Sura/Chapter:

Verse:    Count: 44
Tafseer/Commentary:
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Translations:
70: Al-Maarij - المعارج

70:1
[ Original ]
بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ سَأَلَ سَائِلٌ بِعَذَابٍ وَاقِعٍ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
A questioner asked about a Penalty to befall-
[ Saheeh International ]
A supplicant asked for a punishment bound to happen
Tafseer Commentary

5675 Any one might ask. When will Judgement come? That question usually implies doubt. The answer is: the mystery of Time is beyond man's comprehension. But there is something which touches him closely and concerns his conduct and his future welfare; and that is explained in four propositions: (1) Judgement is sure to come, and none can ward it off; (2) it will exact a dreadful Penalty from Unbelievers, but the righteous have nothing to fear; (3) it will be a Penalty from Allah, the Lord of both Justice and Mercy, it will not be merely a blind calamity of fate; and (4) further we are reminded of another title of Allah. "Lord of the Ways of Ascent"; which means that though He sits high on His Throne of Glory, He is not inaccessible, but in His infinite Mercy has provided ways of ascent to Him; see next note.


70:2
[ Original ]
لِلْكَافِرِينَ لَيْسَ لَهُ دَافِعٌ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
The Unbelievers, the which there is none to ward off,-
[ Saheeh International ]
To the disbelievers; of it there is no preventer.

70:3
[ Original ]
مِنَ اللَّهِ ذِي الْمَعَارِجِ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
(A Penalty) from Allah, Lord of the Ways of Ascent.
[ Saheeh International ]
[It is] from Allah, owner of the ways of ascent.
Tafseer Commentary

5676 Ma'arij: stairways, ways of ascent. In 43:33, the word is used in its literal sense: "silver stairways on which to go up". Here there is a profound spiritual meaning. Can we reach up to Allah Most High? In His infinite grace He gives that privilege to angels and spiritual beings, man being such in his highest aspect. But the way is not easy, nor can it be travelled in a day. See the next two notes.


70:4
[ Original ]
تَعْرُجُ الْمَلَائِكَةُ وَالرُّوحُ إِلَيْهِ فِي يَوْمٍ كَانَ مِقْدَارُهُ خَمْسِينَ أَلْفَ سَنَةٍ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
The angels and the Spirit ascend unto him in a Day the measure whereof is (as) fifty thousand years:
[ Saheeh International ]
The angels and the Spirit will ascend to Him during a Day the extent of which is fifty thousand years.
Tafseer Commentary

5677 Ruh: "The Spirit", Cf. 78:38, "the Spirit and the angels"; and 97:4, "the angels and the Spirit". In 16:2, we have translated R uh by "inspiration' Some Commentators understand the angel Gabriel by "the Spirit". But I think a more general meaning is possible, and fits the context better. (R).

5678 Cf. 32:4-5, and notes 3632 and 3634.


70:5
[ Original ]
فَاصْبِرْ صَبْرًا جَمِيلًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Therefore do thou hold Patience,- a Patience of beautiful (contentment).
[ Saheeh International ]
So be patient with gracious patience.
Tafseer Commentary

5679 The prophet of Allah, persecuted and in trouble with the world, should yet hold Patience-not the sort of patience which goes with complaints expressed or suppressed, but the sort of patience that is content with the ordering of Allah's world, for he believes and knows it to be good, as did the Prophet Muhammad. Such a patience is akin to Good Pleasure, for it arises from the purest faith and trust in Allah. (R).


70:6
[ Original ]
إِنَّهُمْ يَرَوْنَهُ بَعِيدًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
They see the (Day) indeed as a far-off (event):
[ Saheeh International ]
Indeed, they see it [as] distant,

70:7
[ Original ]
وَنَرَاهُ قَرِيبًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
But We see it (quite) near.
[ Saheeh International ]
But We see it [as] near.
Tafseer Commentary

5680 The men of evil may see the just retribution for their sins so far off that they doubt whether it would ever come. But in Allah's sight, and on the scale of the Universal Plan, it is quite near; for time as we know it hardly exists in the spiritual world. It may come even in this life: but it is bound to come eventually.


