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 10 contains Āyāt / Parts 8
  • Siparah/ Volume 10 & 11


يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ جَاهِدِ الْكُفَّارَ وَالْمُنَافِقِينَ وَاغْلُظْ عَلَيْهِمْ وَمَأْوَاهُمْ جَهَنَّمُ وَبِئْسَ الْمَصِيرُ

Ya ayyuha a(l)nnabiyyu jahidi alkuffara wa(a)lmunafiqeena wa(o)ghluth AAalayhim wamawahum jahannamu wabisa almaseer(u)

O’ Prophet-SW ! Strive hard against the infidels and the hypocrites, and be stern to them. And their resort is Hell, a helpless destination.


يَحْلِفُونَ بِاللّهِ مَا قَالُواْ وَلَقَدْ قَالُواْ كَلِمَةَ الْكُفْرِ وَكَفَرُواْ بَعْدَ إِسْلاَمِهِمْ وَهَمُّواْ بِمَا لَمْ يَنَالُواْ وَمَا نَقَمُواْ إِلاَّ أَنْ أَغْنَاهُمُ اللّهُ وَرَسُولُهُ مِن فَضْلِهِ فَإِن يَتُوبُواْ يَكُ خَيْرًا لَّهُمْ وَإِن يَتَوَلَّوْا يُعَذِّبْهُمُ اللّهُ عَذَابًا أَلِيمًا فِي الدُّنْيَا وَالآخِرَةِ وَمَا لَهُمْ فِي الأَرْضِ مِن وَلِيٍّ وَلاَ نَصِيرٍ

Yahlifoona bi(A)llahi ma qaloo walaqad qaloo kalimata alkufri wakafaroo baAAda islamihim wahammoo bima lam yanaloo wama naqamoo illa an aghnahumu Allahu warasooluhu min fadlihi fain yatooboo yaku khayran lahum wain yatawallaw yuAAaththibhumu Allahu AAathaban aleeman fee a(l)ddunya wa(a)lakhirati wamalahum fee alardi min waliyyin wala naseer(in)

They swear by Allaah-SWT that they said it not, but assuredly they uttered the word of infidelity and disbelieved after their profession of Islam and they resolved that to which they could not attain. And they resolved that to which they could not attain. And they avenged not except this that Allaah-SWT and His-SWT Messenger-SW had enriched them out of His-SWT Grace. If then they repent, it will be better for them, and if they turn away, Allaah-SWT shall chastise them with an afflictive torment in the world and the Akhirah, and on the earth theirs shall be no friend or helper.


وَمِنْهُم مَّنْ عَاهَدَ اللّهَ لَئِنْ آتَانَا مِن فَضْلِهِ لَنَصَّدَّقَنَّ وَلَنَكُونَنَّ مِنَ الصَّالِحِينَ

Waminhum man AAahada Allaha lain atana min fadlihi lanassaddaqanna walanakoonanna mina a(l)ssaliheen(a)

And of them are some who covenanted with Allaah-SWT saying: if He-SWT gives us of His-SWT Grace, we shall surely pay Zakat and shall become of the righteous.


فَلَمَّا آتَاهُم مِّن فَضْلِهِ بَخِلُواْ بِهِ وَتَوَلَّواْ وَّهُم مُّعْرِضُونَ

Falamma atahum min fadlihi bakhiloo bihi watawallaw wahum muAAridoon(a)

Then when He-SWT gave them out of His-SWT Grace, they became niggardly therewith and turned away as backsliders.


فَأَعْقَبَهُمْ نِفَاقًا فِي قُلُوبِهِمْ إِلَى يَوْمِ يَلْقَوْنَهُ بِمَا أَخْلَفُواْ اللّهَ مَا وَعَدُوهُ وَبِمَا كَانُواْ يَكْذِبُونَ

FaaAAqabahum nifaqan fee quloobihim ila yawmi yalqawnahu bima akhlafoo Allaha ma waAAadoohu wabima kanoo yakthiboon(a)

So He-SWT chastised them with setting hypocrisy in their hearts until the Day they will meet Him-SWT , because they kept back from Allaah-SWT what they had promised Him-SWT , and because they were used to lying.


أَلَمْ يَعْلَمُواْ أَنَّ اللّهَ يَعْلَمُ سِرَّهُمْ وَنَجْوَاهُمْ وَأَنَّ اللّهَ عَلاَّمُ الْغُيُوبِ

Alam yaAAlamoo anna Allaha yaAAlamu sirrahum wanajwahum waanna Allaha AAallamu alghuyoob(i)

Know they not that Allaah-SWT knows their secret and their whisper, and that Allaah-SWT is the Knower of things Unseen?


