Surah Al Qalam (“The Pen”) is the 68th chapter of the Qur’an with 52 ayats. It is classified as a Meccan Surah.

This Surah urges people to be charitable and do good by helping the less fortunate. Allah reminds us of the people of a garden who denied charity to the poor and the outcome is they suffered the consequence and lost everything.

Notable Quote:

“And do not obey every worthless habitual swearer [And] scorner, going about with malicious gossip – A preventer of good, transgressing and sinful, Cruel, moreover, and an illegitimate pretender.”
Surah Al Qalam Ayat 10-14

Skip To Tafsir by Ibn Kathir

Read Surah Qalam with Translation and Transliteration

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

نٓ ۚ وَٱلْقَلَمِ وَمَا يَسْطُرُونَ

Noon; walqalami wa maa yasturoon
1. Nun. By the pen and what they inscribe,

مَآ أَنتَ بِنِعْمَةِ رَبِّكَ بِمَجْنُونٍۢ

Maa anta bini’mati Rabbika bimajnoon
2. You are not, [O Muhammad], by the favor of your Lord, a madman.

وَإِنَّ لَكَ لَأَجْرًا غَيْرَ مَمْنُونٍۢ

Wa inna laka la ajran ghaira mamnoon
3. And indeed, for you is a reward uninterrupted.

وَإِنَّكَ لَعَلَىٰ خُلُقٍ عَظِيمٍۢ

Wa innaka la’alaa khuluqin ‘azeem
4. And indeed, you are of a great moral character.

فَسَتُبْصِرُ وَيُبْصِرُونَ

Fasatubsiru wa yubsiroon
5. So you will see and they will see

بِأَييِّكُمُ ٱلْمَفْتُونُ

Bi ayyikumul maftoon
6. Which of you is the afflicted [by a devil].

إِنَّ رَبَّكَ هُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِمَن ضَلَّ عَن سَبِيلِهِۦ وَهُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِٱلْمُهْتَدِينَ

Innaa Rabbaka Huwa a’lamu biman dalla ‘an sabeelihee wa Huwa a’lamu bilmuhtadeen
7. Indeed, your Lord is most knowing of who has gone astray from His way, and He is most knowing of the [rightly] guided.

فَلَا تُطِعِ ٱلْمُكَذِّبِينَ

Falaa tuti’il mukazzibeen
8. Then do not obey the deniers.

وَدُّوا۟ لَوْ تُدْهِنُ فَيُدْهِنُونَ

Waddoo law tudhinu fa-yudhinoon
9. They wish that you would soften [in your position], so they would soften [toward you].

وَلَا تُطِعْ كُلَّ حَلَّافٍۢ مَّهِينٍ

Wa laa tuti’ kulla hallaa fim maheen
10. And do not obey every worthless habitual swearer

هَمَّازٍۢ مَّشَّآءٍۭ بِنَمِيمٍۢ

Hammaazim mash shaaa’im binameem
11. [And] scorner, going about with malicious gossip –

مَّنَّاعٍۢ لِّلْخَيْرِ مُعْتَدٍ أَثِيمٍ

Mannaa’il lilkhairi mu’tadin aseem
12. A preventer of good, transgressing and sinful,

عُتُلٍّۭ بَعْدَ ذَ‌ٰلِكَ زَنِيمٍ

‘Utullim ba’da zaalika zaneem
13. Cruel, moreover, and an illegitimate pretender.

أَن كَانَ ذَا مَالٍۢ وَبَنِينَ

An kaana zaa maalinw-wa baneen
14. Because he is a possessor of wealth and children,

إِذَا تُتْلَىٰ عَلَيْهِ ءَايَـٰتُنَا قَالَ أَسَـٰطِيرُ ٱلْأَوَّلِينَ

Izaa tutlaa ‘alaihi aayaatunaa qaala asaateerul awwaleen
15. When Our verses are recited to him, he says, “Legends of the former peoples.”

سَنَسِمُهُۥ عَلَى ٱلْخُرْطُومِ

Sanasimuhoo ‘alal khurtoom
16. We will brand him upon the snout.

إِنَّا بَلَوْنَـٰهُمْ كَمَا بَلَوْنَآ أَصْحَـٰبَ ٱلْجَنَّةِ إِذْ أَقْسَمُوا۟ لَيَصْرِمُنَّهَا مُصْبِحِينَ

Innaa balawnaahum kamaa balawnaaa As-haabal jannati iz ‘aqsamoo la-yasri munnahaa musbiheen
17. Indeed, We have tried them as We tried the companions of the garden, when they swore to cut its fruit in the [early] morning

وَلَا يَسْتَثْنُونَ

Wa laa yastasnoon
18. Without making exception.

فَطَافَ عَلَيْهَا طَآئِفٌۭ مِّن رَّبِّكَ وَهُمْ نَآئِمُونَ

Fataafa ‘alaihaa taaa’i fum mir rabbika wa hum naaa’imoon
19. So there came upon the garden an affliction from your Lord while they were asleep.

فَأَصْبَحَتْ كَٱلصَّرِيمِ

Fa asbahat kassareem
20. And it became as though reaped.

فَتَنَادَوْا۟ مُصْبِحِينَ

Fatanaadaw musbiheen
21. And they called one another at morning,

أَنِ ٱغْدُوا۟ عَلَىٰ حَرْثِكُمْ إِن كُنتُمْ صَـٰرِمِينَ

Anighdoo ‘alaa harsikum in kuntum saarimeen
22. [Saying], “Go early to your crop if you would cut the fruit.”

فَٱنطَلَقُوا۟ وَهُمْ يَتَخَـٰفَتُونَ

Fantalaqoo wa hum yatakhaafatoon
23. So they set out, while lowering their voices,

أَن لَّا يَدْخُلَنَّهَا ٱلْيَوْمَ عَلَيْكُم مِّسْكِينٌۭ

Al laa yadkhulannahal yawma ‘alaikum miskeen
24. [Saying], “There will surely not enter it today upon you [any] poor person.”

وَغَدَوْا۟ عَلَىٰ حَرْدٍۢ قَـٰدِرِينَ

Wa ghadaw ‘alaa hardin qaadireen
25. And they went early in determination, [assuming themselves] able.

فَلَمَّا رَأَوْهَا قَالُوٓا۟ إِنَّا لَضَآلُّونَ

Falammaa ra awhaa qaalooo innaa ladaaalloon
26. But when they saw it, they said, “Indeed, we are lost;

بَلْ نَحْنُ مَحْرُومُونَ

Bal nahnu mahroomoon
27. Rather, we have been deprived.”

قَالَ أَوْسَطُهُمْ أَلَمْ أَقُل لَّكُمْ لَوْلَا تُسَبِّحُونَ

Qaala awsatuhum alam aqul lakum law laa tusabbihoon
28. The most moderate of them said, “Did I not say to you, ‘Why do you not exalt [Allah]?’ “

قَالُوا۟ سُبْحَـٰنَ رَبِّنَآ إِنَّا كُنَّا ظَـٰلِمِينَ

Qaaloo subhaana rabbinaaa innaa kunnaa zaalimeen
29. They said, “Exalted is our Lord! Indeed, we were wrongdoers.”

فَأَقْبَلَ بَعْضُهُمْ عَلَىٰ بَعْضٍۢ يَتَلَـٰوَمُونَ

Fa aqbala ba’duhum ‘alaa ba’diny yatalaawamoon
30. Then they approached one another, blaming each other.

قَالُوا۟ يَـٰوَيْلَنَآ إِنَّا كُنَّا طَـٰغِينَ

Qaaloo yaa wailanaaa innaa kunnaa taagheen
31. They said, “O woe to us; indeed we were transgressors.

عَسَىٰ رَبُّنَآ أَن يُبْدِلَنَا خَيْرًۭا مِّنْهَآ إِنَّآ إِلَىٰ رَبِّنَا رَ‌ٰغِبُونَ

‘Asaa rabbunaaa any yubdilanaa khairam minhaaa innaaa ilaa rabbinaa raaghiboon
32. Perhaps our Lord will substitute for us [one] better than it. Indeed, we are toward our Lord desirous.”

كَذَ‌ٰلِكَ ٱلْعَذَابُ ۖ وَلَعَذَابُ ٱلْءَاخِرَةِ أَكْبَرُ ۚ لَوْ كَانُوا۟ يَعْلَمُونَ

Kazaalikal azaab, wa la’azaabul aakhirati akbar; law kaanoo ya’lamoon
33. Such is the punishment [of this world]. And the punishment of the Hereafter is greater, if they only knew.

إِنَّ لِلْمُتَّقِينَ عِندَ رَبِّهِمْ جَنَّـٰتِ ٱلنَّعِيمِ

Inna lilmuttaqeena ‘inda rabbihim jannaatin na’eem
34. Indeed, for the righteous with their Lord are the Gardens of Pleasure.

أَفَنَجْعَلُ ٱلْمُسْلِمِينَ كَٱلْمُجْرِمِينَ

Afanaj’alul muslimeena kalmujrimeen
35. Then will We treat the Muslims like the criminals?

مَا لَكُمْ كَيْفَ تَحْكُمُونَ

Maa lakum kaifa tahhkumoon
36. What is [the matter] with you? How do you judge?

أَمْ لَكُمْ كِتَـٰبٌۭ فِيهِ تَدْرُسُونَ

Am lakum kitaabun feehi tadrusoon
37. Or do you have a scripture in which you learn

إِنَّ لَكُمْ فِيهِ لَمَا تَخَيَّرُونَ

Inna lakum feehi lamaa takhaiyaroon
38. That indeed for you is whatever you choose?

أَمْ لَكُمْ أَيْمَـٰنٌ عَلَيْنَا بَـٰلِغَةٌ إِلَىٰ يَوْمِ ٱلْقِيَـٰمَةِ ۙ إِنَّ لَكُمْ لَمَا تَحْكُمُونَ

Am lakum aymaanun ‘alainaa baalighatun ilaa yawmil qiyaamati inna lakum lamaa tahkumoon
39. Or do you have oaths [binding] upon Us, extending until the Day of Resurrection, that indeed for you is whatever you judge?

سَلْهُمْ أَيُّهُم بِذَ‌ٰلِكَ زَعِيمٌ

Salhum ayyuhum bizaa lika za’eem
40. Ask them which of them, for that [claim], is responsible.

أَمْ لَهُمْ شُرَكَآءُ فَلْيَأْتُوا۟ بِشُرَكَآئِهِمْ إِن كَانُوا۟ صَـٰدِقِينَ

Am lahum shurakaaa’u falyaatoo bishurakaaa ‘ihim in kaanoo saadiqeen
41. Or do they have partners? Then let them bring their partners, if they should be truthful.

يَوْمَ يُكْشَفُ عَن سَاقٍۢ وَيُدْعَوْنَ إِلَى ٱلسُّجُودِ فَلَا يَسْتَطِيعُونَ

Yawma yukshafu ‘am saaqinw wa yud’awna ilas sujoodi falaa yastatee’oon
42. The Day the shin will be uncovered and they are invited to prostration but the disbelievers will not be able,

خَـٰشِعَةً أَبْصَـٰرُهُمْ تَرْهَقُهُمْ ذِلَّةٌۭ ۖ وَقَدْ كَانُوا۟ يُدْعَوْنَ إِلَى ٱلسُّجُودِ وَهُمْ سَـٰلِمُونَ

Khaashi’atan absaaruhum tarhaquhum zillatunw wa qad kaanoo yud’awna ilassujoodi wa hum saalimoon
43. Their eyes humbled, humiliation will cover them. And they used to be invited to prostration while they were sound.

فَذَرْنِى وَمَن يُكَذِّبُ بِهَـٰذَا ٱلْحَدِيثِ ۖ سَنَسْتَدْرِجُهُم مِّنْ حَيْثُ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ

Fazarnee wa many yukazzibu bihaazal hadeesi sanastad rijuhum min haisu laa ya’lamoon
44. So leave Me, [O Muhammad], with [the matter of] whoever denies the Qur’an. We will progressively lead them [to punishment] from where they do not know.

وَأُمْلِى لَهُمْ ۚ إِنَّ كَيْدِى مَتِينٌ

Wa umlee lahum; inna kaidee mateen
45. And I will give them time. Indeed, My plan is firm.

