Showing posts with label Surah Ar Rum. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Surah Ar Rum. Show all posts

Thursday 21 April 2022

When does Evil become rife on land and sea

This universe was created by Allah and well provisioned for man to live in peace and thank Allah for being blessed with so much around him to live a comfortable life in complete gratitude to Allah. But the machinations of Evil are too lucrative for the man to sway away from the path shown by Allah and get distracted to lewdness and sinful life. It is because of these bad deeds of the man that Evil becomes strife on land and sea and man drown in depths of ignorance, self damage and nuisance for others.

We share today the 41st verse of Surah 30 Ar Rum which explains how evil spreads due to man's own deeds:

ظَهَرَ الۡفَسَادُ فِى الۡبَرِّ وَالۡبَحۡرِ بِمَا كَسَبَتۡ اَيۡدِى النَّاسِ لِيُذِيۡقَهُمۡ بَعۡضَ الَّذِىۡ عَمِلُوۡا لَعَلَّهُمۡ يَرۡجِعُوۡنَ‏ 
(30:41) Evil has become rife on the land and at sea because of men's deeds; this in order that He may cause them to have a taste of some of their deeds; perhaps they will turn back (from evil).
Here "Man's own doings" mean the wickedness and oppression and tyranny, which inevitably appear in human conduct and character as a result of adopting shirk and atheism and ignoring the Hereafter. "Maybe they mend their ways" means that Allah shows the evil consequences of some of the acts of men in this world before the punishment of the Hereafter so that they understand the reality, feel the error of their conjectures and turn to the righteous belief, which the Prophets of Allah have been presenting before man since the earliest times, and besides adopting which there is no other way of ordering human conduct on sound foundations. This subject has been presented at several places in the Qur'an, e.g. in At-Taubah: 126, Ar-Ra'd: 31, As-Sajdah: 21, Al-Tur: 47, reproduced here in under:
[At-Taubah: 126] Do they not see that they are tried every year once or twice? Yet they neither repent nor take heed.
(Ar-Ra'd: 31) And what would have happened were a Qur'an to be revealed wherewith mountains could be set in motion, or the earth cleft, or the dead made to speak? (To show such signs is not at all difficult for) everything rests entirely with Allah. So, do not the people of faith (still look forward to such a sign in response to the demand of the unbelievers and) despair as a result of knowing that had Allah so willed, He could have guided all to the Truth. Misfortune continues to afflict the unbelievers on account of their misdeeds, or to befall on locations close to their habitation. This will continue until Allah's promise (of chastisement) is fulfilled. Indeed Allah does not go back upon His promise.

(As-Sajdah: 21) We shall certainly have them taste some chastisement in this world in addition to the greater chastisement (of the Hereafter); perhaps they will retract (from their transgression).

(Al-Tur: 47,) Surely a chastisement awaits the wrong-doers even before the coming of that Day; but most of them do not know 

Tafsir Ibn-Kathir: ( ظَهَرَ الْفَسَادُ Evil has appeared) "The rain is withheld from the land and this is followed by famine, and it is withheld from the sea, adversely affecting the animals which live in it.'' 

This was recorded by Ibn Abi Hatim, who said: "Muhammad bin `Abdullah bin Yazid Al-Muqri' told us, from Sufyan from Humayd bin Qays Al-A`raj from Mujahid: ( ظَهَرَ الْفَسَادُ فِى الْبَرِّ وَالْبَحْرِ Evil has appeared on land and sea) "Evil on land means the killing of the son of Adam, and evil on the sea means piracy.'' 

According to the first opinion, the phrase, ( ظَهَرَ الْفَسَادُ فِى الْبَرِّ وَالْبَحْرِ بِمَا كَسَبَتْ أَيْدِى النَّاسِ Evil has appeared on land and sea because of what the hands of men have earned, ) means the shortfall in the crops and fruits is because of sins. Abu Al-`Aliyah said: "Whoever disobeys Allah in the earth has corrupted it, because the good condition of the earth and the heavens depends on obedience to Allah.'' 

Hence it says in the Hadith which was recorded by Abu Dawud:

(Any prescribed punishment which is carried out in the land is better for its people than if it were to rain for forty days.) The reason for that is that if the prescribed punishments are carried out, this will deter the people -- most or many of them -- from violating the prohibitions of Allah. If they give up sin, this will be a cause of blessings in the skies and on the earth. So, when `Isa bin Maryam, peace be upon him, comes down at the end of time, he will judge according to this Shari`ah at that time, and will kill the pigs and break the cross and abolish the Jizyah. He will accept nothing except Islam or the sword. When Allah destroys the Dajjal and his followers, and Ya'juj and Ma'juj during his time, it will be said to the earth, bring forth your blessing. Then groups of people will eat from one pomegranate, and will seek shade beneath its skin, and the milk of one pregnant camel will be sufficient for a group of people. This will only be because of the blessings that will result from application of the Shari`ah of Muhammad . The more justice is established, the more the blessings and good things will increase. 

It was reported in the Sahih: (When the evildoer dies, it is a relief for the people, the land, the trees and the animals.) Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal recorded that Abu Qahdham said: "At the time of Ziyad or Ibn Ziyad, a man found a cloth in which were wrapped grains of wheat which were as big as date stones; on it was written: `This grew at a time when justice prevailed.'''

( لِيُذِيقَهُمْ بَعْضَ الَّذِى عَمِلُواْ that He may make them taste a part of that which they have done,) means, He tries them with the loss of wealth, souls and fruits as a test and as a punishment for what they have done.

( لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْجِعُونَ in order that they may return.) means, from disobedience. This is like the Ayah, (And We tried them with good and evil in order that they might turn.) (7:168).  

Asad Ali Explanation: The growing corruption and destruction of our natural environment, so awesomely - if as yet only partially - demonstrated in our time, is here predicted as "an outcome of what men's hands have wrought", i.e., of that self-destructive - because utterly materialistic - inventiveness and frenzied activity which now threatens mankind with previously unimaginable ecological disasters: an unbridled pollution of land, air and water through industrial and urban waste, a progressive poisoning of plant and marine life, all manner of genetic malformations in men's own bodies through an ever-widening use of drugs and seemingly "beneficial" chemicals, and the gradual extinction of many animal species essential to human well-being. To all this may be added the rapid deterioration and decomposition of man's social life, the all-round increase in sexual perversion, crime and violence, with, perhaps, nuclear annhihilation as the ultimate stage: all of which is, in the last resort, an outcome of man's oblivion of God and, hence, of all absolute values, and their supersession by the belief that material "progress" is the only thing that matters.

Yusuf Ali Explanation: Allah's Creation was pure and good in itself. All the mischief or corruption was introduced by Evil, viz., arrogance, selfishness, etc. As soon as the mischief has come in, Allah's mercy and goodness step in to stop it. The consequences of Evil must be evil, and this should be shown in such partial punishment as 'the hands of men have earned," so that it may be a warning for the future and an invitation to enter the door of repentance.

The ultimate object of Allah's justice and punishment is to reclaim man from Evil, and to restore him to the pristine purity and innocence in which he was created. The Evil introduced by his possession of a limited free-will should be eliminated by the education and purification of man's own will. For, with his will and motives purified, he is capable of much greater heights than a creature not endowed with any free-will.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation:
The war and enmity between Rome and Persia mentioned earlier in the sūrah is referred to here. Such disorder has ensued in human history from time to time. In recent times, the first and second world wars are its examples. It ensues when the vested interests of people and the desire to dominate others makes them totally disregard ethical principles and instead of justice and fairness they resort to oppression and injustice.

( has ensued in the land and the sea ) These words are meant to comprehensively cover all places, the way we say expressions like, day and night and morning and evening.

( [This is inviting God] that He make them taste the flavour of some of their misdeeds so that they pay heed ) It is in the Hereafter that people will taste the flavour of all their misdeeds but at times some of their misdeeds are punished in this world. The purpose is to warn people so that they turn to their Lord before the reward and punishment of the Hereafter.

Tafseer Al Qurthubi: Said in Quran that fasad (damage) shown in land and sea because of the doings of mankind. The what is the meaning of fasad?

