Surah Balad >> Currently viewing Surah Balad Ayat 16 (90:16)

Surah Balad Ayat 16 in Arabic Text

أَوْ مِسْكِينًۭا ذَا مَتْرَبَةٍۢ
Aw miskeenan zaa matrabah

English Translation

Here you can read various translations of verse 16

Sahih International
Or a needy person in misery

Yusuf Ali
Or to the indigent (down) in the dust.

Abul Ala Maududi
or to a destitute lying in dust;

Muhsin Khan
Or to a Miskin (poor) afflicted with misery.

Or some poor wretch in misery,

Dr. Ghali
Or an indigent man in starvation; (Literally: in dusty circumstances)

Abdel Haleem
or a poor person in distress,

Quran 90 Verse 16 Explanation

For those looking for commentary to help with the understanding of Surah Balad ayat 16, we’ve provided two Tafseer works below. The first is the tafseer of Abul Ala Maududi, the second is of Ibn Kathir.


(90:16) or to a destitute lying in dust;[12]

12. Since in the foregoing verses the extravagances of man which he indulges in for ostentation and expression of superiority to others, have been mentioned, now here it is being stated as to what expenditure of wealth it is which leads man up to moral heights instead of causing him to sink into moral depravity and perversion. But in this there is no enjoyment for the self; on the contrary, man has to exercise self-restraints and make sacrifices. The expenditure is that one should set a slave free, or should render a slave monetary help so as to enable him to win his freedom by paying the ransom, or free a debtor from his debt, or secure release of a helpless person without means from penalties. Likewise, the expenditure is that one should feed a nearly related orphan (i.e. an orphan who is either a relative or a neighbor) who is hungry, and a needy, helpless person who might have been reduced to extreme poverty and might have none to support and help him. Helping such people does not win a person fame and reputation, nor feeding them brings him the admiration for being wealthy and generous which one usually wins by holding banquets to thousands of well-to-do people. But the path to moral and spiritual heights passes on steep uphill roads only.

Great merits of the acts of virtue mentioned in these verses have been described by the Prophet (peace be upon him). For instance, about fakku raqabah (freeing a neck from bondage) many ahadith have been related in the traditions, one of which is a tradition from Abu Hurairah, to the effect, The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: The person who set a believing slave free, Allah will save from fire of Hell every limb of his body in lieu of every limb of the slave’s body, the hand in lieu of the hand, the foot in lieu of the foot, the private parts in lieu of the private parts. (Musnad, Ahmad, Bukhari. Muslim, Tirmidhi, Nasai). Ali bin Husain (Zain al-Abedin) asked Saad bin Marjanah, the reporter of this Hadith: Did you hear it yourself from Abu Hurairah? When he replied in the affirmative, Zain al- Abedin called out his most valuable slave and set him free there and then. According to Muslim, he had an offer of ten thousand dirhams for the slave. On the basis of this verse, Imam Abu Hanifah and Imam Shafi have ruled: Setting a slave free is superior to giving away charity, for Allah has mentioned it before the mention of charity.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) has mentioned the merits of rendering help to the needy in many ahadith, one of which is this Hadith from Abu Hurairah: The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: The one who strives in the cause of rendering help to the widow and the needy is like the one who endeavors and strives in the cause of jihad for the sake of Allah. And Abu Hurairah says, I think that the Prophet (peace be upon him) also said: He is even like him who keeps standing up in the Prayer constantly, without ever taking rest, and like him who observes the fast continuously without ever breaking it: (Bukhari, Muslim).

As for the orphans, there are numerous sayings reported from the Prophet (peace be upon him). Sahl bin Saad has reported, The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: I and the one who supports a nearly related of un-related orphan, shall stand in Paradise like this, saying this he raised his index finger and the middle finger, keeping them a little apart. (Bukhari). Abu Hurairah has reported this saying of the Prophet (peace be upon him): The best among the Muslim homes is the home wherein an orphan is treated well and the worst the one wherein an orphan is mistreated. (Ibn Majah, Bukhari in Al-Adab al-Mufrad). Abu Umamah says that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: The one who passed his hand on the head of an orphan, only for the sake of Allah, will have as many acts of virtue recorded in his favor as the number of the hair on which his hand passed, and the one who treated an orphan boy or girl well, will stand in Paradise with me like this, saying this the Prophet (peace be upon him) joined his two fingers together. (Musnad Ahmad, Tirmidhi). Ibn Abbas says, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: The one who made an orphan join him in eating and drinking, Allah will make Paradise obligatory for him unless he commits a sin which cannot be forgiven. (Sharh as-Sunnah). Abu Hurairah says: A man complained before the Prophet (peace be upon him), saying: I am hard-hearted. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said to him: Treat the orphan with kindness and love and feed the needy one. (Musnad Ahmad).


The tafsir of Surah Balad verse 16 by Ibn Kathir is unavailable here.
Please refer to Surah Balad ayat 11 which provides the complete commentary from verse 11 through 20.

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