Surah Al Ma’arij (Arabic: سورة المعارج) it is the 70th Surah of the Qur’an. It consists of a total of 44 ayats and is classified as a Meccan Surah. The title of Surah in English is “The Ascending Stairways”.
It discusses two topics, (1) is about the ascent of the Believers. Overtime the truth will prevail and will gradually increase. (2) The Surah talks about the problems of human in general, those who believe their character is different. It warns about the coming doom of the disbelievers.
Below you can read Surah Maarij with transliteration and Sahih International English translation. For those looking to learn detailed explanation of this Surah we’ve included three different tafseer at the end.
“And those who are to their trusts and promises attentive And those who are in their testimonies upright And those who [carefully] maintain their prayer: They will be in gardens, honored.”
Surah Al-Ma’arij Ayat 32-35
Read Surah Maarij with Translation and Transliteration
Bismillah Hir Rahman Nir Raheem
In the name of Allah, The Most Gracious and The Most Merciful
سَأَلَ سَآئِلٌۢ بِعَذَابٍۢ وَاقِعٍۢ
Sa ala saaa’ilum bi’azaa binw-waaqi’
1. A supplicant asked for a punishment bound to happen
لِّلْكَـٰفِرِينَ لَيْسَ لَهُۥ دَافِعٌۭ
Lilkaafireen laisa lahoo daafi’
2. To the disbelievers; of it there is no preventer.
مِّنَ ٱللَّهِ ذِى ٱلْمَعَارِجِ
Minal laahi zil ma’aarij
3. [It is] from Allah, owner of the ways of ascent.
تَعْرُجُ ٱلْمَلَـٰٓئِكَةُ وَٱلرُّوحُ إِلَيْهِ فِى يَوْمٍۢ كَانَ مِقْدَارُهُۥ خَمْسِينَ أَلْفَ سَنَةٍۢ
Ta’rujul malaaa’ikatu war Roohu ilaihi fee yawmin kaana miqdaaruhoo khamseena alfa sanah
4. The angels and the Spirit will ascend to Him during a Day the extent of which is fifty thousand years.
فَٱصْبِرْ صَبْرًۭا جَمِيلًا
Fasbir ssabran jameelaa
5. So be patient with gracious patience.
إِنَّهُمْ يَرَوْنَهُۥ بَعِيدًۭا
Inaahum yarawnahoo ba’eedaa
6. Indeed, they see it [as] distant,
Wa naraahu qareebaa
7. But We see it [as] near.
يَوْمَ تَكُونُ ٱلسَّمَآءُ كَٱلْمُهْلِ
Yawma takoonus samaaa’u kalmuhl
8. On the Day the sky will be like murky oil,
وَتَكُونُ ٱلْجِبَالُ كَٱلْعِهْنِ
Wa takoonul jibaalu kal’ihn
9. And the mountains will be like wool,
وَلَا يَسْـَٔلُ حَمِيمٌ حَمِيمًۭا
Wa laa yas’alu hameemun hameemaa
10. And no friend will ask [anything of] a friend,
يُبَصَّرُونَهُمْ ۚ يَوَدُّ ٱلْمُجْرِمُ لَوْ يَفْتَدِى مِنْ عَذَابِ يَوْمِئِذٍۭ بِبَنِيهِ
Yubassaroonahum; ya waddul mujrimu law yaftadee min ‘azaabi yawma’izim bibaneeh
11. They will be shown each other. The criminal will wish that he could be ransomed from the punishment of that Day by his children
Wa saahibatihee wa akheeh
12. And his wife and his brother
وَفَصِيلَتِهِ ٱلَّتِى تُـْٔوِيهِ
Wa faseelathil latee tu’weeh
13. And his nearest kindred who shelter him
وَمَن فِى ٱلْأَرْضِ جَمِيعًۭا ثُمَّ يُنجِيهِ
Wa man fil ardi jamee’an summa yunjeeh
14. And whoever is on earth entirely [so] then it could save him.
كَلَّآ ۖ إِنَّهَا لَظَىٰ
Kallaa innahaa lazaa
15. No! Indeed, it is the Flame [of Hell],
16. A remover of exteriors.
تَدْعُوا۟ مَنْ أَدْبَرَ وَتَوَلَّىٰ
Tad’oo man adbara wa tawallaa
17. It invites he who turned his back [on truth] and went away [from obedience]
Wa jama’a fa aw’aa
18. And collected [wealth] and hoarded.
۞ إِنَّ ٱلْإِنسَـٰنَ خُلِقَ هَلُوعًا
Innal insaana khuliqa haloo’aa
19. Indeed, mankind was created anxious:
إِذَا مَسَّهُ ٱلشَّرُّ جَزُوعًۭا
Izaa massahush sharru jazoo’aa
20. When evil touches him, impatient,
وَإِذَا مَسَّهُ ٱلْخَيْرُ مَنُوعًا
Wa izaa massahul khairu manoo’aa
21. And when good touches him, withholding [of it],
22. Except the observers of prayer –
ٱلَّذِينَ هُمْ عَلَىٰ صَلَاتِهِمْ دَآئِمُونَ
Allazeena hum ‘alaa Salaatihim daaa’imoon
23. Those who are constant in their prayer
وَٱلَّذِينَ فِىٓ أَمْوَٰلِهِمْ حَقٌّۭ مَّعْلُومٌۭ
Wallazeena feee amwaalihim haqqum ma’loom
24. And those within whose wealth is a known right
Lissaaa ‘ili walmahroom
25. For the petitioner and the deprived –
وَٱلَّذِينَ يُصَدِّقُونَ بِيَوْمِ ٱلدِّينِ
Wallazeena yusaddiqoona bi yawmid Deen
26. And those who believe in the Day of Recompense
وَٱلَّذِينَ هُم مِّنْ عَذَابِ رَبِّهِم مُّشْفِقُونَ
Wallazeena hum min ‘azaabi Rabbihim mushfiqoon
27. And those who are fearful of the punishment of their Lord –
إِنَّ عَذَابَ رَبِّهِمْ غَيْرُ مَأْمُونٍۢ
Inna ‘azaaba Rabbihim ghairu maamoon
28. Indeed, the punishment of their Lord is not that from which one is safe –
وَٱلَّذِينَ هُمْ لِفُرُوجِهِمْ حَـٰفِظُونَ
Wallazeena hum lifuroo jihim haafizoon
29. And those who guard their private parts
إِلَّا عَلَىٰٓ أَزْوَٰجِهِمْ أَوْ مَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَـٰنُهُمْ فَإِنَّهُمْ غَيْرُ مَلُومِينَ
Illaa ‘alaaa azwaajihim aw maa malakat aymaanuhum fainnahum ghairu maloomeen
30. Except from their wives or those their right hands possess, for indeed, they are not to be blamed –
فَمَنِ ٱبْتَغَىٰ وَرَآءَ ذَٰلِكَ فَأُو۟لَـٰٓئِكَ هُمُ ٱلْعَادُونَ
Famanib taghaa waraaa’a zaalika fa ulaaa’ika humul ‘aadoon
31. But whoever seeks beyond that, then they are the transgressors –
وَٱلَّذِينَ هُمْ لِأَمَـٰنَـٰتِهِمْ وَعَهْدِهِمْ رَٰعُونَ
Wallazeena hum li amaa naatihim wa ‘ahdihim raa’oon
32. And those who are to their trusts and promises attentive
وَٱلَّذِينَ هُم بِشَهَـٰدَٰتِهِمْ قَآئِمُونَ
Wallazeena hum bishahaadaatihim qaaa’imoon
33. And those who are in their testimonies upright
وَٱلَّذِينَ هُمْ عَلَىٰ صَلَاتِهِمْ يُحَافِظُونَ
Wallazeena hum ‘alaa salaatihim yuhaafizoon
34. And those who [carefully] maintain their prayer:
أُو۟لَـٰٓئِكَ فِى جَنَّـٰتٍۢ مُّكْرَمُونَ
Ulaaa’ika fee jannaatim mukramoon
35. They will be in gardens, honored.
فَمَالِ ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا۟ قِبَلَكَ مُهْطِعِينَ
Famaa lil lazeena kafaroo qibalaka muhti’een
36. So what is [the matter] with those who disbelieve, hastening [from] before you, [O Muhammad],
عَنِ ٱلْيَمِينِ وَعَنِ ٱلشِّمَالِ عِزِينَ
‘Anil yameeni wa ‘anish shimaali ‘izeen
37. [To sit] on [your] right and [your] left in separate groups?