أَمْ تَسْـَٔلُهُمْ أَجْرًۭا فَهُم مِّن مَّغْرَمٍۢ مُّثْقَلُونَ

Am tas’aluhum ajran fahum mim maghramim musqaloon
46. Or do you ask of them a payment, so they are by debt burdened down?

أَمْ عِندَهُمُ ٱلْغَيْبُ فَهُمْ يَكْتُبُونَ

Am ‘indahumul ghaibu fahum yaktuboon
47. Or have they [knowledge of] the unseen, so they write [it] down?

فَٱصْبِرْ لِحُكْمِ رَبِّكَ وَلَا تَكُن كَصَاحِبِ ٱلْحُوتِ إِذْ نَادَىٰ وَهُوَ مَكْظُومٌۭ

Fasbir lihukmi rabbika wa laa takun kasaahibil hoot; iz naadaa wa huwa makzoom
48. Then be patient for the decision of your Lord, [O Muhammad], and be not like the companion of the fish when he called out while he was distressed.

لَّوْلَآ أَن تَدَ‌ٰرَكَهُۥ نِعْمَةٌۭ مِّن رَّبِّهِۦ لَنُبِذَ بِٱلْعَرَآءِ وَهُوَ مَذْمُومٌۭ

Law laaa an tadaara kahoo ni’matum mir rabbihee lanubiza bil’araaa’i wa huwa mazmoom
49. If not that a favor from his Lord overtook him, he would have been thrown onto the naked shore while he was censured.

فَٱجْتَبَـٰهُ رَبُّهُۥ فَجَعَلَهُۥ مِنَ ٱلصَّـٰلِحِينَ

Fajtabaahu rabbuhoo faja’alahoo minas saaliheen
50. And his Lord chose him and made him of the righteous.

وَإِن يَكَادُ ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا۟ لَيُزْلِقُونَكَ بِأَبْصَـٰرِهِمْ لَمَّا سَمِعُوا۟ ٱلذِّكْرَ وَيَقُولُونَ إِنَّهُۥ لَمَجْنُونٌۭ

Wa iny-yakaadul lazeena kafaroo la-yuzliqoonaka biabsaarihim lammaa saml’uz-Zikra wa yaqooloona innahoo lamajnoon
51. And indeed, those who disbelieve would almost make you slip with their eyes when they hear the message, and they say, “Indeed, he is mad.”

وَمَا هُوَ إِلَّا ذِكْرٌۭ لِّلْعَـٰلَمِينَ

Wa maa huwa illaa zikrul lil’aalameen
52. But it is not except a reminder to the worlds.

The Tafsir of Surah Nun

Chapter – 68
Which was revealed in Makkah

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

(1. Nun. By the pen and by what they Yastur.) (2. You, by the grace of your Lord, are not insane.) (3. And verily, for you will be reward that is not Mamnun.) (4. And verily, you are on an exalted character.) (5. You will see, and they will see,) (6. Which of you is afflicted with madness.) (7. Verily, your Lord is the best Knower of him who has gone astray from His path, and He is the best Knower of those who are guided.) We have already discussed the special letters of the Arabic alphabet at the beginning of Surat Al-Baqarah. Thus, Allah’s saying,

(Nun), is like Allah’s saying,

(Sad), and Allah’s saying,

(Qaf), and similar to them from the individual letters that appear at the beginning of Qur’anic chapters. This has been dis- cussed at length previously and there is no need to repeat it here.

The Explanation of the Pen Concerning

Allah’s statement,

(By the pen) The apparent meaning is that this refers to the actual pen that is used to write. This is like Allah’s saying,

(Read! And your Lord is the Most Generous. Who has taught by the pen. He has taught man that which he knew not.) (96:3-5) Therefore, this statement is Allah’s swearing and alerting His creatures to what He has favored them with by teaching them the skill of writing, through which knowledge is attained. Thus, Allah continues by saying,

(and by what they Yastur.) Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid and Qatadah all said that this means, “what they write.” As-Suddi said, “The angels and the deeds of the servants they record.” Others said, “Rather, what is meant here is the pen which Allah caused to write the decree when He wrote the decrees of all creation, and this took place fifty-thousand years before He created the heavens and the earth.” For this, they present Hadiths that have been reported about the Pen. Ibn Abi Hatim recorded from Al-Walid bin `Ubadah bin As-Samit that he said, “My father called for me when he was dying and he said to me: `Verily, I heard the Messenger of Allah say,

(Verily, the first of what Allah created was the Pen, and He said to it: “Write.” The Pen said: “O my Lord, what shall I write” He said: “Write the decree and whatever will throughout eternity.”)” This Hadith has been recorded by Imam Ahmad through various routes of transmission. At-Tirmidhi also recorded it from a Hadith of Abu Dawud At-Tayalisi and he (At-Tirmidhi) said about it, “Hasan Sahih, Gharib.”

Swearing by the Pen refers to the Greatness of the Prophet

Allah says,

(You, by the grace of your Lord, are not insane.) meaning — and all praise is due to Allah — `you are not crazy as the ignorant among your people claim. They are those who deny the guidance and the clear truth that you have come with. Therefore, they attribute madness to you because of it.’

(And verily, for you will be reward that is not Mamnun.) meaning, `for you is the great reward, and abundant blessings which will never be cut off or perish, because you conveyed the Message of your Lord to creation, and you were patient with their abuse.’ The meaning of:

(not Mamnun) is that it will not be cut off. This is similar to Allah’s statement,

(a gift without an end.) (11:108) and His statement,

(Then they shall have a reward without end.) (95:6) Mujahid said,

(Without Mamnun) means “Without reckoning.” And this refers back to what we have said before.

The Explanation of the Statement: “Verily, You are on an Exalted Character.”

