Surah At Takwir (“The Overthrowing”) is the 81st chapter of the Qur’an. It consists of 29 ayats and is classified as a Meccan surah.
This surah gives us some details of the scenes of the Last Day. Some of these signs include the following:
(a) When the sun is shrouded in darkness (turns into a sphere)
(b) When the stars lose their light
(c) When the mountains are made to vanish
(d) When the seas boil over
(e) when the she camel about to give birth is left untended.
“So where are you going? It is not except a reminder to the worlds For whoever wills among you to take a right course.”
Surah Takwir Ayat 26-28
Read Surah Takwir with English Translation and Transliteration
Bismillah Hir Rahman Nir Raheem
In the name of Allah, The Most Gracious and The Most Merciful
إِذَا الشَّمْسُ كُوِّرَتْ
Izash shamsu kuwwirat
1. When the sun is wrapped up [in darkness]
وَإِذَا النُّجُومُ انكَدَرَتْ
Wa izan nujoomun kadarat
2. And when the stars fall, dispersing,
وَإِذَا الْجِبَالُ سُيِّرَتْ
Wa izal jibaalu suyyirat
3. And when the mountains are removed
وَإِذَا الْعِشَارُ عُطِّلَتْ
Wa izal ‘ishaaru ‘uttilat
4. And when full-term she-camels are neglected
وَإِذَا الْوُحُوشُ حُشِرَتْ
Wa izal wuhooshu hushirat
5. And when the wild beasts are gathered
وَإِذَا الْبِحَارُ سُجِّرَتْ
Wa izal bihaaru sujjirat
6. And when the seas are filled with flame
وَإِذَا النُّفُوسُ زُوِّجَتْ
Wa izan nufoosu zuwwijat
7. And when the souls are paired
وَإِذَا الْمَوْءُودَةُ سُئِلَتْ
Wa izal maw’oodatu su’ilat
8. And when the girl [who was] buried alive is asked
بِأَيِّ ذَنبٍ قُتِلَتْ
Bi ayyi zambin qutilat
9. For what sin she was killed
وَإِذَا الصُّحُفُ نُشِرَتْ
Wa izas suhufu nushirat
10. And when the pages are made public
وَإِذَا السَّمَاءُ كُشِطَتْ
Wa izas samaaa’u kushitat
11. And when the sky is stripped away
وَإِذَا الْجَحِيمُ سُعِّرَتْ
Wa izal jaheemu su’-‘irat
12. And when Hellfire is set ablaze
وَإِذَا الْجَنَّةُ أُزْلِفَتْ
Wa izal jannatu uzlifat
13. And when Paradise is brought near,
عَلِمَتْ نَفْسٌ مَّا أَحْضَرَتْ
‘Alimat nafsum maaa ahdarat
14. A soul will [then] know what it has brought [with it].
فَلَا أُقْسِمُ بِالْخُنَّسِ
Falaaa uqsimu bil khunnas
15. So I swear by the retreating stars –
Al jawaaril kunnas
16. Those that run [their courses] and disappear –
وَاللَّيْلِ إِذَا عَسْعَسَ
Wallaili izaa ‘as’as
17. And by the night as it closes in
وَالصُّبْحِ إِذَا تَنَفَّسَ
Wassubhi izaa tanaffas
18. And by the dawn when it breathes
إِنَّهُ لَقَوْلُ رَسُولٍ كَرِيمٍ
Innahoo laqawlu rasoolin kareem
19. [That] indeed, the Qur’an is a word [conveyed by] a noble messenger
ذِي قُوَّةٍ عِندَ ذِي الْعَرْشِ مَكِينٍ
Zee quwwatin ‘inda zil ‘arshi makeen
20. [Who is] possessed of power and with the Owner of the Throne, secure [in position],
