Surah Ale-Imran (The Family Of Imran ) 3 : 188

لَا تَحْسَبَنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ يَفْرَحُونَ بِمَآ أَتَوا۟ وَّيُحِبُّونَ أَن يُحْمَدُوا۟ بِمَا لَمْ يَفْعَلُوا۟ فَلَا تَحْسَبَنَّهُم بِمَفَازَةٍ مِّنَ ٱلْعَذَابِ ۖ وَلَهُمْ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ


 Muhsin Khan
 Yusuf Ali
Quran Project
And never think that those who rejoice in what they have perpetrated and like to be praised for what they did not do – never think them [to be] in safety from the punishment, and for them is a painful punishment.

1. Lessons/Guidance/Reflections/Gems

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* We live in an era where we’re excessively occupied with our image and the perception others have of us. This is to the point that we sometimes feel the need to present ourselves as being more than we really are, as being some-thing we are not, in order to gain the admiration of others. The competitive world we live in makes this phenomenon all the more widespread. What this verse does is pull you away from the tendency to be fake and artificial, just as it put the spotlight on those hypocrites who sought to make others think more highly of them than they deserved. A Muslim should be confident enough in his/herself that there isn’t even a need to give an inflated image of themself to others.

* When there is a discrepancy between how others perceive you and what you know about yourself, this results in severe inner turmoil and chaos. Just look at the prevalence of depression, drug use, and suicide among the wealthiest celebrities: the idolization that they’re subject to contrasts greatly with what those celebrities know about themselves, and the fake lives they live leave them with the bitter realization that they’re living a lie. This occurs on a smaller scale among all who fall into this trap of trying to appear be-fore others as being greater than they truly are.


Explanatory Note

A ĥadīth related by Al-Bukhārī on the authority of Ibn `Abbās states that the Prophet asked some Jews of Madinah about something. They concealed it and deliberately gave him an incorrect answer. They gave him the impression that they were right, and that they deserved to be praised for it. In fact, they rejoiced at their concealment of what he asked them about. According to this ĥadīth, this was the occasion for the revelation of the following verse: ‘Do not think that those who exult in their deeds and love to be praised for what they have not done — do not think that they will escape punishment. A grievous suffering awaits them.”
Another ĥadīth, also related by Al-Bukhārī, on the authority of Abū Said al-Khudrī, states that a group of hypocrites at the time of the Prophet used to stay behind when the Prophet embarked on a campaign of Jihād. They were very pleased for sparing themselves the trouble of accompanying the Prophet. When he returned to Madinah they gave him all sorts of excuses, swearing that what they said was true, and seeking to be praised for things they had not done. Hence, the revelation of this verse.
It is not always apparent that a certain Qur’ānic verse has been revealed on a particular occasion or to answer a specific question. It frequently happens that a certain verse is quoted to comment on a certain event because it fits the purpose; hence, some people may say that such and such verse was revealed on such and such occasion. It may also be that the verse itself includes fitting comments on a particular event, and again the same suggestion about its revelation is made. In this particular respect we are unable to say which of the two reports is more accurate. If it was the first, the sūrah speaks of the people of earlier revelations and their concealment of what God had entrusted to them of His revelations when He accepted their pledge that they would make them known to people. In spite of this, they concealed and lied about it persistently to such an extent that they sought praise for their fabrications.
If the second report is true, the sūrah includes references to the hypocrites to which this verse may be attached. It describes a type of people who may be found in every community as they were to be found at the time of the Prophet. They are those who do not have the courage of their convictions, who cannot stand in defence of what they profess to believe in. They are not prepared to fulfil the duties imposed by faith and instead they stay behind, taking no share in the struggle for faith. If those who fight and struggle for their faith suffer a defeat, these hypocrites raise their heads and boast about their wisdom and realism. If the fighters come back victorious, the hypocrites waste no time in pretending to have given them their full support, claiming that they contributed to their victory. In this way they seek praise for something which they have not done.

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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