Laa ilaha ilaa Allah
Al Baqarah, 2:216
Yusuf Ali: Fighting is prescribed for you and ye dislike it. But it is possible that ye dislike a thing which is good for you, and that ye love a thing which is bad for you. But Allah knoweth and ye know not.
Dr. Mohsin: Jihâd (holy fighting in Allâh's Cause) is ordained for you (Muslims) though you dislike it, and it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. Allâh knows but you do not know.
كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ ٱلْقِتَالُ وَهُوَ كُرْهٌ لَّكُمْ وَعَسَىٰ أَن تَكْرَهُواْ شَيْئاً وَهُوَ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ وَعَسَىٰ أَن تُحِبُّواْ شَيْئاً وَهُوَ شَرٌّ لَّكُمْ وَٱللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ وَأَنْتُمْ لاَ تَعْلَمُونَ
Kutiba `Alaykumu Al-Qitālu Wa Huwa Kurhun Lakum Wa `Asá 'An Takrahū Shay'āan Wa Huwa Khayrun Lakum Wa `Asá 'An Tuĥibbū Shay'āan Wa Huwa Sharrun Lakum Wa Allāhu Ya`lamu Wa 'Antum Lā Ta`lamūna
Prescribed for you, obligatory [for you], is fighting, disbelievers, though it be hateful to you, by nature, because of the hardship involved. Yet it may happen that you hate a thing which is good for you; and it may happen that you love a thing which is bad for you: because the soul inclines towards those desires which result in its destruction and its rejection of the religious obligations that would bring about its happiness. Perhaps, then, even if you are averse to it, you will find much good in fighting, as a result of victory, booty, martyrdom or reward; while, if you were to reject fighting, even if you would like to do so, you will find much evil, because then you may be subjugated, impoverished and denied the reward; God knows, what is good for you, and you know, this, not, so strive in what He commands you.
Tafsir ibn Kathir:
(216. Fighting is ordained for you (Muslims) though you dislike it, and it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. Allah knows but you do not know.)
Jihad is made Obligatory
In this Ayah, Allah made it obligatory for the Muslims to fight in Jihad against the evil of the enemy who transgress against Islam. Az-Zuhri said, "Jihad is required from every person, whether he actually joins the fighting or remains behind. Whoever remains behind is required to give support, if support is warranted; to provide aid, if aid is needed; and to march forth, if he is commanded to do so. If he is not needed, then he remains behind.'' It is reported in the Sahih:
«مَنْ مَاتَ وَلَمْ يَغْزُ وَلَمْ يُحَدِّثْ نَفْسَهُ بِالْغَزْوِ، مَاتَ مِيتَةً جَاهِلِيَّــة»
(Whoever dies but neither fought (i.e., in Allah's cause), nor sincerely considered fighting, will die a death of Jahiliyyah (pre-Islamic era of ignorance).)
On the day of Al-Fath (when he conquered Makkah), the Prophet said:
«لَا هِجْرَةَ بَعْدَ الْفَتْحِ وَلكِنْ جِهَادٌ وَنِيَّةٌ، وَإِذَا اسْتُنْفِرْتُمْ فَانْفِرُوا»
(There is no Hijrah (migration from Makkah to Al-Madinah) after the victory, but only Jihad and good intention. If you were required to march forth, then march forth.)
﴿وَهُوَ كُرْهٌ لَّكُمْ﴾
(...though you dislike it) means, `Fighting is difficult and heavy on your hearts.' Indeed, fighting is as the Ayah describes it, as it includes being killed, wounded, striving against the enemies and enduring the hardship of travel. Allah then said:
﴿وَعَسَى أَن تَكْرَهُواْ شَيْئًا وَهُوَ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ﴾
(. ..and it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you) meaning, fighting is followed by victory, dominance over the enemy, taking over their lands, money and offspring. Allah continues:
﴿وَعَسَى أَن تُحِبُّواْ شَيْئًا وَهُوَ شَرٌّ لَّكُمْ﴾
(...and that you like a thing which is bad for you.)
This Ayah is general in meaning. Hence, one might covet something, yet in reality it is not good or beneficial for him, such as refraining from joining the Jihad, for it might lead to the enemy taking over the land and the government. Then, Allah said:
﴿وَاللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ وَأَنتُمْ لاَ تَعْلَمُونَ﴾
(Allah knows, but you do not know.) meaning, He has better knowledge than you of how things will turn out to be in the end, and of what benefits you in this earthly life and the Hereafter. Hence, obey Him and adhere to His commands, so that you may acquire the true guidance.