سورة الأنفال   

Surah Name: Al-Anfaal Meaning: The Booty

  • Revealed at Madinah
  • • This is a Madni Surah. It is the sequel to Surah Al-A'raf, which highlighted the aftermath of infidelity and polytheism vis-à-vis faith and piety. Al-Anfal reveals the practical demonstration of these consequences. It portrays the way their pride and hostility of the infidels was reduced to ashes in the encounter with piety and faithfulness of the Companions-RAU, of the Holy Prophet-SW at Badr. Outwardly it was a struggle by a few hundred men, but in terms of its results the battle of Badr proved to be a turning point in the history of mankind. It altered the pace and changed the course of events. The Muslims seized booty after the victory at Badr and the question arose how should it be handled, because for all preceding nations booty was prohibited. They would pile it up in the field and a fire from the heavens would consume it as a sign of Divine Approval. If at times the booty was left intact, no one would touch it considering it to be inauspicious. It is amongst the blessings of the holy Prophet-SW that booty was made lawful. Anfal is the plural of Nafl which means bonus and that is why Salat or charity which is not obligatory is called Nafl. The booty seized in Jihad is also called Anfal because it is not the motive behind the struggle. The motive is to uphold the truth and the booty is only bonus for the participants and revenue for the State.

    This booty is of two categories: Faiy and Anfal. The former consists of what the enemy leaves behind when he surrenders voluntarily without fight, while the latter is won after fighting a battle. Since the Battle of Badr was the very first clash between the Muslims and the infidels and it was also the first to be determined who gets what. The Commentators explain that when the infidels deserted the battlefield at Badar, the Companions-RAU were regrouped into three contingents. One followed the fleeing; the second collected the booty while the third gathered around the Holy Prophet-SW for protection against an unexpected attack and also to act as an operational reserve for any emergency. All the three forces were important in their own way, so the matter of division of the booty amongst them was placed before the Holy Prophet-SW.

  • Total Number of Rukū / Sections 10
  • Total Number of Āyāt / Parts 75
  • Sūrah / Chapter number 8
  • Rukū / Section 1 contains Āyāt / Parts 10
  • Siparah/ Volume 9 & 10


يَسْأَلُونَكَ عَنِ الأَنفَالِ قُلِ الأَنفَالُ لِلّهِ وَالرَّسُولِ فَاتَّقُواْ اللّهَ وَأَصْلِحُواْ ذَاتَ بِيْنِكُمْ وَأَطِيعُواْ اللّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ إِن كُنتُم مُّؤْمِنِينَ

Yasaloonaka AAani alanfali quli alanfalu lillahi wa(al)rrasooli fa(i)ttaqoo Allaha waaslihoo thata baynikum waateeAAoo Allaha warasoolahu in kuntum mumineen(a)

They ask you-SW concerning the booty; say you-SW: the booty is Allah-SWT's and the Messenger-SW's. So fear Allah-SWT, and set right the matter among you, and obey Allaah-SWT and His-SWT Messenger-SW if you are believers.


إِنَّمَا الْمُؤْمِنُونَ الَّذِينَ إِذَا ذُكِرَ اللّهُ وَجِلَتْ قُلُوبُهُمْ وَإِذَا تُلِيَتْ عَلَيْهِمْ آيَاتُهُ زَادَتْهُمْ إِيمَانًا وَعَلَى رَبِّهِمْ يَتَوَكَّلُونَ

Innama almuminoona allatheena itha thukira Allahu wajilat quloobuhum waithatuliyat AAalayhim ayatuhu zadathum eemanan waAAala rabbihim yatawakkaloon(a)

The believers are only those whose hearts quake with awe when Allaah-SWT is mentioned, and when His-SWT Revelations are rehearsed to them, it increases their faith and they put trust in their Rabb-SWT .


الَّذِينَ يُقِيمُونَ الصَّلاَةَ وَمِمَّا رَزَقْنَاهُمْ يُنفِقُونَ

Allatheena yuqeemoona a(l)ssalata wamimma razaqnahum yunfiqoon(a)

Who establish prayer and who spend of what We-SWT have provided them.


