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Get to Know Surah Al-Saff – with Brother Nouman

Surah Al-Saff is a very concise surah of the Qur’an, yet very powerful.

It belongs to the group of chapters called “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 thirteenth episode.


This is a Madani surah which was revealed after the Prophet migrated to Madinah, and it’s part of a group of surahs where Muslims are being reprimanded in some sense for not showing the kind of strength of faith that is expected of them.

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And in all of these surahs you will find a recurring theme, and I’ll talk about that theme today, and that is Allah will compare the submission of the skies and the earth. Everything in the heavens and the earth continuously declare Allah’s perfection and always has.

That’s the first ayah of the surah:

{Whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth exalts Allah, and He is the Exalted in Might, the Wise} (61:1)

There He will contrast that with the best of all creation; human beings.

If you are the best of all creation, then the best example of submission and servitude and loyalty to Allah should be human beings, and within human beings should be believers.

So we’re the cream of the crop as far as creation is concerned from Allah’s perspective and from a faith perspective.

And yet Allah mentions that contrast and says:

{O you who have believed, why do you say what you do not do?} (61:2)

Believers, why do you say what you don’t do?

Why do you declare God’s perfection but it does not reflect in your character, speech, behavior and lifestyles?

That contrast is continuously made in all of these “musabbihat” between the submission of all existence in contrast with the submission of human beings, particularly the believing community.

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The second thing about this surah that I would like you to know is that this surah is actually inciting believers to stand up when the Prophet, peace be upon him, is in a state of emergency calling them to basically risk their lives.

We are in the heat of the conflict with the Makkans, and now we are basically in a state of war.

Muslims have gone to war with the Makkans, and they brought war to Madinah, to the Muslims, several times now.

And in the heat of all of that, there are some saying we didn’t sign up to be part of an army, we just signed up to become faithful and believers.

The great test of a lot of believers alongside the prophets in the past, especially the prophets of the Israelites, is that they are expected to fight along the messengers, if the need came for it.

So that’s the call being made to the Muslim community, and now you need to put the money and children, and think about money and children aside, and give up your lives for the sake of Allah when the call comes…

It’s basically now a fight for the survival of Islam itself in the small city of Madinah.

So that’s kind of the overall picture of the surah…

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 – Part 12

(From Discovering Islam archive)