Surah Al-Muminoon (23): Read Online and Download - English Translation

This page contains all verses of surah Al-Muminoon in addition to Interpretation of all verses by Maarif-ul-Quran (Mufti Muhammad Shafi). In the first part you can read surah المؤمنون 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-Muminoon

Surah Al-Muminoon
سُورَةُ المُؤۡمِنُونَ
Page 342 (Verses from 1 to 17)

قَدْ أَفْلَحَ ٱلْمُؤْمِنُونَ ٱلَّذِينَ هُمْ فِى صَلَاتِهِمْ خَٰشِعُونَ وَٱلَّذِينَ هُمْ عَنِ ٱللَّغْوِ مُعْرِضُونَ وَٱلَّذِينَ هُمْ لِلزَّكَوٰةِ فَٰعِلُونَ وَٱلَّذِينَ هُمْ لِفُرُوجِهِمْ حَٰفِظُونَ إِلَّا عَلَىٰٓ أَزْوَٰجِهِمْ أَوْ مَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَٰنُهُمْ فَإِنَّهُمْ غَيْرُ مَلُومِينَ فَمَنِ ٱبْتَغَىٰ وَرَآءَ ذَٰلِكَ فَأُو۟لَٰٓئِكَ هُمُ ٱلْعَادُونَ وَٱلَّذِينَ هُمْ لِأَمَٰنَٰتِهِمْ وَعَهْدِهِمْ رَٰعُونَ وَٱلَّذِينَ هُمْ عَلَىٰ صَلَوَٰتِهِمْ يُحَافِظُونَ أُو۟لَٰٓئِكَ هُمُ ٱلْوَٰرِثُونَ ٱلَّذِينَ يَرِثُونَ ٱلْفِرْدَوْسَ هُمْ فِيهَا خَٰلِدُونَ وَلَقَدْ خَلَقْنَا ٱلْإِنسَٰنَ مِن سُلَٰلَةٍ مِّن طِينٍ ثُمَّ جَعَلْنَٰهُ نُطْفَةً فِى قَرَارٍ مَّكِينٍ ثُمَّ خَلَقْنَا ٱلنُّطْفَةَ عَلَقَةً فَخَلَقْنَا ٱلْعَلَقَةَ مُضْغَةً فَخَلَقْنَا ٱلْمُضْغَةَ عِظَٰمًا فَكَسَوْنَا ٱلْعِظَٰمَ لَحْمًا ثُمَّ أَنشَأْنَٰهُ خَلْقًا ءَاخَرَ ۚ فَتَبَارَكَ ٱللَّهُ أَحْسَنُ ٱلْخَٰلِقِينَ ثُمَّ إِنَّكُم بَعْدَ ذَٰلِكَ لَمَيِّتُونَ ثُمَّ إِنَّكُمْ يَوْمَ ٱلْقِيَٰمَةِ تُبْعَثُونَ وَلَقَدْ خَلَقْنَا فَوْقَكُمْ سَبْعَ طَرَآئِقَ وَمَا كُنَّا عَنِ ٱلْخَلْقِ غَٰفِلِينَ

Listen to Surah Al-Muminoon (Arabic and English translation)

Tafsir of Surah Al-Muminoon (Maarif-ul-Quran: Mufti Muhammad Shafi)

English Translation

Certainly will the believers have succeeded:

English Transliteration

Qad aflaha almuminoona

What is Falah? How and from where can it be obtained?

قَدْ أَفْلَحَ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ

Success is really attained by the believers - 23:1.

The word falah (translated above as 'success' ) has been used in the Qur'an and Sunnah on numerous occasions. The call to prayers invites every Muslim towards falah five times a day. The word signifies the attainment of all desires as well as protection from all misfortunes. (Qamus). It is so comprehensive in its connotation that it may be regarded as the acme of one's desire - but the total falah, where no desire remains unfulfilled or complete immunity from the vicissitudes of fate exists, is not granted even to great kings or to the most revered prophets of Allah. In any case there is an ever-present fear of a decline in or loss of good fortune, or the apprehension of an impending disaster, and no living person can claim to be free from it.

