Surah As-Saaffaat (37): Read Online and Download - English Translation

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

Surah As-Saaffaat
سُورَةُ الصَّافَّاتِ
Page 446 (Verses from 1 to 24)

وَٱلصَّٰٓفَّٰتِ صَفًّا فَٱلزَّٰجِرَٰتِ زَجْرًا فَٱلتَّٰلِيَٰتِ ذِكْرًا إِنَّ إِلَٰهَكُمْ لَوَٰحِدٌ رَّبُّ ٱلسَّمَٰوَٰتِ وَٱلْأَرْضِ وَمَا بَيْنَهُمَا وَرَبُّ ٱلْمَشَٰرِقِ إِنَّا زَيَّنَّا ٱلسَّمَآءَ ٱلدُّنْيَا بِزِينَةٍ ٱلْكَوَاكِبِ وَحِفْظًا مِّن كُلِّ شَيْطَٰنٍ مَّارِدٍ لَّا يَسَّمَّعُونَ إِلَى ٱلْمَلَإِ ٱلْأَعْلَىٰ وَيُقْذَفُونَ مِن كُلِّ جَانِبٍ دُحُورًا ۖ وَلَهُمْ عَذَابٌ وَاصِبٌ إِلَّا مَنْ خَطِفَ ٱلْخَطْفَةَ فَأَتْبَعَهُۥ شِهَابٌ ثَاقِبٌ فَٱسْتَفْتِهِمْ أَهُمْ أَشَدُّ خَلْقًا أَم مَّنْ خَلَقْنَآ ۚ إِنَّا خَلَقْنَٰهُم مِّن طِينٍ لَّازِبٍۭ بَلْ عَجِبْتَ وَيَسْخَرُونَ وَإِذَا ذُكِّرُوا۟ لَا يَذْكُرُونَ وَإِذَا رَأَوْا۟ ءَايَةً يَسْتَسْخِرُونَ وَقَالُوٓا۟ إِنْ هَٰذَآ إِلَّا سِحْرٌ مُّبِينٌ أَءِذَا مِتْنَا وَكُنَّا تُرَابًا وَعِظَٰمًا أَءِنَّا لَمَبْعُوثُونَ أَوَءَابَآؤُنَا ٱلْأَوَّلُونَ قُلْ نَعَمْ وَأَنتُمْ دَٰخِرُونَ فَإِنَّمَا هِىَ زَجْرَةٌ وَٰحِدَةٌ فَإِذَا هُمْ يَنظُرُونَ وَقَالُوا۟ يَٰوَيْلَنَا هَٰذَا يَوْمُ ٱلدِّينِ هَٰذَا يَوْمُ ٱلْفَصْلِ ٱلَّذِى كُنتُم بِهِۦ تُكَذِّبُونَ ۞ ٱحْشُرُوا۟ ٱلَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا۟ وَأَزْوَٰجَهُمْ وَمَا كَانُوا۟ يَعْبُدُونَ مِن دُونِ ٱللَّهِ فَٱهْدُوهُمْ إِلَىٰ صِرَٰطِ ٱلْجَحِيمِ وَقِفُوهُمْ ۖ إِنَّهُم مَّسْـُٔولُونَ

Listen to Surah As-Saaffaat (Arabic and English translation)

Tafsir of Surah As-Saaffaat (Maarif-ul-Quran: Mufti Muhammad Shafi)

English Translation

By those [angels] lined up in rows

English Transliteration

Waalssaffati saffan


Subjects of-the Surah

This Surah is Makki, that is, it was revealed in Makkah al-Mukarramah. Like other Makki Surahs, matters of faith have been taken up as its essential subject. In it, beliefs about Divine Oneness, the mission of messengers and the certain eventuality of the Hereafter have been fortified with proofs presented in various ways. As a corollary, a refutation of the beliefs of Mushriks as well as the scenes of Paradise and Hell also appear in the Surah. After providing rational support for beliefs that formed part of the call of the noble prophets (علیہم السلام) and after removing doubts and objections raised by disbelievers, the Surah describes how Allah Ta’ ala dealt with those who embraced these beliefs in the past and what was the fate of those who opted to take the road to denial and disbelief? Accordingly, in that wise, events relating to Sayyidna Nuh, Ibrahim, Musa, Harun, Ilyas, Lut and Yunus (علیہم السلام) have been mentioned, briefly at some places and in details at others.

The Mushriks of Makkah used to call angels: Daughters of God. Towards the end, this belief has been refuted in details and an overall view of the Surah seems to indicate that the refutation of this particular kind of shirk (ascribing partners to the Divinity of Allah by declaring angels to be the daughters of God) has been kept in marked sight. Therefore, the Surah has been initiated with an oath taken in the name of angels combined with a declaration of the attributes of their servitude. وَاللہ سبحانہ و تعالیٰ اَعلَم (And Allah, who is Pure, knows best).

