This Sura is cognate to Surah II, but the matter is here treated from a different point of view. The references to Badr (Ramadhan, H.2) and Uhud (Syawal, H.3) give a clue to the dates of those passages.
Like surah II, it takes a general view of the religious history of mankind, with special reference to the People of the Book, proceeds to explain the birth of the new Prophet of Islam and their ordinances, insists on the need of struggle and fighting in the cause of Truth, and exhorts those who have been blessed with Islam to remain constant in Faith, pray for guidance, and maintain their hope for the future.
The new points of view developed are:-
1. The emphasis is here laid on the duty of the Christian to accept the new light; the Christians are here specially appealed to, as the Jews were specially appealed to the last Sura;
2. The lesson of the battles of Badr and Uhud are set out for the Muslim community; and
3. The responsibilities of that community are insisted on both internally and in their relations to those outside.
Allah having revealed His Book, confirming previous revelations, we must accept it in all reverences, try to understand its meaning, and reject the base motives which make Truth unacceptable to those who reject Faith (iii. 1-20).
The People of the Book had only a portion of the Book, and if they reject the complete Book, the People of Faith must part company with them, and their day is done. (iii.21-30)
The story of the family of ‘Imran (the father of Mary) leads us from the Mosaic Dispensation of the miracles connected with the birth of Jesus and his ministry (iii. 31-63).
Allah’s revelation being continuous, all people are invited to accept its completion in Islam, and controversies are deprecated. The Muslims are asked to hold together in union and harmony, and are promised security from harm from their enemies, and enjoined to seek friendship among their own people (iii. 64-120).
The battle of Badr showed how Allah helps and upholds the virtuous, and how patience, perseverance, and discipline find their reward; on the other hand, the lessons of Uhud must be learnt, not in despair, but in the exercise of the higher virtues and in contempt of pain and death (iii. 121-148).
The misfortunes of Uhud are shown to be due to the indiscipline of some, the indecision, and selfishness of others, and cowardice on the part of the Hypocrites, but no enemy can hurt Allah’s Cause (iii.149-180).
The taunts of the enemy should be disregarded, and sincere prayer offered to Allah, Who would grant His servants success and prosperity (iii.181-200).