Quran English Translation & Commentary

Abdullah Yusuf Ali

Surah Al Adiyat

In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Introduction and Summary

This is one of the earlier Makkan Surahs. In the depth of its mystery and the rhythm and sublimity of its language and symbolism, it may be compared with S.79. Its subject matter is the irresistible nature of spiritual power and knowledge, contrasted with unregenerate man's ingratitude, pettiness, helplessness, and ignorance.

C.280 (The running Commentary, in Rhythmic Prose)

There are those that fight, with eager charge,

The hosts of evil, and storm its citadel.

But unregenerate Man shows less

Than gratitude for Allah's most gracious

Bounties: his life bears witness to his treason

And his greed. Allah's knowledge is all-embracing:

All things hidden will be laid bare as Judgement.

In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

وَالْعَادِيَاتِ ضَبْحًا ﴿١﴾

1.By the (Steeds) that run, with panting (breath),

C6241. The substantive proposition is in verses 6-8 below, and the metaphors enforcing the lesson are in verses 1-5 here. They have at least three layers of meaning:

1.Look at the chargers (mares or swift camels) panting for war on behalf of their masters. Off they go, striking fire with their hoofs by night at the behest of their riders; they push home the charge in the morning, chivalrously giving the enemy the benefit of daylight; and regardless of flashing steel or the weapons of their enemies they boldly penetrate into the midst of their foe, risking their lives for the Cause. Does unregenerate man show that fidelity to his Lord Allah?

On the contrary he is ungrateful to Allah; he shows that by his deeds; he is violently in love with wealth and gain and things that perish.

2.By the figure of metonymy the brave fidelity of the war-horse may stand for that of the brave men and true who rally to the standard of Allah and carry it to victory, contrasted with the poltroonery and pettiness of unregenerate man.

3.The whole conflict, fighting, and victory, may be applied to spiritual warfare against those who are caught and overwhelmed in the camp of Evil.

فَالْمُورِيَاتِ قَدْحًا ﴿٢﴾

2.And strike sparks of Fire,

C6242. With their hoofs. If we suppose the march to be in the dead of night, the sparks of fire would be still more conspicuous.

فَالْمُغِيرَاتِ صُبْحًا ﴿٣﴾

3.And push home the charge in the morning,

C6243. We may suppose a surprise attack, but yet a chivalrous attack by daylight. The foe is punished through his own lethargy and unpreparedness, apart from the strength, fire, and spirit of the forces of righteousness.

فَأَثَرْنَ بِهِ نَقْعًا ﴿٤﴾

4.And raise the dust in clouds the while,

C6244. The clouds of dust typify the ignorance and confusion in the minds of those who oppose Truth.

فَوَسَطْنَ بِهِ جَمْعًا ﴿٥﴾

5.And penetrate forthwith into the midst (of the foe) en masse --

C6245. The forces of evil mass themselves for strength, but their massing itself may become a means of their speedy undoing.

إِنَّ الْإِنسَانَ لِرَبِّهِ لَكَنُودٌ ﴿٦﴾

6.Truly Man is to his Lord, ungrateful;

C6246. Man, i.e., unregenerate man, in contrast to those who receive guidance and wage unceasing war with Evil, is ungrateful to his Lord and Cherisher, Him Who created him and sustains him, and sends His blessings and favours at all times.

The ingratitude may be shown by thoughts, words, and deeds, -by forgetting or denying Allah and His goodness, by misusing His gifts, or by injustice to His creatures.

وَإِنَّهُ عَلَى ذَلِكَ لَشَهِيدٌ ﴿٧﴾

7.And to that (fact) he bears witness (by his deeds);

C6247. Man himself, by his conduct, proves the charge of treason against himself.

وَإِنَّهُ لِحُبِّ الْخَيْرِ لَشَدِيدٌ ﴿٨﴾

8.And violent is he in his love of wealth.

C6248. What an evil choice he makes in committing treason against his own Benefactor by going after the petty baubles of this world's wealth of fleeting gains?

أَفَلَا يَعْلَمُ إِذَا بُعْثِرَ مَا فِي الْقُبُورِ ﴿٩﴾

9.Does he not know -- when that which is in the graves is Scattered abroad,

C6249. Dead bodies, secret plots, evil thoughts and imaginings, long since buried, will yet stand forth before the Judgment-seat of Allah.

Instead of being closely hidden or blotted out -as they will have been from the consciousness of mankind,- they will stand out as from the consciousness of Allah, which is all-embracing and never suffers from sleep or fatigue.

وَحُصِّلَ مَا فِي الصُّدُورِ ﴿١٠﴾

10.And that which is (locked up) in (human) breasts is made manifest --

إِنَّ رَبَّهُم بِهِمْ يَوْمَئِذٍ لَّخَبِيرٌ ﴿١١﴾

11.That their Lord had been well-acquainted with them, (even to) that Day?

C6250. Allah's knowledge is full and vigilant at all times. But on that day it will reveal to men secrets which they had long forgotten, for the Book of their Deeds will be made manifest at Judgment.


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Zahid Javed Rana, Abid Javed Rana,

Lahore, Pakistan

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