The Beneficent or entitled as Ar-Rahman is the 55th sura of the Qur’an with 78 ayats, that known had repetition words (31 times repetition.): “Then which of your Lord’s blessings would you deny?”
Period of Revelation
The commentators generally hold the view that this is a Makki Surah, though according to some traditions which have been cited on the authority of Hadrat Abdullah bin Abbas, Ikrimah and Qatadah, it was revealed at Madinah. But, firstly, there are also some other traditions from these very authorities, which contradict this view; secondly, its subject matter bears a closer resemblance with the Makki Surahs than with the Madani Surahs; rather it appears to belong to the very early Makkah period. However, there are several authentic traditions which testify that it had been revealed in Makkah itself many years before the hijrah.
Musnad Ahmad contains a tradition from Hadarat Asma, daughter of Abu Bakr (may Allah bless them both), to the effect: “I saw the Messenger of Allah offering his Prayers in the sacred precincts of the Ka’bah facing the corner in which the “Black Stone” is fixed. This relates to the time when the Divine Command, fasda bi-ma tumar (“So, proclaim publicly, O Prophet, what you are being commanded”) had not yet been revealed. The polytheists at that time were hearing the words, Fa-biayyi alaa’i Rabbi kuma tukadhdhi ban, being recited by him in the Prayer.” This shows than this Surah had been sent down even before Surah Al-Hijr.
Al-Bazzar, Ibn Jarir, Ibn Al- Mundhir, Daraqutni (in Al Afrad), Ibn Marduyah and Ibn Al Khatib (in Al- Tarikh) have related, on the authority of Hadrat Abdullah bin Umar, that once the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) recited Surah Ar-Rahman himself, or heard it recited before him : then he said to the people: How is it that I am not hearing from you the kind of good answer that the jinn had given to their Lord?When the people asked what it was he replied: “As I recited the Divine Words, Fa bi- ayyi alaa’i Rabbi-kuma tukadhdhiban, the jinn in response would repeat the words La bi shai’in min ni’mati Rabbi- na nukadhdhib: “We do not deny any of our Lord’s blessings.”
A similar theme has been related by Tirmidhi, Hakim and Hafiz Abu Bakr al-Bazzar from Hadrat Jabir bin Abdullah. Their tradition contains these words: “When the people kept silent on hearing the Surah Ar-Rahman, the Holy Prophet said ‘I recited this very Surah before the jinn in the night when they had gathered together to hear the Qur’an. They responded to it better than you have. As I recited the Divine Words, Fa bi ayyi alaa’i Rabbikuma tukadhdhiban (“O jinn and men, which blessings of your Lord will you deny?”) they would respond to it, saying: O our Lord, do not deny any of your blessings Praise is for You alone’!”
This tradition indicates that on the occasion of the incident that bas been related in Surah Al Ahqaf(vv. 29- 32) of the jinn’s hearing the Qur’an from the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) he was reciting Surah Ar Rahman in the Prayer. This happened in the 10th year of the Prophethood when the Holy Prophet had halted at Makkah on his way back from Ta’if. Although in some other traditions it has been reported that the Holy Prophet did not know then that the jinn were hearing him recite the Qur’an, but afterwards Allah had informed him of this, it is not unreasonable to suppose that just as Allah had informed him of the jinn’s hearing the Qur’an so also Allah Himself might have told him as to what answer they were giving on hearing Surah Ar Rahman.
These traditions only indicate that Surah Ar Rahman had been revealed even before Surahs Al-Hijr and Al-Ahqaf. Besides, we come across another tradition which shows that it is one of those Surahs which were the earliest Revelations at Makkah. Ibn Ishaq has related this on the authority of Hadrat Urwah bin Zubair: The Companions one day said to one another: “The Quraish have never heard any one recite the Qur’an publicly to them, and who would read out the Divine Word aloud to them Hadrat Abdullah bin Masud said that he would. The Companions expressed the apprehension that he might be subjected to a harsh treatment and said that it should better be done by a person of a powerful family, who would protect him if the Quraish tried to subject him to violence. Hadrat Abdullah said: ‘Let me alone : my Protector is Allah.’ So early next morning he went to the Ka’bah while the Quraish chiefs were sitting in their respective conferences. Hadrat Abdullah arrived at the Maqam (station of Abraham) and began to recite Surah Ar- Rahman raising his voice as he did so. The Quraish first tried for a while to understand what he was saying. Then,when they realized that it was the Word that Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was representing as the Word of God, they fell upon him and began to hit him in the face. But Hadrat Abdullah was not deterred : he continued to receive the slaps and to read the Qur’an as long as he could, At last, when he returned with a swollen face, the Companions said that they apprehended the same. He replied: ‘God’s enemies were never so light for me as they were today. If you say I’ll recite the Qur’an to them again tomorrow.’ They all said, ‘No, you have done enough; you have made them listen to what they didn’t want to bear.'” (Ibn Hisham, vol. 1, p. 336).
One of the main aims of the sura is to chastise men and jinn for their lack of gratitude towards Allah, who has showered them with an abundance of blessings. Verses 1-30 describe some of the resources (fruits, palm trees, husked grain, fragrant plants, fresh and salt water, pearls, ships) that Allah has graciously provided for the men and jinn he created, in his infinite mercy, out of clay and smokeless fire (55:14), and set down under a sky illuminated by the twin risings of the sun and moon (55:17). In addition to these material blessings, verses 1-4 recount the fact that Allah taught man how to communicate and even gave him the Qur’an to guide him on the path to righteousness. The refrain, “Which, then, of your Lord’s blessings do you both deny?”, chastises the bountifully-provided for men and jinn for failing to acknowledge their indebtedness to Allah for his tremendous mercy. The punishment that awaits these ungrateful creatures is briefly described in verses 35-45; for the remainder of the sura, the delights of the gardens of paradise (replete with shading branches, flowing springs, fruit, maidens, couches, cushions, and fine carpets) are lyrically described, punctuated throughout by the stinging refrain which draws attention to the discrepancy between Allah’s mercy in providing such luxuriant rewards and the ingratitude of men and jinn.
