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Reason behind revealing Surat Al-Mumtahanah Print E-mail

The story of Hatib bin Abi Balta`ah is the reason behind revealing the beginning of this honorable Surah. Hatib was among the Early Emigrants and participated in the battle of Badr. Hatib had children and wealth in Makkah, but he was not from the tribe of Quraysh. Rather, he was an ally of `Uthman. When the Messenger of Allah decided to conquer Makkah, after its people broke the peace treaty between them, he ordered the Muslims to mobilize their forces to attack Makkah, and then said,

«اللْهُمَّ عَمِّ عَلَيْهِمْ خَبَرَنَا»

(O Allah! Keep our news concealed from them.) Hatib wrote a letter and sent it to the people of Makkah, with a woman from the tribe of Quraysh, informing them of the Messenger's intent to attack them. He wanted them to be indebted to him ﴿so that they would grant safety to his family in Makkah﴾. Allah the Exalted conveyed this matter to His Messenger , because He accepted the Prophet's invocation ﴿to Him to conceal the news of the attack﴾. The Prophet sent someone after the woman and retrieved the letter. This story is collected in the Two Sahihs. Imam Ahmad recorded that Hasan bin Muhammad bin `Ali said that `Abdullah bin Abu Rafi` -- or Ubaydullah bin Abu Rafi` -- said that he heard `Ali say, "Allah's Messenger sent me, Zubayr and Al-Miqdad saying,

«انْطَلِقُوا حَتْى تَأْتُوا رَوْضَةَ خَاخٍ فَإِنَّ بِهَا ظَعِينَةً مَعَهَا كِتَابٌ فَخُذُوهُ مِنْهَا»

(Proceed until you reach Rawdat Khakh, where there is a lady carrying a letter. Take that letter from her.) So we proceeded on our way, with our horses galloping, until we reached the Rawdah. There we found the lady and said to her, `Take out the letter.' She said, `I am not carrying a letter.' We said, `Take out the letter, or else we will take off your clothes.' So she took it out of her braid, and we brought the letter to Allah's Messenger . The letter was addressed from Hatib bin Abu Balta`ah to some pagans of Makkah, telling them about what Allah's Messenger intended to do. Allah's Messenger said,

«يَا حَاطِبُ، مَا هَذَا؟»

(O Hatib! What is this) Hatib replied, `O Allah's Messenger! Do not make a hasty decision about me. I was a person not belonging to Quraysh, but I was an ally to them. All the Emigrants who were with you have kinsmen (in Makkah) who can protect their families. So I wanted to do them a favor, so they might protect my relatives, as I have no blood relation with them. I did not do this out of disbelief or to renegade from my religion, nor did I do it to choose disbelief after Islam.' Allah's Messenger said to his Companions,

«إِنَّهُ صَدَقَكُم»

(Regarding him, he has told you the truth.) `Umar said, `O Allah's Messenger! Allow me to chop off the head of this hypocrite!' The Prophet said,

«إِنَّهُ قَدْ شَهِدَ بَدْرًا، وَمَا يُدْرِيكَ لَعَلَّ اللهَ اطَّلَعَ إِلَى أَهْلِ بَدْرٍ فَقَالَ:اعْمَلُوا مَا شِئْتُمْ فَقَدْ غَفَرْتُ لَكُم»

(He attended Badr. What can I tell you, perhaps Allah looked at those who attended Badr and said, "O the people of Badr, do what you like, for I have forgiven you.'')'' The Group with the exception of Ibn Majah, collected this Hadith using various chains of narration that included Sufyan bin `Uyaynah. Al-Bukhari added in his narration in the chapter on the Prophet's battles, "Then Allah revealed the Surah,

﴿يأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ لاَ تَتَّخِذُواْ عَدُوِّى وَعَدُوَّكُمْ أَوْلِيَآءَ﴾

(O you who believe! Take not my enemies and your enemies as protecting friends...) '' Al-Bukhari said in another part of his Sahih, `Amr (one of the narrators of the Hadith) said, "This Ayah,

﴿يأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ لاَ تَتَّخِذُواْ عَدُوِّى وَعَدُوَّكُمْ أَوْلِيَآءَ﴾

(O you who believe! Take not my enemies and your enemies as protecting friends'...) was revealed about Hatib, but I do not know if the Ayah was mentioned in the Hadith (or was added as an explanation by one of the narrators).'' Al-Bukhari also said that `Ali bin Al-Madini said that Sufyan bin `Uyaynah was asked, "Is this why this Ayah,

﴿لاَ تَتَّخِذُواْ عَدُوِّى وَعَدُوَّكُمْ أَوْلِيَآءَ﴾

(O you who believe! Take not my enemies and your enemies as protecting friends.) was revealed'' Sufyan said, "This is the narration that I collected from `Amr, I did not leave a letter out of it. I do not know if anyone else memorized the same words for it.''

 
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