Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(O ye who believe!) meaning: Asad, Ghatafan, and some people from Kindah and Murad. (Whoso of you becometh a renegade from his religion) after the death of Muhammad (pbuh) (Allah will bring a people) i.e. the people of Yemen (whom He loveth and who love Him, humble) compassionate and benevolent (towards believers, stern towards) hard on (disbelievers, striving in the way of Allah) attached to Allah's obedience (and fearing not the blame of any blamer. Such) that which I have mentioned of love, command, etc. (is the grace of Allah which He giveth unto whom He will) He gives to whoever is fit for it. (Allah is All-Embracing) Allah is Generous in His gift, (All-Knowing) to whom He gives.
O you who have faith, if any of you turn back on your religion, God will bring a people whom He loves, and who love Him.
This verse contains an allusion for the knowers and good news for the faithful. The allusion is that God is the guardian and defender of the creed of submission, the unswerving religion, the Muhammadan Shariah, and that it will always remain. What will this religion lose if some people turn away? If some people turn back, the Lord of Mightiness will bring others who embrace this religion with spirit and heart and nurture it joyfully. With them God will preserve the signposts of His commands and the foundations of His prohibitions. With their places He will decorate the carpet of the Shariah. Upon them He has inscribed the letters of love, for He says, “whom He loves, and who love Him.” Upon the page of their hearts He has written with the divine script: He wrote faith in their hearts [58:22]. He has illuminated their inmost eye with the lamp of recognition: So he is upon a light from his Lord [39:22]. The Divinity is their nurturer, the lap of prophethood their cradle, beginninglessness and endlessless their warders, the playing field of gentleness the lodge of their gaze, and the carpet of awe the resting place of their aspiration. This is just what God says in another place: “So if they disbelieve, we have already entrusted it to a people who do not disbelieve” [6:89]. The Prophet said, “A group among my people will never cease supporting the Real. None who oppose them will harm them, and then God's command will come.”
The good news is that whoever does not turn back is counted among the friends, the folk of love and faith. Those who do not fall into the abyss of turning back have the good news that the name of love will fall upon them.
God says, “If any of you turn back on your religion, God will bring a people whom He loves, and who love Him.” First He affirms His love, then the servants' love. Thus you know that so long as God does not love the servant, the servant will not love.
WāsiṬī said, “Gehenna was nullified when He mentioned His love for them with His words,
'Whom He loves, and who love Him.
' What do defective attributes have to do with beginningless and endless attributes?”
Ibn ʿAṬāÌ was asked what love is. He said, “Branches that grow in the heart and give fruit in the measure of intellect.”
The Pir of the Tariqah said, “The sign of finding friendship's response is approval, the water of friendship increases through loyalty, the basis of friendship's treasure is light, the fruit of friendship's tree is joy. Whoever fails to keep away from the two worlds is excused from friendship. Whoever seeks from the Friend something other than the Friend is ungrateful. Friendship is friendship for God, all the rest disquiet.”
Whom He loves, and who love Him. A great work and a magnificent bazaar rose up in water and clay and became the kiblah of the Real's friendship and the target of union's arrow. How could the traveler not be delighted that friendship is the nearest way station to the Protector? The tree that produces only the fruit of joy is friendship, the soil that grows nothing but the flowers of intimacy is friendship, the cloud that rains nothing but light is friendship, the drink whose poison turns into honey is friendship, the road whose dust is musk and ambergris is friendship. Friendship's inscription is beginningless, and friendship's burning brand endless.
When the Friend's friendship is my habit and disposition, I am all from the Friend, and all of me is the Friend.
Behold how long friendship's good fortune lasts! Listen how fitting is the tale of the friends! The field of friendship is a vast heart, and the kingdom of paradise is one branch of friendship's tree. He who drinks friendship's wine is promised vision. Whoever is truthful will one day reach his desire.
God revealed to David, “O David, he who seeks Me will in truth find Me, but how can those who seek others find Me?
“O David, tell the people of the earth, 'Turn toward companionship and intimacy with Me!
Become intimate with My remembrance! Then I will be your heart's intimate.'
“I have created the clay of my friends from the clay of My bosom friend Abraham, from the clay of My speaking companion Moses, and from the clay of My beloved MuḤammad.
“O David, I have created the hearts of those who yearn for Me from My light and nurtured them with My majesty.
