Surah Dukhan >> Currently viewing Surah Dukhan Ayat 9 (44:9)

Surah Dukhan Ayat 9 in Arabic Text

بَلْ هُمْ فِى شَكٍّۢ يَلْعَبُونَ
Bal hum fee shakkiny yal’aboon

English Translation

Here you can read various translations of verse 9

Sahih International
But they are in doubt, amusing themselves.

Yusuf Ali
Yet they play about in doubt.

Abul Ala Maududi
(But the fact is, they lack certainty) and frolic about in doubt.

Muhsin Khan
Nay! They play in doubt.

Pickthall
Nay, but they play in doubt.

Dr. Ghali
No indeed, (but) they are in doubt, playing.

Abdel Haleem
yet in [their state of] doubt they take nothing seriously.

Quran 44 Verse 9 Explanation

For those looking for commentary to help with the understanding of Surah Dukhan ayat 9, we’ve provided two Tafseer works below. The first is the tafseer of Abul Ala Maududi, the second is of Ibn Kathir.

Ala-Maududi

(44:9) (But the fact is, they lack certainty) and frolic about in doubt.[10]


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.

Ibn-Kathir

9. Nay! They play about in doubt. 10. Then wait you for the Day when the sky will bring forth a visible smoke, 11. Covering mankind, this is a painful torment. 12. (They will say): “Our Lord! Remove the torment from us, really we shall become believers!” 13. How can there be for them an admonition, when a Messenger explaining things clearly has already come to them. 14. Then they had turned away from him and said: “(He is) one taught, a madman!” 15. Verily, We shall remove the torment for a while. Verily, you will revert. 16. On the Day when We shall strike you with the great Batshah. Verily, We will exact retribution.


Alarming the Idolators with News of the Day when the Sky will bring forth a visible Smoke

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:

﴿فَارْتَقِبْ يَوْمَ تَأْتِى السَّمَآءُ بِدُخَانٍ مُّبِينٍ ﴾

(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,

﴿يَوْمَ تَأْتِى السَّمَآءُ بِدُخَانٍ مُّبِينٍ﴾

(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

﴿قُلْ مَآ أَسْـَلُكُمْ عَلَيْهِ مِنْ أَجْرٍ وَمَآ أَنَآ مِنَ الْمُتَكَلِّفِينَ ﴾

(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.”

﴿فَارْتَقِبْ يَوْمَ تَأْتِى السَّمَآءُ بِدُخَانٍ مُّبِينٍ – يَغْشَى النَّاسَ هَـذَا عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ ﴾

(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:

﴿إِنَّا كَاشِفُواْ الْعَذَابِ قَلِيلاً إِنَّكُمْ عَآئِدُونَ ﴾

(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:

﴿يَوْمَ نَبْطِشُ الْبَطْشَةَ الْكُبْرَى إِنَّا مُنتَقِمُونَ ﴾

(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:

«لَا تَقُومُ السَّاعَةُ حَتْى تَرَوْا عَشْرَ آيَاتٍ: طُلُوعَ الشَّمْسِ مِنْ مَغْرِبِهَا، وَالدُّخَانَ، وَالدَّابَّةَ، وَخُرُوجَ يَأْجُوجَ وَمَأْجُوجَ، وَخُرُوجَ عِيْسَى ابْنِ مَرْيَمَ وَالدَّجَّالَ، وَثَلَاثَةَ خُسُوفٍ: خَسْفٌ بِالْمَشْرِقِ، وَخَسْفٌ بِالْمَغْرِبِ، وَخَسْفٌ بِجَزِيرَةِ الْعَرَبِ، وَنَارًا تَخْرُجُ مِنْ قَعْرِ عَدَنَ تَسُوقُ النَّاسَ أَوْ تَحْشُرُ النَّاسَ تَبِيتُ مَعَهُمْ حَيْثُ بَاتُوا، وَتَقِيلُ مَعَهُمْ حَيْثُ قَالُوا»

(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:

