۞ فَمَا لَكُمْ فِي الْمُنَافِقِينَ فِئَتَيْنِ وَاللَّهُ أَرْكَسَهُمْ بِمَا كَسَبُوا ۚ أَتُرِيدُونَ أَنْ تَهْدُوا مَنْ أَضَلَّ اللَّهُ ۖ وَمَنْ يُضْلِلِ اللَّهُ فَلَنْ تَجِدَ لَهُ سَبِيلًا
What is [the matter] with you [that you are] two groups concerning the hypocrites, while Allah has made them fall back [into error and disbelief] for what they earned. Do you wish to guide those whom Allah has sent astray? And he whom Allah sends astray - never will you find for him a way [of guidance].
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(What aileth you that ye are become two parties regarding the hypocrites…) [4:88]. Muhammad ibn Ibrahimibn Muhammad ibn Yahya informed us> Abu 'Amr Isma'il ibn Najid> Yusuf ibn Ya'qub al-Qadi> 'Amr ibnMarzuq> Shu'bah> 'Adiyy ibn Thabit> 'Abd Allah ibn Yazid ibn Thabit who reported that a group of peopleinitially accompanied the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, to Uhud but then turnedback and returned to Medina. The Muslims were divided in their opinions about them. Some of them were ofthe opinion that they should be killed while others thought they should be spared, and so this verse wasrevealed. This was revealed by Bukhari> Bundar> Ghundar and also by Muslim> 'Abd Allah ibn Mu'adh> hisfather; and both transmitters (Ghundar and Ibn Mu'adh's father) related it from Shu'bah. 'Abd al-Rahmanibn Hamdan al-'Adl informed us> Abu Bakr Ahmad ibn Ja'far ibn Malik> 'Ubayd Allah ibn Ahmad ibn Hanbal>his father> al-Aswad ibn 'Amir> Hammad ibn Salamah> Muhammad ibn Ishaq> Yazid ibn 'Abd Allah ibnQusayt> Abu Salamah ibn 'Abd al-Rahman> his father who related that a group of Arabs came to theMessenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, and embraced Islam. Then they contracted theillness and fever that was going round in Medina and, as a result, renounced Islam and left Medina. Theywere met by a group among the Companions of the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peacewho asked them: “Why did you leave Medina?” They replied: “We contracted the illness of Medina and forthis reason we disliked remaining there”. The Companions said: “Do you not have a good example in theperson of the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace?” Some of the Companions were ofthe opinion that these Arabs were hypocrites while others thought they were still Muslims. And because ofthis difference of opinion, Allah, exalted is He, revealed (What aileth you that ye are become two partiesregarding the hypocrites…). Mujahid said apropos this verse: “This was revealed about some people who leftMecca to Medina, claiming to be Emigrants. They then renounced Islam and asked permission from theProphet, Allah bless him and give him peace, to go to Mecca to bring some merchandise with which to trade.The believers were divided in their opinions about this matter. Some thought that these people werehypocrites while others were of the opinion they were believers. Allah, exalted is He, then revealed theirhypocrisy by means of this verse and commanded that they be executed in His saying (if they turn back (toenmity) then take them and kill them wherever ye find them…) [4:89]. They took their merchandiseintending to go to Hilal ibn 'Uwaymir al-Aslami, who had a treaty of alliance with the Prophet, Allah bless himand give him peace, and it is he who was vexed to fight the believers, and so fighting was suspended by thesaying of Allah, exalted is He, (Except those who seek refuge with a people between whom and you there isa covenant…) [4:90]”.
