أَلَمْ تَرَ إِلَى الَّذِينَ قِيلَ لَهُمْ كُفُّوا أَيْدِيَكُمْ وَأَقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَآتُوا الزَّكَاةَ فَلَمَّا كُتِبَ عَلَيْهِمُ الْقِتَالُ إِذَا فَرِيقٌ مِنْهُمْ يَخْشَوْنَ النَّاسَ كَخَشْيَةِ اللَّهِ أَوْ أَشَدَّ خَشْيَةً ۚ وَقَالُوا رَبَّنَا لِمَ كَتَبْتَ عَلَيْنَا الْقِتَالَ لَوْلَا أَخَّرْتَنَا إِلَىٰ أَجَلٍ قَرِيبٍ ۗ قُلْ مَتَاعُ الدُّنْيَا قَلِيلٌ وَالْآخِرَةُ خَيْرٌ لِمَنِ اتَّقَىٰ وَلَا تُظْلَمُونَ فَتِيلًا
Have you not seen those who were told, "Restrain your hands [from fighting] and establish prayer and give zakah"? But then when fighting was ordained for them, at once a party of them feared men as they fear Allah or with [even] greater fear. They said, "Our Lord, why have You decreed upon us fighting? If only You had postponed [it for] us for a short time." Say, The enjoyment of this world is little, and the Hereafter is better for he who fears Allah. And injustice will not be done to you, [even] as much as a thread [inside a date seed]."
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(Hast thou not seen those unto whom it was said: Withhold your hands…) [4:77]. Said al-Kalbi: “This versewas revealed about some Companions of the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace,among whom were ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn ‘Awf, al-Miqdad ibn al-Aswad, Qudamah ibn Maz‘un and Sa‘d ibn AbiWaqqas. These Companions were subjected to a lot of harm from the idolaters. They used to say: ‘OMessenger of Allah, allow us to fight them’, but his answer was always: ‘Keep your hands off them, for Ihave not been commanded to fight them’. When the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give himpeace, migrated to Medina and Allah, exalted is He, commanded them to fight the idolaters, some of themdisliked fighting and found it very hard. And so Allah, exalted is He, revealed this verse”. Sa‘id ibnMuhammad ibn Ahmad al-‘Adl informed us> Abu ‘Amr Hamdan> al-Hasan ibn Sufyan> Muhammad ibn ‘Ali>his father> al-Husayn ibn Waqid> ‘Amr ibn Dinar> ‘Ikrimah> Ibn ‘Abbas who related that ‘Abd al-Rahmanibn ‘Awf and some of his fellow companions went to the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, inMecca and said: “O Prophet of Allah, we were mighty when we were idolaters but now that we are believerswe became humiliated”. He said to them: “I am commanded to pardon, do not fight these people”. Butwhen Allah, exalted is He, made him move to Medina, He commanded him to fight, they withheld theirhands, and so Allah, exalted is He, revealed (Hast thou not seen those unto whom it was said: Withholdyour hands…).
مَّآ أَصَـبَكَ مِنْ حَسَنَةٍ فَمِنَ اللَّهِ وَمَآ أَصَـبَكَ مِن سَيِّئَةٍ فَمِن نَّفْسِكَ وَأَرْسَلْنَـكَ لِلنَّاسِ رَسُولاً وَكَفَى بِاللَّهِ شَهِيداً
(77. Have you not seen those who were told to hold back their hands (from fighting) and perform Salah and give Zakah, but when the fighting was ordained for them, behold! a section of them fear men as they fear Allah or even more. They say: "Our Lord! Why have You ordained for us fighting Would that You granted us respite for a short period'' Say: "Short is the enjoyment of this world. The Hereafter is (far) better for him who fears Allah, and you shall not be dealt with unjustly even equal to the Fatil.)
(78. "Wheresoever you may be, death will overtake you even if you are in fortresses built up strong and high!'' And if some good reaches them, they say, "This is from Allah,'' but if some evil befalls them, they say, "This is from you.'' Say: "All things are from Allah,'' so what is wrong with these people that they fail to understand any word)
(79. Whatever of good reaches you, is from Allah, but whatever of evil befalls you, is from yourself. And We have sent you as a Messenger to mankind, and Allah is sufficient as a Witness.)
