Revealed at Madina.


THIS chapter was revealed shortly after the expedition against the Bani Mustaliq, in order to rebuke Abdullah Ibn Ubbai and his followers for their treatment of the refugees, and for certain seditious words uttered at the wells of Maraisi when on the march back. See Muir's Life of Mahomet, vol. iii. pp.241, 242. The declaration of ver. 8, that "the worthier shall expel thence the meaner," though intended to convey a threat, was never fulfilled, exccept by the gradual absorption of the disaffected by the Muslim party, after that military success had made religious and temporal interests in Madina to be identical.

Probable Date of the Revelations.

If what has been said as to the circumstances under which this chapter was enunciated is true, the date of the revelations, excepting vers. 9-11, which may belong to some other period, must be fixed at about the end of A.H. 6.

Principal Subjects.

The treachery of the hypocrites of Madina exposed and rebuked ...1-3
Muhammad warned to beware of trusting the hypocrites... 4
Hypocrites cursed and declared reprobates . . . 5, 6
They are threatened with expulsion from Madina .. . 7, 8
The duty of almsgiving enjoined . . . 9-11



R 1/13.

(1) When the hypocrites come unto thee, they say, We bear witness that thou art indeed the Apostle of GOD. And GOD knoweth that thou art indeed his Apostle; but GOD beareth witness that the hypocrites are certainly liars. (2) They have taken their oaths for a protection, and they turn others aside from the way of GOD: it is surely evil which they do. (3) This is testified of them because they believed, and afterwards became unbelievers: wherefore a seal is set on their hearts, and they shall not understand. (4) When thou beholdest them, their persons please thee and if they speak thou hearest their discourse with a delight They resemble pieces of timber set up against a wall. They imagine every shout to be against them. They are enemies: wherefore beware of them. Go curse them: how are they turned aside from the truth! (5) And when it is said unto them, Come, that the Apostle of GOD may ask pardon for you; they turn away their heads, and thou seest them retire big with disdain. (6) It shall be equal unto them, whether thou ask pardon for them, or do not ask pardon for them:

(1-3) These verses allude to the hypocritical and secretly disaffected inhabitants of Madina. Military success and conscious strength now enable Muhammad to denounce even the powerful Abdullah Ibn Ubbai.

(4) Their persons please thee. "The commentators tell us that Abdullah Ibn Ubbai, a chief hypocrite, was a tall man of very graceful presence, and of a ready and eloquent tongue, and used to frequent the Prophet's assembly attended by several like himself; and that these men were greatly admired by Muhammad, who was taken with their handsome appearance, and listened to their discourse with pleasure."-Sale, Baidhawi.

Pieces of timber. "Being tall and big, but being void of knowledge and consideration."-Sale.

They imagine &c. " Living under continual apprehension, because they are conscious of their hypocrisy towards God and their insincerity towards the Muslims."-Sale.

It shall be equal unto them, &c. Rodwell translates more literally "God do battle with them."

(6) It shall be equal unto them, &c. See this applied in the case of Abdullah in chap. ix. 81, note.


GOD will by no means forgive them; for GOD directeth not the prevaricating people. (7) These are the men who say to the inhabitants of Madina, Do not bestow anything on the refugees who are with the Apostle of GOD, that they may be obliged to separate from him. Whereas unto GOD belong the stores of heaven and earth: but the hypocrites do not understand. (8) They say, Verily, if we return to Madina, the worthier shall expel thence the meaner. Whereas superior worth belongeth unto GOD and his Apostle, and the true believers; but the hypocrites know it not.

R 2/14.

(9) O true believers, let not your riches or your children divert you from the remembrance of GOD; for whosoever doth this, they will surely be losers. (10) And give alms out of that which we have bestowed on you, before death come unto one of you, and he say, O LORD, wilt thou not grant me respite for a short term, that I may give alms, and become one of the righteous? (11) For GOD will by no means grant further respite to a soul when its determined time is come: and GOD is fully apprised of that which ye do.

(8) Verily if we return, &c. "These, as well as the preceding, were the words of Ibn Ubbai to one of Madina, who in a certain expedition quarrelling with an Arab of the desert about water, received a blow on the bead with a stick, and made his complaint thereof to him."-Sale, Baidhawi.

(10) Give alms. See notes on chap. ix. 60, 104. Almsgiving is here made a necessary condition of salvation. See on this point note on chap. iii. 31.

Table of Contents
Answering Islam Home Page