Wednesday 19 August 2020

Sūrah Quraysh - The Quraysh: Exegesis 106th Chapter of Quran

Sūrah Quraysh " سورة قريش‎ " - The (tribe and people of) Quraysh is the 106th chapter of the Qur'an consisting of 4 ayat / verses, part of the 30th Juz. This Meccan Sūrah takes its title after the word "Quraysh" in the very first verse.

In the four verses of this Sūrah, The tribe and people of Quraysh are simply being asked to consider:"When you yourselves acknowledge this House (i. e. the Ka'bah) to be Allah's House, and not of the idols, and when you fully well know that it is Allah alone Who has granted you peace by virtue of this House, made your trade and commerce flourish and saving you from destitution favored you with prosperity you should then worship and serve Him alone.

We have already presented the summary and Overview of this Sūrah. Let us now read the verse by verse translation and exegesis / tafseer in English. You may also listen to its tafsir / exegesis by renowned Muslim scholar, teacher and linguist Nouman Ali Khan at the end of the post:

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

لِإِيلَافِ قُرَيْشٍ 
( 1 )   For the accustomed security of the Quraysh

The word ilaf " إِيلَافِ " , as used in the original is from alf which means to be habituated and accustomed to be reunited after breaking up, and to adopt something as a habit. About the lam that is prefixed to ilaf, some Arabists have expressed the opinion that it is to express surprise and wonder. Thus, Li-ilaf-i Quraish-in means: How surprising is the conduct of Quraish! It is only by virtue of Allah’s bounty that they are reunited after their dispersion and have become accustomed to the trade journeys which have brought them their prosperity, and yet from Allah’s worship and service they are turning away. This is the opinion of Akhfash, Kisai and Farra, and holding this opinion as preferable Ibn Jarir writes: When the Arabs mention something after this lam, the same thing itself is regarded as sufficient to show that the attitude and conduct a person has adopted in spite of it, is surprising and amazing. On the contrary, Khalil bin Ahmad, Sibawaih and Zamakhshari say that this is the lam of talil and it relates to the following sentence: Fa-ya budu Rabba hadh al-Bait, which means: Allah’s blessings on the Quraish are countless. But if for no other blessing, they should worship Allah at least for this blessing that by His bounty they became accustomed to the trade journeys, for this by itself is indeed a great favor of Allah to them.

Muhammad Asad Explanation:
Lit., "for the safeguarding of the Quraysh", i.e., as the custodians of the Ka'bah and the tribe in the midst of which the Last Prophet, Muhammad, was to appear. Thus, the "security of the Quraysh" is a metonym [a word, name, or expression used as a substitute for something else with which it is closely associatedfor the security of the Ka'bah, the focal point of the Faith based on the concept of God's oneness, for the sake of which the army of Abrahah was destroyed (see introductory note as well as preceding surah).

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation:
With what were they made familiar? It is not expressed here. The coming verse answers this question in which the word لِاِیۡلٰفِ is a permutative (badal) of the previous. This style has been adopted at certain other instances in the Qur’an as well. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:
The style is useful, first of all, to direct the attention of those addressed, and secondly to firmly establish something in their minds by repeating it in two different ways: explaining something after stating it rather concisely. (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 9. 572)
Yusuf Ali Explanation:
The Quraish were the noblest tribe of Arabia, the tribe to which belonged the holy Prophet himself. They had the custody of the Ka'ba, the central shrine of Arabia, and their possession of Makkah gave them a triple advantage: (1) they had a commanding influence over other tribes; (2) their central position facilitated trade and intercourse, which gave them both honour and profit; and (3) the Makkah territory being by Arabian custom inviolable from the ravages of war and private feuds, they had a secure position, free from fear of danger. This honour and advantage they owed to their position as servants of the sacred shrine of the Ka'ba. They owed it to Allah. Was it not therefore right and fitting that they should adore the One True God, and listen to His Message of Unity and Purity, brought by His Prophet? In those days of general insecurity, their prestige as custodians of Makkah enabled them to obtain Covenants of security and safeguard from the rulers of neighbouring countries on all sides-Syria, Persia, Yemen, and Abyssinia-protecting their trade journey in all seasons.