In the beginning of Islam, Muslims in Makkah were commanded to perform the prayer and pay some charity, so as to comfort the poor among them. They were also commanded to be forgiving and forbearing with the idolators and to observe patience with them at the time. However, they were eager and anticipating the time when they would be allowed to fight, so that they could punish their enemies. The situation at that time did not permit armed conflict for many reasons. For instance, Muslims were few at the time, compared to their numerous enemies. The Muslims' city was a sacred one and the most honored area on the earth, and this is why the command to fight was not revealed in Makkah. Later on when the Muslims controlled a town of their own, Al-Madinah, and had strength, power and support, Jihad was then legislated. Yet, when the command to fight was revealed, just as Muslims wished, some of them became weary and were very fearful of facing the idolators in battle.
وَقَالُواْ رَبَّنَا لِمَ كَتَبْتَ عَلَيْنَا الْقِتَالَ لَوْلا أَخَّرْتَنَا إِلَى أَجَلٍ قَرِيبٍ
(They say: "Our Lord! Why have You ordained for us fighting Would that You had granted us respite for a short period'') meaning, we wish that Jihad was delayed until a later time, because it means bloodshed, orphans and widows. In a similar Ayah, Allah said,
وَيَقُولُ الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ لَوْلاَ نُزِّلَتْ سُورَةٌ فَإِذَآ أُنزِلَتْ سُورَةٌ مُّحْكَمَةٌ وَذُكِرَ فِيهَا الْقِتَالُ
(Those who believe say: "Why is not a Surah sent down (for us) But when a decisive is sent down, and fighting is mentioned). Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Ibn `Abbas said that `Abdur-Rahman bin `Awf and several of his companions came to the Prophet while in Makkah and said, "O Allah's Prophet! We were mighty when we were pagans, but when we embraced the faith, we became weak.'' The Prophet said,
«إِنِّي أُمِرْتُ بِالْعَفْوِ فَلَا تُقَاتِلُوا الْقَوْم»
(I was commanded to pardon the people, so do not fight them.) When Allah transferred the Prophet to Al-Madinah, He commanded him to fight (the idolators), but they (some Muslims) held back. So, Allah revealed the Ayah;
أَلَمْ تَرَ إِلَى الَّذِينَ قِيلَ لَهُمْ كُفُّواْ أَيْدِيَكُمْ
(Have you not seen those who were told to hold back their hands) This Hadith was collected by An-Nasa'i and Al-Hakim. Allah's statement,
قُلْ مَتَـعُ الدُّنْيَا قَلِيلٌ وَالاٌّخِرَةُ خَيْرٌ لِّمَنِ اتَّقَى
(Say: "Short is the enjoyment of this world. The Hereafter is (far) better for him who fears Allah,) means, the destination of the one who with Taqwa is better for him than this life.
وَلاَ تُظْلَمُونَ فَتِيلاً
(and you shall not be dealt with unjustly even equal to the Fatil.) for your good deeds. Rather, you will earn your full rewards for them. This promise directs the focus of believers away from this life and makes them eager for the Hereafter, all the while encouraging them to fight in Jihad.
أَيْنَمَا تَكُونُواْ يُدْرِككُّمُ الْمَوْتُ وَلَوْ كُنتُمْ فِى بُرُوجٍ مُّشَيَّدَةٍ
(Wheresoever you may be, death will overtake you even if you are in fortresses built up strong and high!) meaning, you shall certainly die and none of you shall ever escape death. Allah said,
كُلُّ مَنْ عَلَيْهَا فَانٍ
(Whatsooever is on it (the earth) will perish),
كُلُّ نَفْسٍ ذَآئِقَةُ الْمَوْتِ
(Everyone shall taste death), and,
وَمَا جَعَلْنَا لِبَشَرٍ مِّن قَبْلِكَ الْخُلْدَ
(And We granted not to any human being immortality before you). Therefore, every soul shall taste death and nothing can save any person from it, whether he performed Jihad or not. Everyone has an appointed time, and a limited term of life. In the illness that preceded his death, Khalid bin Al-Walid said, while in his bed, "I participated in so and so number of battles, and every part of my body sustained an injury due to a stab or a shot. Yet here I am, I die in my bed! Let not the eyes of the cowards ever taste sleep.'' Allah's statement,
وَلَوْ كُنتُمْ فِى بُرُوجٍ مُّشَيَّدَةٍ
(even if you are in fortresses built up strong and high!) means, entrenched, fortified, high and towering. No caution or fortification can ever avert death.
