The Surah takes its name from the sentence Dhalika yaum-ut
taghabun of verse 9, thereby implying that it is the Surah
in which the word at taghabun has occurred.
Period of Revelation
Muqatil and Kalbi say that it was partly revealed at Makkah
and partly at Madinah. Hadrat Abdullah bin Abbas and Ata bin
Yasar say that vv. 1-13 were revealed at Makkah and vv. 14-18
at Madinah. But the majority of commentators regard the whole
of the surah as a Madinan Revelation. Although there is no
internal evidence to help determine its exact period of revelation,
yet a study of its subject matter shows that it might probably
have been sent down at an early stage at Madinah. That is why
it partly resembles the Makkah surahs and partly the Madinan
Theme and Subject Matter
The theme of this surah is invitation to the Faith and obedience
(to Allah) and the teaching of good morals. The sequence followed
is that the first four verses are addressed to all men; verses
5-10 to those men, who do not believe in the invitation of
the Qur'an; and verses 11-l8 to those who accept and believe
in this invitation.
In the verses addressed to all men, they have been made aware
in a few brief sentences of the four fundamental truths:
First, that the universe in which they live is not Godless,
but its Creator, Master and Ruler is an All Powerful God, and
everything in it testifies to His being most Perfect and absolutely
Second, that the universe is not without purpose and wisdom,
but its Creator has created it with truth no one should be
under the delusion that it is a mock show, which began without
a purpose and will come to an end without a purpose.
Third, that the excellent form that God has created you with
and the choice that He has given you to choose between belief
and unbelief is not a useless and meaningless activity so that
it may be of no consequence whether you choose belief or unbelief.
In fact, God is watching as to how you exercise your choice.
Fourth, that you have not been created irresponsible and un-answerable.
You have to return ultimately to your Creator, and have to
meet the Being who is aware of everything in the universe,
from Whom nothing is hidden, to Whom even the innermost thoughts
of the minds are known.
After stating these four fundamental truths about the Universe
and Man, the address turns to the people who adopted the way
of unbelief, and their attention is drawn to a phenomenon which
has persisted throughout human history, namely that nation
after nation has arisen and ultimately gone to its doom. Man
by his intellect and reason has been explaining this phenomenon
in a thousand ways, but Allah tells the real truth and declares
that the fundamental causes of the destruction of the nations
were only two:
First, that they refused to believe in the Messengers whom
He sent for their guidance, with the result that Allah too
left them to themselves, and they invented their own philosophies
of life and went on groping their way from one error to another.
Second, that they also, rejected the doctrine of Hereafter,
and thought this worldly life to be an end in itself, and that
there was no life hereafter when they would have to render
an account of their deeds before God. This corrupted their
whole attitude towards life, and their impure morals and character
so polluted the world that eventually the scourge of God itself
had to descend and eliminate them from the scene.
After stating these two instructive truths of human history,
the deniers of the message of Truth have been admonished to
wake up and believe in Allah, His Messenger and the Light of
Guidance that Allah has sent in the form of the Qur'an if they
want to avoid the fate met by the former peoples. Besides,
they have been warned that the Day shall eventually come when
all the former and the latter generations will be collected
at one place and the fraud and embezzlement committed by each
will be exposed before all mankind. Then the fate of each man
will be decided finally on the basis as to who had adopted
the path of the Faith and righteousness and who had followed
the way of disbelief and denial of the Truth. The first group
shalt deserve eternal Paradise and the second shall be doomed
to everlasting Hell.
Then, addressing those who adopt the way of the Faith, a few
important instructions have been given:
First, that whatever affliction befalls a person in the world,
it befalls him by Allah's leave. Whoever in this state of affliction
remains steadfast to the Faith, Allah blesses his heart with
guidance; otherwise although the affliction of the one who
in confusion or bewilderment turns away from the path of the
Faith, cannot be averted except by Allah's leave, yet he becomes
involved in another, the greatest affliction of all, namely
that his heart is deprived of the guidance of Allah.
Secondly, that the believer is not required to affirm the faith
with the tongue only, but after the affirmation of the Faith
he should practically obey Allah and His Messenger. If he turns
away from obedience he would himself be responsible for his
loss, for the Holy Messenger of Allah (upon whom be His peace)
has become absolved from the responsibility after having delivered
the message of Truth.
Thirdly, that the believer should place his trust in Allah
alone and not in his own power or some other power of the world.
Fourthly, that the worldly goods and children are a great trial
and temptation for the believer, for it is their love which
generally distracts man from the path of faith and obedience.
Therefore, the believers have to beware some of their children,
and wives lest they become robbers for them on the Way of God
directly or indirectly; and they should spend their wealth
for the sake of God so that their self remains safe against
the temptations of Satan.
Fifthly, that every man is responsible only to the extent of
his power and ability. Allah does not demand that man should
exert himself beyond his power and ability. However, the believer
should try his best to live in fear of God as far as possible,
and should see that he does not transgress the bounds set by
Allah in his speech, conduct and dealings through his own negligence.