Surah Ale-Imran (The Family Of Imran ) 3 : 14

زُيِّنَ لِلنَّاسِ حُبُّ ٱلشَّهَوَٰتِ مِنَ ٱلنِّسَآءِ وَٱلْبَنِينَ وَٱلْقَنَٰطِيرِ ٱلْمُقَنطَرَةِ مِنَ ٱلذَّهَبِ وَٱلْفِضَّةِ وَٱلْخَيْلِ ٱلْمُسَوَّمَةِ وَٱلْأَنْعَٰمِ وَٱلْحَرْثِ ۗ ذَٰلِكَ مَتَٰعُ ٱلْحَيَوٰةِ ٱلدُّنْيَا ۖ وَٱللَّهُ عِندَهُۥ حُسْنُ ٱلْمَـَٔابِ


 Muhsin Khan
 Yusuf Ali
Quran Project
Beautified for people is the love of that which they desire – of women and sons, heaped-up sums of gold and silver, fine branded horses, and cattle and tilled land. That is the enjoyment of worldly life, but Allāh has with Him the best return [i.e., Paradise].

1. Lessons/Guidance/Reflections/Gems

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Explanatory Note
“Alluring to man is the enjoyment of worldly desires.” In the original Arabic text, the verb in this sentence is expressed in the passive voice which indicates that this love is part of man’s nature. Hence, this is a statement of fact. Man certainly loves to enjoy these pleasures. There is no need, then, either to deny that love or to denounce and condemn it. It is essential for human life so that it may continue and progress. But there is certainly another side which is also infused in human nature and that is to balance that love and to guard man against total consumption by it to the extent that he loses the great effects of the spiritual element in his constitution. That aspect provides man with the ability to look up to the sublime and to control his desires and fulfil them in a befitting and appropriate measure. He can thus achieve his fulfilment here but, at the same time, elevate human life spiritually and look forward to the life to come where he can enjoy God’s good pleasure. This ability can hold worldly desires in check, purify them and keep them within safe limits so that physical pleasures do not overwhelm the human soul and its aspirations. To turn to God and to fear Him is the way to the achievement of those aspirations.
The verse speaks of those worldly desires as being made alluring to man. There is no suggestion, implicit or explicit, that they are contemptible, or that they should be treated as such. We are only called upon to understand their nature in order to place them in their appropriate place in our lives and not allow them to suppress what is superior to and nobler than them. We are, indeed, called upon to aspire to higher horizons after we have taken what is sufficient and necessary for us of those pleasures.
It goes without saying that women and children are among the most important and strongest desires of man. Coupled with these in the text listing the desires of this world are “heaped-up treasures of gold and silver”. The phrase “heaped-up treasures” implies a consuming greed for wealth. If it was merely a love of wealth that is meant here, the Qur’ān would simply have used the term “money”, or “gold and silver”. “Heaped-up treasures,” however, adds a further connotation, that is treasure for its own sake. The implication here being the greed to amass gold and silver, because the mere amassing of wealth is a human desire, regardless of what that wealth may be used for, especially in satisfying other desires.
The Qur’ānic verse then adds, “horses of high mark.” Even in the material world of machines in which we live, horses remain among those pleasures loved and desired by all people. A stallion combines beauty with vigour, strength, intelligence and a close relationship with his owner. Even those who do not ride horses warm to the sight of a lively horse as it runs. Cattle and plantations are then mentioned. The two are closely linked together in our minds and in real life. People love the scene of plants growing out of the earth, of life blossoming. When the desire of ownership is coupled with this, then cattle and plantations are certainly craved.
All the desires mentioned in this verse are mere examples of what people strive to have. The ones so identified were particularly appealing to the community which the Qur’ān addressed for the first time, but many of them appeal to all people in all ages. The Qur’ān mentions them before stating their real value so that they are given their proper place in the list of priorities of any believer: “These are the comforts of this life.” (Verse 14)
All these cherished desires, and all similar ones, are the comforts of this life. Perhaps we should add here that in the Arabic text, the term “this life”, or “dunyā”, connotes “the lower life”. Hence, they are not part of the sublime life or of the higher horizon. They are indeed the easy comforts of the life of this world. What is better than all this, because it is essentially nobler and it helps protect the human soul against being consumed by worldly desires, is that which remains with God.

