“Verily those who disbelieve spend their wealth to hinder (men) from the way of Allah and so they will continue to spend it, but in the end will become an anguish for them. They will be overcome and those disbelievers will be gathered in Hell" [TMQ Al-Anfal: 36].
Ibn Kathir in his Tafseer mentions that this verse was revealed during the battle of Badr in particular concerning Abu Sufyan ibn Harb. Moments before the battle it is narrated that Abu Sufyan delivered a speech calling on the Quraish to donate their wealth for the war (harb) and in particular to get rid of the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) once and for all.
He also narrates from Ibn Abbas (ra) from Mujahid (ra) that it was revealed concerning Abu Sufyan because he donated his wealth to kill the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam).
Dahhak (ra) said: "This verse was revealed concerning the people of Badr and all those capable of doing (what the ayah mentions). The Sabab an Nuzul (circumstance of revelation) was concerning a specific incident i.e. at Badr. Allah (Subhanahu Wa ta’ala) has informed us that the Kuffar will spend their wealth so as to hinder people from following the Tareeqa (path) of Haq (truth), and they spend their wealth for this purpose until they become miserable … they wish to extinguish the light of Allah (Subhanahu Wa ta’ala) and to make their word prevail over the word of truth but Allah (Subhanahu Wa ta’ala) raises his light although the Kuffar may detest this and He helps his Deen and makes it prevail over all other Deens and this is their humiliation in this life and punishment of hellfire in the hereafter." [Tafseer Ibn Kathir]
This verse is applicable to the current reality where the Kuffar have launched a crusade against Islam and are continuing this during the blessed month of Ramadhan. This verse was revealed during the month of Ramadhan when the Quraish were gathering their forces and wealth in order to quell Islam, which culminated in the famous battle of Badr. Today the forces of Kufr are also attempting to curb Islam by attacking the Muslims of Afghanistan, Palestine, Chechnya, Kashmir and other parts of the Islamic land. They spend their wealth not only to fight the Muslims physically but also to colonise the minds of the Muslims by attempting to sever them from their Aqeedah (belief) and distort the Islamic culture.
Unlike the battle of Badr, the Muslims today do not stand side by side under a single leadership, which implements Islam. Rather since the destruction of the Khilafah, the Muslims have been in the absence of the shepherd, shield and protector whom the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) called the shade of Allah (Subhanahu Wa ta’ala) upon the earth.
Al-Tabarani and Al-Baihaqi reported that the Messenger (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: "The Sultan is the shade of Allah on earth".
Without this Sultan, Imam or Khalifah we are exposed to attack from all sides without having a leadership that protects our lives, property and dignity. In this situation it is of paramount importance that we understand the concept of Nasr (victory) being from Allah (Subhanahu Wa ta’ala) in the correct manner. It can be noticed, from looking at their statements and behaviour, that some Muslims misunderstand this concept.
Some find it hard to believe that Allah (Subhanahu Wa ta’ala) can provide us the victory when we are drowning in a sea of problems and the ship of the Kuffar seems so powerful. They see the heads of Kufr such as America and its modern Ahzab (Alliance or Coalition) as too strong economically, militarily and politically for the Muslims to overcome. They become mesmerised by the spider’s web (Bait al Ankabut) and can’t see through its weak structure. This has led to some being defeated by the current onslaught and has resulted in their inactivity and failure to try to liberate the Ummah from the Fir’awn of the world by standing up and re-establishing the Khilafah. Defeatism should never enter the heart of the true believer who knows that Allah (Subhanahu Wa ta’ala) will provide the victory.
Another misunderstanding that people fall into is one of mixing the Aqeedah (belief) and the Ahkam Shari’ah (Shari’ah rules). They believe that Allah Azza wa jall will provide us with victory but they rely on this without undertaking the actions that Allah (Subhanahu Wa ta’ala) ordered us with. This error in understanding leads people to remain inactive to change the situation around them and leaves them content in waiting for the victory to come, often the only action they call for is Du’a to Allah (Subhanahu Wa ta’ala) and the asking of help from Him (Subhanahu Wa ta’ala). This diseased view is a corruption in the Islamic mentality and can lead Muslims into fatalism and neglecting their Fara’id (obligations). To demonstrate this we can look at the belief in the Rizq (provision) being from Allah (Subhanahu Wa ta’ala). We belief that Allah (Subhanahu Wa ta’ala) is Ar-Raaziq (The one who provides) however when it comes to our actions we must follow His commands and prohibitions otherwise we would be violating the Qur’an which he revealed to us as a Furqan (criterion) and we would definitely fall into sin.
