Surah Ad Dukhan (in Arabic text: سورة الدخان) is the 44th chapter of the Qur’an and is classified as a Meccan Surah. It consists of a total of 59 ayat (verses) the title in English “Smoke”.
This surah warns about the day of judgement (qiyamah) and the punishment of Allah. There will be a division between the righteous and wicked and Allah will rule the final decision. The righteous will be rewarded and in a “secure place”.
[They will say], “Our Lord, remove from us the torment; indeed, we are believers.”
Surah Ad Dukhan Ayat 12
Read Surah Ad Dukhan with English Translation and Transliteration
Bismillah Hir Rahman Nir Raheem
In the name of Allah, The Most Gracious and The Most Merciful
1. Ha, Meem.
Wal Kitaabil Mubeen
2. By the clear Book,
إِنَّآ أَنزَلْنَـٰهُ فِى لَيْلَةٍۢ مُّبَـٰرَكَةٍ ۚ إِنَّا كُنَّا مُنذِرِينَ
Innaaa anzalnaahu fee lailatim mubaarakah; innaa kunnaa munzireen
3. Indeed, We sent it down during a blessed night. Indeed, We were to warn [mankind].
فِيهَا يُفْرَقُ كُلُّ أَمْرٍ حَكِيمٍ
Feehaa yufraqu kullu amrin hakeem
4. On that night is made distinct every precise matter –
أَمْرًۭا مِّنْ عِندِنَآ ۚ إِنَّا كُنَّا مُرْسِلِينَ
Amram min ‘indinaaa; innaa kunnaa mursileen
5. [Every] matter [proceeding] from Us. Indeed, We were to send [a messenger]
رَحْمَةًۭ مِّن رَّبِّكَ ۚ إِنَّهُۥ هُوَ ٱلسَّمِيعُ ٱلْعَلِيمُ
Rahmatam mir rabbik; innahoo Huwas Samee’ul ‘Aleem
6. As mercy from your Lord. Indeed, He is the Hearing, the Knowing.
رَبِّ ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٰتِ وَٱلْأَرْضِ وَمَا بَيْنَهُمَآ ۖ إِن كُنتُم مُّوقِنِينَ
Rabbis samaawaati wal ardi wa maa bainahumaa; in kuntum mooqineen
7. Lord of the heavens and the earth and that between them, if you would be certain.
لَآ إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ يُحْىِۦ وَيُمِيتُ ۖ رَبُّكُمْ وَرَبُّ ءَابَآئِكُمُ ٱلْأَوَّلِينَ
Laaa ilaaha illaa Huwa yuhyee wa yumeetu Rabbukum wa Rabbu aabaaa’ikumul awwaleen
8. There is no deity except Him; He gives life and causes death. [He is] your Lord and the Lord of your first forefathers.
بَلْ هُمْ فِى شَكٍّۢ يَلْعَبُونَ
Bal hum fee shakkiny yal’aboon
9. But they are in doubt, amusing themselves.
فَٱرْتَقِبْ يَوْمَ تَأْتِى ٱلسَّمَآءُ بِدُخَانٍۢ مُّبِينٍۢ
Fartaqib Yawma taatis samaaa’u bidukhaanim mubeen
10. Then watch for the Day when the sky will bring a visible smoke.
يَغْشَى ٱلنَّاسَ ۖ هَـٰذَا عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌۭ
Yaghshan naasa haazaa ‘azaabun aleem
11. Covering the people; this is a painful torment.
رَّبَّنَا ٱكْشِفْ عَنَّا ٱلْعَذَابَ إِنَّا مُؤْمِنُونَ
Rabbanak shif ‘annal ‘azaaba innaa mu’minoon
12. [They will say], “Our Lord, remove from us the torment; indeed, we are believers.”
أَنَّىٰ لَهُمُ ٱلذِّكْرَىٰ وَقَدْ جَآءَهُمْ رَسُولٌۭ مُّبِينٌۭ
Annaa lahumuz zikraa wa qad jaaa’ahum Rasoolum mubeen
13. How will there be for them a reminder [at that time]? And there had come to them a clear Messenger.
ثُمَّ تَوَلَّوْا۟ عَنْهُ وَقَالُوا۟ مُعَلَّمٌۭ مَّجْنُونٌ
Summaa tawallaw ‘anhu wa qaaloo mu’allamum majnoon
14. Then they turned away from him and said, “[He was] taught [and is] a madman.”
إِنَّا كَاشِفُوا۟ ٱلْعَذَابِ قَلِيلًا ۚ إِنَّكُمْ عَآئِدُون
Innaa kaashiful ‘azaabi qaleelaa; innakum ‘aaa’indoon
15. Indeed, We will remove the torment for a little. Indeed, you [disbelievers] will return [to disbelief].
يَوْمَ نَبْطِشُ ٱلْبَطْشَةَ ٱلْكُبْرَىٰٓ إِنَّا مُنتَقِمُونَ
Yawma nabtishul batsha tal kubraa innaa muntaqimoon
16. The Day We will strike with the greatest assault, indeed, We will take retribution.
۞ وَلَقَدْ فَتَنَّا قَبْلَهُمْ قَوْمَ فِرْعَوْنَ وَجَآءَهُمْ رَسُولٌۭ كَرِيمٌ
Wa laqad fatannaa qablahum qawma Fir’awna wa jaaa’ahum Rasoolun kareem
17. And We had already tried before them the people of Pharaoh, and there came to them a noble messenger,
أَنْ أَدُّوٓا۟ إِلَىَّ عِبَادَ ٱللَّهِ ۖ إِنِّى لَكُمْ رَسُولٌ أَمِينٌۭ
An addooo ilaiya ‘ibaadal laahi innee lakum Rasoolun ameen
18. [Saying], “Render to me the servants of Allah . Indeed, I am to you a trustworthy messenger,”
وَأَن لَّا تَعْلُوا۟ عَلَى ٱللَّهِ ۖ إِنِّىٓ ءَاتِيكُم بِسُلْطَـٰنٍۢ مُّبِينٍۢ
Wa al laa ta’loo ‘alal laahi innee aateekum bisultaanim mubeen
19. And [saying], “Be not haughty with Allah . Indeed, I have come to you with clear authority.
وَإِنِّى عُذْتُ بِرَبِّى وَرَبِّكُمْ أَن تَرْجُمُونِ
Wa innee ‘uztu bi Rabbee wa rabbikum an tarjumoon
20. And indeed, I have sought refuge in my Lord and your Lord, lest you stone me.
وَإِن لَّمْ تُؤْمِنُوا۟ لِى فَٱعْتَزِلُونِ
Wa il lam tu’minoo lee fa’taziloon
21. But if you do not believe me, then leave me alone.”
فَدَعَا رَبَّهُۥٓ أَنَّ هَـٰٓؤُلَآءِ قَوْمٌۭ مُّجْرِمُونَ
Fada’aa rabbahooo anna haaa’ulaaa’i qawmum mujrimoon
22. And [finally] he called to his Lord that these were a criminal people.
فَأَسْرِ بِعِبَادِى لَيْلًا إِنَّكُم مُّتَّبَعُونَ
Fa asri bi’ibaadee lailan innakum muttaba’oon
23. [ Allah said], “Then set out with My servants by night. Indeed, you are to be pursued.
وَٱتْرُكِ ٱلْبَحْرَ رَهْوًا ۖ إِنَّهُمْ جُندٌۭ مُّغْرَقُونَ
Watrukil bahra rahwan innahum jundum mughraqoon
24. And leave the sea in stillness. Indeed, they are an army to be drowned.”
كَمْ تَرَكُوا۟ مِن جَنَّـٰتٍۢ وَعُيُونٍۢ
Kam tarakoo min jannaatinw wa ‘uyoon
25. How much they left behind of gardens and springs
وَزُرُوعٍۢ وَمَقَامٍۢ كَرِيمٍۢ
Wa zuroo’inw wa maqaa min kareem
26. And crops and noble sites
وَنَعْمَةٍۢ كَانُوا۟ فِيهَا فَـٰكِهِينَ
Wa na’matin kaanoo feehaa faakiheen
27. And comfort wherein they were amused.
كَذَٰلِكَ ۖ وَأَوْرَثْنَـٰهَا قَوْمًا ءَاخَرِينَ
Kazaalika wa awrasnaahaa qawman aakhareen
28. Thus. And We caused to inherit it another people.
فَمَا بَكَتْ عَلَيْهِمُ ٱلسَّمَآءُ وَٱلْأَرْضُ وَمَا كَانُوا۟ مُنظَرِينَ
Famaa bakat ‘alaihimus samaaa’u wal ardu wa maa kaanoo munzareen
29. And the heaven and earth wept not for them, nor were they reprieved.
وَلَقَدْ نَجَّيْنَا بَنِىٓ إِسْرَٰٓءِيلَ مِنَ ٱلْعَذَابِ ٱلْمُهِينِ
Wa laqad najjainaa Baneee Israaa’eela minal’azaabil muheen
30. And We certainly saved the Children of Israel from the humiliating torment –
مِن فِرْعَوْنَ ۚ إِنَّهُۥ كَانَ عَالِيًۭا مِّنَ ٱلْمُسْرِفِينَ
Min Fir’awn; innahoo kaana ‘aaliyam minal musrifeen
31. From Pharaoh. Indeed, he was a haughty one among the transgressors.
وَلَقَدِ ٱخْتَرْنَـٰهُمْ عَلَىٰ عِلْمٍ عَلَى ٱلْعَـٰلَمِينَ
Wa laqadikh tarnaahum ‘alaa ‘ilmin ‘alal ‘aalameen
32. And We certainly chose them by knowledge over [all] the worlds.
وَءَاتَيْنَـٰهُم مِّنَ ٱلْءَايَـٰتِ مَا فِيهِ بَلَـٰٓؤٌۭا۟ مُّبِينٌ
Wa aatainaahum minal aayaati maa feehi balaaa’um mubeen
33. And We gave them of signs that in which there was a clear trial.
إِنَّ هَـٰٓؤُلَآءِ لَيَقُولُونَ
Inna haaa’ulaaa’i la yaqooloon
34. Indeed, these [disbelievers] are saying,
إِنْ هِىَ إِلَّا مَوْتَتُنَا ٱلْأُولَىٰ وَمَا نَحْنُ بِمُنشَرِينَ
In hiya illaa mawtatunal oolaa wa maa nahnu bimun shareen
35. “There is not but our first death, and we will not be resurrected.
