This chapter was revealed during the Farewell Pilgrimage of the
Holy Prophet Muhammad in the middle of the days of Sacrifice.
It clearly demonstrates that so great was the help that Allah gave
to His servant that notwithstanding the concerted opposition of
the unbelievers, Allah gave him such a resounding victory that even
in his life-time all the unbelievers were defeated and idolatry
and unbelief were obliterated throughout the land of Arabia.
|Izaa jaa nasrul-Lahi
- When Allahs help and victory comes,
yadkhuluna fid-dinil-Lahi afwaja
- And thou seest men entering the religion of Allah in companies,
|Fa sabbih bihamdi
Rabbika wastaghfir. Innahu kana Tawwaba.
- Celebrate the praise of thy Lord and ask His protection.
Surely He is Ever-Returning (to mercy).
Many people believe that fath (victory) refers to the conquest
of Makkah, and that is true for it is one manifestation of Allahs
help. But when the Almighty Himself explains this victory in the
following words: And thou seest men entering the religion in
companies, there is no need for additional commentary.
Tasbih (sanctification) means that one should understand
that Allahs attributes are free of defects or faults, and
we should conceive and recite this openly.
Taqdis (glorification) means that we should perceive that
Allahs actions admit of no fault nor defect, and we should
openly confess this belief.
By tahmid (praise) is meant that Allahs attributes
and actions encompass the most sublime and exalted excellence, and
we should understand and recite this truth publicly.
So the expression: Fa sabbih bi hamdi Rabbika (Celebrate
the praise of thy Lord) contains all the above meanings and obligations.
Istighfar means the seeking of protection and this
can be done in three ways. Firstly, protection is sought against
the evil consequences of our sins. Secondly, it means the seeking
of protection from the commission of sins because of human weakness.
The more a person makes istighfar, the more is he saved from
sinful deeds. For example, a person may hate the telling of lies
and he considers it so great a weakness that he wishes to be saved
from it, so he strives hard to protect himself from this evil and
supplicates Allah to preserve him from falling into it.
Again, a person may face the possibility of meeting a lion in the
jungle. He can be saved only if he takes the fullest precaution
beforehand. In the same way, only if a person makes the fullest
provisions in advance can he safe-guard himself from the sins of
this world, and the greatest precaution is seeking the protection
of Allah, which in the terminology of the Holy Quran is called istighfar.
So the more a person seeks protection the more is he preserved from
transgression, for an indispensable prerequisite of chastity and
sinlessness is istighfar. Whenever our Holy Prophet Muhammad
found himself in the company of people he used to make istighfar
seventy times before taking his leave. The intention was to prevent
his heart from being affected by any evil influences that may have
existed in that group. From this we can gauge how much he feared
and hated sins. As a result he was constantly engaged in asking
Allah for protection. This accounts for his sinlessness and the
supreme excellence of his morals which no man can surpass or even
The third aspect of istighfar is that sometimes a
person may wish to advance in the doing of good but he experiences
an inner weakness which prevents him, and so he seeks protection
from this ailment. For example, a person may pay his zakat
in full, but his mind baulks at making further sacrifices, or he
may read his five daily prayers, but feels reluctant to perform
the Tahajjud prayer. For this condition, too, istighfar
is necessary. In other words, he should seek the protection
of Allah from that kind of weakness which restrains him from climbing
higher on the ladder of goodness, for man cannot achieve perfection
without istighfar. So if a good person makes istighfar
abundantly, he can continue to rise to the highest rungs of
perfection. That is why it is mentioned in the Holy Quran that the
inhabitants of Paradise will pray thus: Our Lord, perfect our
light for us and grant us istighfar (protection) (66:8).
Now, it is known by all that there will be no sin in Heaven as
the Holy Quran testifies: They hear therein no vain nor sinful
talk (56:25). So it is baseless to think that the people of
Paradise will be seeking protection from the consequences of having
sinned there, or for protection against their committing sins in
Paradise, for it is impossible to have sins in Heaven. What is really
meant here is the third aspect of istighfar, that is, seeking
higher and higher levels of advancement and beseeching Allah to
cover up the defective stages of their progress. This is what the
expression Our Lord, perfect for us our light elucidates.
