Surah Al-Anfaal (Surah 8: Revelation Order 88)

True believers and their practices

  • They ask you (prophet) about the spoils of war, say: “The spoils of war belong to God and the messenger.” So, you shall fear God and shall make fair that between yourselves, and shall obey God and His messenger if you have been believers (8:1). The believers are only those – when has been mentioned God has feared their hearts, and when has been recited His revelations to them has increased them in faith, and upon their Lord they put trust (8:2). Those who establish the Contact Prayer (al-salata) and spend from what we have provided them (8:3). Those – they are the true believers. For them there are high ranks with their Lord, and forgiveness and an honorable provision (8:4).
  • Note: God has clearly explained the true believers being those who are fearful of God when He has been mentioned, and increase their faith when has been recited His revelations to them, and put trust upon their Lord, while they establish salat prayer and spend from what has been given them deserve high ranks with their Lord and an honorable provision being forgiven by their Lord.

God justifies truth with His words to cut off root of disbelievers

  • As that your (prophet) Lord had willed to bring you out from your home with the truth, while indeed, a party of the believers were surely dislikers (8:5). They dispute with you about the truth, after what has made clear as if they are driven to the death, while they were looking (8:6). And when God promises you one of the two groups that it would be for you, while you wish that other than that of the armed would be for you. And God intends to justify the truth with His words and to cut off roots of the disbelievers (8:7). That He establishes the truth and condemns the falsehood even if had disliked the criminals (8:8).
  • Note: God knows the truth and a party who would be with the messenger in the war while he expects those who are skilled in fighting would be with him, and He establishes the truth condemning the falsehood with His words even to cut off roots of the disbelievers.

God supports the believers with the angels to secure victory

  • When you were seeking help of your Lord, He had answered for you, “Indeed, I am in your support with a thousand of the angels (sending) in succession.” (8:9). And God has not made it except a good news and that your hearts would be secure with it, while there is no victory except from on behalf of God. Indeed, God is Almighty, Wise (8:10). When He covers you with the sleep, is a peace from Him, while He sends down water from the sky that He may purify you with it. And He takes away from you the Satan’s affliction and that He may strengthen your hearts and may make firm your feet with it (8:11). When your Lord inspired the angels, “I am with yourselves, so you shall strengthen those who have believed. I will throw the terror into the hearts of those who have disbelieved, so you shall strike above the necks and shall strike every fingertip of them.” (8:12). That is of that they have opposed God and His messenger. And whoever opposes God and His messenger, then indeed, God is severe in the retribution (8:13). That is for you – so you shall taste it. And that a punishment of the Fire is for the disbelievers (8:14).
  • Note: God supports the believers by sending the angels being it good news for the believers and to secure their hearts like how He provides peace to them with the sleep and purifies them with rain water as well as taking away Satan’s affliction from them to strengthen their hearts, while the victory does not come except from God being Almighty, Wise.  God inspires the angels being with them to strengthen the believers while He will throw terror into the hearts of the disbelievers as they oppose God and His messenger and their punishment is Fire.

God encourages the believers to fight until the victory

  • O you who have believed, when you have encountered advancing of those who have disbelieved, then you do not turn the backs to them (8:15). And whoever turns his back to them that day except a strategy of war, or joining to a group, then certainly he has incurred with wrath of God, and his abode is Hell and it has been miserable the destination (8:16). So you do not kill them, but God has killed them. And you have not thrown them when you had thrown, but God had thrown, and that He may test the believers a good test from Him. Indeed, God is Hearer, Knower (8:17). That is for them, and that, God is making weaker the disbelievers’ plan (8:18).
  • Note: The believers will fight to encounter advancing of the disbelievers without turning back, and if they do except a war strategy, will be in Hell, a miserable destination while it is a good test for them as they do not kill the disbelievers but God kills them and they do not throw them but He throws them as well.

The worst creatures with God are the deaf and dumb

  • If you ask for victory, then certainly has come to you the victory. And if you desist, then it is good for you, but if you return, we will turn; while your forces cannot help anything from you, even if has been numerous. And that God is with the believers (8:19). O you who have believed, you shall obey God and His messenger, and you do not turn away from him while you hear (8:20). And you would not be like those who have said, “We have heard,” while they do not hear (8:21). Indeed, the worst creatures with God are the deaf and dumb, those who do not understand (8:22). And if God had known any good in them, surely, He would have made them hear, even if He had made them hear, surely, they would have turned away while they were averse (8:23). O you who have believed, you shall respond to God, and to the messenger when he has called you to what gives you life. And you shall know that God comes between the person and his heart, and that to Him you will be gathered (8:24).
  • Note: The victory comes to the believers if they listen to the messenger because of a war strategy but if the disbelievers ask for victory then it comes to them only when they refrain from fighting but if they return their numbers will not help them as God is with the believers while the believers would not be like those who have said that we have heard but they do not hear, and the worst creatures with God are deaf and dumb as they do not understand.

