Then Allah tells us about His believing servants who believed Allah's promise to them and how He will make the consequences good for them in this world and in the Hereafter. He says:
(And when the believers saw the Confederates, they said: "This is what Allah and His Messenger had promised us; and Allah and His Messenger had spoken the truth.'') Ibn `Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, and Qatadah said: "They mean what Allah said in Surat Al-Baqarah:
(Or think you that you will enter Paradise without such (trials) as came to those who passed away before you They were afflicted with severe poverty and ailments and were so shaken that even the Messenger and those who believed along with him said, "When (will come) the help of Allah'' Yes! Certainly, the help of Allah is near!)(2:214) meaning, `this is the trial and test that Allah and His Messenger promised us would be followed by the help and victory of Allah that is near.' Allah says:
(and Allah and His Messenger had spoken the truth. )
(And it only added to their faith and to their submissiveness.) This indicates that faith can increase and strengthen in accordance with people's circumstances, as the majority of scholars stated: faith can increase and decrease. We have stated this at the beginning of our commentary on Al-Bukhari, praise be to Allah.
(And it only added) means, at that time of stress and difficulty
(to their faith) in Allah,
(and to their submissiveness.) means their submission to His commands and their obedience to His Messenger .
(23. Among the believers are men who have been true to their covenant with Allah; of them some have fulfilled their Nahbah; and some of them are still waiting, but they have never changed in the least.) (24. That Allah may reward the men of truth for their truth, and punish the hypocrites, if He wills, or accept their repentance by turning to them. Verily, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.)
When Allah mentions how the hypocrites broke their promise to Him that they would not turn their backs, He describes the believers as firmly adhering to their covenant and their promise:
((they) have been true to their covenant with Allah; of them some have fulfilled their Nahbah;) Some of them said: "Met their appointed time (i.e., death).'' Al-Bukhari said, "Their covenant, and refers back to the beginning of the Ayah.''
(and some of them are still waiting, but they have never changed in the least.) means, they have never changed or broken their covenant with Allah. Al-Bukhari recorded that Zayd bin Thabit said: "When we wrote down the Mushaf, an Ayah from Surat Al-Ahzab was missing, which I used to hear the Messenger of Allah reciting. I did not find it with anyone except Khuzaymah bin Thabit Al-Ansari, may Allah be pleased with him, whose testimony the Messenger of Allah counted as equal to that of two other men. (The Ayah in question was:)
(Among the believers are men who have been true to their covenant with Allah;)'' This was recorded by Al-Bukhari but not by Muslim, It was also recorded by Ahmad in his Musnad, and by At-Tirmidhi and An-Nasa'i in the chapters on Tafsir in their Sunans. At-Tirmidhi said, "Hasan Sahih. Al-Bukhari also recorded that Anas bin Malik, may Allah be pleased with him, said: "We think that this Ayah was revealed concerning Anas bin An-Nadr, may Allah be pleased with him:
(Among the believers are men who have been true to their covenant with Allah.)'' This was reported only by Al-Bukhari, but there are corroborating reports with other chains of narration. Imam Ahmad recorded that Anas said: "My paternal uncle Anas bin Al-Nadr, may Allah be pleased with him, after whom I was named, was not present with this Messenger of Allah at Badr, and this distressed him. He said: `The first battle at which the Messenger of Allah was present, and I was absent; if Allah shows me another battle with the Messenger of Allah, Allah will see what I will do!' He did not want to say more than that. He was present with the Messenger of Allah at Uhud, where he met Sa`d bin Mu`adh, may Allah be pleased with him. Anas, may Allah be pleased with him, said to him, `O Abu `Amr! Where are you going' He replied, `I long for the fragrance of Paradise and I have found it near the mountain of Uhud.' He fought them until he was killed, may Allah be pleased with him. Eighty-odd stab wounds and spear wounds were found on his body, and his sister, my paternal aunt Ar-Rabayyi` bint Al-Nadr said, `I only recognized my brother by his fingertips.' Then this Ayah was revealed:
(Among the believers are men who have been true to their covenant with Allah; of them some have fulfilled their Nahbah; and some of them are still waiting, but they have never changed in the least.) They used to think that it had been revealed concerning him and his companions, may Allah be pleased with them.'' This was also recorded by Muslim, At-Tirmidhi and An-Nasa'i. Ibn Jarir narrated that Musa bin Talhah said: "Mu`awiyah bin Abi Sufyan, may Allah be pleased with him, stood up and said, `I heard the Messenger of Allah say:
(Talhah is one of those who have fulfilled their Nahbah.)''' Mujahid said concerning the Ayah:
(of them some have fulfilled their Nahbah;) "Their covenant,
(and some of them are still waiting) they are waiting for battle so that they can do well. '' Al-Hasan said:
(of them some have fulfilled their Nahbah;) "They died true to their covenant and loyal, and some are still waiting to die in a similar manner, and some of them have never changed in the least.'' This was also the view of Qatadah and Ibn Zayd. Some of them said that the word Nahbah means a vow.
