The Surah takes its name from the very first verse Wan shaqq
al-Qamar, thereby implying that it is a Surah in which the
word al-Qamar has occurred.
Period of Revelation
The incident of the shaqq-al-Qamar (splitting of the moon)
that has been mentioned in it, determines its period of revelation
precisely. The traditionists and commentators are agreed that
this incident took place at Mina in Makkah about five years
before the Holy Prophet's hijrah to Madinah.
Theme and Subject Matter
In this Surah the disbelievers of Makkah have been warned for
their stubbornness which they had adopted against the invitation
of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).
The amazing and wonderful phenomenon of the splitting of the
Moon was a manifest sign of the truth that the Resurrection,
of which the Holy Prophet was giving them the news, could take
place and that it had approached near at hand.
The great sphere of the Moon had split into two distinct parts
in front of their very eyes. The two parts had separated and
receded so much apart from each other that to the on-lookers
one part had appeared on one side of the mountain and the other
on the other side of it. Then, in an instant the two had rejoined.
This was a manifest proof of the truth that the system of the
Universe was neither eternal nor immortal, it could be disrupted.
Huge stars and Planets could split asunder, disintegrate, collide
with each other, and everything that had been depicted in the
Quran In connection with the description of the details of
Resurrection, could happen. Not only this : it was also a portent
that the disintegration of the system of the Universe had begun
and the time was near when Resurrection would take place. The
Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) invited
the people's attention to this event only with this object
in view and asked them to mark it and be a witness to it. But
the disbelievers described it as a magical illusion add persisted
in their denial. For this stubbornness they have been reproached
in this Surah.
At the outset it has been said: "These people neither believe
in the admonition, nor learn a lesson from history, nor affirm
faith after witnessing manifest signs with their eyes. Now
they would believe only when Resurrection has taken place and
they would be rushing out of their graves towards the Summoner
on that Day."
Then, the stories of the people of Noah and of 'Ad and Thamud
and of the peoples of Lot and the Pharaoh have been related
briefly and they have been reminded of the terrible punishments
that these nations suffered when they belied and disregarded
the warnings given by the Prophets of God. After the narration
of each story the refrain that has been provided is : "This
Qur'an is an easy means of admonition, which if a nation takes
to heart and thereby takes the Right Way, the torment that
descended on the former nations could be avoided.
But it would indeed be a folly if instead of heeding the admonition
through this easy means, one persisted in heedlessness and
disbelieved until one was overtaken by the torment itself."
Likewise, after citing admonitory precedents from the history
of the former nations, the disbelievers of Makkah have been
addressed and warned to this effect: "If you too adopt the
same attitude and conduct for which the other nations have
already been punished, why will you not be punished for it?
Are you in any way a superior people that you should be treated
differently from others? Or, have you received a deed of amnesty
that you will not be punished for the crime for which others
have been punished?And if you feel elated at your great numbers,
you will soon see that these very numbers of yours are put
to rout (on the battlefield) and on the Day of Resurrection
you will be dealt with even more severely."
In the end, the disbelievers have been told that Allah does
not need to make lengthy preparations to bring about Resurrection.
No sooner does He give a simple command for it than it will
take place immediately. Like everything else the Universe and
mankind also have a destiny. According to this destiny everything
happens at its own appointed time.
It cannot be so that whenever somebody gives a challenge, Resurrection
is brought about in order to convince him. If you adopt rebellion
because you do not see it coming, you will only be adding to
your own distress and misfortune. For your record which is
being prepared by Divine agents, has not left any misdeed of
yours, great or small, unrecorded.