Abdullah Yusuf Ali Translation
2. By the Book that makes things clear;
3. We sent
it down during a Blessed Night: for We (ever) wish to warn (against Evil).
4. In the (Night) is made distinct every affair of wisdom,
command, from Our Presence. For We (ever) send (revelations),
6. As Mercy
from thy Lord: for He hears and knows (all things);
7. The Lord of the
heavens and the earth and all between them, if ye (but) have an assured faith.
8. There is no god but He: It is He Who gives life and gives death,- The
Lord and Cherisher to you and your earliest ancestors.
9. Yet they play
about in doubt.
10. Then watch thou for the Day that the sky will bring
forth a kind of smoke (or mist) plainly visible,
11. Enveloping the
people: this will be a Penalty Grievous.
12. (They will say:) "Our Lord!
remove the Penalty from us, for we do really believe!"
13. How shall the
message be (effectual) for them, seeing that an Messenger explaining things
clearly has (already) come to them,-
14. Yet they turn away from him and
say: "Tutored (by others), a man possessed!"
15. We shall indeed remove
the Penalty for a while, (but) truly ye will revert (to your ways).
One day We shall seize you with a mighty onslaught: We will indeed (then) exact
17. We did, before them, try the people of Pharaoh: there
came to them an apostle most honourable,
18. Saying: "Restore to me the
Servants of Allah. I am to you an apostle worthy of all trust;
be not arrogant as against Allah. for I come to you with authority manifest.
20. "For me, I have sought safety with my Lord and your Lord, against your
21. "If ye believe me not, at least keep yourselves away
22. (But they were aggressive:) then he cried to his Lord:
"These are indeed a people given to sin."
23. (The reply came:) "March
forth with My Servants by night: for ye are sure to be pursued.
leave the sea as a furrow (divided): for they are a host (destined) to be
25. How many were the gardens and springs they left behind,
26. And corn-fields and noble buildings,
27. And wealth (and
conveniences of life), wherein they had taken such delight!
28. Thus (was
their end)! And We made other people inherit (those things)!
neither heaven nor earth shed a tear over them: nor were they given a respite
30. We did deliver aforetime the Children of Israel from
31. Inflicted by Pharaoh, for he was arrogant
(even) among inordinate transgressors.
32. And We chose them aforetime
above the nations, knowingly,
33. And granted them Signs in which there
was a manifest trial
34. As to these (Quraish), they say forsooth:
35. "There is nothing beyond our first death, and we shall not be raised
36. "Then bring (back) our forefathers, if what ye say is true!"
37. What! Are they better than the people of Tubba and those who were before
them? We destroyed them because they were guilty of sin.
38. We created
not the heavens, the earth, and all between them, merely in (idle) sport:
39. We created them not except for just ends: but most of them do not
40. Verily the Day of sorting out is the time appointed for
all of them,-
41. The Day when no protector can avail his client in
aught, and no help can they receive,
42. Except such as receive Allah's
Mercy: for He is Exalted in Might, Most Merciful.
43. Verily the tree of
44. Will be the food of the Sinful,-
45. Like molten brass;
it will boil in their insides.
46. Like the boiling of scalding water.
47. (A voice will cry: "Seize ye him and drag him into the midst of the
48. "Then pour over his head the Penalty of Boiling Water,
49. "Taste thou (this)! Truly wast thou mighty, full of honour!
"Truly this is what ye used to doubt!"
51. As to the Righteous (they will
be) in a position of Security,
52. Among Gardens and Springs;
Dressed in fine silk and in rich brocade, they will face each other;
So; and We shall join them to Companions with beautiful, big, and lustrous eyes.
55. There can they call for every kind of fruit in peace and security;
56. Nor will they there taste Death, except the first death; and He will
preserve them from the Penalty of the Blazing Fire,-
57. As a Bounty from
thy Lord! that will be the supreme achievement!
58. Verily, We have made
this (Qur'an) easy, in thy tongue, in order that they may give heed.
So wait thou and watch; for they (too) are waiting.
The Surah takes its name from the word dukhan which occurs in verse 10.
Period of Revelation
Its period of revelation also could not be
determined from any authentic tradition, but the internal evidence of the
subject matter shows that this Surah too was sent down in the same period in
which Surah Zukhruf and a few other earlier Surahs had been revealed. However,
this Surah was sent down somewhat later. Its historical background is this: When
the disbelievers of Makkah became more and more antagonistic in their attitude
and conduct, the Holy Prophet prayed: O God, help me with a famine like the
famine of Joseph. He thought that when the people would be afflicted with a
calamity, they would remember God, their hearts would soften and they would
accept the admonition. Allah granted his prayer, and the whole land was
overtaken by such a terrible famine that the people were sorely distressed. At
last, some of the Quraish chiefs among whom Hadrat Abdullah bin Masud has
particularly mentioned the name of Abu Sufyan came to the Holy Prophet and
requested him to pray to Allah to deliver his people from the calamity. On this
occasion Allah sent down this Surah.
