سورة آل عمران
Tafsir: Al-Quranul Kareem
Tafsir Ibn Kathir
Chapter 3 | Surah Al-Imran
The Family of Imran |Part One
Revealed: In Madinah
The Family of Imran
Chapter | 003 – Part One
Surah Al Imran was revealed in Al-Madinah, as evident by the fact that the first eighty-three Ayat in it relate to the delegation from Najran that arrived in Al-Madinah on the ninth year of Hijrah (632 CE).
We will elaborate on this subject when we explain the Ayah about the Mubahalah (3:61) in this Surah, Allah willing. We should also state that we mentioned the virtues of Surah Al-Imran along with the virtues of Surah Al-Baqarah in the beginning of the Tafsir of Surah Al-Baqarah.
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
3:2.| Allah! None has the right to be worshipped but He, the Ever Living, the One Who sustains and protects all that exists.
3:3.| It is He Who has sent down the Book to you with truth, confirming what came before it. And He sent down the Tawrah and the Injil,
3:4.| Aforetime, as a guidance to mankind. And He sent down the criterion. Truly, those who disbelieve in the Ayat of Allah, for them there is a severe torment; and Allah is All-Mighty, All-Able of Retribution.
Alif-Lam-Mim, in the beginning of Surah Al-Baqarah, we discussed the meaning of the separate letters that appear in the beginnings of some Surahs.
Allah! None has the right to be worshipped but He, the Ever Living, the One Who sustains and protects all that exists.
We mentioned the Hadith in the Tafsir of Ayat Al-Kursi (2:255) that mentions that Allah’s Greatest Name is contained in these two Ayat,
(Allah! None has the right to be worshipped but He, the Ever Living, the One Who sustains and protects all that exists) (2:255) and (3:2)
We also explained the Tafsir of, Allah! La ilaha illa Huwa, Al-Hayyul-Qayyum, in the Tafsir of Ayat Al-Kursi.
It is He Who has sent down the Book to you with truth, means, revealed the Qur’an to you, O Muhammad, in truth, meaning there is no doubt or suspicion that it is revealed from Allah.
Verily, Allah revealed the Qur’an with His knowledge, and the angels testify to this fact, Allah is sufficient as a Witness.
Confirming what came before it, means, from the previous divinely revealed Books, sent to the servants and Prophets of Allah.
These Books testify to the truth of the Qur’an, and the Qur’an also testifies to the truth these Books contained, including the news and glad tidings of Muhammad’s Prophethood and the revelation of the Glorious Qur’an.
And He sent down the Tawrah, to Musa (Musa) son of Imran,
And the Injil, to `Isa, son of Mary.
Aforetime, meaning, before the Qur’an was revealed.
As a guidance to mankind, (in their time).
And He sent down the criterion, which is the distinction between misguidance, falsehood and deviation on one hand, and guidance, truth and piety on the other hand. This is because of the indications, signs, plain evidences and clear proofs that it contains, and because of its explanations, clarifications, etc.
Truly, those who disbelieve in the Ayat of Allah, means they denied, refused and unjustly rejected them.
For them there is a severe torment, (on the Day of Resurrection).
And Allah is All-Mighty, meaning, His grandeur is invincible and His sovereignty is infinite,
All-Able of Retribution. from those who reject His Ayat and defy His honorable Messengers and great Prophets.
3:5.| Truly, nothing is hidden from Allah, in the earth or in the heaven.
3:6.| He it is Who shapes you in the wombs as He wills. None has the right to be worshipped but He, the Almighty, the All-Wise.
Truly, nothing is hidden from Allah, in the earth or in the heaven.
Allah states that He has perfect knowledge in the heavens and earth and that nothing in them is hidden from His watch.
He it is Who shapes you in the wombs as He wills. meaning, He creates you in the wombs as He wills, whether male or female, handsome or otherwise, happy or miserable.
La ilaha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He), the Almighty, the All-Wise. meaning, He is the Creator and thus is the only deity worthy of worship, without partners, and His is the perfect might, wisdom and decision.
This Ayah refers to the fact that `Isa, son of Mary, is a created servant, just as Allah created the rest of mankind. Allah created `Isa in the womb (of his mother) and shaped him as He willed. Therefore, how could `Isa be divine, as the Christians, may Allah’s curses descend on them, claim `Isa was created in the womb and his creation changed from stage to stage, just as Allah said,
He creates you in the wombs of your mothers, creation after creation in three veils of darkness. (39:6)
3:7.| It is He Who has sent down to you the Book. In it are verses that are entirely clear, they are the foundations of the Book; and others not entirely clear. So as for those in whose hearts there is a deviation (from the truth) they follow (only) that which is not entirely clear thereof, seeking Al-Fitnah, and seeking its Ta’wil, but none knows its Ta’wil except Allah. And those who are firmly grounded in knowledge say: “We believe in it; all of it is from our Lord.” And none receive admonition except men of understanding.
3:8.| (They say): “Our Lord! Let not our hearts deviate (from the truth) after You have guided us, and grant us mercy from You. Truly, You are the Bestower.”
3:9.| “Our Lord! Verily, it is You Who will gather mankind together on the Day about which there is no doubt. Verily, Allah never breaks His Promise.”
The Mutashabihat and Muhkamat Ayat.
It is He Who has sent down to you the Book. In it are verses that are entirely clear, Allah states that in the Qur’an, there are Ayat that are Muhkamat, entirely clear and plain, and these are the foundations of the Book which are plain for everyone.
And there are Ayat in the Qur’an that are Mutashabihat not entirely clear for many, or some people. So those who refer to the Muhkam Ayat to understand the Mutashabih Ayat, will have acquired the correct guidance, and vice versa.
This is why Allah said,
They are the foundations of the Book, meaning, they are the basis of the Qur’an, and should be referred to for clarification, when warranted.
And others not entirely clear, as they have several meanings, some that agree with the Muhkam and some that carry other literal indications, although these meaning might not be desired.
The Muhkamat are the Ayat, that explain the abrogating rulings, the allowed, prohibited, laws, limits, obligations and rulings that should be believed in and implemented.
As for the Mutashabihat Ayat, they include the abrogated Ayat, parables, oaths, and what should be believed in, but not implemented.
Muhammad bin Ishaq bin Yasar commented on, (In it are verses that are entirely clear) as, “Containing proof of the Lord, immunity for the servants and a refutation of opponents and of falsehood. They cannot be changed or altered from what they were meant for.”
He also said,
“As for the unclear Ayat, they can (but must not) be altered and changed, and this is a test from Allah to the servants, just as He tested them with the allowed and prohibited things. So these Ayat must not be altered to imply a false meaning or be distorted from the truth.”
Therefore, Allah said,
So as for those in whose hearts there is a deviation, meaning, those who are misguided and deviate from truth to falsehood. they follow that which is not entirely clear thereof, meaning, they refer to the Mutashabih, because they are able to alter its meanings to conform with their false interpretation since the wordings of the Mutashabihat encompass such a wide area of meanings.
As for the Muhkam Ayat, they cannot be altered because they are clear and, thus, constitute unequivocal proof against the misguided people.
This is why Allah said,
seeking Al-Fitnah, meaning, they seek to misguide their following by pretending to prove their innovation by relying on the Qur’an — the Mutashabih of it — but, this is proof against and not for them.
For instance, Christians might claim that (`Isa is divine because) the Qur’an states that he is Ruhullah and His Word, which He gave to Mary, all the while ignoring Allah’s statements,
(He (`Isa) was not more than a servant. We granted Our favor to him.) (43:59) and,
Verily, the likeness of `Isa before Allah is the likeness of Adam. He created him from dust, then (He) said to him: “Be!” and he was. (3:59)
There are other Ayat that clearly assert that `Isa is but one of Allah’s creatures and that he is the servant and Messenger of Allah, among other Messengers.
And seeking for its Ta’wil, to alter them as they desire. Imam Ahmad recorded that Aishah said, “The Messenger of Allah recited, ‘
(It is He Who has sent down to you the Book. In it are verses that are entirely clear, they are the foundations of the Book; and others not entirely clear), until, (Men of understanding) and he said, When you see those who argue in it (using the Mutashabihat), then they are those whom Allah meant. Therefore, beware of them.”