Tauhid: The Oneness of Allah is the first subject

The Surah has been initiated by a description of the belief in Tauhid, the Oneness of Allah and the real purpose of the first four verses is to state:إنَّ إِلَـٰهَكُمْ لَوَاحِدٌ (surely your God is but One - 37:4). But, before this is asserted, three oaths are sworn ahead of it. A simple literal translation of these oaths is given below: " (I swear) by those who stand in rows, [ 1] then by those who prevent firmly [ 2], then by those who recite the dhikr.

Who are these people identified as "those who stand in rows," then, "those who prevent firmly" and then, "those who recite the dhikr?" There is no clarification in the words of the noble Qur'an about it. Therefore, different views have been expressed to explain it. Some respected commentators say that these refer to living warriors who come out to wage Jihad in the way of Allah and who stand in rows after rows, so that they prevent the aggression of the forces of the false, and even when they file in readiness for combat, even then, they remain engaged in dhikr, tasbih and the recitation of the Qur'an as well.

Some others have said that they mean the performers of prayers who stand in rows in the Masjid and prevent Shaitanic thoughts denying access to them by means of a total concentration on dhikr and the recitation of the Qur'an (Tafsir Kabir and Qurtubi). Other than these, there are some explanations that do not bear much congruity with the actual words of the Qur'an.

But, the Tafsir or explanation which found the widest acceptance with the majority of commentators was that the reference here is to angels, and given here are three attributes credited to them:

1. The first attribute is: الصَّافَّاتِ صَفًّا (those who stand in rows). This expression comes from the word: صَفّ (saff) and it means 'to align some group on a straight line' (Qurtubi). Thus, it means precisely as it has been translated above.

That the angels stand in the formation of rows has also been mentioned later in this very Surah: وَإِنَّا لَنَحْنُ الصَّافُّونَ (and We, surely We are those who stand in rows - 37:165). When are these rows formed? In answer to that, some respected commentators - such as, Sayyidna lbn ` Abbas, Hasan al-Basri and Qatadah - have said that angels are always standing in their rows in space awaiting the command of their Lord, and when it comes, they carry it out (Mazhari). Some others particularize it with the time of worship, that is, when the angels are engaged in ` ibadah, dhikr and tasbih (worship, remembrance and glorification of Allah), they are in a row formation (Tafsir Kabir).

Discipline is desirable in Islam

From this verse, we learn that doing everything in an organized and disciplined manner and giving due consideration to order and skill in whatever we do is something expected of us and is certainly liked by Allah Ta’ ala;. It is obvious that the two objectives of the worship of Allah Ta’ ala and the implementation of His command might have as well been achieved if the angels, rather than form rows, could have assembled in the form of a disorganized mob. But, instead of being subjected to something so haphazard, they were given the taufiq or ability to make rows. Then, by mentioning this very attribute first out of their good attributes in this verse, it was pointed out that Allah Ta’ ala likes this style of propriety very much.

The importance of making rows come straight and right in Salah

So this is not for angels only. Human beings too have been induced to and bound with the need to make their rows straight and right during 'ibadah'. According to a narration of Sayyidna Jabir Ibn Samurah ؓ ، the Holy Prophet ﷺ said to him and those with him, "Why do you not align yourself in perfect rows (while offering Salah) as do the angels before their Lord?" The Sahabah asked, 'How do the angels form their rows before their Lord?' He said, "They complete the rows and stand compactly (that is, leave no gap in between the row)." (Tafsir Mazhari)

So many ahadith stressing on the need to make rows complete and keep them straight in Salah have appeared that they could fill an independent treatise on the subject. Sayyidna Abu Mas'ud al-Badri ؓ says that the Holy Prophet ﷺ would touch our shoulders with his blessed hand during Salah and say, "Stand straight, do not step ahead or fall behind, otherwise, it will cause dissension to creep up in your hearts." (Jam' al-Fawa'id, with reference to Muslim and an-Nasa'i, p. 91, v.1)

English Translation

And those who drive [the clouds]

English Transliteration

Faalzzajirati zajran

2. The second attribute of the angels has been described as: فَالزَّاجِرَ‌اتِ زَجْرً‌ا (fazzajirati zajran: those who prevent firmly). This word has been derived from زَجر (zajr) which means to hold in check, block, prevent or restrain, also to drive back, repel or reprimand. Maulana Thanavi (رح) has translated it in the sense of those who place an impregnable check - which comprehends every possible sense of the word. Now, what is that against which the angels place their check? In view of the context of the Holy Qur'an, most commentators have answered it by saying that the enforcing of check at this place means the act of angels through which they stop the shaitans from reaching the higher levels, and a detailed description of which is going to appear a little later in the Qur'an itself.

English Translation

And those who recite the message,

English Transliteration

Faalttaliyati thikran

3. The third attribute is: فَالتَّالِيَاتِ ذِكْرً‌ا (fattaliati dhikran) that is, these angels are those who recite the 'dhikr'. The core sense of 'dhikr' is 'word of good counsel' as well as 'the remembrance of Allah.' In the first instance, it would mean that these angels are those who recite everything Allah Ta'ala has revealed as word of good counsel through Scriptures. And this recitation could be as a means of earning barakah and also as an act of "ibadah'. Then, it is also possible that it means the angels who bring wahy (revelation) to the prophets, since they recite these Scriptures carrying good counsel before the prophets (علیہم السلام) and thus they convey the message of Allah to them. And in the second instance, if 'dhikr' were to be taken to mean the remembrance of Allah, then, it would mean that they keep busy reciting those words, words that prove their commitment to the glory and sanctity of Allah.

