Surah Mursalat

Surah Mursalat

One of the important and fundamental principles of belief in Islam is the belief in the Hereafter and Qiyamah. Surah Mursalat (سورة المرسلات) or ‘Urf [عرف] (a good act) as it is also known is one of the many chapters and verses of the Holy Quran which addresses this important issue and discusses many aspects of that day.

Facts about Surah Mursalat

Surah Mursalat or ‘Urf as it is also known, is on of the chapters of the 29th juz’ of the Quran and like many chapters of the Quran, delves into the important topic of the Day of Judgment. It covers many topics in this regard, like the events of the end of the world, the events on that Day and the fate of the believers and deniers on that Day. It also addresses some proofs of the existence of the Hereafter and God’s Lordship.

77 Surah no.

Juz’ 29 Place

Makki Makki/Madani

33 Order of revelation

50 No. of verses

181 No. of words

841 No. of letters


Arabic Text and Translation of Surah Mursalat


بِسْمِ ٱللَّهِ ٱلرَّحْمَٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيم

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

وَالْمُرْسَلَاتِ عُرْفًا ﴿1﴾

By the [angelic] emissaries sent successively,

فَالْعَاصِفَاتِ عَصْفًا ﴿2﴾

By those who sweep along like gale,

وَالنَّاشِرَاتِ نَشْرًا ﴿3﴾

By those who publish [the Divine messages] far and wide,

فَالْفَارِقَاتِ فَرْقًا ﴿4﴾

By those who separate [the truth from falsehood] distinctly,

فَالْمُلْقِيَاتِ ذِكْرًا ﴿5﴾

By those who inspire [God’s] remembrance,

عُذْرًا أَوْ نُذْرًا ﴿6﴾

As exemption or warning:

إِنَّمَا تُوعَدُونَ لَوَاقِعٌ ﴿7﴾

What you are promised will surely befall.

فَإِذَا النُّجُومُ طُمِسَتْ ﴿8﴾

When the stars are blotted out

وَإِذَا السَّمَاءُ فُرِجَتْ ﴿9﴾

And the sky is cleft,

وَإِذَا الْجِبَالُ نُسِفَتْ ﴿10﴾

When the mountains are scattered [like dust]

وَإِذَا الرُّسُلُ أُقِّتَتْ ﴿11﴾

And time is set for the apostles [to bear witness]

لِأَيِّ يَوْمٍ أُجِّلَتْ ﴿12﴾

—for what day has [all] that been set [to occur]?

لِيَوْمِ الْفَصْلِ ﴿13﴾

For the Day of Judgement!

وَمَا أَدْرَاكَ مَا يَوْمُ الْفَصْلِ ﴿14﴾

And what will show you what is the Day of Judgement!?

وَيْلٌ يَوْمَئِذٍ لِّلْمُكَذِّبِينَ ﴿15﴾

Woe to the deniers on that day!

أَلَمْ نُهْلِكِ الْأَوَّلِينَ ﴿16﴾

Did We not destroy the former generations,

ثُمَّ نُتْبِعُهُمُ الْآخِرِينَ ﴿17﴾

[And] then made the latter ones follow them?

كَذَٰلِكَ نَفْعَلُ بِالْمُجْرِمِينَ ﴿18﴾

That is how We deal with the guilty.

وَيْلٌ يَوْمَئِذٍ لِّلْمُكَذِّبِينَ ﴿19﴾

Woe to the deniers on that day!

أَلَمْ نَخْلُقكُّم مِّن مَّاءٍ مَّهِينٍ ﴿20﴾

Have We not created you from a base fluid,

فَجَعَلْنَاهُ فِي قَرَارٍ مَّكِينٍ ﴿21﴾

[And] then lodged it in a secure abode

إِلَىٰ قَدَرٍ مَّعْلُومٍ ﴿22﴾

Until a known span [of time]?

فَقَدَرْنَا فَنِعْمَ الْقَادِرُونَ ﴿23﴾

Then We determined; and how excellent determiners We are!

وَيْلٌ يَوْمَئِذٍ لِّلْمُكَذِّبِينَ ﴿24﴾

Woe to the deniers on that day!

