Assalamualaikum, we begin with a short introduction of Surah Al Fajr. The English meaning of this surah is “The Dawn” and it’s the 89th chapter of the Quran. It is a Meccan surah consisting of 30 ayats or verses.

The first part of this surah gives account to those who transgressed and their punishment. He mentions the ancient rebellious nations such as ‘Ad,  Thamud, and the Pharaoh. The main lesson from this is to not be arrogant, people get distracted by this world and think themselves greater than they are. Allah warns us to be careful of this trap. The next part of Al-Fajr mentions for Muslims to be aware of neglecting to do good. It is a reminder that in order for us to enter his paradise we need to deliberately and consciously seek good acts and do good. This is how we rise in ranks.

You can read complete surah Al Fajr with transliteration and translation below. After that you will find the Tafsir given by Ibn Kathir if you want to learn and understand the history and meaning behind this surah in more depth.

 Skip To Tafsir by Ibn Kathir

Read Surah Al-Fajr Transliteration

Bismillah Hir Rahman Nir Raheem
In the name of Allah, The Most Gracious and The Most Merciful

Wal-Fajr
1. By the dawn

Walayalin AAashr
2. And [by] ten nights

Wash shaf’i wal watr
3. And [by] the even [number] and the odd

Wallayli itha yasr
4. And [by] the night when it passes

Hal fee zaalika qasamul lizee hijr
5. Is there [not] in [all] that an oath [sufficient] for one of perception?

Alam tara kayfa faAAala rabbuka biAAad
6. Have you not considered how your Lord dealt with ‘Aad –

Iramaa zaatil ‘imaad
7. [With] Iram – who had lofty pillars,

Allatee lam yukhlaq mithluha fee albilad
8. The likes of whom had never been created in the land?

Wa samoodal lazeena jaabus sakhra bil waad
9. And [with] Thamud, who carved out the rocks in the valley?

WafirAAawna thee al-awtad
10. And [with] Pharaoh, owner of the stakes? –

Allazeena taghaw fil bilaad
11. [All of] whom oppressed within the lands

Faaktharoo feeha alfasad
12. And increased therein the corruption.

Fasabba ‘alaihim Rabbuka sawta ‘azaab
13. So your Lord poured upon them a scourge of punishment.

Inna rabbaka labilmirsad
14. Indeed, your Lord is in observation.

Fa ammal insaanu izaa mab talaahu Rabbuhoo fa akramahoo wa na’ ‘amahoo fa yaqoolu Rabbeee akraman
15. And as for man, when his Lord tries him and [thus] is generous to him and favors him, he says, “My Lord has honored me.”

Waamma itha ma ibtalahufaqadara AAalayhi rizqahu fayaqoolu rabbee ahanan
16. But when He tries him and restricts his provision, he says, “My Lord has humiliated me.”

Kalla bal laa tukrimooo nal yateem
17. No! But you do not honor the orphan

Wala tahaddoona AAala taAAamialmiskeen
18. And you do not encourage one another to feed the poor.

Wa taakuloonat turaasa aklal lammaa
19. And you consume inheritance, devouring [it] altogether,

Watuhibboona almala hubbanjamma
20. And you love wealth with immense love.

Kallaaa izaaa dukkatil ardu dakkan dakka
21. No! When the earth has been leveled – pounded and crushed –

Wajaa rabbuka walmalaku saffansaffa
22. And your Lord has come and the angels, rank upon rank,

Wa jeee’a yawma’izim bi jahannnam; Yawma ‘iziny yatazakkarul insaanu wa annaa lahuz zikraa
23. And brought [within view], that Day, is Hell – that Day, man will remember, but what good to him will be the remembrance?

Yaqoolu ya laytanee qaddamtu lihayatee
24. He will say, “Oh, I wish I had sent ahead [some good] for my life.”

Fa Yawma izil laa yu’azzibu ‘azaabahooo ahad
25. So on that Day, none will punish [as severely] as His punishment,

Wala yoothiqu wathaqahu ahad
26. And none will bind [as severely] as His binding [of the evildoers].

