QURAN SUMMARY: AT TAWBAH

Surah Tawbah Background And Summary of Main Topics.

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

NAME:  التوبة, البراءة, At-Tawba, Al-Bara’at.

This Surah has two names. Al Baraat taken from verse#1 which means ultimatum of release from obligation of treatise.  The second name is Al Tawba which mean Repentance as discussed in verse 102 and 108.

١  بَرَاءَةٌ مِنَ اللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ إِلَى الَّذِينَ عَاهَدْتُمْ مِنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ

1  [This is a declaration of] disassociation, from Allah and His Messenger, to those with whom you had made a treaty among the polytheists.

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: Repentance, The Absolution.

CHAPTER NUMBER: 9

SURAH TAWBAH TOTAL VERSES: 129

SURAH TAWBAH TOTAL WORDS: 2,505

TOTAL UNIQUE WORDS WITHOUT REPETITION: 1,126

TOTAL LETTERS: 11,115

REVELATION PERIOD:

Medinan, Approx. 630 – 631 AD. 

MAIN CHARACTERS:

God, Prophet Muhammad, Polytheists, Believers, People Of The Book, Christian Monks, Hypocrites, Those companions who avoid going in Battle of Tabuk.

SURAH TAWBAH MAIN TOPICS:

Disassociation From Obligations/Treatise With Polytheists, Order for Qital/Killing, Idolaters Cannot Enter Or maintain the mosques of Allah, Mention of Battle Of Huneyn, Mention of Events related to Battle Of Tabuk, Do not Pray On Hypocrites When They Die, Mention of Masjid E Zarar, Mosque For Causing Harm, Allah Has Bought Lives Of Believers Against Heaven, Mention Of 3 Pending cases Of Companions of prophet, Forgiveness Granted.

SURAH TAWBAH KEY VERSES:

١٧  مَا كَانَ لِلْمُشْرِكِينَ أَنْ يَعْمُرُوا مَسَاجِدَ اللَّهِ شَاهِدِينَ عَلَىٰ أَنْفُسِهِمْ بِالْكُفْرِ ۚ أُولَٰئِكَ حَبِطَتْ أَعْمَالُهُمْ وَفِي النَّارِ هُمْ خَالِدُونَ

17  It is not for the polytheists to maintain the mosques of Allah [while] witnessing against themselves with disbelief. [For] those, their deeds have become worthless, and in the Fire they will abide eternally.

٣٢  يُرِيدُونَ أَنْ يُطْفِئُوا نُورَ اللَّهِ بِأَفْوَاهِهِمْ وَيَأْبَى اللَّهُ إِلَّا أَنْ يُتِمَّ نُورَهُ وَلَوْ كَرِهَ الْكَافِرُونَ

32  They want to extinguish the light of Allah with their mouths, but Allah refuses except to perfect His light, although the disbelievers dislike it.

٨٠  اسْتَغْفِرْ لَهُمْ أَوْ لَا تَسْتَغْفِرْ لَهُمْ إِنْ تَسْتَغْفِرْ لَهُمْ سَبْعِينَ مَرَّةً فَلَنْ يَغْفِرَ اللَّهُ لَهُمْ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ بِأَنَّهُمْ كَفَرُوا بِاللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ ۗ وَاللَّهُ لَا يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الْفَاسِقِينَ

80  Ask forgiveness for them, [O Muhammad], or do not ask forgiveness for them. If you should ask forgiveness for them seventy times – never will Allah forgive them. That is because they disbelieved in Allah and His Messenger, and Allah does not guide the defiantly disobedient people.

٨٤  وَلَا تُصَلِّ عَلَىٰ أَحَدٍ مِنْهُمْ مَاتَ أَبَدًا وَلَا تَقُمْ عَلَىٰ قَبْرِهِ ۖ إِنَّهُمْ كَفَرُوا بِاللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ وَمَاتُوا وَهُمْ فَاسِقُونَ

84  And do not pray [the funeral prayer, O Muhammad], over any of them who has died – ever – or stand at his grave. Indeed, they disbelieved in Allah and His Messenger and died while they were defiantly disobedient.

