3 - Al Imran (The family of Imran)

9 Tafsir(s) related to verse 3.152


God has been true to His promise, towards you, of giving you victory, when you slew them by His leave, by His will, until you lost heart, [until] you shrank from battle, and quarrelled, disagreed, over the command, that is, the command of the Prophet (s) that you remain at the foot of the mountain for the arrow attack, some of you saying, ‘Let us depart, for our comrades have been given victory’, others saying, ‘We should not disobey the command of the Prophet (s)’; and you disobeyed, his command, and abandoned your station in search of the booty, after He, God, had shown you what you longed for, of assistance (the response to the [clause containing] idhā is indicated by what precedes it, that is to say, ‘[when you lost heart] He denied you His assistance’). Some of you desired this world, abandoning his station for the sake of the booty; and some of you desired the Hereafter, holding to it until he was slain, such as ‘Abd Allāh b. Jubayr and his companions. Then He turned you away (thumma sarafakum is a supplement to the response of the [clause containing] idhā, implied to be raddakum bi’l-hazīma [‘He turned you back in defeat’]) from them, the disbelievers, so that He might try you, that He might test you and so make manifest the sincere ones from those otherwise; yet now He has pardoned you, what you have done, and God is Bounteous to the believers, with pardon.


God has been true to His promise, when you slew them by His leave, until you lost heart, and quarreled over the command; and you disobeyed after he had shown you what you longed for.

The allusion in this verse is to the fact that the Real (al-ḥaqq) raises His friends up (aqāma) in the truth of His truth (ḥaqq ḥaqqihi) and restrains them from attaining their worldly fortunes (ḥuẓūẓ). He (s) stands (qāma) as sufficient for them in every way. Whoever persists in the path of uprightness (istiqāma) will not deviate from His boundary, and He will not deviate from His pact, for God has been true to his promise to them with beautiful and continuous sufficiency. But whoever falls away from uprightness - even if only a step - stumbles in his walking, and his state and ability is destabilized to the extent of his offence. So whoever has been increased has been increased from Him, and whoever suffers decrease has suffered decrease from Him.

[3:152 cont'd] Some of you desired this world; and some of you desired the Hereafter. Then He turned you away from them, so that He might try you; yet now He has pardoned you, and God is Bounteous to the believers.

The value of each person is his desire (irāda). So whoever's aspiration is for this world, his value is base and paltry like this world. Whoever's aspiration is for the Hereafter, his rank is a noble one. Whoever's aspiration is knowledge of the Lord (rabbāniyya), he is the master (sayyid) of his time.

It is said that anyone who is purified of his desire reaches Him, and anyone who reaches Him draws near - by His kindness - to Him and is brought close in the locus of intimate friendship (khuṣūṣiyya) in His presence.

Then He turned you away from them: The allusion in it is that He has turned some people away from Him and distracted them from Himself by what is other than Him. Others He turned from anything other, singling them out for Himself. He turned the ascetics away from this world, the worshippers from following whims, the aspirants (murīdūn) from lower desires (al-munā), and those who declare oneness from everything other [than Him].


"Yet now He has pardoned you"This refers to the defeated army on the Day of Uḥud, when He did not eradicate them all. And God is bounteous to the believers, by His pardoning them and accepting their repentance.His words:

Asbab Al-Nuzul by Al-Wahidi

(Allah verily made good His promise unto you") [3:152]. Said Muhammad ibn Ka"b al-Qurazi: "When the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, returned to Medina after that with which they were afflicted at Uhud, some of his Companions said: "From whence did this come to us when Allah has promised us victory?" And so Allah, exalted is He, revealed this verse (Allah verily made good His promise unto you) up to His saying (Some of you desired the world"), i.e. the marksmen who did what they did at Uhud".

Ibn Al Kathir

The Prohibition of Obeying the Disbelievers; the Cause of Defeat at Uhud

Allah warns His believing servants against obeying the disbelievers and hypocrites, because such obedience leads to utter destruction in this life and the Hereafter. This is why Allah said,

إِن تُطِيعُواْ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ يَرُدُّوكُمْ عَلَى أَعْقَـبِكُمْ فَتَنقَلِبُواْ خَـسِرِينَ

(If you obey those who disbelieve, they will send you back on your heels, and you will turn back (from faith) as losers) 3:149.

Allah also commands the believers to obey Him, take Him as their protector, seek His aid and trust in Him. Allah said,

بَلِ اللَّهُ مَوْلَـكُمْ وَهُوَ خَيْرُ النَّـصِرِينَ

(Nay, Allah is your protector, and He is the best of helpers).

