It is written in the chapter of ar-Rum that the Romans would be victorious in three to nine years. However, the Romans could not defeat the Iranians until 627.

The Details of the Question

Since this verse was revealed in 615, was it not necessary for them to beat the Iranians before 624?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

The meaning of the verses in question is as follows:

“The Roman Empire has been defeated- In a land close by; but they, (even) after (this) defeat of theirs, will soon be victorious- Within a few years. With Allah is the Decision, in the past and in the Future: on that Day shall the Believers rejoice-With the help of Allah. He helps whom He will, and He is exalted in might, most merciful. (It is) the promise of Allah. Never does Allah depart from His promise: but most men understand not.” (ar-Rum, 30/2-5)

According to the majority of the Islamic sources, on the day the Romans defeated the Iranians, the Muslims were victorious against the polytheists at Badr (in 624). (see Tirmidhi, Tafsiru Surah 30/31; Hakim, II/410; Tabari, XI (21st juz) /16-18; Mawdudi, Hz. Peygamber’in Hayatı, 386-388)

There is a unanimous agreement among scholars that the chapter of ar-Rum was revealed in Makkah. The chapter was probably revealed in 616 AD, six years before the Migration. (see Elmalılı, the interpretation of the relevant verses; Mawdudi, Hz. Peygamber’in Hayatı, 385)

Since this incident took place seven or eight years after the revelation of the chapter, it does not seem possible to attribute it to the Hudaybiyya Treaty, which took place in the sixth year of the Migration. According to this evaluation, the only alternative that shows the meaning of the verse, “on that Day shall the Believers rejoice-With the help of Allah” is the day of the Battle of Badr.

Hamdi Yazır briefly states the following regarding the issue: According to some, the incident took place in the sixth year of the Migration but it is not true. The reason for this misunderstanding is as follows: According to Sahih Bukhari, when the envoy carrying the letter that the Prophet sent to Heraclius reached Syria, Heraclius was celebrating his victory. (Bukhari, Jihad, 102) Since this envoy was sent during the Hudaybiyya Treaty, many people thought that Heraclius had won victory at that time. (One of those who those who thought so was Ibn Ashur. See Ibn Ashur, XXI/45)

However, Heraclius had already won the victory and had gone to Syria to celebrate it. The fact is as follows: The war between the Romans and the Iranians began in 610, the years 613-614 passed in fighting, and in 616 the Romans began to be defeated. This defeat continued over time and increased. So much so that, in 617, the Iranians advanced as far as Kadıköy and reached the gate of Istanbul. (al-Mawdudi, Hz. Peygamber’in Hayatı, 386)

The chapter of ar-Rum was sent down in 616, when the Romans were defeated. The Romans took action against them in 622, began to win in 624; they and achieved a decisive victory in 625-627, the date of the Battle of Badr. (Elmalılı, ibid; Doğrul, Tanrı Buyruğu, 636-638; al-Mawdudi, ibid, 387)

That the Quran did not explicitly say nine years while giving this news seven years before the Migration, in the seventh year of Prophethood, but used an implicit expression, “bid’i sinin” meaning “a few years” gave the incident a depth, comprehensive and broad meaning in terms of appropriateness. Thus, the Quran gave a sign that could be appropriate both for the three years of the victory period, and the seven years until the first victory after the defeat corresponding the day of the Battle of Badr, as well as the nine years, which was the definitive victory period. If one of them had been clearly stated, all phases of the incident would not have been shown and therefore this comprehensive style of conciseness would not have existed.

In addition, it is pointed out that the purpose of this explanation is to determine the date of the day when the believers will rejoice with divine help, rather than the victory of the Romans. Although the phrase “a few years” is implicit in the verse, the expression “that day”, which indicates the realization of victory, is explicit. In this regard, the miracle of the verse that shows the believers’ day of joy is more glorious than the miracle that announces the victory of the Romans. (Elmalılı, ibid.; bk. Doğrul, ibid; al-Qasimi, XIII/4765; al-Mawdudi, Hz. Peygamber’in Hayatı, 385-387)

To sum up, the spread of victories over time, the use of different criteria in calculations, and the determination of the expressed time may result in different results. Due to such reasons, Almighty Allah, who has infinite wisdom, did not specify the year of the incident He reported. He carefully chose a phrase on which everyone could agree; He preferred the term “bid’i sinin”, which means three to nine years. (az-Zarqani, II/396-98)

For detailed information regarding the issue, you can refer to Niyazi Beki’s book entitled “Kur’an’da Fetih Müjdeleri” (Zafer yayınları). 

For more information, please click on the link given below;

How many years later did the Byzantines defeat the Iranians, which is mentioned in the chapter of ar-Rum?

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