Theme of Juz Seventeen –The Messengers and the Message
The seventeenth Juz is made up of two Surahs, Surah Al-Anbiya and Surah Al-Hajj
. Surah Al-Anbiya is a Makkan Surah, while the scholars dispute on whether Surah Al-Hajj is Makkan or Madinan as it contains elements and themes of both. The majority and strongest view is that Surah Al-Hajj is a mixed Surah which contains both Makkan and Madinan verses, and Allah knows best. (Tafseer Al-Qurtubi)
The linking theme between these two Surahs are the stories of the Prophets and more importantly their Message. The Messengers were sent to this earth as a mercy from Allah, as without them we would not know what Allah wants of us and would have no practical role models to follow.
Surah Al-Anbiya mentions sixteen prophets by name, with brief stories of some of them. The focus is on the fact that the Prophets of Allah were human and specifically male. (21:7) The emphasis on the humanity of the prophets is important for the following reason.
The disbelievers would ask why Allah sent humans as Prophets and why He didn’t just send Angels. The response given is that Angels would not be practical role models of Allah’s message for humanity, and people would make the excuse that they can’t be like Angels so why bother trying.
The humanity of the Prophets makes them ideal role models and so Allah focuses on some of those qualities they have which we need to emulate which include the following:
1. Following Allah’s guidance and opposing blind following of cultural belief, as indicated in the story of Prophet Ibrahim
2. Righteousness, Salah, Zakah and dedicating one’s life to worship, like Prophet Ishaaq his son Yaqub. (Alayhuma Salam) (21:72-73)
3. Upholding chastity and morality and opposing sexual deviation and immorality, as indicated in the story of Prophet Lut
4. Persisting in the Dawah for years regardless of the negative response, like Prophet Nuh
5. Wisdom and justice when dealing between people like Prophet Dawud and his son Sulaiman (Alayhuma Salam). (21:78-79)
6. Patience at times of difficulty, following the example of Prophet Ayub.
7. Patience and Persistence in obeying Allah, and righteous conduct like Prophets Ismail, Idrees and DhulKifl. (Alayhuma Salam) (21:85-86)
8. Repentance when we slip and err, like Yunus
in the belly of the whale. (21:87-88)
9. Never losing hope that your duas can be answered miraculously, like Prophet Zakariya
10. Modesty and Chastity like Maryam, the mother of Eesa
This Surah clearly shows us that for every aspect of our lives, the Prophets and their righteous followers serve as our role models and that is the wisdom behind sending human prophets.
Surah Al-Hajj comprises of verses dealing with the fundamentals of our religion, and discusses issues ranging from matters of Aqeedah like the Day of Judgment and the importance of worshipping Allah in all conditions, to issues of practice like the importance of Hajj and Hijrah.
The theme of Tawheed is brought up multiple times in both Surahs, as that is the main theme of the Qur’an as a whole. The Qur’an was sent to guide mankind towards the worship of Allah alone and to shun all forms of idolatry and servitude to others.
Surah Al-Hajj ends with an important reminder of the fundamentals of the religion which comprises the internal Jihad against evil, submission to Allah, embracing the prophets as our role models, the establishment of Salah, the discharging of Zakah and firmness in obeying Allah. (22:78)
Source: Themes of the Qur'an by Abu Muawiyah Ismail Kamdar