Allaah's Promise Is True

Allaah, The Truth, said:

Allaah has promised those among you who believe, and do righteous good deeds, that He will certainly grant them succession to (the present rulers) in the earth, as He granted it to those before them, and that He will grant them the authority to practice their religion, that which He has chosen for them (i.e. Islaam). And He will surely give them in exchange a safe security after their fear (provided) they (believers) worship Me and do not associate anything (in worship) with Me. But whoever disbelieved after this, they are the rebellious. (An-Noor, ayah 55)
 
The tafseer of this ayah is absolutely encouraging and inspiring and a means of increasing the Eeman of a true Muslim. The following is from the abridged Tafseer of Imaam Ibn Katheer (d. 774H, rahimahullaah Ta'aala):
 
This is a promise from Allaah to His Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم) that He would cause his Ummah to become successors on earth, i.e., they would become the leaders and rulers of mankind, through whom He would reform the world and to whom people would submit, so that they would have in exchange a safe security after their fear.
 
This is what Allaah did indeed do, Subhanahu wa Ta'aala, and to Him belongs all praise and blessings. For He did not cause His Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم) to die until He had given him victory over Makkah, Khaybar, Bahrayn, all of the Arabian Peninsula and Yemen, and he took Jizyah from the Zoroastrians of Hajar and from some of the border lands of Syria; and he exchanged gifts with Heraclius the ruler of Byzantium, the ruler of Egypt and Alexandria, the Muqawqis, the kings of Oman and An-Najashi of Abyssinia, who had become king after Ashamah, may Allaah have mercy on him and grant him honor.
 
Then when the Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم) died, his successor (Khalifah) Abu Bakr As-Siddiq (radiAllaahu 'anhu) took over the reins of power and united the Ummah, preventing its disintegration. He took control of the entire Arabian Peninsula, and he sent the Islamic armies to the land of Persia, under the leadership of Khalid bin Al-Walid (radiAllaahu 'anhu) who conquered a part of it and killed some of its people. He sent another army under the leadership of Abu 'Ubaydah (radiAllaahu 'anhu) and the other commanders who came after him in the lands of Syria. He sent a third army under the leadership of 'Amr bin Al-'Aaas (radiAllaahu 'anhu) to Egypt. Allaah enabled the army sent to Syria toconquer Busra and Damascus and their provinces - the land of Hawran and its environs. Then Allaah chose for Abu Bakr to honor him with Him and he died.
 
The people of Islaam were blessed that As-Siddiq was inspired to appoint 'Umar Al-Farooq (radiAllaahu 'anhu) as his successor, so he took the reins of power after him and did a perfect job. After the Prophets, the world never saw anyone like 'Umar in excellence of conduct and perfect justice. During his time, the rest of Syria and Egypt, and most of Persia, was conquered. Kisra was defeated and utterly humiliated, and he retreated to the furthest point of his kingdom. Mighty Caesar was brought low, his rule over Syria was overthrown, and he retreated to Constantinople. Their wealth was spent for the sake of Allah, as the Messenger of Allaah had foretold and promised. May Allah's perfect peace and purest blessing be upon him.
 
During the rule of 'Uthman (radiAllaahu 'anhu), the Islamic domains spread to the furthest points of the earth, east and west. The lands of the west were conquered as far as Cyprus and Andalusia, Kairouan[1] and Sebta which adjoins the Atlantic Ocean. Towards the east, the conquests extended as far as China. Kisra was killed, his kingdom was utterly destroyed and the cities of Iraq, Khurasan and Al-Ahwaz were conquered. The Muslims killed a great number of Turks, and Allaah humiliated their great king Khaqan. Taxes were collected from the east and the west, and brought to the Commander of the faithful 'Uthman bin 'Affan (radiAllaahu 'anhu). This was a blessing brought by his recitation and study of the Qur`an, and his bringing the Ummah together to preserve and protect it.
 
In the Saheeh, it was recorded that the Messenger of Allaah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said: Allaah showed me the earth, and I looked at the east and the west. The dominion of my Ummah will reach everywhere I was shown. [2]   
 
And now [in Ibn Katheer's time], we are enjoying that which Allaah and His Messenger promised us, for Allaah and His Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم) spoke the truth. We ask Allaah to give us Eeman in Him and His Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم), and to help us to give thanks to Him in a manner that will earn us His pleasure.
 
[Concerning Allaah's statement, which means:] Allaah has promised those among you who believe, and do righteous good deeds, that He will certainly grant them succession to (the present rulers) in the earth, as He granted it to those before them, and that He will grant them the authority to practice their religion, that which He has chosen for them (i.e. Islaam). And He will surely give them in exchange a safe security after their fear...) Ar-Rabee' bin Anas narrated that Abu Al-'Aliyah said, "The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) and his Companions were in Makkah for nearly ten years, calling people in secret to worship Allaah Alone with no partner or associate. They were in a state of fear and were not instructed to fight until after they were commanded to migrate to Al-Madinah. When they came to Al-Madinah, then Allaah instructed them to fight. In Al-Madinah, they were afraid and they carried their weapons morning and evening. This is how they remained for as long as Allaah willed..."
 
