Monday 13 July 2020

Sürah An Nasr - The [Divine] Help: Exegesis 110th Chapter of Quran

Sürah An-Nasr is the 110th surah with three ayahs, part of the 30th Juzʼ  of the Holy Qur'an.

As already explained in the summary of the Sürah, it is the last Sürah that was revealed unto Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). It was revealed in Medina after the fall of Makkah, the stronghold of the pagans of Arabia. It is the third shortest surah consisting of just four verses after surahs Al-Asr and Al-Kawthar.

Let us now read the verse-by-verse translation and exegesis / tafseer in English. You may also listen to its recitation in Arabic with English subtitles at the end of the post:

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْمِ 
"In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful"

اِذَا جَآءَ نَصۡرُ اللّٰهِ وَالۡفَتۡحُۙ‏ 
    (1) When the help comes from Allah, and victory (is granted),

Victory here does not imply victory in any one particular campaign but the decisive victory after which there remained no power in the land to resist and oppose Islam, and it became evident that Islam alone would hold sway in Arabia. Some commentators have taken this to imply the conquest of Makkah. But the conquest of Makkah took place in A.H. 8, and this Surah was revealed towards the end of A.H. 10, as is shown by the traditions related on the authority of Abdullah bin Umar and Sarra bint Nabhan, which we have cited in the Introduction. Besides, the statement of Abdullah bin Abbas that this is the last Surah of the Quran to be revealed also goes against this commentary. For if the victory implied the conquest of Makkah, the whole of Surah at-Taubah was revealed after it then it could not be the last Surah. There is no doubt that the conquest of Makkah was decisive in that it broke the power of the Arabian pagans, yet even after this, they showed clear signs of resistance. The battles of Taaif and Hunain were fought after it, and it took Islam about two years to attain complete control over Arabia.

Ibn Kathir Explanation:
Al-Bukhari recorded from Ibn `Abbas that he said, "Umar used to bring me into the gatherings with the old men of (the battle of) Badr. However, it was as if one of them felt something in himself (against my attending). So, he said, `Why do you (`Umar) bring this (youth) to sit with us when we have children like him (i.e., his age)' So `Umar replied, `Verily, he is among those whom you know. Then one day he called them and invited me to sit with them, and I do not think that he invited me to be among them that day except to show them. So, he said, `What do you say about Allah's statement, 
(When there comes the help of Allah and the Conquest.)' 
Some of them said, `We were commanded to praise Allah and seek His forgiveness when He helps us and gives us victory.' Some of them remained silent and did not say anything. Then he (`Umar) said to me, `Is this what you say, O Ibn `Abbas' I said, `No.' He then said, `What do you say' I said, `It was the end of the life of Allah's Messenger that Allah was informing him of. Allah said, (When there comes the help of Allah and the Conquest.) which means that it is a sign of the end of your life.

This verse was revealed, the Messenger of Allah said, (My death has been announced to me.) And indeed, he died during that year.'' Ahmad was alone in recording this Hadith. Al-Bukhari recorded that `A'ishah said, "The Messenger of Allah used to say often in his bowing and prostrating, (Glory to You, O Allah, our Lord, and praise be to You. O Allah, forgive me.) He did this as his interpretation of the Qur'an (i.e., showing its implementation).'' The rest of the group has also recorded this Hadith except for At-Tirmidhi. Imam Ahmad recorded from Masruq that `A'ishah said, "The Messenger of Allah used to often say towards the end of his life, (Glory to Allah, and praise be unto Him. I seek Allah's forgiveness and I repent to Him.)

The Conquest, it is unanimously agreed, is a reference to the conquest of Makkah. The Arab tribes were awaiting the settlement of the conflict between Quraish and the Muslims, before accepting Islam, saying: 'If he, Muhammad, prevails over his people, he would indeed be a prophet.' Consequently, when that was accomplished, they accepted Islam in large numbers. Not two years were to pass after the conquest of Mecca when the whole Arabian Peninsula was dominated by Islam, and, all thanks to God, every Arab tribe had declared its belief Islam.

