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9:118 Then He turned to them, that they might repent: for Allah is Oft-Returning, Most Merciful.

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(He turned in mercy also) to the three who were left behind; (they felt guilty) to such a degree that the earth seemed constrained to them, for all its spaciousness, and their (very) souls seemed straitened to them,- and they perceived that there is no fleeing from Allah (and no refuge) but to Himself. Then He turned to them, that they might repent: for Allah is Oft-Returning, Most Merciful.

Yusuf Ali writes,

Among the Faithful, the largest number consisted of
those who were perfectly staunch and ever ready to
do their duty. They obtained the love and good
pleasure of Allah.

  • Next came a few who wavered because their will was
    weak and they were daunted by the dangers and
    difficulties that faced them; Allah’s saving grace
    protected them and they conquered their weakness,
    and did not fail in their duty; Allah forgave them and
    accepted their repentance.
  • Lastly, in the illustration taken from the Tabuk affair,
    there were some who actually failed in their duty, not
    from contumacy or ill-will, but from thoughtlessness,
    slackness, and human weakness: they actually failed
    to obey the Holy Prophet’s summons, and were
    naturally called on to explain, and were excluded
    from the life of the Community.
    Their mental state is here described graphically.
    Though the earth is spacious, to them it was
    constrained. In their own souls they had a feeling of
    constraint. In worldly affluence they felt poor in
    They realized that they could not flee from Allah, but
    could only find solace and refuge in coming back to
    Him. They freely repented and showed it in their
    deeds, and Allah freely forgave them and took them
    to His grace.
    Though illustrated by the particular examples of Ka’b,
    Mararah and Hilal, the lesson is perfectly general and
    is good for all times.


Yusuf Ali, Abdullah. Translation and Commentary of the Quran. (surah 9 verse 118)Microsoft Word – 009 Tawbah.doc (

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