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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 3:64-71 [7/20]
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Verse Summary -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
يَـٰٓأَهْلَ`O People
ٱلْكِتَـٰبِ(of) the Book!
كَلِمَةٍa word
بَيْنَنَاbetween us
وَبَيْنَكُمْand between you -
أَلَّاthat not
نَعْبُدَwe worship
وَلَاand not
نُشْرِكَwe associate partners
بِهِۦwith Him -
وَلَاAnd not
بَعْضُنَاsome of us
بَعْضًا(to) others
أَرْبَابًا(as) lords
مِّن دُونِ ٱللَّهِ‌ۚbesides Allah.`
فَإِنThen if
تَوَلَّوْاْthey turn away,
فَقُولُواْthen say,
ٱشْهَدُواْ`Bear witness
بِأَنَّاthat we
مُسْلِمُونَ(are) Muslims.`
يَـٰٓأَهْلَO People
ٱلْكِتَـٰبِ(of) the Book!
تُحَآجُّونَ(do) you argue
وَمَآwhile not
أُنزِلَتِwas revealed
ٱلتَّوْرَٮٰةُthe Taurat
وَٱلْإِنجِيلُand the Injeel
مِنۢ بَعْدِهِۦٓ‌ۚafter him?
أَفَلَاThen why don’t
تَعْقِلُونَyou use your intellect?
هَـٰٓأَنتُمْHere you are -
هَـٰٓؤُلَآءِthose who
فِيمَاabout what
لَكُم[for] you
بِهِۦof it
عِلْمٌ(have some) knowledge.
فَلِمَThen why
تُحَآجُّونَ(do) you argue
فِيمَاabout what
لَكُمfor you
بِهِۦof it
عِلْمٌ‌ۚ(any) knowledge.
وَٱللَّهُAnd Allah
وَأَنتُمْwhile you
لَا(do) not
يَهُودِيًّاa Jew
وَلَاand not
نَصْرَانِيًّاa Christian
وَلَـٰكِنand but
كَانَhe was
حَنِيفًاa true
وَمَاand not
كَانَhe was
ٱلْمُشْرِكِينَthe polytheists.
أَوْلَى ٱلنَّاسِthe best people (to claim relationship)
بِإِبْرَٲهِيمَwith Ibrahim
لَلَّذِينَ(are) those who
ٱتَّبَعُوهُfollow him
وَهَـٰذَاand this
ٱلنَّبِىُّ[the] Prophet
وَٱلَّذِينَand those who
وَٱللَّهُAnd Allah
وَلِىُّ(is) a Guardian
ٱلْمُؤْمِنِينَ(of) the believers.
طَّآئِفَةٌa group
أَهْلِ(the) People
ٱلْكِتَـٰبِ(of) the Book
يُضِلُّونَكُمْthey could lead you astray,
وَمَاand not
يُضِلُّونَthey lead astray
وَمَاand not
يَشْعُرُونَthey perceive.
يَـٰٓأَهْلَO People
ٱلْكِتَـٰبِ(of) the Book!
لِمَWhy do
تَكْفُرُونَyou deny
بِـَٔـايَـٰتِ[in] the Signs
ٱللَّهِ(of) Allah
وَأَنتُمْwhile you
تَشْهَدُونَbear witness?
يَـٰٓأَهْلَO People
ٱلْكِتَـٰبِ(of) the Book!
تَلْبِسُونَdo you mix
ٱلْحَقَّthe truth
بِٱلْبَـٰطِلِwith the falsehood
وَتَكْتُمُونَand conceal
ٱلْحَقَّthe truth
وَأَنتُمْwhile you