فَأْتُوا۟ بِـَٔابَآئِنَآ إِن كُنتُمْ صَـٰدِقِينَ
Faatoo bi aabaaa’inaaa inkuntum saadiqeen
36. Then bring [back] our forefathers, if you should be truthful.”
أَهُمْ خَيْرٌ أَمْ قَوْمُ تُبَّعٍۢ وَٱلَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِهِمْ ۚ أَهْلَكْنَـٰهُمْ ۖ إِنَّهُمْ كَانُوا۟ مُجْرِمِينَ
Ahum khayrun am qawmu Tubba’inw wallazeena min qablihim; ahlaknaahum innahum kaanoo mujrimeen
37. Are they better or the people of Tubba’ and those before them? We destroyed them, [for] indeed, they were criminals.
وَمَا خَلَقْنَا ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٰتِ وَٱلْأَرْضَ وَمَا بَيْنَهُمَا لَـٰعِبِينَ
Wa maa khalaqnas samaawaati wal arda wa maa baina humaa laa’ibeen
38. And We did not create the heavens and earth and that between them in play.
مَا خَلَقْنَـٰهُمَآ إِلَّا بِٱلْحَقِّ وَلَـٰكِنَّ أَكْثَرَهُمْ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ
Maa khalaqnaahumaaa illaa bilhaqqi wa laakinna aksarahum laa ya’lamoon
39. We did not create them except in truth, but most of them do not know.
إِنَّ يَوْمَ ٱلْفَصْلِ مِيقَـٰتُهُمْ أَجْمَعِينَ
Inna yawmal fasli meeqaatuhum ajma’een
40. Indeed, the Day of Judgement is the appointed time for them all –
يَوْمَ لَا يُغْنِى مَوْلًى عَن مَّوْلًۭى شَيْـًۭٔا وَلَا هُمْ يُنصَرُونَ
Yawma laa yughnee mawlan ‘am mawlan shai’anw wa laa hum yunsaroon
41. The Day when no relation will avail a relation at all, nor will they be helped –
إِلَّا مَن رَّحِمَ ٱللَّهُ ۚ إِنَّهُۥ هُوَ ٱلْعَزِيزُ ٱلرَّحِيمُ
Illaa mar rahimal laah’ innahoo huwal ‘azeezur raheem
42. Except those [believers] on whom Allah has mercy. Indeed, He is the Exalted in Might, the Merciful.
إِنَّ شَجَرَتَ ٱلزَّقُّومِ
Inna shajarataz zaqqoom
43. Indeed, the tree of zaqqum
44. Is food for the sinful.
كَٱلْمُهْلِ يَغْلِى فِى ٱلْبُطُونِ
Kalmuhli yaghlee filbutoon
45. Like murky oil, it boils within bellies
46. Like the boiling of scalding water.
خُذُوهُ فَٱعْتِلُوهُ إِلَىٰ سَوَآءِ ٱلْجَحِيمِ
Khuzoohu fa’tiloohu ilaa sawaaa’il Jaheem
47. [It will be commanded], “Seize him and drag him into the midst of the Hellfire,
ثُمَّ صُبُّوا۟ فَوْقَ رَأْسِهِۦ مِنْ عَذَابِ ٱلْحَمِيمِ
Summa subboo fawqa raasihee min ‘azaabil hameem
48. Then pour over his head from the torment of scalding water.”
ذُقْ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ ٱلْعَزِيزُ ٱلْكَرِيمُ
Zuq innaka antal ‘azeezul kareem
49. [It will be said], “Taste! Indeed, you are the honored, the noble!
إِنَّ هَـٰذَا مَا كُنتُم بِهِۦ تَمْتَرُونَ
Inna haazaa maa kuntum bihee tamtaroon
50. Indeed, this is what you used to dispute.”
إِنَّ ٱلْمُتَّقِينَ فِى مَقَامٍ أَمِينٍۢ
Innal muttaqeena fee maqaamin ameen
51. Indeed, the righteous will be in a secure place;
فِى جَنَّـٰتٍۢ وَعُيُونٍۢ
Fee jannaatinw wa ‘uyoon
52. Within gardens and springs,
يَلْبَسُونَ مِن سُندُسٍۢ وَإِسْتَبْرَقٍۢ مُّتَقَـٰبِلِينَ
Yalbasoona min sundusinw wa istabraqim mutaqaabileen
53. Wearing [garments of] fine silk and brocade, facing each other.
كَذَٰلِكَ وَزَوَّجْنَـٰهُم بِحُورٍ عِينٍۢ
Kazaalika wa zawwajnaahum bihoorin ‘een
54. Thus. And We will marry them to fair women with large, [beautiful] eyes.
يَدْعُونَ فِيهَا بِكُلِّ فَـٰكِهَةٍ ءَامِنِينَ
Yad’oona feehaa bikulli faakihatin aamineen
55. They will call therein for every [kind of] fruit – safe and secure.
لَا يَذُوقُونَ فِيهَا ٱلْمَوْتَ إِلَّا ٱلْمَوْتَةَ ٱلْأُولَىٰ ۖ وَوَقَىٰهُمْ عَذَابَ ٱلْجَحِيمِ
Laa yazooqoona feehal mawtaa illal mawtatal oolaa wa qaqaahum ‘azaabal jaheem
56. They will not taste death therein except the first death, and He will have protected them from the punishment of Hellfire
فَضْلًۭا مِّن رَّبِّكَ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ هُوَ ٱلْفَوْزُ ٱلْعَظِيمُ
Fadlam mir rabbik; zaalika huwal fawzul ‘azeem
57. As bounty from your Lord. That is what is the great attainment.
فَإِنَّمَا يَسَّرْنَـٰهُ بِلِسَانِكَ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَذَكَّرُونَ
Fa innamaa yassarnaahu bilisaanika la’allahum yatazakkaroon
58. And indeed, We have eased the Qur’an in your tongue that they might be reminded.
فَٱرْتَقِبْ إِنَّهُم مُّرْتَقِبُونَ
Fartaqib innahum murta qiboon
59. So watch, [O Muhammad]; indeed, they are watching [for your end].
Tafsir of Surah Ad Dukhan
The revelation of the Qur’an was to call people to Islam and to be a book of guidance.
We should regularly read the Quran as I am sure you know, but let’s not neglect to study it’s message and it’s teaching. Below you can benefit from reading the commentary of Surah Ad Dukhan by Ibn Kathir and from Tafheem ul Quran by Abul A’a Maududi.
Surah Dukhan Tafsir by Ibn Kathir
In Musnad Al-Bazzar, it is recorded from Abu At-Tufayl `Amir bin Wathilah from Zayd bin Harithah that the Messenger of Allah said to Ibn Sayyad:
(I am concealing something, what is it) And the Messenger of Allah was concealing Surat Ad-Dukhan from him. He (Ibn Sayyad) said: “It is Ad-Dukh.” The Messenger of Allah said,
(Be off with you! Whatever Allah wills happens.)
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
Allah tells us that He revealed the Magnificent Qur’an on a blessed night, Laylatul-Qadr (the Night of Decree), as He says elsewhere:
(Verily, We have sent it down in the Night of Al-Qadr) (97:1). This was in the month of Ramadan, as Allah tells us:
(The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Qur’an) (2:185). We have already quoted the relevant Hadiths in (the Tafsir of) Surat Al-Baqarah, and there is no need to repeat them here.
(Verily, We are ever warning.) means, telling them what is good for them and what is harmful for them, according to Shari`ah, so that the proof of Allah may be established against His servants.
(Therein (that night) is decreed every matter, Hakim.) means, on Laylatul-Qadr, the decrees are transferred from Al-Lawh Al-Mahfuz to the (angelic) scribes who write down the decrees of the (coming) year including life span, provision, and what will happen until the end of the year. This was narrated from Ibn `Umar, Mujahid, Abu Malik, Ad-Dahhak and others among the Salaf.
(Hakim) means decided or confirmed, which cannot be changed or altered. Allah says:
(As a command from Us.) meaning, everything that happens and is decreed by Allah and the revelation that He sends down — it all happens by His command, by His leave and with His knowledge.
(Verily, We are ever sending,) means, to mankind, sending Messenger who will recite to them the clear signs of Allah. The need for this was urgent.
((As) a mercy from your Lord. Verily, He is the All-Hearer, the All-Knower. The Lord of the heavens and the earth and all that is between them,) means, the One Who sent down the Qur’an is the Lord, Creator and Sovereign of the heavens and the earth and everything in between them.
(if you (but) have a faith with certainty.) Then Allah says:
(La ilaha illa Huwa. He gives life and causes death — your Lord and the Lord of your forefathers.) This is like the Ayah:
(Say: “O mankind! Verily, I am sent to you all as the Messenger of Allah — to Whom belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth. La ilaha illa Huwa. He gives life and causes death…) (7:158)
Allah says, these idolaters are playing about in doubt, i.e., the certain truth has come to them, but they doubt it and do not believe in it. Then Allah says, warning and threatening them:
(Then wait you for the Day when the sky will bring forth a visible smoke.) It was narrated that Masruq said, “We entered the Masjid — i.e., the Masjid of Kufah at the gates of Kindah — and a man was reciting to his companions,
(the Day when the sky will bring forth a visible smoke.) He asked them; `Do you know what that is’ That is the smoke that will come on the Day of Resurrection. It will take away the hearing and sight of the hypocrites, but for the believers it will be like having a cold.”’ He said, “We came to Ibn Mas`ud, may Allah be pleased with him, and told him about that. He was lying down, and he sat up with a start and said, `Allah said to your Prophet
(Say: “No wage do I ask of you for this, nor am I one of the pretenders.”) (38:86). And it is part of knowledge that when a man does not know something, he should say, `Allah knows best.’ I will tell you a Hadith about that. When the Quraysh did not respond to Islam and they grew stubborn, the Messenger of Allah invoked Allah against them that they would have years like the years (of drought and famine) of Yusuf. They became so exhausted and hungry that they ate bones and dead meat. They looked at the sky, but they saw nothing but smoke.”’ According to another report: “A man would look at the sky and he would see nothing between him and the sky except a smoky haze, because of his exhaustion.”
