Surah Tariq

Surah Tariq

One of the main themes of the chapter known as Surah Tariq covers the topic of Qiyamah, which is one of the foundations of Islam. Within the chapter, the verses also present arguments to prove Resurrection. Another important topic touched in this chapter is the Quran and a couple of very important attributes of it.

Facts about Surah Tariq

Two of the fundamental topics for a Muslim are the principles of faith and revelation, i.e. the Quran. Surah Tariq discusses both; with an important discussion regarding the Day of Judgment as one of the principles of faith and arguments to prove resurrection and a couple of important attributes of the Quran as well as a few other topics like the guardian angels.

86 Surah no.

Juz’ 30 Place

Makki Makki/Madani

36 Order of revelation

17 No. of verses

61 No. of words

254 No. of letters


Arabic Text and Translation of Surah Tariq


بِسْمِ ٱللَّهِ ٱلرَّحْمَٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيم

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

وَالسَّمَاءِ وَالطَّارِقِ ﴿1﴾

By the heaven, and by the nightly visitor

وَمَا أَدْرَاكَ مَا الطَّارِقُ ﴿2﴾

And what will show you what is the nightly visitor?

النَّجْمُ الثَّاقِبُ ﴿3﴾

It is the brilliant star:

إِن كُلُّ نَفْسٍ لَّمَّا عَلَيْهَا حَافِظٌ ﴿4﴾

There is a guard over every soul.

فَلْيَنظُرِ الْإِنسَانُ مِمَّ خُلِقَ ﴿5﴾

So let man consider from what he was created.

خُلِقَ مِن مَّاءٍ دَافِقٍ ﴿6﴾

He was created from an effusing fluid

يَخْرُجُ مِن بَيْنِ الصُّلْبِ وَالتَّرَائِبِ ﴿7﴾

Which issues from between the loins and the breast-bones.

إِنَّهُ عَلَىٰ رَجْعِهِ لَقَادِرٌ ﴿8﴾

Indeed He is able to bring him back [after death],

يَوْمَ تُبْلَى السَّرَائِرُ ﴿9﴾

On the day when the secrets are examined

فَمَا لَهُ مِن قُوَّةٍ وَلَا نَاصِرٍ ﴿10﴾

And he shall have neither power nor helper.

وَالسَّمَاءِ ذَاتِ الرَّجْعِ ﴿11﴾

By the resurgent heaven,

وَالْأَرْضِ ذَاتِ الصَّدْعِ ﴿12﴾

And by the furrowed earth:

إِنَّهُ لَقَوْلٌ فَصْلٌ ﴿13﴾

It is indeed a conclusive discourse,

وَمَا هُوَ بِالْهَزْلِ ﴿14﴾

And not a jest.

إِنَّهُمْ يَكِيدُونَ كَيْدًا ﴿15﴾

Indeed they are devising a stratagem,

وَأَكِيدُ كَيْدًا ﴿16﴾

And I [too] am devising a plan.

فَمَهِّلِ الْكَافِرِينَ أَمْهِلْهُمْ رُوَيْدًا ﴿17﴾

So respite the faithless; give them a gentle respite. 1

The topics covered in this article are as follows:

Benefits of Reciting Surah Tariq

It is a narrated from the Prophet (peace be upon him and his household) that:

One recites this Sura, he will be given ten good deeds for each and every star in the skies

Ja‘far ibn Muhammad al-Sadiq narrates that:

One who recites it in his obligatory prayers will acquire a special status with Allah, and he will be in Paradise among the companions of the prophets. 2

What does Tariq (طارق) Mean?

The word Tariq (طارق) is derived from the root work ‘tarq’ (طرق) which originally meant to hit with force; in such a way that its sound can be heard. However, gradually it came to mean to return from a journey at night and this is the intended meaning in the verse as well. 3 Tariq is someone who enters at night and bangs on the door 4 as he finds all the doors closed. 5

Starting with Oaths in Surah Tariq

وَالسَّمَاءِ وَالطَّارِقِ ﴿1﴾

By the heaven, and by the nightly visitor

In the start of this chapter, God takes an oath on 2 things: the sky and the nightly visitor.

What is Meant by the Night-Visitor in Surah Tariq?

