Mujahid said, "In a dream, Allah showed the Prophet the enemy as few. The Prophet conveyed this news to his Companions and their resolve strengthened.'' Similar was said by Ibn Ishaq and several others. Allah said,
(If He had shown them to you as many, you would surely, have been discouraged,) you would have cowardly abstained from meeting them and fell in dispute among yourselves,
(But Allah saved), from all this, when He made you see them as few,
(Certainly, He is the All-Knower of that is in the breasts.) (8:43).
Allah knows what the heart and the inner-self conceal,
(Allah knows the fraud of the eyes, and all that the breasts conceal) (40:19).
(And (remember) when you met, He showed them to you as few in your eyes) demonstrates Allah's compassion towards the believers. Allah made them see few disbelievers in their eyes, so that they would be encouraged and feel eager to meet them. Abu Ishaq As-Subai`i said, that Abu `Ubaydah said that `Abdullah bin Mas`ud said, "They were made to seem few in our eyes during Badr, so that I said to a man who was next to me, `Do you think they are seventy' He said, `Rather, they are a hundred.' However, when we captured one of them, we asked him and he said, `We were a thousand.''' Ibn Abi Hatim and Ibn Jarir recorded it. Allah said next,
(and He made you appear as few in their eyes,) Allah said,
(And (remember) when you met. He showed them to you...), He encouraged each of the two groups against the other, according to `Ikrimah, as recorded by Ibn Abi Hatim. This statement has a Sahih chain of narrators. Muhammad bin Ishaq said that Yahya bin `Abbad bin `Abdullah bin Az-Zubayr narrated to him that his father said about Allah's statement,
(so that Allah might accomplish a matter already ordained, ) "In order for the war to start between them, so that He would have revenge against those whom He decided to have revenge (pagans), and grant and complete His favor upon those He decided to grant favor to, His supporters.'' The meaning of this, is that Allah encouraged each group against the other and made them look few in each other's eyes, so that they were eager to meet them. This occurred before the battle started, but when it started and Allah supported the believers with a thousand angels in succession, the disbelieving group saw the believers double their number. Allah said,
(There has already been a sign for you (O Jews) in the two armies that met (in combat, the battle of Badr). One was fighting in the cause of Allah, and as for the other, (they) were disbelievers. They (disbelievers) saw them (believers) with their own eyes twice their number. And Allah supports with His aid whom He wills. Verily, in this is a lesson for those who understand.) (3:13)
This is how we combine these two Ayat, and certainly, each one of them is true, all the thanks are due to Allah and all the favors are from Him.
(45. O you who believe! When you meet (an enemy) force, take a firm stand against them and remember Allah much, so that you may be successful.) (46. And obey Allah and His Messenger, and do not dispute (with one another) lest you lose courage and your strength departs, and be patient. Surely, Allah is with the patients.)
Allah instructs His faithful servants in the manners of fighting and methods of courage when meeting the enemy in battle,
(O you who believe! When you meet (an enemy) force, take a firm stand against them) In the Two Sahihs, it is recorded that `Abdullah bin Abi Awfa said that during one battle, Allah's Messenger waited until the sun declined, then stood among the people and said,
(O people! Do not wish to face the enemy (in a battle) and ask Allah to save you (from calamities). But if you should face the enemy, then be patient and let it be known to you that Paradise is under the shadows of the swords.)
He then stood and said,
(O Allah! Revealer of the (Holy) Book, Mover of the clouds, and Defeater of the Confederates, defeat them and grant us victory over them.)
Allah commands endurance upon meeting the enemy in battle and ordains patience while fighting them. Muslims are not allowed to run or shy away, or show cowardice in battle. They are commanded to remember Allah while in that condition and never neglect His remembrance. They should rather invoke Him for support, trust in Him and seek victory over their enemies from Him. They are required to obey Allah and His Messenger in such circumstances adhering to what He commanded them, and abstaining from what He forbade them. They are required to avoid disputing with each other, for this might lead to their defeat and failure,
(lest your strength departs), so that your strength, endurance and courage do not depart from you,
(and be patient. Surely, Allah is with the patients.)
In their courage, and obedience to Allah and His Messenger, the Companions reached a level never seen before by any nation or generation before them, or any nation that will ever come. Through the blessing of the Messenger and their obedience to what he commanded, the Companions were able to open the hearts, as well as, the various eastern and western parts of the world in a rather short time. This occurred even though they were few, compared to the armies of the various nations at that time. For example, the Romans, Persians, Turks, Slavs, Berbers, Ethiopians, Sudanese tribes, the Copts and the rest of the Children of Adam. They defeated all of these nations, until Allah's Word became the highest and His religion became dominant above all religions. The Islamic state spread over the eastern and western parts of the world in less than thirty years. May Allah grant them His pleasure, as well as, be pleased with them all, and may He gather us among them, for He is the Most Generous, and Giving.
