Surah Al-Imran >> Currently viewing Surah Imran Ayat 165 (3:165)

Surah Al-Imran Ayat 165 in Arabic Text

أَوَلَمَّآ أَصَـٰبَتْكُم مُّصِيبَةٌۭ قَدْ أَصَبْتُم مِّثْلَيْهَا قُلْتُمْ أَنَّىٰ هَـٰذَا ۖ قُلْ هُوَ مِنْ عِندِ أَنفُسِكُمْ ۗ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَىْءٍۢ قَدِيرٌۭ
Awa lammaaa asaabatkum museebatun qad asabtum mislaihaa qultum annaa haazaa qul huwa min ‘indi anfusikum; innal laaha ‘alaa kulli shai’in Qadeer

English Translation

Here you can read various translations of verse 165

Sahih International
Why [is it that] when a [single] disaster struck you [on the day of Uhud], although you had struck [the enemy in the battle of Badr] with one twice as great, you said, “From where is this?” Say, “It is from yourselves.” Indeed, Allah is over all things competent.

Yusuf Ali
What! When a single disaster smites you, although ye smote (your enemies) with one twice as great, do ye say?- “Whence is this?” Say (to them): “It is from yourselves: For Allah hath power over all things.”

Abul Ala Maududi
And how come when a calamity befell you, you began to ask: ‘How has this come about?’ even though the enemy has suffered at your hands (in the Battle of Badr) double what you have suffered! Say: This calamity has been brought about by yourselves. Surely Allah is Ail-Powerful.

Muhsin Khan
(What is the matter with you?) When a single disaster smites you, although you smote (your enemies) with one twice as great, you say: “From where does this come to us?” Say (to them), “It is from yourselves (because of your evil deeds).” And Allah has power over all things.

Pickthall
And was it so, when a disaster smote you, though ye had smitten (them with a disaster) twice (as great), that ye said: How is this? Say (unto them, O Muhammad): It is from yourselves. Lo! Allah is Able to do all things.

Dr. Ghali
And is it that as soon as an affliction befell (Literally: afflicted) you, (and) you had already afflicted (i.e. afflicted) twice over the like of it, did you say, “However is this?” Say, “It is from your own selves; surely Allah is Ever-Determiner over everything.”

Abdel Haleem
Why do you [believers] say, when a calamity befalls you, even after you have inflicted twice as much damage [on your enemy], ‘How did this happen?’? [Prophet], say, ‘You brought it upon yourselves.’ God has power over everything:

Quran 3 Verse 165 Explanation

For those looking for commentary to help with the understanding of Surah Imran ayat 165, we’ve provided two Tafseer works below. The first is the tafseer of Abul Ala Maududi, the second is of Ibn Kathir.

Ala-Maududi

(3:165) And how come when a calamity befell you, you began to ask: ‘How has this come about?’[115] even though the enemy has suffered at your hands (in the Battle of Badr) double what you have suffered![116] Say: This calamity has been brought about by yourselves.[117] Surely Allah is All-Powerful.[118]


115. The more high ranking Companions were too well aware of reality to fall prey to any misunderstandings. The ordinary believers, however, had thought that as long as God’s Messenger was in their midst and as long as they enjoyed God’s support and help the unbeliever, could never triumph over them. Hence, when they suffered defeat at the Battle of Uhud, their expectations were shaken and they began to wonder why things had taken the course they had. They wondered why they had been defeated even though they had fought for the sake of God’s true religion with God’s support, and the Messenger of God was with them on the battlefield. Furthermore, they were worried that the defeat had been at the hands of those who were out to destroy God’s true religion. These verses seek to allay this sense of anxiety and rid their minds of doubt and suspicion.

116. In the Battle of Uhud seventy Muslims were martyred. In the Battle of Badr. seventy unbelievers were killed and seventy taken as captives.

117. The calamity that had befallen them was the outcome of their own weaknesses and mistakes. They had not remained sufficiently patient, they had acted, in certain respects, in a manner inconsistent with the dictates of piety, they had disobeyed the command that had been given them, they were lured by material wealth and they disputed and quarrelled among them-selves. After all this, was it still necessary to ask what caused the debacle?

118. If God has the power to make them victorious He also has the power to bring about their defeat.

Ibn-Kathir

165. (What is the matter with you) When a single disaster smites you, although you smote (your enemies) with one twice as great, you say: “From where does this come to us” Say, “It is from yourselves.” And Allah has power over all things. 166. And what you suffered on the day the two armies met, was by the leave of Allah, in order that He might test the believers. 167. And that He might test the hypocrites, it was said to them: “Come, fight in the way of Allah or defend yourselves.” They said: “Had we known that fighting will take place, we would certainly have followed you.” They were that day, nearer to disbelief than to faith, saying with their mouths what was not in their hearts. And Allah has full knowledge of what they conceal. 168. (They are) the ones who said about their killed brethren while they themselves sat (at home): “If only they had listened to us, they would not have been killed.” Say: “Avert death from your own selves, if you speak the truth.”


