Surah al-Hashr, Chapter 59
Section 28 (juz’)
Number of Verses: 24
General Overview of the Chapter
بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
The blessed Chapter has twenty-four Verses and it was revealed in Medina.
The Arabic word
is mentioned in the second Verse, hence the designation of the Chapter. The word does not denote gathering on the Day of Resurrection, but it connotes people's gathering for migration.
The blessed Chapter opens and closes with the glorification of God Almighty by all the world of existence. The blessed Chapter mainly treats of hypocrites' collaboration with Medinan Jews against the Muslims, though the Holy Qur’an says that their stratagems lead to nothing but their humiliation and defeat.
The Merit of Reciting the Chapter
Numerous merits have been mentioned for the recitation of the blessed Chapter in question.
According to a Prophetic tradition, whoever recites Surah al-Hashr, Paradise, Hell, Throne, the seven heavens and the earth, as well as animals, winds, birds, trees, creatures, the sun, the moon, and all angels invoke God Almighty that He may bestow His Mercy upon him and forgive him. Had he died on that day or night, he will be a martyr.1 Such blessings will be bestowed upon the recite owing to reflection upon its contents as the same reflects in man's life.
Surah al-Hashr - Verse 1
بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
سَبَّحَ لِلَّهِ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الْأَرْضِ ۖ وَهُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ
1. Whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth glorifies Allah. And He is the All-Mighty, the All-Wise.
The Arabic word sabbaha is attested 85 times in the Holy Qur’an. It is also used in different units of daily prayers in prostration and genuflexion. The word originally denotes moving rapidly in water and in the air but as a term, it connotes glorification of God of defects and promptness in worshipping him.
God Almighty possesses two kinds of attributes: affirmative and negative. The former reflect His Perfect Attributes, e.g. Omniscience and Omnipotence, and the latter glorify Him of defects, e.g. need, ignorance, and weakness.
allude to such affirmative and negative qualities. It is also worthy of note that by tasbih existential rather than legislative glorification, namely all the world of existence glorify God Almighty dispositionally rather than verbally.
It is also maintained that glorification by the world of existence is both dispositional and verbal, as it is thus attested in the Holy Qur’an2:
"But you comprehend not their glorification."
Detailed arguments on the same are to be found in exegetic works.
The blessed Verse in question is saying that whatever exists in the heavens and on the earth glorify Him and He is All-Mighty and All-Wise. All existent beings, including angels, mankind, plants, and inanimate things may verbally or dispositionally glorify God Almighty, since the wondrous system of the creation of each and every particle dispositionally reflect Divine Omniscience, Omnipotence, Glory, and Wisdom.
Some scholars also hold that each and every being possesses some share of reason, comprehension, and intelligence, though we may not be aware of the same. As a consequence, each and every being glorifies God Almighty in its own language, even if we may fail to hearken the glorification.
Glorification of God Almighty is widespread in the world of existence, but we are ignorant of the same. However, those who have transcended the inanimate realm and have attained to proximity to God Almighty possess eyes through which they may see the unseen and share the secrets with all the world of existence.
Surah al-Hashr - Verse 2
هُوَ الَّذِي أَخْرَجَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا مِنْ أَهْلِ الْكِتَابِ مِن دِيَارِهِمْ لِأَوَّلِ الْحَشْرِ ۚ مَا ظَنَنتُمْ أَن يَخْرُجُوا ۖ وَظَنُّوا أَنَّهُم مَّانِعَتُهُمْ حُصُونُهُم مِّنَ اللَّهِ فَأَتَاهُمُ اللَّهُ مِنْ حَيْثُ لَمْ يَحْتَسِبُوا ۖ وَقَذَفَ فِي قُلُوبِهِمُ الرُّعْبَ ۚ يُخْرِبُونَ بُيُوتَهُم بِأَيْدِيهِمْ وَأَيْدِي الْمُؤْمِنِينَ فَاعْتَبِرُوا يَا أُولِي الْأَبْصَارِ
2. He it is Who drove out the disbelievers among the people of the Scripture from their homes at the first gathering. You did not think that they would get out [easily despite their utmost power]. And they thought that their strongholds would defend them from the Wrath of Allah. But Allah's [Wrath] reached them from a way whereof they expected it not, and He cast terror into their hearts so that they destroyed their own dwellings with their own hands and the hands of the believers. Then take admonition, O you with eyes [to see].
Three Jewish tribes, i.e., Banu Nadhir, Banu Quraytha, and Banu Qaynuqa‘, emigrated to Medina and settled there and made a non-violation pact with the Noble Prophet (S). However, following the Battle of Uhud, some of them collaborated with Meccan polytheists against Muslims of which the Noble Prophet (S) was apprised and confronted them.
It was in the course of such confrontation that one of their notables, Ka‘b ibn Ashraf, fell and the Jews retreated and took refuge in a fortress to which the Muslims laid siege at the Noble Prophet's (S) behest. Consequent to the siege and confrontation, the Jews admitted to leave Medina.
They took away whatever property of theirs that they were able to but demolished their homes by their own hands lest they fell to the hands of the Muslims. The Arabic word hashr connotes gathering and driving out of one's inhabitation.
It would be of interest to know that inspiring fear into the hearts of the enemies is regarded as a Divine means of assistance:
("He cast terror into their hearts"),
since it causes the enemies to flee as a consequence of which the Muslims attain to triumph without bloodshed. It is mentioned in traditions that three armies shall come to Mahdi (as) to render him assistance: angels, believers, and fear.3
The blessed Verse is saying that God Almighty is He Who expelled disbelievers from amongst the People of the Book from their homes upon their first gathering and confrontation with the Muslims.
The blessed Verse proceeds to say that you could never surmise that they would leave their inhabitation and they held that their strongholds could ward off defeat and Divine torment;
("You did not think that they would get out [easily despite their utmost power]. And they thought that their strongholds would defend them from the Wrath of Allah").
They were so self-conceited that they relied on their power and strongholds. The expression reflects that the Medinan Banu Nadhir Jews had been affluent in terms of means such that it neither crossed their minds nor those of others that they could be defeated with facility, but since God Almighty had willed to make it manifest to all that nothing might resist His Omnipotence, He caused them to be driven out of their inhabitation without any engagement.
Thus, the blessed Verse proceeds to say that since they did not expect anything to befall on them, God Almighty inspired fear into their hearts such that they demolished their homes by their own hands as well as by those of believers;
("But Allah's [Wrath] reached them from a way whereof they expected it not, and He cast terror into their hearts so that they destroyed their own dwellings with their own hands and the hands of the believers. Then take admonition, O you with eyes [to see]").
God Almighty sent fear, the invisible army, to render assistance to the Muslims in many an engagement thereby He cast terror into the hearts of disbelievers and held them back from any confrontation with Muslims. Disbelievers had prepared themselves to confront with armies but were ignorant of the inward army that led them to cooperate with their own foes in demolishing their own homes.
The blessed Verse in question concludes by saying:
"Then, take admonition, O you who have eyes,"
i.e., those who possess insight.
The Arabic words basar and basira denote "eye, sight" and "insight" respectively.4
"Possessors of eyes" (uli ’l-absar)
connotes those who are prepared to take admonitions. Thus, the Holy Qur’an warns them to take a lesson out of the incident.
In this vein, the Commander of the Faithful, Imam ‘Ali (as) says:
"Fortunate is he who takes admonitions."5
Surah al-Hashr - Verses 3-4
وَلَوْلَا أَن كَتَبَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِمُ الْجَلَاءَ لَعَذَّبَهُمْ فِي الدُّنْيَا ۖ وَلَهُمْ فِي الْآخِرَةِ عَذَابُ النَّارِ
ذَٰلِكَ بِأَنَّهُمْ شَاقُّوا اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ ۖ وَمَن يُشَاقِّ اللَّهَ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ شَدِيدُ الْعِقَابِ
3. And had it not been that Allah had decreed exile for them, He would certainly have chastised them in this world and in the Hereafter the torment of the Fire shall be in store for them.
