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 11 contains Āyāt / Parts 9
  • Siparah/ Volume 10 & 11


فَرِحَ الْمُخَلَّفُونَ بِمَقْعَدِهِمْ خِلاَفَ رَسُولِ اللّهِ وَكَرِهُواْ أَن يُجَاهِدُواْ بِأَمْوَالِهِمْ وَأَنفُسِهِمْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللّهِ وَقَالُواْ لاَ تَنفِرُواْ فِي الْحَرِّ قُلْ نَارُ جَهَنَّمَ أَشَدُّ حَرًّا لَّوْ كَانُوا يَفْقَهُونَ

Fariha almukhallafoona bimaqAAadihim khilafa rasooli Allahi wakarihoo an yujahidoo biamwalihim waanfusihim fee sabeeli Allahi waqaloo la tanfiroo fee alharri qul naru jahannama ashaddu harran law kanoo yafqahoon(a)

Those who were left rejoiced at their sitting still behind the Messenger-SW of Allah-SWT, and they detested to strive hard with riches and their lives in the way of Allah-SWT, and they said: do not march forth in the heat. Say you-SW : hotter still is the Hell-fire. Would that they understood!


فَلْيَضْحَكُواْ قَلِيلاً وَلْيَبْكُواْ كَثِيرًا جَزَاء بِمَا كَانُواْ يَكْسِبُونَ

Falyadhakoo qaleelan walyabkoo katheeran jazaan bima kanoo yaksiboon(a)

Little then let them laugh, and much shall they weep; this is the reward of what they have been earning.


فَإِن رَّجَعَكَ اللّهُ إِلَى طَآئِفَةٍ مِّنْهُمْ فَاسْتَأْذَنُوكَ لِلْخُرُوجِ فَقُل لَّن تَخْرُجُواْ مَعِيَ أَبَدًا وَلَن تُقَاتِلُواْ مَعِيَ عَدُوًّا إِنَّكُمْ رَضِيتُم بِالْقُعُودِ أَوَّلَ مَرَّةٍ فَاقْعُدُواْ مَعَ الْخَالِفِينَ

Fain rajaAAaka Allahu ila taifatin minhum fa(i)stathanooka lilkhurooji faqul lan takhrujoo maAAiya abadan walan tuqatiloo maAAiya AAaduwwan innakum radeetum bi(a)lquAAoodi awwala marratin fa(o)qAAudoo maAAa alkhalifeen(a)

If, then, Allaah-SWT brings you back to a party of them, and they ask leave of you for marching forth, say you-SW  : never shall you march forth with me, nor ever fight an enemy with me; verily you were well-pleased to stay at home the first time, so stay now with the sitters.



وَلاَ تُصَلِّ عَلَى أَحَدٍ مِّنْهُم مَّاتَ أَبَدًا وَلاَ تَقُمْ عَلَىَ قَبْرِهِ إِنَّهُمْ كَفَرُواْ بِاللّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ وَمَاتُواْ وَهُمْ فَاسِقُونَ

Wala tusalli AAala ahadin minhum mata abadan wala taqum AAala qabrihi innahum kafaroo bi(A)llahi warasoolihi wamatoo wahum fasiqoon(a)

And pray you-SW not ever over any of them when he is dead, nor stand you-SW  over his grave. Surely they have denied Allaah-SWT and His-SWT Messenger-SW and died while they were rejecters.


وَلاَ تُعْجِبْكَ أَمْوَالُهُمْ وَأَوْلاَدُهُمْ إِنَّمَا يُرِيدُ اللّهُ أَن يُعَذِّبَهُم بِهَا فِي الدُّنْيَا وَتَزْهَقَ أَنفُسُهُمْ وَهُمْ كَافِرُونَ

Wala tuAAjibka amwaluhum waawladuhum innama yureedu Allahu an yuAAaththibahum biha fee a(l)ddunya watazhaqa anfusuhum wahum kafiroon(a)

And let not their riches and their children amaze you. Allaah-SWT intends only to chastise them therewith in the world, and that their souls may depart while they are infidels.


