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lawlā
لَّوْلَا
Had not
kitābun
كِتَٰبٌ
an ordainment
mina
مِّنَ
from
l-lahi
ٱللَّهِ
Allah
sabaqa
سَبَقَ
preceded,
lamassakum
لَمَسَّكُمْ
surely (would) have touched you
fīmā
فِيمَآ
for what
akhadhtum
أَخَذْتُمْ
you took -
ʿadhābun
عَذَابٌ
a punishment
ʿaẓīmun
عَظِيمٌ
great.

Law laa Kitaabum minal laahi sabaqa lamassakum fee maaa akhaztum 'azaabun 'azeem

Sahih International:

If not for a decree from Allah that preceded, you would have been touched for what you took by a great punishment.

1 A. J. Arberry

Had it not been for a prior prescription from God, there had afflicted you, for what you took, a mighty chastisement.

2 Abdul Haleem

and had it not been preordained by God, a severe punishment would have come upon you for what you have taken.

3 Abdul Majid Daryabadi

Were it not that a writ had already gone forth from Allah, there would surely have touched you a mighty torment for that which ye took

4 Abdullah Yusuf Ali

Had it not been for a previous ordainment from Allah, a severe penalty would have reached you for the (ransom) that ye took.

5 Abul Ala Maududi

Had there not been a previous decree from Allah, a stern punishment would have afflicted you for what you have taken.

6 Ahmed Ali

Had this not been decreed by God in advance, you would have suffered a grievous punishment for what you took (as booty).

7 Ahmed Raza Khan

Had Allah not pre-destined a matter then, O Muslims, a terrible punishment would have come upon you due to the ransom you took from the disbelievers.

8 Ali Quli Qarai

Had it not been for a prior decree of Allah, surely there would have befallen you a great punishment for what you took.

9 Ali Ünal

Had there not been a previous decree from God (concerning that gains of war are lawful and captives can be released in return for ransom), a tremendous punishment would surely have touched you because of what you took (the gains of war, and the captives taken in expectation of ransom, before the enemies’ power in the land had been sufficiently suppressed and exhausted).

10 Amatul Rahman Omar

Had there not been a prior decree (of a war at Badr) from Allâh you would certainly have come to grief as a result of that which you were going to undertake (by attacking the caravan of Quraish from Syria).

11 English Literal

Where it not for a Book/decree/term preceded from God, a great torture would have touched you in what you took/received.

12 Faridul Haque

Had Allah not pre-destined a matter then, O Muslims, a terrible punishment would have come upon you due to the ransom you took from the disbelievers.

13 Hamid S. Aziz

Were it not for an ordinance from Allah that had gone before, there would have touched you a mighty punishment for that which you took (prisoners for ransom),

14 Hilali & Khan

Were it not a previous ordainment from Allah, a severe torment would have touched you for what you took.

15 Maulana Mohammad Ali

It is not fit for a prophet to take captives unless he has fought and triumphed in the land. You desire the frail goods of this world, while Allah desires (for you) the Hereafter. And Allah is Mighty, Wise.

16 Mohammad Habib Shakir

Were it not for an ordinance from Allah that had already gone forth, surely there would have befallen you a great chastisement for what you had taken to.

17 Mohammed Marmaduke William Pickthall

Had it not been for an ordinance of Allah which had gone before, an awful doom had come upon you on account of what ye took.

18 Muhammad Sarwar

(Had you taken captives) before being allowed by God's revelations, a great torment would have struck you for what you had done.

19 Qaribullah & Darwish

Had there not been a previous writing from Allah, you would have been afflicted by a mighty punishment.

20 Safi-ur-Rahman al-Mubarakpuri

Were it not a previous ordainment from Allah, a severe torment would have touched you for what you took.

21 Wahiduddin Khan

Had it not been for a writ from God that had already gone forth, you would have been severely punished on account of what you took.

22 Talal Itani

Were it not for a predetermined decree from God, an awful punishment would have afflicted you for what you have taken.

23 Tafsir jalalayn

Had it not been for an ordinance from God which had preceded, making spoils and the taking of captives lawful for you, an awful chastisement would have afflicted you for what you took, as ransom.

24 Tafseer Ibn Kathir

Were it not a previous ordainment from Allah, a severe torment would have touched you for what you took."

Ali bin Abi Talhah narrated that Ibn Abbas said about Allah's statement,
لَّوْلَا كِتَابٌ مِّنَ اللّهِ سَبَقَ
(Were it not a previous ordainment from Allah...),

"In the Preserved Book, that war spoils and prisoners of war will be made allowed for you,
لَمَسَّكُمْ فِيمَا أَخَذْتُمْ
(would have touched you for what you took), because of the captives.
عَذَابٌ عَظِيمٌ
(a severe torment).

Allah, the Exalted said next,
فَكُلُواْ مِمَّا غَنِمْتُمْ حَلَلاً طَيِّبًا
(So enjoy what you have gotten of booty in war, lawful and good)."

Al-Awfi also reported this statement from Ibn Abbas.

A similar statement was collected from Abu Hurayrah, Ibn Mas`ud, Sa`id bin Jubayr, Ata', Al-Hasan Al-Basri, Qatadah and Al-A`mash.

They all stated that,
لَّوْلَا كِتَابٌ مِّنَ اللّهِ سَبَقَ
(Were it not a previous ordainment from Allah...),

refers to allowing the spoils of war for this Ummah.

Supporting this view is what the Two Sahihs recorded that Jabir bin Abdullah said that the Messenger of Allah said,

أُعْطِيتُ خَمْسًا لَمْ يُعْطَهُنَّ أَحَدٌ مِنَ الاَْنْبِيَاءِ قَبْلِي

نُصِرْتُ بِالرُّعْبِ مَسِيرَةَ شَهْرٍ

وَجُعِلَتْ لِيَ الاَْرْضُ مَسْجِدًا وَطَهُورًا

وَأُحِلَّتْ لِيَ الْغَنَايِمُ وَلَمْ تُحَلَّ لاِأَحَدٍ قَبْلِي

وَأُعْطِيتُ الشَّفَاعَةَ

وَكَان النَّبِيُّ يُبْعَثُ إِلَى قَوْمِهِ وَبُعِثْتُ إِلَى النَّاسِ عَامَّة

I have been given five things which were not given to any Prophet before me. (They are;)

Allah made me victorious by awe, (by His frightening my enemies) for a distance of one month's journey.

The earth has been made a place for praying and a purifier for me.

The booty has been made lawful for me, yet it was not lawful for anyone else before me.

I have been given the right of intercession (on the Day of Resurrection).

Every Prophet used to be sent to his people only, but I have been sent to all mankind.

Al-A`mash narrated that Abu Salih said that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah said,

لَمْ تَحِلَّ الْغَنَايِمُ لِسُودِ الرُّوُوسِ غَيْرَنَا

War booty was never allowed for any among mankind except us.

Abu Hurayrah said; This is why Allah the Most High said