30 - Ar Rum (The Romans)

4 Tafsir(s) related to verse 30.1


Alif lām mīm: God knows best what He means by these [letters].

Asbab Al-Nuzul by Al-Wahidi

(Alif. Lam. Mim. The Romans have been defeated in the nearer land") [30:1-3]. The commentators of the Qur"an said: "Chosroes sent an army under the command of a man called Shahryaraz to Byzantium. This man marched on Byzantium and defeated them. He killed the men, destroyed their cities and demolished all their olive trees. The Caesar had entrusted the command of his army to a man called Juhannas. The latter fought against Shahryaraz at Adhri"at and Busrah, which are the closest parts of Syria to the land of the Arabs. The Persian defeated the Byzantines. The Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, and his Companions heard this while in Mecca and felt sad about it. The Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, disliked that the Magians, who did not have a revealed Scripture, have the upper hand over the Byzantines who were people of the Book. The disbelievers of Mecca, on the other hand, were exultant and spiteful. When they met the Companions of the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, they said to them: "You are people of the Book and the Christians are people of the Book. We are without a revealed Scripture and our brothers the Persians have defeated your brothers the Byzantines. If you ever fight us, we will defeat you too". Therefore, Allah, exalted is He, revealed (Alif. Lam. Mim. The Romans have been defeated in the nearer land) to the end of these verses". Isma"il ibn Ibrahim al-Wa"iz informed us> Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn Hamid al-"Attar> Ahmad ibn al-Husayn ibn "Abd al-Jabbar> al-Harith ibn Shurayh> al-Mu"tamir ibn Sulayman> his father> al-A"mash> "Atiyyah al-"Awfi> Abu Sa"id al-Khudri who said: "When the Battle of Badr took place, the Byzantines had also defeated the Persians. The believers rejoiced and so these verses were revealed (Alif. Lam. Mim. The Romans have been defeated) up to His words (" believers will rejoice in Allah"s help to victory), i.e. the believers will rejoice in the defeat of the Persians by the Byzantines".

Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an

From what lbn `Abbas and the other Companions and their followers have said, it appears that the Muslims' sympathies in this war between Byzantium and Iran were with Byzantium and of the disbelievers of Makkah with Iran. This had several reasons. First, the Iranians had given it the colour of a crusade between Magianism and Christianity, and, apart from the object of political conquest, they were making it a means of spreading Magianism. In the letter that Khusrau Parvez wrote to the Emperor Heraclius after the conquest of Jerusalem, he had clearly mentioned his victory as a proof of the truth of Magianism. In principle, the Magian creed resembled the polytheistic creed of the people of Makkah, because the Magis too, were disbelievers of Tauhid they believed in two gods and worshiped the fire. That is why the mushriks of Makkah were in sympathy with them. Contrary to them, the Christians, however corrupted their monotheism might be, still regarded belief in One God as the basis of religion, believed in the Hereafter and admitted Revelation and Prophethood as the source of guidance. Thus, their religion in principle resembled Islam, and therefore, the Muslims were naturally in sympathy with them, and could not like that a polytheistic people should dominate them. Secondly, the people who believe in a previous Prophet before the advent of a new Prophet are naturally regarded and counted as Muslims until the message of the new Prophet reaches them and they clearly discard it. (Please see E.N. 73 of Surah AI-Qasas also). At that time only five to six years had passed since the Holy Prophet's advent as a Prophet and his message had not yet reached outside Arabia. Therefore, the Muslims did not look upon the Christians as disbelievers, but they certainly regarded the Jews as disbelievers because they had rejected the Prophet Jesus (may peace be upon him) to be a Prophet. Thirdly, the Christians from the very beginning had been treating the Muslims with sympathy as already mentioned above in Al-Qasas: 52-55, and in AI-Ma'idah: 82-85, and many of them were even accepting the message of the Truth with an open heart. Then, the way the Christian king of Habash had given refuge to the Muslims on their migration there and turned down the demand of the disbelievers of Makkah to return them, also required that the Muslims should wish the Christians well as against the Magians.

That is, "When the Iranians became victorious first, it did not mean that the Lord of the worlds, God forbid, had been humbled and when the Romans will gain victory afterwards, it will not mean that Allah's lost kingdom will be restored to Him. Sovereignty in any case belongs to Allah. Allah gave victory to the side that became victorious first, and Allah will give victory to the side that will gain victory after wards. For no one in his Kingdom can achieve domination solely by his own power. He whom He raises, rises and he whom He causes to fall, falls."

Ibn 'Abbas, Abu Said Khudri, Sufyan Thauri;, Suddi and others have stated that the Romans' victory against the Iranians and the Muslims' victory at Badr against the polytheists took place almost at the same time. The Muslims, therefore, were doubly pleased. The same is supported by the histories of Byzantium and Iran. 624 A.D. is the year in which the Battle of Badr was fought and the same is the year in which the Byzantine Emperor destroyed the birth-place of Zoroaster and ravaged the principal fire-temple of Iran.

Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs

And from his narration on the authority of Ibn 'Abbas that he said regarding the interpretation of Allah's saying (Alif. Lam. Mim.): '(Alif. Lam. Mim.) He says: I am Allah, I know; it is also said that this is an oath by which Allah swore.