Surah Taubah Ayat 122 in Arabic Text
Here you can read various translations of verse 122
And it is not for the believers to go forth [to battle] all at once. For there should separate from every division of them a group [remaining] to obtain understanding in the religion and warn their people when they return to them that they might be cautious.
Nor should the Believers all go forth together: if a contingent from every expedition remained behind, they could devote themselves to studies in religion, and admonish the people when they return to them,- that thus they (may learn) to guard themselves (against evil).
It was not necessary for the believers to go forth all together (to receive religious instruction), but why did not a party of them go forth that they may grow in religious understanding, and that they may warn their people when they return to them, so that they may avoid (erroneous attitudes)?
And it is not (proper) for the believers to go out to fight (Jihad) all together. Of every troop of them, a party only should go forth, that they (who are left behind) may get instructions in (Islamic) religion, and that they may warn their people when they return to them, so that they may beware (of evil).
And the believers should not all go out to fight. Of every troop of them, a party only should go forth, that they (who are left behind) may gain sound knowledge in religion, and that they may warn their folk when they return to them, so that they may beware.
And in no way should the believers march out, as a whole; so, had only a section of every grouping marched out, (another section would have stayed) to comprehend for themselves in the religion, (i.e., to study the religion) and to warn their people when they return to them, that possibly they would beware.
Yet it is not right for all the believers to go out [to battle] together: out of each community, a group should go out to gain understanding of the religion, so that they can teach their people when they return and so that they can guard themselves against evil.
Quran 9 Verse 122 Explanation
For those looking for commentary to help with the understanding of Surah Taubah ayat 122, we’ve provided two Tafseer works below. The first is the tafseer of Abul Ala Maududi, the second is of Ibn Kathir.
(9:122) It was not necessary for the believers to go forth all together (to receive religious instruction), but why did not a party of them go forth that they may grow in religious understanding, and that they may warn their people when they return to them, so that they may avoid (erroneous attitudes)?
120. In order to comprehend the meaning of this verse, Ayat 97 with which it is connected, should be kept in view:
These bedouins are most stubborn in unbelief and hypocrisy, and, in all probability, will remain ignorant of the laws of the way which Allah has sent down to His Messenger.
In Ayat 97, the Quran merely diagnosed the disease and pointed out its symptoms. The bedouins were suffering from the disease of hypocrisy because of their ignorance of the laws of the Way of Allah. This was so because they had not had any connections with the center of that knowledge. Here in this concluding portion of the Surah, the remedy of that disease has been prescribed so that they should have an understanding of Islam and its implications. It is not necessary that for this purpose all of them should leave their homes and come to Al-Madinah to learn that knowledge, but some of them should come from each habitation, clan and region to the centers of the knowledge (Al-Madinah, Makkah and the like) and understand Islam. Then they should go back to their own habitations and create its understanding among the common people.
This was a very important instruction that was given at the opportune moment to strengthen the Islamic movement. For, at that time, the people were entering into the fold of Islam in large numbers without its proper understanding. Obviously, this instruction was not needed in the initial stages of the movement, for at that time everyone who embraced Islam did so with its full understanding. No one would think of becoming a Muslim without this as this was an invitation to persecution. When the movement became successful and won power in the land, the clans and the habitations began to enter en bloc into the fold of Islam. Naturally very few of them understood the full implications of the faith before accepting it, but the majority of them were being carried into the fold, as it were, by the strong current that had been generated by the movement. Outwardly this immense increase in numbers appeared to be a source of strength to Islam, but in reality such people as had no true understanding of Islam and were, therefore, not prepared to fulfill its moral obligations, were not only useless for the Islamic system but were actually harmful to it. This side of the matter became quite apparent during the preparations for the Tabuk expedition. That is why Allah sent down the instruction that necessary steps should be taken for the integration of the Islamic community so that it may keep pace with the immense increase in its number. Therefore some people should be brought out from every habitation and taught and trained in the requirements of Islam and these in their turn should teach and train their own people so that the whole Muslim population should understand Islam and obtain the knowledge of the limits prescribed by Allah. In this connection, it should also be clearly understood that the command about mass education given in this verse is not merely about literacy but it had the definite aim of imparting the understanding of the way of Islam among the masses and enabling them to refrain from un-Islamic ways. This is the real and permanent aim of education that has been set before the Muslims by Allah himself. Therefore every system of their education shall be judged by this criterion and shall be regarded Islamic only to the extent it fulfills this aim. It does not, however, mean that Islam is against the spreading of literacy and teaching of the purely mundane subjects to the masses, but it simply means that the primary aim of the Islamic education should be the achievement of the objective which has been mentioned above in italics. Without this, it does not consider any education to be education at all, even if it were to produce Einsteins and Freuds of the age.
