55. Rahman

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


This Sura is entitled Ar Rahman the word with which it begins. This title however deeply relates to the subject matter of the Sura too for in it from the beginning to the end the manifestations and fruits of Allah's attribute of mercy and grace have been mentioned.

Period of Revelation

The commentators generally hold the view that this is a Makki Sura though according to some traditions which have been cited on the authority of Hadrat Abdullah bin Abbas Ikrimah and Qatadah it was revealed at Madinah. But firstly there are also some other traditions from these very authorities which contradict this view; secondly its subject matter bears a closer resemblance with the Makki Suras than with the Madani Suras; rather it appears to belong to the very early Makkah period. However there are several authentic traditions which testify that it had been revealed in Makkah itself many years before the hijra. Musnad Ahmad contains a tradition from Hadarat Asma daughter of Abu Bakr (may Allah bless them both) to the effect: "I saw the Messenger of Allah offering his Prayers in the sacred precincts of the Ka'bahfacing the corner in which the "Black Stone" is fixed. This relates to the time when the Divine Command fasda bi-ma tumar ("So proclaim publicly O Prophet what you are being commanded") had not yet been revealed. The po]ytheists at that time were hearing the words Fa-biayyi alaa'i Rabbi kuma tukadhdhi ban being recited by him in the Prayer." This shows than this Sura had been sent down even before Sura Al-Hijr. Al-Bazzar Ibn Jarir Ibn Al- Mundhir Daraqutni (in Al Afrad) Ibn Marduyah and Ibn Al Khatib (in At- Tarikh) have related on the authority of Hadrat Abdullah bin Umar that once the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Aliah be upon him) recited Sura Ar-Rahman himself or heard it recited before him : then he said to the people: How is it that I am not hearing from you the kind of good answer that the jinn had given to their Lord?When the people asked what it was he replied: "As I recited the Divine Words Fa bi- ayyi alaa'i Rabbi-kuma tukadhdhiban the jinn in response would repeat the words La bi shai'in min ni'mati Rabbi- na nukadhdhib: "We do not deny any of our Lord's blessings." A similar theme has been related by Tirmidhi Hakim and Hafiz Abu Bakr al-Bazzar from Hadrat Jabir bin Abdullah. Their tradition contains these words: "When the people kept silent on hearing the Sura Ar-Rahman the Holy Prophet said 'I recited this very Sura before the jinn in the night when they had gathered together to hear the Qur'an. They responded to it better than you have. As I recited the Divine Words Fa bi ayyi alaa'i Rabbikuma tukadhdhiban ("O jinn and men which blessings of your Lord will you deny?") they would respond to it saying: O our Lord do not deny any of your blessings Praise is for You alone'!" This tradition indicates that on the occasion of the incident that bas been related in Sura AlAhqaf(vv. 29- 32) of the jinn's hearing the Qur'an from the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) he was reciting Sura Ar Rahman in the Prayer. This happened in the 10th year of the Prophethood when the Holy Prophet had halted at Makkah on his way back from Ta'if. Although in some other traditions it has been reported that the Holy Prophet did not know then that the jinn were hearing him recite the Qur'an but afterwards Allah had informed him of this it is not unreasonable to suppose that just as Allah had informed him of the jinn's hearing the Qur'an so also Allah Himself might have told him as to what answer they were giving on hearing Sura Ar Rahman. These traditions only indicate that Sura Ar Rahman had been revealed even before Suras Al-Hijrand Al-Ahqaf. Besides we come across another tradition which shows that it is one of those Suras which were the earliest Revelations at Makkah. Ibn Ishaq has related this on the authority of Hadrat Urwah bin Zubair: The Companions one day said to one another: "The Quraishhave never heard any one recite the Qur'an publicly to them and who would read out the Divine Word aloud to them Hadrat AbdullahbinMasudsaid that he would. The Companions expressed the apprehension that he might be subjected to a harsh treatment and said that it should bette

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