Surah Ale-Imran (The Family Of Imran ) 3 : 104

وَلْتَكُن مِّنكُمْ أُمَّةٌ يَدْعُونَ إِلَى ٱلْخَيْرِ وَيَأْمُرُونَ بِٱلْمَعْرُوفِ وَيَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ ٱلْمُنكَرِ ۚ وَأُو۟لَٰٓئِكَ هُمُ ٱلْمُفْلِحُونَ


 Muhsin Khan
 Yusuf Ali
Quran Project
And let there be [arising] from you a nation inviting to [all that is] good, enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong, and those will be the successful.

1. Lessons/Guidance/Reflections/Gems

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Explanatory Note

The task of the Muslim community is to implement the Divine method in human society, and to help truth to triumph over falsehood, goodness over evil. This task is stated in the following verse: “Let there become of you a nation that invites to all that is good, enjoin the doing of what is right and forbid what is wrong. Such are they who shall prosper.”
It is imperative for this community to come into existence so as to invite all to that which is good, and to enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong. The Qur’ānic statement imparts that this must be done through a real authority which can invite, enjoin and forbid. Anyone may be able to invite to what is good, but no one can enjoin and forbid unless he is equipped with real authority.

This is the proper Islamic view of the matter. It is essential that there should be an authority to undertake the task of advocating what is good and removing what is evil. The units which constitute this authority must combine together, hold fast to their bond with God, and translate their brotherhood into a reality. The prerequisites enabling this authority to implement the Divine method in life are faith and brotherhood. The Divine method cannot be put into practice without “inviting” others to every good so that people realise the true nature of this Divine method. It also requires an active authority to “enjoin” what is right and “forbid” what is wrong. Such an authority must be obeyed. God says: “We have sent every messenger in order to be obeyed with God’s leave.” (Al-Nisā’ 4:64) Hence, God’s method is not merely preaching and verbal explanation. This is only one part of it. The other part is an active and sustained effort to promote every right thing in human life and to reduce to a minimum every wrong. In this way, the traditions of the good Muslim community will be protected against the whims of anyone who has the power to impose his own interests on the community. It also protects these traditions against all abuse or subservience to personal desire or interest.

The task of enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong is not an easy one, especially when we consider that it inevitably conflicts with people’s desires, interests and pride. There are in this world of ours tyrants who impose their authority by force, people who are interested only in carnal desires and who do not wish to be elevated to a nobler standard. There are also the lazy who hate to be asked to be serious, the unfair who hate justice, the deviant who do not for a moment contemplate a straightforward attitude, as well as those who think wrong of every right thing and consider every wrong thing to be right. No nation, let alone humanity as a whole, can prosper unless goodness prevails, right is upheld and wrong is thrown out. Hence, the need for an authority to promote goodness and right and to combat evil. What is more, this authority must be obeyed.
This leads us back to the point where we started: a community must be built on the two essential qualities of faith and brotherhood. It is only such a community that can undertake this difficult task, equipped with the power of faith and the seriousness it derives from fearing God as well as the strength of love and brotherhood. It is only through the fulfilment of this role that this community can prosper. Hence, God describes those who fulfil it as prosperous: “Such are they who shall prosper.”

The existence of such a community is essential for the Divine method itself. It is indeed the environment in which it can breathe and become a practical reality. It is a good, healthy environment where people co-operate to promote goodness. In such a community, right is synonymous with goodness, virtue and justice, whereas wrong means evil, vice and injustice. To do good in such a community is easier than to do evil, virtue is simpler than vice, right stronger than wrong, justice more common and beneficial than injustice. A person who wants to do good will find help while the one who wants to do evil will meet resistance. It is this fact that gives this community its greatest value. It provides an environment where goodness and right can prosper without the need for any great effort, because everything in this environment lends them support. Wrong and evil can only grow with difficulty because of the all-round resistance which neglects it.
The concept Islam formulates of life, actions, events, values and people is essentially different from all other concepts. Hence, a special environment, which is totally different from that state of ignorance which prevails in unreligious communities, is needed to enable this unique concept, with all its unique values, to flourish. This environment must be conditioned by the Islamic concept of human life and must serve it so that it may live, breathe freely and grow in it, without encountering any internal hindrances to its development. Should it encounter any obstacles, then the essential qualities of the Muslim community, to advocate all that is good and to enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong, are certain to remove them. Should an oppressive force attempt to turn people away from God, then it will inevitably encounter those who are prepared to defend and protect the Divine method of life.
This environment is embodied in the Muslim community which is built on the twin pillars of faith and brotherhood. Its faith in God brings conformity to its concept of life, events, actions, values and people and gives it a single standard with which to evaluate everything in life. It conducts all its affairs according to the same Divine law and pledges all its loyalty to the leadership which takes upon itself the task of implementing God’s method in human life. The brotherhood of faith provides this community with bonds of love and mutual care. These ties ensure the absence of selfishness in the community and help its members care for one another without pressure or ill feeling.

