A lot of people think that followers of the True Religion are humiliated, subdued and always defeated, unlike those who follow other paths. So they do not have certainty in Allah's promise of victory for His religion and His servants. Rather, even if they don't say it, they think that this promise is either particular to a specific group, or to a specific time, or they link it to Allah's will (not related to any rules that Allah set in His creation).
This (attitude and understanding) is due to absence of certainty in the Promise of Allah, the Most High, and due to a poor understanding of His Book.
1. Allah subhanahu has explained in His Book that He is the Helper of believers in this world and the next.
He said, the Most High, "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." [Ghafir 40:51]
"And whoever is an ally of Allah and His Messenger and those who have believed - indeed, the party of Allah - they will be the predominant." [al-Ma'idah 5:56]
"Indeed, the ones who oppose Allah and His Messenger - those will be among the most humbled. Allah has written [i.e. decreed], 'I will surely overcome, I and My messengers.' Indeed, Allah is Powerful and Exalted in Might." [al-Mujadilah 58:20-21]
There are many such verses in the Qur'an.
2. Allahu subhanahu has also explained in the Qur'an that what befalls a servant from calamity, or defeat, or other than that, is because of his sins.
Allah subhanahu has explained both of these principles in His Book, so when you join them, the reality of the matter will become clear to you, problems will completely disappear, and you will be in no need of unnecessary, burdening explanations, or far-fetched interpretations.
Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala has explained the first principle in different ways, including what has preceded (in the verses above).
Likewise, He censured one who seeks help and honor from other than the believers, as in His saying::
"O you who have believed do not take the Jews and the Christians as allies. They are [in fact] allies of one another. And whoever is an ally to them among you then indeed, he is [one] of them. Indeed, Allah guides not the wrongdoing people.
So you see those in whose hearts is disease [i.e. hypocrisy] hastening into [association with] them, saying, 'We are afraid a misfortune may strike us.' But perhaps Allah will bring conquest or a decision from Him, and they will become, over what they have been concealing within themselves, regretful.
And those who believe will say [i.e. about the hypocrites and their exposure], 'Are these the ones who swore by Allah their strongest oaths that indeed they were with you?' Their deeds have become worthless, and they have become losers.
O you who have believed, whoever of you should revert from his religion - Allah will bring forth [in place of them] a people He will love and who will love Him [who are] humble toward the believers, powerful against the disbelievers; they strive in the cause of Allah and do not fear the blame of a critic. That is the favor of Allah; He bestows it upon whom He wills. And Allah is all-Encompassing and Knowing.
Your ally is none but Allah and [therefore] His Messenger and those who have believed - those who establish prayer and give zakah, and they bow [in worship].
And whoever is an ally of Allah and His Messenger and those who have believed - indeed, the party of Allah - they will be the predominant." [al-Ma'idah 5:51-56]
So Allah rebuked those who seek help from other than His party and informed that His party – they will be the predominant.
In this regards, He said, "Give tidings to the hypocrites that there is for them a painful punishment. Those who take disbelievers as allies instead of the believers. Do they seek with them honor [through power]? But indeed, honor belongs to Allah entirely *." [al-Nisaa' 4:138-139]
[* Being the source of all power and honor, Allah grants them to whom He wills.]
“They say, 'If we return to Al-Madinah, the more honored [for power] will surely expel therefrom the more humble.' And to Allah belongs [all] honor, and to His Messenger, and to the believers, but the hypocrites do not know.” [Al-Munafiqoon 63:8]
"Whoever desires honor [through power] - then to Allah belong all honor. To Him ascends good speech, and righteous work raises it *." [Fatir 35:10]
[*For acceptance by Allah, meaning that righteous deeds are confirmation and proof of what is uttered by tongue.]
That is, whoever seeks honor, let him seek it by obedience to Allah through good speech and righteous work.
"It is He who has sent His Messenger with the guidance and the religion of truth to manifest it over all religion, although they will associate others with Allah dislike it." [at-Taubah 9:33]
"O you who have believed, shall I guide you to a transaction that will save you from a painful punishment?
[It is that] you believe in Allah and His Messenger and strive in the cause of Allah with your wealth and your lives. That is best for you, if you should know.
He will forgive for you your sins and admit you to gardens beneath which rivers flow and pleasant dwellings in gardens of perpetual residence. That is the great attainment.
And [you will obtain] another [favor] that you love - victory from Allah and an imminent conquest; and give good tidings to the believers." [Saff 61:10-13]
That is, He will give them another [favor] besides forgiveness of their sins and entrance to the Paradise – help and victory:
“O you who have believed, be supporters of Allah, as when Jesus, the son of Mary, said to the disciples, 'Who are my supporters for Allah?' The disciples said, 'We are supporters of Allah.' And a faction of the Children of Israel believed and a faction disbelieved. So We supported those who believed against their enemy, and they became dominant." [Saff 61:14]
Allah said to Jesus, `alayhis salam, "'Indeed I will take you and raise you to Myself and purify [i.e. free] you from those who disbelieve and make those who follow you [in submission to Allah alone] superior to those who disbelieve until the Day of Resurrection." [Aal `Imran 3:55] So because the Christians follow him, they are superior to the Jews until the Day of Resurrection, and because Muslims follow him more than the Christians, they are superior to them until the Day of Resurrection.
