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About This Surah

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. He asked them to leave and they agreed, but Ibn Ubayy, the head of the ‘hypocrites’ of Medina, promised them that, if they fought the Muslims, he and his camp would fight with them (verses 11–13), and, if they had to leave Medina, he and his camp would leave with them. 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.

Source: The Qur’an (Oxford World’s Classics) by M. A. S. Abdel Haleem (Amazon Kindle Edition)

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