Allah next conveys the good news that He will put fear of the Muslims, and feelings of subordination to the Muslims in the hearts of their disbelieving enemies, because of their Kufr and Shirk. And Allah has prepared torment and punishment for them in the Hereafter. Allah said,

سَنُلْقِى فِى قُلُوبِ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ الرُّعْبَ بِمَآ أَشْرَكُواْ بِاللَّهِ مَا لَمْ يُنَزِّلْ بِهِ سُلْطَـناً وَمَأْوَاهُمُ النَّارُ وَبِئْسَ مَثْوَى الظَّـلِمِينَ

(We shall cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve, because they joined others in worship with Allah, for which He sent no authority; their abode will be the Fire and how evil is the abode of the wrongdoers). In addition, the Two Sahihs recorded that Jabir bin `Abdullah said that the Messenger of Allah said,

«أُعْطِيتُ خَمْسًا لَمْ يُعْطَهُنَّ أَحَدٌ مِنَ الْأَنْبِيَاءِ قَبْلِي: نُصِرْتُ بِالرُّعْبِ مَسِيرَةَ شَهْرٍ، وَجُعِلَتْ لِيَ الْأَرْضُ مَسْجِدًا وَطَهُورًا، وَأُحِلَّتْ لِيَ الْغَنَائِمُ، وَأُعْطِيتُ الشَّفَاعَةَ، وَكَانَ النَّبِيُّ يُبْعَثُ إِلى قَوْمِهِ خَاصَّةً وَبُعِثْتُ إِلى النَّاسِ عَامَّة»

(I was given five things that no other Prophet before me was given. I was aided with fear the distance of one month, the earth was made a Masjid and clean place for me, I was allowed war booty, I was given the Intercession, and Prophets used to be sent to their people, but I was sent to all mankind particularly.)

Allah said,

وَلَقَدْ صَدَقَكُمُ اللَّهُ وَعْدَهُ

(And Allah did indeed fulfill His promise to you) 3:152,

in the beginning of the day of Uhud,

إِذْ تَحُسُّونَهُمْ

(when you were killing them), slaying your enemies,


(with His permission), for He allowed you to do that against them,

حَتَّى إِذَا فَشِلْتُمْ

(until when you Fashiltum). Ibn Jurayj said that Ibn `Abbas said that Fashiltum means, `lost courage'.

وَتَنَـزَعْتُمْ فِى الاٌّمْرِ وَعَصَيْتُمْ

(and fell to disputing about the order, and disobeyed) such as the mistake made by the archers,

مِّن بَعْدِ مَآ أَرَاكُمْ مَّا تُحِبُّونَ

(after He showed you what you love), that is, victory over the disbelievers,

مِنكُم مَّن يُرِيدُ الدُّنْيَا

(Among you are some that desire this world) referring to those who sought to collect the booty when they saw the enemy being defeated,

وَمِنكُم مَّن يُرِيدُ الاٌّخِرَةَ ثُمَّ صَرَفَكُمْ عَنْهُمْ لِيَبْتَلِيَكُمْ

(and some that desire the Hereafter. Then He made you flee from them, that He might test you).

This Ayah means, Allah gave them the upper hand to try and test you, O believers,

وَلَقَدْ عَفَا عَنْكُمْ

(but surely, He forgave you),

He forgave the error you committed, because, and Allah knows best, the idolators were many and well supplied, while Muslims had few men and few supplies.

