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


كَيْفَ يَكُونُ لِلْمُشْرِكِينَ عَهْدٌ عِندَ اللّهِ وَعِندَ رَسُولِهِ إِلاَّ الَّذِينَ عَاهَدتُّمْ عِندَ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ فَمَا اسْتَقَامُواْ لَكُمْ فَاسْتَقِيمُواْ لَهُمْ إِنَّ اللّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُتَّقِينَ

Kayfa yakoonu lilmushrikeena AAahdun AAinda Allahi waAAinda rasoolihi illaallatheena AAahadtum AAinda almasjidi alh>arami fama istaqamoo lakum fa(i)staqeemoo lahum inna Allaha yuhibbu almuttaqeen(a)

How can there be for the associators a covenant with Allah-SWT and His-SWT Messenger-SW save for those with whom you-SW covenanted near the Sacred Masjid? Act straight with them so long as they act straight with you-SW. Verily Allah-SWT loves those who fear Him-SWT .


كَيْفَ وَإِن يَظْهَرُوا عَلَيْكُمْ لاَ يَرْقُبُواْ فِيكُمْ إِلاًّ وَلاَ ذِمَّةً يُرْضُونَكُم بِأَفْوَاهِهِمْ وَتَأْبَى قُلُوبُهُمْ وَأَكْثَرُهُمْ فَاسِقُونَ

Kayfa wain yathharoo AAalaykum la yarquboo feekum illan wala thimmatan yurdoonakum biafwahihim wataba quloobuhum waaktharuhum fasiqoon(a)

How indeed? When if they get better of you, they respect not regarding you either kinship or agreement. They flatter you with their mouths, while their hearts refuse; and most of them are wicked.


اشْتَرَوْاْ بِآيَاتِ اللّهِ ثَمَنًا قَلِيلاً فَصَدُّواْ عَن سَبِيلِهِ إِنَّهُمْ سَاء مَا كَانُواْ يَعْمَلُونَ

Ishtaraw biayati Allahi thamanan qaleelan fasaddoo AAan sabeelihi innahum saa ma kanoo yaAAmaloon(a)

They have sold the revelations of Allah-SWT for a small price so they keep them back from His-SWT Path. Vile is that which they are working.


لاَ يَرْقُبُونَ فِي مُؤْمِنٍ إِلاًّ وَلاَ ذِمَّةً وَأُوْلَـئِكَ هُمُ الْمُعْتَدُونَ

La yarquboona fee muminin illan wala thimmatan waolaika humu almuAAtadoon(a)

They respect no kinship or agreement in a believer; those! They are the transgressors.


فَإِن تَابُواْ وَأَقَامُواْ الصَّلاَةَ وَآتَوُاْ الزَّكَاةَ فَإِخْوَانُكُمْ فِي الدِّينِ وَنُفَصِّلُ الآيَاتِ لِقَوْمٍ يَعْلَمُونَ

Fain taboo waaqamoo a(l)ssalata waatawoo a(l)zzakata faikhwanukum fee a(l)ddeeni wanufassilu alayati liqawmin yaAAlamoon(a)

If they repent and establish Salat and give Zakat they are your brothers-in-faith. And We-SWT expound the revelations for a people who know.


وَإِن نَّكَثُواْ أَيْمَانَهُم مِّن بَعْدِ عَهْدِهِمْ وَطَعَنُواْ فِي دِينِكُمْ فَقَاتِلُواْ أَئِمَّةَ الْكُفْرِ إِنَّهُمْ لاَ أَيْمَانَ لَهُمْ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَنتَهُونَ

Wain nakathoo aymanahum min baAAdi AAahdihim wataAAanoo fee deenikum faqatiloo aimmata alkufri innahum la aymana lahum laAAallahum yantahoon(a)

And if they violate their oaths after their covenant and revile your religion, fight those leaders of infidelity-verily no oaths shall hold in their case. Perhaps they may desist.


أَلاَ تُقَاتِلُونَ قَوْمًا نَّكَثُواْ أَيْمَانَهُمْ وَهَمُّواْ بِإِخْرَاجِ الرَّسُولِ وَهُم بَدَؤُوكُمْ أَوَّلَ مَرَّةٍ أَتَخْشَوْنَهُمْ فَاللّهُ أَحَقُّ أَن تَخْشَوْهُ إِن كُنتُم مُّؤُمِنِينَ

Ala tuqatiloona qawman nakathoo aymanahum wahammoo biikhraji a(l)rrasooli wahum badaookum awwala marratin atakhshawnahum fa(A)llahu ahaqqu an takhshawhu in kuntum mumineen(a)

Will you not fight a people who have violated their oaths and conspired the banishment of the Messenger-SW and who have therefore began against you-SW first? Are you-SW afraid of them? Allah-SWT is worthier that you-SW should fear Him-SWT , if you are believers at all.


