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9.

Sura Tauba (repentance) (or Baraat (Immunity))

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

The Pagans and enemies of Islam frequently made treaties of mutual


alliance with the Muslims. The Muslims scrupulously observed their part, but
the Pagans violated their part again and again when it suited them. After some
years’ experience it became imperative to denounce such treaties altogether.
This was done in due form, with four month’s notice, and a chance was given
to those who faithfully observed their pledges, to continue their alliance. That
there should always be open the door to repentance and reunion with the
people of God; and that if all these fail, and war must be undertaken, it must
be pushed with the utmost vigour. The repentance must be sincere, and that
must be shown by a religious spirit of true prayer and charity. All the most
remembering that God is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. Even among the
enemies of Islam, actively fighting against Islam, there may be individuals
who may be in a position to require protection. Full asylum is to be given to
them, and opportunities provided for hearing the Word of God. If they accept
the Word, they become Muslims and brethren, and no further question arises.

The Pagan Arabs went out of their way to break the ties of kinship in
the case of the Muslims, who were kith and kin to them. Besides the bond of
kinship there was the further bond of their plighted oath in the Treaty. They
broke that oath because the other parties were Muslims! It is clear that they
were aggressors in the worst possible ways, and war became inevitable. The
chance of repentance and mercy to the worst enemies is again emphasized,
inorder that people with any understanding may not be misled into thinking
that war was an easy or light matter. This emphasis is balanced by the
emphasis on the causes which made war inevitable for those with any self-
respect: Not only did the enemies break their oaths shamelessly, but they even
taunted the Muslims on their Faith and the “simple-minded” way in which
they continued to respect their part of the treaty, as if they were afraid to fight!
It is God Whom you should more justly fear, if you are believers! Fight with
them and cover them with shame. God will punish them by your hands and
will help you to victory over them. When victory comes and the wounds are
healed, a great peace comes to the hearts of those who have suffered, striven,
and struggled. The fighting was an abnormal necessity forced by injustice and
oppression. When God’s Law is established, the fire of indignation is quelled,
and the true Peace of Islam is attained: For God will turn in mercy to whom
He will; and God is All-Knowing, All-Wise. The believers must all be tested
and tried, but God knows their inmost hearts, and He will support those who
strive in His way, out of sincere love for Him, His Apostle, and the body of the
true men of faith.

Those who join gods with God, have no authority to maintain mosques
of God. The mosques of God be visited and maintained by such as believe in
God, the Last Day, establish regular prayers, practice regular charity and fear

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none at all except God. Giving drinks of cold water to thirsty pilgrims and
doing material services to a mosque are meritorious acts, but they are only
external. If they do not touch the soul, their value is slight. Far greater, in the
sight of God, are Faith, Endeavour and self-surrender to God. It is these that
will obtain honour in the sight of God. God’s light and guidance comes to
them, and not to those self-sufficient beings who think that a little show of
what the world considers piety is enough. Those who believe and suffer exile,
strive with might in God’s cause, with their goods and their persons; have the
highest rank in the sight of God. For them is His mercy and good pleasure,
Garden of delight to dwell therein for ever in the Hereafter. Such is the
greatest reward from their Lord. Oh you believers, do not take your fathers or
brothers as your protectors if they love infidelity above Faith: If any one does
so, he is wrong. If you love earthly ties and comforts, profits and pleasures,
more than the love of God; and thus fail to respond to God’s cause, it is not
God’s cause which will suffer. God’s purpose will be accomplished, with or
without you; – for God guides not the rebellious.

God helped you in many battle-fields and also on the day of Hunain.
Behold! Your great number than that of the enemy, did not help you and that
you were about to retreat. But then it was your Lord Who sent down forces
(angels) which you could not see. Thus He punished the Unbelievers. His
grace and mercy is at all times to those who have faith. Oh you who believe!
Truly the Pagans are unclean, so they are forbidden to approach the Sacred
Mosque. Soon God will enrich you out of His bounty: for God is All-
Knowing, All-Wise. Fight those who do not believe in God nor the Last Day,
nor hold forbidden things as forbidden nor acknowledge the Religion (Islam)
of Truth (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya
(poll tax) with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.

