Surat Al-Balad (The City)

Quran - Surat Al-Balad

In the Name of Allah, Most Kind, Most Merciful

  1. I swear by this city,
  2. And you are free of restriction in this city,
  3. And by the father and which was born [of him];
  4. We have certainly created man into hardship.
  5. Does he think no one has power over him?
  6. He says, “I have spent plenty of wealth.”
  7. Does he think no one sees him?
  8. Have we not given him two eyes.
  9. And a tongue and a pair of lips?
  10. And shown him the two ways?
  11. But he has not attempted to ascend the steep uphill path,
  12. And what could make you understand what the steep uphill path is!
  13. It is the freeing of a slave,
  14. Or feeding on a day of severe hunger,
  15. An orphan of near relationship,
  16. Or a needy person in misery,
  17. And then being among those who believe and urge one another to patience, and urge one another to compassion.
  18. These are the companions of the right.
  19. But those who disbelieve in our signs these are the companions of the left.
  20. Over them will be fire closed in.

This surah, which consists of twenty verses, was revealed in Makkah.

  1. In the first four verses, Almighty Allah swears by the secure city Makkah, especially while the Prophet (pbuh) is in it and swears by Adam and his progeny. Allah swears by these that man was created in hardship and difficulty.
  2. The surah goes on to scold man for his arrogance, boasting that he has spent a great deal of wealth on his desires. Then it warns him that Allah is Ever watchful of what he does and that He will question him about everything on the Day of Judgement. It also reminds him of some of the bounties Allah the Almighty has bestowed on him, namely the faculties of speech and sight and the mind with which to distinguish between the ways of good and evil. (Verses 5-100)
  3. The Quran encourages man to ascend the steep uphill path. It then explains that this can be done by freeing slaves for the sake of Allah and feeding the poor on a day of severe hunger; giving to the orphans of near relationship and the poor who are in a state of destitution; and along with these good characteristics, one has to be one of the righteous believers who do good deeds, advising one another to be patient with Allah’s decrees and also by being patient while doing acts of obedience and avoiding acts of disobedience. They also advise one another to show mercy towards the poor and the needy. The Quran then describes people who do such good things as ‘the companions of the right, which is a sign of happiness. (Verses 11.18)
  4. The surah ends by telling us who the companions of the left are and what their destination will be in he hereafter. In fact, they are the disbelievers who will end up in Hell out of which there will be no escape for them. (Verses 19.20)


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