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48.16. Say to those of the dwellers of the desert who stayed behind: "Soon you will be called (to fight) against a people of great military power; then either you will fight against them or they will submit to God and become Muslims. If you obey, God will grant you a handsome reward; but if you turn away as you turned away before, He will punish you with a painful punishment. " Print E-mail

قُل لِّلْمُخَلَّفِينَ مِنَ الْأَعْرَابِ سَتُدْعَوْنَ إِلَى قَوْمٍ أُوْلِي بَأْسٍ شَدِيدٍ تُقَاتِلُونَهُمْ أَوْ يُسْلِمُونَ فَإِن تُطِيعُوا يُؤْتِكُمُ اللَّهُ أَجْراً حَسَناً وَإِن تَتَوَلَّوْا كَمَا تَوَلَّيْتُم مِّن قَبْلُ يُعَذِّبْكُمْ عَذَاباً أَلِيماً

16. Say to those of the dwellers of the desert who stayed behind: "Soon you will be called (to fight) against a people of great military power; then either you will fight against them or they will submit to God and become Muslims. If you obey, God will grant you a handsome reward; but if you turn away as you turned away before, He will punish you with a painful punishment."11


11. There are many predictions in this sūrah, such as:

  • God would help the believers and favor them with great victories;
  • Those who stayed behind from the Campaign of Minor Pilgrimage would try to excuse themselves with false pretexts;
  • They would desire to participate in the campaign against Khaybar that was to take place following the Treaty of Hudaybiyah, with the aim of taking gains of war;
  • The Muslims would have to fight against powerful tribes or states in the future;
  • The Muslims would take abundant war-gains in battles to come in the future;
  • The Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, and his Companions would visit the Ka'bah in safety, thus completing the Minor Pilgrimage the year after they had intended it;
  • God would complete His favor upon the Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings;
  • Islam would continue to flourish so powerfully and speedily that it would amaze both the Muslims and others.

All of these predictions came true within a very short time.

The people mentioned in this verse must be one of the Arab polytheistic tribes in the Hijāz or neighboring regions; some of these tribes are mentioned in Sūrat at-Tawbah. The Muslims had to give them two alternatives, they would either have to be resigned to fighting or become Muslims. Most probably it refers to the Thaqīf and Hawāzīn tribes, against whom God's Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, had to fight after the Conquest of Makkah in order to stop their attacks.

 
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