Surah Ghafir >> Currently viewing Surah Ghafir Ayat 21 (40:21)

Surah Ghafir Ayat 21 in Arabic Text

أَوَلَمْ يَسِيرُوا۟ فِى ٱلْأَرْضِ فَيَنظُرُوا۟ كَيْفَ كَانَ عَـٰقِبَةُ ٱلَّذِينَ كَانُوا۟ مِن قَبْلِهِمْ ۚ كَانُوا۟ هُمْ أَشَدَّ مِنْهُمْ قُوَّةًۭ وَءَاثَارًۭا فِى ٱلْأَرْضِ فَأَخَذَهُمُ ٱللَّهُ بِذُنُوبِهِمْ وَمَا كَانَ لَهُم مِّنَ ٱللَّهِ مِن وَاقٍۢ
Awalam yaseeroo fil ardi fa yanzuroo kaifa kaana ‘aaqibatul lazeena kaanoo min qablihim; kaanoo hum ashadda minhum quwwatanw wa aasaaran fil ardi fa akhazahumul laahu bizunoobihim wa maa kaana lahum minal laahi minw waaq

English Translation

Here you can read various translations of verse 21

Sahih International
Have they not traveled through the land and observed how was the end of those who were before them? They were greater than them in strength and in impression on the land, but Allah seized them for their sins. And they had not from Allah any protector.

Yusuf Ali
Do they not travel through the earth and see what was the End of those before them? They were even superior to them in strength, and in the traces (they have left) in the land: but Allah did call them to account for their sins, and none had they to defend them against Allah.

Abul Ala Maududi
Have they not journeyed in the land that they might observe the end of those who came before them? They were even greater in strength than they and left behind more splendid traces in the land. Then Allah seized them because of their sins and they had none who could protect them from Allah.

Muhsin Khan
Have they not travelled in the land and seen what was the end of those who were before them? They were superior to them in strength, and in the traces (which they left) in the land. But Allah seized them with punishment for their sins. And none had they to protect them from Allah.

Pickthall
Have they not travelled in the land to see the nature of the consequence for those who disbelieved before them? They were mightier than these in power and (in the) traces (which they left behind them) in the earth. Yet Allah seized them for their sins, and they had no protector from Allah.

Dr. Ghali
And have they not traveled in the earth and so (could) look into how was the end of the ones who were before them? They were stronger (Literally: more valiant, more strict) in power than themselves and (left) more tracks in the earth; yet Allah took them (away) for their guilty (deeds), and in no way did they have any protector from Allah.

Abdel Haleem
Have they not travelled through the land and seen how those who lived before them met their end? They were stronger than them and made a more impressive mark on the land, yet God destroyed them for their sins- they had no one to defend them against Him-

Quran 40 Verse 21 Explanation

For those looking for commentary to help with the understanding of Surah Ghafir ayat 21, we’ve provided two Tafseer works below. The first is the tafseer of Abul Ala Maududi, the second is of Ibn Kathir.

Ala-Maududi

(40:21) Have they not journeyed in the land that they might observe the end of those who came before them? They were even greater in strength than they and left behind more splendid traces in the land. Then Allah seized them because of their sins and they had none who could protect them from Allah.


There is no commentary by Abul Maududi available for this verse.

Ibn-Kathir

21. Have they not traveled in the land and seen what was the end of those who were before them They were superior to them in strength, and in the traces in the land. But Allah seized them with punishment for their sins. And none had they to protect them from Allah. 22. That was because there came to them their Messengers with clear evidences but they disbelieved (in them). So Allah seized them. Verily, He is All-Strong, Severe in punishment.


The Severe Punishment for the Disbelievers

﴿أَوَلَمْ يَسيرُواْ﴾

(Have they not traveled), `these people who disbelieve in your Message, O Muhammad,’

﴿فِى الاٌّرْضِ فَيَنظُرُواْ كَيْفَ كَانَ عَـقِبَةُ الَّذِينَ كَانُواْ مِن قَبْلِهِمْ﴾

(in the land and seen what was the end of those who were before them) means, the nations of the past who disbelieved in their Prophets (peace be upon them), for which the punishment came upon them even though they were stronger than Quraysh.

﴿وَءَاثَاراً فِى الاٌّرْضِ﴾

(and in the traces in the land.) means, they left behind traces in the earth, such as structures, buildings and dwellings which these people ﴿i.e., the Quraysh﴾ cannot match. This is like the Ayat:

﴿وَلَقَدْ مَكَّنَـهُمْ فِيمَآ إِن مَّكَّنَّـكُمْ فِيهِ﴾

(And indeed We had firmly established them with that wherewith We have not established you!) (46:26)

﴿وَأَثَارُواْ الاٌّرْضَ وَعَمَرُوهَآ أَكْثَرَ مِمَّا عَمَرُوهَا﴾

(and they tilled the earth and populated it in greater numbers than these have done) (30:9). Yet despite this great strength, Allah punished them for their sin, which was their disbelief in their Messengers.

﴿وَمَا كَانَ لَهُم مِّنَ اللَّهِ مِن وَاقٍ﴾

(And none had they to protect them from Allah.) means, they had no one who could protect them or ward off the punishment from them. Then Allah mentions the reason why He punished them, and the sins which they committed. Allah says:

﴿ذَلِكَ بِأَنَّهُمْ كَانَت تَّأْتِيهِمْ رُسُلُهُم بِالْبَيِّنَـتِ﴾

(That was because there came to them their Messengers with clear evidences) meaning with clear proof and definitive evidence.

﴿فَكَفَرُواْ﴾

(but they disbelieved.) means, despite all these signs, they disbelieved and rejected the Message.

﴿فَأَخَذَهُمُ اللَّهُ﴾

(So Allah seized them.) means, He destroyed them utterly, and a similar fate awaits the disbelievers.

﴿إِنَّهُ قَوِىٌّ شَدِيدُ الْعِقَابِ﴾

(Verily, He is All-Strong, Severe in punishment) means, He is possessed of great strength and might.

﴿شَدِيدُ الْعِقَابِ﴾

(Severe in punishment, ) means, His punishment is severe and agonizing; we seek refuge with Allah, may He be blessed and exalted, from that.

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