Yaaa ayyatuhan nafsul mutma ‘innah
27. [To the righteous it will be said], “O reassured soul,

IrjiAAee ila rabbiki radiyatanmardiyya
28. Return to your Lord, well-pleased and pleasing [to Him],

Fadkhulee fee ‘ibaadee
29. And enter among My [righteous] servants

Wadkhulee jannatee
30. And enter My Paradise.”

Tafsir and Benefits of Surah Al Fajr

It’s important we learn from scholars that are reputable and intelligent. This Tafsir is by Ibn Kathir, a famous Mufassir (commentator of Quran). He is well known and respected for his keen memory and a highly regarded scholar of tafsir. The Tafsir of Ibn Kathir is known by many Muslims as a complete thorough explanation of The Quran and is often cited by many scholars in their research.

His books became popular during his lifetime, and since his death have benefited many people (Read Ibn Kathir Short Biography).

Recitation of Surat Al-Fajr in the Prayer

An-Nasa’i recorded a narration from Jabir that Mu`adh prayed a prayer and a man came and joined him in the prayer. Mu`adh made the prayer long, so the man went and prayed (alone) at the side of the Masjid, and then left. When Mu`adh was informed of this he said, “(He is) a hypocrite.” He (Mu`adh) then informed the Messenger of Allah of what happened. The Prophet then asked the young man (about it) and he replied, “O Messenger of Allah! I came to pray with him, but he made the prayer too long for me. So I left him and prayed at the side of the Masjid. Then I went to feed my she-camel.” The Messenger of Allah then said, An-Nasa’i recorded a narration from Jabir that Mu`adh prayed a prayer and a man came and joined him in the prayer. Mu`adh made the prayer long, so the man went and prayed (alone) at the side of the Masjid, and then left. When Mu`adh was informed of this he said, “(He is) a hypocrite.” He (Mu`adh) then informed the Messenger of Allah of what happened. The Prophet then asked the young man (about it) and he replied, “O Messenger of Allah! I came to pray with him, but he made the prayer too long for me. So I left him and prayed at the side of the Masjid. Then I went to feed my she-camel.” The Messenger of Allah then said, (Are you causing trouble Mu`adh Why don’t you recite (`Glorify the Name of your Lord the Most High’), (`By the sun and its brightness’), (`By the dawn’), and (`By the night as it envelops’)

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

(1. By the dawn;)
(2. And by the ten nights,)
(3. And by the even and the odd.)
(4. And by the night when it departs.)
(5. Is there (not) in them sufficient proofs for men of understanding!)
(6. Saw you not how your Lord dealt with `Ad)
(7. Iram of the pillars,)
(8. The like of which were not created in the land)
(9. And Thamud, who hewed out rocks in the valley)
(10. And Fir`awn with Al-Awtad)
(11. Who did transgress beyond bounds in the lands.)
(12. And made therein much mischief.)
(13. So, your Lord poured on them different kinds of severe torment.)
(14. Verily, your Lord is Ever Watchful.)

 The Explanation of Al-Fajr and what comes after it

Concerning Al-Fajr, it is well known that it is the morning. This was said by `Ali, Ibn `Abbas, `Ikrimah, Mujahid and As-Suddi. It has been reported from Masruq and Muhammad bin Ka`b that Al-Fajr refers to the day of Sacrifice (An-Nahr) in particular, and it is the last of the ten nights. `The ten nights’ refers to the (first) ten days of Dhul-Hijjah. This was said by Ibn `Abbas, Ibn Zubayr, Mujahid and others among the Salaf and the latter generations. It has been confirmed in Sahih Al-Bukhari from Ibn `Abbas that the Prophet said, (There are no days in which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allah than these days.) meaning the ten days of Dhul-Hijjah. They said, “Not even fighting Jihad in the way of Allah” He replied, (Not even Jihad in the way of Allah; except for a man who goes out (for Jihad) with his self and his wealth, and he does not return with any of that.)=

Explanation of Night

Concerning Allah’s statement, (And by the night when it departs.) Al-`Awfi reported from Ibn `Abbas that he said, “When it goes away.” `Abdullah bin Zubayr said, (And by the night when it departs.) “As some parts of it remove other parts of it.” Mujahid, Abu Al-`Aliyah, Qatadah, and Malik who reported it from Zayd bin Aslam and Ibn Zayd, they all said; (And by the night when it departs.) “When it moves along.”

