Click to View


Persons who asked troublesome questions were now rebuked. On the authority of Muslim and other Traditionists, Noldeke 1 says that when the command for the Hajj was given, a man enquired of Muhammad whether he must go every year. The Prophet being annoyed said, 'Yes, you may.' He then produced this revelation:—

O believers, ask us not of things which if they were told might only pain you. Sura Al-Ma'idah (v) 101.

This verse may, however, refer to the following verse which treats of some Meccan superstitions. Some commentators say that it refers to general matters. Baidawi has a good note on it (vol. i, p. 274).

Some of the disaffected—the Hypocrites—at Madina, who had not followed the Prophet in this expedition, on his return home were severely rebuked. Special revelations, which commentators agree in referring to the war of Tabuk,2 came to reprove them and the Arabs of the desert also, and to warn others:—

O Believers! what possessed you, that when it was said to you, 'March forth on the way of God,' ye sank heavily earthwards? What! prefer ye the life of this world to the next?
Unless ye march forth, with a grievous chastisement will He chastise you, and He will place another people in your stead, and ye shall in no way harm Him: for over every thing God is potent.3

1 Geschichtes des Qorans, p. 173.
2 Khalasatu't-Tafasir, vol. i, p. 256.
3 This verse is said to be abrogated by the ninety-second verse which makes some exceptions:—

It shall be no crime in the weak and in the sick and in those who find not the means of contributing to stay at home, provided they are sincere with God and His Apostle. Sura At-Taubah (ix) 92.


March ye forth the light and heavy armed and contend with your substance and your persons on the way of God. This, if ye know it, will be better for you.
Had there been a near advantage and a short journey, they would certainly have followed thee, but the way seemed long to them, yet will they swear by God: 'Had we been able we had surely gone forth with you;' they are self-destroyers! And God knoweth that they are surely liars.
God forgive thee! Why didst thou give them leave to stay behind, ere they who made true excuses had become known to thee, and thou hadst known the liars?
They only will ask thy leave who believe not in God and in the last day, and whose hearts are full of doubts and who are tossed up and down in their doubtings.
Moreover, had they been desirous to take the field, they would have got ready for that purpose the munitions of war. But God was averse to their marching forth and made them laggards.
Had they taken the field with you, they would only have added a burden to you and have hurried about among you, stirring you up to sedition. Sura At-Taubah (ix) 38-9 : 41-3 : 45-7.
They who were left at home were delighted to stay behind God's Apostle, and were averse from contending with their riches and their persons for the cause of God and said, 'March not out in the heat.' Say, 'A fiercer heat will be the fire of hell.' Would that they understood this. Sura At-Taubah (ix) 82.
When a Sura was sent down with 'Believe in God and go forth to war with the Apostle,' those of them who are possessed of riches demanded exemption and said, 'Allow us to be with those who sit at home'. Sura At-Taubah (ix) 87.1

1 The whole passage, verses 82-107, deals with this subject. I have quoted only a few verses.

Click to View