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Surah Ash-Shams

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

Maududi's Commentry (Tafseer) on Surah Ash-Shams

Mecca Mecca (26)
15Total Ayat: 15
1Total Ruku: 1


The Surah has been so designated after the word ash-shams with which itopens.

Period of Revelation

The subject matter and the style show that this Surah too was revealedin the earliest period at Makkah at a stage when opposition to theHoly Prophet (upon whom be Allah's peace) had grown very strong andintense.

Theme and Subject Matter

Its theme is to distinguish the good from the evil and to warn thepeople, who were refusing to understand this distinction and insistingon following the evil way, of the evil end.

In view of the subjectmatter this Surah consists of two parts. The first part consists of vv.1-10, and the second of vv. 11-15. The first part deals with threethings: (1) That just as the sun and the moon, the day and the night,the earth and the sky, are different from each other and contradictoryin their effects and results, so are the good and the evil differentfront each other and contradictory in their effects and results; theyare neither alike in their outward appearance nor can they be alike intheir results.(2) That Allah after giving the human self powers of thebody, sense and mind has not left it uninformed in the world, but hasinstilled into his unconscious by means of a natural inspiration thedistinction between good and evil, right and wrong, and the sense ofthe good to be good and of the evil to be evil.(3) That the future ofman depends on how by using the powers of discrimination, will andjudgment that Allah has endowed him with, he develops the good andsuppresses the evil tendencies of the self. If he develops the goodinclination and frees his self of the evil inclinations, he willattain to eternal success, and if, on the contrary, he suppresses thegood and promotes the evil, he will meet with disappointment andfailure.

In the second part citing the historical precedent of thepeople of Thamud the significance of Apostleship has been brought out.A Messenger is raised in the world, because the inspirationalknowledge of good and evil that Allah has placed in human nature, isby itself not enough for the guidance of man, but on account of hisfailure to understand it fully man has been proposing wrong criteriaand theories of good and evil and thus going astray. That is why Allahsent down clear and definite Revelation to the Prophets (peace be uponthem) to augment man's natural inspiration so that they may expound tothe people as to what is good and what is evil. Likewise, the ProphetSalih (peace be upon him) was sent to the people of Thamud, but thepeople overwhelmed by the evil of their self, had become so rebelliousthat they rejected him. And when he presented before them the miracleof the she camel, as demanded by themselves, the most wretched one ofthem, in spite of his warning, hamstrung it, in accordance with thewill and desire of the people. Consequently, the entire tribe wasovertaken by a disaster.

While narrating this story of the Thamudnowhere in the Surah has it been said "O people of Quraish, if yourejected your Prophet, Muhammad (upon whom be Allah's peace andblessings), as the Thamud had rejected theirs, you too would meet withthe same fate as they met."The conditions at that time in Makkah weresimilar to those that had been created by the wicked among the peopleof Thamud against the Prophet Salih (peace be upon him). Therefore,the narration of this story in those conditions was by itself enoughto suggest to the people of Makkah how precisely this historicalprecedent applied to them.

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90. Al-Balad
91. Ash-Shams
92. Al-Lail
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94. Al-Sharh
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111. Al-Lahab
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113. Al-Falaq
114. An-Nas
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