Surah Muddaththir (Arabic: ٱلْمُدَّثِّر) is the 74th chapter of the Quran. It is classified as a Meccan Surah meaning it’s revelation was before Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) migrated from Mecca to Medina. It consists of 56 ayat (verses) and in English is titled as “The Cloaked One”.
Below you can read Surah Muddaththir with transliteration and Sahih International English translation. At the end of the Surah we’ve included various different Tafseer including Ibn Kathir.
“Indeed, the Qur’an is a reminder”
Surah Muddathir Ayat 54
Read Surah Muddaththir Translation and Transliteration
Bismillah Hir Rahman Nir Raheem
In the name of Allah, The Most Gracious and The Most Merciful
Yaaa ayyuhal muddassir
1. O you who covers himself [with a garment],
Qum fa anzir
2. Arise and warn
Wa rabbaka fakabbir
3. And your Lord glorify
Wa siyaabaka fatahhir
4. And your clothing purify
5. And uncleanliness avoid
وَلَا تَمْنُن تَسْتَكْثِرُ
Wa laa tamnun tastaksir
6. And do not confer favor to acquire more
Wa li Rabbika fasbir
7. But for your Lord be patient.
فَإِذَا نُقِرَ فِى ٱلنَّاقُورِ
Fa izaa nuqira fin naaqoor
8. And when the trumpet is blown,
فَذَٰلِكَ يَوْمَئِذٍۢ يَوْمٌ عَسِيرٌ
Fazaalika yawma ‘iziny yawmun ‘aseer
9. That Day will be a difficult day
عَلَى ٱلْكَـٰفِرِينَ غَيْرُ يَسِيرٍۢ
‘Alal kaafireena ghairu yaseer
10. For the disbelievers – not easy.
ذَرْنِى وَمَنْ خَلَقْتُ وَحِيدًۭا
Zarnee wa man khalaqtu waheedaa
11. Leave Me with the one I created alone
وَجَعَلْتُ لَهُۥ مَالًۭا مَّمْدُودًۭا
Wa ja’altu lahoo maalam mamdoodaa
12. And to whom I granted extensive wealth
Wa baneena shuhoodaa
13. And children present [with him]
وَمَهَّدتُّ لَهُۥ تَمْهِيدًۭا
Wa mahhattu lahoo tamheeda
14. And spread [everything] before him, easing [his life].
ثُمَّ يَطْمَعُ أَنْ أَزِيدَ
Summa yat ma’u an azeed
15. Then he desires that I should add more.
كَلَّآ ۖ إِنَّهُۥ كَانَ لِءَايَـٰتِنَا عَنِيدًۭا
Kallaaa innahoo kaana li Aayaatinaa ‘aneedaa
16. No! Indeed, he has been toward Our verses obstinate.
Sa urhiquhoo sa’oodaa
17. I will cover him with arduous torment.
إِنَّهُۥ فَكَّرَ وَقَدَّرَ
Innahoo fakkara wa qaddar
18. Indeed, he thought and deliberated.
فَقُتِلَ كَيْفَ قَدَّرَ
Faqutila kayfa qaddar
19. So may he be destroyed [for] how he deliberated.
ثُمَّ قُتِلَ كَيْفَ قَدَّرَ
Summa qutila kaifa qaddar
20. Then may he be destroyed [for] how he deliberated.
21. Then he considered [again];
ثُمَّ عَبَسَ وَبَسَرَ
Summa ‘abasa wa basar
22. Then he frowned and scowled;
ثُمَّ أَدْبَرَ وَٱسْتَكْبَرَ
Summaa adbara wastakbar
23. Then he turned back and was arrogant
فَقَالَ إِنْ هَـٰذَآ إِلَّا سِحْرٌۭ يُؤْثَرُ
Faqaala in haazaaa illaa sihruny yu’sar
24. And said, “This is not but magic imitated [from others].
إِنْ هَـٰذَآ إِلَّا قَوْلُ ٱلْبَشَرِ
In haazaaa illaa qawlul bashar
25. This is not but the word of a human being.”
Sa usleehi saqar
26. I will drive him into Saqar.
وَمَآ أَدْرَىٰكَ مَا سَقَرُ
Wa maaa adraaka maa saqar
27. And what can make you know what is Saqar?
لَا تُبْقِى وَلَا تَذَرُ
Laa tubqee wa laa tazar
28. It lets nothing remain and leaves nothing [unburned],
29. Blackening the skins.
عَلَيْهَا تِسْعَةَ عَشَرَ
‘Alaihaa tis’ata ‘ashar
30. Over it are nineteen [angels].
وَمَا جَعَلْنَآ أَصْحَـٰبَ ٱلنَّارِ إِلَّا مَلَـٰٓئِكَةًۭ ۙ وَمَا جَعَلْنَا عِدَّتَهُمْ إِلَّا فِتْنَةًۭ لِّلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا۟ لِيَسْتَيْقِنَ ٱلَّذِينَ أُوتُوا۟ ٱلْكِتَـٰبَ وَيَزْدَادَ ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوٓا۟ إِيمَـٰنًۭا ۙ وَلَا يَرْتَابَ ٱلَّذِينَ أُوتُوا۟ ٱلْكِتَـٰبَ وَٱلْمُؤْمِنُونَ ۙ وَلِيَقُولَ ٱلَّذِينَ فِى قُلُوبِهِم مَّرَضٌۭ وَٱلْكَـٰفِرُونَ مَاذَآ أَرَادَ ٱللَّهُ بِهَـٰذَا مَثَلًۭا ۚ كَذَٰلِكَ يُضِلُّ ٱللَّهُ مَن يَشَآءُ وَيَهْدِى مَن يَشَآءُ ۚ وَمَا يَعْلَمُ جُنُودَ رَبِّكَ إِلَّا هُوَ ۚ وَمَا هِىَ إِلَّا ذِكْرَىٰ لِلْبَشَرِ
Wa maaja’alnaaa As-haaban naari illaa malaaa ‘ikatanw wa maa ja’alnaa ‘iddatahum illaa fitnatal lillazeena kafaroo liyastaiqinal lazeena ootul kitaaba wa yazdaadal lazeena aamanooo eemaananw wa laa yartaabal lazeena ootul kitaaba walmu’minoona wa liyaqoolal lazeena fee quloo bihim maradunw walkaafiroona maazaaa araadal laahu bihaazaa masalaa; kazaalika yudillul laahu mai yashaaa’u wa yahdee mai yashaaa’; wa maa ya’lamu junooda rabbika illaa hoo; wa maa hiya illaa zikraa lil bashar
31. And We have not made the keepers of the Fire except angels. And We have not made their number except as a trial for those who disbelieve – that those who were given the Scripture will be convinced and those who have believed will increase in faith and those who were given the Scripture and the believers will not doubt and that those in whose hearts is hypocrisy and the disbelievers will say, “What does Allah intend by this as an example?” Thus does Allah leave astray whom He wills and guides whom He wills. And none knows the soldiers of your Lord except Him. And mention of the Fire is not but a reminder to humanity.
32. No! By the moon
وَٱلَّيْلِ إِذْ أَدْبَرَ
Wallaili id adbar
33. And [by] the night when it departs
وَٱلصُّبْحِ إِذَآ أَسْفَرَ
Wassub hi izaaa asfar
34. And [by] the morning when it brightens,
إِنَّهَا لَإِحْدَى ٱلْكُبَرِ
Innahaa la ihdal kubar
35. Indeed, the Fire is of the greatest [afflictions]
36. As a warning to humanity –
لِمَن شَآءَ مِنكُمْ أَن يَتَقَدَّمَ أَوْ يَتَأَخَّرَ
Liman shaaa’a minkum any yataqaddama aw yata akhkhar
37. To whoever wills among you to proceed or stay behind.
كُلُّ نَفْسٍۭ بِمَا كَسَبَتْ رَهِينَةٌ
Kullu nafsim bim kasabat raheenah
38. Every soul, for what it has earned, will be retained
إِلَّآ أَصْحَـٰبَ ٱلْيَمِينِ
Illaaa as haabal yameen
39. Except the companions of the right,
فِى جَنَّـٰتٍۢ يَتَسَآءَلُونَ
Fee jannaatiny yata saaa’aloon
40. [Who will be] in gardens, questioning each other
41. About the criminals,
مَا سَلَكَكُمْ فِى سَقَرَ
Maa salakakum fee saqar
42. [And asking them], “What put you into Saqar?”
قَالُوا۟ لَمْ نَكُ مِنَ ٱلْمُصَلِّينَ
Qaaloo lam naku minal musalleen
43. They will say, “We were not of those who prayed,
وَلَمْ نَكُ نُطْعِمُ ٱلْمِسْكِينَ
Wa lam naku nut’imul miskeen
44. Nor did we used to feed the poor.
وَكُنَّا نَخُوضُ مَعَ ٱلْخَآئِضِينَ
Wa kunnaa nakhoodu ma’al khaaa’ideen
45. And we used to enter into vain discourse with those who engaged [in it],
وَكُنَّا نُكَذِّبُ بِيَوْمِ ٱلدِّينِ
Wa kunnaa nukazzibu bi yawmid Deen
46. And we used to deny the Day of Recompense
حَتَّىٰٓ أَتَىٰنَا ٱلْيَقِينُ
Hattaaa ataanal yaqeen
47. Until there came to us the certainty.”
فَمَا تَنفَعُهُمْ شَفَـٰعَةُ ٱلشَّـٰفِعِينَ
Famaa tanfa’uhum shafaa’atush shaafi’een
48. So there will not benefit them the intercession of [any] intercessors.
فَمَا لَهُمْ عَنِ ٱلتَّذْكِرَةِ مُعْرِضِينَ
Famaa lahum ‘anittazkirati mu’rideen
49. Then what is [the matter] with them that they are, from the reminder, turning away
كَأَنَّهُمْ حُمُرٌۭ مُّسْتَنفِرَةٌۭ
Ka annahum humurum mustanfirah
50. As if they were alarmed donkeys
فَرَّتْ مِن قَسْوَرَةٍۭ
Farrat min qaswarah
51. Fleeing from a lion?
بَلْ يُرِيدُ كُلُّ ٱمْرِئٍۢ مِّنْهُمْ أَن يُؤْتَىٰ صُحُفًۭا مُّنَشَّرَةًۭ
Bal yureedu kullum ri’im minhum any yu’taa suhufam munashsharah
52. Rather, every person among them desires that he would be given scriptures spread about.
كَلَّا ۖ بَل لَّا يَخَافُونَ ٱلْءَاخِرَةَ
Kallaa bal laa yakhaafoonal aakhirah
53. No! But they do not fear the Hereafter.
كَلَّآ إِنَّهُۥ تَذْكِرَةٌۭ
Kallaaa innahoo tazkirah
54. No! Indeed, the Qur’an is a reminder
فَمَن شَآءَ ذَكَرَهُۥ
Fa man shaaa’a zakarah
55. Then whoever wills will remember it.
وَمَا يَذْكُرُونَ إِلَّآ أَن يَشَآءَ ٱللَّهُ ۚ هُوَ أَهْلُ ٱلتَّقْوَىٰ وَأَهْلُ ٱلْمَغْفِرَةِ
Wa maa yazkuroona illaaa any yashaaa’al laah; Huwa ahlut taqwaa wa ahlul maghfirah
56. And they will not remember except that Allah wills. He is worthy of fear and adequate for [granting] forgiveness.
Tafseer of Surah muddaththir
Here you can read various different tafseer of Surah Muddaththir including the tafsir by Ibn Kathir.