Al-Bukhari recorded a similar Hadith in the Tafsir of this Ayah (3:7) as did Muslim in the book of Qadar (the Divine Will) in his Sahih, and Abu Dawud in the Sunnah section of his Sunan, from Aishah;
“The Messenger of Allah recited this Ayah,
(It is He Who has sent down to you the Book. In it are verses that are entirely clear), until,
(And none receive admonition except men of understanding). He then said,
When you see those who follow what is not so clear of the Qur’an, then they are those whom Allah described, so beware of them.”
This is the wording recorded by Al-Bukhari.
Only Allah Knows the True Ta’wil (Interpretation) of the Mutashabihat.
But none knows its Ta’wil except Allah.
Similarly, as preceded in what has been reported from Ibn Abbas,
Tafsir is of four types:
- Tafsir that the Arabs know in their language;
- Tafsir that no one is excused of being ignorant of;
- Tafsir that the scholars know; and
- Tafsir that only Allah knows.”
Scholars of Qur’an recitation have different opinions about pausing at Allah’s Name in this Ayah. This stop was reported from Aishah, Urwah, Abu Ash-Sha`tha’ and Abu Nahik.
Some pause after reciting, (And those who are firmly grounded in knowledge), saying that the Qur’an does not address the people with what they cannot understand.
Ibn Abi Najih said that Mujahid said that Ibn Abbas said, “I am among those who are firmly grounded in its Ta’wil interpretation.”
The Messenger of Allah supplicated for the benefit of Ibn Abbas,
‘O Allah! Bestow on him knowledge in the religion and teach him the Ta’wil (interpretation).
Ta’wil has two meanings in the Qur’an:
- the true reality of things, and
- what they will turn out to be.
For instance, Allah said,
And he said: “O my father! This is the Ta’wil of my dream aforetime!” (12:100) and,
Await they just for it’s Ta’wil On the Day (Day of Resurrection) it’s Ta’wil is finally fulfilled. (7:53) refers to the true reality of Resurrection that they were told about.
If this is the meaning desired in the Ayah above (3:7) then pausing after reciting Allah’s Name is warranted, because only Allah knows the true reality of things.
In this case, Allah’s statement,
(And those who are firmly grounded in knowledge) is connected to His statement,
(say: “We believe in it”).
If the word Ta’wil means the second meaning, that is, explaining and describing, such as what Allah said,
((They said): “Inform us of the Ta’wil of this”), (12:36) meaning its explanation, then pausing after reciting,
(And those who are firmly grounded in knowledge) is warranted. This is because the scholars have general knowledge in, and understand what they were addressed with, even though they do not have knowledge of the true reality of things.
Therefore, Allah’s statement,
(say: “We believe in it”) describes the conduct of the scholars.
Similarly, Allah said,
And your Lord comes, and the angels, in rows. (89:22) means, your Lord will come, and the angels will come in rows.
Allah’s statement that the knowledgeable people proclaim, We believe in it, means, they believe in the Mutashabih. … all of it is from our Lord, meaning, both the Muhkam and the Mutashabih are true and authentic, and each one of them testifies to the truth of the other.
This is because they both are from Allah and nothing that comes from Allah is ever met by contradiction or discrepancy.
Do they not then consider the Qur’an carefully! Had it been from other than Allah, they would surely have found therein many a contradiction. (4:82)
Allah said in this Ayah,
And none receive admonition except men of understanding. meaning, those who have good minds and sound comprehension, understand, contemplate and comprehend the meaning in the correct manner.
Further, Ibn Al-Mundhir recorded in his Tafsir that Nafi` bin Yazid said,
“Those firmly grounded in knowledge are those who are modest for Allah’s sake, humbly seek His pleasure, and do not exaggerate regarding those above them, or belittle those below them.”
Allah said that they supplicate to their Lord, ‘’Our Lord! Let not our hearts deviate (from the truth) after You have guided us. … meaning, “Do not deviate our hearts from the guidance after You allowed them to acquire it. Do not make us like those who have wickedness in their hearts, those who follow the Mutashabih in the Qur’an. Rather, make us remain firmly on Your straight path and true religion.”
And grant us from Ladunka, meaning, from You, Mercy, with which You make our hearts firm, and increase in our Faith and certainty, Truly, You are the Bestower.
Ibn Abi Hatim and Ibn Jarir recorded that Umm Salamah said that the Prophet used to supplicate, O You Who changes the hearts, make my heart firm on Your religion.
He then recited,
“Our Lord! Let not our hearts deviate (from the truth) after You have guided us, and grant us mercy from You. Truly, You are the Bestower.”
The Ayah continues,
“Our Lord! Verily, it is You Who will gather mankind together on the Day about which there is no doubt” meaning, they say in their supplication: O our Lord! You will gather Your creation on the Day of Return, judge between them and decide over what they disputed about. Thereafter, You will reward or punish each according to the deeds they did in this life. Verily, Allah never breaks His Promise.”
3:10.| Verily, those who disbelieve, neither their properties nor their offspring will avail them whatsoever against Allah; and it is they who will be fuel of the Fire.
3:11.| Like the behavior of the people of Fir`awn and those before them; they belied Our Ayat. So Allah punished them for their sins. And Allah is severe in punishment.
On the Day of Resurrection, No Wealth or Offspring Shall Avail.
Verily, those who disbelieve, neither their properties nor their offspring will avail them whatsoever against Allah; and it is they who will be fuel of the Fire.
Allah states that the disbelievers shall be fuel for the Fire, The Day when their excuses will be of no profit to wrongdoers. Theirs will be the curse, and theirs will be the evil abode (i.e. painful torment in Hellfire). (40:52)
Further, what they were granted in this life of wealth and offspring shall not avail them with Allah, or save them from His punishment and severe torment.
Similarly, Allah said,
So let not their wealth nor their children amaze you; in reality Allah’s plan is to punish them with these things in the life of this world, and that their souls shall depart (die) while they are disbelievers. (9:55) and, Let not the free disposal (and affluence) of the disbelievers throughout the land deceive you. A brief enjoyment; then, their ultimate abode is Hell; and worst indeed is that place for rest. (3:196-197)
Allah said in this Ayah,,
Verily, those who disbelieve, meaning, disbelieved in Allah’s Ayat, denied His Messengers, defied His Books and did not benefit from His revelation to His Prophets.
Neither their properties nor their offspring will avail them whatsoever against Allah; and it is they who will be fuel of the Fire. meaning, they will be the wood with which the Fire is kindled and fed.
Similarly, Allah said,
Certainly you (disbelievers) and that which you are worshipping now besides Allah, are (but) fuel for Hell! (21:98)
Allah said next,
Like the Da’b of the people of Fir`awn.
Ad-Dahhak said that Ibn Abbas said that the Ayah means, “Like the behavior of the people of Fir`awn.”
This is the same Tafsir of Ikrimah, Mujahid, Abu Malik, Ad-Dahhak, and others.
Other scholars said that the Ayah means, “Like the practice, conduct, likeness of the people of Fir`awn.”
These meanings are all plausible, for the Da’b means practice, behavior, tradition and habit.
The Ayah indicates that the disbelievers will not benefit from their wealth or offspring. Rather, they will perish and be punished.
… and those before them; they belied Our Ayat. So Allah punished them for their sins.
This is the same end the people of Fir`awn and the previous nations met, those who rejected the Messengers, the Ayat, and proofs of Allah that they were sent with.
And Allah is severe in punishment. … meaning, His punishment is severe and His torment is painful. None can escape Allah’s grasp, nor does anything escape His knowledge. Allah does what He wills and prevails over all things, it is He to Whom everything is humbled and there is no deity worthy of worship, nor any Lord except Him.
3:12.| Say to those who disbelieve: “You will be defeated and gathered together to Hell, and worst indeed is that place of rest.”
3:13.| There has already been a sign for you in the two armies that met. One was fighting in the cause of Allah, and as for the other, in disbelief. They saw them with their own eyes twice their number. And Allah supports with His aid whom He wills. Verily, in this is a lesson for those who understand.
Threatening the Jews With Defeat and Encouraging Them to Learn a Lesson From the Battle of Badr Allah commands the Prophet Muhammad to; Say to those who disbelieve:
Allah commanded the Prophet Muhammad to proclaim to the disbelievers.
You will be defeated, (in this life), And gathered together, (on the Day of Resurrection), … to Hell, and worst indeed is that place of rest.
Muhammad bin Ishaq bin Yasar recorded that Asim bin Umar bin Qatadah said that; when the Messenger of Allah gained victory in the battle of Badr and went back to Al-Madinah, he gathered the Jews in the marketplace of Bani Qaynuqa.
