Asalaam alaikum warahmatulah wabarakatuh
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Surah Quraysh  – Miracle Dream Tafseer
Nouman Ali Khan
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Especially the last ayah [ayah 4] of this surah;
(He) Who has fed them against hunger, and has made them safe from fear.
This is the central Theme in this surah.
Safety against fear (min khawf) – this is proven through surah Feel.
Umar would recite this surah in Maghrib prayer, and in the firstraka’ak he would recite surah at-Teen.
In the second raka’ah he would recite Feel and Quraysh without placing the
basmallah [bismillahi ar-Rahmani ar-Raheem] between them. This is what Abdullah ibn Mas’ud would do too.
They knew they were 2 separate surahs’ – but they did it to show theclose connection between these 2 surahs’.
Imam al Fakhr ar-Razi said;
The gift of Allah is of 2 types:
– To remove harm. I.e. He gets rid of your problems. This is the gift
Allah gave in surah Feel.
– To give benefit. I.e. He provides you food and safety and benefit.
This is the case in surah Quraysh.
When you recognise Allah’s favours – you have to be His slave to show
الْبَيْتِ هَٰذَا رَبَّ فَلْيَعْبُدُوا
– Fal ya’budu Rabba al hadhal bayt – so let them enslave themselves to the Master of this House [the Ka’bah]. [Quraysh 106:3]
The sequencing of the surahs in the copy of the Qur’an [Mus-haf] is either;
– Due to the Ijma’ (consensus of the sahaba/companions)
– or It was revelation.
ash-Shawkani quotes al Farra’: says it is not Divine sequencing. This surah is however
is connected to the previous surah. This is because how Allah dealt with the Ethiopians/Abyssinians who attacked.
This is because Allah said at the beginning of surah Quraysh; Lieelaafi Quraysh (For the convenience of Quraysh).
The Li (For) impliesthat Allah destroyed the army of Abraha – Li (For – the convenience ofthe Quraysh).
So we see there is a connection between both surahs in their sequencing.
The Arabs would head to Yemen to trade – and if Abraha had destroyed them and been successful – the Quraysh Arabs would not be able to trade there;
1 – Due to their trading business center (Makkah) being destroyed by Abraha.
2 – or Abraha would return to Yemen and would not allow them to enter Yemen for trade because of his hatred against them.
There would never be an ambush against the Quraysh amongst the Arabs because all thetribes feared Divine punishment if they were harmed.
Prophet Ibraheem prayed for this city of Makkah;
And [mention] when Abraham said, “My Lord, make this a secure city [aaminan] and provide its people with fruits [thamaraat] –
whoever of them believes in Allah and the Last Day.” [ Allah ] said.
“And whoever disbelieves – I will grant him enjoyment for a little; then I will force him to the punishment of the Fire, and wretched is the
destination.” [Baqarah 2:126]
Peace and Prosperity – the foundations required for any society to run in a healthy form.
(It is a great Grace and Protection from Allah), For the taming of the Quraish,
Li – for
Eelaaf – Ulfa – to have a soft heart and make feelings of affectiontowards someone. Alafa.
Al-lafa (mentioned in surah aal Imran 3:103) – cause love to happen betweentwo people.
إِخْوَانًا بِنِعْمَتِهِ فَأَصْبَحْتُم قُلُوبِكُمْ بَيْنَ أَلَّفَ فَ أَعْدَاءً كُنتُمْ إِذْ عَلَيْكُمْ اللَّهِ نِعْمَتَ وَاذْكُرُوا تَفَرَّقُوا وَلَا جَمِيعًا
اللَّهِ بِحَبْلِ وَاعْتَصِمُوا
And hold firmly to the rope of Allah all together and do not become divided. And remember the favor of Allah upon you – when you were enemies and He brought your hearts together [as one] and you became, by His favor, brothers. [aal Imran 3:103]
Eelaaf – to make love happen immediately.
Ta/leef فيلأت – to make love happen gradually. [this is the word used in the ayah quoted of surah aal Imraan 3:103]
Allah has – for sudden affection (Eelaaf) from the Quraysh –
He has given them many favours, even destroying the army of Abraha.
In tafseer surah Feel; As-haab al Eelaaf (the companions of the HeartSofteners i.e. Hashim and his brothers) were mentioned – because they
softened up the hearts of other nations to do business with them.
Li – for.
Basri and Kufan grammarian schools had differences in opinion what this implied:
Basri school: We did this (the destruction of Abraha’s army – the
people of the Elephant) as a favour from us towards those who live
around the Sacred house. (they hold the opinion that what is mentioned in the previous Surah Feel is connected to this Li [for]).
