The following is based on a translation of Dr Fadhel al Samarrai’s Tafseer of Surah Saff. There is a huge difference between the propagation of Islamic values and Western values. Samuel Huntington says, “The West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion (to which few members of other civilizations converted) but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget this fact; non-Westerners never do.” *
* The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order, p.51
هُوَ الَّذي أَرسَلَ رَسولَهُ بِالهُدىٰ وَدينِ الحَقِّ لِيُظهِرَهُ عَلَى الدّينِ كُلِّهِ وَلَو كَرِهَ المُشرِكونَ
It is He who sent His Messenger with guidance and the Deen of Truth to exalt it over every other deen, though the idolaters hate it.
(Surah Saff, verse 9)
- His Messenger رَسولَهُ
The word messenger was made mudaf (genitive) to the pronoun referring to Allah i.e. رَسُولَهُ so Allah said: هُوَ الَّذِي أَرْسَلَ رَسُولَهُ ‘It is He who sent His Messenger’ and He (swt) did not say: هُوَ الَّذِي أَرْسَلَ محمدا ‘It is He who sent Muhammad’ orهُوَ الَّذِي أَرْسَلَ الرسول ‘It is He who sent The Messenger’ and that is for honoring the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ and to indicate that Allah will protect, honor, and make him victorious because he ﷺ is Allah’s messenger. People normally defend those who side with them and support them, so Allah sided with the Prophet ﷺ.
- Guidance الهُدىٰ
Indeed, Allah mentioned that He sent His Messenger with guidance and the Deen of Truth. What is intended by guidance is the indications that point to his ﷺ truthfulness by way of proofs, miracles and glad tidings.
So for example, the guidance which indicates that he ﷺ is a messenger is his informing about the past nations and what will happen in the future. Also the previous prophets mentioned his ﷺ name, his characteristics and those from the people of the book who were given knowledge also know him ﷺ to be the Messenger just as they knew their sons and many other proofs that he is really the messenger of Allah.
It is also the guidance which guides people to the truth.
- Deen of Truth دينِ الحَقِّ
The Deen Of Truth is that which came with rules and legislations. It came in Fathul Qadeer: هُوَ الَّذِي أَرْسَلَ رَسُولَهُ بِالْهُدَىٰ means: In other words, with what guides people with proofs, miracles and the rules which Allah has legislated for His servants and وَدِينِ الْحَقِّ is Islam.
And it came in Tafseer al Kabeer: Know that the perfection of the condition of the prophets (peace be upon them) will not be complete except by a combination of matters: Firstly, many proofs, and miracles, and it is what is meant by His (swt) statement: أَرْسَلَ رَسُولَهُ بِالْهُدَىٰ . Secondly, His Deen consists of matters which are described with correctness, conformity with wisdom, and agreement with worldly and hereafter benefits which will be made apparent to everyone.
Al Huda preceded Deen Al Haqq because it is the reason for accepting the Deen Al Haqq. Deen was annexed to Al Haqq, so Allah said: دِينِ الْحَقِّ. This idafa (annexation) occurs in the Qur’an generally.
The annexation of Deen to Haqq has many meanings. From these meanings are:
1- Al Haqq is from the names of Allah. He (swt) has called himself Al-Haqq and He described himself with Al-Haqq:
ذَٰلِكَ بِأَنَّ اللَّـهَ هُوَ الْحَقُّ
‘That is because Allah is the Truth’
وَيَعْلَمُونَ أَنَّ اللَّـهَ هُوَ الْحَقُّ الْمُبِينُ
‘and they will know that it is Allah who is the perfect in justice.’
هُنَالِكَ الْوَلَايَةُ لِلَّـهِ الْحَقِّ ۚ هُوَ خَيْرٌ ثَوَابًا وَخَيْرٌ عُقْبًا
‘There the authority is [completely] for Allah, the Truth. He is best in reward and best in outcome.’
So when the Deen was annexed to Al-Haqq, then it was as if He said: Deen of Allah. When Allah is the Al Haqq, then His Deen is true, and it is the true deen.
