Surah Ale-Imran (The Family Of Imran ) 3 : 135

وَٱلَّذِينَ إِذَا فَعَلُوا۟ فَٰحِشَةً أَوْ ظَلَمُوٓا۟ أَنفُسَهُمْ ذَكَرُوا۟ ٱللَّهَ فَٱسْتَغْفَرُوا۟ لِذُنُوبِهِمْ وَمَن يَغْفِرُ ٱلذُّنُوبَ إِلَّا ٱللَّهُ وَلَمْ يُصِرُّوا۟ عَلَىٰ مَا فَعَلُوا۟ وَهُمْ يَعْلَمُونَ

Translations

 
 Muhsin Khan
 Pickthall
 Yusuf Ali
Quran Project
And those who, when they commit an immorality or wrong themselves [by transgression], remember Allāh and seek forgiveness for their sins – and who can forgive sins except Allāh? – and [who] do not persist in what they have done while they know.

1. Lessons/Guidance/Reflections/Gems

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The acts of Tawbah and Iistighfar are traditionally accompanied by emotions of sadness and regret. Indeed, regretting the sin that one is repenting from is a pillar, a key condition of that repentance being accepted by Allah. And reading the books of Ibn al-Jawzi in particular, you come across frequent mention of “the tears of repentance,” and “cleansing your sins with the tears of regret.” It goes without saying that one should be saddened at the disobedience of Allah, whether on the part of himself or others.

Once you realize that you’ve committed a sin, feel regretful over it, and then progress to the point of seeking Allah’s forgiveness, the sadness should be replaced by happiness. Yes, a believer should feel sad at the realization that he/she has disobeyed Allah. But committing a sin is like locking yourself in a cage. Repenting from that sin and asking Allah’s forgiveness is like the key to unlock that cage and free yourself. Imagine yourself being freed from that cage – the natural emotions you will feel are none other than happiness, joy, optimism. You will not feel sadness while you are being freed. Likewise, repentance should be associated with these positive emotions, rather than the sadness that should accompany the sin itself.

In fact, your repentance is an occasion of joy for none other than Allah, Himself. Anas reported that the Prophet   said: “Allah is happier when you repent to Him than you would be if you were riding in a desert, your animal escaped from you carrying all of your food and drink, you lost hope in ever finding it, you found a tree and lay in its shade, and suddenly found the an-imal standing in front of you…” So, if Allah – the One forgiving you – is happy when you repent, it only makes sense that you – the one being for-given – would feel nothing but joy upon repenting.

Explanatory Note

Another quality of the God-fearing is highlighted here. They are those who seek forgiveness whenever they slip into sin and make sure of not knowingly disobeying God’s orders. How compassionate this religion is. Before He calls on people to be compassionate to one another, God, limitless is He in His glory, shows them one aspect of His own compassion of which they themselves are the recipients, so that they may learn.
 
In Islamic terminology, the God-fearing are among the elite of believers. God’s compassion and mercy, however, include among them those who remember God after committing a gross indecency or who wrong themselves and pray to Him for forgiveness of their sins. The term “gross indecency” includes the most ghastly of all sins. This religion of ours, however, is so tolerant that it neither considers those who sink to its depth as outcasts, nor deprives them of God’s mercy. They are not even given the bottom rank among the believers. Rather, they are elevated to the rank of the elite, the God-fearing, on one condition only. That condition is that they should remember God and pray to Him to forgive their sins, that they should not persist with their wrongdoing, knowing that it is sinful, and that they should not unashamedly boast about the sins they have committed. In other words, they should remain within the framework of servitude to God and ultimate submission to Him. By doing so, they remain entitled to His forgiveness, mercy and bounty.

Islam recognises man’s weakness. Man may always succumb to his physical desires which may bring him down to the depths of gross indecency. His lust, ambitions or temptations may cause him to lose-- control and drive him to disobedience of God. Recognising this weakness in man, Islam does not adopt harsh punishments, rejecting a sinner altogether and depriving him of God’s mercy when he wrongs himself by committing a gross indecency. In the Islamic view there is something important to add to his credit which is the fact that the light of faith has not been put out altogether in his soul. His heart is not totally hardened, his relationship with God is still alive and he knows that he is merely a servant who slips and makes mistakes, and that he has a Lord who forgives. This weak, sinful creature, then, remains essentially good. He clings to his bond with God and lie does not sever it. He may, then, slip as many times as his weakness imposes on him. Eventually, he will get there, as long as he holds to his bond with God and keeps the light of faith within him. He must always remember God, pray to Him for
forgiveness and acknowledge his submission to Him and refrain from boasting about his sins.

Never does Islam slam the door in the face of a weak sinner leaving him lost in the wilderness. Never does it let him feel permanently rejected, afraid to turn back. On the contrary, it holds for him the prospect of forgiveness. It shows him the way and holds his trembling hand, steadying him and giving him the light he needs to return to his secure refuge. It only requires one thing of him, namely, that his heart and soul are not so hardened so as to make him forget God. As long as he remembers God and keeps alive in his conscience the voice of guidance and maintains in his heart the yearning for God’s grace, then light will shine again in his soul and the seed of faith will burst forth with a new plant.

When your misbehaving son who has run away knows that nothing awaits him at home except flogging, he will never return. But if he knows that there is also a tender hand which will pat his shoulder when he apologises for his misdeeds and which excuses him when he asks for pardon, he will certainly come back.

Islam knows that side by side with man’s weaknesses and carnal desires there exist strength and sublime aspirations. For this reason, Islam is sympathetic to man in his moment of weakness, places him back on his way to a higher horizon, as long as he remembers God and does not knowingly persist with his wrongdoing. The Prophet says: “He who prays for forgiveness does not persist with his sin, even if he commits it 70 times a day.” (Related by Abū Dāwūd and Al-Tirmidhī.) In doing so, Islam does not advocate complacency, nor does it praise the one who frequently slips or who describes sinful actions as beautiful, as those who call themselves “realists” do. It simply overlooks such errors in order to awaken both hope and a sense of shame within man. Forgiveness by God, the only One to forgive sins, does not lead to complacency; it fills the sinner with shame. Only those who persist and pay no heed remain outcasts. Thus, Islam combines its call to man to aspire to a higher horizon with its mercy and compassion, knowing man’s weakness and capability. It ensures that the door of hope
is always open in front of man as it motivates him to exert his utmost in his aspiration towards the sublime.

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…

11. Tafsir Zone

 

12. External Links

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