What is the Concept of Surah Tabarak?

Allah Almighty starts off Surah Tabarak (Surah Mulk) with an ayah full of power, heavily loaded in meaning:

(۱) تَبَـٰرَكَ ٱلَّذِى بِيَدِهِ ٱلْمُلْكُ وَهُوَعَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَىْءٍۢ قَدِيرٌ

Concept of Surah Tabarak

The Concept of Surah Tabarak (Mulk)

The word “Tabarak” is the more empowered version of ‘Barakah‘ (Blessings). Tabarak is a station exclusively for Allah Almighty, as only he is empowered to give immeasurably to whom he wants and when he wants. Surah Tabarak is excessive goodness. This is something Allah Almighty may choose to express in the form of giving or withholding, either of which may be a blessing. Tabarak is a gift that applies to people at a personal or communal level. Allah Almighty may choose to give abundantly to a certain individual or a community, save that entire community from a natural disaster that could have destroyed everyone, or do both at the same time.

It is also important to understand that Allah almighty may put ‘Barakah’ in everything. He may choose to give us something in the form of a blessing or a trial. We may not know, for example, which morsel of food on our plate contains the ‘barakah’ that Allah Almighty has ordained for us. This is why Muslims believe it is best to never waste food and to be mindful of putting only small portions on our plates so that we can finish our meals. Allah Almighty beautifully connects the words “Tabarak” to “Mulk” (Dominion). Only a being who has complete control of all things can apportion out as much as, he wills. Only our Master, our Maula, our true and only king.

Through his kingdom over entire creation, he may choose to give dominion to whomsoever he wants, appointing delegates: Khalifas. Here in lies the different between Allah’s (SWT) dominion and man’s dominion. Allah Almighty has control over all things at all time, not only through his delegates like the angles who report to him. But he also has direct control over all of us even down to our innermost secrets that we keep hidden from everyone. As Allah Almighty mentions in the Quran, in Surah Qaf 50-16:

“We are nearer to him than (His) jugular vein.”

Allah Almighty never exhausted and capable of running his dominion all by himself. As Allah mentions in Surah Baqarah’s verse: 2:255, also known as the Ayat Al-Kursi;

“His seat encompasses the heavens and the earth, and the preservation of both does not tire him.”

Concept of Surah Tabarak

Man, in contrast, is limited in everything. Our limited resources and intelligence necessitate the delegation of many responsibilities and tasks to those we trust to perform them. But our faculties and power of discernment are limited. The greatest empires have crumbled because they were not run properly. But because, Allah Almighty has control over everything. He also has the ability to put limits to that control, when he delegates it to creation. This is the meaning of the word “Qadeer” which is also connected to ‘Tabarak’ and ‘Mulk’ in the very first ayah of Surah Mulk.

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Conclusion

Allah ends the Surah Tabarak in a dramatic, yet in a very profound way, in ayah No. 30, by asking us, what would happen if he took from us our prime source of survival: water? This is something to think about. Allah’s Arsh (Throne) rests on top of the water that he created for us. In this deeper understanding, taking away water from mankind means that he may not give us anything from his kingdom, ‘Barakah’ which is the trust form of sustenance in our lives and encompassing also what we know as physical water! Barakah that only grows beyond measure and remain stable with us and around our loved ones. Aameen.