Thursday 1 November 2018

Surah Al-Insan (The Man) : Summary of 76th Chapter of the Holy Quran

Sūrat al-Insān (The Man) is the 76th surah / chapter of the Holy Qur'an with 31 verses and two rukuh. There is a dispute among the scholars as to the time of the revelation of this surah, that is whether it was revealed in Makkah or Medina. However, most agree that it is a Madni surah, revealed in Medina. A hadith narrated by Abu Huraira said that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) used to recite Al-Insan together with Al-Sajdah (chapter 32 of the Quran) for the early morning prayer (fajr) every Friday.

The surah is named after Al-Insan ("the man"), a word that appears in the first verse. Other common names for the chapter include Hal Ata, "Has There Not Come", after the first two words in the first verse; Al-Dahr, "Endless Time", a word that also appears in the first verse; and Al-Abrar, "The Pious", after the description of the pious and their rewards in verses 5–22.

The surah has three distinct parts: The opener that briefly touches upon the creation of man from a very humble beginning, the Main which is full of news of bounties for those who lived the life as was expected of them in this life and the plentiful rewards that would be bestowed upon to them in the life in the hereafter, and the Concluding part that is addressed to the Prophet of Allah and is told that Allah sent this Quran gradually according to the issues faced by mankind Allah, the all-powerful, will show mercy only to those who seek mercy, and for those who are proud and arrogant, there will be utter punishment awaiting in the hereafter.

Let us now read the English translation of the Sūrat al-Insān and details provided where needed to understand its plain meaning / translation:

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

The surah commences with the first verse in an interrogative sense with the object of not only making man affirm that there has indeed passed on him such a period of time but also to make him think that the God Who developed and shaped him into a perfect man from an insignificant, humble beginning, would not be helpless to create him once again.
[1-3] Has there also passed on man a period of the endless time when he was not yet a thing worthy of mention? Indeed, We created man from a mixed sperm drop, to try him, and therefore We made him capable of hearing and seeing. We showed him the way, whether to be grateful or disbelieving.
In the second verse speaks of the endless time, the beginning and end of which are unknown to man. What is meant to be said is that in this immensely long span of time there has passed a long period when human race was altogether non-existent. Then the species called Man was created, and in the same period a time has passed on every person when a beginning was made to bring him into existence from nothingness.

The third verse, "when he was not yet a thing worthy of mention" implies that a part of him existed in the form of a microscopic gene in the sperm drop of the father and a part in the form of a microscopic ovum in the mother. For long ages man did not even know that he comes into being when the sperm gene and the ovum combine. Now both have been observed by means of powerful microscopes but even now no one can say how much of man exists in the father's germ and how much in the mother's ovum. Then, the initial cell that comes into being by the combination of the two at the time of conception is such an insignificant thing that it can be seen only through highly powerful microscopes and seeing it also no one at first sight can claim that it is a man taking shape, nor that even if a man emerges from this humble beginning, what will be his size and stature, what will be his form and figure, and what will be his capabilities and personality like. This is the meaning of the sentence that at that tithe he was not yet a thing worthy of any mention although a beginning of his being as a man had been made. [1]

In the verse 4 (below), In just one sentence, the fate of those who disbelieved has been mentioned:
[4] For the disbelievers We have prepared chains and collars and a raging Fire.

In the verses 5-22 the blessings with which those who do full justice to servitude in the world, will be favored, have been mentioned in full detail. In these verses, not only have their best rewards been mentioned but they have also been told briefly what are the acts on the basis of which they would become worthy of those rewards. Another special characteristic of the earliest Surahs revealed at Makkah is that besides introducing in them briefly the fundamental beliefs and concepts of Islam, here and there, those moral qualities and virtuous acts have been mentioned, which are praiseworthy according to Islam, and also those evils of deed and morality of which Islam strives to cleanse human life. And these two things have not been mentioned with a view to show what good or evil result is entailed by them in the transitory life of the world, but they have been mentioned only to point out what enduring results they will produce in the eternal and everlasting life of the Hereafter, irrespective of whether an evil quality may prove useful or a good quality may prove harmful in the world.
[5-14] The righteous shall drink (in Paradise) cups of wine flavored with camphor-water. It will be a running fountain with the waters of which the servants of Allah shall drink wine, and shall take out its channels from place to place at will. These will be the people who fulfill their vows (in the world), and fear the Day whose evil shall be wide-spread, and who feed, out of love for Allah, the poor and the orphan and the captive, (saying), "We are feeding you only for the sake of Allah: we neither seek any reward from you nor thanks. We dread from our Lord the torment of the Day, which will be a long, dismal Day of affliction. " So Allah shall save them from the evil of that Day and shall bestow on them freshness and joy, and shall grant them Paradise and robes of silk as a reward for their patience. There they shall be reclining upon high couches, neither troubled by the heat of the sun nor by severe cold. The shades of Paradise shall cover them all round, and its fruits shall be within their easy reach (so that they may pluck them at will).
[15-16 ] Vessels of silver and goblets of glass shall be passed round to them, goblets made of crystal-clear silver, which will have been filled (by the attendants of Paradise) in due measure.
In the verse 15 above, the mention of vessels of silver has been made. At another place,(Surah Az-Zukhruf: Ayat 71), vessels of gold shall be passed round to them, have been mentioned: "Circulated among them will be plates and vessels of gold. And therein is whatever the souls desire and [what] delights the eyes, and you will abide therein eternally." This means that vessels of gold as well as of silver shall be passed round to them as required by the occasion.

