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


وَجَاء الْمُعَذِّرُونَ مِنَ الأَعْرَابِ لِيُؤْذَنَ لَهُمْ وَقَعَدَ الَّذِينَ كَذَبُواْ اللّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ سَيُصِيبُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ مِنْهُمْ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ

Wajaa almuAAaththiroona mina alaAArabi liyuthana lahum waqaAAada allatheena kathaboo Allaha warasoolahu sayuseebu allatheena kafaroo minhum AAathabun aleem(un)

And there came the apologists from the dwellers of the desert praying that leave may be granted to them, and those who had lied to Allah-SWT and His--SWT Messenger-SW sat at home. An afflictive torment shall afflict those of them who disbelieve.


لَّيْسَ عَلَى الضُّعَفَاء وَلاَ عَلَى الْمَرْضَى وَلاَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ لاَ يَجِدُونَ مَا يُنفِقُونَ حَرَجٌ إِذَا نَصَحُواْ لِلّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ مَا عَلَى الْمُحْسِنِينَ مِن سَبِيلٍ وَاللّهُ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ

Laysa AAala a(l)dduAAafai wala AAala almarda wala AAala allatheena layajidoona ma yunfiqoona harajun itha nasahoo lillahi warasoolihi ma AAalaalmuhsineena min sabeelin wa(A)llahu ghafoorun raheem(un)

Not on the feeble and the ailing nor on those who do not find anything to spend there is any blame, when they are true to Allaah-SWT and His-SWT Messenger-SW . No way of reproach is there against the well doers: and Allaah-SWT is Forgiving, Merciful.


وَلاَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ إِذَا مَا أَتَوْكَ لِتَحْمِلَهُمْ قُلْتَ لاَ أَجِدُ مَا أَحْمِلُكُمْ عَلَيْهِ تَوَلَّواْ وَّأَعْيُنُهُمْ تَفِيضُ مِنَ الدَّمْعِ حَزَنًا أَلاَّ يَجِدُواْ مَا يُنفِقُونَ

Wala AAala allatheena itha ma atawka litahmilahum qulta la ajidu ma ahmilukum AAalayhi tawallaw waaAAyunuhum tafeedu mina a(l)ddamAAi hazanan allayajidoo ma yunfiqoon(a)

Nor on those who, when they came to you-SW  that you-SW  might mount them and you-SW  said: I do not find any animal to mount you-SW  on, turned back while their eyes overflowed with tears of grief that they could not find anything to spend.


إِنَّمَا السَّبِيلُ عَلَى الَّذِينَ يَسْتَأْذِنُونَكَ وَهُمْ أَغْنِيَاء رَضُواْ بِأَن يَكُونُواْ مَعَ الْخَوَالِفِ وَطَبَعَ اللّهُ عَلَى قُلُوبِهِمْ فَهُمْ لاَ يَعْلَمُونَ

Innama a(l)ssabeelu AAala allatheena yastathinoonaka wahum aghniyao radoo bian yakoonoo maAAa alkhawalifi watabaAAa Allahu AAala quloobihim fahum layaAAlamoon(a)

The way is only against those who ask leave of you while they are rich. They are pleased to be with the women, staying behind and Allaah-SWT has sealed their hearts, so they do not know.


يَعْتَذِرُونَ إِلَيْكُمْ إِذَا رَجَعْتُمْ إِلَيْهِمْ قُل لاَّ تَعْتَذِرُواْ لَن نُّؤْمِنَ لَكُمْ قَدْ نَبَّأَنَا اللّهُ مِنْ أَخْبَارِكُمْ وَسَيَرَى اللّهُ عَمَلَكُمْ وَرَسُولُهُ ثُمَّ تُرَدُّونَ إِلَى عَالِمِ الْغَيْبِ وَالشَّهَادَةِ فَيُنَبِّئُكُم بِمَا كُنتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَ

YaAAtathiroona ilaykum itha rajaAAtum ilayhim qul la taAAtathiroo lan numina lakum qad nabbaana Allahu min akhbarikum wasayara Allahu AAamalakum warasooluhu thumma turaddoona ila AAalimi alghaybi wa(al)shshahadati fayunabbiokum bima kuntum taAAmaloon(a)

They will apologize to you-SW when you-SW return to them. Say you-SW: make no excuse; we shall by no means believe you; Allah-SWT has already declared to us some tidings about you-SW, and Allah-SWT will behold your work, and so will His-SWT Messenger-SW; and thereafter you will be brought back to Him-SWT Who knows the hidden and the manifest, and who will declare to you what you have been working.


