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Surah At-Tagabun

Ayat/pg: 5 | 10 | 15 | 20 | All

Maududi's Commentry (Tafseer) on Surah At-Tagabun

Madina Madina (108)
18Total Ayat: 18
2Total Ruku: 2


The Surah takes its name from the sentence Dhalika yaum-ut taghabun ofverse 9, thereby implying that it is the Surah in which the word attaghabun has occurred.

Period of Revelation

Muqatil and Kalbi say that it was partly revealed at Makkah and partlyat Madinah. Hadrat Abdullah bin Abbas and Ata bin Yasar say that vv.1-13 were revealed at Makkah and vv. 14-18 at Madinah. But themajority of commentators regard the whole of the surah as a MadinanRevelation. Although there is no internal evidence to help determineits exact period of revelation, yet a study of its subject mattershows that it might probably have been sent down at an early stage atMadinah. That is why it partly resembles the Makkah surahs and partlythe Madinan Surahs.

Theme and Subject Matter

The theme of this surah is invitation to the Faith and obedience (toAllah) and the teaching of good morals. The sequence followed is thatthe first four verses are addressed to all men; verses 5-10 to thosemen, who do not believe in the invitation of the Qur'an; and verses11-l8 to those who accept and believe in this invitation.

In theverses addressed to all men, they have been made aware in a few briefsentences of the four fundamental truths:

First, that the universe inwhich they live is not Godless, but its Creator, Master and Ruler isan All Powerful God, and everything in it testifies to His being mostPerfect and absolutely faultless.

Second, that the universe is notwithout purpose and wisdom, but its Creator has created it with truthno one should be under the delusion that it is a mock show, whichbegan without a purpose and will come to an end without a purpose.

Third, that the excellent form that God has created you with and thechoice that He has given you to choose between belief and unbelief isnot a useless and meaningless activity so that it may be of noconsequence whether you choose belief or unbelief. In fact, God iswatching as to how you exercise your choice.

Fourth, that you have notbeen created irresponsible and un-answerable. You have to returnultimately to your Creator, and have to meet the Being who is aware ofeverything in the universe, from Whom nothing is hidden, to Whom eventhe innermost thoughts of the minds are known.

After stating thesefour fundamental truths about the Universe and Man, the address turnsto the people who adopted the way of unbelief, and their attention isdrawn to a phenomenon which has persisted throughout human history,namely that nation after nation has arisen and ultimately gone to itsdoom. Man by his intellect and reason has been explaining thisphenomenon in a thousand ways, but Allah tells the real truth anddeclares that the fundamental causes of the destruction of the nationswere only two:

First, that they refused to believe in the Messengerswhom He sent for their guidance, with the result that Allah too leftthem to themselves, and they invented their own philosophies of lifeand went on groping their way from one error to another.

Second, thatthey also, rejected the doctrine of Hereafter, and thought thisworldly life to be an end in itself, and that there was no lifehereafter when they would have to render an account of their deedsbefore God. This corrupted their whole attitude towards life, andtheir impure morals and character so polluted the world thateventually the scourge of God itself had to descend and eliminate themfrom the scene.

After stating these two instructive truths of humanhistory, the deniers of the message of Truth have been admonished towake up and believe in Allah, His Messenger and the Light of Guidancethat Allah has sent in the form of the Qur'an if they want to avoidthe fate met by the former peoples. Besides, they have been warnedthat the Day shall eventually come when all the former and the lattergenerations will be collected at one place and the fraud andembezzlement committed by each will be exposed before all mankind.Then the fate of each man will be decided finally on the basis as towho had adopted the path of the Faith and righteousness and who hadfollowed the way of disbelief and denial of the Truth. The first groupshalt deserve eternal Paradise and the second shall be doomed toeverlasting Hell.

Then, addressing those who adopt the way of theFaith, a few important instructions have been given:

First, thatwhatever affliction befalls a person in the world, it befalls him byAllah's leave. Whoever in this state of affliction remains steadfastto the Faith, Allah blesses his heart with guidance; otherwisealthough the affliction of the one who in confusion or bewildermentturns away from the path of the Faith, cannot be averted except byAllah's leave, yet he becomes involved in another, the greatestaffliction of all, namely that his heart is deprived of the guidanceof Allah.

Secondly, that the believer is not required to affirm thefaith with the tongue only, but after the affirmation of the Faith heshould practically obey Allah and His Messenger. If he turns away fromobedience he would himself be responsible for his loss, for the HolyMessenger of Allah (upon whom be His peace) has become absolved fromthe responsibility after having delivered the message of Truth.

Thirdly, that the believer should place his trust in Allah alone andnot in his own power or some other power of the world.

Fourthly, thatthe worldly goods and children are a great trial and temptation forthe believer, for it is their love which generally distracts man fromthe path of faith and obedience. Therefore, the believers have tobeware some of their children, and wives lest they become robbers forthem on the Way of God directly or indirectly; and they should spendtheir wealth for the sake of God so that their self remains safeagainst the temptations of Satan.

Fifthly, that every man isresponsible only to the extent of his power and ability. Allah doesnot demand that man should exert himself beyond his power and ability.However, the believer should try his best to live in fear of God asfar as possible, and should see that he does not transgress the boundsset by Allah in his speech, conduct and dealings through his ownnegligence.

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