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The Koran Interpreted Translation by A.J. Arberry

8 THE SPOILS (30 – 67)

The Qurʾan Translation by M.A.S. Abdel Haleem

8. Battle Gains (30 – 66)

30And when the unbelievers were devising against thee, to confine thee, or slay thee, or to expel thee, and were devising, and God was devising; and God is the best of devisers. And when Our signs were being recited to them, they said, ‘We have already heard; if we wished, we could say the like of this; this is naught but the fairy-tales of the ancients.’ And when they said, ‘O God, if this be indeed the truth from Thee, then rain down upon us stones out of heaven, or bring us a painful chastisement.’ But God would never chastise them, with thee among them; God would never chastise them.as they begged forgiveness. But what have they now, that God should not chastise them, when they are barring from the Holy Mosque, not being its protectors? Its only protectors are the godfearing; but most of them know not. And their prayer at the House is nothing but a whistling and a clapping of hands— therefore taste you now the chastisement for your unbelief! 35The unbelievers expend their wealth to bar from God's way, and still they will expend it, till it is an anguish for them, then be overthrown, and the unbelievers will be mustered into Gehenna, that God may distinguish the corrupt from the good, and place the corrupt one upon another, and so heap them up all together, and put them in Gehenna; those are the losers.

Say to the unbelievers, if they give over He will forgive them what is past; but if they return, the wont of the ancients is already gone! 40Fight them, till there is no persecution and the religion is God's entirely; then if they give over, surely God sees the things they do; but if they turn away, know that God is your Protector—an excellent Protector, an excellent Helper!

Know that, whatever booty you take, the fifth of it is God's, and the Messenger's, and the near kinsman's, and the orphans’, and for the needy, and the traveller, if you believe in God and that We sent down upon Our servant on the day of salvation, the day the two hosts encountered; and God is powerful over everything; when you were on the nearer bank, and they were on the farther bank, and the cavalcade was below you; and had you made tryst together, you would have surely failed the tryst; but that God might determine a matter that was done, that whosoever perished might perish by a clear sign, and by a clear sign he might live who lived; and surely God is All-hearing, All-knowing. 45When God showed thee them in thy dream as few; and had He shown them as many you would have lost heart, and quarrelled about the matter; but God saved; He knows the thoughts in the breasts. When God showed you them in your eyes as few, when you encountered, and made you few in their eyes, that God might determine a matter that was done; and unto God all matters are returned.

O believers, whensoever you encounter a host, then stand firm, and remember God frequently; haply so you will prosper. And obey God, and His Messenger, and do not quarrel together, and so lose heart, and your power depart; and be patient; surely God is with the patient. Be not as those who went forth from their habitations swaggering boastfully to show off to men, and barring from God's way; and God encompasses the things they do. 50And when Satan decked out their deeds fair to them, and said, ‘Today no man shall overcome you, for I shall be your neighbour.’ But when the two hosts sighted each other, he withdrew upon his heels, saying, ‘I am quit of you; for I see what you do not see. I fear God; and God is terrible in retribution.’

When the hypocrites, and those in whose hearts was sickness, said, ‘Their religion has deluded them’; but whosoever puts his trust in God, surely God is All-mighty, All-wise. If thou couldst only see when the angels take the unbelievers, beating their faces and their backs: ‘Taste the chastisement of the burning— that, for what your hands have forwarded, and for that God is never unjust unto His servants.’ Like Pharaoh's folk, and the people before him, who disbelieved in God's signs; God seized them because of their sins; God is strong, terrible in retribution. 55That is because God would never change His favour that He conferred on a people until they changed what was within themselves; and that God is All-hearing, All-knowing. Like Pharaoh's folk, and the people before him, who cried lies to the signs of their Lord, so We destroyed them because of their sins, and We drowned the folk of Pharaoh; and all were evildoers.

Surely the worst of beasts in God's sight are the unbelievers, who will not believe, those of them with whom thou hast made compact then they break their compact every time, not being godfearing. So, if thou comest upon them anywhere in the war, deal with them in such wise as to scatter the ones behind them; haply they will remember. 60And if thou fearest treachery any way at the hands of a people, dissolve it with them equally; surely God loves not the treacherous. And thou art not to suppose that they who disbelieve have outstripped Me; they cannot frustrate My will. Make ready for them whatever force and strings of horses you can, to terrify thereby the enemy of God and your enemy, and others besides them that you know not; God knows them. And whatsoever you expend in the way of God shall be repaid you in full; you will not be wronged. And if they incline to peace, do thou incline to it; and put thy trust in God; He is the All-hearing, the All-knowing. And if they desire to trick thee, God is sufficient for thee; He has confirmed thee with His help, and with the believers, and brought their hearts together. Hadst thou expended all that is in the earth, thou couldst not have brought their hearts together; but God brought their hearts together; surely He is All-mighty, All-wise. 65O Prophet, God suffices thee, and the believers who follow thee. O Prophet, urge on the believers to fight. If there be twenty of you, patient men, they will overcome two hundred; if there be a hundred of you, they will overcome a thousand unbelievers, for they are a people who understand not. Now God has lightened it for you, knowing that there is weakness in you. If there be a hundred of you, patient men, they will overcome two hundred; if there be of you a thousand, they will overcome two thousand by the leave of God; God is with the patient.

