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 3 contains Āyāt / Parts 8
  • Siparah/ Volume 10 & 11


مَا كَانَ لِلْمُشْرِكِينَ أَن يَعْمُرُواْ مَسَاجِدَ الله شَاهِدِينَ عَلَى أَنفُسِهِمْ بِالْكُفْرِ أُوْلَئِكَ حَبِطَتْ أَعْمَالُهُمْ وَفِي النَّارِ هُمْ خَالِدُونَ

Ma kana lilmushrikeena an yaAAmuroo masajida Allahi shahideena AAalaanfusihim bi(a)lkufri olaika habitat aAAmaluhum wafee a(l)nnari hum khalidoon(a)

It is not for the associators that they will tend Allah-SWT's Masaajid, while giving evidence of infidelity against themselves. Those! Vain shall be their works, and in the Fire they shall abide.


إِنَّمَا يَعْمُرُ مَسَاجِدَ اللّهِ مَنْ آمَنَ بِاللّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الآخِرِ وَأَقَامَ الصَّلاَةَ وَآتَى الزَّكَاةَ وَلَمْ يَخْشَ إِلاَّ اللّهَ فَعَسَى أُوْلَـئِكَ أَن يَكُونُواْ مِنَ الْمُهْتَدِينَ

Innama yaAAmuru masajida Allahi man amana bi(A)llahi wa(a)lyawmi alakhiri waaqama a(l)ssalata waata a(l)zzakata walam yakhsha illa Allaha faAAasa olaika an yakoonoo mina almuhtadeen(a)

They only shall tend Allaah-SWT ’s Masaajid who believe in Allaah-SWT and the Last Day and establish Salat and give Zakat and fear none save Allaah-SWT . They may be among the guided ones.


أَجَعَلْتُمْ سِقَايَةَ الْحَاجِّ وَعِمَارَةَ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ كَمَنْ آمَنَ بِاللّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الآخِرِ وَجَاهَدَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللّهِ لاَ يَسْتَوُونَ عِندَ اللّهِ وَاللّهُ لاَ يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الظَّالِمِينَ

AjaAAaltum siqayata alhajji waAAimarata almasjidi alharami kaman amana bi(A)llahi wa(a)lyawmi alakhiri wajahada fee sabeeli Allahi la yastawoona AAinda Allahi wa(A)llahu la yahdee alqawma a(l)ththalimeen(a)

Do you think the giving of drinks to the pilgrims and the tendance of the Sacred Masjid is like the conduct of one who believes in Allaah-SWT and the Last Day and strives hard in the way of Allaah-SWT ? Equal they are not in Allah-SWT's Sight, and Allaah-SWT does not guide the wrongdoing people.


الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ وَهَاجَرُواْ وَجَاهَدُواْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللّهِ بِأَمْوَالِهِمْ وَأَنفُسِهِمْ أَعْظَمُ دَرَجَةً عِندَ اللّهِ وَأُوْلَئِكَ هُمُ الْفَائِزُونَ

Allatheena amanoo wahajaroo wajahadoo fee sabeeli Allahi biamwalihim waanfusihim aAAthamu darajatan AAinda Allahi waolaika humu alfaizoon(a)

Those who have believed and have emigrated and have striven hard in the way of Allaah-SWT with their riches and their lives are far higher in degree with Allaah-SWT . Those! They are the achievers.


يُبَشِّرُهُمْ رَبُّهُم بِرَحْمَةٍ مِّنْهُ وَرِضْوَانٍ وَجَنَّاتٍ لَّهُمْ فِيهَا نَعِيمٌ مُّقِيمٌ

Yubashshiruhum rabbuhum birahmatin minhu waridwanin wajannatin lahum feehanaAAeemun muqeem(un)

Their Rabb-SWT gives them glad tidings of a Mercy from Him-SWT and of goodwill and of the Gardens wherein theirs will be a delight lasting.


خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا أَبَدًا إِنَّ اللّهَ عِندَهُ أَجْرٌ عَظِيمٌ

Khalideena feeha abadan inna Allaha AAindahu ajrun AAatheem(un)

As abiders there for ever. Verily with Allaah-SWT is a wage mighty.


يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ لاَ تَتَّخِذُواْ آبَاءكُمْ وَإِخْوَانَكُمْ أَوْلِيَاء إَنِ اسْتَحَبُّواْ الْكُفْرَ عَلَى الإِيمَانِ وَمَن يَتَوَلَّهُم مِّنكُمْ فَأُوْلَـئِكَ هُمُ الظَّالِمُونَ

Ya ayyuha allatheena amanoo la tattakhithoo abaakum waikhwanakum awliyaa ini istahabboo alkufra AAala aleemani waman yatawallahum minkum faolaika humu a(l)ththalimoon(a)

O’ you who believe! Do not take your fathers and brothers for friends if they love infidelity above faith. Whoever of you then befriends them; then those! They are the wrongdoers.


