This chapter speaks about revelation as a kind of speech from God to His prophets and messengers. This is stated in the contents of its opening: Thus does He reveal to you and to those who were before you, Allah, the All-mighty, the All-wise… and its conclusion: And it is not for any human that Allah should speak to him… (42:51). Throughout the chapter, the discourse returns to the theme of revelation time and again. At various points, God says:
- And thus have We revealed to you an Arabic Qur’an…. (42:7)
- He has prescribed for you the religion which He had enjoined upon Noah…. (42:13)
- Allah it is Who revealed the Book with the truth and the balance…. (42:17)
This is not to mention the chapter’s repeated discussion of sustenance (rizq).
So revelation is this chapter’s central concern. It also discusses the signs of Divine Unity, the qualities of the faithful and the disbelievers, and what awaits each of them in their Resurrection and return to God. These are a second branch of discourse, but even these topics ultimately return to that of revelation in this chapter.
The chapter was revealed at Mecca, with the exception of And those who respond to their Lord… (42:38) until the third verse thereafter, and …Say: I do not ask of you any reward for it but love for my near relatives… (42:23) until the fourth verse thereafter.