At this place, by mentioning these three attributes of angels, the noble Qur'an has put together all essential qualities of ideal servitude. To sum up: (1) Stand in perfect linear formation for "ibadah', (2) preventing rebellious forces from disobedience to Allah and (3) to recite the good counsel and commandments of Allah in person as well as to communicate to others. It is obvious that no act of servitude can remain devoid of these three departments. Hence, the sense of all four verse (37:1-4) turns out to be: 'By the angels who imbibe in them all ideal attributes of servitude, your true Lord is but One.'

English Translation

Indeed, your God is One,

English Transliteration

Inna ilahakum lawahidun

Why has the statement been sworn by the angels?

The reason why angels have been sworn by in the Surah particularly - as already submitted - lies in the central theme of this Surah. It aims at refuting the peculiar kind of shirk (ascribing of partners in the pure divinity of Allah) based on which the people of Makkah used to call angels the daughters of Allah. Accordingly, at the very beginning of the Surah, by swearing in the name of the angels, described there were their unique attributes that demonstrated their perfect servitude. In other words, the sense is that should you ponder over these angelic attributes of servitude, they will themselves become a witness before you that their relationship with Allah Ta’ ala is not that of a father and daughter, instead, it is that of servants and the Master.

Injunctions about sworn statement of Allah Ta’ ala: Three questions and their answers

In the noble Qur'an, there are statement in which Allah Ta’ ala has sworn in various ways in order to lay emphasis on many matters of principles relating to faith and its articles. At some places, it is that of His own Being while, at other places, it is that of particular things out of what He has created. This raises many questions. Therefore, it has become a detailed issue in the science of the Tafsir (exegesis) of the noble Qur'an. Hafiz Ibn Qaiyyim has written a regular book on the subject entitled التبیان فی احکام القرآن۔Tibyan fi Aqsam-il-Qur'an. ` Allamah as-Suyuti has, in his book الاتقان al-Itqan on the principle of Tafsir has discussed it in details in the sixty-seventh category of discussions. Some necessary components are being given here:

Question One: When Allah Ta’ ala makes a sworn statement, a question naturally arises: Is it not that Allah Ta’ ala is the most need free of all? Why would he need to strengthen His statement with an oath in order to make someone believe?

Abulqasim al-Qushairi has answered to this question by saying that Allah needs not to swear before anyone, but His compassion towards His servants invited Him to do so in the hope that they, after hearing such a sworn statement made by Allah Ta’ ala, may tend to accept the truth and save themselves from the punishment. When an Arab bedouin heard the verse وَفِي السَّمَاءِ رِ‌زْقُكُمْ وَمَا تُوعَدُونَ فَوَرَ‌بِّ السَّمَاءِ وَالْأَرْ‌ضِ إِنَّهُ لَحَقٌّ (And in heaven is your provision, and that you are promised, it is surely true as that you have speech - 51:22-23) where Allah Ta’ ala has sworn by 'the Lord of the heavens and the earth', he remarked, "Who has annoyed the Almighty to make Him swear an oath?"

In short, as said earlier, this is something necessitated by Divine compassion for His creation. Is it not that we have with us a recognized method of settling disagreements and differences? A witness is presented to support a claim. If there is no witness, a sworn statement is offered. Similarly, Allah Ta’ ala has elected to go by this familiar way of human beings in their interest. On occasions, He has laid stress on the subject by using the word: شَھَادَت (witness) as in: شَهِدَ اللَّـهُ أَنَّهُ لَا إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ (Allah bears witness that there is no god but He - And [ so do ] the angels and the men of knowledge - 'A1-` Imran, 3:18). Then, there are occasions when words of oath have been used as in: إِي وَرَ‌بِّي إِنَّهُ لَحَقٌّ (Yes, by my Lord, it is true -Yunus, 10:53).

Question Two: When it comes to taking an oath, it is usually done in the name of someone comparatively higher, bigger or more significant. But, how is it that Allah Ta’ ala has sworn by things in His creation that are inferior to Him in all conceivable respects?

