In the life of all things—be it nations, communities, households, and individuals—periods of embattlement will ensue. These consume property, honour, land, peace of mind, and lives. At such times, the need for answers peaks, and it is the presence or absence of these answers that can mark the making or breaking of the embattled. Allāh has mercifully gifted humanity with knowledge of yet another empowering, comforting, and majestic name of His: Al-Naṣīr, the Granter of victory.
The meaning of the name Al-Naṣīr
Linguistically, it is a name that is derived from nuṣra, which is in reference toالعون والإظهار (assistance and the giving of prevalence). He who offers nuṣra to another has offered assistance against an adversary. It is for this reason that the Companions of the Prophet Muhammad (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) who were based in Madina and offered him help were given the title of Ansār (plural of Nāsir), as they took in the Prophet Muhammad (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) and the Meccan emigrants into their homes, supporting the cause of Islam with all that they possessed.
Who, then, is Allāh Al-Naṣīr?
He is المعين (the Helper) and الميسر للغلبة (the Easer of victory), whose quantity and quality of help is unmatched. This is captured by the hyperbolic form of His name, Al-Naṣīr, indicating an extraordinary kind of help, encompassing enormity of type, size, and duration of His victory. Therefore, regardless of the might of an adversary, the help of Al-Naṣīr is mightier, and regardless of the size of an adversary, the help of Al-Naṣīr is greater.
However, it is key to note that the help that is captured by Allāh’s name Al-Naṣīr is of a specific type: one that is merged with meanings of alliance, care, and love, as opposed to mere passive support. So, if a Muslim is overcome by a non-believer, it cannot be said that his adversary “was given nuṣra over him”, as that would entail that Allāh loved this adversary more than believer. Instead, one would say هو مسلط عليه, “The adversary was given power over the believer,” as Allāh said:
وَلَوْ شَاءَ اللَّهُ لَسَلَّطَهُمْ عَلَيْكُمْ
“…and had Allāh willed, He would have given them power over you…”
The two forms of help
The help of Al-Naṣīr takes many forms, including tangible and intangible. An example of the former is what the Muslims experienced first-hand on the day of Badr, when little over 300 ill-equipped Muslim men came head-to-head with a fully-equipped army of 1000 pagan soldiers; an encounter that the Muslims were neither expecting nor desiring in the least. Commenting on this, Allāh said:
وَلَقَدْ نَصَرَكُمُ اللَّهُ بِبَدْرٍ وَأَنْتُمْ أَذِلَّةٌ
“And Allāh had already given you victory at Badr while you were few in number…”
Consequently, tranquillity descended upon the believers, weather conditions were made to serve them, and marching angels—led by angel Jibrīl—made their way from the Heavens to fight alongside Allāh’s allies. This is an example of the help of Al-Naṣīr in the tangible form.
An example of the intangible form of Al-Naṣīr’s help can be seen in Allāh’s assistance of the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) during his immigration from Mecca to Madina. Despite no combat involved, Allāh still described it as nasr when He said:
إِلَّا تَنْصُرُوهُ فَقَدْ نَصَرَهُ اللَّهُ إِذْ أَخْرَجَهُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا ثَانِيَ اثْنَيْنِ إِذْ هُمَا فِي الْغَارِ إِذْ يَقُولُ لِصَاحِبِهِ لَا تَحْزَنْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ مَعَنَا فَأَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ سَكِينَتَهُ عَلَيْهِ وَأَيَّدَهُ بِجُنُودٍ لَمْ تَرَوْهَا وَجَعَلَ كَلِمَةَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا السُّفْلَى وَكَلِمَةُ اللَّهِ هِيَ الْعُلْيَا وَاللَّهُ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٌ
“If you do not support the Prophet, Allāh has already supported him when those who disbelieved had driven him out [of Makkah] as one of two, when they were in the cave and he said to his companion, ‘Do not grieve; indeed Allāh is with us.’ And Allāh sent down his tranquillity upon him and supported him with angels you did not see and made the word of those who disbelieved the lowest, while the word of Allāh — that is the highest. And Allāh is Almighty, All-Wise.”
Therefore, the nuṣra and victory of Al-Naṣīr clearly does not always take the obvious forms of clashing armies and angelic descent. It has limitless forms when used against an enemy: an illness that cripples, a crisis that crushes the economy, or a natural disaster. It can also be seen in a legal case that Allāh allows to prevail, an influential individual who embraces Islam, steadfastness upon Islam in the face of persecution, an ability to resist devilish whisperings, and even martyrdom.