Therefore, Allah said,
There has already been a sign for you, meaning, O Jews, who said what you said! You have an Ayah, meaning proof, that Allah will make His religion prevail, award victory to His Messenger, make His Word apparent and His religion the highest.
In the two armies, meaning, two camps, … that met, in combat (in Badr).
One was fighting in the Cause of Allah, (the Muslims), And as for the other, in disbelief. .. meaning, the idolators of Quraysh at Badr.
They saw them with their own eyes twice their number, means, the idolators thought that the Muslims were twice as many as they were, for Allah made this illusion a factor in the victory that Islam had over them.
It was said that the meaning of Allah’s statement, (They saw them with their own eyes twice their number), is that the Muslims saw twice as many idolators as they were, yet Allah gave them victory over the disbelievers.
Abdullah bin Mas`ud said, “When we looked at the disbelievers’ forces, we found that they were twice as many as we were.
When we looked at them again, we thought they did not have one man more than we had. So Allah’s statement,
”And (remember) when you met, He showed them to you as few in your eyes and He made you appear as few in their eyes.” (8:44)
When the two camps saw each other, the Muslims thought that the idolators were twice as many as they were, so that they would trust in Allah and seek His help.
The idolators thought that the believers were twice as many as they were, so that they would feel fear, horror, fright and despair. When the two camps stood in lines and met in battle, Allah made each camp look smaller in the eyes of the other camp, so that they would be encouraged to fight each other,
… so that Allah might accomplish a matter already ordained. (8:42), meaning, so that the truth and falsehood are distinguishable, and thus the word of faith prevails over disbelief and deviation, so that the believers prevail and the disbelievers are humiliated.
In a similar statement, Allah said;
‘’And Allah has already made you victorious at Badr, when you were a weak little force.’’ (3:123)
In this Ayah Allah said,
‘’And Allah supports with His victory whom He wills.’’
Verily, in this is a lesson for those who understand.
.. meaning, this should be an example for those who have intelligence and sound comprehension.
They should contemplate about Allah’s wisdom, decisions and decree, that He gives victory to His believing servants in this life and on the Day the witnesses stand up to testify.
3:14.| Beautified for men is the love of things they covet; women, children, Qanatir Al-Muqantarah of gold and silver, branded beautiful horses (Musawwamah), cattle and fertile land. This is the pleasure of the present world’s life; but Allah has the excellent return with Him.
3:15.| Say: “Shall I inform you of things far better than those! For those who have Taqwa there are Gardens (Paradise) with their Lord, underneath which rivers flow. Therein (is their) eternal (home) and Azwajun Mutahharatun (purified mates or wives). And Allah will be pleased with them. And Allah is All-Seer of the servants.”
The True Value of This Earthly Life.
Beautified for men is the love of things they covet; women, children, Qanatir Al-Muqantarah of gold and silver, branded beautiful horses (Musawwamah), cattle and fertile land.
Allah mentions the delights that He put in this life for people, such as women and children, and He started with women, because the test with them is more tempting.
For instance, the Sahih recorded that the Messenger said,
I did not leave behind me a test more tempting to men than women.
When one enjoys women for the purpose of having children and preserving his chastity, then he is encouraged to do so.
There are many Hadiths that encourage getting married, such as,
Verily, the best members of this Ummah are those who have the most wives.
He also said,
This life is a delight, and the best of its delight is a righteous wife.
The Prophet said in another Hadith,
I was made to like women and perfume, and the comfort of my eye is the prayer.
Aishah, may Allah be pleased with her, said, “Nothing was more beloved to the Messenger of Allah than women, except horses,” and in another narration,
“…than horses except women.”
The desire to have children is sometimes for the purpose of pride and boasting, and as such, is a temptation.
When the purpose for having children is to reproduce and increase the Ummah of Muhammad with those who worship Allah alone without partners, then it is encouraged and praised.
A Hadith states,
Marry the Wadud (kind) and Walud (fertile) woman, for I will compare your numbers to the rest of the nations on the Day of Resurrection.
The desire of wealth sometimes results out of arrogance, and the desire to dominate the weak and control the poor, and this conduct is prohibited. Sometimes, the want for more money is for the purpose of spending it on acts of worship, being kind to the family, the relatives, and spending on various acts of righteousness and obedience; this behavior is praised and encouraged in the religion.
Scholars of Tafsir have conflicting opinions about the amount of the Qintar, all of which indicate that; the Qintar is a large amount of money, as Ad-Dahhak and other scholars said.
Abu Hurayrah said: “The Qintar is twelve thousand Uwqiyah, each Uwqiyah is better than what is between the heavens and earth.” This was recorded by Ibn Jarir.
The desire to have horses can be one of three types.
- Sometimes, owners of horses collect them to be used in the cause of Allah, and when warranted, they use their horses in battle. This type of owner shall be rewarded for this good action.
- Another type collects horses to boast, and out of enmity to the people of Islam, and this type earns a burden for his behavior.
- Another type collects horses to fulfill their needs and to collect their offspring, and they do not forget Allah’s right due on their horses.
This is why in this case, these horses provide a shield of sufficiency for their owner, as evident by a Hadith that we will mention, Allah willing, when we explain Allah’s statement,
And make ready against them all you can of power, including steeds of war. (8:60)
As for the Musawwamah horses, Ibn Abbas said that; they are the branded, beautiful horses. This is the same explanation of Mujahid, Ikrimah, Sa`id bin Jubayr, Abdur-Rahman bin Abdullah bin Abza, As-Suddi, Ar-Rabi bin Anas and Abu Sinan and others.
Makhul said, the Musawwamah refers to the horse with a white spotted faced, and the horse with white feet.
Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Dharr said that the Messenger of Allah said, Every Arabian horse is allowed to have two supplications every dawn, and the horse supplicates, `O Allah! You made me subservient to the son of Adam. Therefore, make me among the dearest of his wealth and household to him, or, …make me the dearest of his household and wealth to him.
Cattle, means, camels, cows and sheep. And fertile land, meaning, the land that is used to farm and grow plants.
Allah then said,
‘’This is the pleasure of the present world’s life, meaning, these are the delights of this life and its short lived joys.’’
But Allah has the excellent return with Him. meaning, the best destination and reward.
The Reward of the Those Who Have Taqwa is Better Than All Joys of This World.
This is why Allah said,
‘’ Say: “Shall I inform you of things far better than those!”
This Ayah means, “Say, O Muhammad, to the people, `Should I tell you about what is better than the delights and joys of this life that will soon perish!”’
Allah informed them of what is better when He said, For those who have Taqwa there are Gardens (Paradise) with their Lord, underneath which rivers flow, meaning, rivers run throughout it.
These rivers carry various types of drinks: honey, milk, wine and water such that no eye has ever seen, no ear has ever heard, and no heart has ever imagined.
Therein (is their) eternal (home), meaning, they shall remain in it forever and ever and will not want to be removed from it.
And Azwajun Mutahharatun (purified mates or wives), meaning, from filth, dirt, harm, menstruation, post birth bleeding, and other things that affect women in this world.
And Allah will be pleased with them. meaning, Allah’s pleasure will descend on them and He shall never be angry with them after that.
This is why Allah said in in Surah Bara`ah, (At-Towbah)
But the pleasure of Allah is greater. (9:72) meaning, greater than the eternal delight that He has granted them.
Allah then said,
And Allah is All-Seer of the (His) servants. and, He gives each provisions according to what they deserve.
3:16.| Those who say: “Our Lord! We have indeed believed, so forgive us our sins and save us from the punishment of the Fire.”
3:17.| (They are) the patient, the true believers, and obedient with sincere devotion in worship to Allah. Those who spend (in good) and those who pray and beg Allah’s pardon in the last hours of the night.
The Supplication and Description of Al-Muttaqin.
Allah describes the Muttaqin, His pious servants, whom He promised tremendous rewards,
Those who say: “Our Lord! We have indeed believed,” in You, Your Book and Your Messenger. … so forgive us our sins, because of our faith in You and in what You legislated for us. Therefore, forgive us our errors and shortcomings, with Your bounty and mercy, … and save us from the punishment of the Fire.
Allah then said,
(They are) those who are patient, while performing acts of obedience and abandoning the prohibitions.
… those who are true, concerning their proclamation of faith, by performing the difficult deeds.
… and obedient, meaning, they submit and obey Allah, … those who spend, from their wealth on all the acts of obedience they were commanded, being kind to kith and kin, helping the needy, and comforting the destitute.
