The Teachings

The Qur-aan


Bismillaahi walĥamdulillaahi waŝŝalaatu wassalaamu ‘alaa rasoolillaahi

In the name of Allaah for Whom is all the praise and gratitude; and peace and
blessings be on His Messenger.

The work on the Teachings of the Qur-aan was started in July 2004. Although
the first ten and the last two parts (juz’) of the Qur-aan have been completed
to date, we are publishing this volume containing parts 29-30 first.

This book is an attempt to present, as the name implies, the accurate and
authentic teachings of the Qur-aan as they were understood by the first
generation of Muslims (the companions of the Prophet ŝall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa
sallam). To present those teachings in a way that readers can derive the
maximum benefit from its study, it uses three kinds of texts:

1. Interpretive meanings of the verses of the Qur-aan, which should not
be considered a literal translation of the text of the Qur-aan, but an
expression of the author’s understanding of the Qur-aanic text. For
that matter, it should be remembered that any translation of the Holy
Qur-aan is in fact only an expression of the translator's understanding
of the Word of Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta‘aala, and, hence, cannot be
equated with the Qur-aan itself. Only the original Arabic text can be
called the Glorious Qur-aan – the Word of Allaah SWT.

This interpretive meaning is what has been called “The Teachings of
the Qur-aan” in this book.

2. A running commentary that provides the contextual details about the
verses to help in understanding the teachings of the verses. This
commentary is based on authentic, classical exegesis by the renowned
exegetes of the past (Mufassireen from our noble As-Salaf), Ĥadeeth
texts and works of contemporary scholars.

3. Footnotes to explain certain words or terms.

The interpretive meanings and running commentary for a Soorah has been
given on the left side of the book which follows the normal English style flow
of the text -- from left to right. On the right side of the book, only the
interpretive meaning (Teachings) for the entire Soorahs have been given so
that people can read the Soorahs unimpeded by anything else. They flow in
the normal Arabic style -- from right to left.

Although tremendously great works exist to convey the message of the Qur-
aan, this humble effort has been undertaken to provide the teachings in a
simple, easy and contemporary style.

Many Muslims growing up in non-Muslim societies cannot fully benefit from
the Qur-aan because they do not find the existing translations and
commentaries interesting, engaging or relevant to their environment.

Similarly, many non-Muslims who want to study Islam are given the
translations of the Qur-aan to read without first educating them enough
about Islamic basics so that they can properly benefit from the teachings of
the Qur-aan. Without being clear about the fundamentals of Islam and
without the benefit of appropriate contextual references, non-Muslims might
misunderstand the messages and teachings of the Qur-aan. Some of these
encounters prove to be very counter-productive. They might create more
misunderstandings than helping them get the true message of Islam.

The intent is to present the message and teachings of the Qur-aan in the
language and manner that the English speaking Muslims can easily
understand and that non-Muslims can fully appreciate.

The following three abbreviations have been used in the text of the
• SWT for Subĥaanahu wa t‘aalaa to express the glory and exaltedness
of Allaah;
• ŜA‘WS for Ŝall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, to wish Allaah’s blessings and
peace on Prophet Muĥammad; and
• ‘AS for ‘Alayhissalaam to wish peace on other prophets of Allaah.

Effort has been made to keep the use of Arabic words to a minimum;
however, there are many Islamic terms and names that should be retained in
their original form instead of being translated. Wherever such a term or name
has occurred, a footnote has been used to explain the term at least at the first
occurrence, and every now and then afterwards, as needed. To spell such
Arabic words and Islamic terms, the following convention of transliteration
has been used:
Short Arabic vowels have been represented by “a” for “Fatĥa”, “i” for
“Kasra” and “u” for “Dhamma”; while long Arabic vowels have been
transcribed by the use of double English vowels (e.g. Allaah, Deen,
Arabic letters with no equivalent in English have been transcribed as
Ĥ for Ĥaa ح
Kh for Khaa خ
Dz for Dzaal ذ
Ŝ for Ŝaad ص
Dh for Dhaad ض
Ŧ for Ŧaa ط
Ž for Žaa ظ
‘ for ‘ayn ع
Gh for Ghayn غ

If you find this work useful in increasing your understanding of the teachings
of the Qur-aan, please pray that Allaah SWT makes it a means of His mercy,
forgiveness and bounties for me on the Day of Judgment. Aameen.

I conclude by expressing my deep gratitude and fervent praise for Allaah SWT,
the Lord of the universe.

Ayub A. Hamid
January 1, 2010

Teachings and Commentary

The Seventh Group

When we started the teaching series, we had indicated in the introduction
that the Qur-aan consists of seven distinct groups of Soorahs
. Each group of
Soorahs starts with one or more Makkan Soorahs and ends with one or more
Madeenan Soorahs. Each group covers the life cycle of the Islamic movement,
but from a different perspective. Similarly each group talks about Towĥeed,
Risaalah and Aakhirah and contains some commands of Allaah. However, in
addition to these common features, each group has its own central theme
that is particularly emphasized in all Soorahs of that group.

The seventh group of Soorahs starts with Soorah Al-Mulk (Soorah 67) and
ends with Soorah An-Naas (Soorah 114) – forty eight (48) Soorahs in total.

The Makkan Soorahs contained in this group are those revealed at the earliest
stage of the prophetic mission. They were composed of short, rhythmic verses
that were easy on the tongue but extremely powerful in their impact and that
were effectively packed with profound messages. Initially, the Soorahs were
short, containing only a few verses each. Thus they could be easily
remembered and repeated by the listeners. As the Prophet ŝall-Allaahu ‘alayhi
wa sallam (ŜA‘WS) recited them to people, they would be instantly picked up
by friends and foes alike and would become the talk of the town. As time
passed, the length of the Soorahs increased gradually. These Soorahs shook
up the Arabian society quite intensely and polarized Arabs into two factions:
those who believed in them became passionately devoted fans of Islam, while
others became furiously aggressive foes.

The emphasized theme in this group of Soorahs is the belief in the Day of
Resurrection and the life Hereafter (Aakhirah). Arabs believed in Allaah,
though not in an appropriate manner. They did not believe in Towĥeed –
accepting Allaah as One and Unique God Who does not have any sons,
daughters or partners -- but believed in him nonetheless. However, they had
lost the concept of the Aakhirah altogether. That was the area where most of
the work was needed to bring them to the guidance of Islam. Hence, this was

This is based on the research done by Amin Ahsan Islahi and his teacher Hameeduddeen Faraahi,

the most emphasized aspect of the early revelations. In them, the imagery of
the condition that people will witness on the Last Day and in the Hereafter
was vividly presented to help people visualize the reality of Aakhirah. In
addition to informing them about various aspects of Aakhirah, its inevitability
was expounded through rational evidence based on natural signs that people
can easily observe around them. Soorah after Soorah was revealed to
inculcate the belief in Aakhirah – each Soorah explaining it in a different style,
from a different angle, emphasizing a different aspect and using a different
rationale, logic or approach. Subsequent Soorahs built upon the concepts
introduced by the earlier Soorahs and answered new questions and
objections raised by those who did not want to believe in it.

As mentioned earlier, the Qur-aan is comprised of the instructions and
guidance that Allaah provided for building excellence in human personality
and human society. Looking at this group from that perspective and using the
example of constructing a building, we can say that this group was designed
to dig into the human psyche and lay strong foundations for the edifice of
excellence to be built thereupon. They provide strong reasons for people to
excel in their dealings and behaviour for the pleasure of Allaah and to stay
away from anything bad in order to avoid His displeasure.

The ancillary theme of this group is to warn the disbelievers of the
punishment from Allaah in this world and in the Hereafter for their disbelief.
This message was reinforced through generally-known historical anecdotes of
previous nations. They were aware of the destruction of other nations but
they never pondered over them. These Soorahs aimed at helping them
connect the cause to the consequences by indicating that the destruction of
earlier nations was a punishment for their rejection of the messengers of
Allaah sent to them. These revelations also helped them understand that the
universal disaster that will happen on the Last Day is as easy and as natural to
occur as the occurrence of the local disasters.

67 Al-Mulk
Name and Background

The Soorah came to be identified by the word Al-Mulk (the kingdom or the
dominion) occurring in its first verse. Al-Mulk is only its identifier, not the
topic of this chapter.

This Soorah was revealed in the early Makkan period when focus of the
message was still on the Hereafter, but had gone past its initial introduction.
By the time of its revelation, people had become familiar with the concepts of
the Hereafter and its imagery and could now be taught about its rationale and
purpose. People had also become familiar with the Qur-aanic revelations and
adept in its retention and, hence, the length of the Soorahs had relatively
increased. By that time, the opponents of the Islamic mission had become
argumentative and their arguments needed to be addressed. As well, they
needed to be warned of the consequences of their disbelief.

Like other early Makkan Soorahs, Al-Mulk presents Islamic teachings in a
concise, pointed style that shook people up and encouraged them to reflect.
The Soorah reminds people of the temporary nature of this world, created
only for the purpose of testing people’s performance and identifying those
who perform excellently. It uses signs of nature to help people grasp the
inevitability of the Hereafter and highlights the punishment that the
disbelievers will face in this world and the Hereafter, lest they take this matter

Teachings and Commentary

In the name of Allaah, the Most Gracious,
the Most Merciful.

Ο`.· ´<¦ ≈´Η-¯,l¦ ΟŠ>¯,l¦
The Soorah starts with a description of the attributes, authority, power and might of Allaah
SWT so that people can form the right views and develop the correct understanding about

The source of all blessings and
magnificently exalted is He:
• In Whose hands is dominion;
and He has power and
capability to do everything;

Who created death and life to
test which of you is best in
deeds; and He is the Mighty,
the Forgiving; and

Who created the seven
heavens in layers, one above
another; you do not see any
inconsistency in the Most
Gracious One’s creation; have a
look again, do you see any
Then look back again
and again, your sight will return
to you humbled and it will be
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The first word of the Soorah “Tabaaraka” is a superlative and emphatic form of “barakah”
which connotes greatness, grandeur, abundance, goodness, growth, blessing and
permanence. Thus “Tabaaraka” means He Who is infinitely superior and great, magnificently
exalted over everything else, from Whom emanates abundant goodness, growth and blessing
on a constant and permanent basis.

“In His hands” is a proverbial expression indicating ownership and control. Dominion (Mulk)
implies sovereignty over the entire universe. He is not merely the Cause who caused the
creation of the universe and then retired. Rather, He is watching over the operations of the

universe like a sovereign king looking after His kingdom. And He is not like a human king; He
has infinite capability and absolute might to take care of the universe on an ongoing basis.

In “Who created both death and life”, the mention of death before life is worth noting. When
people think about these matters, they usually think that death follows life. What people
forget is that there was nothing before our life was created. Our starting point was non-
existence (death), and then Allaah created us (gave us life). But this is a temporary life, which
ends with our death. Then, we will be raised for an eternal life on the Day of Judgment. Thus,
the eternal life of the Hereafter is also preceded by death.

The current life was made temporary as a test so that everyone can demonstrate his or her
best performance. It is this performance that will determine the quality of life in the eternal
Hereafter. Thus, the life of this world being a test from Allaah SWT automatically implies that:
This life is not without purpose;
Death merely signifies the end of the test, it is not the end of a person’s existence;
It is Allaah as the Examiner who determines what is the right behaviour, not people
who are being tested; and
There will be reward and punishment because without any consequences of actions,
the test becomes illogical and meaningless.

People should keep His two attributes in mind in this respect: firstly, He has all the power and
might to hold everyone accountable so that none can evade His judgment or accountability;
secondly, although He is able to hold everyone accountable for every action that a person
performs in his or her life, He is also very forgiving. He is Kind in that He forgives people if
their overall performance is adequate, instead of holding them accountable for every single
thing. Furthermore, if people repent during their worldly life and seek His forgiveness for
their past mistakes, He forgives them.

“Seven heavens” refers to some sort of division of the universe into seven layers which
people can interpret and understand according to their level of cosmic knowledge. Allaah
SWT has not precisely explained such concepts because the Qur-aan is for people of all levels
of knowledge and intellect in all periods of time. The exact nature of this cosmic reality would
have been beyond the level of comprehension of most people, most of the time. Hence,
Allaah SWT just alludes to them so that people can reflect upon them according to their own
capacity. Everyone, therefore, gets the desired benefit from the reflection according to his or
her knowledge and sophistication, from unlettered people to advanced research scientists.
This is one of the miracles of the Qur-aan in that the statements made by the Qur-aan are
never contradicted by scientific facts. The more advanced the research that establishes a
scientific fact, the more impressive the description of that fact in the Qur-aan proves to be.

When we ponder over the functioning of the universe, we see that from an atom to the
greatest cosmos, every part of the universe is functioning consistently according to the laws
of nature promulgated by Allaah SWT. All human progress has been possible only because of
the consistency in these laws of nature. In addition, the functioning of the whole universe is
so coordinated and congruent to sustain life that some scientists conclude that from the Big

Bang onwards, everything was designed to enable creation of human (intelligent) life and its
sustenance (anthropic principle
). The verse uses Allaah’s attribute “the Most Gracious”
instead of His name in keeping with His tremendous mercy and kindness with which He took
care of human needs from the very outset of the act of creation, ensured consistency of the
laws of nature and fine-tuned the universe for sustenance of human life.

As is evident from the above notes, by presenting appropriate attributes of Allaah SWT, the
first four verses inculcate correct views about Allaah SWT, life of this world and the life
Hereafter in a concise manner. The mention of heavens provides an opportunity for the next
verse to use the sights of the visible heaven to correct another misunderstanding many Arabs
used to have about soothsayers or fortune-tellers as well as to transition human attention
towards the punishment of those who defy Allaah.

We have decorated the nearest sky
with lamps, using them as missiles to
be thrown at devils for whom We
have prepared the punishment of
Blazing Fire.
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Those who have observed the night sky on a clear night know the stunning beauty the stars
present. In addition to the beauty, they were also a source of guidance in the desert to know
the directions and to find the way. The night sky also presents the backdrop for shooting stars
and meteorites burning brightly on their entry into the atmosphere of earth. The abundance
of meteorites in the space around Earth and their frequent entry into the atmosphere
presents an insurmountable hazard for any evil Jinns (Shayaŧeen) who dare to venture
beyond the confines of earth. Mention of this hazard is to correct the views of Arabs who
used to think that Jinn devils can go up the heavens and bring news of future events and
inform the fortune tellers of their discoveries. They are being told that this is not possible.
Allaah SWT has designed the universe in such a way that devils are precluded from going
beyond the confines of the earth. Hence whatever the fortune-tellers or soothsayers say is
baseless and fabricated. The mention of Jinn devils necessitated the mention of Fire that has
been prepared for their punishment, which served as a segue into the description of

In physics and cosmology, the anthropic principle is the collective name for several ways of asserting
that the only kind of universe human beings can occupy is one that is similar to the one we are in. If the
universe were sufficiently different from our own, it would contain no humans. Originally proposed as a
rule of reasoning, the term has since been extended to cover supposed "superlaws" that in various ways
require the universe to support intelligent life i.e. human beings. Anthropic reasoning typically
concludes that the stability of structures essential for life, from atomic nuclei to the whole universe,
depends on delicate balances between different fundamental forces. These balances occur only in a tiny
fraction of possible universes — so that our universe appears fine-tuned for life. Anthropic reasoning
attempts to explain and quantify this fine tuning.

punishment of all disbelievers -- who do not believe in the realities propounded by the Islamic

In addition, for all those who
disbelieve in their Lord, there will be
punishment of Hell – a wretched
As they are thrown into
it, they will hear its roaring while it
boils up,
almost bursting with rage.
Every time a group is thrown into it,
its keepers will ask them, “Did no
warner come to you?”
They will
respond, “Yes indeed; a warner did
come to us, but we rejected him and
said, ‘Allaah never sent down
anything, you are but grossly
They will further say:
“Had we listened or used our
intelligence to understand, we would
not be among the inmates of the
Blazing Fire!”
Thus they will admit
their fault, so, away with the inmates
of the Blazing Fire!

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“Disbelieving in their Lord” does not necessarily mean denying the existence of Allaah. People
may believe in the existence of Allaah, but they will still be considered disbelievers if they do
not believe in Him in the right way or have incorrect views about any of His attributes
including such matters as His being Unique without anyone being similar to, equal with or
begotten by Him; His exclusive right to give commands and to be obeyed; His holding people
accountable and judging them on the Day of Judgment; and His rewarding and punishing
them in the Hereafter.

Imagine the picture of the anger of the Fire that will rage while receiving the disbelievers who
ignored or rejected the warnings of the prophets of Allaah about the accountability in the
Hereafter. Even the keepers of the Fire will make the disbelievers realize their own fault by
asking them if anyone ever warned them about this punishment.

Although the disbelievers currently consider the Muslims as being misguided and crazy for
believing in the Hereafter, they will readily accept on the Day of Judgment that they were the

ones who were in fact misguided. However, confession at that time will not save them from
the raging, blazing Fire.

On the other hand, those who believe in Allaah on rationally, without sensory perception of
the reality, and are afraid of being held accountable in the Hereafter will enjoy the
forgiveness of Allaah and tremendous reward. The shortcomings, lapses and errors in their
efforts to live righteously will be forgiven because they sincerely tried their best to live in
obedience to Him.

As for those who fear their Lord,
even though He is beyond sensory
perception, there will be forgiveness
and great reward for them.

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ο,±-Β ",>¦´ρ ¸..´ ∩⊇⊄∪
The key quality of believers is that they used their intellect and common sense to believe in
Allaah as He should be believed in, instead of waiting to witness His existence and the life
Hereafter beyond any doubt. This is the key component of the test for which human beings
have been put in this world – to adopt the correct beliefs about Allaah and the Hereafter
through intellect, rather than physically perceivable evidence.

The fear of All-Knowing, All-Aware Allaah’s displeasure is the only effective motive that keeps
people on the path of goodness at all times and in all circumstances and that keeps people
away from doing something wrong when no one is watching or no one could ever find out.
Every motive, other than the fear of accountability to Allaah, to do good or to stay away from
wrong loses its effect in some circumstances or the other.

Not only does Allaah know everyone’s actions, He is also fully aware of the motives behind
the actions as well as all the thoughts that go through one’s mind. Thus, the disbelievers
should realize that Allaah knows why they disbelieve and the ulterior motives they harbour
when rejecting Islam, presenting excuses for not accepting it and the personal interests they
are trying to preserve by disobeying Allaah. The believers should rest assured that their
sacrifices for their faith and their sincerity behind their actions are all known to Allaah to be
rewarded accordingly. Even the most insignificant of their good deeds done with the
intention of seeking the pleasure of Allaah will be fully rewarded.

Whether conceal your thoughts or
publicize them, He is fully aware of
whatever is on your minds.
Will He
Who has created not know? He is the
Knower of the subtleties, the Fully-

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Previously, Allaah SWT had invited people to think about the heavens and the consistency in
the creation of the universe. In the next verse, people are being invited to reflect upon their
life on earth.

He it is Who made the earth tame
for you, so walk in its paths and eat
from the sustenance He provides. And
to Him will be the resurrection.
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Allaah SWT has made earth inhabitable and put all the means of sustenance in it. Everything
we consume comes from the earth. He put us on the earth ensuring that it is fully equipped
to fulfill all our needs. However, He did not do it aimlessly. He is going to gather us on the Day
of Judgment and hold us accountable for whether the earth’s resources we consumed were
according to His guidance and for the objectives set out by Him or not.

People should be mindful that He Who has made this earth inhabitable could destroy them at
any time either by making the earth open up and swallow them, by disturbing its balance
within its solar system so that it runs off its orbit or its revolutions are disturbed, or by
causing super strong winds to rain stones over people and destroy everything.

Do you feel secure that He Who is
in the heaven will not cause the earth
to swallow you, while it is convulsing?
Or do you feel secure that He Who
is in the heaven will not send violent
stone-throwing winds against you?
Then you shall know how was My
And their predecessors did
deny, so how severe was My censure.

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Because Allaah SWT has made the earth habitable and exploitable for people, they forget that
He has the power to use the same natural forces for the destruction of the human population
and their belongings. He has made the natural system such that once in a while people are
reminded of the natural powers through storms, floods, earthquakes, landslides and
earthquakes. In the past Allaah SWT has also used natural calamities to wipe out those who

had become rebellious to Him and rejected the idea of submitting to Him, through the both
kinds of calamities that came from beneath their feet and from above their heads. This was
done so that the Muslims could re-establish the law, order, balance and peace according to
Allaah’s standards in the land by submitting to Him and practising Islam. This is like a
gardener cleaning up the garden from weeds so that good plants can flourish. Through these
verses, the Makkans are being admonished that instead of daring the Prophet to bring on the
punishment of Allaah, they should learn the lessons from the history of those townships
around them that have been wiped out in the past, the ruins of which the Makkans
themselves have seen during their travels.

The phrase “Who is in the heaven” is not specifying a location for Allaah, Who is infinite in all
His attributes including His presence. However, finite human beings cannot imagine or
perceive the infinite nature of Allaah’s presence. As people cannot think of anything without
its location and direction, when people think of Allaah, they think of heavens and look or
signal upwards when talking about Him. That is their way of referring to the Infiniteness of
Allaah, as compared to some physical god such as an idol or a human figure. “Who is in the
heaven” is connecting to that human perception of the Infinite God. Elsewhere in the Qur-
aan, the infinite nature of Allaah’s presence has been inculcated through verses such as:
“Whichever way you turn, Allaah is in that direction.” (Al-Baqarah 2:115)

The next verse presents them with a common phenomenon to reflect upon the dependence
of all creatures on the laws of nature wherein a slight disturbance can be devastating.

Do they not observe the birds
above them, spreading their wings
and folding them in? None can
uphold them except the Most
Gracious. Truly it is He that watches
over all things.
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Allaah has graciously given the air such properties and equipped birds physically such that
they are able to fly and manoeuvre in the air. Just as Allaah SWT has taken care of the needs
of birds, so has He done for all of His creations, from the cosmos to human beings. Not only
did He set the laws of nature at the beginning, He continuously watches over their operation.
He also overrules them or adjusts them temporarily as He likes and His plan requires. Miracles
of the Prophets or destruction of nations are some examples thereof.

If Allaah SWT decides to destroy them, who are they counting on to defend them against
Allaah’s forces?

Or who is there that will be your
army to help you against the Most
Gracious? Disbelievers are merely
suffering from delusion.
Or who is
there that can provide you with
sustenance if He were to withhold His
provision? But they obstinately
persist in insolent defiance and
disdain for the Truth.

Β¦ ¦‹≈δ “%!¦ ´θδ ‰Ζ`> ¯/>l Ο´¸´.Ζƒ
Β βρŠ ≈´Η-¯,l¦ β| βρ`,±≈>l¦ āω| ’·
‘ρ`,s ∩⊄⊃∪ Β¦ ¦‹≈δ “%!¦ ¯/>·`—¯,ƒ β|
i.Β¦ …«·—‘ ≅. ¦θ‘∨l †· ¯θ.`s ‘θ±Ρ´ρ
The main reason for their obstinate and insolent defiance and disdain for the truth is that
they are blindly following the traditions of their society and their self interest in maintaining
the status quo. Like sheep, bowing their head, they continue to follow the path they have
been put on without thinking if it is the right path or not and without thinking where it is
going to take them. They refuse to think independently or think out of the box to find the
right path or to choose the right alternatives. Allaah SWT has endowed them with
appropriate faculties to help them find the right path if they just stand straight, look around
and think about where they should be going.

Is then one who walks fallen on his
face better guided or one who walks
erect upon a straight path?
Say, “It
is He Who brought you into being and
equipped you with hearing, seeing
and thinking faculties. Yet, little do
you thank.”
Say, “It is He Who
spread you all over the earth and to
Him you shall be gathered.”

ϑ·¦ _:ϑƒ !‰.>`Β ’ls .«γ>´ρ ´“‰δ¦
Β¦ _:ϑƒ !‡ƒθ™ ’ls 1≡´¸. Λ.1.`.•Β
∩⊄⊄∪ ¯≅· ´θδ “%!¦ ¯/´!:Σ ¦ Ÿ≅->´ρ '/>l
×ϑ´.l¦ ,≈.¯.N¦´ρ ο‰↔·N¦´ρ ξ‹l· !Β
βρ`,>:· ∩⊄⊂∪ ¯≅· ´θδ “%!¦ ¯Ν´¦´‘Œ ’·
¯‘N¦ «‹l|´ρ βρ¸:>´ ∩⊄⊆∪
When they are invited to believe so that they do not end up doomed on the Day of Judgment,
they try to refute it just by raising questions about its precise timing as if knowing when it is
going to happen is of any help when it comes to believing in it. Even if it was disclosed
precisely when the Last Day will be, how would that help them believe in it? Infact, such
knowledge would be counterproductive because it would divert people’s attention away from
the Hereafter itself to the timing of the Last day. The Last Day and subsequent Judgment has

to be believed on its own merit and logic, just like we believe that everyone is going to die
without knowing when. The real reason for their posing such questions is that they do not
believe in it and they are daring the Prophet to bring it on. The next three verses deal with
this attitude of the disbelievers.

And they say, “When shall this
threat materialize, if you are truthful?
Say, “The knowledge thereof is only
with Allaah and I am merely a clear
But when they shall see it
approaching, the faces of the
disbelievers shall be disfigured with
distress and it will be said, “This is
what you used to call for.”

βθlθ1ƒ´ρ _.Β ¦‹≈δ ‰s´θl¦ β| Λ.Ζ´
_.·‰≈. ∩⊄∈∪ ¯≅· !ϑ‾Ρ| `Οl-l¦ ‰Ζs ´<¦
!ϑ‾Ρ|´ρ !Ρ¦ ",ƒ‹Ρ _..•Β ∩⊄∉∪ !´ϑl· νρ¦´‘ π±l`—
·↔‹™ νθ`>`ρ š_·%!¦ ¦ρ`,±´ Ÿ≅Š·´ρ
¦‹≈δ “%!¦ Λ.Ψ´ .«. šχθ`s´‰. ∩⊄∠∪
By the time they know about the Day of Judgment with certainty and are frightened to see it,
it will be too late. The time to believe in it is now while people are still in the test phase –
when they are living in the world. Once they die, the test is over. Although thereafter they
will have knowledge and certainty about these matters of faith, the knowledge will be of no
avail and people will have to suffer the consequences of not believing.

Instead of heeding to these warnings and preparing for the Judgment, the Makkan leaders
regarded it as a crazy idea which the Prophet is obsessed with. They would tell other Makkans
not to believe in the Prophet because with time he, his craze and his movement would die
their own death. Also the families of those people who believed in the Prophet were very
upset with him. They would pray for the death and destruction of the Prophet, seek
witchcraft spells for that purpose and even hatch plots to kill him somehow. The next verse
invites them to think about how death of the Prophet and his followers would in any way help
them against or save them from the punishment of Allaah? Whether the Prophet and his
companions die or live by Allaah’s mercy, the reality of the punishment of Allaah and the Day
of Judgment is not going to change or disappear. They would be wise to worry about the
consequences they themselves are going to face, rather than their concern with the death of
the Prophet and his companions.

Ask them, “Have you considered
whether Allaah destroys me and
those with me or has mercy on us,
who will shelter the disbelievers from
a painful punishment?”

¯≅· `Ο.ƒ´.´‘¦ β| ´_.>lδ¦ ´<¦ Β´ρ ´_-Β ρ¦
!Ψ´Η-´‘ ϑ· ¸.>† _·,±≈>l¦ Β .¦‹s
ΟŠl¦ ∩⊄∇∪

In the next verse, the Prophet is instructed to inform the opponents who regarded believing
in the Hereafter as misguided craziness that even when the Prophet and his followers die,
they would have the mercy and grace of the Most Gracious Lord to rely upon because of their
faith in Him. What the disbelievers needed to worry about was not what would happen to the
Prophet and his companions but what would happen to themselves when it would become
crystal clear to them that how wrong they had been for not believing; because then they
would not find any shelter from the painful punishment prepared for such disbelievers.

Tell them, “He is the Most Gracious;
We have believed in Him, and on Him
do we rely; so you shall soon find out
who it is that is in obvious
Say, “Have you
considered if your water should sink
down into the ground, who then
could bring you clear-flowing water?”
¯≅· ´θδ ≈Η-¯,l¦ !ΖΒ¦´. .«. «‹l.´ρ !´Ζl´´θ.
βθΗ¹-..· Β ´θδ ’· ≅≈l . _..•Β ∩⊄'∪
¯≅· Λ.ƒ´.´ ‘¦ β| ~..¦ ¯/´τ! Β ¦´‘¯θs ϑ·
/>‹.!ƒ .!ϑ. _.-Β ∩⊂⊃∪

The disbelievers live as if Allaah SWT is totally irrelevant to their lives while, at the same time,
relying for their daily living completely on the resources created by Him. They have
mistakenly assumed that what they have is going to stay with them forever and that they can
attain their goals without needing to obtain Allaah’s favours. The reality is that their well
being depends on many things that are not in their control but in Allaah’s. For one, they
should think about the supply of water in their arid land. Did they ever ponder that if Allaah
SWT decides to deprive them of water, do they have any way to obtain water for their

68 Al-Qalam
Name and Background

This Soorah is called Al-Qalam (the pen) as well as An-Noon (the letter of the
Arabic alphabet, equivalent to N in English); both names are taken from the
very beginning of the Soorah.

This Soorah was revealed when Makkan opposition to the Prophetic mission
had become quite pronounced. As a way to discredit his message and hinder
his mission, the opponents had started ridiculing the Prophet in public and
calling him a mad or possessed man. The Soorah attempts to educate the
Makkans to think rationally rather than reacting to the Prophet’s call with
emotional diatribe or disregarding the message without any serious
reflection. It also warns the opponents of the consequences of their
behaviour in this world and in the Hereafter.

By its placement immediately after Soorah Al-Mulk, it has been coupled with
it because of the similarity of theme, though the style and tone is different
because of the difference in the stage of the mission and the nature of the
opposition at the time of the revelation of the two. Towards the end of
Soorah Al-Mulk, the Prophet was instructed to ask the Makkans, “Have you
considered whether Allaah destroys me and those with me or has mercy on
us, who will shelter the disbelievers from a painful punishment?” This Soorah
elaborates how the Prophet and his companions are on the path of success in
this world and the Hereafter while his opponents and their followers are on
the path of failure and destruction. It starts with drawing the Makkan’s
attention to the beauty of the Qur-aan (in every respect -- language, style,
message, etc.) and of the Prophet’s character. It also presents a sketch of the
opponents’ character and then with example warns them that their wealth
and prosperity which is making them deny the truth is not permanent. They
should not feel themselves secure from misfortune which can befall without
warning. It also demonstrates how two different characters are going to result
in two totally different consequences both in this world and the Hereafter.

Teachings and Commentary

In the name of Allaah, the Most Gracious,
the Most Merciful.

Ο`.· ´<¦ ≈´Η-¯,l¦ ΟŠ>¯,l¦
The Soorah starts with the Arabic alphabet letter “Noon” which, as described in the
introduction of this Soorah, is the same as the letter “N” in English. This was the first Soorah
that started with a letter of the alphabet standing on its own, without being a part of a word.
The subject of the use of such letters and their possible meanings have been discussed in
detail at the beginning of Soorah Al-Baqarah, thus those details will not be repeated here. As
a brief reminder, it should be mentioned that it was a prevalent style of the celebrated poets
and orators at the time of the revelation of the Qur-aan to start their discourse or poem with
some letters standing on their own.

However, the use of N (Noon), in the opinion of some scholars, has a significance and
relevance in relation to this Soorah. “Noon” means “fish” in Arabic. Towards the end of the
Soorah, the Prophet has been told not to be like the “Companion of the Fish” referring to
Prophet Younus
. Thus the use of “Noon” at the start also implies “The Soorah in which “Fish”
has been mentioned for the first time in relation to the companion of the Fish (Younus)”. The
evidence that “Noon” means fish is available in the Qur-aan itself when in Soorah Al-Ambiyaa
(21:87) Prophet Younus has been called “Dzan-Noon” which means the “Companion of the
Fish” exactly as he has been called “Ŝaaĥibil-Ĥoot” in this Soorah, also meaning the
“Companion of the Fish”.
Noon. The pen and what they write
therewith are witnesses that
by the
grace of your Lord, you are not a mad
or possessed man.
As well, there
definitely is a never-ending reward
for you and
that you do maintain a
tremendous character.
Soon you
will observe and they will realize
which of you is afflicted.
your Lord is best aware of who has
strayed from His path, just as He is
best aware of those who are guided.
χ Οl1l¦´ρ !Β´ρ βρ`,L`.„ ∩⊇∪ !Β ·Ρ¦
πϑ-Ζ. i.´‘ βθ`Ζ>ϑ. ∩⊄∪ β|´ρ il
¦´,>N ´¸¯.s βθ`ΖϑΒ ∩⊂∪ i‾Ρ|´ρ ’l-l _l>
ΟŠLs ∩⊆∪ ¸.¯...· βρ¸.¯.`ƒ´ρ ∩∈∪
`Ν>¯‹ƒ!. `βθ.±ϑl¦ ∩∉∪ β| š−.´ ‘ ´θδ
`Νl.¦ ϑ. ≅. s .&#‹.™ ´θδ´ρ `Νl.¦
_·‰.γϑl!. ∩∠∪

Prophet Jonah

The first verse contains the oath of the pen and what was being written with the pen. Here
the “pen” refers to any pen that was used by the scribes to write the revelations of the Qur-
aan. Whenever the Prophet ŜA‘WS received the revelation from Allaah SWT, it was not only
committed to his memory, but he also used to have the literate from among his followers
write the revelation down. These oaths refer to the writing of the Qur-aanic revelations and
revelations themselves. In other words, the contents of the Qur-aan are being presented as
witness to the statement that follows in verse 2 that “by the grace of your Lord, you are not a
mad or possessed man”. That is why we have expressed the meaning of the first verse as “The
pen and what they write therewith are witnesses that …” instead of the usual way of
expressing them as oaths.

By the time of the revelation of these verses, the Makkans had realized that the Prophet was
so dedicated to his mission of giving them the Qur-aanic messages and warning them about
the punishment of the Hereafter that no amount of pressure or opposition could make him
stop his missionary work. They also realized that he was willing to sacrifice his personal
safety, honour, prestige, wealth and everything he had for this mission. To them, it was
absolutely crazy for a person to suffer so much to merely warn others about a punishment
that did not even seem probable. They also realized that his followers were growing in
number, slowly but steadily. To justify their refusal to follow him and to stem the growth of
his followers, they started spreading rumours that: firstly, he had either become a mad man
or had been possessed by a Jinn who made him say what he said; and secondly, he was not
going to survive for long and that would be the end of his mission. This was their stance about
the man whom they themselves used to respect as the wisest, the most honourable and the
most dependable man a very short while ago up until he was appointed by Allaah as His
Messenger. The only change that had occurred between then and now was that he had
started to present the Qur-aan and its message to them.

To counter their propaganda and to encourage them to think rationally, these verses present
the Qur-aan itself as the witness that:
Such beautiful, meaningful and sublime prose that sets the highest moral and ethical
standards cannot be the words of a mad man or a possessed man;
The hardships he is enduring and the sacrifices he is making are going to be amply
rewarded in the form of never-ending bliss in the Hereafter and it is his opponents
that are headed for an ignoble end and total failure;
His superb character and unparalleled excellence in conduct which they practically
witness on a daily basis is exactly as he preaches to be the message of the Qur-aan. It
is because of his highest moral standard that he continues to care for everyone’s
salvation to save them from punishment, despite such a violent reaction from the
same people he cares for. The Makkans should come to their senses and ask
themselves if it is possible for a mad or possessed man to have that kind of a
personality. They need to ask themselves if there is anywhere a match for: his
unblemished truthfulness; his meticulous honouring of trusts; his proverbial
credibility; his care and concern for the poor, elderly, orphans and other
disadvantaged people of the society; his magnanimity and graciousness; his forgiving
nature; his lack of response against attacks on his person, honour and property; his

forbearance; his perseverance and steadfastness; his charming personality despite
the hardship and criticism inflicted by his opponents; and so on and so forth.

Although these verses are addressed to the Prophet, their aim is to make his opponents and
the general public think rationally, instead of reacting emotionally and blindly.

Continuing to address the Prophet, verses 5 and 6 stress upon the facts that if the opponents
continue to oppose the mission, then despite their propaganda, time will tell and make it
evident to everyone which of the two groups is really afflicted. The word used here is
“Maftoon”, meaning “one who is afflicted with a Fitnah.” Fitnah is something that makes a
person adopt wrong, unjust and destructive behaviour.

In this case, the opponents of the Islamic mission had been trapped by Shayŧaan into the
Fitnah of their ego and social status that they feared would be compromised if they accepted
the call of the Prophet. To preserve their perceived status and to satisfy their ego, they were
making themselves deserve the punishment from Allaah. Thus they were, in fact, the mad
people who were destroying their everlasting life in the Hereafter for the valueless notions of
this transitory world.

Verse 7 reminds people that although in time it will become evident to everyone, Allaah SWT
is well aware of the two sides and where they stand. He knows exactly who has strayed away
from the Islamic path of peace and salvation onto the path of serving their own desires, lusts
and egos which results in injustice and corruption in the world and Allaah’s anger and
punishment in the Hereafter. He is also fully aware of those who are following the guidance
He has sent through His own Messenger and Prophet. He is watching the hardships and
sacrifices His Prophet and the companions of the Prophet are making, and He has prepared
unlimited bounties and pleasures matching or exceeding in excellence the level of their
steadfastness and perseverance.

In the hope that the Prophet ŜA‘WS would yield under pressure or at least compromise his
strict stand against their evils and their idolatry, the Makkan chiefs were putting extreme
pressure on him. The Prophet had so far resisted every kind of pressure without any
emotional reaction and without any slowdown in his work or compromise in his stance.
However, the Makkans continued to hope that if they increased the intensity of their
opposition, at some point he would break down. The next two verses dashed their hopes.
These verses commanded the Prophet not to yield to them in any instance, thus letting the
Makkan chiefs know that none of their pressure was going to work because the Prophet was
not allowed to yield. It was on similar occasions that the Prophet told the Makkans that he
could not stop working for his mission or soften his stance just as the sun could not stop
shining or make its heat any cooler.

So do not yield to the rejecters.
They would have had you soften, so
that they may soften.
Ÿξ· ×L. _..‹>ϑl¦ ∩∇∪ ¦ρ–Š´ρ ¯θl δ‰.
šχθ`Ζδ‰`Š· ∩'∪

Verse 9 exposes their true motives. Their opposition to the mission of the Prophet was not
based on any principles. All their opposition and pressure tactics were intended just to make
him soften his efforts and compromise his strict stand against their evil behaviour and their
idolatry. It was to compel him to bargain and arrive at some compromising position through
give and take. They knew that he was not a mad man. Had he been a mad man promoting
crazy ideas, there was no sense in arriving at a give and take proposition. In reality they knew
that there was nothing wrong with him or his message. They just wanted him to become soft
and compromising in his message of reformation, so that they could save face, maintain their
egos and continue doing the evils they were doing.

There is an important lesson to be learned here. There must never be any give or take on the
matters of principles or beliefs of Deen
. It is hypocritical on the part of both parties: those
who expect a compromise and those who make a compromise. This lesson especially needs
to be noted by the Muslim masses that see themselves between two groups of people: One
group standing up for the pure Islamic principles and the other group opposing them. In such
situations, the masses usually put pressure on the Muslims who want to live by pure Islamic
principles and expect them to soften up, become accommodating and not be hardliners, etc.
On the other hand, Muslims must also be vigilant about those people who confuse the
principle of Deen with the provision and rules of Sharee‘ah and want everyone to follow their
version of the Sharee‘ah as the only truth. No softening up or compromise or accommodation
is allowed on the principles of Deen, while there can be quite a bit of flexibility,
accommodation and adaptation on the rules of Sharee‘ah.

The next few verses portray the character sketch of those who were calling him a mad man
and pressuring him to compromise. This was described so that Makkans could recognize evil
traits in the people who were opposing the Prophet and mentally contrast them against the
superb character of the Prophet mentioned earlier.

This character sketch further exposed the real reason for the chiefs’ opposition to the
Prophet and some of the dirty tactics stemming from such evil characteristics that were used
against the Prophet. It was now up to the Makkans to choose whom they preferred to listen

Principles or beliefs of Deen must not be confused with the rules and regulation of Sharee‘ah or Fiqh,
wherein there can be much flexibility under the right conditions. This point has been elaborated in
detail in my article about Deen and Sharee‘ah.

Similarly, do not yield to every
worthless habitual swearer,
mocker by gestures, going about with
malicious gossip,
hindering charity,
transgressing beyond limits, shirking
cruel, and besides all
that, a base-born.
Just because he
has wealth and sons.
When Our
revelations are recited to him, he
says, “Mere fables of the earlier
Ÿω´ρ ×L. ≅´ ∃āξ> _.γΒ ∩⊇⊃∪ —!´ϑδ
.!:Β Ο‹ϑΨ. ∩⊇⊇∪ ~!ΖΒ ¸¯.‚ll ‰.-`Β
ΟŠ.¦ ∩⊇⊄∪ ≅.`s ‰-. il≡Œ ΟŠΡ— ∩⊇⊂∪ β¦
βl´ ¦Œ Α!Β _.Ψ.´ρ ∩⊇⊆∪ ¦Œ| ’l.. «‹ls
!´Ζ.≈ƒ¦´. š^!· ¸.L≈™¦ š_.lρN¦ ∩⊇∈∪

Some people think that it is the description of a certain chief who could be recognized by
these features without having to mention his name. Their opinion is based on the use of
singular words, mention of being base-born and use of singlular pronoun while mentioning
branding in verse 16. Others think that it was a typical description of the collective character
of the chiefs of the Quraish who had banded together to oppose him. They give three reasons
for their opinion: firstly, this description starts with “and” as a continuation of the point made
in verse 8 where “rejecters” was plural; secondly, this verse uses the word “every” which is
not fitting if this was the description of one particular person; and thirdly, the example given
(verses 17-32) immediately after this description also uses the plural pronoun at the very start
of verse 17. They think the use of singular words and pronouns has been made because the
description is of a typical collective personality, not persons individually.

The personality sketch mentions the following traits:

Low esteem and credibility, hence, frequent resorting to oaths to convince people to
believe him – the Makkan chiefs would swear profusely to convince people that the
Prophet was mad or possessed.
Excessive use of mocking gestures, verbal put downs and derogatory remarks to
dishonour a person – the Makkan leaders would use this tactic when the Prophet
presented his message in public.
Spreading malicious gossip – for character assassination of another person or making
people fight. This technique was used to spread misgivings about the Prophet and to
cause rifts and misunderstandings among Muslims.
Hindering charity – being miserly and uncharitable as well as discouraging others
from giving charity and doing selfless goodness. “Khair” means good as well as
wealth. According to some commentators, here it particularly refers to wealth which
they withhold from spending on the poor and needy, and discourage others from
dong so.
Transgressing beyond limits – Abusing others’ rights, being excessive and exceeding
all limits.

Shirking obligations – “Atheem” is the one who continually shirks one’s obligations
to God, society, relatives or family.
Cruel – “‘Utull” means one who is quarrelsome, aggressive, stone-hearted, violent
and cruel.
Base-born – “Zaneem” is someone who is from a lower class family but pretends or
falsely presents himself to be from a higher class. In an efforts to trade up, such
people socialize and associate themselves with whoever they consider to be more
influential or higher class, indulge in flattery of that elite class while vocally opposing
and belittling those who differ in principle with such elite – all this in their efforts to
be included in that class and to prove that they are the most loyal champions for the
cause of that powerful and influential class

Verse 14, “Just because he has wealth and sons”, is making three points:

1. People should not yield to or be influenced by such evil personalities just because
they are powerful and wealthy. Having many sons who could fight alongside the
father carried huge weight in Arabian society. In those days, many people were
influenced by the rich and powerful just as today’s people follow rich and famous
celebrities. Allaah wants people to make a decision about who to follow or listen to,
on the basis of their character, not on the basis of their wealth and power.

2. They have adopted such a vicious personality because of their wealth and resources.
They use corrupt and cruel practices in amassing wealth, in protecting it and
increasing it; and those dirty traits become a part of their personality. Also, based on
their wealth and resources, they think they are important elite who deserve to be
recognized and followed as leaders. To this end, they adopt evil and unjust tactics
listed above. If they perceive someone to be a threat to their aspirations, they
engage every level of viciousnes and use any and all immoral techniques and tactics
to discredit him.

3. Because of their wealth and resources, they become arrogant, summarily
discounting even serious matters brought up by others without due diligence on
their merit. Their rejection of the message of the Qur-aan was because of this
arrogance and not because they had given it its due consideration and reflected
upon it rationally. When the Qur-aan warned them about the consequences of their
behaviour using examples of the previous nations, the said Makkan chiefs snubbed
the Qur-aanic anecdotes as “fables of the earlier people”, instead of thinking and
reflecting on its veracity and the gravity of the message.

The next verse concludes the mention of such people who were opposing the message of the
Qur-aan because of their pride, arrogance and egoism. It warns them of the consequence of

Islam does not recognize or endorse division of human beings into classes. This mention is only to
portray the mentality of those who were opposing the Prophet.

such behaviour by mentioning that they would soon be humiliated in both worlds, particularly
in the Hereafter.

Soon We will brand him on the

…«ϑ.⊥™ ’ls ΘθL¯,`‚l¦ ∩⊇∉∪
Just as “having one’s nose in the air” in English is an expression to indicate the display of
one’s arrogance, “having a big nose” in Arabic indicates inflated pride and ego. As the core
motive behind their opposition to the Prophetic message was their excessive pride and
inflated egos, their noses have been called snouts or “Khurtoom” (elephant trunk). Their
humiliation is termed “branding on their snouts”.

The Makkan chiefs were proud of their wealth and power, behaved as if their prosperity was
in their own control and acted as if it was going to be with them forever. Verses 17-32 quote
a parable to show them that the reliance on material well-being is not a wise attitude,
conditions can change any time and human beings are helpless against Allaah’s forces. The
reality is that people who are endowed with prosperity are being tested whether they submit
to Allaah, follow His guidance and become charitable, or their wealth gets to their head and
they become arrogant and miserly. The Makkan chiefs were also being tested with wealth
and sons.

Surely We have put them to test as
We tested the owners of the orchard,
when they swore that they would
certainly pick all its fruit next morning,
without leaving any behind
the poor).
Then there came upon it
(the garden) an affliction from your
!‾Ρ| ¯Νγ≈Ρ¯θl . !ϑ´ !Ρ¯θl. .≈>´¦ πΨ>'¦ Œ|
¦θ`Κ.·¦ !κ.`Β¸`.´ ‹l _.⇔.`.`Β ∩⊇∠∪ Ÿω´ρ
βθ`Ζ:.`.ƒ ∩⊇∇∪ ∃!L· !κ¯.l . .←!L Β

The Arabic phrase literally means “they did not make any exception”. Some people think that it means
that they did not say “Inshaa Allaah” making an exception to their confident (sworn) intention.
However, “making exception” does not literally mean “saying Inshaa Allaah”. To draw such a meaning,
there has to be some basis in the textual context, which does not exist here. Rather the context suggests
that “they did not make any exception” be taken literally; that is, they vowed to pick ALL fruit – no
exception – not leaving any behind for the poor to pick, as against the practice of some compassionate
people who left some fruit unpicked for the benefit of the needy. Also, there was no need to swear only
to express their intention of picking the fruit in the morning. They made a vow that they would not
leave anything behind. In addition, the latter meaning also fits with the objective for which this parable
is being described. The objective of the parable is not to teach people whether to say Inshaa Allaah or
not. The objective is to teach people that wealth is a test, that Allaah SWT does not like arrogance and
greed, and that people should not feel invincible because of their wealth and power because Allaah SWT
can take it away and punish them any time.

Lord while they were sleeping.
So it
became like a fully harvested desolate
As the morning broke, they
called out to one another,
“Get out
early to your crop if you want to
harvest it.”

So they set out muttering to one
“No poor man shall enter
the orchard upon you today.”
Enthusiastic and determined, they
hurried with confidence.
But when
they saw it, they said, "We must be
Rather, we have been

The best of them said, “Did I not say
to you, why do you not glorify

They acknowledged, “Exalted is our
Lord! We surely have been wrong-
Then they started blaming
one another.
Then they exclaimed,
“O woe to us! We were indeed
Maybe, our Lord will
give us better than this in place
thereof, We do turn to Him
i.¯‘ `Οδ´ρ βθ`Κ←! Ρ ∩⊇'∪ ·>..!·
Νƒ¸¯.ll´ ∩⊄⊃∪ ¦ρŠ!Ψ.· _.⇔.`.`Β ∩⊄⊇∪ β¦
¦ρ‰s¦ ’ls ¯/>.¯,> β| Λ.Ζ´ _.Β,≈.
∩⊄⊄∪ ¦θ1lLΡ!· `Οδ´ρ βθ.±≈ ‚.ƒ ∩⊄⊂∪ β¦
āω !κ.l>‰ƒ Π¯θ´‹l¦ />‹l. _.>`.Β ∩⊄⊆∪
¦ρ‰s´ρ ’ls Š¯,> _·‘‰≈· ∩⊄∈∪ !´Η¹·
!δρ¦´‘ ¦θl!· !‾Ρ| βθ—l!Ÿ. l ∩⊄∉∪ ¯≅. >Υ
βθ`Βρ`,>Χ ∩⊄∠∪ Α!· ¯ΝγL ™ρ¦ `Οl¦ ≅·¦
¯/>l Ÿω¯θl βθ>..· ∩⊄∇∪ ¦θl!· ´≈>¯.™
!´Ζ.´‘ !‾Ρ| !Ζ´ š_.ϑl≈L ∩⊄'∪ Ÿ≅.·!·
¯Ν·κ´.-. ’ls -. βθ`Β´θ≈l.ƒ ∩⊂⊃∪ ¦θl!·
!´Ζlƒ´θ≈ƒ !‾Ρ| !Ζ´ _.-≈L ∩⊂⊇∪ _.s !´Ζš.´‘ β¦
!Ψl‰¯.`ƒ ¦¸¯.> !κ.Β !‾Ρ| ’|| !´Ζ.´‘ βθ.s≡´ ‘
Their discussion after witnessing the destruction indicates that when they were vowing to
deprive the poor and needy some share from the harvest, one of them did try to convince
others to fulfil their obligations to Allaah and warned them against displeasing Him, just as
the Prophet was doing so to the Makkan chiefs. After Allaah SWT destroyed their orchard,
they realized their wrongdoing but it was too late. Learning from their example, the Makkans
should listen to the Prophet immediately, not after the punishment of Allaah had come.

The Makkans thought that the Prophet was crazy to be warning them of a punishment from
Allaah. After giving the parable, the next verse warns them:

Such is the punishment (in this life);
but greater is the punishment in the
Hereafter, if they only knew!
the other hand, for those who are
infused with Taqwa, there are
Gardens of bliss with their Lord.
il≡‹´ ´.¦‹-l¦ ´.¦‹-l´ρ ο,>ψ¦ ¸.´¦
¯θl ¦θΡl´ βθϑl-ƒ ∩⊂⊂∪ β| _.1−.ϑll ‰Ζs
¯Νκ¯.´ ‘ ·≈Ψ> Λ.-Ζl¦ ∩⊂⊆∪

However, if they listen to the Prophet and adopt Taqwa, they will not only avoid punishment
but also enjoy wonderful eternal life in the gardens of bliss.

But they did not believe in the life Hereafter. If there was no Hereafter, it would mean that:
2. Every human being ends up in the same way -- dies and becomes dust!
3. Whether a person has been excellent or terrible, both will end up without any
consequences. No reward, no punishment, no justice!
4. The personal sacrifices made by a person to excel are futile;
5. A criminal goes scot-free for his or her crimes and the victims of their crimes will
have no compensation or redress.

Hence, the next verse asks them:

What! Shall We then treat those
who are obedient like those who are
What is wrong with you?
How do you pass such judgments?
`≅->´Ζ·¦ _.Η¹`.RQ¦ _.Β,>RQl´ ∩⊂∈∪ !Β
¯/>l .‹´ βθ`Κ>>´ ∩⊂∉∪

When the Prophet explained the inevitability of the life Hereafter, they would retort that the
way Allaah had given them wealth and power here in this world, He would give it to them the
same way in the Hereafter. They did not understand that what was given to them here was a
test. Prosperity is not an indication of Allaah’s pleasure. It is a test. If they fail the test they
will be punished with a humiliating and painful punishment. It is foolhardy on their part to
discount the Prophet’s advice without having any knowledge or proof to the contrary. Thus,
they were asked:

Do you have a book wherein you
that there will be for you in
the Hereafter what you prefer?
do you have some pledge binding
upon Us until the Day of Resurrection
that you will have whatever you
decide upon?

Π¦ ¯/>l '.≈.´ «‹· βθ™'‘‰ . ∩⊂∠∪ β| ¯/>l
«‹· !RQ βρ¸.ƒ´ ∩⊂∇∪ Π¦ ¯/>l '≈ϑƒ¦ !Ψ‹ls
π-l≈. ’|| Θ¯θƒ πϑ≈´Š1l¦ β| ¯/>l !RQ
βθ`Κ>>´ ∩⊂'∪
Some of them thought that the prophets, saints and other personalities of the past whose
idols they were worshipping besides Allaah, would intercede for them and thus they would be
able to get exactly what they would like. They were challenged to bring forth their sureties,
guarantors or partners:
Ask them which of them will stand
surety for that!
Or do they have
any partners in Allaah’s Divinity (to
support them). Then let them bring
on their “partners”, if they are
`Ογl™ Ο㕃¦ il≡‹. Λ.s— ∩⊆⊃∪ Π¦ ¯Νλ
'.l´´¸. ¦θ.!´‹l· ¯Νκ″l´´¸:· β| ¦θΡl´
_.·‰≈. ∩⊆⊇∪

The next two verses give them a glimpse of what that Day would be like:

The Day of extremely severe
, they shall be called upon
to prostrate themselves to Allaah but
they shall not be able to,
with their
eyes cast down, disgrace will
overtake them. It will be so because
of their defiance when they were
called upon to prostrate while they
were safe and sound in the world.

Π¯θƒ .:>`ƒ s −!™ β¯θs‰`ƒ´ρ ’||
Šθ>´.l¦ Ÿξ· βθ`-‹L.`.ƒ ∩⊆⊄∪ π-:≈>
¯Νδ`,≈.¯.¦ ¯Νγ1δ¯,. '!Œ ‰·´ρ ¦θΡl´
β¯θs‰`ƒ ’|| Šθ>´.l¦ ¯Νδ´ρ βθϑl≈™ ∩⊆⊂∪

The words of the verse literally mean “when the shin will be uncovered” which is an idiom indicating
the severity of hardship. It is used here to give people an idea about the hardships of the Day of
Resurrection. This is the opinion of Ibn ‘Abbaas and Mujaahid, the most famous exegetes of the Qur-
aan, as reported by Syed Abul A’la Maudoodi and Amin Ahsan Islahi in their books of Tafseer.

When the people are gathered for Judgment and they are asked to prostrate to Allaah SWT,
those who were obedient to Allaah in this world and were accustomed to prostrating to Him
will prostrate as usual. Those who refused to submit to Allaah in this world would be unable
to prostrate on that Day despite desiring to do so. This will disclose their disobedient lifestyle
in this worldly life and they will be ashamed of themselves and feel disgraced.

From the next verse onwards, the address turns back to the Prophet, but the message
continues to focus on giving warnings and raising questions for his opponents to reflect upon.

The first verse advises the Prophet that Allaah will take care of his opponents, so he should
continue to focus on his mission without worrying about them. This message was comforting
to the Prophet while serving as a dire warning to his enemies.

So leave Me and them who reject
this Message; We will gradually lead
them on to their terrible end such
that they will not even know.
I am
extending the leash, but surely My
plan is firm.
’Τ¯‘‹· Β´ρ ´.‹>`ƒ ¦‹≈κ. ±ƒ‰>'¦
Ογ`>‘‰.`.⊥™ Β ±‹> Ÿω βθϑl-ƒ
∩⊆⊆∪ ’lΒ¦´ρ ¯Νλ β| “‰‹´ _..Β ∩⊆∈∪
One way Allaah SWT leads the evil people to their terrible end is by continuing to let them
have increases in prosperity/wealth and in other worldly bounties they cherish. With
continued successes in their endeavours, they feel encouraged and are more convinced that
their actions have divine approval -- especially when they see that good people like the
Prophet and his companions face more and more difficulties, lack of resources and other
kinds of hardships. What they forget is that their approach is extremely short-sighted. With
apparent worldly successes, they are getting deeper and deeper into Hell in the eternal life.
What they also do not realize is that the delay in their suffering from the consequences of
their evils does not mean that they are beyond Allaah’s reach or that Allaah does not care;
the leash that has been extended for them can be retracted at any time and it will be
withdrawn when they least expect it.

The next two verses pose the questions that the opponents need to reflect upon:
(Why are they averse to the
message?) Do you ask them for
compensation, so that they are
burdened with debt?
Π¦ `Ογl↔`.· ¦,>¦ Ογ· Β Θ,-Β
βθl1.•Β ∩⊆∉∪
If the most truthful and honourable man of their society, even according to their own
admissions, is selflessly trying to tell them something, without asking for anything in return or
without deriving any tangible benefit from it, how can they just summarily disregard it
without duly reflecting upon it?

Is it that they have access to the unseen and have noted that the Prophet’s claims are invalid?

Or do they have knowledge of the
unseen, which they are writing down?
Π¦ `Νδ‰Ψs ´.‹-l¦ Μγ· βθ..>ƒ ∩⊆∠∪
After addressing all the issues raised by the opponents of the mission, taking care of their
guidance needs, defending the honour of the Prophet and acknowledging the superb
character of the Prophet and the great work he had been doing, now is the time for advice
and direction to the Prophet himself. By this time, the Prophet had been working for his
mission day-in and day-out so tremendously, steadfastly, uncompromisingly and
perseveringly that he was dubbed a mad man. All means of educating the Makkans and
reasoning with them had been exhausted. It was natural for the Prophet to think that it was
time to move on. Moving on by a Messenger of Allaah is not an ordinary thing. It implies that
the time has come to destroy the people who have refused to listen to the Messenger.
According to the knowledge and wisdom of Allaah SWT who is extremely kind and merciful to
people, despite the intensity of opposition and rejection, the mission still needed to continue
in Makkah. How long a mission continues at one locality is something that Allaah decides
according to His knowledge and wisdom, not the Messenger. To make these points, Allaah
SWT used the example of Prophet Younus (Jonah) who decided on his own to move on
because the people were not listening. As a consequence, he had to suffer some trials and
tribulations from Allaah. He was swallowed by a fish (or more precisely, a fish like aquatic
) and then thrown on shore. Then Allaah SWT accepted his repentance and Du‘aa
and restored him to his status as a prophet.

So wait patiently for the decision of
your Lord, and be not like the
companion of the fish, when he
called out while he was distressed.

Were it not that a favour from his
Lord had overtaken him, he would
certainly have been thrown upon the
naked shore, while he was censured.
But his Lord chose him and
included him among the righteous.

¸..!· />>' i.´ ‘ Ÿω´ρ >. .>!.´
.θ>'¦ Œ| “Š!Ρ ´θδ´ρ Πθ´L>Β ∩⊆∇∪ ω¯θl
β¦ …«´´‘≡‰ . πϑ-Ρ Β .«.¯‘ ‹.`Ζl .¦,-l!.
´θδ´ρ Πθ`‹ ∩⊆'∪ «≈..>!· …«š.´‘ …`&# ->·
´Β _.>l≈¯.l¦ ∩∈⊃∪

Keep in mind that the intent here is not to describe the biological nature of the creature, but to refer
to an incident using the terminology that the common people are familiar with and can relate to. For
general usage, any creature that has a fishlike body, swims and lives in the water is referred to as a

The next verse adds that Allaah SWT very well knows the kind of looks they give to the
Prophet and what they say about him, but he must continue to ignore them as he had been
superbly doing and must continue to remind them of the message of the Qur-aan.

And those who disbelieve would
almost make you slip with their
glares whenever they hear the
Reminder (the Qur-aan) and say, “He
indeed is a mad man.”
Yet it is
merely a reminder to all people of
the world.

β|´ρ Šl>ƒ _·%!¦ ¦ρ`,±´ iΡθ1l”`.l
`Οδ,≈.¯.!. !´ϑl ¦θ`-.œ ,´%!¦ βθlθ1ƒ´ρ
…«‾Ρ| βθ`Ζ>RQ ∩∈⊇∪ !Β´ρ ´θδ āω| ",´Œ
_.Η¹≈-ll ∩∈⊄∪

69 Al-Ĥaaqqah
Name and Background

The first word of the Soorah, Al-Ĥaaqqah, has been adopted as its identifier.
Al-Ĥaaqqah means something that is inevitable and indispensable, its
occurrence is beyond doubt and unstoppable. This refers to the end of this
world and the occurrence of the Day of Judgment.

This was revealed in the early Makkan period when the Makkans were
refusing to believe in the Day of Judgment and the life Hereafter. At this
stage, they were opposing the mission of the Prophet by discounting the Qur-
aanic revelations as fancies of a poet or speculations of a soothsayer.

This Soorah warns them by citing examples of previous nations that were
punished for rejecting the prophet or messenger sent to them. It then
presents some of the scenes that will be seen on the Last Day. Towards the
end, the Soorah explains that the Qur-aan is not the product of a poet or a
soothsayer, as they speculate, but it is a revelation from Allaah SWT. The
Prophet is presenting it exactly as he is receiving it. Were he to add or
subtract anything at all from what was revealed to him, he would be severely
punished right away.

‘Umar Faarooq RA reported that before he became Muslim, one day he heard
the Prophet recite this Soorah while performing Allaah’s worship (Ŝalaah) in
the Holy Ka‘abah. While he was listening to the Prophet’s recitation and being
impressed by the quality of the language and the beauty of its composition,
he thought that the Prophet must be a poet as some people claimed. Soon
the verse of the Qur-aan itself negated it. Then he thought that the Prophet
must be a soothsayer, but the very next verse negated that notion as well. It
rather claimed to be from the Lord of the universe. At this he felt drawn to
Islam, but he continued to resist.

Teachings and Commentary

In the name of Allaah, the Most Gracious,
the Most Merciful.

Ο`.· ´<¦ ≈´Η-¯,l¦ ΟŠ>¯,l¦
The Soorah starts with an attention grabbing style.

The Inevitable!
What is the
And what would make
you realize what the Inevitable is?
π·!>'¦ ∩⊇∪ !Β π·!>'¦ ∩⊄∪ ! Β´ρ i1´‘Š¦ !Β
π·!>'¦ ∩⊂∪

It asks questions to make people think and pay attention. The occurrence of the end of the
world has been called “the Inevitable” to give people a clear message that they should not
speculate on it being merely a hollow, baseless claim. Their disbelief or doubts about it are
not going to make it go away. It is inevitable and they better be ready for it.

The Makkans were not the first people to reject the reality of the Day of Judgment and the
life Hereafter. The next section cites some familiar historical examples to warn them that any
people who rejected the call of a messenger and the belief in the Hereafter were destroyed
by Allaah. Thus they should not take the call of the Prophet lightly. It is an extremely serious
matter. If they reject it, they will be doing so at their own peril.

Thamood and ‘Aad called the loudly
knocking calamity a lie.
So, as for
Thamood, they were destroyed by an
excessively severe incident.
And as
for ‘Aad, they were destroyed by a
fierce, violent wind,
which Allaah
imposed on them continuously for
seven nights and eight days, so you
could have seen the people therein
fallen as if they were hollow trunks of
palm trees.
Do you then see any
survivors from them?
·.‹´ Šθϑ. ´Šl.´ρ πs‘!1l!. ∩⊆∪ !Β!·
Šθϑ. ¦θ÷lδ!· π´‹s!Ll!. ∩∈∪ !Β¦´ρ
Š!s ¦θ÷lδ!· ~ƒ,. ¸.¯,. π´Š.l. ∩∉∪
!δ,‚™ ¯Νκ¯.ls ׯ.™ Α!´Š l π´ŠΨ≈ϑ.´ρ Θ!−ƒ¦
!´Βθ´.`> ”´¸.· Π¯θ1l¦ !κ.· _.¸. ¯Ν·κΞl´
`—!>s¦ ≅ƒ Υ πƒρl> ∩∠∪ ¯≅γ· “,. Νγl
Β π´‹·!. ∩∇∪

In verse 4, the Last Day has been called “Al-Qaari‘ah” which means something that knocks,
pounds, pulverizes or hammers with a loud sound.

The destruction of the people of Thamood and ‘Aad was known among Arabs. The calamity
which struck Thamood has been described differently at different places in the Qur-aan,
emphasizing its different aspects. In Soorah Al-A‘raaf 7:78 it was called a violent shaking, in
Soorah Hood 11:67, it was described as explosive sound and in Fuŝŝilat 41:17 it was termed as
thunder. Here only its excessive severity has been mentioned. ‘Aad were destroyed by a cold,
dry and fierce winter wind which not only destroyed them completely but also buried them
and their city under meters of sand.

The same mistake was made by
Fir‘own (Pharaoh) and those before
him, and the overturned townships.
They disobeyed the messenger of
their Lord, so He seized them with a
tightening grip.
´.l>´ρ `β¯θs¯,· Β´ρ …`&#¯.· ·≈>±.σϑl¦´ρ
π⁄L!ƒ'!. ∩'∪ ¦¯θ.-· Αθ™´‘ ¯Νκ¯.´‘
¯Νδ‹>!· ο‹>¦ π´‹.¦¯‘ ∩⊇⊃∪

“Overturned townships” refers to the townships of homosexuals in the Dead Sea area (Sodom
and Gomorrah) that sank into the Dead Sea and into the ground and were buried underneath
stones and soil dumped over them by violent winds.

It was indeed Us Who carried you
upon the floating Ark when the water
overflowed beyond limits,
so that
We make it a reminder for you and
that the remembering ears would
hear and remember it.

!‾Ρ| !´ϑl !-L '.!ϑl¦ ¯/>≈Ψl´Η- ’· πƒ‘!>'¦
∩⊇⊇∪ !γl->´Ζl ¯/>l ο,´‹. !κ´.-.´ρ βŒ¦
π´‹s≡´ρ ∩⊇⊄∪
Although the people who survived in Nooĥ’s (Noah’s) Ark had been many, many generations
ago, “carried you” has been used to make people realize that they exist only because Nooĥ
and his followers were saved. Being their descendents, they must remember the incident and
learn lessons from it.

After warning them of the consequences of disbelief in this world, a very concise description
of the conditions of the Day of Judgment is given in the next six verses. Two points must be
remembered in this regard:

• Firstly, human beings are incapable of understanding exactly or even imagining
something that they have not seen. Consequently, their languages do not have
appropriate vocabulary to describe those things. The facts described to us about the

Day of Judgment, life Hereafter or Allaah SWT use such of the words of our
“deficient” language that are closest to the reality and that can help us develop the
right perception according to our limited capabilities. The objective is to deliver the
right understanding, not the precise description.
• Secondly, at this stage, people were being introduced to these concepts and thus
were being given a high level overview of the events of the Last Day. More details
were provided in subsequent revelations.

Then, when the trumpet is blown
with a single blast,
and the earth
and the mountains are lifted up and
crushed to powder with a single
on that Day shall the
Occurrence occur.
And the heaven
will split asunder, for it will be friable
that Day,
while the angels will be
cowering on its sides and eight of
them will bear that Day the Throne of
your Lord above them.
That is the
Day when you shall be presented for
accountability – none of your secrets
shall remain hidden.

¦Œ¦· ‡±Ρ ’· ‘θ¯.l¦ π‚±Ρ ο‰>≡´ρ ∩⊇⊂∪
·lΗ-´ρ `¯‘N¦ `Α!.>'¦´ρ !.´‰· π´Š
ο‰>≡´ρ ∩⊇⊆∪ ‹≥Β¯θ´Š· ·-·´ρ π-·¦´θl¦ ∩⊇∈∪
·1:Ρ¦´ρ '.!ϑ´.l¦ ´‘S· ‹.Β¯θƒ π´Šδ¦´ρ
∩⊇∉∪ ilϑl¦´ρ ´’ls !γ←l >¯‘¦ `≅ϑ>†´ρ
´`¸s i.´‘ ¯Νγ·¯θ · ‹.Β¯θƒ π´ŠΖ≈. · ∩⊇∠∪
‹.Β¯θƒ βθ.,-. Ÿω ’∀ƒ´ `Ο>ΖΒ π´Š·l>

In this paragraph, the Last Day has been called “Al-Waaqi‘ah”, indicating that its occurrence is
already predestined and predetermined. It is only a matter of time. As soon as its
predetermined time arrives, it will suddenly happen without any warning.

While describing the scenes of destruction that Day, mountains are especially mentioned.
Makkah was surrounded by mountains and Makkans considered them invincible. It was very
difficult for them to understand how they could be destroyed. They are being told that it is
very easy for Allaah and the mountains will be powdered at the very first stage of destruction.

Similarly, the sky that also seems to be invincible will be splitting up, falling apart and
collapsing like something frail, fragile and loose.

Arabs thought that angels are Allaah’s daughters and worshipped them to gain their favour so
that they can intercede for their worshippers. The angels, except for the eight who will

already be pressed for service to the Throne, will themselves be cowering on the sides, fearful
of what will be happening. Thus they should know that It is useless to expect any help from
any of them.

As far as matters such as the Throne of Allaah and the angels carrying it are concerned, they
fall in the category of Mutashaabihaat (approximate hints about matters that are beyond
human understanding). We have been commanded just to believe in them without making
any effort to understand them or define them exactly in human terms. These matters can
neither be taken literally nor commented upon. Any explanation, opinion or description will
be conjecture, speculation, serious error and misguidance. All we know is that Allaah SWT is
not subject to any human concept of shape, physique, direction or location. He is infinite and
is totally above and beyond such concepts or limitations. The mention of His Throne tells us in
human terms about His absolute and complete authority and control over the whole universe
and everything whatsoever in it. We will find out the exact nature of such matters only in the

The intent of these verses is to give people some idea about the conditions of the Day when
people will be presented for accountability and judgment.

Many people commit crimes or behave improperly only because they think that no one will
find out and, thus, they will never be caught or held accountable. On the Day of Judgment,
everything they ever did, regardless of how secretly they did it, will be in their record of
deeds for which they will be held publicly accountable.

The next set of verses describes the immediate reaction people will have when they are given
their record of deeds and the kind of life they will have according to the contents of that
record. The first six verses are about those who will be successful on that Day and the
subsequent 13 verses are about the losers.

So, anyone who is given his record
in his right hand, he will say: “Ah
here! Read my record!
I always
thought that I would face my
So he will have a life of
in a lofty garden,
fruit clusters of which will be in easy
(They will be told), “Eat and
drink enjoying freely, because of what
you did beforehand in the days gone

!Β!· Β š†.ρ¦ …«.≈.´ .«ΨŠϑ´ ‹. `Αθ1´‹·
`Πτ!δ ¦ρ'.,·¦ «´‹.≈.´ ∩⊇'∪ ’Τ| ·Ψ´ΖL ’Τ¦
_≈l`Β «´‹.!.> ∩⊄⊃∪ ´θγ· ’· π:Šs π´‹.¦¯‘
∩⊄⊇∪ ’· πΨ> π´Šll. ∩⊄⊄∪ !γ·θL· π´‹Ρ¦Š
∩⊄⊂∪ ¦θl´ ¦θ.´¸.¦´ρ !↔‹Ψδ !ϑ. `Ο.±l`™¦
†· Θ!−ƒN¦ π´‹l!ƒ'¦ ∩⊄⊆∪

The first sign indicating who is successful in the test and who is a failure will be whether a
person is given his or her record of actions in the right or left hand. A person who is given his
record in his right hand will react with joy and will proudly invite others to view his record. He
will not be shy or ashamed, trying to hide his result. The main factor for his success would
have been that he believed in the accountability to Allaah and lived his worldly life

Conversely, the losers will be given their record in their left hands. In Soorah Al-Inshiqaaq, we
have been told that they will be given their record behind their back. Perhaps they will put
their left hands behind their backs so that they do not have to receive the record with their
left hands, but it will still be given in their left hands.

However, anyone who is given his
record in his left hand, he will say:
“Oh, would that my book had never
been given to me,
and I had not
known how my account stood!
would that it (my death) had been the
decisive one!
My wealth has not
helped me out!
Gone from me is
my authority!”
!Β¦´ρ Β ´’.ρ¦ …«.≈.´ .&!!ϑ:· `Αθ1´Š·
_..‹l≈ƒ `Οl .ρ¦ «´Š.≈.´ ∩⊄∈∪ `Οl´ρ ‘Š¦ !Β
«´‹.!.> ∩⊄∉∪ !κ.‹l≈ƒ ·Ρl´ π´‹.!1l¦ ∩⊄∠∪
!Β _.s¦ _¯.s «´‹l!Β ∩⊄∇∪ ilδ _¯.s
«´ŠΖ≈Ll™ ∩⊄'∪
In this world such people are so proud that they disregard any notion of accountability and
assume that physical death is the end of everything for a human being. Thus they try to
maximize wealth and power by all means and live a pompous and haughty lifestyle. When
they will receive their record, they will be so ashamed of themselves and their deeds that
they would wish that they had not received it and that death would have been the end of it
all. Unfortunately, it will be too late for them to realize their mistake and they will face the
following consequences:

(It will be said), “Seize him, and
collar him,
then cast him into the
then fetter him with a
chain the length of which is seventy
Verily He used not to believe
in Allaah, the Tremendous,
nor did
he encourage the feeding of the poor.

νρ‹> νθl-· ∩⊂⊃∪ ¯Ο. Λ.>>'¦ νθl. ∩⊂⊇∪
¯Ο. ’· '#.l™ !γ`s¯‘Œ βθ`-¯.™ l´.¦´‘Œ
νθ>l`™!· ∩⊂⊄∪ …«‾Ρ| βl´ Ÿω Βσ`ƒ ´<!.
ΟŠL-l¦ ∩⊂⊂∪ Ÿω´ρ ¯>† ’ls Π!-L

Thus he has no close friend here
nor any food except
something like the discharge of
which only the sinners will
_.>`.ϑl¦ ∩⊂⊆∪ ´Šl· «l Π¯θ´‹l¦ !´Ζγ≈δ
Λ.Η- ∩⊂∈∪ Ÿω´ρ Π!-L āω| Β _,#`.s ∩⊂∉∪
āω …`&#´!ƒ āω| βθ↔L≈ƒ'¦ ∩⊂∠∪
Note the relationship between belief in Allaah and helping the poor. The Qur-aan contends
that a true belief in Allaah compels a person to take care of underprivileged people in the
society by spending their own money as well as encouraging others to do the same.
Conversely, if a person does not care for the poor, his belief in Allaah is invalid despite his
claim to be a believer.

Influential people in the society (who have wealth and power) are usually surrounded by
many “friends” and “well-wishers”. But those friends are there only because of their
influence. In the Hereafter, with their wealth and influence gone, they will not have any
friends either. In this world, they may be eating fancy foods, but in hell they will be living on
recycled discharges.

The next verse starts with the negation of their baseless assumptions and their fallacious
arguments against the belief in the Hereafter and invites them to think and reflect honestly to
arrive at the right conclusions.

So no! I swear by that which you
and that which you do not see,
it definitely is the word of a noble
It is not the word of a
poet; little is it that you believe;
nor the word of a soothsayer; little
is it that you think over.
It is a
revelation sent down by the Lord of
the universe.

ξ· `Ν.·¦ !ϑ. βρ¸.¯.. ∩⊂∇∪ !Β´ρ Ÿω
βρ¸.¯.. ∩⊂'∪ …«‾Ρ| `Α¯θ1l Αθ™´‘ Οƒ,´
∩⊆⊃∪ !Β´ρ ´θδ Α¯θ1. ,s!: ξ‹l· !Β
βθ`ΖΒσ. ∩⊆⊇∪ Ÿω´ρ Α¯θ1. δl´ ξ‹l· !Β
βρ`,´‹. ∩⊆⊄∪ ≅ƒ”∴ . Β .¯‘ _.Η¹≈-l¦
As we have repeatedly explained, the oaths in the Qur-aan stand for “calling to witness”
certain things, reflection on which will help people understand the matter being discussed.
Here the matter is that “the Qur-aan is the word of a noble messenger revealed to him by the
Lord of the universe. It is not the word of a poet; nor the word of a soothsayer.” In support of
these facts, people are being invited to reflect upon two kinds of things:

What they saw at that time:
The presenter of the Qur-aan has been the most honourable, most truthful
and most trustworthy person of their society;
He has selflessly made huge financial, social and personal sacrifices for this
mission without expecting any worldly benefit in return;
Those who follow him become the most excellent persons in the society in
their conduct, morals, ethics, dealings and interactions;
His message makes sense and corroborates with the signs in the universe
and the things around them that they can observe;
His warnings of punishments are corroborated by the ruins of previously
punished nations that they know about;
The text of the Qur-aan is neither like poetry in any aspect, nor does it bear
any resemblance to the kind of things soothsayers talk about;
The Qur-aanic prose is so superb, exquisite and eloquent that the most
celebrated orators of the time could not even come close to its excellence;
The Prophet’s own statements were of a different style and quality than
the Qur-aanic prose; and
The topics covered by the Qur-aan were such that the Prophet was never
found talking or learning about them even a day before the first revelation
came to him. And being illiterate, he had no way of acquiring such
knowledge on his own from anywhere.

What they did not see:
The unseen matters described by the revelations.

As for those who still think that the Prophet composes the passages himself and presents
them as the revelation from Allaah, their attention has been drawn to Allaah’s ways of
dealing with His messengers:

Had he (Muĥammad) made up
some sayings about Us,
We would
certainly have seized him by the right
then We would certainly have
cut off his aorta;
and not one of you
could have prevented it.

¯θl´ρ Α¯θ1. !Ψ‹ls ´-. ≅ƒρ!·N¦ ∩⊆⊆∪
!Ρ‹>N «ΖΒ _.ϑ´‹l!. ∩⊆∈∪ ¯Ν. !´Ζ-L1l
«ΖΒ _..´θl¦ ∩⊆∉∪ !ϑ· Ο>ΖΒ Β ‰>¦
«Ζs _·“>≈> ∩⊆∠∪
The true messengers of Allaah are under strict supervision and are not allowed to make any
changes in the revelation sent to them or to add anything to it from their own. If anyone
would ever entertain such an idea, he would be punished severely and swiftly. This has been
worded such that anyone can easily visualize it in terms of a king dealing with his messenger.
This has been stated for two reasons: firstly, people should know that Allaah does not

tolerate any changes, additions or deletions in His revelations; and secondly, they should not
expect the Prophet to change the message to suit public demands. One point that should be
clearly understood in this regard is that this rule is for Allaah’s true messengers, not false
claimants. As for those who make a false claim to be the prophets or messengers of Allaah,
Allaah does not bother with them. As they are not from Him, He lets people use their senses
to reject their false claims. Like all other sinners, fraudsters and cheaters, false claimants will
be punished in the Hereafter.

However, despite all the facts mentioned earlier, only those people who want to please
Allaah SWT and avoid His displeasure (people with the attitude of Taqwa) will benefit from
the admonitions, reminders and teachings of the Qur-aan.

Indeed, it (the Qur-aan) is an
admonition for those who have
And We certainly know that
that some of you are rejecters;
and it will definitely be a cause of
regret for those disbelievers.
And it
indeed is the absolute truth.

