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Quran Chapter 59 - The Gathering of Forces - Those Who Oppose God, Be Mindful of Your Actions

A Medinan sura, the bulk of which is taken to refer to the Jewish clan of Banu al-Nadir, who originally agreed with the Prophet that they would fight neither for nor against him, yet, after the Meccan defeat of the Muslims in the Battle of Uhud, made an alliance with the Meccans. They also tried to kill the Prophet while he was in their area. Because the Banu al-Nadir had repeatedly broken their agreements, the Muslims besieged them in Medina (in ah 4/626 ce), Ibn Ubayy did not keep his promise, and the Banu al-Nadir agreed to leave, some going to Syria and some to Khaybar. In this sura, God stresses that any gains were His doing and so should be distributed in accordance with His instructions (verses 6–10). The end of the sura, consequently, emphasizes obedience and awe towards God (verses 21–4). The sura takes its name from the gathering of forces in verse 2.

In the name of God, the Lord of Mercy, the Giver of Mercy

Those Who Oppose God

1 Everything in the heavens and earth glorifies God; He is the Almighty, the Wise. 2 It was He who drove those of the People of the Book who broke faith [a] out from their homes at the first gathering of forces––you [believers] never thought they would go, and they themselves thought their fortifications would protect them against God. God came up on them from where they least expected and put panic into their hearts: their homes were destroyed by their own hands, and the hands of the believers. Learn from this, all of you with insight! 3 If God had not decreed exile for them, He would have tormented them [even more severely] in this world. In the Hereafter they will have the torment of the Fire 4 because they set themselves against God and His Messenger: God is stern in punishment towards anyone who sets himself against Him.

5 Whatever you [believers] may have done to [their] palm trees–– cutting them down or leaving them standing on their roots––was done by God’s leave, so that He might disgrace those who defied Him. 6 You [believers] did not have to spur on your horses or your camels for whatever gains God turned over to His Messenger from them. God gives authority to His messengers over whoever He will: God has power over all things.

Spoils Received Without Battle Belong To God

7 Whatever gains God has turned over to His Messenger from the inhabitants of the villages belong to God, the Messenger, kinsfolk, orphans, the needy, the traveler in need– this is so that they do not just circulate among those of you who are rich– so accept whatever the Messenger gives you, and abstain from whatever he forbids you. Be mindful of God: God is severe in punishment.

8 The poor emigrants who were driven from their homes and possessions, who seek God’s favor and approval, those who help God and His Messenger– these are the ones who are true– [shall have a share]. 9 Those who were already firmly established in their homes [in Medina], and firmly rooted in faith, show love for those who migrated to them for refuge and harbor no desire in their hearts for what has been given to them. They give them preference over themselves, even if they too are poor: those who are saved from their own souls’ greed are truly successful. 10 Those who came after them say, ‘Lord, forgive us our sins and the sins of our brothers who believed before us, and leave no malice in our hearts towards those who believe. Lord, You are truly compassionate and merciful.’

11 Have you [Prophet] considered the hypocrites who say to their fellows, the faithless among the People of the Book, ‘If you are driven out, we shall go with you– we would never listen to anyone who sought to harm you– and if you are attacked, we shall certainly come to your aid’? God bears witness that they are in fact liars: 12 if they are driven out, they will never leave with them; if they are attacked, they will never help them. Even if they did come to their aid, they would soon turn tail and flee– in the end they would have no help. 13 Fear of you [believers] is more intense in their hearts than fear of God because they are people devoid of understanding. 14 Even united they would never fight you, except from within fortified strongholds or behind high walls. There is much hostility between them: you think they are united but their hearts are divided because they are people devoid of reason. 15 Like those who went just before them, [b] they have tasted the result of their conduct and a painful punishment awaits them. 16 Like Satan, who says to man, ‘Do not believe!’ but when man disbelieves, says, ‘I disown you; I fear God, the Lord of the Worlds,’ 17 both will end up in the Fire, there to remain. That is the reward of evildoers.

Be Mindful of Your Actions in Life

18 You who believe! Be mindful of God, and let every soul consider carefully what it sends ahead for tomorrow; be mindful of God, for God is well aware of everything you do. 19 Do not be like those who forget God, so God causes them to forget their own souls: they are the rebellious ones– 20 there is no comparison between the inhabitants of the Fire and the inhabitants of Paradise– and the inhabitants of Paradise are the successful ones. 21 If We had sent this Quran down to a mountain, you [Prophet] would have seen it humbled and split apart in its awe of God: We offer people such illustrations so that they may reflect.

22 He is God: there is no god other than Him. It is He who knows what is hidden as well as what is in the open, He is the Lord of Mercy, the Giver of Mercy. 23 He is God: there is no god other than Him, the Controller, [c] the Holy One, Source of Peace, Granter of Security, Guardian over all, the Almighty, the Compeller, the Truly Great; God is far above anything they consider to be His partner.

24 He is God: the Creator, the Originator, the Shaper. The best names belong to Him. Everything in the heavens and earth glorifies Him: He is the Almighty, the Wise.


a. They were unfaithful to their agreements with the Prophet (see the introduction to this sura).

b. This probably refers to the Banu Qaynuqa, another Jewish tribe banished for their treachery. It could also refer to the pagans at Badr.

c. Or King/Sovereign.

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.



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