Allah forbids His believing servants from taking the hypocrites as allies, so that the hypocrites do not have the opportunity to expose the secrets of the believers and their plans against their enemies. The hypocrites try their very best to confuse, oppose and harm the believers any way they can, and by using any wicked, evil means at their disposal. They wish the very worst and difficult conditions for the believers. Allah said,
(Take not as (your) Bitanah those other than your own) (3:118), in reference to taking followers of other religions as consultants and allies, for advisors of a certain person have access to his most secret affairs. Al-Bukhari and An-Nasa'i recorded that, Abu Sa`id said that the Messenger of Allah said,
(Allah has not sent any Prophet nor was there any Khalifah but they have two types of allies, one that commands him with righteousness and advises it, and another that commands him with evil and advises him with it. Only those whom Allah gives immunity are immune.)
Ibn Abi Hatim reported that Ibn Abi Ad-Dahqanah said, "`Umar bin Al-Khattab was told, `There is young man here from the people of Hirah (in Iraq, who were Christians) who is a proficient scribe. Why do you not appoint him as a scribe' `Umar said, `I would then be taking advisors from among the disbelievers.''' This Ayah and the story about `Umar testify to the fact that Muslims are not allowed to use Ahl Adh-Dhimmah to be scribes in matters that affect the affairs of Muslims and expose their secrets, for they might convey these secrets to combatant disbelievers. This is why Allah said,
(since they will not fail to do their best to corrupt you. They desire to harm you severely.)
Allah then said,
(Hatred has already appeared from their mouths, but what their breasts conceal is far worse.) meaning, enmity appears on their faces and in what they sometimes utter, as well as, the enmity they have against Islam and its people in their hearts. Since this fact is apparent to every person who has sound comprehension, therefore,
(Indeed We have made plain to you the Ayat if you understand.)
Allah said next,
(O! You are the ones who love them but they love you not), meaning, O believers! You like the hypocrites because you think they are believers, for they pretend to be so, but they do not like you publicly or secretly.
(And you believe in all the Scriptures) meaning, you have no doubt in any part of Allah's Book, while the hypocrites have deep doubts, confusion and reservations about it.
Muhammad bin Ishaq reported that Ibn `Abbas said that,
(and you believe in all the Scriptures,) means, you believe in your Book, their Book, and the previous Books, while the hypocrites disbelieve in your Book, and this is why they deserve that you dislike them instead of them disliking you. Ibn Jarir collected this statement.
(And when they meet you, they say, "We believe.'' But when they are alone, they bite their Anamil at you in rage.)
The word Anamil, means the tips of the fingers, as Qatadah stated. This is the behavior of the hypocrites who pretend to be believers and kind when they are with the believers, all the while concealing the opposite in their hearts in every respect. This is the exact situation that Allah describes,
(But when they are alone, they bite their Anamil at you in rage) and rage is extreme anger and fury. Allah said to them,
(Say: "Perish in your rage. Certainly, Allah knows what is in the breasts (all the secrets).'') for no matter how much you envy the believers and feel rage towards them, know that Allah shall perfect His favor on His believing servants, complete His religion, raise high His Word and give dominance to His religion. Therefore, O hypocrites, die in rage,
(Allah knows what is in the breasts.)
Allah has perfect knowledge of what you conceal in your hearts and chests and in the rage, envy and hatred you have against the believers. Allah will punish you for all this in this life, and they will have the good that you dislike for them. In the Hereafter, you will suffer severe torment in the Fire where you will remain for eternity.
Thereafter, Allah said,
(If a good befalls you, it grieves them, but if some evil overtakes you, they rejoice at it) (3:120). This only emphasizes the severity of the enmity that the hypocrites feel against the believers. If the believers enjoy fertile years, victories, support and their numbers and following increase, the hypocrites become displeased. When the Muslims suffer a drought or their enemies gain the upper hand against them, by Allah's decree, just as occurred during the battle of Uhud, the hypocrites become pleased. Allah said to His believing servants,
(But if you remain patient and have Taqwa, not the least harm will their cunning do to you.)
