Reflection No. 285 on Q 89: 27 & 28, The Soul at Peace

يَاأَيَّتُهَا النَّفْسُ الْمُطْمَئِنَّةُ  ارْجِعِي إِلَىٰ رَبِّكِ رَاضِيَةً مَرْضِيَّا
Yā ayyatuhan-nafsul-mutmainnatu-rji‘ī ilā rabbiki rādiyatan mardiyyā
O soul that at peace! Return to your Lord, pleased, pleasing!
(Sūratul Fajr, No.89, Āyats 27 – 28)

This verse is an address on the Day of Judgement to the soul that his completely at peace. It is a soul that has no traces of unrest, uneasiness, doubt, resentment  . . .  etc. Such a soul was at peace in the world, pleased with whatever Allah and decreed for it. During the ups and downs of worldly life the inner composure did not fluctuate. Now, on the Day of Judgement, the soul is at peace with all that that day entails. Belief in God, and the good deeds performed in the world, are the sources of the peace and contentment experienced on that day.

According to ‘Allāmah Tabātabā’ī such a soul is a true slave of Allah, accepting whole heartedly whatever his Master wants for him. This complete acceptance brings with it a relief, a release from the chains of personal desires, and a freedom to experience all that has been decreed by the Lord who wishes only to nurture his growth.

The verse is an invitation to return to the Lord, the Creator and true Master. To return to His mercy and the reward that awaits it. The ultimate joy is just the return to Him, to the One who originated creation and sent the human being to the world for an appointed time. Delight in the return is the root of the soul’s contentment.

Tafsīr-e Namūne quotes the following Hadith of Imam al-Sādiq (a) about this Sūra: Recite this Sūra in your obligatory and recommended prayers for it is the Sūra of Husayn bin Ali (a). Whoever recites this Sūra will be with Husayn bin Ali (a) in Heaven on the Day of Judgement. Naming the Sūra as the Sūra of Imam Husayn (a) is because he is the embodiment of this verse. He is an outstanding example of a personality who was completely at peace, in this life as well as with death and the Hereafter.

Al-Sadūq reports on the authority of Imam al-Sajjad (a): On the day of Ashura when the war became very fierce and it was difficult time for Imam al-Husayn, some of his companions felt weak and pale when they saw the mutilated bodies of their comrades and friends and that such an end would await them. On the contrary, Imam al-Husayn and some of his special companions became more tranquil and at peace as the tension of the battle increased and the time for the martyrdom approached. Some of the first group became surprised at this and noticed the spiritual and delightful countenance of Imam al-Husayn and expressed that he was by no means scared of death. (Āyatullāh Muhammad-Sādiq Najmi, From Medina to Karbala: In the words of Imam al-Husayn, Birmingham: 2013, p. 201)

This verse is a strong reminder that true faith in Allah bears the fruits of peace and tranquility. Recite it for inspiration to remain at peace, both with the happenings of this world as well as the eventual return to God.

Āyatullāh Muhammad Husayn Tabātabā’ī, Tafsīr al-Mīzān;
Āyatullāh Nāsir Makārim Shirāzī (ed.), Tafsīr-e Namūneh