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Condemning Apostasy

Allah then says,

﴿ إِنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ ٱرۡتَدُّواْ عَلَىٰٓ أَدۡبَـٰرِهِم

(Verily, those who have turned back) meaning, they departed from the faith and returned to disbelief.

﴿ مِّنۢ بَعۡدِ مَا تَبَيَّنَ لَهُمُ ٱلۡهُدَى‌ۙ ٱلشَّيۡطَـٰنُ سَوَّلَ لَهُمۡ

(... after guidance had become clear to them -- Shaytan has enticed them) meaning he adorned and beautified that (apostasy) for them.

﴿ وَأَمۡلَىٰ لَهُمۡ

(and filled them with false hopes.) meaning, he tempted them, and deceived them.

﴿ ذَٲلِكَ بِأَنَّهُمۡ قَالُواْ لِلَّذِينَ كَرِهُواْ مَا نَزَّلَ ٱللَّهُ سَنُطِيعُڪُمۡ فِى بَعۡضِ ٱلۡأَمۡرِ‌ۖ

(That is because they said to those who hate what Allah sent down: "We will obey your in part of the matter.'') means, they plotted secretly with them and gave them evil advice -- as is the common practice of the hypocrites who declare the opposite of what they conceal. Because of this, Allah says,

﴿ وَٱللَّهُ يَعۡلَمُ إِسۡرَارَهُمۡ

(And Allah knows their secrets. ) whatever they hide and conceal, Allah is well-acquainted with it and He knows it. This is similar to His saying,

﴿ وَٱللَّهُ يَكۡتُبُ مَا يُبَيِّتُونَ‌ۖ

(...And Allah records all that they plot by night.) (4:81) Allah then says,

﴿ فَكَيۡفَ إِذَا تَوَفَّتۡهُمُ ٱلۡمَلَـٰٓٮِٕكَةُ يَضۡرِبُونَ وُجُوهَهُمۡ وَأَدۡبَـٰرَهُمۡ

(How (will it be) when the angels will take their souls at death, striking their faces and their backs) That is, how their situation will be when the angels come to take their lives, and their souls cling to their bodies, causing the angels to extract them by force, harshness, and beating. This is similar to Allah's saying,

﴿ وَلَوۡ تَرَىٰٓ إِذۡ يَتَوَفَّى ٱلَّذِينَ ڪَفَرُواْ‌ۙ ٱلۡمَلَـٰٓٮِٕكَةُ يَضۡرِبُونَ وُجُوهَهُمۡ وَأَدۡبَـٰرَهُمۡ

(If you could but see when the angels take away the lives of the disbelievers, striking their faces and their backs.) (8:50) And His saying,

﴿ وَلَوۡ تَرَىٰٓ إِذِ ٱلظَّـٰلِمُونَ فِى غَمَرَٲتِ ٱلۡمَوۡتِ وَٱلۡمَلَـٰٓٮِٕكَةُ بَاسِطُوٓاْ أَيۡدِيهِمۡ

(If you could but see when the wrongdoers are in the agonies of death, while the angels extend their hands) (6:93). meaning, to beat them.

﴿ أَخۡرِجُوٓاْ أَنفُسَڪُمُ‌ۖ ٱلۡيَوۡمَ تُجۡزَوۡنَ عَذَابَ ٱلۡهُونِ بِمَا كُنتُمۡ تَقُولُونَ عَلَى ٱللَّهِ غَيۡرَ ٱلۡحَقِّ وَكُنتُمۡ عَنۡ ءَايَـٰتِهِۦ تَسۡتَكۡبِرُونَ

((saying): "Deliver your souls! This day you will be recompensed with the torment of degradation because of what you used to utter against Allah other than the truth, and because you used to arrogantly reject His signs.'') (6:93) Because of the above, Allah says,

﴿ ذَٲلِكَ بِأَنَّهُمُ ٱتَّبَعُواْ مَآ أَسۡخَطَ ٱللَّهَ وَڪَرِهُواْ رِضۡوَٲنَهُ ۥ فَأَحۡبَطَ أَعۡمَـٰلَهُمۡ

(That is because they pursued what angered Allah and disliked what earns His pleasure, so He rendered their deeds worthless.)