4. Such torment is the consequence of their enmity against Allah and His Messenger and whoever entertain enmity against Allah, then indeed, Allah is Severe in chastisement.
The Arabic word jala’ connotes exile owing to affliction and entanglement. The blessed Verse 3 is saying that had it not been that God Almighty had decreed exile for them such that they leave their land, He would certainly have chastised them in this world. Going into exile and leaving behind most of their property accrued in their lifetime was an excruciating torment for them.
The blessed Verse is saying that had it not be decreed by God Almighty to be driven out of their land, another affliction would befall on them that was being slain or captivated at the hands of the Muslims, but God Almighty willed that they roamed homeless in the world and such homelessness was more excruciating to them, since whenever they reminisced their strongholds, mansions, farms, and orchards fallen into the hands of others and recalled that they had become deprived of their possessions roaming homeless in the world, they saw that it was owing to their violation of their pact and involvement in conspiracies against Allah's Messenger (S) that they suffered so many torments and harms.
Thus, God Almighty willed that such self-conceited and deceitful unfaithful people be afflicted with such dire fate, though it was solely their torments in this world. The blessed Verse concludes by saying that torment in the Fire shall be in store for them in the Hereafter. Such is the dire fate in this world and the Hereafter of those who turn away from the truth and justice and immerse themselves in self-conceit and vanity.
Such incident alludes to Divine Omnipotence and the veracity of the Noble Prophet's Call. It also warns all people who act like Banu Nadhir Jews.
The blessed Verse 4 is saying that such torment in this world and the Hereafter befalls them owing to their disobedience to God Almighty and His Messenger (S). Whoever rises in enmity against God Almighty shall be chastised by Him since He is Severe in chastisement.
It is worthy of note that the Arabic verbal form
shaqu ("they opposed")
derives from the root sh-q-q ("split"). The Arabic verbal noun shiqaq originally denotes "splitting" and the same is applied to confrontation of the enemies since they split themselves from others.
Surah al-Hashr - Verse 5
مَا قَطَعْتُم مِّن لِّينَةٍ أَوْ تَرَكْتُمُوهَا قَائِمَةً عَلَىٰ أُصُولِهَا فَبِإِذْنِ اللَّهِ وَلِيُخْزِيَ الْفَاسِقِينَ
5. What you cut down of the palm-trees, or you abandoned them, it was by Allah's Command such that He might disgrace and humiliate the disobedient.
The blessed Verse provides a response to the criticism raised by Banu Nadhir Jews directed at the Noble Prophet (S), as mentioned above in the occasion of Revelation. It was at the behest of the Noble Prophet (S) that some of the palm-trees adjacent to the strongholds of the Jews were felled such that the Jews may leave their strongholds and confront the Muslims.
Then, the Jews asked the Noble Prophet (S):
"Did you not forbid such acts?"
The blessed Verse was revealed saying:
"What you cut down of the palm-trees, or you abandoned them, it was by Allah's Command such that He might disgrace and humiliate the disobedient."
The Arabic word layna is applied to an exquisite kind of palm-tree. Such decree as to felling palm-trees is an exceptional one the Islamic law as per which upon attacking the enemy, trees should not be felled nor animals be killed nor farms be set ablaze.
Such exceptions exist and according to the exception in question, trees may be cut down in order to provoke the enemies to leave their strongholds, to prepare the battlefield, and the like requisites. Likewise, the Islamic law forbids the consumption of carcasses, but the same is allowed as necessity arises.
"such that He might disgrace and humiliate the disobedient"
reflects that at least one of the goals behind such act was to disgrace and humiliate the enemies and shatter their morale.
Surah al-Hashr - Verse 6
وَمَا أَفَاءَ اللَّهُ عَلَىٰ رَسُولِهِ مِنْهُمْ فَمَا أَوْجَفْتُمْ عَلَيْهِ مِنْ خَيْلٍ وَلَا رِكَابٍ وَلَٰكِنَّ اللَّهَ يُسَلِّطُ رُسُلَهُ عَلَىٰ مَن يَشَاءُ ۚ وَاللَّهُ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ
6. And what Allah gave to His Messenger from their property, for this you made no expedition with either cavalry or camelry. But Allah gives power to His Messengers over whomsoever He wills. And Allah is All-Able to do all things.
The Arabic word afa’ derives from f-a-’ ("return") and is cognate with fay’ ("return") but it connotes the property and booties seized without bloodshed and expedition and put at the disposal of the leader of the Muslim community.
The sense "return" may allude that such property returns or is restored to the original possessor, namely friends of God Almighty, since God Almighty has created all the Bounties in this world for believers preceded by His Messengers and although others own them by religious or civil law, but they originally belong to these noble figures.
The Arabic verbal form awjaftum denotes galloping on horse or camel back. The Arabic words khayl and rikab denote "horse" and "camel" respectively.
The property falling into the share of Muslims fall into the following categories: booties falling into the hand of Muslims in battlefields which belong to warriors; the property fallen into the share of Muslims without engagement termed fay’ whose law is stipulated in the blessed Verse in question; the property, e.g. uncultivated lands, mountains, reed beds, and rivers, which as per the blessed Verse falls without engagement into the disposal of the Noble Prophet (S) rather than warriors and such property will be distributed upon the Noble Prophet's discretion amongst certain groups of people.
Islamic injunctions are based on wisdom according to which warriors the booties in battlefields but what is accrued without toil belongs to the Divinely appointed guide.
It is in this vein that the blessed Verse is saying that what God Almighty returned to His Messenger had not been fallen into the share of warriors through galloping on horse and camel back;
("And what Allah gave to His Messenger from their property, for this you made no expedition with either cavalry or camelry. But Allah gives power to His Messengers over whomsoever He wills. And Allah is All-Able to do all things").
Such property is to be totally falls into the disposal of the head of the Muslim community which will be distributed amongst Muslims based on Divine Injunctions and his discretion.
The blessed Verse closes by saying that triumphs are not always owing to the battles fought by Muslims, but God Almighty makes His Messengers conquer whoever He wills;
("But Allah gives power to His Messengers over whomsoever He wills. And Allah is All-Able to do all things").
In other words, conquering powerful enemies like Banu Nadhir Jews were owing to Assistance from the Unseen such that Muslims may know that God Almighty is Omnipotent since He may disgrace and humiliate a powerful people and make them be conquered by a limited number of people and transfer all the opportunities from one group to another. Thus, Muslims may learn Divine Admonitions in such battlefields as well as notice the tokens of veracity of the Noble Prophet's (S) Call, and devotion to and reliance on the Pure Essence of God Almighty in the course of their life.
Surah al-Hashr - Verse 7
مَّا أَفَاءَ اللَّهُ عَلَىٰ رَسُولِهِ مِنْ أَهْلِ الْقُرَىٰ فَلِلَّهِ وَلِلرَّسُولِ وَلِذِي الْقُرْبَىٰ وَالْيَتَامَىٰ وَالْمَسَاكِينِ وَابْنِ السَّبِيلِ كَيْ لَا يَكُونَ دُولَةً بَيْنَ الْأَغْنِيَاءِ مِنكُمْ ۚ وَمَا آتَاكُمُ الرَّسُولُ فَخُذُوهُ وَمَا نَهَاكُمْ عَنْهُ فَانتَهُوا ۚ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ ۖ إِنَّ اللَّهَ شَدِيدُ الْعِقَابِ
7. What Allah gave as booty to His Messenger from the people of the townships, it is for Allah, His Messenger, the kindred, the orphans, the poor, and the stranded such that it may not become a fortune used by the rich among you. And whatsoever the Messenger gives you, take it; and whatsoever he forbids you, abstain [from it] and fear Allah. Indeed, Allah is Severe in chastisement.
The blessed Verse provides an exposition regarding the use of booties mentioned in the preceding Verse by formulating a general rule as per which what God Almighty restored to His Messenger (S) from the inhabitants of such townships belongs to God Almighty, His Messenger, his kindred, orphans, the poor, and the stranded;
("What Allah gave as booty to His Messenger from the people of the townships, it is for Allah, His Messenger, the kindred, the orphans, the poor, and the stranded").
