Surah 42. Ash-Shura

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Period of Revelation

This Surah's period of revelation is not known from any authentic tradition, however, it appears from its subject matter that this Surah was sent down after Ha-M'im As-Sajdah / Fussilat, for it seems to be, in a way, a supplement to it. In Surah Ha-M'im As-Sajdah the Qureysh chiefs were taken to task for their deaf and blind opposition in order to show those who live in Makkah and in its outskirts and had any sense of morality and nobility left in them, how unreasonable those chiefs were in opposing Muhammad (pbuh). Yet, how serious he was in everything he said, how rational was his standpoint and how noble was his character and conduct? Immediately after that warning this Surah was sent down to provide teaching and instruction, and made the truth of the Prophet's message plain in such an impressive way that anyone who loves the truth could not help but to accept His message.

Major Issues, Divine Laws and Guidance
  1. The Heaven might have broken apart from above those who elevate Allah's creatures to His level if angels were not begging for forgiveness for the residents of Earth.
  2. Islam is the same religion which was enjoined on Nuh, Ibrahim, Musa, and Isa. They were all ordained to establish Deen-al-Islam and do not create divisions in it.
  3. He who desires the harvest in the Hereafter shall be given manyfold and he who desires it in this life shall be given a portion here but shall have no share in the Hereafter.
  4. Whatever inflictions befall upon people, are the result of their own misdeeds.
  5. True believers are those who establish Salah, give charity and defend themselves when oppressed.
  6. The real losers are those who will lose on the Day of Resurrection.
  7. It is Allah who gives daughters and sons as He pleases.
  8. It is not vouchsafed for any human being that Allah should speak to him face to face.
Theme

This discourse, as depicted in Tafheem-ul-Qur'an, begins in a way as if to say: "Why are you expressing surprise and amazement at what Our Prophet is presenting before you? What he says is not new or strange, nor anything novel, which is being presented for the first time in history: that Revelation should come down to a man from God and he should be given instructions for the guidance of mankind. Allah has been sending similar Revelations with similar instructions to former Prophets. It is not surprising that the Owner of the Universe should be acknowledged as the Deity and Ruler, but what is strange is that one should accept another as divine and deity in spite of being His subject and slave. You are being angry with him who is presenting Tawhid before you, where as the shirk that you are practicing with regard to the Master of the Universe is such a grave crime as may cause the heavens to break asunder. The angels are amazed at this boldness of yours and fear that the wrath of Allah might descend on you any moment."

After this, the people have been told that a person's being appointed to the Prophethood and his presenting himself as a Prophet does not mean that he has been made master of people's destinies and he has come to the world with that very claim. Allah has kept destiny in His own hands. The Prophet has come only to arouse the heedless and guide the strayed ones to the Right Path. To call to account those who do not listen to him and to punish or not to punish them is Allah's own responsibility and not a part of the Prophet's work. Therefore, they should take it out of their head that the Prophet has come with a claim similar to those that are made by their so called religious guides and saints to the effect that he who would not listen to them, or would behave insolently towards them, would be burnt to death: In this very connection, the people have also been told that the Prophet has not come to condemn them but he is their well wisher; he is warning them that the way they are following will only lead to their own destruction.

Then an answer has been given to the question: Why didn't Allah make all human beings righteous by birth, and why did He allow the difference of viewpoint owing to which people start following each other in thought and action? After this, it has been explained that the way of life presented by the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is that Allah Almighty is the Creator, Master and real Patron of the Universe and Man. He Alone is Man's Ruler, He Alone has the right to give Man Faith (Din) and Law (system of belief and practice) and judge the disputes of man and tell what is Truth and what is falsehood. No other being has any right whatever to be man's lawgiver. In other words, like natural sovereignty, the sovereignty with regard to lawmaking also is vested only in Allah. No man or creature, apart from Allah, can be the bearer of this sovereignty. And if a person does not recognize and accept this Divine rule of Allah, it is merely futile for him to recognize the natural sovereignty of Allah.

On this very basis has Allah ordained a Din (True Religion) for Man from the very beginning. It was one and the same Religion that was vouchsafed in every age to all the Prophets. No Prophet ever founded any separate religion of his own. The same one Religion has been enjoined by Allah for all Mankind since the beginning of creation, and all the Prophets have been following it and inviting others to follow it.

This Religion and Creed was not sent so that man may rest contentedly only with believing in it, but it was sent with the purpose and intention that it alone should be introduced, established and enforced in the world, and no man made religion should prevail in Allah's earth apart from His Religion. The Prophets had not been appointed only to preach this Religion, but to establish it in the world.

This same religion is the original religion of mankind, but after the death of the Prophets, selfish people created new creeds by creating schisms for vested interests due to self-conceit, vanity and ostentation. All the different religions and creeds found in the world today have resulted from corruption of the original Divine Truth.

Now, the Prophet Muhammad (upon whom be Allah's peace,) has been assigned to present before the people the same and original Religion in place of the various practices and artificial creeds and man made religion, and may try to establish the same. Of this, if instead of being grateful, you feel angry and come out to fight him, it is your folly; the Prophet will not abandon his mission only because of your foolishness. He has been enjoined to adhere to his faith at all costs and to carry out the mission to which he has been appointed. Therefore, the people should not cherish any false hope that in order to please you he would cater to the same whims and superstitions of ignorance which has corrupted Allah's Religion before.

  1. That the Prophet was wholly unaware of this concept of the "Book" or the True Faith during the first forty years of his life and then his sudden appearance before the people with those two things, is a manifest proof of his being a Prophet.
  2. His presenting his own teaching as the teaching of God does not mean that he claims to have spoken to God, face to face, but God has conveyed to him this Guidance, as in the case of all other Prophets, in three ways: He speaks to His Prophets either through Revelation, or from behind a veil, or He sends an angel with the message. This thing was clarified so that the opponents of the message did not have an opportunity of accusing the Prophet of claiming to have spoken to God, face to face, and the lovers of the truth should know by what methods Allah gave instruction to the man whom He had appointed to the mission of Prophethood.
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