Sunday 6 January 2019

Surah As Saff - The Ranks (The Battle Array): Summary of 61st Chapter of the Holy Quran

Sūrat aṣ-Ṣaff is the sixty first surah with 28 ayahs with two rukus, part of the 28th Juzʼ  of the Holy Qur'an. The Surah derives its name from the sentence "yuqatiluna fi sabil-i- hlsaff-an" of verse 4; thereby implying that it is a surah in which the word Saff occurred:
 إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ يُحِبُّ ٱلَّذِينَ يُقَـٰتِلُونَ فِى سَبِيلِهِۦ صَفًّا كَأَنَّهُم بُنْيَـٰنٌ مَّرْصُوصٌ
"Allah indeed loves those who fight in His Way as though they are a solid wall cemented with molten lead."

The theme of the surah strongly urges the Muslims to adopt sincerity in Faith and to struggle with their lives in the cause of Allah. It is addressed to the Muslims with weak faith as well as those who had entered Islam with a false profession of the Faith and also those who were sincere in their profession. Some verses are addressed to the first two groups, some only to the hypocrites, and some only to the sincere Muslims. 

Let us now read explanation of the Surah segmented into portions as per the subject matter:

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

At the outset (verses 1-4) the believers have been warned to the effect; "Allah indeed hates those people who say one thing and do another, and He indeed loves. those who fight in the cause of the Truth, standing like a solid structure, against the enemies of Allah."'
1) Whatever is in the heavens and the earth has glorified Allah, and He is the All-Mighty, the All-Wise.2) Believers, why do you profess that which you do not practice?3) It is most loathsome in the sight of Allah that you should profess what you do not practice.4) Allah indeed loves those who fight in His Way as though they are a solid wall cemented with molten lead.
In next three verses the people of the Holy Prophet's community have been warned that their attitude towards their Messenger and their religion (Islam) should not be like the attitude that the Israelite had adopted towards the Prophets Moses and Jesus (peace be upon them). In spite of acknowledging the Prophet Moses as a Messenger of God they continued to malign him as long as he lived, and in spite of witnessing clear signs from the Prophet Jesus they denied him without any hesitation. Consequently, the Israelite became perverse, incapable of benefiting from divine guidance. 
5) And call to mind when Moses said to his people: “O my people, why do you torment me when you know well that I am Allah's Messenger to you?” So when they deviated, Allah made their hearts deviant. Allah does not direct the evil-doers to the Right Way.
Verse 6 is a very important verse of the Quran, which has been subjected to severe adverse criticism as well as treated with the worst kind of criminal dishonesty by the opponents of Islam, for it says that the Prophet Jesus (peace be on him) had given the good news of the coming of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) by name.:

وَاِذۡ قَالَ عِيۡسَى ابۡنُ مَرۡيَمَ يٰبَنِىۡۤ اِسۡرَآءِيۡلَ اِنِّىۡ رَسُوۡلُ اللّٰهِ اِلَيۡكُمۡ مُّصَدِّقًا لِّمَا بَيۡنَ يَدَىَّ مِنَ التَّوۡرٰٮةِ وَمُبَشِّرًۢا بِرَسُوۡلٍ يَّاۡتِىۡ مِنۡۢ بَعۡدِى اسۡمُهٗۤ اَحۡمَدُ​ؕ فَلَمَّا جَآءَهُمۡ بِالۡبَيِّنٰتِ قَالُوۡا هٰذَا سِحۡرٌ مُّبِيۡنٌ‏ 
6) And call to mind when Jesus, son of Mary, said: “O Children of Israel, I am Allah's Messenger to you, I verify the Torah which has come before me, and I give you the glad tiding of a Messenger who shall come after me, his name being Ahmad.” Yet when he came to them with Clear Signs they said: “This is sheer trickery.”
 In this verse the name mentioned of the Prophet (peace be upon him) is Ahmad. Ahmad has two meanings: the one who gives the highest praise to Allah, and the one who is most highly praised by others, or the one who is most worthy of praise among men. Authentic traditions confirm that this too was a well known name of the Prophet (peace be upon him). Muslim and Abu Daud Tayalisi have related on the authority of Abu Musa al-Ashari that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: I am Muhammad, I am Ahmad, and I am the Assembler. Other traditions on the subject have been related by Imam Malik, Bukhari, Muslim, Darimi, Tirmidhi, and Nasai from Jubair bin Mutim, This name of the Prophet (peace be upon him) was well known among the companions as is borne out by the poetry of Hassan bin Thabit.

