If you help (in the cause of) Allah, He will help you, and make your foothold firm.
يا أَيُّهَا الَّذينَ آمَنوا إِن تَنصُرُوا اللَّهَ يَنصُركُم وَيُثَبِّت أَقدامَكُم
وَالَّذينَ كَفَروا فَتَعسًا لَهُم وَأَضَلَّ أَعمالَهُم
ذٰلِكَ بِأَنَّهُم كَرِهوا ما أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ فَأَحبَطَ أَعمالَهُم
You who have iman! if you help (in the cause of) Allah, He will help you and make your foothold firm. But those who are kafir will have utter ruin and He will make their actions go astray. That is because they hate what Allah has sent down, so He has made their actions come to nothing.
يا أَيُّهَا الَّذينَ آمَنوا إِن تَنصُرُوا اللَّهَ يَنصُركُم وَيُثَبِّت أَقدامَكُم
O you who believe! If you help (in the cause of) Allah, He will help you, and make your foothold firm.
It came in تفسير الكشاف Tafseer Al-Kashaaf: “If you support إِن تَنصُرُوا the religion of Allah ﷻ and His messenger ﷺ, He ﷻ will support you يَنصُرْكُمْ against your enemies and give you conquests, and make your foothold firm وَيُثَبِّتْ أَقْدَامَكُمْ in the battlefield or the objective of Islam.”
It came in تفسير فتح القدير Tafseer Fath Al-Qadir: “Firm foothold is an expression for victory and assistance in the battlefield, and also being firm in Islam, and upon the path الصِّرَاط.”
All of these meanings are intended.
The expression firm foothold تثْبِيت الْأَقْدَامِ has been mentioned in the Qur’an whenever the battlefield has been suggested.
He ﷻ mentioned it when the Battle of Badr happened.
إِذ يُغَشّيكُمُ النُّعاسَ أَمَنَةً مِنهُ وَيُنَزِّلُ عَلَيكُم مِنَ السَّماءِ ماءً لِيُطَهِّرَكُم بِهِ وَيُذهِبَ عَنكُم رِجزَ الشَّيطانِ وَلِيَربِطَ عَلىٰ قُلوبِكُم وَيُثَبِّتَ بِهِ الأَقدامَ
[remember] And when He overcame you with sleep, making you feel secure, and sent you down water from heaven to purify you and remove the taint of Shaytan from you, and to fortify your hearts and make your feet firm.
وَكَأَيِّن مِن نَبِيٍّ قاتَلَ مَعَهُ رِبِّيّونَ كَثيرٌ فَما وَهَنوا لِما أَصابَهُم في سَبيلِ اللَّهِ وَما ضَعُفوا وَمَا استَكانوا ۗ وَاللَّهُ يُحِبُّ الصّابِرينَ
وَما كانَ قَولَهُم إِلّا أَن قالوا رَبَّنَا اغفِر لَنا ذُنوبَنا وَإِسرافَنا في أَمرِنا وَثَبِّت أَقدامَنا وَانصُرنا عَلَى القَومِ الكافِرينَ
Many a Prophet has been killed, when there were many thousands with him! They did not give up in the face of what assailed them in the Way of Allah, nor did they weaken, nor did they yield. Allah loves the steadfast. All they said was, ‘Our Lord, forgive us our wrong actions and any excesses we went to in what we did and make our feet firm and help us against these kafir people.’
وَلَمّا بَرَزوا لِجالوتَ وَجُنودِهِ قالوا رَبَّنا أَفرِغ عَلَينا صَبرًا وَثَبِّت أَقدامَنا وَانصُرنا عَلَى القَومِ الكافِرينَ
When they came out against Saul and his troops, they said, ‘Our Lord, pour down steadfastness upon us, and make our feet firm, and help us against this kafir people.’
As for the meaning of slipping of the foot تَزِلَّ قَدَمٌ, it was used in the sense of leaving or being misguided from Islam.
