Tafsir Surah Al-Tawbah, Ayahs 76 to 78

Question:

I would like to know the detailed Tafsir (explanation of the meanings of the Qur’an) of Ayahs (Qur’anic verses) number 76 to 78 of Surah Al-Tawbah. Do they apply to a person who has promised Allah to quit a certain sin and asked Allah to have wrath upon him if he commits it again?

Answer:

The concerned Ayahs are Allah’s Saying about the hypocrites, “Then when He gave them of His Bounty, they became niggardly [refused to pay the Sadaqâh (Zakât or voluntary charity)], and turned away, averse. So He punished them by putting hypocrisy into their hearts till the Day whereon they shall meet Him, because they broke that (covenant with Allâh) which they had promised to Him and because they used to tell lies. Know they not that Allâh knows their secret ideas, and their Najwa (secret counsels), and that Allâh is the All-Knower of things unseen.” [Al-Tawbah: 76-78] They indicate that if someone promises Allah to do something and then breaks their promise is characterized by the traits of hypocrites, and is endangered with being punished with hypocrisy for breaking the promise and lying.

Allah (Glorified be He) thus warns people against the traits of hypocrites; encourages them to be honest and keep their promises; and clarifies to them that He knows their secrets and private conversations, and that none of their affairs is hidden from Him. However, this does not prevent them from performing sincere Tawbah (repentance to Allah); if someone performs sincere Tawbah, Allah will forgive all their sins, whether they are related to Kufr (disbelief), hypocrisy or something less serious. Allah (Glorified be He) says, “And verily, I am indeed forgiving to him who repents, believes (in My Oneness, and associates none in worship with Me) and does righteous good deeds, and then remains constant in doing them, (till his death).” [TaHa: 82]

And, “And all of you beg Allâh to forgive you all, O believers, that you may be successful” [Al-Nur: 31]

He (Glorified be He) also says, “Say: “O ‘Ibâdî (My slaves) who have transgressed against themselves (by committing evil deeds and sins)! Despair not of the Mercy of Allâh: verily, Allâh forgives all sins. Truly He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” [Al-Zumar: 53] Scholars unanimously agreed that this Ayah refers to those who have repented.

It was authentically reported from the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) that he said, “A person who repents from their sins is like one who has not committed a sin at all.1

It was also authentically reported from him that he said, “Islam wipes out all that was committed before it (previous misdeeds); and Tawbah also wipes out all that was committed before it.2


  1. Ibn Majah, Sunan, Book on asceticism, no. 4250. 

  2. Muslim, Sahih, Book on faith, no. 121.