I have servants whom I love and who love Me: whom He loves, and who love Him. They remember Me and I remember them: So remember Me; I will remember you [2:152]. They are happy with Me and I am happy with them: God approves of them and they approve of Him [9:100]. They stay loyal to My covenant and I stay loyal to their covenant: And be loyal to My covenant; I will be loyal to your covenant [2:40]. They yearn for Me and I yearn for them: 'Surely the yearning of the pious to encounter Me has become protracted, but My yearning to encounter them is more intense.'”
O you who believe, whoever of you apostatises (read either yartadid, with separation [of the two dāl letters], or yartadd, with assimilation [of one of the dāl letters with the other]), turns back, from his religion, to disbelief — this is a notification of what God knew would happen, for some of them apostatised upon the death of the Prophet (s) — God will assuredly bring, in their place, a people whom He loves and who love Him: the Prophet (s) said, ‘They are people like him’, and he pointed to Abū Mūsā al-Ash‘arī, as reported by al-Hākim [al-Naysābūrī] in his Sahīh; humble, sympathetic, towards believers, stern, severe, towards disbelievers, struggling in the way of God, and fearing not the reproach of any reproacher, therein, in the way that the hypocrites fear the reproach of the disbelievers. That, description mentioned, is God’s bounty; He gives it to whom He will; and God is Embracing, of abundant bounty, Knowing, of those who deserve it.
[O you who believe] whoever of you apostatises, whoever retreats from the path of the truth to the veiling of oneself with some veil, whatever that veil be, and withdraws from, he is from among the rejects, not from among the folk of love; nor is the religion of truth veiled or nullified by his apostasy. For God will assuredly bring a people whom He loves, in accordance with the first providence, not for any one reason, but for their essences, and [a people] who love His Essence, not for any one of His attributes, such as His being gentle, or merciful or gracious. For love of the attributes changes with the different self-disclosures of these [attributes]. The one who loves 'the Gentle', his love will not remain if He discloses Himself in the attribute of vanquishing; the one who loves 'the Gracious', his love will be effaced if He discloses Himself in the attribute of 'the Vengeful'. As for love of the Essence, it remains by Its subsistence, and does not change with the different self-disclosures. Thus the one who loves It will love the Vanquisher upon the vanquishing, just as he will love the Gentle upon gentleness, and will love the Avenger at the point of [His] vengeance, and will love the Gracious upon [His bestowal of] a grace. Thus this [love] does not undergo any discrepancy either during [a state of] satisfaction or its absence. And the love of such [a person] does not differ according to his states, for he thanks Him during affliction just as he thanks Him during comfort; whereas the one who loves the Gracious does not thank Him during affliction, rather he exercises patience. Such a love entails the former [kind of] love, which is the one that is for God, on the part of His friends (awliyāÌ), so that they love Him for His love of them, for otherwise whence their love of Godḍ O what is dust before the Lord of all lords! Humble [they are] towards believers, gentle and tender with them, compassionate in their humility before them on account of the genus-compatibility of [their] essences, the interconnection [between them] of pre-eternal love and [their] mutual correspondence in terms of the primordial nature; stern, severe and harsh, towards, those who are veiled on account of the contrariety of those [aspects] mentioned, struggling in the way of God, by effacing their attributes and annihilating their essences which constitute the veils [preventing them] from their witnessings, and fearing not the reproach of any reproacher, who might impute to them antinomianism, atheism or disbelief or who might blame them for avoiding this world and its pleasures, nay for avoiding the Hereafter and its bliss, as the Commander of the Believers, peace be upon him, said, 'Worship God neither in desire [of His reward] nor in fear [of His requital].
Therefore they are the youth of whom it was said:
'When the young man knows right-guidance for himself, the reproach of reproachers'.
