QURAN SUMMARY: AL ANFAL

Surah Anfal Background And Summary of Main Topics.

Surah Anfal Statistics: Total Number of Verses, Revelation Period, Main Characters, Theme And Key Verses.

NAME: الأنفال, Al-Anfal.

Name taken from Verse 1 where there is a mention of “Al-Anfal”.

١  يَسْأَلُونَكَ عَنِ الْأَنْفَالِ ۖ قُلِ الْأَنْفَالُ لِلَّهِ وَالرَّسُولِ ۖ فَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَأَصْلِحُوا ذَاتَ بَيْنِكُمْ ۖ وَأَطِيعُوا اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ مُؤْمِنِينَ

1  They ask you, [O Muhammad], about the bounties [of war]. Say, “The [decision concerning] bounties is for Allah and the Messenger.” So fear Allah and amend that which is between you and obey Allah and His Messenger, if you should be believers.

But It does not mean that this name is the actual topic discussed in the whole Surah. It is just a reference and mark/symbol to distinguish this Surah from others as is with most other Surahs of Quran. While there are diversified topics discussed in these Surahs.

ENGLISH NAME: Spoils of War.

CHAPTER NUMBER: 8

SURAH ANFAL TOTAL VERSES: 75

SURAH ANFAL TOTAL WORDS: 1,242

TOTAL UNIQUE WORDS WITHOUT REPETITION: 641

TOTAL LETTERS: 5,387

REVELATION PERIOD:

Medinan, Approx. 624 – 625 AD. 

MAIN CHARACTERS:

God, Prophet Muhammad, Angels, Believers, Polytheists, Disbelievers. 

SURAH ANFAL MAIN TOPICS:

War spoils, Mention of Battle of Badr, Help Of One Thousand Angels, Before Migration Plan Of Quraysh To Kill Muhammad, Rules about the distribution of the spoils of war, 5th Part not for People but to God and Messenger, Twenty Steadfast Believers Equal To Two Hundred and100 Will Be Equal To1000, Prophet Not Allowed To Have Captives until he hath thoroughly subdued the land.

SURAH ANFAL KEY VERSES:

٢٤  يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اسْتَجِيبُوا لِلَّهِ وَلِلرَّسُولِ إِذَا دَعَاكُمْ لِمَا يُحْيِيكُمْ ۖ وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّهَ يَحُولُ بَيْنَ الْمَرْءِ وَقَلْبِهِ وَأَنَّهُ إِلَيْهِ تُحْشَرُونَ

24  O you who have believed, respond to Allah and to the Messenger when he calls you to that which gives you life. And know that Allah intervenes between a man and his heart and that to Him you will be gathered.

٢٥  وَاتَّقُوا فِتْنَةً لَا تُصِيبَنَّ الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا مِنْكُمْ خَاصَّةً ۖ وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّهَ شَدِيدُ الْعِقَابِ

25  And fear a trial which will not strike those who have wronged among you exclusively, and know that Allah is severe in penalty.

٤١  وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّمَا غَنِمْتُمْ مِنْ شَيْءٍ فَأَنَّ لِلَّهِ خُمُسَهُ وَلِلرَّسُولِ وَلِذِي الْقُرْبَىٰ وَالْيَتَامَىٰ وَالْمَسَاكِينِ وَابْنِ السَّبِيلِ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ آمَنْتُمْ بِاللَّهِ وَمَا أَنْزَلْنَا عَلَىٰ عَبْدِنَا يَوْمَ الْفُرْقَانِ يَوْمَ الْتَقَى الْجَمْعَانِ ۗ وَاللَّهُ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ

41  And know that anything you obtain of war booty – then indeed, for Allah is one fifth of it and for the Messenger and for [his] near relatives and the orphans, the needy, and the [stranded] traveler, if you have believed in Allah and in that which We sent down to Our Servant on the day of criterion – the day when the two armies met. And Allah, over all things, is competent.

