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


يِا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ إَن تَتَّقُواْ اللّهَ يَجْعَل لَّكُمْ فُرْقَاناً وَيُكَفِّرْ عَنكُمْ سَيِّئَاتِكُمْ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ وَاللّهُ ذُو الْفَضْلِ الْعَظِيمِ

Ya ayyuha allatheena amanoo in tattaqoo Allaha yajAAal lakum furqanan wayukaffir AAankum sayyiatikum wayaghfir lakum wa(A)llahu thoo alfadli alAAatheem(i)

O’ you who believe! if you fear Allah-SWT He-SWT will make for you a distinction and will expiate for you your misdeeds and forgive you; and Allaah-SWT is the Owner of Mighty Grace.


وَإِذْ يَمْكُرُ بِكَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ لِيُثْبِتُوكَ أَوْ يَقْتُلُوكَ أَوْ يُخْرِجُوكَ وَيَمْكُرُونَ وَيَمْكُرُ اللّهُ وَاللّهُ خَيْرُ الْمَاكِرِينَ

Waith yamkuru bika allatheena kafaroo liyuthbitooka aw yaqtulooka aw yukhrijooka wayamkuroona wayamkuru Allahu wa(A)llahu khayru almakireen(a)

And recall when those who disbelieved were plotting against you-SW to confine you-SW or to slay you-SW or to drive you-SW forth: they were plotting and Allaah-SWT was plotting, and Allaah-SWT is the Best of plotters.


وَإِذَا تُتْلَى عَلَيْهِمْ آيَاتُنَا قَالُواْ قَدْ سَمِعْنَا لَوْ نَشَاء لَقُلْنَا مِثْلَ هَـذَا إِنْ هَـذَا إِلاَّ أَسَاطِيرُ الأوَّلِينَ

Waitha tutla AAalayhim ayatuna qaloo qad samiAAna law nashao laqulna mithla hatha in hatha illa asateeru alawwaleen(a)

And when Our-SWT revelations are rehearsed to them, they say: we have heard, we could, if only we willed, say the like of this: nothing is this but fables of the ancients.


وَإِذْ قَالُواْ اللَّهُمَّ إِن كَانَ هَـذَا هُوَ الْحَقَّ مِنْ عِندِكَ فَأَمْطِرْ عَلَيْنَا حِجَارَةً مِّنَ السَّمَاء أَوِ ائْتِنَا بِعَذَابٍ أَلِيمٍ

Waith qaloo allahumma in kana hatha huwa alhaqqa min AAindika faamtir AAalayna hijaratan mina a(l)ssamai awi itina biAAathabin aleem(in)

And recall when they said: O’ Allah-SWT, if this be indeed the truth from You-SWT , rain down stones upon us from the heaven or bring on us a torment afflictive.


وَمَا كَانَ اللّهُ لِيُعَذِّبَهُمْ وَأَنتَ فِيهِمْ وَمَا كَانَ اللّهُ مُعَذِّبَهُمْ وَهُمْ يَسْتَغْفِرُونَ

Wama kana Allahu liyuAAaththibahum waanta feehim wama kana Allahu muAAaththibahum wahum yastaghfiroon(a)

And Allaah-SWT is not one to chastise them while you-SW are in their midst; nor was Allaah-SWT going to chastise them while they were asking forgiveness.


وَمَا لَهُمْ أَلاَّ يُعَذِّبَهُمُ اللّهُ وَهُمْ يَصُدُّونَ عَنِ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ وَمَا كَانُواْ أَوْلِيَاءهُ إِنْ أَوْلِيَآؤُهُ إِلاَّ الْمُتَّقُونَ وَلَـكِنَّ أَكْثَرَهُمْ لاَ يَعْلَمُونَ

Wama lahum alla yuAAaththibahumu Allahu wahum yasuddoona AAani almasjidi alharami wama kanoo awliyaahu in awliyaohu illa almuttaqoona walakinna aktharahum la yaAAlamoon(a)

And what ails them that Allaah-SWT should not chastise them when they are hindering people from the Sacred Masjid, whereas they are not even its guardians-its guardians are none but the Rabb-SWT -fearing- yet most of them do not know.


