مَثَلُ مَا یُنۡفِقُوۡنَ فِیۡ ہٰذِہِ الۡحَیٰوۃِ الدُّنۡیَا کَمَثَلِ رِیۡحٍ فِیۡہَا صِرٌّ اَصَابَتۡ حَرۡثَ قَوۡمٍ ظَلَمُوۡۤا اَنۡفُسَہُمۡ فَاَہۡلَکَتۡہُ ؕ وَ مَا ظَلَمَہُمُ اللّٰہُ وَ لٰکِنۡ اَنۡفُسَہُمۡ یَظۡلِمُوۡنَ ﴿۱۱۸﴾
مَثَلُ مَا يُنفِقُونَ فِي هَٰذِهِ ٱلۡحَيَوٰةِ ٱلدُّنۡيَا كَمَثَلِ رِيحٖ فِيهَا صِرٌّ أَصَابَتۡ حَرۡثَ قَوۡمٖ ظَلَمُوٓاْ أَنفُسَهُمۡ فَأَهۡلَكَتۡهُۚ وَمَا ظَلَمَهُمُ ٱللَّهُ وَلَٰكِنۡ أَنفُسَهُمۡ يَظۡلِمُونَ
a. 10:25; 68:18-21. (close)
461. The idea underlying this verse is that the efforts of the disbelievers against Islam will recoil on themselves. Whatever they do or spend with a view to injuring the cause of Islam will only injure themselves. (close)
b. 10:25; 68:18-21. (close)
402. Important Words:
صر (intense cold). They say صر الباب i.e. the door made a sound or a creaking sound. صر الطائر means, the bird (hawk or falcon) uttered its cry. صر means, it (plant) became smitten with intense cold; or he (a person) had an iron collar put round his neck. So صر means: (1) intense cold; (2) cold that smites the herbage and destroys it; (3) sound or noise; (4) a wind with an excessively loud sound; (5) fire (Lane & Lisan).
The idea underlying this verse is that the efforts of the disbelievers against Islam will react only against themselves. Whatever they do and whatever they spend with a view to injuring or destroying Islam will only injure the disbelievers themselves. God sent Islam for the good of the people, but by rejecting it they are bringing about their own ruin. (close)
یٰۤاَیُّہَا الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا لَا تَتَّخِذُوۡا بِطَانَۃً مِّنۡ دُوۡنِکُمۡ لَا یَاۡلُوۡنَکُمۡ خَبَالًا ؕ وَدُّوۡا مَا عَنِتُّمۡ ۚ قَدۡ بَدَتِ الۡبَغۡضَآءُ مِنۡ اَفۡوَاہِہِمۡ ۚۖ وَ مَا تُخۡفِیۡ صُدُوۡرُہُمۡ اَکۡبَرُ ؕ قَدۡ بَیَّنَّا لَکُمُ الۡاٰیٰتِ اِنۡ کُنۡتُمۡ تَعۡقِلُوۡنَ ﴿۱۱۹﴾
يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ لَا تَتَّخِذُواْ بِطَانَةٗ مِّن دُونِكُمۡ لَا يَأۡلُونَكُمۡ خَبَالٗا وَدُّواْ مَا عَنِتُّمۡ قَدۡ بَدَتِ ٱلۡبَغۡضَآءُ مِنۡ أَفۡوَٰهِهِمۡ وَمَا تُخۡفِي صُدُورُهُمۡ أَكۡبَرُۚ قَدۡ بَيَّنَّا لَكُمُ ٱلۡأٓيَٰتِۖ إِن كُنتُمۡ تَعۡقِلُونَ
b. 3:21; 4:140, 145. (close)
c. 9:47. (close)
462. Khabal means, corruption whether of body or reason or actions; loss or deterioration; ruin or destruction; fatal poison (Aqrab). (close)
463. They love to see you fall into calamity or misfortune; to perish or to become weak and broken; or they love to see that you deviate from the path of righteousness and take to a life of sin. (close)
a. 3:29; 4:140, 145. (close)
b. 9:47. (close)
403. Important Words:
بطانة (intimate friends) is derived from بطن i.e. it was or became hidden. بطانة means a lining; an inner vest; a close and intimate friend or friends; a friend or friends to whom one reveals one’s secrets (Aqrab).
