Allah-SWT has forgiven you O' Prophet-SW but why did you-SW allow them to stay back from Jihad? Had you-SW denied them the permission they would have in any case stayed back. But then at least their hypocricy and true selves would have been exposed.
Shades of a Relationship of Qalb
The style of this Ayah is suggestive. It simply says that had the Holy Prophet-SW not granted permission to those who had lingered behind in Jihad, they would not have had any excuse to stay back. Yet the relationship of the sacred Qalb of the Holy Prophet-SW with Allaah-SWT is so sensitive that it could not have even withstood even this mild reproach. Therefore, before suggesting it the Almighty declares: "Allaah-SWT has forgiven you-SW ". It means that Allaah-SWT is not angry or annoyed, nevertheless the Holy Prophet-SW should not have done so. This forgiveness is not of the kind, that follows a sin as Prophets-AS are pure of sins. Rather, this forgiveness' corresponds to the exalted standards of piety befitting the Holy Prophet-SW. Although what happened was correct, but it was not of the desired standard. Same is the merit of Zikr Allaah-SWT and the company of an accomplished Shaikh, which develops such a connection of Qalb with Allaah-SWT that disobedience becomes intolerable. Had the Holy Prophet-SW not allowed the lingerers to stay behind they could not have come up with any excuse and their hypocricy would have laid bare.
Difference between a Believer and a Hypocrite
A believer never shirks Jihad. He is not only always willing to offer his life and riches in Allah-SWT's Cause but also actively seeks opportunities for doing so. It is important to note that the Jihad mentioned here means physically fighting against disbelief and oppression in the battlefield. Those who evade this obligation in fact have no faith in Allaah-SWT and the Akhirah. It is, therefore, futile to talk to them about Allah-SWT's love, when their hearts are still in the shadow of doubt about Him-SWT . To love Allah-SWT, not only faith, but also a special connection and relationship with Him-SWT is required of which these people are completely void. Had they any intentions of participating in Jihad they would have atleast made some preparations for it.
Failure after Employing Available Means is a Genuine Plea
After making necessary preparations, if they had any compelling reason to stay back, they could have approached the Holy Prophet-SW for permission. But they did not make any arrangements at all to start with, which proves that they never had any intentions to participate in Jihad. The same rule also applies to all other affairs of life. If a person employs all his means and yet fails to fulfill the task due to some reason he will earn the reward any way. And the one who does not intend to do anything from the very outset will not get any reward even if there is a genuine reason.
Capacity to Obey the Holy Prophet-SW also bestowed by Allah-SWT
When the defaulters failed to love the Holy Prophet-SW, Allaah-SWT did not approve of them accompanying him-SW in Jihad. The will to obey the Holy Prophet-SW is granted at His-SWT Pleasure and is also an evidence of His-SWT Approval. How can He-SWT choose those to accompany His-SWT Beloved, whose heart are ignorant of his exalted status? So Allaah-SWT did not approve of their participation in His-SWT Cause and made them to stick to their pretexts and stay behind.
Status of Hadhrat Abu Bakr-RAU and 'Umar-RAU
The unique association of the Qulub of these two Companions-RAU with the Holy Prophet-SW is demonstrated by the fact that they enjoy the singular honour of being buried in his Sacred Tomb. They have thus been blessed, in the worldly sense also, with an everlasting companionship. This level of passion is not availed by any third person.
Even if the hypocrites had accompanied the believers in Jihad they would have only demoralized them by spreading rumours. Some of them were enemy agents and instead of helping the believers, they would have informed the enemy about the activities and intentions of the Muslim forces or else their false propaganda would have created apprehensions in the minds of some simple Muslims. So Allaah-SWT protected the sincere and the simple, rather the entire Muslim Army, from the evil influence of the hypocrites, for He-SWT certainly is Aware of the disposition of the wrongdoers.
Condition to Attain Virtue
It becomes clear here that the attainment of virtue depends on the state of one's Qalb. If the Qalb is not purified, one is always cultivable to the lust for fame or money, and may indulge in evil even when he sets out to do good. The hypocrites, too, outwardly resembled the Mujahidin but were in fact working against them. They had damaged them before, for instance, at Uhad by deserting the believers, or the Battle of Trench when they conspired with the polytheists and prompted the Jews to help the polytheists. They left no stone unturned to defeat the very Cause for which the Holy Prophet-SW was fighting, that is, to establish the supremacy of Islam. These hypocrites were working for its downfall. To strive for the sway of Islam is indeed helping the Holy Prophet-SW and working against it is the same as opposing him. Yet in the end Allah-SWT's Word prevailed and the truth triumphed, while the hypocrites were extremely unhappy.