It is also confirmed by history that the sacred name of the Prophet was not only Muhammad (peace be upon him) but also Ahmad. Arabic literature bears evidence that nobody in Arabia had been named Ahmad before the Prophet (peace be upon him), and after him innumerable people have been named Ahmad in the world. This is the greatest proof that since his Prophethood this name has been most well known among the people of his community. Had it not been a name of the Prophet (peace be upon him), the parents would not have named their children Ghulam Ahmad, assigning them Ahmad’s slavery.
7) Who would be more unjust than he who invents a lie about Allah the while he is being called to Islam? Allah does not direct such evildoing folk to the Right Way.
In verses 8-9 a proclamation has been made with the challenge:"The Jews and the Christians, and the hypocrites, who are conspiring with them, may try however hard they may to extinguish this Light of Allah, it will shine forth and spread in the world in all its fullness, and the Religion brought by the true Messenger of Allah shall prevail over every other religion however hateful it may be to the pagans and polytheists.
8) They seek to extinguish Allah's light (by blowing) with their mouths, but Allah shall spread His light in all its fullness, howsoever the unbelievers may abhor this.9) He it is Who has sent forth the Messenger with the Guidance and the True Religion that He may make it prevail over all religion, however those that associate aught with Allah in His Divinity might dislike this.
In verses 10-13, the believers have been told that the way to success both here and in the Hereafter is only one: that they should believe in Allah and His Messenger sincerely and should exert their utmost in Allah's Way with their selves and their wealth. As a reward for this they will earn immunity from Allah's punishment, forgiveness of their sins and the eternal Paradise in the Hereafter, and will be blessed with Allah's good pleasure, succor and victory in the world.
10) Believers, shall I direct you to a commerce that will deliver you from a grievous chastisement?11) Have faith in Allah and His Messenger and strive in the Way of Allah with your possessions and your lives. That is better for you if you only knew.12)  He will forgive you your sins and will admit you to Gardens beneath which rivers flow. He will lodge you in excellent mansions in the Gardens of eternity. That is the supreme triumph.13)  He will also grant you the other favour that you desire: help from Allah and a victory that will come soon. Give glad tidings of this to the believers.
In the concluding verse, the believers have been exhorted to' the effect that just as the disciples of the Prophet Jesus had helped him in the cause of Allah, so should they also become "helpers of Allah", so that they too are blessed with the same kind of good pleasure and approval of Allah as had been the believers before them against the disbelievers.
14) O you who have believed! Be helpers of Allah even as Jesus, son of Mary, had said to the disciples, "Who will be my helpers (in calling) towards Allah?" and the disciples had answered,"We are helpers of Allah." Then, some of the children of Israel believed and others disbelieved. So We aided the believers against their enemies, and they alone became triumphant.
You may now like to listen to Arabic recitation of Sūrat aṣ-Ṣaff 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 |
Reading the Holy Quran should be a daily obligation of a Muslim - Reading it with translation will make it meaningful. But reading its Exegesis / Tafsir will make you understand it fully.

An effort has been made to gather explanation / exegesis of the surahs of the Holy Qur'an from authentic sources and then present a least possible condensed explanation of the surah. In that:
  • The plain translation has been taken from the Holy Quran officially published by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. 
  • The exegesis of the chapters of the Holy Quran is mainly based on the "Tafhim al-Qur'an - The Meaning of the Qur'an" by one of the most enlightened scholars of the Muslim World Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi. 
  • In addition the references of  other sources which have been explored have also been given above. Those desirous of detailed explanations and tafsir (exegesis), may refer to these sites. 
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