Surah Abasa (“He Frowned”) is the 80th chapter of the Qur’an. It consists of 42 ayats and is classified as a Meccan surah.

The surah tells a story of how Prophet Muhammad at one time was preaching Islam to some big chiefs of Makkah. At that very point, a blind man, named Abd-Allah ibn Umm-Maktum, approached him to seek explanation some point in Islam.

Muhammad disliked his interruption and ignored him. Thereupon Allah sent down this Surah. 

 Notable Quote:

“As for he who thinks himself without need, To him you give attention.
Surah Abasa Ayat 5-6

Skip To Tafsir by Ibn Kathir

Read Surah Abasa with Translation and Transliteration

Bismillah Hir Rahman Nir Raheem
In the name of Allah, The Most Gracious and The Most Merciful

عَبَسَ وَتَوَلَّىٰ

‘Abasa wa tawallaa.
1. The Prophet frowned and turned away

أَن جَاءَهُ الْأَعْمَىٰ

An jaa-ahul ‘a-maa
2. Because there came to him the blind man, [interrupting].

وَمَا يُدْرِيكَ لَعَلَّهُ يَزَّكَّىٰ

Wa maa yudreeka la’allahu yaz zakkaa.
3. But what would make you perceive, [O Muhammad], that perhaps he might be purified

أَوْ يَذَّكَّرُ فَتَنفَعَهُ الذِّكْرَىٰ

Au yaz zak karu fatanfa ‘ahuz zikraa.
4. Or be reminded and the remembrance would benefit him?

أَمَّا مَنِ اسْتَغْنَىٰ

Amma manis taghnaa
5. As for he who thinks himself without need,

فَأَنتَ لَهُ تَصَدَّىٰ

Fa-anta lahu tasaddaa
6. To him you give attention.

وَمَا عَلَيْكَ أَلَّا يَزَّكَّىٰ

Wa ma ‘alaika allaa yaz zakka.
7. And not upon you [is any blame] if he will not be purified.

وَأَمَّا مَن جَاءَكَ يَسْعَىٰ

Wa amma man jaa-aka yas’a
8. But as for he who came to you striving [for knowledge]

وَهُوَ يَخْشَىٰ

Wahuwa yakhshaa,
9. While he fears [Allah],

فَأَنتَ عَنْهُ تَلَهَّىٰ

Fa-anta ‘anhu talah haa.
10. From him you are distracted.

كَلَّا إِنَّهَا تَذْكِرَةٌ

Kalla innaha tazkirah
11. No! Indeed, these verses are a reminder;

فَمَن شَاءَ ذَكَرَهُ

Faman shaa a zakarah
12. So whoever wills may remember it.

فِي صُحُفٍ مُّكَرَّمَةٍ

Fi suhufim mukar rama,
13. [It is recorded] in honored sheets,

مَّرْفُوعَةٍ مُّطَهَّرَةٍ

Marfoo’atim mutah hara,
14. Exalted and purified,

بِأَيْدِي سَفَرَةٍ

Bi’aidee safara
15. [Carried] by the hands of messenger-angels,

كِرَامٍ بَرَرَةٍ

Kiraamim bararah.
16. Noble and dutiful.

قُتِلَ الْإِنسَانُ مَا أَكْفَرَهُ

Qutilal-insanu maa akfarah.
17. Cursed is man; how disbelieving is he.

مِنْ أَيِّ شَيْءٍ خَلَقَهُ

Min aiyyi shai-in Khalaq
18. From what substance did He create him?

مِن نُّطْفَةٍ خَلَقَهُ فَقَدَّرَهُ

Min nutfatin khalaqahoo faqaddarah.
19. From a sperm-drop He created him and destined for him;

ثُمَّ السَّبِيلَ يَسَّرَهُ

Thummas sabeela yas-sarah
20. Then He eased the way for him;

ثُمَّ أَمَاتَهُ فَأَقْبَرَهُ

Thumma amatahu fa-aqbarah
21. Then He causes his death and provides a grave for him.

ثُمَّ إِذَا شَاءَ أَنشَرَهُ

Thumma iza shaa-a ansharah
22. Then when He wills, He will resurrect him.

كَلَّا لَمَّا يَقْضِ مَا أَمَرَهُ

Kalla lamma yaqdi maa amarah.
23. No! Man has not yet accomplished what He commanded him.

