“… but their description in the Injeel (Gospel) is like a(sown) seed which sends forth its shoots,
“… but their description in the Injeel (Gospel) is like a(sown) seed which sends forth its shoots, then makes it strong, and becomes thick and it stands straight on its stem, …”
(Surat Al-Fateh (The Victory): 29)
By: Dr. / Zaghloul El-Naggar
This ayah is the last ayah of Surat Al-Fateh which was revealed in Madinah. It is called Al-Fateh as it begins with a reference to the great victory that Allah (SWT) made possible for the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in the signing of the Treaty of Hodaybia. Many of the Muslims present at the time felt that this treaty was a concession to the disbelievers in Makkah. Omar Ibnul-Khattab (RA) said to the Prophet (PBUH), “Aren’t you the Messenger of Allah?” He said: “Yes!” He said, “Aren’t we Muslims?” He said, “Yes!” He said, “Aren’t they infidels?” He said, "Yes!” Then Omar asked, “Then why is our religion humiliated?” The Prophet (PBUH) answered him, “I am Allah’s servant and His Messenger, I will not disobey His command, and He will not lead me astray.” When this Surat was revealed, starting with the words, “Verily, We have given you (O Muhammad) a manifest victory”, one of the companions of the Prophet (PBUH) asked, “O, Messenger of Allah, is it a victory?” The Prophet (PBUH) answered, “Yes! By the One in whose hand is the soul of Muhammad, it is a victory.”
The Treaty of Hodaybia provided the Muslims with an opportunity to meet many Arab tribes, to invite them to Islam and to explain the virtues of this faith which was to be the last divine religions calling people to belief in the Oneness of Allah (tawhid). The treaty also exposed the fanaticism of the efforts of the Quraysh in preventing the Prophet (PBUH) and the early Muslims from entering the shrine of the Ka’ba (Al-haram) for six years, from when the Prophet (PBUH) migrated to Madinah until the day of Hodaybia. They forbade them from entering Makkah out of prejudice which was in contradiction to the traditions of the time. They forbade them from visiting Makkah during the sacred months that the Arabs respected and glorified even during the pre-Islamic period (Al-jahiliyya). This event allowed the inhabitants of the Arabian Peninsula to witness the tolerant nature of Islam, the nobility of the Muslims and the blind stubbornness of the disbelievers.
In 6 AH (after Hijra), the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) had a vision that he was entering the Ka’ba with a group of Muslims, some of whom had shaven heads and others had their hair cut short; they were not afraid. The visions of Prophets are true. In Dhul-Qa’dah of the same year, he set out for Makkah with the intention of performing the minor pilgrimage (Umrah) and without the intention of fighting the disbelievers. He was accompanied by 1400 immigrants from Makkah (Al-Muhajireen) and the residents of Madinah (Al-Ansar). He also encouraged the tribes around Madinah to go with him. When he arrived at a place known as Thaniyat Al-Mirar, the Prophet’s camel knelt down and would not move. The people said, “The camel won’t move (i.e. she is being stubborn)”. The Prophet (PBUH) said, “She has never been stubborn. This is not her nature; she has been held back by He who held back the elephants from Makkah. Today I shall accept whatever plan the Quraysh propose to me asking me to tighten my ties of kinship”. Bukhari reports that the Prophet (PBUH) said, “By the One in whose hands are my soul, I shall accept their offer of any plan that glorifies the sanctity of Allah.” The Prophet (PBUH) and his Companions then proceeded until they reached Al-Hodaybia. There, Quraysh refused to allow them to enter Makkah. The Prophet (PBUH) sent Othman Ibn-Affan (RA) to them with a message that he did not intend to fight and had only come to perform the Umrah. Quraysh held Othman captive after he gave them the Prophet’s message. The leaders of the Quraysh told him that he could make tawaf (circumambulate the Ka’ba) if he wished to but he said, “I will not do so until the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) does.”
A rumor spread that Othman Ibn-Affan (RA) had been killed. The Prophet (PBUH) said: “We will not leave without fighting the people.” He then called on them to make a pledge to him under a tree; this pledge became known as Bay’at Ar-Radwan (Pledge of consent). Later, they learned that the rumor about Othman’s murder was unfounded so the Muslims agreed to cease hostilities with the Makkans and set down the conditions of a settlement with them that became known as the Treaty of Hodaybia. The Prophet (PBUH) had to forego some of his rights to protect the Muslims but he knew that Allah would create a victory for the Muslims out of this settlement. The treaty allowed any Arab tribe to choose to enter a peaceful alliance either with the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) or with Quraysh. The Khuza’ah tribe chose to make an alliance with the Prophet (PBUH) and the Bakr tribe entered into one with Quraysh. The Muslims respected and abided by all of the conditions of the Treaty of Hodaybia but Quraysh broke the rules when they decided to help their ally, the Bakr tribe, against the Khuza’ah tribe, who were allied to the Prophet (PBUH). This action led to the decision of the Prophet (PBUH) to conquer Makkah.
