Marmaduke Pickthall, The Meaning of The Glorious Koran. An Explanatory Translation (1930)


At-Taubah, “Repentance", takes its name from v. 104. It is often called Al-Barâ’at (The Immunity), from the first word. It is the onlySûrah which is without the Bi’smi’llâhi’r-Raḥmâni’r-Raḥîm (“In the name of Allah the Beneficent, the Merciful”) which is generally considered to be on account of the stern commandments against idolaters which it contains. Vv. 1–12, forming the proclamation of immunity from obligation toward the idolaters, were revealed after the pilgrims had started for Mecca in the ninth year of the Hijrah and sent by special messenger to Abû Bakr, leader of the pilgrimage, to be read out by Ali to the multitudes at Mecca. It signified the end of idolatry in Arabia. The Christian Byzantine Empire had begun to move against the growing Muslim power, and this Sûrah contains mention of a greater war to come, and instructions with regard to it. Vv. 38–99 refer to the Tabûk campaign, and especially to those Arab tribes who failed to join the Muslims in that campaign. The “Hypocrites,” as the half-hearted supporters of Al-Islâm were called, had long been a thorn in the side of the Muslims. They had even at one time gone > the length in dissent of forming a congregation and building a mosque of their own surreptitiously. On the Prophet’s return from Tabûk they invited him to visit that mosque. This is referred to in vv. 107 ff.

The date of revelation is the ninth year of the Hijrah.


Revealed at Al-Madînah

1. Freedom from obligation (is proclaimed) from Allah and His messenger toward those of the idolaters with whom ye made a treaty:

2. Travel freely in the land four months, and know that ye cannot escape Allah and that Allah will confound the disbelievers (in His guidance).

Cite this page

Marmaduke Pickthall, The Meaning of The Glorious Koran. An Explanatory Translation, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, Consulted online at “Quran Archive - Texts and Studies on the Quran” on 02 Oct. 2022: