Surah Al-Ma’idah >> Currently viewing Surah Al-Ma’idah Ayat 26 (5:26)

Surah Al-Ma’idah Ayat 26 in Arabic Text

قَالَ فَإِنَّهَا مُحَرَّمَةٌ عَلَيْهِمْ ۛ أَرْبَعِينَ سَنَةًۭ ۛ يَتِيهُونَ فِى ٱلْأَرْضِ ۚ فَلَا تَأْسَ عَلَى ٱلْقَوْمِ ٱلْفَـٰسِقِينَ
Qaala fa innahaa muhar ramatun ‘alaihim arba’eena sanah; yateehoona fil ard; falaa taasa ‘alal qawmil faasiqeen (section 4)

English Translation

Here you can read various translations of verse 26

Sahih International
[Allah] said, “Then indeed, it is forbidden to them for forty years [in which] they will wander throughout the land. So do not grieve over the defiantly disobedient people.”

Yusuf Ali
Allah said: “Therefore will the land be out of their reach for forty years: In distraction will they wander through the land: But sorrow thou not over these rebellious people.

Abul Ala Maududi
Allah said: ‘This land will now be forbidden to them for forty years and they will remain wandering about on the earth. Do not grieve over the condition of these transgressing people.

Muhsin Khan
(Allah) said: “Therefore it (this holy land) is forbidden to them for forty years; in distraction they will wander through the land. So be not sorrowful over the people who are the Fasiqun (rebellious and disobedient to Allah).”

(Their Lord) said: For this the land will surely be forbidden them for forty years that they will wander in the earth, bewildered. So grieve not over the wrongdoing folk.

Dr. Ghali
Said He, “Then surely it will be prohibited for them for forty years (while) they go astray in the earth. So do not feel sad about the immoral people.”

Abdel Haleem
God said, ‘The land is forbidden to them for forty years: they will wander the earth aimlessly. Do not grieve over those who disobey.’

Quran 5 Verse 26 Explanation

For those looking for commentary to help with the understanding of Surah Al-Ma’idah ayat 26, we’ve provided two Tafseer works below. The first is the tafseer of Abul Ala Maududi, the second is of Ibn Kathir.


(5:26) Allah said: ‘This land will now be forbidden to them for forty years and they will remain wandering about on the earth.[46] Do not grieve over the condition of these transgressing people.[47]

46. The details of this incident are found in the Bible in Numbers, Deuteronomy and Joshua. The essence of the story is that Moses sent twelve heads of Israel to spy out Palestine. They returned after forty days and said: ‘We came to the land to which you sent us; it flows with milk and honey. Yet the people who dwell in the land are strong, and the cities are fortified and very large; and besides, we saw the descendants of Anak there . . . and all the people that we saw in it are men of great stature. And there we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak, who come from the Nephilim); and we seemed to ourselves like grasshoppers, and so we seemed to them.’ Then all the congregation cried out: ‘Would that we had died in the land of Egypt; or would that we had died in this wilderness; why does the Lord bring us into this land, to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will become a prey; would it not be better for us to go back to Egypt?’ At this they were censured for cowardice by two of the twelve heads who had spied out Palestine, Joshua and Caleb. Caleb suggested that they should go and seize Palestine. Then both of them said: ‘If the Lord delights in us, He will bring us into this land and give it to us, a land which flows with milk and honey. Only do not rebel against the Lord; and do not fear the people of the land … for the Lord is with us; do not fear them’ (Numbers 14: 1-9). But the congregation responded to this by crying out that both ought to be stoned. This so provoked the wrath of God that He commanded that their bodies would fall dead in the wilderness and that of all their numbers numbered from twenty years old and upward, who had murmured against Him, none would come into the promised land except Caleb and Joshua; that only after an entire generation had passed away and a new generation had sprung up would they be enabled to conquer Palestine. Because of this divine decree, it took the people of Israel thirty-eight years to reach Transjordan from Paran. During this period all those who had left Egypt in their youth had perished. After the conquest of Transjordan Moses died (Ibid., 14: 10 ff.).


The Prophet Moses (peace be on him) led the Israelites out of Egypt and brought them to Mount Sinai by way of Marah, Elim and Rephaim in the Sinai Peninsula. Here he stayed for a little over a year and received most of the Commandments of the Torah. Then he was commanded to lead the Israelites towards Palestine and conquer it, for that land was to be given to them as an inheritance. So, he led them through Taberah and Nazareth and came to the desert of Paran from where he despatched a deputation of prominent Israelites to spy out Palestine. The deputation returned after forty days and made their report at Kadesh. Except for the encouraging picture presented by Joshua and Caleb, the report made by the other members was so disappointing that the Israelites cried out in disgust and refused to march on to Palestine. Thereupon God decreed that they would wander for forty years in the wilderness and none of their older generation except Joshua and Caleb would see Palestine. Thus, the Israelites wandered homeless in the wilderness of Paran, Shur and Zin, fighting and struggling against the Amalekites, the Amorites, the Edomites, the Midianites and the Moabites. When the forty years was about to end, the Prophet Aaron (peace be on him) died in Mount Hor, near the border of Edom. At about this time the Prophet Moses (peace be on him) entered Moab at the head of the Israelites, conquered the whole area and reached Heshbon and Shittim. After him Joshua, his first successor, crossed the River Jordan from the east and captured Jericho, the first Palestinian city to fall to the Israelites. Later on the whole of Palestine was conquered by them within a short period.

Ailah (present-day Aqaba) on this map is the place where probably the well-known incident of the Sabbath-breakers, as mentioned in (Surah al-Baqarah 2: 65) and (Surah al-A’raf 7: 166), took place.

Later on during the caliphate (sic) of Joshua the Israelites became capable of conquering Palestine.

In view of the fact that the followers of all the Prophets are Muslims, the author has used a peculiarly Islamic term – caliphate, rather than kingship, etc. – to signify the predominantly religious (or shall we say, Islamic) quality of his rule and to distinguish it from systems of government not animated by the religious spirit – Ed.

47. The purpose of referring to this event becomes clear if we reflect upon the context. It seems to be to bring home to the Israelites that the punishment to which they would be subjected if they adopted a rebellious attitude towards Muhammad (peace be on him) would be even more severe than the .one to which they had been subjected in the time of Moses.


The tafsir of Surah Maidah verse 26 by Ibn Kathir is unavailable here.
Please refer to Surah Maidah ayat 20 which provides the complete commentary from verse 20 through 26.

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