وَلَا تَهِنُوا وَلَا تَحْزَنُوا وَأَنْتُمُ الْأَعْلَوْنَ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ مُؤْمِنِينَ
“Do not give up and do not be downhearted. You shall be uppermost if you are believers.”
The verb تَهِنُوا at the beginning of this verse is from the root وهن (wahn).
Wahn means weakness, whether it concerns volition or action, or is of a physical or moral nature. In a ḥadīth, we read that once the Prophet ﷺ said to his companions that a time will come when Muslims will be reduced to ‘froth and scum that rises above flood waters’. They asked about the reason for it whereupon he told them that they would have wahn in their hearts. ‘What is wahn?’ they asked him, and he ﷺ replied, ‘It is the love of the worldly life and the dislike of death.’ (Abu Dawud 4297)
In the light of this ḥadīth, we can say that wahn is the weakness in resolve and morale and the abject cowardice that leads to an abject failure of volition and action. This in turn stems from the love of worldly life and the fear of death that bars one from striving in the cause of truth. In the present verse, the phrase la tahinū (lose not heart) also has precisely this meaning. In other words, the defeat in the battle of Uḥud should not demoralise you, break your spirit or disappoint you. The complete sentence would read: la tahinū mimmā aṣābakum wa la taḥzanū ‘alā mā fātakum, (on account of this defeat that you experienced, do not be discouraged nor grieve over the loss that you suffered.)*
Only when the regimes and armies in Muslim lands remove wahn from their hearts and establish a rightly guided Caliphate will our ummah finally find security and peace. Allah (Most High) promises this:
وَعَدَ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مِنْكُمْ وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ لَيَسْتَخْلِفَنَّهُمْ فِي الْأَرْضِ كَمَا اسْتَخْلَفَ الَّذِينَ مِنْ قَبْلِهِمْ وَلَيُمَكِّنَنَّ لَهُمْ دِينَهُمُ الَّذِي ارْتَضَىٰ لَهُمْ وَلَيُبَدِّلَنَّهُمْ مِنْ بَعْدِ خَوْفِهِمْ أَمْنًا ۚ يَعْبُدُونَنِي لَا يُشْرِكُونَ بِي شَيْئًا ۚ وَمَنْ كَفَرَ بَعْدَ ذَٰلِكَ فَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْفَاسِقُونَ
“Allah has promised those of you who have iman and do right actions that He will make them successors in the land as He made those before them successors, and will firmly establish for them their deen with which He is pleased and give them, in place of their fear, security. ‘They worship Me, not associating anything with Me.’ Any who are kafir after that, such people are deviators.”
May Allah grant the Muslims who lost their lives and were injured in this atrocious attack the highest place in paradise and help their families at this difficult time. Truly those who are granted martyrdom in the holy month of ramadan are the elite of the believers.
* Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-e-Qur’an, Volume 2, Tafsir of Surah Ali ‘Imran