And indeed, We bestowed Our guidance on Moses, and passed down the Book to the children of Israel as a guide and a reminder to people of understanding. Therefore, remain patient in adversity, for Godâs promise always comes true. Ask forgiveness for your sins and extol your Lordâs glory and praise evening and morning.Â (The Forgiving; Ghafir: 40: 51-55)
This passage is given as a comment on the whole episode detailed in a long discourse about Moses and the reaction of Pharaoh to his call on him to abandon his false claim to Godhead and to believe in Godâs oneness. It comments on what preceded this long passage of reference to the different communities which suffered Godâs punishment after taking a negative attitude toward His message. Furthermore, it states Godâs attitude to the unbelievers as they stubbornly reject the calls of His messengers. Godâs support is certain to come, not only to Godâs messengers but to the advocates of the true faith when they follow in the prophetsâ footsteps, as indeed happened to the believer in Pharaohâs household.
This definitive comment suits the decisive situation. We have been given an example of the end of truth and falsehood, both in this world and in the life to come. We have seen what fate befell Pharaoh and his noblemen in this life, and we have seen them disputing in hell, utterly humiliated. Such is the end of these communities, as stated in the Qurâan: âWe shall indeed support Our messengers and the believers both in this worldâs life and on the Day when all the witnesses shall stand up. On that Day their excuses will be of no avail to the wrongdoers: their fate will be rejection, and they will have the worst of homes.â
As for the life to come, perhaps no believer in life after death will argue about this. They do not find any reason to argue. As for victory in this present world, this may need some explanation.
Godâs promise is clear and definitive: âWe shall indeed support Our messengers and the believers both in this worldâs life andâ¦â Yet we see that some messengers were killed, and some had to abandon their homes after being rejected and driven out. Some believers have also been exposed to grievous suffering; some were thrown into the fire pit; some fell martyrs; some live in exceedingly difficult circumstances. What happens, then, to Godâs promise of support being given to them in this present life? Satan tries hard to exploit this situation, working hard to shake peopleâs faith.
People, however, use superficial measures when evaluating things, and they overlook many values and facts. They look at a brief period of time and a small area or space. These are limited human measures. A comprehensive look shows the situation to occur in a broad span of time and place. It does not erect limits between one era or place and another. If we look at the question of faith from such a broad perspective, we will see it triumphant, no doubt. Its triumph is the victory of its upholders. They have no existence separate from its existence. The first thing faith requires of them is to dedicate themselves to it completely, so that it is almost as if they disappear while it stays in full vision.
Moreover, people often limit the meaning of victory to a specific outcome they know and can easily recognize. But victory can take different forms, some of which might superficially at least appear akin to defeat.
When Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him)was thrown into the fire and remained resolute in his determination to stick to his faith and advocate it, was he in a position of victory or defeat? From a faith perspective, he was undoubtedly at the highest point of victory as he was being cast into the fire. He again triumphed when he was saved from the fire. These are two different images that appear to be poles apart, but they are in fact very close to each other. Al-Husayn, the Prophetâs grandson, met his martyrdom in a way that is tragic from one angle and splendid from another: so was he victorious or vanquished? On the surface, and judging by immediate considerations, it was a defeat. In reality and from a wider perspective, though, it was a true victory. No other martyr excites sympathy and feelings of support, among both Sunnis and Shiites, like Al-Husayn. Indeed, such feelings also apply to many non-Muslims.
Many are the martyrs who achieved for their faith through martyrdom what they could never have achieved in life had they lived a thousand years. They could not impress great meanings on peopleâs minds or motivate them to action like they did with their final sermon, written with their own blood. Their martyrdom provided motivation for their children and grandchildren, and at times they provided the motivation to change history over several generations. ¬