Surah Ali-Imran: Chapter 3 (line 160-170) The Family of Iram

160. If God supports you, there is none who can overcome you. But if He fails you, who is there to help you after Him? So in God let the believers put their trust.

161. It is not for a prophet to act dishonestly. Whoever acts dishonestly will bring his dishonesty on the Day of Resurrection. Then every soul will be paid in full for what it has earned, and they will not be wronged.

162. Is someone who pursues God’s approval the same as someone who incurs God’s wrath and his refuge is Hell-the miserable destination?

163. They have different ranks with God, and God is Seeing of what they do.

164. God has blessed the believers, as He raised up among them a messenger from among themselves, who recites to them His revelations, and purifies them, and teaches them the Scripture and wisdom; although before that they were in evident error.

165. And when a calamity befell you, even after you had inflicted twice as much, you said, “How is this?” Say, “It is from your own selves.” God is Able to do all things.

166. What befell you on the day the two armies clashed was with God’s permission; that He may know the believers.

167. And that He may know the hypocrites. And it was said to them, “Come, fight in the cause of God, or contribute.” They said, “If we knew how to fight, we would have followed you.” On that day they were closer to infidelity than they were to faith. They say with their mouths what is not in their hearts; but God knows what they hide.

168. Those who said of their brethren, as they stayed behind, “Had they obeyed us, they would not have been killed.” Say, “Then avert death from yourselves, if you are truthful.”

169. Do not consider those killed in the cause of God as dead. In fact, they are alive, at their Lord, well provided for.

170. Delighting in what God has given them out of His grace, and happy for those who have not yet joined them; that they have nothing to fear, nor will they grieve.

My Interpretation: 

Muhammad has been given specific instructions on what to say to his people regarding the war that is brewing to a climax between the Mecca leaders and his followers of One God. Unfortunately, they are in the midst of a war whether the people like it or not, so they must fight. Muhammad is told that there are those in his group in Medinah that have lied to him when he asked them to fight for God. They have said they didn’t know how to fight when the Angels and God know better.

Muhammad is told to tell the people that ultimately you can not hide from God, and neither can he as a messenger. If war is coming to you, it is best to be brave and hold strong to your faith while your lives are being disrupted by the aggressors.

When you die as a faithful believer in battle or not, there is the idea that you are really not dead. Your soul lives on in the spiritual dimension and there is nothing to grieve for that person except for your own loss of their lives. This is what Gabriel is trying to explain about the beauty of death. To a believer, death holds no sadness or end. You move forwards with life even in the next realm in a way we can only imagine while living.

A scene from one of my favorite movies, What Dreams May Come