Threatening to Replace the Believers With Another People if They Revert from Islam
Allah emphasizes His mighty ability and states that whoever reverts from supporting His religion and establishing His Law, then Allah will replace them with whomever is better, mightier and more righteous in Allah's religion and Law. Allah said in other Ayat,
(Do you not see that Allah has created the heavens and the earth with truth If He will, He can remove you and bring (in your place) a new creation! And for Allah that is not hard or difficult.)14:19-20. Verily this is not difficult or hard on Allah. Allah said here,
(humble towards the believers, stern towards the disbelievers.) These are the qualities of perfect believers, as they are humble with their believing brothers and allies, stern with their enemies and adversaries. In another Ayah, Allah said,
(Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. And those who are with him are severe against disbelievers, and merciful among themselves.) The Prophet is described as the smiling fighter, smiling to his allies and fighting his enemies. Allah's statement,
(Fighting in the way of Allah, and never fearing the blame of the blamers.) Nothing prevents them from obeying Allah, establishing His Law, fighting His enemies, enjoining righteousness and forbidding evil. Certainly, nothing prevents them from taking this path, neither someone who seeks to hinder them, nor one who blames or chastises them. Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Dharr said, "My Khalil (intimate friend, the Messenger) has commanded me to do seven deeds. He commanded me to love the poor and to be close to them. He commanded me to look at those who are less than me and not those who are above me. He commanded me to keep the relations of the womb, even if they cut it. He commanded me not to ask anyone for anything, to say the truth even if it was bitter, and to not fear the blame of anyone for the sake of Allah. He commanded me to often repeat, `La hawla wa la quwwata illa billah (There is no strength or power except from Allah)', for these words are from a treasure under the Throne (of Allah).'' It is confirmed in the Sahih;
«مَا يَنْبَغِي لِلْمُؤْمِنِ أَنْ يُذِلَّ نَفْسَه»
(The believer is not required to humiliate himself.) He was asked; "How does one humiliate himself, O Messenger of Allah'' So he replied;
«يَتَحَمَّلُ مِنَ الْبَلَاءِ مَا لَا يُطِيق»
(He takes on tests that he cannot bear.)
ذلِكَ فَضْلُ اللَّهِ يُؤْتِيهِ مَن يَشَآءُ
(That is the grace of Allah which He bestows on whom He wills.) meaning, those who have these qualities, acquired it by Allah's bounty and favor and because He granted them these qualities.
وَاللَّهُ وَسِعٌ عَلِيمٌ
(And Allah is All-Sufficient for His creatures' needs, All-Knower,) His favor is ever extending, and He has perfect knowledge of those who deserve or do not deserve His favor and bounty. Allah's statement,
(those who perform the Salah, and give the Zakah...) referring to the believers who have these qualities and establish the prayer, which is one of the most important pillars of Islam, for it includes worshipping Allah alone without partners. They pay Zakah, which is the right of the creation and a type of help extended to the needy and the poor. As for Allah's statement,
(and they bow down,) some people thought that they give the Zakah while bowing down. If this were the case, then paying the Zakah while bowing would be the best form of giving Zakah. No scholar from whom religious rulings are taken says this, as much as we know. Therefore,
(and they bow down,) means, they attend the prayer in congregation in Allah's Masjids and spend by way of charity on the various needs of Muslims. Allah said;
(Allah has decreed: "Verily, it is I and My Messengers who shall be the victorious.'' Verily, Allah is All-Powerful, Almighty. You will not find any people who believe in Allah and the Last Day, making friendship with those who oppose Allah and His Messenger, even though they were their fathers or their sons or their brothers or their kindred (people). For such He has written faith in their hearts, and strengthened them with a Ruh (proof) from Himself. And He will admit them to Gardens (Paradise) under which rivers flow to dwell therein (forever). Allah is pleased with them, and they with Him. They are the party of Allah. Verily, it is the party of Allah that will be the successful.) Therefore, those who accept the allegiance of Allah - His Messenger and the faithful believers - will gain success in this life and the Hereafter. Hence Allah's statement here,
(And whosoever takes Allah, His Messenger, and those who have believed, as protectors, then the party of Allah will be the victorious.)
Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
"Who will be lenient towards the Believers" means that they will never use force against the Believers and will never employ their intelligence, ability, influence, wealth, power or anything else to suppress or oppress them or inflict loss on them. The Muslims will always find such persons to be mild, kindly, amiable and sympathetic.
"..........but stern towards the disbelievers" means that a Believer will be firm, strict, uncompromising and militant towards the opponents of Islam by virtue of his firm faith, sincere religious sense, strict principles, strong character and God-given intelligence. Whenever the disbelievers will come in conflict with him, they will find that a Believer can neither be bought nor coerced because he is so uncompromising in his Islamic principles that he would rather die than yield.
That is, they will fearlessly follow the Way of Allah and act upon His commandments, and declare to be right what is right, and wrong what is wrong, according to it, and will not mind in the least the opposition, the censure, the criticism, the objections, the derision and ridicules of their opponents. They will boldly follow the Way of Islam which they sincerely believe to be right, even if the popular opinion is against Islam and they are exposed to the ridicule, derision and taunts of the world.