Allah warns His believing servants of a Fitnah, trial and test, that encompasses the wicked and those around them. Therefore, such Fitnah will not be restricted to the sinners and evildoers. Rather, it will reach the others if the sins are not stopped and prevented. Imam Ahmad recorded that Mutarrif said, "We asked Az-Zubayr, `O Abu `Abdullah! What brought you here (for the battle of Al-Jamal) You abandoned the Khalifah who was assassinated (`Uthman, may Allah be pleased with him) and then came asking for revenge for his blood' He said, `We recited at the time of the Messenger of Allah , and Abu Bakr, `Umar and `Uthman,
(And fear the Fitnah (affliction and trial) which affects not in particular (only) those of you who do wrong,) We did not think that this Ayah was about us too, until it reached us as it did.''' `Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn `Abbas said that the Ayah,
(And fear the Fitnah (affliction and trial) which affects not in particular (only) those of you who do wrong,) refers to the Companions of the Prophet in particular. In another narration from Ibn `Abbas, he said, "Allah commanded the believers to stop evil from flourishing among them, so that Allah does not encompass them all in the torment (Fitnah). '' This, indeed, is a very good explanation, prompting Mujahid to comment about Allah's statement,
(And fear the Fitnah (affliction and trial) which affects not in particular (only) those of you who do wrong,)
"Is for you too!'' Several said similarly, such as Ad-Dahhak and Yazid bin Abi Habib and several others. Ibn Mas`ud said, "There is none among you but there is something that represents a Fitnah for him, for Allah said,
(Your wealth and your children are only a trial (Fitnah)...) (64:15). Therefore, when you seek refuge, seek it with Allah from the Fitnah that causes misguidance.'' Ibn Jarir collected this Hadith. The view that the warning in this Ayah addresses the Companions and all others is true, even though the speech in the Ayah was directed at the Companions. There are Hadiths that warn against Fitnah in general, thus providing the correctness of this explanation. Similarly there will be a separate book in which this subject will be discussed, Allah willing, as also is the case with the Imams, there being a number of writings about this. Of the most precise things that have been mentioned under this topic, is what was recorded by Imam Ahmad from Hudhayfah bin Al-Yaman that the Messenger of Allah said,
(By He in Whose Hand is my soul! You will enjoin righteousness and forbid evil, or Allah will send a punishment upon you from Him; you will supplicate then to Him, but He will not answer your supplication.)
Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Ar-Riqad said, "I heard Hudhayfah saying, `A person used to utter one word during the time of the Messenger of Allah and become a hypocrite on account of it. I now hear such words from one of you four times in the same sitting. Surely, you will enjoin good, forbid evil and encourage each other to do good or Allah will surround you all with torment, or make the wicked among you become your leaders. The righteous among you will then supplicate, but their supplication will not be accepted.''' Imam Ahmad recorded that An-Nu`man bin Bashir said that the Prophet gave a speech in which he said, while pointing to his ears with two of his fingers,
(The parable of the person abiding by Allah's order and restrictions in comparison to those who violate them, or sit idle while they are being violated, is that of those who drew lots for their seats in a boat. Some of them got seats in the lower part, which is the most rough and worst part, and the others in the upper. When the former needed water, they had to go up to bring water and that troubled the others, so they said, `Let us make a hole in our share of the ship and get water, saving those who are above us from troubling them, so, if the people in the upper part let the others do what they suggested, all the people of the ship would be destroyed, but if they prevented them, both parties would be safe.)
This was recorded by Al-Bukhari, but not Muslim, in the Book of Partnerships and the Book of Witnesses. It was also recorded by At-Tirmidhi through a different route of narration.
Imam Ahmad recorded that Umm Salamah, the Prophet's wife, said, "I heard the Messenger of Allah saying,
(If sins become apparent in my Ummah, Allah will surround them with punishment from Him.) I said, `O Allah's Messenger! Will they have righteous people among them then' He said,
(Yes.) I asked, `What will happen to them' He said,
(They will be striken as the people, but they will end up with Allah's forgiveness and pleasure.)''
Imam Ahmad recorded that Jarir said that the Messenger of Allah said,
(Every people among whom sins are being committed, while they are mightier and more numerous than those who do wrong, yet they did nothing to stop them, then Allah will surround them all with punishment.)
Ibn Majah collected this Hadith.
(26. And remember when you were few and were reckoned weak in the land, and were afraid that men might kidnap you, but He provided a safe place for you, strengthened you with His help, and provided you with good things (for livelihood) so that you might be grateful.)
Allah, the Exalted, reminds His believing servants of His blessings and favors on them. They were few and He made them many, weak and fearful and He provided them with strength and victory. They were meek and poor, and He granted them sustenance and livelihood. He ordered them to be grateful to Him, and they obeyed Him and implemented what He commanded.
