Surah Ali-Imran Ayat 92-136

{92. By no means shall you attain Al-Birr, unless you spend of that which you love; and whatever of good you spend, Allah knows it well.}

Al-Birr is Spending from the Best of One’s Wealth

In his Tafsir, Waki reported, that Amr bin Maymun said that “By no means shall you attain Al-Birr” is in reference to attaining Paradise. Imam Ahmad reported that Anas bin Malik said, “Abu Talhah had more property than any other among the Ansar in Al-Madinah, and the most beloved of his property to him was Bayruha garden, which was in front of the (Messenger’s) Masjid. Sometimes, Allah’s Messenger used to go to the garden and drink its fresh water.” Anas added, “When these verses were revealed, “By no means shall you attain Al-Birr unless You spend of that which you love” Abu Talhah said, ‘O Allah’s Messenger! Allah says, “By no means shall you attain Al-Birr, unless you spend of that which you love” No doubt, Bayruha garden is the most beloved of all my property to me. So I want to give it in charity in Allah’s cause, and I expect its reward and compensation from Allah. O Allah’s Messenger! Spend it where Allah makes you think is feasible. ‘ On that, Allah’s Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him said,

“Well-done! It is profitable property, it is profitable property. I have heard what you have said, and I think it would be proper if you gave it to your kith and kin.” 

Abu Talhah said, ` I will do so, O Allah’s Messenger.’ Then Abu Talhah distributed that garden among his relatives and cousins.” (Ahmad 3:141)

This Hadith was recorded in the Two Sahihs. (fath Al-Bari 8:71 and Muslim 2:663) They also recorded that Umar said, “O Messenger of Allah! I never gained possession of a piece of property more precious to me than my share in Khaybar. Therefore, what do you command me to do with it?” The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him said,

“Retain the land to give its fruits in Allah’s cause.” (Its meaning is with Musim 3:1256)

{93. All food was lawful to the Children of Israel, except what Isra’il made unlawful for himself before the Tawrah was revealed. Say: “Bring here the Tawrah and recite it, if you are truthful. ”

94. Then after that, whosoever shall invent a lie against Allah, then it is these that are the wrongdoers.

95. Say:”Allah has spoken the truth; follow the religion of Ibrahim the Hanif (monotheist), and he was not of the Mushrikin (idolators).”}

The Questions that the Jews Asked Our Prophet

Imam Ahmad recorded that Ibn Abbas said, “A group of Jews came to Allah’s Prophet and said, ‘Talk to us about some things we will ask you and which only a Prophet would know.’ He said, ‘Ask me about whatever you wish. However, give your pledge to Allah, similar to the pledge that Yaqub took from his children, that if I tell you something and you recognize its truth, you will follow me in Islam.’ They said, ‘Agreed.’ The Prophet said, ‘Ask me about whatever you wish.’ They said, ‘Tell us about four matters: 1. What kinds of food did Isra’il prohibit for himself? 2. What about the sexual discharge of the woman and the man, and what role does each play in producing male or female offspring? 3. Tell us about the condition of the unlettered Prophet during sleep, 4. And who is his Wali (supporter) among the angels?’ The Prophet took their covenant that they will follow him if he answers these questions, and they agreed. He said, ‘I ask you by He Who sent down the Tawrah to Musa, do you not know that Isra’il once became very ill? When his illness was prolonged, he vowed to Allah that if He cures His illness, he would prohibit the best types of drink and food for himself. Was not the best food to him camel meat and the best drink camel milk?’ They said, ‘Yes, by Allah.’ The Messenger said, ‘O Allah, be Witness against them.’ The Prophet then said, ‘I ask you by Allah, other than Whom there is no deity (worthy of worship), Who sent down the Tawrah to Musa, do you not know that man’s discharge is thick and white and woman’s is yellow and thin? If any of these fluids becomes dominant, the offspring will take its sex and resemblance by Allah’s leave. Hence, if the man’s is more than the woman’s, the child will be male, by Allah’s leave. If the woman’s discharge is more than the man’s, then the child will be female, by Allah’s leave.’ They said, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘O Allah, be Witness against them.’ He then said, ‘I ask you by He Who sent down the Tawrah to Musa, do you not know that the eyes of this unlettered Prophet sleep, but his heart does not sleep?’ They said, ‘Yes, by Allah!’ He said, ‘O Allah, be Witness.’ They said, ‘Tell us now about your Wali among the angels, for this is when we either follow or shun you.’ He said, ‘My Wali (who brings down the revelation from Allah) is Jibril, and Allah never sent a Prophet, but Jibril is his Wali.’ They said, ‘We then shun you. Had you a Wali other than Jibril, we would have followed you.’ On that, Allah, the Exalted revealed,

“Say: “Whoever is an enemy to Jibril…” (2:97).’ (Ahmad 1:287)

Allah’s statement, “before the Tawrah was revealed” (3:93), means, Isra’il forbade that for himself before the Tawrah was revealed. There are two objectives behind revealing this segment of the Ayah. First, he forbade himself the most delightful things for Allah’s sake. This practice was allowed during his period of Law, and is, thus, suitable that it is mentioned after Allah’s statement, “By no means shall you attain Al-Birr, unless you spend of that which you love” (3: 92).

What we are allowed in our Law is to spend in Allah’s obedience from what we like and covet [but not to prohibit what Allah has allowed]. Allah said in other Ayat;

“And gives his wealth, in spite of love for it,” (2:177), and;

“And they give food, in spite of their love for it,” (76:8).

The second reason is that after Allah refuted the false Christian beliefs and allegations about Isa and his mother. Allah started refuting the Jews here, may Allah curse them, by stating that the abrogation of the Law, that they denied occurs, already occurred in their Law. For instance, Allah has stated in their Book, the Tawrah, that when Nuh departed from the ark, Allah allowed him to eat the meat of all types of animals. Afterwards, Isra’il forbade the meat and milk of camels for himself, and his children imitated this practice after him. The Tawrah later on prohibited this type of food, and added several more types of prohibitions. Allah allowed Adam to marry his daughters to his sons, and this practice was later forbidden. The Law of Ibrahim allowed the man to take female servants as companions along with his wife, as Ibrahim did when he took Hajar, while he was married to Sarah. Later on, the Tawrah prohibited this practice. It was previously allowed to take two sisters as wives at the same time, as Yaqub married two sisters at the same time. Later on, this practice was prohibited in the Tawrah. All these examples are in the Tawrah and constitute a Naskh (abrogation) of the Law. Therefore, let the Jews consider what Allah legislated for Isa and if such legislation falls under the category of abrogation or not. Why do they not then follow Isa in this regard? Rather, the Jews defied and rebelled against Isa and against the correct religion that Allah sent Muhammad with.

This is why Allah said, “All food was lawful to the Children of Israel, except what Isra’il made unlawful for himself before the Tawrah was revealed” (3:93) meaning, before the Tawrah was revealed, all types of foods were allowed, except what Isra’il prohibited for himself. Allah then said, “Say: “Bring here the Tawrah and recite it, if you are truthful.”, for the Tawrah affirms what we are stating here. Allah said next, “Then after that, whosoever shall invent a lie against Allah, then these it is that are the wrongdoers.” (3:94), in reference to those who lie about Allah and claim that He made the Sabbath and the Tawrah eternal. They are those who claim that Allah did not send another Prophet calling to Allah with the proofs and evidences, although evidence indicates that abrogation, as we have described, occurred before in the Tawrah, “then these it is that are the wrongdoers” Allah then said, “Say, “Allah has spoken the truth;” (3:95) meaning,’O Muhammad, say that Allah has said the truth in what He conveyed and legislated in the Qur’an, “follow the religion of Ibrahim the Hanif, and he was not of the idolators.” (3:95).

Therefore, follow the religion of Ibrahim that Allah legislated in the Qur’an. Indeed, this is the truth, there is no doubt in it, and the perfect way, and no Prophet has brought a more complete, clear, plain and perfect way than he did. Allah said in other Ayat,

“Say: “Truly, my Lord has guided me to a straight path, a right religion, the religion of Ibrahim, the Hanif, and he was not of the idolators.” (6:161)

and,

“Then, We have sent the revelation to you (saying): “Follow the religion of Ibrahim, the Hanif, and he was not of the idolaters.” (16:123).

{96. Verily, the first House (of worship) appointed for mankind was that at Bakkah (Makkah), full of blessing, and a guidance for Al-Alamin (mankind and Jinn).

