Abdullah Yusuf Ali Translation
2. The Revelation of the Book is from Allah the Exalted in
Power, Full of Wisdom.
3. We created not the heavens and the earth and
all between them but for just ends, and for a Term Appointed: But those who
reject Faith turn away from that whereof they are warned.
4. Say: "Do ye
see what it is ye invoke besides Allah. Show me what it is they have created on
earth, or have they a share in the heavens bring me a book (revealed) before
this, or any remnant of knowledge (ye may have), if ye are telling the truth!
5. And who is more astray than one who invokes besides Allah, such as will
not answer him to the Day of Judgment, and who (in fact) are unconscious of
their call (to them)?
6. And when mankind are gathered together (at the
Resurrection), they will be hostile to them and reject their worship
7. When Our Clear Signs are rehearsed to them, the
Unbelievers say, of the Truth when it comes to them: "This is evident sorcery!"
8. Or do they say, "He has forged it"? Say: "Had I forged it, then can ye
obtain no single (blessing) for me from Allah. He knows best of that whereof ye
talk (so glibly)! Enough is He for a witness between me and you! And he is
Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful."
9. Say: "I am no bringer of new-fangled
doctrine among the apostles, nor do I know what will be done with me or with
you. I follow but that which is revealed to me by inspiration; I am but a Warner
open and clear."
10. Say: "See ye? If (this teaching) be from Allah, and
ye reject it, and a witness from among the Children of Israel testifies to its
similarity (with earlier scripture), and has believed while ye are arrogant,
(how unjust ye are!) truly, Allah guides not a people unjust."
Unbelievers say of those who believe: "If (this Message) were a good thing,
(such men) would not have gone to it first, before us!" And seeing that they
guide not themselves thereby, they will say, "this is an (old,) falsehood!"
12. And before this, was the Book of Moses as a guide and a mercy: And this
Book confirms (it) in the Arabic tongue; to admonish the unjust, and as Glad
Tidings to those who do right.
13. Verily those who say, "Our Lord is
Allah," and remain firm (on that Path),- on them shall be no fear, nor shall
14. Such shall be Companions of the Gardens, dwelling
therein (for aye): a recompense for their (good) deeds.
15. We have
enjoined on man kindness to his parents: In pain did his mother bear him, and in
pain did she give him birth. The carrying of the (child) to his weaning is (a
period of) thirty months. At length, when he reaches the age of full strength
and attains forty years, he says, "O my Lord! Grant me that I may be grateful
for Thy favour which Thou has bestowed upon me, and upon both my parents, and
that I may work righteousness such as Thou mayest approve; and be gracious to me
in my issue. Truly have I turned to Thee and truly do I bow (to Thee) in Islam."
16. Such are they from whom We shall accept the best of their deeds and pass
by their ill deeds: (They shall be) among the Companions of the Garden: a
promise! of truth, which was made to them (in this life).
17. But (there
is one) who says to his parents, "Fie on you! Do ye hold out the promise to me
that I shall be raised up, even though generations have passed before me
(without rising again)?" And they two seek Allah's aid, (and rebuke the son):
"Woe to thee! Have faith! for the promise of Allah is true." But he says, "This
is nothing but tales of the ancients!"
18. Such are they against whom is
proved the sentence among the previous generations of Jinns and men, that have
passed away; for they will be (utterly) lost.
19. And to all are
(assigned) degrees according to the deeds which they (have done), and in order
that (Allah) may recompense their deeds, and no injustice be done to them.
20. And on the Day that the Unbelievers will be placed before the Fire, (It
will be said to them): "Ye received your good things in the life of the world,
and ye took your pleasure out of them: but today shall ye be recompensed with a
Penalty of humiliation: for that ye were arrogant on earth without just cause,
and that ye (ever) transgressed."
21. Mention (Hud) one of 'Ad's (own)
brethren: Behold, he warned his people about the winding Sand-tracts: but there
have been warners before him and after him: "Worship ye none other than Allah.
Truly I fear for you the Penalty of a Mighty Day."
22. They said: "Hast
thou come in order to turn us aside from our gods? Then bring upon us the
(calamity) with which thou dost threaten us, if thou art telling the truth?"
23. He said: "The Knowledge (of when it will come) is only with Allah. I
proclaim to you the mission on which I have been sent: But I see that ye are a
people in ignorance!"..
24. Then, when they saw the (Penalty in the shape
of) a cloud traversing the sky, coming to meet their valleys, they said, "This
cloud will give us rain!" "Nay, it is the (Calamity) ye were asking to be
hastened!- A wind wherein is a Grievous Penalty!
