Surah Ale-Imran (The Family Of Imran ) 3 : 21

إِنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ يَكْفُرُونَ بِـَٔايَٰتِ ٱللَّهِ وَيَقْتُلُونَ ٱلنَّبِيِّۦنَ بِغَيْرِ حَقٍّ وَيَقْتُلُونَ ٱلَّذِينَ يَأْمُرُونَ بِٱلْقِسْطِ مِنَ ٱلنَّاسِ فَبَشِّرْهُم بِعَذَابٍ أَلِيمٍ

Translations

 
 Muhsin Khan
 Pickthall
 Yusuf Ali
Quran Project
Those who disbelieve in the signs of Allāh and kill the prophets without right and kill those who order justice from among the people – give them tidings of a painful punishment.

1. Lessons/Guidance/Reflections/Gems

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Explanatory Note


The first verse in the above passage, verse 21, warns against a painful suffering. Its timing is not specified. Hence, it is to be expected either in this life or in the life to come. It is coupled with an assurance that all their works shall come to nothing in either life. This is given in a highly vivid mode of expression which draws upon a well-known image of an animal grazing in a poisoned area. It swells up before it dies. Similarly, the actions of such people may appear to gather momentum and to yield great results. This is no more than the swelling up of a poisoned animal prior to its death. All their actions are thus aborted and they will have no one to help or defend them.
 
We note that the denial and rejection of God’s revelation is coupled in the Qur’ānic statement with the totally unjust killing of the Prophets — for there can be no right respected when a Prophet is killed. Furthermore, the killing of those who enjoin equity in human life, which is a reference to those who advocate the implementation of the code God has laid down for human life, which is based on justice and which alone can maintain absolute justice, suggests that the warning is directed at the Jews, for such are their distinctive qualities in history. This does not mean that the warning is not also directed to Christians who in the past killed many thousands of followers of doctrines which were at variance with that adopted by the Roman Empire, including those who declared that God was One and that Jesus Christ was a human being. This latter group are included among those “who enjoin equity among all people.” It is also a permanent warning to anyone who may perpetrate such ghastly crimes, and these may live in any and every age.
 
It is worth remembering that when the expression “those who deny God’s revelations” is mentioned in the Qur’ān, it does not simply refer to those who may declare themselves to be unbelievers. Instead, anyone who does not acknowledge the oneness of God and that He alone is worthy of worship is included in this group. Such a recognition entails that the authority to legislate and to set values and standards for human life belongs only to God. Anyone who claims or attributes any measure of that authority to anyone other than God is either an idolater or an unbeliever, even though he may claim a thousand times that he believes in God. The verses which follow confirm this view.


 

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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