Surah Ar-Ra’d >> Currently viewing Surah Ar-Ra’d Ayat 17 (13:17)

Surah Ar-Ra’d Ayat 17 in Arabic Text

أَنزَلَ مِنَ ٱلسَّمَآءِ مَآءًۭ فَسَالَتْ أَوْدِيَةٌۢ بِقَدَرِهَا فَٱحْتَمَلَ ٱلسَّيْلُ زَبَدًۭا رَّابِيًۭا ۚ وَمِمَّا يُوقِدُونَ عَلَيْهِ فِى ٱلنَّارِ ٱبْتِغَآءَ حِلْيَةٍ أَوْ مَتَـٰعٍۢ زَبَدٌۭ مِّثْلُهُۥ ۚ كَذَٰلِكَ يَضْرِبُ ٱللَّهُ ٱلْحَقَّ وَٱلْبَـٰطِلَ ۚ فَأَمَّا ٱلزَّبَدُ فَيَذْهَبُ جُفَآءًۭ ۖ وَأَمَّا مَا يَنفَعُ ٱلنَّاسَ فَيَمْكُثُ فِى ٱلْأَرْضِ ۚ كَذَٰلِكَ يَضْرِبُ ٱللَّهُ ٱلْأَمْثَالَ
Anzala minas samaaa’i maaa’an fasaalat awdiyatum biqadarihaa fahtamalas sailu zabadar raabiyaa; wa mimmmaa yooqidoona ‘alaihi fin naarib tighaaa’a bilyatin aw mataa’in zabadum misluh; kazaalika yadribul laahul haqqa wal baatil; fa ammaz zabadu fa yazhabu jufaaa’aa; wa ammaa maa yanfa’un naasa fa yamkusu fil ard; kazaalika yadribul laahul amsaal

English Translation

Here you can read various translations of verse 17

Sahih International
He sends down from the sky, rain, and valleys flow according to their capacity, and the torrent carries a rising foam. And from that [ore] which they heat in the fire, desiring adornments and utensils, is a foam like it. Thus Allah presents [the example of] truth and falsehood. As for the foam, it vanishes, [being] cast off; but as for that which benefits the people, it remains on the earth. Thus does Allah present examples.

Yusuf Ali
He sends down water from the skies, and the channels flow, each according to its measure: But the torrent bears away to foam that mounts up to the surface. Even so, from that (ore) which they heat in the fire, to make ornaments or utensils therewith, there is a scum likewise. Thus doth Allah (by parables) show forth Truth and Vanity. For the scum disappears like forth cast out; while that which is for the good of mankind remains on the earth. Thus doth Allah set forth parables.

Abul Ala Maududi
Allah sends down water from the heavens and the river-beds flow, each according to its measure, and the torrent carries along a swelling scum. In like manner, from that metal which they smelt in the fire to make ornaments and utensils, there arises scum like it. Thus does Allah depict truth and falsehood. As for the scum, it passes away as dross; but that which benefits mankind abides on the earth. Thus does Allah explain (the truth) through examples.

Muhsin Khan
He sends down water (rain) from the sky, and the valleys flow according to their measure, but the flood bears away the foam that mounts up to the surface, and (also) from that (ore) which they heat in the fire in order to make ornaments or utensils, rises a foam like unto it, thus does Allah (by parables) show forth truth and falsehood. Then, as for the foam it passes away as scum upon the banks, while that which is for the good of mankind remains in the earth. Thus Allah sets forth parables (for the truth and falsehood, i.e. Belief and disbelief).

Pickthall
He sendeth down water from the sky, so that valleys flow according to their measure, and the flood beareth (on its surface) swelling foam – from that which they smelt in the fire in order to make ornaments and tools riseth a foam like unto it – thus Allah coineth (the similitude of) the true and the false. Then, as for the foam, it passeth away as scum upon the banks, while, as for that which is of use to mankind, it remaineth in the earth. Thus Allah coineth the similitudes.

Dr. Ghali
He sends down from the heaven water so that valleys flow, each to its determined (course), so that the flood carries away (on its surface) a swelling scum. And from that on which they kindle fire (i.e., or) seeking (to make) ornaments or belongings, out of that there is a scum like it. Thus Allah strikes the Truth and the untruth. So, as for the scum, then it goes away as jetsam (i.e., vanishes as useless) and as for whatever profits mankind, then it stays in the earth. Thus Allah strikes the similitudes.

