Ar-Rahman

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  Sura 55 of the Quran  
سورة الرحمن
ar-Rahman
Rahman (Islamic term)

Arabic text · About this sound Audio file ·English translation


Classification Meccan
Position Juz' 27
Structure 78 verses, 352 words, 1585 letters

Surat ar-Rahman (Arabic: سورة الرحمن), (The Most Merciful) or al-Rahman, is the 55th sura of the Qur'an with 78 ayats. It has the refrain: "Then which of your Lord's blessings would you deny?"

Translation[edit]

In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

1 "The All-merciful."

2 "It is he that taught the Quran."

3 "He has created man."

4 "He has taught him speech."

5 "The sun and the moon are in a reckoning."

6 "And the stars and the trees both prostrate themselves."

7 "And heaven, He raised it up, and set the Balance."

8 "That you exceed not the measure."

9 "But observe the measure strictly, nor fall short thereof."

10 "And the earth He has set it for living creatures."

11 "Therein are fruits and palms, with sheaths."

12 "And grain with chaff and sweet-smelling plants."

13 "Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?"

14 "He created man from sounding clay like unto pottery,"

15 "And He created Jinns from fire free of smoke:"

16 "Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?"

17 "(He is) Lord of the two Easts and Lord of the two Wests:"

18 "Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?"

19 "He has let free the two bodies of flowing water, meeting together:"

20 "Between them is a Barrier which they do not transgress:"

21 "Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?"

22 "Out of them come Pearls and Coral:"

23 "Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?"

24 "And His are the Ships sailing smoothly through the seas, lofty as mountains:"

25 "Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?"

26 "All that is on earth will perish:"

27 "But will abide (for ever) the Face of thy Lord,- full of Majesty, Bounty and Honour."

28 "Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?"

29 "Of Him seeks (its need) every creature in the heavens and on earth: every day in (new) Splendour doth He (shine)!"

30 "Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?"

31 "Soon shall We settle your affairs, O both ye worlds!"

32 "Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?"

33 "O ye assembly of Jinns and men! If it be ye can pass beyond the zones of the heavens and the earth, pass ye! not without authority shall ye be able to pass!"

34 "Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?"

35 "On you will be sent (O ye evil ones twain!) a flame of fire (to burn) and a smoke (to choke): no defence will ye have:"

36 "Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?"

37 "When the sky is rent asunder, and it becomes red like ointment:"

38 "Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?"

39 "On that Day no question will be asked of man or Jinn as to his sin."

40 "Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?"

41 "(For) the sinners will be known by their marks: and they will be seized by their forelocks and their feet."

42 "Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?"

43 "This is the Hell which the Sinners deny:"

44 "In its midst and in the midst of boiling hot water will they wander round!"

45 "Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?"

46 "But for such as fear the time when they will stand before (the Judgment Seat of) their Lord, there will be two Gardens-"

47 "Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?-"

48 "Containing all kinds (of trees and delights);-"

49 "Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?-"

50 "In them (each) will be two Springs flowing (free);"

51 "Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?-"

52 "In them will be Fruits of every kind, two and two."

53 "Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?"

54 "They will recline on Carpets, whose inner linings will be of rich brocade: the Fruit of the Gardens will be near (and easy of reach)."

55 "Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?"

56 "In them will be (Maidens), chaste, restraining their glances, whom no man or Jinn before them has touched;-"

57 "Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?-"

58 "Like unto Rubies and coral."

59 "Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?"

60 "Is there any Reward for Good - other than Good?"

61 "Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?"

62 "And besides these two, there are two other Gardens,-"

63 "Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?-"

64 "Dark-green in colour (from plentiful watering)."

65 "Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?"

66 "In them (each) will be two Springs pouring forth water in continuous abundance:"

67 "Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?"

68 "In them will be Fruits, and dates and pomegranates:"

69 "Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?"

70 "In them will be fair (Companions), good, beautiful;-"

71 "Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?-"

72 "Companions restrained (as to their glances), in (goodly) pavilions;-"

73 "Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?-"

74 "Whom no man or Jinn before them has touched;-"

75 "Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?-"

76 "Reclining on green Cushions and rich Carpets of beauty."

77 "Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?"

78 "Blessed be the name of thy Lord, full of Majesty, Bounty and Honour."

Title[edit]

The title of the sura, which appears in verse 1, means “Lord of Mercy”. The divine appellation "al-Rahman" also appears in the opening formula which precedes every sura except Sura 9 (“In the Name of God, the Lord of Mercy, the Giver of Mercy”). English translations of the sura’s title include “The All Merciful”,[1] “The Lord of Mercy”,[2] “The Beneficent”, and “The Mercy-Giving”.

