Welcome to our weekly programme "Path towards Enlightenment" in which we present you a fluent and easy-to-understand explanation of the ayahs of the holy Qur’an. We start from where we left you last Friday and here is ayah 13 of Surah Ahzab:
“And when a group of them said, ‘O people of Yathreb! [This is] not a place for you, so go back!’ And a group of them sought the Prophet’s permission, saying, ‘Our homes lie exposed [to the enemy],’ although they were not exposed. They only sought to flee.”
Last week we said that when a 10,000 strong joint army of Arabs and Israelites descended upon Medina to annihilate Islam and kill the Prophet, the aggressors were stunned to find a deep ditch dug on the city’s outskirts to prevent any invasion. This was a new tactic in warfare in Hijaz and was on the suggestion of the Prophet’s Iranian companion, Salman Farsi, or the Persian. The hypocrites, however, who had infiltrated Muslim ranks, were plotting to desert Prophet Mohammad (blessings of God upon him and his progeny). They indulged in false propaganda to try to dampen the hopes and aspirations of the true believers.
As is evident by the ayah that we recited to you now, Divine revelation made the evil thoughts of hypocrites manifest and disgraced them publicly. This ayah explains the state of these very diseased-hearted hypocrites who were more treacherous and polluted than the infidels. On one hand, the hypocrites wanted to separate the believers from the army of Islam, and on the other side a group of the same hypocrites, who had houses in Medina, asked permission of the Prophet to return home, under various pretexts. Among their pretexts they said that their houses had no wall, while it was not true. They only desired to leave the scene and run away. The Prophet ordered them to stay and defend Islam. Yathreb is the old name for Medina.
From this ayah we learn that:
Spreading rumors and demoralizing people are among the goals of the hypocrites, as part of their plot to split the ranks of the faithful and weaken them.
The Prophet, as the emissary of God to mankind, leads from the front, irrespective of the dangers, and it is his duty to inspire the Muslims during adverse circumstance.
Now we listen to and read ayahs 14 and 15 of Surah Ahzab:
“Had they been invaded from its flanks and had they been asked to apostatize, they would have done so with only a mild hesitation,”
“Though they had certainly pledged to Allah before that they would not turn their backs [to flee], and pledges given to Allah are accountable.”
In order to create sedition, the enemy often takes help from the hypocrites, who serve as the 5th column. Hypocrites easily turn away from the truth and go toward the enemy and cause disturbance. It is clear that, such people, who are weak in their faith are neither ready to fight against the enemy, nor do they entertain martyrdom in the way of Allah. At the very first opportunity they surrender and change their way. This ayah points to the weakness of the faith of this group. It implies that they are so weak in expressing Islam that if enemies come into Medina from all sides and occupy the city, these hypocrites will quickly apostatize and return to polytheism.
The next ayah points toward the fact that this group had formerly made a covenant to fulfil their promise in defending Monotheism, Islam, and the Prophet. Do they not know that the covenant with Allah, the Aware, will be questioned and they are responsible before it? Two years earlier after they had fled from the battlefield of Ohad, they had returned in remorse and pledged not to repeat it, but these very same persons were now trying to breach their promise in the Battle of Ahzab, terrified at the sight of the strong Arab-Israelite joint force, without bothering to think that their pledges are accountable to Allah.
From these ayahs we learn that:
To make agreement is not so important, it is loyalty which counts. We must not take the covenant of Allah inconsiderable, because we will surely be questioned and reprimanded.
Those whose faith in God is weak, easily turn away from truth and join the enemy. They are prepared to accept the enemy’s hegemony but do not want to help the Islamic leaders.
Faith is a type of pledge with God on the basis of which one should fight the enemies of God and humanity till the last moment of life. Breaking this promise is the sign of faithlessness.
Now we listen to and read ayahs 16 and 17 of Surah Ahzab:
“Say, ‘Flight will not avail you should you flee from death or from being killed, and then you will be let to enjoy only for a little while.”
“Say, ‘Who is it that can protect you from Allah should He desire to cause you ill, or desire to grant you mercy?’ They will not find for themselves any protector or helper besides Allah.”
After Allah divulged the intention of the hypocrites that their purpose was not the protection of their houses but they wanted to escape from the battlefield, He answered them through revelation to His Prophet that those who flee from fighting the enemy should not think that flight from the battlefront on the fear of being killed, will bring any benefit. For; you will just benefit for a few days of this world, while you have made hell for yourself eternal and you will be exposed to divine wrath and anger.
Supposing you succeed to escape, your position will be one of these two: either your life’s final term has ended and your certain death has come, then wherever you are, death will seize you, even when you are at home beside your wife and your children, an incident from inside or outside puts an end to your life. And if your life’s final term has not ended you will live in this world for a few days in disgrace and humiliation; or you will be as a captive in the hand of enemies and then the divine punishment will seize you.
Moreover, death does not occur only in the battlefield, but every day a number of people die, there is no guarantee that if one escapes the war; he would not die naturally or in different accidents. As the next ayah says, who can protect humans except God? Do you have shelter in the face of God’s Will? Therefore, now that all your pre-destined affairs are with Him, do obey His command in the field of holy war eagerly because it is the cause of your honour both in the world and before Him. So, if in this way martyrdom meets you, embrace it happily.
From these ayahs we learn that:
Death is the end of mortal life and no one can escape it. Sooner or later one should leave this transient world. So it is better that one dies in the path of God.
We should be careful not to exchange eternal bliss with the transient life of the mortal world, however comfortable.
The world is governed by the Will of God, which means that victories and defeats, bitterness and sweetness are all based on Divine Wisdom.
Real prosperity is in obedience to the commandments of our Merciful Creator.