Quality of the Most Perfect Group (Reflection from Surah Baqara)

Reflection from Ayat 2:249:
Baqara: 249
Tafsir Mizan: So when he had crossed it . . . Allāh is with the patient ones.‘‘al-Fi’ah’’(ُﺔَﺌِﻔﻟا)means a group of people. A glance at the verses issufficient to show that those who said, ‘‘We have today no power against Goliath and his forces’’, were those who had taken a handful of water;and those who replied them were those who had not tasted of it. ‘‘Those who thought that they would meet their Lord’’: The ‘‘thought’’ here means ‘‘certainty’’, that is, ‘‘those who were sure . . .’’. Also, it may be an allegorical style to show that in their humility they did not believe themselves worthy of meeting their Lord. They did not say, ‘‘It is possible for a small party to vanquish a numerous host.’’ Instead they said, ‘‘How often has a small party vanquished . . .’’. Thus they put forward a fact as their argument (instead of a theoretical possibility) to make the reply more convincing. Maareful Quran: This has appeared in Ruh al-Ma’ani on the authority of Ibn Abi Hatim from Ibn ‘Abbas. Now the events and sayings mentioned in this story tell us that there were three kinds of people among them: (1) The weak in faith who failed to make the grade in their hour of trial. (2) The perfect who fully succeeded in their trial but did feel concerned about how low they were in numbers. (3) The most perfect (group) who did not bother even about that. Tafsir Ibn Kathir: Ibn Jarir reported that Al-Bara bin Azib said, “We used to say that the Companions of Muhammad who accompanied him on the battle of Badr were more than three hundred and ten, just as many as the soldiers who crossed the river with Talut. Only those who believed crossed the river with him.” So when he had crossed it (the river), he and those who believed with him, they said: “We have no power this day against Jalut (Goliath) and his hosts.” This Ayah indicates that the Israelites (who remained with Saul) thought that they were few in the face of their enemy who were many then. So, their knowledgeable scholars strengthened their resolve by stating that Allah’s promise is true and that triumph comes from Allah Alone, not from the large numbers or the adequacy of the supplies. But those who knew with certainty that they were going to meet Allah, said: “How often has a small group overcome a mighty host by Allah’s leave” And Allah is with As-Sabirin (the patient).

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