42. Shura

Syed Abu-Ala' Maududi's Chapter Introductions to the Quran


It is derived frog the sentence wa amru-hum shura baina hum of verse 38 implying thereby that it is a Sura in which the word shura has occurred.

Period of Revelation

Although it could not be known from any authentic traditions yet one feels after a study of its subject matter that this Sura might have been sent down consecutively after Ha-Miim As Sajdah for it seems to be in a way a supplement to it. This will become clear to every person who first studies Sura Ha-Mim As Sajdah carefully and then goes through this Sura. He will see that in that Sura the Quraish chiefs had been taken to tack for their deaf and blind opposition so that anyone in Makkah and in its out-skirts who had any sense of morality and nobility left in him should know how unreasonably the chiefs of the people were opposing Muhammad (upon whom be Allah's peace) and as against them how serious he was in everything he said how rational was his standpoint and how noble his character and conduct. Immediately after that warning this Sura was sent down which did full justice to teaching and instruction and made the truth of the Holy Propbet's message plain in such an impressive way that anyone who had any element of the love of the truth in him and who had not been blinded by the errors of ignorance could not help being influenced by it.

Theme and Subject Matter

The discourse begins in a way as if to say:"Why are you expressing surprise and amazement at what Our Prophet is presenting before you?What he says is not new or strange nor anything novel which might have been presented for the first time in history: that Revelation should come down to a man from God and he should be given instructions for the guidance of mankind. Allah has been sending similar Revelations with similar instructions to the former Prophets before this. It is not surprising that the Owner of the Universe should be acknowledged as Deity and Ruler but what is strange is that one should accept another as divine and deity in spite of being His subject and slave. You are being angry with him who is presentiug Tauhidbefore you where as the shirkthat you are practising with regard to the Master of the Universe is such a grave crime as may cause the heavens to break asunder. The angels are amazed at this boldness of yours and fear that the wrath of Allah might descend on you any moment." After this the people have been told that a person's being appointed to Prophetbnod and his presenting himself as a Prophet does not mean that he has been made master of the people's destinies and he has come to the world with that very claim. Allah has kept the destinies in His own hand. The Prophet has come only to arouse the heedless and guide the strayed ones to the Right Path. To call to account those who do not listen to him and to punish or not to punish them is Allah's own responsibility. and not part of the Prophet's work. Therefore they should take it out of their head that the Prophet has come with a claim similar to those that are made by their so called religious guides and saints to the effect that he who would not listen to them or would behave insolently towards them would be burnt to death: In this very connection the people have also been told that the Prophet has not come to condemn them but he is their well wisher; he is warning them that the way they are following will only lead to their own destruction. Then an answer has been given to the question: Why didn't Allah make all human beings righteous by birth and why did He allow the difference of viewpoint owing to which the people start following each and every way of thought and action?The answer given is this: Owing to this very fact has it become possible for man to attain to the special mercy of Allah which is not meant for other dumb creatures but is only meant for those endowed with power and authority who should take Allah as Patron and Guardian not instinctively but consciously by willing choice. Allah supports the man who adopts this way and guides and helps him to do good and right and admits him into His special mercy. On the contrary the man who misuses his option and makes his patron those who are not in fact the guardians and cannot be are deprived of divine mercy. In this connection it has also been made clear that only Allah is the Patron of man and of all other creatures. Others are neither the patron nor have the power to do full justice to patronage. Man's success depends only on this that he should make no mistake in choosing a patron for himself by the use of his free choice and should take only Him his Guide Who in reality is the real Patron. After this it has been explained what the Dinbeing presented by the Holy Prophet Muhammad (upon whom be Allah's peace) really is : Its primary basis that as Allah Almighty is the Creator Master and real Patnron of the Universe and Man He alone is Man's Ruler He alone has the right to give Man Faith (Din) and Law (system of belief and practice) and judge the disputes of man and tell what is Truth and what is falsehood. No other being has any right whatever to be man's lawgiver. In other words like the natural sovereignty the sovereignty with regard to lawmaking also is vested only in Allah. No man or creature apart from Allah can be the bearer of this sovereignty. And if a per

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