Muhammad bin Ishaq narrated that Az-Zuhri, Muhammad bin Yahya bin Hibban, `Asim bin `Umar bin Qatadah, and Al-Husayn bin `Abdur-Rahman bin `Amr bin Sa`id bin Mu`adh said, "The Quraysh suffered defeat at Badr and their forces went back to Makkah, while Abu Sufyan went back with the caravan intact. This is when `Abdullah bin Abi Rabi`ah, `Ikrimah bin Abi Jahl, Safwan bin Umayyah and other men from Quraysh who lost their fathers, sons or brothers in Badr, went to Abu Sufyan bin Harb. They said to him, and to those among the Quraysh who had wealth in that caravan, `O people of Quraysh! Muhammad has grieved you and killed the chiefs among you. Therefore, help us with this wealth so that we can fight him, it may be that we will avenge our losses.' They agreed.'' Muhammad bin Ishaq said, "This Ayah was revealed about them, according to Ibn `Abbas,
﴿إِنَّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ يُنفِقُونَ أَمْوَلَهُمْ﴾
(Verily, those who disbelieve spend their wealth...) until,
(they who are the losers. )'' Mujahid, Sa`id bin Jubayr, Al-Hakam bin `Uyaynah, Qatadah, As-Suddi and Ibn Abza said that this Ayah was revealed about Abu Sufyan and his spending money in Uhud to fight the Messenger of Allah . Ad-Dahhak said that this Ayah was revealed about the idolators of Badr. In any case, the Ayah is general, even though there was a specific incident that accompanied its revelation. Allah states here that the disbelievers spend their wealth to hinder from the path of truth. However, by doing that, their money will be spent and then will become a source of grief and anguish for them, availing them nothing in the least. They seek to extinguish the Light of Allah and make their word higher than the word of truth. However, Allah will complete His Light, even though the disbelievers hate it. He will give aid to His religion, make His Word dominant, and His religion will prevail above all religions. This is the disgrace that the disbelievers will taste in this life; and in the Hereafter, they will taste the torment of the Fire. Whoever among them lives long, will witness with his eyes and hear with his ears what causes grief to him. Those among them who are killed or die will be returned to eternal disgrace and the everlasting punishment. This is why Allah said,
﴿فَسَيُنفِقُونَهَا ثُمَّ تَكُونُ عَلَيْهِمْ حَسْرَةً ثُمَّ يُغْلَبُونَ وَالَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ إِلَى جَهَنَّمَ يُحْشَرُونَ﴾
(And so will they continue to spend it; but in the end it will become an anguish for them. Then they will be overcome. And those who disbelieve will be gathered unto Hell. )
﴿لِيَمِيزَ اللَّهُ الْخَبِيثَ مِنَ الطَّيِّبِ﴾
(In order that Allah may distinguish the wicked from the good.), meaning recognize the difference between the people of happiness and the people of misery, according to Ibn `Abbas, as `Ali bin Abi Talhah reported from him. Allah distinguishes between those believers who obey Him and fight His disbelieving enemies and those who disobey Him. Allah said in another Ayah,
﴿مَّا كَانَ اللَّهُ لِيَذَرَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ عَلَى مَآ أَنتُمْ عَلَيْهِ حَتَّى يَمِيزَ الْخَبِيثَ مِنَ الطَّيِّبِ وَمَا كَانَ اللَّهُ لِيُطْلِعَكُمْ عَلَى الْغَيْبِ﴾
(Allah will not leave the believers in the state in which you are now, until He distinguishes the wicked from the good. Nor will Allah disclose to you the secrets of the Ghayb (Unseen).) ﴿3:179﴾, and,
﴿أَمْ حَسِبْتُمْ أَن تَدْخُلُواْ الْجَنَّةَ وَلَمَّا يَعْلَمِ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ جَـهَدُواْ مِنكُمْ وَيَعْلَمَ الصَّـبِرِينَ ﴾
(Do you think that you will enter Paradise before Allah (tests) those of you who fought (in His cause) and (also) tests those who are the patient)﴿3:142﴾.
Therefore, the Ayah (8:37) means, `We tried you with combatant disbelievers whom We made able to spend money in fighting you,'
﴿لِيَمِيزَ اللَّهُ الْخَبِيثَ مِنَ الطَّيِّبِ وَيَجْعَلَ الْخَبِيثَ بَعْضَهُ عَلَى بَعْضٍ فَيَرْكُمَهُ﴾
(in order that Allah may distinguish the wicked from the good, and put the wicked one over another, heap them together) put in a pile on top of each other,
﴿فَيَجْعَلَهُ فِى جَهَنَّمَ أُوْلَـئِكَ هُمُ الْخَـسِرُونَ﴾
(and cast them into Hell. Those! It is they who are the losers.) ﴿8:37﴾, in this life and the Hereafter.
﴿قُل لِلَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ إِن يَنتَهُواْ يُغْفَرْ لَهُمْ مَّا قَدْ سَلَفَ وَإِن يَعُودُواْ فَقَدْ مَضَتْ سُنَّتُ الاٌّوَّلِينِ ﴾
﴿وَقَـتِلُوهُمْ حَتَّى لاَ تَكُونَ فِتْنَةٌ وَيَكُونَ الدِّينُ كُلُّهُ لِلهِ فَإِنِ انْتَهَوْاْ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ بِمَا يَعْمَلُونَ بَصِيرٌ - وَإِن تَوَلَّوْاْ فَاعْلَمُواْ أَنَّ اللَّهَ مَوْلاَكُمْ نِعْمَ الْمَوْلَى وَنِعْمَ النَّصِيرُ ﴾
(38. Say to those who have disbelieved, if they cease, their past will be forgiven. But if they return (thereto), then the examples of those (punished) before them have already preceded (as a warning).) (39. And fight them until there is no more Fitnah, and the religion (worship) will all be for Allah alone. But if they cease, then certainly, Allah is All-Seer of what they do.) (40. And if they turn away, then know that Allah is your protector -- (what) an excellent protector and (what) an excellent helper!)