Surah Najm Ayat 5 in Arabic Text
Here you can read various translations of verse 5
Taught to him by one intense in strength –
He was taught by one Mighty in Power,
something that a very powerful one has imparted to him,
He has been taught (this Quran) by one mighty in power [Jibrael (Gabriel)].
Which one of mighty powers hath taught him,
One of valiant powers has taught him.
It was taught to him by [an angel] with mighty powers
Quran 53 Verse 5 Explanation
For those looking for commentary to help with the understanding of Surah Najm ayat 5, we’ve provided two Tafseer works below. The first is the tafseer of Abul Ala Maududi, the second is of Ibn Kathir.
(53:5) something that a very powerful one has imparted to him,
5. That is, there is no human being who teaches him this, as you seem to think, but he obtains this knowledge through a supernatural source. According to some people, mighty in power implies Allah Himself, but a great majority of the commentators agree that it implies the Angel Gabriel. This same view has been reported from Abdullah bin Masud, Aishah, Abu Hurairah, Qatadah, Mujahid and Rabi bin Anas. Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir, Razi, Alusi and others also have adopted this very view. Shah Waliyullah and Ashraf Ali Thanwi also have followed this same view in their translations. And the fact is that from the other explanations of the Quran, this very thing is also confirmed. In Surah Takweer it has been said: This indeed is the word of a noble Messenger, who has great power and high rank with the Owner of the Throne: there he is obeyed and held as trustworthy. And (O people of Makkah), your companion is not mad. He has seen that Messenger on the bright horizon. (verses 19-23). Then, in (Surah Al-Baqarah, Ayat 97), the Angel has been mentioned by name through whom this teaching had been revealed on the heart of the Prophet (peace be upon him): Say to them, whoever is enemy to Gabriel should understand that he has, by Allah’s command, revealed to your heart the Quran. If these verses are read with this verse of Surah An-Najm, there remains no doubt that here mighty in power implies the Angel Gabriel and not Allah.
Here, some people express the doubt as to how the Angel Gabriel can be regarded as the Prophet Muhammad’s (peace be upon him) teacher. For this would mean that he was the teacher and the Prophet (peace be upon him) his pupil, and this would place him above the Prophet (peace be upon him) in rank. But this suspicion is misplaced, because Gabriel did not impart instruction to the Prophet (peace be upon him) from any personal knowledge of his own, which might give him superiority over the Prophet (peace be upon him). Allah, in fact, had made him a means of conveying knowledge to the Prophet (peace be upon him), and he was the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) teacher in the metaphoric sense for being only a medium of instruction. That does not give him any superiority whatever. To quote an example: After the Prayer was prescribed five times a day, Allah sent Gabriel to teach the Prophet (peace be upon him) the correct times of the Prayers, and he led him in the Prayers five times daily for two days. This has been related in Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Daud, Tirmidhi and Muwatta and other collections of the Ahadith, with authentic chains of reporters, and in this the Prophet (peace be upon him) himself has explained that he was the follower and Gabriel his leader in the Prayers. But his being made the leader only for the purpose of instruction does not mean that he was superior to the Prophet (peace be upon him) in rank.
5. He has been taught by one mighty in power. 6. Dhu Mirrah then he Istawa. 7. While he was in the highest part of the horizon, 8. Then he approached and came closer, 9. And was at a distance of two bows’ length or less. 10. So (Allah) revealed to His servant whatever He revealed. 11. The heart lied not in what he saw. 12. Will you then dispute with him about what he saw 13. And indeed he saw him at a second descent. 14. Near Sidrat Al-Muntaha. 15. Near it is the Paradise of Abode. 16. When that covered the lote tree which did cover it! 17. The sight turned not aside, nor it transgressed beyond the limit. 18. Indeed he saw of the greatest Ssgns of his Lord.