The scholars differed in interpreting the meaning of “al fasad (damage) on land and at sea”:
Fasad means shirk: Qotadah and As Suddi say: al fasad is shirk, and it is the greatest damage”.
Fasad means murder: Ibnu Abbas, Ikrimah and Mujahid said: “Al fasad on land is the murder of fellow brothers (believers), including Qobil killing Habil. And the facades in the sea are among the kings who seized the boat arbitrarily”.
Fasad means crisis in land: Other scholars say: “Al fasad is drought and lack of vegetation and loss of blessing”. Similar meaning is also mentioned by Ibn Abbas: “Al fasad is the reduction of blessings from the deeds of the servants, so that they repent”. An Nuhas said: “This is the best opinion about the meaning of this verse”.
Fasad means crisis in sea: Ibn Abbas also said: “al fasad in the sea is the reduction of marine products because of human sins”. Athiyyah said: “If the rainfall is low, it is rare for people to dive into the sea, so that the fishermen also lose and the marine mammals are spread out a lot (so they eat small fish, pent).” Ibn Abbas said: “If the rain falls from the sky, then the shells are opened in the sea, and what is found in it which descends from the sky is the jewel”.
Fasad means monetary crisis: Other scholars say: “Al fasad is a monetary crisis and the difficulty of making a living”
Fasad means immorality: Other scholars say: “Al fasad is immorality, robbery and tyranny. So that these things become obstacles to agriculture, development and business”.
May Allah help us understand Qur'ān and help us to act upon the commandments of Allah contained therein. May Allah help us against the machinations of Evil and help us do good things to be saved of Allah's wrath. Aameen.

For more Selected Verses, please refer to our reference page: Selected Verses from the Qur'anYou may also refer to our Reference Pages for knowing more about Islam and Qur'ān.
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Reading the Qur'ān 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 Qur'ān from authentic sources and then present a least possible condensed explanation of the surah. In that the exegesis of the chapters of the 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 order to augment and add more explanation as already provided, additional input has been interjected from following sources: 
  • Towards Understanding the Quran
  • Tafsir Ibn Khatir
  • Muhammad Asad Translation
  • Javed Ahmad Ghamidi / Al Mawrid
  • Al-Quran, Yusuf Ali Translation
  • Verse by Verse Qur'an Study Circle
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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Sunday 30 June 2019

Surah Ar Rum - The Romans: Exegesis / Tafseer of 30th Chapter of the Holy Quran

Surah Ar-Rūm is the thirtieth surah with 60 ayahs with six rukus, part of the 21st Juzʼ  of the Holy Qur'an. The Surah takes its name Ar-Rum from the second verse in which the words ghulibat-ir-Rum have occurred. The term Rûm originated in the word "Romans" and in the time of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) referred to the Byzantine Greeks (Eastern Roman Empire), hence the title is sometimes also translated as "The Greeks" or "The Byzantines".

In order to understand the surah with reference to its context, please read our previous post: The Historical Background of Revelation of Surah Ar Rum - The Roman.

Let us now read the translation and exegesis / tafseer in English of the Surah segmented into portions as per the subject matter. For Arabic Text, please refer to the references given at the end and may also listen to its recitation in Arabic with English subtitles:

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

Rukhu 1 [1-10]
1. Alif-Lam-Mim. الٓمّٓ‏ 
[These disjoined letters are one of the miracles of the Qur'an, and none but Allah (Alone) knows their meanings - see our earlier post for details: Understanding the Holy Quran: Huroof Muqatta’at - Disjoined Letters].

Verses 2-10: Romans (Christians / The Byzantines) defeat at the hands of Persian (Pagans) was taken as a sign of the Muslims defeat at the hands of Arab's unbelievers, so Allah gave good tidings for Roman's victory as well as Muslims victory in a few year
( 2 )   The Byzantines have been defeated
( 3 )   In the nearest land. But they, after their defeat, will overcome.
It appears that the Muslims’ sympathies in this war between Byzantium and Iran were with Byzantium, and of the disbelievers of Makkah were with Iran. This had several reasons.
  • First, the Iranians had given it the color of a crusade between Magianism and Christianity, and, apart from the object of political conquest, they were making it a means of spreading Magianism. In the letter that Khusrau Parvez wrote to the Emperor Heraclius after the conquest of Jerusalem, he had clearly mentioned his victory as a proof of the truth of Magianism. In principle, the Magian creed resembled the polytheistic creed of the people of Makkah, because the Magis too, were disbelievers of Tauhid. They believed in two gods and worshiped the fire. That is why the mushriks of Makkah were in sympathy with them. Contrary to them, the Christians, however corrupted their monotheism might be, still regarded belief in One God as the basis of religion, believed in the Hereafter and admitted revelation and prophethood as the source of guidance. Thus, their religion in principle resembled Islam, and therefore, the Muslims were naturally in sympathy with them, and could not like that a polytheistic people should dominate them. 
  • Secondly, the people who believe in a previous prophet before the advent of a new prophet are naturally regarded and counted as Muslims until the message of the new prophet reaches them and they clearly discard it. At that time only five to six years had passed since the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) advent as a Prophet and his message had not yet reached outside Arabia. Therefore, the Muslims did not look upon the Christians as disbelievers, but they certainly regarded the Jews as disbelievers because they had rejected the Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) to be a Prophet.
  • Thirdly, the Christians from the very beginning had been treating the Muslims with sympathy as has been mentioned in (Surah Al-Qasas: Ayats 52-55), and in (Surah Al-Maidah: Ayats 82-85), and many of them were even accepting the message of the truth with an open heart. Then, the way the Christian king of Habash had given refuge to the Muslims on their migration there and turned down the demand of the disbelievers of Makkah to return these new Muslims. 
( 4 )   Within three to nine years. To Allah belongs the command before and after. And that day the believers will rejoice
That is, “When the Iranians became victorious first, it did not mean that the Lord of the worlds, Allah forbid, had been humbled and when the Romans will gain victory afterwards, it will not mean that Allah’s lost kingdom will be restored to Him. Sovereignty in any case belongs to Allah. Allah gave victory to the side that became victorious first, and Allah will give victory to the side that will gain victory after wards. For no one in his Kingdom can achieve domination solely by his own power. He whom He raises, rises and he whom He causes to fall, falls.”
( 5 )   In the victory of Allah. He gives victory to whom He wills, and He is the Exalted in Might, the Merciful.
The Romans’ victory against the Iranians and the Muslims’ victory at Badr against the polytheists took place almost at the same time. The Muslims, therefore, were doubly pleased. 624 A.D. is the year in which the Battle of Badr was fought and the same is the year in which the Byzantine Emperor destroyed the birth place of Zoroaster and ravaged the principal fire temple of Iran.
( 6 )   [It is] the promise of Allah. Allah does not fail in His promise, but most of the people do not know.
( 7 )   They know what is apparent of the worldly life, but they, of the Hereafter, are unaware.
That is, “Although there are plenty of signs and evidences which point to the Hereafter, and there is no reason why one should be heedless of it, yet the people are being heedless of it due to their own short sightedness. They only see the apparent and the outward aspect of the worldly life and are unaware of what is hidden behind it; otherwise there has been no slackness on the part of God to warn them of it.”
( 8 )   Do they not contemplate within themselves? Allah has not created the heavens and the earth and what is between them except in truth and for a specified term. And indeed, many of the people, in [the matter of] the meeting with their Lord, are disbelievers.
This verse has a strong argument for the Hereafter. It means this: “If these people had reflected over their own selves, apart from the external phenomena, they would have found in themselves the arguments which prove the necessity of a second life after the present life. There are three special characteristics of man which distinguish him from the other creations on the earth:”
  • (1) The earth and the countless things around it have been subjected for him, and he has been granted vast powers to exploit them.
  • (2) He has been life free to choose a way of life for himself. He can follow the way of belief or disbelief, obedience or sin, virtue or vice, as he likes. Any way of life, right or wrong, that he chooses, he is helped to follow it and allowed to use and exploit all the means and resources provided by God, whether the way chosen is of God’s obedience or of His disobedience.
  • (3) An innate moral sense has been placed in him, by which he discriminates between the voluntary and the involuntary actions; he judges the voluntary acts as good and bad, and decides spontaneously that a good act ought to he rewarded and an evil act ought to be punished. 
In this ver verse, two more arguments have been given for the Hereafter. It says that if man makes a deep observation of the system of the universe, he will see two things very outstanding about it:
  • First, that the universe has been created with the truth. Man’s whole social and economic life and all his sciences and arts are a witness that whatever man has done in the world became possible only because he was able to discover the laws working behind everything and the purpose for which it was made. Had he been placed as a puppet in a lawless and purposeless toy-house, no science and no civilization and social life could be conceived. Now, how does it stand to reason that the Wise Being Who has created this world with such wisdom and design and Who has placed in it a creation like man, who is endowed with great mental and physical capabilities, powers and authority, freedom of action and choice, moral sense and entrusted with unlimited means and resources of the world, would have created him without a purpose and design? That man would live a full life involving both goodness and evil, justice and injustice, virtue and vice, and end up in the dust, and his good and evil acts will not bear any fruit? That each act of man will influence his own life as well as the lives of thousands of other men like himself and countless other things in the world, for good or for evil, and the whole record of his life-activity will be just set aside after his death, without accountability?
  • The other thing that becomes apparent after a deep observation of the system of the universe is that nothing here is immortal. Everything has an age appointed for it after attaining which, it dies and expires, and the same is the case with the universe as a whole. The modern science almost definitely has cast its vote in favor of the God worshipers in the debate that had been going on since centuries between them and the atheists regarding the eternal and the temporal nature of the world. Now the atheists are left with no leg to stand on. They cannot claim on the basis of reason and knowledge that the world has existed since eternity and will exist forever and there is going to be no resurrection. The ancient materialistic creed rested on the belief that matter was indestructible, only its form could be changed, but after every change matter remained matter and no increase or decrease occurred in its quantity. But now the discovery of the atomic energy has demolished the entire materialistic edifice. Now it has come to light that energy changes into matter, and matter changes back into energy with the result that nothing persists, neither form nor appearance. The second law of Thermodynamics has proved that this material world has neither existed since eternity nor will last till eternity. It certainly began in time and has to end in time. 
Therefore, it is no longer possible to deny the Hereafter even according to science. And obviously, when science has surrendered, how will philosophy stand to deny the Hereafter?

