Surah Nur >> Currently viewing Surah Nur Ayat 39 (24:39)

Surah Nur Ayat 39 in Arabic Text

وَٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوٓا۟ أَعْمَـٰلُهُمْ كَسَرَابٍۭ بِقِيعَةٍۢ يَحْسَبُهُ ٱلظَّمْـَٔانُ مَآءً حَتَّىٰٓ إِذَا جَآءَهُۥ لَمْ يَجِدْهُ شَيْـًۭٔا وَوَجَدَ ٱللَّهَ عِندَهُۥ فَوَفَّىٰهُ حِسَابَهُۥ ۗ وَٱللَّهُ سَرِيعُ ٱلْحِسَابِ
Wallazeena kafarooo a’maaluhum kasaraabim biqee’atiny yahsabuhuz zamaanu maaa’an hattaaa izaa jaaa’ahoo lam yajid hu shai’anw wa wajadal laaha ‘indahoo fa waffaahu hisaabah; wallaahu saree’ul hisaab

English Translation

Here you can read various translations of verse 39

Sahih International
But those who disbelieved – their deeds are like a mirage in a lowland which a thirsty one thinks is water until, when he comes to it, he finds it is nothing but finds Allah before Him, and He will pay him in full his due; and Allah is swift in account.

Yusuf Ali
But the Unbelievers,- their deeds are like a mirage in sandy deserts, which the man parched with thirst mistakes for water; until when he comes up to it, he finds it to be nothing: But he finds Allah (ever) with him, and Allah will pay him his account: and Allah is swift in taking account.

Abul Ala Maududi
(On the other hand,) the deeds of those who disbelieved, maybe likened to a mirage in a waterless desert, which the thirsty one took for water; but when he reached there he found nothing to drink; nay, he found there Allah Who settled his full account, and Allah is very swift at reckoning.

Muhsin Khan
As for those who disbelieve, their deeds are like a mirage in a desert. The thirsty one thinks it to be water, until he comes up to it, he finds it to be nothing, but he finds Allah with him, Who will pay him his due (Hell). And Allah is Swift in taking account.

Pickthall
As for those who disbelieve, their deeds are as a mirage in a desert. The thirsty one supposeth it to be water till he cometh unto it and findeth it naught, and findeth, in the place thereof, Allah Who payeth him his due; and Allah is swift at reckoning.

Dr. Ghali
And the ones who have disbelieved, their deeds are as a mirage in a low land, which the man allathirst reckons to be water, till when he comes to it, he finds it nothing, and at it he finds Allah. Then He pays him his reckoning in full; and Allah is swift at the reckoning.

Abdel Haleem
But the deeds of those who disbelieve are like a mirage in a desert: the thirsty person thinks there will be water but, when he gets there, he finds only God, who pays him his account in full- God is swift in reckoning.

Quran 24 Verse 39 Explanation

For those looking for commentary to help with the understanding of Surah Nur ayat 39, we’ve provided two Tafseer works below. The first is the tafseer of Abul Ala Maududi, the second is of Ibn Kathir.

Ala-Maududi

(24:39) But for those who deny the Truth,[70] their deeds are like a mirage in the desert, which the thirsty supposes to be water until he comes to it only to find that it was nothing; he found instead that Allah was with Him and He paid his account in full. Allah is swift in settling the account.[71]


70. That is, they refused to accept sincerely the divine message which was brought by the Prophets, and which at that time was being given by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). These verses clearly show that the truthful and righteous believers only can benefit from Allah’s Light. In contrast to them, the state of those people is being described here, who refused to believe and obey the Prophet (peace be upon him), who was the real and sole means of attaining the Light of Allah.

71. This parable describes the condition of those people who, in spite of disbelief and hypocrisy, practice some good deeds and also believe, among other things, in the life after death in the hope that their good deeds will be of some help to them in the Hereafter even if they did not believe and follow the Prophet and lacked the qualities of true believers. In this parable they are being told that their expectations of reaping benefits of their ostentatious deeds of virtue in the Hereafter are no more than a mirage. Just as a traveler in the desert takes the glittering sands for a surging pool of water and runs towards it for quenching his thirst, so are these people traveling on the road to death cherishing false hopes on account of their good deeds. But just as the one running towards a mirage does not find anything there to quench his thirst, so will these people find nothing to avail them when they enter the state of death. On the contrary, they will find Allah there, Who will require them to account for their disbelief, hypocrisy and misdeeds, which they committed along with their ostentatious deeds of virtue, and will deal with them in full justice.

Ibn-Kathir

39. As for those who disbelieved, their deeds are like a mirage in a Qi`ah. The thirsty one thinks it to be water until he comes up to it, he finds it to be nothing; but he finds Allah with him, Who will pay him his due. And Allah is swift in taking account. 40. Or like the darkness in a vast deep sea, overwhelmed with waves topped by waves, topped by dark clouds, (layers of) darkness upon darkness: if a man stretches out his hand, he can hardly see it! And he for whom Allah has not appointed light, for him there is no light.


