Surah Al-Imran >> Currently viewing Surah Imran Ayat 121 (3:121)

Surah Al-Imran Ayat 121 in Arabic Text

وَإِذْ غَدَوْتَ مِنْ أَهْلِكَ تُبَوِّئُ ٱلْمُؤْمِنِينَ مَقَـٰعِدَ لِلْقِتَالِ ۗ وَٱللَّهُ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ
Wa iz ghadawta min ahlika tubawwi’ul mu’mineena maqaa’ida lilqitaal; wallaahu samee’un ‘aleem

English Translation

Here you can read various translations of verse 121

Sahih International
And [remember] when you, [O Muhammad], left your family in the morning to post the believers at their stations for the battle [of Uhud] – and Allah is Hearing and Knowing –

Yusuf Ali
Remember that morning Thou didst leave Thy household (early) to post the faithful at their stations for battle: And Allah heareth and knoweth all things:

Abul Ala Maududi
(O Messenger! Remind the Muslims of the occasion) when you went forth from your home at early dawn (to the battlefield of Uhud) and placed the believers in battle arrays. Allah is All-Hearing, All-Knowing.

Muhsin Khan
And (remember) when you (Muhammad SAW) left your household in the morning to post the believers at their stations for the battle (of Uhud). And Allah is All-Hearer, All-Knower.

And when thou settedst forth at daybreak from thy housefolk to assign to the believers their positions for the battle, Allah was Hearer, Knower.

Dr. Ghali
And (remember) as you went forth early from your family to locate the believers in their positions (Literally: seats) for fighting; (The reference is to the Battle of’ Uhud) and Allah is Ever-Hearing, Ever-Knowing.

Abdel Haleem
[Prophet], remember when you left your home at dawn to assign battle positions to the believers: God hears and knows everything.

Quran 3 Verse 121 Explanation

For those looking for commentary to help with the understanding of Surah Imran ayat 121, we’ve provided two Tafseer works below. The first is the tafseer of Abul Ala Maududi, the second is of Ibn Kathir.


(3:121) (O Messenger![94] Remind the Muslims of the occasion) when you went forth from your home at early dawn (to the battlefield of Uhud) and placed the believers in battle arrays. Allah is All-Hearing, All-Knowing.

94. This marks the beginning of the fourth discourse of this surah. It was revealed after the Battle of Uhud and contains comments on it. The previous section ended with the assurance: ‘But if you remain steadfast and mindful of Allah their designs will not cause you harm.’ (See verse 120 above.) The Muslims did suffer a setback in the Battle of Uhud precisely because of this lack of patience, and because of a few mistakes committed by some of them which were indicative of insufficient piety. This discourse, therefore, is quite appropriate and warns the Muslims against such weaknesses.

The discourse contains a precise and instructive commentary on all the main events connected with the Battle of Uhud. In order to appreciate this it is appropriate to refresh our minds as to the situational context of its revelations. In the beginning of Shawwal 3 A.H., the Quraysh attacked Madina with an army of three thousand men. In addition to their numerical superiority they were also much better equipped. Moreover, they sought to avenge their losses in the Battle of Badr. The Prophet (peace be on him) and his closest Companions were of the opinion that they should defend themselves from within the boundaries of Madina, There were, however, several young people who longed for martyrdom and felt aggrieved at, not having had the opportunity to fight in the Battle of Badr. They insisted that the enemy should be resisted outside the confines of Madina. The Prophet gave in to their demands and decided to march out of the city to meet their enemies. A thousand people accompanied him. Of these, Abd Allah b. Ubayy broke away along with his three hundred followers after reaching the place called Shawt. This, happening as it did just before the commencement of the battle, created such perplexity and confusion that the people of Banu Salamah and Banu Harithah wanted to turn back, and it took some effort on the part of the Companions to persuade them not to.

The Prophet advanced with the remaining seven hundred Muslims and lined up his troops at the foot of Mount Uhud (a distance of approximately four miles from Madina) in such a manner that the mountain was behind and the Quraysh army in front of them. There was only one mountain pass from where the Muslims could be subjected to a surprise attack. The Prophet posted fifty archers there as guards under the- command of ‘Abd Allah b. Jubayr, instructing him neither to let anyone approach nor to move away from that spot. ‘Even if you see birds fly off with our flesh’, the Prophet said, ‘still you must not move away from this place’. (For such instructions from the Prophet see Ibn Sa’d, Tabaqat, vol. 2, pp. 39-40 and 47, and Waqidi, Maghazi, vol. 1, pp. 224 and 229 – Ed.) Then the battle commenced. In the beginning the Muslims proved the better side but instead of maintaining their onslaught until they had assured complete victory, they were overcome by the temptation of booty and turned to collecting the spoils. When the archers whom the Prophet had posted to repel the attack of the enemy from the rear saw that the enemy had taken to its heels and that people were collecting booty, they too joined the melee and began to do the same.

