Surah Al-Anfal >> Currently viewing Surah Al-Anfal Ayat 31 (8:31)

Surah Al-Anfal Ayat 31 in Arabic Text

وَإِذَا تُتْلَىٰ عَلَيْهِمْ ءَايَـٰتُنَا قَالُوا۟ قَدْ سَمِعْنَا لَوْ نَشَآءُ لَقُلْنَا مِثْلَ هَـٰذَآ ۙ إِنْ هَـٰذَآ إِلَّآ أَسَـٰطِيرُ ٱلْأَوَّلِينَ
Wa izaa tutlaa ‘alaihim Aayaatunaa qaaloo qad sami’naa law nashaaa’u laqulnaa misla haazaaa in haazaaa illaaa asaateerul awwaleen

English Translation

Here you can read various translations of verse 31

Sahih International
And when Our verses are recited to them, they say, “We have heard. If we willed, we could say [something] like this. This is not but legends of the former peoples.”

Yusuf Ali
When Our Signs are rehearsed to them, they say: “We have heard this (before): if we wished, we could say (words) like these: these are nothing but tales of the ancients.”

Abul Ala Maududi
And when Our verses are recited to them, they say: ‘We have heard. We could, if we willed, compose the like of it. They, are nothing but fables of the ancient times.’

Muhsin Khan
And when Our Verses (of the Quran) are recited to them, they say: “We have heard this (the Quran); if we wish we can say the like of this. This is nothing but the tales of the ancients.”

Pickthall
And when Our revelations are recited unto them they say: We have heard. If we wish we can speak the like of this. Lo! this is naught but fables of the men of old.

Dr. Ghali
And when Our signs are recited to them, they said, “We have already heard; if we decided, we would indeed say the like of this; decidedly this is nothing except the myths of the earliest (people).”

Abdel Haleem
Whenever Our Revelation is recited to them they say, ‘We have heard all this before- we could say something like this if we wanted- this is nothing but ancient fables.’

Quran 8 Verse 31 Explanation

For those looking for commentary to help with the understanding of Surah Al-Anfal ayat 31, we’ve provided two Tafseer works below. The first is the tafseer of Abul Ala Maududi, the second is of Ibn Kathir.

Ala-Maududi

(8:31) And when Our verses are recited to them, they say: ‘We have heard. We could, if we willed, compose the like of it. They, are nothing but fables of the ancient times.’


There is no commentary by Abul Maududi available for this verse.

Ibn-Kathir

31. And when Our Ayat are recited to them, they say: “We have heard (the Qur’an); if we wish we can say the like of this. This is nothing but the tales of the ancients.” 32. And (remember) when they said: “O Allah! If this (the Qur’an) is indeed the truth (revealed) from You, then rain down stones on us from the sky or bring on us a painful torment.” 33. And Allah would not punish them while you (Muhammad ) are among them, nor will He punish them while they seek (Allah’s) forgiveness.


The Quraysh claimed They can produce Something similar to the Qur’an

Allah describes the disbelief, transgression, rebellion, as well as misguided statements that the pagans of Quraysh used to utter when they heard Allah’s Ayat being recited to them,

﴿قَدْ سَمِعْنَا لَوْ نَشَآءُ لَقُلْنَا مِثْلَ هَـذَآ﴾

(“We have heard (the Qur’an); if we wish we can say the like of this.”)

They boasted with their words, but not with their actions. They were challenged several times to bring even one chapter like the Qur’an, and they had no way to meet this challenge. They only boasted in order to deceive themselves and those who followed their falsehood. It was said that An-Nadr bin Al-Harith, may Allah curse him, was the one who said this, according to Sa`id bin Jubayr, As-Suddi, Ibn Jurayj and others. An-Nadr visited Persia and learned the stories of some Persian kings, such as Rustum and Isphandiyar. When he went back to Makkah, He found that the Prophet was sent from Allah and reciting the Qur’an to the people. Whenever the Prophet would leave an audience in which An-Nadr was sitting, An-Nadr began narrating to them the stories that he learned in Persia, proclaiming afterwards, “Who, by Allah, has better tales to narrate, I or Muhammad” When Allah allowed the Muslims to capture An-Nadr in Badr, the Messenger of Allah commanded that his head be cut off before him, and that was done, all thanks are due to Allah. The meaning of,

﴿أَسَـطِيرُ الاٌّوَّلِينَ﴾

(. ..tales of the ancients) meaning that the Prophet has plagiarized and learned books of ancient people, and this is what he narrated to people, as they claimed. This is the pure falsehood that Allah mentioned in another Ayah,

