Names of Allah Series: Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV | Part V | Part VI | Part VII | Part VIII | Part IX | Part X | Part XI | Part XII | Part XIII | Part XIV | Part XV | Part XVI | Part XVII | Part XVIII | Part XIX | Part XX | Part XXI | Part XXII | Part XXIII | Part XXIV | Part XXV | Part XXVI | Part XXVII | Part XXVIII | Part XXIX | Part XXX | Part XXXI | Part XXXII | Part XXXIII | Part XXXIV | Part XXXV | Part XXXVI | Part XXXVII | Part XXXVIII | Part XXXIX | Part XL | Part XLI | Part XLII | Part XLIII | Part XLIV | Part XLV | Part XLVI | Part XLVII | Part XLVIII | Part XLIX | Part L | Part LI | Part LII | Part LIII | Part LIV | Part LV | Part LVI | Part LVII| Part LVIII | Part LIX | Part LX | Part LXI | Part LXII | Part LXIII | Part LXIV | Part LXV | Part LXVI | Part LXVII | Part LXVIII | Part LXIX | Part LXX | Part LXXI | Part LXXII
“So establish prayer and give zakah and hold fast to Allah. He is your protector; and excellent is the protector, and excellent is the helper (an-Naṣīr).” (Qur’an, 22:78)
We mentioned at the start of the series that Allah (swt) knows us and knows our needs, and thus He reveals from His Names those which fulfill our needs. We need provision; He is al-Razzaq. We need to feel safe; He is al-Hafiẓ. We need love; He is al-Wadud. Allah shows us that whatever our needs, they are sufficed when we know Him and turn to Him. Indeed, He is Sufficient for us.
This is a Name for anyone who feels embattled, physically or emotionally. Allah’s Name an-Naṣīr comes from the root n-ṣ-r (ن-ص-ر) and means helping the oppressed (إعانة المظلوم). Thus the word for victory is also naṣr. Allah says:
“… And victory (naṣr) is not except from Allah , the Exalted in Might, the Wise.” (Qur’an, 3:126)
Naṣīr is an aggrandizement of the root word and thus means help that spans both quality and quantity – Allah (swt) helps us repeatedly and with both big and small things. He reminds us that true help and victory are only from Him. God tells us:
“If Allah should aid you, no one can overcome you…” (Qur’an, 3:160)
Upon hearing this Name, many of us might be comforted. Some of us might have questions: What help? When does this help come? Will victory actually be given to the oppressed?
Types of Victory: the External
There are different types of victory and aid. Allah (swt) gives us examples in the Qur’an that can very clearly be classed as victories and help from Allah (swt). For example, God tells us:
“And already had Allah given you victory [naṣarakum] at [the battle of] Badr while you were few in number. Then fear Allah; perhaps you will be grateful. [Remember] when you said to the believers, “Is it not sufficient for you that your Lord should reinforce you with three thousand angels sent down?” Yes, if you remain patient and conscious of Allah and the enemy come upon you [attacking] in rage, your Lord will reinforce you with five thousand angels having marks [of distinction]. And Allah made it not except as [a sign of] good tidings for you and to reassure your hearts thereby. And victory (an-naṣr) is not except from Allah, the Exalted in Might, the Wise.” (Qur’an, 3:123-126)
During the Battle of Badr, the Muslims were few in number. They prepared as best they could and put their faith in God as a much larger army was ready to attack them. Allah (swt) tells them He is helping them by sending down Angels – though He reminds the Muslims that the Angels are just there for reassurance because victory and help are only from Allah (swt).
The beautiful thing about the Qur’an is that it talks about reality. It tells us about when a manifest victory occurred and then shows us instances of what would appear to be a loss.
