Assalamualaikum, we begin with a short introduction of Surah Ash Shams. The English meaning of this surah is “The Sun” and is the 91st chapter of the Quran. It is a Meccan sura consisting of 15 ayat or verses.
The surah is in two parts ayats 1-10 deal with one subject matter and 11-15 a second. The first part can be summarized into this one line, A Muslim’s happiness or misery in life is directly dependent on the purity or corruption he has brought into it (i.e. a person’s choices or actions determines his own fate).
The second part of surah gives account to Thamud – an ancient civilization near the time of Muhammad located in the north of the peninsula – and their negative attitude and transgression towards Allah’s messenger. They disobeyed Allah’s command and killed the she-camel which inevitably lead to Allah bringing destruction upon them.
You can read Surah Ash Shams with transliteration and translation below. After that you will find the Tafsir given Ibn Kathir which will go in depth with hadith and provide extra commentary and meaning behind this surah.
Read Surah Ash Shams Transliteration
Bismillah Hir Rahman Nir Raheem
In the name of Allah, The Most Gracious and The Most Merciful
Wash shamsi wa duhaa haa
1. By the sun and its brightness
Walqamari itha talaha
2. And [by] the moon when it follows it
Wannahari itha jallaha
3. And [by] the day when it displays it
Wallaili izaa yaghshaa haa
4. And [by] the night when it covers it
Wassamaaa’i wa maa banaahaa
5. And [by] the sky and He who constructed it
Wal-ardi wama tahaha
6. And [by] the earth and He who spread it
Wanafsin wama sawwaha
7. And [by] the soul and He who proportioned it
Faalhamaha fujooraha wataqwaha
8. And inspired it [with discernment of] its wickedness and its righteousness,
Qad aflaha man zakkaha
9. He has succeeded who purifies it,
Wa qad khaaba man dassaahaa
10. And he has failed who instills it [with corruption].
Kazzabat Samoodu bi taghwaahaaa
11. Thamud denied [their prophet] by reason of their transgression,
Ithi inbaAAatha ashqaha
12. When the most wretched of them was sent forth.
Faqala lahum rasoolu Allahi naqataAllahi wasuqyaha
13. And the messenger of Allah [Salih] said to them, “[Do not harm] the she-camel of Allah or [prevent her from] her drink.”
Fakazzaboohu fa’aqaroohaa fadamdama ‘alaihim Rabbuhum bizambihim fasaw waahaa
14. But they denied him and hamstrung her. So their Lord brought down upon them destruction for their sin and made it equal [upon all of them].
Wala yakhafu AAuqbaha
15. And He does not fear the consequence thereof.
Tafsir and Benefits of Surah Ash-Shams by Ibn Kathir
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.
Which was revealed in Makkah
Recitation of Surah Ash-Shams wa Duhaha in the `Isha’ Prayer The Hadith of Jabir which was recorded in the Two Sahihs has already been mentioned. In it the Messenger of Allah said to Mu`adh, (Why didn’t you pray with (the recitation of) (Glorify the Name of your Lord the Most High) (87), (By the sun and Duhaha) (91), and (By the night as it envelops) (92)
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
1. By the sun and Duhaha.
2. By the moon as it Talaha.
3. By the day as it Jallaha.
4. By the night as it Yaghshaha.
5. By the heaven and Ma Banaha.
6. By the earth and Ma Tahhaha.
7. By Nafs, and Ma Sawwaha (Who apportioned it).
8. Then He showed it its Fujur and its Taqwa.
9. Indeed he succeeds who purifies it.
10. And indeed he fails who Dassaha.
Beginning Of Tafsir
Allah swears by His Creation that the Person Who purifies Himself will be Successful Mujahid said, (By the sun and Duhaha.) “This means, by its light.” Qatadah said, (wa Duhaha.) “The whole day.” Ibn Jarir said, “The correct view is what has been said, `Allah swears by the sun and its daytime, because the clear light of the sun is daytime.” (By the moon as it Talaha.) Mujahid said, “It follows it (the sun).”
Al-Awfi reported from Ibn Abbas that he said (By the moon as it Talaha.) “It follows the day.” Qatadah said, “as it Talaha (follows it) is referring to the night of the Hilal (the new crescent moon).