مُّطَاعٍ ثَمَّ أَمِينٍ
Mutaa’in samma ameen
21. Obeyed there [in the heavens] and trustworthy.
وَمَا صَاحِبُكُم بِمَجْنُونٍ
Wa maa saahibukum bimajnoon
22. And your companion is not [at all] mad.
وَلَقَدْ رَآهُ بِالْأُفُقِ الْمُبِينِ
Wa laqad ra aahu bilufuqil mubeen
23. And he has already seen Gabriel in the clear horizon.
وَمَا هُوَ عَلَى الْغَيْبِ بِضَنِينٍ
Wa maa huwa ‘alal ghaibi bidaneen
24. And Muhammad is not a withholder of [knowledge of] the unseen.
وَمَا هُوَ بِقَوْلِ شَيْطَانٍ رَّجِيمٍ
Wa maa huwa biqawli shaitaanir rajeem
25. And the Qur’an is not the word of a devil, expelled [from the heavens].
Fa ayna tazhaboon
26. So where are you going?
إِنْ هُوَ إِلَّا ذِكْرٌ لِّلْعَالَمِينَ
In huwa illaa zikrul lil’aalameen
27. It is not except a reminder to the worlds
لِمَن شَاءَ مِنكُمْ أَن يَسْتَقِيمَ
Liman shaaa’a minkum ai yastaqeem
28. For whoever wills among you to take a right course.
وَمَا تَشَاءُونَ إِلَّا أَن يَشَاءَ اللَّهُ رَبُّ الْعَالَمِينَ
Wa maa tashaaa’oona illaaa ai yashaaa ‘al laahu Rabbul ‘Aalameen
29. And you do not will except that Allah wills – Lord of the worlds.
The Tafsir of Surat At-Takwir
Chapter – 81
Which was revealed in Makkah
What has been narrated about This Surah
Imam Ahmad recorded from Ibn `Umar that the Messenger of Allah said,
(Whoever wishes to look at the Day of Judgement as if he is seeing it with his own eyes, then let him read, (When the sun is wound round.) (81:1) (and; (When the heaven is cleft asunder.) (82:1) (and; (When the heaven is split asunder.) (84:1)) Likewise, At-Tirmidhi has also recorded this Hadith.
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
(1.When the sun is Kuwwirat.) (2. And when the stars Inkadarat.) (3. And when the mountains are made to pass away;) (4. And when the pregnant she-camels are neglected;) (5. And when the wild beasts are gathered together.) (6. And when the seas become as blazing fire.) (7. And when the souls are joined with their mates.) (8. And when the female infant (Al-Maw’udah) buried alive is questioned (Su’ilat):) (9. For what sin was she killed) (10. And when the pages are laid open.) (11. And when the heaven is Kushitat;) (12. And when Hell is Su`irat.) (13. And when Paradise is brought near.) (14. Every person will know what he has brought.)
What will happen on the Day of Judgement, and that is the rolling up of the Sun
`Ali bin Abi Talhah reported from Ibn `Abbas:
(When the sun is Kuwwirat.) “This means it will be darkened.” Al-`Awfi reported from Ibn `Abbas; “It will go away.” Qatadah said, “Its light will go away.” Sa`id bin Jubayr said, “Kuwwirat means it will sink in.” Abu Salih said, “Kuwwirat means it will be thrown down.” At-Takwir means to gather one part of something with another part of it (i.e., folding). From it comes the folding of the turban (`Imamah) and the folding of clothes together. Thus, the meaning of Allah’s statement,
(Kuwwirat) is that part of it will be folded up into another part of it. Then it will be rolled up and thrown away. When this is done to it, its light will go away. Al-Bukhari recorded from Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet said,
(The sun and the moon will be rolled up on the Day of Judgement.) Al-Bukhari was alone in recording this Hadith and this is his wording of it.
Dispersing the Stars
(And when the stars Inkadarat.) meaning, when they are scattered. This is as Allah says,
(And when the stars have fallen and scattered.) (82:2) The basis of the word Inkidar is Insibab, which means to be poured out. Ar-Rabi` bin Anas reported from Abu Al-`Aliyah, who reported from Ubayy bin Ka`b that he said, “Six signs will take place before the Day of Judgement. The people will be in their marketplaces when the sun’s light will go away. When they are in that situation, the stars will be scattered. When they are in that situation, the mountains will fall down upon the face of the earth, and the earth will move, quake and be in a state of mixed up confusion. So the Jinns will then flee in fright to the humans and the humans will flee to the Jinns. The domestic beasts, birds and wild animals will mix together, and they will surge together in a wave (of chaos).
