al-Qalam · Juz 29 · Qur'an Tafseer

Surah al-Qalam – An Overview

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَـنِ الرَّحِيمِ

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

Period of Revelation: Makkan

Theme and Subject Matter:

This Surah is also known as Surah Noon because of the harf-e-muqataat (the disjointed letter) at its beginning. It consists of three themes: replies to the opponents, warnings and admonitions, and encouragement for patience and steadiness.

In ayaat 1-7 Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala addresses the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam that the unbelievers call you a madman whereas the Book that you are presenting and your sublime conduct are by themselves sufficient to refute their false accusations. Soon they will see as to who was mad and who was sane therefore do not at all yield to their opposition for all of this is only meant to intimidate you and make you resort to a compromise with them.

Moving ahead, the common people are enlightened with the character of a prominent man from the opponents without naming him. Before them was the noble character of the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and the morals of the chiefs of Makkah opposing him.

Then in ayaat 17-23, the parable of the owners of a garden has been presented. They were blessed by Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala but turned ungrateful to Him. They were warned by the best man among them about their attitude but they did not pay any heed and were consequently deprived of the blessing. They realized this when all that they had lay devastated before their eyes. With this parable the people of Makkah have been warned that with the appointment of Muhammad salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam to Prophethood, you, O people of Makkah, too, have been put to a test similar to the one to which the owners of the garden had been put. If you do not listen to him you too will be afflicted with a punishment in this world and a far greater punishment in the Hereafter.

In ayaat 34-37 the unbelievers have been continuously admonished, in which the address sometimes turns to them directly and sometimes they are warned through the Messenger salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. They are informed that the well being in the Hereafter inevitably belongs to those who spend their lives in the world in full consciousness of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. It is utterly against reason that the obedient servants should meet in the Hereafter the same fate as the guilty. Those who are being called upon to bow before Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala in this world and they refuse to do so would be unable to prostrate on the Day of Resurrection even if they wanted to do so. Thus, they would stand disgraced and condemned. Having denied the Qur’an they cannot escape Divine punishment. The respite that they are given in this world is only a delusion. They think that since they are not being punished in spite of their denial, they must be on the Right Path while they are following the path of ruin. They have no reasonable ground for opposing the Messenger salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam for he is a preacher without any vested interest. He is neither asking for any reward for himself nor can they deny him as a Messenger.

The Surah ends with the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam being advised to bear the hardships with patience that he may have to face in calling others to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. And to avoid the impatience that Prophet Yunus [Jonah] ‘alayhi salaam displayed that led him to suffering and affliction.

May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala allow us to take lessons from the stories of the prophets (peace and blessings upon all of them), aameen.

3 thoughts on “Surah al-Qalam – An Overview

    1. Walikum salaam wa rahmatullah, it is not ignorance but your desire to learn more, alhumdulillah. We appreciate your asking.

      Prophet Yunus ‘alayhi salaam was commanded by Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala to call his people to Allah but when he faced opposition from the people he decided to leave the town and quit this responsbility. And hence Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala punished him for that until he realized his mistake and repented. You can read the details of this incident in Surah Yunus.

      May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala increase you in beneficial knowledge, aameen.

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