Surah Al-Ma'aarij (70): Read Online and Download - English Translation

This page contains all verses of surah Al-Ma'aarij in addition to Interpretation of all verses by Maarif-ul-Quran (Mufti Muhammad Shafi). In the first part you can read surah المعارج ordered in pages exactly as it is present in the Quran. To read an interpretation of a verse click on its number.

Information About Surah Al-Ma'aarij

Surah Al-Ma'aarij
سُورَةُ المَعَارِجِ
Page 568 (Verses from 1 to 10)

Tafsir of Surah Al-Ma'aarij (Maarif-ul-Quran: Mufti Muhammad Shafi)

English Translation

A supplicant asked for a punishment bound to happen

English Transliteration

Saala sailun biAAathabin waqiAAin

The disbelievers used to come to the Holy Prophet ﷺ in groups mocking at the Muslims, and denying the Islamic beliefs, including Resurrection. But at the same time, they used to claim, in ironical style, that they would enter the Paradise, and enjoy its bliss. This verse refers to this attitude of the disbelievers.

Since their pretended aspiration to enter Paradise was merely a mockery, and in fact they intended to deny Resurrection, their denial is refuted in this verse by saying that admittedly Allah has created them from a lifeless drop of semen, as they knew it well, and a drop of semen is more difficult to be transformed into a perfect human being. If Allah has power to make it a living man, how easy it is for Him to give life to a dead body! Still, they do not believe in Resurrection. Then, how can they enter Paradise?' (Muhammad Taqi Usmani)


سَأَلَ سَائِلٌ (A demanding person has asked for the punishment that is going to befall....70:1). The Arabic word suwal/su'al means to 'ask a question'. The word is used in more than one sense: [ 1] It could mean to inquire about something. In this sense, the Arabic word is followed by the preposition 'an' [ about ]; and [ 2] It is used in the sense of 'request'. In this sense, the word is followed by the preposition 'bi' [ for ] as in this instance.

Nasa'i transmits a narration from Sayyidna Ibn ` Abbas ؓ that this demanding person was Nadr Ibn Harith. In rejecting the Qur'an and the Prophet ﷺ ، he daringly demanded:

اللَّـهُمَّ إِن كَانَ هَـٰذَا هُوَ الْحَقَّ مِنْ عِندِكَ فَأَمْطِرْ‌ عَلَيْنَا حِجَارَ‌ةً مِّنَ السَّمَاءِ أَوِ ائْتِنَا بِعَذَابٍ أَلِيمٍ

'0 Allah, if this be indeed the truth [ revealed ] from You, then, rain down upon us stones from the heavens, or bring upon us a painful punishment. [ 8:32]

The result of this demand was that Nadr Ibn Harith was killed by Muslims in the Battle of Badr. (Mazhari, citing the narration of Ibn Abi Hatim). The Qur'an, further setting down the factual position of the demanded punishment, says that the punishment is inevitable and will most certainly occur in this world or in the Hereafter or in both the worlds. It cannot be averted. The impending punishment is from Allah, the Lord of the stairways. The last statement is also the proof of the preceding statement, in that the punishment is from the Lord of the Ascending Steps. It is not possible for anyone to avert it.

The word ma’ arij is the plural of mi` raj or mi'raj. It means a 'ladder or a staircase, having steps for reaching high places. The Divine attribute given in this verse as 'dhil-ma’ arij' [ Lord of the stairways ] means that He is the Lord of high degrees. This is the interpretation given by Said Ibn Jubair. Sayyidna Ibn Masud ؓ says that these stairways or higher rungs are seven heavens one above another, and 'dhil-ma’ arij' means 'dhis-samawat', that is to say, malik-us-samawat [ Lord of the heavens ].

English Translation

To the disbelievers; of it there is no preventer.

English Transliteration

Lilkafireena laysa lahu dafiAAun

English Translation

[It is] from Allah, owner of the ways of ascent.

English Transliteration

Mina Allahi thee almaAAariji

English Translation

The angels and the Spirit will ascend to Him during a Day the extent of which is fifty thousand years.

English Transliteration

TaAAruju almalaikatu waalrroohu ilayhi fee yawmin kana miqdaruhu khamseena alfa sanatin

تَعْرُ‌جُ الْمَلَائِكَةُ وَالرُّ‌وحُ (to whom ascend the angels and the Spirit ...70:4). In other words, the angels and Jibra'il (علیہ السلام) ascend these levels which are one on top of the other. Although the word 'angels' include 'Jibra'il (علیہ السلام) ، his name is singled out specifically on account of his special honour.

