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(ENGLISH) COMMENTARY BY MUHAMMED ESED
( BY MUHAMMED ESED )
108 - AL-KAWTHAR
In the name of god, the most gracious, The dispenser of grace: (1)

1 - According to most of the authorities, this invocation (which occurs at the beginning of every surah with the exception of surah 9) constitutes an integral part of "The Opening" and is, therefore, numbered as verse I. In all other instances, the invocation "in the name of God" precedes the surah as such, and is not counted among its verses. - Both the divine epithets rahman and rahrm are derived from the noun rahmah, which signifies "mercy", "compassion", "loving tenderness" and, more comprehensively, "grace". From the very earliest times, Islamic scholars have endeavoured to define the exact shades of meaning which differentiate the two terms. The best and simplest of these explanations is undoubtedly the one advanced by Ibn al-Qayyim (as quoted in Mandr I, 48): the term rahman circumscribes the quality of abounding grace inherent in, and inseparable from, the concept of God's Being, whereas rahrm expresses the manifestation of that grace in, and its effect upon, His creation-in other words, an aspect of His activity.

        
WHEREAS most of the authorities assign this surah to the early part of the Mecca period, Ibn Kathir considers it most probable that it was revealed at Medina. The reason for this assumption (shared by many other scholars) is to be found in an authentic hadith on the authority of Anas ibn Malik, who narrates - with a good deal of circumstantial detail - how the surah was revealed "while the Apostle of God was among us in the mosque" (Muslim, Ibn Hanbal, Abu Da'ud, Nasa'i). The "mosque" referred to by Anas can only have been the mosque of Medina: for, on the one hand, Anas - a native of that town - had never met thhe Prophet before the latter's exodus to Medina (at which time Anas was barely ten years old); and, on the other hand, there had been no mosque - i.e., a public place of congregational worship - available to the Muslims at Mecca before their conquest of that city in 8 H. The three verses of the surah are addressed, in the first instance, to the Prophet and, through him, to every believing man and woman.
1. BEHOLD, We have bestowed upon thee good in abundance: (1)

1 - The term kawthar is an intensive form of the noun kathrah (Zamakhshari), which, in its turn, denotes "copiousness", "multitude" or "abundance"; it also occurs as an adjective with the same connotation (Qamus, Lisan al-Arab, etc.). In the above context, which is the sole instance of its use in the Qur'an, al-kawthar obviously relates to the abundant bestowal on the Prophet of all that is good in an abstract, spiritual sense, like revelation, knowledge, wisdom, the doing of good works, and dignity in this world and in the hereafter (Razi); with reference to the believers in general, it evidently signifies the ability to acquire knowledge, to do good works, to be kind towards all living beings, and thus to attain to inner peace and dignity.

2. hence, pray unto thy Sustainer [alone], and sacrifice [unto Him alone].
3. Verily, he that hates thee has indeed been cut off [from all that is good]! (2)

2 - Lit., "it is he that is cut off (abtar)". The addition, between brackets, of the phrase "from all that is good" is based on an explanation forthcoming from the Qamus.