The Quran

Commentaries for 3.31

Al Imran (The family of Imran) - آل عمران

3.31 Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(Say) O Muhammad!: (If ye love Allah) and His religion, (follow me) follow my Religion; (Allah will love you) He will increase your love (and forgive you your sins) which were committed when you followed Judaism. (Allah is Forgiving) of whoever repents, (Merciful) towards whoever dies in a state of repentance. This verse was revealed about the Jews who claimed they were the children of Allah and His beloved ones. When this verse was revealed 'Abdullah Ibn Ubayy said: “Muhammad is commanding us to love him as the Christians loved Jesus”, and the Jews said: “Muhammad wants us to take him as a compassionate Lord, just as the Christians took Jesus as a compassionate Lord”.
3.31 Asrar - Kashf Al-Asrar
Say: If you love God, follow me; God will love you and forgive you your sins.
In terms of the Haqiqah this verse has another intimation and another taste. He is saying: “Whoever has fervor in his breast because of these words, say to him: 'Come out in my tracks, for all the work has been made ready in my footsteps. Do not bind your heart to intellect, for intellect is a watchman, not a leader to whom the reins should be given. It is not a road that you should set out in. Do not seek what you are seeking from intellect, seek it from prophethood. Intellect carries the saddle-cloth of the religion's ruling. The exalted magnificence of the religion does not fit into the
scales of intellect, nor does it come under the confines of substance and accident.'”
Our religion is the same as the religion of the 124,000 prophets and messengers. The testimony of the Qur'an contains these words, for He says, “He has set down for you as the religion that with which He counseled Noah” and so on [42:13].
That which holds up the level of our religion is two things: “God said” and “God's Messenger said.” If everything that is the basis of the religion of the innovators-the substances, accidents, and specific differences of the Kalam experts and the determinations of their intellects-suddenly ceased to be in creation, came to nothing, and entered into the concealment of nonexistence, not an iota of deficiency would reach the threshold of the religion's exaltedness or the gate of the Sunnah's tremendousness. By the decree of good fortune this address has come from the Exalted Lord to the folk of the Sunnah: “Today I have perfected your religion for you and I have completed My blessings upon you” [5:3]. Here there is no room for the Kalam of the theologians and the meddling of the philosophizers, nor for their explanations of substance and accident.
The path of Kalam is the path of shadows,
and the worst shadows are the shadows of Kalam.
You should take the road of the folk of Hadithit is enough to have MuṣṬafā as imam.
Put away confusion, for this is “the religion of old women.” You should have that, and the religion of servants.
Say: If you love God, follow me. “Many thousands of years before the existence of the world and of Adam's dust, We gathered together the spirits of the creatures and made a covenant with the spirits of the prophets and messengers: 'Say: If you love God, follow me.' Whoever wants to serve the threshold of that chieftain of the empire and that center point of good fortune, from now on let him tighten his belt in serving him and assent to be his helper. This is why the Lord of the worlds recounted from them, 'They said, “We assent.” He said, “So bear witness”' [3:81]. Then We took them all at once to the concealment of nonexistence. We took a few breaths in the playing field of power and decree, and one by one We gave them entrance into this world. Adam came and went, Abraham came and went, Moses came and went, Jesus came and went. In the same way, many thousands of prophets entered the dust. Then We called out, 'O MuḤammad! Now the playing field is empty, and the moment is yours.'”
That master took a step into the empire, and fourteen battlements fell from the castle of Caesar. In the Kaabah there were 360 idols and all of them fell on their faces. From the four corners of the world the call arose, “The truth has come, and falsehood has vanished away” [17:81]. The pearl of prophethood settled down on the carpet of exaltedness and the pavilion of messengerhood was pitched on the face of the earth, its ropes reaching from the east to the west of the world. The mask was lifted from the face of beauty, and because of the scattering of sweet words the world was filled with pearls and gems and adorned and trimmed with the noble character traits of the noble. Thus he said, “I was sent out with the all-comprehensive words to complete the noble character traits.”
As soon as he lifted the mask from the face of his sanctified spirit, every possessor of eyes detached spirit from heart.
In the whole ocean of love he saw no one's mark-
he opened one shell, and the ocean was filled with pearls.
Say: If you love God. The beginning of this verse goes back to what the Folk of the Tariqah call togetherness and dispersion. You love God is dispersion, and God will love you is togetherness.
You love God is to serve the Shariah, and God will love you is the generosity of the Haqiqah.
Service on the part of the servant rises up to God. To this alludes the verse, “To Him ascend the goodly words” [35:10]. Generosity on the part of God comes down to the servant. To this alludes the verse, “We placed a tie on their hearts” [18:14].
Whatever comes from the servant is dispersion-defective in motive and joined with scatteredness. Whatever comes from God is togetherness-pure of motive and free of every fault.
