It seems clear that the defeat of the Muslims at Uhud had been so complete
that the pagan Arabs were able to live at ease and to pursue their ordinary
avocations without fear. This was disheartening to Muhammad and his followers
and so this revelation came to cheer them.
Sura Al-'Imran1 is full of the subject and shows how important a
crisis the Prophet felt it to be, and how great were the pains he took to avert
in Madina itself the danger to which the defeat might have led. It is also a
remarkable instance of the way in which opportune revelations came to support
and sustain the people, when disheartened at the adverse turn their
circumstances had taken. It is clear that the Prophet himself soon became
hopeful again, for soon after he rebuked those who turned their backs to the
enemy at Uhud,2 and speaks with certainty of the final and complete
victory of Islam which is to be the one and only universal religion:
He it is who hath sent His Apostle with guidance and the religion of truth
that, though they hate it who join other gods with God, He may make it
victorious over every other religion. 3 Sura As-Saff (lxi) 9.