;
Allah supports His Prophet

Allah said,

﴿ إِلَّا تَنصُرُوهُ

(If you help him not), if you do not support His Prophet , then it does not matter, for Allah will help, support, suffice and protect him, just as He did,

﴿ إِذۡ أَخۡرَجَهُ ٱلَّذِينَ ڪَفَرُواْ ثَانِىَ ٱثۡنَيۡنِ

(when the disbelievers drove him out, the second of the two;) During the year of the Hijrah, the idolators tried to kill, imprison or expel the Prophet , who escaped with his friend and Companion, Abu Bakr bin Abi Quhafah, to the cave of Thawr. They remained in the cave for three days so that the pagans who were sent in their pursuit, returned (to Makkah), and they proceed to Al-Madinah. While in the cave, Abu Bakr was afraid the pagans might discover them for fear that some harm might touch the Messenger . The Prophet kept reassuring him and strengthening his resolve, saying,

« يَا أَبَا بَكْرٍ، مَا ظَنُكَ بِاثْنَينِ اللهُ ثَالِثُهُمَا »

(O Abu Bakr! What do you think about two, with Allah as their third) Imam Ahmad recorded from Anas that Abu Bakr said to him, "I said to the Prophet when we were in the cave, `If any of them looks down at his feet, he will see us.' He said,

« يَا أَبَا بَكْرٍ، مَا ظَنُكَ بِاثْنَينِ اللهُ ثَالِثُهُمَا »

(O Abu Bakr! What do you think about two with Allah as their third)'' This is recorded in the Two Sahihs. This is why Allah said,

﴿ فَأَنزَلَ ٱللَّهُ سَڪِينَتَهُ ۥ عَلَيۡهِ

(Then Allah sent down His Sakinah upon him) sent His aid and triumph to His Messenger , or they say it refers to Abu Bakr,

﴿ وَأَيَّدَهُ ۥ بِجُنُودٍ۬ لَّمۡ تَرَوۡهَا

(and strengthened him with forces which you saw not), the angels,

﴿ وَجَعَلَ ڪَلِمَةَ ٱلَّذِينَ ڪَفَرُواْ ٱلسُّفۡلَىٰ‌ۗ وَڪَلِمَةُ ٱللَّهِ هِىَ ٱلۡعُلۡيَا‌ۗ

(and made the word of those who disbelieved the lowermost, while the Word of Allah that became the uppermost;) Ibn `Abbas commented, "'The word of those who disbelieved', is Shirk, while, `The Word of Allah' is `La ilaha illallah.'' It is recorded in the Two Sahihs that Abu Musa Al-Ash`ari said, "The Messenger of Allah was asked about a man who fights because of courage, or out of rage for his honor, or to show off. Whom among them is in the cause of Allah' The Prophet said,

« مَنْ قَاتَلَ لِتَكُونَ كَلِمَةُ اللهِ هِيَ الْعُلْيَا فَهُوَ فِي سَبِيلِ الله »

(He who fights so that Allah's Word is superior, then he fights in Allah's cause.)'' Allah said next,

﴿ وَٱللَّهُ عَزِيزٌ

(and Allah is All-Mighty), in His revenge and taking retribution, He is the Most Formidable and those who seek refuge with Him and take shelter by adhering to what He instructs are never made to suffer injustice,

﴿ حَكِيمٌ

(All-Wise), in His statements and actions.

﴿ ٱنفِرُواْ خِفَافً۬ا وَثِقَالاً۬ وَجَـٰهِدُواْ بِأَمۡوَٲلِڪُمۡ وَأَنفُسِكُمۡ فِى سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ‌ۚ ذَٲلِكُمۡ خَيۡرٌ۬ لَّكُمۡ إِن كُنتُمۡ تَعۡلَمُونَ

(41. March forth, whether you are light or heavy, and strive hard with your wealth and your lives in the cause of Allah. This is better for you, if you but knew.)