In Hadith of Sunan Ibn Majah number 3779, it tells us those who find it difficult to read the Quran will receive twice the reward because of their effort. We should make it a habit to read the Qur’an daily. But do not forget, Quran was a revelation to provide clear evidence that Islam is the one true religion and to serve as a book for guidance. This book contains immense wisdom with timeless stories and teachings. This is why we should not only read the Quran but make it a study.
There’s more than one way to do this, we can listen to lectures of scholars or we can read the various different tafseer. We personally believe the tafseer 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.
Tafsir Ibn Kathir by Surah Muddaththir
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
It has been confirmed in the Sahih Al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim on the authority of Abu Salamah that Jabir bin `Abdullah informed him that he heard the Messenger of Allah speaking about the time period (of the pause in) revelation. The Prophet said,
(While I was walking I heard a voice from the sky. So I lifted my gaze towards the sky and saw the same angel who had come to me at the cave of Hira’. He was sitting on a chair between the sky and the earth. So I fled from him (in fear) until I fell down to the ground. Then, I went to my family and I said, `Wrap me up, wrap me up. So, they wrapped me up! So Allah revealed, (O you wrapped up! Arise and warn!) until (And keep away) ﴿Here, Abu Salamah added, `Ar-Rujz means idols.’﴾ (After this, the revelation started coming strongly and frequently in succession.) This is the wording of Al-Bukhari. The way this Hadith is narrated necessitates that revelation had descended before this. This is due to the Prophet’s statement,
(The same angel who had come to me at the cave of Hira’.)” That angel was Jibril, who had came to him with Allah’s statement,
(Read! In the Name of your Lord Who has created. He has created man from a clot. Read! And your Lord is the Most Generous. Who has taught by the pen. He has taught man that which he knew not.) (96:1-5) After this first occurrence (in the cave) there was a period of time that passed, then the angel descended again. Imam Ahmad recorded from Abu Salamah bin `Abdur-Rahman that Jabir bin `Abdullah informed him that he heard the Messenger of Allah saying,
(Then the revelation ceased coming to me for a period of time.Then, while I was walking, I heard a voice from the sky. So I lifted my gaze towards the sky to see the same angel who had come to me, sitting on a chair between the sky and the earth. So I fled from him a short distance before I fell down to the ground. Then I came to my family and said to them, `Wrap me up, wrap me up! So, they wrapped me up! Then Allah revealed, (O you wrapped up! Arise and warn! And magnify your Lord. And purify your garments. And keep away from Ar-Rujz!)( After this, the revelation started coming strongly and frequently in succession.) They both (Al-Bukhari and Muslim) recorded this Hadith by way of Az-Zuhri. At-Tabarani recorded from Ibn `Abbas that he said, “Verily, Al-Walid bin Al-Mughirah prepared some food for the Quraysh. So when they had eaten from it he said, `What do you have to say about this man’ Some of them said, `He is a magician.’ Others said, `He is not a magician.’ Then some of them said, `He is a soothsayer.’ But others said, `He is not a soothsayer.’ Some of them said, `He is a poet.’ But others said, `He is not a poet.’ Some of them said, `This is magic from that of old.’ Thus, they eventually all agreed that it was magic from ancient times. Then, when this news reached the Prophet , he became grieved, covered his head and wrapped himself up. This is when Allah revealed,
(O you enveloped in garments! Arise and warn! And magnify your Lord (Allah)! And purify your garments! And keep away from Ar-Rujz (the idols)! And give not a thing in order to have more (or consider not your deeds of obedience to Allah as a favour to Him). And be patient for the sake of your Lord (i.e., perform your duty to Allah)!) Concerning Allah’s statement,
(Arise and warn!) means, prepare to go forth with zeal and warn the people. With this the Prophet attained messengership just as he attained prophethood with the first revelation.
(And magnify your Lord!) to declare the greatness of Him. Al-`Awfi reported from Ibn `Abbas;
(And purify your garments!) “This means, do not let your garments that you wear be from earnings that are unlawful.” It has also been said, “Do not wear your clothes in disobedience.” Muhammad bin Sirin said,
(And purify your garments!) “This means clean them with water.” Ibn Zayd said, “The idolators would not clean themselves, so Allah commanded him to clean himself and his garments.” This view was preferred by Ibn Jarir. Sa`id bin Jubayr said,
(And purify your garments!) “This means purify your heart and your intentions.” Muhammad bin Ka`b Al-Qurazi and Al-Hasan Al-Basri both said, “And beautify your character.” Concerning Allah’s statement,
(And keep away from Ar-Rujz!) `Ali bin Abi Talhah reported from Ibn `Abbas, “Ar-Rujz are idols, so keep away from them.” Similar to this was said by Mujahid, `Ikrimah, Qatadah, Az-Zuhri and Ibn Zayd, “Verily, it is the idols.” This is like Allah’s statement,
(O Prophet! have Taqwa of Allah, and obey not the disbelievers and the hypocrites.) (33:1) and Allah’s statement,
(And Musa said to his brother Harun: “Replace me among my people, act well and follow not way of the corrupters.”) (7:142) Then Allah says,
(And give not a thing in order to have more.) Ibn `Abbas said, “Do not give any gift seeking to get (back in return) more than it.” Khusayf reported from Mujahid;
(And give not a thing (Tamnun) in order to have more.) “Do not slacken in seeking more good. Tamnun in the language of the Arabs means to become weak.” Concerning Allah’s statement,
(And be patient for the sake of your Lord!) meaning, make your patience with their harms be for the Face of your Lord, the Mighty and Majestic. This was stated by Mujahid. Ibrahim An-Nakha`i said, “Be patient in your giving for the sake of Allah, the Mighty and Majestic.”
Concerning Allah’s statement,
(Then, when the Naqur is sounded. Truly, that Day will be a Hard Day — far from easy for the disbelievers) Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, Ash-Sha`bi, Zayd bin Aslam, Al-Hasan, Qatadah, Ad-Dahhak, Ar-Rabi` bin Anas, As-Suddi and Ibn Zayd, all said,
(Naqur) “It is the Trumpet.” Mujahid said, “It is in the shape of a horn.” Ibn Abi Hatim narrated that Abu Sa`id Al-Ashaj told them that Asbat bin Muhammad related to them from Mutarrif, from `Atiyah Al-`Awfi, from Ibn `Abbas,
(Then, when the Trumpet is sounded.) The Messenger of Allah said,
(How can I be comfortable when the one with the horn has placed it in his mouth, leaned his forehead forward, and is waiting to be commanded so that he can blow) The Companions of the Messenger of Allah said, “What do you command us, O Messenger of Allah” He replied,
(Say: “Allah is sufficient for us, and what an excellent Trustee He is. We put our trust in Allah.”) It has been recorded like this by Imam Ahmad on the authority of Asbat. Concerning Allah’s statement,
(Truly, that Day will be a Hard Day.) meaning, severe.
(Far from easy for the disbelievers.) meaning, it will not be easy for them. This is as Allah says,
(The disbelievers will say: “This a Hard Day.”) (54:8) We have reported from Zurarah bin Awfa, the judge of Al-Basrah, that he lead the people in the morning prayer and he recited this Surah. Then, when he reached Allah’s statement,
(Then, when the Naqur is sounded. Truly, that Day will be a Hard Day — far from easy for the disbelievers.) he made a moaning sound and then he fell down dead. May Allah have mercy on him.
Allah threatens this wicked person whom He has favored with the blessings of this world, yet he is ungrateful for the blessings of Allah and he meets them with disbelief (in Allah) and rejection of His Ayat. He invents lies against Allah’s Ayat and claims that they are the words of a man. Allah recounts to him His favors upon him when He says,
(Leave Me alone (to deal) with whom I created lonely.) meaning, he came out of the womb of his mother alone, without any wealth or children. Then, Allah provided him with
(resources in abundance.) meaning, vast and abundant. Allah then made for him,
(And children attending.) Mujahid said, “They are not absent.” This means that they are present with him. They do not travel for business and trade. Rather, their servants and hired workers handle all of that for them while they are sitting with their father. He enjoys their company and delights in being with them.
(And made life smooth and comfortable for him.) meaning, `I made possible for him to amass wealth, luxuries and other than that.’
(After all that he desires that I should give more. Nay! Verily, he has been opposing Our Ayat.) meaning, obstinate. This refers to his ungratefulness for his blessings after knowing (these blessings). Allah says,
(I shall force him to Sa`ud!) Qatadah reported from Ibn `Abbas that he said, “Sa`ud is a rock in Hell that the disbeliever will be dragged across on his face.” As-Suddi said, “Sa`ud is a slippery rock in Hell that he will be forced to climb.” Mujahid said,
(I shall force him to Sa`ud!) “This is a harsh portion of the torment.” Qatadah said, “It is a torment that contains no relaxation (break for relief).” Concerning Allah’s statement,
(Verily, he thought and plotted.) meaning, `We only caused him to face the grievous torment of Sa`ud, that is Our bringing him close to the harsh torment, because he was far away from faith.’ This was because he thought and plotted, meaning he contemplated what he should say about the Qur’an when he was asked about it. So he deliberated over what statement he should invent against it.
(and plotted.) meaning, he contemplated.
(So let him be cursed, how he plotted! And once more let him be cursed, how he plotted!) This is a supplication against him.
(Then he thought.) meaning, he thought again and deliberated.
(Then he frowned) meaning, he contracted his eyebrows together and frowned.
(and he looked in a bad tempered way.) meaning, he scowled and was disgusted. Concerning Allah’s statement,
(Then he turned back, and was proud.) meaning, he turned away from the truth and arrogantly refused to accept and submit to the Qur’an.
(Then he said: “This is nothing but magic from that of old.”) meaning, `this is magic that Muhammad received from those who were before him, and he is merely saying what he got from them.’ This is why he said,
(This is nothing but the word of a human being!) meaning, it is not the Words of Allah. The person who is mentioned in this discussion is Al-Walid bin Al-Mughirah Al-Makhzumi. He was one of the chiefs of the Quraysh — may Allah curse him. Among the narrations about this is what was reported by Al-`Awfi from Ibn `Abbas. He (Ibn `Abbas) said, “Al-Walid bin Al-Mughirah entered the house of Abu Bakr bin Abi Quhafah and asked him about the Qur’an. When Abu Bakr informed him about it, he left and went to the Quraysh saying, `What a great thing this is that Ibn Abi Kabshah is saying. I swear by Allah that it is not poetry, nor magic, nor the prattling of insanity. Verily, his speech is from the Words of Allah!’ So when a group of the Quraysh heard this they gathered and said, `By Allah, if Al-Walid converts (to Islam) all of the Quraysh will convert.’ When Abu Jahl bin Hisham heard this he said, `By Allah, I will deal with him for you.’ So he went to Al-Walid’s house and entered upon him. He said to Al-Walid, `Don’t you see that your people are collecting charity for you’ Al-Walid replied, `Don’t I have more wealth and children than they do’ Abu Jahl answered, `They are saying that you only went to Ibn Abi Quhafah’s house so that you can get some of his food.’ Al-Walid then said, `Is this what my tribe is saying Nay, by Allah, I am not seeking to be close to Ibn Abi Quhafah, nor `Umar, nor Ibn Abi Kabshah. And his speech is only inherited magic of old.’ So Allah revealed to His Messenger ,
(Leave me alone with whom I created lonely.) until His statement,
(It spares not, nor does it leave (anything)!)” Qatadah said, “They claim that he (Al-Walid) said, `By Allah, I thought about what the man says, and it is not poetry. Verily, it has a sweetness and it is truly elegant. Verily, it is exalted and it is not overcome. And I have no doubt that it is magic.’ So Allah revealed,
(So let him be cursed, how he plotted!)