The point is that whenever Al-Naṣīr chooses to send His assistance to a person or a cause, the outcome will always be favourable in this world, the hereafter or both.
Allāh’s promise and a question in its regard
Here, a common question is posed. Allāh said:
إِنَّا لَنَنْصُرُ رُسُلَنَا وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا فِي الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَيَوْمَ يَقُومُ الْأَشْهَادُ
“Indeed, We will support Our messengers and those who believe during the life of this world and on the Day when the witnesses will stand.”
In light of this promise of support for the believers, how does one make sense of the deplorable events that has befallen, and continues to befall, the believers? Indeed, some prophets lived lives of exile, whilst others were persecuted and subsequently lifted to the Heavens. Some prophets would meet their fate at the edge of the sword, whilst others at the edge of a saw. In fact, so prevalent was the execution of prophets in certain nations of the past that Allāh said:
لَقَدْ أَخَذْنَا مِيثَاقَ بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ وَأَرْسَلْنَا إِلَيْهِمْ رُسُلًا كُلَّمَا جَاءَهُمْ رَسُولٌ بِمَا لَا تَهْوَى أَنْفُسُهُمْ فَرِيقًا كَذَّبُوا وَفَرِيقًا يَقْتُلُونَ
“Indeed, We took a covenant from the Children of Israel and sent them messengers. Every time a messenger came to them with what they did not desire, they denied some and killed others.”
Where was the nuṣra of Al-Naṣīr in these examples? Where was His nuṣra in the many recent examples of horrific persecution of believers and all-out genocide in countless parts of the world?
There are several ways of understanding this, all of which are applicable, and all of which provide the believer with much needed solace in light of the ever-unfolding scenes of anguish and pain:
- The promised nuṣra in the verse could be in reference to eventual victory, which Allāh gives the believers over their enemies, causing them to prevail triumphantly. This includes, for example, what Allāh granted the prophets Dāwūd and Sulaymān, who both enjoyed sovereignty over their adversaries throughout their lifetimes. The same can be said about the eventual triumph of Prophet Muhammad after conquering the Arabian Peninsula and submitting his enemies.
- The promised nuṣra could be in reference to the law-defying wrath that Allāh unleashes against the enemy of a believer. This includes what was unleashed against the people of Prophet Nūḥ (the global flood), or what the Pharaoh of Egypt was made to suffer (drowning in the heart of mountain-like waves of a parted sea).
- The promised nuṣra could be in reference to Allāh avenging the believers after their death. This includes what befell the executors of Prophet Ishaʻyā’ (Isaiah) after his demise, and what befell the executors of Prophet Yaḥya after his passing, when King Nebuchadnezzar exterminated the very last of them.
In short, the support of Al-Naṣīr for the believers in the life of this world takes many forms.
Commenting on the verse above—“Indeed, We will support Our messengers and those who believe during the life of this world and on the Day when the witnesses will stand”—al-Suddi said:
قد كانت الأنبياء والمؤمنون يقتلون في الدنيا وهم منصورون، وذلك أن تلك الأمة التي تفعل ذلك بالأنبياء والمؤمنين لا تذهب حتى يبعث الله قومًا فينتصر بهم لأولئك الذين قتلوا منهم
“Despite the killing of prophets and believers, they are still victorious. That is because the perpetrators will not be left alone, as Allāh sends a people who will avenge the deaths of those prophets and believers.”
Therefore, whilst one may indeed witness the support of Al-Naṣīr during his lifetime as shown in the examples above, it may be that one passes away before that. This was the case with those who died during the early years of the mission of the Prophet Muhammad (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam), such as Sumayya and Khadīja. In all cases, the fact remains that the support of Al-Naṣīr is ever-present; His conquering envoys are never late, and His aid to the believers causes them to reign supreme every time. This triumphant outcome, however, does not always take the form that man tends to limit it to (namely, triumph on a battlefield), for as Allāh said:
فَإِمَّا نَذْهَبَنَّ بِكَ فَإِنَّا مِنْهُمْ مُنْتَقِمُونَ (41) أَوْ نُرِيَنَّكَ الَّذِي وَعَدْنَاهُمْ فَإِنَّا عَلَيْهِمْ مُقْتَدِرُونَ (42)
“Even if We take you away from this world, We will surely inflict punishment upon them. Or if We make you see the end that We had promised them, for We have full power over them.”
