3 - Al Imran (The family of Imran)

7 Tafsir(s) related to verse 3.102


O you who believe, fear God as He should be feared, so that He is obeyed and not disobeyed, thanked and not shown ingratitude, remembered and not forgotten. They said, ‘Who, O Messenger of God, is strong enough for this [task]?’ But it was then abrogated by His statement: So fear God as much as you can [Q. 64:16]; and do not die, except as Muslims, professing the Oneness of God.


O you who believe fear God as He should be feared ḥaqqa tuqātihi The proper manner ḥaqq of fearing God taqwā is to conform with the command neither more nor less of one's own accord. This is something that has been confirmed by teachings. His command amr has two aspects one of obligation and one of recommendation. Likewise what is said regarding prohibition nahy has two parts a forbidding and an abstaining from what is blameworthy. Included in this is the proper manner of fearing Him: [it] is first to avoid error then to avoid negligence then to beware of any omission then to cleanse every defect. When you fear looking to your fear of God taqwā after you have become characterized by it then you will truly fear God as you should fear Him. The proper manner of fearing God is to abandon disobedience ʿiṣyān and to remove forgetfulness nisyān; to uphold contracts ʿuhūd and preserve the limits ḥudūd; to bear witness to the divinity al-ilāhiyya and abandon the precepts of human nature al-bashariyya; to be extinguished under the flow of the decree ḥukm after avoiding every sin and injustice; to feel disdain for seeking to gain access to Him based on anything related to your obedience rather than His pure generosity; and to realize that He does not accept or reject anyone for cause ʿilla. and do not die except as Muslims. Do not let death wafāt overtake you unless you are in a condition of good faith wafāÌ.

Ibn Al Kathir

Meaning of `Taqwa of Allah

Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that `Abdullah bin Mas`ud commented on the Ayah,

اتَّقُواْ اللَّهَ حَقَّ تُقَاتِهِ

(Have Taqwa of Allah as is His due,)

"That He is obeyed and not defied, remembered and not forgotten and appreciated and not unappreciated.'' This has an authentic chain of narration to `Abdullah bin Mas`ud. Al-Hakim collected this Hadith in his Mustadrak, from Ibn Mas`ud, who related it to the Prophet. Al-Hakim said, "It is authentic according to the criteria of the Two Shaykhs Al-Bukhari and Muslim, and they did not record it.'' This is what he said, but it appears that it is only a statement of `Abdullah bin Mas`ud, and Allah knows best. It was also reported that Anas said, "The servant will not have Taqwa of Allah as is His due until he keeps his tongue idle.'' Allah's statement,

وَلاَ تَمُوتُنَّ إِلاَّ وَأَنتُم مُّسْلِمُونَ

(and die not except as (true) Muslims) 3:102, means, preserve your Islam while you are well and safe, so that you die as a Muslim. The Most Generous Allah has made it His decision that whatever state one lives in, that is what he dies upon and is resurrected upon. We seek refuge from dying on other than Islam.

Imam Ahmad recorded that Mujahid said, "The people were circling around the Sacred House when Ibn `Abbas was sitting, holding a bent-handled walking stick. Ibn `Abbas said, The Messenger of Allah recited,

يأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ اتَّقُواْ اللَّهَ حَقَّ تُقَاتِهِ وَلاَ تَمُوتُنَّ إِلاَّ وَأَنتُم مُّسْلِمُونَ

(Have Taqwa of Allah as is His due, die not except as (true) Muslims.) 3:102, then he said;

«وَلَوْ أَنَّ قَطْرَةً مِنَ الزَّقُّومِ قُطِرَتْ لَأَمَرَّتْ عَلى أَهْلِ الْأرْضِ عِيشَتَهُمْ، فَكَيْفَ بِمَنْ لَيْسَ لَهُ طَعَامٌ إِلَّا الزَّقُّومُ؟»

(Verily, if a drop of Zaqqum (a tree in Hell) falls, it will spoil life for the people of earth. What about those whose food is only from Zaqqum)''

This was recorded by At-Tirmidhi, An-Nasa'i, Ibn Majah, Ibn Hibban in his Sahih and Al-Hakim his Mustadrak. At-Tirmidhi said, "Hasan Sahih''' while Al-Hakim said; "It meets the conditions of the Two Sahihs and they did not record it."

Imam Ahmad recorded that Jabir said that three nights before the Messenger of Allah died he heard him saying;

«لَا يَمُوتَنَّ أَحَدُكُمْ إِلَّا وَهُوَ يُحْسِنُ الظَّنَّ بِاللهِ عَزَّ وَجَل»

(None of you should die except while having sincere trust in Allah, the Exalted and Most Honorable.) Muslim also recorded it. The Two Sahihs record that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah said,

«يَقُولُ اللهُ: أَنَا عِنْدَ ظَنِّ عَبْدِي بِي»

(Allah said, "I am as My servant thinks of Me.'')