﴿وَقَالُواْ أَسَـطِيرُ الاٌّوَّلِينَ اكْتَتَبَهَا فَهِىَ تُمْلَى عَلَيْهِ بُكْرَةً وَأَصِيلاً – قُلْ أَنزَلَهُ الَّذِى يَعْلَمُ السِّرَّ فِى السَّمَـوَتِ وَالاٌّرْضِ إِنَّهُ كَانَ غَفُوراً رَّحِيماً ﴾

(And they say: “Tales of the ancients, which he has written down:, and they are dictated to him morning and afternoon.” Say: “It (this Qur’an) has been sent down by Him (Allah) Who knows the secret of the heavens and the earth. Truly, He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”) ﴿25:5-6﴾ for those who repent and return to Him, He accepts repentance from them and forgives them.

The Idolators ask for Allah’s Judgment and Torment!

Allah said,

﴿وَإِذْ قَالُواْ اللَّهُمَّ إِن كَانَ هَـذَا هُوَ الْحَقَّ مِنْ عِندِكَ فَأَمْطِرْ عَلَيْنَا حِجَارَةً مِّنَ السَّمَآءِ أَوِ ائْتِنَا بِعَذَابٍ أَلِيمٍ ﴾

(And (remember) when they said: “O Allah! If this (the Qur’an) is indeed the truth (revealed) from You, then rain down stones on us from the sky or bring on us a painful torment.”)

This is indicative of the pagans’ enormous ignorance, denial, stubbornness and transgression. They should have said, “O Allah! If this is the truth from You, then guide us to it and help us follow it.” However, they brought Allah’s judgment on themselves and asked for His punishment. Allah said in other Ayat,

﴿وَيَسْتَعْجِلُونَكَ بِالْعَذَابِ وَلَوْلاَ أَجَلٌ مُّسَمًّى لَّجَآءَهُمُ الْعَذَابُ وَلَيَأْتِيَنَّهُمْ بَغْتَةً وَهُمْ لاَ يَشْعُرُونَ ﴾

(And they ask you to hasten on the torment (for them), and had it not been for a term appointed, the torment would certainly have come to them. And surely, it will come upon them suddenly while they perceive not!) ﴿29:53﴾,

﴿وَقَالُواْ رَبَّنَا عَجِّل لَّنَا قِطَّنَا قَبْلَ يَوْمِ الْحِسَابِ ﴾

(They say: “Our Lord! Hasten to us Qittana (our record of good and bad deeds so that we may see it) before the Day of Reckoning!”) ﴿38:16﴾, and,

﴿سَأَلَ سَآئِلٌ بِعَذَابٍ وَاقِعٍ – لِّلْكَـفِرِينَ لَيْسَ لَهُ دَافِعٌ – مِّنَ اللَّهِ ذِي الْمَعَارِجِ ﴾

(A questioner asked concerning a torment about to befall. Upon the disbelievers, which none can avert. From Allah, the Lord of the ways of ascent.) ﴿70:1-3﴾

The ignorant ones in ancient times said similar things. The people of Shu`ayb said to him,

﴿فَأَسْقِطْ عَلَيْنَا كِسَفاً مِّنَ السَّمَآءِ إِن كُنتَ مِنَ الصَّـدِقِينَ ﴾

(“So cause a piece of the heaven to fall on us, if you are of the truthful!”)﴿26:187﴾ while the pagans of Quraysh said,

﴿اللَّهُمَّ إِن كَانَ هَـذَا هُوَ الْحَقَّ مِنْ عِندِكَ فَأَمْطِرْ عَلَيْنَا حِجَارَةً مِّنَ السَّمَآءِ أَوِ ائْتِنَا بِعَذَابٍ أَلِيمٍ﴾

(“O Allah! If this (the Qur’an) is indeed the truth (revealed) from You, then rain down stones on us from the sky or bring on us a painful torment.”)

Shu`bah said from `Abdul-Hamid that Anas bin Malik said that it was Abu Jahl bin Hisham who uttered this statement,

﴿اللَّهُمَّ إِن كَانَ هَـذَا هُوَ الْحَقَّ مِنْ عِندِكَ فَأَمْطِرْ عَلَيْنَا حِجَارَةً مِّنَ السَّمَآءِ أَوِ ائْتِنَا بِعَذَابٍ أَلِيمٍ﴾

(“O Allah! If this (the Qur’an) is indeed the truth (revealed) from You, then rain down stones on us from the sky or bring on us a painful torment.”)

