71 You who believe, be on your guard. March [to battle] in small groups or as one body. 72 Among you there is the sort of person who is sure to lag behind: if a calamity befalls you, he says, ‘God has been gracious to me that I was not there with them,’ 73 yet he is sure to say, if you are favored by God, ‘If only I had been with them, I could have made great gains,’ as if there had been no ties of affection between you and him. 74 Let those of you who are willing to trade the life of this world for the life to come, fight in God’s way. To anyone who fights in God’s way, whether killed or victorious, We shall give a great reward. 75 Why should you not fight in God’s cause and for those oppressed men, women, and children who cry out, ‘Lord, rescue us from this town whose people are oppressors! By Your grace, give us a protector and give us a helper!’? 76 The believers fight for God’s cause, while those who reject faith fight for an unjust cause. [a] Fight the allies of Satan: Satan’s strategies are truly weak.
77 [Prophet], do you not see those who were told, ‘Restrain yourselves from fighting, perform the prayer, and pay the prescribed alms’? When fighting was ordained for them, some of them feared men as much as, or even more than, they feared God, saying, ‘Lord, why have You ordained fighting for us? If only You would give us just a little more time.’ Say to them, ‘Little is the enjoyment in this world, the Hereafter is far better for those who are mindful of God: you will not be wronged by as much as the fiber in a date stone. 78 Death will overtake you no matter where you may be, even inside high towers.’ When good fortune comes their way, they say, ‘This is from God,’ but when harm befalls them, they say, ‘This is from you [Prophet].’ Say to them, ‘Both come from God.’ What is the matter with these people that they can barely understand what they are told? 79 Anything good that happens to you [Prophet] is from God; anything bad is [ultimately] from yourself. We have sent you as a messenger to people; God is sufficient witness. 80 Whoever obeys the Messenger obeys God. If some pay no heed, We have not sent you to be their keeper. 81 They say, ‘We obey you,’ but as soon as they leave your presence, some of them scheme by night to do other than what you said. God records what they scheme, so leave them alone, and put your trust in God: He is sufficient protector.
82 Will they not think about this Quran? If it had been from anyone other than God, they would have found much inconsistency in it. 83 Whenever news of any matter comes to them, whether concerning peace or war, they spread it about; if they referred it to the Messenger and those in authority among them, those seeking its meaning would have found it out from them. If it were not for God’s bounty and mercy towards you, you would almost all have followed Satan.
84 So [Prophet] fight in God’s way. You are accountable only for yourself. Urge the believers on. God may well curb the power of the disbelievers, for He is stronger in might and more terrible in punishment. 85 Whoever speaks for [b] a good cause will share in its benefits and whoever speaks for a bad cause will share in its burden: God controls everything. 86 But [even in battle] when you [believers] are offered a greeting, respond with a better one, or at least return it: [c] God keeps account of everything. 87 He is God: there is no god but Him. He will gather you all together on the Day of Resurrection, about which there is no doubt. Whose word can be truer than God’s?
About Fighting and Emigration
88 [Believers], why are you divided in two about the hypocrites, when God Himself has rejected them because of what they have done? Do you want to guide those God has left to stray? If God leaves anyone to stray, you [Prophet] will never find the way for him. 89 They would dearly like you to reject faith, as they themselves have done, to be like them. So do not take them as allies until they migrate [to Medina] for God’s cause. If they turn [on you], [d] then seize and kill them wherever you encounter them. [e] Take none of them as an ally or supporter. 90 But as for those who seek refuge with people with whom you have a treaty, or who come over to you because their hearts shrink from fighting against you or against their own people, God could have given them power over you, and they would have fought you. So if they withdraw and do not fight you, and offer you peace, then God gives you no way against them. 91 You will find others who wish to be safe from you, and from their own people, but whenever they are back in a situation where they are tempted [to fight you], they succumb to it. So if they neither withdraw, nor offer you peace, nor restrain themselves from fighting you, seize and kill them wherever you encounter them: We give you clear authority against such people.
92 Never should a believer kill another believer, except by mistake. If anyone kills a believer by mistake he must free one Muslim slave and pay compensation to the victim’s relatives, unless they charitably forgo it; if the victim belonged to a people at war with you but is a believer, then the compensation is only to free a believing slave; if he belonged to a people with whom you have a treaty, then compensation should be handed over to his relatives, and a believing slave set free. Anyone who lacks the means to do this must fast for two consecutive months by way of repentance to God: God is all knowing, all wise. 93 If anyone kills a believer deliberately, the punishment for him is Hell, and there he will remain: God is angry with him, and rejects him, and has prepared a tremendous torment for him. 94 So, you who believe, be careful when you go to fight in God’s way, and do not say to someone who offers you a greeting of peace, ‘You are not a believer,’ [f] out of desire for the chance gains of this life– God has plenty of gains for you. You yourself were in the same position [once], but God was gracious to you, so be careful: God is fully aware of what you do.
95 Those believers who stay at home, apart from those with an incapacity, are not equal to those who commit themselves and their possessions to striving in God’s way. God has raised such people to a rank above those who stay at home– although He has promised all believers a good reward, those who strive are favored with a tremendous reward above those who stay at home– 96 high ranks conferred by Him, as well as forgiveness, and mercy: God is most forgiving and merciful.
97 When the angels take the souls of those who have wronged themselves, [g] they ask them, ‘What circumstances were you in?’ They reply, ‘We were oppressed in this land,’ and the angels say, ‘But was God’s earth not spacious enough for you to migrate to some other place?’ These people will have Hell as their refuge, an evil destination, 98 but not so the truly helpless men, women, and children who have no means in their power nor any way to leave– 99 God may well pardon these, for He is most pardoning and most forgiving. Anyone who migrates for God’s cause will find many a refuge and great plenty in the earth, 100 and if anyone leaves home as a migrant towards God and His Messenger and is then overtaken by death, his reward from God is sure. God is most forgiving and most merciful.
a. Again this is the term taghut, which has a multitude of meanings. See note to verse 60.
b. It is reported that an individual asked the Prophet to exempt another from going into battle. ‘Speaks for’ is one of the meanings of shafa'a as explained by Razi, and it is more fitting for the context of urging the believer to fight in God’s cause here. The other meaning, ‘intercedes’, adopted by most translators does not fit with the context.
c. See 4: 94 and Razi’s comment.
d. That ‘turn with aggression’ is the intended meaning is clear from the context. Cf. 4: 91.
e. See 2: 191.
f. A Muslim killed someone in battle who had given him the Muslim greeting, thinking that the man was trying to save himself, but the Prophet condemned this.
g. By living in a place where they are unable to practise their religion.
The Qur'an (Oxford World's Classics)
The Qur'an / a new translation by M. A. S. Abdel Haleem, copyright © 2004 Oxford World's Classics (Oxford University Press). Used by permission. All rights reserved.