In other words, they already have light, but the yearning is for
perfect light. In short, the word istighfar can bear
any one of the above meanings of istighfar as the situation
However, one should bear in mind that it does not necessarily follow
that the person who makes istighfar is a sinner. In fact,
it is plain as daylight that the person who seeks istighfar
(protection) feels revulsion towards sin, and in his attempt to
save himself from pollution he continually seeks the protection
of Allah. Such a person will certainly attain that degree of perfection
in virtuous deeds which is called the state of sinlessness or union
with Allah, Most High, and the more he engages in istighfar,
the greater will be his advancement and he will become the inheritor
of spiritual excellence.
At-Tawwab is one of the attributes of Allah, and means the
One Who is Oft-Returning to mercy. For example, if a person turns
back from the commission of sins, Allah, Most High, turns to him
mercifully. But it is wrong to deduce from this that tawwab
means turning mercifully only to those who have given up a sinful
life. In fact, whenever and however a servant turns to his
Lord, so, too, will his Lord favour him with compassion. In this
regard, it is mentioned in the Hadith that if a person walks
one yard towards Allah, Most High, He (Allah) will run towards him
regardless of whether the person has turned his back on a life of
sin or whether he is advancing step by step in the doing of good
and so is turning to Allah more and more. For example, a person
may be reading his five daily prayers regularly. That, of course,
is turning to Allah. But let us say that he increases his efforts
and turns to Allah more by now performing the Tahajjud and
other supererogatory prayers, then Allah will turn even more to
him. So at that point it can be said that he will find Allah to
be Tawwab, that is, the more he turns to Allah, the more
will Allah turn to him.
After having thrown light on the above matters, we shall now address
our attention to the real subject of this chapter. The help of Allah
and His victory eventually came to the Holy Prophet Muhammad .
After great trials and tempestuous storms, Makkah was at last conquered,
and people were entering the religion in large numbers. There came
that day when the whole Arab nation shone with the light of Islam,
and an entire nation of wild and unlettered people, who were slaves
of all kinds of gods and idols and who were sunk in every kind of
immorality and barbarity, was transformed into a civilised, cultured
and God-fearing people. That is why the Holy Quran commands:
(And when) thou seest men entering the religion of
Allah in companies, celebrate the praise of thy Lord and ask His
forgiveness. Surely He is the Oft-Returning to mercy.
The question arises: Who is the person whom Allah addresses in
the above verses? The answer to that is that it can refer to the
Holy Prophet Muhammad or to every believer, either individually
or collectively. We shall now consider the three applications of
Firstly, if the Holy Prophet is the one spoken to, then
the above verses are instructing him to educate the new converts
to the religion. In particular, he must give them the true teaching
concerning the sublime and perfect attributes of Allah and, having
rid them of ignorance and the worship of false gods, he should ingrain
in them the real meaning of the Oneness of Allah, and give them
deeper understanding of religious truths. One probable reason for
the order to praise and glorify Allah when someone is converted
is that it is a binding obligation on Muslims to be well-grounded
in spiritual knowledge and in the understanding of the concept of
the Oneness of Allah. This is so because the ascribing of partners
to Allah is the enemy of Allahs subhaniyyat (His glory
and freedom from imperfection), for having a partner is a confession
For example, the Christians believe that God has a son, for as
they say, God the Father is the God of justice and not of mercy.
Therefore, to remove this weakness, a Son was created who they opine
is the embodiment of mercy. So now there is a defect in both Father
and Son, for there is no mercy in the Father and no justice in the
Son. In this way when people attribute power to other beings besides
Allah, they unwittingly admit that there is imperfection in Islam.
A Being Who is perfect and free from all faults and free from imperfection
and blemish does not stand in need of a partner. Therefore, the
greatest way to glorify Allah is to inculcate the concept of His
Oneness in oneself and others. Similarly, to glorify that Being
without praising Him is to deny that He is the Possessor of all
perfect attributes. That is, every attribute of His must also embody
the highest perfection. For instance, if He is beneficent and merciful,
then He must be so to the highest level. Similarly, if he is powerful
and knowing, then He must be so to the utmost limit. In short, not
only must He be free from every defect and fault, but he must be
the Possessor of every excellent attribute to the zenith of perfection.
Before the revelation of the Holy Quran, this knowledge and this
concept of the Oneness of Allah did not exist anywhere in the world.