(but they have never changed in the least.) means, they never changed their covenant or were disloyal or committed treachery, but they persisted in what they had promised and did not break their vow, unlike the hypocrites who said:
("Truly, our homes lie open.'' And they lay not open. They but wished to flee.) (33:13)
(And indeed they had already made a covenant with Allah not to turn their backs,) (33:15)
(That Allah may reward the men of truth for their truth, and punish the hypocrites, if He wills, or accept their repentance by turning to them.) Allah tests His servants with fear and shaking so as to tell the evil from the good, as each will be known by his deeds. Although Allah knows what the outcome will be before anything happens, still He does not punish anyone on the basis of His knowledge until they actually do what He knows they will do. As Allah says:
(And surely, We shall try you till We test those who strive hard and patient, and We shall test your facts.) (47:31). This refers to knowing something after it happens, even though Allah knows it before it comes to pass. Allah says:
(Allah will not leave the believers in the state in which you are now, until He distinguishes the wicked from the good. Nor will Allah disclose to you the secrets of the Unseen) (3:179). Allah says here:
(That Allah may reward the men of truth for their truth,) meaning, for their patience in adhering to the covenant they had made with Allah and keeping their promise.
(and punish the hypocrites, ) who are the ones who broke the covenant and went against the commands of Allah, for which they deserve to be punished, but they are subject to His will in this world. If He wills, He will leave them as they are until they meet Him (in the Hereafter), when He will punish them, or if He wills, He will guide them to give up their hypocrisy and to believe and do righteous deeds after they had been wrongdoers and sinners. Since His mercy and kindness towards His creation prevail over His wrath, He says:
(Verily, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.)
(25. And Allah drove back those who disbelieved in their rage: they gained no advantage. Allah sufficed for the believers in the fighting. And Allah is Ever All-Strong, All-Mighty.)
Allah tells us how he drove the Confederates away from Al-Madinah by sending against them a wind and troops of angels. If Allah had not made his Messenger a Mercy to the Worlds, this wind would have been more severe than the barren wind which He sent against `Ad, but Allah says:
(And Allah would not punish them while you are amongst them) (8:33). So, Allah sent them a wind which dispersed them after they had gathered on the basis of their whims. They were a mixture of tribes and parties with a variety of opinions, so it was befitting that a wind should be sent against them that would scatter them and break up their gathering, driving them back disappointed and lost in their hatred and enmity. They did not achieve any worldly good such as the victory and booty that they had hoped for, nor did they achieve any good in the Hereafter, because of their sin of declaring enmity against the Messenger and seeking to kill him and destroy his army. Whoever wants and seriously intends to do a thing is the same as one who actually does it.
(Allah sufficed for the believers in the fighting.) means, they did not have to fight them in order to expel them from their land, but Allah Alone sufficed them and helped His servant and granted victory to His troops. Hence the Messenger of Allah used to say,
(None has the right to be worshipped but Allah, Alone, He was true to His promise, and He helped His servant, and He gave might to His soldiers and defeated the Confederates alone and there is nothing after Him.) This was reported from a Hadith of Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him. In the Two Sahihs it was recorded that `Abdullah bin Abi `Awfa, may Allah be pleased with him, said: "The Messenger of Allah invoked Allah against the Confederates and said:
(O Allah, Who revealed the Book and is swift in bringing to account, defeat the Confederates, O Allah defeat them and shake them.)