97. In it are manifest signs (for example), the Maqam (station) of Ibrahim; whosoever enters it, he attains security. And Hajj to the House is a duty that mankind owes to Allah, for those who are able to undertake the journey; and whoever disbelieves, then Allah stands not in need of any of the Alamin.}

The Kabah is the First House of Worship

Allah said, “Verily, the first House appointed for mankind” for all people, for their acts of worship and religious rituals. They go around the House [in Tawaf], pray in its vicinity and remain in its area in Itikaf, “was that at Bakkah” meaning, the Kabah that was built by Ibrahim Al-Khalil, whose religion the Jews and Christians claim they follow. However, they do not perform Hajj to the house that Ibrahim built by Allah’s command, and to which he invited the people to perform Hajj. Allah said next, “full of blessing”, sanctified, “and a guidance for Al-Alamin”

Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Dharr said; “I said, ‘O Allah’s Messenger! Which Masjid was the first to be built on the surface of the earth?’ He said, ‘Al-Masjid Al-Haram (in Makkah).’ I said, ‘Which was built next?’ He replied ‘Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa (in Jerusalem).’ I said, ‘What was the period of time between building the two?’ He said, ‘Forty years.’ He added, ‘‘Wherever (you may be, and) the prayer becomes due, perform the prayer there, for the whole earth was made a Masjid.” (Ahmad 5:150) Al-Bukhari and Muslim also collected this Hadith. (Fath Al-Bari 6:469) Muslim 1:370)

The Names of Makkah, Such As Bakkah

Allah said, “was that at Bakkah”, where Bakkah is one of the names of Makkah. Bakkah means, ‘it brings Buka’ (crying, weeping) to the tyrants and arrogant, meaning they cry and become humble in its vicinity. It was also said that Makkah was called Bakkah because people do Buka next to it, meaning they gather around it. There are many names for Makkah, such as Bakkah, Al-Bayt Al- Atiq (the Ancient House), Al-Bayt Al-Haram (the Sacred House), Al-Balad Al-Amin (the City of Safety) and Al-Ma’mun (Security). Makkah’s names include Umm Rahm (Mother of Mercy), Umm Al-Qura (Mother of the Towns), Salah, (as well as others).

The Station of Ibrahim

Allah’s statement, “In it are manifest signs” (3:97), means, clear signs that Ibrahim built the Ka’bah and that Allah has honoured and blessed it. Allah then said, “the Maqam (station) of Ibrahim” When the building [the Kabah] was raised, Ibrahim stood on; the Maqam so that he could raise the walls higher, while his son Ismail was handing the stones to him. We should mention that the Maqam used to be situated right next to the House. Later, and during his reign, Umar bin Al-Khattab moved the Maqam farther to the east, so that those who go around the House in Tawaf are able to perform it easily, without disturbing those who pray next to the Maqam after finishing their Tawaf. Allah commanded us to pray next to the Maqam;

“And take you (people) the Maqam (station) of Ibrahim as a place of prayer” (2:125).

We mentioned the Hadiths about this subject before, and all the thanks are due to Allah. Al- Awfi said that, Ibn Abbas commented on Allah’s statement, “In it are manifest signs, the Maqam of Ibrahim” “Such as the Maqam and Al-Mashar [Al-Haram].” Mujahid said, “The impression of Ibrahim’s feet remains on the Maqam as a clear sign.” It was reported that Umar bin Abdul-Aziz, Al- Hasan, Qat adah, As-Suddi, Muqat il bin Hayyan and others said similarly.

Al-Haram, the Sacred Area, is a Safe Area

Allah said, “whosoever enters it, he attains security” (3:97) meaning, the Haram of Makkah is a safe refuge for those in a state of fear. There in its vicinity, they will be safe, just as was the case during the time of Jahiliyyah. Al-Hasan Al-Basri said, “(During the time of Jahiliyyah) a man would commit murder, then wear a piece of wool around his neck and enter the Haram. And even when the son of the murdered person would meet him, he would not make a move against him, until he left the sanctuary.” Allah said,

 “Have they not seen that We have made (Makkah) a secure sanctuary, while men are being snatched away from all around them?” (29:67), and,

“So let them worship (Allah) the Lord of this House (the Kabah). (He) Who has fed them against hunger, and has made them safe from fear” (106:3-4).

It is not allowed for anyone to hunt in the Haram or to drive game out of its den to be hunted, or cut the trees in its vicinity, or pick its grass, as the Hadiths of the Prophet and the statements of the Companions testify. The Two Sahihs recorded (this being the wording of Muslim) that Ibn Abbas said, “On the day of the conquest of Makkah, the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“There is no more Hijrah (migration to Makkah), only Jihad and good intention. If you were mobilized, then march forth.” 

He also said on the day of the conquest of Makkah,

“Beware! Allah made this town (Makkah) a sanctuary when He created the heavens and earth, and it is sacred by Allah’s decree until the Day of Resurrection. Fighting in Makkah was not permitted for anyone before me, and it was made legal for me for only a few hours or so on that day. No doubt it is at this moment a sanctuary by Allah’s decree until the Day of Resurrection. It is not allowed to uproot its thorny shrubs, hunt its game, pick up its lost objects, except by announcing it, or to up root its trees.”

Al-Abbas said, ‘Except the lemon grass, O Allah’s Messenger, as they use it in their houses and graves.’ The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him said:

“Except lemongrass.” (Fath Al-Bari 4:56, Muslim 2:986)

The Two Sahihs also recorded that Abu Shurayh Al-Adawi said that he said to Amr bin Said while he was sending the troops to Makkah (to fight Abdullah bin Az-Zubayr), “O Commander! Allow me to tell you what Allah’s Messenger said on the day following the conquest of Makkah. My ears heard it and my heart memorized it thoroughly, and I saw the Prophet with my own eyes when he, after glorifying and praising Allah, said,

“Allah, not the people, made Makkah a sanctuary. Therefore, anybody who has belief in Allah and the Last Day, should neither shed blood in it nor cut down its trees. If anybody argues that fighting in it is permissible on the basis that Allah’s Messenger fought in Makkah, say to him, ‘Allah allowed His Messenger and did not allow you.’ Allah allowed me only for a few hours on that day (of the conquest), and today its sanctity is as valid as it was before. So, those who are present, should inform those who are absent of this fact.” 

Abu Shurayh was asked, “What did ‘Amr reply?” He said that Amr said, “O Abu Shurayh! I know better than you in this respect; Makkah does not give protection to a sinner, a murderer or a thief.” (Muslim 2:987)

Jabir bin Abdullah said, “I heard the Messenger of Allah saying,

“None of you is allowed to carry a weapon in Makkah.” (Muslim 2:989)

Abdullah bin Adi bin Al-Hamra Az-Zuhri said that he heard the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him say while standing at Al-Hazwarah in the marketplace of Makkah,

“By Allah! You are the best of Allah’s land and the most beloved land to Allah. Had it not been for the fact that I was driven out of you, I would not have left you.” (Ahmad 4:305)

The Necessity of Performing Hajj

Allah said, “And Hajj to the House is a duty that mankind owes to Allah, for those who are able to undertake the journey” (3:97). This Ayah established the obligation of performing Hajj. There are many Hadiths that mention it as one of the pillars and fundamentals of Islam, and this is agreed upon by the Muslims. According to texts and the consensus of the scholars, it is only obligatory for the adult Muslim to perform it once during his lifetime. Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, once gave a speech in which he said,

”O people! Hajj has been enjoined on you, therefore, perform Hajj.”

A man asked, “Is it every year, O Allah’s Messenger?” The Prophet remained silent until the man repeated the question three times and he then said,

”Had I said yes, it would have become an obligation and you would not have been able to fulfill it.” He said next,

”Leave me as I leave you, those before you were destroyed because of their many questions and disputing with their Prophets. If I command you with something, perform it as much as you can. If I forbid something for you, then refrain from it.” (Muslim:2:975)

Meaning of ‘Afford’ in the Ayah

There are several categories of “the ability to under take the journey”. There is the physical ability of the person himself and the ability that is related to other things as mentioned in the books of jurisprudence. Abu Isa At-Tirmidhi recorded that Ibn Umar said, “A man stood up and asked the Messenger of Allah , ‘O Messenger of Allah! Who is the pilgrim?’ He said, ‘He who has untidy hair and clothes.’ Another man asked, ‘Which Hajj is better, O Messenger of Allah?’ He said, ‘The noisy (with supplication to Allah) and bloody (with sacrifice).’ Another man asked, ‘What is the ability to undertake the journey, O Messenger of Allah?’ He said, ‘Having provision and a means of transportation.”’ (Tuhfat Al-Ahwadhi 8:348)

Al- Hakim narrated that Anas said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, was asked about Allah’s statement, ”for those who are able to undertake the journey” (3:97) “What does ‘able to under take the journey’ mean?” The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, answered, “Having sufficient provision and a means of transportation.”  (Al-Hakim 1:442)

Ahmad recorded that Ibn  Abbas said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him said,

 ”Whoever intends to perform Hajj, let him rush to perform it.” (Ahmad 1:225)

The One who Denies the Necessity of Hajj Becomes a Disbeliever

Allah said, ”…and whoever disbelieves, then Allah stands not in need of any of the Alamin” (3:97). Ibn Abbas, Mujahid and several others commented on this Ayah, “Whoever denies the necessity of Hajj becomes disbeliever, and Allah is far Richer than to need him.” Al-Hafiz Abu Bakr Al-Isma’ili recorded that Umar bin Al-Khattab said, “Whoever can afford Hajj but did not perform it, there is no difference in his case if he dies while Jew or Christian.” This has an authentic chain of narration leading to Umar.(Al-Hilyah 9:252)

{98. Say: “OPeople of the Scripture (Jews and Christians)! Why do you reject the Ayat of Allah, while Allah is Witness to what you do?”

