VERSES
98
PAGES
305-312

Name

It takes its name from v. 16.

Period of Revelation

It was revealed before the Migration to Habash. We learn from authentic Traditions that Hadrat Ja'afar recited vv. 1-40 of this Surah in the court of Negus when he called the migrants to his court.

Historical Background

We have already briefly referred to the conditions of that period in the introduction to Surah Al-Kahf. Here we shall give rather fuller details of the same conditions, which will be helpful in grasping the meaning of this Surah and the other Surahs of the period. When the chiefs of the Quraish felt that they had failed to suppress the Islamic movement by ridicule, sarcasm, and by holding out promises and threats and by making false accusations, they resorted to persecution, beating and economic pressure. They would catch hold of the new Muslims of their clans and persecute them, starve them and would even inflict physical torture on them in order to coerce them to give up Islam. The most pitiful victims of their persecution were the poor people and the slaves and the proteges of the Quraish. They were beaten black and blue, were imprisoned and kept thirsty and hungry and were dragged on the burning sands of Makkah. The people would get work from the professional laborers but would not pay them their wages. As an instance we give below the story of Hadrat Khabbab bin Arat, which is given in Bukhari and Muslim :

"I used to work as a blacksmith in Makkah. Once I did some work for As bin Wa'il. When I went to ask for my wages, he said, 'I will not pay your wages unless you disown Muhammad'."

In the same connection Hadrat Khabbab says, "One day the Holy Prophet was sitting in the shadow of the Ka'abah. I went to him and said, '0 Messenger of Allah, now persecution has gone to its extreme; why do you not pray to Allah (for relief)?' At this the Holy Prophet was greatly moved. He said, 'The believers before you were persecuted much more than you. Their bones were scraped with combs of iron and their heads were cut with saws, but still they did not give up their Faith. I assure you that Allah will fulfill this Mission, and there will come a period of such peace that one would travel from Sanna to Hadramaut, and he will have no fear from anyone, save Allah. But you people have already become impatient'." (Bukhari)

When the conditions became unbearable, the Holy Prophet, in the month of Rajab of the fifth year of Prophethood, gave advice to his Companions to this effect: "You may well migrate to Habash, for there is a king, who does not allow any kind of injustice to anyone, and there is good in his land. You should remain there till the time that Allah provides a remedy for your affliction".

Accordingly, at first, eleven men and four women left for Habash. The Quraish pursued them up to the coast but fortunately they got a timely boat for Habash at the sea-port of Shu'aibah, and they escaped attest. Then after a few months, other people migrated to Habash and their number rose to eighty-three men and eleven women of the Quraish and seven non-Quraish. After this, only forty persons were left with the Holy Prophet at Makkah.

There was a great hue and cry in Makkah after this Migration, for every family of the Quraish was adversely affected by this. There was hardly a family of the Quraish which did not lose a son, a son-in-law, a daughter, a brother or a sister. For instance, there were among the Migrants the near relatives of Abu Jahl, Abu Sufyan and other chief of the Quraish who were notorious for their persecution of the Muslims. As a result of this, some of them became even more bitter in their enmity of Islam, while there were others who were so moved by this that they embraced Islam. For instance, this Migration left a deep mark on Hadrat Umar. One of his relatives, Laila, daughter of Hathmah, says, "I was packing my luggage for Migration, while my husband, Amr bin Rabiy'ah, had gone out. In the meantime Umar came there and began to watch me, while I was engaged in preparation for the journey. Then he said, 'Are you also going to migrate?' I answered, 'Yes by God, you people have persecuted us much. But the wide earth of Allah is open for us. Now we are going to a place where Allah will grant us peace'. At this, I noticed such signs of emotion on the face of Umar as I had never seen before. He simply said, 'May God be with you' and went away."