(Then he frowned and he looked in a bad tempered way.) He contracted his eyes together and scowled.” Allah says,
(I will cast him into Saqar.) meaning, `I will engulf him in it from all his sides.’ Then Allah says,
(And what will make you know (exactly) what Saqar is) This is to give fright and emphasis to its matter. Then Allah explains this by His saying,
(It spares not, nor does it leave (anything)!) meaning, it eats their flesh, veins, nerves and their skins. Then their organs will be changed into something else. They will remain in this (form), not living or dying. This was stated by Ibn Buraydah, Abu Sinan and others. Concerning Allah’s statement,
(Scorching for the humans!) Mujahid said, “This means for the skin.” Qatadah said,
(Scorching for the humans!) “This means burning the skin.” Ibn `Abbas said, “Burning the skin of man.” Concerning Allah’s statement,
(Over it are nineteen.) meaning, the first of the guardians of Hell. They are magnificent in (their appearance) and harsh in their character.
(And We have set none as (Ashab) guardians of the Fire) meaning, its guardians.
(but angels.) Guardian angels, stern and severe. This is a refutation of the idolators of the Quraysh when they mentioned the number of guardian angels. Abu Jahl said, “O people of Quraysh! Are not every ten among you able to defeat one of them” So Allah said,
(And We have set none but angels as guardians of the Fire.) meaning, extremely strong in their creation. They cannot be stood against nor defeated. It has been said that Abu Al-Ashaddayn, and his name was Kaladah bin Usayd bin Khalaf, said, “O people of Quraysh! You defend me against two of them and I will defend you against seventeen of them.” He said this thinking himself to be very great. For they claimed that he achieved such strength that he would stand on a skin of cow hide and ten people would try to pull it out from under his feet, but the skin would be torn to pieces and still not be removed from under him. Concerning Allah’s statement,
(And We have fixed their number only as a trial for the disbelievers,) meaning, `We only have mentioned their number as being nineteen as a test from Us for mankind.’
(In order that the People of the Scripture may arrive at a certainty) meaning, so that they may know that this Messenger is true. For he speaks according to the same thing that they have with them of heavenly revealed Scriptures that came to the Prophets before him. Concerning Allah’s statement,
(and that the believers may increase in faith.) meaning, to their faith. This is due to what they witness from the truthfulness of the information of their Prophet, Muhammad .
(and that no doubt may be left for the People of the Scripture and the believers, and that those in whose hearts is a disease) meaning, among the hypocrites.
(and the disbelievers may say: “What does Allah intend by this example”) meaning, they say, “What is the wisdom in mentioning this here” Allah says,
(Thus Allah leads astray whom He wills and guides whom He wills.) meaning, by way of examples like this, faith becomes firm in the hearts of some people and it is shaken with others. This has a profound wisdom and it is an irrefutable proof. None knows the Soldiers of Allah except Him Allah says,
(And none can know the hosts of your Lord but He.) meaning, none knows their number and their count except Allah. This is so that one does not make the mistake of thinking that they are only nineteen in all. It has been confirmed in the Hadith concerning Al-Isra’ that is reported in the Two Sahihs and other collections, that the Messenger of Allah said in describing the Frequented House (Al-Bayt Al-Ma`mur), which is in the seventh heaven,
(Seventy thousand angels enter into it every day and they do not return to it as it is all that is due upon them (one visit in their lifetime).) Concerning Allah’s statement,
(And this is nothing but a reminder to mankind.) Mujahid and others said,
(And this is not.) “This means the Hellfire which has been described.”
(but a reminder to mankind. ) Then Allah says,
(Nay! And by the moon. And by the night when it withdraws.) meaning, when it withdraws.
(And by the dawn when it brightens.) meaning, when it shines.
(Verily, it is but one of the greatest (signs).) meaning, the great things. This refers to the Hellfire. Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, Qatadah, Ad-Dahhak and others of the Salaf, all said this.
(A warning to mankind — to any of you that chooses to go forward, or to remain behind.) meaning, for whoever wishes to accept the warning and be guided to the truth, or hold back from accepting it, turn away from it and reject it.
Allah informs that,
(Every person is a pledge for what he has earned,) meaning, bound to his deed on the Day of Judgement. Ibn `Abbas and others have said this.
(Except those on the Right.) For verily, they will be
(In Gardens they will ask one another, about criminals (and they will say to them)) meaning, while they are in lofty rooms they will ask the criminals, who will be in the lowest levels (of Hell), saying to them,
(“What has caused you to enter Hell” They will say: “We were not of those who used to offer the Salah, nor did we feed the poor.”) meaning, `we did not worship Allah, nor did we do good to His creatures of our own species (i.e., other people).’
(And we used to speak falsehood with vain speakers.) meaning, `we used to speak about what we had no knowledge of.’ Qatadah said, “It means that every time someone went astray we would go astray with them.”
(And we used to deny the Day of Recompense, until the certainty (Al-Yaqin) came to us.) meaning, death. This is as Allah says,
(And worship your Lord until there comes unto you the certainty.) (15:99) The Messenger of Allah said,
(Concerning him verily, Al-Yaqin (death) came to him from his Lord.)” Allah then says,
(So no intercession of intercessors will be of any use to them.) meaning, whoever has these characteristics, then the intercession of whoever tries to intercede for him will be of no benefit on the Day of Judgement. This is because intercession is only useful if the conditions for it are met. However, whoever comes before Allah as a disbeliever on the Day of Judgement, then he will get the Hellfire and there is no way of avoiding it. He will abide in it (Hell) forever.
Then Allah says,
(Then what is wrong with them that they turn away from admonition) meaning, `what is wrong with these disbelievers who are turning away from what you are calling them to and reminding them of’
(As if they were wild donkeys. Fleeing from a Qaswarah.) meaning, as if they were fleeing from the truth and turning away from it, like a wild donkey when it flees from something that is trying to catch it, like a lion. This was said by Abu Hurayrah. Hammad bin Salamah reported from `Ali bin Zayd who reported from Yusuf bin Mihran who narrated that Ibn `Abbas said, “It (Qaswarah) is the lion in the Arabic language. It is called Qaswarah in the Abyssinian language, Sher in the Persian language and Awba in the Nabtiyyah (Nabatean) language.” Concerning Allah’s statement,
(Nay, everyone of them desires that he should be given pages spread out.) meaning, each one of these idolators wants to have a book revealed to him as Allah revealed to the Prophet . Mujahid and others have said this. This is similar to Allah’s statement,
(And when there comes to them a sign they say: “We shall not believe until we receive the like of that which the Messengers of Allah had received.” Allah knows best with whom to place His Message.) (6:124) It is reported in a narration from Qatadah that he said, “They want to be declared innocent (on the Day of Judgement) without having to do any deeds.” Then Allah says,
(Nay! But they fear not the Hereafter.) meaning, they were only corrupted by their lack of faith in it and their rejection of its occurrence.
Then Allah says,
(Nay, verily, this is an admonition.) meaning, truly the Qur’an is a reminder.
(So, whosoever wills receives admonition (from it)! And they will not receive admonition unless Allah wills;) This is similar to Allah’s statement,
(And you cannot will unless Allah wills.) (81:29) Concerning Allah’s statement,
(He is the One, deserving the Taqwa and He is the One Who forgives.) This means that He deserves to be feared and He is eligible to forgive the sin of whoever turns to Him and repents. This was said by Qatadah. This is the end of the Tafsir of Surat Al-Muddaththir, all praise and thanks are due to Allah. ffer the Salah, nor did we feed the poor.”) meaning, `we did not worship Allah, nor did we do good to His creatures of our own species (i.e., other people).’
(And we used to speak falsehood with vain speakers. peakersieA ھ The Qur’an is a Reminder Then Allah says,
(Nay, verily, this is an admonition.) meaning, truly the Qur’an is a reminder.
(So, whosoever wills receives admonition (from it)! And they will not receive admonition unless Allah wills;) This is similar to Allah’s statement,
(And you cannot will unless Allah wills.) (81:29) Concerning Allah’s statement,
(He is the One, deserving the Taqwa and He is the One Who forgives.) This means that He deserves to be feared and He is eligible to forgive the sin of whoever turns to Him and repents. This was said by Qatadah. This is the end of the Tafsir of Surat Al-Muddaththir, all praise and thanks are due to Allah.
Commentary[74:1] O you, enveloped in a mantle, Surah Al-Muddththir is one of the Surahs that was sent down in very early days of the revelation. Therefore, some of the scholars considered this Surah to be the first one in order of revelation. However, according to the well-known authentic aliadith, the first instalment of revelation comprised the initial verses of Surah Iqra’. Traditions show that after a few verses of this Surah had been revealed, further revelation stopped for a period of time. The period of time during which there was a temporary cessation of revelation is termed as fatrat-ul-wahy. Towards the end of this period, an incident took place that is recounted by the Holy Prophet thus: While I was walking, I heard a voice from the sky. So I lifted my gaze towards the sky and saw the same angel who had come to me in the cave of Hira’. He was sitting on a chair between the sky and the earth. So I was struck with awe until I fell down to the ground. Then, I went to my family and I said, “Wrap me up, wrap me up” So, they wrapped me up! Allah revealed the initial verses of Surah Al-Muddaththir. (Sahihain). The Holy Prophet is addressed in this Surah as: يٰٓاَيُّهَا الْمُدَّثِّرُ (0 you, enveloped in a mantle…74:1) The word al-Muddaththir is derived from dithar which refers to a ‘thick, warm over-garment [such as a cloak or mantle] which a person wears in winter over his other clothes in order to protect himself from cold.’ The form of address is affectionate and endearing as was explained under Al-Muzzammil in the preceding Surah. The two forms of address, al-Muzzammil and al-Muddaththir, are near-synonyms. Ruh-ul-Ma ani cites a report from Jabir Ibn Zaid who says that Al-Muddaththir was revealed after Al-Muzzammil. Some scholars attribute this narration to Sayyidna Ibn ` Abbas w as well. However, according to the narration previously reported from Sahihain, it is clear that the first Surah to be revealed [after the temporary cessation] was Al-Muddaththir. If Al-Muzzammil was revealed before this, Sayyidna Jabir Ibn ` Abdullah [the narrator of the Hadith] would have narrated it. Clearly, Al-Muzzammil and Al-Muddaththir, are near-synonyms. Therefore, it is very likely that the two Surahs might have been revealed in connection with the same incident – when the Holy Prophet, whilst walking, heard a voice from the sky and saw Jibra’il Amin sitting on a chair between the sky and the earth, and then went to the house and wrapped himself in a mantle. This at least confirms the point that the initial verses of the two Surahs were among the first verses to be revealed after the temporary break in the revelation. It is however not clear as to which set of the verses was revealed first, and which was revealed subsequently. Authentic narratives confirm that the initial verses of Surah Iqra’ were first to be revealed. Al-Muzzammil and Al-Muddaththir were though revealed approximately the same time in connection with the same incident, there is a difference between the two: The injunctions given at the beginning of Al-Muzzammil are related to the Holy Prophet’s personal purification and perfection, and in Al-Muddaththir the injunctions are related to preaching, propagation and human reform.