Between 8 - 10 Ramadan in 8AH, a Muslim army of 10,000 fighters left Madinah for Makkah. In honor of the sanctity of Makkah, the Prophet (PBUH) ordered his army not to kill anyone unless they were forced to. The Prophet (PBUH) entered Makkah bearing a white flag, wearing a black turban, riding his camel “Al-Qaswaa” and reading Surat Al-Fateh. He lowered his head in humility to Allah (SWT) as Allah had allowed him to conquer Umm al-Qura (the mother of all cities), Makkah, the town in which he first received the revelation and the home of the Sacred House. The Muslims entered Makkah with him in peace and tranquility - fearlessly - just like the Prophet (PBUH) had seen in his dream.
The Muslims then removed all the idols from the Ka’ba and performed tawaf while the Messenger of Allah recited, “There is no God worthy of worship except Allah, alone, who has no partner. He had fulfilled His promise and granted victory to His servant, dignified His soldiers, and defeated the allies Himself”. He then recited the following ayah *[“O mankind! We have created you from a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know one another. Verily, the most honorable of you with Allâh is that (believer) who has At-Taqwâ [i.e. he is one of the Muttaqűn (the pious)]. Verily, Allâh is All-Knowing, All-Aware”
(Surat Al-Hujurat (The Dwellings):13).
Surat Al-Fateh was revealed in 6 AH straight after the Treaty of Hodaybia while the Prophet of Allah (PBUH) was returning to Madinah with his companions. This Surah includes details of this settlement. It is reported that the Prophet (PBUH) said, “Yesterday, a Surah was revealed to me that is better than this life and everything in it: “Verily, We have given you (O Muhammad) a manifest victory.” (This has been related by Bukhari, Nasai’, and Tirmidhi.)
Surat Al-Fateh starts with an address to the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) reassuring him that the path Allah guided him to is the correct path and that the promise of Allah will become reality in a very short time. Concerning these issues, Allah (SWT) says at the beginning of the Surat *"Verily, We have given you (O Muhammad) a manifest victory. That Allâh may forgive you your sins of the past and the future, and complete His Favor on you, and guide you on the Straight Path. And that Allâh may help you with strong help."* (Surat Al-Fateh (The Victory): 1-3) the ayahs stress the fact that Allah (SWT) is He who put peace and tranquility into the hearts of the believers so that they may grow in faith, for faith increases and decreases. Allah (SWT) then gave glad tidings to the believers of His forgiveness and reward and His help in the form of His soldiers (He has soldiers in the heavens and the earth; no one knows the soldiers of your lord except Him). The ayahs mention Allah’s attributes of being the All-Knower, the All-Wise, the All- Powerful, the Mighty and the Forbearing. The ayahs then describe the rewards that await the believing men and women, and the punishment that Allah has prepared for the hypocrites (men and women) and the polytheists (men and women) who worship others with Allah.
The Surat addresses the Prophet (PBUH) once more in ayah, *"Verily, We have sent you (O Muhammad) as a witness, as a bearer of glad tidings, and as a warner"* (Surat Al-Fateh (The Victory): 8), meaning that he is a witness for his Ummah (nation) and for all creation, a bearer of glad tidings for the believers and a warning for the disbelievers and the hypocrites. The ayahs then address the believers in what can be translated as, *“In order that you (O mankind) may believe in Allâh and His Messenger, and that you assist and honor him (PBUH), and (that you) glorify (Allâh's) praises morning and afternoon. “*
(Surat Al-Fateh (The Victory): 9)
The address then rapidly switches again to the Prophet (PBUH), praising the Bay'at Ar-Ridwan (pledge of consent), and gives glad tidings of Allah’s reward for those who fulfill it and warns those who breaks their pledge as it is a covenant with Allah (SWT). The ayah can be translated as, *“Verily, those who give Bai‘ah (pledge) to you (O Muhammad (PBUH)) they are giving Bai‘ah (pledge) to Allâh. The Hand of Allâh is over their hands. Then whosoever breaks his pledge, breaks it only to his own harm; and whosoever fulfils what he has covenanted with Allâh, He will bestow on him a great reward.” *
(Surat Al-Fateh (The Victory): 10).
The ayahs of Surat Al-Fateh turn to the Bedouin hypocrites who refused to accompany the Prophet (PBUH) and made up excuses and lies because they thought he would not be victorious. However, they asked him to ask forgiveness for them and they wanted to share in the spoils he brought back. Allah is well aware of their actions and he had prepared Hell fire for the disbelievers and the hypocrites. Allah says *“And to Allâh belongs the sovereignty of the heavens and the earth. He forgives whom He wills, and punishes whom He wills. And Allah is Ever Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”*
(Surat Al-Fateh (The Victory): 14).
The ayahs of Surat Al-Fateh address those who stayed behind informing them that they would be called to jihad again and if they stay behind once more, they would be punished severely. The ayah can be translated as, *“Say (O Muhammad (PBUH)) to the bedouins who lagged behind: "You shall be called to fight against a people given to great warfare, then you shall fight them, or they shall surrender. Then if you obey, Allah will give you a fair reward; but if you turn away as you did turn away before, He will punish you with a painful torment"*
(Surat Al-Fateh (The Victory): 16).
