Surah An-Naml >> Currently viewing Surah An-Naml Ayat 40 (27:40)

Surah An-Naml Ayat 40 in Arabic Text

قَالَ ٱلَّذِى عِندَهُۥ عِلْمٌۭ مِّنَ ٱلْكِتَـٰبِ أَنَا۠ ءَاتِيكَ بِهِۦ قَبْلَ أَن يَرْتَدَّ إِلَيْكَ طَرْفُكَ ۚ فَلَمَّا رَءَاهُ مُسْتَقِرًّا عِندَهُۥ قَالَ هَـٰذَا مِن فَضْلِ رَبِّى لِيَبْلُوَنِىٓ ءَأَشْكُرُ أَمْ أَكْفُرُ ۖ وَمَن شَكَرَ فَإِنَّمَا يَشْكُرُ لِنَفْسِهِۦ ۖ وَمَن كَفَرَ فَإِنَّ رَبِّى غَنِىٌّۭ كَرِيمٌۭ
Qaalal lazee indahoo ‘ilmum minal Kitaabi ana aateeka bihee qabla ai yartadda ilaika tarfuk; falammaa ra aahu mustaqirran ‘indahoo qaala haazaa min fadli Rabbee li yabluwaneee ‘a-ashkuru am akfuru wa man shakara fa innamaa yashkuru linafsihee wa man kafara fa inna Rabbee Ghaniyyun Kareem

English Translation

Here you can read various translations of verse 40

Sahih International
Said one who had knowledge from the Scripture, “I will bring it to you before your glance returns to you.” And when [Solomon] saw it placed before him, he said, “This is from the favor of my Lord to test me whether I will be grateful or ungrateful. And whoever is grateful – his gratitude is only for [the benefit of] himself. And whoever is ungrateful – then indeed, my Lord is Free of need and Generous.”

Yusuf Ali
Said one who had knowledge of the Book: “I will bring it to thee within the twinkling of an eye!” Then when (Solomon) saw it placed firmly before him, he said: “This is by the Grace of my Lord!- to test me whether I am grateful or ungrateful! and if any is grateful, truly his gratitude is (a gain) for his own soul; but if any is ungrateful, truly my Lord is Free of all Needs, Supreme in Honour!”

Abul Ala Maududi
And he who had some knowledge of the Book said: “I will bring it before the twinkling of your eye.” When Solomon saw the throne placed firmly beside him, he cried out: “This is by the grace of my Lord so that He may test me whether I give thanks for (His Bounty) or act with ingratitude. Whoever is grateful is so to his own good; and whoever is ungrateful, let him know that my Lord is Immensely Resourceful, Most Bountiful.”

Muhsin Khan
One with whom was knowledge of the Scripture said: “I will bring it to you within the twinkling of an eye!” then when [Sulaiman (Solomon)] saw it placed before him, he said: “This is by the Grace of my Lord to test me whether I am grateful or ungrateful! And whoever is grateful, truly, his gratitude is for (the good of) his ownself, and whoever is ungrateful, (he is ungrateful only for the loss of his ownself). Certainly! My Lord is Rich (Free of all wants), Bountiful.”

Pickthall
One with whom was knowledge of the Scripture said: I will bring it thee before thy gaze returneth unto thee. And when he saw it set in his presence, (Solomon) said: This is of the bounty of my Lord, that He may try me whether I give thanks or am ungrateful. Whosoever giveth thanks he only giveth thanks for (the good of) his own soul; and whosoever is ungrateful (is ungrateful only to his own soul’s hurt). For lo! my Lord is Absolute in independence, Bountiful.

Dr. Ghali
Said he in whose presence was knowledge of the Book, “I will come up with it (i.e., bring) to you before your glance returns on you.” (i.e., in the twinkling of an eye) Then, as soon as he saw it secured in position in his presence, he (Sulayman) said, “This is of the Grace of my Lord that He may try me, whether I thank (Him) or be ungrateful. And whoever thanks (Him), then surely he thanks only for his (own) self, and whoever is ungrateful, (Or: whoever disbelieves) then surely my Lord is EverAffluent, (Literally: Ever-Wealthy, Ever-Rich) Ever-Honorable.”

Abdel Haleem
but one of them who had some knowledge of the Scripture said, ‘I will bring it to you in the twinkling of an eye.’ When Solomon saw it set before him, he said, ‘This is a favour from my Lord, to test whether I am grateful or not: if anyone is grateful, it is for his own good, if anyone is ungrateful, then my Lord is self-sufficient and most generous.’

Quran 27 Verse 40 Explanation

For those looking for commentary to help with the understanding of Surah An-Naml ayat 40, we’ve provided two Tafseer works below. The first is the tafseer of Abul Ala Maududi, the second is of Ibn Kathir.