When the sun goes down, the Hilal is visible.” Concerning Allah’s statement, (By the day as it Jallaha.) Mujahid said, “When it illuminates.” Thus, Mujahid said, (By the day as it Jallaha.) “This is similar to Allah’s statement, (By the day as it Tajalla.) (92:2)”
And they have said concerning Allah’s statement, (By the night as it Yaghshaha.) meaning, when it covers the sun, which takes place when sun disappears and the horizons become dark.
Concerning Allah’s statement (By the heaven and Ma Banaha.) The meaning here could be for descriptive purposes, meaning “By the heaven and its construction.” This was said by Qatadah. It could also mean “By the heaven and its Constructor.” This was stated by Mujahid. Both views are interrelated, and construction means raising.
This is as Allah says, (With Hands did We construct the heaven.) (51:47) meaning, with strength. (Verily, We are able to extend the vastness of space thereof. And We have spread out the earth: how excellent a spreader are We!) (51:47-48)
This is also similar to Allah’s statement, (By the earth and Ma Tahaha.) Mujahid said, “Tahaha means He spread it out.” Al-`Awfi reported from Ibn `Abbas that he said, (and Ma Tahaha.) “This means what He created in it.” `Ali bin Abi Talhah reported from Ibn `Abbas that he said, “Tahaha means that He proportioned it.”
Mujahid, Qatadah, Ad-Dahhak, As-Suddi, Ath-Thawri, Abu Salih and Ibn Zayd all said that (Tahaha) means, He spread it out. Allah then says, (By Nafs, and Ma Sawwaha (Who apportioned it).) meaning, He created it sound and well-proportioned upon the correct nature (Al-Fitrah).
This is as Allah says, (So set you your face towards the religion, Hanif. Allah’s Fitrah with which He has created mankind. No change let there be in the Khalqillah.) (30:30)
The Messenger of Allah said, (Every child that is born, is born upon the Fitrah, but his parents make him a Jew, a Christian, or a Zoroastrian. This is just as the animal is born, complete with all of its parts. Do you notice any mutilation in it) Both Al-Bukhari and Muslim recorded this Hadith from Abu Hurayrah.
In Sahih Muslim, it has been narrated from `Iyad bin Himar Al-Mujashi`i that the Messenger of Allah said, (Allah the Mighty and Majestic says, “Verily I created My servants Hunafa’ (as monotheists), but then the devils came to them and distracted them from their religion.)”
Then Allah says,(Then He showed it its Fujur and its Taqwa) meaning, He showed him to his transgression and his Taqwa. This means that He clarified that for it and He guided it to what has been ordained for him. Ibn `Abbas said, (Then He showed it its Fujur and its Taqwa.)”
He explained the good and the evil to it (the soul).” Mujahid, Qatadah, Ad-Dahhak and Ath-Thawri all said the same. Sa`id bin Jubayr said, “He gave him inspiration (to see what was) good and evil.” Ibn Zayd said, “He made its Fujur and its Taqwa inside of it.”
Ibn Jarir recorded from Abul-Aswad Ad-Dili that he said, “`Imran bin Husayn said to me, `Do you think that what the people do, and what they strive for is a thing that is pre-ordained and predestined for them, or is it a thing which is only written after the Message comes to them from the Prophet, when there will be an evidence against them’ I said, `Rather it is something preordained upon them.’Then he said, `Is that an injustice’ Then I became extremely frightened of him (due to what he was saying), and I said to him, `There is nothing except that He (Allah) created it and possesses it in His Hand.
He is not asked about what He does, while they (His creation) will be asked.’ He (Imran) then said, `May Allah guide you! I only asked you about that in order to inform you that a man from Muzaynah or Juhaynah tribe came to the Allah’s Messenger and asked him: “O Messenger of Allah! Do you consider the actions of mankind and their struggles to be preordained for them and written for them from Qadr, or something written for them only after the Message came to them from their Prophet, when there will be an evidence against them”
He (the Prophet ) replied: (Rather it is something preordained for them.) So the man said, “Then what is the point of our actions” The Prophet replied, (Whoever Allah created for one of the two positions (Paradise or Hell), He makes it easy for him (to attain).
The proof of that is in the Book of Allah (By Nafs, and Ma Sawwaha (Who apportioned it). Then He showed it its Fujur and its Taqwa).)” Ahmad and Muslim both recorded this Hadith. Allah then says, (Indeed he succeeds who purifies it. And indeed he fails who Dassaha.)