When the believers were still in Makkah they were few, practicing their religion in secret, oppressed, fearing that pagans, fire worshippers or Romans might kidnap them from the various parts of Allah's earth, for they were all enemies of the Muslims, especially since Muslims were few and weak. Later on, Allah permitted the believers to migrate to Al-Madinah, where He allowed them to settle in a safe resort. Allah made the people of Al-Madinah their allies, giving them refuge and support during Badr and other battles. They helped the Migrants with their wealth and gave up their lives in obedience of Allah and His Messenger . Qatadah bin Di`amah As-Sadusi commented,
(And remember when you were few and were reckoned weak in the land,)
"Arabs were the weakest of the weak, had the toughest life, the emptiest stomachs, the barest skin and the most obvious misguidance. Those who lived among them lived in misery; those who died went to the Fire. They were being eaten up, but unable to eat up others! By Allah! We do not know of a people on the face of the earth at that time who had a worse life than them. When Allah brought Islam, He made it dominant on the earth, thus bringing provisions and leadership for them over the necks of people. It is through Islam that Allah granted all what you see, so thank Him for His favors, for your Lord is One Who bestows favors and likes praise. Verily, those who thank Allah enjoy even more bounties from Him.''
(27. O you who believe! Betray not Allah and His Messenger, nor betray knowingly your Amanat (things entrusted to you)). (28. And know that your possessions and your children are but a trial and that surely, with Allah is a mighty reward.)
The Two Sahihs mention the story of Hatib bin Abi Balta`ah. In the year of the victory of Makkah he wrote to the Quraysh alerting them that the Messenger of Allah intended to march towards them. Allah informed His Messenger of this, and he sent a Companion to retrieve the letter that Hatib sent, and then he summoned him. He admitted to what he did. `Umar bin Al-Khattab stood up and said, "O Allah's Messenger! Should I cut off his head, for he has betrayed Allah, His Messenger and the believers'' The Prophet said,
(Leave him! He participated in Badr. How do you know that Allah has not looked at those who participated in Badr and said, Do whatever you want, for I have forgiven you.)
However, it appears that this Ayah is more general, even if it was revealed about a specific incident. Such rulings are dealt with by their indications, not the specific reasons behind revealing them, according to the majority of scholars.
Betrayal includes both minor and major sins, as well those that affect others. `Ali bin Abi Talhah said that Ibn `Abbas commented on the Ayah,
(nor betray your Amanat) "The Amanah refers to the actions that Allah has entrusted the servants with, such as and including what He ordained. Therefore, Allah says here,
(nor betray...), `do not abandon the obligations.''' `Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd commented, "Allah forbade you from betraying Him and His Messenger, as hypocrites do.''
(And know that your possessions and your children are but a trial.) from Him to you. He grants these to you so that He knows which of you will be grateful and obedient to Him, or become busy with and dedicated to them instead of Him. Allah said in another Ayah,
(Your wealth and your children are only a trial, whereas Allah! With Him is a great reward.) (64:15),
(And We shall make a trial of you with evil and with good.) (21:35),
(O you who believe! Let not your properties or your children divert you from the remembrance of Allah. And whosoever does that, then they are the losers.) (63:9), and,
(O you who believe! Verily, among your wives and your children there are enemies for you (who may stop you from the obedience of Allah); therefore beware of them!) (64:14) Allah said next,
(And that surely with Allah is a mighty reward.) Therefore, Allah's reward, favor and Paradise are better for you than wealth and children. Certainly, among the wealth and children there might be enemies for you and much of them avail nothing. With Allah alone is the decision and sovereignty in this life and the Hereafter, and He gives tremendous rewards on the Day of Resurrection. In the Sahih, there is a Hadith in which the Messenger of Allah said,
(There are three qualities for which whomever has them, he will have tasted the sweetness of faith. (They are:) whoever Allah and His Messenger are dearer to him than anyone else, whoever loves a person for Allah's sake alone, and whoever prefers to be thrown in fire rather than revert to disbelief, after Allah has saved him from it.)
Therefore, loving the Messenger of Allah comes before loving children, wealth and oneself. In the Sahih, it is confirmed that he said,
(By He in Whose Hand is my soul! None of you will have faith unless I become dearer to him than himself, his family, his wealth and all people.)
(29. O you who believe! If you obey and fear Allah, He will grant you Furqan, and will expiate for you your sins, and forgive you; and Allah is the Owner of the great bounty.)