أَلَمْ نَجْعَلِ الْأَرْضَ كِفَاتًا ﴿25﴾

Have We not made the earth a receptacle

أَحْيَاءً وَأَمْوَاتًا ﴿26﴾

For the living and the dead,

وَجَعَلْنَا فِيهَا رَوَاسِيَ شَامِخَاتٍ وَأَسْقَيْنَاكُم مَّاءً فُرَاتًا ﴿27﴾

And set in it lofty [and] firm mountains, and given you agreeable water to drink?

وَيْلٌ يَوْمَئِذٍ لِّلْمُكَذِّبِينَ ﴿28﴾

Woe to the deniers on that day!

انطَلِقُوا إِلَىٰ مَا كُنتُم بِهِ تُكَذِّبُونَ ﴿29﴾

[The faithless will be told:] ‘Proceed toward what you used to deny!

انطَلِقُوا إِلَىٰ ظِلٍّ ذِي ثَلَاثِ شُعَبٍ ﴿30﴾

Proceed toward the triple-forked shadow,

لَّا ظَلِيلٍ وَلَا يُغْنِي مِنَ اللَّـهَبِ ﴿31﴾

Neither shady nor of any avail against the flames.

إِنَّهَا تَرْمِي بِشَرَرٍ كَالْقَصْرِ ﴿32﴾

Indeed it throws up [giant] sparks like castles,

كَأَنَّهُ جِمَالَتٌ صُفْرٌ ﴿33﴾

[Bright] like yellow camels.

وَيْلٌ يَوْمَئِذٍ لِّلْمُكَذِّبِينَ ﴿34﴾

Woe to the deniers on that day!

هَـٰذَا يَوْمُ لَا يَنطِقُونَ ﴿35﴾

This is a day wherein they will not speak,

وَلَا يُؤْذَنُ لَهُمْ فَيَعْتَذِرُونَ ﴿36﴾

Nor will they be permitted to offer excuses.

وَيْلٌ يَوْمَئِذٍ لِّلْمُكَذِّبِينَ ﴿37﴾

Woe to the deniers on that day!

هَـٰذَا يَوْمُ الْفَصْلِ ۖ جَمَعْنَاكُمْ وَالْأَوَّلِينَ ﴿38﴾

‘This is the Day of Judgement. We have brought you together with the former generations.

فَإِن كَانَ لَكُمْ كَيْدٌ فَكِيدُونِ ﴿39﴾

If you have any stratagems [left], try them out against Me!’

وَيْلٌ يَوْمَئِذٍ لِّلْمُكَذِّبِينَ ﴿40﴾

Woe to the deniers on that day!

إِنَّ الْمُتَّقِينَ فِي ظِلَالٍ وَعُيُونٍ ﴿41﴾

Indeed the Godwary will be amid shades and springs

وَفَوَاكِهَ مِمَّا يَشْتَهُونَ ﴿42﴾

And [enjoying] such fruits as they desire.

كُلُوا وَاشْرَبُوا هَنِيئًا بِمَا كُنتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَ ﴿43﴾

[They will be told:] ‘Enjoy your food and drink, [a reward] for what you used to do.

إِنَّا كَذَٰلِكَ نَجْزِي الْمُحْسِنِينَ ﴿44﴾

Thus do We reward the virtuous.’

وَيْلٌ يَوْمَئِذٍ لِّلْمُكَذِّبِينَ ﴿45﴾

Woe to the deniers on that day!

كُلُوا وَتَمَتَّعُوا قَلِيلًا إِنَّكُم مُّجْرِمُونَ ﴿46﴾

‘Eat and enjoy a little! You are indeed guilty.’

وَيْلٌ يَوْمَئِذٍ لِّلْمُكَذِّبِينَ ﴿47﴾

Woe to the deniers on that day!

وَإِذَا قِيلَ لَهُمُ ارْكَعُوا لَا يَرْكَعُونَ ﴿48﴾

When they are told, ‘Bow down [in prayer],’ they do not bow down!

وَيْلٌ يَوْمَئِذٍ لِّلْمُكَذِّبِينَ ﴿49﴾

Woe to the deniers on that day!

