Overview - Surah 22: al-Hajj (The Pilgrimage )

Naming Convention of the Surah

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Named after the obligation of the pilgrimage to Makkah - The Hajj. The word 'Hajj' is only mentioned once in this Surah, وَأَذِّن فِي النَّاسِ بِالْحَجِّ يَأْتُوكَ رِجَالًا وَعَلَىٰ كُلِّ ضَامِرٍ يَأْتِينَ مِن كُلِّ فَجٍّ عَمِيقٍ "And proclaim to the people the Hajj [pilgrimage]; they will come to you on foot and on every lean camel; they will come from every distant pass -" [22:27]

There are 78 Ayat in this Surah.

Overview

Total Ayat78
Total Words1274
Root Words335
Unique Root Words14
Makki / MadaniMadani
Chronological Order* 103rd (according to Ibn Abbas)
Year of Revelation* 12th year of Prophethood
Events during/before this Surah*
2nd Pledge of Aqabah, 1st Pledge of Aqabah, Death of Abu Talib - Death of Khadijah - Stoning at Ta'if - al-Isra wal Mi'raj - Night Journey, Boycott of Banu Hashim Yr 3, 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*
, 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, Ibrahim, Musa,
Surah Index
‘Aad, Abraham, Adversity (patience during) , Ageing, God (a day for Him is ) (a thousand human years), God (wills no wrong to His creation) , Angels, Astronomy (celestial mechanics) , Astronomy (celestial mechanics) (moon), Astronomy (celestial mechanics) (sun), Astronomy (stars) , Beasts, Behaviour (each group given a law and way of life) (and a way of worship), Cattle, Charity, Charity (during the Hajj) , Christians, Churches, Clothing (of fire) , Commandments (general religious) , Death, Death (in God’s cause) , Disbelievers, Disbelievers (God’s promise to) , Earth, Earth (condition of at the time of resurrection) , Earth (inclination of rotational axis to orbital plane) , Embryology, Fighting, Fighting (when ordained) , Food, Grave, Hajj, Hell, Humankind (creation of) (from a drop of sperm), Humankind (creation of) (from dust), Iblis, Jews, Jihad, Jihad (striving hard in God’s cause) , Judgement (Day) , Ka’bah, Life (extra-terrestrial) , Lot, Madyan, Magians, Moses, Noah, Prayer (prostration) , Religion, Religion (no hardship in) , Resurrection, Resurrection (Day) , Resurrection (of humans) , Revelation, Sabians, Sea, Ships, Silk, Synagogues, Thamud, Trees, Weather (rain) ,

Central Theme

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This Surah is addressed to:

  1. The polytheists of Makkah,
  2. The wavering Muslims and
  3. The True Believers.

The polytheists have been warned in a forceful manner to this effect: “You have obdurately and impudently persisted in your ideas of ignorance and trusted in your deities instead of God though they possess no power at all and you have repudiated the Divine Messenger. Now you will meet the same end as has been the doom of those like you before. You have only harmed yourselves by rejecting Our Prophet and by persecuting the best element of your own community; now your false deities shall not be able to save you from the wrath of God.” At the same time they have been admonished time and again for their creed of polytheism (Shirk) and sound arguments have been given in favour of Monotheism (Tawhid) and the Hereafter. The wavering Muslims who had embraced Islam but were not prepared to endure any hardship in its way have been admonished to this effect: “What is this faith of yours? On the one hand you are ready to believe in God and become His servants provided you are given peace and prosperity but on the other if you meet with afflictions and hardships in His Way you discard your God and cease to remain His servant. You should bear in mind that this wavering attitude of yours cannot avert those misfortunes and losses which God has ordained for you.”

As regards the true Believers they have been addressed in two ways:

  1. In a general way so as to include the common people of Arabia also and
  2. In an exclusive way.

The Believers have been told that the polytheists of Makkah had no right to debar them from visiting the Holy Mosque. They had no right to prevent anyone from performing Hajj because the Holy Mosque was not their private property. This objection was not only justified but it also acted as an effective political weapon against the Quraysh. For it posed this question to the other clans of Arabia: Were the Quraysh mere attendants of the Holy Mosque or its owners? It implied that if they succeeded in debarring the Muslims from Hajj without any protest from others, they would feel encouraged in future to debar from Hajj and Umrah the people of any other clan, who happened to have strained relations with the Quraysh. In order to emphasize this point, the history of the construction of the Holy Mosque has been cited to show that it was built by Prophet Abraham by the Command of God and he had invited all the peoples to perform Hajj there. That is why those coming from outside had enjoyed equal rights by the local people from the very beginning. It has also been made clear that that House had not been built for the rituals of polytheism (shirk) but for the worship of One God. Thus it was sheer tyranny that the worship of God was being forbidden there while the worship of idols enjoyed full licence

