When Jesus found Unbelief on their part He said: “Who will be My helpers to (the work of) Allah?” Said the disciples: “We are Allah’s helpers: We believe in Allah, and do thou bear witness that we are Muslims.
“Our Lord! we believe in what Thou hast revealed, and we follow the Messenger; then write us down among those who bear witness.”
Following blessed predictions mentioned earlier, Sayyidna ‘Isa (pbuh) was born with all promised signs. As a messenger sent to Bani Israel, he presented his call to them supported by miracles to prove
his prophethood. But, the Bani Isra’il were adamant and kept on rejecting him as a prophet, even going to the limit of being physically
hostile to him.
The text now identifies the very first followers of Sayyidna ‘Isa (pbuh), brings to light their real creed, expressed first before their prophet et and then (in verse 53), reiterated it in the form of a prayer before
The word, ‘hawriyy (singular of ‘al-hawariyy un’) appearing in verse
52 (translated as ‘the disciples’), is a derivation from hawar which lexically means whiteness. In the religious terminology, the title of ‘hawriyy’ has been given to the sincere disciples or companions of Sayyidna ‘Isa (pbuh), either because of their sincerity or the purity of their heart, or because of their white dress. Likewise, the Companions
of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) have been called, sahabiyy (plural,
Some commentators have given the number of the disciples as
twelve. Incidentally, the word ‘hawrriyy’ is also, at times, used in the
absolute sense of ‘helper’ or ‘supporter’. It is in this very sense that it
was said in a hadith: “Every prophet has a hawaryy, that is, a sincere
companion; Zubair is my hawriyy’ (Tafsir al-Qurtubi)
An Important Note:
Verse 52 states that Sayyidna Isa (pbuh) looked for helpers in the way of
Allah only when he sensed hostility from disbelievers, and not at the
initial stage of his call, As obvious, he had risen to the task all alone
obeying the command of his Lord without worrying about setting up a
‘party’ in advance. When came the need, he found a group around him.
A little thought here would show that every worthy mission demands
such determination and courage.
Shafi, Muhammad (2008). Maariful Quran. (Vol .2 surah 3 pg. 74-75). English-MaarifulQuran-MuftiShafiUsmaniRA-Vol-2.pdf (islamicweblibrary.com)