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Sūrahs Qadr - Bayyinah
Qur'anic Exegesis
Javed Ahmad Ghamidi
(Tr. by:Dr. Shehzad Saleem)



Both these sūrahs form a pair since they discuss the same subject. The first sūrah highlights the exalted status of the Qur’ān while the second warns those who denied this Book of dire consequences.

Although the Sūrahs do not directly address someone, yet their words are directed at the leadership of the Quraysh. However, the second sūrah is also directed at the People of the Book because of the objections they were implanting in the minds of the Quraysh about the Prophethood of Muhammad (sws).

A look at the contents of the sūrahs shows that they were revealed in Mecca just before the Prophet's migration to Medina in the phase of Itmām-i-Hujjat. In this phase of his mission, the Prophet (sws) was revealing the truth to them in its ultimate form after which they could have no excuse to deny it.

Central Theme

The central theme of the first sūrah is to explain to the Quraysh that the Qur’ān which is being read out to them by the Prophet (sws) in the form of a Book is not the result of any inspiration of Satan or of his own fancy; on the contrary, it is a divine scripture which the Almighty had started to reveal it in a night in which great decisions are implemented in this Universe by the angels. Therefore, the Quraysh should not consider the Qur’ān an ordinary book. Their attitude towards it can cause eternal loss.

In the second sūrah, the central theme is to warn the Quraysh and the People of the Book on their nonsensical demand that a book be given to them from the Almighty through some messenger who descend on them from the heavens reading it out to them and to warn them of their fate if they persist in this attitude. 

Explanation of the Sūrah

Sūrah Qadr

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Ever Merciful.

Indeed, We revealed1 this [Qur’ān] in the night in which fates are decided2 . And what do you know what this night of decisions is3? Better is the night of decisions than a thousand months4. Therein descend the angels and the Spirit5 by the permission of their Lord [with commands] in all affairs. (1-4)  

Peace6 it is till the rising of the dawn. (5)


Sūrah Bayyinah

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Ever Merciful.

Those among the People of the Book7 and the Idolators [of the Quraysh] who have denied [the Qur’ān] shall not desist from their stubbornness until [according to their wish] there comes to them a clear sign -- that is a messenger from Allah [descending from the heavens] reciting purified pages in which [are written] clear directives8 [for them]. (1-3)

The truth is that [those among them] who were given the Book [before] became divided only after such a clear sign9 had come to them10. And [in this Book also] they had been directed to worship Allah, obeying Him exclusively with sincere devotion and to establish prayers and to pay zakat11 [and the truth is that] this is the religion of the Upright Nation12. (4-5)

Those among the People of the Book and the Idolators [of the Quraysh] who [in this way] have denied [the Qur’ān] shall, indeed, forever dwell in the fire of Hell [because of this attitude]. They are the worst of creatures. (6)

[On the other hand], those who embraced faith and did righteous deeds, they, indeed, are the best of creatures. Their reward with Allah is the Gardens of Eden beneath which rivers flow. They will abide there forever. Allah is well pleased with them and they with Him. This is the reward for him who feared the Lord [without seeing Him]13. (7-8) 







1. These words are meant to dispel the doubt that the Qur’ān is the result of a human endeavour. They emphasize that the Qur’ān has been solely revealed by the Almighty Himself and is totally free from the evil inspirations and influences of Satan, as its opponents had contended.

2. The verse stresses that the Qur’ān was revealed in a night in which the Almighty takes important decisions about the fate of the Universe. As such this Book of Allah is something which must be given attention to. The verse does not mean that the whole of the Qur’ān was revealed in a single night. All that it necessitates is that its revelation started in this night. For a more elaborate treatment of this subject see (44:3-4)

3. The verse, in fact, says that the greatness and splendour of this night is beyond the realms of imagination. The reason behind its majesty and grandeur is that important decisions about this world are made in it. These decisions are both positive and negative in their nature: At one place destruction might take place while at another something might be created. At some other place the pangs of punishment might be at work, while an adjacent place might witness God's blessings. But since these diverse manifestations emanate from the Almighty whose justice, wisdom and mercy are beyond question and whose schemes are based upon the collective good of man, all decisions are beneficial to man in their overall capacity and augur well for the future.

4. This is an expression of the exaltedness of the Night. Since it is this night in which many important decisions are taken, the night occupies a position of great significance over other nights. The expression `thousand nights' is not to be interpreted literally. It is used in the indefinite sense signifying a long period of time. 

5. The Word Arrooh (the Spirit), as is evident from the context is used for Gabriel. His name has been specially mentioned here because he occupies a very high rank among the angels.

6. The word `salām' signifies safety and protection from every sort of risk and danger in general and from any satanic interference in particular. Just as during the time of Revelation all passages into the world beyond space and time are sealed to block the penetrations of Satan and his army, as has been mentioned in the Qur’ān, during this Night also these evil creatures are under Divine Detention till the rise of dawn. Hence, they are unable to interfere in the revelations sent down in this night.

7. The People of the Book have specially been mentioned here because it was they who were grafting the objection mentioned here in the minds of the Quraysh.

8. This is a veiled reference to the Qur’ān made by the People of the Book particularly the Jews. In their opinion, the Qur’ān contained many unrelated anecdotes and discussions. They maintained that they wanted a precise and clear Book which should be given directly to them by a messenger of Allah. They meant that they wanted something as precise as the Ten Commandments untouched by man and jinn alike.

9. The Taurat which the Prophet Moses (sws) brought to them from the Mount of Sinai accompanied by extraordinary miracles.

10. An incisive reply is made by this verse to their demand. Of what use would the fulfillment of this demand be if in the past a similar demand had been fulfilled but they never adopted the right path.

11. The Jews are reminded that the Taurat also contained nothing but the clear directives they are now demanding: ie obeying Allah with sincerity, establishing prayers and paying zakat. It is they who have distorted these directives and lost them to the tide of time. The Qur’ān is not giving them new directives as far as the basics of religion are concerned. Consequently, their demand is absolutely baseless.

12. The Jews are told that the teachings of Abraham (sws) -- whom they claimed to be their great progenitor --were no different. In other words, all their objections are baseless and merely because of jealousy.

13. A mention of the blissful fate of those who professed faith in Allah without demanding to see Him. They used their intellect to deduce the existence of a Sovereign Being. This again is a comment on the demand of the Jews mentioned in the beginning of the sūrah.

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