The Family of Imran
|Structure||20 rukus, 200 verses, 3503 words, 14605 letters|
|Opening muqatta'āt||Alif Lam Mim|
The 3rd surah consists of 200 verses divides neatly into 2 equal halves each 100 verses long. The first 99 verses is tripartite in 33 verse sections, with the story of Mary taking up the mid-section framed on either side by proofs and arguments with the Jewish and Christian peoples of Medina. While the first 100 verse are set in the background of the victory at the battle of Badr alluded to in verse 13, the second 100 verses primarily encourages the believers and engages the hypocrites after the devastating battle of Uhud.Imran in Islam is regarded as the father of Mary. This chapter is named after the family Imran, which includes Imran, Saint Anne, Mary, and Jesus. The chapter is believed to have been revealed in Medina and is either the second or third of the Medinan suras as it engages both the event of Badr in its first section and the battle of Uhud at its end. Almost all of it also belongs to the third year of the Hijra with the possible exception of verse 61, which mentions Mubāhalah and therefore might have been revealed during the visit of the Najrān Christian deputation which occurred in the 10th year of the Hijrah. This chapter primarily focuses on the departure of prophethood from the Mosaic dispensation. Another speculation is that since the event of Mobahela is the highlight of this surah, Al Imran refers to the ancestry of Mary who is named by her mother it could also refer to the progeny of Abu Talib ibn ‘Abd al-Muttalib, whose name has been reported as Imran by Shi'i commentators. Either way the Quran juxtaposes the male lineage of the family of Abraham and the distinctly feminine lineage of Jesus and the family of Imran as a challenge to the Jews and Christians of Medinah.
The first 7 verses are notable for the way in which the creation of humankind is given a feminine origin "It is He Who forms your shape in the wombs of the mothers as He pleases." The Quran itself is given a feminine heavenly source in "the mother of the Book" in verse 7. This awakens the listener to the surprise births about to be revealed in later events of the surah. Firstly the unexpected female birth of Mary and in turn to the miraculous conception and birth of Jesus. It is noticeable that all the miracles of Jesus presented here, breathing life into clay birds, healing the sick are nurturing, caring and feminine in character.
Ayah 7 exegesis
Verse 7 is notable for several reasons. It states that:
- Some Qur'anic verses are to be understood by others
- Some verses are allegorical
- It includes a disclaimer against misrepresenting the allegorical verses as factual.
- It states that a set of people are to be consulted, those firmly rooted in knowledge.
هُوَ الَّذِي أَنزَلَ عَلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ مِنْهُ آيَاتٌ مُّحْكَمَاتٌ هُنَّ أُمُّ الْكِتَابِ وَأُخَرُ مُتَشَابِهَاتٌ فَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ فِي قُلُوبِهِمْ زَيْغٌ فَيَتَّبِعُونَ مَا تَشَابَهَ مِنْهُ ابْتِغَاءَ الْفِتْنَةِ وَابْتِغَاءَ تَأْوِيلِهِ وَمَا يَعْلَمُ تَأْوِيلَهُ إِلاَّ اللّهُ وَالرَّاسِخُونَ فِي الْعِلْمِ يَقُولُونَ آمَنَّا بِهِ كُلٌّ مِّنْ عِندِ رَبِّنَا وَمَا يَذَّكَّرُ إِلاَّ أُوْلُواْ الْأَلْبَابِ
3:7 He is the One Who has since sent to you, the Messenger [Sal'lallaa'hoalaih'wa'salam] the Book. Unitary verbal passages, who have the adjectival specification of "permanently erected fixtures" containing commands and injunctions of firm, established and universal application, are a subset of him/the Book. These are the Mother/Essence/ Main Purpose/Pivot of the Book. In addition, the other subset is such verbal passages that perform the act of mirroring invisible realities and facts through metaphorical presentations. Thereby/making it a pretext, as regards that type of people some atilt/deflection has since made home in whose hearts, thereby they keep pursuing that, which in itself was individually perceived as causing state of confusion, from him/the Book. They do so with the objective of self-distancing from people and self-pursuit of finding the physical manifestation and outcome of him/Book. Allah is the only, none else, Who fully knows the physical elucidation and manifestation and actual outcome of it/the Book; and [contrary to the people of tilted hearts/psyche] as for holders of in depth knowledge-true believers are concerned they keep saying, "We have consciously believed in that, the Book. This is all/entirely is from our Sustainer Lord". [True believers know/have knowledge of conviction that it is a fact from their Sustainer Lord-2:26]
مُّحْكَمَاتٌ is Passive Participle, feminine, plural, nominative; [Form-IV]- -اِحْكَامٌ Verbal Noun.
As against that مُتَشَابِهَاتٌ is Active Participle, feminine, plural, nominative; [Form-VI]- -تَشَابُهٌ Verbal noun.
الْكِتَابَ referring to Qur'an is masculine.The pronouns are also masculine, referring to Book and not to آيَاتٌ which are feminine.
[For detailed study see 01. Surat Fateh "Word by Word Analysis"]
3:169 Take note that you should not consider in respect of those people who get murdered/slain in the way of Allah that they are dead bodies. They are not dead bodies, the fact of the matter is that they are alive. They people are continuously getting sustenance from their Sustainer Lord. [3:169, read with 2:154]
Verses 64-68: Thought provoking to the Christians and the Jews
"Say, "O People of the Scripture, come to a word that is equitable between us and you - that we will not worship except God and not associate anything with Him and not take one another as lords instead of God." But if they turn away, then say, "Bear witness that we are Muslims [submitting to Him].
O People of the Scripture, why do you argue about Abraham while the Torah and the Gospel were not revealed until after him? Then will you not reason?
Here you are - those who have argued about that of which you have [some] knowledge, but why do you argue about that of which you have no knowledge? And God knows, while you know not.
Abraham was neither a Jew nor a Christian, but he was one inclining toward truth, a Muslim [submitting to God ]. And he was not of the polytheists.
Indeed, the most worthy of Abraham among the people are those who followed him [in submission to God ] and this prophet, and it was also an important Surah to all those who believe [in his message]. And God is the ally of the believers."
Warning to other religions other than the sincere submission
Verse 83: Seek they other than the religion of Allah, when unto Him submitteth whosoever is in the heavens and the earth, willingly or unwillingly, and unto Him they will be returned...
85: And whoever desires other than submission to Allah as religion - never will it be accepted from him, and he, in the Hereafter, will be among the losers."
- Surah Ali-Imran (Complete text in Arabic with English and French translations)
- Al-Quran browser Āl ʿImrān (The Family of Imran)
- Ali-Imran at Quran.com
- Surah Aal Imran at Thequranrecitation.com with English, Arabic and Urdu Text Recitaion.
- A fragment showing verses 85-88 from the World Digital Library
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