Sunday, October 14, 2018

Surah Abasa (He Frowned): Summary of the 80th Chapter of the Holy Quran

Allah, the Almighty, while praises His chosen ones like prophets and messengers profusely in the holy scriptures He revealed onto some, He also admonishes and cautions His chosen ones if they commit something that is not liked. Surah Abasa was revealed on one such occasion. It so happened one day that a chieftain of Makkah was visiting the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and the Prophet of Allah was trying to persuade him to embrace Islam. While both them were engrossed in a serious discussion, a blind man , Ibn Umm Maktum was one who had accepted Islam at a very early stage at Makkah, approached the prophet and requested him to clarify one his query about Islam. The Holy Prophet disliked his interruption and ignored him Allah did not like this act of the prophet and sent down this 42 versed surah as a caution against his frown and ignoring others. 

It is to be noted that the word used was Abasa, which refers to 'He'. The Quran doesn't directly impose the frowning on Muhammad, But the Quran says "He frowned away", making it widely open for interpretation. Thus as per another interpretation, it is concluded that that the person that frowned away was not the Prophet of Allah, but an elite from Banu Umayya who was sitting with the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). And these verses were descended Abdullah bin Umm Maktum entered and the Makkah chieftain when saw a poverty stricken man coming close to him, he drew himself aside, not to get his dress dirty and contracted his facial expressions, got uneasy. In those verses the God stated his acts and criticized and condemned it. [2]

In this Surah, thus Allah has expressed displeasure against ill-treatment of any low level man. And when the whole Surah is considered objectively, the displeasure, in fact, has been expressed against the disbelieving Quraish, who because of their arrogant attitude and indifference to the truth, were rejecting with contempt the message of truth being conveyed by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). [2]

Here is a segmented translation of the Surah Abasa:
بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْمِ 
"In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful"

In the first six verse, the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace), by a subtle method, has been made to realize that it was an act unseemly for him. It has been pointed out to the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) that he had overlooked in the preaching of Islam on that occasion, and for teaching him the same Allah first reproved him on his treatment of Ibn Umm Maktum, and then ' told him what really deserved to occupy his attention as preacher of the Truth and what did not.
[1-16] He frowned and turned away his face because there came up to him the blind man. And what would make you know that he might reform, or heed the admonition, and admonishing might profit him? As for him who is indifferent, to him you attend, though you would not be responsible if he did not reform. And the one 'who comes to you running, of his own will, and fears, from him you turn away. By no means! This is but an admonition. Let him who wills accept it. It is written in scrolls, which are honored, exalted, purified, (and which) remain in the hands of noble and virtuous scribes.
The Prophet has thus been told that he should never give undue importance to those who have forgotten Allah and become proud of their high worldly position, as this may cause a misunderstanding that the Prophet has a selfish motive connected with them, and that his mission would succeed only if they believed, otherwise not, whereas the fact is that the Truth is as self-sufficient of them as they are of the Truth.

The last verse above indicate towards the Holy Qur'an and it is staid that there is no tinge whatever in these scrolls of the impurities with which the other religious books of the world have been polluted. They have been kept pure and secure from all kinds of human speculation and evil suggestions.

From the 17th verse onward till the 32nd verse, the Divine attention turns towards the nonbelievers. Here the mention of "man" does not imply every individual of the human race but the people whose evil traits of character are intended to be censured. At some places the word "man" is used because the evil traits are found in most of human beings, and at others for the reason that if the particular people are pin-pointed for censure, it engenders stubbornness. Therefore, admonition is given in general terms so as to be more effective.
[17-32] Cursed be man! What a perverse disbeliever he is!Out of what has Allah created him? Out of a sperm drop. Allah created him, then set him his destiny, then made the way of life easy for him then caused him to die, and brought. him to the grave. Then whenever He wills, He will raise him up again to life. Nay, but he has not fulfilled the duty that Allah-had assigned to him. Then let man look at his food. We poured down water in abundance, then cleft the earth asunder, then caused to grow in it corns and grapes and Vegetables and olives and dates and lush gardens and fruits of every kind and fodder as a means of sustenance for you and your cattle.
The man is reminded of his creation from a drop of dirty water (sperm) and then his elation and the life made easy for him. He was also given  the opportunity to choose and adopt for himself whichever of the ways, good or evil, of gratitude or ingratitude, of obedience or disobedience, that he pleased. He opened up both the ways before him and made each way smooth and easy so that he could follow any way that he liked. But despite all blessings of Allah, he forgets his creation, not thinking for a minute that one day he has to die and to be graved.

Then We split the earth in clefts: Implies cleaving it in a way that the seeds, or seed-stones, or vegetable seedlings that man sows or plants in it, or which are deposited in it by winds or birds, or by some other means, should sprout up. Man can do nothing more than to dig the soil, or plough it, and bury in it the seeds that God has already created. Beyond this everything is done by God. It is He Who has created the seeds of countless species of vegetable; it is He Who has endowed these seeds with the quality that when they are sown in the soil, they should sprout up and from every seed, vegetable of its own particular species should grow. Again it is He Who has created in the earth the capability that in combination with water it should break open the seeds and develop and nourish every species of vegetable with the kind of food suitable for it. Had God not created the seeds with these qualities and the upper layers of the earth with these capabilities, man could not by himself have arranged any kind of food on the earth. [4]

And then man is told that the End Day will finally come one day as promised by Allah. The day when man will be all alone, brothers will be separated and mothers will forget about their children. None will be able to help the other. On that day everyone will be presented his deeds, good or bad, weighed and then awarded or punished for which ever end the scale tilted.
[33-42] At last, when the deafening blast is sounded, that Day shall man flee from his brother and his mother and his father and his wife and his children. Each one of them, on that Day, shall have enough to occupy him so as to make him heedless of others. Some faces on that Day shall be shining, rejoicing and joyful. And some faces on that Day shall be dusty, and darkness shall be covering them. These will be the disbelievers and the sinners.
Explaining the last set of verses, Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi in his book "Tafhim al-Qur'an - The Meaning of the Qur'an"  has shared a hadith attributed to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him): [1]
As per one hadith the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) has been quoted as saying: "On the Day of Resurrection all men will rise up naked." One of his wives (according to some reporters, Hadrat `A'ishah, according to others, Hadrat Saudah, or a woman) asked in bewilderment: "O Messenger of Allah, shall we (women) appear naked on that Day before the people?” The Holy prophet recited these verses and explained that on that Day each one will have enough of his own troubles to occupy him, and will be wholly unmindful of others. 
So beware of one's own deeds from henceforth, for the message for the End Day is very clear: 'Everyone on his very own." And mend ways so that we do not have to be grieved for what bad did we do in this life. May Allah help us chose the righteous way of believers and forgive us all of our sins before we die. Aameen

You may now like to listen to Arabic recitation of Sūrat ʻAbasa 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)

Header Calligraphy: Self | 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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