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Revealed at Madina.


OF the many titles given to this chapter, those of Immunity and Repentance are most commonly known. The former title is based on the first verse, the latter on the third verse, or, perhaps better still, upon the spirit of the whole chapter, which is a call to repentance to a multitude of disaffected and lukewarm Muslims and Arabs who declined to accompany Muhammad in his expedition to Tabúq. Sale says:-"It is observable that this chapter alone has not the auspiciatory form, In the name of the most merciful God, prefixed to it; the reason of which omission, as some think, was, because these words imply a concession of security, which is utterly taken away by this chapter after a fixed time; wherefore some have called it the chapter of Punishment; others say that Muhammad (who died soon after he had received this chapter), having given no direction where it should be placed, nor for the prefixing the Bismillah to it, as had been done to the other chapters, and the argument of this chapter bearing a near resemblance to that of the preceding, his companions differed about it, some saying that both chapters were but one, and together made the seventh of the seven long ones, and others that they were two distinct chapters; whereupon, to accommodate the dispute, they left a space between them, but did not interpose the distinction of the Bismillah.

"It is agreed that this chapter was the last which was revealed, and the only one, as Muhammad declared, which was revealed entire and at once, except the one hundred and tenth.

"Some will have the two last verses to have been revealed at Makkah."

The statement that this chapter was the last revealed is based VOL. II.


upon the testimony of tradition, but the internal evidence fixes the date of most of the revelations within the ninth year of the Hijra. With this also Muslim tradition agrees. It would therefore appear that during one whole year no revelation was vouchsafed to Muhammad, which is contrary to other traditions, which assign portions of chapters ii., v., &c., to the time of the farewell pilgrimage in the end of A.H. 10.

The statement that this whole chapter was revealed at one time is also unfounded, as will be seen by reference to the date of the revelations given below.

Probable Date of the Revelations.

Following Noeldeke for the most part, vers. 1-12 belong to the latter part of A.H. 9, when Muhammad sent Ali to Makkah to notify to the tribes assembled there that henceforth the Holy Temple would be closed against idolaters. Vers. 13-16, however, belong to an earlier period, viz., A.H. 8, when Muhammad planned his expedition for the capture of Makkah. To these may be added vers. 17-24, which, however, mark the time when Muhammed first thought of conquering his native city. Some would place vers. 23 and 24 among the revelations enunciated previous to the expedition to Tabúq in A.H. 9.

Vers. 25-27 mention the victory at Hunain (Shawál, A.H. 8), and belong to the period immediately following the siege of Tayif, i.e., Dzu'l Qáada, a.H. 8.

Ver. 28 seems to be connected with vers. 1-12, and therefore belongs to the latter part of A.H. 9.

Vers. 29-128 refer to the events connected with the expedition to Tabúq, which occurred in Rajab of A.H. 9. They were not, however, all enunciated at one time, but partly before the expedition, partly on the march, and partly after the return.

Vers. 29-35 may be referred to the time of arrival at Tabúq, when the Christian prince, John of Aylah, tendered his submission to Muhammad, paying tribute (Jazya).

Vers. 36 and 37, referring to the abolition of the intercalary year and the fixing the time of the pilgrimage in accordance with the changes of the lunar year, must be assigned to the Dzu'l Hajja of

A.H. IO.

The remaining verses Noeldeke distributes as follows:-Previous to the expedition, vers. 38-41 (of which, according to Ibn Hishám, 924, ver. 41 is the oldest of the whole Sura), and 49-73. On the march, vers. 42-48 and 82-97 (of which ver. 85, if it refers to the death of Abdullah Ibn Ubbai, must have been added later on). After the

return, vers. 74-81 and 98-113, of which vers. 108-111 were enunciated just before the entry into Madína.

But if they refer

Vers. 114-117, if they refer to the visit of Muhammad to the tomb of his mother, Amína Bint Wahb, as many authorities state, must be referred to the latter part of A.H. 6. to the death of Abdullah Ibn Ubbai, they belong two months later than the return from Tabúq. be founded on the best authority.

to a period about This latter seems to

Vers. 118 and 119 were enunciated about fifty days after the return from Tabúq (see note on ver. 119). The remaining verses, excepting 129 and 130, which are probably of Makkan origin, belong to the time immediately after the return from Tabûq.

Principal Subjects.

