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 16 (Verses 3:149–3:155): Causes of Misfortune in Battle of Uhud

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Translation:

یٰۤاَیُّہَا الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡۤا اِنۡ تُطِیۡعُوا الَّذِیۡنَ کَفَرُوۡا یَرُدُّوۡکُمۡ عَلٰۤی اَعۡقَابِکُمۡ فَتَنۡقَلِبُوۡا خٰسِرِیۡنَ ﴿۱۴۹﴾

3:149 O you who believe, if you obey those who disbelieve, they will make you turn back upon your heels, so you will turn back losers.1

بَلِ اللّٰہُ مَوۡلٰىکُمۡ ۚ وَ ہُوَ خَیۡرُ النّٰصِرِیۡنَ ﴿۱۵۰﴾

3:150 Rather, Allah is your Patron, and He is the Best of the helpers.

سَنُلۡقِیۡ فِیۡ قُلُوۡبِ الَّذِیۡنَ کَفَرُوا الرُّعۡبَ بِمَاۤ اَشۡرَکُوۡا بِاللّٰہِ مَا لَمۡ یُنَزِّلۡ بِہٖ سُلۡطٰنًا ۚ وَ مَاۡوٰىہُمُ النَّارُ ؕ وَ بِئۡسَ مَثۡوَی الظّٰلِمِیۡنَ ﴿۱۵۱﴾

3:151 We will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve2 because they set up partners with Allah for which He has sent down no authority, and their abode is the Fire. And evil is the abode of the wrongdoers.

وَ لَقَدۡ صَدَقَکُمُ اللّٰہُ وَعۡدَہٗۤ اِذۡ تَحُسُّوۡنَہُمۡ بِاِذۡنِہٖ ۚ حَتّٰۤی اِذَا فَشِلۡتُمۡ وَ تَنَازَعۡتُمۡ فِی الۡاَمۡرِ وَ عَصَیۡتُمۡ مِّنۡۢ بَعۡدِ مَاۤ اَرٰىکُمۡ مَّا تُحِبُّوۡنَ ؕ مِنۡکُمۡ مَّنۡ یُّرِیۡدُ الدُّنۡیَا وَ مِنۡکُمۡ مَّنۡ یُّرِیۡدُ الۡاٰخِرَۃَ ۚ ثُمَّ صَرَفَکُمۡ عَنۡہُمۡ لِیَبۡتَلِیَکُمۡ ۚ وَ لَقَدۡ عَفَا عَنۡکُمۡ ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ ذُوۡ فَضۡلٍ عَلَی الۡمُؤۡمِنِیۡنَ ﴿۱۵۲﴾

3:152 And Allah certainly made good His promise to you when you slew them by His permission, until you became weak-hearted and disputed about the affair and disobeyed after He had shown you what you loved. Some of you desired this world, and some of you desired the Hereafter.3 Then He turned you away from them that He might try you; and He has indeed pardoned you.4 And Allah is Gracious to the believers.

اِذۡ تُصۡعِدُوۡنَ وَ لَا تَلۡوٗنَ عَلٰۤی اَحَدٍ وَّ الرَّسُوۡلُ یَدۡعُوۡکُمۡ فِیۡۤ اُخۡرٰىکُمۡ فَاَثَابَکُمۡ غَمًّۢا بِغَمٍّ لِّکَیۡلَا تَحۡزَنُوۡا عَلٰی مَا فَاتَکُمۡ وَ لَا مَاۤ اَصَابَکُمۡ ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ خَبِیۡرٌۢ بِمَا تَعۡمَلُوۡنَ ﴿۱۵۳﴾

3:153 When you went away far, and paid no heed to anyone, and the Messenger was calling you in your rear.5 So He gave you (another) grief for (your) first grief that you might not grieve at what escaped you, nor (at) what befell you. And Allah is Aware of what you do.