The verse ends with the assertion that the destruction that overtook those nations afterwards, was not due to Allah’s being unjust to them but due to the injustice they had done to themselves. The person (or persons) who neither thinks rightly, nor adopts the right attitude by listening to others, will be responsible for his evil end if he meets destruction. Allah cannot be blamed for this, for Allah has not only made arrangements for conveying to man the knowledge of the reality through His Books and His Prophets, but also blessed man with the intellectual resources and powers by exploiting which he can always judge the authenticity of the knowledge brought by the Prophets and the Divine Books. Had Allah deprived man of this guidance and these resources and he had to meet with the consequences of following a wrong way then doubtlessly could God have been blamed for injustice.
( 9 )   Have they not traveled through the earth and observed how was the end of those before them? They were greater than them in power, and they plowed the earth and built it up more than they have built it up, and their messengers came to them with clear evidences. And Allah would not ever have wronged them, but they were wronging themselves.
"It was not Allah Who wronged them, but it is they who wronged themselves" contains an answer to the argument of those who regard mere material progress as the sign of a nation’s being righteous. They argue like this: How is it possible that Allah will make fuel of Hell those people who have exploited the resources of the earth on such a large scale, who have constructed wonderful works on the earth and given birth to a grand civilizations? The Quran refutes this argument. Thus, such works of construction have also been built before by many nations on a large scale. Then, have you not seen that those nations have perished along with their civilization and their grand and magnificent works. There is no reason why the Law of God that has so treated in the world the mere material progress of a people lacking the right belief and conduct, will not treat them likewise in the next world and make them fuel of Hell.
( 10 )   Then the end of those who did evil was the worst [consequence] because they denied the signs of Allah and used to ridicule them.
Rukhu 2 [11-19]
Verses 11-19 tell that It is Allah Who originates the creation and then repeats it and to Him everyone will be brought for the final Judgement:
( 11 )   Allah begins creation; then He will repeat it; then to Him you will be returned.
Though this thing has been put forward as a claim, it contains the basis of the claim too. Common sense testifies that the One Who can originate creation, can reproduce the same creation far more easily. The origination of the creation is an actuality which exists before everybody, and the disbelievers and the mushriks also admit that this is the work of Allah alone: “Now it will be clearly absurd on their part to think that God Who has originated this creation, cannot reproduce it.”
( 12 )   And the Day the Hour appears the criminals will be in despair.
 “The Hour”: the Hour of returning to Allah and appearing before Him, dumb and dejected and depressed.

One should also understand that “the criminals” mentioned in this verse mean all those who have rebelled against Allah, refused to accept the guidance and teachings of His Messengers, denied the accountability of the Hereafter, or lived heedless of it, and have been worshiping others than Allah in the world, or their own selves, whether or not, besides this basic deviation, they also committed those acts, which are commonly called crimes. Besides, it includes those people also, who in spite of believing in Allah and His Messengers and the Hereafter, have knowingly disobeyed their Lord and persisted in their rebellious conduct till the end. When these people will suddenly come back to life in the Hereafter, against their expectations, and will find that they are confronted with the second life, which they had denied, or ignored, in their life activity in the world, they will stand dumbfounded.
( 13 )   And there will not be for them among their [alleged] associates any intercessors, and they will [then] be disbelievers in their partners.
“Associates” here include the angels, prophets, saints, martyrs and the righteous men, to whom the polytheists assigned divine attributes and powers in different ages and whom they worshiped as gods. On Resurrection Day, they will say to their worshipers, “You did whatever you did without our consent, rather against our teachings and guidance. Therefore, we have nothing to do with you. Do not place any hope in us that we will intercede for you before Allah Almighty.”

And thus on that Day, the polytheists will themselves admit that they had wrongly held them associates of Allah. They will realize that none of them really had any share in Godhood. Therefore, in the Hereafter they will disown the shirk on which they insist in the world.
( 14 )   And the Day the Hour appears - that Day they will become separated.
Islam stresses that the real thing which joins men together or divides them is the belief and morality. Thus on the appointed Day, the men will be grouped on the basis of true belief, morality and character. And all the believing and righteous people will be separated from people who had been professing every false ideology and committing every kind of crime in the world. The latter will be sorted out from the multitudes of mankind and put into separate groups.

It must be understood that believers who build the system of life on divine guidance are one community, whether they belong to any race, any country and any region. The believers and disbelievers thus cannot belong to one nation. They can neither walk together on a common path of life in the world, nor can meet with the same end in the Hereafter. From the world to the Hereafter they tread separate paths and have separate destinations. Contrary to this, the worshipers of falsehood have been insisting in every age, and still insist, that mankind should be classified and grouped on the bases of race and country and language. The people who have a common race and country and language should constitute a separate nation, regardless of their religion and belief, and should offer a common front against the other similar nations. And this nation should have such a system of life which should bind the followers of Tawhid separately from polytheists and the atheists.

The same was the concept of Abu Jahl and Abu Lahab and the chiefs of the Quraish. That is why they accused the Prophet Muhammad (peace he upon him) again and again of having stirred up divisions in their nation. That is why the Quran is warning that the groups made in the world on wrong basis will ultimately break and mankind will be permanently divided on the basis of the belief and the philosophy of life and morality and character on which Islam wants to build it in the world. The people who do not have a common destination cannot follow a common way of life.
( 15 )   And as for those who had believed and done righteous deeds, they will be in a garden [of Paradise], delighted.
Verse 16 below needs to be pondered over with care:
( 16 )   But as for those who disbelieved and denied Our verses and the meeting of the Hereafter, those will be brought into the punishment [to remain].
One thing here is noteworthy. Good works have been mentioned as a necessary adjunct of the faith, which will earn one the blissful Garden. But no mention has been made of the evil acts while mentioning the evil end of disbelief. This clearly indicates that disbelief by itself is enough to mar the destiny of a person, whether it is accompanied by the evil act or not.
( 17 )   So exalted is Allah when you reach the evening and when you reach the morning.
“To glorify Allah” means to proclaim Allah’s being free from and exalted above the defects and faults and weaknesses, which the mushriks ascribe to Him due to their shirk and denial of the Hereafter. The best form of this proclamation and expression is the Prayer. Thus “to glorify” means to offer the prescribed Prayer. The verse clearly lays down definite times for the glorification of Allah. Evidently, if it was meant to instill the belief that Allah is free from all defects and weaknesses, there should be no question of the restriction of the times of the morning and evening, and the early and late afternoon, for a Muslim should always have this belief. Similarly, if it was meant to teach glorifying Allah merely verbally, it should be meaningless to specify the times, for a Muslim should express Allah’s glory at all times. Therefore, inevitably the command to glorify Allah with the restriction of the times points to its particular practical form which is none other than the Prayer.

