Thank you for your question. The purport of the verse is that the result of struggle and strife in the way of Allah, be that military, against satan or against the lower self, is an increase in guidance on the pathways that lead to God.
May you always be successful
In addition to what has been said, my understanding of this verse is with respect to the meaning of "wali/awliya" as putting one's self under someone else's authority. That is, one should not put one's self under the authority (in the sense of dependence or giving over power of one's self to someone else, e.g. politically, financially, personally) of someone who is not Muslim in such a way that one loses control over one's life or society and cannot easily recover it.
To my understanding, one of the principles of the early Muslim community was self-definition and self-sufficiency. It doesn't mean that one cannot be friends; friendship is different from disempowerment. To see the results of political or economic disempowerment, one can look at what happened during the colonialist era as an instructive example. (I am not saying that European colonialism was a morally Christian act, but just that this is how these dynamics can play out in the real world)
I would like to add that, in this day and age, no one would argue the reverse; that is, none of the Western countries (which are somehow connected to the Christian heritage even if they are not necessarily "Christian") woud put themselves under the political, legal, financial, or cultural authority of Muslims, yet no one says that this is prejudiced.
The verse that you have asked about is often used by some anti-Islam supporters to portray Islam as a hateful and intolerant religion which goes against peaceful co-existence.
They use the verse to say that a Muslim isn’t allowed to be friends with non-Muslims. It is correct that some translations have translated the word ‘Awliya’ - the plural of wali’ - as ‘friends’ but the word wali or awliyah, can have various meanings depending on the context.
Firstly in Islam as we know, marriage is allowed with the people of the book. Therefore it wouldn’t make sense for Allah to command us not be friends with the people of the book and at the same time, allow marriage with them. Is it possible that one may have a Christian or Jewish wife but not be her friend?!
Secondly, when we read history, we find that the prophet Mohammad had (sawa) peaceful interactions with the people of the book as well as friendship.
Extracted from a longer Hadith in Kitāb Al-Tawhīd by Sheikh Saduq, we find the following:
كان لرسول الله صديقان يهوديان
“The Messenger of Allah had two Jewish friends”
This shows us that according to our books, the prophet did in fact have friendship with those from the people of the book. By coupling this hadith with the verse, we would come to realise that the word ‘wali’ must have a different meaning than friend.
When we look into some books of history, we find that according to some reports, this verse was revealed during an incident relating Jews who had breached a covenant with the prophet.
Please read the passage below:
“It is reported that the Messenger of Allah besieged them for six days until finally they surrendered to him. `Abdullah ibn Ubayy came to him and interceded on their behalf saying: “O Apostle of Allah, these are my allies and clients who have defended me against the black and the red (that is, against all kinds of people). They were three hundred armoured soldiers and four hundred without armour. Would you now cut them down all in one morning? By Allah, I can then find no security; rather I dread the turns of for- tunes!” The people of Banu Qaynuqa` were allies of the Khazraj tribe only, and not of the Aws. `Abdullah ibn Ubayy persisted in his entreaties until the Prophet relented and granted him their blood. But seeing the humiliation which they had suffered, the people of Banu Qaynuqa` left Medina altogether and settled in Adhri'at in Syria. Then Allah sent down concerning `Abdullah ibn Ubayy and others of the Khazraj tribe:
O you who have faith, take not the Jews or the Christians as patrons. . . (Qur'an. 5 : 51‐ 52) .”
Source: Beacons of Light: Muhammad, the Prophet and Fatimah az-Zahra’ (the Radiant) a Partial translation of I'lamu 'l Wara bi Alami 'l-Huda of Abu Ali al Fadl ibn al Hasan ibn al Fadl at Tabarsi (c. 468/1076 - 548/1154).
So we see that from this source, a hypocrite from among the companions, tried to intercede for the Jews of Banu Qaynuqa who broke the peace treaty with prophet which was a betrayal. The Prophet allowed this Jewish tribe to reside in Medina on the condition that they do not help enemies against the Muslims; despite this, they still broke their agreement.
From this source it shows that Allah revealed this verse to rebuke the hypocrite Abdullah bin Ubay who took these people as his allies and his protective guardians. He relied on them and had a type of attachment towards them over the prophet and Muslims.
