a land close by; but they, (even) after (this) defeat of theirs, will soon be
4. Within a few years. With Allah is the Decision, in the
past and in the Future: on that Day shall the Believers rejoice-
the help of Allah. He helps whom He will, and He is exalted in might, most
6. (It is) the promise of Allah. Never does Allah depart from
His promise: but most men understand not.
7. They know but the outer
(things) in the life of this world: but of the End of things they are heedless.
8. Do they not reflect in their own minds? Not but for just ends and for a
term appointed, did Allah create the heavens and the earth, and all between
them: yet are there truly many among men who deny the meeting with their Lord
(at the Resurrection)!
9. Do they not travel through the earth, and see
what was the end of those before them? They were superior to them in strength:
they tilled the soil and populated it in greater numbers than these have done:
there came to them their apostles with Clear (Signs). (Which they rejected, to
their own destruction): It was not Allah Who wronged them, but they wronged
their own souls.
10. In the long run evil in the extreme will be the End
of those who do evil; for that they rejected the Signs of Allah, and held them
up to ridicule.
11. It is Allah Who begins (the process of) creation;
then repeats it; then shall ye be brought back to Him.
12. On the Day
that the Hour will be established, the guilty will be struck dumb with despair.
13. No intercessor will they have among their "Partners" and they will
(themselves) reject their "Partners".
14. On the Day that the Hour will
be established,- that Day shall (all men) be sorted out.
15. Then those
who have believed and worked righteous deeds, shall be made happy in a Mead of
16. And those who have rejected Faith and falsely denied our
Signs and the meeting of the Hereafter,- such shall be brought forth to
17. So (give) glory to Allah, when ye reach eventide and when
ye rise in the morning;
18. Yea, to Him be praise, in the heavens and on
earth; and in the late afternoon and when the day begins to decline.
It is He Who brings out the living from the dead, and brings out the dead from
the living, and Who gives life to the earth after it is dead: and thus shall ye
be brought out (from the dead).
20. Among His Signs in this, that He
created you from dust; and then,- behold, ye are men scattered (far and wide)!
21. And among His Signs is this, that He created for you mates from among
yourselves, that ye may dwell in tranquillity with them, and He has put love and
mercy between your (hearts): verily in that are Signs for those who reflect.
22. And among His Signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and
the variations in your languages and your colours: verily in that are Signs for
those who know.
23. And among His Signs is the sleep that ye take by
night and by day, and the quest that ye (make for livelihood) out of His Bounty:
verily in that are signs for those who hearken.
24. And among His Signs,
He shows you the lightning, by way both of fear and of hope, and He sends down
rain from the sky and with it gives life to the earth after it is dead: verily
in that are Signs for those who are wise.
25. And among His Signs is
this, that heaven and earth stand by His Command: then when He calls you, by a
single call, from the earth, behold, ye (straightway) come forth.
Him belongs every being that is in the heavens and on earth: all are devoutly
obedient to Him.
27. It is He Who begins (the process of) creation; then
repeats it; and for Him it is most easy. To Him belongs the loftiest similitude
(we can think of) in the heavens and the earth: for He is Exalted in Might, full
28. He does propound to you a similitude from your own
(experience): do ye have partners among those whom your right hands possess, to
share as equals in the wealth We have bestowed on you? Do ye fear them as ye
fear each other? Thus do we explain the Signs in detail to a people that
29. Nay, the wrong-doers (merely) follow their own lusts,
being devoid of knowledge. But who will guide those whom Allah leaves astray? To
them there will be no helpers.
30. So set thou thy face steadily and
truly to the Faith: (establish) Allah's handiwork according to the pattern on
which He has made mankind: no change (let there be) in the work (wrought) by
Allah. that is the standard Religion: but most among mankind understand not.
31. Turn ye back in repentance to Him, and fear Him: establish regular
prayers, and be not ye among those who join gods with Allah,-
who split up their Religion, and become (mere) Sects,- each party rejoicing in
that which is with itself!
33. When trouble touches men, they cry to
their Lord, turning back to Him in repentance: but when He gives them a taste of
Mercy as from Himself, behold, some of them pay part-worship to other god's
besides their Lord,-
34. (As if) to show their ingratitude for the (favours)
We have bestowed on them! Then enjoy (your brief day); but soon will ye know
35. Or have We sent down authority to them, which points
out to them the things to which they pay part-worship?
36. When We give
men a taste of Mercy, they exult thereat: and when some evil afflicts them
because of what their (own) hands have sent forth, behold, they are in despair!
37. See they not that Allah enlarges the provision and restricts it, to
whomsoever He pleases? Verily in that are Signs for those who believe.
