Overview - Surah 91: ash-Shams (The Sun )

Surah Introduction

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The Surah tells us that as there is a contrast between sun and moon, night and day, heaven and earth, so there is also a big difference between good and evil. The Surah takes its name from the first Ayat, وَالشَّمْسِ وَضُحَاهَا "By the sun and its brightness" [91:1].

There are 15 Ayat in this Surah.

Overview

Total Ayat15
Total Words *54
Root Words *39
Unique Root Words *4
Makki / MadaniMakki
Chronological Order* 26th (according to Ibn Abbas)
Year of Revelation* 5th year of Prophethood
Events during/before this Surah*
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*
2nd Migration to Abyssinia,Boycott of Banu Hashim Yr 1,Boycott of Banu Hashim Yr 2,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
No Prophets names are mentioned in this Surah
Surah Index
Astronomy (celestial mechanics) (moon), Astronomy (celestial mechanics) (sun), Earth, Humankind, Resurrection (of soul) , Salih, Thamud, Thamud (she camel) , Thamud (she camel) (killing of), Thamud (she camel) (punishment for)

Central Theme

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Its theme is to distinguish the good from the evil and to warn the people who were refusing to understand this distinction of an evil ending that awaited them. In view of the subject matter this Surah consists of two parts. The first part consists of v. 1-10, and the second of v. 11-15. The first part deals with three things:

1. That just as the sun and the moon, the day and the night, the earth and the sky, are different from each other and contradictory in their effects and results, so are the good and the evil different from each other and contradictory in their effects and results; they are neither alike in their outward appearance nor can they be alike in their results.

2. That God after giving the human self powers of the body, sense and mind has not left it uninformed in the world, but has instilled into his unconscious by means of a natural inspiration the distinction between good and evil, right and wrong, and the sense of the good to be good and of the evil to be evil.

3. That the future of man depends on how by using the powers of discrimination, will and judgment that God has endowed him with, he develops the good and suppresses the evil tendencies of the self. If he develops the good inclination and frees his self of the evil inclinations, he will attain to eternal success and if, on the contrary, he suppresses the good and promotes the evil, he will meet with disappointment and failure.

In the second part, citing the historical precedent of the people of Thamud, the significance of Apostleship has been brought out. A Messenger is raised in the world because the inspirational knowledge of good and evil that God has placed in human nature is, by itself, not enough for the guidance of man. On account of mans failure to fully comprehend he proposes false ideas and theories of good and evil and thus goes astray. That is why God sent down clear Revelation to the Prophets so that they would make clear to the people as to what is good and what is evil. Likewise, the Prophet Salih was sent to the people of Thamud, but the people overwhelmed by the evil of their self, had become so rebellious that they rejected him. And when he presented before them the miracle of the she camel, as demanded by themselves, the most wretched one of them, in spite of his warning, hamstrung it, in accordance with the will and desire of the people. Consequently, the entire tribe was overtaken by a disaster. While narrating this story of the Thamud nowhere in the Surah has it been said - O people of Quraysh, if you rejected your Prophet, Muhammad, as the Thamud had rejected theirs, you too would meet with the same fate as they met. The conditions at that time in Makkah were similar to those of the people of Thamud against the Prophet Salih. Therefore, the narration of this story was by itself enough to suggest to the people of Makkah that this historical precedent applied to them too.

Connection of the name of the Surah and its Ayaat

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Connection between the beginning and the ending of the Surah

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Manuscripts / Inscriptions

Connection of the Surah to the Surah before/after it

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The Virtues of the Surah

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  •  أَنَّهُ قَالَ صَلَّى مُعَاذُ بْنُ جَبَلٍ الأَنْصَارِيُّ لأَصْحَابِهِ الْعِشَاءَ فَطَوَّلَ عَلَيْهِمْ فَانْصَرَفَ رَجُلٌ مِنَّا فَصَلَّى فَأُخْبِرَ مُعَاذٌ عَنْهُ فَقَالَ إِنَّهُ مُنَافِقٌ ‏.‏ فَلَمَّا بَلَغَ ذَلِكَ الرَّجُلَ دَخَلَ عَلَى رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم فَأَخْبَرَهُ مَا قَالَ مُعَاذٌ فَقَالَ لَهُ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ "‏ أَتُرِيدُ أَنْ تَكُونَ فَتَّانًا يَا مُعَاذُ إِذَا أَمَمْتَ النَّاسَ فَاقْرَأْ بِالشَّمْسِ وَضُحَاهَا ‏.‏ وَسَبِّحِ اسْمَ رَبِّكَ الأَعْلَى ‏.‏ وَاقْرَأْ بِاسْمِ رَبِّكَ ‏.‏ وَاللَّيْلِ إِذَا يَغْشَى

