Surah Taubah >> Currently viewing Surah Taubah Ayat 38 (9:38)

Surah Taubah Ayat 38 in Arabic Text

يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ مَا لَكُمْ إِذَا قِيلَ لَكُمُ ٱنفِرُوا۟ فِى سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ ٱثَّاقَلْتُمْ إِلَى ٱلْأَرْضِ ۚ أَرَضِيتُم بِٱلْحَيَوٰةِ ٱلدُّنْيَا مِنَ ٱلْـَٔاخِرَةِ ۚ فَمَا مَتَـٰعُ ٱلْحَيَوٰةِ ٱلدُّنْيَا فِى ٱلْـَٔاخِرَةِ إِلَّا قَلِيلٌ
Yaaa aiyuhal lazeena aamanoo maa lakum izaa qeela lakumun firoo fee sabeelil laahis saaqaltum ilal ard; aradeetum bilhayaatid dunyaa minal Aakhirah; famaamataa’ul hayaatiddunyaa fil Aakhirati illaa qaleel

English Translation

Here you can read various translations of verse 38

Sahih International
O you who have believed, what is [the matter] with you that, when you are told to go forth in the cause of Allah, you adhere heavily to the earth? Are you satisfied with the life of this world rather than the Hereafter? But what is the enjoyment of worldly life compared to the Hereafter except a [very] little.

Yusuf Ali
O ye who believe! what is the matter with you, that, when ye are asked to go forth in the cause of Allah, ye cling heavily to the earth? Do ye prefer the life of this world to the Hereafter? But little is the comfort of this life, as compared with the Hereafter.

Abul Ala Maududi
Believers! What is amiss with you that when it is said to you: “March forth in the cause of Allah,” you cling heavily to the earth? Do you prefer the worldly life to the Hereafter? Know well that all the enjoyment of this world, in comparison with the Hereafter, is trivial.

Muhsin Khan
O you who believe! What is the matter with you, that when you are asked to march forth in the Cause of Allah (i.e. Jihad) you cling heavily to the earth? Are you pleased with the life of this world rather than the Hereafter? But little is the enjoyment of the life of this world as compared with the Hereafter.

Pickthall
O ye who believe! What aileth you that when it is said unto you: Go forth in the way of Allah, ye are bowed down to the ground with heaviness. Take ye pleasure in the life of the world rather than in the Hereafter? The comfort of the life of the world is but little in the Hereafter.

Dr. Ghali
O you who have believed, how is it with you, (that) when it is said to you, “March out in the way of Allah, ” you sink down heavily to the earth? Are you satisfied with the present life, (Literally: the lowly life, i.e., the life of this world) rather than with the Hereafter? Yet in no way is the enjoyment of the present life, in the Hereafter anything except a little thing.

Abdel Haleem
Believers, why, when it is said to you, ‘Go and fight in God’s way,’ do you feel weighed down to the ground? Do you prefer this world to the life to come? How small the enjoyment of this world is, compared with the life to come!

Quran 9 Verse 38 Explanation

For those looking for commentary to help with the understanding of Surah Taubah ayat 38, we’ve provided two Tafseer works below. The first is the tafseer of Abul Ala Maududi, the second is of Ibn Kathir.

Ala-Maududi

(9:38) Believers![38] What is amiss with you that when it is said to you: “March forth in the cause of Allah,” you cling heavily to the earth? Do you prefer the worldly life to the Hereafter? Know well that all the enjoyment of this world, in comparison with the Hereafter, is trivial.[39]


38. From here begins the discourse (Ayats 38-72) which was sent down at the time when the Prophet (peace be upon him) was engaged in making preparations for the campaign to Tabuk.

39. “The enjoyment of the life of this world” may imply two meanings. First: “When you will find that the life in the Hereafter is eternal and see that the good things and the provisions of enjoyment are countless, you will realize that the potential and the actual enjoyments of the temporary life of this world were nothing as compared with the blessings of that great kingdom. At that time you will regret why you deprived yourselves of this everlasting happiness and bliss for the sake of a very little and short lived enjoyments of the mortal life of this world.” Second: “The goods of this worldly life are of no value in the Hereafter, howsoever abundant they might be. You shall have to give up each and everything as soon as you breathe your last. For nothing of this world can go with you to the next world. Of course, you will get credit for what you sacrificed for the pleasure and love of Allah, and love of Islam.”