Allah directs the believers to safety from the wickedness of evil people and the plots of the sinners, by recommending them to revert to patience and by having fear of Allah and trusting Him. Allah encompasses the enemies of the believers, all the while the believers have no power or strength except from Him. Whatever Allah wills, occurs, and whatever He does not will, does not occur. Nothing happens in His Kingdom except with His decision and according to His decrees. Verily, whoever relies on Allah, Allah shall suffice for him.
Allah then mentions the story of Uhud, the defeat that He tested the believers with, His distinguishing the believers from the hypocrites and their patience.
(121. And (remember) when you left your household in the morning to post the believers at their stations for the battle (of Uhud). And Allah is All-Hearer, All-Knower.) (122. When two parties from among you were about to lose heart, but Allah was their Wali (Supporter and Protector). And in Allah should the believers put their trust.) (123. And Allah has already made you victorious at Badr, when you were a weak little force. So have Taqwa of Allah that you may be grateful.)
According to the majority of scholars, these Ayat are describing the battle of Uhud, as Ibn `Abbas, Al-Hasan, Qatadah, As-Suddi and others said. The battle of Uhud occurred on a Saturday, in the month of Shawwal on the third year of Hijrah. `Ikrimah said that Uhud occurred in the middle of the month of Shawwal, and Allah knows best.
The idolaters suffered many casualties among their noble men at the battle of Badr. The caravan that Abu Sufyan led (before Badr) returned safely to Makkah, prompting the remaining Makkan leaders and the children of those who were killed at Badr to demand from Abu Sufyan to, "Spend this money on fighting Muhammad!'' Consequently, they spent the money from the caravan on warfare expenses and mobilized their forces including the Ahabish tribes (tribes living around the city). They gathered three thousand soldiers and marched until they camped near Uhud facing Al-Madinah. The Messenger of Allah led the Friday prayer and when he finished with it, he performed the funeral prayer for a man from Bani An-Najjar called Malik bin `Amr. The Prophet then asked the Muslims for advice, if they should march to meet the disbelievers, or fortify themselves in Al-Madinah. `Abdullah bin Ubayy (the chief hypocrite) advised that they should remain in Al-Madinah, saying that if the disbelievers lay siege to Al-Madinah, the siege would be greatly disadvantageous to them. He added that if they decide to attack Al-Madinah, its men would face off with them, while women and children could throw rocks at them from above their heads; and if they decide to return to Makkah, they would return with failure. However, some companions who did not attend the battle of Badr advised that the Muslims should go out to Uhud to meet the disbelievers.
The Messenger of Allah went to his home, put on his shield and came out. The companions were weary then and said to each other, "Did we compel the Messenger of Allah to go out'' They said, "O Messenger of Allah! If you wish, we will remain in Al-Madinah. '' The Messenger of Allah said,
(It is not for a Prophet to wear his shield for war then lay down his arms before Allah decides in his favor.)
The Messenger of Allah marched with a thousand of his Companions. When they reached the Shawt area, `Abdullah bin Ubayy went back to Al-Madinah with a third of the army, claiming he was angry the Prophet did not listen to his advice. He and his supporters said, "If we knew that you would fight today, we would have accompanied you. However, we do not think that you will fight today.'' The Messenger of Allah marched until he reached the hillside in the area of Uhud, where they camped in the valley with Mount Uhud behind them. The Messenger of Allah said,
(No one starts fighting until I issue the command to fight.)
The Messenger prepared his forces for battle, and his army was seven hundred men. He appointed `Abdullah bin Jubayr, from Bani `Amr bin `Awf, to lead the archers who were fifty men. The Prophet said to them,
(Keep the horsemen away from us, and be aware that we might be attacked from your direction. If victory was for or against us, remain in your positions. And even if you see us being picked up by birds, do not abandon your positions.)
The Prophet wore two protective shields and gave the flag to Mus`ab bin `Umayr of Bani `Abd Ad-Dar. The Prophet also allowed some young men to participate in fighting, but not others, whom he allowed to participate in the battle of Al-Khandaq two years later. The Quraysh mobilized their forces of three thousand men with two hundred horsemen on each flank. They appointed Khalid bin Al-Walid to lead the right side of the horsemen and `Ikrimah Ibn Abi Jahl on the left side. They also gave their grand flag to the tribe of Bani `Abd Ad-Dar. Allah willing, we will mention the details of this battle later on, if Allah wills. Allah said here,
(And (remember) when you left your household in the morning to post the believers at their stations for the battle) (3:121), designating them to various positions, dividing the army to the left and right sides and placing them wherever you command them.
