Aal-Imran · Juz 4 · Qur'an Tafseer

The Two Types of Disbelievers

Tafseer Surah Aal-Imran Ayaat 196 – 199

In these ayaat Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala mentions two types of disbelievers. One – who are lost in the delights of this world and assume it to be a reality. Second – those who held on to their Scripture in the past and when the message of Islam reached them, they embraced it. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala praises the second type.


Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala warns us to not look at the disbelievers who are enjoying the delights of this world. Soon all the fun and entertainment of this world will come to an end and they will realize that the blessings of this world were nothing but a deception.

When a person strives to come closer to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala he brings some changes in his lifestyle. He gives up riba and other forms of haram and because of this sometimes he suffers. People make fun of him that others are progressing while he is regressing. People claim that mortgage is a need in today’s world to maintain one’s standard of living. But a practicing Muslim knows that his need is fulfilled with a rented accommodation and he does not need to get into an interest-based transaction to meet his needs.

[Work for the Eternal Rewards of the Hereafter]

When people us of what we are missing out by being religious, we should remember that the joys and comforts of this world are temporary while the punishment and rewards of the Hereafter and eternal. May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala save us from the deception of this world, ameen.  

Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says in Surah Al-Qasas,

أَفَمَن وَعَدْنَاهُ وَعْدًا حَسَنًا فَهُوَ لَاقِيهِ كَمَن مَّتَّعْنَاهُ مَتَاعَ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا ثُمَّ هُوَ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ مِنَ الْمُحْضَرِينَ

“Then is he whom We have promised a good promise which he will obtain like he for whom We provided enjoyment of worldly life [but] then he is, on the Day of Resurrection, among those presented [for punishment in Hell]?” (28:61)

After talking about the disbelievers Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala talks about those who have Taqwa, “But those who feared their Lord will have garden beneath which rivers flow, abiding eternally therein, as accommodation from Allah.”

Notice that as we are reaching the end of Surah Aal-Imran, there is a constant reminder of having Taqwa of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. We have learned previously, Taqwa and patience are two key ingredients for success in this world and the next. We ask Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala to make us of those who are Allah-conscious and patience, ameen.

[The Support of the Angels]

Ayah 199 – The Righteous Among the People of the Scripture


Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala states that some of the People of the Book truly believe in Him and in what was sent down to Muhammad salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, along with believing in the previously revealed Books. They are obedient to Him and humble themselves before Him.

لَا يَشْتَرُونَ بِآيَاتِ اللَّهِ ثَمَنًا قَلِيلًا ۗ

“They do not exchange the ayaat of Allah for a small price.”

It means they do not hide what they know of the glad tidings about the description of Muhammad salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, his Prophethood, and the description of his Ummah. Indeed, these are the best people among the People of the Book, whether they were Jews or Christians. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala said in Surah Al-Qasas,

الَّذِينَ آتَيْنَاهُمُ الْكِتَابَ مِن قَبْلِهِ هُم بِهِ يُؤْمِنُونَ – وَإِذَا يُتْلَىٰ عَلَيْهِمْ قَالُوا آمَنَّا بِهِ إِنَّهُ الْحَقُّ مِن رَّبِّنَا إِنَّا كُنَّا مِن قَبْلِهِ مُسْلِمِينَ – أُولَٰئِكَ يُؤْتَوْنَ أَجْرَهُم مَّرَّتَيْنِ بِمَا صَبَرُوا وَيَدْرَءُونَ بِالْحَسَنَةِ السَّيِّئَةَ وَمِمَّا رَزَقْنَاهُمْ يُنفِقُونَ

“Those to whom We gave the Scripture before it – they are believers in it. And when it is recited to them, they say, ‘We have believed in it; indeed, it is the truth from our Lord. Indeed we were, [even] before it, Muslims [submitting to Allah].’ Those will be given their reward twice for what they patiently endured and [because] they avert evil through good, and from what We have provided them they spend.” (28:52-54)

In Surah Aal-Imran we have read,

لَيْسُوا سَوَاءً ۗ مِّنْ أَهْلِ الْكِتَابِ أُمَّةٌ قَائِمَةٌ يَتْلُونَ آيَاتِ اللَّهِ آنَاءَ اللَّيْلِ وَهُمْ يَسْجُدُونَ

“They are not [all] the same; among the People of the Scripture is a community standing [in obedience], reciting the ayaat of Allah during periods of the night and prostrating [in prayer].” (3:113)

[Tafseer Surah Aal-Imran Ayah 113]

Ibn Katheer comments these qualities exist in some of the Jews, but only a few of them. For instance, less than ten Jewish rabbis embraced the Islamic faith, such as ‘Abdullah bin Salam radhiAllahu ‘anhu. Many among the Christians, on the other hand, embraced the Islamic faith.

For those who believed in their Scripture and later in the Qur’an, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says, “those will have their reward with their Lord.”

When Ja`far bin Abi Talib radhiAllahu ‘anhu recited Surah Maryam to An-Najashi, King of Ethiopia, in the presence of Christian priests and patriarchs, he and they cried until their beards became wet from crying. The Two Saheehs record that when An-Najashi died, the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam conveyed the news to his Companions and said, 

إِنَّ أَخًا لَكُمْ بِالْحَبَشَةِ قَدْ مَاتَ، فَصَلُّوا عَلَيْه

“A brother of yours from Ethiopia has passed, come to offer the funeral prayer.”

He went out with the Companions to the Musalla lined them up in rows, and after that led the prayer.

The Two Saheehs record that Abu Musa said that the Messenger of Allah salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “Three people will acquire a double reward.” He mentioned among them, 

وَرَجُلٌ مِنْ أَهْلِ الْكِتَابِ آمَنَ بِنَبِيِّهِ وَآمَنَ بِي

“A person from among the People of the Book who believed in his Prophet and in me.”

DOWNLOAD PDF:  Tafseer Surah Aal-Imran Ayaat 196 – 199

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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