Al-Bukhari recorded that Al-Bara' said, "We met the idolators on that day (Uhud) and the Prophet appointed `Abdullah bin Jubayr as the commander of the archers. He instructed them, `Retain your position, and if you see that we have defeated them, do not abandon your positions. If you see that they defeated us, do not rush to help us.' The disbelievers gave flight when we met them, and we saw their women fleeing up the mountain while lifting up their clothes revealing their anklets and their legs. So, the companions (of `Abdullah bin Jubayr) said, `The booty, the booty!' `Abdullah bin Jubayr said, `Allah's Messenger commanded me not to allow you to abandon your position.' They refused to listen, and when they left their position, Muslims were defeated and seventy of them were killed. Abu Sufyan shouted, `Is Muhammad present among these people' The Prophet said, `Do not answer him.' Then he asked, `Is the son of Abu Quhafah (Abu Bakr) present among these people' The Prophet said, `Do not answer him.' He asked again, `Is the son of Al-Khattab (`Umar) present among these people As for these (men), they have been killed, for had they been alive, they would have answered me.' `Umar could not control himself and said (to Abu Sufyan), `You lie, O enemy of Allah! The cause of your misery is still present.' Abu Sufyan said, `O Hubal, be high!' On that the Prophet said (to his Companions), `Answer him back.' They said, `What shall we say' He said, `Say, Allah is Higher and more Sublime.' Abu Sufyan said, `We have the (idol) Al-`Uzza, and you have no `Uzza.' The Prophet said, `Answer him back.' They asked, `What shall we say' He said, `Say, Allah is our protector and you have no protector.' Abu Sufyan said, `Our victory today is vengeance for yours in the battle of Badr, and in war (the victory) is always undecided and is shared in turns by the belligerents. You will find some of your killed men mutilated, but I did not urge my men to do so, yet I do not feel sorry for their deed.''' Only Al-Bukhari collected this Hadith using this chain of narration. cMuhammad bin Ishaq said that, `Abdullah bin Az-Zubayr narrated that Az-Zubayr bin Al-`Awwam said, "By Allah! I saw the female servants and female companions of Hind (Abu Sufyan's wife) when they uncovered their legs and gave flight. At that time, there was no big or small effort separating us from capturing them. However, the archers went down the mount when the enemy gave flight from the battlefield, seeking to collect the booty. They uncovered our back lines to the horsemen of the disbelievers, who took the chance and attacked us from behind. Then a person shouted, `Muhammad has been killed.' So we pulled back, and the disbelievers followed us, after we had killed those who carried their flag, and none of them dared to come close the flag, until then.''' Muhammad bin Ishaq said next, "The flag of the disbelievers was left on the ground until `Amrah bint `Alqamah Al-Harithiyyah picked it up and gave it to the Quraysh who held it.''

Allah said,

ثُمَّ صَرَفَكُمْ عَنْهُمْ لِيَبْتَلِيَكُمْ

(Then He made you flee from them, that He might test you) 3:152.

Al-Bukhari recorded that Anas bin Malik said, "My uncle Anas bin An-Nadr was absent from the battle of Badr. He said, `I was absent from the first battle the Prophet fought (against the pagans). (By Allah) if Allah gives me a chance to fight along with the Messenger of Allah, then Allah will see how (bravely) I will fight.' On the day of Uhud when the Muslims turned their backs and fled, he said, `O Allah! I apologize to You for what these (meaning the Muslims) have done, and I denounce what these pagans have done.' Then he advanced lifting his sword, and when Sa`d bin Mu`adh met him, he said to him, `O Sa`d bin Mu`adh! Where are you! Paradise! I am smelling its aroma coming from before (Mount) Uhud,' and he went forth, fought and was killed. We found more than eighty stab wounds, sword blows or arrow holes on his body, which was mutilated so badly that none except his sister could recognize him, and she could only do so by his fingers or by a mole.'' This is the narration reported by Al-Bukhari, Muslim also collected a similar narration from Thabit from Anas.

The Defeat that the Muslims Suffered During the Battle of Uhud

Allah said,

إِذْ تُصْعِدُونَ وَلاَ تَلْوُونَ عَلَى أحَدٍ

((And remember) when you (Tus`iduna) ran away dreadfully without casting even a side glance at anyone), and Allah made the disbelievers leave you after you went up the mount, escaping your enemy. Al-Hasan and Qatadah said that, Tus`iduna, means, `go up the mountain'.

وَلاَ تَلْوُونَ عَلَى أحَدٍ

(without even casting a side glance at anyone) meaning, you did not glance at anyone else due to shock, fear and fright.

وَالرَّسُولُ يَدْعُوكُمْ فِى أُخْرَاكُمْ

(and the Messenger was in your rear calling you back), for you left him behind you, while he was calling you to stop fleeing from the enemy and to return and fight.

As-Suddi said, "When the disbelievers attacked Muslim lines during the battle of Uhud and defeated them, some Muslims ran away to Al-Madinah, while some of them went up Mount Uhud, to a rock and stood on it. On that, the Messenger of Allah kept heralding, `Come to me, O servants of Allah! Come to me, O servants of Allah!' Allah mentioned that the Muslims went up the Mount and that the Prophet called them to come back, and said,

إِذْ تُصْعِدُونَ وَلاَ تَلْوُونَ عَلَى أحَدٍ وَالرَّسُولُ يَدْعُوكُمْ فِى أُخْرَاكُمْ

((And remember) when you ran away without even casting a side glance at anyone, and the Messenger was in your rear calling you back).'' Similar was said by Ibn `Abbas, Qatadah, Ar-Rabi` and Ibn Zayd.

The Ansar and Muhajirin Defended the Messenger

Al-Bukhari recorded that Qays bin Abi Hazim said, "I saw Talhah's hand, it was paralyzed, because he shielded the Prophet with it.'' meaning on the day of Uhud. It is recorded in the Two Sahihs that Abu `Uthman An-Nahdi said, "On that day (Uhud) during which the Prophet fought, only Talhah bin `Ubaydullah and Sa`d remained with the Prophet.''

