Sūrat al-Anfāl

Sūrat No. 8. Revealed in Madīnah, 75 verses.  

Most of the verses of this Sūrah are about the Battle of Badr. It was the first war of Muslims against the disbelievers. In this war the Muslims had Divine help as stated in many of the verses in this Sūrah.

Merits of reciting the Sūrah

Imam al-Sādiq (a) has said: Whoever recites Sūrat al-Anfal and Sūrat al-Tawbah, hypocrisy will never enter him, and he will be from the true followers of Amir al-Mu’minīn (Imam Ali) (a), and they will eat from the tables of Heaven on the Day of Judgment until the people are done with their reckoning.

Note: The reward is for those for whom the reciting is a prelude to reflection and action.

General synopsis of contents

1) The issue of war booty (verse 1)

2) Qualities of true believers (vv. 2-4)

3) Rules of battle (vv. 5-19)

4) Obedience to Allah and His Messenger (vv. 20-29)

5) Fighting the disbelievers (vv. 30-40)

6) The battle of Badr (vv. 41-49)

7) Fate of those who reject faith (vv. 50-55)

8) Rules of war (vv. 56-60)

9) Rules of peace and war (vv. 61-64)

10) Small numbers against large numbers (vv. 65-66)

11) Captives and war booty (vv. 67-71)

12) The Migrants and the Helpers (vv. 72-75)

Suggested verses for reflection and memorization.

1) 8:2- The faithful are only those whose hearts tremble [with awe] when Allah is mentioned, and when His signs are recited to them, they increase their faith, and who put their trust in their Lord

2) 8:9 – When you appealed to your Lord for help, He answered you: ‘I will aid you with a thousand angels in a file.

3) 8:10 – Victory comes only from Allah. Indeed, Allah is all-mighty, all-wise.

4) 8:24 – O you who have faith! Answer Allah and the Apostle when he summons you to that which will give you life. Know that Allah intervenes between a man and his heart and that toward Him you will be gathered.

5) 8:45- O you who believe! when you meet a party (against you), then be firm, and remember Allah much, that you may be successful.

6) 8:46 – And obey Allah and His Apostle, and do not dispute, or you will lose heart and your power will be gone. And be patient; Indeed, Allah is with the patient.

7) 8:59 Let the disbelievers not suppose that they have outmanoeuvred [Allah]. Indeed, they cannot frustrate [His power]. 

8) 8:62 – But if they desire to deceive you, Allah is indeed sufficient for you. It is He who strengthened you with His help and with the means of the faithful,

9) 8:63- Had you spent all that is in the earth, you could not have united their hearts, but Allah united them together. Indeed, He is all-mighty, all-wise.

Activities for self-study

1) Verses 2-4 of this Sūrah talk about the qualities of believers. Compare these qualities with the ones discussed in 23:1-9. Which are some common qualities described in both these passages?

2) Study verses 11-12. What are the different ways in which Allah helped the Muslims during the battle of Badr?

3) Verse 41 talks about the obligation of Khums. For an explanation of the ruling of khums in this verse check: https://www.al-islam.org/khums-islamic-tax-sayyid-muhammad-rizvi/khums-quran-history

4) Reflect on verse 53. What is required for blessings to be continuous? Read https://www.al-islam.org/enlightening-commentary-light-holy-quran-vol-6/section-7-enemy-weakened-allah for an explanation of this verse.

5) Study verses 65-66. What are the numbers being discussed? What is the reason for the difference in the numbers mentioned in the two verses?

6) Verse 70 tells the Prophet a to speak to the captives. For a discussion on the rights of prisoners in Islam see; https://www.al-islam.org/rights-prisoners-according-islamic-teachings-sayyid-muhammad-sadiq-al-shirazi/chapter-4-rights