Surah Tin

Surah Tin

Surah Tin (سورة التین) or Surah Wat Tini Waz Zeitoon (سورة والتین و الزیتون), as it is also referred to, is one of the chapters of the 30th part of the Quran. In this chapter the theme that is focused on is the high status of man and also how low man can fall and the state of reward or punishment of these two groups – the ones who preserve their Divine dignity and those who don’t.

Facts about Surah Tin

Surah Tin or Surah Wat Tini Waz Zeitoon, is the 95th chapter of the Holy Quran and addresses man’s superior position in terms of creation. However, this same man can also fall to the position worse than that of animals. The chapter addresses this and what leads to this as well as the Day of Judgment and the reward of those who preserve the Divine honor bestowed upon them in creation and those who don’t.

95 Surah no.

Juz’ 30 Place

Makki Makki/Madani

28 Order of revelation

8 No. of verses

34 No. of words

162 No. of letters


Arabic Text and Translation of Surah Tin


بِسْمِ ٱللَّهِ ٱلرَّحْمَٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيم

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

وَالتِّينِ وَالزَّيْتُونِ ﴿1﴾

By the fig and the olive,

وَطُورِ سِينِينَ ﴿2﴾

By Mount Sinai,

وَهَـٰذَا الْبَلَدِ الْأَمِينِ ﴿3﴾

And by this secure town:

لَقَدْ خَلَقْنَا الْإِنسَانَ فِي أَحْسَنِ تَقْوِيمٍ ﴿4﴾

We certainly created man in the best of forms;

ثُمَّ رَدَدْنَاهُ أَسْفَلَ سَافِلِينَ ﴿5﴾

Then We relegated him to the lowest of the low,

إِلَّا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ فَلَهُمْ أَجْرٌ غَيْرُ مَمْنُونٍ ﴿6﴾

Except those who have faith and do righteous deeds. There will be an everlasting reward for them.

فَمَا يُكَذِّبُكَ بَعْدُ بِالدِّينِ ﴿7﴾

So what makes you deny the Retribution?

أَلَيْسَ اللَّـهُ بِأَحْكَمِ الْحَاكِمِينَ ﴿8﴾

Is not Allah the fairest of all judges? 1

This article will be discussing the following topics in this chapter:

Benefits of Reciting Surah Tin

The Holy Prophet (peace be on him and his household) is narrated to have said:

Allah will give two merits to anyone who recites this Chapter: good health and conviction as long as he lives, and when he dies, Allah Almighty will give him of the rewards of the fast of all those who recited it.

Also, Ja‘far bin Muhammad al-Sadiq (peace be on him) narrates the following:

“Whoever recites it in his obligatory and optional prayers will be given of Paradise whatever pleases him.” 2

Some Important Oaths in Surah Tin

وَالتِّينِ وَالزَّيْتُونِ ﴿1﴾

By the fig and the olive,

وَطُورِ سِينِينَ ﴿2﴾

By Mount Sinai,

وَهَـٰذَا الْبَلَدِ الْأَمِينِ ﴿3﴾

And by this secure town:

i.   The Fig and the Olive in Surah Tin

Some commentators believe that these verses are referring to the apparent fruits, i.e. the fig and the olive and the reason why God swears by them is due to the many nutritive benefits that they possess.

However, others believe that ‘Tin’ (تین), i.e. the fig refers to the mountain on which Damascus stands while ‘Zeitoon’ (زیتون), i.e. the olive refers to the mountainous area and Jerusalem stands on one of its mountains. The reason why these two mountains are referred to by the names of the fruits may be because these two fruits grow in these two areas and the reason why God takes an oath on them may be because many of the Prophets were raised in these areas. 3

ii. Mount Sinai

The next oath in Surah Tin is on Mount Sinai. This is the mountain on which God spoke to Moses.

According to the different commentators, Sinin (سنین), another name for Mount Sinai and which has been used in the second verse of this chapter, can refer to different things, some of which are:

  • A mountain full of vegetation
  • A mountain on which grow fruit bearing trees
  • Sinin refers to something that is blessed and good. 4

iii. The Secure City

The third oath God takes is on the city referred to in the verse as the city of security 5 which is the city of Makkah. The reason why Surah Tin refers to this city with this attribute is that security is one of the characteristics that have been legislated for that sanctified place and no other place has such security Divinely legislated for it.