Thus it is evident that total falah cannot be achieved in this world which is a place of pain and suffering, where nothing is everlasting and everything must ultimately perish. However this priceless commodity will be available in another world, namely the Paradise and it is there that people will achieve all their wishes very promptly وَلَهُم مَّا يَدَّعُونَ (They have all that they call for - 36:57). In that world there will be no sorrow, no distress, and everyone will enter there with the following words on his lips:

الْحَمْدُ لِلَّـهِ الَّذِي أَذْهَبَ عَنَّا الْحَزَنَ إِنَّ رَ‌بَّنَا لَغَفُورٌ‌ شَكُورٌ‌ الَّذِي أَحَلَّنَا دَارَ‌ الْمُقَامَةِ مِن فَضْلِهِ

Praise belongs to Allah who has put away all sorrow from us. Surely our Lord is All-Forgiving, All-Thankful, who of His bounty has made us to dwell in the abode of everlasting life -35:34, 35.

This verse also suggest that in this world there is nobody who at some time or the other has not been afflicted by pain and anguish. Therefore, on entering the Paradise people will say that they have been delivered from all sufferings. In Surah al-A` la while the Qur’ an says that falah may be obtained by purifying oneself against sins (قَدْ أَفْلَحَ مَن تَزَكَّىٰ ), it also says that total falah may be achieved in the Hereafter only. A Person who aims at falah must not succumb to the temptations of this world:

بَلْ تُؤْثِرُ‌ونَ الْحَيَاةَ الدُّنْيَا وَالْآخِرَ‌ةُ خَيْرٌ‌ وَأَبْقَىٰ

Nay, but you prefer the present life; and the world to come is better, and more lasting. - 8.7: 16, 17

In brief, while total falah may be obtained in the Paradise only, Allah grants falah to his servants in this world also in the narrow sense of the word i.e. he grants them prosperity and relief from pain. In the present verse Allah has promised falah to those believers who possess the seven attributes mentioned therein, and it includes the total falah which can be achieved in the Hereafter only in addition to whatever falah may be obtained in this world.

Here one may ask that while the promise of total falah in the Hereafter to the believers who possess the seven attributes mentioned in this verse is understandable, the common experience is that in this world the recipients of falah (prosperity and success) are generally the infidels and the impious persons. On the other hand the prophets and other reformers have, in all ages, suffered privations of life. The answer to this is that since total falah is to be achieved in the Hereafter only, it is inevitable that everybody in this world, whether he is a good and a pious man or whether he is a wicked person and an unbeliever, must face a certain measure of pain and hardship. Similarly every person, good or bad, has some of his wishes granted in this world. In these circumstances how is one to decide as to which of these two categories is the recipient of falah. The answer to this question can only be provided by the fate which awaits them.

Human experience and observations provide sufficient evidence that although the pious people who possess the seven attributes mentioned above may at times face hardships and tribulations in this world, yet very soon they are released from all distress and they achieve their wishes. They command the respect of the whole world as long as they live and then after their death their memory is cherished and revered by all.

The seven attributes of a perfect Believer on the basis of which he has been promised falah in this verse both in this world and in the Hereafter

The first and most important attribute which is fundamental and basic to everything else is that a person should be a true believer. The other seven attributes mentioned in the verse are discussed below.