In the meaning of togetherness and dispersion, this verse is like the verse in which the Lord of the Worlds says, “When Moses came to Our appointed time and his Lord spoke to him” [7:143]. Moses came is the same as dispersion, and His Lord spoke to him is the same as togetherness.
Dispersion is the attribute of the folk of variegation, and togetherness is the attribute of the folk of stability.
Moses was in the station of variegation. Do you not see that when God spoke to him, he went from state to state, changed, and was variegated? For no one could gaze on His face.
MuṣṬafā was one of the folk of stability and stood in togetherness itself. At the time of vision and conversation, he remained in the state of resoluteness and stability, not one hair of his body changing. The fruit of Moses' path in dispersion was this: “And We brought him near as a confidant” [19:52]. The fruit of MuṣṬafā's attraction in togetherness itself was this: “Then He drew close, so He came down” [53:8]. In other words, “The Compeller, the Exalted Lord, drew close, so He came down.” In such a way did the Messenger interpret it.
His words, “Follow me; God will love you”: What a great difference between these words of the Beloved [MuḤammad], and those of the Bosom Friend [Abraham]: “Whoso follows me belongs to me” [14:36]. Love and bosom friendship are as far apart as these two sayings. The Bosom Friend said, “Whoever follows in my tracks belongs to me.” The Beloved said, “Whoever follows in my tracks is God's beloved.” There is no state higher than friendship, there are no days sweeter than the days of friendship.
Friendship has three way stations: caprice is the attribute of the body, love the attribute of the heart, and passion the attribute of the spirit.
Caprice abides through the soul, love abides through the heart, and passion abides through the spirit. The soul is not empty of caprice, the heart not empty of love, and the spirit not empty of passion.
Passion is the home of the passionate, and the passionate the home of trial. Passion is the chastisement of the passionate, and the passionate the chastisement of trial.
In passion for You I will be a pure fire-worshiperI will be burnt in heart, roasted in spirit!
I will dwell in hot fire and water, night and day I will be chastised!
The passion that is the spirit's attribute has three sorts: First is truthfulness, second drunkenness, third nonbeing. Truthfulness belongs to the recognizers, drunkenness to the enraptured, nonbeing to the selfless.
Truthfulness is that you do what you say, you have what you show, and you are whence you call out.
Drunkenness is unsettledness and rapture. When the gaze of the Protector becomes constant, the heart is enraptured. When the bestowal becomes great, it passes the capacity of finding.
Drunkenness belongs to the soul, the heart, and the spirit. When the wine forces itself on the intellect, the soul becomes drunk. When familiarity forces itself on awareness, the heart becomes drunk. When unveiling gains force over intimacy, the spirit becomes drunk. When the Cupbearer Himself is disclosed, being begins and drunkenness turns into sobriety.
O Sweetheart, I am not-make me be! Pour me a draft of union's wine!
Sit with me alone and make me drunk!
When You're tired of me, flatten me with a fine point.
Nonbeing is that you become lost in friendship-you appear neither in this world, nor in that world. The two worlds become lost in friendship, and friendship becomes lost in the Friend. Now I cannot say that I am, nor can I say that He is.
Separating the eye from the Friend is not good-
either He's in the place of the eye, or the eye itself is He.
The Pir of the Tariqah said: “O Lord! I seek the Found, I say to the Seen, 'What do I have, what should I seek, when will I see, what should I say?' I am entranced by this seeking, I am seized by this speaking.
“O Lord! I did it myself, I bought it myself-I lit myself on fire.
I called out from friendship, I gave my heart and spirit to joy.
“O Kind One! Now that I'm in the whirlpool, take my hand, for I've fallen hard.”
From now on, SanāÌī, don't speak of passion's painmany like you are lost in passion's world.
Take some advice: Don't try so hard for passion,
for passion's pain stirs up dust from running water. [DS 1150]
Indeed, the yearner is killed by friendship, even if his head is on a pillow. Even finer is that someone killed by friendship is better than someone killed by the sword: Blood does not come from the one killed by friendship, nor smoke from the one burnt by it. The killed is content with the killing, and the burnt happy with the burning!
How You kill us and how we love You! O marvel! How we love the killer!
Though Your ache has put me in the fire,
how I will ache if Your ache ever leaves me!
3.31 Jalal - Al-Jalalayn
When they said, ‘We only worship idols out of our love for God, that they might bring us close to Him’, the following was revealed: Say, O Muhammad (s), ‘If you love God, follow me, and God will love you, meaning that He will reward you, and forgive you your sins; God is Forgiving, as regards the sins, committed previously, by one who [now] follows me; Merciful, to him.
