Surah al-Anfal: Chapter 8 (line 70-75) the Spoils

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.”

71. But if they intend to betray you, they have already betrayed God, and He has overpowered them. God is Knowing and Wise.

72. Those who believed, and emigrated, and struggled in God’s cause with their possessions and their persons, and those who provided shelter and support-these are allies of one another. As for those who believed, but did not emigrate, you owe them no protection, until they have emigrated. But if they ask you for help in religion, you must come to their aid, except against a people with whom you have a treaty. God is Seeing of what you do.

73. As for those who disbelieve, they are allies of one another. Unless you do this, there will be turmoil in the land, and much corruption.

74. Those who believed, and emigrated, and struggled for God’s cause, and those who gave shelter and support-these are the true believers. They will have forgiveness, and a bountiful provision.

75. As for those who believed afterwards, and emigrated and struggled with you-these belong with you. But family members are nearer to one another in the Book of God. God is Cognizant of everything.

My interpretation:

Gabriel is explaining to Muhammad that God sees those who have betrayed him and his people. Whoever is a sincere refugee and has escaped their land of Mecca to follow Muhammad and embrace Islam, is welcomed and must be helped by the Muslims. A believer is always a friend of a believer. Those who have immigrated together must help one another, and those who were too afraid or lazy to immigrate to new land will not be helped until they help themselves and immigrate on their own.

The rules of how to deal with the Mecca leaders and people is: If a leader and his people come in earnest to Muhammad to embrace Islam and learn the messages, then Muhammad is required to teach them and to accept them. If a leader and his people are lying to Muhammad and want financial help, but do not want to embrace the messages of Islam, then God wants them to not be helped until they learn their lessons and come to some form of realization.

Usually this is because those who disbelieve will be allies with each other and work to plot against Muhammad so Gabriel is warning Muhammad to be aware of this. They are to be kept imprisoned so they do not keep spreading corruption throughout the land. Those who are sincere in their hunger for knowledge of the Quran and to know God’s messages, will be the ones saved and freed.

Anyone who has helped shelter innocent believers being persecuted will be rewarded for their kindness and bravery in this life and in the next. Anyone who became a believer after these battles and sincerely come to Muhammad should now be accepted into the family of Muslims growing. But we are reminded that family members are closer, and next closest is friends and acquaintances you meet along the path of Islam. The believers are always allies of the believers during hard times. The Quran revelations were given in 600 AD, but they are timeless wisdom that can be applied to humanitarian efforts today. Gabriel ends this surah with reminding Muhammad that God is aware of all that we humans do.

Angela Merkel’s quote on addressing Germany’s open door policy for the Syrian refugees.

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