And had We prescribed for them: “slay yourselves” or “Leave your habitations,” they would not have done it, save a few of them; yet if they had done what they were admonished to do, it would have been better for them, and a firmer position.
And then, We would have surely given them from Us a great wage.
And We would have guided them to a straight path.
[God] exposed the weakness of their sincerity (akhbara ʿan suqmi ikhlāṣihim) and the extent of their bankruptcy (wa-quwwati iflāsihim), and informed [the Prophet and the believers] of their failings by His knowl- edge. Although [God] let [the hypocrites] go their own way in many of the tests, He said, “If they had been inclined to serve and had put on the belt of obedience, it would have been better for them than their persisting in their disbelief and pride. If they had done that, We would have given them a great reward (thawāb ʿaẓīm) from Us, and would have guided them on a straight path (ṣirāṬ mustaqīm), and rendered to them an enduring gift (ʿaṬāÌ muqīm).
In the explanation by allusion (bayān al-ishāra), this matter refers to opposing personal whims and sacrificing the lower selves by holding them back from familiar and comfortable things. It is leaving [your] habitations and parting from the familiar territories of desire for the present world.