Tuesday 4 February 2020

Surah Al i Imran - The Family of Imran: 3rd Chapter of the Quran (Part V)

Sürah Al i Imran ( ʾĀl ʿImrān  "آل عِمْرَان " The Family of Imran) is the 3rd sürah with 200 ayahs with twenty rukus, part of the 3rd and 4th Juzʼ  of the Holy Qur'an. The Sürah takes its name from 33rd verse.

This Sürah is cognate to Sürah II Al Baqarah. but the matter is here treated from a different point of view, The references to Badr (Ramadân. H. 2) and Uhud Shawwal. H. 3.) give a clue to the dates of those passages.

Like Sürah II. it takes a general view of the religious history of mankind, special reference to the People of the Book, proceeds to explain the birth 4 he new People of Islam and their ordinances, insists on the need of struggle and fighting in the cause of Truth, and exhorts those who have been blessed with Islam to remain constant in Faith, pray for guidance, and maintain their with hope for the Future.

The new points of view developed are: (1) The emphasis is here laid on the duty of the Christians to accept the new light: the Christians are here specially appealed to, as the Jews were specially appealed to in the last Sürah(2) the lessons of the battles of Badr and Uhud are set out for the Muslim community; and (3) the responsibilities of that community are insisted on both internally and in their relations to those outside.

As already explained in the Overview, the exegesis of the Sürah has been divided into parts owing to the length of the Sürah, which is 200 verses long. The exegesis will be presented in following parts according to the subject matter:
  • Part I: Verses 1 - 32.  
  • Part II: Verses 33 - 63. 
  • Part III: Verses 64 - 101.  
  • Part IV: Verses 102 - 120. 
  • Part V: Verses 121 - 175. 
  • Part VI: Verses 175 - 189. This part also includes the concluding verses of the Sürah  (190-200), which are not directly connected with the verses immediately preceding it but with the theme of the Surah as a whole. 
Let us now read the translation and exegesis / tafseer of Part V of the Sürah. This part covers Verses 121 - 175. In this portion, a review of the Battle of Uhd has been made to teach and reassure the Muslims that the machinations of their enemies could do them no harm, if they would practice restraint and fortitude and have fear of Allah. It has been pointed out that the set-back they had suffered was due to the lack of some moral qualities and the existence of some evils. Since the main cause of the defeat was the greed of the archers, guarding the pass, the taking of interest has been prohibited to eradicate this evil. 

For Arabic Text and recitation in Arabic with English subtitles, please scroll down for the video at the end of the exegesis of this part:

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْمِ 
"In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful"

Ruku / Section 13 [Verses 121-129]
Verses 121-129 Lessons from the Battle of Uhud and Allah's help to the believers and Prophet does not have the authority to pardon the sinners:

وَاِذۡ غَدَوۡتَ مِنۡ اَهۡلِكَ تُبَوِّئُ الۡمُؤۡمِنِيۡنَ مَقَاعِدَ لِلۡقِتَالِ​ؕ وَاللّٰهُ سَمِيۡعٌ عَلِيۡمٌۙ‏ 
( 121 )   And [remember] when you, [O Muhammad], left your family in the morning to post the believers at their stations for the battle [of Uhud] - and Allah is Hearing and Knowing 
This marks the beginning of the fourth discourse of this surah. It was revealed after the Battle of Uhud and contains comments on it. The previous section ended with the assurance: 'But if you remain steadfast and mindful of Allah their designs will not cause you harm.' (See verse 3:120 in Part IV.) The Muslims did suffer a setback in the Battle of Uhud precisely because of this lack of patience, and because of a few mistakes committed by some of them which were indicative of insufficient piety. This discourse, therefore, is quite appropriate and warns the Muslims against such weaknesses.

The discourse contains a precise and instructive commentary on all the main events connected with the Battle of Uhud. In order to appreciate this it is appropriate to refresh our minds as to the situational context of its revelations. In the beginning of Shawwal 3 A.H., the Quraysh attacked Madina with an army of three thousand men. In addition to their numerical superiority they were also much better equipped. Moreover, they sought to avenge their losses in the Battle of Badr. The Prophet (peace be on him) and his closest Companions were of the opinion that they should defend themselves from within the boundaries of Madina, There were, however, several young people who longed for martyrdom and felt aggrieved at, not having had the opportunity to fight in the Battle of Badr. They insisted that the enemy should be resisted outside the confines of Madina. The Prophet gave in to their demands and decided to march out of the city to meet their enemies. A thousand people accompanied him. Of these, 'Abd Allah b. Ubayy broke away along with his three hundred followers after reaching the place called Shawt. This, happening as it did just before the commencement of the battle, created such perplexity and confusion that the people of Banu Salamah and Banu Harithah wanted to turn back, and it took some effort on the part of the Companions to persuade them not to.
Sketch Uhud Battlefield (Photo)

The Prophet advanced with the remaining seven hundred Muslims and lined up his troops at the foot of Mount Uhud (a distance of approximately four miles from Madina) in such a manner that the mountain was behind and the Quraysh army in front of them. There was only one mountain pass from where the Muslims could be subjected to a surprise attack. The Prophet posted fifty archers there as guards under the- command of 'Abd Allah b. Jubayr, instructing him neither to let anyone approach nor to move away from that spot. 'Even if you see birds fly off with our flesh', the Prophet said, 'still you must not move away from this place'.
Present Day Uhud Locations (Photo)

(For such instructions from the Prophet see Ibn Sa'd, Tabaqat, vol. 2, pp. 39-40 and 47, and Waqidi, Maghazi, vol. 1, pp. 224 and 229 - Ed.) Then the battle commenced. In the beginning the Muslims proved the better side but instead of maintaining their onslaught until they had assured complete victory, they were overcome by the temptation of booty and turned to collecting the spoils. When the archers whom the Prophet had posted to repel the attack of the enemy from the rear saw that the enemy had taken to its heels and that people were collecting booty, they too joined the melee and began to do the same.

'Abd Allah b. Jubayr tried to persuade them not to leave their posts by reminding them of the Prophet's directive. Hardly anyone heeded him. Khalid b. Walld, who was at that time an unbeliever and who commanded the Quraysh cavalry, seized his opportunity. He rode with his men around Mount Uhud and attacked the flank of the Muslim army through the pass. 'Abd Allah b. Jubayr's depleted forces tried unsuccessfully to resist the attack.

The fleeing soldiers of the enemy also returned and joined the attack from the front and the scales of the battle turned against the Muslims. The suddenness of these attacks, from both the rear and the front, caused such confusion that many fled. Then the rumour spread that the- Prophet, himself, had been martyred. This news shattered whatever presence of mind the Companions had left, and led many who had stood firm to lose courage altogether. At this moment there remained around the injured and bleeding Prophet (peace be on him) no more than ten or twelve loyal persons who had staked their lives for his sake. Defeat seemed inevitable. Fortunately, however, the Companions realized that the Prophet was still alive. They therefore advanced towards him from all sides, rallied around him, and led him to the safety of the mountain. (For an account of the Battle of Uhud in early Islamic sources, see Ibn Hisham, Slrah, yol, 1, pp. 61 ff., Waqidi, Maghazi, vol. 1, pp. 199 ff., especially pp. 224, 229 f. and 237 ff., and Ibn Sa'd, Tabaqat, vol. 2, pp. 36-48, etc. - Ed.)

It remains a mystery why the unbelievers of Makkah held back when victory was within their grasp. The Muslim ranks were in such disarray that they would have been hard pushed to resist further. (Cf. the account and conclusion of W. M. Watt regarding the Battle of Uhud in Muhammad at Medina, Oxford University Press, 1956, pp. 21 ff., especially pp. 26-9 -Ed.)

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
The battle of Uhud was a great testing time for the young Muslim community. Their mettle and the wisdom and strength of their Leader were shown in the battle of Badr (iii. 13 and note), in which the Makkan Pagans suffered a crushing defeat. The Makkans were determined to wipe off their disgrace and to annihilate the Muslims in Madinah. To this end they collected a large force and marched to Madinah. They numbered some 3,000 fighting men under Abu Sufyan, and they were so confident of victory that their women-folk came with them, and showed the most shameful savagery after the battle. To meet the threatened danger the Messenger of Allah, Muhammad Al-Mustafa, with his usual foresight, courage, and initiative, resolved to take his station at the foot of Mount Uhud, which dominates the city of Madinah some three miles to the north. Early in the morning, on the 7th of Shawwal, A.H. 3 (January, 625), he made his dispositions for battle. Madinah winters are notoriously rigorous, but the warriors of Islam (700 to 1000 in number) were up early.

A torrent bed was to their south, and the passes in the hills at their back were filled with 50 archers to prevent the enemy attack from the rear. The enemy were set the task of attacking the walls of Madinah, with the Muslims at their rear. In the beginning the battle went well for the Muslims. The enemy wavered, but the Muslim archers, in disobedience of their orders, left their posts to join in the pursuit and share in the booty. There was also treachery on the part of the 300 "Hypocrites" led by Abdullah ibn Ubai, who deserted. The enemy took advantage of the opening left by the archers, and there was severe hand-to-hand fighting, in which numbers told in favour of the enemy. Many of the Companions and Helpers were killed. But there was no rout. Among the Muslim martyrs was the gallant Hamza, a brother of the Prophet's father. The graves of the martyrs are still shown at Uhud. The Messenger himself was wounded in his head and face, and one of his front teeth was broken. Had it not been for his firmness, courage, and coolness, all would have been lost. As it was, the prophet, in spite of his wound, and many of the wounded Muslims, inspired by his example, returned to the field next day, and Abu Sufyan and his Makkan army thought it most prudent to withdraw. Madinah was saved, but a lesson in faith, constancy, firmness, and steadfastness was learnt by the Muslims.
اِذۡ هَمَّتۡ طَّآئِفَتٰنِ مِنۡكُمۡ اَنۡ تَفۡشَلَا ۙ وَاللّٰهُ وَلِيُّهُمَا​ ؕ وَعَلَى اللّٰهِ فَلۡيَتَوَكَّلِ الۡمُؤۡمِنُوۡنَ‏ 
( 122 )   When two parties among you were about to lose courage, but Allah was their ally; and upon Allah the believers should rely.
The two parties wavering in their minds were probably the Banu Salma Khazraji and the Banu Haritha, but they rallied under the Prophet's inspiration. That incident shows that man may be weak, but if he allows his weak will to be governed by the example of men of God, he may yet retrieve his weakness.