(47. And be not like those who come out of their homes boastfully and to be seen of men, and hinder (men) from the path of Allah; and Allah is Muhit (encompassing and thoroughly comprehending) all that they do.) (48. And (remember) when Shaytan made their (evil) deeds seem fair to them and said, "No one of mankind can overcome you this day (of the battle of Badr) and verily, I am your neighbor (for each and every help).'' But when the two forces came in sight of each other, he ran away and said "Verily, I have nothing to do with you. Verily, I see what you see not. Verily, I fear Allah for Allah is severe in punishment.'') (49. When the hypocrites and those in whose hearts was a disease (of disbelief) said: "These people (Muslims) are deceived by their religion.'' But whoever puts his trust in Allah, then surely, Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise.)
After Allah commanded the believers to fight in His cause sincerely and to be mindful of Him, He commanded not to imitate the idolators, who went out of their homes
(boastfully) to suppress the truth,
(and to be seen of men), boasting arrogantly with people. When Abu Jahl was told that the caravan escaped safely, so they should return to Makkah, he commented, "No, by Allah! We will not go back until we proceed to the well of Badr, slaughter camels, drink alcohol and female singers sing to us. This way, the Arabs will always talk about our stance and what we did on that day.'' However, all of this came back to haunt Abu Jahl, because when they proceeded to the well of Badr, they brought themselves to death; and in the aftermath of Badr, they were thrown in the well of Badr, dead, disgraced, humiliated, despised and miserable in an everlasting, eternal torment. This is why Allah said here,
(and Allah is Muhit (encompassing and thoroughly comprehending) all that they do.) He knows how and what they came for, and this is why He made them taste the worst punishment. Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, Qatadah, Ad-Dahhak and As-Suddi commented on Allah's statement,
(And be not like those who come out of their homes boastfully and to be seen of men,) "They were the idolators who fought against the Messenger of Allah at Badr.'' Muhammad bin Ka`b said, "When the Quraysh left Makkah towards Badr, they brought female singers and drums along. Allah revealed this verse,
(And be not like those who come out of their homes boastfully and to be seen of men, and hinder (men) from the path of Allah; and Allah is Muhit (encompassing and thoroughly comprehending) all that they do.)
Allah said next,
(And (remember) when Shaytan made their (evil) deeds seem fair to them and said, "No one of mankind can overcome you today and verily, I am your neighbor.'')
Shaytan, may Allah curse him, made the idolators' purpose for marching seem fair to them. He made them think that no other people could defeat them that day. He also ruled out the possibility that their enemies, the tribe of Bani Bakr, would attack Makkah, saying, "I am your neighbor.'' Shaytan appeared to them in the shape of Suraqah bin Malik bin Ju`shum, the chief of Bani Mudlij, so that, as Allah described them,
(He (Shaytan) makes promises to them, and arouses in them false desires; and Shaytan's promises are nothing but deceptions) (4:120).
Ibn Jurayj said that Ibn `Abbas commented on this Ayah, (8:48) "On the day of Badr, Shaytan, as well as, his flag holder and soldiers, accompanied the idolators. He whispered to the hearts of the idolators, `None can defeat you today! I am your neighbor.' When they met the Muslims and Shaytan witnessed the angels coming to their aid,
(he ran away), he went away in flight while proclaiming,
(Verily, I see what you see not.)''
`Ali bin Abi Talhah said, that Ibn `Abbas said about this Ayah,
("No one of mankind can overcome you today and verily, I am your neighbor')
"Shaytan, as well as, his devil army and flag holders, came on the day of Badr in the shape of a Suraqah bin Malik bin Ju`shum, man from Bani Mudlij, Shaytan said to idolators, `None will defeat you this day, and I will help you.' When the two armies stood face to face, the Messenger of Allah took a handful of sand and threw it at the faces of the idolators, causing them to retreat. Jibril, peace be upon him, came towards Shaytan, but when Shaytan, while holding the hand of a Mushrik man, saw him, he withdrew his hand and ran away with his soldiers. That man asked him, `O Suraqah! You claimed that you are our neighbor' He said,
(Verily, I see what you see not. Verily, I fear Allah for Allah is severe in punishment)
Shaytan said this when he saw the angels.''
Allah said next,
(When the hypocrites and those in whose hearts was a disease (of disbelief) said: "These people (Muslims) are deceived by their religion.'')
`Ali bin Abi Talhah said that Ibn `Abbas commented, "When the two armies drew closer to each other, Allah made the Muslims look few in the eyes of the idolators and the idolators look few in the eyes of the Muslims. The idolators said,
(These people (Muslims) are deceived by their religion.) because they thought that Muslims were so few. They believed, without doubt, that they would defeat the Muslims. Allah said,
(But whoever puts his trust in Allah, then surely, Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise.) Qatadah commented, "They saw a group of believers who came in defense of Allah's religion. We were informed that when he saw Muhammad and his Companions, Abu Jahl said, `By Allah! After this day, they will never worship Allah!' He said this in viciousness and transgression.'' `Amir Ash-Sha`bi said, "Some people from Makkah were considering embracing Islam, but when they went with the idolators to Badr and saw how few the Muslims were, they said,
(These people (Muslims) are deceived by their religion.)