Concerning Allah’s statement, (There is indeed in them sufficient proofs for men with Hijr!) meaning, for he who possesses intellect, sound reasoning, understanding and religious discernment. The intellect has only been called Hijr because it prevents the person from doing that which is not befitting of him of actions and statement.

From this we see the meaning of Hijr Al-Bayt because it prevents the person performing Tawaf from clinging the wall facing Ash-Sham. Also the term Hijr Al-Yamamah (the cage of the pigeon) is derived from this meaning (i.e., prevention). It is said, “Hajara Al-Hakim so-and-so (The judge passed a judgement preventing so-and-so),” when his judgement prevents the person from his liberty (i.e., of freely utilizing his wealth). Allah says, (And they will say: “Hijr Mahjur.”) (25:22)

All of these examples are different cases but their meanings are quite similar. The oath that is referred to here is about the times of worship and the acts of worship themselves, such as Hajj, Salah and other acts of worship that Allah’s pious, obedient, servants who fear Him and are humble before Him, seeking His Noble Face, perform in order to draw nearer to Him.

Mentioning the Destruction of `Ad

After mentioning these people, and their worship and obedience, Allah says, (Saw you not how your Lord dealt with `Ad) These were people who were rebellious, disobedient, arrogant, outside of His obedience, deniers of His Messengers and rejectors of His Scriptures.

Thus, Allah mentions how He destroyed them, annihilated them and made them legends to be spoken of and an exemplary lesson of warning. He says, (Saw you not how your Lord dealt with `Ad Iram of the pillars,) These were the first people of `Ad. They were the descendants of `Ad bin Iram bin `Aws bin Sam bin Nuh. This was said by Ibn Ishaq. They are those to whom Allah sent His Messenger Hud.

However, they rejected and opposed him. Therefore, Allah saved him and those who believed with him from among them, and He destroyed others with a furious, violent wind. (Which Allah imposed on them for seven nights and eight days in succession, so that you could see men lying overthrown, as if they were hollow trunks of date palms!

Do you see any remnants of them) (69: 7-8) Allah mentioned their story in the Qur’an in more than one place, so that the believers may learn a lesson from their demise. Allah then says, (Iram of the pillars.)

This is an additional explanation that adds clarification who they actually were. Concerning His saying, (of the pillars.) is because they used to live in trellised houses that were raised with firm pillars. They were the strongest people of their time in their physical stature, and they were the mightiest people in power. Thus, Hud reminded them of this blessing, and he directed them to use this power in the obedience of their Lord Who had created them.

He said, (And remember that He made you successors after the people of Nuh and increased you amply in stature. So remember the graces from Allah so that you may be successful.)(7:69) Allah also said, (As for ‘Ad, they were arrogant in the land without right, and they said: “Who is mightier than us in strength” See they not that Allah Who created them was mightier in strength than them.) (41:15) And Allah says here, (The like of which were not created in the land) meaning, there had been none created like them in their land, due to their strength, power and their great physical stature. Mujahid said, “Iram was an ancient nation who were the first people of `Ad.” Qatadah bin Di`amah and As-Suddi both said, “Verily, Iram refers to the House of the kingdom of `Ad.” This latter statement is good and strong.

Concerning Allah’s statement, (The like of which were not created in the land) Ibn Zayd considered the pronoun of discussion here to refer to the pillars, due to their loftiness. He said, “They built pillars among the hills, the likes of which had not been constructed in their land before.”

However, Qatadah and Ibn Jarir considered the pronoun of discussion to refer to the tribe (of `Ad), meaning that there was no tribe that had been created like this tribe in the land – meaning during their time. And this latter view is the correct position.