Explanation Professor Ghamidi
According to historians, the two groups referred to here are the Banu Salamah of the Khazraj tribe and the Banu Harithah of the Aws tribe. While explaining the background of the incident mentioned in this verse, Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:

… Both these groups showed some cowardice because of pranks played by the Hypocrites, but later they shrugged it off. The Hypocrites in reality did not want to go out for this battle. Muhammad(sws) knew this weakness on their part. So he wanted that before setting off the real situation come to light. For this purpose, as test, he posed a question before the Muslims: should the Quraysh be fought while remaining in Madinah or should they be combated by going outside the city? The answer to this question from true and staunch Muslims obviously should have been in the affirmative, and this is precisely the answer they gave; on the other hand, the Hypocrites started to present the benefits of fighting from within Madinah. When Muhammad(sws) had fully assessed this situation and the weakness of the Hypocrites became evident to him, he gave them the same answer which was in his heart and which he had given to his true companions who were willing to lay down their lives for him. When the Hypocrites saw that their conspiracy had failed, they did at first set off with the Muslims; however, later their leader ‘Abdullah ibn Ubayy tempted them and by presenting the excuse that their suggestion had not been honoured, left the Muslim army with three hundred of his people. This incident naturally affected the morale of some groups among the Muslims because they were just one thousand as compared to the disbelievers who were three thousand. Defection of three hundred people from these one thousand right at the beginning of the battle was obviously a very grave incident, and it was but natural for faint-hearts to be effected by it. (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 2, 170.)

وَلَقَدۡ نَصَرَكُمُ اللّٰهُ بِبَدۡرٍ وَّاَنۡـتُمۡ اَذِلَّةٌ  ۚ فَاتَّقُوا اللّٰهَ لَعَلَّكُمۡ تَشۡكُرُوۡنَ‏
( 123 )   And already had Allah given you victory at [the battle of] Badr while you were few in number. Then fear Allah; perhaps you will be grateful.
Gratitude to Allah is not to be measured by words. It should show itself in conduct and life. If all the Muslims had learnt the true lesson from the victory at Badr, their archers would not have left the posts appointed for them, nor the two tribes mentioned in the last note ever wavered in their faith.

اِذۡ تَقُوۡلُ لِلۡمُؤۡمِنِيۡنَ اَلَنۡ يَّكۡفِيَكُمۡ اَنۡ يُّمِدَّكُمۡ رَبُّكُمۡ بِثَلٰثَةِ اٰلَافٍ مِّنَ الۡمَلٰٓـئِكَةِ مُنۡزَلِيۡنَؕ‏ 
( 124 )   [Remember] when you said to the believers, "Is it not sufficient for you that your Lord should reinforce you with three thousand angels sent down?
When the Muslims saw that their enemies numbered three thousand while three hundred out of their army of one thousand had departed they began to lose heart. It was on this occasion that the Prophet spoke these words to them.

Read verse 124 with the following five verses, to get its full signification.

Explanation of Professor Ghamidi:
This was probably said by Muhammad (sws) to boost the morale of his people at the time when ‘Abdullah ibn Ubayy deserted the Muslim army with his three hundred companions causing unrest among them.See: al-Tabari, Tarikh al-umam wa al-muluk, vol. 2, 59; Ibn Kathir, Al-Bidayah wa al-nihayah, vol. 4, 387; Ibn Athir, Al-Kamil fi al-tarikh, vol. 2, 40.

 بَلٰٓى ۙ اِنۡ تَصۡبِرُوۡا وَتَتَّقُوۡا وَيَاۡتُوۡكُمۡ مِّنۡ فَوۡرِهِمۡ هٰذَا يُمۡدِدۡكُمۡ رَبُّكُمۡ بِخَمۡسَةِ اٰلَافٍ مِّنَ الۡمَلٰٓـئِكَةِ مُسَوِّمِيۡنَ‏ 
( 125 )   Yes, if you remain patient and conscious of Allah and the enemy come upon you [attacking] in rage, your Lord will reinforce you with five thousand angels having marks [of distinction]
Musawwim: this is the active voice of the verb, not to be confused with the passive voice in iii. 14, which has a different signification.

وَمَا جَعَلَهُ اللّٰهُ اِلَّا بُشۡرٰى لَـكُمۡ وَلِتَطۡمَـئِنَّ قُلُوۡبُكُمۡ بِهٖ​ؕ وَمَا النَّصۡرُ اِلَّا مِنۡ عِنۡدِ اللّٰهِ الۡعَزِيۡزِ الۡحَكِيۡمِۙ‏ 
( 126 )   And Allah made it not except as [a sign of] good tidings for you and to reassure your hearts thereby. And victory is not except from Allah, the Exalted in Might, the Wise
Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Whatever happens, whether there is a miracle or not, all help proceeds from Allah. Man should not be so arrogant as to suppose that his own resources will change the current of the world plan. Allah helps those who show constancy, courage, and discipline, and use all the human means at their disposal, not those who fold their hands and have no faith. But Allah's help is determined on considerations exalted far above our petty human motive, and by perfect wisdom, of which we can have only faint glimpses.

لِيَقۡطَعَ طَرَفًا مِّنَ الَّذِيۡنَ كَفَرُوۡۤا اَوۡ يَكۡبِتَهُمۡ فَيَنۡقَلِبُوۡا خَآئِبِيۡنَ‏ 
( 127 )   That He might cut down a section of the disbelievers or suppress them so that they turn back disappointed.
Yusuf Ali Explanation:
A fringe of the Unbelievers: an extremity, an end, either upper or lower. Here it may mean that the chiefs of the Makkan Pagans, who had come to exterminate the Muslims with such confidence, went back frustrated in their purpose. The shameless cruelty with which they and their women mutilated the Muslim corpses on the battle-field will stand recorded to their eternal infamy. Perhaps it also exposed their real nature to some of those who fought for them. e.g., Khalid ibn Al-Walid, who not only accepted Islam afterwards, but became one of the most notable champions of Islam. He was with the Muslims in the conquest of Makkah and later on, won distinguished honours in Syria and 'Iraq.
لَيۡسَ لَكَ مِنَ الۡاَمۡرِ شَىۡءٌ اَوۡ يَتُوۡبَ عَلَيۡهِمۡ اَوۡ يُعَذِّبَهُمۡ فَاِنَّهُمۡ ظٰلِمُوۡنَ‏ 
( 128 )   Not for you, [O Muhammad, but for Allah], is the decision whether He should [cut them down] or forgive them or punish them, for indeed, they are wrongdoers.
Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Uhud is as much a sign-post for Islam as Badr. For us in these latter days it carries an ever greater lesson. Allah's help will come if we have faith, obedience, discipline, unity, and the spirit of acting in righteousness and justice. If we fail, His mercy is always open to us. But it is also open to our enemies, and those who seem to us His enemies. His Plan may be to bring sinners to repentance, and to teach us righteousness and wisdom through those who seem in our eyes to be rebellious or even defiant. There may be good in them that He sees and we do not,-a humbling thought that must lead to our own self-examination and self-improvement.

Explanation of Professor Ghamidi:
Here some thought occupied Muhammad (sws) about the future of his people at which the ongoing discourse was halted to tell him in this parenthetical sentence (مِنَ الأَمْرِ لَيْسَ لَكَ) that providing guidance and reward and punishment only rests with God. If He wants, He will bless the people of the Prophet’s nation with the urge to seek repentance, and if He wants He will punish them in the same manner as He punished previous nations. This decision is His sole prerogative, and whatever decision He takes will be based on His wisdom and law. No one can interfere with His decisions in any manner. However, He is forgiving and merciful; so one should hope that He will be gracious. At the end of the parenthetical sentence, the discourse is linked to اَوۡ یَکۡبِتَہُمۡ فَیَنۡقَلِبُوۡا خَآئِبِیۡنَ so that readers are able to understand the sequence and context of the discourse.

وَلِلّٰهِ مَا فِى السَّمٰوٰتِ وَمَا فِى الۡاَرۡضِ​ؕ يَغۡفِرُ لِمَنۡ يَّشَآءُ وَ يُعَذِّبُ مَنۡ يَّشَآءُ​ ؕ وَاللّٰهُ غَفُوۡرٌ رَّحِيۡمٌ‏ 
( 129 )   And to Allah belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. He forgives whom He wills and punishes whom He wills. And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.
When the Prophet was injured he uttered words of imprecation against the unbelievers: 'How can a people that injures its own Prophet attain salvation?' These verses are in response to that utterance.

Ruku / Section 14 [Verses 130-143]
Verses 130-136 Prohibition of usury and Allah loves the charitable people:

يٰۤـاَيُّهَا الَّذِيۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا لَا تَاۡكُلُوا الرِّبٰٓوا اَضۡعَافًا مُّضٰعَفَةً​ وَاتَّقُوا اللّٰهَ لَعَلَّكُمۡ تُفۡلِحُوۡنَ​ۚ‏
( 130 )   O you who have believed, do not consume usury, doubled and multiplied, but fear Allah that you may be successful.
The major cause of the setback suffered at Uhud was that precisely at the moment of their victory the Muslims succumbed to the desire for worldly possessions, and turned to collecting booty rather than completing their task of crushing the enemy. Hence God thought fit to raise a barrier against this excessive adoration of money, and to urge them to give up usury which keeps man constantly absorbed in considering ways and means of amassing wealth and generally whets his appetite for money.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Cf. ii. 275. The last verse spoke of forgiveness, even to enemies. If such mercy is granted by Allah to erring sinners, how much more is it incumbent on us, poor sinners to refrain from oppressing our fellow-beings in need, in matters of mere material and ephemeral wealth? Usury is the opposite extreme of charity, unselfishness, striving, and giving of ourselves in the service of Allah and of our fellow-men.

Real prosperity consists, not in greed, but in giving,-the giving of ourselves and of our substance in the cause of Allah and Allah's truth and in the service of Allah's creatures.

Explanation of Professor Ghamidi:
These words do not imply that only compound interest is forbidden; they are meant for a graphic portrayal of the situation and for depicting its disgusting nature. This style can also be seen in the verse: لَا یَسۡـَٔلُوۡنَ النَّاسَ اِلۡحَافًا (2:273) (they are not insistent in begging, (2:273)). While explaining this verse, Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:
… The real objective is a negation of begging; the qualification of being insistent is just meant to portray the situation and to depict its disgusting nature. For example, it is said in Surah Bani Isra’il:وَ لَا تَقۡتُلُوۡۤااَوۡلَادَکُمۡ خَشۡیَۃَ اِمۡلَاقٍ (31:17) (and do not kill your children for fear of poverty, (17:31)). The prohibition in this verse is actually for murdering someone. The words “for fear of poverty” only portray the horrific nature of the situation. Similarly, it is said in Surah Al-i ‘Imran: لَا تَاۡکُلُوا الرِّبٰۤوا اَضۡعَافًا مُّضٰعَفَۃً (130:3) (and do not devour interest doubling quadrupling it, (3:130)). Here too the real prohibition relates to devouring interest. The qualifying words “doubling it many times over” are only meant to delineate the awfulness of the enterprise. Still another example of this style can be seen in the following verse of Surah al-Nur:وَ لَا تُکۡرِہُوۡا فَتَیٰتِکُمۡ عَلَی الۡبِغَآءِاِنۡاَرَدۡنَ تَحَصُّنًا (33:24) (and force not your slave girls to prostitution if they want to get married, (24:33)). Here too the prohibition is to force slave girls into prostitution. The qualification “if they want to get married” expresses the gravity of the situation. (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 1, 624.
Moreover, in this verse, since people are urged to outdo one another in spending in the way of God, so the objective is also to tell them that the real field of competition is the field of seeking forgiveness from the Almighty and seeking a place in His Paradise and not seeking as much interest as one can – an area in which these slaves of this world even put their life to risk to gain as much as they can and leave others behind them.

