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


إِذْ يُغَشِّيكُمُ النُّعَاسَ أَمَنَةً مِّنْهُ وَيُنَزِّلُ عَلَيْكُم مِّن السَّمَاء مَاء لِّيُطَهِّرَكُم بِهِ وَيُذْهِبَ عَنكُمْ رِجْزَ الشَّيْطَانِ وَلِيَرْبِطَ عَلَى قُلُوبِكُمْ وَيُثَبِّتَ بِهِ الأَقْدَامَ

Ith yughashsheekumu a(l)nnuAAasa amanatan minhu wayunazzilu AAalaykum mina a(l)ssamai maan liyutahhirakum bihi wayuthhiba AAankum rijza a(l)shshaytani waliyarbita AAala quloobikum wayuthabbita bihi alaqdam(a)

Recall when He-SWT caused a slumber to cover you as a security from Himself-SWT , and He-SWT sent down water on you from heaven that He-SWT might cleanse you thereby and take away from you the defilement of Satan, and that He-SWT might gird up your hearts and make your feet firm thereby.


إِذْ يُوحِي رَبُّكَ إِلَى الْمَلآئِكَةِ أَنِّي مَعَكُمْ فَثَبِّتُواْ الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ سَأُلْقِي فِي قُلُوبِ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ الرَّعْبَ فَاضْرِبُواْ فَوْقَ الأَعْنَاقِ وَاضْرِبُواْ مِنْهُمْ كُلَّ بَنَانٍ

Ith yoohee rabbuka ila almalaikati annee maAAakum fathabbitoo allatheenaamanoo saolqee fee quloobi allatheena kafaroo a(l)rruAAba fa(i)driboo fawqa alaAAnaqi wa(i)driboo minhum kulla banan(in)

And recall when your Rabb-SWT inspired the angels: verily I-SWT am with you, so keep firm those who have believed; I-SWT will cast terror into the hearts of those who have disbelieved; so strike them above the necks and smite of them every fingertip.


ذَلِكَ بِأَنَّهُمْ شَآقُّواْ اللّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ وَمَن يُشَاقِقِ اللّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ فَإِنَّ اللّهَ شَدِيدُ الْعِقَابِ

Thalika biannahum shaqqoo Allaha warasoolahu waman yushaqiqi Allaha warasoolahu fainna Allaha shadeedu alAAiqab(i)

This, because they defied Allaah-SWT and His-SWT Messenger-SW and whoever defies Allaah-SWT and His-SWT Messenger-SW, then surely Allaah-SWT is Severe in chastisement.


ذَلِكُمْ فَذُوقُوهُ وَأَنَّ لِلْكَافِرِينَ عَذَابَ النَّارِ

Thalikum fathooqoohu waanna lilkafireena AAathaba a(l)nnar(i)

This! Taste it then, and know that for the infidels is the torment of the Fire.


يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ إِذَا لَقِيتُمُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ زَحْفاً فَلاَ تُوَلُّوهُمُ الأَدْبَارَ

Ya ayyuha allatheena amanoo itha laqeetumu allatheena kafaroo zahfan falatuwalloohumu aladbar(a)

O’ you who believe! When you face those who disbelieve marching to battle, do not turn your backs to them.


وَمَن يُوَلِّهِمْ يَوْمَئِذٍ دُبُرَهُ إِلاَّ مُتَحَرِّفاً لِّقِتَالٍ أَوْ مُتَحَيِّزاً إِلَى فِئَةٍ فَقَدْ بَاء بِغَضَبٍ مِّنَ اللّهِ وَمَأْوَاهُ جَهَنَّمُ وَبِئْسَ الْمَصِيرُ

Waman yuwallihim yawmaithin duburahu illa mutaharrifan liqitalin aw mutahayyizan ila fiatin faqad baa bighadabin mina Allahi wamawahu jahannamu wabisa almaseer(u)

And whosoever turns his back to them on such a day, unless it be swerving to a fight or wriggling round to another company, he has surely drawn upon himself wrath from Allah-SWT, and his resort is Hell-an evil destination.


