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And fear tumult or oppression, which affecteth not in particular (only) those of you who do wrong: and know that Allah is strict in punishment.

Fitnah: has many meanings:

  • the root meaning is trial or temptation, as in 2:102
    and 8: 28;
  • an analogous meaning is trial or punishment, as in
    5:71;
  • tumult or oppression, as in 2:193, and here: and in
    8:39,
  • there is here (8:25) the further shade of meaning
    suggested, discord, sedition, civil war.
    This warning against internal discord or tumult was very
    necessary in the Civil Wars of early Islam, and was never
    more necessary than it is now. For it affects innocent
    and guilty alike.

References:

Yusuf Ali, Abdullah. Translation and Commentary of the Quran. Microsoft Word – 008 Anfal.doc (quran4u.com)

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