. Surah 108 Al-Kawther
. In The Name of Allah, the Compassion, the Compassionate


(1) You have been given the power to grow

(2) which lies between your reaching for your Ideal and the suppression of the self

(3) Arrested development will be the lot of your detractor.


Although listed as a Meccan surah, there is a great deal of circumstantial evidence that this surah was in fact revealed in Medina. Al-Kawther, which was promised to Islam in the person of the Prophet Muhammad, is certainly not, as the conventional interpretation has it, a river in Paradise with golden banks and jeweled basin but an intensive form of the word “Kathrah” which means multiplicity.  So for Muhammad and Islam to be promised by God that which is much more than multiplicity in numbers means that Muhammad’s faith  has a built-in quality of everything or every aspect growing more bigger and better. This is while man is subject, according to surah No. 103 (Al-‘Asr), to diminishing returns by the nature of the passage of time. Faith gives the faithful the quality of growing and maturing. This quality is more than multiplicity in numbers. It is like life itself ever expanding. And so is man’s awareness in Islam.

This expanding of awareness however is, according to this surah, dependent upon man’s reaching for the ideal (see surah No. 87) and his slaying of the self which pulls him down and bids him to evil. The meaning of Al- Kawther promised to Islam thus becomes clear.

.. .Ibrahim AbuNab (1931-1991)