It is evident from this that if even after this warning, people remain adamant on devouring interest, they will become disbelievers and their fate will be no different from the fate mentioned in the Qur’an for such people.
وَاتَّقُوا النَّارَ الَّتِىۡۤ اُعِدَّتۡ لِلۡكٰفِرِيۡنَ​ۚ‏ 
( 131 )   And fear the Fire, which has been prepared for the disbelievers.
 وَاَطِيۡعُوا اللّٰهَ وَالرَّسُوۡلَ لَعَلَّكُمۡ تُرۡحَمُوۡنَ​ۚ‏ 
( 132 )   And obey Allah and the Messenger that you may obtain mercy.
 وَسَارِعُوۡۤا اِلٰى مَغۡفِرَةٍ مِّنۡ رَّبِّكُمۡ وَجَنَّةٍ عَرۡضُهَا السَّمٰوٰتُ وَالۡاَرۡضُۙ اُعِدَّتۡ لِلۡمُتَّقِيۡنَۙ‏ 
( 133 )   And hasten to forgiveness from your Lord and a garden as wide as the heavens and earth, prepared for the righteous
The Fire (iii. 131) is, as always, contrasted with the Garden,-in other words. Hell contrasted with Heaven, we are told that its width alone is that of the whole of the heavens and the earth,-all the creation we can imagine.

الَّذِيۡنَ يُنۡفِقُوۡنَ فِى السَّرَّآءِ وَالضَّرَّآءِ وَالۡكٰظِمِيۡنَ الۡغَيۡظَ وَالۡعَافِيۡنَ عَنِ النَّاسِ​ؕ وَاللّٰهُ يُحِبُّ الۡمُحۡسِنِيۡنَ​ۚ‏  
( 134 )   Who spend [in the cause of Allah] during ease and hardship and who restrain anger and who pardon the people - and Allah loves the doers of good;
The existence of interest in a society generates two kinds of moral disease. It breeds greed and avarice, meanness and selfishness among those who receive interest. At the same time, those who have to pay interest develop strong feelings of hatred, resentment, spite and jealousy. God intimates to the believers that the attributes bred by the spread of interest are the exact opposite of those which develop as a result of spending in the way of God, and that it is through the latter rather than the former that man can achieve God's forgiveness and Paradise. (For further explanation see (Surah 2, n. 320 above.)

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Another definition of the righteous (vv. 134-35). So far from grasping material wealth, they give freely, of themselves and their substance, not only when they are well-off and it is easy for them to do so, but also when they arc in difficulties, for other people may be in difficulties at the same time. They do not get ruffled in adversity, or get angry when other people behave badly, or their own good plans fail. On the contrary they redouble their efforts. For the charity-or good deeds-is all the more necessary in adversity. And they do not throw the blame on others. Even where such blame is due and correction is necessary, their own mind is free from a sense of grievance, for they forgive and cover other men's faults. This as far as other people are concerned. But we may be ourselves at fault, and perhaps we brought some calamity on ourselves. The righteous man is not necessarily perfect. In such circumstances his behaviour is described in the next verse.

وَالَّذِيۡنَ اِذَا فَعَلُوۡا فَاحِشَةً اَوۡ ظَلَمُوۡۤا اَنۡفُسَهُمۡ ذَكَرُوا اللّٰهَ فَاسۡتَغۡفَرُوۡا لِذُنُوۡبِهِمۡ وَمَنۡ يَّغۡفِرُ الذُّنُوۡبَ اِلَّا اللّٰهُ وَلَمۡ يُصِرُّوۡا عَلٰى مَا فَعَلُوۡا وَهُمۡ يَعۡلَمُوۡنَ‏ 
( 135 )   And those who, when they commit an immorality or wrong themselves [by transgression], remember Allah and seek forgiveness for their sins - and who can forgive sins except Allah? - and [who] do not persist in what they have done while they know.
Yusuf Ali Explanation:
The righteous man, when he finds he has fallen into sin or error, does not whine or despair, but asks for Allah's forgiveness, and his faith gives him hope. If he is sincere, that means that he abandons his wrong conduct and makes amends.

Sin is a sort of oppression of ourselves by ourselves. This follows from the doctrine of personal responsibility, as opposed to that of blind fate or of an angry God or gods lying in wait for revenge or injury on mankind.

اُولٰٓـئِكَ جَزَآؤُهُمۡ مَّغۡفِرَةٌ مِّنۡ رَّبِّهِمۡ وَ جَنّٰتٌ تَجۡرِىۡ مِنۡ تَحۡتِهَا الۡاَنۡهٰرُ خٰلِدِيۡنَ فِيۡهَا​ ؕ وَنِعۡمَ اَجۡرُ الۡعٰمِلِيۡنَؕ‏  
( 136 )   Those - their reward is forgiveness from their Lord and gardens beneath which rivers flow [in Paradise], wherein they will abide eternally; and excellent is the reward of the [righteous] workers.
Explanation of Professor Ghamidi:
In spite of this vastness, a person can buy Paradise by spending in the way of God. Not to mention the fact that this vastness of Paradise is only a parable. Its actual expanse is beyond our imagination.

This is said because generally the rich who have money do not have the heart to spend it; so by scolding those who ask on their wrong attitude they earn punishment instead of reward even for such a generous act.

This is a mention of an important hindrance in the path of spending in God’s way. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:

… Just as the ailment of devouring interest creates such greed for money that it becomes extremely difficult for him to do good works, similarly a proclivity towards lewd and lustful activities stops a person from spending on virtuous acts. People who tread this path become so helpless at the hands of their desires that they do not get the time to even think of others. For this reason, here the Qur’an, while urging people to spend in the way of God, has not only stopped people from consuming interest it has also stopped them from licentiousness and its obvious consequences: extravagance and spending on forbidden items. (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 2, 179)

Verses 137-141 Believers are promised to have upper hand:

قَدۡ خَلَتۡ مِنۡ قَبۡلِكُمۡ سُنَنٌ ۙ فَسِيۡرُوۡا فِى الۡاَرۡضِ فَانۡظُرُوۡا كَيۡفَ كَانَ عَاقِبَةُ الۡمُكَذِّبِيۡنَ‏ 
( 137 )   Similar situations [as yours] have passed on before you, so proceed throughout the earth and observe how was the end of those who denied.
Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Cf. Tennyson (In Memoriam): "Our little systems have their day. They have their day and cease to be: They are but broken lights of Thee, And Thou, 0 Lord! art more than they." Only Allah's Truth will last, and it will gain the mastery in the end. If there is defeat, we must not be dejected, lose heart, or give up the struggle. Faith means hope, activity, striving steadfastly on to the goal. Sunan: different ways by which the ancient people like Ad, Thamud, the people of the Prophet Nuh were treated because of their arrogance, disobedience and rejection of faith.

Explanation of Professor Ghamidi:
This is an allusion to the established practice of God as per which people who deliberately deny their respective messenger are faced with punishment in this world, while those who profess faith in Him are granted supremacy. As a manifestation of this practice, the signs and remnants of the people of ‘Ad and Thamud and of the followers of the Prophet Lot (sws) and Shu‘ayb (sws) existed in Arabia at that time. The Qur’an has termed these signs and remnants as sunan (examples).

هٰذَا بَيَانٌ لِّلنَّاسِ وَهُدًى وَّمَوۡعِظَةٌ لِّلۡمُتَّقِيۡنَ‏ 
( 138 )   This [Qur'an] is a clear statement to [all] the people and a guidance and instruction for those conscious of Allah.
وَلَا تَهِنُوۡا وَ لَا تَحۡزَنُوۡا وَاَنۡتُمُ الۡاَعۡلَوۡنَ اِنۡ كُنۡتُمۡ مُّؤۡمِنِيۡنَ‏ 
( 139 )   So do not weaken and do not grieve, and you will be superior if you are [true] believers.
اِنۡ يَّمۡسَسۡكُمۡ قَرۡحٌ فَقَدۡ مَسَّ الۡقَوۡمَ قَرۡحٌ مِّثۡلُهٗ ​ؕ وَتِلۡكَ الۡاَيَّامُ نُدَاوِلُهَا بَيۡنَ النَّاسِۚ وَلِيَـعۡلَمَ اللّٰهُ الَّذِيۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا وَيَتَّخِذَ مِنۡكُمۡ شُهَدَآءَ​ؕ وَاللّٰهُ لَا يُحِبُّ الظّٰلِمِيۡنَۙ‏  
( 140 )   If a wound should touch you - there has already touched the [opposing] people a wound similar to it. And these days [of varying conditions] We alternate among the people so that Allah may make evident those who believe and [may] take to Himself from among you martyrs - and Allah does not like the wrongdoers 
This alludes to the Battle of Badr. The intention is to point out to the Muslims that if the unbelievers were not demoralized by the setback they suffered at Badr then the Muslims should not be disheartened by the setback they suffered in the Battle of Uhud.

The actual words of this verse, can be interpreted in two ways. One meaning could be that God wanted to select some of them so that He could bestow upon them the honour of martyrdom. The second meaning could be that out of the hotch-potch of true believers and hypocrites which their community consisted of at that moment, God wanted to sift those who were truly His witnesses over all mankind. See( Qur'an 2: 143)

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
These general considerations apply in particular to the disaster at Uhud. (1) In a fight for truth, if you are hurt, be sure the adversary has suffered hurt also, the more so as he has no faith to sustain him. (2) Success or failure in this world comes to all at varying times: we must not grumble, as we do not see the whole of Allah's Plan. (3) Men's true mettle is known in adversity as gold is assayed in fire; Cf. also iii. 154, n. 467. (4) Martyrdom is in itself an honour and a privilege: how glorious is the fame of Hamza the Martyr? (5) If there is any dross in us, it will be purified by resistance and struggle. (6) When evil is given rope a little, it works out its own destruction; the orgies of cruelty indulged in by the Pagans after what they supposed to be their victory at Uhud filled up their cup of iniquity; it lost them the support and adherence of the best in their own ranks, and hastened the destruction of Paganism from Arabia. Cf. iii. 127 and ii. 448.

