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 16 contains Āyāt / Parts 7
  • Siparah/ Volume 10 & 11


يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ قَاتِلُواْ الَّذِينَ يَلُونَكُم مِّنَ الْكُفَّارِ وَلِيَجِدُواْ فِيكُمْ غِلْظَةً وَاعْلَمُواْ أَنَّ اللّهَ مَعَ الْمُتَّقِينَ

Ya ayyuha allatheena amanoo qatiloo allatheena yaloonakum mina alkuffari walyajidoo feekum ghilthatan wa(i)AAlamoo anna Allaha maAAa almuttaqeen(a)

O’ you who believe! Fight the infidels who are close to you, and surely let them find in you sternness, and know that Allaah-SWT is with those who fear Him-SWT .


وَإِذَا مَا أُنزِلَتْ سُورَةٌ فَمِنْهُم مَّن يَقُولُ أَيُّكُمْ زَادَتْهُ هَـذِهِ إِيمَانًا فَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ فَزَادَتْهُمْ إِيمَانًا وَهُمْ يَسْتَبْشِرُونَ

Waitha ma onzilat sooratun faminhum man yaqoolu ayyukum zadathu hathihi eemanan faamma allatheena amanoo fazadathum eemanan wahum yastabshiroon(a)

And whenever a Surah is sent down, there are some of them who say: which of you has this increased in faith? As for the faithful it has increased them in faith and they rejoice.


وَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ فِي قُلُوبِهِم مَّرَضٌ فَزَادَتْهُمْ رِجْسًا إِلَى رِجْسِهِمْ وَمَاتُواْ وَهُمْ كَافِرُونَ

Waamma allatheena fee quloobihim maradun fazadathum rijsan ila rijsihim wamatoo wahum kafiroon(a)

And as for those in whose heart is a disease, unto them it has increased pollution to their pollution, and they die while they are infidels.


أَوَلاَ يَرَوْنَ أَنَّهُمْ يُفْتَنُونَ فِي كُلِّ عَامٍ مَّرَّةً أَوْ مَرَّتَيْنِ ثُمَّ لاَ يَتُوبُونَ وَلاَ هُمْ يَذَّكَّرُونَ

 (a) Awala yarawna annahum yuftanoona fee kulli AAamin marratan aw marratayni thumma la yatooboona wala hum yaththakkaroon

Do they not observe that they are tested every year once or twice? Yet they neither repent nor are they admonished.


وَإِذَا مَا أُنزِلَتْ سُورَةٌ نَّظَرَ بَعْضُهُمْ إِلَى بَعْضٍ هَلْ يَرَاكُم مِّنْ أَحَدٍ ثُمَّ انصَرَفُواْ صَرَفَ اللّهُ قُلُوبَهُم بِأَنَّهُمْ قَوْمٌ لاَّ يَفْقَهُون

Waitha ma onzilat sooratun nathara baAAduhum ila baAAdin hal yarakum min ahadin thumma insarafoo sarafa Allahu quloobahum biannahum qawmun layafqahoon(a)

And whenever a Surah is sent down they look on at each other, as though saying: does anyone watch you? Then they turn away. Allaah-SWT turns away their hearts, because they are a people who do not want to understand.


لَقَدْ جَاءكُمْ رَسُولٌ مِّنْ أَنفُسِكُمْ عَزِيزٌ عَلَيْهِ مَا عَنِتُّمْ حَرِيصٌ عَلَيْكُم بِالْمُؤْمِنِينَ رَؤُوفٌ رَّحِيمٌ

Laqad jaakum rasoolun min anfusikum AAazeezun AAalayhi mAAanittumhareesun AAalaykum bi(a)lmumineena raoofun raheem(un)

Assuredly there has come to you a Messenger-SW from among yourselves; heavy upon him is whatever harasses you, and who is solicitous for you and is unto the faithful tender and merciful.


فَإِن تَوَلَّوْاْ فَقُلْ حَسْبِيَ اللّهُ لا إِلَـهَ إِلاَّ هُوَ عَلَيْهِ تَوَكَّلْتُ وَهُوَ رَبُّ الْعَرْشِ الْعَظِيمِ

Fain tawallaw faqul hasbiya Allahu la ilaha illa huwa AAalayhi tawakkaltu wahuwa rabbu alAAarshi alAAatheem(i)

If then, they turn away, say you: sufficing unto me is Allah-SWT, there is no Rabb but He-SWT; in Him-SWT I put my trust, and He-SWT is the Rabb-SWT of Mighty Throne.


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

The Condition for a Deed to be Virtuous

As for the dealings with the non believers, they must be subjected to Jihad. Just as it is important for the believers to ardently seek the company of the truly devoted saints, it is equally essential for them to fight the non believers with the same fervour and intensity. Any action, to be virtuous, does not depend on its outward appearance but on its execution in accordance with Allah-SWT's Command. On one hand affection and love is piety, and on the other sternness and severity is virtue. Hence love with the non believers is not permitted; rather, striking with full force in Jihad is imperative. And Jihad will first be waged against those closest in terms of relationship as well as distance. It is obviously not proper to fight with the far off non believers leaving some in the middle. Similarly those who are of kin shall be dealt with first as Jihad is for their reformation. For a believer the only way to attain virtue is to love the pious and be strict towards the wrongdoer. And the greatest of all rewards is Allah-SWT's Company, which is acquired through Taqwa and piety. 

