Surah ash-Shams  – the Sun
Taught by Nouman Ali Khan.
Notes In PDF FormatDownload
In the previous surah (Balad 90); we learnt certain conflicts were being highlighted in the Surah;
1st conflict – Between the disbelievers and the Messenger of Allah. The conflict was initially started by the disbelievers.
وَأَنتَ حِلٌّ بِهَٰذَا الْبَلَدِ
- And you (O Muhammad) are permissible in this city. [Balad 90:2] -
that Allah’s Messenger has been made permissible; to be harmed or expelled by the disbelievers of Quraysh. – meaning this time is soon approaching when they will be ready to attack you or harm you (O Muhammad).
Another opinion is that he [Prophet Muhammad] will be given permission to fight in Makkah (on the Conquest of Makkah.)
2nd conflict – Struggle of Day to day living:
لَقَدْ خَلَقْنَا الْإِنسَانَ فِي كَبَدٍ
- We have certainly created man into hardship. [Surah Balad 90:4]
3rd conflict – Conflict between the slave and his Master – Allah.
أَيَحْسَبُ أَن لَّمْ يَرَهُ أَحَدٌ
- Does he think that no one has seen him? [Balad 90:7]
4th conflict – Conflict between the One attached to this world, and the People in need.
فَلَا اقْتَحَمَ الْعَقَبَةَ
وَمَا أَدْرَاكَ مَا الْعَقَبَةُ
أَوْ إِطْعَامٌ فِي يَوْمٍ ذِي مَسْغَبَةٍ
Yet why does he not assault the difficult obstacle?, [why] does he [not] surmount it?And what can make you know what is [breaking through] the difficult pass?
It is the freeing of a slave. Or feeding on a day of severe hunger…. [Balad 90:11-14]
There are 2 paths [najadayn] mentioned in the previous Surah; good path and evil path – “and guided him to the two paths?, ([did We not] point out to him the path of good and that of evil?) [Balad 90:10]
Relation of Surah ash-Shams to Surah Balad:
These 2 paths [najadayn] are explained in depth in this surah, surah Shams.
By the sun and its brightness.
wash-Shams wa duha ha.
The sunnah is for Allah to swear/do an oath by anything He wishes, and for us humans to swear only by Allah.
Allah swears by the sun (ash-shams), and its duha – soothing morning light.
Duha – light of the sun.
– or Allah is swearing by the entire day (because the day is a light from the Sun, and its absence is darkness of the night.)
Duha: When the sun comes completely out and manifest without being scorching or glaring, but instead it is a clear/soothing glow and easy to see with the eye. This is the duha ha – the glow of the sun.
I swear by the sun and its ability to give the soothing morning light.
وَالْقَمَرِ إِذَا تَلَاهَا
and i swear by the moon as it follows it (the sun).
Talaa = to follow. (tilaawa = to read, since the reader follows the lines on the page.)
talaaHa = follows Her (the sun).
The moon is given the subservient position to the sun, as it (talaa) follows the sun.
Ash Shawkani:- When the moon becomes complete – it follows the sun. i.e. It is reflecting its light off the sun.
[between 9mins – 11mins]
al Farraa’ said: – talaaha – takes from it. The moon takes from the light of the sun. It is in a subservient position.
وَالنَّهَارِ إِذَا جَلَّاهَا
And [by] the day when it displays it.
wan-nahaari idha jal-laaha.
jal-laaha – to give something thats already bright an exposure.
tajliyya – giving i.e. A lamp which is covered – giving it exposure so that its full brightness can be shown.
tajal-la – this was used in the classical Arabic, pre-Islamic era for a wife when she beautifies herself for her husband. Her full beauty is exposed.
And the Day when it – the day – gives her (the sun) the ability to show her full glory.
وَاللَّيْلِ إِذَا يَغْشَاهَا
and I swear by the night as it covers it [the light of the sun] up.
All these Oaths are Surrounded around the Sun:
With the sun which gives its light so that we appreciate the Day [Ayah 1], and the light of the sun which reflects on the moon to help us through the night [Ayah 2]. With the light of the sun with its beauty and glory [Ayah 3]. And the night which covers the sun’s brightness. [Ayah 4].