﴿ أَمۡ حَسِبَ ٱلَّذِينَ فِى قُلُوبِهِم مَّرَضٌ أَن لَّن يُخۡرِجَ ٱللَّهُ أَضۡغَـٰنَہُمۡ وَلَوۡ نَشَآءُ لَأَرَيۡنَـٰكَهُمۡ فَلَعَرَفۡتَهُم بِسِيمَـٰهُمۡ‌ۚ وَلَتَعۡرِفَنَّهُمۡ فِى لَحۡنِ ٱلۡقَوۡلِ‌ۚ وَٱللَّهُ يَعۡلَمُ أَعۡمَـٰلَكُمۡ وَلَنَبۡلُوَنَّكُمۡ حَتَّىٰ نَعۡلَمَ ٱلۡمُجَـٰهِدِينَ مِنكُمۡ وَٱلصَّـٰبِرِينَ وَنَبۡلُوَاْ أَخۡبَارَكُمۡ

(29. Or do those in whose hearts is a disease, think that Allah will not expose their ill--wills) (30. Had We so willed, We could have shown them clearly to you, so that you would know them by their marks; but you will know them by the tone of their speech! And Allah knows (all) your deeds.) (31. And We will surely, try you until We know those who strive among you and the patient, and We will put to a test all your affairs.)

Exposing the Hidden Secret of the Hypocrites Allah says,
﴿ أَمۡ حَسِبَ ٱلَّذِينَ فِى قُلُوبِهِم مَّرَضٌ أَن لَّن يُخۡرِجَ ٱللَّهُ أَضۡغَـٰنَہُمۡ

(Or do those in whose hearts is disease think that Allah would never expose their ill--wills) meaning, do the hypocrites think that Allah will not expose their affair to His believing servant Yes indeed, He will expose their affair and manifest it so that those with insight will be able to understand it. In that regard, Allah revealed Surah Bara'ah (or At-Tawbah), in which He clarified the hypocrites' scandals, and pinpointed their practices that are indicative of their hypocrisy. Because of that, this Surah (Surah Bara'ah) is also called "The Exposer''. Adghan is the plural of Dighn, which means what the souls harbor of envy and hatred toward Islam and its people who support it. Allah then says,

﴿ وَلَوۡ نَشَآءُ لَأَرَيۡنَـٰكَهُمۡ فَلَعَرَفۡتَهُم بِسِيمَـٰهُمۡ‌ۚ

(Had We so willed, We could have shown them clearly to you, so that you would know them by their marks.) Allah is telling His Messenger, "Had We willed, O Muhammad, We would have shown you the specific individuals who are hypocrites, so that you would plainly know them.'' However, Allah did not do that in regard to all of the hypocrites. He conceals His creation, lets their affairs run according to apparent purity, and leaves the inner secrets to the One Who is well aware of them. Allah then adds,

﴿ وَلَتَعۡرِفَنَّهُمۡ فِى لَحۡنِ ٱلۡقَوۡلِ‌ۚ

(But you will know them by the tone of their speech!) which means, `you will know them by their speech that reveals their intentions.' A person declares his association through the context and meaning of his words -- as the Commander of the faithful `Uthman bin `Affan (may Allah be pleased with him) said, "Never would one conceal a secret but Allah will expose it by the look on his face and the uncontrolled words of his tongue.'' Allah then says,

﴿ وَلَنَبۡلُوَنَّكُمۡ

(And We will surely try you) meaning, `We will surely test you with commands and prohibitions.'

﴿ حَتَّىٰ نَعۡلَمَ ٱلۡمُجَـٰهِدِينَ مِنكُمۡ وَٱلصَّـٰبِرِينَ وَنَبۡلُوَاْ أَخۡبَارَكُمۡ

(until We know those who strive among you and the patient, and We will put to a test all your affairs.) There is absolutely no doubt that Allah's knowledge precedes the occurrence of all events. In this Ayah, "until We know'' means `until We know of its occurrence.' This is why Ibn `Abbas said in regard to this and similar texts, "Except so that We may know, means, so that We may see.''

