Revelational Circumstances of the Qur'an: Surah 8 (Al-Anfal)

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Revelational Circumstances of the Qur'an
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Narrated Uthman ibn Affan

Yazid al-Farisi said: I heard Ibn Abbas say: I asked Uthman ibn Affan: What moved you to put the (Surah) al-Bara'ah which belongs to the mi'in (surahs) (containing one hundred verses) and the (Surah) al-Anfal which belongs to the mathani (Surahs) in the category of as-sab'u at-tiwal (the first long surah or chapters of the Qur'an), and you did not write "In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful" between them?

Uthman replied: When the verses of the Qur'an were revealed to the Prophet (peace be upon him), he called someone to write them down for him and said to him: Put this verse in the surah in which such and such has been mentioned; and when one or two verses were revealed, he used to say similarly (regarding them). (Surah) al-Anfal is the first surah that was revealed at Medina, and (Surah) al-Bara'ah was revealed last in the Qur'an, and its contents were similar to those of al-Anfal. I, therefore, thought that it was a part of al-Anfal. Hence I put them in the category of as-sab'u at-tiwal (the seven lengthy surahs), and I did not write "In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful" between them.
Narrated Said bin Jubair
I asked Ibn 'Abbas regarding Surat-al-Anfal. He said, "It was revealed in connection with the Battle of Badr."


8:18:98:228:33 • 8:348:65 • 8:668:67 - 8:69

8:1[edit]

They ask thee (O Muhammad) of the spoils of war. Say: The spoils of war belong to Allah and the messenger, so keep your duty to Allah, and adjust the matter of your difference, and obey Allah and His messenger, if ye are (true) believers.
A hadith has been narrated by Mus'ab b. Sa'd who heard it from his father as saying: My father took a sword from Khums and brought it to the Holy Prophet (may peace be upon him) and said: Grant it to me. He refused. At this Allah revealed (the Qur'anic verse):" They ask thee concerning the spoils of war. Say: The spoils of war are for Allah and the Apostle" (viii. 1).

8:9[edit]

When ye sought help of your Lord and He answered you (saying): I will help you with a thousand of the angels, rank on rank.

It has been narrated on the authority of 'Umar b. al-Khattab who said: When it was the day on which the Battle of Badr was fought, the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) cast a glance at the infidels, and they were one thousand while his own Companions were three hundred and nineteen. The Holy Prophet (may peace be upon him) turned (his face) towards the Qibla Then he stretched his hands and began his supplication to his Lord:" O Allah, accomplish for me what Thou hast promised to me. O Allah, bring about what Thou hast promised to me. O Allah, if this small band of Muslims is destroyed. Thou will not be worshipped on this earth." He continued his supplication to his Lord, stretching his hands, facing the Qibla, until his mantle slipped down from his shoulders. So Abu Bakr came to him, picked up his mantle and put it on his shoulders. Then he embraced him from behind and said:. Prophet of Allah, this prayer of yours to your Lord will suffice you, and He will fulfil for you what He has promised you. So Allah, the Glorious and Exalted, revealed (the Qur'anic verse):" When ye appealed to your Lord for help, He responded to your call (saying): I will help you with one thousand angels coming in succession." So Allah helped him with angels.

Abu Zumail said that the badith was narrated to him by Ibn 'Abbas who said: While on that day a Muslim was chasing a disbeliever who was going ahead of him, he heard over him' the swishing of the whip and the voice of the rider saying: Go ahead, Haizi'm! He glanced at the polytheist who had (now) fallen down on his back. When he looked at him (carefully he found that) there was a scar on his nose and his face was torn as if it had been lashed with a whip, and had turned green with its poison. An Ansari came to the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) and related this (event) to him. He said: You have told the truth. This was the help from the third heaven. The Muslims that day (i. e. the day of the Battle of Badr) killed seventy persons and captured seventy. The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said to Abu Bakr and 'Umar (Allah be pleased with them): What is your opinion about these captives? Abu Bakr said: They are our kith and kin. I think you should release them after getting from them a ransom. This will be a source of strength to us against the infidels. It is quite possible that Allah may guide them to Islam. Then the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: What is your opinion. Ibn Khattab? He said: Messenger of Allah. I do not hold the same opinion as Abu Bakr. I am of the opinion that you should hand them over to us so that we may cut off their heads. Hand over 'Aqil to 'Ali that he may cut off his head, and hand over such and such relative to me that I may but off his head. They are leaders of the disbelievers and veterans among them. The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) approved the opinion of Abu Bakr and did not approve what I said The next day when I came to the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him), I found that both he and Abu Bakr were sitting shedding tears. I said: Messenger of Allah, why are you and your Companion shedding tears? Tell me the reason. For I will weep ate, if not, I will at least pretend to weep in sympathy with you. The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: I weep for what has happened to your companions for taking ransom (from the prisoners). I was shown the torture to which they were subjected. It was brought to me as close as this tree. (He pointed to a tree close to him.) Then God revealed the verse:" It is not befitting for a prophet that he should take prisoners until the force of the disbelievers has been crushed..." to the end of the verse:" so eat ye the spoils of war, (it is) lawful and pure. So Allah made booty lawful for them."

8:22[edit]

Lo! the worst of beasts in Allah's sight are the deaf, the dumb, who have no sense.
Narrated Ibn 'Abbas

Regarding the Verse: "Verily! The worst of beasts in the Sight of Allah are the deaf and the dumb----those who understand not." (8.22)

(The people referred to here) were some persons from the tribe of Bani 'Abd-Addar.

