The Surah derives its name from the initial letter Qaf, thereby
implying that it is the Surah which opens with the alphabetic
Period of Revelation
There is no authentic tradition to show as to when exactly
this Surah was sent down. A study of the subject matter, however,
reveals that its period of revelation is the second stage of
the Holy Prophet's life at Makkah, which lasted from the third
year of the Prophethood till the fifth year. We have given
the characteristics of this period in the Introduction to the
Sarah Al-An'am. In view of those characteristics it can be
said that this Surah might have been sent down in about the
5th year, when the antagonism of the disbelievers had become
quite intense but had not yet assumed tyrannical proportions.
Theme and Topics
Authentic traditions show that the Holy Prophet used to recite
this Surah generally in the Prayer on the Eid days. A woman
named Umm Hisham bin Harithah, who was a neighbor of the Holy
Prophet, says that she was able to commit Surah Qaf to memory
only because she often heard it from the Holy Prophet in the
According to some other traditions he often recited it in the
Fajr Prayer. This makes it abundantly clear that this was an
important Surah in the sight of the Holy Prophet. That is why
he made sure that its contents reached as many people as possible
over and over again.
This reason for this importance can be easily understood by
a careful study of the Surah. The theme of the entire Surah
is the Hereafter. When the Holy Prophet started preaching his
message in Makkah what surprised the people most was the news
that people would be resurrected after death, and they would
have to render an account of their deeds.
They said that that was impossible; human mind could not believe
that that would happen. After all, how could it be possible
that when the body had disintegrated into dust the scattered
particles would be reassembled after hundreds of thousands
of years to make up the same body once again and raised up
as a living body, Allah in response sent down this discourse.
In it, on the one hand, arguments have been given for the possibility
and occurrence of the Hereafter in a brief way, in short sentences,
and, on the other, the people have been warned, as if to say: "Whether
you express wonder and surprise, or you regard it as something
remote from reason, or deny it altogether, in any case it cannot
change the truth.
The absolute, un-alterable truth is that Allah knows the whereabouts
of each and every particle of your body that has scattered
away in the earth, and knows where and in what state it is.
Allah's one signal is enough to make all the scattered particles
gather together again and to make you rise up once again as
you had been made in the first instance.
Likewise, your this idea that you have been created and left
free to yourselves in the world and that you have not been
made answerable to anyone, is no more than a misunderstanding.
The fact is that not only is Allah Himself directly aware of
each act and word of yours, even of the ideas that pass in
your mind, but His angels also are attached to each one of
you, who are preserving the record of whatever you do and utter.
When the time comes, you will come out of your graves at one
call just as young shoots of vegetable sprout up from the earth
on the first shower of the rain. Then this heedlessness which
obstructs your vision will be removed and you will see with
your own eyes all that you are denying today.
At that time you will realize that you had not been created
to be irresponsible in this world but accountable to all your
deeds the meeting out of the rewards and punishments, the Hell
and Heaven, which you regard as impossible and imaginary things,
will at that time become visible realities for you in consequence
of your enmity and opposition to the Truth you will be cast
into the same Hell which you regard as remote from reason today
and the ones who fear the Merciful God and return to the path
of righteousness, will be admitted to the same Paradise at
whose mention you now express wonder and surprise.