Surah Zumar (سورة الزمر) is the 39th surah of the Quran that Allah revealed to Prophet Muhammad in the city of Mecca. The surah gets its name, Zumar, meaning throngs from two of its verses that state that on the Day of Judgment, the disbelievers and believers will be driven to hell and heaven respectively in throngs. In this article on Islam4u, the following topics will be discussed:
Facts About Surah Zumar
|Place||Juz’ 23 & 24|
|Order of revelation||59|
|No. of verses||75|
|No. of words||1180|
|No. of letters||4871|
Benefits of Reciting Surah Zumar
- Not despairing on the Day of Judgment: The Noble Prophet has said, “Whoever recites surah Zumar, he shall not despair on the Day of Judgment, and Allah will give him the reward of those who fear Him.1
- Forming friendship: Whoever writes surah Zumar and keeps it with himself, or places it in his bed or bedroom, whoever visits him or leaves his presence will praise him and thank him, and this is due to Allah’s compassion. Likewise, Abu Abdullah Ja‘far ibn Muhammad has said, “Whoever writes surah Zumar and wears it on his arm or places it in his bed, whoever has relations with him will say good things about him and will always be grateful of him. Furthermore, whoever visits him will befriend him and no one will ever backbite him.2
- Relief for pain in the soles of the feet: A man visited Imam Hussain and complained of pain in the soles of his feet, such that he could not stand in prayer. Imam Hussain told him, “Why do you not recite the verses that are good for pain?” The man replied, “I do not know how.” Then the Imam said, “Whenever you feel pain, put your hand on the painful place and say:
بسم الله و بالله والسلام علی رسول الله
Then recite verse 67 of surah Zumar.3
The Gist of Surah Zumar
Surah Zumar is mainly about inviting people to monotheism and sincerity in acts of worship.4 This surah begins by stating the effects of monotheism and Allah’s being free from having any son. The surah asks the Prophet to purify his religion and not to pay heed to the gods of the polytheists. Moreover, surah Zumar asks the Prophet to announce to the polytheists that he is charged with monotheism and purifying the religion.
Surah Zumar reminds the human being that he usually turns to Allah when in a state of emergency, and after he is safe, he once again neglects Allah. Some of the issues discussed in surah Zumar are as follows:
- deploying argument concerning the oneness of Allah in lordship and divinity using revelation and intellect
- comparing believers with polytheists
- mentioning the characteristics of believers and giving them the good news of reward in the hereafter
- warning the polytheists and reminding them of their dreadful fate in this world and the hereafter
- mentioning resurrection and issues related to it with the most vivid description5
Famous Verses of Surah Zumar
There are some famous and well-known verses in surah Zumar. Let us go over them.
خَلَقَكُم مِّن نَّفْسٍ وَاحِدَةٍ ثُمَّ جَعَلَ مِنْهَا زَوْجَهَا وَأَنزَلَ لَكُم مِّنَ الْأَنْعَامِ ثَمَانِيَةَ أَزْوَاجٍ ۚ يَخْلُقُكُمْ فِي بُطُونِ أُمَّهَاتِكُمْ خَلْقًا مِّن بَعْدِ خَلْقٍ فِي ظُلُمَاتٍ ثَلَاثٍ ۚ ذَٰلِكُمُ اللَّـهُ رَبُّكُمْ لَهُ الْمُلْكُ ۖ لَا إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ ۖ فَأَنَّىٰ تُصْرَفُونَ ﴿٦﴾
He created you from a single soul, then He created its mate out of it and He provided you with eight pairs of cattle [to consume their flesh and production. It is] He who creates you in the bellies of your mothers. [It is different stages of] creation after creation in threefold darkness. It is God, your Lord, to Him all sovereignty belongs. There is no God but Him, so where do you stray?6
This verse is one of the scientific miracles of the Quran. It talks about the threefold darkness in the mother’s womb. The amniotic sac that surrounds the fetus has three thick membranes that protect the baby until it is born. Who other than Allah knew of this fact? This verse shows that the Quran is from Allah and not the Prophet.