أَيَطْمَعُ كُلُّ ٱمْرِئٍۢ مِّنْهُمْ أَن يُدْخَلَ جَنَّةَ نَعِيمٍۢ
Ayatma’u kullum ri’im minhum anyyudkhala jannata Na’eem
38. Does every person among them aspire to enter a garden of pleasure?
كَلَّآ ۖ إِنَّا خَلَقْنَـٰهُم مِّمَّا يَعْلَمُونَ
Kallaaa innaa khalaq nahum mimmaa ya’lamoon
39. No! Indeed, We have created them from that which they know.
فَلَآ أُقْسِمُ بِرَبِّ ٱلْمَشَـٰرِقِ وَٱلْمَغَـٰرِبِ إِنَّا لَقَـٰدِرُونَ
Falaaa uqsimu bi Rabbil mashaariqi wal maghaaribi innaa laqaadiroon
40. So I swear by the Lord of [all] risings and settings that indeed We are able
عَلَىٰٓ أَن نُّبَدِّلَ خَيْرًۭا مِّنْهُمْ وَمَا نَحْنُ بِمَسْبُوقِينَ
‘Alaaa an nubaddila khairam minhum wa maa Nahnu bimasbooqeen
41. To replace them with better than them; and We are not to be outdone.
فَذَرْهُمْ يَخُوضُوا۟ وَيَلْعَبُوا۟ حَتَّىٰ يُلَـٰقُوا۟ يَوْمَهُمُ ٱلَّذِى يُوعَدُونَ
Fazarhum yakhoodoo wa yal’aboo hattaa yulaaqoo yaw mahumul lazee yoo’adoon
42. So leave them to converse vainly and amuse themselves until they meet their Day which they are promised –
يَوْمَ يَخْرُجُونَ مِنَ ٱلْأَجْدَاثِ سِرَاعًۭا كَأَنَّهُمْ إِلَىٰ نُصُبٍۢ يُوفِضُونَ
Yawma yakhrujoona minal ajdaasi siraa’an ka anna hum ilaa nusubiny yoofidoon
43. The Day they will emerge from the graves rapidly as if they were, toward an erected idol, hastening.
خَـٰشِعَةً أَبْصَـٰرُهُمْ تَرْهَقُهُمْ ذِلَّةٌۭ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ ٱلْيَوْمُ ٱلَّذِى كَانُوا۟ يُوعَدُونَ
Khaashi’atan absaaruhum tarhaquhum zillah; zaalikal yawmul lazee kaanoo yoo’adoon
44. Their eyes humbled, humiliation will cover them. That is the Day which they had been promised.
Tafseer of Surah Ma’arij
The Qur’an is a book of revelation to call people to Islam and to be a book for guidance. This is why we shouldn’t only read the Qur’an but make it a study. There’s no one right way to do this, each person has a different learning style so we can listen to lectures or read tafseer.
It is our personal belief that written text provides a more structured format and is more dense then a formal talk. You can branch off easily and explore different ayat of different Surahs as needed and learn at your own pace. Below we’ve have three different tafseer of Surah Ma’arij. If you have any other recommendations you can send an email to our team and we’ll see if it can be added.
Tafsir of Surah Ma’arij by Ibn Kathir
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
(A questioner asked concerning a torment about to befall) This Ayah contains an assumed meaning that is alluded to by the letter “Ba”. It is as though it is saying, a questioner requested to hasten on the torment that is about to fall. It is similar to Allah’s statement,
(And they ask you to hasten on the torment! And Allah fails not His promise.) (22:47) meaning, that its torment will occur and there is no avoiding it. Al-`Awfi reported from Ibn `Abbas concerning the Ayah,
(A questioner asked concerning a torment about to befall) “That is the questioning of the disbelievers about the torment of Allah and it will occur to them.” Ibn Abi Najih reported from Mujahid that he said concerning Allah’s statement
(A questioner asked), “A person called out (requesting) for the torment that will occur in the Hereafter to happen.” Then he said, “This is their saying,
(O Allah! If this is indeed the truth from you, then rain down stones on us from the sky or bring on us a painful torment.)” (8:32) Allah’s statement,
(about to befall (Waqi`) upon the disbelievers,) means, it is waiting in preparation for the disbelievers. Ibn `Abbas said, “Waqi` means coming.”
(which non can avert) meaning, there is no one who can repel it if Allah wants it to happen. Thus, Allah says,
(From Allah, the Lord of the ways of ascent (Al-Ma`arij).)
`Ali bin Abi Talhah reported from Ibn `Abbas, “Lord of the ways of ascent means loftiness and abundance.” Mujahid said, “Lord of the ways of ascent means the ways of ascension into the heavens.” Concerning Allah’s statement,
(The angels and the Ruh Ta`ruju to Him) `Abdur-Razzaq reported from Ma`mar from Qatadah that Ta`ruju means to ascend. In reference to the Ruh, Abu Salih said, “They are creatures from the creation of Allah that resemble humans but they are not humans.” It could be that here it means Jibril, and this is a way of connecting the specific to the general (other angels). It could also be referring to the name of the souls (Arwah) of the Children of Adam (humans). For verily, when they (the human souls) are taken at death, they are lifted up to the heavens just as the Hadith of Al-Bara’ proves.
Concerning Allah’s statement,
(in a Day the measure whereof is fifty thousand years.) This refers to the Day of Judgement. Ibn Abi Hatim recorded from Ibn `Abbas that he said concerning the Ayah,
(in a Day the measure whereof is fifty thousand years.) “It is the Day of Judgement.” The chain of narration of this report (to Ibn `Abbas) is authentic. Ath-Thawri reported from Simak bin Harb from `Ikrimah that he said concerning this verse, “It is the Day of Judgement.” Ad-Dahhak and Ibn Zayd both said the same. `Ali bin Abi Talhah reported from Ibn `Abbas concerning the Ayah,
(The angels and the Ruh ascend to Him in a Day the measure whereof is fifty thousand years.) “It is the Day of Judgement that Allah has made to be the measure of fifty thousand years for the disbelievers. ” Many Hadiths have been reported with this same meaning. Imam Ahmad recorded from Abu `Umar Al-Ghudani that he said, “I was with Abu Hurayrah when a man from Bani `Amir bin Sa`sa`ah passed and it was said: `This man is the wealthiest man of Bani `Amir.’ So Abu Hurayrah said, `Bring him back to me.’ So they brought the man back to Abu Hurayrah. Then Abu Hurayrah said, `I have been informed that you are a man of great wealth.’ The man from Bani `Amir replied, `Yes, by Allah. I have one hundred red-colored camels, one hundred brown-colored camels…’ and so on he counted numerous colored camels, the races of the slaves and the types of fetters for his horses that he owned. So Abu Hurayrah said, `Beware of the hooves of the camels and the cloven hooves of the cattle.’ He continued repeating that to him until the color of the man began to change. Then the man said, `O Abu Hurayrah what is this’ Abu Hurayrah replied, `I heard the Messenger of Allah say,
(Whoever has camels and does not give their due (Zakah) in their Najdah and their Risl…) We interrupted saying, `O Messenger of Allah! What is their Najdah and Risl’ He said,
(It is their difficulty and their ease, for verily, they will come on the Day of Resurrection healthier than before. They will be more in number, fatter and more lively and unruly. Then a soft, level plain will be spread out for them and they will trample him with their hooves. When the last of them has passed over him, the first of them will return to trample him again during a day whose measure will be fifty thousand years. This will continue until the case of all the people is decided between them. Then he (the withholder of Zakah) will see his path (i.e., either to Paradise or Hell). If he had cows that he did not pay the Zakah in their ease and their difficult times, then they will come on the Day of Judgement healthier than they were before. They will be more in number, fatter and more lively and unruly. Then a soft, level plain will be spread out for them and they will trample him. Every one of them that has cloven hooves will trample him with its hooves, and every one of them that has a horn will butt him with its horn. There will not be any hornless or bent horned animals among them. When the last of them has passed over him, the first of them will return to trample him again during a day whose measure will be fifty thousand years. This will continue until the case of all the people is decided between them. Then he (the withholder of Zakah) will see his path (i.e., either to Paradise or Hell). If he has any sheep that he does not pay the due Zakah in their difficulty and their ease, then they will come on the Day of Judgement healthier than they were before. They will be more (in number) fatter and more lively and unruly. Then a soft, level plain will be spread out for them and they will trample him. Every one of them that has a cloven hoof will trample him with its hooves, and every one of them that has a horn will butt him with its horn. There will not be any hornless or bent horned animals among them. When the last of them has passed over him, the first of them will return to trample him again during a day whose measure will be fifty thousand years. This will continue until the case of all the people is decided between them. Then he (the withholder of Zakah) will see his path (i.e., either to Paradise or Hell).) Then, the man from Bani `Amir said, `What is the due of the camel, O Abu Hurayrah’ Abu Hurayrah said, `It is that you give (in your Zakah payment) from your most valuable camels, that you lend a milking she-camel, that you lend your mount for riding, that you give the milk (to the people) for drinking, and you lend the male camel for breeding.”’ This Hadith was also recorded by Abu Dawud and An-Nasa’i.
Imam Ahmad recorded from Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allah said,
(There is not any owner of treasure who does not pay its due except that it will be made into heated metal plates and branded upon him in the fire of Hell. His forehead, side and back will be scorched with these metal plates. This will continue until Allah judges between His servants on a Day whose measure is fifty thousand years of what you count. Then he will see his path, either to Paradise or to the Fire.) Then he (Abu Hurayrah) mentions the rest of the Hadith about the sheep and camels just as mentioned before. In this narration (of Ahmad) the Prophet also added,
(The horse is for three (on the Day of Judgement): for one man it is a reward, for another man it is a shield (protection), and upon another man it is a burden.) And the Hadith continues. Muslim also recorded this Hadith in its entirety even though Al-Bukhari did not mention it. The intent behind mentioning this here is the Prophet’s statement,
(Until Allah judges between His servants on a day whose measurement is fifty thousand years.)
