Surah Balad >> Currently viewing Surah Balad Ayat 11 (90:11)

Surah Balad Ayat 11 in Arabic Text

فَلَا ٱقْتَحَمَ ٱلْعَقَبَةَ
Falaq tahamal-‘aqabah

English Translation

Here you can read various translations of verse 11

Sahih International
But he has not broken through the difficult pass.

Yusuf Ali
But he hath made no haste on the path that is steep.

Abul Ala Maududi
But he did not venture to scale the difficult steep.

Muhsin Khan
But he has made no effort to pass on the path that is steep.

But he hath not attempted the Ascent –

Dr. Ghali
Yet he has not rushed along the uneven (Or: steep) track.

Abdel Haleem
Yet he has not attempted the steep path.

Quran 90 Verse 11 Explanation

For those looking for commentary to help with the understanding of Surah Balad ayat 11, we’ve provided two Tafseer works below. The first is the tafseer of Abul Ala Maududi, the second is of Ibn Kathir.


(90:11) But he did not venture to scale the difficult steep.[11]

11. The words in the original are: fa-laqtaham-al-aqabah. Iqtiham means to apply oneself to a hard and toilsome task, and aqabah is the steep path that passes through mountains for ascending heights. Thus, the verse means: One of the two paths that We have shown him, leads to heights but is toilsome and steep; man has to tread it against the desires of his self and the temptations of Satan. The other path is easy which descends into chasms, but does not require any toil from man; one only needs to give free reins to himself, then he automatically goes on rolling down the abyss. Now, the man to whom We had shown both the paths, adopted the easy down-hill path and abandoned the toilsome path, which leads to the heights.


11. But he has not attempted to pass on the path that is steep. 12. And what will make you know the path that is steep 13. Freeing a neck 14. Or giving food in a day full of Masghabah, 15. To an orphan near of kin. 16. Or to a Miskin cleaving to dust. 17. Then he became one of those who believed and recommended one another to patience, and recommended one another to compassion. 18. They are those on the Right, 19. But those who disbelieved in Our Ayat, they are those on the Left. 20. Upon them Fire will Mu’sadah.

The Encouragement to traverse upon the Path of Goodness

Ibn Zayd said,

﴿فَلاَ اقتَحَمَ الْعَقَبَةَ ﴾

(But he has not attempted to pass on the path that is steep.) “This means, will he not traverse upon the path which contains salvation and good Then He explains this path by his saying,

﴿وَمَآ أَدْرَاكَ مَا الْعَقَبَةُ – فَكُّ رَقَبَةٍ أَوْ إِطْعَامٌ﴾

(And what will make you know the path that is steep Freeing a neck, or giving food.)” Imam Ahmad recorded from Sa`id bin Marjanah that he heard Abu Hurayrah saying that the Messenger of Allah said,

«مَنْ أَعْتَقَ رَقَبَةً مُؤمِنَةً أَعْتَقَ اللهُ بِكُلِّ إِرْبٍ أَيْ عُضْوٍ مِنْهَا إِرْبًا مِنْهُ مِنَ النَّارِ حَتْى إِنَّهُ لَيُعْتِقُ بِالْيَدِ الْيَدَ، وَبِالرِّجْلِ الرِّجْلَ، وَبِالْفَرْجِ الْفَرْج»

(Whoever frees a believing slave, Allah will free for every limb (of the slave) one of his limbs from the Fire. This is to such an extent that He (Allah) will free a hand for a hand, a leg for a leg, and a private part for a private part.) `Ali bin Al-Husayn then said (to Sa`id), “Did you hear this from Abu Hurayrah” Sa`id replied, “Yes.” Then `Ali bin Al-Husayn said to a slave boy that he owned who was the swiftest of his servants, “Call Mutarrif!” So when the slave was brought before him he said, “Go, for you are free for the Face of Allah.” Al-Bukhari, Muslim, At-Tirmidhi, An-Nasa’i, all recorded this Hadith from Sa`id bin Marjanah. Imam Ahmad recorded from `Amr bin `Abasah that the Prophet said,