It can be answered by saying that there simply is, nor can there be, any being or entity greater than Allah Ta’ ala. When so, it is obvious that the oath of Allah Ta'ala cannot be like that of the common creation. Therefore, on occasions, Allah subhanahu wa Ta’ ala has sworn by His own pristine Being as in: إِي وَرَ‌بِّي (Yes, by my Lord - 10:53). Then, there are seven places in the Qur'an where oaths are sworn by Allah Himself. Then there are other places where oaths are sworn by Divine acts or attributes and the Qur'an itself, for example: وَالسَّمَاءِ وَمَا بَنَاهَا ﴿5﴾ وَالْأَرْ‌ضِ وَمَا طَحَاهَا ﴿6﴾ وَنَفْسٍ وَمَا سَوَّاهَا ﴿7﴾ (And by the sky, and One who built it, and by the earth, and the One who spread it, and by the soul, and who made it well - ash-Shams, 91:5-7). And most of such oaths relate to the objects of creation that, being the means of recognition of Allah, do but revert back to Allah Himself as the ultimate source of all creation. (as mentioned by Ibn-ul- Qayyim)

Out of the things in creation that have been sworn by, at places, the purpose is to highlight the sublimity of that particular thing, as is the case with an oath by the blessed life of the Holy Prophet t in the Holy Qur'an by saying: لَعَمْرُ‌كَ إِنَّهُمْ لَفِي سَكْرَ‌تِهِمْ يَعْمَهُونَ (By your life [ 0 prophet ], they are wandering blindly in their intoxication [ misguidance ] - al-Hijr, 15:72). Ibn Marduwayh reports the saying of Sayyidna ` Abdullah Ibn ` Abbas ؓ that Allah Ta’ ala has not created anyone or anything in this world more sublime and esteemed than the Holy Prophet ﷺ himself, and it is for this reason that no oath by the person of any prophet or messenger appears anywhere in the entire Qur'an. The only such oath being by the blessed life of the Holy Prophet ﷺ appears in the verse mentioned here. Similarly, the two oaths in: وَالطُّورِ‌(By the Mount - at-Tur, 52:1) and وَكِتَابٍ مَّسْطُورٍ‌ (By the Written Book - at-Tar, 52:2) appear there to highlight the greatness of the two objects sworn by.

And on occasions, a certain created object has been sworn by for the reason that it yields a lot of benefits as in: وَالتِّينِ وَالزَّيْتُونِ (By the fig, and the olive - at-Tin, 95:1). And there are other occasions where some created object has been sworn by for the reason that its creation is the manifestation of the great power of Allah Ta’ ala, and an important source of getting to know the Master-Creator of the universe. And in most cases, the thing sworn by does have some role to play in proving the subject stressed with the force of an oath. This unveils itself with a little deliberation wherever it occurs.

Question Three: For human beings in general, the well-known rule of the Shari'ah is that swearing by anyone other than Allah Ta'ala is not permissible. This poses a question: Is it not that the statements sworn by Allah Ta’ ala in the name of His own created objects go on to prove that a statement sworn in the name of someone other than Allah will also become permissible for others as well? This has been answered by Hasan al-Basri (رح) by saying:

اِنَّ اللہَ یقوم بماشاء من خلقہ ولیس لاحد اَن یقسم اِلَّا بِاللہ

Surely, Allah Ta’ ala has the right to swear by whatever of His creation He wills, but it is not for anyone else to swear by anyone other than Allah (reported by Ibn Abi Haim, as in Mazharl).

Here, the core sense is that taking one's own self on the analogy of the most-exalted Allah is wrong and false. Once the Divine Law has prohibited swearing by anyone other than Allah in the case of human beings at large, any effort to counter argue on the basis of what He elects to do on His own, simply cannot be anything but false.

Explanation of verses

Turning to the explanation of the verses cited above, we see that the statement: مَعبُود بَرحَق (Verily, your God is but One - 4) has been placed at the end of the first three verses in which oaths by angels are sworn. Though, during the course of these oaths, mentioned therein are particular attributes of angels that, if deliberated upon even in a modest measure, would turn out to be nothing short of initial proofs of the belief in Tauhid, the Oneness of Allah. But, in the six verses that follow next, a standing proof of Tauhid has also been supplied.

English Translation

Lord of the heavens and the earth and that between them and Lord of the sunrises.

English Transliteration

Rabbu alssamawati waalardi wama baynahuma warabbu almashariqi

It was said: رَّ‌بُّ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْ‌ضِ وَمَا بَيْنَهُمَا وَرَ‌بُّ الْمَشَارِ‌قِ (the Lord of the heavens and the earth and what is between them, and Lord of the points of the sunrise. - 37:5). Now, a Being to whom goes the credit of having created and sustained such a mind-boggling range of creations has to be the One most deserving of ownership. And this entire universe is a positive proof of His existence and Oneness. The word: الْمَشَارِ‌قِ (al-mashariq) as used here is the plural form of مَشرِق mashriq or East. Since, the sun rises from a new point every day of the year, therefore, its orientations in the East are many, and it is on this basis that the plural form has been employed here.