The saying of Ibn Zayd and those who follow his view is a weak one, because if He intended that, He would have said “The like of which were not produced in the land.” But He said: (The like of which were not created in the land.)

Then Allah says, (And Thamud, who hewed (Jabu) rocks in the valley) meaning, they cut the rocks in the valley. Ibn `Abbas said, “They carved them and they hewed them.” This was also said by Mujahid, Qatadah, Ad-Dahhak and Ibn Zayd. From this terminology it is said (in the Arabic language), “the hewing of leopard skin” when it is torn, and “The hewing of a garment” when it is opened. The word `Jayb’ (pocket or opening in a garment) also comes from Jabu. Allah says, (And you hew in the mountains, houses with great skill.) (26:149)

A Mention of Fir`awn

Allah then says, (And Fir`awn with Al-Awtad) Al-`Awfi reported from Ibn `Abbas that he said, “Al-Awtad are the armies who enforced his commands for him.” It has also been said that Fir`awn used to nail their hands and their feet into pegs (Awtad) of iron that he would hang them from. A similar statement was made by Mujahid when he said, “He used to nail the people (up) on pegs.” Sa`id bin Jubayr, Al-Hasan and As-Suddi all said the same thing. Allah said, (Who did transgress beyond bounds in the lands. And made therein much mischief.) meaning, they rebelled, were arrogant, and went about making corruption in the land, and harming the people. (So, your Lord poured on them different kinds of severe torment.) meaning, He sent down a torment upon them from the sky and caused them to be overcome by a punishment that could not be repelled from the people who were criminals.

The Lord is Ever Watchful

Concerning Allah’s statement, (Verily, your Lord is Ever Watchful.) Ibn `Abbas said, “He hears and He sees.” This means that He watches over His creation in that which they do, and He will reward them in this life and in the Hereafter based upon what each of them strove for.

He will bring all of the creation before Him and He will judge them with justice. He will requit each of them with that which he deserves, for He is far removed from injustice and tyranny. 

Second Half Of Surah Al Fajr

(15. As for man, when his Lord tries him by giving him honor and bounties, then he says: “My Lord has honored me.”)
(16. But when He tries him by straitening his means of life, he says: “My Lord has humiliated me!”)
(17. But no! But you treat not the orphans with kindness and generosity!) (18. And urge not one another on the feeding of the Miskin!)
(19. And you devour the Turath — devouring with greed.)
(20. And you love wealth with love Jamma.)

Wealth and Poverty are both a Test and Honor or Disgrace for the Servant

Allah refutes man in his belief that if Allah gives Him abundant provisions to test him with it, it is out of His honor for him. But this is not the case, rather it is a trial and a test, as Allah says, (Do they think that in wealth and children with which We enlarge them. We hasten unto them with good things. Nay, but they perceive not.) (23:55-56)

Likewise, from another angle, if Allah tests him and tries him by curtailing his sustenance, he believes that is because Allah is humiliating him. As Allah says, (But no!) meaning, the matter is not as he claims, neither in this nor in that. For indeed Allah gives wealth to those whom He loves as well as those whom He does not love. Likewise, He withholds sustenance from those whom He loves and those whom He does not love. The point is that Allah should be obeyed in either circumstance. If one is wealthy, he should thank Allah for that, and if he is poor, he should exercise patience.

 From the Evil that the Servant does regarding Wealth

Allah said, (But you treat not the orphans with kindness and generosity!) This contains the command to honor him (the orphan). Abu Dawud recorded from Sahl bin Sa`id that the Messenger of Allah said, (The guardian of the orphan and I will be like these two in Paradise.) And he put his two fingers together – the middle finger and the index finger. (And urge not one another on the feeding of the Miskin!) meaning, they do not command that the poor and the needy be treated with kindness, nor do they encourage each other to do so. (And you devour the Turath) meaning, the inheritance. (devouring with greed.) meaning, however they can get it, whether lawful or forbidden. (And you love wealth with love Jamma.) meaning, in abundance. This increases some of them in their wickedness.