Whether one lives to witness Allāh’s wrath upon his enemies, or is returned to his Lord beforehand, Allāh remains Al-Naṣīr and in full charge of all affairs. The fruit of knowing this is a highly empowering one, captured by the next verse:
فَاسْتَمْسِكْ بِالَّذِي أُوحِيَ إِلَيْكَ إِنَّكَ عَلَى صِرَاطٍ مُسْتَقِيمٍ
“So hold firmly to what has been revealed to you. You are truly on the Straight Path.”
The effects of believing in this name
(a) To call upon Al-Naṣīr using this name
The triumphant agents of Al-Naṣīr are an unstoppable force, and whomever Al-Naṣīr supports must prevail. In turn, the beseecher of Al-Naṣīr has accessed the ultimate weapon and sought refuge in the mightiest fort.
Anas b. Mālik narrated that whenever the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) took part in a battle, he would say:
اللهم أنت عضدي ونصيري، بك أحول وبك أجول وبك أصول، وبك أقاتل
“O Allāh, You are my Supporter and my Helper (Naṣīr). With Your help I get strength, and with Your help I bounce upon the enemy and defeat it, and with Your help I fight.”
Ibn ‘Abbās also narrated that the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) would say in his duʿā:
ربِّ أعنِّي ولا تعن عليَّ ، وانصرني ولا تنصر عليَّ ، وامكر لي ولا تمكر عليَّ ، واهدني ويسِّر هدايَ إليَّ ، وانصُرني علَى مَن بغى عليَّ ، اللَّهمَّ اجعَلني لَكَ ذاكرًا ، لَكَ راهبًا ، لَكَ مِطواعًا إليكَ مُخبتًا ، ربِّ تقبَّل توبَتي ، واغسِل حَوبتي ، وأجِب دَعوتي ، وثبِّت حجَّتي ، واهدِ قلبي ، وسدِّد لساني ، واسلُلْ سخيمةَ قلبي
“My Lord, help me and do not give help against me; grant me victory and do not grant victory over me; plan on my behalf and do not plan against me; guide me, and make my guidance easy for me; grant me help over those who oppress me. O Allāh, make me grateful to You, mindful of You, full of fear towards You, devoted to You, humble before You. My Lord, accept my repentance, wash away my sin, answer my duʿā, establish my argument, guide my heart, make true my tongue, and draw out malice from my chest.”
Despite the utter barbarity of a crime, and despite the intensity of an accompanying duʿā’ for aid, the believer cannot help but feel dumbfounded—lost, even—when such pleas are seemingly left unanswered. Why is it that Allāh allows the prolonging of a suffering at the hands of an enemy? Allāh is undoubtedly fully aware, just as He is fully capable of all things. The wisdoms of such an answer are only fully known to Allāh. Below are but a few:
(i) At times, this delay could be due to the fact that the body of the Muslim Ummah remains ill, plagued with a plethora of ailments requiring further purifying events.
These could include racism, individualism, power hunger, enslavement to the entertainment industry, a worship of the fashion industry, a watered-down Islamic identity, or other reasons. Had Allāh given it the establishment on Earth that it beseeches, it could not uphold it. As Allāh said:
وَلَوْ رَحِمْنَاهُمْ وَكَشَفْنَا مَا بِهِمْ مِنْ ضُرٍّ لَلَجُّوا فِي طُغْيَانِهِمْ يَعْمَهُونَ
“Even if We gave them mercy and removed their affliction, they would persist in their transgression, wandering blindly.”
(ii) At times, this delay could be due to the fact that the Ummah is yet to truly internalise that nuṣra is sourced purely from Allāh.
On one occasion, the Companions of the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) found themselves impressed by the numbers of their enemies before battle. The Muslims had mobilised an army of 12,000 soldiers. Since this was the largest Muslim army that was ever mobilised at the time, some Muslims expressed their conviction that such an army could not be defeated. They forgot that nuṣra is from Allāh, not numbers. Consequently, on the way to battle, the Muslim army was ambushed and most soldiers fled, except for the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) and a few loyalists.
وَيَوْمَ حُنَيْنٍ إِذْ أَعْجَبَتْكُمْ كَثْرَتُكُمْ فَلَمْ تُغْنِ عَنْكُمْ شَيْئًا وَضَاقَتْ عَلَيْكُمُ الْأَرْضُ بِمَا رَحُبَتْ ثُمَّ وَلَّيْتُمْ مُدْبِرِينَ
“…at the Battle of Ḥunain when you took pride in your great numbers, but they proved of no advantage to you. The Earth, despite its vastness, seemed to close in on you, then you turned back in retreat.”