Sa`id bin Al-Musayyib said, "I heard Sa`d bin Abi Waqqas saying, `The Messenger of Allah gave me arrows from his quiver on the day of Uhud and said, `Shoot, may I sacrifice my father and mother for you.''' Al-Bukhari also collected this Hadith. The Two Sahihs recorded that Sa`d bin Abi Waqqas said, "On the day of Uhud, I saw two men wearing white clothes, one to the right of the Prophet and one to his left, who were defending the Prophet fiercely. I have never seen these men before or after that day.'' Meaning angels Jibril and Mika'il, peace be upon them.

Abu Al-Aswad said that, `Urwah bin Az-Zubayr said, "Ubayy bin Khalaf of Bani Jumah swore in Makkah that he would kill the Messenger of Allah. When the Messenger was told of his vow, he said, `Rather, I shall kill him, Allah willing.' On the day of Uhud, Ubayy came while wearing iron shields and proclaiming, `May I not be saved, if Muhammad is saved.' He then headed to the direction of the Messenger of Allah intending to kill him, but Mus`ab bin `Umayr, from Bani Abd Ad-Dar, intercepted him and shielded the Prophet with his body, and Mus`ab bin `Umayr was killed. The Messenger of Allah saw Ubayy's neck exposed between the shields and helmet, stabbed him with his spear, and Ubayy fell from his horse to the ground. However, no blood spilled from his wound. His people came and carried him away while he was moaning like an ox. They said to him, `Why are you so anxious, it is only a flesh wound' Ubayy mentioned to them the Prophet's vow, `Rather, I shall kill Ubayy', then commented, `By He in Whose Hand is my soul! If what hit me hits the people of Dhul-Majaz (a popular pre-Islamic marketplace), they would all have perished.' He then died and went to the Fire,

فَسُحْقًا لاًّصْحَـبِ السَّعِيرِ

(So, away with the dwellers of the blazing Fire!) 67:11.''

This was collected by Musa bin `Uqbah from Az-Zuhri from Sa`id bin Al-Musayyib.

It is recorded in the Two Sahih that when he was asked about the injuries the Messenger sustained in Uhud, Sahl bin Sa`d said, "The face of Allah's Messenger was injured, his front tooth was broken and his helmet was smashed on his head. Therefore, Fatimah, the daughter of Allah's Messenger washed off the blood while `Ali was pouring water on her hand. When Fatimah saw that the bleeding increased more by the water, she took a mat, burnt it, and placed the ashes in the wound of the Prophet and the blood stopped oozing out.'' Allah said next,

فَأَثَـبَكُمْ غَمّاً بِغَمٍّ

(There did Allah give you one distress after another) 3:153,

He gave you grief over your grief. Ibn `Abbas said, `The first grief was because of the defeat, especially when it was rumored that Muhammad was killed. The second grief was when the idolators went up the mount and The Messenger of Allah said, `O Allah! It is not for them to rise above us.'''

`Abdur-Rahman bin `Awf said, "The first distress was because of the defeat and the second when a rumor started that Muhammad was killed, which to them, was worse than defeat.'' Ibn Marduwyah recorded both of these. Mujahid and Qatadah said, "The first distress was when they heard that Muhammad was killed and the second when they suffered casualties and injury.'' It has also been reported that Qatadah and Ar-Rabi` bin Anas said that it was the opposite order. As-Suddi said that the first distress was because of the victory and booty that they missed and the second because of the enemy rising above them (on the mount). Allah said,

لِّكَيْلاَ تَحْزَنُواْ عَلَى مَا فَاتَكُمْ

(by way of requital to teach you not to grieve for that which had escaped you), for that you missed the booty and triumph over your enemy.

وَلاَ مَآ أَصَـبَكُمْ

(nor for what struck you), of injury and fatalities, as Ibn `Abbas, `Abdur-Rahman bin `Awf, Al-Hasan, Qatadah and As-Suddi stated. Allah said next,

وَاللَّهُ خَبِيرٌ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ

(And Allah is Well-Aware of all that you do.) all praise is due to Him, and thanks, there is no deity worthy of worship except Him, the Most High, Most Honored.