The Necessity of Holding to the Path of Allah and the Community of the Believers

Allah said next,

وَاعْتَصِمُواْ بِحَبْلِ اللَّهِ جَمِيعاً وَلاَ تَفَرَّقُواْ

(And hold fast, all of you together, to the Rope of Allah, and be not divided among yourselves.) It was said that,

بِحَبْلِ اللَّهِ

(to the Rope of Allah) refers to Allah's covenant, just as Allah said in the following Ayah,

ضُرِبَتْ عَلَيْهِمُ الذِّلَّةُ أَيْنَ مَا ثُقِفُواْ إِلاَّ بِحَبْلٍ مِّنْ اللَّهِ وَحَبْلٍ مِّنَ النَّاسِ

(Indignity is put over them wherever they may be, except when under a covenant (of protection) from Allah, and from men;) 3:112, in reference to pledges and peace treaties.

Allah's statement

وَلاَ تَفَرَّقُواْ

(and be not divided among yourselves), orders sticking to the community of the believers and forbids division. There are several Hadiths that require adhering to the Jama`ah (congregation of believers) and prohibit division. Muslim recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah said,

«إِنَّ اللهَ يَرْضَى لَكُمْ ثَلَاثًا، وَيَسْخَطُ لَكُمْ ثَلَاثًا: يَرْضَى لَكُمْ أَنْ تَعْبُدُوهُ وَلَا تُشْرِكُوا بِهِ شَيْئًا، وَأَنْ تَعْتَصِمُوا بِحَبْلِ اللهِ جَمِيعًا وَلَا تَفَرَّقُوا،وَأَنْ تَنَاصَحُوا مَنْ وَلَّاهُ اللهُ أَمْرَكُمْ. وَيَسْخَطُ لَكُمْ ثَلَاثًا: قِيلَ وَقَالَ، وَكَثْرَةَ السُّؤَالِ، وَإِضَاعَةَ الْمَال»

(It pleases Allah for you to acquire three qualities and displeases Him that you acquire three characteristics. It pleases Him that you worship Him Alone and not associate anything or anyone with Him in worship, that you hold on to the Rope of Allah altogether and do not divide, and that you advise whoever Allah appoints as your Leader. The three that displease Him are that you say, `It was said,' and, `So-and-so said,' asking many unnecessary questions and wasting money.)

Allah said,

وَاذْكُرُواْ نِعْمَةَ اللَّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ إِذْ كُنتُم أَعْدَآءً فَأَلَّفَ بَيْنَ قُلُوبِكُمْ فَأَصْبَحْتُم بِنِعْمَتِهِ إِخْوَاناً

(and remember Allah's favor on you, for you were enemies one to another but He joined your hearts together, so that, by His grace, you became brethren) 3:103.

This was revealed about the Aws and Khazraj. During the time of Jahiliyyah, the Aws and Khazraj were at war and had great hatred, enmity and ill feelings towards each other, causing long conflicts and battles to occur between them. When Allah brought Islam, those among them who embraced it became brothers who loved each other by Allah's grace, having good ties for Allah's sake and helping each other in righteousness and piety. Allah said,

هُوَ الَّذِى أَيَّدَكَ بِنَصْرِهِ وَبِالْمُؤْمِنِينَوَأَلَّفَ بَيْنَ قُلُوبِهِمْ لَوْ أَنفَقْتَ مَا فِى الاٌّرْضِ جَمِيعاً مَّآ أَلَّفْتَ بَيْنَ قُلُوبِهِمْ وَلَـكِنَّ اللَّهَ أَلَّفَ بَيْنَهُمْ

(He it is Who has supported you with His Help and with the believers. And He has united their hearts. If you had spent all that is in the earth, you could not have united their hearts, but Allah has united them)8:62,63, until the end of the Ayah. Before Islam, their disbelief had them standing at the edge of a pit of the Fire, but Allah saved them from it and delivered them to faith. The Messenger of Allah reminded the Ansar from both Aws and Khazraj of this bounty when he was dividing the war booty of Hunayn. During that time, some Ansar did not like the way the booty was divided, since they did not get what the others did, although that was what Allah directed His Prophet to do. The Messenger of Allah gave them a speech, in which he said,

«يَا مَعْشَرَ الْأَنْصَارِ أَلَمْ أَجِدْكُمْ ضُلَّالًا فَهَدَاكُمُ اللهُ بِي، وَكُنْتُمْ مُتَفَرِّقِينَ فَأَلَّفَكُمُ اللهُ بِي، وَعَالَةً فَأَغْنَاكُمُ اللهُ بِي؟»

(O Ansar! Did I not find you misguided and Allah directed you to guidance because of me Were you not divided beforehand and Allah united you around me Were you not poor and Allah enriched you because of me)

Whenever the Prophet asked them a question, they would answer, "Indeed, Allah and His Messenger have granted us bounty.''