Abdel Haleem
He sends water from the sky that fills riverbeds to overflowing, each according to its measure. The stream carries on its surface a growing layer of froth, like the froth that appears when people melt metals in the fire to make ornaments and tools: in this way God illustrates truth and falsehood- the froth disappears, but what is of benefit to man stays behind- this is how God makes illustrations.

Quran 13 Verse 17 Explanation

For those looking for commentary to help with the understanding of Surah Ar-Ra’d ayat 17, we’ve provided two Tafseer works below. The first is the tafseer of Abul Ala Maududi, the second is of Ibn Kathir.

Ala-Maududi

(13:17) Allah sends down water from the heavens and the river-beds flow, each according to its measure, and the torrent carries along a swelling scum.[31] In like manner, from that metal which they smelt in the fire to make ornaments and utensils,[32] there arises scum like it. Thus does Allah depict truth and falsehood. As for the scum, it passes away as dross; but that which benefits mankind abides on the earth. Thus does Allah explain (the truth) through examples.


31. In this simile the knowledge which had been sent down by Allah to the Prophet (peace be upon him) has been likened to the rain from the sky, and the believers to the streams, rivulets and rivers. Just as the streams etc. fill themselves with rain water, each according to its capacity, so his followers gained knowledge from him, each according to his ability. On the other hand, the hue and cry that was raised by the opponents of the Islamic movement has been likened to the swelling foam etc. that begins to dance about on the surface of flood water, but soon vanishes away.

32. As it is but natural that scum should appear on the surface when ornaments are heated in the furnace for purification, likewise bad people would come to the surface and take prominent part in persecuting the good people who are passed through the furnace of persecution for their purification.

Ibn-Kathir

17. He sends down water from the sky, and the valleys flow according to their measure, but the flood bears away the foam that mounts up to the surface – and (also) from that (ore) which they heat in the fire in order to make ornaments or utensils, rises a foam like unto it, thus does Allah (by parables) show forth truth and falsehood. Then, as for the foam it passes away as scum upon the banks, while that which is for the good of mankind remains in the earth. Thus Allah sets forth parables.


Two Parables proving that Truth remains and Falsehood perishes

This honorable Ayah contains two parables which affirm that truth remains and increases, while falsehood diminishes and perishes. Allah said,

﴿أَنزَلَ مِنَ الْسَّمَآءِ مَآءً﴾

(He sends down water from the sky,) He sends rain,

﴿فَسَالَتْ أَوْدِيَةٌ بِقَدَرِهَا﴾

(and the valleys flow according to their measure,) each valley taking its share according to its capacity, for some valleys are wider and can retain more water than others which are small and thus retain smaller measures of water. This Ayah indicates that hearts differ, for some of them can retain substantial knowledge while others cannot entertain knowledge, but rather are bothered by knowledge,

﴿فَاحْتَمَلَ السَّيْلُ زَبَدًا رَّابِيًا﴾

(but the flood bears away the foam that mounts up to the surface) of the water that ran down the valleys; this is the first parable. Allah said next,

﴿وَمِمَّا يُوقِدُونَ عَلَيْهِ فِى النَّارِ ابْتِغَآءَ حِلْيَةٍ أَوْ مَتَـعٍ﴾

(and (also) from that (ore) which they heat in the fire in order to make ornaments or utensils…) This is the second parable, whereas gold and silver ore is heated with fire to make adornments with it, and iron and copper ore are heated to make pots and the like with it. Foam also rises to the surface of these ores, just as in the case with water,

﴿كَذَلِكَ يَضْرِبُ اللَّهُ الْحَقَّ وَالْبَـطِلَ﴾

(thus does Allah (by parables) show forth truth and falsehood.) when they both exist, falsehood does not remain, just as foam does not remain with the water or the gold and silver ores which are heated in fire. Rather, foam dissipates and vanishes,

