Surah Zumar >> Currently viewing Surah Zumar Ayat 53 (39:53)

Surah Zumar Ayat 53 in Arabic Text

قُلْ يَـٰعِبَادِىَ ٱلَّذِينَ أَسْرَفُوا۟ عَلَىٰٓ أَنفُسِهِمْ لَا تَقْنَطُوا۟ مِن رَّحْمَةِ ٱللَّهِ ۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ يَغْفِرُ ٱلذُّنُوبَ جَمِيعًا ۚ إِنَّهُۥ هُوَ ٱلْغَفُورُ ٱلرَّحِيمُ
Qul yaa’ibaadiyal lazeena asrafoo ‘alaaa anfusihim laa taqnatoo mirrahmatil laah; innal laaha yaghfiruz zunooba jamee’aa; innahoo Huwal Ghafoorur Raheem

English Translation

Here you can read various translations of verse 53

Sahih International
Say, “O My servants who have transgressed against themselves [by sinning], do not despair of the mercy of Allah. Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Indeed, it is He who is the Forgiving, the Merciful.”

Yusuf Ali
Say: “O my Servants who have transgressed against their souls! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah: for Allah forgives all sins: for He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.

Abul Ala Maududi
Tell them, (O Prophet): “My servants who have committed excesses against themselves, do not despair of Allah’s Mercy. Surely Allah forgives all sins. He is Most Forgiving, Most Merciful.

Muhsin Khan
Say: “O ‘Ibadi (My slaves) who have transgressed against themselves (by committing evil deeds and sins)! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah, verily Allah forgives all sins. Truly, He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.

Pickthall
Say: O My slaves who have been prodigal to their own hurt! Despair not of the mercy of Allah, Who forgiveth all sins. Lo! He is the Forgiving, the Merciful.

Dr. Ghali
Say, (This is addressed to the Prophet) “O My bondmen who have been extravagant against themselves, (i.e., who have committed sins) do not feel despondent of the mercy of Allah! Surely Allah forgives guilty (deeds) all together; surely He, Ever He, is The Ever-Forgiving, The EverMerciful.

Abdel Haleem
Say, ‘[God says], My servants who have harmed yourselves by your own excess, do not despair of God’s mercy. God forgives all sins: He is truly the Most Forgiving, the Most Merciful.

Quran 39 Verse 53 Explanation

For those looking for commentary to help with the understanding of Surah Zumar ayat 53, we’ve provided two Tafseer works below. The first is the tafseer of Abul Ala Maududi, the second is of Ibn Kathir.

Ala-Maududi

(39:53) Tell them, (O Prophet): “My servants[70] who have committed excesses against themselves, do not despair of Allah’s Mercy. Surely Allah forgives all sins. He is Most Forgiving, Most Merciful.[71]


70. Some commentators have given a strange interpretation to these words. They say that Allah Himself has commanded the Prophet (peace be upon him) to address the people as “My servants” therefore, all men are the servants of the Prophet (peace be upon him). This interpretation is no interpretation at all but a worst distortion of the meaning of the Quran and indeed tampering with the Word of Allah. If this interpretation were correct, it would falsify and negate the whole Quran. For the Quran, from the beginning to the end, establishes the concept that men are the servants of Allah alone, and its whole message revolves around the point that they should serve none but One Allah alone. The Prophet (peace be upon him) himself was Allah’s servant. Allah had sent him not as rabb (sustainer, providence) but as a Messenger so that he should himself serve Him and teach the other people also to serve Him alone. After all, how can a sensible person believe that the Prophet (peace be upon him) might have one day stood up before the disbelieving Quraish of Makkah and made the sudden proclamation: You are in fact the slaves of Muhammad and not of al-Uzzah and ash- Shams. (We seek Allah’s refuge from this).

71. The address here is to all mankind. There is no weighty argument to regard only the believers as the addressees. As has been observed by Allama Ibn Kathir, to address such a thing to the common men does not mean that Allah forgives all sins without repentance, but Allah Himself has explained in the following verses that sins are forgiven only when the sinner turns to Allah’s worship and service and adopts obedience to the message sent down by Him. As a matter of fact, this verse brought a message of hope for those people who had committed mortal sins like murder, adultery, theft, robbery, etc. in the days of ignorance, and had despaired whether they would ever be forgiven. To them it has been said: Do not despair of Allah’s mercy; whatever you might have done in the past, if you sincerely turn to your Lord’s obedience, you will be forgiven every sin. The same interpretation of this verse has been given by Ibn Abbas, Qatadah, Mujahid and Ibn Zaid. (Ibn Jarir, Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Daud, Tirmidhi). For further explanation, see (Surah Al-Furqan, Ayats 70-71) and the E.Ns thereof.