أُوْلَـئِكَ هُمُ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ حَقًّا لَّهُمْ دَرَجَاتٌ عِندَ رَبِّهِمْ وَمَغْفِرَةٌ وَرِزْقٌ كَرِيمٌ

Olaika humu almuminoona haqqan lahum darajatun AAinda rabbihim wamaghfiratun warizqun kareem(un)

These are they who are the true believers. For them are degrees with their Rabb-SWT and forgiveness and a provision honourable.


كَمَا أَخْرَجَكَ رَبُّكَ مِن بَيْتِكَ بِالْحَقِّ وَإِنَّ فَرِيقاً مِّنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ لَكَارِهُونَ

Kama akhrajaka rabbuka min baytika bi(a)lhaqqi wainna fareeqan mina almumineena lakarihoon(a)

As your-SW Rabb-SWT had caused you-SW to go forth from your houses for a right cause, while a party of the faithful were reluctant.


يُجَادِلُونَكَ فِي الْحَقِّ بَعْدَمَا تَبَيَّنَ كَأَنَّمَا يُسَاقُونَ إِلَى الْمَوْتِ وَهُمْ يَنظُرُونَ

Yujadiloonaka fee alhaqqi baAAdama tabayyana kaannama yusaqoona ilaalmawti wahum yanthuroon(a)

Disputing with you respecting the right cause after it had become manifest, as though they were led forth to death while they looked on.


وَإِذْ يَعِدُكُمُ اللّهُ إِحْدَى الطَّائِفَتِيْنِ أَنَّهَا لَكُمْ وَتَوَدُّونَ أَنَّ غَيْرَ ذَاتِ الشَّوْكَةِ تَكُونُ لَكُمْ وَيُرِيدُ اللّهُ أَن يُحِقَّ الحَقَّ بِكَلِمَاتِهِ وَيَقْطَعَ دَابِرَ الْكَافِرِينَ

Waith yaAAidukumu Allahu ihda a(l)ttaifatayni annaha lakum watawaddoona anna ghayra thati a(l)shshawkati takoonu lakum wayureedu Allahu an yuhiqqa alhaqqa bikalimatihi wayaqtaAAa dabira alkafireen(a)

And recall when Allaah-SWT was promising you-SW one of the two parties that it should be yours-SW and you-SW wished that the one not armed should be yours-SW; while Allaah-SWT sought to justify the truth by His-SWT Words and to cut off the root of the infidels.


لِيُحِقَّ الْحَقَّ وَيُبْطِلَ الْبَاطِلَ وَلَوْ كَرِهَ الْمُجْرِمُونَ

Liyuhiqqa alhaqqa wayubtila albatila walaw kariha almujrimoon(a)

In order that He-SWT might justify the truth and falsify the false, though the guilty ones were averse to it.


إِذْ تَسْتَغِيثُونَ رَبَّكُمْ فَاسْتَجَابَ لَكُمْ أَنِّي مُمِدُّكُم بِأَلْفٍ مِّنَ الْمَلآئِكَةِ مُرْدِفِينَ

Ith tastagheethoona rabbakum fa(i)stajaba lakum annee mumiddukum bialfin mina almalaikati murdifeen(a)

And recall when you-SW implored your-SW Rabb-SWT and He-SWT answered you-SW: surely I-SWT am about to succour you-SW with a thousand of angels rank in rank.


وَمَا جَعَلَهُ اللّهُ إِلاَّ بُشْرَى وَلِتَطْمَئِنَّ بِهِ قُلُوبُكُمْ وَمَا النَّصْرُ إِلاَّ مِنْ عِندِ اللّهِ إِنَّ اللّهَ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٌ

Wama jaAAalahu Allahu illa bushra walitatmainna bihi quloobukum wamaa(l)nnasru illa min AAindi Allahi inna Allaha AAazeezun hakeem(un)

And Allaah-SWT did not make this promise save as glad tidings and that your minds might be assured; and victory comes only from Allaah-SWT . Verily Allaah-SWT is Mighty, Wise.