The Muslims managed to reorganise themselves and would win the decisive battle. The lesson, however, had been learnt.
Until the Muslims of any era come to grips with this reality, Allāh allows them to continue wandering on in their confusion. Muslims will be let down by countries that they rely on, deserted by councils they call upon, and left empty-handed despite their successive concessions on identity and values, until they learn through the hard and bitter way that this reliance for help has always been misplaced. The eyes of the Ummah will need to look upwards towards the sole source of aid, Al-Naṣīr, beseeching Him in repentance and imploring Him for aid, this time with unblemished sincerity. Only then will matters begin to change.
(iii) At times, this delay could be due to the fact that the falsehood which the Ummah is at odds with is still not considered false in the eyes of many Muslims.
Therefore, it would not be long after Allāh has granted Muslims the global unified voice they yearn for before the perverted ideologies and degenerate practices of the past find their way back to the hearts of the Muslims yet again. For this reason, Allāh may increase the lifespan of an atrocity, despite the extra lives it may continue to claim, but behind the scenes this is playing a key role: a further exposure of falsehood, the priming of Muslims, and a truer appreciation of Islam. This way, when Muslims are subsequently granted their unified voice, their grip of it is far more firm and sincere.
(iv) At times, this delay could be due to the fact that ill-intentioned people remain covert in the midst of Muslims.
They are ones who pounce at every opportunity to bludgeon Islam with their poisoned ideas, conspiring against them, wishing them harm, and collaborating with their superiors to undermine the solidarity of the believers. Their presence is harmful, and their clandestine works makes them that much more dangerous. Allāh may therefore decree the delay in the arrival of His aid to allow for the masks of this fifth column to fall.
وَلَيَعْلَمَنَّ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَلَيَعْلَمَنَّ الْمُنَافِقِينَ
“Allāh will surely make evident those who believe, and He will surely make evident the hypocrites.”
These are some of the reasons why Allāh allows such delays to happen. These wisdoms were decreed for the benefit of the believers, even though it may not appear to be the case at the hour of a catastrophe. For this reason, the oppressed who calls upon Al-Naṣīr in duʿā’ is never to forget two golden rules:
The first: Man’s haste for victory does not cause Allāh to become hasty.
Aid and victory descend when Allāh gives them permission to do so. Complaining about their alleged ‘delay’ (or so we assume) does not cause Allāh to rush their arrival. All things are decreed at their precise moments of perfection, a reality that the oppressed person must recall as he implores Al-Naṣīr.
Khabbāb b. al-Aratt, a Companion who suffered immense torture at the hands of the pagans, once approach the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) after having experienced yet another round of gruesome cruelty, and said:
أَلاَ تَسْتَنْصِرُ لَنَا ألاَ تَدْعُو لَنا؟
“Will you not pray to Allāh to give us victory?” The Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) replied:
قَدْ كَانَ مَنْ قَبْلَكُمْ يُؤْخَذُ الرَّجُلُ فَيُحْفَرُ لَهُ في الأرضِ فَيُجْعَلُ فِيهَا، ثُمَّ يُؤْتَى بِالمِنْشَارِ فَيُوضَعُ عَلَى رَأسِهِ فَيُجْعَلُ نصفَينِ، وَيُمْشَطُ بأمْشَاطِ الحَديدِ مَا دُونَ لَحْمِه وَعَظْمِهِ، مَا يَصُدُّهُ ذلِكَ عَنْ دِينِهِ، وَاللهِ لَيُتِمَّنَّ الله هَذَا الأَمْر حَتَّى يَسيرَ الرَّاكبُ مِنْ صَنْعَاءَ إِلَى حَضْرَموتَ لاَ يَخَافُ إلاَّ اللهَ والذِّئْب عَلَى غَنَمِهِ، ولكنكم تَسْتَعجِلُون
“In the past, there were people who would be seized. A pit would be dug for them wherein they would be detained. Then, they would be sawn into two halves from the tip of their heads downwards. They would also be combed with iron combs, tearing away their flesh from their bones. But in spite of this, they would not wean away from their religion. I swear by Allāh, Allāh will bring this matter (Islam) to its completion until a rider will be safe to travel from Sana’a to Hadramawt (cities in Yemen) fearing none except Allāh, and except the wolf for his sheep, but you are in a hurry.”