فَلْيَنظُرِ الْإِنسَانُ إِلَىٰ طَعَامِهِ

Falyanzuril insanu ilaa ta-amih
24. Then let mankind look at his food –

أَنَّا صَبَبْنَا الْمَاءَ صَبًّا

Anna sabab nalmaa-a sabba.
25. How We poured down water in torrents,

ثُمَّ شَقَقْنَا الْأَرْضَ شَقًّا

Thumma sha qaqnal-arda shaqqa.
26. Then We broke open the earth, splitting [it with sprouts],

فَأَنبَتْنَا فِيهَا حَبًّا

Fa ambatna feeha habba
27. And caused to grow within it grain

وَعِنَبًا وَقَضْبًا

Wa ‘inabaw-wa qadba
28. And grapes and herbage

وَزَيْتُونًا وَنَخْلًا

Wa zaitoonaw wanakh la’
29. And olive and palm trees

وَحَدَائِقَ غُلْبًا

Wa hadaa-iqa ghulba
30. And gardens of dense shrubbery

وَفَاكِهَةً وَأَبًّا

Wa faki hataw-wa abba.
31. And fruit and grass –

مَّتَاعًا لَّكُمْ وَلِأَنْعَامِكُمْ

Mata’al-lakum wa li-an’amikum.
32. [As] enjoyment for you and your grazing livestock.

فَإِذَا جَاءَتِ الصَّاخَّةُ

Faiza jaa-atis saakhah.
33. But when there comes the Deafening Blast

يَوْمَ يَفِرُّ الْمَرْءُ مِنْ أَخِيهِ

Yauma yafir-rul mar-u min akheeh
34. On the Day a man will flee from his brother

وَأُمِّهِ وَأَبِيهِ

Wa ummihee wa abeeh
35. And his mother and his father

وَصَاحِبَتِهِ وَبَنِيهِ

Wa sahi batihee wa baneeh.
36. And his wife and his children,

لِكُلِّ امْرِئٍ مِّنْهُمْ يَوْمَئِذٍ شَأْنٌ يُغْنِيهِ

Likul limri-im-minuhm yaumaa-izin shaa nuy-yughneeh
37. For every man, that Day, will be a matter adequate for him.

وُجُوهٌ يَوْمَئِذٍ مُّسْفِرَةٌ

Wujoo huny-yauma-izim-musfira;
38. [Some] faces, that Day, will be bright –

ضَاحِكَةٌ مُّسْتَبْشِرَةٌ

Dahi katum mustab shirah
39. Laughing, rejoicing at good news.

وَوُجُوهٌ يَوْمَئِذٍ عَلَيْهَا غَبَرَةٌ

Wa wujoohuy yauma-izin ‘alaiha ghabar a
40. And [other] faces, that Day, will have upon them dust.

تَرْهَقُهَا قَتَرَةٌ

Tarhaquha qatarah.
41. Blackness will cover them.

أُولَـٰئِكَ هُمُ الْكَفَرَةُ الْفَجَرَةُ

Ulaa-ika humul-kafa ratul-fajarah.
42. Those are the disbelievers, the wicked ones.

The Tafsir of Surah `Abasa

Chapter – 80
Which was revealed in Makkah

(In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

(1. He frowned and turned away.) (2. Because there came to him the blind man.) (3. And how can you know that he might become pure) (4. Or he might receive admonition, and the admonition might profit him) (5. As for him who thinks himself self-sufficient,) (6. To him you attend;) (7. What does it matter to you if he will not become pure) (8. But as for him who came to you running,) (9. And is afraid.) (10. Of him you are neglectful and divert your attention to another.) (11. Nay; indeed it is an admonition.) (12. So, whoever wills, let him pay attention to Him (it).) (13. In Records held in honor,) (14. Exalted, purified.) (15. In the hands of ambassadors (Safarah),) (16. Honorable and obedient.)

The Prophet being reprimanded because He frowned at a Weak Man

More than one of the scholars of Tafsir mentioned that one day the Messenger of Allah was addressing one of the great leaders of the Quraysh while hoping that he would accept Islam. While he was speaking in direct conversation with him, Ibn Umm Maktum came to him, and he was of those who had accepted Islam in its earliest days. He (Ibn Umm Maktum) then began asking the Messenger of Allah about something, urgently beseeching him. The Prophet hoped that the man would be guided, so he asked Ibn Umm Maktum to wait for a moment so he could complete his conversation. He frowned in the face of Ibn Umm Maktum and turned away from him in order to face the other man. Thus, Allah revealed,

(He frowned and turned away. Because there came to him the blind man. And how can you know that he might become pure) meaning, he may attain purification and cleanliness in his soul.