(Then wait you for the Day when the sky will bring forth a visible smoke, covering the people, this is a painful torment) A man came to the Messenger of Allah and said, “O Messenger of Allah! Pray to Allah to send rain to Mudar, for they are dying. So the Prophet prayed for rain for them, and they got rain. Then the Ayah was revealed:
(Verily, We shall remove the torment for a while. Verily, you will revert.) Ibn Mas`ud said, “Do you think that the torment will be removed for them on the Day of Resurrection When they were granted ease, they reverted to their former state. Then Allah revealed:
(On the Day when We shall strike you with the Great Batshah. Verily, We will exact retribution.)” He said, “This means the day of Badr.” Ibn Mas`ud said, “Five things have come to pass: the smoke, the (defeat of the) Romans, the (splitting of the) moon, the Batshah, and the torment.” This Hadith was narrated in the Two Sahihs. It was also recorded by Imam Ahmad in his Musnad, and by At-Tirmidhi and An-Nasa’i in their (Books of) Tafsir, and by Ibn Jarir and Ibn Abi Hatim with a number of chains of narration. A number of the Salaf, such as Mujahid, Abu Al-`Aliyah, Ibrahim An-Nakha`i, Ad-Dahhak and `Atiyah Al-`Awfi concurred with Ibn Mas`ud’s interpretation of this Ayah and his view that the smoke already happened. This was also the view of Ibn Jarir. According to the Hadith of Abu Sarihah, Hudhayfah bin Asid Al-Ghifari, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “The Messenger of Allah looked out upon us from a room while we were discussing the Hour. He said:
(The Hour will not come until you see ten signs. The rising of the sun from the west; the smoke; the beast; the emergence of Ya’juj and Ma’juj; the appearance of `Isa bin Maryam; the Dajjal; three cases of the earth collapsing — one in the east, one in the west, and one in the Arabian Peninsula; and a fire which will emerge from the bottom of Aden and will drive the people — or gather the people — stopping with them when they stop to sleep at night or rest during the day.)” This was recorded only by Muslim in his Sahih In the Two Sahihs it was recorded that the Messenger of Allah said to Ibn Sayyad:
(I am concealing something for you.) He said, It is Ad-Dukh. The Prophet said,
(Be off with you! You cannot get further than your rank.) He said, “The Messenger of Allah was concealing from him the words,
(Then wait you for the Day when the sky will bring forth a visible smoke.)”This indicates that the smoke is yet to appear. Ibn Sayyad was a fortune-teller who heard things through the Jinn, whose speech is unclear, therefore he said, “It is Ad-Dukh,” meaning Ad-Dukhan (the smoke). When the Messenger of Allah was sure what was happening, that the source of his information was the Shayatin, he said:
(Be off with you! You cannot get further than your rank.) There are numerous Marfu` and Mawquf Hadiths, Sahih, Hasan and others, which indicate that the smoke is one of the awaited signs (of the Hour). This is also the apparent meaning of Ayat in the Qur’an. Allah says:
(Then wait you for the Day when the sky will bring forth a visible smoke.) meaning, clearly visible, such that all people will see it. According to Ibn Mas`ud’s interpretation, this was a vision which they saw because of their intense hunger and exhaustion. He also interprets the Ayah
(Covering mankind,) meaning, it covered them and overwhelmed them. But if it was only an illusion which happened to the idolators of Makkah, Allah would not have said “covering mankind.”
(this is a painful torment.) means, this will be said to them by way of rebuke. This is like the Ayah:
(The Day when they will be pushed down by force to the fire of Hell, with a horrible, forceful pushing. This is the Fire which you used to deny.) (52:13-14). Or some of them will say that to others.
((They will say): “Our Lord! Remove the torment from us, really we shall become believers!”) means, when the disbelievers witness the punishment of Allah, they will ask for it to be taken away from them. This is like the Ayat:
(If you could but see when they will be held over the (Hell) Fire! They will say: “Would that we were but sent back (to the world)! Then we would not deny the Ayat of our Lord, and we would be of the believers!”) (6:27)
(And warn mankind of the Day when the torment will come unto them; then the wrongdoers will say: “Our Lord! Respite us for a little while, we will answer Your Call and follow the Messengers!” (It will be said): “Had you not sworn aforetime that you would not leave (the world for the Hereafter).) (14:44) Allah says here:
(How can there be for them an admonition, when a Messenger explaining things clearly has already come to them. Then they had turned away from him and said: “(He is) one taught, a madman!”) meaning, `what further admonition do they need when We have sent them a Messenger with a clear Message and warning Yet despite that, they turned away from him, opposed him and rejected him, and they said: (He is) one taught (by a human being), a madman.’ This is like the Ayah:
(On that Day will man remember, but how will that remembrance (then) avail him) (89:23)
(And if you could but see, when they will be terrified with no escape, and they will be seized from a near place. And they will say (in the Hereafter): “We do believe (now);” but how could they receive (faith and its acceptance by Allah) from a place so far off…) (34:51-52)
(Verily, We shall remove the torment for a while. Verily, you will revert.) means, `if We were to remove the torment from you for a while, and send you back to the world, you would go back to your former state of disbelief and denial.’ This is like the Ayat:
(And though We had mercy on them and removed the distress which is on them, still they would obstinately persist in their transgression, wandering blindly.) (23:75)
(But if they were returned (to the world), they would certainly revert to that which they were forbidden. And indeed they are liars) (6:28)
(On the Day when We shall strike you with the great Batshah. Verily, We will exact retribution.) Ibn Mas`ud interpreted this to mean the day of Badr. This is also the view of a group who agreed with Ibn Mas`ud, may Allah be pleased with him, about the meaning of the smoke, as discussed above. It was also narrated from Ibn `Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, in a report related to him from Al-`Awfi and from Ubayy bin Ka`b, may Allah be pleased with him. This is possible, but the apparent meaning is that it refers to the Day of Resurrection, although the day of Badr was also a day of vengeance. Ibn Jarir said, “Ya`qub narrated to me; Ibn `Ulayyah narrated to me, Khalid Al-Hadhdha’ narrated to us, from `Ikrimah who said, `Ibn `Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “Ibn Mas`ud, may Allah be pleased with him, said that “the great Batshah” is the day of Badr, and I say that it is the Day of Resurrection.” This chain of narration is Sahih to him. This is also the view of Al-Hasan Al-Basri and of `Ikrimah according to the more authentic of the two reports narrated from him. And Allah knows best.
Allah tells us, `before these idolators, We tested the people of Fir`awn, the copts of Egypt.’
(when there came to them a noble Messenger.) means, Musa, peace be upon him, the one to whom Allah spoke.
(Deliver to me the servants of Allah.) This is like the Ayah:
(So let the Children of Israel go with us, and torment them not; indeed, we have come with a sign from your Lord! And peace will be upon him who follows the guidance!”) (20:47)
(Verily, I am to you a Messenger worthy of all trust.) means, `what I convey to you is trustworthy.’
(And exalt not yourselves against Allah.) means, `and do not be too arrogant to follow His signs. Accept His proof and believe in His evidence.’ This is like the Ayah:
(Verily, those who scorn My worship they will surely enter Hell in humiliation!) (40:60)
(Truly, I have come to you with a manifest authority.) means, with clear and obvious proof. This refers to the clear signs and definitive evidence with which Allah sent him.
(And truly, I seek refuge with my Lord and your Lord, lest you should stone me.) Ibn `Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, and Abu Salih said, “This refers to a verbal assault, which means insults.” Qatadah said, “Meaning `stoning’ in the literal sense, so that the meaning is: `I seek refuge with Allah, Who created me and you, from your making any harmful words or actions reach me.”’
(But if you believe me not, then keep away from me and leave me alone.) means, `then let us leave one another alone and live in peace until Allah judges between us.’ After Musa, may Allah be pleased with him, had stayed among them for a long time, and the proof of Allah had been established against them, and that only increased them in disbelief and stubbornness, he prayed to his Lord against them, a prayer which was answered. Allah says:
(And Musa said: “Our Lord! You have indeed bestowed on Fir`awn and his chiefs splendor and wealth in the life of this world, our Lord! That they may lead men astray from Your path. Our Lord! Destroy their wealth, and harden their hearts, so that they will not believe until they see the painful torment.” Allah said: “Verily, the invocation of you both is accepted. So you both keep to the straight way.”) (10:88-89) And Allah says here:
(So he (Musa) called upon his Lord (saying): “These are indeed the people who are criminals.”) Whereupon Allah commanded him to bring the Children of Israel out from among them, without the command, consent or permission of Fir`awn. Allah said:
(Depart you with My servants by night. Surely, you will be pursued.) This is like the Ayah:
And indeed We revealed to Mu0sa0 (saying): Travel by night with My servants and strike a dry path for them in the sea, fearing neither to be overtaken nor being afraid (of drowning in the sea). )20:77(
(And leave the sea as it is (quiet and divided). Verily, they are a host to be drowned.) When Musa and the Children of Israel has crossed the sea, Musa wanted to strike it with his staff so that it would go back as it had been, and it would form a barrier between then and Fir`awn and prevent him from reaching them. But Allah commanded him to leave it as it was, quiet and divided, and gave him the glad tidings that they were a host to be drowned, and that he should not fear either being overtaken by Fir`awn or drowning in the sea. Ibn `Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, said:
(And leave the sea as it is (quiet and divided).) means, leave it as it is and keep moving. Mujahid said:
(as it is) means, a dry path, as it is. `Do not command it to go back; leave it until the last of them have entered it.’ This was also the view of `Ikrimah, Ar-Rabi` bin Anas, Ad-Dahhak, Qatadah, Ibn Zayd, Ka`b Al-Ahbar, Simak bin Harb and others.