The Quran itself explains its intent of the word Tariq (طارق) in verse no. 3 where it says:

النَّجْمُ الثَّاقِبُ ﴿3﴾

It is the brilliant star:

The word ‘thaqb’ (ثقب) which is the word attribute used to describe this star means anything that is radiant and illuminative, i.e. it breaks through the darkness with its light. 6

The Angels Guarding over Man in Surah Tariq

إِن كُلُّ نَفْسٍ لَّمَّا عَلَيْهَا حَافِظٌ ﴿4﴾

There is a guard over every soul.

According to this verse of Surah Tariq, there is a guard over every soul. What this means is that there are angels for every soul to record its deeds, good or bad, and while preserving the same intention and way that they were performed with so that they are rewarded or punished on Qiyamah.

Therefore, the guardian is the angel and the guarded are man’s actions. 7

Protection for Man’s Soul in Surah Tariq

It is also not farfetched to think that protecting the soul means protecting it itself as well as its actions and the guardian refers to a kind of protector. Here then the verse would mean that man’s soul is protected even after death until the day that God resurrects the bodies and the souls return to them and it is then that he will be judged for his actions as they are also protected and preserved with Him. 8

A Reminder of Man’s Creation in Surah Tariq

فَلْيَنظُرِ الْإِنسَانُ مِمَّ خُلِقَ ﴿5﴾

So let man consider from what he was created.

خُلِقَ مِن مَّاءٍ دَافِقٍ ﴿6﴾

He was created from an effusing fluid

These verses and the next two are reminding man to look back at his creation and remember that the one who created him for the first time can also resurrect him on Qiyamah. Therefore, he should perform actions and be ready for the day when all human beings will be returned to their bodies.

The part of the verse: from what he was created, is an implied question that is answered in the following verse, i.e. from an effusing fluid. 9

One of the Names of Qiyamah

يَوْمَ تُبْلَى السَّرَائِرُ ﴿9﴾

On the day when the secrets are examined

The ‘sarirah’ (سریرة) from which ‘sara’ir’ (سرائر) is derived, refers to everything that man hides within himself and ‘bala’ (بلاء) from which ‘tubla’ (تبلی) is derived means a test and also identifying and discovering that which is hidden. The name ‘Tubla as Sara’ir’ (تبلی السرائر) is the name given to Qiyamah.

The reason it has been given this name is because it is on that day that man’s beliefs and consequences of actions that he had hidden – whether good or bad – will be tested and identified in order to know which of his actions are corrupt, which are pure and which are impure in order to punish or reward the owner. 10

What are the Secrets Revealed?

In a narration from the Prophet (peace be upon him and his household), Ma‘az bin Jabal asks him: what do these secrets that God will examine His servants through? The Prophet replied: “Your secrets are your deeds such as prayers, fasting, religious tax… and any other obligatory acts. All of them are hidden, because if a person wills he says he has said his prayers but in fact he has not, he says he has made his ablution, but he has not, and this is the commentary of which Allah says: ‘On the Day when hidden things will be made manifest’”. 11

Neither Power nor Helper on that Day

فَمَا لَهُ مِن قُوَّةٍ وَلَا نَاصِرٍ ﴿10﴾

And he shall have neither power nor helper.

Qiyamah is a day when neither does man have the power himself to repel God’s punishment from himself and nor does he have a helper who would do so for him. 12

Splitting of the Earth

In the next verses, God again takes certain oaths:

وَالسَّمَاءِ ذَاتِ الرَّجْعِ ﴿11﴾

By the resurgent heaven,

وَالْأَرْضِ ذَاتِ الصَّدْعِ ﴿12﴾

And by the furrowed earth:

These two oaths emphasize, and are further proof for Qiyamah and Resurrection. 13

Man’s return on Qiyamah is like the return of the evaporated water of the seas from the sky to the earth 14 and that’s what these oaths are alluding to.

Attributes of the Quran in Surah Tariq

إِنَّهُ لَقَوْلٌ فَصْلٌ ﴿13﴾

It is indeed a conclusive discourse,

وَمَا هُوَ بِالْهَزْلِ ﴿14﴾

And not a jest.

The word ‘fasl’ (فصل) refers to something that separates two things from one another and creates a distance between them; while ‘hazl’ (هزل) refers to something that is in contrast to seriousness, i.e. jest.

