Surah Al-Adiyat (Arabic: العاديات) meaning “The Courser” or “The Chargers” is the 100th Surah of the Qur’an. It is classified as a Meccan Surah and consists of 11 ayat (verses).
The main theme or subject matter is to make people realize how evil a person can become when he denies the akhirah (afterlife). The Surah also provides a lesson to be grateful to Allah and not to fall into the trap of worldly desires. Allah also warns us in this Surah that all our deeds even the secrets hidden will be subjected to scrutiny.
Below you can read this complete Surah, below every ayat we have provided the transliteration and Sahih International translation to help those unfamiliar with the Arabic language. At the end of the Surah you can read various Tafsirs to gain better understanding of the importance and teachings of Surah Al Adiyat.
Surah Adiyat – Chapter 100 Qur’an
Bismillah Hir Rahman Nir Raheem
In the Name of Allah, The Most Gracious and The Most Merciful
Wal’aadi yaati dabha
1. By the racers, panting,
Fal moori yaati qadha
2. And the producers of sparks [when] striking
Fal mugheeraati subha
3. And the chargers at dawn,
Faatharna bihi naqAAa
4. Stirring up thereby [clouds of] dust,
Fawasatna bihi jamAAa
5. Arriving thereby in the center collectively,
Inna al-insana lirabbihi lakanood
6. Indeed mankind, to his Lord, is ungrateful.
Wa-innahu AAala thalika lashaheed
7. And indeed, he is to that a witness.
Wa-innahu lihubbi alkhayri lashadeed
8. And indeed he is, in love of wealth, intense.
Afala ya’lamu iza b’uthira ma filquboor
9. But does he not know that when the contents of the graves are scattered
Wa hussila maa fis sudoor
10. And that within the breasts is obtained,
Inna rabbahum bihim yawma-ithinlakhabeer
11. Indeed, their Lord with them, that Day, is [fully] Acquainted.
Tafsir of Surah Adiyat
Here you can read from four different tafsirs to gain a better understanding of Surah Adiyat. We recommend reading the Tafsir because to truly understand the historical context upon which this surah was revealed, the background, reasons for revelation it helps to read the expanded interpretations. The word by word translations can leave out many important nuances.
Tafsir of Surah Adiyat by Ibn Kathir
(In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
Allah swears by the horses when they are made to gallop into battle in His path (i.e., Jihad), and thus they run and pant, which is the sound that is heard from the horse when it runs.
(Striking sparks of fire.) meaning, the striking of their hooves on the rocks, which causes sparks of fire to fly from them.
(And scouring to the raid at dawn.) meaning, the raid that is carried out in the early morning time. This is just as the Messenger of Allah used to perform raids in the early morning. He would wait to see if he heard the Adhan (call to prayer) from the people. If he heard it he would leave them alone, and if he didn’t hear it he would attack. Then Allah says,
(And raise the dust in clouds the while.) meaning, dust at the place of the battle with the horses.
(And penetrating forthwith as one into the midst.) means, then are all in the middle of that spot, together. Allah’s saying;
(And scouring to the raid at dawn.) Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid and Qatadah, all said, “This means the invasion of the horses in the morning in the way of Allah.” And His statement,
(And raise the dust in clouds the while.) This is the place in which the attack takes place. The dust is stirred up by it. And His statement,
(And penetrating forthwith as one into the midst.) Al-`Awfi narrated from Ibn `Abbas, `Ata, `Ikrimah, Qatadah and Ad-Dahhak that they all said, “This means into the midst of the disbelieving enemy.” Concerning Allah’s statement,
(Verily, man is ungrateful (Kanud) to his Lord.) This is the subject what is being sworn about, and it means that he (man) is ungrateful for the favors of His Lord and he rejects them. Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, Ibrahim An-Nakha`i, Abu Al-Jawza’, Abu Al-`Aliyah, Abu Ad-Duha, Sa`id bin Jubayr, Muhammad bin Qays, Ad-Dahhak, Al-Hasan, Qatadah, Ar-Rabi` bin Anas and Ibn Zayd all said, “Al-Kanud means ungrateful.” Al-Hasan said, “Al-Kanud is the one who counts the calamities (that befall him) and he forgets Allah’s favors.”
