surah balad english

Surah Balad, Surat Al Balad, Surah Al Balad

سورة البلد

لَا أُقْسِمُ بِهَٰذَا الْبَلَدِ ﴿1﴾ وَأَنْتَ حِلٌّ بِهَٰذَا الْبَلَدِ ﴿2﴾ وَوَالِدٍ وَمَا وَلَدَ ﴿3﴾ لَقَدْ خَلَقْنَا الْإِنْسَانَ فِي كَبَدٍ ﴿4﴾ أَيَحْسَبُ أَنْ لَنْ يَقْدِرَ عَلَيْهِ أَحَدٌ ﴿5﴾ يَقُولُ أَهْلَكْتُ مَالًا لُبَدًا ﴿6﴾ أَيَحْسَبُ أَنْ لَمْ يَرَهُ أَحَدٌ ﴿7﴾ أَلَمْ نَجْعَلْ لَهُ عَيْنَيْنِ ﴿8﴾ وَلِسَانًا وَشَفَتَيْنِ ﴿9﴾ وَهَدَيْنَاهُ النَّجْدَيْنِ ﴿10﴾ فَلَا اقْتَحَمَ الْعَقَبَةَ ﴿11﴾ وَمَا أَدْرَاكَ مَا الْعَقَبَةُ ﴿12﴾ فَكُّ رَقَبَةٍ ﴿13﴾ أَوْ إِطْعَامٌ فِي يَوْمٍ ذِي مَسْغَبَةٍ ﴿14﴾ يَتِيمًا ذَا مَقْرَبَةٍ ﴿15﴾ أَوْ مِسْكِينًا ذَا مَتْرَبَةٍ ﴿16﴾ ثُمَّ كَانَ مِنَ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَتَوَاصَوْا بِالصَّبْرِ وَتَوَاصَوْا بِالْمَرْحَمَةِ ﴿17﴾ أُولَٰئِكَ أَصْحَابُ الْمَيْمَنَةِ ﴿18﴾ وَالَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا بِآيَاتِنَا هُمْ أَصْحَابُ الْمَشْأَمَةِ ﴿19﴾ عَلَيْهِمْ نَارٌ مُؤْصَدَةٌ ﴿20﴾


Bismillaahir Rahmaanir Raheem

  1. Laaa uqsimu bihaazal balad
  2. Wa anta hillum bihaazal balad
  3. Wa waalidinw wa maa walad
  4. Laqad khalaqnal insaana fee kabad
  5. Ayahsabu al-lai yaqdira ‘alaihi ahad
  6. Yaqoolu ahlaktu maalal lubadaa
  7. Ayahsabu al lam yarahooo ahad
  8. Alam naj’al lahoo ‘aynayn
  9. Wa lisaananw wa shafatayn
  10. Wa hadaynaahun najdayn
  11. Falaq tahamal-‘aqabah
  12. Wa maaa adraaka mal’aqabah
  13. Fakku raqabah
  14. Aw it’aamun fee yawmin zee masghabah
  15. Yateeman zaa maqrabah
  16. Aw miskeenan zaa matrabah
  17. Summa kaana minal lazeena aamanoo wa tawaasaw bissabri wa tawaasaw bilmarhamah
  18. Ulaaa’ika As-haabul maimanah
  19. Wallazeena kafaroo bi aayaatinaa hum as-haabul Mash’amah
  20. Alaihim naarum mu’sadah


With the name of Allah, the All-Merciful, the Very-Merciful.

  1. I swear by this city,
  2. __and ( O Prophet,) you are going to be allowed (to fight) in this city__
  3. and by the father and all those he begot,
  4. indeed We have created man (to live) in hard struggle.
  5. Does he think that no one has power over him?
  6. He says, :I have spent a lot of wealth.
  7. Does he think that no one has seen him?
  8. Did We not make for him two eyes,
  9. and one tongue and two lips,
  10. and showed him the two ways?
  11. Yet he did not make his way through the steep course,_ __
  12. __ And what may let you know what the steep course is?
  13. (It is) freeing of the neck of a slave,
  14. or giving food in a day of hunger
  15. to an orphan near of kin,
  16. or to a needy person lying in dust_ ___
  17. ___ then he did not join those who believe and advise each other to be patient and advise each other to be merciful.
  18. Those are the People of the Right Hand. (i.e. their books of deeds will be given in their right hands)
  19. As for those who reject Our verses, they are the People of the Left Hand. (i.e. their books of deeds will be given in their left hands.)
  20. Upon them will be the Fire, enveloping them with closed exits.


