Lesson/Notes from Surah Rahman.

Surah Rahman is one of the Surah that lifts up my heart and makes me ponder in the blessings of Allah.As a child I used to listen to my father reciting Surah Rahman and get overjoyed.

In Surah Rahman, Allah discusses the various favours that He has blessed man and Jinn with. These favours are tremendous and benefit people in this world and in the Akhirah (Hereafter). Allah repeats the verse “So which favours of your Lord do the two of you (man and Jinn) deny?” 31 times in the Surah. This lends great beauty to the Surah in terms of recitation and meaning.

Notes from Surah Rahman

I wrote an article on Surah Rahman in 2017. This article is an explanation of Surah Rahman in a very simple language. The explanation and notes are taken from Illuminating discourses (Tafseer Anwarul Bayan) – By Shaykh Ashiq Ilahi Madni (r.a)

The opening verses of Surah Rahman make mention of such bounties that feed one’s Belief,soul .and body. Allah begins by saying, “Ar Rahman (The Most Merciful) taught the Quran.” The Quran is an extremely great bounty of Allah to mankind. Allah taught man the words of the Quran, the meanings of the verses and has also allowed man to understand the eloquence and rhetoric of the Quran. In addition to this, Allah has also made it easy for man to memorise the Quran. Man, who is merely an entity filled with blood, is extremely honoured to be able to contain the speech of Allah in his bosom and to speak it with his tongue. Hundreds of thousands and millions of books have been written containing explanations of the Quran and this practice will continue until Judgement day.

Allah continues to says that “He created man and taught him to speak.” Allah granted man knowledge, granted him the ability to speak and even taught him how to utilise this ability. Man can thus express what he feels and thinks. Allah Taala has also taught man how to speak eloquently and how to explain the meanings of the Quran. Not only did Allah teach people speech, but He taught man various languages and manners of expression. Man is also able to translate from language to language.Allah then speaks of the solar and lunar orbits when he says, “The sun and moon (orbit in) calculated courses.

Furthermore,Allah says “the creeper and the tree prostrate.” Just like worshippers are pleased to prostrate before Allah out of obedience to Him, so too are all of Allah’s creation pleased to obey Him, including those plants that have an upright trunk and those that creep and have no rigidity. Allah then speaks of the sky when He says that He “raised the sky “.It is Allah Who raised the sky to its towering height.

Allah Taala cautions man not to demand extra in weight when dues are given to him and not to reduce weight when payment is due from him.The command to be just in weight and measurement is also mentioned in Surah Anam [Surah 6, verse 152] where Allah commands: “And give full measure and weight in fairness.”

Furthermore Allah says that He “has placed the earth for people.” Allah Taala has made the earth such that it is neither too hard nor too soft. People are able to dig the earth to create dams, wells, graves, plant plantations and lay the foundations of their buildings. At the same time, the earth can support man’s structures, carry his railroads and highways and the beating hooves of his animals.

Allah then enumerates the various benefits that the earth gives to mankind when He says that the earth has fruit (and) palms with sheathed stalks” Allah has covered the stalks of such plants so that the fruit are protected and also because these coverings may be used for a variety of purposes. In addition to this, Allah has also created “seeds as chaff. This verse refers to cereals like wheat, barley, etc which are like little seeds that provide ample nourishment for man.

Man in general is created from sand and that the Jinn are created from fire because their fathers were created from these substances. The blessing of being created and granted life is an extremely great bounty without which many other bounties cannot be enjoyed. Because Allah has granted these many favours to mankind and to Jinn, it is incumbent on them to be grateful to Him. Allah reminds them of this when He states “So which favours of your Lord do the two of you (man and Jinn) deny?”

Allah then speaks of the oceans when he says, “He has released the two waters so that they meet. Between the two (waters) is a barrier so that the two do not transgress.”Although two types of water bodies seem to be one to the onlooker, they are actually separated by an invisible barrier. In this way, the salty water and fresh water never mix. Man and Jinn derive various benefits from the two types of water and therefore are obliged to express gratitude to Allah. Allah reminds them of this when He says, “So which favours of your Lord do the two of you deny?”

The various jewels that emerge from the sea are also a great favour from Allah and man and Jinn are required to be grateful to Allah for these. Allah Taala goes on to say that “His are the raised ships on the oceans like mountains.” These huge ships remain afloat only by Allah’s will. When waters get rough and strong winds blow, it is only Allah that protects the ship and those in the ship. Allah allows the large ships laden with hundreds of tons of cargo to traverse through the oceans so that man may transport goods from one continent to another.

Allah has inspired man to build ships and has granted him the expertise and capabilities to accomplish the task. Allah has also taught man how to navigate the oceans, how to load his shipping vessels and how to derive maximum benefit from this skill. The shipping trade caters for the needs of millions of people throughout the world. It is therefore incumbent on people to express their gratitude to Allah for this. Therefore, Allah reiterates, “So which favours of your Lord do the two of you deny?”

