;
Fighting in the Sacred Months

Allah said,

﴿ وَقَـٰتِلُواْ ٱلۡمُشۡرِڪِينَ كَآفَّةً۬

(and fight against the idolators collectively), all of you,

﴿ ڪَمَا يُقَـٰتِلُونَكُمۡ ڪَآفَّةً۬‌ۚ

(as they fight against you collectively.), all of them,

﴿ وَٱعۡلَمُوٓاْ أَنَّ ٱللَّهَ مَعَ ٱلۡمُتَّقِينَ

(But know that Allah is with those who have Taqwa), and know that initiating battle during the Sacred Months is forbidden. Allah said in other Ayat,

﴿ يَـٰٓأَيُّہَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ لَا تُحِلُّواْ شَعَـٰٓٮِٕرَ ٱللَّهِ وَلَا ٱلشَّہۡرَ ٱلۡحَرَامَ

(O you who believe! Violate not the sanctity of the symbols of Allah, nor of the sacred month.) (5:2),

﴿ ٱلشَّہۡرُ ٱلۡحَرَامُ بِٱلشَّہۡرِ ٱلۡحَرَامِ وَٱلۡحُرُمَـٰتُ قِصَاصٌ۬‌ۚ فَمَنِ ٱعۡتَدَىٰ عَلَيۡكُمۡ فَٱعۡتَدُواْ عَلَيۡهِ بِمِثۡلِ مَا ٱعۡتَدَىٰ عَلَيۡكُمۡ‌ۚ

(The Sacred Month is for the Sacred Month, and for the prohibited things, there is the law of equality (Qisas). Then whoever transgresses the prohibition against you, you transgress likewise against him) (2:194), and,

﴿ فَإِذَا ٱنسَلَخَ ٱلۡأَشۡہُرُ ٱلۡحُرُمُ فَٱقۡتُلُواْ ٱلۡمُشۡرِكِينَ

(Then when the Sacred Months have passed, kill the idolators...) (9:5). As for Allah's statement,

﴿ وَقَـٰتِلُواْ ٱلۡمُشۡرِڪِينَ كَآفَّةً۬ ڪَمَا يُقَـٰتِلُونَكُمۡ ڪَآفَّةً۬‌ۚ

(And fight against the idolators collectively as they fight against you collectively), it includes permission for the believers to fight the idolators in the Sacred Month, if the idolators initiate hostilities therein. Allah said in other Ayat,

﴿ ٱلشَّہۡرُ ٱلۡحَرَامُ بِٱلشَّہۡرِ ٱلۡحَرَامِ وَٱلۡحُرُمَـٰتُ قِصَاصٌ۬‌ۚ

(The Sacred Month is for the Sacred Month, and for the prohibited things, there is the law of equality (Qisas)) (2:194), and,

﴿ وَلَا تُقَـٰتِلُوهُمۡ عِندَ ٱلۡمَسۡجِدِ ٱلۡحَرَامِ حَتَّىٰ يُقَـٰتِلُوكُمۡ فِيهِ‌ۖ فَإِن قَـٰتَلُوكُمۡ فَٱقۡتُلُوهُمۡ‌ۗ

(And fight not with them at Al-Masjid Al-Haram, unless they (first) fight you there. But if they attack you, then kill them.) (2:191). As for the Messenger of Allah laying siege to At-Ta'if until the Sacred Month started, it was a continuation of the battle against Hawazin and their allies from Thaqif. They started the fighting and gathered their men for the purpose of conducting war. The Messenger of Allah marched to meet them and when they took refuge in At-Ta'if, the Prophet laid siege to them so that they descend from their forts, but they inflicted casualties on Muslims. The siege continued for about forty days, during which a Sacred Month began, and the siege continued for several days in that month. The Messenger broke the siege and went back (to Makkah). So fighting that carries over into it (the Sacred Month) is not the same as initiating warfare during it, Allah knows best.