25. "Everything will it
destroy by the command of its Lord!" Then by the morning they - nothing was to
be seen but (the ruins of) their houses! thus do We recompense those given to
26. And We had firmly established them in a (prosperity and) power
which We have not given to you (ye Quraish!) and We had endowed them with
(faculties of) hearing, seeing, heart and intellect: but of no profit to them
were their (faculties of) hearing, sight, and heart and intellect, when they
went on rejecting the Signs of Allah. and they were (completely) encircled by
that which they used to mock at!
27. We destroyed aforetime populations
round about you; and We have shown the Signs in various ways, that they may turn
28. Why then was no help forthcoming to them from those whom
they worshipped as gods, besides Allah, as a means of access (to Allah.? Nay,
they left them in the lurch: but that was their falsehood and their invention.
29. Behold, We turned towards thee a company of Jinns (quietly) listening to
the Qur'an: when they stood in the presence thereof, they said, "Listen in
silence!" When the (reading) was finished, they returned to their people, to
warn (them of their sins).
30. They said, "O our people! We have heard a
Book revealed after Moses, confirming what came before it: it guides (men) to
the Truth and to a Straight Path.
31. "O our people, hearken to the one
who invites (you) to Allah, and believe in him: He will forgive you your faults,
and deliver you from a Penalty Grievous.
32. "If any does not hearken to
the one who invites (us) to Allah, he cannot frustrate ((Allah)'s Plan) on
earth, and no protectors can he have besides Allah. such men (wander) in
33. See they not that Allah, Who created the heavens and
the earth, and never wearied with their creation, is able to give life to the
dead? Yea, verily He has power over all things.
34. And on the Day that
the Unbelievers will be placed before the Fire, (they will be asked,) "Is this
not the Truth?" they will say, "Yea, by our Lord!" (One will say:) "Then taste
ye the Penalty, for that ye were wont to deny (Truth)!"
patiently persevere, as did (all) apostles of inflexible purpose; and be in no
haste about the (Unbelievers). On the Day that they see the (Punishment)
promised them, (it will be) as if they had not tarried more than an hour in a
single day. (Thine but) to proclaim the Message: but shall any be destroyed
except those who transgress?
It is derived from the sentence idh andhara qauma-hu bil Ahqaf-i of verse 21.
Period of Revelation
It is determined by an historical
event that has been mentioned in vv. 29-32. This incident of the visit of the
jinn and their going back after listening to the Qur'an had occurred, according
to agreed traditions of the Hadith and biographical literature, at the time when
the Holy Prophet had halted at Makkah during his return journey from Ta'if to
Makkah. And according to all authentic historical traditions he had gone to
Ta'if three years before the Hijrah; therefore it is determined that this Surah
was sent down towards the end of the 10th year or in the early part of the 11th
year of the Prophethood.
10th year of the Prophethood was a year of extreme persecution and distress in
the Holy prophet's life. The Quraish and the other tribes had continued their
boycott of the Bani Hashim and the Muslims for three years and the Holy Prophet
and the people of his family and Companions lay besieged in Shi'b Abi Talib. The
Quraish had blocked up this locality from every side so that no supplies of any
kind could reach the besieged people. Only during the Hajj season they were
allowed to come out and buy some articles of necessity. But even at that time
whenever Abu Lahab noticed any of them approaching the market place or a trading
caravan he would call out to the merchants exhorting them to announce forbidding
rates of their articles for them, and would pledge that he himself would buy
those articles so that they did not suffer any loss. This boycott which
continued uninterrupted for three years had broken the back of the Muslims and
the Bani Hashim; so much so that at times they were even forced to eat grass and
the leaves of trees.
At last, when the siege was lifted this year, Abu
Talib, the Holy Prophet's uncle, who had been shielding him for ten long years,
died, and hardly a month later his wife, Hadrat Khadijah, who had been a source
of peace and consolation for him ever since the beginning of the call, also
passed away. Because of these tragic incidents, which closely followed each
other, the Holy Prophet used to refer to this year as the year of sorrow and
After the death of Hadart Khadijah and Abu Talib the disbelievers
of Makkah became even bolder against the Holy Prophet. They started treating him
even more harshly. So much so that it became difficult for him to step out of
his house. Of these days Ibn Hisham has related the incident that a Quraish
scoundrel one day threw dust at him openly in the street.
