Surah Al-Imran >> Currently viewing Surah Imran Ayat 187 (3:187)

Surah Al-Imran Ayat 187 in Arabic Text

وَإِذْ أَخَذَ ٱللَّهُ مِيثَـٰقَ ٱلَّذِينَ أُوتُوا۟ ٱلْكِتَـٰبَ لَتُبَيِّنُنَّهُۥ لِلنَّاسِ وَلَا تَكْتُمُونَهُۥ فَنَبَذُوهُ وَرَآءَ ظُهُورِهِمْ وَٱشْتَرَوْا۟ بِهِۦ ثَمَنًۭا قَلِيلًۭا ۖ فَبِئْسَ مَا يَشْتَرُونَ
Wa iz akhazal laahu meesaaqal lazeena ootul Kitaaba latubaiyinunnahoo linnaasi wa laa taktumoona hoo fanabazoohu waraaa’a zuhoorihim washtaraw bihee samanan qaleelan fabi’sa maa yashtaroon

English Translation

Here you can read various translations of verse 187

Sahih International
And [mention, O Muhammad], when Allah took a covenant from those who were given the Scripture, [saying], “You must make it clear to the people and not conceal it.” But they threw it away behind their backs and exchanged it for a small price. And wretched is that which they purchased.

Yusuf Ali
And remember Allah took a covenant from the People of the Book, to make it known and clear to mankind, and not to hide it; but they threw it away behind their backs, and purchased with it some miserable gain! And vile was the bargain they made!

Abul Ala Maududi
And recall when Allah took a covenant from those who were given the Book: ‘You shall explain it to men and not hide it. Then they cast the Book behind their backs, and sold it away for a trivial gain. Evil indeed is their bargain.

Muhsin Khan
(And remember) when Allah took a covenant from those who were given the Scripture (Jews and Christians) to make it (the news of the coming of Prophet Muhammad SAW and the religious knowledge) known and clear to mankind, and not to hide it, but they threw it away behind their backs, and purchased with it some miserable gain! And indeed worst is that which they bought.

Pickthall
And (remember) when Allah laid a charge on those who had received the Scripture (He said): Ye are to expound it to mankind and not to hide it. But they flung it behind their backs and bought thereby a little gain. Verily evil is that which they have gained thereby.

Dr. Ghali
And as Allah took Compact with the ones to whom the Book was brought: “Indeed you shall definitely make it evident to mankind and not keep it back.” Yet, they flung it off beyond their backs and traded it for a little price. Miserable then is that which they traded!

Abdel Haleem
God took a pledge from those who were given the Scripture- ‘Make it known to people; do not conceal it’- but they tossed the pledge over their shoulders, they bartered it for a small price: what a bad bargain they made!

Quran 3 Verse 187 Explanation

For those looking for commentary to help with the understanding of Surah Imran ayat 187, we’ve provided two Tafseer works below. The first is the tafseer of Abul Ala Maududi, the second is of Ibn Kathir.

Ala-Maududi

(3:187) And recall when Allah took a covenant from those who were given the Book: ‘You shall explain it to men and not hide it.[132] Then they cast the Book behind their backs, and sold it away for a trivial gain. Evil indeed is their bargain.


132. Although the Jews remembered that some Prophets had been endowed with the miracle of consuming fire, they conveniently forgot their covenant with God at the time they were entrusted with the Scripture, and their mission as the bearers of the Scripture. The ‘covenant’ to which this verse alludes is mentioned at several places in the Bible. In the last sermon of Moses, cited in Deuteronomy, he again and again calls the attention of Israel to the covenant in the following words: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your might. And these words which I command shall be upon your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. And you shall bind them as a sign upon your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.’ (Deuteronomy 6: 4-9.)

Then, in his last testament Moses said: ‘And on the day you pass over the Jordan to the land which the Lord your God gives you, you shall set up large stones, and plaster them with plaster and you shall write upon them all the words of this law, when you pass over to enter the land which the Lord your God gives you, a land flowing with milk and honey, as the Lord, the God of your fathers, has promised you. And when you have passed over the Jordan, you shall set up these stones, concerning which I command you this day, on Mount Ebal, and you shall plaster them with plaster.’ (Deuteronomy 27: 2-4.) When the Levites were handed a copy of the Torah, they were instructed to gather men, women and children every seventh year on the occasion of the Feast of Tabernacles and to recite the entire text to them. But their indifference to the Book of God grew to such a point that seven hundred years later even the priests of the Temple of Solomon and the Jewish ruler of Jerusalem did not know that they had the Book of God with them. (See 2 Kings 22: 8-13.)

Ibn-Kathir

187. (And remember) when Allah took a covenant from those who were given the Scripture (Jews and Christians) to make it (the truth) known and clear to mankind, and not to hide it, but they threw it away behind their backs, and purchased with it some miserable gain! And indeed worst is that which they bought. 188. Think not that those who rejoice in what they have done (or brought about), and love to be praised for what they have not done, think not that they are rescued from the torment, and for them is a painful torment. 189. And to Allah belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth, and Allah has power over all things.