…«‾Ρ|´ρ ο,´‹.l _.1−.ϑll ∩⊆∇∪ !‾Ρ|´ρ `Οl-´Ζl
β¦ Ο>ΖΒ _..‹>•Β ∩⊆'∪ …«‾Ρ|´ρ ο´¸.>l
’ls _·,±≈>l¦ ∩∈⊃∪ …«‾Ρ|´ρ ‘_⇔l _.1´‹l¦
Taqwa is the attitude of protecting oneself against risks, hazards and troubles. Those who
have this attitude would protect themselves form the troubles and the punishments of the
Hereafter by heeding the message, avoiding Allaah’s displeasure and maximizing His pleasure.
They are the ones who benefit from the admonitions and guidance provided by the Qur-aan.
As for disbelievers, they will be extremely sorry on the Day of Judgment, which is an absolute
truth and inevitable. By emphatically stating here the inevitability of the Hereafter, the
Soorah concludes with the same message with which it started.

The last verse exhorts the Prophet, and through him the Muslims, not to be disheartened by
the rejection from people, but rather, to persist in glorifying Allaah with patience and

Therefore, glorify the name of your
Lord, the Tremendous.

~..· Λœ!. i.´‘ Ο‹L-l¦ ∩∈⊄∪

In addition to glorifying Allaah day and night, the glorification that Muslims engage in while
worshipping Allaah in the bowing position during Ŝalaah is pursuant to this command, as
taught by the Prophet ŝall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.

70 Al-Ma‘aarij
Name and Background

The name of this Soorah has been taken from the third verse, identifying the
Soorah as the one in which the word Al-Ma‘aarij has occurred. “Al-Ma‘aarij”
means stairs, ladder or other ways and means to ascend or climb heights.

This Soorah is the twin of the previous Soorah Al-Ĥaaqqah in terms of its
theme and structure. It was revealed soon after Al-Ĥaaqqah, around the same
early Makkan period when the Makkans were being introduced to the
concept of the Day of Judgment and the life Hereafter, but they were resisting
the idea and refusing to believe in it. By the time of the revelation of this
Soorah, they had started openly challenging the Prophet to bring on the Day
of Resurrection, if he was true in his claim. Demanding the occurrence of the
Last Day was their way of attacking the credibility of the Prophet and making
light of his teachings.

This Soorah comments on their demand and educates them about the
difference between the human perception of time and units of time as
compared to Allaah’s timetable and units of time. It exposes their psychology
that causes them to make such demands and informs them of how the
deniers of the Day of Resurrection will react when it actually occurs. It also
explains that what they think to be impossible is very much within Allaah’s

Teachings and Commentary

In the name of Allaah, the Most Gracious,
the Most Merciful.

Ο`.· ´<¦ ≈´Η-¯,l¦ ΟŠ>¯,l¦
The Soorah starts with the mention of the demand by some Makkans from the Prophet to
bring about the Doomsday that he was warning about.

A demander has demanded
doom that is bound to fall
upon the
disbelievers, that none will be able to
ward off, and
that will be from
Allaah Who owns the ways and
means to infinitely high ranks.
angels and the Spirit (Gabriel) ascend
towards Him in a day the span of
which is fifty thousand years.
So be
patient with comely patience.
certainly consider it far away,
We see it nearby.

Α!™ ´≅←!™ .¦‹-. ×·¦´ρ ∩⊇∪
_·,±≈÷ll ´Šl …«l ×·¦Š ∩⊄∪ š∅Β
´<¦ “Œ ~‘!-ϑl¦ ∩⊂∪ ~`,-. π÷.‾≈lϑl¦
~ρ”,l¦´ρ «‹l| †· Θ¯θƒ βl´ …ν'‘¦‰1Β
_..Η- .l¦ π´Ζ™ ∩⊆∪ ¸..!· ¦¸¯..
ξŠϑ> ∩∈∪ ¯Ν·κΞ| …«Ρρ,ƒ ¦´‰‹-. ∩∉∪ «1,Ρ´ρ
!´.ƒ,· ∩∠∪
The deniers of the Hereafter have been told that:

The destruction of the doomsday is inevitable and that Day is bound to come, but it
will come on its time pre-determined by Allaah SWT. Neither can their demands
bring it earlier, nor can their denials make it go away.
When Allaah makes it happen, it will be unstoppable. No one in the heavens or earth
will be able to ward it off – including any of the deniers, their invented gods, angels
or anyone else for that matter.
Human concept of time is defined and bound by the movements of the earth, moon
and sun and thus is limited in application to life on earth and is counted in short
measures. They cannot perceive time beyond what they understand from the
movements of the earth. Allaah SWT is exalted and infinitely above and beyond
these limitations. His timetable spans thousands, millions and billions of years of

The Arabic word used in the verse can be translated as asking “An asker has asked” and is used both
for just asking a question or demanding something. However, when it is followed by the preposition
“bi”, as in this verse, it becomes specific for demanding something urgently and sardonically.

human reckoning. For example, even an angelic activity spans periods like 50,000
years. So what people may think of as a very long time is as the blink of an eye in
Allaah’s timetable. So the “delay” in the advent of doomsday in their perception
should not delude them. According to Allaah’s timetable, it is about to happen and is
close at hand. Thousands of years in the human calendar are like a day or less in
Allaah’s calendar. People of this age can understand it by taking a ratio of a thousand
or two thousand years to 13 or 14 billion years -- the presumed age of the universe.

According to the Qur-aan, “The Spirit” is the title of Angel Jibreel (Gabriel). For example, in
Soorah Al-Baqarah, Jibreel has been mentioned by name, “Whoever has become the
adversary of Jibreel because he brought it (the Qur-aan) down to your mind…” And then in
Soorah Ash-Shu‘araa, he has been mentioned by his title, “Trusted Spirit brought it (the Qur-
aan) down to your mind.” Jibreel, the Spirit, has been mentioned separately from the angels
to underscore his high status.

As for the nature of the angelic activity of ascending toward Allaah SWT, it is of the
Mutashaabihaat category – beyond our understanding, imagination and capacity. The intent
is just to let people realize that the exalted greatness of Allaah SWT is infinitely beyond their
perception and that they should not think of Allaah’s timetable and units of time in terms of
human concepts of time. Some people have interpreted this to be the length of the Day of
Resurrection. The Hadeeth quoted in that respect is not trustworthy (is dha‘eef) because of
two unreliable persons in the chain of narrators. The context does not allow it to mean that
way because the conditions of that Day are not being mentioned here, they are coming in
verse 8. Here it is explaining the word Ma‘aarij in relation to Allaah SWT and giving the
concept of divine units of time in human terms.

Now the Prophet was most earnestly trying his best to make the Makkans realize and accept
the reality of the Day of Resurrection and the Hereafter, but in return he was being ridiculed
by sardonic demands. Thus it was natural for him to feel hurt. Allaah SWT is advising him to
take their ignorant behaviour and vicious reaction to his preaching in stride and to remain
patient and steadfast in his mission. He should not only be patient and steadfast, but he
should do so in a dignified manner: not reacting emotionally, but ignoring it gracefully and
magnanimously; without feeling disheartened, and without giving up or slowing down in the
mission, but rather remaining on course in a steadfast manner.

The next set of verses gives people a glimpse of the conditions of that day.

On that day, the sky will be like
murky oil,
the mountains will be like
flakes of wool
and no close friend
will ask a close friend of his condition,
though they will be put in sight of
each other. The criminal will long to
Π¯θƒ `βθ>. '.!ϑ´.l¦ ≅γRQ! ´ ∩∇∪ `βθ>.´ρ
`Α!.>'¦ γ-ll ´ ∩'∪ Ÿω´ρ `≅↔`.„ 'ΟŠΗ-
!ϑŠΗ- ∩⊇⊃∪ ¯Ν·κΞρ¸¯. .`ƒ –Š´θƒ `Π,>ϑl¦ ¯θl

be able to ransom himself from the
punishment of that day at the price
of his children,
and his wife and his
and his nearest kindred
who sheltered him,
and all those
that are on the earth collectively, so
this ransom might save him.
“‰.±ƒ Β .¦‹s ‹.Β¯θƒ «Š⊥.. ∩⊇⊇∪
.«..>≈.´ρ «Š> ¦´ρ ∩⊇⊄∪ «.lŠ.·´ρ _.l¦
«ƒθ↔. ∩⊇⊂∪ Β´ρ ’· ¯‘N¦ !´-‹Η- ¯Ν.
«Š>Ζ`ƒ ∩⊇⊆∪
The first two verses point towards the universe-wide destruction. The word used to describe
the condition of heaven during the initial stage of destruction is that it will look like “Muhl”
which is used for describing different types of thick, liquid-type material such as sediments at
the bottom of oil (murky oil), molten copper or molten silver, perhaps indicating the
explosion of stars spreading molten matter in the sky. The condition of the mountains in the
early period of destruction will be that their solid rocks will become powdered and scattered
like dyed wool or cotton that is fluffed like falling snow flakes.

Verses 10 -14 describe the human attitude after resurrection. Everyone will be so self-centred
and worried about his or her own salvation that they will not care for anyone else. Those who
used to be very close friends, willing to do everything for each other, will see each other, but
not even care to ask how the other is doing. Rather, every wrong-doer will be willing to
sacrifice their children, spouses, their dearest relatives and the whole world just to save
himself / herself from the punishment of that day. An Arab’s loyalty to one’s clan and tribe
was paramount. A clan or tribe would go to any length to protect one of its own at any cost
and an individual would be ever willing to sacrifice his life for the honour of his tribe or clan.
But on that day every wrongdoer would wish that he could give the whole clan as ransom to
attain his own personal salvation.

However, nothing except one’s personal faith in Islam and his good deeds will be of any avail.
In the absence of Islamic faith and good deeds, there will be no salvation and a person will
have to suffer the punishment of fire. The intensity of the fire and the kind of people it will
claim is the subject matter of the next four verses.

By no means! Surely it will be a
flaming fire,
that will yank the skin
It will claim everyone who
turned his back (on truth) and turned
his face away (from Islam),
collected (wealth) and hoarded it.

ξ´ !κΞ| ‘Ll ∩⊇∈∪ πs¦“Ρ “´θ:ll ∩⊇∉∪
¦θ`s‰. Β ,.Š¦ ’‾|´θ.´ρ ∩⊇∠∪ ×´Η-´ρ ´_.ρ!·

It should be noted that the good deed emphasized again and again in this group of Soorahs is
spending in the way of Allaah and sharing one’s wealth with the poor and needy, instead of
saving and hoarding it without attending to the needs of the poor. As explained in the
previous Soorah, Al-Ĥaaqqah, according to the Qur-aan, spending in the way of Allaah is the
proof of one’s faith in Allaah. It is the litmus test that indicates if a person is a believer or not.
Without being charitable, one’s claim of believing in Allaah is not valid. In other words, a
believer cannot be miserly and a miserly person’s claim to Islam is not reliable.

Such verses also indicate that it is the love for wealth that is usually the main hurdle which
keeps people from believing in Islam. The staunchest enemies of Islam are usually those who
love their wealth and power and they consider Islam to be a danger to this wealth and power.

The aforementioned attitude is because of an imbalance in employing human instinctive
traits. People have been created with many natural tendencies, inclinations and temptations.
They all have a useful role to play in human life. Allaah requires us to maintain an effective
balance among all human traits to pass the test of living in this world. However, people who
become slave to their lusts and desires effectively let their natural human weaknesses govern
their behaviour. Only those who submit to Allaah, can maintain the desired balance and keep
their natural human weaknesses in check and excel in their behaviour. The next set of verses
explains this point. The particular human weakness mentioned here is the natural human
tendency to be worrisome, hasty, short-sighted and impatient. During hard times, it is shown
by his complaining bitterly, wailing, ranting and raving about how bad the things are, instead
of being patient and working steadfastly for a turnaround. During good times, he becomes
stingy, niggardly and miserly, worrying about his future and being unable to see the benefit of
sharing his wealth with the deprived people of the society. In both cases, the life of this world
is his focus, not thinking of, nor preparing for the Hereafter at all. However, the worshippers
of Allaah and the believers in the Hereafter adopt a balanced and constant attitude both in
good as well as in bad times. It is they who will be rewarded with honour and pleasure in

Verily, man is created of a hasty
fretful when evil
touches him,
and niggardly when
good touches him;
except the
worshippers of Allaah:

Who are constant at their

In whose wealth there is a
known right
of the petitioner
β| ´≈.ΣN¦ _l> l´.θlδ ∩⊇'∪ ¦Œ| «´.Β
•¸:l¦ !´sρ'“> ∩⊄⊃∪ ¦Œ|´ρ «´.Β ¸¯.ƒ'¦ !sθ`ΖΒ
∩⊄⊇∪ āω| _,#.ϑl¦ ∩⊄⊄∪ _·%!¦ ¯Νδ ’ls
¯Νκ:Ÿξ . βθϑ←¦Š ∩⊄⊂∪ š_·‹l¦´ρ ’·
¯Νλ≡´θΒ¦ ´_> Πθl-Β ∩⊄⊆∪ ≅←!´.ll

and the deprived;

Who accept the truth of the
Day of Recompense;

Who are fearful of their Lord's
as their Lord’s
torment is really not something
to feel safe from;

Who guard their private parts,
except from their wives or the
slave girls they own, for which
they must not be blamed;
however, those who seek to
go beyond this, then they are
the transgressors;

Who take care of their trusts
and their covenants;

Who uprightly stand by their
testimonies; and

Who keep a guard on their

Those shall be in the Gardens,

Θρ`,`>ϑl¦´ρ ∩⊄∈∪ _·%!¦´ρ βθ·´‰.`ƒ Θ¯θ´‹.
_·´‰l¦ ∩⊄∉∪ _·%!¦´ρ Νδ Β .¦‹s Νκ¯.´ ‘
βθ1±:•Β ∩⊄∠∪ β| ´.¦‹s ¯Νκ¯.´‘ ¸¯.s
βθ`Β!Β ∩⊄∇∪ _·%!¦´ρ ¯/`φ ¯Νγ>ρ`,±l
βθ´L±≈> ∩⊄'∪ āω| ´’ls `Ογ>≡´ρ— ¦ ρ¦ !Β
·>lΒ ¯Ν·κ.≈ϑƒ¦ ¯Ν·κΞ¦· ¸¯.s _.ΒθlΒ ∩⊂⊃∪
ϑ· _-.¯.¦ ´.¦´‘´ρ il≡Œ i.‾≈l`ρ!· /φ
βρŠ!-l¦ ∩⊂⊇∪ _·%!¦´ρ ¯Λε ¯Νκ.≈Ψ≈ΒN
Μδ‰γs´ρ βθ`s≡´ ‘ ∩⊂⊄∪ _·%!¦´ρ Νδ
¯Νκ:≡‰≈κ:. βθϑ←!· ∩⊂⊂∪ _·%!¦´ρ ¯Λε ’ls
¯Νκ:Ÿξ . βθ´L·!>† ∩⊂⊆∪ i.‾≈l`ρ¦ ’·
·≈Ζ> βθ`Β,>•Β ∩⊂∈∪

As you can see, the very first and the very last attributes of a balanced lifestyle that leads to
success have to do with Ŝalaah or Allaah’s worship. It indicates that balance, justice, goodness
and excellence in one’s life are not possible without being particular about Allaah’s worship.
The first attribute refers to regularity, constancy and steadiness in worship. Whether times
are good or bad, regardless of the circumstances and the conditions they face, they persevere
in the worship of Allaah SWT with regularity. They do it with their hearts and minds fully
engaged, taking their time and performing it with grace and calmness. They are not like those
who worship Allaah with intensity, humility and long supplications when times are tough, but
forget about Allaah when times are good. Guarding of Ŝalaah means to perform it on time,
following its rules properly, and staying clear of any actions or behaviour that are incongruent
with the lifestyles of worshippers of Allaah.

They also maintain a balance in the economic or financial aspect of their life. While fulfilling
their own needs, they do not forget the deprived people of the society but dedicate a certain
portion or percentage of their income for that purpose, even if they themselves are not well-
to-do. In doing so, they take care of both those who muster the courage to seek help when
they need it (the petitioners), and those who keep suffering quietly (the deprived). Rather, as
soon as they find out that someone around them is in need of help, they help the needy out
without them having to ask for it. It should be kept in mind that in this verse, a petitioner
does not mean a beggar who has adopted begging as a way of life, but as already mentioned,
a needy person who seeks help for his current needs, as compared to the deprived who
suffers quietly.

The motive for their charity basically stems from their belief in the Day of Judgment and the
life Hereafter. By helping the poor and needy, they only want to please Allaah SWT and avoid
the punishment of the Hereafter. People may do good things for many reasons, but fear of
Allaah is the purest motive of all that is free from boasting or any expectations of worldly
benefit. However, their attitude is not limited to charity, rather, their whole lifestyle is based
on this fundamental motive.

While they live a careful life geared to goodness and excellence, they still continue to be
fearful about the accountability for any mistakes they may make. That is the right attitude
because the punishment of Allaah is not something one can be carefree about.

Human sexuality is an area where people stumble and deviate the most and commit the most
excesses. On the one hand, people may adopt a promiscuous and crooked behaviour in this
respect; on the other hand religious people may consider even a marital relationship as an act
against their so-called concept of spirituality. Allaah’s true worshippers maintain a balance in
this respect as well. They neither take a vow of celibacy in the name of spirituality, nor do
they go beyond the permissions granted by Allaah to fulfil their natural desire.

The balance in their dealings and societal interactions shows in the form of justice and
fairness in fulfilling their obligations and conducting their dealings. They honour all trusts
bestowed upon them by Allaah or by people and they fulfill all promises or commitments
made to Allaah or people. All our time (life), our capabilities and our wealth and resources are
trusts bestowed by Allaah and our promise to Allaah is that they will be spent as He desires.
All confidential matters confided to us by our friends, colleagues, employers, clients, etc. and
all tools, equipment, assets given in our care or for performance of our duties, are trusts
bestowed upon us by people. Similarly, any word we give to people is a promise. Honouring
trusts and fulfilling promises are so essential attributes of being a believer that whenever the
Prophet used to give a sermon, he would remind Muslims about them, saying, “A person who
does not honour trusts has no faith and a person who does not fulfil promises has no Deen.”

Standing up to give witness and standing by one’s witness is a special kind of honouring and
fulfilling of trust because knowledge of a specific situation is a trust that is properly fulfilled
when witnessed at the right time and place for establishment of justice. This also covers all

kind of witnesses we need to give, ranging from our witness to mankind about the truth of
Islam to saying the right thing about people / events when witness is duly sought.

The people who have the above-mentioned qualities will be those who will be honoured in
the Hereafter and who will enjoy the pleasures of Jannah forever. This honour will not be
bestowed on the basis of what tribe or family one belonged to or how much wealth and
power someone amassed. Such statements by the Qur-aan were squarely contradicting the
perception that the Makkan chiefs had about themselves. They held that they have been
honoured with wealth and power in this world and they will enjoy the same, if there is any
life Hereafter. Hearing the Qur-aan’s admonitions on the subject annoyed them a lot.
Whenever and wherever the Prophet would recite the Qur-aan to people, they would come
running in their own group of friends to heckle, taunt and make nasty comments.

Now what is the matter with the
disbelievers that they rush madly
towards you,
from the right and
from the left, in groups?
everyone of them aspire to enter the
Garden of bounties?
Not at all!
Verily, We have created them from
what they know.

Α!ϑ· š_·%!¦ ¦ρ`,±´ il.· _.-Lγ`Β
∩⊂∉∪ s _.ϑ´‹l¦ s´ρ Α!´Κ:l¦ _·“s ∩⊂∠∪
×ϑLƒ¦ ‘≅é ›¸¯∆¦ ¯Ν·κ.Β β¦ Ÿ≅>‰`ƒ
πΖ> ΟŠ-Ρ ∩⊂∇∪ ξ´ !‾Ρ| Νγ≈Ψ1l> !´ϑΒ
šχθϑl-ƒ ∩⊂'∪

“We have created them from what they know” refers to the humble beginning of every
human being and thus equality of human beings in terms of their coming into existence and
their natural potential. Thus, people cannot expect Allaah to treat them differently only
because they were born in a certain household. Human birth cannot be a deciding factor
because regardless of the family, every human being is exactly equal in that respect. What
makes people different are their views, choices, actions, lifestyle and behaviour they adopt
and practice when they grow up. That is why those who possess the aforementioned
attributes will be the only ones to be honoured and admitted into Jannah.

As for their doubts about resurrection and the Hereafter, the following was said for their

Thus, no! I swear by the Lord of the
Easts and the Wests that We are
certainly able
to replace them with
others better than them; and We are
ξ· `Ν.·¦ .,. −,≈:RQ¦ .,≈-RQ¦´ρ !‾Ρ|
βρ'‘‰≈1l ∩⊆⊃∪ ´’ls β¦ Α´‰.œΡ ¦¸¯.> ΛιΨΒ !Β´ρ

not to be outdone.

So leave them to indulge in vain
talk and play until they meet their
Day that they are promised –
Day on which they will emerge from
the graves rapidly as if they were
rushing towards a goal,
their eyes
cast down, disgrace covering them.
That is the Day which they are

>Υ _.·θ.`.ϑ. ∩⊆⊇∪ `Οδ¯‘‹· ¦θ.胆
¦θ.-lƒ´ρ _.> ¦θ1≈l`ƒ `/SΒ¯θƒ “%!¦ βρ‰sθ`ƒ
∩⊆⊄∪ Π¯θƒ βθ`>`,ƒ† ´Β .¦‰>N¦ l´.¦´¸.
¯Ν·κΞl´ ’|| .´.Ρ βθ.·θ`ƒ ∩⊆⊂∪ π-:≈>
`Οδ`,≈.¯.¦ ¯Νγ1δ¯,. '!Œ il≡Œ `Π¯θ´‹l¦ “%!¦
¦θΡl´ βρ‰sθ`ƒ ∩⊆⊆∪

After negating their doubts by saying “NO”, Allaah SWT has sworn by Himself to present His
absolute authority and control over the earth and sun as a fact to ponder upon. The use of
plurals for East and West may refer to the rising and setting of the sun every day from a
slightly different angle on the earth’s horizon or its continuous rising and setting in a
sequence of horizons at place after place around the globe. The purpose is to indicate to the
deniers that Allaah’s power and authority is infinite and absolute. If he wants, He can not only
destroy them and raise them from the dead, but He definitely has the power and authority to
give honour in the Hereafter to others who are better than them in their lifestyle and
. It is the people with the qualities mentioned in verse 19-34 that will be honoured.
The disbelievers will be thoroughly disgraced.

Verse 41itself does not specify whether the replacement of disbelievers with those better than them is
to happen in this world or in the Hereafter.

While Amin Ahsan Islahi is of the opinion that here Allaah is telling the disbelievers that He not only has
the power to raise them in the Hereafter but even the power to raise them in a better form or shape,
the context defies that meaning because the preceding verses are telling the disbelievers that they
would not enter Jannah and are criticizing them for attacking the Prophet; while the subsequent verses
are talking about their disgrace in the Hereafter. In addition, there is no support for this meaning
anywhere in the Qur-aan; the mention of this power of Allaah SWT does not contribute in convincing
them to believe in Resurrection; and there is no sense in raising those to be punished in a better shape
or form.

Many exegetes interpret it to mean that it is about their replacement with people better than them in
this world. However, that point is totally foreign to the context here. The whole Soorah is about
Hereafter, the preceding paragraphs were talking about the honour to be bestowed upon the Allaah-
fearing believers and the negative reactions of Makkans on these matters. Even this particular
paragraph is specifically warning them about Resurrection, so it is safe to conclude that it is about
removing them from the position of honour and replacing them in the Hereafter with the Allaah-fearing
people whose qualities have been listed in the previous verses. Also, it does not make sense to threaten
them about being replaced and then negate the threat by telling the Prophet to let them do what they

The Soorah ends with a consolatory and supportive note to the Prophet to let the disbelievers
waste their time and energies in senseless arguments, absurd comments and useless pursuits.
As compared to their current attitude, on that Day, they will be speedily running toward their
place of gathering for accountability in the same haste as a sprinter races towards the
finishing line or mark, but unlike a sportsman, they will be covered by disgrace and
humiliation. This description is also to indirectly warn them so that they can change their
attitude to avoid such fate.

are doing until the Day of Resurrection. In addition, in that early stage of the mission when the whole
thrust was on inculcating faith in and correcting beliefs about the Hereafter, the threat to replace them
with another species or another nation was out of place. The earliest citation of the power of Allaah to
replace people with another species (new creation) was made in Soorah Al-Faaŧir, and then in Soorah
Ibraaheem, both revealed many years later. Only those people who claim to be believers but do not act
accordingly have been threatened to be replaced by another people if they do not become true
believers; and that was first mentioned in Soorah Muĥammad, which was revealed at the beginning of
the Madeenan period. Then it was also mentioned in Soorah At-Towbah and Soorah Al-Maaidah.

71 Nooĥ
Name and Background
Nooĥ (Noah) is the name as well as the topic of this Soorah.

As mentioned in the previous Soorah, Al-Ma‘aarij, the Makkans were
demanding that the Prophet SA‘WS bring about the punishment that the Qur-
aan was threatening them with. In return, they were told that those who
reject the Messenger of Allaah are definitely doomed, and although the time
it takes may seem long, from Allaah’s perspective, it is not. Also, the Prophet
was advised to practise goodly patience in response to their cheap shots.

This Soorah briefly narrates the story of Nooĥ peace be upon him (‘AS)
overviewing his mission and its results. Nooĥ ‘AS was given the same
responsibility as the Prophet and all other messengers. He continued his
mission for 950 years, after which time, his opponents were completely
destroyed. His story is being told to Makkans to indicate that if they continue
their opposition to the Prophet, they will be similarly destroyed. To the
Prophet, the story indicates that he will have to be patient and steadfast,
persevering in his mission for a long time because Allaah SWT does not
destroy any people until every opportunity to guide them has been exhausted
and only those opponents are destroyed who have absolutely zero chance of
accepting Islam.

Teachings and Commentary

In the name of Allaah, the Most Gracious,
the Most Merciful.

Ο`.· ´<¦ ≈´Η-¯,l¦ ΟŠ>¯,l¦
The story starts with the introduction of Nooĥ’s ‘AS mission which was exactly the same as
the Prophet’s.

We sent Nooĥ to his People with
instructions: “Warn your people
before a painful punishment comes to
Nooĥ spent his life delivering
the message, “O my People! I am
indeed a warner to clearly warn you

to serve Allaah with slave-like
submission, save yourselves from His
displeasure and obey me.
He will
forgive you all your previous sins
let you live for the predetermined
term. Verily, when the time allowed
by Allaah ends, it is never extended, if
you only realized it.”

!‾Ρ| !´Ζl™¯‘¦ l´>θΡ ’|| .«Β¯θ· β¦ ¯‘‹Ρ¦
iΒ¯θ· Β ≅¯.· β¦ `Ογ´ ‹.!ƒ ´.¦‹s 'ΟŠl¦
∩⊇∪ Α!· Θ¯θ1≈ƒ ’Τ| ¯/>l ",ƒ‹Ρ _..•Β ∩⊄∪
β¦ ¦ρ‰.s¦ ´<¦ νθ1.¦´ρ βθ`-‹L¦´ρ ∩⊂∪
¯,±-ƒ />l Β ¯/>.θΡŒ ¯Ν´¯,>σ`ƒ´ρ ´’||
≅>¦ ‘‡Κ.•Β β| Ÿ≅> ¦ ´<¦ ¦Œ| ´.l> Ÿω
`,>σ`ƒ ¯θl `Ο.Ζ´ šχθϑl-. ∩⊆∪

The essence of the Islamic message has been concisely presented in three points:

1. Voluntary, willing and complete slave-like submission to Allaah, obeying Him in every
aspect of life, throughout one’s life, and worshipping Him alone without assigning
any partners to Him or equating anything with Him;

The exact words of the phrase in the verse are “yaghfir lakum min dzunoobikum” which may literally
be translated as “He will forgive some of your sins.” But that is not the correct meaning because the
words of the verse represent the phrase “yaghfir lakum ma taqddama min dzunoobikum”, meaning “He
will forgive the sins that you have committed in the past.” In other words, when you accept Islam, all
your previous sins are forgiven, but you still have to watch what you do because you will be held fully
accountable for any sins you commit afterwards. According to Amin Ahsan Islahi, because the rule was
well publicized and known and was apparent from the context, the shortened construction in the verse
is in keeping with the superb brevity of the Qur-aan.

2. Adopting the attitude of Taqwa or living by Taqwa paradigm, which means making
one’s decisions and setting one’s priorities such that they will result in avoiding
Allaah’s displeasure, maximizing Allaah’s pleasure and minimizing indulgence in
worldly pursuits; and
3. Obeying the messenger of Allaah, accepting him as the only leader, guide and role
model; abandoning any other leaders, guides or role models.

They were given the good news that if they accepted Nooĥ’s call to Islam:

Whatever sins and wrongs they have committed in the past will be wiped out by
the blessings of their accepting Islam. As is explained later on in the statement
given by Nooĥ, once people are forgiven, in addition to the success in the
Hereafter, it brings them well-being and prosperity in this world as well.

They will be allowed to live for their natural life span in this world.

They were also warned that those who reject his call would be destroyed. It would happen
when Allaah in His ultimate knowledge and wisdom knew that enough preaching had been
done and any further preaching was not going to benefit anyone. Once that time arrived,
there would be no more respite or extension at all.

Nooĥ spent his whole life on this mission. The glimpses of his struggle have been given at
other places in the Qur-aan. As they were not relevant to the message to be delivered at this
time, those details have been omitted from this overview.

So, towards the end of his life, Nooĥ made a plea to Allaah SWT which is described in the
following paragraphs.

He said, “My Lord! Verily, I have
invited my people night and day
my call has only made them flee
farther away.
Whenever I have
invited them, that You may forgive
them, they have stuck their fingers
into their ears, wrapped up their
clothing, persisted in their stance,
and displayed outright arrogance.

Α!· .´‘ ’Τ| .¯θsŠ ’Γ¯θ· ξ‹l ¦´‘!γΡ´ρ
∩∈∪ ¯Νl· `ΟδŠ“ƒ “.l.Š āω| ¦´‘¦,· ∩∉∪
’Τ|´ρ !ϑ‾lé ¯Νγ.¯θsŠ ,±-.l `Ογl ¦θl->
Λι-.≈.¦ ’· ¯ΝκΞ¦Œ¦´. ¦¯θ:-.`™¦´ρ ¯Ν·κ´.!´ Š.
¦ρ•¸.¦´ρ ¦ρ¸.>.`™¦´ρ ¦´‘!.>.`™¦ ∩∠∪

These verses concisely sum up their reaction. Nooĥ ‘AS worked selflessly, with no motive
other than helping his people attain salvation – so that Allaah would forgive them due to their

acceptance of Islam – but the harder he tried, the more alienated they became. The point to
note is their utter arrogance: sticking their fingers into their ears to refuse to listen to him,
wrapping up their outer garments and walking away; their insolent insistence on their views
without attending to his point of view; these were all condescending demeanours displaying
their arrogance. Their arrogance was both individual and as well as societal. Individually, their
chiefs, leaders, priests, mullahs, and scholars were stymied by their egos as well as their own
personal interest or career goals from accepting Nooĥ’s message and thus accepting his
leadership in this matter. As a society, they already had made up their minds about the
superiority of their enlightened views and supremacy of their superb lifestyle and culture.
Anything other than their “rich heritage” was going to be unacceptable, odd and inferior;
hence, they did not need to listen to Nooĥ’s point of view. In either case, he was considered a
threat both to the leadership and the lifestyle of the society.

These were the same reasons that were keeping the Makkans from accepting Islam. In fact,
the attitude of the people of Nooĥ resembled quite a bit the attitude of many Western bigots
toward Islam nowadays. They have formed some notions on the basis of hearsay and
propaganda, while refusing to find the facts. Furthermore, within the Muslim community
itself, unfortunately, it is also the same egoistic attitude and the same reasons that are
keeping currently the so-called Muslims from cooperating with reformers in their midst who
work towards improving the lot of the Ummah.

It is not that Nooĥ just kept calling them to Islam without explaining the logical and rational
basis for it or without telling them how it would benefit them in this world and in the
Hereafter. He presented the truth from all perspectives using all the tacts and techniques that
he could muster.

Then, I have addressed them loudly.
I have also made public
announcements and even appealed to
them secretly in private.
I have told
them: ‘Seek forgiveness of your Lord,
surely He is the most Forgiving;
will cause the sky to shower abundant
rain over you;
give you increase in
your wealth and children; and provide
for you gardens and provide for you
What is the matter with you
that you do not attribute due dignity
to Allaah,
while He has created you
in stages?
Do you not consider,

¯Ο. ’Τ| ¯Ν·κ:¯θsŠ ¦´‘!γ> ∩∇∪ ¯Ν. ’Τ|
·Ζls¦ ¯Νλ .¯‘´¸`. ¦´ρ ¯Νλ ¦´‘¦´¸`.| ∩'∪
·l1· ¦ρ`,±-.`™¦ ¯Ν>−.´‘ …«‾Ρ| šχl´
¦´‘!±s ∩⊇⊃∪ ≅™¯,`ƒ ´.!ϑ´.l¦ />‹l. ¦´‘¦´‘‰Β
∩⊇⊇∪ /´Š‰ϑ`ƒ´ρ Α≡´θΒ!. _.Ζ.´ ρ ≅->†´ρ ¯/>l
·≈Ζ> ≅->†´ρ ¯/>l ¦,≈κΞ¦ ∩⊇⊄∪ !Β ¯/>l Ÿω
βθ`>¯,. ´< ¦´‘!·´ρ ∩⊇⊂∪ ‰·´ρ ¯/>1l>

Allaah has created the seven
heavens one above another,

and made the moon therein a
light, and made the sun a lamp;

Allaah has caused you to
grow progressively from the
then he returns you to
it, and then He will bring you
forth easily once more; and

Allaah has made the earth a
wide expanse for you
you go about wide paths

¦´‘¦´θL¦ ∩⊇⊆∪ `Οl¦ ¦ρ,. .‹ ´ _l> ´<¦ ׯ.™
.≡´θ≈ϑ™ !·!.L ∩⊇∈∪ Ÿ≅->´ ρ ,ϑ1l¦ ´κ.·
¦´‘θΡ Ÿ≅->´ρ ´ϑ:l¦ l´>¦´¸. ∩⊇∉∪ ´<¦´ρ
/>.´.Ρ¦ ´Β ¯‘N¦ !´.! .Ρ ∩⊇∠∪ ¯Ν. ¯/´‰Š-`ƒ
!κ.· ¯Ν÷`>,ƒ†´ρ l´>¦,>| ∩⊇∇∪ ´<¦´ρ
Ÿ≅-> '/>l ´¯‘N¦ !L!.· ∩⊇'∪
Nooĥ informed them that if they repented from their disbelief and accepted Islam, thus
earning Allaah’s forgiveness, they would experience and witness three benefits right here in
this world:

Allaah will send slow and steady rain showers;
He will increase their wealth and children;
He will endow them with rivers and gardens.

In other words, they would enjoy prosperity and peace on earth. The fact is that when people
live their lives according to the Islamic system of peace, justice and excellence, and therefore
Allaah is pleased with them, the whole society enjoys Allaah’s mercy, peace and prosperity, in
addition to the bounties and pleasures in the Hereafter.

However, the disbelievers did not care. Neither were they concerned about the anger and
punishment of the Lord and Master of the universe, nor did they entertain any good
expectations from His mercy. Instead, they yearned for the approval and pleasure of the
human beings who they felt were important for their well being and of the idols that they
thought brought them rain and prosperity. They were afraid of displeasing those persons and
idols and accorded them dues, respect, dignity and status. Yet, they had no respect for, love
or fear of, confidence in or expectations from the Creator, Owner and Lord of the whole
universe. Amazed with their nonchalant attitude towards Allaah, he would wonder aloud
about their totally irrational behaviour. He would give examples of the marvellous facilities
that Allaah had provided to facilitate good human life and invite them to reflect upon them.

Taking clue from these verses, at the incidence of a drought, ‘Umar RA took people out to pray for the
rain, but only pleaded for Allaah’s forgiveness, without specifically asking for rain itself. When people
wondered about this, he recited to them these verses saying that he had sought Allaah’s forgiveness –
the key to Allaah’s mercy which brings rain and prosperity.

The words that the Qur-aan has used to describe the points Nooĥ put forth for their reflection
are also relevant for reflection by non-Muslims of the 21
century. More than 1400 years ago,
when the Qur-aan was revealed, no one had a clue that the moon just reflects the sun’s light
and is not a source of light in itself. However, the Qur-aan being the word of Allaah, the
Creator of the sun and moon, it uses precise words that take into account the difference in
the nature of the two heavenly bodies – the sun is described as a lamp (a source of light),
while the moon is described as a passive (reflective) light.

It should be noted that human bodies are composed of elements that all are extracted from
the earth. They become a part of our bodies through the consumption of the food that either
comes directly from the earth in the form of produce grown from it or from the animals at the
bottom of whose food chain is some sort of growth from the earth. Then, when people die,
their bodies become part of the earth again. In verses 17-18, this fact has been used to make
people understand the reality of resurrection after death, saying, “Allaah has caused you to
grow progressively from the earth, then he returns you to it, and then He will bring you forth
easily once more.”

Thus, Nooĥ presented all such points to his people that might help in opening their hearts
and minds for accepting the truth. But despite all of Nooĥ’s logical, rational and convincing
explanations, people did not listen to him. Instead they listened to those leaders who were
misguiding them to maintain the status quo and thus protect their leadership, power and
influence in the society. So, after describing all he had done in carrying out the mission given
to him by Allaah SWT, Nooĥ ‘AS sums up the disbeliever’s insolence and insistence on evil in
the next few verses.
Nooĥ prayed, “My Lord! My people
have disobeyed me, and have
followed those leaders whose wealth
and children have made them even
bigger losers
and who have
deployed an immense web of plots.
They have told people, ‘Never
abandon your gods and never
abandon Wadd and Suwaa‘, nor
Yaghooth and Ya‘ooq and Nasr.’
These leaders have already misled
many, and Lord, do not increase the
wrong-doers except in misguidance.”

Α!· ~θΡ .¯‘ ¯Ν·κΞ| ’Τ¯θ. s ¦θ`-..¦´ρ Β
`Οl νŠ“ƒ …«l!Β …ν$!´ρ´ρ āω| ¦´‘!.> ∩⊄⊇∪
¦ρ`,>Β´ρ ¦´,>Β ¦´‘!´.é ∩⊄⊄∪ ¦θl!·´ρ Ÿω
β'‘‹. ¯/>.γl¦´. Ÿω´ρ β'‘ ‹. ¦´Š´ρ Ÿω´ρ
l´.¦´θ™ Ÿω´ρ šWθ-ƒ −θ`-ƒ´ρ ¦¸.Σ´ρ ∩⊄⊂∪
‰·´ρ ¦θl.¦ ¦¸..´ Ÿω´ρ Š“. _.Η¹≈Ll¦ āω|
ξ≈l. ∩⊄⊆∪

To keep people from believing in Nooĥ and Islam, the religious and political leaders had
fabricated a variety of propaganda schemes which they kept on repeating so frequently and
in so many different ways that people believed them to be true and valid. The propaganda
they used has been mentioned at different places in the Qur-aan. They would say things like:
Nooĥ is an ordinary human being , how can we believe that Allaah sends him
messages when none of us have ever had or witnessed that experience;
He is making this claim just to become a greater leader than everyone else;
Had Allaah wanted to send someone, He would have sent an angel;
If Allaah had selected him, he would have all the treasures and wealth as well as the
knowledge of unseen and not be subject to human sufferings and setbacks;
There is nothing extraordinarily special about him on the basis of which his claim is
He is crazy or possessed by a Jinn;
His followers are only some outcasts who have accepted his claim without much
Had his claims made sense, the leaders and intellectuals of the society would have
endorsed him and followed him; and
So on and so forth.

They would use such propaganda to convince people not to forsake their idols and to stick
with their existing fantastic lifestyle. To make it sentimental, they would appeal people not to
forsake the idols by naming some of their favourite ones such as Wadd, Suwaa‘,Yaghooth,
Ya‘ooq and Nasr, which Arabs were also familiar with.

At that stage, it had become evident that there could not come out of them even a single
more believer. So Nooĥ ‘AS prayed to Allaah SWT requesting Him to take the final step and
destroy the disbelievers so that Nooĥ and his followers (the Muslims) could establish a clean
and pure society according to the Islamic system of justice, peace and excellence. His
supplication for the destruction of the disbelievers starts in verse 24 and ends with verse 28.
But as soon as his supplication is initiated in verse 24, Allaah SWT interrupts the flow and
informs of the disbelievers’ destruction through a parenthetical comment in verse 25, before
letting the words of Nooĥ’s supplication complete in verse 26-28. This is to indicate the
effectiveness of Nooĥ’s supplication and Allaah’s responsiveness to the prayer of a

Because of their sins, they were
drowned, then made to enter Fire, so
they did not find any helpers besides

!´ϑΒ ¯Νκ.≈↔‹L> ¦θ·¸s¦ ¦θl>Š!· ¦´‘!Ρ
`Οl· ¦ρ‰>† Μλ Β βρŠ ´<¦ ¦´‘!.Ρ¦ ∩⊄∈∪

In addition to informing us of their immediate destruction by drowning in the flood, the verse
also mentions their ultimate punishment in Hell. For the benefit of those who believe in gods
other than Allaah, the verse also points out that, when the destruction came, there was none
to help the disbelievers because their presumed gods were false and fabricated.

The remaining text of Nooĥ’s prayer follows:

Nooĥ continued his prayer, “My
Lord! Do not leave upon the earth
even a single inhabitant from the
If you leave them,
they will indeed mislead Your slaves
and they will breed none but wicked
My Lord! Forgive me,
my parents, whoever enters my
house as a believer, and all the
believing men and the believing
women; and do not increase the
wrong-doers in anything except

Α!·´ρ ~θΡ .¯‘ Ÿω ¯‘‹. ’l s ¯‘N¦ ´Β
_·,±≈>l¦ ¦´‘!−ƒŠ ∩⊄∉∪ iΡ| β| ¯Νδ¯‘‹.
¦θl.`ƒ š‚Š!.s Ÿω´ρ ¦ρ$#ƒ āω| ¦,>!·
¦´‘!±Ÿé ∩⊄∠∪ .¯‘ ¯,±s¦ ’| ´“$!≡´θl´ρ
ϑl´ρ Ÿ≅>Š š_.Š. !´ΖΒσ`Β _.ΖΒσϑll´ρ
·≈ΨΒσϑl¦´ρ Ÿω´ρ Š“. _.Η¹≈Ll¦ āω| ¦`‘!..

Although there was absolutely no hope for any of them to become a believer, even then a
door of repentance was kept open for them in case anyone changed his or her mind at the
last moment. When people were finally warned that they would be destroyed by a great
flood, they were also offered a final opportunity so that if anyone changed his or her mind,
they could come to Nooĥ’s house and accept Islam, before the signs of the storm appeared.

Obviously, as is commonly known, the believers were saved from destruction because they
boarded the boat that Nooĥ had built before the storm arrived. As all people except those in
the boat were destroyed, all human beings of the world today have descended from Nooĥ
and the Muslims who boarded the boat with him. Logically that should have been the end of
the idol worship, especially those idols that were worshipped by the people who were
destroyed. However, it is so ironic that the idols mentioned in this Soorah were being
worshipped in Arabia at the time of the revelation of these verses. The following is their

Wadd had the shape of a huge man and was god of the Banee Kalb branch of
Qudhaa‘h tribe and was erected at Doomatul-jandal. It was also called Wadd, the
Father. Quraish of Makkah also revered it, but called it Wudd.

Suwaa‘ was shaped like a woman and was erected at Rubaaŧ, near Yanboo’. She was
goddess of Hudzail tribe.

Yaghooth was shaped like a lion. It was erected at Jurash, between Yemen and
Ĥijaaz. Some clans of Ŧay tribe and Madzjiĥ tribe worshipped it.

Ya‘ooq was shaped like a horse and was worshipped by a clan of Hamdaan tribe of

Nasr was shaped like a vulture and was erected at Balkha’. It was worshipped by a
clan of Ĥimyar. It was also known as Naswar.

As the Qur-aan has mentioned their names in two groups, it indicates that the first two Wadd
and Suwaa‘ enjoyed a higher status than the other three. Presence of some people among
Quraish bearing names such as ‘Abdi Wudd (slave of Wudd) and ‘Abdi Yaghooth (slave of
Yaghooth) indicates that they also revered those idols.

The point to ponder is: How did the Arabs end up worshipping the idols whose worshippers
were all destroyed? It appears that Shayŧaan uses history, archaeology and human love for
their “heritage” as his tools for trapping people to re-engage in the evils that had been
eradicated by the previous prophets and messengers.

In this age of enlightenment, we see many people reviving and re-adopting many evils of the
past under various pretexts. Even Muslims have adopted so many evils of the past that were
eradicated by our Prophet and previous prophets. Relying on their books and traditions, and
without being very vigilant, many Muslims have adopted Jewish and Christian ways that were
not approved of by Allaah and His messengers. Similarly many Muslim populations are
proudly associating themselves with pre-Islamic heritage of Jaahiliyyah.

If Muslims want to remain believers in Islam, they must reject whatever was rejected by the
Prophet and his companions, and they must abandon anything they have adopted from the
previous civilizations that was not part of the collective views and practices of the
companions of the Prophet. The pure Islam is only that what was preached, practised and
approved by the Prophet and collectively by his companions. Anything added later on is
innovation brought in from other sources.

72 Al-Jinn
Name and Background

The Soorah reports an incident about Jinns, hence its name.

Jinns are a creation of Allaah SWT who were created before human beings
and enjoy freedom of making choices just like human beings. At the time of
the creation of Adam, Iblees was the leader of the Jinns, who refused to
submit to human dominion when asked by Allaah to prostrate to Adam. We
have been created from visible earthly elements, while Jinns have been
created from some elements of energy (smokeless flame of fire), invisible to
human beings.

Because Jinns are invisible to people, some people think that they do not
exist. Some of them theorize that the word Jinn is used for uncivilized,
primitive or barbarian people. The Qur-aan clearly contradicts them. It
indicates their creation from two different sources in Al-A‘raaf 7:12, Al-Ĥijr
15:26-27, and Ar-Raĥmaan 55:14-15. Al-Ĥijr 15:27 even mentions that Jinns
were created before human beings. At seven places in the Qur-aan, the story
of Adam and Iblees has been described, and at each of those places, it is clear
that Iblees was present at the time of the creation of Adam. Al-Kahf 18:50
clarifies that Iblees was a Jinn. Soorah Al-A‘raaf 7:27 states that Jinns can see
human beings but human beings cannot see them. Unlike human beings, Jinns
can travel high into the sky, although only up to a certain limit where heavy
meteoric activity precludes them from venturing further, as is mentioned in
Al-Ĥijr 15:16-18, Aŝ-Ŝaafaat 37:6-10 and Al-Mulk 67:5.

On the other extreme are people who entertain exaggerated views about
Jinns. Arabs used to think that all uninhabited, deserted or wilderness areas
are owned by Jinns. As a result, if they landed in a deserted area, they would
first invoke refuge of the Jinns of that area. They also thought that Jinns could
bring them news of the unseen. Actually, their soothsayers and fortune-tellers
based all their business on the claim that they received all such news from
Jinns. Some Arabs even used to worship them. The Qur-aan has condemned
all these exaggerations. It rather explains that Allaah SWT has delegated the

dominion of the earth to human beings and made them vicegerents. That
dominion includes Jinns, just as it does all other creations. Thus, human
beings are superior to Jinns. Although it is true that Jinns do have some
powers and faculties that are superior to what human beings are capable of,
many other creatures also have various abilities, faculties or powers superior
to what humans have.

It was in fact because of the dominion and superiority given to human beings
that Iblees became upset and vowed to mislead them in order to prove them
to be a species unworthy of that superiority.

Some people used to believe, and even believe today, that Jinns can enter the
human body and make people do strange or extraordinary things. This is a
baseless notion that has given rise to the exorcism industry, but whose
legitimacy has been contradicted by the Qur-aan. The Qur-aan clearly states
that Jinns can suggest ideas or incite human beings, but they do not have
power to make them do anything physically. The matter of incitement from
Shayŧaan (a Jinn) is clearly described in verses such as An-Nisaa 4:117-120, Al-
A‘raaf 7:11-17. In Ibraaheem 14:22, it clearly says that Shayŧaan, a Jinn, does
not have any authority on any human being to make them do things against
their will.

And the Shayŧaan shall say after the affair is decided, “Surely Allaah
promised you the promise of truth, and I gave you promises, but I
betrayed you. But I had no authority over you, except that I invited
you and you responded to me; therefore, do not blame me but blame
yourselves.” Ibraaheem 14:22

In other verses such as Al-Ĥijr 15:30-42, An-Naĥl 16:98-100 and Banee
Israaeel 17:61-65, this point was mentioned in another style saying that he
does not have authority over Allaah’s slaves. This style underscores the point
that the people who are disobedient to Allaah have submitted to the
incitement of Shayŧaan on their own; thus they have accepted his authority
voluntarily. As for Allaah slaves who reject his incitement, it has been clarified
that Shayŧaan does not have authority to forces them to do what he wants
them to do. That is why when the disobedient will blame Shayŧaan in the
Hereafter for their wrongdoings, he will deny any responsibility and declare
that I did not have any authority over you; I invited, you responded, so blame

yourselves, not me. Thus, it is abundantly clear that Shayŧaan can only incite
people but does not have any authority over them. Possession by a Jinn is
having authority over the possessed, which is negated by the Qur-aan

Message, Timing and Context

This Soorah describes how a group of Jinns heard the Prophet recite the Qur-
aan and how they were so impressed with the beauty of the prose as well as
the message that they became Muslim. ‘Abdullaah Ibn ‘Abbaas reported, “The
Prophet was travelling to ‘Ukaazh with some of his companions. On his way,
he stopped at Nakhlah where he led Ŝalaatul Fajr. A group of Jinns was
passing by. When they heard the recitation, they stopped and listened to it
carefully.” This happened during the early period of the Prophet’s mission. It
was a new experience for the Jinns. It also answered their curiosity about
increased surveillance and increased meteoric activity that they had noticed
in the last little while. They did not know the reason for the increased
security. After listening to the verses, they realized that it was due to the
revelation of the Qur-aan that the security in the heavens had been tightened.

The elementary nature of the points given at the end of the Soorah that the
Prophet was told to declare to the Makkans also indicates that this Soorah
was revealed in the early period of the mission in Makkah

The previous Soorah, Nooĥ, had given the Quraish of Makkah the example of
the people of Nooĥ and their destruction. They were indirectly warned that
their annoyance with and their arrogance against the Prophet and the Qur-
aan would bring them a similar fate. This Soorah gives the Makkans the
example of the Jinns in order to make them realize how the Jinns listened to
the same Qur-aan, saw the light, appreciated the beauty of its message and
accepted the guidance, as compared to them who were turning away from
this beautiful guidance. In addition to accepting the guidance, the Jinns went

Some people who believe that a jinn can possess human beings stretch the meanings of two verses in
their efforts to support their claim: Al-Baqarah 2:275 and Saad 38:41. Referring to the meanings of these
verses in major books of Tafseer will show that none of these verses really support the concept of
possession by a Jinn.
Some people, like Amin Ahsan Islahi, confuse the story of the Jinns mentioned in this Soorah with
another story mentioned in Soorah Al-Aĥqaaf. That is a different incident that happened in the 10
of the Prophet’s mission when he was coming back from Ŧaaif.

back to their folks and presented them the same guidance and tried to reform
other misguided Jinns among them. The mention of this incident also consoles
the Prophet by showing him that those who have goodness in their hearts are
eager to accept the message, and thus, he should not feel disheartened by the
violent reaction of the Makkans. Clearly, there is nothing wrong in the
message or in its delivery. The problem is with the close-mindedness of the

To those Arabs who were fond of listening to the fabricated reports that the
soothsayers and fortune-tellers were claiming to be coming from Jinns, this
Soorah informs them of a true anecdote of Jinns’ reaction to the Qur-aan, so
that they also open their hearts for the message of the Qur-aan.

Teachings and Commentary

In the name of Allaah, the Most Gracious,
the Most Merciful.

Ο`.· ´<¦ ≈´Η-¯,l¦ ΟŠ>¯,l¦
The Soorah starts with a command to the Prophet to recite it to the Makkans so they might
re-think their attitude towards the Qur-aan in the light of the Jinns’ reaction to it. The
opening of the story indicates that the Prophet did not see the Jinns, nor did he know that the
Jinns were listening or that they had believed in the message, until he was informed by this
revelation. There was no direct contact or communication between the Prophet and the
Jinns. Expressly stating this fact was necessary because some of the Makkans were already
speculating that the Prophet was getting his “revelations” from Jinns, just as they presumed
that what soothsayers presented as fortune-telling was on the basis of the communications
coming from Jinns.

Let people know: It has been
revealed to me that after a band of
Jinns happened to listen attentively to
the Qur-aan, they told their folks that:
“We have indeed heard an
amazing Recital (the Qur-aan)
that guides to the right
course; so we have believed in
it and, henceforth, we will
never associate anyone with
our Lord.

Exalted is the Majesty of our
Lord; He has taken neither a
wife nor a son.

¯≅· ´_-ρ¦ ´’|| «‾Ρ¦ ×ϑ.`™¦ ",±Ρ ´Β ´>'¦
¦θl!1· !‾Ρ| !Ψ-.œ !Ρ¦´.¯,· !´.> ” ∩⊇∪ “‰¯κ´‰
’|| ‰:”,l¦ !ΖΒ!↔· .«. l´ ρ ì¸:Σ !´Ζ.,.
¦´‰>¦ ∩⊄∪

…«‾Ρ¦´ρ ’l≈-. ‘‰> !´Ζ.´‘ !Β ‹ƒ´¦ π.>≈.
Ÿω´ρ ¦$!´ρ ∩⊂∪

The first thing that struck them was the exquisite beauty of the Qur-aan. It indicates that the
Jinns had expert knowledge of the language of the area where they resided. They were
sensible, rational and open-minded. They did not react emotionally or defensively. The
message made sense so they accepted it right away without hesitation. It appears that they
used to believe in some religion that had a notion of Allaah having a family. Listening to the
Qur-aan, they discovered its falsehood and clearly understood that Allaah SWT is infinite, far
above and beyond any need to have a family. They not only corrected their own views and
beliefs in the light of the teachings of the Qur-aan, they conveyed the correct beliefs to their
folks as well.

The foolish one among them
has been saying outrageously
false things about Allaah.

We had thought that no
human being or Jinn would
speak a lie against Allaah.

…«‾Ρ¦´ρ šχl´ `Αθ1ƒ !´Ζ·κ.±™ ’ls ´<¦
!LL: ∩⊆∪ !‾Ρ¦´ρ !Ψ´ΖL β¦ l Αθ1.
ΡN¦ ¯>'¦´ρ ’ls ´<¦ !.‹´ ∩∈∪

They had associated partners with Allaah in the past because of what they were told and they
had accepted it on the assumption that human beings or Jinns would not dare to lie about
Allaah SWT. After listening to the Qur-aan, it dawned on them how stupid and dishonest
some of their fellow Jinns had been who had been misleading them by saying such
outrageous lies about Allaah SWT. Verse 4 talks about one “foolish one”. The way the phrase
is constructed in Arabic, it can be used for one single person or a group. If it is taken to mean
a single person, it will refer to Iblees; as a group, it will refer to the group of Jinns who
promoted wrong views about Allaah SWT.

This was the stupidity of Jinns; the next two verses talk about the stupidity of human beings.

Some human men have been
invoking the protection of men
from the jinn, so they
increased them in their

They had thought, as you
thought, that Allaah would not
raise anyone.

…«‾Ρ¦´ρ βl´ Αl>‘ ´Β ΡN¦ βρŒθ`-ƒ
Αl>,. ´Β ´>'¦ ¯ΝδρŠ¦“· !1δ´‘ ∩∉∪
¯Ν·κΞ¦´ρ ¦θ‘ΖL !ϑ´ Λ.ΨΨL β¦ l ±-¯.ƒ ´<¦
¦´‰>¦ ∩∠∪
Despite being vicegerents of Allaah on earth, people seek refuge of the Jinns. This weakness
on the part of human beings encouraged Jinns to cause them more trouble. Arabs used to
make sacrifices and offerings on the suggestion of their soothsayers to avoid trouble from
and to seek approval of a mischievous Jinn. They also used to seek the refuge of the chief Jinn
of the area when they had to spend a night in a deserted place. The more they fell into this
trap of doing things to please the Jinns, the more they were expected to do next time. Thus,
their troubles kept on increasing, instead of being alleviated.

Translation based on the Tafseer of Amin Ahsan Islahi, who thinks that “Rahaqaa” means problems
and troubles, and cannot mean arrogance or that type of attitude. According to him “they” is for Jinns
and “them” is for human beings, indicating that the naughty or evil Jinns increase the trouble they cause
to those human beings who ignorantly seek refuge of them.

The second human folly, which they shared with Jinns, was their disbelief in Allaah’s raising
everyone on the Day of Judgment.

We sought to reach the
heaven but found it filled with
stern guards and shooting
stars (meteors).
We used to
sit in some of the sitting-places
thereof to steal a hearing, but
whoever eavesdrops now finds
a shooting star lurking for him.

We do not know whether ill
is intended for those on earth,
or whether their Lord intends
for them a right course.

!‾Ρ¦´ρ !Ψ`.ϑl ´.!ϑ´.l¦ !γ≈Ρ‰>´θ· ·∞l`Β
!´™,> ¦´‰ƒ‰: !´.·κ−´ρ ∩∇∪ !‾Ρ¦´ρ !Ζ´ ‰`-1Ρ
!κ.Β ‰-≈1Β ×ϑ´.ll ϑ· ×ϑ.`.„ βψ¦
‰>† …«l !.!κ− ¦´‰.¯‘ ∩'∪ !‾Ρ¦´ρ Ÿω
“‘‰Ρ ¯¸Ÿ.¦ ‰ƒ‘¦ ϑ. ’· ¯‘N¦ Θ¦
Š¦´‘¦ ¯Νκ. ¯Ν·κ›.´‘ ¦´‰:´‘ ∩⊇⊃∪
They referred to what all Jinns had noticed in terms of the increase in surveillance of the
heavens and the increase in meteor activity that barred them from flying high into the sky or
sit at certain venues to hear and observe in order to guess what was going on. Because of the
increased security, they could not even go to the places they were able to go in the past. They
knew that an increase in security used to happen only for two reasons: Either some nation
was going to be destroyed or new guidance was to be sent to some nation. However, they did
not know which the case was. When they listened to the Qur-aan, they then understood the
reason for the tightened security. For Arabs, there was a lesson to understand that Jinn did
not have any direct knowledge at all of any future affairs, and therefore, could clearly not be
helpful to the soothsayers in their soothsaying.

Some of us are righteous
while others of us are quite
the opposite of that; we
!‾Ρ¦´ρ !ΖΒ βθ>l≈¯.l¦ !ΖΒ´ρ βρŠ il≡Œ

This implies that there were both human beings and Jinns who disbelieved in the Hereafter. This is
quite understandable that there will be disbelievers in the Hereafter from both of the creatures. This is
also relevant because at the time of the revelation of this Soorah, belief in the Hereafter was the focus
of the revelations. Some people interpret this verse to mean that “Allaah will not send a messenger”
implying that none of them ever believed that a messenger of Allaah will be sent to them. This meaning
is inappropriate because there was no need or relevance for Jinns to have an opinion about the advent
of the Prophet. The Prophet’s advent was relevant only to human beings. As for human beings, the
Arabs have been quoted in Al-An‘aam saying that if a prophet was sent to them they would be better in
following the guidance offered by him. This indicates that they had some expectation or want to have a
prophet in their midst, although the idea may not have been that crystallized.

follow divergent paths.

We have realized that we
cannot outrun Allaah in the
earth, nor can we escape Him
by fleeing in the heaven.

When we listened to the
Guidance, we believed in it; so
whoever believes in his Lord
needs not fear about being
short-changed or being

!Ζ´ _←¦,L ¦´Š‰· ∩⊇⊇∪ !‾Ρ¦´ρ !ΖΨL β¦ l
“>-œΡ ´<¦ ’· ¯‘N¦ l´ρ …ν“>-œΡ !.,δ
∩⊇⊄∪ !‾Ρ¦´ρ !´ϑl !´Ζ-ϑ™ ´“‰λ¦ !ΨΒ¦´. .«.
ϑ· Βσ`ƒ .«.,. Ÿξ· ∃!ƒ† !´.ƒ´ Ÿω´ρ
!1δ´‘ ∩⊇⊂∪
They acknowledged how there were all kinds of good, bad, believing and disbelieving persons
among them. Naturally, all of them could not have the same end after death. As for them,
they realized the power and authority of Allaah SWT. Fearing Allaah, they could not insist on
their misguided notions after finding the Truth. Hence they believed in it. Believing in Islam is
a winning proposition. A believer will be rewarded justly and kindly.

This was their invitation to their fellow Jinns so that they, like them, also embrace the
guidance. After this invitation and encouragement, they conclude their discourse by
reminding their folks:

Some of us are Muslims
(submitting to Allaah
obediently) while others are
deviant; so whoever has
submitted, they have sought
out the right course.

And as for the deviant, they
will be the fuel for Hell.”

!‾Ρ¦´ρ !ΖΒ βθϑl`.ϑl¦ !ΖΒ´ρ βθL.≈1l¦
ϑ· ´Νl`™¦ i.‾≈l`ρ!· ¦ρ¯,>´ ¦´‰:´‘ ∩⊇⊆∪
!Β¦´ρ βθL.≈1l¦ ¦θΡl>· ´ΟΨγ>l !´.L>
A question may be raised concerning how the Fire of Hell can be a punishment for Jinns who
themselves are created from it. The reality is that it is not the elements making up a living
entity that feel pain; it is the living being that suffers pain. Human beings are made of earthly
elements, but we feel pain as living beings, not as amino acids, fatty acids, calcium, iron,
water, etc that came from the earth.

After relating the story of the Jinns, the Qur-aan talks about the Makkans:

It has also been revealed to me that:

If they (the Makkans) had
remained straight on the path,
We would certainly have
bestowed on them abundant
so that We may test
them thereby. Conversely,
whoever turns away from the
remembrance of his Lord, He
will thrust him into ever-
growing torment.

θl¦´ρ ¦θϑ≈1.`™¦ ’ls π1ƒ,Ll¦
Νγ≈Ψ‹1`™N .!Β !·‰s ∩⊇∉∪ ΛιΨ.±´Ζl «Š·
Β´ρ `,-`ƒ s ,´Œ .«.´‘ «>l`.„
!.¦‹s ¦´‰-. ∩⊇∠∪
This is the same benefit of staying on the straight path that was also described in the previous
Soorah Nooĥ. Abundance of rain is a symbol for prosperity. The Quraish of Makkah are being
told this fact repeatedly to allay their fears that if they abandon their idols, drought and tough
times are going to fall on them. They are being told that giving up idols and adopting
Towĥeed consistently will actually lead to growth and prosperity in this world, in addition to
the eternal pleasure in the Hereafter. However, the prosperity in this world is not the reward
for their good deeds, because the rewards will be given in the Hereafter. Everything in this
world is a test. Even the prosperity bestowed to the people is a test to see if people continue
to remember their Lord, thank Him and use His bounties in the right manner or if they
become arrogant, miserly and ungrateful.

However, if people continue to ignore the remembrance of Allaah, they will be punished with
a torment that will continue to increase in its intensity with the passage of time.

The Masaajid
are for
Allaah, therefore, do not
invoke anyone along with

When Allaah’s slave stands
up supplicating to Him, they
almost crowd in on him.

β¦´ρ ‰>≈.ϑl¦ ´< Ÿξ· ¦θ`s‰. ×Β ´<¦
¦´‰>¦ ∩⊇∇∪ …«‾Ρ¦´ρ !RQ Π!· ‰¯. s ´<¦ νθ`s‰ƒ
¦ρŠl´ βθΡθ>ƒ «‹ls ¦´‰.l ∩⊇'∪
Because only Allaah deserves and has the right to be worshipped, any house of worship
(Masjid) in reality belongs to Allaah. As a matter of principle and right, nothing other than
Allaah should be worshipped or invoked in any Masjid. And this is especially true for the Holy
Ka‘abah which was built by Ibraaheem and Ismaa‘eel ‘AS explicitly and exclusively for the
worship of Allaah. Verse 19 points out the irony that in that very Masjid (the Holy Ka‘abah)

Houses of Worship, plural of Masjid

when Allaah’s slave, the Prophet, stands to worship and supplicate only to Allaah, the
Makkans crowd around him as if they are going to suffocate him and crush him.

The use of the term “Allaah’s slave” has been used for the Prophet for two reasons: Firstly, it
underscores the fact that it is only natural, logical and sensible for a slave of Allaah to worship
and invoke Allaah and nothing else; and secondly, this is a style indicative of the love and
affection of Allaah SWT towards the Prophet. The Prophet himself used to like being called
‘Abduhu, that is, “His slave”.

The next verse asks the Prophet to continue to declare loudly and clearly to the Makkans his
choice and practice of worshipping and invoking Allaah alone, regardless of how his
opponents react and how upset they feel.

Let them know, “I invoke only my
Lord, and do not associate any
partner with Him.”
Say, “I do not
possess power to cause you harm, or
to bring you to right conduct.”

Say, “No one can protect me
against Allaah, nor will I find any
refuge besides Him.
The only
responsibility I have is to deliver what
I receive from Allaah and His
Messages. Then whoever disobeys
Allaah and His Messenger, for him
surely is the fire of Hell to dwell
therein forever.”
They will not
believe in it until they see what they
are threatened with, only then shall
they know who is weaker in helpers
and fewer in number.

¯≅· !ϑ‾Ρ| ¦θ`sŠ¦ ’.´‘ ω´ρ ì¸.¦ .«.
¦´‰>¦ ∩⊄⊃∪ ¯≅· ’Τ| ω ilΒ¦ ¯/>l ¦¹¸Ÿ. Ÿω´ρ
¦´‰:´‘ ∩⊄⊇∪ ¯≅· ’Τ| l ’Τ´¸.>† ´Β ´<¦
‰>¦ l´ρ ‰>¦ Β .«ΡρŠ ¦‰>.l`Β ∩⊄⊄∪
āω| !-≈l. ´Β ´<¦ .«.≈l≈™‘´ ρ Β´ρ -ƒ
´<¦ …`&!θ™´ ‘´ρ β¦ · …«l ´‘!Ρ ´ΟΨγ> _·$#≈>
!κ.· ¦‰.¦ ∩⊄⊂∪ ´_.> ¦Œ| ¦ρ¦´‘ !Β βρ‰sθ`ƒ
βθϑl-´ ‹.· Β .-.¦ ¦¸.!Ρ ‘≅·¦´ρ
¦´Š‰s ∩⊄⊆∪
He was not only asked to continue announcing his choice of worshipping Allaah exclusively,
but also to keep on clarifying the following points:

His responsibility is only to deliver the message he receives from Allaah, purely and
precisely as he receives it.

He has no authority or power to bring them punishment as they arrogantly demand
or bring them any benefit or harm, nor can he force or coerce them to accept the
To please them, he cannot worship anyone else other than Allaah, nor can he stop
delivering the Islamic message or shirk in his responsibility of delivering the message
exactly as it is received. If he does any such thing, no one will be able to protect him
from Allaah. In addition, Allaah is his only refuge from all difficulties and adversaries.
If he equates Allaah with anyone else, where would he find a refuge because there is
no real refuge, protection or resort other than Allaah SWT.

Allaah SWT also adds here His own comment: Now it is up to them to listen to your message
or oppose it. If they choose to disobey Allaah and His messenger, they should be prepared to
live forever in the fire of Hell in the Hereafter. Although they laugh at you now and feel proud
that they have a lot more supporters and helpers than you, on the Day of Judgment they will
find the reality as to who was in fact weaker.

As for the opponents’ questions about the timing of the Day of Judgment or their demand to
bring it on, the response was the following:

Let them know, “I do not know
whether that with which you are
threatened is near, or whether my
Lord has set a longer term for it.
Only He is the Knower of the
unseen! He does not disclose His
secrets to anyone.

¯≅· β| ”‘Š¦ '.ƒ,·¦ !Β βρ‰sθ. Θ¦
`≅->† …«l ’.´‘ ¦‰Β¦ ∩⊄∈∪ `Νl≈s .‹-l¦
Ÿξ· `,γL`ƒ ’ls .«.Šs ¦‰>¦ ∩⊄∉∪
When Allaah SWT appoints a messenger, He reveals to him some of the matters of the
unseen that he needs to know to perform his duty as a messenger; but there are some
secrets that He does not divulge even to His messengers. One of such secrets is the exact time
of the end of the world and occurrence of the Day of Judgment.

However, it does not mean that Allaah SWT has a casual, care free or laissez-fair attitude
towards a messenger. Rather, the messenger is keenly watched, protected and escorted by
angels who monitor to ensure that the messenger delivers purely and completely to people
whatever messages are entrusted to him.

As for
the messengers whom He
chooses, He makes an escort march
before them and behind them,
that He may know that they have
truly delivered the messages of their
Lord, and He encompasses their
surroundings and He keeps count of
all things.”

āω| Β _. .¯‘¦ Β Αθ™¯‘ …«‾Ρ¦ · il`.„
Β _.. «ƒ‰ƒ Β´ρ .«±l> ¦´‰.´‘ ∩⊄∠∪
´Οl-´‹l β¦ ‰· ¦θ-l¯.¦ ·≈l≈™‘ ¯Νκ¯.´‘
1l>¦´ρ !ϑ. ¯Νκ¯‰‰l _.>¦´ρ ≅´ .`_:
¦Š‰s ∩⊄∇∪

In short, every letter and word of the revelation is counted and accounted for.

Translation based on Amin Ahsan Islahi’s Tafseer, who believes that “illaa” in this verse does not
mean “except”; rather it is a special one that means “as for”, just like the one in Soorah Al-Ghaashiyah

73 Al-Muzzammil

Name and Background
The symbolic name for this Soorah has been taken from its first verse where
the Prophet ŝall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam has been addressed as Al-

Al-Muzzammil means a person who has wrapped himself in his mantle – a
cloth sheet that Arabs used to keep with them. This mantle or sheet was
considered an important accessory that was hung on one’s shoulder and used
for multiple purposes as needed. It could be used as a cloak, as a blanket or
other purposes. ‘Uqbah ibn Abee M‘uait once used it to strangulate the
Prophet while he was praying in the Holy Ka‘bah and Aboo Bakr interfered to
save him. As per the tradition of the society, the Prophet ŝall-Allaahu ‘alayhi
wa sallam also used to keep such a sheet with him. It was this sheet that he
used to place the Black Stone while resolving the dispute over its installation.
When he wanted to welcome and honour someone, it was this sheet that he
would spread for him or her to sit upon.

It is human psychology that when a person is very sad, extremely worried,
distressed, or in a deeply-reflective mood, he usually tends to keep wrapping
himself in his mantle, cloak or blanket
, while continually introspecting or
thinking and reflecting upon the situation at hand. The Prophet, who used to
be very much respected in the society before starting the Islamic mission, and
who was so sincerely and so selflessly inviting people to Islam for their own
benefit and salvation, was now being mistreated, rejected and taunted.
Naturally, he felt very sad about this situation, and resorted to wrapping
himself while contemplating his circumstances and reflecting upon the

The mental state similar to that of the Prophet at the time of the revelation of these verses is also
experienced by those who sincerely and dedicatedly work for Allaah’s Deen when they initially
encounter unwarranted but strong opposition and criticism from the community in response to their
sincere and best efforts.
An earlier example of this occurred when the Prophet was visited by Jibreel for the first time with the
first revelation, the Prophet came home worried and trembling and asked his wife to cover him with a

ignorant reaction of his people. Addressing the Prophet lovingly as Al-
Muzzammil is to demonstrate understanding and appreciation of his mental
state during that time.


The first section of this Soorah was revealed at a time when the opposition to
the mission of the Prophet by the chiefs of Makkah had grown so aggressive

and negative that the Prophet was feeling sad and distressed about it. This
section also commands the Prophet to stay up reciting the Qur-aan for about
a half of the night at a slow chanting pace. This indicates that enough of the
Qur-aan had already been revealed to allow that long of a recitation. The
main message of this section was to teach the Prophet how to cope with the
situation he was facing. The Makkan chiefs have also been warned of the
consequences of their behaviour through the example of Moosa (Moses) and
Fir‘own (Pharaoh)

In following the footsteps of the Prophet, many Muslims had also adopted
this practise of getting up past the first half of the night and standing up for
worship, reciting the Qur-aan. The second section was revealed in
to give the believers leave from staying up that long at night to
enable them to fulfill other Islamic obligations.

This is indicated by verses 10-15. Syed Maudoodi’s estimate is that it was revealed around the fourth
year of the prophethood.
There are different opinions about the timing of the revelation of this section; however, the mention
of qitaal (fighting) and Zakaah indicate that it was revealed in Madeenah about 10 years after the first
section, as Sa‘eed ibn Jubair has claimed.

Teachings and Commentary

In the name of Allaah, the Most Gracious,
the Most Merciful.

Ο`.· ´<¦ ≈´Η-¯,l¦ ΟŠ>¯,l¦
As mentioned in the introductory section, the Soorah starts with instructions to the Prophet
ŝall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam on the best way to cope with the adverse circumstances.

O you who wraps himself in a
Stand up worshipping all
night except a little,
last half of it, or
a little less,
or a little more; and
recite the Qur-aan with a slow,
measured chant.

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Š— «‹ls ≅.´‘´ρ β¦´.¯,1l¦ ξ‹.¯,. ∩⊆∪

The first instruction is that the Prophet should get up at about the middle of the night and
stand up for the worship of Allaah SWT, chanting the Qur-aan slowly and reflectively. The
target is to do so more or less for the later half of the night. This is what will build his close
relationship with Allaah SWT, provide him the comfort and support that he needs and grant
him inner strength, power and ability to withstand all sorts of adversities and challenges that
he is and will be facing in his mission. Pursuant to this instruction, the Prophet used to offer
this special worship at night for the rest of his life. Because it is performed by breaking one’s
sleep, it is called Tahajjud. Although it was obligatory only for the Prophet, it is highly
recommended for all Islamic workers.

Also, pursuant to this instruction, the Prophet used to chant the Qur-aan slowly, enunciating
every word clearly and stopping at the end of every verse, while reflecting on its message.
Because of the profound levels of reflection, he would repeat some verses multiple times,
glorify Allaah SWT at the mention of His greatness and glory, pray when occasion arose for
supplicating, seek refuge of Allaah when reciting a verse mentioning Allaah’s anger or
punishment, and express his gratitude and pleasure while reciting the verses mentioning the
mercy and bounties of Allaah SWT. Similarly, he would instantly fall into prostration (Sajdah),
if prostration to Allaah was mentioned in a verse.

Thus, we learn that the proper way of the recitation of the Qur-aan is to stand up in worship
in order to hear or recite the words of the Master, reflecting attentively on the text, reacting
to the message instantly and acting upon it as required immediately. Unfortunately, Muslims
have lost the prophetic style of recitation. It has become a mechanical ritual. Usually, they sit
down, recite it like parrots, without any reflection, emotional involvement or action on its

commands. Even when it is done in the standing position as part of the worship in
Ramadhaan, the emphasis is merely on ritual completion.

The next two verses explain the objective of this special worship through the recitation of the
Qur-aan at night.

Surely soon shall We charge you with
a word of weight.
Truly the getting
up for the latter part of the night is
most effective for concentration and
most suitable for assimilating the

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The objective is to prepare the Prophet for the tremendously difficult work of the mission
that lies ahead. And the best time for this objective is at night. Not only does it train the
person for hardships by sacrificing his best opportunity to sleep but it also affords reflective,
meditative and devotional benefits.

But this night-time worship is not enough – the communication with and remembrance of
Allaah has to continue during the day as well.

You also have opportunity to
him all day long.
remember the name of your Lord and
devote yourself to Him utterly and
exclusively --
the Lord of the East
and the West, there is no deity except
Him, therefore, take Him as your

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This is the second instruction for strengthening the relationship with Allaah and gaining inner
strength. The Prophet should remember Allaah SWT all day long, in every step of his day-to-
day life. He should not keep any hope or expectation of support or help from anyone except
Allaah to Whom he should be exclusively devoted. This attitude of total hope in and complete
dependence on Allaah, exclusive of everyone else in this world, gave the Prophet such
courageous independence that nothing and no one could ever come into the way of his
mission or impact his level of all out efforts. Pursuant to the command of remembrance

This translation is according to Amin Ahsan Islahi, who is of the opinion that “sabhan” cannot be
taken to mean “being busy or occupied”.

throughout the day, he would consciously glorify Allaah and call upon for His mercy and
bounty at every step in his life. His words are well documented about how he used to do so
while going to bed, while getting up from the bed, while going to the washroom or coming
out of it, while eating or drinking, while finishing eating or drinking, while going out of the
house, while entering the house, while stepping into the Masjid, while exiting the Masjid,
while riding an animal, while looking into the mirror, while setting on a journey, while
entering the city, and so on and so forth. He never made any move without remembering
Allaah, glorifying Him or seeking His mercy.

And be patient over what they say
and steer clear of them in a gracious
And let Me deal with the
deniers – the well-to-do – and allow
them a little respite.
Verily, with Us are heavy fetters
and a flaming fire,
and food that
chokes and a painful punishment;
on the day when the earth and the
mountains shall quake violently, and
the mountains shall become like
heaps of loose sand.

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This is the third instruction for the Prophet to follow to deal with the adverse circumstances.
He should continue to do his work in a positive manner without worrying about, responding
to or caring for his opponents. He should leave their matter with Allaah SWT. His job is to
continue giving his message in the best manner. Taking care of the adversaries is Allaah’s
responsibility. He may not take care of them immediately, for which the Prophet should allow
them some respite. Even if they are not punished in the world, a dreadful punishment is
waiting for them in the Hereafter. It should be noted that the Prophet’s adversaries at that
time were the rich and famous chiefs of Makkah who perceived his mission as a threat to
their power, wealth and influence. Their life of comfort and delicious food will be replaced
with painful punishment and the food that will be difficult to swallow. It should be
remembered that the fetters will not be there to keep them from running away because they
will not be able to run away anywhere – the heavy fetters will be actually used to keep them
burdened to add to their punishment and misery.

The next few verses address the opponents directly.

Surely We have sent to you a
Messenger to be a witness over you,
just as We sent a messenger to
Then when Fir‘own
disobeyed the messenger, We seized
him with a violent hold.
Then how
are you, if you disbelieve, going to
save yourself on the day that will
make the children grey-headed old,
and the sky thereby will be rent
asunder? His promise is going to be
Verily this is a reminder;
therefore, whoever wills should seek
the path toward his Lord.

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The Prophet’s role as a witness includes that he conveys the message of Allaah and
demonstrates to them fully how to live, both individually and collectively, a life that pleases
Allaah SWT. In this respect, he is not the first messenger ever to come. So if they do not utilize
this opportunity to learn Islam from him and live by it, they will be destroyed as was Fir‘own.
Even if they die before such an event, no one can save them from the punishment of the

“Making children grey-headed old” is a proverbial expression to indicate a condition of being
stressed out due to dreadful, harsh circumstances.

