This pledge is the pledge of obedience to 'Allah and His Messenger and the pledge of practical adherence to the Shari'ah of Islam. This is technically known as the Kalimah or the statement of creed and which is:
لا اله الا الله محمد رسول الله
lailaha il-lal-lahu Muhammadur-Rasu-lul-lah
"There is no god worthy of worship but Allah Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah."
Every Muslim who says this Kalimah is bound by this pledge. In the verse which follows (5:8), some important articles of the pledge, that is, particular religious injunctions have been described. These enjoin equity and justice for friend and foe alike and teach justice and tolerance not revenge for enemies once overpowered. This pledge is, in itself, a great blessing of Allah, therefore, it has been made to begin with: وَاذْكُرُوا نِعْمَةَ اللَّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ (And remember Allah's favour upon you ...).
This verse particularly mentions how enemies conspired to destroy Muslims and kill their Prophet on so many occasions, but Almighty Allah foiled all their plans and put them to disgrace 'some people planned to lay their hands on you, and He kept their hands away from you.'
Speaking generally, there are innumerable events on the annals of
the history of Islam when the plans made by disbelievers were seen rolling in dust by Divine grace. But, there are some special events a s well which our learned commentators have pinpointed as the substantiation of this verse for example, in the Musnad of 'Abd al-Razzaq, a report from Sayyidna Jabir رضي الله عنه says:
In a Jihad, the Holy Prophet (SM) and his Companions رضي الله عنهم اجمعين stopped to rest at one stage. The noble Companions scattered out to rest at various spots. The Holy Prophet (SM) stopped by a tree, all by himself. He hung his weapons on a branch of the tree. A villager from among the enemies pounced on this occasion, dashed in and took possession of the sword of the Holy Prophet &. Then, taking it out from the sheath, he threatened him by saying: من يمنعك مني (That is, 'now tell me who can save you from my hand?').
Undaunted, the Holy Prophet (SM) said: 'Allah عزوجل (the Mighty, the Exalted)'. The villager repeated what he had said earlier, that is, 'now tell me who can save you from my hand?' Once again, the Holy Prophet (SM) said with the same composure: 'Allah عزوجل After two or three exchanges in this manner, it was the awe of some unseen power which forced the challenger to put the sword back in its sheath. At that point, the Holy Prophet (SM) called the Companions in and narrated what had transpired. The villager was still sitting by his side. He said nothing to him. (Ibn Kathir).
As part of an explanation of this verse, reports from some Companions say that there was an occasion when Ka'b ibn Ashraf, a Jew, had invited the Holy Prophet (SM) to his house with the intention of killing him. Allah Almighty told him about this evil intention which foiled his conspiracy (Ibn Kathir). Also reported from Mujahid, 'Ikrimah and others is that the Holy Prophet (SM) once went to Yahud ibn Nudayr to talk about a matter of concern. He asked him to sit under a wall, engaged him in a conversation while secretly he appointed 'Amr ibn Jahsh to scale the wall from behind and throw down a rock from the top of the wall over him. Allah Almighty let His Messenger, may he remain blessed and protected for ever, know about their hostile intention and he immediately rose and moved away from there (Ibn Kathir).
There is no contradiction about these events. All of them can be taken to be substantiating the present verse where, after mentioning the unseen protection provided to the Holy Prophet (SM) and to Muslims in general, it was said: وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ ۚ وَعَلَى اللَّهِ فَلْيَتَوَكَّلِ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ (and fear Allah. And in Allah the believers should place their trust).
First of all, what is being said here is that this blessing from Allah is not restricted to the Holy Prophet (SM), rather, the real cause of this Divine support and protection is the quality of Taqwa (the fear of Allah) and Tawakkul (Trust in Him). Any nation, or individual who lives by these two virtues, in any time and in any place, will have the support and protection from Almighty Allah in the same manner. How well this was put in two lines by poet Iqbal:
Create the atmosphere of Badr, for your help the angels could Descend from the heavens, file after file, even now!