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 4 (Verses 3:31–3:41): Last Members of a Chosen Race



قُلۡ اِنۡ کُنۡتُمۡ تُحِبُّوۡنَ اللّٰہَ فَاتَّبِعُوۡنِیۡ یُحۡبِبۡکُمُ اللّٰہُ وَ یَغۡفِرۡ لَکُمۡ ذُنُوۡبَکُمۡ ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ غَفُوۡرٌ رَّحِیۡمٌ ﴿۳۱﴾

3:31 Say: If you love Allah, follow me: Allah will love you,1 and grant you protection from your sins. And Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.

قُلۡ اَطِیۡعُوا اللّٰہَ وَ الرَّسُوۡلَ ۚ فَاِنۡ تَوَلَّوۡا فَاِنَّ اللّٰہَ لَا یُحِبُّ الۡکٰفِرِیۡنَ ﴿۳۲﴾

3:32 Say: Obey Allah and the Messenger; but if they turn back, Allah surely does not love the disbelievers.

اِنَّ اللّٰہَ اصۡطَفٰۤی اٰدَمَ وَ نُوۡحًا وَّ اٰلَ اِبۡرٰہِیۡمَ وَ اٰلَ عِمۡرٰنَ عَلَی الۡعٰلَمِیۡنَ ﴿ۙ۳۳﴾

3:33 Truly Allah chose Adam and Noah and the descendants of Abraham and the descendants of Amran above the nations,2

ذُرِّیَّۃًۢ بَعۡضُہَا مِنۡۢ بَعۡضٍ ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ سَمِیۡعٌ عَلِیۡمٌ ﴿ۚ۳۴﴾

3:34 offspring, one of the other. And Allah is Hearing, Knowing.

اِذۡ قَالَتِ امۡرَاَتُ عِمۡرٰنَ رَبِّ اِنِّیۡ نَذَرۡتُ لَکَ مَا فِیۡ بَطۡنِیۡ مُحَرَّرًا فَتَقَبَّلۡ مِنِّیۡ ۚ اِنَّکَ اَنۡتَ السَّمِیۡعُ الۡعَلِیۡمُ ﴿۳۵﴾

3:35 When a woman of Amran3 said: My Lord, I vow to You what is in my womb, to be devoted (to Your service), so accept (it) from me; surely You, only You, are the Hearing, the Knowing.

فَلَمَّا وَضَعَتۡہَا قَالَتۡ رَبِّ اِنِّیۡ وَضَعۡتُہَاۤ اُنۡثٰی ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ اَعۡلَمُ بِمَا وَضَعَتۡ ؕ وَ لَیۡسَ الذَّکَرُ کَالۡاُنۡثٰی ۚ وَ اِنِّیۡ سَمَّیۡتُہَا مَرۡیَمَ وَ اِنِّیۡۤ اُعِیۡذُہَا بِکَ وَ ذُرِّیَّتَہَا مِنَ الشَّیۡطٰنِ الرَّجِیۡمِ ﴿۳۶﴾

3:36 So when she gave birth to it, she said: My Lord, I have given birth to a female — and Allah knew best what she had given birth to — and the male is not like the female,4 and I have named it Mary, and I commend her and her offspring into Your protection from the accursed devil.5

فَتَقَبَّلَہَا رَبُّہَا بِقَبُوۡلٍ حَسَنٍ وَّ اَنۡۢبَتَہَا نَبَاتًا حَسَنًا ۙ وَّ کَفَّلَہَا زَکَرِیَّا ۚؕ کُلَّمَا دَخَلَ عَلَیۡہَا زَکَرِیَّا الۡمِحۡرَابَ ۙ وَجَدَ عِنۡدَہَا رِزۡقًا ۚ قَالَ یٰمَرۡیَمُ اَنّٰی لَکِ ہٰذَا ؕ قَالَتۡ ہُوَ مِنۡ عِنۡدِ اللّٰہِ ؕ اِنَّ اللّٰہَ یَرۡزُقُ مَنۡ یَّشَآءُ بِغَیۡرِ حِسَابٍ ﴿۳۷﴾

3:37 So her Lord accepted her with a goodly acceptance and made her grow up a goodly growing, and gave her into the charge of Zacharias. Whenever Zacharias entered the sanctuary to (see) her, he found food with her. He said: Mary, from where does this come to you? She said: It is from Allah. Surely Allah gives to whom He pleases without measure.6

ہُنَالِکَ دَعَا زَکَرِیَّا رَبَّہٗ ۚ قَالَ رَبِّ ہَبۡ لِیۡ مِنۡ لَّدُنۡکَ ذُرِّیَّۃً طَیِّبَۃً ۚ اِنَّکَ سَمِیۡعُ الدُّعَآءِ ﴿۳۸﴾

3:38 There did Zacharias pray to his Lord. He said: My Lord, grant me from Yourself goodly offspring; surely You are the Hearer of prayer.