(So be patient, with a good patience.) meaning, `be patient, O Muhammad, with your people’s rejection and their seeking to hasten the torment since they think it will not occur.’ Allah says in another Ayah,
(Those who believe not therein seek to hasten it, while those believe are fearful of it, and know that it is the very truth.) (42:18) Thus, Allah says,
(Verily, they see it (the torment) afar off.) meaning, the happening of the torment and the establishment of the Hour (Day of Judgement). The disbelievers see this as something that is farfetched. The word “Ba`id” here means that which is impossible to occur.
(But We see it (quite) near.) meaning, the believers believe that its occurrence is near, even though its time of occurrence is unknown and no one knows when it will be except Allah. All of what is approaching then it is near and it will definitely happen.
Allah says that the torment will befall the disbelievers.
(The Day that the sky will be like the Al-Muhl.) Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, `Ata, Sa`id bin Jubayr, `Ikrimah, As-Suddi and others have all said, “Like the residue of oil.”
(And the mountains will be like `Ihn.) meaning, like fluffed wool. This was said by Mujahid, Qatadah and As-Suddi. This Ayah is similar to Allah’s statement,
(And the mountains will be like carded wool.) (101:5) Concerning Allah’s statement,
(And no friend will ask a friend, though they shall be made to see one another.) Meaning, no close friend will ask his close friend about his condition while he sees him in the worst of conditions. He will be worried about himself and will not be able to think of others. Al-`Awfi reported from Ibn `Abbas, “Some of them will know others and they will be acquainted with each other. Then, they will flee from each other after that, as Allah says,
(Every man that Day will have enough to make him careless of others.)” (80:37) This honorable Ayah is similar to Allah’s statement,
(O mankind! Have Taqwa of your Lord, and fear a Day when no father can avail aught for his son, and nor a son avail aught for his father. Verily the promise of Allah is true.) (31:33) and He also says,
(And if one heavily laden calls another to (bear) his load, nothing of it will be lifted even though he be near of kin.) (35:18) and He says,
(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 similarly He says,
(That day shall a man flee fom his brother, and from his mother and his father, and from his wife and his children. Every man that Day will have enough to make him careless of others.) (80:34-37) Then Allah’s saying here
(the criminal would desire to ransom himself from the punishment of the Day by his children, and his wife and his brother, and his Fasilah (kindred) who sheltered him, and all that are in the earth, so that it might save him. By no means!) means, no ransom will be accepted from him even if he brought all of the people of the earth (as ransom), and the greatest wealth that he could find, even if it was enough gold to fill the entire earth. Even the child that he had who was dearer to him than the last beat of his heart in the life of this world, he would wish to use the child as a ransom for himself against the torment of Allah on the Day of Judgement when he sees the horrors. However, even this child would not be accepted from him (as a ransom). Mujahid and As-Suddi both said,
(and his Fasilah) “This means his tribe and his kin.” `Ikrimah said, “This means the subdivision of his tribe that he is from.” Ashhab reported from Malik that he said, “His Fasilah is his mother.” Allah said,
(Verily, it will be the fire of Hell,) Here He is describing the Hell- fire and the severity of its heat.
(Nazza`ah the Shawa!) Ibn `Abbas and Mujahid both said, “It is the skin of the head.” Al-Hasan Al-Basri and Thabit Al-Bunani both said,
(Nazza`ah the Shawa!) “This means respectable parts of the face.” Qatadah said,
(Nazza`ah the Shawa!) “This means removing his important organs, and the respectable parts of his face, his creation and his limbs.” Ad-Dahhak said, “This means it will scrape the flesh and the skin off of the bone until it leaves nothing of it remaining.” Ibn Zayd said, “The Shawa is the marrow of the bones.” As for,
(Nazza`ah) Ibn Zayd said, “It is cutting their bones and transformation of their skins and their form.” Concerning Allah’s statement,
(Calling (all) such as turn their backs and turn away their faces. And collect and hide it.) meaning, the Fire will call out to its children whom Allah created for it, determining that they will perform the deeds deserving of it in the worldly life. So it will call them on the Day of Judgement with an eloquent and articulate tongue. Then it will pick them out from the people of the gathering just as birds pick seeds. This is because they were, as Allah said, of those who turned their backs and turned away. This means they denied with their hearts and abandoned the performance of deeds with their limbs.
(And collect and hide it.) meaning, he gathered wealth piling it up, and he concealed it, meaning he hid it and refused to give the obligatory right of Allah that was due on it of spending and paying the Zakah. It has been recorded in a Hadith that the Prophet said,
(Do not hold back (your wealth) or else Allah will hold back from you.)
(Verily, man was created very impatient;) Then, Allah explains this statement by saying,
(Apprehensive when evil touches him;) meaning, whenever any harm touches him he is frightful, worried and completely taken back due to the severity of his terror and his despair that he will receive any good after it.
(And suppressive when good touches him.) meaning, if he attains any blessing from Allah, he is stingy with it, not sharing it with others. He will withhold the right of Allah with that blessing. Imam Ahmad said that Abu `Abdur-Rahman informed them that Musa bin `Ali bin Rabah told them that he heard his father narrating from `Abdul-`Aziz bin Marwan bin Al-Hakim that he heard Abu Hurayrah saying, “The Messenger of Allah said,
(The worst thing that can be in a man is greedy impatience and unrestrained cowardice.) Abu Dawud recorded this Hadith from `Abdullah bin Al-Jarrah on the authority of Abu `Abdur-Rahman Al-Muqri’, and this is the only Hadith through `Abdul-`Aziz with him.
Then Allah says,
(Except those who are devoted to Salah.) meaning, man is described with blameworthy characteristics except for He whom Allah protects, helps and guides to good, making its means easy for him — and these are those people who perform Salah.
(Those who with their Salah are Da’imun;) It has been said that this means they guard its times and the elements obligatory in it. This has been said by Ibn Mas`ud, Masruq and Ibrahim An-Nakha`i. It has also been said that it means tranquility and humble concentration (in the prayer). This is similar to Allah’s statement,
(Successful indeed are the believers. Those who with their Salah are Khashi`un.) (23:1-2) This was said by `Uqbah bin `Amir. From its meanings is the same terminology used to describe standing (still) water (Al-Ma’ Ad-Da’im). This proves the obligation of having tranquility in the prayer. For verily, the one who does not have tranquility (stillness of posture) in his bowing and prostrating, then he is not being constant (Da’im) in his prayer. This is because he is not being still in it and he does not remain (in its positions), rather he pecks in it (quickly) like the pecking of the crow. Therefore, he is not successful in performing his prayer. It has also been said that the meaning here refers to those who perform a deed and are constant in its performance and consistent in it. This is like the Hadith that has been recorded in the Sahih on the authority of `A’ishah that the Messenger of Allah said,
(The most beloved deeds to Allah are those that are most consistent, even if they are few.) Then Allah says,
(And those in whose wealth there is a recognized right. For the one who asks, and for the deprived.) meaning, in their wealth is a determined portion for those who are in need. Concerning Allah’s statement,
(And those who believe in the Day of Recompense.) meaning, they are sure of the Final Return (to Allah), the Reckoning and the Recompense. Therefore, they perform the deeds of one who hopes for the reward and fears the punishment. For this reason Allah says,
(And those who fear the torment of their Lord. ) meaning, they are fearful and dreadful.
(Verily, the torment of their Lord is that before which none can feel secure.) meaning, no one is safe from it (Allah’s torment) of those who understand the command from Allah, except by the security of Allah Himself. Then Allah says,
(And those who guard their private part (chastity).) meaning, they keep their private parts away from that which is forbidden and they prevent their private parts from being put into other than what Allah has allowed them to be in. This is why Allah says,
(Except from their wives or their right hand possessions) meaning, from their female slaves.
(for (then) they are not blameworthy. But whosoever seeks beyond that, then it is those who are trespassers.) The explanation of this has already preceded at the beginning of Surat Al-Mu’minun, and therefore does not need to be repeated here. Allah said,
(And those who keep their trusts and covenants.) meaning, if they are given a trust they do not deceit and when they make a covenant they do not break it. These are the characteristics of the believers which are opposite of the characteristics of the hypocrites. This is like what is reported in the authentic Hadith,
(The signs of the hypocrites are three. When he speaks he lies, when he promises he breaks his promise, and when he is given a trust he behaves treacherously (with it).) In another narration it states,
(When he speaks he lies, when he makes a covenant he breaks it, and when he argues he is abusive.) Concerning Allah’s statement,
(And those who stand firm in their testimonies.) This means that they guard their testimonies. They do not add or decrease from what they testify to nor do they conceal their testimonies. Allah says in another Ayah,
(Who hides it, surely, his heart is sinful.) (2:283) Then Allah says,
(And those who are with their Salah, Yuhafizun.) meaning, they maintain its proper times, its pillars, its obligations and its recommended acts. So Allah begins this discussion (of the believers’ attributes) with prayer and He concludes it with prayer. This proves the importance of it and the praise of its noble status, just as what preceded at the beginning of Surat Al-Mu’minun. It is exactly the same discussion. This is why Allah says there (in Al-Mu’minun),
(These are indeed the inheritors. Who shall inherit the Firdaws (Paradise). They shall dwell therein forever.) (23:10-11) And He says here,
(Such shall dwell in the Gardens, honored.) meaning, they will be honored with various types of pleasures and delights.