Jihad is required in all Conditions

Sufyan Ath-Thawri narrated from his father from Abu Ad-Duha, Muslim bin Subayh, who said, "This Ayah,

﴿ ٱنفِرُواْ خِفَافً۬ا وَثِقَالاً۬

(March forth, whether you are light or heavy) was the first part to be revealed from Surah Bara'ah.'' Mu`tamir bin Sulayman narrated that his father said, "Hadrami claimed that he was told that some people used to declare that they will not gain sin (if they lag behind the forces of Jihad) because they are ill or old. This Ayah was revealed,

﴿ ٱنفِرُواْ خِفَافً۬ا وَثِقَالاً۬

(March forth, whether you are light or heavy.)'' Allah commanded mass mobilization together with the Messenger of Allah for the battle of Tabuk, to fight the disbelieving, People of the Book, the Romans, Allah's enemies. Allah ordained that the believers all march forth with the Messenger regardless whether they felt active, lazy, at ease or had difficult circumstances,

﴿ ٱنفِرُواْ خِفَافً۬ا وَثِقَالاً۬

(March forth, whether you are light or heavy) `Ali bin Zayd narrated that Anas said that Abu Talhah commented (on this Ayah), "Whether you are old or young, Allah did not leave an excuse for anyone.'' Abu Talhah marched to Ash-Sham and fought until he was killed. In another narration, Abu Talhah recited Surah Bara'ah until he reached this Ayah,

﴿ ٱنفِرُواْ خِفَافً۬ا وَثِقَالاً۬ وَجَـٰهِدُواْ بِأَمۡوَٲلِڪُمۡ وَأَنفُسِكُمۡ فِى سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ‌ۚ

(March forth, whether you are light or heavy, and strive hard with your wealth and your lives in the cause of Allah.) He then said, "I see that Allah had called us to mobilize whether we are old or young. O my children! Prepare my supplies.'' His children said, `May Allah grant you His mercy! You conducted Jihad along with the Messenger of Allah until he died, then with Abu Bakr until he died, then with `Umar until he died. Let us perform Jihad in your place.'' Abu Talhah refused and he went to the sea (under the command of Mu`awiyah) where he died. They could not find an island to bury him on until nine days later, during which his body did not deteriorate or change and they buried him on the island. As-Suddi said,

﴿ ٱنفِرُواْ خِفَافً۬ا وَثِقَالاً۬

(March forth, whether you are light or heavy), whether you are rich, poor, strong, or weak. A man came forward, and he was fat, complained, and asked for permission to stay behind (from Jihad), but the Prophet refused. Then this Ayah,

﴿ ٱنفِرُواْ خِفَافً۬ا وَثِقَالاً۬

(March forth, whether you are light or heavy) was revealed, and it became hard on the people. So Allah abrogated it with this Ayah,

﴿ لَّيۡسَ عَلَى ٱلضُّعَفَآءِ وَلَا عَلَى ٱلۡمَرۡضَىٰ وَلَا عَلَى ٱلَّذِينَ لَا يَجِدُونَ مَا يُنفِقُونَ حَرَجٌ إِذَا نَصَحُواْ لِلَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِۦ‌ۚ

r(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 ,

﴿ وَجَـٰهِدُواْ بِأَمۡوَٲلِڪُمۡ وَأَنفُسِكُمۡ فِى سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ‌ۚ ذَٲلِكُمۡ خَيۡرٌ۬ لَّكُمۡ إِن كُنتُمۡ تَعۡلَمُونَ

(and strive hard with your wealth and your lives in the cause of Allah. This is better for you, if you but knew.) Allah says, this is better for you in this life and the Hereafter. You might spend small amounts, but Allah will reward you the property of your enemy in this life, as well as, the honor that He will keep for you in the Hereafter. The Prophet said,

« تَكَفَّلَ اللهُ لِلْمُجَاهِدِ فِي سَبِيلِهِ إِنْ تَوَفَّاهُ أَنْ يُدْخِلَهُ الْجَنَّةَ، أَوْ يَرُدَّهُ إِلَى مَنْزِلِهِ بِمَا نَالَ مِنْ أَجْرٍ أَوْ غَنِيمَة »

(Allah promised the Mujahid in His cause that if He brings death to him, He will enter him into Paradise. Or, He will return him to his house with whatever reward and war spoils he earns.) So Allah said;

﴿ كُتِبَ عَلَيۡڪُمُ ٱلۡقِتَالُ وَهُوَ كُرۡهٌ۬ لَّكُمۡ‌ۖ وَعَسَىٰٓ أَن تَكۡرَهُواْ شَيۡـًٔ۬ا وَهُوَ خَيۡرٌ۬ لَّڪُمۡ‌ۖ وَعَسَىٰٓ أَن تُحِبُّواْ شَيۡـًٔ۬ا وَهُوَ شَرٌّ۬ لَّكُمۡ‌ۗ وَٱللَّهُ يَعۡلَمُ وَأَنتُمۡ لَا تَعۡلَمُونَ

(Jihad is ordained for you (Muslims) though you dislike it, and it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. Allah knows but you do not know.) (2:216) Imam Ahmad recorded that Anas said that the Messenger of Allah said to a man,

« أَسْلِم »

(Embrace Islam,) but the man said, "I dislike doing so.'' The Messenger said,

« أَسْلِمْ وَإِنْ كُنْتَ كَارِهًا »

(Embrace Islam even if you dislike it).''

