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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 17 (Verses 156 to 171)


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Section/Ruku 17 [Verses 156 to 171]: Battle of Uhud afforded a distinction:
Chapter 3: (Al-‘Imran: The Family of Amran)
(Revealed at Madinah: 20 sections; 200 verses)

1. Translation:

156 O you who believe, be not like those who disbelieve and say of their brethren when they travel in the earth or engage in fighting: Had they been with us, they would not have died, or been slain;
a that Allah may make it to be a regret in their hearts. And Allah gives life and causes death. And Allah is Seer of what you do.

157 And if you are slain in Allah’s way or you die, surely Allah’s protection and (His) mercy are better than what they amass.

158 And if you die or you are slain, to Allah you are gathered.

159 Thus it is by Allah’s mercy that thou art gentle to them. And hadst thou been rough, hard-hearted, they would certainly have dispersed from around thee.a So pardon them and ask protection for them, and consult them in (important) matters.b But when thou hast determined, put thy trust in Allah.c Surely Allah loves those who trust (in Him).

160 If Allah helps you, there is none that can overcome you; and if He forsakes you, who is there that can help you after Him? And in Allah should the believers put their trust.

161 And it is not for a prophet to act dishonestly.a And whoever acts dishonestly will bring his dishonesty on the day of Resurrection. Then shall every soul be paid back fully what it has earned, and they will not be wronged.

162 Is then he who follows the pleasure of Allah like him who incurs Allah’s displeasure, and his abode is hell? And it is an evil destination.

163 There are grades with Allah. And Allah is Seer of what they do.

164 Certainly Allah conferred a favour on the believers when He raised among them a Messenger from among themselves, reciting to them His messages and purifying them, and teaching them the Book and the Wisdom, although before that they were surely in manifest error.

165 What! When a misfortune befell you, and you had inflicted twice as much, you say: Whence is this? Say: It is from yourselves. Surely Allah is Possessor of power over all things.a

166 And that which befell you on the day when the two armies met was by Allah’s permission, that He might know the believers,

167 And that He might know the hypocrites. And it was said to them: Come, fight in Allah’s way, or defend yourselves.a They said: If we knew fighting,b we would have followed you. They were on that day nearer to disbelief than to belief; they say with their mouths what is not in their hearts. And Allah best knows what they conceal.

168 Those who said of their brethren whilst they (themselves) held back: Had they obeyed us, they would not have been killed. Say: Avert death from yourselves, if you are truthful.

169 And think not of those who are killed in Allah’s way as dead. Nay, they are alive being provided sustenance from their Lord,

170 Rejoicing in what Allah has given them out of His grace, and they rejoice for the sake of those who, (being left) behind them, have not yet joined them, that they have no fear, nor shall they grieve.

171 They rejoice for Allah’s favour and (His) grace, and that Allah wastes not the reward of the believers.

2. Commentary:

156a. By “their brethren” are meant their relatives who were sincere in their profession of Islam, and who had to lay down their lives in defence of their faith. [Back to verse 156]

159a. It is remarkable that the Holy Qur’an calls attention to the Prophet’s gentle dealing with those around him when speaking of his experience in the field of battle as a general, leading his men against overwhelming forces, a capacity which required him to be very strict in punishing any delinquency. But he was not a mere general. His ability in leading his men, in occupying positions of advantage in the field of battle, and in directing a handful of men to face three, four, and sometimes ten times their own number, marks him out as the ablest general the world has ever seen, yet his gentle manners and his practical forbearance in dealing with his friends as well as foes stand in remarkable contrast with his capacity as a commander in the field of battle. It is related that after the Uhud trouble the Prophet did not speak even a harsh word to those who were guilty of disobeying his orders (Rz).

The Qur’an is full of references to the Holy Prophet’s gentleness and kind dealing with his fellow-men. The following verse gives us an insight into this trait of his character: “Certainly a Messenger has come to you from among yourselves; grievous to him is your falling into distress, most solicitous for you, to the believers (he is) compassionate, merciful” (9:128). [Back to verse 159]

159b. The Prophet had gone out to meet the enemy as the result of a consultation and against his own inclination, for he sided with the minority in the opinion that they should not meet the enemy in the open field. Apparently that council had brought about the present trouble, yet so firm was he in adhering to sound principles that at such a critical time he did not waver for a minute from the course of taking counsel in important matters, and just at this juncture we find Divine revelation clearly laying down the principle of adhering to counsel. [Back to verse 159]

159c. It should be noted that trusting in Allah does not imply inaction. Everything necessary is to be done, a course of action must be determined in the proper manner, and then in pursuing that course trust must be placed in Allah, which clearly implies that a man should do his utmost and then leave the consequences to Allah; that is, he must be resigned to what follows, taking the consequences with a cool mind. [Back to verse 159]

161a. The words may be taken in a general sense, the indication being that the disaster was not due to any wrongful act on the part of the Prophet, as a prophet cannot act wrongfully or dishonestly. Or, there may be a hint to some such idea lurking in the minds of the hypocrites or the disobeying archers. Prophets are raised to purify others as stated further on in v. 164, and they are therefore free from all impurities. [Back to verse 161]

165a. The disbelievers had already suffered twice at the hands of the Muslims, once in the field of Badr and again in the early stages of the battle of Uhud. In Badr alone they had inflicted on the disbelievers double the loss which they suffered in Uhud. At the latter place they lost only seventy killed, while at Badr the disbelievers lost 140, seventy killed and seventy prisoners. [Back to verse 165]

167a. The words show clearly that in the language of the Qur’an, fighting in Allah’s way carries the significance of fighting in self-defence. [Back to verse 167]

167b. They feigned they did not know how to fight. Or the meaning may be, if we knew that it was a fight, the implication being that the Muslims were going, not to fight but to sure destruction with such a disparity of numbers. [Back to verse 167]

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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 17 (Verses 156 to 171)


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