﴿فَمَالِ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ قِبَلَكَ مُهْطِعِينَ – عَنِ الْيَمِينِ وَعَنِ الشِّمَالِ عِزِينَ – أَيَطْمَعُ كُلُّ امْرِىءٍ مِّنْهُمْ أَن يُدْخَلَ جَنَّةَ نَعِيمٍ – كَلاَّ إِنَّا خَلَقْنَـهُم مِّمَّا يَعْلَمُونَ
Allah rebukes the disbelievers who, in the time of the Prophet , saw him and the guidance Allah sent him with. They witnessed the magnificent miracles Allah aided him with. Then, after all of this they fled from him and separated themselves from him. They fled right and left, group by group and party by party. This is as Allah says,
(Then what is wrong with them that they run away from admonition As if they were (frightened) wild donkeys. Fleeing from a beast of prey.) (74:49-51) This is the example of disbeliever. And this Ayah is similar. As Allah says,
(So what is the matter with those disbelievers, before you Muhti`in) meaning, `what is wrong with these disbelievers who are with you, O Muhammad Why are they Muhti`in, meaning hastily running away from you’ This is as Al-Hasan Al-Basri said, “Muhti`in means departing.”
(On the right and on the left, `Izin.) The singular of `Izin is `Izah, which means separating. meaning in their separating and their differing. Al-`Awfi reported from Ibn `Abbas about the Ayah;
(So what is the matter with those disbelievers, before you Muhti`in.) “They are looking in your direction.” Then the Ayah;
(On the right and on the left, `Izin.) he (Ibn `Abbas) said, “Al-`Izin is a group among the people. On the right and on the left means they are turning away (right and left) from him (the Prophet ) and mocking him.” Jabir bin Samurah narrated that the Messenger of Allah came out to them while they were sitting in circles. So the Messenger of Allah said,
(Why do I see you all `Izin (in groups).) Ahmad, Muslim, Abu Dawud, An-Nasa’i and Ibn Jarir all recorded this Hadith. Then, concerning Allah’s statement,
(Does every man of them hope to enter the Paradise of Delight But no!) meaning, is this their wish, yet they flee from the Messenger in aversion to the truth Are they hoping that they will be admitted into the Gardens of Delight Nay, rather their abode is Hell. Then Allah affirms the occurrence of the Final Abode and the torment that will befall them that they are denying its existence and claiming it to be something farfetched. As a proof against them, Allah mentions the initiation of creation, and that repeating the process is something easier than performing it the first time. This is something that they themselves confess to. Allah says,
(Verily, We have created them out of that which they know!) meaning, from despised semen. This is as Allah says,
(Did We not create you from a despised water (semen)) (77:20) Allah also says,
(So let man see from what he is created! He is created from a water gushing forth. Proceeding from between the backbone and the ribs. Verily He is able to bring him back! The Day when all the secrets will be examined. Then he will have no power, nor any helper.) (86:5-10) Then Allah says,
(But no! I swear by the Lord of the easts and the wests) meaning, the One Who created the heavens and the earth and made the east and the west. He is the One Who subjected the stars causing them to appear in the eastern parts of the sky and vanish in the western parts of it. The point of this statement is that the matter is not as the disbelievers claim: that there is no final return, no reckoning, no resurrection and no gathering. Rather all of this will occur and come to pass. There is no way of avoiding it. This is the reason that Allah has stated a negation at the beginning of this oath. This shows that He is swearing by a denial of their claim. This is a refutation of their false claim of rejecting the Day of Judgement. They already witnessed the greatness of Allah’s power in what is more convincing than the Day of Judgement, that is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the subjection of the creatures in them, the animals, the inanimate objects and the other types of creatures that exist. This is why Allah says,
(The creation of the heavens and the earth is indeed greater than the creation of mankind; yet, most of mankind know not.) (40:57) Allah also says,
(Do they not see that Allah, Who created the heavens and the earth, and was not wearied by their creation, is able to give life to the dead Yes, He surely is Able to do all things.) (46:33) Allah says in another Ayah,
(Is not He Who created the heavens and the earth, able to create the like of them Yes, indeed! He is the All-Knowing Supreme Creator. Verily, His command, when He intends a thing, is only that He says to it, “Be!”– and it is!) (36:81,82) So here He says,
(But no! I swear by the Lord of the easts and the wests that surely We are Able –to replace them by (others) better than them..) meaning, `on the Day of Judgement We will bring them back (to life) in bodies that are better than these bodies that they have now.’ For verily, Allah’s power is suitable (able) to do that.
(and We are not to be outrun.) meaning, `We are not unable.’ This is as Allah says,
(Does man think that We shall not assemble his bones Yes, We are able to put together in perfect order the tips of his fingers.) (75:3,4) Allah also says,
(We have decreed death to you all, and We are not outstripped. To transfigure you and create you in (forms) that you know not.) (56:60,61) Ibn Jarir preferred the meaning to be: `a nation who will obey Us and not disobey Us.’ He (Ibn Jarir) interpreted it in the same way as Allah’s statements,
(To replace them by (others) better than them..) and:
(And if you turn away, He will exchange you for some other people and they will not be like you.) (47:38) However, the first interpretation is more obvious since the other Ayat support that, and Allah the Most High knows best. Then Allah says,
(So leave them) meaning, `O Muhammad!’
(to plunge in vain talk and play about,) meaning, leave them in their denial, disbelief and obstinance.
(until they meet their Day which they are promised.) meaning, they are going to know the outcome of that and taste its evil consequences.
(The Day when they will come out of the graves quickly as racing to a Nusub.) meaning, they will stand up out of their graves when the Lord, Blessed be He the Most High, calls them to the place of the reckoning. They will rise up quickly as if they were rushing towards some monumental object. Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid and Ad-Dahhak, all said, “As if they were rushing towards a flag.” Abu `Aliyah and Yahya bin Abi Kathir both said, “As if they were rushing towards a goal.” The majority of reciters recited this word as “Nasb” (instead of Nusub) with a Fathah over the letter Nun and a Sukun over the letter Sad. This (Nasb) is a verbal noun meaning something that is erected. Al-Hasan Al-Basri recited it as “Nusub” with a Dammah over both the letter Nun and Sad. This (Nusub) means an idol. With this recitation the Ayah means, as if their rushing to this place was like when they used to hurry in the worldly life to the idol when they saw it. They would rush hurriedly to see who would be the first of them to touch it. This has been reported from Mujahid, Yahya bin Abi Kathir, Muslim Al-Batin, Qatadah, Ad-Dahhak, Ar-Rabi` bin Anas, Abu Salih, `Asim bin Bahdalah, Ibn Zayd and others. Concerning Allah’s statement,
(With their eyes lowered in fear) meaning humbled.
(covering them with humility.) meaning, in return for how they behaved arrogantly in the worldly life by refusing to be obedient (to Allah).
(That is the Day which they were promised!)
This is the end of the Tafsir of Surah Sa’ala Sa’il. And all praise and thanks are due to Allah.
The disbelievers used to come to the Holy Prophet ﷺ in groups mocking at the Muslims, and denying the Islamic beliefs, including Resurrection. But at the same time, they used to claim, in ironical style, that they would enter the Paradise, and enjoy its bliss. This verse refers to this attitude of the disbelievers.
Since their pretended aspiration to enter Paradise was merely a mockery, and in fact they intended to deny Resurrection, their denial is refuted in this verse by saying that admittedly Allah has created them from a lifeless drop of semen, as they knew it well, and a drop of semen is more difficult to be transformed into a perfect human being. If Allah has power to make it a living man, how easy it is for Him to give life to a dead body! Still, they do not believe in Resurrection. Then, how can they enter Paradise? (Muhammad Taqi Usmani)
سَأَلَ سَائِلٌ (A demanding person has asked for the punishment that is going to befall….70:1). The Arabic word suwal/su’al means to ‘ask a question’. The word is used in more than one sense:  It could mean to inquire about something. In this sense, the Arabic word is followed by the preposition ‘an’ [about]; and  It is used in the sense of ‘request’. In this sense, the word is followed by the preposition ‘bi’ [for] as in this instance.
