Surah Ale-Imran (The Family Of Imran ) 3 : 167

وَلِيَعْلَمَ ٱلَّذِينَ نَافَقُوا۟ ۚ وَقِيلَ لَهُمْ تَعَالَوْا۟ قَٰتِلُوا۟ فِى سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ أَوِ ٱدْفَعُوا۟ ۖ قَالُوا۟ لَوْ نَعْلَمُ قِتَالًا لَّٱتَّبَعْنَٰكُمْ ۗ هُمْ لِلْكُفْرِ يَوْمَئِذٍ أَقْرَبُ مِنْهُمْ لِلْإِيمَٰنِ ۚ يَقُولُونَ بِأَفْوَٰهِهِم مَّا لَيْسَ فِى قُلُوبِهِمْ ۗ وَٱللَّهُ أَعْلَمُ بِمَا يَكْتُمُونَ

Translations

 
 Muhsin Khan
 Pickthall
 Yusuf Ali
Quran Project
And that He might make evident those who are hypocrites. For it was said to them, "Come, fight in the way of Allāh or [at least] defend." They said, "If we had known [there would be] fighting, we would have followed you." They were nearer to disbelief that day than to faith, saying with their mouths what was not in their hearts. And Allāh is most Knowing of what they conceal –

1. Lessons/Guidance/Reflections/Gems

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Explanatory Note

This verse refers to the attitude of `Abdullāh ibn Ubayy ibn Salūl and those who joined him. They are described here as “the hypocrites”. Their true feelings became clear for all to see. They were marked out by their true attitude: “On that day they were nearer unbelief than faith.” They lied when they protested that they only went back because they felt there would be no fight between the Muslims and the unbelievers. That was in no way their real reason. The fact is that they were “uttering with their mouths something different to what was in their hearts.” Their hearts were infested with hypocrisy which meant that they placed their own considerations above those of faith.
 
This is indeed true, because what `Abdullāh ibn Ubayy was thinking about that day was the fact that the Prophet did not follow his counsel, and that the arrival of the Prophet and his Companions in Madinah deprived him of the position of overall leader his people were preparing for him. Instead, the leadership belonged to faith and the messenger preaching it. These facts were indeed behind the desertion of `Abdullāh ibn Ubayy and his followers when the unbelievers were at the gates of Madinah. That is indeed the reason for their refusal to listen to `Abdullāh ibn `Amr ibn Ĥarām when he said to them: “’Come, fight in God’s cause’, or ’Defend yourselves:” They said they did not think a fight would take place anyway. But the truth about them is made clear by God Himself: “God knew full well all that they tried to conceal.’’
 
The sūrah continues to uncover the true nature of their attitude which aimed to spread a state of confusion and perplexity in the Muslim ranks: “Such were they who, having themselves stayed behind, said of their brothers:"If only they had listened to us, they would not have been slain.’” They did not merely stay behind when the battle was imminent, with all the confusion and turmoil that resulted from their desertion. What made things worse was that `Abdullāh ibn Ubayy was still thought to be an honourable man. His hypocrisy was not yet known. God had not until that point identified him as a hypocrite, which would have much detracted from his standing among his people. They continued to raise doubt, sow discord and nurture feelings of regret, particularly among the families of those who died in battle. “Such were they who, having themselves stayed behind, said of their brothers: If only they had listened to us, they would not have been slain.”
 
In this way they tried to show their own desertion as both wise and beneficial, while obeying the Prophet was shown to be disadvantageous and causing harm. Furthermore, they undermined the clear Islamic concept of God’s will, which makes it inevitable that every person dies at his or her appointed time, according to God’s will.

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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