[74:2] stand up and warn, Surah Al-Muddaththir lays down the following six injunctions:
Injunction قُمْ فَاَنْذِرْ (stand up and warn…74:2) ‘Stand up’ could be taken in its primary sense. It will mean: ‘Remove the additional clothes in which you have wrapped yourself. It is also not unlikely that ‘stand up’ means ‘Prepare yourself for the onerous task of reforming the creation of Allah’. The command fa-andhir (and warn) comes from the infinitive indhar (warning) which is based on love and affection’, such as a father’s warning his children against the dangers of a snake, scorpion or fire. The Prophets proclaim the Divine Message and warn its rejecters of the evil consequences of rejection. Therefore, they have received the titles of nadhir and bashir. ‘Nadhir’ means ‘the one who affectionately and endearingly warns [people] against harmful things’ and ‘Bashir’ refers to ‘the one who gives glad tidings’. The Qur’an has conferred both the titles on the Holy Prophet and the Holy Book is replete with them. Here, however, the Qur’an takes it as sufficient to mention indhar ‘to warn’ because at the time of revelation of this verse there were only a handful of Muslims. The rest of the people were all rejecters and disbelievers. They needed to be warned and did not merit glad tidings.
[74:3] and pronounce the greatness of your Lord,
وَرَبَّكَ فَكَبِّرْ (..and pronounce the greatness of your Lord…74:3) It means: “Proclaim the greatness of your Lord both orally and practically. The attribute rabb (Lord) has been used in this context because it is itself the effective cause of the injunction, in that He is the Sustainer, Cherisher and Nourisher of the entire world. He alone is worthy of Kibriya’. The word takbtr literally signifies ‘to say Allahu Akbar ‘. This includes takbir of tahrimah in the beginning of prayers and other takbirs also. Takbir is recited outside the prayers as well, such as in adhan and iqamah. There is no indication in the Qur’an that this injunction specifically refers to uttering Allahu Akbar to commence the prayers.
[74:4] and purify your clothes,
وَثِيَابَكَ فَطَهِّرْ (and purify your clothes… 74:4) The word thiyab is the plural of thaub. In its primary sense, it refers to ‘clothes or garment’. Metaphorically, the words thaub and libas at times refer to ‘action, heart, soul, moral character and religion.’ Man’s body may also be referred to as libas’. The Holy Qur’an and Arabic idioms bear ample testimony to this. Scholars of tafsir have taken all these senses into account when interpreting this verse. The variant interpretations may not be suspected of contradiction or conflict. The different interpretations attached to the verse enrich its significance. Thus the verse would signify that the body and clothes must be kept clean from all kinds of physical impurity. The heart and soul must be kept clean from false beliefs and adulterating thoughts, and free from base morals or from moral decadence. From this it is deducible that it is forbidden to trail the pants or loin-cloth below the ankle, because this is likely to pollute the garment. The injunction of cleansing the garment may signify that the garment must not be made or bought of unlawful money. It must not be made in such a way as the sacred law does not permit. Apparently, the injunction of cleansing the clothes is not specific to prayers. The injunction applies under all conditions. Thus the jurists have ruled that it is not permitted to keep the body and clothes unclean, without necessity, even outside prayers. Likewise, it is not permitted to sit in an unclean place. In times of necessity, it would be an exception. [Mazharil. The Holy Qur’an says: اِنَّ اللّٰهَ يُحِبُّ التَّـوَّابِيْنَ وَيُحِبُّ الْمُتَطَهِّرِيْنَ ‘…Surely Allah loves those who are most repenting, and loves those who keep themselves pure.[2:222]
وَالرُّجْزَ فَاهْجُرْ (…and keep away from filth…74:5). The letters ‘RJZ’ may be read as rujz or rUz, and in either case the word has the same significance.
[74:6] and do no favour (to anyone merely) to ask more (in exchange),
وَلَا تَمْنُنْ تَسْتَكْثِرُ (…and do no favour [to anyone merely] to ask more [in exchange]….74:6). In other words, no gift should be given to anyone seeking to get back in return more than what was given. This indicates that it is reprehensible to give to someone a gift with the intention that the person will give him a higher gift. Although it seems to be allowed, by another verse of the Qur’an, for common people, yet it is reprehensible and morally unrighteous – especially for the Holy Prophet, it is unlawful, as explained by Ibn Abbas
[74:7] and for the sake of your Lord, observe patience.
وَلِرَبِّكَ فَاصْبِرْ ( and for the sake of your Lord, observe patience 74:7) The word sabr literally signifies ‘to restrain oneself. In the Qur’anic context, the word has a very wide scope. It signifies to bind oneself to the laws of Allah, to restrain oneself from things made unlawful by Allah, and to control oneself, as far as possible, from unnecessary bewailing and complaining in times of difficulties and hardships. Thus this injunction is rather comprehensive which embraces almost the entire religion. On this occasion, the Holy Prophet is directed to observe patience, particularly because the earlier verses have directed him to invite the people towards the true faith and to avoid the infidelity and shirk. It is obvious that he will be opposed and persecuted by the forces of evil, as the result of his missionary efforts. He should, therefore, be ready to bear all opposition and persecution with patience and fortitude.
[74:8] For when the trumpet is blown, [74:9] that day will be a difficult day, [74:10] not easy for the disbelievers. [74:11] Leave me (to deal) with the one whom I have created lonely,
[74:12] and I gave him extensive wealth,
The Annual Income of Walid Ibn Mughirah: Ten Million Guineas
The disbeliever referred to here is Walid Ibn Mughirah. Allah had favoured him with abundant wealth, property and children. According to Ibn ` Abbas 4his land, property and gardens stretched from Makkah to Ta’if. According to Thauri, his annual income was ten million Dinars. Some scholars have estimated less than this amount. It is, nonetheless, agreed that the income and yearly produce of his fields and gardens were available in every season, winter or summer. Thus the Qur’an says:
Dialogue between Abu Jahl And Walid: They Concur on the Holy Prophet’s Veracity
Abu Jahl went to Walid and sat next to him, pretending to be very sad. Walid enquired, ‘What is the matter? Why do you look so sad?’ Abu Jahl made the reply, ‘The Quraish decided to collect money for you and help you in your old age. Now they have learnt that you visit Muhammad t and son of Abu Quhafah [ie Sayyidna Abu Bakr 4] so that you may have some eatables from them, and to this end you flatter them. You praise their speech. (Obviously, it was a lie that the Quraish was collecting money to help Walid. The lie was invented merely to make him angry. Similarly it was also a lie that he was getting food from the Holy Prophet.) ‘ Walid was highly enraged on hearing this. His anger knew no bounds and said in arrogance and conceit, ‘How can the Quraish think this? I swear by Lat and ` Uzza [the two Arabian idols], I am not in need of their food. Do they not know that I am superior to them in abundance of wealth? However, when you say that Muhammad is insane, nobody would believe it. Did you ever see him perform any act of insanity?’ Abu Jahl replied aU~ jy ‘Never, by God!’ He said, ‘You claim that Muhammad is a soothsayer. Did you hear him speak like a soothsayer?’ Abu Jahl’s reply was again in the negative. Then Walid said, ‘You say that he is a poet. Did you hear him recite poetry?’ When Abu Jahl declared that he had not, Walid added, ‘You say that he is a liar. Did you ever heard him telling a lie? Abu Jahl was forced to concede that they had never heard him tell a lie. (In fact, they had conferred upon him the titles of As-Sadiq ‘The Truthful’ and Al-` Amin ‘The Honest’.). Then Walid said, ‘You say that he is a soothsayer. Have you then seen him uttering such words or doing such acts as the soothsayers are accustomed to? We know well the utterings of the soothsayers. Muhammad’s discourse cannot be held as the utterance of a soothsayer.’ Abu Jahl again had to admit. ‘No, by God!’ Now Abu Jahl had to withdraw from all such false allegations, but he was wondering what he should say to the people about the Holy Prophet to stop them from following him. So, he said to Walid, “Then, you tell me what we should say about him?” Walid started thinking, then he raised his eyes towards Abu Jahl, frowned in a hateful manner, and ultimately replied, ‘I think he is certainly a magician’. He knew well that the Holy Prophet is not a magician either. But in order to devise an excuse for saying so, he argued, ‘Do you not see how his speech separates husband from wife, brother from brother and father from son? This is the magical effect of faith. As soon as a person embraces the faith, he begins to hate his unbelieving mother, father and other relatives.’ The verses describe him thus:
Unbelievers Abstained from Telling Lies
When we analyse, it would appear very clearly that all unbelievers and transgressors were involved in committing all kinds of sins and shameful deeds, but they abstained from the enormity of telling lies. Abu Sufyan’s statement in the royal court of Heraculus shows that the pagans were willing to sacrifice their lives and children in opposing the Holy Prophet “, but they were not willing to tell lies lest they are socially stigmatised as liars. Alas, in this so-called progressive world where everything moves retrogressively ‘telling lies’ is no sin. It is in fact treated as a great art. Let alone unbelievers, even the pious and religious Muslims do not find it hateful. They pride upon telling lies and getting others to tell lies. We seek Allah’s refuge from such an attitude.
Children’s Stay with the Father is a Great Boon
While mentioning the favours Allah had bestowed on Walid, the Holy Qur’an has said, ۙوَّبَنِيْنَ شُهُوْدًا 13’and sons present before (his) eyes, 
[74:13] and sons present before (his) eyes, [74:14] and extended (power and honour) to him fairly well. [74:15] Still, he aspires that I should give him more. [74:16] Never! He is inimical towards Our verses. [74:17] I will force him to climb (the mountain) sa’ud. [74:18] He pondered and suggested. [74:19] Death onto him! How (bad) is the suggestion he has put forward! [74:20] Again, death unto him! How (bad) is the suggestion he has put forward! [74:21] Then he looked (to those around him,) [74:22] then he frowned and scowled, [74:23] then turned his back, and waxed proud, [74:24] then said, “This is nothing but traditional magic; [74:25] this is nothing but saying of a mortal.” [74:26] will put him into Saqar (Hell). [74:27] And what can let you know what Saqar is? [74:28] It neither spares (anything inside it from burning) nor leaves (any disbeliever outside). [74:29] It will disfigure the skins. [74:30] Appointed on it are nineteen (wardens).
[74:31] And We did not make wardens of the Fire but (from among) angels, and did not fix their number but as a test for those who disbelieve, so that those who are given the Book may come to believe, and those who believe may increase in belief, and so that those who are given the Book and those who believe may not doubt (its correctness), and so that those having malady in their hearts and the disbelievers say, “What has Allah meant by this (sentence that is as strange as a) proverb?” Thus Allah lets go astray whomever He wills, and leads to the right path whomever He wills. And no one knows the hosts of your Lord but He. And this is nothing else but a reminder for mankind. وَمَا يَعْلَمُ جُنُوْدَ رَبِّكَ اِلَّا هُو (…And no one knows the hosts of your Lord but He 74:31) Muqatil, among the leading authorities, says that this is rebuttal to Abu Jahl’s statement. When he heard this verse which says that there are nineteen angels in charge of Hell, he addressed the youth of Quraish and said that Muhammad has only nineteen companions, so there is nothing to worry about. Baihaqi records a narrative from Suddi that when verse 30 was revealed, a foolish Quraishi unbeliever, Abul-Asalain by name, spoke out: ‘0 nation of Quraish, I alone am sufficient for the nineteen. I will take care of ten with my right arm, and nine with my left arm. Thus I will put an end to all nineteen of them.’ On this occasion, this verse was revealed. ‘0 fools, first of all one angel is sufficient for all. Moreover, the number nineteen refers to the chiefs of angels. Under each of these angels, the number of Allah’s angels is legion beyond human count or computation. Allah alone knows their number. They are ready at hand to carry out the punishment to the unbelievers and transgressors.’
