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Surah Al-A'la

Ayat/pg: 5 | 10 | 15 | 20 | All

Maududi's Commentry (Tafseer) on Surah Al-A'la

Mecca Mecca (8)
19Total Ayat: 19
1Total Ruku: 1


The Surah takes its name from the word al-A`la in the very first verse.

Period of Revelation

The subject matter shows that this too is one of the earliest Surahs tobe revealed, and the words: "We shall enable you to recite, then youshall never forget" of verse 6 also indicate that it was sent down inthe period when the Holy Messenger (upon whom he Allah's peace) wasnot yet fully accustomed to receive Revelation and at the timeRevelation came down he feared lest he should forget its words. Ifthis verse is read along with verse 114 of Surah Ta Ha and verses 16-19of Al-Qiyamah and the three verses are also considered with regard totheir styles and contexts, the sequence of events seems to be thatfirst in this Surah the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) was reassuredto the effect: "Do not at all worry: We shall enable you to recitethis Word, then you shall not forget it." Then after a lapse of time,on another occasion, when the Surah Al-Qiyamah was being revealed, theHoly Prophet involuntarily began to rehearse the words of theRevelation. Thereupon it was said: "O Prophet do not move your tongueto remember this Revelation hastily. It is for Us to have it remembered and read. Therefore when We are reciting it, listen to itsrecital carefully. Again, it is for Us to explain its meaning."Last ofall, on the occasion of the revelation of Surah Ta Ha, the Holy Propheton account of human weakness, again became afraid lest his memoryshould fail to preserve some portion of the 113 verses which werecontinuously revealed at that time, and therefore, he began tomemorize them. Thereupon, it was said: "And see that you do not hastento recite the Quran before its revelation is completed to you."Afterthis, it never so happened that he felt any such danger, for apartform these three places, there is no other place in the Quran wherethere might be a reference to this matter.

Theme and Subject Matter

This short surah contains three themes: Tauhid, instructions to the HolyProphet (upon whom be peace) and the Hereafter.

In the first verse,the doctrine of Tauhid has been compressed into a single sentence,saying that Allah's name should be glorified and exalted, i. e. Heshould not be remembered by any name which mighty reflect a deficiency,fault, weakness, or an aspect of likeness, with created beings, forthe root of all false creeds in the world are wrong concepts aboutAllah, which assumed the form of an erroneous name for His gloriousand exalted Being. Therefore, for the correction of the creed, theprimary thing is that Allah Almighty should be remembered only by thebeautiful names which suit and befit Him.

In the next three verses, ithas been said: "Your Lord, glorification of Whose name is beingenjoined, is He Who created everything in the Universe, proportionedit, set it a destiny, taught it to perform the function for which itis created, and you witness this manifestation of His power day andnight that He creates vegetation on the earth as well as reduces it tomere rubbish. No other being has the power to bring about spring northe power to prevent autumn."

Then, in the following two verses, theHoly Prophet (upon whom be peace) his been consoled, as if to say: "Donot worry as to how you will remember word for word the Qur'an that isbeing revealed to you. It is for Us to preserve it in your memory, andits preservation is not in any way the result of any excellence in youbut the result of Our bounty and favor, otherwise if We so will, Wecan cause you to forget it."

Then, the Holy Prophet (upon whom bepeace) has been told: "You have not been made responsible to bringeveryone on to the right path; your only duty is to convey the truth,and the simplest way of conveying the truth is that admonition begiven to him who is inclined to listen to the admonition and accept it,and the one who is not inclined to it, should not be pursued. The onewho fears the evil consequences of deviation and falsehood, willlisten to the truth and accept it, and the wretched one who avoidslistening to and accepting it, will himself see his evil end."'

Thediscourse has been summed up, saying: "Success is only for those whoadopt purity of belief, morals and deed, and remember the name oftheir Lord and perform the Prayer. But, on the contrary, the peopleare wholly lost in seeking the ease, benefits and pleasures of theworld, whereas they should actually endeavor for their well being inthe Hereafter, for the world is transitory and the Hereaftereverlasting and the blessings of the Hereafter are far better than theblessings of the world. This truth has not been expressed only in theQur'an but in the books of the Prophets Abraham and Moses too, it hadbeen brought to the notice of man.

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