Introduction to chapters of the Holy Quran: Surah al-Talaq, al-Tahrim, al-Mulk, al-Qalam, al-Haqqah and al-Ma‘arij

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The English translation of the introduction to chapters of the Holy Quran as given by Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih IVrh is being presented for the benefit of our readers. Insha-Allah, in the coming issues, we will endeavour to publish the introduction to all chapters of the Holy Quran:

Chapter 65: Surah al-Talaq

This surah was revealed in Medina and including “Bismillah …”,  it consists of 13 verses. 

This surah is titled as al-Talaq (divorce), and from the beginning to the end, it deals with various issues of divorce.

Its main theme in connection with the preceding surah is that in the current surah, the Holy Prophetsa has been presented as a light that brings one out from darkness into light. It is described as the light that, in the Latter Days, once again would bring out those of his followers who would be wandering in the darkness of a mundane life. The sense of renouncing the life of wickedness and adopting the lifestyle of piety is very important in the subject of coming out of darkness. That is, he would bring one out of doctrinal darkness as well as darkness of practical life. Thus, with regard to the Holy Prophetsa in Surah al-Talaq, Allah said that this Messenger was a reminder incarnate. And light is bestowed as a result of remembering (Allah), and as a result of remembering Allah he was granted this magnificent excellence that he became light incarnate; and he brings out his devout followers from every kind of darkness into light.  

There is a verse in this surah which uncovers the secrets of the heavens and earth in a surprising way. As the Holy Prophetsa himself brought people out from darkness, similarly the Word that was revealed to him uncovers darkness and secrets of the universe. In several places, seven heavens are mentioned in the Holy Quran; similarly, it says that seven earths have also been created like seven heavens. But Allah the Almighty knows better as to how revelation was sent to the inhabitants of those earths, and as to which kinds of darkness they were liberated from. Hitherto the scientists that investigate space do not have access even to the beginning of this subject. But as has been proven several times, the knowledge of the Quran is unlimited like kauthar [abundance of good] and the scientists of times to come will surely have access to this knowledge to some extent. 

Chapter 66: Surah al-Tahrim

This surah was revealed in Medina and including “Bismillah …”, it consists of 13 verses.

In the preceding surah, some magnificent secrets of the universe were discussed that they were disclosed in the book revealed to the Holy Prophetsa; and in the current surah, some minor secrets have been discussed. In other words, major secrets were disclosed to the Holy Prophetsa by the Knower of the unseen, and minor secrets were also disclosed to him by the Knower of the unseen. Thus, the current surah is connected to the preceding one in the following manner:

مَالِ‭ ‬هٰذَا‭ ‬الۡكِتٰبِ‭ ‬لَا‭ ‬يُغَادِرُ‭ ‬صَغِيۡرَةً‭ ‬وَّ‭ ‬لَا‭ ‬كَبِيۡرَةً‭ ‬اِلَّاۤ‭ ‬اَحۡصٰهَا‭  ‬

“What kind of a Book is this! It comprehends small as well as big secrets.” 

By mentioning تَوۡبَة‭ ‬نصُوۡح‭ ‬ [sincere repentance] in this surah, the followers of the Holy Prophetsa have been exhorted that if they repent wholeheartedly, Allah the Almighty has the power to forgive all their small or big lapses. The sign of acceptance of such repentance is that the process of their reformation will start, and day by day, they will acquire the ability to resist evil and Allah the Almighty will remove all their evils from them. This period of removal of evils in fact will be acquired as a result of light that will be granted to them, much like a person can identify hazards due to light when walking in dark.  

Thus, نُوۡرُهُمۡ‭ ‬يَسۡعٰي‭ ‬بَيۡنَ‭ ‬اَيۡدِيۡهِمۡ signifies that light will continue guiding them, and the words of وَ‭ ‬بِاَيۡمَانِهِمۡ seem to refer to the wicked people, called the people of the left hand, who are not granted any light. Only those are granted light who always prefer piety against every evil. And these are the people who will be granted light in order to adhere to piety which will render them steadfast. 

