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Surah Takwir

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As the Divine Book of the religion of Islam and God’s revelation to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him and his household), the last Prophet and the bringer of this religion, the Quran is an extremely important book for the Muslims and their manual. As such, it is important for Muslims to familiarize themselves with the teachings of this Divine revelation.

One of the chapters of the Quran is Surah Takwir, the 81st chapter. This chapter is divided into two main parts; the first of which discusses one of the fundamental principles of Islam, i.e. Qiyamah and Resurrection.

Facts about Surah Takwir

Surah Takwir is the 81st chapter of the Quran and consists of 29 verses. Revealed in Makkah, this chapter is divided into two main parts which discuss important topics like the Day of Judgment, including signs of the end of the world and Resurrection , as well as going into a brief discussion of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him and his household), some attributes of the Quran and attributes of Gabriel. In the end it also touches upon the important issue of free will and Divine will.

81 Surah no.

Juz’ 30 Place

Makki Makki/Madani

7 Order of revelation

29 No. of verses

104 No. of words

434 No. of letters


Arabic Text and Translation of Surah Takwir


بِسْمِ ٱللَّهِ ٱلرَّحْمَٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيم

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

إِذَا الشَّمْسُ كُوِّرَتْ ﴿1﴾

When the sun is wound up,

وَإِذَا النُّجُومُ انكَدَرَتْ ﴿2﴾

when the stars scatter,

وَإِذَا الْجِبَالُ سُيِّرَتْ ﴿3﴾

when the mountains are set moving,

وَإِذَا الْعِشَارُ عُطِّلَتْ ﴿4﴾

when the pregnant camels are neglected,

وَإِذَا الْوُحُوشُ حُشِرَتْ ﴿5﴾

when the wild beasts are mustered,

وَإِذَا الْبِحَارُ سُجِّرَتْ ﴿6﴾

when the seas are set afire,

وَإِذَا النُّفُوسُ زُوِّجَتْ ﴿7﴾

when the souls are assorted,

وَإِذَا الْمَوْءُودَةُ سُئِلَتْ ﴿8﴾

when the girl buried-alive will be asked

بِأَيِّ ذَنبٍ قُتِلَتْ ﴿9﴾

for what sin she was killed.

وَإِذَا الصُّحُفُ نُشِرَتْ ﴿10﴾

When the records [of deeds] are unfolded,

وَإِذَا السَّمَاءُ كُشِطَتْ ﴿11﴾

when the sky is stripped off,

وَإِذَا الْجَحِيمُ سُعِّرَتْ ﴿12﴾

when hell is set ablaze,

وَإِذَا الْجَنَّةُ أُزْلِفَتْ ﴿13﴾

when paradise is brought near,

عَلِمَتْ نَفْسٌ مَّا أَحْضَرَتْ ﴿14﴾

then a soul shall know what it has readied [for itself].

فَلَا أُقْسِمُ بِالْخُنَّسِ ﴿15﴾

So I swear by the stars that return,

الْجَوَارِ الْكُنَّسِ ﴿16﴾

the comets,

وَاللَّيْلِ إِذَا عَسْعَسَ ﴿17﴾

by the night as it approaches,

وَالصُّبْحِ إِذَا تَنَفَّسَ ﴿18﴾

by the dawn as it breathes:

إِنَّهُ لَقَوْلُ رَسُولٍ كَرِيمٍ ﴿19﴾

it is indeed the speech of a noble apostle,

ذِي قُوَّةٍ عِندَ ذِي الْعَرْشِ مَكِينٍ ﴿20﴾

powerful and eminent with the Lord of the Throne,

مُّطَاعٍ ثَمَّ أَمِينٍ ﴿21﴾

one who is obeyed and is trustworthy as well.

وَمَا صَاحِبُكُم بِمَجْنُونٍ ﴿22﴾

Your companion is not crazy:

وَلَقَدْ رَآهُ بِالْأُفُقِ الْمُبِينِ ﴿23﴾

certainly he saw him on the manifest horizon,

وَمَا هُوَ عَلَى الْغَيْبِ بِضَنِينٍ ﴿ ﴿24﴾

and he is not miserly concerning the Unseen.

وَمَا هُوَ بِقَوْلِ شَيْطَانٍ رَّجِيمٍ ﴿25﴾

And it is not the speech of an outcast Satan.

فَأَيْنَ تَذْهَبُونَ ﴿26﴾

So where are you going?