خبالا (corruption) is derived from خبل. They say خبله i.e. he made him or it corrupt or evil. خبله الحزن means, the grief affected and vitiated his reason. خبل الرجل عن کذا means, he confined the man and prevented him from it. خبالا means, corruption or bad condition whether of body or reason or actions; loss or deterioration; ruin or destruction; fatal poison (Aqrab).
عنتم (in trouble) is derived from عنت. They say عنت الشیء i.e. the thing became bad or corrupt. عنت فلان means, misfortune befell him and he got into trouble. عنت زید means Zaid met with a calamity and was ruined. عنت العظم means, the bone became weak and broke after it was in a good condition. عنت الرجل means, the man committed a sin (Aqrab). See also 2:221.
The words لایالونکم خبالا rendered as, they will not fail to corrupt you, may also mean: (1) they have no scruple in ruining you; (2) they leave no stone unturned to spoil your work; (3) they will do what they can to corrupt your religion; (4) they are always busy injuring you.
The words ودوا ما عنتم (they love to see you in trouble) may, in the light of the meanings given under Important Words above, mean: (1) they love to see you fall into calamity and misfortune; (2) they love to see you perish; (3) they love to see you become weak and broken; (4) they love to see you become sinful.
Obviously, this verse refers to avoiding such non-Muslims only as are at war with Muslims or such as seek to injure Islam in any other way. It does not require Muslims to have absolutely no relations with any non-Muslim. Elsewhere, the Quran says:
Allah forbids you not respecting those who have not fought against you on account of your religion and who have not driven you out from your homes, that you be kind to them and deal equitably with them. Surely Allah loves those who are equitable (60:9). (close)
ہٰۤاَنۡتُمۡ اُولَآءِ تُحِبُّوۡنَہُمۡ وَ لَا یُحِبُّوۡنَکُمۡ وَ تُؤۡمِنُوۡنَ بِالۡکِتٰبِ کُلِّہٖ ۚ وَ اِذَا لَقُوۡکُمۡ قَالُوۡۤا اٰمَنَّا ۚ٭ۖ وَ اِذَا خَلَوۡا عَضُّوۡا عَلَیۡکُمُ الۡاَنَامِلَ مِنَ الۡغَیۡظِ ؕ قُلۡ مُوۡتُوۡا بِغَیۡظِکُمۡ ؕ اِنَّ اللّٰہَ عَلِیۡمٌۢ بِذَاتِ الصُّدُوۡرِ ﴿۱۲۰﴾
هَـٰٓأَنتُمۡ أُوْلَآءِ تُحِبُّونَهُمۡ وَلَا يُحِبُّونَكُمۡ وَتُؤۡمِنُونَ بِٱلۡكِتَٰبِ كُلِّهِۦ وَإِذَا لَقُوكُمۡ قَالُوٓاْ ءَامَنَّا وَإِذَا خَلَوۡاْ عَضُّواْ عَلَيۡكُمُ ٱلۡأَنَامِلَ مِنَ ٱلۡغَيۡظِۚ قُلۡ مُوتُواْ بِغَيۡظِكُمۡۗ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ عَلِيمُۢ بِذَاتِ ٱلصُّدُورِ
d. 2:15, 77; 5:62. (close)
464. As borne out by the context, the words "while they do not believe in the Book, all of it" or similar words should be taken to be understood after the words, you believe in the Book, all of it. (close)
465. The words, Perish in your rage, have been addressed to such Jews as are the enemies of Islam and seek to destroy it. (close)
a. 2:15, 77; 5:62. (close)
As borne out by the context, words like "and they do not believe in all the Book" must be taken to be understood after the words, you believe in all the Book.
