THIS CHAPTER of 29 verses arranged in four sections was revealed in the interval after the truce made at the tree of Hudaybiyya in the sixth year following the Hijra, or during 628 A.D.; thus it belongs to the Madinese period. It was revealed after Friday (OR Congregation) 62, when we consider the sequence of the chapters within the Quran itself.
The chapter mentions political difficulties in section II, while a mob scene is described in section III. Ultimate victory is promised the Prophet and believers in section II, which also contains the fable of "The Sturdy Plant". One great problem facing the early Muslims was how to divide up or dispose of booty that fell to them in battle; the Prophet did not want any followers who joined his forces merely in order to acquire it. This chapter reinforces the Muslim's sense of duty.
In the name of God, the Mercy-giving, the Merciful!
(I) * We have opened up a clear victory for you * so God may forgive you for any offence of yours you have committed previously or whatever you may do later on, complete His favor toward you and guide you along a Straight Road, * and so God may support you in a mighty success! * He is the One Who sends down Serenity on believers' hearts s they may add faith to the faith they already have.
God [commands] the armies of Heaven and Earth; God is Aware, Wise, ** so that He may admit believing men and believing women into gardens through which rivers flow, to live there for ever, and to cancel out their evil deeds for them. That will be a supreme Achievement with God, * so He may punish hypocritical men and women as well as associating men and women who conjecture such evil about God; on them will fall an evil turn of fortune. God has become angry with them, and has cursed them and prepared Hell for them. How evil is such a goal!
Swearing Allegiance in Islam
* God [commands] the armies of Heaven and Earth. God is Powerful Wise! * We have sent you as a witness, herald and warner, * so you may (all) believe in God and His messenger, and revere and honor Him, and glorify Him morning and evening. ** The ones who swear allegiance to you merely swear allegiance to God. God's hand rests above their hands, so anyone who breaks his word, only breaks it at his own peril, while We will pay a splendid fee to anyone who fulfils what he has pledged [to do] before God.
(II) * Those desert Arabs who have held back will tell you: "Our property and our families have kept us busy. Seek forgiveness for us!" They say something with their tongues that is not in their hearts.
SAY: "Who controls anything for you against God, if He should want to cause you any harm, or wants to offer you some advantage? Rather God is Informed about whatever you are doing! * Instead you (all) thought that the Messenger and believers would never come home to their families. That [conduct] seemed attractive to your hearts while you thought such evil thoughts and were a worthless folk."
* We have reserved a Blaze for disbelievers, [such as] anyone who will not believe in God and His messengers. * God holds control over Heaven and Earth. He forgives anyone He wishes and punishes anyone He wishes; God is Forgiving, Merciful.
** The ones who held back will say, once you have set out to take some prizes: "Allow us to follow you!" They want to change God's word. SAY: "You will never follow us! God has already told you so." Next they will say: "Rather you envy us." Instead they only understand a little.
* Tell those desert Arabs who have held back: "You will be called upon to fight against a folk who are extremely violent; you will fight them unless they surrender. If you obey, God will pay you a handsome fee, while if you turn away just as you turned away before, He will punish you with painful torment." * There is no objection for the blind nor is there any objection for the lame, nor any objection for the sick [if they do not fight]. He will show anyone who obeys God and His messenger into gardens through which rivers flow, while He will punish anyone who turns away with painful torment.
(III) * God was pleased with believers as they swore allegiance to you under the tree. He recognized what was in their hearts and sent down Serenity upon them, and compensated them with a nearby victory * as well as many prizes they still may take. God is Powerful, Wise.
** God has promised you will take many prizes; he furnished these promptly for you and fended men's hands off from you so it might serve as a sign for believers and guide you along a Straight Road; * God has already included other things you do not yet have in your possession. God is Capable of everything. * If those who disbelieve should ever fight you, they will still turn their backs [and run away]; then they will not find any patron nor supporter, * according to God's practice which has occurred before.
A Mob Scene at Mecca
You will never rind any change in God's practice! * He is the One Who fended off their hands from you and your hands from them in the centre of Mecca after He let you vanquish them. God is Observant of anything you do. ** They are the ones who disbelieved and blocked you from [reaching] the Hallowed Mosque so the offerings were hindered from reaching their destination. If it had not been for some men who believed and some women who believed whom you did not recognize and would have trampled down, an outrage would have afflicted you because of them without [your] even knowing it, so that God will show anyone He wishes into His mercy.
Doing One's Duty
If they had dispersed, We would still have punished those of them who disbelieved with painful torment. * While those who disbelieved were setting up fanaticism, the fanaticism of Ignorance in their own hearts, God sent His serenity down upon His messenger and on believers, and obliged them to respect the formula of heedfulness. They were truer to it and much more entitled to it. God is Aware of everything!
(IV) * God has indeed verified the vision for His messenger, so you may enter the Hallowed Mosque safely, if God wishes, with your heads shaven and clipped. Do not fear: He knows what you do not know and grants besides that, a victory nearby. * He is the One Who has sent His messenger with guidance and the True Religion so He may have it prevail over all (other) religion. God suffices as a Witness!
Muhammad and Believers
* Muhammad is God's messenger while those who are with him should be strict with disbelievers, merciful among themselves. You will see them bowing down, kneeling, craving bounty and approval from God, Their sign [shows] on their faces from the trace of bowing down on their knees [in worship].
"The Sturdy Plant"
Such is their description in the Torah, while their description in the Gospel is like a field crop which puts forth its shoots so it swells up, till it grows thick enough to stand straight on its stalk in the way farmers admire, so that disbelievers are exasperated by them. God has promised forgiveness and a splendid fee to any of those who believe and perform honorable deeds.
Published with authorization from Dr.T.B.Irving.