Surah Takwir >> Currently viewing Surah Takwir Ayat 9 (81:9)

Surah Takwir Ayat 9 in Arabic Text

بِأَىِّ ذَنۢبٍۢ قُتِلَتْ
Bi ayyi zambin qutilat

English Translation

Here you can read various translations of verse 9

Sahih International
For what sin she was killed

Yusuf Ali
For what crime she was killed;

Abul Ala Maududi
for what offence was she killed?

Muhsin Khan
For what sin she was killed?

Pickthall
For what sin she was slain,

Dr. Ghali
For whichever guilty deed she was killed,

Abdel Haleem
for what sin she was killed,

Quran 81 Verse 9 Explanation

For those looking for commentary to help with the understanding of Surah Takwir ayat 9, we’ve provided two Tafseer works below. The first is the tafseer of Abul Ala Maududi, the second is of Ibn Kathir.

Ala-Maududi

(81:9) for what offence was she killed?[9]


9. The style of this verse reflects an intensity of rage and fury inconceivable in common life. The parents who buried their daughters alive, would be so contemptible in the sight of Allah that they would not be asked: Why did you kill the innocent infant? But disregarding them the innocent girl will be asked: For what crime were you slain? And she will tell her story how cruelly she had been treated by her barbarous parents and buried alive. Besides, two vast themes have been compressed into this brief verse, which though not expressed in words, are reflected by its style and tenor. First that in it the Arabs have been made to realize what depths of moral depravity they have touched because of their ignorance in that they buried their own children alive; yet they insist that they would persist in the same ignorance and would not accept the reform that Muhammad (peace be upon him) was trying to bring about in their corrupted society. Second, that an express argument has been given in it of the necessity and inevitability of the Hereafter. The case of the infant girl who was buried alive, should be decided and settled justly at some time, and there should necessarily be a time when the cruel people who committed this heinous crime, should be called to account for it, for there was none in the world to hear the cries of complaint raised by the poor soul. This act was looked upon with approval by the depraved society; neither the parents felt any remorse for it, nor anybody in the family censured them, nor the society took any notice of it. Then, should this monstrosity remain wholly unpunished in the Kingdom of God?

This barbaric custom of burying the female infants alive had become widespread in ancient Arabia for different reasons. One reason was economic hardship because of which the people wanted to have fewer dependents so that they should not have to bear the burden of bringing up many children. Male offspring were brought up in the hope that they would later help in earning a living, but the female offspring were killed for the fear that they would have to be raised till they matured and then given away in marriage. Second, the widespread chaos because of which the male children were brought up in order to have more and more helpers and supporters; but daughters were killed because in tribal wars they had to be protected instead of being useful in any way for defense. Third, another aspect of the common chaos also was that when the hostile tribes raided each other and captured girls they would either keep them as slave-girls or sell them to others. For these reasons the practice that had become common in Arabia was that at childbirth a pit was kept dug out ready for use by the woman so that if a girl was born, she was immediately cast into it and buried alive. And if sometimes the mother was not inclined to act thus, or the people of the family disapproved of it, the father would raise her for some time half-heartedly, and then finding time would take her to the desert to be buried alive. This tyranny and hardheartedness was once described by a person before the Prophet (peace be upon him) himself. According to a Hadith related in the first chapter of Sunan Darimi, a man came to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and related this incident of his pre-Islamic days of ignorance: I had a daughter who was much attached to me. When I called her, she would come running to me. One day I called her and took her out with me. On the way we came across a well. Holding her by the hand I pushed her into the well. Her last words that I heard were: Oh father, oh father! Hearing this, the Prophet (peace be upon him) wept and tears started falling from his eyes. One of those present on the occasion said: O man, you have grieved the Prophet (peace be upon him). The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: Do not stop him, let him question about what he feels so strongly now. Then the Prophet (peace be upon him) asked him to narrate his story once again. When he narrated it again the Prophet (peace be upon him) wept so much that his beard became wet with tears. Then he said to the man: Allah has forgiven what you did in the days of ignorance: now turn to Him in repentance.

It is not correct to think that the people of Arabia had no feeling of the harshness of this hideous, inhuman act. Obviously, no society, however corrupted it may be, can be utterly devoid of the feeling that such tyrannical acts are evil. That is why the Quran has not dwelt upon the vileness of this act, but has only referred to it in awe-inspiring words to the effect: A time will come when the girl who was buried alive, will be asked for what crime she was slain? The history of Arabia also shows that many people in the pre-Islamic days of ignorance had a feeling that the practice was vile and wicked. According to Tabarani, Sasaah bin Najiyah al-Mujashii, grandfather of the poet, Farazdaq, said to the Prophet (peace be upon him): O Messenger of Allah, during the days of ignorance I have also done some good works, among which one is that I saved 360 girls from being buried alive: I gave two camels each as ransom to save their lives. Shall I get any reward for this? The Prophet (peace be upon him) replied: Yes, there is a reward for you, and it is this that Allah has blessed you with Islam.

As a matter of fact, a great blessing of the blessings of Islam is that it not only did put an end to this inhuman practice in Arabia but even wiped out the concept that the birth of a daughter was in any way a calamity, which should be endured unwillingly. On the contrary, Islam taught that bringing up daughters, giving them good education and enabling them to become good housewives, is an act of great merit and virtue. The way the Prophet (peace be upon him) changed the common concept of the people in respect of girls can be judged from his many sayings which have been reported in the Hadith. As for example, we reproduce some of these below:

The person who is put to a test because of the birth of the daughters and then he treats them generously, they will become a means of rescue for him from Hell. (Bukhari, Muslim).

The one who brought up two girls till they attained their maturity, will appear along with me on the Resurrection Day. Saying this, the Prophet (peace be upon him) joined and raised his fingers. (Muslim).

The one who brought up three daughters, or sisters, taught them good manners and treated them with kindness until they became self-sufficient, Allah will make Paradise obligatory for him. A man asked: what about two, O Messenger (peace be upon him) of Allah? The Prophet (peace be upon him) replied: the same for two. Ibn Abbas, the reporter of the Hadith, says: Had the people at that time asked in respect of one daughter, the Prophet (peace be upon him) would have also given the same reply about her. (Sharh as-Sunnh).

The one who has a daughter born to him and he does not bury her alive, nor keeps her in disgrace, nor prefers his son to her, Allah will admit him to Paradise. (Abu Daud).

The one who has three daughters born to him, and he is patient over them, and clothes them well according to his means, they will become a means of rescue for him from Hell. (Bukhari, Al-Adab al-Mufrad, Ibn Majah).

The Muslim who has two daughters and he looks after them well, they will lead him to Paradise. (Bukhari: Al- Adab al-Mufrad).

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said to Suraqah bin Jusham: Should I tell you what is the greatest charity (or said: one of the greatest charities)? He said: Kindly do tell, O Messenger of Allah. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: Your daughter who (after being divorced or widowed) returns to you and should have no other bread-winner. (Ibn Majah, Bukhari Al-Adab al-Mufrad).

This is the teaching which completely changed the viewpoint of the people about girls not only in Arabia but among all the nations of the world, which later become blessed with Islam. 1

Ibn-Kathir

The tafsir of Surah Takwir verse 9 by Ibn Kathir is unavailable here.
Please refer to Surah Takwir ayat 1 which provides the complete commentary from verse 1 through 14.

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