The first attribute is خُشُوع Khushu` (translated in the text as being concentrative) during prayers. The literal meaning of this word is "calmness", but in religious terminology it means "to bring about a state of perfect concentration in the heart" so that he does not knowingly allow any thoughts to enter his heart other than the remembrance of Allah. It also means that during prayers a person must abstain from moving his body and limbs unnecessarily (Bayan u1-Qur'an). He must, in particular, avoid those movements of the body which have been forbidden by the Holy Prophet ﷺ and which the jurists have compiled under the general heading مَکرُوھَات (things which are disliked during prayers). Tafsir Mazhari quotes the above definition of خُشُوع (Khushu`) from Sayyidna ` Amr Ibn Dinar ؓ . Other scholars have given different definitions of this word, but they are in fact further details of what the serenity of the heart and the body means. For instance, according to Sayyidna Mujahid, casting down one's eyes and keeping the voice low is خُشُوع whereas Sayyidna ` Ali ؓ said that خُشُوع is to refrain from casting sideways glances obliquely. Sayyidna ` Ata' says that the word خُشُوع means "not toying with any part of the body". There is a hadith from Sayyidna Abu Dharr ؓ that the Holy Prophet ﷺ once said, "Allah keeps an eye over His servant during prayers so long as he concentrates his attention on Allah, but when he turns his attention elsewhere and glances obliquely sideways, Allah also turns away from him." (Mazhari) The Holy Prophet ﷺ is reported to have directed Sayyidna 'Anas رضی اللہ تعالیٰ عنہ to keep his eyes fixed at the spot which he touched with his forehead when performing sajdah (prostration) and not to look right and left during prayers.

Sayyidna Abu Hurairah ؓ says that the Holy Prophet ﷺ saw a man praying who was toying with his beard and remarked لو خشع قلب ھٰذا لخشعت جوارحہ (If this man had Khushu` in his heart, his body and limbs would have remained calm).

How important is Khushu' during prayers?

Imam Ghazzali, Qurtubi and some other scholars are of the view that Khushu` during prayers is obligatory and a prayer offered without total Khushu` will be deemed not to have been performed. However there are others who believe that while Khushu' is the essence of prayers and its absence deprives the prayers of their true purpose, yet it cannot be regarded as an indispensable condition for the prayers to be valid and its absence will not render it necessary to repeat performance of the prayers.

Hakim ul-Ummah has written in Bayan ul-Qur'an that while Khushu' is not a necessary condition for the validity of the prayers, yet it is an essential element for the acceptance of the prayers by Allah and from this point of view it is obligatory. Tabarani in his book al-Mu'jim al-Kabir has related a hadith on the authority of Sayyidna Abu Darda' ؓ that the Holy Prophet ﷺ said, "The first thing that will be taken away from this Ummah is Khushu' so much so that a time will come when no one will be left to practice Khushu"'.

The second attribute of a good Muslim is that he abstains from frivolous and vain things. لَغو (Laghw, translated in the text as 'vain things' ) means useless talk and action which do not bring any religious reward and in its extreme form it may include sinful acts that are positively harmful and must, therefore, be avoided. And in its mild from laghw is neither useful nor harmful but it is very desirable to give up this habit. There is a hadith in which the Holy Prophet ﷺ said من حسن اسلام المرأ ترکہ ما لا یعنیہ (It is a part of one's being a fair Muslim that he gives up all that is useless for him). For these reasons guarding oneself against useless acts has been described as an attribute of a good Muslim in this verse.