English Translation

Indeed, We have adorned the nearest heaven with an adornment of stars

English Transliteration

Inna zayyanna alssamaa alddunya bizeenatin alkawakibi

In the next verse, it was said: إِنَّا زَيَّنَّا السَّمَاءَ الدُّنْيَا بِزِينَةٍ الْكَوَاكِبِ (Verily, We have decorated the nearest sky with an adornment, the stars, - 37:6). Here, the expression السَّمَاءَ الدُّنْيَا : (as-sama'ud-dunya: the nearest sky) means the closest sky. The sense is that Allah Ta’ ala has made this sky closest to the world look good through the glittering presence of stars. Now, it is not necessary that these stars are located precisely within the sky. In fact, even if they are detached from it, even then, should they be looked at from the earth, they appear to be on the sky - and keep imparting a glow to it. What is being said here is no more but that this star spangled sky is an open proof of the fact that it did not come into existence on its own, instead, it has been created by its creator. And why a Being that can bring such enormous things into existence would need any partner and sharer in His creation? In addition to that, when even the disbelievers find it a settled matter that Allah Ta’ ala is the creator of all heavenly bodies, would it not be injustice that, despite His being the Creator and Master, someone or something else be taken as the object of worship? As for the problem of stars being part of the sky or being separate from it in the light of the Qur'an as well as that of the coherence of astronomy with the noble Qur'an, these have been taken up in detail in the commentary on Surah al-Hijr (Ma’ ariful-Qur an, Volume V, Verses 15:16, page 302)

English Translation

And as protection against every rebellious devil

English Transliteration

Wahifthan min kulli shaytanin maridin

In the last four verses, (37:7-10): وَحِفْظًا مِّن كُلِّ شَيْطَانٍ مَّارِ‌دٍ ﴿7﴾ لَّا يَسَّمَّعُونَ إِلَى الْمَلَإِ الْأَعْلَىٰ وَيُقْذَفُونَ مِن كُلِّ جَانِبٍ ﴿8﴾ دُحُورً‌ا ۖ وَلَهُمْ عَذَابٌ وَاصِبٌ ﴿9﴾ إِلَّا مَنْ خَطِفَ الْخَطْفَةَ فَأَتْبَعَهُ شِهَابٌ ثَاقِبٌ ﴿10﴾ and [ have made them ] a security against every rebellious shaitan [ shaitan ]. They cannot listen to the Upper Realm and are hit from every side, to be driven off, and for them there is a lasting punishment, (however, if one snatches a little bit, he is pursued by a bright flame - 37:10). It has been said that stars have yet another benefit besides being a decoration of the sky. Through these, wicked shaitan are restrained from approaching the higher levels to eavesdrop. They do that to gather whatever news of the unseen they can gather by reaching the fringes of the sky. But, they are denied the opportunity to listen to what angels say to each other. If some Shaitan picks up even a part of their conversation, and tries to decamp with it, he is hit by a blazing flame, so that he remains unable to pass on this information to his devotees among soothsayers in the world. It is this blazing flame that has been called: شِهَابٌ ثَاقِبٌ (shihab thaqib: meteor). Some details about meteors have appeared in Surah al-Hijr (Ma’ ariful-Qur’ an, volume V. 15:17, 18, pages 303-305). At this place, it should be borne in mind that early Greek scientists believed in meteors being terrestrial substance that rose up with vapors and would burn up when it reached the fire zone. But, the words of the Qur'an, as they appear here, seem to suggest that a meteor is not some terrestrial substance, rather, is something generated only in the upper atmosphere. At this stage, earlier commentators have been saying all along that the Greek assumption about meteors - that it was some terrestrial substance - was no more than a conjecture. Therefore, this cannot be used to raise an objection against the Qur'an. As for the other possibility - that some terrestrial substance rises up and ignites itself in the upper atmosphere - that too offers no contradiction with the Qur'an.

But, once we are in the age of modern scientific discoveries, the question has been put to rest. Astronomers tell us that meteors شِهَابٌ ثَاقِبٌ (shihab thaqib) are small pieces from countless stars, generally of the size of large bricks. They stay in space. One of their groups is known as 'asadiyyah', (Leo, or Lion, out of the signs of Zodiac). It keeps revolving around the sun on its path through the imaginary belt in the heavens. One orbit by it is completed in thirty-three years. Light is emitted in these pieces because of their speed and abrasion against heavenly bodies. These pieces fall mostly during the nights of August 10 and November 27. Then, during the nights of April 20, October 18 and November 28, and on the nights of December 6, 9 and 13, their fallings tapers off. (Tafsir al-Jawahir by Tantawi, page 15, volume 8).

This investigative approach of modern science corresponds to the Qur'anic description. Yes, as for people who take the phenomena of shaitans being hit by meteors beyond conception, the late Tantawi has offered a good advice for them in his Tafsir al-Jawahir. He has said:

"Our forebears and scholars also took it with a heavy heart that the noble Qur'an would say something counter to contemporary astronomy of their time. But, the commentators of the Qur'an did not compromise their position. They did not agree to accept their thinking and surrender the position of the Qur'an. Instead of doing something like that, they bypassed their philosophical assumptions and continued to stay with the Qur'an. After the passage of some time, it became automatically established that the early Greeks were wrong in their assumptions. Now, if we were to acknowledge that these stars hit, hurt and burn shaitans, what is there to stop us from doing so? Thus, here we are in our time embracing this statement of the Qur'an as true. And we are faithfully waiting for the future (when science will also confirm it)." - al-Jawahir, page 14, volume 8.

