Surah Buruj

Surah Buruj

Surah Buruj is the 85th chapter of the 30th part of the Quran and the main focus of the chapter is on those who persecute the believers and the punishments that await this group of people.

Facts about Surah Buruj

Surah Buruj is one of the chapters of the 30th part of the Quran. it begins with a few oaths and then indicates a group of people known as the People of Ukhdud who would persecute the believers by throwing them into ditches of fire. The verses go on to indicate the reason for their persecution and describe the punishment and rewards that await the disbelievers and believers and cite examples of the former. The chapter ends with a brief indication of the Quran and its attributes.

85 Surah no.

Juz’ 30 Place

Makki Makki/Madani

27 Order of revelation

22 No. of verses

109 No. of words

468 No. of letters


Arabic Text and Translation of Surah Buruj


بِسْمِ ٱللَّهِ ٱلرَّحْمَٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيم

In the name of Allah, the most compassionate, most merciful

وَالسَّمَاءِ ذَاتِ الْبُرُوجِ ﴿1﴾

By the sky, with its constellations, 1

وَالْيَوْمِ الْمَوْعُودِ ﴿2﴾

By the Promised Day,

وَشَاهِدٍ وَمَشْهُودٍ ﴿3﴾

By the Witness and the Witnessed:

قُتِلَ أَصْحَابُ الْأُخْدُودِ ﴿4﴾

Perish the People of the Ditch!

النَّارِ ذَاتِ الْوَقُودِ ﴿5﴾

The fire abounding in fuel,

إِذْ هُمْ عَلَيْهَا قُعُودٌ ﴿6﴾

Above which they sat

وَهُمْ عَلَىٰ مَا يَفْعَلُونَ بِالْمُؤْمِنِينَ شُهُودٌ ﴿7﴾

As they were themselves witnesses to what they did to the faithful.

وَمَا نَقَمُوا مِنْهُمْ إِلَّا أَن يُؤْمِنُوا بِاللَّـهِ الْعَزِيزِ الْحَمِيدِ ﴿8﴾

They were vindictive towards them only because they had faith in Allah, the All-mighty and the All-laudable,

الَّذِي لَهُ مُلْكُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ ۚ وَاللَّـهُ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ شَهِيدٌ ﴿9﴾

To whom belongs the kingdom of the heavens and the earth, and Allah is witness to all things.

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ فَتَنُوا الْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَاتِ ثُمَّ لَمْ يَتُوبُوا فَلَهُمْ عَذَابُ جَهَنَّمَ وَلَهُمْ عَذَابُ الْحَرِيقِ ﴿10﴾

Indeed those who persecute the faithful, men and women, and do not repent thereafter, there is the punishment of hell for them and the punishment of burning.

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ لَهُمْ جَنَّاتٌ تَجْرِي مِن تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ الْفَوْزُ الْكَبِيرُ ﴿11﴾

Indeed those who have faith and do righteous deeds—for them will be gardens with streams running in them. That is the supreme success.

إِنَّ بَطْشَ رَبِّكَ لَشَدِيدٌ ﴿12﴾

Indeed for those who fear their Lord in secret there will be forgiveness and a great reward.

إِنَّهُ هُوَ يُبْدِئُ وَيُعِيدُ ﴿13﴾

It is indeed He who originates and brings back,

وَهُوَ الْغَفُورُ الْوَدُودُ ﴿14﴾

And He is the All-forgiving, the All-affectionate,

ذُو الْعَرْشِ الْمَجِيدُ ﴿15﴾

Lord of the Throne, the All-glorious,

فَعَّالٌ لِّمَا يُرِيدُ ﴿16﴾

Doer of what He desires.

هَلْ أَتَاكَ حَدِيثُ الْجُنُودِ ﴿17﴾

Did you receive the story of the hosts

فِرْعَوْنَ وَثَمُودَ ﴿18﴾

Of Pharaoh and Thamud?

