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Towards Understanding the Quran
With kind permission: Islamic Foundation UK
Introduction to Tafheem | Glossary | Verbs
Other resources: Maarif | Dawat 

 Surah Ali 'Imran 3:102-109 [11/20]
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Verse Summary -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
يَـٰٓأَيُّهَاO you
حَقَّ(as is His) right
تُقَاتِهِۦ(that) He (should) be feared
وَلَاand (do) not
وَأَنتُم[while you]
مُّسْلِمُونَ(as) Muslims.
وَٱعْتَصِمُواْAnd hold firmly
بِحَبْلِto (the) rope
ٱللَّهِ(of) Allah
جَمِيعًاall together
وَلَاand (do) not
تَفَرَّقُواْ‌ۚbe divided.
وَٱذْكُرُواْAnd remember
نِعْمَتَ(the) Favor
ٱللَّهِ(of) Allah
عَلَيْكُمْon you
كُنتُمْyou were
فَأَلَّفَthen He made friendship
قُلُوبِكُمْyour hearts
فَأَصْبَحْتُمthen you became
بِنِعْمَتِهِۦٓby His Favor
وَكُنتُمْAnd you were
شَفَا(the) brink
حُفْرَةٍ(of) pit
ٱلنَّارِthe Fire
فَأَنقَذَكُمthen He saved you
مِّنْهَا‌ۗfrom it.
يُبَيِّنُ ٱللَّهُAllah makes clear
لَكُمْfor you
ءَايَـٰتِهِۦHis Verses
لَعَلَّكُمْso that you may
تَهْتَدُونَ(be) guided.
وَلْتَكُنAnd let there be
مِّنكُمْamong you
أُمَّةٌ[a] people
ٱلْخَيْرِthe good
وَيَأْمُرُونَ[and] enjoining
بِٱلْمَعْرُوفِthe right,
وَيَنْهَوْنَand forbidding
ٱلْمُنكَرِ‌ۚthe wrong,
وَأُوْلَـٰٓئِكَand those -
ٱلْمُفْلِحُونَ(are) the successful ones.
وَلَاAnd (do) not
كَٱلَّذِينَlike those who
تَفَرَّقُواْbecame divided
وَٱخْتَلَفُواْand differed
مِنۢ بَعْدِafter
جَآءَهُمُcame to them -
ٱلْبَيِّنَـٰتُ‌ۚthe clear proofs.
وَأُوْلَـٰٓئِكَAnd those
لَهُمْfor them
عَذَابٌ(is) a punishment
يَوْمَ(On the) Day
تَبْيَضُّwould become white
وُجُوهٌ(some) faces
وَتَسْوَدُّand would become black
وُجُوهٌ‌ۚ(some) faces.
فَأَمَّاAs for
ٱلَّذِينَthose whose
ٱسْوَدَّتْ وُجُوهُهُمْ[their] faces turn black -
أَكَفَرْتُم`Did you disbelieve
إِيمَـٰنِكُمْyour belief?
فَذُوقُواْThen taste
ٱلْعَذَابَthe punishment
بِمَاfor what
كُنتُمْyou used to
وَأَمَّاBut as for
ٱلَّذِينَthose whose
ٱبْيَضَّتْ وُجُوهُهُمْ[their] faces turn white
فَفِىthen (they will be) in
رَحْمَةِ(the) Mercy
ٱللَّهِ(of) Allah,
فِيهَاin it
خَـٰلِدُونَ(will) abide forever.
ءَايَـٰتُ(are the) Verses
ٱللَّهِ(of) Allah.
نَتْلُوهَاWe recite them
عَلَيْكَto you
بِٱلْحَقِّ‌ۗin truth.
وَمَاAnd not
لِّلْعَـٰلَمِينَto the worlds.
وَلِلَّهِAnd to Allah (belongs)
فِى(is) in
ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٲتِthe heavens
وَمَاand whatever
فِى(is) in
ٱلْأَرْضِ‌ۚthe earth.
وَإِلَىAnd to
تُرْجَعُwill be returned
ٱلْأُمُورُthe matters.

