Surah Ale-Imran (The Family Of Imran ) 3 : 20

فَإِنْ حَآجُّوكَ فَقُلْ أَسْلَمْتُ وَجْهِىَ لِلَّهِ وَمَنِ ٱتَّبَعَنِ ۗ وَقُل لِّلَّذِينَ أُوتُوا۟ ٱلْكِتَٰبَ وَٱلْأُمِّيِّۦنَ ءَأَسْلَمْتُمْ ۚ فَإِنْ أَسْلَمُوا۟ فَقَدِ ٱهْتَدَوا۟ ۖ وَّإِن تَوَلَّوْا۟ فَإِنَّمَا عَلَيْكَ ٱلْبَلَٰغُ ۗ وَٱللَّهُ بَصِيرٌۢ بِٱلْعِبَادِ

Translations

 
 Muhsin Khan
 Pickthall
 Yusuf Ali
Quran Project
So if they argue with you, say, "I have submitted myself to Allāh [in Islām], and [so have] those who follow me." And say to those who were given the Book and [to] the unlearned, "Have you submitted yourselves?" And if they submit [in Islām], they are rightly guided; but if they turn away – then the [duty] upon you is only to convey [the message]. And Allāh is Seeing of [His] servants.

1. Lessons/Guidance/Reflections/Gems

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Explanatory Note

God then instructs the Prophet to make his attitude towards the people of earlier revelations and the idolaters well known. The real issue is stated in absolute clarity. Their fate is left to God. The Prophet, however, proceeds along his absolutely clear path: “But if they argue with you, say: I have surrendered my whole being to God, and so have all who follow me.’ Say to those who were given revelations and to unlettered people, ‘Will you also surrender yourselves (to God)? If they surrender, they are on the right path. But if they turn away, then your only duty is to convey your message. God is watching over His servants.”
 
Thereafter, there can be no further clarification. Either God’s oneness and authority over the universe is acknowledged with its practical correlative which is pure submission to Him, or futile arguments and excuses are pursued.
 
God teaches His Messenger a single word which explains his faith and way of life: “If they argue with you,” in matters of faith and the oneness of God, “say: ‘I have surrendered my whole being to God.’” This applies to me and also to “all who follow me.” The usage here of the word “follow” is very significant. What is required is not a mere acceptance of the Prophet’s message, but also its following in practice. Similarly, the phrase “surrendered my whole being to God” is highly significant. It is not sufficient for one to just state verbally or accept in one’s mind the fact of the oneness of God. One must also surrender one’s whole being to God. Practically this means obeying God and following His Messenger. Literally translated, the Arabic phrase says: “I have submitted my face to God.” Since one’s face is the noblest part of a human being, then its submission indicates willing acceptance and implementation of God’s laws.
 
Such is, then, the faith of Muĥammad, God’s Messenger, and such is his way of life. Muslims follow him in their faith and code of living. Let the people of earlier revelations and unlettered people, which is a reference to the idolaters, answer the question which is aimed at identifying each group in such a way as leaves no room for confusion about their stance: “Say to those who were given revelations and to unlettered people, Will you also surrender yourselves (to God)?” Both the idolaters and the people of earlier revelations are placed on the same level since they are all called upon to accept Islam in the sense we have just explained. They are called upon to acknowledge the oneness of God and that He is the only Master of the whole universe. They are also required, when they have made this acknowledgement, to make it a practical reality through the implementation of God’s revelations in human life.
 
“If they surrender, they are on the right path.” Right guidance has only one form, namely, Islam in its fullest meaning. There is simply no other form, concept, situation, or code which reflects right guidance. Anything which is in conflict with Islam represents error, ignorance, confusion and rejection of the truth.
 
“But if they turn away, then your only duty is to convey your message.” The Prophet’s task is simply to convey his message. When he has done this, his mission is over. This applied before God commanded the Prophet to fight those who rejected Islam until they either accepted its faith and submitted to it, or until they pledged their obedience to its political authority by paying a loyalty tax. No one is compelled to accept the faith.
 
“God is watching over His servants.” He conducts all their affairs as He wishes and according to His knowledge. The ultimate decision is with Him. However, they are made fully aware of the fate that awaits them and all transgressors who, like them, reject the true faith.

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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