Surah Ahqaf Ayat 21 in Arabic Text
Here you can read various translations of verse 21
And mention, [O Muhammad], the brother of ‘Aad, when he warned his people in the [region of] al-Ahqaf – and warners had already passed on before him and after him – [saying], “Do not worship except Allah. Indeed, I fear for you the punishment of a terrible day.”
Mention (Hud) one of ‘Ad’s (own) brethren: Behold, he warned his people about the winding Sand-tracts: but there have been warners before him and after him: “Worship ye none other than Allah: Truly I fear for you the Penalty of a Mighty Day.”
Recount to them the story of (Hud), the brother of (the tribe of) ‘Ad. Hud warned his people beside the sand-dunes — and there have been other warners before him and since his time — saying: “Serve none but Allah. Verily I fear that the chastisement of an awesome day shall come upon you.”
And remember (Hud) the brother of ‘Ad, when he warned his people in Al-Ahqaf (the curved sand-hills in the southern part of Arabian Peninsula). And surely, there have passed away warners before him and after him (saying): “Worship none but Allah; truly, I fear for you the torment of a mighty Day.”
And make mention (O Muhammad) of the brother of A’ad when he warned his folk among the wind-curved sandhills – and verily warners came and went before and after him – saying: Serve none but Allah. Lo! I fear for you the doom of a tremendous Day.
And remember the brother of Aad, as he warned his people beside (i.e., in the valley of) the Sand Dunes and already warnings had passed away even before him, and even behind him, (saying), “Do not worship anybody except Allah! Surely I fear for you the torment of a tremendous Day.”
Mention [Hud] of the tribe of Ad: he warned his people among the sand dunes- other warners have come and gone both before and after him- ‘ Worship no one but God: I fear for you, that you will be punished on a terrible Day,’
Quran 46 Verse 21 Explanation
For those looking for commentary to help with the understanding of Surah Ahqaf ayat 21, we’ve provided two Tafseer works below. The first is the tafseer of Abul Ala Maududi, the second is of Ibn Kathir.
(46:21) Recount to them the story of (Hud), the brother of (the tribe of) Ad. Hud warned his people beside the sand-dunes � and there have been other warners before him and since his time � saying: “Serve none but Allah. Verily I fear that the chastisement of an awesome day shall come upon you.”
25. As the chiefs of the Quraish had a false pride of their superiority and exulted in their wealth and prosperity, the story of Aad is being related to them about whom it was well known that they had been the mightiest people in Arabia.
Literally, Ahqaf (pl. of hiqf) are long dunes of sand less in height than mountains, but technically it is a name given to the southern-western part of the Arabian desert (Ar- Rubul-khali) which is wholly un-inhabited.
Ibn Ishaq says that the territory of Aad extended from Oman to Yaman, and the Quran tells us that they actually belonged to Al- Ahqaf from where they spread to the adjoining lands and subdued weak nations. 125 miles to the north of the present-day city of Makkah there is a place in Hadramaut, where the people have built a tomb to the Prophet Houd, and the place is well known as the grave of Houd. A religious festival is held there on the 15th of Shaban and thousands of people from different parts of Arabia gather there annually. Although it is not historically established, the grave’s being built there and the southern Arabs’ visiting it in large numbers is at least a proof that local tradition regards this very territory as the land of Aad. Besides, there are several ruins in Hadramaut which the natives still call by the name of Dar-Aad (Abode of Aad).
From the present condition of Al-Ahqaf, no one can even imagine that this land might have been the home of a mighty people boasting of magnificent civilization. Probably it was a green and fertile land thousands of years ago, and then the change of climate might have turned it into a sandy desert. Today it is a vast, wind-swept desert, and no one can dare go into its interior. In 1843 A.D. a Bavarian soldier was able to reach its southern edge. He says that if one looks down from the northern plateau of Hadramaut one can see this desert about a thousand feet in the depression. Here and there in it there are white areas where if a thing falls it goes on sinking into the sand and decays. The Arab Beduins fear this land and are never willing to step into it at any cost. Once when the Bedouins were not ready to take him there, he went by himself. He says that the sand there is very fine powder, and when he threw a plummet into it from a distance, it sank into it within five minutes and the end of the line to which it was attached, also decayed.
For detailed information, see:
Arabia and The Isles, Harold Ingrams, London, 1946.
The Unveiling of Arabia, R H. Kirnan, London, 1937.
The Empty Quarter. Philby. London, 1933.
21. And remember the brother of `Ad, when he warned his people in Al-Ahqaf. And surely, warners had already passed on before him and after him (saying): “Worship none but Allah; truly, I fear for you the torment of a mighty Day.” 22. They said: “Have you come to delude us from our gods Then bring us that with which you threaten us, if you are one of the truthful!” 23. He said: “The knowledge (of that) is only with Allah. And I convey to you that wherewith I have been sent, but I see that you are a people given to ignorance!” 24. Then, when they saw it as a dense cloud approaching their valleys, they said: “This is a cloud bringing us rain!” Nay, but it is that which you were asking to be hastened – a wind wherein is a painful torment! 25. Destroying everything by the command of its Lord! So they became such that nothing could be seen except their dwellings! Thus do We recompense the criminal people!