(And to that He bears witness.) Qatadah and Sufyan Ath-Thawri both said, “And indeed Allah is a witness to that.” It is also possible that the pronoun (He) could be referring to man. This was said by Muhammad bin Ka`b Al-Qurazi. Thus, its meaning would be that man is a witness himself to the fact that he is ungrateful. This is obvious in his condition, meaning this is apparent from his statements and deeds. This is as Allah says,
(It is not for the idolators, to maintain the Masajid of Allah, while they witness disbelief against themselves.) (9:17) Allah said;
(And verily, he is violent in the love of wealth.) meaning, and indeed in his love of the good, which is wealth, he is severe. There are two opinions concerning this. One of them is that it means that he is severe. There are two opinions concerning this. One of them is that it means that he is severe in his love of wealth. The other view is that it means he is covetous and stingy due to the love of wealth. However, both views are correct.
Then Allah encourages abstinence from worldly things and striving for the Hereafter, and He informs of what the situation will be after this present condition, and what man will face of horrors. He says,
(Knows he not that when the contents of the graves are poured forth) meaning, the dead that are in it will be brought out.
(And that which is in the breasts shall be made known) Ibn `Abbas and others have said, “This means what was in their souls would be exposed and made apparent.”
(Verily, that Day their Lord will be Well-Acquainted with them.) meaning, He knows all of that they used to do, and He will compensate them for it with the most deserving reward. He does not do even the slightest amount of injustice.
This is the end of the Tafsir of Surat Al-Adiyat, and all praise and thanks are due to Allah.
According to Sayyidna Ibn Masud, Jabir, Hasan Basri, ` Ikramah and ` Ata’ رحمۃ اللہ علیہم Surah Al-` Adiyat was revealed in Makkah and, according to Sayyidna Ibn ` Abbas, Anas ؓ ، Imam Malik and Qatadah رحمۃ اللہ علیہما ، the Surah was revealed in Madinah. [Qurtubi].
In this Surah Allah describes the special features of war-horses or chargers, and swears by them. The subject of the oath states that man is very ungrateful to his Lord. It has been explained time and again previously that it is the prerogative of Allah to swear oath by any of his creatures to recount an event or set down ordinances. It is not permitted for any of the human beings to take oath by any of the creatures. The purpose of swearing an oath is to confirm or give weight to a subsequently stated truth. It is also mentioned earlier that when the Holy Qur’an swears an oath by an object, it has some nexus with the subject of the oath. Here the hard tasks of the war-horses are called to bear testimony to the fact that man is very ungrateful for Allah’s favours. In other words, man needs to look at the horses, especially the war-horses, who risk their lives to travel under very dangerous and difficult conditions, especially in the battlefields where they follow the commands of their masters, whereas man has not created them, he has not even created the fodder he gives to them. His task is merely to give them the fodder that Allah has created. The horses recognize and acknowledge this little favor man does to them, and are prepared to risk their lives and bear the greatest of hardships. As against this, Allah has created man with an insignificant drop of sperm and endowed him with high faculties, abilities, intellect and senses to perform various types of tasks, thus making him the crown of His creation. He [Allah] provided him with all types of food. Facilities are created for all his needs and necessities in an amazing manner. But man does not recognize and acknowledge any of these sublime favors, nor does he express his gratitude to his Creator.
The word عَادِیَات adiyat is derived from the root ` adw’ which means ‘to run’. The ضَبح dabh means ‘the sound coming out of the chest of a horse when it runs fast and breathes laboriously; panting.’ The word مُورِیَاتِ muriyat is the active participle of the infinitive of اِیراَء ‘ira. The infinitive means ‘to strike or produce fire with a particular piece of wood.’ The word قَدح qadh means ‘to strike or produce fire with a flint; striking sparks of fire when the horse runs fast on a rocky ground with horse-shoes on’. The word مُغِیرَات mughirat is active participle of the infinitive اِغَارَۃ igharah. The infinitive means ‘to attack, or make a sudden hostile excursion upon, an enemy’. The word subh means ‘morning or dawn’. This time has been specifically mentioned because it was the practice of Arabs to attack their enemy at dawn, and not at night in order to show off their bravery. They thought making a hostile excursion on the enemy in the darkness of night was an act of cowardice. The word اَثَرنَ atharna is derived from ` itharah, which means ‘to raise dust’. The word نَقع naq’ means ‘dust’. This implies that the dust became stirred up and spread upon the horizon, especially in the morning when the horses run fast. Normally, this is not the time for clouds of dust to fly in this way, unless it was caused by very fast running.