سَيَحْلِفُونَ بِاللّهِ لَكُمْ إِذَا انقَلَبْتُمْ إِلَيْهِمْ لِتُعْرِضُواْ عَنْهُمْ فَأَعْرِضُواْ عَنْهُمْ إِنَّهُمْ رِجْسٌ وَمَأْوَاهُمْ جَهَنَّمُ جَزَاء بِمَا كَانُواْ يَكْسِبُونَ

Sayahlifoona bi(A)llahi lakum itha inqalabtum ilayhim lituAAridoo AAanhum faaAAridoo AAanhum innahum rijsun wamawahum jahannamu jazaan bima kanoo yaksiboon(a)

When you-SW return to them they will indeed swear to you-SW by Allaah-SWT that you-SW  may turn aside from them. So turn aside from them; verily they are an abomination and their resort is Hell: a recompense for what they have been earning.


يَحْلِفُونَ لَكُمْ لِتَرْضَوْاْ عَنْهُمْ فَإِن تَرْضَوْاْ عَنْهُمْ فَإِنَّ اللّهَ لاَ يَرْضَى عَنِ الْقَوْمِ الْفَاسِقِينَ

Yahlifoona lakum litardaw AAanhum fain tardaw AAanhum fainna Allaha la yardaAAani alqawmi alfasiqeen(a)

They will swear to you-SW in order that you-SW may be reconcilled with them. Then even if you-SW are reconcilled with them, Allaah-SWT is not to be reconciled with a people who are ungodly.


الأَعْرَابُ أَشَدُّ كُفْرًا وَنِفَاقًا وَأَجْدَرُ أَلاَّ يَعْلَمُواْ حُدُودَ مَا أَنزَلَ اللّهُ عَلَى رَسُولِهِ وَاللّهُ عَلِيمٌ حَكِيمٌ

AlaAArabu ashaddu kufran wanifaqan waajdaru alla yaAAlamoo hudooda maanzala Allahu AAala rasoolihi wa(A)llahu AAaleemun hakeem(un)

The desert-dwellers are hard in infidelity and hypocrisy and they are likeliest not to know the ordinances, which Allaah-SWT has imposed upon His-SWT Messenger. And Allaah-SWT is Knowing, Wise.


وَمِنَ الأَعْرَابِ مَن يَتَّخِذُ مَا يُنفِقُ مَغْرَمًا وَيَتَرَبَّصُ بِكُمُ الدَّوَائِرَ عَلَيْهِمْ دَآئِرَةُ السَّوْءِ وَاللّهُ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ

Wamina alaAArabi man yattakhithu ma yunfiqu maghraman wayatarabbasu bikumu a(l)ddawaira AAalayhim dairatu a(l)ssawi wa(A)llahu sameeAAun AAaleem(un)

And among the desert-dwellers is one who takes what he spends as a fine, and waits for evil turns of fortune for you-SW. Theirs shall be the evil turn. And Allaah-SWT is Hearing, Knowing.


وَمِنَ الأَعْرَابِ مَن يُؤْمِنُ بِاللّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الآخِرِ وَيَتَّخِذُ مَا يُنفِقُ قُرُبَاتٍ عِندَ اللّهِ وَصَلَوَاتِ الرَّسُولِ أَلا إِنَّهَا قُرْبَةٌ لَّهُمْ سَيُدْخِلُهُمُ اللّهُ فِي رَحْمَتِهِ إِنَّ اللّهَ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ

Wamina alaAArabi man yuminu bi(A)llahi wa(a)lyawmi alakhiri wayattakhithu mayunfiqu qurubatin AAinda Allahi wasalawati a(l)rrasooli ala innaha qurbatun lahum sayudkhiluhumu Allahu fee rahmatihi inna Allaha ghafoorun raheem(un)

And among the desert-dwellers is one who believes in Allaah-SWT and the Last Day and takes what he spends as approaches to Allaah-SWT and the blessings of His-SWT Messenger-SW. Lo! Verily these are an approach for them; and soon will Allaah-SWT enter them into His-SWT Mercy. Surely Allaah-SWT is Forgiving, Merciful.


