Allah says in the Holy Qur’an, O you, who believe! Do not betray Allah and His messenger, nor knowingly betray your trust. (8:27)”.
In Surah al-Anfal, Allah refers to the Battle of Badr, which took place in the year 624 AD near Medina, where Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him and his family) had migrated two years earlier. It is one of the few battles referred to in the Qur’an and a turning point for Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and his early followers and the first large scale engagement between the earliest Muslims and the Meccan tribe of Quraysh.
Mecca, at that time, was one of the wealthiest and most powerful cities in Arabia and yielded an army three times larger than that of the earliest Muslims. At first glance, it appeared the Muslims were so severely outnumbered that they were expected to lose. However, the Prophet’s strategic competence/leadership further enhanced through nothing short of divine intervention, and his army was able to win the battle in a matter of a few short hours. The Qur’an describes the force of the Muslim attack in several verses in Surah al-Imran and Surah al-Badr, which refers to thousands of angels descending from Heaven to terrify the heathen Quraysh.
This battle was a pivotal point of Prophet Muhammad’s prophethood, transforming his social standing from an unnoticed religious leader to an important social and political figure in the Arabian Peninsula of his time. It was during the Battle of Badr or shortly after that this verse of the Qur’an (8:27) was revealed, asking the early Muslims to place their trust, or amanat, in Allah and the Prophet. This notion of “trust” has been understood by early Qur’an scholars to refer to the obligations entrusted to us by Allah. Often distracted by the lustre of the material world and its obligations, God reminds us that we should not forget our commitment to be obedient to Him and to follow the commands of his final Nabi, our beloved Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). This obedience and bayat, is the cornerstone of Islam and it enacted every single time we recite the shahada, a word which literally means to witness or attest to, that finds itself in front of every statement: Ash-hadu al-laa ilaaha illallah wa ash-hadu anna Muhammad ar-Rasullullaah.
Among Shi’a Muslims, this commitment of bayat and obedience also extends to our Imam-of-the-Time, reminding us of Allah’s continued and unfolding guidance, and the importance of the Prophet’s message. The importance of this continuity of guidance also finds expression in the additional line that Shi’a Muslims include in their shahada: Wa-ash-hadu anna Alyyan Ameerul Mu’mineena Aliyyullah. It is in the act of “witnessing”, of accepting Allah’s commands, through the Prophet and our present Imam, and remaining obedient to them that Allah may share His Favors, His Bounties and His Mercy with us, Ameen!