The third attribute is Zakah which, literally means "to purify" but in religious terminology it means giving in charity a portion of one's wealth subject to certain prescribed conditions and the word has been generally used in the Qur'an in this sense. This meaning of the word can be applied in this verse also. However this meaning of the word in the present context has been questioned by some scholars on the ground that this verse was revealed in Makkah when Zakah was not made obligatory. (Zakah was made obligatory after Hijrah to Madinah). Ibn Kathir and other commentators have answered this objection by claiming that Zakah was in actual fact made obligatory in Makkah as will be evident from Surah Al-Muzzammil, which is by consensus a Makkan Surah, in which the words وَآتُوا الزَّكَاةَ (and pay zakah) occur alongside of the words أَقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ. However arrangements for its collection and details regarding the determination of wealth liable to Zakah .(nisab) were settled after Hijrah to Madinah. According to this interpretation of the verse Zakah was made obligatory in Makkah but rules prescribing its various details were formulated in Madinah. As regards those scholars who hold the view that Zakah was made obligatory after Hijrah to Madinah, they believe that the word must be interpreted here in its common literal sense i.e. to purify one's own self. There is an indication in the verse itself which supports this meaning of the word. It will be observed that wherever obligatory Zakah has been mentioned in the Qur'an the words used are لِلزَّكَاةِ فَاعِلُونَ ، یوتون الزَّكَاةِ and اُتوا الزَّكَاةِ (which refer to the 'payment' of zakah) whereas here the words used are لِلزَّكَاةِ فَاعِلُونَ (who are performers of zakah) which clearly indicates that in this verse the word has not been used in its technical meaning. Besides, the word فَاعِلُونَ (performers) is related to فعل (performance) and technically Zakah is not an act but a portion of wealth and the use of the word فَاعِلُونَ for this portion of wealth needs suitable explanation. If the technical meaning of the word Zakah is adopted, then its being obligatory and binding on all Muslims is undisputed and if the word means purification of soul then that too is obligatory and to cleanse one's soul of impurities and sins such as polytheism, hypocrisy, vanity, jealousy, hatred, greed, miserliness is called تزکیہ (tazkiyah). All these things are forbidden and are major sins and it is obligatory to purify one's soul from them.

Forth Attribute is guarding ones private parts against unlawful liaison. وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ لِفُرُ‌وجِهِمْ حَافِظُونَ إِلَّا عَلَىٰ أَزْوَاجِهِمْ أَوْ مَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَانُهُمْ (And who guard their private parts except from their wives or from those (slave-girls) owned by their right hands - 23:5, 6). They satisfy their needs with their wives and their legal bondmaids according to the prescribed laws and avoid unlawful liaison. About these people the Qur'an says فَإِنَّهُمْ غَيْرُ‌ مَلُومِينَ (Because they are not liable to blame - 23:6), which also means that the sexual desire must be kept under strict control and must not be allowed to become a means of gratification of one's passions.

English Translation

They who are during their prayer humbly submissive

English Transliteration

Allatheena hum fee salatihim khashiAAoona

English Translation

And they who turn away from ill speech

English Transliteration

Waallatheena hum AAani allaghwi muAAridoona

English Translation

And they who are observant of zakah

English Transliteration

Waallatheena hum lilzzakati faAAiloona

English Translation

And they who guard their private parts

English Transliteration

Waallatheena hum lifuroojihim hafithoona

English Translation

Except from their wives or those their right hands possess, for indeed, they will not be blamed -

English Transliteration

Illa AAala azwajihim aw ma malakat aymanuhum fainnahum ghayru maloomeena

English Translation

But whoever seeks beyond that, then those are the transgressors -

English Transliteration

Famani ibtagha waraa thalika faolaika humu alAAadoona

فَمَنِ ابْتَغَىٰ وَرَ‌اءَ ذَٰلِكَ فَأُولَـٰئِكَ هُمُ الْعَادُونَ (However, those who seek (sexual pleasure) beyond that are the transgressors - 7). Satisfying one's desire with someone other than one's own wife or a lawfully acquired slave-girl is strictly forbidden and the ban includes adultery (marrying a woman whom one is not allowed to marry under the religious code is also adultery), having sex with one's wife or slave-girl when she is menstruating or is confined, or having unnatural sex with them, homosexuality and bestiality, while most jurists include masturbation also in the ban. (Tafsir Bayan ul-Qur’ an, Qurtubi, al-Bahr ul-Muhit, etc.)