In The Name of Allah-SWT the Most Gracious, The Most Merciful

The booty was a Divine Favour for Muslims. So far it was forbidden to the preceding nations. The verdict of the Holy Prophet-SW had to be obtained about its disposal who issued four ordinances: (1) Anyone killing an opponent would take his belongings, which would not form part of the booty (2) The contingent going on an expedition would distribute the seized booty amongst themselves leaving one fifth for the Bait al Mal (Govt. Treasury) (3) From the share deposited at the Bait al Mal, awards for courage under fire and exceptional performances would be given to the deserving (4) The share of the servants corps was taken from the total recoveries. The general rule laid down for the distribution of the booty was to give one fifth into the Bait al Mal and the rest to go to the troops. It must be added here that these rules had been laid down at Badr, so the assumption that some troops had abandoned their post at Uhad to collect booty for themselves is absurd.


The Real Wealth

The booty will be at the disposal of Allah-SWT's Messenger-SW, which he-SW will dispense under His-SWT Guidance. However, the believers must concentrate on achieving Taqwa and must continuously strive to gain more spiritual elevation. The spiritual states indeed are the real wealth worth aspiring for, as against temporal affluence.


The believers must maintain harmony amongst themselves through self-denial because the temporal wealth is always a source of conflict. Therefore, booty is not the motive behind Jihad; it is only a bonus, a reward. The real purpose is the obedience to Allah-SWT expressed through the obedience to His-SWT Prophet-SW who alone is given the knowledge of what Allaah-SWT likes or dislikes.


Therefore, the Holy Prophet-SW must be obeyed with devotion and sincerity, which indeed is the obedience to Allaah-SWT and a source of attaining Taqwa and spiritual states. Taqwa and obedience are each other‘s seeds as well as fruits. Faith demands obedience which is also the measure by which the level of faith is determined.


The Definition of a Believer

A believer is defined here as a person whose heart is overawed at the very mention of Allah-SWT's Name. This awe does not mean fear of anything harmful. It rather denotes that heartfelt experience of the glory and grandeur of the Magnificent Being-SWT , which is a superior spiritual state. Thus the recitation of the Quran, the Word of Allah-SWT, raises the level of a believer's faith.


The Recitation of the Quran Strengthens Faith

Although a regular recitation of the text of the Quran generates inner light and helps to believe firmly in the Hereafter and act piously but if the meanings and the interpretation are also understood, the aforesaid state is attained with excellence and speed. This then creates a natural aversion to disobedience.


Tawakkul (Trust in Allah-SWT )

Thirdly the believers put in their best effort to achieve an objective by employing all available resources. However, they neither rely on their resources nor effort but only on Allaah-SWT . The term Tawakkul does not denote a state whereby a person sits idle, but it means to direct one's energy and lawful resources towards the attainment of the desired goal while relying entirely on Allaah-SWT for the results. A mere reliance on one's resources leads to corrupt practices and illegal ways. The main cause behind thefts and bribe is this reliance on money.


The fourth qualification of the believers is that they establish Salat themselves with devotion observing all the etiquettes and instruct others to do so. The fifth one is that they spend from what Allaah-SWT has given them, in compliance with His-SWT Commands. This includes wealth, knowledge and spiritual strength, as well as power and authority, because all these are the blessings of Allaah-SWT . And they dare not defy Him-SWT . Those who possess the above attributes are indeed the believers.


The very first audience of the Quran are the Companions-RAU who are also the exemplary believers. Thus for all times to come till Yaum al Qiyamah, their conduct is like a mirror for every believer to look into and determine his own level of faith. And no one can qualify as a believer by mere proclamation of Islam, while his conduct contradicts his claim. Once Imam Hassan Basri-RUA was asked whether he considered himself to be a believer. He said that as far as believing in Allah-SWT , the Prophets-AS the Angels, the Revelations and the Akhirah was concerned, he certainly was a believer. But if he was to be evaluated in the light of the Ayat of AI-Anfal he was not too sure, as only Allaah-SWT knew the best and His-SWT decision will be announced on the Day of Judgement, when the true believers will be rewarded with honour, forgiveness and provisions.