Therefore, the aid of Al-Naṣīr is not brought about by the irritation of ‘delay’, but its polar opposite: certain duʿā’ and mighty patience.
The second: The duʿā’ of the oppressed must be answered.
The Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said:
وَدَعْوَةُ الْمَظْلُومِ تُحْمَلُ عَلَى الْغَمَامِ وَتُفْتَحُ لَهَا أَبْوَابُ السَّمَاءِ وَيَقُولُ الرَّبُّ وَعِزَّتِى لأَنْصُرَنَّكَ وَلَوْ بَعْدَ حِينٍ
“The duʿā’ of the oppressed is raised above the clouds, and the gates of the Heavens opened up for it, and Allāh the Almighty, says: ‘I swear by My honour and supremacy, I will answer you even if after some time.”
وَاتَّقِ دَعْوَةَ المَظْلُومِ ؛ فإِنَّهُ لَيْسَ بَيْنَها وَبَيْنَ اللهِ حِجَابٌ
“Beware of the duʿā’ of the oppressed, for there is no veil between it and Allāh.”
Therefore, in the wake of every struggle—not only the external ones pertaining to human foes, but the internal ones pertaining to Satanic whisperings, sinful desires, and lingering doubts—keep this Majestic name on the tip of your tongue as you implore Al-Naṣīr for supremacy over them all whilst internalising the greatest of expectations and the highest of hopes in Allāh.
(b) The singling out of the source of help
Man was created weak, and his vulnerability is compounded when threatened by an adversary. During such times, man—and indeed communities and nations—are inclined to turn to mortals like themselves for help. This is not so much the crux of the issue, as we were created interdependent. The trouble is, however, when hearts begin turning reliantly towards these mortals. Due to this susceptibility, the Qur’ān repeatedly refocuses the eyes of man upon Al-Naṣīr, reminding man that all help is wholly and truly sourced from Him alone. Consider the following examples:
– In the conclusion to the Battle of Badr, the reminder of the Qur’ān was swift: all victory is from Al-Naṣīr. Allāh said:
وَمَا جَعَلَهُ اللَّهُ إِلَّا بُشْرَى لَكُمْ وَلِتَطْمَئِنَّ قُلُوبُكُمْ بِهِ وَمَا النَّصْرُ إِلَّا مِنْ عِنْدِ اللَّهِ الْعَزِيزِ الْحَكِيمِ
“And Allāh made it not except as good news for you and so that your hearts may rest, and there is no help except from Allāh, the Exalted in Might, the Wise.”
– When addressing the doubts of the sceptics, Allāh reminds them that their defiance will meet a dead end with Al-Naṣīr:
وَمَا لَكُمْ مِنْ دُونِ اللَّهِ مِنْ وَلِيٍّ وَلَا نَصِيرٍ
“Besides Allāh you have no protector and no naṣīr (helper).”
– When speaking about the people of Prophet Nūḥ who were collectively drowned, Allāh said:
مِمَّا خَطِيئَاتِهِمْ أُغْرِقُوا فَأُدْخِلُوا نَارًا فَلَمْ يَجِدُوا لَهُمْ مِنْ دُونِ اللَّهِ أَنْصَارًا
“Because of their sins, they were drowned and put into the Fire, and they found not for themselves besides Allāh any helpers.”
– Similarly, Prophet Sāliḥ (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) admonished his people by saying:
فَمَنْ يَنْصُرُنِي مِنَ اللَّهِ إِنْ عَصَيْتُهُ
“Who, then, can help me against Allāh, if I were to disobey Him?”
The message of the Qur’ān, therefore, is a consistently clear one: there can be no dominance, regardless of how well-equipped the party may be, should Al-Naṣīr oppose it. Similarly, there can be no defeat, regardless of how ill-resourced the party may be, if Al-Naṣīr aids it.
إِنْ يَنْصُرْكُمُ اللَّهُ فَلَا غَالِبَ لَكُمْ وَإِنْ يَخْذُلْكُمْ فَمَنْ ذَا الَّذِي يَنْصُرُكُمْ مِنْ بَعْدِهِ وَعَلَى اللَّهِ فَلْيَتَوَكَّلِ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ
“If Allāh should help you, no one can overcome you, but if He should forsake you, who is there that can help you after Him? And upon Allāh let the believers rely.”
Why and how, then, should hearts search for help from other than Allāh, Al-Naṣīr?