فَبِأَيِّ حَدِيثٍ بَعْدَهُ يُؤْمِنُونَ ﴿50﴾

So what discourse will they believe after this? 1

Virtues of Reciting Surah Mursalat

According to the Prophet (peace be on him and his household), it will be recorded for the person who recites this chapter that he is not among the polytheists.

In another narration from Ja‘far bin Muhammad al-Sadiq (peace be on him) it has been reported:

“Whoever reads it, Allah will get him introduced to the Prophet.” 2

Starting the Chapter with Oaths

وَالْمُرْسَلَاتِ عُرْفًا ﴿1﴾

By the [angelic] emissaries sent successively,

فَالْعَاصِفَاتِ عَصْفًا ﴿2﴾

By those who sweep along like gale,

وَالنَّاشِرَاتِ نَشْرًا ﴿3﴾

By those who publish [the Divine messages] far and wide,

فَالْفَارِقَاتِ فَرْقًا ﴿4﴾

By those who separate [the truth from falsehood] distinctly,

فَالْمُلْقِيَاتِ ذِكْرًا ﴿5﴾

By those who inspire [God’s] remembrance,

Surah Mursalat, like many other chapters, particularly in the 30th part of the Holy Quran begins with oaths . Regarding the oaths at the start of Surah Mursalat, commentators have three views:

  1. Some believe they refer to different types of winds and storms
  2. Some believe they refer to different types of angels
  3. And some believe that the first two verses to winds and storms while the next three are related to angels. 3

However, according to one commentator, it is best if we attribute all of them to the angels of revelation.

These oaths are mentioned in order to emphasize the occurrence of Qiyamah. 4

Breaking Down the Words in the Oaths

  • The word ‘urf’ (عرف) refers to hair in the mane of a horse and anything that occurs consecutively and continuously is likened a horse’s mane.

When used in the context of the angels it is because they were a group or due to the ‘spirit’ (ruh: روح) that they bring down.

  • The word ‘asf’ (عصف) refers to the speed of movement and a violent or harsh wind is referred to as ‘aasif’ (عاصف).  If we take it to refer to angels, the verse would mean that the angels carry out Divine commands with speed and intensity. 5
  • The three attributes in the next three verses, i.e. ‘nashirat’ (ناشرات) [the word ‘nashr’ (نشر) means to spread or open], ‘fariqat’ (فارقات) [‘farq’ (فرق) means to separate and distinguish] and ‘mulqiyat’ (ملقیات) follow a natural course: first the angels must spread the teachings (nashirat); then through that the truth and falsehood and the allowed and prohibited will be distinguished from each other (fariqat) and finally, remembrance will be inspired (mulqiyat). 6

The Promised Qiyamah in Surah Mursalat

إِنَّمَا تُوعَدُونَ لَوَاقِعٌ ﴿7﴾

What you are promised will surely befall.

This verse is the consequent to the aforementioned oaths. The promised that is mentioned in the verse refers to the promise of Qiyamah , and reward and punishment.

The verses that follow will describe the occurrences and signs of Qiyamah, which will include the changes in the worldly system. 7

Events Announcing the arrival of Qiyamah in Surah Mursalat

  • The light of the starts will be dispelled and eliminated as indicated by the word ‘tamasa’ (طمس):

فَإِذَا النُّجُومُ طُمِسَتْ ﴿8﴾

When the stars are blotted out

  • The sky will be split apart as indicated by the word ‘faraja’ (فرج):

وَإِذَا السَّمَاءُ فُرِجَتْ ﴿9﴾

And the sky is cleft,

  • The mountains will be uprooted as indicated by ‘nasafa’ (نسف):

وَإِذَا الْجِبَالُ نُسِفَتْ ﴿10﴾

When the mountains are scattered [like dust] 8

On Qiyamah

وَإِذَا الرُّسُلُ أُقِّتَتْ ﴿11﴾

And time is set for the apostles [to bear witness]

The word ‘uqqitat’ (أقّتَت) refers to the determining of time.

It could refer to the day and time when the presence of the prophets to give witness against their nations is determined or the time that we are waiting for arrives when the prophets give witness against their nations. 9

The Greatness of Qiyamah

In Surah Mursalat, the greatness of Qiyamah has been indicated through the following expressions:

لِأَيِّ يَوْمٍ أُجِّلَتْ ﴿12﴾

—for what day has [all] that been set [to occur]?