This is the land on which stands the Holy Ka’bah which has been referred to in numerous verses of the Quran, including:

أَوَلَمْ يَرَوْا أَنَّا جَعَلْنَا حَرَمًا آمِنًا…

Have they not seen that We have appointed a safe sanctuary… 6

A Special Honor

By using the indicator of ‘this’ in the third verse of Surah Tin to refer to the Holy City of Makkah, a special honor and respect has been given to this city and makes us understand that it has a particular and special honor in comparison to the other three places mentioned in the previous two verses. 7

Creation in the Best of Moulds

لَقَدْ خَلَقْنَا الْإِنسَانَ فِي أَحْسَنِ تَقْوِيمٍ ﴿4﴾

We certainly created man in the best of forms;

The verse is the consequent to the aforementioned four oaths used in Surah Tin. The best of forms mentioned in the verse is that God has created man with the best capacities and moderation so that he is prepared for the ascent and descent of perfection.

One of God’s greatest favors of God upon man is that man can soar and reach eternal happiness through faith and action. Apparently the verse is not referring to man’s physical form and body symmetry but rather, is referring to his inner capacities. 8

The Lowest of the Low

ثُمَّ رَدَدْنَاهُ أَسْفَلَ سَافِلِينَ ﴿5﴾

Then We relegated him to the lowest of the low,

What does it mean that man is relegated to the lowest of the low?

According to Surah Tin, this is the result and affect of the mastery of Satan and his own base desires over a person; as a result of which he becomes lower than any other creature and loses the status of certainly We have honored the Children of Adam 9 and becomes one of the instances of they are just like cattle; indeed, they are further astray from the way. 10

The low mentioned in the verse refers to the people of adversity and punishment. 11

Uninterrupted Reward

إِلَّا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ فَلَهُمْ أَجْرٌ غَيْرُ مَمْنُونٍ ﴿6﴾

Except those who have faith and do righteous deeds. There will be an everlasting reward for them.

People who have two attributes are exempted from the state mentioned in the previous verse of Surah Tin. They are:

  1. Faith
  2. Righteous deeds

They have a reward that is referred to as ‘mamnun’ (ممنون), i.e. a reward that is uninterrupted and everlasting. 12

Denying Qiyamah in Surah Tin

فَمَا يُكَذِّبُكَ بَعْدُ بِالدِّينِ ﴿7﴾

So what makes you deny the Retribution?

أَلَيْسَ اللَّـهُ بِأَحْكَمِ الْحَاكِمِينَ ﴿8﴾

Is not Allah the fairest of all judges?

Surah Tin, by asking this question, is admonishing man and asking him that now that you know that people will be divided into two groups – one that will be relegated to the lowest of the low and the other who will be given everlasting reward – what motivates you to deny Qiyamah?

The Best of Judges

The last verse of Surah Wat Tini Waz Zeitoon emphasizes the verse before it.

Since God is better and more elevated than all other judges and differentiates between the good-doers and the evil-doers 13 and because people are of two types in terms of beliefs and actions 14 ; therefore, they must be a Hereafter because it is not logical that the good-doers are not rewarded and the evil-doers not punished. If there was no Hereafter to judge between the two; God’s justice would come into question. 15

Summary of Surah Tin

The chapter begins with oaths as do many chapters of the 30th part of the Quran. Surah Tin begins with taking oaths on four things: the fig, the olive, Mount Sinai and the Holy City of Makkah. The commentators explain what is meant and referred to by the fig and the olive; apart from their apparent meanings. It goes on to indicate man’s creation as the best of creation and how he can become the lowest of creation through his own actions. The chapter ends with the punishment and rewards of the good and evil doers in the Hereafter.


References

  1. Qarai translation
  2. Al-Islam
  3. Tabatabai, M. H. (1374 AP). Tafsir al-Mizan. (Transl. by Seyed Muhammad Baqir Musavi Hamedani). Jamiat al-Modarresin Publications. Vol. 20, p. 539
  4. Tabarsi, F. (1360 AP). Majma‘ al-Bayan fi Tafsir al-Quran. Translated by a group of translators. Farahani Publications. Vol. 27, p. 167
  5. Yusufali translation
  6. [29: 67]. Qarai translation. Tabatabai, M. H. Ibid. p. 539
  7. Ibid. p. 540
  8. Qarashi, A. A. (1377 AP). Tafsir-i Ahsan al-Hadith. Bethat Publications. Vol. 12, p. 281
  9. [17: 70]
  10. [25: 44]
  11. Qarashi, A. A. Ibid. p. 282
  12. Tabatabai, M. H. Ibid. p. 542
  13. Qarashi, A. A. Ibid. p. 282
  14. Tabatabai, M. H. Ibid. p. 543
  15. Qarashi, A. A. Ibid. p. 282-283

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