(How many of gardens and springs that they left behind. And green crops) this refers to rivers and wells.
and goodly places, means, fine dwellings and beautiful places. Muja0hid and Sa 0d bin Jubayr said:
(and goodly places,) means elevated places.
(And comforts of life wherein they used to take delight!) means, a life which they were enjoying, where they could eat whatever they wanted and wear what they liked, with wealth and glory and power in the land. Then all of that was taken away in a single morning, they departed from this world and went to Hell, what a terrible abode!
(Thus (it was)! And We made other people inherit them.) namely the Children of Israel.
(And the heavens and the earth wept not for them, ) means, they had no righteous deeds which used to ascend through the gates of the heavens, which would weep for them when they died, and they had no places on earth where they used to worship Allah which would notice their loss. So they did not deserve to be given a respite, because of their disbelief, sin, transgression and stubbornness. Ibn Jarir recorded that Sa`id bin Jubayr said, “A man came to Ibn `Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, and said to him: `O Abu Al-`Abbas, Allah says,
(And the heavens and the earth wept not for them, nor were they given respite) — do the heavens and the earth weep for anybody’ He, may Allah be pleased with him, said, `Yes, there is no one who does not have a gate in the heavens through which his provision comes down and his good deeds ascend. When the believer dies, that gate is closed; it misses him and weeps for him, and the place of prayer on earth where he used to pray and remember Allah also weeps for him. But the people of Fir`awn left no trace of righteousness on the earth and they had no good deeds that ascended to Allah, so the heavens and the earth did not weep for them.”’ Al-`Awfi reported something similar from Ibn `Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him.
(And indeed We saved the Children of Israel from the humiliating torment from Fir`awn; verily, he was arrogant and was of the excessive. ) Here Allah reminds them of how He saved them from their humiliation and subjugation at the hands of Fir`awn, when they were forced to do menial tasks.
(From Fir`awn; verily, he was arrogant) means, he was proud and stubborn. This is like the Ayah:
(Verily, Fir`awn exalted himself in the land) (28:4).
(but they behaved insolently and they were people self-exalting) (23:46). He was one of the excessive and held a foolish opinion of himself.
(And We chose them above the nations (Al-`Alamin) with knowledge,) Mujahid said, “This means that they were chosen above those among whom they lived.” Qatadah said, “They were chosen above the other people of their own time, and it was said that in every period there are people who are chosen above others.” This is like the Ayah:
((Allah) said: “O Musa I have chosen you above men.”) (7:144), which means, above the people of his time. This is also like the Ayah:
(and (Allah has) chosen you (Maryam) above the women of the nations (Al-`Alamin).) (3:42), i.e., Maryam was chosen above the women of her time. For Khadijah, may Allah be pleased with her, is higher than her in status or is equal to her, as was Asiyah bint Muzahim, the wife of Fir`awn. And the superiority of `A’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, over all other women is like the superiority of Tharid over all other dishes.
(And granted them signs) means clear proofs and extraordinary evidence.
(in which there was a plain trial.) means, an obvious test to show who would be guided by it.
Here Allah denounces the idolators for their denial of the Resurrection and their belief that there is nothing after this life and no life or resurrection after death, which they based on the fact that their forefathers had died and had not returned. They said, If the resurrection is true,
(Then bring back our forefathers, if you speak the truth!) This is false evidence and a specious argument, for the resurrection will happen on the Day of Judgement, not in this world; it will happen when this world has ended and ceased to be. Allah will bring all creatures back, created anew. He will make the evildoers fuel for the fire of Hell, and on that Day you will be witnesses over mankind and the Messenger will be a witness over you. Then Allah threatens them and warns them of the irresistible torment other idolators like who denied the resurrection, suffered. Such as the people of Tubba`, i.e., Saba’. Allah destroyed them, wreaked havoc upon their land and scattered them here and there throughout the land, as we have already seen in Surah Saba’. This was brought about because the idolators denied the Resurrection. Here too, the idolaters are compared to them. They Tubba` were Arab descendants of Qahtan, just as these people (Quraysh) were Arab descendants of `Adnan. Among the people of Himyar — who are also known as Saba’ — when a man became their king, they called him Tubba`, just as the title Chosroes was given to the king of Persia, Caesar to the king of the Romans, Fir`awn to the disbelieving ruler of Egypt, Negus to the king of Ethiopia, and so on among other nations. But it so happened that one of the Tubba` left Yemen and went on a journey of conquest until he reached Samarqand, expanding his kingdom and domain. He is the one who founded Al-Hirah. It is agreed that he passed through Al-Madinah during the days of Jahiliyyah. He fought its inhabitants but they resisted him; they fought him by day and supplied him with food by night, so he felt ashamed before them and refrained from harming them. He was accompanied by two Jewish rabbis who advised him and told him that he would never prevail over this city, for it would be the place to which a Prophet would migrate towards the end of time. So he retreated and took them (the two rabbis) with him to Yemen. When he passed by Makkah, he wanted to destroy the Ka`bah, but they told him not to do that either. They told him about the significance of this House, that it had been built by Ibrahim Al-Khalil, peace be upon him, and that it would become of great importance through that Prophet who would be sent towards the end of time. So he respected it, performed Tawaf around it, and covered it with a fine cloth. Then he returned to Yemen and invited its people to follow the religion of guidance along with him. At that time, the religion of Musa, peace be upon him, was the religion followed by those who were guided, before the coming of the Messiah, peace be upon him. So the people of Yemen accepted the religion of guidance along with him. `Abdur-Razzaq recorded that Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “The Messenger of Allah said:
(I do not know whether Tubba` was a Prophet or not.) It was narrated that Tamim bin `Abdur-Rahman said: ” `Ata’ bin Abi Rabah said, `Do not revile Tubba`, for the Messenger of Allah forbade reviling him.”’ And Allah knows best.
Here Allah tells us of His justice, and that He is far above mere play, folly and falsehood. This is like the Ayah:
(And We created not the heaven and the earth and all that is between them without purpose! That is the consideration of those who disbelieve! Then woe to those who disbelieve from the Fire!) (38:27)
(Did you think that We had created you in play, and that you would not be brought back to Us So Exalted be Allah, the True King: La ilaha illa Huwa, the Lord of the Supreme Throne!) (23:115-116) Then Allah says:
(Verily, the Day of Judgement is the time appointed for all of them) This is the Day of Resurrection, when Allah will judge between all creatures, and He will punish the disbelievers and reward the believers.
(is the time appointed for all of them) means, He will gather all of them, the first and the last of them.
(The Day when a near relative cannot avail a near relative in aught,) means, no relative will be able to help another relative. This is like the Ayah:
(Then, when the Trumpet is blown, there will be no kinship among them that Day, nor will they ask of one another.) (23:101)
(And no friend will ask a friend (about his condition). Though they shall be made to see one another) (70:10-11) which means, he will not ask his brother about how he is, even though he can see him with his own eyes.
(and no help can they receive,) means, no relative will help another, and no help will come to him from outside.
(Except him on whom Allah has mercy.) means, and nothing will be of any avail that Day except the mercy of Allah towards His creation.
(Verily, He is the All-Mighty, the Most Merciful.) means, he is the Almighty, with immense mercy.
Allah tells us how He will punish the disbelievers who deny the meeting with Him:
(Verily, the tree of Zaqqum will be the food of the sinners.) Those who sinned by their words and in deeds. These are the disbelievers. More than one commentator stated that this referred to Abu Jahl; undoubtedly he is included among those referred to in this Ayah, but it is not specifically about him. Ibn Jarir recorded that Abu Ad-Darda’ was reciting to a man:
(Verily, the tree of Zaqqum will be the food of the sinners.) The man said, “The food of the orphan.” Abu Ad-Darda’, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “Say, the tree of Zaqqum is the food of the evildoer.” i.e., he will not have any other food apart from that. Mujahid said, “If a drop of it were to fall on the earth, it would corrupt the living of all the people of earth.” A similar Marfu` report has been narrated earlier.
(Like boiling oil,) means, like the dregs of oil.
(it will boil in the bellies, like the boiling of scalding water.) means, because of its heat and rancidity.
(Seize him) means the disbeliever. It was reported that when Allah says to the keepers of Hell, “Seize him,” seventy thousand of them will rush to seize him.
(and drag him) means, drag him by pulling him and pushing him on his back. Mujahid said:
(Seize him and drag him) means, take him and push him.
(into the midst of blazing Fire.) means, into the middle of it.
(Then pour over his head the torment of boiling water.) This is like the Ayah:
(boiling water will be poured down over their heads. With it will melt what is within their bellies, as well as (their) skins.) (22:19-20). The angel will strike him with a hooked rod of iron and split his head open, then he will pour boiling water over his head. It will go down through his body, melting through his stomach and intestines, until it goes through his heels; may Allah protect us from that.
(Taste you (this)! Verily, you were (pretending to be) the mighty, the generous.) means, they (the keepers of Hell) will say that to him by way of ridicule and rebuke. Ad-Dahhak reported that Ibn `Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “This means, you are neither mighty nor generous.” And Allah’s saying:
(Verily, this is that whereof you used to doubt!) is like His saying:
(The Day when they will be pushed down by force to the fire of Hell, with a horrible, forceful pushing. This is the Fire which you used to deny. In this magic, or do you not see) (52: 13-15) Similarly Allah said:
(Verily, this is that where of you used to doubt!)
They will enjoy in Paradise When Allah describes the state of the doomed, He follows that with a description of the life of the blessed. For this reason the Qur’an is called Al-Mathani (i.e., oft-repeated).