فِي يَوْمٍ كَانَ مِقْدَارُ‌هُ خَمْسِينَ أَلْفَ سَنَةٍ ( in a day the length of which is fifty thousand years…70:4).This statement, grammatically, is connected to an understood verb, which is yaqa'u [ will occur ]. The sense is that the inevitable punishment mentioned earlier will occur on a day the measure of which is fifty thousand years. Sayyidna Abu Said Khudri ؓ narrates that the blessed Companions asked the Holy Prophet ﷺ about the length of the day that measures fifty thousand years. He replied: "I swear by the Being in Whose control is my life! The day for the believers will be lighter and less than the time during which they would perform an obligatory salah." (Transmitted by Ahmad, Abu Yala, Ibn Hibban, Baihagi through a 'an' chain of narrators - Mazhari)

And the following Hadith is reported from Sayyidna Abu Hurairah ؓ

یکون علی المؤمنین کمقدار مابین الظھر والعصر اخرجہ الحاکم و البیھقی مرفوعاً و موقوفاً ۔ (مظھری)

"The time on this day for the believers will be like that between ` asr and maghrib". (This Hadith is reported both in marfu' and mauquf ways, that is, in some versions, this is the statement of Abu Hurairah ؓ himself, while in others it is attributed by him to the Holy Prophet ﷺ .)

These ahadith indicate that the length of fifty thousand years is a 'relative term'. In relation to unbelievers the day would be as long as five thousand years, and in relation to the believers it would be as short as the time between ` asr and maghrib or even shorter.

The Length of the Day of Judgment - A thousand years or Fifty Thousand Years? An Analysis

According to the above verse, the measure of the Day of Judgment is fifty thousand years but, according to the following verse of Surah As-Sajdah, the length of the day is mentioned as one thousand years:

يُدَبِّرُ‌ الْأَمْرَ‌ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ إِلَى الْأَرْ‌ضِ ثُمَّ يَعْرُ‌جُ إِلَيْهِ فِي يَوْمٍ كَانَ مِقْدَارُ‌هُ أَلْفَ سَنَةٍ مِّمَّا تَعُدُّونَ

He manages (every) matter from the sky to the earth, then it (every matter) will ascend to Him in a day the measure of which is a thousand years according to the way you count. [ 32:5]

Apparently, there seems to be a discrepancy between the two verses. The narratives cited earlier resolve this apparent contradiction. Length and shortness of time are relative concepts. It will be different according to different groups and their varying conditions. Relative to the entire body of die-hard unbelievers, it will measure fifty thousand years, and relative to the entire body of righteous believers, the day will be made so easy that it will seem easier than a person performing salah in this world. In between the two bodies of believers and unbelievers are there may be some groups of unbelievers for whom the day will seem to be one thousand years. It is also relative to varying psychological conditions that a person might be experiencing. If a person is feeling upset or is experiencing excruciating pain, time will hardly seem to move for him. An hour sometimes seems like more than a day or even more than a week. When a person, on the other hand, is in comfort and peace, the longest time will seem the shortest.

Mazhari has interpreted verse [ 5] of Surah As-Sajdah differently. He says that the day of a thousand years mentioned here refers to one of the days of the phenomenal world. Jibra'il (علیہ السلام) and other angels with him descend from the heavens to the earth and then ascend from the earth to the heavens. This is such a long journey that if man were to undertake it, it would take him a thousand years. Authentic ahadith report that the journey from heavens to earth takes five hundred years and the journey back from earth to the heaven takes another five hundred years, totalling a thousand years according to human travelling. Assuming man were to conquer this distance, a return journey would take him a thousand years between heavens and earth and back, although the angels cover this distance in a very short time. In short, verse [ 5] of Surah As-Sajdah refers to a day of the phenomenal world while the verse of Surah Al-Ma` arij refers to the Day of Judgment which will be very much longer than the days of this world, the length and shortness of which will be experienced differently by different people according to their conditions. And Allah, the Pure and Exalted, knows best!

English Translation

So be patient with gracious patience.

English Transliteration

Faisbir sabran jameelan

English Translation

Indeed, they see it [as] distant,

English Transliteration

Innahum yarawnahu baAAeedan

إِنَّهُمْ يَرَ‌وْنَهُ بَعِيدًا وَنَرَ‌اهُ قَرِ‌يبًا (They see it far off, and We see it near....70:6-7). In this context, the expressions 'far off and 'near' do not refer to time or space, but 'far off in terms of possibility and occurrence. The verse purports to describe that the pagans see the occurrence of Resurrection as impossible, and Allah sees its occurrence not only possible, but a certain reality.

English Translation

But We see it [as] near.

English Transliteration

Wanarahu qareeban

English Translation

On the Day the sky will be like murky oil,

English Transliteration

Yawma takoonu alssamao kaalmuhli

English Translation

And the mountains will be like wool,

English Transliteration

Watakoonu aljibalu kaalAAihni

English Translation

And no friend will ask [anything of] a friend,

English Transliteration

Wala yasalu hameemun hameeman

وَلَا يَسْأَلُ حَمِيمٌ حَمِيمًا يُبَصَّرُ‌ونَهُمْ (and no friend will ask about any friend, (though) they will be made to see each other....70:10, 11). The word hamim means a 'sincere friend'. The context describes the horrors of the Day of Resurrection. On that Day, no bosom friend will inquire about his friend - let alone helping him. This is not because they will not be able to see each other. The Divine power, in fact, will make them see each other. Every person will be in a state of 'each for himself. No person will be able to pay heed to the comfort or discomfort, pleasure or pain of others.