Allah the Exalted states that the Message His servant and Messenger Muhammad brought to people was taught to him by,
(mighty in power), he is Jibril, peace be upon him,
(Verily, this is the Word a most honorable messenger, owner of power, with (Allah) the Lord of the Throne, obeyed (by the angels) and trustworthy.)(81:19-21) Allah said here,
(Dhu Mirrah), meaning, he is mighty in power, according to Mujahid, Al-Hasan and Ibn Zayd. In an authentic Hadith from `Abdullah bin `Umar and Abu Hurayrah, the Prophet said,
(Charity is not allowed for a rich person nor Dhu Mirrah (a strong person) of sound mind and body.) Allah said;
(then he Istawa (rose).) this refers to the angel Jibril, according to Al-Hasan, Mujahid, Qatadah and Ar-Rabi` bin Anas,
(While he was in the highest part of the horizon.) meaning, Jibril rose to the highest part of the horizon, according to `Ikrimah and several others; `Ikrimah said, “The highest horizon where the morning comes from.” Mujahid said, “It is (the place of) sunrise.” Qatadah said, “That from which the day comes.” Ibn Zayd and several others said similarly. Imam Ahmad recorded that Abdullah bin Mas`ud said, “The Messenger of Allah saw Jibril in his original shape having six hundred wings, each wing filling the side of the horizon, with a colorful array, and pearls and rubies falling from each wing as much as only Allah knows.” Only Imam Ahmad collected this Hadith. Imam Ahmad recorded that `Abdullah bin `Abbas said, “The Prophet asked Jibril to appear himself to him in his original shape and Jibril said to him, `Invoke your Lord.’ The Prophet invoked his Lord the Exalted and Most Honored, and a great huge figure appeared to him from the east and kept rising and spreading. When the Prophet saw Jibril in his original shape, he was knocked unconscious. Jibril came down and revived the Prophet and wiped the saliva off of his cheeks.”’ Only Ahmad collected this Hadith.
(And was at a distance of two bows` length or less.) means, Jibril came closer to Muhammad when Jibril was descending to him on earth. At that time, the distance between them became only two bow lengths, when the bows are extended to full length, according to Mujahid and Qatadah. It was said that the meaning here is the distance between the bow’s string and its wood center. Allah’s statement,
(or less) indicates that the distance was as only as far described, not more. This type of usage is found in several instances in the Qur’an, such as,
(Then, after that, your hearts were hardened and became as stones or even worse in hardness.)(2:74) The Ayah says that their hearts became not softer than rocks, but as hard and difficult as rocks, and more. There is a similar Ayah,
(fear men as they fear Allah or even more.)(4:77), and Allah’s statement,
(And We sent him to hundred thousand (people) or even more.)(37:147), indicating that they were not less than a hundred thousand, but that amount or more. Therefore, this verifies the facts mentioned, leaving no doubt or means of refute. Similarly, Allah said,
(And was at a distance of two bow lengths or less.) We stated before that it was Jibril who came down near the Prophet , according to `A’ishah, the Mother of the faithful, `Abdullah bin Mas`ud, Abu Dharr and Abu Hurayrah. We will mention their statements about this soon afterwards, Allah willing. Ibn Jarir recorded that `Abdullah bin Mas`ud said about this Ayah,
(And was at a distance of two bow lengths or less.) “Allah’s Messenger said,
(I saw Jibril; he had six hundred wings.)” Al-Bukhari recorded that Talq bin Ghannam said that Za’idah said that Ash-Shaybani said, “I asked Zirr about the Ayah,
(And was at a distance of two bow lengths or less. So (Allah) revealed to His servant whatever He revealed.) Zirr said, “Abdullah narrated to us that Muhammad saw Jibril having six hundred wings.” Allah’s statement,
(So he revealed to His servant whatever He revealed.) means, Jibril conveyed to Allah’s servant Muhammad whatever he conveyed. Or, the meaning here could be: Allah revealed to His servant Muhammad whatever He revealed through Jibril. Both meanings are correct. Sa`id bin Jubayr said about Allah’s statement,
(So He revealed to His servant whatever He revealed.) “Allah revealed to him,
(Did He not find you an orphan.)(93:6), and,
(And have We not raised high your fame)(94:4)” Someone else said, “Allah revealed to the Prophet that the Prophets will not enter Paradise until he enters it first, and the nations will not enter it until his Ummah enters it first.”