Verse [100:5] فَوَسَطْنَ بِهِ جَمْعًا (then enter, at the same time, into the centre of the [opposing] host) In other words, they penetrate into the centre of the enemy forces without the least degree of fear.
The word kanud, (100:6) according to Hasan Basri (رح) ، refers to the one who counts the calamities that befall him, and forgets Allah’s favours. Abu Bakr Wasiti said that kanud is the one who spends the bounties of Allah for sinful purposes. Tirmidhi said that kanud is the one who looks at the bounty, and not at the Bounteous Lord. In short, all these interpretations lead to the sense of ‘ungratefulness to favours and bounties’ and hence the expression kanud means ‘ungrateful’.
[100:3] then those that invade at morning,
[100:4] and raise a trail of dust therein,
[100:5] then enter, at the same time, into the centre of the (opposing) host,
[100:6] man is, indeed, very ungrateful to his Lord,
[100:7] and he himself is a witness to that fact.
[100:8] وَإِنَّهُ لِحُبِّ الْخَيْرِ لَشَدِيدٌ (and in his love for wealth, he is very intense.) Literally, the word khair means ‘any good thing’. Idiomatically, the word khair, in Arabic, means ‘wealth’ implying that ‘wealth’ is an embodiment of goodness and benefit. However, some type of wealth can involve man in untold misery. In the Hereafter, this will be the position of all wealth acquired through unlawful means. Sometimes, wealth in this world too can prove to be nuisance and disaster. Nonetheless, according to Arabic idiom, worldly goods in this verse have been described as khair as the same word in another verse [ 2:180] اِن تَرَکَ خَیراً “…he leaves some wealth…”. In this verse as well the word khair means ‘wealth’.
To recap, having taken oath by war-horses, the subject states two points: [ 1] man is ungrateful or he is a blamer of his Lord who remembers misfortunes and forgets His favours; and [ 2] he is passionate in his love for wealth. Both these points are evil, rationally as well as from the Shari’ah point of view. These statements warn man against these evils. The evil of ingratitude is quite obvious and needs no elaboration, but the evil of man’s violent love for wealth is not that obvious, and needs some elaboration. Wealth is the axis of man’s needs and necessities. Shari’ah has not only permitted its acquisition, but it has also made its acquisition obligatory to the degree of his needs. Therefore, what is condemned in the verse is either the ‘intense’ or excessive love for wealth that makes one neglectful to one’s obligations, and oblivious of the divine injunctions, or the sense is that earning wealth, even saving it according to one’s needs is though permissible, having its love in the heart is bad. Let us consider the following illustration: When man feels the need to answer the call of nature, he does it out of necessity. In fact, he makes arrangements for it, but he does not develop love or passion for it in his heart. Likewise, when he falls sick and takes medication, or even undergoes surgery, but he does not develop attachment for it in his heart. He does it only out of necessity. The believer should treat the wealth in this way: A believer should acquire wealth, as Allah has commanded him, to the extent of his need, save it, look after it and utilize it whenever and wherever necessary, but his heart should not be attached to it. How elegantly Maulana Rumi (رح) has put it in one of his verses! آب اندر زیر کشتی پشتی است آب در کشتی ھلاک کشتی است “As long as the water remains under the boat, it helps the boat [to sail]; but if the water seeps into the boat, it sinks it.”
Likewise, as long as the wealth floats around the boat of heart, it would be useful; but when it seeps into the heart, it will destroy it. Towards the conclusion of the Surah a warning has been sounded against these two evil qualities of man for which he will be punished in the Hereafter.
