Reflection No. 40 on Q 9:40 – Helping the Holy Prophet (S)

The holy month of Ramadhan is the spring of the Quran, a time when the word of Allah blooms in Muslim hearts and homes. Recitation of the word of Allah is an important part of our worship during this month. What we need to do however is go beyond recitation. We need to understand and appreciate the guidance of the Holy Quran, and use the verses to strengthen our faith and our determination to follow it. Ourreading of the Quran should affect us and raise our status as believers.

The Ramadhan Reflections on selected verses of the Holy Quran aim at helping Mu’mineen derive guidance and strength of spirit from the Quran. Readers are encouraged to reflect on the verse and refer to the relevant verses mentioned. This form of study of the Quran will help instill a familiarity and appreciation for the contents of the Quran. May the Almighty make us from among those who derive true guidance from the Quran.

If you do not help him, then Allah has already helped him when the unbelievers expelled him, he being the second of the two, when the two of them were in the cave, he said to his companion ‘Do not grieve; Allah is indeed with us.’ Then Allah sent down His tranquility upon him and strengthened him with hosts you did not see, and He made lowest the word of the unbelievers; and the word of Allah is the highest; and Allah is all-Mighty, all-Wise.
–  Sura at-Tawbah, 9:40

This verse was revealed admonishing the Muslims who were reluctant to fight in Tabuk. Allah reminds them that if they do not help the Holy Prophet (s) and his mission, it will not lag behind. Allah will help it just as He had done in previous times. The reference in this verse is to the help of Allah when the Holy Prophet (s) was in the cave of Thawr while migrating from Makkah to Madinah. The Quran also refers to this incident in Sura al-Anfal (8:30).

The enemies in Makkah had plotted to kill the Prophet (s) in order to stop the spread of Islam. Allah informed the Prophet (s) of their plot and he left Makkah at night while Imam Ali (a) slept in his bed. The Holy Prophet (s) was accompanied by Abu Bakr on this journey. They sought refuge in the cave of Thawr and stayed there for three days so the enemies would not be able to track them. While in the cave, Abu Bakr was worried about being discovered and the Prophet reassured him by telling him “Do not grieve, Allah is with us” This conviction brought down the gift of tranquility from Allah and the help of unseen forces. The miracle of the pigeon’s nest and the spider’s web at the entrance of the cave are evidence of how the forces of Allah worked to protect His Messenger and his mission.

This verse reminds Muslims that the religion of Allah – His Word – will always be victorious, despite all efforts of the enemies to the contrary. As Allah says in another verse: they desire to put out the light of Allah with their mouths but Allah will perfect His light though the unbelievers may be averse. (61:8)

Points to Ponder
1) The religion of Allah is not dependent on our help and protection. It is God himself who will protect His religion and aid the mission of the Prophet (s).

2) The forces of Allah work in miraculous ways. In the event of the cave of Thawr, the most noble of creation (the Holy Prophet (s)) was protected by the most weakest of houses (the spider’s web, 29:41)

3) Peace and tranquility are a gift from Allah for those who put complete trust in Him. These cannot be derived from material means. When a believer receives these gifts he achieves a calmness and strength which is unconquerable. According to Hadith:
a) Whoever wishes to be the strongest of people should trust in Allah. Holy Prophet (s)
b) Whoever trusts in Allah will not be overcome, and whoever seeks refuge in Allah will not be defeated. Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a)

4) Forces of the enemies of God, with all the means that they may have, are no match for believers who are strengthened with tranquility and the help of unseen forces.

5) The word of Allah, and His mission, will always ultimately be victorious. It is a promise given in the Quran: He it is who sent His Messenger with the guidance and the true religion that He may make it prevail over all the religions, and Allah is enough for a witness (48:28). Also see 9:33 and 61:9 for similar promises.