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


يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ إِذَا لَقِيتُمْ فِئَةً فَاثْبُتُواْ وَاذْكُرُواْ اللّهَ كَثِيرًا لَّعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلَحُونَ

Ya ayyuha allatheena amanoo itha laqeetum fiatan fa(o)thbutoo wa(o)thkuroo Allaha katheeran laAAallakum tuflihoon(a)

O’ you who believe! When you encounter a party, stand firm and remember Allaah-SWT fervently, that perchance you may fare well.


وَأَطِيعُواْ اللّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ وَلاَ تَنَازَعُواْ فَتَفْشَلُواْ وَتَذْهَبَ رِيحُكُمْ وَاصْبِرُواْ إِنَّ اللّهَ مَعَ الصَّابِرِينَ

WaateeAAoo Allaha warasoolahu wala tanazaAAoo fatafshaloo watathhaba reehukum wa(i)sbiroo inna Allaha maAAa a(l)ssabireen(a)

And obey Allaah-SWT and His-SWT Messenger-SW, and do not dispute, with an emotion, lest you flag and your predominance depart, and be steadfast. Verily Allaah-SWT is with the steadfast.


وَلاَ تَكُونُواْ كَالَّذِينَ خَرَجُواْ مِن دِيَارِهِم بَطَرًا وَرِئَاء النَّاسِ وَيَصُدُّونَ عَن سَبِيلِ اللّهِ وَاللّهُ بِمَا يَعْمَلُونَ مُحِيطٌ

Wala takoonoo ka(a)llatheena kharajoo min diyarihim bataran wariaa a(l)nnasi wayasuddoona AAan sabeeli Allahi wa(A)llahu bima yaAAmaloona muheet(un)

And do not be like those who came forth from their homes vaunting and to be seen of men and debarring others from the way of Allaah-SWT . Allaah-SWT is the Encompasser of what they work.


وَإِذْ زَيَّنَ لَهُمُ الشَّيْطَانُ أَعْمَالَهُمْ وَقَالَ لاَ غَالِبَ لَكُمُ الْيَوْمَ مِنَ النَّاسِ وَإِنِّي جَارٌ لَّكُمْ فَلَمَّا تَرَاءتِ الْفِئَتَانِ نَكَصَ عَلَى عَقِبَيْهِ وَقَالَ إِنِّي بَرِيءٌ مِّنكُمْ إِنِّي أَرَى مَا لاَ تَرَوْنَ إِنِّيَ أَخَافُ اللّهَ وَاللّهُ شَدِيدُ الْعِقَابِ

Waith zayyana lahumu a(l)shshaytanu aAAmalahum waqala la ghaliba lakumu alyawma mina a(l)nnasi wainnee jarun lakum falamma taraati alfiatani nakasa AAalaAAaqibayhi waqala innee bareeon minkum innee ara ma la tarawna innee akhafu Allaha wa(A)llahu shadeedu alAAiqab(i)

And recall when Satan made their works fair seeming to them, and said: there is none of mankind to overcome you today, and surely I am your neighbour. Then when the two parties faced each other, he turned on his heels, and said: verily I am quit of you, verily I can see what you cannot; verily I fear Allah-SWT , and Allaah-SWT is Severe in chastising.


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

War and Jihad

Islam replaced the concept of war with Jihad, which is a unique philosophy. War was a phenomenon commonly known to the world before Islam. It involved efforts to destroy the rival, crippling and humiliating him.


Plundering, abasing and setting the enemy settlements ablaze were common features of wars. Islam replaced the term war with Jihad, which is derived from the word ‘Juhd' meaning struggle and hard work. Jihad also means an effort to reform the opponent for the sake of his own welfare. The armies of Islam always carried the instructions: (1) No unarmed person would be harmed (2) No crops would be destroyed (3) No trees would be cut down and (4) Neither the places of worship nor the worshippers would be disturbed. If an adversary embraces Islam his rights as a Muslim will be granted. If he chooses to retain his religion peacefully he must pay Jizyah. In other words, wars were waged merely to disgrace individuals or nations whereby their honour was trampled over and their lands were seized. Whereas Jihad is an armed endeavour, explicitly bounded by limits undertaken to save the wrongdoer from Divine Punishment or to protect Allah-SWT's servants and His-SWT Din from the mischief. This endeavour has been referred to as a great act of worship. Those who argue that it is no longer valid are ignorant of its reality.


The rules and regulations of Jihad dictate that should the circumstances make an encounter with the enemy inevitable, the believers must stand fast in the battlefield. This is what every nation expects from its armed forces, which indeed is the main strength while the weaponry is only of secondary importance.


