In the Shade of the Qur'an - Surah # 108
In the Shade of the Qur'an - Surah # 108
Sura # 108
In the name of
Allah, the Beneficient, the Merciful!
Indeed We have given you abundance.
So pray to your Lord and sacrifice to Him.
Surely, he who hates you is the one cut off.
In the Shade of the Qur'an
Similar to surahs 93 and 94, "The Forenoon" and "Solace", this surah
concerns the Prophet, cheering him up and assuring him of
happier prospects in his struggle. In it Allah threatens
the enemies of
the Prophet with destruction while directing the Prophet to the path
The surah represents a glimpse of the life of the Prophet and the course
of his mission in the early period at
Makka. It deals with the plots and
insults directed against the Prophet and the Divine message he conveys.
The surah is an instance of Allah's actual protection of His servant and
the few who followed the Prophet and believed
in Allah. It is an instance
of Allah's direct support to the believers in their struggle, supplying
them with fortitude, restraint and promise, while threatening a terrible
fate to their antagonists.
In this way, the surah symbolises the reality of guidance, goodness and
faith on the one hand and that
of error, evil and disbelief on the other;
the former category is one of abundance, profusion and expansive goodness,
the latter one of scantiness, shrinking resources and annihilation.
Among the people of the Quraish
(the Arab tribe which was dominant in
Makka) there were some impudent folk who viewed the Prophet and his
mission with no small degree of antagonism. They would resort to
machinations and taunts against him to deter the
people from listening
to the Truth, which he conveyed to them in the form of a Divine message.
them were people like Al-Aas ibn Wa'il, 'Uqba ibn Abi Mu'yat,
Abu Lahab, Abu Jahl and others.
used to say about the Prophet that he was a man with no posterity,
referring to the early death of his sons. One
of them once remarked,
"Do not be bothered with him; he will die without descendants and that
the end of his mission ."
Such a trivial and cunning taunt had a wide impact in the Arab society
of the time, which set great store by sons. This sharp taunt delighted
the enemies of the Prophet and undoubtedly
this was a source of
depression and irritation to his noble heart. This surah was therefore
comforting the Prophet and assuring him of the abiding and
profuse goodness which Allah had chosen for him and
of the deprivation
and loss awaiting his persecutors.
"Indeed We have given you abundance." The
word used in the surah and
rendered here as "abundance" is "kawthar", derived from the stem word
which signifies "abundance" or "a multitude". This "kawthar"
is unrestricted and unlimited. It indicates the opposite
meaning to the
one the impudent folk of Quraish tried to attach to the Prophet. " We
have given you"
that which is plentiful, overflowing and rich, unstinting
If anyone wishes to pursue
and observe this abundance which Allah has
given to His Prophet, he would find it wherever he looks and reflects.
He would find it in Muhammad's prophethood itself this link with the
great Reality and the great Being,
Who has no parallel and no partner.
What indeed can the one who has found Allah be said to have lost?
He would find it in this Qur'an which was revealed to Muhammad every
chapter of which is a fountain of richness
which flows incessantly.
He would also find this kawthar or abundance manifest in the of the
Sunnah (way of life) throughout the centuries, in the far
flung corners of the earth, in the millions upon millions
in his footsteps, in the millions upon millions who pronounce his
name with respectful affection
and the millions upon millions of hearts
that cherish, and would cherish his example and memory even to the
Day of Resurrection.
He would also find this Kawthar or abundance manifest in the goodness
and prosperity which have accrued to the human race as a result of his
message, and which reach those who know
and believe in him and those
who do not. He would also discern this abundance in various and manifold
phenomena, attempting to enumerate which would at best give only a passing
feeling of a great reality.
This indeed is abundance in its absolute unlimited sense. The surah
therefore does not give it a specific
definition. Several accounts
relate that "al-Kawthar" is a river in Paradise granted to the Prophet
but Ibn Abbas, a learned companion of the Prophet, contends that the
river is but one part of the abundance which
Allah has furnished for
His Prophet. Keeping the circumstances and the whole context in mind,
view is the more valid.
"So pray to your Lord and sacrifice to Him." Having assured the Prophet
this munificent gift, which disproves what the calumniators and
conspirators say, Allah directs the Prophet to
be completely and
sincerely thankful to Him for His bounty; to devote himself to Him alone
and ritual slaughter, taking no heed whatsoever of all forms
of polytheism and refusing to participate in the worship
of the poly
theists, especially when they pronounce any name other than that of
Allah in their offerings.
Islam frequently lays emphasis on the pronouncing of Allah's name when
slaughtering animals. It prohibits anything
that is consecrated to any
other being, which indicates the importance Islam attaches to the
of human life from all forms of polytheism and all that
leads to it. Islam does not aim merely at purifying the
conscience, for it is the religion based on the unity of Allah in every
sense. It pursues
polytheism in all its manifestations, striving to
eliminate its marks in the conscience of man, in his worship
rituals, and in his behaviour generally. Life, Islam says, is one
indivisible entity and must be
treated as such. It must be cleansed
inside out and completely oriented towards Allah, in all its aspects
and spheres - worship, tradition and social behaviour.
"Surely he who hates you is the one cut off". In the
first verse, Allah
specified that Muhammad was not the one who had no posterity but, on
was the one endowed with abundance. In this verse, Allah
throws back the taunt on those who hated and reviled the
the promise of Allah has come true. For, the influence and the legacy of
enemies was short-lived, while his impact on human history
and human life has grown and deepened. Today we are
truth of this Divine pronouncement as clearly as no one among those
addressed by the
Qur'an for the first time ever did or imagined.
Faith and goodness cannot be barren: they leave deep-rooted
but falsehood, error and evil- no matter how fast they grow and spread,
do ultimately come
Allah's criteria are different from the criteria laid down by man. Men
are often deceived
when they vainly believe their sense of judgement
to be the criterion. Before us is the eloquent and enduring example
the Prophet. Of what value or interest to humanity have those slanderers
and foes of Muhammad been
On the other hand, calling others to the religion of Allah, to truth and
can never be called futile. Neither can the righteous and
the true be called deprived or cut off. How can it be,
when this message
itself comes from and is supported by Allah, the Immortal, the Eternal?
and sterile indeed are disbelief, error and evil as are
their votaries, however strong and widespread they may
appear to be at
a particular moment.
Allah affirms the truth; the wily opponents are but