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The Merit of Surah Al-Fath

Imam Ahmad recorded from `Abdullah bin Mughaffal, who said that Allah's Messenger recited Surah Al-Fath on the (day) of the conquest of Makkah, riding on his she-camel. He recited it in a vibrating and pleasant tone. Mu`awiyah (a subnarrator) added: "Were I not afraid that the people would crowd around me, I would surely try to imitate and produce his recitation.'' Both Al-Bukhari and Muslim recorded this Hadith through Shu`bah.

﴿ بِسۡمِ ٱللَّهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

﴿ إِنَّا فَتَحۡنَا لَكَ فَتۡحً۬ا مُّبِينً۬ا لِّيَغۡفِرَ لَكَ ٱللَّهُ مَا تَقَدَّمَ مِن ذَنۢبِكَ وَمَا تَأَخَّرَ وَيُتِمَّ نِعۡمَتَهُ ۥ عَلَيۡكَ وَيَہۡدِيَكَ صِرَٲطً۬ا مُّسۡتَقِيمً۬ا وَيَنصُرَكَ ٱللَّهُ نَصۡرًا عَزِيزًا

(1. Verily, We have given you a manifest victory.) (2. That Allah may forgive you your sins of the past and the future, and complete His favor on you, and guide you on the straight path,) (3. And that Allah may help you with strong help.)

The Reason behind revealing Surat Al-Fath

This honorable Surah was revealed after the Messenger of Allah returned from the area of Al-Hudaybiyyah, during the month of Dhul-Qa`dah, in the sixth year of Hijrah. This is when the idolaters prevented him from reaching Al-Masjid Al-Haram to perform the `Umrah he intended. They stopped the Prophet from reaching Makkah at that time, but then were prone to peace negotiations. A peace treaty was conducted stipulating that the Messenger would return this year and then come back for `Umrah the following year. The Messenger agreed. However, some of the Companions disliked these terms, including `Umar bin Al-Khattab, as we will mention in detail, Allah willing, while explaining this Surah. After the Prophet slaughtered his sacrificial animals in the area where he was stopped and headed back to Al-Madinah, Allah the Exalted and Most Honored revealed this Surah about what occurred between him and the idolaters. Allah declared the Al-Hudaybiyyah peace treaty a manifest victory, because of the benefits peace would carry and the good results that did originate from it. `Abdullah bin Mas`ud and other Companions said, "You consider the conquering of Makkah to be Al-Fath (the victory), while to us, Al-Fath is the treaty conducted at Al-Hudaybiyyah.'' Jabir (bin `Abdullah) said, "We only considered Al-Fath to be the day of Hudaybiyyah!'' Al-Bukhari recorded that Al-Bara' (bin `Azib) said, "You consider Al-Fath to be the conquest of Makkah, which was indeed a victory. However, we consider Al-Fath to be the pledge of Ar-Ridwan on the Day of Al-Hudaybiyyah. Then, we were fourteen hundred with the Messenger of Allah. Al-Hudaybiyyah had a well, whose water we consumed, not leaving a drop of water in it. When the news of what happened reached the Messenger of Allah, he came towards us and sat on the edge of the well. Then he asked to be brought a bucket of water and used it for ablution. He next rinsed his mouth, invoked Allah and poured that water into the well. Soon after, that well provided us, as well as our animals, with sufficient water, in whatever amount of water we wished. Imam Ahmad recorded that `Umar bin Al-Khattab said, "We were with the Messenger of Allah on a trip, and I asked him about a matter three times, but he did not answer me. So I said to myself, `May your mother lose you, O son of Al-Khattab! You were stubborn in repeating your question three times to the Messenger of Allah; each time he did not respond to you.' So I mounted my animal, my camel, and went ahead for fear that a part of the Qur'an might be revealed in my case. Suddenly, I heard a caller calling, `O `Umar!' So, I went to the Messenger while fearing that part of the Qur'an was revealed about me. The Prophet said,

