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


يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ أَطِيعُواْ اللّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ وَلاَ تَوَلَّوْا عَنْهُ وَأَنتُمْ تَسْمَعُونَ

Ya ayyuha allatheena amanoo ateeAAoo Allaha warasoolahu wala tawallaw AAanhu waantum tasmaAAoon(a)

O’ you who believe! Obey Allaah-SWT and His-SWT Messenger-SW, and do not turn away while you are hearing.


وَلاَ تَكُونُواْ كَالَّذِينَ قَالُوا سَمِعْنَا وَهُمْ لاَ يَسْمَعُونَ

Wala takoonoo ka(a)llatheena qaloo samiAAna wahum la yasmaAAoon(a)

And do not be like those who say: we hear; whereas they do not hear.


إِنَّ شَرَّ الدَّوَابَّ عِندَ اللّهِ الصُّمُّ الْبُكْمُ الَّذِينَ لاَ يَعْقِلُونَ

Inna sharra a(l)ddawabbi AAinda Allahi a(l)ssummu albukmu allatheena layaAAqiloon(a)

Verily the vilest of beasts in Allah-SWT's Sight are the deaf and the dumb who do not understand.


وَلَوْ عَلِمَ اللّهُ فِيهِمْ خَيْرًا لَّأسْمَعَهُمْ وَلَوْ أَسْمَعَهُمْ لَتَوَلَّواْ وَّهُم مُّعْرِضُونَ

Walaw AAalima Allahu feehim khayran laasmaAAahum walaw asmaAAahum latawallaw wahum muAAridoon(a)

And had Allaah-SWT known in them any good He-SWT would surely have made them hear; and even if He-SWT had made them hear, they would surely turn away as backsliders.


يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ اسْتَجِيبُواْ لِلّهِ وَلِلرَّسُولِ إِذَا دَعَاكُم لِمَا يُحْيِيكُمْ وَاعْلَمُواْ أَنَّ اللّهَ يَحُولُ بَيْنَ الْمَرْءِ وَقَلْبِهِ وَأَنَّهُ إِلَيْهِ تُحْشَرُونَ

Ya ayyuha allatheena amanoo istajeeboo lillahi wali(l)rrasooli itha daAAakum limayuhyeekum wa(i)AAlamoo anna Allaha yahoolu bayna almari waqalbihi waannahu ilayhi tuhsharoon(a)

O’ you who believe! Answer Allaah-SWT and the Messenger-SW when he-SW calls on you to what gives you life; and know that Allaah-SWT interposes between man and his heart, and know that verily to Him-SWT you all shall be gathered.


وَاتَّقُواْ فِتْنَةً لاَّ تُصِيبَنَّ الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُواْ مِنكُمْ خَآصَّةً وَاعْلَمُواْ أَنَّ اللّهَ شَدِيدُ الْعِقَابِ

Wa(i)ttaqoo fitnatan la tuseebanna allatheena thalamoo minkum khassatan wa(i)AAlamoo anna Allaha shadeedu alAAiqab(i)

And fear the tribulation that shall afflict not those alone who among you do wrong; and know verily that Allaah-SWT is Severe in chasting.


وَاذْكُرُواْ إِذْ أَنتُمْ قَلِيلٌ مُّسْتَضْعَفُونَ فِي الأَرْضِ تَخَافُونَ أَن يَتَخَطَّفَكُمُ النَّاسُ فَآوَاكُمْ وَأَيَّدَكُم بِنَصْرِهِ وَرَزَقَكُم مِّنَ الطَّيِّبَاتِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ

Wa(o)thkuroo ith antum qaleelun mustadAAafoona fee alardi takhafoona an yatakhattafakumu a(l)nnasu faawakum waayyadakum binasrihi warazaqakum mina a(l)ttayyibati laAAallakum tashkuroon(a)

And remember when you were few and downtrodden in the land and fearing that the people would snatch you away; then He-SWT gave you refuge and strengthened you with His-SWT Help and provided you with good things that haply you might be grateful.


يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ لاَ تَخُونُواْ اللّهَ وَالرَّسُولَ وَتَخُونُواْ أَمَانَاتِكُمْ وَأَنتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ

Ya ayyuha allatheena amanoo la takhoonoo Allaha wa(al)rrasoola watakhoonoo amanatikum waantum taAAlamoon(a)

O’ you who believe: do not defraud Allaah-SWT and the Messenger-SW, and do not defraud your trusts while you know.


وَاعْلَمُواْ أَنَّمَا أَمْوَالُكُمْ وَأَوْلاَدُكُمْ فِتْنَةٌ وَأَنَّ اللّهَ عِندَهُ أَجْرٌ عَظِيمٌ

Wa(i)AAlamoo annama amwalukum waawladukum fitnatun waanna Allaha AAindahu ajrun AAatheem(un)

And know that your riches and your offspring are but a temptation, and that verily with Him-SWT is a mighty wage.


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

Allah-SWT's Company (Ma'iyat)

It is a spiritual state in which a believer feels that Allaah-SWT is with him. It has been mentioned conditionally to the level of the faith, hence the believers are being educated here on the reality of faith so that they constantly experience this exalted state. A weakening of the faith will lead to deprivation from the blessings of Divine Company, like in case of the Muslims of today, who no longer practise Islam and are facing hardships and degradation world wide. May Allaah-SWT forgive us! The prescription and cure being suggested here is that the believers must obey Allaah-SWT by obeying His Prophet-SW and never turn away from Divine Commands. To listen and admire Allah-SWT's Words without abiding by them is the same as if nothing has been heard at all. So the believers must not adopt this attitude.


Degrees of Listening

Firstly, the Divine Commandments are heard and disregarded. Secondly, these are heard and understood but not adopted. Thirdly, these are heard, understood and accepted but not practised. The fourth and the perfect degree of listening is whereby the Divine Commandments are heard, understood, accepted and practised in detail. This is typical of the true believers. To the third category belong the erring Muslims, while hypocrites fall in the second. The first category is of the non believers. The people in the first two categories are as if they have not heard anything. Thus it does not befit a Muslim to copy any of them else they will surely be deprived of the Divine Support and Company. This is because with Allah-SWT, the worst amongst all creations are the people who neither listen nor understand, just like the deaf and the dumb. And neither do they ever try to contemplate as if they have no intellect. They are inferior to the average class of animals, rather the worst kind of living creatures, because an animal is at least fulfilling the purpose of its creation. According to Ruh-AI-Bayan, man by virtue of its creation is superior to all the living beings, but lesser in rank to the angels. However, through piety and righteousness, he excels the angels, and by disobedience he falls below the category of the most inferior animals.


The Spiritual Countenance

The effect of misdeeds is so ravaging that it distorts a person's spiritual countenance, although the physical appearance remains human. It is a special honour conferred upon the Holy Prophet-SW that his-SW Ummah will not be punished with a physical and outward distortion as were the earlier nations. Although isolated cases have been seen whereby the guilty have been outwardly distorted, yet collectively the Ummah will not be awarded this punishment. However, the Spirit does become distorted and a person blessed with insight, can witness the phenomenon through a Meditation called Ruait-e-Ashkal. This Meditation is practised by the Sufi saints, and reveals the appearances assumed by the Spirits. So much is the degeneration today that at a spiritual glance, cities and towns appear as if infested with beasts.


Had these people possessed an iota of desire for guidance, Allaah-SWT the Merciful would have certainly blessed them with the capacity to listen and the opportunity to act accordingly. But those who have sold off the capacity for guidance in exchange for temporal pleasures only come up with objections even if they are given the opportunity to listen.


It is not because of any shortcomings in the Message but the root cause of these objections and defiant attitude is the lack of desire for guidance, whereas a true seeker will always try to attain knowledge and guidance from all possible sources he can get to.


Lack of Desire for Guidance Gives way to Objections.