Kufa School: Allah is making His Messenger amazed.
Li can be used to show amazement [ta’ajjub]. This Lam by itself can imply that;
how amazing it is that Allah can soften the heart of Quraysh, even
though they are so drowned in their sinful ways of polytheism/shirk
and major sins (i.e. killing their daughters etc.)
What an amazing extension of Mercy Allah is showing upon them.
Abu Zayd: the entire surah al Feel – every individual aayaat of the previous surah is
connected to the first ayah of this surah.
Every part of the ayah should soften the hearts of the Quraysh to the truth.
Lam ل of Ta’ajjub (amazement).
How shocking is it that Allah wants to soften the hearts of these
people by defending the house for them, which Ibraheem built – yet
they still remain firm on their polytheism and disbelief without being
thankful to Allah.
Amazement with these people.
Despite the fact that He provides them at times of hunger and gives
them safety against fear.
2 – Others say this Lam is separate from the previous surah, and what is
in this surah.
The only purpose We gave the Quraysh is so they are grateful to Allah.
Ibraheem prayed to Allah that the people have a softened heart towards
this Sacred House and its people
Our Lord, I have settled some of my descendants in an uncultivated valley near Your
sacred House, our Lord, that they may establish prayer. So
make hearts among the people incline [تَهْوِي / tahwee ] toward them and provide for them from the fruits that they might be grateful. [Ibrahim 14:37]
Those who lookafter the House should have the softest of hearts. SoAllah makes their life so easy – that they can concentrate on
worshipping Allah alone without having to worry about businessdealings.
Yet they are still keeping themselves busy in worldly affairs? WhenAllah has provided them so they can worship him?
A short story;
Brother Nouman mentions a Muslim Doctor/Physician who works Part time,
and earns $100,000 per year. The people ask him why he doesn’t work
fulltime to earn $500,000 per year? He tells them that Allah has
provided him enough, and that he can spend his other time memorizing
Qur’an and remembering Allah etc.
So the fact that the Quraysh have enough money – they shouldn’t waste
more time on worldly matters – they should spend the time they have
now on softening their heart and getting closer to Allah.
Lam al ‘uqooba (of consequence) – because Allah softened their hearts
– they should worship the Lord of this House. This should be enough to
soften your heart.
Lam at-Ta’ajjub – Amazement – described above.
3 – Or it is connected with the previous surah – that due to the
destruction of Abraha’s army – they should be thankful and worship the
Lord of this Sacred House in Makkah.
Quraysh – taqarrush – to gather people from many distances.
1st: They were a gathering of many dispersed people by the man al Muj’im
(described in tafseer surah Feel).
2nd: Qarsh – A massive beast in the ocean.A whale or octopus that can
destroy ships. And it cannot be overpowered except by fire (and itcannot be destroyed by fire because it is in the water – a saying of the Arabs).
QuraYsh is a tasgheer/smallened version of this big powerful beast.
I.e. They are big and powerful, but they are smaller than it. (i.e.
Hasan is a name to mean beautiful. A small person called Hasan is
HusaYn, or Umar and UmaYr (little Umar, ‘Abd and UbaYd (little slave),
Qarsh and QuraYsh etc.
This tasgheer/making small can also magnify them.
i.e. We might jokingly call a tall person – short, or a thin person – ‘fatty’ (fat). etc.
So QuraYsh in tasgheer [smallness] form can actually imply they are powerful and
big. Even though tasgheer/smallness is used in language.
Ibn Abbas was askesd why are they called Quraysh? He replied; Because the beast in
the ocean eats – but it is not eaten. It overpowers, but it cannot be
overpowered. And this is the case with Quraysh.
Wa qurayshun hiyya alatee taskunu. Al bahra bi ma summiyat qurayshun
qurayshan – the Quraysh is the one who lives in the ocean and because
of it Quraysh is called Quraysh.
3rd: Qarsh – to earn (qasb) – they’re called that because of their constant
trading and travelling in the land.
The Abraha army being destroyed allows the Quraysh to remain the
strong economic power, and it also keeps their high status to remain
firm – that Allah is protecting them and their city from any harm from
If Someone who was skeptic – then the event of Abraha was mentioned to
‘prove’ their sacredness.
The people living around the Ka’ba had a new respect.
The Quraysh themselves hearts’ should soften to Allah.
Allah only gave them honour so they would facilitate Allah’s worship
for other people at Allah’s Sacred House in Makkah.
Allah spoke about them in this surah in 3rd person.
The last surah was 2nd person to Allah’s Messenger, and this surah is
talking 3rd person about them – to Allah’s Messenger.
