59. Hashr

Syed Abu-Ala' Maududi's Chapter Introductions to the Quran


The Sura derives its name from the mention of the word al-hashr in verse thereby implying that it is the Sura in which the word al-hashr has occurred.

Period of Revelation

Bukhari and Muslim contain a tradition from Hadrat Sa'id bin Jubair to the effect "When I asked Hadrat Abdullah bin Abbas about Sura Al-Hashr he reptied that it was sent down concerning the battle against the Bani an-Nadir just as Sura Al-Anfal was sent down concerning the Battle of Badr. In another tradition from Hadrat Sa'Id bin Jubair the words cited from Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) are: Qul: sura an-Nadir: Say it is Sura an-Nadir." The same thing has been related also from Mujahid Qatadah Zuhri Ibn Zaid Yazid bin Ruman Muhammad bin Ishaq and others. They are unanimous that the followers of the Book whose banishinent has been mentioned in it imply the Bani an-Nadir. Yazid bin Ruman Mujahid and Muhammad bin Ishaq have stated that this whole Sura from beginning to end came down concerning this very battle. As for the question as to when this battle took place Imam Zuhri has stated on the authority of Urwah bin Zubair that it took place six months after the Battle of Badr. However Ibn Sa'd Ibn Hisham and Baladhuri regard it as an event of Rabi' al-Awwal A. H. 4 and the same is correct. For all traditions agree that this battle took place after the incident of Bi'r Ma'unah and historically also it is well known that the incident of Bir Ma'unah occurred after the Battle of Uhud and not before it.

Historical Background

In order to understand the subject matter of this Sura well it is necessary to have a look at the history of the Madinah and Hejaz Jews for without it one cannot know precisely the real causes of the Holy Prophet's dealing with their different tribes the way he did. No authentic history of the Arabian Jews exists in the world. They have not left any writing of their own in the form of a book or a tablet which might throw light on their past nor have the Jewish historians and writers of the non-Arab world made any mention of them the reason being that after their settlement in the Arabian peninsula they had detached themselves from the main body of the nation and the Jews of the world did not count them as among themselves. For they had given up Hebrew culture and language even the names and adopted Arabism instead. In the tablets that have been unearthed in the archaeological research in the Hejaz no trace of the Jews is found before the first century of the Christian era except for a few Jewish names. Therefore the history of the Arabian Jews is based mostly on the verbal traditions prevalent among the Arabs most of which bad been spread by the Jews themselves. The Jews of the Hejaz claimed that they had come tv settle in Arabia during the last stage of the life of the Prophet Moses (peace be upon him). They said that the Prophet Moses had despatched an army to expel the Amalekites from the land of Yathrib and had commanded it not to spare even a single soul of that tribe. The Israelite army carried out the Prophet's command but spared the life of a handsome prince of the Amalekite king and returned with him to Palestine. By that time the Prophet Moses had passed sway. His successors took great exception to what the army had done for by sparing the life of an Amalekite it had clearly disobeyed the Prophet and violated the Mosaic law. Consequently they excluded the army from their community and it had to return to Yathrib and settle there for ever.(Kitab al-Aghani vol. xix p. 94). Thus the Jews claimed that they had been living in Yathrib since about 1200 B.C. But this had in fact no historical basis and probably the Jews had invented this story in order to overawe the Arabs into believing that they were of noble lineage and the original inhabitants of the land. The second Jewish immigration according to the Jews took place in 587 BC. when Nebuchadnezzer the king of Babylon destroyed Jerusalem and dispersed the Jews throughout the world. The Arab Jews said that several of their tribes at that time had come to settle in Wadi al-Qura Taima and Yathrib.(Al-Baladhuri Futuh al-Buldan). But this too has no historical basis. By this also they might have wanted to prove that they were the original settlers of the area. As a matter of fact what is established is that when in A. D. 70 the Romans massacred the Jews in Palestine and then in A. D. 132 expelled them from that land many of the Jewish tribes fled to find an asylum in the Hejaz a territory that was contiguous to Palestine in the south. There they settled wherever they found water springs and greenery and then by intrigue and through money lending business gradually occupied the fertile lands. Ailah Maqna Tabuk Taima Wadi al Qura Fadak and Khaiber came under their control in that very period and Banl Quraizah Bani al-Nadir Bani Bahdal and Bani Qainuqa also came in the same period and occupied Yathrib. Among the tribes that settled in Yathrib the Bani al Nadir and the Bani Quraizah were more prominent for they belonged to the Cohen or priest class. They were looked upon as of noble descent and enjoyed religious leadership among their co- religionists. When they came to settle in Madinah there were some other tribes living there before whom they subdued and became practically the owners of this green and fertile land. About three centuries later in A. D. 450 or 451 the great flood of Yaman occurred which has been mentioned in vv. 16-17 o

Theme and Subject Matter

The theme of the Sura as stated above is an appraisal of the battle against the Bani an Nadir. In this on the whole four things have been discussed. (1) In the first four verses the world has been admonished to take heed of the fate that had just befallen the Bani an-Nadir. A major tribe which was as strong in numbers as the Muslims whose people boasted of far more wealth and possession who were by no means ill equipped militarily and whose forts were well fortified could not stand siege even for a few Days and expressed their readiness to accept banishment from their centuries old well established settlement even though not a single man from among them was slain. Allah says that this happened not because of any power possessed by the Muslims but because the Jews had tried to resist and fight Allah and His Messenger and those who dare to resist the power of Allah always meet with the same fate. (2) In verse 5 the rule of the law of war that has been enunciated is: the destruction caused in the enemy territory for military purposes does not come under "spreading mischief in the earth." (3) In vv 6-10 it has been stated how the lands and properties which come under the control of the Islamic State as a result of war or peace terms are to be managed. As it was the first ever occasion that the Muslims took control of a conquered territory the law concerning it was laid down for their guidance. (4) In vv. 11-17 the attitude that the hypocrites had adopted on the occasion of the battle against the Bani an-Nadir has been reviewed and the causes underlying it have been pointed out. (5) The whole of the last section (vv. 18-24) is an admonition for all those people who had professed to have affirmed the faith and joined the Muslim com-unity but were devoid of the true spirit of the faith. In it they have been told what is the real demand of the Faith what is the real difference between piety and wickedness what is the place and importance of the Quran which they professed to believe in and what are the attributes of God in Whom they claimed to have believed.

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