 إِيلَافِهِمْ رِحْلَةَ الشِّتَاءِ وَالصَّيْفِ 
( 2 )   Their accustomed security [in] the caravan of winter and summer

That is, the trade journeys. In summer the Quraish traveled northward to Syria and Palestine, for they are cool lands, and in winter southward to Yemen, etc. for they are warm.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
See last note, especially section (2). On account of their trade journeys to the warmth of Yemen in the winter and the cooler regions of Syria and the north in the summer, the Quraish became practiced travelers and merchants, acquired much knowledge of the world and perfected their language as a polished medium of literary expression.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation:
The correct parsing of this sentence would be the same as what Zamakhshari has stated by the words اِما لا فليعبدوه لايلافهم. The translation has been done taking it into account. The implication is that if the Quraysh had nothing else to consider, they should have at least taken into account the respect they commanded and of the worldly benefits they reaped as a result. None of these things were primarily due to their intelligence, competence and planning. They enjoyed them merely because of their association with the House of their Lord – whose rights and obligations they had become indifferent to. It was built to renounce all other Gods and to worship the one and only God. Only one mission was associated with it; the purpose was to invite people from all over the world to it. Precisely for this reason, Abraham (sws) prayed for its custodians and service-men to be blessed with peace and sustenance. So if nothing else, the Quraysh should have at least considered these things.

Ibn Kathir Explanation:
 Ibn Jarir said, "The correct opinion is that the letter Lam is a prefix that shows amazement. It is as though He (Allah) is saying, `You should be amazed at the uniting (or taming) of the Quraysh and My favor upon them in that.''' He went on to say, "This is due to the consensus of the Muslims that they are two separate and independent Surahs.'' Then Allah directs them to be grateful for this magnificent favor in His saying:

 فَلْيَعْبُدُوا رَبَّ هَـٰذَا الْبَيْتِ 
( 3 )   Let them worship the Lord of this House,

This House: the Holy Kabah. The sentence means that the Quraish have attained to this blessing only by virtue of the House of Allah. They themselves acknowledge that the 360 idols, which they worship, are not its lord, but Allah alone is its Lord. He alone saved them from the invasion of the army of elephants. Him alone they had invoked for help against Abrahah’s army. It was His House the keeping of which enhanced their rank and position in Arabia, for before that they were dispersed and commanded no position whatever. Like the common Arab tribes, they too were scattered factions of a race. But when they rallied round this House in Makkah and began to serve it, they became, honorable throughout Arabia, and their trade caravans began to visit every part of the country fearlessly. Therefore, whatever they have achieved, it has been possible only by the help of the Lord of this House; therefore, they should worship Him alone.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation:
Ie., only worship Him, disregarding every stain of polytheism. The messenger of God is inviting them to this worship. They were fully aware of it. It was for this very reason that Abraham (sws) built this House and made their ancestors its custodians. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:
… It should be kept in mind that in spite of being implicated in all the horrible forms of polytheism, the Quraysh had never disassociated themselves from the God of this House. Not for a moment did they consider any of the idols placed in the Baytullah as its real Lord. Even a cursory glance at ‘Abd al-Muttalib’s prayer at the time Abrahah attacked the Baytullah shows … that there is not the slightest indication of invoking help from any other deity, save the real Lord of the House. (See: Ibn Hisham, al-Sirah al-Nabawiyyah, vol. 1, 199). In fact, the Quraysh… only regarded their idols a means to procure the nearness of God – whom they always considered their real Creator and Sustainer, and there never ever came a change in this stance of theirs. (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 9. 572)
Ibn Kathir Explanation:
Then let them single Him out for worship, just as He has given them a safe sanctuary and a Sacred House. This is as Allah says,
إِنَّمَآ أُمِرْتُ أَنْ أَعْبُدَ رَبِّ هَذِهِ الْبَلْدَةِ الَّذِى حَرَّمَهَا وَلَهُ كُلُّ شَىءٍ وَأُمِرْتُ أَنْ أَكُونَ مِنَ الْمُسْلِمِينَ 

(I have been commanded only to worship the Lord of this city, Who has sanctified it and to Whom belongs everything. And I am commanded to be from among the Muslims.) (27:91) Then Allah says,

 الَّذِي أَطْعَمَهُم مِّن جُوعٍ وَآمَنَهُم مِّنْ خَوْفٍ 
( 4 )   Who has fed them, from hunger and made them safe, [saving them] from fear.