وَرَاَيۡتَ النَّاسَ يَدۡخُلُوۡنَ فِىۡ دِيۡنِ اللّٰهِ اَفۡوَاجًا ۙ‏ 
    (2) and you see people entering Allah's religion in multitudes,

“And you see... in multitudes”: When the time for the people to enter Islam in ones and twos comes to an end, and when whole tribes and people belonging to large tracts start entering it in crowds of their own free will and without offering battle or resistance. This happened from the beginning of A.H. 9, because of which that year has been described as the year of deputations. Deputations from every part of Arabia started coming before the Messenger (peace be upon him), entering Islam and taking the oath of allegiance to him, until when he went for the farewell pilgrimage to Makkah, in A.H. 10, the whole of Arabia had become Muslim, and not a single polytheist remained anywhere in the country.

Muhammad Asad Explanation:
I.e., the religion of self-surrender to God: cf.3:19 - "the only [true] religion in the sight of God is [man's] self-surrender unto Him".

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
The Prophet migrated from Makkah to Madinah, a persecuted man. In Madinah all the forces of truth and righteousness rallied round him, and the efforts by the Makkans and their confederates to destroy him and his community recoiled on their own heads. Gradually all the outlying parts of Arabia ranged themselves round his standard, and the bloodless conquest of Makkah was the crown and prize of his patience and constant endeavour. After that, whole tribes and tracts of country gave their adhesion to him collectively, and before his ministry was finished, the soil was prepared for the conquest of the wide world for Islam. What was the lesson to be learnt from this little epitome of world history? Not man's self-glory, but humility; and power but service; not an appeal to man's selfishness or self-sufficiency, but a realization of Allah's Grace and Mercy, and the abundant outpouring of Allah's Praises in word and conduct.

فَسَبِّحۡ بِحَمۡدِ رَبِّكَ وَاسۡتَغۡفِرۡهُ​ ؕ اِنَّهٗ كَانَ تَوَّابًا
(3) then extol the praise of your Lord and pray to Him for forgiveness.4 For He indeed is ever disposed to accept repentance.

3. Hamd implies praising and hallowing Allah Almighty as well as thanking and paying obeisance to Him; tasbih means to regard Allah as pure and free from every blemish and weakness. The Holy Prophet was enjoined to do hamd and tasbih of Allah when he witnessed this manifestation of His power. Here, hamd means that in respect of his great success he should never entertain even a tinge of the idea that it was the result of any excellence of his own, but he should attribute it to Allah’s favor and mercy, thank Him alone for it, and acknowledge with the heart and tongue that praise and gratitude for the victory and success belonged to Him alone. And tasbih means that he should regard Allah as pure and free from the limitation that exaltation of His word stood in need of his effort and endeavor, or was dependent on it. On the contrary, his heart should be filled with the faith that the success of his effort and struggle was dependent upon Allah’s support and succor. He could take this service from any of His servants He pleased. And this was His favor that He had taken this service from him, and made His religion meet success through him. Besides, there is an aspect of wonder also in pronouncing the tasbih, i.e. Subhan Allah. When a wonderful incident takes place, one exclaims Subhan Allah, thereby implying that only by Allah’s power such a wonderful thing had happened; otherwise, no power of the world could have caused it to happen.

“Pray for His forgiveness”: Pray to your Lord to overlook; and pardon whatever error or weakness you might have shown inadvertently in the performance of the service that He had entrusted to you. This is the etiquette that Islam has taught to man. A man might have performed the highest possible service to Allah’s religion, might have offered countless sacrifices in its cause, and might have exerted himself extremely hard in carrying out the rites of His worship, yet he should never entertain the thought that he has fulfilled the right his Lord had on him wholly. Rather he should always think that he has not been able to fulfill what was required of him, and he should implore Allah, saying: Lord, overlook and forgive whatever weakness I might have shown in rendering Your right, and accept the little service that I have been able to perform. When such an etiquette was taught to the Messenger (peace be upon him), none in the world conceivably has toiled and struggled so hard in the cause of Allah as he did, how can another person regard his work as superb and be involved in the misunderstanding that he has fulfilled the right Allah had imposed on him. Allah’s right, in fact, is so supreme that no creature can ever fulfill and render it truly and fully.

