Section 15: To Be Always With the Truthful Ones
Surah At-Tawbah – Verse 119
يَآ أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللّهَ وَكُونُوا مَعَ الصَّادِقِينَ
119. “O you who have Faith! Be in awe of Allah and be (always) with the truthful ones.”
This verse addresses the believers and commands them to be in awe of Allah and to be pious. They should be always with the truthful ones, too.
Thus, the believers are commanded in this verse to do two things. The first is that they should be in awe of Allah, and it is evident that the state of being Godwary is very effective in man from the point of training. When a person is Godwary, he not only avoids committing disgrace actions, but also performs his duties.
The second is that they ought to be with the truthful ones, and to make friends with some ones who are generally truthful. They should, therefore, avoid making friends with the liars.
The verse says:
Accompaniment and agreement with truthful ones has an important function in the spiritual progression and the elevation of man. It makes him familiar with spiritual and ethical values, so far that the one himself will habitually become one of the truthful ones.
Some Islamic narrations denote that the objective meaning of ‘the truthful ones’ is Muhammad and his Ahlul-Bayt (S), and the immaculate Imams (as). It is certain that they were the top of the truthful ones, and the Islamic community, as a duty, ought to follow them.
Surah At-Tawbah – Verse 120
مَاكَانَ لاَهْلِ الْمَدِينَةِ وَمَنْ حَوْلَهُم مِنَ الاَعْرَابِ أَن يَتَخَلَّفُوا عَن رَسُولِ اللّهِ وَلا يَرْغَبُوا بِاَنْفُسِهِمْ عَن نَفْسِهِ ذَلِكَ بِاَنَّهُمْ لاَ يُصِيبُهُمْ ظَمَأٌ وَلا نَصَبٌ وَلاَ مَخْمَصَةٌ فِي سَبِيلِ اللّهِ وَلا يَطَأُونَ مَوْطِئاً يَغِيظُ الْكُفَّارَ وَلا يَنَالُونَ مِنْ عَدُوٍّ نَيْلاً إِلاَّ كُتِبَ لَهُم بِهِ عَمَلٌ صَالِحٌ إِنَّ اللّهَ لايُضِيعُ أَجْرَ الْمُـحْسِنِينَ
120. “It is not for the people of Medina and the Bedouins around them to offend against the (command of) the Messenger of Allah, and to prefer their own lives to his life. That is because there afflicts them neither thirst, nor fatigue, nor hunger in the way of Allah, nor do they receive (any thing) from the enemy but a righteous deed is written for them on its account. Verily Allah does not waste the reward of the good-doers.”
The content of this verse is a kind of proclamation of general mobilization, and encouraging the Muslims toward participation in Holy Struggle and defending the life of the Prophet (S).
Through this verse, the Qur’ān warns the Muslims habitated in Medina and around it that they should not offend against the command of going to Holy Struggle beside the Prophet of Islam (S).
They must not think of their own lives dearer than the life of the Prophet (S) but they must defend his life before the enemy by their own lives.
It is evident that in battles the protection of the life of the commander is an important duty upon the army, since if the commander be killed the army may be defeated. In the battles that the Prophet (S) participated, he himself undertook the rank of a commander, and then, it was necessary for the Muslims to prefer his life to their own lives and to protect it from any danger.
Participation in Holy Struggle, of course, is a sufficient necessity, and when sufficient men, who can afford the defense and war, attend in the scene, it is not necessary for the rest to participate.
But, when the Prophet (S) or the Imam (as) invites a particular person to Holy Struggle, it will become an individual duty for him to obey, and its offense is not permissible.
At the advent of Islam, the number of Muslims was small, and when a war happened, the Holy Prophet (S) invited all those Muslims who had the ability of fighting to the battle- field and he proclaimed a general mobilization thereby.
Therefore, all of them should take part in the battle and no offending was allowed. This verse, which concerns to that very period, warns the people of Medina and its Bedouins; who were the only power of Islam, not to offend from the Holy Struggle beside the Prophet (S). The holy verse says:
Next to expressing this meaning, in the continuation of the verse, and in relation to the troops of Islam, the Qur’ān points out that Allah gives the strivers in His way some good rewards for the hardships they tolerate. It says:
Surah At-Tawbah – Verse 121
وَلا يُنفِقُونَ نَفَقَةً صَغِيرَةً وَلا كَبِيرَةً وَلا يَقْطَعُونَ وَادِياً إِلاَّ كُتِبَ لَهُمْ لِيَجْزِيَهُمُ اللّهُ أَحْسَنَ مَاكَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ
121. “And neither do they expend anything (in the way of Holy Struggle), small or great, nor do they cross any land, but it is recorded for them, so that Allah may reward them with better than what they used to do.”