بَلِ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا فِي تَكْذِيبٍ ﴿19﴾

Indeed the faithless dwell in denial,

وَاللَّـهُ مِن وَرَائِهِم مُّحِيطٌ ﴿20﴾

And Allah besieges them from all around.

بَلْ هُوَ قُرْآنٌ مَّجِيدٌ ﴿21﴾

Indeed it is a glorious Quran,

فِي لَوْحٍ مَّحْفُوظٍ ﴿22﴾

In a preserved tablet. 2

The article discusses the following topics:

Benefits of Reciting Surah Buruj

The Holy Prophet (peace be on him and his household) narrates that the reward for reciting it is that ten good deeds for all the Fridays and days of Arafah of the world will be written as a reward for the person who does so.

According to another narration from Ja‘far bin Muhammad al-Sadiq (peace be on him):

“A person who recites this Sura in his obligatory prayers will be gathered with the prophets of Allah (as), for it is their Sura.” 3

The Oaths of Surah Buruj

The chapter begins with a few oaths which will be discussed below

وَالسَّمَاءِ ذَاتِ الْبُرُوجِ ﴿1﴾

By the sky, with its constellations, 1

وَالْيَوْمِ الْمَوْعُودِ ﴿2﴾

By the Promised Day,

وَشَاهِدٍ وَمَشْهُودٍ ﴿3﴾

By the Witness and the Witnessed:

The Star-Studded Sky

The word ‘buruj’ (بروج) which is plural for ‘burj’ (برج) and which is used in the first verse means anything that is evident and apparent and the reason that it is used mostly for great towering buildings is because they are visible and apparent for viewers. The columns on four corners of forts are also referred to as burj.

In the verse, buruj refers to the place and stations of the stars. And the oath is on a sky that is protected by constellations.

Note: these constellations are not referring to the twelve constellations used in astronomy. 4

The Promised Day

The next oath in Surah Buruj is on ‘the promised day’. This day is the Day of Judgment when God has promised He will judge His servants. 5

The Witness and Witnessed

The word ‘shahadah’ (شهادة) in the two words ‘shahid’ (شاهد) and ‘mash-hud’ (مشهود) used in the verse has the same meaning, i.e. being present and seeing with one’s own eyes and it does not mean giving witness.

Therefore, the word shahid is consistent with the Holy Prophet as he witnesses the actions of his people and will bear witness to it on Qiyamah and mash-hud is consistent with the torture that the disbelievers inflicted upon these people (the believers) and the state that they will find themselves in on Qiyamah; or in other words the rewards and punishments that the oppressed and the oppressors will receive on that day. 6

The People of the Ditches of Fire Described in Surah Buruj

قُتِلَ أَصْحَابُ الْأُخْدُودِ ﴿4﴾

Perish the People of the Ditch!

النَّارِ ذَاتِ الْوَقُودِ ﴿5﴾

The fire abounding in fuel,

إِذْ هُمْ عَلَيْهَا قُعُودٌ ﴿6﴾

Above which they sat

وَهُمْ عَلَىٰ مَا يَفْعَلُونَ بِالْمُؤْمِنِينَ شُهُودٌ ﴿7﴾

As they were themselves witnesses to what they did to the faithful.

Who were the People of the Ditches of Fire mentioned In Surah Buruj?

The word ‘ukhdud’ (أخدود) means deep pits and the People of Ukhdud are those who dug deep ditches in the ground and filled them with fire and threw the believers into them, burning them alive; as a group of them also did with Prophet Ibrahim (peace be on him).