These two verses (17 and 18) should be read in conjunction with verses mentioned below in other surahs of the Holy Qur'an:
  • “Establish the Salat from the declining of the sun to the darkness of the night, and be particular about the recital of the Quran at dawn.” (Surah Bani-Israil: Ayat 78).
  • “Establish the Salat at the two ends of the day and in the early part of the night.” (Surah Hud: Ayat 114).
  • “And glorify your Lord with His praise before the rising of the sun and before its setting, and glorify Him again during the hours of the night and at the extremes of the day.” (Surah Ta Ha: Ayat 130).
( 18 )   And to Him is [due all] praise throughout the heavens and the earth. And [exalted is He] at night and when you are at noon.
The first of these verses tells that the times of the Prayer are from the declining of the sun to the darkness of the night (Isha) after which is the time of the morning Prayer (Fajr). In the second verse, the “two ends of the day” imply the times of the morning (Fajr) and the evening (Maghrib) Prayers, and “in the early part of the night” implies the time of Isha. In the third verse, “before the rising of the sun” implies the Fajr time and “before its setting” the Asr tune, and “during the hours of the night” implies the times of both the Maghrib and the Isha Prayers; and the “extremes of the day” are three: the morning, the declining of the sun and the evening. Thus, the Quran at different places has pointed to the five Prayer times at which the Muslims the world over offer their Prayers. But, obviously, no one by merely reading these verses could have determined the Prayer times unless the divinely appointed teacher of the Quran, the Prophet (peace be upon him) himself had given guidance to these by his word and deed.
( 19 )   He brings the living out of the dead and brings the dead out of the living and brings to life the earth after its lifelessness. And thus will you be brought out.
That is, how can that Allah Who is doing all this perpetually in front of your eyes, be helpless in raising man to life after death? He is causing absolutely dead matter to be discharged from living man and animals. He is ever bringing into existence countless animals and human beings by breathing life into dead matter, whereas the substances themselves which make up the bodies of the living beings are absolutely without life. He is making you witness the phenomenon that wherever water becomes available, lands previously lying barren start blooming and blossoming with animal and vegetable life. In spite of witnessing all this if a person thinks that the Allah Who is sustaining the universe will be helpless to raise man back to life after death, he is fully devoid of the common sense. His heart does not see the clear realities gleaming from the manifestations which his eyes see.

Rukhu 3 [20-27]
From verse 20 27, the signs of Allah that are being mentioned, on the one hand, point to the possibility and occurrence of the life Hereafter, in the context of the foregoing discourse. And on the other hand, the same sings also point to the reality that this universe is neither Godless nor under many gods, but One God alone is its Creator, Disposer, Master and Ruler. Thus, this section (Ayats 20-27)is fully connected with the discourse preceding it and the discourse following it.:
( 20 )   And of His signs is that He created you from dust; then, suddenly you were human beings dispersing [throughout the earth].
That is, the stuff from which man has been created is nothing but a few dead substances which are found in the earth, like carbon, calcium, sodium and a few other elements like them. With their combination a wonderful being, called man, has been raised up. Then, not only has just one man so risen up by a mere accident, but in him has also been placed that wonderful procreative power by which millions and billions of human beings are coming continuously into being bearing the same physical structure and capabilities and possessing countless hereditary and personal characteristics. Therefore, O man! Does your intellect approve that this extremely wise creation has come into being of itself without the creative power of a Wise Creator? Can you say, being in your senses, that making a wonderful design of the creation of man and bringing it into effect and rendering the countless powers of the earth and heavens favorable and subservient to human life could be the result of the thinking and design of many gods? And will you be in your right senses when you think that the God, Who has brought man into being from absolute nothingness, will not be able to raise the same man back to life after giving him death?
( 21 )   And of His signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquillity in them; and He placed between you affection and mercy. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought.
That is, the Creator’s perfect wisdom is such that He has not created man in one sex only but in two sexes, which are identical in humanity, which have the same basic formula of their figure and form, but the two have been created with different physical structures, different mental and psychological qualities, and different emotions and desires. And then there has been created such a wonderful harmony between the two that each is a perfect counterpart of the other. The physical and psychological demands of the one match squarely with the physical and psychological demands of the other.

“Love” here means sexual love, which becomes the initial motive for attraction between man and woman, and then keeps them attached to each other. “Mercy” implies the spiritual relationship which gradually develops in the matrimonial life, by virtue of which they become kind, affectionate and sympathetic towards each other; so much so that in old age, sexual love falls into the background and the two partners in life prove to be even more compassionate towards each other than they were when young. These two are the positive forces which the Creator has created in man to support the initial longing of his nature. That longing and restlessness only seeks peace and satisfaction and brings the man and the woman into contact with each other.
( 22 )   And of His signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth and the diversity of your languages and your colors. Indeed in that are signs for those of knowledge.
It is being said: Although your vocal chords are similar, and there is no difference in the structure of the mouth, the tongue and the brains, yet people speak different languages in different regions of the world. Even in the regions where the same language is spoken, different dialects are spoken from city to city and from town to town. Moreover, the accent and pronunciation and the style of speech of every person is different from the other. Similarly, although the semen and the formula of your physical structure is the same, yet your colors are so different that, nations apart, even the colors of the two sons of the same parents are not exactly the same.

In this verse, attention has been drawn only to two aspects, but if one looks around he will notice an infinite variety everywhere in the world. One will find countless differences in the species of man, animal, plants and other things in spite of the basic uniformity in their different members; so much so that no member of the species is exactly identical with the other. Even the two leaves of a tree are not exactly alike. This shows that the world is not a factory in which automatic machines might be working and turning out things in mass production bearing the stamp of their own separate species. But in this factory there is a Master-Artist at work, Who gives individual attention to everything and produces it on a new design with new embellishments and proportions and qualities, and everything thus produced is unique in its own way. His inventive genius is turning out a new model of everything every moment, and His creative power abhors repeating the same design the second time. Anyone who sees this wonderful phenomenon with open eyes can never be involved in the foolish misconception that the Maker of the universe has gone to sleep after having made it go. This is, on the contrary, a clear proof of the fact that He is ever engaged in His creative activity, and is giving individual attention to each and everything in His creation.
( 23 )   And of His signs is your sleep by night and day and your seeking of His bounty. Indeed in that are signs for a people who listen.
“To seek bounty” is to seek the livelihood. Though man generally sleeps at night and works for his living in the day, this is not a law. Many people also sleep in the day and work for their livelihood at night. That is why the night and the day both have been mentioned and it has been said: “In both day and night you sleep as well as work for your livelihood.

Here, by using the word “seeking Allah’s bounty” for the seeking of livelihood, allusion has been made to another series of the signs. How could have man sought and found his livelihood if the innumerable and unlimited forces of the earth and heavens had not been put to work to provide means of the livelihood and supply countless resources for man to seek it in the earth? Not only this. Man could not have exploited these means and resources had he not been given appropriate limbs and suitable physical and mental capabilities for the purpose. Thus the ability in man to seek the livelihood and the presence of the resources of the livelihood outside of him, clearly indicate the existence of a Merciful and Beneficent God. An intellect which is not sick can never presume that all this has happened by chance, or is the manifestation of the godhead of many gods, or some merciless, blind force is responsible for these bounties and blessings.
( 24 )   And of His signs is [that] He shows you the lightning [causing] fear and aspiration, and He sends down rain from the sky by which He brings to life the earth after its lifelessness. Indeed in that are signs for a people who use reason.
That is, its thunder and lightning give hope that rain will come and help the crops, but at the same time they cause a fear that the lightning may strike somewhere, or heavy rain may fall, which may wash away everything.

It must be borne in mind that the productivity depends on the rain, whether it directly falls on the earth, or its water gathers together on the surface of the earth, or takes the form of underground water channels or springs or wells, or freezes on the mountains and then flows down in the form of rivers. Then the rain depends on the heat of the sun, the change of seasons, atmospheric changes in temperature, circulation of the winds, and on the lightning, which causes the rain to fall as well as mixes a kind of natural manure in the rainwater.

The establishment of a harmony and proportion between different things existing from the earth to the sky, their becoming favorable and subservient to a variety of aims and objects, and their remaining continuously and constantly favorable in perfect harmony for millions of million years cannot be the product of mere chance. Has it all happened without the all-embracing will and plan and wisdom of a Fashioner and Designer? And is it not a proof of the fact that the Creator and Lord of the earth, the sun, the water, the heat and coolness is One and only One?
( 25 )   And of His signs is that the heaven and earth remain by His command. Then when He calls you with a [single] call from the earth, immediately you will come forth.( 26 )   And to Him belongs whoever is in the heavens and earth. All are to Him devoutly obedient.( 27 )   And it is He who begins creation; then He repeats it, and that is [even] easier for Him. To Him belongs the highest attribute in the heavens and earth. And He is the Exalted in Might, the Wise.
That is, if it was not difficult for Him to create you in the first instance, how can it be difficult for Him to recreate you? Your first creation was not difficult for Him because your present existence is a living proof of that. Now it is simple commonsense that the re-making of a thing should be relatively easier for the one who made it the first time.

