Ar-Rum

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Sūrat al-Rūm
سورة الروم
Folio Blue Quran Met 2004.88.jpg
Sūrat al-Rūm
Classification Makkan
Meaning of the name The Romans
Other names The Byzantines, The Greeks
Statistics
Sura number 30
Number of verses 60
Juz' number 21
Number of Rukus 6
Number of Sajdahs none
Previous Sura Al-Ankabut
Next Sura Luqman

Surat Ar-Rum (Arabic: سورة الروم‎, "Surah of the Romans") is the 30th surah of the Qur'an. It consists of 60 ayat. The word Rûm (literally 'Romans'), which occurs in the first ayah, refers to the Byzantine Empire; hence the title is sometimes also translated as "The Byzantines".[1]

Chronology[edit]

According to Theodor Nöldeke, Surah 30 was antepenultimate surah revealed in the late Meccan period and the eighty-fourth chronological surah overall, with the exception of the 17th ayah in the surah, which he argues was revealed during the Medinan period.[2] While the first ayah of the surah refers to the defeat of the Byzantine at the hands of the Persians near Damascus in the spring of 614, Nöldeke notes that this does not necessarily indicate 614 was the year in which the surah was revealed.[3]

Content[edit]

The surah begins by noting the recent defeat of the Romans (Byzantines) by the Persians at the Battle of Antioch. This defeat posed a significant theological and sociological problem for the early Muslim community because the Christian Byzantines were considered People of the Book, or monotheists, while the Persians who defeated them were considered idolators. The surah is in part a response to the non-Muslim Meccans who took this victory as a sign that traditional polytheism would win out over monotheism.[4] In the third and fourth ayat, the Muslim community is promised that the Byzantines will reverse their defeat into a victory "in a few years' time".[5] This victory did eventually come at the Battle of Issus in 622.

Literary units[edit]

In his tafsir, entitled "In the Shade of the Qur'an", Sayyid Qutb divides the surah into two halves, verses 1-32 and verses 33-60.[6] Each section begins with an assertion of Allah's grace and mercy and ends with encouragement for the Prophet Muhammad and his community.

First Section: "Signs to Reflect Upon"

  • 30:1-6 "The Natural Bond of Faith" Notes the Byzantine defeat and prophesies a coming victory promised by God
  • 30:1-5 "To Whom Power Belongs" Declares the truth of the universe
  • 30:8-10 "Invitation to Reflect" Reminds the believers of the fates of other disobedient communities
  • 30:11-16 "Two Divergent Wars" Describes the Day of Judgement
  • 30:17-27 "Scene of God's Glory," "The Cycle of Life and Death," and "Man and the Universe" Offers praise for Allah and all His powers and signs
  • 30:28 "Analogy Drawn from Human Life" Uses a metaphor about slavery to condemn the sin of shirk
  • 30:29-32 " Concluding Directive to Prophet" Urges the listeners to turn to the truth and resist dividing into sects

Second Section: "Bringing Life out of the Dead"

  • 30:33-39 "Vacillating Conditions" Reassures the Muslim community of Allah's mercy and grace for true believers and offers suggestions for behavior like giving to the needy or avoiding usury
  • 30:40-45 "Corruption and Pollution" Reminds people of the promise of resurrection at the Day of Judgment and the fates of polytheist communities
  • 30:47-54 "Aspects of God's Grace" Emphasizes resurrection as one of signs of Allah's mercy and grace when believers lose hope
  • 30:52-57 "The Different Stages of Man's Life" Describes the weakness and folly of man and the fate of evildoers on the Day of Judgment
  • 30:58-59 "No Change of Position" Decries the nonbelievers who refuse to listen to the Prophet Muhammad but asserts that Allah leads astray who he wills
  • 30:60 Urges the Prophet and his community to persevere

Major themes[edit]

The main theme of this surah is the contrast between monotheism and polytheism. In addition to making logical arguments against ascribing partners to Allah, several verses outline the differing fate for idolaters and believers. The unity of God is also emphasized with descriptions of the glory of Allah through illustrations of His wondrous signs and His miraculous creation.

Sample verse[edit]

Surah 30 includes a verse comparing the association of partners with Allah, which is the sin of shirk or polytheism, to the relationship between a master and his slaves.

Quran 30:28[edit]

Arabic text: بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

ضَرَبَ لَكُم مَّثَلا مِّنْ أَنفُسِكُمْ هَل لَّكُم مِّن مَّا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَٰنُكُم مِّن شُرَكَآءَ فِى مَا رَزَقْنَٰكُمْ فَأَنتُمْ فِيهِ سَوَآءٌ تَخَافُونَهُمْ كَخِيفَتِكُمْ أَنفُسَكُمْ كَذَٰلِكَ نُفَصِّلُ ٱلْءَايَٰتِ لِقَوْمٍ يَعْقِلُونَ

English, M.A. Abdel Haleem:
"He gives you this example, drawn from your own lives: do you make your slaves full partners with an equal share in what We have given you? Do you fear them as you fear each other. This is how We make Our messages clear to those who use their reason."[7]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Abdel Haleem, M. A. 2004. The Qurʼan. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  2. ^ Nöldeke, Theodor. "The Qur'an," Sketches from Eastern History. Trans. J.S. Black. London: Adam and Charles Black, 1892.
  3. ^ Nöldeke, Theodor. "The Qur'an," Sketches from Eastern History. Trans. J.S. Black. London: Adam and Charles Black, 1892.
  4. ^ Maḥallī, Jalāl al-Dīn Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad, Suyūṭī, and Ṣafī al-Raḥmān Mubārakfūrī. 2002. Tafsīr al-Jalālayn. Riyāḍ: Dār al-Salām.
  5. ^ Abdel Haleem, M. A. 2004. The Qurʼan. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 257.
  6. ^ Qutb, Sayyid. In the shade of the Quran. Vol. 13. Alexandria, Va.: Al Saadawi Publications, 1997.
  7. ^ Abdel Haleem, M. A. 2004. The Qurʼan. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 258.

External links[edit]

  • Surah Ar-Rum (Complete text in Arabic with English and French translations)

Other information[edit]

Previous sura:
Al-Ankabut
Sura 30 Next sura:
Luqman
Arabic text