«مَنْ بَنَى مَسْجِدًا لِيُذْكَرَ اللْهُ فِيهِ بَنَى اللْهُ لَهُ بَيْتًا فِي الْجَنَّةِ وَمَنْ أَعْتَقَ نَفْسًا مُسْلِمَةً كَانَتْ فِدْيَتَهُ مِنْ جَهَنَّمَ وَمَنْ شَابَ شَيْبَةً فِي الْإِسْلَامِ كَانَتْ لَهُ نُورًا يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَة»

(Whoever builds a Masjid so that Allah may be remembered in it, Allah will build a house for him in Paradise; and whoever frees a Muslim person, then it will be his ransom from Hell; and whoever grows grey in Islam, then it will be a light for him on the Day of Judgement.) According to another route of transmission, Ahmad recorded from Abu Umamah, who reported from `Amr bin `Abasah that As-Sulami said to him, “Narrate a Hadith to us that you heard from the Messenger of Allah , without any deficiency or mistakes.” He (`Amr) said, “I heard him saying,

«مَنْ وُلِدَ لَهُ ثَلَاثَةُ أَوْلَادٍ فِي الْإِسْلَامِ فَمَاتُوا قَبْلَ أَنْ يَبْلُغُوا الْحِنْثَ أَدْخَلَهُ اللهُ الْجَنَّةَ بِفَضْلِ رَحْمَتِهِ إِيَّاهُمْ، وَمَنْ شَابَ شَيْبَةً فِي سَبِيلِ اللهِ كَانَتْ لَهُ نُورًا يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ، وَمَنْ رَمَى بِسَهْم فِي سَبِيلِ اللهِ بَلَغَ بِهِ الْعَدُوَّ أَصَابَ أَوْ أَخْطَأَ كَانَ لَهُ عِتْقُ رَقَبَةٍ، وَمَنْ أَعْتَقَ رَقَبَةً مُؤْمِنَـةً أَعْتَقَ اللهُ بِكُلِّ عُضْوٍ مِنْهُ عُضْوًا مِنْهُ مِنَ النَّارِ، وَمَنْ أَنْفَقَ زَوْجَيْنِ فِي سَبِيلِ اللهِ فَإِنَّ لِلْجَنَّةِ ثَمَانِيَةَ أَبْوَابٍ يُدْخِلُهُ اللهُ مِنْ أَيِّ بَابٍ شَاءَ مِنْهَا»

(Whoever has three children born to him in Islam, and they die before reaching the age of puberty, Allah will enter him into Paradise by virtue of His mercy to them. And whoever grows gray in the way of Allah (fighting Jihad), then it will be a light for him on the Day of Judgement. And whoever shoots an arrow in the way of Allah (fighting Jihad) that reaches the enemy, whether it hits or misses, he will get the reward of freeing a slave. And whoever frees a believing slave, then Allah will free each of his limbs from the Fire for every limb that the slave has. And whoever equipped two riding animals in the way of Allah (for fighting Jihad), then indeed Paradise has eight gates, and Allah will allow him to enter any of them he choses.)” Ahmad recorded this Hadith from different routes of transmission that are good and strong, and all praise is due to Allah.Allah said,

﴿أَوْ إِطْعَامٌ فِى يَوْمٍ ذِى مَسْغَبَةٍ ﴾

(Or giving food in a day full of Masghabah,) Ibn `Abbas said, “Of hunger.” `Ikrimah, Mujahid, Ad-Dahhak, Qatadah and others all said the same. The word `Saghb’ means hunger. Then Allah says,


(To an orphan) meaning, he gives food on a day like this to an orphan.

﴿ذَا مَقْرَبَةٍ﴾

(near of kin.) meaning, who is related to him. Ibn `Abbas, `Ikrimah, Al-Hasan, Ad-Dahhak and As-Suddi all said this. This is similar to what was related in a Hadith that was collected by Imam Ahmad on the authority of Salman bin `Amir who said that he heard the Messenger of Allah say,

«الصَّدَقَةُ عَلَى الْمِسْكِينِ صَدَقَةٌ وَعَلَى ذِي الرَّحِمِ اثْنَتَانِ: صَدَقَةٌ وَصِلَة»

(Charity given to the poor person is counted as one charity, while if it is given to a relative it is counted as two: charity and connecting the ties (of kinship).) At-Tirmidhi and An-Nasa’i both recorded this Hadith and its chain of narration is authentic. Then Allah says,