(Allah sufficed for the believers in the fighting.) This Ayah indicates that there would be a cessation of war between them and Quraysh; after this, the idolaters did not attack the Muslims, on the contrary, the Muslims attacked them in their own land. Imam Ahmad recorded that Sulayman bin Surad, may Allah be pleased with him, said: "On the day of Al-Ahzab, the Messenger of Allah said:
(Now we will attack them and they will not attack us.) This was also recorded by Al-Bukhari in his Sahih.
(And Allah is Ever All-Strong, All-Mighty.) means, by His power and might He drove them back disappointed and lost, and they did not achieve anything, and Allah granted victory to Islam and its followers, and fulfilled His promise and helped His servant and Messenger; to Him be blessings and praise.
(26. And those of the People of the Scripture who backed them, Allah brought them down from their forts and cast terror into their hearts; a group you killed, and a group you made captives.) (27. And He caused you to inherit their lands, and their houses, and their riches, and a land which you had not trodden. And Allah is able to do all things.)
We have already noted that when the Confederates came and camped outside Al-Madinah, Banu Qurayzah broke the covenant that existed between them and the Messenger of Allah. This happened by the agency of Huyay bin Akhtab An-Nadari, may Allah curse him, who entered their stronghold and would not leave their leader, Ka`b bin Asad, alone until he agreed to break the covenant. Among the things that he said to him was, "Woe to you! This is the opportunity for glory. The Quraysh and their company of men from various tribes, and the Ghatafan and their followers, have come to you, and they will stay here until they eliminate Muhammad and his companions.'' Ka`b said to him, "No, by Allah, this is the opportunity for humiliation. Woe to you, O Huyay, you are a bad omen. Leave us alone.'' But Huyay kept trying to persuade him until he agreed to his request. He laid down the condition that if the Confederates went away without doing anything, he (Huyay) would join them in their stronghold and would share their fate. When Banu Qurayzah broke their covenant and news of this reached the Messenger of Allah, he and the Muslims were very distressed by that. When Allah helped him by suppressing his enemy and driving them back disappointed and lost, having gained nothing, the Messenger of Allah returned to Al-Madinah in triumph and the people put down their weapons. While the Messenger of Allah was washing off the dust of battle in the house of Umm Salamah (may Allah be pleased with her) Jibril, upon him be peace, came to him wearing a turban of brocade, riding on a mule on which was a cloth of silk brocade. He said, "Have you put down your weapons, O Messenger of Allah'' He said, "Yes.'' He said, "But the angels have not put down their weapons. I have just now come back from pursuing the people.'' Then he said: "Allah, may He be blessed and exalted, commands you to get up and go to Banu Qurayzah.'' According to another report, "What a fighter you are! Have you put down your weapons'' He said, "Yes.'' He said, "But we have not put down our weapons yet, get up and go to these people.'' He said: "Where'' He said, "Banu Qurayzah, for Allah has commanded me to shake them.'' So the Messenger of Allah got up immediately, and commanded the people to march towards Banu Qurayzah, who were a few miles from Al-Madinah. This was after Salat Az-Zuhr. He said,
(No one among you should pray `Asr except at Banu Qurayzah.) So, the people set out, and the time for the prayer came while they were still on the road. Some of them prayed on the road, saying, "The Messenger of Allah only wanted to make us march quickly.'' Others said, "We will not pray it until we reach Banu Qurayzah.'' Neither of the two groups were rebuked for what they did. The Messenger of Allah followed them. He left Ibn Umm Maktum, may Allah be pleased with him, in charge of Al-Madinah, and he had given the flag to `Ali bin Abi Talib, may Allah be pleased with him. Then the Messenger of Allah went to them (Banu Qurayzah) laying siege to them for twenty-five days. When this had gone on for too long, they agreed to accept the judgment of Sa`d bin Mu`adh, the leader of `Aws because they had been their allies during the Jahiliyyah, so they thought that he would treat them kindly as `Abdullah bin Ubayy bin Salul had done for his allies of Banu Qaynuqa` when he had asked the Messenger of Allah to set them free. So, these people thought that Sa`d would do the same for them as Ibn Ubayy had done for those people. They did not know that Sa`d had been struck by an arrow in his medial arm vein during the campaign of Al-Khandaq. The Messenger of Allah had had his vein cauterized and had brought him to stay in a tent in the Masjid so that he could keep a