In this surah, Allah will make a parallel between the Sun and the Nafs (roughly translated as Conscience).
How the sun has different things that happen to it through conflict, and how the nafs has different things happen to it through conflict.
وَالسَّمَاءِ وَمَا بَنَاهَا
(I swear) by the skies, and what (Maa) made it.
You would expect the word Man (who) would be used, for who made the skies. But What (Maa) is used.
It can be used as a Maa al mawsoolah – a question of what that thing is. – What is that?
It could also be used as a Maa masdariyyah which is a sign of astonishment at the miraculousness of something.
[The word maausually always implies a negation, i.e. What? i don’t.. etc.]
Ayah 4: I swear by the skies and Maa made it.
1- Maa al mawsoolah. Maa = what being made these skies? What kind of power must He be?
2 – Maa masdariyyah. Maa = how remarkable its construction (Astonishment. infinitive form of statment).
I swear by the sky, and how remarkable its construction is. I swear by the sky, and what [Power could] make it?
Banaa ha – the sky wasnt already there, it was constructed.
So in ayah 4, Allah is swearing by the Skies.
Wa maa banaha – and by what made it – So He is swearing by Himself too.
Banaa – comes from binaa - to fuse things together so they become inseparatable. This shows the amazingness of the sky that it covers and surrounds the Earth globe for our protection.
الَّذِي خَلَقَ سَبْعَ سَمَاوَاتٍ طِبَاقًا ۖ مَّا تَرَىٰ فِي خَلْقِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ مِن
تَفَاوُتٍ ۖ فَارْجِعِ الْبَصَرَ هَلْ تَرَىٰ مِن فُطُورٍ
[And] who created seven heavens in layers. You do not see in the creation of the Most Merciful any inconsistency. So return [your] vision [to the sky]; do you see any breaks? [al Mulk 67:3]
Do you see any cracks or flaws? Do you see any patchwork?
Even the most advanced designs of todays buildings and architecture require patching up. Yet they are no gaps in the sky so that we can see some parts of space through some gaps. Rather, it is all covered up fully for our safety and protection, and has remained that way for thousands/millions of years..
وَالْأَرْضِ وَمَا طَحَاهَا
wal arDi wa maa Tahaaha
and I swear by the earth and Maa spread it.
maa al mawsoolah – and what kind of power it must be that layed out this earth and spread it.
maa al masdariyyah – (and i swear by the earth) and its remarkable vastness.
Tahaa – when the arab would go to a huge castle or building which is so huge – that you can’t see how far it actually is. The arabs would call this type of house Mut-hiyya -well spread out. Thats the same root word Allah uses to describe the vastness of the Earth.
Everything in the Skies in Conflict, for Our Benefit.
First in the surah – Allah centred the theme of the Sun, the Day, the Moon, the Night.
Allah makes us reflect on these creations by doing an Oath by them, and we even get to see through Allah’s description of them – how these creations are in conflict. Sun in conflict with the moon, the day in conflict with the night. The people who live in nature have totally different experiences each time all these different conflicts of the universe occur, since these people are directly affected by them.
These opposites of nature seem conflicting, but they are there to cause harmony for us – the human race.
Imagine this harmony disappeared and the routine of the Sun, Moon, Day and Night rebelled [Tughyan.] Who would suffer the most? The humans on earth.
Despite the greatness of the Sun, the Moon, the Day and the Night – who gave these great beings such great harmony so these percieved conflicts benefit us in our day to day lives.
So the point of reflection which has been put forward to us is how this harmony has been spread out around the Earth – so us living beings are able to survive and be sustained on this planet for thousands of years, even through all these percieved conflicting stages above us in the skies – yet they are a means of benefit for us. I.e. The sun provides energy for food and warmth, and then it is covered for us to rest etc.