[O you who believe] fear God as He should be feared, for what concerns the remainder of your existences, for the true way to fear Him is to fear Him as He ought and deserves to be feared, which is to be annihilated in Him. In other words, make [fear of] Him a means of protection so that you guard against the remainders of your essences and your attributes. For in God there is compensation for all that has gone before; and do not die, except in a state in which [your] countenances have submitted to Him. In other words, let your death be annihilation in the Oneness.

Kashf Al-Asrar

O you who have faith, be wary of God as is the rightful due of His wariness.

When He says, “O people,” He says, “Be wary of your Lord” along with it. When He says, “O you

who have faith,” He says, “Be wary of God” along with it.

Be wary of your Lord is addressed to the common people. Their godwariness is based on seeing blessings, and their aspiration is nurturing the body to serve the Real. Be wary of God is addressed to the folk of caresses and generosity. Their godwariness is based on being watchful of the Beneficent and their aim is the repose of the spirit in witnessing the Real. What a difference between the two!

Be wary of your Lord is addressed to the wage-earners, and Be wary of God is addressed to the recognizers. The wage-earners are seeking joy and blessings, and the recognizers are seeking the mystery of the Beneficent. From God the wage-earners want other than Him, but the recognizers want God Himself.

AḤmad ibn Khiẓrūya saw the Real in a dream. He said, “O AḤmad! Everyone is seeking something from Me, except Abū Yazīd. He is seeking Me.”

People are wishing for repose and comfort,

but I, O Exalted One, wish to encounter You empty.


On the day I reach union with You

I will disdain the state of the paradise-dwellers.

It has been said that godwariness is of three sorts: One is wariness of God's punishment by having patience against acts of disobedience, as He says: “Be wary of the Fire that has been prepared for the unbelievers” [3:131]. Second is the godwariness of gratitude for blessings, as He says: “Be wary of your Lord” [4:1]. Third is godwariness at the vision of Unity, without taking into account reward or punishment, as He says: “Be wary of God as is the rightful due of His wariness.” The first is the godwariness of the wrongdoers, the second the godwariness of the moderate, and the third the godwariness of the preceders.

Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an

That is, "Be loyal and obedient to Allah up to your last breath."

"Allah's cord" is the way of life prescribed by Him. It is a "cord" because it keeps intact the relations of the Believers with Allah and also binds and unites them into a community. "Hold fast together to Allah's cord" implies that the Muslims should give the greatest importance to Allah's Way, and should make it the centre of all their interests, and exert their utmost to establish it and co-operate with one another for its service. When and if they let loose this cord and deviate from its basic principles, they would inevitably suffer from disunity and would be divided into sections and sub-sections, like the communities of the former Prophets. As a consequence of this, they would mat with disgrace both in this world and in the Next.

This refers to that horrible state of the Arabs from which they were rescued by Islam. Before Islam, their clans were divided into hostile camps, who went to war for frivolous reasons. Human life had lost its sanctity and people were killed without any pangs of conscience. The fire of enmity would have burnt to ashes all the Arabs, if blessed Islam had not rescued them from it. This blessing had appeared in a tangible form at AI-Madinah at the time of the revelation of these verses. The two clans-Aus and Khazraj-who had been enemies for years and had been involved in bitter feuds and bloody battles, became brethren after they embraced Islam. Not only this: they also showed that spirit of sacrifice for the rehabilitation of the refugees from Makkah that has no parallel in history.

That is to say, "If you have eyes to see, you can yourselves judge whether your welfare lies in holding fast to Allah's way or in discarding it and reverting to the old ways of ignorance, and whether your well-wishers are Allah and His Messenger or the Jews and the hypocrites and the polytheists who are trying to revert you to your former condition.

Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs

Thereafter, Allah spoke about a dispute between the Aws and the Khazraj, in which Tha'labah Ibn Ghanam and As'ad Ibn Zurarah boasted about their killings and raids on their rivals in the pre-Islamic days, saying: (O ye who believe! Observe your duty to Allah) obey Allah (with right observance) such that one obeys Him and never contravenes against Him, thank Him and never be ungrateful to him, remember Him and never forget Him; it is also said this means: obey Allah as He ought to be obeyed, (and die not save as those who have surrendered (unto Him)) sincerely acknowledging that you worship Him and declare His divine Oneness;