Surah Ale-Imran (The Family Of Imran ) 3 : 130

يَٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ لَا تَأْكُلُوا۟ ٱلرِّبَوٰٓا۟ أَضْعَٰفًا مُّضَٰعَفَةً ۖ وَٱتَّقُوا۟ ٱللَّهَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ


 Muhsin Khan
 Yusuf Ali
Quran Project
O you who have believed, do not consume usury, doubled and multiplied, but fear Allāh that you may be successful.

1. Lessons/Guidance/Reflections/Gems

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Explanatory Note

Let us begin by stating clearly that the reference to multiples is simply a description of something that was happening in life. It is not a condition for the prohibition to operate. The Qur’ānic statement in sūrah 2, The Cow, makes a clear prohibition of all usury. It addresses the believers and bids them “give up what remains outstanding of usury.” (2: 278) It applies to all that exceeds the principal amount, without qualification.

Now that we have established this principle, we have a word to say about its description. It is in fact not a description of the usurious transactions which took place in the Arabian peninsula at a particular point in history. It is a description of the horrid system of usury per se, regardless of the rate of interest. When a financial system is based on usury it makes the financial cycle revolve around it. We have to remember that usurious transactions are neither single, isolated transactions nor simple ones. They are both repetitive and compounded. When we add the element of time to these two aspects we find that they inevitably lead to the multiplication of the principal amount time after time.

By its very nature, the usury system leads to such multiplication. The description here is not, therefore, limited to transactions known in Arabia at the time of the revelation of this verse. It is characteristic of this system at all times. This system inevitably leads to the corruption of the moral and psychological life of society inasmuch as it corrupts its financial and political life. It has, therefore, a definite and clear influence on the community and all its members.
As Islam began to mould the Muslim community, it was keen to ensure a pure psychological and moral life for it, as well as a sound and healthy financial and political basis. The effect of these elements on the battles fought by the Muslim community is well known. Hence, the inclusion of the prohibition of usury within the Qur’ānic commentary on the Battle of Uĥud is readily understood in the context of this complete system. This prohibition is also coupled with an order to fear God in the hope of achieving prosperity, and to guard against hell, the fire prepared for the unbelievers. This is again a most fitting comment. No one who fears God and fears the fire prepared for the unbelievers will gorge himself on usury. No one who believes in God and removes himself from the ranks of unbelievers will ever think of making profit through usury. To believe in God is not simply a word we utter; it is a conscientious following of a system which God has devised in order to be a practical translation of our faith. Believing in God is simply the introduction for this implementation and for shaping the life of the community according to Islamic directives and commands.

Further points

  • Ibn Hajar Asqalani, the most famous commentator of Sahih Al-Bukhari, has opined that the prohibition of riba was declared sometime around the battle of Uhud. Some commentators have also pointed out the reason why this verse was revealed in the context of the battle of Uhud. They say that the invaders of Makkah had financed their army by taking usurious loans and had in this way arranged a lot of arms against Muslims. It was apprehended that it may induce the Muslims to arrange for arms on the same pattern by taking usurious loans from the people. In order to prevent them from this approach the verse was revealed containing a clear-cut prohibition of riba. That the prohibition of riba had been imposed sometime around the battle of Uhud finds further support from an event reported by Abu Dawood in his as-Sunan from the noble companion, Abu Hurairah. The report says that Amr ibn Aqyash was a person who had advanced some loans on the basis of interest. He was inclined to embrace Islam but was reluctant to do so on the apprehension that after embracing Islam he would lose the amount of interest and therefore he delayed accepting Islam. In the meantime the battle of Uhud broke up whereby he decided not to delay embracing Islam and came to the battlefield, started fighting on behalf of Muslims and achieved the rank of a Shaheed (martyr) in the same battle. This tradition clearly shows that riba was prohibited before the battle of Uhud and it was the basic cause for the reluctance of Amr ibn Aqyash to embrace Islam. 


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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