In the next verses, there is the mention of the Hereafter and its horrors.
اِنَّهَا لَاِحْدَى الْكُبَرِ (saqar: Hell) is one of the greatest things….74:35) The pronoun in the phrase innaha refers to saqar ‘Hell’ which has been mentioned in one of the preceding verses. The word kubar is the plural of kubaa which is an adjective for dahiyah or musibah ‘calamity’. The verse purports to say that Hell which the unbelievers will enter will be one of the greatest calamities. Besides, there will be many different kinds of torments and tortures.
[74:37] to the one who wishes to come forward (towards good deeds) or to go back (from them). لِمَنْ شَاۗءَ مِنْكُمْ اَنْ يَّتَقَدَّمَ اَوْ يَتَاَخَّرَ (to the one who wishes to come forward [towards good deeds] or to go back [from them]…74:37) In this context, ‘to come forward’ signifies ‘coming forward towards faith and obedience’ and ta’akhkhur ‘to go backward’ signifies ‘moving away from faith and obedience’. The verse purports to warn against the torment and torture of the Hellfire. This applies to all human beings in general. Some accept the warning and are guided by the truth, and the unfortunate ones hold back from accepting the warning, turn away from it and reject it.
[74:38] Everyone will be detained (in the Hell) because of what he did, كُلُّ نَفْسٍۢ بِمَا كَسَبَتْ رَهِيْنَةٌ اِلَّآ اَصْحٰبَ الْيَمِيْنِ (Everyone will be detained [in the Hell] because of what he did,  except the People of the Right, [i.e. those who will be given their Book of Deeds in their right hands] 74:38-39)
The word rahinah is used in the sense of marhunah ‘will be detained’. The word is derived from rahn ‘to give something valuable to a pawnbroker as a security for a debt. The valuable thing is thus merely detained by the pawnbroker. He cannot use it or take advantage of it. Likewise, every person on the Day of Judgment will be detained in lieu of his sins, except those who will be given their Book of Deeds in their right hands. In this context, ‘detention’ could refer to being detained in Hell. In this case, the statement would mean that every person will be held in pledge in Hell against his sins to receive punishment, except the People of the Right. The context indicates that the People of the Right are those who have repaid their debt, i.e. they have fulfilled their obligations in this world towards Allah and other human beings. In these instances there is no need for them to be detained. This interpretation seems to be plain, simple and straightforward. However, if ‘detention’ refers to being held at some other place before giving account or before admission into Paradise or Hell, it signifies that every person will be held to give an account of his deeds. No person will be permitted to move out unless the account is taken. In this case, the exception of the People of the Right could refer to the sinless who are not accountable, such as minors or immature children as explained by Sayyidna ` Ali. According to a Tradition, a segment of the Holy Prophet’s community would be exempted from accountability. They will enter Paradise without having to account for actions. Possibly, it could be referring to this segment. According to Surah .Al-Waqi` ah, there will be three categories of people on the Plain of Gathering:  sabiqun ‘the Foremost’ and muqarrabun ‘who have attained nearness to Allah’;  the People of the Right; and  the People of the Left. On this occasion, the muqarrabun have been merged with the People of the Right’, and only the latter people have been mentioned. From this point of view, there is no express text which states that all the People of the Right will be excepted, and will not be detained for accountability. The first interpretation, that is being held in Hell, appropriately fits the context. And Allah knows best!
[74:39] except the People of the Right, (i.e. those who will be given their Book of Deeds in their right hands) [74:40] who will be in gardens, asking [74:41] about the guilty persons, [74:42] “What has brought you to? (Saqar: Hell)” [74:43] They will say, “We were not among those who offered salah, (obligatory prayer) [74:44] and we used not to give food to the needy, [74:45] and we used to indulge (in mocking at the truth) along with those who indulged, [74:46] and used to deny the Day of Requital, [74:47] until when we were overtaken by that which is certain.” [74:48] Then intercession of intercessors will not avail them.
فَمَا تَنْفَعُهُمْ شَفَاعَةُ الشّٰفِعِيْنَ (Then intercession of intercessors will not avail them…74:48) The attached pronoun of tanfa’uhum refers to those sinners who have been mentioned in the preceding verses. They confessed to four crimes:  they did not perform obligatory prayers;  they did not feed the poor, that is, they did not spend on the necessities of the poor;  they indulged (in mocking at the truth) along with those who indulged in opposing Islam or committing sins and shameful deeds; and  they denied the Day of Requital. This verse purports to say that whoever has these characteristics, including denial of the Day of Requital, is an infidel. The intercession of anyone who tries to intercede for an infidel will be of no benefit to him on the Day of Judgment. Even if all the intercessors join forces to intercede, it will not help. This is because intercession is only useful if the conditions for it are met. Therefore, the verse uses the plural expression, thus: شَفَاعَةُ الشّٰفِعِيْنَ ‘intercession of intercessors’
No Intercession will Benefit an Unbeliever, but will Benefit a Believer
It is deducible from the verse under comment that, besides infidels, all Muslims, even though they may be sinners, will benefit from intercession as many authentic ahadith bear ample testimony to this. The intercessors will be the Prophets of Allah, Allah’s friends and righteous personalities. It is confirmed that the general body of believers will intercede for one another, and their intercession will be accepted.
A Special Note
Sayyidna Abdullah Ibn Masud 4 narrates that Allah’s angels and Prophets, the martyrs and the righteous will intercede for sinners in the Hereafter, and they will be delivered from Hell by virtue of their intercession, except the four types of sinners who have been classified above, that is, those who failed to perform their obligatory prayer and to pay their Zakah, those who opposed Islam with the opponents of Islam and denied the Hereafter. This shows that intercession will not be accepted for those who fail to perform their obligatory Salah and pay their Zakah. However, other narratives indicate that the correct view with regard to the verse under comment is that the unacceptability of intercession refers to those sinners who commit the four types of crimes that include the rejection of the Hereafter. Besides the rejection, it is not necessary that sinners committing other sins should be punished in the same way. However, there are other Hadith narratives that refer to certain major sins which deprive people of intercession. For instance, if a person denies the veracity of intercession, or if he denies the existence of the Pond of Kauthar, he will have no share in either of the two.
[74:49] So what has happened to them that they are turning away from the Reminder, فَمَا لَهُمْ عَنِ التَّذْكِرَةِ مُعْرِضِيْنَ (So what has happened to them that they are turning away from the Reminder… 74:49) The word tadhkirah (Reminder), in this context, refers to the Holy Qur’an, because the word literally signifies a ‘reminder or something that reminds’. The Qur’an is unique in reminding Allah’s attributes of perfection, His mercy and wrath, and the reward and punishment. Towards the end, the verse 54 has explained that the ‘Reminder’ is the Holy Qur’an that is rejected by them. The allergy of the infidels against the Holy Qur’an has been mentioned in verses 50 and 51 in the following words, فَرَّتْ مِنْ قَسْوَرَةٍ كَاَنَّهُمْ حُمُرٌ مُّسْتَنْفِرَةٌ “as if they were wild donkeys, fleeing from a lion?” The word qaswarah used in verse 51 has two meanings:  a ‘lion’; and  an ‘archer’ or a ‘hunter’. Both meanings have been reported from the noble Companions.
[74:50] as if they were wild donkeys, [74:51] fleeing from a lion? [74:52] Rather, every one of them wishes that he should be given unrolled (divine) scriptures. [74:53] Never! But they do not fear the Hereafter. [74:54] Never! Indeed, this is a Reminder. [74:55] So, whoever so wishes may take advice from it. [74:56] And they will not take advice unless Allah so wills. He is worthy to be feared, and worthy to forgive. هُوَ اَهْلُ التَّقْوٰى وَاَهْلُ الْمَغْفِرَةِ (…He is worthy to be feared, and worthy to forgive… 74:56) Allah is ` Ahl-ut-taqwa in the sense that ‘He alone is worthy to be feared and entitled to be obeyed’. Ahl-ul-Maghfirah signifies that ‘He alone is the Being Who forgives the sins of even the greatest sinners whenever He so wishes’: No one else has the power to do this . Alhamdulillah The Commentary on Surah Al-Muddaththir Ends here
Tafseer by Abul A’la Maududi
74. Surah Al Muddaththir (The Cloaked One)
The Surah takes its name from the word al- muddaththir in the first verse. This also is only a name, not a title of its subject matter.
Period of Revelation
The first seven verses of this Surah belong to the earliest period at Makkah. Even according to some traditions which have been related in Bukhari, Muslim, Tirmidhi, Musnad Ahmad, etc., on the authority of Hadrat Jabir bin Abdullah, these are the very earliest verses of the Qur’an to be revealed to the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace). But the Muslim Ummah almost unanimously agreed that the earliest Revelation to the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) consisted of the first five verses of Surah Al-Alaq(XCVI) However, what is established by authentic traditions is that after this first Revelation, no Revelation came down to the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) for quite some time. Then, when it was resumed, it started with theme verses of Surah Al- Muddaththir. Imam Zuhri has given the following details of it:
“Revelation to the Holy Prophet remained suspended for quite some time, and it was such a period of deep grief and distress for him that he started going early to the tops of the mountains to throw himself down from them. But whenever he stood on the edge of a peak, the Angel Gabriel would appear and tell him that he was Allah’s Prophet. This would console him and restore to him full peace of mind.” (Ibn Jarir).
After this Imam Zuhri relates the following tradition on the authority of Hadrat Jabir bin Abdullah:
“The Ho]y Messenger of Allah describing the period of falrat al-wahi (break in revelation) said: One day when I was passing on the way, I suddenly heard a call from heaven. I raised my head and saw that the same Angel who had visited me in the Cave of Hira was sitting on a throne between heaven and earth. This struck terror in my heart, and reaching home quickly, I said: ‘Cover me up, cover me up’. So the people of the house covered me up with a quilt (or blanket). At that time Allah sent down the Revelation: Ya ayyuhal-Muddaththiru… From then on revelation became intense and continuous.” (Bukhari, Muslim Musnad Ahmad, Ibn Jarir).
The rest of the Surah (vv. 8-56) was revealed when the first Hajj season came after public preaching of Islam had begun in Makkah. This has been fully well described in the Sirah by Ibn Hisham and we shall cite it below.
Theme and Subject Matter
As has been explained above, the earliest Revelation to the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) consisted of the first five verses of Surah Al-Alaq, in which it had been Said: “Read (O Prophet), in the name of your Lord, Who created: created man from a clot of congealed blood. Read: and your Lord is Most Generous, Who taught knowledge by the pen, taught man what he did not know.”
This was the first experience of Revelation met with suddenly by the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace). in this message it was not told what great mission he had been entrusted with and what duties he had to perk form in future. He was only initiated into it and then left alone for a time so that the great strain this experience had caused should pass away and he should mentally become prepared to receive the Revelation and perform the prophetic mission in the future. After this intermission when Revelation Was resumed, the first seven verses of this Surah Were revealed:In these he Was for the first time commanded to arise and warn the people of the consequences of the way of life they were following and to proclaim the greatness of God in the world where others were being magnified without any right. Along with that he was given this instruction: The demand of the Unique mission that you have to perform, now is that your life should be pure in every respect and you should carry out the duty of reforming your people sincerely irrespective of any worldly gain. Then, in the last sentence, he was exhorted to endure with patience, for the sake of his Lord, all the hardships and troubles that he might have to face while performing his mission.
