Surah At-Tawba carries forward the same theme of behavior during times of battle. This chapter was revealed at the time of the expedition to Tabuk, in the 9th year after Hijrah. By this time, the Islamic state was well-established and well-organized, and Islam was spreading throughout the region. At the north, near Tabuk, the Islamic empire approached the boundaries of the powerful Roman Empire. The decision was made to act forcefully in the northern region in order to protect the Muslims who were living in the border region, and to establish the Islamic empire as a force to be reckoned with, not another fledgling movement that the Romans could easily crush. The Muslims won a moral victory when the Romans withdrew from the area rather than face battle.
The themes of this section deal with the nature of warfare and the sanctity of treaties. Muslims are to negotiate in good faith and respect the terms of an agreement. However, if the other party breaks a treaty first, there is no obligation on the Muslims to continue to honor it. Muslims who are compelled to fight are urged to fight without fear. They should not cower and hide at home to avoid the fight, allowing danger, difficulties, doubts or temptations to distract from one’s duty. A warning is given about hypocrites, as they are reluctant to participate and hide their true colors.
We do not recite ‘Bismillah….’ when beginning Surah at Tawbah, because Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam) didn’t teach us to do so and ‘Bismillah’ is a sign of peace while this surah starts with Allah’s orders to fight those who pose a threat to Deen.
- [9:3] An announcement from Allah and His Messenger to the people on the day of the greater pilgrimage, that Allah and His Messenger are disassociated from the disbelievers. So if you repent, that is best for you; but if you turn away – then get ready for painful torment.
- [9:5] Know which are the four sacred months: Muharram, Rajab, Dhul qa’dah and Dhul hijjah…the reward for good deeds is multiplied during these months and sins have serious consequences.
- [9:6] If any one of the Mushrikun (polytheists, idolaters, pagans, disbelievers) seeks your protection, then grant him protection so that he may hear the words of Allah, as they are unknown to the knowledge of Deen.
- [9:11] Whoever becomes Muslim- Allah forgives all his previous sins. How many times do you hear: “O really, she became Muslim now? She always used to go clubbing!” “He is a Muslim now, he was like the biggest player ever!” Never hold a new Muslim accountable for anything they did, nor remind them or others of their bad deeds in jahiliyyah unless they mention them as examples themselves.
- [9:13] Never fear any person or any thing or situation more than Allah.
- [9:14] Sometimes Allah punishes or rewards people through the hands of other people. Ask Allah to use you as a tool to benefit Islam and the Muslims.
- [9:16] Don’t complain when you are being tested, see it as an opportunity to bring you one step closer to Jannah. Next time you are tested, try it, first say alhamdulillah ( alaa kulli haal – in every situation) instead of “I can’t believe this.”
- [9:18] Building and maintaining Masajid of Allah, keeping them clean and always full of remembrance of Allah is the duty of Muslims who perform prayers, give zakah and fear Allah. It’s from the acts most beloved to Allah.
- [9:24] Love of Allah and His Propet (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam), love of striving to follow their teachings, for working to spread His deen should be more than love of our ego, family, wealth, jobs and beloved possessions. What do your actions show – where does your love really lie? Check yourself. If you had an opportunity now to go to a place where you could help and defend the oppressed Muslims- would you, really?
- [9:32-33] Islam is the only religion that Allah will make victorious over all other religions, no matter what the haters plan and do to spoil its image.
- [9:34-35] Don’t hoard your money or keep on saving it, not wanting to give some sadaqah. Be generous. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:
“There is no day on which the people get up but two angels come down and one of them says, ‘O Allaah, give in compensation to the one who spends (in charity),’ and the other says, ‘O Allaah, destroy the one who withholds.’ ”
(Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1374; Muslim, 1010)
“Allaah said: ‘Spend, O son of Adam, and I shall spend on you.’”(Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 5073; Muslim, 993)
- [9:37] Ask Allah to always make you aware when you should do tawbah – some people’s hearts keep bothering them after sinning to repent- while others don’t even realize the bad of their deeds, in fact they are enjoying their bad habits (eg coming together with friends and gossip). Pray for a heart that gets restless when you sin.
