Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(O ye who believe!) the address here is to Marwan and Abu Lubabah Ibn 'Abd al-Mundhir (Betray not Allah) in relation to Religion (and His messenger) by advising the Banu Qurayzah not to accept the judgement of Sa'd Ibn Mu'adh, (nor knowingly betray your trusts) nor betray the obligations of Allah which are your trusts.
The following was revealed regarding Abū Lubāba Marwān b. ‘Abd al-Mundhir: the Prophet (s) had dispatched him to the Banū Qurayza so that they would submit to his [the Prophet’s] authority. But they [Banū Qurayza] consulted with him [as to whether they should cede], and he pointed out to them that a slaughter would ensue — for members of his family and his property were among them: O you who believe, do not betray God and the Messenger, and, do not, betray your trusts, that which has been entrusted to you, in the way of religion or otherwise, while you are aware.
[O you who believe] do not betray God, by diminishing the former primordial covenant of affirming the Oneness [of God], and, betray, the Messenger, by diminishing [your] resolve and casting aside the subsequent compact, and betray your trusts, in the way of the gnoses and realities which God has deposited in you in accordance with the pre-eternal original preparedness, [betraying these] by hiding them behind the attributes of the soul, while you are aware, of the fact that you bear these [trusts], or while you are aware that treachery is the worst and most despicable of vices.
Reason behind revealing This Ayah, and the prohibition of Betrayal
The Two Sahihs mention the story of Hatib bin Abi Balta`ah. In the year of the victory of Makkah he wrote to the Quraysh alerting them that the Messenger of Allah intended to march towards them. Allah informed His Messenger of this, and he sent a Companion to retrieve the letter that Hatib sent, and then he summoned him. He admitted to what he did. `Umar bin Al-Khattab stood up and said, "O Allah's Messenger! Should I cut off his head, for he has betrayed Allah, His Messenger and the believers'' The Prophet said,
(Leave him! He participated in Badr. How do you know that Allah has not looked at those who participated in Badr and said, Do whatever you want, for I have forgiven you.)
However, it appears that this Ayah is more general, even if it was revealed about a specific incident. Such rulings are dealt with by their indications, not the specific reasons behind revealing them, according to the majority of scholars.
Betrayal includes both minor and major sins, as well those that affect others. `Ali bin Abi Talhah said that Ibn `Abbas commented on the Ayah,
(nor betray your Amanat) "The Amanah refers to the actions that Allah has entrusted the servants with, such as and including what He ordained. Therefore, Allah says here,
(nor betray...), `do not abandon the obligations.''' `Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd commented, "Allah forbade you from betraying Him and His Messenger, as hypocrites do.''
(And know that your possessions and your children are but a trial.) from Him to you. He grants these to you so that He knows which of you will be grateful and obedient to Him, or become busy with and dedicated to them instead of Him. Allah said in another Ayah,
(O you who believe! Verily, among your wives and your children there are enemies for you (who may stop you from the obedience of Allah); therefore beware of them!) 64:14 Allah said next,
وَأَنَّ اللَّهَ عِندَهُ أَجْرٌ عَظِيمٌ
(And that surely with Allah is a mighty reward.) Therefore, Allah's reward, favor and Paradise are better for you than wealth and children. Certainly, among the wealth and children there might be enemies for you and much of them avail nothing. With Allah alone is the decision and sovereignty in this life and the Hereafter, and He gives tremendous rewards on the Day of Resurrection. In the Sahih, there is a Hadith in which the Messenger of Allah said,
(There are three qualities for which whomever has them, he will have tasted the sweetness of faith. (They are:) whoever Allah and His Messenger are dearer to him than anyone else, whoever loves a person for Allah's sake alone, and whoever prefers to be thrown in fire rather than revert to disbelief, after Allah has saved him from it.)
Therefore, loving the Messenger of Allah comes before loving children, wealth and oneself. In the Sahih, it is confirmed that he said,
(By He in Whose Hand is my soul! None of you will have faith unless I become dearer to him than himself, his family, his wealth and all people.)
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.
(O ye who believe! Betray not Allah and His messenger…) [8:27]. This verse was revealed about Abu Lubabah ibn ‘Abd al-Mundhir al-Ansari. What happened is that the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, besieged the Jews of Banu Qurayzah for 21 nights when they requested peace from the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, on the same terms that their brothers from Banu’l-Nadir had secured before, i.e. that they join their brothers in Adhri‘at and Jericho in Syria. But he refused to grant it to them and insisted that they submit to the judgment of Sa‘d ibn Mu‘adh. They refused to do so and said: “Send us Abu Lubabah, instead”. Abu Lubabah was loyal to them, for his property, wife and children were with them. When the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, sent him to them, they said to him: “O Abu Lubabah, what do you think we should do? Should we accept the judgment of Sa‘d ibn Mu‘adh?” Abu Lubabah made a gesture to his throat, i.e. that they should not do it, for they will be slaughtered. Abu Lubabah said: “I straightaway realised that I had betrayed Allah and His Messenger”. And then this verse was revealed about him. When the verse was revealed, Abu Lubabah tied himself to one of the columns of the mosques and said: “By Allah, I will not taste food or drink until Allah relents on me or I die”. He remained in this state for seven days, neither eating nor drinking, until Allah, exalted is He, relented on him. When it was said to him: “O Abu Lubabah! You have been pardoned”, he said: “By Allah, I will not untie myself; I want the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, to untie me”. The Prophet went and untied him with his own hands. Abu Lubabah then said: “The completion of my repentance requires that I migrate from the abode of my people where I had committed the sin and that I let go of my property”. The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, said to him: “It is enough that you give a third of it to charity”.