View Printable Version :: Email to a Friend
Surahs Fajr-Balad (89-90)
Qur'anic Exegesis
Javed Ahmad Ghamidi
(Tr. by:Dr. Shehzad Saleem)

Surahs Fajr-Balad (89-90)


These two sūrahs form a pair since they discuss the same subject. The leaders of the Quraysh have been addressed in them. The address is almost indirect because their arrogant attitude has made them unworthy of being addressed directly. A study of the contents of this sūrah-pair shows that the sūrahs were revealed in Mecca in the phase of `Inzār-i-Aam', when the Prophet (sws), during the course of his mission, was discharging his duty of warning the Quraysh in general of the dire consequences of their defiant attitude.

Central Theme

The central theme of both the sūrahs is to reprimand the leaders of the Quraysh for the rebellious attitude and arrogant behaviour they have adopted with regard to Allah and their fellow human beings after being bestowed with favours and riches.

Subject Analysis

Sūrah Fajr

The rising of the dawn and the departure of the night together with the waxing and waning of the moon point to the fact that the night of this world shall, gradually, make way to the dawn of the next world.

Historical evidence is presented for this premise.

The leaders of the Quraysh are rebuked for overlooking this reality and maintaining the view that the rich are rich because the Almighty intends to honour them and the poor are poor because He intends to disgrace them. They are told that a man's state of affluence or indigence is a trial and test for him. The Almighty has endowed them with riches to see how they treat the deprived. But alas! the love of wealth has blinded them and they will only understand --- to no avail --- on the Day of Judgement. They should remember that success on that Day will not go to the ungrateful but to those who, in both good and bad circumstances, had resigned themselves to the will of the Almighty and had returned to Him in this state of contentment.

Sūrah Balad

The leadership of the Quraysh is reminded of the history of Mecca. It is pointed out to them that they never always possessed the favours and riches they now have. When Abraham had settled their forefathers in this land centuries ago, their life was full of toil and struggle. After the Almighty had endowed them with favours, they became arrogant and rebellious instead of showing gratitude and spending in the way of Allah.

Sorrow is expressed at the fact that their eyes never did learn any lesson from their surroundings nor did their tongue speak in favour of the deprived nor did their minds understand the good and the evil. The result is that they are now denying the truth and becoming worthy of being thrown into Hell. Had they done good deeds, accepted faith and counselled one another to remain steadfast on this faith and to be sympathetic with others, success would certainly have been their fate on the Day of Judgement and they would have become entitled to the life of Paradise.


Sūrah Fajr

The dawn bears witness1, and [every] ten nights [of the moon]2, and the even and odd [month in which it completes its course], and the night [also] when it departs [that the dawn of the Day of Judgement is certain to come and this world of yours is, gradually, reaching its end]3. Is there in this an evidence for the sensible4?

Did you not see how your Lord dealt with [the people of] Aad? These Iram5 of the pillars who had no parallel in the world. And with the Thamud who carved huge rocks in the valley6? And with the Pharaoh, he of the tent-pegs7. All of these people were rebellious to Allah in their lands and spread evil therein. So your Lord let loose on them the scourge of His punishment8. [For these rebellious people], verily, your Lord is waiting in ambush9.

But as for man, when his Lord tests him by honouring him and bestowing favours on him, he says puffed up `My Lord has exalted me'. But when He tests him restricting his subsistence for him, he says `My Lord has humiliated me'. [No this is not so] certainly not! in fact, [this is to test you and] you do not honour the orphans and do not urge each other to feed the poor 10 and greedily lay hands on the inheritance [of the weak] and become mad with the love of wealth11.

[Man thinks that he will not be held accountable for this attitude]. Certainly not! He should remember when the earth shall be pounded even, and your Lord shall manifest Himself such that the angels will stand in rows [before Him] and Hell shall be brought near12. On that Day, man shall come to understand. But then what will this understanding avail him? He will say `Ah! Would that I had done something for this life! On that Day, none shall punish as He [ --- thy Lord --- ] punishes and none shall bind as He binds.

[To the others He shall say]: O you whose heart remained content [with his Lord in times of comfort and distress]13 return unto your Lord, such that He is pleased with you and you are pleased with Him. [Return] and enter among My servants and enter My Paradise.