﴿ إِنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ وَصَدُّواْ عَن سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ وَشَآقُّواْ ٱلرَّسُولَ مِنۢ بَعۡدِ مَا تَبَيَّنَ لَهُمُ ٱلۡهُدَىٰ لَن يَضُرُّواْ ٱللَّهَ شَيۡـًٔ۬ا وَسَيُحۡبِطُ أَعۡمَـٰلَهُمۡ يَـٰٓأَيُّہَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوٓاْ أَطِيعُواْ ٱللَّهَ وَأَطِيعُواْ ٱلرَّسُولَ وَلَا تُبۡطِلُوٓاْ أَعۡمَـٰلَكُمۡ إِنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ وَصَدُّواْ عَن سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ ثُمَّ مَاتُواْ وَهُمۡ كُفَّارٌ۬ فَلَن يَغۡفِرَ ٱللَّهُ لَهُمۡ فَلَا تَهِنُواْ وَتَدۡعُوٓاْ إِلَى ٱلسَّلۡمِ وَأَنتُمُ ٱلۡأَعۡلَوۡنَ وَٱللَّهُ مَعَكُمۡ وَلَن يَتِرَكُمۡ أَعۡمَـٰلَكُمۡ

(32. Verily, those who disbelieve, and hinder from the path of Allah, and oppose the Messenger, after the guidance has been clearly shown to them, they will not harm Allah in the least, but He will make their deeds fruitless,) (33. O you who believe! Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger and invalidate not your deeds.) (34. Verily, those who disbelieved and obstructed others from the path of Allah and then died as disbelievers -- never will Allah not forgive them.) (35. So do not lose heart and beg for peace while you are superior. Allah is with you and He will never deprive you of (the reward of) your deeds.)

Nullifying the Disbelievers' Deeds and the Command to chase Them

Allah then informs about those who disbelieve, obstruct others from the path of Allah, oppose the Messenger and contend with him, and revert from the faith after guidance has become clear to them. He indicates that those people can never harm Allah in the least, and rather they only harm themselves and become losers on the Day of Resurrection. He will nullify their deeds. Allah will not reward them even the weight of a mosquito (i.e., the smallest thing) for any good that they did before their apostasy, but would instead totally invalidate and destroy it. Their apostasy wipes away their good deeds entirely, just as the good deeds would normally wipe away the evil deeds. Imam Ahmad Ibn Nasr Al-Marwazi reported in Kitab As-Salah (the Book of Prayer) that Abu Al-`Aliyah said, "The Prophet's Companions used to think that no sin would harm a person who says `La ilaha illallah,' just as no good deed would benefit a person who joins partners with Allah. So Allah revealed,

﴿ أَطِيعُواْ ٱللَّهَ وَأَطِيعُواْ ٱلرَّسُولَ وَلَا تُبۡطِلُوٓاْ أَعۡمَـٰلَكُمۡ

(Obey Allah and obey the Messenger and do not invalidate your deeds.) This made them fear that some sins could nullify their deeds.'' It has also been reported from Ibn `Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) that he said, "We, the Companions of Allah's Messenger, used to think that good deeds would all be accepted, until Allah revealed,

﴿ أَطِيعُواْ ٱللَّهَ وَأَطِيعُواْ ٱلرَّسُولَ وَلَا تُبۡطِلُوٓاْ أَعۡمَـٰلَكُمۡ

(Obey Allah and obey the Messenger and do not invalidate your deeds.) So we asked each other: `What is it that can nullify our deeds' So we said, `The major sins, great offenses that require admission into the Fire and immoral sins.' But then Allah revealed,

﴿ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ لَا يَغۡفِرُ أَن يُشۡرَكَ بِهِۦ وَيَغۡفِرُ مَا دُونَ ذَٲلِكَ لِمَن يَشَآءُ‌ۚ

