The twenty-eighth juz’ of the Qur’an contains Surah Al-Mujadilah (The Woman who Disputes), Surah Al-Hashr (The Gathering), Surat Al-Mumtahanah (The Woman to be Examined), Surah As-Saff (The Row or the Rank), Surah Al-Jumuah (Friday), Surah Al-Munafiqun (The Hypocrites), Surah At-Taghabun (Mutual Loss and Gain), Surah At-Talaq (The Divorce) and Surah At-Tahrim (The Prohibition) in their entirety.
These Surahs were revealed after the Hijrah, during the time that the Muslims were living as a community in Madinah. The subject matter largely relates to matters of daily living, with instructions and guidance about different issues that faced the Muslims at that time.
From the Virtues of these Surahs
Imam Ahmad recorded that Abdullah bin Salam, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “We asked, ‘Who among us should go to the Messenger and ask him about the dearest actions to Allah?’ None among us volunteered. The Messenger sent a man to us and that man gathered us and recited this Surah, Surah As-Saff, in its entirety.”’
Ibn Abbas and Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with them both, narrated that Allah’s Messenger, peace and blessings be upon him, used to recite Surah Al-Jumuah and Surah Al-Munafiqin during the Friday Prayer. Muslim collected this Hadith in his Sahih.
“O you who believe! When you hold secret counsel, do it not for sin and wrongdoing, and disobedience towards the Messenger (Muhammad), but do it for Al-Birr (righteounes) and Taqwa (virtues and piety); and fear Allah unto whom you shall be gathered.” (Surah Al-Mujadilah 58:9)
“Had we sent down this Qur’an on a mountain, you would surely have seen it humbling itself and rent asunder by the fear of Allah. Such are the parables which We put forward to mankind that they may reflect.” (Surah Al-Hashr 59:21)
“Perhaps Allah will make friendship between you and those whom you hold as enemies. And Allah has power (over all things), and Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. Allah does not forbid you to deal justly and kindly with those who fought not against you on account of religion nor drove you our of your homes. Verily, Allah loves those who deal with equity.” (Surah Al-Mumtahanah 60:7-8)
“O you who believe! Let not your properties or your children divert you from the remembrance of Allah. And whosoever does that, they are the losers.” (Surah Al-Munafiqun 63:9)
“No calamity befalls, but by the Leave of Allah, and whosoever believes in Allah, He guides his heart [to true Faith with certainty]. And Allah is the All-Knower of everything.” (Surah At-Taghabun 64:11)
“O you who believe! ward off yourselves and your families against a Fire (Hell) whose fuel is men and stones, over which are (appointed) angels stern (and) severe, who disobey not, (from executing) the commands they receive from Allah, but do that which they are commanded.” (Surah At-Tahrim 66:6)
The Surahs in this juz’ were all revealed in Madinah after the Hijrah, and are primarily concerned with practical matters of living Islam, interacting with the wider non-Muslim population, and legal rulings. During the time that the early Muslims were setting up a community in Madinah, they faced issues that needed guidance and decision-making. Rather than rely on their cultural traditions and previous legal rulings, they sought to follow Islam in all matters of daily living.
Surah Al-Mujadilah addresses the issues of continuing practices from the times of ignorance, such as zihar, declaring a husband or wife unlawful to onself. It enjoins us not to hold secret counsels except to do Al-Birr (righteounes) and Taqwa (virtues and piety), and whenever we are alone with one anohter Allah is with us by knowledge.
Surah Al-Hashr relates to the battle against the Jews of Banu-Nadhir in 4 A.H, and how we should take heed of what has befallen them. They were a strong tribe with great wealth and possessions who were banished from their settlement without a single man being slain. They were conquered because they opposed Allah and His Messenger, and Allah is severe in punishment. Laws relating to the distribution of war booty and territory are outlined (59:6-10) and the hypocrites are condemned.
Surat Al-Mumtahanah enjoins the Muslims not to take the enemies of Allah as friends, because if they were gain the upper hand over the Muslims they would bring forth evil against them. At the same time, we should deal justly and kindly with those who have not fought against us on account of our religion (60:8). The issue of Muslim women who were migrating to Madinah, and were still married to non-Muslims is addressed, their unions are no longer lawful (60:10).
Surah As-Saff calls on the Muslims to adopt sincerity in faith and to struggle for the Cause of Allah. Some of the ayat address the Muslims who are weak in faith and some towards the sincere believers, while others are addressed specifically towards the hypocrites.
Surah Al-Jumuah was revealed in two sections at two different points in time. The first eight ayat was likely revealed after the conquest of Khaiber in 7 A.H, and are addressed towards the Jews who were entrusted with the Torah but failed in their obligations towards it. They are compared to a donkey with a burden of books on its back that it understands nothing of (62:5). The second section was revealed many years later, and was appended to this section because in it, Allah bestows Friday on the Muslims as opposed to the Sabbath (Saturday), and the Muslims are enjoined not to treat Friday as the Jews treated their Sabbath.
Surah Al-Munafiqun addresses the hypocrites, who hinder man from the path of Allah. They believed and then disbelieved, so their hearts are sealed and they do not understand. They look pleasing, they speak in a pleasing way, but they are enemies to the Muslims so beware (63:4).
Surah At-Taghabun has as its theme the invitaion to Faith and obedience to Allah and the teaching of good morals. We are reminded of the painful end of those who disbelieved of the previous generations. No calamity befalls a true believer except that Allah guides their heart to faith by it (64:11). Our wealth and our children are but a trial and with Allah lies the highest reward.
Surah At-Talaq deals with the ruling surrounding divorce and and the treatment of women during that time. It details the waiting period and possibilities for reconciliation.
Surah At-Tahrim clarifies that the power to prescribe the bounds of lawful and unlawful things, the permissible and forbidden, reside entirely and absolutely with Allah alone. The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, may only declare something lawful or unlawful after receiving inspiration from Allah. It was revealed in relation to an incident in which the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, seeking to please his wives, forbade himself something (honey) which Allah had allowed.