Surah Taubah >> Currently viewing Surah Taubah Ayat 97 (9:97)

Surah Taubah Ayat 97 in Arabic Text

ٱلْأَعْرَابُ أَشَدُّ كُفْرًۭا وَنِفَاقًۭا وَأَجْدَرُ أَلَّا يَعْلَمُوا۟ حُدُودَ مَآ أَنزَلَ ٱللَّهُ عَلَىٰ رَسُولِهِۦ ۗ وَٱللَّهُ عَلِيمٌ حَكِيمٌۭ
Al A’raabu ashaddu kufranw wa nifaaqanw wa ajdaru allaa ya’lamoo hudooda maaa anzalal laahu ‘alaa Rasoolih; wallaahu ‘Aleemun Hakeem

English Translation

Here you can read various translations of verse 97

Sahih International
The bedouins are stronger in disbelief and hypocrisy and more likely not to know the limits of what [laws] Allah has revealed to His Messenger. And Allah is Knowing and Wise.

Yusuf Ali
The Arabs of the desert are the worst in Unbelief and hypocrisy, and most fitted to be in ignorance of the command which Allah hath sent down to His Messenger: But Allah is All-knowing, All-Wise.

Abul Ala Maududi
The bedouin Arabs surpass all in unbelief and hypocrisy and are most likely to be unaware of the limits prescribed by Allah in what He has revealed to His Messenger. Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise.

Muhsin Khan
The bedouins are the worst in disbelief and hypocrisy, and more likely to be in ignorance of the limits (Allah’s Commandments and His Legal Laws, etc.) which Allah has revealed to His Messenger. And Allah is All-Knower, All-Wise.

Pickthall
The wandering Arabs are more hard in disbelief and hypocrisy, and more likely to be ignorant of the limits which Allah hath revealed unto His messenger. And Allah is Knower, Wise.

Dr. Ghali
The Arabs (of the desert) are more strict in disbelief and hypocrisy, and after not to know the bounds of what Allah has sent down on His Messenger; and Allah is Ever-Knowing. Ever-Wise.

Abdel Haleem
The desert Arabs are the most stubborn of all peoples in their disbelief and hypocrisy. They are the least likely to recognize the limits that God has sent down to His Messenger. God is all knowing and all wise.

Quran 9 Verse 97 Explanation

For those looking for commentary to help with the understanding of Surah Taubah ayat 97, we’ve provided two Tafseer works below. The first is the tafseer of Abul Ala Maududi, the second is of Ibn Kathir.

Ala-Maududi

(9:97) The bedouin Arabs surpass all in unbelief and hypocrisy and are most likely to be unaware of the limits prescribed by Allah in what He has revealed to His Messenger. Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise.[95]


95. As has already been stated earlier the “Bedouins” here refers to those rustic Arabs of the desert who had settled in the suburbs of Al-Madinah.

The background which may help one to comprehend the meanings of the verse is this. Though these people had outwardly embraced Islam, they had not done so from conviction. When they saw the rising of the organized power of Islam in Al-Madinah, they were so overawed by it that they could not ignore it. So at first they adopted the attitude of the opportunists towards the conflict between Islam and kufr. But when the power of the Islamic government spread over the major portions of Hijaz and Najd, and the power of its enemy clans began to decline, they thought it expedient to enter the fold of Islam. But there were very few among them who had sincerely accepted Islam from the conviction that it was the right way. That is why they did not make any sincere efforts to fulfill the implications of the true faith, and observe the obligatory duties imposed by Islam. On the contrary, the majority of them had accepted Islam just because it was the best policy for them. They merely desired to take advantages of being Muslims in order to gain those benefits to which they were entitled as members of the ruling party, without performing those duties which became obligatory on them by the very acceptance of Islam. Therefore they were utterly averse to saying the prescribed prayers, observing the fasting, paying the Zakat dues from their date palm gardens and their herds of cattle. Moreover, they smarted under the discipline of the Islamic state and resented being subdued by any power for the first time in history. Above all, it was against their very nature to make sacrifices of their lives and wealth in the Way of Allah, as was being demanded by Islam, for they were accustomed to fight only for plunder and spoils. That is why they always invented one excuse or the other for exemption from the restrictions and obligations that were being imposed on them. For, they had no interest in the truth or the welfare of humanity; their only concern was their camels and their goats, that is, the narrow world around their tents. As regards anything higher than these, the only thing which they could believe in was irrational reverence for those who would guarantee their worldly welfare and protect them from calamities and give them amulets to safeguard them against haram and evil, and say prayers for them as a recompense for their offerings to them. But they were not prepared to accept any faith or belief that would bring under its moral and legal discipline every aspect of their cultural, social and economic life, and demand from them the sacrifices of lives and wealth for the cause of a universal reform.

In this verse, the above mentioned mental and moral condition of the Bedouins has been described like this: “These Bedouins are more hypocritical than the urban Arabs and are more stubborn and obdurate in their denial of the truth. This is because the urban people make use of the opportunities of meeting the learned and pious people and thus learn the laws and regulations of the true way. On the other hand, in all probability, the Bedouins will learn little about the divine way, because they get few opportunities for this. Moreover, they lead lives of economic animals rather than of human beings having moral and spiritual values; therefore they do not think of higher things than their animal urges.

