The Quran

Commentaries for 3.120

Al Imran (The family of Imran) - آل عمران

3.120 Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(If a lucky chance) conquest and booty (befall you, it is evil unto them) the Jews and hypocrites do not like it, (and if disaster) drought, killing and defeat (strike you they rejoice thereat) they like it. (But if you persevere) in the face of their harm (and keep from evil) transgressing against Allah (their guile) their enmity and deeds (will never harm you. Lo! Allah is Surrounding) Allah knows (what they do) of contravention and enmity.
3.120 Jalal - Al-Jalalayn
If good fortune, a favour such as victory or booty, befalls you, it is evil for them, it grieves them; but if evil, such as defeat or drought, befalls you, they rejoice thereat (the conditional statement here is semantically connected to the previous conditional, and what comes in between is a parenthetical [statement], the meaning being that their enmity towards you is endless, so why do you befriend them? Avoid them!) Yet if you endure, their harm, and fear, God by [not] befriending them and so on, their guile will not hurt you (read either lā yadirkum or lā yadurrukum) at all; God encompasses what they do (ya‘malūn, or may be read ta‘malūn, ‘what you do’), He has knowledge of it and will requite them for it.
3.120 Kashani - Kashani
Yet if you endure, with patience what God tests you with in the way of hardships, trials and calamities, and remain firm as required by belief in Oneness and obedience [to God], and guard against, seeking their assistance in your affairs and resorting to friendship with them, their guile will not hurt you at all, because the one who trusts in God, who endures His test and seeks His assistance and not that of another, shall succeed in securing what he demands, vanquish his opponent, receiving his share of his Lord's good protection. The one who seeks the assistance of another shall be forsaken, left to the devices of his own soul, deprived of the aid of his Lord, as the poet says: 'he who seeks the help of any other than God in what he wants, shall surely have [nothing but] failure and forsakenness for his assistants. Of what they do, in the way of schemes, God is indeed encompassing, invalidating them and destroying them. They say that if you want to curb [the evil of] the one who envies you, then grow in virtue in yourself, for patience and God-consciousness are among the most beautiful virtues. If you adhere to them, you shall be victorious over your enemies.
3.118-120 Kathir - Ibn Al Kathir
Prohibition of Taking Allies From Disbelievers Who Ridicule Islam
Allah forbids His believing servants from taking the hypocrites as allies, so that the hypocrites do not have the opportunity to expose the secrets of the believers and their plans against their enemies. The hypocrites try their very best to confuse, oppose and harm the believers any way they can, and by using any wicked, evil means at their disposal. They wish the very worst and difficult conditions for the believers. Allah said,
لاَ تَتَّخِذُواْ بِطَانَةً مِّن دُونِكُمْ
(Take not as (your) Bitanah those other than your own) 3:118, in reference to taking followers of other religions as consultants and allies, for advisors of a certain person have access to his most secret affairs. Al-Bukhari and An-Nasa'i recorded that, Abu Sa`id said that the Messenger of Allah said,
«مَا بَعَثَ اللهُ مِنْ نَبِيَ وَلَا اسْتَخْلَفَ مِنْ خَلِيفَةٍ إِلَّا كَانَتْ لَهُ بِطَانَتَانِ: بِطَانَةٌ تَأْمُرُهُ بِالْخَيْرِ وَتَحُضُّهُ عَلَيْهِ، وَبِطَانَةٌ تَأْمُرُهُ بِالسُّوءِ وَتَحُضُّهُ عَلَيْهِ، وَالْمَعْصُومُ مَنْ عَصَمَ الله»
(Allah has not sent any Prophet nor was there any Khalifah but they have two types of allies, one that commands him with righteousness and advises it, and another that commands him with evil and advises him with it. Only those whom Allah gives immunity are immune.)
Ibn Abi Hatim reported that Ibn Abi Ad-Dahqanah said, "`Umar bin Al-Khattab was told, `There is young man here from the people of Hirah (in Iraq, who were Christians) who is a proficient scribe. Why do you not appoint him as a scribe' `Umar said, `I would then be taking advisors from among the disbelievers.''' This Ayah and the story about `Umar testify to the fact that Muslims are not allowed to use Ahl Adh-Dhimmah to be scribes in matters that affect the affairs of Muslims and expose their secrets, for they might convey these secrets to combatant disbelievers. This is why Allah said,
لاَ يَأْلُونَكُمْ خَبَالاً وَدُّواْ مَا عَنِتُّمْ
(since they will not fail to do their best to corrupt you. They desire to harm you severely.)
Allah then said,
قَدْ بَدَتِ الْبَغْضَآءُ مِنْ أَفْوَهِهِمْ وَمَا تُخْفِى صُدُورُهُمْ أَكْبَرُ
(Hatred has already appeared from their mouths, but what their breasts conceal is far worse.) meaning, enmity appears on their faces and in what they sometimes utter, as well as, the enmity they have against Islam and its people in their hearts. Since this fact is apparent to every person who has sound comprehension, therefore,
قَدْ بَيَّنَّا لَكُمُ الاٌّيَـتِ إِنْ كُنتُمْ تَعْقِلُونَ
(Indeed We have made plain to you the Ayat if you understand.)
Allah said next,
هَآأَنتُمْ أُوْلاءِ تُحِبُّونَهُمْ وَلاَ يُحِبُّونَكُمْ
(O! You are the ones who love them but they love you not), meaning, O believers! You like the hypocrites because you think they are believers, for they pretend to be so, but they do not like you publicly or secretly.
وَتُؤْمِنُونَ بِالْكِتَـبِ كُلِّهِ