(And Allah is All-Hearer, All-Knower), He hears what you say and knows what you conceal in your hearts. Allah said next,
(When two parties from among you were about to lose heart,) (3:122).
Al-Bukhari recorded that Jabir bin `Abdullah said, "The Ayah,
(When two parties from among you were about to lose heart) was revealed about us, ﴿the two Muslim tribes of﴾ Bani Harithah and Bani Salamah. I (or we) would not be pleased if it was not revealed, because Allah said in it,
(but Allah was their Wali (Supporter and Protector)) (3:122).''
Muslim recorded this Hadith from Sufyan bin `Uyaynah.
(And Allah has already made you victorious at Badr,) [3:123] meaning, during the battle of Badr, which occurred on a Friday, the seventeenth of Ramadan, in the second year of Hijrah.
The day of Badr is known as Yawm Al-Furqan [the Day of the Clarification], by which Allah gave victory and dominance to Islam and its people and disgraced and destroyed Shirk, even though the Muslims were few. The Muslims numbered three hundred and thirteen men, with two horses and seventy camels. The rest were foot soldiers without enough supplies for the battle. The enemy army consisted of nine hundred to a thousand men, having enough shields and supplies, battle-ready horses and even various adornments.
However, Allah gave victory to His Messenger, supported His revelation, and illuminated success on the faces of the Prophet and his following. Allah also brought disgrace to Shayatan and his army. This is why Allah reminded His believing servants and pious party of this favor,
(And Allah has already made you victorious at Badr, when you were a weak little force), when you were few then. This Ayah reminds them that victory is only from Allah, not because of a large army and adequate supplies. This is why Allah said in another Ayah,
(…and on the day of Hunayn (battle) when you rejoiced at your great number, but it availed you naught) [9:25], until,
(And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful) [9:27].
Badr is an area between Makkah and Al-Madinah and is known by the well that bears its name, which in turn was so named after Badr bin An-Narayn, the person who dug the well.
(So have Taqwa of Allah that you may be grateful.) [3:123], means, fulfill the obligations of His obedience.
(124. (Remember) when you said to the believers, "Is it not enough for you that your Lord should help you with three thousand angels sent down'') (125. "But, if you hold on to patience and have Taqwa, and the enemy comes rushing at you; your Lord will help you with five thousand angels having marks (of distinction).'') (126. Allah made it not but as a message of good news for you and as an assurance to your hearts. And there is no victory except from Allah, the All-Mighty, the All-Wise.) (127. That He might cut off a part of those who disbelieve, or expose them to infamy, so that they retire frustrated.) (128. Not for you is the decision; whether He turns in mercy to (pardon) them or punishes them; verily, they are the wrongdoers.) (129. And to Allah belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth. He forgives whom He wills, and punishes whom He wills. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.)
The scholars of Tafsir differ over whether the promise contained in these Ayat referred to the battle of Badr or Uhud. The First View
There are two opinions about this, one of them saying that Allah's statement,
((Remember) when you said to the believers) (3:124), is related to His statement,
(And Allah has already made you victorious at Badr) (3:123).
This was reported from Al-Hasan Al-Basri, `Amr Ash-Sha`bi, Ar-Rabi` bin Anas and several others, Ibn Jarir also agreed with this opinion. `Abbad bin Mansur said that Al-Hasan said that Allah's statement,
((Remember) when you said to the believers, "Is it not enough for you that your Lord should help you with three thousand angels'') (3:124), is about the battle of Badr; Ibn Abi Hatim also recorded this statement.
Ibn Abi Hatim then reported that `Amr Ash-Sha`bi said, "On the day of Badr, the Muslims received information that Kurz bin Jabir (a prominent tribe chief) was aiding the idolaters, and this news was hard on them, so Allah revealed;
("Is it not enough for you that your Lord (Allah) should help you with three thousand angels sent down''), until,
(having marks (of distinction)) (3:124,125).
