Alhuda Bolton · Tafseer: Surah At-Tiin (The Fig)

With Ustādh Abu Muādh Taqweem

  • Why did Allah take an oath by the Fig & the Olive?
  • Mankind was created in the best of forms
  • Then he is reduced to the lowest of the low
  • How the mind & body are preserved by faith & good deeds

Verse 1-3

“By the fig, and the olive. By Mount Sinai. By this city of security (Makkah).”

Allah takes an oath by these four things; the fiq, the olive, Mount Sinai, and by the Sacred City of Makkah. Why?

Some facts:

  • Allah took an oath on the fiq and the olive as they are plentyful
  • Mount Sinai was the mountain on which Allah spoke with Musa (Moses), may be
  • Makkah is the birth place of the Messenger of Allah Muhammad (ﷺ) 

Some of the people of knowledge say that Allah took an oath by these three (the fiq, the olive and the mountain) as the first two of them are in reference to the land of Palestine as they are found in large quantities here. The last of the Prophets and Messengers from the Children of Israel was ‘Eesaa (Jesus), peace be upon him.

As for Mount Sinai, then this is in reference to the Messenger of Allah, Musa (moses).

And finally, as for the City of Makkah, then this is in reference to the Messenger of Allah Muhammad (ﷺ)

Verse 4

“Verily, We created man in the best stature (mould).”

The above oaths are upon this statement. Allah has taken these oaths upon the fact that Mankind was created in the best of forms.

📚 Quranic Structure: The statement in this verse is emphasises in three different forms:

  • The oaths themselves
  • The use of the “laam” (the letter L) in arabic grammar plaes additional emphasis
  • The use of “Qad” (the word “verily”)

This verse does not imply just the physical form, but also the best in mind and mental faculties.

Verse 5

“Then We reduced him to the lowest of the low.”

This is in reference to how a Human being, eventually, ends up in the lowest of forms (weakness and frailty of advanced old age).

  • In other parts of the Quran, this is also mentioned
  • The older a person becomes, the more he changes to a lower state, the more the radiance of youth disappears

Question: If we say that the “best form” upon which we were created includes our belief and monotheism, then does this mean the older we get we lose our belief?

Verse 6

“Save those who believe (in Islâmic Monotheism) and do righteous deeds. Then they shall have a reward without end (Paradise).”

This means that there are some who will be exempt from returning to a lower form. These are the believers who do righteous actions.

This is because they clung onto faith and performed good actions which maintains good strong state both mentally and physically

Having faith and performing acts of worship preserves one from both physical (weakness) and mental (senility) deterioration.

There are two possible meanings of “a reward without end”

  • That it is an everlasting reward [i.e Paradise]
  • That it is a reward without repayment due

Verse 7

“Then what (or who) causes you (O disbelievers) to deny the Recompense (i.e. the Day of Resurrection)?”

Here, Allah transforms the speech from third person, to the second person. This indicates that the Disbelievers are being addressed directly. Why is it that you deny the Day of Resurrection?

When a person looks at himself, at his origin, and his perfectly created form. When he thinks about this, then he increases in his belief in his Lord, he believes in the Books he revealed and the Messengers he sent.

Verse 8

“Is not Allâh the Best of judges?”

This is a rhetorical question. Allah establishes the certain, absolute, and inescapable fact that he is indeed the best of judges.

📚 Quranic Structure: The arabic adjective “Ahkam” [The Greatest of Judges] used here is of the superlative form. That is, Allah has absolute wisdom and therefore what he legislates is upon absolute wisdom.