Ibn-Kathir

53. Say: “O My servants who have transgressed against themselves! Despair not of the mercy of Allah, verily, Allah forgives all sins. Truly, He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” 54. “And turn in repentance (and in obedience with true faith) to your Lord and submit to Him before the torment comes upon you, (and) then you will not be helped.” 55. “And follow the best of that which is sent down to you from your Lord, before the torment comes on you suddenly while you perceive not!” 56. Lest a person should say: “Alas, my grief that I was undutiful to Allah, and I was indeed among those who mocked.” 57. Or (lest) he should say: “If only Allah had guided me, I should indeed have been among those who have Taqwa.” 58. Or (lest) he should say when he sees the torment: “If only I had another chance, then I should indeed be among the doers of good.” 59. Yes! Verily, there came to you My Ayat and you denied them, and were proud and were among the disbelievers.


The Call to repent before the Punishment comes

This Ayah is a call to all sinners, be they disbelievers or others, to repent and turn to Allah. This Ayah tells us that Allah, may He be blessed and exalted, will forgive all the sins of those who repent to Him and turn back to Him, no matter what or how many his sins are, even if they are like the foam of the sea. This cannot be interpreted as meaning that sins will be forgiven without repentance, because Shirk can only be forgiven for the one who repents from it. Al-Bukhari recorded that Ibn `Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, said that some of the people of Shirk killed many people and committed Zina (illegal sexual acts) to a great extent; they came to Muhammad and said, “What you are saying and calling us to is good; if only you could tell us that there is an expiation for what we have done.” Then the following Ayat were revealed:

﴿وَالَّذِينَ لاَ يَدْعُونَ مَعَ اللَّهِ إِلَـهَا ءَاخَرَ وَلاَ يَقْتُلُونَ النَّفْسَ الَّتِى حَرَّمَ اللَّهُ إِلاَّ بِالْحَقِّ وَلاَ يَزْنُونَ﴾

(And those who invoke not any other god along with Allah, nor kill such person as Allah has forbidden, except for just cause, nor commit illegal sexual intercourse) (25:68).

﴿قُلْ يعِبَادِىَ الَّذِينَ أَسْرَفُواْ عَلَى أَنفُسِهِمْ لاَ تَقْنَطُواْ مِن رَّحْمَةِ اللَّهِ﴾

(Say: “O My servants who have transgressed against themselves! Despair not of the mercy of Allah.) This was also recorded by Muslim, Abu Dawud and An-Nasa’i. What is meant by the first Ayah (25:68) is:

﴿إِلاَّ مَن تَابَ وَءَامَنَ وَعَمِلَ عَمَلاً صَـلِحاً﴾

(Except those who repent and believe, and do righteous deeds) (25:70). Imam Ahmad recorded that Asma’ bint Yazid, said, “I heard the Messenger of Allah reciting,

﴿إِنَّهُ عَمَلٌ غَيْرُ صَـلِحٍ﴾

(verily, his work is unrighteous) (11:46). And I heard him say: (قُلْ يَاعِبَادِي الَّذِينَ أَسْرَفُوا عَلَى أَنْفُسِهِمْ لَا تَقْنَطُوا مِنْ رَحْمَةِ اللهِ إِنّ اللهَ يَغْفِرُ الذُّنُوبَ جَمِيعًا وَلَا يُبَالِي إِنَّهُ هُوَ الْغَفُورُ الرَّحِيمُ) (Say: “O My servants who have transgressed against themselves! Despair not of the mercy of Allah, verily, Allah forgives all sins He does not reckon him Truly, He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful).” This was also recorded by Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi. All of these Hadiths indicate that what is meant is that Allah forgives all sins provided that a person repents. Additionally, one must not despair of the mercy of Allah even if his sins are many and great, for the door of repentance and mercy is expansive. Allah says:

﴿أَلَمْ يَعْلَمُواْ أَنَّ اللَّهَ هُوَ يَقْبَلُ التَّوْبَةَ عَنْ عِبَادِهِ﴾

(Know they not that Allah accepts repentance from His servants) (9:104).

