Surah Nahl >> Currently viewing Surah Nahl Ayat 21 (16:21)

Surah Nahl Ayat 21 in Arabic Text

أَمْوَٰتٌ غَيْرُ أَحْيَآءٍۢ ۖ وَمَا يَشْعُرُونَ أَيَّانَ يُبْعَثُونَ
Amwaatun ghairu ahyaaa’inw wa maa yash’uroona aiyaana yub’asoon (section 2)

English Translation

Here you can read various translations of verse 21

Sahih International
They are, [in fact], dead, not alive, and they do not perceive when they will be resurrected.

Yusuf Ali
(They are things) dead, lifeless: nor do they know when they will be raised up.

Abul Ala Maududi
they are dead, not living. They do not even know when they will be resurrected.

Muhsin Khan
(They are) dead, lifeless, and they know not when they will be raised up.

Pickthall
(They are) dead, not living. And they know not when they will be raised.

Dr. Ghali
Dead, not alive, (i.e. other than being alive) and in no way are they aware whence they will be made to rise again.

Abdel Haleem
They are dead, not living. They do not know when they will be raised up.

Quran 16 Verse 21 Explanation

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

Ala-Maududi

(16:21) they are dead, not living. They do not even know when they will be resurrected.[19]


19. The words employed here to refute man made deities clearly indicate that these deities were deceased prophets, saints, martyrs and pious and other extraordinary beings buried in their graves and not angels, jinns, devils or idols. For the angels and devils are alive: therefore, the words, “They are dead, not living” cannot apply to them, and it is out of the question to say about idols of stone or wood that “They do not know at all when they shall again be raised to life” in the Hereafter. As regards the objection to this version that there were no such deities in Arabia, this is based on the lack of knowledge of the history of the pre- Islamic period. It is well known that there was a large number of Jews and Christians living among many clans of Arabia, who used to invoke and worship their Prophets, saints, etc. It is also a fact that many gods of the mushriks of Arabia were human beings, whose idols they had set up for worship after their death. According to a tradition cited in Bukhari on the authority of Ibn Abbas: “Wadd, Sua, Yaghuth, Yauq, and Nasr were pious human beings, whom the succeeding generations had made gods.” In another tradition, related by Aishah: “Asaf and Nailah were human beings.” There are also traditions to the same effect about Lat, Munat and Uzza. So much so that according to some traditions of the mushriks, Lat and Uzza were the beloved ones of Allah who used to pass His winter with Lat and summer with Uzza. But Allah is absolutely free from such absurd things they attribute to Him.

Ibn-Kathir

The tafsir of Surah An-Nahl verse 21 by Ibn Kathir is unavailable here.
Please refer to Surah Nahl ayat 19 which provides the complete commentary from verse 19 through 21.

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