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Allah the Exalted here explains His order to Muslims to march forth with the Messenger of Allah for the battle of Tabuk.

We should first mention that a group of the Salaf said that marching along with the Messenger , when he went to battle, was at first obliged on all Muslims, because, as they say, Allah said,

﴿ ٱنفِرُواْ خِفَافً۬ا وَثِقَالاً۬

(March forth, whether you are light or heavy) (9:41), and,

﴿ مَا ڪَانَ لِأَهۡلِ ٱلۡمَدِينَةِ وَمَنۡ حَوۡلَهُم مِّنَ ٱلۡأَعۡرَابِ

(It was not becoming of the people of Al-Madinah and the bedouins of the neighborhood...) (9:120). However, they said, Allah abrogated this ruling (9:41 and 9:120) when He revealed this Ayah, (9:122). However, we could say that this Ayah explains Allah's order to participate in battle on all Arab neighborhoods, that at least a group of every tribe should march for Jihad. Those who went with the Messenger would gain instructions and studies in the revelation that came down to him, and warn their people about that battle when they returned to them. This way, the group that went with the Prophet will achieve both goals (Jihad and learning the revelation from the Prophet ). After the Prophet , a group of every tribe or neighborhood should seek religious knowledge or perform Jihad, for in this case, Jihad is required from at least a part of each Muslim community. `Ali bin Abi Talhah reported from Ibn `Abbas about the Ayah,

﴿ وَمَا كَانَ ٱلۡمُؤۡمِنُونَ لِيَنفِرُواْ ڪَآفَّةً۬‌ۚ

(And it is not (proper) for the believers to go out (to fight - Jihad) all together. ) "The believers should not all go to battle and leave the Prophet alone,

﴿ فَلَوۡلَا نَفَرَ مِن كُلِّ فِرۡقَةٍ۬ مِّنۡہُمۡ طَآٮِٕفَةٌ۬

(Of every troop of them, a party only should go forth) in the expeditions that the Prophet sent. When these armies returned to the Prophet, who in the meantime received revealed parts of the Qur'an from Allah, the group who remained with the Prophet would have learned that revelation from him. They would say, `Allah has revealed some parts of the Qur'an to your Prophet and we learned it.' So they learned from them what Allah revealed to His Prophet in their absence, while the Prophet sent some other men into military expeditions. Hence Allah's statement,

﴿ لِّيَتَفَقَّهُواْ فِى ٱلدِّينِ

(that they may get instructions in religion,) so that they learn what Allah has revealed to their Prophet and teach the armies when they return,

﴿ لَعَلَّهُمۡ يَحۡذَرُونَ

(so that they may beware.)'' Mujahid said, "This Ayah was revealed about some of the Companions of the Prophet who went to the desert and were helped by its residents, had a good rainy year and called whomever they met to guidance. The people said to them, `We see that you left your companions and came to us.' They felt bad in themselves because of this and they all came back from the desert to the Prophet . Allah said,

﴿ فَلَوۡلَا نَفَرَ مِن كُلِّ فِرۡقَةٍ۬ مِّنۡہُمۡ طَآٮِٕفَةٌ۬

(Of every troop of them, a party only should go forth,) those who seek righteousness (such as to spread the call of Islam, while others remain behind),

﴿ لِّيَتَفَقَّهُواْ فِى ٱلدِّينِ

(that they may get instructions in (Islamic) religion,) and learn what Allah has revealed,

﴿ وَلِيُنذِرُواْ قَوۡمَهُمۡ

(and that they may warn their people), when those who went forth returned to them,

﴿ لَعَلَّهُمۡ يَحۡذَرُونَ

(so that they may beware (of evil).)'' Qatadah said about this Ayah, "It is about when the Messenger of Allah sent an army; Allah commanded them to go into battle, while another group remained with the Messenger of Allah to gain instructions in the religion. Another group returns to its own people to call them (to Allah) and warn them against Allah's punishment of those who were before them.'' It was also said that this verse,