(Or he might receive admonition, and the admonition might profit him) meaning, he may receive admonition and abstain from the forbidden.

(As for him who thinks himself self-sufficient. To him you attend;) meaning, `you face the rich person so that perhaps he may be guided.’

(What does it matter to you if he will not become pure) meaning, `you are not responsible for him if he does not attain purification.’

(But as for him who came to you running. And is afraid.) meaning, `he is seeking you and he comes to you so that he may be guided by what you say to him.’

(Of him you are neglectful and divert your attention to another.) meaning, `you are too busy.’ Here Allah commands His Messenger to not single anyone out with the warning. Rather, he should equal warn the noble and the weak, the poor and the rich, the master and the slave, the men and the women, the young and the old. Then Allah will guide whomever He chooses to a path that is straight. He has the profound wisdom and the decisive proof. Abu Ya`la and Ibn Jarir both recorded from `A’ishah that she said about,

(He frowned and turned away.) was revealed.” At-Tirmirdhi recorded this Hadith but he did not mention that it was narrated by `A’ishah. I say it is reported like this in Al-Muwatta’ as well.

The Characteristics of the Qur’an

Allah says,

(Nay; indeed it is an admonition.) meaning, this Surah, or this advice in conveying knowledge equally among people, whether they are of noble or low class. Qatadah and As-Suddi both said,

(Nay; indeed it is an admonition.) “This means the Qur’an.”

(So, whoever wills, let him pay attention to Him (it).) meaning, so whoever wills, he remembers Allah in all of his affairs. The pronoun could also be understood to be referring to the revelation since the conversation is alluding to it. Allah said:

(In Records held in honor, exalted, purified.) meaning, this Surah or this admonition. Both meanings are connected to each other. Actually, all of the Qur’an is in honored pages, meaning respected and revered.

(exalted) meaning, elevated in status.

(purified) meaning, from impurity, additions and deficiency. Concerning Allah’s statement,

(In the hands of ambassadors (Safarah),) Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, Ad-Dahhak, and Ibn Zayd, all said, “These are the angels.” Al-Bukhari said, “Safarah (ambassadors) refers to the angels. They travel around rectifying matters between themselves. The angels when they descend with the revelation of Allah, bringing it like the ambassador who rectifies matters between people.” Allah said,

(Honorable and obedient.) meaning, they are noble, handsome, and honorable in their creation. Their character and their deeds are righteous, pure and perfect. Here it should be noted that it is necessary for one who carries the Qur’an (i.e., the angel) to be following righteousness and guidance. Imam Ahmad recorded from `A’ishah that the Messenger of Allah said,

(He who recites the Qur’an proficiently, will be with the noble, righteous, ambassador angels, and the one who recites it with difficulty will receive two rewards.) This Hadith was reported by the group.

(17. Qutila mankind! How ungrateful he is!) (18. From what thing did He create him) (19. From a Nutfah He created him and then set him in due proportion.) (20. Then He made the path easy for him.) (21. Then He causes him to die and puts him in his grave.) (22. Then when it is His will, He will resurrect him.) (23. Nay, but has not done what He commanded him.) (24. Then let man look at his food:) (25. We pour forth water in abundance.) (26. And We split the earth in clefts.) (27. And We cause therein Habb to grow,) (28. And grapes and Qadb,) (29. And olives and date palms,) (30. And Ghulb Hada’iq,) (31. And fruits (Fakihah) and herbage (Abb).) (32. A provision and benefit for you and your cattle.)

The Refutation against Whoever denies Life after Death

Allah rebukes those who deny the Resurrection and the Final Gathering.

(Qutila mankind!) Ad-Dahhak reported from Ibn `Abbas that he said,

(Qutila mankind!) “May man be cursed.” Abu Malik also made a similar statement. He said, “This refers to the rejecting type of man, due to his abundant denial without any supporting argument. Rather he denies simply because he thinks it is farfetched and because he lacks knowledge of it.” Ibn Jurayj said,

(How ungrateful he is!) “This means none is worse in disbelief than he is.” Qatadah said,

(How ungrateful he is!) “This means none is more cursed than he is.” Then Allah explains how He created him from something despised and that He is able to bring him back to life just as He created him initially. Allah says,

(From what thing did He create him From a Nutfah He created him, and then set him in due proportion.) meaning, He decreed his life span, his sustenance, his deeds, and whether he would be miserable or happy.

