An Introduction to Surat Hud
Names of the Surah
It was titled after Prophet Hud (peace be upon him) who was mentioned in numerous verses in the Surah.
Period of Revelation
The surah as a whole followed the revelation of Surat Yunus, Jonah, which succeeded Surah Al-Isra’, the Night Journey. This gives us a clear idea of the timing of its revelation, in the middle of a very difficult period in the early history of Islam. It was preceded by the deaths of Abu Ţalib, the Prophet’s uncle who protected him against all harm from the unbelievers, and Khadijah, his wife whose comforting influence was of great help to the Prophet (peace be upon him). Their deaths enabled the unbelievers to become bolder and harsher in their opposition, particularly after the Prophet’s night journey to Jerusalem, from where he ascended to heaven before returning to Makkah in the same night.
Is it Makki or Madani?
There is a consensus that Surat Hud is a Makki Surah except one verse which is:
And establish prayer at the two ends of the day and at the approach of the night. Indeed, good deeds do away with misdeeds. That is a reminder for those who remember. (Hud 11:114)
Theme of the Surah
Reviewing the progress of divine faith in human history, starting with Noah and leading up to the last Messenger, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
Topics of the Surah
1- The Surah deals with the same subject as surat Yunus, that is, invitation to the Message, admonition and warning, with this difference that the warning is sterner. This is also supported by a tradition:
It is related that after its revelation, once Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) said to the Prophet (peace be upon him), “Of late I have been noticing that you are growing older and older. What is the cause of it?” The Prophet replied, “Surah Hud and the like Surahs have made me old.”
2- Again the surah reflects the nature of the period as it describes God’s messengers’ attitudes to the hostility, ridicule, threats and physical harm they met. They all persevered, confident that what they preached was the truth, and that God’s support would inevitably be granted.
3- Then a little later, the surah paints a picture of the floods and how those who opposed Prophet Noah (peace be upon him) were drowned while those who believed with him were all saved.
4- In order that people should acknowledge that all Lordship belongs to God alone, the surah provides them with a clear concept of God, making it clear to them that they remain in His grasp in this life, and that to Him they will return on the Day of Resurrection when they receive their reward.
5- The surah also portrays how the human soul responds to events that bring blessings or hardship.
Sayyed Abu A`la Maududi’s Tafhim Al-Qur’an.
Sayyid Qutb’s Fi Zhilal Al-Qur’an.