Ibn-Kathir

38. O you who believe! What is the matter with you, that when you are asked to march forth in the cause of Allah, you cling heavily to the earth Are you pleased with the life of this world rather than the Hereafter But little is the enjoyment of the life of this world compared to the Hereafter. 39. If you march not forth, He will punish you with a painful torment and will replace you by another people; and you cannot harm Him at all, and Allah is able to do all things.


Admonishing clinging to Life rather than rushing to perform Jihad

Allah admonishes those who lagged behind the Messenger of Allah in the battle of Tabuk, at a time when fruits were ripe and shades tempting in the intense and terrible heat,

﴿يَأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ مَا لَكُمْ إِذَا قِيلَ لَكُمُ انفِرُواْ فِى سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ﴾

(O you who believe! What is the matter with you, that when you are asked to march forth in the cause of Allah), if you are called to perform Jihad in the cause of Allah,

﴿اثَّاقَلْتُمْ إِلَى الاٌّرْضِ﴾

(you cling heavily to the earth), reclining to remain in peace, shade and ripe fruits.

﴿أَرَضِيتُم بِالْحَيَوةِ الدُّنْيَا مِنَ الاٌّخِرَةِ﴾

(Are you pleased with the life of this world rather than the Hereafter), why do you do this, is it because you prefer this life instead of the Hereafter Allah next diminishes the eagerness for this worldly life and increases it for the Hereafter,

﴿فَمَا مَتَاعُ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا فِى الاٌّخِرَةِ إِلاَّ قَلِيلٌ﴾

(But little is the enjoyment of the life of this world compared to the Hereafter.) Imam Ahmad recorded that Al-Mustawrid, a member of Bani Fihr, said that the Messenger of Allah said,

«مَا الدُّنْيَا فِي الْآخِرَةِ إِلَّا كَمَا يَجْعَلُ أَحَدُكُمْ إِصْبَعَهُ هَذِهِ فِي الْيَمِّ،فَلْيَنْظُرْ بِمَ تَرْجِعُ؟»

(The life of this world, compared to the Hereafter, is just like when one of you dips his finger in the sea, let him contemplate how much of it his finger would carry.) The Prophet pointed with his index finger. Muslim collected this Hadith. Ath-Thawri narrated that Al-A`mash said about the Ayah,

﴿فَمَا مَتَاعُ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا فِى الاٌّخِرَةِ إِلاَّ قَلِيلٌ﴾

(But little is the enjoyment of the life of this world compared to the Hereafter.) “What compares to the provision a traveler takes.” `Abdul-`Aziz bin Abi Hazim narrated that his father said, “When `Abdul-`Aziz bin Marwan was dying he said, `Bring the shroud I will be covered with so that I inspect it.’ When it was placed before him, he looked at it and said, `Is this what I will end up with from this life’ He then turned his back and cried, while saying, `Woe to you, O life! Your abundance is truly little, your little is short lived, we were deceived by you.”’ Allah warns those who do not join Jihad,

﴿إِلاَّ تَنفِرُواْ يُعَذِّبْكُمْ عَذَابًا أَلِيمًا﴾

(If you march not forth, He will punish you with a painful torment) Ibn `Abbas said, “Allah’s Messenger called some Arabs to mobilize, but they lagged behind and Allah witheld rain from coming down on them, and this was their torment.” Allah said,

﴿وَيَسْتَبْدِلْ قَوْمًا غَيْرَكُمْ﴾

(and will replace you by another people), who will give aid to His Prophet and establish his religion. Allah said in another Ayah,

﴿الْفُقَرَآءُ وَإِن تَتَوَلَّوْاْ يَسْتَبْدِلْ قَوْماً غَيْرَكُمْ ثُمَّ لاَ يَكُونُواْ﴾

(And if you turn away (from the obedience to Allah), He will exchange you for some other people and they will not be your likes.) ﴿47:38﴾

﴿وَلاَ تَضُرُّوهُ شَيْئًا﴾

(and you cannot harm Him at all), you can never harm Allah when you lag behind and stay away from joining Jihad,

﴿وَاللَّهُ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ﴾

(and Allah is able to do all things.) He is able to destroy the enemies without your help.

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