Surah Abasa In Arabic
عَبَسَ وَتَوَلَّىٰ ﴿1﴾ أَنْ جَاءَهُ الْأَعْمَىٰ ﴿2﴾ وَمَا يُدْرِيكَ لَعَلَّهُ يَزَّكَّىٰ ﴿3﴾ أَوْ يَذَّكَّرُ فَتَنْفَعَهُ الذِّكْرَىٰ ﴿4﴾ أَمَّا مَنِ اسْتَغْنَىٰ ﴿5﴾ فَأَنْتَ لَهُ تَصَدَّىٰ ﴿6﴾ وَمَا عَلَيْكَ أَلَّا يَزَّكَّىٰ ﴿7﴾ وَأَمَّا مَنْ جَاءَكَ يَسْعَىٰ ﴿8﴾ وَهُوَ يَخْشَىٰ ﴿9﴾ فَأَنْتَ عَنْهُ تَلَهَّىٰ ﴿10﴾ كَلَّا إِنَّهَا تَذْكِرَةٌ ﴿11﴾ فَمَنْ شَاءَ ذَكَرَهُ ﴿12﴾ فِي صُحُفٍ مُكَرَّمَةٍ ﴿13﴾ مَرْفُوعَةٍ مُطَهَّرَةٍ ﴿14﴾ بِأَيْدِي سَفَرَةٍ ﴿15﴾ كِرَامٍ بَرَرَةٍ ﴿16﴾ قُتِلَ الْإِنْسَانُ مَا أَكْفَرَهُ ﴿17﴾ مِنْ أَيِّ شَيْءٍ خَلَقَهُ ﴿18﴾ مِنْ نُطْفَةٍ خَلَقَهُ فَقَدَّرَهُ ﴿19﴾ ثُمَّ السَّبِيلَ يَسَّرَهُ ﴿20﴾ ثُمَّ أَمَاتَهُ فَأَقْبَرَهُ ﴿21﴾ ثُمَّ إِذَا شَاءَ أَنْشَرَهُ ﴿22﴾ كَلَّا لَمَّا يَقْضِ مَا أَمَرَهُ ﴿23﴾ فَلْيَنْظُرِ الْإِنْسَانُ إِلَىٰ طَعَامِهِ ﴿24﴾ أَنَّا صَبَبْنَا الْمَاءَ صَبًّا ﴿25﴾ ثُمَّ شَقَقْنَا الْأَرْضَ شَقًّا ﴿26﴾ فَأَنْبَتْنَا فِيهَا حَبًّا ﴿27﴾ وَعِنَبًا وَقَضْبًا ﴿28﴾ وَزَيْتُونًا وَنَخْلًا ﴿29﴾ وَحَدَائِقَ غُلْبًا ﴿30﴾ وَفَاكِهَةً وَأَبًّا ﴿31﴾ مَتَاعًا لَكُمْ وَلِأَنْعَامِكُمْ ﴿32﴾ فَإِذَا جَاءَتِ الصَّاخَّةُ ﴿33﴾ يَوْمَ يَفِرُّ الْمَرْءُ مِنْ أَخِيهِ ﴿34﴾ وَأُمِّهِ وَأَبِيهِ ﴿35﴾ وَصَاحِبَتِهِ وَبَنِيهِ ﴿36﴾ لِكُلِّ امْرِئٍ مِنْهُمْ يَوْمَئِذٍ شَأْنٌ يُغْنِيهِ ﴿37﴾ وُجُوهٌ يَوْمَئِذٍ مُسْفِرَةٌ ﴿38﴾ ضَاحِكَةٌ مُسْتَبْشِرَةٌ ﴿39﴾ وَوُجُوهٌ يَوْمَئِذٍ عَلَيْهَا غَبَرَةٌ ﴿40﴾ تَرْهَقُهَا قَتَرَةٌ ﴿41﴾ أُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْكَفَرَةُ الْفَجَرَةُ ﴿42﴾
Bismillaahir Rahmaanir Raheem
- ‘Abasa wa tawallaa.
- An jaa-ahul ‘a-maa
- Wa maa yudreeka la’allahu yaz zakkaa.
- Aw yazzakkaru fatanfa ‘ahuz zikraa.
- Amma manis taghnaa
- Fa-anta lahu tasaddaa
- Wa ma ‘alaika allaa yaz zakka.
- Wa amma man jaa-aka yas’a
- Wahuwa yakhshaa,
- Fa-anta ‘anhu talah haa.