99. Say: “O People of the Scripture (Jews and Christians)! Why do you stop those who have believed, from the path of Allah, seeking to make it seem crooked, while you (yourselves) are witnesses? And Allah is not unaware of what you do. ”}

Chastising the People of the Book for Their Disbelief and Blocking the Path of Allah

In this Ayah Allah criticizes the disbelieving People of the Book for refusing the truth, rejecting Allah’s Ayat and hindering those who seek to believe from His path, although they know that what the Messenger was sent with is the truth from Allah. They learned this from the previous Prophets and honorable Messengers, may Allah’s peace and blessings be on them all. They all brought the glad tidings and the good news of the coming of the unlettered, Arab, Hashimi Prophet from Makkah, the master of the Children of Adam, the Final Prophet and the Messenger of the Lord of heavens and earth. Allah has warned the People of the Book against this behavior, stating that He is Witness over what they do, indicating their defiance of the knowledge conveyed to them by the Prophets. They rejected, denied and refused the very Messenger whom they were ordered to convey the glad tidings about his coming. Allah states that He is never unaware of what they do, and He will hold them responsible for their actions,

”The Day whereon neither wealth nor sons will avail” (26:88).

{100. O you who believe! If you obey a group of those who were given the Scripture (Jews and Christians), they would (indeed) render you disbelievers after you have believed!

101. And how would you disbelieve, while unto you are recited the verses of Allah, and among you is His Messenger? And whoever depends upon Allah, then he is indeed guided to the right path.}

Warning Muslims Against Imitating People of the Scriptures

Allah warns His believing servants against obeying the People of the Book, who envy the believers for the favor that Allah gave them by sending His Messenger . Similarly, Allah said,

”Many of the People of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) wish that they could turn you away as disbelievers after you have believed, out of their own envy” (2:109).

In this Ayah (3:100), Allah said, ”If you obey a group of those who were given the Scripture (Jews and Christians), they would (indeed) render you disbelievers after you have believed!”, then said, ”And how would you disbelieve, while unto you are recited the verses of Allah, and among you is His Messenger?”, meaning, disbelief is far from touching you, since the Ayat of Allah are being sent down on His Messenger day and night, and he recites and conveys them to you. Similarly, Allah said,

”And what is the matter with you that you believe not in Allah! While the Messenger invites you to believe in your Lord; and He has indeed taken your covenant, if you are real believers” (57:8).

A Hadith states that one day, the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said to his Companions, “Who among the faithful believers do you consider has the most amazing faith?” They said, “The angels.” He said, “Why would they not believe, since they are with their Lord?” They mentioned the Prophets, and the Prophet said, “Why would they not believe while the revelation is sent down to them?” They said, “Then, we are.” He said, “Why would not you believe when I am among you?” They asked, “Who has the most amazing faith?” The Prophet said, “A people who will come after you and who will find only books that they will believe in.” (At-Tabarani 4:22-23)

Allah said next, “And whoever depends upon Allah, then he is indeed guided to the right path” (3:101) for trusting and relying on Allah are the basis of achieving the right guidance and staying away from the path of wickedness. They also represent the tool to acquiring guidance and truth and achieving the righteous aims.

{102. O you who believe! Have Taqwa of Allah as is His due, and die not except as (true) Muslims.

103. And hold fast, all of you together, to the Rope of Allah, and be not divided among yourselves, and remember Allah’s favor on you, for you were enemies of one another but He joined your hearts together, so that, by His grace, you became brethren, and you were on the brink of a pit of Fire, and He saved you from it. Thus Allah makes His Ayat clear to you, that you may be guided.}

Meaning of  Taqwa of Allah

Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Abdullah bin Masud commented on the Ayah, ”Have Taqwa of Allah as is His due” “That He is obeyed and not defied, remembered and not forgotten and appreciated and not unappreciated.” This has an authentic chain of narration to Abdullah bin Masud. Al-Hakim collected this Hadith in his Mustadrak, from Ibn Masud, who related it to the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. Al- Hakim said, “It is authentic according to the criteria of the Two Shaykhs [Al-Bukhari and Muslim], and they did not record it.” (Al-Hakim 2:294) This is what he said, but it appears that it is only a statement of Abdullah bin Masud, and Allah knows best. It was also reported that Anas said, “The servant will not have Taqwa of Allah as is His due until he keeps his tongue idle.” Allah’s statement, “and die not except as (true) Muslims” (3:102), means, preserve your Islam while you are well and safe, so that you die as a Muslim. The Most Generous Allah has made it His decision that whatever state one lives in, that is what he dies upon and is resurrected upon. We seek refuge from dying on other than Islam.

Imam Ahmad recorded that Mujahid said, “The people were circling around the Sacred House when Ibn Abbas was sitting, holding a bent-handled walking stick. Ibn Abbas said, The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him [recited], ”Have Taqwa of Allah as is His due, die not except as (true) Muslims.” (3:102), then he said; ‘‘Verily, if a drop of Zaqqum (a tree in Hell) falls, it will spoil life for the people of earth. What about those whose food is only from Zaqqum?” (Ahmad 1:300)

Imam Ahmad recorded that Jabir said that three nights before the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him died he heard him saying;

”None of you should die except while having sincere trust in Allah, the Exalted and Most Honorable.” (Muslim 4:2205)

The Two Sahihs record that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah said,

”Allah said, “I am as My servant thinks of Me.” (Fath Al-Bari 13:395)

The Necessity of Holding to the Path of Allah and the Community of the Believers

Allah said next, ”And hold fast, all of you together, to the Rope of Allah, and be not divided among yourselves.” It was said that, ”to the Rope of Allah” refers to Allah’s covenant, just as Allah said in the following Ayah, ‘Indignity is put over them wherever they may be, except when under a covenant (of protection) from Allah, and from men” (3:112), in reference to pledges and peace treaties.

Allah’s statement ”and be not divided among yourselves”, orders sticking to the community of the believers and forbids division. There are several Hadiths that require adhering to the Jama’ah (congregation of believers) and prohibit division. Muslim recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him said,

”It pleases Allah for you to acquire three qualities and displeases Him that you acquire three characteristics. It pleases Him that you worship Him Alone and not associate anything or anyone with Him in worship, that you hold on to the Rope of Allah altogether and do not divide, and that you advise whoever Allah appoints as your Leader. The three that displease Him are that you say, ‘It was said,’ and, ‘So-and-so said,’ asking many unnecessary questions and wasting money.” (Muslim 3:1340)

Allah said, ”and remember Allah’s favor on you, for you were enemies one to another but He joined your hearts together, so that, by His grace, you became brethren” (3:103). This was revealed about the Aws and Khazraj. During the time of Jahiliyyah, the Aws and Khazraj were at war and had great hatred, enmity and ill feelings towards each other, causing long conflicts and battles to occur between them. When Allah brought Islam, those among them who embraced it became brothers who loved each other by Allah’s grace, having good ties for Allah’s sake and helping each other in righteousness and piety. Allah said,

”He it is Who has supported you with His Help and with the believers. And He has united their hearts. If you had spent all that is in the earth, you could not have united their hearts, but Allah has united them” (8:62,63), until the end of the Ayah.

Before Islam, their disbelief had them standing at the edge of a pit of the Fire, but Allah saved them from it and delivered them to faith. The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, reminded the Ansar (from both Aws and Khazraj) of this bounty when he was dividing the war booty of Hunayn. During that time, some Ansar did not like the way the booty was divided, since they did not get what the others did, although that was what Allah directed His Prophet to do. The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him gave them a speech, in which he said,

”O Ansar! Did I not find you misguided and Allah directed you to guidance because of me? Were you not divided beforehand and Allah united you around me? Were you not poor and Allah enriched you because of me?” 

Whenever the Prophet asked them a question, they would answer, “Indeed, Allah and His Messenger have granted us bounty.” (An-Nasai in Al-Kubra 5:91)

{104. Let there arise out of you a group of people inviting to all that is good (Islam), enjoining Al-Ma` ruf (all that Islam orders) and forbidding Al-Munkar (all that Islam has forbidden). And it is they who are the successful.

105. And be not as those who divided and differed among themselves after the clear proofs had come to them. It is they for whom there is an awful torment.

106. On the Day (i.e. the Day of Resurrection) when some faces will become white and some faces will become black; as for those whose faces will become black (to them will be said): “Did you reject faith after accepting it? Then taste the torment (in Hell) for rejecting faith.”

107. And for those whose faces will become white, they will be in Allah’s mercy (Paradise), therein they shall dwell forever.

108. These are the Ayat of Allah. We recite them to you in truth, and Allah wills no injustice to the Alamin.

109. And to Allah belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth. And all matters go back (for decision) to Allah.}

The Command to Establish the Invitation to Allah

Allah said, ”Let there arise out of you a group of people” that calls to righteousness, enjoins all that is good and forbids evil in the manner Allah commanded, “And it is they who are the successful” Ad-Dahhak said, “They are a special group of the Companions and a special group of those after them, that is those who perform Jihad and the scholars.” (At-Tabari 7:92)

The objective of this Ayah is that there should be a segment of this Muslim Ummah fulfilling this task, even though it is also an obligation on every member of this Ummah, each according to his ability. Muslim recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

”Whoever among you witnesses an evil, let him change it with his hand. If he is unable, then let him change it with his tongue. If he is unable, then let him change it with his heart, and this is the weakest faith.”