وَمَا كَانَ صَلاَتُهُمْ عِندَ الْبَيْتِ إِلاَّ مُكَاء وَتَصْدِيَةً فَذُوقُواْ الْعَذَابَ بِمَا كُنتُمْ تَكْفُرُونَ

Wama kana salatuhum AAinda albayti illa mukaan watasdiyatan fathooqoo alAAathaba bima kuntum takfuroon(a)

And nothing was their Salat at the House but whistling and hand clapping. Taste then the torment for you were used to disbelieve.


إِنَّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ يُنفِقُونَ أَمْوَالَهُمْ لِيَصُدُّواْ عَن سَبِيلِ اللّهِ فَسَيُنفِقُونَهَا ثُمَّ تَكُونُ عَلَيْهِمْ حَسْرَةً ثُمَّ يُغْلَبُونَ وَالَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ إِلَى جَهَنَّمَ يُحْشَرُونَ

Inna allatheena kafaroo yunfiqoona amwalahum liyasuddoo AAan sabeeli Allahi fasayunfiqoonaha thumma takoonu AAalayhim hasratan thumma yughlaboona wa(a)llatheena kafaroo ila jahannama yuhsharoon(a)

Those who disbelieve are spending their riches in order to hinder people from the way of Allah-SWT; so they will go on spending them. Thereafter they will become anguish to them; then they shall be overcome. And those who disbelieve shall be gathered for Hell.


لِيَمِيزَ اللّهُ الْخَبِيثَ مِنَ الطَّيِّبِ وَيَجْعَلَ الْخَبِيثَ بَعْضَهُ عَلَىَ بَعْضٍ فَيَرْكُمَهُ جَمِيعاً فَيَجْعَلَهُ فِي جَهَنَّمَ أُوْلَـئِكَ هُمُ الْخَاسِرُونَ

Liyameeza Allahu alkhabeetha mina a(l)ttayyibi wayajAAala alkhabeetha baAAdahu AAala baAAdin fayarkumahu jameeAAan fayajAAalahu fee jahannama olaika humu alkhasiroon(a)

In order that Allaah-SWT may distinguish the vile from the good and the vile He-SWT shall put one upon another, and shall pile them all together, and shall place them into Hell. Those: it is they who are the losers.


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

The Fruits of Taqwa

Obedience to the Holy Prophet-SW blesses the heart with an affinity and a spiritual state known as Taqwa, which acts as a barrier against disobedience and leads to further Divine Favours. One of these is Furqan i.e. the criterion to discriminate between the truth and falsehood making the former to dominate the latter. This Divine Favour was manifested at Badr and that is why the Day of Badr is also called Day of Furqan. Besides, if a sincere effort is made to obey Allah-SWT , He-SWT blesses such faithful with the company of noble and accomplished souls, wherefrom is attained enlightenment of the heart and spiritual insight. These gifts then become barriers against wrong doings, and facilitate steadfastness on the right path. This indeed is a great succour from Allaah-SWT . The second reward on Taqwa or perseverance is that Allah-SWT forgives the errors unwittingly committed by the believers out of their human weakness. Thirdly, they will be blessed with eternal salvation and Mercy, and would be spared the mortifying terror on the Day of Reckoning. And not to be forgotten is the fact that His-SWT Grace and Generosity is unlimited; only He-SWT knows what He-SWT shall give to His-SWT truly devoted servants.


Take note how the infidels of Makkah planned to harm the Holy Prophet-SW. They plotted to banish him-SW from the city or to imprison him-SW or too assassinate him-SW. This was before the Holy Prophet-SW's migration flight to Madinah. Earlier, when the Companions-RAU began to migrate and the natives of Madinah started to convert to Islam, the news quickly spread. This made the infidels at Makkah extremely apprehensive and they thought of a permanent solution. They convened a meeting at Dar-an-Nadwa, which was attended by almost all the chieftains of Makkah. Iblis, the accursed, disguised as an old man, stood by the entrance and identified himself as a person from Najd who wanted to participate in this discussion of great importance. He was formally inducted in the assembly. They first came up with the idea that the Holy Prophet-SW be enchained and kept in a solitary confinement and left to perish. This was rejected by Iblis because such a confinement would not remain concealed for long and he-SW could be rescued by his-SW loyal Companions-RAU who would naturally be infuriated. Everyone agreed that the Shaikh from Najd was right. Then it was suggested that the Holy Prophet-SW must be forced to leave the city and never allowed to return to Makkah.


