Day 5- Surat Aal Imran – Part (2)

After supporting the Muslims in their debate with the people of the book, and commanding them to be steadfast in their belief, the Surah gives a commentary on the battle of Uhud, when the Muslim army was heavily defeated by the Quraish. Seventy of the great companions were martyred, the prophet PBUH was injured, and the morale of the Muslim community went very low to the extent that some rumors were spread that prophet Muhammad PBUH was killed.  
Section (2): Ayahs 120-200: The Physical Battle Against the Pagans in Uhud

Note that Surah Al-Baqara prepared the Muslims for the victory in the battle of Badr by mentioning the story of Talut and Jalut [2:246-252]. That story was a pre-battle discussion that paved the way for the big day! Here in Surah Aal Imran, we have a post-battle commentary that was talking to the companions who were feeling down and losing their morale. The Quran teaches us how to deal with moments of victory in addition to moments for loss, and to hold on to our faith and our manners in all cases.

وَلاَ تَهِنُوا وَلاَ تَحْزَنُوا وَأَنتُمُ الأَعْلَوْنَ إِن كُنتُم مُّؤْمِنِينَ. إِن يَمْسَسْكُمْ قَرْحٌ فَقَدْ مَسَّ الْقَوْمَ قَرْحٌ مِّثْلُهُ وَتِلْكَ الأَيَّامُ نُدَاوِلُهَا بَيْنَ النَّاسِ وَلِيَعْلَمَ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ وَيَتَّخِذَ مِنكُمْ شُهَدَاء وَاللَّهُ لاَ يُحِبُّ الظَّالِمِينَ  

Do not lose heart or despair— if you are true believers you have the upper hand— 140 if you have suffered a blow, they too have suffered one like it.” We deal out such days among people in turn, for God to find out who truly believes, for Him to choose martyrs* from among you— God does not love evildoers [3:139-140]

إِنَّمَا ذَلِكُمُ الشَّيْطَانُ يُخَوِّفُ أَوْلِيَاءهُ فَلاَ تَخَافُوهُمْ وَخَافُونِ إِن كُنتُم مُّؤْمِنِينَ   
It is Satan who urges you to fear his followers; do not fear them, but fear Me, if you are true believers [3:175]

These verses empowered the early Muslims and should empower us to accept the challenge and be resilient and steadfast. It praises the companions of the prophet PBUH, who responded to the command of the prophet PBUH to go on another expedition immediately after their defeat in Uhud (before even going back to Madina). That expedition (which did not result in any fighting but had strategic implications) was known as حمراء الأسد  (The battle of Hamraa Al-Assad). Allah says:

الَّذِينَ اسْتَجَابُواْ لِلَّهِ وَالرَّسُولِ مِن بَعْدِ مَا أَصَابَهُمُ الْقَرْحُ لِلَّذِينَ أَحْسَنُواْ مِنْهُمْ وَاتَّقَوْا أَجْرٌ عَظِيمٌ . الَّذِينَ قَالَ لَهُمُ النَّاسُ إِنَّ النَّاسَ قَدْ جَمَعُواْ لَكُمْ فَاخْشَوْهُمْ فَزَادَهُمْ إِيمَانًا وَقَالُواْ حَسْبُنَا اللَّهُ وَنِعْمَ الْوَكِيلُ 

Those who responded to God and the Messenger after suffering defeat, who do good and remain conscious of God, will have a great reward. 173 Those whose faith only increased when people said, ‘Fear your enemy: they have amassed a great army against you,’ and who replied, ‘God is enough for us: He is the best protector,’ [3:172-173]


On the other hand, it mentions that the real reason behind their defeat was the disobedience of some of the companions, in addition to having different intentions other than the pleasure of Allah SWT. The Surah enforces the importance of having discipline within the Muslim community, if we want the help and support from Allah to descend upon us.

مِنكُم مَّن يُرِيدُ الدُّنْيَا وَمِنكُم مَّن يُرِيدُ الآخِرَةَ   
Some among you desire the gains of this world and others desire the hereafter [3:152]

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ تَوَلَّوْا مِنكُمْ يَوْمَ الْتَقَى الْجَمْعَانِ إِنَّمَا اسْتَزَلَّهُمُ الشَّيْطَانُ بِبَعْضِ مَا كَسَبُواْ وَلَقَدْ عَفَا اللَّهُ عَنْهُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ حَلِيمٌ 
As for those of you who turned away on the day the two armies met in battle, it was Satan who caused them to slip, through some of their prior sins. God has now pardoned them: God is most forgiving and forbearing. [3:155]

The Surah ends with a spiritual scene and a beautiful prayer, in a similar manner to the ending of Surah Al-Baqara. When Ayahs [3:190-195] were revealed on the prophet PBUH, he was standing in the night prayer, and he was humbled by them, and started crying until his beard was soaked with tears. Those Ayahs discuss the journey to one’s faith, after reflecting on the creation of the universe

إِنَّ فِي خَلْقِ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالأَرْضِ وَاخْتِلافِ اللَّيْلِ وَالنَّهَارِ لَآيَاتٍ لِّأُولِي الأَلْبَابِ. الَّذِينَ يَذْكُرُونَ اللَّهَ قِيَامًا وَقُعُودًا وَعَلَىَ جُنُوبِهِمْ وَيَتَفَكَّرُونَ فِي خَلْقِ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالأَرْضِ رَبَّنَا مَا خَلَقْتَ هَذَا بَاطِلاً سُبْحَانَكَ فَقِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ 

There truly are signs in the creation of the heavens and earth, and in the alternation of night and day, for those with understanding, 191 who remember God standing, sitting, and lying down, who reflect on the creation of the heavens and earth: ‘Our Lord! You have not created all this without purpose— You are far above that!— so protect us from the torment of the Fire. [3:190-191]

At the end of Surah Al-Baqara, we are requesting the help from Allah against the disbelieving nation:
أَنتَ مَوْلانَا فَانصُرْنَا عَلَى الْقَوْمِ الْكَافِرِينَ 
in contrast, the ending of Surah Aal Imran tells us not be bothered by the scheme and the immense resources the disbelievers may have in this world:

لاَ يَغُرَّنَّكَ تَقَلُّبُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ فِي الْبِلادِ 
Oh Prophet, Do not be deceived by the disbelievers’ [lucrative] trading to and fro in the land [3:196]

After we understand that, and supplicate to Allah for victory, the Quran teaches us to help ourselves (not only be passive and wait for the victory to happen); we need to exercise a lot of patience:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ اصْبِرُواْ وَصَابِرُواْ وَرَابِطُواْ وَاتَّقُواْ اللَّهَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ 
O you who have believed, persevere and endure and remain stationed and fear Allah that you may be successful. [3:200] 
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