[100:9-11] وَحُصِّلَ مَا فِي الصُّدُورِ ﴿10﴾ إِنَّ رَبَّهُم بِهِمْ يَوْمَئِذٍ لَّخَبِيرٌ ﴿11﴾ أَفَلَا يَعْلَمُ إِذَا بُعْثِرَ مَا فِي الْقُبُورِ ﴿9﴾ (Does he not then know [ what will happen ] when all that is contained in the graves will be overturned, and all that is contained in the hearts will be exposed. Surely your Lord, that day, is fully aware of them.) Divine retribution will be meted out, in the Hereafter, to each person commensurate with his deeds, good or bad, as Allah is well-aware of them. Therefore, it would be wise for man to abstain from ingratitude, and he should not have such a violently passionate love for wealth and indulgence in worldly riches as to be unable to separate the good from the bad.
The current set of verses describes these evil qualities of man in general terms, while Prophets (علیہم السلام) ، friends of Allah and many of His righteous servants are free from these evil qualities or from any earthly attachments. They acquire wealth through lawful means and abstain from acquiring it through unlawful means. They are ever so grateful to Allah for the wealth He has given them and spend it in the way of Allah. So how these evils are attributed to man in general terms? The answer is that most people have these evil qualities, but this does not imply that all, without any exception, are characterized by these qualities. The upright people are excluded from the general statement. Some of the scholars restrict the word ‘man’ to ‘unbelievers’. These two evil qualities are the essential characteristics of unbelievers, and if they are found in a Muslim [ God forbid!], he needs to reflect and be careful. Allah knows best!
The Commentary on
This surah is presented in rapid and violent strokes. The text moves swiftly from one scene to another. As we come to the last verse, everything — the verbal expressions, connotations, subject matter, and rhythm — settle down in a manner similar to that of a courser reaching the finishing line.
The surah starts with a scene of war steeds running, snorting, striking sparks of fire with their hoofs, launching a raid at dawn and blazing a trail of dust, cleaving suddenly into the centre of the enemies’ camp, taking them by surprise and striking terror and fear in their hearts.
Then follows a picture of the human soul: a scene of ingratitude, ignobleness, greed, and extreme miserliness. Immediately after that there is a description of graves laid open and their contents scattered, and the secrets of hearts poured out. Finally, the trail of dust, ingratitude and miserliness, the contents of graves and dragged out secrets all come to the same terminus. They come to God and settle down: “On that day their Lord [will show that He] is fully aware of them?” (Verse 11)
The rhythm of the surah is robust and thunderous, and thus fits well with the dusty and clamorous atmosphere generated by the upturned graves and the secrets violently pulled out of people’s breasts. These characteristics of the rhythm are also appropriate to the picture of ingratitude, thanklessness, and extreme miserliness. The framework for this picture is provided by a dusty and tumultuous stampede of horses racing and thundering. Thus, the frame and the picture are in perfect harmony with each other.
Witness to His Shortcomings
By the snorting coursers, striking sparks of fire, rushing to assault at dawn, raising a trail of dust, storming into any army: man is surely ungrateful to his Lord, and to this he himself bears witness; and truly, he is passionate in his love of wealth. (Verses 1-8)
God swears by the war horses and describes their movements one after the other: running, snorting and neighing. They strike their hoofs against rocks, producing sparks of fire. They wage their attack early at dawn in order to take the enemy by surprise, producing a trail of dust during the unexpected battle. They swiftly pierce the enemy ranks creating disorder and confusion amongst them. These successive stages were well known to those who were first addressed by the Qur’ān. The fact that God swears by the horses provides an emphatic suggestion that the movement portrayed is a lovable one and that people should respond to it actively. This they do only after realizing how precious it is in God’s measure, which is reflected in His paying attention to it. Added to all this is the harmony between this scene and the scenes which are the subject of the divine oath, namely the state of the human soul when it is devoid of faith and its impetus. The Qur’ān draws our attention to this state in order that we may gather all our willpower to combat it. For God is perfectly aware of how deeply it is ingrained in man and what great pressure it exercises on him.