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

The infidels and the hypocrites have different grades. For example, there were some bedouins who never wanted to accompany the Holy Prophet-SW but came to seek permission from him-SW only for face saving. While others were so intense in their hypocricy that they did not bother to turn up even as a formality. This was because inspite of outwardly professing faith, their hearts were drenched in denial. But whatever they are doing will only lead them to destruction and a painful doom.

Here is a point to ponder for those who have deliberately abandoned their religious obligations, let alone Jihad. Muslims today have given up Salat and are not even apologetic about it. Even the hypocrites had not given up Salat and used to offer it, though only in pretence. They backed out only once Jihad was ordained. However, if someone is genuinely restrained by circumstances, or cannot join Jihad due to illness, or has nothing to spend in Allah-SWT's Cause, he shall be absolved, provided he is sincere and yearns from the core of his heart for the resources or health so that he could join the Holy Prophet-SW. Allah-SWT's Mercy reaches out for such aching hearts and engulfs them.

Not to be reproached are those who had no resources, yet they offered themselves for Jihad. They had to stay back when the Holy Prophet-SW told them that no mounts were available for them. They returned with a heavy heart with tears rolling down their cheeks. And yet there were some who were desperate to go to Tabuk and when they called on the Holy Prophet-SW, they found that there was nothing they could ride on. As they turned in utter remorse Allaah-SWT made arrangements for them, six camels arrived as a donation to the Holy Prophet-SW from somewhere, which were handed over to them while three more were arranged by Hadhrat 'Uthman-RAU, after having already made his contribution. They were thus showered with Allah-SWT's Mercy because of their sincerity and true longing. The real ill fated were those who inspite of having the means and good health opted to stay back merely to save their necks.

In fact, their hearts were sealed as a punishment for their hypocrisy. As a result they fail to perceive the Barakah of the Holy Prophet-SW experience the pleasure of a relationship with Allaah-SWT and His-SWT Prophet-SW and avail the rewards of piety. When the hearts have been afflicted, how can the pleasure of Barakah of the Holy Prophet-SW be tasted, which is a great Divine Favour that satiates the hearts. The unlucky fail to even recognise these blessings.

Whenever the Holy Prophet-SW returned from an expedition, the hypocrites would call on him-SW to present lame excuses justifying their inability to join the Jihad. This is typical of a lukewarm faith possessed by the hypocrites. As we observe today that the very first thing to be affected by any engagement or sickness is Salat. In other words, Din has become the least important amongst all activities of life. Since the hypocrites cannot acknowledge their failing in public, they fabricate all sorts of excuses. The Holy Prophet-SW is being asked to let them know that Allaah-SWT has exposed their inner feelings to him-SW. This knowledge was because of Divine Revelation, yet the inner feelings are conveyed from heart to heart. However, after the Holy Prophet-SW no one can, by personal conjecture, declare anyone as a hypocrite, but it is imperative that all of us critically analyse and reform ourselves.

Allah-SWT Commands the Holy Prophet-SW to tell the hypocrites that there was no need to swear, for their conduct was in front of Allaah-SWT and His-SWT Prophet-SW. Moreover, they themselves were well aware of it, so the decisions will be taken accordingly. If they repent and reform themselves no one shall come in their way, but mere swearing shall not benefit them. Even if they manage to conceal their inner selves speaking skilfully in this life, they will eventually have to stand before the Almighty in the Akhirah, Who-SWT is Aware of all things hidden and manifest. His-SWT Knowledge of their misconduct is so comprehensive that they might forget some of their doings, but He-SWT will remind them of each and every action, as nothing can escape His-SWT Vigilance.

