The Quran

Commentaries for 8.24

Al Anfal (Spoils of war) - الأنفال

8.24 Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(O ye who believe) i.e. the Companions of Muhammad (pbuh); (Obey Allah, and the messenger when He calleth you to that which quickeneth you) to that which honours you, makes you triumphant and reforms you, such as when you are called to fighting, etc., (and know) O believers (that Allah cometh in between) protects (the man and his own heart) He protects the believer and his heart, such that He preserves the heart of the believer by making it firm on faith so that it does not reject faith; and he preserves the heart of the disbeliever by making it firm on disbelief so that it does not accept faith, (and that He it is unto Whom) unto Allah in the Hereafter (ye will be gathered) and thus rewarded you for your works.
8.24 Asrar - Kashf Al-Asrar
O you who have faith, respond to God and the Messenger when he invites you to that which will give you life, and know that God comes between a man and his heart, and unto Him you will be mustered.
In the tongue of the folk of allusion, response is of two sorts: one is the response of tawḤīd, and the other the response of realization. TawḤīd is that the faithful say “one,” and realization is that the recognizers be one. TawḤīd is the attribute of the travelers, and realization is the state of those snatched away. The first is the attribute of the Bosom Friend, the second the attribute of the Beloved.
The Bosom Friend was a traveler and stood before the Exalted Threshold in the station of service: “Surely I have turned my face toward Him who originated the heavens and the earth, unswerving” [6:79]. The Beloved was snatched away, sitting in reverence at the top of good fortune. The Beginningless Presence addressed him, “Peace be upon thee, O Prophet, and God's mercy and His blessing.”
The traveling of the wayfarers lies in the outward response of following the Messenger. The
attraction of the snatched away lies in the secret core's response of contemplating the Knower of Unseen Things.
This is why that master of the Tariqah said, “Respond to God in your secret core and His Messenger through your outwardness when he invites you to that which will give you life. The life of the souls is through following the Messenger, and the life of the hearts is through contemplating the unseen things.”
May I be a ransom for the men dwelling in the Unseen, their secret cores roaming in all that is there!
The reality of life will not be turned over to anyone among the folk of creation without the response of tawḤīd and the signet of realization. Hence this call of exaltedness came from the prophetic presence: “I have been commanded to fight the people until they say 'No god but God.'”
When He invites you to that which will give you life. In reality the folk of life and the living are those who are pure of backsliding, far from suspicion, famous for friendship, released from the ruling power of the soul, their hearts joined to the Patron, their secret cores adorned with awareness of the Real, alive in the breeze of intimacy, having found the beginningless reminder and reached the Friend The Pir of the Tariqah said, “O God, nothing other than recognizing You is happiness, and nothing other than finding You is life.
He who lives without You is imprisoned like a corpse. Life
without You is death, and the one who lives with You lives forever.”
O life of the spirit, what is it with me that I know nothing of my state? The spirit from You fills me, but my heart's blood is empty of You.
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I will have no spirit if You turn away from me.
O Spirit of the world, You are my unbelief and faith.
And know that God comes between a man and his heart. The wayfarers on the road of the Haqiqah are two groups: the knowers and the recognizers. The knowers find their hearts in keeping with the verse, “Surely in that is a reminder for him who has a heart” [50:37]. The recognizers lose their hearts in keeping with the verse, “And know that God comes between a man and his heart.”
This is a strange intimation and a marvelous allusion: The heart is the road, and the Friend is the homeland. When someone arrives at the homeland, he no longer walks on the road. At the beginning, there is no escape from the heart, but at the end, the heart is a veil.
As long as someone stays with the heart, he is the desirer. The one without a heart is the desired. At first the heart is needed because one cannot traverse the road of the Shariah without the heart. Thus He said, “a reminder for him who has a heart.” At the end, remaining with the heart is duality, and duality is distance from the Real. Hence He said, “comes between a man and his heart.”
It is said that the possessors of the heart are four: The renunciant, whose heart is wounded by yearning; the fearful, whose heart is washed by doubt; the desirer, whose heart has tightened its belt in service; and the lover, whose heart is joined with the Presence.
Revelation came to David the prophet: “'O David, make for Me a pure house in which I may reside!' O David, make a house fitting to be the field of union with Me, and turn away from the others toward Me.”
David said, “O Lord, which house can be fitting for Your majesty and tremendousness?”
