Jummah Reminder – Surah Al Anfal – Ayah’s 64-69

64. O Apostle! sufficient unto thee is Allah (unto thee) and unto those who follow thee among the believers.

65. O apostle! rouse the believers to the fight.  If there are twenty amongst you patient and persevering they will vanquish two hundred: if a hundred they will vanquish a thousand of the unbelievers: for these are a people without understanding.

66.    For the present Allah hath lightened your (task) for He knoweth that there is a weak spot in you: but (even so) if there are a hundred of you patient and persevering they will vanquish two hundred and if a thousand they will vanquish two thousand with the leave of Allah: for Allah is with those who patiently persevere.

67. It is not fitting for an apostle that he should have prisoners of war until he hath thoroughly subdued the land.  Ye look for the temporal goods of this world; but Allah looketh to the hereafter; and Allah is Exalted in might Wise.

68. Had it not been for a previous ordainment from Allah a severe penalty would have reached you for the (ransom) that ye took.

69. But (now) enjoy what ye took in war lawful and good: but fear Allah: for Allah is Oft-Forgiving Most Merciful.

Holy Quran – Surah Al Anfal – Ayah’s 64-69

Interpretation:

8.64 The Believers: mere lip-profession of belief, or even the kind of belief that does not result in action, is not enough. To those whose belief is so sincere that it results in complete trust in Allah and in fearless action in His service, the consequences on this earth do not matter. Allah’s good pleasure is enough for them.

8.65 In a fight, odds of ten to one against any one are appalling. But they do not daunt the men of faith. Whether they personally win or die, their Cause prevails. They are sure to win: because (1) they have divine aid, and (2) even humanly speaking, those who take up arms against truth and righteousness are fools, and their seeming power is but a broken reed.

8.66 Given equal conditions, Muslims on account of their faith could win against odds of ten to one. But where their organization and equipment are weak, as was the case about the time of Badr, they were set a lighter task, and asked to tackle no more than odds of two to one against them. As a matter of fact at Badr they won through against odds of more than three to one.

8.67 An ordinary war may be for territory or trade, revenge or military glory,-all “temporal goods of this world.” Such a war is condemned. But a Jihad is fought under strict conditions laid down by Islam, and solely for the cause of Allah. All baser motives, therefore are strictly excluded. The gain in the shape of ransom from captives has no place in such warfare. At the same time, if there has been heavy loss of life already, captives may be taken, and it would be for the Imam to exercise his discretion as to the time when it was safe to release them, and whether the release should be free or on parole or on a fine by way of punishment.

Destruction and slaughter, however repugnant to a gentle soul like that of Muhammad (PBUH), were inevitable where evil tried to suppress the good.

Even Jesus (PBUH), whose mission was more limited, had to say: “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace but a sword.” (Matt. x. 34).

Seventy captives were taken at Badr, and it was decided to take ransom for them. While the general principle of fighting for the purpose of taking captives in order to get their ransom is condemned, the particular action in this case was approved in vv. 68-71.

8.68 Though any motive of worldly gain, which may have been in the minds of some among the victorious Muslim army, is condemned as worthy of a severe penalty, what actually happened is ascribed to the Plan of Allah, which was preordained. Among the prisoners taken were the Prophet’s uncle ‘Abbas and Hadhrat ‘Ali’s brother, Aqil, who afterwards became Muslims. ‘Abbas was an ancestor of the founder of the celebrated ‘Abbasi Dynasty which played such a notable part in Islamic history. In his case the promise made in verse 70 was amply fulfilled. In the case of all prisoners, if there was any good in their hearts, their very fight against Islam and their capture led to their being blessed with Islam.

Thus does Allah’s Plan work in a marvellous way, and evolve good out of seeming evil.

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