Being devoid of the urge to be rightly guided leads to an attitude of raising pointless objections and impairs the capacity to do good. Such attitude itself is a sign of deprivation. Here, the urge to seek guidance and truth has been appreciated as a virtue. Anyone who lacks this desire indeed lacks virtue and goodness.


The Real Life

The believers are being ordered to accept the Commands of Allah-SWT and the Holy Prophet-SW and to execute them immediately. This unstinted compliance is indeed the real life for believers. The Holy Prophet-SW does not issue any order for his-SW personal benefit, rather in the execution of his-SW commands lies the enlightenment of the heart and the saturation of the Spirit with Divine Splendour. This is an indication of the eternal bliss while a deprivation from these blessings is worse than death. Those condemned to the Fire will not die there but will yearn for death because life in Hell is worse than death. Therefore, whatever the Holy Prophet-SW commands the believers must strive with their lives to fulfil in every detail, because in it lies their real life.


Similarly, the instructions of a Shaikh in conformity with the Shari'ah must be obeyed without delay lest the negligent do not benefit from him. This is because an accomplished Shaikh is far above any selfish motives and only conveys the word of the Holy Prophet-SW.


The believers are being cautioned not to slack in the compliance of the Holy Prophet-SW's instructions, otherwise Allaah-SWT shall seal their hearts. In other words, a careless and lukewarm attitude in the execution of commands amounts to disbelief. It invokes the Annoyance of Allah-SWT whereby He-SWT deprives the guilty of the capacity to do good. Consequently, obedience becomes impossible. Scholars have also interpreted this Ayah that if sincere efforts are made in the execution of Divine Commands, Allaah-SWT protects His-SWT servants from evil and sin. While the Prophets-AS are innocent and chaste, the saints and noble people enjoy the Divine Protection against sin. Both the interpretation are valid. However, the most certain and inevitable event is that everyone will be gathered before Allah-SWT in the end.


Not Opposing Transgression Invites Punishment

Efforts must be made to ward off punishment meant for transgressors. It must be remembered that a transgressor invokes Divine Fury both in this as well as in the eternal life and those who tolerate and compromise with transgression are not spared either. Therefore, not only should the believers readily comply with the commands of the Holy Prophet-SW but must also try their level best to enforce virtue and curb evil. Let there be absolutely no compromise on any disobedience to him-SW. Otherwise, letting disobedience thrive would drive the believers to similar turmoils as are the lot of the disobedient.


These instructions ought to be followed at every level, whether personal, public or in the battlefield and no compromise is to be made under any circumstances. In short, the obedience to the Holy Prophet-SW demands from a believer that he must not tolerate any violation of his-SW teachings, nor does Allaah-SWT approve of those pious people who overlook the wrongdoers. And Allah-SWT's Punishment is indeed severe.


Barakah of the Prophethood

The Barakah of obeying the Holy Prophet-SW are evident as daylight. The believers were once weak, fewer in number and impoverished, with no resources to fight a battle. They were at a fair risk of being vanquished by the enemy. Allaah-SWT blessed them with Madinah as the base of an Islamic State, provided them succour, turned them into a mighty force and gave them prosperity so that they may be grateful.


On the contrary, a deliberate negligence in obeying the Holy Prophet-SW is a violation of his-SW rights which tantamount to violation of Divine Rights. While infringement of the rights of any human being is an extremely abominable act, violation of the trust of the Holy Prophet-SW deprives one of all the blessings and rewards like honour, prosperity and peace. And such a lapse, whether in mutual matters or honour, and in obedience to Allaah-SWT and His-SWT Prophet-SW is lethal.


Moreover, it must be remembered that wealth and affluence are all sources of trial. Sometimes lust for power and wealth or the love of offspring creates such situations whereby negligence in obedience becomes imminent. But the finest and the greatest rewards are with Allaah-SWT . Everything else is vain and temporal be it ties of blood or prosperity. Even in this world everything does not go according to one's desires, whereas in the eternal life one needs the Divine Rewards most. These worldly means will be of no avail there, while it is certain that whoever overcomes dictates of his soul and adheres to the Holy Prophet-SW's commands shall be amply rewarded.