٥٣  ذَٰلِكَ بِأَنَّ اللَّهَ لَمْ يَكُ مُغَيِّرًا نِعْمَةً أَنْعَمَهَا عَلَىٰ قَوْمٍ حَتَّىٰ يُغَيِّرُوا مَا بِأَنْفُسِهِمْ ۙ وَأَنَّ اللَّهَ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ

53  That is because Allah would not change a favor which He had bestowed upon a people until they change what is within themselves. And indeed, Allah is Hearing and Knowing.

٦٠  وَأَعِدُّوا لَهُمْ مَا اسْتَطَعْتُمْ مِنْ قُوَّةٍ وَمِنْ رِبَاطِ الْخَيْلِ تُرْهِبُونَ بِهِ عَدُوَّ اللَّهِ وَعَدُوَّكُمْ وَآخَرِينَ مِنْ دُونِهِمْ لَا تَعْلَمُونَهُمُ اللَّهُ يَعْلَمُهُمْ ۚ وَمَا تُنْفِقُوا مِنْ شَيْءٍ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ يُوَفَّ إِلَيْكُمْ وَأَنْتُمْ لَا تُظْلَمُونَ

60  And prepare against them whatever you are able of power and of steeds of war by which you may terrify the enemy of Allah and your enemy and others besides them whom you do not know [but] whom Allah knows. And whatever you spend in the cause of Allah will be fully repaid to you, and you will not be wronged.

٦٥  يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ حَرِّضِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ عَلَى الْقِتَالِ ۚ إِنْ يَكُنْ مِنْكُمْ عِشْرُونَ صَابِرُونَ يَغْلِبُوا مِائَتَيْنِ ۚ وَإِنْ يَكُنْ مِنْكُمْ مِائَةٌ يَغْلِبُوا أَلْفًا مِنَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا بِأَنَّهُمْ قَوْمٌ لَا يَفْقَهُونَ

65  O Prophet, urge the believers to battle. If there are among you twenty [who are] steadfast, they will overcome two hundred. And if there are among you one hundred [who are] steadfast, they will overcome a thousand of those who have disbelieved because they are a people who do not understand.

SUMMARY OF TOPICS

1-4(O Muhammad People Asking You About Spoils Say, “the Bounties Are for Allah and the Messenger, Definition Of A Believer), 5-8( Historical Event of Battle of Badr: One Party Of Believers Not Happy, When God Promised You One of the Two Groups – That It Would Be Yours- and You Wished That the Unarmed One Would Be Yours), 9-10( Prophet Prayed for God’s Help, Help of One Thousand Angels, Only Good Tidings Otherwise Help Is Not but Only Allah’s), 11(When Sleep Overwhelmed Prophet, Water From The Sky Rain by Which To Purify You and Remove From You the Evil [Suggestions] of Satan), 12-15(Allah Order For Angels, Cast Terror in the Hearts Of Enemies Of Allah & Prophet), 16(Whoever Turns his Back on Such a Day of Test and Trial, his Refuge Is Hell), 17( O Prophet You Killed Not but Allah Killed Them, and You Threw Not but Allah Threw On Them), 21-24(the Worst People in the Sight of Allah Are Those Who Do Not Use Their Common Sense), 25( Fitna/Trial Not Only for Zalims/Wrongdoers), 30( Before Migration Plan Of Quraysh To Kill Muhammad), 31-34(and When our Verses Are Recited to Them, They Say, “We Have Heard. If We Willed, We Could Say Something Like This. This Is Not but Legends of the Former Peoples, Meccan’s Demand of God’s Punishment, God Would Not Punish Them While Muhammad Among Them), 35(Their Worship in Kaaba Only Whistles& Clapping), 41(Rules About the Distribution of the Spoils of War, Spoils 5Th Part Not for People but Further Divided in 6 Shares Assigned to God, and to the Messenger, and to Near Relatives, Orphans, the Needy, and the Wayfarer), 43-44( Allah Showed the Enemies Less in Your Eyes and He Made You Appear as Few in Their Eyes), 50(on Death Of Disbelievers Angels Smite Striking Their Faces and Their Backs and [Saying], “Taste the Punishment of the Burning Fire), 58(if You Fear Treachery Break The Agreement. Indeed, Allah Does Not Like Traitors), 60(Keep Prepare Your Weapons Whatever You Are Able of Power and of Steeds of War by Which You May Terrify the Enemy of Allah), 65(Twenty Steadfast Believers Equal to Two Hundred 20=200, and 100 Will Be Equal To1000), 66(Allah Knows Your Weakness, So 100 Among Believers Will Be Equal to 200 Men of Their Enemies & 1000=2000), 67 (Prophet Not Allowed To Have Captives Until He Hath Thoroughly Subdued the Land), 68(Had It Not Been for a Decree From God That Had Already Gone Forth, God’s Punishment Would Have Fallen on You for What You Took of Captives/Fadiya/Spoils), 72(Help of Those Not Yet Migrated Is Not an Obligation on You, Help Them but Not Against Any Treaty), 73-74(Fasad Fil Arz/ Corruption in Land if You Don’t Do This, so V.Imp I.E Help but Do Not Break any Treaty Agreement), 75(Even After Muslim Brotherhood Blood Relationship Are More Entitled to Inheritance)