﴿فَأَمَّا الزَّبَدُ فَيَذْهَبُ جُفَآءً﴾

(Then, as for the foam it passes away as scum upon the banks,) for it carries no benefit and dissipates and scatters on the banks of the valley. The foam also sticks to trees or is dissipated by wind, just as the case with the scum that rises on the surface of gold, silver, iron and copper ores; it all goes away and never returns. However, water, gold and silver remain and are used to man’s benefit. This is why Allah said next,

﴿وَأَمَّا مَا يَنفَعُ النَّاسَ فَيَمْكُثُ فِى الاٌّرْضِ كَذلِكَ يَضْرِبُ اللَّهُ الاٌّمْثَالَ﴾

(while that which is for the good of mankind remains in the earth. Thus Allah sets forth parables.) Allah said in a similar Ayah,

﴿وَتِلْكَ الاٌّمْثَالُ نَضْرِبُهَا لِلنَّاسِ وَمَا يَعْقِلُهَآ إِلاَّ الْعَـلِمُونَ ﴾

(And these similitudes We put forward for mankind; but none will understand them except those who have knowledge.) ﴿29:43﴾ Some of the Salaf (rightly guided ancestors) said, “When I would read a parable in the Qur’an that I could not comprehend, I would cry for myself because Allah the Exalted says,

﴿وَمَا يَعْقِلُهَآ إِلاَّ الْعَـلِمُونَ﴾

(But none will understand them except those who have knowledge.)” ﴿29:43﴾ `Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that `Abdullah bin `Abbas commented on Allah’s statement,

﴿أَنَزَلَ مِنَ السَّمَآءِ مَآءً فَسَالَتْ أَوْدِيَةٌ بِقَدَرِهَا﴾

(He sends down water from the sky, and the valleys flow according to their measure,) “This is a parable that Allah has set; the hearts carry knowledge from Him, and certainty according to the amount of doubt. As for doubt, working good deeds does not benefit while it exists. As for certainty, Allah benefits its people by it, hence Allah’s statement,

﴿فَأَمَّا الزَّبَدُ﴾

(Then, as for the foam), which refers to doubt,

﴿فَيَذْهَبُ جُفَآءً وَأَمَّا مَا يَنفَعُ النَّاسَ فَيَمْكُثُ فِى الاٌّرْضِ﴾

(it passes away as scum upon the banks, while that which is for the good of mankind remains in the earth.) in reference to certainty. And just as when jewelry is heated in fire and is rid of its impurity, which remains in the fire, similarly Allah accepts certainty and discards doubt.”

The Qur’an and the Sunnah contain Parables that use Water and Fire

Allah has set two examples in the beginning of Surat Al-Baqarah (chapter 2) about the hypocrites, one using fire and another using water. Allah said,

﴿مَثَلُهُمْ كَمَثَلِ الَّذِى اسْتَوْقَدَ نَاراً فَلَمَّآ أَضَاءَتْ مَا حَوْلَهُ﴾

(Their likeness is as the likeness of one who kindled a fire; then, when it illuminated all around him.) ﴿2:17﴾ then He said,

﴿أَوْ كَصَيِّبٍ مِّنَ السَّمَآءِ فِيهِ ظُلُمَـتٌ وَرَعْدٌ وَبَرْقٌ﴾

(Or like a rainstorm in the sky, bringing darkness, thunder, and lightning.) ﴿2:19﴾ Allah also has set two parables for the disbelievers in Surat An-Nur (chapter 24), one of them is,

﴿وَالَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ أَعْمَـلُهُمْ كَسَرَابٍ﴾

(As for those who disbelieved, their deeds are like a mirage in a desert.)﴿24:39﴾ The mirage occurs during intense heat. It is recorded in the Two Sahihs that the Messenger of Allah said,

«فَيُقَالُ لِلْيَهُودِ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ: فَمَا تُرِيدُون؟ فَيَقُولُونَ: أَيْ رَبَّنَا عَطِشْنَا فَاسْقِنَا. فَيُقَالُ: أَلَا تَرِدُونَ؟ فَيَرِدُونَ النَّارَ فَإِذَا هِيَ كَسَرَابٍ يَحْطِمُ بَعْضُهَا بَعْضًا»

