Chronologically, Musaylimah al-Kadhdhab (the Liar) was the first to claim prophethood along with the Holy Prophet (SM) and was so audacious that he returned his emissaries back with the threat that he would have killed them had it not been for the protocol which prohibited killing of envoys and emissaries. Musaylimah was a liar in his claim. The Holy Prophet (SM) did not get the time to wage Jihad against him and he left this mortal world.
Similarly, Aswad al-'Ansi, the chief of the tribe of Mudhhaj in Yaman announced his prophethood. The Holy Prophet (SM) ordered the Governor of Yaman appointed by him to fight against him. But, the very next day after the night he was killed, the Holy Prophet (SM) departed from this mortal world. The news about his being killed reached the noble Companions at the end of Rabi' al-Awwal. Another event like this was reported concerning the tribe of Banu Asad whose chief, Tulayhah ibn Khuwaylid laid a claim to his own prophethood.
Groups from these three tribes had turned Apostates during the last sickness of the Holy Prophet (SM). The news of his passing away took the lid out of this storm of Apostacy. Seven tribes of Arabia from different places turned against Islam and its legal authority. They refused to pay Zakah as required by Islamic law to the Khalifah of the time, Sayyidna Abu Bakr Al-Siddiq رضي الله عنه.
After the passing away of the Holy Prophet (SM), the responsibility of the country and the community fell on the shoulders of
Sayyidna Abu Bakr Al-Siddiq رضي الله عنه. There was the great shock on the one hand, and the flood of trials and rebellions on the other. Sayyidah 'A'ishah رضي الله عنها says that the shock faced by her father, Sayyidna Abu Bakr, after the passing away of the Holy Prophet (SM), was So peat that had it fallen on high mountains they would have been reduced to powder. But, Almighty Allah had blessed him with the high station of patience and fortitude by virtue of which he fought against all odds with full determination and courage, and did succeed finally.
Rebellion, as obvious, can be quashed by use of force only. But, conditions had reached a point of danger and Sayyidna Abu Bakr went into consultation with the noble Companions. None of them approved of a hardline against rebellions. The danger was: If the Companions were to be committed to internal warfare, foreign powers would run over their new Islamic country. But, Allah Almighty made the heart of His 'True one' strong and settled for Jihad. He gave a n eloquent Khutbah before the Companions of the Holy Prophet (SM) which opened up their hearts too in favour of Jihad. The power and perfection of his determination and fortitude is reflected through his words.
*"People who, after they have become Muslims, turn back and reject the injunctions given by the Holy Prophet (SM) , and the Law of Islam, then, it is my duty that I should wage a Jihad against them. If, against me, they decide to bring along the combined force of all Jinns and human beings, and all trees and rocks of the world, all together, and I have no comrade in arms to support me, even then, I would, all by myself, put my neck on the stake and carry out this Jihad.*
After having said this, he mounted his horse and started moving ahead. Then, the noble Companions, may Allah be pleased with them all, came forward and made Sayyidna Siddiq al-Akbar sit at his place. In no time, a battle plan was drawn with fronts assigned to different people and the time of their departure set for action.
Therefore, Sayyidna 'Ali رضي الله عنه , Hasan al-Basri, Dahhak, Qatadah and other Imams of Tafsir have said that this verse has been revealed about Sayyidna Abu Bakr Al-Siddiq رضي الله عنه. He was the first one of the promised people about whom it was said in this verse that they will appear to defend Islam at the command of Allah.
But, not contrary to this, is the possibility that some other group could also be included in the sense of this verse. Therefore, respected elders who have pointed out to Sayyidna Abu Musa al-Ash'ari رضي الله عنه or other noble Companions as being included in the sense of this verse cannot be really taken as contrary to this suggestion. In fact, the most sound and safe position is to believe that all these blessed people, rather every single Muslim due to come right upto the Last Day of Qiyamah, who will keep confronting disbelief and apostacy in accordance with the commands of the Qur'an hey all shall be considered as included under the purview of this verse.
Let us now resume our description of how the moving exhortation of Sayyidna Siddiq al-Akbar made a group of Sahabah rise to the occasion and meet the challenge of this trial of Apostacy under the leadership of the first Khalifah of Islam. Assigning an army of fighting men, he sent Sayyidna Khalid ibn Walid to Yamamah to fight against Musaylimah the Liar who had become very poweful in his area. The encounters were tough, but Musaylimah the Liar was ultimately killed at the hands of Sayyidna Wahshi, may Allah be pleased with him. His group repented and returned to the fold of Islam. Again, it was Sayyidna Khalid who went to fight against Tulayhah ibn Khuwaylid. He escaped and went out to some other area. Then, Allah gave him the ability to repent and return to Islam once again. He came back as a Muslim.
The news that Aswad al-'Ansi had been killed and his group had surrendered had reached Madinah toward the end of the month of Rabi' al-Awwal, the first month of the Siddiqi Caliphate. This was the very first news of victory which reached Sayyidna Siddiq al-Akbar under such trying circumstances. So, from this point onwards, the noble Companions of the Prophet were also blessed with more clear victories on every front against other tribes which had refused to pay Zakah.
Thus, the practical demonstration of the truth of the word of Allah mentioned towards the end of the fifth verse (56): فإن حزب الله هم الغالبون (then, the people of Allah are the ones to prevail) was seen by the whole world. Speaking historically and objectively, it is a proven fact that the problem of Apostacy did affect some tribes of the Arabian Peninsula the passing away of the Holy Prophet (SM). Then, the group that Allah made to rise and fight against the challenge was that of Sayyidna Siddiq al-Akbar and his colleagues among the Sahabah. So, it also stands proved from this very verse that the qualities of the promised set of people given in the Qur'an were all present in Sayyidna Siddiq al-Akbar and the Sahabah with him. To restate these, we can say:
1.Allah loves them.
2. They love Allah.
3. They are soft with Muslims and hard against disbelievers.
4. Their Jihad was in the way of Allah in which they were not afraid of any blame.