Surah Takathur

Surah Takathur

Surah Takathur (سورة التکاثر) is a chapter in the 30th juz’ of the Quran  and discusses the topic of rivalry and boasting regarding excessive wealth, children and worldly honor which distract one from the real purpose and aim in life which is remembrance and worship of Allah.

Facts about Surah Takathur

Surah Takathur is one of the chapters of the 30th juz’ of the Quran and speaks about those who get distracted from God’s remembrance and worship because they are so busy boasting of their blessings to each other. Such people will face the punishment of their actions in the Hereafter and be questioned regarding how they used the blessings given to them and whether they used them correctly; i.e. in the path of and for God.

102 Surah no.

Juz’ 30 Place

Makki Makki/Madani

16 Order of revelation

8 No. of verses

28 No. of words

123 No. of letters


Arabic Text and Translation of Surah Takathur


بِسْمِ ٱللَّهِ ٱلرَّحْمَٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيم

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

أَلْهَاكُمُ التَّكَاثُرُ ﴿1﴾

Rivalry [and vainglory] distracted you

حَتَّىٰ زُرْتُمُ الْمَقَابِرَ ﴿2﴾

Until you visited [even] the graves.

كَلَّا سَوْفَ تَعْلَمُونَ ﴿3﴾

No indeed, soon you will know!

ثُمَّ كَلَّا سَوْفَ تَعْلَمُونَ ﴿4﴾

No indeed, soon you will know for yet another time!

كَلَّا لَوْ تَعْلَمُونَ عِلْمَ الْيَقِينِ ﴿5﴾

Indeed, were you to know with certain knowledge,

لَتَرَوُنَّ الْجَحِيمَ ﴿6﴾

You would have surely seen hell [in this very life].

ثُمَّ لَتَرَوُنَّهَا عَيْنَ الْيَقِينِ ﴿7﴾

Afterward you will surely see it with the eye of certainty.

ثُمَّ لَتُسْأَلُنَّ يَوْمَئِذٍ عَنِ النَّعِيمِ ﴿8﴾

SThen, on that day, you will surely be questioned concerning the Blessing. 1

The following topics are covered in this article:

Benefits of Surah Takathur

  1. Abu Abdullah Ja‘far ibn Muhammad has said, “Whoever recites surah Takathur in his obligatory or recommended prayers, Allah will write the reward of a hundred martyrs for him.
  2. The Noble Prophet has said, “Whoever recites surah Takathur, Allah will not bring him into account for the blessings He gave him in this world on Qiyamah.
  3. Whoever recites surah Takathur in his afternoon prayer, he will be safe until the sunset of the next day.

Worldly Distractions in Surah Takathur

أَلْهَاكُمُ التَّكَاثُرُ ﴿1﴾

Rivalry [and vainglory] distracted you

حَتَّىٰ زُرْتُمُ الْمَقَابِرَ ﴿2﴾

Until you visited [even] the graves.

In the first verse of Surah Takathur the word ‘ilhah’ (إلهاه) has been used which refers to any vain and worthless that distracts, makes a person busy, and prevents one from important and valuable actions.

The word ‘takathur’ (تکاثر) is when a group of people brag and boast about excess of wealth, children and honor over each other.

Therefore, the verse means, your bragging and boasting over excess of wealth and worldly beauty and your competition and rivalry in gathering this has prevented you from doing what is obligatory and that is remembering God. As a result, you have passed your life in heedlessness and ignorance until death came upon you. 2

Rejecting the Actions of the Braggarts

كَلَّا سَوْفَ تَعْلَمُونَ ﴿3﴾

No indeed, soon you will know!

ثُمَّ كَلَّا سَوْفَ تَعْلَمُونَ ﴿4﴾

No indeed, soon you will know for yet another time!

كَلَّا لَوْ تَعْلَمُونَ عِلْمَ الْيَقِينِ ﴿5﴾

Indeed, were you to know with certain knowledge,

The verses of Surah Takathur are rejecting the aforementioned people and their vain actions which distracted them from their important goal and purpose. They are also threatening these people and letting them know that soon they will see the evil consequences of this heedlessness when the life of this world is cut off.