In another narration, The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

”There is no faith beyond that, not even the weight of a mustard seed.” (Muslim 1:69)

Imam Ahmad recorded that Hudhayfah bin Al-Yaman said that the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

”By He in Whose Hand is my soul! You will enjoin righteousness and forbid evil, or Allah shall send down a punishment from Him to you. Then, you will supplicate to Him, but He will not accept your supplication.” (Ahmad 5:38)

At-Tirmidhi also collected this Hadith and said, “Hasan”. There are many other Hadiths and Ayat on this subject, which will be explained later.

The Prohibition of Division

Allah said, ‘And be not as those who divided and differed among themselves after the clear proofs had come to them” (3:105). In this Ayah, Allah forbids this Ummah from imitating the division and discord of the nations that came before them. These nations also abandoned enjoining righteousness and forbidding evil, although they had proof of its necessity.

Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Amir Abdullah bin Luhay said, “We performed Hajj with Muawiyah bin Abi Sufyan. When we arrived at Makkah, he stood up after praying Zuhr and said,  ‘The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

”The People of the Two Scriptures divided into seventy-two sects. This Ummah will divide into seventy-three sects, all in the Fire except one, that is, the Jama’ah. Some of my Ummah will be guided by desire, like one who is infected by rabies; no vein or joint will be saved from these desires.” 

[Muawiyah said next:] ”By Allah, O Arabs! If you do not adhere to what came to you from your Prophet then other people are even more prone not to adhere to it. ” (Ahmad 4:102) Similar was recorded by Abu Dawud from Ahmad bin Hanbal and Muhammad bin Yahya. (Abu Dawud 5:5)

The Benefits of Brotherly Ties and Unity and the Consequence of Division on the Day of the Gathering

Allah said next, ”On the Day when some faces will become white and some faces will become black” (3:10) on the Day of Resurrection. Allah said, ”As for those whose faces will become black (to them will be said): “Did you reject faith after accepting it?” Al-Hasan Al-Basri said, “They are the hypocrites.” (Ibn Abu Hatim 2:465) ‘‘Then taste the torment (in Hell) for rejecting faith,” and this description befits every disbeliever.”

”And for those whose faces will become white, they will be in Allah’s mercy (Paradise), therein they shall dwell forever” in Paradise, where they will reside for eternity and shall never desire to be removed.

Abu Isa At-Tirmidhi recorded that Abu Ghalib said, “Abu Umamah saw heads (of the Khawarij sect) hanging on the streets of Damascus. He commented, ‘The Dogs of the Fire and the worst dead people under the cover of the sky. The best dead men are those whom these have killed.’ He then recited, ”On the Day (i.e. the Day of Resurrection'” when some faces will become white and some faces will become black” until the end of the Ayah. I said to Abu Umamah, ‘Did you hear this from the Messenger of Allah?’ He said, ‘If I only heard it from the Messenger of Allah once, twice, thrice, four times, or seven times, I would not have narrated it to you.’ ” At-Tirmidhi said, “This Hadith is Hasan.”

Allah said, ‘‘These are the Ayat of Allah. We recite them to you” meaning, ‘These are the verses of Allah, His proofs and signs that We reveal to you, O Muhammad,’ and Allah wills no injustice to the ‘Alamin.” for He never treats them with injustice. Rather, He is the Just Ruler Who is able to do everything and has knowledge of everything. Therefore, He does not need to treat any of His creatures within justice, and this is why He said next, ”and to Allah belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is in the Earth”, they are all His servants and His property, ”And all matters go back to Allah” for His is the decision concerning the affairs of this life and the Hereafter, and His is the Supreme Authority in this life and the Hereafter ”in truth” making known the true reality of this world and the Hereafter.

{110. You are the best of peoples ever raised up for mankind; you enjoin Al-Maruf (all that Islam has ordained) and forbid Al-Munkar (all that Islam has forbidden), and you believe in Allah. And had the People of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) believed, it would have been better for them; among them are some who have faith, but most of them are Fasiqun (rebellious).

111. They will do you no harm, barring a trifling annoyance; and if they fight against you, they will show you their backs, and they will not be helped.

112. They are stricken with humility wherever they may be, except when under a covenant (of protection) from Allah, and a covenant from men; they have drawn on themselves the wrath of Allah, and destitution is put over them. This is because they disbelieved in the Ayat of Allah and killed the Prophets without right. This is because they disobeyed (Allah) and used to transgress (the limits set by Allah)}

Virtues of the Ummah of Muhammad the Best Nation Ever

Allah states that the Ummah of Muhammad is the best nation ever, ”You are the best of peoples ever raised up for mankind” (3:110). Al-Bukhari recorded that Abu Hurayrah commented on this Ayah, “(You, Muslims, are) the best nation of people for the people, you bring them tied in chains on their necks (capture them in war) and they later embrace Islam.” Similar was said by Ibn Abbas, Mujahid, Atiyah Al-Awfi, Ikrimah, Ata’ and Ar-Rabi bin Anas that, ”You are the best of peoples ever raised up for mankind” means, the best of peoples for the people. (Ibn Abi Hatim 2:472)

The meaning of the Ayah is that the Ummah of Muhammad is the most righteous and beneficial nation for mankind. Hence Allah’s description of them, ”you enjoin Al-Ma’ruf and forbid Al-Munkar and believe in Allah” (3:110). Ahmad, At-Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, and Al-Hakim recorded that Hakim bin Mu`awiyah bin Haydah narrated that his father said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

”You are the final of seventy nations, you are the best and most honored among them to Allah.”

This is a well-known Hadith about which At-Tirmidhi said, “Hasan”, and which is also narrated from Mu` adh bin Jabal and Abu Said. The Ummah of Muhammad achieved this virtue because of its Prophet, Muhammad, peace be upon him, the most regarded of Allah’s creation and the most honored Messenger with Allah. Allah sent Muhammad with the perfect and complete Law that was never given to any Prophet or Messenger before him. In Muhammad’s Law, few deeds take the place of the many deeds that other nations performed. For instance, Imam Ahmad recorded that Ali bin Abi Talib said, “The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

”I was given what no other Prophet before me was given.”

We said, ‘O Messenger of Allah! What is it?’ He said,

”I was given victory by fear, I was given the keys of the earth, I was called Ahmad, the earth was made a clean place for me (to pray and perform Tayammum with it) and my Ummah was made the best Ummah.” (Ahmad 1:98)

The chain of narration for this Hadith is Hasan. There are several Hadiths that we should mention here.

The Two Sahihs recorded that Az-Zuhri said that, Said bin Al-Musayyib said that Abu Hurayrah narrated to him, “I heard the Messenger of Allah saying,  ”A group of seventy thousand from my Ummah will enter Paradise, while their faces are radiating, just like the moon when it is full.’ Ukkashah bin Mihsan Al-Asadi stood up, saying, ‘O Messenger of Allah! Supplicate to Allah that I am one of them.’ The Messenger of Allah said, ‘O Allah! Make him one of them.’ A man from the Ansar also stood and said, ‘O Messenger of Allah! Supplicate to Allah that I am one of them.’ The Messenger said, ‘ Ukkashah has beaten you to it.’ (Fath Al-Bari 11:413)

Another Hadith that Establishes the Virtues of the Ummah of Muhammad in this Life and the Hereafter

Imam Ahmad recorded that Jabir said, “I heard the Messenger of Allah saying,

 ”I hope that those who follow me will be one-fourth of the residentsof Paradise on the Day of Resurrection.’ We said, ‘Allahu Akbar’. He then said, ‘I hope that they will be one-third of the people.’ We said, ‘Allahu Akbar’. He then said, ‘I hope that you will be one-half.”’ (Ahmad 3:346)

Imam Ahmad recorded the same Hadith with another chain of narration, and this Hadith meets the criteria of Muslim in his Sahih. In the Two Sahihs, it is recorded that Abdullah bin Masud said, “The Messenger of Allah said to us, ‘‘Does it please you that you will be one-fourth of the people of Paradise?” We said, ‘Allahu Akbar!’ He added, ”Does it please you that you will be one-third of the people of Paradise?” We said, ‘Allahu Akbar!’ He said, ”I hope that you will be half of the people of Paradise.” (Fath Al-Bari 11:385)

Another Hadith 

Imam Ahmad recorded that Buraydah said that the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

”The people of Paradise are one hundred and twenty rows, this Ummah takes up eighty of them.” (Ahmad 5:355)

Abdur-Razzaq recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that, the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

 ”We (Muslims) are the last to come, but the foremost on the Day of Resurrection, and the first people to enter Paradise, although the former nations were given the Scriptures before us and we after them. Allah gave us the guidance of truth that they have been disputing about. This (Friday) is the Day that they have been disputing about, and all the other people are behind us in this matter: the Jews’ (day of congregation is) tomorrow (Saturday) and the Christians’ is the day after tomorrow (Sunday).” (Al-Bukhari no. 896)

Muslim recorded Abu Hurayrah saying that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

 ”We (Muslims) are the last (to come), but (will be) the foremost on the Day of Resurrection, and will be the first people to enter Paradise…” until the end of the Hadith. (Muslim no. 855)

These and other Hadiths conform to the meaning of the Ayah, ”You are the best of peoples ever raised up for mankind; you enjoin Al-Ma’ruf (all that Islam has ordained) and forbid Al-Munkar (all that Islam has forbidden), and you believe in Allah.” Therefore, whoever among this Ummah acquires these qualities, will have a share in this praise. Qatadah said, “We were told that Umar bin Al-Khattab recited this Ayah (3:110) during a Hajj that he performed, when he saw that the people were rushing. He then said, ‘Whoever likes to be among this [praised] Ummah, let him fulfill the condition that Allah set in this Ayah.”’ (At-Tabari 7:102). Those from this Ummah who do not acquire these qualities will be just like the People of the Scriptures whom Allah criticized, when He said,

 ”They did not forbid one another from the Munkar which they committed…” (5:79).