﴿ إِنَّمَا ٱلنَّسِىٓءُ زِيَادَةٌ۬ فِى ٱلۡڪُفۡرِ‌ۖ يُضَلُّ بِهِ ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ يُحِلُّونَهُ ۥ عَامً۬ا وَيُحَرِّمُونَهُ ۥ عَامً۬ا لِّيُوَاطِـُٔواْ عِدَّةَ مَا حَرَّمَ ٱللَّهُ فَيُحِلُّواْ مَا حَرَّمَ ٱللَّهُ‌ۚ زُيِّنَ لَهُمۡ سُوٓءُ أَعۡمَـٰلِهِمۡ‌ۗ وَٱللَّهُ لَا يَهۡدِى ٱلۡقَوۡمَ ٱلۡڪَـٰفِرِينَ

(37. The postponing (of a Sacred Month) is indeed an addition to disbelief: thereby the disbelievers are led astray, for they make it lawful one year and forbid it another year in order to adjust the number of months forbidden by Allah, and make such forbidden ones lawful. The evil of their deeds is made fair-seeming to them. And Allah guides not the people who disbelieve.)

Admonishing the Preference of Opinion in a Religious Matter

Allah admonishes the idolators for choosing their wicked opinions over Allah's Law. They changed Allah's legislation based upon their vain desires, allowing what Allah prohibited and prohibiting what Allah allowed. They thought that three consecutive sacred months were rather long for them to remain without fighting, for they were full of anger and rage. This is why before Islam they innovated a change in the Sacred Month of Muharram, delaying it to the month of Safar! Therefore, they allowed fighting in the Sacred Month and made the non-sacred month sacred, to make the Sacred Months in a year four, as Allah decided! `Ali bin Abi Talhah said that Ibn `Abbas commented on Allah's statement,

﴿ إِنَّمَا ٱلنَّسِىٓءُ زِيَادَةٌ۬ فِى ٱلۡڪُفۡرِ‌ۖ

(The postponing (of a Sacred Month) is indeed an addition to disbelief), "Junadah bin `Awf bin Umayyah Al-Kinani, known as Abu Thumamah, used to attend the Hajj season every year and declare, `Abu Thumamah is never rejected nor refuted!,' and he used to treat Safar as sacred for people one year (and un-sanctify Muharram) and treat Muharram as sacred another year (and un-sanctify Safar in that year). This is why Allah said,

﴿ إِنَّمَا ٱلنَّسِىٓءُ زِيَادَةٌ۬ فِى ٱلۡڪُفۡرِ‌ۖ

(The postponing (of a Sacred Month) is indeed an addition to disbelief. ) Allah says, `They allow Muharram one year and make it sacred another year.''' Al-`Awfi narrated a similar statement from Ibn `Abbas. Layth bin Abi Sulaym narrated that Mujahid said, "There was a man from Bani Kinanah who would attend the Hajj season every year riding his donkey. He would proclaim, `O people! I am never rejected, denied or refuted in what I say. We made this coming Muharram sacred, and Safar not!' The following year he would come again and declare the same words then say, `We made this coming Safar sacred and delayed Muharram (revoked its sanctity).' This is the meaning of Allah's statement,

﴿ لِّيُوَاطِـُٔواْ عِدَّةَ مَا حَرَّمَ ٱللَّهُ

(in order to adjust the number of months forbidden by Allah), to four months. Allah says, `They allow what Allah disallowed by delaying the Sacred Month.''' The idolators used to allow Muharram one year and sanctify Safar in its place. They would continue the months of the year according to their normal count and names. The next year they would sanctify Muharram and continue the year, Safar, Rabi`, until the end of the year.

﴿ يُحِلُّونَهُ ۥ عَامً۬ا وَيُحَرِّمُونَهُ ۥ عَامً۬ا لِّيُوَاطِـُٔواْ عِدَّةَ مَا حَرَّمَ ٱللَّهُ فَيُحِلُّواْ مَا حَرَّمَ ٱللَّهُ‌ۚ

(They make it lawful one year and forbid it another year in order to adjust the number of months forbidden by Allah, and make such forbidden ones lawful.) Therefore, they would still sanctify four months every year, but would one year sanctify the third from the three consecutive Sacred Months, Muharram, and postpone and delay it another year to Safar. In his book of Sirah, Imam Muhammad bin Ishaq presented a very useful beneficial discussion on this matter. He said; "The first to start the practice of overlooking the sanctity of months for the Arabs, thus allowing what Allah sanctified of them and sanctifying what Allah allowed of them, was "Al-Qalammas''. He was Hudhayfah bin `Abd Fuqaym bin `Adi bin `Amr bin Tha`labah bin Al-Harith bin Malik bin Kinanah bin Khuzaymah bin Mudrikah bin Ilyas bin Mudar bin Nizar bin Ma`dd bin `Adnan. His son `Abbad maintained this practice, then after him his son Qala` bin `Abbad did the same, Then his son Umayyah bin Qala`, then his son `Awf bin Umayyah, then his son Abu Thumamah Junadah bin `Awf. He was the last one of his sons (to continue this practice) before Islam. The Arabs used to gather around him when Hajj finished, and he would stand and give them a speech in which he sanctifies Rajab, Dhul-Qa`dah and Dhul-Hijjah. He would defer the sanctity of Muharram to Safar one year and uphold its sanctity another year, so as to appear upholding the number (of Sacred Months) Allah made sacred. Therefore, he would allow what Allah prohibited and prohibit what Allah allowed.'' Allah knows best.

