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Period of Revelation

The period of its revelation is about the same as that of AL-AN'AM, i. e., the last year of the Prophet's residence at Makkah, but it cannot be asserted with certainty which of these two was revealed earlier.

Major Issues, Divine Law and Guidance
  1. An invitation is given to the People of the Book (Jews and Christians) to become Muslims.
  2. A warning is given to the unbelievers about the consequences of their denial through citing the example of punishments which were inflicted upon former people for their wrong attitude towards their Rasools.
  3. The Jews are warned about the consequences of their hypocritical conduct towards the Prophets.
  4. Commandment to propagate the message of Islam with wisdom.
  5. The fact that the Rasools as well as the people to whom they are sent will be questioned on the Day of Judgement.
  6. Commandment to the Believers that they should wear decent and proper dress and eat pure and good food.
  7. Dialogue between the residents of paradise, the inmates of hell and the people of A'raf (a place between the Paradise and hell).
  8. The fact that affluence and adversity are the reminders from Allah.
  9. The fact that Muhammad (pbuh) is the Rasool for the all of mankind.
  10. The fact that the advent of Muhammad (pbuh) was described in Torah and the Gospel (Bible).
  11. The fact that the Jews have fabricated a wrong belief about Allah's forgiveness.
  12. Mankind's testimony about Allah at the time of Adam's creation.
  13. The fact that Allah created all of mankind from a single soul.
  14. Allah's commandment to show forgiveness, speak for justice and avoid the ignorant.
  15. Allah's commandment about listening to the recitation of The Qur'an with complete silence.

The principal subject of this Surah is an invitation to the Divine Message sent down to Muhammad (pbuh). The Messenger had spent thirteen long years admonishing the people of Makkah without any tangible effect on them, because they had turned a deaf ear to his message and had become so antagonistic that Allah was about to command the Prophet to leave them alone and turn to other people. That is why they are being admonished to accept the message and a warning is given about the consequences of their wrong attitude. Now that the Prophet was about to receive Allah's commandment to migrate from Makkah, the concluding portion of the address has been directed towards the People of the Book with whom he was going to come into contact at Al-Madinah. During the course of the address to the Jews, the consequences of their hypocritical attitude towards the Prophets are also pointed out clearly, for they professed to believe in Prophet Musa (Moses) but their practices were opposed to his teachings. They were not only disobeying him but were in fact worshipping falsehood.

At the end of the Surah, instructions are given to the Prophet and his followers to show patience and exercise restraint in answer to the provocations of their opponents. Since the believers were under pressure and stress, are advised to be very careful and not take any step that might harm their cause.