Surah Taubah Ayat 123 in Arabic Text
Here you can read various translations of verse 123
O you who have believed, fight those adjacent to you of the disbelievers and let them find in you harshness. And know that Allah is with the righteous.
O ye who believe! fight the unbelievers who gird you about, and let them find firmness in you: and know that Allah is with those who fear Him.
Believers! Fight against the unbelievers who live around you; and let them find in you sternness. Know that Allah is with the God-fearing.
O you who believe! Fight those of the disbelievers who are close to you, and let them find harshness in you, and know that Allah is with those who are the Al-Muttaqun (the pious – see V. 2:2).
O ye who believe! Fight those of the disbelievers who are near to you, and let them find harshness in you, and know that Allah is with those who keep their duty (unto Him).
O you who have believed, fight the ones of the steadfast disbelievers who border on you and let them find in you (a) harshness; and know that Allah is with the pious.
You who believe, fight the disbelievers near you and let them find you standing firm: be aware that God is with those who are mindful of Him.
Quran 9 Verse 123 Explanation
For those looking for commentary to help with the understanding of Surah Taubah ayat 123, we’ve provided two Tafseer works below. The first is the tafseer of Abul Ala Maududi, the second is of Ibn Kathir.
(9:123) Believers! Fight against the unbelievers who live around you; and let them find in you sternness. Know that Allah is with the God-fearing.
121. From the apparent wording of this verse, it may be inferred that only those Muslims have at first been held responsible to fight with those enemies of Islam who live near their territory. But if we read this verse along with the succeeding passage, it becomes clear that here disbelievers who are near you refers to those hypocrites who were doing great harm to the Islamic society by mixing up with the sincere Muslims. This very thing was stated in Ayat 73 at the beginning of this discourse. The command has been repeated at its end in order to impress on the Muslims the importance of the matter and to urge them to do Jihad and crush these internal enemies, without paying the least regard to the racial, family and social relations that had been proving a binding force with them. The only difference between the two commands is that in Ayat 73, the Muslims were asked to do Jihad with them, while in this verse stronger words “fight those” have been used, which were meant to impress on them that they should crush the hypocrites thoroughly and completely. Another difference in the wordings is that in Ayat 73, two different words, “disbelievers and hypocrites” have been used, while in this verse only one word, “disbelievers” has been used so that the hypocrites should forfeit all their claims as Muslims. For there was room for this concession in the word hypocrite.
122. This is meant to impress that they should not, in future, show the lenient treatment they had been meting out to them up to that time. This has already been commanded in Ayat 73 as be firm and stern with them.
123. This warning has two-fold meanings and both are implied here. First, If you show any kind of leniency towards them because of your personal or family or economic connections with them, you should know that such a thing shall be against the fear of God. For the fear of God and friendly relations with the enemies of Allah are contradictory things. Therefore, you should give these up if you desire to obtain Allah’s help. Secondly, You should scrupulously observe the moral and humane limits in doing Jihad, and in fighting against them. For you should always keep yourselves within the prescribed limits in everything. If you transgress these in any way, you should know that Allah will forsake you for He helps only those who are Godfearing.
123. O you who believe! Fight those of the disbelievers who are close to you, and let them find harshness in you; and know that Allah is with those who have Taqwa.