… and those who pray and beg Allah’s pardon in the last hours of the night. and this testifies to the virtue of seeking Allah’s forgiveness in the latter part of the night.
It was reported that when Yaqub said to his children, (I will ask my Lord for forgiveness for you) (12:98) he waited until the latter part of the night to say his supplication.
Furthermore, the Two Sahihs, the Musnad and Sunan collections recorded through several Companions that the Messenger of Allah said,
Every night, when the last third of it remains, our Lord, the Blessed, the Superior, descends to the lowest heaven saying, “Is there anyone to ask Me, so that I may grant him his request?
Is there anyone to invoke Me, so that I may respond to his invocation…?
Is there anyone seeking My forgiveness, so that I may forgive him…?”
The Two Sahihs recorded that Aishah said, “The Messenger of Allah performed Witr during the first part, the middle and latter parts of the night. Then, later (in his life), he would perform it (only) during the latter part.”
Abdullah bin Umar used to pray during the night and would ask, “O Nafi! Is it the latter part of the night yet?” and if Nafi said, “Yes,” Ibn Umar would start supplicating to Allah and seeking His forgiveness until dawn.
This Hadith was collected by Ibn Abi Hatim.
3:18.| Allah bears witness that none has the right to be worshipped but He, and the angels, and those having knowledge (also bear witness to this); (He always) maintains His creation in justice. None has the right to be worshipped but He, the Almighty, the All-Wise.
3:19.| Truly, the religion with Allah is Islam. Those who were given the Scripture (Jews and Christians) did not differ except out of rivalry, after knowledge had come to them. And whoever disbelieves in the Ayat of Allah, then surely, Allah is Swift in reckoning.
3:20.| So if they dispute with you say: “I have submitted myself to Allah, and (so have) those who follow me.” And say to those who were given the Scripture (Jews and Christians) and to those who are illiterate (Arab pagans): “Do you (also) submit yourselves!” If they do, they are rightly guided; but if they turn away, your duty is only to convey the Message; and Allah sees the servants.
The Testimony of Tawhid.
Allah bears witness, Allah bears witness, and verily, Allah is sufficient as a Witness, and He is the Most Truthful and Just Witness there is; His statement is the absolute truth, … that La ilaha illa Huwa, meaning, He Alone is the Lord and God of all creation; everyone and everything are His servants, creation and in need of Him. Allah is the Most Rich, Free from needing anyone or anything.
Allah said in another Ayah,
But Allah bears witness to that which He has sent down (the Qur’an) unto you (O Muhammad). (4:166)
Allah then mentioned the testimony of His angels and those who have knowledge after he mentioned His own testimony, Allah bears witness that none has the right to be worshipped but He), and the angels, and those having knowledge (also bear witness to this).
This Ayah emphasizes the great virtue of those who have knowledge.
(He) maintains His creation in justice, in all that He does.
None has the right to be worshipped but He, thus emphasizing this fact.
… the Almighty, the All-Wise. the Mighty that does not submit to weakness due to His might and greatness, the Wise in all His statements, actions, legislation and decrees.
The Religion with Allah is Islam.
Truly, the religion with Allah is Islam.
Allah states that there is no religion accepted with Him from any person, except Islam. Islam includes obeying all of the Messengers until Muhammad who finalized their commission, thus closing all paths to Allah except through Muhammad. Therefore, after Allah sent Muhammad, whoever meets Allah following a path other than Muhammad’s, it will not be accepted of him.
In another Ayah, Allah said,
And whoever seeks a religion other than Islam, it will never be accepted of him. (3:85)
In this Ayah (3:19) Allah said, asserting that the only religion accepted with Him is Islam, (Truly, the religion with Allah is Islam).
Allah then states that those who were given the Scripture beforehand divided in the religion after Allah sent the Messengers and revealed the Books to them providing them the necessary proofs to not do so.
Those who were given the Scripture (Jews and Christians) did not differ except out of rivalry, after knowledge had come to them. meaning, some of them wronged others.
Therefore, they differed over the truth, out of envy, hatred and enmity for each other. This hatred made some of them defy those whom they hated even if they were correct.
Allah then said,
And whoever disbelieves in the Ayat of Allah, meaning, whoever rejects what Allah sent down in His Book.
… then surely, Allah is Swift in reckoning.
Allah will punish him for his rejection, reckon him for his denial, and torment him for defying His Book.
Thereafter, Allah said.
So if they dispute with you (Muhammad), so if they argue with you about Tawhid.
Say: “I have submitted myself to Allah (in Islam), and (so have) those who follow me.” meaning, Say, `I have made my worship sincere for Allah Alone without partners, rivals, offspring or companion, (and those who follow me) who followed my religion and embraced my creed.’
In another Ayah, Allah said,
Say (O Muhammad): “This is my way; I invite unto Allah with sure knowledge, I and whosoever follows me…” (12:108)
Islam is the Religion of Mankind and the Prophet Was Sent to all Mankind.
Allah commanded His servant and Messenger, Muhammad, to call the People of the Two Scriptures and the unlettered idolators to his religion, way, Law and all that Allah sent him with.
And say to those who were given the Scripture (Jews and Christians) and to those who are illiterates (Arab pagans): “Do you (also) submit yourselves!” If they do, they are rightly guided; but if they turn away, your duty is only to convey the Message. meaning, their reckoning is with Allah and their return and final destination is to Him. It is He Who guides whom He wills and allows whom He wills to stray, and He has the perfect wisdom and the unequivocal proof for all of this.
This is why Allah said,
And Allah sees the servants. for He has perfect knowledge of who deserves to be guided and who does not deserve to be guided. Verily, (He cannot be questioned for what He does, while they will be questioned) (21:23) because of His perfect wisdom and mercy.
This and similar Ayat are clear proofs that the Message of Muhammad is universal to all creation, as it is well established in the religion, according to the various texts of the Book and Sunnah. For instance,
‘’Say (O Muhammad): “O mankind! Verily, I am sent to you all as the Messenger of Allah.” (7:158)
Blessed be He Who sent down the criterion to His servant that he may be a warner to the Alamin (mankind and Jinn). (25:1)
The Two Sahihs and other collections of Hadith recorded that; the Prophet sent letters to the kings of the earth during his time and to different peoples, Arabs and non-Arabs, People of the Book and the unlettered, just as Allah had commanded him.
Abdur-Razzaq recorded that Ma`mar said, that Hammam said that Abu Hurayrah said that the Prophet said, By He in Whose Hand is my soul! No member of his Ummah, no Jew or Christian, hears of me but dies without believing in what I was sent with, but will be among the people of the Fire. Muslim recorded this Hadith.
The Prophet said,
I was sent to the red and black. and,
A Prophet used to be sent to his people, but I was sent to all mankind.
3:21.| Verily, those who disbelieve in the Ayat of Allah and kill the Prophets without right, and kill those men who order just dealings, then announce to them a painful torment.
3:22.| They are those whose works will be lost in this world and in the Hereafter, and they will have no helpers.
Chastising the Jews for Their Disbelief and for Killing the Prophets and Righteous People.
Verily, those who disbelieve in the Ayat of Allah and kill the Prophets without right,
This Ayah chastises the People of the Book for the transgression and prohibitions they committed by their denials in the past and more recent times, of Allah’s Ayat and the Messengers.
They did this due to their defiance and rejection of the Messengers, denial of the truth and refusal to follow it. They also killed many Prophets when they conveyed to them what Allah legislated for them, without cause or criminal behavior committed by these Prophets, for they only called them to the truth.
And kill those men who order just dealings, thus, demonstrating the worst type of arrogance.
Indeed, the Prophet said,
Kibr (arrogance) is refusing the truth and degrading people.
This is why when they rejected the truth and acted arrogantly towards the creation, Allah punished them with humiliation and disgrace in this life, and humiliating torment in the Hereafter.
… then announce to them a painful torment. meaning, painful and humiliating.
They are those whose works will be lost in this world and in the Hereafter, and they will have no helpers.
3:23.| Have you not seen those who have been given a portion of the Scripture! They are being invited to the Book of Allah to settle their dispute, then a party of them turned away, and they are averse.
3:24.| This is because they say: “The Fire shall not touch us but for a number of days.” And that which they used to invent in their religion has deceived them.
3:25.| How (will it be) when We gather them together on the Day about which there is no doubt (i.e. the Day of Resurrection). And each person will be paid in full what he has earned And they will not be dealt with unjustly.