قُلْ إِن كَانَ آبَاؤُكُمْ وَأَبْنَآؤُكُمْ وَإِخْوَانُكُمْ وَأَزْوَاجُكُمْ وَعَشِيرَتُكُمْ وَأَمْوَالٌ اقْتَرَفْتُمُوهَا وَتِجَارَةٌ تَخْشَوْنَ كَسَادَهَا وَمَسَاكِنُ تَرْضَوْنَهَا أَحَبَّ إِلَيْكُم مِّنَ اللّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ وَجِهَادٍ فِي سَبِيلِهِ فَتَرَبَّصُواْ حَتَّى يَأْتِيَ اللّهُ بِأَمْرِهِ وَاللّهُ لاَ يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الْفَاسِقِينَ

Qul in kana abaokum waabnaokum waikhwanukum waazwajukum waAAasheeratukum waamwalun iqtaraftumooha watijaratun takhshawna kasadaha wamasakinu tardawnaha ahabba ilaykum mina Allahi warasoolihi wajihadin fee sabeelihi fatarabbasoo hatta yatiya Allahu biamrihi wa(A)llahu layahdee alqawma alfasiqeen(a)

Say you-SW: if your fathers and your sons and your brothers and your wives and your family and the riches you have acquired and the trade in which you fear a slackening and the dwellings which please you are dearer to you than Allaah-SWT and His-SWT Messenger-SW and striving in His-SWT Cause, then wait until He-SWT brings about His-SWT Decree; and Allaah-SWT does not guide the ungodly people.


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

Although K'abah had been cleansed of all the idols after the Conquest of Makkah yet the polytheists still performed their rituals in their own ways. It was, imperative to cleanse the House of Allaah-SWT of these absurdities also. However, there was one hurdle; the Muslims had peace treaties with some tribes, which had neither been violated by them nor had expired. So a grace period of one year was given, which would cover the existing treaties, while no new Treaty was to be signed. It was announced by the Holy Prophet-SW on the occasion of Hajj in 9th Hijrah that in future no polytheist would enter the premises of K'abah, nor perform any ungodly ritual therein.


The idolaters in their vanity assumed that worshipping idols and taking care of the construction or maintenance of the Sacred Masjid fulfilled the obligation of tending it. They used to feel proud of their services. According to Hadhrat 'Abdullah bin 'Abbas'-RAU, when his father Hadhrat 'Abbas-RAU, was taken captive at Badr and was reproached for being a polytheist, he argued that the believers took only their negative things in account but failed to appreciate the arrangements they had made to serve the House of Allaah-SWT and its pilgrims. These Ayat were revealed on this occasion, clarifying that the polytheists and the infidels had no right to tend to the masaajid. If one engages in baseless rituals in masaajid, it can hardly be termed as taking care of them. The rituals the infidels practised were never enjoined by Allaah-SWT nor practiced by the Holy Prophet-SW. Although the construction and maintenance of masaajid is a noble task, it would be of no avail to the infidels and the polytheists because the basis of reward is faith. Only those actions shall earn an eternal reward, which arc taken in compliance with Allah-SWT's Commands. Since the non believers lacked the right intentions, all their deeds have gone in vain. Y’amaru (tending to) refers to all kinds of service to the Holy Masjid, including the attendance for worship. This is why such an attendance is termed as for Umrah. Not withstanding the service to the Holy Masjid, a person with ungodly beliefs and practices shall be eternally condemned to the Fire.


Masaajid are for worship not for Rituals

It is proved here that actions that are not endorsed by the Sunnah fall into the slot of rituals and are strictly forbidden in a masjid. Such actions amount to emulating the infidels. Sadly enough, today all sorts of rituals have become a common feature in our masaajid and it is about time that these are guarded against.


Dilating on the positive aspect of tending to masaajid, Allaah-SWT declares that taking care of the masaajid and providing any services to them can only be justified for those who believe in Allaah-SWT and the Day of Judgement and their actions endorse their beliefs. They are those who establish Salat and pay Zakat and press all their resources into the service of Allaah-SWT . And they fear Allaah-SWT Alone and do not miss worship for fear of any worldly loss. It is expected that such righteous people shall be triumphant in their mission.