Allah said next,
(The heart lied not in what he saw. Will you then dispute with him about what he saw) Muslim recorded from Ibn `Abbas about:
(The heart lied not in what he saw), and,
(And indeed he saw him at a second descent.) “He saw Allah twice in his heart.” Simak reported a similar from `Ikrimah from Ibn `Abbas. Abu Salih, As-Suddi and several others said similarly that the Prophet saw Allah twice in his heart.Masruq said, “I went to `A’ishah and asked her, `Did Muhammad see his Lord’ She said, `You said something that caused my hair to rise!’ I said, `Behold!’ and recited this Ayah,
(Indeed he saw of the greatest signs of his Lord.) She said, `Where did your mind wander It was Jibril. Whoever says to you that Muhammad saw his Lord, or hid any part of what he was commanded (i.e., Allah’s Message), or knew any of the five things which only Allah knows,
(Verily, Allah, with Him is the knowledge of the Hour, He sends down the rain…)(31:34), Then he invents a great lie against Allah! The Prophet only saw Jibril twice, in his original shape, once near Sidrat Al-Muntaha and another time in Ajyad (in Makkah) while Jibril had six hundred wings that covered the horizon.”’ Muslim recorded that Abu Dharr said, “I asked the Messenger of Allah , `Have you seen your Lord’ He said,
(How can I see Him since there was a light)” In another narration, the Prophet said,
(I only saw a light.) Allah’s statement,
(And indeed he saw him at a second descent. Near Sidrat Al-Muntaha.) “The Messenger of Allah said,
(I saw Jibril while he had six hundred wings and a colorful array of pearls and rubies falling from the feathers of his wings.)” This Hadith has a good, strong chain of narration. Ahmad also recorded that `Abdullah ﴿Ibn Mas`ud﴾ said, “The Messenger of Allah saw Jibril in his original shape while Jibril had six hundred wings, each wing covering the side of the horizon. From his wings, precious stones were dropping of which only Allah has knowledge.” This Hadith has a good chain of narration. Imam Ahmad recorded that `Abdullah bin Mas`ud said, “The Messenger of Allah said,
(I saw Jibril over Sidrat Al-Muntaha while he had six hundred wings.)” One of the subnarrators of the Hadith asked `Asim about Jibril’s wings and `Asim refused to elaborate. So some of his companions were asked and one of them said, “Each wing was covering what is between the east and the west.” This Hadith has a good chain of narration. Imam Ahmad recorded that Ibn Mas`ud said that Allah’s Messenger said:
(Jibril came to me wearing green with pearls hanging down.) This Hadith has a good chain of narration. Imam Ahmad recorded that `Amir said that Masruq asked `A’ishah, “O Mother of the faithful, has Muhammad seen his Lord, the Exalted and Most Honored” She said, “Glorious is Allah! My hair is standing on end because of what you said. Three matters, if one tells you about any of them, will have lied. Whoever tells you that Muhammad has seen his Lord, will have lied.” She then recited these two Ayat,
(No vision can grasp Him, but He grasps all vision.)(6:103), and,
(It is not given to any human being that Allah should speak to him unless (it be) by revelation, or from behind a veil.)(42:51) She went one, “And whoever tells you that Muhammad knew what the morrow will bring, will have uttered a lie.” She then recited,
(Verily, Allah, with Him is the knowledge of the Hour, He sends down the rain, and knows that which is in the wombs.)(31:34) `A’ishah said, “And whoever tells you that Muhammad has hidden any part of the Message will have lied,” and she then recited this Ayah,
(O Messenger proclaim which has been sent down to you from your Lord.)(5:67).She went one, “However, he saw Jibril twice in his original shape.” Imam Ahmad also recorded that Masruq said, “I asked `A’ishah, `Did not Allah say,
(And indeed he saw him in the clear horizon.)(81:23), and,
(And indeed he saw him at a second descent)’ She said, `I was the first among this Ummah to ask Allah’s Messenger about it. He said,
(That was Jibril.) He only saw him twice in his actual and real figure. He saw Jibril descend from heaven to earth and was so huge that he covered the whole horizon between the sky and earth.)”’ This Hadith is recorded in the Two Sahihs via Ash-Sha`bi.
(When that covered the lote tree which did cover it!) We mentioned before, in the Hadiths about Al-Isra’ that the angels, Allah’s Light, and spectacular colors covered the Sidrah. Imam Ahmad recorded that `Abdullah bin Mas`ud said, “When the Messenger of Allah was taken on the Isra’ journey, he ascended to Sidrat Al-Muntaha, which is in the seventh heaven. There everything terminates that ascends from the earth and is held there, and terminates everything that descends from above it is held there,
(When that covered the lote tree which did cover it!) He said, “Golden butterflies. The Messenger of Allah was given three things: He was given the five prayers, he was given the concluding verses of Surat Al-Baqarah (2:284-286), and remission of serious sins for those among his Ummah who do not associate anything with Allah.” Muslim collected this Hadith. Allah’s statement,
(The sight turned not aside, nor it transgressed beyond the limit.) indicates that the Prophet’s sight did not turn right or left, according to `Ibn `Abbas,
(nor it transgressed beyond the limit.) not exceeding what has been ordained for it. This is a tremendous quality that demonstrates the Prophet’s firm obedience to Allah, because he only did what was commanded and did ask beyond what he was given. Allah’s statement,
(Indeed he saw of the greatest signs of his Lord.) is similar to another Ayah,
(In order that We might show him of Our Ayat.)(17:1), meaning, signs that testify to Allah’s might and greatness. Relying on these two Ayat, some scholars of Ahl us-Sunnah said that the Prophet did not see Allah during the Isra’ journey, because Allah said,
(Indeed he saw of the greatest signs of his Lord.) They said that, had the Prophet seen his Lord, Allah would have conveyed this news and the Prophet would have narrated it to the people.
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