In the implementation of this Divine Command when the Holy Messenger of Allah began to preach Islam and recite the Qur’anic Surahs revealed successively, the people of Makkah felt alarmed, and it provoked a great storm of opposition and hostility. A few months passed in this state until the Hajj season approached. The people of Makkah feared that if Muhammad (upon whom be Allah’s peace) started visiting the caravans of the pilgrims coming from all over Arabia at their halting places and reciting the spell binding and unique Revelations of the Qur’an in their assemblies on the occasion of Hajj, his message would reach every part of Arabia and influence countless people. Therefore, the Quraish chiefs held a conference and settled that they would start a propaganda campaign against the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) among the pilgrims as soon as they arrived.
After they had agreed on this, Walid bin al-Mughirah said to the assembled people: “If you said contradictory things about Muhammad (upon whom be Allah’s peace and blessings), we all would lose our trust among the people. Therefore, let us agree upon one opinion, which we should all say without dispute.
Some people said that they would call Muhammad (upon whom be Allah’s peace and blessings) a soothsayer. Walid said: “No, by God, be is not a soothsayer. We have seen the soothsayers: what they murmur and what they utter has no remote resemblance with the Qur’an.”
Some other people said: “Then we say he is possessed.” Walid said: He is not a possessed one: we have seen mad and insane people; the way one talks disjointedly and behaves foolishly in that state is known to all: who would believe that what Muhammad (upon whom be peace) presented was the incoherent speech of a madman?”
The people said: “Then we say he is a poet.” Walid said: “No, he is not a poet, for we know poetry in all its forms, and what he presents conforms to no form of it.”
The people said: “Then he is a sorcerer.” Walid said: “He is no sorcerer either: we have seen sorcerers and we also know what methods they adopt for their sorcery. This also does not apply to Muhammad.”
Then he said: “Whichever of these things you said about Muhammad, it would be known to be a false accusation. By God, his speech is sweet, his root is deep and his branches are fruitful.” At this Abu Jahl urging on Walid said: “Your people will never be pleased with you unless you say something about Muhammad.” He said: “Let me think over it awhile.”
Then, after prolonged thought and consideration, he said: “The nearest thing to the truth is that you tell the Arabs that he is a sorcerer, who has brought a message by which he separates a man from his father; and from his brother, and from his wife and children, and from his family.” They all agreed on what Walid had proposed.
Then, according to a scheme the men of Quraish spread among the pilgrims in the Hajj season and they warned everyone they met of the sorcery of Muhammad (upon whom be peace) and of his stirring up divisions in the families by it.” But the result was that by their this plan the Quraish chiefs themselves made the name of the Holy Messenger known throughout Arabia. (Ibn Hisham, pp. 288-289. That Walid had made this proposal on the insistence of Abu Jahl has been related by Ibn Jarir in his Tafsir on the authority of Ikrimah).
This same event has been reviewed and commented upon in the second section of this Surah. The sequence of its contents is as follows:
In vv. 8-10 the deniers of Truth have been warned, saying: “You will see the evil result of what you are doing today on the Resurrection Day.”
In vv. 11-26, without naming Walid bin al-Mughirah, it has been told how Allah had blessed him and how inimical he proved to be to true Faith. In this connection, his mental conflict has been portrayed, telling that, on the one hand, he was fully convinced of the truth of Muhammad (upon whom be Allah’s peace and blessings) and the Qur’an, but, on the other, he did not want to risk his leadership and position among his people. Therefore, not only he did not believe himself but after a long-drawn-out conflict with his conscience he also came out with the proposal that in order to restrain the people from believing the Qur’an should be branded as magic. After exposing his evil nature, it has been said: “Notwithstanding such evil inclinations and misdeeds, this person desires that he should be further blessed, whereas he has now become worthy of Hell, and never of further blessings.”
In vv. 27-48, the dreadfulness of Hell has been depicted and it has been explained as to people of what character and morals really deserve it.
In vv. 49-53, the root cause of the disbelievers’ aversion has been pointed out, saying: “Since they are fearless of the Hereafter, and look upon this worldly life as an end in itself, they flee from the Qur’an as though they were wild asses fleeing away from the lion: therefore, they propose unreasonable conditions for believing, whereas even if each and every condition of theirs was fulfilled, they could not advance even an inch on the way of Faith with their denial of the Hereafter.”
In conclusion, it has been explicitly stated: Allah does not stand in need of anybody’s faith that He may fulfill his conditions. The Qur’an is an admonition that has been presented before the people openly; now whoever wills may accept it. Allah has a right that the people should fear His disobedience and He alone has the power to forgive the one who adopts piety and an attitude of God consciousness even though one may have committed many acts of disobedience in the past.
In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful.
(74:1) O you enveloped in your cloak!1 (74:2) Arise, and warn,2 (74:3) and magnify the glory of your Lord,3 (74:4) and purify your robes,4 (74:5) and shun uncleanness,5 (74:6) and bestow not favour in order to seek from others a greater return,6 (74:7) and persevere for your Lord’s sake.7
1. A study of the background of the revelation of these verses given in the introduction above can help one understand why the Prophet (peace be upon him) on this occasion has been addressed with Ya ayyuhal-Muddaththiru instead of Ya ayyuhar-Rasulu (O Messenger), or Ya ayyuhan-Nabiyyu (O Prophet). As the Prophet (peace be upon him) had been terrified when he had suddenly seen the Angel Gabriel, sitting on a throne between heaven and earth, and had returned hastily home and asked the people of the house to cover him up, so Allah addressed him with Ya ayyuhal-Muddaththiru. From this fine way of address the meaning which automatically follows is: O My dear servant, why have you lain down thus enwrapped? You have been put under the burden of a great mission: you must now arise from your solitude to perform this mission with resolution and courage.
2. A command of this very nature had been given to the prophet Noah (peace be upon him) while appointing him to the office of Prophethood: Warn the people of your nation before they are overtaken by a painful torment. (Surah Nooh, Ayat 1) The verse means: O you who lays enwrapped, stand up and arouse the people who live in heedlessness around you. Warn them of the fate which would certainly overtake them if they remained involved in the same heedlessness. Warn them that they are not living in a lawless kingdom where they are free to conduct themselves as they like and where they can do wherever they please without any fear or being called to account for it.
3. This is the primary duty of a Prophet (peace be upon him), which he has to perform in this world. His foremost duty is to refute the greatness of all those whom the ignorant people might be holding as great, and publicly proclaim that the greatness in this universe belongs to none but Allah alone. For this very reason the phrase Allahu Akbar has been held as of supreme importance in Islam. The adhan (call to prayer) begins with the proclamation of Allahu Akbar. The Muslim enters the Prayer itself with Allahu Akbar and repeats Allahu Akbar every time he sits or stands, He also pronounces Bismillahi Allahu Akbar when slaughtering an animal. The slogan of Allahu Akbar has become a most distinctive and prominent emblem of Muslims throughout the world today, for the Prophet (peace be upon him) of this ummah himself had embarked on his mission with the magnification and glorification of Almighty Allah.
Here, there is another fine point, which must be understood well. As we have learned from the background of the revelation of these verses, this was the first occasion when the Prophet (peace be upon him) had been commanded to arise for performing the duties of the great mission of Prophethood, and it was obvious that the city and society in which he was commanded to perform this mission, was the centre of polytheism. Not only were the people around him polytheistic like the common Arabs but, more than that, the city of Makkah had become the most sacred place of pilgrimage for the polytheistic Arabs, and the Quraish were its attendants. Arising of a person in such a place all by himself and proclaiming the Oneness of God in the face of polytheism was full of risks. That is why the exhortation to proclaim the greatness of your Lord just after arise and warn contains this meaning also: Do not at all mind the terrifying and dreadful forces that seem to be obstructing and impeding your work and proclaim publicly that your Lord is the greatest of all those who can hinder and resist you from giving your message. This is indeed the greatest encouragement for a person who embarks on a divine mission. The one who has Allah’s greatness and majesty deeply embedded in his heart will feel no hesitation at all in facing and fighting the entire world by himself for the sake of Allah.
4. These are very comprehensive words, which are full of meaning.
They mean this: Keep your garments free from every filth and impurity, for the purity of the body and garments and the purity of the spirit are inter-linked and inter-dependent. A pure spirit and an impure body with impure garments cannot live together. The society in which the Prophet (peace be upon him) had arisen with the invitation to Islam, was not only steeped in the evils of unbelief and immorality, but was also devoid of even the most elementary concepts of purity and cleanliness, and the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) task was to teach its members cleanliness in every way of life. Therefore he was instructed to establish and present a high standard of purity in his external life as well. Thus, it is the result of the same instruction that the Prophet (peace be upon him) gave mankind such detailed teaching about the cleanliness of the body and garments as is not possessed even by the most civilized nations of today, not to speak of the Arabs of the pre-Islamic days of ignorance. So much so that in most of the languages of the world there is no word synonymous with taharat. On the contrary, in Islam every book of the Hadith and Fiqh begins with injunctions and instructions on taharat (purity), which distinguishes between purity and impurity and gives minute details about the methods and means of obtaining purity.
The second meaning of these words is: Keep your garments neat and clean. The criterion of religiosity given to the world by the monastic concepts was that a man was holy to the extent he was unclean. If a person happened to put on neat clothes, he was looked upon as a worldly man, whereas the fact is that human nature abhors filth and uncleanness and even a person of ordinary fine taste loves to be associated only with a neat and clean person. On this very basis, for the one calling the people to Allah it was made imperative that externally he should also look so neat and clean that the people should regard him with esteem and his personality should not be stained in any way so as to repel others.
The third meaning of this divine command is: Keep your garments free from moral evils: your dress should be neat and clean but it should bear no tinge of vanity and pride, display and exhibition, pomp and show. The dress is the first thing that introduces the personality of a person to others. The kind of dress a person wears makes the people judge at first sight what kind of a man he is. The dresses of the rulers and princes, the dresses of the religious functionaries, the dresses of the vain and conceited people, the dresses of the mean and shallow people, the dresses of the evil-natured and characterless people, all represent the tastes and tempers of those who wear them. The temper of the one calling to Allah is naturally different from all such people. Therefore, his dress should also necessarily be different from all of them. He should wear such a dress as should make everyone else feel that he is a noble and refined person, who is not involved in any evil of the self.
Its fourth meaning is: Keep away from moral evils. Ibn Abbas, Ibrahim Nakhai, Shabi, Ata, Mujahid. Qatadah, Saeed bin Jubair, Hasan Basri and other major commentators have given this very meaning to this verse: keep yourself morally pure and avoid all that is blameworthy. Also in Arabic usage when it is said: So and so is clean in his garments, it implies that he is morally good and pure; on the contrary, when it is said: He is filthy in his garments, it means that he is dishonest and fraudulent in his dealings: he is unreliable.
5. Un-cleanliness implies every kind of filth, whether of belief and thought, of morals and deeds, of the body, dress or mode of life. The verse means: Keep yourself free from the filth of evils which are prevalent in society around you: no one should ever impute to you the blame that your own life itself is stained in some degree with the evils that you tell others to avoid.
6. The words wala tamnun tastakthir in the original are so vast in meaning that no one sentence can convey their full sense in translation.
Their one meaning is: Whomever you favor, you should favor him without any selfish motive. Your bestowal of an endowment and donation, your generosity and good treatment should be only for the sake of Allah: there should be no trace in it of the desire that you should receive any worldly gains in return for the favor done. In other words, do good to others for the sake of Allah, not for seeking any benefits.