This leads us understand that if we take the verse to mean friends, it would indicate those from them who Muslims have conflicts with, and not regular people from Ahlul kitab.
However from the context of the historical report, it seems that the correct translation could be the following:
O you who have faith, take not the Jews or the Christians as patrons or protective guardians. . . (Qur'an. 5 : 51‐ 52)
Also it could be possible for a Muslim to be forbidden from friendship with some other Muslims. For example if they would lead him astray or to an immoral path, he must not be friends with them despite them being Muslims. So this isn’t discriminatory and restricted to only people of the book.
If a Muslim was to have a Christian friend for example, who he may study with or partake in sports with etc, then this would be permitted providing that this person wouldn’t lead him down an immoral path or a deviated path. How many times have we found ourselves around Christians who held better moral traits than Muslims although they are upon Batil?
Also to mention, it is better for someone to take mu’minin as friends as this will lead them to become stronger in iman and prevent them from haram things.
It should be noted that the book above, also contains reports from non-Shia reported Seerah of the prophet. This is due to the Shia losing many books by having them burnt by the enemies, so the above opinion is a possible exegesis for the verse and not 100% definite. Allah swt knows best and the full explanation of the Quran will be with us when Imam Mahdi (May Allah hasten his reappearance) returns.
What we do know for certain, is that it wouldn’t mean friends in the absolute sense as the Prophet had two Jewish friends as reported in our sources. As we know, the Prophet Mohammad (sawa) is of course our role model who we try to imitate. If he showed friendship and kindness towards the non-Muslims, we may also take this example.
May Allah grant you success
Simple search in Sunni books of Hadeeth leads to the fact that all the three whom you named ran away from the Jihad.
1. Abu Bakr:
Al-Haakim Al-Nisaboori who is one of the well known Sunni scholars narrated in his famous book Al-Mustadrak Alal Saheehayn, Volume 3, Page 37 that Abu Bakr ran away.
In Saheeh Bukhari and Dalaa'l Al-Sidq , V. 1, P.362 and Noor Al-Absaar by Shiblanji, P. 87, you find that Umar ran away.
Ibn Katheer (student of Ibn Yatmiyyah) mentioned in his books Al-Bidayah Wal Nihayah V.4, P. 28 that Uthman ran away.
Many other Muslims have also run away from the battles due to weakness in the faith. Only the firm and strong in faith stood fast and never ran away.
Exposing the hypocrites was declared in Quran by their deeds but not by their names. Same was done by the Prophet (SAWA) who did not expose their names.
The Prophet (SAWA) has clearly stated that many of his companions will change and turn back from right path after him then will be sent to hellfire. (Saheeh Bukhari, Hadeeth number 4259
and Saheeh Bukhari, Hadeeth number 6098,
and Saheeh Bukhari , Hadeeth number 6099,
and Saheeh Bukhari, Hadeeth number 6026,
and Saheeh Bukhari, Hadeeth number 6528.
This verse is speaking of whomever one follows in a general sense, whether or not that person is physically near them or they even meet them. So a person's Imam could be the Prophet (S), Imam Mahdi (A), a scholar, or a spiritual leader; or it could be someone else entirely, like a philosopher, author, or political leader. Whoever guides your way of thinking, way of life, and identity, and whomever you obey and associate yourself with and prioritize is your Imam.
"He is the one who placed fire in the green tree, from which you kindle it." (Qur'an 36:80)
(Of course, in any translation, there is always some involvement and interpretation from the translator.)
According to 'Allamah Tabataba'i in Tafsir al-Mizan:
This verse aims to dispel the notion that it is impossible to bring life back to something lifeless. Life and death are two opposites. The response is that this is not possible because God has made green trees, which drip dewdrops, a source of fire which people light. Exegetes say that "tree (shajar)" refers to two specific types of dry, bushy, desert shade-trees called shajara al-markh and shajara al-ʿafār. Their wood is collected while still green. Then, the branch from the markh tree is struck atop the branch of the ʿafār tree, and fire is kindled, by the permission of God. Restoring life to the dead is no more wondrous than kindling fire from a green tree, for both examples involve opposites. [End quote]
Sunni exegetes also have a similar view regarding the two trees that are being referred to.