The allusion implies that before the Quraish came to Makkah, they were a scattered people in Arabia and living miserable lives. After their gathering together in Makkah they began to prosper, and the Prophet Abraham’s (peace be upon him) prayer for them was literally fulfilled when he had prayed: Lord, I have settled some of my descendants in a barren valley near Thy sacred House. Lord, I have done this in the hope that they will establish salat there. So turn the hearts of the people towards them, and provide fruits for their food. (Surah Ibrahim, Ayat 37).

Secure against fear: Secure from the fear from which no one anywhere in Arabia was safe. There was no settlement anywhere in the country the people of which could sleep peacefully at night, for they feared an attack any time from any quarter by some unknown enemy. No one could step out of the bounds of his tribe for fear of life or of being taken prisoner and made a slave. No caravan could travel safely from fear of attack, or without bribing influential chiefs of the tribes on the way for safe conduct. But the Quraish were immune from every danger; they had no fear of an attack from an enemy. Their caravans, small or big, freely passed on the trade routes everywhere in the country. As soon as it became known about a certain caravan that it belonged to the keepers of the Kabah, no one could dare touch it with an evil intention, so much so that even if a single Quraishite was passing on the way, he was allowed to pass unharmed and untouched as soon as the word hara-mi or ana min hara-millah” was heard from him.

Muhammad Asad Explanation:
Cf. Abraham's prayer, "O my Sustainer! Make this a land secure, and grant its people fruitful sustenance" 2:126.

Ibn Kathir Explanation:
"  الَّذِي أَطْعَمَهُم مِّن جُوعٍ " meaning, He is the Lord of the House and He is the One Who feeds them against hunger. 

وَءَامَنَهُم مِّنْ خوْفٍ " He favors them with safety and gentleness, so they should single Him out for worship alone, without any partner. They should not worship any idol, rival or statue besides Him. Therefore, whoever accepts this command, Allah will give him safety in both this life and the Hereafter. However, whoever disobeys Him, He will remove both of them from him.

This is as Allah says,
وَضَرَبَ اللَّهُ مَثَلاً قَرْيَةً كَانَتْ ءَامِنَةً مُّطْمَئِنَّةً يَأْتِيهَا رِزْقُهَا رَغَدًا مِّن كُلِّ مَكَانٍ فَكَفَرَتْ بِأَنْعُمِ اللَّهِ فَأَذَاقَهَا اللَّهُ لِبَاسَ الْجُوعِ وَالْخَوْفِ بِمَا كَانُواْ يَصْنَعُونَ - وَلَقَدْ جَآءَهُمْ رَسُولٌ مِّنْهُمْ فَكَذَّبُوهُ فَأَخَذَهُمُ الْعَذَابُ وَهُمْ ظَـلِمُونَ 

(And Allah puts forward the example of a township, that dwelt secure and well-content: its provision coming to it in abundance from every place, but it denied the favors of Allah. So, Allah made it taste extreme of hunger and fear, because of that which they used to do. And verily, there had come unto them a Messenger from among themselves, but they denied him, so the torment overtook them while they were wrongdoers.) (16:112-113) 

This is the end of the Tafsir of Surah Quraysh, and all praise and thanks are due to Allah.

You may now like to listen to tafsir / exegesis of the Sūrah Quraysh by Nouman Ali Khan:

You may refer to our Reference Page "114 Chapters (Sūrahs) of the Holy Qur'an" for translation, explanation and exegesis of other chapters of the Qur'an.

You may also refer to our Reference Pages for knowing more about Islam and Quran.
Photo | References: | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 |
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. [1]
  • 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.  [2]
In order to augment and add more explanation as already provided by [2], additional input has been interjected from following sources: 
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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