Rukhu 4 [28-40]
Verses 28-32 tell the wrongdoers that they are led by their own appetites without real knowledge. In the forgoing section, arguments have been given both for Tawhid and for the Hereafter; now the discourse turns to only Tawhid.
( 28 )   He presents to you an example from yourselves. Do you have among those whom your right hands possess any partners in what We have provided for you so that you are equal therein [and] would fear them as your fear of one another [within a partnership]? Thus do We detail the verses for a people who use reason.
The mushriks, even after admitting that Allah is the Creator and Master of the earth and heavens and all that they contain, held some of His creatures as associates in His attributes and powers, and prayed to them, presented offerings and performed rites of worship before them. Their belief regarding their self-made associates is found in the words of the Talbih that they used to pronounce while going round the Kaabah. They said: “Here I am, O Allah, here I am in Thy presence! Thou hast no partner except the partner who is Thy own. Thou art his owner as well as owner of what he owns.” (Tabarani on the authority of Ibn Abbas). Allah has refuted this kind of shirk in this verse. The argument is to this effect: “When you do not make your own slaves partners in your wealth, how do you think and believe that Allah will make His creatures partners in His Godhead?”
( 29 )   But those who wrong follow their [own] desires without knowledge. Then who can guide one whom Allah has sent astray? And for them there are no helpers.
When a person neither thinks on the right way by himself, nor is prepared to listen to a well-wisher, his intellect comes under the curse of Allah. After this everything that can help reasonable person to reach the truth, only helps this stubborn and ignorant person to be involved more and more deeply in further deviation and error. This is what has been conveyed in the word “sending astray”. When a truth-loving person invokes Allah for the grace of guidance, Allah creates for him maximum means of the guidance according to the sincerity of his invocation. And when a strayed person insists on his deviation, Allah creates for him the means which mislead him further and further away from the truth.”
( 30 )   So direct your face toward the religion, inclining to truth. [Adhere to] the fitrah of Allah upon which He has created [all] people. No change should there be in the creation of Allah. That is the correct religion, but most of the people do not know.
Another translation of this verse can be: “Do not affect any alteration in the nature made by Allah.” That is, it is not right to corrupt and spoil the nature on which Allah has created man.

The verse explains after a person has adopted the way of Islam, then he should not turn his face to any other direction . Then he should think like a Muslim and his likes and dislikes should be of a Muslim. That means your values and standards should be the ones set by Islam and your character and conduct should bear the stamp of Islam, and the affairs of your individual and collective life should be ordered according to the way taught by Islam.

It has been clarified that all human beings have been created on the nature that none but One Allah is their Creator and Lord and Deity. You should be steadfast on this nature. If you adopt the attitude of independence, you will be following a way opposed to your nature, and if you serve and worship another besides Allah, then you will be working against your nature.”

It is being stressed here that Allah has made man His servant and created him only for his own service. This natural disposition of man cannot be altered, however hard one may try. Neither can man effect a change in his position of a servant, nor can anything other than Allah become his Allah in the real sense. Man may make for himself as many gods as he may please, but the fact remains that he is the servant of none but One Allah alone. Man by his own folly and ignorance may regard anyone as holder of divine attributes and powers and take any one as the maker and breaker of his destiny, but the fact of the matter is that neither does anyone other than Allah possess divine attributes nor His authority, nor has anyone else the power to make or mar the destiny of man.
( 31 )   [Adhere to it], turning in repentance to Him, and fear Him and establish prayer and do not be of those who associate others with Allah
Both turning to Allah and having fear of His wrath are the acts of the heart. This state of the heart, for its manifestation and stability, inevitably needs a physical act, which they make it known to others in society that so and so has really returned to the service of One Allah alone, and which, at the same time, may go on nourishing and developing the state of piety and devotion in his own self by means of practical experience and discipline. That is why immediately after giving the command for a mental change Allah has given the command for this physical act, i.e. establishment of the Salat.

Here, it should be noted that the command for the establishment of the Prayer was given at Makkah at a time when a handful of the Muslims were being severely persecuted by the disbelieving Quraish, and went on being persecuted for another nine years after this. At that time there was no sign of the Islamic government yet in sight. If the offering of the Prayer was meaningless without the Islamic government, as some ignorant people think, or if the establishment of the Salat did not mean the offering of the Prayer at all but the establishment of Nizami- Rububiyat (order of providence), as the deniers of Hadith claim, the Quranic injunction at that stage would have been meaningless. The question is: How did the Prophet (peace be upon him) and the Muslims carry out this command for nine years after it had been enjoined?
( 32 )   [Or] of those who have divided their religion and become sects, every faction rejoicing in what it has.
All the religions found in the world today have appeared because of the corruption of the original way of life. This corruption occurred because different people added their different self made creeds to the natural realities and created separate sects and everyone became a devotee of the additional thing, which was the basis of the separate sect, and gave up the original way of life. Now the only way of attaining true guidance is that one should return to the original reality which was the basis of the true faith, and rid oneself of all the later additions and excrescences and their devotees. If he still keeps any kind of contact with them, he will only be harming the true faith.

Verses 33-37 are about thankless people when and affliction befalls on them, they call upon Allah, but when He relieves them, lo! They start committing shirk:
( 33 )   And when adversity touches the people, they call upon their Lord, turning in repentance to Him. Then when He lets them taste mercy from Him, at once a party of them associate others with their Lord,
This is a clear proof of the fact that in the depths of their heart there still exists an evidence of Tawhid. Whenever the hopes start crumbling, their hearts cry out from within that the real Ruler of the universe is its Master and His help alone can improve their lot. But when their demands are met, they again start presenting offerings before other deities, and claiming that their misfortune has been removed through the help and grace of such and such a saint and shrine.
( 34 )   so that they may show ingratitude to Us for the favours We had bestowed upon them. So, enjoy yourselves a while; but then you shall soon come to know.
 Please concentrate on the Divine warning, very few understand while they enjoy their lives and forgetting that one day they will be answerable for their deeds.
( 35 )   Or have We sent down to them an authority, and it speaks of what they were associating with Him?
That is, what authority have do they have to say that the calamities are not averted by Allah but by the so called saint? Does common sense approve of it? Or, is there any divine Book which says that Allah has delegated His powers to such and such saints, and that they should now be invoked by the people to help them out of difficulties?

This is true even today. Many Muslims too have gotten into habit of going to saints and peers for their needs and praise them when their demands are realized. But they fail to understand that the actual realizer of their demands in none but Allah. It is their weak faith that takes them to saints and peers, for which they will certainly be questioned.
( 36 )   And when We let the people taste mercy, they rejoice therein, but if evil afflicts them for what their hands have put forth, immediately they despair.
In the preceding verse the man has been censured for his ignorance, folly and ingratitude. In this verse, he has been censured for puerility and meanness. When a person attains a little wealth and power and respect, and he sees that his business has started flourishing, he forgets that he has been given all this by Allah. He exults at his success and is so puffed up and conceited that he has neither any regard left for Allah nor for the people. But as soon as good luck deserts him, he loses heart and a single stroke of ill-luck so disheartens and frustrates him that he is prepared to do any mean thing, even commit suicide.
( 37 )   Do they not see that Allah extends provision for whom He wills and restricts [it]? Indeed, in that are signs for a people who believe.
That is, the believers can learn how disbelief and shirk affect man’s morality and what is the impact of belief in Allah on his morals. The person who sincerely believes in Allah and looks upon Him as the Master of the treasure houses of provisions, can never be involved in meanness, in which those forgetful ones of God are involved. If he is given abundantly he will not be puffed up; he will rather be grateful to Allah, will treat his fellowmen generously and benevolently, and will spend his God given wealth for His sake. On the other hand, he will exercise patience; he will never gamble away his honesty and self respect, but will have hope of Allah’s bounty till the last. Such a moral excellence can neither fall to the lot of an atheist nor of a polytheist.”

In verses 38-40 Divine commandment are given to give the relatives their due and likewise to the poor and the wayfarers in need:
( 38 )   So give the relative his right, as well as the needy and the traveler. That is best for those who desire the countenance of Allah, and it is they who will be the successful.
It has not been said: “Give charity to the relative, the needy and the wayfarer, but their due because this is their right (due to them from you), which you must give them in any case. You should remember it well that if the real owner of the wealth has given you more than others, your extra wealth is, in fact, the right of others, which has been given to you for your trial so that your Lord may see whether you recognize the rights of others and render their rights to them or not.

