Muhammad (sura)

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  Sura 47 of the Quran  
سورة محمد
Sūrat Muḥammad
Muhammad

Arabic text · English translation


Classification Medinan
Position Juz' 26
Structure 4 rukus, 38 verses
9th century North African folio of ayah 9-15

Surat Muhammad (Arabic: سورة محمد Muḥammad) is the 47th sura of the Qur'an with 38 ayat. The title is derived from the direct mentioning of the Prophet Muhammad in 47:2. It also has the name of Al-Qital, which translates to fighting due to the context of the sura.[1] This sura pertains to a specific conflict that arose from people prohibiting the acceptance and spread of Islam. It refers to the battle of Badr, where an army was being gathered to attack Medina. The battle of Badr took place during Ramadan, in year 2 of the Islamic calendar.[1]

This makes the specificity of the sura not applicable to modern times, due to this specific historical context. The surah orders believers to obey Muhammad and not to reject any part of what he has revealed, as well as to "smite" and "subdue" the "unbelievers" in battle.[Quran 47:4] Moreover, it reiterates the vanity of the attempt of those who oppose God and his prophet, Muhammad.

This is often used against Muslims to describe their religion as violent, but there is a tendency to overshadow that this violence is directed towards the disbelievers during the battle of Badr.[2][3] There is a declaration of war in the beginning of the sura against the disbelievers. There is also following this declaration, set of rulers concerning the prisoners of the battle (47:4).[1]

On the other hand, it mentions God's forgiveness directed towards those "who have faith, do good deeds and believe in what has been send down to Muhammad" (47:2), and how He will guide them through the afterlife if they fallen during the battle.[4] God is the protector of the faithful. This can be seen as encouraging martyrization amongst the believers.

However, although Islam maintains peace and orders its followers to treat all peoples with the due respect reserved for God's creations, this surah explicitly states in verse 7, "O you who believe! If you make God victorious, then He will make you victorious and make your foothold firm." The mandate is quite clear: the believer must strive to do good works in God's name alone for that is his/her purpose on this Earth. In turn, God will provide everything for the believer to ensure that his/her good works continue. These "good works" must be actions that are commanded by God, namely being charitable and generous; seeking justice and equality; and being in a state of continual repentance and mindfulness of the Creator. These "good works" will not be accepted if they are innovations — actions otherwise not prescribed in the Qur'an and Sunnah.

After this, there is a description what awaits the believers and disbelievers in the afterlife. For the disbelievers, "fire will be their home" (47:12). The believers will be placed in "gardens graced with flowing streams … rivers of water forever pure, rivers of milk forever fresh, rivers of wine, a delight for those who drink, rivers of honey clarified and pure, [all] flow in it; there they will find fruit of everykind" (47:15).[4]

The sura goes on mentioning the hour of judgment and reiterates the all-knowing power of God, and nothing can be hidden from him, especially in terms of the hypocrisy disbelievers exhibit towards their true belief.

Tustari, in his Tafsir, a Sufi-influenced commentary of the Qur'an, asks, "Is it that they have locks in their hearts?" (47:24)[5] He explains that through the creation of the hearts, God made them have locks, with the key being the realities of faith. His friends (awliya), and messengers (rusul) were given these keys. Most of the people, if not all, live in this world for a lifetime and never have the locks on their hearts opened. This should not prevent you from believing that God is taking care and watching over you and that sincerity is fundamental.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Quṭb, Sayyid. "Volume 18". In In the shade of the Quran. Markfield: Islamic Foundation, 2007. sura 47.
  2. ^ http://islam.about.com/od/terrorism/f/terrorism_verse.htm
  3. ^ http://www.twf.org/Library/Violence.html
  4. ^ a b Haleem, M. A. The Qur'an: a new translation. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008.
  5. ^ a b Tustarī, Sahl ibn ʻAbd Allāh, Annabel Keeler, and Jordan Amman. "Surah 47". In Tafsīr al-Tustarī. Louisville, KY: Fons Vitae, 2011. 193–195.

External links[edit]

Other Information[edit]

Previous sura:
Al-Ahqaf
Sura 47 Next sura:
Al-Fath
Arabic text

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