Concerning Allah’s statement,

(And verily, you are on an exalted (standard of) character.) Al-`Awfi reported from Ibn `Abbas, “Verily, you are on a great religion, and it is Islam.” Likewise said Mujahid, Abu Malik, As-Suddi and Ar-Rabi` bin Anas. Ad-Dahhak and Ibn Zayd also said this. Sa`id bin Abi `Arubah reported from Qatadah that he said concerning Allah’s statement,

(And verily, you are on an exalted (standard of) character.) “It has been mentioned to us that Sa`d bin Hisham asked `A’ishah about the character of the Messenger of Allah , so she replied: `Have you not read the Qur’an’ Sa`d said: `Of course.’ Then she said: `Verily, the character of the Messenger of Allah was the Qur’an.”’ `Abdur-Razzaq recorded similar to this and Imam Muslim recorded it in his Sahih on the authority of Qatadah in its full length. This means that he would act according to the commands and the prohibition in the Qur’an. His nature and character were patterned according to the Qur’an, and he abandoned his natural disposition (i.e., the carnal nature). So whatever the Qur’an commanded, he did it, and whatever it forbade, he avoided it. Along with this, Allah gave him the exalted character, which included the qualities of modesty, kindness, bravery, pardoning, gentleness and every other good characteristic. This is like that which has been confirmed in the Two Sahihs that Anas said, “I served the Messenger of Allah for ten years, and he never said a word of displeasure to me (Uff), nor did he ever say to me concerning something I had done: `Why did you do that’ And he never said to me concerning something I had not done: `Why didn’t you do this’ He had the best character, and I never touched any silk or anything else that was softer than the palm of the Messenger of Allah . And I never smelled any musk or perfume that had a better fragrance than the sweat of the Messenger of Allah.” Imam Al-Bukhari recorded that Al-Bara’ said, “The Messenger of Allah had the most handsome face of all the people, and he had the best behavior of all of the people. And he was not tall, nor was he short.” The Hadiths concerning this matter are numerous. Abu `Isa At-Tirmidhi has a complete book on this subject called Kitab Ash-Shama’il. Imam Ahmad recorded that `A’ishah said, “The Messenger of Allah never struck a servant of his with his hand, nor did he ever hit a woman. He never hit anything with his hand, except for when he was fighting Jihad in the cause of Allah. And he was never given the option between two things except that the most beloved of the two to him was the easiest of them, as long as it did not involve sin. If it did involve sin, then he stayed farther away from sin than any of the people. He would not avenge himself concerning anything that was done to him, except if the limits of Allah were transgressed. Then, in that case he would avenge for the sake of Allah.” Imam Ahmad also recorded from Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allah said,

(I have only been sent to perfect righteous behavior.) Ahmad was alone in recording this Hadith. In reference to Allah’s statement,

(You will see, and they will see, which of you is afflicted with madness.) then it means, `you will know, O Muhammad — and those who oppose you and reject you, will know — who is insane and misguided among you.’ This is like Allah’s statement,

(Tomorrow they will come to know who is the liar, the insolent one!) (54:26) Allah also says,

(And verily (either) we or you are rightly guided or in plain error.) (34:24) Ibn Jurayj reported from Ibn `Abbas, it means “You will know and they will know on the Day of Judgement.” Al-`Awfi reported from Ibn `Abbas;

(Which of you is Maftun (afflicted with madness) means which of you is crazy. This was also said by Mujahid and others as well. The literal meaning of Maftun is one who has been charmed or lured away from the truth and has strayed from it. Thus, the entire statement means, `so you will know and they will know,’ or `you will be informed and they will be informed, as to which of you is afflicted with madness.’ And Allah knows best. Then Allah says,

(Verily, your Lord is the best Knower of him who has gone astray from His path, and He is the best Knower of those who are guided.) meaning, `He knows which of the two groups are truly guided among you, and He knows the party that is astray from the truth.’

(8. So, do not obey the deniers.) (9. They wish that you should compromise with them, so they (too) would compromise with you.) (10. And do not obey every Hallaf Mahin.) (11. A Hammaz, going about with Namim,) (12. Hinderer of the good, transgressor, sinful,) (13. `Utul, and moreover Zanim.) (14. (He was so) because he had wealth and children.) (15. When Our Ayat are recited to him, he says: “Tales of the men of old!”) (16. We shall brand him on the snout (nose)!)

Prohibition of giving in to the Pressure of the Disbelievers and Their Suggestions, and that They like to meet in the Middle of the Path

Allah says, `just as We have favored you and given you the upright legislation and great (standard of) character,’

(So, do not obey the deniers. They wish that you should compromise with them, so they (too) would compromise with you.) Ibn `Abbas said, “That you would permit them (their idolatry) and they also would permit you (to practice your religion).” Mujahid said,

(They wish that you should compromise with them, so they (too) would compromise with you.) “This means that you should be quiet about their gods and abandon the truth that you are upon.” Then Allah says,

(And do not obey every Hallaf (one who swears much) Mahin (liar or worthless person).) This is because the liar, due to his weakness and his disgracefulness, only seeks protection in his false oaths which he boldly swears to while using Allah’s Names, and he uses them (false oaths) all the time and out of place (i.e., unnecessarily). Ibn `Abbas said, “Al-Mahin means the liar.” Then Allah says,

(A Hammaz, ) Ibn `Abbas and Qatadah both said, “This is slander.”

(going about with Namim,) This refers to the one who goes around among people instigating discord between them and carrying tales in order to corrupt relations between people when they are good and pleasant. It is confirmed in the Two Sahihs that Mujahid reported from Tawus that Ibn `Abbas said, “The Messenger of Allah once passed by two graves and he said,

(Verily, these two are being punished, and they are not being punished for something major. One of them was not careful about protecting himself from urine (when relieving himself). The other one used to spread Namimah.)” This Hadith has been recorded by the Group in their books through routes of transmission that are all on the authority of Mujahid. Imam Ahmad recorded that Hudhayfah said, “I heard the Messenger of Allah saying,

(The slanderer will not enter into Paradise.)” This Hadith has been reported by the Group except for Ibn Majah. Concerning Allah’s statement,

(Hinderer of good, transgressor, sinful,) it means, he refuses to give and withholds that which he has of good.

(transgressor,) this means, in attaining that which Allah has made permissible for him, he exceeds the legislated bounds.