The words, perish in your rage, have been addressed to such Jews as are the enemies of Islam and seek to destroy it. The words are meant as a rebuke. When every effort has been made to reform them, and they would not listen, then they should suffer the consequence of their blind hostility. (close)
اِنۡ تَمۡسَسۡکُمۡ حَسَنَۃٌ تَسُؤۡہُمۡ ۫ وَ اِنۡ تُصِبۡکُمۡ سَیِّئَۃٌ یَّفۡرَحُوۡا بِہَا ؕ وَ اِنۡ تَصۡبِرُوۡا وَ تَتَّقُوۡا لَا یَضُرُّکُمۡ کَیۡدُہُمۡ شَیۡـًٔا ؕ اِنَّ اللّٰہَ بِمَا یَعۡمَلُوۡنَ مُحِیۡطٌ ﴿۱۲۱﴾٪
إِن تَمۡسَسۡكُمۡ حَسَنَةٞ تَسُؤۡهُمۡ وَإِن تُصِبۡكُمۡ سَيِّئَةٞ يَفۡرَحُواْ بِهَاۖ وَإِن تَصۡبِرُواْ وَتَتَّقُواْ لَا يَضُرُّكُمۡ كَيۡدُهُمۡ شَيۡـًٔاۗ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ بِمَا يَعۡمَلُونَ مُحِيطٞ
a. 9:50. (close)
466. God will bring to naught all their doings and will destroy them. Muslims should not therefore fear them. All machinations of the enemies of Islam are known to God, and He will frustrate them. (close)
b. 9:50. (close)
The enemies of Islam, both open and secret, are grieved to see the success of believers and try to minimize it. But when Muslims meet with some failure, they rejoice and try to exaggerate it. Their object is to dishearten and discourage believers.
The words, Allah encompasses their deeds, signify that God will bring to nought all their doings and destroy them. Muslims should not, therefore, fear them. All machinations of the enemies of Islam are known to God, Who will frustrate them. (close)
وَ اِذۡ غَدَوۡتَ مِنۡ اَہۡلِکَ تُبَوِّیٴُ الۡمُؤۡمِنِیۡنَ مَقَاعِدَ لِلۡقِتَالِ ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ سَمِیۡعٌ عَلِیۡمٌ ﴿۱۲۲﴾ۙ
وَإِذۡ غَدَوۡتَ مِنۡ أَهۡلِكَ تُبَوِّئُ ٱلۡمُؤۡمِنِينَ مَقَٰعِدَ لِلۡقِتَالِۗ وَٱللَّهُ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ
467. The reference is to the Battle of Uhud. In order to wipe out the humiliation of their defeat at Badr, the Quraish of Mecca, in the third year of the Hijrah marched against Medina with a well-equipped army of 3,000 seasoned warriors. Much against his own wish the Holy Prophet with a force of 1,000 including 300 followers of ‘Abdullah b. Ubayy, the notorious Hypocrite who afterwards defected, marched out of Medina to meet the enemy. The encounter took place near Uhud. (close)
In the preceding verses Muslims have been taught the lesson of patience, perseverance, and righteousness. If they act upon it, they will succeed and no enemy can injure them. Now the same lesson is brought home to them by an illustration from their current history.
The verse refers to the important Battle of Uhud, which was fought in the third year of Hijrah. After sustaining a crushing defeat at Badr, the Quraish of Mecca began to make preparations in earnest for another attack on the Holy Prophet and his followers at Medina. Accordingly, next year a well-equipped army of 3,000 warriors marched against Medina under the leadership of Abu Sufyan. When the Holy Prophet heard of it, he consulted his Companions as to the best way of meeting the enemy. The majority of the older Companions were of the opinion that they should remain in the city and defend themselves. ‘Abdullah bin Ubayy bin Salul, leader of the Hypocrites, was also of the same opinion. The Holy Prophet also held the same view. He had seen in a dream that the Muslim army had suffered a loss, although it had also inflicted loss on the enemy. So he desired to remain in the city and there wait for the enemy. But the majority of his followers, mostly young men and such of the older people as had not taken part in the Battle of Badr, were eager to march out of Medina and meet the enemy in pitched battle. The Holy Prophet respected the wishes of the majority and decided to march out. Later, however, the majority thought better of the matter and veered round to the opinion of the Holy Prophet. But now the Holy Prophet refused to change his mind, saying that it did not behove a Prophet of God to put down his armour after he had once put it on till God decided between him and the enemy. So he marched out of Medina with a force of 1,000 men. A large party of Jews, who were apparently in alliance with the Muslims, wished to join him. But the Holy Prophet did not accept their help. They were a treacherous people and God had just warned him against them, saying, They will not fail to corrupt you; they love to see you in trouble (3:119).
