Overview - Surah 80: `Abasa (He Frowned)

Naming Convention of the Surah

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The Surah takes its name from the first Ayat, عَبَسَ وَتَوَلَّىٰ "He frowned and turned away." [80:1]

There are 42 Ayat in this Surah.

Overview

Total Ayat42
Total Words133
Root Words74
Unique Root Words3
Makki / MadaniMakki
Chronological Order* 24th (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
Children, Date palms, Earth, Food, Grave, Humankind (creation of) (from a drop of sperm), Judgement (Day) , Knowledge (obligation upon man to obtain and impart) , Life (path toward contentment made easy) , Muhammad (admonished) , Olive trees, Resurrection (Day) , Resurrection (of humans) , Revelation, Weather (rain) ,

Central Theme

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In view of the apparent style with which the discourse opens, one feels that in this Surah, God has expressed His displeasure against the Prophet for his treatment of the blind man with indifference and attending to the big chiefs exclusively. But when the whole Surah is considered objectively, one finds that the displeasure, in fact, has been expressed against the disbelieving Quraysh, who because of their arrogant attitude and indifference to the truth, were rejecting with contempt the message of truth being conveyed by the Prophet. Then, besides teaching him the correct method of preaching, the error of the method that he was adopting at the start of his mission has also been pointed out. His treatment of the blind man with neglect and disregard and devoting all his attention to the Quraysh chiefs was not for the reason that he regarded the rich as noble and a poor blind man as contemptible, and God forbid, there was some rudeness in his manner for which God reproved him. But, as a matter of fact, when a caller to Truth embarks on his mission of conveying his message to the people, he naturally wants the most influential people of society to accept his message so that his task becomes easy, for even if his invitation spreads among the poor and weak people, it cannot make much difference. Almost the same attitude had the Prophet also adopted in the beginning, his motive being only sincerity and a desire to promote his mission and not any idea of respect for the big people and hatred for the small people. But God made him realise that that was not the correct method of extending invitation to Islam, but from his mission’s point of view, every man, who was a seeker for the truth was important, even if he was weak, or poor, and every man, who was heedless to the truth, was unimportant, even if he occupied a high position in society. Therefore, he should openly proclaim and convey the teachings of Islam to all and sundry, but the people who were really worthy of his attention, were those who were inclined to accept the Truth and his sublime and noble message was too high to be presented before those arrogant people who in their arrogance and vanity thought that they did not stand in need of him but rather he stood in need of them.

This is the theme of v. 1-16. From verse 17 onward the rebuke directly turns to the disbelievers, who were repudiating the invitation of the Messenger of God. In this, first they have been reproved for their attitude which they had adopted against their Creator, Provider and Sustainer. In the end, they have been warned of the dreadful fate that they would meet in consequence of their conduct on the Day of Resurrection.

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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Special Features of the Surah

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Important key and unique words of the Surah

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

Unique Root Words to this Surah only


3 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
ذ ك ر 4 292
ش ي أ 3 519
ج ي أ 3 278
ش ق ق 2 28
غ ن ي 2 73
خ ل ق 2 261
س ف ر 2 12
م ر أ 2 38
ز ك و 2 59
إِذَا 2 409

Period of Revelation

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The commentators and traditionists are unanimous about the occasion of the revelation of this Surah. According to them, once some big chiefs of Makkah were sitting in the Prophet’s assembly and he was earnestly engaged in trying to persuade them to accept Islam. At that very point, a blind man, named Ibn Umm Maktum, approached him to seek explanation of some point concerning Islam. The Prophet disliked his interruption and ignored him. Thereupon God sent down this Surah. From this historical incident the period of the revelation of this Surah can be precisely determined.

In the first place, it is confirmed that Ibn Umm Maktum was one of the earliest reverts to Islam. Ibn Hajar and Ibn Kathir have stated that he was one of those who had accepted Islam at a very early stage at Makkah.

Secondly, some of the hadith which relate this incident show that he had already accepted Islam and some others show that be was inclined to accept it and had approached the Prophet in search of the truth. The Prophets wife (A’isha) states that, coming to the Prophet he had said: “O Messenger of God, guide me to the straight path.” (Tirmidhi, Hakim, Ibn Hibban, Ibn Jarir, Abu Ya’la. According to Abdullah bin Abbas, he had asked the meaning of a verse of the Qur’an and said to the Prophet: “O Messenger of God, teach me the knowledge that God has taught you.” Ibn Jarir, Ibn Abu Hatim). These statements show that he had acknowledged the Prophet as a Messenger of God and the Qur’an as a Book of God.

Thirdly, the names of the people who were sitting in the Prophet’s assembly at that time, have been given in different hadith. In this list we find the names of `Utbah, Shaibah, Abu Jahl, Umayyah bin Khalaf, Ubayy bin Khalaf, who were the bitterest enemies of Islam. This shows that the incident took place in the period when these chiefs were still on meeting terms with the Prophet and their antagonism to Islam had not yet grown so strong as to have stopped their paying visits to him and having dialogues with him off and on. All these arguments indicate that this is one of the very earliest Surahs to be revealed at Makkah.

Background Reasons for Revelation

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Relevant Hadith

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Lessons/Guidance/Major-Issues/Reflections

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  • The commandment that the seekers of guidance should be given preference in conveying Allah's message.
  • Man is reminded to recognize his Creator.
  • On the Day of Judgement man will be so concerned about himself that he will not even care about his own mother, father, brother or children.

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Miscellaneous Issues

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Scientific References

The Role of Genes

مِنْ أَيِّ شَيْءٍ خَلَقَهُ مِن نُّطْفَةٍ خَلَقَهُ فَقَدَّرَهُ "From what substance did He create him? From a sperm-drop [nutfah] He created him and destined [qadr] for him." (80:18-19)

 In a single male Nutfah [sperm cell], which measures 60 microns [1 micron = 1/1000 mm], there are 23 chromosomes – long spiral double strand helices. They contain the genes which determine every type of characteristic the body has, like hair colour, skin type, etc.

Hence, it is within this Nutfah that God has determined and destined all the physical characteristics that an individual has. It is amazing that the description of these realities are so accurately stated by God in the Qur’ān.

The Prophet said, ‘God has ordained an angel that accompanies the different stages of development of the Nutfah. The ‘Alaqah, the Mudgha and in every stage he asks God, ‘O God, what to do next?’ If God determines its full development, the angel asks, ‘Is it a boy or a girl? Happy or unhappy, his livelihood and his life span. All is written [determined] while he is in the mother’s womb.’ [Bukhari]