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Al-Anfal Verse

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Verse's Information
Name Al-Anfal Verse
Sura al-Anfal
Verse 1
Juz' 9
Content Information
Cause of
Revelation
Dispute over the spoils of the Battle of Badr
Place of
Revelation
Medina
About The spoils of war
Related Verses al-Khums Verse

The Anfāl verse, (Arabic: آية الأنفال) the first verse of Sura al-Anfal (Quran 8) states that "anfal" belong to God and the Prophet (s). According to Allama Tabatabai and Ayatollah Makarim Shirazi, anfal include the spoils of war, but Mulla Fathullah Kashani maintains that the spoils of war are the only instances of anfal.

According to the majority of Shiite commentators, the verse was revealed when a group of the Emigrants (al-Muhajirun) and Helpers (al-Ansar) disputed over the spoils of the Battle of Badr and went to the Prophet (s) to arbitrate between them. Some commentators, such as Mujahid b. Jabr, believed that the verse was abrogated by the Khums Verse (Quran 8:41), but many commentators have found this claim unsubstantiated, because, in their view, there is no disagreement between the two verses.

Text

The verse is as follows:

The Concept of Anfal

Allama Tabatabai and Ayatollah Makarim Shirazi maintain that anfal include all properties that do not have any owners other than God. The ownership of such properties rests with God, the Prophet (s) and his successors[1]. Accordingly, the spoils of war are among anfal.[2]

Mulla Fathullah Kashani, a Shiite commentator in the tenth/sixteenth century, holds that "anfal" means the spoils of war, which are God's gifts to Muslim soldiers who participate in battles[3].

The Arabic word "Anfal" is the plural of nafl, meaning an addition to something. This is why supererogatory prayers are called "nafila" (from the same root), because they are additions to the obligatory prayers[4].

Occasion of Revelation

Regarding the occasion of the revelation of the anfal verse, two views can be found in Shiite commentaries:

  • Some sources (such as Majma' al-bayan and al-Tibyan) have mentioned that the verse was revealed when some of the Immigrants (Muhajirun) were not willing to pay khums.[6]

Abrogation

It is reported that some scholars such as Mujahid (21-104 AH), a Sunni commentator and a student of Ibn Abbas and Abu Ali al-Juba'i (235-303 AH), a Mu'tazili theologian, believed that the anfal verse was abrogated by the khums Verse.[7] However, most Shiite and Sunnite scholars disagree with this view and maintain that the anfal verse was never abrogated.[8] For instance, al-Shaykh al-Tusi states that there is no reliable evidence for the abrogation of this verse; what is more, there is no disagreement between the meanings of the two verses in the first place and thus abrogation could not have occurred between them.[9] Fadl b. al-Hasan al-Tabrisi, Makarim Shirazi and Allama Tabatabai also emphasize that there is no disagreement between the two verses.[10]

Allama Tabatabai believes that the Khums Verse (Quran 8:41) explains the meaning of the Anfal Verse, because the latter verse states in a general way that anfal (including the spoils of war) belong to God and His apostle, but the Khums Verse explains that Muslims can use four-fifth of the spoils of battles and the remaining one-fifth should be given to God and His apostle[11]. According to Allama Tabataba'i, based on this interpretation, there remains no disagreement between the two verses and thus no room for abrogation between them[12].

Notes

  1. Ṭabāṭabā'ī, al-Mīzān, vol. 9, p. 6; Makārim Shīrāzī, Tafsīr-i nimūnah, vol. 7, p. 81.
  2. Ṭabāṭabā'ī, al-Mīzān, vol. 9, p. 6; Makārim Shīrāzī, Tafsīr-i nimūnah, vol. 7, p. 81.
  3. Kāshānī, Manhaj al-ṣādiqīn, vol. 4, p. 167.
  4. Ṭūsī, al-Tibyān, vol. 5, p. 73; Ṭabāṭabā'ī, al-Mīzān, vol. 9, p. 5; Makārim Shīrāzī, Tafsīr-i nimūnah, vol. 7, p. 81.
  5. Ṭabrisī, Majma' al-bayān, vol. 4, p. 796; Ṭūsī, al-Tibyān, vol. 5, p. 72; Kāshānī, Manhaj al-ṣādiqīn, vol. 4, p. 167; Makārim Shīrāzī, Tafsīr-i nimūnah, vol. 7, p. 80.
  6. Ṭabrisī, Majma' al-bayān, vol. 4, p. 797; Ṭūsī, al-Tibyān, vol. 5, p. 72.
  7. Ṭūsī, al-Tibyān, vol. 5, p. 73-74.
  8. Ṭūsī, al-Tibyān, vol. 5, p. 74.
  9. Ṭūsī, al-Tibyān, vol. 5, p. 74.
  10. Ṭabrisī, Majma' al-bayān, vol. 4, p. 798; Ṭūsī, al-Tibyān, vol. 5, p. 73-74; Makārim Shīrāzī, Tafsīr-i nimūnah, vol. 7, p. 81-82; Ṭabāṭabā'ī, al-Mīzān, vol. 9, p. 9-10.
  11. Ṭabāṭabā'ī, al-Mīzān, vol. 9, p. 9-10.
  12. Ṭabāṭabā'ī, al-Mīzān, vol. 9, p. 9-10.

References

  • Kāshānī, Mullā Fatḥ Allāh. Manhaj al-ṣādiqīn fī ilzām al-mukhālifīn. Tehran: Kitābfurūshī-yi Muḥammad Ḥasan 'Ilmī, 1336 Sh.
  • Makārim Shīrāzī, Nāṣir. Tafsīr-i nimūnah. Tehran: Dār al-Kutub al-Islāmīyya, 1374 Sh.
  • Ṭabāṭabā'ī, Sayyid Muḥammad Ḥusayn al-. Al-Mīzān fī tafsīr al-Qur'ān. Qom: Intishārāt-i Islāmī-yi Jāmi'at al-Mudarrisīn, 1417 AH
  • Ṭabrisī, Faḍl b. al-Ḥasan al-. Majma' al-bayān fī tafsīr al-Qur'ān. Tehran: Naṣir Khusruw, 1372 Sh.
  • Ṭūsī, Muḥammad b. al-Ḥasan al-. Al-Tibyān fī tafsīr al-Qur'ān. Edited by Aḥmad Ḥabīb al-'Āmilī. Beirut: Dār Iḥyā' al-Turāth al-'Arabī, [n.d].