Sūrah Balad

No14! [they were never always in this state of affluence] I call to witness just this city15 --- [and this city is not unknown to you], you are its inhabitant16 --- and [I call to witness] the father and his progeny17 [who settled in this city] that We created man [in this valley] into a [life of] toil and struggle18.

[Now when he is leading a life of affluence] does he think that no one has power over him? [When he is asked to spend] he says I have thrown away a lot of money19. Does he think that no one has seen him20?

Have We not given him two eyes [that he could see the deprived] and a tongue and two lips [that he could urge others to do good]? and not shown him the two ways [that he could understand the good and the evil? But he did not benefit from these] nor did he attempt the steep path21. And what do you understand what this steep path is? [It is] the freeing of a slave or feeding, in days of famine, of an orphan near of kin or an indigent [down] in the dust. Then he be of those who accept faith and who counsel one another to remain steadfast [on it] and who counsel one another to be sympathetic [to others]. These are the fortunate. And those who deny our revelations, it is they who are the unfortunate. The Fire shall close in on them.





1. The various oaths mentioned in the Qur’ān are meant to present an evidence which substantiates a claim. The muqsim bihi (object of oath) serves as an evidence for the point made in the muqsim alaih (complement of oath), which sometimes is stated just after the muqsim bihi and at other times is suppressed when it is too obvious to be expressed. In this sūrah, the objects of the oaths have been mentioned in the first four verses of the sūrah. These are: the rising dawn, the ten nights of the moon, the month having even and odd number of days, and the departing night. The complement of oath in this sūrah, ie the certainty of the Day of Judgement, has been suppressed.

2. A mention of `every ten nights' is an obvious reference to the course of the moon because it passes through three distinct phases in each of the ten nights of a month: The first phase in which it journeys to attain its full brightness, the second one in which this state, more or less, remains stable and the third and last phase in which it gradually diminishes in size and finally disappears.

3. A deliberation on other verses in which oaths of similar meaning have been stated (eg. 74:32-34 and 81:17-18) shows that two arguments have been used by the Qur’ān to remind man of the Day of Judgement. The first one is that certain contrasting events of this world which are profound in nature draw our attention to the Day of Judgement. The second one is that there exists a law of gradual progression for each event and each of the Almighty's decrees has an appointed time. In this particular sūrah, an example of the first argument is the first and last oath ie each day, the rising dawn and the departing night reminds us that the night of this world will one day manifest into dawn of the next one. An example of the second one is the second and third oaths ie the phases of the moon which sometimes result in a month of twenty nine days and sometimes in one of thirty, remind us that this world also, like the moon, shall gradually complete its cycle and finally disappear. Furthermore, the uncertainty in the number of days of a month points to the fact that the life span of this world is also uncertain; the transition to the next world would be sudden and unexpected.

4. A note of reprimand is sounded to the rebellious leadership of the Quraysh who have paid no attention to the lesson conveyed by these phenomena of nature.

5. `Iram' is another name of the Aad, a people whose history the Arabs were well-versed with. They built lofty buildings and other elevated structures of architecture.

6. The ancient civilization of the Thamud was from the progeny of the Aad. The characteristic feature of their civilization was that they had built various temples, tombs and buildings cut out of solid rock. The valley referred to is the `Waad-il-Quraa' situated north of Medinah on the ancient caravan route from Southern Arabia to Syria.

7. This epithet signifies the large number of the Pharaoh's army. In ancient times the concept of having a standing army was non-existent. However, a study of the Old Testament reveals that the Pharaoh had organized an extensive army for the defence of his country. It patrolled and camped throughout its length and breadth.

8. This refers to the punishment a nation is meted out after it rejects a prophet (rasool).

9. The examples of three different nations show that there is a definite law of the Almighty which governs their rise and fall: `The Almighty never spares a nation guilty of ingratitude.' Now if He punishes a nation for its wrong behaviour, why will He not punish a person for the same reason? Consequently, there shall definitely come a Day when man shall be held accountable for his deeds.

10. These verses reprimand the arrogant leadership of the Quraish. The address shifts from indirect to direct. When the various phenomena of nature as well as historical evidence mentioned in the previous verses point to the fact that the Day of Judgement is certain to come, they should have taken heed to this message and adopted an attitude taking into account this reality. But alas! they never were heedful of this message and, instead of considering the states of affluence and indigence as a trial and test for themselves, they regarded affluence as a state of honour and indigence as a state of humiliation. They have always failed in this test, as they have never honoured the deprived by being kind and gracious to them.