In verse 16, “In due measure” means: filled accurately according to the desire of every person, neither over-filled nor under-filled. In other words, the attendants of the dwellers of Paradise will be so judicious and discerning that they will have accurate judgment about everybody whom they serve wine as to how much of it he wishes to drink. 
[17-22] There they shall be served with cups of wine flavored with ginger. This will be a fountain of Paradise named Salsabil.
in the verses 17-18 above, reference to the ginger flavoured wine has been made to suit the taste of the Arabs who liked the wine flavored with ginger mixed water. But this flavoring will not be achieved by adding ginger mixed water to it: it will be a natural fountain which will have the flavor of ginger but without its bitterness; Therefore, it will be called Salsabil, which implies such water as flows gently and pleasantly down the throat on account of its being sweet, light and palatable. Most commentators think that the word Salsabil has been used here as an adjective of the fountain and not as a name for it.
[19-21] They will be attended by brisk-moving boys who will for ever remain boys. When you see them, you would think they were scattered pearls. In whatever direction you may look there, you would see only bliss and the splendor of a great kingdom. Upon them shall be the garments of fine green silk and rich brocade. They shall be adorned with bracelets of silver, and their Lord shall give them a pure wine to drink. 
Those reading the above verses may wonder why men have promised bracelets of silver, usually worn by the women? It may thus be clarified that in the ancient times the custom was that the kings and their nobles used to adorn their hands and necks and the crowns of their heads with different kinds of ornaments. In (Surah Az-Zukhruf: Ayat 53), it has been said that when the Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) arrived in the Pharaoh’s court in his simple dress, with only a staff in hand, and told him that he was a Messenger sent by Allah, Lord of the worlds, the Pharaoh said to his courtiers: “What kind of a messenger is he, who has appeared before me in this state? If he was sent by the King of the universe, why were not bracelets of gold sent down on him, or a company of angels as attendants?”

In the previous verses above, two kinds of the wine have been mentioned above, first that to which water will be added from the fountain of camphor; second that to which water will be added from the fountain of ginger, Now here a mention of Pure Wine has been made. This implies that Allah shall give them a pure wine to drink, gives the meaning that this will be some superior kind of wine, which they will be given to drink as a special favor from Allah.
[22] This is your reward and your endeavors have been appreciated.
In the verse above, in the Arabic text words "kana sayu kum mashkura" have been used meaning: “your endeavors have been accepted and recognized.” In Arabic "Saii" implies the entire lifework that a person accomplished in the world, the works and objectives to which he applied his energies and abilities; and its being mashkur means that Allah has appreciated it. Shukr when expressed by the servant to God implies his gratefulness to Him for His blessings, and when it is expressed by God for the servant, it means that He has appreciated his services. It is indeed the kindness of the Master that He should appreciate the endeavors of the servant when the servant has only carried out his duties according to the Master’s will.

The verse 23 below Allah clarifies the purpose and authority of revealing the Holy Qur'an, "It is in fact We, Ourself are revealing this Qur'an piecemeal to you, and this is intended to inform the disbelievers, not you, that the Qur'an is not being fabricated by Muhammad (peace be upon him), but it is We, Who are revealing it, and it is Our Own wisdom which requires that We should reveal it piece by piece and not all at once." 
[23] O Prophet, it is We Ourself Who have sent down this Qur'an piecemeal to you.
Though in the verse 23 above, the addressee here apparently is the Prophet (peace be upon him), the discourse is directed to the disbelievers who said, “Muhammad (peace be upon him) composes the Quran deliberately by himself piece by piece; had it been from Allah, it would be revealed all at once. Thus here Allah has answered it without citing it, saying emphatically: “It is We Who are sending it down, it is not the composition of Muhammad, and it is We Who are sending it gradually. That is, it is the requirement of Our wisdom that We should not send down Our message all together in a book form, but should send it piece by piece.” 
[24-31] So be patient with regard to the command of your Lord, and do not obey any wicked or disbelieving person from among them. Remember the name of your Lord morning and evening, prostrate yourself before Him in the night, and glorify Him during the long hours of night. These people only love the quickly attainable (world), and neglect a heavy Day that is coming ahead. It is We Who have created them and strengthened their joints, and whenever it be Our will We can change their forms. This is indeed an admonition. Now whoever wills, let him adopt the way to his Lord, but you cannot will it unless Allah wills. Indeed Allah is All-knowing, All-Wise. He admits to His Mercy whomsoever He pleases. As for the wrong-doers, He has prepared for them a grievous chastisement..
The Prophet of Allah is reminded again that: "No matter how long it may take for the decree of your Lord to be enforced, and no matter what afflictions may befall you in the meantime, in any case, you should continue to perform your mission of prophet hood patiently, and not yield to the pressure tactics of any of these wicked and unbelieving people."

In conclusion, it has been said: This is an Admonition: whoever wills may accept it and take a path to his Lord. But man's own will and desire is not everything in the world. No one's will and desire can be fulfilled unless Allah (also) so wills. And Allah's willing is not haphazard: whatever He wills, He wills it on the basis of His knowledge and wisdom. He admits into His mercy whomever He regards as worthy of His mercy on the basis of His knowledge and wisdom, and He has prepared a painful torment for those whom He finds unjust and wicked.

You may now like to listen to Arabic recitation of Sūrat al-Inshiqāq 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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