At last, the
Holy Prophet left for Ta'if with the intention that he should invite the Bani
Thaqif to Islam, for even if they did not accept Islam, they might at least be
persuaded to allow him to work for his mission peacefully. He did not have the
facility of any conveyance at that time, and traveled all the way to Ta'if on
foot. According to some traditions, he had gone there alone, but according to
others, he was accompanied by Zaid bin Harithah. He stayed at Ta'if for a few
days, and approached each of the chiefs and nobles of the Bani Thaqif and talked
to him about his mission. But not only they refused to listen to him, but
plainly gave him the notice that he should leave their city, for they feared
that his preaching might "spoil" their younger generation. Thus, he was
compelled to leave Ta'if. When he was leaving the city, the chiefs of Thaqif set
their slaves and scoundrels behind him, who went on crying at him, abusing him
and petting him with stones for a long way from either side of the road till he
became broken down with wounds and his shoes were filled with blood. Wearied and
exhausted he took shelter in the shade of the wall of a garden outside Ta'if,
"O God, to Thee I complain of my weakness, little resource,
and lowliness before men. O Most Merciful, Thou art the Lord of the weak, and
Thou art my Lord. To whom wilt Thou confide me? To one afar who will misuse me?
Or to an enemy to whom Thou hast given power over me?If Thou art not angry with
me I care not. Thy favor is more wide for me. I take refuge in the light of Thy
countenance by which the darkness is illumined, and the things of this world and
the next are rightly ordered, lest Thy anger descend upon me or Thy wrath light
upon me. It is for Thee to be satisfied until Thou art well pleased. There is no
power and no might save in Thee." (Ibn Hisham:A. Guillaume's Translation, p.
Grieved and heart broken when he returned and reached near Qarn al-Manazil,
he felt as though the sky was overcast by clouds. He looked up and saw Gabriel
in front of him, who called out:" Allah has heard the way your people have
responded. He has, therefore, sent this angel in charge of the mountains. You
may command him as you please." Then the angel of the mountains greeted him and
submitted :"If you like I would overturn the mountains from either side upon
these people." The Holy Prophet replied : "No, but I expect that Allah will
create from their seed those who will worship none but Allah, the One." (Bukhari,
Dhikr al Mala'ikah; Muslim: Kitab al-Maghazi; Nasa'i :Al-Bauth).
this he went to stay for a few days at Makkah, perplexed as to how he would face
the people of Makkah, who, he thought, would be still further emboldened against
him after hearing what had happened at Ta'if. It was here that one night when he
was reciting the Qur'an in the Prayer, a group of the jinn happened to pass by
and listened to the Qur'an, believed in it, and returned to their people to
preach Islam. Thus, Allah gave His Prophet the good news that if the men were
running away from his invitation, there were many of the jinn, who had become
its believers, and they were spreading his message among their own kind.
Subject Matter and Topics
Such were the conditions when this Surah was sent
down. Anyone who keeps this background in view, on the one hand, and studies
this Surah, on the other, will have no doubt left in his mind that this is not
at all the composition of Muhammad (upon whom be Allah's peace), but "a
Revelation from the All Mighty, All Wise Allah." For nowhere in this Surah, from
the beginning to the end, does one find even a tinge of the human feelings and
reactions, which are naturally produced in a man who is passing through such
hard conditions. Had it been the word of Muhammad (upon whom be Allah's peace)
whom the occurrence of personal griefs one after the other and the countless and
the recent bitter experience at Ta'if had caused extreme anguish and distress,
it would have reflected in some degree the state of the mind of the man who was
the subject of these afflictions and griefs. Consider the prayer that we have
cited above: it contains his own language its every word is saturated with the
feelings that he had at the time. But this Surah which was sent down precisely
in the same period and was recited even by him under the same conditions, is
absolutely free from every sign or trace of the time.
The subject matter
of the Surah is to warn the disbelievers of the errors in which they were
involved, and also resisted arrogantly, and were condemning the man who was
trying to redeem them. They regarded the world as a useless and purposeless
place where they were not answerable to anyone. They thought that invitation to
Tauhid was false and stuck to the belief that their own deities were actually
the associates of Allah. They were not inclined to believe that the Qur'an was
the Word of the Lord of the worlds. They had a strange erroneous concept of
apostleship on the basis of which they were proposing strange criteria of
judging the Holy Prophet's claim to it. In their estimation one great proof of
Islam's not being based on the truth was that their elders and important chiefs
of the tribes and so called leaders of their nation were not accepting it and
only a few young men, and some poor folks and some slaves had affirmed faith in
it. They thought that Resurrection and life after death and the rewards and
punishments of the Hereafter were fabrications whose occurrence was absolutely
out of the question.
In this Surah each of these misconceptions has been
refuted in a brief but rational way, and the disbelievers have been warned that
if they would reject the invitation of the Qur'an and the Prophethood of the
Prophet Muhammad (upon whom be Allah's peace) by prejudice and stubbornness
instead of trying to understand its truth rationally, they would only be
preparing for their own doom.