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Holy Quran Section > English Translation and Commentary of the Holy Quran by Maulana Muhammad Ali (Table of Contents) > Chapter 3 (Al-‘Imran - The Family of Amran) > Section 12 (Verses 110 to 120)



Section/Ruku 12 [Verses 110 to 120]: Relations of Jews with Muslims:
Chapter 3: (Al-‘Imran: The Family of Amran)
(Revealed at Madinah: 20 sections; 200 verses)

1. Translation:

110 You are the best nation raised up for men: you enjoin good and forbid evil and you believe in Allah.
a And if the People of the Book had believed, it would have been better for them. Some of them are believers but most of them are transgressors.

111 They will not harm you save a slight hurt. And if they fight you, they will turn (their) backs to you. Then they will not be helped.a

112 Abasement will be their lot wherever they are found, except under a covenant with Allah and a covenant with men, and they shall incur the wrath of Allah, and humiliation will be made to cling to them. This is because they disbelieved in the messages of Allah and killed the prophets unjustly. This is because they disobeyed and exceeded the limits.a

113 They are not all alike. Of the People of the Book there is an upright party who recite Allah’s messages in the night-time and they adore (Him).

114 They believe in Allah and the Last Day, and they enjoin good and forbid evil and vie one with another in good deeds. And those are among the righteous.

115 And whatever good they do, they will not be denied it. And Allah knows those who keep their duty.a

116 Those who disbelieve, neither their wealth nor their children will avail them aught against Allah. And these are the companions of the Fire; therein they abide.

117 The likeness of that which they spend in the life of this world is as the likeness of wind in which is intense cold; it smites the harvest of a people who are unjust to themselves and destroys it. And Allah wronged them not but they wronged themselves.a

118 O you who believe, take not for intimate friends others than your own people:a they spare no pains to cause you loss. They love that which distresses you. Vehement hatred has already appeared from out of their mouths, and that which their hearts conceal is greater still. Indeed We have made the messages clear to you, if you understand.

119 Lo! you are they who will love them while they love you not,a and you believe in the Book, (in) the whole of it. And when they meet you they say, We believe, and when they are alone, they bite (their) finger tips in rage against you. Say: Die in your rage. Surely Allah is Knower of what is in the hearts.

120 If good befalls you, it grieves them, and if an evil afflicts you, they rejoice at it. And if you are patient and keep your duty, their struggle will not injure you in any way. Surely Allah encompasses what they do.

2. Commentary:

110a. Not only are the Muslims the chosen people of God, who are now called upon to be the standard-bearers of Truth in the world, but they are at the same time declared to be the best of the people that had ever been chosen for this purpose. This was no doubt due to the excellence of that Great Teacher who thoroughly purified them of the worst vices and made perfect the light within them. No prophet ever found a people in a worse condition, and none ever raised his people to such eminence. Note that the excellence of the Muslim people lies in their enjoining good and forbidding evil and in their great faith in Allah. If they lose these characteristics, they lose their excellence as well. [Back to verse 110]

111a. The Jews in Arabia sided with the enemies of Islam in their endeavour to extirpate the new religion, and this notwithstanding their pact with the Muslims, but they were not successful in inflicting any serious harm upon the Muslims, and whenever they openly faced the Muslims they fled. As the concluding words show, the idolaters, who gave them secret promises of help, never came to their aid when they were in distress. [Back to verse 111]

112a. Almost the same words, excluding the exception, occur in 2:61. The Jews had already been subjected to the greatest humiliation and disgrace before the appearance of the Prophet. But with the advent of Islam they could better their condition either by accepting the covenant of Allah, by which is meant the acceptance of Islam, or by making a compact of security with such men as could give them protection. This remains true to this day. [Back to verse 112]

115a. The opinion has been held, very plausibly indeed, that vv. 113–115 speak of the good among the Jews and the Christians, and not of those who became converts to Islam, because the Muslims could not be said to be a party of the People of the Book. It is a fact that the Qur’an does not deny that there is good in others, its own eminence over others lying in the fact that it makes man attain the highest degree of perfection in goodness. It is for this reason that the description of the upright party among the followers of the Book concludes with the words, whatever good they do, they will not be denied it. Generally, however, the commentators are of opinion that the description given here refers to those Jews and Christians who became converts to Islam. [Back to verse 115]

117a. The failure which is throughout the Holy Qur’an prophesied for the enemies of Islam is referred to here. The parable is similar to the one given in 68:17–33. [Back to verse 117]

118a. As the context shows, the Jews assisted the enemies of Islam to make war upon the Muslims, so the Muslims were warned against close and intimate relations with them; see 60:8, 9. [Back to verse 118]

119a. This verse clearly indicates the difficulties which the Muslims had in establishing friendly and loving relations with non-Muslims. The Muslims would fain proffer friendship, but the other party was always on the look-out for some opportunity to inflict loss on them, and the candour of the Muslims was repaid with insincerity and treachery. [Back to verse 119]


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Chapter 2: Al-Baqarah (The Cow)

Chapter 4: Al-Nisa’ (The Women)

Holy Quran Section > English Translation and Commentary of the Holy Quran by Maulana Muhammad Ali (Table of Contents) > Chapter 3 (Al-‘Imran - The Family of Amran) > Section 12 (Verses 110 to 120)

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