What chapter(s) and verses are included in Juz’ 16?:
The sixteenth juz’ of the Qur’an contains the end of Surah Al-Kahf (18:75-110), all of Surah Maryam, and all of Surah Ta Ha.
When were the verses of this juz’ revealed?:
Surah Al-Kahf was revealed during the last stages of the Prophet Muhammad's mission in Makkah, before the migration to Madinah. After over a decade of oppression, the Muslims organized themselves to leave Makkah and start a new life in Madinah. Surah Maryam and Surah Ta Ha were revealed in Madinah a bit before this, before the migration to Abyssinia. Authentic traditions report that the first forty verses of Surah Maryam were recited to the King of Abyssinia, to help him understand the Islamic teachings about the Prophets John and Jesus, peace be upon them.
- "Such was, in the words of truth, Jesus the son of Mary, about whose nature they so deeply disagree. It is not conceivable that God should have taken unto Himself a son; limitless is He in His glory! When He wills a thing to be, He but says unto it 'Be' -and it is! And thus it was that Jesus always said: 'Truly, God is my Sustainer as well as yours, so worship none but Him. This alone is a straight way" (19:34-36).
- "Yet they were succeeded by generations of people who lost all thought of prayer, and followed only their own lusts. And these will, in time, meet with utter disillusion. Except, however, those who repent and attain to faith and do righteous deeds. For it is they who will enter paradise and will not be wronged in any way" (19:59-60).
- "Behold, I forgive all sins of any who repents and attains to faith and does righteous deeds, and thereafter keeps to the right path" (20:82).
What is the main theme of this juz’?:
In the remaining part of Surah Al-Kahf, Allah reiterates the idea that the Hereafter is real, and that it is in the disbelievers' best interests to mend their ways and turn to the right path before they face the inevitable punishment.
Maryam the mother of Jesus (Mary in English) is the only woman mentioned by name in the Quran, and this next chapter is named after her. The first part of the chapter relates the stories of John and Jesus, peace be upon him, from the Islamic perspective. The story of Prophet Abraham, peace be upon him, is also mentioned both to show the unified origin of the message of Islam, and to console the Muslims who were facing persecution or migration to Abyssinia. In the last part of the chapter, the disbelievers of Makkah are heavily criticized for their unjust behavior. The believers are given hope that they will one day prevail. As mentioned above, many of these verses were shared with the King of Abyssinia, a devout Christian, and influenced his decision to offer protection to the Muslim refugees at the time.
Surah Ta Ha was revealed at approximately the same time period. It is reported that Umar ibn Khattab read part of this chapter when he discovered his sister reading from the Quran and interrogated her about it. Against all odds, his heart softened and he embraced Islam. Most of the chapter is dedicated to the story of Prophet Musa (Moses), peace be upon him. The Arab tribes were familiar with and accepting of Moses as a prophet, and relating this story shows the continuity in Allah's message and methods of bringing guidance to His people. This chapter also emphasizes the importance of salaat (prayer) in strengthening the faith and hearts of believers.