This does not mean that true success can be attained just by rendering the rights of the needy and the wayfarer and the relative and nothing else is needed to be done for this. But it means that those who do not recognize these rights of others nor render them, will not attain true success. It will be attained by those who render the rights sincerely only for the sake of Allah’s goodwill and pleasure.
( 39 )   And whatever you give for interest to increase within the wealth of people will not increase with Allah. But what you give in zakah, desiring the countenance of Allah - those are the multipliers.
This is the first verse revealed in the Quran that condemned interest. It only says this: “You pay interest thinking that it will cause an increase in the wealth of the money-lender. But actually, in the sight of Allah, interest does not increase the wealth, but the wealth is increased by the payment of the Zakat.” Afterwards, when the commandment prohibiting interest was sent down at Al- Madinah, it was said: “Allah deprives interest of all blessing and develops charity.” (For the later commands, see (Surah Aal-Imran: Ayat 130), and (Surah Al-Baqarah: Ayats 275 to 281).

In the period when Surah Ar-Rum was sent down, interest had not been forbidden yet. The prohibition was made several years afterwards. The way of the Quran is that it first prepares the minds for the thing that it has to prohibit at a later stage. About wine the only thing said in the beginning was that it is not pure food. (Surah An-Nahl: Ayat 67). Then in (Surah Al-Baqarah: Ayat 219), it was said that the harm of its sin is greater than its benefit. Then it was enjoined that the Prayer should not be offered in the state of intoxication. (Surah An-Nisa: Ayat 43). Then, finally, it was prohibited totally. Similarly, about interest here it has been only said that it does not increase the wealth, but the real increase is caused by the Zakat. After this, the compound interest was forbidden (Surah Aal- Imran: Ayat 130); and finally, interest itself was made absolutely unlawful. (Surah Al-Baqarah: Ayat 275).

There is no limit to this increase. The greater the sincerity of intention, the deeper will be the sense of sacrifice. The greater the intensity of desire for Allah’s pleasure with which a person spends his wealth in His way, the greater and more handsome will be the rewards that Allah will give to him. According to an authentic Hadith, even if a person gives a fig in the way of Allah, Allah will increase it to the size of Mount Uhud.

From 40, the discourse once again turns to the theme of Tawhid and the Hereafter for the admonition of the disbelievers and the mushriks.
( 40 )   Allah is the one who created you, then provided for you, then will cause you to die, and then will give you life. Are there any of your "partners" who does anything of that? Exalted is He and high above what they associate with Him.
It is being said here that it is He alone Who provided all the various means in the earth for your sustenance and made such arrangements that everyone should receive something from the circulation of the provision. And if those whom you have set up as deities can neither create, nor provide sustenance, nor have power over life and death, nor can raise you back to life after death, then what for have you set them up as your deities?

Rukhu 5 [41-53]
In verses 41-45 it is said that the mischief in the land is the result of Man's own misdeeds, that's how Allah let them taste the fruit of their deeds:
( 41 )   Corruption has appeared throughout the land and sea by [reason of] what the hands of people have earned so He may let them taste part of [the consequence of] what they have done that perhaps they will return [to righteousness]
This is again an allusion to the war that was going on between Byzantium and Iran, which was telling on the whole of the Middle East. “What the hands of people have earned” means the wickedness and oppression and tyranny, which inevitably appear in human conduct and character as a result of adopting shirk and atheism and ignoring the Hereafter. “Perhaps they may return” means that Allah shows the evil consequences of some of the acts of men in this world before the punishment of the Hereafter so that they understand the reality, feel the error of their conjectures and turn to the righteous belief, which the Prophets of Allah have been presenting before man since the earliest times, and besides adopting which there is no other way of ordering human conduct on sound foundations. This subject has been presented at several places in the Quran, e.g. in (Surah At-Taubah: Ayat 126), (Surah Ar-Raad: Ayat 31), (Surah As-Sajdah: Ayat 21), (Surah At-Tur: Ayat 47).
( 42 )   Say, [O Muhammad], "Travel through the land and observe how was the end of those before. Most of them were associators [of others with Allah].
That is, “The disastrous war between Byzantium and Iran is not a new thing of its kind. The past history of mankind is full of the accounts of the destruction of great nations. The root cause of the evils that caused the destruction of those nations was shirk which you are today being admonished to avoid.”
( 43 )   So direct your face toward the correct religion before a Day comes from Allah of which there is no repelling. That Day, they will be divided.( 44 )   Whoever disbelieves - upon him is [the consequence of] his disbelief. And whoever does righteousness - they are for themselves preparing,
That is, “The Day which neither Allah Himself will avert nor has He given power to anyone else to avert it.”

This is a comprehensive sentence which encompasses all those harms which can afflict a disbeliever on account of his disbelief. No list of the harms could be so comprehensive as this.
( 45 )   That He may reward those who have believed and done righteous deeds out of His bounty. Indeed, He does not like the disbelievers.
Verses 46-53 Allah tells that He sent His Rasools for the guidance of people, some believed while other rejected. So Allah subjected the guilty to His retribution and helped the Believers. Consoling the Prophet of Allah who sometime felt dejected when disbelievers did not listen to him it is being said: O Prophet you cannot make the dead to hear you:
( 46 )   And of His signs is that He sends the winds as bringers of good tidings and to let you taste His mercy and so the ships may sail at His command and so you may seek of His bounty, and perhaps you will be grateful.
( 47 )   And We have already sent messengers before you to their peoples, and they came to them with clear evidences; then We took retribution from those who committed crimes, and incumbent upon Us was support of the believers.
That is, “One kind of the signs are those which are scattered in the world around man, which he comes across at every moment of his life, one of which is the system of the circulation of winds, as mentioned in the preceding verse. The other kinds of the signs are those which the Prophets of Allah brought in the form of the miracles and divine revelations and the extraordinary pure characters and their healthy and life-giving influence on human society. Both kinds of the signs point to the same reality, which is this: The Tauhid which the prophets teach is based on the truth. Each of these signs supports the other. The signs of the universe testify to the truth of what the Prophets say, and the signs brought by the Prophets explain the reality being pointed out by the signs of the universe.”

“Who committed crimes”: those who remained blind to these two kinds of the signs and persisted in their denial of Tauhid and their rebellion against God.
( 48 )   It is Allah who sends the winds, and they stir the clouds and spread them in the sky however He wills, and He makes them fragments so you see the rain emerge from within them. And when He causes it to fall upon whom He wills of His servants, immediately they rejoice( 49 )   Although they were, before it was sent down upon them - before that, in despair.
( 50 )   So observe the effects of the mercy of Allah - how He gives life to the earth after its lifelessness. Indeed, that [same one] will give life to the dead, and He is over all things competent.
There is a subtle allusion in the mention of the Prophethood and the rain, one after the other, to the reality that the advent of a Prophet is a blessing for man’s moral life even as the coming of the rain proves to be a blessing for his material life. Just as the dead earth awakens to life by a shower of the rain from the sky and starts blooming and swelling with vegetation, so is the morally and spiritually desolate human world quickened to life at the coming down of divine revelation and starts blossoming with moral excellences and virtues. This is the disbelievers’ own misfortune that they show ingratitude, and regard the blessing of Prophethood as a portent of death for themselves instead of a good news of life.
( 51 )   But if We should send a [bad] wind and they saw [their crops] turned yellow, they would remain thereafter disbelievers.
That is, a frosty wind or a heat wave which ruins their crops after they started flourishing by the shower of rain. And then they start cursing God and blaming Him for all their misfortunes and troubles, whereas when God had showered His blessings on them, they had shown ingratitude instead of being grateful to Him. Here again there is a subtle allusion to the theme that when the Messengers of Allah bring the messages of mercy to the people, they do not listen to them and reject the blessing; then when God imposes tyrants and despots upon them in consequence of their disbelief, who persecute them severely, and destroy their humanity, the same people start abusing and blaming God for creating a world full of tyranny and cruelty.
( 52 )   (O Prophet), you cannot make the dead hear, nor can you make the deaf hear your call when they turn back in retreat.
That is, those whose consciences have become dead, whose moral selves have become devoid of life, whose self-worship and stubbornness and obstinacy have destroyed their capacity to understand and accept the truth.

“The deaf”: those who have put locks on their minds and hearts so that they do not understand anything although they hear everything; then, when such people also try that the message of the truth should not at all enter their ears, and they should avoid and keep away from the inviter, nobody can make them hear and understand anything.
( 53 )   And you cannot guide the blind away from their error. You will only make hear those who believe in Our verses so they are Muslims [in submission to Allah].
That is, “It is not for the Prophet that he should help and guide the blind by the hand to the right way all through the life. He can only show guidance to the right path. But guiding those whose hearts have been blinded and who do not at all see the way that the Prophet tries to show them, is not within the power of the Prophets.”

