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 15 contains Āyāt / Parts 4
  • Siparah/ Volume 10 & 11


يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ اتَّقُواْ اللّهَ وَكُونُواْ مَعَ الصَّادِقِينَ

Ya ayyuha allatheena amanoo ittaqoo Allaha wakoonoo maAAa a(l)ssadiqeen(a)

O’ you who believe! Fear Allah-SWT and be with the truthful.


مَا كَانَ لِأَهْلِ الْمَدِينَةِ وَمَنْ حَوْلَهُم مِّنَ الأَعْرَابِ أَن يَتَخَلَّفُواْ عَن رَّسُولِ اللّهِ وَلاَ يَرْغَبُواْ بِأَنفُسِهِمْ عَن نَّفْسِهِ ذَلِكَ بِأَنَّهُمْ لاَ يُصِيبُهُمْ ظَمَأٌ وَلاَ نَصَبٌ وَلاَ مَخْمَصَةٌ فِي سَبِيلِ اللّهِ وَلاَ يَطَؤُونَ مَوْطِئًا يَغِيظُ الْكُفَّارَ وَلاَ يَنَالُونَ مِنْ عَدُوٍّ نَّيْلاً إِلاَّ كُتِبَ لَهُم بِهِ عَمَلٌ صَالِحٌ إِنَّ اللّهَ لاَ يُضِيعُ أَجْرَ الْمُحْسِنِينَ

Ma kana liahli almadeenati waman hawlahum mina alaAArabi an yatakhallafoo AAan rasooli Allahi wala yarghaboo bianfusihim AAan nafsihi thalika biannahum layuseebuhum thamaon wala nasabun wala makhmasatun fee sabeeli Allahi walayataoona mawtian yagheethu alkuffara wala yanaloona min AAaduwwin naylan illa kutiba lahum bihi AAamalun salihun inna Allaha la yudeeAAu ajra almuhsineen(a)

It was not for the people of Madinah and those around them of the desert dwellers that they should forsake the Messenger-SW of Allah-SWT , nor that they should prefer themselves before him. That is because they are neither smitten with thirst or fatigue or hunger in the way of Allah-SWT, nor they tread any step enraging the infidels, nor they attain an attainment from the enemy, but a good deed is thereby written down unto them. Allaah-SWT surely leaves not to waste the reward of the well doers.


وَلاَ يُنفِقُونَ نَفَقَةً صَغِيرَةً وَلاَ كَبِيرَةً وَلاَ يَقْطَعُونَ وَادِيًا إِلاَّ كُتِبَ لَهُمْ لِيَجْزِيَهُمُ اللّهُ أَحْسَنَ مَا كَانُواْ يَعْمَلُونَ (

Wala yunfiqoona nafaqatan sagheeratan wala kabeeratan wala yaqtaAAoona wadiyan illa kutiba lahum liyajziyahumu Allahu ahsana ma kanoo yaAAmaloon(a)

And they do not spend any sum, small or great, or traverse a valley but it is written down unto them, so that Allaah-SWT may recompense them with the best for what they have been working.


وَمَا كَانَ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ لِيَنفِرُواْ كَآفَّةً فَلَوْلاَ نَفَرَ مِن كُلِّ فِرْقَةٍ مِّنْهُمْ طَآئِفَةٌ لِّيَتَفَقَّهُواْ فِي الدِّينِ وَلِيُنذِرُواْ قَوْمَهُمْ إِذَا رَجَعُواْ إِلَيْهِمْ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَحْذَرُونَ

Wama kana almuminoona liyanfiroo kaffatan falawla nafara min kulli firqatin minhum taifatun liyatafaqqahoo fee a(l)ddeeni waliyunthiroo qawmahum itharajaAAoo ilayhim laAAallahum yahtharoon(a)

And it is not for the faithful to march forth all together. So why should not a band from each party of them march forth, and the rest get instruction in religion, and to warn their people when they return to them? Perchance they may beware.


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

The Influence of Company

The neglect by the sincere and devoted believers was not only forgiven by Allaah-SWT but they were further rewarded and were granted the capacity to remain steadfast and the endorsement that Allaah-SWT is pleased with them. The faithful must know the reason underlying this special treatment which is to adopt the company of the truthful. The Companions-RAU who erred did not have intimate friendship with the hypocrites, yet they had formal acquaintance. This gave the hypocrites an opportunity to instil doubt in their hearts. It was only the blessed company of the Holy Prophet-SW and of his-SW senior Companions-RAU due to which these believers were sincere at heart. This sincerity invoked Divine Mercy and Allaah-SWT protected them from staggering. Had they been only in the company of the hypocrites, their fate would have been different. Therefore, it is proper for the believers to seek the company of those who enjoy a firm bond with Allaah-SWT due to which they seek and obey Him-SWT , both inwardly and outwardly.

In the Ayah under reference, the word 'Sadiqin’ (truthful) has been used instead of Ulema' (scholars) or Saleheen (pious). It refers to those who have tongues drenched in Allah-SWT's Zikr and have hearts enlightened with His-SWT Light. Their company generates the will to embrace piety whereas that of the wicked proves fatal for the states of Qalb. If it can affect the Companions'-RAU, who have been directed to stay away from evil company, what will be the condition of those who spend their lives in bad company and are anxious to migrate to infidel countries and societies.

