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يَٰأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ إِذَا ضَرَبْتُمْ فِي سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ فَتَبَيَّنُواْ وَلاَ تَقُولُواْ لِمَنْ أَلْقَىۤ إِلَيْكُمُ ٱلسَّلاَمَ لَسْتَ مُؤْمِناً تَبْتَغُونَ عَرَضَ ٱلْحَيَٰوةِ ٱلدُّنْيَا فَعِنْدَ ٱللَّهِ مَغَانِمُ كَثِيرَةٌ كَذٰلِكَ كُنْتُمْ مِّن قَبْلُ فَمَنَّ ٱللَّهُ عَلَيْكُمْ فَتَبَيَّنُواْ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ كَانَ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ خَبِيراً
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-An-Nisâ’ ( النساء )

Tafsir al-Jalalayn

The following was revealed when a group from among the Companions passed by a man from the Banū Sulaym driving his flock of sheep, and he offered them a greeting of peace. But they said, ‘He only greeted us dissimulating, out of fear’. So they killed him and took away his flock: O you who believe, when you are going forth, travelling in order to struggle, in the way of God, be discriminating (fa-tabayyanū; a variant reading has fa-tathabbatū, ‘ascertain’, here and further below); and do not say to him who offers you peace (read al-salām or al-salam), that is, the greeting, or [offers you] submission, declaring the profession of faith (shahāda), which is an indication of being a Muslim: ‘You are not a believer: you are only saying this to dissimulate for fear of your life and property’, so that you then end up killing him, desiring, seeking by this, the transient goods of the life of this world, that is, its enjoyment, in the way of spoils. With God are plenteous spoils, rendering you free of the need to kill such a person for his property. So you were formerly, when your lives and property were protected simply upon your professing the faith; but God has been gracious to you, making you known for your faith and uprightness. So be discriminating, lest you kill a believer and treat those entering the religion as you were treated [formerly]. Surely God is ever Aware of what you do, and will requite you for it.


Tafsir al-Jalalayn, trans. Feras Hamza
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