١٠٧  وَالَّذِينَ اتَّخَذُوا مَسْجِدًا ضِرَارًا وَكُفْرًا وَتَفْرِيقًا بَيْنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَإِرْصَادًا لِمَنْ حَارَبَ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ مِنْ قَبْلُ ۚ وَلَيَحْلِفُنَّ إِنْ أَرَدْنَا إِلَّا الْحُسْنَىٰ ۖ وَاللَّهُ يَشْهَدُ إِنَّهُمْ لَكَاذِبُونَ

107  And [there are] those [hypocrites] who took for themselves a mosque for causing harm and disbelief and division among the believers and as a station for whoever had warred against Allah and His Messenger before. And they will surely swear, “We intended only the best.” And Allah testifies that indeed they are liars.

١١١  إِنَّ اللَّهَ اشْتَرَىٰ مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ أَنْفُسَهُمْ وَأَمْوَالَهُمْ بِأَنَّ لَهُمُ الْجَنَّةَ ۚ يُقَاتِلُونَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ فَيَقْتُلُونَ وَيُقْتَلُونَ ۖ وَعْدًا عَلَيْهِ حَقًّا فِي التَّوْرَاةِ وَالْإِنْجِيلِ وَالْقُرْآنِ ۚ وَمَنْ أَوْفَىٰ بِعَهْدِهِ مِنَ اللَّهِ ۚ فَاسْتَبْشِرُوا بِبَيْعِكُمُ الَّذِي بَايَعْتُمْ بِهِ ۚ وَذَٰلِكَ هُوَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِيمُ

111  Indeed, Allah has purchased from the believers their lives and their properties [in exchange] for that they will have Paradise. They fight in the cause of Allah, so they kill and are killed. [It is] a true promise [binding] upon Him in the Torah and the Gospel and the Qur’an. And who is truer to his covenant than Allah? So rejoice in your transaction which you have contracted. And it is that which is the great attainment.

SUMMARY OF TOPICS

1-3(Barat/Disassociation From Obligations With Kafirs/Polytheists, 4 Months Given, Do Tauba/Repentance Otherwise Tidings of a Painful Punishment), 4(Excluding Those With Treaty & Have Not Done Anything Against You), 5(After Sacred Months Passed Slay Them but if They Repent, Establish Prayer, and Give Zakat, Let Them Go), 6(if any of Them Seeks Your Protection, Then Grant Him Protection), 7-14(How Can There Be a Treaty an Obligation on Allah and his Prophet if Not on Them, as if They Gain Dominance Over You, They Do Not Observe Concerning You any Pact of Kinship or Covenant), 17(Idolaters Cannot Enter or Maintain the Mosques of Allah), 19-22(Service and Giving Water to Pilgrims Is Not Equal to True Belief in God, the Last Day, and Jihad), 23-24(Even if Father Brother Disbelieve No Friendship Association With Them), 25-26(Mention of Battle Of Huneyn, Affliction on Believers, Allah Helped and Sent Down Invisible Hosts), 28(Idolaters Forbidden To Enter Kaaba), 29(Fight With People Of The Book Until They Give Jazia/War Tax), 30(Jews Say Ezra S/O God, Christians Say Jesus S/O God), 32(They Want To Extinguish the Light of Allah With Their Mouths, but Allah Refuses Except To Perfect his Light,), 33(Islam Will Prevail, God’s Promise To Manifest It Over all Religions), 34-35(Those Who Hoard Gold And Silver And Spend It Not in the Way of Allah. It Will Be Heated in the Fire of Hell & Seared Therewith Their Backs & Foreheads), 36-37 (the Number of Months With Allah Is Twelve After Creation, 4 Are Sacred, the Disbelievers Want To Exchange Sacred Months With Other Months To Fight), 40(Prophet Muhammad & his Friend Abu Baker in Cave), 42-48(Mention of Events Related to Battle of Tabuk, Excuses of Some People To Avoid Going in Battle, God Asked Prophet “Why Did You Allow?”), 49(One Person Excuse Was, Don’t Put Me in Trial), 52(They Actually Waiting for the Outcome One of the Two Best Things I.E Either Victory or Martyrdom in God’s Cause), 60(Disposal of Zakat& Charity), 61(God Condemns Those Companions That They Abuse the Prophet by Saying; He Is an Ear/ A Hearer), 64(Fear of Hypocrites Any Surah Might Not Revealed Against Them and Open Up Their True Face), 70-72(Mention of Old Prophets and Cities, Promise With Believers of Eden), 73-83(Planning of Hypocrites Against God and Prophet, God Declared: no Forgiveness for Hypocrites Even Muhammad You Ask for Seventy Times Verse80, Mention of Battle of Tabuk When Some Said “Do Not Go Forth in the Heat.” Say, “the Fire of Hell Is More Intensive in Heat” Verse 81), 84-87(Do Not Pray on Hypocrites When They Die, Traits of Hypocrites), 92-93(no Blame of Not Going in Battle for Genuine Reasons but Blame on Those Who Were Wealthy and Healthy), 97-99(Al Arab Wandering Arabs Are Stronger in Disbelief and Hypocrisy), 102-106(Pending Decision of Acceptance of Repentance of Some Good Companions of Prophet), 107-110(Mention of Masjid E Zarar, Mosque for Causing Harm, a Mosque in Madina Made by Hypocrites), 111(Allah Has Bought Lives of Believers Against Heaven), 113-114(It Is Not for the Prophet and Those Who Have Believed To Ask Forgiveness for the Polytheists, Even if They Were Relatives, Example of Ibrahim and his Father), 118 (Mention of 3 Pending Cases of Companions of Prophet, Forgiveness Granted), 123(Fight Those Near to You Among Those Who Disbelief)

