3 - Al Imran (The family of Imran)

6 Tafsir(s) related to verse 3.154

Al-Jalalayn

Then He sent down upon you, after grief, security — a slumber (nu‘āsan, ‘slumber’ substitutes for amanatan, ‘security’) overcoming (yaghshā or taghshā) a party of you, namely, the believers. They would become dizzy under their shields and their swords would fall from their hands; and a party whose own souls distressed them, that is, they caused them grief, so that their only wish was their deliverance, regardless of the Prophet and his Companions, and they were unable to fall asleep: these were the hypocrites; thinking wrongly of God, thoughts of, those thoughts during the, age of ignorance, the moment they thought that the Prophet had been killed or that he would not be given victory, saying, ‘Have we any part whatever in the affair?’ (read [interrogative] hal as [negative] mā) that is, [we have no part in] the assistance which we were promised. Say, to them: ‘The affair belongs entirely (read accusative kullahu to denote an emphasis, or nominative kulluhu as a subject [of a new sentence], the predicate of which is [what follows]) to God’, that is to say, the decree is His, He does what He wills. They conceal within their hearts what they do not disclose, what they [do not] manifest, to you, saying, (yaqūlūna, ‘saying’, is an explication of the preceding [statement]) ‘Had we had any part in the affair, we would not have been slain here’, that is to say, ‘Had the choice been ours, we would not have set out and thus been slain; but we were forced to set out’. Say, to them: ‘Even if you had been in your houses, with some among you whom God had appointed that they be slain, those, of you, for whom it had been appointed, decreed, that they be slain would have sallied forth, would have gone forth, to the places where they were to lie’, the battleground where they were to fall, and they would have been slain; and their staying put [at home] would not have saved them, for God’s decree will be, inevitably. And, He did what He did at Uhud, that God might try, [that He might] test, what was in your breasts, your hearts, of sincerity or hypocrisy, and that He might prove, [that He might] distinguish, what was in your hearts; and God knows what is in the breasts, what is in the hearts. Nothing can be hidden from Him, and He tries people only to make [matters] manifest for them.

Al-Qushairi

When you were ascending not turning around for anyone and the Messenger was calling you from your rear so he rewarded you with grief for grief so that you might not grieve for what escaped you neither for what befell you; and God is aware of what you do. Then He sent down upon you after grief security-a slumber overcoming a party of you and a party whose own souls distressed them thinking wrongly of God thoughts of the age of ignorance saying “Have we any part whatever in the affairḍ” Say: “The affair belongs entirely to God.” They conceal within their hearts what they do not disclose to you saying “Had we had any part in the affair we would not have been slain here.” Say: “Even if you had been in your houses those for whom it had been appointed that they be slain would have sallied forth to the places where they were to lie” that God might try what was in your breasts and that He might prove what was in your hearts; and God knows what is in the breasts. The verse alludes to people for whom a period of slackening fatra occurs. The calls of the Real سبحانه come from within and without so that it is as if the rocks in the streets and the bricks in the walls were crying out to such a one “do not do it O servant of God!” But he is resolved upon his crooked way layy and settled in his error ghayy; [he] refuses to acknowledge what he knows would be more fitting and appropriate for his state. If he were to stay with his [original] aim and follow through with his aspiration by all means he would rein himself in and hold himself back from galloping ahead. [But] he gets nothing but gasping breaths anfās mutaṣāʿida and continuous sorrows ḥasarāt mutawātira-the Real سبحانه has bequeathed him one lonely estrangement after another. Eventually after he has been in this place of distress for a long time the Real سبحانه will relieve him with His beautiful kindness and draw him near with His gracious affection. He will deliver him from the narrowness of his captivity to the spaciousness of His pardon and favor. Many of these [people] will reach the place of the most respected and thereupon become still by God for God when they have been negated from station and honor and they will stand by God for God without waiting to be brought near and without looking to be welcomed.

