In the name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate
بِسۡمِ اللهِ الرَّحۡمٰنِ الرَّحِيۡمِ
(38:1) Sad,1 and by the Qur'an full of exhortation!2 صٓ وَالۡقُرۡاٰنِ ذِى الذِّكۡرِؕ
(38:2) Nay, but the unbelievers are steeped in arrogance and stubborn defiance.3 بَلِ الَّذِيۡنَ كَفَرُوۡا فِىۡ عِزَّةٍ وَّشِقَاقٍ
(38:3) How many a nation did We destroy before them! (When they approached
their doom) they cried out (for deliverance), but the time for deliverance was
كَمۡ اَهۡلَـكۡنَا مِنۡ قَبۡلِهِمۡ مِّنۡ قَرۡنٍ فَنَادَوْا وَّلَاتَ حِيۡنَ
(38:4) They wondered that a warner had come to them from among themselves,4and
the deniers of the Truth said: “This is a sorcerer,5 and a big liar.
وَعَجِبُوۡۤا اَنۡ جَآءَهُمۡ مُّنۡذِرٌ مِّنۡهُمۡ وَقَالَ الۡكٰفِرُوۡنَ هٰذَا
سٰحِرٌ كَذَّابٌ ۖۚ
(38:5) Has he made the gods one single God? This is truly astounding.”
اَجَعَلَ الۡاٰلِهَةَ اِلٰهًا وَّاحِدًا ۖۚ اِنَّ هٰذَا لَشَىۡءٌ عُجَابٌ
(38:6) And the elders among them went forth6 saying: “Go ahead
and be steadfast in adhering to your deities.7 What is being said
is with a design.”8 وَانْطَلَقَ الۡمَلَاُ مِنۡهُمۡ اَنِ امۡشُوۡا وَاصۡبِرُوۡا عَلٰٓى اٰلِهَتِكُمۡ
ۖۚ اِنَّ هٰذَا لَشَىۡءٌ يُّرَادُ ۖۚ
(38:7) We have not heard this in the religious community close to our time.9
This is nothing but a fabrication.
مَا سَمِعۡنَا بِهٰذَا فِى الۡمِلَّةِ الۡاٰخِرَةِ ۖۚ اِنۡ هٰذَاۤ اِلَّا اخۡتِلَاقٌ
(38:8) Has this Exhortation been sent down among us only to him, to the exclusion
of all others?” Nay, they are in doubt regarding My Exhortation,10
and are saying all this because they have not yet had any taste of My chastisement.
ءَاُنۡزِلَ عَلَيۡهِ الذِّكۡرُ مِنۡۢ بَيۡنِنَاؕ بَلۡ هُمۡ فِىۡ شَكٍّ مِّنۡ
ذِكۡرِىۡۚ بَلْ لَّمَّا يَذُوۡقُوۡا عَذَابِؕ
(38:9) Do they possess the treasures of your Lord, the Most Mighty, the Great
اَمۡ عِنۡدَهُمۡ خَزَآٮِٕنُ رَحۡمَةِ رَبِّكَ الۡعَزِيۡزِ الۡوَهَّابِۚ
(38:10) Or do they possess the dominion of the heavens and the earth and
of all that is in between them? If so, let them ascend the heights of the realm
of causation and see!11 اَمۡ لَهُمۡ مُّلۡكُ السَّمٰوٰتِ وَالۡاَرۡضِ وَمَا بَيۡنَهُمَافَلۡيَرۡتَقُوۡا
(38:11) This is only a small army out of the several armies that will suffer
defeat here.12 جُنۡدٌ مَّا هُنَالِكَ مَهۡزُوۡمٌ مِّنَ الۡاَحۡزَابِ
(38:12) Before them the people of Noah, Ad, and Pharaoh of the tent-pegs
gave the lie (to the Messengers)13 كَذَّبَتۡ قَبۡلَهُمۡ قَوۡمُ نُوۡحٍ وَّعَادٌ وَّفِرۡعَوۡنُ ذُو الۡاَوۡتَادِۙ
(38:13) and so did Thamud and the people of Lot and the people of Aykah.
These were all leagued together.
وَثَمُوۡدُ وَقَوۡمُ لُوۡطٍ وَّاَصۡحٰبُ لْئَیْكَةِ ؕ اُولٰٓٮِٕكَ الۡاَحۡزَابُ
(38:14) Each of them gave the lie to Messengers and My decree of chastisement
came upon them.
اِنۡ كُلٌّ اِلَّا كَذَّبَ الرُّسُلَ فَحَقَّ عِقَابِ
.1 Although like all other enigmatic letters (muqattaat), it is also difficult
to determine the meaning of the letter Suad, yet the interpretation of it given
by Ibn Abbas and Dahhak is quite plausible. According to them, it implies: Sadiqun
fiqauli- hi, or Sadaqa Muhammadun: Muhammad (peace be upon him) is truthful:
whatever he says is the very truth.
2. The words dhidh-dhikr of the text can have two meanings: (1) Dhi sharaf:
the noble Quran. (2) Dhi at-tadhkir: the Quran which is full of admonition,
or the Quran which serves as a reminder, or arouses a heedless person.
