Surat al-Baqara

“Allah’s Victory is Near: Tafsir of al-Baqara Verse 214”

Tafsir of al-Baqara Verse 214:

“The Victory of Allah is Near…”


Allah says in the Qur’an:

Do you think you that you will enter Paradise without such [trials] as came to those who passed away before you? They were afflicted with severe poverty and ailments and were so shaken that even the Messenger and those who believed along with him said: ‘When is the help of Allah?’ Yes! Certainly, the Help of Allah is near!

  • Imam al-Tabari comments on this verse:

معنى الكلام : أم حسبتم أنكم أيها المؤمنون بالله ورسله تدخلون الجنة ولم يصبكم مثلُ ما أصاب مَن قبلكم مِن أتباع الأنبياء والرسل من الشدائد والمحن والاختبار، فتُبتلوا بما ابتُلوا واختبروا به من ” البأساء “، وهو شدة الحاجة والفاقة، ” والضراء “، وهي العلل والأوصاب، ولم تزلزلوا زلزالهم، يعني : ولم يصبهم من أعدائهم من الخوف والرعب شدة وجهدٌ، حتى يستبطئ القومُ نصرَ الله إياهم، فيقولون : متى الله ناصرنا؟ ثم أخبرهم الله أن نصره منهم قريبٌ، وأنه مُعليهم على عدوِّهم، ومظهرهم عليه، فنجَّز لهم ما وعدهم، وأعلى كلمتهم، وأطفأ نار حرب الذين كفروا

“What this means is: Or do you think that you, O believers in Allah and His Messenger, will enter Paradise without anything afflicting you like that which afflicted those who came before you who followed the Prophets and Messengers in hardship (shada’id), trials (mihan) and tests (ikhtibar)? You will be tested just as they were tested, with ‘severe poverty’ (al-ba’sa’), which is severe hardship and want, and ‘ailments’ (al-darra’), which is pain and sickness. But you have not yet been shaken as they were shaken, i.e., you have not yet suffered extreme fear and terror at the hands of your enemy, so that you think that the help of Allah is slow in coming saying: When will Allah help us? Then Allah told them that His help was near to them and that He would cause them to prevail over the enemy and defeat them. Then He fulfilled what He had promised them and made their word supreme, and extinguished the flames of war lit by those who disbelieved.”[1]


{مَسَّتْهُمُ}: “the reality of {mass} is a body touching another body [s: i.e. physical contact] but here it is not literal (huwa majaz) referring to being afflicted by something…”[2]

{زلزلوا}: “they will experience extreme fear and be shaken by the pain they are suffering…”[3]

{متى نصر الله}: “means ‘when will the victory of Allah come?’”[4]

{أَلَا إِنَّ نَصْرَ اللَّهِ قَرِيبٌ}: “meaning that Allah replied to their plea through revelation to His Messenger that the victory is near. Both the particle of warning {أَلَا} and the emphatic particle {إِنَّ} are used is to create tranquillity in their hearts that this promise of Allah will surely be realised.”[5]

Some Lessons to learn:

[1] Allah’s help should be sought because He alone is able to grant victory or give real help.

[2] Those who follow the Prophet do what the Prophets do. The Prophet requested Allah’s victory and his companions followed him in that.

[3] Allah in His wisdom delays the victory or help even though in reality it is never far away.

[4] Patience (sabr) during hard trials, afflictions and tests are a means of entering Paradise.

[5] The believers are promised victory by Allah in order to lift morale and strength to continue struggling in His path.


[1] al-Tabari, al-Jami` al-Bayan, 4:288.

[2] Ibn `Ashur, al-Tahrir wa’l-Tanwir, 1:594:

والمس حقيقته: اتصال الجسم بجسم آخر وهو مجاز في إصابة الشيء وحلوله

[3] Ibn al-Jawzi, Zad al-Masir, 1:232: “the original meaning of the word ‘zalzala’ in the language is to move something from its place…”

و «زلزلوا» خُوفوا وحُرِكوا بما يؤذي، وأصل الزلزلة في اللغة من: زل الشيء عن مكانه،

[4] `Ata’ Ibn Khalil, al-Taysir fi Usul al-Tafsir, p.280.

[5] Ibid., p.280.


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