سورة التوبة   

Surah Name: At-Taubah Meaning: The Repentance

  • Revealed at Madinah
  • • It is also called Surah Bar'at (freedom from obligation) as it carries the injunctions that absolved the believers of the obligation to honour the Treaty they had with idolaters. Moreover it is called Taubah because it gives the glad tidings of the acceptance to penitence. In a way it is unique, as it does not begin with Bismillah ar Rahman ar Rahim (in the Name of Allah-SWT , the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful).Usually whenever Aayaat from a Surah were revealed at random, their correct place of insertion was also conveyed to the Holy Prophet-SW. He-SW would instruct the Scribes to record these accordingly. And whenever a new Surah was revealed he-SW would instruct them to begin it with Bismillah ar Rahman ar Rahim. Surah Taubah is amongst the last Madni Surahs revealed. It was revealed without the instructions to begin it with Bismillah. The Holy Prophet-SW also did not instruct the Scribes to write Bismillah, hence it is without the usual auspicious words.

    When the task of compiling the Quran was taken up in the era of Hadhrat Uthman-RAU, the question regarding the placement of this Surah arose, for it was quite possible that it may not have been an individual Surah but a part of the preceding one. Therefore, Hadhrat Uthman-RAU instructed the compilers to place it after Al-Anfal. This was the safest thing to do for the Holy Prophet-SW had not commanded to open it with Bismillah nor had he-SW implied that it was a part of Surah Al-Anfal, but had got it recorded contiguous to Anfal. The rules for reciting the Quran indicate that anyone who while reciting Surah Anfal moves on to Surah Taubah need not recite Bismillah. However, if the recitation is initiated from this Surah or from any part of it, Bismillah must be recited. The other opening expressions for Surah Taubah as stated in certain manuscripts of the Quran, such as. A auz Billah min nar wa min Ghadhab al Jabbar etc. (I seek Allah’s-SWT ’ Protection against fire and the fury of the tyrants etc.) have no authentic backing Hadhrat Ali-RAU reports that since the Surah revealed the Divine Command for the cancellation of the Treaty with the infidels, it did not open with Bismillah. This may have been a subtle reason, which has not been discretely told.

  • Total Number of Rukū / Sections 16
  • Total Number of Āyāt / Parts 129
  • Sūrah / Chapter number 9
  • Rukū / Section 1 contains Āyāt / Parts 6
  • Siparah/ Volume 10 & 11


بَرَاءةٌ مِّنَ اللّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ إِلَى الَّذِينَ عَاهَدتُّم مِّنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ

Baraatun mina Allahi warasoolihi ila allatheena AAahadtum mina almushrikeen(a)

Freedom from obligation is this from Allah--SWT and His-SWT Messenger-SW to the associators with whom you had covenanted.


فَسِيحُواْ فِي الأَرْضِ أَرْبَعَةَ أَشْهُرٍ وَاعْلَمُواْ أَنَّكُمْ غَيْرُ مُعْجِزِي اللّهِ وَأَنَّ اللّهَ مُخْزِي الْكَافِرِينَ

Faseehoo fee alardi arbaAAata ashhurin wa(i)AAlamoo annakum ghayru muAAjizee Allahi waanna Allaha mukhzee alkafireen(a)

Go about then, in the land for four months, and know that you cannot escape Allah-SWT, and that verily Allaah-SWT is the humiliator of the infidels.


وَأَذَانٌ مِّنَ اللّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ إِلَى النَّاسِ يَوْمَ الْحَجِّ الأَكْبَرِ أَنَّ اللّهَ بَرِيءٌ مِّنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ وَرَسُولُهُ فَإِن تُبْتُمْ فَهُوَ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ وَإِن تَوَلَّيْتُمْ فَاعْلَمُواْ أَنَّكُمْ غَيْرُ مُعْجِزِي اللّهِ وَبَشِّرِ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ بِعَذَابٍ أَلِيمٍ

Waathanun mina Allahi warasoolihi ila a(l)nnasi yawma alhajji alakbari anna Allaha bareeon mina almushrikeena warasooluhu fain tubtum fahuwa khayrun lakum wain tawallaytum fa(i)AAlamoo annakum ghayru muAAjizee Allahi wabashshiri allatheena kafaroo biAAathabin aleem(in)

And a proclamation is this from Allaah-SWT and His-SWT Messenger-SW to mankind on the day of the greater Hajj that Allaah-SWT is quit of the associators and so is His-SWT Messenger-SW Wherefore if you repent, it shall be better for you, but if you turn away, then know that you cannot escape Allaah-SWT And announce to those who disbelieve a torment afflictive.


إِلاَّ الَّذِينَ عَاهَدتُّم مِّنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ ثُمَّ لَمْ يَنقُصُوكُمْ شَيْئًا وَلَمْ يُظَاهِرُواْ عَلَيْكُمْ أَحَدًا فَأَتِمُّواْ إِلَيْهِمْ عَهْدَهُمْ إِلَى مُدَّتِهِمْ إِنَّ اللّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُتَّقِينَ

Illa allatheena AAahadtum mina almushrikeena thumma lam yanqusookum shayan walam yuthahiroo AAalaykum ahadan faatimmoo ilayhim AAahdahum ilamuddatihim inna Allaha yuhibbu almuttaqeen(a)

Except those of the associators with whom you covenanted and they have not failed you in anything, nor have they backed up any one against you; so fulfill to them their covenant till their full period. Assuredly Allaah-SWT loves those who fear Him-SWT .