3.31 Kashani - Kashani
Say: 'If you love God, follow me, and God will love you: because the Prophet is His beloved and every person who claims love [of God] is required to follow him [the Prophet, for the beloved of a beloved is beloved, which is why love of the Prophet becomes obligatory. To love him [the Prophet] entails following him and wayfaring along his path in words, deeds, character, [spiritual] state, way of life and beliefs. The claim of love can only be in this manner, for he [the Propher] is the pole of [divine] love and the locus of its manifestation; his path is the talisman of [divine] love. The one who enjoys no share in his [the Prophet's] path has no share of [divine] love. If, on the other hand, he follows him sincerely, his inward aspect, his inmost consciousness, his heart and his soul will correspond to the Prophet's inward aspect, inmost consciousness, heart and soul, and since he [the Prophet] is the locus of manifestation of the [divine] love, by such a correspondence, that follower will necessarily enjoy a portion of God's love commensurate with his share of the following. God then casts His love upon that person and the light of that [divine] love travels from the inner aspect of the Prophet's spirit to him and he becomes a beloved of God and loving of God. If that person should not follow him, then his inward aspect will be in opposition to the inward aspect of the Prophet and he will then be far removed from the qualifications of [divine] love and love will be removed from his heart instantly, since if God does not love that person, he will not be loving of Him; and forgive you your sins, just as He forgave his beloved [Prophet] where He said: So that God may forgive you what is past of your sin and what is to come [Q. 48:2]. His [the Prophet's] past sin is his essence, while his sin to come is his attributes. Likewise is the case with the sins of the followers, just as God, exalted be He, says: '[My] servant does not cease to approach Me …' to the end of the [divine] ḥadīth. God is Forgiving, erasing the sins of your attributes and essences, Merciful, endowing you with existence and attributes deriving from [Him] the Truth that are better [than those sins]. He then descends from this station, since it is more difficult [to secure] than red sulphur, and He calls them to a more general station than the station of love, namely, the station of will, saying:
3.31-32 Kathir - Ibn Al Kathir
Allah's Love is Attained by Following the Messenger
This honorable Ayah judges against those who claim to love Allah, yet do not follow the way of Muhammad. Such people are not true in their claim until they follow the Shari`ah (Law) of Muhammad and his religion in all his statements, actions and conditions. It is recorded in the Sahih that the Messenger of Allah said,
«مَنْ عَمِلَ عَمَلًا لَيْسَ عَلَيْهِ أَمْرُنَا فَهُوَ رَد»
(Whoever commits an act that does not conform with our matter (religion), then it will be rejected of him.)
This is why Allah said here,
قُلْ إِن كُنتُمْ تُحِبُّونَ اللَّهَ فَاتَّبِعُونِى يُحْبِبْكُمُ اللَّهُ
(Say (O Muhammad to mankind): "If you (really) love Allah, then follow me, Allah will love you...'') meaning, what you will earn is much more than what you sought in loving Him, for Allah will love you. Al-Hasan Al-Basri and several scholars among the Salaf commented, "Some people claimed that they love Allah. So Allah tested them with this Ayah;
قُلْ إِن كُنتُمْ تُحِبُّونَ اللَّهَ فَاتَّبِعُونِى يُحْبِبْكُمُ اللَّهُ
(Say (O Muhammad to mankind): "If you (really) love Allah, then follow me, Allah will love you...''). ''
Allah then said,
وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ ذُنُوبَكُمْ وَاللَّهُ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ
("And forgive you your sins. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.'') meaning, by your following the Messenger, you will earn all this with the blessing of his mission. Allah next commands everyone,
قُلْ أَطِيعُواْ اللَّهَ وَالرَّسُولَ فإِن تَوَلَّوْاْ
(Say: "Obey Allah and the Messenger.'' But if they turn away) by defying the Prophet)
فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ لاَ يُحِبُّ الْكَـفِرِينَ
(then Allah does not like the disbelievers.) thus, testifying that defiance of the Messenger's way constitutes Kufr. Indeed, Allah does not like whoever does this, even if he claims that he loves Allah and seeks a means of approach to Him, unless, and until, he follows the unlettered Prophet, the Final Messenger from Allah to the two creations: mankind and the Jinn. This is the Prophet who, if the previous Prophets and mighty Messengers were to have been alive during his time, they would have no choice but to follow, obey him, and to abide by his Law. We will mention this fact when we explain the Ayah,
وَإِذْ أَخَذَ اللَّهُ مِيثَـقَ النَّبِيِّيْنَ
(And (remember) when Allah took the Covenant of the Prophets) 3:81, Allah willing.
3.31-32 Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
Here the first discourse ends. If We consider its theme, and especially its reference to the Battle of Badr, we come to the conclusion that the probable period of the revelation of this was some time after the Battle of Badr and before the Battle of Uhd, that is 3 A.H. A tradition of Muhammad bin Ishaq has generally misled people to fix the period of the revelation of the first 80 verses to 9 A.H., for according to that tradition it was sent down on the occasion of the deputation from Najran. But obviously, that is wrong for two reasons: first, the subject of this introductory discourse shows clearly that it was revealed much earlier. Second, the tradition of Mugatil-bin-Sulaiman is explicit on the point that on the occasion of the said deputation only those verses (33-63) were revealed which give an account of John the Baptist and Jesus (God's pe ace be upon them).