In order to counteract the tyranny of the Quraysh, the Muslims were allowed to fight with them. They were also given instructions to adopt the right and just attitude as and when they acquired power to rule in the land. Moreover, the Believers have been officially given the name of “Muslims” saying, “You are the real heirs to Abraham and you have been chosen to become witnesses of the Truth before mankind. Therefore you should establish prayer (salat) and pay the financial obligation (zakah) in order to become the best models of righteous life and perform Jihad for propagating the Word of God (v. 41,77, 78.) It will be worthwhile to keep in view the introductions to Surah 2: al-Baqarah (The Cow) and Surah 8: al-Anfal (The Spoils of War).

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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  • Uqbah bin Amir narrated: "I said: 'O Messenger of Allah! Surah Al-Hajj has been esteemed by two prostrations?' He said: 'Yes, and whoever does not prostrate for them, he should not recite them.'  [Jami` at-Tirmidhi 578]

Special Features of the Surah

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  • This is the first Surah in which the Muslims have been allowed to fight [reference needed]
  • Some Ayat were revealed in Makkah and some in Madinah.
  • Some Ayat were revealed during travel and some whilst the Prophet was settled.
  • There are two Ayat of prostration in this Surah.

Important key and unique words of the Surah

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Surah al-Hajj has 14 unique words used only once in the whole of the Qur'an [only exception is the last word 'fly' which was used twice - but in the same Ayat] 

  • (22:2) تَذْهَلُ Tadhahulu [will forget]
  • (22:9)  عِطْفِهِ Itfihi [his neck]
  • (22:17) وَالْمَجُوسَ al-Majoos [the Magians]
  • (22:21) مَقَامِعُ Maqami [hooked rods]
  • (22:27) ضَامِر Dhamir [lean camel]
  • (22:27) عَمِيقٍ Ameeq [distant]
  • (22:29) تَفَثَهُمْ Tafahum [their prescribed duties]
  • (22:36) وَجَبَتْ Wajabat [are down] 
  • (22:40) لَهُدِّمَتْ Hudimat [demolished]
  • (22:40) صَوَامِعُ Sawame [monasteries]
  • (22:45) وَبِئْرٍ Bi'r [a well]
  • (22:72) يَسْطُونَ Yastuna [attack]
  • (22:73)  يَسْلُبْهُمُ Yaslubuhum [snatched away from them]
  • (22:73) الذُّبَابُ Dhubab [fly]
     
  • (22:5) is the longest Ayat of this Surah with 69 words,

    يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِن كُنتُمْ فِي رَيْبٍ مِّنَ الْبَعْثِ فَإِنَّا خَلَقْنَاكُم مِّن تُرَابٍ ثُمَّ مِن نُّطْفَةٍ ثُمَّ مِنْ عَلَقَةٍ ثُمَّ مِن مُّضْغَةٍ مُّخَلَّقَةٍ وَغَيْرِ مُخَلَّقَةٍ لِّنُبَيِّنَ لَكُمْ ۚ وَنُقِرُّ فِي الْأَرْحَامِ مَا نَشَاءُ إِلَىٰ أَجَلٍ مُّسَمًّى ثُمَّ نُخْرِجُكُمْ طِفْلًا ثُمَّ لِتَبْلُغُوا أَشُدَّكُمْ ۖ وَمِنكُم مَّن يُتَوَفَّىٰ وَمِنكُم مَّن يُرَدُّ إِلَىٰ أَرْذَلِ الْعُمُرِ لِكَيْلَا يَعْلَمَ مِن بَعْدِ عِلْمٍ شَيْئًا ۚ وَتَرَى الْأَرْضَ هَامِدَةً فَإِذَا أَنزَلْنَا عَلَيْهَا الْمَاءَ اهْتَزَّتْ وَرَبَتْ وَأَنبَتَتْ مِن كُلِّ زَوْجٍ بَهِيجٍ "O People, if you should be in doubt about the Resurrection, then [consider that] indeed, We created you from dust, then from a sperm-drop, then from a clinging clot, and then from a lump of flesh, formed and unformed - that We may show you. And We settle in the wombs whom We will for a specified term, then We bring you out as a child, and then [We develop you] that you may reach your [time of] maturity. And among you is he who is taken in [early] death, and among you is he who is returned to the most decrepit [old] age so that he knows, after [once having] knowledge, nothing. And you see the earth barren, but when We send down upon it rain, it quivers and swells and grows [something] of every beautiful kind." (22:5)