So, our Holy Prophet is told to educate the new converts, and make
istighfar to Allah for them; that is, seek Allahs forgiveness
for the evil consequences of their past misdeeds, and His protection
against their committing sin in the future, so that He may take
them under His wings, and transform them into a pure and righteous
people who will advance in goodness. He should also initiate them
into the deeper truths of the religion and a perfect appreciation
of the Oneness of Allah and seek protection and forgiveness for
their actions, for Allah is the Oft-Returning to mercy. He will
turn ever compassionately to them and take them under His tender
care and pardon them for all past mistakes. Furthermore, He will
preserve them from falling into error in future and even more, He
will make of them a nation that will make steady progress in goodness
and purity. He is the embodiment of compassion, so whatever steps
they take for His sake will be rewarded with fresher and fresher
manifestations of His mercy until they reach their goal of perfection.
And that is exactly how the promise was fulfilled.
The second class of person addressed here is the individual believer
who is exhorted to look at the example of the Holy Prophet ,
whose life was a perfect manifestation of the belief in the Oneness
of Allah, and to see how Allah rewarded him for this with help and
triumph after triumph, and how he resurrected a dead people by infusing
in them the praise, glorification and exaltation of Allah, Most
High, through his words, example and preaching. Having seen how
these same people joined the religion of Islam, and were metamorphosed
from a barbaric and idolatrous horde into a cultured and civilised
society, then each believer should emulate them and do the following
- He should believe with the strongest conviction in the Oneness
of Allah and pattern his life on this principle.
- He should keep the sublime nature of Allahs attributes
and their excellence always in his heart and strive hard to
colour himself with the Divine colours.
The intention behind the recitation of the praise and glorification
of Allah is firstly, to develop a true intellectual conception of
the Oneness of Allah and to gain Divine gnosis. Next, if we keep
on reciting Allahs praise and glory, it will help in the gradual
reformation of our inner weaknesses. In addition, this recitation
is also a form of supplication to attract the mercy and compassion
of the Divine Being.
Thirdly, every believer is addressed here but not individually
as before, but collectively in the capacity of a united community
or nation, and so Muslims in general are given the same message,
exhortation and promise that the individual believer received. Thus,
Muslims, as a body, must observe the Holy Prophets example
of religious propagation and do the same. That is, they should spread
the praise and glory of Allah throughout the world with single-mindedness
of purpose, and seek Allahs protection against their internal
weaknesses for it is because of these weaknesses that Allah closed
the door of His help and victory and the rising flood of the religion
of Islam subsided.
We are also urged to study the history of Islam and observe that
as long as the hearts of Muslims were filled with love for the religion,
and their zeal for the service and propagation of Islam reigned
supreme, how nation after nation entered the fold. But when this
enthusiasm waned and worldly concerns gained precedence over religion,
then Allahs help and victory were cut off, and the onward
march of Islam was halted.
Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Sahib, Mujaddid of the 14th
century, fully understood this weakness in the Muslim nation
that their love of this worldly life superseded every other consideration.
When he embarked on the campaign to spread the praise and glorification
of Allah through the teachings of Islam, and decided to form an
organisation for that purpose, besides asking his followers to make
istighfar verbally, he laid down the following condition
on the initiated: I shall hold religion above the world.
He also strongly emphasised in his writings the following point:
When a follower makes sajdah (prostration) to Allah and is
glorifying Him, if at that time his heart is not on fire for the
propagation of Islam, then such a heart is an accursed one. In the
Hadith it is written that in sajdah if a person besides
reciting the usual prayer of glorification, Subhana Rabbiyal
Ala (Glory be to Allah, the Most High), adds the following
words of praise and petition: Subhanaka Allahumma Rabbana wa
bihamdika. Allahumaghfirli (Glory be to Thee, O, Allah, Our
Lord, and all praise to Thee. Our Lord, forgive me), then that is
considered an act of great virtue. However, excellent this may be,
one must not limit it to mere lip-profession, but must fight hard
with property and person, sacrificing both if necessary, for the
sake of religion.
It is this objective that inspired the Mujaddid of the Age,
Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Sahib of Qadian, to pen the following
Is din ka shan-o-shaukat ya Rabb mujhe dikhade
Sab jhootay din mitaa day meri dua yehi hai
Dear Lord, show me the glorious splendour of this religion (of
And obliterate all false creeds from the face of the earth.
This I humbly beg of thee.