Overview - Surah 54: al-Qamar (The Moon )

Surah Introduction

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The Surah talks about the approaching Day of Judgment.  It describes some of the scenes of that Day.  It also tells us that Allah's judgment may come here and now.  There are references to the flood that came at the time of Prophet Noah, the punishment of the people of 'Ad, Thamud, People of Prophet Lot, the Pharaoh and his people.  It ends with the good news for the Believers who will be near their Lord in the gardens of bliss.

Sections:

  1. The Day of Judgment is near. References to Prophet Noah, and to the tribe of 'Ad,
  2. References to the Thamud tribe, Prophet Lot and his people.
  3. Pharaoh and his arrogance.  The opponents in Makkah are told whether they think they are better or more powerful than those nations. The wrong doers did suffer the consequences of their evil deeds.

This Surah takes its name from the first Ayat, اقْتَرَبَتِ السَّاعَةُ وَانشَقَّ الْقَمَرُ "The Hour has come near, and the moon has split [in two]." (54:1). Surah al-Qamar is in the 27th Juzz and the word Qamar [moon] appears in the Qur'an 27 times. An interesting observation is that the Moon orbits the Earth every 27 days.  

There are 55 Ayat in this Surah.

Overview

Total Ayat55
Total Words *342
Root Words *145
Unique Root Words *5
Makki / MadaniMakki
Chronological Order* 37th (according to Ibn Abbas)
Year of Revelation* 8th year of Prophethood
Events during/before this Surah*
Boycott of Banu Hashim Yr 2, Boycott of Banu Hashim Yr 1, 2nd Migration to Abyssinia, Physical beating and torture of some Muslims - 1st Migration of Muslims to Abyssinia, Public Invitation to Islam - Persecution of Muslims; antagonism - ridicule - derision - accusation - abuse and false propaganda., Revelation begins - Private Invitation to Islam , Revelation begins - Private Invitation to Islam , Revelation begins - Private Invitation to Islam
Events during/after still to occur*
Boycott of Banu Hashim Yr 3,Death of Abu Talib - Death of Khadijah - Stoning at Ta'if - al-Isra wal Mi'raj - Night Journey,1st Pledge of Aqabah,2nd Pledge of Aqabah,,Migration from Makkah to Madinah - Building of Masjid Nabi in Madinah - Treaty with Jews of Madinah - Marriage of Prophet to Aishah,Change of Qiblah from Jerusalem to Makkah - Battle of Badr,Battle of Uhud,,Battle of Ahzab - Expedition of Banu Quraydhah,Treaty of Hudaiybiyah - Letters to Kings and Rulers,,Conquest of Makkah - Battle of Hunain,Hajj led by Abu Bakr - Expedition of Tabuk,Farewell Hajj by Prophet - Death of Prophet - End of Divine Revelation
Names of Prophets Mentioned
Nuh, Lut
Surah Index
‘Aad, Astronomy (celestial mechanics) (moon), Badr, Grave, Hell, Hud, Judgement (Day) , Judgement (Day) (moon split asunder), Locusts, Lot, Noah, Noah (ark) , Noah (flood) , Pharaoh, Qur’an, Record of personal deeds, Resurrection (Day) , Thamud, Thamud (she camel) , Thamud (she camel) (killing of), Thamud (she camel) (punishment for), Weather (wind)

Central Theme

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Theme 1: The Sunnah [practice] of Allah in dealing with those who belie and deny His Ayat [signs].

In this Surah the disbelievers of Makkah have been warned for their stubbornness which they had adopted against the invitation of the Prophet. The amazing and wonderful phenomenon of the splitting of the Moon was a manifest sign of the truth that the Resurrection, of which the Prophet was giving them the news, could take place and that it had approached near at hand. The great sphere of the Moon had split into two distinct parts in front of their very eyes. The two parts had separated and receded so much apart from each other that to the on-lookers one part had appeared on one side of the mountain and the other on the other side of it. Then, in an instant the two had rejoined. This was a manifest proof of the truth that the system of the Universe was neither eternal nor immortal, it could be disrupted. Huge stars and planets could split asunder, disintegrate, collide with each other, and everything that had been depicted in the Qur’an in connection with the description of the details of Resurrection, could happen. Not only this: it was also a portent that the disintegration of the system of the Universe had begun and the time was near when Resurrection would take place. The Prophet invited the people’s attention to this event only with this object in view and asked them to mark it and be a witness to it. But the disbelievers described it as a magical illusion and persisted in their denial. For this stubbornness they have been reproached in this Surah.

Connection of the name of the Surah and its Ayaat

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The Surah revolves around the Signs of Allah and those who belie and deny them from amongst the polytheists. The splitting of the Qamar [moon] is amongst the great signs shown by God to the people of Makkah which they still resulted on them continuing their disbelief.