At the end of the surah, the example of two unfortunate women is set forth who were ostensibly part of the family of Prophets but practically played dishonestly in discharging their responsibilities. Against these two, mention is made of two very righteous women as well. One of them was the wife of a very oppressive and cruel enemy of Allah, yet she safeguarded her faith. The second is Hazrat Maryas – the miraculous personality she was bestowed by Allah in the person of Hazrat Jesusas was not a result of carnal desire. Further, the concluding verse says that Allah the Almighty would work the same miracle in a devout and righteous individual of the followers of Muhammadsa that although he would not be keen on attaining lofty spiritual ranks – rather, he would be humility incarnate – Allah would breathe into him his spirit. As a result thereof, he would be granted another spiritual entity that would resemble Hazrat Jesusas. Thus, Allah says:

فَنَفَخۡنَا‭ ‬فِيۡهِ‭ ‬مِنۡ‭ ‬رُّوۡحِنَا

“Allah the Almighty will breathe His spirit into that righteous man.”

Chapter 67: Surah al-Mulk

This surah was revealed in Mecca, and including “Bismillah …”, it consists of 31 verses.

This surah starts with the verse:

‭ ‬تَبٰرَكَ‭ ‬الَّذِيۡ‭ ‬بِيَدِهِ‭ ‬الۡمُلۡكُ‭ ‬

“Allah the Almighty is the Master of everything, and He has power to do everything He wills.” Thus, it seems to be a reference to the very extraordinary subject in the preceding surah. After this begins the topic of creating life from dead; and it has been proclaimed that as Allah the Almighty has the power to create life from the physically dead, He also has the power to revive the spiritually dead as well. Therein are magnificent glad tidings for the followers of Muhammadsa

Immediately after that, Allah offers mankind to look around the entire universe as it would testify to One Creator only and they would not find any incongruity in it. If the universe was self-existing, one would have found some signs of incongruity in it; rather, incompatibility should have been seen all around. If another imaginary partner of Allah the Almighty, besides Him, had created the universe, the laws set by them were bound to clash with the laws set by Allah the Almighty. 

Thus, in this regard, all mankind has been invited to ponder over the secrets of the universe, and look again, but their sight will return unto them fatigued and grief-stricken with failure to see any incongruity anywhere in the universe. 

This surah also mentions such spiritual birds that are granted the blessed opportunity to soar high in the vast sky. As birds get their ability to fly from Allah and have been subjected between the heavens and earth, similarly it is Allah Who grants ability to His believing servants to soar high. As against this, the animals that crawl face down are not granted any spiritual altitudes, neither in a literal nor in a spiritual sense. 

In the concluding verse of this surah, Allah says, mankind always benefit from water for life that descends from the heavens; but have they ever pondered as to where they will bring clean water from if, as a result of consecutive dry seasons, it goes deep down into the depths of the earth beyond their reach? Thus, man can have access to the spiritual water as well, like that of rainwater, only by the special grace of Allah the Almighty. 

Chapter 68: Surah al-Qalam

This surah was revealed in the early period of Mecca, and including “Bismillah …”, it consists of 53 verses.

This is the last surah that starts with the abbreviated letters. It starts with the letter نٓ [nun], and one meaning of this letter is inkpot, and all those who write with a pen stand in need of it. And the age of all progress for man starts with the sovereignty of the pen. If writing is to be removed from human progress, they will revert back to the age of ignorance; and never again they can attain any success related to education. 

Secondly, نٓ stands for a Prophet of Allah who is called ذَاالنُّوۡنِ i.e. Hazrat Jonahas. He too is discussed in this surah as to what happened as a result of which he left the town never to be able to face them again. He left the town with a heavy heart because the punishment from Allah with which his people were threatened was not sent down. Then, Allah taught Hazrat Jonahas a lesson that many a time His threats of punishment were removed due to repentance and seeking forgiveness. At this, he was taught the following prayer:

‭ ‬لاۤ‭ ‬اِلٰهَ‭ ‬اِلَّاۤ‭ ‬اَنۡتَ‭ ‬سُبۡحٰنَكَ‭ ‬اِنِّيۡ‭ ‬كُنۡتُ‭ ‬مِنَ‭ ‬الظّٰلِمِيۡنَ‭ ‬

“You are free of any weakness; it was I who was a wrongdoer who sought punishment for a repenting people.” (Surah al-Anbiya, Ch.21: V.88) 

The letter نٓ has been repeatedly mentioned in this surah, which is exactly in-line with the subject-matters of the surah and there does not seem any incompatibility anywhere between the subject-matter and letter‭  ‬نٓ in this surah

Chapter 69: Surah al-Haqqah

This is a Meccan surah, and including “Bismillah …”, it consists of 53 verses. 