English Translation

And they who are to their trusts and their promises attentive

English Transliteration

Waallatheena hum liamanatihim waAAahdihim raAAoona

Fifth Attribute of a good Muslim is that he should discharge his trust truly and faithfully. وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ لِأَمَانَاتِهِمْ وَعَهْدِهِمْ رَ‌اعُونَ (And [ success is attained ] by those who honestly look after their trusts and covenant, - 23:8). The word اَمَنَات (trusts) covers everything which a person has undertaken to perform or which have been placed under his care as trust. Since it may be of many kinds, the word is used in plural, so that it may include all sorts of trusts whether they may relate to the rights of Allah or to the rights of human beings. To perform scrupulously all the injunctions and duties made obligatory by religious laws and to abstain from things which have been forbidden or declared undesirable is to look after the trust that relates to the rights of Allah. As regards the discharge of trusts relating to the rights of human beings, these take numerous forms, and the most well-known is that a person must promptly return to the owner on demand any goods which have been in his custody as trust. Any information received in confidence is a trust and to reveal it to anybody else without the permission of the person who gave it is a breach of trust. Mutual settlement between an employer and an employee of the terms of employment, i.e. the work to be done and time to be spent in the performance of work, and the wages to be paid is a trust and binding on both the parties and a violation of this agreement by either party would constitute a breach of trust. Hence discharge of trust is an all-encompassing word.

Sixth Attribute of a perfect Muslim is to fulfill his covenant. The word عھد . (covenant) has two connotations. One is a covenant between two parties specifying the duties and obligations of either party and is binding on both and a breach of this covenant by either party is a fraud and deceit and therefore forbidden in Islam. The other is where a person voluntarily promises to give something to someone or undertakes to do some job. This is known as وعدہ (promise) and its fulfillment is also obligatory under the dictates of Shari. There is a Hadith which says العدۃ دین (a promise is like a debt). It means that a promise is like a debt and must be fulfilled in the same manner as a debt must be discharged, the difference being that whereas the repayment of a debt can be enforced through a court of law, a voluntary promise is not enforceable likewise. Nevertheless the person making the promise is morally bound to abide by it and failure to do so would be a sin unless there is a religious ground for his inability to fulfill his promise.

English Translation

And they who carefully maintain their prayers -

English Transliteration

Waallatheena hum AAala salawatihim yuhafithoona

Seventh attribute

وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ عَلَىٰ صَلَوَاتِهِمْ يُحَافِظُونَ (And who consistently observe their prayers -23:9). To observe one’ s prayers here means to offer them regularly at the appointed time, and the word صَلَوَات (Prayers) has been used in the plural form to include all the five prayers. In an earlier verses the word صَلَوَاتِ (Salah: prayers) was used in the singular because the emphasis was on Khushu` which is the essence of all prayers whether they are fard, wajib, sunnah or nafl.

A careful study of the above seven attributes would show that they encompass all the duties which man owes to Allah and to fellow men, and all the laws governing those duties. A person who possesses these attributes and adheres to them is a complete mu'min (believer) and deserving of falah in this world and in the Hereafter. It will also be noted that these seven attributes begin and also end with a reference to prayers which suggests that if prayers are offered in the prescribed manner with all their requirements, the other attributes will appear automatically.

English Translation

Those are the inheritors

English Transliteration

Olaika humu alwarithoona

أُولَـٰئِكَ هُمُ الْوَارِ‌ثُونَ الَّذِينَ يَرِ‌ثُونَ الْفِرْ‌دَوْسَ

Those are the inheritors who will inherit Firdaus (Paradise) - 23:10, 11.

The good Muslims who possess the attributes described above have been declared in this verse to be the heirs to the garden of Paradise. There is a suggestion here that just as the assets of a deceased person must devolve on his heirs, similarly the possessors of these attributes will, without doubt, enter Paradise. It should be noted that the possessors of these seven qualities have been mentioned in the beginning as those who attain falah or success, then after describing these qualities it is mentioned in this last sentence that possessors of these qualities will inherit Paradise. This indicates that the total falah (success) may be achieved in Paradise only.

English Translation

Who will inherit al-Firdaus. They will abide therein eternally.

