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 10 contains Āyāt / Parts 6
  • Siparah/ Volume 9 & 10


يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ قُل لِّمَن فِي أَيْدِيكُم مِّنَ الأَسْرَى إِن يَعْلَمِ اللّهُ فِي قُلُوبِكُمْ خَيْرًا يُؤْتِكُمْ خَيْرًا مِّمَّا أُخِذَ مِنكُمْ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ وَاللّهُ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ

Ya ayyuha a(l)nabiyyu qul liman fee aydeekum mina alasra in yaAAlami Allahu fee quloobikum khayran yutikum khayran mimma okhitha minkum wayaghfir lakum wa(A)llahu ghafoorun raheem(un)

O’ Prophet-SW! Say to the captives that are in your-SW  hands: if Allaah-SWT Knows any good in your hearts He-SWT shall give you better than what has been taken away from you, and shall forgive you; and Allaah-SWT is Forgiving, Merciful.


وَإِن يُرِيدُواْ خِيَانَتَكَ فَقَدْ خَانُواْ اللّهَ مِن قَبْلُ فَأَمْكَنَ مِنْهُمْ وَاللّهُ عَلِيمٌ حَكِيمٌ

Wain yureedoo khiyanataka faqad khanoo Allaha min qablu faamkana minhum wa(A)llahu AAaleemun hakeem(un)

And if they seek tricking you-SW, they have tricked Allaah-SWT before, yet Allaah-SWT gave you-SW power over them; and Allaah-SWT is Knowing, Wise.


إِنَّ الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ وَهَاجَرُواْ وَجَاهَدُواْ بِأَمْوَالِهِمْ وَأَنفُسِهِمْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللّهِ وَالَّذِينَ آوَواْ وَّنَصَرُواْ أُوْلَـئِكَ بَعْضُهُمْ أَوْلِيَاء بَعْضٍ وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ وَلَمْ يُهَاجِرُواْ مَا لَكُم مِّن وَلاَيَتِهِم مِّن شَيْءٍ حَتَّى يُهَاجِرُواْ وَإِنِ اسْتَنصَرُوكُمْ فِي الدِّينِ فَعَلَيْكُمُ النَّصْرُ إِلاَّ عَلَى قَوْمٍ بَيْنَكُمْ وَبَيْنَهُم مِّيثَاقٌ وَاللّهُ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ بَصِيرٌ

Inna allatheena amanoo wahajaroo wajahadoo biamwalihim waanfusihim fee sabeeli Allahi wa(a)llatheena awaw wanasaroo olaika baAAduhum awliyao baAAdin wa(a)llatheena amanoo walam yuhajiroo ma lakum min walayatihim min shayin hatta yuhajiroo waini istansarookum fee a(l)ddeeni faAAalaykumu a(l)nnasru illa AAala qawmin baynakum wabaynahum meethaqun wa(A)llahu bimataAAmaloona baser(un)

Surely those who believed and emigrated and strove hard in the way of Allaah-SWT with their riches and lives; and those who gave refuge and succoured: those shall be heirs one unto another. And those who believed and did not emigrate, you-SW  have nothing of inheritance to do with them unless they emigrate. And should they seek succour except against a people with whom you have a Treaty. And Allaah-SWT is the Beholder of what you work.


وَالَّذينَ كَفَرُواْ بَعْضُهُمْ أَوْلِيَاء بَعْضٍ إِلاَّ تَفْعَلُوهُ تَكُن فِتْنَةٌ فِي الأَرْضِ وَفَسَادٌ كَبِيرٌ

Wa(a)llatheena kafaroo baAAduhum awliyao baAAdin illa tafAAaloohu takun fitnatun fee alardi wafasadun kabeer(un)

And those who disbelieve: they shall be Heirs one unto another. If you do not do this, persecution there will be in the land and great corruption.


وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ وَهَاجَرُواْ وَجَاهَدُواْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللّهِ وَالَّذِينَ آوَواْ وَّنَصَرُواْ أُولَـئِكَ هُمُ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ حَقًّا لَّهُم مَّغْفِرَةٌ وَرِزْقٌ كَرِيمٌ

Wa(a)llatheena amanoo wahajaroo wajahadoo fee sabeeli Allahi wa(a)llatheenaawaw wanasaroo olaika humu almuminoona haqqan lahum maghfiratun warizqun kareem(un)

And those who have believed and emigrated and striven hard in the way of Allah-SWT, and those who gave refuge and succoured- these! They are the believers in very truth; for them shall be forgiveness and a provision honourable.


وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ مِن بَعْدُ وَهَاجَرُواْ وَجَاهَدُواْ مَعَكُمْ فَأُوْلَـئِكَ مِنكُمْ وَأُوْلُواْ الأَرْحَامِ بَعْضُهُمْ أَوْلَى بِبَعْضٍ فِي كِتَابِ اللّهِ إِنَّ اللّهَ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمٌ

Wa(a)llatheena amanoo min baAAdu wahajaroo wajahadoo maAAakum faolaika minkum waoloo alarhami baAAduhum awla bibaAAdin fee kitabi Allahi inna Allaha bikulli shayin AAaleem(un)

And those who believed afterwards and emigrated and strove hard along with you-SW: these also are of you-SW: and the kindred by blood are nearer unto one another in Allah-SWT's decree. Verily Allaah-SWT is of everything the Knower.


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

Allah-SWT is so kind that He-SWT has not ignored the prisoners, who have been released by the believers. The Holy Prophet-SW is being told to inform them not to be disheartened by the defeat and humiliation they had to face, because the door of repentance is open and should they sincerely accept Islam, Allah-SWT will compensate them with material gains which may extend beyond the Fidyah they had to pay and moreover their wrong deeds of the past shall be forgiven. This, of course, will depend on the state of their hearts. The true acceptance of the light of faith shall entitle them to all of Allah-SWT's bounties because Allah-SWT is the Most Gracious and Forgiving. However, if they try to deceive the Holy Prophet-SW, it will be a breach of trust with Allah-SWT, a crime which they had committed before and had seen for themselves the outcome. And if they still wish to repeat their performance they shall be punished once again, for Allah-SWT is all Knowing and Wise.


The Status Of Muhajirin And Ansar

All those who believed and migrated in the Cause of Allaah-SWT forsaking their home and hearth, and those who welcomed and hosted them, extending to them every possible help, are indeed true friends. It is amongst such people alone that a deep hearted relationship seems appropriate. Those who accepted Islam but did not migrate must not be taken as friends until they do so.


Migration has two aspects; firstly the act of leaving a native place and moving to another land. This was practically no longer required after the Conquest of Makkah. However, if ever again similar circumstances arise then this form of migration shall become obligatory.


The second aspect of migration refers to bringing a positive change in one's conduct and actions. It implies migration from disobedience to submission, a journey from wrong to right. So whoever accommodates the immigrants who have given up their native land in Allah-SWT's Cause and whoever cooperates with those who renounce their bad traits and the path of evil, are bound together by true and cordial love. The best example of this were the Companions-RAU, the Muhajirin and the Ansar. Some scholars have interpreted 'Wilayat' as inheritance here and deduce that the Muhajirin and Ansar were so closely knit that they were initially entitled to each other's inheritance, which was later annulled. But this deduction does not seem appropriate because the Ayat under discussion lays down an everlasting principle of friendship, (Wilayat) while the matter of inheritance has been discussed in the Ayat to follow. Thus the close relationship between the Muhajirin and Ansar indeed signifies the closeness of their hearts, for it is only proper that a practising believer will be inclined towards another similar in character.


And those who claim to be believers but do not practise Islam are unworthy of friendship. Yet if they need help for breaking the shackles of infidels, they must be helped. Those who fail to migrate must be helped against the infidels, except when the believers have signed a No War Treaty with the infidels of that region in which case the Treaty has to be honoured. If the relationship described in these Ayat is interpreted as 'inheritance', it will mean that all the believers who migrated from Makkah and all those who welcomed them in Madinah shall be heirs to one another. And those who did not migrate but claim faith will not have a share in the heritage of the Muhajirin, unless they migrate. Yet if they call for aid against the infidels, it will be extended with the exception mentioned before. The infidels will be heirs to one another, meaning thereby that a separate law of inheritance will be enforced for infidels, and they are only to make friends with their own kind. If this injunction is not complied with, it will unleash awesome trouble upon mankind. Good and evil will become indiscernible, and the whole world will be given to catastrophe. Today, one can get accomplices who care least for good or evil, and no one fears social isolation on evil actions. Consequently, unrest and turmoil spread unchecked.


Those who embraced Islam in Makkah, migrated to Madinah and continued to strive in the Cause of Allah-SWT , and those who welcomed and helped them according to Allah-SWT's Decree, are indeed the exemplary and true believers. If they make a mistake Allaah-SWT will forgive them and for them are the rewards and honours in both the worlds. Thus the honour and, eminence granted to them has no parallel in human history. The Quran also spells the eternal law that until the Last Day, all those who strive and sacrifice in Allah-SWT's Cause like them, will be similarly rewarded. They were the pioneers. Those who embraced faith later, i.e. after the migration though they cannot reach their level, yet will be included in the category of believers along with them.


Coming to the question of inheritance, the heir should not only be a believer but also be a blood relative. This is because relatives rightfully deserve to inherit from one another according to the Divine Law, and Allaah-SWT certainly knows everything.