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Sura 8
Aya 41
۞ وَاعلَموا أَنَّما غَنِمتُم مِن شَيءٍ فَأَنَّ لِلَّهِ خُمُسَهُ وَلِلرَّسولِ وَلِذِي القُربىٰ وَاليَتامىٰ وَالمَساكينِ وَابنِ السَّبيلِ إِن كُنتُم آمَنتُم بِاللَّهِ وَما أَنزَلنا عَلىٰ عَبدِنا يَومَ الفُرقانِ يَومَ التَقَى الجَمعانِ ۗ وَاللَّهُ عَلىٰ كُلِّ شَيءٍ قَديرٌ

Muhammad Asad

know that God is your Lord Supreme: [and] how excellent is this Lord Supreme, and how excellent this Giver of Succour! AND KNOW that whatever booty you acquire [in war], one-fifth thereof belongs to God and the Apostle, and the near of kin, and the orphans, and the needy, and the wayfarer.1 [This you must observe] if you believe in God and in what We bestowed from on high upon Our servant on the day when the true was distinguished from the false - the day when the two hosts met in battle. And God has the power to will anything.2
  • According to verse 1 of this surah, "all spoils of war belong to God and the Apostle", i.e., are to be administered by the authorities of an Islamic state in the interests of the common weal. Most of the great Islamic jurists are of the opinion that whereas four-fifths of all spoils may either be distributed among those who actively took part in the war effort or may be otherwise utilized for the welfare of the community, one-fifth must be reserved for the specific purposes enumerated in the above verse, including a share "for God and the Apostle" (which is obviously a metonym for a government that rules in accordance with the laws of the Qur'an and the teachings of God's Apostle); this latter share is to be used for the exigencies of state administration. Since a full discussion of this complex juridical problem would go far beyond the scope of these explanatory notes, the reader is referred, in particular, to Manar X, 4 ff., where the views of the classical exponents of Islamic jurisprudence are summarized. - For the term ibn as-sabil occurring in this verse, see surah 2, note 145. By "the near of kin and the orphans" apparently the relatives of fallen combatants are meant in this context.
  • I.e., "He can grant you victory or can withhold it from you". The battle of Badr is described here as "the day when the true was distinguished from the false" (yawm al-furqan) because on that occasion a small and poorly armed group of believers utterly destroyed an infinitely better equipped army more than three times its number. The revelation referred to in this connection was God's promise of victory, given in verses 12-14 of this surah. (See also note 38 on 2:53.)