There are seventy-five Ayat in this Surah. The word count of this Surah is one thousand, six hundred and thirty-one words and its letters number five thousand, two hundred and ninety-four.
In the Name of Allah the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
(1. They ask you about Al-Anfal (the spoils of war). Say: "Al-Anfal are for Allah and the Messenger.'' So have Taqwa of Allah and settle all matters of difference among you, and obey Allah and His Messenger, if you are believers.)
Al-Bukhari recorded that Ibn `Abbas said, "Al-Anfal are the spoils of war.'' Al-Bukhari also recorded that Sa`id bin Jubayr said, "I said to Ibn `Abbas, `Surat Al-Anfal' He said, `It was revealed concerning (the battle of) Badr.''' `Ali bin Abi Talhah reported, as Al-Bukhari recorded from Ibn `Abbas without a chain of narration, that Ibn `Abbas said, "Al-Anfal are the spoils of war; they were for the Messenger of Allah, and none had a share in them.'' Similar was said by Mujahid, `Ikrimah, `Ata', Ad-Dahhak, Qatadah, `Ata' Al-Khurasani, Muqatil bin Hayyan, `Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam and several others. It was also said that the Nafl (singular for Anfal) refers to the portion of the spoils of war that the commander gives to some of the fighters after dividing the bulk of the spoils. It was also said that Anfal refers to the Khumus; one-fifth of the captured goods after four-fifths are divided (between the fighters). It was also said that the Anfal refers to the Fay', the possessions taken from the disbelievers without fighting, and the animals, servants or whatever other possessions escape from the disbelievers to Muslims.
Ibn Jarir recorded that `Ali bin Salih bin Hay said: "It has reached me that,
(They ask you about Al-Anfal) is about the divisions. This refer to what the Imam gives to some squads in addition to what is divided among the rest of the soldiers.''
Imam Ahmad recorded that Sa`d bin Malik said, "I said, `O Allah's Messenger, Allah has brought comfort to me today over the idolators, so grant me this sword.' He said,
(This sword 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 fiercely as I did.' I heard a man calling me from behind and I said, `Has Allah revealed something in my case' The Prophet said,
(You asked me to give you the sword, but it is not for me to decide about. However, it has been granted to me (by Allah), and I give it to you.) So Allah sent down this Ayah,
(They ask you about Al-Anfal. Say: "Al-Anfal are for Allah and the Messenger'').
Abu Dawud, At-Tirmidhi and An-Nasa'i collected this Hadith, At-Tirmidhi said, "Hasan Sahih''.
Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Umamah said, "I asked `Ubadah about Al-Anfal and he said, `It was revealed about us, those who participated in (the battle of) Badr, when we disputed about An-Nafl and our dispute was not appealing. So Allah took Al-Anfal from us and gave it to the Messenger of Allah. The Messenger divided it equally among Muslims.'''
Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Umamah said that `Ubadah bin As-Samit said, "We went with the Messenger of Allah to the battle of Badr. When the two armies met, Allah defeated the enemy and some of us pursued them inflicting utter defeat and casualties. Another group of us came to the battlefield collecting the spoils of war. Another group surrounded the Messenger of Allah, so that the enemy could not attack him suddenly. When it was night and the various army groups went back to our camp, some of those who collected the spoils said, `We collected it, so none else will have a share in it.' Those who went in pursuit of the enemy said, `No, you have no more right to it than us. We kept the enemy away from the war spoils and defeated them.' Those who surrounded the Messenger of Allah to protect him said, `You have no more right to it than us, we surrounded the Messenger of Allah for fear that the enemy might conduct a surprise attack against him, so we were busy.' The Ayah,
(They ask you about Al-Anfal (the spoils of war). Say: "Al-Anfal are for Allah and the Messenger.'' So fear Allah and settle all matters of difference among you.) was revealed and the Messenger of Allah divided the Anfal equally between Muslims.'''
(And Allah's Messenger would give a fourth for Anfal when there was a surprise attack in the land of the enemy, and when there was a confrontation then a third to the people who returned).
The Prophet used to dislike the Anfal and encouraged strong fighters to give some of their share to weak Muslim fighters. At-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah collected a similar narration for this Hadith, and At-Tirmidhi said, "Hasan''.
(So have Taqwa of Allah and settle all matters of difference among you,)
The Ayah commands, have Taqwa of Allah in all your affairs, settle matters of differences between you, do not wrong each other, do not dispute, and do not differ. Certainly, the guidance and knowledge that Allah has granted you is better than what you are disputing about (such as Al-Anfal),
(and obey Allah and His Messenger,) in the division that the Messenger makes according to Allah's order. The Prophet only divided according to what Allah ordained, which is perfectly just and fair. Ibn `Abbas commented on this Ayah, "This is a command from Allah and His Messenger to the believers, that they should have Taqwa of Allah and settle all matters of differences between them.'' A similar statement was reported from Mujahid. As-Suddi also commented on Allah's statement,
(So have Taqwa of Allah and settle all matters of difference among you), meaning "Do not curse each other.''
(2. The believers are only those who, when Allah is mentioned, feel a fear in their hearts and when His Ayat are recited unto them, they increase their faith; and they put their trust in their Lord;) (3. Who perform the Salah and spend out of what We have provided them.) (4. It is they who are the believers in truth. For them are grades of dignity with their Lord, and forgiveness and a generous provision (Paradise).)
`Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn `Abbas said about the Ayah,
(The believers are only those who, when Allah is mentioned, feel a fear in their hearts)
"None of Allah's remembrance enters the hearts of the hypocrites upon performing what He has ordained. They neither believe in any of Allah's Ayat nor trust (in Allah) nor pray if they are alone nor pay the Zakah due on their wealth. Allah stated that they are not believers. He then described the believers by saying,
(The believers are only those who, when Allah is mentioned, feel a fear in their hearts) and they perform what He has ordained,
(and when His Ayat are recited unto them, they increase their faith) and conviction,
(and they put their trust in their Lord), having hope in none except Him. '' Mujahid commented on,
(their hearts Wajilat), "Their hearts become afraid and fearful.'' Similar was said by As-Suddi and several others. The quality of a true believer is that when Allah is mentioned, he feels a fear in his heart, and thus implements His orders and abstains from His prohibitions. Allah said in a similar Ayah,
(And those who, when they have committed Fahishah (immoral sin) or wronged themselves with evil, remember Allah and ask forgiveness for their sins; -- and none can forgive sins but Allah -- and do not persist in what (wrong) they have done, while they know) (3:135), and,
(But as for him who feared standing before his Lord, and restrained himself from vain desires. Verily, Paradise will be his abode.) (79:40-41)
Sufyan Ath-Thawri narrated that As-Suddi commented,
"A man might be thinking of committing injustice or a sin. But he abstains when he is told, `Have Taqwa of Allah', and his heart becomes fearful.'''
(And when His Ayat are recited unto them, they increase their faith;) is similar to His statement,
(And whenever there comes down a Surah, some of them (hypocrites) say: "Which of you has had his faith increased by it'' As for those who believe, it has increased their faith, and they rejoice) (9:124).
Al-Bukhari and other scholars relied on this Ayah (8:2) and those similar, as evidence that faith increases and varies in strength from heart to heart. This is also the view of the majority of the scholars of Islam, prompting some scholars, such as Ash-Shafi`i, Ahmad bin Hanbal and Abu `Ubayd to declare that this is the consensus of the Ummah, as we mentioned in the beginning of the explanation of Sahih Al-Bukhari. All the thanks and praises are due to Allah.
(And they put their trust in their Lord.)
Therefore, the believers hope in none except Allah, direct their dedication to Him alone, seek refuge with Him alone, invoke Him alone for their various needs and supplicate to Him alone. They know that whatever He wills, occurs and that whatever He does not will never occurs, that He alone is the One Who has the decision in His kingdom, without partners; none can avert the decision of Allah and He is swift in reckoning. Hence the statement of Sa`id bin Jubayr, "Tawakkul of Allah is the essence of faith.
Allah said next,
(Who perform the Salah and spend out of what We have provided them.)
Allah describes the actions of the believers after He mentioned their faith. The acts mentioned here include all types of righteous acts, such as establishing prayer, which is Allah's right. Qatadah said, "Establishing the prayer requires preserving its times, making ablution for it, bowing down and prostrating.'' Muqatil bin Hayyan said, "Establishing the prayer means to preserve its times, perform perfect purity for it, perform perfect bowings and prostrations, recite the Qur'an during it, sitting for Tashahhud and reciting the Salah (invoking Allah's blessings) for the benefit of the Prophet.''
Spending from what Allah has granted includes giving the Zakah and the rest of the what is due from the servant, either what is obligatory or recommended. All of the servants are Allah's dependents, and the most beloved among them to Him are the most beneficial to His creation.
(It is they who are the believers in truth.) means, those who have these qualities are the believers with true faith.
(For them are grades of dignity with their Lord) meaning, they have different grades, ranks and status in Paradise,
(They are in varying grades with Allah, and Allah is All-Seer of what they do.) (3:163)
Next, Allah said,
(and forgiveness), therefore, Allah will forgive them their sins and reward them for their good deeds. In the Two Sahihs, it is recorded that the Messenger of Allah said,
(The residents of `Illiyyin (in Paradise) are seen from those below them, just as you see the distant planet in the horizon of the sky.)
They said, "O Allah's Messenger! They are the grades of the Prophets that none except them would attain.'' The Prophet said,
(Rather, by He in Whose Hand is my soul! They are for men who have faith in Allah and believed in the Messengers.)
In a Hadith recorded by Imam Ahmad and the collectors of Sunan, Abu `Atiyyah said that Ibn Abu Sa`id said that the Messenger of Allah said,
(Residents of Paradise see the residents of the highest grades just as you see the distant planet in the horizon of the sky. Verily, Abu Bakr and `Umar are among them (in the highest grades), and how excellent they are.)
(5. As your Lord caused you to go out from your home with the truth; and verily, a party among the believers disliked it.) (6. Disputing with you concerning the truth after it was made manifest, as if they were being driven to death, while they were looking (at it).) (7. And (remember) when Allah promised you (Muslims) one of the two parties, that it should be yours; you wished that the one not armed should be yours, but Allah willed to justify the truth by His Words and to cut off the roots of the disbelievers.) (8. That He might cause the truth to triumph and bring falsehood to nothing, even though the criminals hate it.)