God has been true to His promise, that is, His promise to you of assistance if you are patient and Godfearing. So long as you remain in this state of yours, with [your] intense endurance of the struggle and certainty of [God's] assistance, remaining firm upon that certainty, united in word in your orientation towards the Truth, wary of contravening the Messenger and the inclining of [your] souls to the adornments of this world and away from the truth, struggling for the sake of God and not for this world, then God will be with you granting you assistance and fulfilling the promise. Indeed you were, by His leave, cutting them down and making them retreat, until you lost heart, that is, [until] you became cowardly and weakness intruded into your certainty and the your belief spoiling what it would have deserved by right by allowing it to be fraudulent in [the coveting of] the spoils, and you quarrelled, over the conduct of the battle after having been in accord. You were not patient for the share of this world, but contravened the Messenger by ignoring his command to you to hold your position and you inclined to the adornments of this world, after He had shown you what you longed for, in the way of victory and spoils, when the time for giving thanks to God and turning to him with zeal was upon you. [Instead] you were distracted from Him, the noblest of you desiring the Hereafter and the rest desiring this world, but there remained none who desired God. [Thus] He withheld His assistance from you, then He turned you away from them, so that He might try you, with what you did. And that trial was a kindness and a bounty to you [from Him], and God is Bounteous to the believers, in all states, either through [His] assistance [to them] or through trial. Indeed trial is a bounty and a subtle kindness [to believers] so that they might come to know that the [spiritual] states of servants attract the manifestations of the descriptions of the Truth onto them. And so what they have prepared their souls for is bestowed on them from God, as has been mentioned already in His words 'the obeyer of the one who is obedient to Me'.

Kashf Al-Asrar

Among you are those who desire this world, and among you are those who desire the next world.

The worth of someone is his desire, and the want of someone is his leader. One person wants this world, another the afterworld, another the Patron. Wanting this world is all trickery and delusion, wanting the afterworld is all occupation with the work of wage-earners, and wanting the Patron is all celebration and joy. A seeker of this world is wounded by fantasy and delusion, a seeker of the afterworld is attached to palaces and houris, and a seeker of the Patron is in the ocean of Solitari- ness, inundated by light.

Dhu'l-Nūn the Egyptian said, "O God, if I have any share of this world, I have given it to strangers. If I have anything stored up for the afterworld, I give it to the faithful. In this world, remembering You is enough for me, and in the afterworld seeing You is enough for me."

This world and the afterworld are two precious commodities, and vision is the hard cash that is given. The broker of this world is Iblis. He offers his wares at auction in the bazaar of abandon- ment and adorns them for the people. God says, reporting from him, "I shall surely adorn for them what is in the earth"[15:39]. Iblis's buyer is the unbeliever. The price is abandoning the religion and sheer associationism. As for MuṣṬafā, he is the broker of paradise. He makes his offers at the auction of solicitude in the bazaar of the afterworld. The buyer is God and the sellers are the faithful. The price is the formula, "There is no god but God." The Prophet said, "The price of the Garden is There is no god but God."

The Pir of the Tariqah said, "I see a group distracted from Him by this world, a group dis- tracted from Him by that world, and a group distracted from both worlds by Him. They are waiting to see when the breeze of felicity will blow from the side of proximity and the sun of union will shine from the mansion of solicitude. They weep with the tongue of selflessness and say in hope, 'O generous one! How can someone who yearns for You put up with life? He who hopes for you has a breast full of blood at the hands of Your friendship!'"

Without You, O ease of my spirit, how can I live?

If You are not by my side, how can I be happy?

Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an

This refers to the conduct of the archers. When they were commanded to abstain from taking spoils, they argued with and disobeyed their leader and deserted their positions with the result that the scales of victory were turned against the Muslims.

That is, "Your desertion was an act which would have resulted in your total destruction, if Allah had not pardoned you. It was God's grace and succour that saved you from its grave consequences, and the Quraish, in spite of their victory, retreated of their own accord without any apparent reason. "

Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs

Allah then mentions His promise to the believers on the Day of Uhud, saying: (Allah verily made good His promise unto you) on the Day of Uhud (when ye routed them) when you killed them at the beginning of the fight (by His leave) by His command and help, (until (the moment) when your courage failed you) to fight against the enemy, (and ye disagreed about the order) you disagreed about the question of war (and ye disobeyed) the Prophet by leaving your positions, (after He had shown you that for which ye long) victory and booty. (Some of you) some of the archers (desired the world) with their jihad and fighting. This refers to those who abandoned their positions and rushed to gather the booty, (and some of you desired the Hereafter) with their jihad and fighting. This refers to 'Abdullah Ibn Jubayr and his fellow believers who remained at their positions until they were killed. (Therefore He made you flee from them) defeated and made them triumph over you, (that He might try you) that He might test you with the archers' disobedience. (Yet now He hath forgiven you) He did not exterminate you. (Allah is a Lord of Kindness to believers) in that He did not exterminate them, i.e. the archers.