﴿ لَوۡ كَانَ عَرَضً۬ا قَرِيبً۬ا وَسَفَرً۬ا قَاصِدً۬ا لَّٱتَّبَعُوكَ وَلَـٰكِنۢ بَعُدَتۡ عَلَيۡہِمُ ٱلشُّقَّةُ‌ۚ وَسَيَحۡلِفُونَ بِٱللَّهِ لَوِ ٱسۡتَطَعۡنَا لَخَرَجۡنَا مَعَكُمۡ يُہۡلِكُونَ أَنفُسَہُمۡ وَٱللَّهُ يَعۡلَمُ إِنَّہُمۡ لَكَـٰذِبُونَ

(42. Had it been a near gain and an easy journey, they would have followed you, but the distance was long for them; and they would swear by Allah: "If we only could, we would certainly have come forth with you.'' They destroy themselves, and Allah knows that they are liars.)

Why Hypocrites would not join in Jihad

Allah admonishes those who lagged behind and did not join the Prophet for the battle of Tabuk, those who asked the Prophet for permission to remain behind, falsely pretending to have legitimate reasons to do so,

﴿ لَوۡ كَانَ عَرَضً۬ا قَرِيبً۬ا

(Had it been a near gain), booty right in front of them, according to Ibn `Abbas,

﴿ وَسَفَرً۬ا قَاصِدً۬ا

(and an easy journey), travel for only a short distance,

﴿ لَّٱتَّبَعُوكَ

(they would have followed you.) But,

﴿ وَلَـٰكِنۢ بَعُدَتۡ عَلَيۡہِمُ ٱلشُّقَّةُ‌ۚ

(the distance was long for them), to Ash-Sham,

﴿ وَسَيَحۡلِفُونَ بِٱللَّهِ

(and they would swear by Allah), when you return to them,

﴿ لَوِ ٱسۡتَطَعۡنَا لَخَرَجۡنَا مَعَكُمۡ

(If we only could, we would certainly have come forth with you), had not there been a valid excuse, we would have gone out with you,

﴿ يُہۡلِكُونَ أَنفُسَہُمۡ وَٱللَّهُ يَعۡلَمُ إِنَّہُمۡ لَكَـٰذِبُونَ

(They destroy themselves, and Allah knows that they are liars.)

﴿ عَفَا ٱللَّهُ عَنكَ لِمَ أَذِنتَ لَهُمۡ حَتَّىٰ يَتَبَيَّنَ لَكَ ٱلَّذِينَ صَدَقُواْ وَتَعۡلَمَ ٱلۡكَـٰذِبِينَ لَا يَسۡتَـٔۡذِنُكَ ٱلَّذِينَ يُؤۡمِنُونَ بِٱللَّهِ وَٱلۡيَوۡمِ ٱلۡأَخِرِ أَن يُجَـٰهِدُواْ بِأَمۡوَٲلِهِمۡ وَأَنفُسِہِمۡ‌ۗ وَٱللَّهُ عَلِيمُۢ بِٱلۡمُتَّقِينَ إِنَّمَا يَسۡتَـٔۡذِنُكَ ٱلَّذِينَ لَا يُؤۡمِنُونَ بِٱللَّهِ وَٱلۡيَوۡمِ ٱلۡأَخِرِ وَٱرۡتَابَتۡ قُلُوبُهُمۡ فَهُمۡ فِى رَيۡبِهِمۡ يَتَرَدَّدُونَ

(43. May Allah forgive you. Why did you grant them leave, until those who told the truth were manifest to you, and you had known the liars) (44. Those who believe in Allah and the Last Day, would not ask your leave to be exempted from fighting with their properties and their lives; and Allah is the All-Knower of those who have Taqwa.) (45. It is only those who believe not in Allah and the Last Day and whose hearts are in doubt that ask your leave. So in their doubts they waver.)

