Permission (to fight) has been granted to those against whom war has been waged because they have been treated unjustly, and Allah is certainly able to help them. These are the people who have been expelled unjustly from their homes only for the reason that they said, “Our Lord is Allah.” – Quran 22:39-40.
Surah Hajj, the 22nd Chapter of the Quran, with 78 verses, was revealed over a period of time – some of it being quite controversial. The first part of this chapter – verses 1-24 are believed to have been revealed in Makkah, during the last days of Prophet Mohammad’s stay there, and the second half is said to have been revealed after his migration to Madinah.
The subject of Migration is important to talk about, as it carries a great relevance to this chapter, the verses of which, I have chosen as topic for the day. In a nutshell, Prophet Mohammad decided to move to the city of Madinah (440 kms away from Makkah), due to a Divine revelation he received, that warned him of a plot for his assassination. This is commonly known as the Hijrah, marking the start of the Hijri year – used in the Islamic calendar, beginning from 622 AD. (We are currently in year 1439 AH – after Hijrah).
Like said before, this chapter was revealed in two parts – the first part, when Prophet Mohammad was in Makkah and the second half when he had moved to Madinah. This is relevant on two accords :-
- Makki and Madni chapters have different themes and styles of writing. Makki chapters are the ones received in Makkah and Madni were received in Madinah.
- The sudden change in the theme of Chapter Hajj, is evident and very distinct, in that it addresses the issues Prophet Mohammad faced before and after his migration.
Since migration, in the month of Dhul Hijjah (month of Muslim pilgrimage/12th month of the year), 1 AH, the Muslims were in despair as they could not carry out their pilgrimage, despite being a mere 500 km away.
When almost all the Muslims had left the city of Makkah, the pagan tribe of Quraysh seized all of their property, uprooting and destabilizing them economically. With no means to provide for their families, the Muslims then turned to raiding Meccan caravans, thus initiating conflict. This provoked response from the Quraysh, leading to an ongoing conflict, which lead to casualties on both sides.
It was then that God sent a revelation to Mohammad. The first of it’s kind. The FIRST verse of Jihad. “Permission (to fight) has been granted to those against whom war has been waged because they have been treated unjustly, and Allah is certainly able to help them.” – Quran 22:39.
The original command to fight was then later received in verses 190, 191, 193, 216 and 244 of the second Chapter (Al-Baqarah) in the month Rajab or Sha`ban of 2 AH. And the FIRST BATTLE OF ISLAM then took place in the Holy Month of Ramadan, 2 AH.
And so a timeline :-
- Rabi Al Awwal – Migration of Prophet Mohammad and entry into Madinah.
- Dhul Hijjah (last month) of AH1 : Permission to fight is granted by God Himself : to ease the Muslims of their moral dilemma of raiding Meccan caravans and to give them hope, as they sat in anguish for not being able to go to Makkah in this pious month.
- Rajab/Shaban of AH 2 : Command to fight and wage war against the pagans is given by God.
- Ramadan of AH 2 : First Battle of Islam.
Disclaimer – This post is my production after days of research. I do not claim to be 100% correct and humbly accept any faults in my interpretations of the above verses. Only Allah knows best. If you have any suggestions or would like to further discuss this, please leave a comment or email me.