(sinful,) meaning, he delves into the forbidden things. Concerning Allah’s statement,

(`Utul, and moreover Zanim.) `Utul means one who is cruel, harsh, strong, greedy and stingy. Imam Ahmad recorded from Al-Harithah bin Wahb that the Messenger of Allah said,

(Shall I inform you of the people of Paradise (They will be) every weak and oppressed person. When he swears by Allah, he fulfills his oath. Shall I inform you of the people of the Fire Every `Utul (cruel person), Jawwaz and arrogant person.) Al-Waki` said, “It (`Utul) is every Jawwaz, Ja`zari and arrogant person.” Both Al-Bukhari and Muslim recorded this in their Two Sahihs, as well as the rest of the Group, except for Abu Dawud. All of its routes of transmission are by way of Sufyan Ath-Thawri and Shu`bah who both reported it from Sa`id bin Khalid. The scholars of Arabic language have said that Ja`zari means rude and harsh, while Jawwaz means greedy and stingy. Concerning the word Zanim, Al-Bukhari recorded from Ibn `Abbas that he said concerning the Ayah,

(`Utul (cruel), and moreover Zanim.) “A man from the Quraysh who stands out among them like the sheep that has had a piece of its ear cut off.” The meaning of this is that he is famous for his evil just as a sheep that has a piece of its ear cut off stands out among its sister sheep. In the Arabic language the Zanim is a person who is adopted among a group of people (i.e., he is not truly of them). Ibn Jarir and others among the Imams have said this. Concerning Allah’s statement,

((He was so) because he had wealth and children. When Our Ayat are recited to him, he says: “Tales of the men of old!”) Allah is saying, `this is how he responds to the favors that Allah has bestowed upon him of wealth and children, by disbelieving in Allah’s Ayat and turning away from them while claiming that they are a lie that has been taken from the tales of the ancients.’ This is similar to Allah’s statement,

(Leave Me alone (to deal) with whom I created lonely (without any wealth and children etc.). And then granted him resources in abundance. And children to be by his side. And made life smooth and comfortable for him. After all that he desires that I should give more. Nay! Verily, he has been opposing Our Ayat. I shall oblige him to face a severe torment! Verily, he thought and plotted. So let him be cursed, how he plotted! And once more let him be cursed, how he plotted! Then he thought. Then he frowned and he looked in a bad tempered way. Then he turned back, and was proud. Then he said: “This is nothing but magic from that of old, this is nothing but the word of a human being!” I will cast him into Hellfire. And what will make you know what Hellfire is It spares not (any sinner), nor does it leave (anything unburned)! Burning and blackening the skins! Over it are nineteen (angels as keepers of Hell).) ﴿74:11-30﴾ Then Allah said here,

(We shall brand him on the snout!) Ibn Jarir said, “We will make his matter clear and evident so that they will know him and he will not be hidden from them, just as the branding mark on the snouts (of animals).” Others have said,

(We shall brand him) This is the mark of the people of the Hell-fire; meaning, `We will blacken his face on the Day of Judgement,’ and the face has been referred to here as snout.

(17. Verily, We have tried them as We tried the People of the Garden, when they swore to pluck the fruits in the morning,) (18. Without (saying: “If Allah wills.”)) (19. Then there passed over it a Ta’if from your Lord while they were asleep.) (20. So by the morning, it became like As-Sarim.) (21. Then they called out (one to another as soon) as the morning broke.) (22. Saying: “Go to your tilth in the morning, if you would pluck (the fruits).”) (23. So they departed, and they were whispering:) (24. “No poor person shall enter upon you into it today.”) (25. And they went in the morning with Hard Qadirin.) (26. But when they saw it, they said: “Verily, we have gone astray.”) (27. “Nay! Indeed we are deprived!”) (28. The Awsat among them said; “Did I not tell you, `Why do you not Tusabbihun.”’) (29. They said: “Glory to Our Lord! Verily, we have been wrongdoers.”) (30. Then they turned one against another, blaming.) (31. They said: “Woe to us! Verily, we were Taghin.”) (32. “We hope that our Lord will give us in exchange better than it. Truly, we hope in our Lord.”) (33. Such is the punishment, but truly, the punishment of the Hereafter is greater if they but knew.)

A Parable of the Removal of the Earnings of the Disbelievers

This is a parable that Allah made of the behavior of the Quraysh disbelievers with the great mercy, and tremendous favors He granted them. The mercy and favor of sending of Muhammad to them. But they met him with denial, rejection and opposition. Therefore Allah says,

(Verily, We have tried them) meaning, `We have tested them.’

(as We tried the People of the Garden,) This refers to a garden containing different types of fruits and vegetation.

(when they swore to pluck the fruits of the (garden) in the morning,) meaning, they vowed between themselves during the night that they would pluck the fruit of the garden in the morning so that poor and the beggars would not know what they were doing. In this way they would be able to keep its fruit for themselves and not give any of it in charity.

(Without (saying: “If Allah wills.”)) meaning their vow that they made. Therefore, Allah broke their vow. He then said,

(Then there passed over it a Ta’if from your Lord while they were asleep. ) meaning, it was afflicted with some heavenly destruction.

(So by the morning it became like As-Sarim.) Ibn `Abbas said, “Like the dark night.” Ath-Thawri and As-Suddi both said, “Like the crop when it is harvested withered and dry.”

(Then they called out (one to another as soon) as the morning broke.) meaning, when it was (early) morning time they called each other so that they could go together to pick the harvest or cut it (its fruits). Then Allah said,

((Saying:) “Go to your tilth in the morning, if you would pluck (the fruits).”) meaning, `if you want to pluck your harvest fruit.’

(So they departed, and they were whispering:) meaning, they spoke privately about what they were doing so that no one could hear what they were saying. Then Allah, the All-Knower of secrets and private discussions, explained what they were saying in private. He said,

(So they departed, and they were whispering: “No poor person shall enter upon you into it today.”) meaning, some of them said to others, “Do not allow any poor person to enter upon you in it (the garden) today.” Allah then said,

(And they went in the morning with Hard) meaning, with strength and power.

(Qadirin) meaning, they thought they had power to do what they claimed and what they were desiring.

(But when they saw it, they said: “Verily, we have gone astray.”) meaning, when they arrived at it and came upon it, and it was in the condition which Allah changed from that luster, brilliance and abundance of fruit, to being black, gloomy and void of any benefit. They believed that they had been mistaken in the path they took in walking to it. This is why they said,

(Verily, we have gone astray.) meaning, `we have walked down a path other than the one we were seeking to reach it.’ This was said by Ibn `Abbas and others. Then they changed their minds and realized with certainty that it was actually the correct path. Then they said,

(Nay! Indeed we are deprived (of the fruits)!) meaning, `nay, this is it, but we have no portion and no share (of harvest).’