The true believers fear God while wealth and children are test for them

  • And you shall fear a test, which will not only afflict those who have done wrong among you. And you shall know that God is severe in the retribution (8:25). And you shall remember when you were feeling weak to be few in the earth fearing that the people may abolish you, then He had given shelter and had strengthened you with His help, and had provided you with the good things that you may appreciate (8:26). O you who have believed, you do not betray God and the messenger, nor do you betray your trusts, while you know (8:27). And you shall know that your wealth and your children are not but a test, and that God with Him is a great reward (8:28). O you who have believed, if you fear God, He will grant you a criterion and will remove your evil deeds from you and will forgive for you. And God is Possessor of the great bounty (8:29).
  • Note: The true believers fear God and they do not betray God and His messenger nor do they betray their trusts knowing that their wealth and children are test for them while with God there is a great reward and He has given them norm to remove the evil deeds from them and to be forgiven by Him.

The disbelievers will be gathered and thrown to Hell

  • And when those who have disbelieved plot against you (prophet) that they restrain you, or kill you, or drive you out. While they were plotting and God was plotting. And God is a best of the planners (8:30). And when is recited our revelations to them, they said, “Certainly, we have heard. If we wish, surely, we could have said like this. This is not but tales of people from the past” (8:31). And when they said, “O God, if it has been this is the truth from You, then rain upon us of stones from the sky, or bring us of a painful punishment.” (8:32). And it has not been God that He punishes them while you (prophet) are among them, nor has it been God of their Punisher while they are seeking forgiveness (8:33). And what is for them that God should not punish them while they prevent from the Sacred Masjid, and they are not its custodians? Its custodians cannot be except the righteous, but most of them do not know (8:34). And it has not been their Contact Prayer (al-salata)at the House except mocking and showing offs. So, you shall taste the punishment for what you have done to disbelieve (8:35). Indeed, those who have disbelieved, they spend their wealth to hinder from God’s way. So they will spend it, then it would be for them a regret. Then they will be defeated. And those who have disbelieved will be gathered to Hell (8:36). That God will distinguish the wicked from the good and will place the wicked one over another, thus making a pile all together, then will throw it into Hell. Those – they are the losers (8:37).
  • Note: The disbelievers plot against the prophet to refrain, kill and drive out him but God is the best planner to help him while they deny His revelations saying them a tale from the past people and also challenge to bring the retribution but He gives the disbelievers an opportunity for their forgiveness. The salat prayer of the disbelievers are not but mocking and showing off and they spend their wealth to hinder from God’s path but it will be regret for them as He will make a pile of all together and will throw to Hell.

The religion would be all of it for God

  • Say to those who have disbelieved, if they stop, will be forgiven for them what certainly has past; but if they return, then certainly has preceded a consequence of the earlier people (8:38). And you shall fight them until there would not be any oppression, and the religion would be all of it for God. But if they have ceased, then God is Seer of what they do (8:39). And if they have turned away, then you shall know that God is your Protector; He has been the best Protector and has been the best Helper (8:40).
  • Note: The disbelievers have been given opportunity to have forgiveness of God what they have done in past if they stop, but if they have returned, there would be a consequence what has preceded with the earlier generations of the people; on the other hand, the believers will fight against the disbelievers until the oppression is completely eliminated from the land and the religion is established all of it for God being our Protector, the best Protector and the best Helper.

Distribution of what has been obtained as spoils of war

  • And you shall know that what you have obtained as spoils of war from anything, then that one-fifth of it shall be for God and for the messenger, and for the near relatives and the orphans and the poor and the traveling alien, if you have believed in God and in what we have revealed to our servant, a day of the Criterion, a day has met the two armies. And God has power over everything (8:41).
  • Note: God has given responsibility to His messenger for fair distribution of what has been obtained as spoils of war being confirmed of a day the two armies had met, even specifying the recipients that there should not be any disputes among those who have believed in God and what has been revealed to His servant and a day of the Criterion.

God knows when and how the believers will win the war

  • When you were on the nearer side (of the valley) and they were on the farther side, and the caravan was lower than you. And if you had planned to meet, surely, you would have failed in the meeting. But that God accomplished a matter what has been destined, that He destroyed whoever has destroyed on a clear evidence, and He saved whoever has saved on a clear evidence. And indeed, God is surely Hearer, Knower (8:42). When God showed you (Muhammad)them fewer in your dream, and if He had shown you them many, surely you would have lost courage and surely you would have disputed in the matter, but God has saved (you). Indeed, He is Knower of what is in the breasts (8:43). And when He showed you them when you had met in your eyes fewer and He made you fewer in their eyes that God accomplished a matter what has been destined. And to God all matters are returned (8:44). O you who have believed, when you have encountered an army, then you shall be firm and shall remember God very often that you may succeed (8:45). And you shall obey God and His messenger, and you do not dispute that you would lose courage and would depart your strength, and you shall be patient. Indeed, God is with the patient ones (8:46).
  • Note: God plans for the believers based on situation that they can win the war while the believers shall remember God very often during fighting not to lose their courage and shall listen to the messenger to avoid any chaos and disputes for maintaining discipline among themselves when they are fighting against the opposition army being patient that they can succeed.

