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Surah Nasr, Chapter 110

(Help)
Number of Verses: 3

Contents of the Surah

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ

In The Name of Allah, The Beneficent, The Merciful

This Surah was revealed at Medina after the migration of the Prophet (S) from Mecca to Medina. It contains the glad tidings of a great victory for Islam, after which, people, in droves, flocked to the banner of Islam.

Then, to thank Allah for that great gift, the holy Prophet (S) is invited to

'glorify'

and

'praise'

Allah, and to pray for His

'forgiveness'.

There were many victories for Islam, but no triumph was as important as the bloodless conquest of Mecca, especially the Arabs believed, according to some narrations, that if the Prophet of Islam (S) could conquer and capture Mecca, then, it was a sign of his legitimacy because if he were not right, Allah would not let him do so, as He did not allow Abrahah and his great force to destroy the Ka'ba. It was for this reason that the Arab pagans entered Islam, in groups, after the conquest of Mecca.

Some have said that this Surah was revealed alongside the 'Hadibiyyah Peace'; six years after migration and two years before the conquest of Mecca.

But, it is completely improbable to say, (as some have said), that it was revealed at the time of the farewell Pilgrimage after the conquest of Mecca, in the year 10 A.H. because, the ideas involved in the Surah, which inform of the incidents regarding the future, not the past, do not fit with this meaning.

One of the names of this Surah is /taudi'/ ‘leave-taking',” because it implicitly implicates the death of the Prophet (S).

A tradition indicates that when this Surah was revealed and the holy Prophet (S) recited it to the followers, they all became happy, but Abbas, the uncle of the holy Prophet (S), began shedding tears. The holy Prophet (S) asked him why he was crying. He answered that he supposed the Surah contained the implication of the Prophet's death.

And he (S) said:

"It is so, my uncle"1

The commentators are divided on how this meaning is understood, from the Surah, when there is nothing apparent in it to imply the idea. The Surah is wholly about the victory, and it seems that the Prophetic mission of the holy Prophet (S) is completely fulfilled and his religion is fixed. It is clear that in such a case the departure of the Prophet (S) from this fleeting world to the next, eternal world, is completely predictable.

The Virtue of Studying this Surah

A tradition from the holy Prophet (S) says:

"He who recites it (Surah Nasr), it is the same as if he had been with the Messenger of Allah (S) at the conquest of Mecca". 2

Another tradition from Imam Sadiq (as) says:

"He who recites Surah Nasr in his optional3 or obligatory prayers, Allah makes him successful in defeating his enemies, totally, and on the Day of Judgement he will come with a letter which talks. Verily Allah has brought him out of his grave with that letter as an immunity from the heat and fire of Hell...”4

It is clear that this virtue and honour is for the person who, with reciting it, follows the way of the Messenger of Allah (S) and practices his religion and his tradition, not only suffices its recitation with the tongue.

Surah Nasr, Verses 1-3

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ

In The Name of Allah, The Beneficent, The Merciful

إِذَا جَاء نَصْرُ اللَّهِ وَالْفَتْحُ

وَرَأَيْتَ النَّاسَ يَدْخُلُونَ فِي دِينِ اللَّهِ أَفْوَاجًا

فَسَبِّحْ بِحَمْدِ رَبِّكَ وَاسْتَغْفِرْهُ إِنَّهُ كَانَ تَوَّابًا

1. “When there comes the help of Allah and victory",
2. “And you see people entering Allah's religion in multitudes",
3. “Then celebrate the praise of your Lord and seek His forgiveness, (for) surely He is Oft-returning (to mercy)”.

Allah's Help Brings Multitudes to Allah's Religion

"When there comes the help of Allah and victory",
"And you see people entering Allah's religion in multitudes".
“Then celebrate the praise of your Lord and seek His forgiveness, (for) surely He is Oft-returning (to mercy)”.

In these three short, but, expressive verses, there are some elegant, elaborations whose careful observation helps us to understand the final goal of the Surah.

In the first verse, it says that the victory belongs to Allah.

It is not only in this occurence that this meaning is mentioned, but, in many other verses of the Qur'an the idea is reflected, including Surah Baqarah, No. 2, verse 214:

“...Ah! Verily the help of Allah is, (always) near!";

and Surah Al-'Imran, No. 3, verse 126; and also Surah Anfal, No. 8, verse 10, says:

“...there is no help except from Allah...”

It is true that preparation and supplying forces are necessary for defeating the enemy, but a believing person knows the victory comes only from Allah, and for the same reason when victory comes he does not become deluded or proud, but thanks and praises Allah...

In this Surah, the words are about, at first, the help of Allah, then, the victory, and then, the influence and spread of Islam, and finally, the entering of people, in groups, into the religion of Allah. All of them are causes and effects for each other.

Victory is absent unless there is the help of Allah, and people do not enter Islam in multitudes unless there is triumph and victory in order to remove the barriers and hindrances from the way. Of course, along with these stages, each of which is a great, divine blessing, the stage of being thankful and praising Allah; comes forth.