This was again turned down by the old wizard on the ground that the Holy Prophet-SW might become much more powerful and return to conquer the city one day. Finally, Abu Jahl suggested that each tribe should provide a strong young man and all together should strike and kill the Holy Prophet-SW putting an end to the whole conflict. Thus the tribe of the Holy Prophet-SW would not be able to avenge his murder, because it will be impossible to determine the real assassin and the blood-money will be jointly shared. This suggestion was readily supported by Iblis and it was decided that the Holy Prophet-SW's house be besieged at night and he would be assassinated by a sudden and joint attack. This diabolic plan was revealed at dawn to the Holy Prophet-SW by Angel Jibril-AS, who also conveyed the Divine Permission for migration. Hadhrat Abu Bakr Siddiq-RAU was to accompany the Holy Prophet-SW, and Allaah-SWT willed the time of departure to be the same when the infidels would have taken the Holy Prophet-SW's house under siege. Hadhrat Ali-RAU was to sleep on the Holy Prophet-SW's bed. At the appointed hour of departure the Holy Prophet-SW threw a handful of dust at the enemy and safely passed by them reciting Surah Yasin. The serpentine assassins stood blinded. The Holy Prophet-SW paid a farewell visit to the House of Allaah-SWT first, then moved to Hadhrat Abu Bakr-RAU house, where from both left for Madinah.


Early next morning, the infidels were flabbergasted to see Hadhrat Ali-RAU coming out of the Holy Prophet-SW's house. They enquired where their target was and were told that they should have known better for they had kept vigilance all night. They returned disappointed and humiliated. Allaah-SWT recounts this favour in these Ayat, that He-SWT has been extremely generous unto the Muslims by conducting His-SWT Prophet-SW safely out of danger, for it is indeed his-SW noble and blessed personage, which is the fountainhead of all blessings. Allaah-SWT countered the evil designs of the infidels, supported by Satan, in the same coin. Certainly, the plan of Allah-SWT is the most superior and bound to prevail over the rest. In this world of causes and effects, it is Allah-SWT Who-SWT creates the causes and their effects. Thus the schemes of the infidels never succeed against the true believers.


The Effects of Opposing the Holy Prophet-SW

The Qulub and the souls of the infidels were perverted due to their malice against the Holy Prophet-SW, and they were thrown into a state of compounded misery. Their plans were foiled and their hearts were darkened thus losing the capability of comprehending the truth. Thus when they hear the Quranic Ayat all they can think of is to raise absurd objections. They argue that they have heard similar fables before, which can also be found in the Scriptures of the Jews and the Christians. They say that these anecdotes cannot be validated, and might as well be fabrications. If they want, they say, they can also coin similar tales without any difficulty.


On the contrary, the Quran has not discussed even a single event in its historical context or merely to tell a tale. It rather highlights each event with relevance to its logical outcome. That is why it recounts small episodes from a single event on different occasions in order to draw pertinent lessons from them, in order to forewarn the listeners and readers that a similar attitude shall meet similar fate.


The Quranic challenge looked them straight in their faces; it invited them to produce a single Ayah similar to its text if they could. Had they been capable of doing so they would have certainly tried. So their allegation that the Quran is a fabrication stem from sheer malice and perversion of their hearts, and they senselessly depend on their dumb intellect to draw conclusions.


They pray to Allaah-SWT for a downpour of rocks from the heavens or a tormenting doom if the claim and Message of the Holy Prophet-SW be truly Divine. Logically they should have prayed: "O' Allaah-SWT if this was the truth from You-SWT then give us the wisdom to accept it, otherwise grant us Your-SWT Protection." But unfortunately their reasoning had capsized, hence they were begging for their own destruction while clinging to the K'abah. However, in the very presence of the Holy Prophet-SW, Allaah-SWT will never send a doom unto people.