70:8
[ Original ]
يَوْمَ تَكُونُ السَّمَاءُ كَالْمُهْلِ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
The Day that the sky will be like molten brass,
[ Saheeh International ]
On the Day the sky will be like murky oil,
Tafseer Commentary

5681 Cf. 18:29 (where the wrongdoer will have a drink like melted brass in Hell); and 44:45, (where his food will be like molten brass). Here the appearance of the sky is compared to molten brass, or, as some understand it, like the dregs of oil. What is conveyed by the metaphor is that the beautiful blue sky will melt away.


70:9
[ Original ]
وَتَكُونُ الْجِبَالُ كَالْعِهْنِ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
And the mountains will be like wool,
[ Saheeh International ]
And the mountains will be like wool,
Tafseer Commentary

5682 Cf. 101:5, where the metaphor of carded wool is used. The mountains which seem so solid will be like flakes of wool driven by the carder's hand.


70:10
[ Original ]
وَلَا يَسْأَلُ حَمِيمٌ حَمِيمًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
And no friend will ask after a friend,
[ Saheeh International ]
And no friend will ask [anything of] a friend,
Tafseer Commentary

5683 The world as we know it will have so completely passed away that the landmarks in the heavens and on earth will also have vanished. Not only that, but the human relationships of mind and heart will have been transformed by sin into something ugly and dreadful. The sinners will be so overcome with tenor at the realisation of their personal responsibility that they will desert their most intimate friends, and indeed their very sight of each other will add to their agony.


70:11
[ Original ]
يُبَصَّرُونَهُمْ ۚ يَوَدُّ الْمُجْرِمُ لَوْ يَفْتَدِي مِنْ عَذَابِ يَوْمِئِذٍ بِبَنِيهِ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Though they will be put in sight of each other,- the sinner�s desire will be: Would that he could redeem himself from the Penalty of that Day by (sacrificing) his children,
[ Saheeh International ]
They will be shown each other. The criminal will wish that he could be ransomed from the punishment of that Day by his children
Tafseer Commentary

5684 The sinner will offer his children, his family, his kinsmen, who had sheltered and protected him-in fact everything on earth that he could-as a ransom for himself. Such would be his selfishness and his agony.


70:12
[ Original ]
وَصَاحِبَتِهِ وَأَخِيهِ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
His wife and his brother,
[ Saheeh International ]
And his wife and his brother

70:13
[ Original ]
وَفَصِيلَتِهِ الَّتِي تُؤْوِيهِ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
His kindred who sheltered him,
[ Saheeh International ]
And his nearest kindred who shelter him

70:14
[ Original ]
وَمَنْ فِي الْأَرْضِ جَمِيعًا ثُمَّ يُنْجِيهِ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
And all, all that is on earth,- so it could deliver him:
[ Saheeh International ]
And whoever is on earth entirely [so] then it could save him.
Tafseer Commentary

5685 What would not the sinner give for his own deliverance! But nothing could save him. The Fire of Hell would be roaring for him!


70:15
[ Original ]
كَلَّا ۖ إِنَّهَا لَظَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
By no means! for it would be the Fire of Hell!-
[ Saheeh International ]
No! Indeed, it is the Flame [of Hell],

70:16
[ Original ]
نَزَّاعَةً لِلشَّوَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Plucking out (his being) right to the skull!-
[ Saheeh International ]
A remover of exteriors.
Tafseer Commentary

5686 It would be a Fire not only burning his body, but reaching right up to his brains and his understanding and�as is said in 104:7�his heart and affections also. In other words the Penalty typified by the Fire will burn into his inmost being.


70:17
[ Original ]
تَدْعُو مَنْ أَدْبَرَ وَتَوَلَّىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Inviting (all) such as turn their backs and turn away their faces (from the Right).
[ Saheeh International ]
It invites he who turned his back [on truth] and went away [from obedience]
Tafseer Commentary

5687 The analysis of sin is given in four masterstrokes, of which the first two refer to the will or psychology of the sinner, and the last two to the use he makes of the good things of this life. (1) Sin begins with turning your back to the Right, refusing to face it squarely, running away from it whether from cowardice or indifference. (2) But Conscience and the sense of Right will try to prevent the flight; the Grace of Allah will meet the sinner at all corners and try to reclaim him; the hardened sinner will deliberately turn away his face from it, insult it, and reject it. (3) The result of this psychology will be that he will abandon himself to greed, to the collection of riches, and the acquisition of material advantages to which he is not entitled; this may involve hypocrisy, fraud, and crime. (4) Having acquired the material advantages, the next step will be to keep others out of them, to prevent hoarded wealth from fructifying by circulation, to conceal it from envy or spite. This is the spiritual Rake's Progress.