« نَزَلَ عَلَيَّ الْبَارِحَةَ سُورَةٌ هِيَ أَحَبُّ إِلَيَّ مِنَ الدُّنْيَا وَمَا فِيهَا:
﴿ إِنَّا فَتَحۡنَا لَكَ فَتۡحً۬ا مُّبِينً۬ا لِّيَغۡفِرَ لَكَ ٱللَّهُ مَا تَقَدَّمَ مِن ذَنۢبِكَ وَمَا تَأَخَّرَ

(Last night, a Surah was revealed to me that is dearer to me than this life and all that it contains: (Verily, We have given you a manifest victory. That Allah may forgive you your sins of the past and the future.)) Al-Bukhari, At-Tirmidhi and An-Nasa'i collected this Hadith from several chains of narration through Malik, may Allah grant him His mercy. `Ali bin Al-Madini commented, "This is a good chain of narration consisting of the scholars of Al-Madinah.'' Imam Ahmad recorded that Anas bin Malik said, "This Ayah was revealed to the Prophet,

﴿ لِّيَغۡفِرَ لَكَ ٱللَّهُ مَا تَقَدَّمَ مِن ذَنۢبِكَ وَمَا تَأَخَّرَ

(That Allah may forgive you your sins of the past and the future,) on his return from Al-Hudaybiyyah. The Prophet said,

« لَقَدْ أُنْزِلَتْ عَلَيَّ اللَّيْلَةَ آيَةٌ أَحَبُّ إِلَيَّ مِمَّا عَلَى الْأَرْض »

(Tonight, an Ayah, that is dearer to me than all that the earth carries, was revealed to me.) The Prophet recited the Ayah to them. They said, `Congratulations, O Allah's Messenger! Allah the Exalted and Most Honored has stated what He will do with you. So what will He do with us' These Ayat were revealed to the Prophet,

﴿ لِّيُدۡخِلَ ٱلۡمُؤۡمِنِينَ وَٱلۡمُؤۡمِنَـٰتِ جَنَّـٰتٍ۬ تَجۡرِى مِن تَحۡتِہَا ٱلۡأَنۡہَـٰرُ

(That He may admit the believing men and the believing women to Gardens under which rivers flow...), until,

﴿ فَوۡزًا عَظِيمً۬ا

(...a supreme success.)'' This Hadith is recorded in the Two Sahihs. Imam Ahmad recorded that Al-Mughirah bin Shu`bah said, "The Prophet used to pray until both his feet were swollen. He was asked, `Has not Allah forgiven you all your sins of the past and of future' He said,

« أَفَلَا أَكُونُ عَبْدًا شَكُورًا؟ »

(Should I not be a thankful servant)'' The two collectors of the Sahihs collected this Hadith, as well as, the rest of the Group, except Abu Dawud. Allah's statement,

﴿ إِنَّا فَتَحۡنَا لَكَ فَتۡحً۬ا مُّبِينً۬ا

(Verily, We have given you a manifest victory.) means, clear and apparent victory. This Ayah is about the treaty at Al-Hudaybiyyah, which resulted in great goodness, including people embracing Islam in large crowds and having the chance to meet each other openly. During that time, the believers preached to the idolaters and thus beneficial knowledge and faith spread all around. Allah's statement,

﴿ لِّيَغۡفِرَ لَكَ ٱللَّهُ مَا تَقَدَّمَ مِن ذَنۢبِكَ وَمَا تَأَخَّرَ

(That Allah may forgive you your sins of the past and the future,) contains one of the special virtues of the Messenger, and no one else shares this honor with him. There is not an authentic Hadith that states that any person other than the Messenger earned forgiveness for all of his sins of the past and future on account of performing good deeds. This, indeed, is a great honor for the Messenger of Allah, who fulfilled the requirements of Allah's obedience, righteousness and straightness at a level never surpassed by a human being in past generations, nor will it ever be surpassed in the generations to come. Muhammad is the perfect human being and the leader and chief of all mankind in this life and the Hereafter. And since he was, and will always be, the most obedient of Allah's creation to Him and the most honoring of Allah's commands and prohibitions, he said when his she- camel insisted on kneeling down,