Chastising the People of the Scriptures for Breaking the Covenant and Hiding the Truth

In this Ayah, Allah chastises the People of the Scriptures, from whom Allah took the covenant by the words of their Prophets, that they would believe in Muhammad and describe him to the people, so that they would recognize and follow him when Allah sent him. However, they hid this truth and preferred the the small amounts and the material gains instead of the rewards of this life and the Hereafter that they were promised. This is a losing deal and a failing trade, indeed.

These Ayat also contain a warning for the scholars not to imitate their behavior, so that they do not suffer the same fate and become like them. Therefore, the scholars are required to spread the beneficial knowledge that they have, encouraging the various righteous good deeds. They are also warned against hiding any part of their knowledge. A Hadith states that the Prophet said,

«مَنْ سُئِلَ عَنْ عِلْمٍ فَكَتَمَهُ، أُلْجِمَ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ بِلِجَامٍ مِنْ نَار»

(Whoever was asked about knowledge that he knew but did not disclose it, will be tied with a bridle made of fire on the Day of Resurrection.)

Chastising Those Who Love to be Praised for What They Have not Done

Allah’s statement,

﴿لاَ تَحْسَبَنَّ الَّذِينَ يَفْرَحُونَ بِمَآ أَتَوْاْ وَّيُحِبُّونَ أَن يُحْمَدُواْ بِمَا لَمْ يَفْعَلُواْ﴾

(Think not that those who rejoice in what they have done, and love to be praised for what they have not done), refers to those who show off, rejoice in what they do and claim to do what they have not done. The Two Sahihs recorded that the Prophet said,

«مَنِ ادَّعَى دَعْوَةً كَاذِبَةً لِيَتَكَثَّرَ بِهَا، لَمْ يَزِدْهُ اللهُ إِلَّا قِلَّة»

(Whoever issues a false claim to acquire some type of gain, then Allah will only grant him decrease.)

The Sahih also recorded;

«الْمُتَشَبِّعُ بِمَا لَمْ يُعْطَ، كَلَابِسِ ثَوْبَيْ زُور»

(He who claims to do what he has not done, is just like a person who wears two robes made of falsehood.)

Imam Ahmad recorded that Marwan told his guard Rafi` to go to Ibn `Abbas and proclaim to him, “If every person among us who rejoices with what he has done and loves to be praised for what he has not done will be tormented, we all will be tormented.” Ibn `Abbas said, “This Ayah was revealed about the People of the Scriptures.” He then recited the Ayah,

﴿وَإِذْ أَخَذَ اللَّهُ مِيثَـقَ الَّذِينَ أُوتُواْ الْكِتَـبَ لَتُبَيِّنُنَّهُ لِلنَّاسِ وَلاَ تَكْتُمُونَهُ فَنَبَذُوهُ وَرَآءَ ظُهُورِهِمْ وَاشْتَرَوْاْ بِهِ ثَمَناً قَلِيلاً فَبِئْسَ مَا يَشْتَرُونَ ﴾

((And remember) when Allah took a covenant from those who were given the Scripture (Jews and Christians) to make it (the truth) known and clear to mankind, and not to hide it, but they threw it away behind their backs, and purchased with it some miserable gain! And indeed worst is that which they bought.) then the Ayah,

﴿لاَ تَحْسَبَنَّ الَّذِينَ يَفْرَحُونَ بِمَآ أَتَوْاْ وَّيُحِبُّونَ أَن يُحْمَدُواْ بِمَا لَمْ يَفْعَلُواْ﴾

(Think not that those who rejoice in what they have done, and love to be praised for what they have not done)

Ibn `Abbas said, “The Prophet asked them about something, and they hid its knowledge, giving him an incorrect answer. They parted after showing off and rejoicing in front of him because they answered him, so they pretended, and they were delighted that they hid the correct news about what he had asked them.” This was recorded by Al-Bukhari, Muslim, At-Tirmidhi and An-Nasa’i.

Al-Bukhari recorded that Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri said, “During the time of the Messenger of Allah , when the Messenger would go to battle, some hypocrite men would remain behind and rejoice because they did not accompany the Prophet in battle. When the Messenger would come back, they would ask him to excuse them swearing to having some excuse, and wanting to be praised for that which they did not do. So Allah revealed,

﴿لاَ تَحْسَبَنَّ الَّذِينَ يَفْرَحُونَ بِمَآ أَتَوْاْ وَّيُحِبُّونَ أَن يُحْمَدُواْ بِمَا لَمْ يَفْعَلُواْ﴾

(Think not that those who rejoice in what they have done, and love to be praised for what they have not done),”

to the end of the Ayah.” And Muslim recorded similarly.

Allah said;

﴿فَلاَ تَحْسَبَنَّهُمْ بِمَفَازَةٍ مِّنَ الْعَذَابِ﴾

(think not that they are rescued from the torment, ) Do not think that they will be saved from punishment, rather it will certainly strike them. So Allah said;

﴿وَلَهُمْ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ﴾

(and for them is a painful torment.) Allah then said,

﴿وَللَّهِ مُلْكُ السَّمَـوَتِ وَالاٌّرْضِ وَاللَّهُ عَلَى كُلِّ شَىْءٍ قَدِيرٌ ﴾

(And to Allah belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth, and Allah has power over all things.) He is the Owner of everything, able to do all things and nothing escapes His might. Therefore, fear Him, never defy Him and beware of His anger and revenge. He is the Most Great, none is greater than Him, and the Most Able, none is more able than He is.

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