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Surah An-Nabaa

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

Maududi's Commentry (Tafseer) on Surah An-Nabaa

Mecca Mecca (80)
40Total Ayat: 40
2Total Ruku: 2

Name

The Surah derived its name from the word an-Naba in the second verse.This is not only a name but also a title of its subject matter, forNaba implies the news of Resurrection and Hereafter and the wholeSurah is devoted to the same theme.

Period of Revelation

As we have explained in the introduction to Surah Al-Mursalat, thetheme of all the Surahs, from Al- Qiyamah to An-Naziat, closelyresembles one another's, and all these seem to have been revealed inthe earliest period at Makkah.

Theme and Subject Matter

Its theme also is the same as of Surah Al-Mursalat, i. e. to affirm theResurrection and Hereafter, and to warn the people of the consequencesof acknowledging or disacknowledging it.

When the Holy Prophet (uponwhom be peace) first started to preach Islam in Makkah, his messageconsisted of three elements:(1) That none be held as an associate withAllah in Godhead; (2) that Allah had appointed him as His Messenger;(3) that this world will come to an end one day and then another worldwill be established when all the former and the latter generationswill be resurrected with the same bodies in which they lived andworked in the world; then they will be called to account for theirbeliefs and deeds and those who emerge as believing and righteous inthis accountability will go to Paradise and those who are proved to bedisbelieving and wicked will live in Hell for ever.

Of these althoughthe first thing was highly unpleasant for the people of Makkah, yet inany case they were not disbelievers in the existence of Allah. Theybelieved in His Being the Supreme Sustainer, Creator and Providenceand also admitted that all those beings whom they regarded as theirdeities, were themselves Allah's creatures. Therefore, in this regardthe only thing they disputed was whether they had any share in theattributes and powers of Divinity and in the Divine Being itself ornot.

As for the second thing, the people of Makkah were not preparedto accept it. However, what they could not possibly deny was thatduring the 40 years life that the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace)had lived among them before his claim to Prophethood, they had neverfound him a lying deceitful person or the one who would adopt unlawfulmethods for selfish ends. They themselves admitted that he was a manpossessed of wisdom, righteousness and moral superiority. Therefore,in spite of charging him with a thousand false accusations, nothing tosay of making others believe, they were finding it difficult even forthemselves to believe that although he was an honest and upright manin every other affair and dealing of life, yet, God forbid, a liaronly in his claim to be a Prophet.

Thus, the first two things were notin fact so perplexing for the people of Makkah as the third thing.When this was presented before them, they mocked it most of all,expressed unusual wonder at it, and regarding it as remote from reasonand impossible, started talking against it as incredible, eveninconceivable, in their assemblies. But in order to bring them to theway of Islam it was absolutely essential that the doctrine of theHereafter should be instilled into their minds, for without belief inthis doctrine, it was not at all possible that they could adopt aserious attitude with regard to the truth and falsehood, could changetheir standard of values in respect of good and evil, and giving upworship of the world, could be inclined to follow the way that Islamurged them to follow. That is why in the earliest Surahs revealed atMakkah the doctrine of the Hereafter has been impressed and stressedmore than anything else. However, the arguments for it have been givenin such a way that the doctrine of the Oneness of God (Tauhid) also isimpressed on the minds automatically. This also contains briefarguments, here and there, to confirm the truth of the Holy Messengerof Allah and the Qur'an.

After understanding well why the theme of theHereafter has been so frequently repeated in the Surahs of this period,let us now have a look at the subject matter of this Surah. In it firstof all, allusion has been made to the common talk and the doubts thatwere being expressed in every street of Makkah and in every assemblyof the people of Makkah on hearing the news about Resurrection. Then,the deniers have been asked: "Don't you see this earth which We havespread as a carpet for you? Don't you see the high mountains which wehave so firmly placed in the earth?Don't you consider your own selveshow We have created you as pairs of men and women?Don't you consideryour sleep by which We make you seek a few hours rest after every fewhours labour and toil so as to keep you fit for work in theworld? Don't you see the alternation of the night and day which We areso regularly perpetuating precisely according to your needs andrequirements?Don't you see the strongly fortified system of theheavens above you? Don't you see the sun by means of which you arereceiving your light and heat? Don't you see the rains which fall fromthe clouds and help produce corns and vegetables and luxuriantgardens? Do these things only tell you that the power of the AlmightyBeing Who has created them, will be unable to bring about Resurrectionand establish the Next World? Then, from the supreme wisdom which isclearly working in this world around you, do you only understand thisthat although each part of it and each function of it is purposive,yet life is meaningless? Nothing could be more absurd and meaninglessthat after appointing man to the office of foreman and granting himvast powers of appropriation, in this workhouse, when he leaves theworld after fulfilling his role, he should be let off without anyaccountability. He should neither be rewarded and granted pension onsatisfactory work, nor subjected to any accountability and punishmenton unsatisfactory performance of duty.