SURAH TAWBAH BRIEF COMMENTARY & BACK GROUND

This Surah has 129 verses divided into 16 Rukus/Sections. It is a Madni Surah revealed partly before, during and after the battle of Tabuk that happened in 9AH, 630AD. This Surah also enunciates the principles of war and peace. This is the only Surah of Quran not staring with Bismillah. Since compilation of Quran, various reasons were given for this, which I narrowed down to 3 categories: 1-Bismillah was not revealed with Surah Tawbah nor did the Prophet Muhammad command the writers of revelation to write it. 2- Surah Taubah can be considered as part of the previous Surah Anfaal, as suggested by some Companions of the Prophet. 3- Because Bismillah is Mercy and safety and Surah Tawbah revealed with the sword i.e for punishment, dissociation and “Azaab” for disbelievers and hypocrites therefore this statement contradicts the meaning of “Bismillah” hence it’s not part of this Surah.

Surah Tawbah revealed at a time when after the conquest of Mecca in 8AH and the battle of Hunein, Islam had become almost the sole religion of the whole of Arab. Hardly one year had passed after the Battle of Hunein when the major portion of Arabia came within the banner of Islam. The tribes that were still out of Islam came under its flag soon after the battle/campaign of Tabuk. Tabuk was such a bold indication of this newly born Islamic state that it has its resonance effects on all the regions near and far. Tabuk expedition was against the Christians living on the borders of the Roman/Byzantine Empire who were doing provoking activities, executed the Muslim delegations and even the special messenger of Prophet Muhammad and also creating troubles for the trade caravans. Prophet Muhammad decided a strong action and sent an army of three thousand men under the command of Zayd bin Harith, but they encountered a huge Roman army of almost more than 100,000 in number. The battle is called Battle of Ma’uta and despite all odds of having one vs. 34 in number. Muslims courageously fought and caused a great loss to Byzantines army but themselves lost their three commanders, and lastly, the command came in the hands of Khalid bin Waleed. Muslims then forced to return to save their remaining men and came back to Madina. However, their bold and fearless fighting had caused a great impact on Romans and many Christians living near borders of Arabia embraced Islam. So much so that few commanders of Caesar the Roman/Byzantine King also accepted Islam. Seeing this Caesar decided to uproot Islam and prepared for a War.

Prophet knew very well that at this time they have to show the same courage as it was in the battle of Badr otherwise the newly born Islamic state could become a victim of Romans and internally the remaining opponents could stand again and could cause them significant damage. So these were the circumstances when Prophet decided for Tabuk expedition. Tabuk was an offensive defense against the mighty Roman Empire the superpower of that time. The prophet went for Tabuk with thirty thousand companions. This courage of Muslims and their zeal and devotion, the direct command of Prophet and also the previous experience in the battle of Ma’uta caused such a fear in the heart of Byzantines that even though prophet remained in Tabuk for almost a month, they didn’t dare to gather for a fight. And thus the prophet decided to return to Madina which was also in threat and dangers from the activities of Hypocrites. His triumphant return caused such an impression in the hearts of others the result of which was as described by Quran in Surah Nasr  “When there cometh the succor of Allah and the victory, And thou beholdest mankind entering the religion of Allah in crowds.” Thus delegations from all sides of Arab began coming to Madina to offer their allegiance to Islam.