Nasa’i transmits a narration from Sayyidna Ibn ` Abbas ؓ that this demanding person was Nadr Ibn Harith. In rejecting the Qur’an and the Prophet ﷺ ، he daringly demanded:
اللَّـهُمَّ إِن كَانَ هَـٰذَا هُوَ الْحَقَّ مِنْ عِندِكَ فَأَمْطِرْ عَلَيْنَا حِجَارَةً مِّنَ السَّمَاءِ أَوِ ائْتِنَا بِعَذَابٍ أَلِيمٍ
‘0 Allah, if this be indeed the truth [revealed] from You, then, rain down upon us stones from the heavens, or bring upon us a painful punishment. [8:32]
The result of this demand was that Nadr Ibn Harith was killed by Muslims in the Battle of Badr. (Mazhari, citing the narration of Ibn Abi Hatim). The Qur’an, further setting down the factual position of the demanded punishment, says that the punishment is inevitable and will most certainly occur in this world or in the Hereafter or in both the worlds. It cannot be averted. The impending punishment is from Allah, the Lord of the stairways. The last statement is also the proof of the preceding statement, in that the punishment is from the Lord of the Ascending Steps. It is not possible for anyone to avert it.
The word ma’ arij is the plural of mi` raj or mi’raj. It means a ‘ladder or a staircase, having steps for reaching high places. The Divine attribute given in this verse as ‘dhil-ma’ arij’ [Lord of the stairways] means that He is the Lord of high degrees. This is the interpretation given by Said Ibn Jubair. Sayyidna Ibn Masud ؓ says that these stairways or higher rungs are seven heavens one above another, and ‘dhil-ma’ arij’ means ‘dhis-samawat’, that is to say, malik-us-samawat [Lord of the heavens].
[70:2] the disbelievers, for which there is no one to avert
[70:3] from Allah, the Lord of the stairways
[70:4] to whom ascend the angels and the Spirit, in a day the length of which is fifty thousand years.
تَعْرُجُ الْمَلَائِكَةُ وَالرُّوحُ (to whom ascend the angels and the Spirit …70:4). In other words, the angels and Jibra’il (علیہ السلام) ascend these levels which are one on top of the other. Although the word ‘angels’ include ‘Jibra’il (علیہ السلام) ، his name is singled out specifically on account of his special honour.
فِي يَوْمٍ كَانَ مِقْدَارُهُ خَمْسِينَ أَلْفَ سَنَةٍ ( in a day the length of which is fifty thousand years…70:4).This statement, grammatically, is connected to an understood verb, which is yaqa’u [will occur]. The sense is that the inevitable punishment mentioned earlier will occur on a day the measure of which is fifty thousand years. Sayyidna Abu Said Khudri ؓ narrates that the blessed Companions asked the Holy Prophet ﷺ about the length of the day that measures fifty thousand years. He replied: “I swear by the Being in Whose control is my life! The day for the believers will be lighter and less than the time during which they would perform an obligatory salah.” (Transmitted by Ahmad, Abu Yala, Ibn Hibban, Baihagi through a ‘an’ chain of narrators – Mazhari)
And the following Hadith is reported from Sayyidna Abu Hurairah ؓ
یکون علی المؤمنین کمقدار مابین الظھر والعصر اخرجہ الحاکم و البیھقی مرفوعاً و موقوفاً ۔ (مظھری)
“The time on this day for the believers will be like that between ` asr and maghrib”. (This Hadith is reported both in marfu’ and mauquf ways, that is, in some versions, this is the statement of Abu Hurairah ؓ himself, while in others it is attributed by him to the Holy Prophet ﷺ .)
These ahadith indicate that the length of fifty thousand years is a ‘relative term’. In relation to unbelievers the day would be as long as five thousand years, and in relation to the believers it would be as short as the time between ` asr and maghrib or even shorter.
The Length of the Day of Judgment – A thousand years or Fifty Thousand Years? An Analysis
According to the above verse, the measure of the Day of Judgment is fifty thousand years but, according to the following verse of Surah As-Sajdah, the length of the day is mentioned as one thousand years:
يُدَبِّرُ الْأَمْرَ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ إِلَى الْأَرْضِ ثُمَّ يَعْرُجُ إِلَيْهِ فِي يَوْمٍ كَانَ مِقْدَارُهُ أَلْفَ سَنَةٍ مِّمَّا تَعُدُّونَ
He manages (every) matter from the sky to the earth, then it (every matter) will ascend to Him in a day the measure of which is a thousand years according to the way you count. [32:5]
Apparently, there seems to be a discrepancy between the two verses. The narratives cited earlier resolve this apparent contradiction. Length and shortness of time are relative concepts. It will be different according to different groups and their varying conditions. Relative to the entire body of die-hard unbelievers, it will measure fifty thousand years, and relative to the entire body of righteous believers, the day will be made so easy that it will seem easier than a person performing salah in this world. In between the two bodies of believers and unbelievers are there may be some groups of unbelievers for whom the day will seem to be one thousand years. It is also relative to varying psychological conditions that a person might be experiencing. If a person is feeling upset or is experiencing excruciating pain, time will hardly seem to move for him. An hour sometimes seems like more than a day or even more than a week. When a person, on the other hand, is in comfort and peace, the longest time will seem the shortest.
Mazhari has interpreted verse  of Surah As-Sajdah differently. He says that the day of a thousand years mentioned here refers to one of the days of the phenomenal world. Jibra’il (علیہ السلام) and other angels with him descend from the heavens to the earth and then ascend from the earth to the heavens. This is such a long journey that if man were to undertake it, it would take him a thousand years. Authentic ahadith report that the journey from heavens to earth takes five hundred years and the journey back from earth to the heaven takes another five hundred years, totalling a thousand years according to human travelling. Assuming man were to conquer this distance, a return journey would take him a thousand years between heavens and earth and back, although the angels cover this distance in a very short time. In short, verse  of Surah As-Sajdah refers to a day of the phenomenal world while the verse of Surah Al-Ma` arij refers to the Day of Judgment which will be very much longer than the days of this world, the length and shortness of which will be experienced differently by different people according to their conditions. And Allah, the Pure and Exalted, knows best!
[70:5] So, observe patience, a good patience.
[70:6] They see it far off.
إِنَّهُمْ يَرَوْنَهُ بَعِيدًا وَنَرَاهُ قَرِيبًا (They see it far off, and We see it near….70:6-7). In this context, the expressions ‘far off and ‘near’ do not refer to time or space, but ‘far off in terms of possibility and occurrence. The verse purports to describe that the pagans see the occurrence of Resurrection as impossible, and Allah sees its occurrence not only possible, but a certain reality.
[70:7] and We see it near.
[70:8] (This punishment will befall) on the Day when the sky will be like dregs of oil,
[70:9] and the mountains will be like dyed wool,
[70:10] and no friend will ask about any friend,
وَلَا يَسْأَلُ حَمِيمٌ حَمِيمًا يُبَصَّرُونَهُمْ (and no friend will ask about any friend, (though) they will be made to see each other….70:10, 11). The word hamim means a ‘sincere friend’. The context describes the horrors of the Day of Resurrection. On that Day, no bosom friend will inquire about his friend – let alone helping him. This is not because they will not be able to see each other. The Divine power, in fact, will make them see each other. Every person will be in a state of ‘each for himself. No person will be able to pay heed to the comfort or discomfort, pleasure or pain of others.
[70:11] (though) they will be made to see each other. A guilty person will desire that he may ransom himself from the torment of that day even by his sons,
[70:12] and his wife and his brother,
[70:13] and his kindred that sheltered him,
[70:14] and all those on earth, then he may redeem himself.
[70:15] By no means! It is the flaming fire
كَلَّا ۖ إِنَّهَا لَظَىٰ نَزَّاعَةً لِّلشَّوَىٰ (By no means! It is the flaming fire, that will pull out the skin of the scalp…70:15, 16). The pronoun of innaha (it) refers to ‘Fire’ and the word laza means ‘the flaming fire’. The word shawa is the plural of shawah and it refers to ‘the scalp or the skin of the human head, and also the skin of the hands and the legs’. The verse describes that the Fire of Hell would be a raging blaze that will pull out the skin of the scalp.
[70:16] that will pull out the skin of the scalp.
[70:17] It will call him who had turned his back and fled away (from the Truth,)
تَدْعُو مَنْ أَدْبَرَ وَتَوَلَّىٰ وَجَمَعَ فَأَوْعَىٰ (It will call him who had turned his back and fled away (from the truth.) and accumulated (wealth) and hoarded (it)….70:17, 18). The phrase ‘accumulated wealth’ signifies ‘wealth accumulated by unlawful means’ and the phrase ‘hoarded it’ signifies ‘not fulfilling the pecuniary obligations as imposed by the Shari` ah’, as is confirmed by authentic ahadi’th.
[70:18] and accumulated (wealth) and hoarded (it).