The Jews call Prophet Uzair a son of God, and the Christians call
Christ the son of God. The ancient Unbelievers were also saying such tales.
God’s curse be on them: how they are deluded away from the Truth! They take
their priests and the learned men as their lords. Same is true with Jesus, son of
Mary. They are commanded to worship only One God: there is no god but He.
Praise and glory to Him, – far is He from having the partners they associate
with Him. The enemies of Faith would fain put out God’s light, but God’s light
will shine more glorious than ever. It is He Who has sent His Apostle with
Guidance and the Religion of Truth, to make it shine above every other
religion even though the Pagans may detest it. Oh the believers! God
condemns misuse of wealth, property, and resources: do not acquire anything
wrongfully or on false pretences; do not hoard or bury or amass wealth for its
own sake but use it freely for good, whether for yourself or for your
neighbours; be particularly careful not to waste it for idle purposes, but only so
that it may fructify for the good of the people. The misuse of wealth is as
much a spiritual sin as any other kind of disobedience to God’s Will. Such
misused wealth will itself become evident against its possessors. It will be as if
the gold and silver will be heated to add to the heat of Hell-fire; that it will
brand our foreheads as reflecting on our intelligence in thinking that wealth
was a good thing in itself instead of a mere means of doing good; and it will
brand our backs, the source of our stability and strength; and also our flanks

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(middle part of our body, supporting the stomach, the seat of greed). God now
condemns the arbitrary and selfish conduct of the Pagan Arabs whom,
according to their own convenience, used to change the sacred months (i.e.
fighting was forbidden). The Four Prohibited Months are: Zul-qa’d, Zul-hajj,
Muharram, and Rajab (this very ancient usage made for fair dealing all round,
and its infraction by the Pagans is condemned). If the Pagans fought in all
months on one pretence or another, Believers were allowed to defend
themselves in all months. But self-restraint was (as always) recommended as
far as possible. The lawless man thinks he is doing a great thing in getting the
better of those who are careful to observe a law they believe in. But the
lawless man loses the guidance of Faith, which is a symbol of his being guided
by God; he will therefore lose in the end.

Fight a straight fight in the cause of Right: Fight bravely to strive and
struggle, and prove yourself worthy of God (the immediate reference is to the
expedition to Tabuk A.H. 9, but the lesson is perfectly general). For this is the
condition of all progress in the spiritual and moral, as well as in the physical,
world. Inactivity and lethargy are fatal. If a nation receives favours and fails to
deserve them, it will be replaced by another: as has so often happened in
history (the Tabuk expedition was not a failure. Though many hesitated, many
more joined in). When Apostle was hunted out from Mecca (other believers
were asked to migrate to Madina – Hijrat), his single companion was Abu
Bakr. They two concealed themselves in the cave (3 miles from Mecca), for
three nights, with the enemy prowling around in great numbers in fruitless
search of them. Faith gave their minds peace, and God gave them safety (they
reached Madinah, and a glorious chapter opened for Islam). The forces that
helped them were not seen, but their power was irresistible. The enemies of
Islam had boasted that they would root them out: the result showed them up as
ridiculous and despicable. The arts and excuses of the Hypocrities are
exposed. If there had been booty in sight or an easy walk-over, they would
have come. All their oaths are false, and in taking the false oaths they are
destroying their spiritual life. Indeed the backsliders are jeopardizing their
own physical lives in hanging back. If the enemy succeeded, they would all
suffer.

The Believers do their duty, and, make no excuses, – unlike the


Hypocrites, who are a burden whether they join you (O Muhammad) or hold
back. (Apostle, by his motives of kindness, was granting too liberal
exemptions on excuses at the expedition of Tabuk). But those who believed in
God and the Last Day ask for no exemption from fighting with their goods and
person: God knows well who did their duty. Those who had doubt in their
hearts, God made them to lag behind, as they would have not contributed
towards in the expedition. On the contrary would have sown sedition among
you, as God knows well those who do wrong. Among them are many who
seek exemption from you so as not to be drawn into trial. They least know that
already they had fallen into the trial! And indeed Hell surrounds the
Unbelievers on all sides. If good falls you, it grieves them; but if a misfortune
befalls you, they rejoice on it and tell you that they already new it to happen.
Say to them that whatever happens but it is decreed from God. He is your
Protector and on their Lord, let the Believers put their trust. Could they

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consider anyother think other than Martyrdom or Victory. For them is
punishment. Their contributions are not accepted because the reject God and
His Apostle and come to prayer without any earnestness and offer
contributions unwillingly. Let not their wealth nor their followers or sons may
not dazzle you: For their very denial of their Lord, His Plan is to perish their
souls and punish them in this very life. Their plight is just to run away to
caves, or any place of concealment so as to hide themselves from the
Believers. There are also people among them who slander you in the matter of
alms. If they are given part thereof, they are pleased, but if not, they are
indignant! If only the claimants had not blamed the principles or those who
enforce them, but would have put their trust in God, whose bounties are
unbounded and said: “To God do we turn our hopes!”; – that would have been
the right course.