« حَبَسَها حَابِسُ الْفِيل »

(He Who stopped the elephant, has stopped her too.) The Prophet then declared,

« وَالَّذِي نَفْسِي بِيَدِهِ لَا يَسْأَلُونِّي الْيَوْمَ شَيْئًا يُعَظِّمُونَ بِهِ حُرُمَاتِ اللهِ إِلَّا أَجَبْتُهُمْ إِلَيْهَا »

(By the Name of Him in Whose Hand my soul is, this day, if they ask me anything which will respect the ordinances of Allah, I will grant it to them.) And when the Messenger obeyed Allah and accepted the peace offer from the Quraysh, Allah the Exalted said to him,

﴿ إِنَّا فَتَحۡنَا لَكَ فَتۡحً۬ا مُّبِينً۬ا لِّيَغۡفِرَ لَكَ ٱللَّهُ مَا تَقَدَّمَ مِن ذَنۢبِكَ وَمَا تَأَخَّرَ وَيُتِمَّ نِعۡمَتَهُ ۥ عَلَيۡكَ

(Verily, We have given you a manifest victory. That Allah may forgive you your sins of the past and the future, and complete His favor on you,) in this life and the Hereafter,

﴿ وَيَہۡدِيَكَ صِرَٲطً۬ا مُّسۡتَقِيمً۬ا

(and guide you on the straight path,) with the glorious legislation and the straight religion that He ordains on you,

﴿ وَيَنصُرَكَ ٱللَّهُ نَصۡرًا عَزِيزًا

(And that Allah may help you with strong help.) due to your obedience of the orders of Allah, the Exalted and Most Honored; Allah will elevate your status and give you victory above your enemies. An authentic Hadith states,

« وَمَا زَادَ اللهُ عَبْدًا بِعَفْوٍ إِلَّا عِزًّا. وَمَا تَوَاضَعَ أَحَدٌ للهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ إِلَّا رَفَعَهُ اللهُ تَعَالَى »

(No servant pardons but Allah grants him honor, and none humbles himself for Allah except that Allah the exalted and sublime raises him (in rank).) `Umar bin Al-Khattab said, "You will never punish someone who disobeyed Allah with you better than obeying Allah the Exalted and Most Honored with him.''

﴿ هُوَ ٱلَّذِىٓ أَنزَلَ ٱلسَّكِينَةَ فِى قُلُوبِ ٱلۡمُؤۡمِنِينَ لِيَزۡدَادُوٓاْ إِيمَـٰنً۬ا مَّعَ إِيمَـٰنِہِمۡ‌ۗ وَلِلَّهِ جُنُودُ ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٲتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضِ‌ۚ وَكَانَ ٱللَّهُ عَلِيمًا حَكِيمً۬ا لِّيُدۡخِلَ ٱلۡمُؤۡمِنِينَ وَٱلۡمُؤۡمِنَـٰتِ جَنَّـٰتٍ۬ تَجۡرِى مِن تَحۡتِہَا ٱلۡأَنۡہَـٰرُ خَـٰلِدِينَ فِيہَا وَيُڪَفِّرَ عَنۡهُمۡ سَيِّـَٔاتِہِمۡ‌ۚ وَكَانَ ذَٲلِكَ عِندَ ٱللَّهِ فَوۡزًا عَظِيمً۬ا وَيُعَذِّبَ ٱلۡمُنَـٰفِقِينَ وَٱلۡمُنَـٰفِقَـٰتِ وَٱلۡمُشۡرِكِينَ وَٱلۡمُشۡرِكَـٰتِ ٱلظَّآنِّينَ بِٱللَّهِ ظَنَّ ٱلسَّوۡءِ‌ۚ عَلَيۡہِمۡ دَآٮِٕرَةُ ٱلسَّوۡءِ‌ۖ وَغَضِبَ ٱللَّهُ عَلَيۡہِمۡ وَلَعَنَهُمۡ وَأَعَدَّ لَهُمۡ جَهَنَّمَ‌ۖ وَسَآءَتۡ مَصِيرً۬ا وَلِلَّهِ جُنُودُ ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٲتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضِ‌ۚ وَكَانَ ٱللَّهُ عَزِيزًا حَكِيمًا

