Allah's (s.w.t.) Favour upon Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) in Surah ash-Sharh

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

Consider the following ayat:

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
Have We not Expanded thee thy breast? ― (Surah ash-Sharh:1)

The “expanded” here is straight forward, being both metaphorical and spiritual.  The word “chest” refers to Prophet Muhammad’s (s.a.w.) heart.  ibn ‘Abbas (r.a.) explained that Allah (s.w.t.) expanded his chest with the light of Islam.  Imam Sahl at-Tustari(r.a.) said it means with the light of Revelation.  Shaykh Hasan al-Baswri (q.s.) said that Allah (s.w.t.) Filled it with judgment and knowledge.  It has also been said to mean, “Did We not Purify your heart from the whispering of Shaythan?”

And Removed from thee thy burden, that which did gall thy back? ― (Surah ash-Sharh:2-3)

The mufassirin have explained that this refers to Protecting him from any wrong actions prior to his calling to prophethood.  Our Prophet (s.a.w.) is of the maqam of one already Forgiven and Protected from sin.  The “burden” refers to practices of Jahiliyyah, the Time of Ignorance.  Both Imam Abu al-Hasan al-Mawardi (r.a.) and Imam ‘Ali as-Sulami (q.s.) are of the opinion that this referred to the Message that weighed down upon his back before he delivered it.  It was also said by Imam Abu Layts as-Samarqandi (r.a.) to mean Allah (s.w.t.) Protected him, otherwise wrong actions would have burdened his back.

And Raised high the esteem (in which) thou (art held)? (Surah ash-Sharh:4)

This verse refers to the bestowal of the prophethood upon Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.).  It is also said that the meaning of this is found the hadits qudsi. “When I am Mentioned, you are mentioned with Me in the statement, ‘There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.’”  This is mentioned and repeated in each adzan.  It is very clear that these words of Allah (s.w.t.) confirm the Enormity of the Favour He bestowed upon Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.).  Allah (s.w.t.) Expanded his chest to belief and guidance, making it wide enough to contain both the knowledge and wisdom of this world and the next.  Allah (s.w.t.) Protected His Prophet (s.a.w.) from the burden of everything prevalent in Jahiliyyah, Making them repugnant to him, Giving victory to His Religion over all previous religions.


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