Surah Ale-Imran (The Family Of Imran ) 3 : 140

إِن يَمْسَسْكُمْ قَرْحٌ فَقَدْ مَسَّ ٱلْقَوْمَ قَرْحٌ مِّثْلُهُۥ ۚ وَتِلْكَ ٱلْأَيَّامُ نُدَاوِلُهَا بَيْنَ ٱلنَّاسِ وَلِيَعْلَمَ ٱللَّهُ ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ وَيَتَّخِذَ مِنكُمْ شُهَدَآءَ ۗ وَٱللَّهُ لَا يُحِبُّ ٱلظَّٰلِمِينَ

Translations

 
 Muhsin Khan
 Pickthall
 Yusuf Ali
Quran Project
If a wound should touch you – there has already touched the [opposing] people a wound similar to it. And these days [of varying conditions] We alternate among the people so that Allāh may make evident those who believe and [may] take to Himself from among you martyrs – and Allāh does not like the wrongdoers –

1. Lessons/Guidance/Reflections/Gems

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Explanatory Note

The misfortune which is said to have befallen the Muslims and the fact that a similar one befell those who rejected the truth may be a reference to the Battle of Badr, in which the idolaters suffered a heavy defeat. On the other hand, it may be a reference to the Battle of Uĥud, in which the Muslims were initially close to victory, but were then defeated. What the Muslims suffered was fair reward for their disagreement and disobedience.  Moreover,  it  represents  an  aspect  of  how  the  rules  of  nature established by God never fail. The disagreement among the rearguard of the Muslim army was the result of their greed. In any campaign of jihād, God grants victory to those who strive for His cause, looking for nothing of the petty gains of this world. Another rule of nature which is seen in full operation is the dealing out of fortune and misfortune among people according to their actions and intentions. In this way, true believers are distinguished from hypocrites. Mistakes are identified and the way ahead becomes very clear.

“If misfortune befalls you, a similar misfortune has befallen other people as well. Such days [of fortune and misfortune] We deal out in turn among men. God wants to mark out those who truly believe.” When hardship is followed by prosperity and the latter is followed by another hardship, people’s true characters emerge. They reveal how clear their vision is, how much they panic and how patient in adversity they can be, as well as how great their trust in God is and how submissive to His will they are. Thus true believers are distinguished from those who are hypocrites. Their true hearts are apparent to all. The Muslim camp is strengthened by the fact that those who do not truly belong to it are identified and excluded.
 
God knows all secrets and He is aware of those who are true believers and those who are not. But the alternation of days of fortune and misfortune does not merely reveal secrets; it also translates faith into action and compels hypocrisy to express itself in practical measures. Hence, it is action that merits reward. God does not hold people to account for what He knows of their position, but He counts their actions for or against them. The cycle of hardship and prosperity is an accurate criterion. Prosperity is as good a test as hardship. Some people may withstand hardship but become complacent when they are tested with ease and prosperity. A true believer is one who remains steadfast in adversity and is not lured away by prosperity. He knows  that  whatever  befalls  him  of  good  or  evil  happens  only  with  God’s permission.
 
In the process of moulding the first Muslim community and preparing it for the role of leadership of mankind, God has tested it with hardship after prosperity, and with a bitter defeat after a spectacular victory. Both have happened according to the laws of nature which never fail. That is because God wants the Muslim community to learn what brings it victory and what causes it defeat. Thus, it becomes more obedient to God and reliant on Him. It becomes better aware of the true nature of its Islamic constitution and way of life and what their implementation requires of it.
 
The sūrah goes on to reveal to the Muslim community certain aspects of Divine wisdom behind which the events of the Battle of Uĥud took place, and why defeat was suffered by the Muslims after their spectacular victory at Badr. The principle of testing the believers and proving their mettle is strongly emphasised. At the same time God states that He wants to choose from among the believers people who “with their lives bear witness to the truth.” The Arabic original states that God wants to choose from among the believers “martyrs”. It should be remembered that in Arabic the word “shahīd” which denotes “martyr” also means “witness”.
 
The way this point is expressed in the Qur’ān is particularly remarkable: “God wants ... to choose from among you such as [with their lives] bear witness to the truth.” God, then, takes martyrs from among those who strive for His cause. Therefore, it is neither a tragedy nor a loss that anyone is chosen to be a martyr. Indeed, it is a matter of honour because the choice is made by God and those martyrs are given, by God, a special position near Him. Moreover, they are selected to bear witness to the truth of God’s message to mankind. They give their testimony in a way which cannot be contested by anyone. That testimony is to struggle to establish the truth of the Divine Message in life until they die. They testify that what they have received from God is the truth in which they have believed and to which they have dedicated themselves, and that human life will not be set right unless this truth is implemented. They are so certain of this that they spare no effort in fighting falsehood and establishing the truth, moulding society on the basis of its tenets. Their testimony is their struggle until death. The truthfulness of that testimony is irrefutable.
 
Every Muslim declares that he “bears witness that there is no deity save God and that Muĥammad is His messenger.” However, he is not considered a witness unless he gives credence to his declaration that there is only one God in the universe. This means that he accepts no legislation other than that which comes from God. The most essential characteristic of Godhead is to legislate and the most essential characteristic of worship is to accept and implement God’s legislation. This declaration also means that a believer does not receive God’s legislation except through Muĥammad (pbuh), since he is God’s Messenger. Every person who makes this declaration is required to strive hard in order to make sure that God alone is acknowledged as the only God by all mankind. The practical effect of this is to make the constitution God devised for human life, and which was conveyed to us by Muĥammad (pbuh), the established constitution throughout the world. If the attainment of that goal means that a Muslim should die, he is then a martyr, or a witness, chosen by God to make this testimony and to win this noble position.
 
This  is  the  proper  understanding  of  the  remarkable  Qur’ānic  statement:  “God wants to ... choose from among you such as [with their lives) bear witness to the truth.” It is also the meaning of the declaration that there is no deity save God and that Muĥammad is God’s Messenger. It is vastly different from the narrow meaning associated with it in the minds of many people today.
 
“God does not love the wrongdoers.” Wrongdoing or injustice, as often mentioned in the Qur’ān, is synonymous with disbelief and polytheism, since the association of partners with God is the worst form of wrongdoing. In the Qur’ān we read: “To ascribe partners with God is indeed to do a great wrong.” (Luqmān, 31: 13) Al- Bukhārī and Muslim relate a ĥadīth on the authority of Abdullāh ibn Mas`ūd in which he states that he asked God’s Messenger: “Which is the greatest sin of all?” He answered: “To claim a partner to God when He has created you.”
 
The sūrah has already referred to the established pattern which determines the fate of those who describe the truth as lies. Now it states that God does not love the wrongdoers. This is indeed another way of making clear the fate that awaits those who reject the truth and who are not loved by God. The statement that God does not love such people generates in the believers’ hearts a feeling of hatred for wrongdoing and wrongdoers. It is also highly appropriate for it to be mentioned here in the context of striving hard for God’s cause. A believer undertakes such a struggle to combat everyone and everything that God hates. It is in such a combat that martyrs sacrifice themselves and make their testimony after they have been chosen for the task by none other than God Himself.

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 said "Do not wish to encounter the enemy, and ask Allah for your well-being. However, if you do encounter them, then observe patience and know that Paradise is under the shade of swords". [Bukhari & Muslim]

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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