The Quran

Commentaries for 9.41

Al Tawba (Immunity) - التوبة

9.41 Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(Go forth) with your Prophet to the Battle of Tabuk, (light armed and heavy armed) young and old; it is also said that this means: whether you are enthusiastic for it or not; it is also said that this means: light with property and children and heavy with property and children, (and strive with your wealth and your lives in the way of Allah) in obedience of Allah! (That) jihad (is best for you) than sitting remaining in one place (if ye but knew) and believed.
9.41 Jalal - Al-Jalalayn
Go forth, light and heavy!, that is, energetically or not; it is also said [to mean], [go forth] strong or weak, or rich or poor — but this was abrogated by the verse, The weak would not be at fault … [Q. 9:91]. Struggle in the way of God with your possessions and your lives: that is better for you, if only you knew, that it is better for you; so do not sink down heavily.
9.41 Kathir - Ibn Al Kathir
Jihad is required in all Conditions
Sufyan Ath-Thawri narrated from his father from Abu Ad-Duha, Muslim bin Subayh, who said, "This Ayah,
انْفِرُواْ خِفَافًا وَثِقَالاً
(March forth, whether you are light or heavy) was the first part to be revealed from Surah Bara'ah.'' Mu`tamir bin Sulayman narrated that his father said, "Hadrami claimed that he was told that some people used to declare that they will not gain sin (if they lag behind the forces of Jihad) because they are ill or old. This Ayah was revealed,
انْفِرُواْ خِفَافًا وَثِقَالاً
(March forth, whether you are light or heavy.)'' Allah commanded mass mobilization together with the Messenger of Allah for the battle of Tabuk, to fight the disbelieving, People of the Book, the Romans, Allah's enemies. Allah ordained that the believers all march forth with the Messenger regardless whether they felt active, lazy, at ease or had difficult circumstances,
انْفِرُواْ خِفَافًا وَثِقَالاً
(March forth, whether you are light or heavy) `Ali bin Zayd narrated that Anas said that Abu Talhah commented (on this Ayah), "Whether you are old or young, Allah did not leave an excuse for anyone.'' Abu Talhah marched to Ash-Sham and fought until he was killed. In another narration, Abu Talhah recited Surah Bara'ah until he reached this Ayah,
انْفِرُواْ خِفَافًا وَثِقَالاً وَجَـهِدُواْ بِأَمْوَلِكُمْ وَأَنفُسِكُمْ فِى سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ
(March forth, whether you are light or heavy, and strive hard with your wealth and your lives in the cause of Allah.) He then said, "I see that Allah had called us to mobilize whether we are old or young. O my children! Prepare my supplies.'' His children said, `May Allah grant you His mercy! You conducted Jihad along with the Messenger of Allah until he died, then with Abu Bakr until he died, then with `Umar until he died. Let us perform Jihad in your place.'' Abu Talhah refused and he went to the sea under the command of Mu`awiyah where he died. They could not find an island to bury him on until nine days later, during which his body did not deteriorate or change and they buried him on the island. As-Suddi said,
انْفِرُواْ خِفَافًا وَثِقَالاً
(March forth, whether you are light or heavy), whether you are rich, poor, strong, or weak. A man came forward, and he was fat, complained, and asked for permission to stay behind from Jihad, but the Prophet refused. Then this Ayah,
انْفِرُواْ خِفَافًا وَثِقَالاً
(March forth, whether you are light or heavy) was revealed, and it became hard on the people. So Allah abrogated it with this Ayah,
لَّيْسَ عَلَى الضُّعَفَآءِ وَلاَ عَلَى الْمَرْضَى وَلاَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ لاَ يَجِدُونَ مَا يُنفِقُونَ حَرَجٌ إِذَا نَصَحُواْ لِلَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ
r(There is no blame on those who are weak or ill or who find no resources to spend, if they are sincere and true (in duty) to Allah and His Messenger) 9:91.'' Ibn Jarir said that Hibban bin Zayd Ash-Shar`abi narrated to him, "We mobilized our forces with Safwan bin `Amr, who was the governor of Hims towards the city of Ephsos appointed to the Jerajima Christian expatriates (in Syria). I saw among the army an old, yet active man, whose eyebrows had sunk over his eyes (from old age), from the residents of Damascus, riding on his animal. I said to him, `O uncle! Allah has given you an excuse (to lag behind).' He said, `O my nephew! Allah has mobilized us whether we are light or heavy. Verily, those whom Allah loves, He tests them. Then to Allah is their return and eternal dwelling. Allah tests from His servants whoever thanks (Him) and observes patience and remembrance of Him, all the while worshipping Allah, the Exalted and Most Honored, and worshipping none else.''' Next, Allah encourages spending in His cause and striving with one's life in His pleasure and the pleasure of His Messenger,
وَجَـهِدُواْ بِأَمْوَلِكُمْ وَأَنفُسِكُمْ فِى سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ ذَلِكُمْ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ إِن كُنتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ
(and strive hard with your wealth and your lives in the cause of Allah. This is better for you, if you but knew.) Allah says, this is better for you in this life and the Hereafter. You might spend small amounts, but Allah will reward you the property of your enemy in this life, as well as, the honor that He will keep for you in the Hereafter. The Prophet said,
«تَكَفَّلَ اللهُ لِلْمُجَاهِدِ فِي سَبِيلِهِ إِنْ تَوَفَّاهُ أَنْ يُدْخِلَهُ الْجَنَّةَ، أَوْ يَرُدَّهُ إِلَى مَنْزِلِهِ بِمَا نَالَ مِنْ أَجْرٍ أَوْ غَنِيمَة»