وَلِيُمَحِّصَ اللّٰهُ الَّذِيۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا وَيَمۡحَقَ الۡكٰفِرِيۡنَ‏ 
( 141 )   And that Allah may purify the believers [through trials] and destroy the disbelievers.
Verses 142-143 No paradise without trial:

اَمۡ حَسِبۡتُمۡ اَنۡ تَدۡخُلُوا الۡجَـنَّةَ وَلَمَّا يَعۡلَمِ اللّٰهُ الَّذِيۡنَ جَاهَدُوۡا مِنۡكُمۡ وَيَعۡلَمَ الصّٰبِرِيۡنَ‏ 
( 142 )   Or do you think that you will enter Paradise while Allah has not yet made evident those of you who fight in His cause and made evident those who are steadfast?
Yusuf Ali Explanation:
The purge or purification was in two senses. (1) It cleared out the Hypocrites from the ranks of the Muslim warriors. (2) The testing-time strengthened the faith of the weak and wavering: for suffering has its own mission in life. The Prophet's example-wounded but staunch, and firmer than ever-put new life into the Community.

وَلَقَدۡ كُنۡتُمۡ تَمَنَّوۡنَ الۡمَوۡتَ مِنۡ قَبۡلِ اَنۡ تَلۡقَوۡهُ فَقَدۡ رَاَيۡتُمُوۡهُ وَاَنۡتُمۡ تَنۡظُرُوۡنَ
( 143 )   And you had certainly wished for martyrdom before you encountered it, and you have [now] seen it [before you] while you were looking on.
This is with reference to those Companions who had urged the Prophet to go out of Madina and take on the enemy there because of their ardent desire for martyrdom.

Ruku / Section 15 [Verses 144-148]
Verses 144-145 Muhammad (pbuh) is no more than a Rasool of Allah:

وَمَا مُحَمَّدٌ اِلَّا رَسُوۡلٌ  ۚ قَدۡ خَلَتۡ مِنۡ قَبۡلِهِ الرُّسُلُ​ؕ اَفَا۟ـئِنْ مَّاتَ اَوۡ قُتِلَ انْقَلَبۡتُمۡ عَلٰٓى اَعۡقَابِكُمۡ​ؕ وَمَنۡ يَّنۡقَلِبۡ عَلٰى عَقِبَيۡهِ فَلَنۡ يَّضُرَّ اللّٰهَ شَيۡـئًا​ ؕ وَسَيَجۡزِى اللّٰهُ الشّٰكِرِيۡنَ‏  
( 144 )   Muhammad is not but a messenger. [Other] messengers have passed on before him. So if he was to die or be killed, would you turn back on your heels [to unbelief]? And he who turns back on his heels will never harm Allah at all; but Allah will reward the grateful.
When the rumour of the Prophet's martyrdom spread during the battle, it disheartened most of the Companions. The hypocrites who were in the Muslim camp began to advise the believers to approach 'Abd Allah b. Ubayy so that he might secure protection for them from Abu Sufyan. Some went so far as to say that had Muhammad really been the Messenger of God he would not have been put to death, and for that reason they counselled people to revert to their ancestral faith. It is in this context that the Muslims are now told that if their devotion to the truth is wholly bound up with the person of Muhammad (peace be on him), and if their submission to God is so lukewarm that his demise would cause them to plunge back into the disbelief they had cast off, then they should bear in mind the fact that Islam does not need them.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
This verse primarily applies to the battle of Uhud, in the course of which a cry was raised that the Messenger was slain. He had indeed been severely wounded, but Talha, Abu Bakr, and Ali were at his side, and his own unexampled bravery saved the Muslim army from a rout. This verse was recalled again by Abu Bakr when the Messenger actually died a natural death eight years later, to remind people that Allah, Whose Message he brought, lives for ever. And have need to remember this now and often for two reasons: (1) when we feel inclined to pay more than human honour to one who was the truest, the purest, and the greatest of men, and thus in a sense to compound for our forgetting the spirit of his teaching, and (2) when we feel depressed at the chances and changes of time, and forget that Allah lives and watches over us and over all His creatures now as in a history in the past and in the future.

وَمَا كَانَ لِنَفۡسٍ اَنۡ تَمُوۡتَ اِلَّا بِاِذۡنِ اللّٰهِ كِتٰبًا مُّؤَجَّلًا ؕ وَ مَنۡ يُّرِدۡ ثَوَابَ الدُّنۡيَا نُؤۡتِهٖ مِنۡهَا ​ۚ وَمَنۡ يُّرِدۡ ثَوَابَ الۡاٰخِرَةِ نُؤۡتِهٖ مِنۡهَا ​ؕ وَسَنَجۡزِى الشّٰكِرِيۡنَ
( 145 )   And it is not [possible] for one to die except by permission of Allah at a decree determined. And whoever desires the reward of this world - We will give him thereof; and whoever desires the reward of the Hereafter - We will give him thereof. And we will reward the grateful.
The purpose of this directive is to bring home to the Muslims that it would be futile for them to try to flee from death. No one can either die before or survive the moment determined for death by God. Hence one should not waste one's time thinking how to escape death. Instead, one should take stock of one's activities and see whether one's efforts have either been directed merely to one's well-being in this world or to well-being in the Hereafter.

The word thawab denotes recompense and reward. The 'reward of this world' signifies the totality of benefits and advantages which a man receives as a consequence of his actions and efforts within the confines of this world. The 'reward of the Other World' denotes the benefits that a man will receive in the lasting World to Come as the fruits of his actions and efforts. From the Islamic point of view, the crucial question bearing upon human morals is whether a man keeps his attention focused on the worldly results of his endeavours or on the results which will acrue to him in the Next World.

The 'ones who are grateful' are those who fully appreciate God's favour in making the true religion available to them, and thereby intimating to them knowledge of a realm that is infinitely vaster than this world. Such people appreciate that God has graciously informed them of the truth so that the consequences of human endeavour are not confined to the brief span of earthly life but cover a vast expanse, embracing both the present life and the much more important life of the Hereafter.

A grateful man is he who, having gained this breadth of outlook and having developed this long-range perception of the ultimate consequences of things, persists in acts of righteousness out of his faith in God and his confidence in God's assurance that they will bear fruit in the Hereafter. He does so even though he may sometimes find that, far from bearing fruit, righteousness leads to privation and suffering in this world. The ungrateful ones are those who persist in a narrow preoccupation with earthly matters. They are those who disregard the evil consequences of unrighteousness in the Hereafter, seizing everything which appears to yield benefits and advantages in this world, and who are not prepared to devote their time and energy to those acts of goodness which promise to bear fruit in the Hereafter and which are either unlikely to yield earthly advantages or are fraught with risks. Such people are ungrateful and lack appreciation of the valuable knowledge vouchsafed to them by God.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
There is a slight touch of irony in this. As applied to the archers at Uhud, who deserted their post for the sake of plunder, they might have got some plunder, but they put themselves and the whole of their army into jeopardy. For a little worldly gain, they nearly lost their souls. On the other hand, those who took the long view and fought with staunchness and discipline,-their reward was swift and sure. If they died, they got the crown of martyrdom. If they lived, they were heroes honoured in this life and the next.

Professor Ghamidi Explanation:
Here the attention of the addressees is directed at those weaknesses because of which they were estimating things about God and His prophet that are mentioned here. Among these, two things are specifically highlighted. Firstly, they did not believe that the time of each person’s death is pre-determined; neither can a person bring it earlier nor can he delay his death by a second when the time arrives. Secondly, the purpose of all their endeavours was this worldly life; they did not have the ability to look beyond their worldly interests; hence they were not convinced that the deprivations of this world will be compensated in the Hereafter, and what people are losing here will in fact be fully recompensed for their sacrifice there.

Verses 146-148 Prophets and their followers and Supplication of the believers:

وَكَاَيِّنۡ مِّنۡ نَّبِىٍّ قٰتَلَ ۙ مَعَهٗ رِبِّيُّوۡنَ كَثِيۡرٌ ۚ فَمَا وَهَنُوۡا لِمَاۤ اَصَابَهُمۡ فِىۡ سَبِيۡلِ اللّٰهِ وَمَا ضَعُفُوۡا وَمَا اسۡتَكَانُوۡا ​ؕ وَاللّٰهُ يُحِبُّ الصّٰبِرِيۡنَ‏ 

( 146 )   And how many a prophet [fought and] with him fought many religious scholars. But they never lost assurance due to what afflicted them in the cause of Allah, nor did they weaken or submit. And Allah loves the steadfast.
Professor Ghamidi Explanation:
In order to portray this meaning, the Arabic words used are وَهْن، ضُعْف and اِسْتِكَانَة. Though all of them commonly mean “weakness,” however, there exists a subtle difference between them. Iman Amin Ahsan Islahi, while explaining this difference writes:
… وَهن refers to the weakness which is produced in a person because of fear for death and love for life. The barrier which occurs as a result of this between intention and practice is called ضُعْف. From this ضُعْف, the consequence of submitting to the enemy is called اِسْتِكَانَة. (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 2, 187)
The implication of the verse is that encountering the enemy in a battle and as a result of this facing trials and hardships is not a rare issue as regards the Prophet of God that people should become disheartened. Such hardships have been borne by previous prophets as well. The battles fought by David (sws), Solomon (sws) and Moses (sws) are mentioned in the Bible at a number of places. Such battles are an essential part of the divine law of trials, and a true believer should not become anxious on this situation.

وَمَا كَانَ قَوۡلَهُمۡ اِلَّاۤ اَنۡ قَالُوۡا رَبَّنَا اغۡفِرۡ لَنَا ذُنُوۡبَنَا وَاِسۡرَافَنَا فِىۡۤ اَمۡرِنَا وَ ثَبِّتۡ اَقۡدَامَنَا وَانۡصُرۡنَا عَلَى الۡقَوۡمِ الۡكٰفِرِيۡنَ‏ 
( 147 )   And their words were not but that they said, "Our Lord, forgive us our sins and the excess [committed] in our affairs and plant firmly our feet and give us victory over the disbelieving people."
فَاٰتٰٮهُمُ اللّٰهُ ثَوَابَ الدُّنۡيَا وَحُسۡنَ ثَوَابِ الۡاٰخِرَةِ​ ؕ وَاللّٰهُ يُحِبُّ الۡمُحۡسِنِيۡنَ 
( 148 )   So Allah gave them the reward of this world and the good reward of the Hereafter. And Allah loves the doers of good.
Ruku / Section 16 [Verses 149-155]
Verses 149-151 Do not follow the unbelievers:

يٰۤـاَيُّهَا الَّذِيۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡۤا اِنۡ تُطِيۡعُوا الَّذِيۡنَ كَفَرُوۡا يَرُدُّوۡكُمۡ عَلٰٓى اَعۡقَابِكُمۡ فَتَـنۡقَلِبُوۡا خٰسِرِيۡنَ‏ 
( 149 )   O you who have believed, if you obey those who disbelieve, they will turn you back on your heels, and you will [then] become losers.
That is, they would push them back into the same state of unbelief from which they had extricated themselves. Since the Battle of Uhud the hypocrites and the Jews had constantly propagated the idea that, had Muhammad been a true Prophet, he would not have suffered the reverse that he encountered in that battle. This reverse was offered as proof that Muhammad (peace be on him) was an ordinary person whose fortunes varied, like those of other men, between victory and defeat. They further contended that the support and patronage of God which Muhammad claimed to enjoy was a sham.

