Surah Ale-Imran (The Family Of Imran ) 3 : 120

إِن تَمْسَسْكُمْ حَسَنَةٌ تَسُؤْهُمْ وَإِن تُصِبْكُمْ سَيِّئَةٌ يَفْرَحُوا۟ بِهَا ۖ وَإِن تَصْبِرُوا۟ وَتَتَّقُوا۟ لَا يَضُرُّكُمْ كَيْدُهُمْ شَيْـًٔا ۗ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ بِمَا يَعْمَلُونَ مُحِيطٌ


 Muhsin Khan
 Yusuf Ali
Quran Project
If good touches you, it distresses them; but if harm strikes you, they rejoice at it. And if you are patient and fear Allāh, their plot will not harm you at all. Indeed, Allāh is encompassing of what they do.

1. Lessons/Guidance/Reflections/Gems

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Explanatory Note

This, then, is the way: perseverance and fear of God, coupled with steadfastness and maintenance of the bond with God. Throughout their history, the Muslims have always been able to raise their heads high, achieve victory, repel the machinations of their enemies and achieve supremacy only when they fostered their bond with God alone and implemented His method in their lives. Conversely when the Muslims revive their bonds with their natural enemies who try in public and in private to suppress their faith, and when the Muslims listen to their advice and take friends, assistants and advisors from among them, then they always bring upon themselves defeat and subjugation. The unbelievers gain the upper hand and the Muslims are left humiliated, feeling regret when regret is of no use. History testifies to the fact that God’s words remain always true and His law is always operative. Anyone who overlooks God’s law, will be made to experience only humiliation and defeat.
Thus this passage ends, bringing the first section of the sūrah to its conclusion. The lesson has been driven home. We stand at the point which separates the Muslims from their enemies; a separation which is total, complete and final.

As we bring our own commentary on this passage to an end, we should note that Islam meets all this hostility with tolerance. It simply commands the Muslims not to take such people as their intimate friends. It does not, however, encourage a policy of measure for measure with the unbelievers. It does not require them to return the unbelievers’ hate, grudges and evil schemes with similar feelings and attitudes. It seeks only to provide protection for the Muslim community. It simply warns the Muslims of the danger presented by other people.

A Muslim treats all people with the tolerance characteristic of Islam. He is motivated by his love to do good to all mankind. He tries to foil the evil schemes of others against him, but he does not scheme against anyone. He does not harbour grudges although he takes care not to fall victim to other people’s grudges. Only when a Muslim faces aggression which aims to turn him away from his faith and from following and implementing the method of life God has laid down, is he required to fight back and break down all barriers which prevent people from following Divine guidance and implementing the Divine law. His fight is a struggle for the cause of God. It is not a fight in pursuit of revenge. He fights because he loves what is good for mankind, not because he nurses a grudge against those who have caused him harm. He struggles in order to remove the barriers which prevent the goodness of Islam from reaching mankind, not to win power and dominion over others. His aim is to implement the perfect system under which all mankind enjoy justice and peace. He is not after raising any national banner or building any empire.

Many a statement in the Qur’ān and the Sunnah confirm this fact. Furthermore, the history of the first Muslim community proves this. This method of life is absolutely good. Only the enemies of mankind try to turn them away from it. It is those enemies who must be chased and kicked out of every position of leadership they occupy. This is the duty God imposes on the Muslim community. It once fulfilled it as it should be fulfilled. It is called upon to fulfil it all the time. Struggle under this banner and for the cause of God will continue until the Day of Judgement.

  • “Know that not all days are the same... Sometimes you are poor, sometimes you are rich. Sometimes you are honoured, sometimes you are humiliated. Sometimes you experience the happiness of your friends, and sometimes you experience the rejoicing of your enemies. The happy one is he who sticks to a single principle throughout all of this, and that is to have taqwa [consciousness] of Allah. If he is rich, it will beautify him. If he is poor, it will open for him the doors of patience. If he is in a state of ease, it will complete the blessings he has. If he is in a state of hardship, it will beautify him, and it won’t matter to him if the days go up or down with him, if he is clothed or not, if he is hungry or not, be-cause all of these conditions can disappear and change. So, taqwa is the root of safety, a guard that never sleeps. It takes you by the hand in times of chaos, and stays awake at the borders. Stick to taqwa at all times, because you will see tightness as nothing but relaxation and sickness as nothing but relief...” [Ibn al-Jawzi, from ‘Sayd al-Khatir’ [pg.118]
  • فالصبر يدخل فيه الصبر على المقدور، والتقوى يدخل فيها فعل المأمور وترك المحظور. فمن رزق هذا وهذا فقد جمع له الخير، بخلاف من عكس فلا يتقي الله، بل يترك طاعته متبعا لهواه، ويحتج بالقدر، ولا يصبر إذا ابتلي، ولا ينظر حينئذ إلى القدر، فإن هذا حال الأشقياء. ابن تيمية: 2/133 [Be the first to translate this...]
  • تذكر دائما أن النصر على الأعداء والأمن من مكرهم مشروط بالتقوى والصبر، ﴿ وَإِن تَصْبِرُوا۟ وَتَتَّقُوا۟ لَا يَضُرُّكُمْ كَيْدُهُمْ شَيْـًٔا ۗ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ بِمَا يَعْمَلُونَ مُحِيطٌ  [Be the first to translate this...]

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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10. Wiki Forum

Comments in this section are statements made by general users – these are not necessarily explanations of the Ayah – rather a place to share personal thoughts and stories…

11. Tafsir Zone


12. External Links

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