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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 8 (Verses 72 to 80)



Section/Ruku 8 [Verses 72 to 80]: Machinations to discredit Islam:
Chapter 3: (Al-‘Imran: The Family of Amran)
(Revealed at Madinah: 20 sections; 200 verses)

1. Translation:

72 And a party of the People of the Book say: Avow belief in that which has been revealed to those who believe, in the first part of the day, and disbelieve in the latter part of it, perhaps they may turn back.

73 And believe not but in him who follows your religion.a Say: True guidance — Allah’s guidance — is that one may be given the like of what you were given; or they would prevail on you in argument before your Lord.b Say: Grace is surely in Allah’s hand. He gives it to whom He pleases. And Allah is Ample-giving, Knowing.c

74 He specially chooses for His mercy whom He pleases. And Allah is the Lord of mighty grace.a

75 And among the People of the Book there is he who, if thou entrust him with a heap of wealth, would pay it back to thee; and among them is he who, if thou entrust him with a dinara would not pay it back to thee, unless thou kept on demanding it. This is because they say there is no blame on us in the matter of the unlearned people and they forge a lie against Allah while they know.b

76 Yea, whoever fulfils his promise and keeps his duty — then Allah surely loves the dutiful.

77 Those who take a small price for the covenant of Allah and their own oaths — they have no portion in the Hereafter, and Allah will not speak to them, nor will He look upon them on the day of Resurrection, nor will He purify them, and for them is a painful chastisement.

78 And there is certainly a party of them who lie about the Booka that you may consider it to be (a part) of the Book while it is not (a part) of the Book; and they say, It is from Allah, while it is not from Allah; and they forge a lie against Allah whilst they know.

79 It is not meet for a mortal that Allah should give him the Book and the judgment and the prophethood, then he should say to men: Be my servants besides Allah’s; but (he would say): Be worshippers of the Lord because you teach the Book and because you study (it);a

80 Nor would he enjoin you to take the angels and the prophets for lords. Would he enjoin you to disbelieve after you submit?a

2. Commentary:

72a. The words would bear two different significances according to what the personal pronoun in akhira-hu refers to, for it may either refer to that which has been revealed or to the day. The meaning in the first case is that a belief may be avowed in the earlier part of the revelation, while denying the latter portion, with the object of creating doubts as to the sincerity of the Prophet. They would say, for instance, that the earlier revelation was no doubt true, but that the Prophet aimed at personal aggrandisement in later revelation, a position which is to this day adopted by some of the Christian writers. If we adopt the other significance, the meaning would be that they should avow a belief in the truth of Islam in the morning and deny it in the evening, and thus perturb the minds of those who had accepted Islam, creating the impression that the religion of Islam was a false religion. It was a distinguishing characteristic of Islam that people who once accepted it did not yield to any temptation under the severest trials. When Heraclius asked Abu Sufyan, the Quraish leader, if those who accepted Islam recanted it, the reply was, No (B. 1:1). The Jews therefore wanted to shake this strong position of the truth of Islam by making hypocritical avowal and then apostatizing in large numbers. The adoption of this plan is a clear proof that apostates were not put to death. [Back to verse 72]

73a. The meaning is that the Jews should not believe in any prophet who did not follow their law, i.e., the Mosaic law. [Back to verse 73]

73b. The contention of the Jews not to believe in any prophet who did not follow the Mosaic law is met with the reply that a revelation must be given to another prophet like the revelation that had been given to Moses, for the Divine promise to Moses was: “I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put My words in his mouth” (Deut. 18:18). This promise must be fulfilled, and the Prophet who was thus raised, being “like unto” Moses, would be the real guide. But if prophethood was to be confined to the line of Israel and no prophet was to be raised among the children of Ishmael, who were also the “seed” of Abraham, the Muslim argument, as to the non-fulfilment of the promise given to Abraham and of the prophecy of Moses as contained in Deut. 18:18, would be unanswerable. Yuhajju-kum, as the context shows, signifies here the Muslims’ prevailing in argument over their opponents. Hence it was that both the Jews and the Christians embraced Islam in large numbers notwithstanding the severe opposition of their temporal and spiritual leaders. [Back to verse 73]

73c. Grace here indicates prophethood. Compare the use of good in 2:105. [Back to verse 73]

74a. Allah’s choosing for His mercy stands here for His choice of a prophet, as in 2:105. [Back to verse 74]

75a. Dinar is an Arab gold coin of the value of about 10s. [Back to verse 75]

75b. They considered themselves free from all responsibility towards the Gentiles, notwithstanding any engagement they might have made with them. Hence they considered it lawful to play all sorts of tricks with the Muslims. They are, however, told that God never allowed dishonesty against any people. [Back to verse 75]

78a. Lawwa lisana-hu bi-kadha, lit., he twisted the tongue with a thing implies he lied about and forged a narration (R). And alwa hi-l-kalam means he turned it (i.e. a speech or saying) away from its drift or altered or changed it altogether (LA, T). Rz quotes the following comment on the words of this verse from I‘Ab: What is implied is the reading of the false book. And he says that in Arabic you use different words for an action according as the good or evil of it is to be expressed, and then cites 2:79, which shows that the book which they read was not the book revealed by Allah, but one which they had written with their own hands. The concluding words of this verse also point to the same conclusion: “They forge a lie against Allah”. [Back to verse 78]

79a. Rabbani, which is the same as ribbi (from Rabb, or Lord), means one who possesses a knowledge of the Lord, or one who is a worshipper of the Lord. According to a saying of the Prophet, a ribbi is a learned man, a teacher of others, who nourishes people with the small matters of knowledge before the great (LL). [Back to verse 79]

80a. Thus according to the Holy Qur’an no prophet — Jesus included — ever taught his followers to take him as God; in other words, anyone who actually taught so could not be a prophet of Allah. Even the current Gospels do not attribute any such teaching to Jesus. The angels are mentioned because the pagan Arabs worshipped the angels. [Back to verse 80]


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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 8 (Verses 72 to 80)

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