Four months' immunity proclaimed to idolaters .
After four months, all idolaters to be slain, with exception of
those with whom treaties have been made
Ignorant idolaters to be taught the religion of Islám, after
which, if they repent, they are to be spared alive

No new league to be made with idolaters

Idolaters are not to be trusted

Penitent idolaters to be regarded as brethren

Muslims exhorted to fight against the truce-breakers of

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All but Muslims to be excluded from the sacred temples
Abbás rebuked for his vainglory

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The Muhájjirín assigned the first rank among Muslims—their reward

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True believers to refuse friendship with nearest kin if they
be infidels

The victory of Hunain due to God's help
Idolaters excluded from the Kaabah

The Jews and Christians as well as idolaters to be attacked.
Jews and Christians reproved for applying the epithet "Son

of God" to Ezra and Jesus

They also worship their priests and monks .
Islám superior to all other religions


I, 2


5, 6





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Stingy Muslims likened to covetous monks-their punishment 34, 35 Infidels may be attacked in sacred months

The sacred months not to be transferred

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Muslims exhorted to go on expedition to Tabúq by refer

ence to God's help to Muhammad and Abu Baqr in
the cave


The lukewarm Muslims rebuked for wishing to stay at


Muhammad rebuked for excusing some of these from


Willingness to fight for Muhammad, a test of faith
Seditious Muslims rebuked

The sure reward of the faithful

God refuses the offerings of infidels and hypocrites

The wealth and prosperity of infidels a sign of their reprobation

Half-hearted Muslims reproved

Those who had spread libellous reports regarding Muham




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51, 52 53-55

mad's use of alms rebuked.

How alms should be expended.

Grumblers and hypocrites threatened

They are warned by the example of the wicked in former


The faithful described-their rewards

Hypocrites denounced and threatened


56, 57

58, 59





74, 75 76-79






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Prosperity of infidels a prelude to their destruction

God shall scoff at the scoffers

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The traducers of the faithful shall never be forgiven
Punishment of the "stayers at home"

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The Prophet not to wonder at the prosperity of the wicked
Reward of those who assist the Apostle in his wars
Hypocritical Arabs of the desert reproved

Who may lawfully remain at home in time of war
Other hypocrites reproved

The Baduín, the worst of hypocrites

Some of them true believers

The reward of the Ansars and Muhájjirín .

The desert Arabs and some of the people of Madína reproved

The penitent confessors in Madína are pardoned

Others await God's decision in their case.

Denunciation against those who built a Masjid in opposi

tion to Muhammad and his faithful ones

True believers are sold to God.

Muslims not to pray for idolatrous relatives

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The people of Madina rebuked for want of loyalty to Mu

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Some believers excused from going to war

True believers to war against neighbouring infidels and


Reproof of those who doubt the revelations of God and


The Apostle trusts in the help of God






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|| (1) A DECLARATION of immunity from GOD and his RUBA. Apostle unto the idolaters with whom ye have entered R into league. (2) Go to and fro in the earth securely four months; and know that ye shall not weaken GOD, and

(1) God and his Apostle. See note on chap. viii. 20. This formula occurs sixteen times in this chapter.

With whom ye have entered into league. "Some understand this sentence of the immunity or security therein granted to the infidels for the space of four months; but others think that the words properly signify that Muhammad is here declared by God to be absolutely free and discharged from all truce or league with them after the expiration of that time; and this last seems to be the truest interpretation.

"Muhammad's thus renouncing all league with those who would not receive him as the Apostle of God or submit to become tributary was the consequence of the great power to which he was now arrived. But the pretext he made use of was the treachery he had met with among the Jewish and idolatrous Arabs-scarce any keeping faith with him except Bani Dhamra, Bani Kinána, and a few others."Sale, Jalaluddin, Baidhawi, Yahya.

This proclamation seals the triumph of Islám over all Arabia. Henceforth there is to be no more compromise with idolaters. They are to be converted to Islám or be destroyed by the sword. Previous treaties of peace are to be respected, though this is due to the clemency of "God and his Apostle," who here declare the Muslims to be free from obligation to observe such treaties. How completely the tables have been turned! The Makkan refugee now dictates laws for all Arabia!

(2) Four months. These were, according to some authorities, Shawál, Dhu'l Qáada, Dhu'l Hajja, and Muharram, this revelation having been made in Shawál. Others, computing from Dhu'l Hajja,

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