Chastising the People of the Book for Not Referring to the Book of Allah for Judgment.
Have you not seen those who have been given a portion of the Scripture! They are being invited to the Book of Allah to settle their dispute, then a party of them turned away, and they are averse.
Allah criticizes the Jews and Christians who claim to follow their Books, the Tawrah and the Injil, because when they are called to refer to these Books where Allah commanded them to follow Muhammad, they turn away with aversion.
This censure and criticism from Allah was all because of their defiance and rejection.
Allah said next,
This is because they say: “The Fire shall not touch us but for a number of days.” meaning, what made them dare to challenge and defy the truth is their false claim that Allah will only punish them for seven days in the Fire, a day for every one thousand years in this life.
We mentioned this subject in the Tafsir of Surah Al-Baqarah.
Allah then said,
And that which they used to invent regarding their religion has deceived them. meaning, what caused them to remain on their false creed is that they deceived themselves, believing that the Fire will only touch them for a few days for their errors. However, it is they who have invented this notion, and Allah did not grant them authority to support this claim.
Allah said, while threatening and warning them,
How (will it be) when We gather them together on the Day about which there is no doubt (i. e. the Day of Resurrection). meaning, what will their condition be like after they have uttered this lie about Allah, rejected His Messengers and killed His Prophets and their scholars who enjoined righteousness and forbade evil Allah will ask them about all this and punish them for what they have done.
This is why Allah said,
(How (will it be) when We gather them together on the Day about which there is no doubt.) meaning, there is no doubt that this Day will come,
And each person will be paid in full what he has earned And they will not be dealt with unjustly.
3:26.| Say: “O Allah! Possessor of the power, You give power to whom You will, and You take power from whom You will, and You endue with honor whom You will, and You humiliate whom You will. In Your Hand is the good. Verily, You are able to do all things.
3:27.| You make the night to enter into the day, and You make the day to enter into the night, You bring the living out of the dead, and You bring the dead out of the living. And You give wealth and sustenance to whom You will, without limit.
Say, O Muhammad, while praising your Lord, thanking Him, relying in all matters upon Him and trusting in Him.
‘O Allah! Possessor of the power, meaning, all sovereignty is Yours.
You give power to whom You will, and You take power from whom You will, and You endue with honor whom You will, and You humiliate whom You will. meaning, You are the Giver, You are the Taker, it is Your will that occurs and whatever You do not will, does not occur.
This Ayah encourages thanking Allah for the favors He granted His Messenger and his Ummah. Allah transferred the Prophethood from the Children of Israel to the Arab, Qurashi, Makkan, unlettered Prophet, the Final and Last of all Prophets and the Messenger of Allah to all mankind and Jinn.
Allah endowed the Prophet with the best of qualities from the prophets before him. Allah also granted him extra qualities that no other Prophet or Messenger before him was endowed with, such as granting him (more) knowledge of Allah and His Law, knowledge of more of the matters of the past and the future, such as what will occur in the Hereafter.
Allah allowed Muhammad’s Ummah to reach the eastern and western parts of the world and gave dominance to his religion and Law over all other religions and laws.
May Allah’s peace and blessings be on the Prophet until the Day of Judgment, and as long as the day and night succeed each other.
This is why Allah said, ‘
(Say: “O Allah! Possessor of the power”), meaning, You decide what You will concerning Your creation and You do what you will.
Allah refutes those who thought that they could decide for Allah,
And they say: “Why is not this Qur’an sent down to some great man of the two towns (Makkah and Ta’if)!” (43:31)
Allah refuted them by saying, Is it they who would portion out the Mercy of your Lord! (43:32), meaning, “We decide for Our creation what We will, without resistance or hindrance by anyone. We have the perfect wisdom and the unequivocal proof in all of this, and We give the Prophethood to whom We will.”
Similarly, Allah said,
Allah knows best with whom to place His Message.
‘’See how We prefer one above another (in this world). (17: 21)
In Your Hand is the good. Verily, You are able to do all things.
‘’You make the night enter into the day, and You make the day enter into the night,’’
… meaning, You take from the length of one of them and add it to the shortness of the other, so that they become equal, and take from the length of one of them and add it to the other so that they are not equal. This occurs throughout the seasons of the year: spring, summer, fall and winter.
You bring the living out of the dead, and You bring the dead out of the living. means, You bring out the seed from the plant and the plant from the seed; the date from its seed and the date’s seed from the date; the faithful from the disbeliever and the disbeliever from the faithful; the chicken from the egg and the egg from the chicken, etc.
And You give wealth and sustenance to whom You will, without limit. meaning, You give whomever You will innumerable amounts of wealth while depriving others from it, out of wisdom, and justice.
3:28.| Let not the believers take the disbelievers as friends instead of the believers, and whoever does that, will never be helped by Allah in any way, unless you indeed fear a danger from them. And Allah warns you against Himself, and to Allah is the final return.
The Prohibition of Supporting the Disbelievers.
Let not the believers take the disbelievers as friends instead of the believers, Allah prohibited His believing servants from becoming supporters of the disbelievers, or to take them as comrades with whom they develop friendships, rather than the believers.
Allah warned against such behavior when He said,
‘’And whoever does that, will never be helped by Allah in any way, … meaning, whoever commits this act that Allah has prohibited, then Allah will discard him.
Similarly, Allah said,
‘’O you who believe! Take not My enemies and your enemies as friends, showing affection towards them, until,
‘’And whosoever of you does that, then indeed he has gone astray from the straight path.’’ (60:1)
O you who believe! Take not for friends disbelievers instead of believers. Do you wish to offer Allah a manifest proof against yourselves! (4:144) and,
O you who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians as friends, they are but friends of each other. And whoever befriends them, then surely, he is one of them. (5:51)
Allah said, after mentioning the fact that the faithful believers gave their support to the faithful believers among the Muhajirin, Ansar and Bedouins,
And those who disbelieve are allies of one another, (and) if you do not behave the same, there will be Fitnah and oppression on the earth, and a great mischief and corruption. (8:73)
Allah said next,
… unless you indeed fear a danger from them, meaning, except those believers who in some areas or times fear for their safety from the disbelievers.
In this case, such believers are allowed to show friendship to the disbelievers outwardly, but never inwardly.
For instance, Al-Bukhari recorded that Abu Ad-Darda’ said, “We smile in the face of some people although our hearts curse them.”
Al-Bukhari said that Al-Hasan said, “The Tuqyah is allowed until the Day of Resurrection.”
And Allah warns you against Himself. meaning, He warns you against His anger and the severe torment He prepared for those who give their support to His enemies, and those who have enmity with His friends.
And to Allah is the final return. meaning, the return is to Him and He will reward or punish each person according to their deeds.
3:29.| Say: “Whether you hide what is in your breasts or reveal it, Allah knows it, and He knows what is in the heavens and what is in the earth. And Allah is able to do all things.”
3:30.| On the Day when every person will be confronted with the good he has done, and all the evil he has done, he will wish that there were a great distance between him and his evil. And Allah warns you against Himself and Allah is full of kindness with the servants.
Allah Knows What the Hearts Conceal.
Say: “Whether you hide what is in your breasts or reveal it, Allah knows it, and He knows what is in the heavens and what is in the earth.
Allah tells His servants that He knows the secrets and apparent matters and that nothing concerning them escapes His observation. Rather, His knowledge encompasses them in all conditions, time frames, days and instances. His knowledge encompasses all that is in heaven and earth, and nothing not even the weight of an atom, or what is smaller than that in the earth, seas and mountains, escapes His observation. Indeed,
And Allah is able to do all things. and His ability encompasses everything.
This Ayah alerts Allah’s servants that they should fear Him enough to not commit what He prohibits and dislikes, for He has perfect knowledge in all they do and is able to punish them promptly. And He gives respite to some of them, then He punishes them, and He is Swift and Mighty in taking account.
This is why Allah said afterwards,
On the Day when every person will be confronted with all the good he has done, meaning, on the Day of Resurrection, Allah brings the good and evil deeds before the servant, just as He said, On that Day man will be informed of what he sent forward, and what he left behind. (75:13)
When the servant sees his good deeds, he becomes happy and delighted. When he sees the evil deeds he committed, he becomes sad and angry. Then he will wish that he could disown his evil work and that a long distance separated it from him. He will also say to the devil who used to accompany him in this life, and who used to encourage him to do evil;
“Would that between me and you were the distance of the two easts a horrible companion (indeed)! (43:38)
…and all the evil he has done, he will wish that there were a great distance between him and his evil.