3rd person is used when you are not happy with them. But you are
talking to the one you like about their mistakes and what they should
be doing instead.
إِيلَافِهِمْ رِحْلَةَ الشِّتَاءِ وَالصَّيْفِ
Eelafihim rihlata ashshitaa-i wa-assayf
(And with all those Allah’s Grace and Protections for their taming, We cause)
the (Quraish) caravans to travel with baggage safe in the winter (to the south) , and in the summer(to the north without any fear),
The Eelaaf is repeated in the second ayah – Why?
To emphatically declare with emphasis – a strong emphasis. (i.e. Didyou hear what I said, Did you hear?!)
Repetition is done in classical arabic to emphasise what Allah said.
I.e. For their Elaaf (soften their heart, did you hear – to soften
Allah did the following favours for the Quraysh;
He destroyed Abraha’s army for them
He gave them the house of worship
– they are descendants of Ibraheem
– that Allah sent His final Messenger Muhammad (sal Allah alayhiwasalam) to them.
The first Elaaf was general, the second was specific.
If all those things mentioned before did not soften you up, then the
second one should.
The caravans of the summer.
It is in the Nasab state, the convenience is given – so they can have
the caravans of the Summer and the winter.
Why did Allah mention Rihla for travel?
Safar سفر – to travel far away
Saaha ساحة (i.e. siyahah) – to go somewhere for luxury and pleasant.
Dha’ana ظَعْن- to travel from one spot to another – tourism on the move. [see an-Nahl 16:80]
– Nafara نفر – travel to fight somewhere.
Rahla – rihl – merchandise. merchandise / baggage – journey where you carry a lot of bags- i.e. They sell so they pack alot of bags.
So when you travel with camels – people will see all their products
loads of bags of merchandise for trade – yet none robs them.
and whenever they wanted to – they could stop their trade for holidays.
Other people had to travel because they could die if they never had
food and trade.
the Quraysh were so rich in their trade – they could stop whenever
they wanted to.
Ikrimah: The Quraysh went to Busra and Yemen. They would switch with
going to one in summer and the other in winter simultaneously.
Some say Allah criticized them for that, and that they should have
stayed in Makkah since the wealth was coming to them anyway.
They were business people and Allah exposed how they liked going to
Syria (Sham), and they made alot of poetry about that. In the winter
they would go to Yemen because it is extremely hot there, even in
Summer, and they would go to Syria in summer because it is cooler
Allah mentioned winter first, and summer second.
Winter is associated with lack of produce, and summer is related to
Allah mentions winter first because it is miraculous that they even
get produce and food for the winter – a special favour of Allah to
at-Tabari and Qurtubi: the winter is associated with lack of food, and
the warm climate was when the thief tribes would steal from caravans
(they would stay inside in the winters because it was really cold
So Allah mentions the economical problem first, and then the safety
problem last. Because the main theme in this surah is the economics.
Rihla is singular – the travelling of the Quraysh were really two
journeys per year. The reason why Allah might mention it as one Rihla
(as opposed to Rihlatayn/taan) for this is because the travellings
from one location to the other was like one continuous trade.
The Quraysh would travel and trade at one place, come back to Makkah
and trade abit, then go directly to their other location for buying
I.e. Yemen to Makkah, then to Syria and back to Makkah and Yemen – throughout the year. Justlike one continuous journey.
Why is RIhla is nasab [kasra/zeyr] form ? Because it is alluding to a location.
Allah mentions Elaaf (for the affection of the Quraysh) first – then
He mentions that – due to that – they should worship and enslave
themselves to the Master of this House of Worship in Makkah – Masjid
فَلْيَعْبُدُوا رَبَّ هَـٰذَا الْبَيْتِ
FalyaAAbudoo rabba hadha albayt
So let them worship (Allah)/enslave themselves [to] the Lord of this House (the Ka’bah in Makkah).
The favours of Allah cannot be counted, and if they cannot – then
atleast worship Him for this one big favour through which Allah has
given you an easy lifestyle.
That is the manifest favour of Allah upon them that their economy can survive.
It is also connected because Allah protected this house from Abraha’s army.
Those 2 favours are enough for them to worship Allah.
– (Li) For the convenience of the Quraysh.
Allah is connecting the Li from the first ayah to this ayah.
So that their hearts should become soft – they should worship the Lordof this House.
They should worship the Lord of this House – so their hearts become soft.Lazim and malzoom.
Why did Allah mention ‘that house’ (hadhal bayt)? Because Ibraheem
built it – that’s what gives them this status in the sight of the
Arabs – so they are not attacked in trade.
This is the house which boosted and increased their economy – because
they told the other nations that all the Arabs unite their.