When the Holy Prophet had proceeded some distance, ‘Abdullah bin Ubayy, leader of the Hypocrites, deserted and returned to Medina on the pretext that his advice to stay in Medina had been ignored and that the help of the Jews, whom he had brought as reinforcement, had also been rejected. This reduced the Muslim army to only 700 men. At this sudden defection on the part of ‘Abdullah, a tribe from the Khazraj called Banu Harithah, and a tribe from the Aus called Banu Salmah, in spite of being sincere Muslims, showed signs of wavering and thought of deserting, but God saved them from such defection (3:123).
On entering the valley of Uhud, the Holy Prophet arrayed his men in battle order with their backs towards the hill and their faces towards Medina. As a further precaution, he stationed 50 archers at a certain point on the hill in the rear of the Muslim army under the leadership of ‘Abdullah bin Jubair, with express orders not to quit the place until so ordered by the Prophet himself, even if they saw the Meccans fleeing before the Muslim or even if they saw the Muslims being defeated and their bodies eaten by birds.
As was the custom in Arabia, the battle commenced with single combats, resulting in the death of several disbelievers and some Muslims. Then the enemy made a general assault, which was repeated thrice, and each time they were completely repulsed. The battle waged hot, but at last the enemy force broke and they were forced to flee, pursued by the Muslims, so much so that some of the latter began to collect the booty.
When the party stationed on the hill in the rear of the army saw this, they thought of leaving their position, thinking that as the battle was over the object of the Holy Prophet’s command was fulfilled and their presence on the hill was no longer needed. Their leader remonstrated with them and asked them to stick to the place in obedience to the Holy Prophet’s command. But they paid no heed to his words and left the place. A few, however, remained behind with him on the hill. Khalid bin Walid, who was among the disbelievers, having not yet embraced Islam, at once saw his opportunity and with a party of disbelievers attacked and killed the few men with their leader who had remained behind, and fell on the Muslims from the rear. Seeing this, the fleeing Meccans also took heart and returned to the attack, and in the confusion that followed someone mischievously shouted that the Prophet had been killed. This disheartened the believers, some of whom fled to Medina, and others left the battlefield, overwhelmed with grief at the supposed death of their Holy Master. Many, however, not desiring to live when the Prophet was dead, rushed into the ranks of the enemy and died fighting bravely.
The confusion was so complete that the Holy Prophet was at one time left with only twelve Companions; at another time, he had only two Companions with him and was thus practically left all alone. All this time, he was the centre of the enemy’s attacks, but the few Companions that stood by him shielded him with their bodies and, standing like statues of stone, received all the arrows and all the blows on their bodies which became pierced like sieves. But they did not swerve even by the fraction of an inch from their place lest by so doing they should expose the body of the Holy Prophet. Whenever anyone of them fell, his place was promptly taken by another. The Holy Prophet was also wounded. One of his teeth was broken by a stone and a ring of his helmet was smashed into his face by a ruthless blow. When the Companions who still remained in or near the battlefield learned that their Master was alive, a section of them gathered round him and, repelling the attacks of the enemy, slowly took him to a safe place on the hillside. Then the enemy withdrew. More than seventy of the Companions fell in the battle, including Hamzah, the valiant uncle of the Holy Prophet; and many were wounded. But as later events showed, this calamity, however great in itself, did not prove a check to the forward march of Islam. The rest of the battle is described in the succeeding verses. (close)
اِذۡ ہَمَّتۡ طَّآئِفَتٰنِ مِنۡکُمۡ اَنۡ تَفۡشَلَا ۙ وَ اللّٰہُ وَلِیُّہُمَا ؕ وَ عَلَی اللّٰہِ فَلۡیَتَوَکَّلِ الۡمُؤۡمِنُوۡنَ ﴿۱۲۳﴾
إِذۡ هَمَّت طَّآئِفَتَانِ مِنكُمۡ أَن تَفۡشَلَا وَٱللَّهُ وَلِيُّهُمَاۗ وَعَلَى ٱللَّهِ فَلۡيَتَوَكَّلِ ٱلۡمُؤۡمِنُونَ
468. The two parties were the two tribes of Banu Salimah and Banu Harithah, belonging respectively to Khazraj and Aus (Bukhari, Kitabul- Maghazi). The verse indicates that they did not actually show cowardice, but seeing that by the defection of ‘Abdullah’s 300 followers, the small Muslim army had been further greatly depleted, they only thought of deserting but in fact did not do so. (close)
407. Important Words:
یتوکل (should rely) is derived from وکل (wakala). They say وکل الیه الامر i.e. he left the matter to him for disposal as he might think fit. وکله بكذا (wakkalahu) means, he appointed him his وکیل or agent for the disposal or management of such and such a matter. توکل بالامر means, he became responsible, or accepted responsibility, for the management of the affair. توکل علی الله means, he relied on God; he put his trust in Him; he submitted himself to Him. The infinitive noun توکل signifies relying on, and trusting in, God alone, to the exclusion of worldly means (Aqrab & Lane).