يٰۤـاَيُّهَا الَّذِيۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا اتَّقُوا اللّٰهَ حَقَّ تُقٰتِهٖ وَلَا تَمُوۡتُنَّ اِلَّا وَاَنۡـتُمۡ مُّسۡلِمُوۡنَ‏  وَاعۡتَصِمُوۡا بِحَبۡلِ اللّٰهِ جَمِيۡعًا وَّلَا تَفَرَّقُوۡا​ وَاذۡكُرُوۡا نِعۡمَتَ اللّٰهِ عَلَيۡكُمۡ اِذۡ كُنۡتُمۡ اَعۡدَآءً فَاَ لَّفَ بَيۡنَ قُلُوۡبِكُمۡ فَاَصۡبَحۡتُمۡ بِنِعۡمَتِهٖۤ اِخۡوَانًا ۚ وَكُنۡتُمۡ عَلٰى شَفَا حُفۡرَةٍ مِّنَ النَّارِ فَاَنۡقَذَكُمۡ مِّنۡهَا ​ؕ كَذٰلِكَ يُبَيِّنُ اللّٰهُ لَـكُمۡ اٰيٰتِهٖ لَعَلَّكُمۡ تَهۡتَدُوۡنَ‏  وَلۡتَكُنۡ مِّنۡكُمۡ اُمَّةٌ يَّدۡعُوۡنَ اِلَى الۡخَيۡرِ وَيَاۡمُرُوۡنَ بِالۡمَعۡرُوۡفِ وَيَنۡهَوۡنَ عَنِ الۡمُنۡكَرِ​ؕ وَاُولٰٓـئِكَ هُمُ الۡمُفۡلِحُوۡنَ‏  وَلَا تَكُوۡنُوۡا كَالَّذِيۡنَ تَفَرَّقُوۡا وَاخۡتَلَفُوۡا مِنۡۢ بَعۡدِ مَا جَآءَهُمُ الۡبَيِّنٰتُ​ؕ وَاُولٰٓـئِكَ لَهُمۡ عَذَابٌ عَظِيۡمٌۙ‏  يَّوۡمَ تَبۡيَضُّ وُجُوۡهٌ وَّتَسۡوَدُّ وُجُوۡهٌ  ؕ فَاَمَّا الَّذِيۡنَ اسۡوَدَّتۡ وُجُوۡهُهُمۡ اَكَفَرۡتُمۡ بَعۡدَ اِيۡمَانِكُمۡ فَذُوۡقُوا الۡعَذَابَ بِمَا كُنۡتُمۡ تَكۡفُرُوۡنَ‏  وَاَمَّا الَّذِيۡنَ ابۡيَـضَّتۡ وُجُوۡهُهُمۡ فَفِىۡ رَحۡمَةِ اللّٰهِ ؕ هُمۡ فِيۡهَا خٰلِدُوۡنَ‏  تِلۡكَ اٰيٰتُ اللّٰهِ نَـتۡلُوۡهَا عَلَيۡكَ بِالۡحَـقِّ​ؕ وَمَا اللّٰهُ يُرِيۡدُ ظُلۡمًا لِّلۡعٰلَمِيۡنَ‏  وَلِلّٰهِ مَا فِى السَّمٰوٰتِ وَمَا فِى الۡاَرۡضِ​ؕ وَاِلَى اللّٰهِ تُرۡجَعُ الۡاُمُوۡرُ‏ 
(3:102) Believers! Fear Allah as He should be feared, and see that you do not die save in the state of submission to Allah.82 (3:103) Hold fast together to the cable of Allah83 and be not divided. Remember the blessing that Allah bestowed upon you: you were once enemies then He brought your hearts together, so that through His blessing you became brothers. You stood on the brink of a pit of fire and He delivered you from it.84 Thus Allah makes His signs clear to you that you may be guided to the right way.85 (3:104) And from among you there must be a party who invite people to all that is good and enjoin the doing of all that is right and forbid the doing of all that is wrong. It is they who will attain true success. (3:105) Do not be like those who fell into factions and differed among themselves86 after clear signs had come to them. A mighty chastisement awaits them on the Day when some faces will turn bright and ther faces will turn dark. Those whose faces have turned dark will be told: 'Did you fall into unbelief after you had been blessed with belief? Taste, then, chastise- ment for your unbelief.' (3:106) On the Day when some faces will turn bright and ther faces will turn dark. Those whose faces have turned dark will be told: 'Did you fall into unbelief after you had been blessed with belief? Taste, then, chastisement for your unbelief. (3:107) And those whose faces have turned bright, they will be in the mercy of Allah, and therein they shall abide. (3:108) These are the mes sages of Allah which We recite to you in truth, and Allah desires no wrong87 to the people of the world. (3:109)To Allah belongs all that is in the heavens and the earth, and to Allah are all matters referred for decision.

82. They should remain steadfast in their obedience and loyalty to God.

83. The expression 'cable of Allah', in this verse, refers to the 'religion of God'. The reason for use of the word 'cable' (habl) is that it both establishes a bond between man and God and joins all believers together. To take a firm hold on this cable means that the believers should attach profound importance to their religion: this should always be the centre of their concerns; they should continually strive to establish it; and the common desire to serve it should make them co-operate with each other.

As soon as Muslims turn their attentions away from the fundamental teachings of their religion and lose sight of establishing its hegemony in life they begin to concern themselves with matters of secondary importance. And, just as they rent the communities of the former Prophets, enticing people away from their true objective in life, so schisms and dissensions are bound to plague their lives. If Muslims do this they are bound to suffer indignity and disgrace both in this world and the Next as happened with the followers of the previous Prophets.

84. This refers to the state of the Arabs on the eve of the advent of Islam. There were animosities among the tribes which regularly broke out into fighting; every now and then there was much bloodshed. Things had reached a point that the entire Arabian nation seemed to be on the verge of destroying itself. It was due to the blessings of Islam alone that it was saved from being consumed by the fire to which this verse alludes. The people of Madina had embraced Islam some three or four years before these verses were revealed. They had witnessed the blessing of Islam as it unified into one brotherhood the Aws and Khazraj, two tribes which had long been sworn enemies. Moreover, both tribes treated the migrants from Makka in a spirit of sacrifice and love seldom seen even among members of the same family.

85. If they had eyes to see they could conclude for themselves whether their salvation lay in adhering firmly to this religion or in abandoning it and reverting to their former state; i.e. decide whether their true well-wishers were God and His Messenger or those Jews, polytheists and hypocrites who strove to plunge them back into their former state.

86. The reference is to those communities which received clear and straightforward teachings of the true religion but who had abandoned the fundamentals, forming separate sects around trivial and subsidiary questions; they became so engrossed in quarrelling over superfluous and insignificant questions that they lost sight of the mission God had entrusted to them, and even lost interest in those fundamentals of belief and righteous conduct which are essential for man's salvation and felicity.

87. Since God does not want to subject people to any wrong He illuminates the straight path of their salvation, and forewarns them of the matters for which they will be asked to render an account in the Hereafter. It is clear that if people abandon the path of rectitude they wrong no one but themselves.