وَإِذَآ أُنزِلَتْ سُورَةٌ أَنْ آمِنُواْ بِاللّهِ وَجَاهِدُواْ مَعَ رَسُولِهِ اسْتَأْذَنَكَ أُوْلُواْ الطَّوْلِ مِنْهُمْ وَقَالُواْ ذَرْنَا نَكُن مَّعَ الْقَاعِدِينَ

Waitha onzilat sooratun an aminoo bi(A)llahi wajahidoo maAAa rasoolihi istathanaka oloo a(l)ttawli minhum waqaloo tharna nakun maAAa alqaAAideen(a)

And whenever any Surah is sent down commanding: believe in Allaah-SWT and strive hard in the company of His-SWT Messenger-SW , the opulent among them ask leave of you-SW , and say: leave us, we shall be with those who stay.


رَضُواْ بِأَن يَكُونُواْ مَعَ الْخَوَالِفِ وَطُبِعَ عَلَى قُلُوبِهِمْ فَهُمْ لاَ يَفْقَهُونَ

Radoo bian yakoonoo maAAa alkhawalifi watubiAAa AAala quloobihim fahum layafqahoon(a)

Well-pleased are they to be with the women staying behind, and their hearts are sealed up, so they are bereft of understanding.


لَـكِنِ الرَّسُولُ وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ مَعَهُ جَاهَدُواْ بِأَمْوَالِهِمْ وَأَنفُسِهِمْ وَأُوْلَـئِكَ لَهُمُ الْخَيْرَاتُ وَأُوْلَـئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ

Lakini a(l)rrasoolu wa(a)llatheena amanoo maAAahu jahadoo biamwalihim waanfusihim waolaika lahumu alkhayratu waolaika humu almuflihoon(a)

But the Messenger--SW and those who believed in his company strive hard with their riches and their lives. These are they for whom are goods, and these are the blissful.


أَعَدَّ اللّهُ لَهُمْ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي مِن تَحْتِهَا الأَنْهَارُ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا ذَلِكَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِيمُ

aAAadda Allahu lahum jannatin tajree min tahtiha alanharu khalideena feehathalika alfawzu alAAatheem(u)

For them Allah-SWT has got ready Gardens where-under rivers flow; therein they shall abide; that is an achievement supreme.


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

Failure to obey the Holy Prophet-SW indeed a great misfortune even though such a person may seriously believe that he is having a great time without having to take the trouble of offering Salat, fasting and Jihad. And that he is comfortable, living his life at home at his free will. But little does he realize that he is heading towards an awful calamity just as those who failed to join the Tabuk Expedition and were pleased with themselves for having saved their wealth and life from imminent danger. In fact, they could not stand the idea of spending anything in the Cause of Allaah-SWT . The consequence of sin is a state whereby there remains no room for piety in the heart. Those lingerers also persuaded others to stay behind and spare themselves of a very hot summer and the long tedious journey. They highlighted the risks involved in obeying the Holy Prophet-SW so as to deter others from availing the opportunity of joining the Jihad. Similar is the attitude of today's elite who believe that religion impedes progress in this world. 

So let it be known to those who avoid striving in Allah-SWT's Cause that the fire of Hell is far more intense and painful and its torments far more terrifying. They must not be pleased with themselves for renouncing the Holy Prophet-SW‘s obedience and thereby avoiding the possible hardships. They must know, if they have the sense to ponder over and comprehend, that they are putting themselves in great trouble. If still they are contended with their conduct then let them rejoice, but they must remember that eternal grief is concomitant to this ephemeral joy Their conduct will ultimately drive them into eternal wailing. 

To consider obedience to the Holy Prophet-SW as something less important and to evade it deliberately is such a grave crime that it deprives one of Allah-SWT's blessings permanently. If ever these hypocrites offer their services for Jihad, the Holy Prophet-SW must tell them to stay back, as they have been deprived forever of the honour of accompanying him-SW. That chapter is closed and they shall never be given the opportunity to take part in Jihad. Moreover, their offer itself is empty of any sincerity, a blessing of which they have already been deprived, for they had opted to stay back with those who were disobedient rather than joining and obeying the Holy Prophet-SW. So now they must live with them permanently sharing the same fate. May Allaah-SWT protect us! If only the pseudo progressive believers of today could ponder over this point.