(And you believe in all the Scriptures) meaning, you have no doubt in any part of Allah's Book, while the hypocrites have deep doubts, confusion and reservations about it.
Muhammad bin Ishaq reported that Ibn `Abbas said that,
وَتُؤْمِنُونَ بِالْكِتَـبِ كُلِّهِ
(and you believe in all the Scriptures,) means, you believe in your Book, their Book, and the previous Books, while the hypocrites disbelieve in your Book, and this is why they deserve that you dislike them instead of them disliking you. Ibn Jarir collected this statement.
وَإِذَا لَقُوكُمْ قَالُواْ ءَامَنَّا وَإِذَا خَلَوْاْ عَضُّواْ عَلَيْكُمُ الاٌّنَامِلَ مِنَ الْغَيْظِ
(And when they meet you, they say, "We believe.'' But when they are alone, they bite their Anamil at you in rage.)
The word Anamil, means the tips of the fingers, as Qatadah stated. This is the behavior of the hypocrites who pretend to be believers and kind when they are with the believers, all the while concealing the opposite in their hearts in every respect. This is the exact situation that Allah describes,
وَإِذَا خَلَوْاْ عَضُّواْ عَلَيْكُمُ الاٌّنَامِلَ مِنَ الْغَيْظِ
(But when they are alone, they bite their Anamil at you in rage) and rage is extreme anger and fury. Allah said to them,
قُلْ مُوتُواْ بِغَيْظِكُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ بِذَاتِ الصُّدُورِ
(Say: "Perish in your rage. Certainly, Allah knows what is in the breasts (all the secrets).'') for no matter how much you envy the believers and feel rage towards them, know that Allah shall perfect His favor on His believing servants, complete His religion, raise high His Word and give dominance to His religion. Therefore, O hypocrites, die in rage,
إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ بِذَاتِ الصُّدُورِ
(Allah knows what is in the breasts.)
Allah has perfect knowledge of what you conceal in your hearts and chests and in the rage, envy and hatred you have against the believers. Allah will punish you for all this in this life, and they will have the good that you dislike for them. In the Hereafter, you will suffer severe torment in the Fire where you will remain for eternity.
Thereafter, Allah said,
إِن تَمْسَسْكُمْ حَسَنَةٌ تَسُؤْهُمْ وَإِن تُصِبْكُمْ سَيِّئَةٌ يَفْرَحُواْ بِهَا
(If a good befalls you, it grieves them, but if some evil overtakes you, they rejoice at it) 3:120. This only emphasizes the severity of the enmity that the hypocrites feel against the believers. If the believers enjoy fertile years, victories, support and their numbers and following increase, the hypocrites become displeased. When the Muslims suffer a drought or their enemies gain the upper hand against them, by Allah's decree, just as occurred during the battle of Uhud, the hypocrites become pleased. Allah said to His believing servants,
وَإِن تَصْبِرُواْ وَتَتَّقُواْ لاَ يَضُرُّكُمْ كَيْدُهُمْ شَيْئاً
(But if you remain patient and have Taqwa, not the least harm will their cunning do to you.)
Allah directs the believers to safety from the wickedness of evil people and the plots of the sinners, by recommending them to revert to patience and by having fear of Allah and trusting Him. Allah encompasses the enemies of the believers, all the while the believers have no power or strength except from Him. Whatever Allah wills, occurs, and whatever He does not will, does not occur. Nothing happens in His Kingdom except with His decision and according to His decrees. Verily, whoever relies on Allah, Allah shall suffice for him.
Allah then mentions the story of Uhud, the defeat that He tested the believers with, His distinguishing the believers from the hypocrites and their patience.
3.118-120 Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
Here Allah warns the Muslims to guard against the hypocritical attitude of the Jews who lived in the suburbs of Al-Madinah. The two clans, Aus and Khazraj, had been on friendly terms with them from very ancient times and kept sincere relations with them even after embracing Islam. In contrast to this, the Jews, who had turned into the enemies of the Holy Prophet and his mission, could not be friendly with anyone who had joined the new Movement. Accordingly, they kept up an outward show of friendship with the Ansar but in their heart of hearts they had become their bitter enemies. They, however,. exploited this outward friendship and tried to sow seeds of dissension and create chaos in the Muslim Community. They also tried to draw out secrets from the Muslims and pass them on to their enemies. That is why Allah has warned the Muslims that they should not take such people into their confidence.
That is, "It is strange that the Jews, who themselves are guilty of rejecting your Book, whereas you believe in their Book, the Torah, along with your Book, the Qur'an, should have a grievance against you. There is no reason why they should complain against you: on the other hand, you have a cogent grievance against them for their disbelief in your Book."
3.120 Qushairi - Al-Qushairi
If good fortune befalls you it is evil for them; but if evil befalls you they rejoice thereat. Yet if you endure and fear [God] their guile will not hurt you at all; God encompasses what they do. This verse alludes to those who abandon the path of spiritual desire irāda and return to the states of the people of habit ahl al-ʿāda. They are not happy to see an aspirant murīd have a breakthrough nafādh; rather they are glad when they see listlessness in a seeker qāṣid. God in His favor and grace perfects His light for the people of His solicitude and He lets the evildoers stray from His path and their distance is punishment. He is not concerned with what comes to them.