Allah ﷻ said:
وَلا تَتَّخِذوا أَيمانَكُم دَخَلًا بَينَكُم فَتَزِلَّ قَدَمٌ بَعدَ ثُبوتِها وَتَذوقُوا السّوءَ بِما صَدَدتُم عَن سَبيلِ اللَّهِ ۖ وَلَكُم عَذابٌ عَظيمٌ
Do not make your oaths a means of deceiving one another or your foot will slip after it was firmly placed and you will taste evil for barring access to the Way of Allah and you will have a terrible punishment.
It is noteworthy that the believers were addressed with a condition:
إِن تَنصُرُوا اللَّـهَ يَنصُرْكُمْ
If you help Allah, He will Help you.
This means the help (victory) of Allah ﷻ for the believers is conditional upon them helping Allah ﷻ. The condition was made with a conditional particle إِن which makes the realization of the condition probable and rare unlike the conditional particle إذا which is used to indicate certainty and frequency. So the use of the conditional particle إِن indicates the difficulty in attaining the victory, and there are few that will work for it and be steadfast until it arrives.
It came in التحرير والتنوير Al-Tahrir waTanwir: “The condition came with a particle إِن which in origin indicates the uncertainty of the occurrence of the condition to show the difficulty and the hardship of the condition to the extent the one seeking it is like the one who doubts its fulfillment.”
As for those who disbelieve, He ﷻ has made their destruction unconditional, and it will certainly happen to them.
At this point it is worthwhile reflecting on the implication of the condition for victory, which is to support the cause of Allah ﷻ, i.e., Islam. Although, victory is only from Allah ﷻ; it will only happen because of His ﷻ decree. However, Allah ﷻ has placed a condition on the believers for this victory, which is to struggle and strive in His ﷻ path. There is absolutely no room for fatalism. While we have firm belief that victory is from Allah ﷻ, at the same we must work and strive by taking the appropriate means to attain this victory.
In the Qur’an, victory has been linked with a number of concepts and attitudes that we as believers must embody as a precondition for deserving the victory from Allah ﷻ.
Complete belief (Imaan) that Allah ﷻ will give victory to the believers.
وَكَانَ حَقًّا عَلَيْنَا نَصْرُ ٱلْمُؤْمِنِينَ
and incumbent upon Us was support of the believers.
Fulfill all actions required by belief
وَلَيَنصُرَنَّ اللَّهُ مَن يَنصُرُهُ ۗ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَقَوِيٌّ عَزيزٌ
الَّذينَ إِن مَكَّنّاهُم فِي الأَرضِ أَقامُوا الصَّلاةَ وَآتَوُا الزَّكاةَ وَأَمَروا بِالمَعروفِ وَنَهَوا عَنِ المُنكَرِ ۗ وَلِلَّهِ عاقِبَةُ الأُمورِ
Allah will certainly help those who help Him – Allah is All-Strong, Almighty), those who, if We establish them firmly on the earth, will establish salat and pay zakat, and command what is right and forbid what is wrong. The end result of all affairs is with Allah.
Make all the preparation and the means for victory.
وَأَعِدّوا لَهُم مَا استَطَعتُم مِن قُوَّةٍ وَمِن رِباطِ الخَيلِ تُرهِبونَ بِهِ عَدُوَّ اللَّهِ وَعَدُوَّكُم وَآخَرينَ مِن دونِهِم لا تَعلَمونَهُمُ اللَّهُ يَعلَمُهُم ۚ وَما تُنفِقوا مِن شَيءٍ في سَبيلِ اللَّهِ يُوَفَّ إِلَيكُم وَأَنتُم لا تُظلَمونَ
Arm yourselves against them with all the firepower and cavalry you can muster, to terrify the enemies of Allah and your enemies, and others besides them whom you do not know. Allah knows them. Anything you spend in the Way of Allah will be repaid to you in full. You will not be wronged.
Be steadfast, remember Allah much; obey Allah and His Messenger ﷺ, and don’t dispute and have patience.