The two groups mentioned here were, as stated above, the two tribes of Banu Salmah and Banu Harithah, belonging respectively to Aus and Khazraj. Their idea of returning (referred to in the note under the preceding verse) was not due to any doubt on their part with regard to the truth of Islam, but was merely due to weakness born of attending circumstances. But as they were sincere believers, God saved them from yielding to this weakness. See also note on 3:122.
The clause, upon Allah should the believers rely, does not mean that a Muslim should neglect material means and confine himself to praying to God and waiting for His help. This is a misguided conception of توکل (trusting in God) which finds no support in Islamic teachings. What Islam teaches is this, that true believer should use all the available means of attaining an object but should, at the same time, not rely upon them. He should trust in God alone looking upon worldly means as only being effective under the will of God. "Tie the knees of your camel and then trust in God", says the Holy Prophet—an extremely difficult position but nevertheless the only right way of demonstrating true faith in God! (close)
وَ لَقَدۡ نَصَرَکُمُ اللّٰہُ بِبَدۡرٍ وَّ اَنۡتُمۡ اَذِلَّۃٌ ۚ فَاتَّقُوا اللّٰہَ لَعَلَّکُمۡ تَشۡکُرُوۡنَ ﴿۱۲۴﴾
وَلَقَدۡ نَصَرَكُمُ ٱللَّهُ بِبَدۡرٖ وَأَنتُمۡ أَذِلَّةٞۖ فَٱتَّقُواْ ٱللَّهَ لَعَلَّكُمۡ تَشۡكُرُونَ
a. 8:8, 11; 9:25. (close)
469. Badr is the name of a place on the route between Mecca and Medina. It takes its name from a spring which belonged to a man named Badr. The Battle of Badr referred to here took place near this place. (close)
b. 2:250. (close)
a. 8:8, 11; 9:25. (close)
b. 2:250. (close)
408. Important Words:
بدر (Badr) literally means the full moon. The verb form بدر from which the noun-form is derived gives the sense of making haste. They say بدر الی الشیء i.e. he hastened towards it. Badr, in the sense of full moon, is so called because it hastens to rise before the sun sets and to set before the sun rises. Badr is also the name of a place on the route between Mecca and Medina. It takes its name from a spring which belonged to a man named Badr. The Battle of Badr referred to here took place near this place.