Allah commands the believers to fight the disbelievers, the closest in area to the Islamic state, then the farthest. This is why the Messenger of Allah started fighting the idolators in the Arabian Peninsula. When he finished with them and Allah gave him control over Makkah, Al-Madinah, At-Ta’if, Yemen, Yamamah, Hajr, Khaybar, Hadramawt and other Arab provinces, and the various Arab tribes entered Islam in large crowds, he then started fighting the People of the Scriptures. He began preparations to fight the Romans who were the closest in area to the Arabian Peninsula, and as such, had the most right to be called to Islam, especially since they were from the People of the Scriptures. The Prophet marched until he reached Tabuk and went back because of the extreme hardship, little rain and little supplies. This battle occurred on the ninth year after his Hijrah. In the tenth year, the Messenger of Allah was busy with the Farewell Hajj. The Messenger died eighty-one days after he returned from that Hajj, Allah chose him for what He had prepared for him ﴿in Paradise﴾. After his death, his executor, friend, and Khalifah, Abu Bakr As-Siddiq, may Allah be pleased with him, became the leader. At that time, the religion came under attack and would have been defeated, if it had not been for the fact that Allah gave the religion firmness through Abu Bakr, who established its basis and made its foundations firm. He brought those who strayed from the religion back to it, and made those who reverted from Islam return. He took the Zakah from the evil people who did not want to pay it, and explained the truth to those who were unaware of it. On behalf of the Prophet , Abu Bakr delivered what he was entrusted with. Then, he started preparing the Islamic armies to fight the Roman cross worshippers, and the Persian fire worshippers. By the blessing of his mission, Allah opened the lands for him and brought down Caesar and Kisra and those who obeyed them among the servants. Abu Bakr spent their treasures in the cause of Allah, just as the Messenger of Allah had foretold would happen. This mission continued after Abu Bakr at the hands of he whom Abu Bakr chose to be his successor, Al-Faruq, the Martyr of the Mihrab, Abu Hafs, `Umar bin Al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with him. With `Umar, Allah humiliated the disbelievers, suppressed the tyrants and hypocrites, and opened the eastern and western parts of the world. The treasures of various countries were brought to `Umar from near and far provinces, and he divided them according to the legitimate and accepted method. `Umar then died as a martyr after he lived a praise worthy life. Then, the Companions among the Muhajirin and Ansar agreed to chose after `Umar, `Uthman bin `Affan, Leader of the faithful and Martyr of the House, may Allah be pleased with him. During `Uthman’s reign, Islam wore its widest garment and Allah’s unequivocal proof was established in various parts of the world over the necks of the servants. Islam appeared in the eastern and western parts of the world and Allah’s Word was elevated and His religion apparent. The pure religion reached its deepest aims against Allah’s enemies, and whenever Muslims overcame an Ummah, they moved to the next one, and then the next one, crushing the tyranical evil doers. They did this in reverence to Allah’s statement,
(O you who believe! Fight those of the disbelievers who are close to you,) Allah said next,
(and let them find harshness in you), meaning, let the disbelievers find harshness in you against them in battle. The complete believer is he who is kind to his believing brother, and harsh with his disbelieving enemy. Allah said in other Ayah,
(Allah will bring a people whom He will love and they will love Him; humble towards the believers, stern towards the disbelievers…)﴿5:54﴾,
(Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. And those who are with him are severe against the disbelievers, and merciful among themselves.)﴿48:29﴾, and,
(O Prophet! Strive hard against the disbelievers and the hypocrites, and be harsh against them.)﴿9:73﴾ Allah said,
(And know that Allah is with those who have Taqwa), meaning, fight the disbelievers and trust in Allah knowing that Allah is with you if you fear and obey Him. This was the case in the first three blessed generations of Islam, the best members of this Ummah. Since they were firm on the religion and reached an unsurpassed level of obedience to Allah, they consistently prevailed over their enemies. During that era, victories were abundant, and enemies were ever more in a state of utter loss and degradation. However, after the turmoil began, desires and divisions became prevalent between various Muslim kings, the enemies were eager to attack the outposts of Islam and marched into its territory without much opposition. Then, the Muslim kings were too busy with their enmity for each other. The disbelievers then marched to the capital cities of the Islamic states, after gaining control over many of its areas, in addition to entire Islamic lands. Verily, ownership of all affairs is with Allah in the beginning and in the end. Whenever a just Muslim king stood up and obeyed Allah’s orders, all the while trusting in Allah, Allah helped him regain control over some Muslim lands and took back from the enemy what was compatible to his obedience and support to Allah. We ask Allah to help the Muslims gain control over the forelocks of His disbeliever enemies and to raise high the word of Muslims over all lands. Verily, Allah is Most Generous, Most Giving.
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