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Get to Know Surah Al-Hadid – With Brother Nouman

Surah Al-Hadid, the 57th verse of the Qur’an, is the first of the “musabbihat”.

What are al-musabbihat?

Get to Know a Surah of the Quran is a series of videos brother Nouman Ali Khan presented in 2016 during the month of Ramadan.

The following is a summary of some of the most important points and reflections brother Nouman mentioned in this twelfth episode.


The “musabbihat” are a series of madani surahs, and were revealed at a time when Muslims were feeling weakness in faith as a result of a growth in the Muslim community, and some of the people who had just accepted Islam were not as mature in their faith as those that had migrated with the Prophet.

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That’s not to say that everyone who came into Islam in Madinah is weak, but a good number had not truly understood the gravity of the matter and the seriousness of the matter.

So what Allah does in these surahs is that He rejuvenates the faith of the Muslim community, and this is the first and the largest of the “musabbihat”.

It is a very powerful surah, and a remarkable one.

This is actually after a long series of Makkan surahs in the Qur’an where it is situated, after Surah Al-Waqi’ah, and from here (surah 57) all the way to surah 66 they are Madani surahs.

So this is the last large group of Madani surahs in the entire Qur’an, and this is the first of them.

Five Main Passages

The thing I would like to share with you about this surah is how beautifully it is organized.

To remember its subject matter, one of the easiest ways is to look how it is organized.

And you can look at it as divided into five distinct passages…

The first passage made up of six ayat is actually a description of Allah.

What we need to understand is who God is, who Allah is.

How everything declares His perfection.

How He is The First and The Last.

How He owns all the kingdom and dominion of all of existence.

{His is the dominion of the heavens and earth. And to Allah are returned [all] matters.} (57:5)

He is the one who pours the night into the day and the day into the night.

This passage sounds as if you are being introduced to Allah for the first time, even though this is a Madani surah.

The idea of it is to revive your faith in Allah.

And contrasting this, if you travel to the fifth passage of the surah, the last part of this surah, you will notice a theme occurring over and over again, dominating that passage, is faith in Allah’s messengers.

So He says:

{We have already sent Our messengers with clear evidences and sent down with them the Scripture and the balance that the people may maintain [their affairs] in justice…} (57:25)

Then He says:

{And We have already sent Noah and Abraham and placed in their descendants prophethood and scripture; and among them is he who is guided, but many of them are defiantly disobedient.} (57:26)

And then:

{O you who have believed, fear Allah and believe in His Messenger; He will [then] give you a double portion of His mercy and make for you a light by which you will walk and forgive you; and Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.} (57:28)

What I’m getting at is that faith in Allah is section one, and faith in His messengers is section five, and between the two of them is going to be the other three remaining passages.

The interesting thing also you will notice is that faith in Allah is actually something that is inside the hearts, and faith in the messenger is only manifest when you obey the messenger, it is practical in nature.

You will see that dichotomy inside the surah as well.

Faith & Spending in the Path of Allah

So now let me get you to the second passage.

This second passage is a mix of two things: the first is your faith, and the second is spending in the path of Allah.

And the way those two things play together in this passage, Allah talks exhaustively about spending (believe in Allah and as a result spend from whatever He has given you) and later on He will say what is wrong with you, why don’t you spend:

{And why do you not spend in the cause of Allah while to Allah belongs the heritage of the heavens and the earth?…} (57:10)

And then He says:

{Who is it that would loan Allah a goodly loan so He will multiply it for him and he will have a noble reward?} (57:11)

And in the middle of all this conversation about spending, spending, spending, in the heart of it is actually believing.

{It is He who sends down upon His Servant [Muhammad] verses of clear evidence that He may bring you out from darknesses into the light. And indeed, Allah is to you Kind and Merciful.} (57:9)

So the second passage is dominated by spending and the root of spending, what is going to give you the courage, the strength, the will to spend is going to be your faith.

If you travel to the second last passage, you will find the opposite.

You will find secure your heart, seek forgiveness from Allah, strengthen your faith, don’t let your heart become hard…

And in the middle of that, which is actually the opposite, is a verse to spend in the path of Allah.

{Indeed, the men who practice charity and the women who practice charity and [they who] have loaned Allah a goodly loan – it will be multiplied for them, and they will have a noble reward.} (57:18)

So what I’m trying to get at is in the second passage you had spending – faith – spending.

And then the exact opposite when you’ve got faith – spending – faith.

So the two are so inter-twined together and Allah makes that same point about how inseparable those two things are.

My faith and my charitable work are inseparable from each other, and He makes that point in both organizations: in the second passage and in the fourth passage.

The Middle Passage

That leaves only one passage and that is the middle passage of the surah.

So the first and the last were connected, and the second and the fourth were connected, leading right down to the middle.

And the middle is one of the most unique places in the entire Qur’an describing something about Judgement Day that has not been described anywhere else like this.

It is describing what will happen to people who thought they believed, but they did not really believe, and they resurrected on Judgment Day around other true sincere believers, but they noticed everybody else around them has light shining from their front, and their right hand:

{On the Day you see the believing men and believing women, their light proceeding before them and on their right, [it will be said], “Your good tidings today are [of] gardens beneath which rivers flow, wherein you will abide eternally.” That is what is the great attainment.} (57:12)

What that suggests is the light of their faith and the light of their hands, their deeds.

What’s the faith?

It’s already been talked about in the Surah.

What’s the hand?

It’s the hand that is charitable, the one that gave. The one who spent.

So these people they wake up, and they wake up with light in front of them and in their right hand, and as a result of that light, they are able to make their way towards Heaven.

And you’re standing among them, and you can’t see that you have any light.

So you call on them:

{On the [same] Day the hypocrite men and hypocrite women will say to those who believed, “Wait for us that we may acquire some of your light.” It will be said, “Go back behind you and seek light.” And a wall will be placed between them with a door, its interior containing mercy, but on the outside of it is torment.} (57:13)

To find out how the Surah concludes, and for more reflections and details on this surah explained by brother Nouman, and to watch the full episode, please click here.

Read also Part 1 – Part 2 – Part 3– Part 4– Part 5 – Part 6 –  Part 7– Part 8 – Part 9– Part 10 – Part 11

(From Discovering Islam archive)