Surah Zumar >> Currently viewing Surah Zumar Ayat 21 (39:21)

Surah Zumar Ayat 21 in Arabic Text

أَلَمْ تَرَ أَنَّ ٱللَّهَ أَنزَلَ مِنَ ٱلسَّمَآءِ مَآءًۭ فَسَلَكَهُۥ يَنَـٰبِيعَ فِى ٱلْأَرْضِ ثُمَّ يُخْرِجُ بِهِۦ زَرْعًۭا مُّخْتَلِفًا أَلْوَٰنُهُۥ ثُمَّ يَهِيجُ فَتَرَىٰهُ مُصْفَرًّۭا ثُمَّ يَجْعَلُهُۥ حُطَـٰمًا ۚ إِنَّ فِى ذَٰلِكَ لَذِكْرَىٰ لِأُو۟لِى ٱلْأَلْبَـٰبِ
Alam tara annal laaha anzala minas samaaa’i maaa’an fasalakahoo yanaabee’a fil ardi summa yukhriju bihee zar’am mukhtalifan alwaanuhoo summa yaheeju fatarahu musfarran summa yaj’aluhoo hutaamaa; inna fee zaalika lazikraa li ulil albaab (section 2)

English Translation

Here you can read various translations of verse 21

Sahih International
Do you not see that Allah sends down rain from the sky and makes it flow as springs [and rivers] in the earth; then He produces thereby crops of varying colors; then they dry and you see them turned yellow; then He makes them [scattered] debris. Indeed in that is a reminder for those of understanding.

Yusuf Ali
Seest thou not that Allah sends down rain from the sky, and leads it through springs in the earth? Then He causes to grow, therewith, produce of various colours: then it withers; thou wilt see it grow yellow; then He makes it dry up and crumble away. Truly, in this, is a Message of remembrance to men of understanding.

Abul Ala Maududi
Do you not see that Allah sent down water from the sky, then made it flow on earth as springs and streams and rivers and then with it He brings forth vegetation of various hues; then this vegetation ripens and dries up, turning yellow, whereafter He reduces it to broken straw? Surely there is a lesson in this for those endowed with understanding.

Muhsin Khan
See you not, that Allah sends down water (rain) from the sky, and causes it to penetrate the earth, (and then makes it to spring up) as water-springs and afterward thereby produces crops of different colours, and afterward they wither and you see them turn yellow, then He makes them dry and broken pieces. Verily, in this, is a Reminder for men of understanding.

Pickthall
Hast thou not seen how Allah hath sent down water from the sky and hath caused it to penetrate the earth as watersprings, and afterward thereby produceth crops of divers hues; and afterward they wither and thou seest them turn yellow; then He maketh them chaff. Lo! herein verily is a reminder for men of understanding.

Dr. Ghali
Have you not seen that Allah has sent down from the heaven water, then He dispatched (i.e., inserted) it as fountains in the earth; thereafter He brings out therewith plantation (s) of different colors; thereafter they heave, then you see them (turning) yellow; thereafter He makes them to crushed pieces? Surely in that is indeed a Reminding for (people) endowed with intellects.

Abdel Haleem
Have you not considered that God sends water down from the sky, guides it along to form springs in the earth, and then, with it, brings forth vegetation of various colours, which later withers, turns yellow before your eyes, and is crumbled to dust at His command? There is truly a reminder in this for those who have understanding.

Quran 39 Verse 21 Explanation

For those looking for commentary to help with the understanding of Surah Zumar ayat 21, we’ve provided two Tafseer works below. The first is the tafseer of Abul Ala Maududi, the second is of Ibn Kathir.

Ala-Maududi

(39:21) Do you not see that Allah sent down water from the sky, then made it flow on earth as springs and streams and rivers[38] and then with it He brings forth vegetation of various hues; then this vegetation ripens and dries up, turning yellow, whereafter He reduces it to broken straw? Surely there is a lesson in this for those endowed with understanding.[39]


38. The word yanaabi in the text is comprehensive and applies to all the three sources of water.

39. That is, a man of understanding learns this lesson from it that the life of this world and its adornments are all transitory. The end of every spring is autumn. The fate of every youth is weakness and death. And every rise has a fall. Therefore, this world is not something of which one should be charmed and enamored so as to forget God and the Hereafter and should conduct himself here in a manner as to ruin his Hereafter, only for the sake of enjoying the short lived pleasures of this world. Then a man of understanding also learns this lesson from these phenomena that the spring and autumn of this world are only under Allah’s control. Allah allows to grow and prosper whomsoever He wills and ruins and lays waste whomsoever He wills. Neither it is in anybody’s power to stop the growth of someone whom Allah wills to grow, nor has anyone the power to save him from destruction whom Allah wills to destroy.

