Marks of True Muslims
After warning us against forming deep friendship with the disbelievers, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala enumerates who are our protectors and helpers in reality. He says,
إِنَّمَا وَلِيُّكُمُ اللَّهُ وَرَسُولُهُ وَالَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ الَّذِينَ يُقِيمُونَ الصَّلوةَ وَيُؤْتُونَ الزَّكَوةَ وَهُمْ رَاكِعُونَ
“Verily, your Protector is Allah, His Messenger, and the believers, those who perform the Salah, and give Zakah, and they bow down.”
By saying your Protector is Allah; it removes those who don’t believe in Him. Meaning that those who do not believe in Him cannot be your protectors. Your allegiance is to Allah, His Messenger and the faithful believers.
Now, the terms wallatheena amanoo is too broad. It encompasses everyone therefore He further elucidates by adding “those who establish Salah and give Zakah and bow down”. The act of bowing down is part of the Salah ritual, but it also denotes humility. This means that these people are not arrogant rather they have a humble attitude.
Salah is one of the most important pillars of Islam for it includes worshipping Allah alone without any partners. It is the believers who establish the prayer and do not associate any partners with Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala.
The believers pay Zakah which is the right of the creation and a type of help extended to the needy and the poor.
In ayah 56, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala gives the good news that people mentioned in ayah 55 are the ones who will be victorious. He says,
وَمَن يَتَوَلَّ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ وَالَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ فَإِنَّ حِزْبَ اللَّهِ هُمُ الْغَـلِبُونَ
“And whosoever takes Allah, His Messenger, and those who have believed, as protectors, then the party of Allah will be the victorious.”
Those who obey the commands of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala are the people of Allah. Given to them is the good news that they will be the ones to finally overcome. The events which unfolded later on confirmed the veracity of this statement when everyone saw that the Sahabahs, radhiAllahu anhum, overcame all powers which threatened them.
When internal rebellions challenged Abu Bakr Siddeeq, radhiAllahu anhu, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala helped him prevail over all of them. When the towering powers of Ceaser and Cyrus marshaled their menacing might against Umar ibn al-Khattab, radhiAllahu anhu, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala effaced them from the face of the earth.
Then as long as these injunctions were dutifully observed by the Khulafa and Muslims at large who came after them – by abstaining from establishing close bonds of friendship with non-Muslims – they had always remained winners in the struggle of life.