فَإِذَا انسَلَخَ الأَشْهُرُ الْحُرُمُ فَاقْتُلُواْ الْمُشْرِكِينَ حَيْثُ وَجَدتُّمُوهُمْ وَخُذُوهُمْ وَاحْصُرُوهُمْ وَاقْعُدُواْ لَهُمْ كُلَّ مَرْصَدٍ فَإِن تَابُواْ وَأَقَامُواْ الصَّلاَةَ وَآتَوُاْ الزَّكَاةَ فَخَلُّواْ سَبِيلَهُمْ إِنَّ اللّهَ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ

Faitha insalakha alashhuru alhurumu fa(o)qtuloo almushrikeena haythu wajadtumoohum wakhuthoohum wa(o)hsuroohum wa(o)qAAudoo lahum kulla marsadin fain taboo waaqamoo a(l)ssalata waatawoo a(l)zzakata fakhalloo sabeelahum inna Allaha ghafoorun raheem(un)

When, therefore, the sacred months have slipped away, slay the associators wherever you find them and capture them and confine them and lie in wait for them at every ambush. Then should they repent and establish Salat and give Zakat, leave them alone. Verily Allah-SWT is Forgiving, Merciful.


وَإِنْ أَحَدٌ مِّنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ اسْتَجَارَكَ فَأَجِرْهُ حَتَّى يَسْمَعَ كَلاَمَ اللّهِ ثُمَّ أَبْلِغْهُ مَأْمَنَهُ ذَلِكَ بِأَنَّهُمْ قَوْمٌ لاَّ يَعْلَمُونَ

Wain ahadun mina almushrikeena istajaraka faajirhu hatta yasmaAAa kalama Allahi thumma ablighhu mamanahu thalika biannahum qawmun la yaAAlamoon(a)

And should any of the associators seek your-SAAW protection grant him protection that he may hear the Word of Allah-SWT, then let him reach his place of security. That is because they are a people who do not know.


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

Prior to the revelation of Surah At-Taubah there were treaties of peace between the Muslims and the infidels of Makkah as well as other Arab tribes. But each time it was the infidels who would breach such treaties as soon as they found the strength and the opportunity to do so. The Treaty of Hudaibiyah was signed in 6th Hijrah for ten years. Its terms are well known. The following year i.e. in 7th Hijrah the Holy Prophet-SW along with his-SW Companions-RAU performed for Umrah. But a few months later, the Makkans began to violate the terms of this Treaty by providing military assistance to Banu Bakr against Banu Khazah, who were the allies of the Muslims. This was an open breach of the Treaty. Therefore, the Holy Prophet-SW ordered preparations for Jihad. The Makkans sent to Madinah Abu Sufyan for renewal of the Treaty as the battles of Badr, Uhad, Trench had proved to them that the Muslims were backed by none other than Allaah-SWT . But inspite of Abu Sufyan’s efforts the Treaty was not renewed. The Holy Prophet-SW marched with his army on the 10th of Ramadhan 8 A.H, and conquered Makkah.


Earlier in 8th Hijrah the Jews of Madinah had also violated the Treaty of Ahzab resulting in the Battle of Hunain, the same year In Rajab 9th A.H. the Battle of Tabuk took place and eventually in Zilhajj 9th A.H. the injunction to annul all the Treaties with the Arab tribes was revealed. Although continuous violation by the infidels was also a reason for this annulment, yet in reality, the Arabian Peninsula was to be converted into an Islamic State and the cradle of Islam. This is because Islam is the Command of Allaah-SWT and subservience is against its nature. In fact, it has an inherent tendency to predominate.


Islamic State

The land of Arabia was declared to be the foundation of an Islamic State and treaties with all the non believers were abolished, giving them the choice to either accept Islam and join hands in the establishment of the Islamic State or to leave Makkah and settle elsewhere. Failing to avail these options, a war would be waged against them. This message was effectively communicated to all the non believers, and they were given ample respite to reflect over their choices. On the occasion of Hajj, Hadhrat Abu Bakr Siddiq-RAU and Hadhrat Ali-RAU were deputed to make an announcement so that the message was conveyed to all the tribes. Hadhrat 'Ali-RAU was also deputed to Yemen with the same assignment. It was to make sure that no one was left uninformed. The point to note is that even today, to make a concerted effort for the establishment of an Islamic State is an important religious obligation. Social seclusion in the name of worship with an indifferent attitude towards the country's political circumstances is not correct.