وَإِن تُصِبْهُمْ حَسَنَةٌ
(And if some good reaches them) meaning, fertile years and provision of fruits, produce, children, etc., as said by Ibn `Abbas, Abu Al-`Aliyah and As-Suddi.
يَقُولُواْ هَـذِهِ مِنْ عِندِ اللَّهِ وَإِن تُصِبْهُمْ سَيِّئَةٌ
(they say, "This is from Allah,'' but if some evil befalls them) drought, famine, shortages of fruits and produce, death that strikes their children or animals, and so forth, as Abu Al-`Aliyah and As-Suddi stated.
يَقُولُواْ هَـذِهِ مِنْ عِندِكَ
(they say, "This is from you,'') meaning, because of you and because we followed you and embraced your religion. Allah said about the people of Fir`awn,
فَإِذَا جَآءَتْهُمُ الْحَسَنَةُ قَالُواْ لَنَا هَـذِهِ وَإِن تُصِبْهُمْ سَيِّئَةٌ يَطَّيَّرُواْ بِمُوسَى وَمَن مَّعَهُ
(But whenever good came to them, they said: "Ours is this.'' And if evil afflicted them, they ascribed it to evil omens connected with Musa and those with him.) Allah said,
وَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَن يَعْبُدُ اللَّهَ عَلَى حَرْفٍ
(And among mankind is he who worships Allah as it were upon the edge (i. e. in doubt)). The same is the statement uttered by the hypocrites, who embraced Islam outwardly, but disliked it inwardly. This is why when a calamity befell them, they attributed it to following the Prophet . Consequently, Allah revealed,
قُلْ كُلٌّ مِّنْ عِندِ اللَّهِ
Say: All things are from Alla0h, Allah's statement that all things are from Him means, everything occurs by the decision and decree of Allah, and His decision shall come to pass for both the righteous and the wicked, the faithful and the disbelievers. Allah then said while addressing His Messenger , but refering to mankind in general,
مَّآ أَصَـبَكَ مِنْ حَسَنَةٍ فَمِنَ اللَّهِ
(Whatever of good reaches you, is from Allah,) meaning, of Allah's bounty, favor, kindness and mercy.
وَمَآ أَصَـبَكَ مِن سَيِّئَةٍ فَمِن نَّفْسِكَ
(But whatever of evil befalls you, is from yourself.), meaning because of you and due to your actions. Similarly, Allah said,
وَمَآ أَصَـبَكُمْ مِّن مُّصِيبَةٍ فَبِمَا كَسَبَتْ أَيْدِيكُمْ وَيَعْفُواْ عَن كَثِيرٍ
(And whatever of misfortune befalls you, it is because of what your hands have earned. And He pardons much.) As-Suddi, Al-Hasan Al-Basri, Ibn Jurayj and Ibn Zayd said that,
(from yourself) means, because of your errors. Qatadah said that,
(From yourself) means, as punishment for you, O son of Adam, because of your sins. Allah said,
وَأَرْسَلْنَـكَ لِلنَّاسِ رَسُولاً
(And We have sent you as a Messenger to mankind,) so that you convey to them Allah's commandments, what He likes and is pleased with, and what He dislikes and refuses.
وَكَفَى بِاللَّهِ شَهِيداً
(and Allah is sufficient as a Witness.) that He has sent you. He is also Witness over you and them, having full knowledge in what you convey to them and the disbelief and rebellion with which they respond to the truth.