«إِنِّي خَبَأْتُ لَكَ خَبْأ»

(I am concealing something for you.) He said, It is Ad-Dukh. The Prophet said,

«اخْسَأْ فَلَنْ تَعْدُوَ قَدْرَك»

(Be off with you! You cannot get further than your rank.) He said, “The Messenger of Allah was concealing from him the words,

﴿فَارْتَقِبْ يَوْمَ تَأْتِى السَّمَآءُ بِدُخَانٍ مُّبِينٍ ﴾

(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:

«اخْسَأْ فَلَنْ تَعْدُوَ قَدْرَك»

(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:

﴿فَارْتَقِبْ يَوْمَ تَأْتِى السَّمَآءُ بِدُخَانٍ مُّبِينٍ ﴾

(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

﴿يَغْشَى النَّاسَ﴾

(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.”

﴿هَـذَا عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ﴾

(this is a painful torment.) means, this will be said to them by way of rebuke. This is like the Ayah:

﴿يَوْمَ يُدَعُّونَ إِلَى نَارِ جَهَنَّمَ دَعًّا – هَـذِهِ النَّارُ الَّتِى كُنتُم بِهَا تُكَذِّبُونَ ﴾

(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.

﴿رَّبَّنَا اكْشِفْ عَنَّا الْعَذَابَ إِنَّا مْؤْمِنُونَ ﴾

((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:

﴿وَلَوْ تَرَى إِذْ وُقِفُواْ عَلَى النَّارِ فَقَالُواْ يلَيْتَنَا نُرَدُّ وَلاَ نُكَذِّبَ بِـَايَـتِ رَبِّنَا وَنَكُونَ مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ ﴾

(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)

﴿وَأَنذِرِ النَّاسَ يَوْمَ يَأْتِيهِمُ الْعَذَابُ فَيَقُولُ الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُواْ رَبَّنَآ أَخِّرْنَآ إِلَى أَجَلٍ قَرِيبٍ نُّجِبْ دَعْوَتَكَ وَنَتَّبِعِ الرُّسُلَ أَوَلَمْ تَكُونُواْ أَقْسَمْتُمْ مِّن قَبْلُ مَا لَكُمْ مِّن زَوَالٍ ﴾

(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:

﴿أَنَّى لَهُمُ الذِّكْرَى وَقَدْ جَآءَهُمْ رَسُولٌ مُّبِينٌ – ثُمَّ تَوَلَّوْاْ عَنْهُ وَقَالُواْ مُعَلَّمٌ مَّجْنُونٌ ﴾

(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:

﴿يَوْمَئِذٍ يَتَذَكَّرُ الإِنسَـنُ وَأَنَّى لَهُ الذِّكْرَى﴾

(On that Day will man remember, but how will that remembrance (then) avail him) (89:23)

﴿وَلَوْ تَرَى إِذْ فَزِعُواْ فَلاَ فَوْتَ وَأُخِذُواْ مِن مَّكَانٍ قَرِيبٍ – وَقَالُواْ ءَامَنَّا بِهِ وَأَنَّى لَهُمُ التَّنَاوُشُ مِن مَّكَانِ بَعِيدٍ ﴾

(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)

﴿إِنَّا كَاشِفُواْ الْعَذَابِ قَلِيلاً إِنَّكُمْ عَآئِدُونَ ﴾

(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:

﴿وَلَوْ رَحِمْنَـهُمْ وَكَشَفْنَا مَا بِهِمْ مِّن ضُرٍّ لَّلَجُّواْ فِى طُغْيَـنِهِمْ يَعْمَهُونَ ﴾

(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)

﴿وَلَوْ رُدُّواْ لَعَـدُواْ لِمَا نُهُواْ عَنْهُ وَإِنَّهُمْ لَكَـذِبُونَ﴾

(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)

The Meaning of the “Great Batshah”

﴿يَوْمَ نَبْطِشُ الْبَطْشَةَ الْكُبْرَى إِنَّا مُنتَقِمُونَ ﴾

(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.

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