11. Greed and lust for wealth are the reasons for this inconsiderate attitude, which themselves are a result of not considering life as a trial and test. Since the addressees of the sūrah are the affluent leaders of ÿQuraish, the attitude of the other class of people --- those whose subsistence has been constrained --- has though been mentioned, it has not found further treatment in the sūrah.

12. The mention of Hell proceeds that of Heaven as the addressees of the sūrah are the arrogant leaders of the Quraish.

13. This depicts, in contrast, the correct attitude of the righteous. Instead of being puffed up in times of prosperity and becoming distressed in times of affliction, they resigned themselves to the will of the Almighty in both the states of life.

14. The foremost thing which makes a rich person arrogant and ungrateful is that he forgets the time when he or his tribe never was in this state of affluence. In fact, he becomes so unmindful of this reality that he thinks that his clan always was a beneficiary of these favours. The `No' here actually negates this notion of the leadership of the Quraish.

15. ie the city of Mecca. Like other oaths mentioned in the Qur’ān , this oath only substantiates a claim stated in the succeeding verses, and does not pertain to any element of sanctity of the city.

16. This is a parenthetical sentence, which lends support to the oath. The arrogant chiefs of the Quraysh have actually been addressed through the Prophet (sws). They are reminded that the city which is being presented as evidence is very well known to them. They are well aware of its history and can easily judge the truth of what is being said to them.

17. `The father' obviously refers to Abraham, as it was he who had migrated to this land centuries ago and had settled his progeny here.

18. This verse actually mentions the claim which the oaths substantiate. It is a historical fact that when Abraham (sws) had settled his son Ismael (sws) in this valley, the place was totally barren and the tribes were mostly at war with one another. In other words, it lacked both in peace and sustenance. The prophet Abraham (sws) then built the Baitullah with his son, the prophet Ismael (sws), in this area so that their progeny could make it the centre of worship. He prayed to the Almighty to grant them peace and sustenance in the area so that they could fulfil this purpose. The Almighty granted them both on the condition that they remain obedient to Him.

19. The behaviour of the Quraysh shows that a person's ungrateful attitude towards the Almighty, inevitably, makes him indifferent to the needs of his fellow human beings as well. To spend on them becomes the most difficult thing for him. Whenever, he is asked to spend in the way of Allah, he boastfully retorts that he has already set examples of his `generosity' by spending millions on the poor.

20. A warning to the Quraysh that it is no use making false claims of their generosity because they must remember that Allah is watching them and is fully aware of what they do.

21. The path of righteousness is not actually steep; wrong attitude makes it steep.


For Questions on Islam, please use our

Replica Handbags Bottega Veneta fake Bvlgari fake Celine fake Christian Dior fake Gucci fake Gucci Bag fake Gucci Wallet fake Gucci Shoes fake Gucci Belt fake Hermes fake Loewe fake Louis Vuitton fake Louis Vuitton Belt fake Louis Vuitton Calf Leather fake Louis Vuitton Damier Azur Canvas fake Louis Vuitton Damier Ebene Canvas fake Louis Vuitton Damier Graphite Canvas fake Louis Vuitton Damier Infini Leather fake Louis Vuitton Damier Quilt lamb fake Louis Vuitton Embossed Calfskin fake Louis Vuitton Epi fake Louis Vuitton Game On Monogram Canvas fake Louis Vuitton Jewellery fake Louis Vuitton Key Holder fake Louis Vuitton Mahina Leather fake Louis Vuitton Monogram Canvas fake Louis Vuitton Monogram Denim fake Louis Vuitton Monogram Eclipse Canvas fake Louis Vuitton Monogram Empreinte fake Louis Vuitton Monogram Seal fake Louis Vuitton Monogram Shadow fake Louis Vuitton Monogram Vernis fake Louis Vuitton Monogram Watercolor fake Louis Vuitton New Wave fake Louis Vuitton Shoes fake Louis Vuitton Since 1854 fake Louis Vuitton Strap fake Louis Vuitton Taiga Leahter fake Louis Vuitton Taurillon leather fake Louis Vuitton Transformed Game On canvas fake Louis Vuitton Utah Calfskin fake Louis Vuitton X Supreme fake Mulberry fake Prada fake YSL fake