After the migration, the Quraish held consultations, and decided to send Abdullah bin Abi Rabiy'ah, half brother of Abu Jahl, and Amr bin As to Habash with precious gifts so as to persuade Negus to send the migrants back to Makkah. Hadrat Umm Salmah (a wife of the Holy Prophet), who was among the migrants, has related this part of the story in detail. She says, "When these two clever statesmen of the Quraish reached Habash, they distributed the gifts among the courtiers of the King and persuaded them to recommend strongly to him to send the migrants back. Then they saw Negus himself and, presenting rich gifts to him, said, "Some headstrong brats of our city have come to your land and our chiefs have sent us to you with the request that you may kindly send them back. These brats have forsaken our faith and have not embraced your faith either, but have invented a new faith". As soon as they had finished their speech, all the courtiers recommended their case, saying, "We should send such people back to their city for their people know them better. It is not proper for us to keep them here." At this the King was annoyed and said, "I am not going to give them back without proper inquiry. As these people have put their trust in my country rather than in any other country and have come here to take shelter, I will not betray them. At first I will send for them and investigate into the allegations these people have made against them. Then I will make my final decision". Accordingly, the King sent for the Companions of the Holy Prophet and asked them to come to his court.

When the migrants received the message of the King, they assembled and held consultations as to what they should say to the King. At last they came to this unanimous decision: "We will present before the King the teachings of the Holy Prophet without adding anything to or withholding anything from them and leave it to him whether he lets us remain here or turns us out of his country". When they came to the court, the King put this problem abruptly before them:"I understand that you have given up the faith of your own people and have neither embraced my faith nor any other existing faith. I would like to know what your new faith is." At this, Jafar bin Abi Talib, on behalf of the migrants, made an extempore speech to this effect: "O King! We were sunk deep in ignorance and had become very corrupt; then Muhammad (Allah's peace be upon him) came to us as a Messenger of God, and did his best to reform us. But the Quraish began to persecute his followers, so we have come to your country in the hope that here we will be free from persecution". After his speech, the King said, "Please recite a piece of the Revelation which has been sent down by God to your Prophet". In response, Hadrat Jafar recited that portion of Surah Maryam which relates the story of Prophets John and Jesus (Allah's peace be upon them). The King listened to it and wept, so much so that his beard became wet with tears. When Hadrat Jafar finished the recital, he said:"Most surely this Revelation and the Message of Jesus have come from the same source. By God I will not give you up into the hands of these people".

Next day `Amr bin `As went to Negus and said, "Please send for them again and ask them concerning the creed they hold about Jesus, the son of Mary, for they say a horrible thing about him". The King again sent for the migrants, who had already learned about the scheme of Amr. They again sat together and held consultations in regard to the answer they should give to the King, if he asked about the belief they held about Prophet Jesus. Though this was a very critical situation and all of them were uneasy about it, they decided that they would say the same thing that Allah and His Messenger had taught them. Accordingly, when they went to the court, the King put them the question that had been suggested by Amr bin As. So Jafar bin Abi Talib stood up and answered without the least hesitation: "He was a Servant of Allah and His Messenger. He was a Spirit and a Word of Allah which had been sent to virgin Mary." At this the King picked up a straw from the ground and said, 'Bye God, Jesus was not worth this straw more than what you have said about him." After this the King returned the gifts sent by the Quraish, saying, "I do not take any bribe". Then he said to the migrants, "You are allowed to stay here in perfect peace."

Theme and Subject

Keeping in view this historical background, it becomes quite obvious that this Surah was sent down to serve the migrants as a "provision" for their journey to Habash, as if to say, "Though you are leaving your country as persecuted emigrants to a Christian country, you should not in the least hide anything from the teachings you have received. There- fore you should plainly say to the Christians that Prophet Jesus was not the son of God."

After relating the story of Prophets John and Jesus in vv. 1-40, the story of Prophet Abraham has been related (vv. 41-50) also for the benefit of the Migrants for he also had been forced like them to leave his country by the persecution of his father, his family and his country men. On the one hand, this meant to console the Emigrants that they were following the footsteps of Prophet Abraham and would attain the same good end as that Prophet did. On the other hand, it meant to warn the disbeliever, of Makkah that they should note it well that they were in the position of the cruel people who had persecuted their forefather and leader, Abraham, while the Muslim Emigrants were in the position of Prophet Abraham himself.