On the other hand, the help of Allah; and the victory are all for the final goal, i.e., people entering Allah's religion in multitudes, and guidance for all.

Victory, here is stated in general, and with some evidences that were mentioned before, the purpose is, undoubtedly, the conquest of Mecca which had such a wide effect and verily, the conquest of Mecca introduced a new chapter in the history of Islam, because the main center of polytheism was disturbed; idols were destroyed; the hope of the idol worshippers changed into disappointment; and the barriers in the way of people's faith in Islam were removed.

That is why the conquest of Mecca should be considered as a stage of the settlement of Islam in Arabia and then, in the world. It was after the conquest of Mecca that no opposition from the pagans was seen (except once, which was quickly controlled) and people from all parts of Arabia came to the holy Prophet (S) to accept Islam.

There are three important instructions, in the verse, given to the holy Prophet (S) (and naturally to all believers) which are, in fact, a gratitude for this great victory and an appropriate response to the help of Allah: the instructions of celebrating, praising, and seeking His forgiveness.

This great victory caused the polytheistic thoughts to disappear; the perfection and beauty of Allah to become more clear; and those who had lost the right way to return to the truth.

Further, it is possible that at the time of victory, some disgraceful behaviour appears in a person and he becomes involved in pride and self-conceit, or tries to take revenge and clear the personal accounts against his enemy.

These three instructions train him 'to remember the attributes of perfection and the beauty of Allah at the sensitive moments of victory'; and 'to know all of the effects from Him'; and 'to seek His forgiveness in order to both remove pride and negligence from himself; and avoid revengefulness'.

It is certain that the holy Prophet (S) of Islam, like all other prophets (a.s.), was sinless; then what is the instruction of seeking His forgiveness for?

To answer this question, it should be said that this is a model for the whole community, and on the part of a sinless, infallible one like the holy Prophet (S) and his Ahlul-Bait (as) who have already been purified by the Lord, Himself5 will mean seeking further grace and greater blessings or futher protection of the Lord against the forces of Satan.

Here, /istiqfar/ means holy Prophet's beseeching the protection of the Lord, for himself and his followers, against the forces of evil, and seeking pardon of the Lord on behalf of his faithful adherents who, might have been prey of human weakness, as did Moses for his people who had yielded to the worship of the calf.

The phrase

/innahu kana tawwaba/ ‘surely, He is Oft-retuming (to mercy)’

is the statement of reason in proportion to 'seeking forgiveness', that is, seek forgiveness and repent because Allah is Oft-returning (merciful)’.

By the way, it may also refer to the meaning that 'when Allah accepts your repentance, you, too, should accept the repentance of the guilty after victory, as far as you can, and do not repulse them from yourselves as long as there is no sign of offence or plot coming from them.’ So, the holy Prophet (S), himself, on the event of the conquest of Mecca, showed the feature of Islamic grace and mercy to his defeated, hostile enemies at its highest standard.

It was not only the holy Prophet (S) who celebrated Allah's grace and glory on his final victory against his enemies, but all prophets throughout history also did so.

For example, when Joseph (as) became exalted in Egypt and his parents and his brothers succeeded in seeing him after a very long time, he said:

"O my Lord! Thou hast indeed bestowed on me some power, and taught me something of the interpretation of dreams and events, O Thou Creator of the heavens and the earth! Thou art my Protector in the world and in the Hereafter. Take Thou my soul (at death) as one submitting to Thy Will (as a Muslim), and unite me with the righteous"6.

Or, when Solomon (as) saw the throne of Bilqis (Queen of Sheba) ready before him, he said:

“...this is by the grace of my Lord! -to test me whether I am grateful or ungrateful!...”7.

The conquest of Mecca was the greatest victory. After that conquest, whole tribes from all parts of Arabia gave their allegiance to the holy Prophet (S), collectively, and before his earthly ministry was finished, the ground was prepared for the introduction of Islam to the world.

What was the lesson to be learned from this episode in world history? It was not about Man's self-glory, but humility; not power, but, service; not an appeal to Man's selfishness or self-sufficiency, but, a realization of Allah's Grace and Mercy, and the abundant outpouring of Allah's Praises in word and conduct.

Supplication

O Lord! You are able to give that glory back, again, to Muslims under the light of following the traditions of the Apostle.

O Lord! Set us among the true advocates of the Messenger of Islam.

O Lord! Bestow on us such a success that we can spread Islamic Justice in the world so that the people of the world eagerly accept it in multitudes.

  • 1. Majma'-al-Bayan, vol. 10, p. 554. (also see Al-Mizan, vol. 20, p. 532. )
  • 2. Majma'-al-Bayan, vol. 10, p. 553.
  • 3. See footnote 1 in Surah Ma'un, page 249, of this volume.
  • 4. Majma'-al-Bayan, vol. 10, 553.
  • 5. 33:33
  • 6. Surah Yusuf, No. 12, verse 101
  • 7. Surah 'Naml. No 27, verse 40

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