After giving these arguments ithas been emphatically stated that the Day of Judgment shall certainlycome to pass on its appointed time. No sooner is the Trumpet soundedthan whatever is being foretold shall appear before the eyes, andwhether you believe in it today, or not, at that time you will comeout in your multitudes from wherever you would be lying dead andburied to render your account. Your denial cannot in any way avertthis inevitable event.

Then, in vv. 21-30; it has been stated thatevery single misdeed of those who do not expect any accountability totake place and have thus belied Our Revelations, lies reckoned andrecorded with Us, and Hell is ever lying an ambush to punish them andpunish them fully for all their doings. Then, in vv. 31-36, the bestrewards of those who lived as responsible people in the world and haveprovided for their Hereafter beforehand have been mentioned. They havebeen reassured that they will not only be rewarded richly for theirservices but in addition they will also be given sufficient gifts.

Inconclusion, the Divine Court in the Hereafter has been depicted,making it plain that there will be no question of somebody's beingadamant in the matter of getting his followers and associates forgiven,none will speak without leave, and leave will be granted on thecondition that intercession be made only for the one to whom leave ofintercession will have been given, and the intercessor will say onlywhat is right. Moreover, leave for intercession will be given only forthose who had acknowledged the Truth in the world but were sinners;rebels of God and rejectors of the Truth will deserve no intercessionat all.

The discourse has been concluded with this warning: The Day thecoming of which is being foretold, shall certainly come to pass. Donot think it is yet far off, it is close at hand. Now, whoever wills,let him believe in it and take the way towards his Lord. But he whodisbelieves, in spite of the warning, "will have all his deeds placedbefore him: and he will exclaim regretfully: "Oh, would that I werenot born in the world!" At that time, his regrets will be about thesame world of which he is so enamored today!

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1. Al-Fathiha
2. Al-Baqarah
3. Al-i'Imran
4. An-Nisaa
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53. An-Najm
54. Al-Qamar
55. Ar-Rahman
56. Al-Waqi'a
57. Al-Hadid
58. Al-Mujadila
59. Al-Hashr
60. Al-Mumtahana
61. As-Saff
62. Al-Jamu'a
63. Al-Munafiqun
64. At-Tagabun
65. At-Talaq
66. At-Tahrim
67. Al-Mulk
68. Al-Qalam
69. Al-Haqqa
70. Al-Ma'arij
71. Nuh
72. Al-Jinn
73. Al-Muzzammil
74. Al-Muddaththir
75. Al-Qiyamat
76. Ad-Dahr
77. Al-Mursalat
78. An-Nabaa
79. An-Nazi'at
80. Abasa
81. At-Takwir
82. Al-Infitar
83. Al-Mutaffifin
84. Al-Inshiqaq
85. Al-Buruj
86. At-Tariq
87. Al-A'la
88. Al-Gashiya
89. Al-Fajr
90. Al-Balad
91. Ash-Shams
92. Al-Lail
93. Adh-Dhuha
94. Al-Sharh
95. At-Tin
96. Al-Alaq
97. Al-Qadr
98. Al-Baiyina
99. Al-Zalzalah
100. Al-Adiyat
101. Al-Qari'a
102. At-Takathur
103. Al-Asr
104. Al-Humaza
105. Al-Fil
106. Quraish
107. Al-Ma'un
108. Al-Kauthar
109. Al-Kafirun
110. An-Nasr
111. Al-Lahab
112. Al-Ikhlaas
113. Al-Falaq
114. An-Nas
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