Back2Quran Ramadan Series: Short Summary of Chapter 8 (Anfaal)

Back2Quran Ramadan Series: Short Summary of Chapter 8 (Anfaal) July 9, 2014

What this project is: This Ramadan, rekindle your spirituality and relationship with God by reading the Quran in a language you understand! To facilitate those who find reading the Quran for the first time daunting, we, at Quranalyze It, will be posting short chapter summaries to get you acquainted with the basic theme and content of a particular chapter. It is important to note, however, that these summaries are no substitute to reading the Quran, and should be used as a bridge towards the Quran, or as an additional tool.

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This chapter is one of the most misunderstood chapters in the Quran. In popular opinion, this chapter is what fuels Jihadists to wage war against the “infidels”. But in my opinion, this chapter seeks to fight these very people who act as “agents of God” seeming to make His path crooked (8:47), and initiating great chaos in the land (8:73). A pivotal commandment of this chapter is to fight until there are no tribulations in the Deen of Islam (8:39): this is to fight the Jihadist groups who misrepresent Islam all over the world and fuel Muslimophobia!

Until verse 52 (75% of the chapter), the fighting seems to be verbal (debate) because of the context. For example, “they won’t reason for themselves”, “God will reveal to you a criterion to judge between right and wrong”, and the backlash from traditionalist folks that “their deen has deluded them” etc. If these dialogues fail, then the subsequent command is to fight a war against the people who create havoc in the land (V 52 onwards). However, if they incline to peace, then you incline to peace too!

Chapter Notes:

•Ch 8, like Ch2-5, is very practical and “hands on”.

•It has 6 calls to believers and 2 calls to the Nabi.

•Defines who Momineen are (8:2 and 8:74)

•Out of anything you acquire as a bonus (not restricted to war booty), 20% is to be spent in a charitable cause.

•The chapter theme is entirely about fighting in the cause of God, and spending resources in His way to eliminate chaos from the land.

•It repeatedly enjoins unity; for without unity, you cannot fight the aggressors who will always be in greater numbers.

•The chapter makes a very vital point: God does not change the condition of a nation until they change themselves. All the time spent in supplications should rather be utilized in initiating practical change.


Passage Breakdowns:

Passage 1 (V1-14) – Who are the Momineen and how God helps them.

  • Anfaal (surplus) is for God and the messenger (to ensure a stable society). This helps in attaining Taqwa, and improving relationships between one another.
  • Momineen are defined: 1) They are those whose skins shiver when they witness God’s signs. 2) When God’s signs are rehearsed to them, their faith increases. 3) They trust God (Have faith in His laws) 4) They establish a connection with God. 5) They spend in charity.
  • These folks receive protection from God and an honorable provision, as God takes them out from their “false systems”. Some of the “Momineen”, however, are reluctant to make such a big change. These people argue after the truth has been clearly conveyed to them, as if they were staring at death.
  • Do not be afraid of large groups of resistance. Truth prevails.
  • God helps the Momineen by descending thousands of Malaika (a multitude of positive reinforcing emotions). A sense of peace prevails in the hearts of Momineen and God sends down revelation (maa) that washes away the whisperings of Shaitan and firms your resolve.

Passage 2 (V15-30) – 5 call to believers

  • First call to believers: Turning your backs when you meet the aggressors in opposition is strongly condemned.
  • Second call to believers: Obey God and His messenger, and do not turn away while you know it is the truth. The worst creatures in the sign of God are those who do not reason.
  • Third call to believers: Respond to God and His messenger (by engaging with the message). This will give you life (spiritually) and your heart will attain peace.
  • No matter how few you are, if you fight for a just cause, God will strengthen you.
  • Fourth call to believers: Never betray God, His messenger and people who trust you.
  • Your wealth and family are, but trails (Never forget to look at the bigger picture).
  • Fifth call to believers: If you revere God, he will reveal to you a criterion to judge between right and wrong, and will protect you.

Passage 3 (V31-44) – Defines the people we are supposed to fight.

  • When you meet those in opposition, they say: We can fabricate a message like this, it is nothing but mythology of ancient people.
  • These people hinder you from Masjid al Haraam, although they are not its guardians. Its guardians can only be the Muttaqeen (Saud family, anyone?).
  • And their connection with the system of Islam is nothing but vanities and amusement.
  • These folks spend to hinder people from the path of God.
  • Say to these people: If you seek a ceasefire, your sins will be forgiven. Otherwise, you will be destroyed like the nations of old.
  • Fight these people until there are no tribulations in Deen (as these folks distort Deen – for ex. Jihadist groups)
  • Out of anything you receive (Anfaal), 20% is to be spent in charity, if you believe in God.
  • If you remain united, the opposition will appear fewer in number.

Passage 5 (V45-51) Sixth call to believers and the allegations by hypocrites

  • Sixth call to believers: Whenever you meet people in opposition, remain united and obey God (His verses) to emerge successful. Do not be like those who only seek to show off and hinder people from the path of God.
  • The hypocrites will say to the Momineen: Their Deen has deluded them.

Passage 6 (V52-63) – Guidelines on Fighting

  • Those who belie God’s Signs are equated with the nation of Firaun who conceal God’s signs for material gains. These are termed the worst of creatures who never honor their oaths and treaties.
  • God never changes the condition of a nation until they first change themselves (What you do is what you will get – Impartial divine law)
  • When you go to war with them, set an example for the proceeding generations to take lessons from.
  • Whatever resources you can muster to fight these oppressive folks, muster.
  • However, if they incline to peace, you incline to peace too!
  • If resorting to peace is their strategy to deceive you, then God will help you. What you need to do is always remain united.

Passage 7 (V64-69) – First call to Nabi

  • First call to the Nabi: God is sufficient for you and the believers.
  • Urge your followers to fight the oppressive people. Because of your unity, you will overcome armies much larger your size.
  • It is beyond the dignity of a Nabi to hold captives except in warfare. Don’t let material gains hinder you from doing right. Otherwise, you will face retribution.
  • On the contrary, consume what is good and lawful.

Passage 8 (V70-75) – Second call to Nabi

  • Second call to Nabi: Convey to the captives in your possession – If your intentions are pure, God will provide you something far better than what has been taken from you. However, if your intentions are treacherous, then you will receive no help from God.
  • Those who believe, migrate, strive with their wealth and their selves, and those who support this cause practically are protectors of one another. These people are the real Momineen.
  • And those who are ungrateful are protectors of one another. Unless you fight them, there will be great chaos in the land.


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