Two Examples of two kinds of Disbelievers

These are two examples which Allah sets forth of two kinds of disbelievers. Similarly He sets forth two parables of the hypocrites at the beginning of Surat Al-Baqarah: one involving fire and the other involving water. Similarly, in Surat Ar-Ra`d He gives two parables of the guidance and knowledge that are instilled in the heart, again involving fire and water; we have discussed each of them in the appropriate place and there is no need to repeat it here, praise be to Allah. The first of these two examples is that of the disbelievers who call others to their disbelief, thinking that they have good actions and beliefs, when this is not in fact the case. Their likeness is that of a mirage which is seen in a desert plain, looking from a distance as if it is a deep sea. The word Qi`ah refers to a vast, flat, level area of land in which the mirage may appear. There are different kinds of mirage, one which appears after midday, and another which appears in the morning and looks like water between heaven and earth. If a person who is in need of water sees the mirage, he thinks that it is water so he heads towards it in order to drink from it, but when he reaches it,

﴿لَمْ يَجِدْهُ شَيْئاً﴾

(he finds it to be nothing.); Similarly the disbeliever thinks that he is doing something good and that he has achieved something, but when Allah judges him on the Day of Resurrection, and brings him to account and examines his deeds, he will find that nothing has been accepted at all, either because of a lack of sincere belief or because he did not follow the proper ways of the Shari`ah. As Allah says:

﴿وَقَدِمْنَآ إِلَى مَا عَمِلُواْ مِنْ عَمَلٍ فَجَعَلْنَاهُ هَبَآءً مَّنثُوراً ﴾

(And We shall turn to whatever deeds they did, and We shall make such deeds as scattered floating particles of dust.) ﴿25:23﴾. And He says here:

﴿وَوَجَدَ اللَّهَ عِندَهُ فَوَفَّـهُ حِسَابَهُ وَاللَّهُ سَرِيعُ الْحِسَابِ﴾

(but he finds Allah with him, who will pay him his due. And Allah is swift in taking account.) A similar view was also narrated from Ubayy bin Ka`b, Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, Qatadah and others. In the Two Sahihs, it is reported that on the Day of Resurrection it will be said to the Jews, “What did you used to worship” They will say, “We used to worship `Uzayr the son of Allah.” It will be said to them, “You have lied. Allah has not begotten a son. What do you want” They will say, “O Lord, we are thirsty, give us something to drink.” It will be said to them, “Do you not see” Then Hell will be shown to them as if it is a mirage, parts of it consuming other parts, and they will go and fall into it. This is the parable of one whose ignorance is deep and advanced. As for those whose ignorance is simple, those who are uneducated and foolish and blindly follow the leaders of disbelief, knowing and understanding nothing, their parable is as Allah says: d

﴿أَوْ كَظُلُمَـتٍ فِى بَحْرٍ لُّجِّىٍّ يَغْشَـهُ مَوْجٌ مِّن فَوْقِهِ مَوْجٌ مِّن فَوْقِهِ سَحَابٌ ظُلُمَـتٌ بَعْضُهَا فَوْقَ بَعْضٍ إِذَآ أَخْرَجَ يَدَهُ لَمْ يَكَدْ يَرَاهَا﴾

(Or like the darkness in a vast deep sea, overwhelmed with waves topped by waves, topped by dark clouds, darkness upon darkness: if a man stretches out his hand, he can hardly see it!) meaning, he can hardly see it because it is so intensely dark. This is the parable of the heart of the disbeliever whose ignorance is simple, who merely follows and does not know the true nature of the one whom he follows or where he is going. He is like the ignorant man in the parable who was asked, “Where are you going” He said, “With them.” He was asked, “Where are they going” He said, “I do not know.”

﴿ظُلُمَـتٌ بَعْضُهَا فَوْقَ بَعْضٍ﴾

(darkness upon darkness) Ubayy bin Ka`b said: “He is enveloped in five types of darkness: his speech is darkness, his deeds are darkness, his coming in is darkness, his going out is darkness and his destiny on the Day of Resurrection will be darkness in the fire of Hell.” As-Suddi and Ar-Rabi` bin Anas also said something similar.

﴿وَمَن لَّمْ يَجْعَلِ اللَّهُ لَهُ نُوراً فَمَا لَهُ مِن نُورٍ﴾

(And he for whom Allah has not appointed light, for him there is no light.) One whom Allah does not guide is ignorant and doomed, an utter loser and disbeliever. This is like the Ayah:

﴿مَن يُضْلِلِ اللَّهُ فَلاَ هَادِيَ لَهُ﴾

(Whomsoever Allah sends astray, none can guide him) ﴿7:186﴾ This is in contrast to what Allah says about the believers:

﴿يَهْدِى اللَّهُ لِنُورِهِ مَن يَشَآءُ﴾

(Allah guides to His Light whom He wills. ) ﴿24:35﴾ We ask Allah the Almighty to put light in our hearts and give us light on our right and on our left, and to increase us in light.

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