Classification[edit]

Scholars have disagreed about whether Al-Rahman ought to be categorized with suras of the Meccan or Medinan period. Theodor Nöldeke and Carl Ernst have categorized it among the suras of the early Meccan period (in accordance with its short ayah length), but Abdel Haleem has categorized it in his translation as Medinan.[3] According to the traditional Egyptian chronology, Al-Rahman was the 97th sura revealed.[4] Nöldeke places it earlier, at 43,[5] while Ernst suggests that Sura 55 was the fifth sura revealed.[6]

Structure[edit]

Al-Rahman is composed entirely in saj’, the rhymed, accent-based prose characteristic of early Arabic poetry.[7] Owing, perhaps, to the sura’s poetic beauty, it is often regarded as the 'beauty of the Quran', in accordance with a hadith: Abdullah ibn Mas'ud reported that Muhammad said, "Everything has an adornment, and the adornment of the Qur'an is Surah ar Rahman" [Bayhaqi in Shuab al Eiman].

The most notable structural feature of Al-Rahman is the refrain “Which, then, of your Lord’s blessings do you both deny?”[8] (or, in Arberry’s rendering, “O which of your Lord's bounties will you and you deny?”[9]), which is repeated 31 times in the 78-ayah sura. The sura is composed of 26 couplets, 4 tercets, and an introductory stanza of 13 ayahs all ending with this refrain. The final couplet is followed by a blessing of Allah’s name.

Thematically, Al-Rahman can be divided into roughly three units. Verses 1-30 expound upon natural displays of Allah’s creative power and mercy in showering those who inhabit the earth with blessings. Verses 31-45 describe the final judgment and the terrible punishment that will be inflicted upon sinners. Verses 46-78, by contrast, detail the delights that await the pious in paradise.

Content[edit]

One of the main aims of the sura is to chastise men and jinn for their lack of gratitude towards Allah, who has showered them with an abundance of blessings. Verses 1-30 describe some of the resources (fruits, palm trees, husked grain, fragrant plants, fresh and salt water, pearls, ships) that Allah has graciously provided for the men and jinn he created, in his infinite mercy, out of clay and smokeless fire (55:14), and set down under a sky illuminated by the twin risings of the sun and moon (55:17). In addition to these material blessings, verses 1-4 recount the fact that Allah taught man how to communicate and even gave him the Qur'an to guide him on the path to righteousness. The refrain, “Which, then, of your Lord’s blessings do you both deny?”, chastises the bountifully-provided for men and jinn for failing to acknowledge their indebtedness to Allah for his tremendous mercy. The punishment that awaits these ungrateful creatures is briefly described in verses 35-45; for the remainder of the sura, the delights of the gardens of paradise (replete with shading branches, flowing springs, fruit, maidens, couches, cushions, and fine carpets) are lyrically described, punctuated throughout by the stinging refrain which draws attention to the discrepancy between Allah’s mercy in providing such luxuriant rewards and the ingratitude of men and jinn.

The idea that man’s gratitude towards Allah is not commensurate with Allah’s tremendous mercy is a central, recurring theme in the Qur'an, especially in the early Meccan suras, and Sura 55 is an important poetic treatment of this theme. The sura also exemplifies the Qur'an’s tendency to be self-referential and self-validating, as when in verse 2 it emphasizes the fact that Allah taught the Qur'an to man out of mercy.

In terms of theological developments, Al-Rahman introduces a three-tiered classification of men and jinn: the best of believers (“those near to God”, the muqarrabīn who will ascend to the higher garden of paradise), the ordinary believers (“those at his right”, the ashāt al-yamīn who will enjoy the second garden of paradise), and the disbelievers (who will be punished in Hell). This division is echoed in the following sura, Al-Waqi’a.

Finally, it is worth noting that the sura is dominated stylistically by pairs, which in the Qur'an are frequently employed as a sign of the divine. To begin with, it is addressed to a dual audience of men and jinn: in Haleem’s translation of the refrain “Which, then, of your Lord’s blessings do you both deny?”, “both” is understood to refer to men and jinn (likewise for the “you and you” in Arberry’s rendering). Natural phenomena are also referred to in pairs: for example, “the sun and the moon” (55:5), “the stars and the trees” (55:6), “the two risings and the two settings [of the sun and the moon]” (55:17), and “the two bodies of [fresh and salt] water” (55:19). In addition, paradise is described as consisting of two double gardens (55:62), each of which contain a pair of springs (55:50, 55:66) and fruit in pairs (55:52).

Recitation[edit]

Surah Ar-Rahman

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Koran, trans. A. J. Arberry (Oxford Islamic Studies Online), Q55.
  2. ^ The Qur’an, trans. M. A. S. Abdel Haleem (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010), 353.
  3. ^ Haleem, The Qur’an, 353.
  4. ^ Carl Ernst, How to Read the Qur'an (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2011), 40.
  5. ^ Ernst, How to Read the Qur'an, 44.
  6. ^ Ernst, How to Read the Qur'an, 215.
  7. ^ "Rhyming Prose”, in Encyclopaedia of the Qur’an, ed. Jane Dammen McAuliffe (Leiden: Brill, 2001).
  8. ^ Haleem, The Qur’an, 353.
  9. ^ Arberry, The Koran, Q55:15.

External links[edit]

Other Information[edit]

Previous sura:
Al-Qamar
Sura 55 Next sura:
Al-Waqia
Arabic text