إِنْ هُوَ إِلَّا ذِكْرٌ لِّلْعَالَمِينَ ﴿27﴾

It is just a reminder for all the nations,

لِمَن شَاءَ مِنكُمْ أَن يَسْتَقِيمَ ﴿28﴾

for those of you who wish to walk straight;

وَمَا تَشَاءُونَ إِلَّا أَن يَشَاءَ اللَّـهُ رَبُّ الْعَالَمِينَ ﴿29﴾

but you will not wish unless it is wished by Allah, the Lord of all the worlds. 1

The article will be discussing the following topics in this regard:

Benefits of Reciting Surah Takwir

  • “He who studies Surah Takwir (The Folding Up) will be saved by Allah from being exposed to shame when the book of deeds will be laid open.” 2
  • It has been narrated from the Prophet (peace be upon him and his household) that one who wishes to see him on Qiyamah should recite this surah.
  • It has been narrated in another hadith that one who recites the chapters of Abasa wa Tawalla (عبس و تولی) and Izash Shamsu Kuwwirat (اذا الشمس کورت) [i.e. Surah Takwir] he will be under the shade of God’s kindness and grace in the eternal Heaven and its gardens. 3

Signs of Qiyamah in Surah Takwir

إِذَا الشَّمْسُ كُوِّرَتْ ﴿1﴾

When the sun is wound up,

What does Takwir Mean?

The word Takwir, which is the root word for the word ‘Kuwwirat’ (کورت) in the first verse, means to roll up or wrap something; like for example, a turban around the head.

And perhaps using the word in relation to the sun in the first verse is a metaphor for the darkness that will encompass the sun when the world ends and Qiyamah approaches. 4

The Collapse of Stars and Mountains

Another one of the signs of the end of the world is the collapse of stars and mountains

وَإِذَا النُّجُومُ انكَدَرَتْ ﴿2﴾

when the stars scatter,

وَإِذَا الْجِبَالُ سُيِّرَتْ ﴿3﴾

when the mountains are set moving,

The Stars

The word ‘Inkadara’ (انکدر) in this verse means to fall or crash and this refers to the fact that when Qiyamah comes upon us, the stars will fall from the sky. Although it is also possible that it refers to darkness; in which it would mean that the stars would lose their light. 5

The Mountains

When Qiyamah arrives, the mountains would collapse as a result of severe earthquakes, would be scattered and turned to dust.

These are all expressions used in regards to the state of the mountains on that day in the Quran. 6

Other Events during the Annihilation of the World in Surah Takwir

  • Forgetting all that is valuable: the pregnant camel was considered to be very valuable among the Arabs; but on this day even these will be forgotten and abandoned.
  • Even the wild beasts will be resurrected on this day; however, as to what their fate will be and the circumstances of this resurrection nothing has been mentioned in the verses or narrations.
  • The seas will be filled with fire or will be turned into fire.
  • The souls of the fortunate and blessed will be partnered or married with each other; and the souls of the damned will be partnered with each other as well. 7

Resurrection in Surah Takwir

Many events will take place when the world ends and Resurrection happens. Some of the events of Resurrection are mentioned in this chapter and will be indicated below.

The Daughters Buried Alive will be Questioned

وَإِذَا الْمَوْءُودَةُ سُئِلَتْ ﴿8﴾

when the girl buried-alive will be asked

بِأَيِّ ذَنبٍ قُتِلَتْ ﴿9﴾

for what sin she was killed.

One of the customs of the Age of Ignorance among the Arabs was to bury alive their infant and newborn daughters.

In these verses the daughters who have been killed are being questioned and this question is in fact an admonishment and rebuke of their killers because they will reply that they have been killed blamelessly and are innocent. 8

Other Events in Resurrection

  • The record of deeds in which the angels had recorded the good and bad deeds will be opened so that the owners can read it and their actions become known and they are rewarded or punished accordingly.
  • That which is hidden in the skies will become apparent and
  • Hell will burn hotter and Heaven will come close to those who are its inhabitants so that they may enter it
  • When these events are taking place, everyone will know what actions they have sent forward for this day and none of man’s actions will be left out or lost. 9

The Prophet, the Quran and the Angel who brought the Message

In this second part of Surah Kuwwirat, God first swears upon four things and then goes on to talk about the topics mentioned in the title of this section:

  1. On the stars; some or all of them
  2. On the night as it fades
  3. The day is it breaks and casts away the darkness of night, which is beautifully explained through the expression: by the dawn as it breathes. 10

Praise and Description of Gabriel in Surah Takwir

The next few verses describe 6 qualities for Gabriel or Jibraeel (جبرائیل):

  • He is a messenger and the one who brings and reveals the message of God to the Prophet (peace be upon him and his household)
  • He is called noble; this shows that he is honored and respected in the eyes of God
  • He is powerful
  • He has a high position and status in the eyes of God
  • He gives orders and is obeyed by other angels which shows that he has helpers in his work who obey him
  • He is trustworthy, i.e., there is no treachery, corruption or intervention by him in relaying God’s message and revelation. 11

The Prophet is NOT Crazy!