These words are addressed to Muslims through the Holy Prophet, who actually used them after the Battle of Uhud. They remind the Faithful that God had granted them victory at Badr while they were much weaker than at the time of the Battle of Uhud, because they behaved obediently, patiently and God-fearingly on that occasion. So the setback at Uhud was due to their own weakness and the disobedience, though not quite intentional, which some of them showed to their Master. But the words also imply a promise of help in future if the Muslims repent of their mistake and behave like true believers. (close)
اِذۡ تَقُوۡلُ لِلۡمُؤۡمِنِیۡنَ اَلَنۡ یَّکۡفِیَکُمۡ اَنۡ یُّمِدَّکُمۡ رَبُّکُمۡ بِثَلٰثَۃِ اٰلٰفٍ مِّنَ الۡمَلٰٓئِکَۃِ مُنۡزَلِیۡنَ ﴿۱۲۵﴾ؕ
إِذۡ تَقُولُ لِلۡمُؤۡمِنِينَ أَلَن يَكۡفِيَكُمۡ أَن يُمِدَّكُمۡ رَبُّكُم بِثَلَٰثَةِ ءَالَٰفٖ مِّنَ ٱلۡمَلَـٰٓئِكَةِ مُنزَلِينَ
c. 8:10. (close)
470. As mistakenly understood these words do not refer to the Battle of Badr which has been mentioned in the preceding verse only incidentally in order to cite an illustration of how God helped the steadfast Muslims in time of danger. The number of angels sent at the Battle of Badr was, according to 8:10, one thousand as the number of the enemy was then one thousand. In the Battle of Uhud the number of the enemy was 3,000, so the Muslims were also promised the help of 3,000 angels. The fulfilment of the present promise is referred to in 3:153. (close)
The verse means that if the Meccans made another attack upon Muslims sometime after Uhud, God would help the latter by sending down a force of three thousand angels. It is a mistake to think that these words refer to the Battle of Badr which has been mentioned in the preceding verse only incidentally in order to cite an illustration of how God helped steadfast Muslims in times of danger. Moreover, the number of angels sent at the Battle of Badr was, according to 8:10, one thousand and not three thousand, as here stated. The fulfilment of the present promise is referred to in 3:152 below. (close)
بَلٰۤی ۙ اِنۡ تَصۡبِرُوۡا وَ تَتَّقُوۡا وَ یَاۡتُوۡکُمۡ مِّنۡ فَوۡرِہِمۡ ہٰذَا یُمۡدِدۡکُمۡ رَبُّکُمۡ بِخَمۡسَۃِ اٰلٰفٍ مِّنَ الۡمَلٰٓئِکَۃِ مُسَوِّمِیۡنَ ﴿۱۲۶﴾
بَلَىٰٓۚ إِن تَصۡبِرُواْ وَتَتَّقُواْ وَيَأۡتُوكُم مِّن فَوۡرِهِمۡ هَٰذَا يُمۡدِدۡكُمۡ رَبُّكُم بِخَمۡسَةِ ءَالَٰفٖ مِّنَ ٱلۡمَلَـٰٓئِكَةِ مُسَوِّمِينَ
471. The word bala also denotes a connection between the verses and supplies the answer to the question in 3:125, viz. Will it not suffice you? Thus the meaning would be: "Yes, it will suffice us, and so will suffice a force of 5,000 angels if the enemy were to return to the attack at this very moment." (close)
472. The words signify that if the disbelievers returned to the attack at once, without giving the Muslims any time to recoup themselves, God would help them with 5,000 angels. The difference in the number of angels—in the preceding verse the number mentioned being 3,000—was due to the later greatly weakened condition of the Muslims. They were at that time exhausted and badly mauled and, therefore, needed greater help. After having gone to some distance towards Mecca the Quraish decided to return and attack the Muslims again. When the Holy Prophet came to know of this, on the day following the battle, he gave immediate orders to march and directed that only those of his followers who had taken part in the Battle of Uhud should go with him. The Muslims went as far as Hamra’ul-Asad, a place about eight miles from Medina. The Meccans were, however, so overawed by this unexpectedly bold and prompt appearance of the Holy Prophet and his followers that they decided to retreat hastily to Mecca. This was due to the fear which the angels had cast into their hearts. Otherwise there was no reason for them to flee from Muslims upon whom they had inflicted so heavy a loss only a day before and who, besides being very much reduced in number, were greatly exhausted and were suffering from grievous wounds as a result of the previous day’s fighting. (close)
473. Musawwimin is derived from Sawwama. They say Sawwama ‘Alaihim, i.e. he suddenly and vehemently attacked them and wrought havoc among them (Aqrab). (close)
410. Important Words:
فور (immediately) is derived from فار. They say فار الماء i.e. the water gushed forth from the earth. فارت القدر means, the contents of the cooking pot vehemently boiled and rose high in it. فورة means, the intensity of heat or anger or the like. فورة النھار means, the first part of the day. فور signifies the state or condition that comes without delay. The Arabs say رجع من فوره he returned or turned back immediately without tarrying (Arab).
مسومین (attacking vehemently) is derived from سوم. They say سوم الفرس i.e. he branded the horse with a brand. سوم الخیل means, he let loose the horses for grazing. سوم علیھمmeans, he suddenly and vehemently attacked them and wrought havoc among them (Aqrab). In the verse under comment the word is used in the last-mentioned sense.