3.31 Qushairi - Al-Qushairi
Say: “If you love God follow me and God will love you and forgive you your sins; God is Forgiving Merciful. You love God is a separation farq and God loves you is a gathering jamʿ. You love God [with a love] mixed with cause ʿilla but God loves you without cause; rather He is the reality of communion. The love of the servant for God is a state of subtle kindness laṬīfa that he finds within himself and this state brings him into conformity muwāfaqa with [God's] command out of [his own] pleasure riḌāÌ without any feeling of aversion. This state necessarily involves his preferring [God] سبحانه over everything and everyone. The precondition of love is that there is no worldly concern ḥaẓẓ in any state. One who has not been entirely annihilated from his worldly concerns possesses not even a sliver of love. The love of the Real for the servant is in His desire irāda His beneficence iḥsān and His kindness luṬf to him. It is a desire irāda to bestow favor which may be [seen] in [the servant's] praise and commendation of Him سبحانه or it may be [seen] in [God's] favoring [the servant] which would be [understood as] coming from the attributes of His acts. It is said that the precondition of love is your entire effacement from yourself because you are consumed in your beloved. The one who spoke for them said: What is love until the eye is exhausted by weeping and you lose your ability to talk so that you cannot answer one who calls you. There is a difference between the beloved al-ḥabīb and the friend al-khalīl. The friend [Abraham] said “so whoever follows me verily belongs with me” minnī [14:36] and the beloved [Muḥammad] said “follow me and God will love you.” The follower of the friend belongs with him minhu in the favor conferred [on both of them by God] while the follower of the beloved is loved by the Real سبحانه-this suffices as a station of nearness and state. It is said that for those who submit themselves He cuts off their longing for anything other than their model and leader of the first and the last-Muḥammad ﷺ. It is said that this verse alludes to the fact that love is not an effect maʿlūl and is not brought about by obedient acts or the avoidance of bad things because He said “God will love you and forgive you your sins.
” He explained that it is possible that a servant may have many sins but nonetheless he loves God and God loves him. It is said that first He said “God will love you” and then He said “and forgive your sins.” The [conjunction] “and” wa determines the order such that it will be known that love is prior to forgiveness. First He loves them and they love Him [5:54] then He forgives them and they seek His forgiveness. Love leads to forgiveness; pardon does not lead to love. [The word] “love” maḥabba indicates the purest or most choice ṣafāÌ of states: the expression “shining teeth” ḥabab al-asnān which is their being bright and clear ṣafāÌ is derived from the same root. Love demands the complete devotion of the innermost self near the presence of the beloved. It is said that the camel aḥabba when he kneels down and will not move even if he is struck. Love ḥubb consists of two letters ḥāÌ and bāÌ. The ḥāÌ alludes to the spirit rūḥ and the bāÌ [alludes] to the body badan. The lover does not hold back in either his heart or his body from his beloved.
3.31 Wahidi - Asbab Al-Nuzul by Al-Wahidi
(Say, (O Muhammad, to mankind): If ye love Allah…) [3:31]. Said al-Hasan ibn Jurayj: “Some people had claimed at the time of the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, that they loved Allah. They said: 'O Muhammad! Verily, we love our Lord', and so Allah, exalted is He, revealed this verse”. Juwaybir also reported that al-Dahhak related that Ibn 'Abbas said: “The Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, saw the Quraysh in the Sacred Mosque prostrating to their idols which they erected therein, with eggs of ostriches hanging from them and earrings dangling from their ears. And so he said to them: 'O Quraysh! You have contravened the religion of your fathers Abraham and Ishmael, both of whom were Muslims'. They responded: 'O Muhammad! We worship them out of love for Allah and so that they bring us closer to Him'. Upon which Allah, exalted is He, revealed (Say, (O Muhammad, to mankind): If ye love Allah) and you worship your idols to bring you closer to Him, as you claim, then (follow me; Allah will love you…) for I am His Messenger to you, His proof against you, and I am more worthy of reverence than your idols”. Al-Kalbi also related from Abu Salih that Ibn 'Abbas said: “When the Jews said: 'We are the children of Allah and His beloved', Allah, exalted is He, revealed this verse. Then the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, read it to the Jews but they refused to accept it”. Muhammad ibn Ishaq reported that Muhammad ibn Ja'far ibn al-Zubayr said: “This was revealed about the Christians of Najran, for they had said: 'We venerate and worship Christ out of love and veneration for Allah'. And so Allah, exalted is He, revealed this verse as a response”.