Surat Ar-Rum is the 30th surah of the Holy Qur’an. It consists of 60 verses. The word Rum which literally means Romans occurs in the first verse, referring to the Eastern Roman Empire, also known as the Byzantine Empire.
This Meccan surah begins by noting a recent defeat of the Byzantine Romans by the Persians at the Battle of Antioch. This defeat posed a significant theological and sociological problem for the early Muslim community because the Christian Byzantines were considered People of the Book, or monotheists, while the Persians who defeated them were considered idolaters.
This surah which is located in Juz’ number 21 in the Holy Qur’an is in part a response to the non-Muslim Meccans who took this victory as a sign that traditional polytheism would win out over monotheism. In the third and fourth verse, the Muslim community is promised that the Byzantines will reverse their defeat into a victory “in a few years’ time”. This victory did eventually come at the Battle of Issus in 622.
The main theme of this surah is the contrast between monotheism and polytheism. In addition to making logical arguments against ascribing partners to Allah, several verses outline the differing fate for idolaters and believers. The unity of God is also emphasized with descriptions of the glory of Allah through illustrations of His wondrous signs and His miraculous creation.
In this episode of the program “Reason” of Iqraa TV Channel, the renowned Egyptian geologist Dr. Zaghlool Al Najjar explains with some Egyptian youth the challenges that Allah has mentioned in the verses of Surat Ar-Rum.