قَاتِلُوهُمْ يُعَذِّبْهُمُ اللّهُ بِأَيْدِيكُمْ وَيُخْزِهِمْ وَيَنصُرْكُمْ عَلَيْهِمْ وَيَشْفِ صُدُورَ قَوْمٍ مُّؤْمِنِينَ

Qatiloohum yuAAaththibhumu Allahu biaydeekum wayukhzihim wayansurkum AAalayhim wayashfi sudoora qawmin mumineen(a)

Fight them; Allah-SWT will chastise them at your hands, and humble them and give you victory over them and heal the spirit of the believing people.


وَيُذْهِبْ غَيْظَ قُلُوبِهِمْ وَيَتُوبُ اللّهُ عَلَى مَن يَشَاء وَاللّهُ عَلِيمٌ حَكِيمٌ

Wayuthhib ghaytha quloobihim wayatoobu Allahu AAala man yashao wa(A)llahu AAaleemun hakeem(un)

And He-SWT shall take away the rage from their hearts. And Allah-SWT shall relent towards whom He-SWT pleases; and Allah-SWT is Knowing, Wise.


أَمْ حَسِبْتُمْ أَن تُتْرَكُواْ وَلَمَّا يَعْلَمِ اللّهُ الَّذِينَ جَاهَدُواْ مِنكُمْ وَلَمْ يَتَّخِذُواْ مِن دُونِ اللّهِ وَلاَ رَسُولِهِ وَلاَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَلِيجَةً وَاللّهُ خَبِيرٌ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ

Am hasibtum an tutrakoo walamma yaAAlami Allahu allatheena jahadoo minkum walam yattakhithoo min dooni Allahi wala rasoolihi wala almumineena waleejatan wa(A)llahu khabeerun bima taAAmaloon(a)

Do you think that you would be left alone while yet Allah-SWT has not known those of you who have striven hard and have not taken an ally besides Allah-SWT and His-SWT Messenger-SW and the faithful? Allah-SWT is Aware of what you do.


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

How could the promises made by the polytheists be relied upon when they do not have the remotest understanding of the Greatness of Allaah-SWT and His-SWT Messenger-SW. Polytheism and denial have become a permanent feature of their temperaments and nothing good can be expected of them. They suffered for breaking their promises while the believers honoured their promise and were victorious. However, there was a group of non believers who had made a Treaty with the Muslims near the Haram. Although they were yet deprived of faith, but they were better than the polytheists, because they had honoured their words.


A Virtuous Act is Appreciated

In other words, an act of goodness must be appreciated even if it is done by a non believer. Virtue is after all virtue. Such an act becomes an example for the believer that he should not miss out a good deed, which even a non believer is doing. Referring to the group of non-believers who honoured their word, the Quran commands that if they themselves do not initiate a breach of the Treaty, the Muslims must also honour their word, because Allah-SWT appreciates those who are cautious in their conduct. Therefore, the believers must be careful in their dealings even with the enemy and the infidels.


States of Qalb Determine a Person's Conduct

The believers must not expect any goodness from those non believers who breached the treaties and did not honour their word. If they had power over the believers they would subject them to atrocities without any regard to their treaties or relationships. This is because they only try to appease the believers through diplomacy while their hearts are full of malice against them. The actions and conduct of a person are certified by the state of his heart. Unless the Qalb is purified, many an articulate preachers indulge themselves in acts similar to those of the polytheists. They merely seek mundane benefits and in the bargain do not hesitate to sell the Divine Commandments. In this way, they continue to misguide the people.


Din Must be Preferred Over Worldly Benefits

A believer must prefer his Din over mundane benefits and obey the Divine Injunctions, which require him to uphold his promises. It is indeed a great blunder to compromise over Din for worldly pleasures. This attitude has turned these infidels into unscrupulous people, who do not value any relationship or commitment, and are indeed ruthless. However, they do have the basic human rights, and it is only their conduct which is loathsome ignominious. If they mend their ways, repent sincerely, accept Islam, establish Salat and pay Zakat, they must not be admonished over their past follies. This is because Islam guarantees forgiveness over all previous wrongdoings. Thus the believers must not reproach new converts over their past actions. By embracing faith they have become the members of the Islamic brotherhood and their rights as brothers-in-faith have to be fully safeguarded.


Proof of Confession of Faith

Here the outward symbols of the members or the Islamic brotherhood have been recounted. A verbal proclamation of faith must be complemented with the establishment of Salat and the payment of Zakat. Then a person must exert his best efforts to worship Allah-SWT, without being deterred from His-SWT obedience by the love of wealth. Only then does he qualify to be a member of the Islamic brotherhood, and is entitled to enjoy the rights given by it. Otherwise he will be deprived of these rights, like those who had refused to pay Zakat were subjected to Jihad. Allaah-SWT reveals everything clearly for people of understanding. However, if the infidels persist on disbelief and continue to break their promises and mock at Islam, they deserve no concessions. They indeed are the leaders of infidelity and must be dealt with an iron hand.