Explanation of Professor Ghamidi:
This is a reference to the propaganda which was spread among the Muslims after they suffered losses in the battle of Uhud and from which the leaders of the disbelievers of Makkah tried to convince people that if Muhammad (sws) had been sent by God, he would never have suffered this loss. They would tell people that this conflict was primarily based on resources and strategy: once the Muslims won and this time, they have lost. Divine help has nothing to do with this whole affair.

بَلِ اللّٰهُ مَوۡلٰٮكُمۡ​ۚ وَهُوَ خَيۡرُ النّٰصِرِيۡنَ‏ 
( 150 )   But Allah is your protector, and He is the best of helpers.
سَنُلۡقِىۡ فِىۡ قُلُوۡبِ الَّذِيۡنَ كَفَرُوا الرُّعۡبَ بِمَاۤ اَشۡرَكُوۡا بِاللّٰهِ مَا لَمۡ يُنَزِّلۡ بِهٖ سُلۡطٰنًا ​​ۚ وَمَاۡوٰٮهُمُ النَّارُ​ؕ وَ بِئۡسَ مَثۡوَى الظّٰلِمِيۡنَ‏ 
( 151 )   We will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve for what they have associated with Allah of which He had not sent down [any] authority. And their refuge will be the Fire, and wretched is the residence of the wrongdoers.
Verses 152-153 Result of disobeying the Rasool:

وَلَقَدْ صَدَقَكُمُ اللَّـهُ وَعْدَهُ إِذْ تَحُسُّونَهُم بِإِذْنِهِ ۖ حَتَّىٰ إِذَا فَشِلْتُمْ وَتَنَازَعْتُمْ فِي الْأَمْرِ وَعَصَيْتُم مِّن بَعْدِ مَا أَرَاكُم مَّا تُحِبُّونَ ۚ مِنكُم مَّن يُرِيدُ الدُّنْيَا وَمِنكُم مَّن يُرِيدُ الْآخِرَةَ ۚ ثُمَّ صَرَفَكُمْ عَنْهُمْ لِيَبْتَلِيَكُمْ ۖ وَلَقَدْ عَفَا عَنكُمْ ۗ وَاللَّـهُ ذُو فَضْلٍ عَلَى الْمُؤْمِنِينَ 
( 152 )   And Allah had certainly fulfilled His promise to you when you were killing the enemy by His permission until [the time] when you lost courage and fell to disputing about the order [given by the Prophet] and disobeyed after He had shown you that which you love. Among you are some who desire this world, and among you are some who desire the Hereafter. Then he turned you back from them [defeated] that He might test you. And He has already forgiven you, and Allah is the possessor of bounty for the believers.
The failure of the Muslims was of such a serious nature that had God not pardoned them they might have been obliterated there and then. It was out of God's grace, support and patronage that after the Muslims had been overpowered by the enemy the latter were seized with perplexity and confusion, and withdrew.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
The order was: not to leave the post and strictly to maintain discipline. Uhud was in the beginning a victory for the Muslims. Many of the enemy were slain, and they were retiring when a part of the Muslims, against orders, ran in pursuit, attracted by the prospects of booty.

The disobedience seemed at first pleasant: they were chasing the enemy, and there was the prospect of booty. But when the gap was noticed by the enemy, they turned the flank round the hill and nearly overwhelmed the Muslims. Had it not been for Allah's grace, and the firmness of their Prophet and his immediate Companions, they would have been finished.

Explanation of Professor Ghamidi:
The actual word is: بِاِذۡنِہٖ. The purpose is to show that the extraordinary consequence of the battle in the first phase was not the result of any planning or strategy of the Muslims: it was because of God’s power and intention.

This is a reference to the trial Muslims faced at the time of Uhud. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:
… All authorities of history are unanimous that the initial onslaught of the Muslims in this battle was very successful. They had prevailed upon the enemy. However, one group of combatants which was deputed at a mountain pass and which had been directed by Muhammad(sws) to not leave their place come what may, deserted their place before time to grab a share in the war booty. Very few from this group remained stationed at their place. A battalion of the enemy took advantage of this situation and with a concerted effort attacked the Muslims from the rear. So successful was this attack that Muslims lost their wits. (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 2, 193)
The implication is that such was the nature of the mistake committed by the Muslims that they should have been punished; however, it is God’s grace that He forgave them and instead of leaving them at the mercy of the enemy gave them the opportunity to return to their homes after merely making them pass through a trial.

اِذۡ تُصۡعِدُوۡنَ وَلَا تَلۡوٗنَ عَلٰٓى اَحَدٍ وَّالرَّسُوۡلُ يَدۡعُوۡكُمۡ فِىۡۤ اُخۡرٰٮكُمۡ فَاَثَابَكُمۡ غَمًّا ۢ بِغَمٍّ لِّـكَيۡلَا تَحۡزَنُوۡا عَلٰى مَا فَاتَكُمۡ وَلَا مَاۤ اَصَابَكُمۡ​ؕ وَاللّٰهُ خَبِيۡرٌۢ بِمَا تَعۡمَلُوۡنَ‏ 
( 153 )   [Remember] when you [fled and] climbed [the mountain] without looking aside at anyone while the Messenger was calling you from behind. So Allah repaid you with distress upon distress so you would not grieve for that which had escaped you [of victory and spoils of war] or [for] that which had befallen you [of injury and death]. And Allah is [fully] Acquainted with what you do.
When subjected to a sudden two-pronged attack the Muslims scattered; some fled to Madina while others climbed Mount Uhud. Despite this, the Prophet (peace be on him) did not move from his position. The enemy surrounded him on all sides and only a small party of ten to twelve followers was left with him. Even at that critical moment his feet remained firm and he continued to summon his fleeing followers towards himself.

The 'grief referred to in this verse had many causes: (i) by the setback the Muslims suffered on the battlefield and by the rumour that the Prophet (peace be on him) had been martyred; (ii) by the fact that a large number of believers had been killed and wounded; and (iii) by the fact that nothing was known about what was happening to the Muslim families left behind in Madina. For it was possible that the enemy was greater in numbers than the total population of Madina, and that it might break through the defences of the battered.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
It would seem that a party of horsemen led by the dashing Khalid ibn Al-walid came through the gap in the passes where the Muslim archers should have been, and in the confusion that arose, the retreating foe rallied and turned back on the Muslims. From the low ground on the bank of the valley the Muslims retreated in their turn and tried to gain the hill. They had a double loss: (1) they were baulked of the booty they had run after, and (2) their own lives and the lives of their whole army were in danger, and many lives were actually lost from their ranks. Their own lives being in danger, they had hardly time to grieve for the general calamity. But it steadied them, and some of them stood the test.

Explanation of Professor Ghamidi:
The actual word is: اِصْعَاد. It means to advance towards an incline. From this very meaning has emerged the idiom اصْعَدَ فِي العَدُو in which the meaning of running forward in a certain direction has been incorporated in the word.

The actual words are: غَمًّۢا بِغَمٍّ. The ب here stands for talabbus (attachment): first the sorrow of defeat came their way and then another sorrow that was attached to it came upon them. While explaining this second sorrow, Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:
… In my opinion, this refers to the sorrow which the Muslims faced during this time from the rumour spread by the disbelievers about the Prophet’s martyrdom. This rumour is mentioned in history and biography books and this verse of the Qur’an is also indicative of it: Muslims were running amok in such a manner that they were not even aware of what was happening around them and who was calling and who was called for; so much so, they did not even pay attention to the Messenger who was continuously calling them towards himself from their rear. After that comes a ف which occurs in Arabic to state a consequence, after which the consequence is stated. It is evident that this sorrow must relate to the person of Muhammad (sws) so that they are warned on their lack of giving due importance to him. (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 2, 193).
The implication is that after passing through such trials and tribulations it will become evident to them that this world is not the real place of success and failure; it is a place of test; hence every calamity that takes place here must be viewed from this aspect. If this is kept in consideration, it is hoped that such calamities will never frustrate and disappoint them to the extent that shakes and breaks a person’s determination and will. This attitude will also produce perseverance in them.

Verses 154-155 After grief Allah bestowed peace and There is no escape from death:

ثُمَّ أَنزَلَ عَلَيْكُم مِّن بَعْدِ الْغَمِّ أَمَنَةً نُّعَاسًا يَغْشَىٰ طَائِفَةً مِّنكُمْ ۖ وَطَائِفَةٌ قَدْ أَهَمَّتْهُمْ أَنفُسُهُمْ يَظُنُّونَ بِاللَّـهِ غَيْرَ الْحَقِّ ظَنَّ الْجَاهِلِيَّةِ ۖ يَقُولُونَ هَل لَّنَا مِنَ الْأَمْرِ مِن شَيْءٍ ۗ قُلْ إِنَّ الْأَمْرَ كُلَّهُ لِلَّـهِ ۗ يُخْفُونَ فِي أَنفُسِهِم مَّا لَا يُبْدُونَ لَكَ ۖ يَقُولُونَ لَوْ كَانَ لَنَا مِنَ الْأَمْرِ شَيْءٌ مَّا قُتِلْنَا هَاهُنَا ۗ قُل لَّوْ كُنتُمْ فِي بُيُوتِكُمْ لَبَرَزَ الَّذِينَ كُتِبَ عَلَيْهِمُ الْقَتْلُ إِلَىٰ مَضَاجِعِهِمْ ۖ وَلِيَبْتَلِيَ اللَّـهُ مَا فِي صُدُورِكُمْ وَلِيُمَحِّصَ مَا فِي قُلُوبِكُمْ ۗ وَاللَّـهُ عَلِيمٌ بِذَاتِ الصُّدُورِ
( 154 )   Then after distress, He sent down upon you security [in the form of] drowsiness, overcoming a faction of you, while another faction worried about themselves, thinking of Allah other than the truth - the thought of ignorance, saying, "Is there anything for us [to have done] in this matter?" Say, "Indeed, the matter belongs completely to Allah." They conceal within themselves what they will not reveal to you. They say, "If there was anything we could have done in the matter, some of us would not have been killed right here." Say, "Even if you had been inside your houses, those decreed to be killed would have come out to their death beds." [It was] so that Allah might test what is in your breasts and purify what is in your hearts. And Allah is Knowing of that within the breasts.
 A strange phenomenon was then experienced by certain Muslim soldiers. Abu Talhah, who took part in the battle, states that the Muslims were seized by such drowsiness that their swords were slipping from their hands.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
After the first surprise, when the enemy turned on them, a great part of the Muslims did their best, and seeing their mettle, the enemy withdrew to his camp. There was a lull; the wounded had rest; those who had fought the hard fight were visited by kindly Sleep, sweet Nature's nurse. In contrast to them was the band of Hypocrites, whose behaviour is described in the next note.