He said, “The heart of the faithful servant. 'O David! I am with fevered hearts.' Wherever you see someone in the road of searching for Me whose harvest has been burned by the fire of passion in seeking Me, take that as the mark. The pavilion of My holiness is set up only when the heart of the burnt is annihilated. The heart of the faithful servant is the treasury of My bazaar, the domicile of looking upon Me, the prayer-niche of union with Me, the tent of yearning for Me, the
lodging place of speaking with Me, the treasure house of My secrets, the quarry of seeing Me.”
When something is burnt, it loses value, but when a heart is burnt, it gains in value. MuṣṬafā said, “The hearts are God's containers in the earth. The most beloved of the containers to God is the most limpid, the most tender, and the most solid.” He said that the hearts of this community's lovers are cups for the wine of love for the Lord. Any heart that is more limpid in relation to engendered beings and more merciful toward the faithful is more exalted in the Exalted Presence.
Beware, consider the heart exalted! Protect its face from the opacities of caprice and appetite, for it is a lordly subtlety and the gazing place of the Glorified. MuṣṬafā said, “Surely God gazes not on your forms or your acts, but He gazes on your hearts.” In other words, “Do not adorn your faces, for the adornment of faces has no honor with the Exalted Presence; do not curl your hair, for curled and knotted hair is of no account in that Court. Do not be proud of your forms, for the form has no measure or worth. The only thing of any use is a heart full of pain.”
The Pir of the Tariqah said, “For this work, a man is needed with a heart full of pain. Alas that no pain remains in the world, nor in the hearts!”
Concerning His words, “God comes between a man and his heart,” one of the realizers said, “He is alluding to the hearts of His lovers, the fact that He takes the hearts away from them, protects them for them, and makes them fluctuate through His attributes, as the Prophet said: 'The heart of Adam's child is between two fingers of the All-Merciful-He makes it fluctuate as He will.' Then He seals it with the seal of recognition and impresses it with the imprint of yearning.”
8.24 Jalal - Al-Jalalayn
O you who believe, respond to God and the Messenger, with obedience, when He calls you to that which will give you life, in the matter of religion, for it will be the source of everlasting life [for you]; and know that God comes in between a man and his heart, so that he cannot believe or disbelieve except by His will; and that it is to Him that you shall be gathered, and He will requite you for your deeds.
8.24 Kashani - Kashani
O you who believe, in the unseen, respond, through the cleansing and purification [of your souls], when He calls you to that which, gives life to your hearts in the way of true knowledge, or believe with the faith of verification; respond [to God] by wayfaring to God and in Him, when He calls you thereto in order to give you life thereby. That is [the meaning] if the response to God and to the Messenger is [intended as being] a single response. But if the two are separate, then it means: respond to God inwardly and through the works of the heart, and to the Messenger outwardly and through the works of the soul. Or, respond to God by annihilation in the union and to the Messenger by being mindful of the dues of differentiation when He calls you to be upright for the sake of that which will give you life in that [call] in the way of subsistence through God. All of that should be before the disappearance of preparedness, for God comes in between a man and his heart at the disappearance of preparedness and the actualisation of veils upon the accumulation of rust [on the heart]. So seize the opportunity and do not delay in responding; and that it is to Him that you shall be gathered, whereupon He will recompense you from His attributes and His Essence in accordance with your effacement and annihilation.
8.24 Kathir - Ibn Al Kathir
The Command to answer and obey Allah and His Messenger
Al-Bukhari said,
اسْتَجِيبُواْ
"(Answer), obey,
لِمَا يُحْيِيكُمْ
(that which will give you life) that which will make your affairs good.'' Al-Bukhari went on to narrate that Abu Sa`id bin Al-Mu`alla said, "I was praying when the Prophet passed by and called me, but I did not answer him until I finished the prayer. He said,
«مَا مَنَعَكَ أَنْ تَأْتِيَنِي؟ أَلَمْ يَقُلِ اللَّهُ:
(What prevented you from answering me Has not Allah said:
يأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ اسْتَجِيبُواْ لِلَّهِ وَلِلرَّسُولِ إِذَا دَعَاكُمْ لِمَا يُحْيِيكُمْ
(O you who believe! Answer Allah and (His) Messenger when he calls you to that which will give you life)' He then said:
«لَأُعَلِّمَنَّكَ أَعْظَمَ سُورَةٍ فِي الْقُرآنِ قَبْلَ أَنْ أَخْرُج»
(I will teach you the greatest Suah in the Qur'an before I leave.) When he was about to leave, I mentioned what he said to me. He said,
الْحَمْدُ للَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَـلَمِينَ
(All the praises and thanks are to Allah, the Lord of all that exists...) 1:1-6.