﴿وَمَن يَعْمَلْ سُوءاً أَوْ يَظْلِمْ نَفْسَهُ ثُمَّ يَسْتَغْفِرِ اللَّهَ يَجِدِ اللَّهَ غَفُوراً رَّحِيماً ﴾

(And whoever does evil or wrongs himself but afterwards seeks Allah’s forgiveness, he will find Allah Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.) (4:110). Concerning the hypocrites, Allah says:

﴿إِنَّ الْمُنَـفِقِينَ فِى الدَّرْكِ الاٌّسْفَلِ مِنَ النَّارِ وَلَن تَجِدَ لَهُمْ نَصِيراً إِلاَّ الَّذِينَ تَابُواْ وَأَصْلَحُواْ﴾

(Verily, the hypocrites will be in the lowest depth (grade) of the Fire; no helper will you find for them. Except those who repent, and do righteous good deeds) (4:145-146). And Allah says:

﴿لَّقَدْ كَفَرَ الَّذِينَ قَالُواْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ ثَـلِثُ ثَلَـثَةٍ وَمَا مِنْ إِلَـهٍ إِلاَّ إِلَـهٌ وَحِدٌ وَإِن لَّمْ يَنتَهُواْ عَمَّا يَقُولُونَ لَيَمَسَّنَّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ مِنْهُمْ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ ﴾

(Surely, disbelievers are those who said: “Allah is the third of the three (in a Trinity).” But there is no god but One. And if they cease not from what they say, verily, a painful torment will befall on the disbelievers among them.) (5:73). Then He says:

﴿أَفَلاَ يَتُوبُونَ إِلَى اللَّهِ وَيَسْتَغْفِرُونَهُ وَاللَّهُ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ ﴾

(Will they not turn in repentance to Allah and ask His forgiveness For Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.) (5:74) And Allah says:

﴿إِنَّ الَّذِينَ فَتَنُواْ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَـتِ ثُمَّ لَمْ يَتُوبُواْ﴾

(Verily, those who put into trial the believing men and believing women (by torturing them), and then do not turn in repentance (to Allah)) (85: 10). Al-Hasan Al-Basri, may Allah have mercy on him, said, “Look at this generosity and kindness! They killed His close friends but He still called them to repentance and forgiveness.” There are many Ayat on this topic. The Two Sahihs record the Hadith of Abu Sa`id, may Allah be pleased with him, from Messenger of Allah about the man who killed ninety-nine people. Later on, he regretted it and asked a worshipper among the Children of Israel whether he could repent. He told him no, so he killed him, thus completing one hundred. Then he asked one of their scholars whether he could repent. He said, “What is stopping you from repenting” Then he told him to go to a town where Allah was worshipped. He set out for that town, but death came to him while he was on the road. The angels of mercy and the angels of punishment disputed over him, so Allah commanded them to measure the distance between the two towns; whichever he was closer to was the one to which he belonged. They found that he was closer to the town he was heading for, so the angels of mercy took him. It was said that when he was dying, he moved himself (towards that town), and Allah commanded the good town to move closer to him and the other town to move away. This is basic meaning of the Hadith; we have quoted it in full elsewhere. `Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn `Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, commented on the Ayah:

﴿قُلْ يعِبَادِىَ الَّذِينَ أَسْرَفُواْ عَلَى أَنفُسِهِمْ لاَ تَقْنَطُواْ مِن رَّحْمَةِ اللَّهِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَغْفِرُ الذُّنُوبَ جَمِيعاً﴾

(Say: “O My servants who have transgressed against themselves! Despair not of the mercy of Allah, verily, Allah forgives all sins…”) sAllah invites all to His forgiveness; those who claim that the Messiah is God, those who claim that the Messiah is the son of God, those who claim that `Uzayr is the son of God, those who claim that Allah is poor, those who claim that the Hand of Allah is tied up, and those who say that Allah is the third of three ﴿Trinity﴾. Allah says to all of these:

﴿أَفَلاَ يَتُوبُونَ إِلَى اللَّهِ وَيَسْتَغْفِرُونَهُ وَاللَّهُ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ ﴾

(Will they not turn in repentance to Allah and ask His forgiveness For Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.) (5:74). And He calls to repentance the one who says something even worse than that, the one who says, `I am your Lord most high,’ and says,