The Hypocrites withdrew from the fighting. Apparently they had been among those who had been counselling the defence of Madinah within the walls instead of boldly coming out to meet the enemy. Their distress was caused by their own mental state: the sleep of the just was denied them: and they continued to murmur of what might have been. Only fools do so: wise men face actualities.

That testing by Allah is not in order that it may add to His knowledge, for He knows all. It is in order to help us subjectively, to mould our will, and purge us of any grosser motives, that will be searched out by calamity. If it is a hardened sinner, the test brings conviction out of his own self. Cf. also iii. 140.

Explanation of Professor Ghamidi:
Even though the enemy had gone, yet, as is evident from some narratives, because of fear and cowardice, they thought that they were expecting them to hit back on them any time.

The actual words are: یَظُنُّوۡنَ بِاللّٰہِ غَیۡرَ الۡحَقِّ ظَنَّ الۡجَاہِلِیَّۃِ. The words ظَنَّ الۡجَاہِلِیَّۃِ are actually explaining غَیۡرَ الۡحَقِّ. The purpose is to tell them that the reason for their cowardice is that their manner of thinking is still the same as they had in the times of the age of jahiliyyah before they had embraced faith.

They were of the opinion that had Muhammad(sws) not imposed his decision in a dictatorial manner and had followed the suggestion of fighting the enemy from within the city of Madinah, this sorry situation would not have arisen.

The وَ (wa) in the Qur’anic words وَ لِیَبۡتَلِیَ اللّٰہُ مَا فِیۡ صُدُوۡرِکُمۡ indicates that all this is implied here yet not stated in words.

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ تَوَلَّوْا مِنكُمْ يَوْمَ الْتَقَى الْجَمْعَانِ إِنَّمَا اسْتَزَلَّهُمُ الشَّيْطَانُ بِبَعْضِ مَا كَسَبُوا ۖ وَلَقَدْ عَفَا اللَّـهُ عَنْهُمْ ۗ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ غَفُورٌ حَلِيمٌ
( 155 )   Indeed, those of you who turned back on the day the two armies met, it was Satan who caused them to slip because of some [blame] they had earned. But Allah has already forgiven them. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Forbearing.
Yusuf Ali Explanation:
It was the duty of all who were able to fight, to fight in the sacred cause at Uhud. But a small section were timid; they were not quite as bad as those who railed against Allah, or those who thoughtlessly disobeyed orders. But they still failed in their duty. It is our inner motives that Allah regards. These timorous people were forgiven by Allah. Perhaps they were given another chance: perhaps they rose to it and did their duty then.

Explanation of Professor Ghamidi:
This refers to the day in the battle of Uhud when certain weak Muslims were influenced by the mischief of ‘Abdullah ibn Ubayy and his compatriots.

Here the Qur’an has clarified that it was because of their previous mistakes that Satan was successful in misleading them. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:

… From sin emanates sin, and the onslaughts of Satan are more successful against those in whom sins have roots. For this reason, it is essential that when a person commits a sin, he should not continue to harbour it; in fact, he should cleanse himself of it by asking for God’s forgiveness and by sincerely repenting on it. (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 2, 197)

Ruku / Section 17 [Verses 156-172]

Verses 156-158 Life and death is from Allah:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَكُونُوا كَالَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا وَقَالُوا لِإِخْوَانِهِمْ إِذَا ضَرَبُوا فِي الْأَرْضِ أَوْ كَانُوا غُزًّى لَّوْ كَانُوا عِندَنَا مَا مَاتُوا وَمَا قُتِلُوا لِيَجْعَلَ اللَّـهُ ذَٰلِكَ حَسْرَةً فِي قُلُوبِهِمْ ۗ وَاللَّـهُ يُحْيِي وَيُمِيتُ ۗ وَاللَّـهُ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ بَصِيرٌ 
( 156 )   O you who have believed, do not be like those who disbelieved and said about their brothers when they traveled through the land or went out to fight, "If they had been with us, they would not have died or have been killed," so Allah makes that [misconception] a regret within their hearts. And it is Allah who gives life and causes death, and Allah is Seeing of what you do.
Such ideas had no solid ground. God's decree regarding the time of one's death cannot be deferred. Those who lack faith in God and think that everything is dependent on their own scheming and effort rather than on the overpowering Will of God become victims of perpetual remorse, since they never cease to reflect how a slightly different circumstance or slightly altered strategy could have led to an altogether different and wholesome result.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
It is want of faith that makes people afraid (1) of meeting death, (2) of doing their duty when it involves danger, as in travelling in order to earn an honest living, or fighting in a sacred cause. Such fear is part of the punishment for want of faith. If you have faith, there is no fear in meeting death, for it brings you nearer to your goal, nor in meeting danger for a sufficient cause, because you know that the keys of life and death are in Allah's hands. Nothing can happen without Allah's Will. If it is Allah's Will that you should die, your staying at home will not save you. If it is His Will that you should live, the danger you incur in a just cause brings you glory. Supposing it is His Will that you should lose your life in the danger, there are three considerations that would make you eager to meet it: (1) dying in doing your duty is the best means of reaching Allah's Mercy; (2) the man of faith knows that he is not going to an unknown country of which he has no news; he is going nearer to Allah; and (3) he is being "brought together" unto Allah; i.e., he will meet all his dear ones in faith: instead of the separation which the souls without faith fear, he looks forward to a surer reunion than is possible in this life.

Explanation of Professor Ghamidi:
The actual words are: قَالُوۡا لِاِخۡوَانِہِمۡ. The ل used here is in the same meaning as in the following verse of Surah Ahqaf: وَ قَالَ الَّذِیۡنَکَفَرُوۡا لِلَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا.

And in this manner, He punished them in this very world for their false notion that they can defer death through their strategies.

The attitude which this verse urges one to adopt, in the words of Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi, is:

… This verse does not call for intrepidity; it only informs people of the reality that shirking responsibility is no strategy to save life. The correct approach is that a person should try to discharge the obligation with full determination as soon as it is imposed on him, and have the conviction that death will come at its appointed time, and also have the conviction that being slain while discharging an obligation is far better than all the treasures of this life that one can amass. (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 2, 207)

وَلَئِن قُتِلْتُمْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّـهِ أَوْ مُتُّمْ لَمَغْفِرَةٌ مِّنَ اللَّـهِ وَرَحْمَةٌ خَيْرٌ مِّمَّا يَجْمَعُونَ
( 157 )   And if you are killed in the cause of Allah or die - then forgiveness from Allah and mercy are better than whatever they accumulate [in this world].
Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Notice a beautiful little literary touch here. At first sight you would expect the second person here ("you could amass"), to match the second person in the earlier clause. But remember that the second person in earlier clause refers to the man of faith, and the third person in the last line refers to the Unbelievers; as if it said: "Of course you as a man of faith would not be for hoarding riches: your wealth,-duty and the mercy of Allah,-is far more precious than anything the Unbelievers can amass in their selfish lives. "

وَلَئِن مُّتُّمْ أَوْ قُتِلْتُمْ لَإِلَى اللَّـهِ تُحْشَرُونَ 
( 158 )   And whether you die or are killed, unto Allah you will be gathered.
Verse 159 Consult before making a decision, once decision is made then be firm:

فَبِمَا رَحْمَةٍ مِّنَ اللَّـهِ لِنتَ لَهُمْ ۖ وَلَوْ كُنتَ فَظًّا غَلِيظَ الْقَلْبِ لَانفَضُّوا مِنْ حَوْلِكَ ۖ فَاعْفُ عَنْهُمْ وَاسْتَغْفِرْ لَهُمْ وَشَاوِرْهُمْ فِي الْأَمْرِ ۖ فَإِذَا عَزَمْتَ فَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللَّـهِ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُتَوَكِّلِينَ
( 159 )   So by mercy from Allah, [O Muhammad], you were lenient with them. And if you had been rude [in speech] and harsh in heart, they would have disbanded from about you. So pardon them and ask forgiveness for them and consult them in the matter. And when you have decided, then rely upon Allah. Indeed, Allah loves those who rely [upon Him].
Yusuf Ali Explanation:
The extremely gentle nature of Muhammad endeared him to all, and it is reckoned as one of the Mercies of Allah. One of the Prophet's titles is "A Mercy to all Creation." At no time was this gentleness, this mercy, this long-suffering with human weaknesses, more valuable than after a disaster like that at Uhud. It is a quality, which then, as always, bound and binds the souls of countless men to him.

Explanation of Professor Ghamidi:
The actual words are: فَبِمَا رَحۡمَۃٍ مِّنَ اللّٰہِ. The letter مَا in them is to maintain the rhyme and rhythm of the sentence.

The criticism made earlier on the Hypocrites could have led Muhammad(sws) and his companions to harden their attitude towards them. The Almighty did not approve of this attitude in this phase of his mission. So Muhammad(sws) is affectionately told that the gracious demeanour he had adopted in their case in the past was the right way to deal with them and now also he should adhere to this mannerism so that those among them who have the slightest ability to reform themselves are provided with this opportunity. A further directive given to him is that he should keep consulting the Hypocrites in the affairs of state because the time has not come to sever them from the Muslims. They still have time. Until the decree of God arrives about them, their social rights should be honoured the way they were in the past.

This context of the directive is specific as is evident from this explanation. However, it can be inferred from it that in normal circumstances it is desirable that those who are in authority should be gentle, forgiving and gracious. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:

… It is this attitude which engenders confidence and a positive approach in people. As a result of these traits, the collective system is blessed with unity, strength and stability. Sternness and harshness are not the rules of this system; rather they are exceptions to the rule. Just as the real thing for health is food but for the purpose of treating an ailment at times administering medicine is necessary, similarly, in a collective system, the real thing is gentleness; harshness should only be resorted to sparingly when it is utterly required. (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 2, 210).

Once Muhammad (sws) reaches a decision after consulting the Hypocrites, he should not care who among them supports him and who not. Whether he accepts their suggestions or not, in both cases, they can desert him in the most precarious of situations. He should not worry about them; God and the true believers are enough for him.