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

Unique Root Words to this Surah only


14 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
أ ل ه 77 2851
ٱلَّذِى 29 1464
ن و س 15 241
ع ل م 14 854
س م و 14 381
إِلَىٰ 12 742
ق و م 12 660
ك ل ل 12 377
ب ي ن 9 523
ك ف ر 9 525

Period of Revelation

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As this Surah contains the characteristics of both the Makkan and the Madīnan Surahs the commentators have differed as to its period of revelation but in the light of its style and themes we are of the opinion that a part of it (v. 1-24) was sent down in the last stage of the Makkan life of the Prophet a little before migration and the rest (v. 25-78) during the first stage of his Madinah life. That is why this Surah combines the characteristics of both the Makkan and the Madinah Surahs.

According to Ibn Abbas, Mujahid, Qatadah and other great commentators, v. 39 is the first verse that grants the Muslims permission to wage war. Collections of hadith and books on the life of the Prophet confirm that after this permission actual preparations for war were started and the first expedition was sent to the coast of the Red Sea in Safar 2 A.H. which is known as the Expedition of Waddan or Al-Abwa.

Background Reasons for Revelation

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Relevant Hadith

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  • Uqbah bin Amir narrated: "I said: 'O Messenger of Allah! Surah Al-Hajj has been esteemed by two prostrations?' He said: 'Yes, and whoever does not prostrate for them, he should not recite them.'"  [Jami` at-Tirmidhi 578]

Lessons/Guidance/Major-Issues/Reflections

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  • A scene from the Hour of Doom.
  • Human life cycle: life in this world and life in the Hereafter.
  • Behavior of those individuals who were standing at the verge of faith is identified.
  • The fact that Allah always helps His Rasools.
  • Divine law granting equal rights to all believers in Masjid-al-Haram, whether they are natives or foreigners.
  • The fact that Allah Himself identified the site and asked Prophet Ibrahim (pbuh) to build the Ka'bah and call mankind to come for Hajj (Pilgrimage).
  • Someone who commits Shirk is like someone who falls from the sky and his body is snatched away by birds.
  • The fact that it is not the blood or the flesh of a sacrificed animal which reaches Allah but the piety of the individual who is offering the sacrifice.
  • The first Commandment of Allah granting permission to the believers to defend themselves and fight against the unbelievers and mushrikin.
  • On the Day of Judgement, Allah Himself will be the Judge for all.
  • Allah's promise to those who migrate for His sake that He will reward them generously.
  • The fact that Allah called the Believers Muslims in the prior scriptures and also in the Qur'an

Tafsir Zone

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Miscellaneous Issues

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Scientific References

Human Embryonic Development

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِن كُنتُمْ فِي رَيْبٍ مِّنَ الْبَعْثِ فَإِنَّا خَلَقْنَاكُم مِّن تُرَابٍ ثُمَّ مِن نُّطْفَةٍ ثُمَّ مِنْ عَلَقَةٍ ثُمَّ مِن مُّضْغَةٍ مُّخَلَّقَةٍ وَغَيْرِ مُخَلَّقَةٍ لِّنُبَيِّنَ لَكُمْ ۚ وَنُقِرُّ فِي الْأَرْحَامِ مَا نَشَاءُ إِلَىٰ أَجَلٍ مُّسَمًّى ثُمَّ نُخْرِجُكُمْ طِفْلًا ثُمَّ لِتَبْلُغُوا أَشُدَّكُمْ ۖ وَمِنكُم مَّن يُتَوَفَّىٰ وَمِنكُم مَّن يُرَدُّ إِلَىٰ أَرْذَلِ الْعُمُرِ لِكَيْلَا يَعْلَمَ مِن بَعْدِ عِلْمٍ شَيْئًا ۚ وَتَرَى الْأَرْضَ هَامِدَةً فَإِذَا أَنزَلْنَا عَلَيْهَا الْمَاءَ اهْتَزَّتْ وَرَبَتْ وَأَنبَتَتْ مِن كُلِّ زَوْجٍ بَهِيجٍ "O People, if you should be in doubt about the Resurrection, then [consider that] indeed, We created you from dust, then from a sperm-drop, then from a clinging clot, and then from a lump of flesh, formed and unformed - that We may show you. And We settle in the wombs whom We will for a specified term, then We bring you out as a child, and then [We develop you] that you may reach your [time of] maturity. And among you is he who is taken in [early] death, and among you is he who is returned to the most decrepit [old] age so that he knows, after [once having] knowledge, nothing. And you see the earth barren, but when We send down upon it rain, it quivers and swells and grows [something] of every beautiful kind." (22:5)

