O ye who believe! Take your precautions, and either go forth in parties or go forth all together.
There are certainly among you men who would tarry behind: If a misfortune befalls you, they say: “Allah did favour us in that we were not present among them.”
But if good fortune comes to you from Allah, they would be sure to say – as if there had never been Ties of affection between you and them – “Oh! I wish I had been with them; a fine thing should I then have made of it!”
Let those fight in the cause of Allah Who sell the life of this world for the hereafter. To him who fighteth in the cause of Allah,- whether he is slain or gets victory – Soon shall We give him a reward of great (value).
In the first part of the verse: (O those who
believe, take your precautions …), appears the command to ensure the
supply of weapons, while the later part refers to the launching of
Jihad action. This tells us two things right away. Firstly, as already
clarified at several places, the act of getting together functional means
to achieve a good purpose is not contrary to tawakkul or trust in God.
Secondly, we see that the text limits itself to the command to ensure
the supply of weapons, but it does not promise that, because of this
support, Muslims will have any guaranteed security against their
enemies. By doing so, it has been indicated that the choice of using
means is for nothing but a certain peace of mind, otherwise, the use of
means as such does not carry any operational gain or loss. The Qur’an has said: (O Prophet) say: “Nothing will befall us
except what Allah has prescribed for us.” (9:51)
Let us look at the first verse again. It opens up with the
command to get ready for Jihad followed by a description of the
marching plan; the later has been expressed in two sentences, that is, (… and march in groups, or march off all together.)
Here, the word, ‘thubatin’ is the plural form of ‘thubatun’ which means
a small group and is used to denote a military company and was called
a Sariyyah in the military campaigns of the Holy Prophet. In that
sense, it is being said here that Muslims, when they go out for Jihad,
should not start off all alone. They should, rather, set out in the formation of small groups. The other alternative is to march as a large army:
‘jamian’ because, in fighting, going alone is very likely to hurt — the
enemy is not going to let this opportunity slip out of their hands.
o doubt, this instruction has been given to Muslims for the particular occasion of Jihad, but, even in normal circumstances, this is what the Shari’ah teaches – do not travel alone. In a hadith, therefore, a lone
traveller is called one satan and two of them two satans and three of
them become a group or party. Similarly, there is another hadith
‘The best companions are four and the best military company
is that of four hundred and the best army is that of four thousand.’ (From Mishkat as reported by Al-Tabarani)
Seen outwardly, the words of the verse 72 seem to
suggest that this too is addressed to the believers, although the characteristics described later on cannot be taken to be those of the believers. Therefore, al-Qurtubi says that they signify hypocrites.
Since, they were the ones who used to claim being Muslims, at least
outwardly. This is why they have been identified as a group from
among the believers.
Shafi, Muhammad (2008). Maariful Quran. (Vol .2 surah 4 verse 71-74). English-MaarifulQuran-MuftiShafiUsmaniRA-Vol-2.pdf (islamicweblibrary.com)