38. So give what is due to kindred, the needy, and the wayfarer. That is best
for those who seek the Countenance, of Allah, and it is they who will prosper.
39. That which ye lay out for increase through the property of (other)
people, will have no increase with Allah. but that which ye lay out for charity,
seeking the Countenance of Allah, (will increase): it is these who will get a
40. It is Allah Who has created you: further, He
has provided for your sustenance; then He will cause you to die; and again He
will give you life. Are there any of your (false) "Partners" who can do any
single one of these things? Glory to Him! and high is He above the partners they
attribute (to him)!
41. Mischief has appeared on land and sea because of
(the meed) that the hands of men have earned, that (Allah) may give them a taste
of some of their deeds: in order that they may turn back (from Evil).
Say: "Travel through the earth and see what was the end of those before (you):
Most of them worshipped others besides Allah."
43. But set thou thy face
to the right Religion before there come from Allah the Day which there is no
chance of averting: on that Day shall men be divided (in two).
who reject Faith will suffer from that rejection: and those who work
righteousness will spread their couch (of repose) for themselves (in heaven):
45. That He may reward those who believe and work righteous deeds, out of
his Bounty. For He loves not those who reject Faith.
46. Among His Signs
is this, that He sends the Winds, as heralds of Glad Tidings, giving you a taste
of His (Grace and) Mercy,- that the ships may sail (majestically) by His Command
and that ye may seek of His Bounty: in order that ye may be grateful.
We did indeed send, before thee, apostles to their (respective) peoples, and
they came to them with Clear Signs: then, to those who transgressed, We meted
out Retribution: and it was due from Us to aid those who believed.
is Allah Who sends the Winds, and they raise the Clouds: then does He spread
them in the sky as He wills, and break them into fragments, until thou seest
rain-drops issue from the midst thereof: then when He has made them reach such
of his servants as He wills behold, they do rejoice!-
49. Even though,
before they received (the rain) - just before this - they were dumb with
50. Then contemplate (O man!) the memorials of Allah's Mercy!-
how He gives life to the earth after its death: verily the same will give life
to the men who are dead: for He has power over all things.
51. And if We
(but) send a Wind from which they see (their tilth) turn yellow,- behold, they
become, thereafter, Ungrateful (Unbelievers)!
52. So verily thou canst
not make the dead to hear, nor canst thou make the deaf to hear the call, when
they show their backs and turn away.
53. Nor canst thou lead back the
blind from their straying: only those wilt thou make to hear, who believe in Our
signs and submit (their wills in Islam).
54. It is Allah Who created you
in a state of (helpless) weakness, then gave (you) strength after weakness,
then, after strength, gave (you weakness and a hoary head: He creates as He
wills, and it is He Who has all knowledge and power.
55. On the Day that
the Hour (of Reckoning) will be established, the transgressors will swear that
they tarried not but an hour: thus were they used to being deluded!
But those endued with knowledge and faith will say: "Indeed ye did tarry, within
Allah's Decree, to the Day of Resurrection, and this is the Day of Resurrection:
but ye - ye were not aware!"
57. So on that Day no excuse of theirs will
avail the transgressors, nor will they be invited (then) to seek grace (by
58. verily We have propounded for men, in this Qur'an every
kind of Parable: But if thou bring to them any Sign, the Unbelievers are sure to
say, "Ye do nothing but talk vanities."
59. Thus does Allah seal up the
hearts of those who understand not.
60. So patiently persevere: for
verily the promise of Allah is true: nor let those shake thy firmness, who have
(themselves) no certainty of faith.
The Surah takes its name Ar-Rum from the second verse in which the words
ghulibat-ir-Rum have occurred.
Period of Revelation
The period of the revelation of this Surah is determined absolutely by the
historical event that has been mentioned at the outset. It says: "The Romans
have been vanquished in the neighboring land."In those days the Byzantine
occupied territories adjacent to Arabia were Jordan, Syria and Palestine, and in
these territories the Romans were completely overpowered by the Iranians in 615
A. D. Therefore, it can be said with absolute certainty that this Surah was sent
down in the same year, and this was the year in which the migration to Habash
Historical Background The prediction made
in the initial verses of this Surah is one of the most outstanding evidences of
the Quran's being the Word of Allah and the Holy Prophet Muhammad's being a true
Messenger of Allah. Let us have a look at the historical background relevant to
Eight years before the Holy Prophet's advent as a Prophet the
Byzantine Emperor Maurice was overthrown by Phocus, who captured the throne and
became king. Phocus first got the Emperor's five sons executed in front of him,
and then got the Emperor also killed and hung their heads in a thoroughfare in
Constantinople. A few days after this he had the empress and her three daughters
also put to death. The event provided Khusrau Parvez, the Sassanid king of Iran;
a good moral excuse to attack Byzantium. For Emperor Maurice had been his
benefactor; with his help he had got the throne of Iran. Therefore, he declared
that he would avenge his godfather's and his children's murder upon Phocus, the
usurper. So, he started war against Byzantium in 603 A. D. and within a few
years, putting the Phocus armies to rout in succession, he reached Edessa
(modern, Urfa) in Asia Minor, on the one hand, and Aleppo and Antioch in Syria,
on the other. When the Byzantine ministers saw that Phocus could not save the
country, they sought the African governor's help, who sent his son, Heraclius,
to Constantinople with a strong fleet. Phocus was immediately deposed and
Heraclius made emperor. He treated Phocus as he had treated Maurice. This
happened in 610 A. D., the year the Holy Prophet was appointed to Prophethood.