Then Allaah revealed this Ayah. [3] He caused His Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) to prevail over the Arabian Peninsula, and then they felt safe and put down their weapons. Then Allaah took His Prophet and they remained safe throughout the time of Abu Bakr, 'Umar and 'Uthman, until what happened happened, and fear again prevailed over them, so they instituted a police force and guards. They changed, so their situation changed. One of the Salaf said, "The Khilafah of Abu Bakr and 'Umar was true and adhered to the Book of Allaah. Then he recited this Ayah." Al-Bara` bin 'Azib said, "This Ayah was revealed when we were in a state of extreme fear." [4]  
 
This Ayah is like the Ayah (which means): And remember when you were few and were reckoned weak in the land, and were afraid that men might kidnap you, but He provided a safe place for you, strengthened you with His Help, and provided you with good things so that you might be grateful. (Al-Anfaal, ayah 26)
 
[Concerning Allaah's statement, which means:] as He granted it to those before them, this is like the Ayah in which Allaah tells us that Moosa said to his people: "It may be that your Lord will destroy your enemy, and make you successors on the earth, so that He may see how you act?" (Al-A'raf, ayah 129) 

 
And Allaah says: And We wished to do a favour to those who were weak (and oppressed) in the land, and to make them rulers and to make them the inheritors, and to establish them in the land, and We let Fir'aun (Pharaoh) and Haamaan and their hosts receive from them that which they feared. (Al-Qasas, ayah 5-6)   
 
[Concerning Allaah's statement, which means:] and that He will grant them the authority to practice their religion, that which He has chosen for them (i.e. Islaam).  As the Messenger of Allaah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said to 'Adiyy bin Hatim (radiallaahu 'anhu) when he came to him in a delegation: (Do you know Al-Hirah?) He said, "I do not know it, but I have heard of it."
 
The Messenger of Allaah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said: By the One in Whose Hand is my soul, Allaah will make this matter [Islaam] prevail until a woman riding a camel will come from Al-Heerah and perform Tawaf around the House without needing the protection of anybody, and the treasures of Kisra the son of Hurmuz will be opened. He said, "Kisra the son of Hurmuz?" He said: Yes, Kisra the son of Hurmuz, and wealth will be given until there will be no one who will accept it. 
 
'Adiyy bin Hatim said: "Now it is happening that a woman riding a camel comes from Al-Heerah,[5] and performs Tawaf around the House without needing the protection of anybody, and I was among those who opened the treasure of Kisra, the son of Hurmuz. By the One in Whose Hand is my soul, the third thing will also come to pass, because the Messenger of Allaah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said it." [6]  
        
[Concerning Allaah's statement, which means:] (provided) they (believers) worship Me and do not associate anything (in worship) with Me.
 
Imam Ahmad recorded a hadeeth from Anas (radiAllaahu 'anhu) that Mu'aadh bin Jabal (radiAllaahu 'anhu) told him, "While I was riding behind the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) on a donkey, with nothing between me and him but the back of his saddle, he said: Oh Mu'aadh bin Jabal. I said, 'Here I am at your service, Oh Messenger of Allaah.' Then a while passed, then he said: Oh Mu'adh bin Jabal. I said, 'Here I am at your service, Oh Messenger of Allah.' Then a while passed, then he said: Oh Mu'adh bin Jabal. I said, 'Here I am at your service, Oh Messenger of Allaah.' He said: Do you know the rights that Allaah has over His servants? I said, 'Allaah and His Messenger know best.' He said: The rights that Allaah has over His servants are that they should worship Him and not associate anything with Him. Then a while passed, then he said: Oh Mu'adh bin Jabal. I said, 'Here I am at your service, Oh Messenger of Allaah.' He said: Do you know the rights that people have over Allaah if they do that? I said, 'Allaah and His Messenger know best.' He said: The rights that people have over Allaah is that He will not punish them [if they fulfill the rights that Allaah has over them]." [7] This was also recorded in the Two Sahihs. [8]  
 
[Concerning Allaah's statement, which means:] But whoever disbelieved after this, they are the rebellious. Means: 'whoever then stops obeying Me after that, has stopped obeying the command of his Lord, and that is a great sin.'
 
The Companions (radiAllaahu 'anhum ajma'een) were the most committed of people after the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) to the commands of Allaah, and the most obedient to Allaah. Their victories were in accordance with their level of commitment. They caused the Word of Allaah to prevail in the east and the west, and Allaah supported them so much that they governed all the people and all the lands. When the people subsequently fell short in their commitment to some of the commandments, their strength and victory fell short accordingly, but it is confirmed through more than one route in the Two Sahihs that the Messenger of Allaah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said: There will remain a group of my Ummah adhering to the truth, and those who forsake them or oppose them will not harm them until the Day of Resurrection. [9]  
 
According to another report: ...until the command of Allaah comes to pass and they are like that. [10] According to another report: ...until they fight the Dajjal. [11] According to another report: ...until 'Isa bin Maryam comes down and they are prevailing. [12] All of these reports are Saheeh, and there is no contradiction between them.
 
Source: Tafsir Ibn Kathir (abridged version), Vol. 7, pgs. 113-120.  
 
Notes:
[1] During Ibn Katheer's time, this was the capital of Tunisia.  
[2] Muslim 4:2215.
[3][At-Tabari 19:209; a shorter version was recorded by al-Haakim.
[4][Ad-Durr Al-Manthoor 6:215.
[5] A section of modern 'Iraq.
[6] Ahmad 4:257; similar was recorded by al-Bukhaaree, no. 3595.
[7] Ahmad 5:242.
[8] Fat-H al-Baari 10:412, and Muslim 1:58.
[9] Muslim 1:137.
[10]Muslim 3:1523.
[11] Ahmad 437.
[12] Fat-H al-Baari 13:306.  
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