For example, Allah (swt) tells us in Surat al-Buruj of a people who were thrown into a fire for no reason except that they believed in One God (Qur’an, 85:8). So some might ask, where was the help? Where was the victory? Allah (swt) tells us:
“Indeed, those who have believed and done righteous deeds will have gardens beneath which rivers flow. That is the great attainment.” (Qur’an, 85:11)
It may sometimes appear that injustice has won. But Allah (swt) gives victory in this life to whom He wills and gives victory in the Hereafter for those who live in accordance with their faith with dignity. Allah (swt) tells us:
“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 – The Day their excuse will not benefit the wrongdoers, and they will have the curse, and they will have the worst home.” (Qur’an, 40:51-52)
Injustice and oppression will never have the ultimate victory, and as Muslims we are commanded to defend the oppressed against any and all forms of oppression. There are many lessons in the story in Surat al-Buruj, but one is for us never to allow oppression to flourish. Oppression that has deep roots is much harder to uproot. While the general rule is that Allah will help the oppressed – even in this world – examples like this remind us of our responsibility and of the hope in ultimate justice. The Prophet ﷺ (peace be upon him) said, “Help your brother whether he is an oppressor or is being oppressed.” It was said, “O Messenger of Allah, we help the one being oppressed but how do we help an oppressor?” The Prophet ﷺ said, “By seizing his hand.” (Bukhari, Muslim)
Help over the internal
Just like Allah (swt) helps us to overcome the external enemies, He helps us to overcome the internal ones too, such as our lower selves and Satan. In Surat Al-Nās, this is what we ask Allah (swt) for:
“Say, ‘I seek refuge in the Lord of mankind, The Sovereign of mankind. The God of mankind, From the evil of the retreating whisperer – Who whispers [evil] into the breasts of mankind – From among the jinn and mankind.’” (Qur’an, 114)
The Prophet ﷺ would say the following supplication in the mornings and evenings:
“O Allah, Knower of the unseen and the evident, Maker of the heavens and the earth, Lord of everything and its Possessor, I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship but You. I seek refuge in you from the evil of my soul and from the evil of Satan and his helpers. (I seek refuge in You) from bringing evil upon my soul and from harming any Muslims.” (Abu Dawud)
Remember that when you are having trouble with even yourself, Allah can help you. If you are battling sadness, Allah can help you overcome. If you are having difficulty battling your own demons, Allah is there. When you are not able, seek help from the One who is able. Part of seeking Allah’s help is using the external means available to you.
When does Allah’s help come?
Victory requires three things:
3- Patience and perseverance
As people of faith, we almost expect miracles to happen without hard work. We look at the story of Musa (Moses)`alayhi as-salaam (peace be upon him) and wish that the sea would part for us. We read the trials of Maryam `alayha as-salaam (peace be upon her) and see that she was given a child as a virgin, and we know that miracles are easy for Allah (swt). We focus on the miracle but forget that they came after much effort. So when things do not go our way and we feel that we have not been helped, we give up. But in the stories of the Qur’an, Allah shows us something amazing. It is when the righteous exhaust all the means does the help of Allah come. When Musa (as) does everything he can with Pharoah, and is being literally chased by an army, that is when Allah splits the sea (Qur’an, 26:63). When Maryam is at the point of wishing she were dead (Qur’an, 19:23), she is given help. When Hajar (as) runs seven times back and forth looking for help, Allah gives her the well of Zamzam. The Prophet ﷺ reminds us: “Know that victory comes with patience, relief with affliction, and hardship with ease.” (Tirmidhi)
Moreover, the seerah (life) of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ is full of examples of working within the means. Miracles came to support, but never changed events, and in that is a lesson from us. The Prophet ﷺ planned his escape from Makkah. The Prophet ﷺ prepared for battles. He spent years in Makkah calling people to Islam and to justice in society. He did not expect that things would just happen.
Finally, Allah giving His help does not mean that there will not be hardships, as the examples above clearly show. Allah asks this question in the Qur’an:
“Or do you think that you will enter Paradise while such [trial] has not yet come to you as came to those who passed on before you? They were touched by poverty and hardship and were shaken until [even their] messenger and those who believed with him said, ‘When is the help [naṣr] of Allah ?’”
Allah then answers at the end of that verse: “Unquestionably, the help of Allah is near.” (Qur’an, 2:214)
Connecting to an-Naṣīr
- Have faith
Always have faith in an-Naṣīr, and be mindful of Him wherever you are. The Prophet ﷺ teaches us:
Be mindful of God, and He will take care of you. Be mindful of Him, and you shall find Him at your side. If you ask, ask of God. If you need help, seek it from God. Know that if the whole world were to gather together in order to help you, they would not be able to help you except if God had written so. And if the whole world were to gather together in order to harm you, they would not harm you except if God had written so. The pens have been lifted, and the pages are dry. (Tirmidhi)
- Do not be lazy and work until the very end
The Prophet ﷺ sought refuge from laziness every day (Bukhari).1 Remember that help came to the righteous when they exhausted any and all means.
- Remember that your efforts will never go to waste
Whatever good you do, Allah (swt) records it for you. Your effort could be the seed that helps future generations. Even if you feel that you were not victorious in the life, remember that your effort counts for the ultimate victory in the Hereafter.
- Allah (swt) aids the oppressed, whomever they may be, so do not be an oppressor
Never ever oppress people. The Prophet ﷺ tells us to “Beware of the supplication of the oppressed, even if he is an unbeliever, for there is no screen between it and Allah,” (Ahmad). Allah does not discriminate between oppressed people, and your professed faith – if you are an oppressor – will not help you.
- Help others
The Prophet ﷺ said, “Allah helps the servant as long as he helps his brother.” (Muslim) If you want Allah’s help to come, then help others. Be there on the front lines in the battle against injustice for everyone. Justice is not ‘just us’.
- ‘O Allah, I seek refuge in You from weakness and laziness, miserliness and cowardice, anxiety and sorrow, and I seek refuge in You from the torments of the grave, and I seek refuge in You from the trials and tribulations of life and death.’ [Bukhari] [↩]