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And what cause have ye why ye should not spend in the cause of Allah?- For to Allah belongs the heritage of the heavens and the earth. Not equal among you are those who spent (freely) and fought, before the Victory, (with those who did so later). Those are higher in rank than those who spent (freely) and fought afterwards. But to all has Allah promised a goodly (reward). And Allah is well acquainted with all that ye do.

This is usually understood to refer to the
Conquest of Makkah, after which the Muslims succeeded
to the power and position which the Pagan Quraish had
so misused at Makkah. Thereafter the Muslims had the
hegemony of Arabia, and in a few centuries, for a time,
the hegemony of the world.
But the words are perfectly general, and we must
understand the general meaning also: that the people
who fight and struggle in Allah’s Cause and give of their
best to it at any time are worthy of praise: but those are
worthy of special distinction who do it when the Cause is
being persecuted and in most need of assistance, before
victory comes.

References:

Yusuf Ali, Abdullah. Translation and Commentary of the Quran. (surah 56 verse 10. Quran Arabic with English Translation & Commentary (Tafsir) by Abdullah Yusuf Ali, Free Download (quran4u.com)

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