English Transliteration

Allatheena yarithoona alfirdawsa hum feeha khalidoona

English Translation

And certainly did We create man from an extract of clay.

English Transliteration

Walaqad khalaqna alinsana min sulalatin min teenin


In the earlier verses it was explained that man can achieve falah (success) in this world and in the Hereafter by spending his time in assiduously worshipping Allah and, in compliance with His commands, by keeping his body and soul pure at all times and by discharging the claims and duties which he owes to fellow human beings. The present verse gives an account of the universal and supreme power of Allah the Almighty and a manifestation of His power in the process leading to the creation of the human race. If a person whom Allah has given wisdom and intelligence ponders seriously the meanings of these verses, he must necessarily choose the path which would lead him to falah in this world and in the Hereafter.

وَلَقَدْ خَلَقْنَا الْإِنسَانَ مِن سُلَالَةٍ مِّن طِينٍ

And We have created man from an extract of clay. - 23:12

The word سُلَالَةٍ sulalah means "extract" and طِينٍ means "wet earth" or clay and the verse means that man was created from some special elements extracted from earth. Creation of mankind began with Sayyidna 'Adam (علیہ السلام) who was himself created from this essence of earth. Therefore the first creation has been related to earth after which the seed of one man becomes the means of another man's creation.

Seven stages of the creation of man

In the above verse seven stages in the creation of man have been described. These are:

(1) سُلَالَةٍ مِّن طِينٍ (an extract of clay).

(2) نُطْفَةً (sperm-drop),

(3) عَلَقَةَ (clot),

(4) مُضْغَةَ (foetus-lump),

(5) عِظَامَ (bones),

(6) clothing bones with flesh, and

(7) completion of the process of creation by blowing the spirit into the child.

A very interesting story about Sayyidna ` Abbas ؓ

Qurtubi in his commentary has related a very interesting story in which Sayyidna ` Abbas ؓ is said to have determined the exact date of the Night of Majesty (لَیلَۃُ القَدر) and based his reasoning on this verse: The story goes likes this. One day Sayyidna ` Umar ؓ ' while sitting in the company of some eminent companions of the Holy Prophet ﷺ ، asked them on what date of the month of Ramadan the Night of Majesty (Lailatulqadr) would fall. None of them was able to mention a specific date so they all said that only Allah knew the answer. Sayyidna Umar ؓ then turned to Sayyidna Ibn ` Abbas ؓ who was the youngest among them and asked him if he had an answer to the question. Sayyidna Ibn ` Abbas ؓ then said, "0 Amir ul-Mominin! Allah created seven skies and seven earths. He created man in seven stages and provided him sustenance from seven sources. Therefore in my opinion the Night of Majesty (لَیلَۃُ القَدر) will surely fall on the twenty-seventh night of the month of Ramadan." When Sayyidna Umar ؓ heard this reasoning, he said to the companions, "See, this lad has given an answer which none of you could give". This story is reproduced at length in the Musnad of Ibn Abi Shaibah. When Sayyidna Ibn ` Abbas ؓ mentioned the seven stages of man's creation, he was obviously alluding to this verse. As for the seven sources of human sustenance, the reference is to the verse in Surah ` Abas عبس :

وَفَاكِهَةً وَأَبًّا وَحَدَائِقَ غُلْبًا وَزَيْتُونًا وَنَخْلًا وَعِنَبًا وَقَضْبًا فَأَنبَتْنَا فِيهَا حَبًّا

And therein made the grains to grow and vines, and reeds, and olives, and palms, and dense-tree gardens, and fruits, and pastures. 80:27 - 31

This verse mentions eight items of which the first seven are food for human beings and the eighth provides fodder for animals.

