Watch Dr Musharraf Hussain sharing his thoughts and analysis of Surat Al-Shams. This early Makkan surat opens with ten oaths. The first four relate to the sun and the last six to the sky, the earth and the human soul. The purpose of these oaths is to support the claim, “Then He inspired it to follow either its vice or virtue” (8).
The central theme is developing human potential, either to be conscious of Allah or remain unaware of Him. “He inspired” means that the human conscience has been endowed with the ability to distinguish between right and wrong, between good and evil. The one who develops the moral values, spiritual beliefs and social norms presented in the Quran will flourish, and the one who disregards them will inevitably fail.
This is further proved by reference to the tribe of Thamud. The Makkans often went past their ruins in the old city of Petra on the southern border of Jordan. They called it a “red rose city”. The surat points out that just as an individual may deny and ignore the Divine Commandments, similarly whole communities can deny the truth. They refused to listen to their prophet and that led to their ultimate destruction. They killed a she-camel; an outrage in Bedouin culture. This surat has a beautiful rhyme – “ha” at the end of each verse, making it lyrical and poetic.
In the name of Allah, the Kind, the Caring.
1 By the sun and its morning brightness, 2 by the moon that follows it, 3 by the day that it brightens up, 4 by the night that covers it. 5 By the sky and by Him who designed it, 6 by the Earth and by Him who levelled it out. 7 By the human and by Him who perfected him; 8 so inspired him to follow either its vice or virtue.
Success and failure is in human hands
9 Whoever purified himself succeeded, 10 and whoever was immoral failed him-self.
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