يا أَيُّهَا الَّذينَ آمَنوا إِذا لَقيتُم فِئَةً فَاثبُتوا وَاذكُرُوا اللَّهَ كَثيرًا لَعَلَّكُم تُفلِحونَ
وَأَطيعُوا اللَّهَ وَرَسولَهُ وَلا تَنازَعوا فَتَفشَلوا وَتَذهَبَ ريحُكُم ۖ وَاصبِروا ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ مَعَ الصّابِرينَ
You who have iman! when you meet a troop, stand firm and remember Allah repeatedly so that hopefully you will be successful. Obey Allah and His Messenger and do not quarrel among yourselves lest you lose heart and your momentum disappear. And be steadfast. Allah is with the steadfast.
Avoid sins, pride and showing off.
وَلَقَدْ صَدَقَكُمُ ٱللَّـهُ وَعْدَهُۥٓ إِذْ تَحُسُّونَهُم بِإِذْنِهِۦ ۖ حَتَّىٰٓ إِذَا فَشِلْتُمْ وَتَنَـٰزَعْتُمْ فِى ٱلْأَمْرِ وَعَصَيْتُم مِّنۢ بَعْدِ مَآ أَرَىٰكُم مَّا تُحِبُّونَ ۚمِنكُم مَّن يُرِيدُ ٱلدُّنْيَا وَمِنكُم مَّن يُرِيدُ ٱلْـَٔاخِرَةَ ۚ ثُمَّ صَرَفَكُمْ عَنْهُمْ لِيَبْتَلِيَكُمْ ۖ وَلَقَدْ عَفَا عَنكُمْ ۗ وَٱللَّـهُ ذُو فَضْلٍ عَلَى ٱلْمُؤْمِنِينَ
Allah fulfilled His promise to you when you were slaughtering them by His permission. But then you faltered, disputing the command, and disobeyed after He showed you what you love. Among you are those who want this world and among you are those who want the next World. Then He turned you from them in order to test you – but He has pardoned you. Allah shows favour to the believers.
وَلَا تَكُونُوا۟ كَٱلَّذِينَ خَرَجُوا۟ مِن دِيَـٰرِهِم بَطَرًا وَرِئَآءَ ٱلنَّاسِ وَيَصُدُّونَ عَن سَبِيلِ ٱللَّـهِ ۚ وَٱللَّـهُ بِمَا يَعْمَلُونَ مُحِيطٌ
Do not be like those who left their homes in arrogance, showing off to people and barring them from the way of Allah – Allah encompasses what they do
Complete belief and trust that victory is only from Allah
إِن يَنصُرْكُمُ ٱللَّـهُ فَلَا غَالِبَ لَكُمْ ۖ وَإِن يَخْذُلْكُمْ فَمَن ذَا ٱلَّذِى يَنصُرُكُم مِّنۢ بَعْدِهِۦ ۗ وَعَلَى ٱللَّـهِ فَلْيَتَوَكَّلِ ٱلْمُؤْمِنُونَ
If Allah helps you, no one can vanquish you. If He forsakes you, who can help you after that? So the believers should put their trust in Allah.
Complete belief that Allah will make Islam dominant and victorious
هُوَ ٱلَّذِىٓ أَرْسَلَ رَسُولَهُۥ بِٱلْهُدَىٰ وَدِينِ ٱلْحَقِّ لِيُظْهِرَهُۥ عَلَى ٱلدِّينِ كُلِّهِۦ وَلَوْ كَرِهَ ٱلْمُشْرِكُونَ
It is He who sent His Messenger with guidance and the Deen of Truth to exalt it over every other deen, even though the idolaters detest it.
وَالَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا فَتَعْسًا لَّهُمْ وَأَضَلَّ أَعْمَالَهُمْ
But those who are kafir will have utter ruin and He will make their actions go astray.