“Man is surely ungrateful to his Lord, and to this he himself bears witness; and truly, he is passionate in his love of wealth.” (Verses 68) It is a fact that man reacts with ingratitude to all the bounties of his Lord. He denies the favours which God confers on him. His thanklessness and ingratitude is reflected in a host of actions and verbal statements which will serve as witness against him. Or perhaps, on the Day of Judgement, he may testify against himself, admitting his ingratitude: “and to this he himself bears witness.” (Verse 7) For on the Day of Judgement he will speak the plain truth even against himself, without contention or excuse. “And truly, he is passionate in his love of wealth.” (Verse 8)
Man is a passionate self-lover. But he loves only what he imagines to be good for himself: wealth, power and the pleasures of this world. This is his nature unless he has faith which changes his concepts, values and even his concerns. Faith changes his ingratitude to humble thankfulness. It changes his greed and miserliness to benevolence and compassion. It makes him aware of the proper values which are worthy of being the object of ambition and hard competition. Indeed, these are much more exalted than money, power, and mundane pleasures.
Man without faith is an ignoble creature, having only trivial ambitions and petty concerns. However large his desires, however strong his ambitions and high his objectives may seem, he remains sunk in the cesspool of this earth, confined within the limits of this life, imprisoned in self. He cannot be freed or elevated except by an attachment to a world superior to this earth, extending beyond this life; a world which originates from God who is the First Being and returning to God the Eternal; a world into which this life and the life hereafter converge and which has no end.
Hence, the final touch in the surah provides the cure for ingratitude, greed and miserliness. It portrays the scene of resurrection in a way that makes man shudder, and puts his love for wealth and indulgence in worldly riches out of his mind, unshackling hi soul and setting it free from earthly attachments: “Does he not know that when the contents of the graves are scattered about, and what is in the breasts is brought out — that on that day their Lord [will show that He] is fully aware of them?” (Verses 9-11) It is a violent and frightening scene in which we witness the ‘scattering about’ of the contents of the graves and the bringing out of closely guarded secrets. The Arabic terms, bu`thira and huşşila, used here for scattering and pulling are very forceful, suggesting an atmosphere of violence and force.
Does he not know what happens when this will take place? Mere awareness of all this is enough to inspire man to seek an answer and explore every avenue in search of it. For it finally rests where every matter and destiny is settled: “on that day their Lord [will show that He] is fully aware of them?” (Verse 11)
So to their Lord is their end. On that day He shows that He knows them and all their affairs and secrets. God certainly knows everything at all times and in all conditions, but knowledge of “that day” has the effect of drawing their attention. It is a knowledge which necessitates reckoning and reward. This implicit meaning is the one underlined here.
All in all this surah is a swift, vehement and breathless piece, with a sudden terminus of meaning, expression and rhythm all at the same time.
There is no indication in the words of the verse to show whether those who run imply the horses; only the word wal-adiyat (by, those who run) has been used. That is why the commentators have disputed as to what is implied by those who run. One section of the companions and their immediate successors has been to think that it implies the horses; another section says that it implies the camels. But since the peculiar sound called dabh is produced only by the panting, snorting horses, and the following verses also in which mention has been made of striking sparks and raiding a settlement early at dawn and raising clouds of dust, apply only to the horses, most scholars are of the opinion that horses are meant. Ibn Jarir says: Of the two views this view is preferable that by “those who run” horses are implied, for the camel does not breathe hard in running, it is the horse which does so, and Allah has said: By those runners which pant and breathe hard in running. Imam Razi says: The words of these verses proclaim that horses are meant, for the sound of dabh (panting breath) is only produced by the horses, and the act of striking sparks of fire with the hoofs too is associated with the horses, and, likewise, mounting of a raid early at dawn is easier by means of the horses than by other animals.
Strike sparks: indicates that the horses run in the dead of night, for the sparks struck by their hoofs become conspicuous only at night.
The practice among the Arabs was that when they had to mount a raid on a settlement, they marched out in the night so as to take the enemy by surprise; then they would launch a sudden attack early in the morning so that everything became visible in the light of day, and at the same time it did not become so bright that the victim could notice their movement from a distance and be ready to meet the offensive.