﴿ وَمَا كَانَ ٱلۡمُؤۡمِنُونَ لِيَنفِرُواْ ڪَآفَّةً۬‌ۚ

(And it is not (proper) for the believers to go out all together.) is not about joining Jihad. They say that the Messenger of Allah invoked Allah against Mudar to try them with years of famine, and their lands were struck by famine. The various tribes among them started to come, entire tribes at a time, to Al-Madinah, because of the hardship they faced and they would falsely claim that they are Muslims. This caused hardship for the Companions of the Messenger and Allah revealed to him that they are not believers. The Messenger of Allah sent them back to their tribes and warned their people not to repeat what they did. Hence Allah's statement,

﴿ وَلِيُنذِرُواْ قَوۡمَهُمۡ إِذَا رَجَعُوٓاْ إِلَيۡہِمۡ

(and that they may warn their people when they return to them,)

﴿ يَـٰٓأَيُّہَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ قَـٰتِلُواْ ٱلَّذِينَ يَلُونَكُم مِّنَ ٱلۡڪُفَّارِ وَلۡيَجِدُواْ فِيكُمۡ غِلۡظَةً۬‌ۚ وَٱعۡلَمُوٓاْ أَنَّ ٱللَّهَ مَعَ ٱلۡمُتَّقِينَ

(123. O you who believe! Fight those of the disbelievers who are close to you, and let them find harshness in you; and know that Allah is with those who have Taqwa.)

The Order for Jihad against the Disbelievers, the Closest, then the Farthest Areas

Allah commands the believers to fight the disbelievers, the closest in area to the Islamic state, then the farthest. This is why the Messenger of Allah started fighting the idolators in the Arabian Peninsula. When he finished with them and Allah gave him control over Makkah, Al-Madinah, At-Ta'if, Yemen, Yamamah, Hajr, Khaybar, Hadramawt and other Arab provinces, and the various Arab tribes entered Islam in large crowds, he then started fighting the People of the Scriptures. He began preparations to fight the Romans who were the closest in area to the Arabian Peninsula, and as such, had the most right to be called to Islam, especially since they were from the People of the Scriptures. The Prophet marched until he reached Tabuk and went back because of the extreme hardship, little rain and little supplies. This battle occurred on the ninth year after his Hijrah. In the tenth year, the Messenger of Allah was busy with the Farewell Hajj. The Messenger died eighty-one days after he returned from that Hajj, Allah chose him for what He had prepared for him (in Paradise). After his death, his executor, friend, and Khalifah, Abu Bakr As-Siddiq, may Allah be pleased with him, became the leader. At that time, the religion came under attack and would have been defeated, if it had not been for the fact that Allah gave the religion firmness through Abu Bakr, who established its basis and made its foundations firm. He brought those who strayed from the religion back to it, and made those who reverted from Islam return. He took the Zakah from the evil people who did not want to pay it, and explained the truth to those who were unaware of it. On behalf of the Prophet , Abu Bakr delivered what he was entrusted with. Then, he started preparing the Islamic armies to fight the Roman cross worshippers, and the Persian fire worshippers. By the blessing of his mission, Allah opened the lands for him and brought down Caesar and Kisra and those who obeyed them among the servants. Abu Bakr spent their treasures in the cause of Allah, just as the Messenger of Allah had foretold would happen. This mission continued after Abu Bakr at the hands of he whom Abu Bakr chose to be his successor, Al-Faruq, the Martyr of the Mihrab, Abu Hafs, `Umar bin Al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with him. With `Umar, Allah humiliated the disbelievers, suppressed the tyrants and hypocrites, and opened the eastern and western parts of the world. The treasures of various countries were brought to `Umar from near and far provinces, and he divided them according to the legitimate and accepted method. `Umar then died as a martyr after he lived a praise worthy life. Then, the Companions among the Muhajirin and Ansar agreed to chose after `Umar, `Uthman bin `Affan, Leader of the faithful and Martyr of the House, may Allah be pleased with him. During `Uthman's reign, Islam wore its widest garment and Allah's unequivocal proof was established in various parts of the world over the necks of the servants. Islam appeared in the eastern and western parts of the world and Allah's Word was elevated and His religion apparent. The pure religion reached its deepest aims against Allah's enemies, and whenever Muslims overcame an Ummah, they moved to the next one, and then the next one, crushing the tyrannical evil doers. They did this in reverence to Allah's statement,

﴿ يَـٰٓأَيُّہَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ قَـٰتِلُواْ ٱلَّذِينَ يَلُونَكُم مِّنَ ٱلۡڪُفَّارِ

(O you who believe! Fight those of the disbelievers who are close to you,) Allah said next,

﴿ وَلۡيَجِدُواْ فِيكُمۡ غِلۡظَةً۬‌ۚ

(and let them find harshness in you), meaning, let the disbelievers find harshness in you against them in battle. The complete believer is he who is kind to his believing brother, and harsh with his disbelieving enemy. Allah said in other Ayah,

﴿ فَسَوۡفَ يَأۡتِى ٱللَّهُ بِقَوۡمٍ۬ يُحِبُّہُمۡ وَيُحِبُّونَهُ ۥۤ أَذِلَّةٍ عَلَى ٱلۡمُؤۡمِنِينَ أَعِزَّةٍ عَلَى ٱلۡكَـٰفِرِينَ

(Allah will bring a people whom He will love and they will love Him; humble towards the believers, stern towards the disbelievers...) (5:54),

﴿ مُّحَمَّدٌ۬ رَّسُولُ ٱللَّهِ‌ۚ وَٱلَّذِينَ مَعَهُ ۥۤ أَشِدَّآءُ عَلَى ٱلۡكُفَّارِ رُحَمَآءُ بَيۡنَہُمۡ‌ۖ

(Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. And those who are with him are severe against the disbelievers, and merciful among themselves.) (48:29), and,

﴿ يَـٰٓأَيُّہَا ٱلنَّبِىُّ جَـٰهِدِ ٱلۡڪُفَّارَ وَٱلۡمُنَـٰفِقِينَ وَٱغۡلُظۡ عَلَيۡہِمۡ‌ۚ

(O Prophet! Strive hard against the disbelievers and the hypocrites, and be harsh against them.) (9:73) Allah said,

﴿ وَٱعۡلَمُوٓاْ أَنَّ ٱللَّهَ مَعَ ٱلۡمُتَّقِينَ

(And know that Allah is with those who have Taqwa), meaning, fight the disbelievers and trust in Allah knowing that Allah is with you if you fear and obey Him. This was the case in the first three blessed generations of Islam, the best members of this Ummah. Since they were firm on the religion and reached an unsurpassed level of obedience to Allah, they consistently prevailed over their enemies. During that era, victories were abundant, and enemies were ever more in a state of utter loss and degradation. However, after the turmoil began, desires and divisions became prevalent between various Muslim kings, the enemies were eager to attack the outposts of Islam and marched into its territory without much opposition. Then, the Muslim kings were too busy with their enmity for each other. The disbelievers then marched to the capital cities of the Islamic states, after gaining control over many of its areas, in addition to entire Islamic lands. Verily, ownership of all affairs is with Allah in the beginning and in the end. Whenever a just Muslim king stood up and obeyed Allah's orders, all the while trusting in Allah, Allah helped him regain control over some Muslim lands and took back from the enemy what was compatible to his obedience and support to Allah. We ask Allah to help the Muslims gain control over the forelocks of His disbeliever enemies and to raise high the word of Muslims over all lands. Verily, Allah is Most Generous, Most Giving.

﴿ وَإِذَا مَآ أُنزِلَتۡ سُورَةٌ۬ فَمِنۡهُم مَّن يَقُولُ أَيُّڪُمۡ زَادَتۡهُ هَـٰذِهِۦۤ إِيمَـٰنً۬ا‌ۚ فَأَمَّا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ فَزَادَتۡهُمۡ إِيمَـٰنً۬ا وَهُمۡ يَسۡتَبۡشِرُونَ وَأَمَّا ٱلَّذِينَ فِى قُلُوبِهِم مَّرَضٌ۬ فَزَادَتۡہُمۡ رِجۡسًا إِلَىٰ رِجۡسِهِمۡ وَمَاتُواْ وَهُمۡ ڪَـٰفِرُونَ

(124. 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.) (125. But as for those in whose hearts is a disease, it will add Rijs (doubt) to their Rijs (doubt); and they die while they are disbelievers.)

