Shaytan and the Disbelievers do not Hope that Muslims will Ever Follow Them
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says,
الْيَوْمَ يَئِسَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ مِن دِينِكُمْ فَلاَ تَخْشَوْهُمْ وَاخْشَوْنِ
“This day, those who disbelieved have given up all hope of your religion; so fear them not, but fear Me.”
This ayah was revealed to the Prophet sallAllahu aalyhi wa sallam on the day of Arafah of the last Hajj in the tenth year of Hijrah. This was a time when the conquest of Makkah and almost of all Arabia was complete. Islamic law prevailed all over the Peninsula. Thereupon, reference was made to the assessment of disbelievers that Muslims were much lower in number as against them and that they were weak too based on which they planned to eliminate them.
Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn Abbas radhiAllahu anhu said that the Ayah means, “They gave up hope that Muslims would revert to their religion.” This is similar to the saying of `Ata’ bin Abi Rabah, As-Suddi and Muqatil bin Hayyan. This meaning is supported by a hadeeth recorded in the Sahih that states,
إِنَّ الشَّيْطَانَ قَدْ يَئِسَ أَنْ يَعْبُدَهُ الْمُصَلُّونَ فِي جَزِيرَةِ الْعَرَبِ، وَلكِنْ بِالتَّحْرِيشِ بَيْنَهُم
“Verily, Shaytan has given up hope that those who pray in the Arabian Peninsula, will worship him. But he will still stir trouble among them.” It is also possible that the Ayah negates the possibility that the disbelievers and Shaytan will ever be like Muslims, since Muslims have various qualities that contradict Shirk and its people. This is why Allah commanded His believing servants to observe patience, to be steadfast in defying and contradicting the disbelievers, and to fear none but Allah. He tells the believers not to fear anyone when they contradict the disbelievers. We should rather fear Allah Who will give us victory over them. He will eradicate them, and make us prevail over them, He will please our hearts and raise us above them in this life and the Hereafter.
Islam has been Perfected for the Muslims
Now that they do not have those ambitions any more nor do they have the power to pose a challenge, Muslims have been asked to feel secure against them and go on to spend their energy in obeying and worshiping their Lord:
الْيَوْمَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ وَأَتْمَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ نِعْمَتِى وَرَضِيتُ لَكُمُ الأِسْلاَمَ دِيناً
“This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My favor upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.”
This, indeed, is the biggest favor from Allah to this Ummah, for He has completed their religion for them, and they, thus, do not need any other religion or any other Prophet except Muhammad . This is why Allah made Muhammad the Final Prophet and sent him to all humans and Jinn. Therefore, the permissible is what he allows, the impermissible is what he prohibits, the Law is what he legislates and everything that he conveys is true and authentic and does not contain lies or contradictions.
It means accept Islam for yourselves, for it is the religion that Allah likes and which He chose for you, and it is that with which He sent the best of the honorable Messengers and the most glorious of His Books. Ibn Jarir recorded that Harun bin `Antarah said that his father said, “When the ayah الْيَوْمَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ was revealed, during the great day of Hajj Umar radhiAllahu anhu cried. The Prophet asked, “What makes you cry?” He said, “What made me cry is that our religion is being perfected for us. Now it is perfect, nothing is perfect, but it is bound to deteriorate.” The Prophet said,
“You have said the truth.”
Another authentic hadeeth says,
إِنَّ الْإِسْلَامَ بَدَأَ غَرِيبًا، وَسَيَعُودُ غَرِيبًا، فَطُوبَى لِلْغُرَبَاء
“Islam was strange in its beginning and will return strange once more. Therefore, Tuba for the strangers.”
Imam Ahmad recorded that Tariq bin Shihab said, “A Jewish man said to Umar bin Al-Khattab, “O Leader of the Believers! There is an ayah in your Book, which is read by all of you (Muslims), and had it been revealed to us, we would have taken that day (on which it was revealed) as a day of celebration.” Umar bin Al-Khattab asked, “Which is that ayah?” The Jew replied,
الْيَوْمَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ وَأَتْمَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ نِعْمَتِى
Umar replied, `By Allah! I know when and where this ayah was revealed to Allah’s Messenger. It was the evening on the Day of Arafah on a Friday.”’ Al-Bukhari recorded this Hadeeth through Al-Hasan bin As-Sabbah from Ja`far bin `Awn. Muslim, At-Tirmidhi and An-Nasa’i also recorded this Hadeeth.
The combination of circumstances in which this ayah was revealed is special. The day is Yawm-e-Arafah and a Friday, place is plain of Arafah, close to the Mount of Mercy. The time is after Asr, which is a blessed time even during normal days, especially so on Friday wherein comes the hour when prayers are answered as confirmed by many authentic reports and this is the time for it. Then, this being the day of Arafah as well, it is all the more likely that prayers shall be answered particularly at this hour and time.
Ali radhiAllahu anhu says that this ayah is almost the last ayah of the Qur’an, no ayah dealing with ahkaam was revealed after that. The only exception here is that of some ayat of persuasive nature which have been identified as having been revealed after this ayah. After the revelation of this ayah, the Prophet sallAllahu aalyhi wa sallam lived for only eighty one more days.