The sūrah can be divided into the following six sections.
Section I (1-3)
The sūrah begins with a warning sounded to the weak
Muslims who had secret ties of friendship with the Idolators of Mecca even after
they had expelled the Prophet (sws) and the Muslims from their land---their only
fault being that they had accepted faith. It is pointed out that these people
are not worthy of such ties as they would try all they could to make the Muslims
reject faith; furthermore, if family ties at the expense of sincerity with Allah
and the Prophet (sws) are established then such relationships will never be of
any use to them in the Hereafter: they shall stand severed in the next world.
Section II (4-7)
A few glimpses of the episode of the Prophet Abraham (sws)
are depicted and the addressees are directed to learn a lesson from it. He had
proclaimed total acquittal from his nation unless they professed faith in the
one and only Allah. In this regard, they are told to hold steadfast to Abraham's
prayer (du`aa) which he had often said to persevere in the difficulties of his
own Hijra. Moreover, glad tidings are given to them that it is quite possible
that these people, from which they have been directed to break their ties, would
accept Islam in the near future.
Section III (8-9)
An explanation of the fact that what has been asked is
dissociation with those who had waged war with the Muslims and compelled them
and the Prophet (sws) to leave their homes; those who have not done so, should
be dealt with justice.
Section IV (10-11)
Certain directives relating to the women who had migrated
from Mecca are given: they should only be accepted after they have been examined
as regards their faith. If it is proven that they have migrated only for the
cause of Islam, only then should they be included in the ranks of the Muslims.
It is not lawful for the Muslims to keep idolatorous women in marriage. They
should liberate them and mutually exchange the dowers.
Section V (12)
The Prophet (sws) has been directed to take a covenant
from women who come to him for the cause of Islam and intend to lead their lives
according to its directives.
Section VI (13)
At the very end of the sūrah, the Muslims are warned not
to establish friendship with the Jews and the Disbelievers. Both shall meet the
same fate: they have been shaken from their very roots.