فَنَادَتۡہُ الۡمَلٰٓئِکَۃُ وَ ہُوَ قَآئِمٌ یُّصَلِّیۡ فِی الۡمِحۡرَابِ ۙ اَنَّ اللّٰہَ یُبَشِّرُکَ بِیَحۡیٰی مُصَدِّقًۢا بِکَلِمَۃٍ مِّنَ اللّٰہِ وَ سَیِّدًا وَّ حَصُوۡرًا وَّ نَبِیًّا مِّنَ الصّٰلِحِیۡنَ ﴿۳۹﴾

3:39 So the angels called to him as he stood praying in the sanctuary: Allah gives you the good news of John,7 verifying a word from Allah,8 and honourable and chaste and a prophet from among the good ones.

قَالَ رَبِّ اَنّٰی یَکُوۡنُ لِیۡ غُلٰمٌ وَّ قَدۡ بَلَغَنِیَ الۡکِبَرُ وَ امۡرَاَتِیۡ عَاقِرٌ ؕ قَالَ کَذٰلِکَ اللّٰہُ یَفۡعَلُ مَا یَشَآءُ ﴿۴۰﴾

3:40 He said: My Lord, how can I have a son when old age has already come upon me, and my wife is barren? He said: Even thus does Allah do what He pleases.

قَالَ رَبِّ اجۡعَلۡ لِّیۡۤ اٰیَۃً ؕ قَالَ اٰیَتُکَ اَلَّا تُکَلِّمَ النَّاسَ ثَلٰثَۃَ اَیَّامٍ اِلَّا رَمۡزًا ؕ وَ اذۡکُرۡ رَّبَّکَ کَثِیۡرًا وَّ سَبِّحۡ بِالۡعَشِیِّ وَ الۡاِبۡکَارِ ﴿٪۴۱﴾

3:41 He said: My Lord, appoint a sign for me. Said He: Your sign is that you do not speak to people for three days except by signs. And remember your Lord much and glorify (Him) in the evening and early morning.



  1. The love of Allah is the great goal of life to which Islam leads.
  2. Here begins the story of Jesus Christ, the central figure of the Chris­tian religion, and as a preliminary we are told that if Jesus was chosen by God so were his great ancestors, Adam and Noah. The descendants of Abraham and Amran are then spoken of as having been chosen above the nations. For the choice of the descendants of Abraham, see 2:124 footnote. They are divided into two branches, the Israelites and the Ishmaelites. The former are here spoken of as the descendants of ‘Imrān, who is the same as Amran of the Bible. The descen­dants of Amran are Moses and Aaron. Moses became the founder of the Israelite law and Aaron the head of the Israelite priesthood. The last of this race were John and Jesus. Their parents, Zacharias and Mary, are first spoken of here.
  3. Imra’at means a woman and also a wife. I take imra’at ‘Imrān as meaning a woman of the family of Amran rather than wife of Amran because the name of a great ancestor is frequently used to indicate the nation which has sprung from him. According to tradition, however, ‘Imrān was the name of Mary’s father, and therefore the words imra’at ‘Imrān may mean the wife of Amran.
  4. She had vowed the child to be devoted to the service of the Temple, but a female could not do the priestly work.
  5. Mary’s mother while praying for Mary prays also for her offspring, because, while dedicating her daughter to the Temple, she entertained the hope that Mary would eventually become a wife and mother.
  6. Mary’s reply, that she got sustenance from Allah, is the reply of every devout person who believes that Allah is the sustainer of all, and that therefore all provision or sustenance comes from Him. Mary being attached to the Temple, the worshippers would naturally bring gifts to her, and as it was through Divine grace that she received these gifts she said that it was Allah Who gave her these things.
  7. The Arabic word for John is Yaḥyā, this name indicating that he would not die in sin like his other relations.
  8. The promise given to Zacharias was a word from Allah, and John was the verifier of that word, because his birth brought about the fulfilment of the prophecy. A word from Allah, therefore, stands for a Divine prophecy; see also 6:34 and 10:64.