Meal Seç / Sure Seç




In the name of god, the most gracious, The dispenser of grace: (1)

1 - According to most of the authorities, this invocation (which occurs at the beginning of every surah with the exception of surah 9) constitutes an integral part of "The Opening" and is, therefore, numbered as verse I. In all other instances, the invocation "in the name of God" precedes the surah as such, and is not counted among its verses. - Both the divine epithets rahman and rahrm are derived from the noun rahmah, which signifies "mercy", "compassion", "loving tenderness" and, more comprehensively, "grace". From the very earliest times, Islamic scholars have endeavoured to define the exact shades of meaning which differentiate the two terms. The best and simplest of these explanations is undoubtedly the one advanced by Ibn al-Qayyim (as quoted in Mandr I, 48): the term rahman circumscribes the quality of abounding grace inherent in, and inseparable from, the concept of God's Being, whereas rahrm expresses the manifestation of that grace in, and its effect upon, His creation-in other words, an aspect of His activity.

ACCORDING to some of the Companions of the Prophet and several learned men of the next generation, this surah and the preceding one form, in fact, one entity. Thus, in the Qur'an-copy owned by Ubayy ibn Kab, Al-Fil and Quraysh were written as one surah, i.e., without the customary invocation "In the name of God" intervening between them (Baghawi and Zamakhshari). We must remember that side by side with Zayd ibn Thabit and Ali ibn Abi Talib, Ubayy ibn Ka'b was one of the foremost authorities on whom both Abu Bakr and Uthman relied for the final recension of the text of the Qur'an; and it is probably for this reason that Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani regards the evidence of Ubayy's Qur'an-copy as fairly conclusive (Fath al-Bari VIII, 593). Moreover, it is established that, when leading the congregational prayer, Umar ibn al-Khattab used to recite the two surahs as one (Zamakhshari and Razi). But whether Al-Fil and Quraysh are one surah or two separate ones, there is hardly any doubt that the latter is a continuation of the former, implying that God destroyed the Army of the Elephant "so that the Quraysh might remain secure" (see verse 1 below and the corresponding note).
1. SO THAT the Quraysh might remain secure, (1)

1 - Lit., "for the safeguarding of the Quraysh", i.e., as the custodians of the Kabah and the tribe in the midst of which the Last Prophet, Muhammad, was to appear. Thus, the "security of the Quraysh" is a metonym for the security of the Kabah, the focal point of the Faith based on the concept of God's oneness, for the sake of which the army of Abrahah was destroyed (see introductory note as well as preceding surah).

2. secure in their winter and summer journeys, (2)

2 - I.e., the two annual trade caravans - to the Yemen in winter and to Syria in summer - on which the prosperity of Mecca depended.

3. Let them, therefore, worship the Sustainer of this Temple; (3)

3 - I.e., the Kabah (see note 102 on 2:125).

4. who has given them food against hunger, and made them safe from danger. (4)

4 - Cf. Abraham's prayer, "O my Sustainer! Make this a land secure, and grant its people fruitful sustenance" (2:126).

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