(30:2-6) A Promised Victory

غُلِبَتِ ٱلرُّومُ ٢
(2) The Romans have been defeated

فِىٓ أَدْنَى ٱلْأَرْضِ وَهُم مِّنۢ بَعْدِ غَلَبِهِمْ سَيَغْلِبُونَ ٣
(3) in a nearby land. Yet following their defeat, they will triumph

فِى بِضْعِ سِنِينَ ۗ لِلَّهِ ٱلْأَمْرُ مِن قَبْلُ وَمِنۢ بَعْدُ ۚ وَيَوْمَئِذٍۢ يَفْرَحُ ٱلْمُؤْمِنُونَ ٤
(4) within three to nine years. The ˹whole˺ matter rests with Allah before and after ˹victory˺. And on that day the believers will rejoice

بِنَصْرِ ٱللَّهِ ۚ يَنصُرُ مَن يَشَآءُ ۖ وَهُوَ ٱلْعَزِيزُ ٱلرَّحِيمُ ٥
(5) at the victory willed by Allah. He gives victory to whoever He wills. For He is the Almighty, Most Merciful.

وَعْدَ ٱللَّهِ ۖ لَا يُخْلِفُ ٱللَّهُ وَعْدَهُۥ وَلَـٰكِنَّ أَكْثَرَ ٱلنَّاسِ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ ٦
(6) ˹This is˺ the promise of Allah. ˹And˺ Allah never fails in His promise. But most people do not know.

By Zakariya Ellahi

Surah Al-Rum (The Romans) was revealed in 615 CE, a time of great power imbalance in the Middle East. Sassanid emperor Khosrow II had launched an invasion into the Eastern Roman Empire to avenge the ousting of his ally Maurice. By this time, Damascus and Antioch had already fallen and Roman emperor Heraclius failed to defend Jerusalem. This was a symbolic defeat for the Christians as the Church of The Holy Sepulchre was raised, and the True Cross and other relics were brought to Khosrow’s palace in Ctesiphon, the Persian Capital.

This verse highlights the Roman defeat but declares that they would return victorious in a few years. When this verse was revealed in Makkah, this claim was not only dismissed but laughed at by the disbelievers. They saw this as a sign that polytheism, represented by the Persians, would defeat monotheism, represented by the Romans. The loss of Jerusalem was considered a sign of divine anger and Heraclius was having trouble raising a new army. The Sassanids besieged Chalcedon which is a city a few kilometres from Constantinople, modern day Istanbul and capital of the Roman Empire. However, the Romans allied with the Western Turkic Khaganate to deal a decisive blow to Sassanid armies defending the Gate of The Taurus Mountains following it up by managing to raid Ganzaka, dispersing the garrison and burning a famous fire temple as revenge for Jerusalem.

This prophecy illustrates the absolute power of Allah ﷻ. It shows however dire your situation is, He can always solve it for you. Miraculously, the verses even specifies precisely the time in which this victory would be achieved. Verse 4 states the believers will rejoice the day of this victory. This prophecy foretelling the Roman victory fell on the same day as the Battle of Badr, a day of great rejoice for the believers, just as described! The defeat of the idol worshippers on the same day in Persia and Arabia could not be a coincidence; it is clear evidence of the divine nature of the Quran, showing how the disbelievers don’t see the truth even when it is right in front of them.

Finally, verse 6 is telling us how Allah ﷻ never breaks His promises, but most of us don’t know. All of Allah’s ﷻ promises are fulfilled, so we should not worry if Allah ﷻ will fulfil His promise to help us as believers. Instead, our worry should be to do what is best for Allah ﷻ, and whether what we desire will truly benefit us. People often break their promises because of either an inability to fulfil them or a lack of intent to keep them in the first place. Neither of these apply to Allah ﷻ. He is the Almighty and there is nothing He can’t do, and when He wishes for something, He says “Be” and it is. Allah’s ﷻ power is immeasurable to the human mind. There is no benefit nor reason for Him to break His promise to us, and to think that He would is a sin.

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