Tafseer Surah Aal-Imran Ayaat 124 – 127
In the previous ayaat, the Battle of Badr was cited in relation to the Battle of Uhud. Briefly stated there was the unseen support from Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala given to the Muslims. In the present ayaat, some details of that support have been mentioned. Also stated is the wisdom behind sending of angels.
The Rationale of the Promises
Let us turn to the promises of angelic help in the Battle of Badr. In Surah al-Anfal, we learn that the promise of 1,000 angels was made. In the present ayah, the promise begins with 3,000 angels and goes up to 5,000. What is the wisdom behind this?
Mufti Muhammad Shafi Usmani explains the fact is that the Muslims noticed the 1,000 strong force of the enemy and compared it with their total count of 313. They invoked Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala to help them against the odds. Thereupon, came the promise of 1,000 angels, implying that the number of their enemy shall be matched by an identical number of angels.
Then comes the present ayah, here the promise of 3,000 angels was made.
أَلَن يَكْفِيَكُمْ أَن يُمِدَّكُمْ رَبُّكُم بِثَلَاثَةِ آلَافٍ مِّنَ الْمَلَائِكَةِ مُنزَلِينَ –
“Is it not sufficient for you that your Lord should reinforce you with three thousand angels sent down?”
The enemy forces were three times larger than those of the Muslims who were somewhat disturbed by this news. Thereupon, a promise of 3,000 angels was made so that the ratio is reversed and the number of Muslims goes three times higher than that of the enemy.
Later this number was increased, subject to conditions, to 5,000. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala said,
بَلَىٰ ۚ إِن تَصْبِرُوا وَتَتَّقُوا وَيَأْتُوكُم مِّن فَوْرِهِمْ هَٰذَا يُمْدِدْكُمْ رَبُّكُم بِخَمْسَةِ آلَافٍ مِّنَ الْمَلَائِكَةِ مُسَوِّمِينَ –
“Yes, if you remain patient and conscious of Allah and the enemy come upon you [attacking] in rage, your Lord will reinforce you with five thousand angels having marks [of distinction].”
The conditions stated in the ayah were:
“you remain patient and conscious of Allah…”
Sabr and Taqwa, two essentials ingredients required for success as we learned in a previous ayah.
The Muslims were not patient at Uhud, Rather, they ran away and consequently, did not receive the support of even one angel.
Why An Army of Angels was Sent?
One may ask when Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has endowed His angels with such power that only one of them could overturn an entire habitation as it happened with the People of Lut ‘alayhi salaam, why did Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala send an army of angels for the Battle of Badr? Moreover, He could have annihilated every single disbeliever.
The Qur’an gives the answer to the question regarding sending of the angels,
وَمَا جَعَلَهُ اللَّهُ إِلَّا بُشْرَىٰ لَكُمْ وَلِتَطْمَئِنَّ قُلُوبُكُم بِهِ ۗ
“And Allah made it not except as [a sign of] good tidings for you and to reassure your hearts thereby.”
It was not to make the Muslims victorious but to give them the good news, to comfort them and to strengthen their hearts. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala said, “And victory is not except from Allah,” meaning one should remember that victory only comes from Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. Had He willed, the Muslims could have defeated the enemy without them having to fight them. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala allows these incidences to happen to distinguish true believers with the rest of the crowd. Allah is the Almighty Whose power can never be undermined. He has the perfect wisdom in His decrees and in all His decisions.
He commands His servants to fight in His cause to cut off part of a nation that disbelieves. They return to their homes disgraced and full of rage having failed in their aim to harm you.
Tafseer Surah Aal-Imran Ayaat 128 – 129
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala reminds us that the decisions in this life and the Hereafter are for Him alone. No one has any say in it.
لَيْسَ لَكَ مِنَ الْأَمْرِ شَيْءٌ أَوْ يَتُوبَ عَلَيْهِمْ أَوْ يُعَذِّبَهُمْ فَإِنَّهُمْ ظَالِمُونَ –
“Not for you is the decision whether He should [cut them down] or forgive them or punish them, for indeed, they are wrongdoers.”
Muhammad ibn Ishaq commented that it means, “No part of the decision regarding My servants is yours, except what I command you.” For example, we read in the Qur’an that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala tells Muhammad salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam that his duty is only to convey. Guidance is not in his hands. He cannot wish anyone to become a Muslim if Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala does not desires the same for them.
It is Allah’s decision to pardon them concerning the acts of disbelief that the disbelievers commit or punish them in this life and the Hereafter.
Imam Ahmad recorded that Salim bin `Abdullah said that his father said that he heard the Messenger of Allah salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam saying,
اللَّهُمَّ الْعَنْ فُلَانًا، اللَّهُمَّ الْعَنِ الْحَارِثَ بْنَ هِشَامٍ، اللَّهُمَّ الْعَنْ سُهَيْلَ بْنَ عَمْرٍو، اللَّهُمَّ الْعَنْ صَفْوَانَ بْنَ أُمَيَّة
“O Allah! Curse so-and-so. O Allah! Curse Al-Harith bin Hisham. O Allah! Curse Suhayl bin `Amr. O Allah! Curse Safwan bin Umayyah.”
Thereafter, this ayah was revealed
لَيْسَ لَكَ مِنَ الاٌّمْرِ شَىْءٌ أَوْ يَتُوبَ عَلَيْهِمْ أَوْ يُعَذِّبَهُمْ فَإِنَّهُمْ ظَـلِمُونَ
“Not for you is the decision; whether He should [cut them down] or forgive them or punish them, for indeed, they are wrongdoers.”
All three of these people were pardoned (after they embraced Islam later on).
Al-Bukhari recorded that Hamid and Thabit said that, Anas bin Malik said that the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was injured during the battle of Uhud and said,
كَيْفَ يُفْلِحُ قَوْمٌ شَجُّوا نَبِيَّهُمْ؟
“How can a people achieve success after having injured their Prophet?”
لَيْسَ لَكَ مِنَ الاٌّمْرِ شَىْءٌ
“Not for you is the decision,” was revealed.
The heavens and the earth belong to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, He forgives whom He wills and punishes whom He wills. He is Forgiving and Merciful.
We learn that the help of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala is for those who make an effort. The Muslims adopted the means, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala promised to help them by an army of angels.
We again learn the importance of having sabr and Taqwa in our lives. If we are going through a trial in our lives and cannot figure out why Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala is not letting us come out of it then we should look at where we are wrong. We must be disobeying Him in some way that He too has abandoned us.
We learn that we should not be judgmental about other people. When see someone involved in something haram instead of making a comment about them we should pray for their guidance. We do not know when Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala will change their heart and guide them to the Right Path. He changed the hearts of ‘Umar ibn al-khattab, Abu Sufyan, Khalid ibn Waleed, Ikrimah radhiAllahu ‘anhum and many more, He can change anyone’s heart.
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