Dr. Zohurul Hoque & Husain Nuri
8:19 If you implored for a decisive-victory, then the decisive-victory has already come to you. But if you desist then that is better for you; but if you return, We will return; and your troops will never avail you in any way however numerous it be; and that Allâh is with the Believers.
8:19 A number of commentators including Râzî and Ibn Kathîr thought the verse admonished the believers. Based on the key words of the verse (if you desist., if you return., your troops will never avail you in anyway. etc.), we think the verse admonished the Quraish. This is further implied from identical usage (desist and return) in v. 38. The word fataha literally means to open, to disclose, to decide, to grant victory, to conquer or to capture, not necessarily 'judgment' as preferred by various commentators (see usage in 2:76; 12:65; 23:77; 48:1). In the translation we used 'decisive-victory' as the suitable meaning to reflect two identical senses of the word: decide and victory, and to emphasize conclusive outcome ardently desired by both the parties. According to accounts, while setting out for the battle, Abû Jahl, the fearsome enemy of the Muslims prayed at Ka'bah seeking victory of the righteous and defeat of the wrongdoers (14:14). He believed that the Quraish were the righteous and the Muslims were the wrongdoers. The Prophet might not have known what the Quraish did at Makkah, but the Muslims also prayed for victory, and the prayer was indeed granted. Decisive victory was given, but the Muslims were the recipients. The Makkans were defeated and Abû Jahl was killed in the battle.
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