The meaning of التَّعْس is destruction الْهَلَاكُ, stumbling الْعِثَارُ, falling السُّقُوطُ, evil الشَّرُّ, distancing الْبُعْدُ and declining الِانْحِطَاطُ. (Al-Qamoos Al Muhit)
Therefore, for the believers is victory and a firm foothold, and for the disbelievers is falling, decline and destruction.
It came in Ruhul Al-Maani: “فَتَعْسًا is in the accusative case and is a verbal noun in the position of its verb which is necessarily committed because it is a supplication like سُقْيًا وَرَعْيًا, i.e. grant water and fertile pasture…what a subtle way of mentioning their reality after mentioning the firm foothold being the reality of the believers.”
It came in al Bahrul Al Muheet: “for them is destruction فَتَعْسًا لَهُمْ: destruction by the power of the hearts of the believers because He ﷻ made them firm and for the disbelievers is destruction and stumbling.”
It came in Tafseer Ibn Al Kathir: “But those who disbelieve, for them is destruction وَالَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا فَتَعْسًا لَهُمْ: This misery is the opposite of making firm the footholds of the believers who support the cause of Allah and His Messenger.”
The mentioning of the particle ف in فَتَعْسًا لَهُمْ has come as a response to the relative pronoun in وَالَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا. The particle ف gives emphasis to the fact that destruction and ruin will certainly happen to the disbelievers.
This verse further reinforces the confidence in the believers that they will be victorious and steadfast against their enemies. It may come to the mind that it is possible for the disbelievers to also be firm and steadfast during wars and conflict, so to allay this fear Allah ﷻ reassured the believers that the disbelievers would be destroyed and their efforts wasted.
Furthermore, His saying: He will make their actions go astray وَأَضَلَّ أَعْمَالَهُمْ is contrasting the efforts of their dead with the dead of the believers when He ﷻ mentioned earlier: فَلَنْ يُضِلَّ أَعْمَالَهُمْ.
ذٰلِكَ بِأَنَّهُم كَرِهوا ما أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ فَأَحبَطَ أَعمالَهُم [
That is because they hate what Allah has sent down, so He has made their actions come to nothing.
The meaning of الحَبط in the language (Lisanul Al-Arab) describes the situation of an animal that has an inflated stomach because of overeating and so it dies. Hence, the notion of death and destruction were associated with the word الحَبط. Therefore, the meaning of فَأَحْبَطَ أَعْمَـٰلَهُمْ is that their actions are considered to be dead and destroyed.
This verse explains the reason for their destruction and wasted efforts. The reason for their ruin is that they hated what Allah ﷻ has revealed (Al-Islam) and consequently their efforts were wasted. Since the righteous action cannot be reached by the mind; it only can be reached via the divinely revealed Sharia. Therefore, when they were averse to what has been revealed, they were not able to know the righteous action and how to attain it. Instead, it leads them to falsehood. Thus, their actions are deemed worthless. (Tafsir Al-Razi)
There is a subtle harmony between the saying of Allah ﷻ in the previous verse: وَأَضَلَّ أَعْمَالَهُمْ their deeds are misguided, and this verse: فَأَحْبَطَ أَعْمَـٰلَهُمْ , their deeds are destroyed and lifeless. The sequence of mentioning the misguided deeds is followed by lifeless and destroyed deeds, which agrees with the natural order in life. Since something which is lifeless and wasted cannot be misguided.
Indeed, the situation of the disbelievers is utter hopelessness and loss. Their actions will be misguided and wasted in this life and in the hereafter since their actions are misguided and destroyed.
As for the believers, Allah ﷻ will never misguide and waste their deeds because He ﷻ is their Protector and the disbelievers have no protector.
ذَٰلِكَ بِأَنَّ ٱللَّـهَ مَوْلَى ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ وَأَنَّ ٱلْكَـٰفِرِينَ لَا مَوْلَىٰ لَهُمْ
That is because Allah is the Protector of those who have iman and because those who are kafir have no protector.