«هِيَ السَّبْعُ الْمَثَانِي»
(Surely, it is the seven oft-repeated verses.)''' Muhammad bin Ishaq narrated that Muhammad bin Ja`far bin Az-Zubayr said that `Urwah bin Az-Zubayr explained this Ayah,
يأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ اسْتَجِيبُواْ لِلَّهِ وَلِلرَّسُولِ إِذَا دَعَاكُمْ لِمَا يُحْيِيكُمْ
(O you who believe! Answer Allah and (His) Messenger when he calls you to that which will give you life,) "Answer when called to war (Jihad) with which Allah gives you might after meekness, and strength after weakness, and shields you from the enemy who oppressed you.''
Allah comes in between a Person and His Heart
Allah said,
وَاعْلَمُواْ أَنَّ اللَّهَ يَحُولُ بَيْنَ الْمَرْءِ وَقَلْبِهِ
(and know that Allah comes in between a person and his heart.)
Ibn `Abbas commented, "Allah prevents the believer from disbelief and the disbeliever from faith.'' Al-Hakim recorded this in his Mustadrak and said, "It is Sahih and they did not record it.''. Similar was said by Mujahid, Sa`id, `Ikrimah, Ad-Dahhak, Abu Salih `Atiyyah, Muqatil bin Hayyan and As-Suddi. In another report from Mujahid, he commented;
يَحُولُ بَيْنَ الْمَرْءِ وَقَلْبِهِ
(...comes in between a person and his heart.) "Leaves him without comprehension,'' As-Suddi said, "Prevents one self from his own heart, so he will neither believe nor disbelieve except by His leave.'' There are several Hadiths that conform with the meaning of this Ayah. For instance, Imam Ahmad recorded that Anas bin Malik said, "The Prophet used to often say these words,
«يَا مُقَلِّبَ الْقُلُوبِ ثَبِّتْ قَلْبِي عَلَى دِينِك»
(O You Who changes the hearts, make my heart firm on Your religion.) We said, `O Allah's Messenger! We believed in you and in what you brought us. Are you afraid for us' He said,
«نَعَمْ، إِنَّ الْقُلُوبَ بَيْنَ إِصْبَعَيْنِ مِنْ أَصَابِعِ اللهِ تَعَالَى يُقَلِّبُهَا»
(Yes, for the hearts are between two of Allah's Fingers, He changes them (as He wills).)''
This is the same narration recorded by At-Tirmidhi in the Book of Qadar in his Jami' Sunan, and he said, "Hasan.'' Imam Ahmad recorded that An-Nawwas bin Sam`an Al-Kilabi said that he heard the Prophet saying,
«مَا مِنْ قَلْبٍ إِلَّا وَهُوَ بَيْنَ أُصْبُعَيْنِ مِنْ أَصَابِعِ الرَّحْمَنِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ إِذَا شَاءَ أَنْ يُقِيمَهُ أَقَامَهُ وَإِذَا شَاءَ أَنْ يُزِيغَهُ أَزَاغَه»
(Every heart is between two of the Fingers of the Most Beneficent (Allah), Lord of all that exists, if He wills, He makes it straight, and if He wills, He makes it stray.)
And he said:
«يَا مُقَلِّبَ الْقُلُوبِ ثَبِّتْ قَلْبِي عَلَى دِينِك»
(O You Who changes the hearts! keep my heart firm on Your religion) And he would say;
«وَالْمِيزَانُ بِيَدِ الرَّحْمنِ يَخْفِضُهُ وَيَرْفَعُه»
(The Balance is in the Hand of Ar-Rahman, He raises and lowers it.)
This was also recorded by An-Nasai and Ibn Majah.
8.24-29 Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
In vv. 21-23, the Believers were warned to guard against behaving like the hypocrites and here the remedy is being prescribed for it. The most effective antidote against hypocritical behavior is the belief in Allah and the life in the Hereafter. If a person sincerely believes that he has to deal with that Allah Who knows everything-even the intentions, desires, designs, thoughts, etc., hidden in the hearts arc known to Him- and that one has ultimately to return to Him, he will try his best to refrain from such a behavior. That is why the Qur'an mentions these two articles of Faith over and over again as a remedy to cure the evil of hypocrisy.