It should also be noted that the main cause of the subsequent storm of rebellion and apostasy during the caliphate of Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) two years after the revelation of these verses (97-99) was the same that has been mentioned therein.

Ibn-Kathir

97. The bedouins are the worst in disbelief and hypocrisy, and more likely to not know the limits which Allah has revealed to His Messenger. And Allah is All-Knower, All-Wise. 98. And of the bedouins there are some who look upon what they spend (in Allah’s cause) as a fine and watch for calamities for you, on them be the calamity of evil. And Allah is All-Hearer, All-Knower. 99. And of the bedouins there are some who believe in Allah and the Last Day, and look upon what they spend (in Allah’s cause) as means of nearness to Allah, and a cause of receiving the Messenger’s invocations. Indeed these (expenditures) are a means of nearness for them. Allah will admit them to His mercy. Certainly Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.


The Bedouins are the Worst in Disbelief and Hypocrisy

Allah states that there are disbelievers, hypocrites and believers among the bedouins. He also states that the disbelief and hypocrisy of the bedouins is worse and deeper than the disbelief and hypocrisy of others. They are the most likely of being ignorant of the commandments that Allah has revealed to His Messenger . Al-A`mash narrated that Ibrahim said, “A bedouin man sat next to Zayd bin Sawhan while he was speaking to his friends. Zayd had lost his hand during the battle of Nahawand. The bedouin man said, `By Allah! I like your speech. However, your hand causes me suspicion.’ Zayd said, `Why are you suspicious because of my hand, it is the left hand ﴿that is cut﴾’ The bedouin man said, `By Allah! I do not know which hand they cut off (for committing theft), is it the right or the left’ Zayd bin Sawhan said, `Allah has said the truth,

﴿الاٌّعْرَابُ أَشَدُّ كُفْرًا وَنِفَاقًا وَأَجْدَرُ أَلاَّ يَعْلَمُواْ حُدُودَ مَآ أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ عَلَى رَسُولِهِ﴾

(The bedouins are the worst in disbelief and hypocrisy, and more likely to not know the limits which Allah has revealed to His Messenger.)” Imam Ahmad narrated that Ibn `Abbas said that the Messenger of Allah said,

«مَنْ سَكَنَ الْبَادِيَةَ جَفَا، وَمَنِ اتَّبَعَ الصَّيْدَ غَفَلَ، وَمَنْ أَتَى السُّلْطَانَ افْتُتِن»

(He who lives in the desert becomes hard-hearted, he who follows the game becomes heedless, and he who associates with the rulers falls into Fitnah.) Abu Dawud, At-Tirmidhi and An-Nasa’i collected this Hadith. At-Tirmidhi said, “Hasan Gharib.” The Prophet once had to give a bedouin man many gifts because of what he gave him as a gift, until the bedouin became satisfied. The Prophet said,

«لَقَدْ هَمَمْتُ أَنْ لَا أَقْبَلَ هَدِيَّةً إِلَّا مِنْ قُرَشِيَ أَوْ ثَقَفِيَ أَوْ أَنْصَارِيَ أَوْ دَوْسِي»

(I almost decided not to accept a gift except from someone from Quraysh, Thaqafi, the Ansar or Daws.) This is because these people lived in cities, Makkah, At- Ta’if, Al-Madinah and Yemen, and therefore, their conduct and manners are nicer than that of the hard-hearted bedouins. Allah said next,

﴿وَاللَّهُ عَلِيمٌ حَكِيمٌ﴾

(And Allah is All-Knower, All-Wise.) Allah knows those who deserve to be taught faith and knowledge, He wisely distributes knowledge or ignorance, faith or disbelief and hypocrisy between His servants. He is never questioned as to what He does, for He is the All-Knower, All-Wise. Allah also said that among bedouins are those,

﴿مَن يَتَّخِذُ مَا يُنفِقُ﴾

(who look upon what they spend), in the cause of Allah,

﴿مَغْرَمًا﴾

(as a fine), as a loss and a burden,

﴿وَيَتَرَبَّصُ بِكُمُ الدَّوَائِرَ﴾

(and watch for calamities for you), awaiting afflictions and disasters to strike you,

﴿عَلَيْهِمْ دَآئِرَةُ السَّوْءِ﴾

(on them be the calamity of evil), evil will touch them instead,

﴿وَاللَّهُ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ﴾

(And Allah is All-Hearer, All-Knower.) Allah hears the invocation of His servants and knows who deserves victory, who deserve failure. Allah’s said;

﴿وَمِنَ الاٌّعْرَابِ مَن يُؤْمِنُ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الاٌّخِرِ وَيَتَّخِذُ مَا يُنفِقُ قُرُبَـتٍ عِندَ اللَّهِ وَصَلَوَتِ الرَّسُولِ﴾

(And of the bedouins there are some who believe in Allah and the Last Day, and look upon what they spend (in Allah’s cause) as means of nearness to Allah, and a cause of receiving the Messenger’s invocations.) This is the type of praiseworthy bedouins. They give charity in Allah’s cause as way of achieving nearness to Allah and seeking the Messenger’s invocation for their benefit,

﴿أَلا إِنَّهَا قُرْبَةٌ لَّهُمْ﴾

(Indeed these are a means of nearness for them.) they will attain what they sought,

﴿سَيُدْخِلُهُمُ اللَّهُ فِى رَحْمَتِهِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ﴾

(Allah will admit them to His mercy. Certainly Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.)

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