He sent down upon you after grief security-a slumber overcoming a party of you and a party whose own souls distressed them thinking wrongly of God thoughts of the age of ignorance: After the periods of their slackening fatarāt the people of realization and [those who] declare [God's] unity ahl al-taḥqīq wa-l-tawḥīd reach the point where they declare [that they have] abandoned their lower selves. They wash their hands clean of them and raise their hearts from them so they might live by God for God without regard for any craving or want following instead the creed of despair ʿaqīda al-yaÌs from everything. They strengthen their pact with Him in exchange for their worldly concerns leaving every share and fortune behind. This is the quality of those to whom He sent down security. As for the party whose own souls distressed them they remain in the lonely estrangement of their lower selves. One way in which they are punished in this life is that they come to have evil convictions about the path after having believed in it. God most high said “And We shall confound their hearts and their eyes; just as they did not believe in it the first time” [6:110]. The allusion in God most high's words “Have we any part whatever in the affairḍ” is to those who are confused in their affair neither drawing nearer in truth to what is right for them nor turning away entirely. Their slackening fatra turns into bad choices even as they would give their best if their hearts were in it to their effort. They forget their Lord in both states and so do not see the way the Real سبحانه determines events. God most high said say: “The affair belongs entirely to God.” Anyone who knows that the originator is God has cast off his own choice and states like the removal of hair from dough and has submitted his affairs to God entirely. The sign of the one who has actualized this is that he finds rest from the pains of his own planning tadbīr and lives in the spaciousness of witnessing His decree taqdīr.

They conceal within themselves what they do not disclose to you: They have not been loyal to their convictions ʿaqāÌid. They have hidden that which contradicts what they show outwardly while publicizing something other than that which they keep secret. They assign existing things to causes which they have only imagined. Say: “Even if you had been in your houses those for whom it had been appointed that they be slain would have sallied forth to the places where they were to lie”: He has informed us that the decree cannot be pushed away lā yuzāḥamu and fate cannot be resisted lā yukābaru. The things which exist have been determined and God prevails over His affair. That God might try what was in your breasts: As for the people of realities ahl al-ḥaqāÌiq God most high removes every harm and hindrance from their hearts and takes their innermost selves for Himself and draws [them] near to intimacy [with Him]. So their hearts become pure of defects and clear of attachments [they are] singled out for the Real detached from created things freed from worldly concerns and the lower self; the effects of drawing near appears to them the beauty of divine governorship tawallī prevails over them and the lights of disclosure tajallī become visible in them.

Ibn Al Kathir

Slumber Overcame the Believers; the Fear that the Hypocrites Suffered

Allah reminds His servants of His favor when He sent down on them tranquillity and slumber that overcame them while they were carrying their weapons and feeling distress and grief. In this case, slumber is a favor and carries meanings of calmness and safety. For instance, Allah said in Surat Al-Anfal about the battle of Badr,

إِذْ يُغَشِّيكُمُ النُّعَاسَ أَمَنَةً مِّنْهُ

((Remember) when He covered you with a slumber as a security from Him) 8:11.

Al-Bukhari recorded that Anas said that, Abu Talhah said, "I was among those who were overcome by slumber during the battle of Uhud. My sword fell from my hand several times and I would pick it up, then it would fall and I would pick it up again.'' Al-Bukhari collected this Hadith in the stories of the battles without a chain of narration, and in the book of Tafsir with a chain of narrators. At-Tirmidhi, An-Nasa'i and Al-Hakim recorded from Anas that Abu Talhah said, "On the day of Uhud, I raised my head and looked around and found that everyone's head was nodding from slumber.'' This is the wording of At-Tirmidhi, who said, "Hasan Sahih''. An-Nasa'i also recorded this Hadith from Anas who said that Abu Talhah said, "I was among those who were overcome by slumber.''

The second group mentioned in the Ayah were the hypocrites who only thought about themselves, for they are the most cowardly people and those least likely to support the truth,

يَظُنُّونَ بِاللَّهِ غَيْرَ الْحَقِّ ظَنَّ الْجَـهِلِيَّةِ

(and thought wrongly of Allah - the thought of ignorance) 3:154, for they are liars and people who have doubts and evil thoughts about Allah, the Exalted and Most Honored. Allah said,

ثُمَّ أَنزَلَ عَلَيْكُمْ مِّن بَعْدِ الْغَمِّ أَمَنَةً نُّعَاساً يَغْشَى طَآئِفَةً مِّنْكُمْ

(Then after the distress, He sent down security for you. Slumber overtook a party of you), the people of faith, certainty, firmness and reliance (on Allah) who are certain that Allah shall give victory to His Messenger and fulfill his objective.

وَطَآئِفَةٌ قَدْ أَهَمَّتْهُمْ أَنْفُسُهُمْ

(While another party was thinking about themselves), and they were not overcome by slumber because of their worry, fright and fear,

يَظُنُّونَ بِاللَّهِ غَيْرَ الْحَقِّ ظَنَّ الْجَـهِلِيَّةِ

(and thought wrongly of Allah --- the thought of ignorance).