- Kalla innaha tazkirah
- Faman shaa a zakarah
- Fi suhufim mukar rama,
- Marfoo’atim mutah hara,
- Bi’aidee safara
- Kiraamim bararah.
- Qutilal-insanu maa akfarah.
- Min aiyyi shai-in Khalaq
- Min nutfatin khalaqahoo faqaddarah.
- Thummas sabeela yas-sarah
- Thumma amatahu fa-aqbarah
- Thumma iza shaa-a ansharah
- Kalla lamma yaqdi maa amarah.
- Falyanzuril insanu ilaa ta-amih
- Anna sabab nalmaa-a sabba.
- Thumma sha qaqnal-arda shaqqa.
- Fa ambatna feeha habba
- Wa ‘inabaw-wa qadba
- Wa zaitoonaw wanakh la’
- Wa hadaa-iqa ghulba
- Wa faki hataw-wa abba.
- Mata’al-lakum wa li-an’amikum.
- Faiza jaa-atis saakhah.
- Yauma yafir-rul mar-u min akheeh
- Wa ummihee wa abeeh
- Wa sahi batihee wa baneeh.
- Likul limri-im-minhum yawmaa-izin shaa nuy-yughneeh
- Wujoo huny-yauma-izim-musfira;
- Dahi katum mustab shirah
- Wa wujoohuy yauma-izin ‘alaiha ghabar a
- Tarhaquha qatarah.
- Ulaa-ika humul-kafa ratul-fajarah.
In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful.
- He (the Prophet) frowned and turned his face,
- because the blind man came to him!
- What could tell you ( O prophet about the prospects of the blind man?) May be, (if you had attended him properly,) he would have attained purity,
- or have received the advice, and the advice would have benefited him.
- As for the one who does not care (about faith) ,
- you are anxious to pursue him,
- while there is no blame on you, if he does not attain purity.
- As regards the one who has come to you rushing eagerly,
- while he fears (Allah) ,
- to him you pay no heed!
- Never! (you should never act in this way,) Indeed this (Qur‘an) is an advice.
- So, whoever so wills may pay heed to it.
- It is (recorded) in those scripts (of the Preserved Tablet) that are honoured,
- exalted, purified,
- in the hands of those scribes
- who are honorable, righteous.
- Damned is the man! How ungrateful he is!
- From which stuff did He (Allah) create him?
- from a drop of semen! He created him, and designed him in due proportion,
- then He made the way easy for him,
- Later, he made him die, and put him into grave,
- Thereafter, when He will intend, He will raise him up.
- No! He has not yet fulfilled what He (Allah) had commanded him.
- So, the man should consider his food,
- how well We poured water,
- then how nicely We split the earth,
- then We grew in it grain,
- And grapes and clover plants (i.e. green fodder for the cattle) ,
- and olive and date-palms,
- and gardens, full of thick trees,
- and fruits and fodder,
- as a benefit for you and your cattle.
- So when the Deafening Noise will occur,
- the Day when one will flee from his brother,
- and from his mother and father,
- and from his wife and sons,
- every one of them will be too engaged in his own affairs to care for others.
- Many faces, on that day, will be bright,
- laughing, rejoicing,
- and many faces, on that day, will be stained with dust,
- covered by darkness.
- Those are the disbelievers, the nefarious.
Circumstance of Revelation
Sayyidna ` Abdullah Ibn Umm Maktum (رض) ، the companion of the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) was a blind man. It once happened that the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) was engaged in a talk with the leaders of Quraish about some matters of belief. Sayyidna ` Abdullah Ibn Umm Maktum (رض) arrived there. Imam Baghawi adds that being blind and unable to see the surroundings, he did not realise that the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) was occupied with the others. He, therefore, burst into the circle and called the Holy Prophet repeatedly. [ Mazhari ]. According to Ibn Kathir, he requested the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) to teach him a verse of the Qur’ an and insisted an immediate enlightenment on the question. On that occasion, the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) was occupied with the non-believing leaders of Makkah in the hope that they would embrace the faith of Islam.
The leaders to whom the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) was speaking were ` Utbah Ibn Rabi` ah, Abu Jahl Ibn Hisham and the Holy Prophet’s (صلى الله عليه وسلم) uncle ` Abbas (رض) [who had until then not embraced the Islamic faith].
The Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) disliked the intrusion, and showed his displeasure by turning aside from Sayyidth ` Abdullah Ibn Umm Maktum, thinking that he was a committed Muslim who frequently visited him, and therefore he could speak to him at another appropriate time. There was no religious loss in postponing the response to him. On the other hand, the Quraish leaders neither frequented the Holy Prophet’s (صلى الله عليه وسلم) company, nor could the Word of Allah be conveyed to them at any time. At that particular moment, they were listening to the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) .” discourse and there was hope that they would embrace the Islamic faith. But if the conversation was rashly interrupted, apparently they would have been deprived of the faith. In view of this situation, the Holy Prophet * showed adverse reaction by turning aside from` Abdul)-ah Ibn umm Maktum (رض) ، and continued his discourse with the Quraish leaders. When the assembly broke up, the verses of Surah ` Abas were revealed to record Allah’s dislike for this attitude, and to give directions for future.
This attitude of the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) was based on ijtihad or ‘an opinion based on personal reasoning’. He thought that if a Muslim were to adopt a speech style that is not in keeping with etiquettes of a gathering, he needs to be reprimanded, so that in future he may be careful in future. That is the reason why Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) turned his face away from Sayyidna ` Abdullah Ibn Umm Maktum (رض) .
Secondly, disbelief (kufr) and polytheism (shirk) are the most severe sins, and an effort to eradicate them should take priority over the subsidiary precepts of Islam on which Sayyidna ` Abdullah Ibn Umm Maktum (رض) asked for enlightenment. Allah Almighty, through this Surah, did not confirm the correctness of this ijtihad of the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) ، and explained to him that educating a genuine seeker will most certainly benefit him, while the benefit of discussion with the opponents (who disdainfully turn away their face when the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) talks to them) is shaky and doubtful. Doubtful thing cannot be preferred over certainty.
As for the violation of etiquette committed by Sayyidna ` Abdullah Ibn Umm Maktum (رض) ، its excuse is pointed out by the Holy Qur’an in the word ‘blind’. It is indicated by this word that being a blind man, he could not see what the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) was doing and with whom he was engaged in conversation. Thus he was excusable, and was not liable to be subjected to aversion. This indicates that if an excusable person were to break any rule of etiquette unwittingly, he should not be reprimanded.
عَبَسَ وَتَوَلَّىٰ (He [ the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) frowned and turned his face, 80:1). The word ` abasa means ‘he frowned’ and the word tawalla means ‘he turned aside’. Since the reference here is to the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) who himself is addressed, the verbs should have been in the second person: ‘you frowned and you turned aside’. But the Holy Qur’an on this occasion uses the third person in order to maintain the honour of the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) ، as if this attitude were shown by some other person, and in a subtle way it alludes to the point that what the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) did was not befitting his high status. Then the next sentence وَمَا يُدْرِيكَ (and what could tell you? …80:3) alludes to the fact that the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) was excusable, because it did not come to his attention that the Companion is asking something whose effect will be certain and the effect of conversation with others is dubious.
The second sentence abandons the third person, and switches to the second person in order to maintain the honour of the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) . Had he not been addressed in second person at all, it might have created the impression that he is not addressed directly because of his unapproved conduct, which would have been an unbearable pain and grief for the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) . Just as the third person in the first statement is meant to show respect to him, the second person in the following sentence is also meant to honor and console him.
لَعَلَّهُ يَزَّكَّىٰ أَوْ يَذَّكَّرُ فَتَنفَعَهُ الذِّكْرَىٰ (May be, [ if you had attended him properly,] he would have attained purity, or have taken to the advice, and the advice would have benefited him….80:3-4).
In other words, because Sayyidna ` Abdullah Ibn Umm Maktum (رض) was a genuine believer, any advice given to him would have benefited him and served to purify him. The companion sought enlightenment and its benefit was certain. If the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) enlightened him on the topic, he would have purified himself and attained perfection. If that did not happen, he would have at least attained the basic benefit of Divine remembrance. He would have improved the love and fear of Allah in his heart. The word dhikra means ‘to remember Allah abundantly’ [ Sihah ].1
(1) This interpretation is based on taking the word ‘dhikra’ in the sense of remembrance of Allah’. However, some other exegetes have taken this word to mean ‘advice’, and the translation of the text, as well as the explanation following in the next paragraph, is based on it. (Muhammad Taqi Usmani)
On this occasion, the Qur’ an has used two sentences yazzakka and yazzakkaru. The first statement signifies ‘to be purified’ and the second statement signifies ‘he may take heed and the reminder may benefit him’. The first stage is that of the ‘righteous’ who cleanse their inner and outer selves. The second stage is that of mubtadi ‘beginners on the spiritual journey’. At this stage, the beginner is reminded of Allah which enhances the greatness and awe of Allah in his heart. The two sentences are disjoined by disjunctive particle sau (or) and technically they are not necessarily exclusive to one another. The sense is that` Abdullah Ibn Umm Maktum (رض) would have attained either both benefits, or at least, the second one, that is, increase in Allah’s remembrance and in His awe, which is the initial step towards perfection
An Important Qur’ anic Principle of Teaching and Preaching
On this occasion, the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) was faced with two different requirements at the same time. On the one hand, he was required to teach a Muslim and to encourage him on attaining perfection. On the other hand, he had to provide guidance to non-Muslims. The principle laid down here makes it clear that the first requirement takes priority over the second one. It is improper to delay the first task (educating Muslims) because of the second task. This indicates that education of Muslims and their reform are more important than, and take priority over, getting the non-Muslims to embrace the faith.