Faith of the Believers increases, while Hypocrites increase in Doubts and Suspicion

Allah said,

﴿ وَإِذَا مَآ أُنزِلَتۡ سُورَةٌ۬

(And whenever there comes down a Surah), then among the hypocrites are,

﴿ مَّن يَقُولُ أَيُّڪُمۡ زَادَتۡهُ هَـٰذِهِۦۤ إِيمَـٰنً۬ا‌ۚ

(some who say: "Which of you has had his faith increased by it'') They say to each other, who among you had his faith increased by this Surah (from the Qur'an) Allah the Exalted said,

﴿ فَأَمَّا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ فَزَادَتۡهُمۡ إِيمَـٰنً۬ا وَهُمۡ يَسۡتَبۡشِرُونَ

(As for those who believe, it has increased their faith, and they rejoice.) This Ayah is one of the mightiest evidences that faith increases and decreases, as is the belief of most of the Salaf and later generations of scholars and Imams. Many scholars said that there is a consensus on this ruling. We explained this subject in detail in the beginning of the explanation of Sahih Al-Bukhari, may Allah grant him His mercy. Allah said next,

﴿ وَأَمَّا ٱلَّذِينَ فِى قُلُوبِهِم مَّرَضٌ۬ فَزَادَتۡہُمۡ رِجۡسًا إِلَىٰ رِجۡسِهِمۡ

(But as for those in whose hearts is a disease, it will add Rijs to their Rijs.) the Surah increases them in doubt, and brings more suspicion on top of the doubts and suspicion that they had before. Allah said in another Ayah,

﴿ وَنُنَزِّلُ مِنَ ٱلۡقُرۡءَانِ مَا هُوَ شِفَآءٌ۬

(And We send down in the Qur'an that which is a healing) (17:82), and,

﴿ قُلۡ هُوَ لِلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ هُدً۬ى وَشِفَآءٌ۬‌ۖ وَٱلَّذِينَ لَا يُؤۡمِنُونَ فِىٓ ءَاذَانِهِمۡ وَقۡرٌ۬ وَهُوَ عَلَيۡهِمۡ عَمًى‌ۚ أُوْلَـٰٓٮِٕكَ يُنَادَوۡنَ مِن مَّكَانِۭ بَعِيدٍ۬

(Say: "It is for those who believe, a guide and a healing. And as for those who disbelieve, there is heaviness (deafness) in their ears, and it (the Qur'an) is blindness for them. They are those who are called from a place far away (so they neither listen nor understand)''.) (41:44) This indicates the misery of the hypocrites and disbelievers, since, what should bring guidance to their hearts is instead a cause of misguidance and destruction for them. Similarly, those who get upset by a type of food, for instance, will be upset and anxious even more if they are fed that food!

﴿ أَوَلَا يَرَوۡنَ أَنَّهُمۡ يُفۡتَنُونَ فِى ڪُلِّ عَامٍ۬ مَّرَّةً أَوۡ مَرَّتَيۡنِ ثُمَّ لَا يَتُوبُونَ وَلَا هُمۡ يَذَّڪَّرُونَ وَإِذَا مَآ أُنزِلَتۡ سُورَةٌ۬ نَّظَرَ بَعۡضُهُمۡ إِلَىٰ بَعۡضٍ هَلۡ يَرَٮٰڪُم مِّنۡ أَحَدٍ۬ ثُمَّ ٱنصَرَفُواْ‌ۚ صَرَفَ ٱللَّهُ قُلُوبَہُم بِأَنَّہُمۡ قَوۡمٌ۬ لَّا يَفۡقَهُونَ

(126. See they not that they are put in trial once or twice every year Yet, they turn not in repentance, nor do they learn a lesson (from it).) (127. And whenever there comes down a Surah, they look at one another (saying): "Does any one see you'' Then they turn away. Allah has turned their hearts because they are a people that understand not.)