Allah then said, while threatening and warning, And Allah warns you against Himself, … meaning, He warns you against His punishment.
Allah then said, while bringing hope to His servants, so that they do not despair from His mercy or feel hopeless of His kindness,
And Allah is full of kindness with the servants.
Al-Hasan Al-Basri said, “Allah is so kind with them that He warns them against Himself.” Others commented, “He is merciful with His creation and likes for them to remain on His straight path and chosen religion, and to follow His honorable Messenger.”
3:31.| Say (O Muhammad to mankind): “If you (really) love Allah, then follow me (i.e. Muhammad), Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”
3:32.| Say: “Obey Allah and the Messenger.” But if they turn away, then Allah does not like the disbelievers.
Allah’s Love is Attained by Following the Messenger.
Say (O Muhammad to mankind): “If you (really) love Allah, then follow me (i.e. Muhammad), Allah will love you, This honorable Ayah judges against those who claim to love Allah, yet do not follow the way of Muhammad. Such people are not true in their claim until they follow the Shariah (Law) of Muhammad and his religion in all his statements, actions and conditions.
It is recorded in the Sahih that the Messenger of Allah said, Whoever commits an act that does not conform with our matter (religion), then it will be rejected of him.
This is why Allah said here,
‘’Say (O Muhammad to mankind): “If you (really) love Allah, then follow me, Allah will love you…,” meaning, what you will earn is much more than what you sought in loving Him, for Allah will love you.
Al-Hasan Al-Basri and several scholars among the Salaf commented, “Some people claimed that they love Allah. So Allah tested them with this Ayah;
(Say (O Muhammad to mankind): “If you (really) love Allah, then follow me, Allah will love you…”).”
Allah then said,
“And forgive you your sins. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”
… meaning, by your following the Messenger, you will earn all this with the blessing of his mission.
Allah next commands everyone,
Say: “Obey Allah and the Messenger.” But if they turn away, by defying the Prophet, then Allah does not like the disbelievers.’’
thus, testifying that defiance of the Messenger’s way constitutes Kufr.
Indeed, Allah does not like whoever does this, even if he claims that he loves Allah and seeks a means of approach to Him, unless, and until, he follows the unlettered Prophet, the Final Messenger from Allah to the two creations: mankind and the Jinn.
This is the Prophet who, if the previous Prophets and mighty Messengers were to have been alive during his time, they would have no choice but to follow, obey him, and to abide by his Law. Allah willing, we will mention this fact when we explain the Ayah,
(And (remember) when Allah took the Covenant of the Prophets). (3:81)
3:33.| Allah chose Adam, Nuh (Noah), the family of Ibrahim and the family of `Imran above the nations.
3:34.| Offspring, one of the other, and Allah is All-Hearer, All-Knower.
The Chosen Ones Among the People of the Earth.
Allah chose Adam, Nuh (Noah), the family of Ibrahim and the family of Imran above the nations. Offspring, one of the other, and Allah is All-Hearer, All-Knower.
Allah states that He has chosen these households over the people of the earth.
For instance, Allah chose Adam, created him with His Hand and blew life into him. Allah commanded the angels to prostrate before Adam, taught him the names of everything and allowed him to dwell in Paradise, but then sent him down from it out of His wisdom.
Allah chose Nuh and made him the first Messenger to the people of the earth, when the people worshipped idols and associated others with Allah in worship. Allah avenged the way Nuh was treated, for he kept calling his people day and night, in public and in secret, for a very long time. However, his calling them only made them shun him more, and this is when Nuh supplicated against them. So Allah caused them to drown, and none among them was saved, except those who followed the religion that Allah sent to Nuh.
Allah also chose the household of Ibrahim, including the master of all mankind, and the Final Prophet, Muhammad, peace be upon him.
Allah also chose the household of Imran, the father of Maryam bint Imran, the mother of `Isa, peace be upon them. So `Isa is from the offspring of Ibrahim, as we will mention in the Tafsir of Surah Al-An`am, Allah willing, and our trust is in Him.
3:35.| (Remember) when the wife of `Imran said: “O my Lord! I have vowed to You what is in my womb to be dedicated for Your services, so accept this from me. Verily, You are the All-Hearer, the All- Knowing.”
3:36.| Then when she gave birth to her, she said: “Omy Lord! I have given birth to a female child, and Allah knew better what she bore, “And the male is not like the female, and I have named her Maryam, and I seek refuge with You for her and for her offspring from Shaytan, the outcast.”
The Story of Maryam’s Birth.
(Remember) when the wife of Imran said: The wife of Imran mentioned here is the mother of Maryam, and her name is Hannah bint Faqudh.
Muhammad bin Ishaq mentioned that Hannah could not ave children and that one day, she saw a bird feeding its chick. She wished she could have children and supplicated to Allah to grant her offspring. Allah accepted her supplication, and when her husband slept with her, she became pregnant. She vowed to make her child concentrate on worship and serving Bayt Al-Maqdis (the Masjid in Jerusalem), when she became aware that she was pregnant.
She said, ‘’O my Lord! I have vowed to You what is in my womb to be dedicated for Your services, so accept this from me.’’
‘’Verily, You are the All-Hearer, the All-Knowing.’’
… meaning, You hear my supplication and You know my intention. She did not know then what she would give birth to, a male or a female.
Then when she gave birth to her, she said: “O my Lord! I have given birth to a female child, and Allah knew better what she bore.
And the male is not like the female, in strength and the commitment to worship Allah and serve the Masjid in Jerusalem.
And I have named her Maryam, thus, testifying to the fact that it is allowed to give a name to the newly born the day it is born, as is apparent from the Ayah, which is also a part of the law of those who were before us.
Further, the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah mentioned that the Prophet said,
This night, a son was born for me and I called him by my father’s name, Ibrahim.
Al-Bukhari and Muslim collected this Hadith.
They also recorded that; Anas bin Malik brought his newborn brother to the Messenger of Allah who chewed a piece of date and put it in the child’s mouth and called him Abdullah.
Other new born infants were also given names on the day they were born.
Qatadah narrated that Al-Hasan Al-Basri said, thatSamurah bin Jundub said that the Messenger of Allah said,
Every new born boy held in security by his Aqiqah, until his seventh day, a sacrifice is offered on his behalf, he is given a name, and the hair on his head is shaved.
This Hadith was collected by Ahmad and the collectors of the Sunan, and was graded Sahih by At-Tirmidhi.
We should mention that another narration for this Hadith contained the wording, “and blood is offered on his behalf,” which is more famous and established than the former narration, and Allah knows best.
Allah’s statement that Maryam’s mother said,
“…And I seek refuge with You for her and for her offspring from Shaytan, the outcast.” means, that she sought refuge with Allah from the evil of Shaytan, for her and her offspring, i.e., `Isa, peace be upon him.
Allah accepted her supplication, for Abdur-Razzaq recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah said,
‘’Every newly born baby is touched by Shaytan when it is born, and the baby starts crying because of this touch, except Maryam and her son.’’
Abu Hurayrah then said,
“Read if you will, (And I seek refuge with You for her and for her offspring from Shaytan, the outcast).”
The Two Sahihs recorded this Hadith.
3:37.| So her Lord (Allah) accepted her with goodly acceptance. He made her grow in a good manner and put her under the care of Zakariyya. Every time he entered the Mihrab to (visit) her, he found her supplied with sustenance. He said: “O Maryam! From where have you gotten this?” She said, “This is from Allah.” Verily, Allah provides sustenance to whom He wills, without limit.
Maryam Grows Up; Her Honor is with Allah.
So her Lord (Allah) accepted her with goodly acceptance.
Allah states that He has accepted Maryam as a result of her mother’s vow and that, He made her grow in a good manner, meaning, made her conduct becoming, her mannerism delightful and He made her well liked among people. He also made her accompany the righteous people, so that she learned righteousness, knowledge and religion.
And put her under the care of Zakariyya, meaning, Allah made Zakariyya her sponsor.
Allah made Zakariyya Maryam’s guardian for her benefit, so that she would learn from his tremendous knowledge and righteous conduct. He was the husband of her maternal aunt, as Ibn Ishaq and Ibn Jarir stated, or her brother-in-law, as mentioned in the Sahih, I saw John and `Isa, who are maternal cousins.