3. If the interpretation given of suad by Ibn Abbas and Dahhak is accepted,
the sentence would mean this: By this noble Quran, or by this Quran which is
full of admonition, Muhammad (peace be upon him) is presenting the truth, but
the people who persist in their denial, are in fact, involved in arrogance and
stubbornness. And if Suad is taken as one of those enigmatic letters whose meaning
cannot be determined, then the answer to the oath is omitted, which is indicated
by “but” and the sentence following it. The meaning then would be: The reason
for the denial of these disbelievers is not that the religion which is being
presented before them is unsound, or that Muhammad (peace be upon him) has shown
some slackness in the matter of presenting the truth before them, but their
own boasting and bragging, their haughtiness and stubbornness, and this is borne
out by this Quran itself, which is full of admonition. Every unbiased person
who studies it will admit that full justice has been done in it to the task
of making the people understand the truth.
4. That is, they are so foolish that when a man from their own kind and from
their own clan and brotherhood, whom they knew well, was appointed to warn them,
they wondered at it, whereas it would have been strange if some other kind of
creature had been sent down from heaven to warn human beings, or an utter stranger
had arisen among them suddenly and started functioning as a prophet. In that
case they would have been perfectly justified to say: What an odd thing! How
can this strange creature know our conditions and feelings and requirements
that he should guide us? How can we test and find out the truth about the stranger
who has suddenly arisen among us and know whether he is trustworthy or not?
And how can we decide whether we should or should not believe in him when we
have not judged and seen his character and personality?
5. The disbelievers used the word sahir (wizard, sorcerer, magician) for the
Prophet (peace be upon him) in the sense that whoever came in contact with him
was so influenced by him that he would become his follower like a possessed
person. He would least mind severing of his connections with others or incurring
material losses. The father would give up the son and the son would give up
the father. The wife would separate from the husband and the husband would separate
from the wife. One would at once be prepared to leave his country if so required.
One would even be ready to pass through the severest persecutions for the sake
of the faith. (For further details, see
(Surah Al- Anbiya, Ayat 3 and E.N. 5)
6. The allusion is to the chiefs who got up and left Abu Talib when they had
heard what the Prophet (peace be upon him) said.
7. “This thing”: the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) asking them to affirm faith
in La-ilaha ill-Allah so as to overpower both Arabia and the adjoining lands.
8. What they meant to say was this: Muhammad has some vested interests. He
is extending this invitation to us in order to subjugate us and rule us as his
9. That is, there have been our own elderly people in the recent past. There
are Christians and Jews also living in our land and in the adjoining lands;
and there are the Zoroastrians abounding in Iran and Iraq and eastern Arabia.
None of them has ever preached that man should only believe in One Allah, Lord
of the worlds, and in none else beside Him. No one can remain content with One
God only. Everyone believes in the beloved ones of Allah also. They are All
paying obeisance to them, making offerings at their shrines and praying for
fulfillment of their needs and requirements. From one place people get children
and from another provisions of life, and from yet another whatever they pray
for. The whole world believes in their powers and capabilities, and those who
have benefited from them tell how the needs of the people are being met and
their difficulties being removed through their help and grace. Now this man
is telling us a queer thing which we had never heard before. He says that none
of these holy men has any share in Godhead and that Godhead wholly belongs only
10. In other words Allah says: Muhammad, these people are not belying you
but Me. As for your truthfulness, they had never doubted it before. Now that
they are doubting it, it is because of My Admonition. Now that I have entrusted
to you the mission of admonishing them, they have started doubting the truthfulness
of the very person whose righteousness and piety they used to swear by. The
same theme has also been discussed in
(Surah Al-Anaam, Ayat 33 and E.N. 21) thereof.
11. This is an answer to this saying of the disbelievers: Was he the only
(fit) person among us to whom Allah’s admonition should have been sent down?
Allah says: It is for Us to decide whom We should choose and appoint as a Prophet
and whom We should not. These people do not possess any power and authority
to exercise choice in this regard. If they wish to attain such an authority,
they should try to reach the divine Throne in order to obtain control over the
office of sovereignty of the Universe, so that revelation should come down on
him whom they regard as deserving their mercy and not on him whom We regard
as fit for it. This theme has occurred at several places in the Quran, because
the unbelieving Quraish again and again said: How did Muhammad (peace be upon
him) become a Prophet? Did Allah find no better man among the principal leaders
of the Quraish worthy of this office? (See
(Surah Bani-Israil, Ayat 100);
(Surah Az-Zukhruf, Ayats 31-32).
12. “There” implies the city of Makkah. That is, the time is coming when these
people shall be humbled and routed in the very place where they are opposing
and mocking you. Then, they will be standing, with heads hung down, before the
same man whom they despise and refuse to recognize as a Prophet of Allah.
13. The use of dhul-autad (of the stakes) for Pharaoh is either in the sense
that his kingdom was very strong as though a stake were firmly driven into the
ground, or for the reason that wherever his large armies camped, pegs of the
tents were seen driven into the ground on every side, or because he would torture
and punish at the stakes anyone with whom he was angry. And possibly the stakes
may imply the pyramids of Egypt which seem to be driven into the earth like