In other words, such property does not resemble war booties solely one fifths of which fall into the share of the Noble Prophet (S) and the needy and four fifths of which belong to warriors.
In like manner, when the preceding Verse is saying that all such property belongs to Allah's Messenger (S) it does not intend to say that the Noble Prophet (S) uses the same for his own benefit, but since he is the head of the Islamic state and he is particularly the protector and guardian of the rights of the needy, he uses the same to their benefits.
Generally speaking, the blessed Verse enumerates six uses for fay’:
Allah's share since He is evidently the Possessor of all things though He is Needless of anyone or anything. It is a legislative relation whose purport is that other groups may not feel any inferiority but regard themselves on a par with Allah in this respect and thereby they may not lose their prestige in public.
The Noble Prophet's (S) share through which his personal needs as well as the requirements of his station and the people's expectations from him may be met.
The share of the Noble Prophet's kindred by which that of his relatives and Banu Hashim is being intended since they are not allowed to receive the alms-tax (zakah) which is regarded as the property shared by all Muslims.6
It would be basically meaningless had the word kindred designated all people, since it would unexceptionally include all Muslims since all people are relatives. Qur’an exegetes disagree on the conditions of need and poverty in being kindred, but the evidence attested in the close of the blessed Verse in question and the following blessed Verse substantiates such conditions.
4-6. The shares of orphans, the poor, and the stranded. Exegetes also disagree on the identity of such people since they are not unanimous regarding whether they should be from Banu Hashim or all the orphans, the poor, and the stranded. The majority of Sunni Qur’an exegetes and jurisprudents maintain that the injunction applies to all people.
However, different traditions have been narrated from Ahl al-Bayt in this respect some of which designate that these three shares belong to the orphans, the poor, and the stranded from Banu Hashim. Nevertheless, some of such traditions explicitly reflect that the injunction applies to all people. In this vein, it is narrated from Imam Baqir (as) that the shares of Allah's Messenger (S) and the kindred belonged to them and they share with people the remainder of the shares.7
The blessed Verses 8 and 9 provide an exposition for the blessed Verse in question as per which this share does not belong to Banu Hashim, since the contextual meaning makes a reference to all the poor from Meccan Emigrants (muhajirun) and Helpers (ansar).
Furthermore, Qur’an exegetes have reported that following the disobedience of Banu Nadhir, the Noble Prophet (S) distributed their property amongst the Meccan Emigrants who generally led a hard life in Medina and three people from Helpers who were in dire need to the same.
It substantiates the general application of the contextual meaning of the blessed Verse in question and even if certain traditions be inconsistent with the same, the contextual meaning of the blessed Verse should be taken into account.8
The blessed Verse proceeds to treat of the reason behind such well-measured distribution, saying that the reason behind such distribution is that such abundant property be not used by the rich amongst you and the needy be not thereby deprived of the same;
("such that it may not become a fortune used by the rich among you. And whatsoever the Messenger gives you, take it; and whatsoever he forbids you, abstain [from it] and fear Allah. Indeed, Allah is Severe in chastisement").
Some Qur’an exegetes make mention of an occasion of Revelation for the blessed Verse in question to which reference was made above according to which following the defeat of Banu Nadhir, a number of Muslim notables came unto the Noble Prophet (S) asking him to take his own share as well as one fourths of the booties and leave the rest unto them so that they may distribute them amongst themselves as it was the common practice of pre-Islamic Arabs.
Then, the blessed Verse was revealed warning them against leaving them at the disposal of the affluent.
The blessed Verse reflects a fundamental principle of Islamic economy according to which despite respecting private ownership, the property is not supposed to be at the disposal of a limited number of people.
However, it does not intend to say that we may legislate laws of our own and thereby seize the property of a certain group and leave them at the disposal of another group, but it reflects that in case Islamic laws concerning the acquisition of property as well as the taxes like one-fifths tax (khums), alms-tax (zakah), and tributes and the laws of the Muslim public treasury (bayt al-mal) and war booties be properly attended to, public interests will be met and Muslim community will not be polarized into a minority of the affluent and a majority of the poor.
Thus the blessed Verse closes:
"And whatsoever the Messenger gives you, take it; and whatsoever he forbids you, abstain [from it] and fear Allah. Indeed, Allah is Severe in chastisement."
It is worthy of note that the blessed Verse was revealed regarding the distribution of the booties acquired from Banu Nadhir, but the general context implies an injunction applicable to all the spheres of Muslims' lives as per which it is incumbent upon Muslims to obey the Noble Prophet's (S) commands in terms of the Islamic state as well as economic and devotional issues. The blessed Verse also warns the disobedient against severe torments.
In this vein, it would be of interest to make a reference in passing to the tragic account of Fadak, a prospering village located in the vicinity of Medina, 14 km from Khaybar.
It was in the seventh year after the Noble Prophet's (S) migration (hijra) to Medina that the strongholds at Khaybar fell one after the other and the central power of the Jews collapsed as a consequence of which the inhabitants of the village surrendered to the Noble Prophet of the Islamic faith (S) and handed over half of their orchards and land lots to the Noble Prophet (S) and kept the rest for themselves and assumed the responsibility to cultivate the lands transferred to the Noble Prophet (S) but received some remuneration for their work on them.
The blessed Verse in question reflects that the property belonged to the Noble Prophet (S) and the property or its proceeds could be used by him. Then, the Noble Prophet (S) transferred the property to his daughter, Hadhrat Fatima . The account has been narrated by many Shi‘i and Sunni Qur’an exegetes.
For instance, see the exegetic work titled Durr al-Manthur, vol. 4, p. 177, where it is narrated on the authority of Ibn ‘Abbas that when the blessed Verse:9
"Therefore give unto the kindred his due and to the poor and to the stranded. That is best for those who seek Allah's Countenance and it is they who shall find deliverance"
was revealed, he gave it to his daughter, Fatima , as a gift.
It is mentioned in Kanz al-‘Ummal10, on the margin of Ahmad ibn Hanbal's Musnad that concerning the question of the observation of blood ties (sila rahim) it is narrated on the authority of Abu Sa‘id Khudri that upon the Revelation of the blessed Verse in question, the Noble Prophet (S) summoned Fatima saying:
"O Fatima, Fadak belongs to you."
In his historical work, Hakim Nayshaburi reports the same account.11 In his commentary on Nahj al-Balagha, Ibn Abi al-Hadid provides a detailed account of Fadak.12 The account is to be found in many other sources.
Following the sad demise of the Noble Prophet of Islam (S), certain people thought that possessing such economic means by Imam ‘Ali's (as) wife, Fatima , could intervene with their political power and thereby decided to fully seclude Imam ‘Ali's (as) adherents.
It was in this vein that they resorted to the fabricated tradition:
"We Prophets will not leave any inheritance"
and confiscated Fatima's property. It was against the law to ask for evidence and testimony for some property in someone's possession. However, Hadhrat Fatima produced testimony to the effect that the Noble Prophet (S) had transferred Fadak to her as a gift, but they ignored the testimony.
Later when each of the caliphs desired to show their respect to the Ahl al-Bayt, they restored Fadak to them, but it was shortly confiscated once more later on. Such instances of restoration and confiscation repeatedly occurred under Umayyad and ‘Abbasid caliphs.
The account of Fadak and the ensuing incidents in the early history of Islam and in later times are amongst the most tragic and admonishing events of the history of Islam which deserve precise studies that may reveal different occurrences in the history of Islam.
