It is derived from the sentence idha nudiya-lis-salat-imin-yaum-il-
Jumu'ati of verse 9. Although in this Surah injunctions about
the Friday congregational Prayer also have been given, yet "Jumu'ah" is
not the title of its subject-matter as a whole, but this name
too, like the names of other Surahs, is only a symbolic title.
Period of Revelation
The period of the revelation of the first section (vv. 1-8)
is A. H. 7, and probably it was sent down, on the occasion
of the conquest of Khaiber or soon after it. Bukhari, Muslim,
Tirmidhi, Nasa'i and Ibn Jarir have related on the authority
of Hadrat Abu Hurairah that he and other Companions were sitting
in the Holy Prophet's assembly when these verses were revealed.
About Abu Hurairah it is confirmed historically that he entered
Islam after the truce of Hudaibiyah and before the conquest
of Khaiber, and Khaiber was conquered, according to Ibn Hisham,
in Muharram, and, according to Ibn Sa`d, in Jamadi al-Awwal,
A.H. 7. Thus presumably Allah might have sent down these verses,
addressing the Jews, when their last stronghold had fallen
to the Muslims, or these might have been revealed when, seeing
the fate of Khaiber, all the Jewish settlements of northern
Hijaz had surrendered to the Islamic government.
The second section (vv. 9-11) was sent down shortly after the
emigration, for the Holy Prophet (upon whom be Allah's peace)
had established the Friday congregational Prayer on the 5th
day after his arrival at Madinah. The incident that has been
referred to in the last verse of this section must have occurred
at a time when the people had not yet received full training
in the etiquette of religious congregations.
Theme and Subject Matter
As we have explained above, the two sections of this Surah
were sent down in two different periods. That is why their
themes as well as their audiences are different. Although there
is a kind of harmony between them on account of which they
have been put together in one Surah, yet we should understand
their themes separately before we consider the question of
The first section was sent down at a time when all Jewish efforts
to obstruct the message of Islam during the past six years
had failed. First. in Madinah as many as three of their powerful
tribes had done whatever they could to frustrate the mission
of the Holy Prophet, with the result that one of the tribes
was completely exterminated and the other two were exiled.
Then by intrigue and conspiracy they brought many of the Arab
tribes together to advance on Madinah, but in the Battle of
the Trench they were all repulsed. After this, Khaiber had
become their stronghold, where a large number of the Jews expelled
from Madinah also had taken refuge. At the time these verses
were revealed, that too was taken without any extraordinary
effort, and the Jews at their own request agreed to live there
as tenants of the Muslims.
After this final defeat the Jewish power in Arabia came to
an end. Then, Wad-il-Qura, Fadak, Taima', Tabuk, all surrendered
one after the other, so much so that all Arabian Jews became
subdued to the same Islam which they were not prepared to tolerate
before. This was the occasion when Allah Almighty once again
addressed them in this Surah, and probably this was the last
and final address that was directed to them in the Qur'an.
In this they have been reminded of three things:
"You refused to believe in this Messenger only because
he was born among a people whom you contemptuously call
the "gentiles". You were under the false delusion that
the Messenger must necessarily belong to your own community.
You seemed to have been convinced that anyone who claimed
to be a prophet from outside your community, must be an
imposter, for this office had been reserved for your race,
and a messenger could never be raised among the "gentiles".
But among the same gentiles Allah has raised a Messenger
who is reciting His Book in front of your very eyes,
is purifying souls, and showing the Right Way to the
people whose misdeeds are well known to you. This is
Allah's bounty, which He may bestow on anyone He may
please. You have no monopoly over it so that He may bestow
it over whomever you may please and may withhold it from
whomever you may desire it to be withheld".
"You had been made bearers of the
Torah, but you did not understand your responsibility
for it nor discharged it as you should have. You are
like the donkey which is loaded with books, and which
does not know what burden it is bearing. Rather you are
worse than the donkey, for the donkey is devoid of sense,
but you are intelligent. You not only shirk your responsibility
of being bearers of Allah's revelations deliberately,
Yet, you are under the delusion that you are Allah's
favorites and the blessing of apostleship has been reserved
for you alone.
More than that, you seem to entertain the notion that
whether you fulfill the demands of Allah's message or
not, Allah In any case is bound not to make any other
than you the bearer of His message."
"If you really were Allah's favorites
and you were sure of having a p!ace of honor and high
rank reserved with Him, you would not have feared death
so much as to prefer a life of disgrace to death. It
is only because of this fear of death that you have suffered
humiliation after humiliation during the past few years.
Your this condition is by itself a proof that you are
fully conscious of your misdeeds, and your conscience
is aware that if you die with these misdeeds, you will
meet with a greater disgrace before Allah in the Hereafter
than in this world."
This is the subject-matter of the first section. The second
section that was sent down many years later, was appended to
this Surah because in it Allah has bestowed Friday on the Muslims
as against the Sabbath of the Jews, and Allah wanted to warn
the Muslims not to treat their Friday as the Jews had treated
This section was sent down on an occasion when a trade caravan
arrived in Madinah right at the time of the Friday congregational
service and hearing its din and drum the audience, except for
12 men, left the Prophet's Mosque and rushed out to the caravan,
although the Holy Prophet (upon whom be Allah's peace) at that
time was delivering the Sermon. Thereupon it was enjoined that
after the call is sounded for the Friday Prayer all trade and
business and other occupations become forbidden.
The believers should then suspend every kind of transaction
and hasten to the remembrance of Allah. However, when the Prayer
is over, they have the right to disperse in the land to resume
their normal occupations. This section could be made an independent
Surah in view of the commandments that it contains about the
congregational service on Friday, and could also be included
in some other Surah, but, instead, it has been included here
particularly in the verses in which the Jews have been warned
of the causes of their evil end. Its wisdom in our opinion
is the same as we have explained above.