Introduction To Surah Abasa
This Surah is number 80 in order. It consists of one Ruku and 42 verses. This Surah was revealed in the early period of Mecca.
Most of the commentators have related the revelation of this Surah to Ibn E Umm E Maktoum who was blind, the incident that happened between him and the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).
Story Of Ibn e Umm e Maktoom
Sayyidna ` Abdullah Ibn Umm Maktum (رض) ، the companion of the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) was a blind man. It once happened that the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) was engaged in a talk with the leaders of Quraish about some matters of belief. Sayyidna ` Abdullah Ibn Umm Maktum (رض) arrived there. Imam Baghawi adds that being blind and unable to see the surroundings, he did not realise that the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) was occupied with the others. He, therefore, burst into the circle and called the Holy Prophet repeatedly. [ Mazhari ]. According to Ibn Kathir, he requested the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) to teach him a verse of the Qur’ an and insisted an immediate enlightenment on the question. On that occasion, the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) was occupied with the non-believing leaders of Makkah in the hope that they would embrace the faith of Islam.
The leaders to whom the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) was speaking were ` Utbah Ibn Rabi` ah, Abu Jahl Ibn Hisham and the Holy Prophet’s (صلى الله عليه وسلم) uncle ` Abbas (رض) [who had until then not embraced the Islamic faith].
The Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) disliked the intrusion, and showed his displeasure by turning aside from Sayyidth ` Abdullah Ibn Umm Maktum, thinking that he was a committed Muslim who frequently visited him, and therefore he could speak to him at another appropriate time. There was no religious loss in postponing the response to him. On the other hand, the Quraish leaders neither frequented the Holy Prophet’s (صلى الله عليه وسلم) company, nor could the Word of Allah be conveyed to them at any time. At that particular moment, they were listening to the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) .” discourse and there was hope that they would embrace the Islamic faith. But if the conversation was rashly interrupted, apparently they would have been deprived of the faith. In view of this situation, the Holy Prophet * showed adverse reaction by turning aside from` Abdul)-ah Ibn umm Maktum (رض) ، and continued his discourse with the Quraish leaders. When the assembly broke up, the verses of Surah ` Abas were revealed to record Allah’s dislike for this attitude, and to give directions for future.
This attitude of the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) was based on ijtihad or ‘an opinion based on personal reasoning’. He thought that if a Muslim were to adopt a speech style that is not in keeping with etiquettes of a gathering, he needs to be reprimanded, so that in future he may be careful in future. That is the reason why Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) turned his face away from Sayyidna ` Abdullah Ibn Umm Maktum (رض) .
Secondly, disbelief (kufr) and polytheism (shirk) are the most severe sins, and an effort to eradicate them should take priority over the subsidiary precepts of Islam on which Sayyidna ` Abdullah Ibn Umm Maktum (رض) asked for enlightenment. Allah Almighty, through this Surah, did not confirm the correctness of this ijtihad of the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) ، and explained to him that educating a genuine seeker will most certainly benefit him, while the benefit of discussion with the opponents (who disdainfully turn away their face when the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) talks to them) is shaky and doubtful. Doubtful thing cannot be preferred over certainty.
As for the violation of etiquette committed by Sayyidna ` Abdullah Ibn Umm Maktum (رض) ، its excuse is pointed out by the Holy Qur’an in the word ‘blind’. It is indicated by this word that being a blind man, he could not see what the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) was doing and with whom he was engaged in conversation. Thus he was excusable, and was not liable to be subjected to aversion. This indicates that if an excusable person were to break any rule of etiquette unwittingly, he should not be reprimanded.
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