(Verily, those who have Taqwa,) i.e., those who fear Allah and are dutiful towards Him in this world,
(will be in place of security.) means, in the Hereafter, i.e., in Paradise, where they will be safe from death and the fear of leaving it, and from every kind of worry, grief, terror and exhaustion, and from the Shaytan and his wiles, and from all other troubles and disasters.
(Among Gardens and Springs). This is in direct contrast to the state of the doomed, who will have the tree of Zaqqum and boiling water.
(Dressed in Sundus) means, the finest of silk, such as shirts and the like.
(and Istabraq) means, silk which is woven with shiny threads, like a splendid garment which is worn over regular clothes.
(facing each other, ) means, sitting on thrones where none of them will sit with his back to anyone else.
(So (it will be). And We shall marry them to Hur (fair females) with wide lovely eyes,) This will be a gift in addition to the beautiful wives given to them.
(with whom no man or Jinn has had Tamth (sexual intercourse) before them.) (55:56)
((In beauty) they are like rubies and Marjan.) (55:58)
(Is there any reward for good other than good) (55:60)
(They will call therein for every kind of fruit in peace and security;) means, whatever kinds of fruit they ask for will be brought to them, and they will have the security of knowing that this supply will never come to an end or be withheld; these fruits will be brought to them whenever they want.
(They will never taste death therein except the first death, ) This is an exception which reinforces the negation. The meaning is that they will never taste death there. It was reported in the Two Sahihs that the Messenger of Allah said:
(Death will be brought forth in the image of a fine ram. It will be made to stand between Paradise and Hell, then it will be slaughtered. It will be said, “O people of Paradise, it is eternal, no more death; and O people of Hell, it is eternal, no more death.”) This Hadith was already quoted in our discussion of Surah Maryam. `Abdur-Razzaq recorded that Abu Sa`id and Abu Hurayrah said, “The Messenger of Allah said:
(It will be said to the people of Paradise, “It is granted to you that you will be healthy and will never fall ill, you will live and never die, you will enjoy a life of luxury and will never be miserable, you will be youthful and will never grow old.”)” This was recorded by Muslim. It was reported that Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “The Messenger of Allah said:
(Whoever has Taqwa of Allah, he will enter Paradise and enjoy a life of luxury and he will never be miserable. He will live therein and never die, his clothes will never wear out and his youth will never fade.)”
(and He will save them from the torment of the blazing Fire,) means, along with this great and eternal blessing, He will also have saved them from the agonizing torment in the depths of Hell, so they will have achieved their desired aim and avoided the thing they feared. Allah says,
(As a bounty from your Lord! That will be the supreme success!) meaning, that will be from His bounty and kindness towards them. It was reported in the Two Sahihs that the Messenger of Allah said:
(Work and strive hard, and know that no one will enter Paradise by virtue of his deeds.) They said, “Not even you, O Messenger of Allah” He said,
(Not even me, unless Allah showers me with His mercy and grace.)
(Certainly, We have made this easy in your tongue, in order that they may remember. ) means, `We have made this Qur’an, which We have sent down, easy, plain and clear, in your language which is the most eloquent, clear and beautiful of all languages.’
(in order that they may remember.) means, in order that they may understand and know. Despite the fact that it is so plain and clear, there are still people who disbelieve, who stubbornly go against it. Allah says to His Messenger , consoling him and promising him victory, and warning those who reject him that they will be destroyed.
(Wait then; verily, they (too) are waiting.) meaning, `they will come to know who will be victorious and whose word will prevail in this world and in the Hereafter. For victory will be for you, O Muhammad, and for your brothers among the Prophets and Messengers, and for the believers who followed you,’ as Allah says:
(Allah has decreed: “Verily, it is I and My Messengers who shall be the victorious.”) (58:21)
(Verily, We will indeed make victorious Our Messengers and those who believe in this world’s life and on the Day when the witnesses will stand forth, — the Day when their excuses will be of no profit to wrongdoers. Theirs will be the curse, and theirs will be the evil abode.) (40:51-52)
This is the end of the Tafsir of Surat Ad-Dukhan. All praise and thanks are due to Allah and in Him is all strength and protection.
Tafseer by Abul A’la Maududi
44. Surah Ad Dukhan (The Smoke)
The Surah takes its name from the word dukhan which occurs in verse 10.
Period of Revelation
Its period of revelation also could not be determined from any authentic tradition, but the internal evidence of the subject matter shows that this Surah too was sent down in the same period in which Surah Zukhruf and a few other earlier Surahs had been revealed. However, this Surah was sent down somewhat later. Its historical background is this: When the disbelievers of Makkah became more and more antagonistic in their attitude and conduct, the Holy Prophet prayed: O God, help me with a famine like the famine of Joseph. He thought that when the people would be afflicted with a calamity, they would remember God, their hearts would soften and they would accept the admonition. Allah granted his prayer, and the whole land was overtaken by such a terrible famine that the people were sorely distressed. At last, some of the Quraish chiefs among whom Hadrat Abdullah bin Masud has particularly mentioned the name of Abu Sufyan came to the Holy Prophet and requested him to pray to Allah to deliver his people from the calamity. On this occasion Allah sent down this Surah.
Subject Matter and Topics
The introduction to the address revealed on this occasion for the admonition and warning of the people of Makkah contained some important points, which are as follows:
“You, O People of Makkah, are wrong in thinking that the Quran is being composed by Muhammad (upon whom be Allah’s peace). This Book by itself bears the clear testimony that it is not the composition of a man but of Allah, Lord of the worlds.”
“You are making a wrong estimate of the worth of this Book. You think it is a calamity that has descended on you, whereas the Hour when Allah, out of sheer mercy, decided to send His Messenger and His Book to you was highly blessed.”
“You are foolishly involved in the misunderstanding that you will fight this Messenger and this Book and will win, whereas the fact is that the Messenger has been raised and the Book sent down in that particular Hour when Allah decides the destinies, and Allah’s decisions are not so weak that they may be changed to a person’s liking, nor are they based on ignorance and folly that there may be the likelihood of a mistake or error or weakness in them. They are rather the firm and unalterable decisions of the Ruler of the Universe, Who is All Hearing, All Knowing and All Wise. Therefore, they cannot be treated lightly.
“You yourselves acknowledge that Allah alone is the Master and Lord of the earth and heavens and of everything in the Universe and also admit that life and death are only in His power, yet you insist on making others your deities, for which the only argument you offer is that that had been the practice since the time of your forefathers, whereas if a person has the conviction that Allah alone is the Master, Sustainer and Giver of life and death, he can never entertain the doubt that there can be other gods also beside Him, who can be worthy of worship. If your forefathers had committed this folly, there is no reason why you also should continue committing it blindly. As a matter of fact, their Lord too was only One God, Who is your Lord, and they also should have worshiped only Him, Whom you should worship.”
“The only demand of Allah’s Providence and Mercifulness is not this that He should feed you, but also this that He should arrange guidance for you. For this very guidance He has sent His Messenger and His Book.”
After this introduction, the question of the famine that was raging in Makkah has been discussed. As already mentioned, this famine had occurred on the Holy Prophet’s prayer, and he had prayed for it so that when the calamity befell it would break the stubbornness of the disbelievers and then they would listen to the rebuke. It looked as if this expectation was being fulfilled to some extent, for some of the most stubborn enemies of the Truth, on account of the severities of the famine, had cried out: “O Lord, avert this torment from us and we will believe.” At this, on the one hand, the Holy Prophet has been foretold :”These people will not learn any lesson from such calamities. When they have turned away from the Messenger, whose life, character, works and speech clearly show that he is Allah’s true Messenger, how will a mere famine help remove their disbelief?” On the other, the unbelievers have been addressed, so as to say : “You lie when you say that you will believe as soon as the torment is removed from you. We shall just remove it to see how sincere you are in your promise. There is a graver disaster about to fall upon you. You need a much more crushing blow :minor misfortunes cannot set you right.”
In this very connection, a reference has been made a little below to Pharaoh and his people, implying that those people also had met with precisely the same trial as the chiefs of the disbelieving Quraish are now afflicted. To them also a similar noble and honorable Messenger had come; they also had seen those express pointers and signs which clearly showed that he had been appointed by Allah; they also had gone on witnessing one sign after the other but they did not give up their stubbornness, till at last they made up their mind to put an end to the Messenger’s life, and they met their doom, which has since become an object lesson for the people for ever.
After this the theme of the Hereafter has been taken up, which the disbelievers of Makkah vehemently denied. They said: “We have never seen anyone rising back to life after death. Raise our forefathers back to life if you are true in your claim about the life hereafter.” In response to this, two arguments for the Hereafter have been presented briefly (1) That the denial of this creed has always proved destructive for the morals; and (2) that the universe is not a plaything of a thoughtless deity, but it is a wise system and no work of wisdom is ever vain or useless. Then the disbelievers demand to bring their forefathers back to life has been answered, thus : “This cannot be done every day to meet the demand of the individuals, but Allah has appointed a time when He will resurrect all mankind simultaneously and will subject them to accountability in His Court. If one has to protect oneself there, one should think about it here. For no one will be able to save himself there by his own power, nor by the power of any one else.”
In connection with this Court of Allah, mention has been made of the fate of those who will be declared as culprits and of the rewards of those who will be declared as successful. The discourse has been concluded with this warning: “This Quran has been revealed in simple language in your own tongue so that you may understand it; yet if you do not understand it and insist on seeing your evil end, you may wait; Our Prophet too is waiting. Whatever is to happen, will happen at its own appointed time.”
In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful.