(And when the wild beasts are gathered together.) This means they will be mixed.
(And when the pregnant she camels are neglected;) This means their owners will neglect them.
(And when the seas become as blazing fire)” Then he (Ubayy) went on to say, “The Jinns will say, `We come to you with news.’ So they will all go to the sea, and it will be a blazing fire. While they are in that state, the earth will be split with one huge crack that will extend from the lowest, seventh earth to the highest, seventh heaven. So while they are in that state, a wind will come that will kill all of them.” Ibn Jarir recorded this narration with this wording.
Moving of the Mountains, abandoning of the Pregnant She-Camels, and the gathering of the Wild Beasts
Concerning Allah’s statement,
(And when the mountains are made to pass away;) meaning, they will not remain in their places and they will be destroyed. Then the earth will be left as a flat, level plain. Then Allah says,
(And when the pregnant she-camels (`Ishar) are neglected (`Uttilat);) `Ikrimah and Mujahid said, “`Ishar are (pregnant she-) camels.” Mujahid said, “`Uttilat means abandoned and left.” Ubayy bin Ka`b and Ad-Dahhak both said, “Their owners will neglect them.” Ar-Rabi` bin Khuthaym said, “They will not be milked or tied up. Their masters will leave them abandoned.” Ad-Dahhak said, “They will be left with no one to tend to them.” And the meaning of all of these statements is similar. What is intended is that the `Ishar is a type of camel. It is actually the best type of camel, and particularly the pregnant females of them when they have reached the tenth month of their pregnancies. One of them is singularly referred to as `Ushara’, and she keeps that name until she gives birth. So the people will be too busy to tend to her, take care of her or benefit from her, after she used to be the most important thing to them. This will be due to what will suddenly overtake them of the great, terrifying and horrible situation. This is the matter of the Day of Judgement, the coming together of its causes, and the occurrence of those things that will happen before it.
(And when the wild beasts are gathered together.) meaning, gathered. This is as Allah says,
(There is not a moving creature on earth, nor a bird that flies with its two wings, but are communities like you. We have neglected nothing in the Book, then unto their Lord they shall be gathered.) (6:38) Ibn `Abbas said, “Everything will be gathered, even the flies.” This statement was recorded by Ibn Abi Hatim. Allah also says,
(And (so did) the birds assembled.) ﴿38:19﴾ meaning, gathered.
The Blazing of the Seas
(And when the seas become as blazing fire.) Ibn Jarir recorded from Sa`id bin Al-Musayyib that `Ali said to a Jewish man, “Where is the Hell” The man said, “The sea.” `Ali then said, “I think he is truthful, as Allah says
(And by the seas kindled (Masjur).) (52:6) and;
(And when the seas become as blazing fire.)” This has already been discussed previously with the explanation of Allah’s statement,
(And by the seas kindled (Masjur).) (52:6)
Joining the Souls
Concerning Allah’s statement,
(And when the souls are joined with their mates.) meaning, every type (of soul) will be gathered with its peer (or mate). This is as Allah says,
(It will be said to the angels): “Assemble those who did wrong, together with their companions (from the devils).) (37:22) Ibn Abi Hatim recorded from An-Nu`man bin Bashir that the Messenger of Allah said,
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((And When the souls are joined with their mates.)( Those who are alike. Every man will be with every group of people who performed the same deeds that he did. (This is because Allah says, (And you (all) will be in three groups. So those on the Right Hand – how (fortunate) will be those on Right Hand! And those on the Left Hand – how (unfortunate) will be those on the Left Hand!) (56: 7-10) (They are those who are alike.)