Western physicians, during the 16th century, believed that a human being’s origin began entirely in the male’s semen. They envisaged that inside the male semen was a miniscule, fully formed human being who grew larger once implanted into the womb of the mother.

During the 17th and 18th centuries, the previously held view was replaced by the opinion that the ‘minuscule’ human instead formed out of the woman’s menstrual blood coagulating [thickening] and that the male semen was merely an activating agent. It was not until 1775, that Italian scientist Spallanzi established that both the male semen and female ovum were required to form the human embryo.

It was also not until modern times, with the help of the electron microscope, that scientists discovered the existence of chromosomes and genes and that human embryonic development takes place in successive distinct stages.

The terminology used to describe human development in the Qur’ān is characterized by descriptiveness and accuracy. Until recently these statements were not fully appreciated, since they referred to details in human development which were scientifically unknown in earlier times.

  • Stage 1: The Nutfah
  • Stage 2: The ‘Alaqah
  • Stage 3: The Mudghah
  • Stage 4: Bone Formation [Idham]
  • Stage 5: Clothing the Bones with Flesh [Lahm]

Stage 1: The Nutfah

The Nutfah literally means ‘a [single] drop’ of fluid whereas Manii means ‘semen.’  God says, “Had he not been a sperm [nutfah] from semen [manii] emitted?” [Qur’ān 75:36]

In the Qur’ān and Hadith, Nutfah is used in three different but related contexts:

1. The Male Nutfah [Qur’ān 75:36]
2. The Female Nutfah
3. Nutfah Amshaj – mixed or mingled Male and Female Nutfah [Qur’ān 76:2] 

The Male Nutfah

The word Nutfah was mentioned twelve different times in the Qur’ān and the word Manii was mentioned thrice. In the male context, the Nutfah is a single particle from the Manii when it is ejaculated – i.e. a single cell [sperm] from amongst the 200-300 million sperm cells. Before the 16th century, writings on embryonic development did not distinguish the constituent parts of the semen in its role of fertilisation.

In Ayaat (75:36-40) and (53:45-46), there are a lot of facts that require careful consideration. We know the sex of the newborn is determined by the sperm - it is definitively stated that the male and female are fashioned from a sperm-drop from the semen that has been ejaculated. If a sperm carrying an X chromosome fertilises an ovum [which always contains an X chromosome], the offspring will be a girl, while if the fertilising sperm contains a Y chromosome, the offspring will be a boy.

The Qur’ān has stated this fact 1,400 years ago, before anybody knew anything about X and Y chromosomes.

The Female Nutfah

The Female Nutfah [ovum] per se is not mentioned explicitly in the Qur’ān, but is inferred in the term Nutfah Amshaj – i.e. mingled from both male and female [refer to Qur’ān 76:2]. However, it is clearly stated in the Hadith from the Prophet. A Jew came to the Prophet and asked, ‘O Muhammad. Tell me from what thing man is created.’ The Prophet said, ‘O Jew, from both Male and Female Nutfah, man is created.’
This is a very astonishing revelation, as it is only recently that we came to know that both male and female cells [sperm and ovum] join together to form the human zygote – a fact not known before the 19th century.

Stage 2: The ‘Alaqah Stage

Linguistic Analysis

According to many Arabic dictionaries, the word ‘alaqah includes the following meanings:

1. Attached and hanging to something,
2. Blood clot,
3. Leech.

1. ‘Alaqah as ‘attached and hanging’

The embryo [which is represented by the bilaminar embryonic disc] is attached to the placenta and is hanging or suspended in the chorionic cavity by the connecting stalk. This is in agreement with the meaning of the word ‘alaqah as “attached and hanging to something”.

During this stage we find that the external appearance of the embryo and its sacs is similar to that of a blood clot.

“Implantation begins at about the 6th to 7th day after fertilization. The part of the blastocyst projecting into the uterine cavity remains relatively thin. The syntrophoblast contains a proteolytic enzyme which causes destruction of the endometrial cells so that that the blasto .....read more