Friday, August 10, 2018

The Holy Qur'an (Summary): Chapter 87 Sūrat al-Aʻlā (The Most High)

Sūrat al-Aʻlā is one of the seven chapters of the Holy Qur'an which are called the "Al-Musabbihat " meaning by the chapters that commence with glorification of name of Allah. 

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْمِ 
"In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful"

سَبِّحِ اسْمَ رَبِّكَ الاّعْلَى
Glorify the Name of your Lord, the Most High
This single verse sums up the concept of Allah, for He alone is to be glorified, worshiped and eulogized. He is to be revered above all livings beings and "should not be remembered by any name which might reflect a deficiency, fault, weakness, or an aspect of likeness, with created beings, for the root of all false creeds in the world are wrong concepts about Allah, which assumed the form of an erroneous name for His glorious and exalted Being." [1]

Surah Al Ikhlas the 112th chapter best describes the oneness of Allah in just three simple verses: "He is Allah, (the) One. "The Self-Sufficient Master, Whom all creatures need, He neither eats nor drinks'. "He begets not, nor was He begotten; "And there is none co-equal or comparable unto Him."

Allah has 99 names and each name describe Allah's glory and might. So those who remember these names and believes in them and recite these frequently are the best of the people and shall enter paradise. [3]

Verses 2-5 describe the creativity of Allah, which no human can even think of having any parallel to it. Man may go to moon, mars and frontiers beyond, but will not able to fathom the vastness of the universe Allah created. Allah reminds those who equate others with His oneness and ability create: "O mankind! A similitude has been coined, so listen to it (carefully) : Verily! Those on whom you call besides Allah, cannot create (even) a fly, even though they combine together for the purpose. And if the fly snatched away a thing from them, they would have no power to release it from the fly. So weak are (both) the seeker and the sought." [Surah Al-Hajj 22:73]
  • That He has created, then proportioned (designed it).
  • And that He has decreed a destiny. Then guided.
  • And that He brought forth the herbage (greens) from earth. 
  • Then turned it into black refuse. 
The verses 6-8 were revealed specially for the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), for He would try to remember the previously revealed verses, since He could neither read or write. These verses were thus revealed to console Him and assure Him that Allah has revealed these verses on to him, and it is the responsibility of Allah alone to make you remember these.

  • We will make you recite (the Qur’ân) so you will not forget it. 
  • Nevertheless (this is) what Allah wills; surely He knows what is manifest, and what is hidden.
  • And We shall make (it) easy for you so that it may be easy. 
This promise of Allah also appears at few other places in the Holy Quran too:
Move not your tongue concerning (the Qur'an, O Muhammad SAW) to make haste therewith. It is for Us to collect it and to give you (O Muhammad SAW) the ability to recite it (the Qur'an)And when We have recited it to you [O Muhammad SAW through Jibrael (Gabriel)], then follow you its (the Qur'an's) recital.Then it is for Us (Allah) to make it clear to you. [Surah Al-Qiyamah 75:16-19]
In verses 9-10th Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) has been told: "You have not been made responsible to bring everyone on to the right path; your only duty is to convey the truth, and the simplest way of conveying the truth is that admonition be given to him who is inclined to listen to the admonition and accept it, and the one who is not inclined to it, should not be pursued. The one who fears the evil consequences of deviation and falsehood, will listen to the truth and accept it, and the wretched one who avoids listening to and accepting it, will himself see his evil end. [1]
  • So remind, if the reminder should benefit;
  • He who fears [ Allah ] will be reminded.
And then comes a stark warning in the verses 11-13 for those wretched, addicted to their evil and corrupted desires,  and unfortunate, who despite having known the truth and a way to the righteous path, will find them no recuse when in the world hereafter they will be thrown into naked burning flames a blazing fire - a place where they will not be able to live and die !!
  • But the wretched one will avoid it.
  • [He] who will [enter and] burn in the greatest Fire,
  • Neither dying therein nor living.
A similar warning has been served to these unfortunate people in Surah An-Nazi'at 79:37-39:  "Then, for him who transgressed all bounds, in disbelief, oppression and evil deeds of disobedience to Allah), And preferred the life of this world (by following his evil desires and lusts) Verily, his abode will be Hell-fire."

The discourse has been summed up, saying: "Success is only for those who adopt purity of belief, morals and deed, and remember the name of their Lord and perform the Prayer. But, on the contrary, the people are wholly lost in seeking the ease, benefits and pleasures of the world, whereas they should actually endeavor for their well being in the Hereafter, for the world is transitory and the Hereafter everlasting and the blessings of the Hereafter are far better than the blessings of the world. (verses 14-17) [1]:
  • He has certainly succeeded who purifies himself
  • And mentions the name of his Lord and prays
  • But you prefer the worldly life
  • While the Hereafter is better and more enduring
The two verses (18-19) of Sūrat al-Aʻlā affirm that a similar message was also revealed to Prophets Ibrahim and Musa (Abraham, Moses, peace be upon them) in their scriptures:
  • Most surely this is indeed in the former Pages as well.
  • In the pages of Abraham and Moses. 
In substance, Sūrat al-Aʻlā and Surat Al-Ghāshiyah are said to complement each other. It has been quoted that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be up[on him) would recite Sūrat al-Aʻlā and Surat Al-Ghāshiyah (the 88th chapter) in Jummah prayers, and would also recite these two surahs Eid prayers. He is also reported to recite Sūrat al-Aʻlā in the first cycle (rakah) of Witr prayers, Surah Kaafiroon in second cycle and  Surah Ikhlas in the third cycle. [3]

You may now like to listen to Arabic recitation of Sūrat al-Aʻlā with English subtitles:

You may refer to our post "114 Chapters (Sūrahs) of the Holy Qur'an" for translation, meaning and summary of other chapters (Though not complete but building up from 30th Part backwards for chapters in 30th Part are shorter and easier to understand)

Photo | References: | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |
An effort has been made to gather explanation of the surahs of the Holy Qur'an from authentic souses and then present a least possible condensed explanation of the surah. However, those wanting detailed explanations and tafsir (exegesis), may refer to sites the references of which are given above.

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