Exposition of the Holy Quran – 90 Al-Balad (G A Parwez)

Surah 90: Al-Balad

(The City)

(1-3) I call to witness the sanctity of the city of Makkah and the law of procreation by which old life (of parents) gives birth to new life (in the form of their offspring). O Rasool! Tell the adversaries who are pestering you so much and who are completely oblivious of the sanctity of this city, that what they think (that the system you present would fail) will never come true. Tell them that your mission will after all be a success; and that ultimately this city will become the centre of the divine order which will replace the old unjust system.

(4) The fact is that We created man so that he could live a balanced life (keeping himself under the guidance of wahi) and thus develop balance and proportion in his personality. (However, since in this way he has to face a lot of hardships and trials)

(5) Instead of accepting restrictions as determined by the wahi, he remains under the false presumption that there is no power over and above him, whose laws are to be followed. He thinks of himself as being sovereign.

(6) (He is enamoured by this self-deception and continues to oppose Our system. However) Ultimately,  he realizes that all his plans have gone to waste and then he says, “Alas! I have wasted a lot for nothing.”

(7) Does such a person think that no one keeps a watch over what he does; and that there is no one to question him?

(8) His perception is wrong. We have given him sources of knowledge; two eyes;

(9) A tongue and two lips (So that with these two eyes he should see everything in the world; and by conversing with others remove doubts and suspicions to reach the right conclusion).

(10) And through wahi, we visibly and clearly showed him the right and wrong ways (human intellect and divine guidance).

He thus becomes accountable for his deeds. This is exactly what is meant by saying that there is always someone with control over him, to monitor his actions.

(11) Of the two ways one is to seek selfish ends, whereby through every possible way one usurps the earning of the other’s labour and lives a life of comfort and ease. His selfish intellect incites him to adopt this course because it is the easy one.

On the contrary, the other way requires a lot of hard work and patience. It amounts to climbing uphill, whereupon at every step one runs short of breath. However, every such step elevates him more.

(12) And what is this steep uphill ascent? Who else can tell you better than the Almighty? So listen.

(13) The uphill ascent is that a man should not only look after himself. Wherever he sees a human neck caught in any kind of subjugation or bondage, he should free it.

That is to say, the first and foremost thing to do is to establish a system where no one is subdued by another. Everyone walks with his chin up, with total physical and mental freedom. (He should not have to obey any law except that of Allah Almighty.)

(14-16) And during the period when oppressive forces take over all primary sources of subsistence and create a state of general distress and hunger, this system should look after the needs of those who, despite living among other people, feel lonely and helpless; or of the needs of those who have to labour hard for a morsel. (They have to exist under the yoke of a capitalistic system and work hard for it.)

(17) This course of life is arduous, but having taken to it one joins those who firmly believe in the divine system of Rabubiyya and urge one another to remain steadfast. They also enjoin others to share the means of nourishment bestowed on them by Allah Almighty.

(18) They are the auspicious and prosperous people on the right path, enjoying the pleasures of life.

(19) Against this are those who reject Our laws and adopt an easy going course of life. Only failures and deprivations fall to their lot.

(20) They live in that hell-like society from whence there is no way out (in this world or in the hereafter).

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