This could mean that whoever purifies himself by obedience to Allah, then he will be successful. This is as Qatadah said, “He cleanses it from the lowly and despicable characteristics.” Similar to this has been reported from Mujahid, `Ikrimah and Sa`id bin Jubayr. (And indeed he fails who Dassaha.) meaning, to conceal it.
This means that he makes it dull, and he disregards it by neglecting to allow it to receive guidance. He treats it in this manner until he performs acts of disobedience and he abandons obedience of Allah.
It also could mean that he is indeed successful whose soul Allah purifies, and he has failed whose soul Allah corrupts. This is like what was reported by Al-`Awfi and `Ali bin Abi Talhah from Ibn `Abbas. At-Tabarani recorded that Ibn `Abbas said, “The Messenger of Allah used to stop whenever he recited this Ayah, (By Nafs, and Ma Sawwaha (Who apportioned it). Then He showed it its Fujur and its Taqwa.)
Then he would say, (O Allah! Give my soul its good. You are its Guardian and Master, and the best to purify it.)” Another Hadith Imam Ahmad recorded that Zayd bin Arqam said that the Messenger of Allah said, (O Allah! Verily, I seek refuge with You from weakness, laziness, senility (of old age), cowardliness, stinginess and the torment of the grave.
O Allah! Give my soul its good and purify it, for You are the best to purify it. You are its Guardian and Master. O Allah! Verily, I seek refuge with You from a heart that is not humble, a soul that is not satisfied, knowledge that does not benefit and a supplication that is not answered.) Zayd then said, “The Messenger of Allah used to teach us these (words) and we now teach them to you.” Muslim also recorded this Hadith.
Tafsir Of Second Part Surah Ash Shams
11. Thamud denied through their transgression.
12. When their most wicked went forth.
13. But the Messenger of Allah said to them: “Be cautious! That is the she-camel of Allah! (Do not harm it) and (bar it not from having) its drink!”
14. Then they denied him and they killed it. So their Lord destroyed them because of their sin, Fasawwaha!
15. And He feared not the consequences thereof.
The Rejection of Thamud and Allah’s Destruction of Them
Allah informs that Thamud rejected their Messenger because of the injustice and transgression they practiced. This was said by Mujahid, Qatadah and others. Therefore, this resulted in a rejection in their hearts for the guidance and conviction their Messenger came to them with.
(When their most wicked went forth.) meaning, the most wicked person of the tribe, and he was Qudar bin Salif, the one who killed the she-camel. He was leader of the tribe of Thamud, and he is the one whom Allah refers to in His saying, (But they called their comrade and he took (a sword) and killed (her).) (54:29)
This man was mighty and respected among his people. He was of noble lineage and a leader who was obeyed. This is just as Imam Ahmad recorded from `Abdullah bin Zam`ah. He said that the Messenger of Allah gave a sermon in which he mentioned the she-camel and he mentioned the man who killed her.
Then he said, (When their most wicked went forth.)( A strong and mighty man who was invincible among his tribe, like Abu Zam`ah, went forth to her.) This Hadith was recorded by Al-Bukhari in his Book of Tafsir, and Muslim in his Book of the Description of the Hellfire. At-Tirmidhi and An-Nasa’i both recorded it in their Sunans in their Books of Tafsir.
The Story of Salih’s She-Camel
Allah then says, (But the Messenger of Allah said to them) referring to Salih. (That is the she-camel of Allah!) meaning, beware of touching the she-camel of Allah with any harm.’ (and its drink!) meaning, do not transgress against her in her drinking, for she has been allocated a day to drink and you have been allocated a day to drink, as is known to you.
Then Allah says, (Then they denied him and they killed it.) which means they rejected what he came with. This resulted in them killing the she-camel that Allah had brought out of the rock as a sign for them and a proof against them. (So their Lord destroyed them because of their sin,) meaning, He became angry with them and He annihilated them (Fasawwaha!) meaning, He made the punishment descend upon them all equally.
Qatadah said, “It has reached us that the leader of tribe of Thamud did not kill the she-camel until their youth, their elderly, their males and their females all pledged allegiance to him.
So when the people cooperated in killing her, Allah destroyed them all with the same punishment due to their sin.” Allah said, (And He feared not) it has also been recited as (So He feared not) (the consequences thereof.)
Ibn Abbas said, “Allah does not fear any consequences from anyone else.” Mujahid, Al-Hasan, Bakr bin `Abdullah Al-Muzani and others all said the same.
This is the end of the Tafsir of Surat Ash-Shams, and all praise and thanks are due to Allah.