Impact of Divine Address

If the aforesaid approach is not adopted, hypocricy is born. In other words, if the pious are not loved, or the non believers not hated, hypocricy creeps into the hearts. The effect of hypocrisy is that whenever an Ayah of the Quran is revealed, the hypocrites ask the believers sarcastically whether their faith has been strengthened by it.

The Divine Words carry their own majesty, in that they leave a certain impact on the listeners’ hearts. It is a common experience that every dialogue leaves an impact of the personality of the speaker. And if one begins to listen to a person specialized in any field of life,-a poet, a writer, a leader-not only does he gain knowledge of that field but also develops an affinity with the speaker. Similarly there is a unique impact of the Divine Words and the most superior of all rewards of Jannah will be the honour of hearing Allah-SWT's Words. The worst punishment to the dwellers of Hell will be that Allaah-SWT will not speak to them. 

Increase and Decrease in the Level of Faith

Understanding the Quran is the basic requirement. Yet even if one does not know the meanings, its very recitation has a special impact, and increases the level of faith. An increase in faith signifies augmentation of the power to act righteously. The hypocrites may mock at the believers but the fact is that each Ayah adds to the enlightenment and strength of their faith, and its effects can be seen on their glowing and radiant faces. The Quran is like the rainfall. If the soil of the heart is laden with the filth of hypocricy the rain will only cause it to stench. People with such diseased hearts are so unfortunate that they progress into disbelief and die as infidels. May Allaah-SWT protect us! 

O' Reader! Is it not obvious that the hypocrites are constantly subjected to trial and tribulations? Sometimes their comrades are defeated, while at other times their hypocricy is exposed. But neither do they leam a lesson nor feel the urge to repent. So whenever such Ayat are revealed, which lash out at the infidels or mention their hypocricy, they side glance at one another and quietly slip out of the gathering, lest their inner feelings are exposed by their facial expressions. Whereas they should have sought guidance and discerned that Allaah-SWT is the Most Powerful and the All Knowing. When He-SWT is predicting the destruction of the non believers and the state of the hypocrites' hearts, the best thing for them to do was to repent and reform themselves. On the contrary they prefer to slip out from the audience. This is because Allaah-SWT has perverted their hearts as a punishment for their hypocricy. The real knowledge and wisdom is indeed that of the heart, which if perverted, all sense is lost. Hence their foolish behaviour is inevitable. 

The Eminence of Prophethood

O' People! My Prophet-SW is amongst you. Now do not wait for any one else or any unexpected event for your reformation. Though last in the raising yet the most eminent in his Messengership, he is the final authority on Din and the source of your relationship with Allaah-SWT . Those who fail to benefit from his Barakah shall remain deprived forever. It is indeed His-SWT Favour that He-SWT blessed humanity with such an exalted personality and honoured it by raising him from amongst them. Had he been raised in any other creation like the angels, mankind would neither have been the best of all creations, nor could have benefited from his Barakah so easily. Therefore, this Divine Mercy personified is indeed a cause of honour for the Children of Aadam-AS and it is very easy for people to draw beneficence from him. 

Another very important aspect of his-SW personality is that he-SW is the greatest well wisher of the mankind as a whole. Whenever a person stumbles, it is he-SW, the most sensitive, who feels the pain. His-SW kind heart grieves for a non believer dying on disbelief. It is his-SW keenest desire that no man should be doomed after his-SW raising. People sleep, while he-SW is awake for them; they try to run away from salvation and he-SW pulls them back. Stones are hurled at him-SW and in return, he-SW raises his-SW hands in prayer. People turn a deaf ear to him-SW while he-SW conveys Allah-SWT's Unity to them. Uninterested in the two worlds, pursuing only Me-SWT , is My-SWT Prophet-SW. O Mankind! He-SW yearns to the extent of greed for your salvation and is never satiated. He-SW does not relax when some of you find guidance, but continues to work with the same zeal for the heedless. This solicitude and care displayed by him-SW is for the mankind at large. But when it comes to the believers, he-SW is so tender and gracious that his-SW kindness may well be compared to an unfathomable ocean. No mind can encompass its vastness. Indeed he-SW is extremely compassionate. 

O' My Beloved-SW! Those who remain indifferent to your clemency and turn their backs unto you-SW, do ignore them. Let them know that for you-SW, your-SW Allaah-SWT is sufficient. It is He-SWT Alone Who deserves to be the focus of all hopes, and to be coveted. He-SWT is the Sovereign of the Tremendous Throne, which encompasses the entire universe, and it is from there that the affairs of the universe are administered. He-SWT Alone is the Owner of that Throne. According to some Commentators these two Ayat were the last to be revealed and the Holy Prophet-SW passed away shortly thereafter. These prove that the Barakah of the Holy Prophet-SW will be carried on through his-SW devoted followers. Hence the entire mankind is extended the invitation to benefit from his blessings. May Allaah-SWT enlighten our hearts with them eternally and grant us the capacity to follow in the footsteps of His-SWT beloved Prophet-SW!


Note: Praise be to Allaah-SWT that Surah At-Taubah has been completed. Started in Madinah it stands completed in Dar-ul-Irfan, Munara on the 25lh day of Rajab 1410 AH corresponding to 22 Feb 1990. O' Allaah-SWT ! Please grant the capacity by Your-SWT Grace and Special Munificence to complete this work and make it a source of guidance for the mankind-Author.