The Real Objective

At this place, by mentioning the skies, the stars and the meteors, two objectives have been achieved. The first real objective is to assert the Oneness of Allah who has, all by Himself, created and managed a universal system so magnificent and, therefore, He alone is worthy of being worshipped as well. Then, there is the second objective whereby the false notion of those who take shaitans as their objects of worship has been refuted by telling them that they are the most accursed of the creation, and have nothing to do with the supreme station of godhead.

In addition to that, also refuted here is the objection of those who used to degrade the Divine revelation (wahy) sent to the Holy Prophet ﷺ as the predictions of the soothsayers. These verses clearly indicate that the noble Qur'an rejects the soothsayers for the sum-total of their information is what they receive through the shaitans. And the Qur'an says that the shaitans do not have access to the higher echelons. They cannot bring back the true information out of what remains in the realm of the Unseen (alghayb). When the Qur'an states this as its creed relating to soothsaying, how can it become soothsaying as such? Thus, these verses carry clear hints to the subject of Allah's Oneness and the veracity of the mission of the prophet. Later on, through the example of these very cosmic creations, the belief in the Hereafter has been proved.

English Translation

[So] they may not listen to the exalted assembly [of angels] and are pelted from every side,

English Transliteration

La yassammaAAoona ila almalai alaAAla wayuqthafoona min kulli janibin

English Translation

Repelled; and for them is a constant punishment,

English Transliteration

Duhooran walahum AAathabun wasibun

English Translation

Except one who snatches [some words] by theft, but they are pursued by a burning flame, piercing [in brightness].

English Transliteration

Illa man khatifa alkhatfata faatbaAAahu shihabun thaqibun

English Translation

Then inquire of them, [O Muhammad], "Are they a stronger [or more difficult] creation or those [others] We have created?" Indeed, We created men from sticky clay.

English Transliteration

Faistaftihim ahum ashaddu khalqan am man khalaqna inna khalaqnahum min teenin lazibin


After having proved the belief in the Oneness of Allah, described in the present eight verses is the belief in the 'Akhirah or Hereafter along with an answer to doubts entertained by disbelievers about it. First of all, a rational proof has been given in support of the possibility of human resurrection in the very initial verse cited above. In gist, it refers to the huge heavenly bodies of the universe mentioned in previous verses, and points out to the obvious weakness of human beings as compared to them. Now when disbelievers do recognize that such great objects of creation as angels, Moon, stars, Sun and the meteors, were created by Allah Ta’ ala through His infinite power, how could it become difficult for Him to make a weak creation like human beings die and then come alive once again? It is being said that the way they were fashioned in the beginning with sticky clay followed by a blowing of spirit in them, similarly, when they will have died and become dust, even then, Allah Ta’ ala will give them life once again.

As for the statement: (Certainly, We did create them from sticky clay - 37:11), either it means that their forefather, Sayyidna Adam (علیہ السلام) was created with clay, or it is also possible that it means every human being. Therefore, if seen with a little deliberation, water-based clay is the essence of every human being cyclically. Human creation is from sperm, sperm from blood and blood from food. The essence of food, no matter in which form, is vegetation and vegetation comes from the combination of clay and water.

Anyway, the first verse (11) provides a rational proof of the belief in the 'Akhirah or Hereafter. This has been posed in the form of a question beamed right at them: Who is more difficult in the process of creation? You? Or, are the many objects of creation We have mentioned more difficult to create? Therefore, no elaborate explanation was considered necessary. It was deemed sufficient to allude to it through a hint by saying - 'Certainly, We did create them with sticky clay.'

After that, in the five verses that follow it, described there is the reaction the disbelievers show on hearing the proofs in support of the Hereafter. The proofs of the belief in the Hereafter presented before disbelievers were of two kinds: (1) Rational proofs as given in the first verse. (2) Reported proofs, that is, they were shown miracles in support of the veracity of the mission of the Holy Prophet ﷺ as prophet and messenger of Allah asserting that he was, as such, from Allah and a prophet of Allah can never lie. He receives the authority of what he says from the heavens. And when he is telling us that the last day of Qiyamah will come, there will be a Resurrection and human beings will account for their deeds, then, this information given by him is definitely true, and it must be accepted as true.

English Translation

But you wonder, while they mock,

English Transliteration

Bal AAajibta wayaskharoona

As for the reaction of disbelievers on rational proofs, it was said: بَلْ عَجِبْتَ وَيَسْخَرُ‌ونَ وَإِذَا ذُكِّرُ‌وا لَا يَذْكُرُ‌ونَ (But you wonder [ at their denial ], and they mock [ at the idea of an Hereafter ]. And when any advice is given to them, they pay no heed to it. – 12-13). Given here first is the stance of the Holy Prophet ﷺ who wonders as to how could these people, after having such clear proofs before them, still remain reluctant to accept the truth while these people, on the contrary, indulge in making fun of the proofs and beliefs presented by him before them. In fact, no amount of advice and counsel given to them works. They are just averse to any understanding.

