Allah promises in verse 67 of the chapter of al-Maida that He will protect the Prophet. The tooth of the Prophet was broken at the Battle of Uhud. Will you explain this state?

Details of the Question

Allah promises in verse 67 of the chapter of al-Maida that He will protect the Prophet. The tooth of the Prophet was broken at the Battle of Uhud. Will you explain this state?

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(editor) on Fri, 09/02/2018 - 11:10

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

The Protection of the Prophet (pbuh):

Allah Almighty states in the following verse that the Prophet is under divine protection:

“O Messenger! Proclaim the (message) which hath been sent to thee from thy Lord. If thou didst not, thou wouldst not have fulfilled and proclaimed His mission. And Allah will defend thee from men (who mean mischief).” (al-Maida, 5/67)

Due to this divine guarantee, none of the enemies of Islam was able to kill the Prophet (pbuh) though he had a lot of enemies and they had all kinds of opportunities. Besides, they were always alert to eliminate him and his cause. The Prophet was in a weak state and he had few helpers.

When the verse above was sent down, the Prophet (pbuh) said to the people who guarded him,

“You can leave now; my Lord protects me.” (Tirmidhi, Tafsir, 5/6)

Yes, this divine promise was kept; although the Prophet faced many suicide attempts among his numerous enemies, he died in bed.

The following question can come to the mind: “The face of the Messenger of Allah was wounded at the Battle of Uhud and two of his teeth were broken; on the other hand, he encountered many agonies. What about the guarantee to protect?” Ibnul-Jawzi answers that question as follows:

“Allah’s guarantee is about protecting him from being killed, enslaved and eliminated. The hardships he underwent do not indicate that he was not protected.” (Ibnul-Jawzi, II, 397)

Ibn Kathir regards the fact that Hz. Prophet’s uncle Abu Talib’s not becoming a Muslim to be related to the protection of the Prophet. According to him, if Abu Talib had become a Muslim, the Qurayshi unbelievers would have dared to attack him. However, since there was a bond of unbelief between Abu Talib and them, they showed respect to him. (Ibn Kathir, II, 79)

The Prophet (pbuh), who knew that he was under Allah’s protection, did not fall into despair even in his hardest times. His extraordinary courage and reliance in Allah in the cave that they hid during the Migration is an example of it: When his comrade, Hz. Abu Bakr, panicked and said, “O Messenger of Allah! If one of them should lift up his foot, he will see us”, the Prophet answered him as follows:

“What do you think of two, the third of whom is Allah?” (Bukhari, Tafsir, 9/9)

The Quran describes that moment in a verse as follows:

“If ye help not (your leader), (it is no matter): for Allah did indeed help him, when the Unbelievers drove him out: he had no more than one companion; they two were in the cave, and he said to his companion, "Have no fear, for Allah is with us": then Allah sent down His peace upon him, and strengthened him with forces which ye saw not...” (at-Tawba, 9/40)

It is stated in tafsir books that the forces that Allah strengthened the Prophet with were the army of angels. 

As the verse “…to Allah belong the Forces of the heavens and the earth…” expresses, every being in the sky and on earth is a soldier in Allah’s army. (al-Fath, 48/4) Allah Almighty ordered a spider, one of those soldiers, to cover the entrance to the cave in order to protect His messenger and made two pigeons guard the cave.

The following interpretation, which is about the incident of the Prophet being saved from the polytheists through the web of a spider, includes a subtle meaning:

“The parable of those who take protectors other than Allah is that of the spider, who builds (to itself) a house; but truly the flimsiest of houses is the spider´s house;- if they but knew.” (al-Ankabut, 29/41).

Since the chapter of al-Ankabut is a Makkan chapter, it indicates that Makkan leaders who do not believe will be defeated by a spider in the future. By showing that the web of a spider, which is a very weak veil, will defeat the strong leaders, the verse means the following:

“If they had known that they would be beaten by a very weak animal, they would not have attempted this murder and assassination.” (Nursî, Emirdağ Lahikası, p. 379- 380)

Thus, Allah, who owns the armies in heavens and on earth, can use all of His armies to protect His prophet if He wishes. However, He protected His greatest prophet with a weak house from his most severe enemies without needing those armies.

Along with bodily protection, we also see that the Prophet (pbuh) is also protected spiritually:

The polytheists made a lot of propaganda in order to prevent people from listening to him and to harm him psychologically.

They were very good at literary arts but they could not say anything against the Quran; therefore, they slandered the Prophet by saying he was a “poet, soothsayer, sorcerer and madman”. Allah Almighty consoled and supported His prophet against their slanders with the verses that He sent down:

“Say: "He is (Allah) Most Gracious: We have believed in Him, and on Him have we put our trust: So, soon will ye know which (of us) it is that is in manifest error.” (al-Mulk, 67/29).

“Therefore proclaim thou the praises (of thy Lord): for by the Grace of thy Lord, thou art no (vulgar) soothsayer, nor art thou one possessed. Or do they say:- "A Poet! we await for him some calamity (hatched) by Time!" Say thou: "Await ye!- I too will wait along with you.” (at-Tur, 52/29-31).

After the wrong claims of the unbelievers are refuted one by one in verses 29 to 44 of the chapter of at-Tur, the following instruction is given to the Prophet (pbuh):

“So leave them alone until they encounter that Day of theirs, wherein they shall (perforce) swoon (with terror).” (at-Tur, 52/45).

It is understood from the expression of the verse that one day they will be punished and get their deserts. As a matter of fact, the leaders of unbelief got their deserts on the Day of Badr. The following is stated in another verse:

“Soon wilt thou see, and they will see, Which of you is afflicted with madness.” (al-Qalam, 68/5-6)

It became clear who was mad. Most of those who called him mad joined him after the conquest of Makkah. Some people like Abu Jahl and Abu Lahab got their deserts even when they were in this world. Their lives and sultanate ended. Thus, what is meant by the verses above turned out to be true. The divine guarantee given to the Prophet was realized.  

Thus, what is meant by "Allah’s protecting His Prophet” is that he will not be killed by anybody. (see. Zamakhshari, Razi, Nasafi; Alusi, Ibn Ashur, the interpretation of the relevant verse)

It does not mean that nobody can disturb and harm him. Such an understanding is contrary to the principle of testing imposed by Allah for everybody including prophets. For, if the Prophet is kept in a superhuman position, it will prevent him from setting an example for people. For instance, people who follow a leader who does not get hungry, thirsty and ill, who is not affected by bullets, arrows and spears cannot know what to do when they encounter such things and cannot learn how to show patience when they are tortured. Besides, prophets are tested before others and we learn from sound hadiths that they undergo more misfortunes than others do.

“He died in perfect ease and happiness and rose to the heavenly court, for twenty-three years he was without guard or protector and was exposed to numerous plots, with his own uncle his greatest enemy and his own tribe and people hostile to him. This shows what a powerful truth the verse “And Allah will defend thee from men (who mean mischief)” expresses and what a firm point of support it was.” (Nursi, On Dokuzuncu Mektup, On Beşinci İşaret, Üçüncü Şube)

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