70:18
[ Original ]
وَجَمَعَ فَأَوْعَىٰ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
And collect (wealth) and hide it (from use)!
[ Saheeh International ]
And collected [wealth] and hoarded.

70:19
[ Original ]
إِنَّ الْإِنْسَانَ خُلِقَ هَلُوعًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Truly man was created very impatient;-
[ Saheeh International ]
Indeed, mankind was created anxious:
Tafseer Commentary

5688 Man, according to the Plan of Allah, was to be in the best of moulds (95:4). But in order to fulfil his high destiny he was given free will to a limited extent. The wrong use of this free will makes his nature weak (4:28), or hasty (17:11), or impatient, as here. That becomes his nature by his own act, but he is spoken of as so created because of the capacities given to him in his creation.


70:20
[ Original ]
إِذَا مَسَّهُ الشَّرُّ جَزُوعًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Fretful when evil touches him;
[ Saheeh International ]
When evil touches him, impatient,

70:21
[ Original ]
وَإِذَا مَسَّهُ الْخَيْرُ مَنُوعًا
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
And niggardly when good reaches him;-
[ Saheeh International ]
And when good touches him, withholding [of it],
Tafseer Commentary

5689 In adversity he complains and gets into despair. In prosperity he becomes arrogant and forgets other people's rights and his own shortcomings. Cf. 41:49-50.


70:22
[ Original ]
إِلَّا الْمُصَلِّينَ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Not so those devoted to Prayer;-
[ Saheeh International ]
Except the observers of prayer -
Tafseer Commentary

5690 The description of those devoted to Prayer is given in a number of clauses that follow, introduced by the words "Those who . . .". "Devoted to Prayer" is here but another aspect of what is described elsewhere as the Faithful and the Righteous. Devotion to prayer does not mean merely a certain number of formal rites or prostrations. It means a complete surrender of one's being to Allah. This means an earnest approach to and realisation of Allah's Presence ("steadfastness in Prayer"); acts of practical and real charity; and attempt to read this life in terms of the Hereafter; the seeking of the Peace of Allah and avoidance of His displeasure; chastity; probity; true and firm witness; and guarding the sacredness of the Presence (verse 34).


70:23
[ Original ]
الَّذِينَ هُمْ عَلَىٰ صَلَاتِهِمْ دَائِمُونَ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Those who remain steadfast to their prayer;
[ Saheeh International ]
Those who are constant in their prayer

70:24
[ Original ]
وَالَّذِينَ فِي أَمْوَالِهِمْ حَقٌّ مَعْلُومٌ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
And those in whose wealth is a recognised right.
[ Saheeh International ]
And those within whose wealth is a known right

70:25
[ Original ]
لِلسَّائِلِ وَالْمَحْرُومِ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
For the (needy) who asks and him who is prevented (for some reason from asking);
[ Saheeh International ]
For the petitioner and the deprived -
Tafseer Commentary

5691 See n. 5001 to 51:19. True charity consists in finding out those in real need, whether they ask or not. Most frequently those who ask are idle men who insolently wish to live upon others. But all cases of those who ask should be duly investigated, in case a little timely help may set the erring on the way. But the man with wealth or talent or opportunity has the further responsibility of searching out those in need of his assistance, in order to show that he holds all gifts in trust for the service of his fellow creatures.


70:26
[ Original ]
وَالَّذِينَ يُصَدِّقُونَ بِيَوْمِ الدِّينِ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
And those who hold to the truth of the Day of Judgment;
[ Saheeh International ]
And those who believe in the Day of Recompense

70:27
[ Original ]
وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ مِنْ عَذَابِ رَبِّهِمْ مُشْفِقُونَ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
And those who fear the displeasure of their Lord,-
[ Saheeh International ]
And those who are fearful of the punishment of their Lord -
Tafseer Commentary

5692 A true fear of Allah is the fear of offending against His Holy Will and Law, and is therefore akin to the love of Allah. It proceeds from the realisation that all true peace and tranquillity comes from attuning our will to the Universal Will, and that sin causes discord, disharmony, and displeasure�another name for the Wrath of Allah.