فَمَا لَكُمْ فِى الْمُنَـفِقِينَ فِئَتَيْنِ وَاللَّهُ أَرْكَسَهُمْ بِمَا كَسَبُواْ أَتُرِيدُونَ أَن تَهْدُواْ مَنْ أَضَلَّ اللَّهُ وَمَن يُضْلِلِ اللَّهُ فَلَن تَجِدَ لَهُ سَبِيلاً - وَدُّواْ لَوْ تَكْفُرُونَ كَمَا كَفَرُواْ فَتَكُونُونَ سَوَآءً فَلاَ تَتَّخِذُواْ مِنْهُمْ أَوْلِيَآءَ حَتَّى يُهَاجِرُواْ فِى سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ فَإِنْ تَوَلَّوْاْ فَخُذُوهُمْ وَاقْتُلُوهُمْ حَيْثُ وَجَدتُّمُوهُمْ وَلاَ تَتَّخِذُواْ مِنْهُمْ وَلِيّاً وَلاَ نَصِيراً - إِلاَّ الَّذِينَ يَصِلُونَ إِلَى قَوْمٍ بَيْنَكُمْ وَبَيْنَهُمْ مِّيثَـقٌ أَوْ جَآءُوكُمْ حَصِرَتْ صُدُورُهُمْ أَن يُقَـتِلُونَكُمْ أَوْ يُقَـتِلُواْ قَوْمَهُمْ وَلَوْ شَآءَ اللَّهُ لَسَلَّطَهُمْ عَلَيْكُمْ فَلَقَـتَلُوكُمْ فَإِنِ اعْتَزَلُوكُمْ فَلَمْ يُقَـتِلُوكُمْ وَأَلْقَوْاْ إِلَيْكُمُ السَّلَمَ فَمَا جَعَلَ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ عَلَيْهِمْ سَبِيلاً - سَتَجِدُونَ ءَاخَرِينَ يُرِيدُونَ أَن يَأْمَنُوكُمْ وَيَأْمَنُواْ قَوْمَهُمْ كُلَّ مَا رُدُّواْ إِلَى الْفِتْنِةِ أُرْكِسُواْ فِيِهَا فَإِن لَّمْ يَعْتَزِلُوكُمْ وَيُلْقُواْ إِلَيْكُمُ السَّلَمَ وَيَكُفُّواْ أَيْدِيَهُمْ فَخُذُوهُمْ وَاقْتُلُوهُمْ حَيْثُ ثِقِفْتُمُوهُمْ وَأُوْلَـئِكُمْ جَعَلْنَا لَكُمْ عَلَيْهِمْ سُلْطَـناً مُّبِيناً
(88. Then what is the matter with you that you are divided into two parties about the hypocrites Allah has cast them back because of what they have earned. Do you want to guide him whom Allah has made to go astray And he whom Allah has made to go astray, you will never find for him a way.)
(89. They wish that you reject faith, as they have rejected, and thus that you all become equal (like one another). So take not Awliya' from them, till they emigrate in the way of Allah. But if they turn back, take (hold of) them and kill them wherever you find them, and take neither Awliya' nor helpers from them.)
(90. Except those who join a group, between you and whom there is a treaty (of peace), or those who approach you with their breasts restraining from fighting you as well as fighting their own people. Had Allah willed, indeed He would have given them power over you, and they would have fought you. So, if they withdraw from you, and fight not against you, and offer you peace, then Allah has made no way for you against them.)
(91. You will find others that wish to have security from you and security from their people. Every time they are sent back to Fitnah, they yield thereto. If they withdraw not from you, nor offer you peace, nor restrain their hands, take (hold of) them and kill them wherever you Thaqiftumuhum. In their case, We have provided you with a clear warrant against them.)