The Sources of Steadfastness

Whereas the infidel nations boost the morale of their troops through emotional speeches, armaments, national honour and manpower, the Quran ordains constant Zikr as the source of steadfastness in the battlefield. It must be understood that Zikr refers to all those actions performed in compliance with the tenets of Islam, which may also be termed as practical Zikr. Inviting to the truth by word of mouth, persuading others to remain steadfast and raising slogans of Allah-SWT's Glory are all facets of oral Zikr, which is a common practice of Muslim forces in combat anyway. The best and the most meritorious deed is to present one's life in the battlefield, and the best form of oral Zikr is to inculcate vigour, spirit and discipline amongst the ranks. Over and above, constant Zikr is achieved through Zikr-e-Qalbi, which continues even amidst the blazing gunfire. It is indeed the best source of steadfastness because when the hearts gain strength, feet stand fast automatically. And on the other hand it is also the stepping stone to eternal salvation, hence a constant Zikr has been enjoined.


Zikr-e-Qalbi Provides the Basic Motivation

In fact it is Zikr-e-Qalbi that provides the basis for sincere actions and enhances the capacity to work in those who practise it. Sadly enough, the Muslims have either given up Zikr Qalbi altogether or have fallen prey to impostors and fake Sufis, wasting their time and energy. Very few fortunate ones may have been blessed with this invaluable gift in its pristine form. May Allah-SW confer it upon the entire Muslim world once again! The believers must obey Allah-SWand the Holy Prophet-SW under all circumstances, be it Jihad, zikr or any other form of worship. Any effort whether Jihad or Zikr which takes a person away from Allah-SWT's obedience, will be futile. Because the sole aim of all actions is to attain excellence in submission to the Will and Purpose of Allah-SWT . This, in turn, is based on obedience to His-SWT Prophet-SW. Hence the basic difference between Jihad and war is that of motive. Jihad and war are poles apart because the former is motivated by a fervent desire to please and obey Allaah-SWT .


Difference of Opinion

The believers must not get into mutual disputes. Whenever different people get together they are bound to have diverse opinions. But if they try to impose their opinions on one another, it becomes a dispute. In other words, a difference in opinion is natural; whereas every one gives his opinion the leader decides the matter, after which his orders must be followed. No one should then feel offended or create a rift that his opinion was rejected. This is important because such disputes will undermine mutual confidence amongst the believers, reducing their power and impact upon the infidels. Therefore, the believers are being instructed to remain calm and patient even if a decision or action is taken against their personal preference. It indeed demands extraordinary patience to be tolerant and stick to the obedience of Allaah-SWT under such circumstances. This is the virtue of the highest order, worthy of Divine Friendship. Obviously, anyone having Allaah-SWT on his side will always be successful.


The believers must keep their intentions clean and pure for Allah-SWT, and must not imitate the Quraish of Makkah, who mindlessly plunged into misguidance. They had always been actively involved in creating hurdles for Islam. When they heard of the caravan's safety being threatened, they rushed to its rescue. But once it had safely escaped, there was no point in fighting. In fact some of the chieftains of Quraish pointed out that an engagement was no longer necessary. But Abu Jahl insisted on fighting. He had the false notion that they could wipe out the believers once and for all. The Day of Badr saw that whatever they had planned was overshadowed by the Omnipotence of Allah-SWT, which prevails over every matter.


Satan's Tactics

Speaking of the Satan's tactics Allaah-SWT apprises that when arrogance and false pretence develop in a person he diverts his efforts to the opposition of truth. Such a person falls prey to Satanic whispers, who makes his evil deeds appear noble to him. Like the Makkans, who were convinced that the opposition of the Holy Prophet-SW and Islam were acts of great piety. So much so that before leaving for Badr they prayed inside K'abah for the one on the right path to be victorious.


Secondly, Satan not only misguides and deceives in Kashf but also disguises as a human being to fulfil his evil designs. For instance, when contingent of the Quraish coming to the rescue of the caravan came to know of its safe escape, their prime concern was to return to Makkah. This was because they feared an attack on Makkah by their rival tribe Banu Bakr. Strangely enough, they saw Saraqah bin Malik, the leader of Banu Bakr joining them at Badr with a party of his men, declaring that he had put aside all personal vendetta and had come to help them as a neighbour in this crusade. He also assured them that the Muslims Army, in his view, was incapable of resisting their might. Thus he practically motivated them into fighting. But when the battle broke out and Satan, disguised as Saraqah, saw the Divine Lights and the angels descending in ranks, he began to retreat. The Quraish reminded him of his promise to fight by their side, but he regretted that he could no longer keep it. It was simply because what he had seen was not visible to them and he was fully aware of the severity of Allah-SWT's Punishments. Thus he ran away and the Quraish always believed that he was real Saraqah. Much later when the Quraish met him at an occasion and formally complained of his desertion which had led to their defeat, he clarified that he had never come to the Battle of Badr. He had indeed learnt about the battle and their defeat only after their return to Makkah.