[70:19] Indeed man is created weak in courage,
إِنَّ الْإِنسَانَ خُلِقَ هَلُوعًا (Indeed man is created weak in courage…70:19). The halu`, literally, means ‘one who is greedy, impatient, lacking courage’. Sayyidna Ibn ` Abbas ؓ says that the word halu’ in the verse refers to a ‘person who is greedy about unlawful wealth’. Sayyidna Said Ibn Jubair ؓ says that the word refers to a ‘miserly person’. Muqatil says that it refers to a ‘person who is impatient and miserly’. All meanings attached assigned to this word are near-synonyms. The word halu’ comprehends all these meanings. The verses that follow elaborate on the meaning of this word. In the meantime a doubt might arise here which needs to be disposed of. If it is objected that, according to this verse of the Holy Qur’an, man is created weak in courage, in other words, it is man’s nature or his natural weakness, to be impatient, greedy and miserly – then it is not his fault, and why is he declared ‘guilty’? This doubt may be allayed thus: Allah has created human nature such that it has the innate capacity to do good as well as evil. He has endowed him with intellect and intelligence. He has raised His Prophets with His Message and sent down His Books clearly stating the consequences of every action chosen by his free will. He has the right to choose between good and bad. Man, in this sense, will be declared ‘guilty’, and consequently punished on account of freely choosing to do the wrong deed, not on account of his inborn capacity. This interpretation is confirmed by the following verses that speak only of actions of choice.
[70:20] very upset when touched by evil,
إِذَا مَسَّهُ الشَّرُّ جَزُوعًا وَإِذَا مَسَّهُ الْخَيْرُ مَنُوعًا (very upset when touched by evil, and very niggard when visited by good (fortune)… 70:20-21). This verse describes the fickle nature of man. When bad things happen to him he becomes desperate and upset, and loses patience. When good things come to him, such as wealth and comfort, he becomes begrudging and miserly in spending his wealth for good causes. ‘Impatience’, in this context, signifies ‘that which is outside the limits of Shari` ah’. ‘Niggard’, in this context, signifies ‘failing to fulfill pecuniary obligations imposed by the Shari’ah’ as explained previously. The verses that follow make an exception of the righteous believers to the characteristics of the general body of human beings. This exception starts from إِلَّا الْمُصَلِّينَ (except the performers of salah…70:22) and ends at عَلَىٰ صَلَاتِهِمْ دَائِمُونَ (regular in their salah…. 70:23)
The first exception is expressed with the words ‘the performers of salah’ . Obviously, it means the believers, but referring to them as ‘performers of salah’ indicates that ‘salah’ is the greatest sign and the essential characteristic of a believer. In fact, the only people worthy of the name ‘believers’ are ‘the performers of salah’. The following verses describe the qualities of the performers of salah.
الَّذِينَ هُمْ عَلَىٰ صَلَاتِهِمْ دَائِمُونَ (who are regular in their salah…70:23). This means that the entire salah needs to be performed with due concentration. Imam Baghawi, on the basis of his own chain of narrators, transmits a narration on the authority of Abul-Khair that they asked Sayyidna ‘Uqbah Ibn ` Amir ؓ about the meaning of this verse (23) whether it implies that they perform their salah constantly and always without any break or non-stop, he replied that is not its meaning. It means they, from the outset to the end, perform it with due concentration – without an intentional deviation This is similar to the verse 2 of Surah Mu’minun: الَّذِينَ هُمْ فِي صَلَاتِهِمْ خَاشِعُونَ who are concentrative in their salah [23:2] ‘
Thus Verse 23 describes the quality of Khushu’ (‘humbleness) while Verse 34 وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ عَلَىٰ صَلَاتِهِمْ يُحَافِظُونَ (and those who take due care of their salah) speaks of those who regularly offer it on its due time and take care of its general etiquette. Thus it may not be surmised that the subject-matter has been repeated. The qualities of the righteous believers given in forthcoming verses are almost the same as those given in Surah Al- Mu’minun.
[70:21] and very niggard when visited by good (fortune),
[70:22] except the performers of salah,
[70:23] who are regular in their salah,
[70:24] and those in whose riches there is a specified right
Rates of Zakah are Specified by Allah
وَالَّذِينَ فِي أَمْوَالِهِمْ حَقٌّ مَّعْلُومٌ (and those in whose riches there is a specified right…70:24). This verse shows that the quantifications of Zakah have been fixed by Allah. The details are recorded in authentic ahadith. These quantifications, whether relating to the nisab (the minimum limit on which Zakah is payable) or to the rate of payment, being fixed by Allah Ta` ala cannot be changed by anyone at any time.
[70:25] for the one who asks and the one who is deprived,
[70:26] and those who believe in the Day of Judgment as true,
[70:27] and those who are fearful of the torment of their Lord –
[70:28] – Indeed the torment of their Lord is not something to be fearless from.
[70:29] and those who guard their private parts,
[70:30] except from their wives and those (slave-girls) owned by their hands, because they are not to be blamed,
[70:31] but the one who seeks (sexual gratification) beyond that, then such people are the transgressors,
فَمَنِ ابْتَغَىٰ وَرَاءَ ذَٰلِكَ فَأُولَـٰئِكَ هُمُ الْعَادُونَ (but the one who seeks [sexual gratification] beyond that, then such people are the transgressors…70:31). The preceding verse permitted to have sex with their wives and with slave-girls who are lawfully in their possession. The current verse prohibits sexual gratification beyond this limit. This verse also excludes women who, according to Shari’ah, fall within the prohibited degree. Similarly, Mut’ah (hiring a woman for a temporary period for the purpose of enjoying sex with her) is not a marriage according to Shari’ah, therefore, it is also included in the meaning of this verse.
Masturbation is Forbidden
According to most jurists, masturbation falls under the generality of verse , hence forbidden. Ibn Juraij says that he asked Sayyidna ` Ata’ ؓ about it and the latter replied that it is makruh (reprehensible), adding that he heard that on the Plain of Hashr some people will come whose hands will be pregnant. He feels these will be the people who used to satisfy their sexual lust with their hands. Sayyidna Said Ibn Jubair ؓ says that Allah punished a nation who used to fondle with their private parts with their hands. A Hadith reports that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ has said:
مَلعون من نکح یدہ
“Cursed is he who marries his hand.”
The chain of authorities of this Hadith is weak. [Mazhari].
[70:32] and those who are careful about their trusts and covenants,
Rights of Allah and Rights of Human beings both are included in Trust Obligations
وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ لِأَمَانَاتِهِمْ وَعَهْدِهِمْ رَاعُونَ (and those who are careful about their trusts and covenants…70:32). The word amanat is the plural of amanah ‘trust and covenant’ as in:
إِنَّ اللَّـهَ يَأْمُرُكُمْ أَن تُؤَدُّوا الْأَمَانَاتِ إِلَىٰ أَهْلِهَا
‘Surely, Allah commands you to fulfill trust obligations towards those entitled to them. [4:58] ‘
The use of plural number indicates that amanah does not only refer to ‘that which people might deposit with a trustee for safe-keeping’ but it also refers to ‘all obligatory rights that are necessary to fulfill’. Breach of trusts and covenants is dishonesty. Trust obligations include all Divine rights, such as salah, siyam, hajj and zakah, as well as all human rights, such as rights that Allah has imposed between human beings, or human beings themselves might have entered into binding contracts and covenants. Fulfillment of them is obligatory. Failure to comply with their terms and conditions would amount to breach, or dishonesty. [Mazhari، condensed].
[70:33] and those who are upright in their testimonies,
وَالَّذِينَ هُم بِشَهَادَاتِهِمْ قَائِمُونَ (…and those who are upright in their testimonies, [70:33] ‘. The word shahadat is the plural of shahadah. The use of plural number in this verse too indicates that there are many types and categories of ‘testimony’, and it is necessary to stand firm by one’s testimony of any type. This includes testifying to the faith of Islam, Divine existence and His Oneness, and testifying that Sayyidna Muhammad ﷺ is His Final Messenger. It is obligatory to testify to the crescent of Ramadan, if one has seen it. Giving a true and accurate account of Shari’ah matters as expert witness, and in all judicial hearings is also implied. Everyone is duty-bound to offer the testimony when summoned. It is prohibited to add or omit any part thereof. According to this verse, it is obligatory to bear testimony, to be upright in it and stand firm by it.
[70:34] and those who take due care of their salah.
[70:35] Those will be honored in gardens (of Jannah).
[70:36] So what has happened to those who disbelieve that they are rushing towards you
[70:37] from the right and from the left, in groups?
[70:38] Does every one of them aspire to be admitted to the garden of bliss?
[70:39] By no means! We have created them from what they know.
[70:40] So, I swear by the Lord of the points of sunrise and those of sunset, We are powerful
[70:41] to bring those better than them in their place, and We are not to be frustrated.
[70:42] So, leave them involved in pastime and play until they encounter their Day which they are promised,
[70:43] the Day they will come out of the graves quickly, as if they were rushing toward idols,
[70:44] with their eyes downcast, enveloped by ignominy. That is the Day which they were being promised.
The Commentary on
Tafseer by Abul A’la Maududi
70. Surah Al Maarij (The Ascending Steps)
The Surah takes its name from the word dhil Ma’arij in verse 3.
Period of Revelation
The subject matter bears evidence that this Surah too was sent down in conditions closely resembling those under which Surah Al Haaqqah was sent down.
Theme and Subject Matter
It admonishes and gives warning to the disbelievers who made fun of the news about Resurrection and the Hereafter, and Hell and Heaven, and challenged the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) to cause Resurrection with which he threatened them to take place if what he said was true and they had become worthy of the punishment in Hell by denying it. The whole Surah is meant to answer this denial.
