In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
Tafseer Surah Aal-Imran Ayaat 12 – 13
“Say to those who disbelieve…” the scholars define disbelief as denial after witnessing the truth. Therefore, he to whom the Message has not reached cannot be declared a Kafir. We need to be careful with our name-calling. Disbelief means denial of Allah’s ayaat, His Messengers, His Books, in the Day of Resurrection, etc.
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala commanded the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam to proclaim to the disbelievers that they will be defeated in this life and gathered on the Day of Resurrection.
The word satughlaboona [سَتُغْلَبُونَ] is from the root word ghayn-laam-ba and it means “to overcome, to conquer or to subdue.”
The word mihad [ْمِهَادُ] is from the root meem-ha-dal and it is used for “something that has been spread.” Why has it been spread? It has spread to hold something such as a cradle holds the child, a bed holds a person. The Hell would be a wretched resting place.
It has been recorded that when the Muslims were victorious on the Day of Badr, some of the Jews decided to enter Islam. Later, when the Muslims lost in the Battle of Uhud, the Jews said: This is not a true Messenger.
They wanted to enter Islam and then decided not to enter Islam. The Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was instructed to tell them to beware of the consequences.
Muhammad bin Ishaq bin Yasar recorded that ‘Asim bin ‘Umar bin Qatadah said that when the Messenger of Allah salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam gained victory in the Battle of Badr and went back to Madinah, he gathered the Jews in the marketplace of Bani Qaynuqa’. And said to them: O Jews, beware of Allah afflicting you as He did the Quraysh. They fought the Messenger of Allah and they were defeated. A similar thing can happen to you. Accept Islam. You will know that I am a prophet sent with a mission and you will find that in your Book and in Allah’s pact with you. When you know I am the true messenger then what is stopping you from accepting Islam?
In another text, we learn that it was envy that was stopping them from accepting Islam.
The Jews replied, “Do not delude yourself, O Muhammad, because some naïve fools and simple people have entered into your fold. Should you ever fight us, you will test our mettle as men of valor.”
In response to this, the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was instructed to this that if you continue to deny the truth then be prepared to face the consequences. What are they? You will be defeated in this world and in the Hereafter a punishment awaits them.
Ayah 13 – Lessons from the Battle of Badr
In the previous ayaat, the disbelievers were informed that they will be overcome. Now, cited is an example of how the prophecy has been fulfilled.
The word fi-atayn [فِئَةٌ] is from the root word fa-hamza-ya and it means “a party, a division or a distinct body.” The word raya [رَأْيَ] is from the root word ra-hamza-ya and it means “to seek, think or hold, perceive, judge, consider.”
The word yu-ayyidu [يُؤَيِّدُ] is from the root word hamza-ya-dal and it means “to support or strengthen.”
This ayah refers to the Battle of Badr in which the disbelievers had about 1000 men, 790 camels, and 100 horses, while the Muslim army had just over 300 men, having a total of 70 camels, two horses, six armors and eight swords. The encounter was certainly strange as each combating group saw the opponent being twice its own numbers.
The polytheists thought that the Muslims were twice as many as they were, for Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala made this illusion a factor in the victory that Islam had over them. They felt fear, horror, fright and despair. The Muslims too saw the number of disbelievers doubled, it however, made them turn to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala more fervently. They had hopes of Allah’s help, and ultimate victory because they had placed their total trust in Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. They were steadfast and sincerely believed in the promise that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala had revealed to them in the following words:
فَإِن يَكُن مِّنكُم مِّائَةٌ صَابِرَةٌ يَغْلِبُوا مِائَتَيْنِ
“If there are from you one hundred [who are] steadfast, they will overcome two hundred.” [Surah Anfal 8: 66]
If the actual number of disbelievers, which was three times more than their own, were to be realized by Muslims, they may have been overpowered. To sum up, it can be safely said that making a small group of people with little to fight against a much stronger group and score a victory, as prophesized in Makkah, is an unusual event full of lessons for the observant and the discerning.
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says in Surah Anfal, “So that Allah might accomplish a matter already destined…” (8:42). It means that the truth and falsehood are distinguishable, and the word of faith prevails over disbelief and deviation. Thus, the believers prevail and the disbelievers are humiliated.
“And Allah supports with His victory whom He wills. Indeed in that is a lesson for those of vision,” meaning this should be an example for those who have intelligence and sound comprehension. They should contemplate about Allah’s wisdom, decisions and decree, that He gives victory to His believing servants in this life and on the Day the witnesses stand up to testify.
-We learn that if a person’s intention is correct and sincere then he will receive the help of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, despite the lack of resources or abilities. If we make the affirmation that, “O Allah! You gave me this test so I ask You to enable me to pass through this and ease my task,” He will help us. Try and do your best.
-Someone who disbelieves in Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala will be defeated in this world and the next. If a person denies Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala or does not honor His commands, he should know that there is no place of escape for him.
-It is not enough to be a Muslim rather whatever one should do he should make Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala his priority. For example, a person does not participate in a battle to be called a martyr or attain a medal but for strengthening the Deen of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala.
-We should not rely on our abilities alone. We should remember that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala controls everything. Do your best, make an effort but do not forget to ask for Allah’s help.
-If we are working in the path of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala or doing righteous deeds for the sake of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala (such as getting religious education, memorizing the Qur’an, maintaining ties of kinship despite their rude behavior) then He will help us. We have to look at our intentions and the efforts that we are making.
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