The Charging Steeds Chapter is consistent with many other verses in the Holy Quran that emphasize sincerity and the right intention in all actions. Even putting them ahead of the action itself. This chapter is often understood as a reminder that God expects people to keep their intentions in line with their actions, because on Judgement Day, He puts the content of their heart above everything else.
2. Striking sparks with their hooves,
3. Making dawn raids,
4. Raising clouds of dust,
5. And plunging into the midst of the enemy.
6. Man is ungrateful to his Lord,
7. And he is witness to this,
8. He is truly excessive in his love of wealth.
9. Does he not know that when the contents of graves are thrown out,
10. When the secrets of of hearts are uncovered,
11. On that day, their Lord will be fully aware of them all?
-The Charging Steeds Chapter
I have always thought of this chapter as one that is aimed at the most powerful in society. The ones that are less likely to be held accountable for their actions by others.
As in many chapters, God swears by His great signs—like the sun and the moon—in order to heighten awareness and focus attention on the topic that directly follows. In this chapter, however, He swears by a scene. The scene describes human actions whose nature is historic and consequential. People often know the declared purpose of these major events, but may never know the real purpose. When the fog of war settles people only know what they see and experience.
The scene describes the familiar battle tactic of distracting and disrupting the enemy in order to increase the potency and effectiveness of the attack.
Today, battles are not likely to involve horses, dust and sharp-edged weapons. In fact, the road to war and peace is littered by the results of battles of information and disinformation. These battles are often designed to contain damage or to generate support for a cause. These battles rely on the power of persuasion. The steeds of this scene are the communication methods, genres and technologies that people depend on for decision making and for creating a perspective. The dust that is created here to mask the attack consists of the clouds of doubt that are planted in the hearts and minds of people in preparation for the introduction of the desired message.
There is no fault in deploying the power of persuasion, as long as the truth is not twisted to fit an undeclared purpose or is completely discarded. The clear expectation here is that the truth comes first.