Zaydi tafsir of 47:4

1 year 6 months ago - 1 year 6 months ago #850 by Pro-Alid
Salamu alaykum,

I have some questions on the following ayah:

When you meet those who deny the truth in battle, strike their necks, and once they are defeated, bind any captives firmly, and afterwards either set them free as an act of grace, or ransom them, until the war is finally over. That is how it is to be. If Allah willed, He could avenge Himself on them. But it is so that He can test some of you by means of others. As for those who fight in the Way of Allah, He will not let their actions go astray. (Surat al-Muhammad 47:4)

a) Allah says in the above ayah that once captives are captured, they must either be released as an act of grace or ransomed. Is this understood as a command? I have seen some argue that because this is one of the last verses to be revealed on slavery, and because no third option is given, it is compulsory upon Muslims to act upon this verse and free the captives in one way or another, i.e. by grace or through ransom. Are any Zaydi commentators in agreement with this?

b) When Allah says to ransom the enemy captives, does this mean that they should personally buy their own freedom? or does this refer to the process of makataba as mentioned in 24:33? or does it mean that enemy captives should be exchanged for Muslim prisoners captured by the opposition? Please let me know what the Zaydi commentators have said on this.

c) How have the Zaydi commentators interpreted "it is so that He can test some of you by means of others"?
Last edit: 1 year 6 months ago by Pro-Alid.

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1 year 6 months ago #867 by Imam Rassi Society
wa alaykum as salaam.

Thank you for your question! The key to understanding the verse is the clause {...until the war is finally over}. This literally translates into {...until the war has lifted its burden}. This means that captives can be set free or ransomed during war. This can also refer to exchanging war prisoners of the kuffar for Muslim prisoners of war. I have not read anything about this applying after war. Allah checks some people by means of others refers to Muslims being tested for their faith and reward and the removal of disbelief. [Ref. Tafsir al-A'qam]

And Allah knows best!


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