40. If you do not help him, God has already helped him, when those who disbelieved expelled him, and he was the second of two in the cave. He said to his friend, “Do not worry, God is with us.” And God made His tranquility descend upon him, and supported him with forces you did not see, and made the word of those who disbelieved the lowest, while the Word of God is the Highest. God is Mighty and Wise.
41. Mobilize, light or heavy, and strive with your possessions and your lives in the cause of God. That is better for you, if you only knew.
42. Had the gain been immediate, and the journey shorter, they would have followed you; but the distance seemed too long for them. Still they swear by God: “Had we been able, we would have marched out with you.” They damn their own souls, and God knows that they are lying.
43. May God pardon you! Why did you give them permission before it became clear to you who are the truthful ones, and who are the liars?
44. Those who believe in God and the Last Day do not ask you for exemption from striving with their possessions and their lives. God is fully aware of the righteous.
45. Only those who do not believe in God and the Last Day ask you for exemption. Their hearts are full of doubts, so they waver in their doubts.
46. Had they wanted to mobilize, they would have made preparations for it; but God disliked their participation, so he held them back, and it was said, “Stay behind with those who stay behind.”
47. Had they mobilized with you, they would have added only to your difficulties, and they would have spread rumors in your midst, trying to sow discord among you. Some of you are avid listeners to them. God is Aware of the wrongdoers.
48. They tried to cause conflict before, and they hatched plots against you, until the truth prevailed, and the command of God became evident-in spite of their dislike.
49. Among them is he who says, “Excuse me, and do not trouble me.” In fact, they sunk into trouble. In fact, Hell will engulf the disbelievers.
50. If something good happens to you, it upsets them; and if a calamity befalls you, they say, “We took our precautions in advance,” and they depart, happy.
Here we understand the climate of the people here. Muhammad did not have a large following of people at first, as Islam is a religion of billions of people around the world. It started out very small, much like how Jesus gather disciples to him in a small group as he traveled.
Muhammad was told to tell the people of Mecca and Medinah, and all over the Middle East desert to start to immigrate to new lands that is not under control of the Mecca pagan leadership. Some people, though saying they agree with Muhammad decided to not move and so God is letting Muhammad know at this point, God sees their lies. They didn’t really want to move, cause when there is a will, there is action towards it. They lack the faith to believe something BETTER is on the other side for them.
We know today, that if someone really wants to do something they will move to do it. It must have been frustrating for God, the Angels and His messenger to see people just sit and wait to be attacked or oppressed. This is why there is such a grave warning against inaction. It does nobody good to stay in an environment that is harmful if you have the power to move.
With the Palestinian and Israeli conflict today, this same idea can be applied. Those that can gather their belongings and wealth to start a new life somewhere else must do so. But those who can not honestly move due to physical inability and financial ability, God knows this. Maybe this is because God never wants to see His creations suffer in this temporary life and we are always guided to move forwards into new horizons.
Line 49, talks about a man who told Muhammad to leave him alone instead of hearing God’s warnings and moving forwards. He will be judged accordingly just as any person who is being oppressed and does not make the move that God gives the opportunity for. So many people mocked Muhammad and disbelieved him because they could not see what he was able to see, and this man was an example of that.
As a muslim, I of course think it is terrible for the Israeli occupation of land in Palestine, I want to see both sides live peacefully as they once did together when it was a sanctuary that Saladin made it to be. But as I read the Quran, I am reminded that we humans must not get too attached to things and our material world, and this includes our “homeland”, because in the end ALL of earth is our home. We may have countries and nations, that define our heritage, but they should not hold precedence over life. I believe this is what God was teaching Muhammad in these verses. If we are threatened and can not fight, then we should move to find a new home in order to preserve the believers, instead of clinging to one land and getting killed for it.
I know many people who have come to America or other countries in search of a new life when they were living in hostile environments. Learning to detach from the attachments that hold you is one of the greatest lessons you can learn.