“Everything on earth shall perish.” Man, Jinn, fauna, flora, everything on land and everything at sea are all destined to perish when their lives have expired. When everything shall perish it will be “Only the countenance of your Lord the Possessor of majesty and benevolence (Who) shall remain. Allah says, “We have granted honour to the children of Adam.” However, for the disbelievers this honour is restricted to this world. As soon as they die.They will be made to suffer disgrace, which will perpetuate until eternity. In the Akhirah (Hereafter), the disbelievers will have neither honour nor favours,whereas the believers shall enjoy an abundance of both. “So which favours of your Lord do the two of you deny?”

Even the combined forces of man and Jinn cannot harness the power to transcend the limits of the heavens and the earth. Since man and Jinn are helpless in this very world, they will surely be powerless in the Akhirah (Hereafter) as well. It is therefore wishful thinking to believe that one will be able to escape Allah’s punishment because there is nowhere to hide. When Judgement day arrives, every person will realise the error of his ways. However, it will then be too late. It is a great favour from Allah that He has forewarned man and Jinn about this inevitable day. “So which favours of your Lord do the two of you deny?”

Allah then describes the horrors of Judgement day so that people may refrain from disbelief and become sincere Muslims.The guilty ones shall be forced to admit their misdeeds on the Day of Judgement and they will be unable to deny anything.the disbelievers will be deaf, dumb, blind and blue-eyed on the Day of Judgement. They will be recognised by these characteristics, “will be seized by their forelocks and feet” and cast into Hell. When they are thrown into Hell, they will be told, “This is Hell which the criminals used to deny.” They will thus be exposed to the worst forms of punishment.

After mentioning every bounty of the two gardens of paradise in the foregoing verses, Allah repeats the question: “So which favours of your Lord do the two of you deny?” Whereas the gardens of this world were described at the beginning of the Surah, the concluding verses describe the gardens of the Akhirah (Hereafter).Allah says, “The one who fears standing in the presence of his Lord shall have two gardens.” Although Heaven is itself an extremely large garden, there shall be several gardens within it, depending on the deeds of people.

Allah describes the two gardens by saying, “Both these (gardens) shall be filled with branches.” There shall be an abundance of green and lush branches in these gardens, indicating that they will be filled with an abundance of fruit. The second description states that “In both (gardens) there shall be two gushing springs.” In addition to providing refreshing water, the springs shall provide a scenic setting to watch.Allah describes the third characteristic of these gardens when He says,in both there shall be a pair of every fruit. The one type of fruit will be similar to what we see in this world while the other will be seen only in Heaven. Some commentators mention that the one type of fruit will be fresh while the other type will be dried. However, both will be equal in taste.

Further describing the bounties awaiting the righteous in Heaven, Allah speaks about their bedding and wives. Allah says, “The people (of Heaven) shall recline on bedding lined with thick silk.” This verse tells us that inner lining of this bedding will be made of thick silk. In this world, the outer lining of a bedding is usually decorated and made from material that is far more expensive than the material used for the inner lining.

The men of Heaven shall have their worldly wives in Heaven as well as wives from the “Hurain” These wives will be extremely beautiful and shall have eyes for none other than their husbands. Allah refers to this when he says, in these gardens there shall be maidens with lowered gazes”.

Allah states that the gardens of Heaven have “marvellous and stunning women.” Sayyidina Ibn Salamah -radi allahu anhu narrates from Rasul Allah sallalahu alaihe wa sallam that the women of Heaven are “marvellous” in character and “stunning” in beauty. Referring to the fact that these women will be reserved for their husbands, Allah states; “Fair damsels sheltered in tents.”Sayyidina Anas bin Malik (ra) reports that Rasul Allah sallalahu alaihe wa sallam said, “if a damsel of Heaven has to peek into this world, she would illuminate the atmosphere between the sky and the earth and fill it with her fragrance. It is a fact that the scarf on her head is more valuable than the earth and all its contents.” [“Mishkat” p. 495 from Bukhari]

Note 1

The verse “So which favours of your Lord do the two of you deny?” is repeated 31 times in the Surah. By reciting the verse continuously, the reader feels a sense of joy and is spiritually enlightened. Even those listening to the recitation experience a sense of elation and happiness. It is for this reason that the Rasul Allah Sallalahu alaihe wa sallam referred to Surah Rahman as the bridegroom of the Quran. [“Mishkat” p. 189

Note 2

Allah reminds man and Jinn of His favours in the verse “So which favours of your Lord do the two of you deny?” Sayyidina Jabir radi allahu anhu narrates that when Rasul Allah Sallalahu alaihe wa sallam recited Surah Rahman to the prophet’s companions (ra) they all listened in silence. Rasul Allah Sallalahu alaihe wa sallam then said to them, “When I recited this Surah to the Jinn on the night I met with them, they seemed to have a better reply than you. Whenever I recited the verse ‘So which favours of your Lord do the two of you deny? they responded by saying:

Translation: We do not deny any of Your favours, 0 our Lord. All praise belongs to You.” [Tirmidhi]

Appreciation of Allah’s favours entails admitting these favours and using them in a manner that pleases Him. Denying Allah’s favours means that one says that one did not receive a certain favour from Allah or that one says that what one has are the fruits of one’s labours. Similarly, adopting an attitude that reveals this will also be tantamount to denying Allah’s favours.

