Themes in Juz Four – Madinah Politics
The Fourth Juz continues with Surah Aal-Imraan
and so the theme is the same as that of the third Juz. The focus is still on the politics of early Madinan society, with a special emphasis on the social obligations needed to consolidate power.
The opening verse of this Juz is very important, “You will never attain piety until you spend from that which you love, and whatever you spend of anything then Allah is all-knowing of it,” (3:92)
This verse indicates that charity should not be from our scraps and leftovers. In fact, real charity, the type which unites hearts, strengthens the poor, uplifts and transforms society, is to spend from that which you love. This was crucial for the early political success of the Muslim empire. The Sahaba supported the immigrants, the poor and the military by spending that which they loved and the result was a strong Muslim community.
A great example of this is the bond that was formed between the Muhaajireen (immigrants from Makkah) and the Ansaar (supporters in Madinah). The Muhaajireen came to Madinah without any wealth. Instead of treating them as beggars, the Ansaar welcomed them into their homes and treated them as family. They were willing to share even their most prized possessions with the immigrants and this formed a strong foundation for the new society.
This is linked to another important topic addressed early in this Juz, i.e. the importance of unity. The Muslim state could not have been founded without the unity and brotherhood that existed between the Muhajiroon and Ansaar. If we wish to see the revival of Islam in our times, then unity of the believers is a crucial factor.
The following verse summarizes the importance of unity, reflecting specifically on the bonds formed between the Sahaba.“Hold firm to the rope of Allah altogether and do not divide into sects. And recall the favour of Allah upon you when you were enemies, then He united your hearts then you became companions and brothers withHis Grace. And you were all on the brink on a pit of the Hellfire, and He saved you from it. In this way, Allah makes clear for you His signs so that you may be guided,” (3:103)
Some of the verses in this Juz focus on the importance of Dawah, like verse 104 and verse 110, as that is the foundation of the Islamic State. Without Dawah, there would not have been Muhaajireen or Ansaar, as the majority of the Sahaba were converts*. Without the Dawah of Mus’ab Ibn Umair**,
there might not even have been a Madinah to migrate to. Dawah is directly related to the success of a Muslim community.
Many of the verses in this Juz deal with the political issues related to the disbelievers. Allah reminds us not to take as allies those who clearly oppose Islam, and not to be like them or follow their lifestyles and beliefs. These principles are just as crucial to follow today as they were 1400 years ago.
The verses prohibited these political alliances are often misunderstood by Muslim and Non-Muslim alike. Some people think that these verses are prohibited any type of friendship with a Non-Muslim. This is incorrect, as the Prophet (peace be upon him) formed close friendships with many Non-Muslims, including his uncle Abu Talib and his young Jewish neighbour. These verses must be understood in their context of politics. The Muslim nation was in a state of war with Makkah, and so loyalty to the state demanded that none of the Muslims formed political alliances with the Makkans or their allies.
This Surah contains several verse which focus on the aftermath and lessons from the Battle of Uhud, a major political event in that year. The Battle of Uhud was the second major battle between the Muslims and the Makkans, and it was the first time that the Muslim army lost a battle. This was due to the archers prematurely thinking that the battle was over, and rushing into the battlefield to grab some spoils of war.
This opened the door for the disbelievers to flank the Muslim army, and Khalid Ibn Waleed (who wasn’t yet a Muslim) took advantage of this situation leading to the martyrdom of many great companions including the Prophet’s uncle Hamza and the great da’ee Mus’ab Ibn Umair (Radhi Allahu Anhum).
From this battle, we learn the importance of obeying the messenger, the dangers of loving this world and most importantly, the importance of accepting the humanity of the Prophet
When the rumour spread that the Prophet had been killed during the battle, many Sahaba were shocked and did not know how to react, and many even stopped fighting. A powerful reminder was revealed which would be repeated by Abu Bakr
many years later when the Prophet
passed away:“Muhammad is no more than a messenger. Messengers before him have passed away. If he had to die or be killed, would you run away fleeing?” (3:144)
The message is clear, our loyalty is to Islam. Leaders are born and leaders will die, but our efforts to revive Islam must go on long after they have passed away. With this in mind, the Muslim community today needs to remain focused on obeying Allah, despite the lack of true leadership in the Ummah.
These are some of the key lessons from Surah Aal-Imran. The stories discussed in this Surah should be studied in details and reflected upon, as they contain many lessons which are very relevant to our lives today.
*Some of the latter Sahaba were born into Muslim homes and raised as Muslims like Abdullah Ibn Zubair, Hassan Ibn Ali and Hussain Ibn Ali
**Mus’ab Ibn Umair was an early Muslim convert from Makkah who was handpicked by the Prophet (peace be upon him) to go to Madinah to teach Islam. He was responsible for many of the early conversions in the Madinan community, included that of several important leaders. Mus’ab Ibn Umair was martyred in the Battle of Uhud.
Source: Themes of the Qur'an by Abu Muawiyah Ismail Kamdar