[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Muhammad is the messenger of Allah. and those who are with him are strong against Unbelievers, (but) compassionate amongst each other. Thou wilt see them bow and prostrate themselves (in prayer), seeking Grace from Allah and (His) Good Pleasure. On their faces are their marks, (being) the traces of their prostration. This is their similitude in the Tawrah; and their similitude in the Gospel is: like a seed which sends forth its blade, then makes it strong; it then becomes thick, and it stands on its own stem, (filling) the sowers with wonder and delight. As a result, it fills the Unbelievers with rage at them. Allah has promised those among them who believe and do righteous deeds forgiveness, and a great Reward.
4913 Cf. 9:128. The devotees of Allah wage unceasing war against evil, for themselves, and for others; but to their own brethren in faith-especially the weaker ones-they are mild and compassionate: they seek out every opportunity to sympathise with them and help them.
4914 Their humility is before Allah and His Prophet and all who have authority from Allah, but they yield no power or pomp, nor do they worship worldly show or glitter. Nor is their humility before Allah a mere show for men.
4915 The traces of their earnestness and humility are engraved on their faces, i.e., penetrate their inmost being, the face being the outward sign of the inner man. If we take it in its literal sense, the traces might mean the marks left by repeated prostration on their foreheads. Moreover, a good man's face alone shows in him the grace and light of Allah; he is gende, kind and forbearing, ever helpful, relying on Allah and possessing 'a blessed Peace and Calmness' (i.e., sakinah: cf. 48:26; 48:18, n. 4894) that can come from no other source. (R).
4916 In the Book of Moses, which is now found in a corrupt form in the Pentateuch, the posture of humility in prayer is indicated by prostration: e.g., Moses and Aaron "fell upon their faces", Num. 16:22 .
4917 The similitude in the Gospel is about how the good seed is sown and grows gradually, even beyond the expectation of the sower: "the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth now how; for the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear"; Mark 4:27-28. Thus Islam was preached by the Prophet; the seed seemed to human eyes lost in the ground; but it put forth its shoot, and grew, and became strong, until it was able to stand on its own legs, and its worst enemies recognised its existence and its right to live. Note how much more complete the parable is in the Qur'an. The mentality of the sowers of the seed is expressed in beautiful terms: its growth and strength filled them "with wonder and delight."
4918 I construe the particle " If as expressing not the object, but the result. The result of the wonderful growth of Islam in numbers and strength was that its enemies were confounded, and raged furiously within their own minds, a contrast to the satisfaction, wonder, and delight of the Prophet and his Companions. The pronoun in "rage at them" of course refers to the Prophet and his Companions, and goes back to the earlier words, "on their faces" etc.