Have you ever wanted to read and understand the Quran? Have you tried to read it but lost steam? Haven’t got the time? Then, this is the podcast for you!
#37. Surat Al-Nazi'at - The Snatchers
This is an early Makkan surat; its central theme is resurrection. The story of Pharaoh highlights why some people don't believe, because of pride, selfishness and love of the world (15). The surat opens with five oaths - five descriptive, active participles that are enigmatic and unclear, making them difficult to translate. However, commentators have variously interpreted them as referring to warhorses, different winds, various stars, the souls of the righteous and the angels. The evidence invoked here leads to the conclusion, "You will certainly be resurrected."
#36. Surat 'Abasa - Frowning
One day, the Messenger ﷺ was preaching to the leaders of Makkah, hopeful they would accept his message. He was extremely concerned to bringing them into the fold of Islam, and saving them from the Hellfire. However, Abdullah ibn Umm-al Maktum, a blind Muslim, came unexpectedly and wanted the attention of the Prophet ﷺ, saying: "Messenger! Teach me what Allah has taught you." The Messenger ﷺ did not like this interruption and frowned at him, turning away from him and towards the Makkans leaders.
The surat commented on this incident, and thereafter the Messenger ﷺ used to say to him, "You are the man for whom my Lord censured me." It is obvious that Abdullah was in error when he interrupted the Messenger ﷺ, who was conveying the Message. So why does the Quran censure him? A closer look at the passage reveals that the Quran wants to remove the Makkan leaders' misunderstanding; they thought Islam needed them. However, the Quran tells them they are wrong, Islam doesn't need them. On the other hand, it appreciates sincere people like the blind man. Whenever the Prophet ﷺ left Madinah, he would appoint Ibn Maktum as the governor. The Quran teaches respect and equality for the blind and disabled.
#35. Surat Al Takwir – The Shrouding
Listen to Dr Musharraf Hussain sharing his thoughts and analysis of Surat Al Takwir. The central theme of this early Makkan surat is the truthfulness of the Majestic Quran and the validity of its teachings. It opens with twelve oaths, each signifying one of the cataclysmic events prior to the Day of Resurrection. In the second section, another set of oaths about the time of celestial bodies is presented. The Quran is keen to stress the truthfulness of the Messenger ﷺ and the source of his message, so it describes the power, authority and reliability of the Angel Jibreel responsible for bringing the Divine Message. Finally, it challenges its audience with this verse: “So where are you going?” (26).
#34. Surat Al Infitar – The Cleaving
Listen to Dr Musharraf Hussain sharing his thoughts and analysis of Surat Al Infitar. This is an early Makkan surat. Its central theme is self-deception that turns a person away from Allah. After taking the oaths of the events leading to Judgement Day, a question is gently asked: “people, what deceived and misled you from your generous Lord?” (6). The qualities of the Lord Who created are recalled to prick the conscience. Humanity is warned: you are monitored by the Angels who record your every move. On Judgement Day, all will give an account.
#33. Surat Al-Mutaffifin – The Cheats
Listen to Dr Musharraf Hussain sharing his thoughts and analysis of Surat Al-Mutaffifin. This is a late Makkan surat, condemning cheating traders and shopkeepers who were dishonest in their dealings with others. This picture of a dishonest person isn’t limited to commercial transactions but is also relevant to people who are dishonest in other aspects of life, both in seventh-century Arabia and today.
The surat, interestingly, doesn’t mention the rope makers, tanners and perfume sellers working in Hijaz. Why does it single out the merchants, bankers and bookkeepers? Possibly because they have more opportunities to cheat, exploit the weak and perpetrate injustices. Recall the financial crisis of 2008, which affected economies around the world. Who was responsible for the that? Such injustices are committed by those who deny Judgment Day and feel they can swindle and cheat without consequence. “Don’t they believe they will be resurrected on a Grand Day?” (4-5).
#32. Surat Al-Inshiqaq – The Splitting Open
Listen to Dr Musharraf Hussain sharing his thoughts and analysis of Surat Al-Inshiqaq. This is a late Makkan surat, of which the central theme is the connection between actions and consequences. It opens by stressing the instinctive obedience of the inanimate; the Sky and the Earth. An indirect disapproval of the Makkans, who refused to obey their Lord despite having intelligence.
Working hard for one’s livelihood is a universal human value. However, to limit life to this is folly; the workaholic is being challenged in this surat. He is advised not to forget the Hereafter and the meeting with the Lord Who is the true Sustainer and Provider. However, those who work hard for their Hereafter are guaranteed progress: “You will develop stage by stage” (19).