Allah criticizes the believers for disagreeing over the hypocrites. There are conflicting opinions over the reason behind revealing this Ayah. Imam Ahmad recorded that Zayd bin Thabit said that Messenger of Allah marched towards Uhud. However, some people who accompanied him went back to Al-Madinah, and the Companions of the Messenger of Allah divided into two groups concerning them, one saying they should be killed and the other objecting. Allah sent down,
فَمَا لَكُمْ فِى الْمُنَـفِقِينَ فِئَتَيْنِ
(Then what is the matter with you that you are divided into two parties about the hypocrites) The Messenger of Allah said,
«إِنَّهَا طَيْبَةُ، وَإِنَّهَا تَنْفِي الْخَبَثَ، كَمَا يَنْفِي الْكِيرُ خَبَثَ الْحَدِيد»
(She (Al-Madinah) is Taybah, and she expels filth, just as the billow expels rust from iron.) The Two Sahihs also recorded this Hadith. Al-`Awfi reported that Ibn `Abbas said that the Ayah was revealed about some people in Makkah who said they embraced Islam, yet they gave their support to the idolators. One time, theses people went out of Makkah to fulfill some needs and said to each other, "If we meet the Companions of Muhammad, there will be no harm for us from their side.'' When the believers got news that these people went out of Makkah, some of them said, "Let us march to these cowards and kill them, because they support your enemy against you.'' However, another group from the believers said, "Glory be to Allah! Do you kill a people who say as you have said, just because they did not perform Hijrah or leave their land Is it allowed to shed their blood and confiscate their money in this case'' So they divided to two groups, while the Messenger was with them, and did not prohibit either group from reiterating their argument. Thereafter, Allah revealed,
فَمَا لَكُمْ فِى الْمُنَـفِقِينَ فِئَتَيْنِ
(Then what is the matter with you that you are divided into two parties about the hypocrites) Ibn Abi Hatim recorded this Hadith. Allah said,
وَاللَّهُ أَرْكَسَهُمْ بِمَا كَسَبُواْ
(Allah has cast them back because of what they have earned.) meaning, He made them revert to, and fall into error. Ibn `Abbas said that,
(Arkasahum) means, `cast them' . Allah's statement,
(because of what they have earned) means, because of their defiance and disobedience to the Messenger and following falsehood.
أَتُرِيدُونَ أَن تَهْدُواْ مَنْ أَضَلَّ اللَّهُ وَمَن يُضْلِلِ اللَّهُ فَلَن تَجِدَ لَهُ سَبِيلاً
(Do you want to guide him whom Allah has made to go astray And he whom Allah has made to go astray, you will never find for him a way.) meaning, there will be no path for him, or way to guidance. Allah's statement,
وَدُّواْ لَوْ تَكْفُرُونَ كَمَا كَفَرُواْ فَتَكُونُونَ سَوَآءً
(They wish that you reject faith, as they have rejected, and thus that you all become equal.) means, they wish that you fall into misguidance, so that you and they are equal in that regard. This is because of their extreme enmity and hatred for you. Therefore, Allah said,
فَلاَ تَتَّخِذُواْ مِنْهُمْ أَوْلِيَآءَ حَتَّى يُهَاجِرُواْ فِى سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ فَإِنْ تَوَلَّوْاْ
(So take not Awliya' from them, till they emigrate in the way of Allah. But if they turn back,) if they abandon Hijrah, as Al-`Awfi reported from Ibn `Abbas. As-Suddi said that this part of the Ayah means, "If they make their disbelief public.''
Allah excluded some people;
إِلاَّ الَّذِينَ يَصِلُونَ إِلَى قَوْمٍ بَيْنَكُمْ وَبَيْنَهُمْ مِّيثَـقٌ
(Except those who join a group, between you and whom there is a treaty (of peace),) meaning, except those who join and take refuge with a people with whom you have a pact of peace, or people of Dhimmah, then treat them as you treat the people with whom you have peace. This is the saying of As-Suddi, Ibn Zayd and Ibn Jarir. In his Sahih, Al-Bukhari recorded the story of the treaty of Al-Hudaybiyyah, where it was mentioned that whoever liked to have peace with Quraysh and conduct a pact with them, then they were allowed. Those who liked to have peace with Muhammad and his Companions and enter a pact with them were allowed. It was reported that Ibn `Abbas said that this Ayah was later abrogated by Allah's statement,
فَإِذَا انسَلَخَ الأَشْهُرُ الْحُرُمُ فَاقْتُلُواْ الْمُشْرِكِينَ حَيْثُ وَجَدتُّمُوهُمْ
(Then when the Sacred Months have passed, kill the idolators wherever you find them) Allah said,
أَوْ جَآءُوكُمْ حَصِرَتْ صُدُورُهُمْ
(or those who approach you with their breasts restraining) referring to another type of people covered by the exclusion from fighting. They are those who approach the Muslims with hesitation in their hearts because of their aversion to fighting the Muslims. They do not have the heart to fight with the Muslims against their own people. Therefore, they are neither with nor against Muslims.