The real thing is trusting God. It is an essential requirement of faith. For a true believer, means and resources are always secondary.

Verses 160-161 Put your trust in Allah:

إِن يَنصُرْكُمُ اللَّـهُ فَلَا غَالِبَ لَكُمْ ۖ وَإِن يَخْذُلْكُمْ فَمَن ذَا الَّذِي يَنصُرُكُم مِّن بَعْدِهِ ۗ وَعَلَى اللَّـهِ فَلْيَتَوَكَّلِ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ
( 160 )   If Allah should aid you, no one can overcome you; but if He should forsake you, who is there that can aid you after Him? And upon Allah let the believers rely.
 وَمَا كَانَ لِنَبِيٍّ أَن يَغُلَّ ۚ وَمَن يَغْلُلْ يَأْتِ بِمَا غَلَّ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ ۚ ثُمَّ تُوَفَّىٰ كُلُّ نَفْسٍ مَّا كَسَبَتْ وَهُمْ لَا يُظْلَمُونَ
( 161 )   It is not [attributable] to any prophet that he would act unfaithfully [in regard to war booty]. And whoever betrays, [taking unlawfully], will come with what he took on the Day of Resurrection. Then will every soul be [fully] compensated for what it earned, and they will not be wronged.
When the archers, whom the Prophet had posted to defend the army against any attack from the rear, saw that the spoils of the enemy were being collected, they feared that the spoils might fall in their entirety to the lot of the soldiers who were then collecting them, and that they might, therefore, be deprived of their share. It was this idea which had impelled them to leave their posts. When the Prophet returned to Madina after the battle he asked them to explain the cause of their disobedience. When he had heard their unconvincing stories he told them: 'You thought that we would act dishonestly and would not deliver you your share.'  The verse alludes to this here. The purpose is to impress upon them that the Messenger of God himself was the commander of their army and that all their affairs were in his hands alone. What made them feel that their interests were not secure even in the hands of God's Messenger? Did they think that a division of spoils under the direct supervision of the Prophet Would be made in any manner other than that dictated by absolute honesty, trustworthiness and justice?

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Besides the gentleness of his nature, Al-Mustafa was known from his earliest life for his trustworthiness. Hence his title of Al-Amin. Unscrupulous people often read their own low motives into other men, and their accusation, which is meant to injure, fastens on the various virtues for which the man they attack is well known. Some of the Hypocrites after Uhud raised some doubts about the division of the spoils, thinking to sow the seeds of poison in the hearts of the men who had deserted their posts in their craving for booty. Those low suspicions were never believed in by any sensible people, and they have no interest for us now. But the general principles here declared are of eternal value. (1) Prophets of Allah do not act from unworthy motives. (2) Those who act from such motives are the lowest of creatures, and they will make no profit, (3) A prophet of Allah is not to be judged by the same standard as a greedy creature. (4) in Allah's eyes there are various grades of men, and we must try to understand and appreciate such grades. If we trust our Leader, we shall not question his honesty without cause. If he is dishonest, he is not fit to be a leader.

Verses 162-164 Dignity of Rasool:

 أَفَمَنِ اتَّبَعَ رِضْوَانَ اللَّـهِ كَمَن بَاءَ بِسَخَطٍ مِّنَ اللَّـهِ وَمَأْوَاهُ جَهَنَّمُ ۚ وَبِئْسَ الْمَصِيرُ
( 162 )   So is one who pursues the pleasure of Allah like one who brings upon himself the anger of Allah and whose refuge is Hell? And wretched is the destination.
هُمْ دَرَجَاتٌ عِندَ اللَّـهِ ۗ وَاللَّـهُ بَصِيرٌ بِمَا يَعْمَلُونَ 
( 163 )   They are [varying] degrees in the sight of Allah, and Allah is Seeing of whatever they do.
 لَقَدْ مَنَّ اللَّـهُ عَلَى الْمُؤْمِنِينَ إِذْ بَعَثَ فِيهِمْ رَسُولًا مِّنْ أَنفُسِهِمْ يَتْلُو عَلَيْهِمْ آيَاتِهِ وَيُزَكِّيهِمْ وَيُعَلِّمُهُمُ الْكِتَابَ وَالْحِكْمَةَ وَإِن كَانُوا مِن قَبْلُ لَفِي ضَلَالٍ مُّبِينٍ 
( 164 )   Certainly did Allah confer [great] favor upon the believers when He sent among them a Messenger from themselves, reciting to them His verses and purifying them and teaching them the Book and wisdom, although they had been before in manifest error.
Explanation of Professor Ghamidi:
The actual words are: یُعَلِّمُہُمُ الۡکِتٰبَ وَ الۡحِکۡمَۃَ. Just as the word الۡکِتٰب is used in Arabic for a book or a letter, it is also used to denote law. It is evident from parallel verses of the Qur’an that when the word الۡکِتٰب occurs in this manner in conjugation with الْحِكْمَة, the former refers to the shari‘ah and the latter refers to issues of faith and morality.

This is the third aspect of the favour: people to whom Muhammad (sws) was sent were wandering in error; however, the Almighty looked upon them with favour and took them out from error and put them on the right course.

To convey this meaning, the words used are: وَاِنۡ کَانُوۡا مِنۡ قَبۡلُ لَفِیۡ ضَلٰلٍ مُّبِیۡنٍ. Here اِنْ is actually اِنَّ as evidenced by the existence of ل.

Verses 165-172 Lessons to be learned from the Battle of Uhud and Those who are slain in the cause of Allah are not dead:

أَوَلَمَّا أَصَابَتْكُم مُّصِيبَةٌ قَدْ أَصَبْتُم مِّثْلَيْهَا قُلْتُمْ أَنَّىٰ هَـٰذَا ۖ قُلْ هُوَ مِنْ عِندِ أَنفُسِكُمْ ۗ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ
( 165 )   Why [is it that] when a [single] disaster struck you [on the day of Uhud], although you had struck [the enemy in the battle of Badr] with one twice as great, you said, "From where is this?" Say, "It is from yourselves." Indeed, Allah is over all things competent.
The more high ranking Companions were too well aware of reality to fall prey to any misunderstandings. The ordinary believers, however, had thought that as long as God's Messenger was in their midst and as long as they enjoyed God's support and help the unbeliever, could never triumph over them. Hence, when they suffered defeat at the Battle of Uhud, their expectations were shaken and they began to wonder why things had taken the course they had. They wondered why they had been defeated even though they had fought for the sake of God's true religion with God's support, and the Messenger of God was with them on the battlefield. Furthermore, they were worried that the defeat had been at the hands of those who were out to destroy God's true religion. These verses seek to allay this sense of anxiety and rid their minds of doubt and suspicion.

In the Battle of Uhud seventy Muslims were martyred. In the Battle of Badr. seventy unbelievers were killed and seventy taken as captives.

The calamity that had befallen them was the outcome of their own weaknesses and mistakes. They had not remained sufficiently patient, they had acted, in certain respects, in a manner inconsistent with the dictates of piety, they had disobeyed the command that had been given them, they were lured by material wealth and they disputed and quarreled among them-selves. After all this, was it still necessary to ask what caused the debacle?

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
If Uhud was a reverse to the Muslims, they had inflicted a reverse twice as great on the Makkans at Badr. This reverse was not without Allah's permission, for He wanted to test and purify the faith of those who followed Islam, and to show them that they must strive and do all in their power to deserve Allah's help. If they disobeyed orders and neglected discipline, they must attribute the disaster to themselves and not to Allah.

Explanation of Professor Ghamidi:
This objection was raised by people who wrongly thought that the messengers of God are in His protection and angels help them in all instances; so how can it be imagined that he and his companions be inflicted with losses in a battle? People who held this opinion were very disturbed at the losses incurred by the Muslims in the battle of Uhud. Various doubts arose in their minds regarding the veracity of Muhammad (sws). So the Hypocrites took advantage of this mental state of theirs and began presenting this loss as evidence against him. The Qur’an in this verse and in the subsequent one has removed this misconception, and stated the wisdom behind this trial.

This is a reference to the mistake committed in the battle of Uhud by the group which had been deputed to protect the pass. They disobeyed Muhammad’s (sws) directive and in their greed for war booty left their place. As a result, Muslims faced the calamity which these verses mention.

If God has the power to make them victorious He also has the power to bring about their defeat.

وَمَا أَصَابَكُمْ يَوْمَ الْتَقَى الْجَمْعَانِ فَبِإِذْنِ اللَّـهِ وَلِيَعْلَمَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ
( 166 )   And what struck you on the day the two armies met was by permission of Allah that He might make evident the [true] believers.
 وَلِيَعْلَمَ الَّذِينَ نَافَقُوا ۚ وَقِيلَ لَهُمْ تَعَالَوْا قَاتِلُوا فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّـهِ أَوِ ادْفَعُوا ۖ قَالُوا لَوْ نَعْلَمُ قِتَالًا لَّاتَّبَعْنَاكُمْ ۗ هُمْ لِلْكُفْرِ يَوْمَئِذٍ أَقْرَبُ مِنْهُمْ لِلْإِيمَانِ ۚ يَقُولُونَ بِأَفْوَاهِهِم مَّا لَيْسَ فِي قُلُوبِهِمْ ۗ وَاللَّـهُ أَعْلَمُ بِمَا يَكْتُمُونَ
( 167 )   And that He might make evident those who are hypocrites. For it was said to them, "Come, fight in the way of Allah or [at least] defend." They said, "If we had known [there would be] fighting, we would have followed you." They were nearer to disbelief that day than to faith, saying with their mouths what was not in their hearts. And Allah is most Knowing of what they conceal
When 'Abd Allah b. Ubayy decided to withdraw from the battlefield with his men several Muslims attempted to persuade him not to do so. Ibn Ubayy replied that he was sure that there would be no fighting that day, and he assured them that had he expected fighting to take place, he would have gone along with them.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
The testing of the Hypocrites was the searching out of their motives and exposing them to the sight of their brethren, who might otherwise have been taken in. In the first place they gave counsels of caution: in their minds it was nothing but cowardice. In the second place, what they wished was not the good of the community but its being placed in a contemptible position. When others were for self-sacrifice, they were for ease and fair words. Pretending to be Muslims, they were nearer to Unbelief. Ironically they pretended to know nothing of fighting, and left their devout brethren to defend their faith and ideas. If that devout spirit did not appeal to them, they might at least have defended their city of Madinah when it was threatened,-defended their hearths and homes as good citizens

الَّذِينَ قَالُوا لِإِخْوَانِهِمْ وَقَعَدُوا لَوْ أَطَاعُونَا مَا قُتِلُوا ۗ قُلْ فَادْرَءُوا عَنْ أَنفُسِكُمُ الْمَوْتَ إِن كُنتُمْ صَادِقِينَ
( 168 )   Those who said about their brothers while sitting [at home], "If they had obeyed us, they would not have been killed." Say, "Then prevent death from yourselves, if you should be truthful."
In verses 169 and onward, It has been made clear by Allah that those who have been killed serving Allah are not dead but alive and happy.  They are receiving Allah’s grace and bounty and know that the reward of the believers will not be lost.  Those that remain faithful after suffering defeat will have a great reward.  Those who ignored the words of the hypocrites who were trying to instill fear suffered no harm but instead also received grace and bounty from Allah.  Allah reveals that it was Satan trying to instill fear but reminds the believers not to fear him.  He says fear only Me (Allah).