The Holy Prophet-SW is being informed that upon his return from Tabuk, the hypocrites will certainly plead their innocence by swearing upon Allaah-SWT . But their sole intention is face-saving. They hope for forgiveness from the Holy Prophet-SW in order to avoid embarrassment in public. Even if the Holy Prophet-SW decides to overlook their misconduct because of his-SW generosity, it will not help them, because they have impure hearts and Hell is their inevitable destination.


Insincerity Impedes Progress even if Shaikh is Outwardly Placated

The same rule applies to Barakah of a Shaikh. If a seeker lacks sincerity and obedience he can never attain any spiritual elevation even if he pretends to be a devout follower outwardly. He may temporarily acquire any station or meditations but he will lose them as soon as he separates from the Shaikh. 

The hypocrites will try to please the Holy Prophet-SW with sly and tactful words, but even if they succeed in doing so, Allaah-SWT will never be pleased with such wrongdoers. Although the Holy Prophet-SW pleasure itself is a great reward and the basis of attaining Divine Pleasure, yet sincerity and good faith are the foundation stones of this structure. If these are missing, the entire effort becomes an attempt to deceive the Holy Prophet-SW, which by itself is a grave crime. Therefore, they shall never be blessed with Allah-SWT's Pleasure.


Awareness of the Limits imposed by Allah-SWT

The afore mentioned situation is of the hypocrites who live in cities and deem themselves as civilized or educated, while the dwellers of the rural areas, deprived of any education, are far worse and harder in their hypocricy and infidelity. This is because the former have at least learnt some basic principles of Islam such as Salat and Fasting, though only to use as a cover. Whereas the latter are even unaware of the limits Allaah-SWT has defined and cannot discern between the lawful and the forbidden. They do not realize the importance of the Divine Scripture revealed unto the Holy Prophet-SW and what all it contains. Thus they deserve to remain deprived. It is, therefore, established that to be aware of the limits imposed by Allaah-SWT is a Divine Reward while being ignorant of these is indeed a sign of misfortune. Every Muslim must at least be well informed of his daily obligations. Allaah-SWT is, of course, all Knowing and is well Aware of every state of each living being. It is part of His-SWT Wisdom that the system of this universe is functioning and people are given respite despite their hypocrisy and denial. These bedouins pay Zakat with such a heavy heart as if it were a ransom. They never pay it willingly, and take it as a tax for availing the civic rights. Otherwise in their hearts they nurture the desire to see the downfall of Muslims and an end to the sovergnity of Islam. This unfortunately is also the adage of today's claimants of Islam who are practically hindering its enforcement without realizing the extent of their misery. They can neither accept Islam nor renounce it. Although the future is known only to Allaah-SWT yet they, in any case, are suffering.


The Sanctity of the Holy Prophet-SW's prayer

It is not necessary that all the bedouins are deprived, as guidance is purely a matter of individual sincerity of intentions and devotion. If one sincerely yearns for guidance it will certainly be provided even if he be in the wilderness. Therefore, there are some people in the desert who believe firmly in Allah-SWT, His-SWT Attributes and the Akhirah. They do not spend and exert in His-SWT Cause considering it as a penalty but only to attain His-SWT Nearness and for the purpose of earning the Holy Prophet-SW‘s blessings. 

O’Reader! Listen carefully that all those who sincerely wish to please the Holy Prophet-SW and earn his-SW blessings by obeying him-SW shall certainly attain Allah-SWT's Nearness whether he-SW prays for a devotee or is unaware of his situation. Praise be to Allaah-SWT ! How clearly it is being explained that if sincerity is missing, even sitting by the Holy Prophet-SW's side, pledging allegiance and presenting excuses cannot please Allaah-SWT though they may manage to convince the Holy Prophet-SW. They will, rather, be guilty of deception. Whereas a person who sincerely wishes to acquire the Holy Prophet-SW's Barakah and prayers attains his-SW aim even if he is physically or chronologically separated from him-SW. Allah-SWT's Mercy shall encompass all such true seekers and their human errors and shortcomings will be overlooked. Undoubtedly, He-SWT is the Most Merciful.