The Eighteenth Juz’ of the Qur’an contains Surah Al Muminoon (The Believers), Surah An Nur (The Light) in their entirety, and continues to ayah 20 of the Surah Al Furqan (The Criterion).
Surah Al-Muminoon was revealed in the mid to late Makkan period, as the Muslim community faced rejection and intimidation from the pagan population and leadership of Makkah. Surah An Nur is a Madinan Surah, revealed in relation to the slander of Aishah may Allah be pleased with her, that occurred at the time of the campaign against Bani al-Mustaliq, around the 5th – 6th year after Hijrah. Surah Al Furqan was revealed in Makkah.
From the Virtues of Surah Al Muminoon
It was related by Urwah Ibn Az-Zubair that Umar ibn Al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with them both, said: “This surah was revealed in my presence and I myself observed the state of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, when it was being revealed. When the revelation ended, the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, remarked:
“On this occasion, ten verses have been sent down to me, that the one who measures up to them, will most surely go to Paradise.”
Then he recited the beginning verses of this Surah (Al Muminoon).” (Recorded in Ahmad)
“Successful indeed are the believers. Those who offer their Salat with all solemnity and full submissiveness. And those who turn away from Al-Laghw (dirty, false, evil vain talk, falsehood, and all that Allah forbidden). And those who pay the Zakat. And those who guard their chastity, except from their wives or that which their right hand possess – for then, they are free of blame; But whoever seeks beyond that, then those are the transgressors; Those who are faithfully true to their Amanat (duties and trusts) and to their covenants; And those who strictly guard their Salawat (prayers), These are indeed the inheritors, who shall inherit the Firdaus (Paradise) They shall dwell therein forever.” (Surah Al Muminoon 23:1-11)
“And we task not any person except according to his capacity, and with Us is a Record which speaks the truth; they will not be wronged.” (Surah Al Muminoon 23:62)
“Repel evil with that which is better. We are Best-Acquainted with the things they utter.” (Surah Al Muminoon 23:96)
“Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The parable of His light is as (if there were) a niche and within it a lamp; the lamp is in a glass; the glass as it were a brilliant star; lit from a blessed tree, an olive, neither of the east nor of the west, whose oil would almost glow forth (of itself), though no fire touched it. Light upon Light! Allah guides to His Light whom He wills; and Allah sets forth parables for mankind; and Allah is All-Knower of everything.” (Surah An Nur 24:35)
“As for those who disbelieved their deeds are like a mirage in the desert. The thirsty one thinks it to be water until he comes upon it, he finds it will be nothing; but he finds Allah with him, Who will pay him his due.” (Surah An Nur 24:39)
“Blessed is He Who sent down the Criterion (of right and wrong i.e. this Qur’an) to His slave (Muhammad) that he may be a warner to the Alamin (mankind and jinn). He to Whom belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth, and Who has begotten no son and for Whom there is no partner in the dominion. He has created everything, and has measured it exactly according to its due measurement.” (Surah Al Furqan 25:1-2)
Surah Al-Muminoon opens with the promise, ‘Successful indeed are the believers’ (23:1). They are those who offer prayers with humility, give charity, guard their chastity, avoid all types of vain talk and honour their promises. They are the inheritors of Paradise (23:11). The message of this Surah is one of hope and strength to the early Muslim community, who at the time were facing persecution at the hands of the leaders in Makkah. We are reminded of the glory of Allah’s creation, the promise of reward in the Hereafter, and the pending punishment for those who disbelieve. Mention is made of the Prophets Nuh (Noah), Musa (Moses) and Harun (Aaron) and the trials they faced from the disbelieving people.
Surah An-Nur was revealed at a later time and therefore has a different focus. After the migration to Madinah, the Muslims were engaged in a series of battles with the polytheists of Makkah. When the Makkans found themselves unsuccessful on the battlefield, they began a series of psychological attacks, using slander in an attempt to weaken the unity of the Muslim community. In this particular case, a rumor was spread that Aishah, the wife of the Prophet Muhammad, may Allah be pleased with her, had committed an indiscretion whilst traveling. This Surah contains a refutation of this claim and stern warning about slander (24:11-17). It also outlines the criminal code for fornication, adultery, accusations of adultery without proof, and slander. There are guidelines for both men and women regarding personal modesty, covering and averting one’s gaze (24:30-31). Norms of personal privacy are established, while encouraging good relationships among relatives, friends and neighbors. These guidelines helped to reunite the community, establish clear limits, and create an ideal of mutual affection and sincerity.
Surah Al Furqan begins with glorifying Allah who sent down this Qur’an as the Criterion between right and wrong (25:1). To Him alone belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth, and yet they dare to ascribe partners with Him. They deny the coming of the Hour and they are in clear error and will be punished. This is in contrast to pious believers who are promised the ‘Paradise of Eternity’ (24:15).