The Reason and Wisdom Behind the Defeat at Uhud

Allah said,

﴿أَوَ لَمَّا أَصَـبَتْكُمْ مُّصِيبَةٌ﴾

(When a single disaster smites you), in reference to when the Muslims suffered seventy fatalities during the battle of Uhud,

﴿قَدْ أَصَبْتُمْ مِّثْلَيْهَا﴾

(although you smote (your enemies) with one twice as great,) during Badr, when the Muslims killed seventy Mushriks and captured seventy others,

﴿قُلْتُمْ أَنَّى هَـذَا﴾

(you say: “From where does this come to us”) why did this defeat happen to us

﴿قُلْ هُوَ مِنْ عِندِ أَنْفُسِكُمْ﴾

(Say, “It is from yourselves.”) Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that `Umar bin Al-Khattab said, “When Uhud occurred, a year after Badr, Muslims were punished for taking ransom from the disbelievers at Badr ﴿in return for releasing the Mushriks whom they captured in that battle﴾. Thus, they suffered the loss of seventy fatalities and the Companions of the Messenger of Allah gave flight and abandoned him. The Messenger suffered a broken tooth, the helmet was smashed on his head and blood flowed onto his face. Allah then revealed,

﴿أَوَ لَمَّا أَصَـبَتْكُمْ مُّصِيبَةٌ قَدْ أَصَبْتُمْ مِّثْلَيْهَا قُلْتُمْ أَنَّى هَـذَا قُلْ هُوَ مِنْ عِندِ أَنْفُسِكُمْ﴾

(When a single disaster smites you, although you smote (your enemies) with one twice as great, you say: “From where does this come to us” Say, “It is from yourselves”.), because you took the ransom.” Furthermore, Muhammad bin Ishaq, Ibn Jurayj, Ar-Rabi` bin Anas and As-Suddi said that the Ayah,

﴿قُلْ هُوَ مِنْ عِندِ أَنْفُسِكُمْ﴾

(Say, “It is from yourselves.”) means, because you, the archers, disobeyed the Messenger’s command to not abandon your positions.

﴿إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَىْءٍ قَدِيرٌ﴾

(And Allah has power over all things.) and He does what He wills and decides what He wills, and there is none who can resist His decision.

Allah then said,

﴿وَمَآ أَصَـبَكُمْ يَوْمَ الْتَقَى الْجَمْعَانِ فَبِإِذْنِ اللَّهِ﴾

(And what you suffered on the day the two armies met, was by the leave of Allah), for when you ran away from your enemy, who killed many of you and injured many others, all this occurred by Allah’s will and decree out of His perfect wisdom,

﴿وَلِيَعْلَمَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ﴾

(in order that He might test the believers.) who were patient, firm and were not shaken,

﴿وَلِيَعْلَمَ الَّذِينَ نَافَقُواْ وَقِيلَ لَهُمْ تَعَالَوْاْ قَاتِلُواْ فِى سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ أَوِ ادْفَعُواْ قَالُواْ لَوْ نَعْلَمُ قِتَالاً لاَّتَّبَعْنَـكُمْ﴾

(And that He might test the hypocrites, it was said to them: “Come, fight in the way of Allah or defend yourselves.” They said: “Had we known that fighting will take place, we would certainly have followed you.”) ﴿3:167﴾,

This refers to the Companions of `Abdullah bin Ubayy bin Salul who went back (to Al-Madinah) with him before the battle. Some believers followed them and encouraged them to come back and fight, saying,

﴿أَوِ ادْفَعُواْ﴾

(or defend), so that the number of Muslims increases, as Ibn `Abbas, `Ikrimah, Sa`id bin Jubayr, Ad-Dahhak, Abu Salih, Al-Hasan and As-Suddi stated. Al-Hasan bin Salih said that this part of the Ayah means, help by supplicating for us, while others said it means, man the posts. However, they refused, saying,

﴿لَوْ نَعْلَمُ قِتَالاً لاَّتَّبَعْنَـكُمْ﴾

(“Had we known that fighting will take place, we would certainly have followed you.”) meaning, according to Mujahid, if we knew that you would fight today, we would join you, but we think you will not fight. Allah said,

﴿هُمْ لِلْكُفْرِ يَوْمَئِذٍ أَقْرَبُ مِنْهُمْ لِلإِيمَـنِ﴾

(They were that day, nearer to disbelief than to faith,)

This Ayah indicates that a person passes through various stages, sometimes being closer to Kufr and sometimes closer to faith, as evident by,

﴿هُمْ لِلْكُفْرِ يَوْمَئِذٍ أَقْرَبُ مِنْهُمْ لِلإِيمَـنِ﴾

(They were that day, nearer to disbelief than to faith,)

Allah then said,

﴿يَقُولُونَ بِأَفْوَهِهِم مَّا لَيْسَ فِى قُلُوبِهِمْ﴾

(saying with their mouths what was not in their hearts.) for they utter what they do not truly believe in, such as,

﴿لَوْ نَعْلَمُ قِتَالاً لاَّتَّبَعْنَـكُمْ﴾

(“Had we known that fighting will take place, we would certainly have followed you.”)

They knew that there was an army of idolators that came from a far land raging against the Muslims, to avenge their noble men whom the Muslims killed in Badr. These idolators came in larger numbers than the Muslims, so it was clear that a battle will certainly occur. Allah said;

﴿وَاللَّهُ أَعْلَمُ بِمَا يَكْتُمُونَ﴾

(And Allah has full knowledge of what they conceal.)

﴿الَّذِينَ قَالُواْ لإِخْوَنِهِمْ وَقَعَدُواْ لَوْ أَطَاعُونَا مَا قُتِلُوا﴾

((They are) the ones who said about their killed brethren while they themselves sat (at home): “If only they had listened to us, they would not have been killed.”) had they listened to our advice and not gone out, they would not have met their demise. Allah said,

﴿قُلْ فَادْرَءُوا عَنْ أَنفُسِكُمُ الْمَوْتَ إِن كُنتُمْ صَـدِقِينَ﴾

(Say: “Avert death from your own selves, if you speak the truth.”) meaning, if staying at home saves one from being killed or from death, then you should not die. However death will come to you even if you were hiding in fortified castles. Therefore, fend death off of yourselves, if you are right.

Mujahid said that Jabir bin `Abdullah said, “This Ayah ﴿3:168﴾ was revealed about `Abdullah bin Ubayy bin Salul (the chief hypocrite).”

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