﴿مَا عَلِمْتُ لَكُمْ مِّنْ إِلَـهٍ غَيْرِى﴾

(“I know not that you have a god other than me.”) (28:38). Ibn `Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “Anyone who makes the servants of Allah despair of His mercy after this, has rejected the Book of Allah, but a person cannot repent until Allah decrees that he should repent.” At-Tabarani recorded that Shutayr bin Shakal said, “I heard Ibn Mas`ud say, `The greatest Ayah in the Book of Allah is:

﴿اللَّهُ لاَ إِلَـهَ إِلاَّ هُوَ الْحَىُّ الْقَيُّومُ ﴾

(Allah! None has the right to be worshipped but He, the Ever Living, the One Who sustains and protects all that exists)(2:255). The most comprehensive Ayah in the Qur’an concerning good and evil is:

﴿إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَأْمُرُ بِالْعَدْلِ وَالإْحْسَانِ﴾

(Verily, Allah enjoins justice and Al-Ihsan) (16:90). The Ayah in the Qur’an which brings the most relief is in Surat Az-Zumar:

﴿قُلْ يعِبَادِىَ الَّذِينَ أَسْرَفُواْ عَلَى أَنفُسِهِمْ لاَ تَقْنَطُواْ مِن رَّحْمَةِ اللَّهِ﴾

(Say: “O My servants who have transgressed against themselves! Despair not of the mercy of Allah.”) And the clearest Ayah in the Qur’an about reliance on Allah is:

﴿وَمَن يَتَّقِ اللَّهَ يَجْعَل لَّهُ مَخْرَجاًوَيَرْزُقْهُ مِنْ حَيْثُ لاَ يَحْتَسِبُ﴾

(And whosoever has Taqwa of Allah, He will make a way for him to get out (from every difficulty). And He will provide him from (sources) he never could imagine) (65:2-3).’ Masruq said to him; `You have spoken the truth.”’

Hadiths which tell us not to despair

Imam Ahmad recorded that Anas bin Malik, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “I heard the Messenger of Allah , say:

«وَالَّذِي نَفْسِي بِيَدِهِ لَوْ أَخْطَأْتُمْ حَتْى تَمْلَأَ خَطَايَاكُمْ مَا بَيْنَ السَّمَاءِ وَالْأَرْضِ، ثُمَّ اسْتَغْفَرْتُمُ اللهَ تَعَالَى لَغَفَرَ لَكُمْ، وَالَّذِي نَفْسُ مُحَمَّدٍبِيَدِهِ لَوْ لَمْ تُخْطِئُوا لَجَاءَ اللهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ بِقَوْمٍ يُخْطِئُونَ، ثُمَّ يَسْتَغْفِرُونَ اللهَ فَيَغْفِرُ لَهُم»

(By the One in Whose Hand is my soul, if you were to commit sin until your sins filled the space between heaven and earth, then you were to ask Allah for forgiveness, He would forgive you. By the One in Whose Hand is the soul of Muhammad, if you did not commit sin, Allah would bring other people who would commit sins and then ask Allah for forgiveness so that He could forgive them.)” This was recorded only by Ahmad. Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Ayyub Al-Ansari, may Allah be pleased with him, said, as he was on his deathbed, “I have concealed something from you that I heard from the Messenger of Allah ; he said:

«لَوْلَا أَنَّكُمْ تُذْنِبُونَ لَخَلَقَ اللهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ قَوْمًا يُذْنِبُونَ، فَيَغْفِرُ لَهُم»

(If you did not commit sins, Allah would create people who would sin so that He could forgive them.)” This was recorded by Imam Ahmad; it was also recorded by Muslim in his Sahih, and by At-Tirmidhi. Allah encourages His servants to hasten to repent, as He says:

﴿وَأَنِـيبُواْ إِلَى رَبِّكُمْ وَأَسْلِمُواْ لَهُ﴾

(And turn in repentance (and in obedience with true faith) to your Lord and submit to Him) meaning, turn back to Allah and submit yourselves to Him.

﴿مِن قَبْلِ أَن يَأْتِيَكُمُ الْعَذَابُ ثُمَّ لاَ تُنصَرُونَ﴾

(before the torment comes upon you, (and) then you will not be helped.) means, hasten to repent and do righteous deeds before His wrath comes upon you.

﴿وَاتَّبِعُـواْ أَحْسَنَ مَآ أُنزِلَ إِلَيْكُم مِّن رَّبِّكُـمْ﴾

(And follow the best of that which is sent down to you from your Lord,) means, the Qur’an.

