It is not known from any authentic tradition when this Surah was revealed, but the subject matter and the style indicate that it is one of the earliest Surahs revealed during the life of the Prophet's residence at Makkah.
- The Kingdom of the universe belong to Allah.
- The lower heaven is decorated with lamps (stars).
- The dwellers of hell will wish: "Had we only listened to the call of Islam, we would have not been among the inmates of hell."
- No one can help you against Allah, nor can any one save you from the punishment of Allah.
In this Surah the basic teachings of Islam are briefly mentioned. In a most effective way, people are made to realize that the universe in which they live is a well organized and fortified Kingdom in which no fault, weakness or flaw can be detected no matter how hard they may try. This Kingdom has been created from nothing and brought into existence by Allah Almighty Himself. All of the powers of controlling, administering and ruling it are also entirely in Allah's hands . This system is not created without purpose and people have been sent here for a test. In this test they can succeed only by their righteous deeds and conduct. Then the dreadful consequences of disbelief which will appear in the Hereafter, are mentioned. The people are told that Allah, by sending His Prophets, has forewarned them of these consequences.
Emphasis is made on the fact that the Creator is aware of each open and hidden secret of men, even the innermost ideas of their hearts. The right basis of morality is that man should avoid evil and fear the accountability by his Rabb. Those who adopt such conduct will deserve forgiveness and a rich reward in the Hereafter. Reference is made to those common truths of daily occurrence to which man does not pay much attention. He is told that the earth on which he moves about with full satisfaction and peace of mind, and from which he obtains his sustenance, is subdued for him by Allah. This earth might at any time start shaking suddenly so as to cause his destruction, or a typhoon might occur, which may annihilate him completely. Look at the birds that fly in the air: it is Allah Who is sustaining them in the air. Then man is reminded: "Look at your own means and resources. If Allah wills to inflict you with a scourge, none can save you from it; and if Allah wills to close the doors of sustenance on you, none can open them for you. These things are there to make you aware of the truth, but you see them like animals, which are unable to draw conclusions from observations, and you do not use your sight, hearing and minds which Allah has bestowed on you as men. You have to ultimately appear before your Rabb. It is not for the Prophet to tell you the exact time and date of that event. His only duty is to warn you beforehand of its inevitable occurrence."
Finally a response is given to what the disbelievers of Makkah said against the Prophet (pbuh) and his Companions. They cursed the Prophet and prayed for his and the believers destruction. To this it has been said: "Whether those who call you to the right way are destroyed, or shown mercy by Allah, how will their fate change your destiny? You should look after yourselves and consider who would save you if you were overtaken by the scourge of Allah? You regard those who believe in Allah and put their trust in Him as the misguided. A time will come when it will become evident as to who was really misguided."
In conclusion, the people are asked this question and left to ponder over it, "if the water which has come out from the earth at some place in the desert or hill country of Arabia and upon which depends your whole life's activity, should sink and vanish underground, who, besides Allah, can restore this life giving water to you?"