﴿ يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ مَا لَكُمۡ إِذَا قِيلَ لَكُمُ ٱنفِرُواْ فِى سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ ٱثَّاقَلۡتُمۡ إِلَى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ‌ۚ أَرَضِيتُم بِٱلۡحَيَوٰةِ ٱلدُّنۡيَا مِنَ ٱلۡأَخِرَةِ‌ۚ فَمَا مَتَـٰعُ ٱلۡحَيَوٰةِ ٱلدُّنۡيَا فِى ٱلۡأَخِرَةِ إِلَّا قَلِيلٌ إِلَّا تَنفِرُواْ يُعَذِّبۡڪُمۡ عَذَابًا أَلِيمً۬ا وَيَسۡتَبۡدِلۡ قَوۡمًا غَيۡرَڪُمۡ وَلَا تَضُرُّوهُ شَيۡـًٔ۬ا‌ۗ وَٱللَّهُ عَلَىٰ ڪُلِّ شَىۡءٍ۬ قَدِيرٌ

(38. O you who believe! What is the matter with you, that when you are asked to march forth in the cause of Allah, you cling heavily to the earth Are you pleased with the life of this world rather than the Hereafter But little is the enjoyment of the life of this world compared to the Hereafter.) (39. If you march not forth, He will punish you with a painful torment and will replace you by another people; and you cannot harm Him at all, and Allah is able to do all things.)

Admonishing clinging to Life rather than rushing to perform Jihad

Allah admonishes those who lagged behind the Messenger of Allah in the battle of Tabuk, at a time when fruits were ripe and shades tempting in the intense and terrible heat,

﴿ يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ مَا لَكُمۡ إِذَا قِيلَ لَكُمُ ٱنفِرُواْ فِى سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ

(O you who believe! What is the matter with you, that when you are asked to march forth in the cause of Allah), if you are called to perform Jihad in the cause of Allah,

﴿ ٱثَّاقَلۡتُمۡ إِلَى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ‌ۚ

(you cling heavily to the earth), reclining to remain in peace, shade and ripe fruits.

﴿ أَرَضِيتُم بِٱلۡحَيَوٰةِ ٱلدُّنۡيَا مِنَ ٱلۡأَخِرَةِ‌ۚ

(Are you pleased with the life of this world rather than the Hereafter), why do you do this, is it because you prefer this life instead of the Hereafter Allah next diminishes the eagerness for this worldly life and increases it for the Hereafter,

﴿ فَمَا مَتَـٰعُ ٱلۡحَيَوٰةِ ٱلدُّنۡيَا فِى ٱلۡأَخِرَةِ إِلَّا قَلِيلٌ

(But little is the enjoyment of the life of this world compared to the Hereafter.) Imam Ahmad recorded that Al-Mustawrid, a member of Bani Fihr, said that the Messenger of Allah said,

« مَا الدُّنْيَا فِي الْآخِرَةِ إِلَّا كَمَا يَجْعَلُ أَحَدُكُمْ إِصْبَعَهُ هَذِهِ فِي الْيَمِّ، فَلْيَنْظُرْ بِمَ تَرْجِعُ؟ »

(The life of this world, compared to the Hereafter, is just like when one of you dips his finger in the sea, let him contemplate how much of it his finger would carry.) The Prophet pointed with his index finger. Muslim collected this Hadith. Ath-Thawri narrated that Al-A`mash said about the Ayah,

