Name of the Surah
It was named after the first word of the Surah ‘Ta-ha’. This name, like the names of many other surahs, is merely symbolic.
Period of Revelation
The period of its revelation is the same as of Surat Maryam. It is just possible that it was sent down during the Migration to Habashah or just after it. Anyhow, it is certain that this Surah was revealed before `Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) embraced Islam.
Virtues of Surat Ta-ha
1- It is one of the old properties of the Prophet (peace be upon him)
`Abdullah ibn Mas`ud (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that, “Surat Bani Israel, Al-Kahf (The Cave), Maryam, Ta-ha, Al-Anbiya’ (The prophets) are amongst my first earnings and my old property, and (in fact) they are my old property.” (Al-Bukhari)
2- It includes the greatest Name of Almighty Allah.
It was narrated that Al-Qasim said: “The Greatest Name of Allah, if He is called by which He will respond, is in three surahs: Al-Baqarah, Aal `Imran and Ta-Ha.” (Ibn Majah)
Is it a Makki or Madani Surah?
There is a consensus among scholars that surat Ta-ha was revealed in Makkah after surat Maryam.
Topics of the Surah
1- This surah begins and ends with an address to the Prophet explaining his task and outlining the limits of his duties.
2- Between the opening and the close, the surah relates the history of Moses from the point when he received his first revelations to the adoption by the Israelites of the calf as an object of worship.
3- Adam’s story is given in a short, quick account, highlighting the grace God bestowed on him after he committed his offence.
4- The fundamental principles presented by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) tawhid and the Hereafter are just the same as were taught to Prophet Moses at the time of his appointment.
5- A great emphasis has been laid on prayer so that it may create in the believers the virtues of patience, forbearance, contentment, resignation to the will of God and self- analysis for these are greatly needed in the service of the Message of the Truth.
Life lessons from the Story of Musa in the Surah
1- Family comes first
Musa (peace be upon him) seeks to ensure his family’s safety and comfort by asking them to wait for him in the cold darkness of the night while he departs to investigate the source of fire at a distance from them.
2- Present Danger is better than Hidden Danger
Musa (peace be upon him) knows it is dangerous to leave his family in the dark expanse of the desert that they lost their way in. Yet, that is less a danger than walking into a campfire of what could possibly be a group of brigands who would harm him and his family. The known danger is clear and evident, but at least it is predictable.
3- One person takes the Final Decision
In trying circumstances, defined, clear and unambiguous directions can be the difference between life and death, health and sickness, safety and tragedy. In all decisions, especially within the household, a unified singular voice needs to provide leadership and direction.
4- Don’t promise what is not assured
Musa (peace be upon him) says, “Maybe/perhaps I can bring you” and does not speak in definite. Nothing undermines credibility of a parent with their children more than unfulfilled promises. The greatest wedge between a husband and wife are vows that are not maintained and assurances not met. Speak the truth and do not embellish.
Musa (peace be upon him) speaks about warmth and a flaming brand to return with and provide comfort and light for his family, before he speaks about finding their way. He understands the greatest need and seeks to fulfill it before other essentials.
6- Take responsibility
Musa (peace be upon him) says “Ini (I can)” to legitimize his decision. He assumes responsibility for the decision and intends a positive outcome, even though he does not guarantee it. Families disintegrate due to a lack of responsibility. Standing up and assuming leadership equally necessitates being responsible when things go bad.
Sayyed Abu A`la Maududi’s Tafhim Al-Qur’an.
Sayyid Qutb’s Fi Zhilal Al-Qur’an.
Ustadh Yahya Ibrahim comments on the surah.