12:40 "Those whom you worship and obey besides Him, are but names that you have fabricated, you and your forefathers. God has revealed no authority for them. All ruling belongs to God alone. And there is no Judge but He. He has commanded that you serve none but Him. That is the Right Religion. But most people are not aware of this fact or disregard it in practice."
Surah 90. Al-Balad – The Town
[Author’s Note] This is the 90th Surah of the Qur’an. It has 20 Short verses. The Town refers to Makkah, the birthplace of the exalted Messenger. The way to Success is like a steep hill, tiring but rewarding, taking one to new heights. God has shown man the two ways, one of virtue and the other of vice, and given him free will to make his choices.
‘Wa’ in many Surahs and verses is most commonly rendered as - God says, “I swear!” - The alternative meanings in the Quraish dialect are, ‘Witness’, ‘Reflect’, ‘Consider’. Adopted by some outstanding commentators these latter meanings are not only much more fitting to the context in every single instance, but beautifully blend with the Big Picture of the Qur’an.
With the Glorious Name of God, the Instant and Sustaining Source of all Mercy and Kindness
90:1 Nay, I present this very Town as witness.
90:2 The Town where (O Prophet) you have lived.
90:3 And where your ancestors have multiplied.
90:4 We have created the human being for struggle and toil. [This is the Town where Abraham and Ishmael labored, and where Prophet Muhammad began his strife to raise the Name of his Lord. 2:125-127]
90:5 Does he think that none has power over him?
90:6 He keeps boasting, “I have wasted so much wealth!”
90:7 What! Does he think that no one sees him? [How much and where he spends it]
90:8 Did We not give him two eyes? [‘Ainain = Two physical eyes = The sense of sight, and vision of the heart = Sight and insight]
90:9 And a tongue and a pair of lips? [The ability to speak and converse meaningfully]
90:10 And shown him the two highways? [Of virtue and vice]
90:11 But he seldom tries the uphill road, the Ascent.
90:12 Ah, what will convey to you what that Ascent is!
90:13 Freeing others from bondage, physical or mental, and from any social, economic or political oppression. [Freeing the neck includes all the above meanings and trying to establish the System wherein the only Master is God]
90:14 Feeding in times of hunger, famine, wars and natural disasters.
90:15 Taking care of the orphan and he who, despite being a part of the community, feels left out. [Za maqrabah = Near one = Relative = Part of the community]
90:16 Or, helping him who remains needy though he toils in dust.
90:17 And then, being of those who have chosen to be graced with belief that become living reminders of perseverance and living reminders of compassion.
90:18 Such are the companions of the right hand (in a state of bliss).
90:19 But those who deny Our Messages, such are the companions of the left hand (in a state of despondency). [Right Hand and Left Hand indicate the tropical significance of Mayimanah = Those on the side of righteousness. Mash’amah = Those on the side of evil]
90:20 With fire of regret all around them. [The Hellfire is such that its flames originate in, and engulf the hearts. The fire of regret, anguish and despair. 104:6-8]