    'Mu'adh b. Jabal al-Ansari led his companions in the night prayer and prolonged it for them. A person amongst us said prayer (after having separated himself from the congregation). Mu'adh was informed of this, and he remarked that he was a hypocrite. When it (the remark) was conveyed to the man, he went to the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) and informed him of what Mu'adh had said. Upon this the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said to him: Mu'adh, do you want to become a person putting (people) to trial? When you lead people in prayer, recite:" By the Sun and its morning brightness" (Surat ash-Shams)," Glorify the name of thy most high Lord" (Surat al-A`la) and" Read in the name of Lord" (Surat al-`Alaq), and" By the night when it spreads" (Surat al-Lail). ٍ Sahih Muslim 

Special Features of the Surah

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Important key and unique words of the Surah

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123 Total Word Count per Ayat (shows how many words per Ayat) *

Unique Root Words to this Surah only


4 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
إِذَا 3 409
س و ي 2 83
ك ذ ب 2 282
أ ل ه 2 2851
ش م س 1 33
ض ح و 1 7
ق م ر 1 27
ت ل و 1 63
ن ه ر 1 113
ج ل و 1 5

Period of Revelation

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The subject matter and the style show that this Surah was revealed in the earliest period at Makkah at a stage when opposition to the Prophet had grown very strong and intense.

Background Reasons for Revelation

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Relevant Hadith

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  •  أَنَّهُ قَالَ صَلَّى مُعَاذُ بْنُ جَبَلٍ الأَنْصَارِيُّ لأَصْحَابِهِ الْعِشَاءَ فَطَوَّلَ عَلَيْهِمْ فَانْصَرَفَ رَجُلٌ مِنَّا فَصَلَّى فَأُخْبِرَ مُعَاذٌ عَنْهُ فَقَالَ إِنَّهُ مُنَافِقٌ ‏.‏ فَلَمَّا بَلَغَ ذَلِكَ الرَّجُلَ دَخَلَ عَلَى رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم فَأَخْبَرَهُ مَا قَالَ مُعَاذٌ فَقَالَ لَهُ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ "‏ أَتُرِيدُ أَنْ تَكُونَ فَتَّانًا يَا مُعَاذُ إِذَا أَمَمْتَ النَّاسَ فَاقْرَأْ بِالشَّمْسِ وَضُحَاهَا ‏.‏ وَسَبِّحِ اسْمَ رَبِّكَ الأَعْلَى ‏.‏ وَاقْرَأْ بِاسْمِ رَبِّكَ ‏.‏ وَاللَّيْلِ إِذَا يَغْشَى

    'Mu'adh b. Jabal al-Ansari led his companions in the night prayer and prolonged it for them. A person amongst us said prayer (after having separated himself from the congregation). Mu'adh was informed of this, and he remarked that he was a hypocrite. When it (the remark) was conveyed to the man, he went to the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) and informed him of what Mu'adh had said. Upon this the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said to him: Mu'adh, do you want to become a person putting (people) to trial? When you lead people in prayer, recite:" By the Sun and its morning brightness" (Surat ash-Shams)," Glorify the name of thy most high Lord" (Surat al-A`la) and" Read in the name of Lord" (Surat al-`Alaq), and" By the night when it spreads" (Surat al-Lail). ٍ Sahih Muslim 

Lessons/Guidance/Major-Issues/Reflections

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Success depends on keeping the soul pure and failure depends on corrupting it. The people of Thamud were leveled to the ground for that very reason.

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Miscellaneous Issues

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The Sun is a star found at the center of the Solar System. Around 74% of the Sun’s mass is made up of hydrogen. Helium makes up around 24% while heavier elements such as oxygen, carbon, iron and neon make up the remaining percentage. The Sun generates huge amounts of energy by combining hydrogen nuclei into helium. This process is called nuclear fusion. The Sun is around 93,000,000 miles from the Earth and it's light takes approximately 8 minutes to reach the Earth travelling at a speed of 299,792,458 metres per second (speed of light).

External Links

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