Surah Ale-Imran (The Family Of Imran ) 3 : 121

وَإِذْ غَدَوْتَ مِنْ أَهْلِكَ تُبَوِّئُ ٱلْمُؤْمِنِينَ مَقَٰعِدَ لِلْقِتَالِ ۗ وَٱللَّهُ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ


 Muhsin Khan
 Yusuf Ali
Quran Project
And [remember] when you, [O Muhammad], left your family in the morning to post the Believers at their stations for the battle [of Uhud] – and Allāh is Hearing and Knowing –

1. Lessons/Guidance/Reflections/Gems

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Explanatory Note

This is the opening scene, recalled in all its reality and vigour whilst still fresh and clear in the minds of those being so addressed. The sūrah, however, brings into focus other factors that were not visible at the time. First, God’s presence and knowledge of all that was going on. The Qur’ān always impresses this fact upon the Muslims so as to reinforce in their hearts a clearer and deeper faith and understanding. It is the major and most fundamental facet of the Islamic system and no one can claim a full understanding of this religion without it being firmly established in both their conscience and their mind.
Remember when you set out from your home at an early hour to assign the believers to their battle posts. God hears all and knows all.” This is a reference to the Prophet setting out from `Ā’ishah’s home, having donned his battle dress, consulted with his Companions and all of them having arrived at the consensus that the Muslims should go and meet the enemy outside Madinah. The Prophet went on to organise the Muslim troops, including the archers, assigning them duties and positions around the battlefield. But the sūrah also introduces a new fact: “God hears all and knows all.” What a momentous event. God Almighty was witnessing the proceedings. How awesome! God was witnessing the consultation and was aware of what was going on inside the hearts and minds of all those present.

The other dimension, however, is that some Muslim hearts vacillated. This was a result of the treachery perpetrated by the leader of the hypocrites, `Abdullāh ibn Ubayy ibn Salūl. Enraged by the Prophet’s acceptance of the views of his Companions, in preference to his own view, `Abdullāh ibn Ubayy broke away with one-third of the Muslim fighting force, refusing to join the expedition. Having said, as the sūrah puts it: “If we know for sure that there will be fighting we will come with you,” `Abdullāh ibn Ubayy had demonstrated that his heart did not fully accept Islam and that his self-importance was in control of him. Islam demands total dedication and does not tolerate sharing a man’s heart with other beliefs.

Further points of Reflection

  • The point to notice is the specific mention of the morning. The morning, the earliest part of the day, is the best time to get things done. Sakhr bin Wada’ah al-Ghamidi related that the Prophet [saw] said: “O Allah! Bless my Ummah in its early-risers!” and whenever the Prophet  would send out an expedition or army, he would do so at the beginning of the day. Sakhr himself was a trader, and would send out his caravans at the beginning of the day, and as a result, his wealth was abundant.

  • Looking through the Qur’an, one finds many references to significant events occurring in the early hours of the day. It was the morning that Allah chose to be the time for the destruction of the People of Lot, as mentioned in v. 81 of Surah Hud: [“... Indeed, morning is their appointed time. Is not the morning near?”] and v. 66 of Surah al-Hijr: [“And We made to him this decree that their root would be cut off in the early morning.”] and v.38 of Surah al-Qamar: [“And indeed, an abiding torment seized them in the early morning.”] And in v. 60-66, in Surah ash-Shu’ara’, we see that it was at sun-rise that Prophet Moses split the sea after being chased down by Pharoah and his army. And it is the two optional rak’at before the morning prayer that the Prophet   described as being “more beloved to me than the world and what is in it,” such that he would never neglect them. And it is the morning prayer itself that, when prayed in jama’ah, the Prophet   said “places one under the protection of Allah.” 


    أي: تُنَزِّلهم وترتبهم؛ كل في مقعده اللائق به، وفيها أعظم مدح للنبي ﷺ ؛ حيث هو الذي يباشر تدبيرهم وإقامتهم في مقاعد القتال؛ وما ذاك إلا لكمال علمه ورأيه، وسداد نظره، وعلو همته؛ حيث يباشر هذه الأمور بنفسه وشجاعته الكاملة، صلوات الله وسلامه عليه. السعدي: 145. [Be the first to translate this...]​



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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  • The Messenger of Allah went to his home, put on his shield and came out. The companions were weary then and said to each other, "Did we compel the Messenger of Allah to go out'' They said, "O Messenger of Allah! If you wish, we will remain in Al-Madinah. '' The Messenger of Allah said,"It is not for a Prophet to wear his shield for war then lay down his arms before Allah decides in his favor." [Ibn Kathir]


  • The Messenger of Allah said on the occasion of Uhud, "No one starts fighting until I issue the command to fight." [Ibn Kathir]


  • The Prophet said at Uhud, "Keep the horsemen away from us, and be aware that we might be attacked from your direction. If victory was for or against us, remain in your positions. And even if you see us being picked up by birds, do not abandon your positions." [Ibn Kathir]


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