This is the reason why, after Allah praised the Muslim Ummah with the qualities that He mentioned, He criticized the People of the Scriptures and chastised them, saying,

”And had the People of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) believed” (3:110),

in what was sent down to Muhammad, ”it would have been better for them; among them are some who have faith, but most of them are Fasiqun (rebellious)”

Therefore only a few of them believe in Allah and in what was sent down to you and to them. The majority of them follow deviation, disbelief, sin and rebellion.

The Good News that Muslims will Dominate the People of the Book

While delivering the good news to His believing servants that victory and dominance will be theirs against the disbelieving, atheistic People of the Scriptures, Allah then said,

 ”They will do you no harm, barring a trifling annoyance; and if they fight against you, they will show you their backs, and they will not be helped.” (3:111)

This is what occurred, for at the battle of Khaybar, Allah brought humiliation and disgrace to the Jews. Before that, the Jews in Al-Madinah, the tribes of Qaynuqa, Nadir and Qurayzah, were also humiliated by Allah. Such was the case with the Christians in the area of Ash-Sham later on, when the Companions defeated them in many battles and took over the leadership of Ash-Sham forever. There shall always be a group of Muslims in Ash-Sham area until Isa, son of Maryam, descends while they are like this [on the truth, apparent and victorious]. Isa will at that time rule according to the Law of Muhammad , break the cross, kill the swine, banish the Jizyah and only accept Islam from the people.

Allah said next, ”Indignity is put over them wherever they may be, except when under a covenant (of protection) from Allah, and a covenant from men” meaning, Allah has placed humiliation and disgrace on them wherever they may be, and they will never be safe, ”except when under a covenant from Allah” under the Dhimmah (covenant of protection) from Allah that requires them to pay the Jizyah (tax, to Muslims,) and makes them subservient to Islamic Law ”and a covenant from men” meaning, covenant from men, such as pledges of protection and safety offered to them by Muslim men and women, and even a slave, according to one of the sayings of the scholars. Ibn Abbas said that, ‘‘except when under a covenant from Allah, and a covenant from men” refers to a covenant of protection from Allah and a pledge of safety from people. Allah’s statement,”they have drawn on themselves the wrath of Allah” means, they earned Allah’s anger, which they deserved, ”and destitution is put over them”, meaning they deserve it by decree and legislatively. Allah said next, ”This is because they disbelieved in the Ayat of Allah and killed the Prophets without right” meaning, what drove them to this was their arrogance, transgression and envy, earning them humiliation, degradation and disgrace throughout this life and the Hereafter. Allah said, ”This is because they disobeyed and used to transgress (the limits set by Allah)” meaning, what lured them to disbelieve in Allah’s Ayat and kill His Messengers, is the fact that they often disobeyed Allah’s commands, committed His prohibitions and transgressed His set limits. We seek refuge from this behavior, and Allah Alone is sought for each and every type of help.

{113. Not all of them are alike; a party of the People of the Scripture stand for the right, they recite the verses of Allah during the hours of the night, prostrating themselves in prayer.

114. They believe in Allah and the Last Day; they enjoin Al-Ma’ruf and forbid Al-Munkar; and they hasten in (all) good works; and they are among the righteous.

115. And whatever good they do, nothing will be rejected of them; for Allah knows well the Muttaqin (the pious).

116. Surely, those who disbelieve, neither their properties nor their offspring will avail them against Allah. They are the dwellers of the Fire, therein they will abide.

117. The parable of what they spend in this world is that of a wind of Sir; it struck the harvest of a people who did wrong against themselves and destroyed it. Allah wronged them not, but they wronged themselves.}

Virtues of the People of the Scriptures Who Embrace Islam

Muhammad bin Ishaq and others, including Al-Awfi who reported it from Ibn Abbas, said; “These Ayat were revealed about the clergy of the People of the Scriptures who embraced the faith. For instance, there is Abdullah bin Salam, Asad bin Ubayd, Thalabah bin Sayah, Usayd bin Sayah, and so forth. This Ayah means that those among the People of the Book whom Allah rebuked earlier are not at all the same as those among them who embraced Islam. Hence Allah’s statement,

 ”Not all of them are alike” (3:113)

Therefore, these two types of people are not equal, and indeed, there are believers and also criminals among the People of the Book, just as Allah said, ”a party of the People of the Scripture stand for the right” for they implement the Book of Allah, adhere to His Law and follow His Prophet Muhammad . Therefore, this type is on the straight path, ”they recite the verses of Allah during the hours of the night, prostrating themselves in prayer.” They often stand in prayer at night for Tahajjud, and recite the Qur’an in their prayer, They believe in Allah and the Last Day; they enjoin Al-Maruf and forbid Al-Munkar; and they hasten in (all) good works; and they are among the righteous” (3: 114).

This is the same type of people mentioned at the end of the Surah;

”And there are, certainly, among the People of the Scripture (Jews and Christians), those who believe in Allah and in that which has been revealed to you, and in that which has been revealed to them, humbling themselves before Allah.” (3:199)

Allah said here, ”And whatever good they do, nothing will be rejected of them” (3:115) meaning, their good deeds will not be lost with Allah. Rather, He will award them the best rewards, ”for Allah knows well the Muttaqin (the pious)” for no deed performed by any person ever escapes His knowledge, nor is any reward for those who do good deeds ever lost with Him. Allah mentions the disbelieving polytheists: ”neither their properties nor their offspring will avail them against Allah” (3:116). meaning, nothing can avert Allah’s torment and punishment from striking them, ”They are the dwellers of the Fire, therein they will abide.”

The Parable of What the Disbelievers Spend in This Life

Allah gave a parable for what the disbelievers spend in this life, as Mujahid, Al-Hasan and As- Suddi said. ‘‘The likeness of what they spend in this world is the likeness of a wind of Sir” a frigid wind, as Ibn Abbas, Ikrimah, Said bin Jubayr, Al-Hasan, Qatadah, Ad-Dahhak, Ar-Rabi bin Anas and others have said. (Ibn Abi Hatim 2:494) Ata said that Sir, means, ‘cold and snow.’ Ibn Abbas and Mujahid are also reported to have said that Sir means, ‘fire’. (Ibn Abi Hatim 2:495) This latter meaning does not contradict the meanings we mentioned above, because extreme cold weather, especially when accompanied by snow, burns plants and produce, and has the same effect fire has on such growth.

 ”It struck the harvest of a people who did wrong against themselves and destroyed it” (3:117), by burning. This Ayah mentions a calamity that strikes produce that is ready to harvest, destroying it by burning and depriving its owner of it when he needs it the most. Such is the case with the disbelievers, for Allah destroys the rewards for their good deeds in this life, just as He destroyed the produce of the sinner because of his sins. Both types did not build their work on firm foundations, ”And Allah wronged them not, but they wronged themselves.”

{118. O you who believe! Take not as (your) Bitanah (advisors, helpers) those other than your own, since they will not fail to do their best to corrupt you. They desire to harm you severely. Hatred has already appeared from their mouths, but what their breasts conceal is far worse. Indeed We have made plain to you the Ayat if you understand.

119. Lo! You are the ones who love them but they love you not, and you believe in all the Scriptures. And when they meet you, they say, “We believe.” But when they are alone, they bite their Anamil at you in rage. Say: “Perish in your rage. Certainly, Allah knows what is in the breasts (all the secrets). ”

120. If a good befalls you, it grieves them, but if some evil overtakes you, they rejoice at it. But if you remain patient and have Taqwa, not the least harm will their cunning do to you. Surely, Allah surrounds all that they do.}

The Prohibition of Taking Advisors From Among the Disbelievers

Allah forbids His believing servants from taking the hypocrites as advisors, so that the hypocrites do not have the opportunity to expose the secrets of the believers and their plans against their enemies. The hypocrites try their very best to confuse, oppose and harm the believers any way they can, and by using any wicked, evil means at their disposal. They wish the very worst and difficult conditions for the believers. Allah said, ”Take not as (your) Bitanah those other than your own” (3:118), in reference to taking followers of other religions as consultants and advisors, for advisors of a certain person have access to his most secret affairs. Al-Bukhari and An-Nasa’i recorded that, Abu Said said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

”Allah has not sent any Prophet nor was there any Khalifah but they have two types of advisors, one that commands him with righteousness and advises it, and another that commands him with evil and advises him with it. Only those whom Allah gives immunity are immune.”