The Surah opens with words to the effect:”A demander has demanded a torment, the torment which must befall the deniers; and when it takes place, there will be none to prevent it, but it will take place at its own appointed time. Allah has His own way of doing things, but He is not unjust. Therefore, have patience, O Prophet, at what they say. They think it is far off, but We see it as near at hand.”
Then it is said:”Resurrection, which they desire to be hastened out of jest and fun, is terrible, and when it comes, it will cause great distress to the culprits. At that time they will even be prepared to give away their wives and children and their nearest kinsfolk in ransom to escape the punishment, but they will not be able to escape it.
Then the people have been warned to the effect; “On that Day the destinies of men will be decided strictly on the basis of their belief and their conduct. Those who turn away from the Truth in the world and amass wealth and withhold it from the needy, will be doomed to Hell; and those who fear the punishment of God here, believe in the Hereafter, keep up the Prayer, discharge the rights of the needy out of their wealth, strictly avoid immoral and wicked deeds, practice honesty in all their dealings, fulfill their pledges and trust and bear true witness, will have a place of honor in Paradise”
In conclusion, the disbelievers of Makkah who rushed in upon the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) from every side as soon as they saw him, in order to make fun of him, have been warned to the effect: “If you do not believe, Allah will replace you by other people who will be better than you”, and the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) has been consoled, so as to say: “Do not take to heart their mockery and jesting; leave them to indulge in their idle talk and foolish conduct if they are bent upon experiencing the disgrace and humiliation of the Resurrection; they will themselves see their evil end.”‘
In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful.
1-35 The day of judgement will be equal to fifty thousand years and Disbelievers will wish to save themselves from the punishment at the expense of their children, wives, brothers and relatives, but it will not happen
(70:1) A beseecher besought the visitation of chastisement,1 (70:2) (a chastisement meant) for the unbelievers, one which none can avert; (70:3) a chastisement from Allah, the Lord of the ascending steps,2 (70:4) by which the angels and the Spirit3 ascend to Him4 in one Day the duration of which is fifty thousand years.5 (70:5) So, (O Prophet), persevere with gracious perseverance.6 (70:6) Verily they think that the chastisement is far off, (70:7) while We think that it is near at hand.7 (70:8) It shall befall on a Day8 whereon the sky will become like molten brass,9 (70:9) and the mountains will become like dyed tufts of wool,10 (70:10) and no bosom friend will enquire about any of his bosom friends (70:11) although they shall be within sight of one another.11 The guilty one would fain ransom himself from the torment of that Day by offering his children, (70:12) and his spouse and his brother, (70:13) and his kinsfolk who had stood by him, (70:14) and all persons of the earth, if only he could thus save himself. (70:15) By no means! It will be the fierce flame (70:16) that will strip off the scalp. (70:17) It shall insistently summon him who turned his back and retreated, (70:18) and amassed wealth and covetously hoarded it.12 (70:19) Verily man is impatient by nature:13 (70:20) bewailing when evil befalls him, (70:21) and tight-fisted when good fortune visits him, (70:22) except those that pray,14 (70:23) and are constant in their Prayer;15 (70:24) and those in whose wealth there is a known right (70:25) for those that ask and those that are dispossessed,16 (70:26) those who firmly believe in the Day of Recompense,17 (70:27) and fear the chastisement of their Lord18– (70:28) surely the chastisement of their Lord is a thing none can feel secure from – (70:29) and those who guard their private parts,19 (70:30) except in regard to their spouses and those whom their right hands possess, for in regard to them they are not reproachable,20 (70:31) but any who seeks to go beyond that, it is indeed they who are the transgressors, (70:32) and those who fulfil their trusts and their covenants,21 (70:33) and those who are upright in their testimonies;22 (70:34) and who take due care of their Prayer:23 (70:35) all these shall live honourably in the Gardens.
1. Some commentators have taken the verb saala in the text in the meaning of asking, and have interpreted the verse to mean: The asker has asked: whom will the torment with which we are being threatened befall. And Allah has answered it, saying: It will befall the disbelievers. But most of the commentators have taken saala here in the meaning of demanding. Nasai and other traditionists have related a tradition from Ibn Abbas, and Hakim hold it as authentic, that Nadr bin al-Harith Kaladah had said: O God, if it is really the truth sent dawn by You, then rain down stones on us from the heavens, or send down any other painful torment on us. (Surah Al-Anfal Ayat 32). Apart from this, at several places in the Quran the disbelievers’ this challenge has been related: Why don’t you bring down on us the torment that you threaten us with? For instance, see (Surah Yunus Ayats 46-48); (Surah Al-Anbiya Ayats 36-41); ( Surah An-Naml, Ayats 67-72); (Surah Saba Ayats 26-30); (Surah YaSeen Ayats 45-52); (Surah Al-Mulk Ayats 24-27).
2. Maarij is plural of Miraj, which means a stairway, or a ladder, or something by which one may go up. To call Allah dhil-Maaij (Owner of the ways of ascent) means that He is Most High and in order to go up into His Presence the angels have to ascend many heights, one above the other, as has been stated in the following verses.
3. “The Spirit”: the Angel Gabriel, who has been mentioned separately from the angels in order to impress his unique glory and greatness. In Surah Ash-Shuara it has been said: The trustworthy Spirit has come down with this Quran upon your heart, (verse 193), and in Surah Al- Baqarah, say to them: Whoever is an enemy to Gabriel, should understand that he has, by Allah’s command, revealed upon your heart this Quran. (verse 97). These verses when read together show that Ar-Rooh (the Spirit) implies the Angel Gabriel.
4. This is an ambiguous theme the meaning of which cannot be determined precisely. We neither have any knowledge of the reality of the angels, nor can understand the nature of their ascent, nor can conceive the stairways on which they ascend. Besides, about Allah also it cannot be imagined that He lives in a particular place, for He is exalted and free from the restrictions of space and time.
5. In (Surah Al-Hajj Ayat 47), it has been said: These people are demanding of you to hasten the torment. Allah will never fail to fulfill His threat, but a day with your Lord is equal to a thousand years as you reckon. In (Surah As- Sajdah Ayat 5), it has been said: He administers the affairs of the world from the heavens to the earth, and the report of this administration ascends (to be presented) before Him in a Day whose length, according to your reckoning, is a thousand years. And here, in response to the demand for the torment, the measure of Allah’s one day has been stated to be fifty thousand years. Then the Prophet (peace be upon him) has been consoled, saying: Have patience at the demand for the torment which the people make out of jest and fun, and then it is said: They think it is far off, but We see it as near at hand. When all these verses are read together, what becomes obvious is: The people, because of their narrow and restricted outlook, measure the time of Allah’s decrees by their own scales of time and, therefore, consider a hundred years or so to be a very lengthy period, whereas in the divine conduct of affairs there are schemes spreading over a thousand years each, or fifty thousand years each, as you reckon, and this measure also is only by way of example; otherwise schemes in the universe may extend over millions and billions of years as well. Of these one is the scheme under which mankind has been created on the earth, and a time limit has been set during which it has been allowed to function here. No man can know when this scheme began, what time-limit has been decreed for its completion, what hour has been appointed for bringing it to an end, when Resurrection will take place, and what time has been fixed for raising all men, born since the beginning of creation till Resurrection, from death simultaneously and calling them to account for their deeds. We only know to some extent that part of the scheme which is passing before us, or a partial history of the past ages which exists with us. As for its beginning and end, to say nothing of knowing it, we do not even have the power to understand it, not to speak of understanding the wisdom which works behind and underlies it. Now the people who demand that the scheme be cut short and its conclusion be brought immediately before them, and if this is not done, they use it for an argument to prove that the universe has no end and conclusion. They, in fact, present a proof of their own ignorance and folly. (For further explanation, see (E.Ns 92, 93 of Surah Al-Hajj); (E.N. 9 of Surah As-Sajdah).
6. A gracious patience: A kind of patience that behooves a magnanimous person like you.
7. This can have two meanings:
(1) That these people think it cannot possibly take place, and in Our view it is going to take place very soon.
(2) That these people think Resurrection is yet remote and far off, and in Our sight it is close at hand and may occur any moment.
8. A section of the commentators regard this sentence as related to “a day whose measure is fifty thousand years”; they say that the day whose measure has been stated to be fifty thousand years is the Day of Resurrection. In Musnad Ahmad and in the Tafsir by Ibn Jarir, a tradition has been related on the authority of Abu Saeed Khudri, saying: When wonder and amusement was expressed before the Prophet (peace be upon him) about the length of this Day with reference to this verse, he replied: By Him in Whose hand is my life, the believer will find the Day even lighter (of shorter duration) than the time he takes in performing an obligatory Prayer in the world. Had this tradition been reported through authentic channels, this verse could not be interpreted in any other way, but two of its transmitters, Darraj and his teacher Abul Haytham, are both weak and untrustworthy.
9. That is, it will change its color over and over again.
10. As the colors of the mountains are different, when they are uprooted and they drift about weightless, they will appear like flakes of carded wool of different colors.