(4. He it is Who sent down As-Sakinah into the hearts of the believers, that they may grow more in faith along with their faith. And to Allah belong the armies of the heavens and the earth, and Allah is Ever All-Knower, All-Wise.) (5. That He may admit the believing men and the believing women to Gardens under which rivers flow to abide therein forever, and He may expiate from them their sins; and that is with Allah supreme success,) (6. And that He may punish the hypocrites men and women, and also the idolaters men and women, who think evil thoughts about Allah, for them is a disgraceful torment. And the anger of Allah is upon them, and He has cursed them and prepared Hell for them and worst indeed is that destination.) (7. And to Allah belong the armies of the heavens and the earth. And Allah is Ever All-Powerful, All-Wise.)

Allah sent down the Sakinah into the Hearts of the Believers

Allah the Exalted said,

﴿ هُوَ ٱلَّذِىٓ أَنزَلَ ٱلسَّكِينَةَ

(He it is Who sent down As-Sakinah), meaning, tranquility. Qatadah commented, "Grace into the hearts of the believers'', that is, the Companions (may Allah be pleased with them) on the Day of Al-Hudaybiyyah. The companions were they, who accepted the call of Allah and His Messenger and obeyed the decisions of Allah and His Messenger . When their hearts felt content with acceptance and were at peace, Allah increased their faith, joining it to the faith they already had. Al-Bukhari, and other Imams, relied on this Ayah as proof that faith increases and decreases in the hearts. Allah the Exalted said next that had He willed, He would have inflicted defeat on the disbelievers, Allah says;

﴿ وَلِلَّهِ جُنُودُ ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٲتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضِ‌ۚ

(And to Allah belong the armies of the heavens and the earth) and had He willed to send only one angel to them, that angel would have brought destruction to all what they had. However, Allah the Exalted willed Jihad and fighting to be established for, and by, the believers for great wisdom, clear reasons and unequivocal evidences that He had in all this. This is why Allah the Great said next,

﴿ وَكَانَ ٱللَّهُ عَلِيمًا حَكِيمً۬ا

(and Allah is Ever All-Knower, All-Wise.) Allah the Exalted and Most Honored said,

﴿ لِّيُدۡخِلَ ٱلۡمُؤۡمِنِينَ وَٱلۡمُؤۡمِنَـٰتِ جَنَّـٰتٍ۬ تَجۡرِى مِن تَحۡتِہَا ٱلۡأَنۡہَـٰرُ خَـٰلِدِينَ فِيہَا

(That He may admit the believing men and the believing women to Gardens under which rivers flow to abide therein forever,) We mentioned the Hadith that Anas narrated in which the Companions said, "Congratulations, O Allah's Messenger! This good news is for you, so what good news do we have'' Allah the Exalted sent down this Ayah,

﴿ لِّيُدۡخِلَ ٱلۡمُؤۡمِنِينَ وَٱلۡمُؤۡمِنَـٰتِ جَنَّـٰتٍ۬ تَجۡرِى مِن تَحۡتِہَا ٱلۡأَنۡہَـٰرُ خَـٰلِدِينَ فِيہَا

(That He may admit the believing men and the believing women to Gardens under which rivers flow to abide therein forever,) meaning they will remain in Paradise forever,