The Victory at Uhad
This Ayah proves that the Muslims were victorious at Uhad, even though many fell martyrs and the Holy Prophet-SW was wounded. But they were the ones who stood their ground while the Makkans fled and were also chased by the Muslims. The Holy Prophet-SW stayed in the battlefield to bury the martyrs. Whoever came up with the idea that the Muslims were defeated at Uhad must have been a hypocrite, and this attempt at distorting history has also influenced many simple believers.
Some of the hypocrites presented excuses before the Holy Prophet-SW for allowing them to stay back. For instance, a known hypocrite Jad bin Qais said that the Roman women were known to be very beautiful while he was easily deluded by female charm. Therefore, he may be permitted to stay back, lest he indulged in sin. But Allaah-SWT declared that he had already indulged in a greater sin by presenting false excuses before the Holy Prophet-SW in avoiding to accompany him-SW.
The Encompassing Hell
They must know that this abominable act of cowardice will never bring them peace of heart. This is because Hell surrounds the non believers. Ultimately they shall be condemned to it forever, but their disbelief establishes such a connection with Hell that they experience its affects in the form of anxiety and depression in this very life. Thus they fail to enjoy the comforts of this world. This can be clearly witnessed in the ungodly Western society of today. They have the best of everything available but all of them suffer from stress, conflicting emotions and anxiety. They do not experience peace of mind even for a moment. Their marital life presents a horrid picture and their society is void of all decency. The whole society has become naked. They have no sense of discriminating the permissible from the forbidden. And the most common ailment of the West is fear of the unknown.' Everyone is afraid, without knowing why. They spend fortunes on psychotherapy but the physicians cannot cure them, as they themselves are victims of the same phobia. Indeed the effects of the encompassing Hell are so evident in this very life.
The hypocrites feel sad over the victory of the Holy Prophet-SW and if the believers face any hardship on the battlefield, they boast of their wisdom in anticipating the perils and carefully staying back.
Destiny and Design
The Holy Prophet-SW may inform them that it is not because of their wisdom but a stroke of destiny. Whatever happens is by the consent of the Omnipotent to Whom the believers pledge their allegiance. They do not make their obedience conditional on a promise of favourable outcome from Allah-SWT; rather, their duty is to carry out His-SWT Commands and leave the rest to Him-SWT . It is He-SWT Alone Who can make His-SWT Word prevail. The believers cherish even the hardships in His-SWT Way. For instance, no one likes to be killed, but a believer yearns for Shahadah on the battlefield. And this is destiny as explained by the Holy Prophet-SW that a person is only obliged to obey with utmost devotion and to exert all his resources and efforts to uphold the Truth. The outcome of these efforts rests solely with Allaah-SWT and His-SWT servants readily accept it. At the same time, inactivity or laziness does not mean trusting in Allah-SWT, and is nothing but cowardice. A believer must rely completely on his Creator and must make his best effort to execute the duty entrusted to him. The outcome of his endeavours is in the hands of the Omnipotent. A believer is destined to succeed on battlefield; for he will either be victorious or a martyr, the latter being more exalted than the former. Hence he is never at a loss. But those who turn away from Jihad must be prepared to face Allah-SWT's Wrath. Now it is entirely up to Him-SWT whether He-SWT decides to punish them directly or through the believers. Both the situations are worrisome for the hypocrites. Let them wait and the believers, too, shall wait to see their end.
Hypocrisy, the Worst form of Infidelity
If those who are the victims of hypocrisy and avoid Jihad spend in Allah-SWT's Cause, for face saving, willingly or reluctantly, it will not be accepted by Allaah-SWT as they are basically disobedient. So, out of pretence, if they perform some of the worships they cannot gain anything from them. The barrier in the acceptance of their alms or wealth is the impurity of their motives. When their hearts are not pure, they can befool the world with their outward worship but not Allaah-SWT . He-SWT Knows of their disbelief, for they neither recognize His-SWT Magnificence nor trust the Prophethood. This can be seen in their Salat, which they offer sluggishly and reluctantly. Similarly when they spend in Allah-SWT ’s Cause they do it with a heavy heart. Although this discourse refers to the hypocrites, yet a believer too can analyse the state of his worships and alms and carefully watch out for any trace of hypocricy in his actions. This is a cause of concern for those who offer Salat whereas those who have neglected it altogether must ponder over the quality of their faith.