These verses describing the attributes of the Quran are consequents to the previous oaths mentioned in Surah Tariq. 15

Connection between the Oaths and the Quran in Surah Tariq

The verse would then mean that by the resurgent sky and by the furrowed earth, the Quran is a speech which separates between truth and falsehood and is not a jest; that which the Quran proves is pure truth in which there are no doubts and because it is truth, no falsehood can invalidate it.

The relation between this and the oaths is that since it is so, therefore, the Quran’s proclamation of Qiyamah and Resurrection is also true and there is no doubt regarding it. 16

Growth of Man and Earth

Another connection between the oaths and the Quran is that just as the falling of rain and readiness of the earth are the grounds for the growth of vegetation; the revelation of the Quran and man’s readiness are also grounds for man’s growth. 17

The Last 3 Verses of Surah Tariq

إِنَّهُمْ يَكِيدُونَ كَيْدًا ﴿15﴾

Indeed they are devising a stratagem,

وَأَكِيدُ كَيْدًا ﴿16﴾

And I [too] am devising a plan.

فَمَهِّلِ الْكَافِرِينَ أَمْهِلْهُمْ رُوَيْدًا ﴿17﴾

So respite the faithless; give them a gentle respite.

Scheming Enemies in Surah Tariq

The word ‘kaid’ (کید) is a type of scheming which can be either commendable or detestable.

The scheming of the disbelievers is that they sought to eliminate God’s light through their disbelief and denial of Qiyamah and to invalidate the invitation of the Prophet. 18

Divine Scheming in Surah Tariq

What does Divine scheming in the verse refer to?

God’s scheming is that He gradually takes away the capability of guidance from them, makes them closer to punishment and neutralizes their schemes. 19

Toleration and Giving Respite

The words ‘mahhala’ (مهّل) and ‘tamheel’ (تمهیل) in the last verse both come from the same root word which means respite. However, due to the verb form, the former conveys gradualness and the latter conveys the respite as being all at once.

The verse means that when the Prophet sees the enemies scheming and considering the fact that God also schemes and that God prevails in His actions, he should wait for their punishment and not be in a hurry in this regard; he should give them respite because that which God has promised them will soon befall them. 20

A Summary of the Chapter

Surah Tariq begins with important oaths and continues with addressing the topic of Qiyamah – one of the principle beliefs of Islam. In this regard, the chapter discusses the angels that record man’s deeds, man’s creation and how this connects to Resurrection, the situation on Qiyamah, attributes of the Quran and finally comforting the Prophet and the believers regarding the schemes of the enemies.


References

  1. Qarai translation
  2. Al-Islam
  3. Tabatabai, M.H. (1374). Tafsir al-Mizan. (Trans. by Muhammad Baqir Musawi Hamedani). Jamiat al-Modarresin Publications. Vol. 20, P. 428.
  4. Qaraati, M. Tafsir Nur. Commentary of verses 1-10
  5. Tabatabai, M.H. Ibid. p. 428
  6. Tabatabai, M. H. Ibid. pp. 428 & 429.
  7. Ibid. p. 429
  8. Ibid.
  9. Tabarsi, F. (1377). Tafsir Jawami‘ al-Jami‘. (Transl. by a group of translators). Astan ods Razavi Publications. Vol. 6, p. 610.
  10. Tabatabai, M. H. Ibid. p. 432
  11. Tabatabai, M. H. Ibid. p. 435.
  12. Ibid. p. 432
  13. Tabatabai, M.H. Ibid, p. 432.
  14. Qaraati, M. Ibid. Commentary of verses 11-17
  15. Tabatabai, M. H. Ibid, p. 433.
  16. Ibid.
  17. Qaraati, M. Ibid.
  18. Tabatabai, M. H. Ibid. p. 433
  19. Qarashi, A. A. (1377). Tafsir-i Ahsan al-Hadith. Bethat Publications. Vol. 12,
  20. Tabatabai, M. H. Ibid. pp. 433-434

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One Response

  1. I love this site MashaAllah.
    you could learn the proper tajweed whilst you read each verses of the ayat you choose. At the same time learned the message of Allah behind this ayat.

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