There is no expense, whether it be small or large, that the Muslims spend in charity, nor do they cross any desert, but it is recorded for them, in order that Allah will recompense them with something better than that which they have done. The verse says:
When we refer to the history of the Battles of the advent of Islam, we realize that the Muslims were confronted with a great deal of hardships and difficulties in many of those Battles. They suffered much pain because of scarcity of possibilities, martial means and equipments, provisions, and ammunitions.
They had to tolerate both thirst and hunger. Whatever they had they spent in the way of Allah. They were surrounded by some insupportable problems. They became wounded, they were slain, but they bore all of these hardships in order to protect the life of the Prophet (S) and to cause Islam victorious.
According to this verse, Allah will reward all of these pains and hardships, and He will not waste the wage of the righteous.
Surah At-Tawbah – Verse 122
وَمَا كَانَ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ لِيَنْفِرُوا كَآفَّةً فَلَوْلا نَفَرَ مِن كُلِّ فِرْقَةٍ مِنْهُمْ طَآئِفَةٌ لِيَتَفَقَّهُوا فِي الدِّينِ وَلِيُنذِرُوا قَوْمَهُمْ إِذَا رَجَعُوا إِلَيْهِمْ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَحْذَرُونَ
122. “And it is not for the believers to go out (to fight) totally; why should not then a group from every party of them go forth to become learned in religion, and to warn their people when they return to them. So that they may beware?”
In the previous verses, the Muslims were emphatically called toward Holy Struggle, and those who offended that commandment were severely criticized. Now, this verse attracts the attention of the Muslims toward another important duty that they have. This matter is not less significant than Holy Struggle from the point of importance, because the ordinances of Allah can be learnt.
With the emphasis which was laid on Holy Struggle, the believers attached importance to Holy Struggle, and whenever a fight came forth, the Muslims wholly attended in its expedition, even though the Prophet himself (S) would not take part in that Holy Struggle, and no one offended from it.
In that circumstance, the Prophet (S) was alone and there was not anybody of those Muslims to take the ordinances of Islam from him.
This verse indicates that the entire of the believers should not go to fight, but a group of them ought to remain in Medina in order to learn the religious teachings and to be learned in religion, so that when the strivers came back to them, they could teach them what they had learnt, and could warn them and preach them, perhaps, they would be in awe of Allah and would observe the limits of the religion.
It is indisputable that the conditions are often different. Sometimes the enemy is powerful and dangerous and all Muslims must be mobilized for war, like what happened in the Battle of Tabūk where the Muslims were against the powerful army of Byzantine.
And, sometimes it happens that the enemy is less powerful and it is not necessary that the Muslims totally participate in war.
When the Prophet (S) was alive, it was in such circumstances that a group of the Muslims should go to fight and another group would remain at the presence of the Prophet (S) busy learning the subjects of the religion.
For, at any moment, the revelation might be sent down and an ordinance or a new subject be announced by the Prophet (S). So, there should be present some believers to receive it and to learn it, and when their brethren would return from Holy Struggle, they could teach it to them, too.
In that manner, the strivers could also be in the current of that revelation which would firm their Faith and might create a higher standard of piety and God-fearing in them.
The verse says:
“And it is not for the believers to go out (to fight) totally; why should not then a group from every party of them go forth to become learned in religion, and to warn their people when they return to them. So that they may beware?”
This holy verse clearly indicates to the importance of knowledge in Islam. It is found out that the value of learning and teaching is not less than the value of Holy Struggle. Then, when a party of faithful people go to Holy Struggle and fight against the enemy of Islam, another party should also remain in the intrenchment of knowledge and acquaintance in order to obtain it.
The verse under discussion can also be rendered into another form. The content meaning of the verse can be considered as some facts related to the Muslims who lived in other cities and the tribes who were far from Medina.
In this case, we may say that the verse indicates that there were some Muslims who lived in some other places and they should not go to fight totally, but a party of them ought to travel to Medina and attend the presence of the Holy Prophet (S) in order to learn the ordinances of the religion.
After that, they could return to their people and preach them those ordinances.
There seems another probability denoting that basically the verse is not related to Holy Struggle, since there is not any word mentioned in the verse concerning Holy Struggle. It only implies that the whole believers should not go out, but a group from every party of them would travel and learn the lessons of religion.
Perhaps, the objective meaning is that, at the time of the Prophet (S) and after the expansion of Islam among different tribes, whoever embraced Islam wished to meet the Prophet (S) and to learn Islam directly from him, which caused a trouble.
So, the verse commands such believers that they did not need to go totally to Medina to attend the presence of the Prophet (S), but a group of them were sufficient to come and learn the lessons of the religion and return to their people in order to teach those lessons to them.