Whatever Satan promises is a deception

  • And you would not be like those who had come forth from their homes boast and showing off the people, and hinder from God’s way, while God is Encompassing of what they do (8:47). And when the Satan had made fair-seeming to them their deeds and said, “None can make you defeated from the people today and indeed, I will be a helper for you.” Then when the two armies had come in sight, he turned back on his heels and said, “Indeed, I am free of you. Indeed, I see what you do not see. Indeed, I fear God. And God is severe in the retribution.” (8:48).
  • Note: Satan inspires the disbelievers to hinder from God’s way and makes fair-seeming their deeds saying that none can defeat you from people and I will be with you. But when the two armies come in sight he has turned back on his heels saying that I am free of you and I see what you do not see and I fear God as He is severe in the punishment.

The angels put in death the disbelievers striking their faces and backs

  • When the hypocrites and those who had a disease in their hearts said, “Their religion has deceived these people.” And whoever puts trust upon God, then indeed, God is Almighty, Wise (8:49). And if you could see when the angels put to death of those who have disbelieved striking their faces and backs: “Taste the punishment of the Blazing Fire (8:50). That is of what has sent forth your hands. And indeed, God has not been of unjust to His servants.” (8:51). Like being same of Pharaoh’s people and those who were of their before. They had disbelieved in God’s revelations, so God seized them for their sins. Indeed, God is strong being severe in the retribution (8:52). That is of that God would not be the One who changes a favor He has bestowed it upon a people until they change what is with themselves. And that God is Hearer, Knower (8:53). Like being same of Pharaoh’s people and those who were of their before. They had denied in signs of their Lord, so we destroyed them for their sins and we drowned Pharaoh’s people, and all had been wrongdoers (8:54). Indeed, the worst creatures with God are those who have disbelieved and they do not believe (8:55).
  • Note: The angels put in death the hypocrites and the disbelievers who have said to the believers that their religion has deceived them, striking their faces and backs saying that taste the punishment of the Blazing Fire. That is because of what has sent forth their hands being same for the people of Pharaoh before, who had denied God’s revelations and His signs were drowned while the disbelievers are the worst creatures with God.

Treating violators of promise and the betrayers

  • Those whom you (the messenger) have taken a promise from them, then they break their promise in every time, and they do not fear (God) (8:56). So if you encounters them in the war, then you shall disperse of them whoever is behind them that they may take heed (8:57). And if you fear a betrayal from a people, then you shall throw back to them on equal terms. Indeed, God does not love the betrayers (8:58). And it should not think of those who have disbelieved have outstripped; indeed, they cannot escape (8:59).
  • Note: Those who violate their promise do not fear God, and if they are encountered in the battle should be dispersed from those who are behind them in a way that it would be a lesson for them, and if a group of people become betrayal to you (prophet), then you will be betrayal to them as God does not like the betrayers while let not think of the disbelievers that they can overcome as there is no escape for them from the believers.

God’s order for the believers to prepare them for the war against the disbelievers

  • And you shall prepare for them whatever you have been able of force and of tethered horses to terrify with it God’s enemy and your enemy and others besides them you do not know them, God knows them. And whatever you spend in God’s cause from a thing will be repaid in full to you, and you will not be wronged (8:60). And if they have inclined to the peace, then you shall incline to it, and shall put trust upon God. Indeed, He is the Hearer, the Knower (8:61).
  • Note: God has commanded the believers to prepare themselves with what they have to fight against the disbelievers, who are God’s enemy and their enemy as well as others enemy that they can defeat them but if they offer the peace, then they should accept it putting trust upon God being the Hearer, the Knower.

