9 - Al Tawba (Immunity)

5 Tafsir(s) related to verse 9.16

Al-Jalalayn

Or (am has the meaning of the [initial a-] hamza used to express disavowal) did you suppose that you would be left [in peace] when God does not yet know, that is, through knowledge outwardly manifested, those of you who have struggled, sincerely, and have not taken, besides God and His Messenger and the believers, an intimate friend?, as a confidant or an ally? In other words: when it has not yet become manifest who the sincere ones are — those described in the exclusive way mentioned. And God is aware of what you do.

Al-Tustari

…an intimate friend (walīja)… ʿUmar b. Wāṣil al-ʿAnbarī said, ‘A walīja is anything that you cause to enter or become part of somethingother than itself.’ Sahl said:This means that they did not become heedless of Him by the inclining of their hearts towards their lower selves.His words:

Ibn Al Kathir

Among the Wisdom of Jihad is to test the Muslims

Allah said,

أَمْ حَسِبْتُمْ

(Do you think), O believers that We will leave you untested with matters that make apparent those who have pure, good intent from those who have false intent This is why Allah said next,

وَلَمَّا يَعْلَمِ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ جَـهَدُواْ مِنكُمْ وَلَمْ يَتَّخِذُواْ مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ وَلاَ رَسُولِهِ وَلاَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَلِيجَةً

(while Allah has not yet tested those among you who have striven hard and fought and have not taken Walijah besides Allah and His Messenger, and the believers...), meaning, supporters and confidants. Rather, they are sincere for Allah and His Messenger inwardly and outwardly. Allah also said;

الم - ذَلِكَ الْكِتَابُ لاَ رَيْبَ فِيهِ هُدًى لِّلْمُتَّقِينَ - الَّذِينَ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِالْغَيْبِ وَيُقِيمُونَ الصَّلوةَ وَمِمَّا رَزَقْنَـهُمْ يُنفِقُونَ

(Alif-Lam-Mim. Do people think that they will be left alone because they say: "We believe,'' and will not be tested. And We indeed tested those who were before them. And Allah will certainly make known those who are true, and will certainly make known those who are liars...) 29:1-3,

أَمْ حَسِبْتُمْ أَن تَدْخُلُواْ الْجَنَّةَ وَلَمَّا يَعْلَمِ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ جَـهَدُواْ مِنكُمْ وَيَعْلَمَ الصَّـبِرِينَ

(Do you think that you will enter Paradise before Allah tests those of you who fought (in His cause) and (also) tests those who are patient)3: 142, and,

مَّا كَانَ اللَّهُ لِيَذَرَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ عَلَى مَآ أَنتُمْ عَلَيْهِ حَتَّى يَمِيزَ الْخَبِيثَ مِنَ الطَّيِّبِ

(Allah will not leave the believers in the state in which you are now, until He distinguishes the wicked from the good)3:179. In summary, since Allah legislated Jihad for His servants, He explained that the wisdom behind doing so includes testing His servants, distinguishing between those who obey Him and those who disobey Him. Allah, the Exalted, is the All-Knower of what occurred, what will occur, and the true essence of what might occur had He decided it. Therefore, Allah knows everything before it occurs and how it will occur, there is no deity worthy of worship except Him, nor a Lord except Him. Truly, there is none who can avert Allah's judgment and decision.

Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an

In this passage the addressees are the Muslims. They have been urged to fight perseveringly in the Way of Allah, without paying the least heed to their ties of blood and relationship and to their worldly interests. In order to understand fully the spirit of this passage, the reader should keep in view the state of affairs at the time, when the abrogation of the treaties was declared. Though Islam was reigning supreme in the greater part of Arabia and there was no greater power to challenge its supremacy, still superficial observers saw a number of dangers in the extreme step which was being taken at that time.

First, it was feared that the abrogating of the treaties with all the mushrik clans at one and the same time, and debarring them from Haj and changing the guardianship of the Ka`abah and abolishing all the rituals of `ignorance', would so incite the mushriks and the hypocrites and kindle such fire of enmity that they would be ready to shed the last drop of their blood for safeguarding their interests and prejudices.

Secondly, it was feared that the mushriks would be greatly enraged by this declaration which granted freedom of movement to the Muslims to perform Haj, whereas it forbade the non-Muslims. Obviously this would also affect adversely their economic condition, for Haj played a very important part in the economic life of Arabia during that period of her history.

Lastly, it was feared that this would put to a hard trial those people who had embraced Islam recently after the Peace Treaty of Hudaibiyah and the Conquest of Makkah. For many of their kith and kin were still mushriks, some of whom had their interests closely bound up with those offices of `ignorance' which were abolished. Now it was obvious that the total war against the mushriks demanded that these new Muslims should not only kill their own near and dear ones but should also themselves abolish those ancient offices and distinctions which they had enjoyed for centuries.

Though it is true that none of these dangers took any practical shape, there were good reasons for these apprehensions, for none could foresee the trends of events at the time of the abrogation of the treaties. And the dangers were averted because these Commandments had prepared them beforehand to meet them. More than that: this preparedness produced other good results. The delegates from the remnants of the mushriks, their chiefs and rulers began to visit Al-Madinah and take the oath of allegiance to Islam and obedience to the Holy prophet, who let them retain their old positions and offices. These things proved that if the Muslims had not been in a state of readiness to take immediate action for enforcing the terms of the "Declaration" with the sword, the events which followed might have taken a different direction. Therefore it was the need of the hour that the Muslims should have been vehemently urged for Jihad, and their apprehensions removed. That is why it was being enjoined that they should not let anything hinder them from doing the Will of Allah. And this is the theme of this discourse.

This was a subtle reference to the possibility of what actually was going to happen afterwards. "And He may remove......... repentance": this was to remove the misunderstandings of the Muslims who apprehended a bloody war as a result of the Declaration. They were told that it was also possible that some of the enemies might repent and embrace Islam. This was not made quite plain lest it should slacken the war preparations of the Muslims on one side and weaken the force of the warning to the mushriks on the other. The latter thing might have hindered the mushriks from giving a serious thought to the critical position they were in that finally led them to embrace Islam.

The addressees in v. 16 were those Muslims who had recently embraced Islam. It means to tell them plainly: "Now that you have embraced Islam, you shall ave to give a genuine proof by a trial that you have accepted it because you believe in its Truth and not because it has become supreme in the country by the exertions of the true Believers. The trial is that you shall have to sacrifice your lives, wealths and your near and dear ones for the sake of Allah and His Way. Then and only then, you will be regarded as true Believers."

Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs

(Or deemed ye) O believers (that ye would be left (in peace)) that you would be given respite and not commanded to fight (when Allah yet knoweth not) has not yet seen (those of you who strive) in the way of Allah, (choosing for familiar none) of the disbelievers (save Allah and His messenger and the) sincere (believers? Allah is Informed of what ye do) of good or evil during jihad and at other places and times.