Syed Abu-Ala' Maududi's Chapter Introductions to the Quran

This Sarah takes its' name from verse 112 in which the word Mai'dah occurs. Like the names of many other suras this name has no special relation to the subject of the Sura but has been used merely as a symbol to distinguish it from other suras.

Period of Revelation
The theme of this Sura indicates and traditions support it that it was revealed after the treaty of Hudaibiyah at the end of 6 A. H. or in the beginning of 7 A. H. That is why it deals with those problems that arose from this treaty. The Holy Prophet with 1400 Muslims went to Makkah in Zil-Qaadah 6 A. H. to perform Umrah but the Quraish spurred by their enmity prevented him from its performance though it was utterly against all the ancient religious traditions of Arabia. After a good deal of hard and harsh negotiations a treaty was concluded at Hudaibiyah according to which it was agreed that he could perform Umrah the following year. That was a very appropriate occasion for teaching the Muslims the right way of performing a pilgrimage to Makkah with the true Islamic dignity and enjoining that they should not prevent the disbelievers from performing pilgrimage to Makkah as a retaliation for their misbehavior. This was not difficult at all as many disbelievers had to pass through Muslim territory on their way to Makkah. This is why the introductory verses deal with the things connected with pilgrimage to Makkah and the same theme has been resumed in vv. 101-104. The other topics of this Sura also appear to belong to the same period. The continuity of the subject shows that most probably the whole of the sura was revealed as a single discourse at one and the same time. It is also possible that some of its verses were revealed at a later period and inserted in this Sura at different places where they fitted in. But there appears to be not the least gap anywhere in the sura to show that it might have comprised two or more discourses. Occasion of Revelation. This Sura was revealed to suit the requirements of the changed conditions which were now different from those prevailing at the time of the revelation of Al-i-'Imran and An- Nisa. Then the shock of the set-back at Uhud had made the very surroundings of Al-Madinah dangerous for the Muslims but now Islam had become an invulnerable power and the Islamic State had extended to Najd on the east to the Red Sea on the west to Syria on the north and to Makkah on the south. This set-back which the Muslims had suffered at Uhud had not broken their determination. It had rather spurred them to action. As a result of their continuous struggle and unparalleled sacrifices the power of. the surrounding clans within a radius of 200 miles or so had been broken. The Jewish menace which was always threatening Al-Madinah had been totally removed and the Jews in the other parts of Hijaz had-become tributaries of the State of Al-Madinah. The last effort of the Quraish to suppress Islam had been thwarted in the Battle of the Ditch. After this it had become quite obvious to the Arabs that no power could suppress the Islamic movement. Now Islam was not merely a creed which ruled over the minds and hearts of the people but had also become a State which dominated over every aspect of the life of the people who lived within its boundaries. This had enabled the Muslims to live their lives without let or hindrance in accordance with their beliefs. Another development had also taken place during this period. The Muslim civilization had developed in accordance with the principles of Islam and the Islamic viewpoint. This civilization was quite distinct from all other civilizations in all its' details and distinguished the Muslims clearly from the non Muslims in their moral social and cultural behavior. Mosques had been built in all territories prayer had been established and' Imam (leader) for every habitation and clan had been appointed. The Islamic civil and criminal laws had been formulated in detail and were being enforced through the Islamic courts. New and reformed ways of trade and commerce had taken the place of the old ones. The Islamic laws of marriage and divorce of the segregation of the sexes of the punishment for adultery and calumny and the like had cast the social life of the ...

Copyright 2004
Islam and the Baha'i Faith