Al-Qur’an: Suratul Insan 1-3

Al-Qur’an: Suratul Insan   1-3

أعوذ بالله من الشيطان الرجيم

Translation

  1. Has there [not] come upon man a period of time when he was not a thing [even] mentioned?
  2. Indeed, We created man from a sperm-drop mixture that We may try him; and We made him hearing and seeing.
  3. Indeed, We guided him to the way, be he grateful or be he ungrateful.

Introduction to the Surah

  • A Medinan Surah[1] containing 31 verses.
  • Naming: The most common name for this surah is “Al-Insan” meaning “Man”. Alternatively, it may be referred to as “Ad-Dahr” meaning “Time” or “Period”. Both names are connected to human beings; man is only a portion of time or period in the vast existence timeline.
  • Relationship with preceding Surah: This Surah relates to the preceding one as both are under the same theme; serial and persistent admonitions for man to accept the reality of resurrection.
  • The preceding Surah ends with the description of human morphological development in the womb. This Surah (Al-Insan) starts by taking our minds back to the very origin of man’s creation. While the former generally applies to the offspring of Adam, the later refers specifically to Adam and his wife; a complete information on man’s origin.
  • The preceding Surah only contains a summary of the description of the people of Paradise and Hell; this Surah also gives some detail on the subject.
    • The preceding Surah focuses on the chastisement that will afflict the people of Hell; this Surah focuses on the bliss that will be enjoyed by the people of Paradise.
  • Contents of the Surah:
    • Verses 1-6: The origin of man is described.
    • Verses 7-11: The qualities of thankful slaves.
    • Verses 12-22: The rewards for the slaves that appreciate the blessings and give thanks to Allah in due measures.
    • Verses 23-26: The Qur’an and how the prophet should relate with it are explained.
    • Verses 27-28: The ungratefulness of humans; their nature of hastiness and threat to replace them with better generation if they persist on kufr[2].
    • Verses 29-31: The Qur’an is presented as a universal reminder and admonition to the whole of mankind and encouragement to implement its content.

 Title

خلق الله الإنسان وهدايته السبيل

THE CREATION OF MAN BY ALLAH AND HOW HE GUIDED HIM

 Explanation

  1. The Surah starts in a question format just like the preceding Surah ends with same. This style of presentation common to some Surahs has been adopted by humans in their professional presentations which was an example of how man has improved his acquired skills from revealed knowledge[3].
  2. Allah initiated the creation of man and perfected it; He endowed him with knowledge and improved his skills; He equipped him with all that is necessary to live a comfortable life before his existence. How ungrateful will he be if he chooses to turn away from his Creator[4]?
  3. Allah gives information to man that he was sometime ago non-existing and some other beings have been created before his existence.
  4. Allah mentioned “seeing” and “hearing” in connection with an ordained trial in life and these are two reasons why we must be tried in life. Anyone who fails the test of the trial is an ungrateful careless slave and he will be legitimately due for scolding and punishment. While the one who passes is a thankful slave that deserves praise and noble reward.
  5. Imagine the life of a “blind” and “deaf” person; he can neither, naturally, appreciate the beauty and value of existence nor improve himself with any of them (both senses).
  6. Education is to maintain[5], improve and protect culture[6]; Seeing and hearing are a significant part of what makes education possible; students who fail tests after tools and aids to learn have been provided for them will be responsible for their failure, the consequent result for wasting valuable resources and time.
  7. We have been granted many years of stay in life with all the requirements including “seeing”, “hearing” and “clear guidance” necessary for education; they are enough to pass through the trials of life. It is left to man to choose either of the two ways: appreciation and gratefulness OR devaluation and ungratefulness.

Life lessons

  1. Critical analysis and explanation of existing favours is a means of reminder to a neglectful soul before it will be too late.
  2. A look into the past is a means to re-examine, improve and correct the present.
  3. The ultimate purpose of existence is for trial. Trial is normal and inevitable; a believer must not view it as a surprise.
  4. The opportunities[7] we are naturally born with and the guidance received[8] and acquired[9] after birth are enough to manage the trials of life.

[1] Some scholars took this Surah to be revealed in Makkah due to its content stressing the reality of resurrection, which is characteristic of Makkan Surahs.

[2] Kufr: disbelief or ungratefulness to Allah

[3] Educationist have used this style to develop “student centered” method of teaching where the teachers will either make their presentation to students in a question like format or encourage them to study the material before the class for the teacher to ask them questions on what they have studied and improve on it.

[4] This is not a question; it is an example of how man mimics the Qur’anic style of presentation.

[5] Islamic schools and institutions must be established not only because Muslims’ children must attend it but to maintain, improve and protect the foundation of Islamic culture which can only be done through education.

[6] Culture is a learned behavior which is a characteristic of a group of people and not a result of biological inheritance.

[7] Including hearing and seeing

[8] Revealed knowledge through the messengers of Allah

[9] Knowledge gained by man from his inquisitive biological trait with the help of the revealed knowledge

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