The supreme beauty and eloquence of the Qur'anic language is evident from the fact that the seven stages of the creation of man have not all been described in the same manner. In describing the metamorphosis of the human foetus from one stage to the next, the word ثُمّ (afterwards) has been used at some place which is a suggestion of some delay in the process, while at other places the particle فَ has been used as a prefix indicating uninterrupted succession in the process of change. Some of the changes in the human foetus in mother's womb take a long time to take place whereas other changes occur in relatively shorter periods. Thus the word ثُمّ has been used in the context of the first two changes. First there is سُلَالَةٍ مِّن طِينٍ

English Translation

Then We placed him as a sperm-drop in a firm lodging.

English Transliteration

Thumma jaAAalnahu nutfatan fee qararin makeenin

In the next verse : ثُمَّ جَعَلْنَاهُ نُطْفَةً (then We made him a sperm-drop) this same point has been mentioned differently. The meaning of all this is that the first life i.e. Sayyidna 'Adam علیہ السلامٍ was created from earth and continued further with the sperm which is a refined element of the same earth. This is how a majority of commentators have explained this verse. Another view is that (extract of clay) may also mean human seed because it is produced from the food which a man takes and the food grows out of the earth.

English Translation

Then We made the sperm-drop into a clinging clot, and We made the clot into a lump [of flesh], and We made [from] the lump, bones, and We covered the bones with flesh; then We developed him into another creation. So blessed is Allah, the best of creators.

English Transliteration

Thumma khalaqna alnnutfata AAalaqatan fakhalaqna alAAalaqata mudghatan fakhalaqna almudghata AAithaman fakasawna alAAithama lahman thumma anshanahu khalqan akhara fatabaraka Allahu ahsanu alkhaliqeena

(an extract of clay) which changes into the seed ثُمَّ جَعَلْنَاهُ نُطْفَةً (then We made him a sperm-drop). Now it is well known that the production of food from the earth, its absorption in the human body of that special element which changes into the seed is a long drawn out process. Similarly the third stage of the transformation from the sperm-drop نُّطْفَةَ to clot مُضْغَةَ takes a long time to materialize and has been described by the Qur'an in the words ثُمَّ خَلَقْنَا النُّطْفَةَ عَلَقَةً (then We made the sperm-drop into a clot - 23:14 ). The next three stages, i.e. from عَلَقَةً (clot) to مُضْغَةَ (foetus-lump), from to bones, and thirdly clothing flesh on bones occurring in short periods is not too remote a possibility, and in describing these three changes the particle فَ has been used which, as has been explained earlier, is indicative of uninterrupted succession. The final change in the condition of the unborn child comes when life and soul are breathed into it. And since, according to human reckoning, putting life and soul into a lifeless mass must necessarily take a long time, therefore, here again the word ثُم has been used to describe this final stage of transformation.

The final stage in human creation, i.e. putting life and soul into it

The Qur'an describes this change with the words ثُمَّ أَنشَأْنَاهُ خَلْقًا آخَرَ‌ (We developed it into another creature - 23:14). This distinction is due to the fact that whereas the first six stages in the creation of man are related to the world of elements and substances, the final stage relates to the transfer of soul from the world of spirits into his body and is, therefore, described as - خَلْقًا آخَرَ‌ i.e. a special or distinct creation.

Biological spirit and Real Spirit

"We developed it into another creature" in this verse is interpreted by Ibn ` Abbas, Mujahid, Sha'bi, ` Ikrimah, Dahhak and Abul-` Aliyah ؓ to mean blowing spirit into the body. Tafsir Mazhari mentions that most probably it refers to the biological spirit. According to its explanation spirits are of two kinds. Biological spirit is a subtle substance embedded in every part of the body of a human being or an animal. This is the spirit recognized by medical scientists and the philosophers. This biological spirit is created after the organs are created. That is why its creation is mentioned in this verse with the word ثُمَّ (thereafter). The other kind of spirit is the 'Real spirit'. It belongs to the spiritual universe. This real spirit was created long before the creation of human beings, and it is these spirits which were assembled by Allah when He asked them, "Am I not your Lord?" and they answered, "Why not?" This Real Spirit having been created long before, is connected by Allah Ta’ ala with biological spirit in a manner not known to anyone. Life of man depends on this connection and when biological spirit of a person is disconnected from Real Spirit, he dies. Therefore, it is also possible that it is this connection which is referred to in this verse by the words another creation.