Verse 7 of Surah Zumar
إِن تَكْفُرُوا فَإِنَّ اللَّـهَ غَنِيٌّ عَنكُمْ ۖ وَلَا يَرْضَىٰ لِعِبَادِهِ الْكُفْرَ ۖ وَإِن تَشْكُرُوا يَرْضَهُ لَكُمْ ۗ وَلَا تَزِرُ وَازِرَةٌ وِزْرَ أُخْرَىٰ ۗ ثُمَّ إِلَىٰ رَبِّكُم مَّرْجِعُكُمْ فَيُنَبِّئُكُم بِمَا كُنتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَ ۚ إِنَّهُ عَلِيمٌ بِذَاتِ الصُّدُورِ﴿٧﴾
If you abandon belief [you will only deprive yourselves because], God is not in need of you and He is displeased with disbelief for His servants. [But] if you [believe and] give thanks, He will be pleased with you. And [you should know that] no one will shoulder the burden of another. Then your return is to your Lord, and He will inform you about what you used to do. Indeed, He fully knows what is in the hearts.7
This verse proves the justice of Allah in that no one is willing to shoulder the burden of another person’s deeds or sins, no matter how much he likes that person.
Verse 18 of Surah Zumar
الَّذِینَ یسْتَمِعُونَ الْقَوْلَ فَیتَّبِعُونَ أَحْسَنَهُ ۚأُولَٰئِک الَّذِینَ هَدَاهُمُ اللَّهُ ۖ وَأُولَٰئِک هُمْ أُولُو الْأَلْبَابِ ﴿۱۸﴾
Who listens to the word and follows the best of it. It is they who are guided and they are the wise.8
This verse speaks of the freedom of thought of Muslims and their freedom in choosing different matters. The verse allows believers to hear and assess the words of others and then choose the best among them.9
Verse 30 of Surah Zumar
إِنَّک مَیتٌ وَإِنَّهُم مَّیتُونَ ﴿۳۰﴾
Indeed, you will die and they will surely die [too].10
This verse addresses the Noble Prophet saying that you will die and so will all other human beings. Death is a matter that pertains to all human beings and all of them will surely taste death eventually. It does not matter who the person is, whether he is a prophet, king, president, or an ordinary person, all will sooner or later die. This verse teaches us that we must be prepared for our life in the afterlife by doing good deeds and refraining from sins. This is because only the activities that we do in this world are accounted for in the afterlife and the hereafter. Therefore, how we live and how we act in this world is extremely important and seals our fate.
Verse 53 of Surah Zumar
قُلْ یا عِبَادِی الَّذِینَ أَسْرَفُوا عَلَیٰ أَنفُسِهِمْ لَا تَقْنَطُوا مِن رَّحْمَةِ اللَّهِ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ یغْفِرُ الذُّنُوبَ جَمِیعًا ۚ إِنَّهُ هُوَ الْغَفُورُ الرَّحِیمُ ﴿۵۳﴾
Say, “O My [sinful] servants who commit excesses against themselves! Do not despair from God’s mercy, indeed God forgives all the sins. Indeed, He is All-Forgiving, All-Compassionate.11
This verse is full of divine love for Allah’s servants. The verse embraces everyone and says Allah is the one who forgives sins altogether. Therefore, no one should lose hope in Allah’s mercy. According to a narration from Ali ibn Abi Talib, there is no verse in the Quran that is as bounteous as this verse because it includes the forgiveness of every sin.
Verse 71 of Surah Zumar
وَسِيقَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا إِلَىٰ جَهَنَّمَ زُمَرًا ۖ حَتَّىٰ إِذَا جَاءُوهَا فُتِحَتْ أَبْوَابُهَا وَقَالَ لَهُمْ خَزَنَتُهَا أَلَمْ يَأْتِكُمْ رُسُلٌ مِّنكُمْ يَتْلُونَ عَلَيْكُمْ آيَاتِ رَبِّكُمْ وَيُنذِرُونَكُمْ لِقَاءَ يَوْمِكُمْ هَٰذَا ۚ قَالُوا بَلَىٰ وَلَٰكِنْ حَقَّتْ كَلِمَةُ الْعَذَابِ عَلَى الْكَافِرِينَ ﴿٧١﴾
And the disbelievers will be driven into Hell in groups, when they reach it, its gates will be opened and its wardens will say to them, “Did not messengers from among yourselves come to you, reciting to you the signs of your Lord and warning you about the meeting of this day of yours? They will reply, “Yes! But [we showed arrogance, thus] the command of punishment has been carried out against the disbeliever.”12
Verse 71 of surah Zumar is about the disbelievers who will be driven into hellfire in throngs or groups. They will be led to the gates of hell, whereby the guards of those gates will say to them, “Did not messengers come to you warning you of such a day?” They will say yes, but now it is too late as their belief on that day will not benefit them. When we recite these verses, we become worried lest we are one of those who will be driven to hell. Therefore, we pray to Allah to include us among the believers and not the disbelievers.