Questioning the Female Infant Who was buried Alive
(And when the female infant (Al-Maw’udah) buried alive is questioned: For what sin was she killed) The majority have recited it as Su’ilat (she is questioned), as it is here. Al-Maw’udah is the female infant that the people of the pre-Islamic time of ignorance would bury in the dirt due to their hatred of girls. Therefore, on the Day of Judgement, the female infant will be asked what sin she committed that caused here to be murdered. This will be a means of frightening her murderer. For verily, if the one who was wronged is questioned, what does the wrongdoer (the one who is guilty of the oppression) think then `Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn `Abbas said,
(And when the female infant (Al-Maw’udah) buried alive Su’ilat:) “This means that she will ask.” Abu Ad-Duha made a similar statement when he said, “She will ask, meaning she will demand restitution for her blood.” The same has been reported from As-Suddi and Qatadah. Hadiths have been reported concerning the Maw’udah. Imam Ahmad recorded from `A’ishah, who reported from Judamah bint Wahb, the sister of `Ukkashah, that she said, “I was in the presence of the Messenger of Allah when he was with some people, and he said,
(I was about to prohibit sexual relations with breast feeding women, but then I saw that the Romans and the Persians have sexual relations with their women who breast feed their children and it does not harm the children at all.) Then they asked him about interruption of sexual intercourse to prevent the male discharge from entering the womb of the woman, and he said,
(That is the minor infanticide and it is the female infant buried alive (Maw’udah) that will be questioned.)” Muslim, Ibn Majah, Abu Dawud, At-Tirmidhi and An-Nasa’i, all recorded this Hadith as well.
The Atonement for burying Infant Girls Alive
`Abdur-Razzaq said that Isra’il informed them from Simak bin Harb, from An-Nu`man bin Bashir, who reported from `Umar bin Al-Khattab that he said concerning Allah’s statement,
(And when the female infant buried alive is questioned.) “Qays bin `Asim came to the Messenger of Allah and said, `O Messenger of Allah! Verily, I buried some daughters of mine alive in the period of pre-Islamic ignorance.’ The Messenger of Allah said,
(Free a slave for each one of them.) Then Qays said, `O Messenger of Allah! Verily, I am an owner of camels.’ The Prophet said,
(Then sacrifice a camel for each one of them.)”
The Distribution of the Pages
(And when the pages are laid open.) Ad-Dahhak said, “Every person will be given his paper in his right hand or in his left hand.” Qatadah said, “O Son of Adam ! It (your paper) is written in, then it is rolled up, then it will be distributed to you on the Day of Judgement. So let each man look at what he himself dictated to be written in his paper.”
Removing the Heavens, kindling Hellfire, and Paradise being brought near
(And when the heaven is Kushitat;) Mujahid said, “It drawns away.” As-Suddi said, “Stripped off.” Concerning Allah’s statement,
(And when Hell is Su`irat.) As-Suddi said, “It is heated.” In reference to Allah’s statement,
(And when Paradise is brought near.) Ad-Dahhak, Abu Malik, Qatadah, and Ar-Rabi` bin Khuthaym, all said, “This means it will be brought near to its inhabitants.”
Everyone will know what He has brought on the Day of Judgement Concerning
(Every person will know what he has brought.) This is the conclusive response of the previous statements, meaning at the time these matters occur, every soul will know what it has done, and that will be brought forth for it, as Allah says,
(On the Day when every person will be confronted with all the good he has done, and all the evil he has done, he will wish that there were a great distance between him and his evil.) (3:30) Allah also says,
(On that Day man will be informed of what he sent forward, and what he left behind.) (75:13)
(15. But nay! I swear by Al-Khunnas.) (16. Al-Jawar Al-Kunnas.) (17. And by the night when it `As`as.) (18. And by the day when it Tanaffas.) (19. Verily, this is the Word a most honorable messenger.) (20. Dhi Quwwah, with the Lord of the Throne — Makin,) (21. Obeyed there, trustworthy.) (22. And your companion is not a madman.) (23. And indeed he saw him in the clear horizon.) (24. And he withholds not a knowledge of the Unseen.) (25. And it is not the word of the outcast Shaytan.) (26. Then where are you going) (27. Verily, this is no less than a Reminder for the creatures.) (28. To whomsoever among you who wills to walk straight.) (29. And you cannot will unless that Allah wills — the Lord of all that exists.)