We should state that in general terms, what Ibn Ishaq said is plausible, and in this case, Maryam was under the care of her maternal aunt. The Two Sahihs recorded that; the Messenger of Allah decided that Amarah, the daughter of Hamzah, be raised by her maternal aunt, the wife of Jafar bin Abi Talib, saying,
The maternal aunt is just like the mother.
Allah then emphasizes Maryam’s honor and virtue at the place of worship she attended, Every time he entered the Mihrab to (visit) her, he found her supplied with sustenance.
Mujahid, Ikrimah, Sa`id bin Jubayr, Abu Ash-Sha`tha, Ibrahim An-Nakhai, Ad-Dahhak, Qatadah, Ar-Rabi bin Anas, Atiyah Al-Awfi and As-Suddi said, “He would find with her the fruits of the summer during winter, and the fruits of the winter during summer.”
When Zakariyya would see this;
He said: “O Maryam! From where have you gotten this!” meaning, where did you get these fruits from!
She said, “This is from Allah.”
Verily, Allah provides sustenance to whom He wills, without limit.
3:38.| At that time Zakariyya invoked his Lord, saying: “O my Lord! Grant me from You, a good offspring. You are indeed the All-Hearer of invocation.”
3:39.| Then the angels called him, while he was standing in prayer in the Mihrab, (saying): “Allah gives you glad tidings of Yahya, believing in the Word from Allah, and Sayyidan, and Hasuran, a Prophet, from among the righteous.”
3:40.| He said: “O my Lord! How can I have a son when I am very old, and my wife is barren!” (He) said: “Thus Allah does what He wills.”
3:41.| He said: “O my Lord! Make a sign for me.” (Allah) said: “Your sign is that you shall not speak to the people for three days except by signals. And remember your Lord much, and glorify (Him) in the afternoon and in the morning.”
The Supplication of Zakariyya, and the Good News of Yahya’s Birth.
At that time Zakariyya invoked his Lord, saying: When Zakariyya saw that Allah provided sustenance for Maryam by giving her the fruits of winter in summer and the fruits of summer in winter, he was eager to have a child of his own.
By then, Zakariyya had become an old man, his bones feeble and his head full of gray hair. His wife was an old women who was barren. Yet, he still supplicated to Allah and called Him in secret,
‘’O my Lord! Grant me from Ladunka, (from You), A good offspring, meaning, a righteous offspring, You are indeed the All-Hearer of invocation.’’
Then the angels called him, while he was standing in prayer in the Mihrab, meaning, the angels spoke to him directly while he was secluded, standing in prayer at his place of worship.
Allah told us about the good news that the angels delivered to Zakariyya,
Allah gives you glad tidings of Yahya, of a child from your offspring, his name is Yahya.
Qatadah and other scholars said that; he was called Yahya (literally, `he lives’) because Allah filled his life with faith.
Allah said next,
… believing in the Word from Allah.
Al-Awfi reported that Ibn Abbas said, and also Al-Hasan, Qatadah, Ikrimah, Mujahid, Abu Ash-Sha`tha, As-Suddi, Ar-Rabi bin Anas, Ad-Dahhak, and several others said that the Ayah, (believing in the Word from Allah) means,
“Believing in `Isa, son of Maryam.”
And Sayyidan, Abu Al-Aliyah, Ar-Rabi bin Anas, Qatadah and Sa`id bin Jubayr said that; Sayyidan, means, a wise man.
Ibn Abbas, Ath-Thawri and Ad-Dahhak said that; Sayyidan means, “The noble, wise and pious man.”
Sa`id bin Al-Musayyib said that Sayyid is the scholar and Faqih. `Atiyah said that Sayyid is the man noble in behavior and piety. `Ikrimah said that it refers to a person who is not overcome by anger, while Ibn Zayd said that it refers to the noble man. Mujahid said that Sayyidan means, honored by Allah.
And Hasuran, (chaste), does not mean he refrains from sexual relations with women, but that he is immune from illegal sexual relations. This does not mean that he does not marry women and have legal sexual relations with them, for Zakariyya said in his supplication for the benefit of Yahya, (Grant me from You, a good offspring), meaning, grant me a son who will have offspring, and Allah knows best.
A Prophet, from among the righteous. delivers more good news of sending Yahya as Prophet after the good news that he will be born. This good news was even better than the news of Yahya’s birth.
In a similar statement, Allah said to the mother of Musa,
‘’Verily, We shall bring him back to you, and shall make him one of the Messengers. (28:7).’’
When Zakariyya heard the good news, he started contemplating about having children at his age.
“O my Lord! How can I have a son when I am very old, and my wife is barren!”
(He) said…, meaning the angel said, “Thus Allah does what He wills.” meaning, this is Allah’s matter, He is so Mighty that nothing escapes His power, nor is anything beyond His ability.
He said: “O my Lord! Make a sign for me.” meaning make a sign that alerts me that the child will come.
(Allah) said: “Your sign is that you shall not speak to the people for three days except by signals.” meaning, you will not be able to speak except with signals, although you are not mute.
In another Ayah, Allah said,
‘’For three nights, though having no bodily defect. (19:10)’’
Allah then commanded Zakariyya to supplicate, thank and praise Him often in that condition,
And remember your Lord much and glorify (Him) in the afternoon and in the morning. We will elaborate more on this subject in the beginning of Surah Maryam, Allah willing.
3:42.| ”And (remember) when the angels said: “O Maryam! Verily, Allah has chosen you, purified you, and chosen you above the women of the nations.”
3:43.| “O Maryam! Submit yourself with obedience (Aqnuti) to your Lord and prostrate yourself, and bow down along with Ar-Raki`in.”
3:44.| This is a part of the news of the Ghayb (Unseen) which We reveal to you. You were not with them, when they cast lots with their pens as to which of them should be charged with the care of Maryam; nor were you with them when they disputed.
The Virtue of Maryam Over the Women of Her Time.
And (remember) when the angels said: “O Maryam! Verily, Allah has chosen you, purified you, and chosen you above the women of the nations.”
Allah states that the angels spoke to Maryam by His command and told her that He chose her because of her service to Him, because of her modesty, honor, innocence, and conviction. Allah also chose her because of her virtue over the women of the world.
At-Tirmidhi recorded that Ali bin Abi Talib said, “I heard the Messenger of Allah say, The best woman (in her time) was Maryam, daughter of Imran, and the best woman (of the Prophet’s time) is Khadijah (his wife), daughter of Khuwaylid.”
The Two Sahihs recorded this Hadith.
Ibn Jarir recorded that Abu Musa Al-Ashari said that the Messenger of Allah said, Many men achieved perfection, but among women, only Maryam the daughter of Imran and Asiah, the wife of Fir`awn, achieved perfection.
The Six — with the exception of Abu Dawud – recorded it.
Al-Bukhari’s wording for it reads, Many men reached the level of perfection, but no woman reached such a level except Asiah, the wife of Fir`awn, and Maryam, the daughter of Imran.
The superiority of Aishah (his wife) to other women, is like the superiority of Tharid (meat and bread dish) to other meals.
We mentioned the various chains of narration and wordings for this Hadith in the story of `Isa, son of Maryam, in our book, Al-Bidayah wan-Nihayah, all the thanks are due to Allah.
Allah states that the angels commanded Maryam to increase acts of worship, humbleness, submission, prostration, bowing, and so forth, so that she would acquire what Allah had decreed for her, as a test for her. Yet, this test also earned her a higher grade in this life and the Hereafter, for Allah demonstrated His might by creating a son inside her without male intervention.
“O Maryam! Submit yourself with obedience (Aqnuti) and prostrate yourself, and bow down along with Ar-Raki`in.”
As for Qunut (Aqnuti in the Ayah), it means to submit with humbleness.
In another Ayah, Allah said,
‘’Nay, to Him belongs all that is in the heavens and on earth, and all surrender with obedience (Qanitun) to Him. (2:116)
Allah next said to His Messenger after He mentioned Maryam’s story,
This is a part of the news of the Ghayb which We reveal.
“and narrate to you (O Muhammad),”
You were not with them, when they cast lots with their pens as to which of them should be charged with the care of Maryam; nor were you with them when they disputed.
… meaning, “You were not present, O Muhammad, when this occurred, so you cannot narrate what happened to the people as an eye witness.
Rather, Allah disclosed these facts to you as if you were a witness, when they conducted a lottery to choose the custodian of Maryam, seeking the reward of this good deed.”
Ibn Jarir recorded that Ikrimah said, “Maryam’s mother left with Maryam, carrying her in her infant cloth, and took her to the rabbis from the offspring of Aaron, the brother of Musa.
