The Quran

Commentaries for 22.39

Al Hajj (The pilgrimage) - الحج

22.39 Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(Sanction is given unto those who fight) sanction has been given to the believers to fight the disbelievers of Mecca (because they have been wronged) the disbelievers of Mecca wronged them; (and Allah is indeed Able to give them victory) Allah is able to give the believers victory over their enemies;
22.39 Jalal - Al-Jalalayn
Permission is granted to those who fight, namely, to the believers, to fight back — this was the first verse to be revealed regarding the struggle [in the way of God] (jihād), because they have been wronged, as a result of the wrong done to them by the disbelievers. And God is truly able to help them;
22.39-40 Kathir - Ibn Al Kathir
Permission to fight; this is the first Ayah of Jihad
Al-`Awfi reported that Ibn `Abbas said, "This was revealed about Muhammad and his Companions, when they were expelled from Makkah.'' Mujahid, Ad-Dahhak and others among the Salaf, such as Ibn `Abbas, `Urwah bin Az-Zubayr, Zayd bin Aslam, Muqatil bin Hayan, Qatadah and others said, "This is the first Ayah which was revealed about Jihad.'' Ibn Jarir recorded that Ibn `Abbas said, "When the Prophet was driven out of Makkah, Abu Bakr said, `They have their Prophet. Truly, to Allah we belong and truly, to Him we shall return; surely they are doomed.''' Ibn `Abbas said, "Then Allah revealed the words:
أُذِنَ لِلَّذِينَ يُقَـتَلُونَ بِأَنَّهُمْ ظُلِمُواْ وَإِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلَى نَصْرِهِمْ لَقَدِيرٌ
(Permission (to fight) is given to those (believers) fought against, because they have been wronged; and surely, Allah is able to give them victory.)'' Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, said, "Then I knew that there would be fighting.'' Imam Ahmad added: "Ibn `Abbas said, `This was the first Ayah to be revealed concerning fighting.''' This was also recorded by At-Tirmidhi and An-Nasa'i in the Book of Tafsir of their Sunans. At-Tirmidhi said: "It is a Hasan Hadith.''
وَإِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلَى نَصْرِهِمْ لَقَدِيرٌ
(and surely, Allah is able to give them victory.) means, He is able to grant victory to His believing servants without any fighting taking place, but He wants His servants to strive their utmost in obeying Him, as He says:
فَإِذَا لَقِيتُمُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ فَضَرْبَ الرِّقَابِ حَتَّى إِذَآ أَثْخَنتُمُوهُمْ فَشُدُّواْ الْوَثَاقَ فَإِمَّا مَنًّا بَعْدُ وَإِمَّا فِدَآءً حَتَّى تَضَعَ الْحَرْبُ أَوْزَارَهَا ذَلِكَ وَلَوْ يَشَآءُ اللَّهُ لاَنْتَصَرَ مِنْهُمْ وَلَـكِن لِّيَبْلُوَ بَعْضَكُمْ بِبَعْضٍ وَالَّذِينَ قُتِلُواْ فِى سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ فَلَن يُضِلَّ أَعْمَـلَهُمْ - سَيَهْدِيهِمْ وَيُصْلِحُ بَالَهُمْ - وَيُدْخِلُهُمُ الْجَنَّةَ عَرَّفَهَا لَهُمْ
(So, when you meet those who disbelieve, strike necks till when you have killed and wounded many of them, then bind a bond firmly. Thereafter either for generosity, or ransom, until war lays down its burden. Thus, but if it had been Allah's will, He Himself could certainly have punished them. But (He lets you fight) in order to test some of you with others. But those who are killed in the way of Allah, He will never let their deeds be lost. He will guide them and set right their state. And admit them to Paradise which He has made known to them.) 47:4-6
قَـتِلُوهُمْ يُعَذِّبْهُمُ اللَّهُ بِأَيْدِيكُمْ وَيُخْزِهِمْ وَيَنْصُرْكُمْ عَلَيْهِمْ وَيَشْفِ صُدُورَ قَوْمٍ مُّؤْمِنِينَ - وَيُذْهِبْ غَيْظَ قُلُوبِهِمْ وَيَتُوبُ اللَّهُ عَلَى مَن يَشَآءُ وَاللَّهُ عَلِيمٌ حَكِيمٌ
(Fight against them so that Allah will punish them by your hands, and disgrace them, and give you victory over them, and heal the breasts of a believing people, and remove the anger of their (believers') hearts. Allah accepts the repentance of whom He wills. Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise.) 9:14-15
