Theme of Juz Three – Madinah Politics
The third Juz begins with the conclusion of Surah Al-Baqarah
. This includes the famous Ayat Al-Kursee (verse of the Throne) (2:255) which is a description of the greatness of Allah. This verse deserves to be studied on its own.
Many of the remaining verses of Surah Al-Baqarah deal with the Fiqh issues not covered in earlier verses like the Fiqh of business, charity, debts, wills and other financial issues, with special focus on the prohibition of Ribaa (interest). The prohibition of Riba comes across very strongly in these verses, and as a result Riba-based transactions are considered a major sin in Islam. This is something Muslims today need to reflect on, as Riba has become a norm in modern society.
The Surah ends with a strong set of verses emphasizing the importance true belief and righteousness. The closing verses of Surah Al-Baqarah were given directly to the Prophet Muhammad
during the Meraj, even though the majority of the Qur’an was revealed through the angel Gabriel. This is to emphasize how important the message of these verses is.
The final verse contains one of the most important maxims governing Fiqh: “Allah does not burden a soul beyond its capacity.” (2:286)
This verse is taken as clear evidence that there is no law in Islam which demands anything which is beyond human ability to do; and should a law become beyond the ability of an individual, its application relaxes for that individual. The example is given earlier in the Surah of a sick person being allowed to delay the fast until after Ramadan.
This verse also has an effect on how we perceive the tests of life. As Allah doesn’t test us with more than we can handle, that means that every test we face in life is something we have the ability to deal with. This creates optimism and hope, even during the darkest of times.
The third Surah in the Qur’an is Surah Aal-Imraan
which flows through the third and fourth Juz of the Qur’an. At first glance, this Surah may seem not to have any unified theme. It talks about the establishment of Islam, lessons from the battle of Uhud, a message to Christians and Jews as well as warnings to the hypocrites.
However, when this Surah is understood in its historical context, the theme is clear. In the year 3 AH, the Prophet
and his companions were dealing with establishing the new Islamic State of Madinah and consolidating its power. The political issues that the state had to deal with in that year included the Battle of Uhud and its Aftermath, the plots of the Jews and Hypocrites of Madinah and the Dawah to the Christian delegations which came to Madinah. All of these factors made up the political scene of the third year after Hijrah. That is the topic of Surah Aal-Imraan: Madinah Politics in 3 AH.
The Surah begins with a series of verses reminding us of the fundamentals of the religion:
1) The Oneness of Allah (3:2, 5-6)
2) The importance of the Qur’an (3:3-4, 7)
3) The importance of the Sunnah/Hadith (3:31)
4) Islam is the only acceptable way of life in the sight of Allah (3:19)
The last point is crucial for that time and ours. Madinah was a city in which there were many different religions and cultures, and Allah made it clear that submission to Him is the only acceptable path to salvation. This verse is even more important today, as many modern Muslims are influenced by the deviant idea that all religions are equal.
While Islam teaches us to co-exist peacefully with other religions. It also teaches us that only Islam leads to salvation in the Afterlife. Some people find it difficult to reconcile between these two points, but it is not difficult. In this world, every person has the right to choose what they want to believe, and cannot be forced into submission. In the Afterlife, each human will deal with the consequences of this choice. Allah is Most Just and each person will get what he or she deserves. We must trust the wisdom of Allah and follow the Qur’an without attempting to change its beliefs to suit our times.
A large segment of this Juz focuses on the stories of Maryam, Zakariya and Jesus/Eesa (Peace be upon them). The relationship to the main theme is obvious; with the delegations of Christians visiting Madinah to learn about Islam, it was necessary to convey to them the true stories of these figures who are central to Christianity. But even for Muslims today, these stories contain deep lessons and are worthy of reflection and deeper study.
One verse from this story worth reflecting on is the following:“So her Lord accepted her well and made her grow up well, and put Zakariya in charge of her. Every time Zakariya entered her sanctuary, he found food by her. He asked, ‘Oh Maryam, How did you get this?’ She replied, ‘It is from Allah. Surely, Allah provides for whomever He wills without measure,” (3.37)
In this verse, the chosen woman Maryam (peace be upon her) teaches us all a very important lesson about Rizq (sustenance) and Tawakul trusting Allah). Receiving such out-of-season food was a miracle. Yet it teaches us to remember that nothing is impossible for Allah. If we find ourselves in situations in which it seems that only a miracle can save us, then trust Allah and pray to Him for such a miracle.
Look at the example of Prophet Zakariya
who was old and childless when this incident happened. Yet when Maryam made this statement, he understood this lesson. He immediately made dua for a child and Allah provided him with a son, the Prophet Yahya
We should have the same reaction when reading and hearing of such miraculous providing from the One who controls the universe. It should cause us to immediately ask Him for things which no human can assist us with. The benefits of Tawakul can be summarized in the following three points:
1) It protects us from depression and despair, and increases patience and hope
2) It keeps us optimistic and motivated, even during the most difficult of tests
3) It keeps us content with what we receive in sustenance after working hard, knowing full well that Allah provides for us what we need and will not test us with that which we can’t handle.
The final section of this Juz contains a series of logical arguments aimed at Christians proving the Oneness of God, and the humanity/prophethood of Jesus
. It also includes logical arguments aimed at the Jews of Madinah who rejected Islam for very weak reasons. We will discuss the remaining themes of this Surah in the summary of the next Juz inshaa Allah.
Source: Themes of the Qur'an by Abu Muawiyah Ismail Kamdar