This concludes the first section of the Soorah. The next section was revealed in Madeenah
about 10 years after the first section. In following the footsteps of the Prophet, many Muslims
had also adopted the practice of getting up in the second half of the night and standing for
worship reciting the Qur-aan. Considering that many Muslims may not have the capacity to
stay up that long at night due to illness or due to the demands on their time for earning their
living, travelling for some noble purpose, or fighting in the way of Allaah, they have been
mercifully advised to read only as much Qur-aan at night as they can easily manage.

Surely your Lord knows that you
stand up for worship nearly two-
thirds of the night, or half of it, or a
third of it, and so does a party of your
companions; and Allaah determines
the duration of the night and the day.
He knows that you people will be
unable to keep up with it, so He has
turned to you mercifully; therefore,
recite as much of the Qur-aan as may
be easy for you people. He knows
that there will be among you in ill-
health, and others traveling in the
land seeking Allaah’s bounty, and
others fighting in Allaah's way,
therefore, recite as much of it as may
be easy for you. And continue to
establish Ŝalaah, pay Zakaah and offer
to Allaah a goodly loan. Whatever of
good you send on beforehand for
yourselves, you will find it with Allaah
such that it will be better and greater
in reward; and seek forgiveness of
Allaah; surely Allaah is Oft-Forgiving,
Most Merciful.

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Although the Muslims have been advised to take it easy for the late-night worship, they must
not show any complacency or weakness when it comes to establishing the Deen of Allaah
through the establishment of Ŝalaah, payment of Zakaah and spending extra in the way of
Allaah SWT.

It should be noted how nightly worship has merely been referred to as “recitation of the Qur-
aan” while the five-times-daily worship has been termed as “establishment of Ŝalaah”,
though the format of both worships is the same. It underscores the difference in the
fundamental objectives of both worships. The basic objective of the nightly worship is the

individual and personal recitation of the Qur-aan and reflection on its message; hence,
identified by that very objective. However, the basic objective of the five times daily worship,
in addition to the personal remembrance of Allaah and reminder about the message of the
Qur-aan, is the regimentation of the Muslim community collectively in the form of an
organized society. For that objective, the financial system of the society is based on Zakaah
and that is why it is often mentioned along with the establishment of Ŝalaah.

It should also be noted that when it comes to spending, two items have been mentioned: the
prescribed Zakaah and additional contribution towards the projects undertaken for the
establishment of the Deen in the society.

The fact is that whatever people spend in Allaah’s way for His pleasure is the only wealth that
is really going to be beneficial for them as it will be rewarded greatly and superbly in the
Hereafter. That is the smartest saving and investment plan. Otherwise, whatever we save
here is going to stay here for the benefit of others, rather than one’s personal benefit in the
permanent life of the Hereafter.

74 Al-Muddaththir
Name and Background

Like the previous Soorah, the name for this Soorah has been taken from its
first verse where the Prophet ŝall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam has been lovingly
addressed as Al-Muddaththir -- a person who has wrapped himself in his

The first seven verses of this Soorah were revealed at the very beginning of
the prophetic mission. According to the most accepted opinion, they
comprised the second revelation that the Prophet received.

The details about the first revelation that was comprised of the first five
verses of Soorah Al-‘Alaq, have been given in the commentary on that Soorah.
As mentioned there, the unexpected first appearance of the Angel Jibreel
(Gabriel) in the cave startled the Prophet who immediately headed towards
home. He arrived home in a frightened, worried state, and lay down wrapped
in a blanket. He was extremely worried about the responsibility he had been
assigned. He was not sure if he could handle it. After this initial experience,
there was a few weeks break during which nothing was revealed to give him
time to ponder over and digest what had happened, to recover from the
initial shock, and to become mentally ready for the challenges of the
enormous responsibility that had been assigned to him.

Then one day, while walking towards his home, he felt as if someone had
called him. He looked around but did not see anyone. He heard the call again
and lifted up his head to see in the sky the same angel that had appeared to
him in the cave, sitting on a throne. The Prophet was once again
overwhelmed by the experience and worried about the task ahead and
arrived home trembling. Once again he asked for a blanket and lay down
wrapped in it. The angel descended and came close to him and revealed the
first seven verses of this Soorah, given on the next page.

O you wrapped up in a blanket!
Stand up and warn the people;
proclaim the Greatness of your Lord;
purify your garments and
keep away from uncleanness;
and do not discontinue
your efforts when you feel that you have done enough,
persevere for your Lord.

From then on the revelations started coming frequently, as and when some
message, guidance or command had to be given. In addition to the
revelations, Angel Jibreel would also visit the Prophet to teach him
fundamental Islamic teachings and practices.

This revelation expanded on the command “Recite to people” given to him in
the first revelation. He was told of his responsibility, listing the initial tasks he
needed to undertake right away despite his apprehensions about the
challenges and enormity of the mission.

After this second revelation, the Prophet started inviting people to Islam as
commanded in these seven verses. The rest of the Soorah was revealed when
the Makkan chiefs had started their opposition to the mission of the Prophet
and were quite annoyed by his initial success in attracting some good people
of the society to his mission. As the Ĥajj (Pilgrimage) season approached,
when Arabs from all over Arabia came to Makkah, they became worried that
if some effective steps were not taken to stop the spread of his mission, many
pilgrims might accept Islam and join his movement, spreading his mission to
the whole of Arabia. They were concerned that the spread of his mission
would undermine their hegemony and influence they enjoyed and the
prosperity that ensued from that influence.

The Makkan chiefs held a meeting to devise an effective strategy to blunt his
efforts. They agreed to launch an extensive propaganda campaign against the
Prophet, to begin as soon as the pilgrims arrived, to sow doubts about his
credibility so that the pilgrims would not listen to him or take him seriously.
At that meeting, one of the chiefs, Waleed ibn Mugheerah, suggested that the
propaganda should be consistent in its message if it was to be effective,
otherwise they would all lose their credibility. Some suggested that the
Prophet should be labelled as a soothsayer or fortune-teller. Waleed rejected
the suggestion because the Qur-aan had no resemblance to the words of
soothsayers or fortune-tellers whatsoever. Others suggested telling the

pilgrims that he had gone crazy and that he considered himself Allaah’s
prophet because of this madness. Waleed rejected that idea as well on the
grounds that no one who had met him or listened to him would ever believe
that claim. A suggestion was made to call him a poet so that people would
disregard his claim of prophethood and his call to Islam as unreal poetic
fabrication. Waleed questioned the feasibility of that characterization on the
grounds that the Qur-aanic text did not lend itself to be classified as any kind
of poetry that they were aware of. The last epithet that they could think of
was to call him a magician. That idea was also dismissed for its obvious
inapplicability. Then, others in general, and Aboo Jahl in particular, insisted
that Waleed must come up with some label that he thought would credibly
stick onto the Prophet. After much deliberation and thought, Waleed
suggested that the Prophet should be labelled as a magician and that the Qur-
aan he preached created rifts and discordance among the members of a
family or a clan. His suggestion was unanimously endorsed and the Makkans
started warning everyone to beware of this man who was a magician and
created discordance in families and clans. Considering the importance of unity
and togetherness of families and clans in the Arabian society against any
attacks from outsiders, this was a lethal propaganda to scare people away
from the Prophet and to be extremely wary of him.


In the previous Soorah, Al-Muzzammil, the Prophet ŝall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa
sallam was taught how to establish his close relationship with Allaah and
prepare himself for an enormous, onerous responsibility. This Soorah spells
out the tasks to be undertaken in fulfilling this responsibility. As we, the
Muslims, have the same responsibility as was given to the Prophet ŝall-
Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, this arrangement of Soorahs teaches us that we
must start the fulfillment of our responsibility by establishing the relationship
with Allaah as prescribed in Al-Muzzammil and continue to undertake the
tasks as described in this Soorah. Our responsibility as Muslims is not fulfilled
if any of the two components is missing from our normal day to day life.

Teachings and Commentary

In the name of Allaah, the Most Gracious,
the Most Merciful.

Ο`.· ´<¦ ≈´Η-¯,l¦ ΟŠ>¯,l¦

As mentioned in the introductory section, the Soorah starts with instructions to the Prophet
ŝall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam on the tasks he needed to start working on right away. Allaah
SWT addresses him in a loving, affectionate style acknowledging the mental condition the
Prophet was going through and commands him six tasks:

O you wrapped up in a blanket!
Stand up and warn the people;
proclaim the Greatness of your Lord;
purify your garments and character;
keep away from uncleanness;
do not discontinue your efforts when
you feel that you have done enough,
rather, persevere for your Lord.

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The six tasks are:

1. Stand up and warn the people: Launch the mission and start calling people to the
worship of One Lord, disregarding all the hazards, dangers, difficulties and problems that
are inherent in making this call in the biggest centre of idol worship in Arabia and that
you are concerned about; wake people up and warn them of the consequences of their
current beliefs and lifestyles; inform them of the punishment of Allaah and the fire of
Hell that awaits them if they do not adopt the Islamic lifestyle and the servitude of the
One God.

2. Proclaim the Greatness of your Lord: In a society where people are proud of and boast of
the greatness of their tribes, clans, forefathers and contemporary chiefs, proclaim that
the greatness belongs ONLY to One God. No individual, family, clan, tribe, king, ruler,
institution, country, superpower, etc., is great; only Allaah SWT is Great. No person as a
human being is superior to another person. All superiority, special status and greatness
belongs only to the Creator of the human beings.

Proclaiming the greatness of Allaah is the first and foremost task of a prophet and a
Muslim. The essence of being a Muslim is to reject any and all concepts of human
greatness and accept Allaah as the greatest. Accepting Allaah’s greatness while rejecting
all notions that assign greatness to any human being or human institution frees a Muslim
from many fears and makes him invincible. It frees him from the feelings of inferiority or

inclination towards subservience or submission to any human being except according to
commands of Allaah. It gives a Muslim strength and courage to withstand any and all
sorts of pressures, coercions, intimidations and influences from human beings against
obeying the commands of Allaah. It is due to such reasons that the slogan “Allaahu
Akbar” – “Allaah is the Greatest” is an extremely important slogan for Muslims.

Thus, this declaration of Allaah’s greatness was not only to demolish the barriers to
human equality and establishing the sovereignty of Allaah SWT, but also to indicate
indirectly to the Prophet that the Greatest of all had appointed him to work on a mission,
so he need not worry about anyone who came in the way of his work. Thus, he should
start the work without worrying about the reaction of people.

3. Maintain the purity of your garments: This command has multiple implications.
Proverbially, garments refer to mentality, character and personality. From that
perspective, it means: keep your mind and thoughts completely pure of any semblance of
idolatry, regardless of how much pressure the opponents put on you. Keep your
personality clean from any trait that can be presumed to be a blot on your character, and
keep everything clearly aboveboard so that no ulterior motive can honestly be ascribed
to your missionary work.

When garments are taken literally, it refers to rules of cleanliness that Islam so
emphatically teaches. Also, some people tend to think that clean clothes are a carnal
matter and that dirty clothes are a sign of being religious and spiritual. The Islamic
mission is the mission of clean spirituality that demands that body and clothes both be
kept clean and pure.

4. Keep away from uncleanness: Stay clear of and avoid any compromise on the matter of
idolatry that is the filth, abomination and impurity of soul; and keep a long distance away
from any other abomination in ideas, thoughts, beliefs or behaviours prevalent in the

This is a reiteration of the previous command in the converse style to emphasize that he
must be extremely vigilant in keeping clean of every kind of filth or uncleanness. The
emphasis on these commands did not mean that he was not keeping away from those
unclean things at that time. It was an established fact that he had the cleanest and purest
character of all, free from all abominations mentioned here. The purpose of the
emphasis is to caution him to stay on his guard and to be extremely vigilant so that under
the pressure of circumstances, he does not slip or at all give any impression of any
weakness or compromise that may be inconsistent with his mission.

5. Do not discontinue your efforts when you feel that you have done enough: Because the
words “laa tamnun” can mean “do not perform favour” as well as “do not discontinue”
while “tastakthiru” can mean “you seek abundance” or “you consider abundant”, this
command has been translated by exegetes in two ways.

People usually have rendered it as: “Do not perform this favour, expecting or seeking
abundance.” According to this rendition, it implies: do not do favours to people expecting
or seeking any reward, benefit or appreciation in return from them. Your favours to

people should be selfless. Although this is good advice, it is out of context with the tasks
being assigned to him. Considering the context of the missionary tasks, this rendition
implies: While doing the favour of calling people to guidance, do not expect or seek any
reward or appreciation from the people. The tremendous amount of efforts you will put
in should be totally selfless and only for the sake of your Lord. From a worldly point of
view it is going to be a thankless job. This meaning assumes that inviting people to the
guidance of Islam was going to be welcomed and appreciated by people and the Prophet
was hoping to benefit from it; but the reality is that Islamic work is always rejected and
ferociously opposed, not welcomed or appreciated. Especially in Makkah it was evident
that there would be a ferocious negative reaction to the call to Islam and the Prophet
knew that. That is why he was reluctant to undertake the mission and was extremely
worried about the rejection and opposition which he would face and which he summed
up in his comment, “I fear for my life”.

Also, this meaning does not fit with the next command for perseverance. If it was
expected to result in abundance, why would patience and perseverance be needed?

The translation that we have adopted implies: As you know and as you are concerned
about the way idolatry and other un-Islamic practices are deep rooted in the society,
people are not going to listen easily or change quickly to the Islamic lifestyle. It is going to
be an uphill battle. Despite your best efforts, they are not going to listen. But you will
have to keep at it tirelessly. No matter how hard you have worked and how many times
you have talked to people, never give up thinking that you have done whatever could
have been done. You must continue even when you feel that you have exhausted all
avenues and ways. Never discontinue the mission even if you feel that nothing more
would make any difference; that whoever could have become Muslim has already done
so; that the others are not going to listen; etc. It will not be enough until Allaah himself
tells you to move on or gives you different instructions.

Thus, this command was to warn him against discontinuing his mission in accordance
with the normal human tendency to conclude after doing one’s best attempts
consistently and multiple times, that no more people were going to listen, and thus
further attempts to invite them to Islam should be terminated. This meaning is very
much in line with the context and directly linked to the next verse that commands him to
persevere until further instructions from the Lord are received.

6. Persevere for your Lord: Your mission is revolutionary. It will touch extremely sensitive
nerves of the society. The reaction to your call is going to be extreme. You are stepping
into the lion’s den. In the face of all the troubles that will come your way, be patient,
remain steadfast and persevere in your mission for the sake of your Lord, until He gives
you further directions. When the action of “Ŝabr” is to be done for a noun prefixed by
“li”, it implies “to persevere and wait patiently” until that “noun”, just as it is clarified by
Aŧ-Ŧoor 52:48 “Persevere until the decision of your Lord” or “Wait patiently for the
decision of your Lord”. Thus, commands five and six taken together give the full meaning:
“Do not discontinue your work at any time thinking that you have exhausted all avenues

and done all that could have been done, and patiently wait for further instructions from
your Lord.” In fact, he was reminded about this when his opponents started calling him
“the crazy one”. He was told, “Persevere until the decision of your Lord and do not be
like the companion of the fish.” (Al-Qalam 68:48) As was explained when discussing the
teachings of Al-Qalam, Prophet Younus (Jonah) left his people before Allaah instructed
him to leave, thinking that he had done enough and had already exhausted all avenues of
calling his people to Islam. In the subsequent events, he was swallowed by a large fish
type of creature, until he sought Allaah’s forgiveness, was forgiven and thrown up by the
creature on the shore.

In compliance with these instructions, the Prophet launched his mission. Some people
became Muslim, but the majority denied. The chiefs of Quraish were especially upset and
wanted to stop his mission in its tracks. Their reaction was based purely on their selfish
worldly expediencies, as they did not believe in the Hereafter. However, when they were
warned about it, they would claim that if there would be any Hereafter, they would have the
same kind of good life and status as they currently enjoyed in this world. The next three
verses warn them of the consequences of their reactive behaviour and fallacy of their

Mind you, when the trumpet is
that period shall be a
difficult period,
for the disbelievers,
anything but easy.

¦Œ¦· ,1Ρ ’· ‘θ·!Ζl¦ ∩∇∪ il≡‹· ‹.Β¯θƒ
Π¯θƒ ¸..s ∩'∪ ’ls _·,±≈>l¦ ¸¯.s ¸..„
It warns them of the extremely painful circumstances that they will encounter, but implies
that it will be an easy time for the true believers.

After this brief general warning to all disbelievers, the next section specifically speaks to the
role of Waleed ibn Mugheerah in devising the propaganda campaign against the Prophet.
Although the meeting was attended by many and although some of the participants were
more aggressive against the Prophet than Waleed, his role was selected for many reasons:

• He steered the meeting to build a consensus, when without his role, they could not
have come up with an effective strategy;
• Knowing that the accusations and epithets that were being fabricated for the
Prophet were all invalid, he continued to lead the group in inventing a falsehood,
even though it was a good opportunity for him to do the right thing and dissuade
others from indulging in false propaganda against the Prophet; and lastly,
• His attitude and mentality was typical of other Makkan chiefs who were involved in
opposing the Prophet.

Allaah’s commentary on Waleed’s role and behaviour starts with words of consolation to the
Prophet. It assures him that he did not have to worry about Waleed or his cohorts, because
Allaah himself would be taking care of them. The Prophet should leave such matters with
Allaah and focus exclusively on his mission.

Leave Me to deal with him whom I
created alone,
and granted vast
and attendant sons,
made things smooth and easy for him;
yet he desires that I should add

By no means! He is hostile to Our
Soon I will make him
suffer an arduous, insurmountable
’Τ¯‘Œ Β´ρ ·1l> ¦´‰‹>´ρ ∩⊇⊇∪ ·l->´ρ
…«l ω!Β ¦´Šρ‰ϑΒ ∩⊇⊄∪ _.Ζ.´ρ ¦´Šθ·κ− ∩⊇⊂∪
‘.‰´γΒ´ρ …«l ¦´‰‹γϑ. ∩⊇⊆∪ ¯Ν. ×ϑLƒ β¦
‰ƒ—¦ ∩⊇∈∪ ξ´ …«‾Ρ| βl´ !´Ζ.≈ƒψ ¦´‰ŠΖs
∩⊇∉∪ …«1δ¯‘!™ ¦´Šθ`-. ∩⊇∠∪

Waleed’s birth has been mentioned to indicate his humble beginning like any human child,
coming into the world alone and empty handed. If he was able to accumulate wealth and to
have many sons adding to his power and status by their attending to him, and if he found
himself in favourable circumstances to enable him attain a leadership position in the society,
he should have been grateful to Allaah for His bounties. He should have expressed his
gratitude by doing the right thing and following the Prophet. Instead, he showed his greed by
going along with other chiefs and submitting to their pressure merely in order to serve his
worldly expediencies. In addition, he countered the Prophet’s warning about the Hereafter by
claiming that if there would be a Garden in the Hereafter, it would be for his enjoyment.
Verse 16 categorically negates his expectation because those who become the enemies of
Allaah’s revelations do not get comfort and enjoyment in the Hereafter. Rather, they suffer
an arduous punishment that will be insurmountable as mentioned by the verse.

The next few verses describe his mental state and its physical manifestations that he went
through when coming up with a propaganda theme while knowing it to be untrue and while
recognizing the truthfulness of the prophetic message.

Verily, he reflected and contrived,
and destroyed be he for how he
Again, destroyed be he
for how he contrived.
Then he
looked up,
then he frowned and
…«‾Ρ| ,>· ´‘´‰·´ρ ∩⊇∇∪ Ÿ≅.1· .‹´ ´‘´‰·
∩⊇'∪ ¯Ν. Ÿ≅.· .‹´ ´‘´‰· ∩⊄⊃∪ ¯Ν. ,LΡ ∩⊄⊇∪

then he stepped back and
showed his arrogance,
and said,
“This is just some magic which has
been handed down;
this is merely
the word of a human being.”

¯Ν. ´.s ´¸.·´ρ ∩⊄⊄∪ ¯Ν. ,.Š¦ ´¸.>.`™¦´ρ
∩⊄⊂∪ Α!1· β| ¦‹≈δ āω| ",>ā `,.σ`ƒ ∩⊄⊆∪ β|
¦‹≈δ āω| `Α¯θ· ¸:´.l¦ ∩⊄∈∪

The Qur-aan was called magic for two reasons: Firstly, because of its stunningly beautiful
literary style that used to penetrate the hearts of people. Anyone who would listen to the
Qur-aan with an open heart would be impressed by its literary beauty and attracted to its
message. Secondly, people thought of magic as something that was used to create problems
in their enemies’ families. From their perspective, the Qur-aan was responsible for causing
divisions and strife in families because those who would accept the call of the Qur-aan were
rejected and persecuted by their families and clans, and thus families were divided and family
life disturbed. Although the problem was self created, the Qur-aan was blamed for it.

The next few verses describe the intensity of the punishment of the fire of Hell that the
rejecters of the Qur-aan would be thrown into.

Soon will I cast him into Hell-Fire!
And what will make you perceive
what Hell-Fire is?
It will pity naught
and spare naught,

shrivelling human skin.
Over it will
be nineteen wardens --
We have
appointed only angels to be wardens
of the Fire, and We have not
mentioned their number except as a
test for those who disbelieve and so
• Those who have been given
the book are convinced,
• Those who believe increase in
• Those who have been given
the book and the believers will
have no doubt; and
• Those in whose hearts there is
«‹l.! ™ ,1™ ∩⊄∉∪ !Β´ρ i1´‘Š¦ !Β `,1™
∩⊄∠∪ Ÿω ’.¯.. Ÿω´ρ '‘‹. ∩⊄∇∪ π>¦¯θl ¸:.ll
∩⊄'∪ !κ¯.l. π-`.· ´¸:s ∩⊂⊃∪ !Β´ρ !´Ζl->
.≈>´¦ ‘!Ζl¦ āω| π>.‾≈lΒ !Β´ρ !´Ζl->
¯Ν·κ:´‰s āω| π´Ζ.· _·%#l ¦ρ`,±´ ´1Š.`.´Šl
_·%!¦ ¦θ.ρ¦ .≈.>l¦ Š¦Š“ƒ´ρ _·%!¦
¦θ`ΖΒ¦´. !´Ζ≈´Κƒ| Ÿω´ρ ´.!.¯,ƒ _·%!¦ ¦θ.ρ¦
.≈.>l¦ βθ`ΖΒσϑl¦´ρ Αθ1´‹l´ρ _·%!¦ ’·

disease and the disbelievers
say, “What does Allaah mean
by this sort of mention?”

Thus Allaah misguides whom He wills,
and guides whom He wills. No one
knows the forces of your Lord except
He Himself, and this is merely an
admonition for humanity.
Νκ.θl· "´¸´∆ βρ`,±≈>l¦´ρ ¦Œ!Β Š¦´‘¦ ´<¦
¦‹≈κ. ξ.Β il≡‹ ´ ‘≅.`ƒ ´<¦ Β '.!:„
“‰¯κ´‰´ρ Β '.!:„ !Β´ρ `Οl- ƒ Šθ`Ζ`> i.´‘
āω| ´θδ !Β´ρ ´‘δ āω| “,´Œ ¸:.ll ∩⊂⊇∪

The expression “What will make you perceive what Hell-Fire is?” is to draw listeners’
attention to and invoke their imagination for its grave dreadfulness. In addition to being
dreadful, it will not spare anyone who should be punished and will not have pity for anyone
who is entrusted to it. Its intense heat will shrivel skin and disfigure bodies of people
approaching it. Then it will burn them throughout without letting them die. There will be
nineteen wardens who will be taking care of all matters related to the Hell and its inhabitants.

Obviously, the capabilities and powers of the wardens are totally beyond human perception.
They are mentioned only to tell us about what is waiting for those who reject the messages
and messengers of Allaah, not to describe precisely their exact nature. Like their capabilities
and powers, we can neither fathom why their number will be 19, why not more or less, nor
should we try to speculate. Believers know that these matters are beyond human capacity to
understand. When they are informed of such matters, knowing that they are from Allaah SWT
Who has absolute knowledge of all facts, they accept them as they are mentioned without
trying to determine their exact nature in human terms. This trust in Allaah SWT strengthens
their faith. The disbelievers, on the other hand, try to evaluate these matters of Hereafter
from the perspective of their finite worldly experiences which is a totally absurd thing to do.
Naturally, they fail to make sense of it and make fun of it, thus going even farther astray. That
is exactly what happened when these verses were revealed. The disbelievers started making
fun of the fact that there will be only 19 wardens to take care of zillions of people that will be
thrown in Hell. Aboo Jahl suggested that nineteen groups of ten persons each should easily be
able to overcome each of the nineteen angels. One of them even boasted that he would be
able to handle 17 on his own, and the rest of the disbelievers could handle the remaining two.
Little did they know about the powers of the creations of Allaah!

Verse 31 was revealed in response to the jeers of the disbelievers and was inserted as a
parenthetical remark immediately after the mention of 19, interrupting the flow of the
. The verse makes the following points:

The verse mentions “People with the Book” and “People with sick attitude”. Because “People with
the Book” were directly addressed in the Qur-aan during Madeenan period and because the “People
with sick attitude” was often used for hypocrites during Madeenan period, some people therefore think

• People should understand that Allaah SWT employs angels on duties like serving as
wardens of Hell, and their power and capability should not be estimated on human

• Their number has been disclosed as a test for the people so that:

o Anyone who does not have the right kind of faith in Allaah SWT and His
revelations can come out in the open with his doubts about such

o The true believers can see the commitment of the Prophet to deliver the
exact message, hear the nonsensical comments from the opponents, pass
the test of believing in the words of Allaah even when beyond their
understanding, and thus increase and strengthen in faith through this
process. Faith grows and strengthens as it passes through tough tests.

o The sincere ones from the People with the earlier books know that a true
messenger presents the revelation without worrying about the reaction of
the people to the message revealed. The way the Prophet presents
everything that is revealed to him exactly, purely and fearlessly, without
being afraid about how the listeners are going to react, could serve as
evidence for them that he is a true messenger.

o Those People with the book who suffer from the disease of jealousy against
Muslims, those people who suffer from the diseases of doubtfulness and
scepticism and those who disbelieve could be clearly identified through
their jeers and their wondering “how this kind of statements can be made
by God?’

• This is Allaah’s way of guiding right-minded people to guidance and crooked-minded
people to misguidance.

• It is impossible for human beings to know all the creations of Allaah in the universe,
their powers, their capabilities and their roles in Allaah’s scheme of things. The
crooked-minded and misguided people do not realize the limitations of their

that this verse was revealed in Madeenah. However, their opinion is not valid. Although People with the
Book were not directly addressed during Makkan period, they were mentioned and referred to in many
verses even during early Makkan period. Similarly, “People with sick attitude” has been used in the Qur-
aan for those who harbour jealousy, undue scepticism and/or doubts, in addition to that kind of
hypocrisy that was found in Madeenah. The fact is that the verse was revealed right away in Makkah
when objections were raised, not years later in Madeenah when there was no reason for such
clarification. In addition, according to the Qur-aanic style, starting the verse with a conjunction “and”
indicates that it was linked with the other text right away, as opposed to the example of previous
Soorah, Al-Muzzammil, where a verse revealed in Madeenah was appended without a conjunction.

knowledge and understanding and that is why they jeer at such things or doubt their
validity and veracity.

• The most important of all purposes for revealing matters about Hell Fire is that the
right minded people can learn lessons, gain admonition from such revelation, and
thus save themselves from the Fire.

The next verse continues with the discourse that was interrupted by the above-mentioned
parenthetical response.

Not at all! Witness is the moon,
and the night when it retreats,
and the morning when it brightens,
it is one of the mighty matters,

described as a warning to humanity

to whoever among you wants to
advance forward or lag behind.

āξ´ ,´Κ1l¦´ρ ∩⊂⊄∪ ≅‹l¦´ρ Œ| ,.Š¦ ∩⊂⊂∪
~¯.¯.l¦´ρ ¦Œ| ,±`™¦ ∩⊂⊆∪ !κΞ| “‰>N
¸.>l¦ ∩⊂∈∪ ¦,ƒ‹Ρ ¸:.ll ∩⊂∉∪ ϑl ´.!:
`Ο>ΖΒ β¦ Π´‰1.ƒ ρ¦ ,>!.ƒ ∩⊂∠∪

It starts with “Not at all” to reject outright the views of Makkans, and then it explains to them
the reality using examples of natural phenomena. The way the moon gradually waxes,
becomes full and then gradually wanes, until it disappears, teaches an important lesson that
things happen in Allaah’s universe through a controlled process and according to a definite
timetable. The end of the world cannot happen instantly just because the Makkans are
challenging it to happen. It shall happen, but on its time according to Allaah’s timetable and
through a process predetermined by Allaah SWT. Though there are no signs to indicate its
inevitability, it does not mean that it is not coming. At night, there are no signs that the night
will ever end, but then it retreats and a bright morning appears. In the same manner, when
the time comes, the destruction of the world will suddenly happen and everyone will see it as
they see the brightness of the day. This system of night and day and the moon and sun – the
solar system – is such great a system whereupon life and its sustainability depend. It is the
light of the sun that makes the darkness retreat and brightens up the day and it is the light
and heat of the sun that makes the earth inhabitable and that produces sustenance. Why
would people doubt the power of Allaah to create a burning hell while they witness the sun
burning like Hell for billions of years. Like the solar system, Hell itself is an extraordinary
matter, the news of which has been given to people, not to laugh or scoff at, but to learn a
lesson and protect themselves from. It is up to people now if they want to step forward,
accept the reality and prepare in advance to save themselves from it, or ignore the warnings
and stay behind to suffer its painful punishment.

The fact is that every person is held as pawn for his or her performance. If a person does not
attain his freedom by submitting to Allaah and doing good deeds that please Him, he will

remain behind among those who will end up in the Hell Fire, and none of his family, lineage,
wealth, status or accomplishments in the world would be of any use.

Everyone is pawned for one’s
except for those who will be
given records in the right hand,
who, in the Gardens, will be asking
each other
about the criminals,
and then ask them directly, “What
has brought you into Hell Fire?”
They will say, “We were not of
those who performed Ŝalaah
did we use to feed the poor,
and we
used to join in with those who carped
and caviled,
and we used to deny
the Day of Recompense,
until death
came to us with certainty.”
Anyhow, they will not benefit from
the intercession of any intercessors.

‘≅´ ±Ρ !ϑ. ·..´ πΨ‹δ´‘ ∩⊂∇∪ ω|
.≈>´¦ _.ϑ´Šl¦ ∩⊂'∪ ’· ·≈Ζ>
βθl´.!..ƒ ∩⊆⊃∪ s _.Β,>ϑl¦ ∩⊆⊇∪ !Β
`Ο>÷l™ ’· ,1™ ∩⊆⊄∪ ¦θl!· `Οl iΡ
š∅Β _,#.ϑl¦ ∩⊆⊂∪ `Οl´ ρ iΡ `Ν-LΡ
_.>`.ϑl¦ ∩⊆⊆∪ !Ζé´ρ `θƒΥ ×Β
_..←!ƒ'¦ ∩⊆∈∪ !Ζ´´ρ ´.‹>Ρ Θ¯θ´‹. _·´‰l¦
∩⊆∉∪ ´_.> !Ψ9 .¦ _.1´‹l¦ ∩⊆∠∪ !ϑ· `Ογ`-±Ζ.
π-≈±: _.-±≈:l¦ ∩⊆∇∪
To give a clear idea about the reality of Hereafter, these verses describe a dialogue that will
occur there. As you know, the believers who were able to please Allaah SWT in their life will
be given the account of their deeds on the Day of Judgment in their right hands. That will be
first signal that they are those who passed the test. Once they are settled in Jannah, they will
start wondering about the disbelievers and the disobedient people they used to know. In the
Hereafter, people will be able to see and communicate with each other over long distances as
well as they will be able to see and communicate with those close to them. So the people of
the right – those in Jannah – will talk to those in the Hell Fire and ask them what, in their
opinion, was the cause of their ending up in the Fire. Their response underscores the
following points:

• Formal worship of Allaah in the form of Ŝalaah is critical for salvation. Although only
a believer can offer Ŝalaah to worship Allaah SWT, the belief in itself is not sufficient
for salvation. Belief must show itself in action and Ŝalaah is the representative of all
good actions and of obedience to Allaah.

Worshipped Allaah

• Caring for the hungry and deprived is the second critical factor for salvation, without
which salvation is not possible. Whereas Ŝalaah is the right of Allaah on His slaves,
charity is the right of have-nots on those who have the means to feed others while
feeding their families.
• The indulgence and participation in raising nit-picking objections and making
sceptical remarks about the Hereafter will be the third root cause of their failure.
Such people disbelieve in the Day of judgement and strive for the world as if there is
no Hereafter.

They will admit that they continued to live that kind of lifestyle until they died, at which point
they realized the reality of the Hereafter with certainty.

Makkans were worshipping all those idols and angels in the hope that those entities would
intercede to Allaah on their behalf. They will find out on the Day of Judgment that their
presumptions were totally invalid. Their assumed intercessors were all fictitious. Also, even
the intercession of real intercessors will be useless for them. For anyone who did not live the
Islamic lifestyle and did not free himself from the lien by doing the abovementioned type of
critical good deeds, nothing will be useful for redemption of that person from the Fire.

Allaah SWT is so kindly and mercifully warning them so that they can redeem themselves. He
has revealed the Book and sent a Messenger for their sake, but instead of listening they are
running away.

Then what is the matter with them
that they turn away from admonition,

as if they are startled donkeys

fleeing from a lion?
Rather, every
one of them desires that he should be
given open scriptures.
By no
means! The reality is that they do not
fear the Hereafter.
Nothing but the
Qur-aan! It surely is an admonition,
so whoever wants may heed it.
Yet they will not heed unless Allaah
wills so, He is entitled to be feared as
well as entitled to grant forgiveness.

!ϑ· ¯Νλ s ο,´‹−.l¦ _..,-`Β ∩⊆'∪
¯Νγ‾Ρl ´ ",ϑ`> ο,±Ζ.`.•Β ∩∈⊃∪ .¯,· Β
ο´‘´θ`.· ∩∈⊇∪ ¯≅. ‰ƒ,`ƒ ‘≅´ ›,Β¦ ¯Ν·κ.Β β¦
’.σ`ƒ !±>. ο´¸:Ψ•Β ∩∈⊄∪ āξ´ ≅. āω
šχθ·!ƒ† ο,>ψ¦ ∩∈⊂∪ ξŸé …«‾Ρ|
ο,´‹. ∩∈⊆∪ ϑ· ´.!: …ν,ŸéŒ ∩∈∈∪ !Β´ρ
βρ`,´‹ƒ ω| β¦ ´.!:„ ´<¦ ´θδ `≅δ¦
“´θ1−.l¦ `≅δ¦´ρ ο,±-RQ¦ ∩∈∉∪

“Running like startled donkeys” is an Arabic idiom to describe those who run away in a panic
mode, even on mere hint of danger. It paints their picture of how they run away from the
truth so that they do not have to accept it and consequently change their lifestyle. Similarly,
they avoid listening to the Prophet lest they are affected by the very appealing message of
the Qur-aan and its exquisite prose.

Although the real reason for the Makkans’ disbelief and their running away from the Qur-aan
and the Prophet was their lack of belief in the life Hereafter and of fear for the accountability
and punishment therein, they would concoct other reasons to defend their disbelief or they
would make absurd demands of the Prophet as a precondition for believing in him. One such
demand was that they would not believe until they were directly sent written scriptures from
Allaah SWT. But even if that happened, they would still refuse to believe and would come up
with other excuses. For example, regardless of how evidently such a thing happened, it could
easily be disregarded as magic. But above all, that is not Allaah’s way of guiding people. He
sends the guidance through a Messenger who presents the guidance to people, explains it to
them, demonstrates it by living it and organizes the believers in order to achieve the objective
that Allaah wants to achieve through the guidance.

If the Makkans do not want to listen to this admonition, it is their choice. They are not
harming Allaah or His Messenger, but themselves. Neither Allaah nor His Messenger is going
to force or coerce them.

It is the Sunnah of Allaah SWT that those people who close their minds and erect barriers of
jealousy, arrogance and tribal pride between them and the guidance lose the capacity to
think freely and independently and thus deprive themselves of guidance and truth. Allaah
does not wish to use His power to open their minds and make them understand the reality.
Allaah guides people only when they take an initiative to open their own minds and become
willing to think about matters in a rational manner. Otherwise, they remain misguided. As this
is ingrained in human nature by Allaah SWT, it is mentioned as Allaah’s will.

Such people are being notified that they will not be able to benefit from the admonition
unless Allaah wills – that is, unless they open their mind to benefit from it, according to the
will and Sunnah of Allaah SWT.

Their accepting the guidance of Islam is not going to benefit Allaah SWT in any way, shape or
form. As the Creator and Master of people, it is Allaah’s right that people submit to Him,
worship Him, endeavour to please Him and fear being accountable to Him. Although He has
all the right to punish people who disobey Him, it is also His privilege and prerogative that
when people come back to Him in submission, He forgive their past infractions as well as the
mistakes they make when they are genuinely trying to be obedient. He does not have to do it,
but as a Merciful Master He likes to use His prerogative of forgiving.

75 Al-Qiyaamah
Name and Background

The name of this Soorah Al-Qiyaamah (The Resurrection) is also its topic. It
explains the inevitability of the Day of Resurrection in a rational manner, tells
people how easy it is for Allaah to raise people when they have become dust
and warns people to avail the opportunity they have in this world to prepare
for accountability on that day.

It should be noted that the total process starting with the end of the world
and then continuing with other phases such as the resurrection of people, the
Judgement and the granting of reward and punishment is collectively called a
“Day”, though each phase of the process will happen over time that cannot be
measured or expressed in human concept of time. All of these phases are
collectively referred to as a “Day”, because “day” in Arabic, in addition to be
used for a day of the week, is also used for a whole event or a series of related
events regardless of the time those events may take. This “Day” is often
qualified with one of its phases and referred to the Day of Resurrection, the
Day of Judgment or the Day of Recompense. In this Soorah, this Day has been
called Yom-ul-Qiyaamah, the Day of Resurrection.

The previous Soorah, Al-Muddaththir, had ended with describing the real
problem with the attitude of the Makkans that was keeping them from
believing in the Hereafter. This Soorah elaborates on that issue and provides
them with means of correcting their attitude, thinking, outlook and paradigm.

The Soorah was revealed very early in the Makkan period when the Makkans
were being taught about the concepts of the Hereafter. Some parenthetical
instructions in verse 16-19 to the Prophet about the proper etiquettes of
receiving the revelation indicate the time of revelation to be an early period
of the mission when the Prophet had not yet mastered such etiquettes.

Once the Prophet had started the mission as commanded in the previous
Soorah, the reaction from the Makkans was strong and aggressive as
expected. In those circumstances, the revelations from Allaah SWT were the

main source of support for the Prophet. That is where he used to get
instruction on how to proceed forward, that’s how the opposition’s attacks
were responded to and that’s where the Prophet drew his strength from. In
other words, he was totally dependent upon the communications from his
Lord. Hence, he used to wait earnestly for the revelation and when it was
received, he would try to intake the whole revelation quickly. In addition, he
used to repeat the words anxiously with his tongue as they were being
revealed lest he forgets any word. Sometimes, he would like to have
explanation of some of the words revealed to him. In the beginning he was
told in verse 6 of Soorah Al-A‘laa, “We will recite it to you so you will not
forget it” advising him that he should not worry about forgetting the revealed
words because Allaah SWT will make sure that he does not. The second time,
he was told in verses 16-19 of this Soorah, “Do not move your tongue (O
Prophet) along with the revelation to hasten with it.

Verily, We are
responsible for putting it together and ensuring its proper recitation.

repeat its recitation only after We have finished it.

Then again, We are
responsible for explaining it.”, teaching him the following etiquettes of
receiving the revelations:

1. He should quietly listen to the words of revelation, without repeating
them with his tongue to intake them quickly;
2. Allaah Himself is going to ensure preservation of His words, which the
Prophet should not be anxious about. It is Allaah’s responsibility to
ensure that it is collected properly and according to the Divine order
and that it is recited by the Prophet accurately;
3. When it is being recited to the Prophet, he should listen calmly and
4. Whenever and wherever any explanations are needed, they will also
be provided to him after the revelation of those verses is complete.

After these instructions, the Prophet started receiving the revelations very
well with calmness and confidence that he needed to be briefly reminded
only once more in verse 114 Soorah Ŧaa Haa, “Do not hasten its recitation
before the revelation is completed.” Afterwards, the Prophet became so
adept that he never had to be reminded again.

In the above-mentioned instructions, the implications of the two assurances
from Allaah SWT must be understood clearly. The first assurance was about

the order, completeness and preservation of the Qur-aan in the memory of
the Prophet. This was achieved in three ways: Firstly, the words of the
revelation were inscribed in his memory permanently. Secondly, with every
revelation, he was told where the new revelation fits in the order of the
revelations sent down so far. He was told exactly after which verse and before
which verse and after which soorah and before which Soorah the new
revelation would be inserted. Thus, the current order of the verses and
Soorahs in the Qur-aan is by the command of Allaah SWT. Thirdly, every year
in the month of Ramadhaan, the Prophet used to recite all the Qur-aan that
had been revealed until that time in the divinely specified order. Once the
whole Qur-aan had been revealed, it was recited completely twice in the last
year of the Prophet’s life.

As for the explanation and elaboration of the words of the Qur-aan are
concerned, the Prophet was taught exactly what the words imply and how
they should be put into action. Thus the Prophet would live perfectly
according to the words of the Qur-aan as taught to him by Allaah, and in turn,
the Prophet would teach those things to his companions and practically
demonstrate to them with his own actions and behaviour. This implies that
the Prophet was taught not only the words of Allaah, but also their meaning
in human practical terms. Thus, he received the revelation as well as coaching.
This also implies that the only authentic meanings of the commands of the
Qur-aan are demonstrated by the Sunnah (the model) of the Prophet. Any
interpretation of the commands of the Qur-aan that is not in line with the
Sunnah of the Prophet is invalid.

Teachings and Commentary

In the name of Allaah, the Most Gracious,
the Most Merciful.
Ο`.· ´<¦ ≈´Η-¯,l¦ ΟŠ>¯,l¦
The Makkans had no concept of the life Hereafter. When the Prophet ŝall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa
sallam started to invite them to Islam, the biggest problem they had was with the belief in the
Hereafter. That is why the initial revelations mostly focused on various aspects of the belief in
the Hereafter. These revelations had become the talk of the town. Everyone was talking
about them. All disbelievers were up in arms against the Prophet and presenting their own
excuses for not believing in the Day of Resurrection and the life Hereafter. This Soorah starts
with a big NO negating all their arguments and excuses against the inevitable reality of the
Day of Resurrection and Hereafter.

No! I swear by the Day of
And No! I swear by
the self-reproaching conscience.
Does man think that We shall not
assemble his bones?
Of course! We
are capable of exactly restoring even
his phalanges.
But man wishes to
continue doing wrong.
He asks,
“When will be this Day of

ω `Ν.·¦ Θ¯θ´‹. πϑ≈´Š1l¦ ∩⊇∪ ω´ρ `Ν.·¦
±Ζl!. πΒ¦¯θ‾ll¦ ∩⊄∪ ´..>†¦ ≈.ΡN¦ l¦
×ϑ>Υ …«Β!Ls ∩⊂∪ ’l. _·‘‰≈· ´’ls β¦
“¯θ.Σ …«Ρ!´Ζ. ∩⊆∪ ¯≅. ‰ƒ,`ƒ ≈.ΡN¦ ,>±´‹l
…«Β!Β¦ ∩∈∪ `≅↔`.„ β!−ƒ¦ `Π¯θƒ πϑ≈´Š1l¦ ∩∉∪
After declaring the invalidity of whatever the Makkans were saying, the assertion about the
Day of Resurrection has been made by taking an oath of the Day itself. This oath underscores
the point that the inevitability of that Day does not need any external evidence. Any
reasonable person can see that the universe, in its current form, neither was it always in
existence nor can it remain so. Everything that has a start must also have an end. Denial of its
eventual destruction is denial of an obvious inevitability. However, the eventual destruction
of the universe does not necessarily provide evidence for resurrection of human beings, their
accountability and life Hereafter. To provide rational evidence for these matters, an oath of
the human conscience has been used. This oath invites people to reflect on the human sense
of good and bad behaviour and existence of conscience
that feels good about good

Allaah SWT has created human psyche with a strong tendency to seek fulfillment of its desires. This
provides impetus for the establishment and advancement of human society. However, if this tendency is
left unchecked, human beings transgress all limits in fulfilling their desires which causes all problems in
the world. So to balance that tendency, Allaah SWT has also built into human psyche the concept of
right and wrong or good and bad and has given it capability to watch itself and evaluate if it is doing
right or wrong. If it feels it is doing right, it feels good. If it feels it is doing wrong, it feels a pinch of guilt.

behaviour but pricks and pinches when a person does something wrong. This point is enough
in itself to guide a rightly-thinking person to understand that the concept of good and bad is
relevant only if the consequences of good actions are different from the consequences of bad
actions. If death is going to be a common consequence for everyone whether the person had
done good or bad, there is no sense in differentiating between good and bad. The concept of
good and bad makes sense only if those who had been doing good are rewarded in the
Hereafter while those who had being doing bad are punished. Thus, the human consciousness
about goodness and evil and the existence of conscience in human psyche are rational
evidence for the inevitability of the Day of Judgment.

However, people
usually do not bother to think and reflect on such signs that lead to the
truth. They rather try to understand and visualize the Divine power, capabilities, ways and
methods which are beyond human understanding. Human beings themselves are not only
incapable of creating life or raising life from dead matter, but also are incapable of
understating how it can be done. They extrapolate their own weakness to the powers of
Allaah and assume that Allaah will not be able to do it either. For the benefit of such ignorant
people, Allaah declares that He has the power, ways and means to rebuild every part of
human body as it used to exist in the world.

Belief in the accountability in the Hereafter naturally forces people to control their greed and
lusts and resist their temptations. If people start believing in it, they will have to change their
habits and lifestyles, which most people do not want to do. Thus to avoid the feeling of guilt
over their current carefree lifestyle, people just deny the reality of the Day of Judgment. They
express their denial by questioning when is that going to be?

The next few verses give a glimpse of the conditions that will be observed during the end of
world and Judgment.

So when the sight is dazzled,
the moon is eclipsed,
and the sun
and the moon are brought together,

Man shall say on that day, “Where
to escape?”
Nowhere at all! There
shall be no refuge!
With your Lord
shall on that day be the only station.

¦Œ¦· −,. ¸..l¦ ∩∠∪ .. >´ρ `,ϑ1l¦ ∩∇∪
×Η-´ρ Κ:l¦ `,ϑ1l¦´ρ ∩'∪ `Αθ1ƒ
≈.ΡN¦ ‹.Β¯θƒ _·¦ ”,±RQ¦ ∩⊇⊃∪ āξ´ Ÿω ´‘—´ρ
∩⊇⊇∪ ’|| i.´‘ ‹.Β¯θƒ ”,1.`.RQ¦ ∩⊇⊄∪

This aspect of human psyche is called conscience -- the critical quality that distinguishes human beings
from animals. At the end of the life in this world, if a person has been living according to the dictates of
his conscience, he feels inner contentment, otherwise he feels like an awful loser.
Although everything described in this Soorah about “man” is applicable to people in general, it was
particularly applicable to the disbelieving Makkans.

In addition to its literal meaning, “dazzled sight” proverbially describes the condition of a
person who faces a sudden and intense shock. This is what will happen to people when the
end of the world starts suddenly with an extremely violent sound. “Bringing together of the
sun and the moon” may mean their simultaneous visibility on the horizon; or it may mean
earth being pulled closer to the sun and moon being pulled away from earth and crashing into
the sun; or some other scenario that is still beyond our imagination. This describes the second
stage of disaster that will finally end up in the collapse of the whole universe into the form
that was there just before the big bang. Then there will be another bang and the universe will
be recreated with perfection to last eternally forever. That is when people will be resurrected
and judged for their actions in this world.

Man shall on that day be informed
of his complete performance history –
all that he sent ahead or performed
and all that he neglected or kept
Rather, man knows well
about himself,
even though he puts
forth his excuses.

¦σ´.⊥`ƒ ≈.ΡN¦ ‹.Β¯θƒ !ϑ. Π´‰· ,>¦´ρ
∩⊇⊂∪ ≅. ≈.ΡN¦ ’ls .«.±Ρ ο´¸...
∩⊇⊆∪ ¯θl´ρ ’.l¦ …ν,ƒŒ!-Β ∩⊇∈∪
“Sent ahead and kept behind” can have any or all of the following meanings:
• What he did (and thus sent ahead) but should not have done and what he did not do
but should have done;
• Everything good or bad that he did (and thus sent ahead) and everything good or
bad that he stayed away from;
• Everything to which he gave a high priority and everything to which he gave lowest
• All of his action will be presented in the right chronological order in which they

Although all that record will be available as an irrefutable, hard evidence, people will know
themselves exactly where they stand and what they have been doing. Because of the
existence of the sense of good and bad and the conscience in human psyche, every criminal
knows the exact nature of his or her crimes. They may publicly try to justify their wrong-
doings, and may invent excuses to calm their conscience down, but in their heart they know
the nature of their crimes.

At this point, the flow of the discourse was interrupted to give the Prophet instructions about
the intake of the revelation which have been discussed in detail in the background section for
this Soorah.

Do not move your tongue (O
Prophet) along with the revelation to
hasten with it.
Verily, We are
responsible for putting it together
and ensuring its proper recitation.

So repeat its recitation only after
We have finished it.
Then again, We
are responsible for explaining it.

Ÿω ì¯,>´ .«. iΡ!.l Ÿ≅ >-.l .«. ∩⊇∉∪
β| !´ΖŠls …«-Η- …«Ρ¦´.¯,·´ρ ∩⊇∠∪ ¦Œ¦·
«≈Ρ¦,· ×..!· …«Ρ¦´.¯,· ∩⊇∇∪ ¯Ν. β| !´ΖŠls
…«Ρ!´ Š. ∩⊇'∪

One may wonder why the personal instructions given to the Prophet have been included in
here, interrupting the flow of the discourse? After the instructions were conveyed and
understood by the Prophet, they should have been excluded from the text. The answer is that
it would have violated the distinguishing feature of the Qur-aan. What distinguishes the Qur-
aan from every other book is that every single letter or word revealed by Allaah in His own
words to the Prophet through formal revelation was preserved, recited, written, taught,
conveyed and retained exactly as revealed without any subsequent editing or change
whatsoever by anyone involved in the process – Allaah Himself, angels, the Prophet or
believers. The whole revelation has been preserved exactly as revealed forever.

After the instructions, the discourse resumes with negation of their excuses they used to
justify their wrong-doings to reject the concept of the Day of Judgment and the eternal life
Hereafter. The real reason is that they fall for immediate fulfillment of desires and instant
gratification, rather than patiently striving for the success in the Hereafter. But their neglect
of the Hereafter is not going to make it go away.

Invalid excuses! The reality is that
you love the immediate,
neglect the Hereafter.
Some faces,
that Day, will be fresh and radiant;
looking towards their Lord;
other faces on that day shall be
knowing that some back-
breaking calamity was about to be
inflicted on them.

āξ´ ¯≅. βθ™.>´ '#>!-l¦ ∩⊄⊃∪ βρ'‘‹ .´ρ
ο,>ψ¦ ∩⊄⊇∪ νθ`>`ρ ‹.Β¯θ ƒ ο´¸.!‾Ρ ∩⊄⊄∪
’|| !κ¯.´ ‘ ο,L!Ρ ∩⊄⊂∪ νθ`>`ρ´ρ ‹.Β¯θƒ ο´¸.!.
∩⊄⊆∪ ¯´L. β¦ Ÿ≅-±`ƒ !κ. ο,·!· ∩⊄∈∪

Those who patiently prepare for the Hereafter, they will be happy with the results. “Looking
towards their Lord” has literal as well as idiomatic meanings and both are valid and applicable
here. Idiomatically it means that they will be expecting the wonderful mercy and kindness
and great rewards from Allaah SWT. Literally it means that they will be seeing Allaah SWT.

According to another verse of the Qur-aan and some Ahaadeeth of the Prophet, the people of
Jannah will be seeing Allaah SWT. However, it should be kept in mind that nature of our vision
in the Hereafter will not be the same as we are accustomed to in this world. Our visual
capabilities and instruments of vision in the Hereafter are from Mutashaabihaat, beyond our
understanding. We will truly understand these matters only in the Hereafter.

Those who fall for the pleasures of this world at the cost of the Hereafter, they will be
extremely sad and depressed knowing the hardships and intensity of punishment waiting for

So if you assume that death is end of everything, it is not true. Death takes you to the
Hereafter to be presented to your Lord, which you cannot avoid at all!

It cannot be avoided! When it (the
soul) reaches the collar-bones,
it is wondered, “Any wizard who can
and he (the dying person)
knows that it is the parting time,
and one shin is joined with the
to your Lord on that day shall
be the departure.

ξ´ ¦Œ| ·-l. ´’∋¦´¸.l¦ ∩⊄∉∪ Ÿ≅Š·´ρ Β
−¦´‘ ∩⊄∠∪ ´L´ρ «‾Ρ¦ −¦,±l¦ ∩⊄∇∪ ·±.l¦´ρ
−!´.l¦ −!´.l!. ∩⊄'∪ ’|| i.´‘ ‹.Β¯θƒ
−!.ϑl¦ ∩⊂⊃∪

Joining of shins is interpreted by some commentators literally, indicating physical collapse at
the time of death; while other take it idiomatically, indicating simultaneous incidence of two
calamities – shock of leaving the world and fear of the hardships of the Hereafter.

When the Prophet ŝall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam would present these facts to the Makkans,
his opponents typically behaved in the manner described in the following verses. Aboo Jahl in
particular behaved in this manner.

So he did not accept the truth, nor
did he perform Ŝalaah (the formal
But instead, he rejected
Truth and turned away!
Then he
went to his folks, stalking away
Woe to you, even more
Again, Woe to you, even more

Ÿξ· −´‰. Ÿω´ρ ’l . ∩⊂⊇∪ >≈l´ρ ´.‹´
’‾|´θ.´ρ ∩⊂⊄∪ ¯Ν. .δŒ ´’|| .&#δ¦ ´‘Lϑ.ƒ
∩⊂⊂∪ ’|ρ¦ il ’|ρ!· ∩⊂⊆∪ ¯Ν. ’|ρ¦ il
´’|ρ!· ∩⊂∈∪

The Soorah closes by inviting people once again to think and reflect about the accountability
and the Hereafter.

Does man think that he is to be left
without being held accountable?
Was he not a tiny bit of ejected
Then he was a clinging clot,
so Allaah developed him and
fashioned in due proportion
made of him two kinds, the male and
the female.
Is not He Capable of
giving life to the dead?

´..>†¦ ≈.ΡN¦ β¦ ì´¸.`ƒ “‰™ ∩⊂∉∪
`Οl¦ iƒ π±LΡ Β ¯_.Β _.ϑ`ƒ ∩⊂∠∪ ¯Ν.
βl´ π1l. _l⇐· “¯θ.· ∩⊂∇∪ Ÿ≅-> ' «ΖΒ
_.>ρ“l¦ ,´%!¦ ´_.ΡN¦´ρ ∩⊂'∪ ´Š l¦ il≡Œ
‘‰≈1. ´’ls β¦ ´‘↵>† ’.¯θRQ¦ ∩⊆⊃∪
How can someone think that Allaah SWT will bestow people freedom to act and then leave
them to do whatever they want without holding them accountable for their behaviour? How
can He instil in them a concept of right and wrong, equip them with conscience and then
make it inconsequential whether they practise goodness or evil? How can He do meaningless
and purposeless things such as creating people and then letting them perish without any
consequence? How can people assume that the One who designed an effective process to
send people for a temporary stay in the world, did not design a process to bring them back
for accountability? If He was capable of designing the first, was He not capable of designing
the second?

76 Ad-Dahr or Al-Insaan
Name and Background

This Soorah is known by both names, both of which have been taken from the
first verse and only identify the Soorah in which Ad-Dahr (the time span) or Al-
Insaan (the human being) has occurred.

This Soorah is one of those that were revealed quite early in Makkah
the focus was on teaching the Makkans the basic concepts about the Day of
Judgment and the life Hereafter, inviting them to think on these matters
rationally and identifying the factors that were hindering their acceptance of
these realities. The theme of the Soorah is to explain to human beings their
position in Allaah’s scheme of things and to inform mankind that if they
understand their position correctly vis-à-vis their Creator and become grateful
to Him, how they will be rewarded, and if they disbelieve and become
ungrateful, what kind of consequences they will face.

This Soorah is a twin to the previous Soorah, Al-Qiyaamah, complementing
and completing the rationale and concepts about the Day of Judgment and
the life Hereafter that were presented in that Soorah. The inevitability of the
Day of Judgment is indicated by the concept of good and evil built into our
nature as well as the existence of conscience in our psyche. Soorah Al-
Qiyaamah highlighted the role of conscience, while this Soorah highlights our
God-given capability of being aware of good and evil, and of applying it to our
own actions. In addition, the previous Soorah ended with:

Some commentators think that this Soorah was revealed in Madeenah, or at least verses 8-10 were
revealed in Madeenah. They do so on the basis of a story about ‘Ali bin Abee Ŧaalib’s charity, assuming
that these verses were revealed because of that incident. Three points should be noted in this respect:
First of all, the authenticity of that story is suspect. Secondly, both Syed Abul A’laa Maudoodi and Amin
Ahsan Islahi have given strong arguments against that view and have strongly asserted in their Books of
Tafseer that this whole Soorah was revealed in the early Makkan period. Thirdly, on the authority of Ibn
Taimiyyah and Imam Suyooti, Syed Maudoodi cautions that most of the incidents quoted as the cause of
revelations (Asbaab un-Nazool) of different verses of the Qur-aan are really not the reasons for the
revelation of those verses, but merely incidents to which those verses can be applied or incidents
reflecting the spirit of those verses.

Does man think that he is to be left without being held
Was he not a tiny bit of ejected semen?
Then he was
a clinging clot, so Allaah developed him and fashioned him in due
and made of him two kinds, the male and the female.
not He Capable of giving life to the dead?”

This Soorah proceeds from that very subject:

Has there come upon man a period of time when he was not even a
mentioned thing?
Verily We created man from a tiny bit of semen
that was mingled, for testing him, thus We made him hearing, seeing.

Surely We showed him the Way, whether he be grateful or

It then briefly mentions the punishment that the disbelievers will face in the
Hereafter but describes vividly and in detail the marvellous bounties that the
obedient slaves of Allaah will enjoy there.

Teachings and Commentary

In the name of Allaah, the Most Gracious,
the Most Merciful.

Ο`.· ´<¦ ≈´Η-¯,l¦ ΟŠ>¯,l¦
The Soorah starts with a question
that no one can deny and that forces people to think
about the purpose of human existence in this world. In a world where there was no life for
billions of years, the creation of life and the creation of a being who is not only living but is
also endowed with consciousness and capacity to learn, think, evaluate and decide cannot be
without purpose. The question also guides a thinking person to realize that the Creator who
created life out of dead matter, brought human beings into existence the first time and then
implemented a very sophisticated system of the birth of individual human beings, can more
easily raise them a second time.

Has there come upon man a period
of time when he was not even a
mentioned thing?
Verily We created
man from a tiny bit of semen that
was mingled
, for testing him, thus
We made him hearing, seeing.

Surely We showed him the Way,
whether he be grateful or

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¯Νl >ƒ !↔‹: ¦´‘θ´‹Β ∩⊇∪ !‾Ρ| !Ψ1l>
´≈.ΣN¦ Β π±LœΡ ~!:Β¦ «‹l.¯.‾Ρ
«≈Ψl->· !-‹ϑ™ ¦´¸... ∩⊄∪ !‾Ρ| «≈´Ζƒ‰δ
Ÿ≅‹.´.l¦ !Β| ¦´,´!: !Β|´ρ ¦´‘θ±´ ∩⊂∪

The first verse talks about a span of time (Heen) out of an indeterminate, indefinite period,
lengthy beyond human imagination or capacity to comprehend (Ad-Dahr), when man was not
even something to be mentioned. It can be considered from two perspectives:

From the perspective of an individual human being, the process of birth begins when sperm
and egg join to form a zygote that clings to the uterus of the mother. Until that time, the
sperm and egg cannot even be considered or called a human being. From that humble
beginning, he or she develops into a conscious being with a sense of right and wrong or good

Some commentators assume that the question word “hal” (Has there been …?) has been used to
give the meaning of “Qad” (There has been…), but other scholars, including Syed Maudoodi and Amin
Islahi, reject that idea on the basis of rules as well as style of the language.
Spermatozoa are mingled with seminal fluids, then a spermatozoon mingles (bonds) with the egg to
form the zygote.

and evil, lives a life making good and bad choices and then dies. Logically and rationally, a
person making good choices and a person making bad choices should not end up with the
same result through death. There has to be a life which is dependent on the choices that
were made in the temporary worldly life.

From the perspective of the human species, for an indefinite “period” before the creation of
the universe and for billions of years after creation, something called human beings did not
even exist in the universe. Then Allaah SWT created life in different forms and with different
characteristics and roles. Allaah SWT also created human beings in such a way that each
person lives temporarily in this world as a test and then departs to be raised again to be held
accountable and recompensed in an eternal form. What differentiates human beings from
basic forms of life (unicellular organisms) are three things: Firstly, unicellular organisms are
indestructible in the sense that they remain in existence through constant, identical
replication. Human beings, on the other hand, have been designed to sustain their species
through a birth process designed to make every human being a unique individual who dies
after living for some time. Secondly, human beings are unique among all other forms of life

in that they have been given consciousness and knowledge which enables them to make
decisions. Thirdly, they have been given a conscience and a sense of good and evil so that
they are aware (conscious) of when they are being grateful to Allaah by obeying Him and
when they disbelieve Him and show their ingratitude by disobeying Him or ignoring His
commands. Thus, their being created only later in the life of the universe, their temporary life
unique for every individual and their ability to make decisions with consciousness of the
nature of those decisions – all indicate that it is not without purpose, that they will be judged
about the quality of their decisions and their behaviour, and that they will be recompensed in
an eternal life. Depending on how they fared, their recompense is mentioned in the following

Verily, for the disbelievers, We have
prepared chains, shackles and a
blazing fire.
As for the virtuous, they
shall drink from a cup which will be
mixed with Kaafoor

!‾Ρ| !Ρ‰.s¦ š_·,±≈>ll ξ.≈l™ ξ≈ls¦´ρ
¦´¸.-™´ρ ∩⊆∪ β| ´‘¦,¯.N¦ šχθ.´¸:ƒ Β

This discussion is limited to forms of life that human beings can perceive, ignoring creations of Allaah
that are beyond human perception, such as jinns and angels.
The spring is named according to properties of the mix flowing from it – it will have some properties
such as fragrance or cooling effect like camphor (Kaafoor).
As has been mentioned repeatedly, we should not take the words used to describe the matters of the
Hereafter according to our understanding of those words in this world. Allaah SWT used the word
camphor, not because it will be precisely like camphor including camphor’s poisonous effect, but
because it was the only word in the language of the Makkans that came closest to describe some
attributes (such as fragrance or cooling effect) of the spring water. In our society, we can think of it
similar to menthol (peppermint camphor).

a spring wherefrom the slaves of
Allaah will drink and will be able to
extend its flow easily into branches.

l´ šχl´ !γ`>¦“Β ¦´‘θ·!Ÿé ∩∈∪ !´ΖŠs
´.´¸:„ !κ. Š!.s ´<¦ !κΞρ`,´>±`ƒ ¦¸.>±.
Virtuous (Abraar) are those who faithfully serve their Lord by doing good deeds in obedience
to Him. They will be granted Jannah (Paradise). Here the carefree, leisurely and joyous
lifestyle of the people of Jannah has been indicated by abundance of drinks and the ease of
their availability, described as their ability “to extend its flow easily into branches”. People in
this world mix different things in their drinks to enhance taste and flavour of their drinks.
People of Jannah will have different kind of mixes available for their drinks as well. Here the
reference has been made to a particular spring that will be used by them to mix in their drinks
to add fragrance and cooling effect that will be somehow similar to camphor (Kaafoor) or
menthol (peppermint camphor).

The next few verses mention some outstanding qualities and attitude of those people who
will be rewarded with the pleasures of Jannah:

They are those who fulfill vows and
fear a Day whose affliction will be
They give food, despite
themselves desiring it, to feed the
poor and the orphan and the captive,
saying, “We feed you only for
Allaah's pleasure; we desire from you
neither reward nor thanks.
We fear
indeed a harsh, distressful Day from
our Lord.”

βθ·θ`ƒ ‘‹Ζl!. βθ·!ƒ†´ρ !´Β¯θƒ βl´ …ν•¸Ÿ.
¦¸.L.`.`Β ∩∠∪ !.ς| ¯/>`Κ-LΡ «>´θl ´<¦ Ÿω
‰ƒ,Ρ `Ο>ΖΒ ´.¦“> Ÿω´ρ ¦´‘θ>: ∩'∪ !‾Ρ|
∃!ƒ Υ Β !´Ζ.¯‘ !´Β¯θƒ !´™θ.s ¦,ƒ,Lϑ·

The lifestyle of the virtuous (Abraar) is highlighted by the following four virtues:

1. They fulfill their vows or pledges (Nadzr). Nadzr is a vow to do something good that
is not an obligation. Making and fulfilling their own pledges showed their eagerness
to do more good than obligated for the pleasure of Allaah. As this Soorah belongs to
the very early period of the mission when Allaah SWT had only started to reveal the
Islamic system of excellence in a gradual manner and when all the goodness
expected of Muslims was not yet fully obligated, the gap was filled by good Muslims

through their personal vows and pledges. That is why making and fulfilling vows was
a quality of superior significance at that time.

2. They are driven to do more good because of their desire to attain salvation from the
troubles of the Day of Judgment. They rightfully dread that Day because no one will
be able to avoid its widespread calamities without being saved by the pleasure and
mercy of their Lord.

3. They feed hungry people and help them in their basic needs, even when they do not
have much for themselves and, thus, what they have is really dear to their hearts;
but despite the meagreness of their own means, they help others for the pleasure of
Allaah SWT. They help others regardless of the faith or background of those in need
– particularly if people who need help are extremely poor or if they are orphans
without an appropriate guardian to take care of them or they are prisoners.
Prisoners are mentioned because before the advent of Islam, Arabs used to put their
prisoners in shackles and let them out in the streets once a day to beg for food. Islam
stopped this practice and ensured that prisoners are properly fed, kindly treated and
afforded human dignity.

4. They help others with so pure a heart and such pure intentions that they do not
want any acknowledgement, gratitude, recognition or favour in return in this world.
Their only motive is seeking the pleasure of Allaah SWT and avoiding His displeasure
on the harsh, distressful Day. This pure intention may be in their heart or they may
even share it with those who are being helped so that receivers do not feel that they
owe any indebtedness or obligation to the giver.

The next section mentions that they will be saved from the calamities of that Day and gives a
vivid picture of the bounties they will be enjoying in Jannah.

So Allaah will save them from the
affliction of that Day and endow
them with bright, fresh countenance
and happiness,
will reward them,
for what they patiently endured, with
the Garden and silk garments.
will be reclining therein on raised
couches, and shall find it therein
neither too hot nor too cold.
shadows of the garden will be close
upon them and fruit clusters will be
hanging low to be easily picked.

Silver pitchers will be passed
`Νγ9·´θ· ´<¦ ¯¸Ÿ. il≡Œ Θ¯θ´‹l¦ ¯Νγ91l´ρ ο´¸.Ρ
¦´‘ρ¸.´ρ ∩⊇⊇∪ Νγ1“>´ ρ !ϑ. ¦ρ¸.. πΖ>
¦,ƒ,>´ρ ∩⊇⊄∪ _.↔>−.•Β !κ.· ’ls i←¦´‘N¦ Ÿω
βρ,ƒ !κ.· !´.ϑ: Ÿω´ρ ¦,ƒ,γΒ— ∩⊇⊂∪ π´‹Ρ¦Š´ρ
¯Νκ¯.ls !γl≈lL ·llŒ´ρ !γ·θL· ξ‹l‹. ∩⊇⊆∪
∃!L`ƒ´ρ Νκ¯.ls π´‹Ρ!↔. Β πā.· .¦´θ´¦´ρ

around them as well as crystal
glasses –
crystal made of silver – of
which they will have determined the
measure as they wish.
And they
will be given to drink therein a cup
flavoured with ginger –
a spring
therein, named Salsabeel
Waiting on them there will be
immortal youths; when you see them
you will think them to be scattered
Wherever you look therein,
you will see bliss and a great
Upon them will be green
garments of fine silk and heavy
brocade, they shall be adorned with
bracelets of silver, and their Lord
shall give them a special pure drink.
(And it will be said), “Verily, this is
your reward, and your efforts have
been appreciated.”

·Ρl´ ¦,ƒ‘¦´θ· ∩⊇∈∪ ¦,ƒ‘¦´θ· Β πā.· !δρ'‘´‰·
¦,ƒ‰1. ∩⊇∉∪ β¯θ1`.„´ρ !κ.· !´™l ´ βl´ !γ`>¦´•Β
ξŠ.>Υ— ∩⊇∠∪ !´ΖŠs !κ.· ‘´ϑ.· ξ‹..l™ ∩⊇∇∪
∃θLƒ´ρ ¯Νκ¯.ls β≡$!ρ βρ$#ƒ’Χ ¦Œ| ¯Ν·κ.ƒ¦´‘
¯Ν·κ.¯.. > ¦σlσl ¦´‘θ:ΖΒ ∩⊇'∪ ¦Œ|´ρ ·ƒ¦´‘ ¯Ν.
·ƒ¦´‘ !Κ‹-Ρ l>l`Β´ρ ¦´¸..´ ∩⊄⊃∪ ¯Ν·κ´.l≈s ´.!´‹.
‰Ζ™ ¸.> −´¸¯..`™|´ρ ¦θl`>´ρ ´‘ρ!™¦ Β
πā.· ¯Νγ91™´ρ ¯Ν·κ›.´‘ !.¦,: ¦´‘θγL ∩⊄⊇∪ β|
¦‹≈δ βl´ ¯/>l ´.¦“> βl´´ρ Ο>`‹-™ ¦´‘θ>:Β

The description of the luxury that the inhabitants of Jannah will enjoy is quite clear. As for the
crystal glasses used to serve drinks to them, they will be made of an element with silver-like
attributes while being transparent like crystal. They will come in different sizes to suit exactly
the desires of the people of Jannah at any time. Also, like Kaafoor, Salsabeel will be another
spring that will provide mix for the drinks to give a kind of fragrance and flavour that will be in
some way similar to ginger. Allaah SWT uses some words similar to the things that we are
accustomed to in this world, but we cannot imagine or understand the exact nature and
specifications of the bounties of Jannah.

The people of Jannah will be served by servants who will remain young, handsome, active and
energetic forever but will be fully aware and sensitive to the preferences and desires of the
people they will serve.

Even the clothes, jewellery and adornments available to the people of Jannah will be far more
exquisite and excellent than those available to the kings and emperors in this world.

The comment about camphor also applies to ginger.

In addition to the bounties mentioned earlier, depending on the status of the people of
Jannah, some of them will receive an exquisitely superior drink especially granted for them by
Allaah SWT. This drink could not be described in human terms except to say that it would be
clean and pure.

All these bounties will be granted to them in appreciation of and as a recompense for the
efforts they made in the way of and for the pleasure of Allaah SWT.

The next section deals with the dynamics of the struggle that was taking place at that time in
the Makkan society. As the Qur-aan was revealed in small instalments, some opponents
contended that the Prophet himself composed it and that he recited to them as he was able
to compose more. They thought that if it had been a revelation of Allaah, He would have
given the whole Qur-aan at one time. The first verse of the section deals with this notion and
in a majestic style announces to the disbelievers that it is Allaah’s decision to reveal it the way
it is being revealed. The verse also consoles the Prophet that it was not his decision to receive
the revelation nor did he desire it. It was Allaah Who decided to reveal the Qur-aan to him, so
he should rest assured that he would not be left unsupported. Allaah is going to ensure that
he will be fully protected and supported until the mission is achieved. Therefore, he should
just concentrate on steadfastly, perseveringly and persistently continuing his mission without
showing any weakness in front of his wicked opponents, until Allaah advises him differently
such as migrating out of the town. Although there did not seem to be any hope that these
people were going to listen to the Prophet, it was yet too early to give up on them.

Surely, it is We Who have sent
down the Qur-aan progressively in
Therefore, wait patiently
for the command of your Lord, and do
not obey any wicked or ungrateful
disbeliever from among them.
keep mentioning the name of your
Lord day and night,
and prostrate to
Him at night and glorify Him for a long
part of the night.

!‾Ρ| >Υ !´Ζl“Ρ i‹ls β¦´ .¯,1l¦ ∴.
∩⊄⊂∪ ¸..!· />⇔l i.´‘ Ÿω´ρ ×L. ¯Ν·κ.Β
!ϑ.¦´. ρ¦ ¦´‘θ±´ ∩⊄⊆∪ ,´Œ¦´ ρ ´Ν`™¦ i.´‘
ο,>. ξ‹.¦´ρ ∩⊄∈∪ š∅Β´ρ ≅‹l¦ ‰∨`™!·
…«l «`>.™´ρ ξ‹l ξƒθL ∩⊄∉∪
In the meantime, the Prophet should seek his strength and support by continuous
remembrance of Allaah and nightly worship. This remembrance and worship will continue to
reenergize him and give him solace, comfort and strength that he needs to persevere in his
mission coolly and calmly. This is the same instruction that was given in more detail and with
more specifics later on in Al-Muzzammil. As for the disbelievers, the real reason for their
disbelief is their love of the world. There is nothing that the Prophet could have done better
or differently to make Islamic belief easier for them to adopt.

Indeed, these disbelievers love the
immediate (worldly life) and neglect a
grievous day ahead of them.
It is
We Who created them, and
strengthened their frame; but when
We will, We can replace them by the
like of them completely.

āχ| .ωσ‾≈δ βθ™.>† '#>!-l¦ βρ'‘‹ƒ´ρ
¯Νδ´.¦´‘´ρ !´Β¯θƒ ξ‹1. ∩⊄∠∪ >Υ ¯Νγ≈Ψ1l>
!ΡŠ‰:´ρ ¯Νδ,`™¦ ¦Œ|´ρ !´Ζ⁄: !´Ζl´‰.
¯Νγl≈.Β ¦ ¯.. ∩⊄∇∪
If the disbelievers think rationally, it will become evident to them that the Lord who designed
the system for their birth and growth in this world can more easily resurrect them completely
when He so wishes. It is the kindness and mercy of Allaah SWT that He has sent them a
Messenger to teach them what they should have figured out rationally on their own. It is a
great favour being done to them both by Allaah and His Messenger, and now it is up to them
if they want to avail themselves of this opportunity and attain success or lose this opportunity
and suffer forever.

Surely, this is an admonition, so
whosoever wills, let him take a
straight path to his Lord.
But you
do not will, unless Allaah wills. Allaah
indeed is Knowing, Wise.
He admits
whom He wills into His mercy; but the
wrongdoers – He has prepared for
them a painful punishment.

β| .ν‹≈δ ο,´‹. ϑ· ´ .!: ‹ƒ´¦ ’||
.«.´‘ ξ‹. ™ ∩⊄'∪ !Β´ρ βρ'.!:· ω| β¦
´.!:„ ´<¦ β| ´<¦ βl´ !ϑŠls !ϑ‹>>
∩⊂⊃∪ `≅>‰`ƒ Β '.!:„ ’· .«.´Η-´‘
_.ϑl≈Ll¦´ρ ´‰s¦ ¯Νλ !.¦‹s !Κ‹l ¦ ∩⊂⊇∪
It is the law and Sunnah of Allaah SWT that only those people get the guidance and find the
truth who are willing to open their minds and think rationally and independently of whatever
their society teaches them, being honest to themselves. As for those who keep their minds
closed due to their current interests, worldly expediencies, personal prejudices and
jealousies, and other inhibitors to free, rational thinking, they remain misguided and will
suffer the consequences of their unjust, unfair attitude in the Hereafter.

77 Al-Mursalaat
Name and Background

The name of this Soorah is the first word of the Soorah.

It was revealed during the same period as Al-Qiyaamah and Ad-Dahr and, like
them, focuses on the Day of Judgment and the life Hereafter and invites the
Makkans to reflect on these matters rationally, instead of reacting
emotionally and blindly. However, it does so in a style that is different from
the previous two Soorahs in two ways: Firstly, the previous two Soorahs
guided towards the inevitability of the Day of Judgment by presenting
arguments on the basis of human psyche itself, while this Soorah presents
additional arguments from the environment surrounding human beings.
Secondly, it continues to repeat a warning statement after every few
sentences of details about the Day of Judgment, as if it is trying to break the
wall that obstinate, insolent people have erected around them to insulate
themselves from the logical and rational arguments presented by the Qur-
aan. Thus, after making a point in a few sentences, the warning statement is
repeated. However, at every repetition, it carries a different impact that is
delivered by the context.

Teachings and Commentary

In the name of Allaah, the Most Gracious,
the Most Merciful.
Ο`.· ´<¦ ≈´Η-¯,l¦ ΟŠ>¯,l¦
The Soorah starts with an oath of some things that are described through their attributes
without naming them explicitly. The attributes described in feminine gender are: They are
sent forth and let loose; they intensify in their speed; they spread things far and wide; they
differentiate, separate or break apart; and they deliver a reminder. Thus there is a difference
of opinion among commentators as to what those things are. Many people think that they all
are attributes of winds, others think that they all are attributes of angels and some other
opine that some of the attributes belong to winds and others to angels. However, a list of
attributes that is continuous, contiguous and without any kind of separator cannot partly
belong to one thing and partly apply to something totally different. Hence, the third opinion
can be ruled out as illogical and unacceptable. Now, as has been shown throughout this
Tafseer, things that are used for oaths in the Qur-aan yield evidence that helps people
understand the statement that follows the oaths. Thus, things used for oaths are those that
people can observe, study and understand. The “known or seen” things are used for oaths to
teach about and provide logical evidence for “unknown or unseen”. Naturally, “unknown or
unseen” cannot be useful to guide towards some other “unknown or unseen”. The oaths in
this Soorah are being used to provide rational evidence for the statement “most surely what
you are threatened with is inevitable” -- destruction of the world and the advent of the Day of
Judgment, which is an unknown/unseen matter. Now, we all know that angels are invisible to
human beings, and therefore, the attributes of angels cannot provide any useful witness or
evidence in support of any statement about the Day of Judgment that the Makkans were
being warned about. That is why a majority of the scholars are of the opinion that all these
attributes belong to winds. That is similar to Soorah Adz-Dzaariyaat where winds have been
sworn by using their attributes of scattering dust, lifting and carrying clouds laden with water,
then blowing gently and distributing different amount of precipitation over different areas.

Thus, the Soorah starts with oaths of winds in support of the statement: “most surely what
you are threatened with is inevitable.” In this way, Allaah SWT has presented winds as
witness to the inevitability of the destruction of this world and the advent of the Hereafter.