وَنَفْسٍ وَمَا سَوَّاهَا
wa nafsin wa Maa sawaha
And [by] the Nafs/Conscience and He who proportioned it
Everything Allah took an oath by before had an Al الْ (alif,lam) [i.e. Alal Qamar, al Nahar, al Layl, al Sama’, al Ard) before it, but now there is no Al before Nafs.
A lack of Al (nakirah) tankeer li takhfeem (ta’dheem) – thislack of Al is a climax/peak, the great matter which needed to be discussed.
Some aayaat are like seeds, and you see their fruits through other aayaat/verses.
The beginning aayaat are making us reflect on the universe, and the fruits of reflecting on them will make us understand ourselves.
Nafs – Conscience. (Nafs al-lawwaama – reproaching soul – النَّفْسِ اللَّوَّامَةِ [mentioned in Surah Qiyamah 75:2], Nafs al mutma’inah – soul at ease/tranquility النَّفْسُ الْمُطْمَئِنَّةُ [mentioned in Surah Fajr 89:27])
Sawaa – taswiyah - take things that are uneven, balance them in a way so they are balanced and organised. I.e. To balance a waying scale.
How amazingly the Nafs is balanced, how remarkable is the One who balanced it.
Our conscience/nafs is what makes us directly remember Allah. The One who gave us this conscience is watching us also.
Your body requires a Balance: This is why there are so much terms used by people throughout history for it; Left and right, yin/yang, the animal side/spiritual human side, good/bad energy etc.
Modern psychology is based on this Personality definition too. One of the biggest debates in modern psychology is; What is the definition of Personality? Allah is telling us in this surah, as we will elaborate below inshaa’ Allah.
The Nafs = not physically touchable. The body however is physical.
al Bicaa’i comments: Allah compares the nafs with the body the same way He compares the sun with its glow.
There is inclination of good and bad inside us.
Al Aloosi; When Allah created us, He created the clay and blew into it the Rooh (soul). Whatever we want in this Earth is created from this Earth; food, drink, other peoples companionship etc. – all these come from the Earth. But there is something within us which is not from this Earth, it is from the command of Allah – that is our our Rooh (soul).
When we feel hungry in our stomach – we want Earthly food.
When we are hungry spiritually – we need food from out of this Earth, we need it directly from Allah – Wahy [revelation].
These two things (Nafs and Rooh) are always in Conflict – just like the Sun and Moon.
So when there is extremes in any of these, there is harm for the human. There should be a balance of spirituality for Allah’s sake, and also channeling our body’s desires in a permissible way.
This is why Allah orders us to keep our spiritual duties, aswell as our worldly duties fulfilled.
وَابْتَغِ فِيمَا آتَاكَ اللَّهُ الدَّارَ الْآخِرَةَ ۖ وَلَا تَنسَ نَصِيبَكَ مِنَ الدُّنْيَا ۖ
وَأَحْسِن كَمَا أَحْسَنَ اللَّهُ إِلَيْكَ ۖ وَلَا تَبْغِ الْفَسَادَ فِي الْأَرْضِ ۖ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا
But seek, through that which Allah has given you, the home of the Hereafter; and [yet], do not forget your share of the world. And do good as Allah has done good to you. And desire not corruption in the land. Indeed, Allah does not like corrupters.”
[al Qasas 28:77]
The Qalb (heart) contains many concepts; love, hope, fear, anger, jealousy, joy… All emotions. Even your belief is in your heart.
وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ فِيكُمْ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ ۚ لَوْ يُطِيعُكُمْ فِي كَثِيرٍ مِّنَ الْأَمْرِ لَعَنِتُّمْ
وَلَٰكِنَّ اللَّهَ حَبَّبَ إِلَيْكُمُ الْإِيمَانَ وَزَيَّنَهُ فِي قُلُوبِكُمْ وَكَرَّهَ إِلَيْكُمُ الْكُفْرَ
وَالْفُسُوقَ وَالْعِصْيَانَ ۚ أُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الرَّاشِدُونَ
And know that among you is the Messenger of Allah . If he were to obey you in much of the matter, you would be in difficulty, but Allah has endeared to you the faith and has made it pleasing in your hearts and has made hateful to you disbelief, defiance and disobedience. Those are the [rightly] guided. [al Hujurat 49:7]
The heart is a territory which both the worldly desires and spirituality are trying to win over. A constant struggle for the human Nafs. You need to strive for the balance.
