#26. Surat Al-Balad – The City


Watch Dr Musharraf Hussain sharing his thoughts and analysis of Surat Al-Balad. The mountain is a permanent feature of our landscape, an effective metaphor for the smallness of humans. The Majestic Quran uses the mountains to provide a dramatic setting: “Had We revealed this Quran on a mountain, you would have seen it humble itself and turn to dust out of fear of Allah” (Surat Al-Hashr: 21). The Prophet ﷺ lived in a city surrounded by black rugged mountains, so here is an oath of a city of mountains. The metaphor of the steep mountainous track describes the difficulties of life: a constant Jihad, “Every human We created experiences hardship.” This might refer both to people in general or to Usaid ibn Kalda, a famous wrestler. When he stood on a leather hide and men tried to pull it away from under his feet, it would tear into pieces, but he would not budge an inch.

Here Divine dislike is expressed for people who are deceived by their strength and influence. Usaid thought no one had power over him, not even the angel of death. The Quran warns against such delusions, life is symbolised by a steep path. Following the story of Usaid, this would imply this foolish man made no effort to obey the Lord, the steep path; he hadn’t gone beyond physical existence and failed to understand the higher purpose of life.



In the name of Allah, the Kind, the Caring.

People experience hardships

1 I swear by this city, 2 where you, live freely? 3 And by a father, and all his offspring! 4 Every human We created experiences hardship. 5 Does he really think no one has control over him? 6 He boasts, “I have spent a huge amount of wealth!” 7 Does he really think no one has seen him? 8 Haven’t We given him two eyes, 9 a tongue and two lips? 10 We showed him the two steep paths of good and evil?

The way to success is hard

11 He hasn’t yet set foot on the steep mountain track. 12 What can explain to you the mountain track? 13 It is to free a slave, 14 to feed on a day of severe hunger 15 an orphan relative, 16 or a penniless and distressed person. 17 Only then is he a believer, who instruct each other to be patient and kind. 18 They will get Book of Deeds in the right hand. 19 But those who denied Our signs, will get it in the left hand, 20 the Fire closing in around them.


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