Similarly, Allah said in another statement,

بَلْ ظَنَنْتُمْ أَن لَّن يَنقَلِبَ الرَّسُولُ وَالْمُؤْمِنُونَ إِلَى أَهْلِيهِمْ أَبَداً

(Nay, but you thought that the Messenger and the believers would never return to their families) 48:12.

This group thought that the idolators achieved ultimate victory, when their forces took the upper hand in battle, and that Islam and its people would perish. This is typical of people of doubt and hesitation, in the event of a hardship, they fall into such evil thoughts. Allah then described them that,

يَقُولُونَ

(they said) in this situation,

هَل لَّنَا مِنَ الاٌّمْرِ مِن شَىْءٍ

("Have we any part in the affair'') Allah replied,

قُلْ إِنَّ الاٌّمْرَ كُلَّهُ للَّهِ يُخْفُونَ فِى أَنْفُسِهِم مَّا لاَ يُبْدُونَ لَكَ

(Say: "Indeed the affair belongs wholly to Allah.'' They hide within themselves what they dare not reveal to you.) wAllah exposed their secrets, that is,

يَقُولُونَ لَوْ كَانَ لَنَا مِنَ الاٌّمْرِ شَىْءٌ مَّا قُتِلْنَا هَـهُنَا

(saying: "If we had anything to do with the affair, none of us would have been killed here.'') although they tried to conceal this thought from the Messenger of Allah.

Ibn Ishaq recorded that `Abdullah bin Az-Zubayr said that Az-Zubayr said, "I was with the Messenger of Allah when fear intensified and Allah sent sleep to us (during the battle of Uhud). At that time, every man among us (except the hypocrites) was nodding off. By Allah! As if in a dream, I heard the words of Mu`attib bin Qushayr, `If we had anything to do with the affair, none of us would have been killed here.' I memorized these words of his, which Allah mentioned later on,

يَقُولُونَ لَوْ كَانَ لَنَا مِنَ الاٌّمْرِ شَىْءٌ مَّا قُتِلْنَا هَـهُنَا

(saying: "If we had anything to do with the affair, none of us would have been killed here.)''

Ibn Abi Hatim collected this Hadith.

Allah the Exalted said,

قُل لَّوْ كُنتُمْ فِى بُيُوتِكُمْ لَبَرَزَ الَّذِينَ كُتِبَ عَلَيْهِمُ الْقَتْلُ إِلَى مَضَاجِعِهِمْ

(Say: "Even if you had remained in your homes, those for whom death was decreed would certainly have gone forth to the place of their death,'') meaning, this is Allah's appointed destiny and a decision that will certainly come to pass, and there is no escaping it. Allah's statement,

وَلِيَبْتَلِىَ اللَّهُ مَا فِى صُدُورِكُمْ وَلِيُمَحِّصَ مَا فِى قُلُوبِكُمْ

(that Allah might test what is in your breasts; and to purify that which was in your hearts,) means, so that He tests you with whatever befell you, to distinguish good from evil and the deeds and statements of the believers from those of the hypocrites,

وَاللَّهُ عَلِيمٌ بِذَاتِ الصُّدُورِ

(and Allah is All-Knower of what is in the breasts), and what the hearts conceal.

Some of the Believers Give Flight on the Day of Uhud

Allah then said,

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ تَوَلَّوْاْ مِنكُمْ يَوْمَ الْتَقَى الْجَمْعَانِ إِنَّمَا اسْتَزَلَّهُمُ الشَّيْطَـنُ بِبَعْضِ مَا كَسَبُواْ

(Those of you who turned back on the day the two hosts met, Shaytan only caused them to err because of some of what they had earned) 3:155,

because of some of their previous errors. Indeed, some of the Salaf said, "The reward of the good deed includes being directed to another good deed that follows it, while the retribution of sin includes committing another sin that follows it.'' Allah then said,

وَلَقَدْ عَفَا اللَّهُ عَنْهُمْ

(but Allah, indeed, has forgiven them), their giving flight,

أَنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ حَلِيمٌ

(surely, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Forbearing)

He forgives sins, pardons and exonerates His creatures. Imam Ahmad recorded that Shaqiq said, " `Abdur-Rahman bin `Awf met Al-Walid bin `Uqbah, who said to him, `Why did you desert `Uthman, the Leader of the Faithful' `Abdur-Rahman said, `Tell him that I did not run away during Uhud, remain behind during Badr, nor abandon the Sunnah of `Umar.' Al-Walid told `Uthman what `Abdur-Rahman said. `Uthman replied, `As for his statement, `I did not run away during Uhud,' how can he blame me for an error that Allah has already forgiven. Allah said,

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ تَوَلَّوْاْ مِنكُمْ يَوْمَ الْتَقَى الْجَمْعَانِ إِنَّمَا اسْتَزَلَّهُمُ الشَّيْطَـنُ بِبَعْضِ مَا كَسَبُواْ وَلَقَدْ عَفَا اللَّهُ عَنْهُمْ

(Those of you who turned back on the day the two hosts met, Shaytan only caused them to err because of some of what they had earned. But Allah, indeed, has forgiven them).

