Aal-Imran · Juz 4 · Qur'an Tafseer

The Righteous Among the People of the Scripture

Tafseer Surah Aal-Imran Ayaat 113 – 117

In ayah 110, we read that among the People of the Book there are those who believe. The ayaat under study provide a description of some of the traits of these believing people who later became Muslims and fulfilled the condition of enjoining good and forbidding evil while also having emaan.


Among their qualities, we learn that they are night worshipers. Qiyaam al-Layl or the late night prayer is a distinguishing trait of those who truly love Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, for no one will give up their sleep except out of love.

They stand in prayer, believe in Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala and in a Day when all deeds will be brought forth. They enjoy good and forbid evil and hasten to good deeds. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says, “And those are among the righteous.”

After praising those from among the People of the Book who had embraced Islam, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala censures those who did not embrace and persisted in their disbelief.  

Their wealth and children, two things that man relies upon, will not benefit them in the Hereafter or protect them from the punishment by Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. Hellfire will be their eternal abode. We seek refuge in Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala from such an end, ameen.

In ayah 117, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala gives a parable for what the disbelievers spend in this life.

 مَثَلُ مَا يُنفِقُونَ فِي هَٰذِهِ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا كَمَثَلِ رِيحٍ فِيهَا صِرٌّ

“The example of what they spend in this worldly life is like that of a wind containing frost…”

The “wind of Sir” has been translated by the Mufasireen as “a frigid wind.” ‘Ata’ said that Sir means “cold and snow.” Ibn ‘Abbas and Mujahid are also reported to have said that Sir means “fire.” Ibn Katheer commented that the latter meaning does not contradict the meanings mentioned above because extreme cold weather, especially when accompanied by snow, burns plants and produce, and has the same effect fire has on such growth.

أَصَابَتْ حَرْثَ قَوْمٍ ظَلَمُوا أَنفُسَهُمْ فَأَهْلَكَتْهُ ۚ

“…which strikes the harvest of a people who have wronged themselves and destroys it.”

This ayah mentions a calamity that strikes the produce that is ready to harvest, destroying it by burning and depriving its owner of it when he needs it the most. Such is the case with the disbelievers, for Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala destroys the rewards for their good deeds in this life, just as He destroyed the produce of the sinner because of his sins. Both types did not build their work on firm foundations which is the belief in Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala.

Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala did not wrong them but they wronged themselves because of their disbelief.

Mufti Muhammad Shafi Usmani writes in his Tafseer, Ma’arif-ul-Qur’an, ayah 117 declares through a similitude that disbelievers waste what they spend in this worldly life, for belief in Islam is a precondition for the acceptance of deeds in the Sight of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala.

The similitude stresses the fact that the disbelievers inflict the injustice upon themselves when their good deeds go to waste in the Hereafter. Had they believed in Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala and embraced Islam, they would have been like other Muslims who, on suffering a worldly loss, are compensated by Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala through reward and forgiveness of sins, as reported in ahadeeth.   


  • Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala teaches us a beautiful etiquette. Not all people are created the same. We cannot label an entire community based on our encounter with one person. We have to acknowledge the good in the people no matter which race or country they represent.

  • We learn that if we desire righteousness and success in the Hereafter then we will have to adopt the traits mentioned in the beginning We will have to give up some of our sleep at night to worship Him when no one can see or disturb us. We must work on our emaan and keep it free of any doubts. We should take enjoining good and forbidding evil as our duty by doing good and encouraging others to do good and staying away from all kinds of evil and stopping others as well. We should race and compete in good deeds.

  • Reciting the Qur’an is not limited to mere recitation in Arabic but understanding and implementing the ayaat as well. It means when you read an ayah about hastening to good deeds you do not delay your prayers but get up and pray as soon as possible. Reciting the Qur’an is our key to success.

  • Wealth and children are blessings of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala we should not let them occupy us so much that we ignore the Rights of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. Money and people cannot save us either in this world or the next. Therefore, be grateful for the blessings by using them to gain nearness to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala.

DOWNLOAD PDF: Tafseer Surah Aal-Imran Ayaat 113 – 117

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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