(Verily, Allah does not forgive joining partners with Him in worship, but He forgives except that to whom He wills.) (4:48) After this was revealed, we ceased saying that. We thereafter continued to fear for those who committed great sins and immoral sins and to have hope for those who did not.'' Then, Allah commands His believing servants to obey Him and His Messenger, which would result in their happiness in this worldly life and the Hereafter. He also prohibits them from apostasy, because that would result in the nullification of their deeds. Thus He says,

﴿ وَلَا تُبۡطِلُوٓاْ أَعۡمَـٰلَكُمۡ

(and do not invalidate your deeds.) meaning, by apostasy. Thus, Allah says after this,

﴿ إِنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ وَصَدُّواْ عَن سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ ثُمَّ مَاتُواْ وَهُمۡ كُفَّارٌ۬ فَلَن يَغۡفِرَ ٱللَّهُ لَهُمۡ

(Verily, those who disbelieved and obstructed others from the path of Allah and then died as disbelievers -- never will Allah forgive them.) This is similar to His saying,

﴿ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ لَا يَغۡفِرُ أَن يُشۡرَكَ بِهِۦ وَيَغۡفِرُ مَا دُونَ ذَٲلِكَ لِمَن يَشَآءُ‌ۚ

(Verily, Allah does not forgive joining partners with Him in worship, but He forgives except that to whom He wills.) (4:48) Allah then addresses His believing servants by saying,

﴿ فَلَا تَهِنُواْ

(So do not lose heart) meaning, do not be weak concerning the enemies.

﴿ وَتَدۡعُوٓاْ إِلَى ٱلسَّلۡمِ

(and beg for peace) meaning, compromise, peace, and ending the fighting between you and the disbelievers while you are in a position of power, both in great numbers and preparations. Thus, Allah says,

﴿ فَلَا تَهِنُواْ وَتَدۡعُوٓاْ إِلَى ٱلسَّلۡمِ وَأَنتُمُ ٱلۡأَعۡلَوۡنَ

(So do not lose heart and beg for peace while you are superior.) meaning, in the condition of your superiority over your enemy. If, on the other hand, the disbelievers are considered more powerful and numerous than the Muslims, then the Imam (general commander) may decide to hold a treaty if he judges that it entails a benefit for the Muslims. This is like what Allah's Messenger did when the disbelievers obstructed him from entering Makkah and offered him treaty in which all fighting would stop between them for ten years. Consequently, he agreed to that. Allah then says:

﴿ وَٱللَّهُ مَعَكُمۡ

(And Allah is with you) This contains the good news of victory and triumph over the enemies.

﴿ وَلَن يَتِرَكُمۡ أَعۡمَـٰلَكُمۡ

(and He will never deprive you of (the reward of) your deeds.) meaning, Allah will never invalidate your deeds, nullify them, or deprive you of them, but rather He will give you your rewards complete, without any reduction.'' And Allah knows best.

﴿ إِنَّمَا ٱلۡحَيَوٰةُ ٱلدُّنۡيَا لَعِبٌ۬ وَلَهۡوٌ۬‌ۚ وَإِن تُؤۡمِنُواْ وَتَتَّقُواْ يُؤۡتِكُمۡ أُجُورَكُمۡ وَلَا يَسۡـَٔلۡكُمۡ أَمۡوَٲلَكُمۡ إِن يَسۡـَٔلۡكُمُوهَا فَيُحۡفِڪُمۡ تَبۡخَلُواْ وَيُخۡرِجۡ أَضۡغَـٰنَكُمۡ هَـٰٓأَنتُمۡ هَـٰٓؤُلَآءِ تُدۡعَوۡنَ لِتُنفِقُواْ فِى سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ فَمِنڪُم مَّن يَبۡخَلُ‌ۖ وَمَن يَبۡخَلۡ فَإِنَّمَا يَبۡخَلُ عَن نَّفۡسِهِۦ‌ۚ وَٱللَّهُ ٱلۡغَنِىُّ وَأَنتُمُ ٱلۡفُقَرَآءُ‌ۚ وَإِن تَتَوَلَّوۡاْ يَسۡتَبۡدِلۡ قَوۡمًا غَيۡرَكُمۡ ثُمَّ لَا يَكُونُوٓاْ أَمۡثَـٰلَكُم