﴿أَوْ مِسْكِيناً ذَا مَتْرَبَةٍ ﴾

(Or to a Miskin cleaving to dust (Dha Matrabah).) meaning, poor, miserable, and clinging to the dirt. It means those who are in a state of destitution. Ibn `Abbas said, “Dha Matrabah is that who is dejected in the street and who has no house or anything else to protect him against the dirt.” Allah said;

﴿ثُمَّ كَانَ مِنَ الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ﴾

(Then he became one of those who believed) meaning, then, along with these beautiful and pure characteristics, he was a believer in his heart, seeking the reward of that from Allah. This is as Allah says,

﴿وَمَنْ أَرَادَ الاٌّخِرَةَ وَسَعَى لَهَا سَعْيَهَا وَهُوَ مُؤْمِنٌ فَأُولَـئِكَ كَانَ سَعْيُهُم مَّشْكُورًا ﴾

(And whoever desires the Hereafter and strives for it, with the necessary effort due for it while he is believer, then such are the ones whose striving shall be appreciated.) (17:19) Allah also says,

﴿مَنْ عَمِلَ صَـلِحاً مِّن ذَكَرٍ أَوْ أُنْثَى وَهُوَ مُؤْمِنٌ﴾

(Whoever works righteousness — whether male or female — while being a true believer….) (16:97) Allah says,

﴿وَتَوَاصَوْاْ بِالصَّبْرِ وَتَوَاصَوْاْ بِالْمَرْحَمَةِ﴾

(and recommended one another to patience, and recommended one another to compassion.) meaning, he was from the believers who worked righteous deeds, and advised each other to be patient with the harms of the people, and to be merciful with them. This is similar to what has been related in the noble Hadith,

«الرَّاحِمُونَ يَرْحَمُهُمُ الرَّحْمنُ، ارْحَمُوا مَنْ فِي الْأَرْضِ يَرْحَمْكُمْ مَنْ فِي السَّمَاء»

(The merciful people will be treated with mercy by the Most Merciful (Allah). Be merciful to those who are on the earth and He Who is above the heavens will be merciful to you.) In another Hadith he said,

«لَا يَرْحَمُ اللهُ مَنْ لَا يَرْحَمِ النَّاس»

(Allah will not be merciful with whoever is not merciful with the people.) Abu Dawud recorded from `Abdullah bin `Amr that he narrated (from the Prophet ),

«مَنْ لَمْ يَرْحَمْ صَغِيرَنَا وَيَعْرِفْ حَقَّ كَبِيرِنَا فَلَيْسَ مِنَّا»

(Whoever does not show mercy to our children, nor does he recognize the right of our elders, then he is not of us.) Then Allah says,

﴿أُوْلَـئِكَ أَصْحَـبُ الْمَيْمَنَةِ ﴾

(They are those on the Right,) meaning, those who have these characteristics are the companions of the Right Hand.

The Companions of the Left Hand and Their Recompense

Then Allah says,

﴿وَالَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ بِـَايَـتِنَا هُمْ أَصْحَـبُ الْمَشْـَمَةِ ﴾

(But those who disbelieved in Our Ayat, they are those on the Left.) meaning, the companions of the Left Hand.

﴿عَلَيْهِمْ نَارٌ مُّؤْصَدَةُ ﴾

(Upon them Fire will Mu’sadah.) meaning, it will be sealed over them and there will be no way for them to avoid it, nor will they have any way out. Abu Hurayrah, Ibn `Abbas, `Ikrimah, Sa`id bin Jubayr, Mujahid, Muhammad bin Ka`b Al-Qurazi, `Atiyah Al-`Awfi, Al-Hasan, Qatadah and As-Suddi, all said,


(Mu’sadah.) “This means shut.” Ibn `Abbas said, “Its doors will be closed.” Ad-Dahhak said,


(Mu’sadah.) “It will be sealed over them and it will have no door.” Qatadah said,


(Mu’sadah.) “It will be shut and there will be no light in it, no crevice (escape), and no way out of it forever.” This is the end of the Tafsir of Surat Al-Balad, and all praise and blessings are due to Allah.

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