إِنَّ الَّذِي فَرَضَ عَلَيْكَ الْقُرْآنَ لَرَادُّكَ إِلَىٰ مَعَادٍ
Surely, He Who has entrusted you (O Messenger) with the (duty of following and conveying) the Qur’ān, will certainly bring you round to the fulfillment of the promise of returning (in victory to the home you were compelled to leave). (Al-Qasas 28:85)
This verse has been interpreted in two ways. One is that it reminds our Prophet of the things most pleasing to him such as the afterlife and “reunion” with God, for which he yearned most sincerely from the bottom of his heart. At a time when God’s most beloved servant and Messenger, upon him be the most perfect of blessings and peace, was in indescribable sorrow due to the fact that he was compelled to leave his hometown of Makkah and the Ka‘bah, which he loved so much beyond any description, God Almighty consoled him with the promise of reunion with Him and His approval and good pleasure, which was the greatest of glad tidings for him. We cannot comprehend to what extent these good tidings pleased him and made him rejoice. Thus, his All-Compassionate Lord changed his sorrow to rejoicing.
The other meaning of this verse is that God Almighty draws our attention to His Divine practice in recurrent events throughout the human history. That is, from the beginning of Sūratu’l-Qasas up to this verse, God Almighty relates the significant incidents and experiences in Moses’ life from his birth to his struggle against the Pharaoh in Egypt and reminds our Messenger that these are not meaningless historical events. They are repeated in the history of humankind, and, therefore, God’s Messenger will live them or their likes. Like Prophet Moses, upon him be peace, he will also be compelled to leave his hometown to live in another place. While this sūrah was revealed in Makkah, according to a report, this verse was sent down during our Prophet’s emigration to Madīnah. With this verse, God both breathes peace and assurance into the spirit of His Prophet, who is suffering the sorrow of leaving Makkah, and gives him the glad tidings that he will return to his hometown after eight and so years. This interpretation is more acceptable than the former and refers to the mission of Prophethood in giving news from the Unseen.
When the time was due, Makkah was conquered, and the enemies of Muslims suffered humiliation. The pride of humankind, peace and blessings be upon him, “returned” to that glorious town with his dignified Companions through a victory beyond description. As the very word “return” (ma‘ād) implies being in the same place as one was before, this interpretation sounds more accurate.
God knows the best and to Him is the return and homecoming.