Sūra al-Balad (Arabic: سورَة البَلَد) is the 90th sura and a Makki sura of the Qur'an. It is in the 30th juz' of the Qur'an. The sura begins with swearing to "al-balad" (the city, which refers to Mecca), and this is why, it came to be called "al-Balad". In this sura, God says that the human life in this world is intermingled with pains and hardships. It also enumerates some of God's blessings to human beings and then refers to human ingratitude towards these blessings. According to this sura, the most valuable human actions include the emancipation of the slaves, feeding the hungry, and helping the poor. There is a hadith from Prophet Muhammad (s) about the virtue of reciting this sura, according to which if a person recites Sura al-Balad, God will secure him or her against His anger on the Day of Judgment.
The sura begins with swearing to "al-balad", and thus, it is called "Sura al-Balad". "Balad" literally means city or land, and in this case, it refers to Mecca.
Place and Order of Revelation
Sura al-Balad is a Makki sura of the Qur'an. It is the 35th sura revealed to the Prophet (s). In the traditional order of the compilation of the Qur'an, Sura al-Balad is the 90th sura in its 30th juz'.
Number of Verses and Other Features
Sura al-Balad consists of 20 verses, 82 words, and 343 letters. It counts as one of the mufassalat suras of the Qur'an. And it is one of the suras which begin with swearing.
Sura al-Balad begins with swearing to the city of Mecca with the intention to show its magnificence and sanctity. Subsequent verses of the sura are concerned with the creation of the human being, pointing out that the human life is intermingled with pains and hardships. The most difficult, and yet the most valuable, human actions are said to include the emancipation of slaves, feeding the hungry, and helping the poor. In this sura, God refers to righteous people as "Ashab al-Maymana" (Companions of the Right, that is, People of the Heaven) and the vice people as "Ashab al-Mash'ama" (Companions of the left, that is, People of the hell).
Occasion of the Revelation
According to Tafsir Muqatil b. Sulayman, the verse 4 of Sura al-Balad, "We have certainly created the man into hardship", was revealed about al-Harith b. 'Amr b. Nawfal b. 'Abd Manaf al-Qurashi. When he was in Medina, he committed a sin. He then went to the Prophet (s) and asked about its expiation. The Prophet (s) told him to either emancipate a slave or feed 60 people in need. Al-Harith asked if there was another way to compensate his wrongdoing, and the Prophet (s) emphasized that there was no other way. Al-Harith left in sadness and, on his way, he met his friends. He told them: "I swear to God that I did not know that if I entered Muhammad's religion, my money would diminish by expiations and charity in the path of God. Muhammad thinks that we have found this money on the cheap. I have spent a lot to earn this money". It was after this that the verse was revealed: "We have certainly created the man into hardship".
Merits and Benefits
Abu Basir transmitted a hadith from Imam al-Sadiq (a) according to which if a person recites Sura al-Balad in his or her obligatory prayer, he or she will come to be known in this world as righteous and in the Afterlife as having a special position before God, and he or she will be a companion of the prophets, martyrs, and righteous people." And according to a hadith transmitted by Ubayy b. Ka'b from the Prophet (s), if a person recites Sura al-Balad, God will secure him or her from His Anger on the Day of Judgment, and he or she will survive the hard passages of the Afterlife.
In Tafsir al-burhan, it is recommended that the sura be written on a piece of paper and carried with a newborn baby to secure his or her safety. The sura is also recommended for respiratory diseases (it should be written on a paper and the paper should be submerged into water, and then the water should be inhaled.
|For the full text, see text:Sura al-Balad.|
- Khamagar, Muhammad, Sakhtar-i suraha-yi Qur'an-i karim, Mu'assisa-yi Farhangi-yi Qur'an wa 'Itrat-i Nur al-Thaqalayn, Qom: Nashra, ed.1, 1392 Sh.
- The material for this article is mainly taken from سوره بلد in Farsi WikiShia.