(c) An endeavour to qualify one’s self for the aid of Al-Naṣīr
Particularly during distressful circumstances, many cannot help but exhibit their grand sense of entitlement. Whether it is by way of what they say or how they behave, they almost demand miracles to get them through their testing times without exerting any of the required rigorous work or meaningful patience.
Their vision is partial, focusing only on what is convenient for them. They will focus on the sea that miraculously parted for Prophet Mūsa, but will overlook the years of patience, sacrifice, courage, and immense efforts exerted by Prophet Mūsa.
They vividly recall the flood that was sent in aid of Prophet Nūḥ, or the Zamzam water that sprung from beneath the feet of Hājar, but barely recall the 950 years that the former dedicated in daʿwah, or the latter’s endless running from mount to mount before the eventual gushing of the spring. These miracles did not appear from a vacuum – they were sent after much qualifying effort. But what does this ‘qualifying effort’ include?
وَلَيَنْصُرَنَّ اللَّهُ مَنْ يَنْصُرُهُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَقَوِيٌّ عَزِيزٌ (40) الَّذِينَ إِنْ مَكَّنَّاهُمْ فِي الْأَرْضِ أَقَامُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَآتَوُا الزَّكَاةَ وَأَمَرُوا بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَنَهَوْا عَنِ الْمُنْكَرِ وَلِلَّهِ عَاقِبَةُ الْأُمُورِ
“Allāh will certainly help those who stand up for Him. Allāh is truly All-Powerful, Almighty. [They are] those who, if established in the land by Us, would perform prayer, pay the Zakāh, encourage what is good, and forbid what is evil. And with Allāh rests the outcome of all affairs.”
When things do not conform to plan, we feel that we have been abandoned and that the promises of aid missed us. Far from abandonment, the ‘delay’ in aid could be because the threshold of effort that Allāh expects is yet to be reached, although one may be only a few more inches away from it. For this reason, the Qur’ān has not failed to communicate this message: the aid of Allāh arrives after all possible means have been exhausted, pushing one to the verge of despair – it is at that precise moment when the aid of Al-Naṣīr arrives.
حَتَّى إِذَا اسْتَيْأَسَ الرُّسُلُ وَظَنُّوا أَنَّهُمْ قَدْ كُذِبُوا جَاءَهُمْ نَصْرُنَا فَنُجِّيَ مَنْ نَشَاءُ
Consider what moment it was that saw the aid of Al-Naṣīr arriving for Prophet Mūsa. He and his fleeing community had reached a dead end, arriving at the edge of a sea, as the looming army of the Pharaoh had drawn so close that they could be seen. When the suspense had become gut-wrenching and eyes began rolling in terror and doubt, that was when the aid of Al-Naṣīr was dispatched, and the sea was commanded to part for the believers.
Similarly, consider what moment it was that saw the aid of Al-Naṣīr descending upon the believers during the decisive Battle of Badr. The believers, having realised how ill-equipped they were for what was an unexpected confrontation, had said farewell to one another and to life at large. When the strain of that critical moment had peaked, that was when the aid of Al-Naṣīr would make its way to the battlefield – angels who fought alongside the believers.
The Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said:
وَاعْلَمْ أَنَّ النَّصْرَ مَعَ الصَّبْرِ، وَأَنَّ الْفَرَجَ مَعَ الْكَرْبِ، وَأَنَّ مَعَ الْعُسْرِ يُسْرًا
“…and realise that victory is with patience, relief is with hardship, and with difficulty is ease.”
Belief in this Majestic name therefore does not automatically qualify one for unconditional victory and aid in the face of every challenging circumstance. It is this misplaced expectation that renders people complacent, impatient, and even doubtful when they fail to be aided in the specific ways that they envisaged.
Quite the contrary – belief in Al-Naṣīr ignites within the believer a determined state of action, exploring options, brainstorming ideas, cutting out sins, making preparations, and leaving no stone unturned in the hope of eventually reaching the threshold of effort that Allāh wants, to then qualify him for nuṣra. This rule applies not only to individual believers in their day-to-day battles, but to families, mosques, communities, and nations at large.
(d) To see the unmissable signs of Al-Naṣīr
We have seen—and continue to see—the effects of Allāh’s help time and time again on both individual and collective levels, and across all battles: the military, religious, legal, and all other battles. Some, however, are less obvious than others. Anyone who observes the events of both yesterday and today through the lens of the name Al-Naṣīr (and via the parameters explained above) knows this very well.