وَمَا صَاحِبُكُم بِمَجْنُونٍ

Your companion is not crazy

Although the Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him and his household) has been referred to and mentioned in various verses of the Quran and different attributes have been mentioned for him, this verse was revealed to refute the accusation that the disbelievers made against the Prophet where they called him crazy

By using the word ‘companion’ the verse seeks to indicate that he has been and lived with you (the disbelievers) from the beginning of his life and you know him better than anyone else and you know him to possess the virtue of intellect, firmness of opinion, honesty in speech, etc and one who possesses virtue cannot be called crazy. 12

Seeing Gabriel

The next verse indicates that the Prophet had seen Gabriel before in the transcendental realm, i.e. the ream of angels. 13

Not Stingy in Delivering the Message

Verse no. 24 tells us that the Prophet does not hold back what has been revealed to him, nor does he hide it or change it in any way; rather, he teaches it to the people the way it was taught to him and preaches what he has been instructed to. 14

Description of the Quran in Surah Takwir

There are 2 qualities mentioned for the Quran in the last few verses of this chapter:

  1. The Quran is not devilish inspiration of the jinns and devils. 15
  2. The Quran is book of guidance; it is a book that guides all those who seek to persevere on the path of truth. 16

A Question to the Ignorant

The verse: so where are you going, is setting up a premise to make a conclusion from the matters mentioned in the previous seven verses.

The conclusion that this verse of Surah Takwir makes is proving the deviation of the disbelievers and their false idea regarding the Quran, in which they considered it the words of a mad person or devilish and false satanic inspirations.

The question therefore, seeks to admonish the disbelievers and its intent is to question that when the reality of the Quran is so clear, where are you going and why are you turning away from the truth. 17

A Reminder for those who wish it

Even though the Quran is qualified and capable of being a reminder for the whole world, in actualization only those will be reminded by it who themselves desire and seek to endure on the right path and remain firm on the path of servitude and obedience to God. 18

The discussion regarding the attributes of the Quran mentioned in Surah Takwir shows the importance of the Quran as a Divine guide for all mankind.

An Answer to a Doubt

It is possible that the previous verse which speaks of man’s free will deludes a person into thinking that he is so free that he does not need God or His grace in traversing this path; however, the last verse of the chapter indicates God’s authority : 19

وَمَا تَشَاءُونَ إِلَّا أَن يَشَاءَ اللَّـهُ رَبُّ الْعَالَمِينَ

But you will not wish unless it is wished by Allah, the Lord of all the worlds.

The Moderate Path

Indeed, these last two verses together indicate the very precise issue of ‘the moderate path’ (a theological issue and debate regarding free will and determinism), i.e. on one hand making decisions and free will is in man’s hands and on the other hand, until God does not will it, we cannot make a decision; which means that if God has created us free, this freedom too is from God and He has willed that we be so.

Man is neither compelled in his action and nor is he completely free: neither is determinism correct nor delegation; whatever man possesses of intellect, awareness, physical capability, power of decision making, etc, all of it is from God and it is this reality that makes him on one hand eternally needy of the Creator and on the other hand makes him responsible as a consequence of his freedom. 20

The Lord of the Worlds

The term ‘Lord of the Worlds’ (رب العالمین) used in the last verse of Surah Takwir clearly indicates that Divine Will is also for the education and evolution of man and all creations; He certainly does not want anyone to go astray and to be separated from Him. Therefore, as a result of his Lordship, he helps all those who wish to take steps in the path of evolution and seeking perfection. 21

Conclusion

Surah Takwir discusses some important topics, namely Qiyamah and in this part is divided into main issues: the end and destruction of the world and resurrection; the second part of Surah Izash Shamsu Kuwwirat (اذا الشمس کورت) delves into the Prophet and refuting the accusation of madness that the disbelievers had attributed to him, some qualities of Gabriel who is the bringer of the message and attributes of the Quran itself as well as an indication of the topic of free will and Divine will


References

  1. Qarai translation
  2. Al Islam
  3. Arusi Huwayzi, A. A. (1415 AH). Tafsir Nur al-Thaqalyn. Esmailian Publications. Vol. 5, pp. 512 & 513.
  4. Tabatabai, M. H. (1374). Tafsir al-Mizan. (Transl. by Seyed Muhammad Baqir Musavi Hamedani). Jamiat al-Modarresin. Vol. 20, p. 348.
  5. Tabatabai. M. H. Ibid. p. 348.
  6. Ibid, p. 349
  7. Verses 4-7. Tabatabai. M.H. Ibid. pp. 349-350.
  8. Tabarsi, F. (1360) Majma‘ al Bayan fi Tafsir al-Quran. Transl. by a group of translators. Farahani. Vol. 26, p. 329.
  9. See verses 10-14. Ibid.. pp. 330-331
  10. See verses 15-18. Tabatabai, M. H. Ibid. pp. 355 & 356-357.
  11. Ibid, p. 357
  12. Ibid, p. 358
  13. Ibid, p. 359
  14. Ibid.
  15. Ibid, p. 360
  16. Ibid.
  17. Ibid, pp. 360-361
  18. Ibid, p. 361
  19. Al Islam
  20. Ibid.
  21. Ibid.
5/5 - (1 vote)
2 Comments
  1. Mary says

    Hello,
    very interesting article but one thing which was missing was the entire surah in Arabic. I had to scroll all the way to the bottom of the article yet still did not find the Arabic text of the Surah.

    1. Editorial says

      Hello,
      Thanks a lot for submitting your comment, the thing is we actually do have the Arabic verses of this Surah and it’s right below its recitation and the table of contents.

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