The subject-matter in Surah al-Qalam was that the philosophy behind giving respite to the enemies of the Prophets is that they may reach the limit of their wickedness and then none can save them from divine seizure. The current surah as well discusses such people who were granted repeated respites, but once they reached the limit of their wickedness, there came the time for their punishment. 

The huge chastisement for which Allah the Almighty directed the Holy Prophetsa to threaten mankind with does not belong to any particular religious group in the world but every individual has been warned. When that event will come to pass from a worldly point of view man will also believe that the heavens and earth have burst. This event will come to pass at the time of Resurrection as well, when neither any earthly relations will be able to save man, nor heavenly contact and Hell will be his final abode.

Next, Allah the Almighty presents a magnificent testimony about the fulfilment of the matters which man can see to some extent, or he starts seeing and about the fulfilment of matters which he fails to eye. That is to say, the words of the Prophet Muhammadsa are the words of a noble and trustworthy Messenger. Neither is it misguided discourse of a poet, nor the prediction of a soothsayer – it is a revelation from the Lord of the worlds. 

In the concluding verses of the surah, a scale of measuring the truthfulness of the Holy Prophetsa has been presented which cannot at all be denied by the opponents. The opponents have been warned that in their view, this noble book was fabricated by the Messenger himself, whereas if he had forged a minor lie against Allah, He would definitely have destroyed him and his dispensation. And you could not have saved him in any way if Allah had decreed as such. In other words, Allah the Almighty is helping him and protecting him against all of your power, which is a sure testimony of his being a Messenger of Allah. That is, the word of Allah has been fulfilled very clearly in his favour: 

كَتَبَ‭ ‬اللّٰهُ‭ ‬لَاَغۡلِبَنَّ‭ ‬اَنَا‭ ‬وَ‭ ‬رُسُلِيۡ‭ ‬

[“Allah has decreed: ‘Most surely I will prevail, I and My Messengers”.] (Surah al-Mujadalah, Ch.58: V.22)

Chapter 70: Surah al-Ma‘arij

This is a Meccan surah, and including “Bismillah …”, it consists of 45 verses

In the very first verse, Allah the Almighty warns of a punishment which the disbelievers cannot repel. 

Allah is declared as ذِي‭ ‬الۡمَعَارِجِ‭ ‬(Lord of [great] ascents) i.e. His ascension can be understood to some extent by pondering over the heavens in levels otherwise none can fathom his ascension. The ascension described here is testified scientifically which is mentioned in the verse of‭ ‬خَمۡسِيۡنَ‭ ‬اَلۡفَ‭ ‬سَنَةٍ (fifty thousand years) of the current surah. That is, the angels ascend to Him in fifty thousand years. Ascension in fifty thousand years can be interpreted in two different ways. First, literal fifty thousand years. If this meaning is to be taken, there is no doubt in it that after every fifty thousand years, the world goes through a geological change when the entire earth is covered with glaciers, and again a new start of creation takes place. 

Secondly, the point to be noted is تَعُدُّوۡنَ‮ ‬‭ ‬مِّمَّا [of your reckoning] is not said here. If another verse of the Holy Quran which mentions one thousand years is read along with this one, the meaning would be that every day of Allah would be equal to the one thousand years according to what you reckon. If every day is to be multiplied with the days of one year and further it is multiplied with the days of fifty thousand years the sum we get determines the period of the days of Allah. Thus, accordingly, if fifty thousand years, which are the days of Allah, are multiplied with it we get a figure of eighteen to twenty billion years, which is the age of the universe according to scientists. 

(365 × 1000 × 50,000 = 18,250,000,000) 

That is, every universe comes to an end once it reaches that age limit; and then once again it is brought into existence after its non-existence. 

This is such a long time that man considers it a thing very far off. But once the punishment comes that time will seem to be very close. That chastisement will be such that man would like to ransom their close kindred, their own selves, wealth and property and everything they possess to save themselves, but it will not be possible. But if the believers have the traits of being regular in their prayers and always take care of their performance, in addition to that in order to protect their piety fulfil all the prescribed requirements, they are those lucky ones who will be exempted from that punishment. 

In verse number 42, once again, a warning has been issued that Allah is independent of you. Thus, if you desist not from wickedness and impiety Allah the Almighty has the power to bring a new creation in your place. Thus, the surah concludes with the description of the same punishment whose news of occurrence has been given. 

(Translated from the original introduction of chapters as presented in the Urdu translation of the Holy Quran by Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih IVrh. Translated by Shahid Mahmood Ahmad, missionary in Ghana)

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