The ayahs then discuss the case of the people who are excused from taking part in jihad, for example the blind, the lame and the sick, saying *“No blame or sin is there upon the blind, nor is there blame or sin upon the lame, nor is there blame or sin upon the sick (that they go not for fighting). And whosoever obeys Allah and His Messenger (Muhammad (PBUH)), He will admit him to Gardens beneath which rivers flow (Paradise); and whosoever turns back, He will punish him with a painful torment.” *
(Surat Al-Fateh (The Victory): 17).
The ayahs then praised the believers who participated in the Bay’at of Ar-Radwan (pledge of consent), emphasizing that Allah (SWT) is pleased with them; He sent down calmness and tranquility on their hearts, He defended them and strengthened them. Allah has given them glad tidings of the rapid conquest of Makkah and of the abundant rewards they will obtain because He is the Ever All-Mighty and All-Wise; part of this reward is that He prevented the disbelievers from fighting them. He made this a sign for them and guided them to the straight path, for He is able to do all things.
The ayahs emphasize that if the disbelievers had fought the believers, they would not find any protectors. This is one of the laws that Allah decreed on previous nations; divine laws cannot be replaced or changed without Allah’s permission. The glad tidings Allah gives to the believers in Surat Al-Fateh became a reality when the Muslims entered Makkah without bloodshed, making Islam sovereign in the Arabian Peninsula and supreme over all other religions. This is an honor that Allah (SWT) bestowed on the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) and the Muslims. Allah is all-aware of the deeds of His servants; He knows what lie in their hearts and what their intentions are. Allah punished Quraysh who had refused to allow the believers to enter the Sacred Mosque two years earlier, on the day of Hodaybia. Allah says about this *“They are the ones who disbelieved (in the Oneness of Allah - Islamic Monotheism) and hindered you from Al-Masjid-al-Harâm (at Makkah) and detained the sacrificial animals from reaching their place of sacrifice. Had there not been believing men and believing women whom you did not know, that you may kill them and on whose account a sin would have been committed by you without (your) knowledge, that Allah might bring into His Mercy whom He wills - if they (the believers and the disbelievers) had been apart, We verily would have punished those of them who disbelieved with painful torment. When those who disbelieve had put in their hearts pride and haughtiness - the pride and haughtiness of the time of ignorance, - then Allah sent down His Sakînah (calmness and tranquility) upon His Messenger (PBUH) and upon the believers, and made them stick to the word of piety (i.e. none has the right to be worshipped but Allah); and they were well entitled to it and worthy of it. And Allah is the All-Knower of everything.”*
(Surat Al-Fateh (The Victory): 25, 26).
The ayahs discuss the pride and haughtiness of the jahiliyya that caused Quraysh not to allow the Prophet (PBUH) and the believers to enter Makkah to perform Umrah. The believers were very angry with this action, but Allah (SWT) sent down tranquility upon his Messenger (PBUH) and the believers and made them hold true to their belief. And Allah has made the dream of His Prophet (PBUH) become a reality. He says what can be translated as, “Indeed Allâh shall fulfill the true vision which He showed to His Messenger (PBUH) [i.e. the Prophet saw a dream that he has entered Makkah along with his Companions, having their (head) hair shaved and cut short] in very truth. Certainly, you shall enter Al-Masjid-al-Harâm, if Allâh wills, secure, (some) having your heads shaved, and (some) having your head hair cut short, having no fear. He knew what you knew not, and He granted besides that a near victory.”
(Surat Al-Fateh (The Victory): 27).
The Surah ends with confirmation of the Prophethood and the message given to Muhammad (PBUH), which disbelievers throughout history denied. Allah says *“He it is Who has sent His Messenger (Muhammad (PBUH)) with guidance and the religion of truth (Islam), that He may make it (Islam) superior to all religions. And All-Sufficient is Allah as a Witness.”*
(Surat Al-Fateh (The Victory): 28).
In addition to this, Allah confirms through His divine witness that it is He who revealed the description of the seal of His Prophets (PBUH), and the description of the believers with him in the previously revealed books such as Torah and Gospel saying *“Muhammad (PBUH) is the Messenger of Allah. And those who are with him are severe against disbelievers, and merciful among themselves. You see them bowing and falling down prostrate (in prayer), seeking Bounty from Allah and (His) Good Pleasure. The mark of them (i.e. of their Faith) is on their faces (foreheads) from the traces of prostration (during prayers). This is their description in the Taurât (Torah). But their description in the Injeel (Gospel) is like a (sown) seed which sends forth its shoot, then makes it strong, and becomes thick and it stands straight on its stem, delighting the sowers, that He may enrage the disbelievers with them. Allah has promised those among them who believe (i.e. all those who follow Islamic Monotheism, the religion of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) till the Day of Resurrection) and do righteous good deeds, forgiveness and a mighty reward (i.e. Paradise).”*
(Surat Al-Fateh (The Victory): 29).