Riches and Progeny without Faith and Virtue-a Form of Divine Punishment
The apparently major blessings of wealth and progeny granted to the hypocrites must not awe anyone, for in reality everything proves to be either a blessing or a punishment depending upon the results it produces. These indeed are Allah-SWT's Blessings, but for the non believers and the hypocrites these are a grave punishment, because Allaah-SWT punishes them through both. See the disobedient Western society for instance. How helpless the parents feel when their young daughters bring their boyfriends along or when they disappear with them for many days. Similar is the case with their sons. As for the affluence, it too, becomes a source of depression when the heart is not at peace. The best example of this can again be seen in the West where people, weary of materialism, have actually moved out into the forests. In search of peace of mind, they take refuge in the jungles, abandoning clothing, posh residences, water beds and all other modem comforts of life. But they can never find peace and every situation adds a new dimension to their punishment. The same are the conditions inside many affluent households here in our country. In short, wherever Din is ignored, the punishment through affluence and posterity prevails in its full intensity.
And then the extended engagements of their family and business affairs keep them busy until death overtakes them and they leave the world carrying the black spot of hypocricy on their forehead. This indeed is a great punishment that their end is compromised. Due to the curse of their wealth and affluence they never get a chance to repent and reform themselves and amidst their irksome problems they leave the world.
What Kinds of People refrain from Practical Jihad?
Although they swear to be believers yet the truth is that they are not. Remember that this discussion had begun with those who had avoided Jihad and the same topic is still carried on. The gist is that those who shirk practical Jihad are weak in faith and even if they continue to earnestly worship sitting back at home, it will not be accepted.
The saying of the Holy Prophet-SW that Jihad in a battlefield is Jihad-e-Asghar (minor Jihad) and Salat, Fasting, Zikr etc are Jihad-e-Akbar (major Jihad) is not applicable here. This is because Salat, Fasting, etc become Jihad-e-Akbar only when Jihad in the field is no longer required. But if disbelief is gripping the country and the Muslims instead of lining up against it stay contented with their worships, it is not permissible. Indeed, during the Battle of Trench, the Holy Prophet-SW had to miss Salat four times, but he-SW did not leave the battlefield. This means that even if one's obligatory Salat is likely to be affected, one cannot justify his inertness in the cause of enforcing Islam. Even if such people swear that they are Muslims, they cannot be trusted. They are only a bunch of cowards who are clinging to Islam for some mundane benefits or are too scared to announce their disbelief.
If they receive any encouragement or are promised safety by the non-bclievers they would certainly rush to take refuge with them. Like the Muslim of today who is ready to plunge into the evil Western society for worldly gains even at the cost of surrendering his faith. One of the biggest mark of hypocricy is to pursue worldly gains even if the fundamentals of Islam are compromised.
Alms and a Hypocrite
The hypocrites were never satisfied with what they received from the Holy Prophet-SW in charity. The voluntary alms can also be given to a non believer while Zakat and booty can only be distributed amongst the believers. Since the hypocrites also pretended to be believers, they received their share of Zakat or booty. But it could never satisfy them. Often, they would grumble over it and if someone got more than the others he would boast about it instigating those who could not get anything. But the Holy Prophet-SW distributed according to Allah-SWT's Will, so the recipients should have been contented and happy with the share they had received. The Ayah: "That which Allaah-SWT and His-SWT Messenger-SW has given them" clearly highlights the fact that the Holy Prophet-SW‘s distribution is indeed Allah-SWT's, which he carries out by Allah-SWT's Command. They should in fact say that Allaah-SWT suffices them and would certainly grant them more and Allah-SWT's Prophet-SW is His-SWT emissary through which His-SWT blessings are being conveyed to them. Indeed it is in itself a great Divine Blessing that Allah-SWT's Prophet-SW is amongst them; therefore, their prime objective should have been to please him-SW.