Subject Matter and Topics
introduction to the address revealed on this occasion for the admonition and
warning of the people of Makkah contained some important points, which are as
"You, O People of Makkah, are wrong in thinking that the Quran
is being composed by Muhammad (upon whom be Allah's peace). This Book by itself
bears the clear testimony that it is not the composition of a man but of Allah,
Lord of the worlds."
"You are making a wrong estimate of the worth of
this Book. You think it is a calamity that has descended on you, whereas the
Hour when Allah, out of sheer mercy, decided to send His Messenger and His Book
to you was highly blessed."
"You are foolishly involved in the
misunderstanding that you will fight this Messenger and this Book and will win,
whereas the fact is that the Messenger has been raised and the Book sent down in
that particular Hour when Allah decides the destinies, and Allah's decisions are
not so weak that they may be changed to a person's liking, nor are they based on
ignorance and folly that there may be the likelihood of a mistake or error or
weakness in them. They are rather the firm and unalterable decisions of the
Ruler of the Universe, Who is All Hearing, All Knowing and All Wise. Therefore,
they cannot be treated lightly.
"You yourselves acknowledge that Allah
alone is the Master and Lord of the earth and heavens and of everything in the
Universe and also admit that life and death are only in His power, yet you
insist on making others your deities, for which the only argument you offer is
that that had been the practice since the time of your forefathers, whereas if a
person has the conviction that Allah alone is the Master, Sustainer and Giver of
life and death, he can never entertain the doubt that there can be other gods
also beside Him, who can be worthy of worship. If your forefathers had committed
this folly, there is no reason why you also should continue committing it
blindly. As a matter of fact, their Lord too was only One God, Who is your Lord,
and they also should have worshiped only Him, Whom you should worship."
"The only demand of Allah's Providence and Mercifulness is not this that He
should feed you, but also this that He should arrange guidance for you. For this
very guidance He has sent His Messenger and His Book."
introduction, the question of the famine that was raging in Makkah has been
discussed. As already mentioned, this famine had occurred on the Holy Prophet's
prayer, and he had prayed for it so that when the calamity befell it would break
the stubbornness of the disbelievers and then they would listen to the rebuke.
It looked as if this expectation was being fulfilled to some extent, for some of
the most stubborn enemies of the Truth, on account of the severities of the
famine, had cried out: "O Lord, avert this torment from us and we will believe."
At this, on the one hand, the Holy Prophet has been foretold :"These people will
not learn any lesson from such calamities. When they have turned away from the
Messenger, whose life, character, works and speech clearly show that he is
Allah's true Messenger, how will a mere famine help remove their disbelief?" On
the other, the unbelievers have been addressed, so as to say : "You lie when you
say that you will believe as soon as the torment is removed from you. We shall
just remove it to see how sincere you are in your promise. There is a graver
disaster about to fall upon you. You need a much more crushing blow :minor
misfortunes cannot set you right."
In this very connection, a reference
has been made a little below to Pharaoh and his people, implying that those
people also had met with precisely the same trial as the chiefs of the
disbelieving Quraish are now afflicted. To them also a similar noble and
honorable Messenger had come; they also had seen those express pointers and
signs which clearly showed that he had been appointed by Allah; they also had
gone on witnessing one sign after the other but they did not give up their
stubbornness, till at last they made up their mind to put an end to the
Messenger's life, and they met their doom, which has since become an object
lesson for the people for ever.
After this the theme of the Hereafter has
been taken up, which the disbelievers of Makkah vehemently denied. They said:
"We have never seen anyone rising back to life after death. Raise our
forefathers back to life if you are true in your claim about the life
hereafter." In response to this, two arguments for the Hereafter have been
presented briefly (1) That the denial of this creed has always proved
destructive for the morals; and (2) that the universe is not a plaything of a
thoughtless deity, but it is a wise system and no work of wisdom is ever vain or
useless. Then the disbelievers demand to bring their forefathers back to life
has been answered, thus : "This cannot be done every day to meet the demand of
the individuals, but Allah has appointed a time when He will resurrect all
mankind simultaneously and will subject them to accountability in His Court. If
one has to protect oneself there, one should think about it here. For no one
will be able to save himself there by his own power, nor by the power of any one
In connection with this Court of Allah, mention has been made of
the fate of those who will be declared as culprits and of the rewards of those
who will be declared as successful. The discourse has been concluded with this
warning: "This Quran has been revealed in simple language in your own tongue so
that you may understand it; yet if you do not understand it and insist on seeing
your evil end, you may wait; Our Prophet too is waiting. Whatever is to happen,
will happen at its own appointed time."