لَا أُقْسِمُ بِهَـٰذَا الْبَلَدِ  In the beginning of this sentence has no meaning here. Such particles in Arabic language are commonplace. However, the more appropriate view is that when a Surah begins with a la (no) followed by an oath, it was revealed in refutation to a false assumption of the opponents. In other words, Allah is saying, ‘No, what you [ the unbelievers ] are saying or thinking is not correct, but the truth is what We are swearing about…’. The word al-balad ‘the City’ refers to the Holy City of Makkah, as in Surah At-Tin [ 95:3] where Allah swears an oath ‘by this peaceful City [ of Makkah ] وھٰذا البَلَدِ الاَمِين .

The adjective attached to the ‘City’ is ‘peaceful’. This shows the superiority and honour of Makkah over other cities. Sayyidna ` Abdullah Ibn ` Adiyy (رض) reports that when the Holy Prophet of Allah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) was migrating from Makkah to Madinah, he addressed the city of Makkah and said: “By Allah, you are dearer to Allah than the entire earth. If I was not forced out of this place, I would never have abandoned you.” [ Transmitted by Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah vide Mazhari ].

وَأَنتَ حِلٌّ بِهَـٰذَا الْبَلَدِ (and [ 0 Holy Prophet,] you are going to be allowed to fight in this city….90:2). The word hillun bears two possibilities: [ 1] It could be derived from hulul which signifies to reside in or to descend on some place. In this sense, hillun signifies ‘a dweller or resident’ and the verse purports to say that the city of Makkah itself is sacred, and since Holy Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم) is the inhabitant of this city, it adds to the sanctity, honour and glory of the place. Thus, on account of the Holy Prophet’s (صلى الله عليه وسلم) residing in that city its honour and sanctity has been enhanced and augmented.

The second possibility is that it is derived from hillatun which means ‘the thing the doing of which is lawful’. From this point of view, hillun could signify one of two things: One that the pagans of Makkah consider it lawful to do the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) any harm, even to kill him, in this City of Makkah which is so sacred that the doing of harm to a living creature in its precincts, not to say of killing it or hunting it, is strictly forbidden even according to their own belief system. Secondly, this may be a prophecy that the city of Makkah is going to be made lawful for the Holy Prophet in the sense that fighting in it will be allowed for him for a specified time, and He will alight in this City of Makkah, as it happened on the occasion of the Conquest of Makkah.

On this occasion, all the injunctions and ordinances of the حرم Haram were suspended for one day, and it was made lawful to kill the disbelievers. Mazhari cites three possible meanings, and says that all three of them are equally possible.

وَوَالِدٍ وَمَا وَلَدَ The word walid refers to Holy Prophet ‘Adam (عليه السلام) the father of mankind, and the phrase مَا وَلَدَ ‘that which he begot’ refers to his children from the inception of the world to the end of the world. Thus this phrase swears an oath by Holy Prophet ‘Adam (عليه السلام) and all his children. The subject of the oath follows next, thus:

لَقَدْ خَلَقْنَا الْإِنسَانَ فِي كَبَدٍ (Indeed We have created man [ to live ] in hard struggle…90:4) The word kabad means ‘labour, ‘toil’ or ‘difficulty’. The verse purports to say that man’s life is a series of hard and toilsome works.

Ibn ` Abbas (رض) says: ‘Man was conceived and held in his mother’s womb. The mother bore the pangs of birth. The hardship of sucking the mother’s milk and the difficulty of weaning. This is followed by seeking livelihood and other necessities of life with hardship.

Then he endures hardships and long-suffering of old age, death, grave, resurrection, accountability of deeds before Allah, reward and punishment.’ These difficulties and hardships are not confined to man. Other animals too share them. Man has particularly been mentioned in this connection because of his intelligence. The more the power of a creature’s intelligence, the higher the degree of his legal obligation.

Lastly, the greatest difficulty and hardship would be borne at resurrection and life-after-death, when we will be required to give an account of the deeds we might have done throughout our life. Other species of animals will not be required to do this.