2- Al Haqq is the opposite of Baatil, so the annexation of the Haqq means Deen of Truth, Justice and its laws, and it is not the Deen of Baatil. Just as you say: This is the path of truth and that is the path of falsehood.
3- It is possible that it is from the type of Idaafa where the masoof is annexed to the its sifaa such as your saying: مسجد الجامع , وحب الحصيد ,وجانب الغربي ,ولدار الآخرة with the estimation of being Mudaf or without estimation. This type of idaafah to make the sifa and massof one of the same is a form of hyperbole or overemphasis.
Therefore, it is Deen Allah, Deen Al-Haqq, and Al Deen Al Haaq, so it combined the idafah with more than one meaning. Had the word Deen been described with Al Haqq as in (Al Deen Al Haqq) then most of these meanings would have been lost.
- Why does the verse end with ‘though the idolaters hate it’ instead of ‘though the disbelievers hate it’?
You may ask why did the previous verse end with His saying: وَلَوْ كَرِهَ الْكَافِرُونَ ‘though the disbelievers hate it’ whereas this verse ends with وَلَوْ كَرِهَ الْمُشْرِكُونَ ‘though the idolaters hate it’?
The answer is that the ending of verse is suitable to what was mentioned in it. The the original meaning of Al Kaafir in the language is the one who does kufr when he covers and conceals. This is why the farmer was called kafir because he covers and conceals the seeds. The light was called kafir because it covers whatever is in it.
Kafir is darkness. So when Allah said: يُرِيدُونَ لِيُطْفِئُوا نُورَ اللَّـهِ بِأَفْوَاهِهِمْ ‘They desire to extinguish Allah’s Light with their mouths’ then it was in the sense that they are intending to change the light into darkness, so that is kufr in the linguistic meaning. Therefore his saying وَلَوْ كَرِهَ الْكَافِرُونَ ‘though the disbelievers hate it’ was suitable here.
This is from one angle, and from another angle, indeed the Kufr is more general than Shirk. So every mushrik is a kafir but not every kafir is a mushrik. Indeed light (nur) is more general than messenger and Deen, so it was made general in contrast to the general and specific in contrast to specific. Therefore when Al Noor was mentioned in verse 8 it was mentioned in contrast with Kufr, and when the Rasool and the Deen was mentioned in verse 9 then it was mentioned in contrast with Shirk.
Allah said in the previous verse: وَلَوْ كَرِهَ الْكَافِرُونَ ‘though the disbelievers hate it’ and he said in the later verse: وَلَوْ كَرِهَ الْمُشْرِكُونَ ‘though the idolaters hate it’. So what is the wisdom behind this?
We say that the disbelievers rejected the messenger ﷺ and the book which was revealed to him, and all of the kaafirun are disbelievers in the blessing, so Allah said وَلَوْ كَرِهَ الْكَافِرُونَ because the word kafir is more general than Mussrik and what is meant by the disbelievers here are the Jews, Christians and mushrikeen. Also the verse mentioned light being extinguished, and Kufr is more appropriate because it is covering and concealing.
In this verse it mentions the messenger, sending of messenger, and the deen of truth and that is a great position for the messenger and rejecting this is opposition to Allah which is Shirk.
Light is more general than Deen and the Messenger. So light was made in contrast to all those disbelievers who contradict Islam and the sending of the message, whereas the messenger and the deen is more specific, and was contrasted with the mushrikeen who are more specific than the Kafireen.
We will mention the subtleties with respect to the two verses and they are:
- Allah said in the previous verse: يُرِيدُونَ لِيُطْفِئُوا نُورَ اللَّـهِ ‘They desire to extinguish Allah’sLight’ and He said in this verse: هُوَ الَّذِي أَرْسَلَ رَسُولَهُ بِالْهُدَىٰ وَدِينِ الْحَقِّ ‘It is He who sent His Messenger with guidance and the Deen of Truth’ so the light was made vis-a-vis the guidance. This is because the light is for the guidance, and the creation is guided only by the light, as in Allah’s saying:
وَلَـٰكِن جَعَلْنَاهُ نُورًا نَّهْدِي بِهِ مَن نَّشَاءُ مِنْ عِبَادِنَا
Nonetheless We have made it a Light by which We guide those of Our slaves We will.
