Overview - Surah 90: al-Balad (The City )

Naming Convention of the Surah

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The Surah takes its name from the first Ayat, لَا أُقْسِمُ بِهَـٰذَا الْبَلَدِ "I swear by this city, Makkah -" [90:1].

There are 20 Ayat in this Surah.

Overview

Total Ayat20
Total Words82
Root Words47
Unique Root Words4
Makki / MadaniMakki
Chronological Order* 35th (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
No Prophets names are mentioned in this Surah
Surah Index
Adversity (patience during) , Charity, Commandments (general religious) , Hell,

Central Theme

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In this Surah a vast subject has been compressed into a few brief sentences, it’s a miracle of the Qur’an that a complete ideology of life which could hardly be explained in a thick volume has been abridged most effectively in brief sentences of this short Surah. Its theme is to explain the true position of man in the world and of the world in relation to man and to tell that God has shown to man both the highways of good and evil, has also provided for him the means to judge and see and follow them, and now it rests upon man’s own effort and judgment whether he chooses the path of virtue and reaches felicity or adopts the path of vice and meets with doom.

First, the city of Makkah and the hardships being faced therein by the Prophet and the state of the children of Adam have been cited as a witness to the truth that this world is not a place of rest and ease for man, where he might have been born to enjoy life, but here he has been created into toil and struggle. If this theme is read with verse 39 of Surah 53: an-Najm (The Star) “there is nothing for man but what he has striven for”, it becomes plain that in this world the future of man depends on his toil and struggle, effort and striving.

After this, man’s misunderstanding that he is in this world and that there is no superior power to watch what he does and to call him to account, has been refuted. Then, taking one of the many moral concepts of ignorance held by man, as an example, it has been pointed out what wrong criteria of merit and greatness he has proposed for himself in the world. The person who for ostentation squanders wealth, not only himself prides upon his extravagances but the people also admire him for it enthusiastically, whereas the Being Who is watching over his deeds, sees by what methods he obtained the wealth and with what intention he spent it.

Then God says: We have given man the means of knowledge and the faculties of thinking and understanding and opened up before him both the highways of virtue and vice: one way leads down to moral depravity and it is an easy way pleasing for the self; the other way leads up to moral heights, which is steep like an uphill road, for scaling which man has to exercise self-restraint. It is man’s weakness that he prefers slipping down into the abyss to scaling the cliff. Then, God has explained what the steep road is, by following which man can ascend to the heights. It is that he should give up spending for ostentation, display and pride and should spend his wealth to help the orphans and the needy, should believe in God and His Religion and joining the company of believers, should participate in the construction of a society which should fulfill the demands of virtue and righteousness patiently and should be compassionate to the people. The end of those who follow this way is that they would become worthy of God’s mercies. On the contrary, the end of those who follow the wrong way, is the fire of Hell from which there is no escape.

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


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
ع ق ب 2 80
ب ل د 2 19
ص ح ب 2 97
ح س ب 2 109
ٱلَّذِى 2 1464
و ل د 2 102
أ ح د 2 85
و ص ي 2 32
ش أ م 1 3
ه ل ك 1 68

Period of Revelation

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Its subject matter resemble those of the earliest Surahs revealed at Makkah, but it contains a pointer which indicates that it was sent down in the period when the disbelievers of Makkah had resolved to oppose the Prophet, and made it lawful for themselves to commit tyranny against him.

Background Reasons for Revelation

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Relevant Hadith

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Lessons/Guidance/Major-Issues/Reflections

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  • An admonition to the disbelievers.
  • Allah has given you two eyes, one tongue and two lips to control your tongue.
  • The qualities of a righteous person: Freeing a slave, feeding the hungry, being patient, advising others about piety and compassion.

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Miscellaneous Issues

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