This Surah is called Nun as well as Al-Qalam, the words with
which it begins.
Period of Revelation
This too is one of the earliest surahs to be revealed at Makkah,
but its subject matter shows that it was sent down at the time
when opposition to the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) had
grown very harsh and tyrannical.
Theme and Subject Matter
It consists of three themes: Replies to the opponents objections,
administration of warning and admonition to them, and exhortation
to the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) to patience and constancy.
At the outset, the Holy Prophet has been addressed, to the
effect: "The disbelievers call you a madman whereas the Book
that you are presenting and the sublime conduct that you practise,
are by themselves sufficient to refute their false accusations.
Soon they will see as to who was mad and who was sane; therefore,
do not at all yield to the din of opposition being kicked up
against you, for all this is actually meant to cow you and
make you resort to a compromise with them."
Then, in order to enlighten the common people the character
of a prominent man from among the opponents, whom the people
of Makkah fully well recognized, has been presented, without
naming him:At that time, the Holy Prophet's pure and sublime
conduct was before them, and every discerning eye could also
see what sort of character and morals were possessed by the
chiefs of Makkah, who were leading the opposition against him.
Then, in vv. 17-33, the parable of the owners of a garden has
been presented, who after having been blessed by Allah turned
ungrateful to Him, and did not heed the admonition of the best
man among them when it was given them. Consequently, they were
deprived of the blessing and they realized this, when all they
had lay devastated. With this parable the people of Makkah
have been warned to the effect:"With the appointment of the
Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) to Prophethood, you, O people
of Makkah, too, have been put to a test similar to the one
to which the owners of the garden had been put. If you do not
listen to him, you too will be afflicted with a punishment
in the world, and the punishment of the Hereafter is far greater."
Then, in vv. 34-47 continuously, the disbelievers have been
admonished, in which the address sometimes turns to them directly
and sometimes they are warned through the Holy Prophet (upon
whom be peace).
A summary of what has been said in this regard, is this: Well
being in the Hereafter inevitably belongs to those who spend
their lives in the world in full consciousness of God. It is
utterly against reason that the obedient servants should meet
in the Hereafter the same fate as the guilty. There is absolutely
no basis of the disbelievers misunderstanding that God will
treat them in the manner they choose for themselves, whereas
they have no guarantee for this.
Those who are being called upon to bow before God in the world
and they refuse to do so, would be unable to prostrate themselves
on the Day of Resurrection even if they wanted to do so, and
thus would stand disgraced and condemned. Having denied the
Qur'an they cannot escape Divine punishment.
The rein they are being given, has deluded them. They think
that since they are not being punished in spite of their denial,
they must be on the right path, whereas they are following
the path of ruin. They have no reasonable ground for opposing
the Messenger, for he is a preacher without any vested interest:
he is not asking any reward of them for himself, and they cannot
either make the claim that they know with certainty that he
is not a true Messenger, nor that what he says is false.
In conclusion, the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) has been
exhorted to the effect:"Bear with patience the hardships that
you may have to face in the way of preaching the Faith till
Allah's judgment arrives, and avoid the impatience which caused
suffering and affliction to the Prophet Jonah (peace be on