I am not sure what "they are the most eager to return after a retreat" means in the context of the following hadith:

Al-Mustawrid reported: He said in front of Amr ibn al-‘As that he heard the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, say, “The Hour will be established while the Romans are the majority of people.” Amr said, “Be careful what you say.” He said, “I have said what I heard from the Messenger of Allah.” Amr said, “If the Prophet said that, indeed, there are four good qualities in them: they are the most forbearing of people in tribulation, they are the quickest to recover after a calamity, they are the most eager to return after a retreat, and they are good to the poor, the orphan, and the vulnerable. Their fifth quality is good and beautiful: they are the best at stopping the oppression of their kings.”

Source: Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 2898

Grade: Sahih (authentic) according to Muslim

Does it mean that when faced with a superior opponent, they back down but will be eager to once again return to the battle field to fight against him?

  • Retreat could have been used in the sense of going away from your home to a secluded, quiet place. And then, after it, you return back home.
    – Andrew Tobilko
    Feb 5, 2022 at 21:24
  • This is not about learning English, but about interpreting a religious text, so I'm closing it to new answers.
    – gotube
    Feb 6, 2022 at 8:21

1 Answer 1


Note, first of all, that these are the comments of Amr, not statements of the Prophet (SAW).

The phrase "they are the most eager to return after a retreat" or "أَوْشَكُهُمْ كَرَّةً بَعْدَ فَرَّةٍ" in Arabic mean that they are eager to return to the fight after a defeat.

Meaning, they do not let defeat hold them back from returning to another battle or trying again.

The example of this in the Prophet's time was the prophecy in Surah Rum:

The Romans have been defeated

In the nearest land. But they, after their defeat, will overcome.

Within three to nine years. To Allah belongs the command before and after. [...] (30:2-4)

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