It was narrated that Umar bin Al-Khattab (ra) passed by some people, who were known as readers of the Qur’an. He saw them sitting and bending their heads, and asked who they were. He was told: "They are those who depend (al-mutawwakiloon) upon Allah (Subhanahu Wa ta’ala)." Umar replied; "No, they are the eaters who eat the people’s properties. Do you want me to describe who those who really depend upon Allah (al-mutawwakiloon) are?" He was answered in the affirmative, and then he said: "He is the person who throws the seeds in the earth and then depends on his Lord, The Almighty, The Exalted."
Umar bin al Khattab (ra), of whom the Shaytan was afraid, explained to us how depending upon Allah (Subhanahu Wa ta’ala) does not mean leaving his obligations and not working to achieve his responsibilities. The Muslim man is commanded by Allah (Subhanahu Wa ta’ala) to earn a living for himself and his family although he has the permanent belief that effort is not proportional to Rizq. Hence there is a difference between the matters of Aqeedah and the following of the Ahkam Shari’ah.
Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) once shook the hand of Sa’ad ibn Muadh (ra) and found his hands to be rough. When the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) asked about it, Sa’ad said; “I dig with the shovel to maintain my family.” The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) kissed Sa’ad’s hands and said; “(They are) two hands which The Supreme loves.” The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: “Nobody would ever eat food that is better than to eat of his own hand’s work.”
As Muslims, we know that the Ajal (lifespan) can be only terminated by Allah (Subhanahu Wa ta’ala). As He (Subhanahu Wa ta’ala) said,
“And no person can ever die except by Allah's leave and at an appointed term” [TMQ Ale-Imran: 145].
Although our death cannot be avoided the knowledge of this should not lead to us abandoning any cures to illnesses or other means from the reality. Rather we seek cures for illnesses in response to the Hadith, “For every disease there is a cure. So seek the cure.”
Unfortunately we can see contradictions in those who restrict themselves to Du’a when it comes to solving the dire problems the Ummah is faced with like the bombardment of the innocent Muslims of Afghanistan. They would not limit themselves to Du’a when it comes to seeking their Rizq (provision) rather we would find them studying, working and striving in order to achieve it. Nor would we find them leaving their property unattended and their houses insecure even though they believe that Allah (Subhanahu Wa ta’ala) is Ar-Raaziq (The Provider). When they are ill we would find them going to the doctor and taking medicine. Then how can it be, when Allah (Subhanahu Wa ta’ala) has commanded us to motivate the people of power like the armies in the Islamic world to undertake their duty of repelling the aggressor and crushing the crusaders that they remain inactive praying for the Mahdi to emerge or for the victory to be granted? How can it be that they remain silent when Allah (Subhanahu Wa ta’ala) has commanded us to undertake the intellectual and political struggle in order to remove the corrupt rulers in the Islamic land and replace them with the Khilafah? As if we are like a feather in the wind with no accountability.
We must understand that victory is only granted by Allah (Subhanahu Wa ta’ala) just as Rizq (provision) is, however we have not been left on this earth without a Shari’ah wandering aimlessly. Rather He (Subhanahu Wa ta’ala) revealed the Qur’an in the month of Ramadhan as a guidance for mankind together with the clear proofs of this guidance for us to follow.
The two extremes of defeatism and fatalism are both incorrect and did not exist in the Sahabah (ra). The Muslims in the battle of Badr as in all the other battles understood that Allah (Subhanahu Wa ta’ala) is the provider of the victory even if they were outnumbered, so they didn’t become defeated by the difficult reality around them, rather they knew that they were entrusted with the obligation of doing their utmost to defeat the enemy. The example of Badr is sufficient to demonstrate this.