close eye on him. One of the things that Sa`d, may Allah be pleased with him, said in his supplication was, "O Allah, if there is still anything that has to do with the war against Quraysh, then keep me alive for it, and if You decree that the war between us and them is over, then let the bleeding be renewed, but do not let me die until I get my satisfaction with regard to Banu Qurayzah.'' Allah answered his prayer and decreed that they would agree to be referred to him for judgment, and this was their own free choice. When this happened, the Messenger of Allah called him to come from Al-Madinah to pass judgment on them. When he arrived, riding on a donkey that had been specially equipped for him to ride, some of the `Aws began to urge him not to be too harsh, saying, "O Sa`d, they are your clients so be kind to them, trying to soften his heart.'' But he kept quiet and did not answer them. When they persisted in their request, he said, "Now it is time for Sa`d to make sure that no rebuke or censure will divert him from the path of Allah.'' Then they knew that he would not let them live. When he reached the tent where the Messenger of Allah was, the Messenger of Allah said:
(Stand up for your leader.) So the Muslims stood up for him, and welcomed him with honor and respect as befitted his status and so that his judgment would have more impact. When he sat down, the Messenger of Allah said:
(These people) -- and he pointed to them -- (have agreed to accept your judgment, so pass judgment on them as you wish.) Sa`d, may Allah be pleased with him, said: "My judgment will be carried out'' The Messenger of Allah said: "Yes.'' He said, "And it will be carried out on those who are in this tent'' He said, "Yes.'' He said, "And on those who are on this side'' -- and he pointed towards the side where the Messenger of Allah was, but he did not look directly at the Messenger of Allah out of respect for him. The Messenger of Allah said to him: "Yes.'' So Sa`d, may Allah be pleased with him, said: "My judgment is that their fighters should be killed and their children and wealth should be seized.'' The Messenger of Allah said:
(You have judged according to the ruling of Allah from above the seven heavens.) According to another report:
(You have judged according to the ruling of the Sovereign.) Then the Messenger of Allah commanded that ditches should be dug, so they were dug in the earth, and they were brought tied by their shoulders, and were beheaded. There were between seven hundred and eight hundred of them. The children who had not yet reached adolescence and the women were taken prisoner, and their wealth was seized. All of this is stated both briefly and in detail, with evidence and Hadiths, in the book of Sirah which we have written, praise and blessings be to Allah. Allah said:
(And those who backed them, Allah brought them down) means, those who helped and supported them in their war against the Messenger of Allah.
(of the People of the Scripture) means, Banu Qurayzah, who were Jews from one of the tribes of Israel. Their forefathers had settled in the Hijaz long ago, seeking to follow the Unlettered Prophet of whom they read in the Tawrah and Injil.
(then when there came to them that which they had recognized, they disbelieved in it) (2:89). May the curse of Allah be upon them.
(from their forts) means, from their strongholds. This was the view of Mujahid, `Ikrimah, `Ata', Qatadah, As-Suddi and others of the Salaf.
(and cast terror into their hearts;) means fear, because they had supported the idolaters in their war against the Messenger of Allah and the one who knows is not like the one who does not know. They had terrified the Muslims and intended to kill them so as to gain earthly power, but their plans backfired; the idolaters ran away and the believers were victorious while the disbelievers were losers; where they had aimed for glory, they were humiliated. They wanted to eradicate the Muslims but they were themselves eradicated. In addition to all this, they are doomed in the Hereafter, so by all accounts they are counted as losers. Allah says:
(a group you killed, and a group you made captives.) Those who were killed were their warriors, and the prisoners were their children and women. Imam Ahmad recorded that `Atiyah Al-Qurazi said, "I was shown to the Prophet on the day of Qurayzah, because they were not sure about me. The Prophet told them to look at me to see whether I had grown any body hair yet. They looked and saw that I had not grown any body hair, so they let me go and I was put with the other prisoners.'' This was also recorded by the Sunan compilers, and At-Tirmidhi said it is Hasan Sahih.'' An-Nasa'i also recorded something similar from `Atiyah.
(And He caused you to inherit their lands, and their houses, and their riches,) means, `He gave these things to you after you killed them.'
