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8:72 Those who believed, and adopted exile, and fought for the Faith

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Those who believed, and adopted exile, and fought for the Faith, with their property and their persons, in the cause of Allah, as well as those who gave (them) asylum and aid,- these are (all) friends and protectors, one of another. As to those who believed but came not into exile, ye owe no duty of protection to them until they come into exile; but if they seek your aid in religion, it is your duty to help them, except against a people with whom ye have a treaty of mutual alliance. And (remember) Allah seeth all that ye do.

According to the Study Quran,

Those who migrate, and strive with their wealth and themselves in the
way of God refers to the Emigrants, who migrated from Makkah with the
Prophet to Madinah, and those who sheltered and helped refers to the Helpers,
residents of Madinah who had already embraced Islam and received the
Emigrants (Q, R, Ṭ). Here protection renders walāyah, which has multiple
meanings, including friendship, closeness, political authority, protection, and
even a relationship of inheritance. Many commentators consider this verse to
refer to the relationship of inheritance that the Prophet established between the
Emigrants and the Helpers: after the hijrah (the migration from Makkah to
Madinah) he joined one Helper to each Emigrant in a symbolic brotherhood that
entailed a relationship of inheritance and established filiations between them (see
Other commentators see the walāyah here as a reference to a relationship of
rule or political responsibility, meaning that until the believers who still resided
in Makkah migrated to Madinah, the believers in Madinah would have no
political authority over them or claim to them (Q, R). Because it is a duty upon
the Madinan believers to help the Makkan believers if they ask your help for the sake of religion, commentators such as al-Rāzī interpret you owe them no protection (walāyah) to be a command that is qualified by then [such] help is a
duty upon you, except against a people with whom you have a covenant; that is,
in general terms they cannot be treated with the same level of walāyah as those
who migrated and helped, but neither are they to be left without support. One
way of understanding al-Rāzī’s view is that the nonemigrating believers were not
owed protection in an official or legal sense, but were nevertheless brothers in
religion and were owed help as a moral and spiritual obligation. Disagreement
over whether walāyah, rendered here as protection, refers to a relationship of
inheritance, help, or political alliance has led to general disagreement among
commentators over the interpretation of vv. 72–75.

As a spiritual allegory, those who believe, and migrate . . . and those who
sheltered and helped refers to those who give their whole self to the spiritual life
and plunge as deeply as they can into the mysteries of spiritual knowledge, while
those who believe and did not migrate refers to ordinary believers who are
unable to embark on that path, but who nonetheless can benefit from the first
group of spiritual travelers in cases of religious doubt and bewilderment (Aj).


Nasr, Hossein (2015). Study Quran.

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