And it has been repeated three times to emphasize this matter. 3

Surah Takathur and the Fire of Hell

لَتَرَوُنَّ الْجَحِيمَ ﴿6﴾

You would have surely seen hell [in this very life].

ثُمَّ لَتَرَوُنَّهَا عَيْنَ الْيَقِينِ ﴿7﴾

Afterward you will surely see it with the eye of certainty.

God begins these two verses of Surah Takathur with an oath saying that you will surely see the fire of Hell which is the consequence of this boasting.

In the first of these two verses it appears that the seeing of the Hell fire refers to seeing it in the world before Qiyamah and seeing it through the eye of insight and refers to seeing with the eyes of the heart which is one of the consequences of ‘ilm al-yaqin’ (علم الیقین), i.e. knowledge which is attained through science and arguments and proofs. This knowledge is not something that will be achieved by these people busy bragging as it is impossible for them to attain such knowledge. 4

Surah Takathur and Ayn al-Yaqin

The next verse of the abovementioned two speaks of ‘ayn al-yaqin’ (عین الیقین) which is certainty itself and it means that they will see Hell with absolute certainty and with their physical eyes on Qiyamah. 5

 Ayn al-yaqin is certainty in the external existence of something and is higher than ilm al-yaqin. 6

Questioning of Blessings in Surah Takathur

ثُمَّ لَتُسْأَلُنَّ يَوْمَئِذٍ عَنِ النَّعِيمِ ﴿8﴾

SThen, on that day, you will surely be questioned concerning the Blessing.

According to the last verse of Surah Takathur, people will be questioned about great blessings that they have attained through amassing and boasting of wealth, children and honor as to how they have attained them and how they have spent them. All of these blessings are gifts of God that He has bestowed upon man and God has given permission only to use them in attaining eternal happiness and in reaching tawheed (the oneness of God), reaching God and in worshipping Him.

In other words, the blessings that have been spread in the world have limits; whoever transgresses them will be held responsible; i.e. they will have to face punishment for them.

Therefore, all the oppressive governments and people who waste these blessings and keep them for themselves while leaving others hungry will be held accountable in front of God. 7

The Correct Use of Blessings

The blessings mentioned in this verse refer to all blessings, apparent and hidden that God has bestowed upon man.

Utilizing these blessings in the way that He wishes which would take man to his desired outcome is the same way that would take man to his purpose of creation which is obedience and worship of God.

Using the blessings any way one likes and without considering that they are means and not the goal is deviations and cutting off from the purpose of creation and this is a sin itself since God in unchanging destiny has decreed that all of creation will return to Him for the reckoning of his deeds and to be awarded or punished according to his actions and man’s actions is that very use of Divine blessings.

Therefore, a question of man’s actions is a question of Divine blessings; how were they used, were they used to thank God or expressed ingratitude? 8

Summary of Surah Takathur

Surah Takathur begins by introducing us to a group of people who try to gain superiority over each other by bragging about their excessive wealth, children and worldly honor and then rejects their actions as it distracts them from worshipping and obeying God. It then discusses the consequences of this which is punishment in Hellfire and finally ends with an indication of the fact that we will be questioned regarding the blessings given to us in this world and whether we used them correctly or not.


References

  1. Qarai translation
  2. Tabatabai, M. H. (1374 AP). Tafsir al-Mizan. (Transl. by Seyed Muhammad Baqir Musavi Hamedani). Jamiat al-Modarresin Publications. Vol. 20, p. 600
  3. Ibid. p. 601
  4. Ibid. p. 602
  5. Ibid.
  6. Qarashi, A. A. (1377). Tafsir-i Ahsan al-Hadith. Bethat Publications. Vol. 12, p. 341
  7. Ibid. pp. 341-342
  8. Tabatabai, M. H. Ibid. pp. 603-604

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