However, there are different narrations as to which group of disbelievers and believers these verses refer to; but their identity has not been referred to in the Quran. 7

Whenever the Ashab al-Ukhdud (Makers of the Pit) were mentioned in the presence of the Noble Prophet (S), he would seek refuge with Allah from the severity of the chastisement. 8

Surah Buruj and the Reasons for Torturing the Believers

وَمَا نَقَمُوا مِنْهُمْ إِلَّا أَن يُؤْمِنُوا بِاللَّـهِ الْعَزِيزِ الْحَمِيدِ ﴿8﴾

They were vindictive towards them only because they had faith in Allah, the All-mighty and the All-laudable,

الَّذِي لَهُ مُلْكُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ ۚ وَاللَّـهُ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ شَهِيدٌ ﴿9﴾

To whom belongs the kingdom of the heavens and the earth, and Allah is witness to all things.

These two verses indicate the reasons for why the believers were being tortured like this which was that they believed in God, the powerful and praise-worthy; who was the owner of the Heavens and the earth and was watching over all things. 9

Surah Buruj and the Attributes of God

The attributes mentioned for God in these verses are a proof of the rightness of the believers and that they were oppressed and of the disbelievers being in the wrong as they dared to stand up against God and commit such a heinous crime and shows that God will soon reward the oppressed and punish the transgressors for what they have done.

These attributes show that the believers were obligated to believe in Him and the disbelievers should not have opposed and harmed them. 10

Rewards and Punishments in Surah Buruj

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ فَتَنُوا الْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَاتِ ثُمَّ لَمْ يَتُوبُوا فَلَهُمْ عَذَابُ جَهَنَّمَ وَلَهُمْ عَذَابُ الْحَرِيقِ ﴿ ﴿10﴾

Indeed those who persecute the faithful, men and women, and do not repent thereafter, there is the punishment of hell for them and the punishment of burning.

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ لَهُمْ جَنَّاتٌ تَجْرِي مِن تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ الْفَوْزُ الْكَبِيرُ ﴿11﴾

Indeed those who have faith and do righteous deeds—for them will be gardens with streams running in them. That is the supreme success.

The Door of Repentance

Even though God promises punishment to the torturers, in these verses of Surah Buruj He still addresses the topic of repentance to show that if they want, they can return to Him; repentance is one of the great doors to God’s mercy and as long as a person is in this world he can reform himself; otherwise a burning punishment awaits them. 11

The Difference between Hell and Burning Punishment

A question may come to mind here as to why Hell and a burning punishment have been mentioned separately while they are both the same thing?

The answer is that Hell includes different types of punishment and torture apart from burning; and for the torturers there is burning as well as other punishments. 12

Surah Buruj and the Rewards of the Believers

One of the techniques and methods that the Quran employs is to mention opposites in contrast to one another and this is why the believers and their rewards are mentioned after the disbelievers and their punishment.

Some commentators believe that the believers mentioned in these verses of Surah Buruj are the same one who were martyred at the hands of the People of the Ditches; however, there is no proof for this specificity. Rather, the verse is general and refers to all believers in general. 13

Emphasizing God’s Promises

The following verses of Surah Buruj emphasize the promises that have been given which are mentioned in the previous verses.

God is the Source and Brings Back Again

إِنَّ بَطْشَ رَبِّكَ لَشَدِيدٌ ﴿12﴾

Indeed for those who fear their Lord in secret there will be forgiveness and a great reward.

إِنَّهُ هُوَ يُبْدِئُ وَيُعِيدُ ﴿13﴾

It is indeed He who originates and brings back,

The word ‘batsh’ (بطش) means to take with anger.

The following are a few points we understand from these verses:

  • To create without tools and materials and to revive creation is only in God’s power to do as no one else has a part in designing and creating creation
  • The limitations of everything are imposed by God; if He wishes He can make them not limited or change their limits with another limit and therefore, He is the one who has limited the punishment of the world with death and he can remove this limitation in the Hereafter so that a person deserving Hell is eternally punished in it and can’t achieve death even if he wishes to.
  • The severity of God’s striking is that no one can prevent it and none can deny His judgment unless He Himself makes another judgment against the first. 14

Forgiving and Loving: Attributes of God in Surah Buruj

وَهُوَ الْغَفُورُ الْوَدُودُ ﴿14﴾

And He is the All-forgiving, the All-affectionate,

God is most forgiving and most loving; these are two attributes in relation to the promises previously given to the believers just as the severity of striking and punishment is in relation to the promises given to the disbelievers. 15

The Disbelievers are Powerless against God

The next few verses of Surah Buruj discuss the punishments given to the disbelievers and the deniers and the fact that they cannot escape them.

