Tafseer Surah Aal-Imran Ayaat 172 – 175
These ayaat were revealed in reference to a particular incident.
Ibn Katheer writes after the idolaters defeated the Muslims (at Uhud), they started on their way back home, but soon they were concerned because they did not finish off the Muslims in Madinah, so they set out to make that battle the final one. When the Messenger of Allah salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam got news of this, he commanded the Muslims to march to meet the disbelievers, to bring fear to their hearts and to demonstrate that the Muslims still had the strength to fight. The Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam only allowed those who were present during Uhud to accompany him, except for Jabir bin ‘Abdullah radhiAllahu ‘anhu, as we will mention. Even though the Muslims were still suffering from their injuries from Uhud, they mobilized in obedience to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala and His Messenger salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.
Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that ‘Ikrimah said, “When the idolaters returned (to Makkah) after Uhud, they said, ‘You neither killed Muhammad nor collected female captives. Woe to you for what you did. Let us go back.’ When the Messenger of Allah salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam heard this news, he mobilized the Muslim forces, and they marched until they reached Hamra Al-Asad. The idolaters said, ‘Rather, we will meet next year,’ and the Messenger of Allah salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam went back (to Madinah), and this was considered a Ghazwah (battle).
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala sent down,
الَّذِينَ اسْتَجَابُوا لِلَّهِ وَالرَّسُولِ مِن بَعْدِ مَا أَصَابَهُمُ الْقَرْحُ ۚ
“Those [believers] who responded to Allah and the Messenger after injury had struck them.”
Imam Bukhari recorded that ‘Aishah radhiAllahu ‘anhu said to ‘Urwah about the ayah, “My nephew! Your father az-Zubayr and Abu Bakr were among them. After the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam suffered the calamity at Uhud and the idolaters went back, he feared that the idolaters might try to come back and he said, ‘Who would follow them?’ Seventy men, including az-Zubayr and Abu Bakr, volunteered.”
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala said,
الَّذِينَ قَالَ لَهُمُ النَّاسُ إِنَّ النَّاسَ قَدْ جَمَعُوا لَكُمْ فَاخْشَوْهُمْ فَزَادَهُمْ إِيمَانًا
“Those to whom hypocrites said, ‘Indeed, the people have gathered against you, so fear them.’ But it [merely] increased them in faith…”
It means those who threatened the people, saying that the disbelievers have amassed against them, in order to instill fear in them, but this did not worry them, rather, they trusted in Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala and sought His help. They said, “Sufficient for us is Allah, and [He is] the best Disposer of affairs.”
Imam Bukhari recorded that Ibn ‘Abbas radhiAllahu ‘anhu said,
حَسْبُنَا اللَّهُ وَنِعْمَ الْوَكِيلُ
Sufficient for us is Allah, and [He is] the best Disposer of affairs.
“Ibraheem ‘alayhi salaam said it when he was thrown in the fire. Muhammad salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said it when the people said, ‘Verily, the people have gathered against you, therefore, fear them.’ But it only increased them in faith, and they said, ‘Allah is Sufficient for us and He is the Best Disposer of affairs for us.’”
Abu Bakr Ibn Marduwyah recorded that Anas bin Malik radhiAllahu ‘anhu said that the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was told on the day of Uhud, “Verily, the people have gathered against you, therefore, fear them.” Thereafter, Allah sent down this ayah (3:173).
This is why Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala said,
فَانقَلَبُوا بِنِعْمَةٍ مِّنَ اللَّهِ وَفَضْلٍ لَّمْ يَمْسَسْهُمْ سُوءٌ وَاتَّبَعُوا رِضْوَانَ اللَّهِ ۗ وَاللَّهُ ذُو فَضْلٍ عَظِيمٍ – إِنَّمَا ذَٰلِكُمُ الشَّيْطَانُ يُخَوِّفُ أَوْلِيَاءَهُ فَلَا تَخَافُوهُمْ وَخَافُونِ إِن كُنتُم مُّؤْمِنِينَ
“So they returned with favor from Allah and bounty, no harm having touched them. And they pursued the pleasure of Allah, and Allah is the possessor of great bounty. That is only Shaytan who frightens [you] of his supporters. So fear them not, but fear Me, if you are [indeed] believers.”