لِيَوْمِ الْفَصْلِ ﴿13﴾

For the Day of Judgement!

وَمَا أَدْرَاكَ مَا يَوْمُ الْفَصْلِ ﴿14﴾

And what will show you what is the Day of Judgement!? 10

The verses are putting forward a question to show the greatness, terrifying nature and strangeness of this day in order to bring forth the wonder of the hearer. 11 The repetition of the word ‘day’ is also an indicator of its greatness. 12

One of the Names of Qiyamah

One of the names of Qiyamah mentioned in the Quran is in Surah Mursalat and it is ‘yawm al-fasl’(یوم الفصل), i.e. the day of separation. In a verse of the Quran it has been stated:

… إِنَّ اللَّـهَ يَفْصِلُ بَيْنَهُمْ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ ۚ…

… Allah will indeed judge between the… on the Day of Resurrection. 13

Cursing the Deniers in Surah Mursalat

وَيْلٌ يَوْمَئِذٍ لِّلْمُكَذِّبِينَ ﴿15﴾

Woe to the deniers on that day!

The word ‘wail’ (ویل) means destruction. The deniers of Qiyamah are being cursed; a day which has been promised, since the context of these verses indicates that Qiyamah will definitely take place. 14

Proofs of the Unity of God’s Lordship and Qiyamah

The following verses of Surah Mursalat prove the Unity of God’s Lordship ; proofs through which we conclude the necessity of a day in which judgment is passed and the deniers face the consequences and punishment and the rewards of the virtuous are indicated. Therefore, that which follows are proofs for Qiyamah and God’s Lordship. 15

The Previous and Later Nations

أَلَمْ نُهْلِكِ الْأَوَّلِينَ ﴿16﴾

Did We not destroy the former generations,

ثُمَّ نُتْبِعُهُمُ الْآخِرِينَ ﴿17﴾

[And] then made the latter ones follow them?

These verses of Surah Mursalat are an indication of God’s power; as He destroyed the people of the past nations so will the later ones also follow in this path and we do not have the power to stand against this will. 16

The ‘former generation’ mentioned in the verse apparently refers to the A‘ad and Thamud, and people of Noah; whereas the ‘latter ones’ refers to the nations that came after them. 17

A General Rule

كَذَٰلِكَ نَفْعَلُ بِالْمُجْرِمِينَ ﴿18﴾

That is how We deal with the guilty.

وَيْلٌ يَوْمَئِذٍ لِّلْمُكَذِّبِينَ ﴿19﴾

Woe to the deniers on that day!

What was mentioned in the previous two verses is generalized and here God states that this is the way we deal with all the sinners.

God destroys those who do evil in His created system and they do not have the power to stand up to Him and those who deny the Hereafter and God’s power in creating it are also unable to escape this fate. 18

Why does God Destroy Man?

The answer is because God gas made it incumbent upon Himself to guide His servants; otherwise they would not attain perfection in the path of Oneness and Unity of God (Tawhid).

Guidance requires that the good are rewarded and the evil are punished and this necessitates the existence of the Hereafter. 19

Proof of Unity of Lordship in Surah Mursalat

This second verse is also proof of God’s Unity of Lordship because destroying the sinners is itself to possess and intervene in the human world and to manage it and since there is none besides God who destroys – something that even the polytheists confess to – therefore, He alone is the Lord and none besides Him is that or the object of worship. 20

The Stages of Creation

أَلَمْ نَخْلُقكُّم مِّن مَّاءٍ مَّهِينٍ ﴿20﴾

Have We not created you from a base fluid,

فَجَعَلْنَاهُ فِي قَرَارٍ مَّكِينٍ ﴿21﴾

[And] then lodged it in a secure abode

إِلَىٰ قَدَرٍ مَّعْلُومٍ ﴿22﴾

Until a known span [of time]?

فَقَدَرْنَا فَنِعْمَ الْقَادِرُونَ ﴿23﴾

Then We determined; and how excellent determiners We are!