Witness are the winds that are sent
forth and let loose,
which then rage
and the winds that scatter
clouds far and wide,
differentiate distinctly,
then deliver
a reminder
as a justification or a
Most surely what you are
threatened with is inevitable.
·≈l™¯,ϑl¦´ρ !·`¸`s ∩⊇∪ ·≈±.≈-l!· !±`.s
∩⊄∪ .≡´¸:≈Ζl¦´ρ ¦¸:Σ ∩⊂∪ ·≈·,≈±l!· !·¯,· ∩⊆∪
·≈´Š1lϑl!· ¦´,´Œ ∩∈∪ ¦´‘‹`s ρ¦ ¦´‘‹Ρ ∩∉∪ !ϑ‾Ρ|
βρ‰sθ. ×·≡´θl ∩∠∪

Winds play a very important role in the lives of the people on earth. Life on earth depends on
the water cycle which is maintained to a great extent by winds. At the same time, winds in
the form of typhoons, cyclones, hurricanes and blizzards can also cause a lot of devastation.
The first two verses talk about the devastating winds at high speed. The next two verses talk
about the normal winds that bring precipitation, differentiating between areas that receive
precipitation and the areas that do not. In either case, they remind people about the mercy
and power of Allaah SWT. If it is dry and people need rain, they pray for it and when it rains,
especially after a dry spell, they thank Allaah SWT. Thus the rain becomes an opportunity,
reason and justification for Allaah’s remembrance. If it is stormy, people become scared and
some may seek Allaah’s forgiveness and mercy. In this way, it works as a warning. On the
other hand, if people do not take reminder from the winds and do not thank or seek
forgiveness as appropriate, it becomes more evidence against them and more justification for
their punishment on the Day of Judgment.

The reflection on winds should lead people to understand the two matters that the Makkans
were warned about but they were reluctant to believe in: Firstly, they were warned that if
they continue to oppose the Messenger of Allaah, their stay on the earth will be shortened
and they will be destroyed. The description of the destructive powers of winds can be enough
to remind them that one violent storm can annihilate them as it had annihilated some nations
in the past. Secondly, they were warned that in addition to their stay on earth being cut short,
they will be severely punished in the Hereafter. If people reflect on the consistent patterns of
winds and the water cycle for billions of years and their contribution to the sustainability of
life, they will be able to realize that it is a carefully designed and planned system. If the
Creator can design, plan and make it happen, He can break it apart as well. In addition, just
like the life-sustaining system of winds and rain has built within its system the potential for
disastrous storms, the normal operation of the universe contains in itself mechanisms to
cause its total destruction.

The next section describes the scene of the universal destruction when it comes:

When the stars are wiped out,
when the heaven is rent asunder,
when the mountains are pulverized,
and when the messengers are
allocated time to witness –
which day was this matter deferred?
For the Day of Judgment!
what will make you comprehend
what the Day of Judgment is?

Severe trouble there will be that
day for the deniers!

¦Œ¦· `Πθ>–Ψl¦ ·.ϑL ∩∇∪ ¦Œ|´ρ '.!ϑ´.l¦
·>,· ∩'∪ ¦Œ|´ρ `Α!.>'¦ ·±.Σ ∩⊇⊃∪ ¦Œ|´ρ
`≅™”,l¦ ·.·¦ ∩⊇⊇∪ ´“N Θ¯θƒ ·l¯>¦ ∩⊇⊄∪
Θ¯θ´‹l ≅`.±l¦ ∩⊇⊂∪ !Β´ρ i1´‘Š¦ !Β `Π¯θƒ
≅`.±l¦ ∩⊇⊆∪ ≅ƒ´ρ ‹.Β¯θƒ _..‹>`ϑll ∩⊇∈∪

Once the destruction as described in the first three verses is complete, and the new universe
is formed, people will be raised and gathered for accountability. Before Judgment is
delivered, the messengers sent to various people at various times will be called upon to give
the witness that they delivered the message entrusted to them to the people they were sent
to. It is this witness that they will give at the allocated time and it is this witness that has been
deferred to the Day of Judgment. The question about deferment of messengers’ witness to
the Day of Judgment and then the question about the nature of the Day of Judgment are
raised for the purpose of emphasis as well as to underline the extraordinary significance of
the those matters. After the witness of the messengers, the disbelievers will not be able to
plead ignorance of the reality and the truth preached by the messengers, and they will
receive extremely painful punishments. Then they will indeed be in deep, severe trouble.

But the deniers of the messengers do not only get punishment in the Hereafter. As history
shows, once a Messenger has employed all means and done everything humanly possible to
invite the deniers to Islam, those who continue to disbelieve, have their stay in this world cut
short and they are destroyed. As mentioned earlier, the Makkans were warned about it. The
next section reminds them of the destruction of the nations of the past.

Did We not destroy the ancient
then made the later folks
follow them?
That is what We do
with the criminals.
severe trouble there will be that day
for the deniers!

`Οl¦ il¯κΞ _.lρN¦ ∩⊇∉∪ ¯Ν. `Νγ`-..Ρ
š_·,>ψ¦ ∩⊇∠∪ il≡‹´ `≅-±Ρ _.Β,>ϑl!.
∩⊇∇∪ ≅ƒ´ρ ‹.Β¯θƒ _..‹>`ϑll ∩⊇'∪
However, cutting their stay in this world short by destroying them is not the end of the story.
They will still be punished in the Hereafter for their disbelief, thus they will still face extremely
difficult circumstances therein. After giving historical references, the deniers are encouraged
to reflect on their own birth process to understand how easy it will be for Allaah to resurrect

Did We not create you from a
mean fluid
and placed it in a secure
for a known period?
(procreation) We arranged (as We
have arranged resurrection) – how
excellent are We at arranging!
at resurrection), severe trouble there
will be that day for the deniers!
`Οl¦ /œ>1lƒΥ Β .!Β _.γΒ ∩⊄⊃∪ «≈Ψl->· ’·
‘¦,· _.>Β ∩⊄⊇∪ ’|| ‘‰· Θθl-Β ∩⊄⊄∪ !Ρ¯‘‰1·
´Ν-Ψ· βρ'‘‰≈1l¦ ∩⊄⊂∪ ≅ƒ´ρ ‹.Β¯θƒ _..‹>`ϑll

The “mean fluid” refers to the mixture of sperm and seminal fluid, a description of the matter
as people see it. The firm lodging refers to the protective and pro-growth environment of the
uterus. Although the human birth process has been more precisely referred to at other places
in the Qur-aan, we must remember that the Qur-aan is a book of guidance which uses natural
phenomena to make people think and understand the lessons it imparts, not to teach them
biology or gynaecology. The point being made for the deniers of the resurrection is that the
Creator who has created such a sophisticated system for human conception, development
and birth has also made arrangements for resurrection after death. Those who keep on
denying Allaah’s power and ability to do so will find themselves in a painful situation when it
actually happens.

The next section invites human attention to focus on the purpose of the earthly life.

Have We not made the earth
sufficient to contain
the living and
the dead;
and firmly set therein
lofty mountains and given you sweet
water to drink? (If they assume all
this to be purposeless and in vain,
Severe trouble there will be
that day for the deniers!
`Οl¦ ≅->Υ ´¯‘N¦ !´.!±´ ∩⊄∈∪ ´.!´‹>¦
!´.≡´θΒ¦´ρ ∩⊄∉∪ !´Ζl->´ ρ !κ.· ´_›≡´ρ´‘ ·≈‚ϑ≈:
/>≈´Ζ‹1`™¦´ρ ´.!Β !´.¦,· ∩⊄∠∪ ≅ƒ´ρ ‹.Β¯θƒ
_..‹>`ϑll ∩⊄∇∪
The ecosystem on earth including the roles of the lifecycle of creatures, mountains and water
in the maintenance of the ecosystems indicates design and planning of a Creator, Who would
not have done it without a purpose. Thus people need to understand that He bestowed
human beings life and the amenities to sustain their life to test them for a short period, and
then to reward or punish them in the Hereafter according to the results of this test. After
their stay on earth, they are deposited back into the earth from where they will be raised
again. Those who fail to understand this simple logic and insist on assuming that everything
happened accidentally will obviously face severe and painful punishment in the Hereafter.

(That day, the deniers will be told),
“Proceed to that which you used to
Proceed to a shadow
branched into three columns,
neither provides cool shade nor is of
any help against flames of fire,
which throws sparks as huge as
that appear like orange
Then, severe trouble there
will be that day for the deniers!
¦θ1lLΡ¦ ’|| !Β Ο.Ζ´ .«. βθ.‹>. ∩⊄'∪
¦θ1lLΡ¦ ’|| ≅L “Œ ±≈l. .-: ∩⊂⊃∪ āω
≅‹lL Ÿω´ρ _.-`ƒ ´Β .γ‾ll¦ ∩⊂⊇∪ !κΞ| ’Γ¯,.
‘,:. ¸`.1ll´ ∩⊂⊄∪ …«‾Ρl´ ·l≈´Η- ",±. ∩⊂⊂∪
≅ƒ´ρ ‹.Β¯θƒ _..‹>`ϑll ∩⊂⊆∪

“Which you used to deny” refers to the punishment of the Hereafter. The shadow refers to
some smoke type matter that will be encountered before the fire of Hell as mentioned in
Soorah Al-Waaqiah, “shade of dark smoke, neither cool nor kind”. Remembering that we
cannot really understand the precise nature of the matters of the Hereafter, it can be thought
to be something resembling solar winds. The description of sparks is to give an idea to people
about the intensity and enormity of things related to the fire of Hell. The sparks can be
thought of in terms of solar flares

After giving a glimpse of the terrifying nature of the Hellfire and its environment, the next
section describes the bewilderment and helplessness of the deniers.

That will be the day when they will
not speak,
nor will they be
permitted to offer excuses.
trouble there will be that day for the

¦‹≈δ `Π¯θƒ Ÿω βθ1LΖƒ ∩⊂∈∪ Ÿω´ρ `βŒσ`ƒ ¯Νλ
βρ'‘‹.-´‹· ∩⊂∉∪ ≅ƒ´ρ ‹.Β¯θƒ _..‹>`ϑll ∩⊂∠∪
Knowing that they were totally wrong in denying the Hereafter, they will be dumbfounded
when they see it. Even if they try to present excuses to explain why they did not believe in it,
they will not be allowed because no discussion on these points will matter at that time. The
time to discuss and arrive at the right conclusions is NOW, in this life. Those that used to think
that it would be impossible to gather all generations of people spanning hundreds of
thousands of years for judgment will be addressed in the following manner.

(Deniers will be told), “This is the
Day of Decision, We have assembled
you and those before you together.
So if you have a scheme, use it
against Me!”
(But they will be
helpless and) severe trouble there
will be that day for the deniers!

¦‹≈δ `Π¯θƒ ≅`.±l¦ ¯/>≈Ψ-´Η- _.lρN¦´ρ ∩⊂∇∪
β¦· βl´ ¯/>l ‰‹´ βρ‰‹>· ∩⊂'∪ ≅ƒ´ρ ‹.Β¯θƒ
_..‹>`ϑll ∩⊆⊃∪
In contrast to the deniers, those who believe in the Hereafter and thus live by Taqwa --
making their decisions and setting their priorities of life in such a way that will please Allaah
SWT and that will avoid His displeasure -- they will be rewarded with amazing bounties.

Resemblance of Hell to the sun is indicated by a Hadeeth wherein the Prophet told the companions
that the heat of the summer ensues from the fire of Hell.

Surely those who live by Taqwa

will be in shades amid springs
fruits of their liking.
They will be
told, “Eat and drink as you please, in
return for what you used to do.
That is how We reward those who
(But) Severe trouble there
will be that day for the deniers!

β| _.1−.`Κl¦ †· ≅≈lL βθ`‹`s´ρ ∩⊆⊇∪ «´≡´θ·´ρ
!´ϑΒ βθ·κ.: „ ∩⊆⊄∪ ¦θl´ ¦θ.´¸.¦´ρ !↔ŠΖδ !ϑ.
`Ο.Ζ´ βθlϑ-. ∩⊆⊂∪ !‾Ρ| il≡‹´ ““>Υ
_.Ζ.`>ϑl¦ ∩⊆⊆∪ ≅ƒ´ρ ‹.Β¯θƒ _..‹>`ϑll ∩⊆∈∪
This will be their never-ending reward from Allaah because they excelled in their temporary
test. They lived their life in the temporary world by Taqwa -- resisting temptations, controlling
their lusts and desires, practising fairness and forgiveness, minimizing the use of and
conserving the God-given resources and making sacrifices for a principled, restrained lifestyle.
This attitude and lifestyle of restraint makes them the best people in their conduct.
Disbelievers in the Hereafter, on the other hand, opt for pursuing instant gratification and
maximization of worldly benefits and consumption of resources. This leads them to become
self-centred, adopting unfairness and criminal behaviour to fulfil their desires and aspirations.
However, everything they attain is left behind. For the temporary gratification, they sacrifice
permanent rewards of the Hereafter. The next verse warns them directly.

(O Disbelievers!) Eat and enjoy
yourselves for a little while; (soon you
will be punished because) you really
are criminals.
(And remember)
severe trouble there will be that day
for the deniers!

¦θl´ ¦θ`-−.ϑ.´ρ ξ‹l· />‾Ρ| βθ`Β,>’Χ ∩⊆∉∪ ≅ƒ´ρ
‹.Β¯θƒ š_..‹>`ϑll ∩⊆∠∪
One of their crimes is that they do not submit to Allaah SWT in obedience and as an explicit
indication of their submission, they do not worship Him by bowing in the form of Ŝalaah.

And when it is said to them, “Bow
down (to Allaah)”, they do not bow
(That is why) severe trouble
there will be that day for the deniers!

¦Œ|´ρ Ÿ≅‹· `Ολ ¦θ`-´¯‘¦ Ÿω šχθ`-´¯,ƒ ∩⊆∇∪
≅ƒ´ρ ‹.Β¯θƒ _..‹>'Η¹l ∩⊆'∪

Taqwa is an attitude or a paradigm of life whereby a person adopts those choices and decisions
about the affairs of life that will be pleasing to Allaah SWT and rewarding in the life Hereafter, while
avoiding those choices and decisions that may displease Allaah SWT or cause hardship in the Hereafter.

To save them from the terrible end, Allaah SWT sent His Messenger, revealed this Book (Qur-
aan) for their guidance, and through this Book explained and exposed the truth in a rational,
logical way, giving all kinds of arguments that reasonable people can learn from and arrive at
the correct conclusion. The last verse wonders at their attitude.

(If they still do not heed),

what message, after it, will they
believe in?

´“!.· ±ƒ‰> …ν‰-. šχθ`ΖΒσ`ƒ ∩∈⊃∪
Will they continue to wait until they see the reality with their own eyes? Alas! That will be too

78 An-Nabaa
Name and Background

An-Nabaa means “the important news”. It was picked up from the second
verse to be the name of the Soorah because the Soorah gives the news about
the Hereafter and provides glimpses of the nature of life in the Hereafter.

It is a twin Soorah of Al-Mursalaat, the previous Soorah, inviting the Makkans
to reflect on the signs in human nature and in the environment surrounding
them that indicate the inevitability of the Day of Judgment and the life
Hereafter. It then briefly describes the kind of life disbelievers and believers
will encounter respectively. It also belongs to the group of Soorahs starting
from Al-Qiyaamah that were revealed one after the other in the early Makkan
phase of the Islamic mission when the focus was on belief in the Day of
Judgment and the life Hereafter.

The reason there were so many Soorahs, one after the other, about the Day
of Judgment and the life Hereafter was that the Makkans had the greatest
difficulty with this article of faith. They already believed in Allaah, and
although their belief was defective and idolatrous, it existed nonetheless.
Accepting the Prophet as the Messenger of Allaah was also not that big of a
problem relatively as they already held him in the highest esteem and
acknowledged him as the most excellent and honourable human being. But
believing that they would be raised again after being reduced to dust was an
idea they could not accept. In fact, it was due to this belief that they had
started thinking that the Prophet had lost his mind or had been possessed by
a Jinn.

Teachings and Commentary

In the name of Allaah, the Most Gracious,
the Most Merciful.
Ο`.· ´<¦ ≈´Η-¯,l¦ ΟŠ>¯,l¦

The blitz of small Soorahs about the Day of Judgment and Hereafter, revealed one after the
other, had everyone in Makkah talking about these matters. Discussions were occurring,
arguments were taking place, and some people were seriously thinking about this subject.
Most people were making fun of the idea or raising questions that, in their mind, were tough
enough to discredit the notion being presented by the Qur-aan. However, there was no

Some rejected the notion outright thinking that life and death were just natural phenomenon
continuing on their own, nothing to do with God. Some rejected it because they could not
fathom that people can be resurrected by Allaah after they had become dust. Others thought
it may happen and if it does, they would still be the chosen people in the Hereafter as they
were the chosen ones in this world because they were the descendents of Ibraaheem
(Abraham) and custodians of the House of Allaah, the Holy Ka‘bah. Still others were content
that if and when it happens, their assumed gods will intercede on their behalf with Allaah.
Obviously, all of these were speculative opinions; none of them were based on knowledge.
The Soorah starts by referring to this chatter going on in the society.

What are they questioning each
other about?
About the Great News?
About which they are in
They are all wrong,
they will soon find out!
Then again,
they are all wrong, they will soon
come to know!

¯Νs βθl´.!..ƒ ∩⊇∪ s ¦.Ζl¦ Ο‹L-l¦
∩⊄∪ “%!¦ ¯/`φ «‹· βθ±l.ƒΧ ∩⊂∪ āξ´
βθΗ¹-´‹ ™ ∩⊆∪ ¯Ο. āξ´ βθΗ¹-´‹™ ∩∈∪

“They” in all of these verses refers to those who are refusing to believe in the Hereafter and
were arguing about it among themselves and with the Muslims. Because they are all
speculating without knowledge, differing views arise as a result.

After negating all their speculative notions, the next section presents facts from their existing
beliefs and knowledge to help them understand the reality of the Hereafter (Aakhirah).

Did we not:
• Make the earth a cradle
mountains pegs?

Create you as males and

Make your sleep a means of

Make the night as a

Make the day for

Build over you seven strong

Make a blazing lamp?

Send down abundant water
from the rain clouds,
produce thereby grain,
and dense,
luxuriant gardens?

`Οl¦ ≅-> Υ ´¯‘N¦ ¦´‰≈γΒ ∩∉∪ Α!.>'¦´ρ
¦´Š!.ρ¦ ∩∠∪ ¯/>≈Ψ1l>´ρ l´>≡´ρ—¦ ∩∇∪ !´Ζl->´ρ
¯/>Β¯θΡ !´.!.™ ∩'∪ !´Ζl->´ ρ Ÿ≅‹l¦ !´™!.l
∩⊇⊃∪ !´Ζl->´ρ ´‘!κ.l¦ !:!- Β ∩⊇⊇∪ !´ΖŠ⊥.´ρ
¯Ν>·¯θ· !´-¯.™ ¦´Š¦‰: ∩⊇⊄∪ !´Ζl->´ρ l´>¦´¸.
l´>!δ´ρ ∩⊇⊂∪ !´Ζl“Ρ¦´ρ ´Β .≡´¸.-ϑl¦ ´.!Β
l´>!‾>´ ∩⊇⊆∪ ~,‚`Ζl .«. !'. > !´.!.Ρ´ρ ∩⊇∈∪
·≈Ζ>´ρ !·!±l¦ ∩⊇∉∪

One of the miracles of the Qur-aan is that the words it uses to make its points are such that a
person can relate to and understand the points fully and equally well, regardless of his or her
era, level of knowledge or degree of sophistication. Even a 21
century person can relate to
the rotating earth as a cradle, as would a person more than 1,400 years ago. A layman can
relate to mountains being described as pegs as can a geologist with knowledge of the depth
of their roots underground and their role in stabilizing the mantle of the earth.

The reality of living entities being divided into males and females totally refutes the theory of
random mutations and survival of the fittest because a one-celled organism which was the
fittest to reproduce and survive on its own would never have developed into male and female
which became interdependent for the survival of their species and thus became less “fit”. It
could not have happened on its own, without a planner making it happen that way. Allaah
SWT made people males and females so that their bonding to each other creates a family
which, along with human interdependence, leads to the creation of human society. Allaah
SWT divided people into two genders and created them with a psychology of
interdependence so that people live together in society.

Even the solar system and alternation of day and night have been designed to fulfil human
needs. Just imagine human life if either the day or night was missing.

The strong ones refer to different spheres or barriers that Allaah SWT has created to keep
harmful elements, space debris and radiation out of the environment of the earth while
letting in and keeping in the elements and waves that are useful for human life and human

All these questions draw people’s attention to how the earth, its environment and all sub-
systems working therein have been designed and integrated to sustain and support human
life in a consistent, harmonized and coordinated manner. Every component of this life-
sustaining system is playing a purposeful role. Nothing is purposeless or random. Such a
cohesive, useful and life-sustaining system could not have come into existence on its own
without an intelligent designer making it happen. Also, the Intelligent Creator would not have
done it without purpose. He would not have created people with freedom to choose without
holding them responsible for the decisions they make and without making them face the
consequences of their actions. Thus, the Day of Judgment is inevitable; its advent is built into
the system of nature and it is going to occur at its scheduled time. Verses 18-20 give a glimpse
of the destruction that will end the world and bring on the Hereafter.

Indeed, the Day of Decision is
scheduled for its specific time!
Day when:
• The trumpet will be blown and
you will come in droves;

The heavens will be opened
with multitude of openings;

The mountains shall vanish
like a mirage.

β| Π¯θƒ ≅`.±l¦ βl´ !.≈1‹Β ∩⊇∠∪ Π¯θƒ
`‡±Ζ`ƒ †· ‘θ¯.l¦ βθ.!. · l´>¦´θ·¦ ∩⊇∇∪
·>.·´ρ '.!ϑ´.l¦ ·Ρl>· !.≡´θ¯.¦ ∩⊇'∪
.´¸.™´ρ `Α!.>'¦ ·Ρl>· !.¦´¸. ∩⊄⊃∪
As discussed previously, the exact nature of the matters of the unseen, such as blowing of the
trumpet, is beyond full human comprehension. It may be a way of describing the sound that
will be produced by our collapsing solar system.

Currently, when we look into the heavens, it seems to be smooth and solid. When the
destruction of cosmic components of the universe is occurring, the empty space and openings
in between the exploding/collapsing stars will be discernable. The mountains will become
powdered and their dust scattered all over. Thus, the mountains will vanish just like a mirage
vanishes when a person reaches the place where it seemed to exist.

The next section describes the fate of the rebels who are refusing to believe in the Hereafter.

Surely hell lies in wait,
a home for
the rebellious
who will dwell
therein for ages.
They shall taste
therein neither coolness nor drink,
but boiling fluid and discharge of
wounds --
a fitting recompense.
They never expected to be held
and rejected Our Signs
as false.
While in reality We have
kept a complete account of every
action of people in writing.
they will be told, “So taste the
consequences of your behaviour, We
will increase for you only the intensity
of punishment.”

β| ´ΟΨγ> ·Ρl´ ¦´Š!.`¸∆ ∩⊄⊇∪ _.-≈Lll
!.!↔Β ∩⊄⊄∪ _.:.≈l !κ.· !.! 1>¦ ∩⊄⊂∪ āω
βθ·ρ‹ƒ !κ.· ¦´Š¯,. Ÿω´ρ !.¦´¸Ÿ. ∩⊄⊆∪ āω|
!ϑŠΗ- !·!´.s´ρ ∩⊄∈∪ ´.¦“> !·!·ρ ∩⊄∉∪
¯Ν·κΞ| ¦θΡ!Ÿé Ÿω βθ`>¯,ƒ !.!.> ∩⊄∠∪
¦θ.‹´´ρ !´Ζ.≈ƒ!↔. !.¦‹´ ∩⊄∇∪ ≅´´ρ .`_:
«≈ΨŠ.>¦ !´.≈.é ∩⊄'∪ ¦θ·ρ‹· l·
¯Ν´‰ƒ“‾Ρ āω| !.¦‹s ∩⊂⊃∪
Characterizing “hell” as “lying in wait” like a hunter, warns that the disbelievers who deny the
Hereafter will fall into Hell in the same way as an animal that is not aware of the presence of
the hunter falls prey to it. The difference is that the disbelievers have been clearly warned
about its reality but they have chosen to ignore the warning and are assuming it will never
happen or that they will somehow be able to avoid it.

“Ages” (Aĥqaab) is the plural of “Ĥuqb”, which means “a very long period of time”. Thus the
plural implies successive units of “a very long period of time” (ages). The Qur-aan has defined
at other places that these ages collectively will be indefinite, i.e., eternity.

The next section indicates the kind of life that will be enjoyed by people with Taqwa -- those
who live their worldly life keeping accountability of the Hereafter in mind and striving to
maximize the pleasure of Allaah, while staying away from anything that displeases Him.

On the other hand, for people with
there will be ultimate
success –
gardens and vineyards,
curvaceous and youthful maidens,
of equal age,
and brimming glasses.
β| _.1−.ϑll ¦´—!±Β ∩⊂⊇∪ _←¦‰> !´.≈´Ζs¦´ρ
∩⊂⊄∪ .s¦´θ´´ρ !.¦,.¦ ∩⊂⊂∪ !´™l´´ρ !·!δŠ

Those who, knowing that they will be held accountable on the Day of Judgment, make all their day-
to-day decisions from the perspective of maximizing Allaah’s pleasure and avoiding His displeasure.

They will not hear therein any vain
words nor falsehood.
performance-based reward being the
recompense from your Lord –
Lord of the heavens and the earth and
what is between them, the Most
Gracious, with whom the disbelievers
or their assumed gods will not be able
to converse.

∩⊂⊆∪ āω βθ`-ϑ`.„ !κ.· ¦´θ-l Ÿω´ρ !.≡‹´
∩⊂∈∪ ´.¦“> Β i.¯‘ .!Ls !.!.> ∩⊂∉∪
.¯‘ .≡´θ≈ϑ´.l¦ ¯‘N¦´ρ !Β´ρ !ϑ·κ...
≈´Η-¯,l¦ Ÿω βθ>lΙ ‡ «ΖΒ !.!L> ∩⊂∠∪
The sentence “They will not hear therein any vain words nor falsehood” makes two significant
points: Firstly, the drinks of Jannah (the Gardens) will not be like the alcoholic drinks of this
world that overpower human consciousness and sensibility, causing people to use foul
language or say inappropriate things. Secondly, the residents of Jannah will not only enjoy all
kinds of physical comforts and bounties, but will also be totally free from any kind of
psychological discomfort because they will never encounter any words that may cause
discomfort or ill will.

The description of signs of Allaah, Jahannam (Hell) and Jannah (Gardens) in the preceding
four sections, underscores three points to help the disbelievers correct their speculative
opinions about the Hereafter:

• Life and death are not accidents of nature; rather they are purposeful acts of the

• Death is not an equalizer; rather it is a transition to a new phase of life where the
lifestyle will be dependent on one’s performance in this world.

• Being a member of a “chosen” race or tribe is going to be meaningless. The only
thing that will matter is whether a person has been rebellious to Allaah and His
Messenger and disbelieving in the Hereafter or obedient to Allaah and His
Messenger in an effort to please Allaah SWT to attain success in the Hereafter.

The next section mentions the awe which every creature will exhibit on that day. No creature,
not even angels, including the archangel, Jibreel, will dare say a word unless invited to do so
by Allaah SWT.

The day on which the Spirit
) and the angels will stand
in ranks, no one will speak unless
granted permission by the Most
Gracious, and he will say only what is
right and to the point.
Π¯θƒ `Πθ1ƒ ~ρ”,l¦ π>.‾≈lϑl¦´ρ !±. āω
šχθϑ‾l>.ƒ āω| Β βŒ ¦ `&! ≈Η-¯,l¦
Α!·´ρ !.¦´θ. ∩⊂∇∪

The scenario of awe in Allaah on that Day has been described to correct the views of those
disbelievers who think that their gods will attain salvation for them by interceding on their
behalf. Note that angels were also worshipped by the Arabs as the daughters of Allaah, who,
according to their belief, could intercede on behalf of their worshippers.

The last two verses invite everyone to take this opportunity to prepare for the Hereafter
which is a sure, inevitable reality.

That day is the sure reality, so
whoever wants may take refuge with
his Lord.
Verily, We have warned
you of a soon-to-come punishment,
on the day when every person will
see what his own hands have sent on
ahead, and every disbeliever will
wish, “Would that I were dust!”

il≡Œ `Π¯θ´‹l¦ ‘_>'¦ ϑ· ´.!: ‹ƒ´¦ ’||
.«.´‘ !.!↔Β ∩⊂'∪ !‾Ρ| ¯Ν>≈Ρ¯‘‹Ρ ¦ !.¦‹s
!´.ƒ,· ´Θ¯θƒ `,´LΖƒ '.¯,ϑl¦ !Β ·Β´‰· ν¦‰ƒ
`Αθ1ƒ´ρ `,·l>l¦ _..‹l≈ƒ ·Ζ´ !.≡,. ∩⊆⊃∪
Finally, those disbelievers who think that resurrection is impossible once people have become
dust are being told that when they see the consequences of their lifestyles, they will wish that
they had remained dust, and not resurrected. But their wish will not be able to change the

Gabriel’s name in Arabic is Jibreel and he is called the Spirit or the Trusted Spirit in the Qur-aan. He
is also called the Holy Spirit who was erroneously deified by the Christians.

79 An-Naazi‘aat
Name and Background

The name of the Soorah, An-Naazi‘aat, is the first word of the Soorah and it
means “those that pull out.”

It was revealed soon after Soorah An-Nabaa, the previous Soorah, and focuses
on the same topics related to the Day of Judgment.

Teachings and Commentary

In the name of Allaah, the Most Gracious,
the Most Merciful.

Ο`.· ´<¦ ≈´Η-¯,l¦ ΟŠ>¯,l¦
Like Al-Mursalaat, this Soorah also starts with oaths using some attributes without specifying
what those attributes belong to.

Those that pull out violently,
those that are gentle and easy,
those that float swiftly
then race
ahead competitively,
then dispose
the matter properly, are witness (for
the fact that what you are warned
about is inevitable).
·≈s“≈Ψl¦´ρ !·¯,s ∩⊇∪ ·≈L:≈Ζl¦´ρ !L:Σ
∩⊄∪ ·≈>.≈´.l¦´ρ !´>¯.™ ∩⊂∪ ·≈1.≈´.l!·
!1¯.™ ∩⊆∪ .≡,.‰ϑl!· ¦´¸¯∆¦ ∩∈∪

There is a common understanding among the scholars that the aforementioned verses
describe the attributes of something that was easily understood and recognized by the
Makkans from the said attributes, and that it served as a good vehicle to lead the Makkans
logically and rationally toward belief in the destruction of the world and the Hereafter.
However, there are two views about what that “something” is.

The majority of the exegetes, on the basis of some reports from the Sahaabah (not reported
from the Prophet himself), thinks that these attributes pertain to angels of Allaah SWT.
According to them, the first verse refers to their pulling out the souls of the disbelievers
violently and painfully, the second verse refers to their taking the souls of pious people gently
and kindly, the third verse refers to the speed with which they float through time and space,

the fourth verse refers to their eagerly outdoing others in carrying out the commands of
Allaah and the fifth verse refers to their managing the affairs of the universe according to the
commands of Allaah. The exegetes argue that the Arabs believed in angels taking out the
souls, speedily moving between heaven and earth or from one place to another, executing
the commands of Allaah and managing the universe. From that perspective the relevance of
the angels’ functions to the Day of Judgment is that if the angels take away your souls in
obedience to Allaah, they can raise the people again on His command as well; and if they are
running the affairs of the universe in obedience to Allaah, they can also destroy it on His

The second opinion differs from the above mentioned view in the following ways:

• Although Arabs believed in angels, they had no concept of angels taking out the
souls of the people. Had they believed in the soul being extracted and saved from
becoming dust like the physical body, they would have easily believed in the
resurrection which they were so vehemently denying. This concept was not taught
by Islam as yet because during that period, all Islamic beliefs were being taught
strictly through revelations, and there had been no revelation explaining the concept
of angels pulling out the souls of people before the revelation of this Soorah. This
fact was introduced to people for the first time in verse 11 of Soorah As-Sajdah, and
then later on described by Soorah An-Nahl and Soorah Al-An‘aam. Thus, if these
were the attributes of angels, which were not known to or believed by the Makkans,
then how would any Makkan understand the message of these verses? And how can
a matter of belief that is not accepted in the society be used as an evidence or
support for another matter of belief that was also not accepted in the society?

• The verb Naza‘a of the first verse has never been used in the Qur-aan for angels’
extraction of human soul but has been used for the action of winds in Soorah Al-

Hence, the differing scholars believe that the attributes mentioned in these verses pertain to
winds and clouds. From this perspective, the first verse describes the ferocious stormy winds
that uproot the things that come in their way. The second verse talks about gentle winds that
bring normal clouds and rain. The third verse refers to the clouds floating in the sky that are
brought by these winds – the clouds that then seem to be racing to get ahead of others (the
fourth verse) and then deliver the decisions of Allaah either in the form of a merciful rain or a
punishing storm. Its parallel is in Adz-Dzaari‘aat as “Then sail with ease and then apportion
the matter (precipitation)” and in Al-Mursalaat “then differentiate distinctly, then deliver a
reminder as a justification or a warning”.

The Arabs were very familiar with both the destructive as well as the life-sustaining effects of
winds. As mentioned in Al-Mursalaat, the reflection on winds could lead people to
understand the two matters that the Makkans were warned about but were reluctant to
believe in: Firstly, they were warned that if they continue to oppose the Messenger of Allaah,
their stay on the earth will be shortened and they will be destroyed. The description of the

destructive powers of winds can be enough to remind them that one violent storm can
annihilate them as it had annihilated some nations in the past. Secondly, they were warned
that in addition to their stay on earth being cut short, they will be severely punished in the
Hereafter. If people reflect on the consistent patterns of winds and the water cycle for billions
of years and their contribution to the sustainability of life, they will be able to realize that it is
a carefully designed and planned system. If the Creator can design, plan and make it happen,
He can break it apart as well. In addition, just like the life-sustaining system of winds and rain
has within it the potential of disastrous storms, the normal operation of the universe contains
in itself mechanism(s) to cause its total destruction.

The next four verses concisely give a glimpse of destruction and re-creation.

The day when a blast will cause
severe tremors.
Another will follow
on its heels.
Many hearts on that
day will be pounding;
their eyes cast

Π¯θƒ .`>¯,. π±>¦¯,l¦ ∩∉∪ !γ`-.. . π·Š¦¯,l¦
∩∠∪ '.θl· ‹.Β¯θƒ π±>¦´ρ ∩∇∪ !δ`,≈.¯.¦
π-:≈> ∩'∪
The first blast will initiate the collapse of the universe and immediately after the collapse,
another blast or big bang will create a new universe that will be designed to remain intact
eternally. Then human beings will be brought to life for the accountability. The true believers
will be at peace, free of any fear or grief, while the disbelievers’ hearts will be pounding with
fear and anxiety, while their eyes will be humbled because of shame and grief.

Instead of preparing for that dreadful time, they disbelieve and express their disbelief
through teasing questions and facetious remarks.

They say, “Will we indeed be
restored to our former state?
when we are decayed bones?”
They say, “It would, then, be a
losing return.”
There will merely be
a single rebuke,
and suddenly they
will be standing in the field.

βθlθ1ƒ !‾Ρ.¦ βρŠρŠ¯,ϑl ’· ο,·!>'¦ ∩⊇⊃∪
¦Œ.¦ !Ζ´ !ϑ≈Ls ο,ƒΥ ∩⊇⊇∪ ¦θl!· il. ¦Œ|
ο¯,´ ο´¸.l> ∩⊇⊄∪ !.ς¦· ´‘δ ο,>— ο‰>≡´ρ
∩⊇⊂∪ ¦Œ¦· Νδ ο,δ!´.l!. ∩⊇⊆∪
When the Prophet talks to them about the Day of Judgment, they counter it by their
questions. On affirmative answers, they remark in jest that they will, in that case, be the real
losers in that life. They consider the resurrection impossible, but in reality, it will be an

extremely easy thing for Allaah SWT to do. It will take only one shout for all of the humanity
to come alive and gather for accountability.

The next section warns them of the consequence of the rejection of the call of the Prophet by
mentioning the story of Moosa (Moses) and the miserable end of the Fir‘own (Pharaoh).

Has the story of Moosa
you? --
When his Lord called to him
in the holy valley of Ŧuwa,
“Go to
for he has indeed
and say to him, ‘Would
you care for your reformation
for me to guide you to your Lord so
that you fear Him?’”
So he showed
him the greatest sign.
Yet Fir‘own
denied and disobeyed.
Further, he
diverted all his efforts (towards
outdoing the greatest sign).
So he
gathered (people) and summoned
Then he declared, “I
am your lord, the most high.”
Allaah seized him in exemplary
punishment of the Hereafter and this
Verily, in that there is a lesson
for him who fears Allaah.

¯≅δ i9 .¦ ±ƒ‰> ´_›θ`Β ∩⊇∈∪ Œ| «1Š!Ρ
…«š.´‘ Š¦´θl!. ´‰1RQ¦ “´θL ∩⊇∉∪ `.δŒ¦
’|| β¯θs`¸· …«‾Ρ| _-L ∩⊇∠∪ ¯≅1· ≅δ il
´’|| β¦ ’´“. ∩⊇∇∪ iƒ‰δ¦´ρ ’|| i.´‘
_:‚.· ∩⊇'∪ «1´‘!· πƒψ¦ “´¸¯.>l¦ ∩⊄⊃∪
´.‹>· _ .s´ρ ∩⊄⊇∪ ¯Ν. ,.Š¦ _-`.„ ∩⊄⊄∪
´¸:>· “Š!Ψ· ∩⊄⊂∪ Α! 1· !Ρ¦ `Ν>š.´‘
’lsN¦ ∩⊄⊆∪ ν‹>!· ´<¦ Αl>Ρ ο,>ψ¦
´’|ρN¦´ρ ∩⊄∈∪ β| ’· il≡ Œ ο´¸¯.-l ϑl
´_:ƒ† ∩⊄∉∪
This is an example of exquisite brevity of the Qur-aan. In this short little paragraph, all the
relevant highlights of the story have been concisely presented.

Ŧuwa is the name of the valley where Allaah SWT talked to Moosa ‘AS on Mount Sinai.
According to some scholars it has been called Ŧuwa because the incident happened at night
and according to others, it is because the talking took place thereat twice.

The Arabic word used for “rebelled” is “taghaa”, which means rebelling against Allaah,
violating human rights and exceeding limits within which a person should behave. Fir‘own


had rebelled against Allaah because instead of submitting to Him like a slave and governing
people according to Islam – Allaah’s perfect system of justice and excellence – he was
imposing his own laws and regulation on people as if he was their god. He was violating basic
human rights of Israelites by subjugating them instead of treating them like other citizens.
Thus, in both ways, he was transgressing and exceeding his limits.

The Arabic word used for “reformation” is “Tazkiyah” which literally means both purification
and growth. In Islamic terminology, it implies: purification from bad thoughts, ideas,
attitudes, behaviours and actions; and growth in good thoughts, ideas, attitudes, behaviours
and actions. This is the individual, personal objective that Islam wants everyone to work for.
This objective is so crucial in Islam that the term “performing ones Tazkiyah” (reforming
oneself) is used as an expression for “acceptance of Islam”. Accordingly, Moosa ‘AS was
instructed to invite Fir‘own to accept Islam, thereby performing his Tazkiyah. Some examples
where the performance of Tazkiyah has clearly been used for the acceptance of Islam are:
“This is the reward for the one who performs his Tazkiyah”, Ŧaa Haa 20:76; “What would
make you realize that perhaps he performs his Tazkiyah”, ‘Abasa 80:3 and “It is not your
responsibility if he does not perform his Tazkiyah”, ‘Abasa 80:7

Once a person realizes that Allaah is his Lord and Master Who is going to hold him
accountable for his behaviour in this world, he fears Allaah and stays away from doing bad
things. Thus fear of accountability to Allaah is the key to reformation or Tazkiyah.

The greatest sign refers to Moosa’s staff turning into a snake – this was clear evidence that
Moosa ‘AS was a special person sent to Fir‘own by Allaah. But instead of accepting the truth,
he regarded it as magic and put all his attention in finding and gathering expert magicians
who could defeat Moosa’s miracle. His plan backfired. Even his magicians realized the truth of
the miracle and accepted Islam. When he continued to reject Islam and insist on becoming
the god of people by establishing his rule instead of the rule of Allaah, he was destroyed in
this world and will be severely punished in the Hereafter.

The last verse mentions the purpose of the narration of the story – so that anyone from
Quraish who has any goodness in his heart could learn from it and reform by adopting Islamic

The next section invites the disbelievers to think rationally by reflecting on the signs of Allaah,
His power and His wonderful works that surround them:

Are you the harder to create or the
heaven that He built?
He raised its
canopy high and smoothed it off;
and darkened its night and brought
out its light.
And the earth,
Λ.Ρ ¦´. ‘‰:¦ !1l> Θ¦ '.!´Κ´.l¦ !γ8 Ψ. ∩⊄∠∪
×·´‘ !γ>ϑ™ !γ1¯θ.· ∩⊄∇∪ Ls¦´ρ
!γl‹l ~,>¦´ρ !γ9>´ ∩⊄'∪ ´¯‘N¦´ρ ‰-.

moreover, He gave it an expansive
He brought out from it, its
water and its pasturage --
and the
mountains, He anchored them --
provision for you and for your

il≡Œ !γ8>Š ∩⊂⊃∪ ~,>¦ !κ.Β !δ´.!Β
!γ8s¯,Β´ρ ∩⊂⊇∪ Α!.>'¦´ρ !γ9 ™¯‘¦ ∩⊂⊄∪ !´-≈.Β
¯/>l ¯/>ϑ≈-ΡN´ρ ∩⊂⊂∪
Those who think that Allaah cannot resurrect people after death should just look up to the
heavens and reflect on which is a more challenging job: the creation and re-creation of
people or the creation of such a huge and spectacular heaven, the size, extent or limits of
which we cannot even conceive. Just in the universe visible to people on the earth, there are
billions of trillions of stars (estimated to be 10 sextillion, or 10
) in about 100 billion galaxies.
Just in our own galaxy there are at least 100 billion stars with some stars that are two
thousand times the size of our sun which is 110 times the size of earth. When we look up at
this magnificent sky, it seems so smooth. Reflecting on our own neighbourhood, our solar
system and the system of night and day is enough to see the wisdom, knowledge and power
of its Creator. Coming down to earth, it is amazing to see how Allaah SWT has made it
inhabitable and how He has expanded it by making it round like an ostrich egg whereupon
people can continue travelling in any direction without reaching an end or falling off. Then
think of the arrangements made for our life to sustain and grow on earth through the
availability of water and growth of vegetation.

This reflection should lead people to the following conclusions: Allaah’s power is limitless and
absolute; the resurrection of the dead is a very easy thing for Him; the whole universe is a
well-designed, planned and purposeful creation, not an accident of nature; when so much
care has been given to sustain our life and fulfil our needs, it cannot be without purpose; we
will be held accountable for what we did using the provisions of this life and then rewarded or
punished accordingly.

The next section describes that when the destruction of the universe takes place and the Day
of Judgment arrives, how the behaviour of people in this world will determine their future in
the Hereafter.

Then, when the greatest,
overwhelming calamity comes --
that Day man shall recollect what
he strove for,
and the hell shall be
exposed for those who see.
Then, as for him who rebelled
and had preferred the life of this
Hell-Fire will definitely be
¦Œ¦· .´.l> πΒ!Ll¦ “´¸¯.>l¦ ∩⊂⊆∪ Π¯θƒ
`,´‹.ƒ ≈.ΡN¦ !Β _-™ ∩⊂∈∪ .—¯,.´ρ
`ΟŠ>>'¦ ϑl “,ƒ ∩⊂∉∪ !Β!· Β _- L
∩⊂∠∪ ,.¦´.´ρ οθ´Š>'¦ !´‹Ρ‘‰l¦ ∩⊂∇∪ β¦· Λ.> >'¦

his abode.
And as for him who
feared to stand before his Lord and
restrained himself from his desires,
then surely the Jannah
will be
his abode.

´‘δ “´ρ!ϑl¦ ∩⊂'∪ !Β¦´ρ Β ∃l> Π!1Β
.«.´‘ ‘γΡ´ρ ´±Ζl¦ s “´θλ¦ ∩⊆⊃∪ β¦·
πΨ>'¦ ´‘δ “´ρ!ϑl¦ ∩⊆⊇∪
When people are raised and gathered for accountability and they realize the reality, they will
start reviewing what they have been focussing on in their worldly life. Their lifestyle and its
memories will go through their minds like a film. The memories of their sinful activities they
so proudly indulged in will then come to haunt them. The hell that now seems like a
farfetched superstition to the disbelievers will be thundering and blazing right in their view.

The key factor determining the quality of life in the Hereafter will be the paradigms and
attitudes that determined the lifestyle of a person and set his priorities in this world. The first
test that will determine the fate of a person will be: Was the life lived like an obedient slave
who was fearfully conscious of the accountability to the Master on the Day of Judgment or
was it lived like a rebel, without caring about the instructions and guidelines of the Master?
The point to note here is that it is the test of the philosophy of life, not perfection in
execution. The second test will be whether the thrust or focus of the activities was worldly
gratification of desires or were the desires restrained and sacrificed as needed to attain the
objectives of Deen for the pleasure of Allaah. The point to note here is that it is a test of
preference and focus, not avoidance; and of restraint, not elimination.

The next section contains the concluding comments that deal with a facetious question asked
by Makkans.

They ask you about the Moment:
when will it arrive?
What have you
to do with its declaration?
matter rests with your Lord.
are only a warner to those who fear
On the day when they encounter
it, it will be as if they had not stayed
except for an evening or a morning of
a day.
iΡθl ↔`.„ s πs!´.l¦ β!−ƒ ¦ !γ9™¯,`Β ∩⊆⊄∪
Λ.· ·Ρ ¦ Β !γ1,´Œ ∩⊆⊂∪ ’|| i.´‘
!γ9 κ.Ψ`Β ∩⊆⊆∪ !ϑ‾Ρ| ·Ρ¦ '‘‹Ζ`Β Β !γ9:ƒ†
∩⊆∈∪ ¯Ν·κΞl´ Π¯θƒ !κΞρ,ƒ `Οl ¦θ..lƒ āω| π¯‹:s
ρ¦ !γ9>´ ∩⊆∉∪
The “Moment” refers to the time when the destruction of the universe will take place. Many
English translations call it the “Hour”, but the intent is the same.


Because the focus of the Islamic mission at that time was warning the Makkans about the
inevitability of the end of the world and it was overwhelmingly the topic of all revelations, the
Makkans used to counter it by asking about the timing of its occurrence, and if it is inevitable,
they argued, it should be known when it will happen? They thought that if the Prophet could
not answer these questions, it meant what he was warning about was not a reality. But this is
an absurd argument. We do not know when a person is going to die, but we cannot deny
death because of that reason.

Hence, these verses clarify the role of the Prophet in this respect for the benefit of all. The
Prophet’s role is merely to warn people about its inevitability. It is up to people to believe in it
or reject it at their own peril. Allaah SWT has kept that knowledge of its timing only to
Himself. Human beings do not need to have that knowledge to believe in it or to prepare for
it. In fact the disclosure of the knowledge will be counter productive because people cannot
think beyond their worldly time concepts that are totally different from Allaah’s timetable.
What people should remember is that on the Day of Judgment, the whole life of this world
and the time they spent in their graves altogether will seem like a small part of a day to them.

When it comes to the Day of Judgment or Day of resurrection, it should be remembered that
when the Qur-aan talks about the “Day” it is an extremely long period of time spanning
thousands, millions or billions of years that are beyond human knowledge or imagination.
This total period or “Day” will be comprised of three distinct processes marked by three
blasts: destruction of the current universe; the creation of a new eternal universe; and the
resurrection of the dead.

80 ‘Abasa
Name and Background

This Soorah is also named by its first word, ‘Abasa, “He frowned”.

This Soorah was revealed in the early days of the Prophet’s mission in Makkah
when the focus of the mission thus far had been to reach out to the non-
Muslim residents of or visitors to Makkah. The emphasis of the Prophet’s call
at that time was towards belief in the Day of Judgment and the life Hereafter.
Most of the Makkans were not prepared to believe, but their opposition had
not as yet grown bitter. Out of those who had become Muslims, some were
personally considered very respectable or were from families that were
considered respectable in Makkah, while others were poor and weak
Makkans and slaves. They were all treated with love, affection and dignity by
the Prophet. However, the Makkan chiefs, who were very status-conscious
and proud of their self-perceived honour and status, would use this fact as an
excuse for refusing to become Muslims, or to sit with the Prophet and listen
to him in the presence of those Muslims whom they considered to be of a
lower class. Regardless, the chiefs had not yet grown that angry with the
Prophet to refuse to talk to him altogether or to sever the relationship with
him completely. Thus, during those days, the Prophet was very anxious to
take the message to those chiefs and was making every effort to convert
them to Islam because, considering the tradition, culture and environment of
the Arabian society, acceptance of Islam by these chiefs would pave the way
for a multitude of Arabs to flock to Islam.

One day the Prophet had a rare opportunity of sitting down with some
notable chiefs and discussing Islam with them. At that time, a blind man
named Ibn-ul-Maktoom, who was also a cousin of Khadeejah, the Prophet’s
wife, arrived there and wanted the Prophet’s attention. If the Prophet had
attended to him at that time, the chiefs would feel slighted and would
distance themselves more from the Prophet and Islam, instead of coming
closer. In fact, this being the meeting with chiefs, his mere arrival was enough
to turn them off. Naturally, the Prophet felt annoyed by Ibn-ul-Maktoom’s
arrival and interruption, and thus ignored him.

This Soorah starts with a brief commentary on that incident, as a part of the
ongoing training of the Prophet for Islamic work. The commentary concisely
emphasized that he should focus his energies on those who were willing to
open their hearts and minds to the truth, rather than wasting his time and
energies on those who were not willing to listen. He was also told that he was
not going to be held responsible for such insolent, close-minded people.
These instructions were necessary because it was early in the mission and the
Prophet was not fully trained in the subtleties of his missionary
responsibilities as yet. Thus far he was making an all out effort to reach out to
everyone, especially those considered influential. It was now time to pay
more attention to those willing and eager to listen as well as to the training
and Tazkiyah
of those who had accepted Islam. So this occasion was used to
instruct him to shift the focus of his efforts for more effective results.
Instructions such as these used to set the tone and focus of his efforts and
provide him the insight and training he needed to carry out the mission
effectively and efficiently. It was natural that Allaah SWT provided him
instructions and training as needed at the different stages of the mission
because, after all, his mission was commissioned by Allaah Himself. That is
why an astute reader of the Qur-aan notes that the Prophet’s whole mission
was led by the training and instructions provided by Allaah through the
revelation of the Qur-aan throughout the duration of the mission.

In addition to the incidental instructions for a shift in focus, the brief
commentary gives, in particular, an indirect message to the Makkan chiefs
that their arrogance was baseless because a person inclined towards Islam is
more valuable than they were, and that they themselves had no value
without having a desire to accept the truth. It also declares for everyone’s
benefit that the Holy Qur-aan is such an honourable and exalted book that it
should not be presented in a meek, defensive manner to those who are
oblivious to finding the truth. This great resource was very mercifully made
available by Allaah SWT only for the benefit of those who are eager and
willing to find the truth

Purification from weaknesses or bad things and growth in excellence
This description is a summary of the conclusions drawn by Hameeduddin Farahi, Abul A’la Maudoodi
and Amin Ahsan Islahi in their books of Tafseer, ensuring that it faithfully aligns with the text of this

Like other Soorahs being revealed at the time, the rational approach to the
belief in the Hereafter is still the main theme of the Soorah.

From the placement perspective, note that towards the end of the previous
Soorah, An-Naazi‘aat, the Prophet was told that he is only a warner for the
benefit of those who fear the accountability of the Day of Judgment. This
Soorah starts by asking the Prophet to focus on such God-fearing people and
not to waste time on those who do not care.

Teachings and Commentary

In the name of Allaah, the Most Gracious,
the Most Merciful.

Ο`.· ´<¦ ≈´Η-¯,l¦ ΟŠ>¯,l¦
The Soorah starts with a brief commentary on the incident mentioned in the introduction.
The first two verses are in the third person, instead of directly addressing the Prophet, as if
the comment is about someone else. A direct address to the Prophet would have given the
impression that he was being rebuked for doing something wrong, while the real purpose was
to guide the Prophet using this incident as a segue for that guidance, while at the same time
indirectly rebuking the arrogant Makkan chiefs. Hence, the third party style has been adopted
so that it is not perceived as a rebuke, while it gives instructions to the Prophet about being
discriminating in whom the recipients of his attention were, and at the same time, displays
Allaah’s displeasure towards the chiefs’ attitude. In fact, besides giving instructions, the real
thrust of the commentary, as will become evident in the subsequent paragraphs, is
condemnation of the insolent people whom the Prophet was so kindly trying to ameliorate.

He frowned and turned his back,
that the blind man came to him.
What will inform you that he may be
willing to reform himself
or heed
the admonition so the admonishing
may benefit him?
As for someone
who is insolently uninterested,
give him undue attention;
though it
is not your responsibility if he does
not reform
Yet someone who
comes to you eagerly running
and he
fears (accountability in the Hereafter),
from him you are so distracted.
´.s ´’‾|´θ.´ρ ∩⊇∪ β¦ ν´.l> ‘ϑsN¦ ∩⊄∪
!Β´ρ iƒ‘‰`ƒ …`&#-l ´’´“ƒ ∩⊂∪ ρ¦ `,´‹ƒ
«-±Ψ.· ´“,´%!¦ ∩⊆∪ !Β¦ Β _.-.`™¦ ∩∈∪
·Ρ!· …«l “´‰.. ∩∉∪ ! Β´ρ i‹ls āω¦
’´“ƒ ∩∠∪ !Β¦´ρ Β ì´.l> _ -`.„ ∩∇∪ ´θδ´ρ
_:ƒ† ∩'∪ ·Ρ!· «Ζs ‘Sl . ∩⊇⊃∪

There is consensus that the blind man was Ibn-ul-Maktoom. His being referred to as the blind
man instead of being mentioned by name implicitly clarifies that he did not know the nature
of the meeting or impropriety of entering into it, and that he did not even know about the
facial expressions of the Prophet. In addition, it also gives the proper perspective to the point
to be made: On the one hand is a blind man who cannot be very effective to the mission but

Accept Islam
Accept Islam

he is eager to find the truth; on the other hand are very influential people who can be very
useful for the mission, if they accept Islam, but are not interested.

“What will inform you that he may be willing to reform himself” indicates that the Prophet
did not know Ibn-ul-Maktoom’s purpose or intent in coming to him.

Verses 5-10 provide the Prophet with direction as to what to focus on at this stage of the
mission. So far his focus was to reach out to everyone and invite them to Islam. Now he is
being told to focus his energies on those who show some signs of open-mindedness and
avoid wasting his energies on those who, despite all his efforts so far, have shown no care or
concern to find the truth and be open to it. In addition, the use of words such as Tazkiyah
(purification from weaknesses or bad things and growth in excellence) and Tadzkeer
(admonition and reminders) in these verses indicate that the Prophet should also focus on
the education, purification and growth in excellence of those who have already accepted
Islam. Taking the message to close-minded, bigoted, insolent or arrogant people who do not
care should be secondary to the aforementioned two types of people.

The verses underscore that when it comes to faith and guidance, the most valuable asset in
this respect is the attitude and willingness of a person, not his status, influence, capabilities,
or apparent usefulness to the Islamic mission. If a person with handicaps and the least
amount of influence and capabilities sincerely and eagerly comes to Islam, he is more
precious, valuable and honourable than the most capable, influential and famous person who
does not care for Islam.

Along with teaching the Prophet on where to focus his energies, these statements are
indirectly condemning the Makkan chiefs for their insolence. Although these verses address
the Prophet, the criticism is directed at those chiefs whom the Prophet was preaching to, but
who would not listen. They have indirectly been told that because of their close-mindedness,
lack of concern and insolence, they did not deserve the guidance or any time from the
Prophet. They might perceive themselves as special and important people, but they had no
value in the sight of Allaah SWT. They would be abandoned and ignored unless they came to
seek the truth with the right attitude, deference and due respect towards the message.

The next six verses describe the majesty and exalted status of the Qur-aan, implying that this
beautiful and precious gift from Allaah is only for those who are willing and eager to
appreciate this endowment. It is not something that should be presented meekly or
defensively to those who do not appreciate its value. This honourable message should be
given with pride, esteem and position of strength and honour. The Prophet must not pander
to the arrogant attitude of the chiefs. They do not deserve the privilege of benefiting from the
guidance and light of the Qur-aan, unless they change their attitude and come to it
recognizing its sublimity and seeking its blessings.

No attending to insolent people
meekly at all! The Qur-aan is really an
ξ´ !κΞ| ο,´‹. ∩⊇⊇∪ ϑ · ´.!: …ν,´Œ

so let him who wishes
accept it.
It is written in honoured
that are exalted, pure and
in the hands of scribes
are noble and dutiful.

∩⊇⊄∪ ’· .>´ πΒ¯,>•Β ∩⊇⊂∪ πsθ·`¸´∆
ο,´γL•Β ∩⊇⊆∪ “‰ƒ!. ο,±™ ∩⊇∈∪ Θ¦,´ ο´‘,.
“Scribes” refer to angels who have been entrusted to write Allaah’s words, and transmit them
exactly and purely to the Prophet. The mention of these attributes is to indicate that this is
not a message from a human being or an ordinary writing. It is from the Lord, Owner and
Sovereign of the universe, handled by special, noble and dutiful angels and revealed as a
mercy to help those who are willing and eager to benefit from it. And it must be presented to
people in a manner most fitting for a Royal Decree. Those who want to benefit from it must
get rid of their arrogance and presumed sense of superiority, and come to listen to it

These directions to the Prophet have been preserved in the Qur-aan for the benefit of all
Islamic workers to teach them how and where to focus their time and energies – on the
willing and sincere people, regardless of their capabilities or handicaps. They should not run
after the big names -- famous, high value, most capable and influential people who have their
own agendas, prejudices, pride and motives that stop them from committing to Islamic work
sincerely and eagerly. In addition, the message of Islam must be given with confidence, pride,
high esteem and an authoritative mental disposition, not apologetically, defensively,
sheepishly or with a mental frame of inferiority and weakness.

The next set of verses highlights the stupidity and foolishness of those who deny the
Hereafter despite seeing all the signs around them.

Cursed be man! How disbelieving is
From what stuff did He create
From a bit of sperm He
created him and pre-programmed
Then He made the way easy
for Him.
Then He causes him to die,
then returns him to earth.
when He pleases, He will raise him up

Ÿ≅.· ≈.ΡN¦ !Β …ν,±´¦ ∩⊇∠∪ Β ´“¦
.`_: …«1l> ∩⊇∇∪ Β π±LœΡ …«1l>
…ν´‘´‰1· ∩⊇'∪ ¯Ν. Ÿ≅‹.´.l¦ …ν´¸œ.„ ∩⊄⊃∪ ¯Ν.
…«.!Β¦ …ν´¸.·!· ∩⊄⊇∪ ¯Ν. ¦Œ| ´.!: …ν´¸:Σ¦
“Man” refers to each of those arrogant disbelievers who have been indirectly the subject
matter of the previous verses. Making a comment about them in a general style underscores
Allaah’s anger against and disapproval of their haughty attitude. Then the subsequent verses

about the process governing the human lifecycle demonstrate the stupidity of these people
because they observe this lifecycle and still doubt the power of Allaah to resurrect the dead
and fail to comprehend the inevitability of the Hereafter.

After the discovery of the role of DNA, genes and chromosomes in the human lifecycle, it has
become even easier for today’s man to understand the force of this argument. It is amazing
how every aspect of our physical being is pre-programmed and pre-determined through DNA
and how it is contained within one cell that is not visible without electron microscopes. Is it
difficult for the Designer who created life from dead matter and then created such a
marvellous system for our birth, to recreate us through a system that is beyond our
knowledge and understanding?

Then, look at the way life on this earth has been made sustainable for human beings so that
everything in our natural environment on earth in some way contributes towards making our
life easier. Is this not evidence enough for the fact that everything in this world is purposeful
and so is our temporary existence? Our death itself is evidence of purposeful design,
otherwise if it were up to living things to evolve on their own during the more than a billion
years that life is estimated to have been in existence, every living entity would have evolved
eventually to live forever, rather than evolving into the life forms that are more prone to
death. Natural atrophy and death is there because that is the way the Designer fashioned it in
order to make this life temporary. That naturally leads to the next fact that the Creator who
made all these arrangements did not do so for a purposeless birth and death cycle. He put
people on this earth temporarily so that they voluntarily live according to His commandments
-- living a life of justice, peace and excellence. He will then raise and judge everyone according
to their performance and grant them eternal life on that basis.

Unfortunately, many people refuse to live by His commandments. The next section invites
them to reflect on just one aspect as an example of how Allaah has made life easier and
sustainable for human beings.

Not at all! He did not fulfil what
Allaah commanded him.
So let man
reflect on his food --
that We pour
down water in abundance;
We break open the earth thoroughly
(to absorb water and bring out seed
then We produce therein
the grain,
grapes and vegetables;
olive trees, dates-palms
dense gardens;
and fruits and
green grass --
a provision for you

āξ´ !´ϑl 1ƒ !Β …ν´¸∆¦ ∩⊄⊂∪ ,´LΖ´‹l·
≈.ΡN¦ ’|| .«Β! -L ∩⊄⊆∪ !‾Ρ¦ !´Ζ¯... ´.!ϑl¦
!'.. ∩⊄∈∪ ¯Ν. !´Ζ11: ´¯‘N¦ !1: ∩⊄∉∪
!´Ζ..Ρ!· !κ.· !'.> ∩⊄∠∪ !´.´Ζs´ρ !´..·´ρ ∩⊄∇∪
!Ρθ.ƒ—´ρ ξƒΥ´ρ ∩⊄'∪ _←¦‰>´ρ !´.l. ∩⊂⊃∪

and for your livestock.

πγ>≈·´ρ !.¦´ρ ∩⊂⊇∪ !´-≈.Β ¯/>l ¯/>ϑ≈-ΡN´ρ ∩⊂⊄∪
Reflection on food, which human beings take for granted, can in itself show many signs
leading to the Islamic beliefs:

• All of our food comes directly or indirectly (through animals) from the produce of the
• Each plant grown on earth is a manufacturing facility that produces from the same
soil, water and sunlight a variety of nutritional elements, tastes, colours, flavours and
textures; all these capabilities of every plant are pre-programmed in its DNA.
• These plants clean the environment while producing our food instead of polluting it
like man-made factories.
• Everything good for food is palatable.
• The variety of food makes eating fun and interesting, instead of it being a boring
• The growth of plants requires so many natural factors to coincide, a feat that would
have been impossible without a planner making it happen that way since the
beginning of the universe.

This coherence of plants with sustaining human life and fulfilling human needs shows plan
and design. Moreover, if plants had evolved on their own, they would have evolved to be
bitter and poisonous to avoid being eaten. Thus, regardless of which way one looks at it, the
above-listed factors indicate a design and plan by a very Merciful and Gracious Creator, Who
would have not done it without purpose. He does not do anything without purpose, including
creating people who are born, eat of His bounties, live a life in whatever way they choose to
live and then die, without any consequences. Those who ignore all these signs and refuse to
believe in the Hereafter would be well-served to remember what that Day would be like:

Then, when the Deafening Blast
comes –
that Day a man shall flee
from his own brother,
and his
mother and his father,
and his wife
and his children.
Each one of them,
that Day, will have enough concern
of his own to make him oblivious of
and indifferent to the others.

¦Œ¦· .´.l> π>!¯.l¦ ∩⊂⊂∪ Π¯θƒ ”,±ƒ '.¯,RQ¦
Β «‹>¦ ∩⊂⊆∪ .«Β¦´ρ «‹.¦´ρ ∩⊂∈∪
.«..>≈ .´ρ «Š⊥.´ρ ∩⊂∉∪ ≅>l ›¸¯∆¦ ¯Ν·κ.Β
‹.Β¯θƒ β!: «ŠΖ-`ƒ ∩⊂∠∪

When the disbelievers are brought to life on the Day of Judgment, and they see the reality
with their own eyes, they will be flabbergasted and panicked, trying to find some way out of
the miserable situation in which their own deeds have placed them. At that time they will be
so afraid for their own selves that they will not give a thought or care for any of their loved

ones; for whom they would have been ready to do anything in this world. Rather, they will
run away from them, lest they are held responsible for some of their loved-ones’ crimes. This
picture was especially relevant to Arabs who were avoiding Islam because of their pride in
their powerful tribes and their kith and kin. Note the order of the relatives mentioned. For a
married man with family, usually the bond with the wife and children is strongest and with
siblings the weakest.

The closing comments of the Soorah give a vivid picture of the condition of the believers and
disbelievers that Day.

Some faces that Day will be
laughing, rejoicing.
Other faces that Day will be grimy;
blackness will cover them.
Those will be the disbelievers, the

νθ`>`ρ ‹.Β¯θƒ ο,±`.•Β ∩⊂∇∪ π>>!.
ο´¸:¯..`.•Β ∩⊂'∪ νθ`>`ρ´ρ ‹.Β¯θƒ !κ¯.l. ο´¸.s
∩⊆⊃∪ !γ1δ¯,. ο´¸.· ∩⊆⊇∪ i.‾≈l`ρ¦ 'Λε ο,±>l¦
ο,>±l¦ ∩⊆⊄∪

81 At-Takweer
Name and Background

The name of this Soorah is the infinitive for the last word of the first verse,
“kuwwirat”. It means “to wrap up”, as a turban is wrapped around the head.
Thus the name identifies the Soorah as the one wherein “wrapping up” has
been mentioned.

Like other Soorahs in this group, At-Takweer was also revealed in the early
days of the Prophet’s mission in Makkah when the focus of the mission was
on the belief in the Day of Judgment and the life Hereafter. The two
immediately preceding Soorahs had characterized the end of the world by the
titles “greatest, overwhelming calamity” and “deafening blast”. This Soorah
presents some images and scenes of the destruction and events of that Day.
Then it also presents some points for reflection about the sublimity of the
Qur-aan and genuineness of the Prophet being the Messenger of Allaah.

Teachings and Commentary

In the name of Allaah, the Most Gracious,
the Most Merciful.
Ο`.· ´<¦ ≈´Η-¯,l¦ ΟŠ>¯,l¦

The first six verses of the Soorah list some scenes of the destruction of the universe and the
reaction of human beings and animals when the destruction starts. Then another eight verses
list some events that will take place at the time of Judgment. The items listed herein
represent only some highlights that needed to be provided to the Makkans at that stage of
educating them about the matters of the end of this world and the Day of Judgment. Within
each set, they have not been listed in the order those events will take place but rather in the
order that is most effective in fulfilling the educational needs of the people.

When the sun’s light is wrapped up,
when the stars darken and fall,
when the mountains are moved,
when ten-month pregnant camels
are neglected,
when the wild
animals are herded together,
the oceans are set on fire,
souls are grouped,
when the buried-
alive girl-child is asked
what crime
she was killed for,
when deeds of
actions are laid open,
when the sky
is stripped bare,
when Hellfire is
set ablaze,
when the Garden is
brought near,
then every soul will
know what it has brought with it.

¦Œ| Κ:l¦ .´‘¯θ´ ∩⊇∪ ¦Œ|´ρ `Πθ>–Ψl¦
.´‘‰>Ρ¦ ∩⊄∪ ¦Œ|´ρ `Α!.>'¦ .´¸.™ ∩⊂∪ ¦Œ|´ρ
'‘!:-l¦ ·lL`s ∩⊆∪ ¦Œ|´ρ `θ`>'θl¦ .´¸:`>
∩∈∪ ¦Œ|´ρ '‘!>.l¦ .,´>™ ∩∉∪ ¦Œ|´ρ '豑Ζl¦
·>ρ`— ∩∠∪ ¦Œ|´ρ οŠ…'.¯θϑl¦ ·l.™ ∩∇∪ ´“!.
.ΡŒ ·l.· ∩'∪ ¦Œ|´ρ .>¯.l¦ .´¸:Σ ∩⊇⊃∪
¦Œ|´ρ '.!´Κ´.l¦ ·L:´ ∩⊇⊇∪ ¦Œ|´ρ `Λ.>>'¦
.,-™ ∩⊇⊄∪ ¦Œ|´ρ πΖ>'¦ ·±l—¦ ∩⊇⊂∪ ·´Η¹s
±Ρ !Β .´¸.>¦ ∩⊇⊆∪

People are dependent on the sun during the day, especially in colder areas, and stars at night,
especially in hotter areas of the globe. They consider the sun and stars invincible. Some
nations in the past used to worship them. Even in this day and age, many superstitious people
think that their fortune is dependent on the stars, which has made astrology and horoscopes
a big business. Thus, their destruction has been mentioned first. The sun, and all other stars,
will cease spreading their light and will collapse from their orbits.

The Makkans also considered the many hills and mountains that surrounded them to be
invincible and had much difficulty in imagining that they could ever be moved or destroyed.
They are being told here that even the mountains will not stay intact.

When the destruction starts on the earth, it will be so dreadful that people will not even care
for their most cherished treasures, such as the full-term (10-month) pregnant she-camel that
was attentively cared for. Camels were precious to Arabs as their life depended on them for
milk, meat, transport (as car and truck), leather, camel hair fabrics, etc. The dread of that Day
will also make the animals forget their instinctive responses and the hunter and hunted will
all be together trying to cope with the disaster.

The scene at the oceans will be even stranger, they will be on fire. Perhaps, water will split
into its two elements, causing hydrogen to burn feeding on oxygen.

When people are raised for accountability and Judgment, they will be divided into groups

based on their earthly performance. Elsewhere, further information on this grouping has
been provided. All human beings will be divided into three groups: Pioneers of Excellence --
people who will be the best in their performance and will be given the most excellent of the
rewards; People of the Right -- those who will be given their deed of actions in their right
hands and will be rewarded in the Jannah; and People of the Left -- those who will be given
their deed of actions in their left hand and will be punished in Hell.

Before even describing the other aspects of the Day of Judgment, attention is drawn to an
extremely abhorrent crime whose helpless victims will be provided with justice on that day.
Arabs had adopted a practice of female infanticide. Some cruel fathers would kill their little
daughters, usually by drowning them or burying them alive (for details see Appendix to the
Soorah). There was no one to hold the fathers accountable or to stand up for the little girls.
That is why Allaah SWT Himself will take up the case of those helpless girls. The way this is
mentioned here (
when the buried-alive girl-child is asked
what crime she was killed for)
indicates the intensity of Allaah’s wrath on and abhorrence to the perpetrator of this heinous
crime, Allaah SWT will not even look at or talk to him. Instead, the little girl will be asked what
her crime was for being killed in that manner. These two short sentences signify two
important points: the cases of helpless people who are wronged in this world will be taken up
by Allaah SWT Himself to provide them with full justice; and the Day of Judgment is
absolutely essential for that purpose.

This meaning is according to the literal meaning of the word “Sujjirat”. Some scholars think that
idiomatically it means that the turbulence will cause the water of oceans and lakes to storm the land as
large tsunamis.
Some people think that “zuwwijat” means the souls will be joined with the bodies. But the word zowj
refers to coming together or grouping of independent living entities, while bodies cannot exist without
the soul. Taking it to mean “grouping” is fully supported by verse seven of Soorah Al-Waaqi‘ah where
Allaah SWT mentions, “kuntum azwaajan thalaathah” that is “you will be divided into three groups”

Currently, when we look up at the sky, it appears as if it is a solid dome adorned with light
bulbs (stars). When raised again, the people will be able to see the new sky exactly as it is in
its natural state and the huge distances will not affect their vision to give false impressions. In
addition, the Hell-fire will be in their full view, and so will be the Jannah (Paradise). So
everyone will know how they were prepared for this day, what they brought in terms of their
actions and where they are headed to.

The majority of Makkans had so far refused to believe in the Hereafter. They rather thought
that the Prophet was presenting that kind of ideas because either he had gone crazy or a devil
was inspiring such questionable ideas in his mind as it happens to witches, psychics or
soothsayers. The next section begins with an emphatic “No”, negating all their cynical
speculations about the Prophet, and then presents such deniers some points to reflect upon
to guide them to the fact of the matter.

Oh no! I swear by the stars which
run their course and
and the night when it departs,
and the morning when it breathes
that it (the Qur-aan) is indeed a
word (delivered) by a noble

who is powerful, has
honourable place with the Owner of
the Throne,
is obeyed there (in the
heavens) and is trustworthy.

ξ· `Ν.·¦ Ζƒ'!. ∩⊇∈∪ ‘¦´θ>'¦ Ψ>l¦
∩⊇∉∪ ≅‹l¦´ρ ¦Œ| ´-`.s ∩⊇∠∪ ~¯.¯.l¦´ρ
¦Œ| ´±´Ζ. ∩⊇∇∪ …«‾Ρ| `Α¯θ1l Αθ™´ ‘ Οƒ,´
∩⊇'∪ “Œ ο¯θ· ‰Ζs “Œ ¯,-l¦ _.>Β
∩⊄⊃∪ ~!L•Β ¯Ν. _.Β¦ ∩⊄⊇∪
As per the style of the Qur-aan, the evidence to reflect upon has been presented through an
oath. The oath is to emphasize that the angel Jibreel (Gabriel) came to the Prophet with the
message from Allaah in clear daylight when the stars had disappeared, the night had
departed and the morning had brightened up. The Prophet did not see a vision or dream, nor
did he experience an illusion because of darkness. It was a clearly communicated message by
the arch-angel who is closest to Allaah and is the commanding officer of all angels. Above all,
he is trustworthy to deliver the message exactly as entrusted to him.

Makkans did believe in angels, so this was to clarify to them where the message was coming
from and how honourable was the angel bringing it. The next section talks about the Prophet

And (O Makkans) your companion
!Β´ρ />.>!. βθ`Ζ>ϑ. ∩⊄⊄∪ ‰1l´ρ ν¦´.´‘

Gabriel (Jibreel)

is not crazy,
he surely saw him
(Gabriel) on the clear horizon.
(your companion) is neither eagerly
desirous of unseen realities
is this (the Qur-aan) the utterance of
a devil, an outcast.

_·N!. _..RQ¦ ∩⊄⊂∪ !Β´ρ ´θδ ’ls .‹-l¦
_.ΨŸ.. ∩⊄⊆∪ !Β´ρ ´θδ Α¯θ1. ≈L‹:
ΟŠ>¯‘ ∩⊄∈∪
Mention of the Prophet as “your companion” is subtly making them realize that he is not a
stranger among them. It is telling them: Firstly, he grew up among you and you acknowledged
his exceptional truthfulness and trustworthiness. You used to have utmost confidence in his
wisdom and judgment. He is still among you and you observe his lifestyle and his activities on
a daily basis. Do you ever see even an iota of craziness in anything? Then when he so
dedicatedly and devotedly calls you to save yourselves from the fire of Hell, why would he be
crazy in only giving that message? Obviously, he is not crazy, he is telling the truth and he is
sacrificing so much just for your salvation. Secondly, if you who think that he is under an
illusion that some angel comes to talk to him, did you ever find him eager to establish contact
with spirits or sprites, or was he ever covetous to find out unseen matters? If that was not his
idea, attitude or desire, and you know that it was not, then why would he start seeing
phantoms or having illusions? Lastly, if you think that he does receive the messages but they
are from Shayŧaan, then think why would Shayŧaan want to save you from fire, make you
avoid bad things, and excel in doing good things. This is absolutely not from the devil. In fact,
the devil cannot even approach the angels that handle the Qur-aanic text, as he is stoned if
he ever wants to go towards the heavens or approach the angels.

When these are the facts, where and how far are you going to go chasing your cynical
speculations to justify your insolent rejection of the message? Why do you not listen to the
admonition and follow the straight path?

Where, then, are you going?
It is
merely a reminder for the whole
for anyone of you who
would like to take the straight path.
Yet you will not want except that
Allaah, the Lord of the Universe,

_·!· βθ.δ‹. ∩⊄∉∪ β| ´θδ āω| ",´Œ
_.Η¹≈-ll ∩⊄∠∪ ϑl ´.!: ¯Ν>ΖΒ β¦ Λ.1.`.„
∩⊄∇∪ !Β´ρ βρ'.!:· ω| β¦ ´.!:„ ´<¦ ´.´‘
š_.ϑl≈-l¦ ∩⊄'∪

This translation is based on the grammatical point made and opinion expressed by Amin Ahsan Islahi.

Allaah has mercifully sent this message as a reminder for the whole world so that whoever
cares to follow the straight path and attain salvation can do so. However, only those people
will be able to benefit from this reminder who will open their minds and hearts and take
initiative to find the truth. Those who keep their hearts and minds closed due to insolence,
arrogance, jealousy, cynicism, disinterest in finding the truth, etc., Allaah will keep them
deprived of the guidance unless and until they change their attitude.


In Arabian society, fathers had so much control over their children that they
could determine who should live and who should die. As for the sons, they
were considered valuable because they were a source of power and honour.
The more sons a person had, the more powerful he would be because of the
fighting power of the sons. Sons would also work and bring economic benefit
to the family. Daughters, on the other hand, were considered a liability. One
had to feed them until they grew up and then would have to spend money on
marrying them. Thus, they were seen to be causing only expenses, without
contributing anything to the family. In case of fighting, they needed to be
protected, instead of helping in the fight. In case of enemy raids, they were
the first ones to be taken by the enemy and enslaved. This kind of situation
led some Arabs to kill their infant or child daughters, often by burying alive. As
they did not have any way to find out whether their wife was pregnant with a
son or daughter, some of them would dig a hole in the ground at the time of
delivery and bury the child if it was a girl. If it was not possible to kill her at
that time, they would let the daughter grow a little and then take her one day
and bury her in the desert. This cruelty continued until Islam reformed the
Arabs and stopped them from this heinous practice. The Qur-aan forbade the
Muslims categorically from committing infanticide for any reason whatsoever.
The Prophet ŝall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam educated the Arabs such that they
came to value and love daughters. He changed the Arabian mentality through
constant teaching as indicated by the following of his quotations:

“Whoever is tested through daughters and he treats them in an
excellent manner, they will shield him from the Fire.” (Bukhaari and

“Whoever raises two girls until their adulthood, he will come with me
on the Day of Judgment like this” – and he showed his two fingers
together. (Muslim)

“Whoever raised three daughters or three sisters and provided them
with good education and kindness until they become independent of
his help, Allaah SWT will mandate Jannah for him”. A person asked
about two, he said even two! And the reporter Ibn ‘Abbaas says, if
someone would have asked about one, he would have confirmed the
same reward for even one. (Sharhussunnah)

“If a person has a daughter and he does not kill her and does not
mistreat her and does not give preference to a son over her in any
matter, Allaah will make him enter the paradise.” (Aboo Dawood)

“Whoever has three daughters and he remains steadfast for them and
gives them as good clothes to wear as he can afford, they will shield
him from fire.” (Bukhaari, Ibn Maajah)

“There cannot be a Muslim who has two daughters and he provides
them a good living environment except they will take him to paradise.”

The Prophet asked Suraaqah ibn Ju‘sham, “Should I tell you the best of
charities or one of the best charities? On affirmative response, he said,
“Spending on your daughter who has come back to you after being
divorced or widowed and she has no one else than you to support
her.” (Ibn Maajah, Bukhaari)

In addition to the teachings such as the ones above and the clear commands
in the Qur-aan against any kind of infanticide, Islam also addressed other
factors that may result in female infanticide. One of the big factors for female
infanticide, especially in places like India, is the dowry and wedding expenses.
Instead of expecting any kind of dowry, in Islam the groom has to pay some
significant financial gift to the bride according to his financial situation. Islam
also simplifies the wedding ceremony to avoid any financial burden on the
families. Even the wedding feast is the responsibility of the groom.

