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“O you who believe! When you meet a...” (Al-Anfāl 8:45)

by Fethullah Gülen on . Posted in Sūratu’l-Anfāl (Gains of War)

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يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِذَا لَقِيتُمْ فِئَةً فَاثْبُتُوا وَاذْكُرُوا اللَّهَ كَثِيرًا لَّعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ
“O you who believe! When you meet a host in battle, stand firm and remember and mention God much, that you may triumph.” (Al-Anfāl 8:45)

“Remembering and mentioning God” in the above verse can be understood as follows:

Firstly, it is emphasized that there should be no place for heedlessness in a believer’s heart in their everyday life and especially during a battle. Everyone who is oblivious to God should be reminded of this. Believers should be warned against heedlessness, especially during a “battle,” and encouraged to “remember and mention God” both by heart and tongue so that even the fields of fighting should be places of worship.

Secondly, remembrance of God at the battlefield is also a resounding proclamation of God’s Name—Allah, Allah, Allah. This behavior is very important particularly in dissuading the enemy side and encouraging the Muslims. If uttering “Allah, Allah” in the normal course of events even with the tip of the tongue inspires spiritual tension in us and fear in the enemy—it definitely does—then we should think about how much one may gain through the remembrance of God (dhikr) done enthusiastically and in awareness.

Thirdly, as for the relationship between “triumph” and persistence in “remembering and mentioning God,” this is a separate subject which needs to be elaborated on later.

In the verse above there are two important and complementary points for believers who meet an enemy:

First, when believers meet an enemy in battle, regardless of how powerful or weak the enemy is, they should be encouraged to have patience and perseverance, and the morale of the enemy should be destroyed through courage and vigilance.

Second, believers should be high-spirited, spiritually powerful, and determined through “remembering and mentioning God” and acting in unity. They should be so fearless and energetic that the enemy should be shocked and discouraged.

These are the important keys to success. One cannot be successful without patience and steadfastness according to the Divine laws of life. Likewise, believers cannot attain victory by fighting heedless of God. Even if they are victorious, such a victory does not bring reward with respect to the Hereafter.

Thus, Muslim warriors or those who strive in God’s cause, no matter what the circumstances are, should be determined and eager on one hand, and always turn to God in remembrance of Him on the other. Even at times when believers are at the zenith of their power and strength, they should never rely on their power; instead, they should always seek refuge in Him and rely on His Power. They should continue to repeat the following supplication: “O God, we admit that we have no power and strength, and we seek refuge in Your Power and Strength.”