Rukhu 6 [54-60]
The concluding verses 54-60 expound on the fact that it is Allah Who has created you and shall bring you to justice on the Day of Judgement
( 54 )   Allah is the one who created you from weakness, then made after weakness strength, then made after strength weakness and white hair. He creates what He wills, and He is the Knowing, the Competent.
That is, “The states of childhood and youth and old age have all been created by Him. It is dependent upon His will that He may create whomsoever He pleases weak and whomever He pleases strong. He may give death to whomsoever He pleases before attaining manhood and whomsoever He pleases in the prime of youth. He may grant a long life and yet keep in sound health whomsoever He pleases and bring to a wretched, agonizing old age after a brimful youth whomever He likes. Man may live in self conceit and arrogance if he so likes, but he is so helpless in God’s powerful grip that he cannot change by any artifice the state that He may place him in.”
( 55 )   And the Day the Hour appears the criminals will swear they had remained but an hour. Thus they were deluded.
Here the mention is that of the Resurrection: That is, from the time of death till Resurrection. Even if thousands of years might have elapsed since their death they will feel that they had gone to sleep a few hours earlier and then a sudden calamity had roused them from sleep. They used to make similar wrong estimates in the world. There also they lacked the realization of reality, and therefore, used to assert that there was going to be no Resurrection, no life-after-death, and no accountability before God.
( 56 )   But those who were given knowledge and faith will say, "You remained the extent of Allah 's decree until the Day of Resurrection, and this is the Day of Resurrection, but you did not used to know."
( 57 )   So that Day, their excuse will not benefit those who wronged, nor will they be asked to appease [Allah].
Another translation can be: “nor it will be required of them to please their Lord”, because they will have lost all opportunity for recourse to repentance and faith and righteous acts, and wasted the time allotted for the test and reached the eve of the announcement of the result.
( 58 )   And We have certainly presented to the people in this Qur'an from every [kind of] example. But, [O Muhammad], if you should bring them a sign, the disbelievers will surely say, "You [believers] are but falsifiers."( 59 )   Thus does Allah seal the hearts of those who do not know.
( 60 )   So be patient. Indeed, the promise of Allah is truth. And let them not disquiet you who are not certain [in faith].
The allusion is to the promise made in (verse 47) above. There, Allah has mentioned His way of taking vengeance on those criminals who denied and resisted and ridiculed stubbornly the clear signs brought by the Messengers of Allah, and of helping the believers.

That is, “Let not the enemies find you so weak as to suppress you by their uproar, nor to subdue you by their campaign of slander-mongering, nor to dishearten you by their jesting, taunts and derision, nor frighten you by their threats, show of power and persecution, nor allure you by offering baits, nor make you effect a compromise with them on the basis of their appeals in the name of national interests. Instead of this, they should find you so sagacious in the awareness of your objective, so firm in faith and conviction, so resolute in determination, and so strong in character that they should neither be able to subdue you by threats, nor purchase you, nor lure you away by temptation, nor strike any bargain with you in the matter of the faith. This whole theme has been compressed in a short sentence by Allah, saying: “Let not those who lack faith find you light.” Now this is borne out by the firm evidence of history that the Prophet (peace be upon him) proved to be as invincible and indomitable as Allah wanted His last Prophet to be. Anyone who tried his strength with him in any field and sphere was routed, and eventually the Prophet (peace be upon him) succeeded in bringing about the desired revolution in spite of every kind of opposition and resistance put up by the whole of polytheistic and unbelieving Arabia.”

You may now like to listen to Arabic recitation of Surah Ar-Rūm with English subtitles:

You may refer to our post "114 Chapters (Sūrahs) of the Holy Qur'an" for translation, meaning and summary / exegesis of other chapters (Though not complete but building up from 30th Juzʼ / Part backwards for chapters in 30th Juzʼ / Part are shorter and easier to understand). 

Photo | References: | 1 | 2 | 3 | 45 |
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. [4]
  • And the exegesis of the chapters of the Holy Quran are basically 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. [1]
  • 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. 
If you like Islam: My Ultimate Decision, and to keep yourself updated on all our latest posts to know more about Islam, follow us on Facebook

Please share this page to your friends and family members through Facebook, WhatsApp or any means on Social Media so that they can also be benefited by it and better understand Islam and the Holy Qur'an - Insha Allah (Allah Willing) you shall be blessed with the best of both worlds.

Tuesday 25 June 2019

The Historical Background of Revelation of Surah Ar Rum - The Romans

Surah Ar-Rūm is the thirtieth surah with 60 ayahs with six rukus, part of the 21st Juzʼ  of the Holy Qur'an. The Surah takes its name Ar-Rum from the second verse in which the words ghulibat-ir-Rum have occurred. The term Rûm originated in the word "Romans" and in the time of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) referred to the Byzantine Greeks (Eastern Roman Empire), hence the title is sometimes also translated as "The Greeks" or "The Byzantines".
The Romans have been defeated in the neighbouring land; but after their defeat they shall gain victory in a few years [Verses 2-3 Surah Ar Rūm]
The prediction made in the initial verses of this Surah is one of the most outstanding evidences of the Quran's being the word of Allah and the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) being a true Messenger of Allah. Otherwise how could have Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) predicted the victory for the Romans when they had been defeated overwhelmingly by the Persians and apparently there were no signs of the recovery from the defeat, what to talk of victory over the Zoroastrians

Before we present the translation / exegesis / Tafseer of Surah Ar Rūm, it would be appropriate to understand the historical background under which this surah was revealed. Let us have a look at the historical background relevant to the verses.

Eight years before the prophethood of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), the Byzantine Emperor Maurice was overthrown by Phocus, who captured the throne and became king. Phocus first got the Emperor's five sons executed in front of him, and then got the Emperor also killed and hung their heads in a thoroughfare in Constantinople. A few days after this he had the empress and her three daughters also put to death. The event provided Khusrau Parvez, the Sassanid king of Iran; a good moral excuse to attack Byzantium, for Emperor Maurice had been his benefactor; with his help he had got the throne of Iran. Therefore, he declared that he would avenge his godfather's and his children's murder upon Phocus. He therefore waged a war against Byzantium in 603 A. D. and within a few years, he routed the Phocus' armies and reached Edessa (modern, Urfa) in Asia Minor and Aleppo and Antioch in Syria. When the Byzantine ministers saw that Phocus could not save the country, they sought the African governor's help, who sent his son, Heraclius, to Constantinople with a strong fleet. Phocus was immediately deposed and Heraclius made emperor. He treated Phocus as he had treated Maurice. This happened in 610 A. D., the year the Holy Prophet was appointed to Prophethood.

The moral excuse for which Khusrau Parvez had started the war was no more valid after the deposition and death of Phocus. Had the object of his war really been to avenge the murder of his ally on Phocus for his cruelty, he would have come to terms with the new Emperor after the death of Phocus. But he continued the war, and gave it the color of a crusade between Zoroastrianism and Christianity. The sympathies of the Christian sects (i. e. Nestorians and Jacobians, etc.) which had been excommunicated by the Roman ecclesiastical authority and tyrannized for years also went with the Magian (Zoroastrian) invaders, and the Jews also joined hands with them; so much so that the number of the Jews who enlisted in Khusrau's army rose up to 26,000.

