Islamic Voice A Monthly English Magazine
Jamadiul-Akhir / Rajab 1423 H
September 2002
Volume 15-09 No:189

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Quran Speaks to You


All our actions are pre-destined by Allah


All our actions are pre-destined by Allah

In the name of Allah, the Merciful, the Beneficent

Allah fulfilled to you his promise when, by His leave you were about to destroy them.
But then you lost heart and disagreed with one another concerning the Prophet’s command
and disobeyed after He had brought you within view of what you wished for. Some of you cared only for this world and some cared for the life to come. Then he turned you away from them so that he may put you to a test.
But now He has forgiven you, for Allah is gracious to the believers.

Remember when you ran away up into the mountain, paying no heed to anyone, while the Messenger was at your rear calling out to you. Therefore He rewarded you with sorrow after sorrow so that you may not grieve over what has escaped you, nor over what had befallen you. Allah is aware of all that you do.

(The House of Imran, "Al Imran"; 3: 152-153)
Commentary by Sayyid Qutb.
Translation: M A Salahi & A A Shamsi

The Holy Quran

These two verses in the surah begin the account with the actual events of the battle. The surah paints a full scene of the battlefield and the succession of victory and defeat. Every movement, every facial expression and every fleeting thought is recorded. The Quranic statements are like a video tape which shows every movement in an exceptionally vivid image. This applies more particularly to the scene of people fleeing from the battlefield and going up the mountain in panic, and how the Prophet called on those running away. This is coupled with a picture of what thoughts, impressions and reactions were entertained in people’s minds. On top of this we have a number of directives and statements which are characteristic of the Quranic style and its remarkable method of educating believers. Allah fulfilled to you His promise when by His leave, you were about to destroy them. This was at the beginning of the battle, when the Muslims began to steadily put an end to all resistance shown by the polytheists and destroy their forces. At that time, they were not distracted by the loot which loomed large. The Prophet had said to them: “You will be victorious as long as you remain steadfast.” Allah has fulfilled that promise which He gave them through His Prophet. “But then you lost heart and disagreed with one another concerning the Prophet’s command and disobeyed after He had brought you within view of what you wished for. Some of you cared only for this world and some cared for the life to come”. This is a description of what took place among the archers. A group of them felt the temptation too strong. They wanted their share of spoils of war. They argued with those who maintained that they must obey the Messenger’s command literally. Their argument led to disobedience, when they saw with their very eyes the clear indications of the victory they loved to achieve. Thus, they were in two groups:one caring only for worldy gains and the other looking only for Allah’s reward in the hereafter. Discord was sown and the believers were no longer in one rank or working for one goal. Dedication which is absolutely necessary in every battle fought for the sake of faith, was tainted with greed. What is important to remember is that a battle fought for the sake of faith is unique in that it is fought in the battlefield and in people’s hearts. Victory in the former is dependent on the victory in the latter. It is a battle fought for the sake of Allah. Therefore Allah gives victory in it to those who are dedicated to Him alone.

Since they have raised the banner of Allah, He does not grant them victory until He has tested them and ascertained their dedication, so that there can be no false pretences. At times, those who clearly raised the banner of falsehood in some battles are given victory, for a purpose known to Allah alone. But it has to be understood that those who raise the banner of faith without showing complete dedication are never granted victory until they have proved themselves after an appropriate trial. This is the message the Quran wants to state clearly to the Muslim community using this reference to their attitude in this particular battle. Allah wanted the first Muslim community to learn this as it suffered the bitter defeat as a result of a confused and shaky attitude.

“Some of you cared only for this world and some cared for the life to come”. Here the Quran sheds light on what is deep in people’s hearts. The Muslims themselves did not know that they entertained such thoughts. Abdullah ibn Massood, the companion of the Prophet said: “ I never thought that anyone of the companions of the Prophet would care for worldy gains, until Allah revealed in the Quran describing our situation in Uhud " "Some of you cared only for this world and some cared for the life to come. Their hearts are thus laid open before them so that they can determine the causes of the defeat they suffered”.

At the same time, the Quran partly reveals to them Allah’s purpose behind letting them suffer all this pain and behind allowing events to develop in that particular fashion, caused by their obvious reasons. “ Then He turned you away from them so that He may put you to a test. Allah’s pre-destination remains operative. When people disputed and disobeyed, Allah turned their power away from the polytheists and let the archers abandon their positions and the fighters to desert the battlefield and run away. All this took place as a result of their own actions, but it was all pre-destined by Allah in order to test the believers with hardship, fear, defeat and loss of life. Such a test was bound to reveal what was in their hearts and to distinguish true believers from those who only pretended to be so. There is no contradiction whatsoever between allowing events to happen as a direct result of their causes and having them pre-determined.

But now He has forgiven you, what you have shown of weaknesses, dispute and disobedience as well as running away from battle. That forgiveness is an aspect of His grace which overlooks human weakness which is not accompanied by ill-will or deliberate disobedience. He has forgiven you because your errors and weakness remain within the framework of faith and submission to Allah. Allah is gracious to all believers. Part of His grace is to forgive them as long as they follow the method He has laid down for them and they submit to His will, without claiming any of the essential qualities of godhead themselves. At the same time, they do not derive any of their laws, values or standards from any source other than Him. Thus when they slipped, that slip came only through weakness. When they have been exposed to a trial and proved themselves, they are forgiven.

The surah then describes the scene of defeat in an image which is full of life: “Remember when you ran away up into the mountain, paying no heed to anyone, while the Messenger was at your rear calling out to you”. This description enhances the effects of the scene and brings in a feeling of shame for what they had done and the causes which led them to do it namely, loss of heart, dispute and disobedience. Their physical and mental attitudes are brought alive in a few words: “ they ran away fast, climbing up into the mountains, confused, perplexed, paying heed to no one”. The Prophet called on them to reassure them that he is still alive after someone had cried out that he was killed. The end result is that Allah rewarded them for the sorrow they suffered when they fled, with sorrow to fill their own hearts for having abandoned their beloved Prophet and letting him endure what he had suffered in the battle, when he remained steadfast while they turned on their heels. There is no doubt that this experience was very painful. To them, what was most difficult to bear was the sorrow and pain which the Prophet himself had endured because it was a direct result of their action. They were bitterly ashamed and sorrowful. Their sorrow is useful in the sense that it was bound to make any loss they may suffer seem to them to be of no significance and every hardship they will be called upon to bear very easy. “Therefore He rewarded you with sorrow after sorrow so that you may not grieve over what has escaped you, nor over what had befallen you. Allah who knows everything is certainly aware of every motive behind every action. Allah is aware of all that you do.”

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News| Community Roundup | View from the Other Side | Editorial| Readers Comments| Investigation|
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