(The Awsat among them said,) Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, Sa`id bin Jubayr, `Ikrimah, Muhammad bin Ka`b, Ar-Rabi` bin Anas, Ad-Dahhak and Qatadah all said, “This means the most just of them and the best of them.”

(Did I not tell you, `Why do you not Tusabbihun’) Mujahid, As-Suddi and Ibn Jurayj all said that,

(Why do you not Tusabbihun) this means “why do you not say, `If Allah wills”’ As-Suddi said, “Their making exception due to the will of Allah in that time was by glorifying Allah (Tasbih).” Ibn Jarir said, “It is a person’s saying, `If Allah wills.”’ It has also been said that it means that the best of them said to them, “Did I not tell you, why don’t you glorify Allah and thank Him for what He has given you and favored you with”

(They said: “Glory to Our Lord! Verily, we have been wrongdoers.”) They became obedient when it was of no benefit to them, and they were remorseful and confessed when it was not of any use. Then they said,

(“…Verily, we have been wrongdoers.” Then they turned one against another, blaming.) meaning, they started blaming each other for what they had resolved to do, preventing the poor people from receiving their right of the harvested fruit. Thus, their response to each other was only to confess their error and sin.

(They said: “Woe to us! Verily, we were Taghin.”) meaning, `we have transgressed, trespassed, violated and exceeded the bounds until what this happened to us.’

(We hope that our Lord will give us in exchange better than it. Truly, we hope in our Lord.) It has been said, “They were hoping for something better in exchange in this life.” It has also been said, “They were hoping for its reward in the abode of the Hereafter.” And Allah knows best. Some of the Salaf mentioned that these people were from Yemen. Sa`id bin Jubayr said, “They were from a village that was called Darawan which was six miles from San`a’ (in Yemen). ” It has also been said, “They were from the people of Ethiopia whose father had left them this garden, and they were from the People of the Book. Their father used to handle the garden in a good way. Whatever he reaped from it he would put it back into the garden as it needed, and he would save some of it as food for his dependants for the year, and he would give away the excess in charity. Then, when he died, and his children inherited the garden they said, `Verily, our father was foolish for giving some of this garden’s harvest to the poor. If we prevent them from it, then we will have more.’ So when they made up their minds to do this they were punished with what was contrary to their plan. Allah took away all of what they possessed of wealth, gain and charity. Nothing remained for them.” Allah then says,

(Such is the punishment,) meaning, such is the punishment of whoever opposes the command of Allah, is stingy with what Allah has given him and favored him with, withholds the right of the poor and needy, and responds to Allah’s blessings upon him with ungratefulness (or disbelief).

(but truly, the punishment of the Hereafter is greater if they but knew.) meaning, this is the punishment in this life, as you have heard, and the punishment of the Hereafter is even harder.

(34. Verily, for those who have Taqwa are Gardens of Delight with their Lord.) (35. Shall We then treat the Muslims like the criminals) (36. What is the matter with you How judge you) (37. Or have you a Book wherein you learn,) (38. That you shall therein have all that you choose) (39. Or have you oaths from Us, lasting until the Day of Judgement, that yours will be what you judge) (40. Ask them, which of them will stand as surety for that!) (41. Or have they “partners” Then let them bring their “partners” if they are truthful!)

(42. The Day when the Shin shall be laid bare and they shall be called to prostrate themselves, but they shall not be able to do so.) (43. Their eyes will be cast down and ignominy will cover them; they used to be called to prostrate themselves, while they were.) (44. Then leave Me alone with whoever denies this narration. We shall punish them gradually from directions they perceive not.) (45. And I will grant them a respite. Verily, My plan is strong.) (46. Or is it that you ask them a wage, so that they are heavily burdened with debt) (47. Or that the Unseen is in their hands, so that they can write it down)

The Terror of the Day of Judgement

After Allah mentions that those who have Taqwa, will have Gardens of Delight with their Lord, He explains when this will be, and its actual occurrence. He says,

(The Day when the Shin shall be laid bare and they shall be called to prostrate themselves, but they shall not be able to do so.) meaning, the Day of Judgement and the horrors, earthquakes, trials, tests and great matters that will occur during it. Al-Bukhari recorded that Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri said that he heard the Prophet saying,

(Our Lord will reveal His Shin, and every believing male and female will prostrate to Him. The only people who will remain standing are those who prostrated in the worldly life only to be seen and heard (showing off). This type of person will try to prostrate at that time, but his back will made to be one stiff plate (the bone will not bend or flex).)” This Hadith was recorded in the Two Sahihs and other books from different routes of transmission with various wordings. It is a long Hadith that is very popular. Concerning Allah’s statement,

(Their eyes will be cast down and ignominy will cover them;) means, in the final abode, due to their crimes and arrogance in the worldly life. Thus they will be punished with the opposite of what they did. When they were called to prostrate in the worldly life, they refused to do so even though they were healthy and secure. Therefore, they will be punished with the lack of ability to do so in the Hereafter. When the Almighty Lord makes Himself visible (before the believers), then the believers will fall down in prostration to Him, but no one of the disbelievers and hypocrites will be able to prostrate. rather, their backs will become one plate. Everytime one of them attempts to prostrate, he will bow his neck but will not be able to prostrate. This is just like in the life of this world, when these people were in opposition to what the believers were doing.

For Whoever denies the Qur’an

Then Allah says,

(Then leave Me alone with such as belie this narration.) meaning, the Qur’an. This is a sever threat which means, `leave Me alone with this person; I know about him and how I will gradually punish him and increase him in his falsehood. I am giving him respite for a while, then I will seize him with a mighty and powerful punishment.’ Thus, Allah says,

(We shall punish them gradually from directions they perceive not.) meaning, and they will not even be aware of it. Rather, they will believe that it is a noble blessing from Allah, but really the same matter is actually a form of humiliation (for them). This is similar to Allah’s statement,

(Do they think that in wealth and children with which We expand them, We hasten unto them with good things. Nay, but they perceive not.) (23:55,56) Allah also said,

(So, when they forgot that which they had been reminded, We opened for them the gates of everything, until in the midst of their enjoyment in that which they were given, all of a sudden, We punished them, and lo! They were plunged into destruction with deep regrets and sorrows.) Therefore, Allah says here,