(Allah promised the Mujahid in His cause that if He brings death to him, He will enter him into Paradise. Or, He will return him to his house with whatever reward and war spoils he earns.) So Allah said;
كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الْقِتَالُ وَهُوَ كُرْهٌ لَّكُمْ وَعَسَى أَن تَكْرَهُواْ شَيْئًا وَهُوَ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ وَعَسَى أَن تُحِبُّواْ شَيْئًا وَهُوَ شَرٌّ لَّكُمْ وَاللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ وَأَنتُمْ لاَ تَعْلَمُونَ
(Jihad is ordained for you (Muslims) though you dislike it, and it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. Allah knows but you do not know.)2:216 Imam Ahmad recorded that Anas said that the Messenger of Allah said to a man,
(Embrace Islam,) but the man said, "I dislike doing so.'' The Messenger said,
«أَسْلِمْ وَإِنْ كُنْتَ كَارِهًا»
(Embrace Islam even if you dislike it).''
9.38-41 Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
From here begins the discourse (vv. 38-72) which was sent down at the time when the Holy Prophet was engaged in making preparations for the Campaign to Tabuk.
".... you should know that the goods... Hereafter" may imply two meanings. First: "When you will find that the life in the Hereafter is eternal and see that the good things and the provisions of enjoyment are countless, you will realize that the potential and the actual enjoyments of the temporary life of this world were nothing as compared with the blessings of that great Kingdom. At that time you will regret why you deprived yourselves of this everlasting happiness and bliss for the sake of the little-very little-sort-lived enjoyments of the mortal life of this world. " Second: "The goods of this worldly life are of no value in the Hereafter, howsoever abundant they might be. You shall have to give up each and everything as soon as you breathe your last, for nothing of this world can go with you to the Next World. Of course, you will get credit for what you sacrificed for the pleasure and love of Allah, and love of Islam."
A general rule of the Islamic conduct has been derived from "If you.... chastisement. " When the Muslims are commanded to go to Jihad by a public proclamation from their leader, it becomes an obligatory duty for those who are called upon to do Jihad, whether they belong to any particular group or region. So much so that the Faith of those who do not go for Jihad without a genuine excuse becomes doubtful. But even in cases where the Muslims are called upon to go forth for Jihad and there is no command for the compulsory enrollment of every able-bodied Muslim of a particular group or region, it is a religious duty (though not obligatory), and it shall be considered to have been performed even if only some Muslims go forth for it.
That is, "Allah's work does not depend on you and will be accomplished only if you do it. It is Allah's grace and bounty that He is affording you the golden opportunity of serving the cause of His Way. Therefore if you miss this opportunity because of any foolish assumption, Allah will raise another people and bestow on them the opportunity and capability of doing His work, and you will be losers".
This refers to the occasion when the disbelievers had decided to assassinate the Holy Prophet, and the very night fixed for his assassination he had left Makkah for Al-Madinah. By that time most of the Muslims had migrated to Al-Madinah in twos and threes and only a few helpless ones had remained behind in Makkah. As he was sure that he would be pursued, he took only Hadrat Abu Bakr with him and went southward instead of following the northern route to Al-Madinah and remained hidden in the Thaur Cave for three days. In the meantime the blood thirsty enemies had begun to make a thorough search for him all around Makkah and some of them reached the very mouth of the Cave where he was hidden. On this critical occasion Hadrat Abu Bakr naturally felt alarmed lest they should peep into the Cave, and see them. But the Holy Prophet remained as calm as before and reassured his Companion, saying, "Be not distressed: indeed Allah is with us."
The words ".... whether you are light or heavy..." have a very comprehensive meaning: "When it is enjoined to march forth for Jihad, you must go forth anyhow, whether you like it or not: whether you are in a state of prosperity or indigence: whether you are well-equipped or ill-equipped: whether the circumstances are favorable or adverse: whether you are young and healthy or old and weak. "
9.41 Wahidi - Asbab Al-Nuzul by Al-Wahidi
(Go forth, light-armed and heavy-armed…) [9:41]. This was revealed about those who excused themselves from taking part in fighting because of their farms, work and preoccupations. But Allah, exalted is He, refused to excuse them unless they went forth to fight, despite of what had ensued from them before. Muhammad ibn Ibrahim ibn Muhammad ibn Yahya informed us> Abu ‘Amr ibn Matar> Ibrahim ibn ‘Ali> Yahya ibn Yahya> Sufyan ibn ‘Uyaynah> Ibn Jad‘an [‘Ali ibn Zayd]> Anas who said: “Abu Talhah recited (Go forth, light-armed and heavy-armed) and then said: ‘I see that Allah has not excused anyone’, and he went to Syria to take part in Jihad and remained there until he died”. Said al-Suddi: “One day, al-Miqdad ibn al-Aswad, who was a huge, fat man, went to see the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, to complain to him [about his size] and to dispense him from taking part in fighting. (Go forth, light-armed and heavy-armed) was revealed about him. But when this verse was revealed, people found it very hard on them, and so Allah, exalted is He, abrogated it and revealed instead (Not unto the weak nor unto the sick…) [9:91]”.