Ala-Maududi

(27:40) And he who had some knowledge of the Book said: “I will bring it before the twinkling of your eye.”[47] When Solomon saw the throne placed firmly beside him, he cried out: “This is by the grace of my Lord so that He may test me whether I give thanks for (His Bounty) or act with ingratitude.[48] Whoever is grateful is so to his own good; and whoever is ungrateful, let him know that my Lord is Immensely Resourceful, Most Bountiful.”[49]


47. Nothing is known with certainty as to who this person was, what special knowledge he had and what book is referred to here, the knowledge of which he had. No explanation of these things has been given either in the Quran or in any authentic Hadith. Some of the commentators say that it was an angel, others say that it was a man. Then they differ as to the identity of the man. Someone mentions the name of Asaf bin Barchiah, who, according to the rabbinical traditions, was the Prince of Men. Someone says that he was Khidr, someone mentions some other name, and Imam Razi insists that it was the Prophet Solomon himself. But none of these has any reliable source for this information, and Imam Razi’s opinion does not even fit in with the Quranic context. Likewise, about the book also the commentators differ. Someone says that it refers to Lauh-i-Mahfuz (the Preserved Tablet) and some other takes it for the Book of Law. But all this is mere guess work. Similar guesses have been made about the knowledge the man had from the book. We only know and believe what has been said in the Quran, or what becomes evident from its words. In any case the person was not from among the jinns, and possibly he was a man. He possessed some extraordinary knowledge, which had been derived from some Divine Book (al-Kitab). The jinn had claimed to fetch the throne within a few hours by means of his physical strength; this man fetched it in a moment by the power of his knowledge.

48. The words of the Quran are very clear in this regard. This person’s claim did not remain a claim like the jinn’s, but, in fact, as soon as he made the claim the throne was seen placed before the Prophet Solomon (peace be upon him) the next moment. Just consider these words:

“I will bring it to you before that your gaze returns to you. Then when he saw it placed before him.”

Anyone who reads these words, regardless of the extraordinary nature of the event, will surely understand that no sooner did the person utter these words than the event as claimed by him took place forthwith. There is, therefore, no need to make far-fetched interpretations of this plain matter. Then, on seeing the throne, the Prophet Solomon’s exclaiming, “This is from the favor of my Lord, that He may test me whether I give thanks or I am ungrateful” can be relevant only if the event be extraordinary; otherwise if only a skillful craftsman of the king had hurriedly made or arranged a throne for the queen, it could not be so novel an event at which the Prophet Solomon (peace be upon him) should have spontaneously exclaimed: “This is from the favor of my Lord” and feared that the prompt arrangement of a throne for the honorable guest might cause him to become ungrateful to Allah instead of being grateful. After all, there could be no question of a believing ruler’s becoming involved in vanity and self-conceit on this small achievement, especially when he was not merely an ordinary believer but a Prophet of Allah.

As for the question as to how a royal throne was fetched over a distance of 1,500 miles in the twinkling of an eye, it can be briefly answered thus: “The concepts of time and space, and matter and movement, that we have formed on the basis of our experiments and observations, are only applicable to us. These concepts are not correct in respect to God, nor is He bound by these. Not to speak of an ordinary throne, His power can make the sun; and even much larger stars, travel millions of millions of miles in the matter of moments. The God who by His one command brought this huge universe into being, has the power to have moved the throne of the queen of Sheba at a speed greater than the speed of light. In this very Quran it has been stated that Allah, by His powers, took his servant Muhammad (peace be upon him) from Makkah to Jerusalem and also brought him back in the same night.

49. That is, He does not stand in need of somebody’s gratefulness. His Godhead is neither enhanced by an iota by somebody’s gratefulness, nor diminished by that amount by somebody’s ingratitude or thanklessness. He is Sovereign in His own right. His Sovereignty is not dependent on His creation’s acknowledgment or rejection. The same thing has been expressed in the Quran through the Prophet Moses (peace be upon him): “If you prove thankless, you and all the dwellers of the earth, (you should know that) Allah is All-Sufficient and worthy of all praise by Himself.” (Surah Ibrahim: Ayat 8). The same theme is contained in a Hadith Qudsi related in Sahih-Muslim saying:

“Allah says: O My servants, if you all men and jinns, from the beginning to the end, together become like the heart of the most righteous person among you, it will not cause any increase in My Kingdom; and O My servants, if you all men and jinns, from the beginning to the end, together become like the heart of the most sinful person among you, it will not cause any decrease in My Kingdom. O My servants, it is your own deeds which I credit to your account, and then fully recompense you for them. So, whoever receives something good, let him be grateful to Allah, and whoever receives something else, let him curse his own self only”.

Ibn-Kathir

The tafsir of Surah Naml verse 40 by Ibn Kathir is unavailable here.
Please refer to Surah Naml ayat 38 which provides the complete commentary from verse 38 through 40.

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