(And I will grant them a respite. Verily, My plan is strong.) meaning, `I will delay them, give them respite and extend their time. Yet, this is My plan, and My plot against them.’ Thus, Allah says,

(Verily, My plan is strong.) meaning, `great against whoever opposes My command, rejects My Messengers and dares to disobey Me.’ In the Two Sahihs it is recorded from the Messenger of Allah that he said,

(Verily Allah the Exalted gives respite to the wrongdoer until He seizes him and he will not be able to escape Him.) Then he recited,

(Such is the punishment of your Lord when He seizes the towns while they are doing wrong. Verily, His punishment is painful (and) severe.) (11:102) In reference to Allah’s statement,

(Or is it that you ask them for a wage, so that they are heavily burdened with debt Or that the Unseen is in their hands, so that they can write it down) the explanation of these two Ayat prece- ded in Surat At-Tur. The meaning of it is, `you, O Muhammad, call them to Allah without taking any wages from them. rather, you hope for the reward with Allah. Yet, they reject that which you have brought to them simply due to ignorance, disbelief and obstinacy.’

(48. So, wait with patience for the decision of your Lord, and be not like the Companion of the Fish when he cried out (to Us) while he was Makzum.) (49. Had not a grace from his Lord reached him, he would indeed have been (left in the stomach of the fish, but We forgave him), so he was cast off on the naked shore, while he was to be blamed.) (50. Then his Lord chose him and made him of the righteous.) (51. And verily, those who disbelieve would almost make you slip with their eyes (through hatred) when they hear the Reminder (the Qur’an), and they say: “Verily, he is a madman!”) (52. But it is nothing else than a Reminder to all the creatures (`Alamin).)

The Command to be Patient and to refrain from being Hasty like Yunus was

Allah says,

(So wait with patience) `O Muhammad, persevere against the harm your people cause you and their rejection. For verily, Allah will give you authority over them, and make the final victory for you and your followers in this life and the Hereafter.’

(and be not like the Companion of the Fish) meaning, Dhun-Nun, who was Yunus bin Matta, when he went off angry with his people. Various things happened to him, such as riding on a ship at sea, being swallowed by a (large) fish, the fish carrying him off into the ocean, being in the darkness and depth of the sea and hearing the sea’s and its dwellers glorification of the Most High, the Most Able (Allah). For He (Allah) is the One Whose execution of divine decree cannot be resisted. After all of this, he (Yunus) called out from the layers of darkness,

(“That none has the right to be worshipped but You (O Allah), Glorified (and Exalted) are You! Truly, I have been of the wrongdoers.”) (21:87) Then Allah said concerning him,

(So We answered his call, and delivered him from the distress. And thus We do deliver the believers.) (21:88) Allah also says,

(Had he not been of them who glorify Allah, he would have indeed remained inside its belly (the fish) till the Day when they are resurrected.) (37:143,144) So here (in this Surah), Allah says,

(when he cried out (to Us) while he was Makzum.) Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid and As-Suddi, all said, “while he was distressed.” Then Allah goes on to say,

(Then his Lord chose him and made him of the righteous.) Imam Ahmad recorded from `Abdullah that the Messenger of Allah said,

(It is not befitting for anyone to say that I am better than Yunus bin Matta.) Al-Bukhari recorded this Hadith and it is in the Two Sahihs reported from Abu Hurayrah. Concerning Allah’s statement,

(And verily, those who disbelieve would almost make you slip with their eyes) Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid and others have said,

(would make you slip) “In order to have some effect on you.”

(with their eyes) meaning, `they will affect you by looking at you with their eyes (i.e., the evil eye).’ This means `they are jealous of you due to their hatred of you, and were it not for Allah’s protection of you, defending you against them (then their evil eye would harm you).’

The Effect of the Evil Eye is Real

In this Ayah is a proof that the effect of the evil eye and its affliction by the command of Allah is real. Many Hadiths have been reported concerning this through numerous routes of transmission. The Hadith of Buraydah bin Al-Husayb Abu `Abdullah bin Majah recorded from Buraydah bin Al-Husayb that the Messenger of Allah said,

(There is no Ruqyah except to cure the evil eye and the sting.) This is how Ibn Majah recorded this Hadith. Imam Muslim also recorded this Hadith in his Sahih on the authority of Buraydah himself, but he did not attribute it to the Prophet . There is a story concerning this incident (as reported by Buraydah in Sahih Muslim), and At-Tirmidhi recorded the Hadith in this manner (like Muslim’s version). This Hadith has also been recorded by Imam Al-Bukhari, Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi on the authority of `Imran bin Husayn, however, he did not attribute it to the Prophet . `Imran’s wording is,

(There is no Ruqyah except to cure the evil eye and the sting.)” Muslim recorded in his Sahih from Ibn `Abbas that the Prophet said,

(The evil eye is real. If anything were to overtake the divine decree (and change it), then it would be the evil eye. And if you perform Ghusl (to remove the evil eye) then wash well.) Muslim was alone in recording this Hadith, as Al-Bukhari did not mention it. It is reported from Ibn `Abbas that he said, “The Messenger of Allah used to invoke Allah’s protection for Al-Hasan and Al-Husayn (his grandsons) by saying,

(I seek protection for you two by the perfect Words of Allah from every Shaytan, and dangerous creature, and from every eye that is evil.) Then he would say:

(Thus, did Ibrahim used to seek protection for Ishaq and Isma`il (his sons).)” This Hadith was recorded by Al-Bukhari and the Sunan compilers.

The Hadith of Abu Umamah As`ad bin Sahl bin Hunayf

Ibn Majah recorded from Abu Umamah As`ad bin Sahl bin Hunayf that `Amir bin Rabi`ah passed by Sahl bin Hunayf while he was bathing and he said, “I haven’t seen the skin of a beautiful virgin girl nicer than this that I see today (i.e., commenting on how nice Sahl’s skin was).” So he did not leave before he (Sahl) fell down on the ground. So he was brought to the Messenger of Allah and it was said to him (the Prophet ) that Sahl had been afflicted by a seizure. The Prophet then said,

(Who do you blame (or hold responsible) for this) The people replied, “”Amir bin Rabi`ah.” Then the Prophet said,

(Would one of you knowingly kill his brother If one of you sees something of his brother that he likes, then let him supplicate for blessings for him.) Then the Prophet called for some water and he commanded `Amir to perform Wudu’ with the water. So he washed his face, his hands up to his two elbows, his two knees, and the inside of his Izar. Then the Prophet commanded him to pour the water over Sahl. Sufyan said that Ma`mar related from Az-Zuhri that he said, “The Prophet ordered him to turn the water pot over (empty its contents over) him (Sahl) from behind him.” An-Nasa’i recorded this Hadith through different routes from Abu Umamah with the wording, “And he turned the pot over pouring its contents over him (Sahl) from behind him.”

