78. Nabaa

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


The Sura derived its name from the word an-Naba in the second verse. This is not only a name but also a title of its subject matter for Naaba implies the news of Resurrection and Hereafter and the whole Sura is devoted to the same theme.

Period of Revelation

As we have explained in the introduction to Sura Al-Mursalat the theme of all the Suras from Al- Qiyamah to An-Naziat closely resembles one another's and all these seem to have been revealed in the earliest period at Makkah.

Theme and Subject Matter

Its theme also is the same as of Sura Al-Mursalat i. e. to affirm the Resurrection and Hereafter and to warn the people of the consequences of acknowledging or disacknowledging it. When the Holy Prophet (upon vhom be peace) first started to preach Islam in Makkah his message conisted of three elements:(1) That none be held as an associate with Allah in Godhead; (2) that Allah had appointed him as His Messenger; (3) that this world will come to an end one day and then another world will be establislied when all the former and the latter generations will be resurrected with the same bodies in which they lived and worked in the world; then they will be called to account for their beliefs and deeds and those who emerge as believing and righteous in this accountability wil go to Paradise and those who are proved to be disbelieving and wicked will live in Hell for ever. Of these although the first thing was highly unpleasant for the people of Makkah yet in any case they were not disbelievers in the existence of Allah. They believed in His Being the Supreme Sustainer Creator and Providence and also admitted that all those beings whom they regarded as their deities were themselves Allah's creatures. Therefore in this regard the only thing they disputed was whether they had any share in the attributes and powers of Divinity and in the Divine Being itself or not. As for the second thing the people of Makkah were not prepared to accept it. However what they could not possibly deny was that during the 40 years life that the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) had lived among them before his claim to Prophethood they had never found him a lying deceitful person or the one who would adopt unlawful methods for selfish ends. They themselves admitted that he was a man possessed of wisdom righteousness and moral superiority. Therefore in spite of charging him with a thousand false accusations nothing to say of making others believe they were finding it difficult even for theinselves to believe that although he was an honest and upright man in every other affair and dealing of life yet God forbid a liar only in his claim to be a Prophet. Thus the first two things were not in fact so perplexing for the people of Makkah as the third thing. When this was presented before them they mocked it most of all expressed unusual wonder at it and regarding it as remote from reason and impossible started talking against it as incredible even inconcievable in their assemblies. But in order to bring them to the way of Islam it was absolutely essential that the doctrine of the Hereafter should be instilled into their minds for without belief in this doctrine it was not at all possible that they could adopt a serious attitude with regard to the truth and falsehood could change their standard of values in respect of good and evil and giving up worship of the world could be inclined to follow the way that Islam urged them to follow. That is why in the earliest Suras revealed at Makkah the doctrine of the Hereafter has been impressed and stressed more than anything else. However the arguments for it have been given in such a way that the doctrine of the Oneness of God (Tauhid) also is impressed on the minds automatically. This also contains brief arguments here and there to confirm the truth of the Holy Messenger of Allah and the Qur'an. After understanding well why the theme of the Hereafter has been so frequently repeated in the Suras of this period let us now have a look at the subject matter of this Sura. In it first of all allusion has been made to the common talk and the doubts that were being expressed in every street of Makkah and in every assembly of the people of Makkah on hearing the news about Resurrection. Then the deniers have been asked: "Don't you see this earth which We have spread as a carpet for you?Don't you see the high mountains which we have so firmly placed in the earth?Don't you consider your own selves how

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