Then the mention of the other Prophets has been made in vv. 51-65 with a view to impress that Muhammad (Allah's peace be upon him) had brought the same way of Life that had been brought by the former Prophets but their followers had become corrupt and adopted wrong ways.

In the concluding passage (vv. 66-98), a strong criticism has been made of the evil ways of the disbelievers of Makkah, while the Believers have been given the good news that they would come out successful and become the beloved of the people, in spite of the worst efforts of the enemies of the Truth.

Source: Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an - The Meaning of the Quran

ﭑﭒﭓ

وَكَانَ يَأْمُرُ أَهْلَهُ بِالصَّلَاةِ وَالزَّكَاةِ وَكَانَ عِندَ رَبِّهِ مَرْضِيًّا

Transliteration

Wakana ya/muru ahlahu bissalatiwazzakati wakana AAinda rabbihi mardiyya

Dr. Ghali

And he used to command his family to (keep up) the prayer and (to give) Zakat; (The poordues) and he was most satisfied in the Providence of his Lord.

ﭿ

وَاذْكُرْ فِي الْكِتَابِ إِدْرِيسَ ۚ إِنَّهُ كَانَ صِدِّيقًا نَّبِيًّا

Transliteration

Wathkur fee alkitabiidreesa innahu kana siddeeqan nabiyya

Dr. Ghali

And mention in the Book ÉIdrîs; surely he was most sincere, a Prophet.

وَرَفَعْنَاهُ مَكَانًا عَلِيًّا

Dr. Ghali

And We raised him to a most exalted place.

Transliteration

WarafaAAnahu makanan AAaliyya

أُولَٰئِكَ الَّذِينَ أَنْعَمَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِم مِّنَ النَّبِيِّينَ مِن ذُرِّيَّةِ آدَمَ وَمِمَّنْ حَمَلْنَا مَعَ نُوحٍ وَمِن ذُرِّيَّةِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَإِسْرَائِيلَ وَمِمَّنْ هَدَيْنَا وَاجْتَبَيْنَا ۚ إِذَا تُتْلَىٰ عَلَيْهِمْ آيَاتُ الرَّحْمَٰنِ خَرُّوا سُجَّدًا وَبُكِيًّا ۩

Transliteration

Ola-ika allatheena anAAama AllahuAAalayhim mina annabiyyeena min thurriyyati adamawamimman hamalna maAAa noohin wamin thurriyyatiibraheema wa-isra-eela wamimman hadayna wajtabaynaitha tutla AAalayhim ayatu arrahmanikharroo sujjadan wabukiyya

Dr. Ghali

Those are they whom Allah has favored among the Prophets of the offspring of Adam, (Adam) and of the ones We carried with Nuh, (Noah) and of the offspring of Ibrahim (Abraham) and Israel) and of the ones We guided and selected. When the ayat (Verses or signs) of The All-Merciful were recited to them, they collapsed constantly prostrating and weeping. A prostration is to be performed here

فَخَلَفَ مِن بَعْدِهِمْ خَلْفٌ أَضَاعُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَاتَّبَعُوا الشَّهَوَاتِ ۖ فَسَوْفَ يَلْقَوْنَ غَيًّا

Transliteration

Fakhalafa min baAAdihim khalfun adaAAooassalata wattabaAAoo ashshahawatifasawfa yalqawna ghayya

Dr. Ghali

Then there succeeded even after them a succession who wasted the prayer and closely followed lusts; so they will eventually meet misguidance.

إِلَّا مَن تَابَ وَآمَنَ وَعَمِلَ صَالِحًا فَأُولَٰئِكَ يَدْخُلُونَ الْجَنَّةَ وَلَا يُظْلَمُونَ شَيْئًا

Dr. Ghali

Except him who repents and believes and does righteousness; so those will enter the Garden and they will not be done injustice in anything.