They were responsible for taking care of Bayt Al-Maqdis (the Masjid) at that time, just as there were those who took care of the Ka`bah.
Maryam’s mother said to them, `Take this child whom I vowed (to serve the Masjid), I have set her free, since she is my daughter, for no menstruating woman should enter the Masjid, and I shall not take her back home.’
They said, `She is the daughter of our Imam,’ as Imran used to lead them in prayer, `who took care of our sacrificial rituals.’
Zakariyya said, `Give her to me, for her maternal aunt is my wife.’
They said, `Our hearts cannot bear that you take her, for she is the daughter of our Imam.’ So they conducted a lottery with the pens with which they wrote the Tawrah, and Zakariyya won the lottery and took Maryam into his care.”’
Ikrimah, As-Suddi, Qatadah, Ar-Rabi bin Anas, and several others said that; the rabbis went into the Jordan river and conducted a lottery there, deciding to throw their pens into the river. The pen that remained afloat and idle would indicate that its owner would take care of Maryam.
When they threw their pens into the river, the water took all the pens under, except Zakariyya’s pen, which remained afloat in its place. Zakariyya was also their master, chief, scholar, Imam and Prophet, may Allah’s peace and blessings be on him and the rest of the Prophets.
3:45.| (Remember) when the angels said: “O Maryam! Verily, Allah gives you the glad tidings of a Word from Him, his name will be Al-Masih, `Isa, the son of Maryam, held in honor in this world and in the Hereafter, and he will be one of those who are near to Allah.”
3:46.| “He will speak to the people, in the cradle and in manhood, and he will be one of the righteous.”
3:47.| She said: “O my Lord! How shall I have a son when no man has touched me.” He said: “So (it will be) for Allah creates what He wills. When He has decreed something, He says to it only: `Be! and it is.”
Delivering the Good News to Maryam of `Isa’s Birth.
This Ayah contains the glad tidings the angels brought to Maryam that she would give birth to a mighty son who will have a great future.
(Remember) when the angels said: “O Maryam! Verily, Allah gives you the glad tidings of a Word from Him, a son who will come into existence with a word from Allah, `Be’, and he was.
According to the majority of the scholars, this is the meaning of Allah’s statement (about Yahya)
(Believing in the Word from Allah), (3:39).
His name will be Al-Masih, `Isa, the son of Maryam, and he will be known by this name in this life, especially by the believers.
`Isa was called “Al-Masih” (the Messiah) because when he touched (Mash) those afflicted with an illness, they would be healed by Allah’s leave.
(`Isa, the son of Maryam), relates `Isa to his mother, because he did not have a father.
Held in honor in this world and in the Hereafter, and will be one of those who are near to Allah.
… meaning, he will be a leader and honored by Allah in this life, because of the Law that Allah will reveal to him, sending down the Scripture to him, along with the other bounties that Allah will grant him with.
`Isa will be honored in the Hereafter and will intercede with Allah, by His leave, on behalf of some people, just as is the case with his brethren the mighty Messengers of Allah, peace be upon them all.
`Isa Spoke When He was Still in the Cradle.
He will speak to the people, in the cradle and in manhood, calling to the worship of Allah Alone without partners, while still in the cradle, as a miracle from Allah, and when he is a man, by Allah’s revelation to him.
Muhammad bin Ishaq recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah said, ”No infant spoke in the cradle except `Isa and the companion of Jurayj.”
Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Prophet said, ‘’No infant spoke in the cradle except three, `Isa, the boy during the time of Jurayj, and another boy. And he will be one of the righteous. in his statements and actions, for he will possess, pure knowledge and righteous works.’’
`Isa was Created Without a Father When Maryam heard the good news that the angels conveyed from Allah, she said;
“O my Lord! How shall I have a son when no man has touched me.”
Mary said, “How can I have a son while I did not marry, nor intend to marry, nor am I an indecent woman, may Allah forbid”
The angel conveyed to Maryam, Allah’s answer,
He said: “So (it will be) for Allah creates what He wills.
He is Mighty in power and nothing escapes His ability.
Allah used the word `create’ here instead of the word `does’ as in the tale about Zakariyya (3:40), to eradicate any evil thought concerning `Isa.
Allah next emphasized this fact when He said,
When He has decreed something, He says to it only: “Be! and it is.
… meaning, what Allah wills, comes into existence instantly and without delay.
In another Ayah, Allah said,
And Our commandment is but one as the twinkling of an eye. (54:50),
… meaning, “We only issue the command once, and it comes into existence instantly, as fast as, and faster than, a blink of the eye.”
3:48.| And He will teach him the Book and Al-Hikmah, and the Tawrah and the Injil.
3:49.| And will make him a Messenger to the Children of Israel (saying): “I have come to you with a sign from your Lord, that I design for you out of clay, a figure like that of a bird, and breathe into it, and it becomes a bird by Allah’s leave; and I heal the blind, and the leper, and I bring the dead to life by Allah’s leave. And I inform you of what you eat, and what you store in your houses. Surely, therein is a sign for you, if you believe.”
3:50.| “(And I have come) confirming that which was before me of the Tawrah, and to make lawful to you part of what was forbidden to you, and I have come to you with a proof from your Lord. So have Taqwa of Allah and obey me.”
3:51.| “Truly, Allah is my Lord and your Lord, so worship Him (Alone). This is the straight path.”
The Description of `Isa and the Miracles He Performed.
And He will teach him, Allah states that the good news brought to Maryam about `Isa was even better because Allah would teach him,
… the Book and Al-Hikmah.
It appears that the `Book’ the Ayah mentioned here refers to writing. We explained the meaning of Al-Hikmah in the Tafsir of Surah Al-Baqarah.
… the Tawrah and the Injil.
The Tawrah is the Book that Allah sent down to Musa, son of Imran, while the Injil is what Allah sent down to `Isa, son of Maryam, peace be upon them, and `Isa memorized both Books.
And will make him a Messenger to the Children of Israel, means, that Allah will send `Isa as a Messenger to the Children of Israel, proclaiming to them,
I have come to you with a sign from your Lord, that I design for you out of clay, a figure like that of a bird, and breathe into it, and it becomes a bird by Allah’s leave.
These are the miracles that `Isa performed; he used to make the shape of a bird from clay and blow into it, and it became a bird by Allah’s leave.
Allah made this a miracle for `Isa to testify that He had sent him.
And I heal him who is Akmah, meaning, `a person who was born blind,’ which perfects this miracle and makes the challenge more daring.
And the leper, which is a known disease.
And I bring the dead to life by Allah’s leave.
Many scholars stated that Allah sent every Prophet with a miracle suitable to his time.
For instance, in the time of Musa, magic was the trade of the time, and magicians held a high position. So Allah sent Musa with a miracle that captured the eyes and bewildered every magician. When the magicians realized that Musa’s miracle came from the Almighty, Most Great, they embraced Islam and became pious believers.
As for `Isa, he was sent during a time when medicine and knowledge in physics were advancing. `Isa brought them the types of miracles that could not be performed, except by one sent by Allah. How can any physician bring life to clay, cure blindness and leprosy and bring back to life those entrapped in the grave!
Muhammad was sent during the time of eloquent people and proficient poets. He brought them a Book from Allah; if mankind and the Jinn tried to imitate ten chapters, or even one chapter of it, they will utterly fail in this task, even if they tried to do it by collective cooperation. This is because the Qur’an is the Word of Allah and is nothing like that of the creatures.
And I inform you of what you eat, and what you store in your houses,
… means, I tell you about what one of you has just eaten and what he is keeping in his house for tomorrow.
Surely, therein, all these miracles.
… is a sign for you, testifying to the truth of what I was sent to you with.
If you believe. And I have come confirming that which was before me of the Tawrah, affirming the Tawrah and upholding it, … and to make lawful to you part of what was forbidden to you.
This part of the Ayah indicates that `Isa abrogated some of the Laws of the Tawrah and informed the Jews of the truth regarding some issues that they used to dispute about.
In another Ayah;
And in order to make clear to you some of the (points) in which you differ. (43;63)
`Isa said next,
And I have come to you with a proof from your Lord.
“Containing affirmation and evidence to the truth of what I am conveying to you.”
So have Taqwa of Allah and obey me. Truly, Allah is my Lord and your Lord, so worship Him (Alone). for I and you are equal in our servitude, submission and humbleness to Him.
This is the straight path.