Surat al-Dhariyat – Gale force winds
Juz 27 opens with Surat al-Dhariyat, a series of oaths about the wind. Wind is a fundamental element of life on Earth. It keeps the water cycle going. The implied question is: since wind is life-giving and is created by Allah, why don’t you accept Allah’s power to bring back the dead to life? Two more truths are highlighted: “And in the sky is your promised sustenance” (22). Secondly, “We built the universe with our creative power, and We are ever-expanding it (47). Could this be a reference to the expanding universe?
The Makkans are reminded about their forefather Ibrahim who was blessed with a child in his old age, so He can gift a child to an infertile couple. This is another instance of the Quran challenging conceptual boundaries, which made belief in the Resurrection difficult for the Makkans. Then a reminder of the fate of those who denied and a warning to them that their fate could be the same if they persist in their denial.
Surat al-Tur – The Mountain
Juz 27 continues with Surat al-Tur, a late Makkan Surah. It provides evidence from nature and human history for the truth of Islamic beliefs. It opens with five powerful oaths as witnesses of the message of the Prophet ﷺ and threatens the disbelievers of Makkah: “Your Lord’s punishment will certainly come to pass” (7).
Verse 21 lends credibility to the proverb: ‘you reap what you sow’; “each person is answerable for his deeds”. However, a concession is made for righteous people: their faithful children will join them in Paradise, despite not being as righteous as their parents.
The next passage poses thirteen challenging questions: from challenging the mistaken notion about the Prophet ﷺ being a poet or a soothsayer, to who holds the treasures of Allah. The conclusion: the Makkans are a stubborn bunch, close-minded and intolerant. The Prophet ﷺ is urged to continue his mission despite their hostility.
Surat al-Najm – The Star
The next Surat of Juz 27 is al-Najm. It was revealed in the middle Makkan period, when the Prophet ﷺ recited this Surah to the Quraysh near the Kaaba, they were mesmerised by its message and tempo and fell in prostration. The Quraysh’s allegation that the Messenger ﷺ was misguided is rejected. It describes how the Angel Jibreel came to the Prophet ﷺ with Revelation. The disbelievers are told that they are irrational, lack historical evidence and are doubters. But the Quran provides knowledge from the Divine and its arguments are rational that appeal to common sense. The Surah distils the meaning of previous Scriptures in a pithy verse: “Each person will have what he has worked towards” (39), thus refuting the Quraysh’s belief in the intercession of the idols. It ends with a warning: “The Judgement Day is near and draws ever nearer…Are you surprised about this? Laughing at it rather than crying?” (58–60)
Surat al-Qamar – The Moon
Juz 27 continues with Surat al-Qamar. One night on the plains of Mina outside Makkah, the Prophet ﷺ was with a group of Quraysh, and they demanded a miracle, “split the moon into two parts, and we will believe”. Abdullah ibn Masood reports that the Prophet ﷺ raised his hands and lo and behold, it split into two parts. The Makkans were stunned, and quipped, “This is a powerful magic” (2).
The Makkans are warned about the dire consequences of their disbelief. The stories of four ancient people drive the point home, those who oppose God’s Prophets always lose. Each story ends with the refrain, “How terrible were My punishment and warnings? We made the Quran easy to learn, so is there anyone who will pay attention?”
Surat Al-Rahman – The Most Kind
The next Surat is Al-Rahman. This Makkan Surah enumerates sixty-two gifts and favours of Allah and asks a simple question, “So which favours of your Lord will you deny?” This phrase is repeated thirty-one times after mentioning two favours. People are challenged about how they deny the Majestic, Creative and Powerful Lord.
The first section of the Surah draws attention to the spiritual principles that underpin the existence of the universe. Just as the orbits of the moon and the sun are determined by Allah, so are the colours of flowers and the flavours of the fruits. The farthest stars and planets in space are firmly under His control. Everywhere in the universe, there is balance. Similarly, in human society, balance must take the form of just dealings with each other both in family relationships and in business dealings. In commercial transactions, everything must be written, recorded and weighed and measured accurately.
The second section presents a terrifying picture of Judgement Day. The harsh tenor of this passage reflects Divine Anger. A contrast with the luxuries, cool shades, delightful foods and flowing streams of Paradise.
Surat al-Waqia – The Inevitable Event
Juz 27 continues with Surat al-Waqia. It warns the Quraysh of the dire consequences of denial. The cataclysmic events of the Final Hour and the coming to pass of Judgement Day are described. That day people will be divided into three groups. Firstly, those blessed with an exquisite Paradise, who strived for the nearness of Allah. Next the group of the right hand who will live in a delightful Paradise, a rank below and the third group, the people of the left hand, living in Hell.
The question of the beginning and end of life exposes the folly of those who deny Resurrection and urges the reader to examine closely some natural spectacles: who produces the semen? Who grows the seed under the soil? Who sends the rain down? Who made the fire? It teaches that human resurrection is no different from the birth of a baby created from a spermatozoon, or the nutritious cereals growing from a dead seed, or the flames of fire coming from wood or the rain coming from the clouds. These are all powered by Allah. He creates and destroys what He wills. The frequent reference to Resurrection reminds people of the purpose of their lives and prevents them from being deceived by the fleeting world. The Surah ends with a frightening scene of a person in death throes. Can anyone prevent his death? A powerful reminder of the helplessness of humanity at the time of death. (95–96).
Surat al-Hadid – The Iron
The Juz ends with Surat al-Hadid. It encourages the giving of charity to achieve the nearness of Allah. Charity demonstrates a person’s faith in Allah and is an acknowledgment of His kindness. Charity is like giving a loan to Allah. In the Hereafter, it will be the light of the believers leading them to Paradise. The next section discusses the hypocrites, an uncharitable bunch, always in two minds, neither with the Muslims nor separate.
The Muslims are challenged, “Hasn’t the time come for the believers, that their hearts humbly submit to Allah’s remembrance and the revealed truth?” (16). A sense of urgency is imparted by this verse that encourages the giving of charity. Love of the world is a major hindrance to giving in charity, so the fleeting nature of worldly life is exposed briefly. So, don’t be tempted by the world. Imagine a plant, started as a seed in the soil, it grows, dries, and withers away becoming dry stubble. Similarly, human life also has its blossoming period in a vibrant youth, an old age followed by a time of decline and finally death.
The theme of spiritual development is explored through predestination. Whatever happens in the world, or to people is all written down by Allah. Its purpose is to help people to persevere, endure difficulties and show patience at times of difficulty.
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