And be not like those who became divided and disagreed after clear evidences had come to them, and these it is that shall have a grievous chastisement. (3:105)

Al-Mizan English Volume 6

In his exposition of verse 3:105 of the Qur’an, Allamah Tabataba’i highlights the dire consequences of disunity and disagreement among believers, especially after receiving clear evidence of divine truth. This verse warns against the fragmentation of the Muslim community, which can start from physical separation and lead to ideological divergences. Tabataba’i emphasizes that constant interaction within a community fosters a harmonious confluence of ideas and beliefs, which can prevent ideological differences that ultimately lead to division.

Tabataba’i notes that when members of a community lose regular contact, their ideas begin to develop independently, potentially leading to the formation of distinct and conflicting ideologies. This separation not only affects their unity but can result in varying interpretations of religious teachings, thereby fracturing the community. The verse serves as a divine caution against starting on a path that could lead to such fragmentation.

He further discusses how disagreements often stem from negative emotions such as envy and a rebellious spirit, citing another Qur’anic verse (2:213) that reflects similar themes. While differences in opinion are natural due to individual variances in understanding and perspective, Tabataba’i stresses the importance of reconciling these differences to maintain unity within the Ummah (Muslim community). Ignoring these reconciliatory duties is viewed as a form of rebellion against divine order.

Tabataba’i points out that the Qur’an places a strong emphasis on unity and repeatedly warns against disunity. He interprets these warnings as prophetic, suggesting that despite the admonitions, the Muslim community was likely to experience division. This prediction aligns with historical events following the Prophet Muhammad’s death, where the Muslim community saw immediate fragmentation into various sects, each labeling others as deviant.

The commentary also highlights the role of hypocrites, whom the Qur’an vehemently condemns for their divisive actions during the Prophet’s lifetime. Tabataba’i laments that the focus on hypocrites faded rapidly after the Prophet’s death, coinciding with a time when the community fragmented significantly, leading to the rise of despotic rule and further sectarian divisions.

In conclusion, Tabataba’i’s interpretation of verse 3:105 offers a reflective and cautionary tale on the perils of disunity within the Muslim community. He emphasizes that understanding and addressing the root causes of division—whether they be physical separation, ideological differences, or internal conflicts spurred by negative emotions—are crucial for the spiritual and communal health of the Ummah. This commentary not only delves into the theological implications of the verse but also connects it to historical realities and the ongoing challenges faced by the Muslim community in striving for unity and harmony.


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