Abd Allah b. Jubayr tried to persuade them not to leave their posts by reminding them of the Prophet’s directive. Hardly anyone heeded him. Khalid b. Walld, who was at that time an unbeliever and who commanded the Quraysh cavalry, seized his opportunity. He rode with his men around Mount Uhud and attacked the flank of the Muslim army through the pass. ‘Abd Allah b. Jubayr’s depleted forces tried unsuccessfully to resist the attack.

The fleeing soldiers of the enemy also returned and joined the attack from the front and the scales of the battle turned against the Muslims. The suddenness of these attacks, from both the rear and the front, caused such confusion that many fled. Then the rumour spread that the- Prophet, himself, had been martyred. This news shattered whatever presence of mind the Companions had left, and led many who had stood firm to lose courage altogether. At this moment there remained around the injured and bleeding Prophet (peace be on him) no more than ten or twelve loyal persons who had staked their lives for his sake. Defeat seemed inevitable. Fortunately, however, the Companions realized that the Prophet was still alive. They therefore advanced towards him from all sides, rallied around him, and led him to the safety of the mountain. (For an account of the Battle of Uhud in early Islamic sources, see Ibn Hisham, Slrah, yol, 1, pp. 61 ff., Waqidi, Maghazi, vol. 1, pp. 199 ff., especially pp. 224, 229 f. and 237 ff., and Ibn Sa’d, Tabaqat, vol. 2, pp. 36-48, etc. – Ed.)

It remains a mystery why the unbelievers of Makka held back when victory was within their grasp. The Muslim ranks were in such disarray that they would have been hard pushed to resist further. (Cf. the account and conclusion of W. M. Watt regarding the Battle of Uhud in Muhammad at Medina, Oxford University Press, 1956, pp. 21 ff., especially pp. 26-9 -Ed.)


121. And (remember) when you left your household in the morning to post the believers at their stations for the battle (of Uhud). And Allah is All-Hearer, All-Knower. 122. When two parties from among you were about to lose heart, but Allah was their Wali (Supporter and Protector). And in Allah should the believers put their trust. 123. And Allah has already made you victorious at Badr, when you were a weak little force. So have Taqwa of Allah that you may be grateful.

The Battle of Uhud

According to the majority of scholars, these Ayat are describing the battle of Uhud, as Ibn `Abbas, Al-Hasan, Qatadah, As-Suddi and others said. The battle of Uhud occurred on a Saturday, in the month of Shawwal on the third year of Hijrah. `Ikrimah said that Uhud occurred in the middle of the month of Shawwal, and Allah knows best.

The Reason Behind the Battle of Uhud

The idolators suffered many casualties among their noble men at the battle of Badr. The caravan that Abu Sufyan led (before Badr) returned safely to Makkah, prompting the remaining Makkan leaders and the children of those who were killed at Badr to demand from Abu Sufyan to, “Spend this money on fighting Muhammad!” Consequently, they spent the money from the caravan on warfare expenses and mobilized their forces including the Ahabish tribes (tribes living around the city). They gathered three thousand soldiers and marched until they camped near Uhud facing Al-Madinah. The Messenger of Allah led the Friday prayer and when he finished with it, he performed the funeral prayer for a man from Bani An-Najjar called Malik bin `Amr. The Prophet then asked the Muslims for advice, if they should march to meet the disbelievers, or fortify themselves in Al-Madinah. `Abdullah bin Ubayy (the chief hypocrite) advised that they should remain in Al-Madinah, saying that if the disbelievers lay siege to Al-Madinah, the siege would be greatly disadvantageous to them. He added that if they decide to attack Al-Madinah, its men would face off with them, while women and children could throw rocks at them from above their heads; and if they decide to return to Makkah, they would return with failure. However, some companions who did not attend the battle of Badr advised that the Muslims should go out to Uhud to meet the disbelievers.

The Messenger of Allah went to his home, put on his shield and came out. The companions were weary then and said to each other, “Did we compel the Messenger of Allah to go out” They said, “O Messenger of Allah! If you wish, we will remain in Al-Madinah. ” The Messenger of Allah said,

«مَا يَنْبَغِي لِنَبِيَ إِذَا لَبِسَ لَأْمَتَهُ أَنْ يَرْجِعَ حَتَّى يَحْكُمَ اللهُ لَه»

(It is not for a Prophet to wear his shield for war then lay down his arms before Allah decides in his favor.)

The Messenger of Allah marched with a thousand of his Companions. When they reached the Shawt area, `Abdullah bin Ubayy went back to Al-Madinah with a third of the army, claiming he was angry the Prophet did not listen to his advice. He and his supporters said, “If we knew that you would fight today, we would have accompanied you. However, we do not think that you will fight today.” The Messenger of Allah marched until he reached the hillside in the area of Uhud, where they camped in the valley with Mount Uhud behind them. The Messenger of Allah said,

«لَا يُقَاتِلَنَّ أَحَدٌ حَتَّى نَأْمُرَهُ بِالْقِتَال»

(No one starts fighting until I issue the command to fight.)