وَلَا تَقْفُ مَا لَيْسَ لَكَ بِهِ عِلْمٌ ۚ إِنَّ السَّمْعَ وَالْبَصَرَ وَالْفُؤَادَ كُلُّ أُولَٰئِكَ
كَانَ عَنْهُ مَسْئُولًا
And do not pursue that of which you have no knowledge. Indeed, the hearing, the sight and the heart – about all those [one] will be questioned. [al Israa’ 17:36]
When we hear and see the truth, we either accept it or reject it. We will accept the truth if our Fitrah (natural disposition) is intact, the more intact it is – the more likely we will accept the message of truth.
The Wahy (revelation) which Allah sends to humans as a guidance is a light. I.e. Allah says about guidance that He sent;
إِنَّا أَنزَلْنَا التَّوْرَاةَ فِيهَا هُدًى وَنُورٌ
Indeed, We sent down the Torah, in which was guidance and light. [al Ma’idah 5:44]
Our human Fitrah placed within us is also a light from Allah [since it is from outside this world]. Eman is also called light. So when Eman enters the heart, Light/Noor is added to the heart, along with Noor [Light] from the Wahy [Revelation] = Light upon Light.
اللَّهُ نُورُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ ۚ مَثَلُ نُورِهِ كَمِشْكَاةٍ فِيهَا مِصْبَاحٌ ۖ
الْمِصْبَاحُ فِي زُجَاجَةٍ ۖ الزُّجَاجَةُ كَأَنَّهَا كَوْكَبٌ دُرِّيٌّ يُوقَدُ مِن شَجَرَةٍ
مُّبَارَكَةٍ زَيْتُونَةٍ لَّا شَرْقِيَّةٍ وَلَا غَرْبِيَّةٍ يَكَادُ زَيْتُهَا يُضِيءُ وَلَوْ لَمْ
تَمْسَسْهُ نَارٌ ۚ نُّورٌ عَلَىٰ نُورٍ ۗ يَهْدِي اللَّهُ لِنُورِهِ مَن يَشَاءُ ۚ وَيَضْرِبُ
اللَّهُ الْأَمْثَالَ لِلنَّاسِ ۗ وَاللَّهُ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمٌ
Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The example of His light is like a niche within which is a lamp, the lamp is within glass, the glass as if it were a pearly [white] star lit from [the oil of] a blessed olive tree, neither of the east nor of the west, whose oil would almost glow even if untouched by fire. Light upon light. Allah guides to His light whom He wills. And Allah presents examples for the people, and Allah is Knowing of all things. [al Noor 24:35]
So you can imagine the light of guidance being added to a heart on the Fitrah, and in effect – an increase in the guidance.
When the Nafs sins:
An-Nafs al Ammaarah bis-soo‘ [the commanding soul – to be evil] – when the body is being bombarded with Dunya (this world) and is being influenced by Shaytaan [satan]. This is the worst type of Nafs.
When the Nafs goes into either extreme i.e. Of either distancing from Allah, or distancing from his duties in this world – the Nafs starts to feel bad and guilty [known as Nafs al Lawaamah – blaming (itself) nafs].
فَأَلْهَمَهَا فُجُورَهَا وَتَقْوَاهَا
And inspired it [with discernment/understanding of] its wickednessand its righteousness,
fa alhama ha fujooraha wa taqwaha
Ilham is a form of inspiration which is placed in the heart – which is more firmer than fact. (i.e. People call it a gutfeeling).
Wahy can be used more generally for humans, animals (i.e. The bee etc [Surah Nahl 16:68]). Whereas Ilham is more specific for creatures with an Intellect – so they are firm about something. And Allah is telling us that He placed Ilham inside the humans Nafs.
Fujoora ha: – Fajr - to tear through a sanctity or authority.