Heraclius could not stop this storm. The very first news that he received from the East after ascending the throne was that of the Iranian occupation of Antioch. After this Damascus fell in 613 A. D. Then in 614 A.D. the Iranians occupying Jerusalem played havoc with the Christian world. Ninety thousand Christians were massacred and the Holy Sepulcher was desecrated. The Original Cross on which, according to the Christian belief, Jesus had died was seized and carried to Mada'in. The chief priest Zechariah was taken prisoner and all the important churches of the city were destroyed. How puffed up was Khusrau Parvez at this victory can be judged from the letter that he wrote to Heraclius from Jerusalem. He wrote:
"From Khusrau, the greatest of all gods, the master of the whole world: To Heraclius, his most wretched and most stupid servant: You say that you have trust in your Lord. why didn't then your Lord save Jerusalem from me?"
Within a year after this victory the Iranian armies overran Jordan, Palestine and the whole of the Sinai Peninsula, and reached the frontiers of Egypt. Concurrently in those days another conflict of a far greater historical consequence was going on in Makkah. The believers in One Allah, under the leadership of the Prophet Muhammad (may Allah's peace be upon him), were fighting for their existence against the followers of shirk under the command of the chiefs of the Quraish, and the conflict had reached such a stage that in 615 A. D., a substantial number of the Muslims had to leave their homes and take refuge with the Christian kingdom of Habash, which was an ally of the Byzantine Empire. In those days the Sassanid victories against Byzantium were the talk of the town, and the pagans of Makkah were delighted and were taunting the Muslims to the effect: 
"Look the fire worshipers of Iran are winning victories and the Christian believers in Revelation and Prophethood are being routed everywhere. Likewise, we, the idol worshipers of Arabia, will exterminate you and your religion."
These were the conditions when this Surah of the Quran was sent down, and in it a prediction was made, saying:
"The Romans have been vanquished in the neighboring land and within a few years after their defeat, they shall be victorious. And it will be the day when the believers will rejoice in the victory granted by Allah." 
It contained not one but two predictions: First, the Romans shall be victorious; and second, the Muslims also shall win a victory at the same time. Apparently, there was not a remote chance of the fulfillment of the either prediction in the next few years. On the one hand, there were a handful of the Muslims, who were being beaten and tortured in Makkah, and even till eight years after this prediction there appeared no chance of their victory and domination. On the other, the Romans were losing more and more ground every next day. By 619 A. D. the whole of Egypt had passed into Sassanid hands and the Magian armies (Magi denotes followers of Zoroastrianism or Zoroaster) had reached as far as Tripoli. In Asia Minor they had beaten and pushed back the Romans to Bosporus, and in 617 A. D. they captured Chalcedon (modern, Kadikoy) just opposite Constantinople. The Emperor sent an envoy to Khusrau, praying that he was ready to have peace on any terms, but he replied, "I shall not give protection to the emperor until he is brought in chains before me and gives up obedience to his crucified god and adopts submission to the fire god." At last, the Emperor became so depressed by defeat that he decided to leave Constantinople and shift to Carthage (modern, Tunis). In short, as the British historian Gibbon says, even seven to eight years after this prediction of the Quran, the conditions were such that no one could even imagine that the Byzantine Empire would ever gain an upper hand over Iran. Not to speak of gaining domination, no one could hope that the Empire, under the circumstances, would even survive.

The initial portion of verse 3 spells out the time period of the glad tidings:

فِىۡ بِضۡعِ سِنِيۡنَ

bid`i sinin, and the word bid` in Arabic applies to a number upto ten. Therefore, make the bet for ten years and increase the number of camels to a hundred." So, Hadrat Abu Bakr spoke to Ubayy again and bet a hundred camels for ten years.

In 622 A. D. as the Holy Prophet migrated to Madinah, the Emperor Heraclius set off quietly for Trabzon from Constantinople via the Black Sea and started preparations to attack Iran from rear. For this he asked the Church for money, and Pope Sergius lent him the Church collections on interest, in a bid to save Christianity from Zoroastrianism. Heraclius started his counter attack in 623 A. D. from Armenia. Next year, in 624 A. D., he entered Azerbaijan and destroyed Clorumia, the birthplace of Zoroaster, and ravaged the principal fire temple of Iran. Great are the powers of Allah, this was the very year when the Muslims achieved a decisive victory at Badr for the first time against the mushriks. Thus both the predictions made in Surah Rum were fulfilled simultaneously within the stipulated period of ten years.

The Byzantine forces continued to press the Iranians hard and in the decisive battle at Nineveh (627 A.D.) they dealt them the hardest blow. They captured the royal residence of Dastagerd, and then pressing forward reached right opposite to Ctesiphon, capital of Iran in those days. In 628 A. D. in an internal revolt, Khusrau Parvez was imprisoned and 18 of his sons were executed in front of him and a few days later he himself died in the prison. This was the year when the peace treaty of Hudaibiya was concluded, which the Quran has termed as "the supreme victory", and in this very year Khusrau's son, Qubad II, gave up all the occupied Roman territories, restored the True Cross and made peace with Byzantium. In 628 A. D., the Emperor himself went to Jerusalem to install the "Holy Cross" in its place, and in the same year the Holy Prophet entered Makkah for the first time after the Hijrah to perform the `Umra-tul-Qada'.

In some traditions Heraclius is seen as a just ruler of great piety, who had direct contact with the emerging Islamic forces. The 14th-century scholar Ibn Kathir (d. 1373) went even further, stating that "Heraclius was one of the wisest men and among the most resolute, shrewd, deep and opinionated of kings. He ruled the Romans with great leadership and splendor." Some historians often cite a letter that they claim Heraclius wrote to Muhammad: "I have received your letter with your ambassador and I testify that you are the messenger of God found in our New Testament. Jesus, son of Mary, announced you." According to the Muslim sources reported by El-Cheikh, he tried to convert the ruling class of the Empire, but they resisted so strongly that he reversed his course and claimed that he was just testing their faith in Christianity. El-Cheikh notes that these accounts of Heraclius add "little to our historical knowledge" of the emperor; rather, they are an important part of "Islamic kerygma," attempting to legitimize Muhammad's status as a prophet.

Scroll down for an informative video on this subject

After this no one could have any doubt about the truth of the prophecy of the Quran, with the result that most of the Arab polytheists accepted Islam. The heirs of Ubayy bin Khalaf lost their bet and had to give a hundred camels to Hadrat Abu Bakr Siddiq. He took them before the Holy Prophet, who ordered that they be given away in charity, because the bet had been made at a time when gambling had not yet been forbidden by the Shari`ah; now it was forbidden. Therefore, the bet was allowed to be accepted from the belligerent disbelievers, but instruction given that it should be given away in charity and should not be brought in personal use.

Theme of the Surah:
The discourse begins with the theme that the Romans have been overcome and the people the world over think that the empire is about to collapse, but the fact is that within a few years the tables will be turned and the vanquished will again become victorious.

This introductory theme contains the great truth that man is accustomed to seeing only what is apparent and superficial. That which is behind the apparent and superficial he does not know. When in the petty matters of life, this habit to see only the apparent and superficial can lead man to misunderstandings and miscalculations, and when he is liable to make wrong estimates only due to lack of knowledge about "what will happen tomorrow", how stupendous will be his error if he risks his whole life-activity by placing reliance only upon what is visible and apparent with respect to his worldly life as a whole.

In this connection, the Signs of the universe which have been presented as evidence to prove the doctrine of the Hereafter arc precisely the same which support the doctrine of Tauhid. Therefore from verse 28 onward, the discourse turns to the affirmation of Tauhid and the refutation of shirk, and it is stressed that the natural way of life for man is none else but to serve One God exclusively. Shirk is opposed to the nature of the universe as to the nature of man. Therefore, whenever man has adopted this deviation, chaos has resulted. Again here, an allusion has been made to the great chaos that had gripped the world on account of the war between the two major powers of the time, and it has been indicated that this chaos too, is the result of shirk, and all the nations who were ever involved in mischief and chaos in the history of mankind were also mushriks.

In conclusion, a parable has been presented to make the people understand that just as dead earth comes to life, all of a sudden, by a shower of rain sent by God and swells with vegetation and plant life, so is the case with the dead humanity. When God sends a shower of His mercy in the form of Revelation and Prophethood, it also gives a new life to mankind and causes it to grow and develop and flourish. Therefore: "If you take full advantage of this opportunity, the barren land of Arabia will bloom by Allah's mercy and the whole advantage will be your. But if you do not take advantage of it, you will harm only yourselves. Then no regret will avail and no opportunity will be provided to make amends."

This is the general historical perspective under which this important surah was revealed and the theme of the surah which sets forth the mindset for better understanding of the exegesis / tafseer of the surah which will be presented in our next post.

You may like to watch a video about the letter by the Prophet ﷺ to Heraclius, the Roman Emperor:
Photo | References: | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 |
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.

You may refer to our post "114 Chapters (Sūrahs) of the Holy Qur'an" for translation, meaning and summary / exegesis of other chapters (Though not complete but building up from 30th Juzʼ / Part backwards for chapters in 30th Juzʼ / Part are shorter and easier to understand). 

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. [3]
  • And the exegesis of the chapters of the Holy Quran are basically 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. [1]
  • 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. 
If you like Islam: My Ultimate Decision, and to keep yourself updated on all our latest posts to know more about Islam, follow us on Facebook

Please share this page to your friends and family members through Facebook, WhatsApp or any means on Social Media so that they can also be benefited by it and better understand Islam and the Holy Qur'an - Insha Allah (Allah Willing) you shall be blessed with the best of both worlds.

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