings) i.e. Mecca (boastfully) impertinently (and to be seen of men) to gain reputation among men, (and debar (men) from the way of Allah) from Allah's Religion and obedience, (while Allah is surrounding all they do) regarding marching against the Prophet (pbuh) and the matter of war.