بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ
30:2-6 غُلِبَتِ الرُّومُ فِي أَدْنَى الْأَرْضِ وَهُم مِّن بَعْدِ غَلَبِهِمْ سَيَغْلِبُونَ فِي بِضْعِ سِنِينَ ۗ لِلَّهِ الْأَمْرُ مِن قَبْلُ وَمِن بَعْدُ ۚ وَيَوْمَئِذٍ يَفْرَحُ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ بِنَصْرِ اللَّهِ ۚ يَنصُرُ مَن يَشَاءُ ۖ وَهُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الرَّحِيمُ وَعْدَ اللَّهِ ۖ لَا يُخْلِفُ اللَّهُ وَعْدَهُ وَلَٰكِنَّ أَكْثَرَ النَّاسِ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ
The Rums have been overpowered. In the land close by; but they, after (this) defeat of theirs, will be victorious, within a few years. With Allah is the order, in the past and in the future and on that day, the believers will rejoice, with the help of Allah. He helps whom He wills, and He is exalted in might, most merciful. (It is) the promise of Allah. Never does Allah depart from His promise. but most people do not understand.
The root word R u m (ر و م) is described in lexicons with range of meanings as given below:
Desired/sought after, to seek/search, to wait/pause/expect, be patient, to mock/ridicule. Greeks, Byzantines, Romans. Rum n. 30:2 LL, V3, p: 359, 360
‘Ar- Rum’ in above Ayahs most probably stands for ‘the researchers’ and ‘seekers’ who are normally people with progressive minds and beliefs. The opposites of them are the frozen minded people, who believe that any new idea or research in Deen/Judgment is ‘Biddat’ or innovation. The Rums are not exactly aligned with the believers in their beliefs but have some logical approach in common with believers so that their victory over the cultists and frozen minded people would be a matter of joy for the believers.
The above Ayahs forecasts that the Rums were overwhelmed by the non Rums earlier however they will be victorious in near future.
We may take this example for couple of events which we witnessed recently;
Commencement of lunar months by calendar or by eye witness:
There are two major groups in matters of lunar month determination now a days. One group is adamant that the start of the lunar month should be witnessed by actually seeing the new moon with the naked eye by some one in the community. The basis for it is their belief that this instruction is from the prophet of God which is recorded in Hadith books.
The other group which is progressive, maintains that moon positions are well known with telescopes and calculations and are not an unknown factor. There is no way the prophet of God would have conveyed an instruction from God, regarding a religious matter, for all eternity, which is against logic i.e to actually see the moon before witnessing the start of lunar month. Therefore this instruction attributed to the prophet, is doubtful and we can make use of more accurate and precise tools available to us for witnessing the start of lunar month.
Then the believers are those whose belief is based on Al-Quran. They know that actual instructions of the prophet’s are those which are recorded by Allah in Al-Quran. Regarding the moon, when people asked him about the moon he said that it is for ‘Mawaqeet lill naas’ i.e for scheduling of people. The scheduling of lunar months is done by calendar. We cannot schedule any event in future in different parts of the world, if the start of the month is doubtful and depends upon such factors as actual eye witness. Therefore for this matter the believers and Rums are in line. Please note that this is just an example to understand the concept of Ar-Rum.
At present the other groups are in majority and start of the lunar month is with actual eye witnessing of the moon however, later on the situation will change and the majority situation will change.
Most translations and tafsirs describe ‘Ar-Rum’ as the Romans. They say that the believers were rejoicing the victory of Romans over Iranians who were infidels at that time while Romans were Christians. This is quite doubtful as Romans at that time were no friends to believers either.