The verse signifies that if the disbelievers returned to the attack at once, without giving the Muslims any opportunity to recoup themselves, God would help the latter with five thousand angels. The difference in the number of angels,—in the preceding verse the number mentioned being 3,000—was due to the difference in the condition of the Muslims. They were at that time exhausted and wounded and, therefore, needed greater help than they would have needed, if the enemy attack had been delayed.
The enemy did indeed think of returning, but God prevented them from doing so. Briefly stated, the facts are that when the Quraish were retracing their steps towards Mecca, members of the Arab tribes living in the vicinity of Medina asked them about the results of the battle, and when they declared that they were victorious, these men put them to shame by saying, "If you have been really victorious, where are the spoils? What have you brought from the battlefield?" Touched to the quick by this taunt, the Quraish decided to retrieve their shame by attacking the Muslims once more. When the Holy Prophet came to know of this, on the day following the battle, he gave immediate orders to march and directed that only those of his followers who had taken part in the Battle of Uhud should join him. The Muslims went as far as Hamra’ul-Asad, a place about eight miles from Medina. The Meccans were, however, so overawed by this unexpectedly bold and prompt appearance of the Holy Prophet and his followers that they decided to retreat hastily to Mecca. This was due to the fear which the angels had inspired in their hearts. Otherwise there was no reason for them to flee from an enemy upon whom they had inflicted so heavy a loss only a day before and who, besides being very much reduced in number, were utterly exhausted and were suffering from grievous wounds as a result of the previous day’s fighting.
A recent commentator, having translated the words, من فورھم ھذا as "in headlong manner", has applied them to the Battle of Ahzab. This is not right. The fact is that verses 125 and 126, as already explained, are both connected with the Battle of Uhud and relate to the time immediately following it. The word بلی (yea) occurring in the beginning of the verse also denotes a connection between the verses and supplies the answer to the question in 3:125, viz: will it not suffice you? Thus the word بلی would here mean "yes, it will suffice, and so will suffice a force of 5,000 angels if the enemy were to return to the attack at this very moment." (close)
وَ مَا جَعَلَہُ اللّٰہُ اِلَّا بُشۡرٰی لَکُمۡ وَ لِتَطۡمَئِنَّ قُلُوۡبُکُمۡ بِہٖ ؕ وَ مَا النَّصۡرُ اِلَّا مِنۡ عِنۡدِ اللّٰہِ الۡعَزِیۡزِ الۡحَکِیۡمِ ﴿۱۲۷﴾ۙ
وَمَا جَعَلَهُ ٱللَّهُ إِلَّا بُشۡرَىٰ لَكُمۡ وَلِتَطۡمَئِنَّ قُلُوبُكُم بِهِۦۗ وَمَا ٱلنَّصۡرُ إِلَّا مِنۡ عِندِ ٱللَّهِ ٱلۡعَزِيزِ ٱلۡحَكِيمِ
a. 8:11. (close)
474. The angels helped Muslims on the one hand, by strengthening their hearts, and, on the other, by filling the hearts of their enemies with awe and fear. If God had so willed, a single angel would have been enough to help the Muslims at Uhud, but He promised to send as many as five thousand of them. This constituted a veiled hint that a large number of the hidden forces of nature would work in their favour. It may incidentally be noted that some believers, and even some disbelievers, are reported to have actually seen angels in the Battle of Badr (Jarir, iv. 47). See also 8:10. (close)
The verse is intended to warn Muslims against treating angels as gods or even as an independent source of help. Help comes from Allah alone; angels are entirely subservient to Him and do nothing by their own will. They come only by the command of God and do only what God commands them. The way in which angels help men is that they strengthen their hearts and fill their enemies with awe and fear. If God had so willed, a single angel would have been enough to help the Muslims, but He promised to send as many as five thousand angels in order to cheer and strengthen their hearts and to hint that a very large number of the hidden forces of nature were working in their favour. For the work and duties of angels, see 2:31.
It may incidentally be noted here that some believers, and even some disbelievers, are reported to have actually seen the angels at the Battle of Badr (Jarir, iv. 47). See also 8:11. (close)