It is worthy of note that in his well-known work titled Sahih Muslim, the Sunni traditionist, Muslim ibn Hajjaj Qushayri Nayshaburi provides a detailed account of Hadhrat Fatima's claim to be the rightful owner of Fadak before the First Caliph, Abu Bakr, and narrates from ‘À’isha that following the refusal of the Caliph to restore Fadak to her, she refused to talk to him to her last day.13
Surah al-Hashr - Verse 8
لِلْفُقَرَاءِ الْمُهَاجِرِينَ الَّذِينَ أُخْرِجُوا مِن دِيَارِهِمْ وَأَمْوَالِهِمْ يَبْتَغُونَ فَضْلًا مِّنَ اللَّهِ وَرِضْوَانًا وَيَنصُرُونَ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ ۚ أُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الصَّادِقُونَ
8. [And there is also a share in this booty] for the poor emigrants who were expelled from their homes and their property, seeking Divine Bounties and Satisfaction, and helping Allah and His Messenger. Such are verily the truthful.
The blessed Verse is saying that the booties acquired from Banu Nadhir Jews which fell into the share of the Noble Prophet (S) belong to Allah, His Messenger (S), and the kindred as well as the poor emigrants who had lost their possessions when they left their homes, possessions, and land and emigrated with Allah's Messenger (S) from Mecca to Medina seeking Divine Bounties and Satisfaction.
They were the supporters of the Islamic faith and Allah's Messenger (S) and they were true in faith in Allah and His Messenger (S).
The point is that there is a token for everything thereby it may be known. The believers in the early period of the Islamic faith were tried by leading hard lives and leaving their possessions, children, peoples, and lands in the cause of the Islamic faith. They even sacrificed their lives. It is remarkable that such sacrifices were made by people who had been accustomed to idolatry all their lives.
Thus, they abandoned the religions of their ancestors and converted to monotheism. The believers in the early history of the Islamic faith made such remarkable endeavors. Thus, those who are truthful in their belief are supposed to support Allah's religion and His Messenger (S) despite living in poverty and homelessness.
Surah al-Hashr - Verse 9
وَالَّذِينَ تَبَوَّءُوا الدَّارَ وَالْإِيمَانَ مِن قَبْلِهِمْ يُحِبُّونَ مَنْ هَاجَرَ إِلَيْهِمْ وَلَا يَجِدُونَ فِي صُدُورِهِمْ حَاجَةً مِّمَّا أُوتُوا وَيُؤْثِرُونَ عَلَىٰ أَنفُسِهِمْ وَلَوْ كَانَ بِهِمْ خَصَاصَةٌ ۚ وَمَن يُوقَ شُحَّ نَفْسِهِ فَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ
9. And [it is also for] those who before them had homes [in Medina] and had adopted the faith [before the Emigrants], love those who emigrate from Mecca to them and in their hearts they feel no need for the booties granted to Emigrants though they live in dire poverty, but give Emigrants preference over themselves. And those who are delivered from covetousness, such are they who shall find deliverance.
The Arabic verbal for
tabawwa’u ("had homes")
derives from b-w-’ ("settle down, inhabit") and is cognate with bawa’ ("settle, take place"). The Arabic noun khasasa is applied to poverty leading to split in life. The passive verbal form yuqa ("delivered, saved") derives from w-q-’. The Arabic nominal form shuhh denotes covetousness tinged with avarice.14
Following praising the Emigrants and those who emigrated with the Noble Prophet (S) from Mecca to Medina, the blessed Verse in question proceeds to praise the Helpers who had converted to the Islamic faith prior to the Noble Prophet's (S) entering Medina and had awaited him;
("And [it is also for] those who before them had homes [in Medina] and had adopted the faith [before the Emigrants]").
The blessed Verse may allude to the believers who had settled in Medina. It may also make a reference to the point that in the same manner that they had settled in Medina, they were also rooted in their faith.
Following praising the Emigrants and those who emigrated to Medina with the Noble Prophet (S), the blessed Verse praises the Helpers who had converted to the Islamic faith in Medina prior to the Noble Prophet's (S) arrival there and looked forward to his arrival.
"And [it is also for] those who before them had homes [in Medina] and had adopted the faith [before the Emigrants]"
alludes to the believers residing in Medina. It may also reflect that in the same manner that they resided in Medina, they were also deeply rooted in their faith.
The blessed Verse treats of some of the noble attributes and merits of the Helpers.
"And [it is also for] those who before them had homes [in Medina] reflects that the Helpers had converted to the Islamic faith before the Emigrants.”
It may also indicate that they had converted to the Islamic faith prior to the Noble Prophet's (S) arrival in Medina and their faith was so deeply rooted in their hearts that it resembled their settlement in their homes, namely they were firm in their beliefs. Secondly, they favored that the Emigrants stay in their homes and be hospitable to them.
"Love those who emigrate to them"
reflects that they made no distinction among Muslims, but what mattered to them was faith and emigration. Such love was regarded as one of their permanent characteristics.
Thirdly, they were not envious of what the Noble Prophet (S) granted to the Emigrants from Banu Nadhir's property nor did they expected any remuneration which bears witness to the Helpers' high-mindedness and generosity of spirit.
"And give them [Emigrants] preference over themselves even though they were in need of that"
reflects that despite their need and poverty, they sacrificed whatever they had to the Emigrants and preferred them over themselves. Thus, love, making sacrifice, and high-mindedness are the glorious attributes of the Helpers.
"and in their hearts they feel no need for the booties granted to Emigrants though they live in dire poverty, but give Emigrants preference over themselves,"
Qur’an exegetes say that when the booties were seized from Banu Nadhir, the Noble Prophet (S) distributed them amongst the Emigrants and the Helpers were satisfied with the distribution, hence the Revelation of the blessed Verse.
However, some exegetes narrate that the Noble Prophet (S) summoned the Helpers and informed them of the distribution of the booties amongst the Emigrants inquiring if they expected a share of the booties seized from Banu Nadhir.
The Helpers said:
"O Allah's Messenger (S)! We expect that you distribute them amongst the Emigrants and they stay with us since their stay is a blessing bestowed upon us."
The Noble Prophet (S) prayed for them and the blessed Verse was revealed, saying that despite their need and poverty, the Helpers preferred the Emigrants over themselves. It is narrated by ‘Abd Allah ibn Mas‘ud that one evening, following the establishment of the early and late evening prayer at the Mosque of Allah's Messenger (S), a man rose up saying that he was a stranded traveler in need of food.
The Noble Prophet (S) asked:
"Who will meet his demand for the night to receive the recompense of Paradise in return?"
The commander of the Faithful, ‘Ali (as), rose up taking the man's hand.
He took him to Fatima Zahra's home, saying:
"O daughter of Allah's Messenger! Feed the guest."
Hadhrat Fatima said:
"O cousin! There is some meager food at home and Hasan and Husayn (as) are hungry and your are taking fast. The food is only for one person."
‘Ali (as) replied:
"Prepare the food."
Fatima prepared the food for the guest thinking that if she ate with the guest, he would not be able to take his fill but if she did not eat, he might be ashamed. Therefore, she pretended that she was lighting the lamp and made the lighting take longer such that the guest help himself to the food. When she brought the lamp, she noticed that the food was untouched.
‘Ali (as) inquired:
"Why did you not eat?"
The man replied:
"I took my fill."
Then the Commander of the Faithful (as), Fatima , their children, and the neighbors took their fill but the food was still there. ‘Ali (as) went to the Noble Prophet (S) the other day. Upon the Noble Prophet's (S) inquiry concerning feeding the guest he replied that it was alright. Then, the Noble Prophet (S) told him the story of the guest, the food, and the lamp.
The Commander of the Faithful (as) asked:
"Who did inform you of the story?"
The Noble Prophet (S) replied:
"Gabriel came to me and let me know, revealing the blessed Verse
‘and give them preference over themselves even thought they were in need of that.’"
The tradition is also narrated by ‘Àsim ibn Kalb, a transmitter of traditions whose narrations are acknowledged by Sunnis and Shi‘is. It is also narrated in exegetic works like Burhan, Nur al-Thiqalayn, Safi, Makhzan al-‘Irfan, and Manhaj al-Sadiqin and some Sunni exegetic works.
The blessed Verse closes with further emphasis on such virtues and their consequences saying;
"and those who are delivered from covetousness, such are they who shall find deliverance."
