Sura As Sajdah (The Prostration)
SYNOPSIS OF SURA AS SAJDAH
Sura As Sajdah which is also known as Sura Alif Laam Meem Sajdah or Alif Laam Meem Tanzeel is a Makkan Sura (that is, it was revealed in Makka Al Mukarramah) and comprises of thirty verses.
With respect to the virtues of this Sura, it is narrated that the Prophet (S.A) used to recite it on the day of Jumah in the Fajr Salaah (Recorded by Imam Bukhari, Hadith No.891, Vol.1, Pg.242, Altaf and Sons and Muslim, Hadith No.2029, Pg.208, Vol.3, Maktaba Bushra).
Similarly, Jabir (R.A) narrates that the Prophet (S.A) did not go to sleep (at nights) until he read this Sura (Sura Sajdah) and Sura Mulk. (Recorded by Ahmad, Hadith No.14665, Pg.103, Vol.5, Darul Fikr / Tirmizi, Hadith No.321, Pg.321, Vol.2, Altaf and Sons / Darimi, Hadith No.2411, Pg.547, Qadami Kutub Khana /Tafseer Ibn Katheer vol.3 pg. 456; Tafseer Al Qurtubi vol.14 pg.78).
Imam Darimi has narrated from Khalid bin Ma’daan that he said, ‘Recite the Sura of safety, (i.e. the Sura that brings safety) which is Alif Laam Meem Tanzeel (Sura Sajdah), for certainly the information has reached me that a man used to recite it who had committed many sins. The Sura then placed its wings over him and said, ‘O my Lord, forgive him for he used to recite me in abundance’. Allah then accepted the intercession of the Sura and said to the angels, ‘Write for him a good deed in place of every sin, and raise him to a higher level’. (Tafseer Al Qurtubi vol.14 pg. 78)
Like other Makkan Suras, Sura As Sajdah deals with the fundamentals of Islamic beliefs, highlighting the topic of belief in Allah, in the hereafter, in the scriptures and prophets, and in resurrection and the reckoning. The heart or core (of the Sura) around which the Sura focuses is that of resurrection after the destruction and end of life on the earth.
The Sura begins by repudiating the doubts which have been created by the polytheists about the Holy Quran. The Holy Quran is indeed a great miracle for the Prophet (S.A), one which is free from falsehood and clear of all doubts. It contains clear evidences and manifest signs, followed by illuminating discourses and inspiring exhortations. The rulings and laws are comprehensive, and the guidelines are well explained. However, notwithstanding its miraculous nature and that it came from someone far greater than a human being, the polytheists continued to accuse the Prophet (S.A) of fabricating it. The Sura deals with this, and gives a strong refutation against such allegations.
The Sura then speaks of evidences of the power and oneness of Allah, showing signs of His greatness in the heavens and the earth.
Sura Sajdah also deals with the doubts of the polytheists and their denial of the resurrection and judgment. Refutations are given against them in these matters, with firm proofs and intelligent arguments.
The Sura then ends by mentioning the day of reckoning and what Allah has prepared for the true believers in the everlasting bliss and permanent gardens of paradise; and what He has prepared for the wrongdoers of the severe punishments in the fire of Hell.
The Sura has been named with the word ‘As Sajdah’ which means ‘the Prostration’, since this is an outstanding quality of the righteous believers which has been mentioned in the Sura.
COMMENTARY OF SURA AS SAJDAH
Allah states in verse 1 and 2:
Alif Laam Meem.
تَنْزِيلُ الْكِتَابِ لَا رَيْبَ فِيهِ مِنْ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ
The revelation of the Book (this Qur’an) is from the Lord of the worlds in which there is no doubt!
The Sura begins with Alif Laam Meem (الم)which is known as Hurooful Muqata’at (broken or isolated letters). These letters are from the miraculous nature of the Holy Quran and none but Allah knows their meanings.
Having commenced the Sura with such miraculous words which no man can tell the meaning of, Allah announces to the polytheists and unbelievers that the Holy Quran is indeed a revelation which came directly from Him. In reality, the fact that no man can tell the meaning of such isolated letters, is an astounding and astonishing phenomenon which is sufficient as a proof to conclude that the Quran could not have been a product of a human mind or heart.
To make this fact clearer, Allah makes an open announcement to the unbelievers saying that it is indeed the truth that the Quran is not a revelation of any man; instead, it is a revelation from the Lord of the worlds and there is no doubt about this.
While commenting on this verse, the commentators have stated, “the message given in this verse, is that the Quran which has been revealed to Prophet Muhammad (S.A), there is no doubt in it being from Allah, the Lord of the worlds. It is not poetry, the prose of the soothsayers or words ‘made-up’ by the Prophet Muhammad (S.A)’. (Tafseer At Tabari vol.21 pg.1203 Dar Ihya At Turath Al Arabi Beirut 2001)