Transliteration

Illa man taba waamanawaAAamila salihan faola-ika yadkhuloonaaljannata wala yuthlamoona shay-a

جَنَّاتِ عَدْنٍ الَّتِي وَعَدَ الرَّحْمَٰنُ عِبَادَهُ بِالْغَيْبِ ۚ إِنَّهُ كَانَ وَعْدُهُ مَأْتِيًّا

Transliteration

Jannati AAadnin allatee waAAada arrahmanuAAibadahu bighaybi innahu kana waAAduhuma/tiyya

Dr. Ghali

Gardens of Adn (Eden) that The All-Merciful promised His bondmen in the Unseen; sure it is that His promise is forthcoming.

لَّا يَسْمَعُونَ فِيهَا لَغْوًا إِلَّا سَلَامًا ۖ وَلَهُمْ رِزْقُهُمْ فِيهَا بُكْرَةً وَعَشِيًّا

Dr. Ghali

They hear therein no idle (talk), except (only) peace; and they will have their provision therein before sunrise and at nightfall.

Transliteration

La yasmaAAoona feeha laghwanilla salaman walahum rizquhum feeha bukratanwaAAashiyya

ﯿ

تِلْكَ الْجَنَّةُ الَّتِي نُورِثُ مِنْ عِبَادِنَا مَن كَانَ تَقِيًّا

Dr. Ghali

That is the Garden which We cause the ones of Our bondmen who were pious, to inherit.

Transliteration

Tilka aljannatu allatee noorithu min AAibadinaman kana taqiyya

وَمَا نَتَنَزَّلُ إِلَّا بِأَمْرِ رَبِّكَ ۖ لَهُ مَا بَيْنَ أَيْدِينَا وَمَا خَلْفَنَا وَمَا بَيْنَ ذَٰلِكَ ۚ وَمَا كَانَ رَبُّكَ نَسِيًّا

Transliteration

Wama natanazzalu illa bi-amrirabbika lahu ma bayna aydeena wama khalfanawama bayna thalika wama kana rabbukanasiyya

Dr. Ghali

And we (The Angles) do not keep coming down except at the Command of your Lord. To Him belongs whatever is before us, (Literally: between our hands) and whatever is behind us, and whatever is between that. And in no way is your Lord forgetful.

رَّبُّ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَمَا بَيْنَهُمَا فَاعْبُدْهُ وَاصْطَبِرْ لِعِبَادَتِهِ ۚ هَلْ تَعْلَمُ لَهُ سَمِيًّا

Transliteration

Rabbu assamawati wal-ardiwama baynahuma faAAbudhu wastabirliAAibadatihi hal taAAlamu lahu samiyya

Dr. Ghali

The Lord of the heavens and the earth and whatever is between them. So worship Him, and (endure) patiently, constantly in His worship. Do you know of any that is given His namesake?

وَيَقُولُ الْإِنسَانُ أَإِذَا مَا مِتُّ لَسَوْفَ أُخْرَجُ حَيًّا

Dr. Ghali

And man says, "When I have (already) died, will I indeed be eventually brought out alive?

Transliteration

Wayaqoolu al-insanu a-itha mamittu lasawfa okhraju hayya

أَوَلَا يَذْكُرُ الْإِنسَانُ أَنَّا خَلَقْنَاهُ مِن قَبْلُ وَلَمْ يَكُ شَيْئًا

Dr. Ghali

And does not man remember that We created him earlier, and he was nothing?

Transliteration

Awa la yathkuru al-insanuanna khalaqnahu min qablu walam yaku shay-a

فَوَرَبِّكَ لَنَحْشُرَنَّهُمْ وَالشَّيَاطِينَ ثُمَّ لَنُحْضِرَنَّهُمْ حَوْلَ جَهَنَّمَ جِثِيًّا

Dr. Ghali

So, by your Lord, indeed We will definitely muster them and Ash-Shayatin (The ever-vicious ones, i.e., the devils) thereafter indeed We will definitely present them forward around Hell, (i.e., the disbelievers and the devils will be gathered around hell) (abjectly) kneeling.