In his Mufradat, Raghib says that the Arabic word shuhh denotes miserliness tinged with avarice such that the same becomes a permanent disposition.
The Arabic verbal form
yuqa ("is saved")
reflects that whoever is saved by God Almighty from such vice shall be delivered.
According to a tradition, Imam Sadiq (as) said unto a companion of his:
"Do you know who shahih is?"
The Noble Imam (as) said:
"shahih is far worse than miserly (bakhil) as the latter is miserly regarding what he possesses, but the former is also miserly regarding the possessions of his as well as other people's. Such person is not satisfied with what Allah has provided him with but intends to possess whatever possession he sees though lawful or unlawful means.”15
According to another tradition, miserliness, avarice, and faith may not gather in the heart of a Muslim.16
Imam Sadiq (as) said:
"The best of you are your manly and generous people and the worst of you are the misers. Doing good to one's brethren and making efforts to meet their demands springs from pure and unadulterated faith."17
Surah al-Hashr - Verse 10
وَالَّذِينَ جَاءُوا مِن بَعْدِهِمْ يَقُولُونَ رَبَّنَا اغْفِرْ لَنَا وَلِإِخْوَانِنَا الَّذِينَ سَبَقُونَا بِالْإِيمَانِ وَلَا تَجْعَلْ فِي قُلُوبِنَا غِلًّا لِّلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا رَبَّنَا إِنَّكَ رَءُوفٌ رَّحِيمٌ
10. And those who came after them [the Emigrants and the Helpers] say: "Our Lord! Forgive us and our brethren who have preceded us in faith and put not in our hearts any hatred against those who have believed. Our Lord! You are verily full of kindness, Most Merciful."
Qur’anic attestations of forgiveness and the related vocabulary exceed two hundred in number. It is incumbent upon us to invoke Allah for forgiveness and also ask Allah's friends to pray for our forgiveness. The blessed Verse treats of another group of early Muslims designated as Successors (tabi‘un) after the Qur’anic designation.
Next to the Emigrants and the Helpers, they form the third largest group of Muslims. They are also praised by the enumeration of their virtues and merits. Firstly, they invoke God Almighty for forgiveness not only for themselves but also for their brethren. It alludes to the fact that true faith may not be tinged by self-conceit as a true believer wishes for himself what he does for others.
Secondly, another virtue of the believers is that all their virtuous attributes springs from their pure heart unadulterated by hatred and enmity against believers.
It was in the same vein that believers in the early days of Islam invoked God Almighty to bestow purity upon their hearts and their prayer was seemingly answered such that they could united and defeat the enemies and raise the banner of the Islamic faith.
Today, we are indebted to them. Had we been treading the path of our ancestors, we would be pure in heart and our hearts would be unadulterated by covetousness, miserliness, hatred, envy, self-conceit, and other vices. Thus, we were even able to exceed our ancestors in making the Muslim community more prosperous and rid ourselves of the tyranny, disbelief, and bondage to unbelievers and cooperate with each other to add further glory to the Islamic faith and Muslims.
It is also worthy of note that the antecedent of
"and those who came after them"
"the poor Emigrants"
reflecting that the booties do not solely fall into the share of the Emigrants and the Helpers, but the Muslims in need down the centuries should have their own shares.
and invoking Allah, the Compassionate, the Most-Gracious reflects the spirit of love, purity, and brotherhood that should prevail over the Muslim community such that it is incumbent upon believers to wish all good things for themselves and others and all members of the Muslim community are supposed to cooperate for the good of the community. The Arabic word ghill denotes hatred, enmity, and covetousness.
Surah al-Hashr - Verse 11
أَلَمْ تَرَ إِلَى الَّذِينَ نَافَقُوا يَقُولُونَ لِإِخْوَانِهِمُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا مِنْ أَهْلِ الْكِتَابِ لَئِنْ أُخْرِجْتُمْ لَنَخْرُجَنَّ مَعَكُمْ وَلَا نُطِيعُ فِيكُمْ أَحَدًا أَبَدًا وَإِن قُوتِلْتُمْ لَنَنصُرَنَّكُمْ وَاللَّهُ يَشْهَدُ إِنَّهُمْ لَكَاذِبُونَ
11. Have you not observed the hypocrites who say to their friends among the people of the Scripture who disbelieve: "If you are expelled, we verily will go out with you, and we will never obey anyone against you; and if you are attacked, we will verily help you." But Allah is Witness that they indeed are liars.
Following praising the Emigrants, the Helpers, and the Successors mentioned in the previous Verses, the blessed Verse in question depicts the hypocrites and disbelievers who were united in resisting them.
It is worthy of note that some people attend to Divine Forgiveness and some others are preoccupied with obstinacy and resisting the believers. Hypocrites sent a message to the Jews who had violated their covenant and were disfavored by the Noble Prophet of the Islamic faith (S) not to leave their vicious act since they supported them.
Thus, addressing the Noble Prophet of Islam (S), the blessed Verse is raising the question:
"Did you not see that hypocrites said unto their brethren from amongst the people of the Scriptures that if they were driven out of their land, they were prepared to wage war against the Muslims since they did not obey the Noble Prophet (S) and his Companions?"
The blessed Verse concerns a tribe of disbelievers residing in Medina. They were Banu Nadhir who failed to convert to the Islamic faith and were ordered by the Noble Prophet (S) to leave Medina or prepare themselves for a battle.
A group of hypocrites led by Ibn Ubayy and Ibn Nabtal deceived them asking them to prepare themselves for waging war against Muslims and they would render them aid and fight the Muslims and had Muslims defeated them they would accompany them in leaving their land.
Hypocrites were those who pretended to have converted to the Islamic faith but inwardly, they were disbelievers. It is in the same vein that the Holy Qur’an is explicitly saying that God Almighty bears witness that they are liars. It is the hypocrites' stratagem that they neither stand on their word nor do they keep their promise.
Surah al-Hashr - Verse 12
لَئِنْ أُخْرِجُوا لَا يَخْرُجُونَ مَعَهُمْ وَلَئِن قُوتِلُوا لَا يَنصُرُونَهُمْ وَلَئِن نَّصَرُوهُمْ لَيُوَلُّنَّ الْأَدْبَارَ ثُمَّ لَا يُنصَرُونَ
12. Surely, if they [disbelievers] are expelled, never will they [hypocrites] go out with them; and if they are attacked, they [hypocrites] will never help them. And if they do help them, they will turn their backs, and they [disbelievers and hypocrites] will not be victorious.
The blessed Verse is saying unto Muslims that they should not be afraid of the hypocrites' pompous propaganda, since they are not people of their words but they flee the ground before long. The decisive and determined style of these Verses inspires awe in the hearts of all hypocrites and opponents.
It should be borne in mind that although the blessed Verse was revealed on this occasion, but it is applicable to all instances where hypocrites closely cooperate with other enemies of the Islamic faith and promise to render aid to each other, but all their promises are unfounded.
Similar instances are to be found in not only the early history of Islam but also in the intimate cooperation between hypocrites in Muslim countries with the enemies of the Islamic faith in modern times. If true believers act upon their obligations, they will conquer their enemies and their designs will become undone.
Surah al-Hashr - Verse 13
لَأَنتُمْ أَشَدُّ رَهْبَةً فِي صُدُورِهِم مِّنَ اللَّهِ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ بِأَنَّهُمْ قَوْمٌ لَّا يَفْقَهُونَ
13. Indeed, the awe inspired by you in the hypocrites' hearts far exceeds their fear of Allah. That is because they are a people who comprehend not.
Being afraid of people rather than of Allah is an explicit token of hypocrisy. However, hypocrites are unaware of the fact that the Muslims' glory and might depend on Divine Will and Favor.
The blessed Verse analyses the reason lying behind the hypocrites' defeat saying that the awe inspired by you in their hearts exceeds that of Allah, since they are not afraid of God Almighty but they are fearful of everyone and everything, particularly of believing and persevering enemies like you, since they are ignorant. The Arabic word rahba originally denotes fear tinged with anxiety and self-consciousness. Such fear truly is deeply rooted and its tokens are to be found in their acts.
