It is derived from the word zukhruf-an which occurs in verse
33 of this Surah.
Period of Revelation
It could not be known from any authentic tradition, but a study
of its subject matter shows that this Surah also was sent down
in the same period in which the Surahs Al-Mumin, As-Sajdah
and Ash-Shura, were sent down. It appears that the revelation
of this series of the Surahs began when the disbelievers of
Makkah were planning to put an end to the Holy Prophet's life.
Day and night they were holding consultations in their assemblies
as how to eliminate him, and even an attack on his life also
had been made as has been clearly referred to in vv. 79-80.
Theme and Topics
In this Surah a forceful and severe criticism has been made
of the Quraish and the common Arabs creeds and superstitions
of ignorance in which they persisted, and their stubbornness
has been exposed in a firm and effective way, so that every
member of the society, who was reasonable in some degree, should
be made to consider the evils in which the community was involved
and its tyrannical treatment of the person who was trying to
The discourse starts in a way as if to say: "You, by means
of your mischiefs, want that the revelation of this Book should
be stopped, but Allah has never withheld the appointment of
His Prophets and the revelation of His Books because of the
mischief of the people, but has destroyed the wicked people,
who obstructed the way of His guidance. The same He will do
again. A little further in vv. 41-43 and 79-80 the same thing
has been reiterated. Though the people who were plotting against
his life are meant, the Holy Prophet has been addressed to
the effect: "whether you remain alive or not, We will certainly
punish the wicked," and the people themselves have been plainly
warned to the effect: "If you have decided to take an action
against Our Prophet, We too will take a decisive action."
Then, it has been told what is the reality of the religion
that the people are following so devotedly and what are the
arguments on whose strength they are resisting Muhammad (upon
whom be Allah's peace and Blessings).
They themselves admit that the Creator of the earth and heavens
and of themselves and their deities is only Allah. They also
know and admit that the blessings they are benefiting from,
have been bestowed by Allah; yet they insist on making others
associates of Allah in His Godhead.
They regard the servants as the children of Allah, and that
too daughters, whom they regard as disgraceful for themselves.
They believe that the angels are goddesses; they have carved
their images as females; they adorn them with female dresses
and ornaments, and call them daughters of Allah: they worship
them and invoke them for the fulfillment of their needs. How
did they know that the angels were female?
When they are rebuked for these superstitions, they present
the pretense of destiny and say :"Had Allah disapproved of
these our practices, we could not have worshiped these images,
whereas the means of finding out whether Allah had approved
of something or not, are His Books and not those things which
are happening in the world according to His Will. For under
His Will not only idol worship but crimes like theft and adultery,
robbery. murder, etc. also are being committed. Can this argument
be used to justify as right and proper this commission of every
crime and evil is the world?
When it is asked: Have you any other authority, apart from
this wrong argument, for the polytheism of yours?They reply, "The
same has been the practice since the time of our forefathers." In
other words, this in their opinion is a strong enough argument
for a creed's being right and true, whereas the Prophet Abraham,
descent from whom is the only basis of their pride and distinction,
had rejected the religion of his elders and left his home,
and he had discarded every such blind imitation of his forefathers,
which did not have the support of any rational argument. Then,
if these people had to follow their elders only, for this also
they selected their most ignorant elders and abandoned their
most illustrious elders like the Prophets Abraham and Ishmael
(on whom be peace).
When they are asked: "Has ever a Prophet or a Book sent down
by God also given this teaching that others beside Allah too
are worthy of worship? they present this practice of the Christians
as an argument that they took Jesus son of Mary as son of God
and worshiped him; whereas the question was not this whether
the community of a Prophet had committed shirk or not, but
this whether a Prophet had himself taught shirk. Jesus son
of Mary had never said that he was son of God and that the
people should worship him. His own was the same teaching which
every other Prophet had given "My Lord as well as your Lord
is Allah: so worship Him alone."
They were disinclined to believe in the Prophethood of the
Holy Prophet because he was neither a rich man nor a person
of high worldly position and rank. They said "Had Allah willed
to appoint a prophet among us, He would have appointed one
of the great men of' our two cities (Makkah and Taif). On that
very basis, Pharaoh also had looked down upon the Prophet Moses
and said: "If Allah, the King of the heavens, had to send a
messenger to me, the king of the earth, He would have sent
him with bracelets of gold and a company of angels in attendance.
Wherefrom has this mendicant appeared I am superior to him,
for the kingdom of Egypt belongs to me, and the canals of the
River Nile are flowing under my control. What is the status
of this man as against me? He has neither wealth nor authority."
Thus, after criticizing each practice of ignorance of the disbelievers
and rejecting it with rational arguments, it has been pointed
out: "Neither has God any offspring, nor are there separate
gods of the earth and heavens, nor is there any intercessor
who may be able to protect from His punishment those who adopt
deviation knowingly. Allah is far above this that He should
have children. He alone is the God of the whole Universe: all
others are His servants and not associates in His attributes
and powers, and only such men can intercede with Him, who are
themselves followers of the Truth and they also can intercede
only for those who may have adopted obedience of the Truth
in the world."