Surah Ale-Imran (The Family Of Imran ) 3 : 164

لَقَدْ مَنَّ ٱللَّهُ عَلَى ٱلْمُؤْمِنِينَ إِذْ بَعَثَ فِيهِمْ رَسُولًا مِّنْ أَنفُسِهِمْ يَتْلُوا۟ عَلَيْهِمْ ءَايَٰتِهِۦ وَيُزَكِّيهِمْ وَيُعَلِّمُهُمُ ٱلْكِتَٰبَ وَٱلْحِكْمَةَ وَإِن كَانُوا۟ مِن قَبْلُ لَفِى ضَلَٰلٍ مُّبِينٍ

Translations

 
 Muhsin Khan
 Pickthall
 Yusuf Ali
Quran Project
Certainly did Allāh confer [great] favour upon the Believers when He sent among them a Messenger from themselves, reciting to them His verses and purifying them and teaching them the Book [i.e., the Qur’ān] and wisdom, although they had been before in manifest error.

1. Lessons/Guidance/Reflections/Gems

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Explanatory Note

These effects represent a total transformation of the Muslim community. God is preparing this community to play a great role in the leadership of mankind, and this requires that a messenger be sent to them. A nation with such a mission should not be preoccupied with petty gains that it can make in a battle and should not be reluctant to make sacrifices. Great goals cannot be achieved without sacrifice.
 
“Indeed, God bestowed a favour on the believers when He sent them a messenger from among themselves.” The fact that God Almighty cared to send a messenger to a particular species of His creation, is a favour which can only be motivated by His limitless grace. It is a favour that cannot be returned in any way by the recipients. Who are those human beings whom God has chosen for such grace, so as to be the recipients of His revelations? Indeed, God bestows His grace on His creation even when they have not earned that grace, and can never return it.
 
The favour is made even greater by the fact that this messenger is “from among themselves.” We should reflect that the Qur’ānic text did not say “a messenger from them.” For him to be “from among themselves” is especially significant, because it identifies that the relationship between the believers and the messenger is one of human souls, not a relationship between an individual and a race. The question is not merely that the Prophet was one of them, it is far more significant than that. With faith, they establish their unique relationship with the Prophet and a great position of favour with God. That means that it is a double favour; sending the messenger, and establishing the relationship which exists between believers and the Prophet.
 
The first and greatest of the effects of this favour on the lives of the believers is referred to in the statement describing the Prophet’s role: “To recite to them His revelations.” When we remember that God Himself addresses man with His own words, to speak to him about His majesty, and to explain His attributes, and the nature  and  qualities  of  Godhead,  we  may   begin  to  appreciate  how  great  God’s favour is. Let man reflect that God tells him about himself, an insignificant creature. He speaks to him about his life, feelings, actions and abilities in order to tell him what brings about a truly happy life and what sets him on the way to achieving the greatest of human goals, namely, admission to Paradise, which is far greater than the heavens and the earth. Such a favour can come only from God’s grace, which is infinite indeed.
 
God the Almighty has no need for mankind, or indeed for any creature. Man, on the other hand, is poor and powerless. He needs God. But it is God Who bestows on man His favours and grace, and calls on him to adopt what brings about a total transformation in his life. Nothing that man can do is sufficient to thank God for His grace.
 
The role of the Messenger is also “to purify them”. This purification touches their hearts, affects their homes, honour and worship, and characterises their lives, community and social systems. He purges them of all traces of polytheism, idol worship, and superstition and all that is associated with these, of rituals, habits and traditions which are unworthy of man. Human life is thus purged of all traces of ignorance and its effects on values, principles and social traditions.

 “And to teach them the book and wisdom.” Those addressed by this verse were illiterate in every sense of the word. Not only did they not read and write, but their illiteracy was intellectual as well. According to international standards of knowledge, they lagged behind in every field. Their preoccupations were not of the sort which encouraged or increased knowledge. When they received this message, they experienced a great transformation which made them pass it on to the rest of the world. It endowed them with great wisdom. They became the standard- bearers of an intellectual and social philosophy which was destined to save humanity from the depths of ignorance into which it had sunk. The same doctrine is about to play its role again, God willing, to save humanity anew from its contemporary ignorance, an ignorance which shares with past forms the same moral and social characteristics, as it sets the same goals and objectives for human life, despite the great material advances of science and industry and the affluence such advances have brought about.
 
“Whereas before that they were surely in plain error.” They were certainly in error with regard to concepts and beliefs, goals and objectives, habits and practices, systems and standards, as well as moral and social values. The Arabs, addressed for the first time by this verse, undoubtedly remembered what their lives were like and fully appreciated the total transformation brought about by Islam. They recognised that without Islam they would never have attained the high standards to which Islam elevated them. Such a transformation is totally unique in human history. They recognised that it was through Islam that they moved directly from the tribal stage, with all its petty concerns and narrow-mindedness, to become not merely a nation in the fullest sense of the word, but a nation to lead humanity and to set for it its ideals and systems.

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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