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Holy Quran Section > English Translation and Commentary of the Holy Quran by Maulana Muhammad Ali (Table of Contents) > Chapter 48 (Al-Fath- The Victory) > Section 1 (Verses 1 to 10)


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Section/Ruku 1 [Verses 1 to 10]: Hudaibiyah truce was a victory:
Chapter 48: (Al-Fath: The Victory)
(Revealed at Madinah: 4 sections; 29 verses)

1. Introduction:

This chapter is entitled Al-Fath or The Victory, a very appropriate name, because it deals with the conquests of Islam, from the great moral victory gained at Hudaibiyah, mentioned in the opening verse, to the final triumph of Islam over all religions of the world in v. 28. The word fath itself occurs several times in this chapter. It is remarkable that although the Muslims had already been victorious in several battles, not one of those victories but a truce, apparently disadvantageous to the Muslims, is made the basis of the triumphant career of Islam. There is an indication in this that the triumph of Islam lay in its moral conquests, the first of these after the Flight being the apparent disadvantage, but the real moral conquest, gained at Hudaibiyah. This fact makes clear the connection of this chapter with the last, which speaks of the victory of Islam in battles, this one drawing attention to its real triumph, which lay in moral conquests.

As regards the date of revelation, we have ‘Umar’s testimony on record that the Holy Prophet recited it for the first time when returning from Hudaibiyah (B: 64:37). Hence its revelation belongs to the sixth year of the Hijrah.

The chapter opens by declaring the Hudaibiyah truce to be a real victory, and after referring to the disappointment of the hypocrites and the idolaters, concludes with a reference to the aid and allegiance which the faithful rendered to the Holy Prophet. The second section deals with the false excuses of the hypocrites, and separates them from the faithful by not allowing them to join the Muslims in their expeditions. The third section prophesies more victories in battles — that at Khaibar and the conquest of Makkah being clearly hinted at. The fourth section brings the chapter to a close by making the important announcement that Islam will be made triumphant over all other religions of the world.

2. Translation:

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.

1 Surely We have granted thee a clear victory,a

2 That Allah may cover for thee thy (alleged) shortcomings in the past and those to come,a and complete His favour to thee and guide thee on a right path,b

3 And that Allah might help thee with a mighty help.a

4 He it is Who sent down tranquillity into the hearts of the believers that they might add faith to their faith. And Allah’s are the hosts of the heavens and the earth, and Allah is ever Knowing, Wise —

5 That He may cause the believing men and the believing women to enter Gardens wherein flow rivers to abide therein and remove from them their evil. And that is a grand achievement with Allah,

6 And (that) He may chastise the hypocritical men and the hypocritical women, and the polytheistic men and the polytheistic women, the entertainers of evil thoughts about Allah. On them is the evil turn, and Allah is wroth with them and has cursed them and prepared hell for them; and evil is the resort.

7 And Allah’s are the hosts of the heavens and the earth; and Allah is ever Mighty, Wise.

8 Surely We have sent thee as a witness and as a bearer of good news and as a warner,

9 That you may believe in Allah and His Messenger and may aid him and revere him. And (that) you may declare His glory, morning and evening.

10 Those who swear allegiance to thee do but swear allegiance to Allah. The hand of Allah is above their hands. So whoever breaks (his faith), he breaks it only to his soul’s injury. And whoever fulfils his covenant with Allah, He will grant him a mighty reward.a

3. Commentary:

1a. The victory referred to is that gained by the truce at Hudaibiyah in 6 A.H. (B. 64:37). The fact that there was no actual fighting at Hudaibiyah has led many to think that the words contain a prophecy about the conquest of Makkah, which, however, is referred to later on in the third section of this chapter. The truce at Hudaibiyah was surely a real victory for the Muslims, because it opened the way for the propagation of Islam among the disbelievers, and by putting a stop to hostilities gave the opponents an occasion to ponder over the merits of the religion against which they had hitherto struggled in vain on the field of battle. As a result of this truce large numbers came over to Islam, and the words are thus prophetical, and their truth was demonstrated long after their revelation. It may be added here that ‘Umar had some misgivings as to the good of the truce concluded at Hudaibiyah; he thought that the truce was not honourable for the Muslims, for the conditions to which they yielded were disadvantageous to them. One of the conditions of the truce was that, if anyone from among the Makkans came over to the Holy Prophet, he would return him to the Quraish, though he were a Muslim, while the Quraish were not bound to return anyone who deserted the Prophet and joined the Quraish. The Muslims felt it very hard that one of their brethren should be returned to suffer persecution at the hands of the disbelievers; but, as the Quraish refused to make a truce unless this condition was included, the Holy Prophet accepted it. Immediately afterwards Divine revelation dispelled all those misgivings, and declared the truce to be a great victory leading to glorious results, as it actually proved to be. [Back to verse 1]