Although the blessed Verse concerns the Jews from Banu Nadhir and the reasons lying behind their defeat against the Muslims, but it is generally addressed to all hypocrites since human heart may not simultaneously entertain fear of Allah and fear all besides Him.
Everything depends upon Divine Will and whoever fears God Almighty and be aware of His Omnipotence should not be afraid of others besides Him, but the root of all misfortunes lies in ignorance of the truth of monotheism.
If Muslims today happen to be believers and Muslims in the true sense of the words, they will not entertain fear of the military and industry superpowers but those superpowers will be afraid of them as its instances are evident such that they are afraid of a small but believing and sacrificing nation.
Surah al-Hashr - Verse 14
لَا يُقَاتِلُونَكُمْ جَمِيعًا إِلَّا فِي قُرًى مُّحَصَّنَةٍ أَوْ مِن وَرَاءِ جُدُرٍ ۚ بَأْسُهُم بَيْنَهُمْ شَدِيدٌ ۚ تَحْسَبُهُمْ جَمِيعًا وَقُلُوبُهُمْ شَتَّىٰ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ بِأَنَّهُمْ قَوْمٌ لَّا يَعْقِلُونَ
14. [Hypocrites are so fearful that] they fight not against you even together, except in fortified townships or from behind walls. Their enmity among themselves is more intense. You would think they were united, but their hearts are divided. That is because they are a people who reflect not.
The Arabic word qura is applied to a place of gathering and settlement be it a town or a village. The word muhassana denoting fortified is cognate with hisn ("castle"). The noun phrase qura muhassana is applied to places fortified by walls, moats, and towers. Judur is a plural noun denoting "walls" and the singular form is jidar. The word shatta is the plural form of shatit ("scattered").
Resuming the discussion in the preceding Verses, the blessed Verse is saying that hypocrites are so afraid of the believers that whenever the latter confront them, they hide behind walls and wage war against them from behind castle walls. Muslims may imagine that hypocrites are united and unanimous but the fact is that outwardly they are together but it is out of ignorance that their hearts are quite scattered and they intensely bear animosity against one another.
Reflecting upon these blessed Verses clearly indicates that the attributes ascribed to hypocrites herein are to be found in many a Muslim nowadays such that if they get together to decide on certain significant issues, they are not unanimous since they attend to their personal benefits and interests even if they lead to other people's loss.
Thus, the Muslim community is supposed to prevail over all nations in the world as addressing the believers, the Qur’anic Verse18:
"Therefore, do not become weak [against your enemy], nor be sad, and you will be the most triumphant people in the world, if they be firmly established in terms of faith."
Our backwardness reflects that we Muslims do not act upon the conditions on which faithfulness rests, otherwise, as reflected in the blessed Verse quoted above, we should have been the most triumphant and the mightiest of nations in the world.
Surah al-Hashr - Verse 15
كَمَثَلِ الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِهِمْ قَرِيبًا ۖ ذَاقُوا وَبَالَ أَمْرِهِمْ وَلَهُمْ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ
15. [In the similitude of the Jews from Banu Nadhir] they are like their immediate predecessors [deceived by the hypocrites' empty promises]. They tasted the bitterness and afflictions consequent to their deviation and for them a painful torment.
The Arabic word wabal denotes the evil consequences of something. Believers may not be stung from the same hole but the Jews from Banu Nadhir were deceived by hypocrites' promises failing to be reminded of similar empty promises made to the Jews from Banu Qaynuqa‘. Believers are supposed to attend to people's backgrounds.
There are certain permanent laws and traditions in history. Disbelievers went astray and tasted the bitter consequences of their error. You will reap the same if you tread the same path. Favorable and unfavorable things are the consequences of our own deeds.
Cooperation with hypocrites entails torment in this world and the Hereafter
("and for them is excruciating torment").
Divine excruciating torment is in store for them.
Surah al-Hashr - Verse 16
كَمَثَلِ الشَّيْطَانِ إِذْ قَالَ لِلْإِنسَانِ اكْفُرْ فَلَمَّا كَفَرَ قَالَ إِنِّي بَرِيءٌ مِّنكَ إِنِّي أَخَافُ اللَّهَ رَبَّ الْعَالَمِينَ
16. The people of the Scriptures' being deceived by hypocrites resembles that by Satan, when he said unto man: "Disbelieve in Allah." Then when [man] disbelieved in Allah, Satan said: "I hate you and I detach myself from you. I fear Allah, the Lord of the worlds.
The blessed Verse reminds the believers of another attribute of hypocrites resembling a hypocrite to Satan who following having deceived his followers he uses different designs to tempt them to disbelieve in Allah. Satan does not keep his promise but leads his followers astray saying that he is fearful of the Lord of the worlds. It is to be noted that the hypocrites' temptations and provocations resemble those by Satan, but it is man who chooses to be led astray from the true path.
Surah al-Hashr - Verse 17
فَكَانَ عَاقِبَتَهُمَا أَنَّهُمَا فِي النَّارِ خَالِدَيْنِ فِيهَا ۚ وَذَٰلِكَ جَزَاءُ الظَّالِمِينَ
17. The end of both [Satan and disbelievers is that they] will be in the Fire for good. Such is the recompense of the wrong-doers.
The blessed Verse clearly expresses the fate of Satan and his followers as well as hypocrites and their disbelieving allies which is abiding in the Fire for ever. The general rule is that cooperation with disbelievers, hypocrites, Satan, and his allies entails defeat, misfortune, and torment in this world and the Hereafter; whereas, the cooperation of the believers and their allies is permanent and everlasting and it will entail triumph and being granted Divine Mercy in both worlds.
Surah al-Hashr - Verse 18
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَلْتَنظُرْ نَفْسٌ مَّا قَدَّمَتْ لِغَدٍ ۖ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ خَبِيرٌ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ
18. O you who believe! Fear Allah and refrain from disobedience to Him. And let every person look to what he has sent forth for the morrow, and fear Allah since He is All-Aware of what you do.
Addressed to the believers, the blessed Verse draws a conclusion of the dire and excruciating fate of Banu Nadhir, hypocrites, and Satan saying:
"O you who believe! Fear Allah and refrain from disobedience to Him. And let every person look to what he has sent forth for the morrow."
To lay further emphasis, the blessed Verse adds:
"Fear Allah since He is All-Aware of what you do."
Fear of Allah leads man to reflect upon his fate on the Day of Resurrection and purify his deeds. As mentioned above, reiteration of fear of Allah lays further emphasis, since the springhead of all righteous deeds is fear of Allah.
The Arabic word ghad originally denotes "tomorrow" but it ad hoc connotes the Day of Resurrection, since taking into account the life of the world, we notice that the Day of Resurrection will arrive soon.
To reflect its significance, the Arabic word ghad is used in the indefinite form. The Arabic word nafs may connote everyone, namely each and every person is supposed to reflect upon his morrow without expecting others to do anything for him, since so long as he is in this world, he may send forth whatever he may.
Surah al-Hashr - Verse 19
وَلَا تَكُونُوا كَالَّذِينَ نَسُوا اللَّهَ فَأَنسَاهُمْ أَنفُسَهُمْ ۚ أُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْفَاسِقُونَ
19. And be not like those who forgot Allah and He caused them to forget their own selves. Those are the disobedient.
Resuming the discussion on fearing Allah and attending to one's fate on the Day of Resurrection, the blessed Verse emphasizes fear of God Almighty saying:
"Be not like those who forgot Allah and He caused them to forget themselves.”
Fear of God Almighty basically rests on two things: remembrance of God Almighty, namely permanently attending toward God Almighty and being aware of His Presence at all times and in all places; attending to Divine Justice and the Record of deeds in which each and every act, small and significant, is recorded.
It is in this vein that the Prophets and the friends of Allah fore and foremost attended to the two principles of Origin and Resurrection and their significance in purifying the individual and the society.