This is for which an oath has been sworn by the horses, which run with panting breath and dash off sparks at night, then raising dust rush to assault a settlement at dawn and penetrate into the enemy host. It is astonishing to note that a large number of the commentators have taken these horses to imply the horses of the Muslim fighters and the enemy host to imply the host of disbelievers, whereas the oath has been sworn to impress the point that man is highly ungrateful to his Lord. Now, obviously, in the course of Jihad for the sake of Allah, the rushing forth of the fighters’ horses and their assaulting a host of disbelievers all of a sudden, does not at all support the point that man is ungrateful to his Lord, nor the following sentences, viz. man himself is a witness to it, and he loves the worldly wealth with all his heart, apply to the people who go out to fight in the cause of Allah. Therefore, one will have to admit that the oaths sworn in the first five verses of this Surah, refer, in fact, to the general bloodshed, looting and plunder prevalent in Arabia at that time. In the pre-Islamic days of ignorance the night was a very dreadful thing: in it the people of every tribe and settlement apprehended the danger of a sudden attack by some unknown enemy, and when the light of day appeared they would heave a sigh of relief that the night had passed in peace. The tribes did not fight only retaliatory wars but different tribes also raided others in order to deprive them of their worldly goods and herds and to capture their women and children to be made slaves. This kind of tyranny and plunder was carried out mostly by means of the horses, which Allah is presenting here as an argument for the fact that man is ungrateful to his Lord. That is the powers which man is employing for fighting, shedding blood and plundering had not been given him by God for this purpose. Therefore this indeed is sheer ingratitude that the resources granted by Allah and the power given by Him should be used for causing chaos and corruption to spread in the earth, which Allah abhors.
That is his own conscience and his own deeds are a witness to it; then there are many disbelievers also who by their own tongue express their ingratitude openly, for they do not even believe that God exists to say nothing of acknowledging His blessings for which they may have to render gratitude to Him.
6. Literally He is most ardent in the love of khair. But the word khair is not only used for goodness and virtue in Arabic but also for worldly wealth. In Surah Al-Baqarah, Ayat 180, khair has been used in the meaning of worldly wealth. The context itself shows where khair has been used in the sense of goodness and where in that of worldly goods. The context of this verse clearly shows that here khair means worldly wealth and not virtue and goodness. For about the man who is ungrateful to his Lord and who by his conduct is himself testifying to his ingratitude it cannot be said that he is very ardent in the love of goodness and virtue.
That is, the dead men will be raised back as living men from whatever state and wherever they would be lying buried in the earth.
That is all the intentions, aims and objects, ideas and thoughts and the motives behind acts and deeds that lie hidden in the hearts will be exposed and examined in order to sort out the good from the evil. In other words judgment will not be passed only on the apparent and superficial as to what a man practically did but the secrets hidden in the hearts will also be brought out to see what were the intentions and motives under which a man did what he did. If man only considers this, he cannot help admitting that real and complete justice cannot be done anywhere except in the court of God. Secular laws of the world also admit in principle that a person should not be punished merely on the basis of his apparent act but his motive for so acting also should be seen and examined. But no court of the world has the means by which it may accurately ascertain the motive and intention. This can be done only by God: He alone can examine the underlying motives behind every apparent act of man as well as take the decision as to what reward or punishment he deserves. Then, as is evident from the words of the verse, this judgment will not be passed merely on the basis of the knowledge which Allah already has about the intentions and motives of the hearts, but on Resurrection Day these secrets will be exposed and brought out openly before the people and after a thorough scrutiny in the court it will be shown what was the good in it and what was the evil. That is why the words hussila ma fissudur have been used. Tahsil means to bring out something in the open, and to sort out different things from one another. Thus, the use of tahsil concerning hidden secrets of the hearts contains both the meanings: to expose them and to sort out the good from the evil. This same theme has been expressed in Surah At-Tariq, thus: The Day the hidden secrets are held to scrutiny. (verse 9).
That is, He will be knowing well who is who, and what punishment or reward he deserves.