Hypocrites suffer Afflictions

Allah says, do not these hypocrites see,

﴿ أَنَّهُمۡ يُفۡتَنُونَ

(that they are put in trial), being tested,

﴿ فِى ڪُلِّ عَامٍ۬ مَّرَّةً أَوۡ مَرَّتَيۡنِ ثُمَّ لَا يَتُوبُونَ وَلَا هُمۡ يَذَّڪَّرُونَ

(once or twice every year Yet, they turn not in repentance, nor do they learn a lesson.) They neither repent from their previous sins nor learn a lesson for the future. Mujahid said that hypocrites are tested with drought and hunger. Allah said;

﴿ وَإِذَا مَآ أُنزِلَتۡ سُورَةٌ۬ نَّظَرَ بَعۡضُهُمۡ إِلَىٰ بَعۡضٍ هَلۡ يَرَٮٰڪُم مِّنۡ أَحَدٍ۬ ثُمَّ ٱنصَرَفُواْ‌ۚ صَرَفَ ٱللَّهُ قُلُوبَہُم بِأَنَّہُمۡ قَوۡمٌ۬ لَّا يَفۡقَهُونَ

(And whenever there comes down a Surah, they look at one another (saying): "Does any one see you'' Then they turn away. Allah has turned their hearts because they are a people that understand not.) This describes the hypocrites that when a Surah is revealed to the Messenger of Allah ,

﴿ نَّظَرَ بَعۡضُهُمۡ إِلَىٰ بَعۡضٍ

(they look at one another), they turn their heads, right and left, saying,

﴿ هَلۡ يَرَٮٰڪُم مِّنۡ أَحَدٍ۬ ثُمَّ ٱنصَرَفُواْ‌ۚ

("Does any one see you'' Then they turn away. ..) turning away from, and shunning the truth. This is the description of hypocrites in this life, for they do not remain where the truth is being declared, neither accepting nor understanding it, just as Allah said in other Ayat,

﴿ فَمَا لَهُمۡ عَنِ ٱلتَّذۡكِرَةِ مُعۡرِضِينَ كَأَنَّهُمۡ حُمُرٌ۬ مُّسۡتَنفِرَةٌ۬ فَرَّتۡ مِن قَسۡوَرَةِۭ

(Then what is wrong with them that they turn away from admonition As if they were wild donkeys. Fleeing from a lion.) (74:49-51), and,

﴿ فَمَالِ ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ قِبَلَكَ مُهۡطِعِينَ عَنِ ٱلۡيَمِينِ وَعَنِ ٱلشِّمَالِ عِزِينَ

(So what is the matter with those who disbelieve that they hasten to hear from you. (Sitting) in groups on the right and on the left.) (70:36-37). This Ayah also means, what is the matter with these people who turn away from you to the right and to the left, to escape from truth and revert to falsehood Allah's statement,

﴿ ثُمَّ ٱنصَرَفُواْ‌ۚ صَرَفَ ٱللَّهُ قُلُوبَہُم

(Then they turn away. Allah has turned their hearts (from Truth)) is similar to,

﴿ فَلَمَّا زَاغُوٓاْ أَزَاغَ ٱللَّهُ قُلُوبَهُمۡ‌ۚ

(So when they turned away, Allah turned their hearts away.) (61:5). Allah said next,

﴿ بِأَنَّهُمۡ قَوۡمٌ۬ لَّا يَفۡقَهُونَ

(because they are a people that understand not. ) They neither understand Allah's Word nor attempt to comprehend it nor want it. Rather, they are too busy, turning away from it. This is why they ended up in this condition.

﴿ لَقَدۡ جَآءَڪُمۡ رَسُولٌ۬ مِّنۡ أَنفُسِڪُمۡ عَزِيزٌ عَلَيۡهِ مَا عَنِتُّمۡ حَرِيصٌ عَلَيۡڪُم بِٱلۡمُؤۡمِنِينَ رَءُوفٌ۬ رَّحِيمٌ۬
﴿ فَإِن تَوَلَّوۡاْ فَقُلۡ حَسۡبِىَ ٱللَّهُ لَآ إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ‌ۖ عَلَيۡهِ تَوَڪَّلۡتُ‌ۖ وَهُوَ رَبُّ ٱلۡعَرۡشِ ٱلۡعَظِيمِ

(128. Verily, there has come unto you a Messenger from among yourselves. It grieves him that you should receive any injury or difficulty. He is eager for you; for the believers (he is) full of pity, kind, and merciful.) (129. But if they turn away, say: "Allah is sufficient for me. There is no God but He, in Him I put my trust and He is the Lord of the Mighty Throne.'')

