Al-Alaq · Juz 30 · Qur'an Tafseer

Tafseer Surah Al-‘Alaq Ayaat 6-19

The Threat against Man’s Transgression for the sake of Wealth

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Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala informs that man transgresses and does evil when he considers himself self-sufficient and having an abundance of wealth. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala reminds us of our eventual return to Him, “Surely, unto your Lord is the return,” (96: 6). We will be held accountable for our wealth, as to where we obtained it from and how we spent it.

“Have you seen him who prevents, a servant when he prays,” (96: 7-8) these ayaat are particularly about Abu Jahl who threatened the Prophet ﷺ for performing the prayer at the Ka’abah. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala admonishes him with that which was better by saying, “Have you seen if he is on the guidance,” (96: 9) meaning have you ascertained that the man you are preventing is upon the straight path or enjoins taqwa (96: 10). Why are you stopping him? This gives as an insight into opposition. Many people disagree with others merely because of their own lack of knowledge. Without finding out the truth we take our positions. And in doing so, we harm no one but ourselves. Whether it is a worldly matter or a religious duty we must first find out the truth. We must always consult the Qur’an and Sunnah and judge matters or live our lives according to them and not according to he-said-this so-she-said-that, and so on.

Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says that he (Abu Jahl) knows not that Allah can see him. He will be compensated for his actions. If he does not stop what he is doing (threatening the Prophet ﷺ for praying) then he should know that his forehead will be scorched.

Ibn Katheer explains that this means his forehead will be extremely black on the Judgment Day. May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala protect us from such an evil end, ameen. We should also try our best not to become of those who stop or threaten the servants of Allah from worshipping Him. If today, we find acting on a commandment difficult or there is something that we don’t understand we should ask Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala to open up our hearts to understanding and make it easy for us to follow. We should never mock the ayaat of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala or the friends of Allah.

“Then let him call upon his council,” (96: 17) meaning his people and his tribe so that he can seek help from them. If he will call his council then he should know that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala will send his angels of torment. This is so that he may know who will win – Allah’s group or his group.

Ibn ‘Abbas radhiAllahu ‘anhu said Abu Jahl said, “If I see Muhammad praying at the Ka’abah, I will stomp on his neck.” So this reached the Prophet ﷺ who said,

لَئِنْ فَعَلَ لَأَخَذَتْهُ الْمَلَائِكَة

“If he does he will be seized by the angels.” [Bukhari]

In another narration it appears that the Messenger ﷺ was praying at the prayer station of Ibrahim ‘alayhi salaam when Abu Jahl ibn Hisham passed by him and said, “O Muhammad! Haven’t I prevented you from this?” He threatened the Prophet ﷺ and thus, the Messenger of Allah ﷺ became angry with him and reprimanded him. Then he said, “O Muhammad! What can you threaten me with? By Allah! I have the most kinsmen of this valley with me in the large.”

Then Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala revealed,

فَلْيَدْعُ نَادِيَهُ – سَنَدْعُ الزَّبَانِيَةَ

“Then let him call upon his council. We will call out the guards of Hell!”
(96: 17-18)

Ibn ‘Abbas radhiAllahu ‘anhu then said, “If he had called his people, the angels of torment would have seized him at that very instant.”

Ibn Jarir recorded from Abu Huraira radhiAllahu ‘anhu that Abu Jahl said, “Does Muhammad cover his face with dust (i.e., from prostration) while he is among you all?” They (the people) replied, “Yes.” Then he said, “By Al-Lat and Al-‘Uzza, if I see him praying like this, I will stomp on his neck, and I will certainly put his face in the dust.” So the Messenger of Allah ﷺ came and he began praying, which made it possible for Abu Jahl to stomp on his neck. Then the people became surprised at him (Abu Jahl) because he began retreating on his heels and covering himself with his hands. Then it was said to him, “What’s the matter with you?” He replied, “Verily, between me and him is a ditch of fire, monsters and wings.” Then the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said,

لَوْ دَنَا مِنِّي لَاخْتَطَفَتْهُ الْمَلَائِكَةُ عُضْوًا عُضْوًا

“If he had come near me, the angels would have snatched him limb by limb.

Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala ends the Surah by saying, “Do not obey him,” (96: 19) meaning do not obey him (Abu Jahl) in what he is forbidding from such as steadfastness in worship and performing worship in abundance. Pray wherever you wish and do not worry about him. For indeed, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala will protect and help against those who oppose you.

LESSON: The key to be successful in this life and the next is to obey and please Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. We should never become weak and disobey Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala in temporarily pleasing the creation. May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala protect us from this ameen.

When the opposition becomes intense or it becomes difficult for you to remain steadfast on obedience then, “fall prostrate and draw near (to Allah),” ۩ (96: 19). Abu Salih reported from Abu Huraira radhiAllahu ‘anhu that the Prophet ﷺ said,

أَقْرَبُ مَا يَكُونُ الْعَبْدُ مِنْ رَبِّهِ وَهُوَ سَاجِدٌ، فَأَكْثِرُوا الدُّعَاء

“The closest that a servant can be to his Lord is when he is in prostration. Therefore, make abundant supplications (i.e. while prostrating).”  

۩ indicates it is a place of prostration. It was the Sunnah of the Prophet to prostrate upon reciting or hearing an ayah of prostration. It is known as the prostration of recitation or sujood al-tilawah.

DOWNLOAD PDF: Tafseer Surah Al-‘Alaq

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