Nov 12, 2021 12:16 UTC

Welcome to another episode of our weekly series titled “Path towards Enlightenment” which is an endeavour to make you and us familiar with an easy and fluent explanation of God’s Final Scripture to all mankind, the holy Qur’an, which was revealed to the Last and Greatest of all Messengers, Prophet Mohammad (blessings of God upon him and his progeny).

We continue from where we left you last week and here is Ayah 10 of Surah Fat’h:

“Indeed those who pledge allegiance to you (O Prophet), pledge allegiance only to Allah. The (symbolic) Hand of Allah is above their hands. So whoever breaks his oath breaks it only to his own detriment, and whoever fulfills the covenant he has made with Allah, He (Allah) will give him a great reward.”

If you might recall, last Friday in our explanation of the previous Ayahs of this Surah, which hails as a Manifest Victory the Treaty the Prophet concluded in 6 AH at Hudaibiyyah with the pagan Arabs on being barred entry into Mecca, we said the Almighty entrusted the Prophet with the universal mission of Islam to serve as witness to the faith of the people, while giving tidings of rewards to the believers and warning those in error of the consequences of their actions. In other words, the Prophet is not only a testifier of Allah's Oneness and Supreme Authority over the universe, but also a witness to people’s acceptance or rejection of the message of Islam that obliges Muslims to support the Prophet and honour him as a token of their obedience to God the Unseen, but Omnipresent.

The Ayah that we recited to you now means to say that the oath of allegiance to the Prophet by the people is actually a pledge by them to Allah the Omniscient, so whoever breaks his oath will do it to his own detriment, while those who fulfill their promise will receive great Divine rewards.

The reason for revelation of this particular Ayah is that before concluding the treaty, the Prophet sent an emissary to the pagan Arabs of Mecca to inform them of the peaceful intention of the Muslims to perform the Umrah pilgrimage, rather than seeking a confrontation with them. The emissary was detained by the Meccans, giving rise to rumours that he might have been killed. To calm down the Muslims the Prophet gathered them under a tree and renewed the oath of allegiance from them to firmly stand by his side in case of any conflict. As per the Arab custom, such a pledge is given by placing the hand of the pledge-giver on the hand of the Prophet, Who is God Almighty’s representative on Earth; hence the symbolic reference to the Divine Hand that prevails over all and everything else. When the pagans heard about this, they freed the Prophet’s emissary and agreed to sign a peace pact. This incident is known as “Bai’at ar-Redhwan” or Oath of Submission to Allah, which means the oath-breakers do it to their own detriment.   

This Ayah teaches us the following points:

  1. Faith in God requires loyalty to the Prophet and those vested with religious authority.
  2. In critical circumstances, Muslim masses renew allegiance to their legitimate leaders in order to reaffirm their resolve to defend their faith and people’s dignity.
  3. The symbolic Hand of the All-Merciful Lord is above all hands that aspire for the defence of Islam.
  4. The steadfast are naturally rewarded, while the oath-breakers suffer the consequences of their misdeeds.

Now let us listen to Ayah 11 of the same Surah:

“The Bedouins who lagged behind (in Jihad) will tell you (O Prophet), ‘Our possessions and our families kept us occupied, so plead (with Allah) for our forgiveness!’ They say with their tongues what is not in their hearts. Say, ‘Who can be of any avail to you against Allah, should He desire to cause you harm or desire to bring you benefit? Rather Allah is well aware of what you do.’”

When the Prophet started from Medina on the journey towards Mecca, he asked all the Muslims to join him in the pious act of performing the Umrah pilgrimage. Though the response was generally good, some tribes stayed back on the assumption of saving their life from possible attacks by the Meccans, since they thought the Prophet would be defeated. This shows the lack of faith in God of several Arab tribes that claimed to be Muslim, but in practice were not. Thus when the Prophet and Muslims returned to Medina after successfully concluding the Hudaibiyyah Treaty, the Arab tribes that did not accompany him, proffered several excuses for their disobedience, such as “our properties and families prevented us from joining you.”

God thus revealed this Ayah to the Prophet exposing their hypocrisy and cautioning him that the Bedouins are in fact lying in order to deceive you. They should be told that God the Omniscient is All-Aware of everything and none can save anyone from Divine wrath, since it is only the Almighty Lord who rewards the faithful and punishes the sinners.

From this Ayah we learn that:

  1. Infirm faith or lack of it from the depth of the heart prevents a person from fulfilling his/her obligations.
  2. Excessive attachment to worldly affairs fills the heart with fear of the loss of transient life, and thus failure to participate in Jihad at the battlefronts, when God has promised great rewards for those who obey His commandments with readiness to sacrifice whatever they possess.
  3. The Prophet’s prayer and his beseeching of the All-Merciful God for forgiveness of the sinners, is accepted in the Divine Court.
  4. Hypocrites always make lame excuses and utter lies, instead of admitting the truth.

Let us listen to Ayahs 12, 13, and 14 as the concluding Ayahs of this week’s episode:

“Rather (the reason of your disobedience of God is that) you thought that the Prophet and the faithful will not return to their folk ever, and that was made decorous to your hearts, and you entertained evil thoughts, and you were a ruined lot.

“As for those who have no faith in Allah and His Prophet, We have prepared a blaze for the faithless.

“To Allah belongs the kingdom of the heavens and the earth. He forgives whoever He wishes, and punishes whomever He wishes, and Allah is All-Forgiving, All-Merciful.”

These Ayahs address the erring Arab tribes, and tell them that they entertained suspicion and doubt about Divine Promise by thinking that the Prophet and those who had accompanied him to Mecca would never return to Medina, as they would be killed by the pagan Arabs. Satan made such evil thoughts seem fair to these Arab tribes who claimed to be Muslim but lacked faith in the heart. Consequently, they suffered loss and were deprived of the rewards of embarking upon that historic journey, which besides the victorious Treaty of Hudaibiyyah, included other honours, such as the “Bai’at ar-Redhwan” or the pledge to God Almighty to stand firm.

As the next Ayah means to say, their hearts were dead as a consequence of their disobedience of God and the Prophet, and dire fate was in store for them, such as disgrace, perdition, and torment in the Hereafter, including the fires of hell.

Ayah 14 lays emphasis on Divine Forgiveness and Mercy, since everything in the heavens and the earth belong to God, Whose warnings aim at jolting human conscience in order to open the path of return to the Straight Path to the sinners and of repentance to even the disbelievers, in view of the fact that sins and disbelief are the results of ignorance.

These Ayahs teach us that:

  1. Wrong assumptions bring ruin and self-destruction, especially when Divine laws are deliberately disobeyed.
  2. Our fate depends on our faith and the deeds we do, whether good or bad, which either bring Divine rewards or Divine punishment.
  3. Excessive attachment to family and worldly possessions hinders people from fulfilling their religious duties.
  4. The All-Merciful Lord has left the doors of repentance wide open, and His warnings of punishment as well as the tidings of rewards, are intended to give hope to the sinners and even the disbelievers of acceptance of forgiveness through return to the straight and unwavering path.