وَيْلٌ يَوْمَئِذٍ لِّلْمُكَذِّبِينَ ﴿24﴾

Woe to the deniers on that day!

The words ‘mahin’ (مهین) means something that is base, weak and little, 21 which cannot maintain itself 22 and ‘makeen’ (مکین) means something that is strong and firm. 23

The stages of creation mentioned in the chapter of Urf are as follows:

  • First is the material of creation which is the sperm, i.e. the base liquid;
  • Then it is placed in the womb, i.e. the place that is firm and strong (denoted by makeen);
  • Next the time is mentioned as ‘a known span of time’ which is the nine month period of gestation. 24

The amazing thing is that God has executed the creation of man with all its complexities upon a drop of liquid (i.e. the sperm) and no other designer has the power to do as such. 25

The Best of Determiners

In relation to man’s creation, in one of the verses of the Quran, God refers to Himself as the best of creators 2 6 and here He refers to Himself with the attribute of ‘Qaadir’ (قادر).

The word ‘qaadir’ can be interpreted in one of two ways: 27

  • God determined the events, characteristics and states relating to our existence and in this case He is the best of determiners. 28
  • Considering that the discussion is regarding creation and its stages which requires power, qaadirun refers to power and ability and God has employed absolute power in creating man. 29

God’s Power

أَلَمْ نَجْعَلِ الْأَرْضَ كِفَاتًا ﴿25﴾

Have We not made the earth a receptacle

أَحْيَاءً وَأَمْوَاتًا ﴿26﴾

For the living and the dead,

وَجَعَلْنَا فِيهَا رَوَاسِيَ شَامِخَاتٍ وَأَسْقَيْنَاكُم مَّاءً فُرَاتًا ﴿27﴾

And set in it lofty [and] firm mountains, and given you agreeable water to drink?

وَيْلٌ يَوْمَئِذٍ لِّلْمُكَذِّبِينَ ﴿28﴾

Woe to the deniers on that day!

The word ‘kifat’ (کفات) means to gather and incorporate; the verse therefore, questions: has God has not made the earth such that it can gather and assemble all human beings within it, be they alive or dead?

The verses of Surah Mursalat then go on to speak of the creation of high and firm mountains and natural springs and river which burst forth from mountains. 30

This system cannot have been created in vain and the verses prove God’s Unity in Lordship and His power in creating the Hereafter which follows and flows from this worldly system. 31

Punishment of the Deniers of the Hereafter in Surah Mursalat

The verses that follow explain the punishment that those who denied the Day of Judgment will meet.

The Shade of No Comfort

انطَلِقُوا إِلَىٰ مَا كُنتُم بِهِ تُكَذِّبُونَ ﴿29﴾

[The faithless will be told:] ‘Proceed toward what you used to deny!

انطَلِقُوا إِلَىٰ ظِلٍّ ذِي ثَلَاثِ شُعَبٍ ﴿30﴾

Proceed toward the triple-forked shadow,

لَّا ظَلِيلٍ وَلَا يُغْنِي مِنَ اللَّـهَبِ ﴿31﴾

Neither shady nor of any avail against the flames.

The word ‘intilaq’ (انطلاق) means transition without pause; on Qiyamah the deniers of that day will be told to go straight to Hell without pause. 32

The triple-forked shadow refers to the shade that is created from the mighty fires of Hell; however, it is clear that not only is this shade not comforting and doesn’t protect from heat (if it did, it would be ‘zalil’ (ظلیل)), rather, it is burning and painful, useless and not cooling, i.e. it is ‘la zalil’ (لا ظلیل), as mentioned in the verse. 33

The smoke is so thick that it branches out and a fork of it from above and another from the right and from the left will encompass a person and swallow him up. 34

Tongues of Flame

إِنَّهَا تَرْمِي بِشَرَرٍ كَالْقَصْرِ ﴿32﴾

Indeed it throws up [giant] sparks like castles,

كَأَنَّهُ جِمَالَتٌ صُفْرٌ ﴿33﴾

[Bright] like yellow camels.

وَيْلٌ يَوْمَئِذٍ لِّلْمُكَذِّبِينَ ﴿34﴾

Woe to the deniers on that day!