وَلَوْ شَآءَ اللَّهُ لَسَلَّطَهُمْ عَلَيْكُمْ فَلَقَـتَلُوكُمْ
(Had Allah willed, indeed He would have given them power over you, and they would have fought you.) meaning, it is from Allah's mercy that He has stopped them from fighting you.
فَإِنِ اعْتَزَلُوكُمْ فَلَمْ يُقَـتِلُوكُمْ وَأَلْقَوْاْ إِلَيْكُمُ السَّلَمَ
(So, if they withdraw from you, and fight not against you, and offer you peace,) meaning, they revert to peace,
فَمَا جَعَلَ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ عَلَيْهِمْ سَبِيلاً
(then Allah has opened no way for you against them), you do not have the right to kill them, as long as they take this position. This was the position of Banu Hashim (the tribe of the Prophet ), such as Al-`Abbas, who accompanied the idolators in the battle of Badr, for they joined the battle with great hesitation. This is why the Prophet commanded that Al-`Abbas not be killed, but only captured. Allah's statement, d
سَتَجِدُونَ ءَاخَرِينَ يُرِيدُونَ أَن يَأْمَنُوكُمْ وَيَأْمَنُواْ قَوْمَهُمْ
(You will find others that wish to have security from you and security from their people.) refers to a type of people who on the surface appear to be like the type we just mentioned. However, the intention of each type is different, for the latter are hypocrites. They pretend to be Muslims with the Prophet and his Companions, so that they could attain safety with the Muslims for their blood, property and families. However, they support the idolators in secret and worship what they worship, so that they are at peace with them also. These people have secretly sided with the idolators, just as Allah described them,
وَإِذَا خَلَوْاْ إِلَى شَيَـطِينِهِمْ قَالُواْ إِنَّا مَعَكُمْ
(But when they are alone with their Shayatin, they say: "Truly, we are with you.''). In this Ayah, Allah said,
كُلَّ مَا رُدُّواْ إِلَى الْفِتْنِةِ أُرْكِسُواْ فِيِهَا
(Every time they are sent back to Fitnah, they yield thereto.) meaning, they dwell in Fitnah. As-Suddi said that the Fitnah mentioned here refers to Shirk. Ibn Jarir recorded that Mujahid said that the Ayah was revealed about a group from Makkah who used to go to the Prophet in Al-Madinah pretending to be Muslims. However, when they went back to Quraysh, they reverted to worshipping idols. They wanted to be at peace with both sides. Allah commanded they should be fought against, unless they withdraw from combat and resort to peace. This is why Allah said,
فَإِن لَّمْ يَعْتَزِلُوكُمْ وَيُلْقُواْ إِلَيْكُمُ السَّلَمَ
(If they withdraw not from you, nor offer you peace) meaning, revert to peaceful and complacent behavior,
(nor restrain their hands) refrain from fighting you,
(take (hold of) them), capture them,
وَاقْتُلُوهُمْ حَيْثُ ثَقِفْتُمُوهُمْ
(and kill them wherever you Thaqiftumuhum.), wherever you find them,
وَأُوْلَـئِكُمْ جَعَلْنَا لَكُمْ عَلَيْهِمْ سُلْطَـناً مُّبِيناً
(In their case, We have provided you with a clear warrant against them), meaning an unequivocal and plain warrant.