It is that house which Allah protected against Abraha.
And it was that house – when Ibraheem built it – he said Allah make it
a house of security and provide it with foods.
Allah could have said let them thank the Master of this house.
He told us to enslave ourselves to Him though. This means that the
only way you can truly thank Allah is by enslaving yourself to Him.
There is no other way.
الَّذِي أَطْعَمَهُم مِّن جُوعٍ وَآمَنَهُم مِّنْ خَوْفٍ
Alladhee atAAamahum min joo’AAin wa aamanahum min khawf
(He) Who has fed them against hunger, and has made them safefrom fear.
Ibn Abbas: referring to Quraysh who were provided with food – based on
the du’a of Ibraheem.
az-Zamakhshari: the taNween (nakira) on Joo’iN and khawfiN implies that
Allah protected them from the worst types of fear and worst types of
hunger (shadeed – severe).
Because before the caravans – they would be in extreme hunger.
And Allah protected them from the fear of being destroyed (ie. The
army of Abraha – the elephant). Or the fear of being snatched and
kidnapped when they travel.
حَوْلِهِمْ مِنْ النَّاسُ وَيُتَخَطَّفُ آمِنًا حَرَمًا جَعَلْنَا أَنَّا يَرَوْا أَوَلَم
فُرُونَ يَكْ اللَّهِ وَبِنِعْمَةِ يُؤْمِنُونَ لِ أَفَبِالْبَاطِ
Or is it that they have not seen, [have not] realised, that We have appointed, their town of Mecca
to be, a secure Sanctuary, while people are snatched away all around
them?, by being killed or taken captive, except for them? Is it that
they believe in falsehood, [in] the idol, and are [wont to be]
ungrateful for God’s grace?, when they ascribe partners to Him?
[al Ankabut 29:67]
All people from mankind would be robbed, kidnapped and their wealth stolen – except in the sanctuary of Makkah.
When a man was kidnapped – The thiefs would then leave abit of money forhim so he could travel back and they could rob him again in the
future when he travels again.
This is a big favour on Quraysh that they do not experience this.
Min joo’ [from hunger] – provides them; despite hunger, He gave them food, when there is no land fertile land for fruit, crops etc. in the barren dry city of Makkah.
And there is no real security there either – except because Allah has
given it. Because Makkah is in the middle of the desert – it should
really be open to attack. But despite that – Allah has given them
Our Lord, I have settled some of my descendants in an uncultivated valley near Your sacred House, our Lord, that they may establish prayer. So make hearts among the people incline toward them and provide
for them from the fruits that they might be grateful. [Ibrahim 14:37]
not ‘ala joo’ (against hunger)
min joo’ [from hunger] – tab’eed [distancing] – Allah put hunger and fear FAR away from them because they have full confidence Allah will protect this city.
Allah selects the best words in His Speech for the best context;
And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient,
[al Baqarah 2:155]
We will test you with fear and hunger.
In this surah [Quraysh] – He mentioned hunger first and then khawf [fear].
Allah mentioned the battle of Badr One of the consequences of battle is econonomic loss, but fear is more
In this surah – the economic situation is more important – so Joo’
(hunger) is mentioned first and then fear.
And Allah presents an example: a city which was safe and secure, its provision coming to it in abundance from every location, but it denied
the favors of Allah . So Allah made it taste the envelopment of
hunger and fear for what they had been doing.
baasal al joo’i wal khawf – Allah made them taste hunger, and then fear.
Economical conditions are mentioned first in this surah Nahl, and then fear.
The amazing sequencing of the words in the Qur’an – placing words inthe right sequence in context.
The winter season was associated with hunger. The summer wasassociated with fear.
shittaa and sa’if [winter and summer]
joo’ and khawf. [hunger and fear]
Joo’ – literally means Hunger. Jaw’aan – extremely hungry person.
Ibraheem did not say give them alot of money. The opposite of ghaniy is miskeen.
Allah did not say fakr [poverty], He said joo’ (associated with food). Ibraheem said mentioned that provide them with fruit. So Allah mentioned joo’ – hunger, not fakr (poorness).
2 favours of Allah:
gives you benefit
Then the prayer of Ibraheem – peace and prosperity.
How these surahs soften the heart of Quraysh – destroy Abraha’s army,
and this surah is based on prosperity – travel back and forth through
summer and winter with all sorts of foods.
Now Allah has perfected His favors upon them – the stage has been set
– it is expected of them to become Allah’s slaves. But did they become
enslaved to Allah in thankfulness to Him?
Surah Ma’un – the next surah – will show how how they react to Allah’s favours.