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Al-Mizan Tafseer

In The Name of Allah, the Beneficent and the Most Merciful


Volume 7: Surah Ale-Imran, Verse 200

0 you who believe! be patient and help each other in patience and remain lined up; and fear (the wrath of ) Allah, that you may be successful (200).


This final verse is like the sum total, giving a gist of all that has been said in this chapter. It ends the chapter with a summary of its main theme.

QUR'AN: 0 you who believe! be patient and help each other in patience:

The order is unrestricted. The clause, "be patient", covers every type of patience: Patience in hardships, patience in the obedience of Allah, and patience against the disobedience of Allah. However, it refers to individual's patience, as the next clause shows.

"al‑Musabarah" translated here as helping each other in patience, literally means vying with one another in being patient. It implies collective patience ‑ when individuals bear a common hardship together and each one's patience is augmented by others' steadfastness. In this way, their strength is enhanced, their patience redoubled and its effect multiplied. This phenomenon may easily be experienced, if we first look at an individual as a single person, and then look at his behavior in a group when he becomes a part of a collective whole, each one acting on and reacting towards the others. We shall describe this topic in detail, God willing, in its place.

QUR'AN: and remain lined up; and fear (the wrath of) Allah, that you may be successful:

"al‑muraba'tah” is more comprehensive than al‑Musabarah  (vying with one another in patience; helping each other to be patient), because al‑muraba’tah* implies people's linking up with one another in their powers, faculties, and activities in all affairs of their religious life ‑ in time of ease as well as in difficulties. As the main aim of these orders is to let the believers attain the reality of happiness of this world and the next ‑ otherwise only partial worldly happi­ness can be achieved which obviously is not the real happiness ‑ these orders have been followed by the words, "and fear (the wrath of) Allah, that you may be successful", i.e., you may achieve total and real happiness and success.


as-Sadiq (a.s.) said about the words of Allah, O you who believe! be patient and help each other in patience and remain lined up: "Have patience in misfortunes, and help each other to be patient in trial (and temptation) and be lined up with him whom you follow." (Ma'ani'l-akhbaar)

The same Imam said: "Be patient about your religion, and have patience against your enemy and be linked up to your Imam" (at-Tafsir, al-'Ayyashi)

The author says:  Nearly the same theme has been narrated from the Prophet through the Sunni chains.

The same Imam said: "Be patient about the obligatory commandments, and help each other to be patient in misfortunes, and be linked up to the Imams." (al-Kafi)

'Ali (a.s.) said: "Be lined up for the prayers." He said: "That is, remain waiting for them, because (the system of) garrisoning did not exist at that time." (Majma'u'l-bayan).

The author says:  The difference in the tradition springs from the generality of the orders, as we had mentioned earlier.

Ibn Jarir and Ibn Hayyan have narrated from Jabir ibn 'Abdullah al-Ansari that he said: "The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) said: 'Should not I guide you to that by which Allah erases the mistakes and covers the sins?' We said: 'Yes, indeed, O Messenger of Allah!' He said: 'To perform al-wudu' properly in spite of inconveniences, and to walk many times to the mosques, and to wait for the (next) prayer after the prayer; so that is the lining up.'" (ad-Durru'l-manthur)

The author says: (as-Suyuti) has narrated it from the Prophet, also through other chains. There are innumerable traditions about excellence of being lined up or linked up.

* al‑Murdba’ tah, in post‑Qur’anic era is used for troops being garrisoned, posted, stationed. Many translators have rendered it as, "be ever‑garrisoned"; but the author has taken it in its literal and original sense, i e., to be linked with each other. I have used a word  remain lined up” which may be interpreted both ways. (tr.)

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