Ibn Abi Hatim reported that Ibn Abi Ad-Dahqanah said, “Umar bin Al-Khattab was told, ‘There is young man here from the people of Hirah (in Iraq, who were Christians) who is a proficient scribe. Why do you not appoint him as a scribe?’ Umar said, ‘I would then be taking advisors from among the disbelievers.”’ (Fath Al-Bari 13:201) This Ayah and the story about Umar testify to the fact that Muslims are not allowed to use Ahl Adh-Dhimmah to be scribes in matters that affect the affairs of Muslims and expose their secrets, for they might convey these secrets to combatant disbelievers. This is why Allah said, ”since they will not fail to do their best to corrupt you. They desire to harm you severely” Allah then said, Hatred has already appeared from their mouths, but what their breasts conceal is far worse” meaning, enmity appears on their faces and in what they sometimes utter, as well as, the enmity they have against Islam and its people in their hearts. Since this fact is apparent to every person who has sound comprehension, therefore, ”Indeed We have made plain to you the Ayat if you understand.” Allah said next, ”O! You are the ones who love them but they love you not”, meaning, O believers! You like the hypocrites because you think they are believers, for they pretend to be so, but they do not like you publicly or secretly.

”And you believe in all the Scriptures” meaning, you have no doubt in any part of Allah’s Book, while the hypocrites have deep doubts, confusion and reservations about it. Muhammad bin Ishaq reported that Ibn Abbas said that, ”and you believe in all the Scriptures” means, you believe in your Book, their Book, and the previous Books, while the hypocrites disbelieve in your Book, and this is why they deserve that you dislike them instead of them disliking you. Ibn Jarir collected this statement. ”And when they meet you, they say, “We believe.” But when they are alone, they bite their Anamil at you in rage.”

The word Anamil, means the tips of the fingers, as Qatadah stated. (At-Tabari 7:153) This is the behavior of the hypocrites who pretend to be believers and kind when they are with the believers, all the while concealing the opposite in their hearts in every respect. This is the exact situation that Allah describes, ”But when they are alone, they bite their Anamil at you in rage’‘ and rage is ext reme anger and fury. Allah said to them, ”Say: “Perish in your rage. Certainly, Allah knows what is in the breasts (all the secrets)” for no matter how much you envy the believers and feel rage towards them, know that Allah shall perfect His favor on His believing servants, complete His religion, raise high His Word and give dominance to His religion. Therefore, O hypocrites, die in rage, ”Allah knows what is in the breasts.”

Allah has perfect knowledge of what you conceal in your hearts and chests and in the rage, envy and hatred you have against the believers. Allah will punish you for all this in this life, and they will have the good that you dislike for them. In the Hereafter, you will suffer severe torment in the Fire where you will remain for eternity.

Thereafter, Allah said, ”If a good befalls you, it grieves them, but if some evil overtakes you, they rejoice at it’‘ (3:120). This only emphasizes the severity of the enmity that the hypocrites feel against the believers. If the believers enjoy fertile years, victories, support and their numbers and following increase, the hypocrites become displeased. When the Muslims suffer a drought or their enemies gain the upper hand against them, by Allah’s decree, just as occurred during the battle of Uhud, the hypocrites become pleased. Allah said to His believing servants, ”But if you remain patient and have Taqwa, not the least harm will their cunning do to you.”

Allah directs the believers to safety from the wickedness of evil people and the plots of the sinners, by recommending them to revert to patience and by having fear of Allah and trusting Him. Allah encompasses the enemies of the believers, all the while the believers have no power or strength except from Him. Whatever Allah wills, occurs, and whatever He does not will, does not occur. Nothing happens in His Kingdom except with His decision and according to His decrees. Verily, whoever relies on Allah, Allah shall suffice for him.

Allah then mentions the story of Uhud, the defeat that He tested the believers with, His distinguishing the believers from the hypocrites and their patience.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged) Vol 2 Pages 232 -253

{121. And (remember) when you left your household in the morning to post the believers at their stations for the battle (of Uhud). And Allah is All-Hearer, All-Knower.

122. When two parties from among you were about to lose heart, but Allah was their Wali (Supporter and Protector). And in Allah should the believers put their trust.

123. And Allah has already made you victorious at Badr, when you were a weak little force. So have Taqwa of Allah that you may be grateful.}

The Battle of Uhud

According to the majority of scholars, these Ayat are describing the battle of Uhud, as Ibn Abbas, Al-Hasan, Qatadah, As-Suddi and others said. The battle of Uhud occurred on a Saturday, in the month of Shawwal on the third year of Hijrah. Ikrimah said that Uhud occurred in the middle of the month of Shawwal, and Allah knows best.

The Reason Behind the Battle of Uhud

The idolators suffered many casualties among their noble men at the battle of Badr. The caravan that Abu Sufyan led (before Badr) returned safely to Makkah, prompting the remaining Makkan leaders and the children of those who were killed at Badr to demand from Abu Sufyan to, “Spend this money on fighting Muhammad!” Consequently, they spent the money from the caravan on warfare expenses and mobilized their forces including the Ahabish tribes (tribes living around the city). They gathered three thousand soldiers and marched until they camped near Uhud facing Al-Madinah. The Messenger of Allah led the Friday prayer and when he finished with it, he performed the funeral prayer for a man from Bani An-Najjar called Malik bin Amr. The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, then asked the Muslims for advice, if they should march to meet the disbelievers, or fortify themselves in Al-Madinah. Abdullah bin Ubayy (the chief hypocrite) advised that they should remain in Al-Madinah, saying that if the disbelievers lay siege to Al- Madinah, the siege would be greatly disadvantageous to them. He added that if they decide to attack Al-Madinah, its men would face off with them, while women and children could throw rocks at them from above their heads; and if they decide to return to Makkah, they would return with failure. However, some companions who did not attend the battle of Badr advised that the Muslims should go out to Uhud to meet the disbelievers.

The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, went to his home, put on his shield and came out. The companions were weary then and said to each other, “Did we compel the Messenger of Allah to go out?” They said, “O Messenger of Allah! If you wish, we will remain in Al-Madinah. ” The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“It is not for a Prophet to wear his shield for war then lay down his arms before Allah decides in his favour.” (Recorded by Al-Bukhari in abrdiged form)

The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, marched with a thousand of his Companions. When they reached the Shawt area, Abdullah bin Ubayy went back to Al-Madinah with a third of the army, claiming he was angry the Prophet did not listen to his advice. He and his supporters said, “If we knew that you would fight today, we would have accompanied you. However, we do not think that you will fight today.” The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, marched until he reached the hillside in the area of Uhud, where they camped in the valley with Mount Uhud behind them. The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him said,

”No one starts fighting until I issue the command to fight.”

The Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, prepared his forces for battle, and his army was seven hundred men. He appointed Abdullah bin Jubayr, from Bani Amr bin Awf, to lead the archers who were fifty men. The Prophet said to them,

”Keep the horsemen away from us, and be aware that we might be attacked from your direction. If victory was for or against us, remain in your positions. And even if you see us being picked up by birds, do not abandon your positions.”

The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, wore two protective shields and gave the flag to Mus’ab bin Umayr of Bani Abd Ad-Dar. The Prophet also allowed some young men to participate in fighting, but not others, whom he allowed to participate in the battle of Al-Khandaq two years later. The Quraysh mobilized their forces of three thousand men with two hundred horsemen on each flank. They appointed Khalid bin Al-Walid to lead the right side of the horsemen and Ikrimah Ibn Abi Jahl on the left side. They also gave their grand flag to the tribe of Bani Abd Ad-Dar. Allah willing, we will mention the details of this battle later on, if Allah wills. Allah said here, ”And (remember) when you left your household in the morning to post the believers at their stations for the battle.” (3:121), designating them to various positions, dividing the army to the left and right sides and placing them wherever you command them. ”And Allah is All-Hearer, All-Knower”, He hears what you say and knows what you conceal in your hearts. Allah said next, ”When two parties from among you were about to lose heart” (3:122). Al-Bukhari recorded that Jabir bin Abdullah said, “The Ayah, ”When two parties from among you were about to lose heart’‘ was revealed about us, [the two Muslim tribes of] Bani Harithah and Bani Salamah. I (or we) would not be pleased if it was not revealed, because Allah said in it, ”but Allah was their Wali (Supporter and Protector)”  (3:122).” Muslim recorded this Hadith from Sufyan bin Uyaynah.

Reminding the Believers of Their Victory at Badr

Allah said, And Allah has already made you victorious at Badr’‘ (3:123) meaning, during the battle of Badr, which occurred on a Friday, the seventeenth of Ramadan, in the second year of Hijrah.

The day of Badr is known as Yawm Al-Furqan [the Day of the Clarification], by which Allah gave victory and dominance to Islam and its people and disgraced and destroyed Shirk, even though the Muslims were few. The Muslims numbered three hundred and thirteen men, with two horses and seventy camels. The rest were foot soldiers without enough supplies for the battle. The enemy army consisted of nine hundred to a thousand men, having enough shields and supplies, battle-ready horses and even various adornments.