(It will be said to the Jews on the Day of Resurrection, “What do you desire” They will reply, “We need to drink, for we have become thirsty, O our Lord!” It will be said, “Will you then proceed to drink,” and they will head towards the Fire, which will appear as a mirage, its various parts consuming the other parts.”) Allah said in the second parable (in Surat An-Nur);

﴿أَوْ كَظُلُمَـتٍ فِى بَحْرٍ لُّجِّىٍّ﴾

(Or is like the darkness in a vast deep sea.)﴿24:40﴾ In the Two Sahihs it is recorded that Abu Musa Al-Ash`ari said that the Messenger of Allah said,

«إِنَّ مَثَلَ مَا بَعَثَنِي اللهُ بِهِ مِنَ الْهُدَى وَالْعِلْمِ، كَمَثَلِ غَيْثٍ أَصَابَ أَرْضًا، فَكَانَ مِنْهَا طَائِفَةٌ قَبِلَتِ الْمَاءَ فَأَنْبَتَتِ الْكَلَأَ وَالْعُشْبَ الْكَثِيرَ، وَكَانَتْ مِنْهَا أَجَادِبُ أَمْسَكَتِ الْمَاءَ، فَنَفَعَ اللهُ بِهَا النَّاسَ، فَشَرِبُوا، وَرَعَوْا، وَسَقُوا، وَزَرَعُوا، وَأَصَابَتْ طَائِفَةً مِنْهَا أُخْرَى، إِنَّمَااِهيَ قِيعَانٌ لَا تُمْسِكُ مَاءً وَلَا تُنْبِتُ كَلَأً، فَذَلِكَ مَثَلُ مَنْ فَقُهَ فِي دِينِ اللهِ وَنَفَعَهُ اللهُ بِمَا بَعَثَنِي وَنَفَعَ بِهِ، فَعَلِمَ وَعَلَّمَ، وَمَثَلُ مَنْ لَمْ يَرْفَعْ بِذَلِكَ رَأْسًا وَلَمْ يَقْبَلْ هُدَى اللهِ الَّذِي أُرْسِلْتُ بِه»

(The example of guidance and knowledge with which Allah has sent me is like abundant rain falling on the earth, some of which was fertile soil that absorbed the rain water and brought forth vegetation and grass in abundance. And another portion of it was hard, it held the rain water and Allah benefited the people with it and they utilized it for drinking, grazing, making their animals drink from it and for irrigation purposes. And another portion of it fell on barren land, which could neither hold the water nor bring forth vegetation. The first is the example of the person who comprehends Allah’s religion and gets benefit, as well as benefiting others (from the knowledge and guidance) which Allah has revealed through me and learns and then teaches others. The last example is that of a person who does not care for it and does not embrace Allah’s guidance revealed through me.) This parable uses water in it. In another Hadith that Imam Ahmad collected, Abu Hurayrah narrated that the Messenger of Allah said,

«مَثَلِي وَمَثَلُكُمْ كَمَثَلِ رَجُلٍ اسْتَوْقَدَ نَارًا فَلَمَّا أَضَاءَتْ مَا حَوْلَهُ، جَعَلَ الْفَرَاشُ وَهَذِهِ الدَّوَابُّ الَّتِي يَقَعْنَ فِي النَّارِ يَقَعْنَ فِيهَا، وَجَعَلَ يَحْجُزُهُنَّ وَيغْلِبْنَهُ فَيَقْتَحِمْنَ فِيهَا قَالَ : فَذَلِكُمْ مَثَلِي وَمَثَلُكُمْ، أَنَا آخِذٌ بِحُجَزِكُمْ عَنِ النَّارِ، هَلُمَّ عَنِ النَّارِ، فَتَغْلِبُونِي، فَتَقْتَحِمُونَ فِيهَا»

(My example and the example of you is like that of a person who lit a fire. When the fire illuminated his surroundings, butterflies and insects started falling into it, as they usually do, and he started swatting at them to prevent them from falling; but they overwhelmed him and kept falling into the fire. This is the parable of me and you, I am holding you by the waist trying to save you from the Fire, saying, “Go away from the Fire,” yet you overwhelm me and fall into it.) The Two Sahihs also collected this Hadith. This is a parable using fire.

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