These verses are describing the fire itself and its flames.

The tongues of flame that rise from the fires of Hell are like the tall castles of the world and bright yellow. It is as though the Quran is warning those who live in great houses and amass wealth to be careful not to be afflicted with the castle-like flares of fire (through their actions).

The wealth that is unrightfully attained in this world will be turned into flares of fire in the Hereafter. 35

Unable to Speak

هَـٰذَا يَوْمُ لَا يَنطِقُونَ ﴿35﴾

This is a day wherein they will not speak,

وَلَا يُؤْذَنُ لَهُمْ فَيَعْتَذِرُونَ ﴿36﴾

Nor will they be permitted to offer excuses.

وَيْلٌ يَوْمَئِذٍ لِّلْمُكَذِّبِينَ ﴿37﴾

Woe to the deniers on that day!

Qiyamah has many stations; at one station their lips will be sealed and they will not be able to speak and in other stations they will be dialogues taking place. There are many verses of the Quran that speak of the cries of the sinners on that day.

Ja‘far bin Muhammad al-Sadiq (peace be on him) narrates that God is more just than to not give permission to His servant who has an excuse to explain it; however, because a sinful person has no excuse, he is not given permission to speak in the Divine court of law. 36

No Power Except God’s

هَـٰذَا يَوْمُ الْفَصْلِ ۖ جَمَعْنَاكُمْ وَالْأَوَّلِينَ ﴿38﴾

‘This is the Day of Judgement. We have brought you together with the former generations.

فَإِن كَانَ لَكُمْ كَيْدٌ فَكِيدُونِ ﴿39﴾

If you have any stratagems [left], try them out against Me!’

وَيْلٌ يَوْمَئِذٍ لِّلْمُكَذِّبِينَ ﴿40﴾

Woe to the deniers on that day!

The ‘you’ mentioned here in Surah Mursalat refers to those among the Islamic nation who denied Qiyamah; while the former generation refers to the nations before that of Islam. 37

In this part of the chapter, God is also inviting the deniers to employ any stratagems they may have to deflect His punishment against them. This type of address is known as unattainable address and means that the deniers have no power and will be stripped of all power on that day. 38

The Manifestation of ‘there is no might or power except with Allah’

With manifestation of ‘La Hawla wa la Quwwata Illa Billah’ (لا حول ولا قوة الاّ بالله) which means that there is no might or power except with Allah, the transgressors will attain certainty by seeing the punishment and will, in fact, see that all power is from God and that He is severe in taking punishment; it is at this time that the leaders will announce their aversion of their followers and they will see the punishment and all causes will be ineffective.

This second verse under discussion here has a meaning wider than that of the verse of Surah al-Rahman which states: O company of jinn and humans! If you can pass through the confines of the heavens and the earth, then do pass through. But you will not pass through except by an authority [from Allah]; 39 this verse only refutes the power of escape but the verse from Surah Mursalat negates all types of stratagems. 40

Rewards of the Believers in Surah Mursalat

In the previous verses, God described the punishments of the disbelievers and in the following verses He describes the rewards and blessings of the pious .

The Three Blessings of the Believers in Surah Mursalat

إِنَّ الْمُتَّقِينَ فِي ظِلَالٍ وَعُيُونٍ ﴿41﴾

Indeed the Godwary will be amid shades and springs

وَفَوَاكِهَ مِمَّا يَشْتَهُونَ ﴿42﴾

And [enjoying] such fruits as they desire.

كُلُوا وَاشْرَبُوا هَنِيئًا بِمَا كُنتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَ ﴿43﴾

[They will be told:] ‘Enjoy your food and drink, [a reward] for what you used to do.

إِنَّا كَذَٰلِكَ نَجْزِي الْمُحْسِنِينَ ﴿44﴾

Thus do We reward the virtuous.’

وَيْلٌ يَوْمَئِذٍ لِّلْمُكَذِّبِينَ ﴿45﴾

Woe to the deniers on that day!