Thus, as a blessing of Islam, infanticide, whether male or female, has never
been tolerated in Muslim societies.

Unfortunately, Arabs were not alone in carrying out female infanticide.
Infanticide, in general, and killing of girls, in particular, has been practised
throughout the world and this abominable crime continues to be practised in
various societies in different forms until today. In countries like India, China,
Taiwan and Korea, people especially those living in rural areas continue to
practise female infanticide. In urban areas where ultrasound facilities are
available, girls’ foetuses are routinely aborted, despite this being legally a
crime. It is estimated that about 500,000 girls per year are killed through
abortion, once the parents find out that it is a girl. The situation has become
worse since China legislated that each family can have only one child. Almost
everyone wants to have a son, causing abortion of girl foetuses. As a result, in
China the ratio of females to males has dropped to 847 females for 1000
males in urban areas and 769/1000 in rural areas, as against the standard
ratio of 1029/1000. In India among Hindus, it had dropped to 927/1000 by
2001 and it is estimated that it has been declining further. In Indian Punjab
where majority of Sikhs live, the ratio of girls is even less, and the percentage
of abortions is higher.

Although girls are not discriminated against, yet infanticide is also rampant in
western societies under the misleading slogan of the right to chose -- millions
of infants are being killed through abortion.

To help the defenceless children, in general, and girls in particular, we need to
spread Islamic teachings as that is the only ideology that has worked in favour
and for the protection of little children.

82 Al-Infiŧaar
Name and Background

The name of this Soorah is the infinitive for the last word of the first verse,
“infaŧarat”. It means “to burst apart”. Thus the name identifies the Soorah as
the one wherein “bursting apart” has been mentioned.

This Soorah is very similar in style and content to the previous Soorah, At-
Takweer, indicating that they were revealed around the same time; however,
from the conciseness of the message and the brevity of the verses, it appears
that this Soorah was revealed before At-Takweer. Like At-Takweer, it also
gives a glimpse of the destruction of the universe and focuses on the belief in
the Hereafter. However, the basis of the logical/rational reasoning is different
in both Soorahs: In this Soorah, the reasoning is based on the creativity,
power, wisdom, justice and mercy of Allaah SWT as demonstrated by the
creation of human beings; while in At-Takweer, the reasoning was based on
the angels’ status and honour, the sublimity of the Qur-aan and the
personality of the Prophet Muhammad ŝall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.

Teachings and Commentary

In the name of Allaah, the Most Gracious,
the Most Merciful.

Ο`.· ´<¦ ≈´Η-¯,l¦ ΟŠ>¯,l¦
Human beings are incapable of fully understanding or imagining what they have not seen or
experienced previously. Destruction of the world and the collapse of the universe is one such
phenomenon. Allaah SWT tells us through the Qur-aan that the existing universe is a
temporary facility which will be destroyed in due course and a new eternal universe created.
Then all human beings that were ever born on this earth will be brought to life again for an
eternal life and held accountable for the kind of lifestyle they lived and the deeds they
performed in this world. On the basis of that accountability, they will receive reward or
punishment. But many people refuse to believe in the Hereafter, either because they think
that the universe is indestructible and/or because they assume that dead people cannot be
resurrected. To help such people believe in the reality of the end of the world and the life of
the Hereafter, the Qur-aan briefly paints the picture of some scenes of destruction so that
people can form an idea and visualize that it is possible, that it is inevitable and that it will be
universal. The intent is not to make them understand exactly the precise details of the way
the universe will be destroyed, because regardless of how precisely they are described,
lacking past experience in this respect, people will not be able to capture the exact picture.
Thus, the first four verses of this Soorah, like the first section of the previous Soorah, are one
of those places where the Qur-aan mentions some end-of-the-world scenes to give people an
idea about universality of the destruction and raising of the dead.

When the heaven bursts apart,

when the stars scatter,
when the
oceans explode,
and when the
graves are opened up,
every soul
will know what it has sent ahead and
kept behind.

¦Œ| '.!ϑ´.l¦ .,L±Ρ¦ ∩⊇∪ ¦Œ|´ρ ´.´¦´θ>l¦
.´¸..Ρ¦ ∩⊄∪ ¦Œ|´ρ '‘!>.l¦ .,´>· ∩⊂∪ ¦Œ|´ρ
'‘θ.1l¦ .´¸.-. ∩⊆∪ ·ϑls ±Ρ !Β
·Β´‰· .,>¦´ρ ∩∈∪
When people look up, space appears as a solid sky covering the earth like a dome, which at
night is adorned by glittering lamps of stars. When the collapse of the universe begins, the
exploding stars and galaxies will make space or the sky appear as if it is cleft into pieces with
open space visible in between. The gravitational forces will no longer sustain the celestial
bodies in their places and their orbits, and the galactic and planetary systems will thus break
apart, scattering their stars and planets, before their eventual collapse into one another.

The bursting of the heaven and stars was a very brief reference to the collapse of the celestial
bodies. With reference to the earth, its destruction will begin with violent earthquakes that
may result in huge tsunamis. That is what may have been referred to as “explosion of
oceans”, or it may refer to the break up of water into hydrogen and oxygen resulting in the
burning of hydrogen with the help of oxygen, as discussed in the previous Soorah. Or it may
mean that due to fissure(s) of the earth’s surface, all oceans will burst out of their boundaries
making them inter-connected with each other. In any case, the violent earthquakes and
explosions, and their effects on the oceans, are only initial scenes of the destruction and
eventual collapse of the earth into other planets and stars.

“Opening of graves” is an allegorical description of the raising of the dead once the collapsed
is recreated by a new big bang.

Once people are brought forth for Judgment, they will know exactly what they sent ahead for
the Hereafter while they were living on earth and what they kept behind. This carries all of
the following meanings:

• Whatever good or bad a person did and thus “sent ahead” for the Hereafter and
whatever good or bad he or she deferred or stayed away from and, thus, “kept

• The wrongs that were committed and thus sent ahead (sins of commission) but
should have been avoided and the good actions that should have been done but
were neglected and thus kept behind (sins of omission);

• All the matters that were given high priority in life (thus sent ahead) but should not
have been, and all the matters that were given lowest attention (thus kept behind)
but should have been higher on the list.

• Whatever was done earlier (sent ahead) and whatever was done later (kept behind),
all actions will be known in the chronological order in which they were performed.

O man! What has duped you
regarding your Generous Lord
created you, optimized you and
balanced you,
and with whatever
features He willed, He constituted

!κš‰!‾≈ƒ ≈.ΡN¦ !Β ì´¸s i.,. Οƒ,÷l¦
∩∉∪ “%!¦ i1l> i1¯θ.· il‰- · ∩∠∪
’· ´“¦ ο´‘θ. !Β ´.!: š.´´‘ ∩∇∪

Collapse of the whole universe is allegorically mentioned in Soorah Az-Zumar as “and the heavens
folded in His right hand.” 39:67

People who deny the Hereafter may be deluded about Allaah SWT in ways such as the

• Allaah (SWT) has been very kind and gracious and has taken care of all human needs
so that our life on the earth can be easy, happy and enjoyable. If people reflect on all
the wonderful arrangements that have been made for us, they will find ample signs
of Allaah’s kindness; yet despite all of those signs, people deny His existence just
because He is not visible;

• Although He has the power and means to punish everyone as soon as someone
commits a sin, He defers the accountability to the Hereafter, overlooks people’s
personal wrongs in this world, gives them the opportunity to repent and reform, and
above all, does not deprive even the most disobedient person of the use of the
resources He has created. Wrongdoers misinterpret this kindness and deny His
existence or assume that He has created people for no purpose and that there will
be no accountability.

• They are aware of the miracle of the initial human creation and ongoing process of
birth, but think that Allaah will not be able bring them back for questioning.

If they ponder on the simple known facts about human beings, they will come to the logical
conclusion that we, human beings, could not have simply happened, but are an especially-
planned and purposeful creation of Allaah SWT, Who is going to hold us accountable and
reward and punish us accordingly, and Who is able to raise us again after our deaths.

Not only has He created us, He also optimized our form as well as the physical and mental
abilities to enable us to have dominion on earth. He ensured that our capabilities are well
balanced to play our role and to suit our needs. Many animals have much higher capabilities
than human beings in certain physical aspects to perform some specialized functions, but on
an overall basis, our capabilities have been well balanced for the role Allaah assigned to
human beings. This in itself is a clear proof that a Kind and Generous, Knowledgeable and
Wise Creator has created us for a purpose.

When we consider the fact that every human being is born with such physical features that
distinguish him or her from every other human, it negates the myth of “coincidental” and
“random” evolution. Why would single-cell organisms need to look different from each other
to be fittest for their survival and thus evolve into multi-cellular organisms that are
distinguishable from each other? Or if the single-cell organisms were able to survive for
billions of years without looking different from one another, why did a multi-cellular life form
that happened to be a little different in looks from other members of the species improve its
survival chances? The fact is that causing every individual to have distinguishing differences in
physical features was a part of the design and plan of the Kind and Generous Creator to make
things easy for human beings.

Now, if Allaah has taken so much care and done so much planning for this temporary life on
earth, did He do it in vain? Regardless of what people do using all the facilities created by
Allaah, will they face the same consequence in the form of death? Will the obedient and the
deniers/rebels be treated the same? If He is so kind in facilitating human life on earth, how
will His kindness be shown to the victims of excesses and crimes of those who are cruel,
unfair, transgressors and wicked? Will He let those victims suffer and die without mercifully
and kindly ensuring justice to them? That is where His plan for judgment and eternal life
comes in, where proper justice will be done and the life of the obedient and the rebellious
will not be the same at all.

Nevertheless, you still deny the
Yet indeed,
appointed over you are watchers,
honourable recorders,
who know
whatever you do.

āξ´ ¯≅. βθ.‹>. _·$!!. ∩'∪ β|´ρ ¯Ν>‹l.
_.L±≈>' ∩⊇⊃∪ !´Β¦,´ _...≈´ ∩⊇⊇∪ βθΗ¹-ƒ !Β
βθl-±. ∩⊇⊄∪
Here Allaah is addressing the deniers directly: You should have been able to realize logically
that accountability and the Hereafter are inevitable, but you have been deceived by the
worldly life and you deny the different Recompenses/Judgments for different behaviour. The
reality is that each of you is being closely watched and monitored. Two angels have been
allocated to each of you to record every thought that goes through your mind, every word
that you speak and every action that you perform. They do so on the basis of their direct
knowledge of your thoughts and actions. They are honourable and thus very dedicated to
performing their duties with utmost care, precision, honesty and accuracy with full attention
to all details, leaving nothing out of the written record, and without making any compromises
or practising any favouritism.

It is on the basis of people’s behaviour, fully supported by documentation, that they will be
classified as pious or wicked and rewarded and punished accordingly.

Certainly the virtuous will be in
And certainly the wicked will
be in Hellfire,
which they will enter
on the Day of Recompense
and will
not be able to get away from it.

β| ´‘¦,¯.N¦ ’∀l ΟŠ-Ρ ∩⊇⊂∪ β|´ρ ´‘!´∨±l¦
’∀l ΟŠ>¬ ∩⊇⊆∪ !κΞ¯θl`.ƒ Π¯θƒ _·´‰l¦ ∩⊇∈∪
!Β´ρ ¯Νδ !κ.s _..←!-. ∩⊇∉∪
The point to remember is that it is not a human system where there can be a possibility or
chance of slipping through without being apprehended. Absolutely no one will be able to

The fact that there will be reward / punishment in the Hereafter as a recompense of one’s deeds.

escape it. To clarify the wrong notions about the Day of Judgment that some people may
harbour, the next two verses ask questions about the Day to make people realize the dread of
that Day. The singular “you” used in the Arabic text in these verses is to make a direct
reference to every denier individually. It is the same “you” who was duped about his
Generous Lord in verse 6.

And what will make you realize
what the Day of Recompense is?
Again, what will make you realize
what the Day of Recompense is?
will be the Day when no one will be
capable of doing anything for
another, and the decision, that Day,
will be entirely Allaah's.

!Β´ρ i1´‘Š¦ !Β `Π¯θƒ _·´‰l¦ ∩⊇∠∪ ¯Ν. !Β
i1´‘Š¦ !Β `Π¯θƒ _·$!¦ ∩⊇∇∪ Π¯θƒ Ÿω
ilϑ. ±Ρ ±´Ζl !↔‹: `,ΒN¦´ρ
‹.Β¯θƒ < ∩⊇'∪
Arabs used to think that even if the Day of Judgment comes, their presumed gods and angels
will intercede for them and save them. Christians believe that Jesus will surely save them.
Many Jews and Muslims believe that their patriarch prophets or saints will intercede and win
salvation for them. In brief, different people are counting on different kinds of intercessors
and saviours to come to their rescue. Allaah SWT is making the matter clear for all of them
that they should not endanger their salvation by disobeying Allaah SWT while relying on
someone’s intercession. It will not help at all. All matters on that Day will be entirely in
Allaah’s hands. Absolutely, no one will be able to do anything for anyone whatsoever. No
angel, no prophet, no saint, not even Jesus will dare to speak, unless Allaah Himself wants
and allows anyone to intercede in favour of someone. The decision will still rest only with
Allaah SWT, Who will be fair to everyone.

83 Al-Mutaffifeen
Name and Background

The name of this Soorah is taken from the first verse. Al-Mutaffifeen is a
plural word that means “short-changers”. Thus the name identifies the Soorah
as the one wherein “short-changers” have been mentioned.

This Soorah is like an appendix that gives more details about the virtuous and
wicked people mentioned towards the end of the previous Soorah, Al-Infiŧaar.

It was revealed when the emphasis of the Islamic call was still on the belief in
the Hereafter, but the Makkans had gone beyond asking questions to raising
objections and laughing at the idea of the Hereafter itself and had started
ridiculing and deriding the early Muslims. However, they had not yet resorted
to physical assaults and persecution.

Short-measuring or short-weighing was a common evil in the Arabian society.
Even when an evil is widespread, people still have a natural abhorrence to it.
The Soorah uses this common ill and the natural human tendency to dislike
such behaviour in order to make people realize the need for a Day for
ultimate justice.

Some people thought that this Soorah was revealed in Madeenah because of
a report from Ibn ‘Abbaas stating that the people of Yathrib (Madeenah) were
suffering from cheating in measuring and weighing and this Soorah was
revealed to address that issue. But that opinion is not correct. First of all, as
mentioned earlier, the social ill of short-changing was present all over Arabia,
not particularly in Yathrib (Madeenah). Comparatively, it probably was more
prevalent among Makkans who were basically trading people rather than
among the farming people of Yathrib who were executing quite fewer trading
transactions. Secondly and more importantly, even if the report of that
problem is valid, it does not necessarily indicate that this Soorah was revealed
at that specific time because it is a known fact that when any part of the Qur-
aan was found to be directly applicable to a situation, people used to express
that fact by saying “it has been revealed for this occasion” to express the

perfect fit of the message with the situation, not to state the actual timing of
the revelation. Thirdly and most importantly, the mention of this evil has been
made in this Soorah to stress upon the logical need of the ultimate justice in
the Hereafter. As for the need for honesty and fairness in such dealings, very
clear, direct and forceful commands had been given in Soorah Al-An‘aam and
Soorah Banee Israaeel , before migration to Madeenah.

The truth is that the contents of the whole soorah are clear evidence of its
revelation in the early Makkan period when the focal point of the revelations
was belief in the Hereafter.

Teachings and Commentary

In the name of Allaah, the Most Gracious,
the Most Merciful.

Ο`.· ´<¦ ≈´Η-¯,l¦ ΟŠ>¯,l¦
The Soorah starts with describing those people who demand fair treatment for themselves
but who practice unfairness to others. They expect to receive full quantity for what they pay
for but short-change when giving others what is due to them. It indicates that these persons
have a clear concept of what is fair or just, and expect justice for themselves while denying it
to others. This concept of fairness and justice is ingrained in the human psyche by Allaah.
When that is the case, how can it be that Allaah bestows the sense of justice to people but
then lets both just and unjust die without suffering any consequences for their behaviour?
Therefore, the need for judging people according to their behaviour and doing justice to them
makes the Day of Judgment absolutely essential.

Woe to the short-changers
take full measure when receiving
from people,
yet when they
measure out or weigh out for others,
they are deficient.
Do they not think
that they will be resurrected
on a
tremendous Day –
the Day when
people will stand before the Lord of
the universe?

≅ƒ´ρ _.±±Lϑll ∩⊇∪ _·%!¦ ¦Œ| ¦θl!.´¦
’ls !Ζl¦ βθ·¯θ.`.„ ∩⊄∪ ¦Œ|´ρ ¯Νδθl!´
ρ¦ ¯ΝδθΡ—ρ βρ¸.ƒ† ∩⊂∪ Ÿω ¦ ¯´Lƒ i.‾≈l`ρ¦
Ν·κΞ¦ βθ.θ`-¯.Β ∩⊆∪ Θ¯θ´‹l Λ.Ls ∩∈∪ Π¯θƒ
`Πθ1ƒ '!Ζl¦ .,l _.Η¹≈-l¦ ∩∉∪

People commit crimes when they think that they will not be caught and they can get away
with it. They disbelieve or forget that Allaah is fully aware of even their well-hidden secrets,
that their every thought, word and action is being recorded and that they will be held
accountable on the basis of that record and justice will be fully done. However, their disbelief
or forgetfulness does not change the reality. Allaah SWT, being kind and merciful, keeps
warning them of that reality that there is no avoiding His justice for any crime, that crime
does not pay and that they will eventually have to face His judgment. If they assume that
Allaah has given human beings freedom without ensuring eternal justice when they choose to
do wrong, their assumptions are incorrect, baseless and absurd.

As against their assumptions, surely
the record of the wicked will be in the
Prison Register.
But what will give
you an idea of what the Prison
Register is?
It is a written record of
their deeds.
Woe, that Day, to the
who deny the Day of
It is only denied by
someone who is a transgressor of
rights, shirker of obligations –
when Our revelations are recited to
him, says, “Legends of earlier people”.
Of course not; rather what they
have been doing has rusted their
Against their presumptions,
verily, that Day they will be debarred
from seeing their Lord,
then indeed
they will enter the Hellfire,
and will
be told, “This is what you used to

ξ´ β| .≈.´ ‘!>±l¦ ’∀l _.∨™ ∩∠∪
!Β´ρ i1´‘Š¦ !Β _.>ā ∩∇∪ '.≈.´ Πθ·`¸´∆
∩'∪ ≅ƒ´ρ ‹.Β¯θƒ _..‹>`ϑll ∩⊇⊃∪ _·%!¦
βθ.‹>`ƒ Π¯θ´‹. _·$!¦ ∩⊇⊇∪ !Β´ρ ´.‹>`ƒ
.«. āω| ‘≅´ ‰.-`Β ΟŠ.¦ ∩⊇⊄∪ ¦Œ| ’l..
«‹ls !´Ζ.≈ƒ¦´. Α!· ¸.L≈™¦ _.lρN¦ ∩⊇⊂∪
āξ´ ¯≅. β¦´‘ ’ls Νκ.θl· !Β ¦θΡl´
βθ..>ƒ ∩⊇⊆∪ ξ´ ¯Ν·κΞ| s ¯Νκ¯.¯‘ ‹.Β¯θƒ
βθ.θ>`>RQ ∩⊇∈∪ ¯Ν. ¯Ν·κΞ| ¦θl!.l Λ.>>'¦
∩⊇∉∪ ¯Ν. `Α!1`ƒ ¦‹≈δ “%!¦ Λ.Ψ´ .«.
βθ.‹>. ∩⊇∠∪
Prison Register is the name of heavenly documentation wherein a complete record is being
kept of every action performed by those who are doing wrongs in this life and thus will be
imprisoned in hell in the Hereafter. Such criminals usually shrug off the reality of the
Hereafter regarding it as a myth or legend of antiquated, outdated folks. It is not because
they know something that the believers in the Hereafter do not know. Rather their selfish and
criminal attitude of fulfilling their desires through inappropriate and immoral means has
clouded their judgment and conditioned them to reject anything that goes against their
wishes. The conditioning that makes people blind to facts, logic and rational thinking is called
“rusting” in Qur-aanic terminology.

Just as these people are blinded by their close-mindedness in this world, when they are
brought up for their accountability, they will not be able to see Allaah SWT.

Although the deniers of the Hereafter assume that everyone, regardless of how good or bad
were the actions of the person in this world, will have the same end when they die and
become dust again. To their chagrin, that will not be the case.

As against their assumptions, surely
the record of the virtuous will be in
the Lofty Register.
But what will
give you an idea of what the Lofty
Register is?
It is a written record of
their deeds,
looked after by those
closest to Allaah.
Most surely the
virtuous will be in bliss,
sitting on
raised couches enjoying the scenery.
You will recognize the radiance of
delight on their faces.
They will be
given to drink pre-sealed choicest
that will have a lingering
aroma of musk – and this is what the
aspirers should compete for!
mix for it will be from Tasneem,
spring whereupon those nearest to
Allaah will drink.

ξ´ β| .≈.´ ‘¦,¯.N¦ ’∀l š_.¯Šl. ∩⊇∇∪
!Β´ρ i1´‘Š¦ !Β βθ•‹ls ∩⊇'∪ '.≈.´ Πθ·`¸´∆
∩⊄⊃∪ ν‰κ:ƒ βθ.¯,1RQ¦ ∩⊄⊇∪ β| ´‘¦,¯.N¦ ’∀l
Ο‹-Ρ ∩⊄⊄∪ ’ls i←¦´‘N¦ βρ`,´LΖƒ ∩⊄⊂∪
∃,-. ’· `Ογδθ`>`ρ ο´¸.Ρ ΟŠ-Ζl¦ ∩⊄⊆∪
β¯θ1`.„ Β _‹>¯‘ Θθ.‚Β ∩⊄∈∪ …«ϑ≈.>
i`.Β ’·´ρ il≡Œ ·!´Ζ.´ ‹l·
βθ´.±≈Ψ.ϑl¦ ∩⊄∉∪ …«`>¦´–∆´ ρ Β ΟŠ⊥`.·
∩⊄∠∪ !´ΖŠs ´.´¸:„ !κ. šχθ.¯,1ϑl¦ ∩⊄∇∪

Again, the Lofty Register is the name of heavenly documentation wherein a complete record
is being kept of every action performed by those who are trying to excel in virtues in this
world. As opposed to the Prison Register, this register is maintained by angels that are close
to Allaah SWT and they ensure that only legitimate virtuous people’s records are included.

While pondering upon the choicest wine, it should be noted that in contrast to the wine of
this world, that of Jannah will have a very pleasant flavour and fragrance. After drinking it, no
alcoholic odour will emanate from people’s breath, but rather it will reflect a musk-like
fragrance. Also it will not have the kind of negative effect the alcoholic content of the worldly
wine has on the human faculties. Tasneem is the name of a special spring, the water of which
will be used as a mix for the drinks of the people of Jannah who will drink at its banks, while
enjoying the scenery.

After explaining the kind of bliss that will be enjoyed by the virtuous, the next section explains
who will have the last laugh.

Those who committed crimes used
to laugh at those who believed;
when they passed by them, they
winked at each other deriding them;
when they returned to their own
folk, they returned exulting;
when they saw them, they said,
“They indeed are totally lost.”
they had not been sent as guardians
over them!
So today
those who
believed will be laughing at the

seated on raised
couches, will be watching,
the disbelievers been rewarded for
what they used to do?”

β| š_·%!¦ ¦θ`Β,>¦ ¦θΡl´ ´Β _·%!¦
¦θ`ΖΒ¦´. βθ>>.ƒ ∩⊄'∪ ¦Œ|´ρ ¦ρ”,Β ¯Νκ.
βρ'“Β!-.ƒ ∩⊂⊃∪ ¦Œ|´ρ ¦θ.l1Ρ¦ ´’|| `Ογlδ¦
¦θ.l1Ρ¦ _.γ>· ∩⊂⊇∪ ¦Œ|´ρ ¯Νδρ¦´‘ ¦θl!· β|
.ωσ‾≈δ βθ—l!Ÿ.l ∩⊂⊄∪ !Β´ρ ¦θl™¯‘¦ ¯Νκ¯.ls
_.L±≈> ∩⊂⊂∪ Π¯θ´‹l!· _·%!¦ ¦θ`ΖΒ¦´. ´Β
‘!±>l¦ βθ>>. ƒ ∩⊂⊆∪ ’ls i←¦´‘N¦
βρ`,´LΖƒ ∩⊂∈∪
Those who dedicate their lives for Islam have to make sacrifices. They practice restraint in
their behaviour, control their desires, excel in their conduct rather than chasing after an
abundance of worldly assets at the expense of their Taqwa, give up comforts of this world for
those of the Hereafter, tolerate derision from the opponents of Islam, etc. For these reasons,
the world-centred people consider the believers misguided and crazy people who are
sacrificing the current opportunities for an unsure promise of the future. It is not only that
they think that way, they actually make a point to condemn, criticize and deride the believers
as if they have been charged with the responsibility to bring them back to their world-centred
way of life, instead of leaving them alone to live by their preferred Islamic way.

In the Hereafter, the table will be turned and the Muslims will have the last laugh.

On the Day of Judgment

84 Al-Inshiqaaq
Name and Background

Like Soorahs 81 and 82, the name of this Soorah, Al-Inshiqaaq, is also the
infinitive for the word “inshaqqat” from the first verse. It means “to explode”.
Thus the name identifies the Soorah as the one wherein “exploding of
heaven” has been mentioned.

In its subject matter, style and timing of revelation, this Soorah is similar to
Soorahs 81 At-Takweer and 82 Al-Infiŧaar. Although all of the three Soorahs
focus on the Last Day and the Hereafter, each of them highlights a different
aspect of that belief and emphasizes different points based on different
rationales. Looking at all Soorahs revealed during that phase of the Islamic
mission, it becomes apparent that all aspects of the Last Day and the
Hereafter are being highlighted step-by-step and the picture is being
completed little by little on an incremental basis. Instead of an information
overload, this style educates people gradually, building upon the previously
delivered knowledge, giving people opportunities to assimilate the message in
a thoughtful manner and providing answers to the questions, doubts and
concerns as they arise in that process.

The emphasis in this Soorah is on the fact that the death and resurrection of
people and the destruction and rebirth of the universe have been built into
the original design of nature. Nothing in the universe can defy these
occurrences. There is no escape from this reality. With the passing of every
second, people are moving inexorably towards meeting their Lord. The
rationale is based on the signs from the natural phenomena evident in the

As for its placement, the previous Soorah, Al-Mutaffifeen, mentions how the
record for both groups of people is being kept in two kinds of registers. This
Soorah tells that even the delivery of the records will be different for each

Teachings and Commentary

In the name of Allaah, the Most Gracious,
the Most Merciful.

Ο`.· ´<¦ ≈´Η-¯,l¦ ΟŠ>¯,l¦
The Soorah starts with the scene of universal destruction. At that time, the stars and galaxies
will be exploding and collapsing. It has been termed here as the explosion of heaven. For
those who find it difficult to believe that this magnificent and huge universe, whose limits are
beyond human knowledge or imagination, is under the command and control of Allaah SWT,
the verse especially points out its obedience to Allaah’s command. From cosmos to atoms,
matter in every form is bound by the laws of Allaah, the Creator, and has no choice but to
obey Him as it ought to. Within those laws, Allaah SWT has built in the mechanism for the
universe to destroy itself at the pre-programmed time known only to Allaah SWT.

When the heaven will explode,
obeying its Lord, as it ought to.
when the earth will be stretched,
and will throw out what is in it and
become empty,
obeying its Lord, as
it ought to.

¦Œ| '.!´Κ´.l¦ ·1:Σ¦ ∩⊇∪ ·ΡŒ¦´ρ !κ¯.,l
·1`>´ρ ∩⊄∪ ¦Œ|´ρ `¯‘N¦ .´‰`Β ∩⊂∪
·1l¦´ρ !Β !κ.· ·‾lƒ´´ρ ∩⊆∪ ·ΡŒ¦´ρ !κ¯.,l
·1`>´ρ ∩∈∪
At the re-creation of the universe, the new earth will not have any hills, valleys, oceans, etc.
so that it is fully stretched to its maximum capacity on which every human being ever born
will stand for accountability at the same time. All data contained in the earth about human
beings and their actions will be extracted from it, relieving it from that trust completely.

Just as the rest of the universe is bound by His laws, so are human beings. Whether they like
it or not, the moment they are born, they embark on their slow and steady, second by
second, journey to meet their Lord -- after their death, destruction of the universe and the
Day of Judgment.

O man! You indeed are toiling
perforce towards your Lord,
constantly, and you are going to meet
Then, as for him who is given
his book in his right hand,
He shall
be called to account with an easy
!㕃!‾≈ƒ ≈.ΡN¦ iΡ| ~Šl´ ’|| i.´‘
l´>‰´ «Š1≈lϑ· ∩∉∪ !Β!· Β š†.ρ¦
…«.≈.´ .«ΨŠϑ´‹. ∩∠∪ ∃¯θ.· ´.™!>†

and he will go back to his
people, rejoicing!
And as for him
who is given his book behind his back,
he surely will call for death,
he will end up in a Blazing Fire.
Surely he used to be joyous among
his folks
and he supposed that he
would never return (to Allaah);
while the reality was that his Lord was
always watching him.

!.!.> ¦¸..„ ∩∇∪ ´.l1Ζƒ´ρ ´’|| .&#δ¦
¦´‘ρ¸.Β ∩'∪ !Β¦´ρ Β ´’.ρ¦ …«.≈.´ ´.¦´‘´ρ
.ν,γL ∩⊇⊃∪ ∃¯θ.· ¦θ`s‰ƒ ¦´‘θ.. ∩⊇⊇∪
’l`.ƒ´ρ ¦´¸.-™ ∩⊇⊄∪ …«‾Ρ| βl´ ’· .&#δ¦
¦´‘ρ¸.Β ∩⊇⊂∪ …«‾Ρ| ´L β¦ l ´‘θ>† ∩⊇⊆∪
´’l. β| …«−.´ ‘ βl´ .«. ¦¸.. . ∩⊇∈∪
When the time to meet the Lord arrives, the virtuous will be given their records in their right
hands. They will be subject to easy reckoning, meaning that they will be judged on their
overall performance, instead of being held accountable for their individual actions. Because
of their overall healthy credit balance, their sins and mistakes will be overlooked and they will
be rewarded with Jannah. Thus, they will be happy and rejoicing. The mention of their “going
back happily to their people” indicates that they will be among their families and loved ones
in Jannah. As mentioned in Soorah At-Toor, a virtuous person’s believing family members will
be re-united in Jannah in such a way that they all will be given the highest of the ranks that is
granted to any one of the family members. This will be their reward for adopting a family
lifestyle on earth that was Islamic, restrained, cautious and God-fearing.

The wicked will get their records in their left hand. Ashamed of their performance, they will
resist having to take their record in their left hands and thus will draw them behind their
backs, but to no avail. They will have no choice but to receive their record in their left hand,
even though it is behind their backs. Facing the eternal punishment, they would like to die
instead. In this world, they never wanted to die; there, they will not want to live. Here, they
used to live a carefree family lifestyle where the parents would fulfil the wishes of their
spouses and children even if they had to bring haraam wealth and engage in un-Islamic
activities. They lived life as if they would never have to go back to Allaah SWT to account for
their behaviour. Without caring whether an activity was good or bad, they just focused on
having fun. They did not even bother to consider something so simple as how Allaah SWT
could watch their wickedness and yet not hold them accountable?

After mentioning what will happen when people meet their Lord, the discussion reverts in the
next section to the original point made at the beginning that people are gradually moving
towards meeting their Lord, despite the views the deniers of Hereafter may hold.

As against their views, I do call to
witness the ruddy glow of sunset
and the night and all that it
and the moon when it
grows full
that you shall most
certainly ride along stage by stage.

ξ· `Ν.·¦ _±:l!. ∩⊇∉∪ ≅‹l¦´ρ !Β´ρ _™´ρ
∩⊇∠∪ ,ϑ1l¦´ρ ¦Œ| _.‾·¦ ∩⊇∇∪ _`.´¸.l !1.L
s _. L ∩⊇'∪
Three things have been presented here as evidence: twilight of the setting sun (end of the
day), enveloping night and full moon. The first two are the most evident indicators of time
through which people age and grow from childhood to adolescence, to adulthood, to middle
age, to old age, to death and to one’s Lord – just like the phases of the moon. It all indicates
that the physical world is pre-planned and pre-programmed, that it is under the complete
control of Allaah SWT, that nothing can avoid its programmed end; and that everything in
Allaah’s plans happens gradually, moving from one stage to next.

When this is a simple matter of common sense, why do the deniers not get it?

So what is the matter with them
that they do not believe,
and when
the Qur-aan is recited to them they
do not prostrate?
Instead, those
who disbelieve deny the reality.
And Allaah knows best what they
are accumulating.
So give them
tidings of a painful punishment,
except for those who believe and
do righteous deeds; for them is the
reward that will never end.

!ϑ· ¯Νλ Ÿω βθ`ΖΒσ`ƒ ∩⊄⊃∪ ¦Œ|´ρ —,·
`Νκ¯.ls `β¦´.¯,1l¦ Ÿω βρ‰>`.„ N ∩⊄⊇∪ ≅.
_·%!¦ ¦ρ`,±´ šχθ.‹>`ƒ ∩⊄⊄∪ ´<¦´ρ `Νl.¦
!ϑ. šχθ`sθ`ƒ ∩⊄⊂∪ Νδ¸:.· .¦‹-.
ΟŠl¦ ∩⊄⊆∪ āω| _·%!¦ ¦θ`ΖΒ¦´. ¦θlϑs´ρ
·≈>l≈¯.l¦ ¯Νλ ',>¦ ¸¯.s βθ`ΨϑΒ ∩⊄∈∪
When the Qur-aan states the reality, people should be moved by its impact and they should
prostrate in submission to Allaah SWT
, but instead the deniers disregard all the facts, logic
and rationale and continue to disbelieve. It is because they are blinded by:
• Their preoccupation with accumulating worldly abundance;
• The discomfort and guilt they feel for being held accountable for the bad deeds they
continue to accumulate;

When reading this verse (22), Muslims should immediately prostrate demonstrating their submission
to Allaah SWT. It is the Sunnah of the Prophet ŝall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam to do so.

• The evil attitudes such as jealousy, pride, arrogance and bigotry they have
accumulated in their minds; and
• Fear of losing their power, influence and authority that they have attained over time
under the existing disbelief-based social system.

The choice is theirs – either they can continue to disbelieve and face an eternal painful
punishment in the Hereafter, or get over the temporary discomfort they will feel for any of
the abovementioned reasons, accept Islam, change their lifestyle according to Islamic
teachings and then, in the Hereafter, enjoy the rewards that are never going to end.

85 Al-Burooj
Name and Background

The name of the Soorah is taken from the first verse, implying the Soorah
wherein Burooj have been mentioned. Burooj is the plural of Burj, which
means a big, strong fort or a huge mansion.

This Soorah was revealed when the Makkans were torturing the Muslims
severely in an effort to terrorize and turn them from Islam back to disbelief. It
warns the persecutors of even severer punishment from Allaah if they do not
stop the torture. It encourages Muslims to remain steadfast and gives them
the good news of great success in the Hereafter. To emphasize these points it
makes reference to a historical incident where the believers were burnt alive
in a fire pit merely because of their faith.

The Qur-aan, being a book of guidance, often uses historical anecdotes to
impart important lessons, but not being a book of history, it leaves out
specific historical details about those anecdotes. In keeping with its style, it
does not give any details about where and when the incident took place and
who were the parties involved. However, Muslim historians have mentioned
multiple incidents, the most significant of which took place in Najran in 523
CE. People of Najran were true followers of Jesus peace be upon him. They
were attacked by the Himyarite Jewish rulers of Yemen and asked to
renounce their faith. Those who refused were thrown in a huge pit of fire and
burned to death. To punish them for this incident, in 525 CE, the Abyssinian
Christians conquered Yemen and ended the rule of the Himyarites.

As the messages of this Soorah revolve predominantly around the Hereafter,
it has been placed among the earlier revealed soorahs that were focusing on
this topic.

Teachings and Commentary

In the name of Allaah, the Most Gracious,
the Most Merciful.

Ο`.· ´<¦ ≈´Η-¯,l¦ ΟŠ>¯,l¦
This is one of those Soorahs of the Qur-aan that start with oaths which are used as evidence
for the statements that follow them. There are three oaths used here which warrant some
discussion before moving on. The first oath is of heaven that contains huge “forts”. What are
these “forts” in the heaven? Some people think they are the constellations of stars or the
twelve astrological (Zodiac) segments of heaven, but those are only imaginary shapes and
divisions that people have devised themselves. Many exegetes (Mufassireen) think the “forts”
just refer to huge stars of the heavens. However, when we consider that the heaven is made
up of huge galaxies and nebulae with immense space in between, it becomes evident that the
Burooj (huge forts) is an excellent metaphor for galaxies – huge structures placed in space like
forts built all over a country. The Promised Day in the second oath is clearly referring to the
Day of Judgment. The third oath is of a “witness” and “what is witnessed”. The opinion
adopted by many scholars in this respect is that it refers to the conditions of full disclosure on
the Day of Judgment when everyone will be clearly witnessing everything -- the dreadful
events of that day, the records of one’s deeds, the punishment being given to the wicked, the
rewards being bestowed upon the virtuous, etc. Thus every person will be a witness as well as
being witnessed.

By the heaven containing huge
by the Promised Day,
by the witness and what is
doomed were the
makers of the pit
that contained
fire abundantly supplied with fuel,
when they were sitting by it
watching what they were doing to
the believers.
And they were
outraged against them (the believers)
only because they believed in Allaah,
the Mighty, the Praiseworthy,
owns the kingdom of the heavens
and the earth! And Allaah is Witness
over all things.
.!´Κ´.l¦´ρ .¦Œ ~ρ¸`.l¦ ∩⊇∪ Θ¯θ´‹l¦´ρ Šθ`s¯θRQ¦
∩⊄∪ ‰δ!:´ρ Šθ·κ:Β´ρ ∩⊂∪ Ÿ≅.· ´.≈>´¦
Šρ‰>N¦ ∩⊆∪ ‘!Ζl¦ .¦Œ Šθ·´θl¦ ∩∈∪ Œ| ¯/`φ
!κ¯.l. Šθ`-· ∩∉∪ ¯Νδ´ρ ’ls !Β βθl-± ƒ
_.ΖΒσϑl!. Šθ·κ− ∩∠∪ !Β´ρ ¦θϑ1Ρ ¯Ν·κ.Β ω|
β¦ ¦θ`ΖΒσ`ƒ ´<!. “ƒ•-l¦ ‰‹ϑ>'¦ ∩∇∪ “%!¦
…«l l`Β .≡´θ≈ϑ´.l¦ ¯‘N¦´ρ ´<¦´ρ ’ls
≅´ .`_: ‰‹κ− ∩'∪

Stars and galaxies

The following points have been mentioned about the burning incident:
• The fire was in a pit dug for that purpose and was stocked with much more than
enough fuel,
• The people thrown into the fire had not committed any crime, they were burnt alive
only for believing in Allaah and the latest Messenger of Allaah, and
• The people responsible for this atrocity sat and watched the victims burning.

The three oaths provide the following points for reflection:

• The persecutors need to remember the power, the means and the resources of
Allaah SWT before they victimize anyone. If the persecutor in the burning incident
had power and resources to feed a huge fire, they should think about the billions of
galaxies containing billions of stars each, wherein every star is a burning hell,
including those that are thousands of times larger than our sun.

• As they are misusing their God-given freedom to commit crimes and atrocities, they
need to remember that they are not going to get away with their crimes. Full and
perfect justice will be done on the Promised Day and they will be punished according
to the severity of their crimes.

• They watched and witnessed the agony of their victims, and on that Promised Day,
all of humanity will be watching their agonizing punishment.

The kings, the dictators and the presidents of the world need to remember that Allaah SWT is
Sovereign of the whole universe, has the ultimate power and is personally witnessing all their
crimes and noting their transgressions. Neither do the victims have to plead for justice, nor
does He need to be informed of who the guilty persons are for Him to catch and punish.

To show that Allaah’s punishment will match their crimes, the next verse specifically
mentions a special burning punishment for the said persecutors, in addition to the general
punishment in hell.

Certainly, those who persecuted
believing men and believing women
and then did not repent, will have
the punishment of hell and they will
have the punishment of burning fire.
As for those who believe and do
righteous deeds, they will surely have
gardens beneath which rivers flow.
That is the Great Success.

āχ| _·%!¦ ¦θ`Ψ.· _.ΖΒσϑl¦ ·≈ΨΒσϑl¦´ρ
¯Ν. `Οl ¦θ.θ.ƒ `Ογl· ´.¦‹s Λ.γ > ¯Νλ´ρ
´.¦‹s _ƒ,>'¦ ∩⊇⊃∪ β| _·%!¦ ¦θ`ΖΒ¦´. ¦θlΗ-´ρ
·≈>l≈¯.l¦ ¯Νλ ·≈Ζ> “,>´ Β !κ.>´
`,≈κΞN¦ il≡Œ `—¯θ±l¦ ¸..>l¦ ∩⊇⊇∪

Although Allaah SWT is strict in Punishment, He is also extremely merciful. Thus, if people
repent, He forgives them and compensates the victims in other ways so that they receive full
justice regardless. This offers the Makkan persecutors a good opportunity to stop torturing
the Muslims and repent to avoid painful punishment in the Hereafter forever.

The Muslims are assured that if they remain steadfast despite all the atrocities they have to
face and continue to believe and to excel in their behaviour, they will definitely attain the
supreme triumph and ultimate success.

Addressing the Prophet ŝall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, the next section gives a clear message
to the Makkan persecutors as well as to the Muslim victims:

Truly severe is the seizure by your
It is He Who originates your
birth and it is He Who will reproduce
and He is the Forgiving, the
the owner of the Throne,
the Glorious,
the Doer of anything
He wants.

β| L. i.´‘ ‰ƒ‰:l ∩⊇⊄∪ …«‾Ρ| ´θδ
—‰¯.`ƒ ‰‹-`ƒ´ρ ∩⊇⊂∪ ´θδ´ρ '‘θ±-l¦ ŠρŠ´θl¦
∩⊇⊆∪ ρŒ ¯,-l¦ ‰Š>RQ¦ ∩⊇∈∪
To the opponents of the Islamic mission it warns that by no means can anyone escape
Allaah’s grip or seizure. If they think that their death will end everything, they should
remember that their Creator is infinitely resourceful. As He has arranged the birth of every
human being, so has He arranged their resurrection. Now it is up to people to choose what
they want to do. If they repent and come back to Him, He is very forgiving. He is loving and
affectionate, so He is reminding people again and again to save themselves. He is the owner
of the Throne, so rebellious behaviour against Him or His Messenger is high treason. He is
glorious, so they should acknowledge His glory and, deceived by the fact that He does not
punish them right away for their mistakes, they should not disrespectfully disregard Him.
Finally, He does what He wants and absolutely no one can stop Him, interfere or intercede –
absolutely no person, regardless of how close he is to Allaah SWT. At the same time, all of the
attributes of Allaah mentioned in these verses also have a soothing and consoling message
for the believers -- that their torturers will not get away with their crimes, will soon be seized
and will have no way of escaping; that He is forgiving so all their mistakes and weaknesses
during these testing times will be forgiven; that He is a Loving Master who does not want to
see them suffer, however, it being unavoidable in the course of the mission, they will
experience His eternal love when enjoying the magnificent bounties of Jannah, etc.

Although Allaah SWT has given the persecutors a stern warning, He has also offered them
opportunity to repent. Those who do not avail the opportunities to repent provided so
graciously by Him and continue to oppose the Islamic mission, they can be punished both
individually and collectively. Individually each will definitely be punished on the Day of
Judgment. If the majority of a community opposes a messenger of Allaah, they are collectively

destroyed through a worldly catastrophe as were destroyed the people of Fir‘own

Has there reached you the story of
the armies
of Fir‘own and
But those who disbelieve
are in persistent denial,
while Allaah
surrounds them from every side.
Nonetheless, it is a glorious Qur-
inscribed in a Preserved Slate.

¯≅δ i9.¦ ±ƒ‰> Šθ`Ζ>'¦ ∩⊇∠∪ β¯θs¯,·
Šθϑ.´ρ ∩⊇∇∪ ≅. _·%!¦ ¦ρ`,±´ ’· .ƒ‹>.
∩⊇'∪ ´<¦´ρ Β Νκ″¦´ ‘´ρ 1Š>’Χ ∩⊄⊃∪ ¯≅. ´θδ
β¦´.¯,· ‰‹>Χ ∩⊄⊇∪ ’· ~¯θl 1θ±>Χ ∩⊄⊄∪
So they may continue to deny the reality, but as the historical examples indicate, they are
completely surrounded by the power of Allaah SWT. They may disregard the message of the
Qur-aan, but they need to realize that it is not human writing based on conjectures,
superstitions, speculations or theories. Rather, it is the glorious word of Allaah, inscribed in a
sacred heavenly slate that is preserved in the most secure place in the universe beyond the
reach of any creation of Allaah except the angels given the responsibility of revealing the
message to the Prophet ŝall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Matters are bound to happen exactly
as the Qur-aan is telling them. What it warns about is inescapable and inevitable.


86 At-Ŧaariq
Name and Background

Like Al-Burooj, the name of the Soorah, At-Ŧaariq, has been taken from the
first verse where it has been used for taking an oath.

Aŧ-Ŧaariq literally refers to one that is knocking, hammering, beating or
beating a path (traveling a long distance). Because one who arrives at night
after beating a path (a long travel), finds the door closed and knocks on the
door to enter, this word was therefore also used figuratively for arriving at
. The third verse clarifies that the one who is knocking or appearing at
night in the first verse is a star. This star has been characterized with the
adjective “Ath-thaaqib”, which means something that pierces, makes holes, is
brightly shining (a flame of fire or a star) thus piercing through the darkness,
or an opinion or advice that reaches to the bottom of an issue. Considering all
the meanings of the word used to describe the star in the oath, it may refer to
all stars in general as they are visible to the naked eye only at night, and as
such can be called night visitors whose light pierces through the darkness of
night to reach our eyesight. It may also refer in particular to those stars that
are piercing, have fiery brightness, are rapidly beating their paths and are
producing regular knocking sounds. Scientists have recently discovered that
stars explode at the end of their life in the form of a supernova (producing an
extremely bright and fiery explosion) and then their matter collapses to form
a neutron star that revolves at an extremely high speed and is called a pulsar
because of its high intensity radio waves that reach earth in a pulsating
manner. Their knocking sounds have been recorded by the scientists.

This Soorah was revealed when the Makkans had started plotting schemes to
defeat the Islamic mission, counter the message of the Qur-aan and damage
the credibility of the Prophet ŝall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam; however, their
opposition had not become violent as yet. Thus it was revealed some time
before the previous Soorah Al-Burooj, to which it is twin-like: similar in style
and theme. Both Soorahs emphasize accountability and the Hereafter,

Rooĥul-ma’aani by ‘Allaamah Aaloosi

underscoring the fact that what the Qur-aan is warning them about is
inevitable and unstoppable. It is not a joke. It is a serious matter that is
categorically unavoidable.

In Al-Burooj, the opponents of the mission were warned of the strong grip of
and seizure by Allaah SWT which they will not be able to escape unless they
repent. This Soorah addresses the Prophet to give them respite for a while,
indicating that the Prophet and the Muslims should be prepared to put up
with their opponents regardless of how nasty they become. This respite is
given to the opponents so that they have full opportunity to repent if they
have any goodness at all in their psyches. If they do not repent, they will pay
the ultimate price for it. Thus between the two Soorahs, both parties have
been provided appropriate guidance and instructions to deal with the heated

Soorah Al-Burooj used a historical incident to make its point, without
adopting the role of a book of history. In this Soorah, scientific – astronomical
and biological – facts have been used to make its points. Once again, it should
be noted that the Qur-aan is a book of guidance, not a book to teach sciences.
Its use of scientific facts is only for imparting guidance about human
behaviour. However, its use of scientific facts is miraculous in two aspects.
Firstly, it mentions the facts in such a manner that persons of any eras and of
any level of education or intellect can optimally benefit from the facts cited,
being able to understand and relate to the point of guidance that has been
made. This is while, on the basis of the established and agreed upon scientific
facts available to people of any era, no one can validly challenge the way facts
have been stated in the Qur-aan. Secondly, the words used in describing the
scientific facts are such that they miraculously align with the latest scientific
discoveries, demonstrating to scientists that the Qur-aan is not the word of a
human being but the word of God Who has the ultimate knowledge of the
facts and Who can describe them miraculously in eternal words. The mention
of At-Ŧaariq in words that fit with discoveries about supernova and the
knocking of a pulsar or neutron star is one such example. Three more
examples are described within the comments on the Soorah.

Teachings and Commentary

In the name of Allaah, the Most Gracious,
the Most Merciful.

Ο`.· ´<¦ ≈´Η-¯,l¦ ΟŠ>¯,l¦

Like its predecessor, this Soorah starts with two oaths which are used as witness for the
statement that follows them, “There is no person who does not have a keeper over it!”.

Witness is the heaven and the
And what will give you an
idea of what Ŧaariq is?
It is a fiery
bright, piercing star.
There is no
person who does not have a keeper
over it!

.!´Κ´.l¦´ρ −‘!Ll¦´ρ ∩⊇∪ !Β´ρ i1´‘Š¦ !Β
−‘!Ll¦ ∩⊄∪ `Ν>Ψl¦ ´.·!.l¦ ∩⊂∪ β| ‘≅´
±Ρ !RQ !κ¯.l. 1·l > ∩⊆∪
There are many things that exist in the universe but are beyond our perception or knowledge.
If we cannot see them or are unaware of their existence and thus deny them, they do not
cease to exist. The reality remains unaffected by our belief or denial. The Qur-aan is using
stars as an example of this fact. The stars in the heavens are visible to the human eye only at
night. We cannot deny their existence when we do not see them during the day. Supernovas
were occurring and pulsating neutron stars were in existence millions or even billions of years
before human beings discovered them. Prudence dictates that if we are informed by
someone with knowledge of the existence of something that we are ignorant about, we
should accept the knowledge-based view, especially if their existence is logical and rational as
well. By the same token, people are informed by the Qur-aan that angels are watching every
human being and maintaining a complete record of their thoughts, intentions and actions.
People do not see them and may deny this reality, but prudent reaction is to believe in this
reality on the basis of the absolute knowledge of Allaah SWT as well as on the basis of
reasoning provided by the Qur-aan. Denial is not going to change the reality; and we are
going to discover it ourselves when we are resurrected for accountability, just as we discover
stars at night or have discovered pulsars recently.

As for those who consider our resurrection impossible, they need to reflect on the way they
themselves came into existence on earth.

The star appearing at night and/or the knocking star

So let man consider what he has
been created from.
He was created
from a gushing fluid
issued from
between the loins and ribs.
surely He is able to bring him back (to
On the Day when hidden
matters will be tested,
man will
have neither power nor helper.

,´LΨ´‹l· ≈.ΡN¦ ¯ΝΒ _l> ∩∈∪ _l> Β
.!Β _·¦Š ∩∉∪ ~`,ƒ† Β _.. .l¯.l¦
.←¦´¸.l¦´ρ ∩∠∪ …«‾Ρ| ’ls .«->´‘ "‘Š!1l
∩∇∪ Π¯θƒ ’l¯.. `,←¦´¸œ.l¦ ∩'∪ !ϑ· …«l Β
ο¯θ· Ÿω´ρ ¸.!Ρ ∩⊇⊃∪
An invisible cell, so tiny that there are millions of them in one drop of seminal fluid, carrying
half of the genetic code struggles to find an egg and fuses with it when found. Between the
two of them, still so tiny that they can be seen only with very powerful microscopes, they
now have a complete code that determines the physical make up of a person. We have
discovered these facts very recently, while the mechanism was in place since the first human
being was created. Allaah SWT has mechanisms in place to resurrect us but they will remain
beyond the realm of human knowledge at least until the Hereafter. The point to note in this
respect is that the Qur-aan mentions the location of the nervous system that controls the
process rather than the place of semen ejection. This is yet another way of showing the world
that it is not the word of a human being but the word of the Creator who tells people things
before they themselves are able to discover them.

The greatest discovery human beings will have will be on the Day of Judgment, when their
complete record will be presented to them. It will include not only the visible, public actions
of people but also everything they used to hide from others, even their intentions and
motivations behind their actions as well as the thoughts they did not act upon. They will be
judged on the basis of all of such information.

People need to prepare for it now because at that time neither will they have any power to
avoid the punishment, nor will anyone be able to help them. Thus, this is a serious matter on
which their eternal life depends. If they still do not believe and take the teachings of the Qur-
aan in jest, they should think again.

Witness is the heaven that returns
and the earth that splits,
(Qur-aan) indeed is a categoric Word,
not a joke!

.!´Κ´.l¦´ρ .¦Œ ×>¯,l¦ ∩⊇⊇∪ ¯‘N¦´ρ .¦Œ
~‰¯.l¦ ∩⊇⊄∪ …«‾Ρ| Α¯θ1l ≅`.· ∩⊇⊂∪ !Β´ρ
´θδ Α“λ!. ∩⊇⊆∪

Once again, the Qur-aan is presenting natural phenomena for our reflection to understand
the categoric, decisive, doubtless and unavoidable nature of the facts that the Qur-aan
describes. The first oath is about the “returning sky”. This is normally considered to be
referring to the water cycle -- returning of water vapours from the sky in the form of rain. It
certainly does, but it also refers to much more than that. As scientists have discovered, the
part of the heaven immediately over us – the atmosphere of the earth -- has many returning
layers: The troposphere returns the evaporated water back to the earth in the form of
precipitation to sustain life, as described earlier; the ozonosphere returns harmful cosmic rays
like ultraviolet light back to space, hence preventing them from reaching the earth and
thereby harming life; both the troposphere and ozonosphere return useful solid particles
back to earth making sunlight brighter and more useful for us; the Ionosphere layer reflects
radio waves broadcast from a certain centre back down to the earth, thus enabling
broadcasts to be received from long distances; the magnetosphere (magnetic fields and Van
Allen belts) acts as a protective barrier expelling the cosmic particles travelling at deadly
speed towards it.

Similarly, the earth has cracking, splitting features that are also essential for sustaining life.
When it receives rain, it splits to let seeds grow. In addition, the earth has another kind of
cracks and splits. Scientists have discovered that the crust of the earth under the oceans was
split by a large numbers of cracks (faults), tens of thousands of kilometres long. The molten
magma and lava under the sea flows upwards through these splits and cracks and cools down
to form very high mountains under the oceans. Also, due to the fissured structure of the
seabed, a significant amount of heat is also given off. This allows dissipation of a large amount
of heat and helps in maintaining the temperature of the earth at a level appropriate for the
sustenance of life. Without these ventilators, life on earth would have been virtually
impossible because of nuclear decay caused by the enormous quantities of heat generated
below the crust.

The presentation of these features for human reflection underscores the point that just like
the natural laws of Allaah SWT operating on heaven and earth are not meaningless jokes but
are categoric, decisive, doubtless and unavoidable serious matters, so are the teachings of
the Qur-aan. Unfortunately, the disbelievers take them in jest and hatch schemes to counter
its message.

Surely they are plotting a scheme
and I am devising a scheme too.
So grant the disbelievers a respite,
putting up with them for a while.

¯Ν·κΞ| βρ‰Š>ƒ ¦´‰‹´ ∩⊇∈∪ ‰‹´¦´ρ ¦´‰‹´
∩⊇∉∪ ≅´γϑ· _·,±≈>l¦ ¯ΝγlγΒ¦ ¦‰ƒ´ρ'‘ ∩⊇∠∪
The disbelievers are hatching schemes to stop the spread of Islam and to cause the mission of
the Prophet to fail. For that purpose, they are concocting and spreading lies so that people do
not pay attention to what he presents: They are calling him crazy, magician, poet and


soothsayer; they raise strange, illogical and meaningless questions about the teachings of the
Qur-aan; they ridicule the Prophet and make disruptive noise when he is trying to address
people; they are also planning to terrorize people from accepting Islam. But Allaah’s plan is
simple – He is going to make the mission successful despite all the opponents’ schemes. And
none of them will be able to stop it from succeeding. In the meantime, Allaah is going to give
respite to the opponents, instead of punishing them right away for their crimes. Because of
this respite, they most probably will become even bolder in their opposition to the Islamic
mission and fill their deed of actions with more crimes. Then Allaah SWT will seize them and
punish them most severely. The respite will also give them the opportunity to see the failure
of their scheme and the success of the Islamic mission. That itself will be a torment for them.

The point to note is that instead of Allaah SWT declaring respite for the opponents, He is
instructing the Prophet to give them respite. In other words, the Prophet being Allaah’s
Messenger is the person in charge of the Makkans’ fate. Allaah SWT will do what the Prophet
wants, though He is also guiding the Prophet on what will be prudent for him to want.
Obviously this respite is temporary; and if they do not repent using this opportunity,
eventually they will be seized, as mentioned in the previous Soorah.

87 Al-A‘laa
Name and Background

The name of this Soorah, Al-A‘laa, is also from the first verse. Al-A‘laa is an
attribute of Allaah SWT describing Him as the Most High.

This Soorah is one of those that were revealed during the early period of the
mission and that were more focused on the training and development of the
Prophet, preparing him for the needs of the mission, and on the personal
improvement of the believers. Address or response to the opponents of the
mission was indirect and secondary.

The previous Soorah, At-Ŧaariq, had ended with instructions to the Prophet to
give respite to the enemies of the mission and to put up with their nasty,
violent behaviour because in the end they would not be able to escape
Allaah’s grip and impending punishment. This Soorah trains the Prophet on
four points: Firstly, just as all constructive things happen in a gradual manner,
the Prophet’s mission will also take its natural course and eventually succeed,
regardless of what the enemies do in opposition. Secondly, protecting the
Qur-aan and ensuring that the Prophet does not forget it is Allaah’s
responsibility, for which the Prophet should not worry. Thirdly, Allaah is fully
aware of all evident and hidden circumstances of the Prophet and He is going
to manage them as needed. Fourthly and finally, the Prophet’s responsibility
is only to give the message; he is not responsible for how people react in
response. To the believers, it introduces the objective of Deen that they must
individually and personally strive to attain and instructs them that their
individual success as believers depends on it.

Teachings and Commentary

In the name of Allaah, the Most Gracious,
the Most Merciful.

Ο`.· ´<¦ ≈´Η-¯,l¦ ΟŠ>¯,l¦
The Soorah starts with an instruction to the Prophet and the Muslims to glorify Allaah’s name.
The glorification (Tasbeeh) in Qur-aanic terminology means remembering and mentioning
Allaah in the most respectful manner with the most beautiful names (attributes) in their most
splendid and the absolutely perfect meanings, above and beyond any notion of weakness,
imperfection, limitation or finiteness. This glorification is the key to understanding the correct
concept of Towheed (oneness and uniqueness of Allaah SWT) and avoidance of shirk
(equating anyone or anything with Allaah SWT or considering anyone or anything partner in
any divine attribute of Allaah SWT). Once the Islamic concept of Allaah’s glory and
exaltedness is understood and practised, it keeps people from assigning human attributes to
Allaah or thinking of Allaah’s behaviour in terms of human attributes and behaviour, which
usually leads people to shirk. Thus, Tasbeeh (glorification) was commanded and emphasized
in the very early stages of the mission so that Muslims develop the right concept about Allaah
and remember Him in the correct way from the outset. This glorification is to be carried out
throughout the day, in addition to the formal worship (Ŝalaah). The words of Tasbeeh
performed in the prostrating position (Sajdah) were adopted by the Prophet in compliance
with this verse.

Glorify the name of your Lord, the
Most High,
Who created then
Who predetermined then
and Who brought out
then made it lush and
dark green

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.!.s “´θ>¦ ∩∈∪
The glorification of Allaah comes from one’s heart when one considers the beauty, balance,
mercy and kindness which characterize Allaah’s creations and the things He has provided for
human beings, as exemplified by the following:

• He created and then took everything through an optimizing process to ensure that
everything had an optimal form, shape and function to do the job for which it had

The translation of this verse is based on the etymological and literary research of Hameeduddin
Farahi and Amin Ahsan Islahi.

been created. Through this process, He gave human beings the optimal form,
functions and capabilities to act freely as vicegerents on earth.

• He predetermined the physical and biological laws according to which all of His
creations could fulfill their role and perform their functions consistently and
optimally according to His plan for the temporary world. Then, He provided guidance
to animals (including humans) through instincts and then, in addition, provided
guidance to human beings through Islam. Thus, in a graduated manner, He ensured
that every creation had rules to play their role in the most optimal manner.

• He created vegetation to fulfil human needs. These plants are factories that, using
the same raw material (soil and water) produce many things such as wood, fibre
(textiles), colours, fragrances, and food with a huge variety of tastes, flavours,
nutrients (fats, proteins, carbohydrates/sugars, vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals,
etc.) and so on and so forth. From a sprouted seed, they also grow at their
predetermined pace, slowly and steadily until they become healthy, mature plants.

The three examples given in these verses underscore the point that Allaah SWT makes things
happen through a gradual, evolutionary process. Even on an individual basis, every human
being goes through a gradual process, coming into existence at the time of conception, then
going through a nine-month improvement process, until painful delivery as a human child.
Plants demonstrate this gradual process on an ongoing basis. To the public, they make the
point that if people understand Allaah’s glory and exaltedness as the performance of His
Tasbeeh demands, they will not think of Allaah’s actions in human terms who toil to do things
with their hands
. When Allaah intends to do something, whatever He intends starts
happening automatically by way of His infinite means, in a manner which people call an
evolution, where one thing keeps leading to another until the desired outcome happens.

However, the most important message of these verses is for the Prophet himself. To him,
these examples gave a message to glorify Allaah SWT because the success of his mission was
pre-determined and already decided upon. Although it would come slowly and gradually,
taking its prescribed course, it was bound to come. Since Allaah had decided to provide the
guidance of Islam to people through him (the Prophet), He was going to ensure that his
mission succeeded. The newly sprouted plant (Prophet’s mission) was going to grow healthy
and beautiful in due course. The use of the example of the plant for the Islamic mission, as
used here in verses 4 and 5, was once again made when the victory was at hand and was
announced in Soorah Al-Fat’ĥ 48:29, “Its example in the Injeel (Gospel) is as a seed which
produces its spouts, then strengthens it, so it becomes stout and stands firmly on its stem,
delighting the sowers …”.

This was the first point that was important for the Prophet ŝall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam to
internalize. He also had another worry that needed to be addressed. When the Prophet

Toil of human hands is still relevant in human life, regardless of what tools, implements, machines
and automated factories are used to do the work or to produce the goods that people consume.

started the mission as commanded by Allaah SWT, the reaction from the Makkans was strong
as expected. In those circumstances, the revelations from Allaah SWT were the main source
of support for him and he was totally dependent upon the communications from his Lord for
comfort and guidance on an ongoing basis. Hence, he used to wait eagerly for the revelation;
and when it was received, he would try to intake the whole revelation quickly. In addition, he
used to repeat the words anxiously with his tongue as they were being revealed lest he forget
any word. Initially the revelations were short, so remembering them was not a concern. But
now both the length of the new Soorahs as well as their cumulative quantity was gradually
growing, so he was worried about forgetting. The next part assures the Prophet that he
should not worry about this matter because Allaah Himself has taken the responsibility that
he does not forget any part of the revelations and that it is indelibly etched in his mind.

We shall enable you to recite (what
We reveal), and then you will not
except as Allaah wills, He
certainly knows what is declared as
well as what is hidden.

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This was the first time that he had started worrying and needed to be assured. Later on, the
revelations became even longer, the collection bigger, the content became more challenging
and his anxiousness to receive more revelations increased along with the intensity of the
Makkan opposition. In those circumstances, his anxiousness started taking the form of worry
and hurriedness, so he was once again given instructions but in more detail in, “Do not move
your tongue (O Prophet) along with the revelation to hasten with it.

Verily, We are
responsible for putting it together and ensuring its proper recitation.

So repeat its recitation
only after We have finished it.

Then again, We are responsible for explaining it.” (Soorah
Qiyaamah 75:16-19). After these instructions, the Prophet started receiving the revelations so
well, with calmness and confidence, that he needed to be briefly reminded only once more in
verse 114 of Soorah Ŧaa Haa, “Do not hasten its recitation before the revelation is
completed.” Afterwards, the Prophet became so adept that he never had to be reminded

One may wonder why the personal instructions given to the Prophet have been included
here. After the instructions were conveyed and understood by the Prophet, they should have
been excluded from the text. As explained in the commentary on Soorah Qiyaamah, excluding
them would have violated the distinguishing feature of the Qur-aan. What distinguishes the
Qur-aan from every other book is that every single letter or word revealed by Allaah in His
own words to the Prophet through formal revelation was preserved, recited, written, taught,
conveyed and retained exactly as revealed without any subsequent editing or change
whatsoever by anyone involved in the process – Allaah Himself, angels, the Prophet or
believers. The whole revelation has been preserved, exactly as revealed, forever.

“Except as Allaah wills” is to emphasize the point that the ability of the Prophet to remember
every revealed word in its original form and in the proper designated order is merely because

of the mercy and bounty of Allaah SWT, which He can take away if He wills. This is similar to
the statement made in Soorah Banee Israaeel verse 86, “If We wish, We can take away what
We have revealed to you, then you will not find any advocate about it for yourself against

The third point to console the Prophet is that Allaah SWT knows exactly whatever is evident
and hidden about his circumstances and thus He is going to take care of everything for him as
He deems fit. He knows when he repeats the words of revelations, and He know his worries
behind it; He knows his feelings and du’aas too; He also knows the public harassments,
taunts, mischiefs and ridicules by his opponents as well as He knows the secret schemes they
hatch to defeat his mission. Whatever the circumstances, Allaah is with him and will take care
of him.

The fourth point is to clarify his missionary approach and responsibility. The next section
clarifies that Allaah SWT has not put burden on the Prophet to guide those who do not want
to be guided or to save those who do not want salvation. Allaah SWT has lightened his burden
by giving him only the responsibility of delivering the message to the best of his ability. He
should continue to deliver the message on a regular basis. If someone shows interest and
wants to be guided, then only that person should be attended to. If he steadfastly continues
this approach, Allaah SWT will grant him success and make accomplishment of his missionary
goals easy.

We will facilitate for you the easy
therefore, admonish people, in
case the admonition benefits.
Admonition will be received by the
one who is cautious
while it will
be shunned by the most unfortunate
who will enter the Greatest
then therein he shall neither
live nor die.

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Over time, those people who are open-minded and who care for their future will accept the
admonition. The literal meaning of the word used in the verse is “who fears”. It implies that
the person is concerned about his future, cares about what happens to him after death and
does not want to end up in the Fire. This cautious approach about the future will open his
heart for guidance. On the other hand, most unfortunate is the person who loses this
opportunity to attain salvation and ends up in the Fire.

Is afraid of ending up in the wrong place.

In this world, if someone burns in fire, he dies. But in hell, people will continue to burn and
feel its pain, but they will never die. The disbelievers who are condemned to hell forever will
always remain in that condition -- burning, feeling its pain, but not dying. Rather, as explained
in the Soorah An-Nisaa, their skin will continuously be replaced so that they continue to feel
the pain of being burnt, over and over without any relief.

In closing, the last section tells people what will make them successful in the eyes of Allaah
SWT so that He can grant them the bounties of Jannah in the hereafter.

Successful indeed is the one who
purifies himself from wrongs and
grows in goodness,
keeps the name
of His Lord in his conscious mind and
performs Ŝalaah
Instead, you
prefer the worldly life,
whereas the
Hereafter is better and more lasting.
Indeed, this was also in the earlier
scriptures –
the scriptures of
Ibraheem and Moosa

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The word used in verse 14 is “Tazkiyah”, which means both purification and growth. In the
Qur-aanic terminology, Tazkiyah means a process of continuous improvement whereby a
person continuously watches himself and keeps ridding himself of undesirable beliefs,
thoughts, ideas, habits, actions and practices, while adopting and growing in good beliefs,
thoughts, ideas, habits, actions and practices. Through this process of continuous
improvement, Allaah wants people to excel in their thoughts, attitude, character and
conduct. This is the basic objective which Allaah wants every individual to strive for. That is
why Allaah wants people to become Muslims. This objective is so fundamental to Islam that
sometimes “performing one’s Tazkiyah” is used for “accepting Islam”, because the starting
point of Tazkiyah is the purification of beliefs -- abandoning disbelief and shirk / adopting

Tazkiyah works and thrives on continuous and frequent remembrance of Allaah (Dzikr).
Remembrance or Dzikr means thinking of Allaah SWT or being conscious of Allaah SWT all the
time through remembering, reciting and reflecting upon his attributive names. Such
remembrance is what empowers believers to continuously improve themselves (perform
their Tazkiyah). Those who forget Allaah fall prey to Shayŧaan and get involved in undesirable
behaviour that is against Tazkiyah.

Formal worship of Allaah SWT.
Abraham and Moses

Remembrance of Allaah should continue throughout the waking hours of a believer, while
doing all normal day-to-day activities. In comparison, Ŝalaah is the formal worship. To
perform Ŝalaah, a person stops everything else and concentrates solely on the remembrance
of Allaah in a prescribed fashion at prescribed times.

Thus, Tazkiyah is the individual objective of Deen for every believer, while Dzikr and Ŝalaah
are the main tools and supporting practices for Tazkiyah. The pursuit of excellence through
Tazkiyah should be the top priority in the lives of the Muslims, making their worldly goals and
targets secondary to this objective of Deen. Unfortunately, people focus on maximizing their
attainment of worldly goals at the cost of inadequate attention to this important objective of
Deen – the objective which is going to make them successful in the Hereafter. They forget
that this world is temporary, while the bounties of the Hereafter are going to be much better
as well as everlasting.

These teachings have always been a critical part of the Deen and have always been taught by
all messengers of Allaah such as Ibraheem (Abraham) and Moosa (Moses).

88 Al-Ghaashiyah
Name and Background

The name of this Soorah is taken from the first verse. Ghaashiyah is
something that covers or prevails over everything completely. As Al-
Ghaashiyah, it refers to Doomsday, known in the Qur-aanic terminology as
the Day of Resurrection, the Day of Judgment or Day of Recompense.

As explained previously in other Soorahs, the total process starting with the
end of the world and then continuing on with other phases such as the
resurrection of people, the Judgment and the granting of reward /
punishment (recompense) is collectively called the “Day”, though each phase
of the process will happen over time that cannot be measured or expressed in
terms of the human concept of time. All of these phases are collectively
referred to as the “Day”, because “day” in Arabic, in addition to being used for
a day of the week, is also used for a whole event or a series of related events
regardless of the time those events may take. It is often referred to in the
Qur-aan as “the Day”, “that Day” or “this Day”, and sometimes accompanied
with a name of one of its phases, such as the Day of Resurrection (Yom-ul-
Qiyaamah), the Day of Judgment or the Day of Recompense (Yom-ud-Deen).
In this Soorah, this Day has been called Al-Ghaashiyah (completely-covering)
because it will cover, prevail over, or be spread over the whole universe and
all people ever born in this temporary world.

This Soorah was revealed in the early days of the mission when the Makkan’s
initial clamour and commotion in reaction to the Prophet’s warnings about
the Day of Judgment was changing into a stubborn disregard and arrogant
dismissal of his call by the majority of Makkans. Naturally, their behaviour was
hurtful to the Prophet because the more sincere and the more genuine a
person is in his endeavours, the more hurtful is the disregard or snub by
people. He was also concerned that perhaps there was some deficiency in his
delivery of the message. Addressing the Prophet, this Soorah begins with a
vivid word picture of the life in the Hereafter to make the disbelievers think
about what is at stake and to console the Prophet that their disregard of the
message is at their own peril. If they are ignoring a matter so critical to their

future, the problem is with them, especially when there are ample signs
around them supporting the belief in Allaah’s power to resurrect people.
Their stubbornness does not reflect on him or his work, nor should he feel
accountable for their disbelief. The Soorah then explains to him the extent of
his responsibility. Although the point about his responsibility was briefly made
in the previous Soorah, it has been elaborated further in this one, linking the
two Soorahs together.

Teachings and Commentary

In the name of Allaah, the Most Gracious,
the Most Merciful.

Ο`.· ´<¦ ≈´Η-¯,l¦ ΟŠ>¯,l¦

The Soorah starts with a rhetorical question about Al-Ghaashiyah to grab people’s attention
and make them think. The question was directed at the Prophet because the focus was on
consoling him, but it effectively invites every listener to think and reflect. When reciting this
Soorah, a believer should naturally feel that he or she is being addressed.

Has the word of the completely-
disaster reached you?

¯≅δ i9.¦ ±ƒ‰> π´‹:≈-l¦ ∩⊇∪
The next two sections describe what kind of life the two groups of people, the believers and
disbelievers, will have in the Hereafter.

Some faces, that Day, will be
toiling, exhausted,
entering into blazing fire,
drink from a boiling spring.
They will
have no food except poisonous,
thorny hay,
which will neither
nourish nor avail against hunger.

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Human faces are the best indicator of the mental condition and feelings of people; hence
instead of saying “some people”, the verse uses “some faces”. Verses two and three describe
how they will be feeling before they are thrown in the hellfire.

As has been mentioned many times earlier, no one should interpret the conditions of hell on
the basis of human experience of this world: firstly, the Hereafter will be operating under new
laws of nature, not the laws of nature of this world; and secondly, we cannot understand the
precise nature of those unseen matters because we have not observed them or experienced
them yet. “Poisonous, thorny hay” will be only one of the items that the people of hell will

That will cover everyone and everything in the universe completely, not sparing anyone or anything.

munch on in their efforts to satisfy their hunger, but it will be of no avail. At other places in
the Qur-aan, Allaah SWT has mentioned other things that people of hell will have for their

Other faces that Day will be blissful,
pleased with their endeavours,
a lofty Garden,
wherein they will
not hear any indecent talk.
will be a flowing spring,
as there
will be couches raised high,
set at hand,
cushions lined up
carpets spread out.

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Human happiness and tranquility depends on good feelings and mental wellbeing as much as
it does on physical comforts. That is why, when mentioning the bounties of Jannah, the Qur-
aan especially mentions that the people of Jannah (Garden) will enjoy an environment that
will be free of any talk or words that may cause unpleasantness, ill-feelings or annoyance.

If people contrast the two lifestyles of the Hereafter, who in their right mind would not like to
be in the second group? Thus, there is something wrong with those who reject or ignore the
Prophet’s call, and not with the Prophet or his selfless hard work in this respect.

Their real problem is that they have closed their hearts and minds so they cannot think
rationally. Otherwise there are ample signs surrounding them that support the message that
the Prophet is delivering.

Then do they not look at the
camels, how they have been created?
And the heaven, how it has been
And the mountains, how
they have been erected?
And the
earth, how it has been spread out?

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Allaah SWT has bestowed intellect to people so that they can find the reality of unknown
facts using their knowledge of the known realities. Unfortunately people do not use their
intellect to reflect upon even the serious matters that may be crucial for their well being.

Thus, the Prophet is being told that his audience are so close-minded and careless that they
do not even reflect upon their surroundings and learn lessons from them, so he should not be
concerned if they disregard his call.

The four examples given here carried important lessons for the Makkans:

1. Camels played an extremely important role in the Arabs’ life. At home, it was the
major source of many necessities of life. It provided them meat, milk and leather.
Rather, every part of its body including hair, bones and droppings were used for
variety of purposes. It was their major means for transporting both people and
goods. Away from home, it was indispensable for traveling in the desert. It was
capable of traveling for days without food or water and was well-suited to withstand
sandstorms. Although huge in size and power, it served its owner in a docile manner.
While performing hard work, it was content with eating desert shrubs and bushes.
The question for them to ponder was how did it come into being, especially fitting so
perfectly in their environment and fulfilling all their needs so well? Did the Creator
who designed and created this marvellous creature do it without purpose? If He can
create such a sophisticated creature when there was nothing before, can He not
resurrect people after their death?

2. People living in Urban areas today do not have much chance to enjoy looking at the
heavens, but Arabs had tremendous opportunities to be fascinated by the blue sky in
the day and beautiful scenery of the starry sky at night. The sky is far out of human
reach, yet its sun, moon and stars are so critical for life on earth. Again the natural
question is who made it so high and so vast that its distances and vastness is even
beyond human imagination?

3. Makkah was surrounded by mountains and the Arabs were impressed with their
strength, firmness and majesty. In addition, mountains have profound impact on
weather and precipitation patterns and they contain and hold many mineral
resources that people need. Who is the Almighty Lord who created these majestic

4. Then earth has been surfaced in such a way that it meets all human needs. Anyone
with a little common sense can develop a long list of marvellous ways the earth
serves those needs.

The point being made here is that all the items show the design and plan of a Creator that
created them to be consistently useful and fitting for human needs. Did the Creator do it
without any purpose so that people live, use resources and die without any consequences of
how they lived and used those resources? And, if He can create all these stupendous things
from nothing, can He not re-create people after death? When the logical answer is yes, why
do they not believe? It is only because they do not want to believe and thus they have closed
their minds and sealed their hearts. If they take a moment out of their indulgences that are
keeping them too pre-occupied and too busy to think and reflect; if they take a little break

from their arrogance, jealousy and selfishness; and if they tolerate a little discomfort for
something they are not already conditioned to; they will see the light and come to the
guidance of Islam.

Therefore do admonish, for you are
only an admonisher.
You are not a
warder over them.
As for the one
who turns away and disbelieves,
Allaah will punish him with the
greatest punishment.
Surely to Us is
their return,
then certainly upon Us
is their reckoning.

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Considering the aforementioned factors, the Prophet should continue to give the message so
that anyone who opens his mind a little will have a chance to find the guidance. If they do not
open their minds, the Prophet is neither responsible nor accountable for their close-
mindedness. He should do his job of delivering the message without worrying about the
results. That is not his responsibility. Thus, if someone opens his heart and adopts the
guidance, good for him. If not, Allaah will deal with him as mentioned in verses 24-26.

89 Al-Fajr
Name and Background

The first word of the Soorah was adopted as its name, indicating the Soorah in
which Fajr (Dawn) has been mentioned.

This Soorah was revealed in Makkah when the Prophet’s call was being
strongly rejected by the Makkans, the Day of Judgment was being vehemently
denied and the Makkan opposition had taken the form of physical and mental
abuse and persecution of Muslims.

The theme of the Soorah is the accountability of man on the Day of Judgment
to Allaah SWT for the test each person is going through in this world. People
are being encouraged to reflect upon the simple, natural phenomena around
them to rationally understand the inevitability of the Day of Judgment.
Additionally, three historical examples have been given in the Soorah to show
the Makkans how Allaah holds nations accountable and why the Day of
Judgment is essential to hold individuals accountable. The mention of the
destruction of three earlier nations also served as a warning to the Makkans
that if they continued to oppose the Prophet, they should be ready to face
destruction as well.

The previous two Soorahs talked about giving respite to the opponents of the
Islamic mission, the examples of three destroyed nations in this Soorah
identify the limit when that respite expires.

Teachings and Commentary

In the name of Allaah, the Most Gracious,
the Most Merciful.

Ο`.· ´<¦ ≈´Η-¯,l¦ ΟŠ>¯,l¦
This is also one of those Soorahs that begin with oaths, inviting us to think about and draw
conclusions from four common phenomena we all come across in our daily lives.

