22. Hajj

Syed Abu-Ala' Maududi's Chapter Introductions to the Quran


This Sura takes its name from v. 27.

Period of Revelation

As this Sura contains the characteristics of both the Makki and the Madani Suras the commentators have differed as to its period of revelation but in the light of its style and themes we are of the opinion that a part of it (vv. 1-24) was sent down in the last stage of the Makki life of the Holy Prophet a little before migration and the rest (vv. 25-78) during the first stage of his Madani life. That is why this Sura combines the characteristics of both the Makki and the Madani Suras. The sudden change of the style from v. 25 shows that probably vv. 25-78 were sent down in the month of Zul-Hijjah in the very first year after HijrahThis is indicated by vv. 25-41 and confirmed by the occasion of the revelation of vv. 39-40. It appears that the month of Zul-Hijjah must have brought to the immigrants nostalgic memories of their homes in Makkah and naturally they must have thought of their Sacred City and of their Hajjcongregation there and grieved to think that the mushrikQuraishhad debarred them from visiting the Sacred Mosque. Therefore they might even have been praying for and expecting Divine permission to wage war against those tyrants who had expelled them from their homes and deprived them of visiting the House of Allah and made it difficult for them to follow the way of Islam. It was at this psychological occasion that these verses were sent down. That is why the pur- pose for which Masjidal Haramwas built has been specifically mentioned. It has been made plain that Hajj(pilgrimage) had been enjoined for the worship of One Allah. But it is an irony that afterwards it had been dedicated to the rituals of shirkand the worshippers of One Allah had been debarred from visiting it. Therefore permission for waging war against those tyrants has been given to oust them from there and to establish the righteous way of life for establishing virtue and eradicating evil. According to Ibn Abbas Mujahid Urwah bin Zubair Zaid bin Aslam Muqatil bin Hayyan Qatadah and other great commentators v. 39 is the first verse that grants the Muslims permission to wage war. Collections of Hadlth and books on the life of the Holy Prophet confirm that after this permission actual preparations for war were started and the first expedition was sent to the coast of the Red Sea in Safar A.H. 2 which is known as the Expedition of Waddan or Al- Abwa. Subject Matter and Theme This Sura is addressed to: (1) The mushriksof Makkah (2) the wavering Muslims and (3) the True Believers. The mushrikshave been warned in a forceful manner to this effect: "You have obdurately and impudently persisted in your ideas of ignorance and trusted in your deities instead of Allah though they possess no power at all and you have repudiated the Divine Messenger. Now you will meet the same end as has been the doom of those like you before. You have only harmed yourselves by rejecting Our Prophet and by persecuting the best element of your own community; now your false deities shall not be able to save you from the wrath of God". At the same time they have been admonished time and again for their creed of shirkand sound arguments have been given in favour of Tauhidand the Hereafter. The wavering Muslims who had embraced Islam but were not prepared to endure any hardship in its way have been admonished to this effect: "What is this faith of yours? On the one hand you are ready to believe in Allah and become His servants provided you are given peace and prosperity but on the other if you meet with afflictions and hardships in His Way you discard your Allah and cease to remain His servant. You should bear in mind that this wavering attitude of yours cannot avert those misfortunes and losses which Allah has ordained for you." As regards the true Believers they have been addressed in two ways: (1) in a general way so as to include the common people of Arabia also and (2) in an exclusive way: (1)The Believers have been told that the mushriksoF Makkah had no right