Chapter Scripts

Surah Tau’ba: 9:91-100

9:91 [But] no blame shall attach to the weak, nor to the sick, nor to those who have no means. [to equip themselves], provided that they are sincere towards God and His Apostle: there is no cause to reproach the doers of good, for God is Much-Forgiving, a Dispenser of Grace.


Most of the classical commentators assume that this refers to the derisive remarks made by some of the hypocrites about the alleged futility of the expedition to Tabuk. In view of the sequence, however. I am of the opinion that this is a further reference to those who “malign the Prophet by saying, ‘He is all ear'” (verse 61)-i.e., accuse him of self-deception – and thus, by implication, “mock at God and His messages” (see next sentence).

9:92 Nor [shall blame attach] to those who, when they came unto thee [O Prophet, with the request] that thou provide them with mounts, were told by thee, “I cannot find anything whereon to mount you” – [whereupon] they turned away, their eyes overflowing with tears out of sorrow that they had no means to spend [on their equipment].

9:93 Only they may rightly be reproached who asked thee for exemption even though they were fully able [to go to war]. They were well-pleased to remain with those who were left behind – wherefore God has sealed their hearts so that they do not know [what they are doing].


i.e., consciously persevered in hypocrisy (Zamakhshari). The above Qur’anic sentence expresses the doctrine that in His final judgment God will take into account all that is in a sinner’s heart, and will not indiscriminately condemn everyone who has been sinning out of weakness or out of an inner inability to resolve his doubts and not out of a conscious inclination to evil (cf. 4:98 – “excepted shall be the [truly] helpless – be they men or women or children – who cannot bring forth any strength and have not been shown [or “cannot find”] the right way”).

9:94 [And] they will [still] be offering excuses to you when you return to them, [from the campaign]! Say: “Do not offer [empty] excuses, [for] we shall not believe you: God has already enlightened us about you. And God will behold your [future] deeds, and [so will] His Apostle; and in the end, you will be brought before Him who knows all that is beyond the reach of a created being’s perception as well as all that can be witnessed by a creature’s senses or mind, and then He will make you truly understand what you were doing [in life].”


i.e.. their behaviour is – in its effect, at least – the exact opposite of that expected of the believers.

9:95 When you will have returned to them, (O believers,] they will swear to you by God, [repeating their excuses,] with a view to your letting them be. Let them be, then: behold, they are loathsome, and hell is their goal in recompense for what they were wont to do.


It is to be borne in mind that this and the following verses refer to the conscious hypocrites spoken of in the last sentence of the preceding verse, and not to the waverers, whose hypocrisy is an outcome of inner fears and uncertainties.

9:96 They will swear to you with a view to making you pleased with them: but [even] should you be pleased with them, verily, God shall never be pleased with iniquitous folk.


A reference to the statement, in verse 67, that conscious hypocrites are intrinsical “all of a kind” (ba’duhum min ba’d).

9:97 [The hypocrites among] the Bedouin are more tenacious in [their] refusal to acknowledge the truth and in [their] hypocrisy [than are settled people], and more liable to ignore the ordinances which God has bestowed from on high upon His Apostle – but God is all-knowing, wise.


Sc., “and the same will happen to you unless you repent”.

9:98 And among the bedouin there are such as regard all that they might spend [in God’s cause] as a loss, and wait for misfortune to encompass you, [O believers: but] it is they whom evil fortune shall encompass – for God is all-hearing, all-knowing.


I.e., Sodom and Gomorrah, the cities of Lot’s people (see 7:80-84 and 11:69-83). References to the chastisement meted out to Noah’s people as well as to the ‘Ad and Thamud and the folk of Madyan (the Biblical Midian) is found in several places in the Qur’an; see, in particular, 7:59-79 and 85-93, and the corresponding notes. The reference to “Abraham’s people” seems to point to the Babylonians, who rejected the monotheism preached by him, and to the overthrow of their first empire, at about 1100 B.c., by the Assyrians.

9:99 However, among the bedouin there are [also] such as belief in God and the Last Day, and regard all that they spend (in God’s cause] as a means of drawing them nearer to God and of [their being remembered in] the Apostle’s prayers. Oh, verily, it shall [indeed] be a means of [God’s] nearness to them, [for] God will admit them unto His grace: verily, God is much forgiving, a dispenser of grace!


Or: “are the protectors [or “friends and protectors”] of one another”. Since, however, the believers are here contrasted with the hypocrites, spoken of in verse 67 as being “all of a kind”, it is preferable to render the term wali (of which awliya’ is the plural) in its primary meaning of being “near” or “close” to one another.

9:100 And as for the first and foremost of those who have forsaken the domain of evil and of those who have sheltered and succoured the Faith, as well as those who follow them in [the way of] righteousness – God is well-pleased with them, and well-pleased are they with Him. And for them has He readied gardens through which running waters flow, therein to abide beyond the count of time: this is the triumph supreme!


For an explanation of this rendering of ‘adn (akin to the Hebrew ‘eden, “delight” or “bliss”), see note 45 on 38:50, where this expression occurs for the first time in the chronological order of Qur’anic revelation.


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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