By the dawn,
the ten nights,
even and the odd,
and the night
when it departs --
is there not a
strong evidence in them for anyone
who has wisdom?

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,.´θl¦´ρ ∩⊂∪ ≅‹l¦´ρ ¦Œ| ¸.„ ∩⊆∪ ¯≅δ ’·
il≡Œ ˎ· “%! ,>¬ ∩∈∪
There have been a variety of opinions about the items used for oaths in these verses.
Although some of the opinions are attributed to the Prophet, none of those opinions has
been reported from him. Had there actually been an explanation given by the Prophet
himself, no companion or scholar would have dared to express his own opinion in variance
with the explanation given by him. The differences of opinion that exist arise mostly from the
psychological hang-ups whereby people try to find some “sanctity” or “holiness” in the items
used for the oath. The difference of opinion is easily sorted out, if two points are understood
about the Qur-aanic oaths: Firstly, the items used for oaths provide evidence for the message
of the statement that follows the oath or of the Soorah as a whole. In other words, if the
readers reflect upon the items used for oaths, that reflection will provide logical, rational
evidence explaining, clarifying or supporting the message being given after the oaths. For that
purpose, the items do not have to have, and normally do not have, any sanctity or holiness
attached to them. Rather, they are ordinary items that have a logical connection to the
subject matter being discussed in the message that follows the oaths. That is why the fifth
verse clearly announces, “is there not a strong evidence in them for anyone who has
wisdom?” Secondly, when multiple oaths are used, they are not disparate items having no
link with each other. Rather, they are always closely related items that are interlinked
logically and cohesively. For example, the items used would not be a mix of both winds and
, or mixing matters of Ŝalaah (such as Salaatul Witr) with ten nights of Ramadhaan or
Dzul Hijjah and other unrelated matters, as in this Soorah. In a series of oaths, all items
belong to one category and they cohesively provide logical and rational evidence related to
the message delivered after the oaths.

As in An-Naaz‘aat and Al-Mursalaat

Now if we look at this Soorah, its message is about the inevitability of the end of the world
and the advent of the Hereafter. It was revealed when the Prophet was inviting the Makkans
to believe in the Hereafter. However, instead of believing, they were aggressively opposing
his mission and message. This Soorah was revealed to reiterate and reemphasize the belief in
the Hereafter, and the oaths were used to help them understand that message and to
provide rational points in support of that theme. For that purpose, the four items presented
for reflection are:

1. Dawn, which is a transitory time when the darkness of night is giving way to the
brightness of the day, and People are getting up after a death-like sleep.

2. ‘Ten nights’ refer to each of the three ten-night portions of the month. If a lunar
month is divided into three parts, the middle 10 nights are bright with all the beauty
of moonshine. These nights of glory are surrounded on both sides by 10 nights of
relative darkness. The picture brought to our minds by the phases of the moon is
that of a gradual rise to fullness and then a gradual fall to nothingness.

3. The odd and even are the odd and even dates of a month signifying the passage of
time and the gradual movement of our lives from one stage to the next as well as a
gradual aging of the universe.

4. The departing night underscores that dawn is about to break.

Thus, all of the four items are indicators and identifiers of the passage of time and are based
on the functioning of our solar and lunar systems. Allaah SWT has presented these four items
for thinking people to reflect and be able to relate logically to the belief in the Hereafter.
Some of the evidence drawn from these examples can be the following:

• The functioning of the solar system, with all its planets and their satellites, that
provides us the concept of time and regulates our lives is consistent, systematic and
coordinated. Hence, the natural world we live in is not something that has come into
being or is functioning in a haphazard way. It is a planned creation that is well
regulated and strictly abides by the laws of nature dictated by its Wise Creator.
Otherwise, the consistent, systematic and coordinated functioning over billions of
years would not have been possible. The Creator, Who created the whole universe
when there was nothing before, is fully capable of destroying it and re-creating it as
He likes; and the One Who created us the first time is more than capable of
resurrecting us for the second, but eternal, life.

• Like everything else in this temporary world, this world itself is going to end one day.
With the continuous passage of time, the universe is moving from its origin to its
destiny (its end and recreation). Although it appears static, the universe is gradually
but steadily approaching its end and its end will appear like dawn appears out of the
static looking night. Just before dawn, the darkness of night appears to be settled,
not going anywhere; but then dawn appears and quickly changes into a bright day.

By the same token, this world seems to be permanent, but then suddenly its end will
come and the Hereafter will be here like a bright day, for everyone to see with
certainty. That is when we will be awoken from our sleep (resurrected). To raise us
from the dead is as easy for Allaah as His providing in our nature the mechanisms for
sleeping at night, as if dead, and awakening in the morning.

• Things happen in this world gradually like the phases of the moon. Nothing happens
instantly and abruptly. Even when something appears to happen suddenly, like the
day break, behind the scene, it has been coming gradually. Because people do not
feel the world gradually moving towards its destiny, they should not think that it will
not happen. It is approaching its fate and it will then end suddenly. In fact, not much
time is left in its life in the present form. If we consider the age of the universe and
its remaining age, the situation is exactly like a departing night. Like people looking
outside into the darkness just before dawn seldom realize how close the end of the
night is, people of this world do not realize how close the end of this world is. The
departing night reminds us that the end is a lot closer than it appears.

• What we observe in the natural phenomena also applies to nations. The condition of
nations also changes gradually in phases and stages. Very many nations rose,
became powerful, rebelled against Allaah and assumed that their power and glory
was going to last forever and Allaah was not going to put an end to their arrogance
and corruption. Then their end appeared out of nowhere, or that is how it seemed.
The Makkans should not think of themselves as an exception to this rule. If the
Makkans have been given respite and their destruction is not happening instantly,
they should not be fooled by it. If they do not listen to the Prophet and repent, they
will assuredly meet their end.

The next section gives historical examples indicating that when nations collectively become
rebellious, committing excesses and spreading corruption, they are destroyed and their stay
on this earth is cut short. This is further evidence that Allaah SWT is watching people’s
behaviour and that He holds people accountable for it. However, cutting their stay short only

The incidence of the end of the world being close at hand was once explained by the Prophet ŝall-
Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam by raising his two adjoining fingers and saying, “I and the End (As-Saa’ah) are
like this.” Someone may wonder then why it has not happened for 1,400 years? Such questions arise
when we do not consider matters in proper perspective. To do so, let us consider the age of the
universe. According to latest estimates by scientists, it ranges from 13 to 16 billion years, where
fourteen (14) billion years can be considered as the most likely age. If we take a ratio of fourteen
hundred years against fourteen billion years (1,400:14 billion), it comes to 0.0000001. For the sake of
argument, let us assume that it does not happen for another 1,400 years -- even then it is 0.0000002 of
the age of the universe. Thus in terms of Allaah’s calendar and from Allaah’s perspective, the proximity
of the end of the world and the Prophet’s time is very accurately expressed by the two joined fingers or
by the departing night. We must realize that the current state of the universe is like a full term pregnant
woman that can deliver its baby at any time. Thus the end of the world may be here sooner than we

stops them from committing more crimes. It does not punish the individuals for the crimes
they have already committed. In addition, it does not punish the crimes of those who died
their natural death before the destruction of their nation occurred. Thus a Day of Judgment is
inevitable to punish them individually for their crimes.

Have you not considered how your
Lord dealt with:
• ‘Aad
of Iram, who had lofty
the like of whom were
not created in the lands;

Thamood who had carved
out the rocks in the Valley;

Fir‘own (Pharaoh), the
possessor of the stakes?
They were those who had
committed grave excesses in the lands
and multiplied corruption in them.
Consequently, your Lord unleashed
the whip of punishment on them.

Certainly, your Lord is ever on the

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Not only did Allaah SWT create this universe, but He is also fully in control of its affairs. He is
not the Cause of causes oblivious to the ongoing functioning of the Universe and its
inhabitants. He keeps a close eye on what is happening in this world. He lets human beings
enjoy the freedom He has bestowed upon them until the abuse of that freedom wreaks such
havoc on the Earth that a thorough clean up is needed. Like a gardener, He likes to see
beautiful plants and flowers flourish. But when the weeds take over the garden and the
plants of beauty succumb to the weeds, He exterminates the problem weeds so that beautiful
plants can grow and flourish again.

This clean up action was not taken as long as the people who chose to practice obedience to
Allaah had freedom to do so. If the evil became so dominant that people did not have real
freedom to make their choices except to succumb to the evil, an immediate action became
necessary so that the new generations of human beings were fully able to make their
independent choices.

In this Soorah, Allaah SWT has given us three examples where He chose to clean up the evil:

• The first example is that of people of ‘Aad. They were the descendants of Iram son of
Sam (Shem), son of Nooh (Noah). They were the most developed and powerful
nation of their time. They excelled in architecture and construction. They were the
first people to build high pillars in their buildings. The attribute “there were none
other like them in the world” can be attributed to the people or to their architectural
use of pillars. Either way, it describes their unparalleled glory.

• Thamood were the people of Quraa valley (Wadi-al-Quraa). This nation developed
from the remnants of the ‘Aad. Again, they were a powerful and advanced nation.
Their specialty was the carving and sculpting of huge houses and spacious palaces in
the mountains.

• Pharaohs and the Egyptian civilization do not need an introduction. Here the Qur-
aan mentions ‘stakes’ as their special attribute. This, possibly, is for two reasons:
Firstly, their pyramids have been alluded to as stakes in the ground; and secondly,
when their large armies used to camp, it was an impressive sight because in every
direction you would see rows and rows of the stakes of their tents. Considering that
Allaah SWT has also used ‘stakes’ for the mountains and considering that the first
two instances are that of lofty construction, ‘stakes’ represent pyramids here.

All three civilizations were destroyed by Allaah SWT because of their transgression and
rebellion to Allaah SWT. The details of their destruction have been given in other places in the
Qur-aan. Here they are being mentioned to underscore the point that Allaah is watching what
is going on in this world. If He is not visible, it does not mean that He is not concerned about
what people do. The Arabic word used for His watching literally means to be in ‘ambush’,
because He is actively watching but invisible. He will finally take action and do perfect justice
by rewarding and punishing everyone according to their deeds.

The mention of their destruction also serves as a warning to the Makkans that if they do not
repent and follow the Prophet, they should be prepared for their decimation.

The Qur-aan is the only book in the world that mentions the destruction of a city that was
characterized by lofty pillars, was one of a kind in its glory and architecture and was inhabited by the
people of ‘Aad. Although Arabs were aware of the extinction of the people of ‘Aad, no book, folklore or
tradition had ever mentioned the pillars other than the Qur-aan. First, in 1973, excavation of an ancient
city, Eblus, in Syria yielded cuneiform writings on clay tablets. These tablets indicated that the residents
of Eblus used to do business with the residents of Iram. Then, in February of 1992, the evidence of the
city was provided by a startling discovery in the area where the people of ‘Aad used to live. A team of
four people, Nicholas Clapp, George Hedges, a British explorer Ranulph Fiennes, and a researcher from
Southwest Missouri State University in Springfield, Juris Zarines, with the help of sand-penetrating-radar
images taken by the Challenger Shuttle discovered a five thousand (5,000) year old city buried under
hundreds of feet of sand. The initial dig uncovered an octagonal castle (a complex of buildings) with
eight pillars thirty (30) feet (9 meters) high.

As far as individual accountability is concerned, Allaah SWT has warned people time and again
that every moment of a person’s life in this world is a test, regardless of the circumstances a
person is living under. When Allaah SWT mentions punishment of nations, it should not be
confused with individuals. Allaah SWT does not reward or punish individuals in this world;
their accountability will be on the Day of Judgment. Only nations are punished by cutting
short the lives of their members, but the individual accountability remains to be held on the
Day of Judgment. Often people confuse the two and derive the wrong conclusions. The next
section clarifies this point.

Human tendency is that when his
Lord tests him by bestowing honour
and favours, he feels, “My Lord has
honoured me”.
But when He tests
him by restricting his provisions for
him, he assumes, “My Lord has
disgraced me”.

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Allaah SWT has given us freedom to make choices in our daily lives. This freedom comes with
the responsibility to make the sensible choices which are in line with His commandments. Our
test is whether we fulfill our responsibility of making the right choices and decisions or not,
and on the Day of Judgment, that is what each person will be judged upon. Naturally, people
have different roles to play in differing circumstances and thus are faced with making
different choices. In fact, there are as many different situations and different circumstances
as the number of people in the world. Everyone is unique in his/her situation. Our test is on
how well we deal with and what kind of choices we make in the given roles, circumstances,
and situations each of us finds himself/herself in.

People generally tend to assign certain value, quality or status to certain situations. Those
presumed values may be important from the perspective of our life in the world, but are
totally irrelevant to the test. Rich and poor, healthy and sick, able-bodied and handicapped,
leader and the follower, governor and the governed, everyone is in the test in respect of
his/her given situation. Everyone, in his/her respective situation, has perfectly equal
opportunity to do good or bad in the test. No one has an advantage or disadvantage over
anyone else. Being the Master who is Ultimate in Knowledge, Wisdom and Justice, He has
ensured that evaluation is fair, just and equitable for everyone.

Often, because of the confusion caused by the values people assign to different situations,
they may think that a rich person is being rewarded by Allaah SWT or a poor person is being
disfavoured by Allaah SWT. These verses negate such misconceptions. The normal events of
life are neither a reward nor a punishment from Allaah SWT. Every situation is just a test and
must be taken as such. The reward or punishment will be decided on the Day of Judgment on

the basis of the evaluation, whether the rich person did what he was supposed to do and the
poor did what he was supposed to do, or not.

To people who do not consider the life of this world as a test, the world is an end in itself.
They can hardly maintain a balanced, constructive attitude in any given circumstances. If they
are wealthy or have good experiences in life, they usually become proud, arrogant and
greedy. They consider themselves to be very special people. They develop a superiority
complex and live a life of extravagant pomp and show, while becoming stingy in terms of
helping the poor. If they happen to live with poverty or any other kind of difficult
circumstances, they get depressed, pessimistic, whiny, desperate, destructive, or resort to
adopting illegal or immoral ways to fulfil their needs. Incidence of any unhappy event in their
life seems the end of the world to them. On the other hand, the people who truly believe in
Allaah and the Day of Judgment, are humble, down to earth, charitable and appreciative in
good times. In bad times, they are content, patient, positive and constructive while trying
their best. They try to be their best in any good or bad circumstances and maintain a balanced

There can be a perception that although both poverty and richness are test situations, the
test with wealth is easier then the test with poverty. In terms of life of this world, it appears
to be so, but in terms of the Hereafter, it is a very tough test indeed. Considering what is
expected of the people of means, they have a lot more chances and possibilities of failing
than the have-nots.

For a well-to-do or wealthy individual to succeed in the test, he or she must acquire that
wealth through pure and clean ways. The person should never think that he/she is in any way
better than other people, and should not create classes or barriers between people in the
society. Even the poorest and the most vulnerable members of the society should be
accorded full respect and dignity. The rich person must remember that the wealth bestowed
on him is a trust from Allaah SWT, that it must be spent the way Allaah SWT wants it to be
spent, and that it must be shared extensively with the people who do not have as much. This
sharing must be done without any feeling of superiority or any connotation as if a favour is
being done to the people thus helped. It should be done with the spirit that the poor have a
right in the rich person’s wealth. The rich person must also urge other rich friends he knows
to do the same. Unfortunately, the deniers of the life Hereafter start looking down upon the
vulnerable members of the society and develop ardent miserliness and love for their wealth.
Rather than sharing as much as it should be done, they want to accumulate more and more
for themselves. The greed sets in and they start increasing their wealth by any means possible
regardless of whether the means are ethical or not. In so doing, they even exploit the poor
and create such circumstances that the vulnerable are forced into giving in for the benefit of
the rich. Often, the rich also end up using their influence to cut off the support for the people
who are a ‘burden on the society’.

One reason the Makkans were oblivious to the accountability of the Hereafter was that they
thought that if Allaah had given them wealth and power, He must be happy with them. Thus,

if there would be any Hereafter, they would still be successful. These verses debunked their
baseless assumptions. The next section indicates how badly they were failing their test.

Of course not! But, you do not
treat the orphan with respect,
do not encourage one another to
feed the poor,
you devour the
whole inheritance greedily,
you love the wealth immensely.

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šχθ‘.‾≈>´ ’ls Θ!-L _.>`.ϑl¦ ∩⊇∇∪
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šχθ™.>´´ρ Α!ϑl¦ !'.`> !´ϑ > ∩⊄⊃∪
“Of course not” negates the human tendency whereby people consider their circumstances
as manifestations of Allaah’s approval or disapproval. It also debunks the Makkan’s wishful
thinking that they had wealth and influence because Allaah liked them. The rest of the verses
list their failings in the test, indicating how badly they are doing and how deeply they are
going to be in trouble in the Hereafter. The devouring of inheritance is mentioned especially
because the powerful people of the family used to usurp the inheritance of their deceased
family members, depriving the weak heirs of their fair share or even any share at all. Women
and orphans, who needed the most help, were deprived the most. Islam corrected the
situation with its clear, emphatic commandments, but unfortunately many so-called Muslims
still disregard the Islamic law and deprive women, the weak heirs and orphans of their rightful

Thus, instead of being deceived by their wishful thinking, people should re-examine their
lifestyle and their attitudes and start preparing for their success in the Hereafter. The Day of
Judgment is coming and is inevitable, and they will not be able to escape it. They are going to
realize their mistake in this regard when they see it, but at that time it will be too late. Time
to make amends is now, and that is the message of the next section.

Contrary to your wishful
assumptions, imagine when: The
earth will be pounded incessantly to
powder and flattened;
your Lord
will appear, while the angels will be in
ranks, row upon row;
and the hell
that Day will be brought into sight.
That Day every doubting person will
realize; but of what use will be that
He will say, “Would that
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I had provided in advance for this life
of mine!”
Then on that Day, no one will ever
punish as severely as His punishment;
and no one will ever tie up as
strongly as His tying up.

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…«·!.´ρ ‰>¦ ∩⊄∉∪
While reflecting upon the appearance of Allaah SWT, it must be kept in mind that He is
Infinite. The words about His appearing or coming are only meant to convey to us that people
will be able to realize or perceive His presence at that time.

Just imagine the severity of Allaah’s punishment! It is reported from the Prophet ŝall-Allaahu
‘alayhi wa sallam that a few moments in hell will make people completely forget all the
comforts of life they had experienced in this world.

In addition to those who outright reject the belief in the Hereafter, there are others who
consider the idea logical and plausible, but they do not get serious about it. Because it does
not affect their life at hand, they are careless about it. Hence, their fate would not be any
different from the deniers. Unfortunately, when the Day of Judgment arrives right in front of
their eyes, they will be distressed for not being ready for it. To their despair, it will be too late.

The successful and happy people will be only those who lived on earth such that they were
fully convinced of the reality of the Hereafter, were totally content and at peace with their
faith in Allaah SWT and were excited about being His slaves, free of any doubts or
reservations. As a result, they were steadfast in their obedience to Allaah SWT, taking the
best approach according to the guidance of Allaah SWT in all good and bad circumstances.
Because of these attributes, they have been called “content and at peace with faith” in the
next verse. They will be joyous and well pleased with Allaah SWT for the rewards He will
bestow on them. They will be welcomed in the Gardens of the eternal bliss. Allaah SWT will
be pleased with them for the excellent quality of the choices they made in good times and
bad times.

The virtuous believers will be told,
“O you who were content and at
peace with your faith,
return to
your Lord well-pleased, well-pleasing;
join My true slaves
and enter
into My Paradise.”

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This is what every believer would like to hear and should strive for! That sums up the vision of
a Muslim and the description of what the success of a Muslim looks like. That is a Muslim’s
goal of life.

90 Al-Balad
Name and Background

The name of the Soorah is from its first verse wherein Al-Balad (the city),
referring to the city of Makkah, has been used as an oath.

Revealed in the early stages of the mission in Makkah, this Soorah debunks
the Makkan “psychology of privilege” and stresses upon the obligation of
“haves” to help the “have-nots”. It also makes it clear that this responsibility is
an integral part of the personality of a Muslim. Although this is a difficult path,
this is the path that leads to success in the Hereafter. Making such difficult
choices is the essence of the test of people in this life. Thus, in terms of its
theme, this Soorah is akin to and a twin of the previous Soorah, Al-Fajr.

Teachings and Commentary

In the name of Allaah, the Most Gracious,
the Most Merciful.

Ο`.· ´<¦ ≈´Η-¯,l¦ ΟŠ>¯,l¦

Like Soorah Al-Qiyaamah, this Soorah also starts with “No!” negating the views that were
being expressed by the Makkans at that time in response to the call of the Prophet ŝall-
Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. This style of negating wrong views at the outset is pertinent when
the correct views have already been amply explained but the audience refuses to listen. Thus,
before providing further support for or more explanation of the correct views, a clear
message is given that although their views are so baseless that no further evidence or
explanation needs to be given, it is being provided in the hope that it may be helpful to some
of the audience.

The Islamic message that the Prophet had so far presented and emphasized repeatedly was
that: This life is a test and based on their performance in this test, people will be rewarded or
punished in the Hereafter. To perform well, people must worship Allaah alone and excel in
their behaviour, especially in helping the orphans, poor, vulnerable and downtrodden
members of the society. Disbelief, selfishness and miserly behaviour will incur Allaah’s wrath
and punishment. In reaction to this Islamic message, the Makkan stance was that:

• There is nothing wrong with our lifestyle that the Prophet’s mission needs to correct;
rather, our lifestyle is one of the best, if not the best;
• There is no life Hereafter, hence, we must enjoy the life of this world to its fullest;
• Our wealth, power and influence in the Arabian society are indicative of Allaah’s
approval of our views.

“No!” at the beginning of the Soorah, negates these notions and then the Soorah continues to
provide supporting points for the Islamic message.

No! I swear by this city –
of which
you (O Muĥammad) are a resident –
and by the father and his offspring
that We certainly have created man
to bear hardships.

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In these verses “the city of Makkah” and “the father and his offspring” have been presented
as witnesses for the statement that “We certainly have created man to bear hardships.”

The Makkans knew the history of their city well. It was an uninhabited, arid and barren valley
devoid of any vegetation, surrounded by similarly barren mountains. The inhabitants of the
surrounding areas were nomads who were living a life of extreme hardship and were not
accustomed to law, order, justice or peace -- every family or clan was to fend for themselves.
Then, Ibraheem peace be upon him who was persecuted for his faith in Islam and thus was
forced to leave his home, came and settled his wife and infant son, Ismaa‘eel, in this desolate
place. The family went through the severest tests and hardships for the sake of Allaah and for
establishing the Islamic way of life. The father and the son built the Holy Ka’bah to be the
place of worshipping Allaah exclusively and to be the centre for the Islamic movement of
justice, peace and excellence for everyone in the world. It was for the reward of their efforts
and hardships that Allaah made Makkah an island of peace within the Arabian strife and
bloodshed and made the Ka‘bah a centre of devotion for all Arabs. This in turn became a
source of wealth and power for the Makkans who were respected by the rest of the Arabs for
being the keepers of the Ka’bah and its sanctuary. It was for the accomplishments and status
of Ibraheem and Ismaa‘eel that the Arabs felt proud to be their descendents. Thus, father and
offspring may refer to Ibraheem and Ismaa‘eel or Ismaa‘eel and his descendents (the
Makkans and other Arabs). Some people think because the “father and his offspring” are
mentioned in general terms, they may refer to Adam and his progeny, but this interpretation
lacks relevance to the city and to the Makkan’s economic and social situation, which are the
subject of discussion.

The point being made is that human life is designed to be a struggle and hardship. The human
struggle for survival starts from the moment of its conception and continues till death,

including the moment of one’s birth. As adults, people get only what they strive for. Nothing
can be accomplished without strife and hardship. Everyone has to deserve what they have by
working for it, otherwise what they have is lost in due course. The nature of each person’s
struggle is different, yet it is the same hardship nonetheless. The poor and the wealthy, the
unknown heroes and the famous celebrities, the leaders and the followers, the powerful and
the weak, the arrogant and the meek, everyone has their own struggle and their own
hardship. And everyone thinks their hardship is the toughest! From among all the hardships
that people undertake, there is one hardship that Allaah approves and rewards – the hardship
that is endured for being obedient to Allaah in the Islamic way, worshipping Allaah SWT
exclusively and establishing justice, peace and excellence in human society where every
weak, deprived and distressed person is attended to, respected and taken care of. That is
what Ibraheem and Ismaa‘eel dedicated their lives for and that is why the Holy Ka‘bah was
built and why Makkah was founded. Thus, if the Makkans do not join the Prophet in
undertaking the same mission as was undertaken by Ibraheem and his son, they will be
deprived of the status they now enjoy and they will be destroyed as they are being warned.
Their current status is not their birthright. What they are benefitting from has been Allaah’s
merciful response to the du‘aas of Ibraheem; otherwise Makkah would have been as desolate
as it was before Ibraheem. And Allaah’s response to Ibraheem’s du‘aa was conditional, being
only applicable to those who follow Ibraheem’s path. As they (the Makkans) are not following
Ibraheem’s path any more, they do not deserve those benefits. Thus, let it be clear, Allaah
does not approve of their current lifestyle.

In between the oaths by “this city” and by “the father and his offspring”, a parenthetical
comment has been made about the Prophet ŝall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam being a resident of
the city. His example is actually very pertinent to the points being made and his whole life
was in front of the Makkans as evidence. The Prophet had the most challenging life, being
born an orphan and losing one guardian after the other in his childhood. Then, on the basis of
his integrity and hard work, he became one of the richest people of the city. On the moral
side, he became the most excellent person ever known in human history. He became the
biggest supporter of the weak and downtrodden people of the society helping them
financially, morally, physically, in every way possible. And now he is making selfless sacrifices
and enduring abuses for exactly the same mission for which Ibraheem made his sacrifices

People have translated/interpreted verse 2 about the Prophet in three different ways: The most
common one is that it refers to his residence in the city. People have differed in explaining the
significance of his residence, but the “residence” is what majority of the translators and commentators
have adopted. The people with the mindset that the oath must have been for the sanctity of Makkah,
think that his residence has added more honour to the city. The second opinion is that Makkan
sanctuary will be made lawful for him on the day when he conquers Makkah. But this interpretation has
no relevance to the subject matter of the Soorah or of the statement for which the oath was taken. Also
there is no reason or occasion at the very early stage of the mission for talking about an occasion when
the sanctity will be lifted for him for one day, especially when there has been no hint of him even having
to leave the city. The third opinion is that although the city is a sanctuary and place of peace for even
plants and animals, the abuse of the Prophet has been made lawful by the Makkans. Although this
interpretation is more plausible than the second one, it still does not fit with the theme of the Soorah –
taking the difficult path of helping the vulnerable elements of the society.

People who become established in their societies as rich and powerful start assuming that
they are the masters of their own destiny and Allaah SWT has no relevance in their lives. The
freedom that Allaah has granted people deceives them and they forget that by giving
freedom to people He has not given up control of the affairs of His creation. When letting
them use their freedom, He still watches them and will hold them accountable for the way
that freedom was used. The Makkans had also forgotten that Allaah, Who made it possible
for them to reap the benefits from the mercy bestowed on their forefathers, will be holding
them accountable and He can take the benefits away anytime if He so wills. The next verse
raises that question for such people’s reflection.

Does he think that no one has power
over him?
He says, “I have
squandered piles of money!”
he think that no one has seen him?

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Rich people spend piles of money on pomp and show: on huge lavish parties, on huge
mansions and luxury cars, on extravagant functions on the birthdays and weddings of their
children, etc. Depending upon their means, such expenditure may even include the biggest
luxury ships and aeroplanes with gold fixtures. These are the kinds of expenditures they can
boast about and which make them famous and praised in their social circles and in the press
and media. When it comes to charitable works or helping the poor, they give a pittance
compared to their net worth and even that, they often do to be noticed and praised. When
they are asked to provide more help to the needy, their normal refrain is that they
themselves are under huge financial burden and that they cannot support every charity and
that they have already spent in charity so much that they cannot afford any more, etc.
Makkans were the same way. They thrived on holding parties that would be praised
everywhere, while poor people would be dying of hunger right under their nose, but they
would find it difficult to spare money to help them. “I have squandered piles of money!”
expresses both points: bragging about their pomp and show and well as their alleged huge
financial burden that precludes them from spending more money on the poor.

Verse 7 warns all such people that Allaah SWT is watching and He knows exactly what
percentage of their wealth is being wasted on luxury, pomp and show and what percentage is
being used to help the needy.

The next section mentions some of the gifts Allaah has bestowed upon human beings and
what they will be held accountable for.

Have We not made for him two
a tongue and two lips?
shown him the two distinct ways?
Yet he did not undertake the uphill
And what will make you
comprehend what the uphill path is?
It is: redeeming someone,
feeding in period of severe hunger,
an orphaned relative
or a poor
person in distress,
while being from
among those who believe and exhort
one another to practise steadfastness
and compassion.
They are the
people of the right hand.

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Allaah SWT has given people eyes so that they observe what is happening around them in the
world and then act accordingly, instead of being pre-occupied with their own affairs. They
should use their eyes to notice those who need help and then help them. They should use
their communication abilities, signified by the tongue and lips, to encourage others to do the
same. That is one way of putting the gifts from Allaah SWT to good use.

The third gift that Allaah SWT has given people is the consciousness and the appreciation of
right and wrong or good and bad that has been built in our psyche. This ability for a person to
judge what is good or bad and to see if the person himself is doing good or bad is what
distinguishes human beings from animals. As a result of this gift, Allaah SWT expects people
to always choose the good option and avoid the bad one. That is what our test in this world is
all about.

It is understood that always choosing the good option is a difficult path. That requires
resisting temptations and making sacrifices. It is an ongoing uphill battle, as compared to
going downhill for which a person does not need to exert, he can just roll down from high
mountain deep into the ditch by the force of gravity (desires and temptations). But those who
want to reach the top need to take the uphill path and exert energy to go up. People who are
on this uphill path have five distinguishing attributes:

• Redeeming people, either by setting slaves free, if any are found in the society, or
helping those who are crushed under the burden of debt or any other liability.
• Feeding orphans and the destitute, the more malnourished or starving they are, the
more urgently they should be helped.

• Being part of a community of believers in Islam. A Muslim must not live isolated from
the community of believers, but live like an organized team. If no team or
community exists, one should be created.
• Encouraging one another to remain steadfast on this difficult path. These good
actions should not be sporadic, but must be done on a consistent and constant basis,
regardless of the difficulties faced. The more challenging the circumstances, the
more steadfastness required.
• Encouraging one another to be compassionate to the vulnerable members of
society. This way, a compassionate, caring and loving environment should be created
in the community.

Those who live by these attributes will be the fortunate ones who will succeed in the
Hereafter and, as a sign of success, they will be given their records of actions in their right
hands. The points to note are that the good deeds will be acceptable to Allaah only when a
person is a believer in Islam; however, being a lonely believer and being personally good is
not enough. A Muslim must be a part of a community of believers; and within that
community, he or she must create an environment where people are encouraged to do good
things on a consistent and constant basis (steadfastly).

Those who disbelieve in the message conveyed by these verses (including those claimants of
belief who do not care or try to acquire the abovementioned qualities) will be the
unfortunate losers:

But those who refuse to believe in
Our revelations, they are the people
of the left hand.
On them will be
Fire vaulted over.

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πϑ↔:ϑl¦ ∩⊇'∪ ¯Νκ¯.ls "‘!Ρ ο‰.σ•Β ∩⊄⊃∪

Being given the deed of actions in one’s left hand is a sure sign of poor choices and trouble.
They will end up in the fire of hell from which there will be no way out.


The following are some examples of how the Prophet ŝall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa
sallam inculcated the theme of this Soorah, and other similar Qur-aanic
teachings, in the minds of the believers:

“The person who sets one believing slave free, Allaah SWT will free his
respective part of the body for every part of the body of the slave thus
freed, limb for limb, part for part.” (Aĥmad, Bukhari, Muslim,
Tirmidzee, Nasaai – from Aboo Hurairah).

“Feed the hungry, visit the sick and seek the release of the captives

“A person who bears the expenses and becomes the fosterer of a
relative or non-relative orphan, he will be with me in Jannah like
this (he raised his two fingers keeping a little distance between
them).” (Bukhari – Suhail Ibn Sa‘d)

“The best household among the Muslims is the one where an
orphan is treated well and the worst household among the
Muslims is the one where an orphan is ill-treated.” (Ibn Maajah,
Bukhari in Adab Al-Mufrid -- Aboo Hurairah)

“Anyone who runs his hand affectionately on the head of an
orphan, he will be awarded as many credits for good deeds as hair
of the child; and whoever treats an orphan well (on a regular basis),
he and I will be like this in Jannah (showing two fingers touching
each other).” (Musnad Aĥmad, Tirmidzee – Aboo Umaamah).

“Anyone who feeds an orphan along with his family, Allaah grants
him Jannah, unless he has committed an unforgiveable crime.”
(Sharĥ As-Sunnah – Ibn ‘Abbas)

A person complained that I am hard-hearted. The Prophet advised
him to start being affectionate to orphans and feeding the poor (to
bring softness in his heart). (Musnad Aĥmad – Aboo Hurairah).

“The person who runs around to fulfil the needs of widows or the
poor people is as if he is continuously performing acts of Allaah’s
worship.” (Bukhari and Muslim – from Aboo Hurairah)

“Anyone who is not kind to children and who does not accord the
elders their rights is not from us (Muslims).” Aboo Dawood –
‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Umar)

“Allaah is not merciful to anyone who is not merciful to people”.
(Bukhari, Muslim – Jareer Ibn ‘Abdullah)

“The Gracious is kind to the merciful persons; be merciful to those
on the earth, the One in the heaven will have mercy on you.” (Aboo
Dawood, Tirmidzi – ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Amr)

Three kinds of person are people of Jannah, one of them being “A
person who is merciful and soft-hearted (kind) to all relatives and
Muslims.” (Muslim – ‘Iyaadh Ibn Ĥimaad)

“You will find Muslims in their mercy, love and empathy to one
another like a human body, when one part of the body is unwell,
the whole body suffers by way of fever and sleeplessness.” (Bukhari
and Muslim – Nu‘maan Ibn Basheer)

“A Muslim is a brother of a Muslim; he is neither unjust to him nor
abandons him. Whoever seeks to fulfil the need of a brother, Allaah
seeks to fulfil his need; whoever removes a trouble from a Muslim,
Allaah will remove his troubles on the Day of Resurrection; and
whoever covers up the weakness of a Muslim, Allaah will cover up
his weaknesses on the Day of Resurrection.” (Bukhari and Muslim –
‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Umar)

91 Ash-Shams
Name and Background

The name of this Makkan Soorah is from its first word Ash-Shams (the sun),
which has been used for an oath.

This Soorah presents a simple, but strong rational case for the inevitability of
Allaah’s Judgment against transgressing nations in this world and disbelieving
individuals in the Hereafter.

In addition, it makes an extremely important point about innate human
psychology in a very concise manner; three short verses (nine words, total).
Allaah SWT has endowed human beings with the consciousness of good and
bad. He has also endowed them with a natural tendency to feel happy and to
like doing good things, while disliking and feeling guilty when doing bad
things. Thus, a sense of right and wrong and a desire to do the right are built
into the human psyche.

With this gift from Allaah SWT, people can use their God-given freedom to
choose one of two options: They can build upon their natural tendency to do
good, and thus, adopt a lifestyle of goodness and pursuit of excellence on an
ongoing basis. In Qur-aanic terminology, this ongoing, continuous effort to
excel is called the process of Tazkiyah, meaning purification and growth --
growing in virtuous beliefs, thoughts and actions while getting rid of bad
views, thoughts, habits and actions. On the other hand, people can also
choose to suppress their natural tendency to do good and bury it under their
corrupt behaviour. Pursuing this option is called Tadsiyah – suppressing,
burying in the ground, or corrupting the natural tendency to do good.

This point links this Soorah to the previous Soorah that also talked about two
paths that people can choose from. To ensure that people properly grasp this
important point and shift their paradigms accordingly, it is further discussed in
the next Soorah, which is the twin to this Soorah in terms of this common

Teachings and Commentary

In the name of Allaah, the Most Gracious,
the Most Merciful.

Ο`.· ´<¦ ≈´Η-¯,l¦ ΟŠ>¯,l¦

This Soorah starts with seven oaths that invite people to reflect upon the signs in the natural
phenomena that they observe on a daily basis, as well as upon the signs in the human psyche

By the sun and its radiance;
by the
moon as it appears after it;
by the
day as it makes it conspicuous;
the night as it conceals it;
by the
heaven and how amazingly He
constructed it;
by the earth and how
usefully He spread it;
by the human
being and how wonderfully He
optimized him,
then inspired him
with consciousness of his wickedness
and his piousness;
successful indeed
is he who grows himself in excellence,
while failed indeed is he who
corrupts himself.

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The Arabic word used to describe the moon’s appearance after the sun is set is Talaahaa,
which can mean “to follow physically”, or “to follow instructions” or “to follow something in
the order of occurrence”, i.e., “appearing right after”. Here it refers to the order or timing of

While reading these verses for reflection, a point to keep in mind, which we have pointed out in this
commentary before as well, is that the Qur-aan is not a book of science or astronomy. It is a book of
guidance. Hence the phraseology it uses while presenting the natural phenomena for reflection is such
that delivers maximum benefit for imparting guidance to all kinds of people; not such that is meant for
teaching science or astronomy. Despite this perspective, many accomplished scientists find the Qur-
aanic statements miraculously appealing to their intellect. Some examples have been mentioned in the
commentary on Soorahs At-Ŧaariq and elsewhere.

its visibility for the public to see
. Similarly, “the day’s making the sun conspicuous” and
“the night’s hiding it” are also from the same perspective of public observation.

The optimization of human beings refers to giving them the physical bodies, senses, intellect,
memory, logical reasoning, conscience, desires, psychology, etc. that was best suited for them
to take over the dominion of earth as Allaah’s vicegerents.

These oaths are presenting us with the following observations:

• The first six oaths demonstrate that there is a binary set up in nature – sun-moon,
day-night, heaven-earth. This principle applies to the universe as a whole as well.
Implicit in these oaths is the message that this world is paired with another one
called the Hereafter that will follow it and replace it. This point about the Hereafter
has not been explicitly mentioned because it was an actively debated topic at that
time and the audience in Makkah could automatically link it to the ongoing

• Each member of the pair complements the other member. For example, day and
night complement each other. Without one, the other cannot fully sustain human
life on earth. Similarly, if we consider the world in isolation of the Hereafter, the life
of the world does not make sense due to the problems, difficulties, imperfections,
injustices, cruelty, sickness, famines, disasters, and human suffering. Death itself
seems to be unfair and cruel. But when we keep the temporary nature of this world
in view and see it from the perspective of the perfect and eternal Hereafter where
perfect justice will be carried out for everyone, a clear and sensible picture emerges
that shows the profundity of the plan and demonstrates Allaah’s kindness and mercy
for human beings. By the same token, this temporary world complements the
Hereafter by providing the practical grounds and evidence to segregate people into
those to be rewarded and those to be punished, so that no one can challenge the
judgement awarded and so that justice is not only done, but is also seen to be done.

• The marvels and wonders of Allaah demonstrated by the constitution of heaven,
spread of earth and optimized capacities and capabilities of human beings indicate
two things: Allaah’s infinite Power and Capability which He can easily use to destroy
and recreate as and when He likes; and, He has not done these wonderful things for
human beings without a purpose; He is going to hold them accountable for their use.

• Like the binary set up of the physical world, human actions can also be either good
or bad. Allaah SWT has endowed the human psyche with the consciousness of good
and bad, along with the natural tendency that people feel happier doing good things
while they dislike and feel guilty doing bad things. Similar to the physical world

For the sake of clarification, it will be useful to mention that even if someone insists on taking this
verse to mean physically following, the statement remains valid because all of the sun’s planets and
their satellites follow along in its rotation around the centre of the galaxy.

where each item of the pair has different attributes, the consequences of the good
actions and bad actions are totally different, as is the impact of each class of actions
on society and on the doer himself/herself.

• It is inconceivable that Allaah will not hold people accountable after granting them
an innate sense of good and bad. If it did not matter to Allaah whether people do
good or bad in their lives, why would he grant them that sense? Thus, collective
accountability in this world and individual accountability in the Hereafter is

• People who grow in their natural tendency to do good and continue trying on an
ongoing basis to excel in goodness are those who succeed in this world and in the
Hereafter. Those who suppress their natural tendency to do good and bury it under
their corrupt behaviour, ruin their peace of mind in this world and will be subjected
to severe punishment in the Hereafter.

The second section mentions a historical incident of the destruction of Thamood as an
example of Allaah’s judgment in this world of the nations who collectively chose to do wrongs
in defiance of Allaah and His messenger. Thamood were a people who were destroyed for
their transgressions as punishment by Allaah SWT. Their destroyed territory was closest to
Makkah as compared to some other destroyed nations. Arabs were generally aware of their
story and their poets had referred to their story in their poetry. Hence a brief reference was
enough to make the point.

Thamood denied (the truth) due to
their rebellious transgression.
their meanest wretch defiantly rose
the messenger of Allaah told
them, “Be warned about Allaah’s she-
camel and her turn to drink!”
rejected his warning and hamstrung
her; therefore their Lord brought
down upon them destruction for their
sin and levelled them (with the

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Allaah SWT had sent Saalih peace be upon him as His messenger to the nation of Thamood.
He invited them to Islam but they rejected him and his message. He warned them of Allaah’s
anger and punishment if they continued to reject his call. They demanded a miracle. Allaah
SWT created a she-camel as a miracle and appointed it as a test for them. They were told
• This she-camel will graze freely wherever she wants; and

• The water of their city will be dedicated for her drinking every alternate day. Only on
the other days would they be allowed to let their own animals drink.
• Any action to stop or hurt her will trigger Allaah’s punishment and their destruction.

To put an end to the test, they could have repented, believed in Saalih and become Muslims,
while complying with the test in the mean time. Instead, they adhered to the conditions of
the test for a few days, while demanding their chiefs do something about it. On their behest,
the most wretched and wicked of them, Qudaar, killed her by cutting her hamstrings. At this
act of flagrant defiance, they were given a three-day final notice to repent. Once again,
instead of repenting, the council of their nine clan leaders started hatching a plot to kill Saalih
as well. But they did not have a chance to act on that plan. As soon as the three-day notice
period expired, a violent disaster struck them and levelled them completely to the ground.
Although, the she-camel was killed by one person and the plotters were nine leaders,
everyone in their community who condoned or approved those actions was considered guilty
and destroyed.

The threefold message is clear:
• People cannot choose to be corrupt and to practice transgressions without suffering
• Allaah SWT does not tolerate rejection of His messengers. People who reject a
messenger are given adequate opportunity to repent, and if they do not, they are
destroyed. Hence, Makkans were warned, especially their chiefs who might have
been contemplating some such action at that time against the Prophet! Even the
chief instigator who was rallying the other leaders against the Prophet had also been
warned by the specific mention of the “meanest wretch” of Thamood.
• When Allaah’s punishment comes, everyone who participates in, approves of,
condones or remains silent on the behaviour that caused the punishment is
subjected to the punishment.

After mentioning their total destruction, the last verse makes a concluding statement:

And He does not fear any
consequence thereof.

Ÿω´ρ ∃!ƒ† !γ≈.1`s ∩⊇∈∪
This verse must be reflected upon to develop the right concepts about Allaah SWT.

Firstly, the decisions of Allaah SWT are based on His infinite knowledge and absolute wisdom,
so He never has to look back and feel sorry for what He had done, as is sometimes portrayed
in other religious books. For example, the Bible mentions that Allaah feels sorry for what He
has done:

“The LORD saw how bad the people on earth were and that everything they thought
and planned was evil. He was very sorry that he had made them, and he said, "I'll

destroy every living creature on earth! I'll wipe out people, animals, birds, and
reptiles. I'm sorry I ever made them." Genesis 6:5-7

“The smell of the burning offering pleased God, and he said: Never again will I punish
the earth for the sinful things its people do. All of them have evil thoughts from the
time they are young, but I will never destroy everything that breathes, as I did this
time.” Gen. 8:21

Secondly, Allaah’s power is absolute and so is His authority over the whole universe. He does
not have to worry about any consequences of, or anyone’s reactions to, any action He takes.

Both references are from the Contemporary English version.

92 Al-Layl
Name and Background

The name of this Makkan Soorah is also from its first word Al-Layl (the night),
which has been used for an oath.

This Soorah is a twin of the previous Soorah. The previous Soorah mentions
that human psyche has built into it an innate sense of right and wrong.
Human success depends on nurturing the tendency to do good and on
growing in goodness on an ongoing basis, while human failure is caused by
doing otherwise. This Soorah expounds on the salient features of the two
paths, the kind of personality they develop, the destination they take a person
to and the consequence they lead to.

Teachings and Commentary

In the name of Allaah, the Most Gracious,
the Most Merciful.
Ο`.· ´<¦ ≈´Η-¯,l¦ ΟŠ>¯,l¦

This Soorah starts with oaths of night-day and male-female to illustrate differences in two
personalities that emerge from belief and disbelief and the difference in consequences each
of the two faces.

By the night when it enshrouds,
the day when it brightens up and
the astounding
way He created male
and female,
verily your efforts and
their results are different.

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∩⊄∪ !Β´ρ _l> ,´%!¦ ´_.ΡN¦´ρ ∩⊂∪ β|
¯/>´‹-™ _.:l ∩⊆∪

Although this is not the topic of this Soorah, the existence of males and females in Allaah’s creation is
an astounding sign indicating that things did not happen coincidently but everything happened
according to the plan and design of Allaah SWT.

The terms “male and female” should not be considered restricted to human species. Rather,
it refers to two genders in general as found in any of the creatures of Allaah SWT. When
people reflect on the differences of features, attributes and roles between night and day and
between males and females, they should come to realize that this binary division is not
limited to entities that are physically observable, but it applies consistently to other matters
in the universe. As explained in the previous Soorah, it also applies to the current world as
paired with the Hereafter. But most importantly, it applies to human behaviour as well. When
people choose one of the two paths – good and evil, belief and disbelief, right and wrong –
the implications and consequences of their choices cannot be, and are not, the same. The
Arabic word used in verse 4 is Sa‘y, which connotes both efforts as well as the results of the
efforts. Thus the verse is telling us that your efforts lead you to different destinations
depending on the path you choose.

The next section describes three salient attributes of each of the two paths and where each
of them leads.

So anyone who gives (in charity),
avoids Allaah’s displeasure
believes in pursuing excellence,
will facilitate for him the easy end.
But anyone who is stingy (in charity),
considers himself free from need of
and rejects the pursuit of
We will facilitate for
him the difficult end.
And how
will his wealth avail him when he falls
headlong into the Pit!

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_.`.>'!. ∩∉∪ …ν¸¯.´.`Ψ.· “´¸.`.ll ∩∠∪
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_.`.>'!. ∩'∪ …ν¸¯.´.`Ψ.· “´¸.`-ll ∩⊇⊃∪ !Β´ρ
_.-`ƒ «Ζs …`&!!Β ¦Œ| ´“Š,. ∩⊇⊇∪
The three attributes of the first path are:
• Generosity – to spend freely and happily in the way of Allaah to fulfil one’s
obligations to people, to help the needy and to finance the projects of public well-
• Taqwa – the attitude of doing everything and making all decisions and choices in
daily life carefully and cautiously to ensure maximization of Allaah’s pleasure and
avoiding His displeasure; and
• Commitment to excellence – striving to excel in beliefs, motives, ideas, words,
habits, actions, etc. according to the guidance of Islam.

Although living such a lifestyle is difficult and challenging, Allaah SWT makes it easy for a
determined believer, so much so that gradually it becomes second nature and it becomes
easier for him to behave in the abovementioned manner than to do something undesirable.
Because human beings by nature like to do good things, the person does not have to go

against his conscience. In the society, he develops a reputation of integrity and excellence
and earns the respect and cooperation of others. In the Hereafter, he will be judged with easy
accountability and rewarded with an eternal life of ease and enjoyment.

Contrarily, the people on the other path behave in the following manner:

• They are very stingy when it comes to charitable spending or helping the needy,
while they may be spending lavishly on their own luxury or on pomp and show. Even
when they spend on charity, it is done only when they can get some social, political
or tactical benefit out of it.

• While making their day-to-day living decisions, they do not even think of Allaah’s
commands in those matters or what He approves or disapproves. They do not think
that they need any help or guidance from Allaah in their personal or societal affairs
or that God has any role to play in their decision making. They may passionately
perform some rituals in the name of God, but He is completely divorced from their
so-called “carnal” affairs or treated as being irrelevant to their collective public

• Instead of trying to excel in beliefs, thoughts, morals or character, their goal of life is
to maximize their wealth, power and/or influence in the society. They focus on
maximizing the gratification of their personal desires. They are preoccupied with
those activities that, in their view, give them the maximum personal satisfaction and
pleasure. They are willing to sacrifice any ethics, rules or principles in pursuit of the
aforementioned goals.

This kind of lifestyle is counter to the innate human preference to do good. Thus, initially,
their conscience pinches them when they do the kind of things that are not right, but
gradually, it is so suppressed that its pinch is not even felt. As long as their personal interest is
being served, they do not feel guilty in doing anything immoral or unethical. A time comes
when they become so conditioned to doing the wrong things that it becomes more difficult
for them to do a simple act of goodness than committing a huge fraud or crime in which they
figure that they will not be caught. Thus, initially they have to fight their own conscience,
consequently they lose inner peace and contentment, which they try to cure with
medications, alcohol and drugs. In the society, people may accord them protocols out of fear
or expediency, but inside their hearts, they do not command any respect or honour. Their
behaviour causes many social and health problems in the society, instead of promoting
tranquility and health. In the Hereafter, they will be treated like criminals and subjected to
tough accountability and then be subjected to a very difficult and painful punishment that will
last forever.

What they need to reflect on is: What good will be their wealth that they are striving to
maximize, when they will be eternally doomed to the severest punishment in hell?

The next section warns them about the consequences of choosing the wrong path so that
anyone who cares about his/her future can take heed.

Surely, it is incumbent upon Us to
provide guidance,
and both the
Hereafter and the former (world)
belong to Us anyway.
So, I have
warned you of a raging Fire,
wherein will enter only the most
wretched one
who denies and
turns away.

β| !Ψ‹ls “‰γll ∩⊇⊄∪ β|´ρ !´Ζl ο,>ζl
’|ρN¦´ρ ∩⊇⊂∪ ¯/>.¯‘‹Ρ !· ¦´‘!Ρ ‘Ll. ∩⊇⊆∪ Ÿω
!γ9l`.ƒ āω| ’.:N¦ ∩⊇∈∪ “%!¦ ´.‹´
’‾|´θ.´ρ ∩⊇∉∪
Allaah SWT being so kind and merciful has taken upon Himself to offer guidance to people so
that the maximum possible number of human beings can have a good life in this world and in
the Hereafter and be saved from the painful punishment. It is up to people to avail
themselves of this kindness and mercy.

The statement “both the Hereafter and the former (world) belong to Us anyway” makes the
point that whether people follow one path or the other does not make any difference to Him
whatsoever. His sovereignty, authority, power, exaltedness and greatness are not affected
one way or the other. He does all these things only for the good of the humanity as a whole,
which is another aspect of His mercy. This should make people think more deeply about some
other subsidiary aspects of the mercy of Allaah SWT. He owns everything in this world and
the Hereafter, yet He still lets people own and acquire wealth as they choose. He has
complete control over both worlds, but He does not force His will on people. He can punish
them wherever and whenever He wants, but He still gives them respite and opportunity to

The use of the adjective “most wretched one” should not mislead anyone to think only the
worst kind of person will be thrown in the raging fire. First of all, “who denies and turns
away” defines the “most wretched one”. Thus anyone who “denies and turns away” from the
call of a messenger is automatically a “most wretched one”. Secondly, these verses are not
listing the details of how people will be judged and punished, those details have been
provided with ample clarity elsewhere. The objective here is that the people learn the lesson
and purify themselves from the all the wretched attributes mentioned here. Most
importantly, in these verses, the destination of two typical characters walking on two paths is
being contrasted. What should be noticed is the contrast in the lifestyles, the process of
conditioning they go through and where they end up.

A prime example of this character was Aboo Lahab who was a wealthy, extremely stingy and
corrupt man, having all the attributes mentioned above for those who will have the most
difficult end. The details of his corrupt behaviour are included in the commentary on Soorah
Al-Lahab, where Allaah has declared that all his wealth was of no avail to him.

Contrast this wretched character with a God-fearing person, a person with Taqwa, who
strives to avoid Allaah’s displeasure and to maximize His pleasure. The statements about his
motives described in the following verses should especially be noted.

Far removed from it will be the one
with the highest Taqwa
who gives
his wealth to purify and grow in
excellence --
not favouring
someone to be compensated for it,

but only for the pleasure of his
Lord, the Most High.
He will
definitely be pleased.

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’´´”.ƒ ∩⊇∇∪ !Β´ρ ‰>N …ν‰Ψs Β πϑ-Ρ
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∩⊄⊃∪ ∃¯θ. l´ρ _.¯,ƒ ∩⊄⊇∪
This person will be kept so far away from the fire that he will not even hear the slightest
sound of its rage, the roar of which will be audible at great distances. This person generously
gives charity to attain excellence in character, wholly and solely for Allaah’s pleasure. As
against those who give charity for some ulterior motives, he does not expect any worldly
reward or compensation whatsoever. Thus purity of motive, pursuit of Allaah’s pleasure and
excellence in character are the hallmarks of those who adopt the path of Taqwa.

One of the best examples of this behaviour can be found in the behaviour of Aboo Bakr
Siddeeq, may Allaah be pleased with him. When Makkans were severely persecuting helpless
slaves for their acceptance of Islam, to save them from persecution, he would buy them from
their owners and set them free. His father was concerned about his spending money without
any “benefit”. He told him, “Son, I see you are wasting money on weak slaves. If you have to
do so, pick strong young slaves so that they can be a source of strength for you after their
freedom.” Aboo Bakr responded, “Father, I want only the reward that Allaah has.”

Once again, it should be remembered that in these verses Allaah SWT is not giving details of
how He will be judging everyone. Mentioning the “one with the highest Taqwa” does not
mean only such a person will be going to Jannah. In contrast to the wretched character
mentioned in the previous verse, a model Muslim is being mentioned here so that believers
can emulate the personality described.

The last verse may mean that Allaah will be pleased with them or that the person will be
pleased with the rewards and bounties that Allaah will bestow upon him. And both are

93 Adh-Dhuhaa
Name and Background

The name of this Makkan Soorah is from its first word Adh-Dhuhaa (the early
hours of the day when it has brightened up and the appearance of sunlight
has gone from yellowish to whitish.

The objective of the Soorah is to console, support and reassure the Prophet
ŝall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and to give him good news that things are going
to get better and he is going to succeed in his mission. As for the timing of its
revelation, there are two views among exegetes. Thus, some analysis is
needed to determine the most likely timing of this Soorah’s revelation. The
reflection on the contents of the Soorah identifies that it was revealed to
address the following concerns of the Prophet:

• In face of the Makkan opposition to his mission, the Prophet was
feeling lonely and vulnerable. The opposition to the mission seemed to
be insurmountable and success improbable.

• Because the revelations from Allaah were the only source, not only of
solace but also of guidance about how to deal with the circumstances
and what to do next, the Prophet had started to wait for them. But
they were not coming as often as he felt the need for them.

• Because the mission did not seem to be moving forward, and a new
revelation had not come recently, he was very much concerned that
perhaps he had not done a good job or had made some tactical
mistakes along the way, so Allaah is not happy with his work and is
abandoning him.

Through reflection on these points, some scholars conclude that it was
revealed in the early Makkan period. Their assessment is based on the
following analysis: It is a fact that the Prophet used to be a highly honoured
and esteemed person in Makkah. He was greatly respected for his integrity,
truthfulness, trustworthiness, generosity, kindness and wisdom. When Allaah

SWT appointed him to deliver the message of Islam and he embarked on the
mission, suddenly he lost all that respect in the Makkan society. He was
rejected, called crazy and ridiculed by the same people who used to admire
him. This was extremely shocking and disconcerting to him. At the same time,
Allaah SWT, who had commanded him to undertake the mission, was not
sending revelations as frequently as the Prophet would have liked. Especially
on this occasion, there was a long gap in between the communications from
Him. These were the conditions that made the Prophet think in the above-
mentioned terms. Thus, Allaah SWT revealed this Soorah to attend to these
concerns and comfort him.

Other scholars conclude that it must have been revealed much later at the
height of the Makkan opposition, when the opponents were determined to
crush his Islamic movement through propaganda, terror and persecution and
there did not seem to be any way out. It was in those circumstances, that he
needed the most support from the revelations and felt that they were not
coming often enough. And it was then that the Prophet, like victims of abuse,
became concerned that perhaps he was not delivering the message in the
right way causing Makkans to react so viciously and so violently. So he needed
to be reassured repeatedly by Allaah SWT that he was doing his job in the
right manner and that he was not making mistakes in performing his duties.
Rather, the problem was with the opponents, and such reaction from crime-
hardened people was a normal situation for the Islamic movement to face.

We know that the average of the number of verses revealed to the Prophet
during his stay in Makkah is about one verse per day. We also know that
revelations did not come one verse at a time. Many small and long Soorahs
were revealed as complete chapters. This means there were many gaps
between revelations. This also means larger gaps, as the Soorahs became
longer and many of those long Soorahs were revealed as a complete Soorah in
one revelation
. Most likely, after the revelation of the first seven verses of
Soorah Al-Muddaththir, the first few revelations came more frequently and
then the gap between revelations was slowly increased.

Examples are An-Najm 62 verses, Yousuf 111 verses, Younus 109 verses.

Now considering that:

• The style of the Soorah is of the early Makkan style;
• These type of concerns arose in his mind only at the very early days of
• The Qur-aan is for the first time referring to the events in the
Prophet’s pre-prophetic life, and
• Just before the revelation of this Soorah, the gap since the last
revelation must have been unusually long to make the Prophet
concerned. Or possibly, it might have been that since the start of the
revelations, it was the first time for that long a gap.

We concur with the first opinion narrated above that it was revealed at an
early stage of the mission.

In any case, this Soorah provides the support and reassurance to the Prophet
in a very profound manner. Even the Islamic workers who dedicate
themselves to the mission of the Prophet to re-establish Islam in their
societies find this Soorah a source of much needed solace and support for
them as well.

Teachings and Commentary

In the name of Allaah, the Most Gracious,
the Most Merciful.

Ο`.· ´<¦ ≈´Η-¯,l¦ ΟŠ>¯,l¦

This Soorah uses two times of the day to underscore its message. The first one is the morning
time when the sun has risen and its light has really brightened up the morning/day. That is
the time when everyone is up and running for their daily endeavours. The second is the time
at night when it has darkened, the hubbub of activities has stopped and the quietness has
taken hold.

By the early, bright hours of the day
and by the night when it is
peacefully settled,
your Lord has not
forsaken you, nor has He become
And surely what is
coming after is better for you than
what has gone before
and soon your
Lord will give you what you shall be
well pleased with.

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isŠ´ρ i•.´‘ !Β´ρ ’l· ∩⊂∪ ο,>ζl´ρ ¸¯.>
il ´Β ’|ρN¦ ∩⊆∪ ∃¯θ .l´ρ ‹L-`ƒ
i•.´‘ ´_.¸.· ∩∈∪
The example of two points of time in the day have been used illustrate to the Prophet that
just like both daylight and its absence (causing darkness of night) alternate, both are needed
and both play an important role in people’s lives, the same applies to revelations. Periodic
absence of revelation is just a night-like break for you, and not at all a sign of abandonment or
displeasure. Similarly, if you do not see the bright chances of the success of your mission in
the form of more people joining you or are worried about the opposition, then rest assured
that the daylight will come when the number of people joining the mission will accelerate and
opposition will be defeated. The lull in the success of your mission does not indicate that after
being thrown into the mission, you are not being helped, nor is it the case of you not doing
your job properly. The process has to take its natural course and you have to go through the
“night” before the daylight arrives.

The good news is that the things are going to get better eventually. Allaah addresses the
Prophet and reassures him: Stage by stage you will be moving to your success. You will find
every later period better than the former in all respects of your personal and missionary
status. Later in your life, if you would look back, you will be able to see it. In fact your mission
will be so successful that you will be delighted with the results. This will continue after your
death both in this world and in the Hereafter. In this world, the mission will continue to
spread its influence and in the Hereafter what you will have cannot be imagined or described.

Baihaqi has reported from Ibn ‘Abbas that the Prophet said, “I was shown all the victories that
my followers will accomplish after me. I was very pleased with the news. Then Allaah SWT
said that the Hereafter would be even more pleasing to you.”

The news of this pleasing success was given in the early period of the mission. Subsequently,
the whole world has witnessed the truthfulness of this promise and accuracy of the news.
Within a short span of 23 years from the initiation of the Islamic mission to the Prophet’s
death, the whole Arabian Peninsula (from the Southern coast to the borders of the Roman
and Iranian empires in the north, and from the Persian Gulf in the east to the Red Sea in the
west) was under his governance. For the first time in the history of humanity, those people
were subjected to a central authority and legal system. They were not only brought under
control but their hearts were won and their love for the Prophet was unprecedented. In their
beliefs, morals, and actions they became the best people on the earth. Seeking the pleasure
of Allaah through personal excellence (tazkiya) became their goal in life. Without
exaggeration, volumes can be written on this massive, unparalleled accomplishment whereby
lives were revolutionized in the shortest period of time, to the deepest level of human beliefs,
in the broadest area of scope covering the whole human life, in the most peaceful manner of
any change in the whole history of mankind.

The assurance that Allaah SWT gave to the Prophet in the words “what is coming after is
better for you than what has gone before” did not belong only to the future. In fact, that was
the way it was happening since the Prophet’s birth. The next three verses remind him of that

Did He not find you an orphan and
give you shelter;
and find you
seeking the way and guide you;
find you poor and made you rich?

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“‰γ· ∩∠∪ ì‰>´ρ´ρ ξ←l. _.s!· ∩∇∪
Verse six refers to his birth as an orphan. In those days that was a sure sign of a difficult life
ahead. But he was cared for miraculously well under the nurturing of his mother and
grandfather. When he was six and his mother died, his grandfather provided him
extraordinary love and affection. When the Prophet was eight and his grandfather died, his
uncle took care of him even better than most fathers do. So much so, that when the whole of
Makkah was against the Prophet, his uncle provided him full protection and support.

The second favour mentioned here is about providing him with guidance. The Arabic word
used for “seeking the way” can mean misguided, lost, wasted, assimilated, unaware, unsure
of which one of the multiple paths to take, seeker of the way/truth, etc. It is a known fact that
the Prophet ŝall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam had been totally free from misguidance such as
idolatry, polytheism or atheism since his childhood. He believed in one God and excelled in
the personal qualities, but he did not know how Allaah should be worshipped and obeyed. In

that respect, he was a seeker of the way. In response to his need, Allaah SWT not only
provided him guidance but also summoned him to spread that guidance in the world.

The Prophet’s father was young and not financially established when he died. Thus, the
Prophet was not only born an orphan but also born poor. He started earning at an early age
by tending sheep and cattle. Then he was hired as a trader. Then, with his own self-made
wealth combined with his wife’s wealth, he became a rich man of Makkah.

Therefore, do not oppress an
and do not rebuke anyone
who asks;
but do tell about the
favour of your Lord.

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¯,κ.. ∩⊇⊃∪ !Β¦´ρ πϑ-Ζ. i.´‘ .´‰⇔· ∩⊇⊇∪
For the three favours that Allaah SWT gave him, he was reminded of three obligations owed
to Allaah SWT:

Just as Allaah SWT took care of him as an orphan, He should become an advocate and
champion for the care and protection of orphans so that they are not oppressed in the
society. In the commentary on Soorah Al-Fajr, it was explained how Arabs used to oppress
orphans (any child without a father) and misappropriate inheritance belonging to them,
instead of taking care of them.

Just as Allaah provided him guidance, he must be cordial, respectful and helpful to anyone
who seeks to find the truth or guidance or ask questions in that respect. In appreciation for
the wealth he was provided when he was poor, he should be kind and compassionate to
those who seek or beg for financial help.

As a general gratitude to Allaah for all His bounties, he must frequently acknowledge His
favours and thank Him. In particular, to thank for the Qur-aan, His biggest bounty, he must
preach, spread, propagate and publicize freely and gratuitously the guidance of Islam and the
Qur-aan that have been bestowed to him, regardless of the response he receives and
opposition he has to endure.

94 Alam-Nashrah, Al-Inshiraah or Ash-Sharh
Name and Background

The first two words (Alam-Nashrah) of the Soorah were adopted as its name.
However, some people use the infinitive (Al-Inshiraah) of the second word or
its noun (Ash-Sharh) as its names as well.

This Soorah is a twin of the previous Soorah and was revealed for the same
objective of consoling and reassuring the Prophet as was the previous one.
However, it was revealed much later, when the opposition and persecution by
the opponents had grown extremely intense and violent. In those
circumstances, the Prophet needed to be once again re-assured of the
impending success of his mission. The background comments written in the
introduction section of the previous Soorah should be kept in mind for
understanding the background of this Soorah as well.

The Soorah asks of the Prophet three reflective questions that highlight
Allaah’s favours on him. After reminding him of Allaah’s favours, it then
assures him that despite the difficulties he is facing, the time of ease and
relief will eventually come. But when it does, he should use that opportunity
to dedicate himself fully to the complete devotion to and intimacy with Allaah

Teachings and Commentary

In the name of Allaah, the Most Gracious,
the Most Merciful.
Ο`.· ´<¦ ≈´Η-¯,l¦ ΟŠ>¯,l¦

Unlike other Soorahs revealed in Makkah, this Soorah starts, without any preamble or
introduction, with three reflective questions to the Prophet phrased in the same style as the
three that were raised in the previous Soorah.

Did We not open your breast for
and remove from you your
that was breaking your back;
and raise high your renown for you?

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šΖs ì´‘—ρ ∩⊄∪ “%!¦ ´1Ρ¦ ì,γL
∩⊂∪ !´Ζ-·´‘´ρ il ì,´Œ ∩⊆∪
“Opening of breast” (Sharh As-Sadr) is an Arabic expression that has two closely related and
inter-dependent meanings:

• Having a sincere and whole-hearted conviction free of doubts, confusions or
reservations that Islam is the Deen of Allaah and is the only right way of living in this
world, accompanied by a clear, crisp and thorough understanding of Islam as a
complete way of life and of the objectives it is designed to achieve. Examples of such
usage of this expression are in Soorah Al-An‘aam 6:125 and Az-Zumar 39:22.

• Having unbeatable courage and confidence and an unshakable commitment to stand
up for Islam regardless of the dangers, difficulties, challenges, threats and terrors a
person may have to face or sacrifices he may have to make. The example of such
usage is in Soorah Ŧaa-Haa 20:25-26.

In the case of the Prophet, he was granted openness of breast from both perspectives:
• He did not know the exact path that Allaah SWT wanted people to follow, then
Allaah endowed him with that guidance and he acquired a perfect understanding of
what it entailed.

• He was very reluctant and terrified with the idea of giving the message of Islam to
people when he was initially informed of this responsibility, but then Allaah provided
him such courage and confidence which was bestowed only to other messengers in
the past.

Some people think that this verse refers to the physical cutting-open of the Prophet’s chest
that is mentioned in the books of Hadeeth and Seerah. That incident stands on its own
evidence, but has no relationship with this verse. Literally, Sharh cannot at all be taken to
mean cutting open.

The burden refers to the pre-prophethood burden of worries that the Prophet had about
finding the right way of worshipping Allaah SWT and living a life that is pleasing to Him as well
as the burden of grief that he felt seeing his people corrupt, worshipping idols, exploiting the
weak, shedding blood and practising injustices in the society. Through Islam, he found the
remedy for both issues and thus his burden was removed.

The third favour is that Allaah SWT raised his repute and renown high. Although the Prophet
was a highly respected and honoured man in Makkah, hardly anyone knew him outside.
Through his work on the Islamic mission, he came to be known far and wide. It happened in
three ways: The reports of his claim to be a messenger of Allaah reached wherever Makkans
and Arabs travelled; He used to preach to the pilgrims coming to Makkah from all over
Arabia; His opponents spread his name through their propaganda against him. Although the
last one was a negative introduction, but curious minds would want to know about him.
Those who sincerely tried to find the reality found the truth about him and positively changed
their views.

This verse about raising his renown indicates that this Soorah was revealed when the
Prophet’s name had come to be known all over Arabia. However, in addition to it being a
historical statement, it is also a prediction. Since the revelation of this verse, the Prophet’s
name has been continuously spreading all over the world. Currently there is hardly any place
or country in the world where Muslims are not raising his name with love and respect in the
call to prayers, sermons and in other forms.

After reminding the Prophet of the successes he was already enjoying by the bounty and
favour of Allaah, the next two verses give the good news of his impending success, despite
the hopeless conditions being encountered.

So, verily, with every difficulty, there
is relief;
indeed, with every difficulty,
there is relief.

β¦· ×Β ¸.`-l¦ ¦´¸.„ ∩∈∪ β| ×Β ¸.`-l¦
¦¸.„ ∩∉∪
The message of verse five is that considering the intensity of Makkan opposition, brutality of
their persecution, stagnancy of the mission, it appears that there is no way out of this
situation. But success is just around the corner. Although the way the system of the world
works is that nothing is accomplished without hardship, it is also a fact the ease and relief
comes right behind the hardship. They both are companions and follow with each other.
Thus, those who remain steadfast during hardship, eventually enjoy the fruit(s) of success

The assertion has been repeated to indicate not only the inevitability of this principle but also
to indicate that the objective-oriented life in this world has to go through multiple cycles of
hardships and successes until all the objectives are achieved. When one hardship is endured
and some success is attained, another challenge arises that needs to be met. When you get
out of the hardships being faced in Makkah, another set of hardships will arise in Madeenah.
But ultimately success is yours.

The last two verses teach him what to do when his mission is accomplished.

So, when you have accomplished the
prophetic goal, still toil on,
all your longing towards your Lord.

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Verse seven is clearly predicting the success of the Prophet’s mission and is telling him that
when his missionary task is accomplished, the objectives of Deen are achieved and Islam is
established as the dominant way of life in Arabia
, it is not a time for him to relax. He has to
get ready to meet his Lord. He must continue to toil on but now directing all his efforts and
energies towards his personal devotion to His Lord. This message was explained and
reiterated in Soorah An-Nasr, once the task was actually accomplished.

That does not mean that Islam was to be established only in Arabia. He was sent as Allaah’s mercy to
the whole world. And he had started taking steps to spread the message at the international level. But
his personal responsibility was to establish it in Arabia and put a team and mechanism in place to
establish it globally. Taking it forward from there and establish it globally was, and still is, the
responsibility of his followers.

95 At-Teen
Name and Background

The name of Soorah At-Teen (the Fig) is its first word, implying “The Soorah
that starts with At-Teen.”

The theme of the Soorah is to help people rationally reflect on the best and
worst of human potential and, as a consequence, adopt faith in the fact that
Allaah SWT will judge people on the Day of Judgment as to how they used
their potential and then reward or punish them accordingly.

The Soorah was revealed in the early years of the Islamic mission in Makkah
when the emphasis of the mission was to propagate belief in the Day of
Judgment and the Hereafter, which the Makkans lacked.

This is one of those Soorahs that begin with a series of oaths. Hence, it is
useful to remind ourselves of the role of oaths in the Qur-aan.

Human beings take oaths to add credibility to the statements they make.
Oaths fill the gaps left by a deficiency or lack of evidence. Usually the entities
used for taking oaths are those that are considered sacred and exalted.

The Holy Qur-aan also uses oaths in its text. Many Soorahs start with some
kind of oaths and some of them come within the text itself. We cannot,
however, interpret the oaths of the Qur-aan from the same perspective as we
do in the case of human oaths. Firstly, nothing is exalted or sacred to Allaah
SWT. He is the Most Exalted and the Most Holy. Secondly, His word is
ultimate. It does not require any support. However, people may not be able to
grasp the meaning or the reality of Allaah’s words. They may need props to
help them understand the message from the Words of Allaah. That is the sole
purpose of the oaths in the Qur-aan.

The entities used in the Qur-aanic oaths are not special in their own nature.
They are selected because they present the best evidence possible for human
beings to grasp the message. So, the use of any items for an oath in the Qur-

aan signifies that there is some logical relationship between the item in the
oath and the statement that follows the oath. If we reflect and contemplate
on the item used for the oath, it will provide us with the rational evidence for
the statement that follows it. Other than that, there is no significance
inherent in the item of oath itself.

This role of oaths in the Qur-aan is quite evident to the people who reflect on
its text, but it has also been explicitly mentioned in the Qur-aan itself. In
Soorah Al-Fajr, after a series of oaths (the dawn, ten nights, odd and even,
and the night when it is about to depart), Allaah SWT says: “Is there not
strong evidence in them for the wise?”

Teachings and Commentary

In the name of Allaah, the Most
Gracious, the Most Merciful.
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Mount Fig and Mount Olive
Mount Sinai
and this City of peace
present witness.

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Usually the first verse is translated as “By the fig and the olive” giving an impression that the
fruits themselves have been used for oath. That impression is not valid as it is inconsistent
with verses two and three which are clearly talking about two geographic locations and it is a
known fact that whenever there are a series of oaths in the Qur-aan, the items used for those
multiple oaths are of the same kind. It was also a known practice in earlier generations of
Jews and Arabs to name a place by the name of the produce most commonly and abundantly
grown in that area. Thus, the Fig and the Olive in this verse do not mean the fruits themselves
but the localities of their growth, or the mountains famous by the name of these fruits.

So what are the places that these oaths refer to? The Fig refers to the mountain where Adam
and Hawwah (Eve) ‘AS descended after their expulsion from Jannah, and where they covered
their private parts with fig leaves
. The Arabs knew it as the name of the place and one of
their famous poets, Nabighah Zibyani, mentioned it as such in one of his verses. It is also the
place where Nooĥ’s (Noah’s) Ark rested after the flood on the Mount Joodiy in the mountains
of Ararat in Turkey, the land of figs.

The Olive refers to Mount Olive in Jerusalem that was frequented by Prophet ‘Eesa (Jesus)


Mount Sinai obviously was the mountain where Moosa ‘AS talked to Allaah SWT, spent forty
days in worship, received the commandments and where the Israelites made their covenant
with Allaah SWT.

“This city of peace” refers to Makkah that was founded and inhabited by Ibraaheem and
Ismaa‘eel, peace be upon them, and where they built the first house of worship for Allaah. It
was because of this house that Makkah always remained peaceful and secure when the rest
of Arabia was engulfed in the flames of violence. And it is also the city of the last messenger,
Prophet Muhammad Sall Allaahu ‘Alaihi Wa Sallam himself.

Genesis 3:1
Luke 19:29, 37; 21:37 and 22:39. Also Matthew 21:1, 24:3 and 26:30

These four places were presented to people so that they could understand Allaah’s system of
reward and punishment.

To understand the impact of their evidence, it should be remembered that Allaah SWT pre-
programmed all inanimate objects by His laws of nature so that they continue to function in a
balanced manner, maintaining an equilibrium as desired by Allaah SWT. The living creatures
are pre-programmed though instincts, in addition to the laws of nature. Thus they also
sustain a balance among various creatures. Human beings and Jinns are the only exceptions
who have been given freedom to makes choices and decisions on their own which can be very
different from instinctive behaviour.

Biologically, human beings are not much different from animals. So, what is the difference
between people and animals? Yes, we have a physical shape that is more adaptable and
flexible to give us an edge over other living organisms. And we can talk and communicate
more expressively and eloquently than other creatures. Also, our intelligence is more
developed and sophisticated than other species. These are important differences. They
collectively give us much superiority over animals. But there are some much more profound
and crucial differences that truly distinguish us from animals:

Animals are pre-programmed through their instincts to react specifically to a certain stimulus.
They cannot choose any response that is not instinctively programmed. For example, at the
perception of danger, they cannot think beyond fight or flight, regardless of the amount of
intelligence they can use in fighting or fleeing. Human beings have freedom of choice. They
have the capability to intercept between the stimulus and instinctive response to choose
between options. They can review the pros and cons of different responses, their personal
objectives and preferences and the results they want to achieve and then choose a response
that is most appropriate for their situation. They have myriad of choices and they can come
up with imaginative new ways of handling situations.

Furthermore, human beings can look inwards at any time and review and assess what is going
on in their mind and thought processes. In addition, they have an innate sense of right and
wrong. When they look inside they can judge themselves on whether they are doing
something good or something bad. They feel good when they find themselves doing the right
thing and they feel guilty when they find themselves doing wrong. These elements of human
psyche – the capability of reviewing one’s own decisions, the ability to choose and change
one’s course of action, a concern about right and wrong, the process of self judgment and
feelings about their behaviour – are all very pronounced, strong and well developed features
that differentiate people from animals. Taken all together, they provide a tremendous
potential for human beings to excel in morals and behaviour. Thus the God-given freedom
allows them to do better than merely being just, equitable, and balanced. It allows them to
be forgiving, magnanimous, outstanding and excellent.

We certainly have created man with
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the most excellent potential;
We reduce him to the lowest of the
except for those who believe
and do good deeds – for them there
will be unending recompense

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The Soorah talks about this tremendous human potential and presents four physical locations
where people of the best calibre lived. The messengers associated with these localities,
Adam, Nooh, ‘Eesa, Moosa, Ibraaheem and Muĥammad, peace be upon all of them, have
been mentioned to provide vivid evidence of how excellent a person can become. By
mentioning them, the Qur-aan has actually presented to us the whole chain of prophets from
the first to the last, including all five of the top ranking messengers
. They were the most
outstanding people of their societies in terms of intelligence, status, personality, good
qualities, commendable behaviour and moral excellence. They excelled in being kind,
gracious, forgiving, sharing, fair, supportive of the weak, helpers of the helpless, restorers of
human dignity, promoters of human equality, keepers of their word, truthful, honest,
courageous, steadfast, firm, gentle and adorned with many other beautiful qualities. They
have been presented to us as evidence of the potential of human beings, showing how much
people can excel if they choose to do so. In that case, they are better than angels because
angels are pre-programmed for obedience, but obedient Muslims choose to do so despite the
freedom accorded to them.

However, even if they do not excel, if they continue to live by the teachings of Islam, they can,
at a minimum, maintain justice, fairness and resulting peace.

On the other hand, if people want to go the wrong way, they have the potential to become
the worst of the worst. They can fall to the lowest of the low levels. In that case, they become
far worse than animals. Animals only kill for food or in self defence if they feel threatened.
People kill by planning to do so: for fun, for animosity, out of jealousy or simply arrogance. No
animal ever collects and recruits armies to attack another group of their own species. People
do. They invent hydrogen bombs and other weapons of mass destruction. They use such
weapons and then have the nerve to call themselves civilized. Animals engage in sexual
activity only with a willing partner. People rape and use rape as a weapon. It is used as an act
of war where helpless innocent women of the perceived enemy are gang raped. To add insult
to the torture, they are raped in front of their helpless relatives. They do not even spare
innocent children. They are abused, murdered, maimed and used for sexual activities and

Even in the order of their mention there is wisdom. Adam and Eesa peace be upon them have been
put one after the other in order because of their similarity in their creation. Then, Moosa and
Muhammad peace be upon them are together because of the very close similarity between the two
mentioned in both the Bible and the Qur-aan. Nooĥ’s relationship with Adam and Muhammad’s strong
relationship with Ibraaheem is also indicated by associating each couple to the same place.

pornography. Their vengeance is also unbridled. Murder is not enough to cool their anger,
arrogance or vengeance. They mutilate and dismember people who are alive and disrespect
the corpses of the dead. They force mothers to drink the blood of their children. They invent
such techniques of physical, mental and psychological torture and persecution of fellow
human beings that are indescribable. Just read about what the Christian Militia of Lebanon
did, what Israelis do to Palestinians, what Indian Hindus do to Kashmiris, and what Serbs did
to Bosnians and Kosovars. Such crimes are not limited to non-Muslims, even so-called Muslim
Saddams and Musharafs who have abandoned Islam for other ideologies behave in a similar
manner. In addition, there are also such deranged people who become serial killers and
rapists and their victims are not even enemies but members of their own society. In politics,
they lie, break promises and demonstrate the dirtiest demagoguery. In business, they cheat
the most vulnerable of the people out of their meagre finances. When they deviate in matters
of religion, they worship stones, trees, snakes, and even sexual organs. Or, in their sectarian
madness, they kill people who are busy in worshipping Allaah SWT. In short, when people
choose to stoop low, they prove to be horribly vicious.