Scholars should avoid any such indulgence when disposing of any doubts of the non-Muslims, which may create doubts or complaints in the minds of the general body of Muslims. The teachers, preachers and reformers need to keep in mind these Qur’ anic guidelines to maintain the welfare and priority of the Muslims. How beautifully Akbar Allahabadi, the Urdu poet, versifies this principle:
بے وفا سمجھیں تمہیں اہل حرم اس سے بچو
دیر والے کج ادا کہ دیں یہ بدنامی بھلی
‘Protect yourselves from a position where people of the Haram (Muslims) call you unfaithful.
As opposed to this, if People of temple [ non-Muslims ] call you ‘ill-mannered’, (because of your faithfulness to your religion), this dishonor is better.
The following verses clarify the principles more elaborately:
أَمَّا مَنِ اسْتَغْنَىٰ فَأَنتَ لَهُ تَصَدَّىٰ (As for the one who does not care [ about faith ], you are anxious to pursue him!…80:5-6).
In other words: ‘Those who turn away from you and your religion, you are pursuing them under the hope that somehow they should become Muslims, while this is not your responsibility. If they do not embrace the faith, there will be no blame on you.
Thereafter, in verses 13 and 14, Allah Almighty has described the high status of the Holy Qur’ an, thus:
فِي صُحُفٍ مُّكَرَّمَةٍ مَّرْفُوعَةٍ مُّطَهَّرَةٍ (It is [ recorded ] in those scripts [ of the Preserved Tablet ] that are honoured, [ 13] exalted, purified – 14).
The word suhuf refers to lauh mahfuz ‘the Preserved Tablet’.
Although it is a single thing, but suhuf, the plural form of sahifah is used because all divine scriptures are written in it, or because the angels copy their scriptures from them. The word marfuah means ‘exalted in the sight of Allah’. The word mutahharah (purified) means ‘people in the state of sexual defilement, menstrual discharge, post-natal bleeding and people in the state of minor uncleanness are not permitted to touch it’.
The word safarah may be used as the plural of safir in the sense of ‘envoy’. In this case, it would refer to the angels who convey the revelation, and Prophets (صلى الله عليه وسلم) and their companions who write the revelation. The ` ulama’ (knowledgeable persons) of the Muslim community’ are also included in this term, because they too are envoys between the Holy Prophet and the Muslim community. The messenger of Allah is reported to have said that he who recites the Qur’ an and is an expert in the art of recitation, he will be with the honorable, righteous envoys. He who is not an expert in the art of recitation, but recites it correctly with difficulty, he shall receive double reward. [ Transmitted by Shaikhain from ` A’ishah – Mazhari ].
This shows that a non-expert will receive double reward – one for recitation of Qur’ an, and the other for bearing the difficulty. This also indicates that an expert will receive countless rewards. [ Mazhari ]
The preceding verses mentioned that the Qur’ an is exalted and that belief in it is incumbent. Subsequently, the rejecters of Qur’ an are cursed and they are warned against showing ingratitude towards Divine favours. That the Holy Qur’an is a great Divine blessing is understood only by the men of Divine knowledge and understanding. Further, there is the mention of those Divine favours that Allah confers on man since his inception to the end of his life. These are material and physical things that a man with basic intellect can understand. Human creation is mentioned, thus:
مِنْ أَيِّ شَيْءٍ خَلَقَهُ مِن نُّطْفَةٍ (From which stuff did He [ Allah ] create him? From a drop of semen! ..80:18-19).