The news of the defeat of the idolaters (at Badr) reached Kurz and he did not reinforce them, and thus, Allah did not reinforce the Muslims with the five (thousands of angels).''
As for Ar-Rabi` bin Anas, he said, "Allah supported the Muslims with one thousand (angels), then the number reached three thousand, then five thousand.'' If one asks, according to this opinion, how can we combine between this Ayah and Allah's statement about Badr,
((Remember) when you sought help of your Lord and He answered you (saying): "I will help you with a thousand angels, each behind the other (following one another) in succession.'') (8:9), until,
(Verily! Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise) We say that the one thousand mentioned here does not contradict the three thousand mentioned in the above Ayah (3:124). The word "in succession'' means they follow each other and thus indicates that thousands more will follow them. The two Ayat above (8:9 and 3:124) are similar in meaning and it appears that they both were about the battle of Badr, because the angels did fight in the battle of Badr, as the evidence indicates. Allah knows best. Allah's statement,
(But if you hold on to patience and have Taqwa,) (3:125) means, if you observe patience while fighting the enemy, all the while fearing Me and obeying My command. Al-Hasan, Qatadah, Ar-Rabi` and As-Suddi said that Allah's statement,
(and they will come rushing) means, they (angels) will rush to you instantaneously. Al-`Awfi said that Ibn `Abbas said that the Ayah means, "All at once''. It is also said that it means, before their anger subsides (against the disbelievers). The Second View
The second opinion stipulates that the promise mentioned here (concerning the angels participating in battle) is related to Allah's statement,
(And (remember) when you left your household in the morning to post the believers at their stations for the battle) of Uhud. However, we should add, the angels did not come to the aid of Muslims at Uhud, because Allah made it conditional,
(But if you hold on to patience and have Taqwa) (3: 125).
The Muslims were not patient at Uhud. Rather, they ran away and, consequently, did not receive the support of even one angel.
(your Lord will help you with five thousand angels having marks), of distinction.
Abu Ishaq As-Subay`i said; from Harithah bin Mudarrib said that `Ali bin Abi Talib said, "The angels were distinguished by wearing white wool at Badr.'' The angels also had special markings distinguishing their horses.
(Allah made it not but as a message of good news for you and as an assurance to your hearts) (3:126).
This Ayah means, "Allah sent down angels and told you about their descent to encourage you and to comfort and reassure your hearts. You should know that victory only comes from Allah and that if He willed, He would have defeated your enemy without you having to fight them.'' For instance, Allah said after commanding the believers to fight,
(But if it had been Allah's will, He Himself could certainly have punished them (without you). But (He lets you fight) in order to test some of you with others. But those who are killed in the way of Allah, He will never let their deeds be lost. He will guide them and set right their state. And admit them to Paradise which He has made known to them) (47:4-6).
This is why Allah said here,
(Allah made it not but as a message of good news for you and as an assurance to your hearts. And there is no victory except from Allah, the All-Mighty, the All-Wise) (3:126).
This Ayah means, "Allah is the Almighty Whose power can never be undermined, and He has the perfect wisdom in His decrees and in all His decisions.'' Allah said,
(That He might cut off a part of those who disbelieve,) (3:127) meaning, out of His wisdom, He commands you to perform Jihad and to fight.
Allah then mentions the various consequences of performing Jihad against the disbelievers. For instance, Allah said,
(That He might cut off a part...) meaning, to cause a part of a nation to perish,
(of those who disbelieve, or expose them to infamy,) by disgracing them and forcing them to return with only their rage, having failed in their aim to harm you. This is why Allah said next,
(or expose them to infamy, so that they retire) to go back to their land,
(frustrated) without achieving their aims.
Allah then mentions a statement that testifies that the decision in this life and the Hereafter is for Him Alone without partners. (3:127)
(Not for you is the decision) (3:128)
meaning, "The matter is all in My Hand.'' Allah also said,
(your duty is only to convey (the Message) and on Us is the reckoning.) (13:40), and,
(Not upon you is their guidance, but Allah guides whom He wills.) (2:272), and,
(Verily, you guide not whom you like, but Allah guides whom He wills) (28: 56).