ثُمَّ اَنۡزَلَ عَلَیۡکُمۡ مِّنۡۢ بَعۡدِ الۡغَمِّ اَمَنَۃً نُّعَاسًا یَّغۡشٰی طَآئِفَۃً مِّنۡکُمۡ ۙ وَ طَآئِفَۃٌ قَدۡ اَہَمَّتۡہُمۡ اَنۡفُسُہُمۡ یَظُنُّوۡنَ بِاللّٰہِ غَیۡرَ الۡحَقِّ ظَنَّ الۡجَاہِلِیَّۃِ ؕ یَقُوۡلُوۡنَ ہَلۡ لَّنَا مِنَ الۡاَمۡرِ مِنۡ شَیۡءٍ ؕ قُلۡ اِنَّ الۡاَمۡرَ کُلَّہٗ لِلّٰہِ ؕ یُخۡفُوۡنَ فِیۡۤ اَنۡفُسِہِمۡ مَّا لَا یُبۡدُوۡنَ لَکَ ؕ یَقُوۡلُوۡنَ لَوۡ کَانَ لَنَا مِنَ الۡاَمۡرِ شَیۡءٌ مَّا قُتِلۡنَا ہٰہُنَا ؕ قُلۡ لَّوۡ کُنۡتُمۡ فِیۡ بُیُوۡتِکُمۡ لَبَرَزَ الَّذِیۡنَ کُتِبَ عَلَیۡہِمُ الۡقَتۡلُ اِلٰی مَضَاجِعِہِمۡ ۚ وَ لِیَبۡتَلِیَ اللّٰہُ مَا فِیۡ صُدُوۡرِکُمۡ وَ لِیُمَحِّصَ مَا فِیۡ قُلُوۡبِکُمۡ ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ عَلِیۡمٌۢ بِذَاتِ الصُّدُوۡرِ ﴿۱۵۴﴾

3:154 Then after grief He sent down security on you, slumber overcoming a group of you,6 while (there was) another group whom their own minds had made anxious — they entertained about Allah thoughts of ignorance quite unjustly.7 They said: Have we any hand in the affair? Say: The affair is wholly (in the hands) of Allah. They hide within themselves what they would not reveal to you. They say: If we had any hand in the affair, we would not have been slain here.8 Say: Had you remained in your houses, those for whom slaughter was ordained would have gone forth to the places where they would be slain.9 And (this happened) that Allah might test what was in your minds and that He might purge what was in your hearts. And Allah is Knower of what is in the minds.

اِنَّ الَّذِیۡنَ تَوَلَّوۡا مِنۡکُمۡ یَوۡمَ الۡتَقَی الۡجَمۡعٰنِ ۙ اِنَّمَا اسۡتَزَلَّہُمُ الشَّیۡطٰنُ بِبَعۡضِ مَا کَسَبُوۡا ۚ وَ لَقَدۡ عَفَا اللّٰہُ عَنۡہُمۡ ؕ اِنَّ اللّٰہَ غَفُوۡرٌ حَلِیۡمٌ ﴿۱۵۵﴾٪

3:155 Those of you who turned back on the day when the two armies met, only the devil sought to cause them to make a slip on account of some deeds they had done, and certainly Allah has pardoned them. Surely Allah is Forgiving, Forbearing.10

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Commentary:

  1. The war was carried on only with the object of making the Muslims renounce their religion, and hence they could not think of accepting the disbelie­vers as their rulers.
  2. The Muslims were less than one-fourth of their opponents, being at the same time not so well equipped as their foes, and in spite of the disorder into which the Muslim forces had fallen, the enemy had to flee, leaving the Muslims in the field, not even making a show of attacking Madinah, which was quite defence­­­less. This clearly shows that they were terror-stricken.
  3. The weak-heartedness of a part of the archers who were placed in an important position to cut off the enemy’s retreat consisted in their disobeying the clear orders of the Prophet: “If you see us overcoming the enemy do not leave your position, and if you see the enemy overcoming us, do not leave your posi­tion”. But they fell a prey to the love of the world and left their position to get a share in the booty when they saw the enemy fleeing before the Muslim onrush.
  4. The enemy, who was being pursued, turned against the pursuers on seeing the important position of the archers vacated, and the result was that the Muslims who were now in disorder on account of the pursuit found themselves helpless against the enemy who turned back on them, and some of them who were cut off from the main body took to flight. However, God pardoned them as their flight was the result of circumstances which were beyond their control.
  5. It refers to the Prophet’s call, at whom the Muslims now saw that the attack of the enemy was directed. So they did not grieve for losing an opportunity of pursuing the enemy, but for the dangerous position in which they saw the Prophet.
  6. This happened when the enemy departed. The slumber was a sign of security.
  7. These were the disaffected who took no part in fighting. They now gave vent to their hidden rancour against the Muslims. The evil thoughts which the hypocrites entertained about Allah were that Allah had not helped the Muslims.
  8. The hypocrites sided with the minority whose counsel was that the Muslims should not fight the enemy in the open field and should remain besieged in Madinah. The majority was, however, in favour of going out and meeting the enemy where it had encamped. The Prophet decided that the majority vote must be accepted. The hypocrites now argued that the disaster would not have befallen the Muslims if their advice as to remaining within the town had been accepted. They took no part in fighting but they spoke of the loss of the Muslims as their own loss.
  9. They are given the reply that even if the Muslims had defended themselves by remaining in Madinah, those who laid down their lives in the field of Uhud would have laid them down in Madinah as well.
  10. The persons spoken of here are those who were unable to join the main Muslim army and fled to Madinah, or in some other direction. It was a slip on their part, not intentional disobedience, and God granted them a free pardon.

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