Some scholars say that no creation suffers as much difficulties or hardships as human beings, despite the fact that his body is smaller and weaker than most other animals. Man’s brainpower, however, is most powerful. Therefore, he has been specifically mentioned.

 Swearing an oath by Makkah, ‘Adam and his children, Allah has made it plain that man has been created in difficulties and to endure hardships. This is a proof that man did not come into existence on his own but his Creator is an All-Powerful Being who has, in His wisdom, created every species of creation with specific predisposition and capacity of actions. If man had any part in his own creation, he would never have allowed such difficulties and hardships for himself. [Qurtubi]

Absolute Comfort, without Hardship, Is not Possible in the World: Man Must be Prepared to Endure Hardships

The oath and its subject makes plain to man that his desire to live peacefully and comfortably in this world, without enduring any hardship, is a silly idea and false notion, which is not possible to happen. Therefore, it is necessary for difficulty, hardship, distress and affliction to befall every person. Since they are bound to befall, a wise person should be in readiness to work hard for something that may help him for an eternal life. The only factor that will help him for this is faith and obedience to the Truth.

Then, after describing a few of the ignorant disbeliever’s qualities, the following verse says about an unbeliever: أَيَحْسَبُ أَن لَّمْ يَرَ‌هُ أَحَدٌ (Does he think that no one has seen him?…90:7) that is, his evil deeds. He should realise that his Creator watches every action of his.

أَلَمْ نَجْعَل لَّهُ عَيْنَيْنِ ﴿٨﴾ وَلِسَانًا وَشَفَتَيْنِ ﴿٩﴾ وَهَدَيْنَاهُ النَّجْدَيْنِ ﴿١٠ The word najdain is the dual form of najd which means an elevated or conspicuous road. The word najdain signifies the two high and conspicuous ways of good and evil, or of success and destruction. The preceding verse pointed out the ignorance and heedlessness of man. He thinks that Allah has no power over him, and that there is no one watching over his actions.

The current verse mentions a few of the organs and abilities that Allah has endowed him with. If he reflects carefully on these endowments, he will appreciate His infinite wisdom and power within himself.

He has a pair of eyes. The optic nerves and tissues are rather delicate. They send nervous impulses to the brain when stimulated by light rays from external objects. The structure of the eye itself is most delicate. Each eye consists of a hollow, spherical capsule [ eyeball ], made up of several layers and structures. It is set into a socket in the skull, and is protected by eyelids and eyelashes, and eyebrows.

It works like an automatic machine. When a harmful object is seen coming from the front, the eyelids close on their own. The eyelashes block the dust from getting into the eyes. The eyebrows help keep things away from falling into the eyes directly from top. The facial bones, especially the orbit [ eye socket and the cheek bones ], protect the eye, if one were to fall on one’s face or something were to fall on the face.

The second gift that man is endowed with is the ‘tongue’. This organ – the articulator – is the most amazing and important creation. It is the long piece of flesh fixed to the bottom of the mouth that can represent thoughts of the heart, the automatic and mysterious machine. The heart works in an amazing way.

A thought occurs in the heart, the brain interprets it, and prepares appropriate topic and words. The words are uttered by the tongue. Such a complex task is performed so swiftly that the listener does not even realise how many systems have worked before the distinguishable sounds, letters and words were uttered.

 Nature has equipped man with two lips that play an important role in articulating the different sounds, letters and words. Nature has made the tongue such a swift-working articulator that within half a minute it may utter a word which may take him out from Hell and admit him into Paradise, as the word of faith, or may endear him to his enemy in the world, as by seeking forgiveness of his shortcomings.

The same tongue within the same short span of time may take him to Hell, as by uttering the word of disbelief, or may make him his biggest enemy who was previously his closest friend, as by using obscene language against him. The tongue has many benefits as well as many ways of destruction. It is a double-edged sword that can operate against an enemy, and it can also cut one’s own throat.