الَّذِينَ يَلْمِزُونَ الْمُطَّوِّعِينَ مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ فِي الصَّدَقَاتِ وَالَّذِينَ لاَ يَجِدُونَ إِلاَّ جُهْدَهُمْ فَيَسْخَرُونَ مِنْهُمْ سَخِرَ اللّهُ مِنْهُمْ وَلَهُمْ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ

Allatheena yalmizoona almuttawwiAAeena mina almumineena fee a(l)ssadaqati wa(a)llatheena la yajidoona illa juhdahum fayaskharoona minhum sakhira Allahu minhum walahum AAathabun aleem(un)

These are they who traduce those who give alms cheerfully from among the believers, and those who do not have anything to give but their hard earnings. At them they scoff, Allaah-SWT shall scoff back at them and theirs shall be a torment afflictive,


اسْتَغْفِرْ لَهُمْ أَوْ لاَ تَسْتَغْفِرْ لَهُمْ إِن تَسْتَغْفِرْ لَهُمْ سَبْعِينَ مَرَّةً فَلَن يَغْفِرَ اللّهُ لَهُمْ ذَلِكَ بِأَنَّهُمْ كَفَرُواْ بِاللّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ وَاللّهُ لاَ يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الْفَاسِقِينَ

Istaghfir lahum aw la tastaghfir lahum in tastaghfir lahum sabAAeena marratan falan yaghfira Allahu lahum thalika biannahum kafaroo bi(A)llahi warasoolihi wa(A)llahu la yahdee alqawma alfasiqeen(a)

Ask you-SW forgiveness for them or ask you-SW not forgiveness for them; if you-SW  ask forgiveness for them seventy times Allaah-SWT will not forgive them. This, because they disbelieved in Allaah-SWT and His-SWT Messenger-SW   and Allaah-SWT does not guide an ungodly people.


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

Jihad Enjoined

In these Ayah is a direct Command given to the Holy Prophet-SW for Jihad against the non believers and the hypocrites. This means that a Muslim ruler or Government must never neglect their obligation towards Jihad, for who can be exempted when the Holy Prophet-SW himself is being commanded to it. Islam enjoins Jihad instead of war. Obviously, when the infidels wage a war, fighting them back will be Jihad. However, where the Muslims are very few in number and cannot possibly fight, for them both verbal and practical propagation of Islam will be Jihad.

Those who think that although Islam has enjoined Jihad yet it is very difficult for the believers to fight on all fronts particularly where they are in minority have certainly overlooked the spirit behind it. Jihad indeed is synonymous to striving for the prevalence of piety. If the need arises to fight on the battlefield, it will be Jihad, whereas speaking against evil will also be Jihad as per circumstances. Obviously, a hypocrite cannot be fought against as he, too, claims to be a believer and outwardly practises Islam. Therefore, in such condition Jihad will be undertaken by preaching him piety and sincerity. This opinion is supported by almost all the Commentators.

And Jihad must be undertaken fiercely without showing any clemency. It is an established fact that conflicts cannot be won with leniency. However, Islam has given out principles and has imposed certain limitations, within which there is no room for any compromise or softness. Likewise, the hypocrites will also be compelled, to the extent of using force, to follow the Shari'ah. Strictness is the opposite of leniency which does not mean harsh words or narrow-mindedness. Rather, it means that the infidels will be dealt with according to the rules of Jihad, And there will be no leniency extended towards the hypocrites who profess Islam, in making them practise Shari'ah.


Duties of a Muslim Ruler

It is proven here that to make people abide by the laws of Shari'ah is the duty of a Muslim ruler. Similarly, it is enjoined upon a scholar or a saint who is popular enough that people listen to him, to emphasize that Islam must be practised. However, if the non believers and the hypocrites do not mend their ways and die as such, they will certainly be condemned td Hell, a morbid place indeed.

Although the hypocrites swear of their innocence yet they utter words of disbelief. They were in the habit of criticizing the articles of faith and used to find faults in the practices of Islam just as has become a fashion today. But whenever the matter was referred to the Holy Prophet-SW or the believers reacted, they simply denied their stance and would swear upon Allaah-SWT . So He-SWT declares that these hypocrites are not only liars but have also turned disbelievers because of the words the speak. Though they had formally accepted Islam, yet they were unfortunate enough to revert to disbelief. It proves that a mere declaration of faith has no value until it is endorsed by the heart. Such a person may profess to be a believer before the people but with Allaah-SWT he is not. And this uncertainty of the heart is indeed hypocricy, which makes the tongue utter blasphemy. Besides, a hypocrite strives only for worldly gains but ultimately ends up as a loser even in this game

The Commentators quote many specific incidents with reference to the revelation of these Ayat. However, the orders contained herein are general and for all times to come. Allaah-SWT declares that the hypocrites had equally enjoyed all the basic rights with the believers on embracing Islam, which were given to them by Allaah-SWT and His-SWT Prophet-SW. Is this how they show their gratitude? Instead of being obliged over what they have received, these wicked people resort to thanklessness. However, like all other erring factions the cure for them also lies in repentance. Though their crime is grave, yet if they beg forgiveness it would certainly be good for them, as repentance can absolve a person of all sins. Still if they fail to do so they are destined to doom both here and in the Hereafter. No living soul on this earth shall be able to help them in any way, for when Allah-SWT's Wrath strikes, the condemned is automatically left alone and helpless.