SURAH ANFAL BRIEF COMMENTARY & BACK GROUND

This Surah has 75 verses divided into 10 Rukus/Sections. It was revealed in Madina 2 AH, 624AD soon after the battle of Badr, and as the title suggests gives instructions particularly regarding war and war spoils. The chapter enunciates the principles of war and peace and doctrine of sacrifice through action and uses them as a morality lesson.

Ahmad bin Hanbal recorded that Sad bin Malik said, “I said, O Prophet, God has granted comfort to me today over the enemy/idolators, so give me this sword.’ Prophet said:

إِنَّ هَذَا السَّيْفَ لَا لَكَ وَلَا لِي، ضَعْه

This is neither yours nor mine; put it down. So I put it down, but said to myself, The Prophet might give this sword to another man who did not fight as strongly as I did.’ I heard a man calling me from behind and I said, `Has God revealed something in my case’ The Prophet said,

كُنْتَ سَأَلْتَنِي السَّيْفَ وَلَيْسَ هُوَ لِي، وَإِنَّهُ قَدْ وُهِبَ لِي، فَهُو لَك

You asked me to give you the sword, but it is not for me to decide about. Yet, it has been granted to me (by God), and I give it to you. So God sent down this Ayah,

يَسۡـَٔلُونَكَ عَنِ ٱلۡأَنفَالِ‌ۖ قُلِ ٱلۡأَنفَالُ لِلَّهِ وَٱلرَّسُولِ‌ۖ

They ask you about Al-Anfal. Say: “Al-Anfal are for Allah and the Messenger”.

The Surah started with a review of the battle of Badr and that the victory was only because of God’s help and blessing. Battle of Badr was the first encounter between the organized Muslim community in Madina and Meccans. Just two year before when Prophet was in Mecca, and himself and his companions were facing severe persecution, it was that time when people of the nearby Arab tribe of Yathrib started accepting Islam. So much so that a group of them more than a dozen people met him at Mecca and gave their Allegiance to the prophet. This is known as the First Oath or Allegiance at Aqabah. But that was not their first contact with the Prophet. It started four years before migration, and people of Madina get so impressed with the message of Islam that they kept on coming individually or in groups. Until in early 622AD nearly a year before migration a group of 75 people of Madina arrived at Mecca at the time of Hajj, gave their allegiance to the prophet and requested Prophet to Migrate to Madina. At that time the People of Yathrib(Madina) were fully aware of the consequences of this allegiance as it was actually a declaration of war against the whole of Arab.

Thus the battle of Badr started just 2 years after prophets migration to Madina on 17th of Ramadan 2AH, 624 AD. Muslims were just a little more than 300 in number. Most traditions narrate that the number was 313 with 86 men from Muhajrins(People of Mecca who migrated with the Prophet) and remaining 227 from Ansars(People of Madina who supported Prophet and his companions). On the other hand Quraysh of Mecca  had 700 men including one hundred horsemen. Despite all the odds the war ended in clear Muslim victory. Seventy men of Quraysh’s army were killed including their major leaders and 70 captured.