Ar-Rahman

Ar-Raḥmān[1] (Arabic: الرحمان‎, "The Most Merciful") is the 55th Chapter (surah) of the Qur'an with 78 verses (āyāt). Most muslim scholars place Sūrat ar-Rahman in the Meccan period.[2][3] Western scholars, such as Theodor Nöldeke, count this Surah towards the early Meccan Surahs.[4]

Sura 55 of the Quran
الرحمان
Ar Rahman
Rahman
ClassificationMedinan
Other namesMost Gracious
PositionJuzʼ 27
No. of Rukus3
No. of verses78
No. of words352
No. of letters1585

It has the refrain: "Then which of your Lord's blessings would you both deny?". There are 10 blessings which Allah has mentioned in Surah Ar-Rahman.

TitleEdit

The title of the surah Rahmaan, appears in verse 1, means "The Most Beneficent". The divine appellation "ar-Rahman" also appears in the opening formula which precedes every sura except Sura 9 ("In the Name of God, the Lord of Mercy, the Giver of Mercy"). English translations of the sura’s title include "The Most Gracious", [5] "The All Merciful",[6] "The Lord of Mercy",[7] "The Beneficent", and "The Mercy-Giving".

ClassificationEdit

Scholars have disagreed about whether Ar-Rahman ought to be categorized with suras of the Makkah or Madinah period. Theodor Nöldeke and Carl Ernst have categorized it among the suras of the early Makkah period (in accordance with its short ayah length), but Abdel Haleem has categorized it in his translation as Madinian.[8] According to the traditional Egyptian chronology, Ar-Rahman was the 97th sura revealed.[9] Nöldeke places it earlier, at 43,[10] while Ernst suggests that Sura 55 was the fifth sura revealed.[11]

StructureEdit

Ar-Rahman is composed entirely in saj’, the rhymed, accent-based prose characteristic of early Arabic poetry.[12] Owing, perhaps, to the sura’s poetic beauty, it is often regarded as the 'beauty of the Quran', in accordance with a hadith: Abdullah ibn Mas'ud (R.A.) reported that Muhammad (S.A.W.) said, "Everything has an adornment, and the adornment of the Qur'an is Surah ar Rahman" [Bayhaqi in Shuab al Eiman].

The most notable structural feature of Ar-Rahman is the refrain "Which, then, of your Lord’s blessings do you both deny?"[13] (or, in Arberry’s rendering, "O which of your Lord's bounties will you and you deny?"[14]), which is repeated 31 times in the 78-ayah sura. The sura is composed of 26 couplets, 4 tercets, and an introductory stanza of 13 ayahs all ending with this refrain. The final couplet is followed by a blessing of Allah’s name.

Thematically, Ar-Rahman can be divided into roughly three units. Verses 1-30 expound upon natural displays of Allah’s creative power and mercy in showering those who inhabit the earth with blessings. Verses 31-45 describe the final judgment and the terrible punishment that will be inflicted upon sinners. Verses 46-78, by contrast, detail the delights that await the pious in paradise.

ContentEdit

One of the main aims of the sura is to chastise mankind and jinn for their lack of gratitude towards Allah, who has showered them with an abundance of blessings. Verses 1-30 describe some of the resources (fruits, palm trees, husked grain, fragrant plants, fresh and salt water, pearls, ships) that Allah has graciously provided for the mankind and jinn he created, in his infinite mercy, out of clay and smokeless fire (55:14), and set down under a sky illuminated by the twin risings of the sun and moon (55:17). In addition to these material blessings, verses 1-4 recount the fact that Allah taught mankind how to communicate and even gave him the Qur'an to guide him on the path to righteousness. The refrain, "Which, then, of your Lord’s blessings do you both deny?", chastises the bountifully-provided for mankind and jinn for failing to acknowledge their indebtedness to Allah for his tremendous mercy. The punishment that awaits these ungrateful creatures is briefly described in verses 35-45; for the remainder of the sura, the delights of the gardens of paradise (replete with shading branches, flowing springs, fruit, maidens, couches, cushions, and fine carpets) are lyrically described, punctuated throughout by the stinging refrain which draws attention to the discrepancy between Allah’s mercy in providing such luxuriant rewards and the ingratitude of mankind and jinn.

The idea that man’s gratitude towards Allah is not commensurate with Allah’s tremendous mercy is a central, recurring theme in the Qur'an, especially in the early Meccan suras, and Sura 55 is an important poetic treatment of this theme. The sura also exemplifies the Qur'an’s tendency to be self-referential and self-validating, as when in verse 2 it emphasizes the fact that Allah taught the Qur'an to man out of mercy.

In terms of theological developments, Ar-Rahman introduces a three-tiered classification of men and jinn: the best of believers ("those near to God", the muqarrabīn who will ascend to the higher garden of paradise), the ordinary believers ("those at his right", the ashāt al-yamīn who will enjoy the second garden of paradise), and the disbelievers (who will be punished in Hell). This division is echoed in the following sura, Al-Waqi’a.