Allah in this command has taught Muslims an eternal lesson: Do not regard any of your worship, devotion or religious service as something superb; even if you have spent your entire life in the cause of Allah, you should always think that you could not do all that was required of you by your Lord. Likewise, when you attain some victory, you should not regard it as a result of some excellence in yourselves but as a result of only Allah’s bounty and favor. Then bowing humbly before your Lord, you should praise and glorify Him, and should repent and beg for His forgiveness instead of boasting and bragging of your success and victory.

Muhammad Asad Explanation:
Implying that even if people should embrace the true religion in great numbers, a believer ought not to grow self-complacent but should, rather, become more humble and more conscious of his own failings. Moreover, the Prophet is reported to have said, "Behold, people have entered God's religion in hosts - and in time they will leave it in hosts" (Ibn Hanbal, on the authority of Jabir ibn 'Abd Allah; a similar Tradition, on the authority of Abu Hurayrah, is found in the Mustadrak).

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Every man should humble himself before Allah, confess his human frailties, and seek Allah's grace; -attributing any success that he gets in his work, not to his own merits, but to the goodness and mercy of Allah. But the Prophet of Allah had also another duty and privilege, to pray for grace and forgiveness for his people in case any of them had exulted in their victory or done anything that they should not have done.

Javed Ahmed Ghamidi Sums up the entire Surah:
The previous surah signified a declaration of acquittal from the leaders of the disbelievers of the Quraysh. This surah is an embodiment of glad tidings and as the counterpart of the previous surah has been placed adjacent to it so that the link between migration and acquittal and between triumph and divine help in the preaching mission of messengers becomes fully evident. History bears witness to the majestic way in which these glad tidings materialized. These were not the words of a human being that they may have dissipated in thin air without being fulfilled. They were the words of God which were spoken by His Messenger. When they were uttered, nothing seemed more far-fetched and improbable than them to come true; yet, in a few days, they became historic and created such history that stands unrivalled in the annals of mankind.

[1]. This is the same help and victory which God had promised His messenger, and which was awaited by the Muslims even in the toughest of phases of the preaching mission of Muhammad (sws). They are referred to by verse 13 of Surah al-Saff thus: وَ اُخۡرٰی تُحِبُّوۡنَہَا ؕ نَصۡرٌ مِّنَ اللّٰہِ وَ فَتۡحٌ قَرِیۡبٌ (And will give you another thing which you desire: help from God and a conquest in the near future, (61:13)). Obviously, nothing but the conquest of Makkah is implied here. The help mentioned here is the help that was provided to the Prophet (sws) for its conquest – its last episode manifested itself when the people of Makkah surrendered to ten thousand noble companions of the Prophet (sws). According to the established practice of God, this divine help was necessarily provided to messengers of God once they had conclusively communicated the truth to their people and migrated from them after showing their acquittal. This conquest and help in the time of the Prophet (sws) is immediately understood to be implied if not mentioned by name. For this very reason, the Qur’an has mentioned it rather concisely by merely appending an alif lam to it.

This is the most conspicuous aspect of the glad tidings mentioned above. It meant that the Almighty would bless the nation of the Prophet (sws) with the treasure of faith. They would not be wiped out like the ‘Ād and the Thamud but would be blessed with faith by God’s grace, and once free from the shackles of coercion would vehemently venture forward to accept the call of the Prophet. This is a further corroboration of the fact that the victory mentioned is the conquest of Makkah. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:
This conquest changed the entire complexion of Arabia to the extent that people were suddenly afforded with the liberty to choose their own religion and the wave of coercion and terror let loose by the Quraysh on the basis of which they had become virtual masters of the faith and destiny of people was brought to an end. Veiled in these glad tidings was the news to the Prophet (sws) that soon the time would come when the people of the Quraysh would rush towards Islam with total freedom from the shackles of the Quraysh. No one would dare to stop them. This is a very strong testimony that the victory referred to here is the conquest of Makkah. There is no other victory which produced such results. (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 9, 622)
They should keep God in remembrance while being fully aware of tawhid because the true concept of tawhid is based on absolving God from all negative traits and acknowledging all positive ones in Him. It is essential to accept that God is free from all traits that are against the majesty of a deity and that He possesses all traits that are in accordance with His majesty.

