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Surah At-Takathur

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

Maududi's Commentry (Tafseer) on Surah At-Takathur

Mecca Mecca (16)
8Total Ayat: 8
1Total Ruku: 1


The Surah taken its name from the word at takathur in the first verse.

Period of Revelation

Abu Hayyan and Shaukani say that this Surah, according to allcommentators, is Makki, and this same is the well known view accordingto Iman Suyuti. However, there are some traditions, on the basis ofwhich it is considered a Madani Surah, and they are as follows:

Ibn Abi Hatim has cited Abu Buraidah as saying that this Surah was sent downconcerning the two tribes, Bani Harithah and Bani al-Harth, of theAnsar. The two tribes had first recounted the glories and illustriousdeeds of their living men; then they had gone to the grave yard andbragged of the glorious deeds of their dead. Thereupon the DivineRevelation Alhakum at takathur came down. But, if the practice of theCompanions and their successors concerning the occasions of revelation,is kept in view, this tradition is no argument to prove that Surah AtTakathur was sent down on that very occasion, but it shows that thisSurah fully applied to the act of the two tribes.

Imam Bukhari and IbnJarir have cited this view of Hadrat Ubayy bin Ka'ab: "We took the HolyProphet" saying: `If the son of Adam had two valley full of wealth, hewould long for a third valley; the son of Adam's belly cannot befilled but by earth, to be from the Quran until Alhakum at takathurwas sent down. This Hadith has been regarded as an argument for SurahAt-Takathur to be a Madani Surah on the ground that Hadrat Ubayy hadbecome a Muslim in Madinah. But Hadrat Ubayy's this statement does notindicate in what sense the Companions regarded this saying of the HolyProphet (upon whom be peace) as belonging to the Quran. If it meansthat they regarded it as a verse of the Quran, it cannot be acceptable,for a great majority of the Companions consisted of the men who werewell aware of each and every word of the Quran; they could not havethe misunderstanding that the Hadith was a verse of the Quran. And ifits belonging to the Quran is taken to mean its being derived from theQuran, the tradition can also mean that when the Companions whoentered Islam in Madinah, heard this Surah for the first time from theHoly Prophet, they thought that it had been revealed just then, andthen about the Holy Prophet's above saying they formed the idea thatit was derived from this very Surah.

Ibn Jarir Tirmidhi, Ibn al Mundhirand other traditionists have related this view of Hadrat Ali: "We werein doubt about the torment of the grave until Alhakum at takathur wassent down." This view has been regarded as an argument for Surah At-Takathur to be Madani on the ground that the torment of the grave wasfirst mentioned at Madinah; no mention of it was ever made at Makkah.But this is wrong. In the Makki Surahs of the Quran, the torment of thegrave has been mentioned at many places so clearly that there can heno room for any such doubt; for example, see Al- An'am: 93, An-Nahl:28, Al-Muminun: 99-100, Al-Mu'min: 45-46, which are all Makki Surahs.Therefore, if anything is proved by Hadrat Ali's saying, it is thatSurah At-Takathur had been revealed before the revelation of the abovementioned Makki Surahs and its revelation had removed the Companionsdoubt about the torment of the grave.

That is why, in spite of thesetraditions, a great majority of the commentators are agreed that thisSurah is Makki. In our opinion this is not only a Makki Surah but inview of its contents and style it is one of the earliest Surahs to berevealed at Makkah.

Theme and Subject Matter

In it the people havebeen warned of the evil consequences of world worship because of whichthey spend their lives in acquiring more and more of worldly wealth,material benefits and pleasures, and position and power, till death,and in vying with one another and bragging and boasting about theiracquisitions. This one pursuit has so occupied them that they are leftwith no time or opportunity for pursuing the higher things in life.After warning the people of its evil end they have been told us if tosay: "These blessings which you are amassing and enjoyingthoughtlessly, are not mere blessings but are also a means of yourtrial. For each one of these blessings and comforts you will surely becalled to account in the Hereafter."

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100. Al-Adiyat
101. Al-Qari'a
102. At-Takathur
103. Al-Asr
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