To my knowledge, Shajara al-markh correponds to Leptadenia pyrotechnica, a brushy, short desert tree found from Senegal to India. Shajara al-ʿafār corresponds to a many-branched shade tree found in Ethiopia, Yemen, and Saudi Arabia, which can grow quite large. The name can be used for several species of tree including Tarchonanthus camphoratus.
Of course, Qur'anic verses can and do have multiple meanings (in hadith, we are told there are layers of meaning). This is the meaning that is most readily apparent from the text.
Qur'an 17:71: The day [when] We will call all people with their imam. And those who are given their book in their right hand are the ones who shall read their books, and they shall not be treated unjustly in the slightest.
as salam alaikum
daily recitation of Qur'an is good for the spiritual and mental development of the child insh'Allah. The supplication of Imam al-Sajjad, peace be upon him, for his children that can be found in the al-Sahifah al-Sajjadiyyah (dua number 25) has some good words for the protection of children from difficulties.
The company with good-hearted people that avoid too much formalities but are able to give real love is also very important in the mentioned case. Be aware of people who do vain talks and spiteful comments but look for people and families who are sincerely committed to the Din of Islam and purity of heart.
With prayers for your success.
Allah (SWT) made their faith firm and steady because they stood firm with faith requirements and did not follow or become friendly with the enemies of Allah even if they were close family to them.
22. You will not find any people who believe in Allâh and the Last Day, making friendship with those who oppose Allâh and His Messenger, even if they were their fathers or their sons or their brothers or their kindred (people). For such (believers) He has confirmed Faith in their hearts, and strengthened them with Rûh (proofs, light and true guidance) from Himself. And He will admit them to Gardens (Paradise) under which rivers flow to dwell therein (forever). Allâh is pleased with them, and they with Him. They are the Party of Allâh. Verily, it is the Party of Allâh that will be the successful.
[Al-Mujadala (58), Verse 22]
There are many aspects of these verses that one could discuss. However, it seems that you may be asking, "Why did Allah ask the angels to prostrate to Adam"?
Common viewpoints are:
(a) this is because of the potential of the human being (of which Adam is the archetype) to overcome their animalistic desires and develop the soul, and thereby excel the angels,
(b) this is because of the role of the human being as khalifah on earth
(c) this is because the Prophet (S), Fatimah al-Zahra (A), and the Imams (A) would be descended from Adam
(d) this was to demonstrate the obedience and humility of the angels before Allah,
(e) this was because many angels have been placed at the service of human beings (for instance, as recording angels),
or (f) this was to test Iblis, who, before that, appeared to be an excellent worshipper; we learn a big lesson from this.
In my view, all the above interpretations are accurate and correct - one does not rule out the other.
You might also be asking, "What does it mean for Allah to blow some of His spirit into the human being?"
Obviously this is not meant to be taken literally (Allah is not a material being with a separate soul).
However what can be said is that Allah instilled the human being with a divine spark that gave the human being qualities such as life, sentience, intellect, curiosity, understanding, artistry, the capability for speech, etc, and that these qualities are earthly reflections of various aspects of the divine. This makes the human being a special and sacred creation and gives the human being a special potential.
According to hadith, if a person is sincere, their repentance can be accepted until the time they see the Angel of Death; or, if they were committing wrong out of ignorance, until the soul leaves the throat. (These times are given in different narrations; perhaps they are reflecting a similar time for the person about to pass on.) However, if they were intentionally doing wrong and expecting to be able to repent for it at the last minute, this option will not be there for them (nor would their repentance be sincere).
This is the idea being Qur'an 4:18 - that people cannot persist in wrongdoing and then expect to get out of it at the last minute. Rather, once they realize they are doing wrong, they should try to make a change.
Allah (SWT) is beyond time and space as He created every thing including time and space. The verse is mentioning the period of one day which has specific importance and not like our usual days. It is for angles and it is equal to our fifty thousand years. This day is created by Allah and never rule over Allah (SWT).
There are many days mentioned in Quran with different periods. Day in Quran does not always mean the usual day in our understanding which is 24 hours, but it is a time unit, with different periods depending on the nature of the Day.
Allah (SWT) is beyond any timing, though He created the time foe us and ordered us to act according to these timings.