Although all people have the potential to be like prophets or like the worst kind of savages,
those who believe and do good deeds are only the people who try to emulate the prophets
and develop themselves in their good potential. They are motivated to excel in morals and
ethics. Such people are usually fewer because doing good is not easy. It is like going uphill,
which has its own risks and difficulties. It takes effort, resolve and constancy. On the other
hand, going downhill is easy. You just let yourself roll and you will end up in the lowest of the
ditches. Just follow your temptations and submit to your lusts, and you will be rolling down
fast. Hence, without faith in the Creator, without a desire to reach to the top, and without
commitment to succeed in the life Hereafter, it is difficult to resist those temptations and
deny those lusts. Only those who do so will be reaching the top. They will have a never-
ending, uninterrupted reward in the life Hereafter.

The four aforementioned places also remind people of the incidents of rewards and
punishments attached to these places. The mountain with figs reminds us of Adam being
expelled from Jannah because of his disobedience to Allaah as well as of the good news of the
acceptance of his repentance. That area also reminds us of how the rejecters of Nooĥ’s

Some people take a totally different kind of meaning from this Soorah. They think the best form
represents physical capabilities and lowest of the low refers to the old age when a person is totally
debilitated after the strength of the youth. This meaning neither fits the context whatsoever nor does it
make sense. If we consider it referring to the lifecycle of a person, then a child is not born in the best
form. In that case, a human being is born in weakness and dies in weakness. Secondly, it is not that only
non-Muslims grow old and Muslims stay young. These stages come to every human being, so how can
they provide any evidence about reward and punishment? This meaning makes the question about
Recompense totally out of place. Thirdly, the oaths in the beginning have no relationship to this
meaning at all.
Because someone in the past has expressed this opinion does not mean that we accept the opinion of
the previous scholars even if it does not make any sense. That is why all the major contemporary
commentators of the Qur-aan do not accept this view.

message were destroyed while the Muslims were saved. They prospered and spread out from
there to other parts of the world.

The Mount of Olives is where Allaah SWT informed ‘Eesa ‘AS that He will be raised and the
Israelites will be cursed and punished.

At Mount Sinai, Allaah SWT took a covenant from the Israelites under very terrifying
circumstances in which it appeared that the mountain was about to fall over them, This was
done in order to symbolize that the covenant they are entering into was not a trivial matter
but very serious, and to emphasize that a violation of the covenant would have dire

It was in the City of Makkah where Allaah SWT appointed Ibraaheem ‘AS as the leader of
humankind while the wrongdoers of his progeny were excluded from this favour and reward.

So on what basis can they contradict
you about the Recompense?
Is not
Allaah the most just of Rulers?

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Usually, people who follow their lusts deny the Day of Judgment. They have their doubts
about resurrection and life Hereafter. They think that death will be the end of it. They assume
that a saint and a serial killer and rapist will have the same end! Do they not think about why
Allaah gave them all the capabilities not given to animals - if they were just to eat, drink and
die like animals? How do they assume that a person climbing up and the one rolling down will
both end up at the same destination?

Allaah asks:

“Will We treat Muslims and criminals alike? What is wrong with you? How do you

“Have those who commit evils assumed that We will treat them the same as those
who believe and do good deeds -- that they will be equal in life and death? What an
evil assumption they make!”

“Have you assumed that We have created you purposelessly and that you will not be
brought back to Us?”

Al-Qalam 68:35-36
Al-Jaathia 45:21
Al-Mu’minoon 18:114

How can anyone harbour the ideas that the Creator Who has given people the potential to be
good and bad will not judge them and that He created them with all these human faculties for
nothing? Does He, with Eternal Wisdom and Absolute Knowledge, do meaningless things? He
endowed you your own conscience and your feelings of right and wrong so that you are
warned internally before you commit a wrong and so that you can judge yourselves before
you are judged! How can He, Who has taken so many measures to guide you towards
realizing your best potential, let you off scot-free without holding you accountable if you have
done so or not?

So after all this rational evidence, what is your reason to deny or doubt the resurrection,
judgment, justice, rewards and punishment?

If the administrators and rulers of this world try to maintain law and order and deliver justice
in their territory, why will Allaah, the Sovereign of the whole universe, not deliver the perfect
justice? Is He not the Most Just of all the rulers?

Indeed, He is!

96 Al-‘Alaq
Name and Background

The name of the Soorah is taken from the second verse, implying “the Soorah
in which Al-‘Alaq has been mentioned.” ‘Alaq is the plural of ‘Alaqah, which
means a clot that sticks together and/or clings. The word is commonly used
for blood clot that is wet and sticky (that clings). It is also used for leeches that
cling and suck blood. In this Soorah, it has been used for zygote, the cell
created by the sticking together (fusion) of an ovum (egg) and a
spermatozoon (sperm), which clings to the uterine wall.

This is the companion soorah of At-Teen, which reminded people that Allaah’s
messengers were sent as superb examples of excellence in order to help
people reach their full potential to excel and earn unending reward, and that
those who rejected the messengers’ call were doomed. As the first five verses
of Al-‘Alaq constitute the first revelation of Allaah’s words to Muĥammad, the
last Messenger of Allaah, the Soorah introduces the beginning of the mission
of Prophet Muĥammad, and then describes an instance of aggressive
rejection by a Makkan chief and declares how he will be punished for his
rejection of the Messenger’s call.

There is a consensus among historians that the Prophet’s mission began with
the visit of angel Jibreel (Gabriel) with the first revelation when the Prophet
was worshipping Allaah in seclusion at the cave of Ĥira.

As the historians have reported, the Prophet avoided the worship of idols
throughout his life. He used to worship Allaah alone, in accordance with the
ways and methods reported from the life of Ibraaheem and Ismaa‘eel in
terms of Ŝalaah, Ŧawaaf of Ka‘bah, ‘Umrah, Ĥajj, etc. In addition, he started
going to the cave of Ĥira for one month a year to meditate and worship Allaah
in seclusion. When he was 40 years old, he started having very clear and vivid
dreams that would come true in real life, exactly as seen in the vision. During
those days, he considerably increased the duration he was spending in
secluded worship. Then one night in the month of Ramadhaan, when he was
40 ½ years old, during one of his seclusions in the cave of Ĥira, a stranger

suddenly appeared to him and talked to him about Allaah, the One and Only
God, and asked him to proclaim the truth about Allaah to people as Allaah’s
Messenger. It was the angel Jibreel who brought him the first five verses of
this Soorah.

This unexpected, unanticipated incident shook up Muĥammad ŝall-Allaahu
‘alayhi wa sallam (SA‘WS). He did not know what to make of it. He was
frightened, so he rushed home. Shaken and trembling, when he reached
home, he asked his wife to cover him with a blanket. After some rest under
the blanket, he regained his composure and related the incident to his wife
and expressed concern about his personal well being. Khadeejah lovingly
reassured him with the following words, “Don’t worry. By God, Allaah SWT
will not cause you to suffer, because You are kind to the relatives, speak the
truth, keep the trusts, support the helpless, feed the poor, serve the guests
honourably, participate in good activities and excel in personal qualities.” In
the books of Ĥadeeth, one of the reports of this incident from ‘Aaishah RA is
as follows:

The first aspect of revelation to Allaah's Messenger was that his dreams came
true. Whatever vision he might have in his sleep would occur exactly as he
had seen, as if he had witnessed it in broad daylight. Then, he began to enjoy
seclusion. He used to retreat alone into the cave of Ĥira where he would
spend several days in devotion before going back to his family. He used to
take some food with him and go for worship in seclusion. When he would
come back, Khadeejah would provide a fresh supply of food and he would go
away for another period. One day while he was in the cave of Ĥira, an angel
came to him and said, “Recite to people!” He replied, “I am not a reciter.” The
Prophet says, “He hugged me and pressed hard until I was exhausted, then he
released me and said, “Recite to people
!” and I replied, “I am not a reciter.”

The Arabic word “Iqra” is usually translated as “Read”. Although this Arabic word is often used for
simple “reading”, it also means reading aloud or reciting to people. However, whenever it has been used
in the Qur-aan about the Qur-aan itself, it has always been used for “reading aloud or reciting to people
or someone”, as per the following verses:

When the Qur-aan is recited, listen to it attentively and keep quiet so that you are shown mercy. 7:204
And when you recite the Qur-aan, We place between you and those who do not believe in the hereafter
a hidden barrier. 17:45
And it is a Qur-aan which We have revealed in portions so that you may recite it to people at intervals,
and We have revealed it by successive revelations. 17:106

So, he hugged me and pressed me hard a second time until I was exhausted,
then he released me and said, “Recite to people!” I replied, “I am not a
reciter.” He then hugged me and pressed me hard for the third time. Then he
said, “Recite to people, in the name of your Lord Who created, created people
from clinging clots. Recite! Your Lord is the most Honourable, Who has taught
by the pen, has taught man what he did not know.” The Prophet returned
home to Khadeejah frightened and trembling and said, “Cover me up with a
blanket! Cover me up!” She covered him with a blanket. When his fear
subsided, he turned to Khadeejah and exclaimed, “What has happened to
me?” and related to her what had happened and said, “I fear for myself.” And
Khadeejah replied, “Do not worry, and relax! By Allaah, He will not let you
suffer any humiliation (or grief
), because you are kind to your relatives, you
speak the truth, you assist anyone in need, you are hospitable to your guests
and you help in every just cause.” Then she took him to Waraqah ibn Nowfal,
her paternal cousin who was a Christian convert and a scholar with good
knowledge of Arabic, Hebrew and the Bible. He had lost his eyesight as he had
grown very old. Khadeejah said to Waraqah, “Cousin, would you like to hear
what your nephew
has to say?” Waraqah said, “Well, nephew, what have
you seen?” The Prophet related to him what he had seen. When he finished,
Waraqah said, “It is the same angel that was sent down to Moosa (Moses). I
wish I was a young man so that I might be alive when your people force you
out of the city.” The Prophet exclaimed, “Would they force me out?”
Waraqah answered “Yes! No man has ever preached a message like yours but
was met with enmity. If I live till that day, I will certainly give you all my
support.” But Waraqah died soon after this incident.

For the next few days, the Prophet remained shaken and bewildered by his
experience. Naturally, his mind was deluged with questions
and concerns

Had We revealed it to any of the non-Arabs, and had he recited it to them, they would not have
believed in it. 26:199
Therefore, when We have recited it, follow its recital. 45:18
When the Qur-aan is recited to them, they do not prostrate. 84:21
Two words reported in two versions of this report.
He was nephew in the sense that the Prophet’s great great grandfather, ‘Abd Manaaf, was brother
of Waraqah’s great grandfather, ‘Abd Al-‘Uzzaa.
Questions that might have been such as: “Have I really been given this difficult task or am I
possessed? Why would Allaah ask me to do this work? How am I to go to people and tell them that I
have been appointed prophet? How would they react? Are they going to believe me or make fun of me?
In the society I have so much honour, will I now be ridiculed? What kind of opposition will I face? Will I
be forced to leave my town and my own kith and kin?

about the implications of what he had been told and what he should expect in
the future. He was extremely worried as to how he was going to do this
daunting task of delivering Allaah’s message to people, especially when strong
opposition was expected from his people, as explained by Waraqah. He would
think of killing himself by throwing himself off a mountain. On every such
intention, the person who visited him in the cave would appear to him in the
sky and tell him, “You are the messenger of Allaah and I am Jibreel.”

Some writers of Seerah have expressed an opinion that the first five verses of
this Soorah Al-‘Alaq were not revealed at the time of the initial visit by Jibreel.
At that time, he was only told about his newly assigned role and left to cope
with this reality. The whole Soorah Al-‘Alaq was revealed later on in one
complete revelation. Some of them think that Soorah Faatiĥah was then the
first Soorah to be revealed. Others think that the first revelation consisted of
the first seven verses of Soorah Al-Mudaththir. However, the overwhelming
majority of scholars agrees that the first five verses were revealed at the first
visit of Jibreel and the remaining Soorah was revealed later on. The majority
opinion is supported by the context of Al-‘Alaq itself because immediately
after Al-‘Alaq, the next Soorah, Al-Qadr, declares that the first revelation of
the Qur-aan happened in the night of Al-Qadr, thus indicating the relationship
of Al-‘Alaq with the first revelation.

Shortly after this first revelation, Jibreel came again to Muĥammad SA‘WS and
taught him the first Islamic act of worship -- how to perform ablution and
Ŝalaah in order to worship Allaah SWT. Ŝalaah was one of those things that
the Prophet was privately taught without revelation of verses that were to be
a part of the Qur-aan and thus were to be recited to people. It was at that
time that Soorah Faatiĥah was also revealed to be recited in Ŝalaah.
Immediately after being taught, the Prophet and his family (Khadeejah and
Zaid ibn Ĥarithah) started to worship Allaah through Ŝalaah regularly. Then,
after a short break, the first seven verses of Soorah Al-Mudaththir were
revealed and revelation continued periodically thereafter without any break
for about 23 years.

The second part of Soorah Al-‘Alaq (verses 6-19) was revealed later on when
the Prophet SA‘WS had started giving the message of Islam to people and
Makkan chiefs had started opposing him. The Prophet had also started to
perform Ŝalaah publicly in the Ĥaram. The Prophet SA‘WS used to go the Holy

Ka‘bah and perform Ŝalaah – standing, bowing and prostrating. This public
performance of Ŝalaah led to the first act of aggression by Makkan chiefs
against the Prophet when Aboo Jahl wanted to stop the Prophet from praying
in the Ĥaram. It is reported
that when Aboo Jahl heard that the Prophet
ŜA‘WS prostrates, putting his face on the ground, he swore that if he ever saw
the Prophet doing so, he would press the Prophet’s neck under his foot and
would scrape his face against the ground. So when he saw the Prophet
performing Ŝalaah one day, he walked towards him to do what he had sworn
to do, but immediately retreated. When asked about his retreat, he explained
that there was something horrible between him and the Prophet that stopped
him from advancing towards him. According to some reports, it was a huge
camel that was going to kill him; and according to other reports, it was a huge
fire in the way that was going to devour him.

In another report, Aboo Jahl once again saw the Prophet performing Ŝalaah at
the Maqaami Ibraaheem and starting rebuking and threatening the Prophet.
The Prophet in turn also rebuked him to mind his own business. In response,
he bragged that he had the largest number of supporters in the area.

Thus, this Soorah contains the first revelation, refers to the first Islamic act of
worship that the Prophet was taught to perform, mentions the first act of
Makkan aggression against the Prophet and gives the first indication of how
Allaah and His angels protected the Prophet.

Reported from Aboo Hurairah by Aĥmad, Muslim, Nasaai, etc.
Reported from Ibn ‘Abbaas by Aĥmad, Tirmidzi, Nasaai, etc.

Teachings and Commentary

In the name of Allaah, the Most
Gracious, the Most Merciful.
Ο`.· ´<¦ ≈´Η-¯,l¦ ΟŠ>¯,l¦

Recite to people in the name of your
Lord Who created –
created people
from clinging clots.
Recite to people
and your Lord is Most Generous,
Who taught by the pen,
man what he knew not.

¦,·¦ Ο`™!. i.´‘ “%!¦ _l> ∩⊇∪ _l>
´≈.ΣN¦ Β _ls ∩⊄∪ ¦,·¦ iš.´‘´ρ `Π,´N¦
∩⊂∪ “%!¦ ´Ο‾l. Οl1l!. ∩⊆∪ ´Ο‾l. ´≈.ΣN¦
!Β `Οl Λ¹-ƒ ∩∈∪
These verses do not tell the Prophet what he was supposed to convey to people. The intent of
this first revelation was simply to let him know that he has been assigned a responsibility to
deliver Allaah’s message to the Makkans, without being given the details of that message. The
details of the message were to be revealed over the next 23 years, restarting after a few days’
interval in order to give him some time to psychologically cope with the initial surprise and to
mentally accept this new and arduous responsibility, during which time Jibreel kept appearing
to him and reinforcing “You are the messenger of Allaah and I am Jibreel.”

The very first verse instructs him that when he delivers the message, he should deliver it in
the name of Allaah, his Lord. This means presenting the message “In the name of Allaah, the
Most Gracious, the Most Merciful” This instruction indicates that Allaah was known to the
Prophet as his Lord, before this revelation. That is why no introduction of the Lord was
needed. This instruction was important so that the listeners know that what they are being
presented is the Word of their Creator and Lord so they must take it seriously and
submissively and should not disregard it as something frivolous or should not disrespect it
with jokes or opposition. This is also in accordance with what Allaah SWT told Moosa (Moses)
‘AS about the Prophet that “If anyone does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in
my name, I myself will call him to account.”

After mentioning Allaah SWT in the first verse as the Creator of everything, the second verse
specifically talks about human creation and the humble beginning of every human being as a
zygote. When people grow up and develop through the sophisticated and wonderful system
that Allaah has created, they defy His commands, rebel against Him and associate partners
with Him. Thus, they need to be invited to reflect on the role of their Creator, and to be
reminded of Him and His message.

Deuteronomy 18:19

The third verse reiterates the command for the Prophet to proclaim Allaah’s message and
links it to Allaah’s generosity and favour towards mankind. It is indeed a great mercy and
favour of Allaah SWT that He appoints His messengers to guide human beings towards the
right path. It is also His great favour and mercy that human beings have been taught the art of
using the pen and writing to preserve whatever they learn for future reference and teaching.
This knowledge accumulated through writing is the main foundation for human progress and
advancement. Even the discoveries that add to the previously accumulated knowledge
happen because Allaah makes it possible for people to explore and discover those matters.
Without openly and explicitly teaching people, He is the one Who bestows knowledge.

It is this ability to write with the pen that will document Allaah’s Word recited to people by
the Prophet and make the illiterate Arabs the bestowers of knowledge and literacy to the

However, human beings do not appreciate Allaah’s favours in terms of the arrangements He
has made for their birth, growth, sustenance and knowledge. They do not see Allaah’s hidden
hand behind human accomplishments. They think it is all because of their own capabilities
and that they do not need any God to help them in any way. Thus, they rebel against Allaah
and transgress the limits.

No! But man does transgress all
because he sees himself
Verily, to your Lord is
the return.

ξ´ β| ´≈.ΣN¦ ´_-L´Š l ∩∉∪ β¦ ν¦´.¯‘
´_.-.`™¦ ∩∠∪ β| ’|| i.´‘ ´_ ->”,l¦ ∩∇∪

When people are called toward Allaah, they come up with many excuses for not believing in
Him. All those excuses are rejected by “No!” and then the root of the problem is mentioned –
the human feeling of being independent from Allaah, free from His help and self sufficient in
one’s own abilities and resources. They do not feel any need to submit to Allaah nor do they
feel accountable to Him. These feelings make them rebels who transgress all kind of limits:
Disobeying Allaah, exploiting the poor, violating the rights of the weak, practicing injustice,
extravagantly wasting resources beyond basic needs, destroying the environments, opposing
the Messenger who calls them to Allaah, to balance and to justice, etc. In adopting this kind
of behaviour, they forget that they will return to Allaah and will be held accountable for what
they used to do in this world.

When the Prophet had started giving the message of Islam to the Makkans, many of their
chiefs vigorously opposed him and rejected his call because of the above-mentioned
mentality. During those days, the Prophet also used to go the Holy Ka‘bah and perform
Ŝalaah, and the Makkan chiefs, Aboo Jahl in particular, had shown a strong disapproval
against the Prophet’s public performance of Ŝalaah. The next two verses mention that

Have you seen him who forbids
slave of Allaah when he worships

·ƒ´.´‘ ¦ “%!¦ ‘SΖƒ ∩'∪ ¦‰¯.s ¦Œ| ´’l .

Here the slave refers to the Prophet. Allaah SWT calls him His slave in the Qur-aan wherever
He wants to show His special relationship of kindness and favours towards the Prophet.

The style of the verse alludes to the repulsiveness of the sight where a person is trying to stop
someone who is worshipping his Lord and Creator. Every reasonable, fair-minded person is
being asked to reflect on this behaviour and its implications mentioned in the subsequent

Instead of reacting arrogantly and emotionally, should he not have used a rational approach
and considered that Allaah’s slave could be right in doing what he is doing?

Have you considered if he (God’s
slave) were on the right way
enjoined Taqwa?

·ƒ´.´‘ ¦ β| βl´ ’ls ´“‰λ¦ ∩⊇⊇∪ ρ¦ ,Β¦
´“´θ1−.l!. ∩⊇⊄∪
Thus, the repugnance of forbidding is doubled by the fact that the person being stopped is
doing the right thing under the guidance of Allaah SWT and is promoting Taqwa and Allaah
consciousness. Just imagine the absurdity of the person on the wrong rebuking that on the
right, without even taking the trouble to find out about the truth of the matter!

He should have not only considered that the Prophet could be right, but also thought about
the consequences of his denial of the truth and turning away from it. He should have known
that Allaah SWT is watching everything and He is going to reward and punish on the basis of
His knowledge of the actions as well as the intentions and emotions behind those actions.

Have you considered if he (the
stopper) denied the Truth and turned
Does he not know that
Allaah does see?

·ƒ´.´‘ ¦ β| ´.‹´ ´’‾|´θ.´ρ ∩⊇⊂∪ `Οl¦ Λ¹-ƒ
β!. ´<¦ “,ƒ ∩⊇⊆∪

Allaah SWT does not watch these things happen as a spectator, He is severe in taking action.

Of course not! If he desist not, We
would certainly drag him by the locks
of the forehead –
a lying, sinful

āξ´ _.! `Οl «.⊥ƒ !-±`.Ψl π´Š.!Ζl!. ∩⊇∈∪
π´Š.! Ρ π.‹≈´ π∞Ll> ∩⊇∉∪
This is a serious warning for those opponents of the Prophet who were trying to stop him
Islamic work and Ŝalaah, about how they will be dragged by their forelocks and thrown into
the Fire.

Verse 16 also describes the personality that is behind this kind of despicable behaviour, but it
mentions that personality in reference to the forehead. This statement is another example of
the miraculous nature of the Qur-aan in the sense that its miracles keep on unveiling
themselves with advancement of knowledge. Recent research has indicated that the
prefrontal area of the brain that handles this type of behavioural traits is located in the

The next verse responds to Aboo Jahl’s pride regarding the number of his supporters.

Then let him call upon his
We too would summon
the angels of punishment.

~‰´‹l· …«ƒŠ!Ρ ∩⊇∠∪ ~‰´Ζ™ π´‹Ρ!.“l¦ ∩⊇∇∪
The last verse tells the Prophet to disregard all the opposition and threat from the opponents
and continue to perform Ŝalaah in the worship of Allaah SWT.

Not at all! Obey him not, but
prostrate to Allaah and bring yourself
closer to Him.

āξ´ Ÿω «-L. ‰∨`™¦´ρ .¸.·¦´ρ N ∩⊇'∪
Although the word used is “prostrate”, the act of prostration represents the whole Ŝalaah as
the most important part of the Ŝalaah and also being the part which drew the most negative
reaction. The Prophet ŜA‘WS has explained that a person is closest to Allaah when he is
prostrating to Him.

In the spirit of instant obedience to the commands of Allaah SWT, Muslims should prostrate
to Allaah SWT when reciting this verse, as the Prophet himself also used to do.

Essentials of Anatomy & Physiology, by Martini and Bartholomew

97 Al-Qadr
Name and Background

The name Al-Qadr is taken from the very first verse. The subject matter of the
Soorah is the night of the revelation of the Qur-aan, which has been called
Lailatul-Qadr – the Night of Qadr. The word “Qadr” has two meanings, both of
which are applicable to this night:

• Decree, determination, or decision about important matters
• High status, magnificence, greatness and grandeur

Thus, we can translate Lailatul-Qadr as the Magnificent Night of Decree.

The purpose of the Soorah is to indicate the greatness of the Qur-aan and the
greatness of the night of its revelation.

Reflecting upon the subject matter of these small Soorahs, the wisdom in the
placement of the Soorahs and their contextual relationship with each other
becomes obvious. At-Teen mentioned the human potential for excellence as
well as wickedness, and thus the need for Judgment in the Hereafter. It
presented Adam and the five greatest messengers from his offspring as
superb examples of people who were sent to invite others towards excellence
and to get rid of the wicked who oppose such a mission. Al-‘Alaq contained
the first revelation indicating the appointment of Prophet Muĥammad ŝall-
Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam for the purpose and the mission mentioned in At-
Teen. And now this Soorah talks about how blessed the night was when that

Teachings and Commentary

In the name of Allaah, the Most
Gracious, the Most Merciful.

Ο`.· ´<¦ ≈´Η-¯,l¦ ΟŠ>¯,l¦
Indeed We sent it (the first
revelation of the Qur-aan) down on
the Magnificent Night of Decree.
And what will make you
comprehend what the Magnificent
Night of Decree is?

!‾Ρ| «≈Ψl“Ρ¦ ’· '#‹ l ‘‰ 1l¦ ∩⊇∪ !Β´ρ
i1´‘Š¦ !Β '#‹l ‘‰1l¦ ∩⊄∪

Starting the statement “We sent it down” with “Indeed” is to emphasize the fact that it had
nothing to do with the desire or expectation of the recipient of the revelation, nor was this
revelation sent down by anyone other than Allaah Himself.

The pronoun “it” has been used without being preceded by the mention of “the first
revelation of the Qur-aan” to which it refers. For the listeners at the time of its revelation, the
object of the pronoun was abundantly clear because sending down of the revelations by
Allaah to the Prophet was a hot topic. For subsequent readers, the object of “it” is clear from
the words “We sent” but additionally from its placement right after the Soorah containing the
first revelation. Thus, the context makes the word “it” point to the immediately preceded first

The question “And what will make you comprehend what that Night is?” has been posed to
emphasize the grandeur and magnificence of that night.

The Magnificent Night of Decree is
better than a thousand months.

'#‹ l ‘‰1l¦ ¸¯.> Β .l¦ ,¯κ− ∩⊂∪

“A thousand months” does not necessarily mean 83 years and four months, but it is a
figurative expression indicating an extremely long period of time. The revelation of the Qur-
aan that happened that night was such a marvellous mercy of Allaah SWT on the people of
the world that it made that night better than thousands of years of human history. It made
that night a special occasion to become closer to Allaah SWT. According to the Aĥadeeth
reported in Bukhari and Muslim from Aboo Hurairah and in Musnad of Aĥmad from ‘Ubaadah
ibn Ŝaamit, whoever spends that night standing up in Allaah’s worship, seeking His Pleasure
and expecting His rewards is forgiven all previous sins.

In Soorah Ad-Dukhaan, it has been called “Lailatum-Mubaarakah” – the Blessed Night.

The angels and the Spirit
) descend in it by the
permission of their Lord for all
decreed matters.
This is the night of
peace and lasts until the emergence
of dawn.

`Α”∴. π>.‾≈lϑl¦ ~ρ”,l¦´ρ !κ.· βŒ¦. Νκ¯.´ ‘
Β ≅´ ¸¯∆¦ ∩⊆∪ 'Ο≈l™ ´‘δ _.> ×lLΒ
,>±l¦ ∩∈∪
On this night, Jibreel (Gabriel) and other angels are given the action plan by Allaah SWT for
execution during the ensuing year. Soorah Ad-Dukhaan mentions this fact as:

“On that night, every wise matter is set forth as a command from Our Presence…”

The question is which night of the year is this blessed and magnificent night? There has been
quite a variety of opinions in this matter so much so that Syed Abul A’la Maudoodi has
mentioned that there are about 40 different opinions. However, one thing is certain about it:
it has to be in the month of Ramadhaan because Allaah SWT has said in the Qur-aan
“Ramadhaan is the month wherein the Qur-aan was sent down.” (Al-Baqarah 2:185). The
majority of the opinions suggest that it is one of the last 10 nights of Ramadhaan. Among
them, the strongest reports suggest it to be one of the odd nights; i.e., 21
, 23
, 25
, 27
or the last night of Ramadhaan. From among those, the popular opinion is that it is the
night of Ramadhaan. The Prophet himself has not given a specific date for this night so
that people do not start focusing only on that night’s worship of Allaah SWT. He has rather
encouraged people to dedicate the last ten days of Ramadhaan completely to the acts of
worship of Allaah SWT lest they miss the opportunity of this blessed night. He himself used to
stay the last ten days of Ramadhaan in the Masjid in seclusion (performing I‘tikaaf).


98 Al-Bayyinah
Name and Background

The name, Al-Bayyinah – the clear evidence, is mentioned in the first verse,
and as usual it implies “the Soorah containing the word Al-Bayyinah”.

The subject matter is the response to the excuse used by the People with the
Book and the polytheists for not believing in the Qur-aan and the Prophet, as
well as making a clear pronouncement on the consequences of believing and
not believing in them.

The placement of this Soorah immediately after Soorah Al-Qadr shows the
profound relationship among the messages of these Soorahs. Al-Qadr
mentioned the extraordinarily great favour granted by Allaah SWT by
revealing the Qur-aan to the Prophet. People should not deprive themselves
of this great blessing for baseless excuses. If they do so, they will not only be
missing its blessings here but will be suffering punishment in hell forever. The
eternal success will belong only to those who benefit from this guidance in
this world. Although people are free to believe or not to believe, the
consequences are not the same. While making the choice, they should
understand that this revelation supersedes the books and beliefs they have.
Believing in this guidance and living by it is a prerequisite for success and
salvation in the Hereafter.

Teachings and Commentary

In the name of Allaah, the Most Gracious,
the Most Merciful.
Ο`.· ´<¦ ≈´Η-¯,l¦ ΟŠ>¯,l¦

When the Prophet ŝall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam started giving people the message of Islam
and reciting to them the verses of the Qur-aan that were revealed to him, as he was
commanded to do in Al-‘Alaq, there were two distinct groups of people who refused to
believe in him. One group was that of the Jews and Christians who claimed to believe in one
God and in the Books revealed to the previous prophets. They were proud to have the Book
from God; hence they were called the People with the Book. The second group was that of
people who thought that they were following the ways of Ibraaheem, but believed in many
gods who were supposed to be assistants of the Creator. They had no book to guide them and
because of their belief in many gods, they were called Polytheists or idolaters. One thing in
common between both the people with the Book (the Jews and Christians) and the
polytheists was their disbelief in the revelation of the Qur-aan to the Prophet. They did not
want to rely on the claim of the Prophet that he was receiving the revelation from Allaah.
Both of these groups wanted to see clear evidence that would leave no doubt about the
authenticity of the message being from Allaah. To them, this clear evidence looked like an
angel of Allaah appearing to people reciting pre-written scriptures, unadulterated by any

Those who have disbelieved from
among the People with the Book and
the Polytheists are not going to give
up their stance until there should
come to them Clear Evidence –
messenger from Allaah, reciting pure
which contain valid and
straight teachings.

`Οl >ƒ _·%!¦ ¦ρ`,±´ Β ≅δ¦ .≈.>l¦
_.´¸:ϑl¦´ρ _.>±Ζ`Β _.> `Ν·κ´..!. π´Ζ..l¦
∩⊇∪ Αθ™´‘ ´Β ´<¦ ¦θl.ƒ !±>´ ο,´γL•Β
∩⊄∪ !κ.· '..´ πϑ¯‹· ∩⊂∪
Their desire for such an experience has been mentioned in other places in the Qur-aan as
well. For example, in one of the earliest Soorahs, Al-Mudaththir 74:52, we have been told:

“Yet every one of them wants to be given scriptures all spread out.”

Soorah An-Nisaa 4:135 mentions:

“People with the Book demand that a book to be sent down to them directly.”

Similar demands for angels and other things have been reported in Banee Israaeel 17:90-93
and Al-Furqaan 25:7-8.

The clear evidence in their stance had three attributes:

• A messenger from Allaah -- something like an angel who descends from heaven, not
a person who is born and raised among them as an ordinary human being, and then
suddenly claims to be a messenger of Allaah.

• A written message, the purity of which is established beyond doubt to be written by
Allaah, without human interference;

• A valid and straight message that is immediately evident to everyone to be sensible,
clear and valid, leaving no room for difference of opinion, arguments or

The truth of the matter is that a book revealed exactly in the manner they are demanding
would still fail to satisfy them and convince them to believe in its message. When people do
not want to change their ways or stance, they can find many excuses to reject the best and
most convincing evidence: The appearance of an angel can be discounted as a false claim
written message can be rejected as magic; and the most clear and valid statement can be
misinterpreted and disputed in multiple ways. The fact is that the truth of the Prophet’s claim
is absolutely evident to any sincere, open-minded and objectively rational person. His
exemplary life before and after the prophethood, his reciting the most wonderful Book
despite being illiterate, the superbness of his teachings, the qualitative changes in those who
believed in him, his determination and selfless sacrifice for the mission, etc. were some of the
many clear proofs of his being the messengers of Allaah. However, no evidence can convince
those who do not want to find the truth.

Human beings cannot see angels. They can see an angel only if it appears in human form. So even if
an angel appears in human form, people will have no way of verifying it and will reject his claim to be an
angel as false. These responses have been given in Al-An‘aam 6:7-9
Some people interpret these first three verses differently. They think “a messenger from Allaah”
refers to the Prophet and the meaning of the verses is that people were incapable of accepting Islamic
beliefs without the advent of the Prophet as the Messenger. Although this statement is true, it can
neither be derived from these verses, not it fits into the context. Firstly, the incapability is applied to all
people, not only “those who disbelieved from the People with the Book and the polytheists”. Secondly,
the Prophet was the Messenger of Allaah, but not a messenger “from” Allaah as the disbelievers
wanted. They wanted somebody coming from heavens, not born on the earth. Thirdly, the Prophet has
never been called “Bayyinah” (clear evidence) in the Qur-aan or presented as such, but in these verses
the messenger and clear evidence are considered one and the same thing. It also does not fit into the
context because the first proposition that “those who disbelieved from the People with the Book and
the polytheists were not going to believe until the Prophet came to them as the clear evidence” is the
contradicted by the next statement that “The fact is that those who were given the Book created
disputes only after the clear evidence had come to them.”

A look at the history of the People with the Book provides ample proof that when people do
not want to accept the truth, no evidence helps; and when they do not want to follow the
guidance sent to them, even the clear, straightforward and very basic commands cause
disputes and frictions. The Jews saw a series of miracles including their safe passage through
the sea, and even then they ended up worshipping the statue of a calf right after witnessing
those miracles. They were given the Book written in stone slates, but it did not save them
from disputes and rejections of the Islamic teachings. ‘Eesa ‘AS was sent to them as very clear
evidence from the day he was born to the day he was raised. His fatherless conception, his
speaking as a new born baby, his astounding miracles, everything clearly indicated that he
was a special messenger of Allaah, but even he was rejected. In fact the greatest disputes and
splits among the People with the Book occurred after his advent.

The fact is that those who were
given the Book created disputes only
after the clear evidence had come to
And they were commanded
only to serve Allaah like slaves,
making submission exclusive for Him
sincerely, and to establish Ŝalaah and
to pay Zakaah; and this is the valid
and straight Deen.

!Β´ρ −¯,±. _·%!¦ ¦θ.ρ¦ .≈.>l¦ āω| Β
‰-. !Β `Ν·κ:´ .l> π´Ζ..l¦ ∩⊆∪ !Β´ρ ¦ρ'¸∆¦ āω|
¦ρ‰.-´‹l ´<¦ _..lƒΧ `&! _·$!¦ ´.!±´Ζ`>
¦θϑ‹1`ƒ´ρ οθl¯.l¦ ¦θ.σ`ƒ´ρ οθ´“l¦ il≡Œ´ρ
ƒŠ πϑ¯Š1l¦ ∩∈∪

Even the teachings of Deen taught to them were so clear, so straightforward and so concise,
but they could not act upon them or remain united. The Jews complicated them so much with
their additional rules and regulations and their hair-splitting Fiqh pronouncements that the
simple teachings of the Deen were completely lost and forgotten. The Christians abandoned
this simple Deen altogether and concocted a new religion deifying ‘Eesa, instead of the
exclusive submission to Allaah SWT. Now the same simple, straightforward and concise Deen
that was taught to them in the past is being presented by the Prophet once again in its pure
form. So if they really desire valid and straight teachings as per verse 3, that is what the
Prophet is inviting them to. Here, the simplicity of Deen has been indicated by it three critical
components without any of which the Deen is completely lost:

• Making all decisions of life in submission and obedience to Allaah SWT exclusively
and sincerely;
• Establishing Ŝalaah as the pillar on the basis of which collective social and political
life of the community is to be built; and
• Paying Zakaah on the basis of which the whole economic structure and philosophy of
the Muslim society is to be structured.

Thus if they do not accept the Deen as the Prophet is inviting them to, they will have no
salvation in the Hereafter. For those who want to succeed in this world and attain salvation in
the Hereafter, believing in the Prophet and the Qur-aan is not an option. Anyone who refuses
to believe in the Prophet and the Qur-aan will be punished in the fire of hell. If they want to
attain the pleasure of Allaah and be happy with what they see in the Hereafter, they must
believe in the message that is being revealed in the Qur-aan and live by it. There is no other
way to attain success, Allaah’s pleasure and salvation. They cannot continue to live according
to their old beliefs and ways.

Certainly, those who have
disbelieved from among the People
with the Book and the Polytheists will
be in Hell-Fire, to dwell therein
forever. They are the worst of

While those who have believed and
are doing good deeds, they are the
best of creatures.
Their reward with
their Lord will be eternal gardens
beneath which rivers flow; they will
dwell therein eternally forever, Allaah
being well pleased with them and
they with Him. That is for whoever
fears his Lord.

β| _·%!¦ ¦ρ`,±´ Β ≅δ¦ .≈.>l¦
_.´¸:ϑl¦´ρ ’· ‘!Ρ ´ΟΨγ > _·$#≈> !κ.·
i.‾≈l`ρ¦ ¯Νδ •¸Ÿ. π−ƒ¸.l¦ ∩∉∪ āχ| _·%!¦
¦θ`ΖΒ¦´. ¦θlΗ-´ρ ·≈>l≈¯.l¦ i.‾≈l`ρ¦ ¯/`φ
¸¯.> π−ƒ¸.l¦ ∩∠∪ Μδτ¦“ > ‰Ζs ¯Νκ¯.´ ‘
·≈Ζ> β‰s “,>´ Β !´η.>´ `,≈κΞN¦
_·$#≈> !κ.· ¦´‰.¦ ´_.¯‘ ´<¦ ¯Ν·κ.s
¦θ.´‘´ρ «Ζs il≡Œ ϑl ´_:> …«−.´‘ ∩∇∪

The life in this world was designed to be temporary, and so were its comforts and
discomforts. However, the life in the Hereafter will be eternal and so will be Jannah (paradise)
and hell. The believers will be in the eternal comforts and pleasure of Jannah permanently
and the disbelievers will be imprisoned in hell permanently. The permanence of these
consequences is implied in the Qur-aan by the words such as “Khalideena feehaa” which
literally mean “living therein forever”. Various forms of this word have consistently been used
in the Qur-aan at about 80 places to describe the permanence of Jannah and Jahannam. This
permanence is sometimes further emphasized by adding “Abadan”, another word for
eternity. Although without the addition of “Abadan”, the meaning of permanence is already
there, “Abadan” highlights and emphasizes it in the Arabic style of exaggeration. In these
verses, when talking about the disbelievers’ abode in hell, “Abadan” was not mentioned, but
it was added while mentioning Jannah as being the abode for the believers’ who do good
deeds. Some people may think that there is some difference in the nature of the two

permanencies, but that notion is against the usage of these words in the Qur-aan. In the Qur-
aan, both styles have been used for both the punishment in hell and the reward in Jannah.
The “Abadan” is used only to highlight and emphasize the permanence, depending upon
whether Allaah SWT wants to put more emphasis on His punishment or His reward in those
particular verses.

The labelling of the disbelievers as “the worst of creatures” and calling the believers who live
their lives according to Islamic teachings as “the best of creatures” is another way of
reiterating the point made in Soorah At-Teen where human potential was described to be
“the most excellent of the forms” which can conversely become “the lowest of the low”.

Verse 8 gives a vivid picture of the ultimate success that everyone should strive for. Only
those persons can attain this ultimate success who live in this world in such a way that they
are afraid of adopting any behaviour that displeases Allaah SWT.

99 Al-Zilzaal
Name and Background

The name, Al-Zilzaal – the violent shaking, is taken from the first verse, and as
usual it implies “the Soorah containing the word Zilzaal”.

The subject matter of this and the next three Soorahs, Al-‘Aadiyaat, Al-
Qaari‘ah and At-Takaathur is the end of the world, the Day of Judgment and
the way people will be held accountable for their deeds done during this life.
Belief in the Hereafter, accountability and Judgment was the most difficult
article of faith for the people of Makkah. That is what they had the most
difficulty accepting. They could not fathom how it would be possible for this
universe, the cosmos, the earth and mountains to be totally destroyed; how
people who had become dust in their graves would be raised; and how the
record of their deeds could be preserved and presented to them. These small
Soorahs clarify these points in a very appealing style using small rhythmic
verses that can be easily memorized, recited and repeated. They were all
revealed in the very early stage of the Prophet’s mission in Makkah in order to
inculcate the belief in the Hereafter in people’s minds, possibly around the
same time when the Prophet stood at the mountain and called people to tell
them about the Hereafter. There are, however, some reports which claim that
Soorah Al-Zilzaal, Soorah Al-‘Aadiyaat and At-Takkathur were revealed in
Madeenah. For example, there is a report about Aboo Sa‘eed Khudri RA who
was a young man from Madeenah to be very concerned about accountability
when he heard Al-Zilzaal recited. But as Syed Abul A‘la Maudoodi and Amin
Ahsan Islahi have explained, the way the Ŝaĥaabah used to talk about the
revelation of a certain verse or soorah for a particular occasion did not
necessarily mean that it was revealed exactly at that time or for that occasion.
Hence, both of them as well as a majority of scholars agree that these soorahs
were revealed at a very early stage of the Makkan period.

These four Soorahs have been naturally placed immediately after Al-Bayyinah
because they expound upon the reality of the Hereafter when the reward for
belief and the punishment for disbelief, which was introduced in Al-Bayyinah,
will take place.

Teachings and Commentary

In the name of Allaah, the Most Gracious,
the Most Merciful.
Ο`.· ´<¦ ≈´Η-¯,l¦ ΟŠ>¯,l¦

This temporary world will end on the Last Day when the whole universe will be destroyed and
recreated under a new set of laws to last forever. At the start of the destruction stage, the
whole earth will experience intense earthquakes at a scale humanly unimaginable, far beyond
the top level 10 of the Richter scale. The Soorah starts with describing this scenario.

Imagine when Earth is shaken with
its utmost violent shaking,
and Earth
throws out its burdens,
everyone wonders “What is the
matter with it?”
On that Day, it will
report its chronicles,
because your
Lord has commanded it to do so.

¦Œ| ·l“l`— `¯‘N¦ !릓l— ∩⊇∪
·>,>¦´ρ `¯‘N¦ !γl!1.¦ ∩⊄∪ Α!·´ρ
≈.ΡN¦ !Β !λ ∩⊂∪ ‹.Β¯θƒ .´‰>´
!δ´‘!.>¦ ∩⊆∪ β!. š−.´‘ _-ρ¦ !γl ∩∈∪

The shaking of Earth will be accompanied by explosions that will cause the inside matter of
Earth to be spewed out. It also means that all the particles of dead people from which they
are to be raised and which Earth is carrying in different forms and at different stages of decay
will be extracted for being raised and revived. In addition, all records of events that the earth
witnessed which individuals and nations performed on it will be brought to light and off

”That day” is not a day with what we are accustomed to on this earth. It refers to a series of
incidents that will occur one after the other in an unimaginable period of time. This series of
incidents that is referred to as “Day” includes the total destruction and collapse of the current
universe, recreation of the new eternal universe that will operate under the new laws, raising
of all dead human beings, accountability session and Judgment, throwing criminals into
Jahannam (hell) and welcoming righteous believers into Jannah (paradise).

Once the new Earth is created, and people are raised and the accountability session starts,
the records of the earth will be played as witness to human deeds, as and when needed, at
the command of Allaah SWT. According to Aboo Hurairah’s narration reported in many books
of Hadeeth such as Musnad of Ahmad, Tirmidzi, Nasaai, etc., the Prophet explained, “Earth
will give witness for the actions a man or woman performed on it – that is, he or she did so

and so at such and such time. These are the chronicles that it will report.” There are also
other similar narrations reported by Anas and Rabee‘ah Al-Kharshi.

On that Day, people shall come
forth severally to be shown their
So whoever has done an
atom's weight of good shall see it;
and whoever has done an atom's
weight of evil shall see it.

‹≥Β¯θƒ '‘‰`.ƒ '!Ψl¦ !´.!.:¦ ¦ρ´¸`.l
¯Νγl≈ϑs¦ ∩∉∪ ϑ· ¯≅ϑ- ƒ Α!1.Β ο¯‘Œ
¦,‹> …ν,ƒ ∩∠∪ Β´ρ ¯≅ϑ- ƒ Α!1.Β ο¯‘Œ
¦´,: …ν,ƒ ∩∇∪

People will have to face accountability in their individual capacities. Everyone will mind his or
her own business. No one will care for, or support, anyone else. No friend, guardian, helper,
intercessor, supporter or backer will be available at hand or be of any avail. There will be no
collective accountability. Even actions performed or crimes committed collectively will have
to be defended individually, as it is every person’s own decision to participate in a collective

Everyone will be shown a complete record of their deeds. Even the most minute and the
slightest of good or bad moves will be included in the record of individual performance, as
will be intentions and motives behind them. Though the record will be complete, the
Judgment will be based on overall performance, not on each and every action, as described in

100 Al-‘Aadiyaat
Name and Background

The first word of the Soorah became its name.

As mentioned in the introduction for Al-Zilzaal, this Soorah was also revealed
in the very early period of the mission in Makkah when the basic concepts of
the Day of Judgment and the Hereafter were being taught.

Al-Zilzaal taught about the Day of Judgment by presenting some vivid images
of the conditions of that day and by describing the completeness of the
accountability for every action a person performs. This Soorah offers two
thoughts for human reflection: Firstly, it presents human ingratitude as one
reason that calls for accountability; and secondly, it informs that not only will
all human actions but also the intentions behind those actions be disclosed
during the accountability process.

Teachings and Commentary

In the name of Allaah, the Most Gracious,
the Most Merciful.

Ο`.· ´<¦ ≈´Η-¯,l¦ ΟŠ>¯,l¦
This Soorah starts with highlighting the loyalty, obedience and the utmost devotion that
domesticated animals demonstrate towards their human masters. Although it is true of many
domesticated animals such as camels, horses and dogs, the example used here is the battle-
trained horses that run so hard and manoeuvre so fast for the sake of their riders that they
generate panting sounds from their nostrils, sparks from the iron of their hooves and clouds
of dust from the ground
. Such horses were extremely dear and valuable to the Arabs

Because the horses have been described only by their attributes without using the word “horses”,
some people opined that these verses are about camels. Other commentators have responded to that
opinion by indicating that all four attributes such as the particular panting sound and the sparks from
hooves, etc are applicable only to horses, not camels.

Some people have tried to specify these horses to be those of Muslim warriors who defended Muslims
against enemy attacks, but that opinion is totally baseless. There is absolutely nothing in these verses to

because of their frequent battles with and raids on each other. They used to travel for such
raids at the late hours of the night and then raid suddenly early in the morning. These raids
were mainly to rob wealth, plunder animals and capture women and children for slavery. It
was to alert people about these kinds of raids that the Arabs had devised the warning cry
“waa ŝabaaĥaa” which was uttered as soon as someone noticed a sign of attack.

By using these battle horses for an oath, the Soorah presents their loyalty, obedience and
utmost devotion as witnesses to the ingratitude of human beings towards Allaah SWT.
Human beings have not created these animals. They merely feed them and take care of them.
In return, the animals are so loyal and so devoted that they put their best efforts using every
bit of their energy for the sake of their masters. In contrast, people disobey Allaah SWT
despite the fact that He has created them, provided for their needs and even created those
animals and pre-programmed them to obey human beings and to be useful to them. Even
their morning raids are in disobedience of Allaah SWT and a sign of human ingratitude.

The steeds that run panting,
produce sparks striking with their
make raids at dawn,
up thereby clouds of dust,
penetrate in that manner into the
midst of an assembly – present
witness that
man indeed is
ungrateful to his Lord;
and most
surely he himself is a witness of that;
and most surely he is intense in the
love of wealth.

·≈ƒ‰≈-l¦´ρ !⇔.. ∩⊇∪ ·≈ƒ‘θϑl!·
l>‰· ∩⊄∪ .≡´¸.-RQ!· !⇔.. ∩⊂∪ β¯,.!·
.«. !-1Ρ ∩⊆∪ ´L™´θ · .«. !-Η- ∩∈∪ β|
´≈.ΣN¦ .«.,l Šθ`Ζ>l ∩∉∪ …«‾Ρ|´ρ ’ls
il≡Œ ‰‹κ: l ∩∠∪ …«‾Ρ|´ρ .>l ¸¯.ƒ'¦
‰ƒ‰:l ∩∇∪
If people look inwards and listen to their conscience, they know that they are doing wrong. It
is only their intense love of wealth, power and glory that spurs them to do bad things and
suppress their conscience through various excuses to justify their behaviour. It is for their
ungrateful behaviour to Allaah SWT and for their going against their own conscience that they
will be held accountable on the Day of Judgment. The Day of Judgment is necessary to
administer justice. Although the pinching of their conscience and their sinister motives that

base that conclusion upon. In fact, it goes completely against the statement for which this oath has
been used – “Man indeed is ungrateful to his Lord.”

People usually stretch their imagination to draw these kinds of meanings only on the mistaken notion
that the items used for oaths must be very special, sacred or great in their nature. This notion has
already been refuted and the true roles of the oaths in the Qur-aan in the commentary on Soorah At-
Teen have been explained.

make them do the wrong things are hidden from others in this world, they will be open and
evident at the time of accountability on the Day of Judgment.

Does he not know when whatever is
in the graves will be tumbled out,
and whatever is in the minds will be
brought open.
Most surely their
Lord that day shall be perfectly
informed about them.

¤ Ÿξ·¦ `Νl-ƒ ¦Œ| ´¸.-. !Β ’· ‘θ.1l¦ ∩'∪
Ÿ≅´.`>´ρ !Β ’· ‘ρ‰¯.l¦ ∩⊇⊃∪ β| Ν·κ.´ ‘ ¯Νκ.
‹.Β¯θƒ ´¸..‚l ∩⊇⊇∪

Thus the Judgment by Allaah SWT will be based not only on the complete record of deeds but
also on the witness of people’s own conscience and Allaah’s perfect knowledge of the actions,
as well as the motives behind those actions.

101 Al-Qaari‘ah
Name and Background
Like the previous Soorah, the first word of the Soorah became its name.

Also like its two predecessors, it was revealed in the very early period of the
mission in Makkah when the basic concepts of the Day of Judgment and the
Hereafter were being taught.

In a similar style to that of Al-Zilzaal, it gives vivid imagery of some of the
scenes of the Day of Judgment, informs that the life Hereafter will be
determined by the overall evaluation of the deeds of people and then
mentions the kind of life people will live in the Hereafter as a result of that
evaluation and judgment. The difference is that in Al-Zilzaal, the emphasis was
on the completeness of the record, while in this Soorah it is on the way
judgment will take place.

Teachings and Commentary

In the name of Allaah, the Most Gracious,
the Most Merciful.

Ο`.· ´<¦ ≈´Η-¯,l¦ ΟŠ>¯,l¦
The Soorah starts by calling the destruction of the world on the Last Day as “Al-Qaari‘ah”
which literally means something that suddenly strikes something else producing a very loud
knocking sound. In usage, this word describes a severe calamity that suddenly strikes a

The loudly knocking calamity!
What is the loudly knocking
And what will make you
comprehend what the loudly
knocking calamity is?
The day on
which men shall be like scattered
and the mountains shall be
like carded wool.
πs‘!1l¦ ∩⊇∪ !Β πs‘!1l¦ ∩⊄∪ !Β´ρ i1´‘Š¦
!Β πs‘!1l¦ ∩⊂∪ Π¯θƒ `βθ>ƒ '!Ψl¦
¦,±l!Ÿé .θ..ϑl¦ ∩⊆∪ `βθ>.´ρ
`Α!.>l¦ γ-l!Ÿé \θ±Ζϑl¦ ∩∈∪

At the initial stages when destruction starts on the Last Day, people will be extremely
terrified, running around, not knowing where to go. They will be thrown into the air like
scattered moths. Because of the severe tremors, explosions, collisions, etc., the mountains
and rocks will be broken into small dust-like pieces and will be floating in the air like carded

After going through all the stages of destruction, re-creation and raising of the dead, people
will be judged according to their actions and intentions as described in the previous two
Soorahs. The judgment will take place according to the weights of people’s faith, actions and
intentions, after Allaah SWT has settled accounts among people for wrongs done against each
other. As explained at other places, that settlement will take place by transferring merits and
demerits among people. If the remaining merits or credits earned by a person for faith in
Islam and good deeds are heavier than the demerits or debits charged to him/her for
unforgiven mistakes and sins, he or she will have a life of comforts and pleasures in Jannah. If
the demerits are heavier than merits, that person will be punished in the blazing fire.
Disbelief will nullify any good deeds a disbeliever may have performed, so his balance of good
deeds will be empty of any merits.

Then, anyone whose scales are
heavy with good deeds
will live a
pleasant life;
while anyone whose
scales of good deeds are light,
refuge will be a pit.
And what will
make you know what it is?

!Β!· ∅Β ·l1. …«`Ζƒ—≡´θ Β ∩∉∪ ´θγ· ’·
π:Šs π´Š.¦¯‘ ∩∠∪ !Β¦´ρ Β ·±>
…«`Ζƒ—≡´θΒ ∩∇∪ …«•Β!· πƒρ!δ ∩'∪ !Β´ρ
i1´‘Š¦ !Β «´‹δ ∩⊇⊃∪ ‘!Ρ π´ŠΒl> ∩⊇⊇∪
Hell will be an extremely deep pit or an abyss of raging fire into which people to be punished
will be thrown from above. It has been called “haawiyah” which comes from the root word
that means dropping something from a height into a deep pit. The Arabic expression used to
describe how they will be entrusted to the deep pit of fire is “His mother will be the deep pit”.
A mother’s lap is refuge for a scared child. The abyss of raging fire will be the only place of
refuge the evil doers will have.

102 At-Takaathur
Name and Background

The name of the Soorah comes from the first verse.

At-Takaathur means competing with others in acquiring the most abundance
in wealth or whatever else is cherished in a society. The Soorah reminds
people that their preoccupation in pursuing the abundance of their cherished
things of this world causes them to neglect the eternal life of the Hereafter.
However, when they see Hell with their own eyes, they will feel deep regret
but it will be too late then for this feeling of regret to be of any use to them.

This is also one of the Soorahs that were revealed in the very early period of
the mission in Makkah when the basic concepts of the Day of Judgment and
the Hereafter were being taught.

In a similar style to that of Al-Zilzaal, Al-Qaari‘ah gave vivid imagery of the
conditions of the Day of Judgment and then mentioned the kind of life people
would live in the Hereafter as a result of their accountability. Like Al-
‘Aadiyaat, At-Takaathur gives another main reason that makes people neglect
the Hereafter. So the four Soorahs teach about the concepts regarding the
Last Day, the Judgment and the Hereafter in the following manner:

Al-Zilzaal gives vivid imagery of the conditions of the Last Day and then
emphasizes how the record of the human deeds to be used for
Judgment will be so complete that not even a tiny bit of action or
intention will be missed and how each person will be held accountable
individually so that there will be no one to speak for anyone except his
own record of deeds.
Al-‘Aadiyaat identifies that the ingratitude for Allaah’s favours causes
neglect of the Hereafter. If people appreciate the bounties of Allaah
SWT, they will understand that His bounties cannot be without
purpose. If He has given us life and bestowed all resources to sustain
it, He must expect us to work for His objectives and hold us
accountable in that regard.

Al-Qaari‘ah presents vivid imagery of the scenes of the Last Day and
clarifies that the Judgment will be based on the net result of the
overall performance, after all accounts have been settled and justice
has been meted among people themselves.
At-Takaathur warns about the preoccupation that detracts people and
makes them ignore the Hereafter until they see the reality of the
Hereafter and are held accountable for all of Allaah’s bounties and
favours. Because of their neglect, they will fail the accountability and
end up in hell.

Teachings and Commentary

In the name of Allaah, the Most Gracious,
the Most Merciful.

Ο`.· ´<¦ ≈´Η-¯,l¦ ΟŠ>¯,l¦
If we look around, people are busy pursuing the maximization of whatever they cherish:
wealth, power, influence, fame, fun, enjoyment, instant gratification of desires and things
that lead to what they cherish. People have their own passions and preferences that they
pursue and are preoccupied with. Not only do they want what they cherish but they want it
to be more than what anyone else may have and without limits to how much they need to
have. And this greed is insatiable. Even a billionaire wants to have another billion and another
billion and another billion; the powerful want to become the most powerful in the world even
if they have to acquire and use the most lethal weapons of mass destruction, and so on and
so forth. This greed, zeal and preoccupation create all the discord, injustice, and turmoil in
the world. It also keeps people preoccupied and indulged in these matters so much that they
completely forget about their accountability to Allaah and the life Hereafter. They do not
have time even to think about it or reflect about what is going to happen to them. Even if it
ever occurs to them, they are too busy to pay any due attention to this serious matter that is
going to determine their eternal future. They remain busy and preoccupied in that manner
until they die. This soorah begins with describing this reality of people in general. It mentions
abundance in general terms because different people chase different kinds of abundances
that they want to maximize in comparison to others.

Competing for attaining more
abundance than others preoccupies
until you reach the graves.
nevertheless, you shall know soon.
Again, you shall know soon.
However, (vying for worldly
abundance would not have been your
pre-occupation,) had you known with
a sure knowledge
that you would
certainly see Hell-Fire;
that you shall
most surely see it with the eye of
and then, on that day, you
shall most certainly be questioned
about the pleasures (of this world).

`Ν>9 γl¦ `,.l>−.l¦ ∩⊇∪ _.> `Λn¯‘`— ,.!1ϑl¦
∩⊄∪ āξ´ š’θ™ βθϑl-. ∩⊂∪ ¯Ν. āξ´
∃θ™ βθϑl- . ∩⊆∪ āξ´ ¯θl βθϑl-. ´Νl.
_.1´‹l¦ ∩∈∪ āχ`ρ´¸.l ´ΟŠ>>'¦ ∩∉∪ ¯Ο.
!κΞ`ρ´¸.l š_.s _.1´‹l¦ ∩∠∪ ¯Ο. ´l↔`..l
‹≥Β¯θƒ s ΟŠ-Ζl¦ ∩∇∪

Currently, the Hereafter seems like an improbable thing that does not deserve much of their
attention while the worldly attractions seem so real, permanent and deserving of full
attention. But soon the Hereafter will be right there in front of them and they will see it with
certainty, without any doubt. The reality will start appearing to them as soon as they reach
their graves when they will realize that all that they had maximized has been left behind and
they have come to the Hereafter empty handed. They concentrated on their temporary life
while neglecting their eternal life. They spent their God-given life and resources in
disobedience of Allaah, rather than seeking His pleasure. Now they would have to account for
why they did so and suffer the consequence in hell forever. Had they realized the reality of
the Hereafter in this world, their attitude would have been different. They would have
prepared for the Hereafter by obeying Allaah and doing good deeds. They would have
maximized the pleasure of Allaah rather than maximizing the pursuit and enjoyment of
worldly gains. By concentrating on the attractions of the world, they assumed that they were
attaining success, but soon they will realize that they were the utter losers. But alas, it would
be too late to benefit from this realization at that time.

103 Al-‘Aŝr
Name and Background

This small Soorah is identified by the word “Al-‘Aŝr” used in its first short

It was revealed in the very early Makkan period of the Islamic Movement
when Qur-aanic revelations consisted of short verses that were very
appealing and memorable. As the prophethood of Muhammad ŝall-Allaahu
‘alayhi wa sallam was the hot issue of that time, people were intrigued by
every revelation they heard about. They would hear the verses and repeat
them exactly as heard to other people, quickly making these short revelations
the talk of the town.

At-Takaathur highlighted human short-sightedness for being so absorbed in
competing to maximize worldly abundance that they ignore the need to
succeed in their accountability to Allaah SWT in the Hereafter. When thinking
of success, people think only in terms of worldly accomplishments, forgetting
the Hereafter altogether. This Soorah negates all such notions of success
people have in their minds and explains how everyone is an utter loser unless
he adopts a four-part program of action for the eternal success.

This Soorah is an excellent example of the Qur-aanic feature in that it delivers
a message of enormous impact in only a few words. The people who
understand it well feel that volumes can be written about the message and
philosophy presented in this Soorah. It provides a complete action program
for salvation, points out the terrible loss suffered by those who neglect this
action program, and presents the logical evidence supporting its claim – all in
three brief verses. The action program consists of four cornerstones on which
a solid structure of salvation and success can be built that will help people
avoid loss and failure. Thus, it identifies the essentials of an Islamic lifestyle in
the proverbial nutshell. Scholars like Imam Shafi‘ee have suggested that if
people reflect upon and assimilate the message of just this Soorah, it will be
enough for their guidance.

It was reported by Abdullaah Bin Ĥiŝn Ad-Daarimi that when the companions
of the Prophet met, they would not depart without reciting Al-‘Aŝr to each
other. This indicates how important it is to keep the message of this Soorah
always in our conscious mind.

Teachings and Commentary

In the name of Allaah, the Most Gracious,
the Most Merciful.
Ο`.· ´<¦ ≈´Η-¯,l¦ ΟŠ>¯,l¦

This Soorah starts with an oath and it has been explained
previously that oaths are used in
the Qur-aan to present the elements and things which, if reflected upon, will help people
grasp the reality of the statement that follows the oath. This Soorah presents the witness of
fleeting time for our reflection.

As evidenced
by rapidly passing
human beings
are utter

unless they believe in
Islamic tenets, perform good deeds,
and mutually promote Ĥaqq
steadfastness among themselves.

¸`.-l¦´ρ ∩⊇∪ β| ´≈.ΣN¦ ’∀l ¸.> ∩⊄∪
āω| _·%!¦ ¦θ`ΖΒ¦´. ¦θlϑs´ρ ·≈>l≈¯.l¦
¦¯θ.¦´θ.´ρ ´_>l!. ¦¯θ.¦´θ .´ρ ¸¯.¯.l!. ∩⊂∪
Witness of Time
Time is the most precious asset or resource human beings have. We hear expressions such as
‘time is money’ and ‘time is wealth’ from the people who can fathom its value. It is, in fact,
even more precious than wealth: time is life!

Its supply is defined and limited. The maximum time available to us is our lifespan, the
duration of which is not precisely known for any individual. Its end can come any time,
whether we are ready or not. It is a non-renewable resource. Every moment gone is gone

Please see Soorah At-Teen for details.
This translation is to give the real meaning of the literal translation: “By fleeting time.”
The literal word used is ‘Man’ to represent the human species. Its use implies that the statement
equally applies to an individual, a community, a nation or the whole human species.
The word Khusr represents a situation where a businessman suffers such a great loss that it loses all
or much of its invested capital and goes bankrupt.
It is a comprehensive word that stands for Truth as well as the rightful claims of others on someone.
There is no English equivalent that can convey both meanings.

forever. It can never be brought back or repeated. We cannot stop it. Whether we utilize it
for our advantage or not, it passes away.

And it is passing swiftly! Just look at the second hand on your watch, where every tick is
indicating the passage of time that is gone forever. And the length of this tick is a long time.
Light travels 186,000 miles in that time, while your computer executes millions of
instructions. Think of a fast moving electronic ticker tape – the kind that displays stock market
activity. Now imagine the passing of a continuous stream of milliseconds of your time (life)
moving fast on that electronic ticker tape. It is with that speed you are moving towards the
end of your time – your death.

Clearly, our success depends on how judiciously, effectively and efficiently we utilize our time
in attaining our goals and objectives. The better a person is at it, the more successful an
achiever he is. The weaker one is in its utilization, the bigger the loser he is. For example, a
student’s objective is to properly learn the subject matter covered by the course he is taking
and to obtain the maximum score in the test administered to evaluate his learning. His
success depends upon how effectively and efficiently he utilizes his time in learning the
subject matter and in demonstrating his knowledge and understanding of the subject matter
during the test.

The time that has passed becomes history. History of nations is remembered and recorded.
The Qur-aan also reminds us about the end results that previous nations faced. People who
reflect upon it can learn many lessons from history.

Al-‘Aŝr refers both to the fleeting nature of time (how quickly it is passing) and to the passed
time that has become history.

Its historical aspect reminds us that Allaah SWT always deals with communities of people
precisely according to their collective behaviour. Those nations who did good deeds
flourished and prospered. Those who were bad, corrupt or unjust, i.e. who did not live
according to the guidance of Allaah, were losers. Those societies lost their peace and order as
a consequence of their bad behaviour. In addition, they became weak, fell apart or were
overrun by others. Or, after being given due respite, they were punished and destroyed.

Its fleeting nature reminds us that we have been put on this Earth to be tested for a limited
period of time that is swiftly running out. To pass the test, we must live our life the way our
Lord wants us to live. Any moments not spent for the goals and objectives that Allaah wants
us to achieve are opportunities wasted forever. Those who continue losing the opportunities
are going to be the “utter losers”. From this point of view, we are like students who are
writing an exam. The time a student does not spend doing the exam questions is time wasted
that will result in the loss of marks. Our situation is even more precarious because we do not
even know how soon our death may terminate our exam. We will never have an opportunity
to make up for the lost time.

Another way of looking at it is that we have a limited amount of capital in the form of our
time. Either we invest it and earn future profits from it, or we let it go to waste and become
bankrupt. The time we spend in the activities geared to the attainment of our goals and
objectives is being invested, while every other moment is wasted, never to be available again.

The swift speed of time also underscores another point: this temporary life is passing very
fast and will be over before we know it. In this quickly passing brief life we have on Earth, a
wise person uses this opportunity to focus on the goals and objectives pertaining to the
eternal never-ending life, even if it entails sacrificing the goals and objectives pertaining to
the temporary life of this world. A loser, on the other hand, falls for the transitory objectives
and deprives himself of the eternal success. It is like a student spending his time on leisure
activities instead of learning the subject matter of the course.

Thus, this Soorah presents time as an element which, if contemplated upon, shows that
people who do not use their limited but precious time properly are utter losers.
The Loss or Failure
As explained in the footnote, the word Khusr used in this Soorah is the kind of loss that eats
your capital. People invest capital for the objective of making profit. Khusr is the situation
when they fail to attain that objective and, instead, end up losing the invested capital. From
the perspective of our life in this world, time is our capital that is being used up by our
pursuits of different goals and objectives. Khusr is, then, failing to pursue the goals and
objectives for which Allaah has given us time (life).

People usually pursue different goals and objectives focused on the life of this world, as
described in At-Takaathur. But this Soorah reminds them of the goals and objectives that
Allaah has set for them.

Allaah SWT has created people so that they submit to Him and obey Him like slaves. Although
He has not pre-programmed people for this obedience, He has told them that if they
voluntarily submit to Him (become Muslim), He will be pleased with them and reward them;
otherwise He will be angry with them and punish them. For those who seek to please Him by
obeying Him (the Muslims), He bestowed them with Islam so that individually they become
excellent in their conduct and dealings and collectively their society is characterized with
justice, balance, peace, love, care and excellence.

Thus, the Muslims’ goal in life is to please Allaah so much with their obedience to Him that, in
the Hereafter, He saves them from any hardships of hell and rewards them with the pleasures
and comforts of Jannah to enjoy forever. To please Allaah SWT, their objectives in this world
are to:

Continuously work to achieve excellence in their personal conduct and dealings; and
Strive hard to establish the Islamic system of peace, justice and excellence

For details, please refer to my book “Islam – Adopting its Paradigms”.

They must work for these objectives simultaneously, without neglecting either of them. These
are the objectives for which Allaah had sent His Messenger and given us Islam. In other
words, they are the objectives of Deen (Islam).

The successful are only those who invest their time pursuing the pleasure of Allaah by
submitting to Him completely, focussing on the abovementioned goal of life and objectives of
Deen. A lifestyle not focussed on these objectives causes utter loss.

The consequences in this world are the loss of justice, peace, tranquility and balance in the
life of individuals and the society as well as incidences of exploitation, injustice, crime,
violence and other social problems. The consequences in the Hereafter are the loss of Allaah’s
rewards and bounties, and the severe punishment in Hell. Obviously, the loss in the Hereafter
is drastically severer and everlasting, and there is no way to avoid it. That is why the Qur-aan
emphasizes that:

“The real losers will be those who lose themselves and their families on the Day of
Judgment. Ah, that is the manifest loss!” Az-Zumar 39:15

And the real success is described as,

“Whoever is saved from the Fire and admitted to the Jannah, he indeed is
triumphant.” Aali-Imraan 3:185

The Profitable Investment – The Path of Salvation

After underscoring the need for judicious investment of time to avoid loss of capital or
bankruptcy, the Soorah provides guidelines to make the best use of this time. An individual or
a society that invests time according to these guidelines will be able to achieve the
aforementioned goal and objectives and earn good returns in this world and reap the best
rewards in the Hereafter.

It presents the following four elements as the cornerstones of the lifestyle of success and
1. Faith
The first and foremost element is that the person must believe in all the articles of the Islamic
faith. The time of one’s life that is passed without believing in Islam is the time totally and
completely wasted. The articles of faith are mentioned in detail in the Qur-aan and Hadeeth.
The key point to remember is that this Soorah is not referring to the ‘legal’ faith which is
taken at face value on the basis of the word or claim of a person, and which is used to define
a Muslim for matters in this world. It is talking about the real faith according to which Allaah
SWT deals with people. It is the faith that emanates from the depth of one’s heart and is fully
accepted and endorsed by one’s intellect. It is this faith that ensures salvation and brings

success. Such faith shows in the thoughts, desires, aspirations, attitude, outlook, preferences
and priorities of the believer. It is also visible in the ethics, morals, behaviour and lifestyle of
the faithful.

It goes beyond the verbal acknowledgement or recital of Kalimah Ŧayyibah. As for the true
belief in Allaah SWT, a person must have a profound conviction that: Allaah SWT is the one
and only God Who is infinite in every respect -- in shape or form, in attributes, in power and
knowledge, in His way of doing things, etc. He has created this universe and everything in it
simply by commanding them to happen. After its creation, He has not just left it on its own
but is taking care of its affairs and governing the whole kingdom on an ongoing basis, as He
likes. We are born as His slaves and we must serve and worship Him as such. We must submit
to him in every aspect of our life throughout our life. Our personal lives as well as all the
systems that govern our collective lives in the society such as our political, social, economic
and legal systems must be established and run according to His commandments. We must
enthusiastically stand up to establish His rules even if the whole world insists we do
otherwise. We must readily reject all the ideas, philosophies and ideologies if they differ from
the paradigm given to us by Allaah. Our life should be Allaah-centred and seeking His Pleasure
should be our foremost priority.

Similarly, true belief in the Prophet requires us to:
• Accept him as the last prophet and the last messenger of Allaah who was sent as a
mercy of Allaah to the whole world until the Day of Judgment; and to adopt the Holy
Qur-aan revealed to him as our ultimate code of life;
• Learn to live by the Qur-aan as demonstrated by him in his life;
• Value his Sunnah as the practical demonstration of living by the Qur-aan, source of
wisdom in this regard and source of law complementing the Qur-aan; and,
• Love and obey him more than any other person in the world.
True faith in the Hereafter shifts our focus from worldly needs and desires to the
requirements of the eternal life in the Hereafter and from a carefree life to a lifestyle of
continuous care in preparing for the accountability on the Day of Judgment. While living here,
our heart is in the Hereafter. We treat the world as a temporary stop en route to a
permanent destination of our choice.

The true faith in Allaah makes a person remember Allaah day and night, being aware of His
presence and thinking of Him all the time. This faith and remembrance, together with the
consciousness of accountability to Him, develops the frame of mind called Taqwa whereby a
person becomes extremely cautious in ensuring that everything he says or does is pleasing to
Allaah SWT, not displeasing to Him. He also feels liberated from all fears and worries because
of his complete reliance (Tawakkul) on Allaah for the consequences of his actions while living

The intent here is not to give a complete explanation of all articles of faith. The details of all articles
will come at other appropriate places in the commentary on verses of the Qur-aan. Moreover, once
these major components of faith are firmly and properly entrenched in the heart and mind of a person,
the remaining articles of Islamic faith easily fall in place.

by His commands. He brings everything in his private and public life under the purview of
Islam and makes his intentions pure for the pleasure of Allaah in everything he does (Ikhlaaŝ).
A person’s faith is not reliable without these changes in the mindset of an individual.

This kind of faith in Allaah, His messenger and Aakhirah, is the prerequisite for the other three
elements of salvation that follow. It is like a seed from which other elements emerge. It is like
the root system of a tree on which the health, growth and strength of the tree depends. If
one’s faith is strong and healthy, good things grow from the energy it provides. It is the
foundation on which the edifice of a wonderful lifestyle and a beautiful society is built. It
provides a strong anchor to withstand the temptations, pressures and problems of this world.
It protects the believer from drifting aimlessly to wherever the winds or waves of
contemporary fads, trends and philosophies take us.
2. Good Actions
The second element which ensures that time is being invested effectively is the performance
of good deeds – actions that promote growth, excellence, progress and peace within an
individual and within a community. These actions help people to become the best they can be
physically, spiritually, ethically, intellectually and socially (establishing and maintaining
healthy relationships). They are also the kind of behaviours that correspond well with the
grand scheme of nature according to which the universe is being managed by Allaah.

Good deeds are all actions and behaviours that, according to the Qur-aan and His Messenger,
are approved and encouraged by Allaah SWT. If the Qur-aan and the Sunnah indicate an
action to be virtuous and desirable, it is a good deed even if the whole world disapproves of
it. On the other hand, if the whole world likes and endorses certain behaviour, but the Qur-
aan and the Sunnah consider it undesirable, it is a bad deed that must be avoided. The scope
of good action is very wide. Neither is it limited to acts of worship and remembrance of Allaah
nor is it confined to individual actions. It encompasses all actions of people: individual and
collective, private and public, at home or outside, at work or at leisure, while grieving or
celebrating, in good times or in difficulties, during weekdays or weekends, alone or among
friends, and so on and so forth. Whenever and wherever a person is, actions must conform to
the Qur-aan and the Sunnah.

Good behaviour is actually the natural corollary of faith and closely linked to it. If faith is true
and healthy, the actions of a person will naturally conform to it. Conversely, if the actions are
not in conformity of the Islamic definition of “good”, it indicates that there is something
wrong with the faith. A student who is convinced that his success depends on his preparation
for and performance in the exam, works hard accordingly. However, if he gives priority to
activities other than his studies, there is a contradiction between his objective and actions. By
the same token, if a person claims to be a believer but does not act like a believer, or even
worse, acts like a disbeliever, he himself contradicts his claim of being faithful by behaving
against the guidance of Allaah and His messenger.

That the practice of the people conforms to their beliefs can also be explained by another
phenomenon we come across frequently. People speed only when they believe they will not

be caught. When a speeding driver is told of police standing ahead handing out tickets to
speeders, he will slow down if he believes the news. He will continue speeding if he does not
believe the news. A believer knows that he will be held accountable on the Day of Judgment,
hence he behaves accordingly. A true believer actually goes a step further. To him, the faith is
an absolute reality and his behaviour shows that conviction. Their example will be like those
people who know of the presence of the police, say when a police car is passing by. All the
traffic around their car slows down to the speed limit because they are afraid that they will be
caught. A true believer knows that Allaah SWT is fully aware of our actions and His angels are
continuously recording every move we make.

Just as faith without corresponding actions is not credible, even the best actions without faith
are also not acceptable. This is for two reasons: Firstly, a good action is acceptable to Allaah
only when it is in accordance with the Qur-aan and the Sunnah, an accordance only a believer
will ensure. Building a hospital by promoting gambling in the society is not a good action
despite the selfless devotion of the volunteers. Secondly, the action must be undertaken only
for the sake and pleasure of Allaah or to earn reward from Him in the Hereafter, which also
requires belief. For example, a very charitable person who does not believe in the Hereafter
will have no reward for his charity in the Hereafter. It is like building a sand castle on a beach,
which is not built for living in. It is like cultivating and fertilizing land without sowing seeds.

The close relationship between faith and actions is similar to that between a seed and a plant.
If a seed does not sprout into a plant, then the seed is defective. While without the seed
there cannot be a plant
. Because of this critical interdependence between the two, the
Qur-aan always mentions both faith and good deeds together whenever promising success,
salvation and paradise. Never has Allaah promised Jannah, anywhere in the Qur-aan, only for
faith or merely for actions – but always for both faith and good actions as a package.
Similarly, faith has always preceded good actions indicating that good action must be based
on faith to be beneficial in the Hereafter as a good investment.

Thus, the second element required for a valid investment of time is a lifestyle of good actions
that are defined as such by Allaah and demonstrated by His messenger and that are
performed only for the sake of Allaah or the reward on the Day of Judgment.

The two characteristics of a winning personality, faith and good actions, mentioned above are
such that a person can possess and practice them alone. However, the next two elements
require mutual interaction among believers. They can be practiced only if the believers form
and live in a society and participate actively in creating an appropriate environment in that
society. This underscores the importance Islam puts on forming an organized pious society of
believers and clearly indicates that Islam does not want people to live like scattered,
disorganized or lonely individuals.

Even those plants that are propagated through stems or leaves, their stems or leaves do the job of
the seed.

3. Promoting Ĥaqq
The third element that qualifies passing time as an appropriate investment is using it for
mutual exhortation, encouragement and promotion of Ĥaqq in the society. Ĥaqq has two
established meanings: the Truth, consisting of every statement or matter that is factual,
accurate, fair, just and appropriate; and the Rights and moral obligations, including the rights
of Allaah, rights of other human beings, or rights of your own self. Both faith and good actions
are part of Ĥaqq. Faith is belief in the true realities. It also acknowledges the right of Allaah to
be worshipped. Good actions are those which either fulfill the rights of Allaah and/or the
rights of other people, and which strike a healthy balance between the rights of Allaah,
people and one’s own self. Thus, Ĥaqq is a comprehensive term that encompasses truth,
justice, fairness, truthful behaviour, faith and good actions.

