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Surah Al-Balad

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

Maududi's Commentry (Tafseer) on Surah Al-Balad

Mecca Mecca (35)
20Total Ayat: 20
1Total Ruku: 1


The Surah has been so named after the word al balad in the first verse.

Period of Revelation

Its subject matter and style resemble those of the earliest Surahsrevealed at Makkah, but it contains a pointer which indicates that itwas sent down in the period when the disbelievers of Makkah hadresolved to oppose the Holy Prophet (upon whom be Allah's peace), andmade it lawful for themselves to commit tyranny and excess against him.

Theme and Subject Matter

In this Surah a vast subject has been compressed into a few briefsentences, and it is a miracle of the Quran that a complete ideologyof life which could hardly be explained in a thick volume has beenabridged most effectively in brief sentences of this short Surah. Itstheme is to explain the true position of man in the world and of theworld in relation to man and to tell that God has shown to man boththe highways of good and evil, has also provided for him the means tojudge and see and follow them, and now it rests upon mans own effortand judgment whether he chooses the path of virtue and reachesfelicity or adopts the path of vice and meets with doom.

First, thecity of Makkah and the hardships being faced therein by the HolyProphet (upon whom be peace) and the state of the children of Adamhave been cited as a witness to the truth that this world is not aplace of rest and ease for man, where he might have been born to enjoylife, but here he has been created into toil and struggle. If thistheme is read with verse 39 of Surah An-Najm (Laisa lil insani illa masaa: there is nothing for man but what he has striven for), it becomesplain that in this world the future of man depends on his toil andstruggle, effort and striving.

After this, man's misunderstanding thathe is all in all in this world and that there is no superior power towatch what he does and to call him to account, has been refuted.

Then,taking one of the many moral concepts of ignorance held by man, as anexample, it has been pointed out what wrong criteria of merit andgreatness he has proposed for himself in the world. The person who forostentation and display squanders heaps of wealth, not only himselfprides upon his extravagances but the people also admire him for itenthusiastically, whereas the Being Who is watching over his deeds,sees by what methods he obtained the wealth and in what ways and withwhat motives and intention he spent it.

Then Allah says: We have givenman the means of knowledge and the faculties of thinking andunderstanding and opened up before him both the highways of virtue andvice: one way leads down to moral depravity, and it is an easy waypleasing for the self; the other way leads up to moral heights, whichis steep like an uphill road, for scaling which man has to exerciseself- restraint. It is man's weakness that he prefers slipping downinto the abyss to scaling the cliff.

Then, Allah has explained whatthe steep road is by following which man can ascend to the heights. Itis that he should give up spending for ostentation, display and prideand should spend his wealth to help the orphans and the needy, shouldbelieve in Allah and His Religion and joining the company of believersshould participate in the construction of a society which shouldfulfill the demands of virtue and righteousness patiently and should becompassionate to the people. The end of those who follow this way isthat they would become worthy of Allah's mercies. On the contrary, theend of those who follow the wrong way, is the fire of Hell from whichthere is no escape.

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