(1) (60:1) Believers, *1 if you have left (your homes and) have come forth to struggle in My Way and to seek My good pleasure, do not make friends with My enemies and your enemies. You befriend them whereas they have spurned the Truth that has come to you; and (such is their enmity that) they expel the Messenger and yourselves for no other reason than that you believe in Allah, your Lord. You send to them messages of friendship in secrecy, although I know well whatever you do, be it secretly or publicly. And whosoever of you does so has indeed strayed far away from the Straight Path.
*1) It would be appropriate to give at the outset the details of the incident concerning which these verses were sent down so that the subject that follows is understood easily. The commentators are agreed, and Ibn 'Abbas, Mujahid, Qatadah, 'Urwah bin Zubair and others also have unanimously reported, that these verses were revealed at the time when a letter of Hadrat Hatib bin Abi Balta'a to the pagans of Makkah was intercepted. It so happened that, when the Quraish broke the Treaty of Hudaibiyah, the Holy Prophet (upon whom be Allah's peace) started making preparations for an invasion of Makkah, but he did not tell anyone, except a few close Companions, what was the goal of the expedition. By chance at about the same time a woman arrived from Makkah, who had been a slave-girl of the Bani 'Abdul Muttalib, and then after her freedom had adopted singing as her profession. She complained of poverty to the Holy Prophet and requested for financial help. The Holy Prophet appealed to the Bani 'Abdul Muttalib and the Bani al-Muttalib and satisfied her need. When she was about to leave for Makkah, Hadrat Hatib bin Abi Balta'a met her and quietly gave her a letter addressed to some of the.Makkah chiefs and paid her ten dinars so that she kept the secret and carried the letter to the addressees secretly. When she had just left Madinah, Allah informed the Holy Prophet (Upon whom be Allah's peace) of it. So the Holy Prophet immediately sent Hadrat 'AIi, Hadrat Zubair and Hadrat Miqdad bin Aswad after her with the instruction: "Make haste: At Raudah khaki (12 rules from Madinah on the road to Makkah) you will meet a woman, who carries a letter from Hatib to the pagans of Makkah Seize that letter by any means you like. If she delivers the letter willingly, Iet her go; if she refuses to deliver it, kill her." When these Companions reached the place, they found the woman there They demanded the letter from her. She replied that she had a letter. They searched her but could find no letter. At last, they told her to deliver the letter, otherwise they would strip her and search her. Whe she saw that there was no way of escape, she took out the letter from her hair-plait and delivered it to them, and they brought it to the Holy Prophet. When the letter was opened and read it was found to contain information to the Quraish that the Holy Prophet (upon whom be Allah's peace) was making preparations to attack them. (In different traditions different wordings of the letter have been reported but the purport of all is one and the same). The Holy Prophet asked Hadrat Hatib what induced him to act thus. He replied: "Sir, do not make haste in this matter of mine. I have not done this because I have become a disbeliever or an apostate, and have started preferring disbelief to Islam. But the truth is that my near and dear ones arc still in Makkah. I do not belong to the tribe of the Quraish, but had settled there under the guardianship of some of them. The families of the Emigrants, which are still in Makkah, will be defended and protected by their tribes and clans, but 1 have no tribe, which could give protection to my family. Therefore, I sent this letter in order to keep the Quraish under obligation so that they did not harm my children. "(According to Hadrat Hatib's .son `Abdur Rahman, Hadrat Habit had his children and brother still in Makkah at that time, and according to Hadrat Hatib's own report his mother also was there). Hearing what Hatib had to say, the Holy Prophet (upon whom be Allah's peace) said to the people: "Hatib has told you the truth. " That is, the real motive of his action was this and not any treachery against Islam or any intention to support disbelief. Hadrat `Umar rose and said: "Permit me, O Messenger of AIlah, that I should cut off this hypocrite's head: he has been treacherous to Allah and His Messenger and the Muslims." The Holy Prophet said: "This man has participated in the Battle of Badr: You may not know, O `Umar, Allah may have looked favourably at the people of Badr and said: "Do as you please, I have forgiven you. " (The words in the last sentence are different in different traditions. In some these are to the effect: "I have granted you forgiveness"; in some other: I am your Forgiver"; and in still an other: "I will forgive you.") Hearing this Hadrat 'Umar wept and said: "Allah and His Messenger have the best knowledge. " This is a resume of those many traditions which Bukhari, Muslim, Ahmad, Abu Da'ud, Timidhi Nasa'i, Ibn Jarir Tabari, Ibn Hisham, Ibn Hibban and Ibn Abi Hatim have related on the authority of several reliable transmitters. The most authentic of these is the tradition which Hadrat `Ali's secretary, 'Ubaidullah bin Abu Rafi', heard from Hadrat `Ali himself, and from him Hadrat 'Ali's grandson, Hasan bin Muhammad bin Hanafiyah, heard and conveyed to the later reporters. In none of these there is .any mention that Hadrat Hatib was pardoned when he presented this excuse. But there is no hint either to show that he was awarded some punishment. That is why the Muslim scholars have concluded that Hadrat Hatib's excuse was accepted and he was pardoned.