  • فبدأ بالنساء؛ لأن الفتنة بهن أشد، كما ثبت في الصحيح أنه عليه السلام قال: (ما تركت بعدي فتنة أضر على الرجال من النساء)، فأما إذا كان القصد بهن الإعفاف وكثرة الأولاد فهذا مطلوب مرغوب فيه مندوب إليه. ابن كثير: 1/332. [Be the first to translate this....]

2. Linguistic Analysis

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  • الشَّهَوَاتِ  (desire) - This is the first occurance of this word in the Mushaf. It appears in the Qur'an 13 times. 

  • الْقَنَاطِيرِ [heaped-up sums] The triliteral root qāf nūn ṭā rā (ق ن ط ر) occurs 4 times in the Qur'a. This is the first time this word occurs in the Mushaf.

  • الذَّهَبِ  [gold] appears in the Qur’an 8 times.
  • الْفِضَّةِ [silver]  appears in the Qur’an 6 times.
  • ما دلالة تقديم الأولاد على الأموال فى قوله تعالى(زُيِّنَ لِلنَّاسِ حُبُّ الشَّهَوَاتِ مِنَ النِّسَاء وَالْبَنِينَ وَالْقَنَاطِيرِ الْمُقَنطَرَةِ مِنَ الذَّهَبِ وَالْفِضَّةِ وَالْخَيْلِ الْمُسَوَّمَةِ وَالأَنْعَامِ وَالْحَرْثِ ذَلِكَ مَتَاعُ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَاللّهُ عِندَهُ حُسْنُ الْمَآبِ {14}) سورة آل عمران؟(د.فاضل السامرائى) في مواطن الحُبّ يقدّم الأولاد على غيرهم وفي حبّ الشهوات قدّم النساء على باقي الشهوات (زُيِّنَ لِلنَّاسِ حُبُّ الشَّهَوَاتِ مِنَ النِّسَاء وَالْبَنِينَ وَالْقَنَاطِيرِ الْمُقَنطَرَةِ مِنَ الذَّهَبِ وَالْفِضَّةِ وَالْخَيْلِ الْمُسَوَّمَةِ وَالأَنْعَامِ وَالْحَرْثِ ذَلِكَ مَتَاعُ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَاللّهُ عِندَهُ حُسْنُ الْمَآبِ {14}).أما فى مواطن الالهاء كقوله تعالى فى سورة المنافقون (لاتلهكم أموالكم ولا أولادكم عن ذكر الله) قدّم الأموال على الأولاد مع أنّ حُبّ الأولاد أكثر لكن الإلتهاء بالمال يكون أكثر لذا قدّم الأموال على الأولاد للتحذير  [Be the first to translate...Ref: Dr. Faadil as-Samara'ee]

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 is reported to have said, مَا تَرَكْتُ بَعْدِي فِتْنَةً أَضَرَّ عَلَى الرِّجَالِ مِنَ النِّسَاء "I have not left after me a greater Fitnah [trial] more harmful/troublesome for Men, than women."

  • The Messenger of Allah is reported to have said  الدُّنْيَا مَتَاعٌ، وَخَيْرُ مَتَاعِهَا الْمَرْأَةُ الصَّالِحَة  "This life is a delight, and the best of its delight is a righteous wife"

  • The Prophet said in another Hadith, حُبِّبَ إِلَيَّ النِّسَاءُ وَالطِّيبُ، وَجُعِلَتْ قُرَّةُ عَيْنِي فِي الصَّلَاة "I was made to like women and perfume, and the comfort of my eye is the prayer. [`A'ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, said, "Nothing was more beloved to the Messenger of Allah than women, except horses,'' and in another narration, "...than horses except women.'']  

    All above narrations reported by Ibn Kathir. 

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12. External Links

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Muhammad Al-Luhaidan (Recitation)