1-16 Allah revealed this Quran in the Blessed Night (Layla-tul-Qadr) in which all matters are decided wisely by His command
(44:1) Ha’. Mim. (44:2) By the Clear Book. (44:3) We revealed it on a Blessed Night, for We were intent on warning;1 (44:4) (We revealed it on the Night) wherein every matter is wisely determined2 (44:5) by Our command.3 Verily, We were set to send a Messenger (44:6) as a Mercy from your Lord.4 Surely He is All-Hearing, All-Seeing,5 (44:7) the Lord of the heavens and the earth and of all that is between them: if you would only have sure faith.6 (44:8) There is no god but He:7 He gives life and causes death.8 He is your Lord and the Lord of your forefathers of yore.9 (44:9) (But the fact is, they lack certainty) and frolic about in doubt.10 (44:10) So watch for the Day when the sky will come down with a pall of smoke, (44:11) enveloping people. That will be a grievous scourge. (44:12) (People will then say): “Our Lord, remove this scourge from us; we shall believe.” (44:13) But how will they take heed? Such are they that a Messenger11 came to them clearly expounding the Truth, (44:14) yet they turned away from him and said: “This is a well-tutored madman.”12 (44:15) Yet We will hold the scourge back for a while, (but no sooner than We will do so) you will revert to your old ways. (44:16) The Day when We shall seize them with a mighty seizing, that will be the Day on which We shall inflict upon you full retribution.13
1. The meaning of taking an oath by the lucid Scripture has been explained in (E.N.1 of Surah Az-Zukhruf). Here also what has been sworn by is that Muhammad (peace be upon him) is not the author of this Book but We are the author, and this Book by itself is enough to provide a proof of that. Furthermore, it has been said that the night in which it was revealed was full of blessings. That is, the foolish and ignorant people, who have no idea of their own well being or otherwise, regard the revelation of this Book as a disaster for themselves and are deeply anxious as how to get rid of it. But, as a matter of fact, the Hour when We decided to send down this Book to arouse the heedless, was highly blessed for them and for all mankind.
Some commentators have expressed the opinion that the meaning of sending down the Quran in that night is that its revelation began during that night, and some others think that the whole of the Quran was transferred from Umm-ul- Kitab and entrusted to the bearers of revelation (angels), and then revealed to the Prophet (peace be upon him) as and when required and demanded by the occasion and circumstances during 23 years. As to what actually happened Allah alone has the best knowledge.
The night implies the same night which has been called lailat-ul-qadr in (Surah Al-Qadr, Ayat 1), There it has been said: We sent it down in a night of glory, and here: We sent it down in a blessed night. It was the night of the month of Ramadhan, as it is said in( Surah Al-Baqarah, Ayat 185): Ramadhan is the month in which the Quran was revealed.
2. The word amr-in-hakim as used in the text has two meanings:
(1) That the command is entirely based on wisdom: there is no likelihood of any error or weakness in it.
(2) That it is a firm and stable decision: it lies in no one’s power to change it.
3. In Surah Al-Qadr, this same thing has been expressed thus: The angels and the Spirit (Angel Gabriel) descend in it with every decree, by the leave of their Lord. This shows that it is such a night in the divine administration of Allah in which He decides the destinies of the individuals and nations and countries and entrusts His decisions to His angels, who then implement them accordingly. Some commentators among whom Ikrimah is most prominent, have been involved in the misunderstanding that this is the 15th night of Shaban, for in some traditions it has been said that the destinies of people are decided during that night. But Ibn Abbas, Ibn Umar, Mujahid, Qatadah, Hasan Basri, Saeed bin Jubair, Ibn Zaid, Abu Malik, Dahhak and many other commentators agree that this is the same night of Ramadan, which has been called lailat-ul-qadr, for the Quran itself has stated this, and where any Quranic statement exists, no other view can be formed on the basis of random reports. Ibn Kathir says: The traditions that Imam Zuhri has related from Uthman bin Muhammad that destinies are decided from one Shaban to the next Shaban is an indirect tradition and such traditions cannot be cited as against the clear texts of the Quran. Qadi Abu Bakr Ibn al-Arabi says: No Hadith in respect of the 15th of Shaban is reliable, either in respect of its merit, or about this that decisions with regard to the destinies are taken in it; therefore, they do not merit attention, (Ahkam ul-Quran).
4. That is, it was not only a demand of wisdom to send a Messenger with this Book but also of Allah’s mercy, for He is the Provider, and Provider requires that not only should arrangements be made for nourishing the servants’ bodies but they should also be afforded right guidance by knowledge, that they should be made aware of the distinction between right and wrong and that they should not be left wandering in darkness.
5.. The object of mentioning these two attributes of Allah in this context is to warn the people of the truth that He alone can give correct knowledge for He alone knows all the realities. Not to speak of one man, even if all men join to determine a way of life for themselves, there can be no guaranty of its being the right way, for even the entire mankind together cannot become all-hearing and allknowing. It does not lie in its power to comprehend all those realities whose knowledge is essential for determining a correct way of life. This knowledge is only with Allah. He alone is All-Hearing and All-Knowing. Therefore, He alone can tell what is guidance for man and what is falsehood, what is the truth and what is wrong, what is good and what is evil.
6 The Arabs themselves admitted that Allah alone is the Lord (Master and Provider) of the Universe and of everything in it. Therefore, it has been said to them: If you are not admitting only verbally but are really conscious of His being the Provider and are convinced of His being the Master, you should admit that:
(1) It is the very demand of His Mercifulness and Providence that He should send a Book and a Messenger for the guidance of man.
(2) It is His right as the Master and your duty as His servants that you should obey every guidance and submit to every command that comes from Him.
7. The real God Who alone has the right that He should be worshiped and served.
8. That is, there is no god other than Allah, nor can there be. Therefore, it is against reason that you should disdain the worship of Him Who breathed life into dead matter and made you a living man. And Who possesses full powers to keep you alive as long as He likes and bring your life to an end whenever He likes. So, it is against reason that you serve any other than Him, or start worshiping others besides Him.
9. There is a subtle allusion in it to this: He is also Lord of those of your ancestors who took other gods besides Allah; they had not done the right thing by giving up their real Lord and serving others that you should be justified in imitating them and regard their conduct as an argument for the soundness of your creed. They ought to have served only Him, because He alone is their Lord.
10. In this brief sentence an allusion has been made to an important truth. Even atheists or polytheists do come across occasions when their being from within says: There is somewhere some weakness in the creed that we have adopted. The atheist may apparently be very firm in his denial of God, his heart at one or the other time does bear the testimony that this wonderful and wise system which extends from the particle of dust to the galaxies and from a blade of grass to the creation of man, could not come into existence without an All-Wise Designer. Likewise, a polytheist may be deeply submerged in his polytheism, his heart also sometimes cries out: Those whom you have adopted as deities cannot be God. But this testimony of the heart neither leads the atheist nor the polytheist to the conviction about the existence and Oneness of God, nor to conviction and satisfaction about their creed of atheism and polytheism itself. Instead, their religion, in fact, is based on doubt, no matter how convinced they might appear to be of its truth. As for the question: Why doesn’t this doubt make them restless and why don’t they seek the truth seriously so as to obtain a satisfactory ground for their convictions? The answer is: they lack seriousness in religious matters. What they really regard as important are the worldly earnings and acquisitions and their enjoyment, in search of which they expend all their powers and abilities of the heart and mind and body. As for the religious matters, they are in fact no more than fun, a mere pastime, amusement, or a mental diversion for them, for which they cannot spare even a few moments of serious study. Religious rites are being performed as an entertainment; discussions about denial and atheism are being engaged in as an amusement. No one can spare a few moments from his worldly pursuits to consider whether he has turned away from the truth, and if so, what would be its consequences.
11. Rasul-i-mubin has two meanings:
(1) His being a Messenger is quite evident from his character, his morals and his works.
(2) He has made every effort to make the truth plain and clear.
12. What they meant was: this was a simple man, some others have incited and deceived him. They secretly forge and teach him verses of the Quran, and he comes and recites them before the people. They sit back in peace and leave him alone to receive the abuses and be pelted with stones. They would make a mockery of all the arguments, the admonitions and the serious teachings which the Prophet (peace be upon him) had been presenting since several years and was growing weary. Neither they paid any attention to the rational things being expressed in the Quran nor recognized the extraordinary character of the man who was presenting them, nor took any trouble to think what nonsense they were uttering when they imputed such things to the Prophet (peace be upon him). Obviously, if there had been another person who gave secret instruction to the Prophet (peace be upon him), he could not have remained hidden from Khadijah and Abu Bakr, Ali and Zaid bin Harithah and other early Muslims, who were the closest and constant companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him). Then, how it is that these very people only became his most devoted and dedicated followers, whereas if the business of prophethood had depended on the secret instruction of some other person, these very people would have been in the forefront to oppose him (For further explanation, see (Surah An-Nahl, Ayat 103); (Surah Al-Furqan, Ayats 4-6) and the corresponding E.Ns).
13. The commentators have seriously disputed the meaning of these verses, and the difference of opinion existed even in the time of the companions. Masruq, the well-known student of Abdullah bin Masud, states: One day when we entered the mosque of Kufah, we saw a preacher addressing the people. He recited the verse: Yauma tatissama- u bidukhan-im-mubin, then asked: Do you know what kind of smoke it is? This smoke will appear on the Day of Resurrection and will make the disbelievers and the hypocrites blind and deaf, but the believers will be affected only to the extent as if they had caught cold. Hearing this commentary we went to Abdullah bin Masud and reported to him what the preacher had said. Abdullah at that time was lying down. On hearing this commentary he sat up startled and said: When a person does not have the knowledge, he should ask those who have it. The fact is that when the people of the Quraish went on refusing to accept Islam and continued to oppose the Prophet (peace be upon him), the Prophet (peace be upon him) prayed: O God, help me with a famine like the famine of Joseph (peace be upon him); consequently, a very severe famine overtook Makkah and the people were forced to eat bones, skins and carrion. The conditions became so bad that whoever looked up to the sky would see nothing but smoke due to intensity of hunger. At last, Abu Sufyan came to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and said: You tell the people to treat their kindred kindly, your own people are starving, kindly pray to God to remove this calamity. This was the time when the people of the Quraish had started saying: O God, if You remove this torment from us, we will believe. This same event has been referred to in these verses; and the severest blow implies the calamity that was inflicted on the Quraish in the Battle of Badr. This tradition has been related by Imam Ahmad, Bukhari Tirmidhi, Nasai, Ibn Jarir and Ibn Abi Hatim from Masruq with several chains of authorities. Besides Masruq, Ibrahim Nakhai Qatadah, Asim and Amir have also related that Abdullah bin Masud had given the same commentary of this verse. Therefore there cannot be any doubt that Ibn Masud actually held this same opinion. Among the immediate followers of the companions, Mujahid, Qatadah. Abul Aliyah, Muqatil, Ibrahim Nakhai, Dahhak and Atiyyah al-Aufi and others have also concurred with Ibn Masud in this commentary.