This requirement dictates that Muslims must go beyond their personal belief in Allaah and
the practice of good things. They must also exhort, frequently remind, strongly advise and
persistently encourage each other about the fulfillment of others’ rights, about performing
their obligations, and about saying and supporting only what is true, fair and proper. The
motivation behind this promotion of Ĥaqq is the ardent love of Ĥaqq a Muslim harbours.
People love to talk about and promote what they love. Muslims love Ĥaqq, so they enjoy
practicing it, encouraging others to adopt it, and developing an environment where Ĥaqq is
given full consideration and is cherished.

Some people may tend to think that if we have faith and we are behaving well according to
the faith by trying to be the best human beings possible in the light of the Qur-aan and the
Sunnah, we have done our duty to Allaah. But Allaah says that is not enough. People may
think that what others do is not their business. But Allaah says that what happens in the
society is very much everyone’s business. Ĥaqq must be actively and aggressively promoted in
the Islamic society. It is not an option. It is a duty on which the salvation of the individuals as
well as the society depends. It is necessary for multiple reasons:

• No person is an island unto himself or herself. Every person either affects or is
affected by the demonstrative effects of the actions and behaviours of others. If a
person is not strong enough to affect others, he is himself slowly influenced. This
influence gradually adds up. In due course, his own performance is significantly
affected by what happens in society. Passive people let the society determine the
course of their life, while activists determine the course of the society. Islam wants
the good people to be activists to positively impact the society, not be influenced by
• Islam wants people to care for other people. It is our Islamic responsibility to help
other people improve in their performance and behaviour. When done with that
spirit, it creates an environment of well-wishing for everyone. In the end, everyone
improves and benefits in this process, either through self-assessment while
encouraging others or though others’ reminders to oneself.

• This mutual reminder and encouragement creates a healthy environment in the
society where goodness flourishes. Even weak performers are encouraged to
perform better in such a supportive atmosphere.
• If the process of moral rejuvenation of the society as a whole through mutual
exhortation is not actively undertaken, the society will slowly degenerate especially
under the influence from Shayŧaan. This mutual exhortation defends against the
onslaught of Shayŧaan and saves the society from degeneration and degradation.
In other places in the Qur-aan, this obligation has been called, ‘enjoining good and forbidding
evil’. This is taken so seriously in Islam that those who are negligent in this obligation lose the
support and help from Allaah SWT and are punished and cursed right in this world. Banee
Israeel were cursed through Daawood ‘AS and Eesa ‘AS for not doing this work. (Al-Maaidah
5:78-79). People today have been warned through an example of Banee Israaeel where the
wrongdoers and quiet watchers were all punished and the only people who were saved were
those who actively tried to stop the violation of Allaah’s commands. (Al-A’raaf 7:163-166)
Muslims have been told, “Save yourselves from being in a situation where punishment will
not be limited only to wrong-doers.” (Al-Anfaal 9:25)

So, those who want to save themselves from eternal loss must actively and aggressively
promote goodness in the society.
4. Promoting Steadfastness

The fourth cornerstone of this program of success and salvation is exhorting and encouraging
each other for constancy, consistency, steadfastness and perseverance in the performance of
the first three elements of success. This includes an aggressive passion for the defence,
establishment, maintenance and spread of the Islamic way of life -- faith, good behaviour and
Ĥaqq in the society. This is the kind of passion a mother bear has for her cubs, which is shown
in the courage, vigour and devotion with which she defends them, protects them and takes
care of them. In the same manner, a Muslim loves the Islamic way of life, lives for it,
promotes it, is passionate for its dominance over the world and willingly braves the
difficulties and challenges thrown his way by opponents and Shayaaŧeen.

Allaah SWT likes those who persevere in performing well. The good actions of the individuals
and the maintenance of a healthy environment through mutual promotion of virtues must
continue constantly and consistently. But none of this is easy. It demands dedication,
fortitude, perseverance, courage and resolve. It requires personal sacrifices of desires,
resisting temptations and depriving oneself of quick gratifications – all for future rewards in
the Hereafter. It entails bearing hardships for one’s faith, tolerating taunts and derisions of
the people, and taking persecutions and abuses in stride. To withstand these pressures, the
community of believers must support each other and promote steadfastness among

People individually cannot always remain steadfast. Even the toughest of them wears down.
They need frequent encouragement and reminders for that purpose. That can happen only

when there is such an environment of mutual help and support. People have their “ups and
downs”. Mutual encouragement helps the society as a whole to remain steadfast.

Human beings cannot remain focussed for very long. Other demands on their time and
pressures of the society distract them from the most important of their priorities, no matter
what. The best of intentions and resolutions are forgotten with time. Sometimes people are
highly motivated after listening to a good lecture or reading a good article and intend to be
the best from then on. After some time, they end up back in their old ruts. All these situations
require encouragement from others to keep them consistently on a high level of dedication
and performance.

Also, the circumstances of people change. However, the level of personal excellence and
dedication to the Islamic work must be maintained whether times are good or bad, whether
the economic situation is prosperous or adverse, whether a person is exhilarated or
devastated and whether the community is free or under persecution.

Hence, promoting constancy, consistency, steadfastness and perseverance is extremely
important to keep the Islamic society on the optimal level of excellence despite the

This promotion of Ĥaqq (which includes enjoining good and forbidding evil) and of
steadfastness is also collectively called Jihaad – a continuous endeavour to establish and
maintain an Islamic society and its members on faith, the path of Allaah’s obedience, and
excellence in ethics, morals and behaviours both individually as persons and collectively as a
All of these four factors of success are very much interrelated and interdependent. Belief
shows itself in actions; and the love for faith and good actions makes the person promote
them in society, seeing them appreciated and loved all over the world; and it creates a
passion to see the people standing up for the aforementioned and aggressively working for
them with perseverance. It all comes as one package and must be adopted as such for success
and salvation. It starts with faith but the remaining three must happen simultaneously. You
cannot wait until you master one before embarking on the other. We must progress on all
fronts at the same time. The time of our life must be spent on this whole package in a
balanced way, concurrently and constantly, while ensuring that everything is directed to the
attainment of the aforementioned goal of life and the objective of Deen. Only in that case will
it be considered a profitable investment. Otherwise, we will become bankrupt.

Time is passing quickly. We must immediately embark on changing our lifestyle to gear all our
activities to the attainment of the goal of life and objectives of Deen and on making all the
four elements of success and salvation as the cornerstones of our personality.

Imaam Raazi mentioned a pious person who said that an ice vendor helped him understand
the point and message of Al-‘Aŝr. The vendor was selling ice on a very hot summer day. While

his ice was quickly melting, he was calling upon people to buy from him before his capital
melted away. That is exactly our situation. Our life is melting away very fast like a block of ice
on an extremely hot day.

104 Al-Humazah
Name and Background

The name of this Soorah, Al-Humazah, comes from its first verse.

At-Takaathur described how the pursuit of maximum abundance makes
people neglect the Hereafter, where they are going to be losers; and thus
their notion of success is faulty. Al-‘Aŝr described the qualities of people who
will really avoid loss, and attain salvation and success. This Soorah describes
the kind of personality traits that accumulators of wealth adopt and the
punishment they will receive as a result.

Teachings and Commentary

In the name of Allaah, the Most
Gracious, the Most Merciful.

Ο`.· ´<¦ ≈´Η-¯,l¦ ΟŠ>¯,l¦

Woe to every mocker, slanderer,
who accumulates wealth and keeps
on counting it.
He thinks that his
wealth will make him immortal.

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ω!Β …νŠ´‰s´ρ ∩⊄∪ ´..>† β¦ …`& !!Β
…ν$#> ¦ ∩⊂∪
The first verse describes two bad traits: Al-Humazah is an emphasized form of an adjective
that describes someone who is given to mocking and taunting people using condescending
gestures and scornful words. Al-Lumazah is another emphasized form of an adjective that
describes someone who is habitual of using slanderous speech and propaganda for others’
character assassination.

Both of these bad traits are closely related and usually found simultaneously in a person.
Usually this is a result of the arrogance based on the respect, status and power that the rich
people think they have. They usually treat poor people with that kind of attitude. But, when
they suspect that their wealth, influence or “superiority” is seemingly threatened by anyone,
they particularly deploy these vicious tools to discredit such a person. And if he happens to be
someone who promotes charity, morality and good conduct, in that case, they really use

every tactic they can employ to discredit that person because his moral teachings may expose
their stinginess, love of wealth and their immoral and exploitive methods of acquiring it; and
thus, may destroy their respect and influence in the society.

The second verse gives a vivid picture of his preoccupation with wealth, which is indicated by
an obsessive counting of assets and monitoring of their growth. In the contemporary world, it
is indicated by an obsession with monitoring market movements as well as with checking
market indices, growth charts, bank statements and portfolio valuations.

A person who realizes and remembers the temporary nature of the life of this world would be
quite content to have enough assets to help him live reasonably for his remaining life. A
person who believes in the Hereafter would be spending his wealth in charity in the way of
Allaah, thus depositing it with Him and making it grow for the eternal life, rather than
worrying about its growth in this world. But those whose character is described in this Soorah
have such a greed for more wealth and are obsessed with its growth as if they are never going
to die but live forever and own this wealth for eternity.

Not at all! He will be flung to the
And what will make you
realize what the Crusher is?
It is the
fire of Allaah, well-kindled,
mounts the hearts.
It will be vaulted
over them,
in outstretched columns.

āξ´ β‹.⊥`Šl ’· πϑL>'¦ ∩⊆∪ !Β´ρ i1´‘Š¦
!Β πϑL>'¦ ∩∈∪ '‘!Ρ ´<¦ ο‰·θϑl¦ ∩∉∪
_.l¦ ×lL. ’ls ο‰↔·N¦ ∩∠∪ !κΞ| Νκ¯.ls
ο‰.σ•Β ∩∇∪ ’· ‰´Η- οŠ´‰ϑ•Β ∩'∪

Although they presume themselves to be important, and respectable people of high status,
they will be thrown in the hell like a useless thing is thrown in the junk yard. When they will
be thrown into the depth of hell, they will be crushed.

The fire of hell will not be an ordinary fire; it is a fire that has been ignited by Allaah to punish
those who totally forgot about Him. It will burn not only the outer flesh but it will
simultaneously burn the inner most parts of the body. “Heart” proverbially represents a
person’s mind which is where all emotions and attachments emanate from. As these people’s
minds are full of passion for wealth instead of the love for Allaah, that seat of passion will
particularly be a target of burning for the fire of hell.

They will be imprisoned in extremely tall pillars and hell will be covered shut from the top so
that neither can any heat diffuse out, nor can there be any opportunity for them to escape
the Fire.

105 Al-Feel
Name and Background

Al-Feel was taken from the first verse of this Soorah to be used as its name.

The preceding Soorahs had pointed out the fallacy of the disbelievers’ view of
success and indicated how the preoccupation with accumulating wealth
corrupts one’s personality and makes a person forget the Hereafter. For the
Quraish of Makkah, the existence of the Holy Ka‘bah in their city was the
major contributor to their wealth and influence. Arabs revered the Holy
Ka‘bah as the house of God constructed by Ibraaheem (Abraham) and
Ismaa‘eel (Ishmael). Pilgrimage to the Holy Ka‘bah was their biggest annual
event. They respected the Quraish for being the caretakers of the Holy Ka‘bah
and the administrators of the pilgrimage. It was due to this respect that the
Quraish were free to travel throughout Arabia when they wanted without any
fear of attack from any tribe. This allowed them to send trading caravans and
conduct trade throughout the year. The pilgrimage also afforded them
excellent business opportunities. This Soorah and the next Soorah (Al-
Quraish) jointly remind the Makkans that the Holy Ka‘bah -- their major
source of wealth, influence and security -- is a house that was built exclusively
for the worship of and devotion to Allaah, the one true God. That is exactly
what the Prophet is calling them to and that is what the Makkans should be

For that purpose, Soorah Al-Feel mentions an extraordinary event that had
taken place about forty some years before its revelation and many Makkans
living at the time of this revelation themselves witnessed it. As the incident
was well known, there was no need to mention the details; thus, the Soorah
briefly reminds people only of Allaah’s role in that episode.

The story starts with the Abyssinian Christians becoming the rulers of Yemen
in 525 CE. The Abyssinians were aided by the Romans who wanted to use the
installed governor to wrest control from Arabs over trade routes used for
trade with East Africa, India, etc. A person named Abraham (Syriac
pronunciation) or Abrahah (Abyssinian pronunciation) was able to come into

power and become the Abyssinian king’s viceroy in Yemen. In addition to
taking control of the trade, he also wanted to convert people to Christianity.
He observed that the Yemeni Arabs, like all other Arabs, had very strong
sentiments of devotion and reverence to the Holy Ka‘bah. They even
undertook arduous journeys for its pilgrimage with passion. With the
intention of diverting Arab devotion, he had a very splendid church of
unprecedented magnificence built in San’aa, the Yemeni capital, and sent out
announcements requiring all Arabs to come to that church for pilgrimage
instead of going to the Holy Ka‘bah. When people resented his announcement
rather than complying with it, he vowed to demolish the Holy Ka‘bah. In order
to do that he needed to create a reason to attack. It was alleged that an Arab
had desecrated the church by relieving himself in it. This issue was
propagated extensively to rouse the Christian sentiments and to seek the
support of the Abyssinian king. Thus, the war was justified and “sold” in a
similar way as it is done today. Preparations were made and, in 570 or 571 CE,
Abraha set out with a 60,000 strong army that included a unit of 9 (or 13)

At the outset, a Yemeni chief named Dzu Nafar gathered an army of Arabs to
fight him and force him to abandon his demolition plan; but he was defeated
by the massive army of Abrahah and was taken prisoner. Then, in the territory
of Khath‘am, another Arab chief named Nufail ibn Ĥabeeb Al- Khath‘ami
confronted Abrahah’s army with the help of some neighbouring tribes. He
was also defeated and captured. To save his life, he agreed to act as a guide to
show Abrahah’s army the way towards Makkah. When the army reached Ŧaaif
area, the leaders of Banoo Thaqeef met Abrahah and made a deal with him
that they would provide him a guide to show him the way to Makkah and, in
return, he would spare their temple of Laat. A person named Aboo Righaal
from their tribe acted as the guide, but he died when the army reached Al-
Mughammas. Because of their cooperation with Abrahah, Banoo Thaqeef lost
the respect among Arabs and the Arabs used to throw stones at the grave of
Aboo Righaal for the same reason.

From Al-Mughammas, Abrahah sent a forward or advance party who
plundered livestock of the Quraish and neighbouring tribes. He also sent an
emissary to the Makkans with the message that if they let him demolish the

Historians differ on the year and the number of elephants.

Holy Ka‘bah without resistance, his army would not bother the residents. The
chief of Makkans, ‘Abdul Muŧŧalib, the grandfather of the Prophet, went to
talk to Abrahah. There are different versions reported about what transpired
in the meeting, but one message was clearly conveyed: If Abrahah insisted on
demolishing the Holy Ka‘bah, He would be fighting with Allaah to Whom the
House belongs.

The Quraish, Kinana, Hudzail and some other tribes had gathered to confront
Abrahah’s army. When ‘Abdul Muŧŧalib returned from his meeting with
Abrahah, they jointly concluded that with only the few thousand fighters they
could muster, it was futile to confront Abrahah’s 60,000 strong army and
elephant unit. Thus, they decided to take their family up the mountains
surrounding the city. As for the Holy Ka‘bah, ‘Abdul Muŧŧalib took some other
chiefs to the Holy Ka‘bah, and holding the ring of the handle of its door, they
prayed to Allaah with utmost devotion and humility. They forgot about all the
360 idols that they had erected in the Holy Ka‘bah, and prayed to Allaah
alone. The extempore poetry ‘Abdul Muŧŧalib used for his supplication is
reported to contain the following stanzas:

O Allaah a person protects his belongings, please protect your
Let their cross and their power never ever overcome your Might
If you want to stay out of the matter between them and our Qiblah, do
as You like

Suhaili has added the following:

Please help us, your people, against people of the cross and its

Ibn Jareer has also reported the following:

O Lord I do not have any hope from anyone except you, O Lord protect
Your sanctuary
The enemy of the House is Your enemy, stop them from destroying
Your town

After these supplications, they also went to take refuge in the mountains.
However, some researchers such as Hameeduddin Faraahi and his student
Amin Ahsan Islahi contend that they (the Makkan men) did not abandon the
fight completely, rather they took positions in the mountains to throw stones
at the incoming army.

The next day Abrahah’s army advanced to enter into Makkah. When they
reached Muĥassir near the Muĥaŝŝab valley, their advance was stopped.
There are different events mentioned by different researchers and historians.
Taking all those reports together, the picture that emerges is as follows:

First of all, their lead elephant stopped and sat down. They prodded him hard,
but he would not move. If they signalled him to turn back, he would go
running, but if they wanted him to advance towards Makkah, he would not
step forward

The Arabs who had taken positions on the mountains started throwing stones
at them. At the same time, a very strong wind started blowing, pelting the
army with sand and stone pellets. While this was happening, flock after flock
of birds appeared in the sky. Each bird was holding a pebble in its beak and in
each of its claws. The birds dropped those pebbles over the army. Whoever
was hit with a pebble would start feeling an intense itch, his flesh would begin
to break up, rot and fall down in the form of rotten pieces. This aerial
bombardment of bio-chemical material rendered their bodies like chewed up
straw and husk. Abrahah was also hit. He ran away but died during his retreat.

The running army requested Nufail to guide them on their way out of that
area back to Yemen, but he refused. He composed his observations in the
following stanzas:

Whence can you flee when God is seeking you and the nose-clipped
(Abrahah) is conquered, not conqueror.

The Prophet Ŝ‘AWS confirmed this incident when he commented on his she-camel’s behaviour at
Ĥudabiyyah. When his she-camel, Al-Qaswa, sat down instead of continuing the journey, the Prophet
said, “She has been prevented by the same will that prevented the elephant from entering Makkah.” Al-

O Rudainah, I wish you would see, but you will not be able to, what we
saw near Muĥaŝŝab.
I praised and thanked Allaah, when I saw the birds and I was afraid lest
a pebble falls upon us.
And everyone was looking for Nufail as if I owed Abyssinians any debt.

‘Abdullah ibn Azziba‘raa said in his poem:

There were sixty thousand who could not go back to their country, nor
did their sick man (Abrahah) survive on his return.
There used to be ‘Aad and Jurhum before them, and there is Allaah,
above people, Who is maintaining it.

Aboo Qais ibn Aslat’s poem said:

Stand up and worship your Lord and touch the corners of this House
among the hills of Makkah and Mina.
When the help from the Lord of the Throne came it repelled the
armies of the king between dust storm and stone throwing wind.

And in another stanza, he said:

Then the stone throwing wind was sent upon them and it folded them
as straws are folded.

One of Ŝaifi ibn ‘Aamir’s stanzas said:

As soon as they crossed the Nu‘maan area, God’s armies between the
dust-storm and the stone-throwing wind repelled them.

The Arabs clearly knew the fact that the destruction of the invading army was
the work of Allaah. No one ever attributed it to any idol or any god other than

Because of this incident, the year was remembered as the year of the
elephant. The incident happened in Muĥarram (the first month of the year)
and a few weeks later, the Prophet Ŝ‘AWS was born in the third month of the
same year.

Teachings and Commentary

In the name of Allaah, the Most
Gracious, the Most Merciful.

Ο`.· ´<¦ ≈´Η-¯,l¦ ΟŠ>¯,l¦

Did you not see how your Lord dealt
with the people who had elephants?
Did He not make their treacherous
plan collapse
and sent upon them
birds in flocks,
which pelted them
with pebbles of hardened clay?
Thus, He rendered them like eaten

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The “you” addressed every individual of the Makkan audience and invited him or her to
reflect on the incident. At that crucial time they prayed only to Allaah because they knew that
no one else could be of any avail. They also knew that it was only Allaah who destroyed the
invaders. When that is the reality, then why not believe in and worship only Him, as the
Prophet was inviting them to do?

The plan was treacherous or deceitful because its pretext was invalid and misleading. Even if
Abrahah’s claim is accepted to be valid that an Arab had desecrated his church, it did not in
any way justify an attack on Makkah or the demolition of the Holy Ka‘bah. Abrahah was using
a false pretext to attain his economic and religious goals. His real aim was to subdue Arabs
and coerce them to accept Christianity and to take control of the profitable international
trade that Arabs were doing.

It is amazing to see parallels of Abrahah’s invasion with what is happening in today’s world.
False pretexts have been used to wrongfully and illegally attack and destroy Muslim countries
in order to subdue Muslims with a Crusader’s zeal and to take control of oil reserves and oil
trade. It shows how wars are usually started and it demonstrates that human psychology and
tactics always remain the same. The only change that takes place over time through the
advancement of knowledge is in the physical tools and technology.

Those who reflect on it carefully will be able to see all the roles played by different people at
the time of this incident and the current so-called war on terror. The only variation is in terms
of the results. Had Muslims repented and turned sincerely to Allaah, as ‘Abdul Muŧŧalib and

his fellow chiefs did, the results could also have been similar. Allaah’s Sunnah – His way of
dealing with people – never changes. He is always consistent.

106 Al-Quraish
Name and Background

Like Al-Feel, Al-Quraish was taken from the first verse of this Soorah to be
used as its name.

This Soorah is the companion of Al-Feel and uses a different style to make the
Makkans realize that if they just consider the blessings that the Holy Ka‘bah
brings to them in the form of peace, security and sustenance, they owe their
gratitude, obedience and worship to the Lord of this Blessed House.

Food and security are the two most important human needs. From the
perspective of food, Makkah was a totally barren land where no food could be
produced. From a security perspective, Arabia was a lawless land of robberies,
plundering, abductions, nightly raids and ongoing battles between tribes. If
the food and security was available, it was only because of the Holy Ka‘bah.
The Holy Ka‘bah is surrounded by a territory that is called its sanctuary.
Within the limits of the sanctuary, no one would touch even his worst enemy
under any circumstances. Blood thirsty enemies would see each other
without engaging in a fight. Thus, Makkah and the surrounding sanctuary was
an island of peace in the ocean of violence. In addition, travel in Arabia was
safe only during two pilgrimage seasons when people would travel to Makkah
for the pilgrimage of the House. During the months specified for that purpose,
no travellers were attacked by anyone. Thus, the pilgrimage season was the
only time when Arabs could travel freely without concern for security.

As mentioned in the background notes for Al-Feel, the Quraish were in a
unique position to safely travel throughout the year because of their
connection with the Holy Ka‘bah. Even a lone Quraishi could travel safely. If
anyone was to attack him, he could merely mention “I am from Allaah’s
sanctuary (Ĥaram)” to be left alone. This privilege allowed them to prosper
through their trading activities and to increase their influence, power and
networking connections with various tribes in Arabia and the governments
outside Arabia. Both this trade as well as the pilgrims coming from all over
Arabia were also sources of food supplies, in addition to the general wealth.

The Quraish also enjoyed this special status, leveraged their position smartly
and structured their travels in different seasons to different destinations.

Teachings and Commentary

In the name of Allaah, the Most
Gracious, the Most Merciful.
Ο`.· ´<¦ ≈´Η-¯,l¦ ΟŠ>¯,l¦

For the sake of the Quraish’s fond
attachment –
their fond attachment
to the winter and summer travels,
they should render slave-like
obedience to the Lord of this House,
Who fed them against hunger and
gave them security against fear.

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Though the Quraish had become fond of the benefits afforded by the existence of the Holy
Ka‘bah, they had shirked their responsibilities and duties to the Lord of the House and
forgotten the objectives for which their forefathers Ibraaheem and Ismaa‘eel had built this
House. They built the House to make it the centre of the Islamic movement to invite people
of the world toward the exclusive devotion, submission and worship of Allaah, the only true
God. Ismaa‘eel and his family settled in this lawless and barren land in dedication to that
mission. To meet their food and safety needs, they prayed to Allaah to fulfill those needs.
Allaah did it so superbly that since then, Ismaa‘eel’s progeny -- the Makkans -- continuously
enjoyed the provision of food and security. However they had abandoned their work for
which their forefathers had settled in Makkah. Instead, they had become worshippers of
idols. When Allaah sent the Prophet to remind them of their real mission and the real
teachings of their forefathers Ibraaheem and Ismaa‘eel, they were opposing him. Through
this Soorah they are being invited to submit exclusively like slaves to Allaah SWT, the Lord of
the House Who has taken care of their needs.

Arabs revered the House because they believed it to be House of Allaah built by His friend
Ibraaheem. Now imagine if Abrahah would have been able to demolish it, the Arabs’ belief
that it was Allaah’s House would have been shattered. The Quraish would have also lost their
respect and influence among the Arabs and the privileges of the safe passage they enjoyed.
Thus, after the incident mentioned in Al-Feel, their devotion to Allaah, the Lord of the House,
should have grown tremendously and they should have thrown out the idols that were all
useless at the time of need, and they should have gladly joined the mission of the Prophet
and accepted his call towards exclusive dedication to Allaah, the one true God.

107 Al-Maa‘oon
Name and Background

The last word of the Soorah has been used as the unique identifier of this
small Soorah.

The Holy Ka‘bah, the subject matter of the previous two Soorahs, was
established as a centre of Islam, the two most important pillars of which are
Ŝalaah and Zakaah. Ŝalaah is the Islamic way of worshipping Allaah and
Zakaah is an effective way of collectively taking care of the poor and deprived.
Prophet Ibraaheem settled his family in Makkah and dedicated his son
Ismaa‘eel for the service of the House and for establishing the Deen of Allaah
around these two pillars. He fulfilled his responsibility and was described in
the Qur-aan as:

“He used to enjoin Ŝalaah and Zakaah upon his family.” Maryam 19:55.

Then gradually, his progeny, the Arabs, abandoned most of the Islamic
practices and became negligent in Ŝalaah and Zakaah. Although the respect of
the Holy Ka‘bah remained and the rituals of pilgrims were fulfilled, these two
pillars were totally neglected. Instead of taking care of the poor and weak,
many people used to exploit them, rebuke them and drive them away harshly.
Similarly Ŝalaah was devoid of humble devotion to Allaah and His glorification
and had been reduced to whistling and clapping as mentioned in Al-Anfaal,

“Their worship at the House is merely whistling and clapping.” Al-
Anfaal 8:35

One can visualize this better if one thinks of the way Ŝalaah of Jesus has now
been reduced by Christians to simply music and songs in modern churches.
Some churches have even made it an activity of laughter and amusement.

Furthermore, even this kind of useless ritual was not performed sincerely for
Allaah but only to give an impression of one’s religiosity.

This Soorah points out this terrible state of religious affairs of the caretakers
of the House, the Quraish of Makkah, and exposes the core reason behind this
façade of their religiosity.

A person who believes in the Hereafter seeks the pleasure of Allaah and fears
accountability on the Day of Judgment. This focus on seeking His pleasure and
fear of accountability makes a person kind, generous, helpful and sharing
towards those in need. Such a person is also eager and mindful of
worshipping Allaah SWT properly with devotion and humility. Only a person
who does not believe in the accountability and recompense in the Hereafter
becomes rude to an orphan or careless about the welfare of the poor. Such
people may appear to be religious because they perform certain rituals with
much fanfare to show off and be noticed. But in reality they really do not
believe, and their disbelief is shown by their miserly, stingy and selfish
behaviour so much so that they find it hard even to share small trivial things
with others.

Thus the Soorah exposes the real factor behind the Makkan leaders’ miserly,
unkind behaviour and their soulless, outwardly rituals of worship – they do
not believe in the Hereafter. That is why all initial Soorahs revealed in Makkah
focussed on the various aspects of the belief in the Hereafter.

Some people assume that the Ŝalaah talked about here is the Ŝalaah of
Muslims. And because the Soorah mentions about those who make show of
their Ŝalaah, they assume that this Soorah or the last three verses of this
Soorah must have been revealed in Madeenah where such hypocrites were
found among the Muslims. However, with the correct perspective of the
Ŝalaah offered by the Makkans, as explained above, any doubts about this
Soorah being a Makkan Soorah should be cleared.

Teachings and Commentary

In the name of Allaah, the Most
Gracious, the Most Merciful.
Ο`.· ´<¦ ≈´Η-¯,l¦ ΟŠ>¯,l¦

Did you see the one who denies
Recompense in the Hereafter?
is the person who pushes the orphan
and does not encourage
giving of the poor’s food.
So woe to
the worshippers
who are negligent
about their worship,
who show off,
yet refuse even small kindnesses!

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The Soorah starts with drawing the reader’s / listener’s attention to reflect upon a certain
behaviour – the behaviour of a person who denies the Deen. The word Deen has two
The paradigm according to which people make their decisions in life; Islam is the
Deen of Muslims in that sense.
The recompense (reward or punishment) given to people as a result of their
accountability on the Day of judgement.

As in Soorah Faatiĥah, Deen here refers to the recompense to be given in the Hereafter.

This type of behaviour was clearly found among the arch enemies of Islam and Muslims. For
example, according to the Tafseer by Amin Ahsan Islahi, Aboo Lahab was in charge of Holy
Kaa‘bah’s food fund that was established to feed the pilgrims, travellers, orphans and needy,
but he had misappropriated it for his personal benefit as his own wealth, depriving those who
deserved help. He had become quite a wealthy man through ill gains. At the same time, he
was extremely stingy and hated to spend even a penny for public welfare. Despite being a
wealthy man, he never even supported his own orphaned-nephew, the Prophet, who was
raised by his other uncle, Aboo Ŧaalib who was financially poor. He was harsh in rebuking the
orphans away instead of helping them.

Similar things have been reported about Aboo Jahl. Syed Maudoodi has reported from Al-
Maawardi’s book, “Signs of the Prophethood” that Aboo Jahl was the guardian of an orphan,
but was not spending the orphan’s share of inheritance on the orphan’s basic needs. One day
the orphan came to Aboo Jahl to seek help from the inheritance belonging to him, and he was

in such a destitute condition that he did not even have clothes on his body. Aboo Jahl ignored
him completely until the poor child walked away disappointed and helpless. Some spectators
asked the orphan boy to complain about it to the Prophet. They thought it would be funny to
see how the Prophet reacted to the boy’s complaint, knowing that Aboo Jahl was the
Prophet’s sworn enemy. Not knowing the circumstances, the boy innocently went to the
Prophet and complained. When the Prophet heard the matter, without hesitating even for a
moment, he took the boy with him, went to Aboo Jahl and demanded that he gave the boy
his due. The spectators were surprised that Aboo Jahl was so much under the awe of the
Prophet that he immediately complied and paid the boy.

Instead of saying “encourage feeding the poor”, the verse uses the style that connotes
“encourage giving of the poor’s food”. The latter style has been used to impress upon people
that helping poor people fill their stomach is not a favour that rich people do to the poor.
Rather, poor people have the right to have their food as a compulsory item in the budgets of
the well to do people. As the Qur-aan says in Soorah Al-M‘aarij:

“In their wealth there is a designated / known right, for the beggars and the
deprived”. (70:24-25)

“Small kindnesses” refer to giving to friends, neighbours or needy people little things of daily
use or lending some tools, implements or utensils for temporary use.

The most important point that should be noted from the last three verses of the Soorah is the
relationship between the acts of worship and the goodness of character. These verses clearly
indicate that if a person is not kind, sharing and caring, his acts of worship are neither sincere
nor proper. Allaah’s sincere worship executed properly will result in a personality that cares
for Allaah’s creations. If a person is seen to be practising rituals of worship regularly but lacks
kindness and care for people, he is either merely completing the mechanics of the worship
rather than worshipping properly, or he just shows off to be seen as a worshipper, while in
fact he is not.

108 Al-Kowthar
Name and Background

This Soorah was uniquely identified by the word Al-Kowthar from its first verse.

As indicated by the previous two Soorahs, the status and prosperity that the Makkans
enjoyed was due to the Holy Ka‘bah. However, they were not fulfilling the purposes for which
the Holy Ka‘bah was built: they had abandoned Towĥeed, failing to properly and exclusively
submit to Allaah SWT in worship; and, they had also abandoned helping the poor and needy,
becoming so greedy and miserly that they would not even do small favours for their

Allaah SWT sent the Prophet to bring them back to Islam and to reform their behaviour so
that the purpose of building the Holy Ka‘bah was fulfilled, which, of course, was also the
purpose of human creation. Instead of responding to his call, they opposed him. They would
breach all limits in their opposition to him. They would call him names, taunt him when he
would face a tragedy and slander him viciously. When his sons died one after the other, they
taunted him that he was now “cut off” -- that is, without any descendants or any roots and
that no one would even mention his name after he died. They also thought that since he only
had a few followers, he would fail completely, and no one would ever talk about him in the
future. Knowing that the Quraish’s respect and influence among Arabs was due to the Holy
Ka‘bah, they thought that because the Prophet’s Islamic mission had cut him off from them,
he was essentially cut off from the Holy Ka‘bah, thereby losing all respect and honour in
Arabia. In short, they regarded him as a person completely cut off: cut off from the Holy
Ka‘bah, cut-off from his kith and kin, cut-off because he had no hope to succeed and cut-off
because he did not have any son to succeed him, remember him or carry his name. This was
how they talked about him in public and it was how they taunted him.

Allaah SWT revealed this Soorah to respond to their taunts and to console the Prophet with
the prediction of his success and the utter failure of his opponents. He was told that he had
been given goodness in abundance. It was his tormentors who would be cut off in all the
senses that they were taunting him about. And history is a witness of the truth of this
prediction. The mission of the Prophet grew and succeeded completely, he conquered his
enemies, won the hearts of all Arabs, restored the Holy Ka‘bah to its original purpose and
glory, and billions of people continue to love him and respect him throughout the world. The
Prophet’s opponents lost in every way and there is no one in the world who would even
associate with them in any respect. They are indeed those who have been completely cut-off.

Al-Kowthar is a superlative expression to denote utmost abundance and plenty. The Soorah
does not specify exactly what that abundance and plenty is. Thus as a general term it covers
all goodness that Allaah has bestowed on the Prophet in plentiful abundance including the

The Deen of Islam, which is the source of all virtues and blessings and the only way
to establish justice and peace and to promote human excellence for the benefit of all

The Qur-aan, which is the living miracle whose wonders keep on revealing
themselves to people of knowledge of all times and ages.

The Holy Ka‘bah, which has been a source of limitless blessings and peace since the
day it was constructed by Ibraaheem and Ismaa‘eel ‘AS.

The respect and love that billions of Muslims have had for him since his advent and
more and more of them will continue to have until the end of the world.

The success of his mission, which he was able to witness in his life, including the
people of unparalleled excellence that his mission produced and the goodness and
blessings they brought to the whole world.

The Pond of Al-Kowthar, the huge pond he will own and make it available to his
followers to satisfy their thirst on the Day of Judgment when people will feel
extreme thirst but will find nothing else that will quench it. Those who will drink
from the pond of Al-Kowthar will never feel thirst again on that Day.

The river Al-Kowthar, which will be flowing in Jannah (the Garden) for the Prophet
and terminating in the above-mentioned Pond.

The “water” of the river and the pond will be beyond one’s imagination, which is
described as better than milk, ice and honey in appearance, sweetness, coolness and
fragrance. Their bed will be of precious stones, not dirt which can affect its purity
and quality.

Teachings and Commentary

In the name of Allaah, the Most
Gracious, the Most Merciful.

Ο`.· ´<¦ ≈´Η-¯,l¦ ΟŠ>¯,l¦
Indeed, We have granted you Al-
So perform worship and
sacrifice for your Lord alone.
adversary is definitely the one cut

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After giving the Prophet the good news of his success in this world and in the Hereafter,
Allaah has commanded him to “perform worship and sacrifice for your Lord alone”. Usually
the Qur-aan mentions Ŝalaah with Zakaah, but here it is mentioned with sacrifice because the
Holy Ka‘bah was and is the centre to perform Ŝalaah and sacrifice for Allaah, and because the
Millah of Ibraaheem is described in the Qur-aan as:

“My rites of worship and my rites of sacrifice and my living and my dying are for
Allaah, the Lord of the universe.” Al-An‘aam 6:162

The Makkans had transgressed from Islam, the religion of Ibraaheem, and defeated the
purposes for which the Holy Ka‘bah was constructed by including entities other than Allaah in
their worship and sacrifice. It is now the Prophet’s mission to restore the sanctity of the Holy
Ka‘bah and to ensure that all rites of worship and sacrifice are performed for Allaah alone.
Thus the second verse of this Soorah states that his success is conditional on the success of
this mission. If he continues to keep this goal the sole mission of his life, his adversaries and
opponents will be the ones who will be cut-off from their community and their posterity
despite the glory, respect, connections, popularity and status they currently enjoy.

This was a prediction of the success of the Prophet’s mission, his victory over his opponents
and his becoming the legitimate caretaker of the House of Allaah, such that no one in future
would like to show any relationship with his adversaries in any way, shape or form. It was
given at a time when no Arab could have ever envisioned it. Then within two decades, its
truth started becoming evident.

Al-Kowthar is a superlative expression to denote utmost abundance and plenty.
From community and posterity.

109 Al-Kaafiroon
Name and Background

The name “Al-Kaafiroon” (the disbelievers) has been taken from the first verse and is not the
topic of this small Soorah.

The Soorah teaches how the Prophet and the Muslims should let the disbelievers clearly and
categorically know that there can be no compromise or reconciliation between Islam and
disbelief when it comes to the exclusive submission, worship and slavery to Allaah SWT. They
are two different paradigms that cannot be patched together and that lead to totally different
paths and destinations.

When the Prophet had started giving the message of Islam to the Makkans, they strongly
opposed him thinking that their strong reaction would stop him from his mission. When it did
not work, they became violent and tried to stop his mission through aggression and false
propaganda against him. When his mission kept growing despite their violence and false
propaganda, they increased the intensity of their brutality and persecution of the believers.
When their most vicious efforts, short of killing the Prophet himself, failed to stop him from
his mission and failed to stem the growth of his followers, they started offering him
compromises in different forms. Some of the offers they made were the following:

According to ‘Abdullaah Ibn ‘Abbaas (as reported by Ibn Jareer, Ibn abee Ĥaatim and
Ŧabaraani), the Quraish offered to give him enough wealth to make him the richest man in
the city, marry him to any woman he wanted, and accept him as their leader only if he
stopped speaking against their gods. When he rejected these offers, they suggested that he
join them so that all Makkans would alternate worship of their idols for one year and worship
of Allaah as the Prophet was inviting them to do the next year. This was their compromise-
solution to establish unity and respect for everyone’s religion.

Another attempt was made by Waleed ibn Mugheerah, ‘Aaŝ ibn Waail, Aswad ibn Al-Muŧŧalib
and Umayyah ibn Khalaf, as reported by Ibn Jareer, Ibn abee Ĥaatim and Ibn Hishaam. They
proposed that the Prophet join the Makkan leadership team so that he could be involved and
consulted on all important affairs and so that they could jointly bring the whole Makkan
community together to worship all gods, including Allaah the way suggested by the Prophet,
until gradually the best ideas and practices naturally emerge and were adopted.

There are other reports of suggestions from the Makkans along the same lines as noted
above indicating that there were multiple attempts made like these. This Soorah is the
response to all those proposals. As you can see, the subject matter of this Soorah is not
compromise, reconciliation and tolerance in the sense as some people interpret it nowadays.
It is a categorical announcement of there being no possibility of compromise with obstinate
opponents who do not want to listen to the Prophet and a determined ongoing struggle until

Islam is established as it deserves to be established. It is an open defiance of and challenge to
the established order in the society at the height of the clash between the two paradigms of
life, without any willingness to compromise on the matters of principle.

This dedication to the exclusive servitude to Allaah without any compromise and the
instruction to convey it unequivocally to the disbelievers was not only for the Prophet, but
also for the Muslims of all times.

Looking at the order of the Soorahs, you can see that it is preceded by the prediction of the
success of the prophetic mission in Soorah Al-Kowthar. After predicting the outcome, this
Soorah challenges the diehard adversaries that because the mission of the Prophet will go
ahead until the goals are achieved, they can do what they want. Then, the next Soorah, An-
Naŝr, describes the eventual success of the mission and conquest of Makkah.

Teachings and Commentary

In the name of Allaah, the Most
Gracious, the Most Merciful.

Ο`.· ´<¦ ≈´Η-¯,l¦ ΟŠ>¯,l¦
Say: “O disbelievers!
I shall not
what you worship.
you are not true worshippers of
Whom I worship.
Since I never have
been and I am never going to
worship what you have been
and since you are not
willing to be the true worshippers of
Whom I worship, (there can be no
compromise between us).
You keep
your Deen to yourselves, I shall
continue with my Deen

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!Β βρ‰.- . ∩⊄∪ ω´ρ `Ο.Ρ ¦ βρ‰.≈s !Β
‰.s¦ ∩⊂∪ ω´ρ !Ρ¦ ‰.l. !Β Λ–n‰.s ∩⊆∪ ω´ρ
`Ο.Ρ¦ βρ‰.≈s !Β ‰.s¦ ∩∈∪ ¯/>l ¯/>`ΨƒŠ
´’|´ρ _·Š ∩∉∪
This is the only place in the Qur-aan where the Prophet has been told to address the
disbelievers as “O disbelievers!” This is to emphasize their obduracy in response to the
Prophet’s untiring work to present Islam to them. As they are being notified of the
uncompromising stance of Muslims in the matters of faith, the address starts by matter-of-
factly stating their insistence on disbelief as the basic cause of this situation. Also, note that
they have not been addressed as “O idolaters, O Polytheists or O Mushriks” because such
disbelievers are only a subset of all the disbelievers. Allaah wants Muslims to have this sort of
uncompromising attitude towards all disbelievers to whom Islam has been presented and
explained but who continue to reject it insolently.

Some people translate the first verse in the present tense: “I do not worship”, but other
scholars disagree with this because the use of the word Laa instead of Maa before ‘abudu
makes it specific for future tense as per linguistic rules. In addition, Makkans already knew
that the Prophet did not worship their idols, so there was no benefit in stating the obvious.

The derivatives of the word ‘Ibaadah used eight times in this Soorah have been translated as
“worship” only as a matter of convenience. In reality, when referring to Allaah, ‘Ibaadah includes
complete submission, exclusive obedience and slavery to Allaah in all affairs of one’s life as well as all
expressions of devotion and worship.
A system of life that encompasses all aspects of life including religion. People usually translate “Deen”
into “religion”, but Deen is much more than a religion. Religion usually implies a set of rules and rituals
about so called “spiritual” aspects of life. Deen implies all values and principles whereby a person makes
decisions in all aspects of his or her life.

What needed to be emphasized was a clear statement of his intentions of never making any
compromise in this respect.

The use of “what” instead of “who” as a qualifier for “you worship” in the second verse has
very profound implications. “Who” would refer to an entity or a group of entities worshipped
by the disbelievers, while “what” refers to the nature and concepts of the entity or entities
being worshipped by disbelievers. Denying worshipping of “who disbelievers worship” would
be incorrect because Arabs did worship Allaah in addition to their idols. But the concepts and
beliefs about Allaah of even those disbelievers who claim to worship One God, the Creator,
are faulty and unacceptable. So even when the entity is the same, the concepts are
misguided. In those situations, “what” a Muslim worships is absolutely not “what” the
disbelievers worship, though the entity may be the same. Thus, this style negates all
misguided views about worshipping One God, the Creator, such as worshipping:

Allaah along with many others deities or idols;
Allaah who begets daughters;
The God Who is one of the three;
The God Who has a son whom he crucifies to be able to forgive others;
The God Who is racist--Who is not the Lord of the Universe but rather that of a
certain tribe;
The God Who needs rest on the 7
The God Who wrestles with Jacob; and
The God Who needs to take human shape or incarnate Himself in human bodies, etc.

Use of “what” also excludes such gods as one’s own opinion, wisdom, reasoning, aspirations
and desires which many people worship by giving these things the same or more importance
than to the commands of Allaah.

In the same way, in the third verse, the use of “what” refers to the correct concepts about
Allaah, the One and only God and Creator, which refers to beliefs about Allaah such as, He:

Is the sole Creator and the Lord of the universe and Who is managing the affairs of
the universe on an ongoing basis;
Is infinite in form, shape and all of His attributes;
Has nothing like Him, opposite to Him, similar to Him, equal to Him or greater than
Has ultimate and absolute power, knowledge, wisdom and authority;
Has no weakness, shortcoming, imperfection or bias;
Has no wives, daughters, sons, partners or helpers;
Is just and fair to everyone, treating them all equally and consistently on the basis of
the same principles without playing any favourites;
Commands and has the legitimate rights to promulgate laws and give commands as
the Creator and Master of all;
Dislikes and disapproves of anything which is not done purely for His pleasure but is
shared by other motives and considerations; etc.

In verse 4, the word ‘Aabid has been used for the Prophet as an attribute that covers the past
as well as the future tense while the action of the disbelievers is in the past tense. Thus, we
have tried to convey this difference in describing the teachings of this verse.

We have also tried to convey the message of the last verse more openly in rendering the
teachings of verses 4, 5 and 6 into English. After the revelation of this Soorah, that message
was repeated in many revelations later on, such as the two examples given below:

If they reject you, tell them, “My actions are for me and yours for you. You are
disassociated from what I do, and I am disassociated from what you do.” Younus

Say: “O my People, you work according to your position, I am continuing with my
mission; soon you will find out who will receive a humiliating punishment and on
whom a lasting punishment will settle down.” Az-Zumur 39:39-40

Although the first addressee of this Soorah was the Prophet himself, it is equally applicable to
all Muslims who are approached for or expected to make compromises in matters of faith and
principles. It is in fact the same attitude that has always been expected of the believers of all
ages. The Qur-aan quotes the example from Prophet Ibraaheem and his followers as follows:

Indeed there is a beautiful model for you in Ibraaheem and those with him, when
they said to their people: “We are totally disassociated from you and whatever you
worship beside Allaah. We reject your views and there has appeared enmity and
hatred between us forever until you believe in Allaah alone. Al-Mumtaĥinah 60:4

To help people inculcate this message in their minds, he taught his companions to recite this
Soorah when retiring for sleep because it helps in “disassociation from Shirk”. There have
been multiple Aĥaadeeth reported in this respect by Musnad Aĥmad, Aboo Dawood,
Tirrmidzi, Nasaai, Ibn Abee Shaybah, Ĥaakim, Ibn Marduyah and Baihaqi.

110 An-Naŝr
Name and Background

The Soorah came to be identified by the word An-Naŝr (The help) from the
first verse.

It talks about the help of Allaah, the resultant victory the Prophet had over
the Makkans, the acceptance of Islam by Arabs en masse and the completion
of the mission for which the Prophet was sent. It exhorts the Prophet to
express his gratitude towards and seek forgiveness of Allaah who made the
attainment of these goals possible.

The previous Soorah, Al-Kaafiroon, marked the rejection of the offers of
compromise from Makkans. It announced the steadfast continuity of the
Islamic mission in an uncompromising way until its objectives were fully
achieved and Islam was fully established as a complete and dominant way of
life in Arabia. As discussed in the past, the objectives of the Prophet’s mission
were to:

Bring Arabs back to the Deen of Islam and Towĥeed as it was preached
and practised by Ibraaheem ‘AS
so that all Arabs adopt the exclusive
submission to and worship of Allaah SWT;
Remove the Makkans from the leadership of Arabs and control of the
Holy Ka‘abah; and
Re-dedicate the Holy Ka‘abah to its original purpose of being the
centre of Towĥeed and Islamic movement in the world.

This Soorah announces the completion of the mission and achievement of
these objectives.

It is evident that this is a Madani Soorah revealed in the last part of the
Prophetic mission. However, there are two views about the time of its
revelation. Some believe that it was revealed just before the conquest of
Makkah informing the Prophet of how the events were going to unfold.

‘Alaihissalaam – peace be upon him

Others are of the opinion that it was the last Soorah (i.e., complete Soorah) to
be revealed and that its revelation indicated to the Prophet that, with the
completion of the mission, it was time for the Prophet to depart from this
world. Thus, it gave to the Prophet the news of his death and he died within
months of its revelation.

In reality, the difference of opinion regarding the timing is moot. The essential
point is clear. It announces the successful completion of the mission of the
Prophet and exhorts the Prophet to get ready to meet his Lord through extra
devotion, glorification and request for forgiveness.

Teachings and Commentary

In the name of Allaah, the Most
Gracious, the Most Merciful.

Ο`.· ´<¦ ≈´Η-¯,l¦ ΟŠ>¯,l¦
When Allaah’s help and triumph
and you see people entering
into Allaah’s Deen
in droves;
glorify your Lord with praise and
gratitude and seek His forgiveness.
He is ever so Accepting of

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´!Ψl¦ šχθl>‰ƒ ’· ƒŠ ´<¦ l´>¦´θ·¦
∩⊄∪ ~..· ‰ϑ>´ i.´‘ ν¯,±-.`™¦´ρ …«‾Ρ|
βlŸé !.¦¯θ. ∩⊂∪
The triumph herein means the conquest of Makkah and the acquisition of control of the Holy
Ka‘bah. This conquest not only opened the hearts and minds of the Prophet’s Makkan
adversaries to Islam, it also opened the doors for all Arab tribes to enter into Islam. Arab
tribes were watching the struggle between the Prophet and his Makkan adversaries with
keen interest. To them, the Prophet’s success over his own people and his own city would
prove that he was the true prophet of Allaah. It would also show the viability of his
movement and mission. As soon as they saw him succeed in this crucial test in 8 AH
, they
started entering into Islam in droves. The year 9 AH was called the year of delegations
because the delegations from different tribes from all over Arabia were coming to visit the
Prophet and entering into Islam. So much so that by year 10 AH, the whole of Arabia had
become Muslim.

The Prophet has been commanded to “glorify your Lord with praise and gratitude and seek
His forgiveness”. The first part of this command is expressed by the word Sabbiĥ (Tasbeeĥ)
which means glorifying Allaah to be above and beyond any weaknesses or imperfections that
human beings can think of. The second part is Ĥamd, which means praise that ensues from
deep gratitude. The third part is seeking forgiveness.

Allaah’s Deen means Islam. People usually translate “Deen” into “religion”, but Deen is much more
than a religion. Religion usually implies a set of rules and rituals about the so called “spiritual” aspects of
life. Islam as Deen implies adopting servitude and submission to Allaah in every aspect of life whether
considered public, private, carnal or spiritual, both individual as well as collective. In other words,
“Entering into Allaah’s Deen” means bringing the whole life, its every aspect, under the rule of and in
submission to Allaah SWT, seeking His pleasure.

Counting from the year of Hijrah (Prophet’s migration to Madeenah).

We know that the prophets are under direct and active supervision of Allaah SWT, Who
protects them from making mistakes or committing sins. This quality differentiates them from
other human leaders. Every human being makes mistakes. So do the leaders. That is why we
cannot follow the model of any human being other than a prophet, because that is the only
model which is free from mistakes, errors and sins. So when the Prophet SAAWS, like other
prophets, was sin-free, why was he being asked to seek forgiveness from Allaah?

This forgiveness is not from sins or mistakes, but rather it is an expression of humility in
acknowledging and seeking forgiveness for any instance where any of the prophetic
responsibilities may not have been performed in its most excellent form or way. These were
the kind of matters that were already publicly mentioned in the Qur-aan. Otherwise, his
performance was so superb that there is no example of that kind of performance even among
all of the prophets and messengers, much less any other human being. He accomplished the
most profound revolution, in the most peaceful manner (with the least amount of
bloodshed), in the outlook of the biggest number of people in the shortest time. Within 23
years, he made the scattered, illiterate, ignorant, plundering and warring factions of the
Peninsula change their beliefs, outlook, manners, morals, ethics, lifestyle, and their social,
political and economic systems, united them under law and order and converted them into
the leaders of the civilized world and champions of goodness.

It would have been natural to celebrate and feel pride for this achievement that was and
remains unparalleled in human history, but instead he was being exhorted to praise the Lord
and seek forgiveness with humility. By teaching the Prophet to praise the Lord, express his
Gratitude to Him and seek His forgiveness, the Muslims are being taught that:

We should never be proud of any of our achievements; because the success, results,
triumph and victory comes from Allaah’s help and mercy. Only He makes our humble
attempts produce fruitful results;
Instead of being proud of what we have achieved, we must thank Allaah SWT, glorify
Him and appreciate His kindness for making our imperfect and less than desirable
efforts accomplish good results.
We should rather seek Allaah’s forgiveness for the weaknesses and shortcomings
that we may have shown while performing our duty to Allaah; we should also seek
His forgiveness for our shortcomings in glorifying and thanking Him.

This is the lofty ideal that Allaah SWT wants Muslims to pursue. It frees a person from any
kind of egoistic feelings and develops constructive humility in him.

This attitude makes the people kind to those conquered and to those over whom victory has
been achieved. It is in contrast to the vicious behaviour adopted by those who do not know or
practice Islamic teachings and the world has observed the viciousness of their behaviour
when they gain victory over others.

It will be good to recall that when the Prophet was entering Makkah after gaining victory over
those arrogant Makkans who had persecuted him and his followers so viciously, the Prophet

had bowed his head so much in humility and gratitude to Allaah that his face was almost
touching the camel’s back he was riding.

According to the exhortation given in this Soorah, he increased the frequency of Allaah’s
glorification to an unprecedented level. He frequently was heard saying phrases such as:

Glorified are You O Allaah, for You is all praise and gratitude, I seek your forgiveness
and I turn to you in repentance.

Glorified are You O Allaah, for You is all praise and gratitude, O Allaah forgive me.

Glorified is our Lord, for Him is all praise and gratitude, O Allaah forgive me, You
indeed are kindly accepting of repentance and forgiving.

These and similar du‘aas have been reported by Bukhaari, Muslim, Musnad Aĥmad, Aboo
Dawood, Nasaai, Ibn Maajah, Ibn Jareer, Ibn Abee Ĥaatim, etc.)

111 Al-Lahab or Al-Masadd

Name and Background

Like many other Soorahs, the name Al-Lahab comes from the first verse. Some
people identify it by the name Al-Masadd, which comes form the last verse.

This Soorah prophesizes about Aboo Lahab and his wife. Aboo Lahab was the
worst enemy of the Prophet’s Islamic mission and the only such enemy
mentioned by name in the Qur-aan, though there were many other enemies
of the mission almost as staunch as he was. Thus some background
information about him will be pertinent here.

Pre-Islamic Arabia was a land of lawlessness, insecurity and bloodshed. There
was no protection for anyone’s life, wealth or honour except the fighting
power of one’s blood relatives. Thus, the Arabs highly valued blood relations
and regardless of the circumstances or cause, every person would stand up
with and fight for his blood relatives -- the closer the relationship, the more
loyal the protection. Anyone not honouring one’s relationship, that is, not
providing protection to and fighting for one’s relatives, was considered the
worst kind of person. That is why when the Prophet was giving the message of
Islam, his clan provided him full support, though many of them did not believe
in him.

Aboo Lahab was a brother of the Prophet’s late father. An uncle was
considered like a father, especially when the father was not alive. However,
Aboo Lahab sided with the Prophet’s enemies, breaking the ethical and social
rules that were the core of Arabian society.

He was a rich man, but he was also extremely miserly. He never provided any
support to his nephew when the Prophet was a child under the care of the
other uncle, Aboo Ŧaalib.

At the start of his Islamic mission, when the Prophet used the morning-
tradition to gather the Quraish and warn them about the
Hereafter, before anyone could have responded, Aboo Lahab reacted angrily
saying, “Perished be you! Did you gather us for this?”

When the Prophet invited his close relatives for a dinner to talk to them about
Islam and started talking after the dinner, Aboo Lahab immediately
interrupted, did not give the Prophet a chance to say what he wanted to say
and caused the gathering to disperse.

One day he asked the Prophet, “If I accept your Deen, what would I get when
you succeed?” When he was told that he would be like all other believers,
without any special status, he responded, “Perished be this Deen where I am
treated equal to everyone else.” He was also extremely annoyed by the Qur-
aanic criticism of those who are stingy and by the constant Islamic exhortation
about spending in the way of Allaah to help the poor and the orphans.

Two of the Prophet’s daughters were betrothed to two of the sons of Aboo
Lahab. When the Prophet started the Islamic mission, Aboo Lahab ordered his
sons to divorce the Prophet’s daughters, which they did.

When the second and only remaining son of the Prophet died, instead of
offering condolences to the Prophet, Aboo Lahab went to the Makkans
merrily announcing that Muĥammad had become totally “cut-off”.

When the Prophet used to go out to bazaars, fairs, exhibitions and pilgrim
encampments to invite people to Islam, Aboo Lahab would follow him
throwing dust and stones at him and announcing to people, “Do not listen to
him, he is a deviant liar”. Aboo Lahab’s word was taken very seriously by
outsiders because, according to Arab traditions, a father or uncle’s word
about a son carried the most significant weight, and those outsiders did not
know the real situation.

When the Makkans boycotted the Prophet’s clan, Aboo Lahab sided with the
enemies and participated in the boycott of his own clan. In fact, he was so
vicious that when his clan would try to buy groceries from trade caravans

Please see the teaching of Al-‘Aadiyaat for details of nature and need for this danger call.

arriving in Makkah, he would outbid his clan to make them unable to obtain
supplies for their families.

He was the next door neighbour of the Prophet. He and his wife used to
throw their filthy trash over the wall into the Prophet’s house, which was
sometimes aimed at the food being cooked in the Prophet’s house. Aboo
Lahab’s wife used to put thorny bushes at night right in front of the Prophet’s
door so that in the morning, when he or his children venture out, they would
get hurt.

After the death of Aboo Ŧaalib, the clan’s leadership was inherited by Aboo
Lahab who, because of his wealth and religious influence, became the most
influential Makkan chief. As the leader of the clan, he withdrew the
protection of the clan that had been available to the Prophet under the
leadership of his uncle Aboo Ŧaalib. Deprived of the protection from his own
uncle, the Prophet had to seek protection from Muŧ‘am ibn ‘Addi in order to
stay and continue his mission in Makkah.

This Soorah announces that he and his wife are doomed to fail in their efforts
to eradicate Islam and that they will be severely punished and humiliated in
the Hereafter. When was this announcement made, that is, when was this
Soorah revealed? Some people think that it was revealed in the early period
of Makkah in response to the comments that Aboo Lahab made about the
Prophet and Islam using similar words as used in this Soorah for him. This
assumption is untenable considering that it has never been the style of the
Prophet or of the Qur-aan to respond to the enemies in the same harsh
language as they used in their animosity. Even if the Qur-aan citicizes
someone or prophesizes about the punishment of Allaah for any people, it
does so only after all attempts have been made and all avenues have been
exhausted to open the heart of that person to Islam. For this reason, Abul A‘la
Maudoodi thinks that it was revealed late in the Makkan period when his
vicious behaviour, which was totally unacceptable from all Arabian and
Makkan standards, had become evident to people. If we use the approach
suggested by Maudoodi, the most pertinent juncture appears to be when
Aboo Lahab had withdrawn the clan’s protection and the Prophet had to live
under the protection of another clan. At that stage, it had become evident
that in his animosity towards Islam and the Prophet, he could do the most
unthinkable and abominable act in the eyes of Arabs. Thus, it was sometime

after this stage that Allaah SWT revealed this Soorah to let everyone know
that Aboo Lahab was going to be an utter failure and to comfort the Prophet
by informing him of the success of his mission.

The revelation of this Soorah, singling out Aboo Lahab by mentioning his
name, underscored another important point – a prophet or a believer does
not make any compromise in the matter of principle for a close blood relative.
Rather, if a relative is on the wrong, he will be singled out more than another
person. Also, the closeness is determined by the strength of the faith, not by

This Soorah announces the failure of Aboo Lahab and his gang immediately
after Soorah An-Naŝr announced the victory of the Islamic mission. That is in
the same way as Allaah SWT said, “The truth came and falsehood vanished.”
Banee Israaeel 81:17. Another way to look at the arrangement of the three
Soorahs – Al-Kaafiroon, An-Naŝr and Al-Lahab – is in the light of the following
statement the Prophet made after the conquest of Makkah:

There is no God except Allaah alone; He fulfilled His promise and
helped His slave; and defeated all of the opponents by Himself.”

The same statement has been made by the three Soorahs: The
uncompromising message of Towĥeed has been conveyed in Al-Kaafiroon,
Allaah’s help and victory has been announced in An-Naŝr and the defeat of
the opponents has been predicted in Al-Lahab.

Teachings and Commentary

In the name of Allaah, the Most
Gracious, the Most Merciful.

Ο`.· ´<¦ ≈´Η-¯,l¦ ΟŠ>¯,l¦

Perished are Aboo Lahab’s wishes
and ruined is he.
Neither did his
wealth avail him nor did his works.
Soon shall he be in a flaming fire;
as shall be his wife – the bearer of
Upon her neck shall be a halter
of strongly twisted palm-fibre.

·´.. ¦‰ƒ ’.¦ .γl ´..´ρ ∩⊇∪ !Β _.s¦
«Ψs …`&!!Β !Β´ρ ..Ÿé ∩⊄∪ ’l`.´‹ ™ ¦´‘!Ρ
.¦Œ .λ ∩⊂∪ …«.¦,Β¦´ρ '!!´ϑ> .L>l¦
∩⊆∪ ’· !䉋> ≅¯.> Β ‰.Β ∩∈∪
The literal meaning of the first phrase is “Broken are the hands of Aboo Lahab” and that is a
proverb to indicate utter failure in one’s plans, goals, wishes, etc., on which a person may
have put all his power, money, efforts and/or energies. Although it was a prophecy, past
tense was used to indicate its inevitability.

His failure became evident when the majority of his cohorts and accomplices were killed in
the battle of Badr. He himself had not participated in the battle because he had sent another
person on his behalf in return of a 4,000 dirham loan which the person was unable to pay
back to Aboo Lahab. So, when the news of defeat reached him in Makkah, he was so shocked
that he fell ill, contracted some infectious disease such as malignant pustule or smallpox and
died in seven days. During his sickness, he was abandoned by his family for fear of contracting
the disease. They did not even approach his body to bury him after his death. The corpse was
rotting for a few days. Then his sons hired some slaves to dispose of his body.

As mentioned earlier, he was one of the four wealthiest men of Makkah, and was extremely
greedy and miserly. But all the wealth he accumulated proved to be useless for him.

The Arabic word for “his works” literally means “what he earned”. Some commentators think
it means the profits he was earning on his wealth, but the profits are part of the wealth
already described. Others think that it means his sons, who were of no help when he needed
them in sickness and death. Others, like Amin Ahsan Islahi, think that it means the good
deeds that he had done in his life, since they would be of no avail to save him from the
torment of fire. But “what he earned” is general and covers all his good, bad and ugly
endeavours which were all in vain, hence the rendering “his works”.

His wife was very fond of jewellery and used to wear a heavy golden necklace. In her
opposition to the Islamic mission and the Prophet, she was like her husband. Some of her

behaviour in this respect has already been mentioned above. When this Soorah was revealed
and became known to the public, she went looking for the Prophet in a very angry mood. She
was reciting poems of condemnation against the Prophet. At that time, the Prophet was in
the Holy Ka’bah along with Aboo Bakr. When Aboo Bakr saw her coming, he expressed his
concern that she would misbehave. The Prophet comforted Aboo Bakr by assuring him that
she would not be able to see him. She approached them, did not see the Prophet but
complained to Aboo Bakr that your friend (the Prophet) has said some verse of condemnation
about me. Aboo Bakr denied the allegation and she left. Aboo Bakr was right in denying it,
firstly, because it was not poetry of condemnation that she was implying, and secondly, it was
not from the Prophet but from Allaah.

In the Hereafter, she will be carrying the huge burden of her sins and misbehaviour, and
instead of a golden necklace, she will have a thick and coarse rope around her neck.

112 Al-Ikhlaaŝ
Name and Background

Like Al-Faatiĥah, the first Soorah of the Qur-aan, the name of this Soorah is
not any word from its contents but, instead, the topic of the Soorah has been
used as its name.

Ikhlaaŝ means purity and exclusivity. This Soorah describes the pure concept
of Towĥeed
so that a person can save himself from any notions of equating
anything or anyone with Allaah in any respect. It corrects a believer’s views
about Allaah and negates all forms of Shirk (idolatry or polytheism –
misconceived beliefs that people may harbour in terms of assuming partners
in Allaah’s person or in His attributes). It does so in such a concise, simple and
effective manner that a listener can easily learn, understand and remember it.

When the Prophet was commanded to undertake the Islamic mission, people
of the world had adopted a variety of illogical, irrational, erroneous and
corrupt views about God. Many Arabs believed in Allaah as the Supreme God,
but also worshipped different wooden, stone, golden and silver idols. They
also believed that angels were Allaah’s daughters and that all those idols and
daughters were helpers and favourites of Allaah and His partners in divinity.
Christians claimed to believe in one God but considered Jesus as His son. They
ascribed divinity to Jesus as well as the Holy Ghost and regarded them as
partners with Allaah. For this reason, some of them considered Mary
(Maryam) as the “Mother of God”. Both idolaters and Christians believed that
a human being can be God-incarnate. The Jews also claimed to believe in one
God but their concept of God was also totally defective. Like Idolaters and
Christians, the Jewish concept of God visualized Him in the finite shape of a
human being and He was described like a finite entity who walked and talked
like a human being, who had to go into the garden to find Adam and to call
him in order to locate him, who would wrestle with Jacob, etc. There were
also those who thought that He Himself is everything – everything in the
universe being part of God’s own being. None of these people had a clear

The concept of Allaah’s oneness and uniqueness in His person as well as in all of His attributes.

concept of Allaah being one, unique and infinite in His person, in His
attributes and in His ways to make things happen. This Soorah was revealed
to correct all those corrupted notions about Allaah. Hence, whenever any of
these groups were encountered and they argued about the attributes of
Allaah or wanted to know about Him, this Soorah was recited to them to
present the Islamic concept of Towĥeed.

As this Soorah was recited by the Prophet to different groups of people at
different times explaining to them about the Islamic concept of God and
Towĥeed, some listeners reported as if it was revealed at that time. For this
reason, there have been different reports about the timing of the revelation
of this Soorah.

This Soorah has been placed at this location after the announcement of the
success of the prophetic Islamic mission and the failure of the opponents to
pronounce clearly once and for all the message of Towĥeed – the objective of
the Islamic mission. The Qur-aan opened with Soorah Faatiĥah acknowledging
the Towĥeed of Allaah and seeking the right path based on it. Then, after
dealing with the different stages of the Islamic mission, the Qur-aan
concluded with the declaration of victory and reiteration of the concise
message of Towĥeed. The two Soorahs after this describe the best way to
protect oneself from deviating from the straight path of Towĥeed. In other
words, they describe Allaah’s refuge as the necessary means of persevering
on this path.

Teachings and Commentary

In the name of Allaah, the Most
Gracious, the Most Merciful.

Ο`.· ´<¦ ≈´Η-¯,l¦ ΟŠ>¯,l¦
Say: “He is Allaah, the One and
Allaah is eternally
independent on Whom everyone
He has not fathered
anyone nor was He born,
nor is
there any equivalent to Him.”

¯≅· ´θδ ´<¦ ‰>¦ ∩⊇∪ ´<¦ ‰ϑ¯.l¦ ∩⊄∪ ¯Νl
$#ƒ ¯Νl´ρ ‰lθ`ƒ ∩⊂∪ ¯Νl´ρ >ƒ …`&! ¦´θ±é
´‰>¦ ∩⊆∪

In view of all the cacophony of human views about God that were raging in response to the
Prophet’s call towards Islam and that continue to rage in the world today, the Prophet and
the Muslims have been told to proclaim the Towĥeed of Allaah in a clear, succinct and
uncompromising way.

The first verse mentions “Allaah” as the personal name of God and describes Him as “Aĥad”.
Although “Aĥad” means “one”, this is a unique and singular use of this word as an attribute of
an entity. It has never been used for anyone except for Allaah. In Arabic, “Waaĥid” also
meaning “one” is used as an attribute. But “Waaĥid” connotes one out of many or one out of
a species. When there are many, “Waaĥid” is used to talk about one of them. The use of
“Aĥad” for Allaah signifies His uniqueness, that is, He is not only “One” but also absolutely
“Unique”. It refers to His infiniteness in existence, in shape, in nature, in person and in every
attribute that we can think of. This uniqueness and infiniteness rejects all notions of His
having any finite or human-like shape, acting in a human-like or in any finite manner, being a
composite of different entities (whether it is the concept of three-in-one or the concept of
everything being part of God Himself or any human capability of becoming a part of God),
having a beginning or end, being confined to any place or time for any reason or cause, and so
on and so forth. “Aĥad” negates all those notions and speculations about Him that may, in
any way, negate His absolute and total Uniqueness vis-à-vis anything He has created.

The second verse describes His attribute of being “Aŝ-Ŝamad”. “Ŝamad” means a big rock or
mountain that can be effectively used for protection from enemy attacks. It also means a
perfect leader or chief who protects his people from dangers, who fulfills their needs, guides
them and solves their problems and, hence, all his people come to him for help. Lest some
people conclude from His Infiniteness and Uniqueness that Allaah SWT is not concerned
about the needs and well-being of His creations, this verse clarifies that He is not just
“Ŝamad”. Rather, He is “Aŝ-Ŝamad” – the only perfect, real and eternal “Ŝamad”. He is
independent of all and no one can be of any help or use to Him, but He takes care of every

kind of needs of everyone. In fact He is the only Source on which everyone of His creations
depends, and He is the only One Who has the power, resources and might to fulfill the needs
of everyone at the same time, all the time.

The third verse explains His uniqueness and infiniteness further so that this point is absolutely
clear. He always was -- He was not born to anyone at any time. He always will be -- and thus,
He does not need any offspring to take His place or to do anything whatsoever for Him. He is
absolutely above and beyond these finite, human-like attributes and needs of being born, and
having children. People must not apply finite concepts to the Infinite Creator.

The fourth verse expounds it further that absolutely no entity in the universe can be equal to
Him in any respect whatsoever, partner with Him in any matter whatsoever, similar to Him in
any way whatsoever or comparable to Him in any manner whatsoever.

113-114 Al-Falaq and An-Naas
Names and Background

The last two Soorahs of the Qur-aan will be discussed together.

The names of both of these Soorahs have been taken from the first verse

These Soorahs teach how the Prophet and the believers should seek only
Allaah’s refuge from the dangers they face while trying to succeed in living
according to the guidance provided by the Qur-aan. The Qur-aan starts with
al-Faatiĥah, wherein the believers humbly request Allaah to show them the
straight path. The whole Qur-aan showed that path, guiding the Islamic
movement through all its phases until it succeeded in its mission and victory
was declared in Soorah An-Naŝr and defeat of the opponents proclaimed in
Soorah Al-Lahab. Then, the guidance was concluded with a concise statement
of Towĥeed – the essence of Islam – in Soorah Ikhlaaŝ. Now the Qur-aan is
concluding with advice to believers to seek refuge in their Master who
showed them the straight path so that they can continue on that path under
His protection.

The concept of seeking refuge automatically implies two things: firstly, the
seeker feels that he on his own cannot fend off the danger from which refuge
is being sought; secondly, the entity whose refuge is sought has the power,
resources and means to protect the refugee. These Soorahs teach that Allaah
SWT is the only One Who has that power, authority, means and resources to
protect a believer who seeks His refuge.

As both of these Soorahs teach mankind to seek refuge in Allaah, collectively
they are called “Mu‘awwi dzatain” – “the two refuge-seeking” Soorahs.

113 Al-Falaq
Teachings and Commentary

In the name of Allaah, the Most
Gracious, the Most Merciful.

Ο`.· ´<¦ ≈´Η-¯,l¦ ΟŠ>¯,l¦
Say: “I seek refuge in the Lord Who
brings things out,
from the evil of
what He has created,
from the evil
of the darkness as it overspreads,
from the evil of the blowers on
knots (who practise secret arts or
and from the evil of the
envier when he envies.”

¯≅· Œθ`s¦ .,. _l±l¦ ∩⊇∪ Β ¯¸Ÿ. !Β
_l> ∩⊄∪ Β´ρ ¯¸Ÿ. _™l. ¦Œ| .·´ρ ∩⊂∪
Β´ρ ¯,: ·≈:≈±Ζl¦ †· ‰1`-l¦ ∩⊆∪ Β´ρ
¯,: ‰™l> ¦Œ| ‰.> ∩∈∪

Instead of using Allaah’s names, the refuge has been sought by using an attribute of Allaah as
“the Lord Who brings things out”. The attribute indicates that He is the Lord of things from
the evil of which we are seeking His refuge. This implies that as the Lord, He is the only real
source of protection from the evil that may emanate from the things that He has created.

The Arabic word used in the first verse is “Falaq” which is usually translated as “Dawn”. The
literal meaning of Falaq is “to bring out by splitting or breaking open” such as bringing the
plant out by breaking the seed open and by breaking the earth open, or breaking the dawn by
making the light come piercing through the darkness. The Qur-aan has used this word for
both of these meanings:

“It is Allaah who splits and sprouts a grain-seed or a fruit-stone… He causes the dawn
to break;…” Al-An‘aam 6:95-96

Thus there is no reason to restrict the translation to “dawn”. It is a general term that is
applicable to all things that Allaah brings out by splitting or breaking open whatever is
covering them or holding them back, including for example, water springing out of earth, or
rain coming out of clouds or an offspring coming out of the womb or an egg, and so on and so
forth. Hence, Allaah is the Lord that brings things out.

The refuge of the Lord Who creates or brings things out has been sought in general from the
risks posed by, or evil of, everything He has created. The Creator, Lord or Master of the
creation is the only One Who has power over His creations and can protect from their evil –

none else can. The point to note is that Allaah did not create evil; He created everything for a
useful role and for goodness in this world. Evil does not have its own distinct existence. In
addition to the evil that people commit, the evil includes the risk of problems and dangers
inherent in the imperfections of all the creations within this temporary universe. They have
been designed with built-in imperfections in order to end at a predetermined time. It is only
after this temporary test that a perfect and everlasting universe will be created. Until then,
only He can shield His slaves from the problems that may emanate from the people and
things that He has created.

After this general request, refuge from three specific risks is being requested in this Soorah
and a fourth one in Soorah An-Naas.

1. The risks that are posed by the darkness of night
. Nights are dangerous. Dangerous
animals emerge and become active at night, and so do criminals. Nights used to be
even more dangerous, rather dreadful, at the time of the revelation of these verses
because of the danger of night raids from enemies. The opponents of the Prophet
also used to conspire to attack and kill him at night, so that the murderer could not
be identified. Because of these dangers, the Prophet advised the Muslims, “When
the sun sets, devils spread out in the land, so keep your children at home and hold
your animals in their barns, until the night departs.”

2. The evil of the blowers on knots. This refers to those who practise secret arts, magic
or witchcraft type of activities. One of the techniques the practitioners of these arts
use to cast a spell is to blow on a thread and tie a knot on every blow, usually seven
or eleven times. Most of the witchcraft as we know it is usually invalid superstitious
practice that is totally ineffective. But some magic taught by Shayŧaan or secret arts
taught by angels in the past and handed down over the ages may have an effect on
the faculty of mental perception of people. An example is the effect of Egyptian
magicians on Moosa ‘AS (Moses) and the audience at that time. But that effect can
be nullified by Allaah’s help or by recitation of His words or by Du‘aa to Him. One of
the ways the opponents of the Prophet tried to harm him was through magic. One
magician of Madeenah, Labeed ibn A‘ŝam, cast a spell on the Prophet that was
nullified within a day by Du‘aa and recitation of the Qur-aan. Those Muslims who
establish their relationship with Allaah, continue to bless their hearts and minds with
the remembrance of Allaah and continue to seek Allaah’s refuge through du‘aa will
remain safe and protected from the evils of such things. Those who, instead of

Based on a Ĥadeeth from ‘Aaisha RA, some people think the word “Ghaasiq” in this verse means
“moon”, but the words of the verse are clearly describing the spreading of the darkness, not the moon.
The scholars have interpreted the mention of the moon in the said Ĥadeeth to indicate the night being
the time of appearance of moon. The moon’s presence is noticed only because of the darkness of the
night. Even the light reflected by the moon is more beneficial to a perpetrator attacking his prey than to
the victim.
Although, not the subject matter being discussed here, an ancillary lesson we should keep in mind is
that the youth who stay out at night fall prey to devils and commit immoral and inappropriate acts. Thus
it is extremely important that Muslim youth should not stay out late at nights..

relying on Allaah, seek other means to protect themselves from the effect of such
things lose the protection of Allaah.

3. The evil of the envier when he envies. The Arabic word Ĥasad means a feeling of
jealousy against another person who has been endowed with some success or
something good, and the jealous person wishes that the endowed person is deprived
of that success or goodness. As long as the jealous person just burns in his own
jealousy and does not take any step under the influence of jealousy, it is hurting only
the jealous person, not the victim of his jealousy. But when the jealous person does
something to hurt the victim in any way, Allaah’s help can protect the victim from
the evils of the jealous person’s behaviour. Muslims must in particular remember the
jealousy of Shayŧaan against us and his vow to remove us from the straight path of
Allaah’s Deen. We must continue to seek Allaah’s refuge to protect ourselves from
the machinations of the Shayŧaan. That is the only effective way of protection from
his incitements.

114 An-Naas
Teachings and Commentary

In the name of Allaah, the Most
Gracious, the Most Merciful.

Ο`.· ´<¦ ≈´Η-¯,l¦ ΟŠ>¯,l¦

Say: “I seek refuge in the Lord of
the King of people,
God of people,
from the evil of the
whisperings of the incessant
retreating whisperer,
who whispers
into the minds of people –
he is from jinns or human beings.”

¯≅· Œθ`s¦ .,. !Ψl¦ ∩⊇∪ ilΒ !Ψl¦
∩⊄∪ «≈l| !Ψl¦ ∩⊂∪ Β ¯,: ¦´θ`™´θl¦
!Ψƒ'¦ ∩⊆∪ “%!¦ 'θ`™´θ`ƒ †· ‘ρ‰.
Z!Ψl¦ ∩∈∪ ´Β πΨ>l¦ !Ψl¦´ρ ∩∉∪
This Soorah uses three attributes of Allaah to seek His protection: Lord of people Who takes
care of their needs and provides sustenance, King of people Who rules over them on His own
authority and power, and God of people only Who is worthy of and has the legitimate right to
be worshipped. Being the Lord, King and God, only He has the power, means and authority to
protect people from the machinations, temptations and incitements of the Shayŧaan who
wants people to express their gratitude to others for the bounties of Allaah, to disobey Him
while obeying their own wishes or wishes of other people, and join others with Allaah in
worship and devotion.

Shayŧaan incites people by continually whispering his bad ideas and notions into the minds of
people. These incitements come in the guise of friendly advice, creative ideas and useful
innovations. They are done in a manner that people do not even feel that they are being
misguided. They continue until the resolve of the victim is broken and the person decides to
try it only once. When it is acted upon once, the incitement continues so that the person
commits it again, which is easier to do than the first time. For each successive infraction, it
becomes easier and easier to have the person repeat the same behaviour. Soon, that
infraction becomes a part of the victim’s personality. Then the incitement starts on the next
more serious level of the bad behaviour. The irony is that although the Shayŧaan is
responsible for incessantly suggesting the infraction in various convincing ways, he never
takes the responsibility of the action of his victim because all he did was suggest, the decision
to act was the person’s own. All these meanings are covered in the “Waswaasil-khannaas” –
“whisperings of the incessant, retreating whisperer”.

The most important thing to remember in this respect is that such Shayŧaan can be a Jinn
who is not visible or a human being, your friend, your colleague and your peer with whom

you spend time or to whom you listen. Anyone who suggests something to you that should
not be done, regardless of the excuse or the convincing reasons the person uses, is a
Shayŧaan from whom you must seek the refuge of Allaah.


End of the Commentary

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