فَتَبَارَ‌كَ اللَّـهُ أَحْسَنُ الْخَالِقِينَ (So, glorious is Allah, the best of the creators-23:14). The word خَلق and تَخلِیق mean "to create something from nothing", which is a very special and exclusive attribute of Allah. Thus, Allah alone is the creator and none else. Neither an angel nor man can create anything. However sometime these two words are used in the sense of manufacturing which is no more than the reshaping and assembly by man of substances created by Allah. The man who does this is also called the creator of an article. The Qur'an says تَخْلُقُونَ إِفْكًا (you invent a lie 29:17), and again it says about Sayyidna ` Isa أَنِّي أَخْلُقُ لَكُم مِّنَ الطِّينِ كَهَيْئَةِ الطَّيْرِ‌ (I create for you from clay something in the shape of a bird - 3:49). In all these places the word خَلق (creating) has been used in the metaphorical sense to mean "manufacture".

Here the word خَالِقِینَ (creators) has been used in the plural and the meaning is that though ordinary human beings who manufacture things may also be called خَالِق or creators in the metaphorical sense, yet Allah is the best among all those creators.

English Translation

Then indeed, after that you are to die.

English Transliteration

Thumma innakum baAAda thalika lamayyitoona

ثُمَّ إِنَّكُم بَعْدَ ذَٰلِكَ لَمَيِّتُونَ

Then, after all this, you are to die - 23:15

The preceding three verses were about the creation of man and this verse and the one which follows is about the life to come. In this verse Allah says that after his creation man will spend a period of time in this world and then will meet his death from which there is no escape. Then He says that man will be raised on the Day of Resurrection

English Translation

Then indeed you, on the Day of Resurrection, will be resurrected.

English Transliteration

Thumma innakum yawma alqiyamati tubAAathoona

ثُمَّ إِنَّكُمْ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ تُبْعَثُونَ (Then you are to be raised again on the Day of Judgment - 23:16) so that his deeds and actions in this world may be weighed and he may be sent to Paradise or Hell as he deserves. This is how a man's life would end. Further on there is a brief mention of the events which will take place in the intervening period between his life in this world and the life to come, and of the gift and blessings which Allah will bestow upon him. This is prefaced by a reference to the creation of the skies.

English Translation

And We have created above you seven layered heavens, and never have We been of [Our] creation unaware.

English Transliteration

Walaqad khalaqna fawqakum sabAAa taraiqa wama kunna AAani alkhalqi ghafileena

وَلَقَدْ خَلَقْنَا فَوْقَكُمْ سَبْعَ طَرَ‌ائِقَ

And We created upon you seven paths (heavens) - 23:17

طَرَ‌ائِقَ is the plural of طَرِیقَۃ which may also be used as a synonym for طَبقَہ (tier) in which case the meaning would be that Allah created seven skies overhead row upon row in tiers. The other and more common meaning of the word طَرِیقَۃ is "road" or "passage" in which case the verse would mean that these skies provide a path for the angels who bring commands from Allah to the earth.

وَمَا كُنَّا عَنِ الْخَلْقِ غَافِلِينَ (And We were never neglectful of the creation - 23:17). The verse means that Allah did not just abandon man after creating him, but was ever mindful of his needs and provided the means for his sustenance and growth. To this end He first created the skies and from the skies He sent forth rains upon the earth which then produced food for men's nourishment.

The Divine system of providing water to meet human needs

وَمَا كُنَّا عَنِ الْخَلْقِ غَافِلِينَ وَمَا كُنَّا عَنِ الْخَلْقِ غَافِلِينَ

And We sent down water from the sky in due measure, then We lodged it in the earth, and of course, We are able to take it away. - 23:18