Custody of Masjid and Donations

Also clarified here is the fact that it is forbidden to appoint a non believer as the custodian of a masjid or to take donations from the infidels and the polytheists for its construction. In a situation whereby a non believer has constructed a masjid, or has donated money, it must be ensured that it does not jeopardise Muslims interests in any way. Such a person should not interfere in the affairs of the masjid nor boast of his favour to the Muslims. Nevertheless, such a non believer shall not be entitled to any rewards in the Hereafter. Allaah-SWT knows the best.


Tending a Masjid

The term Tending a masjid' entails its construction, cleaning, security, and provision of basic facilities, together with attendance for learning Din or reciting Quran, worshipping or for Zikr-Allah. According to Tafsir e Mazhari, stopping all those actions which are prohibited in a masjid also fall under the same definition. For instance, it is not proper to beg for money inside the masjid, or to make announcements for lost properties or to trade anything or to indulge in any scuffle. Similarly, to sing or recite purposeless couplets is also prohibited.

The Quran questions the non believers as to how can their service to the Sacred Masjid and the pilgrims ever be a substitute of faith in Allaah-SWT and the Akhirah or of Jihad? There certainly is no comparison. Those who tend the Masjid and serve the pilgrims can never equal those who practically participate in Jihad.


Worships and Jihad

According to the Commentators the polytheists had already been answered earlier. In these Ayat a comparison has been made between their actions and having faith in Allah-SWT, It is highlighted that no deed, no matter how meritorious, can be of any avail without faith in Allah-SWT, because faith is the spirit of all actions. How can someone who does not even believe in Allaah-SWT or the Akhirah strive for eternal success and Allaah-SWT ’s Pleasure? When belief in these two tenets is missing, no action can be termed as noble. However, the Quran does assert that the virtue of a non believer is not totally wasted but is requited in the form of worldly benefits. These Ayat also warn those Muslims who direct all their efforts towards routine worships, and do not strive to uphold Islam. Although worships by themselves are highly meritorious yet it is for the establishment of worships and tending to the masaajid that Jihad becomes imperative in order to ensure the supremacy and sovereignty of Islam. Even if a person dedicates his entire life to worship in the K'abah or service of the pilgrims, he can never equal those who fight for Islam on the battlefield or practically work for its enforcement.


Zikr Allah-SWT and Jihad

Qazi Thana Ullah Panipati-RUA has dilated on this topic in his celebrated TafsIr-e-Mazhari. He asserts that if tending to the masjid refers here only to the management of the affairs of the masjid then Jihad is superior. On the contrary if it refers to Zikr Allaah-SWT then according to Hadith, Zikr Allaah-SWT is superior to Jihad. The Holy Prophet-SW once said: "Shall I inform you of a deed more meritorious than all the deeds and is also a source of elevating the ranks? It is even superior to spending gold and silver in the cause of Allaah-SWT and is better than fighting the enemy of Islam in Jihad, slaying him or being slain; that deed is Zikr Allaah-SWT ." This highlights that Zikr Allaah-SWT is superior to Jihad. This Hadith is listed in Masnad-e-Ahmed, Tirmizi and Ibne Majah. Qazi Thana Ullah-RAU continues that since the polytheists boasted only of their service to the Sacred Masjid and the pilgrims and had nothing to do with Zikr Allah-SWT, therefore, in this particular case Jihad will be superior to the act of serving the masaajid. The fact is that Zikr Allaah-SWT is as important in the masjid as it is on the battlefield. According to Quran when the believers are confronted with an enemy they must standfast and fight and do Zikr Allaah-SWT constantly.



In fact, constant Zikr means Zikr-e-Qalbi. Once Zikr-e-Qalbi is acquired by Allah-SWT's Grace, the heart repeats His Exalted Name with every beat. It continues regardless of whether one is attending to business or to worship, or is on the field of Jihad. Hence the superiority of Zikr-e-Qalbi is well established. Zikr-e-Lisani and certain obligatory worships, can be missed under certain circumstances. For instance, the Holy Prophet-SW had to miss Salat four times during the Battle of Trench, but his noble heart never stopped remembering Allaah-SWT . Besides, the merit of deeds can vary in accordance with the circumstances and the need of the hour. Under compelling circumstances Salat can be postponed to be offered later but neglect in Jihad cannot be allowed. And Zikr-e-Qalbi is such an exalted act that no engagement can interrupt it. It is the most meritorious and superior deed, because the sincerity and devotion in worship and Jihad are also its fruit. All these aspects are made absolutely clear. Yet the wrongdoers and the faithless are deprived by Allaah-SWT of the capacity to comprehend, their understanding having been rusted by their misdeeds. 