فَلَمْ تَقْتُلُوهُمْ وَلَـكِنَّ اللّهَ قَتَلَهُمْ وَمَا رَمَيْتَ إِذْ رَمَيْتَ وَلَـكِنَّ اللّهَ رَمَى وَلِيُبْلِيَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ مِنْهُ بَلاء حَسَناً إِنَّ اللّهَ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ

Falam taqtuloohum walakinna Allaha qatalahum wama ramayta ith ramayta walakinna Allaha rama waliyubliya almumineena minhu balaan hasanan inna Allaha sameeAAun AAaleem(un)

You therefore slew them not, but Allaah-SWT slew them: threw you not when you threw, but Allaah-SWT threw; in order that He-SWT might try the believers with a goodly trial from Him-SWT . Surely Allaah-SWT is Hearing, Knowing.


ذَلِكُمْ وَأَنَّ اللّهَ مُوهِنُ كَيْدِ الْكَافِرِينَ

Thalikum waanna Allaha moohinu kaydi alkafireen(a)

Thus! And know that Allaah-SWT weakens the plot of the infidels.


إِن تَسْتَفْتِحُواْ فَقَدْ جَاءكُمُ الْفَتْحُ وَإِن تَنتَهُواْ فَهُوَ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ وَإِن تَعُودُواْ نَعُدْ وَلَن تُغْنِيَ عَنكُمْ فِئَتُكُمْ شَيْئًا وَلَوْ كَثُرَتْ وَأَنَّ اللّهَ مَعَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ

In tastaftihoo faqad jaakumu alfathu wain tantahoo fahuwa khayrun lakum wain taAAoodoo naAAud walan tughniya AAankum fiatukum shayan walaw kathurat waanna Allaha maAAa almumineen(a)

If you beseech a judgment then surely a judgment has come to you. If you desist, better it will be for you, and if you revert, We-SWT will also revert; and your host shall avail you not, numerous though it might be, and know that surely Allaah-SWT is with the believers.


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

The enemy troops at Badr stationed themselves at the dominating position, which was higher, and the soil was comparatively firm. The Muslims had to camp at a relatively low-lying area. Hadhrat Khabab bin Manzar-RAU suggested to the Holy Prophet-SW that if Allaah-SWT had not predetermined their present location, they should move on and get hold of the spot close to water. The Holy Prophet-SW immediately ordered the shifting of the camp as suggested. Hadhrat S'ad bin M’az-RAU suggested that a small hut should be improvised as the Command Post of the Holy Prophet-SW at a higher spot, which was done. Hadhrat Abu Bakr Siddiq-RAU had the honour to attend to the Holy Prophet-SW while Hadhrat M'az-RAU assumed the responsibility of a guard. The falling night at Badr found the infidels on the higher and harder ground and the Muslims on the lower and sandy patch which impeded quick movement. Some of the Muslims needed a bath but there was not enough water. So Allah-SWT, the Almighty in His-SWT infinite kindness firstly let a slumber overtake the believers, which provided them with much needed relaxation and peace of mind.


What is Slumber?

This state of slumber is normally experienced after a link is established with the exalted stations of Suluk. Outwardly it is a kind of sleep but in fact it is not, because the person remains in his senses and can understand everything. This sedition is also termed as Jazb or absorption and is the outcome of total concentration towards Allaah-SWT . Then Allaah-SWT helped the believers by sending a heavy downpour at night. This turned the camping area of the infidels into a slippery quagmire and the sandy soil of the Muslim camp into a firm patch.


Moreover an abundant supply of water became available for drinking, ablution and bathing. The third aspect of Allah-SWT's Favour was the conferment of "Rabta-e-Qalb" (a deep hearted connection with Allaah-SWT ) on all the believers. This term occurs in Surah Kahf. In Sufi terminology Rabta means a state whereby the Divine Light generated in the heart as a result of zikr Allaah-SWT finds an access to the ‘Arsh-e-Azim’. (The great ‘Arsh) The perpetual Zikr and Tawajjuh takes the Spirit over this Rabta line higher and higher so that when the Qalb says Allah-SWT the light reaches, unto the 'Arsh-e-'Azim and beyond. It was His-SWT Generosity that He-SWT sent down a ray of Divine Splendour unto the hearts of the believers at Badr directly, the strongest form of Rabta. This gave them the steadfastness in the battlefield; driving away any thoughts of cowardice and desertion. And Allaah-SWT announced that He-SWT had blessed the believers with Rabta in order to make them stand fast on their ground in the battle.


