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Surah An-Naml

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

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

Mecca Mecca (48)
93Total Ayat: 93
7Total Ruku: 7

Name

The Surah takes its name from the phrase wad-in-naml which occurs inverse 18, implying that it is a Surah in which the story of An-Naml(the Ant) has been related.

Period of Revelation

The subject matter and the style bear full resemblance with the Surahs of the middle Makkan period and this is supported by traditions as well. According to Ibn Abbas and Jabir bin Zaid, "First the Surah Ash-Shu`araa' was sent down, then the Surah An Naml and then Al-Qasas."

Theme and Topics

The Surah consists of two discourses, the first from the beginning of the Surah to the end of verse 58, and the second from verse 59 to the end of the Surah.

The theme of the first discourse is that only those people can benefit from the guidance of the Quran and become worthy of the good promises made in it, who accept the realities which this Book presents as the basic realities of the universe, and then follow up their belief with obedience and submission in their practical lives as well. But the greatest hindrance for man to follow this way is the denial of the Hereafter. For it makes him irresponsible, selfish and given to worldly life, which in turn makes it impossible for him to submit himself before God and to accept the moral restrictions on his lusts and desires. After this introduction three types of character have been presented.

The first type is characterized by Pharaoh and the chiefs of Thamud and the rebels of the people of Lot, who were all heedless of the accountability of the Hereafter and had consequently become the slaves of the world. These people did not believe even after seeing the miracles. Rather they turned against those who invited them to goodness and piety. They persisted in their evil ways which are held in abhorrence by every sensible person. They did not heed the admonition even until a moment before they were overtaken by the scourge of Allah.

The second type of character is of the ProphetSolomon (peace be upon him), who had been blessed by God with wealth and kingdom and grandeur to an extent undreamt of by the chiefs of the disbelievers of Makkah. But, since he regarded himself as answerable before God and had the feeling that whatever he had was only due toAllah's bounty, he had adopted the attitude of obedience before Him and there was no tinge of vanity in his character.

The third type is of the queen of Sheba, who ruled over a most wealthy and well known people in the history of Arabia. She possessed all those means of life,which could cause a person to become vain and conceited. Her wealth and possessions far exceeded the wealth and possessions of theQuraish. Then she professed shirk, which was not only an ancestral way of life with her, but she had to follow it in order to maintain her position as a ruler. Therefore, it was much more difficult for her to give up shirk and adopt the way of Tauhid than it could be for a common mushrik. But when the Truth became evident to her, nothing could stop her from accepting it. Her deviation was, in fact, due to her being born and brought up in a polytheistic environment and not because of her being a slave to her lusts and desires. Her conscience was not devoid of the sense of accountability before God.

In the second discourse, at the outset, attention has been drawn to some of the most glaring and visible realities of the universe, and the disbelievers of Makkah have been asked one question after the other to the effect :"Do these realities testify to the creed of shirk which you are following, or to the truth of Tauhid to which the Qur'an invites you?"After this the real malady of the disbelievers has been pointed out,saying, "The thing which has blinded them and made them insensitive to every glaring reality is their denial of the Hereafter. This same thing has rendered every matter and affair of life non-serious for them. For, when according to them, everything has to become dust ultimately, and the whole struggle of life is purposeless and without an object before it, the truth and falsehood are equal and alike.Therefore, the question whether one's system of life is based on the right or wrong foundations, becomes meaningless for him."

But the discourse, as outlined above, is not meant to dissuade the Prophet and the Muslims from calling the obdurate and heedless people to the way of Tauhid; it is, in fact, intended to arouse them from their slumber.That is why in vv. 67-93 certain things have been said repeatedly in order to produce in the people a sense of the Hereafter, to warn them of the consequences of being heedless of it, and to convince them of its coining, like an eye witness of something, who convinces the other person of it, who has not seen it.

In conclusion, the real invitation of the Quran that is, the invitation to serve One Allah alone, has been presented in a concise but forceful manner, and the people warned that accepting it would be to their own advantage and rejecting it to their own disadvantage. For if they deferred their faith until they saw those Signs of God after the appearance of which they would be left with no choice but to believe and submit, they should bear in mind the fact that that would be the time of judgment and believing then would be of no avail.

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1. Al-Fathiha
2. Al-Baqarah
3. Al-i'Imran
4. An-Nisaa
5. Al-Maida
6. Al-An'am
7. Al-A'raf
8. Al-Anfal
9. At-Tauba
10. Yunus
11. Hud
12. Yusuf
13. Ar-Ra'd
14. Ibrahim
15. Al-Hijr
16. An-Nahl
17. Al-Israa
18. Al-Kahf
19. Maryam
20. Ta-ha
21. Al-Anbiyaa
22. Al-Hajj
23. Al-Muminun
24. An-Nur
25. Al-Furqan
26. Ash-Shu'araa
27. An-Naml
28. Al-Qasas
29. Al-Ankabut
30. Ar-Rum
31. Luqman
32. As-Sajda
33. Al-Ahzab
34. Saba
35. Fatir
36. Ya-Sin
37. As-Saffat
38. Sad
39. Az-Zumar
40. Al-Mu'min
41. Ha-Mim
42. Ash-Shura
43. Az-Zukhruf
44. Ad-Dukhan
45. Al-Jathiya
46. Al-Ahqaf
47. Muhammad
48. Al-Fat-h
49. Al-Hujurat
50. Qaf
51. Az-Zariyat
52. At-Tur
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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