(Then He made the path easy for him.) Al-`Awfi reported from Ibn `Abbas, “Then He made his coming out of his mother’s belly easy for him.” This was also said by `Ikrimah, Ad-Dahhak, Abu Salih, Qatadah, As-Suddi, and it was the explanation preferred by Ibn Jarir. Mujahid said, “This is similar to Allah’s statement,

(Verily, We guided him on the path, he is either grateful or ungrateful.) (76:3) meaning, We explained it to him, clarified it, and made it easy for him to act upon.” Al-Hasan and Ibn Zayd both said the same. This is the most correct view and Allah knows best. Concerning Allah’s statement,

(Then He causes him to die and puts him in his grave.) After creating man, Allah causes him to die and makes him the inhabitant of a grave. Allah said;

(Then when it is His will, He will resurrect him.) meaning, He resurrects him after his death and this is called Al-Ba`th (resurrection) and An-Nushur (resuscitation).

(And among His signs is this that He created you from dust, and then behold, you are human beings scattered.) (30:20)

(And look at the bones, how We bring them together and clothe them with flesh.) (2:259) In the Two Sahihs it is narrated by way of Al-A`mash from Abu Salih, from Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet said,

(All of the Sons of Adam (men) will decay except for the bone of coccyx (tailbone). From it he (man) was created and by it he will be reconstructed.)” Concerning Allah’s statement,

(Nay, but has not done what He commanded him.) Ibn Jarir said, “Allah is saying, `Nay, the matter is not as this disbelieving man says. He claims that he has fulfilled Allah’s right upon him regarding himself and his wealth.

(But he has not done what He commanded him.) Allah is saying that man has not fulfilled for his Lord the obligations that were imposed upon him.” What seems apparent to me of its actual meaning — and Allah knows best — is that the Ayah

(Then when it is His will, He will resurrect him.) means, He will resurrect him.

(Nay! But he has not done what He commanded him.) means, He has not done it (resurrected them) as of yet, until the time period has expired and the extent of the earthly life of humanity is complete, according to the lives of all whom Allah has written it to exist from the time they are brought into existence into the world. Verily, Allah has decreed the existence of mankind, and its duration, therefore, when that is finished with Allah, He resurrects the creatures and repeats their creation just as He initially created them.

The Growth of the Seed and Other Things is a Proof of Life after Death

(Then let man look at his food) This is a call to reflect upon Allah’s favor. It also contains an evidence in the vegetation’s coming to life from the lifeless earth, that the bodies can be brought to life after being decayed bones and scattered dust.

(We pour forth water in abundance.) meaning, `We sent it down from the sky to the earth.’

(And We split the earth in clefts.) meaning, `We cause it (the water) to settle in it (the earth), and it enters into its boundaries, and mingles with the parts of the seeds that are left in the earth. From this the seeds grow, rise up and appear on the surface of the earth (in the form of vegetation).’

(And We cause therein Habb to grow. And grapes and Qadb,) Al-Habb refers to all types of seeds (or grains). Grapes are well-known. Al-Qadb are the moist (green) herbal plants that animals graze on. It is also called Al-Qat. Ibn `Abbas, Qatadah, Ad-Dahhak and As-Suddi, all said this. Al-Hasan Al-Basri said, “Al-Qadb is fodder.”

(And olives) It is well-known, and it is a food just as its juice is a food. It is eaten for breakfast and used as an oil.

(And date palms,) It (i.e., its fruit) is eaten as Balah, Busr, Rutab and Tamr, Niya’ and Matbukh, all of which are varieties of dates that range from unripe, ripe and dried in their textures. Its juice is also extracted to make pulpy fruit drinks and vinegar.

(And Ghulb Hada’iq,) meaning, gardens. Al-Hasan and Qatadah both said, “Ghulb are gardens of date palms that are thick and handsome.” Ibn `Abbas and Mujahid both said, “It means everything that is gathered and collected.” Allah said,

(And fruits (Fakihah) and herbage (Abb).) Fakihah includes every type of fruit. Ibn `Abbas said, “Al-Fakihah is everything that is eaten ripe, and Al-Abb is what the earth grows that is eaten by grazing animals and not people.” In one narration reported from him he said, “It is the grass for the livestock animals.” Abu `Ubayd Al-Qasim bin Sallam reported from Ibrahim At-Taymi that he said, “Abu Bakr As-Siddiq was asked about Allah’s statement,

(And fruits (Fakihah) and herbage (Abb).) and he said, `What sky would shade me and what earth would carry me if I said about the Book of Allah that which I did not have knowledge of.’ ” hIn reference to what Ibn Jarir recorded from Anas, that he said, “Umar bin Al-Khattab recited