However, Allah gave victory to His Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, supported His revelation, and illuminated success on the faces of the Prophet and his following. Allah also brought disgrace to Shayatan and his army. This is why Allah reminded His believing servants and pious party of this favour, ”And Allah has already made you victorious at Badr, when you were a weak little force”, cwhen you were few then. This Ayah reminds them that victory is only from Allah, not because of a large army and adequate supplies. This is why Allah said in another Ayah,

“…and on the day of Hunayn (battle) when you rejoiced at your great number, but it availed you naught” (9:25) , until, “And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful” (9:27).

Badr is an area between Makkah and Al-Madinah and is known by the well that bears it s name, which in turn was so named after Badr bin An-Narayn, the person who dug the well. “So have Taqwa of Allah that you may be grateful.” (3:123), means, fulfill the obligations of His obedience.

 

{124. (Remember) when you said to the believers, “Is it not enough for you that your Lord should help you with three thousand angels sent down”

125. “But, if you hold on to patience and have Taqwa, and the enemy comes rushing at you; your Lord will help you with five thousand angels having marks (of distinction).”

126. Allah made it not but as a message of good news for you and as an assurance to your hearts. And there is no victory except from Allah, the All-Mighty, the All-Wise.

127. That He might cut off a part of those who disbelieve, or expose them to infamy, so that they retire frustrated.

128. Not for you is the decision; whether He turns in mercy to (pardon) them or punishes them; verily, they are the wrongdoers.

129. And to Allah belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth. He forgives whom He wills, and punishes whom He wills. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.}

 

The Support of the Angels

The scholars of Tafsir differ over whether the promise contained in these Ayat referred to the battle of Badr or Uhud.

The First View

There are two opinions about this, one of them saying that Allah’s statement, “(Remember) when you said to the believers” (3:124), is related to His statement, “And Allah has already made you victorious at Badr” (3:123).

This was reported from Al-Hasan Al-Basri, Amr Ash-Shabi, Ar-Rabi bin Anas and several others, Ibn Jarir also agreed with this opinion. Abbad bin Mansur said that Al-Hasan said that Allah’s statement,

“(Remember) when you said to the believers, “Is it not enough for you that your Lord should help you with three thousand angels”  (3:124), is about the battle of Badr; Ibn Abi Hatim also recorded this statement.

Ibn Abi Hatim then reported that Amr Ash-Shabi said, “On the day of Badr, the Muslims received information that Kurz bin Jabir (a prominent tribe chief) was aiding the idolators, and t his news was hard on t hem, so Allah revealed, “Is it not enough for you that your Lord (Allah) should help you with three thousand angels sent down”, until, ‘‘having marks (of distinction)” (3:124,125). The news of the defeat of the idolators (at Badr) reached Kurz and he did not reinforce them, and thus, Allah did not reinforce the Muslims with the five (thousands of angels).”

As for Ar-Rabi bin Anas, he said, “Allah supported the Muslims with one thousand (angels), then the number reached three thousand, then five thousand.” If one asks, according to this opinion, how can we combine between this Ayah and Allah’s statement about Badr,

“(Remember) when you sought help of your Lord and He answered you (saying): “I will help you with a thousand angels, each behind the other (following one another) in succession.” (8:9), until, “Verily! Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise” We say that the one thousand mentioned here does not contradict the three thousand mentioned in the above Ayah (3:124). The word “in succession” means they follow each other and thus indicates that thousands more will follow them. The two Ayat above (8:9 and 3:124) are similar in meaning and it appears that they both were about the battle of Badr, because the angels did fight in the battle of Badr, as the evidence indicates. Allah knows best. Allah’s statement, “But if you hold on to patience and have Taqwa,” (3:125) means, if you observe patience while fighting the enemy, all the while fearing Me and obeying My command. Al-Hasan, Qatadah, Ar- Rabi and As-Suddi said that Allah’sstatement, “and they will come rushing” means, they (angels) will rush to you instantaneously. Al-Awfi said that Ibn Abbas said that the Ayah means, “All at once”. It is also said that it means, before their anger subsides (against the disbelievers).

The Second View

The second opinion stipulates that the promise mentioned here (concerning the angels participating in battle) is related to Allah’s statement, “And (remember) when you left your household in the morning to post the believers at their stations for the battle” of Uhud. However, we should add, the angels did not come to the aid “But if you hold on to patience and have Taqwa” (3: 125).

The Muslims were not patient at Uhud. Rather, they ran away and, consequently, did not receive the support of even one angel.

Allah’s statement, “your Lord will help you with five thousand angels having marks”, of distinction. Abu Ishaq As-Subayi said; from Harithah bin Mudarrib said that Ali bin Abi Talib said, “The angels were distinguished by wearing white wool at Badr.” The angels also had special markings distinguishing their horses.

Allah said, “Allah made it not but as a message of good news for you and as an assurance to your hearts” (3:126).

This Ayah means, “Allah sent down angels and told you about their descent to encourage you and to comfort and reassure your hearts. You should know that victory only comes from Allah and that if He willed, He would have defeated your enemy without you having to fight them.” For instance, Allah said after commanding the believers to fight,

“But if it had been Allah’s will, He Himself could certainly have punished them (without you). But (He lets you fight) in order to test some of you with others. But those who are killed in the way of Allah, He will never let their deeds be lost. He will guide them and set right their state. And admit them to Paradise which He has made known to them” (47:4-6).

This is why Allah said here, “Allah made it not but as a message of good news for you and as an assurance to your hearts. And there is no victory except from Allah, the All-Mighty, the All-Wise” (3:126).

This Ayah means, “Allah is the Almighty Whose power can never be undermined, and He has the perfect wisdom in His decrees and in all His decisions.” Allah said, “That He might cut off a part of those who disbelieve,” (3:127) meaning, out of His wisdom, He commands you to perform Jihad and to fight.

Allah then mentions the various consequences of performing Jihad against the disbelievers. For instance, Allah said, “That He might cut off a part…” meaning, to cause a part of a nation to perish, “of those who disbelieve, or expose them to infamy,” by disgracing them and forcing them to return with only their rage, having failed in their aim to harm you. This is why Allah said next, “or expose them to infamy, so that they retire” to go back to their land, “frustrated” without achieving their aims.

Allah then mentions a statement that testifies that the decision in this life and the Hereafter is for Him Alone without partners, “Not for you is the decision” (3:128) meaning, “The matter is all in My Hand.” Allah also said,

“your duty is only to convey (the Message) and on Us is the reckoning.” (13:40), and,

“Not upon you is their guidance, but Allah guides whom He wills.” (2:272), and,

“Verily, you guide not whom you like, but Allah guides whom He wills” (28: 56).

Muhammad bin Ishaq said that Allah’s statement, “Not for you is the decision”, means, “No part of the decision regarding My servants is yours, except what I command you.” Allah then mentions the rest of the consequences of Jihad, “whether He pardons them” concerning the acts of disbelief that they commit, thus delivering them from misguidance to the guidance, “or punishes them” in this life and the Hereafter because of their disbelief and errors, “verily, they are the wrongdoers”, and thus, they deserve such a fate.

Al-Bukhari recorded that, Salim bin Abdullah said that his father said that he heard the Messenger of Allah saying — when he raised his head from bowing in the second unit of the Fajr prayer — “O Allah! Curse so-and-so,” after saying; Sami Allahu Liman Hamidah, Rabbana wa lakal-Hamd. Thereafter, Allah revealed this Ayah, “Not for you is the decision” This was also recorded by An-Nasa’i. Imam Ahmad recorded that Salim bin ` Abdullah said that his father said that he heard the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, saying,

“Allah! Curse so-and-so. O Allah! Curse Al-Harith bin Hisham. O Allah! Curse Suhayl bin Amr. O Allah! Curse Safwan bin Umayyah.”

Thereafter, this Ayah was revealed; “Not for you is the decision; whether He turns in mercy to (pardon) them or punishes them; verily, they are the wrongdoers” (3:128).

All these persons were pardoned “after they embraced Islam later on”.

Al-Bukhari recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that when Allah’s Messenger would supplicate against or for someone, he would do so when he was finished bowing and saying; Sami` Allahu Liman Hamidah, Rabbana wa lakal-Hamd. He would then say, “the Qunut”

“O Allah! Save Al-Walid bin Al-Walid, Salamah bin Hisham, Ayyash bin Abi Rabiah and the weak and the helpless people among the faithful believers. O Allah! Be hard on the tribe of Mudar and let them suffer from years of famine like that of the time of Yusuf.”

He would say this supplication aloud. He sometimes would supplicate during the Dawn prayer, “O Allah! Curse so-and-so (persons),” mentioning some Arab tribes. Thereafter, Allah revealed,

“Not for you is the decision.” (Al-Bukhari no. 4560)

Al-Bukhari recorded that Hamid and Thabit said that, Anas bin Malik said that the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, was injured during the battle of Uhud and said,

“How can a people achieve success after having injured their Prophet?”