قُلۡ يٰۤـاَهۡلَ الۡكِتٰبِ تَعَالَوۡا اِلٰى كَلِمَةٍ سَوَآءٍۢ بَيۡنَـنَا وَبَيۡنَكُمۡ اَلَّا نَـعۡبُدَ اِلَّا اللّٰهَ وَلَا نُشۡرِكَ بِهٖ شَيۡـئًا وَّلَا يَتَّخِذَ بَعۡضُنَا بَعۡضًا اَرۡبَابًا مِّنۡ دُوۡنِ اللّٰهِ​ؕ فَاِنۡ تَوَلَّوۡا فَقُوۡلُوا اشۡهَدُوۡا بِاَنَّا مُسۡلِمُوۡنَ‏  يٰۤـاَهۡلَ الۡكِتٰبِ لِمَ تُحَآجُّوۡنَ فِىۡۤ اِبۡرٰهِيۡمَ وَمَاۤ اُنۡزِلَتِ التَّوۡرٰٮةُ وَالۡاِنۡجِيۡلُ اِلَّا مِنۡۢ بَعۡدِهٖؕ اَفَلَا تَعۡقِلُوۡنَ‏  هٰۤاَنۡـتُمۡ هٰٓؤُلَآءِ حٰجَجۡتُمۡ فِيۡمَا لَـكُمۡ بِهٖ عِلۡمٌ فَلِمَ تُحَآجُّوۡنَ فِيۡمَا لَـيۡسَ لَـكُمۡ بِهٖ عِلۡمٌ​ؕ وَاللّٰهُ يَعۡلَمُ وَاَنۡـتُمۡ لَا تَعۡلَمُوۡنَ‏   مَا كَانَ اِبۡرٰهِيۡمُ يَهُوۡدِيًّا وَّلَا نَصۡرَانِيًّا وَّ لٰكِنۡ كَانَ حَنِيۡفًا مُّسۡلِمًا ؕ وَمَا كَانَ مِنَ الۡمُشۡرِكِيۡنَ‏  اِنَّ اَوۡلَى النَّاسِ بِاِبۡرٰهِيۡمَ لَـلَّذِيۡنَ اتَّبَعُوۡهُ وَهٰذَا النَّبِىُّ وَالَّذِيۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا ​ؕ وَاللّٰهُ وَلِىُّ الۡمُؤۡمِنِيۡنَ‏  وَدَّتۡ طَّآئِفَةٌ مِّنۡ اَهۡلِ الۡكِتٰبِ لَوۡ يُضِلُّوۡنَكُمؕۡ وَمَا يُضِلُّوۡنَ اِلَّاۤ اَنۡفُسَهُمۡ وَمَا يَشۡعُرُوۡنَ‏  يٰۤـاَهۡلَ الۡكِتٰبِ لِمَ تَكۡفُرُوۡنَ بِاٰيٰتِ اللّٰهِ وَاَنۡـتُمۡ تَشۡهَدُوۡنَ‏   يٰۤـاَهۡلَ الۡكِتٰبِ لِمَ تَلۡبِسُوۡنَ الۡحَـقَّ بِالۡبَاطِلِ وَتَكۡتُمُوۡنَ الۡحَـقَّ وَاَنۡـتُمۡ تَعۡلَمُوۡنَ‏ 
(3:64) Say:56 'People of the Book! Come to a word common between us and you:57 that we shall serve none but Allah and shall associate none with Him in His divinity and that some of us will not take others as lords beside Allah.' And if they turn their backs (from accepting this call), tell them: 'Bear witness that we are the ones who have submitted ourselves exclusively to Allah.' (3:65) People of the Book! Why do you dispute with us about Abraham even though the Torah and the Gospel were not revealed until after the time of Abraham? Do you not understand?58 (3:66) Behold, you are those who have disputed greatly concerning matters which you knew; why are you now disputing about matters that you know nothing about? Allah knows it whereas you do not know. (3:67) Abraham was neither a Jew nor a Christian; he was a Muslim, wholly devoted to God.59 And he certainly was not amongst those who associate others with Allah in His divinity. (3:68) Surely the people who have the best claim to a relationship with Abraham are those who followed him in the past, and presently this Prophet and those who believe in him; Allah is the guardian of the men of faith. (3:69) A party of the People of the Book would fain lead you astray, whereas in truth they lead none astray except themselves, but they do not realize it. (3:70) O People of the Book! Why do you reject the signs of Allah even though you yourselves witness them?60 (3:71) People of the Book! Why do you confound Truth with falsehood, and why do you conceal the Truth knowingly?

56. This marks the beginning of the third discourse of this surah. Its contents invite the conclusion that the surah was revealed sometime between the battles of Badr and Uhud. The subjects of these three discourses are so closely interrelated that some commentators have wrongly understood the verses which follow to be part of the foregoing discourse. From the whole tenor of the discourse which now begins, however, it is evident that it is addressed to the Jews.

57. The invitation here is for the two parties to agree on something believed in by one of them, the Muslims, and the soundness of which could hardly be denied by the other party, the Christians. For this was the belief of their own Prophets and had been taught in their own scriptures.

58. That is, both Judaism and Christianity came into existence after the Torah and the Injil had been revealed; Abraham had lived much earlier than that. Thus it can easily be grasped that the religion of Abraham could not have been that of either Judaism or Christianity. If Abraham was on the right path and had attained salvation it is obvious that one need not follow either, Judaism or Christianity in order to be on the right path and to attain salvation. (See also (Surah 2, nn. 135 and 141 above.)

59. The word hanif denotes someone who turns his face away from all other directions in order to follow one particular course. We have tried to convey this sense through the expression: 'a Muslim, wholly devoted to God'.

60. Another rendering of this could be, 'and you yourselves bear witness' to Muhammad's prophethood. However it is translated the sense remains the same. In fact, the impeccable purity of the life of the Prophet, the astounding impact of his teachings and training on the lives of his Companions, and the loftiness of the teachings of the Qur'an all constituted such illustrious signs of God that it was very difficult for anyone conversant with the lives of the Prophets and the tenor of Divine Scriptures to doubt the prophethood of Muhammad (peace be on him).

It is a fact that many Jews and Christians (especially their scholars) came, to recognize in their hearts that Muhammad was the very Prophet whose coming had been announced by the preceding Prophets. This fact was so overwhelming that, despite their intransigence, they could not help but give verbal expression, at times, to the truth of the Prophet's teachings. This is why the Qur'an repeatedly blames them for maliciously misrepresenting the signs of God which they saw with their own eyes and to which they themselves attested.