Therefore, Allah has kept it covered within the case of two lips. Probably, this is the reason why the pair of lips is mentioned. The Creator Who has endowed man with tongue has equipped him with a pair of lips in order to protect it. Therefore, he should be careful in its use. He should not unsheathe it unnecessarily. Allah has equipped him with a pair of eyes, a pair of lips and a tongue, and has equipped him with the ability to distinguish good from evil and right from wrong, thus:

﴿فَأَلْهَمَهَا فُجُورَ‌هَا وَتَقْوَاهَا﴾

then inspired it with its [ instinct of ] evil and piety [ 91:8] ‘

Thus in the first instance man receives guidance from his own conscience. This is supported by the guidance of the Holy Prophets (عليهم السلام) and celestial books that clarify it.

In sum, an ignoramus and heedless person, who denies the power of the Omnipotent, should look into his own being, he would be able to observe His attribute of perfect power and consummate wisdom.

He should observe with his two eyes and confess with his tongue. He has been shown the two ways of good and evil; and of right and wrong so that he may choose between the two. Obviously, he should choose the good way. In his make-up, there exists the ability to take either way. All these bounties have not motivated man to attempt the steep course. Then the heedless man is warned that he should reflect on the clear proofs and arguments pertaining to Allah’s Omnipotence, pertaining to the Day of Judgment, life after death and Reckoning, and believe in these articles of faith.

This faith requires that man should be a source of benefit and comfort to others; he should abstain from hurting them; he should believe in Allah; he should amend his own conduct and think of reforming others also, so that, on the Day of Judgment, he may be among the people of the right hand, the inmates of Paradise, enjoying a happy recompense for what he has done in this life. The unfortunate ones who persistently denied the Truth shall be encircled by the Hell-fire. This theme has been taken up from this point onward to the end of the Surah. Failing to do a few of the good deeds have been [ selectively ] described in a unique style.

فَلَا اقْتَحَمَ الْعَقَبَةَ ﴿١١﴾ وَمَا أَدْرَ‌اكَ مَا الْعَقَبَةُ ﴿١٢ The word ‘aqabah means ‘hill, high place or a steep road’. It also refers to a ‘low area of land between two hills or mountains, that is, a valley’. ‘Aqabah helps a man in saving himself when pursued by an enemy by ascending the summit of the mountain, or in escaping by descending into the valley. Here the word ‘aqabah refers to obedience and devotion. Just as it saves man from an enemy, righteous deeds save man from the punishment of the Hereafter. The righteous deeds are as follows:

فَكُّ رَ‌قَبَةٍ This is a great devotional act [ and carries a great reward because ] it moulds a man’s life.


أَوْ إِطْعَامٌ فِي يَوْمٍ ذِي مَسْغَبَةٍ  Although it is an act of great reward to feed any hungry person, it carries even a greater reward to feed certain people, as follows:

يَتِيمًا ذَا مَقْرَ‌بَةٍ ﴿١٥﴾ أَوْ مِسْكِينًا ذَا مَتْرَ‌بَةٍ ﴿١٦ If an orphaned family member is given food to eat, its reward is twofold, for satisfying the hunger of a hungry person and for maintaining family ties and fulfilling his rights.

فِي يَوْمٍ ذِي مَسْغَبَةٍ  It means that feeding him in a day when he is hungry will attract more reward. If an orphan is not a close relative or family member, but he is so poor as to be wallowing in dust, spending on him will yield a greater reward. The poorer the person is, the greater will be the reward for the spender.

Obligations of a Believer

ثُمَّ كَانَ مِنَ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَتَوَاصَوْا بِالصَّبْرِ وَتَوَاصَوْا بِالْمَرْ‌حَمَةِ ‌ (then he did not join those who believe and advise each other to be patient and advise each other to be merciful…90:17). The verse points out that the doing only of good actions mentioned in the foregoing verse is not enough for raising the all round stature of the Muslim community.

Good ideals and right principles, combined with continuous and sustained adherence to the path of moral rectitude and teaching of virtues to others, are equally essential for the attainment of the high aim. Thus the verse after ‘faith’ draws the attention of a believer to his socio-moral obligation to the effect that he ought to teach his other Muslim brothers to be patient and to be merciful.

The word sabr signifies ‘to withhold oneself from evil deeds and to act upon good deeds’. The word marhamah signifies ‘to show mercy to one another or to empathise with others and abstain from hurting them.’ This embraces almost all the injunctions of the entire religion.

[Ma’ariful Quran English by Mufti Taqi Usmani]

Join our list

Subscribe to our mailing list and get interesting stuff and updates to your email inbox.

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.

Leave a Reply