Sunday, July 15, 2018

The Holy Qur'an (Summary): Chapter 108 Sūrat al-Kawthar (The Abundance)


Each and every surah of the Holy Qur'an has been revealed under peculiar circumstances and with some lesson or purpose behind its revelation. Unless one understands these circumstances, one cannot really understand the true meaning of the surah or the philosophy behind its revelation. and Sūrat al-Kawthar is no exception.

This Surah was revealed in difficult times in the life of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), when the Muslims were few in numbers and weak compared to the enemies of Islam, which really made the Prophet felt low. and then he also lost his only two male sons one after the other. This gave an excuse to the pagans of Makkah to ridicule him and used to call him "Abtar" which mean the one cut off. 

In such trying times, this surah was revealed:


In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate
Indeed, We have granted you, [O Muhammad], al-Kawthar.
So pray to your Lord and sacrifice [to Him alone].
Indeed, your enemy is the one cut off.

The central theme behind this surah was to lighten up and boost the spirits of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) by giving him the tidings of Kawthar.

When the surah was shared by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) with his companions, they instantly asked: "What is Al Kawthar?". To which, the Prophet replied, "Al Kawthar is a river in Paradise, which has water whiter than milk and sweeter than honey.". Since Kawthar means abundance in Arabic, it literally meant a river that never goes dry. The Prophet also added that Allah had granted him the Al Kawthar as a gift from which the righteous of his ummat will drink to their full on the day of Resurrection.

Since this has been a great gift to the Prophet and his ummat, Allah therefore commanded "to offer prayer and sacrifice to your Lord" as a gesture of gratitude.

The third verse " Indeed your enemy is the one cut off" is very meaningful. While the pagans of Makkah taunted the prophet of being "Abtar (cut off or having no following lineage)", Allah replies in this regard to the pagans that it was no Muhammad who had been cut off, in fact it would be the pagan who would soon have no one in their lineage to take their name. Meaning by that that the pagans should see the limited number of people who had embraced Islam and feel happy about it for in time their number would swell to such a great number that the pagans themselves would fell cut off.

And how true is the Allah's promise as today Islam is one of the dominating religions of the world and the number of non Muslims embracing Islam is ever increasing. As for this surah, its shortness has enabled a large number Muslims to remember it by heart.

Many Hadiths (sayings of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him) are on record regarding the al-Kawthar in the later compilations of Hadith by prominent Muslim scholars based on the authentic sources of some of the close companions of the Prophet:
Narrated Anas bin Malik : One day the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) was sitting among us that he dozed off. He then raised his head smilingly. We said: What makes you smile. Messenger of Allah? He said: A Sura has just been revealed to me, and then recited: In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful. Verily We have given thee Kawthar (fount of abundance). Therefore, turn to thy Lord for prayer and offer sacrifice, and surely thy enemy is cut off (from the good). Then he (the Holy Prophet) said: Do you know what Kawthar is? We said: Allah and His Messenger know best. The Holy Prophet (may peace be upon him) said: It (Kawthar) is a canal which my Lord, the Exalted and Glorious has promised me, and there is an abundance of good in it. It is a cistern and my people would come to it on the Day of Resurrection, and tumblers there would be equal to the number of stars. A servant would be turned away from (among the people gathered there). Upon this I would say: My Lord, he is one of my people, and He (the Lord) would say: You do not know that he innovated new things (in Islam) after you. Ibn Hujr made this addition in the hadith:" He (the Holy Prophet) was sitting among us in the mosque, and He (Allah) said: (You don't know) what he innovated after you"
Narrated Anas bin Malik : The Prophet said: "While I was walking in Paradise (on the night of Mi'raj), I saw a river, on the two banks of which there were tents made of hollow pearls. I asked, "What is this, O Gabriel?' He said, 'That is the Kawthar which Your Lord has given to you.' Behold! Its scent or its mud was sharp smelling musk!" (The sub-narrator, Hudba is in doubt as to the correct expression.)
Narrated Abu ʿUbaidah : I asked 'Aisha 'regarding the verse:--'Verily we have granted you the Kawthar.' She replied, "The Kawthar is a river which has been given to your Prophet on the banks of which there are (tents of) hollow pearls and its utensils are as numberless as the stars."

You may now like to listen to the recitation of Sūrat al-Kawthar in Arabic with English translation:

Calligraphy by Shahid Rana | References: |1|2|3
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