(21. Nay! When the earth is flatened, Dakkan Dakka.)
(22. And your Lord comes with the angels in rows.)
(23. And Hell will be brought near that Day. On that Day will man remember, but how will that remembrance avail him)
(24. He will say: “Alas! Would that I had sent forth for my life!”)
(25. So on that Day none will punish as He will punish.)
(26. And none will bind as He will bind.)
(27. “O tranquil soul!”)
(28. “Come back to your Lord, -well-pleased and well-pleasing!”)
(29. “Enter then among My servants,”)
(30. “And enter My Paradise!”)

On the Day of Judgement Everyone will be recompensed according to what He did of Good or Evil

Allah informs of what will happen on the Day of Judgement of the great horrors. He says, (Nay!) meaning, truly. (When the earth is flatened, Dakkan Dakka.) meaning, the earth and the mountains will be flattened, leveled and made even, and the creatures will rise from their graves for their Lord. (And your Lord comes) meaning, for the session of Judgement between His creatures. This is after they requested the best of the Sons of Adam — Muhammad — to intercede with Allah.

This will occur only after they have requested the other great Messengers, one after another. Yet, all of them will say, “I cannot do that for you.” This will continue until the beseeching of the men reaches Muhammad , and he will say, “I will do it, I will do it.” So he will go and seek to intercede with Allah as the session of Judgement will have come, and Allah will allow him to intercede for that (the Judgement).

This will be the first of the intercessions, and it is the praiseworthy station that has already been discussed in Surat Subhan (Al-Isra’). So Allah will come for the session of Judgement as He wills, and the angels will also come, lined up in rows upon rows before Him.

Then Allah says, (And Hell will be brought near that Day.) In his Sahih, Imam Muslim bin Al-Hajjaj recorded that `Abdullah bin Mas`ud said that the Messenger of Allah said, (Hell will be brought on near that Day and it will have seventy thousand leashes, and each leash will have seventy thousand angels pulling it.) At-Tirmidhi also recorded the same narration. Allah said: (On that Day will man remember,) meaning, his deeds, and what he did before in his past and recent times (but how will that remembrance avail him). Meaning, how can remembrance then benefit him (He will say: “Alas! Would that I had sent forth for my life!”) meaning, if he was a disobedient person, he will be sorry for the acts of disobedience he committed.

If he was an obedient person, he will wish that he performed more acts of obdedience. This is similar to what Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal recorded from Muhammad bin Abi `Amirah, who was one of the Companions of the Messenger of Allah . He said, “If a servant fell down on his face (in prostration) from the day that he was born until the day he died as an old man, in obedience to Allah, he would scorn this act on the Day of Judgement. He would wish to be returned to this life so that he could earn more reward and compensation.”

Allah then says, (So on that Day none will punish as He will punish.) meaning, there is no one more severely punished than those whom Allah punishes for disobeying Him. (And none will bind as He will bind.) meaning, there is no one who is more severely punished and bound than those the Az-Zabaniyah punish the disbelievers in their Lord.

This is for the criminals and the wrongdoers among the creatures. In reference to the pure and tranquil soul — which is always at rest and abiding by the truth it will be said to it, (O tranquil soul! Come back to your Lord.) meaning, to His company, His reward and what He has prepared for His servants in His Paradise. (well-pleased) meaning, within itself. (well-pleasing.) The meaning, pleased with Allah, and He will be pleased with it and gratify it. 

(Enter then among My servants,) meaning, among their ranks. (And enter My Paradise!) This will be said to it at the time of death and on the Day of Judgement. This is like the angels giving glad tiding to the believer at his time of death and when he rises from his grave.

Likewise is this statement here. Ibn Abi Hatim recorded from Ibn `Abbas concerning Allah’s statement, (O tranquil soul! Come back to your Lord, well-pleased and well-pleasing!) He said, “This Ayah was revealed while Abu Bakr was sitting (with the Prophet ). So he said, `O Messenger of Allah! There is nothing better than this!’ The Prophet then replied, (This will indeed be said to you.)” 

 ***

This is the end of the Tafsir of Surat Al-Fajr, and all praise and blessings are due to Allah.