English Translation and Commentary of the Holy Quran (2010)
by Maulana Muhammad Ali
Chapter 30: Ar-Rum — The Romans (Revealed at Makkah: 6 sections, 60 verses)
Section 1 (Verses 30:1–30:10): A Great Prophecy
بِسۡمِ اللّٰہِ الرَّحۡمٰنِ الرَّحِیۡمِ
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.
30:1 I, Allah, am the Best Knower.1
غُلِبَتِ الرُّوۡمُ ۙ﴿۲﴾
30:2 The Romans are defeated
فِیۡۤ اَدۡنَی الۡاَرۡضِ وَ ہُمۡ مِّنۡۢ بَعۡدِ غَلَبِہِمۡ سَیَغۡلِبُوۡنَ ۙ﴿۳﴾
30:3 in a near land, and they, after their defeat, will gain victory2
فِیۡ بِضۡعِ سِنِیۡنَ ۬ؕ لِلّٰہِ الۡاَمۡرُ مِنۡ قَبۡلُ وَ مِنۡۢ بَعۡدُ ؕ وَ یَوۡمَئِذٍ یَّفۡرَحُ الۡمُؤۡمِنُوۡنَ ۙ﴿۴﴾
30:4 within nine years. Allah’s is the command before and after. And on that day the believers will rejoice
بِنَصۡرِ اللّٰہِ ؕ یَنۡصُرُ مَنۡ یَّشَآءُ ؕ وَ ہُوَ الۡعَزِیۡزُ الرَّحِیۡمُ ۙ﴿۵﴾
30:5 in Allah’s help.3 He helps whom He pleases, and He is the Mighty, the Merciful —
وَعۡدَ اللّٰہِ ؕ لَا یُخۡلِفُ اللّٰہُ وَعۡدَہٗ وَ لٰکِنَّ اَکۡثَرَ النَّاسِ لَا یَعۡلَمُوۡنَ ﴿۶﴾
30:6 (it is) Allah’s promise! Allah will not fail in His promise, but most people do not know.
یَعۡلَمُوۡنَ ظَاہِرًا مِّنَ الۡحَیٰوۃِ الدُّنۡیَا ۚۖ وَ ہُمۡ عَنِ الۡاٰخِرَۃِ ہُمۡ غٰفِلُوۡنَ ﴿۷﴾
30:7 They know the outward of this world’s life, but of the Hereafter they are heedless.
اَوَ لَمۡ یَتَفَکَّرُوۡا فِیۡۤ اَنۡفُسِہِمۡ ۟ مَا خَلَقَ اللّٰہُ السَّمٰوٰتِ وَ الۡاَرۡضَ وَ مَا بَیۡنَہُمَاۤ اِلَّا بِالۡحَقِّ وَ اَجَلٍ مُّسَمًّی ؕ وَ اِنَّ کَثِیۡرًا مِّنَ النَّاسِ بِلِقَآیِٔ رَبِّہِمۡ لَکٰفِرُوۡنَ ﴿۸﴾
30:8 Do they not reflect within themselves? Allah did not create the heavens and the earth and all that is between them but with truth, and (for) an appointed term. And surely most of the people are deniers of the meeting with their Lord.
اَوَ لَمۡ یَسِیۡرُوۡا فِی الۡاَرۡضِ فَیَنۡظُرُوۡا کَیۡفَ کَانَ عَاقِبَۃُ الَّذِیۡنَ مِنۡ قَبۡلِہِمۡ ؕ کَانُوۡۤا اَشَدَّ مِنۡہُمۡ قُوَّۃً وَّ اَثَارُوا الۡاَرۡضَ وَ عَمَرُوۡہَاۤ اَکۡثَرَ مِمَّا عَمَرُوۡہَا وَ جَآءَتۡہُمۡ رُسُلُہُمۡ بِالۡبَیِّنٰتِ ؕ فَمَا کَانَ اللّٰہُ لِیَظۡلِمَہُمۡ وَ لٰکِنۡ کَانُوۡۤا اَنۡفُسَہُمۡ یَظۡلِمُوۡنَ ؕ﴿۹﴾
30:9 Have they not travelled in the earth and seen what was the end of those before them? They were stronger than these in prowess, and dug up the earth,4 and built on it more than these have built. And their messengers came to them with clear arguments. So it was not Allah, Who wronged them, but they wronged themselves.
ثُمَّ کَانَ عَاقِبَۃَ الَّذِیۡنَ اَسَآءُوا السُّوۡٓاٰۤی اَنۡ کَذَّبُوۡا بِاٰیٰتِ اللّٰہِ وَ کَانُوۡا بِہَا یَسۡتَہۡزِءُوۡنَ ﴿٪۱۰﴾
30:10 Then evil was the end of those who did evil, because they rejected the messages of Allah and mocked at them.
- See 2:1 footnote, for explanation. ↩
- The struggle between Persia and the Roman Empire had existed for a long time. In 602 C.E., Chosroes II of Persia began war with Rome: “His armies plundered Syria and Asia Minor, and in 608 advanced to Chalcedon. In 613 and 614 Damascus and Jerusalem were taken by the General Shahabaraz, and the Holy Cross was carried away in triumph. Soon after, even Egypt was conquered. The Romans could offer but little resistance, as they were torn by internal dissensions and pressed by the Avars and Slavs” (Encyclopaedia Britannica, Art. “Chosroes II”). When the news of this conquest reached Makkah, the Quraish were jubilant, as their sympathies were with the fire-worshipping Persians more than with the Christians, who, being the followers of the scriptures, were classed by them with the Muslims. It was in 615 or 616 C.E. that this revelation came to the Prophet, containing two different prophecies, one about the defeat of the victorious Persians, who had reached the very gates of Constantinople, by the Romans, who were by this time quite exhausted, and the other about the defeat of the powerful Makkans by the handful of persecuted Muslims. A time limit was also announced along with these two prophecies, during which they would be brought to fulfilment. The word biḍ‘ occurring in the beginning of the next verse means from three to nine years, according to the best authorities. It was exactly within nine years, in 624 C.E., that the tables were turned against the powerful Persian Empire, the same being the year in which the mighty Quraish suffered a defeat at the hands of the helpless Muslims at Badr. “In 624 he (Heraclius) advanced into northern Media, where he destroyed the great fire-temple of Goudzak” (ibid). In the same year, 313 Muslims, many of whom were raw, inexperienced youths without any arms, routed a strong force of about a thousand of the Quraish warriors, killing all the leaders and dealing a death-blow to the power of the enemy. The successes of the Muslim army, on the one hand, and of the Romans, on the other, continued until the Quraish were utterly crushed by the conquest of Makkah in 630, while “the Persian Empire, from the apparent greatness which it had reached ten years ago, sank into hopeless anarchy” (ibid). ↩
- The help of Allah is the help that was over and over again promised to the believers against the idolatrous Makkans. Thus we have here a clear prophecy of the victory of the Muslims over the Makkans within nine years from the pronouncement of the prophecy. It was fulfilled in the battle of Badr. ↩
- The digging of the earth includes its ploughing for cultivation, its digging for minerals and the making of aqueducts, as also the laying of the foundations of buildings. ↩