The Barakah of Prophethood

It is a Divine Way that His-SWT Messengers-AS are safely pulled out from the premises destined to perish. And the Barakah of the Holy Prophet-SW is so ubiquitous that his-SW very presence provides shelter even to the non believers against Divine Punishment and collective extinction, although individually they are taken to task for their sins. The reason presented by the Commentators is that since the Prophethood of Prophet Muhammad-SW is universal and for all times to come, it is as if he-SW is physically present amidst the mankind. Therefore, the whole mankind has been spared decree of collective annihilation unlike the nations before him-SW. And the beneficence and the Divine Lights radiating from his-SW bosom provide the believers a shield against sin, which is also a form of protection from punishment. The second reason why havoc does not strike the Makkan is the presence of those who could not migrate to Madinah either due to poverty or ill health and continue to remember Allah-SWT while living in Makkah. Moreover, the infidels also used to chant prayers for forgiveness while doing Tawaf of K'abah and according to the scholars noble deeds of a non believer do bear fruit in this world, though they will be of no consequence in the Hereafter. Anyway, the presence of the Holy Prophet-SW or his-SW beneficence and his-SW lights constitute a barrier to Divine Punishment. His-SW life inside the Sacred Tomb, and the permanence of his-SW Prophethood are established facts. To discuss the state of this life inside the Sacred Tomb is not relevant here, though in terms of realms he-SW abides in Barzakh and is alive in the same way as he-SW was in this world. Rather, this state of life is far more stronger than his-SW worldly life. His-SW benevolence will continue till the end of time and is received by the universe as a whole.


Result of Disconnection from the Holy Prophet-SW’s Barakah

However, if a person opposes the Holy Prophet-SW thereby disconnecting himself from his-SW Barakah, it will certainly invoke Divine Wrath and a terrible fate. The infidels have indeed pushed their luck too far because they have now begun to bar the believers from entering K'abah. While the idolaters and the infidels have the freedom to do Tawaf, the symbol of Divine Mercy, the Holy Prophet-SW is being prohibited to enter therein. Thus when people line up against the Holy Prophet-SW they cannot escape punishment and misfortune. Hence it marked the beginning of the end of the infidels, towards which they plunged further at an accelerating pace with the passage of time. It was highly unjust of them to deny entry to the Holy Prophet-SW in K'abah as they were not the custodians of the House. The rightful custodians of K’abah are those who are righteous and can acquire beneficence and spiritual states from the Holy Prophet-SW.


The Heir of a Saint

Likewise, sainthood is also not merely based on lineage but depends on the acquisition of the necessary distinction. The rule observed by the followers of the Sufi saints was that a son could not inherit sainthood if he lacked the requisite spiritual excellence. But gradually, spiritual standing was abandoned in favour of heredity and lineage with the result that incompetent persons got into the seats of their accomplished ancestors, bringing disrepute to these schools of guidance and causing serious damage.


Whatever the infidels of Makkah practise inside K'abah is nothing but mindless rituals. All they do is clap and whistle as worship and they certainly deserve to be driven out of the sacred place.


Hence the infidels were punished repeatedly in the battles they fought against Islam and at last were expelled from Makkah forever. It was a form of punishment which they had to endure in this world while eternal doom awaits them in the Hereafter. The same goes for the incompetent heirs to sainthood. They also indulge in innovations and foolish rituals instead of concentrating on Zikr and spiritual states. As a result they are themselves destroyed while leading all those following them astray.


Disbelief Never Succeeds

Disbelief blinds reasoning and as a result the non-believers spend their wealth and resources against the Cause of Allaah-SWT . They diverted heavy resources towards preparations to fight the believers at Badr and Uhad. It is strange that Allah-SWT continues to give them all the physical, mental and material capabilities, which are being used against the Message of Allaah-SWT itself. The final outcome will always be that their striving and their affluence will avail them naught. On the contrary it will cause them much anguish, because they are destined to fail. Besides, they will lament over the loss of their wealth, time and effort. Glory be to Allaah-SWT that He-SWT continuously foils all their conspiracies against Islam while sustaining Islam, which will Insha’ Allah always be preserved in its pristine purity.


After being disgraced in this world, the eternal fate of the non believers will be even more agonizing. They shall be condemned to Hell forever, because every action has a logical outcome. It is obvious that an evil endeavour will never bear noble fruits. Similarly, Allah-SWT will never let the sincere and pure efforts of His-SWT devotees bear the impure fruits of failure. He-SWT shall do justice and will separate evil from good and the profane from the pious. It will be the sinners, who will be at a total loss, to be piled up and condemned to Hell. Therefore, it is important to critically analyse ourselves, our sources of income, our intentions and our actions constantly. The wrongdoers and the righteous will never be the same. Baseless rituals can never be a source of attaining spiritual states. Rather, these may well render futile one's life-long endeavours at being righteous. May Allaah-SWT protect us from such an unfortunate situation!