Mockery of Din and the Term’ Imam' Explained

Besides breaching their treaties, the non believers also indulged in ridiculing Islam, which must never be tolerated. If a so-called Muslim commits this offence he will not only be guilty of disbelief but it will be obligatory for the Muslims to also wage Jihad against him. Today's intellectuals and politicians who criticise the Islamic punishments as brutal are undoubtedly non believers, rather are the leaders of disbelief. This Ayah also explains the meaning of the word Imam, which is not an office in terms of Shari'ah, but merely denotes leadership. If someone leads people on the path of righteousness, he will be termed as an Imam in the positive sense, like the Prophets-AS who have been called A'imah. However, if a person is leading the wrongdoers or the non believers, he too will be termed as an Imam like in the expression "A'ematul Kufr” (leaders of infidelity). Imam is not an office like the office of Prophethood.


Criticism and Censure

Allah-SWT declares that those who criticize Islam cannot be trusted, even if they swear or make tall claims. Their words are not worthy of any heed and when they assail Islam, Jihad must be waged against them. On the other hand, even a non believer seeking knowledge is allowed to critically analyze Islam, but no one will be permitted to be sarcastic or to belittle it. Nor will any one be permitted to utter words, which may hurt the feelings of the believers. Jihad, as distinct from war, will be initiated against such violators.


Difference Between Jihad and War

The aim of war is to crush the opponent so that he may never be able to stand up again. Since Islam is a well wisher of humanity, it has replaced the conventional war with Jihad. Jihad is waged only to stop the opponent from transgression and not for extending the perimeters of the dominion. It is not driven by greed or a desire to obliterate the enemy. The enemy will be fought against until he renounces transgression and reforms his attitude. Certainly, it is aimed at welfare and reformation.


Exile of The Holy Prophet-SW

Allah-SWT asks the reason for not fighting those who have planned to exile the Holy Prophet-SW .The Ayah points at the Jews of Madinah, who had said that they would drive the believers out of the city. Allaah-SWT Commanded the believers to declare Jihad against them and as a result they themselves were expelled from the city in disgrace. Similarly anyone who stands in the way of Islam in an Islamic State, or promotes any other system besides Islam is guilty of exiling the Holy Prophet-SW and therefore, must be fought against. Allaah-SWT says that such people always initiate mischief and if the believers tolerate their intrigues and do not draw their swords, it would mean that the believers are afraid of them. Mark that a believer is only afraid of Allah-SWT, and it is only He Who rightfully deserves to be feared. It does not befit the believers to be afraid of anyone save Allaah-SWT or to be overawed by the resources or material strength of the non believers.


Mode of Punishing the Non Believers

The believers are commanded to fight the non believers, as Allaah-SWT will punish them at the hands of the former. The times have changed and no longer will it be the swallows casting stones at the enemy of Islam, because the raising of the Holy Prophet-SW has taken the power of such miraculous nature and handed it, down to the believers. Therefore, O' Ummah of the Holy Prophet-SW! To enjoin good and forbid evil is now your responsibility. All those who transgress and conspire against Islam must be punished at your hands. They shall no longer be punished with fire or stones from the heavens. The guardians of the K'abah now, are not the swallows but the Muslim Ummah. Therefore, with all sincerity strive for the enforcement of Islam and upholding the truth through Jihad. Allaah-SWT will inflict pain and defeat on the non believers at your hands and they shall be disgraced. It is Allah-SWT's Promise that He-SWT will bless the believers with victory over the enemies of Islam. This will also be a source of satisfaction for the believers, as they will get a chance to punish the enemy for a continuous breach of treaties and blasphemy. The believers will be elevated, comforted and honoured.


However, it must be remembered that the door to repentance is open for as long as one lives. So even if someone repents after a lifetime of mischief, the believers must not reject him. It is upto Allaah-SWT to accept the penitence, for He-SWT knows the deeds of all. He-SWT is the Wisest and the Most Gracious. Therefore, Jihad will not be a barrier to the repentance by the non believers. In fact whenever a non believer, no matter how staunch, resorts to repentance, he will find the door of Islam ajar for him.


And remember that a mere verbal confession of faith will not guarantee eternal salvation, which awaits those who sincerely exert in Jihad and maintain a deep-hearted relationship only with Allah-SWT, His-SWT Prophet-SW and the faithful. If all worldly affiliations put together fail to deter a believer from Jihad, only then can he qualify for Allah-SWT's Nearness. Those who evade participation in Jihad or shun practical life shall face serious reprisal. Allaah-SWT is well Aware of the intentions behind the actions of people. Besides, maintaining an intimate relationship with the non believers whereby secrets are shared with them is totally forbidden and a true believer can never commit this mistake.