Hajj -e-Akbar (The Greater Pilgrimage)

According to the Commentators this term refers to the Hajj performed annually because 'Umrah has been termed as Hajj-e-Asghar (the smaller Hajj). The expression embraces all the five days of Hajj. The inference that the day at 'Arafat falling on a Friday means Hajj-e-Akbar has no factual basis. However, it is true that when the Holy Prophet-SW performed Hajj, the Day at Arafat was a Friday. Although a Friday falling on the day at ‘Arafat certainly has its own Barakah, it must be noted that in 9th Hijrah, the day at 'Arafat was not a Friday. Still, the Quran terms it as the "Day of Hajj-e-Akbar"


'Umrah Is Not Permissible During the Hajj Days’

According to Quran these five days have been dedicated for performing Hajj. Therefore, 'Umrah is not permitted in these days. As for the annulment of the treaties, Allaah-SWT and His-SWT Prophet-SW declare withdrawal from all the treaties held with the infidels. When all the treaties are being abolished, those groups with whom there never had been any Treaty ought to pay even greater heed to the following announcement. The polytheists of Makkah had themselves violated the treaties, which led to the conquest of Makkah and as such they did not deserve any concession. Still, Islam treated them gracefully by giving them a respite for four months. As these were the Sacred Months so Allaah-SWT commanded that the sanctity of these months be maintained and the infidels be given time to take a decision. Moreover, they should be allowed to move freely within the Islamic State if they wished to during these four months.


However, they must realize that the only route to peace is through obedience to Allaah-SWT . Otherwise they would ultimately perish along with their intrigues and shall fail to pose a challenge to the Omnipotence of Allaah-SWT . Besides, their destruction would not only be physical in this world, but would take the form of an eternal and shameful doom in the Hereafter.


Fulfillment of Promise

For those non believers who did not violate their treaties with the Muslims, nor extended any assistance to the enemy against them, it was enjoined that the treaties with them must be honoured until the date of expiry. Undoubtedly Allaah-SWT loves the righteous. Taqwa must not be lost sight of even in matters involving treaties with the infidels. No pretence must be used to abrogate such pacts, as this is contrary to a Muslim's integrity.


This Ayah granted respite to the two tribes of Bani Kinanah, namely Bani Dhamrah and Bani Madbah. The treaties with them were to be honoured until the remaining nine months of their validity. Besides, they were informed well in time that the treaties would not be renewed. Then there were other groups with whom, either the period of the treaty was not fixed or there was no treaty altogether. To them applied the injunctions revealed in the first two Ayat and they too got a respite for four months. It was declared that if after the lapse of this period the polytheists and the non believers did not either accept Islam or quit Makkah, they would be dealt with ruthlessly without any leniency, as reservations in slaying the deceitful actually denote cowardice. Therefore, the treacherous must be slain or seized wherever found. The believers must wage a full-fledged combat against them and apply all feasible tactics in warfare. Yet it must be remembered that a believer is not the enemy of any person but evil beliefs and conduct. Hence if the non believers repent and accept Islam, for which the proof will be that they offer Salat and pay Zakat, then the Muslims must not stand in their way, because Allah-SWT, for sure, is the Most Merciful and Forgiving. Thus it becomes evident that to obliterate oppression, the grandeur and the might of the tyrants must be shattered, without giving them any allowance. However, if they give up tyranny, which would imply repentance, they will be treated without discrimination. Repentance demands a reformation of conduct in the first place; therefore, they must offer Salat and pay Zakat. Failure to do so would render the claim of embracing faith meaningless and the fighting would not be called off. In fact, anyone denying the Islamic obligations would deserve a similar treatment.


Repentance Means Reformation of Conduct

When some people refused to pay Zakat the First Caliph Hadhrat Abu Bakr Siddiq-RAU, on the authority of this Ayah declared Jihad against them, which was corroborated by the Companions-RAU. And if anyone amongst the penitent seeks protection of the Holy Prophet-SW, in order to gain awareness of Islam, he must not only be given protection, but as soon as his mission is completed, he must be safely escorted back to his place so that he may consider accepting Islam out of free will. This Injunction caters for the ignorance of the non believers about Islam and will be applicable only when an infidel wishes to come to the Islamic State to learn about Islam. However, if an infidel wishes to join the Muslim community for reasons other than learning Islam, for instance trade etc, it is entirely at the discretion of the believers to allow or refuse a visa.


Visit of Infidels to Islamic State

It is the State's responsibility to keep an eye on the movements and activities of those non Muslims, who have been permitted into the Islamic State. As soon as their visa expires or the purpose of the visit is achieved, they must be escorted back. They must not be allowed to stay in the Islamic State unnecessarily, unlike today s Muslim States, which hire non believers as advisors, and their Governments are run by the assistance and advice of the infidels. This is indeed a grave sin. 

The above six Ayat have highlighted the different categories of the infidels in terms of their conduct and dealings. The rules for the treatment to be extended to each have also been spelled out. It is clearly explained that the establishment of an Islamic State and its protection against the intrigues of the infidels is the only way to the rise of Islam. This is an eye-opener for those who participate in some way intellectually, physically or financially to cause the wicked and ungodly people to rule the Muslims. This indeed is a serious violation. It is imperative for every Muslim to contribute towards the establishment and protection of an Islamic State. And the only way for achieving this goal is by making sure that the infidels and the ungodly have nothing to do with it.