In the second year of Hijrah the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) set out on the 8th of Ramadhan with three hundred and five of his companions mounted on seventy camels - ‘Amr ibn Umm Maktum was assigned to lead the prayer whilst Abu Lubabah was left in charge of Madinah. They rode the camels in turn heading towards a caravan led by Abu Sufyan. As they marched on they sought news of the caravan until they had reached the valley of Dafran where they settled, and news reached them there that Quraish had set out from Makkah to protect their caravan. The whole affair then assumed different proportions for it was no longer simply a raid on a caravan, the question was whether to confront Quraish or not. So Allah’s Messenger (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) consulted the Muslims. Abu Bakr (ra) followed then by ‘Umar (ra) voiced their opinions respectively, then al-Miqdad ibn ‘Amr (ra) arose and said, "O Messenger of Allah! Go where Allah tells you, for we are with you. We shall not say as the children of Israel said to Moses ‘You and your Lord go and fight and we will stay at home’, but you and your Lord go and fight and we will fight with you.""Give me advice O men!" by which he meant the Ansar who had paid allegiance to him at al-’Aqabah. They had pledged to protect him as they protected their wives and children, with the stipulation that they were not responsible to fight with him outside Madinah. When the Ansar sensed that he (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) meant them, Sa’ad ibn Mu’adh (ra) who was holding their banner said, "It seems as if you mean us, O Messenger of Allah." He (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said, "Yes.” Sa’ad said, "We believe in you, we declare your truth, and we witness that what you have brought us is the truth, and we have given you our word and agreement to hear and obey; so go where you wish, we are with you; and by He who sent you, if you were to ask us to cross this sea and you plunged into it, we would plunge into it with you; not a man would stay behind. We do not dislike the idea of meeting our enemy tomorrow. We are experienced in war, trustworthy in combat. It may well be that Allah will let us show you something which will bring you joy, so take us along with Allah’s blessing." The Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) was delighted with Sa’ad’s words and said, "Forward in good heart, for Allah had promised me one of the two parties, and by Allah, it is as though I now saw the enemy lying prostrate."
Then the two sides advanced and drew near each other on Friday morning on the 17th of Ramadhan. The Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) straightened the ranks and incited the Muslims to fight. The Muslims were encouraged by the words of Allah’s Messenger (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) and went forward. The fighting broke out fiercely and the heads of the Quraishi fighters went flying from their bodies, the Muslims becoming stronger all the time chanting ‘Ahad! Ahad!’ (The One, the One). Allah’s Messenger (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) whilst standing in the midst of the confrontation took a handful of pebbles and threw them at Quraish saying, "Foul be those faces!" Then he (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) ordered his companions to charge and they duly obliged until the battle was over, and the foe was routed. The Muslims emerged victorious despite being outnumbered three to one, they slew many warriors and tribal leaders of Quraish and took captive many more. The Quraish fled the battlefield and the Muslims returned to Madinah having achieved a truly great victory.
In these difficult days it is vital for us to have the mentality the Sahabah (ra) had regarding the issue of Nasr (victory). We must believe that Allah (Subhanahu Wa ta’ala) will provide it whenever He (Subhanahu Wa ta’ala) wishes, we shouldn’t become defeated if we don’t see it, nor should we remain idle waiting for it to come about. We have to do our utmost in implementing all the orders of Allah (Subhanahu Wa ta’ala) including those regarding changing the status quo and re-establishing the Khilafah. This life is a test and in pursuit of political change we may face all types of tribulations as the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) and the Sahabah (ra) faced.
“Or do you think that you shall enter the gardens of Bliss (al-Jannah) without such (trials) as came to those who passed away before you?” [TMQ Al-Baqarah: 214]
Indeed Allah (Subhanahu Wa ta’ala) has promised us His (Subhanahu Wa ta’ala) help and victory.
“So do not become weak (against your enemy), nor be sad, and you will be superior (in victory) if you are indeed (true) believers” [TMQ Ale-Imran: 139].
“O you who believe if you aid the cause of Allah he will aid you and make your foothold firm” [TMQ Muhammad: 7].