30Remember [Prophet] when the disbelievers plotted to take you captive, kill, or expel you. They schemed and so did God: He is the best of schemers. 31Whenever Our Revelation is recited to them they say, ‘We have heard all this before—we could say something like this if we wanted—this is nothing but ancient fables.’ 32They also said, ‘God, if this really is the truth from You, then rain stones on us from the heavens, or send us some other painful punishment.’ 33But God would not send them punishment while you [Prophet] are in their midst, nor would He punish them if they sought forgiveness, 34yet why should God not punish them when they debar people from the Sacred Mosque, although they are not its [rightful] guardians? Only those mindful of God are its rightful guardians, but most of the disbelievers do not realize this. 35Their prayers before the House are nothing but whistling and clapping. ‘So taste the punishmenta This could allude to their defeat in the battle. for your disbelief.’ 36They use their wealth to bar people from the path of God, and they will go on doing so. In the end this will be a source of intense regret for them: they will be overcome and herded towards Hell. 37God will separate the bad from the good, place the bad on top of one another—heaping them all up together—and put them in Hell. They will be the losers. 38[Prophet], tell the disbelievers that if they desist their past will be forgiven, but if they persist, they have an example in the fate of those who went before. 39[Believers], fight them until there is no more persecution, and all worshipb At the Sacred House; cf. 2: 191–3, 2: 17. is devoted to God alone: if they desist, then God sees all that they do, 40but if they pay no heed, be sure that God is your protector, the best protector and the best helper.

41Know that one-fifth of your battle gains belongs to God and the Messenger, to close relatives and orphans, to the needy and travellers, if you believe in God and the revelation We sent down to Our servant on the day of the decision, the day when the two forces met in battle. God has power over all things. 42Remember when you were on the near side of the valley, and they were on the far side and the caravan was below you. If you had made an appointment to fight, you would have failed to keep it [but the battle took place] so that God might bring about something already ordained, so that those who were to die might die after seeing a clear proof, and so that those who were to live might live after seeing a clear proof—God is all hearing and all seeing.

43[Prophet], remember when God made you see them in your sleep as few: if He had shown them to you [believers] as many, you would certainly have lost heart and argued about it, but God saved you. He knows the secrets of the heart. 44When you met He showed them to you as few, and He made you few in their eyes, so that He might bring about what has been ordained: everything goes back to God.

45Believers, when you meet a force in battle, stand firm and keep God firmly in mind, so that you may prosper. 46Obey God and His Messenger, and do not quarrel with one another, or you may lose heart and your spirit may desert you. Be steadfast: God is with the steadfast. 47Do not be like those who came out of their homes full of conceit, showing off to people, and barring others from the way of God—God has full knowledge of all that they do. 48Satan made their foul deeds seem fair to them, and said, ‘No one will conquer you today, for I will be right beside you,’ but when the armies came within sight of one another he turned on his heels, saying, ‘This is where I leave you: I see what you do not, and I fear God—God is severe in His punishment.’

49The hypocrites and those who have sickness in their hearts said, ‘These people [the believers] must be deluded by their religion,’ but if anyone puts his trust in God, God is mighty and wise. 50If only you [Prophet] could see, when the angels take the souls of the disbelievers, how they strike their faces and backs: it will be said, ‘Taste the punishment of the Fire. 51This is caused by what your own hands have stored up for you: God is never unjust to His creatures.’ 52They are like Pharaoh's people and those before them who ignored God's signs, so God punished them for their sins: God is strong and severe in His punishment. 53[He did] this because God would never change a favour He had conferred on a people unless they changed what was within themselves. God is all hearing, all knowing. 54They are indeed like Pharaoh's people and those before them, who denied the signs of their Lord: We destroyed them for their sins, and We drowned Pharaoh's people—they were all evildoers.

55The worst creatures in the sight of God are those who reject Him and will not believe; 56who, whenever you [Prophet] make a treaty with them, break it, for they have no fear of God. 57If you meet them in battle, make a fearsome example of them to those who come after them, so that they may take heed. 58And if you learn of treachery on the part of any people, throw their treaty back at them, for God does not love the treacherous. 59The disbelievers should not think they have won; they cannot escape. 60Prepare whatever forces you [believers] can muster, including warhorses, to frighten off God's enemies and yours, and warn others unknown to you but known to God. Whatever you give in God's cause will be repaid to you in full, and you will not be wronged. 61But if they incline towards peace, you [Prophet] must also incline towards it, and put your trust in God: He is the All Hearing, the All Knowing. 62If they intend to deceive you, God is enough for you: it was He who strengthened you with His help, 63and with the believers, and brought their hearts together. Even if you had given away everything in the earth you could not have done this, but God brought them together: God is mighty and wise. 64Prophet, God is enough for you, and for the believers who follow you. 65Prophet, urge the believers to fight: if there are twenty of you who are steadfast, they will overcome two hundred, and a hundred of you, if steadfast, will overcome a thousand of the disbelievers, for they are people who do not understand. 66But God has lightened your burden for now, knowing that there is weakness in you—a steadfast hundred of you will defeat two hundred and a steadfast thousand of you will defeat two thousand, by God's permission: God is with the steadfast.

Notes:

a This could allude to their defeat in the battle.

b At the Sacred House; cf. 2: 191–3, 2: 17.

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