The idea that man’s gratitude towards Allah is not commensurate with Allah’s tremendous mercy is a central, recurring theme in the Qur’an, especially in the early Meccan suras, and Sura 55 is an important poetic treatment of this theme. The sura also exemplifies the Qur’an’s tendency to be self-referential and self-validating, as when in verse 2 it emphasizes the fact that Allah taught the Qur’an to man out of mercy.
In terms of theological developments, Al-Rahman introduces a three-tiered classification of men and jinn: the best of believers (“those near to God”, the muqarrabīn who will ascend to the higher garden of paradise), the ordinary believers (“those at his right”, the ashāt al-yamīn who will enjoy the second garden of paradise), and the disbelievers (who will be punished in Hell). This division is echoed in the following sura, Al-Waqi’a.
Finally, it is worth noting that the sura is dominated stylistically by pairs, which in the Qur’an are frequently employed as a sign of the divine. To begin with, it is addressed to a dual audience of men and jinn: in Haleem’s translation of the refrain “Which, then, of your Lord’s blessings do you both deny?”, “both” is understood to refer to men and jinn (likewise for the “you and you” in Arberry’s rendering). Natural phenomena are also referred to in pairs: for example, “the sun and the moon” (55:5), “the plants and the trees” (55:6), “the two risings and the two settings [of the sun and the moon]” (55:17), and “the two bodies of [fresh and salt] water” (55:19). In addition, paradise is described as consisting of two double gardens (55:62), each of which contain a pair of springs (55:50, 55:66) and fruit in pairs (55:52).
1. ((Allah)) Most Gracious!
2. It is He Who has taught the Qur’an.
3. He has created man:
4. He has taught him speech (and intelligence).
5. The sun and the moon follow courses (exactly) computed;
6. And the herbs and the trees – both (alike) bow in adoration.
7. And the Firmament has He raised high, and He has set up the Balance (of Justice),
8. In order that ye may not transgress (due) balance.
9. So establish weight with justice and fall not short in the balance.
10. It is He Who has spread out the earth for (His) creatures:
11. Therein is fruit and date-palms, producing spathes (enclosing dates);
12. Also corn, with (its) leaves and stalk for fodder, and sweet-smelling plants.
13. Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?
14. He created man from sounding clay like unto pottery,
15. And He created Jinns from fire free of smoke:
16. Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?
17. (He is) Lord of the two Easts and Lord of the two Wests:
18. Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?
19. He has let free the two bodies of flowing water, meeting together:
20. Between them is a Barrier which they do not transgress:
21. Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?
22. Out of them come Pearls and Coral:
23. Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?
24. And His are the Ships sailing smoothly through the seas, lofty as mountains:
25. Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?
26. All that is on earth will perish:
27. But will abide (for ever) the Face of thy Lord,- full of Majesty, Bounty and Honour.
28. Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?
29. Of Him seeks (its need) every creature in the heavens and on earth: every day in (new) Splendour doth He (shine)!
30. Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?
31. Soon shall We settle your affairs, O both ye worlds!
32. Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?
33. O ye assembly of Jinns and men! If it be ye can pass beyond the zones of the heavens and the earth, pass ye! not without authority shall ye be able to pass!
34. Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?
35. On you will be sent (O ye evil ones twain!) a flame of fire (to burn) and a smoke (to choke): no defence will ye have:
36. Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?
37. When the sky is rent asunder, and it becomes red like ointment:
38. Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?
39. On that Day no question will be asked of man or Jinn as to his sin.
40. Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?
41. (For) the sinners will be known by their marks: and they will be seized by their forelocks and their feet.
42. Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?
43. This is the Hell which the Sinners deny:
44. In its midst and in the midst of boiling hot water will they wander round!
45. Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?
46. But for such as fear the time when they will stand before (the Judgment Seat of) their Lord, there will be two Gardens-
47. Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?
48. Containing all kinds (of trees and delights);-
49. Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?
50. In them (each) will be two Springs flowing (free);
51. Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?
52. In them will be Fruits of every kind, two and two.
53. Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?
54. They will recline on Carpets, whose inner linings will be of rich brocade: the Fruit of the Gardens will be near (and easy of reach).
55. Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?
56. In them will be (Maidens), chaste, restraining their glances, whom no man or Jinn before them has touched;-
57. Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?
58. Like unto Rubies and coral.
59. Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?
60. Is there any Reward for Good – other than Good?
61. Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?
62. And besides these two, there are two other Gardens,-
63. Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?
64. Dark-green in colour (from plentiful watering).
65. Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?
66. In them (each) will be two Springs pouring forth water in continuous abundance:
67. Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?
68. In them will be Fruits, and dates and pomegranates:
69. Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?
70. In them will be fair (Companions), good, beautiful;-
71. Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?
72. Companions restrained (as to their glances), in (goodly) pavilions;-
73. Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?
74. Whom no man or Jinn before them has touched;-
75. Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?
76. Reclining on green Cushions and rich Carpets of beauty.
77. Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?
78. Blessed be the name of thy Lord, full of Majesty, Bounty and Honour.