﴿مِّن قَبْلِ أَن يَأْتِيَكُـمُ الْعَذَابُ بَغْتَةً وَأَنتُمْ لاَ تَشْعُرُونَ﴾

(before the torment comes on you suddenly while you perceive not!) means, without you realizing it.

﴿أَن تَقُولَ نَفْسٌ يحَسْرَتَى عَلَى مَا فَرَّطَتُ فِى جَنبِ اللَّهِ﴾

(Lest a person should say: “Alas, my grief that I was undutiful to Allah…”) means, on the Day of Resurrection, the sinner who neglected to repent and turn back to Allah will regret it, and will wish that he had been one of the righteous who obeyed Allah.

﴿وَإِن كُنتُ لَمِنَ السَّـخِرِينَ﴾

(and I was indeed among those who mocked.) means, `my actions in this world were those of one who ridicules and makes fun, not of one who has firm faith and is sincere.’

﴿أَوْ تَقُولَ لَوْ أَنَّ اللَّهَ هَدَانِى لَكُـنتُ مِنَ الْمُتَّقِينَ – أَوْ تَقُولَ حِينَ تَرَى الْعَذَابَ لَوْ أَنَّ لِى كَـرَّةً فَأَكُونَ مِنَ الْمُحْسِنِينَ ﴾

(Or (lest) he should say: “If only Allah had guided me, I should indeed have been among those who have Taqwa ”. Or he should say when he sees the torment: “If only I had another chance, then I should indeed be among the doers of good.”) means, he will wish that he could go back to this world, so that he could do righteous deeds. `Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn `Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “Allah tells us what His servants will say before they say it and what they will do before they do it. He says:

﴿وَلاَ يُنَبِّئُكَ مِثْلُ خَبِيرٍ﴾

(And none can inform you like Him Who is the All-Knower) (35:14).

﴿أَن تَقُولَ نَفْسٌ يحَسْرَتَى عَلَى مَا فَرَّطَتُ فِى جَنبِ اللَّهِ وَإِن كُنتُ لَمِنَ السَّـخِرِينَ – أَوْ تَقُولَ لَوْ أَنَّ اللَّهَ هَدَانِى لَكُـنتُ مِنَ الْمُتَّقِينَ – أَوْ تَقُولَ حِينَ تَرَى الْعَذَابَ لَوْ أَنَّ لِى كَـرَّةً فَأَكُونَ مِنَ الْمُحْسِنِينَ ﴾

(Lest a person should say: “Alas, my grief that I was undutiful to Allah, and I was indeed among those who mocked.” Or he should say: “If only Allah had guided me, I should indeed have been among those who have Taqwa.” Or he should say when he sees the torment: “If only I had another chance, then I should indeed be among the doers of good.”). Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Hurayrah said, “The Messenger of Allah said:

«كُلُّ أَهْلِ النَّارِ يَرَى مَقْعَدَهُ مِنَ الْجَنَّةِ فَيَقُولُ: لَوْ أَنَّ اللهَ هَدَانِي فَتَكُونُ عَلَيْهِ حَسْرَةً، قال: وَكُلُّ أَهْلِ الْجَنَّةِ يَرَى مَقْعَدَهُ مِنَ النَّارِ فَيَقُولُ: لَوْلَا أَنَّ اللهَ هَدَانِي، قال: فَيَكُونُ لَهُ شُكْرًا»

(Each of the people of Hell will be shown his place in Paradise and he will say, “If only Allah had guided me!” so it will be a source of regret for him. And each of the people of Paradise will be shown his place in Hell and he will say, “If it were not for the fact that Allah guided me,” so it will be a cause of thanks.)” It was also narrated by An-Nasa’i. When the sinners wish that they could return to this world so that they could believe the Ayat of Allah and follow His Messengers, Allah will say:

﴿بَلَى قَدْ جَآءَتْكَ ءَايَـتِى فَكَذَّبْتَ بِهَا وَاسْتَكْبَرْتَ وَكُنتَ مِنَ الْكَـفِرِينَ ﴾

(Yes! Verily, there came to you My Ayat and you denied them, and were proud and were among the disbelievers.) meaning, `O you who regret what you did, My Ayat did come to you in the world, and My proof was established against you, but you rejected it and were too arrogant to follow it, and you were among those who disbelieved in it.’

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