Faajir = someone who is extremely rebellious and tears through the sanctity. (I.e. A war occurred during the youth of Allah’s Messenger in the Masjid al Haram in Makkah, and it was called the battle of the Fujaar because the people who started it did not care about the sanctity of the place where they were fighting and spilling the peoples blood. They TORE through the sanctity of Makkah.)
So the Fujoor in this ayah is referring to Allah inspiring the Nafs to be aware of the evil potential it has for itself (fujoora HA). It has been programmed to know that it can do this, but if it does it – the Nafs knows that this is wrong (Guilty conscience).
عـن النبي صلى الله عـليه وسلم قـال : ( الـبـر حـسـن
الـخلق والإثـم ما حـاك في نـفـسـك وكـرهـت أن يـطـلع
عــلـيـه الـنـاس ). رواه مسلم [ رقم : 2553 ].
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:
Righteousness is in good character, and wrongdoing is that which wavers in your soul, and which you dislike people finding out about. [Sahih Muslim #2553]
Taqwa ha: taqwa is the act of guarding yourself.
The nafs has been programmed to know that it should guard itself. From evil acts – since they are harmful for it, but also to guard itself from sins – since they bring about Allah’s punishment.
That guilty conscience is what prevents you from doing evil.
The blaming nafs (al-lawaama) is protecting itself from;
1 - Becoming bad.
2 - Allah’s punishment.
The self is greedy, it has the urge to protect itself from any harm coming to it.
Ash-Shawkani: He made the human thoroughly aware of the 2 states; Making the human realise the beauty of taqwa and the ugliness of sins.
Mujahid; He made him realise the path of evil. So if someone does an evil, they will realise that it leads to another evil. I.e. You do a sin, then you need to cover it up by lying, which leads to more lying and sinning etc. etc.
This is why Allah says;
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا ادْخُلُوا فِي السِّلْمِ كَافَّةً وَلَا تَتَّبِعُوا
خُطُوَاتِ الشَّيْطَانِ ۚ إِنَّهُ لَكُمْ عَدُوٌّ مُّبِينٌ
O you who have believed, enter into Islam completely [and perfectly] and do not follow the footsteps of Satan. Indeed, he is to you a clear enemy. [al Baqarah 2:208]
He said this because this brings about the most safety for the Nafs, from the harm of this life, and the punishment of the next.
al Farraa’: He made the Nafs know its worst evil (Fujoor), and its best protection (taqwa). So its not just about good [khayr] and evil [sharr], its about the Nafs wanting to benefit itself.
إِنْ أَحْسَنتُمْ أَحْسَنتُمْ لِأَنفُسِكُمْ ۖ وَإِنْ أَسَأْتُمْ فَلَهَا
“If you do good, you do good for yourselves; and if you do evil, [you do it] to yourselves.” [al Israa’ 17:7]
In the previous Surah Balad, Allah gives a long description of blessings He has given us.
أَلَمْ نَجْعَل لَّهُ عَيْنَيْنِ وَلِسَانًا وَشَفَتَيْنِ
Have We not made for him two eyes? And a tongue and two lips? [Balad 90:9-10]
If your eyes, lips are used for the right purpose – they will benefit you. If they are not, they will harm you.
قَدْ أَفْلَحَ مَن زَكَّاهَا
He has succeeded who purifies it,
qad aflaha man zakaha
Qad – Already happened. Absolute certainty.
aflaha - he succeeded.
Similar word is najaha.
aflaha – iflaah - farmer who is about to reap harvest.
falaah – aflaha – attain success after long duration of labour/work.
So efforts have to be made. What efforts?
The one who has (sincerely) engaged in cleansing ones self has already attained success.
zakkaahaa - tazkiyyah (taf’eel) – verb seems to be affecting oneself (intransitive), affecting others (transitive) – he purified it (the nafs) – almost as though the Nafs is outside of you.
When it comes to the corruption of the Nafs – you have to try to clean it and rectify it. As though you have to clean it as your job.