2. Linguistic Analysis

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Frequency of Root words in this Ayat used in this Surah *

3. Surah Overview

4. Miscellaneous Information

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5. Connected/Related Ayat

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6. Frequency of the word

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7. Period of Revelation

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“This Surah consists of four discourses:

  • The first discourse (v. 1-32) was probably revealed soon after the Battle of Badr.
  • The second discourse (v. 33-63) was revealed in 9 A.H. (After Hijrah - migration from Makkah to Madinah) on the occasion of the visit of the deputation from the Christians of Najran.
  • The third discourse (v. 64-120) appears to have been revealed immediately after the first one.
  • The fourth discourse (v. 121-200) was revealed after the Battle of Uhud.” [Mawdudi]

8. Reasons for Revelation

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1. The Believers had met with all sorts of trials and hardships about which they had been forewarned in Al-Baqarah. Though they had come out victorious in the Battle of Badr they were not out of danger yet. Their victory had aroused the enmity of all those powers in Arabia which were opposed to the islamic Movement. Signs of threatening storms had begun to appear on all sides and the Muslims were in a perpetual state of fear and anxiety. It looked as if the whole Arabian world around the tiny state of Madinah - which was no more than a village state at that time - was bent upon blotting out its very existence. This state of war was also adversely affecting its economy which had already been badly disturbed by the influx of the Muslim refugees from Makkah.

2. Then there was the disturbing problem of the Jewish clans who lived in the suburbs of Madinah. They were discarding the treaties of alliance they had made with the Prophet after his migration from Makkah. So much so that on the occasion of the Battle of Badr these people of the Book sympathized with the evil aims of the idolaters in spite of the fact that their fundamental articles of Faith - Monotheism, Prophethood and Life-after-death - were the same as those of the Muslims. After the Battle of Badr they openly began to incite the Quraysh and other Arab clans to wreak their vengeance on the Muslims. Thus those Jewish clans set aside their centuries-old friendly and neighbourly relations with the people of Madinah. At last when their mischievous actions and breaches of treaties became unbearable the Prophet attacked the Bani-Qaynuqah, the most mischievous of all the other Jewish clans who had conspired with the hypocrites of Madinah and the idolatrous Arab clans to encircle the Believers on all sides. The magnitude of the peril might be judged from the fact that even the life of the Prophet himself was always in danger. Therefore his Companions slept in their armours during that period and kept watch at night to guard against any sudden attack and whenever the Prophet happened to be out of sight even for a short while they would at once set out in search of him.

3. This incitement by the Jews added fuel to the fire which was burning in the hearts of the Quraysh and they began to make preparations to avenge the defeat they had suffered at Badr. A year after this an army of 3000 strong marched out of Makkah to invade Madinah and a battle took place at the foot of Mount Uhud. The Prophet came out of Madinah with one thousand men to meet the enemy. While they were marching to the battlefield three hundred hypocrites deserted the army and returned to Madinah but there still remained a small band of hypocrites among the seven hundred who accompanied the Prophet. They played their part and did their utmost to create mischief and chaos in the ranks of the Believers during the Battle. This was the first clear indication of the fact that within the fold of the Muslim Community there was quite a large number of saboteurs who were always ready to conspire with the external enemies to harm their own brethren.

4. Though the devices of the hypocrites had played a great part in the set-back at Uhud, the weaknesses of the Muslims themselves contributed no less to it. And it was but natural that the Muslims should show signs of moral weakness for they were a new community which had only recently been formed on a new ideology and had not as yet got a thorough moral training. Naturally in this second hard test of their physical and moral strength some weaknesses came to the surface. That is why a detailed review of the Battle of Uhud was needed to warn the Muslims of their shortcomings and to issue instructions for their reform. It should also be noted that this review of the Battle is quite different from the reviews that are usually made by generals on similar occasions.

9. Relevant Hadith

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10. Wiki Forum

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11. Tafsir Zone


12. External Links

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