The Surah takes its name Al Mu'min from verse 28, implying
thereby, that it is a Surah in which Al Mu'min (the Believer
of Pharaoh's people) has been mentioned.
Period of Revelation
According to Ibn 'Abbas and Jabir bin Zaid, this Surah was
sent down consecutively after Surah Az-Zumar, and its present
position in the order of the Surahs in the Quran is the same
as its chronological order.
Background of Revelation
There are clear indications in the subject matter of this Surah
to the conditions in which it was revealed. The disbelievers
of Makkah at that time were engaged in two kinds of the activities
against the Holy Prophet.
First, they were creating every kind of suspicion and misgiving
in the minds of the people about the teaching of the Quran
and the message of Islam and about the Holy Prophet himself
by starting many disputes and discussions, raising irrelevant
objections and bringing ever new accusations so that the Holy
Prophet and the believers were sick of trying to answer them.
Second, they were preparing the ground for putting an end to
the Holy Prophet himself. They were devising one plot after
the other, and on one occasion had even taken the practical
steps to execute a plot. Bukhari has related a tradition on
the authority of Hadrat Abdullah bin Amr bin 'As saying that
one day when the Holy Prophet was offering his Prayer in the
precinct's of the Kabbah, suddenly 'Uqbah bin Abi Mu'ait, rushed
forward and putting a piece of cloth round his neck started
twisting it so as to strangle him to death.
Hadrat Abu Bakr, who happened to go there in time, pushed him
away. Hadrat Abdullah says that when Abu Bakr was struggling
with the cruel man, he was saying words to the effect: "Would
you kill a man only because he says: Allah is my Lord?" With
a little variation this event has also been mentioned in Ibn
Hisham, Nasa'i and Ibn Abi Hatim .
Theme and Topics
Both aspects of this have been clear]y stated at the very outset,
and then the whole following discourse is a most effective
and instructive review of them.
As an answer to the conspiracies of murder, the story of the
Believer of the people of Pharaoh has been narrated (vv. 23
- 55) and through this story three different lessons have been
taught to the three groups:
The disbelievers have been admonished: "Whatever
you intend to do against Muhammad (upon whom be Allah's
peace), the same did the Pharaoh with his might intend
against the Prophet Moses. Now, would you like to meet
with the same fate with which he met by plotting such
The Prophet Muhammad (upon whom be
Allah's peace) and his followers have been taught the
lesson: "These wicked
people may apparently be very strong and powerful and
you very weak and helpless against them, yet you should
rest assured that the might of that God Whose Word you
are trying to raise high is superior to every other power.
Therefore, you should only seek Allah's refuge in response
to every and any dreadful threat that they utter against
you, and then busy yourself after this in fearlessly
performing your mission. The God-worshipper has only
one answer to every threat of the tyrant: `I have taken
refuge in my Lord and your Lord against every arrogant
person who does not believe in the Day of Reckoning.'
(v. 27) Thus, if you go on performing your mission fearless
of every danger and with full trust in God, His succour
will ultimately reach you, and the Pharaohs of today
shall be doomed just as the Pharaohs of yesterday. Till
that time you will have to face and bear patiently every
wave of persecution and tyranny that may be directed
Besides these two, there was a third group of the people
also in the society, who had been convinced in their hearts
that the Truth was only on the side of the Holy Prophet
Muhammad (upon whom be Allah's peace), and that the disbelieving
Quraish were being unjust and cruel. But in spite of the
conviction they were watching quietly and unconcerned the
conflict between the Truth and falsehood.
Allah here has aroused their conscience as if to say: "When
the enemies of the Truth have openly plotted, in front
of your very eyes, it would be a sad reflection on you
if you still remained indifferent. Under such conditions,
unless a person's conscience has wholly become dead,
he should rise and perform the duty, which a righteous
man from among the courtiers of Pharaoh himself had performed
at a time when the Pharaoh had made up his mind to kill
the Prophet Moses. The circumstances that prevent you
from raising your voice had also obstructed the way of
the Believer, but he had full faith in Allah and disregarded
all expediency; then note that the Pharaoh was not able
to do him any harm."
Now as for the conspiracies, which were continuing in Makkah
day and night to defeat the Truth, on the one hand, arguments
have been given to prove the doctrines of Tauhid and the Hereafter
as true, which were the real basis of the dispute between the
Holy Prophet and the disbelievers, and it has been stated plainly
and openly that the disbelievers are wrangling over those truths
without any knowledge. On the other, the motives which were
the real cause of the Quraishite chiefs' conflict against the
Holy Prophet, have been exposed.
Apparently they were trying to have the common people believe
that they had some genuine objections against the teaching
of the Prophet and his claim to prophethood; that is why
they were not prepared to listen to him. But, in fact, this
was their struggle for power. In verse 56, they have been
openly warned, so as to say" "The real cause of your denial
is your arrogance and vanity. You think that if you acknowledge
the prophethood of Muhammad (upon whom be Allah's peace),
your power and authority will come to an end. That is why
you are straining every nerve to frustrate and defeat him."
In the same connection, the disbelievers have been warned
again and again to the effect:"If you do not desist from
wrangling against the Revelations of Allah, you will be doomed
to the same fate as the nations of the past. Much worse torment
awaits you in the Hereafter. Then you will repent, but it
will be too late.