Surah Qalam >> Currently viewing Surah Qalam Ayat 1 (68:1)

Surah Qalam Ayat 1 in Arabic Text

نٓ ۚ وَٱلْقَلَمِ وَمَا يَسْطُرُونَ
Noon; walqalami wa maa yasturoon

English Translation

Here you can read various translations of verse 1

Sahih International
Nun. By the pen and what they inscribe,

Yusuf Ali
Nun. By the Pen and the (Record) which (men) write,-

Abul Ala Maududi
Nun. By the pen and what the scribes write.

Muhsin Khan
Nun. [These letters (Nun, etc.) are one of the miracles of the Quran, and none but Allah (Alone) knows their meanings]. By the pen and what the (angels) write (in the Records of men).

Nun. By the pen and that which they write (therewith),

Dr. Ghali
N‍ûn, (The is the name of a letter of the Arabic alphabet, and only Allah knows its meaning here) and (by) the pen and what they inscribe,

Abdel Haleem
Nun By the pen! By all they write!

Quran 68 Verse 1 Explanation

For those looking for commentary to help with the understanding of Surah Qalam ayat 1, we’ve provided two Tafseer works below. The first is the tafseer of Abul Ala Maududi, the second is of Ibn Kathir.


(68:1) Nun. By the pen and what the scribes write.[1]

1. The great commentator Mujahid says that by pen here is meant the pen with which the Quran was being written down. From this it automatically follows that that which was being written implies the Quran itself.


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,

﴿اقْرَأْ وَرَبُّكَ الاٌّكْرَمُ – الَّذِى عَلَّمَ بِالْقَلَمِ – عَلَّمَ الإِنسَـنَ مَا لَمْ يَعْلَمْ ﴾

(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,

﴿وَمَا يَسْطُرُونَ﴾

(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,

«إِنَّ أَوَّلَ مَا خَلَقَ اللهُ الْقَلَمُ فَقَالَ لَهُ: اكْتُبْ، قَالَ: يَا رَبِّ وَمَا أَكْتُبُ؟ قَالَ: اكْتُبِ الْقَدَرَ وَمَا هُوَ كَائِنٌ إِلَى الْأَبَد»

(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,

﴿مَآ أَنتَ بِنِعْمَةِ رَبِّكَ بِمَجْنُونٍ ﴾

(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.’

﴿وَإِنَّ لَكَ لاّجْراً غَيْرَ مَمْنُونٍ ﴾

(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:

﴿غَيْرُ مَمْنُونٍ﴾

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

﴿عَطَآءً غَيْرَ مَجْذُوذٍ﴾

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

﴿فَلَهُمْ أَجْرٌ غَيْرُ مَمْنُونٍ﴾

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

﴿غَيْرُ مَمْنُونٍ﴾

(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,

﴿وَإِنَّكَ لَعَلَى خُلُقٍ عَظِيمٍ ﴾

(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,

﴿وَإِنَّكَ لَعَلَى خُلُقٍ عَظِيمٍ ﴾

(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,

«إِنَّمَا بُعِثْتُ لِأُتَمِّمَ صَالِحَ الْأَخْلَاق»

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

﴿فَسَتُبْصِرُ وَيُبْصِرُونَ – بِأَيِّكُمُ الْمَفْتُونُ ﴾

(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,

﴿سَيَعْلَمُونَ غَداً مَّنِ الْكَذَّابُ الاٌّشِرُ ﴾

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

﴿وَإِنَّآ أَوْ إِيَّاكُمْ لَعَلَى هُدًى أَوْ فِى ضَلَـلٍ مُّبِينٍ﴾

(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;

﴿بِأَيِّكُمُ الْمَفْتُونُ ﴾

(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,

﴿إِنَّ رَبَّكَ هُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِمَن ضَلَّ عَن سَبِيلِهِ وَهُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِالْمُهْتَدِينَ ﴾

(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.’

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