We sent aforetime our apostles with Clear Signs and sent down with them the Book and the Balance (of Right and Wrong) that men may stand forth in justice; and We sent down Iron in which is (material for) mighty war as well as many benefits for mankind that Allah may test who it is that will help unseen Him and His apostles; for Allah is Full of Strength exalted in Might (and able to enforce His will). 5313 5314 5315 5316 5317
Three things are mentioned as gifts of Allah. In concrete terms they are the Book, the Balance, and Iron, which stand as emblems of three things which hold society together, viz. Revelation, which commands Good and forbids Evil; Justice, which gives to each person his due; and the strong arm of the Law, which maintains sanctions for evil-doers. For Balance, see also xlii. 17, and n. 4550.
"Sent down": anzala: in the sense of revealed to man the use of certain things, created in him the capacity of understanding and using them: cf. xxxix. 6: "sent down for you eight head of cattle in pairs".
Iron: the most useful metal known to man. Out of it is made steel, and from steel and iron are made implements of war, such as swords, spears, guns, etc., as well as instruments of peace, such as ploughshares, bricklayers' trowels, architects' and engineers' instruments, etc. Iron stands as the emblem of Strength, Power, Discipline, Law's sanctions, etc. Iron and steel industries have also been the foundation of the prosperity and power of modern manufacturing nations'.
In xxi. 49, I have translated "in their most secret thoughts" for the more literal "unseen" (bilgaibi). Perhaps the more literal "unseen" may do if understood in the adverbial sense; as explained in xxxv. 18, n. 3902. The sincere man will help the Cause, whether he is seen or brought under notice or not.
To help Allah and His messengers is to help their Cause. It is to give men an opportunity of striving and fighting for His Cause and proving their true mettle, for thus is their spirit tested. As explained in the next line, Allah in Himself is Full of Strength, Exalted in Power, and Able to enforce His Will, and He has no need of others' assistance.