The Hadith of Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri

Ibn Majah recorded that Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri said, “The Messenger of Allah used to seek refuge from the evil eye of the Jinns and the evil eye of humans. Then when the Mu`awwidhatan were revealed, he used them (for seeking protection) and abandoned everything else. This was recorded by At-Tirmidhi, and An-Nasa’i. At-Tirmidhi said, “Hasan.”

Another Hadith from Abu Sa`id Imam

Ahmad recorded from Abu Sa`id that Jibril came to the Prophet and said, “O Muhammad, are you suffering from any ailment” The Prophet said,

(Yes).” Then Jibril said,

(“In the Name of Allah I pray over you for healing (Ruqyah), from everything that bothers you, from the evil of every soul and every evil eye that hates you, may Allah cure you, in the Name of Allah I pray over you for healing.”) This Hadith has been recorded by Muslim and the Sunan compilers except for Abu Dawud. Imam Ahmad also recorded from Abu Sa`id or Jabir bin `Abdullah that the Messenger of Allah was bothered by some illness, and Jibril came to him and said,

(In the Name of Allah I pray over you for healing (Ruqyah), from everything that bothers you, from every envious person and evil eye, may Allah cure you.)

Another Hadith from Abu Sa`id

Imam Ahmad recorded from Abu Sa`id that Jibril came to the Prophet and said, “O Muhammad, are you suffering from any ailment” The Prophet said,

(Yes).” Then Jibril said,

(“In the Name of Allah I pray over you for healing (Ruqyah), from everything that bothers you, from the evil of every soul and every evil eye that hates you, may Allah cure you, in the Name of Allah I pray over you for healing.”) This Hadith has been recorded by Muslim and the Sunan compilers except for Abu Dawud. Imam Ahmad also recorded from Abu Sa`id or Jabir bin `Abdullah that the Messenger of Allah was bothered by some illness, and Jibril came to him and said,

(In the Name of Allah I pray over you for healing (Ruqyah), from everything that bothers you, from every envious person and evil eye, may Allah cure you.)

The Hadith of Asma’ bint `Umays

Imam Ahmad recorded from `Ubayd bin Rifa`ah Az-Zuraqi that Asma’ said, “O Messenger of Allah! Verily, Bani Ja`far are afflicted with the evil eye; should I seek to have Ruqyah ” The Prophet replied,

(Yes, for if anything could overcome the divine decree, it would be the evil eye.) This Hadith has been recorded like this by At-Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, and An-Nasa’i. At-Tirmidhi said concerning it, “Hasan Sahih.”

The Hadith of `A’ishah

Ibn Majah recorded from `A’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, that the Messenger of Allah ordered her to have Ruqyah performed as a cure against the evil eye. This was reported by Al-Bukhari and Muslim. The Hadith of Sahl bin Hunayf Imam Ahmad recorded from Abu Umamah bin Sahl bin Hunayf that his father informed him that the Messenger of Allah went out on a journey in the direction of Makkah and they (the Companions) accompanied him until they came to the valley of Kharrar from Al-Juhfah. They stopped there and Sahl took a bath. He (Sahl) was a white man, with a handsome body and nice skin. So the brother of Bani `Adi bin Ka`b, `Amir bin Rabi`ah looked at Sahl while he bathed and he said, “I haven’t seen the skin of a beautiful virgin girl nicer than this that I see today.” Then Sahl suddenly had a seizure and fell to the ground. So he (Sahl) was brought to the Messenger of Allah and it was said to him, “O Messenger of Allah! Can you do anything for Sahl By Allah, he has not lifted his head nor has he regained consciousness.” The Prophet then said,

(Do you all blame (or hold responsible) anyone for what has happened to him) They said, “`Amir bin Rabi`ah looked at him.” So the Prophet called `Amir and he was very angry with him. He said,

(Would one of you knowingly kill his brother Why don’t you ask Allah to bless your brother when you see something (of him) that you like) Then the Prophet said,

(Bathe for him.) So he (`Amir) washed his face, his hands, his elbows, his knees, his feet and the inside of his Izar (waist wrapper) in a drinking vessel. Then that water was poured over him (Sahl). A man poured it over Sahl’s head and his back from behind him, then the container was turned upside down and emptied behind him. This was done, and afterwards Sahl recovered and left with the people having nothing wrong with him.”

The Hadith of `Amir bin Rabi`ah

Imam Ahmad recorded in his Musnad that `Ubaydullah bin `Amir said, “`Amir bin Rabi`ah and Sahl bin Hanayf went off together intending to bathe. So they went about their business using coverings (to cover their nakedness). So `Amir removed a cloak of wool that he (Sahl) was using to conceal himself. He (`Amir) said, `I looked at him and my eye fell upon him while he was pouring water on himself bathing. Then I heard a loud splash in the water coming from where he was. So I went to him, and I called him three times, but he did not answer me. So I went to the Prophet and informed him. Then, the Prophet came walking, and he was wading in the water. I can still picture the whiteness of his shins. When he came to Sahl (who was unconscious), he hit him on his chest with his hand and said,

(O Allah! Remove from him its heat, its cold and its pain.) He (Sahl) then stood up, and Allah’s Messenger said,

(If one of you sees in his brother, or himself, or his wealth that which pleases him, then he should ask Allah to bless it, for verily, the evil eye is real.)

The Accusation of the Disbelievers and the Reply to Them

Allah says,

(and they say: “Verily, he is a madman!”) meaning, they cut at him with their eyes and attack him with their tongues saying, “Verily, he is a madman.” They say this because he came with the Qur’an. Allah then says,

(But it is nothing else but a Reminder to all the creatures (`Alamin).)

This is the end of the explanation (Tafsir) of Surah Nun (or Al-Qalam), and all praise and blessing belong to Allah.