Grades of Honour

According to Behr-e-Muheet the qualities of the believers can be classified in three categories. The first type are the qualities of the Qalb, such as faith, Taqwa and Tawakkul etc. The second category is of physiological qualities comprising Salat, Fasting, Hajj etc. and the third is financial, which includes spending in the Cause of Allaah-SWT . The rewards corresponding to these categories are also of three types. The virtues of heart earn higher spiritual stations, physiological virtues lead to salvation, and financial worship brings more and better provisions. The perfection of these qualities leads to total surrender to the Will and Purpose of Allaah-SWT and its rewards can be seen in the Battle of Badr. What awaits such believers in the Hereafter may well be imagined.


The Execution of Command and its Rewards

Allah-SWT ‘s Commands are absolutely true and must be obeyed regardless of how such acts of obedience may outwardly appear. To fight the Makkans at Badr without manpower, weapons and logistics during the scorching summer and the month of fasting was apparently suicidal. It was at this time that the Holy Prophet-SW was informed about the trade caravan of the Makkans, headed by Abu Sufyan, returning from Syria richly laden. This caravan was a joint venture of the infidels to raise funds in order to fight the Muslims. So important was this venture that the caravan was escorted by seventy mounted and armed men of which forty were the chieftains of Quraish. Allaah-SWT Commanded the Holy Prophet-SW to go forth and foil the evil plans of Quraish and its accomplices. Thus the Holy Prophet-SW announced the departure for the mission assigned by the Almighty. Many did not have any means of travelling, while some had other reasons for not being able to go. Nevertheless the Army of Islam, comprising three hundred and thirteen noble souls, seventy camels, two horses and six armours and approximately eight swords set out, in execution of Allah-SWT's Command. When they arrived near Badr informers were sent to get an update on the enemy caravan. They found that the situation had radically changed. The caravan, getting a wind of the approaching Muslims, had changed its course and had got away safely by moving along the coastline, while an army of one thousand warriors from Makkah were heading towards Madinah on receiving a request for help from the caravan.


During consultations that followed the new development, some of the Companions-RAU suggested that since the caravan had escaped, a clash with such a big and powerful army from Makkah should be avoided. They tried to convince and persuade the Holy Prophet-SW to avoid fighting not for reasons of their own safety but for the apparent threat to the mission that was held so dearly by the Holy Prophet-SW as well as out of considerations for his-SW personal safety. This apprehension was later endorsed by the Holy Prophet-SW when he-SW raised his-SW hands in prayer in his-SW Command Post at Badr. After arraying his-SW ill-equipped and thoroughly outnumbered Army for the battle, he implored: "O’ Allah-SWT ! I have brought forth with me the entire Islam in Your-SWT Cause. If today they are routed, there shall never be anyone to bow his forehead in prostration before You-SWT ." The Holy Prophet-SW improvised a flag for his-SW Army from the scarf of his-SW beloved wife 'Ayeshah-RAU putting his-SW honour at stake in the Cause of Allah-SWT, with a trust that. He-SWT would never permit it to be trampled over by the enemy. The Companions-RAU suggestion to avoid the battle has been criticized by some out of sheer ignorance.


However, the Holy Prophet-SW informed his-SW troops that Allaah-SWT had Commanded him-SW to fight. Immediately, Hadhrat Abu Bakr Siddiq-RAU and Hadhrat Umar Faruq-RAU announced Jihad. Hadhrat Miqdad declared that they would never behave like Bani Israil, who when called upon by Prophet Musa-AS to fight had said: "you and your Rabb-SWT go and fight the enemy, while we sit and wait here" He further assured the Holy Prophet-SW that they would accompany him-SW even to Barq al Ghama (a place in Abbysinia) if he-SW so desired. On behalf of the Ansar, Hadhrat S'ad ibn M'az-RAU announced that if the Holy Prophet-SW intended to plunge into a river they will do the same, displaying such courage and valour as would please him-SW. The Holy Prophet-SW was immensely pleased and declared that Allah had given him-SW the glad tidings of victory over one of the two, the trade caravan or the Makkan Army. He-SW swore by Allaah-SWT that he-SW could see the very spots where the infidels would be done to death.