Thereafter,

“Not for you is the decision” was revealed. (Fath Al-Bari 7:365)

Imam Ahmad recorded that Anas said that, the Prophet’s front tooth was broken during the battle of Uhud and he also sustained injuries on his forehead until blood dripped on his face. The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“How can a people achieve success after having done this to their Prophet who is calling them to their Lord, the Exalted and Most Honoured?” Allah revealed,

“Not for you is the decision; whether He turns in mercy to (pardons) them or punishes them; verily, they are the wrongdoers.” (Ahmad 3:99)

Allah then said, “And to Allah belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is in the Earth.” (3:129), everything is indeed the property of Allah and all are servants in His Hand. “He forgives whom He wills, and punishes whom He wills” for His is the decision and none can resist His decision. Allah is never asked about what He does, while they will be asked, “and Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful”.

 

{130. O you who believe! Do not consume Riba doubled and multiplied, but fear Allah that you may be successful.

131. And fear the Fire, which is prepared for the disbelievers.

132. And obey Allah and the Messenger that you may obtain mercy.

133. And march forth in the way (which leads to) forgiveness from your Lord, and for Paradise as wide as the heavens and the earth, prepared for the Muttaqin (the pious).

134. Those who spend (in Allah’s cause) in prosperity and in adversity, who repress anger, and who pardon men; verily, Allah loves the Muhsinin (the good-doers).

135. And those who, when they have committed Fahishah (immoral sin) or wronged themselves with evil, remember Allah and ask forgiveness for their sins; and none can forgive sins but Allah, and do not persist in what (wrong) they have done, while they know.

136. For such, the reward is forgiveness from their Lord, and Gardens with rivers flowing underneath (Paradise), wherein they shall abide forever. How excellent is this reward for the doers (of good).}

 

Interest (Riba) is Prohibited

Allah prohibits His believing servants from dealing in Riba and from requiring interest on their capital, just as they used to do during the time of Jahiliyyah. For instance, when the time to pay a loan comes, the creditor would say to the debtor, “Either pay now, or the loan will incur interest.” If the debtor asks for deferment of the loan, the creditor would require interest and this would occur year after year until the little capital becomes multiplied many times. Allah also commands His servants to have Taqwa of Him so that they may achieve success in this life and the Hereafter. Allah also threatens them with the Fire and warns them against it, saying, “And fear the Fire, which is prepared for the disbelievers. And obey Allah and the Messenger that you may obtain mercy.” (3:131,132).

The Encouragment to Do Good for which Paradise is the Result

Allah encourages His servants to perform righteous deeds and to rush to accomplish the acts of obedience. Allah said, “And march forth in the way (which leads to) forgiveness from your Lord, and for Paradise as wide as the heavens and the earth, prepared for the Muttaqin (the pious)” (3:133).

Just as the Fire was prepared for the disbelievers. It was reported that the meaning of Allah’s statement, “as wide as the heavens and the earth” draws the attention to the spaciousness of Paradise. For instance, Allah said in another Ayah, while describing the couches of Paradise, “lined with silk brocade” (55:54), so what about their outer covering. It was also said that Paradise is as wide as its length, because it is a dome under the Throne. The width and length of a dome or a circle are the same in distance. This is supported by what is found in the Sahih;

“When you ask Allah for Paradise, ask Him for Al-Firdaws which is the highest and best part of Paradise. From it originate the rivers of Paradise, and above it is the Throne of the Most Beneficent (Allah).” (Fath Al-Bari 6:14)

This Ayah (3:133 above) is similar to Allah’s statement in Surat Al-Hadid,

“Race with one another in hastening towards forgiveness from your Lord (Allah), and Paradise the width whereof is as the width of the heaven and the Earth” (57:21).

Al-Bazzar recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that a man came to the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, and asked him, about Allah’s statement, “Paradise as wide as the heavens and the Earth” (3:133); “Where is the Fire then?” The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said, “When the night comes, it overtakes everything, so where is the day?” The man said, “Where Allah wants it to be.” The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said, “Similarly, the Fire is where Allah wants it to be.” (Kashf Al-Astar 3:43) This Hadith has two possible meanings. First, when we do not see the night during the day, this does not mean that the day is not somewhere else, even though we cannot see it. Such is the case with Hell-fire, for it is where Allah wants it to be. The second meaning is that when the day overcomes this part of the world, the night overtakes the other part. Such is the case with Paradise, for it is in the utmost heights above the heavens and under the Throne. The width of Paradise is, as Allah stated, “whereof is as the width of the heaven and the Earth” (57:21).

The Fire, on the other hand, is in the lowest of lows. Therefore, Paradise being as wide as the heavens and Earth does not contradict the fact that the Fire exists wherever Allah wills it to be.

Allah said, while describing the people of Paradise, “Those who spend (in Allah’s cause) in prosperity and in adversity” (3:134), in hard times and easy times, while active (or enthusiastic) and otherwise, healthy or ill, and in all conditions, just as Allah said in another Ayah,

“Those who spend their wealth (in Allah’s cause) by night and day, in secret and in public” (2:274)

These believers are never distracted from obeying Allah, spending on what pleases Him, being kind to His servants and their relatives, and other acts of righteousness. Allah said, “who repress anger, and who pardon men” (3:134) for when they are angry, they control their anger and do act upon it. Rather, they even forgive those who hurt them. Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“The strong person is not he who is able to physically overcome people. The strong person is he who overcomes his rage when he is angry.” (Ahmad 2:236)

Imam Ahmad recorded that Ibn Abbas said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“He who gives time to a debtor or forgives him, then Allah will save him from the heat of Jahannam (Hell-fire). Behold! The deeds of Paradise are difficult to reach, for they are on top of a hill, while the deeds of the Fire are easy to find in the lowlands. The happy person is he who is saved from the tests. Verily, there is no dose of anything better to Allah than a dose of rage that the servant controls, and whenever the servant of Allah controls it, he will be internally filled with faith.” (Ahmad 1:327)

Imam Ahmad recorded that Sahl bin Muadh bin Anas said that his father said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“Whoever controlled rage while able to act upon it, then Allah will call him while all creation is a witness, until He gives him the choice of any of the Huris (fair females with wide, lovely eyes – as mates for the pious) he wishes.” (Ahmad 3:438)

Ibn Marduwyah recorded that Ibn Umar said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“There is not a dose of anything that the servant takes which is better than a dose of control of rage that he feels, when he does it seeking Allah’s Face.” (Ahmad 2:128)

Allah said, “who repress anger” meaning, they do not satisfy their rage upon people. Rather, they refrain from harming them and await their rewards with Allah, the Exalted and Most Honored. Allah then said, “and who pardon men” They forgive those who treat them with injustice. Therefore, they do not hold any ill feelings about anyone in their hearts, and this is the most excellent conduct in this regard. This is why Allah said,“verily, Allah loves the Muhsinin (the good-doers)”. This good conduct is a type of Ihsan [excellence in the religion]. There is a Hadith that reads,

“I swear regarding three matters: no charity shall ever decrease the wealth; whenever one forgives people, then Allah will magnify his honor; and he who is humble for Allah, then Allah will raise his rank.” (Ahmad 4:231)

Allah said, “And those who, when they have committed Fahishah or wronged themselves with evil, remember Allah and ask forgiveness for their sins” (3:135). Therefore, if they commit an error they follow it with repentance and ask forgiveness. Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“A man once committed an error and said, ‘O Lord! I committed an error, so forgive me.’ Allah said, ‘My servant committed an error and knew that he has a Lord Who forgives or punishes for the error. I have forgiven My servant.’ The man committed another error and said, ‘O Lord! I committed an error, so forgive me.’ Allah said, ‘My servant knew that he has a Lord Who forgives or punishes for the sin. I have forgiven My servant.’ The man committed another error and said, ‘O Lord! I committed an error, so forgive me.’ Allah said, ‘My servant knew that he has a Lord Who forgives or punishes for the error. I have forgiven my servant.’ He then committed another error and said, ‘O Lord! I committed an error, so forgive me.’ Allah said, ‘My servant knew that he has a Lord Who forgives or punishes for the error. Bear witness that I have forgiven My servant, so let him do whatever he likes.” (Ahmad 2:296)

Abdur-Razzaq recorded that Anas bin Malik said, “I was told that when the Ayah, “And those who, when they have committed Fahishah or wronged themselves with evil, remember Allah and ask forgiveness for their sins” was revealed, Iblis (Shayatan) cried.” (Abdul-Razzaq 13:474) Allah’s statement, “and none can forgive sins but Allah”, means that none except Allah forgives sins. Allah said, “And do not persist in what (wrong) they have done, while they know”, for they repent from their error, return to Allah before death, do not insist on error, and if they err again, they repent from it. Allah said here, “while they know”  Mujahid and    Abdullah bin Ubayd bin Umayr commented, “Whoever repents, then Allah will forgive him.” Similarly, Allah said,

“Know they not that Allah accepts repentance from His servants” (9:104), and, “And whoever does evil or wrongs himself but afterwards seeks Allah’s forgiveness, he will find Allah Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (4: 110) and there are several examples similar to this Ayah.

Next, Allah said after this description, “For such, the reward is forgiveness from their Lord” (3:136), as a reward for these qualities, “forgiveness from their Lord, and Gardens with rivers flowing underneath (Paradise)” carrying all kinds of drinks, “wherein they shall abide forever” and ever, “How excellent is this reward for the doers (of good)” Allah praises Paradise in this part of the Ayah.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged) Vol 2 Pages 253-275 

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