Surah As-Shams demonstrates the balance that Allah SWT has created outside of us in this world also inside of us in that we can only feel and contemplate.
The surah can be broken into 3 parts:
- Balance in the outside world: Allah The first part illustrates a few magnificent creations of Allah SWT which are opposite to each other. Allah SWT balanced them by setting up some limits and boundaries upon them. This primarily deals with the visible world that we can see and experience.
- The Central Part – Balance in the inside world: It deals with meta-physical Nafs. Allah SWT illustrates how a similar kind of balance is created within us, just like the outside world.
- Balance in the story of Thamud: It mentions how they were warned before killing the she-camel and Allah destroyed them to create the balance again.
Balance in the Outside World
Allah SWT starts by swearing upon the Sun and the Moon, then Day and the night and finally the Sky and the Earth. Please note that, all of these things are opposite and yet complementing each other maintaining the perfect harmony in this world.
Sun → Moon
Day → Night
Sky → Earth
Balance in the Inside World
Allah SWT then moves our focus from the outer world to our inner world mentioning about the entity known as the Nafs, which he also balanced like the creation of the outside world.
The word Sawwa literally means to adjust or make balance of something, for example, in some countries when selling vegetables the salesman takes a balance scale and keeps a particular weight on one side and then puts the vegetables on another side till he can measure the exact weight of the vegetable, this is Sawwa.
The next Ayat mentions how Allah creates a balance within the nafs as it tries to Fuzur or transgress. The word Fuzur, relates to break through like in the Fajr time when the light of the Sun breaks through the darkness of the night.
Discernment of Wickedness [Fuzur] → Righteousness [Taqwa]
The evil feelings influence us in a way that it wants to come out in action.
But on the other side Taqwa of Allah, which refers to the conscience of Allah keeps us in check and stops us from doing the bad deed.
The next two Ayats mention that our inner part gets polluted continuously so it’s our job to keep on cleaning it and purifying it. The Ayats mention that whoever can continuously purify the inner feelings are successful and failing to maintain it, will make us losers.
Purifies it [success] → Instills it [failed]
Balance in the story of Thamud
The third part deals with Salih AS & Thamud. They became rebellious on one side and their prophet warned them not to do any harm to the she-camel.
To know more regarding the story of Salih AS — Click Here — to get all Ayats arranged in chronological order.
[Thamud – Rebellious] Sent Forth → [Salih AS – Warned] Do no Harm
But at last they couldn’t control their nafs of evil feeling and end up doing the grievous crime of killing that she-camel so Allah destroyed them to recreate the balance again.
[Thamud – Murdered] Hamstrung Her → [Allah – Azaab] Destruction
As the evil went up and created the imbalance, so Allah did the Fadamdama or destruction to level it up again to create the balance and maintain the good against the evil.
This illustrates a natural phenomenon why Azab of Allah SWT falls upon the humankind as a result of their extreme transgression in a collective form.
Finally, Allah brought a conclusion to this Surah by mentioning that He doesn’t fear any consequence. The people of Thamud thought that, if they would kill the she Camel, the miracle of Allah will cease to exist and it will no longer be there to attract more people to Islam and they will succeed. But Allah mentions that he is in complete control of the future and all the consequences that arise out of anyone’s action. He knows what is going to happen from the very beginning and he knows how He will re-balance all the situation either, in this world or the next, as He is the Al-Hakam – means the ultimate Judge or the Giver of ultimate Justice.