We saw the aid of Al-Naṣīr descending in the year 2 AH at the Battle of Badr, when little over 300 men overcame 1,000 pagan warriors in what was arguably the most important encounter in the history of Islam.
His aid, again, would descend in the year 8 AH when the city of Mecca was finally conquered without war, and against all odds.
His aid would descend in the year 13 AH during the decisive Battle of Al-Buwaib, led by the Muslim hero Al-Muthanna b. Ḥāritha, where 8,000 Muslims defeated a Persian army of a staggering 100,000 men.
His aid would descend in the year 92 AH, when Ṭāriq b. Ziyād led 12,000 Muslim soldiers to Al-Andalus in response to a cry of grief made by its citizens. Ṭāriq b. Ziyād squared up against King Roderick’s forces of 100,000 Spaniards in a battle that would last a gruelling eight days, marking the end of a tyranny and the beginning of a beautiful page in Islamic history in Spain that would last over 800 years.
His aid would descend in the year 94 AH when Muhammad b. Qāsim’s campaign was aided in establishing the first Muslim presence in India.
His aid would descend during the Battle of ʿAyn Jālūt, one the most pivotal encounters in Islamic history. Sayf al-Dīn Qutuz and his army faced the seemingly unstoppable forces of the Mongols that were sweeping through Muslim lands for years on end, virtually unchallenged, for 42 years. Their massacres were horrendous, annihilating entire cities, sparing neither the elderly, nor children, nor even animals. It was considered an unimaginable task, but in year 658 AH, Al-Naṣīr aided Qutuz in crumbling the Mongol reign in the month of Ramadan.
His aid would descend during the Battle of Hattin when 12,000 Muslims overcame an enemy of 63,000 men to re-conquer Jerusalem and many other Crusader-held cities.
His aid would descend during the Battle of Qādisiyya when 7,000 Muslims overcame a force of 60,000 soldiers to mark the beginning of the Islamic rule of Persia.
His aid would descend during the Battle of Yarmūk when 36,000 Muslims overcame a staggering force of 200,000 soldiers after six days of gruelling warfare along what are now the borders of Syria–Jordan and Syria–Palestine, putting an end to the Byzantine rule of Syria in what has been described as one of the most decisive battles in military history.
In light of the state-sponsored genocide of the Uyghur Muslim minority of occupied East Turkistan by the Chinese Communist Party, it is worth concluding this piece by recounting how al-Nasīr’s aid would also descend upon the men of Qutayba b. Muslim as they stood before the Emperor of China.
Qutayba b. Muslim is the name of a military commander whose conquests of Afghanistan and Central Asia would bring Islam to the gates of China, the furthest campaign ever launched by any Muslim. Qutayba had successfully opened Turkestan to the West of Central Asia and opened its two major cities, Samarkand and Bukhara, in 94 AH. Then, he travelled deeper into the East until he reached Kashgar, the former capital of East Turkestan, which China now calls Xinjiang.
Having caught wind of Qutayba, the Emperor of China wrote to him; “Send to us one of your nobles so that he may tell us about you and we may ask him about your religion.” Qutaybah chose twelve from his army from different tribes, mounted them on fine horses and sent them away with precise instructions:
“When you arrive, inform him that I have taken an oath that I shall not depart until I tread on their land, seal the necks of their kings (the act of placing a certain attire around their necks to symbolise surrender), and collect their tax.”
The Chinese Emperor summoned them. So, the Muslim delegates bathed, perfumed themselves, wore their finest clothes, then entered the Emperor’s palace. They sat down, yet neither the Emperor nor any of his officials uttered a word. So, the Muslims departed. The Emperor asked his men, “What do you make of these people?” They said, “They are women like!”
On the next day, the Emperor sent for them, this time however, the Muslim delegates wore tidy turbans, shawls and other “professional” attire. Again, no sooner had they entered were they instructed to leave. Again, the Emperor asked his men, “What do you think of them this time?” They said, “They looked more like men than they did yesterday.”
On the third day, the Emperor sent for them yet again. This time, they arrived fully clad with their weaponry; helmets, shields, swords, spears and bows, having mounted their horses. Again, they soon departed in silence. The Emperor asked his men, “What do you think of them?” They said, “We have never seen anything like them.”