When they relied on Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, He took care of their worries. He confounded the plots of their enemies, and the Muslims returned to their land safe from the wicked plots of their enemies
Al-Bayhaqi recorded that Ibn ‘Abbas said the “favor” was that they were saved. The “bounty” was that a caravan passed by and those days were (Hajj) season days. Thus the Messenger of Allah salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam bought and sold and made a profit, which he divided between his Companions radhiAllahu ‘anhum.
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says,
إِنَّمَا ذَٰلِكُمُ الشَّيْطَانُ يُخَوِّفُ أَوْلِيَاءَهُ فَلَا تَخَافُوهُمْ وَخَافُونِ إِن كُنتُم مُّؤْمِنِينَ
“That is only Shaytan who frightens [you] of his supporters. So fear them not, but fear Me, if you are [indeed] believers.”
Shaytan threatens us with his friends and presents them as powerful and fearsome. When such thoughts come to our mind, we should remember that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala is Most Powerful. We should depend on Him and seek refuge in Him.
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala asks in Surah az-Zumar,
أَلَيْسَ اللَّهُ بِكَافٍ عَبْدَهُ ۖ وَيُخَوِّفُونَكَ بِالَّذِينَ مِن دُونِهِ ۚ
“Is not Allah sufficient for His Servant [Prophet Muhammad]? And [yet], they threaten you with those [they worship] other than Him.” (39:36)
قُلْ حَسْبِيَ اللَّهُ ۖ عَلَيْهِ يَتَوَكَّلُ الْمُتَوَكِّلُونَ
“Say, ‘Sufficient for me is Allah ; upon Him [alone] rely the [wise] reliers.’” (39:38)
At another place, He reminds us that the plots of Shaytan are weak,
إِنَّ كَيْدَ الشَّيْطَانِ كَانَ ضَعِيفًا
“Indeed, the plot of Shaytan has ever been weak.”
أُولَٰئِكَ حِزْبُ الشَّيْطَانِ ۚ أَلَا إِنَّ حِزْبَ الشَّيْطَانِ هُمُ الْخَاسِرُونَ
“Those are the party of Satan. Unquestionably, the party of Shaytan – they will be the losers.”
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has decreed that the believers will be victorious so be sincere to the cause of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala.
وَلَيَنصُرَنَّ اللَّهُ مَن يَنصُرُهُ ۗ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَقَوِيٌّ عَزِيزٌ
“And Allah will surely support those who support Him.”
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِن تَنصُرُوا اللَّهَ يَنصُرْكُمْ وَيُثَبِّتْ أَقْدَامَكُمْ
“O you who have believed, if you support Allah, He will support you and plant firmly your feet.”
[Surah Muhammad 47:7]
We learn that indeed, the Sahabah radhiAllahu ‘anhum were the true believers. After enduring loss and injuries in the Battle of Uhud when they were called again to fight in the way of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, they got ready immediately. Such is a true Muslim! S/he displays by her/his conduct that whenever the call for striving in the path of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala will come they will neither procrastinate nor come up with excuses.
We learn that fear is from Shaytan. He doesn’t want us to be successful, therefore, he fills up our hearts with everything that we are afraid of. Remember that sadness, depression and anxiety is also from Shaytan. Therefore, it is a Sunnah to seek refuge from these illnesses every day.
If a true believer relies upon Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala nothing can harm him. Remembrance and consciousness of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala are our shields against the traps of Shaytan. Therefore, do not fear him or his allies but fix your matter with your Creator. Remember to recite the phrase in the ayah whenever you sense fear, (Sufficient for me is Allah…).
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