Allah says, consoling His Prophet in regard to the rejection of those who opposed him among his people,
(And remember the brother of `Ad,) This refers to Hud, peace be upon in him. Allah sent him to the first people of `Ad who inhabited Al-Ahqaf. Ahqaf is plural of Haqf. According to Ibn Zayd, it means a sand dune; and according to `Ikrimah, it means a mountain or a cave. Qatadah said: “We were informed that `Ad was a tribe in Yemen. They dwelt among sand (hills), and overlooked the sea in a land called Ash-Shihr.” Under the chapter, “He Who supplicates should first mention Himself,” Ibn Majah recorded that Ibn `Abbas narrated that the Prophet said:
(May Allah have mercy on us and the Brother of `Ad.) Allah then says,
(And surely, warners had already passed on before him and after him.) meaning, Allah had sent Messengers and warners to the towns surrounding the land of `Ad. This is similar to Allah’s saying,
(And We made it a deterrent punishment for those who were present and those who succeeded them. ) (2:66) And it is also similar to Allah’s saying,
(But if they turn away, then say: “I have warned you of a thunderbolt like the thunderbolt that struck `Ad and Thamud. (That occurred) when the Messengers had come to them from before them and after them (saying): “Worship none but Allah.”) (41:13-14) Allah then says,
(truly, I fear for you the torment of a mighty Day.) meaning, Hud said this to them (his people), and they responded to him saying,
(Have you come to delude us from our gods) meaning, to prevent us.
(from our gods)
(Then bring us that with which you threaten us, if you are one of the truthful!) They sought to hasten Allah’s torment and punishment, believing that it will not happen. This is similar to Allah’s saying,
(Those who do not believe in it (the Last Hour) seek to hasten it) (42:18). Hud’s response was,
(He said: “The knowledge (of that) is only with Allah.”) which means, `Allah knows best about you. If you deserve the punishment to be hastened, He will do that to you. As for me, my duty is to deliver my message to you.’
(But I see that you are a people given to ignorance!) which means, `you have no comprehension or understanding.’ Allah then says,
(Then, when they saw it as a dense cloud approaching their valleys,) meaning, when they saw the punishment coming towards them, they thought it to be clouds full of rain. That made them happy and joyful, because they had a drought and needed rain. Allah then said,
(Nay, but it is that which you were asking to be hastened — a wind wherein is a painful torment!) meaning, this is the torment that you called for saying, “Bring to us what you promise us if you should be of the truthful.”
(Destroying every thing) meaning, destroying every part of their land that could normally be destroyed.
(by the command of its Lord!) meaning, it had Allah’s permission to do that. This is similar to Allah’s saying,
d(It spared nothing that it reached, but blew it into broken spreads of rotten ruins.) (51:42) meaning, like something dilapidated (or decrepit). Because of this, Allah says,
(So they became such that nothing could be seen except their dwellings!) means, all of them were destroyed, and none of them were spared. Allah then says:
(Thus do We recompense the criminal people!) which means that this is Our judgement regarding those who reject Our Messengers and disobey Our commands. Imam Ahmad recorded from `A’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, that she said, “I never saw Allah’s Messenger fully laughing so that I would see his uvula. He would only smile.” She added that when Allah’s Messenger saw clouds or wind, that would reflect on his face (as discomfort). She asked him: “O Allah’s Messenger! When the people see clouds, they become happy, hoping that they bring them rain. But I notice that when you see them, displeasure appears on your face.” Allah’s Messenger replied,
(O `A’ishah! What would guarantee to me that they do not bring punishment Some nations had been punished with wind. On seeing the punishment approaching them, a nation once said: “This is a cloud bringing us rain.”) This is also recorded by Al-Bukhari and Muslim. Imam Ahmad recorded that `A’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, said that when Allah’s Messenger saw clouds on any of the horizons, he would leave whatever he was doing — even if he was in prayer — and say:
(O Allah! I seek refuge with you from any harm that it (the cloud) contains.) If Allah removed those clouds, the Prophet would praise Allah, and if rain fell, he would say:
(O Allah! Make it pouring and beneficent.) Muslim also recorded in his Sahih from `A’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, that when the wind blew, Allah’s Messenger would say,
(O Allah! I ask You of its good, the good that it contains, and the good with which it has been sent. And I seek refuge in You from its evil, the evil that it contains, and the evil with which it has been sent.) She added that if the sky became cloudy, his color would change; he would exit, enter, come, and go. When it rained, his anxiety would be relieved. When `A’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, noticed that, she asked him about it and he said:
(O `A’ishah! It could be like what the people of `Ad said, (Then, when they saw it as a dense cloud approaching their valleys, they said: “This is a cloud bringing us rain!”)) We have previously mentioned the story of the destruction of the people of `Ad in both Surat Al-A`raf and Surah Hud. Thus, there is no need to repeat it here; and verily Allah is worthy of all praise and gratitude.
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