Surah Hashr Ayat 5 in Arabic Text
Here you can read various translations of verse 5
Whatever you have cut down of [their] palm trees or left standing on their trunks – it was by permission of Allah and so He would disgrace the defiantly disobedient.
Whether ye cut down (O ye Muslim!) The tender palm-trees, or ye left them standing on their roots, it was by leave of Allah, and in order that He might cover with shame the rebellious transgresses.
The palm-trees that you cut down or those that you left standing on their roots, it was by Allah’s leave that you did so. (Allah granted you this leave) in order that He might humiliate the evil-doers.
What you (O Muslims) cut down of the palm-trees (of the enemy), or you left them standing on their stems, it was by Leave of Allah, and in order that He might disgrace the Fasiqun (rebellious, disobedient to Allah).
Whatsoever palm-trees ye cut down or left standing on their roots, it was by Allah’s leave, in order that He might confound the evil-livers.
Whatever tender (crops) you have cut (down) or left upright on their roots, then that was by the permission of Allah, and that He may disgrace the immoral ones.
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.
Quran 59 Verse 5 Explanation
For those looking for commentary to help with the understanding of Surah Hashr ayat 5, we’ve provided two Tafseer works below. The first is the tafseer of Abul Ala Maududi, the second is of Ibn Kathir.
(59:5) The palm-trees that you cut down or those that you left standing on their roots, it was by Allah’s leave that you did so. (Allah granted you this leave) in order that He might humiliate the evil-doers.
9. The reference is to the fact that the Muslims cut down or burnt many of the palm-trees that stood in the oases around the settlement of the Bani an-Nadir in order to facilitate the siege, However, they left those trees standing which did not obstruct the military operations. At this the hypocrites of Al-Madinah and the Bani Quraizah, and the Bani an-Nadir themselves raised a clamor, saying that, on the one hand, Muhammad (peace be upon him) prohibited spreading disorder in the world, but, on the other hand, fruit trees were being cut down by his command, which amounted to spreading disorder in the world. At this Allah sent down the command: Whatever trees you cut down, or whatever you left standing, your neither act was unlawful, but it had Allah’s permission. The legal injunction that is derived from this verse is that the destruction caused for the sake of military operations does not come under spreading disorder in the world. But spreading disorder in the world is that an army under the fit of war hysteria should intrude into the enemy territory and start destroying the crops, cattle, gardens, houses and everything in its way without any reason. In this matter, the general instruction is the same which Abu Bakr Siddiq gave while dispatching the Muslim army to Syria: Do not cut down fruit trees, do not destroy crops, do not ravage the settlements. This was precisely in accordance with the Quranic teaching, which condemns those who spread chaos: When they get power they direct all their efforts towards spreading corruption in the land, destroying harvests and killing people. (Surah Al-Baqarah, Ayat 205). But the specific command in respect of the war exigencies is that if destruction is necessary for military operations against the enemy, it is lawful. Thus, Abdullah bin Masud has given this explanation in the commentary of this verse: The Muslims had cut down only those trees of the Bani an- Nadir that stood on the battlefield. (Tafsir Nisaburi). Some of the Muslim jurists have overlooked this aspect of the matter and expressed the opinion that the permissibility of cutting the trees of the Bani an-Nadir was confined only to that particular event. It does not make it generally permissible that whenever war necessitates, trees of the enemy be cut down and burnt. Imam Auzai, Laith and Abu Thaur hold this same opinion. But the majority of the jurists hold the view that for the sake of important military operations it is permissible. However, this is not permissible for the purpose of mere destruction and pillage.
One may ask: This verse of the Quran could satisfy the Muslims, but how could those who did not accept the Quran as divine word be satisfied at this reply to their objection that both acts were permissible as they had Allah’s permission for it? The answer is: This verse of the Quran was sent down to satisfy only the Muslims; it was not sent down to satisfy the disbelievers. Since due to the objection of the Jews and the hypocrites, or due to their own thinking, they had been involved in the misgiving whether they were guilty of spreading disorder in the earth. Allah gave them the satisfaction that both the acts, cutting down some trees to facilitate the siege and leaving some other trees standing which did not obstruct the siege, were in accordance with divine law.
The traditionists in their traditions have disagreed the point whether the order to cut and burn the trees had been given by the Prophet (peace be upon him) himself, or whether the Muslims had done it of their own accord, and then later asked the Prophet (peace be upon him) about its legal aspect. Abdullah bin Umar has reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) himself had ordered it. (Bukhari, Muslim, Musnad Ahmad, Ibn Jarir). The same also has been reported by Yazid bin Ruman (Ibn Jarir). On the contrary, Mujahid and Qatadah say that the Muslims had on their own cut down the trees, then a dispute arose among them whether what they had done was permissible or not. Some said it was permissible and some said it was not. At last Allah sent down this verse and approved the act of both. (Ibn Jarir). The same thing is supported by a tradition of Abdullah bin Abbas: The Muslims were confused because some of them had cut the trees and others had not; therefore, they wanted to ask the Prophet (peace be upon him) as to who would be rewarded for the act and who would be punished (Nasai). Those of the jurists who have preferred the first tradition give the argument that this was the Prophet’s personal judgment, which was later ratified by revelation from Allah, and this is a proof of the fact that in matters where no divine command existed, the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to follow his personal judgment. On the other hand, those jurists who have preferred the second tradition argue that the two groups of the Muslims had adopted two different views on the basis of their own personal judgments and Allah ratified both. Therefore, if the learned men arrive at different conclusions by judicious exercise of their personal judgment, then although their opinions might differ, they would all be correct in the divine Shariah.
10. That is, Allah willed that they should be disgraced if you cut down the trees and also if you left them standing. In the first case, they were disgraced when they saw that the trees of the gardens which they had planted with their own hands and which they had owned since ages, were being cut down before their very eyes and they were watching it helplessly. Even an ordinary peasant and gardener cannot tolerate another’s misappropriation or intrusion into his field or garden. He would protect his field or garden at the risk of his life if somebody tried to destroy it in his presence. For, if he cannot prevent destruction of his property, it would be a sign of his extreme humiliation and weakness. But here a whole tribe, which had been living at this place fearlessly and boldly for centuries, was watching helplessly that its neighbors had invaded its gardens and were destroying the trees while it could do nothing. After this even if they stayed on in Al-Madinah, they would have lived in disgrace and humility. In the second case, they were disgraced when on leaving Al-Madinah they saw that the lush green gardens which had been in their possession till the previous day were now passing into the possession of the Muslims. If they had the power they would have laid waste the entire gardens by their own hands so that not a single whole tree passed into the hands of the Muslims. But in their helplessness they left the city, despaired and griefstricken, leaving everything intact behind.
The tafsir of Surah Hashr verse 5 by Ibn Kathir is unavailable here.
Please refer to Surah Hashr ayat 1 which provides the complete commentary from verse 1 through 5.
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