This chapter recollects the friendship of (some of) the believers (in Medina) with the enemies of God from among the stubborn disbelievers (in Mecca). It accentuates the prohibition of such an attitude. The chapter begins with this theme and terminates with it too. It also contains some rules regarding women who migrate (to Medina), and rules regarding the pledge of allegiance of believing women. Thus the chapter’s Medinan provenance is patently manifest.
Synopsis: The context of the first nine verses indicates that some of the believers from the emigrants were secretly confiding friendship to the polytheists in Mecca. This was so that they may protect by it those of their relatives and children who had remained behind in Mecca after they themselves had left it by emigrating to Medina. Consequently, these verses were revealed where God prohibits them from that. What is historically related corroborates this meaning, which is that these verses were revealed in respect of Hatib b. Abi Balta’ah. He secretly conveyed a letter to the polytheists in Mecca, informing them in it of the Messenger of God’s resolve to march forth to Mecca in order to conquer it and free it from their control. Hatib did that so that it could serve as leverage for him against the polytheists in his quest to protect his relatives and children who were in Mecca. So God informed His Prophet (saw) of it, and these verses were revealed.