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Sura al-Balad

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Sura al-Balad
al-Fajr← →al-Shams
سوره بلد.jpg
Sura Number 90
Juz' 30
Revelation
Revelation Number 35
Makki/Madani Makki
Information
Verse Count 20
Word Count 82
Letter Count 343
This article is an introduction to the Sura al-Balad; to read its text see text:Sura al-Balad.

Sūra al-Balad (Arabic: سورَة البَلَد) is the ninetieth sura and a Makki sura of the Qur'an. It is in the thirtieth 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.

Introduction

  • Naming

The sura begins with swearing to "al-balad", and thus, it is called "Sura al-Balad".[1] "Balad" literally means city or land,[2] and in this case, it refers to Mecca.[3]

  • Place and Order of Revelation

Sura al-Balad is a Makki sura of the Qur'an. It is the thirty fifth sura revealed to the Prophet (s). In the traditional order of the compilation of the Qur'an, Sura al-Balad is the ninetieth sura,[4] located in thirtieth juz'.

  • Number of Verses and Other Features

Sura al-Balad consists of twenty verses, eighty two 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.[5]

Content

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 "Companions of the Right Hand" (Ashab al-Maymana, that is, People of the Heaven) and the vice people as Companions of the left (Ashab al-Mash'ama, that is, People of the hell).[6]

Content of Sura al-Balad[7]
 
 
Importance of charity for the servitude of God
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
First topic: verses 1-10
Necessity of tolerating pains and hardships for the sake of serving God
 
Second topic: verses 11-20
Significance of charity for the servitude of God and the happiness of the human being
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
First point: verses 1-4
Swearing to those who tolerate hardships in the path of God
 
First point: verses 11-17
Charity when one is in need as a condition for the servitude of God
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Second point: verses 5-10
Factors because of which one might not tolerate hardships in the path of God
 
Second point: verses 18-20
Role of servitude of God in the human happiness

Occasion of the Revelation

According to Tafsir Muqatil b. Sulayman, the verse four 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 sixty 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".[8]

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 will come to be known in this world as righteous and in the Afterlife as having a special position before God, and he will be a companion of the prophets, martyrs, and righteous people."[9] And according to a hadith transmitted by Ubayyd 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.[10]

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 safety.[11] 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.[12]

Notes

  1. Khurramshāhī, Dānishnāma-yi Qurʾān, vol. 2, p. 1264.
  2. Qarashī Bunābī, Qāmūs al-Qurʾān, Under the word «بلد».
  3. Ṭabāṭabāyī, al-Mīzān, vol. 20, p. 289.
  4. Maʿrifat, Āmūzish-i ʿulūm-i Qurʾān, vol. 1, p. 166.
  5. Khurramshāhī, Dānishnāma-yi Qurʾān, vol. 2, p. 1264.
  6. Khurramshāhī, Dānishnāma-yi Qurʾān, vol. 2, p. 1264.
  7. 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.
  8. Maqātil b. Sulaymān, Tafsīr al-Maqātil, vol. 4, p. 701.
  9. Ṣadūq, Thawāb al-aʿmāl, p. 123.
  10. Baḥrānī, al-Burhān, vol. 5, p. 659.
  11. Baḥrānī, al-Burhān, vol. 5, p. 659.
  12. Baḥrānī, al-Burhān, vol. 5, p. 659.

References

  • Baḥrānī, Sayyid Hāshim b. Sulaymān. Al-Burhān fī tafsīr al-Qurʾān. Qom: Bunyād-i Biʿthat, 1416 AH.
  • Khurramshāhī, Bahāʾ al-Dīn. Dānishnāma-yi Qurʾān wa Qurʾān pazhūhī. Tehran: Dūstān-Nāhīd, 1377 Sh.
  • Maqātil b. Sulaymān. Tafsīr al-Maqātil. Edited by ʿAbd Allāh Maḥmūd Shaḥāta. Beirut: Dār Iḥyāʾ al-Turāth al-ʿArabī, 1423 AH.
  • Maʿrifat, Muḥammad Hādī. Āmūzish-i ʿulūm-i Qurʾān. [n.p]: Markaz Chāp wa Nashr-i Sāzmān-i Tablīghāt, 1371 Sh.
  • Qarashī Bunābī, Sayyid ʿAlī Akbar. Qāmūs al-Qurʾān. Sixth edition. Tehran: Dār al-Kutub al-Islāmīyya, 1371 Sh.
  • Ṣadūq, Muḥammad b. ʿAlī al-. Thawāb al-aʿmāl wa ʿiqāb al-aʿmāl. Edited by Ṣādiq Ḥasanzāda. Tehran: Armaghān-i Ṭūbā, 1382 Sh.
  • Ṭabāṭabāyī, Mūhammad Ḥusayn al-. Al-Mīzān fī tafsīr al-Qurʾān. Second edition. Beirut: Muʾassisat al-Aʿlamī li-l-Maṭbūʿāt, 1974.