وَنُمَكِّنَ لَهُمْ فِي الْأَرْضِ وَنُرِيَ فِرْعَوْنَ وَهَامَانَ وَجُنُودَهُمَا مِنْهُمْ مَا كَانُوا يَحْذَرُونَ
Wanumakkina lahum filardi wanuriya fir‘awna wahāmāna wajunūdahumā minhum mā kānū yahdharūn
And to establish them in the land, and to show Fir‘awn and Haman and their hosts from them that of which they were apprehensive.
(Sūrat al-Qasas, No 28, Āyat 6)
This verse and the one before it is a promise from the Allah ‘azza wajall that He will make those who were deemed weak and abased on earth to be the leaders and heirs. He will establish them on earth and show the enemies what they had been afraid of.
The verse refers to the Banū Israel who were promised power and the use of abundant resources. Fir‘awn and his ministers would see what they had been afraid of and had tried to prevent – the collapse of their kingdom at the hand of a person from the Banū Israel. They had committed many atrocities to prevent that from happening, killing the baby boys being born, oppressing, and humiliating the Banū Israel so as to break their spirit completely. But the plan of Allah (swt) plan will always be done.
This promise of Allah subhānahu wata‘ālā gives hope to all those who are subjected to humiliation and oppression. The injustice meted out to them will come to an end one day and those who were responsible for it would see what they had been afraid of – the end of their power and authority. The very people they suppressed would come out victorious and strong. It is the Sunnat of Allah that has taken place in history and will also be the norm in future. It took place during the time of Prophet Mūsā ‘alayhis-salām and Fir‘awn. It also took place during the time of the Prophet Muhammad sallal-lāhu ‘alayhi wa-ālihi wasallam. The enemies of Islam gathered all their forces to prevent Islam from spreading. They persecuted the early Muslims, severely in many ways; physically, economically, even emotionally. They mocked the early Muslims, assuming that Muslims were too weak and helpless in the face of all the power and wealth of the leaders of that time. But Allah’s plan was for the Muslims to be victorious and take over leadership. They were given the upper hand over their enemies. History is witness to that transformation.
This promise will also come to fulfillment at the appearance of the Imam who will spread peace and justice in the world. Allah’s representative will be sent to cleanse the world of the corruption caused by human beings. Imam Al-Mahdī ‘ajjalal-lahu farajah will lead those deemed weak on earth to victory. Many hadith link this verse to the appearance of the Imam. Imam al-Sādiq (a) says: They are the family of Muhammad (a), Allah will raise the Mahdī from them after they have been subjected to torment, and he will give them honor and humiliate their enemies. In another Hadith Imam Zaynul ‘Ābidīn (a) links the era of Fir’awn to that of the end of times. He says: The virtuous ones from us, the family of the Prophet (s), and their followers, are like Mūsā and his followers. And our enemies and their followers are like Fir‘awn and their followers. (Both Hadith quoted in Tafsīr-e Namūneh).
As we watch the oppression around the world and grieve for the suffering people, we sincerely pray and work to see that the Divine Promise is fulfilled. For all the power and strength of the tyrants, it is only Allah (swt) who has the ultimate control over things. It is a promise that we must keep in mind. And keep struggling and praying.
Sources: Shaykh Tabarsī, Tafsīr Majma’ul Bayān; Āyatullāh Nāsir Makārim Shīrāzī (Ed.), Tafsīr-e Namūneh.