So, the Will of Allaah-SWT was to prevail. It was His-SWT Will to root out the evil and uphold the truth and to teach the infidels a lesson by punishing them severely on the battlefield. This was the first auspicious day in the history of the world when the oppressed stood up to fight their oppressors for their rights. This great task could only befit the greatest Prophet-SW of Allaah-SWT .


It was proved on the battlefield of Badr that to Allaah-SWT belongs all Glory and Magnificence while all human beings are equal. Their status only varies according to their rights and duties. Therefore, mankind must be governed only by Allah-SWT's Commands no matter how much the oppressors dislike the idea. If only the Muslims of today could realise the sacrifices and hardships endured by the Holy Prophet-SW and his-SW Companions-RAU for the deliverance of the ailing mankind from oppression! And if only they could celebrate the day of Badr as the day of the poor and the down trodden instead of celebrating the May Day in memory of the eight American workers killed in Chicago!


When both the armies confronted each other on the battlefield, the infidels presented an outward display of power and might, while the Muslims only banked on Divine Support and Pleasure.


The Holy Prophet-SW’s Prayer

Although victory had already been promised, the Holy Prophet-SW prayed to Allaah-SWT with utmost humility and devotion. Thus it is evident that pleading before Allaah-SWT has its own merit and is essential for its own sake. But the rules thereof must be followed, namely: (1) all means within one's power must be employed and (2) obedience to Allah-SWT must be thorough. If these rules are followed, the invocation is answered immediately, as in this case. It was revealed to the Holy Prophet-SW that Allaah-SWT would depute a thousand angels, for his-SW support, who would descend in formations against the thousand warriors of the infidels, though the deputation of a single angel would have been sufficient, as previously recorded in case of punishment of the people of Prophet Lut-AS


Sincerity and Devotion to Allah-SWT

The Battle of Badr gives a Divine Law. Whenever a task is undertaken in compliance with Allah-SWT's Command with utmost sincerity, there is nothing to worry, as Allah-SWT assigns that task to His-SWT Angels whereas the credit for its completion and the rewards go to His-SWT servants. Here, the descent of a thousand angels took place, while in Surah Al-'Imran Allaah-SWT promises aid through three and five thousand angels in response to the reinforcements expected by the infidels. He-SWT , Who-SWT is capable of doing everything without having to employ any means, deputes His-SWT Angels to reassure the Muslims that the victory will be theirs.


Composure of the Heart

Besides, the descent of the angels was also meant to be a source of satisfaction for the believers. The composure and satisfaction of the Qalb stems from the development of angelic qualities as well as an association with the angels. This is why Zikr is said to be a source of satisfaction of the Qalb because perpetual Zikr is a quality of the angels. Negligence in Zikr paves the way for Satan to communicate with the heart, causing listlessness and anxiety.


Moreover, it is entirely upto Almighty Allah-SWT, the Omnipotent, to manifest His-SWT Succour the way He-SWT wants to, through the angels or without them. It is He-SWT Who-SWT prevails, the Wisest, Knowing exactly when, where and how succour is to be provided. It also indicates the level of Fana-fi-Rasul enjoyed by the Companions-RAU; for Allaah-SWT Commanded the angels to accomplish the mission undertaken by them, to an extent that they witnessed the angels mounted on horsebacks with white turbans joining the battle. Many a Ahadith corroborate this fact.


As a result of this battle seventy chieftains of the enemy were killed in action and seventy were taken prisoners. The Makkans returned in humiliation with their entire leadership almost collapsed.