The residents of Madinah or the Arabs have indeed been most fortunate. They were blessed with the era of the Holy Prophet-SW. They benefited from his company and accompanied him on expeditions. Those to follow in time shall always miss his limitless generosity and affection, and for them only his Kalimah will be the dearest. They will yearn throughout their lives to visit his country, his city and his masjid, and to have a glance at his Sacred Tomb.

The Eminence of Prophethood

That the believers shall not go along with such a matchless personage is not at all expected of them. The truth is that he should rightfully be held dearer than one's life. All the other passions and affections must be sacrificed over his-SW love. He-SW is the one worthy of being loved ardently. In his pursuit, obedience and company every action, every movement is valued as worship and is the most acceptable and appreciable to Allaah-SWT . In his company, whether one experiences hunger or thirst, hardship or battle hazards in fighting against the non believers to regain power or free a city, each act becomes an act of commendable worship. Allaah-SWT appreciates such true servants rightfully and never lets their service go in vain. I have deliberately interpreted Mohsinin (well doers) as the servants of the Holy Prophet-SW, for they are those who earnestly seek Allaah-SWT . He-SW is the personage in whose obedience surrendering all that one has becomes worship. One may sacrifice a very petty thing, or may give up all he has; one may take a single step or travels a long way in his-SW obedience; whatever the endeavour may be, it will be compensated stupendously. 

When is Jihad Obligatory?

It is not necessary that all the believers leave for Jihad but the rule is that some believers engage in it while the rest are addressing domestic or other national issues. Yet in the Ayat under reference those few who had stayed back are being reprimanded. The Commentators assert that Jihad is obligatory but under normal circumstances it is Fardh Kifayah, which means that if sufficient number of believers perform the task, the rest are absolved from the obligation. However, if they are not in sufficient number it becomes obligatory for those nearest to them in location to join in Jihad. If the war is escalated and more believers are required, it will become obligatory for those next in proximity and so on until it is obligatory for the entire Muslim Ummah if need be. In another situation whereby the head of an Islamic State announces a general mobilization, every one shall participate in Jihad except those with genuine reasons in the light of Shari'ah. This was the situation in case of the Battle of Tabuk when the Holy Prophet-SW himself had ordered a general mobilization. Therefore, any evasion was declared a serious crime.

Attainment of Religious Knowledge

Another important obligation is the attainment of religious knowledge. It has innumerable merits, which need not be recounted here, as many books are available on the subject. Depending upon the circumstances and the type of knowledge it is obligatory as well as Fardh Kifayah. In the former case every Muslim male and female must know the basics of Islam, for example, the beliefs, the obligatory worships, the lawful and the unlawful, and all the matters of daily routine. This is obligatory without exception. On the other hand, the detailed interpretation and research on the offshoots and legal aspects of Din, is not within the scope of every individual. Therefore, to acquire such specialized knowledge is Fardh Kifayah. Whenever one needs guidance over some matter he can consult the scholar. If there is not a single scholar in the entire vicinity, all the dwellers will be sinful. It is obligatory that either they train someone in this field or arrange a scholar to be available in their city. Another situation whereby this knowledge becomes obligatory are the matters of personal concern, that is, a wealthy person must know the rules of Zakat or the person going for Hajj must learn its rites. Similarly, a businessman must know the laws of trade and a husband-to-be must know the rules of Nikah and divorce. The greatest tragedy of present times is that the Muslims are becoming heedless towards this obligation.

Attainment of States of Qalb known as Tasawwuf is also Obligatory

Qadhi Thana Ullah Panipati-RUA writes in his Tafsir-r-Mazhari Vol. 4 that the acquisition of knowledge of Tasawwuf is obligatory, for it purifies the Qalb from all thoughts other than Allaah-SWT and imparts to the capacity to be perpetually present before Him-SWT . It is the purification of soul which rids one of the vile traits like self conceit, pride, jealousy, pretence, avarice and neglect in worship, giving way to high moral values such as repentance, contentment, gratitude and patience. Undoubtedly, the former traits are strictly forbidden and just to know about these is not enough. To get rid of these is the most important obligation, which can be achieved only through cleansing of the Qalb. The physical worships carry no weight unless complemented by the states of the Qalb. He quotes the Holy Prophet-SW that unless an action is taken purely for Allaah-SWT it is not accepted by Him-SWT for He-SWT does not see the actions but the intentions behind. In other words, He-SWT does not see the visible profiles but the Qulub of people. Just as Allah-SWT's Zikr is obligatory for every believer, man or woman, so is the knowledge of Tasawwuf, which does not comprise innovations or rituals but acquisition of the spiritual states from the company of an accomplished saint, staying within the limits of Shari'ah. And then to pass these blessings on to others, especially to one's own wives and kids is an obligation. These blessings generate light in the hearts and instil the feeling of perpetual presence before Allah-SWT, with sincerity as the final outcome.

Therefore, to strive for acquiring knowledge, both outward and the inward, and to pass it on to one's own people is Fardh Kifayah under normal circumstances, whereas to have knowledge of basic matters is obligatory. But if a community or a town is without a single person having this knowledge, the entire community will be sinful. If the entire country is without such scholars, all citizens will be guilty of negligence, and if this deprivation is global, Muslims all over the world will be held accountable. This is because such scholars are a source of preserving and propagating the Din and their efforts not only reform the common Muslim but also safeguard him against evil.