Chapter Scripts

Surah Tau’ba: 9:11-20

9:11 Yet if they repent, and take to prayer, and render the purifying dues, they become your brethren in faith and clearly do We spell out these messages unto people of [innate] knowledge!


Lit., “his place of security” (ma’manahu)- i.e., “let him rejoin his homeland” (Razi), which implies that he is free to accept or not to accept the message of the Qur’an: a further re-affirmation of the Qur’anic injunction that “there shall be no coercion in matters of faith”

9:12 But if they break their solemn pledges after having concluded a covenant, and revile your religion, then fight against these archetypes of faithlessness who, behold, have no [regard for their own] pledges so that they might desist [from aggression].


Lit., “have a covenant before [or “in the sight of”] God and His Apostle”: i.e., be protected by those who believe in God and His Apostle. The specific reference to the latter is meant to stress the fact that he speaks and acts in the name of God

9:13 Would you, perchance, fail to fight against people who have broken their solemn pledges, and have done all that they could to drive the Apostle away and have been first to attack you? Do you hold them in awe? Nay, it is God alone of whom you ought to stand in awe, if you are [truly] believers!


Cf. verse 4 above. The “covenant” alluded to is the truce-agreement concluded in 6 H. at Hudaybiyyah, in the vicinity of Mecca, between the Prophet and the pagan Quraysh, which was (and was obviously intended to remain) a model of the self-restraint and the tolerance expected of true believers with regard to such of the unbelievers as are not openly hostile to them.

9:14 Fight against them! God will chastise them by your hands, and will bring disgrace upon them, and will succour you against them, and He will soothe the bosoms of those who believe. 


This connects with the opening clause of the preceding verse, and relates to the hostile among “those who ascribe divinity to aught beside God”.

9:15 And will remove the wrath that is in their hearts. And God will turn in His mercy unto whom He wills: for, God is all-knowing, wise.


The term ‘ill’ signifies any tie that arises from a compact or from blood-relationship, and which imposes on both parties the obligation to protect each other (cf. Lane 1, 75); the latter implication is expressed in the word dhimmah, which literally denotes a “covenant of protection”.

9:16 Do you [O believers] think that you will be spared unless God takes cognizance of your having striven hard [in His cause] without seeking help from any but God and His Apostle and those who believe in Him? For, God is aware of all that you do.


Or: “who are the aggressors” – the two expressions being, in this context, synonymous.

9:17 Ir is not for those who ascribe divinity to aught beside God to visit or tend God’s houses of worship, the while [by their beliefs] they bear witness against themselves that they are denying the truth. It is they whose works shall come to nought, and they who in the fire shall abide!

9:18 Only he should visit or tend God’s houses of worship who believes in God and the Last Day, and is constant in prayer, and spends in charity, and stands in awe of none but God: for [only such as] these may hope to be among the right guide!


Lit., “if they break their oaths after their covenant”. This obviously refers to unbelievers who, without having renounced their own beliefs, have concluded treaties of friendship with the Muslims. Their subsequent “breaking of the solemn pledges” is an allusion to the breach of the truce of Hudaybiyyah by the pagan Quraysh, which, in turn, led to the conquest of Mecca by the Muslims in the year 8 H.

9:19 Do you, perchance, regard the [mere] giving of water to pilgrims and the tending of the Inviolable House of Worship as being equal to [the works of] one who believes in God and the Last Day and strives hard in God’s cause? These [things] are not equal in the sight of God. And God does not grace with His guidance people who [deliberately] do wrong.


The word imam (of which a’immah is the plural) denotes not merely a “leader” but also – and primarily – “a person who is an object of imitation by his followers” (Taj al-‘Arus): hence, a “model”, or “exemplar”, or “archetype”. The term kufr, which usually signifies a “denial of [or “refusal to acknowledge”] the truth”, is rendered here as “faithlessness” because it refers, specifically, to a deliberate breaking of solemn engagements.

9:20 Those who believe, and who have forsaken the domain of evil and have striven hard in God’s cause with their possessions and their lives have the highest rank in the sight of God; and it is they, they who shall triumph [in the end]! 


i.e., from Mecca, thus bringing about his and his followers’ exodus (hijrah) to Medina.


The divine scriptures are God’s beacons to the world. Surely God offered His trust to the heavens and the earth, and the hills, but they shrank from bearing it and were afraid of it. And man undertook it.
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