Allah ta`ala said to the believers, "And if these [Makkans] who disbelieve were to fight you, they would certainly turn their backs [in flight]. Then they would not find a protector or a helper.
[This is] the established way of Allah which has occurred before. And you will never find in the way of Allah any change." [Fath 48:22-23] This is addressed to the believers who fulfilled both outward and inward realities of faith.
“Indeed, the [best] outcome is for the righteous." [Hud 11:49] And, “The [best] outcome is for [those of] righteousness." [Taha 20:132] The intended here is the outcome in this world before the next, because He mentioned this after the story of Nooh, and his victory over his people and patience with them. So He said, "This is from the news of the unseen which We reveal to you, [O Muhammad]. You knew it not, neither you nor your people, before this. So be patient, indeed, the [best] outcome is for the righteous." [Hud 11:49] That is, the outcome of help for you and those with you, as it was for Nooh - `alayhis salam – and those who believed with him.
Likewise His saying, "And enjoin prayer upon your family [and people] and be steadfast therein. We ask you not for provision; We provide for you and the [best] outcome is for [those of] righteousness." [Taha 20:132]
"If good touches you, it distresses them; but if harm strikes you, they rejoice at it. And if you are patient and fear Allah, their plot will not harm you at all. Indeed, Allah is encompassing of what they do." [Aal `Imran 3:120]
"Yes, if you remain patient and conscious of Allah and they [i.e. the enemy] come upon you [attacking] in rage, your Lord will reinforce you with five thousand angels having marks [of distinction]." [Aal `Imran 3:125]
He said, relating the words of Yusuf - `alayhis salam – that he was helped due to his taqwa and his patience. So he said, "'I am Joseph, and this is my brother. Allah has certainly favored us. Indeed, he who fears Allah and is patient, then indeed, Allah does not allow to be lost the reward of those who do good.'" [Yusuf 12:90]
"O you who have believed, if you fear Allah, He will grant you a criterion and will remove from you your misdeeds and forgive you. And Allah is the possessor of great bounty." [al-Anfal 8:29]
The criterion is honor and help, and victory and light, which distinguish between the Truth and the falsehood.
“And whoever fears Allah – He will make for him a way out. And will provide for him from where he does not expect. And whoever relies upon Allah – then He is sufficient for him. Indeed, Allah will accomplish His purpose. Allah has already set for everything a [decreed] extent.” [at-Talaq 65:3-4]
Ibn Maajah and Ibn Abi Dunya have related on the authority of Abu Dharr, radhiallahu `anhu, that the Prophet, sallallahu ta`ala `alayhi wa alihi wa sallam said: “If all people acted in accordance with this ayah, it would suffice them.” [Narrators of the hadeeth are trustworthy except that the chain is disconnected, so the hadeeth is weak] This is related to the first principle.
As for the second principle:
"Why [is it that] when a [single] disaster struck you [on the day of Uhud], although you had struck [the enemy in the Battle of Badr] with one twice as great, you said, 'From where is this?' Say, 'It is from yourselves [i.e. due to your sin].' And Allah, over all things, is competent." [Aal `Imran 3:165]
"Indeed, those of you who turned back on the day the two armies met [at Uhud] - it was Satan who caused them to slip because of some [blame] they had earned. But Allah has already forgiven them. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Forbearing." [Aal `Imran 3:155]
"And whatever strikes you of disaster - it is for what your hands have earned; but He pardons much." [ash-Shura 42:30]
"Corruption has appeared throughout the land and sea by [reason of] what the hands of people have earned so He [i.e. Allah] may let them taste part of [the consequence of] what they have done that perhaps they will return [i.e. refrain]." [ar-Rum 30:41]
"But if they turn away - then We have not sent you [O Muhammad], over them as a guardian; upon you is only [the duty of] notification. And indeed, when We let man taste mercy from Us, he rejoices in it; but if evil afflicts him for what his hands have put forth, then indeed, man is ungrateful." [ash-Shura 42:48]
"And when We let the people taste mercy, they rejoice therein, but if evil afflicts them for what their hands have put forth, immediately they despair." [ar-Rum 30:36]
"Or He could destroy them for what they earned; but He pardons much." [ash-Shura 42:34]
"What comes to you of good is from Allah, but what comes to you of evil, [O man], is from yourself. And We have sent you, [O Muhammad], to the people as a messenger, and sufficient is Allah as Witness." [an-Nisaa' 4:79]
This is why Allah subhanahu ordered His Messenger and believers to follow what was sent to them, that is, to be obedient to Him. This is the first principle. He also ordered them to wait for His Promise, and this is the second principle. And He ordered them to seek forgiveness and practice patience because the servant will certainly have shortcomings and seeking forgiveness will clear those shortcomings. Likewise, patience is required while waiting for the Promise. Obedience is perfected and completed with seeking forgiveness, and certainty in the Promise is perfected and completed with patience. Allah subhanahu has joined the two in His saying, "So be patient. Indeed, the promise of Allah is truth. And ask for forgiveness of your sin and exalt [Allah] with praise of your Lord in the evening and the morning." [Ghafir 40:55]
Allah subhanahu has mentioned in His book the stories of the Prophets and their followers and how they saved themselves with patience and obedience. Then He said, "There were certainly in their stories a lesson for those of understanding." [Yusuf 12:111]
Ighaathatul-Lahfaan min Masaa'id ish-Shaytaan [2/229]