The second meaning is: Although the mission of Prophethood that you are performing is a great favor in itself, for the people are obtaining true guidance because of it, do not remind the people of this favor, nor try to obtain any personal benefits from it.
The third meaning is: Although you are performing a great service, you should never gloat over it, nor should ever have the idea that by performing your prophetic duties, at the risk of life, you are doing any favor to your Lord.
7. That is, the task that is being entrusted to you is full of hazards: you will meet with great hardships and difficulties and troubles on this way: even your own people will turn hostile against you and the whole of Arabia will become your enemy. Yet you should endure with patience, for the sake of your Lord, whatever you may have to face in this way, and carry out all your duties firmly and resolutely. Fear, greed, friendship, enmity, love, all these will hinder your way, but you should stand your ground firmly and steadfastly.
These were the very preliminary instructions which Allah gave His Messenger (peace be upon him) at the time when He commanded him to arise and start the work of Prophethood. If a person ponders over these brief sentences and their meaning his heart will testify that no better instructions could be given to a Prophet at the commencement of his prophetic mission. In these he was told what he was required to do, what kind of life, morals and dealings he should adopt, and taught with what intention, mentality and mode of thought he should go about his mission and also forewarned what kind of conditions he would meet with in the performance of his mission and how he would have to face and overcome them. Today the people who, blinded by their prejudices, say that these words were, God forbid, uttered by the Prophet (peace be upon him) during epileptic fits, should study these sentences carefully and judge for themselves whether these are the product of any epileptic fits, or the instructions of a God, which He gave to His servant while appointing him to the mission of Apostleship.
(74:8) When the Trumpet shall be sounded, (74:9) that will surely be a hard day,8 (74:10) not an easy day for the unbelievers.9 (74:11) Leave Me with him10 whom I alone have created,11 (74:12) whom I have endowed with abundant riches, (74:13) and sons ever present with him,12 (74:14) and for whom I have smoothed the way (to power and riches), (74:15) and who still greedily desires that I should bestow upon him more.13 (74:16) By no means; he is stubbornly opposed to Our Signs. (74:17) I shall soon constrain him to a hard ascent. (74:18) He reflected and then hatched a scheme. (74:19) Ruin seize him, how did he hatch a scheme? (74:20) Again, ruin seize him, how did he hatch a scheme? (74:21) He looked (at others); (74:22) then frowned and scowled; (74:23) then he retreated and waxed proud, (74:24) and said: “This (Qur’an) is merely a sorcery of yore; (74:25) this is nothing but the word of a mere mortal!”14 (74:26) Him shall I soon roast in Hell. (74:27) And what do you know what Hell is? (74:28) It spares nothing; it leaves nothing intact;15 (74:29) it scorches (even) the skin.16 (74:30) Over it are nineteen keepers. (74:31) We17 have appointed none but angels as the keepers of the Fire,18 and We have not made their number but as a trial for the unbelievers19 so that those who have been endowed with the Book will be convinced20 and the believers’ faith will increase, 21 and neither those who have been endowed with the Book nor the believers will fall into any doubt. As for those in whose hearts there is a sickness22 as well as the unbelievers, they will say: “What did Allah aim at by this strange parable?”23 Thus does Allah let whomsoever He pleases to go astray, and directs whomsoever He pleases24 to the Right Way. And none knows the hosts of your Lord but He.25 (And Hell has only been mentioned
8. As already explained in the introduction, this part of the Surah was sent down a few months after the initial verses when at the beginning of the first ever Hajj season, after the advent of Islam, the Quraish chiefs decided in a conference to start a powerful propaganda campaign to dissuade the outsiders, who came to visit the Kabah, from the Quran and the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). In these verses, this very scheming of the Quraish has been reviewed, and the review has begun with the words, as if to say: You may act as you please, but even if you succeed in achieving your object by these devices in the world, how will you save yourselves from your evil end on the Day when the Trumpet will be sounded and Resurrection will be established. (For explanation of the Trumpet, see (E.N. 47 of Surah Al-Anam); (E.N. 57 of Surah Ibrahim); (E.N. 78 of Surah TaHa); (E.N. 1 of Surah Al-Hajj); (E.Ns 46, 47 of Surah Yaseen), (E.N. 79 of Surah Az-Zumar); (E.N. 52 of Surah Qaf).
9. These words by themselves support the conclusion that that Day will be light for the believers, and its hardships will be specially intended only for the deniers of the truth. Moreover, these words also contain the meaning that the severity of that Day will be of an enduring and permanent nature for disbelievers, it will not be a severity which might be expected to become mild with the passage of time.
10. The address is directed to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and it means: O Prophet, leave the case of the person (Walid bin al-Mughirah) to Me, who in the disbelievers’ conference proposed that you should be branded as a sorcerer among the pilgrims coming from different parts of Arabia; it is now for Me to deal with him; you need not bother yourself about it at all.
11. This sentence can have two meanings and both are correct:
(1) That when I created him, he was not at that time born with any wealth and children and position of authority and chieftainship.
(2) That I alone was his Creator: those other gods whose godhead he is so ardently trying to keep established and is opposing your invitation to One God for the same object, were not My associates in creating him.
12. Walid bin al-Mughirah had ten or twelve sons of whom Khalid bin Walid became most famous. For these sons the word shuhud has been used, which can have several meanings:
(1) That they do not have to run about and go abroad in search of their livelihood: they have enough provisions at home; therefore, they can always remain at the beck and call of their father.
(2) That all his sons are prominent and influential people: they sit in assemblies and conferences with him.
(3) That they are the people of high rank and position and their testimony is accepted in all matters of life.
13. Its one meaning is that there is still no end to his greed. In spite of having all this he still desires that he should be granted every good thing of the world. Another meaning which Hasan Basri, and some other scholars have given is: He used to say: If what Muhammad (peace be upon him) says is really true that there is another life after death, and there will be a Paradise also in it, then that Paradise too has been prepared for me.
14. The reference is to what happened in the conference of the disbelievers of Makkah. From the details of it that we have given in the introduction, it becomes obvious that this man in his heart had become fully convinced of the Quran’s being divine word, but in order to save his position as a chief of his people, he was not prepared to affirm faith. When in the conference he himself turned down all the accusations that the Quraish chiefs were proposing against the Prophet (peace be upon him), he was compelled to devise an accusation from himself, which could be spread among the Arabs in order to bring a bad name to the Prophet (peace be upon him). Then, the way he struggled against his conscience, and the way he devised an accusation at last after a prolonged mental conflict, has been vividly depicted here.
15. This can have two meanings: first, that it will burn to ashes whoever is cast into it, but even after death he will not escape from punishment: he will be given life once again and burnt once again, This very subject has been treated at another place thus: He will neither die in it nor live. (Surah Al-Aala, Ayat 13). Another meaning can also be: It will leave none who has deserved the punishment and it will spare none from being punished.
16. After saying that it will leave nothing of the body unconsumed, making mention of scorching of the skin separately seems to be somewhat unnecessary. But this form of the punishment has been mentioned separately in particular because it is the skin of a man’s face and body which actually makes his personality prominent, and it is its ugliness which makes him feel most ill at ease. He is not so grieved at the internal troubles of his body as, for instance, at his face being ugly, or that there should be spots on the skin of the exposed parts of his body, abhorrent to others. That is why it has been said: If the people who feel proud of their personalities in the world because of having handsome faces and splendid bodies, treat the revelations of Allah mockingly, as did Walid bin al-Mughirah, their faces will be scorched and their skins will be burned black.
17. The whole passage from here to “none knows the hosts of your Lord but He Himself”, is a parenthetical sentence, which has been inserted here to answer an objection of the disbelievers, who had started mocking it when they heard the Prophet (peace be upon him) say that 19 keepers had been appointed over Hell.
Their objection was: How strange that, on the one hand, we are told that all human beings, from the time of the Prophet Adam till Resurrection, who disbelieved and committed evil, will be cast into Hell, and, on the other hand, that there will be only 19 keepers, who will administer punishment to the countless numbers of men in such a huge Hell.
This caused a huge laughter among the chiefs of Quraish. Abu Jahl said: Brothers, are you so powerless that even as many as ten of you at a time will not be able to overpower a single policeman of Hell. At this a wrestler of the Bani Jumha said: Well I will deal with and overpower at least 17 of them by myself; as for the remaining two, you all together can tackle them. In response these sentences have been inserted as a parenthetical clause.
18. That is, it is foolish on your part to compare the angelic powers to human powers. They will be angels, not men, and you cannot imagine what tremendous powers Allah has granted to the angels He has created.
19. That is, although apparently there was no need to mention the number of the keepers of Hell, yet We have mentioned it so that it becomes a trial for every such person who may be concealing any kind of unbelief in his heart. Such a man may be making a great display of his faith but if he conceals even a tinge of the doubt about the Godhead and supreme powers of God, or about revelation and Prophethood, anywhere in his heart, his disbelief would immediately be exposed as soon as he would hear that only 19 policemen would control countless numbers of the culprits from among the jinn and men in such a huge jail and would also administer punishment to each of them individually.
20. Some commentators have explained it thus: As in the scriptures of the Jews and Christians, the same number of the angels has also been mentioned as keepers of Hell, they would be convinced of this thing’s being truly from Allah as soon as they heard it. But in our opinion this commentary is not correct for two reasons. First, we have not been able to see anywhere in the existing scriptures of the Jews and Christians in spite of search that the number of the angels appointed over Hell is 19. Second, there are many things in the Quran, which have also been mentioned in the scriptures of the Jews and Christians, yet they explain them away, saying that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) has plagiarized these from their books. For these reasons the correct meaning of this statement in our opinion is: The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) knew that he would be ridiculed as soon as the disbelievers heard that 19 angels had been appointed over Hell, but in spite of this, he presented without the least hesitation and fear publicly before the people what had been revealed to him from Allah, and did not at all mind the jesting and mocking by the people. The pagans of Arabia were unaware of the unique distinction of the Prophets, but the followers of the earlier scriptures were fully aware that the Prophets in every age used to convey to their people intact whatever they received from God, whether it pleased them or displeased them. On this very basis it was to be expected of the Jews and the Christians that they would be convinced of the Prophet Muhammad’s (peace be upon him) truth for only a Prophet could present an apparently strange thing without any hesitation before the people in an environment charged with antagonism and hostility. This is also evident that such a thing was shown by the Prophet (peace be upon him) on many other occasions. Its most prominent example is the event of the miraj (ascension) which he related openly before a general assembly of the disbelievers and did not at all care how his opponents would behave and react after they had heard the story of the wonderful event.
21. It has been explained at several places in the Quran that on the occasion of every trial when a believer remains steadfast to his faith, and forsaking the way of doubt and denial, disobedience or disloyalty to the faith, adopts the way of faith, obedience and loyalty to it, it increases and strengthens him all the more in faith and resignation (For explanation, see (Surah Al-Imran Ayat 173); (Surah Al-Anfal Ayat 2); (Surah At-Taubah Ayat 124-125); (Surah Al- Ahzab Ayat 22); (Surah Al-Fath Ayat 4 and the corresponding E.Ns).
22. As sickness of the heart in the Quran is generally understood to imply hypocrisy, seeing this word here some commentators have expressed the view that this verse was revealed at Al-Madinah, for the hypocrites appeared at Al- Madinah. But this view is not correct for several reasons. In the first place, the assertion itself that there were no hypocrites at Makkah is false, and its falsehood has been exposed in the Introduction to the (Surah Al-Ankabut and in its verses 10-11).