The moral excuse for which Khusrau Parvez had started the war was no more
valid after the deposition and death of Phocus. Had the object of his war really
been to avenge the murder of his ally on Phocus for his cruelty, he would have
come to terms with the new Emperor after the death of Phocus. But he continued
the war, and gave it the color of a crusade between Zoroastrianism and
Christianity. The sympathies of the Christian sects (i. e. Nestorians and
Jacobians, etc.) which had been excommunicated by the Roman ecclesiastical
authority and tyrannized for years also went with the Magian (Zoroastrian)
invaders, and the Jews also joined hands with them; so much so that the number
of the Jews who enlisted in Khusrau's army rose up to 26,000.
could not stop this storm. The very first news that he received from the East
after ascending the throne was that of the Iranian occupation of Antioch. After
this Damascus fell in 613 A. D. Then in 614 A.D. the Iranians occupying
Jerusalem played havoc with the Christian world. Ninety thousand Christians were
massacred and the Holy Sepulcher was desecrated. The Original Cross on which,
according to the Christian belief, Jesus had died was seized and carried to
Mada'in. The chief priest Zacharia was taken prisoner and all the important
churches of the city were destroyed. How puffed up was Khusrau Parvez at this
victory can be judged from the letter that he wrote to Heraclius from Jerusalem.
He wrote: "From Khusrau, the greatest of all gods, the master of the whole
world: To Heraclius, his most wretched and most stupid servant: You say that you
have trust in your Lord. why didn't then your Lord save Jerusalem from me?"
Within a year after this victory the Iranian armies over-ran Jordan,
Palestine and the whole of the Sinai Peninsula, and reached the frontiers of
Egypt. In those very days another conflict of a far greater historical
consequence was going on in Makkah. The believers in One God, under the
leadership of the Prophet Muhammad (may Allah's peace be upon him), were
fighting for their existence against the followers of shirk under the command of
the chiefs of the Quraish, and the conflict had reached such a stage that in 615
A. D., a substantial number of the Muslims had to leave their homes and take
refuge with the Christian kingdom of Habash, which was an ally of the Byzantine
Empire. In those days the Sassanid victories against Byzantium were the talk of
the town, and the pagans of Makkah were delighted and were taunting the Muslims
to the effect: "Look the fire worshipers of Iran are winning victories and the
Christian believers in Revelation and Prophethood are being routed everywhere.
Likewise, we, the idol worshipers of Arabia, will exterminate you and your
These were the conditions when this Surah of the Quran was
sent down, and in it a prediction was made, saying: "The Romans have been
vanquished in the neighboring land and within a few years after their defeat,
they shall be victorious. And it will be the day when the believers will rejoice
in the victory granted by Allah." It contained not one but two predictions:
First, the Romans shall be victorious; and second, the Muslims also shall win a
victory at the same time. Apparently, there was not a remote chance of the
fulfillment of the either prediction in the next few years. On the one hand,
there were a handful of the Muslims, who were being beaten and tortured in
Makkah, and even till eight years after this prediction there appeared no chance
of their victory and domination. On the other, the Romans were losing more and
more ground every next day. By 619 A. D. the whole of Egypt had passed into
Sassanid hands and the Magian armies had reached as far as Tripoli. In Asia
Minor they beat and pushed back the Romans to Bosporus, and in 617 A. D. they
captured Chalcedon (modern, Kadikoy) just opposite Constantinople. The Emperor
sent an envoy to Khusrau, praying that he was ready to have peace on any terms,
but he replied, "I shall not give protection to the emperor until he is brought
in chains before me and gives up obedience to his crucified god and adopts
submission to the fire god." At last, the Emperor became so depressed by defeat
that he decided to leave Constantinople and shift to Carthage (modern, Tunis).