وَلَنَبْلُوَنَّكُمْ حَتَّى نَعْلَمَ الْمُجَـهِدِينَ مِنكُمْ وَالصَّـبِرِينَ وَنَبْلُوَ أَخْبَـرَكُمْ
(And surely, We shall try you till We test those who strive hard and the patient, and We shall test your facts.) 47:31. And there are many similar Ayat. Ibn `Abbas commented on the Ayah,
وَإِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلَى نَصْرِهِمْ لَقَدِيرٌ
(and surely, Allah is able to give them (believers) victory.) "And this is what He did.'' Allah prescribed Jihad at an appropriate time, because when they were in Makkah, the idolators outnumbered them by more than ten to one. Were they to engage in fighting at that time, the results would have been disastrous. When the idolators went to extremes to persecute Muslims, to expel the Prophet and resolving to kill him; when they sent his Companions into exile here and there, so that some went to Ethiopia and others went to Al-Madinah; when they settled in Al-Madinah and the Messenger of Allah joined them there, and they gathered around him and lent him their support, and they had a place where Islam prevailed, and a stronghold to which they could retreat; then Allah prescribed Jihad against the enemy, and this was the first Ayah to be revealed for it. Allah said:
أُذِنَ لِلَّذِينَ يُقَـتَلُونَ بِأَنَّهُمْ ظُلِمُواْ وَإِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلَى نَصْرِهِمْ لَقَدِيرٌ الَّذِينَ أُخْرِجُواْ مِن دِيَـرِهِم بِغَيْرِ حَقٍّ
(Permission (to fight) is given to those fought against, because they have been wronged; and surely, Allah is able to give them victory. Those who have been expelled from their homes unjustly) Al-`Awfi reported that Ibn `Abbas said; "They were driven out of Makkah to Al-Madinah unjustly, i.e., Muhammad and his Companions.''
إِلاَّ أَن يَقُولُواْ رَبُّنَا اللَّهُ
(only because they said: "Our Lord is Allah.'') means, they had not done anything to their people or committed any wrongs against them, apart from the fact that they believed in the Oneness of Allah and they worshipped Him Alone, with no partner or associate. But for the idolators, this was the worst of sins, as Allah says:
يُخْرِجُونَ الرَّسُولَ وَإِيَّـكُمْ أَن تُؤْمِنُواْ بِاللَّهِ رَبِّكُمْ
(and have driven out the Messenger and yourselves because you believe in Allah, your Lord!) 60:1. Then Allah says:
وَلَوْلاَ دَفْعُ اللَّهِ النَّاسَ بَعْضَهُم بِبَعْضٍ
(For had it not been that Allah checks one set of people by means of another,) meaning, were it not for the fact that He repels one people by means of another, and restrains the evil of people towards others by means of whatever circumstances He creates and decrees, the earth would have been corrupted and the strong would have destroyed the weak.
لَّهُدِّمَتْ صَوَمِعُ
(Sawami` surely have been pulled down) means the small temples used by monks. This was the view of Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, Abu Al-`Aliyah, `Ikrimah, Ad-Dahhak and others. Qatadah said, "This refers to the places of worship of the Sabians;'' according to another report, he said, "The Sawami` of the Zoroastrians.'' Muqatil bin Hayyan said, "These are houses along the roads.''
وَبِيَعٌ
(Biya`.) These are larger than the Sawami` and accommodate more worshippers; the Christians also have these. This was the view of Abu Al-`Aliyah, Qatadah, Ad-Dahhak, Ibn Sakhr, Muqatil bin Hayyan, Khusayf and others. Ibn Jubayr reported from Mujahid and others that this referred to the synagogues of the Jews which are known to them as Salut. And Allah knows best.
وَصَلَوَتِ
(Salawat) Al-`Awfi reported that Ibn `Abbas said, "Salawat means churches.'' `Ikrimah, Ad-Dahhak and Qatadah said that it referred to the synagogues of the Jews. Abu Al-`Aliyah and others said, "Salawat refers to the places of worship of the Sabians.'' Ibn Abi Najih reported that Mujahid said, "Salawat refers to places of worship of the People of the Book and of the people of Islam along the roads.'' Masjids belong to the Muslims.
