Surah Ale-Imran (The Family Of Imran ) 3 : 187

وَإِذْ أَخَذَ ٱللَّهُ مِيثَٰقَ ٱلَّذِينَ أُوتُوا۟ ٱلْكِتَٰبَ لَتُبَيِّنُنَّهُۥ لِلنَّاسِ وَلَا تَكْتُمُونَهُۥ فَنَبَذُوهُ وَرَآءَ ظُهُورِهِمْ وَٱشْتَرَوْا۟ بِهِۦ ثَمَنًا قَلِيلًا ۖ فَبِئْسَ مَا يَشْتَرُونَ

Translations

 
 Muhsin Khan
 Pickthall
 Yusuf Ali
Quran Project
And [mention, O Muhammad], when Allāh took a covenant from those who were given the Book, [saying], "You must make it clear [i.e., explain it] to the people and not conceal it." But they threw it away behind their backs and exchanged it for a small price. And wretched is that which they purchased.

1. Lessons/Guidance/Reflections/Gems

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When someone hides the truth and knowledge. Abdullah ibn Mubarak said, إذا كتم العالم علمه ابتلي : إما بموت القلب أو ينسى أو يتبع السلطان "When a scholar hides his knowledge, he will be tested - either with the death of his heart, or he will forget [his knowledge] or he will follow the Rulers [i.e. he will become amongst the scholars of the government." 

 

Explanatory Note

The sūrah continues to expose the peoples of earlier revelations who have contravened their covenant with God. God took a pledge from them that when He revealed to them the Scriptures that they would always make them known to people. They, however, did not honour their pledges and concealed what had been entrusted to them of God’s revelations:

The sūrah relates many examples of what the people of earlier religions, particularly the Jews, were keen to do or say. Most serious among these was their concealment of the truth and their attempt to confuse that truth with falsehood. They aimed to create doubt and uncertainty in the basic concept of religion as well as in the truthfulness of the message of Islam. They tried hard to conceal the fact that Islam shared with past religions their basic principles to the extent that Islam endorsed them and they confirmed it. The Torah was in their hands telling them that the message of Muĥammad was true and that it originated from the same source.
 
In spite of their covenant with God to make their revelations known to mankind and never to conceal them, they have deliberately gone against their pledges. The expression given here to their attitude clearly shows their negligence and contravention of their own pledges. It is expressed in the form of an unseemly gesture: “they cast it behind their backs.” It also reveals that they committed this dishonourable act for no more than a trivial gain: “and bartered it away for a trifling price.”
 
Whatever the price, it was nothing more than a small gain by worldly standards. It could only have served the personal interests of the rabbis or the national interest of the Israelites. All this is nothing but a trifling price, even if it did amount to the ownership of all the earth for the rest of time. How trifling this price is for a covenant made with God. How little all this is in comparison with what is stored with God: “Evil is that which they have taken in exchange for it.”

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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