On the contrary, scholars like Ali, Ibn Umar, Ibn Abbas, Abu Saeed Khudri, Zaid bin Ali, and Hasan Basri say that in these verses mention has been made of the time just before Resurrection, and the smoke that has been foretold will envelop the earth at that time. This commentary is further strengthened by the traditions that have been reported from the Prophet (peace be upon him). Hudhaifah bin Asid al-Ghifari says: One day when we were talking about Resurrection, the Prophet (peace be upon him) came out to us and said: Resurrection will not be established till ten signs have appeared one after the other: Rising of the sun in the west, smoke, the beast, emergence of Gog and Magog, descent of Jesus son of Mary, sinking of the earth in the East, in the West and in the Arabian Peninsula, and the appearance of a fire from Yemen, which will drive the people away. (Muslim) This is confirmed by Abu Malik Ashari’s tradition which has been related by Ibn Jarir and Tabarani, and Abu Said Khudri’s tradition which has been related by Ibn Abi Hatim. Both these traditions show that the Prophet (peace be upon him) regarded the smoke as one of the signs of Resurrection and also said that when that smoke will spread, it will affect the believer only like a cold, but will infuse every nerve of the disbeliever and come out from every part of his body.
A study of the verses under consideration can remove the disparity between the two commentaries. As for the commentary of Abdullah bin Masud, it is a fact that a severe famine had hit Makkah resulting from the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) prayer and it had unnerved the disbelievers considerably and they had requested the Prophet (peace be upon him) to pray for its removal, as referred to at several places in the Quran. (See (Surah Al- Anaam, Ayat 43); (Surah Al-Aaraf, Ayats 94-95); (Surah Younus, Ayat 21); (Surah Al-Muminun, Ayats 75-77) and the corresponding E.Ns). In these verses also there is a clear pointer to the same conditions. The disbeliever are saying: Our Lord, remove this torment from us, we will believe. Allah is saying: How can they rid themselves of their heedlessness? Even when a manifest Messenger came to them, they paid no heed to him, and said: He is a madman taught by others. Then Allah is saying: Were We to remove the torment a little, you would revert to the same that you were doing before. All this can be relevant only if it refers to the conditions of the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) time. To apply them to what will happen near the time of Resurrection, is not correct. Therefore, in view of this, Abdullah bin Masud’s commentary seems to be correct, but its this part that “the smoke” also had appeared in that very time, in that when the people in their extreme state of hunger looked up to the sky, they could see nothing but smoke, does not seem to be correct. It also does not conform to the apparent words of the Quran and is against the traditions as well. The Quran does not say: The sky brought forth the smoke and it spread over the people; but it says: Wait for the day when the sky will appear with a visible smoke, and it will envelop mankind. A study of the subsequent verses clearly points to this meaning: When you do not believe even after the Messenger’s admonition, nor take heed from the warning given in the shape of the famine, then you should wait for Resurrection. At that time when you see your doom confronting you, you will fully realize what was the truth and what was falsehood. Therefore, as for the smoke, the correct view is that it has nothing to do with the time of the famine, but it is a sign of Resurrection and the same is also confirmed by the Hadith.
17-29 Lessons to be learned from the story of Prophet Musa and the people of Fir’on
(44:17) Indeed before that We subjected the Pharaonites to the same test. A noble Messenger14 came to them (44:18) (and said):15 “Deliver to me Allah’s servants.16 I am a trustworthy Messenger to you,17 (44:19) and do not exalt yourselves in defiance of Allah. I have come to you with a clear authority18 (as a Messenger). (44:20) I have taken refuge with my Lord and your Lord lest you should attack me with stones. (44:21) But if you do not believe what I say, leave me alone19 (and desist from laying hands on me).” (44:22) Then he called upon his Lord: “These are a criminal people.”20 (44:23) (He was told): “Set out with My servants by night21 for you will certainly be pursued.22 (44:24) And leave the sea behind you as calm as ever. Surely they are an army that is doomed to be drowned.”23 (44:25) How many gardens did they leave behind, and how many fountains (44:26) and sown fields and splendid mansions, (44:27) and the life of ease in which they took delight! (44:28) Thus it was; and We made another people inherit all that.24 (44:29) Then neither the sky shed tears over them nor the earth.25 They were granted no respite.
14. The words rasul-un karim in the original imply a man who is characterized with most noble traits of character and highly praiseworthy qualities.
15. One should note that the sayings of the Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) being cited here, are not parts of a continuous address delivered by him at any one time, but they are a summary in a few sentences of what he said to Pharaoh and his courtiers on different occasions during many years. (For the details, see (Surah Al-Aaraf, Ayats 103-136); (Surah Younus, Ayats 75-92); (Surah TaHa, Ayats 45-76); (Surah Ash-Shuara, Ayats 10-68); (Surah An-Naml, Ayats 7-14); (Surah Al-Qasas, Ayats 32-42); (Surah Al-Mumin, Ayats 23-46); (Surah Az-Zukhruf, Ayats 46-56); and the corresponding E.Ns.)
16. That is, leave the children of Israel to go with me. This demand is synonymous with the demand made in (Surah Al- Aaraf, Ayat 105); (Surah TaHa, Ayat 47 )and (Surah Ash- Shurra, Ayat 17). Another translation that has been reported from Abdullah ibn Abbas is: Servants of Allah, fulfill my right, i.e. accept what I say, believe in me, follow my guidance. This is my right on you from Allah. The following sentence: I am a trustworthy Messenger to you is more in keeping with the second meaning.
17. That is, I am a reliable Messenger: I do not forge anything from myself, nor am I the one who would present something based on personal interest or desire, or forge a command or law, in the name of Allah. Rest assured that I shall convey to you intact only that which my Sender has commanded. It should be noted that these two sentences belong to the time when the Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) first started preaching Allah’s message.
18. In other words, it means: Your rebellion against me is in fact rebellion against Allah, for what annoys you is not what I say but what Allah says, and I only present those things as His Messenger. If you doubt whether I have really been sent by Hun or not, I present before you a clear authority of my appointment from Allah. This authority does not imply any one miracle but a long series of the miracles which the Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) continued to show to Pharaoh and his people for years since the time he came in the court of Pharaoh till his last days in Egypt. Whatever sign they denied, was followed up by a greater sign of authority by him. (For explanation, see (E.Ns 42, 43 of Surah Az-Zukhruf).
19. This was said at the time when, as against all the signs presented by the Prophet Moses (peace be upon him), Pharaoh was still showing stubbornness, but was feeling upset and confounded at the realization that all classes of the Egyptian society were rapidly being influenced by those signs. In that period, first of all he made the speech before his packed court as mentioned in (verses 51-53 of Surah Az- Zukhruf (see E.Ns 45 to 49)), then, when he felt the ground slipping from under his feet, he made up his mind to kill Allah’s Messenger. At that time the Prophet (peace be upon him) said the words as mentioned in (Surah Al-Mumin, Ayat 27) to the effect: I have taken refuge in my Lord and your Lord against every arrogant person who does not believe in the Day of Reckoning. Here, the Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) is referring to that same thing and telling Pharaoh and his chiefs: Look, I have sought Allah’s refuge against all sorts of violence from you, now you cannot harm me. But if you wish yourselves well, do not harm me. If you do not want to believe what I say, you may not, but you should never lay your hands on me, otherwise you will meet with catastrophic consequences.
20. This is the final report that the Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) presented before his Lord, saying: These are the people who are criminals. That is, their being the criminals has been confirmed finally and absolutely. They have exhausted every chance of concession and respite for reformation. It is time that the final fatal decision be passed against them.
21. With my servants: With all those people who have believed, including both the Israelites and the Egyptian Copts who had become Muslims since the time of the Prophet Joseph till that of the Prophet Moses (peace be upon them), and those also who had been influenced by the signs shown by Moses (peace be upon him) and His preaching and accepted Islam from among the Egyptians. (For explanation, see (Surah Yousuf: E.N. 68).
22. This was the initial command given to the prophet Moses (peace be upon him) for the migration. (For explanation, see (Surah TaHa, Ayat 77); (Surah Ash-Shuara, Ayats 52-68) and the corresponding E.Ns).
23. This command was given when the Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) had crossed the sea along with his caravan and wanted that he should restore the sea to its former state by smiting it with the staff so that Pharaoh and his hosts should not pursue them on the dry path created by the miracle. At that times it was said: Leave the sea divided as it is, so that Pharaoh and his armies should descend into it. Then the sea will be restored and they will be drowned all together.
24. Hasan Basri says that “other people” here implies the children of Israel, whom Allah made heirs of the land of Egypt after Pharaoh’s people, and Qatadah says it implies the other people who inherited Egypt after the people of Pharaoh, for the history does not make any mention that the Israelites ever returned to Egypt after the exodus and inherited it. This same point has been disputed by the later commentators also. (For a detailed discussion, see (Surah Ash Shuara, Ayats 57-59) and the E.Ns on it).
25. That is, when they were the rulers, they were known for their glory and grandeur, hymns were sung of their praise, flatterers flattered them to such an extent as if the whole world was devoted to them for their excellences and indebted to them for their favors and there was none more popular in the world than they. But when they fell, there was none to shed a tear on their fall, rather the world felt relieved that a cause of distress had been removed. Obviously, they had neither done any good to the people that the dwellers of the earth might weep on them, nor anything for the sake of Allah’s pleasure that the dwellers of the heavens might grieve over their ruin. As long as Allah continued to give them respite by His will, they enjoyed life as they pleased; but when they transgressed all limits in their crimes, they were cast aside like rubbish.
