May 172017

As-salaam wa-alaikum, brothers and sisters.


Today’s selection contains the entirety of Surah 85, Al-Burüj or the Constellations, verses 1-22. This Surah talks of the persecution of Allah’s votaries or devoted followers. God watches over His own and will deal with the enemies of Truth as He dealt with them in the past.

Tafseer for this Surah concerns the Zodiac signs or constellations mentioned in verse 1 and makers of the pit of fire in verse 4.

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Bis-millahi ar-rahman, ar-raheem.
In the name of Allah, most gracious, most merciful.

By the Sky, (displaying) The Zodiacal Signs;[1] By the promised Day of Judgment![2] By the witnesses and that which is being witnessed![3] Woe to the makers of the pit (of fire),[4] who lit the fuel-fed fire[5] and sat around it,[6] to watch what they were doing to the believers.[7] They tortured them for no other reason than that they believed in Allah, the All-Mighty, the Praise-Worthy,[8] the One to Whom belongs the Kingdom of the heavens and earth, and Allah is Witness to all things.[9] Those who persecute the believing men and believing women and do not repent, shall receive the punishment of hell, wherein they shall have the punishment of conflagration.[10] As for those who believe and do good deeds, they shall have gardens beneath which rivers flow; which will be the greatest success.[11] Surely, the seizure of your Lord is very severe.[12] Surely, He it is Who originates the creation of everything, and He it is Who will repeat it on the Day of Resurrection.[13] He is the Forgiving, the Loving,[14] the Owner of the Throne, the Glorious[15] and the executor of His own will.[16] Have you not heard the story of the warriors[17] of Fir’on (Pharaoh) and of Thamüd?[18] Yet the unbelievers persist in denying the truth,[19] although Allah has encircled them from all around.[20] Surely this is a Glorious Qur’an,[21] inscribed on an Imperishable Tablet.[22] 85:[1-22]



On the Zodiac signs mentioned in verse 1:

The Stars of the Zodiac as well as of other Constellations are like the eyes of the Night. It may be that crimes are committed in the darkness of night (literally and metaphorically). But countless eyes (metaphorically) are watching all the time, and every author of evil will be brought to book.

On the makers of the pit of fire mentioned in verse 4:

Who were the makers of the pit of fire in which they burnt people for their Faith? The words are perfectly general, and we need not search for particular names, except by way of illustration. In ancient history, and in Mediaeval Europe, many lives were sacrificed at the stake because the victims did not conform to the established religion. In Arab tradition, there is the story of Abraham: Nimrud tries to burn him to death but on account of Abraham’s Faith, the fire became “a means of safety for Abraham”. Another case cited is that of Dhu Nuwas, the last Himyarite King of Yemen, by religion a Jew, who persecuted the Christians of Najran and is said to have burnt them to death. He seems to have lived in the latter half of the sixth Christian century, in the generation immediately preceding the Prophet’s birth in 570 A.D. While the words are perfectly general, a reference is suggested to the persecution to which the early Muslims were subjected by the Pagan Quraysh. Among other cruelties, they were stripped, and their skins were exposed to the burning rays of the Arabian summer sun.

This concludes today’s episode of the 17 Verses Podcast. I hope that this selection has helped increase your understanding of the holy Qur’an just a little bit.

Thank you and be well.