Later that evening, the Emperor sent a message to them: “Send me your leader, the worthiest of you as a man.” They sent a man named Hubayrah. Upon his arrival, the Emperor asked him, “You have seen the might of my kingdom and that no one can protect you from me whilst you are in my land. You are, at present, like an egg in the palm of my hand. So, I am going to ask you about something, and, if you do not tell me the truth, I shall not hesitate in executing you.” Hubayrah said, “Ask”. The Emperor said, “Why did you change your outfits on those three consecutive days?” Hubayrah replied, “As for the first day, this is how we dress among our families. As for the second day, this is how we dress when we go to our leaders. As for the third day, this is how we dress for our enemies when we are provoked.”
As it turned out, their outfits were a symbol of the three options given to the inhabitants of the land whom the Muslims were campaigning against, namely: (1) You may choose to be Muslims, thus becoming part of our family (hence their first attire); (2) You may choose not to accept Islam but be governed by Islam and pay a tax (hence the second political attire); or (3) War (hence the third attire).
The Emperor said to Hubayra, “Return to your leader and tell him to leave, for I know of his greed and the small number of his men. Otherwise, I shall send for your destruction.” Hubayrah replied, “How can we be few in number when the front of our cavalry are in your land and the last of them are where the olive trees grow (al-Shām)? And how can one who has left the world behind him and campaigned against you be accused with greed or excessive desire? As for your attempt to scare us with death, we have allotted life spans; when the end comes about, the noblest of people will also die. We do not dislike that, nor do we fear it.”
Here, the aid of al-Nasīr would descend. As a result, the words of Hubayra struck a chord in the Emperor, bringing about a complete change of heart and a noticeable humbling of tone. The Emperor asked, “What will satisfy your leader (Qutaybah)?” Hubayrah answered, “He has sworn an oath that he will not depart until he treads on your land, seals your kings, and is given tax.” The Emperor said, “I will help release him from his oath; we shall send some soil from our land so that he may tread on it; we shall send him some of our sons so that he can seal their necks; and we shall send him some tax, so that he will be pleased.”
Consequently, dishes of gold were brought containing some of China’s soil for Qutayba to tread on. Four young men from the sons of their kings were summoned and, along with the tax, were sent to Qutayba where he fulfilled all three of his oaths. In the year 96AH, Qutayba had, therefore, completed the opening of Kashgar and stopped at the gates of China.
In reality, trying to enumerate the intervention of al-Naṣīr throughout the course of history would be a major injustice towards our Lord, for He said:
كَمْ مِنْ فِئَةٍ قَلِيلَةٍ غَلَبَتْ فِئَةً كَثِيرَةً بِإِذْنِ اللَّهِ وَاللَّهُ مَعَ الصَّابِرِينَ
“How many times has a small force prevailed against a large force by the permission of Allāh? Allāh is with the patient.”
Al-Naṣīr is sufficient for an Ummah that retreats to Him wholeheartedly, just as He is sufficient for individuals who do the same.
وَاللَّهُ أَعْلَمُ بِأَعْدَائِكُمْ وَكَفَى بِاللَّهِ وَلِيًّا وَكَفَى بِاللَّهِ نَصِيرًا
“Allāh knows best who your enemies are, and Allāh is sufficient as a Guardian, and He is sufficient as a Naṣīr (Helper).”
 Mentioned by Ibn al-Athīr
 Al-Qur’ān, 4:90
 Al-Qur’ān, 3:123
 Al-Qur’ān, 9:40
 Al-Qur’ān, 40:51
 Al-Qur’ān, 5:70
 Tafsīr al-Ṭabari
 Al-Qur’ān, 43:41-42
 Al-Qur’ān, 43:43
 Abu Dāwūd and al-Tirmidhi
 Abu Dāwūd
 Al-Qur’ān, 23:75
 Al-Qur’ān, 9:25
 Al-Qur’ān, 29:11
 Aḥmad, on the authority of Abū Huraira
 Al-Bukhārī and Muslim, on the authority of Muʿāth
 Al-Qur’ān, 3:26
 Al-Qur’ān, 2:107
 Al-Qur’ān, 71:25
 Al-Qur’ān, 11:63
 Al-Qur’ān, 3:160
 Al-Qur’ān, 22:40-41
 I.e. with respect to what the prophets of these communities had warned them about the punishment of Allāh that was arriving
 Al-Qur’ān, 12:112
 Mustadrak Al-Ḥākim, on the authority of Ibn ‘Abbās
 Tārīkh Tabari
 Al-Qur’ān, 2:249
 Al-Qur’am, 4:45