Verses 73-75 of Surah Zumar
وَسِيقَ الَّذِينَ اتَّقَوْا رَبَّهُمْ إِلَى الْجَنَّةِ زُمَرًا ۖ حَتَّىٰ إِذَا جَاءُوهَا وَفُتِحَتْ أَبْوَابُهَا وَقَالَ لَهُمْ خَزَنَتُهَا سَلَامٌ عَلَيْكُمْ طِبْتُمْ فَادْخُلُوهَا خَالِدِينَ ﴿٧٣﴾ وَقَالُوا الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ الَّذِي صَدَقَنَا وَعْدَهُ وَأَوْرَثَنَا الْأَرْضَ نَتَبَوَّأُ مِنَ الْجَنَّةِ حَيْثُ نَشَاءُ ۖ فَنِعْمَ أَجْرُ الْعَامِلِينَ ﴿٧٤﴾ وَتَرَى الْمَلَائِكَةَ حَافِّينَ مِنْ حَوْلِ الْعَرْشِ يُسَبِّحُونَ بِحَمْدِ رَبِّهِمْ ۖ وَقُضِيَ بَيْنَهُم بِالْحَقِّ وَقِيلَ الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ ﴿٧٥﴾
And those who feared their Lord will be led towards heaven in groups, and when they reach it, its gates will be opened [, so] its wardens will say to them, “Peace be on you, you are welcome, enter [the heaven and live there] forever.” And they will say, “All praise be to God who honored His promise to us and He granted us the land [of paradise] to live in heaven wheresoever we wish.” How good is the reward of the performers? And you will see the angels around the Throne, glorifying and praising their Lord, and they will be judged justly and it will be said “All praise be to God, the Lord of all worlds.”13
These three verses speak about the believers and righteous individuals who will enter paradise. They will also be led in groups albeit not to hell, but paradise until they reach the gates of paradise. Its wardens will say to them that they have nothing to fear and they will enter paradise to dwell therein forever. Then the believers praise their Lord for fulfilling His promise and granting them paradise to live in forever. They use the word awrathanā (اورثنا) that means Allah made them inheritors of paradise. This is because when someone inherits something, he is given a vast amount of wealth without him going to any trouble. Likewise, the believers are the heirs of the land of paradise because it is given to them with ease.
Surah Zumar is one of the beautiful surahs of the Quran that Allah revealed to Prophet Muhammad in Mecca. It is mainly about inviting people to monotheism and having sincerity in acts of worship. The surah begins by stating the effects of monotheism and Allah being free from having any son. The surah asks the Prophet to purify his religion and not to pay heed to the gods of the polytheists. Moreover, surah Zumar asks the Prophet to announce to the polytheists that he is charged with monotheism and purifying the religion. The Noble Prophet has said, “Whoever recites surah Zumar will not despair on the Day of Judgment and Allah will give him the reward of those who fear Him.” By reciting surah Zumar and acting upon its teachings, we will be among those who inherit the land of paradise, God willing.
- Majma‘ al-Bayān, vol. 8, p. 381.
- Tafseer al-Burhān, vol. 4, p. 691.
- Ṭibb al-A’immah, p. 34.
- Ṣafawī, Surah Zumar, p. 738.
- Al-Mīzān, 1390 AH, vol. 17, p. 354.
- Quran 39:6 (Foroutan).
- Quran 39:7 (Foroutan).
- Quran 39:18 (Foroutan).
- Tafseer Nimūnah, 1371 SH, vol. 19, p. 412.
- Quran 39:30 (Foroutan
- Quran 39:53 (Foroutan).
- Quran 39:71 (Foroutan).
- Quran 39:73-75 (Foroutan).