God mentions these three blessings for the pious and believers in Surah Mursalat:

  1. Heavenly shades, i.e. ‘zilal’ (ظلال)
  2. Springs, ‘Uyun’ (عیون) from which the people of Heaven will drink
  3. Fruits or ‘fawakih’ (فواکه) 41

Pleasantness without Difficulty

The word ‘hanee’ (هنیئ) means something that is not accompanied by hardship or unpleasantness and is completely agreeable and pleasant. 42

When the inhabitants of Heaven are asked to enjoy their food and drink, the verse is indicating a more general permission and permissibility and is a metaphor for all the blessings of Heaven and enjoying them, even though they may not be of the category of eating and drinking and this is a common metaphor. 43

Why again ‘Woe to the Deniers’?

 Once again, as in many other places of Surah Mursalat, the verse Woe to the deniers on that day, is mentioned. The question is, why is it mentioned after verses describing Heaven?

Perhaps it is because the yearning for the blessings of Heaven is itself the greatest punishment and the reminder of God’s kindness and grace may make the arrogant realize their mistakes and stop denying Qiyamah. 44

Woe to the Transgressors

كُلُوا وَتَمَتَّعُوا قَلِيلًا إِنَّكُم مُّجْرِمُونَ ﴿46﴾

‘Eat and enjoy a little! You are indeed guilty.’

وَيْلٌ يَوْمَئِذٍ لِّلْمُكَذِّبِينَ ﴿47﴾

Woe to the deniers on that day!

There are two instances when a doctor gives his patient to eat whatever food he wants:

  • When he has been cured
  • When there is no cure and the doctor has no hope of his patient getting better

In the Quran too, sometimes the command to eat is a sign of hope and health and sometimes a sign of Divine wrath; as it is in this verse where He tells them: ‘Eat and enjoy a little! You are indeed guilty. 45

Do whatever you Wish!

Another interpretation of this verse of Surah Mursalat could be that it is of the types of warnings that we give to our enemies when we tell them do whatever you want; however, it won’t benefit you.

These types of addresses make the person who is being addressed lose hope in the fact that his stratagems would benefit him or achieve the desired effect; it is similar to what is mentioned in other verses, like this one: Decide whatever you want to decide. You can only decide about the life of this world. 46

So when God says, ‘eat and enjoy a little’, He wants to make them hopeless in believing that they would be able to repel punishment from themselves by eating and enjoying themselves; since they cannot do so, they can eat whatever they want of the limited goods of the world. 47

Explaining a Reality

In the verse, when God says to eat and enjoy, these are not obligatory commands; rather, they are explaining a reality which is that you can only enjoy and use the blessings for a time.

The phrase, ‘you are indeed guilty’, is an explanation of the term ‘little’, i.e. if you believed and did good deeds, your blessings would continue in the Hereafter too. 48

By denying Qiyamah and denying the punishment given to the deniers, they are guilty and the punishment of the guilty is the fire of Hell whether or not they want it. 49

Not Bowing to God

وَإِذَا قِيلَ لَهُمُ ارْكَعُوا لَا يَرْكَعُونَ ﴿48﴾

When they are told, ‘Bow down [in prayer],’ they do not bow down!

وَيْلٌ يَوْمَئِذٍ لِّلْمُكَذِّبِينَ ﴿49﴾

Woe to the deniers on that day!

Bowing is one of the particular characteristics and signs of the Islamic ritual prayers because although prostration is performed and possible outside of these prayers too, for example, in thankfulness; however, bowing in Islam only has a place in the ritual prayers.

One of the signs of practical denial of religion is to not perform the prayers. 50

What is the Connection between Not Bowing and Previous Verses of Surah Mursalat?

The previous verses were warning the deniers of Qiyamah and were explaining the bad effects of this denial. This verse is completing the discussion and explains that when God invites them to His worship, they do not worship Him because they deny the Hereafter and worship holds no meaning with this denial. 51

Hopelessness in the Belief of the Polytheists

فَبِأَيِّ حَدِيثٍ بَعْدَهُ يُؤْمِنُونَ ﴿50﴾

So what discourse will they believe after this?

This verse indicates despairing of the polytheist’s belief; if they did not bring faith in the Quran which is a Divine sign and full of wisdom and realities, what book of words would they believe in and which book would be more real for them to do? 52

Summary of Surah Mursalat

Surah Mursalat or the chapter of ‘Urf is one of the chapters of the 29th juz’ of the Quran and addresses the important topic of Qiyamah and the Hereafter which is one of the principles of Islam.

