Surah Ale-Imran (The Family Of Imran ) 3 : 98

قُلْ يَٰٓأَهْلَ ٱلْكِتَٰبِ لِمَ تَكْفُرُونَ بِـَٔايَٰتِ ٱللَّهِ وَٱللَّهُ شَهِيدٌ عَلَىٰ مَا تَعْمَلُونَ

Translations

 
 Muhsin Khan
 Pickthall
 Yusuf Ali
Quran Project
Say, "O People of the Book, why do you disbelieve in the verses of Allāh while Allāh is Witness over what you do?"

1. Lessons/Guidance/Reflections/Gems

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Explanatory Note

Having provided this clarification, the sūrah instructs the Prophet to address the people of earlier revelations denouncing their attitude towards the truth of the Islamic message. They know this truth full well, yet they try to turn people away from it. They disbelieve in God’s revelations although they bear witness to them and they are certain that these revelations are true: “Say: ’People of earlier revelations, why do you disbelieve in God’s revelations, when God Himself is witness to all that you do?’ Say: ’People of earlier revelations, why do you try to turn those who have come to believe away from the path of God, seeking to make it appear crooked, when you yourselves bear witness [to its being straight’? God is not unaware of what you do.’” 

Similar denunciations are made in this sūrah as in many others. It is a highly effective denunciation because it does not mince words about the matter in question. The attitude of the people of earlier revelations is truthfully described, and they are shown in their true colours, even though they try to appear as people who have faith when they are in reality unbelievers. They disbelieve in the Qur’ān, which is revealed by God. Anyone who disbelieves in any part of God’s book disbelieves in the whole of that book. Were they true believers in the part of God’s book which has been revealed to them, they would have believed in every messenger sent by God after their own messenger. The essence of Divine faith is the same. Anyone who knows it knows for certain that whatever is preached by subsequent messengers is also true. He is bound to accept the prophets’ call to surrender himself to God in the way they teach. This fact should shake those people and make them fear the consequences of insisting on their erring ways.
 
Those in the Muslim community who are deceived by the fact that those people adhere to a Divine book can no longer be so deceived. As they listen to God’s words declaring the truth about those people, branding them as total unbelievers, all their doubts are bound to disappear. God issues them with warnings which strike fear in their hearts: “God Himself is witness to all that you do ... God is not unaware of what you do.” It is a fearful warning because it makes man feel that God watches him and sees exactly what he does, which is, in reality, nothing but disbelief, deception and corruption. Moreover, God makes it clear that they are aware of the truth which they deny and away from which they try to turn people: “... You yourselves bear witness [to its being straight’.” It is absolutely clear, then, that they were aware of the truth which they rejected. They knowingly tried to turn people away from what they realised to be a straight path. What wickedness! Anyone who adopts such a practice is not worthy of trust, but rather of contempt and denunciation.

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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12. External Links

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