Ibn-Kathir

21. See you not that Allah sends down water from the sky, and causes it to penetrate the earth, as water springs, and afterward thereby produces crops of different colors, and afterward they wither and you see them turn yellow; then He makes them dry and broken pieces. Verily, in this is a reminder for men of understanding. 22. Is he whose breast Allah has opened to Islam, so that he is in light from his Lord So, woe to those whose hearts are hardened against remembrance of Allah! They are in plain error!


The Parable of the Life of this World

Allah tells us that water originates in the sky. This is like the Ayah:

﴿وَأَنزَلْنَا مِنَ السَّمَآءِ مَآءً طَهُوراً﴾

(and We send down pure water from the sky) (25:48). So, Allah sends down water from the sky, and it settles in the earth, then He causes it to flow wherever He wills, and He causes springs, great and small, to flow as needed. Allah says:

﴿فَسَلَكَهُ يَنَابِيعَ فِى الاٌّرْضِ﴾

(and causes it to penetrate the earth, as water springs,) Sa`id bin Jubayr and `Amir Ash-Sha`bi said that all the water on earth has its origins in the sky. Sa`id bin Jubayr said, its origins lie in the snow, meaning that snow piles up in the mountains, then settles at the bottom (of the mountains) and springs flow from the bottom of them.

﴿ثُمَّ يُخْرِجُ بِهِ زَرْعاً مُّخْتَلِفاً أَلْوَانُهُ﴾

(and afterward thereby produces crops of different colors) means, then from the water which comes down from the sky or flows from springs in the earth, He brings forth crops of different colors, i.e., different kinds of forms, tastes, scents, bencfits, etc.

﴿ثُمَّ يَهِـيجُ﴾

(and afterward they wither) means, after they have been ripe and fresh, they become old and you see them turn yellow when they have dried out.

﴿ثُمَّ يَجْعَلُهُ حُطَـماً﴾

(then He makes them dry and broken pieces.) means, then they become brittle.

﴿إِنَّ فِى ذَلِكَ لَذِكْرَى لاٌّوْلِى الاٌّلْبَـبِ﴾

(Verily, in this is a reminder for men of understanding.) means, those who are reminded by this and who learn the lesson from it, that this world is like this — it is green and fresh and beautiful, then it will become old and ugly. The young man will become a weak, senile old man, and after all of that comes death. The blessed one is the one whose state after death will be good. Allah often likens the life of this world to the way He sends down water from the sky and crops and fruits grow thereby, then they become dry and brittle. This is like the Ayah:

﴿وَاضْرِبْ لَهُم مَّثَلَ الْحَيَوةِ الدُّنْيَا كَمَآءٍ أَنْزَلْنَـهُ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ فَاخْتَلَطَ بِهِ نَبَاتُ الاٌّرْضِ فَأَصْبَحَ هَشِيمًا تَذْرُوهُ الرِّياحُ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ عَلَى كُلِّ شَىْءٍ مُّقْتَدِرًا ﴾

(And put forward to them the example of the life of this world: it is like the water (rain) which We send down from the sky, and the vegetation of the earth mingles with it, and becomes fresh and green. But (later) it becomes dry and broken pieces, which the winds scatter. And Allah is able to do everything) (18:45)

The People of Truth and the People of Misguidance are not Equal

﴿أَفَمَن شَرَحَ اللَّهُ صَدْرَهُ لِلإِسْلَـمِ فَهُوَ عَلَى نُورٍ مِّن رَّبِّهِ﴾

(Is he whose breast Allah has opened to Islam, so that he is in light from his Lord) means, is this person equal to the one who is hard-hearted and far from the truth This is like the Ayah:

﴿أَوَمَن كَانَ مَيْتًا فَأَحْيَيْنَـهُ وَجَعَلْنَا لَهُ نُورًا يَمْشِي بِهِ فِى النَّاسِ كَمَن مَّثَلُهُ فِي الظُّلُمَـتِ لَيْسَ بِخَارِجٍ مِّنْهَا كَذَلِكَ﴾

(Is he who was dead and We gave him life and set for him a light (i.e. Belief) whereby he can walk amongst men — like him who is in the darkness (i.e., disbelief) from which he can never come out) (6:122) Allah says:

﴿فَوَيْلٌ لِّلْقَـسِيَةِ قُلُوبُهُمْ مِّن ذِكْرِ اللَّهِ﴾

(So, woe to those whose hearts are hardened against remembrance of Allah!) meaning, they do not become soft when Allah is mentioned, and they do not feel humility or fear, and they do not understand.

﴿أُوْلَـئِكَ فِى ضَلَـلٍ مُّبِينٍ﴾

(They are in plain error!).

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