Undeniably, we find ourselves today in a time of great tribulation: a time in which many have gathered in order to suppress those who wish to implement the Creator’s deen.
A task enabled by technological and other capabilities that have allowed for a superpower to move entire nations against a country with a simple phone call, as was the case in the First Gulf War, and have allowed deceptive scheming in the form of government policies at unprecedented scales. These capabilities have allowed the transformation of the entire world order in to one that is in diametric contradiction to the teachings of the Quran, plunging mankind into the depths of despair caused by confusion, futility, and enslavement to objectives other than the transcendant ones set down by Allah.
The Quran containts relevant words regarding those who spend wealth to turn people away from Allah’s deen.
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ يُنفِقُونَ أَمْوَالَهُمْ لِيَصُدُّواْ عَن سَبِيلِ اللّهِ فَسَيُنفِقُونَهَا ثُمَّ تَكُونُ عَلَيْهِمْ حَسْرَةً ثُمَّ يُغْلَبُونَ وَالَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ إِلَى جَهَنَّمَ يُحْشَرُونَ
The disbelievers spend their wealth to hinder (man) from the path of Allah, and so will they continue to spend; but in the end they will have (only) regrets and sighs; at length they will be overcome: and the disbelievers will be gathered together to Hell [Anfal 36]
One type of guidance that Allah (SWT) communicates to his servants is the revealing of the intentions of those that seek to prevent the manifestation of Islam. It would be fatal to ignore such information, allowing ourselves to fall time and again into a trap set by those who have chosen to deny the truth.
Indeed, there is wisdom in revealing this to His (SWT) servants, just as there is wisdom in revealing shaytan’s intentions.
The 36th verse of Surat al-Anfal, quoted above, informs us that the kuffar will spend their wealth in order to hinder man from Allah’s (SWT) path.
The mufassireen (commentators of the Qur’an) related two incidents that were the cause of revelation (sabab al–nuzul) for this verse:
(1) The feeding of the army of the mushrikeen by twelve leaders of Quraysh in the battle of Badr;
(2) The spending of wealth by Abu Sufyan specifically in Uhud where he hired specific people to fight against the Muslims.
Notwithstanding this, the mufassireen also importantly mention that the meaning is general even though the sabab (cause) was specific.
This is a well-known principle in tafseer, which states that the meaning (of the verse) is in the generality of the wording and not upon the specificity of the cause of revelation (al-`ibratu bi `umum al-lafdh la bi khusus al-sabab). Hence the meaning of the verse is general, for all times, and applies upon all the wealth that the kuffar spend to hinder man from Allah’s (SWT) path, be it on arms, propaganda or general policies. It is also worthy to note that those that the verse was revealed about were those in power.
The following is what some of the mufassireen have said in their comments on this verse:
Imam Abu Ja’far al-Tabari in his Jami’ al-Bayan fi Ta’weel al-Qur’an says:
“Those who disbelieve in Allah (SWT) and His Messenger (ﷺ) spend their wealth, giving it to their likes from the polytheists so that they may use it in their fight against the Messenger (ﷺ) and the believers with the aim of taking the believers away from their Iman in Allah (SWT) and His Messenger (ﷺ), and they will continue spending their wealth to that end. Then that spending of theirs will become for them a regret, because their wealth will be spent without achieving what they hoped for and desired (which was) to extinguish the light of Allah (SWT), and to elevate the word of kufr above the word of Allah (SWT), because Allah (SWT) elevates His word and makes the word of kufr the lowest. Then the believers will defeat them (the disbelievers), and Allah (SWT) will gather them in Hell and punish them therein.”
Imam Ibn Kathir in his Tafseer al-Qur’an al-Adheem says:
“Allah the Exalted informs that the disbelievers spend their wealth to divert (people) from following the path of truth, and they will continue to do so, but their wealth shall go to waste…they intended to extinguish the light of Allah (SWT) and to achieve the domination of their word over the word of truth, but Allah (SWT) completes His light even if the disbelievers hate it. He gives victory to His deen, announces His (SWT) word, and makes His deen dominant over all others.”
Abu Hayyan al-Andalusi in al-Bahr al-Muheet says:
“The meaning is that the disbelievers intend, by their spending, diversion from the path of Allah (SWT) and overcoming the believers but the opposite of what they intend is what occurs (in the end): their sorrow and regret upon the waste of their wealth, their defeat and the taking from them of lives, prisoners and booty.”
Ibn al-Jawzi in Zad al-Maseer says:
“…as for the path of Allah, it is the deen of Allah (SWT).”
We need not delve far to highlight the vast wealth that has been spent in recent times in an attempt to prevent the re-emergence of Islam on the international political arena.
The Congressional Research Service, as of 2014, estimated the cost of the Afghan and Iraq wars to be 800 and 680 billion USD respectively for the Unites States. However, other estimates which include medical costs, military replenishment costs, social costs, and other ongoing costs, bring this number to $4-6 trillion USD.
These estimates were made before the decision to keep US troops in Afghanistan through 2016, which the CRS estimates to cost 3.9 million USD per soldier. Furthermore, we often hear of many other projects funded and executed by the Western nations in the Muslim lands. Projects covering counter terrorism arrangements, intelligence sharing, educational reform, training of imams/religious teachers, political reform, and social welfare reform amongst others.
Can one imagine the Quraysh funding something in the interest of the Prophet’s (ﷺ) dawah? The times when they did offer him (ﷺ) wealth was in an attempt to compromise the message and his (ﷺ) response was clear in rejecting. Muslims must, therefore, be very wary when foreign governments offer to fund “Islamic” projects. Such funds are usually accompanied with thorny conditions that aim at slowly picking away at key elements of Islam and the insertion of ideas foreign to our natural belief system.
The wealth that the kuffar spend will, without doubt, be turned into anguish for them as Allah (SWT) informs us. This verse should trigger thoughts in the minds of the Muslims when funding is offered by the very governments that have made it abundantly clear that they will not tolerate the desire of the Ummah to live by the Shari`a. If such wealth is used as an obstruction to Allah’s (SWT) deen, we should, at the very least, question if such wealth is worthy to be dealt with.