As for his statement that I remained behind from participating in Badr, I was nursing Ruqayyah, the daughter of the Messenger of Allah, until she passed away. The Messenger of Allah gave me a share in the booty of Badr, and whoever gets a share in the booty from the Messenger of Allah will have participated in battle. As for his statement that I abandoned the Sunnah of `Umar, neither I nor he are able to endure it. Go and convey this answer to him.'''

Kashani

Then, He spared you the grief by [granting you] security and casting sleep upon the truthful party and not the [party of the] hypocrites, whose own souls distressed them, not the soul of the Messenger, nor indeed those who manifested an indication [that they were deserving] of [God's] pardon; those for whom it had been appointed that they be slain would have sallied forth to the places where they were to lie, because of His statement No affliction befalls in the earth or in your souls but it is in a Book, before We bring it about [Q. 57:22], that God might try what was in your breasts, in other words, so that God might test what is in your preparedness of [the potential] truthfulness, sincerity, certainty, patience, trust in God, and disengagement, and all the other [virtuous] traits and stations, in order to bring them forth from potentiality to actuality; and that He might prove what was in your hearts, meaning, so that He might deliver those [potentials], which have sallied forth out of the hiding place of the breast and into the storehouse of the heart, from the stumbling blocks that are the evil whisperings of Satan, base states and the passing inclinations of the soul…For the trial is one of God's scourges by which He drives His servants towards Him by purifying them of the attributes of the soul and making manifest the perfections [dormant] in them so that they are devoted completely to Him instead of creatures and to the Truth instead of the soul. That is why it has always been the prophets, followed by the friends [of God], and then the most exemplary [of servants] that have been charged with such [trials]. The Messenger of God, may God bless him and grant him peace, as an illustration of his excellence said, 'No prophet has suffered hurt to the extent that I have'. It is as though he were saying, 'No prophet has been purified like I have'. Good are the words of the one who said:

'How excellent are calamities, for verily they bring rust to the ignoble, but lustre to the free'.

For whatever manifests on either of the two [of rust or lustre] is only what is hidden in that person's preparedness, in the same way that they say, 'At the test a man is either honoured or disgraced'.

Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an

This was a favour shown to those Muslims who had remained firm in the battle. They experienced such a strange sense of security that in spite of their sorrow, they began to feel drowsy. Hadrat Abu Talhah, who had taken part in the battle, says that they were so overpowered by drowsiness that even their swords began to fall from their hands.

Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs

Allah then mentioned His blessings upon them, saying: (Then, after grief, He sent down security for you) from the enemy. (As slumber did it overcome a party of you) such that those among you who had sincerity and certitude slept, (while (the other) party, who were anxious on their own account) who were overcome with anxiousness about themselves. This refers to Mu'attib Ibn Qushayr, the hypocrite, and his fellows who were not overcome by sleep, (thought wrongly of Allah) that He would not come to the help of His Messenger and his Companions, (the thought of ignorance) as they did think of Him in the time of ignorance [before the advent of Islam]. (They said: Have we any part in the cause) any part in triumph and domination? (Say) O Muhammad: (The cause) triumph and domination (belongeth wholly to Allah) they are in the Hand of Allah. (They hide within themselves (a thought) which they reveal not unto you) for fear that they would be killed, (saying: Had we had any part in the cause we should not have been slain here. Say) to the hypocrites, O Muhammad: (Even though ye had been in your houses) in Medina, (those appointed to be slain would have gone forth to the places where they were to lie) where they were to be killed at Uhud. ((All this has been) in order that Allah might try) test (what is in your breasts) what is in the breast of the hypocrites (and prove) bring to the fore (what is in your hearts) of hypocrisy. (Allah is Aware of what is hidden in the breasts (of men)) He knows what is in people's hearts of good and evil, i.e. the hearts of hypocrites; it is also said that it refers to the hearts of the archers.