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1. Their first quality identified by the Holy Qur'an is that Allah will love them and they will love Allah. There are two parts to this quality. The first one is the love of these people for Almighty Allah. This could be taken, in one or the other degree, within one's control since one can, even if one does not love someone emotionally or naturally, at least make his intention and determination to work for him in loving intellectually. And even emotional or natural love is though not in one's control, yet its causes are, for instance, the meditation of the greatness and majesty of Almighty Allah, the conception of His most perfect power and the recapitulative survey of His authorities and blessings over human beings. This would definitely generate even natural love for Almighty Allah in the heart of a man or woman.
But, as far as the other part is concerned, that is, the love of Allah will be with these people, it obviously seems to indicate that this is a matter where human choice and action play no role. So, what is beyond our control and choice hardly warrants a description and is obviously fruitless one may be tempted to wonder.
But, by pondering over some other verses of the Holy Qur'an, one will discover that the causes of this part of love too are within human control. If someone uses these means, the love of Allah will necessarily be with him or her. Those means of achieving this end have been mentioned in the verse of the Qur'an which appears in Surah 'Al-'Imran: قُلْ إِن كُنتُمْ تُحِبُّونَ اللَّهَ فَاتَّبِعُونِي يُحْبِبْكُمُ اللَّهُ (say [O Prophet], "If you do love Allah, follow me; Allah shall love you" ... 3:31).
This verse tells us that one who wishes to have Allah love him or her should make the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (SM) the very pivot of life and develop a committed habit of following Sunnah in whatever one does in each and every department of one's life. If so the promise of Allah is there He will love that person. And this very verse also tells us that the only group of people which can stand up and meet the challenge of Disbelief and Apostacy (Kufr and Irtidad) shall be the group of people which follows the Sunnah conscientiously and habitually neither falling short in obedience to the injunctions of the SharTah, nor initiating and introducing on their own, deeds contrary to the Sunnah.
2. The second quality of this group has been identified as: أَذِلَّةٍ عَلَى الْمُؤْمِنِينَ أَعِزَّةٍ عَلَى الْكَافِرِينَ (...soft on the believers, hard on the disbelievers ...). Here, the word: 'adhillah' could be, as explained in Qamus, the plural of both dhalil or Dhalul. Dhalil means low or despicable while dhalul means soft and tractable, that is, easily controlled, docile. According to the majority of commentators, this is the meaning of 'adhillah' at this place, that is, these people will be soft with Muslims. Even in matters of dispute, they can be controlled and mollified easily. They would set the dispute aside, even if they are right in it as said by the Holy Prophet (SM) in an authentic hadith : أنا زعيم ببيت في ربض الجنة لمن ترك المراء وهو محق that is, 'I am the guarantor of a home in the middle of Paradise for one who abandons dispute despite being in the right.' Thus, the essential meaning of this word comes to be that these people will have no dispute with Muslims in matters relating to their rights and dealings.
The second word is 'a'izzah' in: أَعِزَّةٍ عَلَى الْكَافِرِينَ (hard on the disbelievers). Here too, 'a'izzah' is the plural of 'Aziz which means dominant, strong and hard. So, the sense is that these people are hard and strong against the enemies of Allah and His Din who would be unable to control or manipulate them. Now, by combining both sentences we can arrive at the essence of the statement that this will be a set of people whose love and hate, friendship and enmity will be, not for their person or their rights and dealings, but only for Allah, His Messenger and His Din.Therefore, when comes the time to fight, it will not be against the obedient servants of Allah and His Messenger, instead of that, it would be against those who are hostile and disobedient to Allah and His Messenger. The same subject appears in a verse of Surah Al-Fath where the words are: أَشِدَّاءُ عَلَى الْكُفَّارِ رُحَمَاءُ بَيْنَهُمْ (severe against disbelievers, merciful between themselves - 48:29).
3 The essence of the first quality was the most perfect fulfillment ofthe of Allah, and the essence of the second quality was moderation in the fulfillment of the rights of the servants of Allah by remaining accomodating in dealings. Now, the third quality of these people mentioned here is: يُجَاهِدُونَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ : that is, they shall keep carrying out Jihad to spread and establish the True Faith. In essence, it means that fighting against forces of disbelief and apostacy is no easy task. In this confrontation, traditionally known devotion to worship in seclusion or a simple softness or hardness of attitude is not enough. Also necessary here is a feeling and fervour for the mission of establishing Din.
4. To ensure that this feeling and fervor achieves its desired perfection, the fourth quality of these people has been identified as: وَلَا يَخَافُونَ لَوْمَةَ لَائِمٍ that is, they will not care for any blame, censure or derogarow criticism directed against them while they are engaged in their efforts to upraise the true word of Allah and establish His Din. A little reflection will show that the leader of a movement usually faces two types of impediments in his efforts which are the power of the adversary and the vilification of his own people. Experience bears out that people who lead a movement resolutely would stand firm against any adversary, even go through arrests, jail sentences, beatings and tortures, yet, when it comes to facing blames and vilifications from their own people, even the most determined leaders tend to falter. Perhaps, it is to stress the importance of this trying situation at this place, that Allah Almighty has considered it sufficient to say that these people go on with their Jihad without taking notice of any blames directed against them.
Finally, towards the end of the verse (54), it was added that these good qualities of character are nothing but rewards from Almighty Allah. It is He who gives them to whom He wills. A human being cannot acquire these by dint of his own effort and deed without Divine grace.
The Fitnah of Apostacy
Through the explanation of the words of this verse, it has already been clarified that the incidence of some from among Muslims turning into apostates will not harm Islam as a religion because Allah will raise a set of people with high morals and superior deeds who would defend and support it. However, the majority of commentators have dwelt further on the Fitnah (trial) of Apostacy (Irtidad). According to them, this verse is actually a prophecy of this Trial and at the same time a good news for the group of people who will fight against it and eliminate it successfully. This coming Fitnah of Apostacy was a serious problem the germs of which had already started spreading towards the latermost period of Prophethood. But, after the departure of the Holy Prophet (SM) from this mortal world, this became an epidemic spreading all over the Arabian Peninsula. The group blessed with the good news was that of the noble Companions who confronted this onslaught of Apostacy under the command of the first Khalifah of Islam, Sayyidna AbL Bakr Al-Siddiq رضي الله عنه.