Ibn `Abbas, As-Suddi, Mujahid, `Ikrimah, Ad-Dahhak, Qatadah, Muqatil bin Hayyan and several others said that,
(Furqan), means, `a way out'; Mujahid added, "In this life and the Hereafter.'' In another narration, Ibn `Abbas is reported to have said, `Furqan' means `salvation' or -- according to another narration -- `aid'. Muhammad bin Ishaq said that `Furqan' means `criterion between truth and falsehood'. This last explanation from Ibn Ishaq is more general than the rest that we mentioned, and it also includes the other meanings. Certainly, those who have Taqwa of Allah by obeying what He ordained and abstaining from what he forbade, will be guided to differentiate between the truth and the falsehood. This will be a triumph, safety and a way out for them from the affairs of this life, all the while acquiring happiness in the Hereafter. They will also gain forgiveness, thus having their sins erased, and pardon, thus having their sins covered from other people, as well as, being directed to a way to gain Allah's tremendous rewards,
(O you who believe! Have Taqwa of Allah, and believe in His Messenger, He will give you a double portion of His mercy, and He will give you a light by which you shall walk (straight). And He will forgive you. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.) (57:28).
(30. And (remember) when the disbelievers plotted against you to imprison you, or to kill you, or to expel you (from your home, Makkah); they were plotting and Allah too was plotting; and Allah is the best of plotters.)
Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid and Qatadah said,
(Liyuthbituka) means "to imprison you.'' As-Suddi said, "Ithbat is to confine or to shackle.''
Imam Muhammad bin Ishaq bin Yasar, the author of Al-Maghazi, reported from `Abdullah bin Abi Najih, from Mujahid, from Ibn `Abbas, "Some of the chiefs of the various tribes of Quraysh gathered in Dar An-Nadwah (their conference area) and Iblis (Shaytan) met them in the shape of an eminent old man. When they saw him, they asked, `Who are you' He said, `An old man from Najd. I heard that you are having a meeting, and I wished to attend your meeting. You will benefit from my opinion and advice.' They said, `Agreed, come in.' He entered with them. Iblis said, `You have to think about this man (Muhammad)! By Allah, he will soon overwhelm you with his matter (religion).' One of them said, `Imprison him, restrained in chains, until he dies just like the poets before him all died, such as Zuhayr and An-Nabighah! Verily, he is a poet like they were.' The old man from Najd, the enemy of Allah, commented, `By Allah! This is not a good idea. His Lord will release him from his prison to his companions, who will liberate him from your hands. They will protect him from you and they might expel you from your land.' They said, `This old man said the truth. Therefore, seek an opinion other than this one.'
Another one of them said, `Expel him from your land, so that you are free from his trouble! If he leaves your land, you will not be bothered by what he does or where he goes, as long as he is not among you to bring you troubles, he will be with someone else.' The old man from Najd replied, `By Allah! This is not a good opinion. Have you forgotten his sweet talk and eloquency, as well as, how his speech captures the hearts By Allah! This way, he will collect even more followers among Arabs, who will gather against you and attack you in your own land, expel you and kill your chiefs.' They said, `He has said the truth, by Allah! Therefore, seek an opinion other than this one.' Abu Jahl, may Allah curse him, spoke next, `By Allah! I have an idea that no one else has suggested yet, and I see no better opinion for you. Choose a strong, socially elevated young man from each tribe, and give each one of them a sharp sword. Then they would all strike Muhammad at the same time with their swords and kill him. Hence, his blood would be shed by all tribes. This way, his tribe, Banu Hashim, would realize that they cannot wage war against all of the Quraysh tribes and would be forced to agree to accept the blood money; we would have brought comfort to ourselves and stopped him from bothering us.'
The old man from Najd commented, `By Allah! This man has expressed the best opinion, and I do not support any other opinion.' They quickly ended their meeting and started preparing for the implementation of this plan.
Jibril came to the Prophet and commanded him not to sleep in his bed that night and conveyed to him the news of their plot. The Messenger of Allah did not sleep in his house that night, and Allah gave him permission to migrate. After the Messenger migrated to Al-Madinah, Allah revealed to him Surat Al-Anfal reminding him of His favors and the bounties He gave him,
(And (remember) when the disbelievers plotted against you to imprison you, or to kill you, or to expel you (from Makkah); they were plotting and Allah too was plotting; and Allah is the best of plotters.)
Allah replied to the pagans' statement that they should await the death of the Prophet , just as the poets before him perished, as they claimed,
(Or do they say: "He is a poet! We await for him some calamity by time!'') (52:30)
As-Suddi narrated a similar story.
Muhammad bin Ishaq reported from Muhammad bin Ja`far bin Az-Zubayr, from `Urwah bin Az-Zubayr who commented on Allah's statement,
(...they were plotting and Allah too was plotting, and Allah is the best of plotters.) "I (Allah) plotted against them with My sure planning, and I saved you (O Muhammad) from them.''
(31. And when Our Ayat are recited to them, they say: "We have heard (the Qur'an); if we wish we can say the like of this. This is nothing but the tales of the ancients.'') (32. And (remember) when they said: "O Allah! If this (the Qur'an) is indeed the truth (revealed) from You, then rain down stones on us from the sky or bring on us a painful torment.'') (33. And Allah would not punish them while you (Muhammad ) are among them, nor will He punish them while they seek (Allah's) forgiveness.)