Sūra al-Raʿd (Arabic: سورة الرَّعد) is the 13th Sura or chapter of the Qur'an. It is a Madani chapter which occurs in the 13th juz' of the Qur'an. Its name comes from the word, "ra'd" (thunderstorm), which appears in its 13th verse. The content of the chapter includes monotheism, God's power, truth of the Qur'an, prophethood of the Prophet Muhammad (s), resurrection, and characterizations of the Heaven and the Hell.
Famous verses of this sura are verse 28 which considers the rest of hearts in remembrance of God and verse 43 about which, some exegetes believe that the phrase "he who possesses the knowledge of the Book" refers to Imam Ali (a). It is narrated that anyone who recites sura al-Ra'd, God rewards him ten times as much of the clouds in the past, present and future.
Appellation: Sura al-Ra'd is called so because of the phenomenon of thunder (ra'd) and its exaltation of God are mentioned in the 13th verse of this chapter.
Place and order of revelation: there is a disagreement about whether Sura al-Ra'd is Makki or Madani. Muhammad Hadi Ma'rifat prefers the view that this chapter is Madani, because all hadiths in which the order of the revelation of Quranic chapters is stated take this chapter to be Madani. But some exegetes of the Qur'an, such as 'Allama Tabataba'i, appeal to the content of this chapter to show that it is Makki. It is the 96th Quranic chapter which was revealed to the Prophet (s). However, others take it to be the 95th or 73rd chapter which was revealed. In the traditional order of compilation, it is the 13th chapter of the Qur'an.
Number of Verses and Other Features
Sura al-Ra'd is one of al-Mathani chapters. It is average with respect to volume: it is equivalent to less than half of one juz' of the Qur'an. It has 43 verses, 854 words, and 3541 letters. It begins with al-Muqatta'at (disjoined letters) and sujud after its 15th verse is mustahab.
The main themes of Sura al-Ra'd include monotheism, resurrection, and wahy. Related issues are expressed through mentioning the wonders of the world and the human psychology. It calls human beings to reflect on the stories of their predecessors and to understand the laws of the world. Sura al-Ra'd is concerned with three issues:
- Proof for God's power, enumeration of natural phenomena and events such as the sky, the Earth, the son, the moon, palm trees, thunderstorms, and the like. It warns people who deny God and His power of a hard punishment.
- The truth of the Qur'an and the prophethood of the Prophet (s): most verses of this chapter are concerned with this issue. There are also verses in which claims of polytheists are repudiated.
- Proof of resurrection, characterization of the Heaven and the Hell, characteristics of pious people and their rewards, punishments of unbelievers and polytheists.
According to this verse, God will change what is in a people unless they change what is in themselves; God will not punish people unless they become sinners. It is the divine tradition that if people become ungrateful, rather than grateful, and transgressors, rather than obedient, their happiness will be replaced by misery. Some exegetes provide a different interpretation of this verse: the fate of every nation is tied with their own decisions, and every nation can change their fate with their own wills.
According to the verse 13 of Sura al-Ra'd, the thunder exalts God's praise. There are different interpretations of this verse. According to some exegetes, the thunder is a divine sign, which signifies God's greatness and thus calls people to exalt God, or it exalts God with its signification of divine greatness. Others believe that the verse implies that when people hear the sound of thunders, they exalt God. There are some supplications which are recommended to be recited when hearing the thunder.
"Verily in the remembrance of God do hearts find rest".
It is said that this verse implies exclusiveness, meaning that only in the remembrance of God, hearts find rest and that, "dhikr" refers to any form of remembrance of God, whether it be verbal or non-verbal, with the Qur'an or without it. It is narrated from Imam al-Sadiq (a) that, "In Muhammad (s), hearts find rest and he (a) is the dhikr [remembrance] of God" and that "the Prophet (s) told Ali b. Abi Talib (a), ‘Do you know about whom it is revealed?...It is revealed about the one who approves of me and finds faith in me and loves you and your progeny and surrenders to your order and the Imams (a) after you.'"
According to this verse, God effaces what He wills and establishes what He wills, and with Him is the "Mother of the Book" (the essential or basic source). There are various interpretations of this verse. The effacement and establishment are interpreted as being about human sins or abrogation (naskh) of divine rulings. According to 'Abd Allah b. 'Abbas, the Book of Effacement and the Book of Establishment are two distinct books which are subject to changes, unlike the Mother of the Book (Umm al-Kitab) which is unchangeable. 'Allama Tabataba'i takes divine rulings to be of two sorts: the ones that might be effaced or established, and the ones which do not change (this is Umm al-Kitab—Mother of the Book—to which changeable rulings refer). Some Shiite sources have appealed to this verse to prove bada'.
There are also different views about the occasion of revelation, exegesis, and the recitation of the last verse of the chapter: "وَ مَن عِندَه عِلمُ الکِتاب" (whoever has knowledge of the Book). 'Allama Tabataba'i takes the "Book" to refer to the Qur'an, and appeals to some hadiths to show that the one who has knowledge of the book is 'Ali b. Abi Talib (a). Ibn Jawzi has cited seven views with respect to the person to whom the verse refers. Some exegetes have interpreted the "Book" as referring to the Qur'an, Torah, and the Guarded Tablet (al-Lawh al-Mahfuz).
There are disagreements about the context of revelation, interpretation and recitation of the phrase "and he who possesses the knowledge of the Book". About the reference of the verse, seven views are mentioned and exegetes have interpreted "the Book" as "the Qur'an", "the Torah" and "Lawh Mahfuz" ["a preserved tablet"]. 'Allama Tabataba'i interpreted "the Book" as "the Qur'an" and with regards to hadiths, considered "he who possesses" referring to Ali b. Abi Talib (a).
The Meaning of Thunder's Exaltation
The verse 13 of Sura al-Ra'd is about thunder's exaltation of God. There are different views about the exegesis of this verse. According to some scholars, the thunder is a divine sign which signifies the greatness of God, and thus it calls us to the exaltation of God, or it exalts God with this signification. According to another view, the thunder’s exaltation means that whoever hears the sound of the thunder exalts God. There are certain supplications that are recommended to be recited while hearing the thunder.
Ubayy b. Ka'b has quoted the Prophet (s) as saying that if someone recites Sura al-Ra'd, God will reward him with the number of all passing clouds in the past, present, and the future, and after the resurrection, he will be among those who have kept the divine promise. According to a hadith from Imam al-Sadiq (a), "if someone recites Sura al-Ra'd, God will never kill him with thunders in this world, even if he is an enemy of Ahl al-Bayt (a), and if the reciter is a Shi'a, God will take him to the Heaven without any worries about the examination of his actions, and his intercession for people whom he knows, from his family and Muslim brothers, will be accepted".
The verse 25 of Sura al-Ra'd is considered as one of ayat al-ahkam (jurisprudential verses). It is said that according to this verse, it is obligatory to fulfil one's promise. Faqihs have defined the promise ('Ahd) as follows: to promise God to do something or to abandon doing something. There are conditions for the validity of a promise; for example, its sigha should be recited by saying "I promise God to do such and such or to abandon such and such" ( عاهَدْتُ اللّهَ انْ أَفْعَلَ كَذا أَو أَتْرُكَ كَذا) or "on me is the promise of God to do such and such or to abandon such and such" (عَلَىَّ عَهْدُ اللّه أَنْ أَفْعَلَ كَذا أَوْ أَتْرُكَ كَذا), and instead of "such and such" one should mention the intended action.
|For the full text, see text:Sura al-Ra'd.|
- 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 fa:سوره رعد in Farsi Wikishia.