First a question is raised: ‘0 man! Consider what Allah has created you from?’ Since its reply is so obvious that there can be no other reply, the next verse itself says: ‘From a drop of semen!’ Thus the verse draws pointed attention to the very humble beginning of man, so that it may be brought home to him that Allah having created him from such an insignificant thing as a sperm-drop, created him and proportioned him:
خَلَقَهُ فَقَدَّرَهُ (He created him, and designed him in due proportion..80:19). In other words, He has made him with a special design and with great wisdom. His stature, body-structure, his face, his length and breadth of the limbs, his joints, his eyes, nose and ears are all well-proportioned in their creation. If any limb or organ loses its proportion, man’s face will go awry, and every activity will become a problem.
The word qaddara is derived from taqdir which is also used in the sense of ‘predestination’. Taking the word in this sense, the verse may also mean here that when man is under creation in his mother’s womb, Allah predetermines four things for him: his life span, his sustenance, his deeds and whether he would be miserable or happy [ as in the hadith of Ibn Mas’ ud (رض) recorded by Shaikhain ].
ثُمَّ السَّبِيلَ يَسَّرَهُ (then He made the way easy for him…80:20) Allah through His consummate wisdom creates man in his mother’s womb, creation after creation, within three layers of darkness [ i.e. the belly, the womb and the amniotic membrane ]. It is kept in a safe place in the belly. The mother in whose belly all this is happening is totally unaware of any of the details of this process. Thereafter, when the baby becomes perfect with all its limbs and organs, Allah made it possible that a body weighing 3 to 4 kg comes out through an extremely narrow passage, and the mother does not suffer unduly. So blessed be He Who is the best Creator!
ثُمَّ أَمَاتَهُ فَأَقْبَرَهُ (Later, he made him die, and put him into the grave..80:21) After mentioning the inception of human life, Allah points to its end, that is, death and grave. Death has been mentioned here in the context of blessings of Allah. It indicates that death is a blessing rather than a calamity. The Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) is reported to have put it thus: تحفَۃ المؤمِن الموت “The gift of a believer is death.” Moreover, there is a profound wisdom in death at macro level for the entire world.
The phrase فَأَقْبَرَهُ fa-aqbarah (and put him into the grave) describes another blessing of Allah, in that when man is dead, he is not left lying on the earth like other animals where he might rot, blow up and burst [ and probably be ravaged by vultures or beasts ]. But, even after death, he is honoured in the most befitting manner. His body is washed ceremonially, enshrouded in clean cloths, and buried in a grave with respect.
This verse also indicates that it is obligatory to bury a dead human body.
كَلَّا لَمَّا يَقْضِ مَا أَمَرَهُ (No! He has not yet fulfilled what He [ Allah ] had commanded him…80:23).
Having mentioned in the preceding verses the beginning and the end of human life, Divine Omnipotence and Divine blessings, the current verses warn the non-believing man that the demand of Divine Signs and blessings was to carefully ponder and believe in Allah, and comply with His injunctions, but the unfortunate creature failed to do so. Further, the Divine favours are mentioned that were conferred on man between the beginning and end of his life. Man is then asked to consider the sources of his food.
Allah showers down water abundantly from the clouds. He cleaves the earth with new growth. Thereupon He causes grain to grow out of it. At first, a fragile shoot germinates and sprouts. Then many different kinds of grain, fruits and gardens come into existence. Having warned man several times about these Divine blessings, the Surah concludes with the mention of Resurrection, thus:
يَوْمَ يَفِرُّ الْمَرْءُ مِنْ أَخِيهِ (the Day when one will flee from his brother…80:34). This depicts the scene when all the people will have gathered in the Plain of Gathering. Each person will be worried about himself, and the situation will be so horrifying and tense that it will make people heedless of anything around them. In the world, there are relationships between people that make one willing to lay down his life for the other, but on the Day of Resurrection there will be such horror and chaos that they will be unable to take care of anyone. In fact, even if one sees the other in front of him, he will turn away from him.
They will try to flee from their brothers, from their mothers and fathers, from their spouses and their children. They will not be able to help any of them in the Hereafter, despite the natural attachment they had with them in the world. Normally, one is more anxious in this world about his parents than about his brothers, and he is more anxious about his wife and children than about his parents. Keeping this in view, the relationships, in the present verse, are arranged from lower order to higher order.
The Chapter ends on a note of warning to disbelievers that if they reject the Qur’ anic message and persist in opposition to the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) they will have to face a day of reckoning when misery, shame and ignominy will be their lot. The righteous believers, however, will reside in Gardens of Bliss, their faces beaming with joy and happiness.
[From Ma’ariful Quran English by Mufti Taqi Uthmani]
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