Surah Ale-Imran (The Family Of Imran ) 3 : 165

أَوَلَمَّآ أَصَٰبَتْكُم مُّصِيبَةٌ قَدْ أَصَبْتُم مِّثْلَيْهَا قُلْتُمْ أَنَّىٰ هَٰذَا ۖ قُلْ هُوَ مِنْ عِندِ أَنفُسِكُمْ ۗ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَىْءٍ قَدِيرٌ


 Muhsin Khan
 Yusuf Ali
Quran Project
Why [is it that] when a [single] disaster struck you [on the day of Uhud], although you had struck [the enemy in the battle of Badr] with one twice as great, you said, "From where is this?" Say, "It is from yourselves [i.e., due to your sin]." Indeed, Allāh is over all things competent.

1. Lessons/Guidance/Reflections/Gems

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Explanatory Note

The sūrah speaks of the Muslims’ surprise at the turn of events, which betrayed their  naïve  concept  of  life.  Soon,  however,  experience  told  them  to  look  at  the realities of life and how the laws of nature work. They realised that anyone who does not conform to nature and its laws should expect no preferential treatment. People must adapt themselves to the seriousness inherent in the nature of the universe, life and fate. The sūrah brings them back to reality as it explains to them that what has befallen them is the result of their own doing. But this is not all. Behind cause and effect lies God’s predestination, and beyond the laws of nature lies God’s free will.
The purpose of what happened is explained to them so that they learn how God directs events in the believers’ favour to serve the cause which they advocate. It was an experience which made them better equipped to face what was bound to come, to put them through a serious test in order to sift their ranks and to mark out the hypocrites who were able to betray them. The whole affair, then, was part of the accomplishment of God’s will. They were thus able to view the event in its totality, equipped with this Qur’ānic explanation.
God reminds them of all this as He answers their questioning surprise. He attributes what happened to them to its immediate cause: “It has come from your own selves.” It is you who have weakened and entered into dispute. It is you who have failed to fulfil the conditions set by God and His Messenger, and it is you who have succumbed to greed. It is you who have disobeyed God’s Messenger and failed to implement his battle plan. What has happened to you, to your surprise, has come from your own souls, because the laws of nature set into operation by God have to apply  to  you.  The  laws  of  nature  apply  to  all  human  beings,  believers  and unbelievers alike. Such laws are not suspended for a believer’s sake. His faith is not complete unless he conducts his life according to God’s laws.
“Surely, God has the power over all things.” It is part of His overall power that His law should remain in operation and that matters must continue according to His will. The laws He has devised for the universe and for human life must continue as they have been set.

Nevertheless, God’s will in this whole affair was accomplished for a definite purpose of His own. We must not forget that God’s will lies beyond everything that takes place and every movement and action in the whole universe: “That which befell you, on the day when the two hosts met in battle, happened by God’s leave.” It has not taken place by mere coincidence or for idle play. Every movement and every action takes place according to a definite plan, with its causes and effects well reckoned. They indeed take place according to the laws of nature which must remain in operation, but in their total sum they accomplish God’s purpose and complete the total design of the universe as God created it.

  • وأخبر أن ما يحصل لهم من مصيبة انتصار العدو وغيرها إنما هو بذنوبهم، فقال تعالى في يوم أحد: (أولما أصابتكم مصيبة قد أصبتم مثليها قلتم أنى هذا قل هو من عند أنفسكم). ابن تيمية: 2/167 [Be the first to translate this....]

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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