Surah Al-Ma’idah >> Currently viewing Surah Al-Ma’idah Ayat 31 (5:31)

Surah Al-Ma’idah Ayat 31 in Arabic Text

فَبَعَثَ ٱللَّهُ غُرَابًۭا يَبْحَثُ فِى ٱلْأَرْضِ لِيُرِيَهُۥ كَيْفَ يُوَٰرِى سَوْءَةَ أَخِيهِ ۚ قَالَ يَـٰوَيْلَتَىٰٓ أَعَجَزْتُ أَنْ أَكُونَ مِثْلَ هَـٰذَا ٱلْغُرَابِ فَأُوَٰرِىَ سَوْءَةَ أَخِى ۖ فَأَصْبَحَ مِنَ ٱلنَّـٰدِمِينَ
Faba’asal laahu ghuraabai yabhasu fil ardi liyuriyahoo kaifa yuwaaree saw’ata akheeh; qaala yaa wailataaa a’ajaztu an akoona misla haazal ghuraabi fa uwaariya saw ata akhee fa asbaha minan naadimeen

English Translation

Here you can read various translations of verse 31

Sahih International
Then Allah sent a crow searching in the ground to show him how to hide the disgrace of his brother. He said, “O woe to me! Have I failed to be like this crow and hide the body of my brother?” And he became of the regretful.

Yusuf Ali
Then Allah sent a raven, who scratched the ground, to show him how to hide the shame of his brother. “Woe is me!” said he; “Was I not even able to be as this raven, and to hide the shame of my brother?” then he became full of regrets-

Abul Ala Maududi
Thereupon Allah sent forth a raven who began to scratch the earth to show him how he might cover the corpse of his brother. So seeing he cried: ‘Woe unto me! Was I unable even to be like this raven and find a way to cover the corpse of my brother? Then he became full of remorse at his doing.

Muhsin Khan
Then Allah sent a crow who scratched the ground to show him to hide the dead body of his brother. He (the murderer) said: “Woe to me! Am I not even able to be as this crow and to hide the dead body of my brother?” Then he became one of those who regretted.

Pickthall
Then Allah sent a raven scratching up the ground, to show him how to hide his brother’s naked corpse. He said: Woe unto me! Am I not able to be as this raven and so hide my brother’s naked corpse? And he became repentant.

Dr. Ghali
Then Allah sent forth a raven (Or: crow) searching into the earth to show him how he should overlay the shameful parts (i.e. the vile body) of his brother. He said, “Oh woe to me! Am I unable to be like this raven, (and) so overlay the shameful parts of my brother?” So he became among the remorseful.

Abdel Haleem
God sent a raven to scratch up the ground and show him how to cover his brother’s corpse and he said, ‘Woe is me! Could I not have been like this raven and covered up my brother’s body?’ He became remorseful.

Quran 5 Verse 31 Explanation

For those looking for commentary to help with the understanding of Surah Al-Ma’idah ayat 31, we’ve provided two Tafseer works below. The first is the tafseer of Abul Ala Maududi, the second is of Ibn Kathir.

Ala-Maududi

(5:31) Thereupon Allah sent forth a raven who began to scratch the earth to show him how he might cover the corpse of his brother. So seeing he cried: Woe unto me! Was I unable even to be like this raven and find a way to cover the corpse of my brother?[51] Then he became full of remorse at his doing.[52]


51. In this way God made this errant son of Adam realize his ignorance and folly. Once his attention turned to self-appraisal, his regret was not confined to realizing that in his effort to hide his brother’s corpse he proved to be even less efficient than the raven. He also began to feel how foolish he was to have killed his own brother. The later part of the sentence indicates this remorse.

52.The purpose of mentioning this particular incident is to reproach the Jews subtly for the plot they had hatched to assassinate the Prophet (peace be on him) and some of his illustrious Companions see (n. 30) above. The resemblance between the two incidents is evident. God honoured some of the illiterate people of Arabia and disregarded the ancient People of the Book because the former were pious while the latter were not. But rather than reflect upon the causes of their rejection by God, and do something to overcome the failings which had led to that rejection, the Israelites were seized by the same fit of arrogant ignorance and folly which had once seized the criminal son of Adam, and resolved to kill those whose good deeds had been accepted by God. It was obvious that such acts would contribute nothing towards their acceptance by God. They would rather earn them an even greater degree of God’s disapproval.

Ibn-Kathir

The tafsir of Surah Maidah verse 31 by Ibn Kathir is unavailable here.
Please refer to Surah Maidah ayat 27 which provides the complete commentary from verse 27 through 31.

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