﴿ فَمَا مَتَـٰعُ ٱلۡحَيَوٰةِ ٱلدُّنۡيَا فِى ٱلۡأَخِرَةِ إِلَّا قَلِيلٌ

(But little is the enjoyment of the life of this world compared to the Hereafter.) "What compares to the provision a traveler takes.'' `Abdul-`Aziz bin Abi Hazim narrated that his father said, "When `Abdul-`Aziz bin Marwan was dying he said, `Bring the shroud I will be covered with so that I inspect it.' When it was placed before him, he looked at it and said, `Is this what I will end up with from this life' He then turned his back and cried, while saying, `Woe to you, O life! Your abundance is truly little, your little is short lived, we were deceived by you.''' Allah warns those who do not join Jihad,

﴿ إِلَّا تَنفِرُواْ يُعَذِّبۡڪُمۡ عَذَابًا أَلِيمً۬ا

(If you march not forth, He will punish you with a painful torment) Ibn `Abbas said, "Allah's Messenger called some Arabs to mobilize, but they lagged behind and Allah withheld rain from coming down on them, and this was their torment.'' Allah said,

﴿ وَيَسۡتَبۡدِلۡ قَوۡمًا غَيۡرَڪُمۡ

(and will replace you by another people), who will give aid to His Prophet and establish his religion. Allah said in another Ayah,

﴿ ٱلۡفُقَرَآءُ‌ۚ وَإِن تَتَوَلَّوۡاْ يَسۡتَبۡدِلۡ قَوۡمًا غَيۡرَكُمۡ ثُمَّ لَا يَكُونُوٓاْ

(And if you turn away (from the obedience to Allah), He will exchange you for some other people and they will not be your likes.) (47:38)
(There is no blame on those who are weak or ill or who find no resources to spend, if they are sincere and true (in duty) to Allah and His Messenger) (9:91).'' Ibn Jarir said that Hibban bin Zayd Ash-Shar`abi narrated to him, "We mobilized our forces with Safwan bin `Amr, who was the governor of Hims towards the city of Ephsos appointed to the Jerajima Christian expatriates (in Syria). I saw among the army an old, yet active man, whose eyebrows had sunk over his eyes (from old age), from the residents of Damascus, riding on his animal. I said to him, `O uncle! Allah has given you an excuse (to lag behind).' He said, `O my nephew! Allah has mobilized us whether we are light or heavy. Verily, those whom Allah loves, He tests them. Then to Allah is their return and eternal dwelling. Allah tests from His servants whoever thanks (Him) and observes patience and remembrance of Him, all the while worshipping Allah, the Exalted and Most Honored, and worshipping none else.''' Next, Allah encourages spending in His cause and striving with one's life in His pleasure and the pleasure of His Messenger,

﴿ وَلَا تَضُرُّوهُ شَيۡـًٔ۬ا‌ۗ

(and you cannot harm Him at all), you can never harm Allah when you lag behind and stay away from joining Jihad,

﴿ وَٱللَّهُ عَلَىٰ ڪُلِّ شَىۡءٍ۬ قَدِيرٌ

(and Allah is able to do all things.) He is able to destroy the enemies without your help.

﴿ إِلَّا تَنصُرُوهُ فَقَدۡ نَصَرَهُ ٱللَّهُ إِذۡ أَخۡرَجَهُ ٱلَّذِينَ ڪَفَرُواْ ثَانِىَ ٱثۡنَيۡنِ إِذۡ هُمَا فِى ٱلۡغَارِ إِذۡ يَقُولُ لِصَـٰحِبِهِۦ لَا تَحۡزَنۡ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ مَعَنَا‌ۖ فَأَنزَلَ ٱللَّهُ سَڪِينَتَهُ ۥ عَلَيۡهِ وَأَيَّدَهُ ۥ بِجُنُودٍ۬ لَّمۡ تَرَوۡهَا وَجَعَلَ ڪَلِمَةَ ٱلَّذِينَ ڪَفَرُواْ ٱلسُّفۡلَىٰ‌ۗ وَڪَلِمَةُ ٱللَّهِ هِىَ ٱلۡعُلۡيَا‌ۗ وَٱللَّهُ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٌ

(40. If you help him (Muhammad ) not (it does not matter), for Allah did indeed help him when the disbelievers drove him out, the second of the two; when they were both in the cave, he said to his companion: "Be not sad (or afraid), surely, Allah is with us.'' Then Allah sent down His Sakinah (calmness, tranquillity, peace) upon him, and strengthened him with forces (angels) which you saw not, and made the word of those who disbelieved the lowermost, while the Word of Allah that became the uppermost; and Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise.)