Sūra al-Ṣaff (Arabic: سورَة الصَّف) is the 61st sura of the Qur'an. It is a Madani sura located in the juz' 28. It is called "al-Saff" (literally: line) because its 4th verse is about the lines of combatants (mujahidin). Topics mentioned in this sura include:
- The exaltation and veneration of God,
- The reproach of people whose actions do not match their speech,
- The final victory of God's religion and its spread all over the world and the failure of counteractions by its enemies, and
- The encouragement of people to fight for God with their possessions and life.
A well-known verse in this sura is "Help from Allah and a victory near at hand, and give good news to the faithful." (verse 13) which is giving the good news of victory to the believers. The exegetes take this verse to refer to different conquests by Muslims, including the Conquest of Mecca. Also, "imminent conquest" is interpreted as the final victory of Imam al-Mahdi (a). As to the virtue of the recitation of this sura, there is a hadith according to which if one recites Sura al-Saff, then as long as he is alive in this world, Jesus (a) will send peace to him and will ask for God's forgiveness for him, and on the day of Resurrection, he will be a companion of Jesus the Christ.
The sura is known as "al-Saff" (literally: line) because its 4th verse refers to the line of combatants (mujahidin). It is also known as "Sura al-Hawāriyyun" (سورة الحواریون, Sura of Disciples) and "Sura 'Isa" (سورة عیسی, Sura of Jesus), because its last verse is concerned with Jesus (a) and his Disciples (that were his closest companions).
The place and order of the revelation
Sura al-Saff is a Madani sura of the Qur'an, and in the order of the revelation, it is the 111th sura revealed to the Prophet (s). In the traditional order of compilation, it is the 61st sura located in the 28th juz' of the Qur'an.
The number of verses and other features
Sura al-Saff has 14 verses, 226 words, and 966 letters. It is one of the Mufassalat suras (the ones with numerous and short verses). Since Sura al-Saff begins with the exaltation (or tasbih) of God, it is taken to be one of the Musabbihat suras of the Qur'an as well.
Sura al-Saff calls and encourages the believers to fight on the path of God, and analogizes Islam to a light that unbelievers and the People of the Book try to extinguish, but God will perfect His religion and help it take over all religions, even if unbelievers and polytheists do not like. The sura goes on to say that Muhammad (s) is a prophet sent from God and that Jesus (a) the son of Mary (a) had given the news of Muhammad's appearance. So, believers should follow Muhammad (s) and help God through jihad; they should not say what they do not do, and if they promise, they should keep it, because such sins lead to God's anger and the unhappiness of the Prophet (s).
Speech without Action
- O you who have faith! Why do you say what you do not do?, It is greatly outrageous to Allah that you should say what you do not do. (verses no.2 and no.3) [Note 1]
According to the context of the revelation of this verse, there were some Muslims who claimed: "if we knew what the most favorite action by God is, we would sacrifice our life and possessions for it". God introduced jihad as His most favorite action and tested them with the Battle of Uhud, but they fled from the battle. According to Tafsir al-Qummi, people whose actions do not match their speeches were, indeed, those of the companions of the Prophet (s) who had promised him for help, for compliance with his orders, and for fulfilling their pledge to the Prophet (s) about Amir al-Mu'minin (a), but God told them that they would not fulfill their promise.
Victory from Allah
- Help from Allah and a victory near at hand, and give good news to the faithful. (verse no.13) [Note 2]
There are different exegetical accounts of what is meant by "imminent conquest". Many people have interpreted it as referring to the Conquest of Mecca, and some have taken it to refer to the conquest of Persia and conquest of Rome, and others hold that it refers to all Islamic conquests that were achieved in a short time. According to Tafsir al-Qummi, "imminent conquest" refers to the victory of Qa'im Al Muhammad. The verse has turned into a slogan or motto among the Shi'as, and in particular, Iranians.
Virtues and Features
There is a hadith from the Prophet (s) according to which if one recites the Sura of Jesus (that is, Sura al-Saff), then Jesus (a) will send peace to him and will ask for his forgiveness as long as he is in this world, and he will be a companion of Jesus (a) on the day of Resurrection. According to a hadith from Imam al-Baqir (a), if one recites Sura al-Saff and persists on its recitation in his obligatory and recommended prayers, then God will put him in the same "line" (saff) as that of the angels and prophets.
- Moses's (a) complaint about his people's harms to him (verse 5)
- Jesus's (a) call on the Isrealites, his giving the news of the prophethood of Muhammad (s), his miracles, and the accusations of magic against him (verse 6).
- Jesus's (a) conversations with his Disciples, a faction of Isrealites believing in Jesus (a) and another faction disbelieving him (verse 14).
|For the full text, see text:Sura al-Saff.|
- 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.
- (يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لِمَ تَقُولُونَ مَا لَا تَفْعَلُونَ كَبُرَ مَقْتًا عِندَ اللَّـهِ أَن تَقُولُوا مَا لَا تَفْعَلُونَ (٢
- (نَصْرٌ مِّنَ اللَّهِ وَفَتْحٌ قَرِیبٌ وَبَشِّرِ الْمُؤْمِنِینَ (١٣
- The material for this article is mainly taken from سوره صف in Farsi WikiShia.