70:28
[ Original ]
إِنَّ عَذَابَ رَبِّهِمْ غَيْرُ مَأْمُونٍ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
For their Lord�s displeasure is the opposite of Peace and Tranquillity;-
[ Saheeh International ]
Indeed, the punishment of their Lord is not that from which one is safe -
Tafseer Commentary

5693 Some would construe this verse: "And their Lord's displeasure is one against which there is no security"; meaning that the punishment of sin may come suddenly at any time, when you least expect it.


70:29
[ Original ]
وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ لِفُرُوجِهِمْ حَافِظُونَ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
And those who guard their chastity,
[ Saheeh International ]
And those who guard their private parts

70:30
[ Original ]
إِلَّا عَلَىٰ أَزْوَاجِهِمْ أَوْ مَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَانُهُمْ فَإِنَّهُمْ غَيْرُ مَلُومِينَ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Except with their wives and the (captives) whom their right hands possess,- for (then) they are not to be blamed,
[ Saheeh International ]
Except from their wives or those their right hands possess, for indeed, they are not to be blamed -
Tafseer Commentary

5694 Captives of war may be married as such: see 4:25: but their status is inferior to that of free wives until they are free. This institution of the captives of war is now obsolete. Such inferiority of status as there was, was in the status of captivity, not in the status of marriage as such, in which there are no degrees except by local customs, which Islam does not recognise.


70:31
[ Original ]
فَمَنِ ابْتَغَىٰ وَرَاءَ ذَٰلِكَ فَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْعَادُونَ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
But those who trespass beyond this are transgressors;-
[ Saheeh International ]
But whoever seeks beyond that, then they are the transgressors -

70:32
[ Original ]
وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ لِأَمَانَاتِهِمْ وَعَهْدِهِمْ رَاعُونَ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
And those who respect their trusts and covenants;
[ Saheeh International ]
And those who are to their trusts and promises attentive
Tafseer Commentary

5695 For obligations of trusts and covenants, express or implied, see n. 682 to 5:1. They are just as sacred in ordinary everyday life as they are in special spiritual relationships. In addition, our life itself, and such reason and talents as we possess, as well as our wealth and possessions are trusts, of which we must fulfil the duties punctiliously.


70:33
[ Original ]
وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ بِشَهَادَاتِهِمْ قَائِمُونَ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
And those who stand firm in their testimonies;
[ Saheeh International ]
And those who are in their testimonies upright
Tafseer Commentary

5696 If we know any truth of any kind, to that we must bear witness, as affecting the lives or interests of our fellow beings-firmly, not half-heartedly, without fear or favour, even if it causes loss or trouble to us, or if it loses us friends or associates.


70:34
[ Original ]
وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ عَلَىٰ صَلَاتِهِمْ يُحَافِظُونَ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
And those who guard (the sacredness) of their worship;-
[ Saheeh International ]
And those who [carefully] maintain their prayer:
Tafseer Commentary

5697 Worship or prayer includes honest work, charity, and every good deed. To guard the sacredness of this ideal is to sum up the whole duty of man. We began with "steadfastness in prayer" in verse 23 above, and after a review of various aspects of the good man's life, close with the sacredness of worship, i.e., living as in the sight of A l l ah .


70:35
[ Original ]
أُولَٰئِكَ فِي جَنَّاتٍ مُكْرَمُونَ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Such will be the honoured ones in the Gardens (of Bliss).
[ Saheeh International ]
They will be in gardens, honored.

70:36
[ Original ]
فَمَالِ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا قِبَلَكَ مُهْطِعِينَ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Now what is the matter with the Unbelievers that they rush madly before thee-
[ Saheeh International ]
So what is [the matter] with those who disbelieve, hastening [from] before you, [O Muhammad],
Tafseer Commentary

5698 Before thee. The Unbelievers did not believe in a Hereafter. When the Bliss of the Hereafter was described, as in the last verse, they ridiculed it and pretended to be running in for it as in a race. They are here rebuked in the same tone of sarcasm.