Note 3

Why does Allah say, “So which favours of your Lord do the two of you deny?” after verses that portray His punishment as well? How can punishment be regarded as a favour? The answer is that Allah’s favour lies in His warning people of the consequences of evil. By mentioning the punishment for evil deeds, Allah is warning people to refrain from such deeds so that they never find themselves suffering the same. This forewarning is an act of great kindness.

Note 4

Allah makes it clear in verse 56 of Surah Dhariyat (Surah 51): “I have created man and Jinn only to worship Me.” Allah has created both these creations for the purpose of worshipping Him, His bounties are tremendous to both and He has sent guidance to both. However, because Allah has selected man as His vicegerent on earth, man is superior to Jinn. Nevertheless, both are responsible for fulfilling Allah’s commands. Whether Allah sent Anbiya (Rasul Allah sallalahu alaihe wa sallam among the Jinn, the difference of opinion has been discussed in the commentary of verse 130 of Surah Anam (Surah 6). What is certain is that when Rasul Allah Sallalahu alaihe wa sallam was sent as messenger, he was the messenger to both man and Jinn. This is evident from the verses of Surah Rahman and the verses of Surah Ahqaf [Surah 46, verses 29-32] in which Allah quotes the invitation that the Jinn extended to their fellow Jinn after listening to Rasul Allah Sallalahu alaihe wa sallam Allah says that the believer Jinn said to their fellow Jinn: “O our people! Respond to Allah’s caller and believe in him; Allah will forgive your sins and save you from a painful punishment.” [Surah 46, verse 31]

The details of Rasul Allah Sallalahu alaihe wa sallam’s meeting with the Jinn have been discussed in the commentary of the above verses of Surah Ahqaf.

Note 5:

The Jinn are also obliged to worship Allah and the disbelievers among them will also be sent to Hell. Allah says in Surah Sajdah, “If We willed, We would have granted every soul its guidance. However, the decree has issued from Me that I will surely fill Hell with a collection of man and Jinn.” [Surah 32, verse 13)Whereas it is clear that the disbelieving Jinn will enter Hell, some Muhaddithin (commentators of Ahadith) and Mufassirin· (commentators of Quran) have queried whether the believing Jinn will enter Heaven.

This question is answered by the fact that when discussing the bounties of Heaven, Allah states “So which favours of your Lord do the two of you deny?” This makes it clear that the Jinn may also enter Heaven. The Scholar (Allama) Shibli favours this opinion in his renowned book about the Jinn titled “Akamul Marjan” (Chapter 24). Together with this opinion, he also cites another opinion that the Jinn will be allowed only up to the doors of Heaven from where humans will be able to see them without them being able to see the humans in Heaven. The third opinion he cites is that the believer Jinn will remain on the Araf (the place between Heaven and Hell). He has quoted a hadith to substantiate this opinion The third opinion is one of silence i.e. no comment can be made about the issue.

Note 6

تَبَـٰرَكَ ٱسْمُ رَبِّكَ ذِى ٱلْجَلَـٰلِ وَٱلْإِكْرَامِ

The 27th and the final verse of the Surah mention Allah’s quality of being “Dhul Jalali wal Ikram” (“the Possessor of majesty and benevolence”). The explanation of this has been given in the commentary of verse 27. Rasul Allah Sallalahu alaihe wa sallam advised that Muslims recite “Dhul Jalali wal Ikram” abundantly and use it in their Supplication. [Hakim v. 1 p. 499)

Sayyidina Thowban radi allahu anhu reports that after the Fardh (obligatory) Salah, Rasul Allah Sallalahu alaihe wa sallam used to recite:

TRANSLATION : 0 Allah! You Peace and all peace comes from you. You are Blessed, 0 “Dhul Jalali wal Ikram” (the Possessor of majesty and bene volence)} [Muslim.]

Sayyidina Mu’adh bin Jabal ra reports that Rasul Allah Sallalahu alaihe wa sallam once heard a person saying in his supplication, “Ya Dhal Jalali wal Ikram!” Rasul Allah Sallalahu alaihe wa sallam said to the person, “Your du’a (prayer) is accepted. Now ask what you please.” [Tirmidhi]

Sayyidina Anas ra narrates that he was once sitting with , when another person completed his Salah and said:{TRANSLATION: 0 Allah! I am supplicating to You because all praise belongs to you and there is none worthy of worship besides you., You are the most Benevolent and the Creator of the heavens and the earth. 0 Dhul Jalali wal Ikram (Possessor of majesty and benevolence)!

After hearing this, Rasul Allah Sallalahu alaihe wa sallam said, “He has supplicated by that name of Allah with which a person is granted whatever he asks.” [Abu Dawud p. 210)

reference: Illuminating discourses- Anwarul bayan vol 9

by Aafiya