A Short Analysis of Surah adh-Dhariyat


According to Farahi, each Quranic surah has a distinct controlling theme called amud. The amud (literally, “pillar, column”) is the hub of a surah, and all the verses in that surah revolve around it.

Farahi’s concept of amud may be illustrated with reference to his analysis of the 51st surah, adh-Dhariyat (“The Scattering Winds”). Farahi divides the surah’s sixty verses into seven sections: verses. 1-14,15-19, 20-23, 24-37, 38-46, 47-51, and 52-60. The first section states the thesis that the phenomena of God’s mercy and wrath in this world (in this case the phenomena of winds and rains, which are sometimes beneficial to man and sometimes harmful) point to the reward-and-punishment system in the hereafter. The section also explains the aspect of punishment in the afterlife, the next section explaining the aspect of reward. The third section reinforces the thesis by drawing arguments from the phenomena of nature and human existence. The next two sections provide historical evidence in support of the thesis. The sixth section relates the theme of the hereafter to two other fundamental themes in Islam: the oneness of God and prophecy. The last section consoles the Prophet, saying that the responsibility for his opponents’ disbelief lies with the opponents themselves and not with him.

The amud of the surah, according to Farahi, is the theme of recompense in the hereafter, with emphasis on the aspect of retribution. This amud, as can be seen, runs through the whole of the surah, knitting all seven sections into a unity. It is also apparent that there is a logical progression of ideas in the surah: a thesis is stated (section 1), explained (sections 2, 3), reinforced with arguments of several types (sections 4, 5), placed in a larger perspective (section 6), and, finally, related to the situation in which it was being presented by Muhammad (section 7). That the aspect of punishment rather than that of reward receives greater emphasis is evident from the way the illustrative material is presented in the surah, as also from the surah’s tone. This emphasis may account for the fact that, in the surah, it is the retribution, and not reward, that is spoken of after the initial statement of the overall theme of recompense.

Coherence in the Qur’an by Mustansir Mir, p. 38-41


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