Allah tells Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) not to grieve over those who turn back to disbelief.  They will cause Allah no harm at all and they will find a terrible torment awaiting them in the Hereafter.  Those who barter faith for disbelief will also face a fierce punishment.  Some disbelievers are given more time on this earth but it is not a reward it is just a way to increase their burden of sins.  Allah will separate the believers from the hypocrites but not by revealing the unseen.  If you want to know about the unseen, know this, Allah chooses whomever he wants to be a Messenger, so believe in Allah and His Messenger and guard yourselves from evil.

 وَلَا تَحْسَبَنَّ الَّذِينَ قُتِلُوا فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّـهِ أَمْوَاتًا ۚ بَلْ أَحْيَاءٌ عِندَ رَبِّهِمْ يُرْزَقُونَ
( 169 )   And never think of those who have been killed in the cause of Allah as dead. Rather, they are alive with their Lord, receiving provision,
The word 'death' as well as its general concept has a depressing effect. People have therefore been instructed not to refer to martyrs who laid down their lives for God as 'dead', since this might lead to the dissipation of the spirit which enables people to struggle and make sacrifices in God's cause. Instead, people have been instructed to bear in mind that anyone who lays down his life for God has in fact attained immortality. As well as being a statement of fact this also helps to arouse and sustain courage.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
A beautiful passage about the Martyrs in the cause of Truth. They are not dead: they live,-and in a far higher and deeper sense than in the life they have left. Even those who have no faith in the Hereafter honour those that die in their cause, with the crown of immortality in the minds and memories of generations unborn. But in Faith we see a higher, truer, and less relative immortality. Perhaps "immortality" is not the right word in this connection, as it implies a continuation of this life. In their case, through the gateway of death, they enter, the true real Life, as opposed to its shadow here.

فَرِحِينَ بِمَا آتَاهُمُ اللَّـهُ مِن فَضْلِهِ وَيَسْتَبْشِرُونَ بِالَّذِينَ لَمْ يَلْحَقُوا بِهِم مِّنْ خَلْفِهِمْ أَلَّا خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ
( 170 )   Rejoicing in what Allah has bestowed upon them of His bounty, and they receive good tidings about those [to be martyred] after them who have not yet joined them - that there will be no fear concerning them, nor will they grieve.
There is a Tradition from the Prophet that he who leaves the world after having lived righteously is greeted with a life so felicitous that he never wishes to return to the world. The only exception to this are martyrs who wish to be sent back to the world so that they may once again attain martyrdom and thereby enjoy that unique joy, bliss and ecstasy which one experiences at the time of laying down one's life for God. (Ahmad b. Hanbal, Musnad, vol. Ill, 103, 126, 153, 173, 251, 276, 278, 284, 289; Bukhari, 'Tafsir al-Qur'an', 6 and 21: Muslim, 'Al-Imarah', 108, 109. 121 - Ed.)

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
The Martyrs not only rejoice at the bliss they have themselves attained. The dear ones left behind are in their thoughts: it is part of their glory that they have saved their dear ones from fear, sorrow, humiliation, and grief, in this life, even before they come to share in the glories of the Hereafter. Note how the refrain: "on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve": comes in here with a new and appropriate meaning. Besides other things, it means that the dear ones have no cause to grieve at the death of the Martyrs; rather have they cause to rejoice.

يَسْتَبْشِرُونَ بِنِعْمَةٍ مِّنَ اللَّـهِ وَفَضْلٍ وَأَنَّ اللَّـهَ لَا يُضِيعُ أَجْرَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ 
( 171 )   They receive good tidings of favor from Allah and bounty and [of the fact] that Allah does not allow the reward of believers to be lost
اَلَّذِيۡنَ اسۡتَجَابُوۡا لِلّٰهِ وَالرَّسُوۡلِ مِنۡۢ بَعۡدِ مَاۤ اَصَابَهُمُ الۡقَرۡحُ  ۛؕ لِلَّذِيۡنَ اَحۡسَنُوۡا مِنۡهُمۡ وَاتَّقَوۡا اَجۡرٌ عَظِيۡمٌ​ۚ‏  
( 172 )   Those [believers] who responded to Allah and the Messenger after injury had struck them. For those who did good among them and feared Allah is a great reward 
When, after the Battle of Uhud, the Makkan polytheists had traveled several stages of their journey, they began to tell themselves what a mistake they had made in allowing the opportunity to crush the power of Muhammad to slip out of their hands. At one place they halted and deliberated among themselves about launching a second attack on Madina. They failed, however, to muster sufficient courage and carried on to Makkah. The Prophet, for his part, also realized that they might attack once again. On the second day of Uhud, therefore, he gathered the Muslims and urged them to pursue the unbelievers. Even though this was a highly critical moment, the true men of faith girded their loins and were prepared to lay down their lives at the behest of the Prophet. They accompanied him to Hamra' al-Asad, eight miles from Madina. The present verse refers to these dedicated men.

These few verses were revealed almost one year after the Battle of Uhud. As they are connected with the events of the battle they were included in the present discourse.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
After the confusion at Uhud, men rallied around the Prophet. He was wounded, and they were wounded, but they were all ready to fight again. Abu Sufyan with his Makkans withdrew, but left a challenge with them to meet him and his army again at the fair of Badr Sugra next year. The challenge was accepted, and a picked band of Muslims under then-intrepid Leader kept the tryst, but the enemy did not come. They returned, not only unharmed, but enriched by the trade at the fair, and (it may be presumed) strengthened by the accession of new adherents to their cause.

Ruku / Section 19 [Verses 173-180]

173-175 Character of the believers at Uhud:

اَلَّذِيۡنَ قَالَ لَهُمُ النَّاسُ اِنَّ النَّاسَ قَدۡ جَمَعُوۡا لَـكُمۡ فَاخۡشَوۡهُمۡ فَزَادَهُمۡ اِيۡمَانًا  ۖ وَّقَالُوۡا حَسۡبُنَا اللّٰهُ وَنِعۡمَ الۡوَكِيۡلُ‏ 
( 173 )   Those to whom hypocrites said, "Indeed, the people have gathered against you, so fear them." But it [merely] increased them in faith, and they said, "Sufficient for us is Allah, and [He is] the best Disposer of affairs."
 فَانْقَلَبُوۡا بِنِعۡمَةٍ مِّنَ اللّٰهِ وَفَضۡلٍ لَّمۡ يَمۡسَسۡهُمۡ سُوۡٓءٌ ۙ وَّاتَّبَعُوۡا رِضۡوَانَ اللّٰهِ ​ؕ وَاللّٰهُ ذُوۡ فَضۡلٍ عَظِيۡمٍ‏ 
( 174 )   So they returned with favor from Allah and bounty, no harm having touched them. And they pursued the pleasure of Allah, and Allah is the possessor of great bounty.
إِنَّمَا ذَٰلِكُمُ الشَّيْطَانُ يُخَوِّفُ أَوْلِيَاءَهُ فَلَا تَخَافُوهُمْ وَخَافُونِ إِن كُنتُم مُّؤْمِنِينَ 
( 175 )   That is only Satan who frightens [you] of his supporters. So fear them not, but fear Me, if you are [indeed] believers.
While returning from the Battle of Uhud, Abu Sufyan challenged the Muslims to another encounter at Badr the following year. But when the appointed time arrived, Abu Sufyan's courage failed him on account of the famine prevailing in Makkah that year. As a face-saving device he arranged to send an agent to Madina who spread the rumour that tremendous war preparations were afoot among the Quraysh, and that they were trying to muster a huge army which would be so powerful that no other power in the whole of Arabia would resist it. The purpose of this rumour was to overawe the Muslims and discourage them from advancing towards Makkah, so that when the confrontation did not take place it would be blamed on the timidity of the Muslims. The effect of this measure was such that when the Prophet (peace be on him) urged the Muslims to accompany him to Badr the initial response was not encouraging. Finally, the Prophet publicly announced that if no one would accompany him, he would go alone. In response, fifteen hundred devotees expressed their willingness and accompanied him to Badr. Abu Sufyan set out with two thousand men but after travelling for two days he told his men that it seemed unwise to fight and that they would return the following year for the proposed encounter. Thus he and his men retreated. The Prophet and his Companions stayed at Badr for eight days awaiting the threatened encounter. Meanwhile, they conducted business with a trade caravan which yielded them considerable profit. Later, when it became known that the unbelievers had gone back to Makkah, the Prophet returned to Madina. (See Ibn Hisham, vol. 2, pp. 209 f.; Ibn Ishaq, Life of Muhammad, pp. 447 f. - Ed.)

Here we come to the end of Part V of the Sürah's exegesis. Next part, that is Part VI: Verses 175 - 189 is the last part, where the main theme of the verses 109 - 120 has been resumed to reassure and encourage the Muslims against the dangerous plots of their enemies.  

This part also includes the concluding verses of the Surah (190-200), which are not directly connected with the verses immediately preceding it but with the theme of the Surah as a whole.

You may now like to listen to Arabic recitation of Sürah Al i Imran with English subtitles:

You may refer to our post "114 Chapters (Sūrahs) of the Holy Qur'an" for translation, meaning and summary / exegesis of other chapters (Though not complete but building up from 30th Juzʼ / Part backwards for chapters in 30th Juzʼ / Part are shorter and easier to understand). 

You may also refer to our Reference Pages for knowing more about Islam and Quran.
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Reading the Holy Quran should be a daily obligation of a Muslim - Reading it with translation will make it meaningful. But reading its Exegesis / Tafsir will make you understand it fully.

An effort has been made to gather explanation / exegesis of the surahs of the Holy Qur'an from authentic sources and then present a least possible condensed explanation of the surah. In that:
  • The plain translation has been taken from the Holy Quran officially published by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. [1]
  • The exegesis of the chapters of the Holy Quran is mainly based on the "Tafhim al-Qur'an - The Meaning of the Qur'an" by one of the most enlightened scholars of the Muslim World Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi. [2]
In order to augment and add more explanation as already provided by [2], additional input has been interjected from following sources: 
In addition the references of  other sources which have been explored have also been given above. Those desirous of detailed explanations and tafsir (exegesis), may refer to these sites.

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