Sūrah al-Fīl and Sūrah Quraysh
Observations on the relationship and structuring of Sūrah al-Fīl and Sūrah Quraysh
Sūrah al-Fīl (The Elephant) and Sūrah Quraysh (Tribe of Quraysh) are two very short suwar that come towards the end of the Quran’s compiled order. They are the 105th and 106th suwar, respectively.
One very interesting thing about them is that they appear to be linked grammatically. The ending of Sūrah al-Fīl flows seamlessly into Sūrah Quraysh as if they were one sūrah. Sūrah al-Fīl details what Allah ﷻ did to protect the Ka‘bah while Sūrah Quraysh gives some reasons for why He did it.
When looked at together, the two suwar appear to form a single ring structure:
[A]/[A’] - Sūrah al-Fīl is a summarized account of an infamous event that occurred before the birth of the Messenger ﷺ. Briefly, an army invaded Mecca in hopes of destroying the Ka‘bah and subsequently rerouting all pilgrimages and commerce to their lands instead. Allah ﷻ recounts what He did to thwart their efforts. The corresponding āyah informs us of the outcome of that protection; safety from the fear of that attack and even future attacks.
[B]/[B’] - After explaining how Quraysh were saved from opposing forces, Allah ﷻ tells us one of the reasons why He did so; so that they’d be free to travel for trade and commerce year-round. The linked section, [B’], gives the outcome of said trade. Even though they lived in the middle of the desert, Allah ﷻ made it so that they had the wealth needed to be well-fed.
[C] - At the center is the key point of the surrounding āyāt. Allah ﷻ protected and provided for Quraysh in a special way, so they should show gratitude by worshiping Allah ﷻ alone. Again, we find the motif of gratitude expressing itself as increasing in worship, just as we saw in previous suwar.
والله أعلم - And Allah knows best
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