Alms or charitable gifts are to be given to the poor and the needy and
those who are employed to administer the funds. (Needy are the persons: (1)
men who have been weaned from hostility to Truth, who would probably be
persecuted by their former associates, and require assistance until they
establish new connections in their new environment; (2) those in bondage,
literally and figuratively; captives of war must be redeemed; slaves to be
helped to freedom; those in the bondage of ignorance or superstition or
unfavourable environment should be helped to freedom; (3) those in the grip
of debt should be helped to economic freedom; (4) those who are striving in
the God’s cause; (5) strangers stranded on the way). Detractors of the Prophet
say that he listens to everybody! “Yes”, is the answer. He listens for their own
good; he is a mercy and a blessing to all men of Faith. To please you (O
Muhammad) they swear by God: But it is more befitting for them to please
their Lord and His Apostle, if they are believers. They should clearly know
that those who oppose God and His Apostle, for them is the Fire of Hell in
which they will dwell for ever. Let them mock you (O Prophet) but God will
bring to light and reveal to you what should be revealed. Ask them: “Can you
make such solemn matters subjects of playful jokes? The Hypocrites are in a
state of indecision in the choice between good and evil. Those who definitely
range themselves with good obtain forgiveness; ;those who pass indefinitely to
evil suffer penalties of evil.

The Hypocrites, men and women, have all understanding with each
other and are alike. The Hypocrites pretend a great deal, but are of no use of
real help to anyone. They are rebellious and perverse. For them – men and
women – is the curse of God and their final abode is the Inferno. In ancient,
the people of Noah, ‘Ad, Thamud, Abraham and the men of Midian, all were
more mightier and powerful than these people. To them came the apostles with
Clear Signs from their Lord. They rejected the Signs and God overthrew their
settlements. Not God Who wronged them, – they wronged their own souls.
The Believer, men and women, enjoin what is just and forbid what is evil.
They observe regular prayers, practice regular charity, and obey God and His
Apostle. On them will God pour His mercy. They are promised Gardens with
rivers flowing, therein beautiful mansions and everlasting bliss, in the
Hereafter. But the greatest bliss is the Good Pleasure of God: That is the
supreme felicity.

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The hardest striving and fighting are needed to combat evil and
hypocrisy: for sin can reach a stage when the doors of forgiveness are closed.
They mediated a plot (to kill Apostle after he was returning from Tabuk)
which they failed to carryout. Among the conspirators were people (from
Madinah) who were enriched by their Lord and made Covenant with God, –
that if they are bestowed of His bounty, they would give largely in charity and
be among the righteous. But when He did bestow them they turned back
averse from its fulfillment. God will punish them with a grievous penalty in
the life and in the Hereafter: They shall have none on earth to protect or help
them. And God knows well all things seen or unseen. Those who slander and
ridicule such Believers, who freely perform deeds of charity, and those who
find nothing much for charity except their personal efforts, God will throw
back their ridicule on them: And they shall have a grievous penalty and will
have no forgiveness as they have rejected God and His Apostle and God does
not guide those who are perversely rebellious.

Those who remained behind (Tabuk expedition) rejoiced in their


inaction behind the back of the Apostle of God. They hated to strife and fight
with goods or persons and incited others not to go out in heat of the season:
The Fire of Hell is much more fierce that the heat of the season if only they
could understand. Let them laugh a little as they have much to weep
afterwards. If they seek your permission to join you in any expedition in the
future, do not allow them nor you pray for any of them that dies nor stand at
his grave: For they rejected God and His Apostle, and died in a state of
perverse rebellion. Do not let their wealth nor their followers or sons dazzle
you: God’s Plan is to punish them with these things in the world. When a Sura
comes down, enjoining them to believe in God and to strive and fight
alongwith His Apostle, they prefer to be with the women who remain behind
at home. Their hearts are sealed and so they understand not. The prosperity is
for those who stand by the Apostle and fight with their wealth and their
person. For them God has prepared Gardens under which rivers flow, to dwell
therein: That is the supreme felicity.

Among them (Hypocrites of Madinah), there were some of the village


or desert Arabs (Bedouins), who though professed Islam, but were frightened
by the hardships of the expedition. (at Tabuk). As such, they made all sorts of
lying excuses. But there is no blame on those who are physically unfit for
expedition are those who are not financially sound to spend for the Cause (but
present for the Cause): and God is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. Even no
blame is on those who lagged behind, but came to you, with no transport
available for them, turned back with tears in their eyes. But those who
remained behind without any valid cause, they know not as to what they
missed! In the end they are to be brought before their Lord; – He will then
show them all that they did. Leave them alone, as Hell is their dwelling-place
– a fitting recompense for the evil that they did. To please you, they will swear
for their excuse. But if you are pleased with them, God is not pleased with
those who disobey. The Arabs of the desert are the worst in unbelieve and
hypocrisy. Some of the desert Arabs look upon the charity (as established by
Islam) just as a fine, and watch for disasters for you: on them be the disaster of

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Evil. They are most fitted to be in ignorance of the command which God has
sent down to His Apostle. But some of the desert Arabs are the people who
believe in their Lord, the Last Day; and look upon on their payments as pious
gifts bringing them nearer to God and prayers of the Apostle: soon will God
admit them to His Mercy, – for He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.

