Overview of Surah al-Insaan: Ibn Taymiyah

Sheikh al-Islam ibn Taymiyah began a long discussion of the different parts of surah al-Insaan [76] by providing this general overview of the surah‘s contents:

اعلم أن سورة هل أتى على الإنسان سورة عجيبة الشأن من سور القرآن على اختصارها فإن الله سبحانه ابتدأها بذكر كيفية خلق الإنسان من النطفة ذات الأمشاج والأخلاط التي لم يزل بقدرته ولطفه وحكمته يصرفه عليها أطوارا وينقله من حال إلى حال إلى أن تمت خلقته وكملت صورته فأخرجه إنسانا سويا سميعا بصيرا . ـ

You should know that surah al-Insaan is one of the amazing surahs of the Qur’an despite its brevity. For Allah the Exalted begins this surah by mentioning how He creates the human being from a mixed sperm drop which, by His Might, Benevolence and Wisdom, He takes through a number of stages of development, moving from one condition to the next until its creation is finished and it is fully formed. Then He brings it forth as a well-formed, hearing, seeing, human being.

ثم لما تكامل تمييزه وإدراكه هداه طريقي الخير والشر والهدى والضلال وأنه بعد هذه الهداية إما أن يشكر ربه وإما أن يكفره . ـ

Then when man’s discernment and understanding have fully developed, Allah guides him to the two paths of either good or evil, guidance or misguidance. After this guidance, man is either grateful to his Lord or ungrateful towards Him.

ثم ذكر مآل أهل الشكر والكفر وما أعد لهؤلاء وهؤلاء وبدأ أولا بذكر عاقبة أهل الكفر ثم عاقبة أهل الشكر . ـ

Next Allah mentions the final ends of the people of gratitude and the people of ingratitude and what He has prepared for each group. He begins firstly by mentioning the final end of the people of ingratitude and then mentions the final end of the people of gratitude.

وفي آخر السورة ذكر أولا أهل الرحمة ثم أهل العذاب فبدأ السورة بأول أحوال الإنسان وهي النطفة وختمها بآخر أحواله وهي كونه من أهل الرحمة أو العذاب ووسطها بأعمال الفريقين فذكر أعمال أهل العذاب مجملة في قوله إنا اعتدنا للكافرين سورة الإنسان 4 وأعمال أهل الرحمة مفصلة وجزاءهم مفصلا . ـ

And in the end of the surah He first mentions the people granted mercy and then mentions the people sentenced to punishment.

So He began the surah with the first stage of man’s existence, which is the sperm drop.

And He concluded the surah with the last stage of man’s existence, which is his being either one of the people granted mercy or the people sentenced to punishment.

And in the middle of this surah He mentioned the different actions of these two groups. For He mentioned the deeds of the people sentenced to punishment in a general manner with His statement:

إِنَّا أَعْتَدْنَا لِلْكَافِرِينَ … ـ

Indeed, We have prepared for the disbelievers… [76:4]

while He mentioned the deeds of the people granted mercy in detail, as well as mentioning their rewards in detail.

فتضمنت السورة خلق الإنسان وهدايته ومبدأه وتوسطه ونهايته . ـ

So this surah contains: 1) the creation of man and his guidance, 2) his beginnings, 3) his middle, and 4) his end.

And ibn Taymiyah then proceeded into a long and detailed discussion of the different parts and components of this surah.

[Risaalah al-Ma’aani al-Mustanbitah pg. 69-70]

See also: The Arrangement of the Final Chapters of the Qur’an: Ibn Taymiyah

See also: Ibn Kathir’s brief remarks on the contents of Surah al-Fatihah

See also: “We showed him the way, either he will be grateful or ungrateful”: Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool

See also: The Themes and Contents of Surah Maryam: ibn Taymiyah

See also: Surahs Recited on Friday and Their Themes: Ibn al-Qayyim

See also: Central Themes of Surah al-Baqarah: Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool

See also: The Themes of Surah Qaaf and When to Recite it: Tafsir ibn Kathir

See also: An Overview of Surah al-Dhariyat (51): Ibn Taymiyah

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9 thoughts on “Overview of Surah al-Insaan: Ibn Taymiyah

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