The Disbelievers Insistence

هَلْ أَتَاكَ حَدِيثُ الْجُنُودِ ﴿17﴾

Did you receive the story of the hosts

فِرْعَوْنَ وَثَمُودَ ﴿18﴾

Of Pharaoh and Thamud?

بَلِ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا فِي تَكْذِيبٍ ﴿19﴾

Indeed the faithless dwell in denial,

The disbelievers of the time of the Prophet denied that Qiyamah and the accounting will take place and these verses of Surah Buruj are expressing amazement at the fact that despite knowing what happened to previous nations, the end they met and the destruction they faced; yet, they did not learn and remained ignorant. Therefore, their denial is more severe than that of those who passed. 16

God is Encompassing

وَاللَّـهُ مِن وَرَائِهِم مُّحِيطٌ ﴿20﴾

And Allah besieges them from all around.

God is transcendent over everything and is outside it, yet encompassing and He observes all actions performed. This is indicating that the disbelievers cannot weaken God by their disbelief because He encompasses them and is more powerful than in every aspect.

This sentence is also as a comfort to ease the Prophet’s mind. 17

Surah Buruj and the Disbelievers’ Denial of the Quran

بَلْ هُوَ قُرْآنٌ مَّجِيدٌ ﴿21﴾

Indeed it is a glorious Quran,

فِي لَوْحٍ مَّحْفُوظٍ ﴿22﴾

In a preserved tablet.

These verses indicate that the real reason why advice and proofs have no effect on them is not their insistence on denial; rather, it is because they do not believe the Quran to be from God. However, this is not true; the Quran is a book to be read and contains high and great meaning and teachings and is in a tablet that is protected from falsehood and devils. 18

Summary of Surah Buruj

Surah Buruj begins with a few important oaths and continues with an indication to the People of the Ditches of Fire or ‘Ukhdud.’ Although it is not known exactly which group of people in history this refers to, the Quran goes on to describe the reason why these people were burning the believers, i.e. their belief. The verses then describe the punishment that awaits the groups who torture the believers and deny God. The chapter ends with a brief description of the Quran


References

  1. Yusufali translation
  2. Qarai translation
  3. Al-Islam
  4. Tabatabai, M. H. (1374 AP). Tafsir al-Mizan. (Transl. by Seyed Muhammad Baqir Musavi Hamedani). Jamiat al-Modarresin Publications. Vol. 20, pp. 413-414
  5. Ibid. p. 414
  6. Ibid.
  7. Qaraati, M. Tafsir Nur. Commentary of Surah Buruj. Verses 1-9
  8. Al-Islam
  9. Qarashi, A. A. (1377). Tafsir-i Ahsan al-Hadith. Bethat Publications. Vol. 12, p. 165
  10. Tabatabai, M. H. Ibid. pp. 417 & 418
  11. Qarashi, A. A. Ibid. pp. 165-166
  12. Tabarsi, F. (1360) Majma‘ al Bayan fi Tafsir al-Quran. Transl. by a group of translators. Farahani Publications. Vol. 26, p. 425
  13. Najafi, M. J. (1398 AH). Tafsir Aasan. Islamiyyah Publications. Vol. 18, p. 238
  14. Tabatabai, M. H. Ibid. p. 420
  15. Ibid.
  16. Hosseini Shah Abdul Azimi, H. (1363). Tafsir Ithna Ashari. Miqat Publications. Vol 14, p. 140
  17. Tabatabai, M. H. Ibid. p. 421
  18. Ibid. p. 422

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