8:33 - 8:34[edit]

33. But Allah would not punish them while thou wast with them, nor will He punish them while they seek forgiveness.
34. What (plea) have they that Allah should not punish them, when they debar (His servants) from the Inviolable Place of Worship, though they are not its fitting guardians. Its fitting guardians are those only who keep their duty to Allah. But most of them know not.
Anas b. Malik reported that Abu Jahl said: O Allah, if he is true, then shower upon us the volley of stones from the sky or inflict upon us a grievous torment, and it was on this occasion that this verse was revealed:" 'Allah would never torment them so long as you are amongst them. And Allah is not going to torment them as long as they seek forgiveness. And why is it that Allah should not torment them and they prevent people from coming to the sacred mosque...." (viii. 34) to the end.

8:65 - 8:66[edit]

65. O Prophet! Exhort the believers to fight. If there be of you twenty steadfast they shall overcome two hundred, and if there be of you a hundred (steadfast) they shall overcome a thousand of those who disbelieve, because they (the disbelievers) are a folk without intelligence.
66. Now hath Allah lightened your burden, for He knoweth that there is weakness in you. So if there be of you a steadfast hundred they shall overcome two hundred, and if there be of you a thousand (steadfast) they shall overcome two thousand by permission of Allah. Allah is with the steadfast.
Narrated Ibn Abbas

When the Verse:-- "If there are twenty steadfast amongst you, they will overcome two hundred." (8.65) was revealed, then it became obligatory for the Muslims that one (Muslim) should not flee from ten (non-Muslims). Sufyan (the sub-narrator) once said, "Twenty (Muslims) should not flee before two hundred (non Muslims)." Then there was revealed: 'But now Allah has lightened your (task)..' (8.66)

So it became obligatory that one-hundred (Muslims) should not flee before two hundred (non-muslims). (Once Sufyan said extra, "The Verse: 'Urge the believers to the fight. If there are twenty steadfast amongst you (Muslims) ..' was revealed.) Sufyan said, "Ibn Shabrama said, "I see that this order is applicable to the obligation of enjoining good and forbidding evil."

8:67 - 8:69[edit]

67. It is not for any prophet to have captives until he hath made slaughter in the land. Ye desire the lure of this world and Allah desireth (for you) the Hereafter, and Allah is Mighty, Wise.
68. Had it not been for an ordinance of Allah which had gone before, an awful doom had come upon you on account of what ye took.
69. Now enjoy what ye have won, as lawful and good, and keep your duty to Allah. Lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.

It has been narrated on the authority of 'Umar b. al-Khattab who said: When it was the day on which the Battle of Badr was fought, the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) cast a glance at the infidels, and they were one thousand while his own Companions were three hundred and nineteen. The Holy Prophet (may peace be upon him) turned (his face) towards the Qibla Then he stretched his hands and began his supplication to his Lord:" O Allah, accomplish for me what Thou hast promised to me. O Allah, bring about what Thou hast promised to me. O Allah, if this small band of Muslims is destroyed. Thou will not be worshipped on this earth." He continued his supplication to his Lord, stretching his hands, facing the Qibla, until his mantle slipped down from his shoulders. So Abu Bakr came to him, picked up his mantle and put it on his shoulders. Then he embraced him from behind and said:. Prophet of Allah, this prayer of yours to your Lord will suffice you, and He will fulfil for you what He has promised you. So Allah, the Glorious and Exalted, revealed (the Qur'anic verse):" When ye appealed to your Lord for help, He responded to your call (saying): I will help you with one thousand angels coming in succession." So Allah helped him with angels.

Abu Zumail said that the badith was narrated to him by Ibn 'Abbas who said: While on that day a Muslim was chasing a disbeliever who was going ahead of him, he heard over him' the swishing of the whip and the voice of the rider saying: Go ahead, Haizi'm! He glanced at the polytheist who had (now) fallen down on his back. When he looked at him (carefully he found that) there was a scar on his nose and his face was torn as if it had been lashed with a whip, and had turned green with its poison. An Ansari came to the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) and related this (event) to him. He said: You have told the truth. This was the help from the third heaven. The Muslims that day (i. e. the day of the Battle of Badr) killed seventy persons and captured seventy. The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said to Abu Bakr and 'Umar (Allah be pleased with them): What is your opinion about these captives? Abu Bakr said: They are our kith and kin. I think you should release them after getting from them a ransom. This will be a source of strength to us against the infidels. It is quite possible that Allah may guide them to Islam. Then the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: What is your opinion. Ibn Khattab? He said: Messenger of Allah. I do not hold the same opinion as Abu Bakr. I am of the opinion that you should hand them over to us so that we may cut off their heads. Hand over 'Aqil to 'Ali that he may cut off his head, and hand over such and such relative to me that I may but off his head. They are leaders of the disbelievers and veterans among them. The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) approved the opinion of Abu Bakr and did not approve what I said The next day when I came to the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him), I found that both he and Abu Bakr were sitting shedding tears. I said: Messenger of Allah, why are you and your Companion shedding tears? Tell me the reason. For I will weep ate, if not, I will at least pretend to weep in sympathy with you. The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: I weep for what has happened to your companions for taking ransom (from the prisoners). I was shown the torture to which they were subjected. It was brought to me as close as this tree. (He pointed to a tree close to him.) Then God revealed the verse:" It is not befitting for a prophet that he should take prisoners until the force of the disbelievers has been crushed..." to the end of the verse:" so eat ye the spoils of war, (it is) lawful and pure. So Allah made booty lawful for them."


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