Finally, it is worth noting that the sura is dominated stylistically by pairs, which in the Qur'an are frequently employed as a sign of the divine. To begin with, it is addressed to a dual audience of mankind and jinn: in Haleem’s translation of the refrain "Which, then, of your Lord’s blessings do you both deny?", "both" is understood to refer to men and jinn (likewise for the "you and you" in Arberry’s rendering). Natural phenomena are also referred to in pairs: for example, "the sun and the moon" (55:5), "the stars and the trees" (55:6), "the two risings and the two settings [of the sun and the moon]" (55:17), and "the two bodies of [fresh and salt] water" (55:19). In addition, paradise is described as consisting of two double gardens (55:62), each of which contain a pair of springs (55:50, 55:66) and fruit in pairs (55:52).

ExegesisEdit

Q55:70-77 HouriEdit

55:70-77 Therein (Gardens) will be Khayrat Hisan (good); Then which of the blessings of your Lord will you both deny! Houri (beautiful, fair females) guarded in pavilions; Then which of the blessings of your Lord will you both deny! Whom never deflowered a human before nor Jinn. Then which of the blessings of your Lord will you both deny! Reclining on green Rafraf (cushions) and rich beautiful `Abqariy. (rich carpets). Then which of the blessings of your Lord will you both deny![1]:55:70-77[15]

Muhammad Asad asserts that the "noun hur - rendered as 'companions pure' - is a plural of both ahwar (masculine) and hawra' (female), either of which describes a person distinguished by hawar', which latter term primarily denotes 'intense whiteness of the eyeballs and lustrous black of the iris'. Asad as well as Yusuf Ali & Pickthall translate this verse as:[16][17][18]

In these [gardens] will be [all] things most excellent and beautiful. Which, then, of your Sustainer's powers can you disavow? [There the blest will live with their] companions pure and modest, in pavillions [splendid] -which, then, of your Sustainer's powers can you disavow? -[companions] whom neither man nor invisible being will have touched ere then. Which, then, of your Sustainer's powers can you disavow?[In such a paradise will they dwell,] reclining upon meadows green and carpets rich in beauty. Which, then, of your Sustainer's powers can you disavow? Hallowed be thy Sustainer's name, full of majesty and glory!

According to Ibn Kathir, the believer will be given a tent 60 miles wide, made of pearl, such that his wives will not see each other. The believer will visit them all.[1]:55:70-77 The Enlightening Commentary into the Light of the Holy Qur'an says that they (the Houri) are good and righteous virgins and are intended to have intercourse only with their husbands.[19]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c Ibn Kathir. "Tafsir Ibn Kathir (English): Surah Al Rahman". Quran 4 U. Retrieved 27 January 2020.
  2. ^ The Message of the Quran, M. Asad, 1982, Introduction Surah ar-Rahman. Although most of the commentators regard this surah as a Meccan revelation, Zamakhshari and (among the later scholars) Suyuti ascribe it to the Medina period. Baydawi leaves the question open, and adds that parts of it may have been revealed before and parts after the Prophet's hijrah to Medina. Some authorities are of the opinion that it followed immediately upon surah 13 ("Thunder"): an opinion which is not very helpful since that surah, too, cannot be assigned to either of the two periods with any degree of certainty.
  3. ^ "Directorate of Religious Affairs, Introduction Surah ar-Rahman". [Translation] This Surah was revealed in the Meccan Period. [Original] Mekke döneminde inmiştir.
  4. ^ Theodor Nöldeke: Geschichte des Qorans. Verlag der Dieterichschen Buchhandlung, Göttingen, 1860, pp. 107-108 ff.
  5. ^ The Message of the Qur’an, English edition, Muhammad Asad (The Book Foundation)
  6. ^ The Koran, trans. A. J. Arberry (Oxford Islamic Studies Online), Q55.
  7. ^ The Qur’an, trans. M. A. S. Abdel Haleem (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010), 353.
  8. ^ Haleem, The Qur’an, 353.
  9. ^ Carl Ernst, How to Read the Qur'an (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2011), 40.
  10. ^ Ernst, How to Read the Qur'an, 44.
  11. ^ Ernst, How to Read the Qur'an, 215.
  12. ^ "Rhyming Prose", in Encyclopaedia of the Qur’an, ed. Jane Dammen McAuliffe (Leiden: Brill, 2001).
  13. ^ Haleem, The Qur’an, 353.
  14. ^ Arberry, The Koran, Q55:15.
  15. ^ "AYAH ar-Rahman 55:70". Islam Awakened. Retrieved 27 January 2020.
  16. ^ The Message of the Quran, Muhammad Asad, 1982, Commentary on Surah 55:70-77, 56:22. In these [gardens] will be [all] things most excellent and beautiful. Which, then, of your Sustainer's powers can you disavow? [There the blest will live with their] companions pure and modest, in pavillions [splendid] -which, then, of your Sustainer's powers can you disavow? -[companions] whom neither man nor invisible being will have touched ere then. Which, then, of your Sustainer's powers can you disavow?[In such a paradise will they dwell,] reclining upon meadows green and carpets rich in beauty. Which, then, of your Sustainer's powers can you disavow? Hallowed be thy Sustainer's name, full of majesty and glory!
  17. ^ The Holy Quran, Yusuf Ali, Surah 55:70-77. Companions restrained (as to their glances) in (goodly) pavilions.
  18. ^ The Quran, tranl. by Pickthall, Surah 55:70-77. Fair ones, close guarded in pavilions
  19. ^ "An Enlightening Commentary into the Light of the Holy Qur'an vol. 17". Al Islam.org. p. 367. Retrieved 27 January 2020.

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