Transliteration

Fawarabbika lanahshurannahum washshayateenathumma lanuhdirannahum hawla jahannama jithiyya

ﭿ

ثُمَّ لَنَنزِعَنَّ مِن كُلِّ شِيعَةٍ أَيُّهُمْ أَشَدُّ عَلَى الرَّحْمَٰنِ عِتِيًّا

Transliteration

Thumma lananziAAanna min kulli sheeAAatinayyuhum ashaddu AAala arrahmaniAAitiyya

Dr. Ghali

Thereafter indeed We will definitely draw out from every sect whichever of them was the most strict in rebellion against The All-Merciful.

ثُمَّ لَنَحْنُ أَعْلَمُ بِالَّذِينَ هُمْ أَوْلَىٰ بِهَا صِلِيًّا

Dr. Ghali

Thereafter indeed We know best the ones most deserving to roast constantly therein.

Transliteration

Thumma lanahnu aAAlamu billatheenahum awla biha siliyya

وَإِن مِّنكُمْ إِلَّا وَارِدُهَا ۚ كَانَ عَلَىٰ رَبِّكَ حَتْمًا مَّقْضِيًّا

Dr. Ghali

And decidedly not one of you (there is), except that he will go (herded) down to it; that, for your Lord, has been a thing decreed, a must.

Transliteration

Wa-in minkum illa wariduhakana AAala rabbika hatman maqdiyya

ثُمَّ نُنَجِّي الَّذِينَ اتَّقَوا وَّنَذَرُ الظَّالِمِينَ فِيهَا جِثِيًّا

Dr. Ghali

Thereafter We will safely deliver the ones who were pious and leave behind the unjust (ones), (abjectly) kneeling.

Transliteration

Thumma nunajjee allatheena ittaqawwanatharu aththalimeena feehajithiyya

وَإِذَا تُتْلَىٰ عَلَيْهِمْ آيَاتُنَا بَيِّنَاتٍ قَالَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا لِلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَيُّ الْفَرِيقَيْنِ خَيْرٌ مَّقَامًا وَأَحْسَنُ نَدِيًّا

Transliteration

Wa-itha tutla AAalayhim ayatunabayyinatin qala allatheena kafaroo lillatheenaamanoo ayyu alfareeqayni khayrun maqaman waahsanunadiyya

Dr. Ghali

And when Our ayat (Verses or signs) are recited to them as supremely evident (signs), the ones who have disbelieved say to the ones who have believed, "Whichever of the two groups is more charitable (i.e., better) in station and fairer council?"

وَكَمْ أَهْلَكْنَا قَبْلَهُم مِّن قَرْنٍ هُمْ أَحْسَنُ أَثَاثًا وَرِئْيًا

Transliteration

Wakam ahlakna qablahum min qarnin humahsanu athathan wari/ya

Dr. Ghali

And how many a generation We caused to perish before them. They were fairer in furnishings and outward show!

قُلْ مَن كَانَ فِي الضَّلَالَةِ فَلْيَمْدُدْ لَهُ الرَّحْمَٰنُ مَدًّا ۚ حَتَّىٰ إِذَا رَأَوْا مَا يُوعَدُونَ إِمَّا الْعَذَابَ وَإِمَّا السَّاعَةَ فَسَيَعْلَمُونَ مَنْ هُوَ شَرٌّ مَّكَانًا وَأَضْعَفُ جُندًا

Transliteration

Qul man kana fee addalalatifalyamdud lahu arrahmanu maddan hattaitha raaw ma yooAAadoona imma alAAathabawa-imma assaAAata fasayaAAlamoona man huwasharrun makanan waadAAafu junda

Dr. Ghali

Say, "Whoever has been in errancy, then indeed The All-Merciful will grant him an extension of days (Literally: extend for him an extension "of days") until, when they see what they were promised, whether the torment or the Hour, then they will soon know who is in an eviler place and weaker in hosts."

