This Surah takes its name from its "first word "Ta Ha". This
name, like the names of many other Surahs, is merely symbolic.
Period of Revelation
The period of its revelation is the same as of Surah Maryam.
It is just possible that it was sent down during the Migration
to Habash or just after it. Anyhow, it is certain that this
Surah was revealed before Hadrat Umar embraced Islam.
According to a well known and authentic tradition when Hadrat
Umar set out to kill the Holy Prophet, he met a certain person,
who said, "Before you do anything else, you should know that
your own sister and brother-in-law have embraced Islam" Hearing
this, he directly went to the house of his sister.
There he found his sister, Fatimah, and his brother-in-law,
Said bin Zaid, learning the contents of a scroll from Khabbab
bin Art. When Fatimah saw him coming she hid the scroll at
once, but Hadrat Umar had heard the recital, so he began to
interrogate them about it.
Then he began to thrash his brother-in-law, and wounded his
sister, who tried to protect him. At last both of them confessed, "We
have become Muslims; you may do whatever you like." As Hadrat
Umar was moved to see blood running down from her head, he
said, "Show me the thing you were reading." The sister asked
him to promise on oath that he would not tear it, and added, "You
cannot touch it unless you have a bath."
Accordingly, Hadrat Umar took his bath and when he began to
read the scroll, which contained this Surah, he spontaneously
spoke out, "What an excellent thing!" At this Hadrat Khabbab,
who had hidden himself at the sound of his footsteps, came
out of his hiding and said, "By God, I have high expectations
that Allah will get great service from you to propagate the
Message of His Prophet, for just yesterday I heard the Holy
Prophet praying to Allah, 'My Lord, make Abul Hakam bin Hisham
(Abu Jahl) or Umar bin Khattab a supporter of Islam. So O Umar,
turn to Allah, turn to Allah." These words proved to be so
persuasive that he at once accompanied Hadrat Khabbab and went
to the Holy Prophet to embrace Islam. This happened a short
time after the Migration to Habash.
Theme and Topics of Discussion
This Surah begins with the enunciation of the object of the
Revelation of the Qur'an to this effect:"O Muhammad, this Quran
has not been sent down to you to put you unnecessarily to some
great affliction. It does not demand from you to perform the
impossible task of imbuing the hearts of the obdurate disbelievers
with Faith. It is merely an admonition meant to guide on to
the Right Path those who fear God and want to save themselves
from His punishment. This Quran is the Word of the Master of
the earth and the heavens and God-head belongs to Him alone:These
two facts are eternal whether one believes them or not."
After this introduction, the Surah abruptly moves on to relate
the story of Prophet Moses without any apparent relevancy and
without even hinting at its applicability to the events of
the period. However, if we read between the lines, we realize
that the discourse is addressed very relevantly to the people
of Makkah. But before we explain the hidden meaning of the
discourse, we must keep in view the fact that the Arabs in
general acknowledged Moses as a Prophet of God. This was so
because they had "been influenced by the large number of the
Jews around them and by" the neighboring Christian kingdoms.
Now let us state those things which are hidden between the
lines of the story:
Allah does not appoint a Prophet by the beat of drums or My
celebrating the occasion in a regular and formal ceremony,
as if to say, "We are appointing such and such a person as
Our Prophet from today." On the contrary, He bestows Prophethood
in a confidential manner just as He did in the case of Prophet
Moses. Therefore you should not consider it strange if Hadrat
Muhammad has been appointed as a Prophet all of a sudden and
without any public proclamation.
The fundamental principles presented by Prophet Muhammad --
Tauhid and the Hereafter -- are just the same as were taught
to Prophet Moses at the time of his appointment.
Prophet Muhammad has been made the standard bearer of the Message
of the Truth among the people of the Quraish all by himself
without material provisions, just as Prophet Moses was entrusted
with the Mission to go to a tyrant king like Pharaoh and ask
him to give up his attitude of rebellion. These are the mysterious
ways of Allah. He catches hold of a way farer of Midian on
his way to Egypt and says, "Go and fight with the greatest
tyrant of the time." He did not provide him with armies and
provisions for this Mission. The only thing He did was to appoint
his brother as his assistant at his request.
You, O People of Makkah, should note it well that Pharaoh employed
the same devices against Prophet Moses as you are employing
against Prophet Muhammad -- frivolous objections, accusations,
and cruel persecutions. You should know that Allah's Prophet
came out victorious over Pharaoh, who possessed large armies
and war equipments. Incidentally, the Muslims have been consoled
and comforted, though not in so many words, that they should
not be afraid of fighting with the Quraish against fearful
odds, for the mission which is supported by Allah comes out
victorious in the end.
At the same time, the Muslims have been exhorted to follow
the excellent example of the magicians of Egypt, who remained
steadfast in their Faith, though Pharaoh threatened them with
An incident from the story of the Israelites has been cited
to show in what ridiculous manner the idolization of false
gods and goddesses starts and that the Prophets of God do not
tolerate even the slightest tinge of this preposterous practice.
Likewise, Prophet Muhammad is following the former Prophets
in opposing shirk and idol worship today.
Thus, the story of Moses has been used to throw light on all
those matters which were connected with the conflict between
the Holy Prophet and the Quraish. Then at the end of the story,
the. Quraish have been briefly admonished, as if to say, "The
Quran has been sent down in your tongue for your own good.
If you listen to it and follow its admonition, you will be
doing so for your own good but if you reject it, you will yourselves
meet with an evil end."
After this the story of Prophet Adam has been related, as if
to tell the Quraish, "The way you are following is the way
of Satan, whereas the right way for a man is to follow his
father Adam. He was beguiled by Satan, but when he realized
his error, he plainly confessed it and repented and again turned
back to the service of Allah and won His favour. On the other
hand, if a person follows Satan and sticks to his error obdurately
in spite of admonition, he does harm to himself alone like
In the end, the Holy Prophet and the Muslims have been advised
not to be impatient in regard to the punishment to the disbelievers,
as if to say, "Allah has His Own scheme concerning them. He
does not seize them at once but gives them sufficient respite.
Therefore you should not grow impatient but bear the persecutions
with fortitude and go on conveying the Message."
In this connection, great emphasis has been laid on Salat so
that it may create in the believers the virtues of patience,
forbearance, contentment, resignation to the will of God and
self analysis for these are greatly needed in the service of
the Message of the Truth.