« بُعِثْتُ بِالْحَنِيفِيَّةِ السَّمْحَة »

(I was sent with the easy Hanifiyah (monotheism) way.) An authentic Hadith mentions,

« إِنَّ هَذَا الدِّينَ يُسْر »

(Verily, this religion is easy) and its Law is all easy, lenient and perfect. It is easy for those whom Allah the Exalted makes it easy.)

﴿ حَرِيصٌ عَلَيۡڪُم

(He is eager for you), that you gain guidance and acquire benefits in this life and the Hereafter. Imam Ahmad recorded that `Abdullah bin Mas`ud said that the Messenger of Allah said,

« إِنَّ اللهَ لَمْ يُحَرِّمْ حُرْمَةً إِلَّا وَقَدْ عَلِمَ أَنَّهُ سَيَطَّلِعُهَا مِنْكُمْ مُطَّلِعٌ، أَلَا وَإِنِّي آخِذٌ بِحُجَزِكُمْ أَنْ تَهَافَتُوا فِي النَّارِ كَتَهَافُتِ الْفَرَاشِ أَوِ الذُّبَاب »

(Verily, every matter that Allah has prohibited, He knows that some among you will breach it; but I am indeed holding you by the waist so that you do not fall in the Fire, just like butterflies and flies.) Allah's statement next,

﴿ بِٱلۡمُؤۡمِنِينَ رَءُوفٌ۬ رَّحِيمٌ۬

(for the believers (he is) full of pity, kind, and merciful.) (9:128), is similar to His other statement,

﴿ وَٱخۡفِضۡ جَنَاحَكَ لِمَنِ ٱتَّبَعَكَ مِنَ ٱلۡمُؤۡمِنِينَ فَإِنۡ عَصَوۡكَ فَقُلۡ إِنِّى بَرِىٓءٌ۬ مِّمَّا تَعۡمَلُونَ وَتَوَكَّلۡ عَلَى ٱلۡعَزِيزِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

(And be kind and humble to the believers who follow you. Then if they disobey you, say: "I am innocent of what you do.'' And put your trust in the All-Mighty, the Most Merciful) (26:215-217). Allah the Exalted commanded His Messenger in this honorable Ayah,

﴿ فَإِن تَوَلَّوۡاْ

(But if they turn away), from the glorious, pure, perfect and encompassing Law that you -- O Muhammad -- brought them,

﴿ فَقُلۡ حَسۡبِىَ ٱللَّهُ لَآ إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ‌ۖ

(then say: "Allah is sufficient for me. There is no God but He,) Allah is sufficient for me, there is no deity worthy of worship except Him, and in Him I put my trust. Similarly, Allah said,

﴿ رَّبُّ ٱلۡمَشۡرِقِ وَٱلۡمَغۡرِبِ لَآ إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ فَٱتَّخِذۡهُ وَكِيلاً۬

((He alone is) the Lord of the east and the west; there is no God but He. So take Him alone as a guardian.) (73:9). Allah said next,

﴿ وَهُوَ رَبُّ ٱلۡعَرۡشِ ٱلۡعَظِيمِ

(and He is the Lord of the Mighty Throne) (9:129). He is the King and Creator of all things, and He is the Lord of the Mighty Throne (`Arsh), which is above all creation; all that is in and between the heavens and earths is under the Throne (`Arsh) and subservient to Allah's power. His knowledge encompasses all things, and His decision will certainly come to pass over all matters. He is the guardian of all things. Imam Ahmad recorded that Ibn `Abbas said that Ubayy bin Ka`b said, "The last Ayah revealed from the Qur'an was this Ayah,

﴿ لَقَدۡ جَآءَڪُمۡ رَسُولٌ۬ مِّنۡ أَنفُسِڪُمۡ

(Verily, there has come unto you a Messenger from among yourselves ...) (9:128)'' until the end of the Surah It is recorded in the Sahih that Zayd bin Thabit said, "I found the last Ayah in Surah Bara'ah with Khuzaymah bin Thabit.'' This is the end of Surah Bara'ah, all praise is due to Allah.