90:1 NO! I call to witness this Territory!—
90:1 The opening particle lā (Nay!) is used as an intensive form, commencing an oath rather than a particle of negation (cf. usage in 56:75; 75:1; 84:16). The sūrah derives its title from the mention of balad (lit. territory, place) in this verse. According to most of the classical commentators the term signifies the city of Makkah; a suggestion seems quite justified since the references in the first three verses are pointedly directed towards the city. However, restricting the allusion of balad, a generic term, to the city of Makkah appears inconsistent, despite tremendous importance laid on the city throughout the Qur’ān. By purposely leaving the identity of balad vague, the Qur’ān seems to impart wider implication of its message that transcends time and geographic limitations. The territory, therefore, appears to signify any land in which people have lawful rights by virtue of their ancestry and domicile.