- [9:39] If you don’t strive in Allah’s way, Allah will put others in your way. Don’t be of those who are easily replaced, leave a legacy.
- [9:51] قُلْ لَنْ يُصِيبَنَا إِلَّا مَا كَتَبَ اللَّهُ لَنَا هُوَ مَوْلَانَا ۚ وَعَلَى اللَّهِ فَلْيَتَوَكَّلِ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ Whatever Allah has written in our destiny is bound to happen…we cant change it. So always hope for the best…and don’t let negative feelings stop you from doing good deeds and going forth in the way of Allah. Eeman in Qadr is a part of Aqeeda-e-Emaan. It is reported in Musnad Ahmad and Sunan Abi Dawud on the authority of Ibn Ad-Dailami that he said:
I went to Ubai bin Ka’b (May Allah be pleased with him) and I said to him “There is something within me (doubt) -regarding Al-Qadar. Please narrate to me something that perhaps by it Allah would take it (doubt) from my heart.” He said, “Even if you spend gold equal to the weight of Uhud mountain, Allah will not accept it until you believe in Qadar. And know that what has afflicted you was not to miss you and what has missed you was not to afflict you and if you die believing something other than this, then you are one of the people of Hell-fire.” I then went to Abdullah bin Mas’ud, and Hudhaifa bin Al-Yaman and Zaid bin Thabit (May Allah be pleased with him) and they all reported something similar from the Prophet (May the peace and blessing of Allah be upon him) to me.
( Al-Hakim reported it in his collection Sahih.)
- [9:55] [9:85] Do not wonder and be amazed at the shower of favors on the those who are away from Deen or the disbelievers. Allah only gives them to make them increase in sin through those blessings. It is actually a punishment for them as it makes them more arrogant.
- [9:59] Tell yourselves “Hasbunallah” (Allah is enough for us). Be happy with all that comes from Allah, and be content with Him. Because you see, He “is” enough. And when He is enough for you, then all that comes from Him in this life will become enough for you – it will fill your heart. This is a powerful mindset to adopt because it makes you feel instantly capable and you find yourself embracing many things with a confident spirit.
- [9:60] Know the recipients of zakah (yearly obligatory charity). Allah has ordered our Zakah to be only for the poor and needy, for those employed to collect [zakah], for needy non muslims to attract them to our Deen, for freeing captives [or slaves], for those in debt, for the cause of Allah and for the [stranded] traveler.
- [9:65-66] Whoever ridicules/makes fun of a Muslim woman or man for sticking to and applying the teachings of Islam is a disbeliever. This is regardless of whether it is concerning woman’s hijab, or a man’s long beard, or any other matter of the Shari’ah. This is based on the following narration from Abdullah Ibn Umar:
- [9:72] Stop being worried about the approval of people. Ask for Allah’s ridwaan (approval, pleasure) – this is the best you can ever attain.
- [9:75] Never say “if I had the money, I would give that and that charity” and then when you have the money you don’t. Allah knows your intention. Give when you have little and when you have more…invest for the life of your Akhirah. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:
“Whoever gives charity equal to a date from good (halal) earnings – for Allaah does not accept anything but that which is good – Allaah will take it in His right hand and tend it for the one who gave it as any one of you tends his young horse, until it becomes like a mountain.”
(Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1344; Muslim, 1014)
- [9:81] Never make the hot weather an excuse to avoid doing good deeds. Be it going to the masjid for obligatory prayers for brothers, or fasting long hot days or wearing hijab for sisters, or helping out the poor or other such projects for the sake of Allah. Remember! The fire of Hell is hotter. Do all that you can to be protected from it.
English Compilation: Sr. Mariam Anwer ( Quest for Paradise)