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.
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.
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.
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.
The dawn bears witness, and [every] ten nights [of the
moon], 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]. Is there in
this an evidence for the sensible?
Did you not see how your Lord dealt with [the people of]
Aad? These Iram of the pillars who had no parallel in the world. And with the
Thamud who carved huge rocks in the valley? And with the Pharaoh, he of the
tent-pegs. 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
punishment. [For these rebellious people], verily, your Lord is waiting in
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
and greedily lay hands on the inheritance [of the weak] and become mad with
the love of wealth.
[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 near. 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] 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.
No! [they were never always in this state of affluence]
I call to witness just this city --- [and this city is not unknown to you],
you are its inhabitant --- and [I call to witness] the father and his
progeny [who settled in this city] that We created man [in this valley] into a
[life of] toil and struggle.
[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 money. Does he think that no one has seen him?
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 path. 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.