From childhood we’re taught to read the Qur’an, in its original Arabic. It’s a given that Muslim kids all over the world can read and perhaps even write in Arabic. However, how many understand what they read ? We’re trained to read the chapters and commit them to memory, not enough emphasis though is inserted into learning the meanings of these holy chapters, which is the whole purpose of the Qur’an. To read, decipher and understand the message fromthe Almighty.
Short and simple, unassuming, the beginning of a short little chapter. This sentence however small managed to appeal to the 8 year old me. If I’m being honest it wasn’t the rhythm or the beauty of the words, but the pronunciation with which my older brother read it. It amused me and I couldn’t wait to reach it and read it for myself.
“By the Fig and the Olive
And the Mountain of Sinin
And this city of security (Makkah)”
Those are the translations for the first verses of Surat at Tin (The fig), an eight verse Surah revealed in Makkah. The fig and the olive, two fruits of the five fruits that have been mentioned in the Qur’an, the Fif once in this chapter and the olive 5 other times. I was curious as to why Allah (swt) swears upon these fruits, they are highly nutritious but that can’t be the only reason. So I come to you with my understanding of what these three verses mean after years of countless ignorance on my part.
- By the Fig and the Olive
Many scholars do account for the specila properties that these two fruits contain, some attesting their extraordinary nutritive and creative properties to their mention in this chapter. Another theory states the fruits serve as locaters for the cities og Damascus and Jerusalem; sacred cities in whuch many great prophets of Allah appeared. The one I personally go for is the fig alluding to prophet Nuh (as), the area in which the Ark landed was known for its abundance in Figs; the valley between Hamdan and Hilwan. Side note; Prophet Nuh has also been linked to the Olive, where in a scouting dove he sent returned tonhim with an olive branch alluding to land and safety ahead. This is why the olive branch is stull today used as a symbol of peace and safety.
The fig could also be related to the Prophet Isa (as) through the Mount of olives where the prophet was noted to have prayed on.
- And the Mount of Sinin
These verse ahs been thought almost in complete agreement by scholars to refer to the Mounatin Sinai, where the Almighty first spoke to Prophet Musa (as) receiving his revelation.
- And this city of security
The best deciphering of this ayah (in my opion) that I could find related this verse to Prophet Ibrahim (as) and Prophet Muhammad (saw) . Note in Surat al-Baqarah 2:126
And [mention] when Abraham said, “My Lord, make this a secure city and provide its people with fruits
This is part of a du’a (a prayer) that Ibrahim (as) made to God whilst in Makkah building the Kabbah with Prophet Ismail (as). This was two verses later followed by
Our Lord, and send among them a messenger from themselves who will recite to them Your verses and teach them the Book and wisdom and purify them. Indeed, You are the Exalted in Might, the Wise.”
Surat at-tin is seen as a response to Ibrahim (as)’s prayer, whereby Allah (swt) sent Prophet Muhammad who was born in Makkah, to bring security to the city and a final messanger with whom the Holy Qur’an was sent to us by.
There we have it folks the first three ambigius verses of Surat at-tin, where the lord swears by objects related to his great prophets and he says
We have certainly created man in the best of stature
Allah (swt) could be telling us that man was created in the best possible form, and is capable of great things by example of these 5 people.
I urge everyone to look into the meanings of the Holy Qur’an, to read and understand what our lord is trying to tell us. There is beauty and blessings in the Arabic but even more beauty and blessings in the meaning, for that is truly where the knowledge lies.
What chapter or verses have you found interesting?