English Translation

And when they are reminded, they remember not.

English Transliteration

Waitha thukkiroo la yathkuroona

English Translation

And when they see a sign, they ridicule

English Transliteration

Waitha raaw ayatan yastaskhiroona

As for reported proofs, their reaction is: وَإِذَا رَ‌أَوْا آيَةً يَسْتَسْخِرُ‌ونَ (And when they see a sign, they make a fun of it - 37:14). It means if they see a miracle that confirms the veracity of his prophethood, and the belief in 'Akhirah ultimately, they ridicule even something so serious and dismiss it by saying that it was nothing but clear magic. Why would they so scoff and jeer? Did they have some basis, some argument in support?

They did and it was: أَإِذَا مِتْنَا وَكُنَّا تُرَ‌ابًا وَعِظَامًا أَإِنَّا لَمَبْعُوثُونَ أَوَآبَاؤُنَا الْأَوَّلُونَ (Is it when we have died and become dust and bones, that we shall be raised again, and even our fathers of a foretime?"- 16-17). In other words, the problem of comprehension that confronted them was as to how in the world could they - once they and their forefathers had become dust and bones - be brought back to life all over again. They were really not willing to admit any proof in this matter, neither that of reason nor that of miracle. Allah Ta’ ala has chosen to answer their question in a single sentence at the end in the words: قُلْ نَعَمْ وَأَنتُمْ دَاخِرُ‌ونَ (Say, "Yes - and you shall be disgraced (too) !" - 37:18)

Outwardly, this is a dismissive answer, as is usually given to rigid people. But, a little deliberation would reveal that it happens to be a full-fledged argument as well. Imam Razi has explained it in Tafsir Kabir. He says: By the rational proof of resurrection given earlier, it already stands established that the rising of human beings once again after death is not something impossible. Then, the rule is that the physical happening of anything rationally possible can be proved on the authority of the statement of someone who is harbinger of nothing but the truth. So, once this much is settled that rising again is possible, then, should some true prophet of Allah simply say thereafter: 'Yes, you shall definitely-rise again," this will be an absolute proof that the said event is bound to happen.

English Translation

And say, "This is not but obvious magic.

English Transliteration

Waqaloo in hatha illa sihrun mubeenun

The proof of the miracles of the Holy Prophet ﷺ

The word: آيَةً ('ayt tan) in verse وَإِذَا رَ‌أَوْا آيَةً (And when they see a sign) literally means 'sign' and at this place it means 'miracle.' Hence, this verse proves that Allah Taala had given to the Holy Prophet t some other miracles as well in addition to that of the noble Qur'an - which refutes those who take the miracles of the Holy Prophet ﷺ as effects of physical causes, and thereby claim that no miracle, other than that of the Qur'an, was shown at the blessed hands of the Holy Prophet ﷺ .

In this verse (14), Allah Ta’ ala has clearly said: وَإِذَا رَ‌أَوْا آيَةً يَسْتَسْخِرُ‌ونَ ' (And when they see a sign, they make fun of it). Some people who deny miracles say that, at this place, the word: آيَہ ('ayat) does not mean مُعجِزَۃ ('mujizah) or miracle, instead, it means rational arguments. But, this approach is patently wrong in view of what is said in the next verse that follows immediately: وَقَالُوا إِنْ هَـٰذَا إِلَّا سِحْرٌ‌ مُّبِينٌ (and they say, "this is nothing but an open magic - 37:15). It is obvious that declaring an evidence and argument to be open magic does not make any sense. They could have said something like this only when they had seen a miracle.

Some deniers of miracles also say that the word: آيَۃ ('ayat) means ayat or verses of the Qur'an, as it is these verses that the disbelievers declare as magic. But, the word: رَ‌أَوْا (raaw: they see) of the noble Qur'an is flatly contradicting this assertion. The verses of the Qur'an were not seen. Instead, they were heard. Hence, wherever Qur'anic verses have been mentioned in the noble Qur'an, the words used there are those of hearing, not of seeing. And place after place in the Qur'an, the word: v i (ayat) has appeared in the sense of mu jizah or miracle. For instance, while reporting the demand of the Pharaoh from Sayyidna Musa 3411 it was said:

إِن كُنتَ جِئْتَ بِآيَةٍ فَأْتِ بِهَا إِن كُنتَ مِنَ الصَّادِقِينَ

If you have come with a sign bring it out, if you are one of the truthful (7:106).

In response, Sayyidna Musa (علیہ السلام) had shown the miracle of his staff turning into a serpent. As for the verses of the Qur'an where it has been mentioned that the Holy Prophet ﷺ did not accede to their demand for a miracle, the fact is that miracles had been repeatedly shown thereby, but they used to ask for an ever-new miracle of their choice almost every day. It was in response to such demands for miracles that they were turned down. It was done for the reason that a prophet of Allah shows miracles at the will and command of Allah Ta’ ala. If anyone still refuses to accept the true message conveyed by him, then, coming up with a new miracle everyday is counter to the dignity of the prophet, as well as counter to the will of Allah Ta’ ala.