This purification consists of different things; preventing yourself from sins, shameless acts etc.
We need to try to purify ourselves – then Allah will purify us of our sins. This is important because we try our best to avoid sin, then we hope Allah will forgive us.
الَّذِينَ يَجْتَنِبُونَ كَبَائِرَ الْإِثْمِ وَالْفَوَاحِشَ إِلَّا اللَّمَمَ ۚ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ وَاسِعُ الْمَغْفِرَةِ ۚ هُوَ
أَعْلَمُ بِكُمْ إِذْ أَنشَأَكُم مِّنَ الْأَرْضِ وَإِذْ أَنتُمْ أَجِنَّةٌ فِي بُطُونِ أُمَّهَاتِكُمْ ۖ فَلَا تُزَكُّوا
أَنفُسَكُمْ ۖ هُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِمَنِ اتَّقَىٰ
Those who avoid the major sins and immoralities, only [committing] slight ones. Indeed, your Lord is vast in forgiveness. He was most knowing of you when He produced you from the earth and when you were fetuses in the wombs of your mothers. So do not claim yourselves to be pure; He is most knowing of who fears Him. [an-Najm 53:32]
A Du’a [prayer/invocation] which Allah’s Messenger would pray;
وعن زيد بن أرقم رضي الله عنه قال: كان رسول الله
صلى الله عليه وسلم، يقول: ”اللهم إني أعوذ بك من
العجز والكسل، والبخل والهرم، وعذاب القبر، اللهم آت
نفسي تقواها، وزكها أنت خير من زكاها، أنت وليها
ومولاها، اللهم إني أعوذ بك من علم لا ينفع ومن قلب لا
يخشع، ومن نفس لا تشبع، ومن دعوة لا يستجاب لها”.
((رواه مسلم 1479
Zaid bin Arqam (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) would supplicate: “Allahumma inni a`udhu bika minal-`ajzi wal-kasali, wal-bukhli wal-harami, wa `adhabil-qabri. Allahumma ati nafsi taqwaha, wa zakkiha Anta khairu man zakkaha, Anta waliyyuha wa maulaha. Allahumma inni a`udhu bika min `ilmin la yanfau`, wa min qalbin la yakhsha`u, wa min nafsin la tashba`u, wa min da`watin la yustajabu laha`
[O Allah! I seek refuge in You from the inability (to do good), indolence, cowardice, miserliness, decrepitude and torment of the grave. O Allah! Grant me the sense of piety and purify my soul as You are the Best to purify it. You are its Guardian and its Protecting Friend. O Allah! I seek refuge in You from the knowledge which is not beneficial, and from a heart which does not fear (You), and from desire which is not satisfied, and from prayer which is not answered].”
[Sahih Muslim #1479 and Riyad us-Saaliheen – Chapter on Prayers/Invocations].
Conclusion of the Similarities of the Sun and the Nafs:
Allah in the earlier parts of the Surah described the Sun, and how its brightness and glory is covered by the night.
The Sun benefits the people through its light which provides guidance for mankind. The Nafs when it is purified benefits mankind through its good,however – in moments of conflict and weakness – it can be covered up in the darkness of sin and misguidance temporarily. However, Allah can allow the brightness of the sun to return again and overcome that darkness.
وَقَدْ خَابَ مَن دَسَّاهَا
wa qad khaaba man dasaaha
And he has failed who instills it [with corruption].
khaaba - running after something and you didn’t get it. Dissapointment, failure.
The one who throws his Nafs into the dust – completely disregards it – is setting himself up for major disappoinment, loss and regret.
dassaa ha (daal, seen, seen) – one who completely disregarded their nafs/consciense. They didn’t care about what their nafs/conscience said to them.
أَيَحْسَبُ أَن لَّمْ يَرَهُ أَحَدٌ
Does he Think no-one sees him? [Balad 90:7]
They have no balance in their Nafs (of spirituality and halal/permitted worldly matters – Either they’ve delved into too much haraam [forbidden] material poleasures, or they’ve made certain things haram [forbidden] for themselves – which were really permitted by Allah. Both of these are extremes.).