Moderately criticizing the Prophet for allowing the Hypocrites to stay behind

Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that `Awn said, "Have you heard criticism softer than this, starting with forgiveness before criticism,

﴿ عَفَا ٱللَّهُ عَنكَ لِمَ أَذِنتَ لَهُمۡ

(May Allah forgive you. Why did you grant them leave...)'' Muwarriq Al-`Ijli and others said similarly. Qatadah said, "Allah criticized him as you read here, then later revealed to him the permission to allow them to lag behind if he wants, in Surat An-Nur,

﴿ فَإِذَا ٱسۡتَـٔۡذَنُوكَ لِبَعۡضِ شَأۡنِهِمۡ فَأۡذَن لِّمَن شِئۡتَ مِنۡهُمۡ

(So if they ask your permission for some affairs of theirs, give permission to whom you will of them) (24:62).'' `Ata' Al-Khurasani said similarly. Mujahid said, "This Ayah was revealed about some people who said, `Ask permission from the Messenger of Allah (to stay behind), and whether he agrees, or disagrees, remain behind!''' Allah said,

﴿ حَتَّىٰ يَتَبَيَّنَ لَكَ ٱلَّذِينَ صَدَقُواْ

(...until those who told the truth were manifest to you), in reference to valid excuses,

﴿ وَتَعۡلَمَ ٱلۡكَـٰذِبِينَ

(and you had known the liars) Allah says, `Why did you not refuse to give them permission to remain behind when they asked you, so that you know those who truly obey you and the liars, who were intent on remaining behind even if you do not give them permission to do so, Allah asserts that none who believe in Allah and His Messenger seek his permission to remain behind from fighting,

﴿ لَا يَسۡتَـٔۡذِنُكَ

(would not ask your leave), to stay behind from Jihad,

﴿ ٱلَّذِينَ يُؤۡمِنُونَ بِٱللَّهِ وَٱلۡيَوۡمِ ٱلۡأَخِرِ أَن يُجَـٰهِدُواْ بِأَمۡوَٲلِهِمۡ وَأَنفُسِہِمۡ‌ۗ

(Those who believe in Allah and the Last Day, to be exempted from fighting with their properties and their lives.) because they consider Jihad an act of worship. This is why when Allah called them to perform Jihad, they obeyed and hasten to act in His obedience,

﴿ وَٱللَّهُ عَلِيمُۢ بِٱلۡمُتَّقِينَ إِنَّمَا يَسۡتَـٔۡذِنُكَ

(and Allah is the All-Knower of those who have Taqwa. Those who ask your leave), to remain behind, without a valid excuse,

﴿ ٱلَّذِينَ لَا يُؤۡمِنُونَ بِٱللَّهِ وَٱلۡيَوۡمِ ٱلۡأَخِرِ

(those who believe not in Allah and the Last Day), they do not hope for Allah's reward in the Hereafter for their good actions,

﴿ وَٱرۡتَابَتۡ قُلُوبُهُمۡ

(and whose hearts are in doubt), about the validity of what you brought them,

﴿ فَهُمۡ فِى رَيۡبِهِمۡ يَتَرَدَّدُونَ

(so in their doubts they waver.) They waver in doubt, taking one step forward and one step back. They do not have a firm stance in anything, for they are unsure and destroyed, neither belonging to these nor to those. Verily, those whom Allah misguides, will never find a way for themselves to guidance.

﴿ وَلَوۡ أَرَادُواْ ٱلۡخُرُوجَ لَأَعَدُّواْ لَهُ ۥ عُدَّةً۬ وَلَـٰكِن ڪَرِهَ ٱللَّهُ ٱنۢبِعَاثَهُمۡ فَثَبَّطَهُمۡ وَقِيلَ ٱقۡعُدُواْ مَعَ ٱلۡقَـٰعِدِينَ لَوۡ خَرَجُواْ فِيكُم مَّا زَادُوكُمۡ إِلَّا خَبَالاً۬ وَلَأَوۡضَعُواْ خِلَـٰلَكُمۡ يَبۡغُونَڪُمُ ٱلۡفِتۡنَةَ وَفِيكُمۡ سَمَّـٰعُونَ لَهُمۡ‌ۗ وَٱللَّهُ عَلِيمُۢ بِٱلظَّـٰلِمِينَ

(46. And if they had intended to march out, certainly, they would have made some preparation for it; but Allah was averse to their being sent forth, so He made them lag behind, and it was said (to them): "Sit among those who sit (at home).'') (47. Had they marched out with you, they would have added to you nothing except disorder, and they would have hurried about in your midst (spreading corruption) and sowing sedition among you -- and there are some among you who would have listened to them. And Allah is the All-Knower of the wrongdoers.)