The Explanation of the Words Al-Khunnas and Al-Kunnas
Muslim recorded in his Sahih, and An-Nasa’i in his Book of Tafsir, in explaining this Ayah, from `Amr bin Hurayth that he said, “I prayed the Morning prayer behind the Prophet , and I heard him reciting,
(But nay! I swear by Al-Khunnas, Al-Jawar Al-Kunnas, and by the night when it `As`as, and by the day when it Tanaffas.)” Ibn Jarir recorded from Khalid bin `Ar`arah that he heard `Ali being asked about the Ayah; (??? ???????? ????????????. ?????????? ??????????) (Nay! I swear by Al-Khunnas, Al-Jawar Al-Kunnas.) and he said, “These are the stars that withdraw (disappear) during the day and sweep across the sky (appear) at night.” Concerning Allah’s statement,
(And by the night when it `As`as.) There are two opinions about this statement. One of them is that this refers to its advancing with its darkness. Mujahid said, “It means its darkening.” Sa`id bin Jubayr said, “When it begins.” Al-Hasan Al-Basri said, “When it covers the people.” This was also said by `Atiyah Al-`Awfi. `Ali bin Abi Talhah and Al-`Awfi both reported from Ibn `Abbas:
(when it `As`as) “This means when it goes away.” Mujahid, Qatadah and Ad-Dahhak, all said the same. Zayd bin Aslam and his son `Abdur-Rahman also made a similar statement, when they said,
(when it `As`as) “This means when it leaves, and thus it turns away.” I believe that the intent in Allah’s saying,
(when it `As`as) is when it approaches, even though it is correct to use this word for departing also. However, approachment is a more suitable usage here. It is as if Allah is swearing by the night and its darkness when it approaches, and by the morning and its light when it shines from the east. This is as Allah says,
(By the night as it envelops. By the day as it appears in brightness) (92:1-2) and He also says,
(By the forenoon. By the night when it darkens.) (93:1-2) Allah also says,
(Cleaver of the daybreak. He has appointed night for resting.) (6:96) And there are other similar Ayat that mention this. Many of the scholars of the fundamentals of language have said that the word `As`as is used to mean advancing and retreating, with both meanings sharing the same word. Therefore, it is correct that the intent could be both of them, and Allah knows best. Concerning Allah’s statement,
(And by the day when it Tanaffas.) Ad-Dahhak said, “When it rises.” Qatadah said, “When it brightens and advances.”
Jibril descended with the Qur’an and it is not the Result of Insanity Concerning
(Verily, this is the Word of a most honorable messenger.) meaning, indeed this Qur’an is being conveyed by a noble messenger, which is referring to an honorable angel, who has good character and a radiant appearance, and he is Jibril. Ibn `Abbas, Ash-Sha`bi, Maymun bin Mihran, Al-Hasan, Qatadah, Ar-Rabi` bin Anas, Ad-Dahhak and others have said this.
(Dhi Quwwah) This is similar to Allah’s statement,
(He has been taught by one mighty in power, Dhu Mirrah.) (53:5-6) meaning, mighty in creation, mighty in strength and mighty in actions.
(with the Lord of the Throne Makin,) meaning, he has high status and lofty rank with Allah.
(Obeyed there,) meaning, he has prestige, his word is listened to, and he is obeyed among the most high gathering (of angels). Qatadah said,
(Obeyed there) “This means in the heavens. He is not one of the lower ranking (ordinary) angels. Rather he is from the high ranking, prestigious angels. He is respected and has been chosen for (the delivery of) this magnificent Message.” Allah then says,
(trustworthy.) This is a description of Jibril as being trustworthy. This is something very great, that the Almighty Lord has commended His servant and angelic Messenger, Jibril, just as He has commended His servant and human Messenger, Muhammad by His statement,
(And your companion is not a madman.) Ash-Sha`bi, Maymun bin Mihran, Abu Salih and others who have been previously mentioned, all said, “This refers to Muhammad .” Allah said,
(And indeed he saw him in the clear horizon.) meaning, indeed Muhammad saw Jibril, who brought him the Message from Allah, in the form that Allah created him in (i.e., his true form), and he had six hundred wings.
