Surah Ale-Imran (The Family Of Imran ) 3 : 45
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gives you glad tidings
of a word
and (in) the Hereafter
those brought near (to Allah)
1. Lessons/Guidance/Reflections/Gems[ edit ]
To the human mind, Jesus’s birth remains the greatest of all miracles. According to God’s will, which is free of all restrictions, it is nothing out of the ordinary.
We are told that Mary qualified, through purification, devotion and sincere worship, to receive this honour and to be chosen for this great event. Here she is receiving the news for the first time through the angelsed in this world and in the life to come, and shall be: “The angels said: Mary, God sends you the happy news, through a word from Him, [of a son] whose name is the Christ, Jesus, son of Mary, honour among those who are favoured by God.’” It is a complete piece of news which tells of the whole affair. She receives the news in a word from God, namely the Christ, Jesus, son of Mary. In the construction of the sentence, the name “the Christ” is a substitute for the term “a word”. Yet, he is indeed the “Word”. What does this expression actually mean?
This and similar statements are of those matters which lie beyond our human perception. There is no way to determine what they precisely mean. They may be part of what God referred to in His earlier statement in the sūrah: “He it is Who has sent down to you the Book, containing verses which are clear and precise — and these are the essence of the Book — and others are allegorical. Those whose hearts have swerved from the truth pursue that part of it which is allegorical, seeking to create dissension and trying to give it an arbitrary meaning.” The matter, however, appears to be much simpler if our purpose is to understand this fact in such a way which keeps our hearts in direct contact with God and His perfect creation, His limitless ability and unrestricted will. It was God’s will that human life should start with the creation of Adam from clay. Whether He has made Adam directly from clay or He made from clay an earlier species which continued to develop until the humankind came into existence has no bearing whatsoever on the nature of the secret which remains known only to God. That is, the secret of life which was given to the first living creature, or given to Adam if he was created directly out of lifeless clay. Both are the same in relation to God’s work. Neither should be considered preferable to the other in explaining existence.
Where has this life come from, and how? It is certainly something different from dust and different from all the lifeless materials available in the earth. It is something extra, something different. It is something which brings about certain aspects which can never be found in the dust, clay or in any lifeless material whatsoever. How has this secret come about? The fact that we do not know does not justify our denial of its existence or our indulging in petty arguments as those who believe only in matter do.
They pursue their arguments with a narrow-mindedness which cannot be respected by any man of reason, let alone any scientist. The fact remains that we do not know. All the attempts which we, human beings, have made with our limited means to determine the origin of life, or to initiate life from something which is lifeless, have achieved nothing.
We do not know, but God, Who has given life, knows. He tells us that life is a breathing of His spirit into something. He further tells us that giving it is achieved by a word from Him: “Be, and it is.” What is this spiritual breathing? How is spirit blown into something lifeless so as to bring it into existence? This is a secret which remains incomprehensible to human reason. We cannot achieve that understanding because it is not part of our business. To know these answers does not benefit man in the discharge of his mission for which God has created him, namely, to be in charge of the earth. He will never need to create life from death. Hence, what is the value to him of knowing the nature of life, or the nature of the breathing of the Divine spirit, or how it has been given to Adam or to the first creature in the chain of living beings?
God tells us that the breathing of His spirit in Adam is what gave Adam his honourable place and distinction, even above the angels. It must be, then, something different from that mere “life” given to worms and germs. This leads us to consider man as a kind of creation with a separate existence. He has a special place in the general order of the universe which is not shared by any other creature. This, however, is not our immediate subject. We have only made this brief reference to it in order to warn the reader against any doubts which may arise as a result of arguments surrounding the advent of man.
What is important here is that God is telling us about the initiation of life. It does not matter that we remain unable to comprehend the nature of this secret or understand how life is breathed into something lifeless.
It was God’s will, after Adam came into existence in that direct way, to establish a certain procedure for the regeneration of human life. This procedure requires that a male and a female come together and that the female egg be fertilised by a male sperm for conception to take place. Neither the egg nor the sperm is lifeless.
People were familiar with this process for countless generations until God chose to make an exception to it in the case of an individual human being. He made his birth similar to the very first beginning, although not exactly the same. In this case, a female on her own receives the Divine spirit which initiates life, and the process is completed.
Was this breathing of the spirit what is described as the word? Or, was the word the line God’s will has taken? Or, does the word mean the command “be”, which may be taken as it is or may express that God’s will has chosen something in particular? Was the word Jesus, or is his existence derived from it? The pursuit of all such questions can only result in creating doubts. The only true conclusion is that God willed to initiate life in a manner which had no parallel. His unrestricted will accomplished such an initiation of life through a breathing of His spirit, the nature of which remains unknown to us while we understand its effects. There is no reason for us to understand its nature because such an understanding does not add to our ability to discharge our mission on earth, since to initiate life is not part of our appointed task. Viewed in this manner, the whole question becomes easy to understand and raises no doubts in our minds.
The angels gave Mary the happy news of a word from God whose name was the Christ, Jesus, son of Mary. That piece of news included his sex, name and lineage which revealed that he descended from his mother. It also included his qualities as well as his position with his Lord: “Honoured in this world and in the life to come, and shall be among those who are favoured by God.” As given by the angels, that piece of news refers to a miraculous aspect associated with his birth, “He shall speak to people in his cradle,” a glimpse of his future, “and as a grown man,” his character and the type of people to whom he belongs: “and shall be of the righteous.”
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.