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:
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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