Dr. Zohurul Hoque & Husain Nuri
8:48 And remember! the Shaitân made fair-seeming to them their deeds, and he said: "None of the people can overcome you today, and surely I am close to you." But when the two troops saw each other, he turned back upon his heels, and said: "Surely I am quit of you, I certainly see what you do not see; surely I fear Allâh. And Allâh is Severe in consequences."
8:48 The character that instigated the Quraish to wage the battle is stated to be Shaitân. The modus operandi of this character is very similar to what is known about him: he makes people's deed fair seeming to them and he abandons them at critical moment (14:22; 37:30; 59:16). Commentators are not unanimous whether it was the invisible Shaitân or an evil person that prompted the Quraish to wage the battle. If the instigator was the invisible Shaitân, his abandoning the army before the battle truly did not matter since neither did the Quraish count on the invisible forces to win the battle nor did Shaitân bring a force of his own. Evidently the term Shaitân is figuratively used to indicate a wicked person had instigated the Quraish to march for the battle and later abandoned them. Various Traditions of the Prophet reported a person by the name of Surâqa ibn Mâlik of the Bani Kanânah, a tribe akin to the Quraish, offered his help and later abandoned the army before the battle. The phrase I am close to you indicates the person was close to the Quraish, in terms of geographical proximity of his tribe, and in terms of common goal. If it was invisible Shaitân who realized Allâh is severe in consequence, his ongoing efforts to misguide human being appear unjustified. The Qur'ân has several instances of comparing ferocious or evil person as Shaitân or strangers as jinn (21:82; 22:3; 23:37; 38:37; 72:1-3). We think Surâqa ibn Mâlik was compared with Shaitân since his conduct was very similar to that of invisible Shaitân.
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