Tafsir Surah Al-Tawbah, Ayah 4: 'Except those of the Mushrikun with whom you have a treaty...'

Question:

What is the interpretation of the fourth Ayah mentioned in Surah Al-Tawbah. It reads: “Except those of the Mushrikûn (see V.2:105) with whom you have a treaty, and who have not subsequently failed you in aught, nor have supported anyone against you. So fulfil their treaty to them for the end of their term. Surely Allâh loves Al-Mattaqûn (the pious - See V.2:2).” [Al-Tawbah: 4]

Answer:

In this Ayah Allah (Exalted be He) commands His Messenger (peace be upon him) to complete the treaty which he concluded with the polytheists to its full term so long as they prove faithful to the terms of the treaty and abstain from giving support to the enemies of Muslims. In case they should breach the treaty or give support to the enemies of Muslims, the Prophet (peace be upon him) is obliged to engage in fight with them. When (the tribe of) Quraysh gave assistance to (the tribe of) Banu Bakr against (the tribe of) Khuza’ah, this was seen as a clear violation of the provisions of the treaty which the Prophet (peace be upon him) had signed with Quraysh and Banu Bakr. The Prophet (peace be upon him) fought them on the day he conquered Makkah. He entered Makkah and opened it by force in the eighth year of Hijrah (Prophet’s migration to Madinah), because of their breach of the treaty. By the time Khuza’ah formed an alliance with the Prophet (peace be upon him), Banu Bakr had joined the Quraysh. Banu Bakr, without caring a bit for the provisions of the treaty, made a sudden attack against Khuza’ah though the latter was still in alliance with the Prophet (peace be upon him). They sought help from the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) and asked him to give them support against the attackers. The Prophet (peace be upon him) promised them victory. At that time Quraysh was providing Banu Bakr with property and arms. That is why the Prophet (peace be upon him) fought them and Allah (Exalted be He) helped him open Makkah. The treaty would have lasted for ten years, but the Quraysh breached it by giving help to Banu Bakr.