يُذْكَرُ فِيهَا اسمُ اللَّهِ كَثِيراً
(wherein the Name of Allah is mentioned much,) It was said that the pronoun refers to Masjids, because this is the closest of the words mentioned. Ad-Dahhak said, "In all of them the Name of Allah is often mentioned.'' Ibn Jarir said, "The correct view is that the monasteries of the monks, the churches of the Christians, the synagogues of the Jews and the Masjids of the Muslims, in which the Name of Allah is mentioned much, would have been destroyed -- because this is the usual usage in Arabic.'' Some of the scholars said, "This is a sequence listing the smallest to the greatest, because the Masjids are more frequented by more worshippers who have the correct intention and way.''
وَلَيَنصُرَنَّ اللَّهُ مَن يَنصُرُهُ
(Verily, Allah will help those who help His (cause).) This is like the Ayah:
يأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ إِن تَنصُرُواْ اللَّهَ يَنصُرْكُمْ وَيُثَبِّتْ أَقْدَامَكُمْ - وَالَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ فَتَعْساً لَّهُمْ وَأَضَلَّ أَعْمَـلَهُمْ
(O you who believe! If you help (in the cause of) Allah, He will help you, and make your foothold firm. But those who disbelieve, for them is destruction, and (Allah) will make their deeds vain.) 47:7-8
إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَقَوِىٌّ عَزِيزٌ
(Truly, Allah is All-Strong, All-Mighty.) Allah describes Himself as being All-Strong and All-Mighty. By His strength He created everything and measured it exactly according to its due measurements; by His might nothing can overpower Him or overwhelm Him, rather everything is humbled before Him and is in need of Him. Whoever is supported by the All-Strong, the All-Mighty, is indeed supported and helped, and his enemy will be overpowered. Allah says:
وَلَقَدْ سَبَقَتْ كَلِمَتُنَا لِعِبَادِنَا الْمُرْسَلِينَ - إِنَّهُمْ لَهُمُ الْمَنصُورُونَ - وَإِنَّ جُندَنَا لَهُمُ الْغَـلِبُونَ
(And, verily, Our Word has gone forth of old for Our servants, the Messengers, that they verily, would be made triumphant, and that Our soldiers! They verily, would be the victors.) 37:171-173
كَتَبَ اللَّهُ لاّغْلِبَنَّ أَنَاْ وَرُسُلِى إِنَّ اللَّهَ قَوِىٌّ عَزِيزٌ
(Allah has decreed: "Verily, it is I and My Messengers who shall be the victorious.'' Verily, Allah is All-Powerful, All-Mighty.) 58:21
22.38-41 Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
From here the address for the first time prepares the Muslims for Jihad. In order to understand this, we should keep in view the preceding portion (vv. 19-24) in which the ideological conflict between the two parties (Believers and disbelievers) and the result thereof have been described. This naturally serves as a prelude to the armed conflict between the two parties. That is why in vv. 26-37 the immediate causes which necessitated war have been stated to serve as an introduction and justification for war with the disbelievers of Makkah.
After the migration to al-Madinah, when the first Hajj season approached, it naturally brought along with it anguish and anger both for the Muhajirs and the Ansar, who had been debarred froth visiting Makkah and performing Hajj, That is why, in this passage (vv.,26-37) the rituals and the objects of Hajj have been described to bring home to the disbelievers that they had no right to debar anyone from Hajj. On the other hand, the Muslims are being prepared to fight not with the intention of wreaking vengeance but for the sake of reform. At the same time sacrifice on the occasion of Hajj has been prescribed as a permanent rite to enable them (and the Muslims of the whole world) to commemorate Hajj and the rites connected with it, so that they might refrain from wreaking vengeance on the people of Makkah for the persecution to which they had been subjected. They have, therefore, been enjoined to fight to bring about better conditions and not to take. revenge on their persecutors.
The Arabic word mudafi at implies two things:
(1) to fight with the enemy to ward off his aggressive attack;
(2) to fight with the enemy not just once but whenever the need arises. Allah has assured the Believers that He will defend them against the enemy every tithe there is a conflict between Islam and kufr. This is to encourage the Believers that they will not be left alone in their defence, but Allah Himself will be a party with them and will help them to frustrate the cunning designs of the enemy and to ward off their attacks. Indeed this verse is a great encouragement for the Believers, for it imbues their hearts with spirit and strength which nothing else can.
Allah becomes a party with the Believers because they are justified in waging war against the disbelievers who are treacherous and ungrateful to Allah in spite of His marry blessings and favors to them.