70:37
[ Original ]
عَنِ الْيَمِينِ وَعَنِ الشِّمَالِ عِزِينَ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
From the right and from the left, in crowds?
[ Saheeh International ]
[To sit] on [your] right and [your] left in separate groups?

70:38
[ Original ]
أَيَطْمَعُ كُلُّ امْرِئٍ مِنْهُمْ أَنْ يُدْخَلَ جَنَّةَ نَعِيمٍ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Does every man of them long to enter the Garden of Bliss?
[ Saheeh International ]
Does every person among them aspire to enter a garden of pleasure?

70:39
[ Original ]
كَلَّا ۖ إِنَّا خَلَقْنَاهُمْ مِمَّا يَعْلَمُونَ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
By no means! For We have created them out of the (base matter) they know!
[ Saheeh International ]
No! Indeed, We have created them from that which they know.
Tafseer Commentary

5699 The animal part of man is nothing to be proud of, and they know it. It is by spiritual effort, and long preparation through a good life that a man can rise above the mere animal part of him to his high dignity as a spiritual being, and his noble destiny in the Hereafter.


70:40
[ Original ]
فَلَا أُقْسِمُ بِرَبِّ الْمَشَارِقِ وَالْمَغَارِبِ إِنَّا لَقَادِرُونَ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Now I do call to witness the Lord of all points in the East and the West that We can certainly-
[ Saheeh International ]
So I swear by the Lord of [all] risings and settings that indeed We are able
Tafseer Commentary

5700 For the form of adjuration, C., 69:38, n. 5665; also 56:75. Here the witness placed before us by Allah is His own power and glory manifested in the splendour of sunrise and sunset at different points through the solar year.

5701 See n. 4034 to 37:5. If Allah has such power in the wonderful phenomena of the rising of the sun at varying points, repeated year after year, can you not see that He can easily substitute better men than you Unbelievers and blasphemers?

5702 The transition from the singular "I" to the plural "We" may be noted. See n. 56 to 2:38


70:41
[ Original ]
عَلَىٰ أَنْ نُبَدِّلَ خَيْرًا مِنْهُمْ وَمَا نَحْنُ بِمَسْبُوقِينَ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Substitute for them better (men) than they; And We are not to be defeated (in Our Plan).
[ Saheeh International ]
To replace them with better than them; and We are not to be outdone.

70:42
[ Original ]
فَذَرْهُمْ يَخُوضُوا وَيَلْعَبُوا حَتَّىٰ يُلَاقُوا يَوْمَهُمُ الَّذِي يُوعَدُونَ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
So leave them to plunge in vain talk and play about, until they encounter that Day of theirs which they have been promised!-
[ Saheeh International ]
So leave them to converse vainly and amuse themselves until they meet their Day which they are promised -
Tafseer Commentary

5703 Their talk, their scepticism, is vain, because all spiritual evidence is against it, it is like the foolish play of people who do not think seriously. But the tremendous Day of Judgement and Reality will come, as described in the next two verses.


70:43
[ Original ]
يَوْمَ يَخْرُجُونَ مِنَ الْأَجْدَاثِ سِرَاعًا كَأَنَّهُمْ إِلَىٰ نُصُبٍ يُوفِضُونَ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
The Day whereon they will issue from their sepulchres in sudden haste as if they were rushing to a goal-post (fixed for them),-
[ Saheeh International ]
The Day they will emerge from the graves rapidly as if they were, toward an erected idol, hastening.
Tafseer Commentary

5704 Now there will be a definite Goalpost or Banner or Standard of Truth fixed, which all must acknowledge. But they will acknowledge it in shame and dejection. For the time for their repentance and amendment will then have passed.


70:44
[ Original ]
خَاشِعَةً أَبْصَارُهُمْ تَرْهَقُهُمْ ذِلَّةٌ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ الْيَوْمُ الَّذِي كَانُوا يُوعَدُونَ
[ Abdullah Yusuf Ali ]
Their eyes lowered in dejection,- ignominy covering them (all over)! such is the Day the which they are promised!
[ Saheeh International ]
Their eyes humbled, humiliation will cover them. That is the Day which they had been promised.

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