Secondly, in our opinion it is not a correct way of writing commentary that in respect of a certain sentence occurring in a particular discourse which was revealed on a particular occasion, under particular circumstances, one should declare that it had been sent down on another occasion but has been inserted here without any relevance. The historical background of this part of Surah Al-Muddaththir is well known to us from authentic traditions. This was revealed in connection with a particular event of the early period of the life at Makkah. The whole context bears full relevance to the event. What could, therefore, be the occasion in this context that this one sentence, if it was revealed many years later at Al- Madinah, should have been inserted here?
As for the question what is implied by the disease of the heart here, its answer is that it implies the disease of doubt. Not only in Makkah but in the entire world there have been, and are, very few such people, who might deny God, Hereafter, Revelation, Prophethood, Heaven, Hell, etc. absolutely. In every age the greater majority by far has been of those people, who have been involved in the doubt whether there is God, or no God, Hereafter or no Hereafter, whether Heaven and Hell really exist, or are mere figments of the imagination, and whether the Messengers did really come and receive revelation or not. This same doubt has led most people to unbelief, otherwise the number of such people in the world who denied these truths absolutely has never been great. For a person who has any common sense knows that there is no rational ground whatever for denying the possibility of the existence of these things, or of declaring them absolutely impossible.
23. This does not mean that they accepted it as divine word but wondered why Allah had said such a thing. But what they actually meant was: A discourse which contained such an irrational and impossible thing could not be a revelation from Allah.
24. That is, Allah in this very way sometimes sends down in the course of His revelations and commandments such things as become a means of test and trial for the people. It is one and the same thing which a truth-loving, goodnatured and right-minded person hears and understanding its right meaning in the right way and adopts the straight path. But when heard by an obstinate, perverse and willful wrongdoer, makes him to misconstrue it and make it a new excuse for fleeing from the truth. Since the first man is himself a lover of the truth, Allah grants him guidance, for it is not the way of Allah to lead the seekers after truth forcibly astray. And since the second man himself does not want guidance, but chooses only error for himself, Allah also pushes him on to the way of error and deviation, for it is also not the way of Allah to forcibly pull to the way of the truth him who has an aversion to the truth. (The question of Allah’s granting guidance and misguidance has been fully explained at many places for example, see (E.Ns 10,16, 19, 20 of Surah Al-Baqarah); (E.N. 173 of Surah An-Nisa); (E.Ns 17, 28, 90 of Surah Al-Anam); (E.N. 13 of Surah Yunus); (E.N. 54 of Surah Al-Kahf); (E.N. 71 of Surah Al- Qasas).
25. That is, none knows but Allah what different kinds and how many of the creatures He has created in the universe, what powers He has granted them, and what services He is taking from them. If the man clinging to the tiny globe of the earth seeing the tiny world around himself with his limited sight, is involved in the misunderstanding that the universe of God contains nothing but what he can perceive by his senses or by his instruments, this would only be his own shortsightedness, otherwise this universe is so vast and limitless that it is not in the power of man to obtain full knowledge about any of the things here, not to speak of comprehending mentally the concept of all its vastnesses.
26. The people may take heed: the people may recover their senses and wake up before they make themselves worthy of Hell and suffer its punishment, and should think of saving themselves from it. 32. No, never!
(74:32) Nay,27 by the moon, (74:33) and by the night when it recedes, (74:34) and by the day when it dawns (with its radiance), (74:35) surely (Hell) is one of the greatest Signs,28 (74:36) a warning to humankind, (74:37) a warning to everyone of you whether he would like to come forward or lag behind.29 (74:38) Each one is a hostage to one’s deeds,30 (74:39) save the People of the Right Hand (74:40) who shall be in the Gardens,31 and shall ask (74:41) about the guilty ones:32 (74:42) “What drove you to Hell?” (74:43) They will answer: “We were not among those who observed Prayer,33 (74:44) and we did not feed the poor,34 (74:45) and we indulged in vain talk with those who indulged in vain talk, (74:46) and we gave the lie to the Day of Judgement (74:47) until the inevitable event overtook us.”35 (74:48) The intercession of the intercessors shall then be of no avail to them.36 (74:49) What is the matter with people that they are turning away from this Exhortation, (74:50) as though they were frightened wild asses, (74:51) fleeing from a lion?37 (74:52) No indeed; each one of them desires that open letters be sent to each of them.38 (74:53) No indeed; the truth is that they have no fear of the Hereafter.39 (74:54) Nay;40 this is an Exhortation. (74:55) So, whoever wills may benefit from it. (74:56) But they will not benefit from it unless Allah Himself so wills.41 He is worthy to be feared;42 and He is worthy to forgive (those that fear Him).43
27. That is, it is not a hollow thing which may be mocked like that.
28. That is, just as the moon and the night and the day are the great signs of the powers of Allah, so also is Hell a great sign of His powers. If the existence of the moon and the alternation of the night and day so regularly were not impossible, why should the existence of Hell be impossible as you think it is. You see these phenomena day and night; therefore, they do not surprise you: otherwise these things in themselves also are great marvels of the powers of Allah. If you had not observed them and somebody were to tell you that there is also such a thing as the moon in the world, or, there is a sun which leaves the world dark when it hides and makes the world shine forth with light when it appears, then the people like you would have made jests of it too as you make jests of Hell.
29. That is, the people have been warned to this effect. Now, let him who heeds the warning go forward on the right way, and let him who wills still lag behind.
30. For explanation, see (E.N. 16 of Surah At-Tur).
31. In other words, the people of the left hand will be seized in consequence of their misdeeds, but the people of the right hand will have their debts settled. (For explanation of the people of the right hand and the left hand, see (E.Ns 5, 6 of Surah Al-Waqiah).
32. At several places in the Quran, it has been stated that the dwellers of Paradise and the dwellers of Hell will be able to see and communicate with each other directly without the agency of any instrument whenever they will so desire, although they will be living hundreds of thousands of miles away from each other. For instance, see (Surah Al- A’raf Ayats 44-50 and E.N. 35); (Surah As-Saffat Ayats 50-57 and E.N. 32) on it.
33. That is, we were not of those who after having believed in Allah and His Messenger and His Book, performed the foremost duty imposed by Allah, i.e. the Prayer. Here, it should be understood well that unless a person has believed he cannot offer the Prayer at all. Therefore, one’s being of those who performed the Prayer, by itself implies that one is a believer. But by attributing one’s going to Hell to his not being of those who performed their Prayer, it has been made explicit that one cannot escape Hell even after having believed if he does not perform his Prayers regularly.
34. This shows how grave a sin it is in Islam to see a hungry man and fail to feed him even if one can, for this has been particularly mentioned as one of the causes of going to Hell.
35. Until the inevitable certainty overtakes: Until death came upon us. Here, the inevitable implies death as well as the Hereafter.
36. That is, even if an intercessor interceded for a person who persisted in this way of life till death, he would not be forgiven. The question of intercession has been fully explained at many places in the Quran that no one can have any difficulty in knowing and understanding as to who can intercede and who cannot, when one can intercede and when one cannot, for whom one can intercede and for whom one cannot, and for whom intercession is beneficial and for whom it is not. As one of the major causes of the people’s deviation in the world is their false concept about intercession, it has been explained at such length in the Quran as to leave no room for any doubt and ambiguity. For example, see (Surah Al-Baqarah Ayat 255); (Surah Al-Anam Ayat 94); (Surah Al-Aaraf, Ayat 53); (Surah Yunus, Ayats 3-18); (Surah Maryam, Ayat 87); (Surah TaHa Ayat 109); (Surah Al-Anbiya Ayat 28); (Surah Saba Ayat 23); (Surah Az-Zumar, Ayats 43-44); (Surah Al-Momin, Ayat 18); (Surah Ad-Dukhan Ayat 86); (Surah An-Najm, Ayat 26); (Surah An-Naba Ayat 37-38).
37. This is an idiomatic expression in Arabic which depicts the character of wild donkeys who flee stupefied and stunned as soon as they smell a lion or hear a hunter.
38. That is, they desire that if Allah really has appointed Muhammad (peace be upon him) as His Prophet, He should send a letter to each one of the chiefs and elders of Makkah telling him that Muhammad (peace be upon him) is Allah’s Prophet; therefore he should obey and follow him. And these letters should be such as may convince them that they have been written by Allah Himself. At another place in the Quran, this saying of the disbelievers of Makkah has been cited: We will not believe in it unless we are given the like of what has been given to the Messengers of Allah. (Al-Anam Ayat 124). At still another place their this demand has been cited: Or you ascend the sky … and bring down to us a writing that we may read. (Surah Bani lsrail Ayat 93).
39. That is, the real cause of their failure to affirm the faith is not that their demands are not fulfilled, but the real cause is that they are fearless of the Hereafter. They think that this world is an end in itself and they do not have any idea that there is another life after this worldly life in which they will have to render an account of their deeds. This very thing has made them careless and irresponsible in the world. They regard the question of truth and falsehood as utterly meaningless, for they do not see any truth following which may have necessarily led to a good result in the world, nor do they see any falsehood which might have always led to an evil result in the world. Therefore, they think it is useless merely to consider as to what is really true and what is false. This question can be worthy of serious consideration only for the person who regards the present life of the world as transitory and admits that the real and everlasting life is the life hereafter, where the truth will necessarily lead to a good result and falsehood necessarily to an evil result. Such a person will certainly believe when he sees the rational arguments and the pure teachings presented in the Quran and will use his common sense to understand what is actually wrong with the beliefs and deeds which the Quran calls wrong. But the denier of the Hereafter who is not at all serious in his search for the truth, will present ever new demands every day for not believing, and will present a new excuse for his denial even if all his demands are fulfilled. This same thing has been expressed in (Surah Al-Anam Ayat 7) thus: O Prophet, even if We had sent down to you a Book written on paper, and even if they had touched it with their own hands, the disbelievers would have said: This is nothing but manifest sorcery.
40. That is, no such demand of theirs will ever be fulfilled.
41. That is, a person’s taking heed does not wholly depend upon his own will, but he takes heed only when Allah also wills to grant him the grace to take heed. In other words, the truth that has been expressed here is that no act of man takes a concrete shape solely by his own will, but each act is implemented only when the will of God combines with the will of the man. This is a very delicate question, failure to understand which has often made human thought falter. Briefly it can be understood thus: If in this world every man had the power to accomplish whatever he wanted to accomplish, the system of the world would be disturbed. This system continues to hold only because the will of Allah is dominant over all other wills. Man can accomplish whatever he wants to accomplish only when Allah also wills that he be allowed to accomplish it. The same is also the case with guidance and error. Only man’s own desiring to have guidance is not enough for him to have guidance; he receives guidance only when Allah also takes a decision to fulfill his desire. Likewise, only man’s desiring to go astray by itself is also not enough, but when Allah in view of his desire decides that he be allowed to wander into evil ways, then he wanders into the evil ways in which Allah allows him to wander. As for example, if a person wants to become a thief, only his desire is not enough that he may enter into any house he likes and walk away with whatever he likes, but he can fulfill his desire only at the time and to the extent and in the form that Allah allows him to fulfill it, according to His supreme wisdom and expedience.
42. That is, the admonition being given to you to avoid Allah’s displeasure is not for the reason that Allah needs it, and if you did not take it, Allah would be harmed, but you are being so admonished because it is Allah’s right that His servants should seek His pleasure and good will and should avoid doing anything against His will.
43. That is, it behooves only Allah that He should receive into His mercy whoever desists from evil no matter how many acts of disobedience he might have committed in the past. Allah is not vengeful to His servants so that He may refuse to forgive their errors and be bent upon punishing them in any case.