Funeral Salat of a Hypocrite or Respect of his Tomb is Forbidden

The Holy Prophet-SW is forbidden to offer the funeral Salat of a hypocrite, or to stand by his grave. This was indeed a great misfortune, and a punishment that the Holy Prophet-SW had been forbidden to offer their funeral Salat. And their eternal deprivation from the Holy Prophet-SW‘s intercession in the Akhirah was thus unveiled to them at the time of death. Although they were outwardly Muslims who offered Salat and observed fasting yet they used to deride the symbols of Islam and those who practised it, and would impede obedience to the Holy Prophet-SW by highlighting the risks of worldly losses. 

After the revelation of this Ayah, the Holy Prophet-SW never offered funeral Salat of a hypocrite. Since the Divine Revelation ended with him-SW and no one can now identify hypocrites with certainty, the scholars assert that funeral Salat will be offered for all who claim to be Muslims. However, these Ayat have made it crystal clear that a funeral Salat and standing by the grave is forbidden, if the dead: (1) deride the noble believers (2) dissuade others from Jihad and (3) consider adherence to and practice of Islam as a hurdle in mundane progress. However, in a compelling situation, whereby the deceased is a relative and there is no one to manage the funeral, it is permitted just to dump him in the pit.


Grave is where the Body is buried

Certain modern theologians assert that the term grave does not stand for the pit where the body is buried, but it is either in llliyin or in Sijjin. This Ayah has clearly contradicted their stance, as the Holy Prophet-SW always stood by the grave at the time of burial. Therefore, it is this very pit which the Quran terms as grave, and it is here that the questioning takes place.


A Pious Person Standing by a Grave benefits the deceased

It is also evident from these Ayat that the Holy Prophet-SW‘s presence by the grave benefited the deceased immensely. This is why the hypocrites were deprived of this honour and he was forbidden to do so. Many events in the life of the Holy Prophet-SW and his-SW sayings prove that the deceased is benefited whenever any pious person stands by his grave while this Ayah is very clear on the subject. The affluence and progeny of the hypocrites must not amaze the believers. The real aim of existence is not the possession of material effects. A person dying of thirst, who hits upon a heap of gold while digging for water, derives no happiness from his discovery, rather it will grieve him, as he knows that he will not live to enjoy any of it. This is the state of the hypocrites, that wealth, otherwise synonymous to comfort and peace, leaves them restless and uneasy. Children are a source of honour and satisfaction, but for them they prove to be a punishment. Allaah-SWT is indeed the Most Powerful Who can transform the sources of pleasure, in terms of their effects, into sources of infliction. And the hypocrites are also condemned to the punishment of dying as infidels without being able to repent. 

The evidence to this punishment is their behaviour on hearing the command to accompany the Holy Prophet-SW on an expedition. They make all sorts of lame excuses, whereas the root of faith is obedience to the Holy Prophet-SW. These hypocrites, inspite of having the ability, prefer to stay back and seek exemptions on one pretext or the other. To practise Islam and to strive for its enforcement tantamount to helping the Holy Prophet-SW even today. Those who fail to avail this opportunity must not be contented with their lot, rather should ponder over the reasons for their deprivation from this honour.


Intention is the Deciding Factor

The hypocrites are happy that they have been spared any hardship by staying back. However, the fact is that in reciprocation of their misconduct, Allaah-SWT has sealed their hearts whereby they have lost the sense of discrimination between loss and gain. This Ayah highlights the point that everything is based on the state of the heart, the inner intention. And as long as the heart is not alive or illuminated, neither can one practise piety nor can he perceive the loss in inactivity and the gain in action. Compared to them is the most illuminated heart of the Holy Prophet-SW and of those who have been blessed with his company as believers. The shining evidence is their readiness to serve Allaah-SWT and His-SWT Prophet-SW whereby they are constantly striving with their heart and soul for the prevalence of Islam. It is for them that Allaah-SWT has destined success both here and in the Hereafter. They will be the dwellers of ever blooming Jannah with rivers flowing beneath. This is the real success for which we must follow in the footsteps of those noble and blessed souls gone by.