(and a land which you had not trodden.) It was said that this was Khaybar, or that it was the lands of the Persians and Romans. Ibn Jarir said, "It could be that all of these are referred to
(And Allah is able to do all things.)''
(28. O Prophet! Say to your wives: "If you desire the life of this world, and its glitter, then come! I will make a provision for you and set you free in a handsome manner.'') (29. "But if you desire Allah and His Messenger, and the Home of the Hereafter, then verily, Allah has prepared for the doers of good among you an enormous reward.'')
Here Allah commands His Messenger to give his wives the choice of separating from him so that they may go to someone else with whom they can find what they want of the life of this world and its attractions, or of patiently bearing the straitened circumstances with the Prophet for which they will have a great reward with Allah. They chose Allah and His Messenger and the Home of the Hereafter, may Allah be pleased with them. Then Allah gave them the best both of this world and of the Hereafter. Al-Bukhari narrated from `A'ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) the wife of the Prophet that the Messenger of Allah came to her when Allah commanded him to give his wives the choice. She said, "The Messenger of Allah started with me, and said,
(I am going to tell you about something and you do not have to hasten to respond until you consult your parents.)'' He knew that my parents would never tell me to leave him. Then he said:
(Allah says: ("O Prophet! Say to your wives...'')) and he recited the two Ayat. I said to him, "Concerning what do I need to consult my parents I choose Allah and His Messenger and the Home of the Hereafter.'' He also narrated it without a chain of narrators, and added, "She said, then all the wives of the Prophet did the same as I.'' Imam Ahmad recorded that `A'ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) said: "The Messenger of Allah gave us the choice, and we chose him, so giving us that choice was not regarded as divorce.'' It was recorded by (Al-Bukhari and Muslim) from the Hadith of Al-A`mash. Imam Ahmad recorded that Jabir, may Allah be pleased with him, said: "Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, came to ask permission to see the Messenger of Allah and the people were sitting at his door, and the Prophet was sitting, but he did not give him permission. Then `Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, came and asked permission to see him, but he did not give him permission. Then he gave Abu Bakr and `Umar, may Allah be pleased with them both, permission, and they entered. The Prophet was sitting with his wives around him, and he was silent. `Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, said, `I will tell the Prophet something to make him smile.' `Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, said, `O Messenger of Allah, if only you had seen the daughter of Zayd -- the wife of `Umar -- asking me to spend on her just now; I broke her neck!' The Messenger of Allah smiled so broadly that his molars could be seen, and he said,
(They are around me asking me to spend on them.) Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, got up to deal with `A'ishah; and `Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, got up to deal with Hafsah, and both of them were saying, `You are asking the Prophet for that which he does not have!' But the Messenger of Allah stopped them, and they (his wives) said, `By Allah, after this we will not ask the Messenger of Allah for anything that he does not have.' Then Allah revealed the Ayah telling him to give them the choice, and he started with `A'ishah, may Allah be pleased with her. He said,
(I am going to tell you something, and I would like you not to hasten to respond until you consult your parents.) She said, `What is it' He recited to her:
(O Prophet! Say to your wives...) `A'ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) said, `Do I need to consult my parents concerning you I choose Allah and His Messenger, but I ask you not to tell of my choice to your other wives.' He said:
(Allah did not send me to be harsh, but He sent me to teach in a gentle and easy manner. If any of them asks me what your decision was, I will tell her.)'' This was also recorded by Muslim, but not Al-Bukhari; An-Nasa'i also recorded it. `Ikrimah said: "At that time he was married to nine women, five of them were from Quraysh -- `A'ishah, Hafsah. Umm Habibah, Sawdah and Umm Salamah, may Allah be pleased with them. And he was also married to Safiyyah bint Huyay An-Nadariyyah, Maymunah bint Al-Harith Al-Hilaliyyah, Zaynab bint Jahsh Al-Asadiyyah and Juwayriyyah bint Al-Harith Al-Mustalaqiyyah, may Allah be pleased with all of them.
(30. O wives of the Prophet! Whoever of you commits an open Fahishah, the torment for her will be doubled, and that is ever easy for Allah.) (31. And whosoever of you is obedient to Allah and His Messenger, and does righteous good deeds, We shall give her, her reward twice over, and We have prepared for her a noble provision.)