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Sura 80
Aya 2
أَن جاءَهُ الأَعمىٰ

Muhammad Asad

because the blind man approached him!1
  • One day, as recorded in many well-authenticated Traditions, the Prophet was engrossed in a conversation with some of the most influential chieftains of pagan Mecca, hoping to convince them - and, through them, the Meccan community at large - of the truth of his message. At that point, he was approached by one of his followers, the blind Abd Allah ibn Shurayh - known after his grandmother's name as Ibn Umm Maktum - with the request for a repetition or elucidation of certain earlier passages of the Qur'an. Annoyed by this interruption of what he momentarily regarded as a more important endeavour, Muhammad "frowned and turned away" from the blind man - and was immediately, there and then, reproved by the revelation of the first ten verses of this surah. In later years he often greeted Ibn Umm Maktum with these words of humility: "Welcome unto him on whose account my Sustainer has rebuked me (atabani)!" Indirectly, the sharp Qur'anic rebuke (stressed, in particular, by the use of the third-person form in verses 1-2) implies, firstly, that what would have been a minor act of discourtesy on the part of an ordinary human being, assumed the aspect of a major sin, deserving a divine rebuke, when committed by a prophet; and, secondly, it illustrates the objective nature of the Qur'anic revelation: for, obviously, in conveying God's reproof of him to the world at large, the Prophet "does not speak out of his own desire" (cf. 53:3).