In addition to that, it has been the customary practice of Allah Ta’ ala that, once some people were granted the miracle they had asked for - and they still failed to believe - then, they were destroyed through a mass punishment. But, in view of the intended survival of the community of the Holy Prophet and with the objective of keeping it safe from any mass punishment, no such miracle on demand was shown before it.

English Translation

When we have died and become dust and bones, are we indeed to be resurrected?

English Transliteration

Aitha mitna wakunna turaban waAAithaman ainna lamabAAoothoona

English Translation

And our forefathers [as well]?"

English Transliteration

Awaabaona alawwaloona

English Translation

Say, "Yes, and you will be [rendered] contemptible."

English Transliteration

Qul naAAam waantum dakhiroona

English Translation

It will be only one shout, and at once they will be observing.

English Transliteration

Fainnama hiya zajratun wahidatun faitha hum yanthuroona


After having shown the possibility and proof of 'Akhirah or Hereafter, Allah Ta’ ala has described some events relating to Resurrection in these verses.

Given in the first verse (19) is the mode in which the dead will rise again. It was said: فَإِنَّمَا هِيَ زَجْرَ‌ةٌ وَاحِدَةٌ, it will be only a single [ castigating ] Call and all of a sudden they will begin to see - 37:19). The word: زَجْرَ‌ةٌ (Zajrah) is a noun derived from زَجر (zajr), and it is used to carry many meanings in the Arabic language. Out of these, one meaning is: 'To utter such sounds which, when heard by cattle, would motivate them to rise and get moving.' Here, it means the second Sur (Horn or Trumpet) that will be blown by the angel, Sayyidna Israfilll. Hence, it has been expressed as 'zajrah' for the reason that the way some sounds are produced to prompt cattle to rise and get moving, very similarly, this Sur will be blown to make the dead rise.

Though Allah Ta’ ala is, in His infinite power, inherently capable of making the dead rise again without having the صُور Sur blown, yet this صُور Sur will be blown in order to highlight the awe of the Resurrection (Tafsir Kabir). Its effect on the disbelievers has been identified as: فَإِذَا هُمْ يَنظُرُ‌ونَ all of a sudden they will begin to see - 37:19), that is, the way they could see in the mortal world, in the same way, they would be able to see there.

Some other commentators have explained it by saying that, overtaken by wonder, they will start looking at each other. (Qurtubi)

English Translation

They will say, "O woe to us! This is the Day of Recompense."

English Transliteration

Waqaloo ya waylana hatha yawmu alddeeni

English Translation

[They will be told], "This is the Day of Judgement which you used to deny."

English Transliteration

Hatha yawmu alfasli allathee kuntum bihi tukaththiboona

English Translation

[The angels will be ordered], "Gather those who committed wrong, their kinds, and what they used to worship

English Transliteration

Ohshuroo allatheena thalamoo waazwajahum wama kanoo yaAAbudoona

In verse 22, it was said: احْشُرُ‌وا الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا وَأَزْوَاجَهُمْ (Muster all those who were unjust, and their fellows). Here, the text has used the word:(أَزْوَاجَ azwaj) for cohorts, fellow travelers, or people of the same persuasion - a word literally meaning 'pair'. Then, this word is very commonly used in the sense of spouses. That is why some commentators have said that it means wives of the Mushriks who were also Mushriks. But, in the sight of most commentators, the word: أَزْوَاجَ (azwaj) at this place means nothing but people of the same persuasion, and it also finds support in a saying of Sayyidna ` Umar. Imam al-Baihaqi, ` Abd-ur-Razzaq and others have reported this saying of Sayyidna ` Umar ؓ under their explanation of this verse. They have said that the word: أَزْوَاجَهُمْ (azwajuhum) in the text means 'other people like them.' Thus, (while mustering the unjust), huddled together there will be the people of the same interest, fornicators with other fornicators and drunkards with other drunkards. (Ruh-ul-Ma’ ani and Mazhari)

In addition to that, by saying: وَمَا كَانُوا يَعْبُدُونَ (and whatever they used to worship - 37:22), it was expressly laid out that, along with the Mushriks, all those false objects and entities like idols and shaitans they used to worship and equate with Allah as His associates in the life of the world will all be mustered together - so that, at that time, the helplessness of these false objects of worship could be demonstrated publicly.

English Translation

Other than Allah, and guide them to the path of Hellfire

English Transliteration

Min dooni Allahi faihdoohum ila sirati aljaheemi

After that, a command will go forth to angels: فَاهْدُوهُمْ إِلَىٰ صِرَ‌اطِ الْجَحِيمِ (and show them the way to Jahannam - 37:23). When the angels will take them away, and reach close to the Bridge of Sirat, they will be commanded: YP (make them stop - they are to be questioned - 37:24). Thereupon, at this place, they will be questioned about their beliefs and deeds - that have been mentioned in the Qur'an and Hadith at many places.

English Translation

And stop them; indeed, they are to be questioned."

English Transliteration

Waqifoohum innahum masooloona