Surah Yunus (Jonah) 10 : 2

أَكَانَ لِلنَّاسِ عَجَبًا أَنْ أَوْحَيْنَآ إِلَىٰ رَجُلٍ مِّنْهُمْ أَنْ أَنذِرِ ٱلنَّاسَ وَبَشِّرِ ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوٓا۟ أَنَّ لَهُمْ قَدَمَ صِدْقٍ عِندَ رَبِّهِمْ ۗ قَالَ ٱلْكَٰفِرُونَ إِنَّ هَٰذَا لَسَٰحِرٌ مُّبِينٌ

Translations

 
 Muhsin Khan
 Pickthall
 Yusuf Ali
Quran Project
Have the people been amazed that We revealed [revelation] to a man from among them, [saying], "Warn mankind and give good tidings to those who believe that they will have a sure footing with their Lord"? [But] the disbelievers say, "Indeed, this is an obvious magician."

1. Lessons/Guidance/Reflections/Gems

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Explanatory Note

This is a rhetorical question which wonders at the attitude which considers the very concept of revelation strange.

This question stems from the fact that people do not appreciate the value of ‘humanity’ which they themselves represent. They find it hard to believe that a human being could be chosen as God’s messenger and that God sends down to him revelations, commanding him to make the way of guidance for others clear. They imagine that God would send an angel or some other creature belonging to a category superior to mankind. They do not realize how God has honoured man, and part of that honour is that man is well qualified to bear God’s message, and that God chooses certain human beings with whom He has this special relationship.

At the time of the Prophet Muĥammad (peace be upon him), this was the main point of contention among the unbelievers who refused to believe in his message. The same was true of the unbelievers of earlier generations and communities. In this modern age of ours, some people invent a similarly absurd doubt. They wonder: how does contact happen between a human being with his limited physical nature and God who is totally unlike everything else and whose nature is unlike the nature of everything He has created?

Such a question cannot be asked except by one who fully comprehends the nature of God Himself with all its aspects, and who also understands all the characteristics God has given to man. No one in his right mind, aware of the limitations of his reason, would make such a claim. Such a person knows that the characteristics of human nature are still being discovered today, and that scientific discovery has not come to an end. Beyond the reach of human perception and understanding there will always remain worlds unknown to man.

What this means is that human beings have latent potential known only to God. God certainly knows best to whom to assign His message. Knowing this ability is beyond all people and it may even be unknown to the person who is chosen for the task, until that choice is made. God, who has breathed of His soul into man knows every little detail of every nature. He can endow any human being with the ability to undertake this unique contact and bond in a way which can be appreciated only by those who experience it.

This is in a nutshell the purpose of revelation; to warn people of the consequences of their disobedience and to deliver happy news to the believers as to the outcome of their obedience. This inevitably includes an outline of the duties that are to be fulfilled and the prohibitions to be avoided. The warning is addressed to all mankind, because it should be conveyed to all people, who must be made aware of the consequences of their actions. The happy news though is given only to the believers.

Indeed all human beings need to be warned so that they are aware of what may happen to them when they reject God’s message and refuse to follow His guidance. On the other hand, only the believers receive the happy news of reassurance and of being on firm ground. The connotations generated here by the Arabic text all point to a general atmosphere of warning. The believers are ‘on a sound footing’ which means that they are sure of their steps, unhesitating, unshakeable even during the most worrying of times. They are “on a sound footing with their Lord,” in a presence where believers find reassurance and safety while others worry as they contemplate their impending doom.

God’s wisdom is clearly apparent in choosing to send down His revelations to a man from among themselves and one whom they knew well. Thus they could give and take from him without difficulty or embarrassment. His wisdom in sending messengers is even clearer. By his very nature, man can accept and follow good or evil. His tool to distinguish between the two is his reason. This reason needs to have an accurate criterion to which it can refer whenever things become doubtful and unclear, or whenever temptations or immediate interests affect his judgement. He needs a measure which is totally unaffected by anything that influences the human body, mentality or temperament, so as to give him the right answer concerning any uncertainty. This measure and criterion is nothing other than God’s guidance and His law.

Although the question of revelation is so clear, the unbelievers receive it as though it is very strange. They describe him as an enchanter or a sorcerer because what he says is beyond the power of human beings. Yet they should acknowledge the fact of revelation on account of this, because sorcery is incapable of including statements about universal facts or of delivering a complete code of living, laws and moral principles which make for a highly civilized society. They tended to confuse revelation with sorcery because in all pagan beliefs, sorcery was a part of religion. They did not have the clarity that a Muslim possesses with regard to the nature of divine faith. This realization saves Muslims from all the legends and superstitions of pagan beliefs.

2. Linguistic Analysis

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Frequency of Root words in this Ayat used in this Surah *


3. Surah Overview

4. Miscellaneous Information

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5. Connected/Related Ayat

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6. Frequency of the word

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7. Period of Revelation

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We learn from hadith the Surah was revealed in Makkah. But there are some people who are of the opinion that some of its verses were revealed at Madinah. This is however a superficial view. The continuity of the theme clearly shows that this does not comprise isolated verses or discourses that were revealed at different times and on different occasions. On the contrary it is from the beginning to the end a closely connected discourse which must have been revealed at one sitting. Besides this the nature of its theme is itself a clear proof that the Surah belongs to the Makkan period. [Ref: Mawdudi]

Some consider it to have been revealed after Surah al-Isra [17] and before Hud [11] – which would place it around year 11 of Prophethood.[Ref: Ibn Ashoor, Tahrir wa Tanwir]

8. Reasons for Revelation

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We have no hadith in regard to the time of its revelation but its subject matter gives clear indication that it must have been revealed during the last stage of the Prophet’s residence at Makkah. For the mode of the discourse suggests that at the time of its revelation the antagonism of the opponents of the Message had become so intense that they could not tolerate even the presence of the Prophet and his followers among themselves and that things had come to such a pass as to leave no hope that they would ever understand and accept the Message of the Prophet. This indicates that the last stage of the Prophet’s life among the people had come and the final warning like the one in this Surah had to be given. These characteristics of the discourse are clear proof that it was revealed during the last stage of the Movement at Makkah. Another thing that determines more specifically the order of the Surahs of the last stage at Makkah is the mention (or absence) of some open or covert hint about emigration (Hijrah) from Makkah. As this Surah does not contain any hint whatsoever about this it is a proof that it preceded those Surahs which contain it. Now that we have specified the time of its revelation there is no need of repeating its historical background because that has already been stated in Surah 6: al-An’am (The Grazing Livestock) and  Surah 7: al-A’raf (The Elevations).

9. Relevant Hadith

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10. Wiki Forum

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11. Tafsir Zone

 

12. External Links

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