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Monday, August 6, 2018

The Holy Qur'an (Summary): Chapter 90 Sūrat Al Balad (The City)

The Sūrat Al Balad  was revealed on Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) when tired of pursuing the Prophet (s) of leaving what He was preaching to "pollute' the minds of the people of Makkah, the chieftains finally decided to openly oppose the Prophet of Allah and took a solemn pledge to use every means to pain and torture Him with a view of finally persuading Him to leave them on their own.

Please read English translation of Sūrat Al Balad  to understand its plain meaning / translation, followed be a summary of its purpose of revelation and the Divine message intended::
بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْمِ 
"In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful"
  1. I swear by this city, Makkah
  2. And you, [O Muhammad], are free of restriction in this city
  3. And [by] the father and that which was born [of him],
  4. We have certainly created man into hardship
  5. Does he think that never will anyone overcome him?
  6. He says, "I have spent wealth in abundance."
  7. Does he think that no one has seen him?
  8. Have We not made for him two eyes?
  9. And a tongue and two lips?
  10. And have shown him the two ways?
  11. But he has not broken through the difficult pass.
  12. And what can make you know what is [breaking through] the difficult pass?
  13. It is the freeing of a slave
  14. Or feeding on a day of severe hunger
  15. An orphan of near relationship
  16. Or a needy person in misery
  17. And then being among those who believed and advised one another to patience and advised one another to compassion.
  18. Those are the companions of the right.
  19. But they who disbelieved in Our signs - those are the companions of the left.
  20. Over them will be fire closed in.
A great Muslim scholar of Pakistan Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi sums up the comprehensive meaning and theme of this chapter of the Holy Qur'an [1]:
In this Surah a vast subject has been compressed into a few brief sentences, and it is a miracle of the Qur'an that a complete ideology of life which could hardly be explained in a thick volume has been abridged most effectively in brief sentences of this short Surah. Its theme is to explain the true position of man in the world and of the world in relation to man and to tell that Allah has shown to man both the highways of good and evil, has also provided for him the means to judge and see and follow them, and now it rests upon man's own effort and judgment whether he chooses the path of virtue and reaches felicity or adopts the path of vice and meets with doom.
The surah begins with the solemn pledge of Allah, this time taking the name of the holy city of Makkah where the Prophet (s) was born and and endured many a hardship during His early life and then after proclaiming the religion of Islam openly to the pagans of Makkah. The opening verses clearly explain that this wordily life is not easy to live, specially for those who choose the righteous path and fearful of Allah. and those who struggle for good, are rewarded accordingly. This is the same message that has been conveyed to man in the 39th verse of Chapter Surah An-Najm (Laisa lil insani illa ma saa: there is nothing for man but what he has striven for).

Allah through this surah amply clarifies man's position to his actions. It is said that having been given the ability to reason, a man is given two choices in life: The good and otherwise. Those who seek the easier path of wordily pleasures, will one day will be the end losers and will ultimately end up in the blazing and torturous fire of Hell. While those who toil and embrace the hardships of life and abstain from the evil t please Allah, shall have the eternal rewards in the hereafter.

Hence one must not be boastful of one's wealth for its given to him to help others and not to please own self. They should instead invest for their future life in the hereafter by helping the poor, protecting the orphans and even freeing slaves and "then being among those who believed and advised one another to patience and advised one another to compassion."

You may now like to listen to Arabic recitation of Sūrat Al Balad  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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