Surah al-Anfal: Chapter 8 (line 60-70) the Spoils

60. And prepare against them all the power you can muster, and all the cavalry you can mobilize, to terrify thereby God’s enemies and your enemies, and others besides them whom you do not know, but God knows them. Whatever you spend in God’s way will be repaid to you in full, and you will not be wronged.

61. But if they incline towards peace, then incline towards it, and put your trust in God. He is the Hearer, the Knower.

62. If they intend to deceive you-God is sufficient for you. It is He who supported you with His aid, and with the believers.

63. And He united their hearts. Had you spent everything on earth, you would not have united their hearts, but God united them together. He is Mighty and Wise.

64. O prophet! Count on God, and on the believers who have followed you.

65. O prophet! Rouse the believers to battle. If there are twenty steadfast among you, they will defeat two hundred; and if there are a hundred of you, they will defeat a thousand of those who disbelieve; because they are a people who do not understand.

66. God has now lightened your burden, knowing that there is weakness in you. If there are a hundred steadfast among you, they will defeat two hundred; and if there are a thousand of you, they will defeat two thousand by God’s leave. God is with the steadfast.

67. It is not for a prophet to take prisoners before he has subdued the land. You desire the materials of this world, but God desires the Hereafter. God is Strong and Wise.

68. Were it not for a predetermined decree from God, an awful punishment would have afflicted you for what you have taken.

69. So consume what you have gained, legitimate and wholesome; and remain conscious of God. God is Forgiving and Merciful.

70. O prophet! Say to those you hold prisoners, “If God finds any good in your hearts, He will give you better than what was taken from you, and He will forgive you. God is Forgiving and Merciful.”

My interpretation: 

Muhammad is being told by Gabriel that it is important for him to fight against the disbelievers of Mecca if they continue to fight them, but if they stop fighting and come to realizations Muhammad’s messages resonate with them, then peace is to be agreed upon.

Whenever someone tries to deceive another they may think they do so in private, but God sees ALL and so there is a warning to tell the people to not deceive or be treacherous.

There is a point in time when God saw the people as having good intentions and united their hearts together against the disbelievers. This is something extremely hard to explain on a human level, but it was important for Muhammad to know and to keep his pride in check, that he did not unite the people together, alone-this was from God as all good works are from Him.

Muhammad is told to rouse the believers to battle and to know that their little numbers will be supported by God and the angels, there is no defeating Muhammad and the spread of monotheism across the land. The pagan rites and traditions must now come to an end in the land of Arabia.

Line 67 just gives more evidence that this is a conversation from something unearthly and all knowing to Muhammad since this line is a warning to Muhammad to not take prisoners of war until the land is secured and to remember not to indulge in the material wealth of the spoils of war. This is one of the many warnings for Muhammad too as a messenger. At one point there is an indication that Muhammad and the people forgot about this as they came upon so much wealth from winning these battles, but God is Merciful and gave them chances to redeem themselves IF they spent the money wholesomely and remained conscious of God, un-tempted by material desires.

Muhammad is to tell the prisoners of the battles in Mecca that if God finds their hearts good and gives them a second chance, He will find a way for them. This must have been done through the ransoming and freeing of slaves that were not seen as a threat to Muhammad. The only prisoners of war that were to be kept were those that needed to always be watched since they held hatred in their hearts for Muhammad and the muslims, but as we learn about Islam, the freeing of the innocent slaves were always seen as the best deeds in God’s eyes.

freedom-slavery

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