Quranic Reflection No. 485. Āyat 8:49 – Confidence in God’s Help

إِذْ يَقُولُ الْمُنَافِقُونَ وَالَّذِينَ فِي قُلُوبِهِم مَّرَضٌ غَرَّ هَـٰؤُلَاءِ دِينُهُمْ ۗ وَمَن يَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللَّـهِ فَإِنَّ اللَّـهَ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٌ
Idh yaqūlul-munāfiqūna walladhīna fī qulūbihim mardun gharra hā’ulāhi dīnuhum. Waman yatawakkal ‘alallāhi fa-innallāha ‘azīzun hakīm
When the hypocrites said, and [also] those in whose hearts is a sickness, ‘Their religion has deceived them.’ But whoever puts his trust in Allah, then Allah is indeed All-mighty, All-wise
(Sūrat al-Anfāl, No 8, Āyat 49)

During the battle of Badr the Muslims were in high spirits. They had strong faith and were confident that God would help them gain success despite their apparent weakness. They were smaller in number and had limited weapons. But they made up for it in courage and enthusiasm. The hypocrites were bewildered by this show of force. The above verse sums up their reaction. They declared that the Muslims had been deceived by their religion. How could they be so sure of themselves?

The verse talks about the reaction of the hypocrites and those whose hearts are sick. According to Tafsīr-e Namūneh both refer to the same group of people – the hypocrites who proclaimed faith while their hearts held disbelief. The group included people who had faith but also had a lot of doubts and uncertainty in their hearts. This is a disease of the heart and a sign of spiritual sickness. These hypocrites were with the Muslims at the battle of Badr but did not have the same level of faith. Thus, their amazement at the high spirit of the Muslims. They saw them as weak and foolish, being deluded by their religion and by the Messenger.

Allah ‘azza wajall answers the hypocrites by giving them the reasons behind the high spirit of the Muslims. Firstly, they had trust in Allah subhānahu wata‘ālā. They knew He would help them. Secondly, Allah is Mighty and has power over all things, and He is wise and would do things according to His plan. The hypocrites could not comprehend the grace and mercy of Allah subhānahu wata‘ālā and the fact that God assists the believers with invisible forces. All affairs are ultimately in the hands of Allah and He controls all things. The Quran says: And Allah will help you with a mighty help. It is He who sent down tranquility into the hearts of the faithful that they might enhance in their faith. To Allah belong the hosts of the heavens and the earth, and Allah is all-knowing, all-wise (Q 48:3-4).

The perspective and worldview of a person has a huge impact on his/her spirit. It is not the circumstances, nor means that dictate how a person reacts to a situation. Rather it is faith and trust in Allah ‘azza wajall. That was very evident in the battle of Badr. The Muslims were limited both in number and resources. Against them was an army that was huge and better equipped. But the deciding factor was the confidence of the Muslims in Almighty Allah. He helped them achieve a decisive victory despite all odds.

This verse is a reminder that when we align ourselves with God and place all trust in Him sincerely, we become much stronger than anyone anticipates. Outsiders may be baffled by our spirit and consider us foolish and deluded. It is all a matter of perspective. Those who lack finding relief in the power of Allah lack any real strength. They are unable to tap into the ultimate resource of strength and power and cannot understand how others can. Their amazement can turn into scorn and condemnation, but its roots lie in the inability to comprehend the reality behind all things. Use this verse to remind yourself to be upbeat in all situations. You have what is always invaluable – Divine Hand over you to guide and help you.

Sources: Allāmah Muhammad Husayn Tabātabā’ī, Tafsīr al-Mīzān; Āyatullāh Nāsir Makārim Shirāzī (Ed.), Tafsīr-e Namūneh.