Surah Ale-Imran (The Family Of Imran ) 3 : 176
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He will set
(is) a punishment
1. Lessons/Guidance/Reflections/Gems[ edit ]
This verse addresses the Prophet in words which are meant to console him and lighten his grief when he sees people hastening to disbelief and vying with one another to embrace it, as if they were competing for a coveted prize. He is told that all such actions will harm God in no way. The question is one of temptation for them which they cannot resist. God is fully aware of what they think and do, which qualifies them to be deprived of all blessings in the hereafter. He, therefore, has left them to follow their disbelief wherever it leads them. The point is that guidance has been provided for them but they preferred disbelief and, in consequence, they were left alone to follow the way of their choosing. Indeed, they have been given plenty of time and comfort, but they have not been wise enough to understand that it will all end in their undoing. God’s purpose behind all events, including the tests endured by the believers and the indulgence allowed disbelievers is then explained. Good will be distinguished from evil. People’s thoughts and beliefs are known only to God, but He wanted this to be known to people in such a way that they could easily comprehend it.
This conclusion is the most suitable after the Qur’ān’s detailed comments on the events of a battle in which the Muslims suffered a heavy defeat and the idolaters achieved a spectacular victory. For there will always be doubts and silent complaints whenever a battle between truth and falsehood ends up with a setback for the truth and a triumph for falsehood. Why does this happen, Lord? Why do the advocates of the truth suffer while the followers of falsehood triumph? Why is the truth not victorious in every battle it fights against falsehood? Should not the truth always achieve victory? Why is falsehood allowed to gather such strength when it only shakes people and raises doubts in their hearts?
This is indeed what happened at Uĥud when, surprised at what befell them, the Muslims exclaimed: “How has this come about?”
At the conclusion of this long passage, the final answer is given to reassure people and remove all doubts. God’s purpose and His law are explained for that particular occasion and for all time. What we are told here is that when falsehood is victorious in any confrontation with the truth then that is not the end of the matter.
Falsehood may appear to be all-conquering, but it is only temporary. No one should think that falsehood is invincible or that it can reduce the truth to a permanently weak position from which it will never recover. Nor does the apparent weakness of the truth in any particular period of time mean that God has abandoned it or that He would allow evil and falsehood to put the truth out of existence.
All this is part of a clearly defined purpose. God allows evil to go the length of its way, committing the most ghastly of crimes and sins so that it merits the worst of suffering. He also tests the truth and its advocates in order to distinguish those who remain truly steadfast and increases their reward. It all, then, ends up in a net gain for the truth and net loss for evil. Each has a double portion of what it earns.
This is a consolation for the Prophet so that he does not grieve when he sees people driving headlong into disbelief. This portrays an actual state of affairs in which we see some people exert every effort as they go along the path of evil, disbelief and disobedience of God. They drive along as if they are chased by a fearsome enemy or as if they are promised a splendid prize.
The Prophet used to grieve when he saw such people condemning themselves to a fateful doom, driving towards hell, and he could do nothing to save them because they were determined not to listen to him. He also grieved at what befell the Muslims and his message at the hands of those hardened disbelievers. Masses of people were awaiting the final result of the battle between Islam and the Quraysh in order to choose the camp to join. When the Quraysh eventually embraced Islam, people flocked in large numbers to the religion of God. All these were considerations that affected the Prophet. Hence, the consolation from God: “Be not grieved by those who hasten on to disbelief They cannot harm God in any way.”
There is absolutely no doubt that such people could not cause God any harm. This is the truth which needs no explanation. But God wants to make it clear that the cause of faith is His own cause. The battle against the disbelievers is, therefore, God’s own battle. The ultimate result of this cause and its battle is not the responsibility of the Prophet and, consequently, it is not the responsibility of the believers. For those who hasten on to disbelief are fighting God and they are much too weak to harm Him in any way. They can in no way harm His faith or its advocates no matter how hardened they may be in their disbelief and no matter how much harm they may cause the believers.
The question still arises: why does God allow them to achieve a victory against the believers when they are His own immediate enemies? The answer being that He has prepared “A great suffering awaits them.” something much more humiliating for them: “It is God’s will not to assign to them any share in the [blessings of the] life to come.” They utilise all the share assigned to them and they shoulder their whole burden, meriting God’s punishment in full. It is towards this end that they drive headlong: Why does God then wish them to have such a miserable end? They have earned it by choosing it themselves.
2. Linguistic Analysis[ edit ]
4. Miscellaneous Information[ edit ]
5. Connected/Related Ayat[ edit ]
6. Frequency of the word[ edit ]
7. Period of Revelation[ edit ]
“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[ edit ]
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.