Surah Nasr is one of the short surahs of the Quran that are known as Mufaṣṣalāt. It talks about the victory of the Muslims and the conquest of Mecca. God asks Prophet Muhammad to glorify God, praise Him, and ask for His forgiveness as a sign of gratitude for this great blessing, that is the conquest of Mecca and how people entered God’s religion in multitude.
Facts about Surah Nasr
Surah Nasr (Naṣr) or al-Naṣr (سورَةُ النَّصر) meaning “[Divine] help or assistance,” is the 110th chapter of the Quran which was revealed to Prophet Muhammad in Medina. This surah has two other names: Idhā Jā’a (إِذا جاءَ) and Tawdī‘ (تَديع: farewell). Surah Nasr foretells the victory of Islam by the conquest of Mecca and the allegiance of the people of Mecca to the Prophet after the Hudaybiyyah peace treaty was violated. God Almighty tells his apostle to glorify Him and ask for forgiveness as words of thanks to the Lord for this great victory.
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Arabic Text and Translation of Surah Nasr
بِسْمِ ٱللَّهِ ٱلرَّحْمَٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيم
In the name of Allah, the most compassionate, most merciful
إِذَا جَاءَ نَصْرُاللهِ وَالْفَتْحُ ﴿1﴾
When Allah’s help comes with victory,
وَرَأَيْتَ النَّاسَ يَدْخُلُونَ فِی دِينِ اللهِ أَفْوَاجًا ﴿2﴾
and you see the people entering Allah’s religion in throngs,
فَسَبِّحْ بِحَمْدِ رَبِّكَ وَاسْتَغْفِرْهۚ إِنَّهُۥ كَانَ تَوَّابًا ﴿3﴾
then celebrate the praise of your Lord, and plead to Him for forgiveness. Indeed He is all-clement.
Occasion and Circumstances of Revelation of Surah Nasr
There are various viewpoints about the circumstances of the revelation of this surah. It is said that it was revealed:
- In Minā (مِنا) in the farewell hajj of the Prophet (حَجَّةُ الوِداع) 1
- After the Battle of Hunayn (حُنَين) after which the Prophet lived only two years 2
- After breach of Hudaybiyyah peace treaty (صُلحُ الحُدَيبيَّة) a while before the Conquest of Mecca 3
Hudaybiyyah Peace Treaty
A number of commentators and exegetes of the Quran 4 have said that surah Nasr was revealed in Medina after breach of the Hudaybiyyah peace treaty (صُلحُ الحُدَيبيَّة) in the year 8 AH/629-630 AD, a while before the conquest of Mecca. The treaty was signed in the year 6 AH/628 AD between Prophet Muhammad and the polytheists of Mecca in a region known as Hudaybiyyah. This was after the three battles of Badr (بَدر), Uhud (أُحُد), and Hunayn (حُنَين) were fought. When the Prophet and Muslims went to Mecca to perform the hajj rituals, the polytheists of Quraysh (قُرَيش) prevented them from doing so.
The Prophet sent someone to make peace between the polytheists of Mecca. Eventually, a peace treaty was signed by the two sides in Mecca for ten years. Then, the Muslims returned to Medina so that in the next year they could perform ‘umrah ( :عُمرَةnon-compulsary hajj). However, after two years, the polytheists of Mecca violated this peace treaty when the tribe of Banu Bakr (بَنو بَكر) who were the allies of the polytheists went to war with one of the tribes by the name of Banu Khuza‘a (بَنو خُزاعة) who had allied themselves with the Noble Prophet.
Conquest of Mecca as Stated in Surah Nasr
Subsequent to the breach of the Hudaybiyyah peace treaty, Prophet Muhammad mobilized a large and mighty army of 10,000 individuals from different tribes to conquer Mecca. The army comprised of the following tribes:
- Muhajirun (مُهاجِرون: Immigrants): 700 foot soldiers and 300 horsemen
- Ansar (أنصار: Helpers): 4000 foot soldiers and 500 horsemen
- Mazina (مَزينَة): 1000 foot soldiers, 100 horsemen, and 100 armors
- Aslam: 1000 foot soldiers and 300 horsemen
- Juhaynah (جُهَينَة): 800 foot soldiers and 50 horses
- Banu Ka‘b ibn ‘Amr (بَنو كَعبِ ابنِ عَمرو): 500 foot soldier
- Banu Salīm (بَنو سَليم): 700 foot soldiers
- Banu Ghifār: (بَنو غِفار): 400 foot soldiers
- Other tribes: around 1500 foot soldiers
The Army Moves Toward Mecca
The Prophet’s great army marched toward Mecca. The Prophet was very careful that the polytheists do not become aware of their advancement. Thanks to the measures the Prophet and his companions took, the inhabitants of Mecca were unable of being informed of the Prophet’s movement.
