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In the Shade of the Qur'an - Surah # 94

In the Shade of the Qur'an - Surah # 94
Syed Qutb
                                 ASH  SHARH

           In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.

  Have We not lifted up your heart, and relieved you of your burden,
  which weighed down your back? And have We not given you high renown?
  With hardship comes ease. Indeed, with hardship comes ease. When you
  have completed your task resume your toil and seek your Lord with all
This surah was revealed soon after the revelation of surah 93, 'The
Forenoon', as if it was a continuation of it. Here, also, abound the feel-
ings of sympathy and the atmosphere of delightful, friendly
discourse. It portrays the Divine care for the Prophet and explains the
measures taken out of concern for him. The surah also carries glad
tidings of the forthcoming relief, points out to the Prophet the secret
of ease, and emphasises the strong tie with Allah.

"Have We not lifted up your heart, and relieved you of your burden
which weighed down your back? And have We not given you high
renown?" This suggests that the Prophet was troubled in his soul for
some reason concerning the message hc was entrusted with, and the
obstacles in its way and the plots against it. These verses also suggest
that the difficulties facing his mission weighed heavily on his heart
and made him feel that he urgently needed help and backing. Hence
came this comforting address and delightful discourse.

"Have We not lifted up your heart", so that it may warm to this
message? Have We not facilitated it for you, endeared it to you
defined its path and illuminated it for you to see its happy end? Look
into your heart! Do you not see it to be full of light, happiness and
solace? Reflect on the effects brought about by all the favours
bestowed on you! Do you not feel comfort with every difficulty, and find
contentment with every kind of deprivation you suffer?

"And relieved you of your burden which weighed down your back?"
We have relieved you of your burden which was so heavy that it
almost broke your back. The relief took the form of lifting up your
heart so that you might feel your mission easier and your burden not
difficult to shoulder. Another aspect of the relief was the guidance
you received on how to discharge your mission and how to appeal to
men's hearts. Furthermore, there is relief for you in the revelation of
the Qur'an which explains the truth and helps you to drive it home to
people easily and gently. Do you not feel all that when you think of
the burden which weighed down your back? Do you not feel it to be
lighter after We have lifted up your heart?

"And have We not given you high renown? " We exalted you among
those on high, on earth and in the whole universe. We raised your
fame high indeed as we associated your name with that of Allah
whenever it is pronounced. "No Deity but Allah, Muhammad is the
Messenger of Allah." Indeed, this is the highest degree of exaltation.
It is the position granted only to Muhammad and to no other human
being For Allah has willed that one century should turn after
another and generations succeed generations with millions and mil-
lions of people in all corners of the world honouring the blessed name
of Muhammad with prayers for peace and blessings to be granted to
him, and with his profound love entrenched in their hearts. Your
fame spread far and wide when your name became associated with
this Divine way of life.

Certainly the mere fact that you were chosen for this task is an
exaltation to which no one else in this universe can ever aspire. How
can there remain any feeling of affliction or hardship after this favour
which heals up all hardships and difficulties?

Allah, nevertheless, addresses His beloved messenger kindly. He
comforts and reassures him and explains to him how He has given
him unceasing ease. " With hardship comes ease. Indeed, with hardship
comes ease." Hardship never comes absolute, without some ease
accompanying it. When your burden became too heavy We lifted up
your heart and relieved the sting of hardship for you

This is strongly emphasised by a literal repetition of the statement:
" With hardship comes ease. Indeed, with hardship comes ease." The
repetition suggests that the Prophet had endured serious hardship
and suffered much affliction. This reminder recalls the various
aspects of care and concern shown to the Prophet and then reassures
him emphatically. A matter which afflicts Muhammad's soul so
much must be very serious indeed.

Then follows a statement pointing out the aspects of comfort and
the factors contributing to the lifting up of hearts and spirits, which is
of great help to Muslims as they travel along their hard and long way:
" When you have completed your task resume your toil and seek your
Lord with all fervour. "

With hardship goes ease, so seek relief and solace. When you have
finished whatever you may have to do, be it a matter relating to the
conveyance of your message or an affair of this life then turn with all
your heart to what deserves your toil and striving, namely devotion
and dedication in worship. "And seek your Lord with all fervour "
Seek Him alone and let nothing whatsoever distract you. Do not
ever think of the people you call to believe in Him. A traveller must
have his food with him and this is the real food for your journey, and
a fighter for a cause needs to have his equipment and this is the equip-
ment necessary for you. This will provide you with a feeling of ease in
every difficulty you may encounter, and with comfort against every
kind of affliction you may suffer.

The surah ends on the same note as the preceding surah, "The
Forenoon". It leaves us with two interwined feelings. The first
is a realisation of the great affection shown to the Prophet, which
overwhelmed him because it was the love of his Lord, the Com-
passionate, the Merciful. The other feeling is one of sympathy to his
noble self. We can almost feel what was going on in his blessed heart
at that time which required this reminder of the delightful affection.

It is this mission of Islam: a grave trust and a burden which weighs
down his back . It is nevertheless the rising of the Divine light, the link
between mortality and eternity, existence and non-existence.





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