Amongst the hypocrites are some who had promised Allaah-SWT and prayed that if He-SWT made them affluent they would show their gratitude by fulfilling their duties towards others and spending for the welfare of His-SWT people. But as soon as they acquired riches they went back on their word, to the extent that instead of giving charity they resorted to niggardliness and even began to usurp the rights of others. Although this refers to a specific event yet the message is general and for everyone. Even today people who are favoured with power and wealth from Allaah-SWT not only fail to fulfil their duties towards His-SWT people but also begin to encroach upon their rights.


Some Sins deprive the Sinner of the Capacity to Repent

Breaching a promise made to Allaah-SWT is such an awful crime that it deprives a person of the capacity to repent and hypocricy is driven deep into his heart until the Day of Reckoning. In the same ignominious state shall such people be presented before Allaah-SWT . This is the punishment for their mendacity and breach of promise made to Allaah-SWT . The embracing of Islam and the claim of being a Muslim is an extremely valuable asset, after which it is totally absurd to adopt the conduct of infidels. Further, if it is complemented with the assumption that one has succeeded in deceiving the believers, the gravity of this crime magnifies manifold and deprives one of the capacity to repent. This is Allah-SWT's Personal decision, for He-SWT is well Aware of both the hidden and the manifest.

They also ridicule the believers who spend in Allaah-SWT ’s Cause, both the affluent who spend whole heartedly and the poor who going out of way spend from their meagre earnings. The hypocrites accuse the former of pretence and to the latter of the inadequacy of their spending, which they say, is of no consequence before Allaah-SWT . The real motive behind such comments is only to ridicule the believers.

To Ridicule the Pious is Serious Crime

To ridicule noble people is such a serious offence that because of it these mockers themselves are mocked by the fate. This is because they apparently believe that they are reaping benefits, while in reality they will be put to a painful doom. Deriding the followers of the Holy Prophet-SW is indeed an insult to the Prophethood and the punishment for it is so inevitable that it cannot be averted even by the intercession of the Holy Prophet-SW, no matter how many times he-SW prays for such offenders. This is because they have disbelieved in Allaah-SWT and His-SWT Prophet-SW Allaah-SWT does not bless such malefactors with guidance, a punishment for deriding the believers. As mentioned earlier, even the capacity to repent is denied to them. History bears witness that men who fought the Holy Prophet-SW on the battlefield were pardoned upon repenting and some of them later proved to be outstanding generals of Islam, such as Hadhrat Khalid bin Waleed-RAU. However, those who ridiculed him-SW or were guilty of insults died as non believers and were condemned to Hell for ever. Likewise, today those who revile and ridicule his Companions-RAU or his wives-RAU or his followers are liable to the same punishment in the light of these Ayat. And it has also been seen that they are not given the capacity to repent. So grave is their crime that even if the Holy Prophet-SW out of his-SW graciousness prays for the hypocrites, Allaah-SWT shall not forgive them as happened in the case of Ibn Ubbay, the leader of hypocrites. The Holy Prophet-SW had donated his-SW own shirt for his coffin and also lead the funeral Salat to commiserate with his son who was a devoted Muslim. Witnessing this generous treatment, many people embraced Islam. Nevertheless, the Holy Prophet-SW was forbidden to ever pray for a hypocrite again.

Thus it became a law that to pray for a non believer on his death is forbidden. Also, the hypocrites who not only abuse and slander the Companions-RAU but also deem it as a religious duty to do so, do not qualify for any clemency Their funeral Salat or praying for their emancipation is not allowed.

When the Holy Prophet-SW intended to offer ibn-e-Ubby's funeral Salat, Hadhrat Umar-RAU pleaded to him--SW not to do so. He-SW said: "Allaah-SWT has not forbidden me from it, though He-SWT has said that He-SWT shall not forgive whether I pray or not. I have, therefore, the option to pray and I shall exercise it while the result is upto Him-SWT . Later, Allaah-SWT completely forbade the Holy Prophet-SW and this also was one of the Decrees handed down on the suggestion of Hadhrat 'Umar-RAU.