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Shame is pitched over them (Like a tent) wherever they are found, except when under a covenant (of protection) from Allah and from men; they draw on themselves wrath from Allah, and pitched over them is (the tent of) destitution. This because they rejected the Signs of Allah, and slew the prophets in defiance of right; this because they rebelled and transgressed beyond bounds.

(except when under a covenant (of protection) from Allah and a covenant from another people)

This means that if they are ever established in any place, it will not be on the basis of their own strength and power but solely due to the security granted to them by believers in Allah or other surrounding nations guaranteeing them safety and security. All these are, however, transitory arrangements. Thus the agreements that the Prophet, peace be upon him, had initially concluded with some of their tribes, were later cancelled due to their violations and treachery. They were as a result either killed on account of their crimes or banished. The agreements that they had concluded with other tribes also lost their practical significance as these tribes slowly and gradually came under the protection of Islam. They were like a tree whose roots are rotten and that cannot keep standing for long with the help of artificial props. The so-called state of Israel in modern times is also no exception. It exists and survives with the help and support of countries like the United Kingdom and the United States of America; it survives by virtue of its covenant with other people referred to above in the words wa ḥablim mina-n nās. There is little difference in the existence or non-existence of something that depends solely on the mercy and goodwill of others.


Islahi, Amin Ahsan. Pondering Over The Qur’an: Surah Ali Imran (pp. 218-219). Islamic Book Trust. Kindle Edition.

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