(36. This worldly life is only amusement and diversion. And if you believe and have Taqwa of Allah, He will grant you your rewards, and will not ask from you (to sacrifice all of) your possessions.) (37. If He would demand of you all of it and urge you, you would withhold. And He will expose your (secret) ill--wills.) (38. Here you are now invited to spend in Allah's cause; but among you are those who withhold (stingily). And whoever acts stingily is but stingy toward himself. For Allah is indeed free of needs, while you are the needy. And if you turn away, He will replace you with other people; then they will not be like you.)

Showing the Triviality of the Worldly Life and encouraging Spending

Expressing the insignificance and worthlessness of the worldly life, Allah says,

﴿ إِنَّمَا ٱلۡحَيَوٰةُ ٱلدُّنۡيَا لَعِبٌ۬ وَلَهۡوٌ۬‌ۚ

(This worldly life is only amusement and diversion.) which means that such is its outcome, except for that which is done for the sake of Allah. Because of this, Allah says,

﴿ وَإِن تُؤۡمِنُواْ وَتَتَّقُواْ يُؤۡتِكُمۡ أُجُورَكُمۡ وَلَا يَسۡـَٔلۡكُمۡ أَمۡوَٲلَكُمۡ

(And if you believe and have Taqwa of Allah, He will grant you your rewards, and will not ask from you (to sacrifice all of) your possessions.) meaning, He is in no need of you, and asks you for nothing. He only ordained giving charity from your wealth so that you would help your needy brothers. The benefit of that would then come back to you, as well as the rewards. Allah then says,

﴿ إِن يَسۡـَٔلۡكُمُوهَا فَيُحۡفِڪُمۡ تَبۡخَلُواْ

(If He would demand of you all of it and urge you, you would withhold.) meaning, if He pressures you much, you would become stingy.

﴿ وَيُخۡرِجۡ أَضۡغَـٰنَكُمۡ

(And He will expose your (secret) ill--wills.) Qatadah said, "Allah knows that extracting wealth (i.e., money from people) brings about ill-wills. '' Indeed, Qatadah has said the truth, because money is dear to the people, and they do not spend it except in things that are dearer to them than it. Allah then says,

﴿ هَـٰٓأَنتُمۡ هَـٰٓؤُلَآءِ تُدۡعَوۡنَ لِتُنفِقُواْ فِى سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ فَمِنڪُم مَّن

(Here you are now invited to spend in Allah's cause; but among you are those who withhold (stingily).) meaning, they refuse to spend. Allah continues,

﴿ يَبۡخَلُ‌ۖ وَمَن يَبۡخَلۡ فَإِنَّمَا يَبۡخَلُ عَن

(And whoever acts stingily is but stingy toward himself.) meaning, he only reduces his own rewards, and the bad outcome of that will come back to him.

﴿ نَفۡسَهُ ۥ‌ۗ وَٱللَّهُ

(For Allah is indeed Al-Ghani) Allah is in need of nothing else, whereas everything is ever in need of Him. Thus, Allah says,

﴿ ٱلۡغَنِىُّ وَأَنتُمُ

(while you are the needy.) meaning, specifically of Him. The description of Allah as Al-Ghani (in no need) is a necessary description of Allah; on the other hand, the description of the creation as Faqr (needy) is a necessary description for them that they cannot avoid. Allah then says,

﴿ وَإِن تَتَوَلَّوۡاْ

(And if you turn away,) which means, if you turn away from obeying Him and adhering to His Laws.

﴿ تَتَوَلَّوۡاْ يَسۡتَبۡدِلۡ قَوۡمًا غَيۡرَكُمۡ ثُمَّ لَا يَكُونُوٓاْ

(He will replace you with other people; then they will not be like you.) meaning, rather, they will be people who will listen to Him and obey His commands. This concludes the Tafsir of Surat Al-Qital. And Allah is worthy of all praise and gratitude.