قَدْ جَاءَكُم مِّنَ اللَّـهِ نُورٌ وَكِتَابٌ مُّبِينٌ يَهْدِي بِهِ اللَّـهُ مَنِ اتَّبَعَ رِضْوَانَهُ سُبُلَ السَّلَامِ وَيُخْرِجُهُم مِّنَ الظُّلُمَاتِ إِلَى النُّورِ بِإِذْنِهِ وَيَهْدِيهِمْ إِلَىٰ صِرَاطٍ مُّسْتَقِيمٍ
A Light has come to you from Allah and a Clear Book. By it, Allah guides those who follow what pleases Him to the ways of Peace. He will bring them from the darkness to the light by His permission, and guide them to a straight path.
- The light is annexed to Allah in the previous verse so He said: يُرِيدُونَ لِيُطْفِئُوا نُورَ اللَّـهِ ‘They desire to extinguish Allah’sLight’ whereas in this verse the Messenger was annexed to himself (swt): هُوَ الَّذِي أَرْسَلَ رَسُولَهُ ‘It is He who sent His Messenger’
- Allah said in the previous verse: وَاللَّـهُ مُتِمُّ نُورِهِ ‘but Allah will perfect His Light’ and He said in this verse: لِيُظْهِرَهُ عَلَى الدِّينِ كُلِّهِ ‘to exalt it over every other deen’. The perfection of his light, means it will be victorious and dominant over all other religions and Allah knows best!
You may say that Allah says in Surah Al Fath:
هُوَ الَّذِي أَرْسَلَ رَسُولَهُ بِالْهُدَىٰ وَدِينِ الْحَقِّ لِيُظْهِرَهُ عَلَى الدِّينِ كُلِّهِ ۚ وَكَفَىٰ بِاللَّـهِ شَهِيدًا
It is He who sent His Messenger with the Guidance and the Deen of Truth to exalt it over every other deen and Allah suffices as a witness.
and He did not say: وَلَوْ كَرِهَ الْكَافِرُونَ like He said in Sura Al-Baraa and Sura Al-Saaf, why is that?
The reply is that in the context of the verse of Al Fath, it did not mention the opposition of the Mushrik and their war, like it was mentioned in the context of the two verses in Sura Al-Barraa and Sura Al-Saaf. It did not say before this verse: يُرِيدُونَ لِيُطْفِئُوا نُورَ اللَّـهِ بِأَفْوَاهِهِمْ وَاللَّـهُ مُتِمُّ نُورِهِ وَلَوْ كَرِهَ الْكَافِرُونَ or something similar, as Allah said in the two chapters: Al-Barraa and Al-Saff. Rather Allah said prior to this verse in Sura Al Fath:
لَّقَدْ صَدَقَ اللَّـهُ رَسُولَهُ الرُّؤْيَا بِالْحَقِّ ۖ لَتَدْخُلُنَّ الْمَسْجِدَ الْحَرَامَ إِن شَاءَ اللَّـهُ آمِنِينَ مُحَلِّقِينَ رُءُوسَكُمْ وَمُقَصِّرِينَ لَا تَخَافُونَ ۖ فَعَلِمَ مَا لَمْ تَعْلَمُوا فَجَعَلَ مِن دُونِ ذَٰلِكَ فَتْحًا قَرِيبًا
Allah has confirmed His Messenger’s vision with truth: ‘You will enter the Masjid al-Haram in safety, Allah willing, shaving your heads and cutting your hair without any fear.’ He knew what you did not know and ordained, in place of this, an imminent victory.
Therefore that it was not required to say: وَلَوْ كَرِهَ الْمُشْرِكُونَ as was said in the two chapters Al-Barraa and Al-Saff.
In fact Allah mentioned before the verse of Fath, the promise of entering the sacred mosque safely and this is completing the agreement between them and the mushrikeen according to the treaty of Hudaybiya. So the saying of: وَلَوْ كَرِهَ الْمُشْرِكُونَ was not required from all angles, and Allah knows best.