Period of Revelation
The period of its revelation is the same as of Sura Maryam. It is just possible that it was sent down during the Migration to Habash or just after it. Anyhow
it is certain that this Sura was revealed before Hadrat Umarembraced Islam. According to a well known and authentic tradition when Hadrat Umarset out to kill the Holy Prophet
he met a certain person
Before you do anything else
you should know that your own sister and brother-in-law have embraced Islam
he directly went to the house of his sister. There he found his sister
and his brother-in-law
Said bin Zaid
learning the contents of a scroll from KhabbabbinArt. When Fatimah saw him coming she hid the scroll at once
but Hadrat Umarhad heard the recital
so he began to interrogate them about it. Then he began to thrash his brother-in-law
and wounded his sister
who tried to protect him. At last both of them confessed
We have become Muslims; you may do whatever you like.
As Hadrat Umarwas moved to see blood running down from her head
Show me the thing you were reading.
The sister asked him to promise on oath that he would not tear it
You cannot touch it unless you have a bath.
Hadrat Umartook his bath and when he began to read the scroll
which contained this Sura
he spontaneously spoke out
What an excellent thing!
At this Hadrat Khabbab
who had hidden himself at the sound of his footsteps
came out of his hiding and said
I have high expectations that Allah will get great service from you to propagate the Message of His Prophet
for just yesterday I heard the Holy Prophet praying to Allah
make Abul Hakam bin Hisham (Abu Jahl) or Umar bin Khattab a supporter of Islam. So O Umar
turn to Allah
turn to Allah.
These words proved to be so persuasive that he at once accompanied Hadrat Khabbaband went to the Holy Prophet to embrace Islam. This happened a short time after the Migration to Habash.
Theme and Topics of Discussion
This Sura begins with the enunciation of the object of the Revelation of the Qur'an to this effect:"O Muhammad
this Quran has not been sent down to you to put you unnecessarily to some great affliction. It does not demand from you to perform the impossible task of imbuing the hearts of the obdurate disbelievers with Faith. It is merely an admonition meant to guide on to the Right Path those who fear God and want to save themselves from His punishment. This Quran is the Word of the Master of the earth and the heavens and God-head belongs to Him alone:These two facts are eternal whether one believes them or not." After this introduction
the Sura abruptly moves on to relate the story of Prophet Moses without any apparent relevancy and without even hinting at its applicability to the events of the period. However
if we read between the lines
we realize that the discourse is addressed very relevantly to the people of Makkah. But before we explain the hidden meaning of the discourse
we must keep in view the fact that the Arabs in general acknowledged Moses as a Prophet of God. This was so because they had "been influenced by the large number of the Jews around them and by" the neighbouring Christian kingdoms. Now let us state those things which are hidden between the lines of the story: 1.Allah does not appoint a Prophet by the beat of drums or My celebrating the occasion in a regular and formal ceremony
as if to say
We are appointing such and such a person as Our Prophet from today.
On the contrary
He bestows Prophethood in a confidential manner just as He did in the case of Prophet Moses. Therefore you should not consider it strange if Hadrat Muhammad has been appointed as a Prophet all of a sudden and without any public pro- clamation. 2.The fundamental principles presented by Prophet Muhammad Tauhidand the Hereafter are just the same as were taught to Prophet Moses at the time of his appointment. 3.Prophet Muhammad has been made the standard bearer of the Message of the Truth among the people of the Quraishall by himself without material provisions
just as Prophet Moses was entrusted with the Mission to go to a tyrant king like Pharaoh and ask him to give up his attitude of rebellion. These are the mysterious ways of Allah. He catches hold of a way farer of Midian on his way to Egypt and says
Go and fight with the greatest tyrant of the time.
He did not provide him with armies and provisions for this Mission. The only thing He did was to appoint his brother as his assistant at his request. 4.You
O People of Makkah
should note it well that Pharaoh employed the same devices against Prophet Moses as you are employing against Prophet Muhammad; frivolous objections
and cruel persecutions. You should know that Allah's Prophet came out victorious over Pharaoh
who possessed large armies and war equipments. Incidentally
the Muslims have been consoled and comforted
though not in so many words
that they should not be afraid of fighting with the Quraishagainst fearful odds
for the mission which is supported by Allah comes out victorious in the end. At the same time
the Muslims have been exhorted to follow the excellent example of the magicians of Egypt
who remained steadfast in their Faith
though Pharaoh threatened them with horrible vengeance. 5. An incident from the story of the Israelites has been cited to show in what ridiculous manner the idolisation of false gods and goddesses starts and that the Prophets of God do not tolerate even the slightest tinge of this preposterous practice. Likewise
Prophet Muhammad is following the former Prophets in opposing shirkand idol worship today. Thus
the story of Moses has been used to throw light on all those matters which were connected with the conflict between the Holy Prophet and the Quraish. Then at the end of the story
the. Quraishhave been briefly admonished
as if to say
The Quran has been sent down in your tongue for your own good. If you listen