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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 3 (Verses 21 to 30)



Section/Ruku 3 [Verses 21 to 30]: The Kingdom is granted to another people:
Chapter 3: (Al-‘Imran: The Family of Amran)
(Revealed at Madinah: 20 sections; 200 verses)

1. Translation:

21 Those who disbelieve in the messages of Allah and would slay the prophets unjustly and slay those among men who enjoin justice, announce to them a painful chastisement.

22 Those are they whose works will be of no avail in this world and the Hereafter, and they will have no helpers.a

23 Hast thou not seen those who are given a portion of the Book?a They are invited to the Book of Allah that it may decide between them, then a party of them turn back and they withdraw.b

24 This is because they say: The Fire shall not touch us but for a few days; and that which they forge deceives them regarding their religion.

25 Then how will it be when We gather them together on a day about which there is no doubt. And every soul shall be fully paid what it has earned, and they shall not be wronged?

26 Say: O Allah, Owner of the Kingdom, Thou givest the kingdom to whom Thou pleasest, and takest away the kingdom from whom Thou pleasest, and Thou exaltest whom Thou pleasest and abasest whom Thou pleasest. In Thine hand is the good. Surely, Thou art Possessor of power over all things.

27 Thou makest the night to pass into the day and Thou makest the day to pass into the night; and Thou bringest forth the living from the dead and Thou bringest forth the dead from the living; and Thou givest sustenance to whom Thou pleasest without measure.a

28 Let not the believers take the disbelievers for friends rather than believers.a And whoever does this has no connection with Allah — except that you guard yourselves against them,b guarding carefully. And Allah cautions you against His retribution.c And to Allah is the eventual coming.

29 Say: Whether you hide what is in your hearts or manifest it, Allah knows it. And He knows whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth. And Allah is Possessor of power over all things

30 On the day when every soul will find present that which it has done of good; and that which it has done of evil — it will wish that between it and that (evil) there were a long distance. And Allah cautions you against His retribution. And Allah is Compassionate to the servants.

2. Commentary:

21a. For bashshir see 4:138a. The Jews are specially mentioned as a people who were guilty of trying to kill prophets (2:61), but this reference seems to point to their plans for killing the Holy Prophet, which were, however, all frustrated. [Back to verse 21]

22a. The meaning is that all their attempts against the Prophet will be fruitless, and they themselves will be reduced to a condition of helplessness. [Back to verse 22]

23a. The Jews are spoken of as being given only a portion of the Book, because much of it had already been lost. Moreover, the Torah was not a complete law. [Back to verse 23]

23b. Some commentators think that this decision was given in a case of adultery; but there is nothing in the Qur’an warranting such a limitation. It is, of course, remarkable, as Sale has noticed, that while the law of Moses as now preserved in Lev. 20:10 mentions simply putting to death, as the punishment for adultery, John 8:5 gives us to understand that stoning to death was the real punishment, and the Prophet is also said to have stated stoning to be the punishment prescribed for adultery by the Jewish law, though the rabbis refused to accept the judgement of their own law. It seems to be a clear instance of alteration.

The reference here, however, is to the broad principles of religion regarding which the Jews, or the Jews and the Christians, differed. The Book of Allah is the Holy Qur’an which gave a decision in the differences between the Jews and the Christians. [Back to verse 23]

27a. Vv. 26, 27 apparently refer to the fact that kingdom and honour shall be given now to another nation, whose night shall be made to pass into a day of triumph. It is on account of having failed to grasp their real significance that Rodwell thinks that these verses are misplaced here, “interrupting as they do the connection of the preceding and subsequent verses”. The connection is clear. The Jews had already been warned by Jesus that “the kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof ” (Matt. 21:43). A living nation of Muslims was brought forth from among the dead Arabs, and the living nation of Israelites was represented now by a people who were spiritually dead. Compare 4:54: “But indeed We have given to Abraham’s children the Book and the Wisdom, and We have given them a grand kingdom”. [Back to verse 27]

28a. The Muslims, being in a state of war with the disbelievers, were forbidden to look to their enemies to guard their interests or for help of any kind. The clear statement made in 60:8, 9 settles the point beyond all doubt: “Allah forbids you not respecting those who fight you not for religion, nor drive you forth from your homes, that you show them kindness and deal with them justly. …Allah forbids you only respecting those who fight you for religion and drive you forth from your homes and help (others) in your expulsion, that you make friends with them”. Auliya’, which I translate as friends here, is the plural of wali, which is derived from a root meaning he held command or had charge of or superintended a thing, and it accordingly means the manager of a thing or of the affairs of another, and the guardian or maintainer of an orphan, and the guardian of a woman who gives her away in marriage. It also means the executor or heir of a deceased person (LL). According to R, it indicates nearness in respect of place, relation, and religion, and in respect of friendship and help and belief, etc. The word therefore includes all relations or nearness. A man may also be said to be wali-Allah, as meaning one near to Allah or a friend of Allah. [Back to verse 28]

28b. This is a new sentence. It is as if it were said: Do not look to them for guarding your interests, rather guard yourselves against them. [Back to verse 28]

28c. T explains nafs here as meaning uqubah, i.e. retribution. In fact, retribution of evil is a requirement of Divine nature. Or, the meaning is that Allah warns you against disobedience to Himself. [Back to verse 28]


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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 3 (Verses 21 to 30)

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