2a. For ghafr meaning covering or protecting, see 2:286a. The word dhanbi-ka occurring here has been misunderstood as meaning thy sin. In the first place dhanb means any shortcoming, not necessarily a sin; see 3:11a. Secondly, the Prophet never committed a sin and his istighfar meant the asking of Divine protection against the commission of sins; see 40:55a. Even before he was raised to the dignity of prophethood, he was known in Arabia as al-Amin or the faithful one. Dhanbi-ka therefore here means not the sin committed by thee but the sin committed against thee, or the shortcomings attributed to thee, as ithmi in 5:29 means not the sin committed by me but the sin committed against me, for which see 5:29a. Other examples of a similar use of idafah are met with in the Holy Qur’an. For instance, see 6:22, where shuraka’u-kum does not mean your partners but the partners set up by you, and in 16:27 shuraka’i does not mean My partners but the partners which you set up with Me. The idafah in dhanbi-ka carries a similar significance, and the word means thy alleged shortcomings. It is only in this sense that we can speak of sins in the past and those to come. These were the shortcomings attributed to the Prophet by his enemies, by those who were contemporaneous with him and those who were yet to come after him. Notwithstanding the fact that the Prophet was respected throughout Arabia for his righteousness and truthfulness before he laid claim to prophethood, the twenty years of opposition to the Truth which he brought had poisoned the minds of the Arabs to such an extent that they now drew a very dark picture of him, heaping all kinds of abuses on him. Their poets now indulged in vituperating him, thus poisoning the minds of the masses. The battles that were now being fought had, further, made it impossible for the Muslims to present a true picture of Islam to the Arabs. After several years of conflict, the Hudaibiyah truce brought about a change in the relations of the two parties and the truth about the Prophet now began to dawn on their minds. They now saw that the Prophet was not the man of terror as their leaders had pictured to them. They saw the great transformation which he had wrought and the life which he had infused into a dead nation. It was in this sense that God covered the shortcomings and failures which his opponents attributed to him. Their effect on the public mind was removed by the Hudaibiyah truce, which gave his enemies an occasion to ponder over the beauties of Islam. In the words those to come, there is a reference to the latter-day carpings of the enemies of Islam. As already stated, this chapter deals not only with the immediate triumph of Islam, but prophesies also its ultimate triumph in the whole world (v. 28). Hence there is a promise here that not only would those misunderstandings which already existed be corrected, but even those that remained behind and would be spread at a later date by the enemies of Islam, would also be dispelled, and Islam would thus shine in its full lustre not only in Arabia but in the whole world. [Back to verse 2]

2b. The completion of favours was accomplished by the spread of Islam, and the guiding on the right path signified the right way to success. [Back to verse 2]

3a. Large numbers becoming converts to Islam proved a mighty help in its cause. While proceeding to Hudaibiyah the Holy Prophet was accompanied by 1,500 men; two years later, when advancing on Makkah, 10,000 men marched under his banner, which shows how fast Islam spread after the Hudaibiyah truce. [Back to verse 3]

10a. The swearing of allegiance referred to here took place before the truce was concluded. The Holy Prophet had started with his men with the object of performing a pilgrimage, but when he reached Hudaibiyah, the Makkans opposed his entry into Makkah. Thereupon the companions of the Holy Prophet swore allegiance to him (under a tree as stated in v. 18), that they would defend him at all costs and die fighting at his side (B. 64:37). The necessity for this seems to have arisen from the fact that the Quraish advanced to fight the Muslims, who were unprepared for war.

It may be noted here that the companions of the Holy Prophet swore allegiance to him twice at Makkah before the Flight — the swearers being in both cases the citizens of Madinah. Both these are known by the name of Bai‘at al-‘Aqabah. On the first occasion twelve men only were present, and the swearing of their allegiance implied only their belief in the truth of Islam, the promise given being: "We will not serve anyone but Allah; we will not steal; we will not commit adultery; we will not kill our children; we will not slander, and we will not disobey the Prophet in anything that is right" (B. 2:10). The second pledge at ‘Aqabah, which came a year later, was given by seventy-three Madinites, including two women, who undertook to defend the Holy Prophet, "as we defend our own backs". The third occasion on which an oath of allegiance was taken was the Hudaibiyah, and this is known as the Bai‘at al-ridwan (see v. 18). Women swore allegiance on one occasion, for which see 60:12a. [Back to verse 10]

 

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Holy Quran Section > English Translation and Commentary of the Holy Quran by Maulana Muhammad Ali (Table of Contents) > Chapter 48 (Al-Fath- The Victory) > Section 1 (Verses 1 to 10)


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