ﯿ

وَيَزِيدُ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ اهْتَدَوْا هُدًى ۗ وَالْبَاقِيَاتُ الصَّالِحَاتُ خَيْرٌ عِندَ رَبِّكَ ثَوَابًا وَخَيْرٌ مَّرَدًّا

Dr. Ghali

And Allah increases the ones who have been guided in guidance. And the enduring things, the deeds of righteousness, are more charitable from the Providence of your Lord in requital and more charitable for turning back.

Transliteration

Wayazeedu Allahu allatheenaihtadaw hudan walbaqiyatu assalihatukhayrun AAinda rabbika thawaban wakhayrun maradda

أَفَرَأَيْتَ الَّذِي كَفَرَ بِآيَاتِنَا وَقَالَ لَأُوتَيَنَّ مَالًا وَوَلَدًا

Dr. Ghali

So, have you seen (him) who has disbelieved in Our signs and said, "Indeed I will definitely be brought wealth and children"?

Transliteration

Afaraayta allathee kafara bi-ayatinawaqala laootayanna malan wawalada

أَطَّلَعَ الْغَيْبَ أَمِ اتَّخَذَ عِندَ الرَّحْمَٰنِ عَهْدًا

Transliteration

AttalaAAa alghayba ami ittakhathaAAinda arrahmani AAahda

Dr. Ghali

Has he viewed the Unseen or taken to himself a covenant from the Providence of The All-Merciful?

كَلَّا ۚ سَنَكْتُبُ مَا يَقُولُ وَنَمُدُّ لَهُ مِنَ الْعَذَابِ مَدًّا

Dr. Ghali

Not at all! We will soon write down whatever he says, and We will grant him an extension (Literally: extend him an extension) of torment.

Transliteration

Kalla sanaktubu ma yaqooluwanamuddu lahu mina alAAathabi madda

وَنَرِثُهُ مَا يَقُولُ وَيَأْتِينَا فَرْدًا

Dr. Ghali

And We will inherit from him whatever he says, and he will come up to Us a single (person).

Transliteration

Wanarithuhu ma yaqoolu waya/teenafarda

وَاتَّخَذُوا مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ آلِهَةً لِّيَكُونُوا لَهُمْ عِزًّا

Transliteration

Wattakhathoo min dooni Allahialihatan liyakoonoo lahum AAizza

Dr. Ghali

And they have taken to themselves (other) gods apart from Allah, that they would be for them a might (i.e. that gods would make mighty).

ﭿ

كَلَّا ۚ سَيَكْفُرُونَ بِعِبَادَتِهِمْ وَيَكُونُونَ عَلَيْهِمْ ضِدًّا

Dr. Ghali

Not at all! They will soon disbelieve in their worship of them and will be opponents against them.

Transliteration

Kalla sayakfuroona biAAibadatihimwayakoonoona AAalayhim didda

أَلَمْ تَرَ أَنَّا أَرْسَلْنَا الشَّيَاطِينَ عَلَى الْكَافِرِينَ تَؤُزُّهُمْ أَزًّا

Transliteration

Alam tara anna arsalna ashshayateenaAAala alkafireena taozzuhum azza

Dr. Ghali

Have you not seen that We sent Ash-Shayatin (The ever-vicious ones, i.e., the devils) against the disbelievers, alluring them by (every manner of) allurement?

فَلَا تَعْجَلْ عَلَيْهِمْ ۖ إِنَّمَا نَعُدُّ لَهُمْ عَدًّا

Dr. Ghali

So do not hasten against them; surely We are only numbering for them a number (of days).

Transliteration

Fala taAAjal AAalayhim innamanaAAuddu lahum AAadda

يَوْمَ نَحْشُرُ الْمُتَّقِينَ إِلَى الرَّحْمَٰنِ وَفْدًا

Dr. Ghali

On the Day We will muster the pious to The All-Merciful as a (welcome) deputation.

Transliteration

Yawma nahshuru almuttaqeena ilaarrahmani wafda

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