SURA 90. Balad, or The City
1. I do call to witness this City;-
2. And thou art a freeman of this City;-
3. And [the mystic ties of] parent and child;-
4. Verily We have created man into toil and struggle.
5. Thinketh he, that none hath power over him?
6. He may say [boastfully]; Wealth have I squandered in abundance!
7. Thinketh he that none beholdeth him?
8. Have We not made for him a pair of eyes?-
9. And a tongue, and a pair of lips?-
10. And shown him the two highways?
11. But he hath made no haste on the path that is steep.
12. And what will explain to thee the path that is steep?-
13. [It is:] freeing the bondman;
14. Or the giving of food in a day of privation
15. To the orphan with claims of relationship,
16. Or to the indigent [down] in the dust.
17. Then will he be of those who believe, and enjoin patience, [constancy, and
self-restraint], and enjoin deeds of kindness and compassion.
18. Such are the Companions of the Right Hand.
19. But those who reject Our Signs, they are the [unhappy] Companions of the
20. On them will be Fire vaulted over [all round].
1. This creature, man, whose suffering and struggling never come to an end, forgets his real nature and becomes so conceited with what God has given him of power, ability, skill and prosperity that he behaves as if he is not accountable for what he does. He indulges in oppression, tyranny, victimization and exploitation, trying to acquire enormous wealth. He corrupts himself and others in total disregard of anything of value. Such is the character of a man whose heart is stripped of faith. (v5-7)
2. When he is called upon to spend for good causes, he says, “I have spent abundant wealth,” and given more than enough. “Does he think that none observes him?” (Verse 7) Has he forgotten that God is watching over him? He sees what he has spent and for what purposes. But man still ignores this, thinking that God is unaware of what he has done.
3. In view of man’s arrogance, which makes him believe that he is invincible, and in view of his meanness and claims of having spent abundantly, the Qur’ān puts before him the bounties God has bestowed on him which are manifested in his inherent abilities, although he has depreciated them.
4. Man is conceited because he feels himself powerful, but he is granted his power by God. He is mean with his wealth while God is the One who provided him with it. He neither follows right guidance nor shows gratitude, although God has given him the means to do so.
source: Sayyid Qutb, In the shade of the Quran