كَذَّبَتْ ثَمُودُ بِطَغْوَاهَا
Thamud denied – by reason of their transgression,
Thamood begins to be discussed.
A whole group of people. Why? Because if the people individually better themselves – then society as a whole can be influenced to become better.
In the previous surah, Allah spoke about the punishment of the next life.
عَلَيْهِمْ نَارٌ مُّؤْصَدَةٌ
Over them will be fire closed in. [Balad 90:20].
But in this surah – He talks about the punishment He gives in this life to the rejectors. This is because people think death is far off, but a punishment even in this life makes the Nafs want to guard itself before its destruction.
كَذَّبَتْ ثَمُودُ بِطَغْوَاهَا
Thamud lied – by reason of their transgression,
Lied against what? Rasoolahum – Their Messenger. The words “Rasoolahum” isn’t mentioned because its already known that they lied against their Messenger, and a missing word makes the listener give more attention to what he might have missed out.
kadhdhabat thamoodu - Rasoolahum – bi taghwaaha.
Allah has now turned to His Messenger and is telling Prophet Muhammad that if the disbelievers reject you – then the people of Thamood rejected their Messenger too.
Thamood rebelled because of their extreme rebellion (tughwaan) – due to their corrupt Nafs. They had seen their Prophet’s miracle of the she-camel – which they themselves had asked for, so it wasn’t due to their lack of knowledge of the message, but because of their corrupt selves. Tughwaan is a strong rebellion.
Why are Thamood mentioned and not Fir’awn, ‘Aad or anyone else?
The Arabs knew the most about Thamood in the pre-Islamic era. They used to have poetry about the Thamood people who were famously known by the Arabs for receiving punishment and destruction from Allah.
If someone was a corrupt leader, the Arabs would say that; “The people are following him like the people followed Kidaar (a leader of Thamood) – who led them to their destruction”
They would make alot of poetry about the leaders of Thamood, because they knew that the Thamood people were destroyed due to their Corruption.
إِذِ انبَعَثَ أَشْقَاهَا
When the most wretched of them was sent forth.
idhin ba’atha ashqaha.
We already learnt that the one who puts his Nafs in the dust (i.e. Thrown it away and left it unchecked) – for him is frustration, he’s just like a beast.
We will now see such a character as an example.
Idhin – when
ba’atha – rise on his own (infi’al). He got up himself.
Ashqa ha – the most wrecked, wretched, unfortunate and corrupt (from the Thamood people).
Abit of background information:
Naqata Allah was a she camel which Prophet Salih asked Allah for, on request of the Thamood people who asked for that as a miracle.
The Naqat Allah would drink all the water from the Well one day, and the Thamood people the next day. And they would swap in turns day by day. The camel would produce enough milk for everyone to drink from (she was a big camel). However, the people started getting angry at having to be patient with the camel.
These people asked their leaders to prevent the Naqat Allah – she camel – from drinking the water. But the leaders were reluctant because of their promise to Prophet Saalih, and also because they had seen the miraculousness of this miracle camel.
But a leader from them – the most corrupt and wretched – angrily went forward to kill the she camel of Allah.
He had no fear that any consequence or punishment would come to himself. He went forward with an attitude of; “What they going to do to me? Whose going to stop me?”
أَيَحْسَبُ أَن لَّن يَقْدِرَ عَلَيْهِ أَحَدٌ
فَقَالَ لَهُمْ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ نَاقَةَ اللَّهِ وَسُقْيَاهَا
And the messenger of Allah [Salih] said to them, “[Do not harm] the she-camel of Allah or [prevent her from] her drink.”
fa qaala LAHum RasoolAllahi naqatAllahi wa suqyaahaa
The Messenger of Allah said to them (LaHum):
LaHum - muqaddam (placed earlier in the sentence structure) = to them (especially those who had the intention of killing the she camel).
rasoolAllahi - instead of; “the Prophet Saalih said”, it is The Messenger of Allah (Saalih) said..
