Nov 12, 2021 12:40 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).

As you know from our explanation so far of Surah Fat’h or Manifest Victory, which God Almighty describes the Prophet’s Treaty of Hudaybiyyah with the pagan Arabs of Mecca, several Bedouin tribes who claimed to be Muslim but whose hearts were devoid of Islam, disobeyed Divine commandments and resorted to lame excuses, lies and hypocrisy for their failure to accompany the faithful, since their main concern was booty and not faith, even though the All-Merciful readily forgives those who repent and reform. 

We continue from where we left you in our last episode a fortnight ago and here is Ayah 15 of Surah Fat’h:

“Those who lagged behind (at Hudaybiyyah) will say, when you set out to capture booty (of Khaybar): ‘Let us follow you.’ They desire to change the word of Allah. Say (O Prophet unto them), ‘You shall not follow us! Thus has Allah said in advance.’ Then they will say, ‘You are envious of us.’ Rather they do not understand, but a little.”

If you might recall, in our last episode of this series a fortnight ago, we explained the preceding Ayahs of this Surah, saying, wrong assumptions bring ruin and self-destruction, especially when Divine laws are deliberately disobeyed, since our fate depends on our faith and the deeds we do, whether good or bad which either bring Divine rewards or Divine punishment. We also said that excessive attachment to worldly possessions hinders people from fulfilling their religious duties, however, 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 to the disbelievers of acceptance of forgiveness through return to the straight and unwavering path.  

The Ayah that we recited to you now was revealed for the campaign of Khaybar against the rebellious Israelite tribes, who along with pagan Arabs were hatching a plot to attack Medina and kill the Prophet. So, the Prophet soon after his return to Medina decided to proceed towards Khaybar and declared that he will take with him only those who had accompanied him to Hudaybiyyah, because the Bedouin tribes that did not accompany him on that journey and now wanted to do in their greed for booty were Divinely debarred from joining the jihad. Jihad means to strive with sincerity for the sake of Allah and benefit of humanity, whether in war or in peace. In other words, Jihad is not for personal gain or booty. These were the facts that Bedouin Arab tribes failed to understand because of their lack of faith although they were clever in worldly matters they were ignorant of spiritual issues and wrongly said the Muslims and the Prophet were envious of them.

This Ayah teaches us that:

  1. Divine mercy precedes Divine wrath, and it is only our deeds that bring us reward or punishment.
  2. Most Bedouin tribes paid only lip service to Islam, while their hearts were devoid of faith in God and the Prophet.
  3. Among the characteristics of hypocrites is that they are opportunistic. They leave the scene at the time of danger by resorting to various pretexts, but when there are easy gains, they want to have the major share in them.
  4. It is the habit of the hypocrites to accuse the faithful in a bid to cover up their own faults and crimes.

Now let us listen to Ayah 16 of this Surah, as the concluding Ayah of this week’s episode:

“Say to the Bedouins who lagged behind, ‘You will be called against a people of a great might: they will embrace Islam, or you will fight them. So if you obey Allah will give you a good reward; but if you turn away like you turned away before, He will punish you with a painful punishment.”

This Ayah means to tell the Bedouin Arabs who had disobeyed the Prophet’s command and failed to accompany believers at Hudaybiyyah and then offered their apologies in order to participate in the campaign of Khaybar for a share of spoils: You shall be soon called to fight ferocious opponents who will be called on the embrace the truth of Islam. If you obey Divine commandments and fight for Allah’s cause, He will grant you fair reward, but if you turn away as you had done before, you will be punished by God Almighty. If you are really regretful of your past, you can prove your honesty in the coming hardship since God has kept the door of repentance open for you. You should, however, not enter the battlefield with the expectation of booty. In this way, you will receive the mercy that God bestows upon the combatants adhering to the Right Path.

From this Ayah we learn the following points:

  1. The door of repentance is wide open for sinners and disbelievers, as part of Divine Mercy.
  2. We should never underestimate the enemy and never consider past victories as a guarantee for future success.
  3. The Muslims ought to build a formidable power of defence to deter the enemies from any evil designs, and to defeat them if they attack.
  4. Jihad, whether it is peaceful striving or defence against enemies on the battlefield, is for the sake of God and safeguarding of humanitarian values, and not any ulterior motives.