Introduction to Surat Aal `Imran (The Family of `Imran)
The Names of the Surah:
1- Family of `Imran
The Surah takes its title from the family of `Imran mentioned in the following verse:
Indeed, Allah chose Adam and Noah and the family of Abraham and the family of ‘Imran over the worlds. (Aal `Imran 3:33)
2- Az-Zahra’ (something that gives of light/illuminates)
Abu Umamah (may Allah be pleased with him) said he heard the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) say: “Recite the Qur’an, for on the Day of Resurrection it will come as an intercessor for those who recite It. Recite the two bright ones, Al-Baqarah and Surah Aal `Imran, for on the Day of Resurrection they will come as two clouds or two shades, or two flocks of birds in ranks, pleading for those who recite them. Recite Surah Al-Baqarah, for to take recourse to it is a blessing and to give it up is a cause of grief, and the magicians cannot confront it.” (Muslim)
Virtues and Characteristics of the Surah
1- This Surah and Al-Baqarah shelter the one who keeps on their recitation and following their guidance brings blessings of Almighty Allah as mentioned in the above hadith.
An-Nawwas ibn Sam`an (may Allah be pleased with him) also reported: “I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) saying, “The Qur’an and its people who applied it, will be brought on the Day of Resurrection preceded with Surat Al-Baqarah and Surat Aal-`Imran arguing on behalf of those who applied them.” (Muslim)
2- It is recommended to recite the last ten verses of Surat Aal `Imran:
Ibn `Abbass (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that once he stayed overnight in the house of Maymunah the wife of the Prophet (peace be upon him), his aunt. He said, “Allah’s Messenger slept till the middle of the night, either a bit before or a bit after it and then woke up, rubbing the traces of sleep off his face with his hands. He then, recited the last ten verses of Surat Aal `Imran, got up and went to a hanging water-skin. He then performed the ablution from it and it was a perfect ablution, and then stood up to offer the prayer.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
Is it a Makki or Madani Surah?
Surat Aal `Imran was revealed after the migration of the Prophet (peace be upon him) to Al-Madinah.
This surah comprises four discourses, according to Sheikh Al-Mawdudi:
First: From the beginning of the surah till verse 32. It was probably revealed not long after the Battle of Badr (2 A.H.).
Second: From verse 33 to verse 63, this was revealed in 9 (A.H.) at the time of the deputation of the Christians from Najran.
Third: From verse 64 to verse 120, this period of revelation is approximately the same as that of the first discourse.
Fourth: From verse 121 to the end of the surah), this was revealed after the battle of Uhud (3 A.H).
Purposes and topics of the Surah
1- The main subject of the Surah is inviting the Christians to accept the guidance of Allah.
2- The Surah clears the false ideas that the Christians have about Lady Mary and her son Jesus Christ (peace be upon both of them).
3- The Surah discusses the fundamental truths about Almighty Allah, revelation, and life after death.
4- Muslims have been instructed to learn from the history of the people of the book and also to guard themselves against their evil plots.
5- A review of the Battle of Uhud is mentioned to teach and reassure the Muslims that the evil plots of their enemies could never harm them if they had restraint and fortitude and fear of Allah.
6- Those who are killed in the path of Allah are not dead, but are alive.
7- The first House of Allah ever built on earth is that of the Ka`bah at Makkah.
Sayyed Abu Ala Maududi’s Tafhim Al-Qur’an.