God supports the prophet with His help and with the believers to win the war

  • And if they intend that they will deceive you (prophet), then God has sufficiency for you. He is the One who has supported you with His help and with the believers (8:62). He has put affection between their hearts. If you (prophet) had spent all whatever is in the earth, you could not have put affection between their hearts, but God has put affection between themselves. Indeed, He is Almighty, Wise (8:63). O you prophet, has your sufficiency from God and whoever has followed you of the believers (8:64). O you prophet, you shall urge the believers to the fighting. If there would be twenty steadfast among you, they will defeat two hundred, and if there would be a hundred among you, they will defeat a thousand of those who have disbelieved, because of that they are a people who do not understand (8:65). Now God has lightened from you, and He knows that in you there is weakness. So if there would be a hundred steadfast among you, they will defeat two hundred, and if there would be a thousand among you, they will defeat two thousand by God’s permission, and God is with the steadfast (8:66).
  • Note: God has sufficiency to help the prophet if the disbelievers deceive him as He supports him with His help and with the believers. He puts affection between the hearts of the believers being Almighty, Wise. Hence, the twenty steadfast believers can defeat two hundred disbelievers, who are a people do not understand, even in their weakness a hundred believers can defeat two thousand disbelievers.

The believers should eat what is lawful good obtained as spoils of war

  • It has not been for a prophet that there would be prisoners of war for him unless he battles in the land. You desires materials of the world, while God desires the Hereafter. And God is Almighty, Wise (8:67). If it had not preceded a decree from God, surely, it would have touched you a great punishment for what you had taken (8:68). So you shall eat from what you have obtained as war spoils being lawful good, and shall fear God. Indeed, God is Forgiving, Merciful (8:69).
  • Note: God does not want to see the believers to be greedy to have a share of the spoils of war being materials of the world while they should desire for the Hereafter but they shall consume from what they have obtained as war spoils being lawful good fearing God.

Rehabilitation of prisoners of war

  • O you prophet, say to whoever is in your hands of the prisoners of war, “If God knows any good in your hearts, He will give you better than what has been taken from you and will forgive for you. And God is Forgiving, Merciful.” (8:70). And if they intend to (be) your betrayal, then certainly, they had betrayed God before. So He has established power over them, and God is Knower, Wise (8:71).
  • Note: If God knows that there is good in the hearts of any prisoners of war, He may give them better than what they have lost but not the real betrayers of Him.

Who are the true believers mentioned in scripture

  • Indeed, those who have believed, and have emigrated, and have strived with their wealth and their lives in God’s way, and those who have given shelter and have helped – those are allies of one another. While those who have believed and do not emigrate with you, is not for you anything of their protection until they emigrate. And if they seek you help in the religion, then upon you is the help except against a people between yourselves and between themselves there is a treaty. And God is Seer of what you do (8:72). And those who have disbelieved are allies of one another – unless you do it there would be oppression in the earth and a great corruption (8:73). And those who have believed and have emigrated and have strived in God’s way, and those who have given shelter and helped, those – they are the true believers. For them there is forgiveness and an honorable provision (8:74). And those who have believed afterwards, and have emigrated, and have strived with you, then those are among you, while those of blood relations are nearer to each other in God’s scripture. Indeed, God is Knower of everything (8:75).
  • Note: God has made it clear in the scripture that those who have believed and have strived with their wealth in God’s way and have emigrated with the prophet or after, and those who have given them shelter and have helped them are the true believers and for them there is forgiveness and honorable provision from Him.

Summary

  • defining the true believers being fearful of God when mentioned, and have increased their faith when recited His revelations to them and have put trust upon their Lord associating their practices.
  • justification of the truth with God’s words to cut off the root of the disbelievers.
  • the worst creatures with God are deaf and dumb, who do not understand.
  • the believers fight against the disbelievers to eliminate oppression and establish religion in the land while the religion would be all of it for God.
  • violators of promise if encountered in the battle should be dispersed from those who are behind them in a way that it would be a lesson for them.
  • if a group of people become betrayal to the prophet, then he can be betrayal to them as God does not like the betrayers.
  • the messenger has greater responsibility in planning of war and mobilization of forces as war strategy including fair distribution of spoils of war and rehabilitation of prisoners of war.
  • God supports the messenger with His help and with the believers putting affection between the hearts of the believers.
  • God encourages the believers to fight until the victory comes to them listening to the messenger, but if they turn back their destination is Hell.
  • He supports the believers to secure victory by sending the angels to fight with them against the disbelievers.
  • Satan’s promise to the disbelievers is a deception and the disbelievers will be gathered in a pile around Hell and will be thrown in it.
  • the disbelievers know their destination is Hell at the time of their death while the angels put them in death striking their faces and backs.
  • what is right for the believers mentioned in scripture and there is forgiveness and honorable provision for them.

In conclusion, review of Surah Al-Anfaal (The spoils of war) may help the true believer to avoid misinterpretation of the commandment of God for the believers to obey the messenger as a commander in chief having responsibility for war plans and mobilization of the forces according to war strategy and being in charge of fair distribution of spoils of war and dealing with prisoners of war being a commandment for the contemporary believers while we also know that Muhammad has been consistently addressed as prophet associating him lifetime activities when he was among the people.
Peaceful Friday, salaam and God bless.
Tafazzal (08/20/2021).