﴿ وَيُڪَفِّرَ عَنۡهُمۡ سَيِّـَٔاتِہِمۡ‌ۚ

(and He may expiate from them their sins;) Allah will not punish them for their errors and mistakes. Rather, He will forgive, absolve and pardon them and cover the errors, grant mercy and appreciate,

﴿ وَكَانَ ذَٲلِكَ عِندَ ٱللَّهِ فَوۡزًا عَظِيمً۬ا

(and that is with Allah supreme success.) Allah the Exalted said in a similar Ayah,

﴿ فَمَن زُحۡزِحَ عَنِ ٱلنَّارِ وَأُدۡخِلَ ٱلۡجَنَّةَ فَقَدۡ فَازَ‌ۗ

(And whoever is removed away from the Fire and admitted to Paradise, he indeed is successful.) (3:185) Allah said,

﴿ وَيُعَذِّبَ ٱلۡمُنَـٰفِقِينَ وَٱلۡمُنَـٰفِقَـٰتِ وَٱلۡمُشۡرِكِينَ وَٱلۡمُشۡرِكَـٰتِ ٱلظَّآنِّينَ بِٱللَّهِ ظَنَّ ٱلسَّوۡءِ‌ۚ

(And that He may punish the hypocrites, men and women, and also the idolaters, men and women, who think evil thoughts about Allah,) who question the wisdom in Allah's decisions and think that the Messenger and his Companions (may Allah be pleased with them) might be killed and exterminated. This is why Allah the Exalted said,

﴿ عَلَيۡہِمۡ دَآٮِٕرَةُ ٱلسَّوۡءِ‌ۖ وَغَضِبَ ٱللَّهُ عَلَيۡہِمۡ وَلَعَنَهُمۡ

(for them is a disgraceful torment. And the anger of Allah is upon them, and He has cursed them) He has cast them away from His mercy,

﴿ وَأَعَدَّ لَهُمۡ جَهَنَّمَ‌ۖ وَسَآءَتۡ مَصِيرً۬ا

(and prepared Hell for them -- and worst indeed is that destination.) Allah the Exalted and Most Honored asserted His ability to take revenge from the enemies of Islam and all disbelievers and hypocrites,

﴿ وَلِلَّهِ جُنُودُ ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٲتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضِ‌ۚ وَكَانَ ٱللَّهُ عَزِيزًا حَكِيمًا

(And to Allah belong the armies of the heavens and the earth. And Allah is Ever All-Powerful, All-Wise.)

﴿ إِنَّآ أَرۡسَلۡنَـٰكَ شَـٰهِدً۬ا وَمُبَشِّرً۬ا وَنَذِيرً۬ا لِّتُؤۡمِنُواْ بِٱللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِۦ وَتُعَزِّرُوهُ وَتُوَقِّرُوهُ وَتُسَبِّحُوهُ بُڪۡرَةً۬ وَأَصِيلاً إِنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ يُبَايِعُونَكَ إِنَّمَا يُبَايِعُونَ ٱللَّهَ يَدُ ٱللَّهِ فَوۡقَ أَيۡدِيہِمۡ‌ۚ فَمَن نَّكَثَ فَإِنَّمَا يَنكُثُ عَلَىٰ نَفۡسِهِۦ‌ۖ وَمَنۡ أَوۡفَىٰ بِمَا عَـٰهَدَ عَلَيۡهُ ٱللَّهَ فَسَيُؤۡتِيهِ أَجۡرًا عَظِيمً۬ا

(8. Verily, We have sent you as a witness, as a bearer of glad tidings, and as a warner.) (9. In order that you (O mankind) may believe in Allah and His Messenger and that you Tu`azziruh and Tuwaqqiruh, and Tusabbihuh Bukrah and Asila.) (10. Verily, those who give pledge to you, they are giving pledge to Allah. The Hand of Allah is over their hands. Then whosoever breaks his pledge, breaks it only to his own harm; and whosoever fulfills what he has the covenants he makes with Allah, He will bestow on him a great reward.)