Connection between the beginning and the ending of the Surah

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  • The Hour:

    اقْتَرَبَتِ السَّاعَةُ وَانشَقَّ الْقَمَرُ "The Hour has come near, and the moon has split [in two]." (54:1)

    بَلِ السَّاعَةُ مَوْعِدُهُمْ وَالسَّاعَةُ أَدْهَىٰ وَأَمَرُّ " But the Hour is their appointment [for due punishment], and the Hour is more disastrous and more bitter." (54:46) 

Manuscripts / Inscriptions

Connection of the Surah to the Surah before/after it

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  • The previous Surah an-Najm [The Star] and this Surah al-Qamar [The Moon] both are named after heavenly bodies.
  • There are 55 Ayat in Surah al-Qamar. Surah ar-Rahman is Surah no. 55.
  • Surah al-Qamar ends with mentioning that the Believers will be with the King. Surah ar-Rahman begins with who this King is - He is ar-Rahman [the Most Merciful]

    فِي مَقْعَدِ صِدْقٍ عِندَ مَلِيكٍ مُّقْتَدِرٍ "In a seat of truth (i.e. Paradise), near the Omnipotent King (Allah, the All-Blessed, the Most High, the Owner of Majesty and Honour) (54:55)

    الرَّحْمَـٰنُ "The Most Merciful." (55:1)
  • Both Surah al-Qamar and ar-Rahman end with the mention of Paradise. 

The Virtues of the Surah

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Special Features of the Surah

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Important key and unique words of the Surah

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  • Allah Almighty repeats the following Ayat 4 times in this Surah, وَلَقَدْ يَسَّرْنَا الْقُرْآنَ لِلذِّكْرِ فَهَلْ مِن مُّدَّكِرٍ "And We have certainly made the Qur'an easy for remembrance, so is there any who will remember?" (54:17)  (54:22) (54:32) (54:40)
     
  • Allah Almighty repeats these words 4 times in this Surah,  فَكَيْفَ كَانَ عَذَابِي وَنُذُرِ "And how [severe] were My punishment and warning." (54:16) (54:18) (54:21) (54:30)
 
Total Word Count per Ayat (shows how many words per Ayat) *

Unique Root Words to this Surah only


5 unique root words that do not appear in any other Surah *

Top 10 Most Frequent Root Words used in this Surah

Root Word Frequency
in Surah
Frequency
in Qur'an
ن ذ ر 12 130
ذ ك ر 11 292
ك ذ ب 9 282
ع ذ ب 7 373
ك ل ل 6 377
ك و ن 6 1390
ق و ل 5 1722
ي و م 4 405
د ع و 4 212
ق د ر 4 132

Period of Revelation

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The incident of the ‘splitting of the moon’ (shaqq-al-Qamar) that has been mentioned in this Surah, determines its period of revelation precisely. The traditionists and commentators are agreed that this incident took place at Mina in Makkah about five years before the Prophet’s migration (Hijra) to Madīnah.

Background Reasons for Revelation

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Relevant Hadith

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  • حَدَّثَنَا يَحْيَى بْنُ يَحْيَى، قَالَ قَرَأْتُ عَلَى مَالِكٍ عَنْ ضَمْرَةَ بْنِ سَعِيدٍ الْمَازِنِيِّ، عَنْ عُبَيْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ، أَنَّ عُمَرَ بْنَ الْخَطَّابِ، سَأَلَ أَبَا وَاقِدٍ اللَّيْثِيَّ مَا كَانَ يَقْرَأُ بِهِ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم فِي الأَضْحَى وَالْفِطْرِ فَقَالَ كَانَ يَقْرَأُ فِيهِمَا بِـ ‏{‏ ق وَالْقُرْآنِ الْمَجِيدِ‏}‏ وَ ‏{‏ اقْتَرَبَتِ السَّاعَةُ وَانْشَقَّ الْقَمَرُ‏}‏

    'Abdullah b. 'Umar reported that (his father) 'Umar b. Khattab asked Abu Waqid al-Laithi what the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) used to recite on 'Id-ul-Adha and 'Id-ul-Fitr. He said: He used to recite in them:" Qaf. By the Glorious Qur'an" (Surah Qaf)," The Hour drew near, and the moon was rent asunder" (Surah al-Qamar)" Sahih Muslim no. 1936

Lessons/Guidance/Major-Issues/Reflections

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  • The Day of Judgment is drawing near yet the unbelievers are not paying heed to the signs of Allah.
  • We have made the Qur'an easy to understand the admonition, so is there any who would take the admonition?
  • The story of Thamud and Lut who called their Prophet liars to show how terrible was Allah's scourge and how clear was His warning.
  • Allah Almighty repeats the following Ayat 4 times in this Surah, وَلَقَدْ يَسَّرْنَا الْقُرْآنَ لِلذِّكْرِ فَهَلْ مِن مُّدَّكِرٍ "And We have certainly made the Qur'an easy for remembrance, so is there any who will remember?" (54:17)  (54:22) (54:32) (54:40)
  • People of Fir'on were seized for disbelieving Allah's warning. The same warning has come to you, will you not take admonition?
  • The dua is the greatest weapon in the possession of the Believer. As Prophet Nuh prayed, فَدَعَا رَبَّهُ أَنِّي مَغْلُوبٌ فَانتَصِرْ "So he invoked his Lord, "Indeed, I am overpowered, so help." (54:10)

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Miscellaneous Issues

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The Moon is the Earth’s only natural satellite. The average distance from the Moon to the Earth is 384403 kilometres (238857 miles). The Moon is in synchronous rotation with Earth, always showing the same face, with its near side marked by dark volcanic maria that fill the spaces between the bright ancient crustal highlands and the prominent impact craters. As seen from the Earth, it is the second-brightest regularly visible celestial object in Earth's sky, after the Sun. Its surface is actually dark, although compared to the night sky it appears very bright, with a reflectance just slightly higher than that of worn asphalt. Its gravitational influence produces the ocean tides, body tides, and the slight lengthening of the day.

The word Qamar [moon] appears in the Qur'an 27 times and the Moon orbits the Earth every 27 or so days.