It will be worthwhile to consider the true significance of the words used in the context, for they created a strange misunderstanding among the people of the later period, and produced lasting poisonous effects on the religious education of the Muslims, nay, on their whole religious life in general. It is obvious that Allah used these words in order to lay down the objective of
122. And it is not (proper) for the believers to go out (to fight – Jihad) all together. Of every troop of them, a party only should go forth, that they may get instructions in religion, and that they may warn their people when they return to them, so that they may beware (of evil).
We should first mention that a group of the Salaf said that marching along with the Messenger , when he went to battle, was at first obliged on all Muslims, because, as they say, Allah said,
(March forth, whether you are light or heavy) ﴿9:41﴾, and,
(It was not becoming of the people of Al-Madinah and the bedouins of the neighborhood…) ﴿9:120﴾. However, they said, Allah abrogated this ruling (9:41 and 9:120) when He revealed this Ayah, ﴿9:122﴾. However, we could say that this Ayah explains Allah’s order to participate in battle on all Arab neighborhoods, that at least a group of every tribe should march for Jihad. Those who went with the Messenger would gain instructions and studies in the revelation that came down to him, and warn their people about that battle when they returned to them. This way, the group that went with the Prophet will achieve both goals ﴿Jihad and learning the revelation from the Prophet ﴾. After the Prophet , a group of every tribe or neighborhood should seek religious knowledge or perform Jihad, for in this case, Jihad is required from at least a part of each Muslim community. `Ali bin Abi Talhah reported from Ibn `Abbas about the Ayah,
(And it is not (proper) for the believers to go out (to fight – Jihad) all together. ) “The believers should not all go to battle and leave the Prophet alone,
(Of every troop of them, a party only should go forth) in the expeditions that the Prophet sent. When these armies returned to the Prophet, who in the meantime received revealed parts of the Qur’an from Allah, the group who remained with the Prophet would have learned that revelation from him. They would say, `Allah has revealed some parts of the Qur’an to your Prophet and we learned it.’ So they learned from them what Allah revealed to His Prophet in their absence, while the Prophet sent some other men into military expeditions. Hence Allah’s statement,
(that they may get instructions in religion,) so that they learn what Allah has revealed to their Prophet and teach the armies when they return,
(so that they may beware.)” Mujahid said, “This Ayah was revealed about some of the Companions of the Prophet who went to the desert and were helped by its residents, had a good rainy year and called whomever they met to guidance. The people said to them, `We see that you left your companions and came to us.’ They felt bad in themselves because of this and they all came back from the desert to the Prophet . Allah said,
(Of every troop of them, a party only should go forth,) those who seek righteousness ﴿such as to spread the call of Islam, while others remain behind﴾,
(that they may get instructions in (Islamic) religion,) and learn what Allah has revealed,
(and that they may warn their people), when those who went forth returned to them,
(so that they may beware (of evil).)” Qatadah said about this Ayah, “It is about when the Messenger of Allah sent an army; Allah commanded them to go into battle, while another group remained with the Messenger of Allah to gain instructions in the religion. Another group returns to its own people to call them (to Allah) and warn them against Allah’s punishment of those who were before them.” It was also said that this verse,
(And it is not (proper) for the believers to go out all together.) is not about joining Jihad. They say that the Messenger of Allah invoked Allah against Mudar to try them with years of famine, and their lands were struck by famine. The various tribes among them started to come, entire tribes at a time, to Al-Madinah, because of the hardship they faced and they would falsely claim that they are Muslims. This caused hardship for the Companions of the Messenger and Allah revealed to him that they are not believers. The Messenger of Allah sent them back to their tribes and warned their people not to repeat what they did. Hence Allah’s statement,
(and that they may warn their people when they return to them,)
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