So Allah revealed this Ayah,

﴿وَمَا كَانَ اللَّهُ لِيُعَذِّبَهُمْ وَأَنتَ فِيهِمْ وَمَا كَانَ اللَّهُ مُعَذِّبَهُمْ وَهُمْ يَسْتَغْفِرُونَ ﴾

(And Allah would not punish them while you are among them, nor will He punish them while they seek (Allah’s) forgiveness.)

Al-Bukhari recorded it.

The Presence of the Prophet , and the Idolators’ asking For forgiveness, were the Shelters against receiving Allah’s immediateTorment

Allah said,

﴿وَمَا كَانَ اللَّهُ لِيُعَذِّبَهُمْ وَأَنتَ فِيهِمْ وَمَا كَانَ اللَّهُ مُعَذِّبَهُمْ وَهُمْ يَسْتَغْفِرُونَ ﴾

(And Allah would not punish them while you are among them, nor will He punish them while they seek (Allah’s) forgiveness.)

Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Ibn `Abbas said, “Pagans used to go around the House in Tawaf and proclaim, `We rush to Your obedience, O Allah, there is no partner with You,’ and the Prophet would tell them,

«قَدٍ، قَد»

(Enough, enough.) But they would go on, `We rush to Your obedience, O Allah, there is no partner with You except a partner who is with You, You own Him but he does not own! They also used to say, `O Allah, Your forgiveness, Your forgiveness.’ Allah revealed this verse;

﴿وَمَا كَانَ اللَّهُ لِيُعَذِّبَهُمْ وَأَنتَ فِيهِمْ﴾

(And Allah would not punish them while you are among them…)”’

Ibn `Abbas commented, “They had two safety shelters: the Prophet , and their seeking forgiveness (from Allah). The Prophet went away, and only seeking forgiveness remained.” At-Tirmidhi recorded that Abu Musa said that the Messenger of Allah said,

«أَنْزَلَ اللهُ عَلَيَّ أَمَانَيْنِ لِأُمَّتِي»

(“Allah sent down to me two safe shelters for the benefit of my Ummah)

﴿وَمَا كَانَ اللَّهُ لِيُعَذِّبَهُمْ وَأَنتَ فِيهِمْ وَمَا كَانَ اللَّهُ مُعَذِّبَهُمْ وَهُمْ يَسْتَغْفِرُونَ ﴾

(And Allah would not punish them while you are among them, nor will He punish them while they seek (Allah’s) forgiveness.)

«فَإِذَا مَضَيْتُ تَرَكْتُ فِيهِمُ الْاسْتِغْفَارَ إِلَى يَومِ الْقِيَامَة»

(When I die, I will leave the seeking of forgiveness with them, until the Day of Resurrection.)

What testifies to this Hadith, is the Hadith that Ahmad recorded in his Musnad and Al-Hakim in his Mustadrak, that Abu Sa`id narrated that the Messenger of Allah said,

«إِنَّ الشَّيْطَانَ قَالَ: وَعِزَّتِكَ يَا رَبِّ لَا أَبْرَحُ أَغْوِي عِبَادَكَ مَا دَامَتْ أَرْوَاحُهُمْ فِي أَجْسَادِهِمْ. فَقَالَ الرَّبُّ: وَعِزَّتِي وَجَلَالِي لَا أَزَالُ أَغْفِرُ لَهُمْ مَا اسْتَغْفَرُونِي»

(Shaytan said, `By Your might, O Lord! I will go on luring Your servants as long as their souls are still in their bodies.’ The Lord said, `By My might and majesty! I will keep forgiving them, as long as they keep invoking Me for forgiveness.’)

Al-Hakim, “Its chain is Sahih and they did not record it.”

Quick navigation links

Surah Al-Anfal
1 . 2 . 3 . 4 . 5 . 6 . 7 . 8 . 9 . 10 . 11 . 12 . 13 . 14 . 15 . 16 . 17 . 18 . 19 . 20 . 21 . 22 . 23 . 24 . 25 . 26 . 27 . 28 . 29 . 30 . 31 . 32 . 33 . 34 . 35 . 36 . 37 . 38 . 39 . 40 . 41 . 42 . 43 . 44 . 45 . 46 . 47 . 48 . 49 . 50 . 51 . 52 . 53 . 54 . 55 . 56 . 57 . 58 . 59 . 60 . 61 . 62 . 63 . 64 . 65 . 66 . 67 . 68 . 69 . 70 . 71 . 72 . 73 . 74 . 75