English Translation and Commentary of the Holy Quran (2010)

by Maulana Muhammad Ali

Chapter 3: Āl Imran — The Family of Amran (Revealed at Madinah: 20 sections, 200 verses)

Section 13 (Verses 3:121–3:129): The Battle of Uhud

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Translation:

وَ اِذۡ غَدَوۡتَ مِنۡ اَہۡلِکَ تُبَوِّیُٔ الۡمُؤۡمِنِیۡنَ مَقَاعِدَ لِلۡقِتَالِ ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ سَمِیۡعٌ عَلِیۡمٌ ﴿۱۲۱﴾ۙ

3:121 And when you went forth early in the morning from your family, to assign to the believers their positions for the battle.1 And Allah is Hearing, Knowing.

اِذۡ ہَمَّتۡ طَّآئِفَتٰنِ مِنۡکُمۡ اَنۡ تَفۡشَلَا ۙ وَ اللّٰہُ وَلِیُّہُمَا ؕ وَ عَلَی اللّٰہِ فَلۡیَتَوَکَّلِ الۡمُؤۡمِنُوۡنَ ﴿۱۲۲﴾

3:122 When two parties from among you thought of showing cowardice, and Allah was the Guardian of them both. And in Allah should the believers trust.

وَ لَقَدۡ نَصَرَکُمُ اللّٰہُ بِبَدۡرٍ وَّ اَنۡتُمۡ اَذِلَّۃٌ ۚ فَاتَّقُوا اللّٰہَ لَعَلَّکُمۡ تَشۡکُرُوۡنَ ﴿۱۲۳﴾

3:123 And Allah certainly helped you at Badr when you were weak. So keep your duty to Allah that you may give thanks.

اِذۡ تَقُوۡلُ لِلۡمُؤۡمِنِیۡنَ اَلَنۡ یَّکۡفِیَکُمۡ اَنۡ یُّمِدَّکُمۡ رَبُّکُمۡ بِثَلٰثَۃِ اٰلٰفٍ مِّنَ الۡمَلٰٓئِکَۃِ مُنۡزَلِیۡنَ ﴿۱۲۴﴾ؕ

3:124 When you said to the believers: Is it not sufficient for you that your Lord should help you with three thousand angels sent down?2

بَلٰۤی ۙ اِنۡ تَصۡبِرُوۡا وَ تَتَّقُوۡا وَ یَاۡتُوۡکُمۡ مِّنۡ فَوۡرِہِمۡ ہٰذَا یُمۡدِدۡکُمۡ رَبُّکُمۡ بِخَمۡسَۃِ اٰلٰفٍ مِّنَ الۡمَلٰٓئِکَۃِ مُسَوِّمِیۡنَ ﴿۱۲۵﴾

3:125 Indeed, if you are steadfast and keep your duty, and they come upon you in a headlong manner, your Lord will assist you with five thousand of havoc-making angels.3

وَ مَا جَعَلَہُ اللّٰہُ اِلَّا بُشۡرٰی لَکُمۡ وَ لِتَطۡمَئِنَّ قُلُوۡبُکُمۡ بِہٖ ؕ وَ مَا النَّصۡرُ اِلَّا مِنۡ عِنۡدِ اللّٰہِ الۡعَزِیۡزِ الۡحَکِیۡمِ ﴿۱۲۶﴾ۙ

3:126 And Allah made it only as good news for you, and that your hearts might be at ease by it. And help comes only from Allah, the Mighty, the Wise,

لِیَقۡطَعَ طَرَفًا مِّنَ الَّذِیۡنَ کَفَرُوۡۤا اَوۡ یَکۡبِتَہُمۡ فَیَنۡقَلِبُوۡا خَآئِبِیۡنَ ﴿۱۲۷﴾

3:127 that He may cut off a part of those who disbelieve or humble them so that they should return in failure.4

لَیۡسَ لَکَ مِنَ الۡاَمۡرِ شَیۡءٌ اَوۡ یَتُوۡبَ عَلَیۡہِمۡ اَوۡ یُعَذِّبَہُمۡ فَاِنَّہُمۡ ظٰلِمُوۡنَ ﴿۱۲۸﴾

3:128 You have no concern in the matter whether He turns to them (mercifully) or punishes them; surely they are wrongdoers.5

وَ لِلّٰہِ مَا فِی السَّمٰوٰتِ وَ مَا فِی الۡاَرۡضِ ؕ یَغۡفِرُ لِمَنۡ یَّشَآءُ وَ یُعَذِّبُ مَنۡ یَّشَآءُ ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ غَفُوۡرٌ رَّحِیۡمٌ ﴿۱۲۹﴾٪

3:129 And to Allah belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth. He forgives whom He pleases and punishes whom He pleases. And Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.

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Commentary:

  1. Much of the rest of this chapter is devoted to the events of the battle of Uhud. In 3 A.H. the Quraish marched against Madinah. The Prophet at first in­tended to stay within the town, but afterwards marched into the open field with a thousand men, one-third of whom, under the leadership of Abdullah ibn Ubayy, the hypocrite leader, left him and returned to Madinah. The enemy were first completely routed, but fifty Muslim archers, who were placed in a strong position to cut off the retreat of the enemy, made a mistake, and in order to join in the pur­suit left their position. The enemy fell back upon the Muslims who were now in disorder and had lost their naturally fortified position, and after inflicting some loss upon them, left the field secure from the pursuit of the Muslim force. It was not a victory for the Quraish, who thought it safe to go back when they found the Muslims involved in their own troubles. They could not take a single prisoner of war, nor had they the courage to attack Madinah, which they did two years later with a very strong force.
  2. The promise of the coming of angels is fully explained in the 8th chapter in connection with the battle of Badr. As here, it is first stated there that the promise was given only “as good news, and that your hearts might be at ease by it” (8:10). Then it is made further clear there that the believers were strength­ened and made firm while terror was cast into the hearts of their enemy. This was the result of the action of the angels upon the hearts.
  3. The assistance of the angels stated in this verse refers to a third occa­sion, when the enemy came “in a headlong manner”, all the tribes uniting with the Quraish to crush the Muslims. This happened in the battle of Aḥzāb, or the Allies, when the Quraish, numbering about five thousand, with the help of allied forces, the total strength being more than ten thousand, suddenly attacked Madinah. The dis­per­sal of such a large army when the Muslims were only about fourteen hun­d­red was no doubt due to Divine help, sent through angelic hosts.
  4. Although the object of the disbelievers was to extirpate the Muslims by war, God’s aim was not to destroy all the disbelievers by defeat but to cut off their ringleaders and chiefs. The word translated as “a part”, ṭaraf, also means the leading men. When the leaders of mischief were cut off, the rest would be dis­appointed of attaining the object of extirpating Islam, and persecution would cease.
  5. As a mortal the Prophet might have sometimes desired a severe punishment for his enemies; but he is told that it was not his concern, for Allah might as well forgive them, even though they deserved punishment. The all-comprehen­siveness of the Divine mercy expressed in this verse is unapproached in sacred literature.

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