The chapter addresses the events leading up to and those that will take place on that day. It also discusses proof of God’s oneness in Lordship and proofs for Qiyamah though God’s power, the stages of creation, etc.

Surah Mursalat also discusses some of the punishments of the deniers of this day and rewards of the believers and finally ends with the state of the deniers and how they are left to this state.


References

  1. Qarai translation
  2. Al-Islam
  3. Qaraati, M. Tafsir Nur. Commentary of verses 1-7
  4. Tabatabai, M. H. (1374 AP). Tafsir al-Mizan. (Transl. by Seyed Muhammad Baqir Musavi Hamedani). Jamiat al-Modarresin Publications. Vol. 20, p. 234
  5. Tabatabai, M. H. Ibid. pp. 234 & 235
  6. Qaraati, M. Ibid. & Tabatabai, M. H. Ibid, pp. 235 & 236
  7. Tabatabai, M. H. Ibid, pp. 237 & 238
  8. Ibid. p. 239
  9. Ibid. p. 240
  10. Qaraati, M. Ibid. Commentary of verses 8-14
  11. Tabatabai, M. H. Ibid. pp. 240-241
  12. Qaraati, M. Ibid
  13. Qaraati, M. Ibid
  14. Tabatabai, M. H. Ibid. p. 241
  15. Ibid. p. 245
  16. Qarashi, A. A. (1377). Tafsir-i Ahsan al-Hadith. Bethat Publications. Vol. 12, p. 18
  17. Tabatabai, M. H. Ibid. p. 245
  18. Qarashi, A. A. Ibid.
  19. Ibid.
  20. Tabatabai, M. H. Ibid. p. 246
  21. Qaraati, M. Ibid. Commentary of verses 20-24
  22. Tabatabai, M. H. Ibid. p. 246
  23. Qaraati, M. Ibid. Commentary of verses 20-24
  24. Tabatabai, M. H. Ibid; Qaraati, M. Ibid.
  25. Qaraati, M. Ibid
  26. [23: 14] Qarai translation
  27. Qaraati, M. Ibid
  28. Tabatabai, M. H. Ibid. p. 247
  29. Qaraati, M. Ibid
  30. Tabatabai, M. H. Ibid. p. 247
  31. Qarashi, A. A. Ibid. pp. 19 & 20
  32. Ibid. p. 21
  33. Tabatabai, M. H. Ibid. p. 248; Qaraati, M. Ibid. Commentary of verses 25-34
  34. Qaraati, M. Ibid.
  35. Ibid.
  36. Qaraati, M. Ibid. Commentary of verses 35-40
  37. Qarashi, A. A. Ibid. p. 22
  38. Tabatabai, M. H. Ibid. p. 249
  39. [55: 33] Qarai translation.
    يَا مَعْشَرَ الْجِنِّ وَالْإِنسِ إِنِ اسْتَطَعْتُمْ أَن تَنفُذُوا مِنْ أَقْطَارِ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ فَانفُذُوا ۚ لَا تَنفُذُونَ إِلَّا بِسُلْطَانٍ ﴿٣٣﴾
  40. Tabatabai, M. H. Ibid. pp. 249-250
  41. Ibid. p. 50
  42. Qaraati, M. Ibid. Commentary of verses 42-45
  43. Tabatabai, M. H. Ibid.
  44. Qaraati, M. Ibid.
  45. Qaraati, M. Ibid. Commentary of verses 46-50
  46. [20: 72]. Qarai translation
    … فَاقْضِ مَا أَنتَ قَاضٍ ۖ إِنَّمَا تَقْضِي هَـٰذِهِ الْحَيَاةَ الدُّنْيَا ﴿٧٢﴾
  47. Tabatabai, M. H. Ibid. p. 250
  48. Qarashi, A. A. Ibid. pp. 24-25
  49. Tabatabai, M. H. Ibid. p. 251
  50. Qaraati, M. Ibid
  51. Tabatabai, M. H. Ibid. p. 252
  52. Qarashi, A. A. Ibid. p. 25

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