(He frowned and turned away.) then when he reached this Ayah

(And fruits (Fakihah) and herbage (Abb).) he said, `We already know what Al-Fakihah is, but what is Al-Abb’ Then he said, `By your life, O Ibn Al-Khattab, this is something over burdensome (i.e., unnecessary to ask about).”’ This report has an authentic chain of narration. More than one person has narrated it from Anas. The meaning of the narration is that `Umar wanted to know how it looks, its type and its exact description, because he (`Umar) and everyone who reads this Ayah knows that it is one of the plants that grows from the earth. This is clear due to the Allah’s saying,

(And We cause therein the Habb to grow. And grapes and Qadb, and olives and date palms. And Ghulb Hada’iq. And fruits (Fakihah) and herbage (Abb).) And then He says,

(A provision and benefit for you and your cattle.) meaning, a means of livelihood for you all and your cattle in this life until the (coming of) the Day of Judgement.

(33. Then when there comes As-Sakhkhah) (34. That Day shall a man flee from his brother.) (35. And from his mother and his father.) (36. And from his wife and his children.) (37. Every man that Day will have enough to make him careless of others.) (38. Some faces that Day will be bright,) (39. Laughing, rejoicing at good news.) (40. And other faces that Day will be dust-stained.) (41. Darkness will cover them.) (42. Such will be the disbelieving, the wicked evil doers.)

The Day of Judgement and the fleeing of the People from Their Relatives during it

Ibn `Abbas said, “As-Sakhkhah is one of the names of the Day of Judgement that Allah has magnified and warned His servants of.” Ibn Jarir said, “Perhaps it is a name for the blowing into Trumpet.” Al-Baghawi said, “As-Sakhkhah means the thunderous shout of the Day of Judgement. It has been called this because it will deafen the ears. This means that it pierces the hearing to such an extent that it almost deafens the ears.”

(That Day shall a man flee from his brother. And from his mother and his father. And from his wife and his children.) meaning, he will see them and then flee from them, and seek to get away from them because horror will be so great and the matter will be so weighty. There is an authentic Hadith related concerning the intercession that states that every one of the great Messengers of firm resolve will be requested to intercede with Allah on behalf of the creation, but each of them will say, “O myself! O myself! Today I will not ask You (O Allah) concerning anyone but myself.” Even `Isa bin Maryam will say, “I will not ask Him (Allah) concerning anyone but myself today. I will not even ask Maryam, the woman who gave birth to me.” Thus, Allah says,

(That Day shall a man flee from his brother, and from his mother and his father, and from his wife and his children.) Qatadah said, “The most beloved and then the next most beloved, and the closest of kin and then the next closest of kin — due to the terror of that Day.” Allah said,

(Every man that Day will have enough to make him careless of others.) meaning, he will be preoccupied in his business and distracted from the affairs of others. Ibn Abi Hatim recorded from Ibn `Abbas that the Messenger of Allah said,

(You will all be gathered barefoot, naked, walking and uncircumcised.) So his wife said, “O Messenger of Allah! Will we look at or see each other’s nakedness” The Prophet replied,

(Every man among them on that Day will have enough (worries) to make him careless of others) — or he said: (he will be too busy to look.) Ibn `Abbas narrated that the Prophet said,

(You will all be gathered barefoot, naked and uncircumcised.) So a woman said, “Will we see or look at each others nakedness” He replied,

(O so-and-so woman! Every man among them on that Day will have enough (worries) to make him careless of others.) At-Tirmidhi said, “This Hadith is Hasan Sahih.”

The Faces of the People of Paradise and the People of the Fire on the Day of Judgement

Allah says;

(Some faces that Day will be bright (Musfirah), laughing, rejoicing at good news.) meaning, the people will be divided into two parties. There will be faces that are Musfirah, which means bright.

(Laughing, rejoicing at good news.) meaning, happy and pleased due to the joy that will be in their hearts. The good news will be apparent on their faces. These will be the people of Paradise.

(And other faces that Day will be dust-stained. Darkness (Qatarah) will cover them.) meaning, they will be overcome and covered with Qatarah, which is darkness. Ibn `Abbas said,

(Darkness (Qatarah) will cover them.) “This means that they (the faces) will be overcome with darkness.” Allah said,

(Such will be the disbelieving, the wicked evildoers.) meaning, they are disbelievers in their hearts, evildoers in their actions. This is as Allah says,

(And they will beget none but wicked disbelievers.) (71:27)

This is the end of the Tafsir of Surat `Abasa, and to Allah all praise and thanks are due.