I think that “Repentance” is a good title, though “The Great Commission” could also work.
Date and Context
This is the last main sura that Muhammad gives, 9 A.H. It really is his great commission for the Islamic community. His forces have conquered Mecca, he has sent envoys to all the surrounding empires calling them to Islam and now he is beginning his push north into the Byzantine empire. This first northern push was with a battle at Tabuk. Many Muslim tribes did not join him for this offensive and much of this sura is aimed at them.
vv. 1-28 What to do with Mecca and the Arabs who hold to the traditional religions now that Islam controls Mecca. Fight them; they are unclean and ban them from Mecca.
vv. 29-35 Fight the Christians and Jews because they are heretics.
vv. 36- 98 The Muslims who would not fight at Tabuk covenant breakers, have rejected the Quran, are unclean and so you must fight them.
vv. 97-99 The Wandering Arab - some help some don't.
vv. 100-129 To the believers: paradise, reward how to behave
It is interesting that this sura comes after sura 9. Sura 8 is the beginning of fighting while sura 9 is the last word on fighting. This canonical position seems deliberate.
What I found interesting.
1. New Rules for Mecca
Mecca was the religious centre for the region. Now that Muhammad controls Mecca he can control the shape of Arab religion.
It is not for the idolaters to tend Allah's sanctuaries, bearing witness against themselves of disbelief. As for such, their works are vain and in the Fire they will abide. 9:17
O ye who believe! The idolaters only are unclean. So let them not come near the Inviolable Place of Worship after this their year. If ye fear poverty
(from the loss of their merchandise) Allah shall preserve you of His bounty
if He will. Lo! Allah is Knower, Wise. 9:28
The Muslims are to fight the idolaters. If they have a treaty with them they are to wait until the treaty ends and then fight. There is no obligation to have peace with them. Warfare is the only state of existence. (9:3-5)
2. Fight Christians and Jews because they are heretics
Fight against such of those who have been given the Scripture as believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, and forbid not that which Allah hath forbidden by His messenger, and follow not the Religion of Truth, until they pay the tribute readily, being brought low. And the Jews say: Ezra is the son of Allah, and the Christians say: The Messiah is the son of Allah. That is their saying with their mouths. They imitate the saying of those who disbelieved of old. Allah (Himself) fighteth against them. How perverse are they! ... Fain would they put out the light of Allah with their mouths, but Allah disdaineth (aught) save that He shall perfect His light, however much the disbelievers are averse. He it is Who hath sent His messenger with the guidance and the Religion of Truth, that He may cause it to prevail over all religion, however much the idolaters may be averse. 9:29-33
3. Fighting in Allah’s cause is the highest service to God
Count you the slaking of a pilgrim's thirst and tendance of the Inviolable Place of Worship as (equal to the worth of) him who believeth in Allah and the Last Day, and striveth in the way of Allah? They are not equal in the sight of Allah. Allah guideth not wrongdoing folk. Those who believe, and have left their homes and striven with their wealth and their lives in Allah's way are of much greater worth in Allah's sight. These are they who are triumphant. 9:19-20
4. Muhammad’s War on Muslims
Many of the Muslims seemed not interested in Muhammad’s war against everyone. They are called hypocrites, unclean, unbelievers and covenant breakers. It is very serious for Muslims not to join the jihad. Their destiny is hell and Muhammad is to make war on them.
They alone ask leave of thee who believe not in Allah and the Last Day, and whose hearts feel doubt, so in their doubt they waver. 9:45
They will swear by Allah unto you, when ye return unto them, that ye may let them be. Let them be, for lo! they are unclean, and their abode is hell as the reward for what they used to earn. 9:95
So He hath made the consequence (to be) hypocrisy in their hearts until the day when they shall meet Him, because they broke their word to Allah that they promised Him, and because they lied. 9:77
The road (of blame) is only against those who ask for leave of thee (to stay at home) when they are rich. They are content to be with the useless. Allah hath sealed their hearts so that they know not. 9:93
O Prophet! Strive against the disbelievers and the hypocrites! Be harsh with them. Their ultimate abode is hell, a hapless journey's end. 9:73
This is one of the reasons why “true” Muslims fight nominal Muslims today.
5. Choose God over your family.
O ye who believe! Choose not your fathers nor your brethren for friends if they take pleasure in disbelief rather than faith. Whoso of you taketh them
for friends, such are wrong-doers. 9:23
This is like what Jesus says in the gospel.
6. Zakat - The Charity Tax?
The Zakat is a tax that all Muslims pay and is often translated as “charity”. This verse shows what it is to be spent on:
The alms are only for the poor and the needy, and those who collect them, and those whose hearts are to be reconciled, and to free the captives and the debtors, and for the cause of Allah, and (for) the wayfarer; a duty imposed by Allah. Allah is Knower, Wise. 9:60
Therefore it is not just charity but also for the “cause of Allah” which is Sura 9 is fighting on Jihad. I have seen many Islamic “charity” organisations get in trouble for supporting the Mujahadeen but they are simply doing what the Qur’an says.
7. Independent Mosque Planting!
It seems that there were other mosques that were not under Muhammad’s control. Maybe Muhammad was just part of a broader monotheistic movement? These other Muslims did not follow Muhammad exclusively and did not want to fight. They were peaceful Muslims. Muhammad had their mosque burnt down. (Ibn Ishaq, Sirat Rasul Allah, p. 609)
And as for those who chose a place of worship out of opposition and disbelief, and in order to cause dissent among the believers, and as an outpost for those who warred against Allah and His messenger aforetime, they will surely swear: We purposed naught save good. Allah beareth witness that they verily are liars. Never stand (to pray) there. A place of worship which was found upon duty (to Allah) from the first day is more worthy that thou shouldst stand (to pray) therein, wherein are men who love to purify themselves. Allah loveth the purifiers. 9:107-108
8. The Gospel of Jihad
In order to justify his doctrine of Jihad Muhammad claimed that this was the message of all the prophets.
Lo! Allah hath bought from the believers their lives and their wealth because the Garden will be theirs: they shall fight in the way of Allah and shall slay and be slain. It is a promise which is binding on Him in the Torah and the Gospel and the Qur'an. Who fulfilleth His covenant better than Allah? Rejoice then in your bargain that ye have made, for that is the supreme triumph. 9:111