11. Not so that they will not see each other, therefore they will not ask after each other’s welfare, but each will be seeing the other in agony and distress, yet will ignore him, being wholly preoccupied with his own torment.
12. Here also, as in (Surah Al-Haqqah Ayats 33-34), two causes have been mentioned of a person’s evil end in the Hereafter:
(1) His repudiation of the truth and refusal to affirm faith.
(2) His worship of the world and stinginess because of which he amasses wealth and refuses to spend it on any good cause.
13. “Man has been created impatient”: It is man’s nature or his natural weakness to be impatient. Here, one should keep in view that at many places in the Quran, after making mention of mankind’s common moral weaknesses, those who believe and adopted righteousness have been made an exception; the same theme is being expressed in the following verses. This by itself explains the truth that these hereditary weaknesses are not unalterable. If man accepts the guidance sent down by God and tries to reform himself practically, he can remove them, and if he gives a free rope to his self, these become ingrained in him deeply. (For further explanation, (see E.N. 41 of Surah Al-Anbiya), (E.Ns 23-28 of Surah Az-Zumar); (E.N. 75 of Surah Ash- Shura).
14. A person’s performing the salat necessarily implies that he believes in Allah, His Messenger (peace be upon him), His Book and the Hereafter as well as tries to act according to his belief.
15. That is, no laziness or love of ease and comfort, no occupation or interest hinders them from being punctual and regular at the prayer. When the Prayer time comes, they abandon every occupation and activity and stand up to perform worship of their God. Another meaning which Uqbah bin Amir has given of ala salat-i-him daaimun is that they perform the Prayer with full peace of mind, tranquility and humility; they do not try to offer the Prayer in a hurry in order to get rid of it somehow, nor think irrelevant things during the Prayer.
16. In (Surah Adh-Dhariyat Ayat 19), it has been said: In their wealth there is a right of the beggar and the needy, and here: In their wealth there is a due share of the beggar and the needy. Some people have understood this to mean that the due share implies the obligatory zakat, for in the zakat both the exemption limit and the rate have been fixed. But this commentary cannot be accepted on the ground that the Surah Al-Maarij is unanimously a Makkan Revelation, and the zakat with its specific exemption limit and rate was enjoined at Al-Madinah. Therefore, the correct meaning of the due share is that they have of their own accord set aside a share in their possessions of the beggar and needy, which they discharge regularly and honestly. This same meaning of this verse has been given by Abdullah bin Abbas, Abdullah bin Umar, Mujahid, Shabi and Ibrahim Nakhai.
Here, saail does not imply a beggar but a needy person, who asks someone for help, and mahroom implies a person who is jobless, or the one who tries to earn a living but does not earn enough to meet his needs, or the one who has become disabled because of an accident or calamity, and is unable to make a living. About such people when it becomes known that they are destitute, a God-worshipper does not wait that they should ask for help, but helps them of his own accord as soon as he comes to know that they are needy and stand in need of help. (For further explanation, (see E.N. 17 of Surah Adh-Dhariyat).
17. “Who believe in the Day of Recompense”: Who do not think they are irresponsible but believe that one Day they will have to appear before their God and render to Him an account of their deeds.
18. In other words, they are not like the disbelievers, who do not fear God even after they have committed every heinous sin and crime and perpetrated every cruelty in the world, but they, in spite of having adopted a righteous attitude in morals and deeds as best as they could, fear God and continue to remain in constant awe lest their shortcomings should exceed their good works before Him and they should be declared as worthy of punishment. (For further explanation, see(E.N. 54 of Surah Al-Mominoon), (E.N. 19 of Surah Adh-Dhariyat).
19. “Who guard their private parts”: Who abstain from adultery as well as from nudity and exposing their private parts before others. (For explanation, see (E.N. 6 of Surah Al-Muminun), (E.Ns 30, 32 of Surah An-Nur) and (E.N. 62 of Surah Al-Ahzab).
20. For explanation, see (E.N. 7 of Surah Al-Muminun).
21. “Trusts” imply those trusts which Allah has entrusted to men as well as those which one man entrusts to another because of faith and confidence. Likewise, “promises” imply those promises which man makes with his God as well as those which one man makes with another. Keeping and fulfilling both these kinds of trusts and promises is a necessary characteristic of a believer. In a Hadith Anas has reported that whenever the Prophet (peace be upon him) addressed his companions, he would always give them the instruction: Beware, the one who does not keep his trust has no faith, and one who does not fulfill his pledges, has no religion. (Baihaqi, Ash-Shuab al-Imam).
22. That is, they neither conceal evidence nor change it in any way for selfish motives.
23. This gives an idea of the importance of the Prayer (salat). The description of the merits of the high and sublime character of those who have been declared as worthy of Paradise, began with the Prayer and has been concluded with it. To be a performer of the Prayer is their first characteristic, to be steadfast and ever constant with regard to the Prayer is their second characteristic, and to guard their Prayer is their last characteristic. Guarding the Prayer implies many things: to perform the Prayer at its right time, to make sure before the Prayer that one’s body and clothes are clean and pure, to have performed the ablutions and to have washed the limbs well, to perform the basic elements of the Prayer with its obligatory and desirable parts with due care and attention, to observe the requisite rites of the Prayer carefully, to avoid disobedience of God, which is destructive of the Prayer. All these are included in the guarding of the Prayer.
36-44 Paradise is not for the disbelievers and Disbelievers will have downcast eyes and countenances distorted with shame
(70:36) But what is the matter with the unbelievers who are hurrying towards you (70:37) in crowds, both on the right and on the left?24 (70:38) Does everyone of them wish to enter the Garden of Bliss?25 (70:39) By no means! They know that which We have created them from.26 (70:40) I swear27 by the Lord of the easts and the wests28 that We have the power (70:41) to replace them by others who would be better than they; and We shall certainly not be overpowered.29 (70:42) So leave them to engage in vain talk and to amuse themselves until they come face to face with the Day which they are promised, (70:43) the Day on which they will hastily come forth from their graves, as though they were hurrying on to the altars of their deities.30 (70:44) Their eyes will be downcast and disgrace will overwhelm them. Such is the Day that they were promised.
24. This refers to those disbelievers who would rush in towards the Prophet (peace be upon him) from every side to mock and ridicule him when they heard him preach Islam and recite the Quran.
25. It means that God’s Paradise is only for those righteous people whose characteristics have just been described above, Now, can these people who are not at all inclined to listen to the truth and who are rushing in towards the Prophet (peace be upon him) in order to suppress every invitation to the truth, be the candidates for Paradise? Has God prepared His Paradise only for such people as these. Here, one should also keep in view (verses 34-41 of Surah Al-Qalam) in which an answer has been given to this saying of the disbelievers of Makkah: Even if there is any life after death, we shall have good time there too, as we are having in the world, and the torment would befall Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his followers and not us.
26. Here, this sentence can have two meanings:
(1) If it is taken to be related to the preceding theme, it will mean: As for the substance these people have been created from, all men are equal. For if the substance itself be the cause of man’s entry into Paradise, then the good and the bad, the wicked and the just, the guilty and the innocent, all should go to Paradise. But a little common sense is enough to decide that man’s qualifications for Paradise are created not on the basis of the substance of his creation but only on the basis of his merit and excellence.
(2) If this sentence is regarded as an introduction to the following theme, it would mean: These people think they are secure from Our torment and mock the one who warns them of Our punishment, whereas We can punish them even in this world as and when We please, as well as resurrect them after death as and when We like. They themselves know that We began their creation from an insignificant sperm-drop and developed them into a living man. If they had only considered this mode of their creation, they would never have been involved in the misunderstanding that they now have escaped Our grasp, or that We have no power to create them over again.
27. That is, the truth is not that which these people think it is.
28. Here, Allah has sworn an oath by Himself. The words Easts and Wests have been used because the sun rises and sets at a new angle every day during the year, and goes on rising and setting successively at different times around the globe. Thus considered the Easts and the Wests are not one but many. From another point of view as against the north and the south there is a direction of east and a direction of west. On this basis in( Surah Ash-Shuara, Ayat 28) and (Surah Al-Muzzammil Ayat 19) the words Rabb-ulrnashriqi wal-maghrib have been used. From still another view-point the earth has two easts and two wests, for when the sun sets on one hemisphere, it rises on the other. On this basis the words Rabb-ul-mashriqayn wa Rabb-ulmaghribayn (Lord of two easts and two wests) have been used in (Surah Ar-Rahman, Ayat 17). (For further explanation, see (E.N. 17 of Surah Ar-Rahman).
29. This is that for which Allah Almighty has sworn an oath of His being Lord of the Easts and Wests. It means: As We are Owners of the Easts and Wests, the whole earth is under Our control and power, and you have no power to escape Our punishment: We can destroy you as and when We like and can create another people that may be better than you.
30. There is a difference of opinion among the commentators about the meaning of the word nusub. Some have interpreted it to mean idols, according to which the meaning would be: They would be racing towards the place appointed by the Lord of Resurrection as they race today towards the shrines of their idols; and some others have taken nusub to mean the goal signs which are set for the competitors in a race, so that each tries to reach and touch the appointed post before the other.