In the first rank of Islam are those who dare and suffer for the Cause
and never flinch. Their reward is God’s good pleasure. Even those who do
wrong but repent will obtain His Mercy: not so those who persist in Unfaith,
Hypocrisy, and Mischief. God’s grace is free and abounding for the righteous.
There were Hypocrites, some from the desert Arabs and some of Madinah
folk, surrounding the Apostle, were obstinate in hypocrisy. Twice shall they be
punished and in addition shall they taste grievous Penalty in the Hereafter.
Those with good and evil deeds, perhaps God may turn towards them in
mercy. Do accept the alms so that you might purify them, and pray on their
behalf. Verily your prayers are a source of security for them: And God is One
Who hears and knows. If they repent say to them to work righteousness. God,
His Apostle and the Believers will observe them: Soon they will be brought
before the Knower of all the things – open or hidden. Then He will show you
the truth of all that what they did. Yet there is another group of people who are
held in suspense and doubt: but God will judge them. Thus God mentioned
three categories of men whose faith was tested and found wanting in the Tabuk
affair, but their characteristics are perfectly general. There is a fourth class of
insidious evil-doers: they put up a mosque (Qubaa, “Mosque of mischief) by
way of mischief and infidelity – to disunite the Believers – and in preparation
of one (surnamed the “Monk”) who warred against God and His Apostle
earlier. They will pretend to have done good; but God declare them as liars.
Never stand to pray there. A place of worship which was founded upon duty to
God from the first day is more worthy for worship wherein are men who love
to purify themselves. God loves those who make themselves pure. Which then
is best? – he who builds his life on Piety and has hopes on the Good Pleasure
of God, builds on a firm foundation of rock that will never be shaken. In
constrast to him is a man who builds on a shifting sand-cliff on the brink of an
abyss. The cliff and foundations all crumble to pieces along with him, and he
is plunged into the Fire of misery from which there is no escape. And God is
All-Knowing, Wise.

God has purchased from the Believers their persons and their goods;
and in return is the Garden (of Paradise) for them. They fight in His Cause,
and slay and are slain: this is the doctrine not only in Qur-an, but also in the
earlier Revelations. Then do rejoice in the bargain as that is a supreme
achievement. Those believers, who turn to their Lord in repentance, serve in
His Cause, praise and bow before him, enjoin good and forbid evil; and
observe the limits set by God; – Such are the persons to them proclaim the
glad tidings. The Prophet is forbidden to pray for forgiveness for the
Unbelievers though they may be their near relatives. Abrahim prayered for his
father only because of a promise he had made to him. But when it became
clear to him that he was an enemy of God, he disassociated himself from him:
For Abraham was most tender-hearted, forbearing. To Him belongs the
dominion of the heavens and the earth, gives life and takes it. Except for Him

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you have no protector nor helper. God turned in mercy to the Prophet, to the
Muhajirin and the Ansar who followed the Prophet in the hour of hardship.
And also those three persons who felt guilty as they could not be in the
expedition of Tabuk: For God is Oft-Returning, Most Merciful.

To be true in word and deed is to hold selfish desires at bay, and follow
God’s Call. It was not fitting for the people of Madinah and the Bedouin Arabs
of the neighbourhood, to refuse to follow God’s Apostle, nor to prefer their
own lives to his: because nothing could they suffer or do, but was accounted to
their credit as a deed of righteousness: For God suffers not the reward to be
lost of those who do good. Fighting may be inevitable, and when a call is
made it should be obeyed. But fighting is not be glorified to the exclusion of
all else. A party should remain behind – one in each township or circle – for
purpose of study; so that when the fighters return home, their minds may be
attuned again to the more normal interests of religious life, under properly
instructed teachers. The students and teachers are soldiers of the Jihad in their
spirit of obedience and discipline.

Oh you who believe! Fight those of the disbelievers who are near to
you, and let them find harshness in you, and know that God is with those who
keep their duty to Him. When a Sura is revealed, for those who believe, it had
increased them in faith and they rejoice therefor. But in those who have
diseased hearts it only adds wickedness to their wickedness, and die as
disbelievers and turn not in repentance. Now has come to you an Apostle from
amongst yourselves: it grieves him that you should perish and he is anxious
about you: to the Believers he is most kind and merciful. But if the
Unbelievers turn away say to them (O Muhammad): “God sufficeth me: There
is no god but He: On Him is my trust, – He is the Lord of the (Throne of
Glory) Supreme!”.

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