Muhammad bin Ishaq said that Allah's statement,
(3:128... Not for you is the decision;), means, "No part of the decision regarding My servants is yours, except what I command you.'' Allah then mentions the rest of the consequences of Jihad,
(whether He pardons them) concerning the acts of disbelief that they commit, thus delivering them from misguidance to the guidance.
(or punishes them;) in this life and the Hereafter because of their disbelief and errors,
(verily, they are the wrongdoers), and thus, they deserve such a fate.(3:128 end)
Al-Bukhari recorded that, Salim bin `Abdullah said that his father said that he heard the Messenger of Allah saying - when he raised his head from bowing in the second unit of the Fajr prayer - "O Allah! Curse so-and-so,'' after saying; Sami` Allahu Liman Hamidah, Rabbana wa lakal-Hamd. Thereafter, Allah revealed this Ayah,
(Not for you is the decision;) This was also recorded by An-Nasa'i. Imam Ahmad recorded that Salim bin `Abdullah said that his father said that he heard the Messenger of Allah saying,
(O Allah! Curse so-and-so. O Allah! Curse Al-Harith bin Hisham. O Allah! Curse Suhayl bin `Amr. O Allah! Curse Safwan bin Umayyah.)
Thereafter, this Ayah was revealed;
(Not for you is the decision; whether He turns in mercy to (pardon) them or punishes them; verily, they are the wrongdoers) (3:128).
All these persons were pardoned (after they embraced Islam later on).
Al-Bukhari recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that when Allah's Messenger would supplicate against or for someone, he would do so when he was finished bowing and saying; Sami` Allahu Liman Hamidah, Rabbana wa lakal-Hamd. He would then say, (the Qunut)
(O Allah! Save Al-Walid bin Al-Walid, Salamah bin Hisham, `Ayyash bin Abi Rabi`ah and the weak and the helpless people among the faithful believers. O Allah! Be hard on the tribe of Mudar and let them suffer from years of famine like that of the time of Yusuf. )
He would say this supplication aloud. He sometimes would supplicate during the Dawn prayer, "O Allah! Curse so-and-so (persons),'' mentioning some Arab tribes. Thereafter, Allah revealed,
(Not for you is the decision.)
Al-Bukhari recorded that Hamid and Thabit said that, Anas bin Malik said that the Prophet was injured during the battle of Uhud and said,
(How can a people achieve success after having injured their Prophet)
(Not for you is the decision,) was revealed.
Imam Ahmad recorded that Anas said that, the Prophet's front tooth was broken during the battle of Uhud and he also sustained injuries on his forehead until blood dripped on his face. The Prophet said,
(How can a people achieve success after having done this to their Prophet who is calling them to their Lord, the Exalted and Most Honored) Allah revealed,
(Not for you is the decision; whether He turns in mercy to (pardons) them or punishes them; verily, they are the wrongdoers.) Muslim also collected this Hadith.
Allah then said,
(And to Allah belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is in the Earth.) (3:129), everything is indeed the property of Allah and all are servants in His Hand.
(He forgives whom He wills, and punishes whom He wills.) for His is the decision and none can resist His decision. Allah is never asked about what He does, while they will be asked,
(and Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.)
(130. O you who believe! Do not consume Riba doubled and multiplied, but fear Allah that you may be successful.) (131. And fear the Fire, which is prepared for the disbelievers.) (132. And obey Allah and the Messenger that you may obtain mercy.) (133. And march forth in the way (which leads to) forgiveness from your Lord, and for Paradise as wide as the heavens and the earth, prepared for the Muttaqin (the pious).) (134. Those who spend (in Allah's cause) in prosperity and in adversity, who repress anger, and who pardon men; verily, Allah loves the Muhsinin (the good-doers).) (135. And those who, when they have committed Fahishah (immoral sin) or wronged themselves with evil, remember Allah and ask forgiveness for their sins; and none can forgive sins but Allah, and do not persist in what (wrong) they have done, while they know.) (136. For such, the reward is forgiveness from their Lord, and Gardens with rivers flowing underneath (Paradise), wherein they shall abide forever. How excellent is this reward for the doers (of good).)