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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 15 (Verses 144 to 148)



Section/Ruku 15 [Verses 144 to 148]: Sufferings to be met with perseverance:
Chapter 3: (Al-‘Imran: The Family of Amran)
(Revealed at Madinah: 20 sections; 200 verses)

1. Translation:

144 And Muhammad is but a messenger — messengers have already passed away before him.
a If then he dies or is killed, will you turn back upon your heels? And he who turns back upon his heels will do no harm at all to Allah. And Allah will reward the grateful.b

145 And no soul can die but with Allah’s permission — the term is fixed.a And whoever desires the reward of this world, We give him of it, and whoever desires the reward of the Hereafter, We give him of it. And We shall reward the grateful.

146 And how many a prophet has fought, with whom were many worshippers of the Lord.a So they did not lose heart on account of that which befell them in Allah’s way, nor did they weaken, nor did they abase themselves. And Allah loves the steadfast.

147 And their cry was only that they said: Our Lord, grant us protection from our sins and our extravagance in our affair, and make firm our feet and grant us victory over the disbelieving people.

148 So Allah gave them the reward of the world and a good reward of the Hereafter. And Allah loves the doers of good (to others).

2. Commentary:

144a. The Prophet received severe wounds in the battle of Uhud; there was even a rumour that he was killed. It is to this that the verse refers. Even if the Prophet were killed, Islam was so far superior to all forms of faith that the Muslims could not give up Islam. Truth was truth, though its advocate might be killed in a battle; nor could falsehood and superstition be accepted, though their advocates might prevail for a time.

While this verse lays stress on the essential truth of Islam, it served another important purpose at the death of the Prophet. Some of the companions thought that the Prophet was not dead. Abu Bakr went in, and seeing that life had departed, ascended the pulpit and read this verse, which had a magical effect upon his hearers, all of them being convinced that the Prophet had passed away, as all prophets had passed away before him. The prophets were but mortals, and their span of mortal life must no doubt terminate like that of other mortals. This verse affords a conclusive proof that Jesus Christ was also dead; otherwise Abu Bakr’s argument could not have silenced the doubters of the Prophet’s death. [Back to verse 144]

144b. The doing of harm to Allah stands for the doing of harm to the Divine cause; i.e. the Truth, which was now represented by Islam. [Back to verse 144]

145a. While the statement conveys a general truth which makes Muslims face death with complacence, the words seem to refer also to the death of the Prophet, giving an assurance to the Muslims that the time of his death had not yet come. [Back to verse 145]

146a. For the meaning of ribbi, see 79a. It is a curious coincidence that Sale, Rodwell, and Palmer have all given a wrong translation of this verse: “How many prophets have encountered those who had many myriads of troops.” This is Sale’s rendering and the others are similar. I find no commentator lending any support to this significance, nor can the words bear this interpretation. [Back to verse 146]


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Chapter 2: Al-Baqarah (The Cow)

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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 15 (Verses 144 to 148)

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