It is worthy of note that the Holy Qur’an is explicitly saying that forgetting God Almighty leads to forgetting one's own self. The reason lying behind such oblivion is that forgetting God Almighty leads man to drown in concupiscent desires and pleasures of the flesh and forget the goal of his creation and thereby neglect to make the required saving for the Day of Resurrection.
On the other hand, forgetting God Almighty entails consigning His Pure Attributes, e.g. Absolute Existence, Omniscience, and boundless needlessness, into oblivion, although all beings besides God Almighty are dependent upon and in need of His Pure Essence. Such oblivion leads man to regard himself as independent and needless and thereby forget the reality and identity of his human existence.
One of the worst afflictions of man is basically his forgetting his own self, since in this manner he forgets his God given inherent faculties which distinguish him from other creatures. Such oblivion is on a par with forgetting one's own humanity and such person degrades himself to the degree of a savage beast and may never think about anything but the pleasures of the flesh.
They all constitute the main cause of disobedience to God Almighty and such oblivion is the worst instance disobedience to God.
It is in the same vein that the blessed Verse closes with the clause
"They [such forgetful people] are the disobedient."
It is also worthy of note that the blessed Verse is encouraging people not to be like those who forgot God Almighty and He made them entangled with oblivion rather than asking people not to forget Him.
Surah al-Hashr - Verse 20
لَا يَسْتَوِي أَصْحَابُ النَّارِ وَأَصْحَابُ الْجَنَّةِ ۚ أَصْحَابُ الْجَنَّةِ هُمُ الْفَائِزُونَ
20. Not equal are the dwellers of the Fire and the dwellers of the Paradise. It is the dwellers of Paradise that will be the saved and the victorious.
The blessed Verse makes a comparison between the two groups, namely that of God fearing believers attending to the Origin and the Day of Resurrection and that of the forgetful oblivious of God Almighty and their own selves, saying:
"Not equal are the dwellers of the Fire and the dwellers of the Paradise,"
neither in this world, nor in their beliefs, manner of thought, individual and collective manner of life, and their goals, nor in terms of the Hereafter, the Day of Resurrection, revival of sublime human values, and amassing savings for the everlasting life. The latter group is drowned in the pleasures of the flesh, worldly possessions, and oblivion. Thus, man is in a dilemma, namely he must either join the former or the latter, since there is no other path to tread.
The blessed Verse closes with a decisive conclusion saying that the dwellers are Paradise are solely the saved and the victorious not only in this world, but in the Hereafter, when serenity and deliverance will fall into their share.
However, total defeat in both worlds is in store for the oblivious. It is narrated from the Noble Prophet (S) that the dwellers of Paradise are those who obey Allah's Messenger (S) and acknowledge the Divine Guardianship of ‘Ali (as). The dwellers of the Fire are those who disfavored Imam ‘Ali's (as) Divine Guardianship and disobeyed him and waged war against him.19
It is worthy of note, however, that it is one of the explicit applications of the contextual meaning of the blessed Verse and affects in no way the general application of the blessed Verse.
Surah al-Hashr - Verse 21
لَوْ أَنزَلْنَا هَٰذَا الْقُرْآنَ عَلَىٰ جَبَلٍ لَّرَأَيْتَهُ خَاشِعًا مُّتَصَدِّعًا مِّنْ خَشْيَةِ اللَّهِ ۚ وَتِلْكَ الْأَمْثَالُ نَضْرِبُهَا لِلنَّاسِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ
21. Had We sent down this Qur’an on a mountain, you would surely have seen it humbling itself and rend asunder by the fear of Allah. Such are the parables which We put forward to mankind that they may reflect.
The preceding blessed Verses made use of different ways to penetrate into the hearts of mankind and most explicitly expressed the most significant issues. The blessed Verse in question, reflecting all Qur’anic Verses, reveals that the Holy Qur’an is so penetrating that had it been sent down on mountains, they would have trembled; however, it is a source of surprise that man is so stone-hearted that he hears it but he is not affected by it.
The blessed Verse is saying that
"Had We sent down this Qur’an on a mountain, you would surely have seen it humbling itself and rend asunder by the fear of Allah. Such are the parables which We put forward to mankind that they may reflect."
Many a Qur’an exegete have taken the blessed Verse as a simile maintaining that despite all their firmness, had mountains had intellect and perception, they would have trembled and rent asunder upon hearing Qur’anic Verses, but some hard-hearted people hear them without being affected in the least.
In this vein, the exegetes maintain that
"Such are the parables which We put forward to mankind"
substantiates the interpretation.
Some other exegetes, however, taking into account the outward meaning of the blessed Verse, say that all the creatures in this world, e.g. mountains, possess some sort of perception and had these blessed Verses been sent unto them, they would have verily rent asunder.
In this vein, they maintain that the interpretation is substantiated by the blessed Verse20
"Then, your hearts were hardened and turned into stones out of which rivers gush forth and verily there are of them which split asunder so that water flows from them and verily there are of them which fall down for fear of Allah. And Allah is not unaware of what you do."
It is worthy of note that the blessed Verse is saying that mountains would have been humbled before the Holy Qur’an, then it proceeds to say that they would have been rent asunder, alluding that the Holy Qur’an would have penetrated into them in time whose tokens would have been reflected in them such that they would have lost their firmness like restless enamored people and then would have been rent asunder.
Surah al-Hashr - Verse 22
هُوَ اللَّهُ الَّذِي لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ ۖ عَالِمُ الْغَيْبِ وَالشَّهَادَةِ ۖ هُوَ الرَّحْمَٰنُ الرَّحِيمُ
22. He is Allah, beside Whom none has the right to be worshipped but He, the Omniscient of the unseen and the seen. He is the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
The recitation of the closing blessed Verses of the Chapter in question have been strongly recommended in traditions and different Blessings have been enumerated for the same instances of which include being absolved of sins and attaining to the elevated state of martyrs.21
It is through the recitation of these blessed Verses that man may attend to the Divine Attributes mentioned herein and find the Greatest Name of God, since fifteen, and according to some exegetes eighteen, Divine Attributes have been mentioned in these blessed Verses each of which reflect His Boundless and Absolute Perfect Attributes.
The true object of worship is the Being Whose Omniscience, Graciousness, Sanctity, Glory, and Grandeur is Perfect and such Attributes solely belong to God Almighty. Therefore, there is no object of worship but Him. Thus, the blessed Verse is saying that He is the Lord besides Whom there is no other object of worship.
He is Omniscient of the seen and the unseen. He is the Most Gracious and the Most Merciful. The blessed Verse, above all, lays emphasis on monotheism as the basis of all His Positive and Negative Attributes as well as knowing God Almighty. Then, the blessed Verse proceeds to lay further emphasis on Divine Omniscience regarding the seen and the unseen.
In his Mufradat, Raghib says that presence (hudhur) is accompanied by observation, through the outward or inward eye. Thus, where human perception and observation penetrate, it is the world of presence and what lies beyond the realm of perception and observation is the world of the unseen or intuition.
It is worthy of note, however, that they are all equal before Divine Omniscience, since His Infinite Presence is Omnipresent.
Thus, nothing lies beyond Divine Omniscience and Omnipresence, as reflected elsewhere in the Holy Qur’an22:
"And with Him are the keys of the unseen, none knows them but He. And He knows whatever there is in the land and in the sea. Not a leaf falls, but He knows it. There is not a grain in the shadows of neither the earth nor anything fresh or dry, but it is written in a Clear Record."
Attending to this Divine Attributes makes man aware of the fact that He is Omnipresent and Omniscient. Thus, man fear God Almighty and is aware that His Graciousness embraces all creatures particularly the believers.
Emphasis is laid on Divine Graciousness such that man sets his hope on treading the long path of perfection leading toward God Almighty being aware that he may not pass beyond the shadows and error without Divine Graciousness. Thus, besides, Divine Oneness, three other Divine Attributes are mentioned in the blessed Verse each of which leads to inspiration in some way or another.
