Aal-Imran · Juz 3 · Qur'an Tafseer

The Qur’an is the Criterion

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

Tafseer Aal-Imran Ayah 4

The word Huda is from the root Ha-dal-ya and hadi means gift. Guidance is a gift of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala for those whom He chooses to guide. We need to treasure and honor this gift and not take it for granted.

Hidayah [guidance] transforms a person. A person leaves the thing that he used to do in his past and transforms into a new person. He is evidently different. Not only does he realize that he has changed but those around him also recognize the change. When you hear you are a different person now, it is good news for you. If our lives do not change even after studying the Qur’an or a religion course, then there is some flaw in our learning. We need to recheck our intention and the sources that we are learning from.

[Take Time to Appreciate Islam]

Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala reminds the believers that He sent Torah and Gospel, before the Qur’an was revealed, as guidance to mankind. “And He sent down the criterion,” the word Al-Furqan [الْفُرْقَانَ] is from the root fa-ra-qaf and it means “criterion or that which differentiates between two things” such as something which differentiates between the truth and falsehood or between beneficial and harmful. Furqan is an attribute of the Qur’an because the Qur’an is the criterion by which one can distinguish between misguidance, falsehood and deviation on one hand, and guidance, truth and piety on the other hand. It contains evidence, signs and clear proofs to distinguish the right from wrong.

Why was there a need to send a criterion? It is because the previous Books were distorted. Now, we have the Qur’an to judge things. Some scholars say that Furqan is not only used for the Qur’an but for all the Divine Books because that is the real purpose of the books – to differentiate the right from wrong.

“Truly, those who disbelieve in the Ayaat of Allah, for them there is a severe torment; and Allah is All-Mighty, All-Able of Retribution.” Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala revealed the Torah and Gospel, and He revealed the Qur’an now whoever denies the Qur’an, he should know that a severe punishment awaits him on the Day of Resurrection. Why does Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala get angry at His slaves? Consider a parent who tells his child to do something and the child is stubborn and says, “I am not going to do that.” The thing that the parent is recommending the child to do is beneficial for him but the child refuses to follow. Will not the parent get angry with his child? Likewise, whatever Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has commanded us to do is beneficial for us and whatever He prohibits is harmful to us. If the servant does not listen to his Lord, shouldn’t the Lord get angry? Our knowledge is limited, we do not know what is good for us. But Allah’s knowledge is unlimited, if all the oceans become ink, we cannot write down the words of Allah. So should we not listen to Him?

Disobedience is a serious crime and therefore, deserves punishment. It is similar to following the laws of a country. If we are to live on Allah’s land then we must follow His laws.

Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala is Azeez – His grandeur is invincible and His sovereignty is infinite. Those who reject His Ayaat (clear signs and evidence) and defy his messengers and prophets should remember His accountability. The word inteqaam [انتِقَام] is from the root word noon-qaf-meem and it means “to dislike something or someone.” When does one dislike someone? When they have hurt us. Inteqaam is to take revenge or punish the guilty. It is justified punishment. It also includes taking one’s right from the criminal. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala is the Owner of severe retribution against those who don’t listen to Him. When we commit a sin, we say Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala is Ghafoor ur Raheem [the Most Forgiving and Benevolent] and treat that as a license to continue doing the wrong. We forget while He is the Most Forgiving and extremely Patient with His servants His retribution too is severe. A believer must live in the hope and fear of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. We cannot ignore the threats nor should we be so scared that we become incapable to do even the good.

One might ask why in ayah 3 the word nazala was used and later the word anzala was used for the Qur’an. It should be remembered that since nazala was already mentioned (stressing on the fact that the Qur’an was revealed gradually and not in one go), there was no need to repeat this information. Secondly, as we have explained the word Furqan in the ayah either refers exclusively to the Qur’an or it is for all the Divine Books, therefore, anzala is a more common word. This is the beauty of the Qur’an – one word can be used in many ways. SubhanAllah!


  • Furqan (meaning the Qur’an) tells us what is acceptable and what is not acceptable.
  • Whenever we have to decide on a matter or make judgments, we must refer to the Qur’an. We must have the knowledge of Islamic law and live our life according to the teachings of the Qur’an.

 DOWNLOAD PDF: Tafseer Surah Aal-Imran Ayah 4

رَبَّنَا تَقَبَّلْ مِنَّا ۖ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيم
“Our Lord, accept [this] from us. Indeed You are the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing.”
[Al-Baqarah 2: 127]

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