Pain, Pleasure and Prejudice


Pain, Pleasure and PrejudiceI don’t know if anyone who has worked on the Koran as long as I have has ever said “enough already” to the mind-numbing repetition of the obvious and the not so obvious that has to drive some people out of their minds. Pity the poor believer in his efforts to memorize the Book.

In a salute of sorts to British historian Thomas Carlyle’s “incondite, endless iteration”, I give you surah 90, The City, surah 92, The Night, surah 93, The Forenoon, and surah 107, Benefaction, without comments (though some are obviously needed, but enough already) or interruptions. They’re short Meccan surahs as we are nearing the end of the Koran. These surahs are, in general, somewhat tame by Allah’s Standards, and even inspiring. The type of surahs that came down before a choice was made to compel submission through violence, if necessary.


90 Al-Balad

In the Name of Allah,

the Compassionate, the Merciful

90:1 No; I swear by this city (Mecca).

90:2 And you (Muhammad) are a resident of this city.

90:3 And by the begetter and what he begot;

90:4 We have, indeed, created man to toil.

90:5 Does He think that none shall have power over him?

90:6 He says: “I have squandered a large sum of money.”

90:7 Does he think that no one saw him?

90:8 Have we not given him two eyes,

90:9 A tongue and two lips,

90:10 And guided him onto the two highways (of right and wrong)?

90:11 Yet he did not brave the rocky pass.

90:12 If only you knew what is the rocky pass.

90:13 The freeing of a slave;

90:14 Or feeding, upon a day of famine,

90:15 An orphan near of kin;

90:16 Or a destitute man in dire need;

90:17 Then, being one of those who believe, command steadfastness to each other and command compassion.

90:18 Those are the Companions of the Right;

90:19 But those who disbelieve in Our Signs are the Companions of the Left;

90:20 A fire will close in on them.


92 Al-Layl

In the Name of Allah,

the Compassionate, the Merciful

92:1 By the night when it darkens,

92:2 And the day when it lights up,

92:3 And by Him who created the male and the female,

92:4 Your striving is manifold.

92:5 As for him who gives in charity and fears Allah,

92:6 And believes in the fairest reward;

92:7 We shall lead him onto the easiest course.

92:8 But as for him who is niggardly and has grown complacent,

92:9 And disbelieves in the fairest reward;

92:10 We shall lead him into the hardest course.

92:11 What will his wealth avail him, if he perishes?

92:12 Ours is simply to guide;

92:13 And Ours is the Last Day and the First.

92:14 So, I have warned you to beware of a blazing Fire;

92:15 Which none except the most vicious will roast in;

92:16 He who denounces and turns away.

92:17 But the most pious shall be spared it;

92:18 He who gives his wealth in self-purification;

92:19 And none receives a favour from him, for the sake of a reward;

92:20 Except seeking the Face of His Lord, the Most High.

92:21 And he will surely be well-pleased.


93 Ad-Duha

In the Name of Allah,

the Compassionate, the Merciful

93:1 By the forenoon;

93:2 And the night when it falls calmly;

93:3 Your Lord did not forsake you or scorn you.

Narrated Jundub bin Sufyan:

Once Allah's Apostle became sick and could not offer his night prayer (Tahajjud) for two or three nights. Then a lady (the wife of Abu Lahab) came and said, "O Muhammad! I think that your Satan has forsaken you, for I have not seen him with you for two or three nights!"

On that Allah revealed: 'By the fore-noon, and by the night when it darkens, your Lord (O Muhammad) has neither forsaken you, nor hated you.' (93.1-3)

Bukhari 60.475

93:4 Surely, the Last Day is better for you than the First.

93:5 Your Lord shall surely give you [of His Bounty]; and you shall be well-pleased.

93:6 Did He not find you an orphan, and then gave you refuge?

93:7 And found you in error, and then guided you?

93:8 And found you in need, and then enriched you?

93:9 As for the orphan, you shall not oppress him;

93:10 And as for the beggar, you shall not drive him away;

93:11 And as for your Lord’s Favour, you shall proclaim it.


107 Al-Mâ’ûn

In the Name of Allah,

the Compassionate, the Merciful

107:1 Have you seen him who denies the Judgement?

107:2 It is the one who pushes the orphan around,

107:3 And does not urge the feeding of the destitute.

107:4 Woe unto those who pray;

107:5 Those who are oblivious of their prayer;

107:6 Those who dissimulate;

107:7 And forbid benefaction.