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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 19 (Verses 181 to 189)



Section/Ruku 19 [Verses 181 to 189]: Carpings of People of the Book:
Chapter 3: (Al-‘Imran: The Family of Amran)
(Revealed at Madinah: 20 sections; 200 verses)

1. Translation:

181 Allah has certainly heard the saying of those who said: Allah is poor and we are rich. We shall record what they say, and their killing the prophets unjustly, and We shall say: Taste the chastisement of burning.

182 This is for that which your own hands have sent before, and because Allah is not in the least unjust to the servants.

183 Those who say: Allah has enjoined us that we should not believe in any messenger until he brings us an offering which is consumed by the fire.a Say: Indeed there came to you messengers before me with clear arguments and with that which you demand. Why then did you try to kill them, if you are truthful?b

184 But if they reject thee, so indeed were rejected before thee messengers who came with clear arguments and scriptures and the illuminating Book.a

185 Every soul will taste of death. And you will be paid your reward fully only on the Resurrection day. Then whoever is removed far from the Fire and is made to enter the Garden, he indeed attains the object. And the life of this world is nothing but a provision of vanities.

186 You will certainly be tried in your property and your persons. And you will certainly hear from those who have been given the Book before you and from the idolaters much abuse.a And if you are patient and keep your duty, surely this is an affair of great resolution.

187 And when Allah took a covenant from those who were given the Book: You shall explain it to men and shall not hide it. But they cast it behind their backs and took a small price for it. So evil is that which they buy.

188 Think not that those who exult in what they have done, and love to be praised for what they have not done — think not them to be safe from the chastisement; and for them is a painful chastisement.

189 And Allah’s is the kingdom of the heavens and the earth. And Allah is Possessor of power over all things.

2. Commentary:

181a. TThe Jews ridiculed the poverty of the Muslims and their borrowings from the Jewish money-lenders. They also ridiculed the raising of funds for the defence of the faith by subscriptions. See 5:64, 64a. [Back to verse 181]

183a. The reference is to the burnt offerings of the Mosaic law, for which see Lev.1:9: “And the priest shall burn all on the altar, to be a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire”. And Deut. 33:10 where, blessing Israel, Moses says: “They shall put incense before thee, and whole burnt sacrifice upon thine altar”. Compare also Lev. 8:18. The demand of the Jews that the Prophet should bring to them an offering which the .re should consume is only a demand for the burnt-offering of the Israelite law, so that what they persisted in was that the promised prophet should be an Israelite and should revive the Israelite law. [Back to verse 183]

183b. The carpers are here told that they even sought to kill those prophets who followed the Mosaic Law, who came, “with that which you demand”. Hence their rejection was due to the stubbornness of their hearts. [Back to verse 183]

184a. The prophets are said to have come with three things — with arguments and with the zubur and the illuminating Book. Zubur is the plural of zubrah, which means a big piece of iron, and of zabur, which signifies a written thing. According to R, every book which is hard in writing is called a zabur. According to LL, zabur signifies a Divine book which it is difficult to become acquainted with. Zj says, every book full of wisdom is a zabur (Rz). The commentators generally understand by the zubur the sacred scriptures of the prophets and by the illuminating Book the book containing the guidance which every prophet brought to his people, so that they should follow those directions. [Back to verse 184]

186a. This verse speaks of the sufferings which were yet in store for the Muslims. They had certainly been tried respecting their property and their persons at Makkah. They had been deprived of their property and turned out of their homes; they had been severely persecuted and even put to death for professing Islam. But this verse, revealed undoubtedly after the battle of Uhud in the year 3 A.H., speaks of sufferings which were yet to come. It plainly speaks of the future, rather of the distant future, because Islam was now being firmly established in Arabia. The rise of Islam was, however, to be followed by a setback of which there are indications in the Qur’an and the sayings of the Prophet. Thus we are told in a Hadith that Islam started its career as gharib (as a stranger in a land or as a sufferer at the hands of others) and that it will once more (i.e. after rising to power) return to the state in which it began (IM. 35:15). The abuses which have been heaped on Islam in the nineteenth and the twentieth centuries are indeed without a parallel, not only in the history of Islam but in the whole history of religion. The abusive language of the Christian, political, as well as missionary, press and the vituperations of their imitators in the Hindu press have outstepped all bounds. Thus both the People of the Book and the idolaters have joined hands in hurling the worst abuses at Islam and its Founder. But we are here told that the Muslims shall, in addition to the abuse of their religion, be made to suffer both respecting their property and their persons. If they have so often been turned out of their houses in the past century in Europe, and Muslim States have been wiped out of existence in many parts of the world, the twentieth century presents a yet ghastlier scene of their woes in India. In a country in which they have been living for over a thousand years, and where their population was no less than a hundred millions, they have been turned out of their homes mercilessly and the cruellest tortures known to human history have been inflicted on them in broad daylight and the civilised world has not yet raised a finger against this genocide and the perpetration of these brutalities. It is these calamities which are spoken of in this verse. The concluding words of the verse are the only hope of Islam in the present tribulations — to be steadfast and keep their duty to Islam. [Back to verse 186]


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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 19 (Verses 181 to 189)

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