"That mischief" refers to those collective evils that are not confined to individuals but are so widespread that a large number of persons in a locality become addicted to these at the same time. In such a case, it is not the wrongdoers alone who are seized by the scourge of Allah but also those few people who arc involved in those evils. This is because they put up with life in such evil surroundings.
In order to illustrate this, let us consider the case of a town from the point of view of its sanitary conditions. If filth lies scattered at a few places, its evil effects remain confined to that particular locality or localities and only those people who keep their houses or persons dirty suffer from the consequent diseases. But if filth gets scattered all over the town and there is no one to prevent it and restore sanitary conditions, then the air, the water and the soil will all be contaminated and become so poisonous as to cause the outbreak of an epidemic in the whole town. Obviously it will not discriminate between those who scattered the tilth and those who refrained from it, but will affect all the people who live in those surroundings. The same is the case of moral impurity, corruption and obscenity. If these evils are found in some persons individually but the fear of the good people of the society keeps them under check, the evil effects remain confined to the wrongdoers alone. On the other hand, if the collective conscience of the society becomes so weak that it cannot keep the evil suppressed, and the wrongdoers, the indecent and the unmoral people become so bold that they begin to commit their filthy acts openly, that mischief takes the forth of an epidemic of immorality. Then even those good people who remain content with their own individual goodness and adopt a passive attitude towards the widespread evils, fall victims to the consequent scourge because they did nothing to prevent the spread of the epidemic.
In this way Allah impresses upon the Muslims the importance of the mission of reform and guidance for which the Messenger had risen and to which he was inviting them, as if to say, "There is life for you as individuals and as Community in this work. If you do not sincerely exert for its achievement and for the eradication of evils, an epidemic of evils will break out which will involve in its scourge all of you, even though there may be some among you who might. not have been guilty of either the commission of those evils or of their spread; nay, they might have been leading good lives as individuals". The same thing has already been enunciated in VII :164. And this may be regarded as the fundamental principle of that war which has been permitted by Islam for the reform of the people in general.
The words "...so that you may be grateful" are very significant in the context in which they occur. They require that the Muslims should not merely acknowledge the kindness of Allah that He brought them out of their weak position in Makkah to the security of Al-Madinah and provided them with pure and good things of life. They should also show their gratitude in a practical manner and obey Allah and His Messenger and work sincerely and devotedly for the success of his mission, facing bravely, with trust in God, the dangers, hardships, obstacles and misfortunes that come in the way. They should firmly believe that if they sincerely exert in the way of Allah, He will most surely become their Guardian and Helper as before and bring them out safely from all sorts of dangers. Thus gratitude does not mean mere acknowledgment; it has to be given a practical shape as well. It is not gratitude if one acknowledges the kindness of a benefactor but does nothing to please him or serve him sincerely or entertains doubts about the kindness of the benefactor in future; it is ingratitude.
"Your trusts" is a very comprehensive term and includes all those things that are entrusted to anyone for fulfillment, whether they concern individuals or communities. For instance, one should not violate treaties and agreements or betray secrets of community or misappropriate property and office entrusted to one's care. (For further details, please refer to E.N. 88 of An-Nisa).
Worldly goods and children generally prove to be the greatest temptations that lead a person to the ways of hypocrisy, treachery and dishonesty. That is why Allah has warned the Believers to be on their guard against indulging in too much love of money and children, as if to say, "This world is a big Examination Hall, and Your wealth and Your children are two of its question papers. These have been given to you only to test whether you fulfill their prescribed rights and keep the prescribed limits; whether you walk straight on the Right Way while carrying the burden of responsibilities or swerve from it because of the attractions of allurements and temptations; and whether you control your "self' which is liable to become their slave in a way that it remains the slave of Allah, and at the same time renders their rights in the way He has prescribed.
The Believers have been assured that if they behave in a God-fearing way, Allah will provide them with the criterion (that is, the true knowledge and the right understanding of all affairs), to enable them to discern between right and wrong. Thus, if they so intend, they will be able to do the Will of God and follow the way He approves of. That criterion will serve as a signal at every turning, every crossing, every up and down and show them the Right Way, the Way of God, and warn them of the false ways, the ways of Satan.