The Messenger prepared his forces for battle, and his army was seven hundred men. He appointed `Abdullah bin Jubayr, from Bani `Amr bin `Awf, to lead the archers who were fifty men. The Prophet said to them,

«انْضَحُوا الْخَيْلَ عَنَّا، وَلَا نُؤْتَيَنَّ مِنْ قِبَلِكُمْ، وَالْزَمُوا مَكَانَكُمْ، إِنْ كَانَتِ النَّوْبَةُ لَنَا أَوْ عَلَيْنَا، وَإِنْ رَأَيْتُمُونَا تَخْطَفُنَا الطَّيْرُ فَلَا تَبْرَحُوا مَكَانَكُم»

(Keep the horsemen away from us, and be aware that we might be attacked from your direction. If victory was for or against us, remain in your positions. And even if you see us being picked up by birds, do not abandon your positions.)

The Prophet wore two protective shields and gave the flag to Mus`ab bin `Umayr of Bani `Abd Ad-Dar. The Prophet also allowed some young men to participate in fighting, but not others, whom he allowed to participate in the battle of Al-Khandaq two years later. The Quraysh mobilized their forces of three thousand men with two hundred horsemen on each flank. They appointed Khalid bin Al-Walid to lead the right side of the horsemen and `Ikrimah Ibn Abi Jahl on the left side. They also gave their grand flag to the tribe of Bani `Abd Ad-Dar. Allah willing, we will mention the details of this battle later on, if Allah wills. Allah said here,

﴿وَإِذْ غَدَوْتَ مِنْ أَهْلِكَ تُبَوِّىءُ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ مَقَاعِدَ لِلْقِتَالِ﴾

(And (remember) when you left your household in the morning to post the believers at their stations for the battle) ﴿3:121﴾, designating them to various positions, dividing the army to the left and right sides and placing them wherever you command them.

﴿وَاللَّهُ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ﴾

(And Allah is All-Hearer, All-Knower), He hears what you say and knows what you conceal in your hearts. Allah said next,

﴿إِذْ هَمَّتْ طَّآئِفَتَانِ مِنكُمْ أَن تَفْشَلاَ﴾

(When two parties from among you were about to lose heart,) ﴿3:122﴾.

Al-Bukhari recorded that Jabir bin `Abdullah said, “The Ayah,

﴿إِذْ هَمَّتْ طَّآئِفَتَانِ مِنكُمْ أَن تَفْشَلاَ﴾

(When two parties from among you were about to lose heart) was revealed about us, ﴿the two Muslim tribes of﴾ Bani Harithah and Bani Salamah. I (or we) would not be pleased if it was not revealed, because Allah said in it,

﴿وَاللَّهُ وَلِيُّهُمَا﴾

(but Allah was their Wali (Supporter and Protector)) ﴿3:122﴾.”

Muslim recorded this Hadith from Sufyan bin `Uyaynah.

Reminding the Believers of Their Victory at Badr

Allah said,

وَلَقَدْ نَصَرَكُمُ اللّهُ بِبَدْرٍ …

And Allah has already made you victorious at Badr,meaning, during the battle of Badr, which occurred on a Friday, the seventeenth of Ramadan, in the second year of Hijrah.The day of Badr is known as Yawm Al-Furqan (the Day of the Clarification), by which Allah gave victory and dominance to Islam and its people and disgraced and destroyed Shirk, even though the Muslims were few. The Muslims numbered three hundred and thirteen men, with two horses and seventy camels. The rest were foot soldiers without enough supplies for the battle. The enemy army consisted of nine hundred to a thousand men, having enough shields and supplies, battle-ready horses and even various adornments.However, Allah gave victory to His Messenger, supported His revelation, and illuminated success on the faces of the Prophet and his following.Allah also brought disgrace to Shaytan and his army. This is why Allah reminded His believing servants and pious party of this favor,

وَلَقَدْ نَصَرَكُمُ اللّهُ بِبَدْرٍ وَأَنتُمْ أَذِلَّةٌ …

And Allah has already made you victorious at Badr, when you were a weak little force,when you were few then.

This Ayah reminds them that victory is only from Allah, not because of a large army and adequate supplies. This is why Allah said in another Ayah,

لَقَدْ نَصَرَكُمُ اللّهُ فِي مَوَاطِنَ كَثِيرَةٍ وَيَوْمَ حُنَيْنٍ إِذْ أَعْجَبَتْكُمْ كَثْرَتُكُمْ فَلَمْ تُغْنِ عَنكُمْ شَيْئًا …

and on the day of Hunayn (battle) when you rejoiced at your great number, but it availed you naught… until,

وَاللّهُ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ …

and Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful (9:25-27).

Badr is an area between Makkah and Al-Madinah and is known by the well that bears its name, which in turn was so named after Badr bin An-Narayn, the person who dug the well.

فَاتَّقُواْ اللّهَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ

So have Taqwa of Allah that you may be grateful.means, fulfill the obligations of His obedience.

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