Revisiting the context in which Surat Al-Munafiqun was revealed, Nouman Ali Khan sheds light on the multiple lessons to be deduced from that series of events. This Madani surah was revealed after the morale-boosting pre-emptive attack and victory of the Muslims over Bani Mustalaq, a tribe that had planned to storm Madina following the Muslims’ defeat in Uhud. When the daughter of the tribe’s leader, who was taken prisoner along with over 100 others, accepts Islam, Prophet Muhammad marries her and as a gift, releases all the POWs which leads to the entire tribe accepting Islam. Upon their return, when an argument between a member of the Muhajirun and one of the Ansar threatens a bigger conflict between both groups, Prophet Muhammad urges both sides to let the incident pass and refuses to authorize the assassination of Madina’s most notorious hypocrite Abdullah Bin Obai Bin Salul, who seized the opportunity to fuel the fire and sow divisions between the two groups. When the surah was revealed, with all tenderness and care, Prophet Muhammad first recited it to 11-year-old Zeid Ibn Al-Arqam, who had recounted to the Prophet and his companions that Bin Salul had insulted the Muhajirun and helped the Muslims avert an internal conflict.
In its core, Khan sums up, the theme of the softness of the heart binds the whole incident together: letting the prisoners of war go, urging the Muhajirun and Ansar to let the incident pass, dismissing Bin Salul and ignoring his lies, trusting the child and caring for his emotions. Clean intentions and sincerity to Allah are the key take-aways from this story.