This (v. 39) is the first verse of the Qur'an in which permission to tight was given in the month of Zil-Hajj in the first year after Hijrah according to our research. Then the command to fight was given in vv. 190, 191, 193, 216 and 244 of Chapter II (Al-Baqarah) in Rajab or Sha`ban of A.H. 2.
".....and Allah is certainly able to help them": this assurance was urgently needed by the persecuted Muslims whose fighting strength at that time was very meager, not even a thousand including all the migrants and the Muslims of al-Madinah. On the other hand, the fighting strength of the Quraish by themselves was much greater. Besides, they had all the other mushrik clans of Arabia at their back and were joined later by the Jews as well. Therefore, this assurance was most opportune and the challenge to the disbelievers was very significant, for it meant to say that they were not fighting against a small number of the Muslims but against Allah. Therefore, "You are. welcome to fight if you dare".
The mention of their expulsion from their homes in v. 40 is a clear proof that this portion of Surah al-Hajj was revealed at al-Madinah.
In order to have an idea of the severe persecution of the Muslims, a few instances of this are cited.
(1) Hadrat Suhaib Rumi was deprived of everything, when he was about to migrate to al-Madinah. When he reached there, he had nothing with him except the clothes he was wearing. Though he had earned all that through his own labors he was deprived of everything by the disbelievers of Makkah.
(2) When Hadrat Abu Salmah was about to leave Makkah with his wife and a suckling child, his in-laws forcibly separated his wife from him, and then the people of his own family tore away the child from them. Thus the poor woman had to pass one whole year in sorrow and grief. After a year, she secured the child somehow and journeyed from Makkah to al-Madinah with it all alone on a dangerous route.
(3) `Ayyash bin Rabi`ah was a half brother of Abu Jahl: When he migrated to al Madinah, he was followed by Abu Jahl and another brother of his, and they told him the lie: "Your mother has taken the oath that she will not move from the sun to the shade nor comb her hair until she should see you (`Ayyash) You should therefore go back with us to Makkah,' show her your face and then come back". He was taken in by this trick. When they were journeying back the two brothers made him a prisoner, took him to Makkah with his hands and feet tied, and proclaimed, "O people of Makkah, this is how these lads should be treated and set right". He remained in that state for a long time and was at last rescued by a brave Muslim.
Saumah (pl. Swami), Biyah and Salawat in the original Text are the places of worship of the monks who have left the world, the Christians and the Jews respectively. Salawat was Salauta in Aramaic, which might be the origin of the English words salute and salutation.
In this sentence, a Divine principle has been stated:
"Allah does not let a group of people or a community have authority for ever. Every now and then He repels one group by means of another".
If this had not been the case, the permanent dominator would have created chaos not only in the political and economic spheres, but would have encroached upon the places of worship as well. This "principle" has also been stated in v. 251 of Chapter II (Al-Baqarah).
Those "who help Allah" are the people who invite mankind to Tauhid and exert their utmost to establish the "True Faith" and righteousness. For further explanation see E.N. 50 of Chapter III (AI-i-`Imran).
".......if We give them power...... evil": In this one sentence, the real aim of the Islamic State and the characteristics of those who conduct its affairs have been stated concisely but comprehensively. Those who help Allah and deserve His succor behave righteously, establish Salat, make arrangements for the collection of Zakat and use their power and authority to propagate good and eradicate evil.
That is, "It is Allah Who decides whom to give power in the land and when". This is meant to remove the misunderstanding of the proud and arrogant people who think that the destiny of the land and its dwellers is in their hands, and there is none to depose them from power. But Allah dethrones the most haughty ruler in supernatural ways and gives power to the most humble in order to show that He is All-Powerful, All-Mighty.  "
22.39 Wahidi - Asbab Al-Nuzul by Al-Wahidi
(Sanction is given unto those who fight because they have been wronged…) [22:39]. The commentators of the Qur’an said: “The idolaters from among the people of Mecca were in the habit of harming the Companions of the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace. These Companions used to come always either beaten or with their skulls bashed in. They complained to the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, about this situation and he persistently told them: ‘Be steadfast, for I have not been commanded to fight’. This continued until the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, migrated, upon which Allah, exalted is He, revealed this verse”. Ibn ‘Abbas said: “When the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, was taken out of Mecca, Abu Bakr, may Allah be well pleased with him, said about him: ‘We are unto Allah, and unto Him we shall return; we shall surely perish’. Allah, exalted is He, then revealed (Sanction is given unto those who fight because they have been wronged; and Allah is indeed Able to give them victory). Abu Bakr said: ‘I knew at that point that there will be fighting’ ”.