Encouraging Jihad to Defend the Oppressed
Left behind in Makkah were Muslims who were unable to migrate because of physical weakness and insufficiency of resources. Later on, the disbelievers themselves stopped them from going and started hurting and harassing them in all sorts of ways so that they turn away from their faith in Islam. The names of some of these are preserved in exegetic works, for example, Ibn Abbas radhiAllahu anhu and his mother, Sulyma ibn Hisham, Waleed ibn Waleed and Abu Jandal ibn Sahl, radhiAllahu anhum [Qurtubi].
These people kept facing tyranny and torture because of their unflinching faith showing no signs that they would ever surrender their firm stand on Islam. However, they did continue praying to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala for release from this hard life which was finally accepted by Him when He commanded Muslims to wage Jihad against the disbelievers and rescue the oppressed from their coercion and persecution.
In this ayah, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala is encouraging His believing servants to perform Jihad in His cause and to strive hard to save the oppressed Muslims who were restless because of tyranny and torture that they face.
وَمَا لَكُمْ لاَ تُقَـتِلُونَ فِى سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ وَالْمُسْتَضْعَفِينَ مِنَ الرِّجَالِ وَالنِّسَآءِ وَالْوِلْدَنِ الَّذِينَ يَقُولُونَ رَبَّنَآ أَخْرِجْنَا مِنْ هَـذِهِ الْقَرْيَةِ الظَّـلِمِ أَهْلُهَا وَاجْعَلْ لَّنَا مِن لَّدُنْكَ وَلِيّاً وَاجْعَلْ لَّنَا مِن لَّدُنْكَ نَصِيراً
“And what is (the matter) with you that you do not fight in the way of Allah, and (for) the one who are weak among the men and the women and the children who say, ‘Our Lord take us out of this town whose people are oppressors and appoint for us from Yourself a protector and a helper.”
According to this ayah, Muslims had requested Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala the favor of two things – that they be rescued from that town (meaning Makkah) and that they be blessed with some supporter and helper. The fact is that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala granted both these prayers when He provided some of them with the opportunity to move out from there which was the fulfillment of their first wish. However, some of them remained staying right there until the Conquest of Makkah.
At that time, the Prophet sallAllahu aalyhi wa sallam appointed Attab ibn Asid as their caretaker and who had the oppressed Muslims delivered from their oppressors. Thus, granted was their second wish as well. It will be noted that the Qur’an, rather than give a straightforward command to fight in this ayah, has elected to use the words
وَمَا لَكُمْ لاَ تُقَـتِلُونَ فِى سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ
“And what is (the matter) with you that you do not fight in the way of Allah…”
Here the hint given is that fighting and Jihad is a natural duty under such conditions, not doing which is certainly far from a reasonable man.
Praying to Allah is the Panacea for all Hardships:
The words of prayer in ayah 75 tell us that one of the reasons why the command to fight came was the prayer made by these weak Muslim men and women. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala responded to their prayer and commanded Muslims to wage Jihad against their oppressors which put an end to their hardships immediately.