Surah al-Hashr - Verse 23
هُوَ اللَّهُ الَّذِي لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ الْمَلِكُ الْقُدُّوسُ السَّلَامُ الْمُؤْمِنُ الْمُهَيْمِنُ الْعَزِيزُ الْجَبَّارُ الْمُتَكَبِّرُ ۚ سُبْحَانَ اللَّهِ عَمَّا يُشْرِكُونَ
23. He is Allah beside Whom none has the right to be worshipped but He, the Sovereign, the Holy, the One Free from all defects, the Giver of security, the Dominant over all things, the Invincible All-Mighty, the Compeller, the Supreme. Glory be to Allah! [High is He] above all that they associate as partners with Him.
Besides emphasizing Divine Unity, eight more Divine Attributes are enumerated in the blessed Verse: there is no object of worship besides Him; He is the Sovereign and the Absolute Owner of all things; He is free from all defects; He wrongs no one; He bestows security upon all.
"Allah calls to the Home of Peace and guides who He wills to the Straight Path"23.
"Wherewith Allah guides all those who seek His Good Pleasure to ways of peace"24.
"abode of peace is with their Lord."
The people of Paradise will be greeted by
"but only the saying of greetings with peace"25.
The blessed Verse proceeds to say that He bestows security and faith upon His friends, namely the believers. He is the Protector and Watcher of all things. He is so Mighty that He is Invincible. He improves everything through His Invincible Will.
The Arabic word jabbar is employed in ten instances in the senses of "compeller, dominant" and "improver" nine instances of which refer to wrong-doers, the disobedient, and the corrupt, but solely one instance, in the blessed Verse in question, refers to God Almighty.
The blessed Verse also says that He is Worthy of Grandeur and there is no being more exalted and sublime than Him. The Arabic word mutakkabir is applied in two different senses, one is praised applying to God Almighty denoting having grandeur, good deeds and attributes and the other is blameworthy used for beings besides God Almighty.
The latter sense connotes that insignificant people claim grandeur and ascribe attributes to themselves of which they are free. Since God Almighty is the only Being worthy of Grandeur and Magnificence, the word in its ameliorative sense is applied to Him. The word in its pejorative sense is applied to beings besides God Almighty.
The blessed Verse closes by laying emphasis on Divine Unity, mentioned in the beginning of the blessed Verse, saying:
"Glory be to Allah! [High is He] above all that they associate as partners with Him."
Surah al-Hashr - Verse 24
هُوَ اللَّهُ الْخَالِقُ الْبَارِئُ الْمُصَوِّرُ ۖ لَهُ الْأَسْمَاءُ الْحُسْنَىٰ ۚ يُسَبِّحُ لَهُ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ ۖ وَهُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ
24. He is Allah, the Creator, the Inventor of all things, the Bestower of forms. To Him belong the Best Names and Attributes. All that is in the heavens and the earth glorify Him. And He is the Unrivalled All-Mighty, the All-Wise.
The Arabic word bari’ denotes one who invents something unprecedentedly. God Almighty is the Creator Who in creating His creatures bestowed forms on things without resorting to already existent patterns and forms.
The blessed Verse, the last Verse of the Chapter in question, proceeds to enumerate six more Divine Attributes, saying that He is the Creator (al-khlaliq) Who invented creatures in the best forms without resorting to already existent forms (al-bari’); the Creator who bestowed a specific form to each being (al-musawwir).
Since Divine Attributes are not restricted to these attributes, but They are Infinite like His Infinite Essence, the blessed Verse proceeds to say that The Most Beautiful Attributes belong to Him; consequently, He is free from any defect and all beings in the heavens and the earth glorify Him.
Finally, to lay further emphasis on the system of creation and the order prevailing over it, mention is made of two more Attributes of His: He is the Unrivalled All-Mighty, the All-Wise. The former reflects His Omnipotence over all things and the latter alludes to His Omniscience regarding the system of creation and the precise order prevailing over creation.
Therefore, besides treating of Divine Unity twice, the last three Verses enumerate seventeen Divine Attributes:
the Omniscient of the seen and the unseen (al-‘alim al-ghayb wa al-shahada)
The Sovereign (al-malik)
The Holy (Quddus)
The Peace (al-salam)
The Bestower of Security (al-mu’min)
The Protector (al-muhaymin)
The All-Mighty (al-‘aziz)
The Most Powerful (al-jabbar)
The Magnificent (al-mutakkabir)
The Creator (al-khaliq)
The Inventor (al-bari’)
The Bestower of forms (al-musawwir)
The All-Wise (al-hakim)
Possessing the Most Beautiful Attributes
The One Glorified by all the creatures of the world.
Taking into account Divine Unity, eighteen Divine Attributes have been enumerated herein. It is to be noted that Divine Unity and All-Mighty have been mentioned twice. The enumeration of the Attributes follows a specific order in the three blessed Verses.
The first blessed Verse treats of the most general Attribute of Divine Essence, the Omniscient and the most general Attributes of Action, All-Gracious from which all Divine Acts spring. The second Verse treats of His Sovereignty and the aspects of His Absolute Sovereignty, e.g. the Holy, the Peace, the Bestower of Security, the All-Mighty, the Magnificent. The last Verse treats of creation and its aspects, e.g. order, bestowing of forms, Omnipotence, and Wisdom.
Thus, the blessed Verses in question guide those treading the path of knowing Allah at different stages, beginning with His Pure Essence, proceeding toward the world of creation, and guiding them from creatures to the Creator and thereby purifying the heart as the abode of Divine Attributes and the center of Divine forms.
Thus, they are fostered in the light of such teachings and their souls blossom with the fear of God Almighty and thereby deserve nearness unto Him. Thus, unanimous with all the constituent elements of the world, they glorify His Holiness.
Great significance has thereby been accorded to these blessed Verses in Islamic traditions.
It is noteworthy that the blessed Chapter in question opens and closes by the glorification of God Almighty and two Divine Most Beautiful Attributes, the All-Mighty and the All-Wise, since the final goal of the recitation of the Chapter is to know God Almighty, glorifying him, and knowing His Holy Attributes. It is also worthy of note that a detailed discussion is to found above under 7:18.
May God Almighty, by His Most Beautiful Attributes, humble our hearts before the Holy Qur’an and protect us, out of His Mercy, from satanic temptations.
question, vol. 9, p. 20; Qurtubi's exegetic work, the opening of the blessed Chapter in question.
exegetes, amongst whom mention may be made of the following: Fakhr Razi in Tafsir Kabir; Isma‘il ibn Mustafa Haqqi in Tafsir Ruh al-Bayan; Sayyid Qutb in Fi Halal al-Qur’an; Maraghi in his exegetic work; Àlusi in Ruh al-Ma‘ani.
Nur; Tafsir Burhan; Suyuti's Tafsir Durr al-Manthur, under the blessed Chapter in question.
Tafsir Majma‘ al-Bayan, the opening of the blessed Chapter in ↩
Ithbat al-Huda, vol. 7, p. 124. ↩
Raghib's Mufradat. ↩
Nahj al-Balagha, sermon 16. ↩
Such interpretation is maintained by Shi‘i exegetes and many Sunni ↩
Majma‘ al-Bayan; Wasa’il al-Shi‘a, vol. 6, p. 368. ↩
Wasa’il al-Shi‘a, vol. 6, p. 356 ↩
vol. 2, p. 185 ↩
Kitab Fadak, p. 49. ↩
Ibn Abi al-Hadid's Sharh Nahj al-Balagha, vol. 16, p. 209. ↩
Sahih Muslim, vol. 3, p. 1380, Kitab al-Jihad, tradition 52. ↩
Raghib's Mufradat. ↩
Tafsir Nur al-Thiqalayn, vol. 5, p. 291, tradition 64. ↩
Tafsir Majma‘ al-Bayan, under the blessed Verse in question. ↩
Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 70, p. 307. ↩
Tafsir Safi; Tafsir Burhan; Tafsir Nur al-Thiqalayn. ↩
Tafsir Majma‘ al-Bayan; Manhaj al-Sadiqin; Tafsir Safi; Tafsir ↩