What chapter(s) and verses are included in Juz’ 23?:
The twenty-third juz’ of the Qur’an starts from verse 28 of the 36th chapter (Ya Sin 36:28) and continues to verse 31 of the 39th chapter (Az Zumar 39:31).
When were the verses of this juz’ revealed?:
These chapters were revealed during the middle of the Makkan period, before the migration to Madinah.
- "Not so [punished], however, will be God’s true servants. Theirs shall be a sustenance which they will recognize as the fruits of their life on earth, and honored they will be, in gardens of bliss, facing one another in love upon thrones of happiness" (Quran 37:40-44).
- "'Peace be upon Abraham! Thus do We reward the doers of good, for he was truly one of our believing servants'" (Quran 37:109-111).
- "Shall We treat those who believe and work deeds of righteousness, the same as those who do mischief on earth? Shall We treat those who guard against evil, the same as those who turn aside from the right?" (Quran 38:28).
- "Say: 'Truly am I a Warner: no god is there but the one Allah, Supreme and Irresistible. The Lord of the heavens and the earth, and all between; Exalted in Might, able to enforce His Will, Forgiving again and again.' Say: 'That is a Message Supreme -- from which you turn away?!" (Quran 38:65-68).
What is the main theme of this juz’?:
In the first part of this juz', one finds the end of Surah Ya Sin, which has been called the "heart" of the Quran. In this section it continues to present the entirety of the Quran's message in a clear and direct manner. The Surah includes teachings about the Oneness of Allah, the beauties of the natural world, the errors of those who reject guidance, the truth of the Resurrection, the rewards of Heaven, and the punishment of Hell.
In Surah As-Saffat, the unbelievers are warned that believers will one day be victorious and rule over the land. At the time of this revelation, it seemed absurd that the weak, persecuted Muslim community would one day reign over the powerful city of Makkah. Yet Allah gives notice that the one they call a "mad poet" is in fact a prophet sharing a message of Truth, and that they will be punished in Hell for their evil.
The stories of Noah, Abraham, and other prophets are given to illustrate the reward for those who do good. These verses were intended to warn the unbelievers, and also to console the Muslims and give them hope that their dire circumstances would soon change. Only a few years later, this truth came to pass.
This theme continues in Surah Suad and Surah Az-Zumar, with additional condemnation of the arrogance of the Quraish tribal leaders. At the time of this revelation, they had approached the Prophet Muhammd's uncle, Abu Talib, and asked him to intervene to stop the Prophet from preaching. Allah responds with the stories of David, Solomon, and other prophets as examples of others who preached the truth and were rejected by their people. Allah condemns the unbelievers for following in the misguided footsteps of their ancestors, rather than opening their hearts to the Truth. The chapters also relate the story of Satan's disobedience after the creation of Adam, as a final example of how arrogance can lead one astray.