This is the same directive which was mentioned in Surah Alam Nashrah in the words: فَاِذَا فَرَغۡتَ فَانۡصَبۡ وَ اِلٰی رَبِّکَ فَارۡغَبۡ (94:7-8) (So, when you are free [from this task], labour hard [in worship] and seek your Lord with all fervour, (94:7-8)). The implication is that when these things manifest themselves, it will be a sign of completion of the Prophet’s mission, and a fulfillment in a very honourable way of the great responsibility God placed on his shoulders. Hence, he should now prepare to meet his Lord. Thus, it is said that after completion of his mission he should now turn to worship God with full devotion and glorify Him at every instant and keep His attributes in remembrance. If He exceeds the bounds of preaching imposed on him, he should seek God’s forgiveness. He is merciful to His people and forgives their mistakes.

You may now like to listen to the explanation of this surah by one of the eminent Muslim scholars of present times, Nouman Ali Khan:
May Allāh (سبحانه و تعالى‎) help us understand Qur'ān and follow the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, which is embodiment of commandments of Allah contained in the Qur'ān. May Allah help us to be like the ones He loves and let our lives be lived helping others and not making others' lives miserable or unlivable. May all our wrong doings, whether intentional or unintentional, be forgiven before the angel of death knocks on our door. 

وَمَا عَلَيۡنَاۤ اِلَّا الۡبَلٰغُ الۡمُبِيۡنُ‏ 
(36:17) and our duty is no more than to clearly convey the Message.”
That is Our duty is only to convey to you the message that Allah has entrusted us with. Then it is for you to accept it or reject it. We have not been made responsible for making you accept it forcibly, and if you do not accept it, we shall not be seized in consequence of your disbelief, you will yourselves be answerable for your actions on Day of Resurrection.

May Allah forgive me if my posts ever imply a piety far greater than I possess. I am most in need of guidance.

Reading the Qur'ān should be a daily obligation of a Muslim - Reading it with translation will make it meaningful. But reading its Exegesis / Tafsir will make you understand it fully. It will also help the Muslims to have grasp over social issues and their answers discussed in the Qur'an and other matter related to inter faith so that they are able to discuss issues with non-Muslims with authority based on refences from Qur'an.

Note: When we mention God in our posts, we mean One True God, we call Allah in Islam, with no associates. Allah is the Sole Creator of all things, and that Allah is all-powerful and all-knowing. Allah has no offspring, no race, no gender, no body, and is unaffected by the characteristics of human life.

You may refer to our Reference Page "114 Chapters (Sūrahs) of the Holy Qur'an" for translation, explanation and exegesis of other chapters of the Qur'an.

You may also refer to our Reference Pages for knowing more about Islam and Quran.
Reading the Holy Quran should be a daily obligation of a Muslim - Reading it with translation will make it meaningful. But reading its Exegesis / Tafsir will make you understand it fully.

An effort has been made to gather explanation / exegesis of the surahs of the Holy Qur'an from authentic sources and then present a least possible condensed explanation of the surah. In that:
  • The plain translation has been taken from the Holy Quran officially published by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. [1]
  • The exegesis of the chapters of the Holy Quran is mainly based on the "Tafhim al-Qur'an - The Meaning of the Qur'an" by one of the most enlightened scholars of the Muslim World Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi.  [2]
In order to augment and add more explanation as already provided by [2], additional input has been interjected from following sources: 
In addition, references of other sources which have been explored have also been given below. Those desirous of detailed explanations and tafsir (exegesis), may refer to these sites.

References: | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 |

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