Over and above, He-SWT told the angels that they had His-SWT Permission to instill steadfastness into the hearts of the believers through Ilqa'. And that He-SWT shall strike terror into the hearts of the infidels and the believers should chop their heads off and let them be smitten with intense pain in every single pore. It is typical of Divine Punishment that when it touches any part of the body, the whole body rocks with pain. Similarly the Hell-fire will instantly affect the heart as it touches the skin. This is because the infidels had dared to oppose Allaah-SWT and His-SWT Prophet-SW.


Opposing His-SWT Prophet-SW is Opposing Him-SWT and Invites Severe Punishment

Whoever opts for opposing Allaah-SWT and the Holy Prophet-SW must beware that His-SWT Punishments are dreadfully severe. The Messenger-AS does not speak about faith of his-SW own accord but only conveys what is revealed unto him-AS. Therefore, harbouring a hostile attitude towards the Holy Prophet-SW is a blatant defiance of Allah-SWT's Word, inviting His-SWT Wrath. There are two levels of defiance: the severer form is the disbelief, and the lesser is introducing and promoting innovations in His-SWT Din. The Divine Punishment is commensurate with the level of defiance. The hostility to the Holy Prophet-SW invokes instant punishment as well as a long term and eternal doom. At the Battle of Badr, the infidels qualified for both: humiliation and death in this world and blazing fire of Hell in the Hereafter.


Next, Allaah-SWT educates the believers on the etiquettes of battle and lays down some rules (1) They shall not turn their backs on the infidels, for defeat is a word unknown to a believer. If he falls, he will be a Shahid winning eternal bliss, and if he wins he shall enjoy the rewards of a Ghazi (victorious) (2) Movement on the battlefield employing various tactics such as pretending to flee so as to lure the enemy into a trap or to carry out a tactical withdrawal for getting reinforcements are permissible acts, because it is a world of cause and effect (3) To run away merely to save oneself is cowardice, which negates the very claim of being a believer and invokes Divine Punishment. Deserting the battlefield is, however, forbidden to believers.


Absolute Submission

The excellence of faith is the acquisition of absolute submission to the Divine Will. Its highest degree was possessed by the Holy Prophet-SW and his Companions-RAU. The Quran says that on the battlefield of Badr it was not the believers but Allaah-SWT Who-SWT killed the infidels. In other words, it was a Divine Action, manifested at the hands of the believers and this is the essence of absolute submission that not only the Qalb but also the limbs and other faculties submit completely to the Divine Will. In a Hadith Qudsi, Allaah-SWT declares: "I-SWT become the hands of a devout servant by which he holds, and his feet by which he walks, his ears by which he hears and his eyes by which he sees " This was true to the superlative degree in case of the Holy Prophet-SW, who-SW flung the sand at the enemy while Allah-SWT declared: "It was not he-SW who-SW did it but it was I-SWT Who-SWT threw it." Praise be to Allah-SWT, again an action was manifested at the hands of the Holy Prophet-SW. When the army of the infidels beat the war drums and advanced in assault onto the believers, the Holy Prophet-SW flung a handful of sand each at the heart of the enemy column and at his both flanks. There was not a single enemy soldier who did not get sand into his eyes and was not hurt by the gravel.


In other words, a complete resignation to Divine Will is not only a prerequisite of faith, but also its excellence. In a lesser degree, one must have confidence and trust in the Divine Commandments. If one does not possess even this degree of faith and his actions are guided by his own views, then it is a sign of having no faith at all, like the act of desertion from the battlefield to escape death. This indeed is a yardstick by which every Muslim can measure his own level of sincerity and faith.


To sum it up, Allaah-SWT blessed the believers with Rabta of Qalb as explained, and showered the much needed rain over them. He-SWT deputed angels for their support and blessed them with absolute submission. The Makkan period was the era of trials and tribulations, whereas from Badr began a series of Divine Rewards and Favours. All this was done to manifest and establish the truth before the mankind and to deliver a deadly blow to the pride of the infidels, reducing all their plans to dust. The infidels had prayed on the eve of their departure from Makkah, holding on to the drapes of the K'abah, that Allaah-SWT may grant victory to the superior and the truthful. In their opinion, they were on the right path while the believers were wrong; their decisive defeat at Badr highlighted the truth in no uncertain terms. It would always be better for the infidels to refrain from hostility and disbelief and to mend their ways. However, if they continue to be adamant, Allaah-SWT will debase them in similar manner. Moreover, they should not count on their numerical strength and superior weaponry, for it will never be of any use against firm faith and devotion to Allaah-SWT .