Status of Exemplary Characters of Quran-the Companions

Undoubtedly those who embraced Islam far excelled those who remained deprived of it. But even those believers who served the Sacred Masjid and the pilgrims with sincerity were out classed by the believers who migrated and strived with their wealth and lives in the Cause of Allaah-SWT . The status of these Muhajirin and Mujahidin with Allaah-SWT is very high indeed, and they are the ones truly successful. For them are the glad tidings of Forgiveness and Mercy from Allaah-SWT which shall engulf them and compensate for any human errors they might have committed. Allaah-SWT announces His-SWT Pleasure for them and showers them with His-SWT unlimited favours, including Jannah. They shall abide eternally therein, a place of never ending bliss. It must be remembered that the exemplary Muslims of the Quran, whose ranks are being discussed here, are the Companions'-RAU of the Holy Prophet-SW and they have been established as a criterion for all times to come.


Extent of relationship

The believers must have nothing to do with those who prefer having affiliation with disbelief as compared to Islam, even if they are blood relatives. This is because the purpose of biological relationships is only to preserve the human race artd serve worldly needs, whereas the real relationship is that of faith. Eternal success is based on it. 

Although serving and treating parents kindly is a noble act and the rights of brothers and sisters are also important, yet when this love stands in the way of Islam or if the relatives insist on transgression, then the relationship with Allaah-SWT and His-SWT Prophet-SW shall prevail while that with the kindred will be severed. If a believer acts otherwise he shall be considered a Fasiq. 

The Companions-RAU practically demonstrated their priorities in their relations. They loved those who embraced Islam while vehemently fighting at Badr and Uhad against those who were once their loved ones but had insisted on opposing Islam. They set an example for mankind in maintaining relations. May Allaah-SWT grant us the capacity to follow in their sacred footsteps! 

It has been announced categorically that all those who do not fight in the Cause of Allaah-SWT for fear of material losses or love their relatives, homes or business more than they love Allaah-SWT and His-SWT Prophet--SW they must wait for Allah-SWT's Punishment. Such wrongdoers can never attain salvation. 


Love for Allah-SWT must Predominate Every thing

By virtue of its Revelation, the Ayah under discussion addressed those who did not migrate from Makkah despite the ability, fearing the loss of business or dear ones. But in general it addresses all the believers in all times to come. In those days a believer who failed to migrate despite the ability was not even considered a believer. Even today one must emigrate from a land which is ruled by sin and immorality. However, if it is not within one's power to undertake the journey, he is exempted.


Migration to the west for Monetary Gain

Those who choose to migrate from an Islamic State to the extremely vulgar and ungodly environment of the West in pursuit of mundane gains commit a great sin. Often they live to experience Divine Punishment in this life and also spoil their Akhirah. The fact is that it is obligatory even today to abandon an evil society, to severe all ties with the wicked and migrate to the land of noble people. However, those believers who are involved in the propagation of Islam or are deputed on an official assignment in such societies are allowed to stay. They should be of such integrity as to influence others rather than be influenced by the Western society themselves. In fact the orders are that if a member of the Western society is blessed with the light of faith, he must sacrifice his family bonds for the logical love he has developed with Allaah-SWT and His-SWT Prophet-SW and proceed to live amidst the righteous. Besides, he must practically exert for enforcing Islam and refuting infidelity, in order to safeguard his own faith. 

Influence of Love

Just as the company of evildoers endangers faith, an association with pious and the accomplished imparts the love for Allaah-SWT . According to Imam Baidhawai-RUA very few people escape the admonition conveyed by these Ayat, as many noble and pious souls neglect Jihad for the sake of their kindred and wealth. Although the inherent love for the kindred has a very strong influence yet if one succeeds to prevent it from intervening in his logical love. 

Need for a Shaikh and his Company

According to Tafsir-e-Mazhari, the afore mentioned level of love for Allaah-SWT and His-SWT Prophet-AS is indeed a great blessing. This feeling can only be attained through the process of reflection the company of accomplished saints like the Companions-RAU who were blessed in the noble company of Holy Prophet-SW. They transferred this blessing to the Taba’in who in turn passed it on to the Tab’a Taba’in. It is a concrete fact that level of devotion, which is generated in the heart of the seeker in the company of an accomplished Shaikh, is impossible without it. The injunction prohibiting the company of wrongdoers to safeguard one’s faith also provides the pretext for seeking the company of accomplished saints, such company blesses a believer with the real essence of faith and perceptive and logical love for Allah progresses to the degree of passion. This is why the Commentators assert that in order to gain access to the station of Khullah (friendship of Allaah-SWT ), one must sacrifice everything like Prophet Ibrahim-AS. It is also clarified here that upholding Shariah and the Sunnah and fighting those who stand in the way, i.e. undertaking Jihad are the hallmarks of this passion.