The Quraysh disbelievers are listening to these ayaat/verses too, so by saying a Messenger of Allah forbade them something and they still were corrupt – then they are following the ways of Thamood, who were destroyed.
naqatA – (mansoob, with a fatha/zabar on top.) when an A sound is placed at the end, it can be a warning.
Allah’s Messenger said;
الله الله في أصحابي
AllahA AllahA fee aS-haabi..
[Fear] Allah concerning my Companions… [Sunan at-Tirmidhi]
(the A at the end implies; “FEAR Allah – in (regard to) my companions.”) [don’t say or do bad to them.]
naqatA Allah – BEWARE of the she-camel of Allah! Don’t harm it!
When someone exceeds into haram (the forbidden) and follows the evil ways – they will do harm to themselves. Prophet Saalih is telling these people; don’t kill the she camel of Allah! It will bring your destruction!
This is a practical example shown of the Nafs inclined to evil and rebellion (fujoor), how he doesn’t know but he is entering into his own destruction.
wa suqyaha – the she-camels set time and place of drink.
فَكَذَّبُوهُ فَعَقَرُوهَا فَدَمْدَمَ عَلَيْهِمْ رَبُّهُم بِذَنبِهِمْ فَسَوَّاهَا
But they denied him and hamstrung her. So their Lord brought down upon them destruction for their sin and made it equal.
Thamood committed 2 crimes:
fa kadhdhaboohu- they lied against him.
fa aqarooha – aqara - stab the camel a little (poking it continuously) or to chop the bottom parts of its limbs off so it can’t move around and gradually dies to death.
qalb al aqoor – dog bites you and causes you to bleed.
Oh Quraysh – you have already lied to the Messenger, if you harm him or attempt to kill him – you will be worse than the people of Thamood. And what punishment did the Thamood recieve?
fa damdama alayhim
damdama = to pound something on the ground so much so that it becomes flat and one with the ground. So they were flattened into the ground.
Lisan al arab Dictionary; damdama – a punishment which you can’t escape from (in this world.)
The same way – in the previous surah (Balad 90:20) – you couldn’t escape from Allah’s punishment of the next life in hell (because of the word Mu’sadah = hell is covered with a lid/top – it is enclosed.)
Rabuhum – their Master – who always had the power to deal with them, but He awaited their response to the message.
bi dhanbihim- dhanb - embarrassing sin.
Dhanb - dhanab = tail of an animal. What comes out of the behind is very bad. i.e. the tail is the behind, where animal excretion comes out from.
The Arabs had poetry where they might call their tribe the Nose of a Lion = honor. But the Tail = embarassment. Because of the location of each body part.
Sawwaa haa – He made the town flat, and evened them out. Flattened the land and the bodies sunk into the ground – due to the pounding.
وَلَا يَخَافُ عُقْبَاهَا
wa laa yakhaafu ‘uqbaahaa.
and He (Allah) does not fear its consequence -of destroying them.
The person who becomes corrupt in his Nafs – he doesn’t fear any consequences for his evil actions. But it’s not him who should feel without consequence, rather Allah is the Master who doesn’t fear. When He does an action, there is no fear on Him of what others will say. He is not questioned or punished by anyone or anything.
لَا يُسْأَلُ عَمَّا يَفْعَلُ وَهُمْ يُسْأَلُونَ
He is not questioned about what He does, but they will be questioned. [al Anbiya 21:23]
So it’s only Him who is only truly without consequence of fear, whereas everything else should fear Him for the evil that they do.
‘uqbaa haa- really ‘aqiba should be used in such a sentence, so why is ‘uqba mentioned?
‘uqbaa is mubalaghah form – even the greatest consequence you can imagine, He is not afraid of that to make His judgments and decisions.
We might fear the consequences of losing our worldly sustenance and approaching death, but Allah does not. Allah does not fear or delay in taking our souls whenever He wants, and no-one will scare or prevent Him from fulfilling His command.
The one who truly seeks to cleanse the Nafs – then he seeks it through true and total dependance and reliance on Allah.
Since Everything Alone is in His hands.