Surah Ale-Imran (The Family Of Imran ) 3 : 13

قَدْ كَانَ لَكُمْ ءَايَةٌ فِى فِئَتَيْنِ ٱلْتَقَتَا ۖ فِئَةٌ تُقَٰتِلُ فِى سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ وَأُخْرَىٰ كَافِرَةٌ يَرَوْنَهُم مِّثْلَيْهِمْ رَأْىَ ٱلْعَيْنِ ۚ وَٱللَّهُ يُؤَيِّدُ بِنَصْرِهِۦ مَن يَشَآءُ ۗ إِنَّ فِى ذَٰلِكَ لَعِبْرَةً لِّأُو۟لِى ٱلْأَبْصَٰرِ

Translations

 
 Muhsin Khan
 Pickthall
 Yusuf Ali
Quran Project
Already there has been for you a sign in the two armies which met [in combat at Badr] – one fighting in the cause of Allāh and another of disbelievers. They saw them [to be] twice their [own] number by [their] eyesight. But Allāh supports with His victory whom He wills. Indeed in that is a lesson for those of vision.

1. Lessons/Guidance/Reflections/Gems

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Explanatory Note

This means that those who rejected the faith and dismissed Muĥammad’s call and the message contained in the book God has revealed to him with the truth, lay themselves open to the same fate in both this life and the life to come. The Prophet is instructed to warn them against the same fate in both lives. He is further instructed to give them the recent example of what happened to them in Badr, for they may have forgotten the example of Pharaoh and the unbelievers before him and how they were overwhelmed by God’s stern retribution. “Say to those who disbelieve: You shall be overcome and gathered unto hell, an evil resting place. You have had a sign in the two armies which met in battle. One was fighting for God’s cause, the other an army of unbelievers. They saw with their very eyes that the others were twice their own number. But God strengthens with His succour whom He wills. In this there is surely a lesson for all who have eyes to see.” 
 
The statement, “they saw with their very eyes that the others were twice their own number,” admits of two possible interpretations. The pronoun “they”, preceding the verb “saw” may be taken to refer to the unbelievers, whilst “the others,” in this case, refers to the Muslims. This means that despite their numerical superiority, the unbelievers imagined the much smaller group of Muslims to be “twice their own number”. This was by God’s own design. He led the unbelievers to perceive the Muslims as a very large force when they were indeed few in number, and this put fear into their hearts.
The same statement could be interpreted in the opposite fashion, which suggests that the Muslims saw the unbelievers as “twice their own number” when in actual fact they were three times as many. Nevertheless, the Muslims were steadfast and achieved victory.
 
The most important factor here is the attribution of victory to God’s aid and His planning. This, in itself, serves as a warning to the unbelievers and has a demoralising effect on them. At the same time, it strengthens the believers and decries their enemies, so much so that the believers have no fear. The particulars of the situation pertaining at Badr required both elements. In other words, the Qur’ān was working on both aspects.
 
God’s promise to defeat those unbelievers who swerve from the truth and who reject God’s constitution is valid for all time. Similarly, God’s promise to grant victory to the believers, even though they may be few in number, is also valid for all time. That victory depends, in the last resort, on God’s help, which He grants to whomever He wills. This fact also remains true for the present as for the future.
 
The believers need only to be certain that this is the truth and to be confident that God’s promise will be fulfilled. They must do all in their power and then be patient until God’s will is done. They must not precipitate events, nor should they despair if victory seems long coming. Everything is done in God’s own good time, according to His wisdom which determines the most suitable time for every event. “In this there is surely a lesson for all who have eyes to see.” There must be eyes to see and hearts to understand and minds to reflect, so that the lesson is fully understood. Otherwise, lessons are given at every moment of the day and night, but few pay heed.

Biblical Prophecy 

  • There is a prophecy about the Battle of Badr in the Old Testament. In Isiah 21:13-17;

    13 The burden upon Arabia. In the forest in Arabia shall ye lodge, O ye travelling companies [caravans] of Dedanim. 14 The inhabitants of the land of Tema brought water to him that was thirsty, they prevented with their bread him that fled. 15 For they fled from the swords, from the drawn sword, and from the bent bow, and from the grievousness of war. 16 For thus hath the Lord said unto me, Within a year, according to the years of an hireling, and all the glory of Kedar shall fail: 17 And the residue of the number of archers, the mighty men of the children of Kedar, shall be diminished: for the Lord God of Israel hath spoken it." 

    Tema - is reportedly the city of Madinah
    Kedar - According to the chapter of Genesis, Kedar was one of the sons of Ishmael through whom the Arabs descended. They lived in Paran [i.e. Makkah]

  • أي: إن النصر بمشيئة الله؛ لا بالقلة، ولا بالكثرة؛ فإن فئة المسلمين غلبت فئة الكافرين مع أنهم كانوا أكثر منهم. ابن جزي: 1/138 [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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10. Wiki Forum

Comments in this section are statements made by general users – these are not necessarily explanations of the Ayah – rather a place to share personal thoughts and stories…

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12. External Links

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