30-42 Allah delivered the Children of Israel and chose them over the nations of the world inspite of their weaknesses and Day of Sorting Out is the time appointed for resurrection
(44:30) Thus did We deliver the Children of Israel from the humiliating chastisement, (44:31) from Pharaoh26 who was most prominent among the prodigals.27 (44:32) We knowingly exalted them (i.e., the Children of Israel) above other peoples of the world28 (44:33) and bestowed upon them the Signs wherein lay an evident test for them.29 (44:34) Indeed these people say: (44:35) “This is our first and only death, and we shall never be raised again.30 (44:36) Bring back to us our fathers if you are truthful.”31 (44:37) Are these better or the people of Tubba32 and those who went before them? We destroyed them for they were a criminal people.33 (44:38) It was not in idle sport that We created the heavens and the earth and all that is between them. (44:39) We did not create them except in Truth. But most of them do not know.34 (44:40) The Day of Final Decision is the appointed time for all;35 (44:41) the Day when a friend shall be of no avail to his friend36 nor shall they be helped, (44:42) except those to whom Allah shows mercy. He is the Most Mighty, the Most Compassionate.37
26. That is, Pharaoh by himself was an abasing torment for them and all other torments were indeed offshoots of the same great torment.
27. There is a subtle satire in it on the chiefs of the disbelieving Quraish. It means to say this: You do not enjoy any place of distinction among the transgressors against Allah. Pharaoh indeed was a rebel of the highest order who was ruling on the throne of the largest kingdom of the time as a god. When he was swept away like straw, how can you prevent the divine wrath?
28. That is, Allah was well aware both of the qualities and of the weaknesses of the children of Israel. He had not chosen them blindly. For when he chose them from among the contemporary nations to become the standard bearers of His message and His Tauhid, they were the most suitable people in His knowledge for the purpose.
29. For explanation, see (Surah Al-Baqarah, Ayats 49-74); (Surah An-Nisa, Ayats 153-160); (Surah Al-Maidah, Ayats 20-26); (Surah Al-Aaraf, Ayats 138-171); (Surah TaHa, Ayats 80-97) and the corresponding E.Ns.
30. That is, when we die the first time, we shall be annihilated: there will be no other life after that.
31. This was their reasoning: We have never seen a dead person resurrected to life. Therefore, we believe that there will be no other life after death. If you claim that there will be another life, then resurrect our forefathers from their graves, so that we are convinced of the life after death. If you do not do this, we would think that your claim is false. This was, as they thought, a very strong argument for the refutation of life after death, whereas it was absurd. Nobody had told them that the dead would return to this very world after being raised back to life, nor the Prophet (peace be upon him), nor any Muslim had ever claimed that he could raise the dead back to life.
32. Tubba was the title of the kings of the Himyarites, like the titles of Khosroes, Caesar, Pharaoh etc. which have been associated with the kings of different countries. They were a branch of the Sabaeans, who attained domination over Saba in 115 B.C. and ruled it until 300 A.D. They have been a well known people of Arabia for centuries. (For details, see (E.N. 37 of Surah Saba).
33. This is the first answer to the disbelievers’ objection; it means: Any individual group or nation which denies the Hereafter becomes criminal. Perversion of the morals is its inevitable result, and human history bears evidence that whichever nation adopted this view of life ultimately perished. As for the question: Are they better or the people of Tubba or the people before them? It means this: The disbelievers of Makkah have not been able to attain to the prosperity and splendor that became the lot of the people of Tubba and of the people of Saba and of the people of Pharaoh and others before them. But this material prosperity and worldly splendor could not save them from the consequences of their moral degeneration. How will then the chiefs of the Quraish be saved from destruction on the strength of their puny resources and wealth? (For details, see (E.Ns 25 to 36 of Surah Saba).
34. This is the second answer to their objection; it means: Whoever denies life after death and the rewards and punishments of the hereafter, in fact, regards this world as a plaything. This is why he has formed the view that man, after raising all sorts of the storms in the world, will end up in the dust one day and none of his good or bad acts will bear any fruit. The fact, however, is that this universe is the creation of an All-Wise Creator and not of a frivolous being, and it cannot be expected from an All-Wise Creator that he would perform a useless and vain act. (For a detailed explanation, see (Surah Al-Anaam, Ayat 73); (Surah Younus, Ayats 5-6); (Surah Al-Anbiya, Ayats 16-18); ( Surah Al-Muminun, Ayat 115); (Surah Ar-Room, Ayats 8-9 )and the corresponding E.Ns).
35. This is the answer to their demand: Bring back our forefathers if you are truthful. It means: Life-after-death is not a trivial matter, it cannot be that whenever somebody denies it, a dead person may he raised immediately from the graveyard and presented before him. For it a time has been fixed by the Lord of the worlds, when He will resurrect to life all the former and the latter generations, gather them together in His court and will decide their cases. You may believe in it or may not, but this will in any case happen on its own pre-ordained time. If you believe in it, it will be to your own advantage, for, being forewarned, you will make preparations to fare well in that court. If you do not believe in it, you will incur loss for yourselves, for you will spend your whole life in the misunderstanding that good and evil are confined only to this worldly life; after death there is going to be no court where our good or bad deeds might have to be judged for any permanent results.
36. The Arabic word maula is used for a person who supports another person either because of kinship, or friendship, or some other relationship.
37. These sentences portray the nature of the court that will be established on the Day of Decision. It will be a court where nobody’s help or support will help rescue any culprit nor have his sentence reduced. All powers will rest with the real Sovereign Whose decisions cannot be withheld from being enforced nor influenced by any power. It will entirely depend on His own discretion whether He forgives somebody mercifully, or awards him a lesser punishment. It indeed behooves Him to exercise justice mercifully and not mercilessly, but whatever decision He gives in any case, will be enforced entirely and completely. After this portrayal of the nature of the divine court, in the following few sentences it has been stated what will be the fate of those who will be found guilty in that court, and what will be conferred on those about whom it will be established that they had been refraining from Allah’s disobedience in the world out of fear of Him.
43-50 Food and drink for the sinners in hell
(44:43) The tree of al-Zaqqum38 (44:44) shall be the food of the sinful. (44:45) Like dregs of oil,39 it will boil in their bellies (44:46) like boiling water. (44:47) “Seize him and drag him to the middle of the Blazing Fire, (44:48) then pour boiling water over his head as chastisement. (44:49) Taste this, you are a person mighty and noble! (44:50) This is what you used to doubt.”
38. For details of zaqqum, see (E.N. 34 of Surah As-Saaffat).
39. The word al-muhl in the original has several meanings: molten metal, pus-blood, molten tar, lava, dregs of oil. These are the different meanings given by the lexicographers and commentators, but if this word is understood with reference to zaqqum (cactus), it may mean its juice which will probably be like the dregs of oil.
51-59 Food and entertainment for the righteous in paradise
(44:51) Verily the God-fearing shall be in a secure place40 (44:52) amidst gardens and springs. (44:53) Attired in silk and brocade,41 they shall be arrayed face to face. (44:54) Thus shall it be: and We shall espouse them to fair, wide-eyed maidens.42 (44:55) While resting in security, they shall call for all kinds of fruit.43 (44:56) They shall not taste death except the death in this world. And Allah will save them from the chastisement of Hell44 (44:57) as a favour from your Lord. That is the great triumph. (44:58) (O Prophet), We have made this Book easy in your tongue so that they may take heed. (44:59) Wait, then; they too are waiting.45
40. A secure place: A place safe from every kind of fear, grief, worry and danger, hardship and trouble. According to a Hadith, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: It will be proclaimed to the dwellers of Paradise: You will remain in good health, will never fall ill, will live forever, will never die, will ever remain happy and prosperous and will never meet with a misfortune, will ever remain youthful, will never become old. (Muslim, on the authority of Abu Hurairah and Abu Saeed Khudri).
41. Sundus and istabraq in the original are fine silk cloth and thick silk cloth respectively.
42. In the original, hur-un ein means fair complexioned, large-eyed women. (For further explanation, see (E.Ns 28 and 29 of Surah As-Saaffat).
43. That is, they will order the attendants in Paradise to bring anything they would like in any measure they would demand, and it will be presented before them. In this world, a man cannot ask for a thing in an inn, or even his own things in his own house, with the freedom and satisfaction as he will ask for these in Paradise. For, in the world nothing is found anywhere in unlimited measure, whatever man uses here, he has to pay for it. In Paradise, things will belong to Allah, and the servants will enjoy full freedom to use them. Neither will there be the danger of the failure of the supply, nor the necessity of a bill to pay.
44. Two things are worthy of notice in this verse.
First, after mentioning the blessings of Paradise, special mention has been made of being secure from Hell separately whereas a person’s entry into Paradise by itself amounts to his being safe from Hell. This is because man can feel the worth of the reward of obedience fully only when he is informed what end the disobedient people have met and from what evil end he himself has ban saved.
Secondly, Allah is mentioning those people’s safety from Hell and their entry into Paradise as a result of His own grace. This is meant to warn man of the truth that this success cannot be achieved by any person unless he is blessed by Allah’s grace. Although man will be rewarded for his own good deeds, in the first place he cannot do good unless favored by Allah’s succor; then even the best deed that man is able to perform, cannot be absolutely perfect and none can claim that it is flawless and faultless. It is only Allah’s bounty that He should overlook the servant’s weaknesses and defects in his actions and accept his services and bless him with rewards; otherwise if He resorts to minute accountability, no one can dare claim to win Paradise only on the strength of his own deeds. The same thing has been said by the Prophet (peace be upon him) in a Hadith to the effect: Act and try to act as righteously as you possibly can, but know that the action of a person alone will not make him enter Paradise. It was asked: What about your own action, O Messenger of Allah? He replied: Yes, even I won’t enter Paradise on the strength of my actions, unless of course, my Lord covers me up in His mercy.
45. That is, if they do not accept the admonition even now, you should wait to see how they are visited by their doom; and they are also waiting to see what becomes of the message that you are giving them.