AN EXPLANATION OF THE SHORT SURAHS OF THE QURAN – Surah Quraish

Surah Quraish

1. Because of the habit enjoyed by the Quraish …

2. … their habit of travelling in Winter and Summer…

3. … they ought to worship the Lord of this House…

4. … Who fed them in hunger and gave them safety from fear.

Background

The Quraish were a noble tribe. Nabi mentioned: “From the progeny of Ismail Allah selected Kinanah. From Kinanah Allah selected the Quraish. From the Quraish Allah selected the Banu Haashim. From the Banu Haashim Allah selected me.” (Muslim) From this hadith we learn that the Quraish were the noblest tribe amongst all the Arabs.

One of the reasons for the superiority of the Quraish was that they were, generally, noble in character both before and after Islam. For this reason many of the great companions of Nabi , such as Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthmaan, Ali etc., were from the Quraish.

In this Surah Allah reminds the Quraish of two bounties which He had given them in the past as logical proof to convince them to worship Him.

Verse 1 – 2: Because of the habit enjoyed by the Quraish… … their habit of travelling in Winter and Summer…

Geographically, Makkah is situated in such a place where there is little vegetation. Fruits, vegetables and other foodstuffs are brought to Makkah from other areas. We learn from the dua of Ibrahim that this was the case from the very beginning. He asked Allah to provide the inhabitants of Makkah with sustenance from outside. Thus, the Makkans used to travel to neighboring areas to engage in trade. Syria was a land of cold climate and Yemen was hot. They, therefore, travelled to Syria during their warmer months and to Yemen in their colder months. It is these two journeys that Allah describes in this verse. During these journeys the Quraish would earn profits and, as a result, they became wealthy. In addition to their wealth, Allah also granted them honour by destroying the people of the elephant who wanted to destroy the Ka’bah. As the Quraish were regarded as the custodians of the Ka’bah the Arabs respected them.

Verse 3: … they ought to worship the Lord of this House…

As an expression of gratitude for the bounties mentioned earlier the Quraish are instructed to worship Allah . Allah described Himself with the title of “the Lord of this House” because the Ka’bah was the source of their honour and virtues.

Verse 4: Who fed them in hunger and gave them safety from fear.

Here Allah mentions two bounties which He bestowed upon the Quraish. Firstly, they were hosted and fed by the various tribes on their journeys to Yemen and Syria because of their position of being custodians of the Ka’bah.

The second bounty which Allah mentions here refers to their peace and comfort during their travels. Being the custodians of the Ka’bah they were respected amongst all the Arabs when they travelled. They were not attacked, harassed or troubled in any way. Instead they were given protection and security wherever they went.

Lessons

1.Food and peace are two of the most crucial elements which are necessary to guarantee happiness and contentment. Scholars have mentioned that when a person worships Allah according to the dictates of this Surah then he will be safe from fear and hunger in this world and the next. However, if one ignores this command then Allah would remove these two bounties. Allah has explained this very concept in another verse: “Allah presents the parable of a town that was in peace and contentment: its provision used to come to it in abundance from every place. But, it did not appreciate the favours of Allah. So, Allah gave it a taste of hunger and fear as a result of its actions. (Surah Nahl, 112)

Abul Hasan Qazwini mentioned that a person who fears an enemy or faces a difficulty should recite this Surah to be safe. Imam Jazri and others stated that they experienced the success of this prescription in their own lives.

2. The Quraish were told to swallow their pride and worship Allah instead of their idols for the mere fact that He had given them two essential bounties. Of the numerous bounties that we as humans enjoy every day we cannot truly express our gratitude to Allah for even one. Nevertheless,
we should try to live our lives as prescribed by Allah as an expression of gratitude for these bounties.