Allah said next,
(But whoever puts his trust in Allah), and relies on His grace,
(then surely, Allah is All-Mighty), and verily, those who take His side ﴿in the dispute﴾ are never overwhelmed, for His side is mighty, powerful and His authority is All-Great,
(All-Wise) in all His actions, for He places everything in its rightful place, giving victory to those who deserve it and defeat to those who deserve it.
(50. And if you could see when the angels take away the souls of those who disbelieve (at death); they smite their faces and their backs, (saying): "Taste the punishment of the blazing Fire. '') (51. "This is because of that which your hands forwarded. And verily, Allah is not unjust to His servants.'')
Allah says, if you witnessed the angels capturing the souls of the disbelievers, you would witness a tremendous, terrible, momentous and awful matter,
(they smite their faces and their backs), saying to them,
("Taste the punishment of the blazing Fire.'')
Ibn Jurayj said that Mujahid said that,
(and their backs), refers to their back sides, as happened on the day of Badr. Ibn Jurayj also reported from Ibn `Abbas, "When the idolators faced the Muslims ﴿in Badr﴾, the Muslims smote their faces with swords. When they gave flight, the angels smote their rear ends.''
Although these Ayat are describing Badr, they are general in the case of every disbeliever. This is why Allah did not make His statement here restrictive to the disbelievers at Badr,
(And if you could see when the angels take away the souls of those who disbelieve (at death); they smite their faces and their backs,)
In Surat Al-Qital (or Muhammad chapter 47) there is a similar Ayah, as well as in Surat Al-An`am,
(And if you could but see when the wrongdoers are in the agonies of death, while the angels are stretching forth their hands (saying): "Deliver your souls!'') (6:93)
The angels stretch their hands and smite the disbelievers by Allah's command, since their souls refuse to leave their bodies, so they are taken out by force. This occurs when the angels give them the news of torment and Allah's anger. There is a Hadith narrated from Al-Bara' that when the angel of death attends the disbeliever at the time of death, he comes to him in a terrifying and disgusting shape, saying, "Get out, O wicked soul, to fierce hot wind, boiling water and a shadow of black smoke.'' The disbeliever's soul then scatters throughout his body, but the angels retrieve it, just as a needle is retrieved from wet wool. In this case, veins and nerve cells will be still attached to the soul. Allah states here that angels bring news of the torment of the Fire to the disbelievers. Allah said next,
(This is because of that which your hands forwarded.) meaning, this punishment is the recompense of the evil deeds that you have committed in the life of the world. This is your reckoning from Allah for your deeds,
(And verily, Allah is not unjust to His servants.)
Certainly, Allah does not wrong any of His creatures, for He is the Just, who never puts anything in an inappropriate place. Honored, Glorified, Exalted and Praised be He, the All-Rich, Worthy of all praise. Muslim recorded that Abu Dharr said that the Messenger of Allah said;
(Allah, the Exalted, said, `O My servants! I have prohibited injustice for Myself, and made it prohibited to you between each other. Therefore, do not commit injustice against each other. O My servants! It is your deeds that I am keeping count of, so whoever found something good, let him praise Allah for it. Whoever found other than that, has only himself to blame.)
This is why Allah said,
(52. Similar to the behavior of the people of Fir`awn, and of those before them -- they rejected the Ayat of Allah, so Allah punished them for their sins. Verily, Allah is All-Strong, severe in punishment.)
Allah says, `The behavior of these rebellious disbelievers against what I sent you with, O Muhammad, is similar to the behavior of earlier disbelieving nations. So We behaved with them according to Our Da'b, that is, Our behavior (or custom) and way, as We did with them with what We often do and decide concerning their likes, the denying people of Fir`awn and the earlier nations who rejected the Messengers and disbelieved in Our Ayat,'
(so Allah punished them for their sins.)
Because of their sins, Allah destroyed them
(Verily, Allah is All-Strong, severe in punishment.)
none can resist Him or escape His grasp.
(53. That is so because Allah will never change a grace which He has bestowed on a people until they change what is in themselves. And verily, Allah is All-Hearer, All-Knower.) (54. Similar to the behavior of the people of Fir`awn, and those before them. They belied the Ayat of their Lord, so We destroyed them for their sins, and We drowned the people of Fir`awn for they were all wrongdoers.)
Allah affirms His perfect justice and fairness in His decisions, for He decided that He will not change a bounty that He has granted someone, except on account of an evil that they committed. Allah said in another Ayah,
(Verily, Allah will not change the (good) condition of a people as long as they do not change their state (of goodness) themselves. But when Allah wills a people's punishment, there can be no turning it back, and they will find besides Him no protector.) (13:11)
Allah said next,
(Similar to the behavior of the people of Fir`awn,) meaning, He punished Fir`awn and his kind, those who denied His Ayat. Allah destroyed them because of their sins, and took away the favors that He granted them, such as gardens, springs, plants, treasures and pleasant dwellings, as well as all of the delights that they enjoyed. Allah did not wrong them, but it is they who wronged themselves.
(55. Verily, the worst of living creatures before Allah are those who disbelieve, -- so they shall not believe.) (56. They are those with whom you made a covenant, but they break their covenant every time and they do not have Taqwa.) (57. So if you gain the mastery over them in war, then disperse those who are behind them, so that they may learn a lesson.)