(in the clear horizon. ) meaning, clear. This refers to the first sighting which occurred at Al-Batha’ (Makkah). This incident is mentioned in Allah’s statement,
(He has been taught by one mighty in power (Jibril). Dhu Mirrah, then he rose. While he was in the highest part of the horizon. Then he approached and came closer. And was at a distance of two bows’ length or less. So (Allah) revealed to His servant what He revealed.) (53:5-10) The explanation of this and its confirmation has already preceded, as well as the evidence that proves that it is referring to Jibril. It seems apparent — and Allah knows best — that this Surah (At-Takwir) was revealed before the Night Journey (Al-Isra’), because nothing has been mentioned in it except this sighting (of Jibril), and it is the first sighting. The second sighting has been mentioned in Allah’s statement,
(And indeed he saw him (Jibril) at a second descent. Near Sidrah Al-Muntaha. Near it is the Paradise of Abode. When that covered the lote tree which did cover it !) (53:13-16) And these Ayat have only been mentioned in Surat An-Najm, which was revealed after Surat Al-Isra’ (The Night Journey). The Prophet is not Stingy in conveying the Revelation (????? ???? ????? ????????? ?????????) (He is not Zanin over the Unseen) meaning Muhammad is not following false conjecture about what Allah revealed. Others have recited this Ayah with the `Dad’ in the word Danin, which means that he is not stingy, but rather he conveys it to everyone. Sufyan bin `Uyaynah said, “Zanin and Danin both have the same meaning. They mean that he is not a liar, nor is he a wicked, sinful person. The Zanin is one who follows false supposition, and the Danin is one who is stingy.” Qatadah said, “The Qur’an was unseen and Allah revealed it to Muhammad , and he did not withhold it from the people. Rather he announced it, conveyed it, and offered it to everyone who wanted it.” `Ikrimah, Ibn Zayd and others have made similar statements. Ibn Jarir preferred the recitation Danin. I say that both of recitations have been confirmed by numerous routes of transmission, and its meaning is correct either way, as we have mentioned earlier.
The Qur’an is a Reminder for all the Worlds and It is not the Inspiration of Shaytan
(And it is not the word of the outcast Shaytan.) meaning, this Qur’an is not the statement of an outcast Shaytan. This means that he is not able to produce it, nor is it befitting of him to do so. This is as Allah says,
(And it is not the Shayatin who have brought it down. Neither would it suit them nor they can. Verily, they have been removed far from hearing it.) (26:210-212) Then Allah says,
(Then where are you going) meaning, where has your reason gone, in rejecting this Qur’an, while it is manifest, clear, and evident that it is the truth from Allah. This is as Abu Bakr As-Siddiq said to the delegation of Bani Hanifah when they came to him as Muslims and he commanded them to recite (something from the Qur’an). So they recited something to him from the so called Qur’an of Musaylimah the Liar, that was total gibberish and terribly poor in style. Thus, Abu Bakr said, “Woe unto you! Where have your senses gone By Allah, this speech did not come from a god.” Qatadah said,
(Then where are you going) meaning, from the Book of Allah and His obedience. Then Allah says,
(Verily, this is no less than a Reminder to the creatures.) meaning, this Qur’an is a reminder for all of mankind. They are reminded by it and receive admonition from it.
(To whomsoever among you who wills to walk straight.) meaning, whoever seeks guidance, then he must adhere to this Qur’an, for verily it is his salvation and guidance. There is no guidance in other than it.
(And you cannot will unless (it be) that Allah wills — the Lord of all that exists.) This means that the will is not left to you all, so that whoever wishes to be guided, then he is guided, and whoever wishes to be astray, then he goes astray, rather, all of this is according to the will of Allah the Exalted, and He is the Lord of all that exists. It is reported from Sulayman bin Musa that when this Ayah was revealed,
(To whomsoever among you who wills to walk straight.) Abu Jahl said, “The matter is up to us. If we wish, we will stand straight, and we do not wish, we will not stand straight.” So Allah revealed,
(And you cannot will unless (it be) that Allah wills the Lord of the all that exists.)
This is the end of the Tafsir of Surat At-Takwir, and all praise and thanks are due to Allah.