The Polytheists of Mecca Surrender
When the prophet reached a place called Marr al-Ẓahrān (مَرُّ الظَهران), he ordered his army to light fires at different points. As a result, ten thousand fires were lit. Abu Sufyan (أبو سُفيان), the head of the polytheists of Quraysh (قُرَيش) and his agents saw the fires and were frightened. They thought one of the Arab tribes were about to attack them.
When Abu Sufyan and his men went closer, they saw that it was actually the army of the Muslims and Prophet Muhammad. As a result, Abu Sufyan was faced with no choice but to submit to the Prophet and become a Muslim. As a result, the Muslims conquered Mecca. Surah Nasr had foretold this victory and conquest.
God Bids His Prophet Farewell in Surah Nasr
A number of exegetes of the Quran have said that the last verse of this surah refers to God’s farewell to the Prophet. Many narrations have said that from the time of the revelation of this surah until his demise, the Prophet would say subḥanallāh (سُبحانَ الله: i.e. clear is God [from any attribution]) and astaghfirullāh (أستَغفِرالله: i.e. I seek God’s forgiveness) very much. A number of narrations state that the Prophet died from being poisoned, thus being a martyr.
Timeline of Events
A Comparison Between Surah Nasr and Kausar
In both the surahs of Nasr and Kausar (كَوثَر), God grants the Prophet a gift and charges him with a duty for each gift. In surah Nasr, God grants His Prophet victory and the conquest of Mecca and asks him to glorify Him and ask for His forgiveness in return, whereas in surah Kausar, God grants him abundance, that is, a daughter by the name of Lady Fatimah Zahra. In return, God asks the Prophet to pray to Him and sacrifice a camel in celebration of this great gift. This shows the superiority of Kausar (Fatimah) over the conquest of Mecca.
- Surah Nasr:
- Nasrullah (Divine assistance)
- Conquest (fatḥ) of Mecca
- Muslims embracing Islam in multitude
- Glorification of God
- Asking for forgiveness from God
- Surah Kausar
- Kausar (abundance, i.e. Fatimah)
- Offering prayer
- Sacrificing a camel
Virtues and Benefits of Reciting Surah Nasr
The following are some benefits of reciting surah Nasr:
- One will receive the reward of one of those who had accompanied Prophet Muhammad during the conquest of Mecca, and had fought and gotten martyred. 5
- By offering a four unit prayer that in each unit after surah Fatiha, surah Nasr is recited ten times, God will prohibit fire of hell from the body of that person, and for every recited ayah, that person would receive the reward of ten martyrs among the martyrs of the Battle of Badr as well as the reward of religious scholars. 6
- One’s prayer will be answered and one would achieve victory against one’s enemies. 7
Lessons of Surah Nasr
- The Quran is a miracle in that by revelation of this surah, it foretells future events such as the victory of the Muslims and conquest of Mecca thanks to God’s Divine assistance.
- As the Prophet of Islam is the role model of all Muslims as stated in surah Ahzab 8 , Muslims should do whatever God commands them to do such as glorifying Him and seeking forgiveness from Him as stated in this surah.
- Glorifying God and seeking forgiveness from Him is not only for those who have sinned, but rather even infallibles such as the Prophet must do so as well.
- Qummi (قُمّي), Tafsīr al-Qummī (تَفسير القُمّي), vol. 2, pp. 446-447.
- Wāhid Nayshaburi (واحِد نَيشابوري), Asbāb al-Nuzūl (أَسباب النُزول), vol. p. 248
- Tabatabai (طَباطَبايي), Al-Mīzān, 1394 AH, vol. 20, p. 376.
- Tabatabai, al-Mīzān, vol. 20, p. 650;
- Bahrani, al-Burhān fī Tafsīr al-Qur’ān (البُرهان في تَفسيرِ القُرآن), Bunyad Bi‘that Research Department (واحِد تَحقیقات بُنیاد بِعثَت), vol. 5, p. 783.
- Sayyid ibn Tawus (سَيِّد ابنِ طاووس), Iqbālu bi al-A‘māl al-Ḥasanah (إقبالُ بِالأَعمال الحَسَنة), 1416 AH, vol. 3, p. 220.
- Namazi Shahroudi (نمازی شاهرودی), Mustadraku Safīnat al-Biḥār (مُستَدرَكُ سَفینة البِحار), 1378 solar AH, vol. 8, p. 480.
- Cf. Quran 33:21.