In short, as the British historian Gibbon says, even seven to eight years after
this prediction of the Quran, the conditions were such that no one could even
imagine that the Byzantine Empire would ever gain an upper hand over Iran. Not
to speak of gaining domination, no one could hope that the Empire, under the
circumstances, would even survive.
bid`i sinin, and the word bid` in
Arabic applies to a number upto ten. Therefore, make the bet for ten years and
increase the number of camels to a hundred." So, Hadrat Abu Bakr spoke to Ubayy
again and bet a hundred camels for ten years.
In 622 A. D. as the Holy
Prophet migrated to Madinah, the Emperor Heraclius set off quietly for Trabzon
from Constantinople via the Black Sea and started preparations to attack Iran
from rear. For this he asked the Church for money, and Pope Sergius lent him the
Church collections on interest, in a bid to save Christianity from
Zoroastrianism. Heraclius started his counter attack in 623 A. D. from Armenia.
Next year, in 624 A. D., he entered Azerbaijan and destroyed Clorumia, the
birthplace of Zoroaster, and ravaged the principal fire temple of Iran. Great
are the powers of Allah, this was the very year when the Muslims achieved a
decisive victory at Badr for the first time against the mushriks. Thus both the
predictions made in Surah Rum were fulfilled simultaneously within the
stipulated period of ten years.
The Byzantine forces continued to press
the Iranians hard and in the decisive battle at Nineveh (627 A.D.) they dealt
them the hardest blow. They captured the royal residence of Dastagerd, and then
pressing forward reached right opposite to Ctesiphon, capital of Iran in those
days. In 628 A. D. in an internal revolt, Khusrau Parvez was imprisoned and 18
of his sons were executed in front of him and a few days later he himself died
in the prison. This was the year when the peace treaty of Hudaibiya was
concluded, which the Quran has termed as "the supreme victory", and in this very
year Khusrau's son, Qubad II, gave up all the occupied Roman territories,
restored the True Cross and made peace with Byzantium. In 628 A. D., the Emperor
himself went to Jerusalem to install the "Holy Cross" in its place, and in the
same year the Holy Prophet entered Makkah for the first time after the Hijrah to
perform the `Umra-tul-Qada'.
After this no one could have any doubt about
the truth of the prophecy of the Quran, with the result that most of the Arab
polytheists accepted Islam. The heirs of Ubayy bin Khalaf lost their bet and had
to give a hundred camels to Hadrat Abu Bakr Siddiq. He took them before the Holy
Prophet, who ordered that they be given away in charity, because the bet had
been made at a time when gambling had not yet been forbidden by the Shari`ah;
now it was forbidden. Therefore, the bet was allowed to be accepted from the
belligerent disbelievers, but instruction given that it should be given away in
charity and should not be brought in personal use.
Theme and Subject
matter The discourse begins with the theme that the Romans have been overcome
and the people the world over think that the empire is about to collapse, but
the fact is that within a few years the tables will be turned and the vanquished
will again become victorious.
This introductory theme contains the great
truth that man is accustomed to seeing only what is apparent and superficial.
That which is behind the apparent and superficial he does not know. When in the
petty matters of life, this habit to see only the apparent and superficial can
lead man to misunderstandings and miscalculations, and when he is liable to make
wrong estimates only due to lack of knowledge about "what will happen tomorrow",
how stupendous will be his error if he risks his whole life-activity by placing
reliance only upon what is visible and apparent with respect to his worldly life
as a whole.
In this connection, the Signs of the universe which have been
presented as evidence to prove the doctrine of the Hereafter arc precisely the
same which support the doctrine of Tauhid. Therefore from verse 28 onward, the
discourse turns to the affirmation of Tauhid and the refutation of shirk, and it
is stressed that the natural way of life for man is none else but to serve One
God exclusively. Shirk is opposed to the nature of the universe as to the nature
of man. Therefore, whenever man has adopted this deviation, chaos has resulted.
Again here, an allusion has been made to the great chaos that had gripped the
world on account of the war between the two major powers of the time, and it has
been indicated that this chaos too, is the result of shirk, and all the nations
who were ever involved in mischief and chaos in the history of mankind were also
In conclusion, a parable has been presented to make the people
understand that just as dead earth comes to life, all of a sudden, by a shower
of rain sent by God and swells with vegetation and plant life, so is the case
with the dead humanity. When God sends a shower of His mercy in the form of
Revelation and Prophethood, it also gives a new life to mankind and causes it to
grow and develop and flourish. Therefore: "If you take full advantage of this
opportunity, the barren land of Arabia will bloom by Allah's mercy and the whole
advantage will be your. But if you do not take advantage of it, you will harm
only your selves. Then no regret will avail and no opportunity will be provided
to make amends."