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Sūrahs Burūj - Tāriq
Qur'anic Exegesis
Javed Ahmad Ghamidi
(Tr. by:Dr. Shehzad Saleem)



These sūrahs form a pair with regard to their subject matter.

The central theme of both sūrahs is to refute the skepticism of the Quraysh regarding the Day of Judgement and to warn them about the consequences of their oppression of the Muslims and about those of their evil schemes against the Prophet (sws) and his mission: They have been ensnared by the respite given to them and are soon going to meet their fate.

In the first sūrah, the bases of the argument are the signs and manifestations in the world around man and in established historical facts, while in the second one, besides the signs and manifestations in the world around man the signs of the Almighty’s Power and wisdom in his being form these bases.

The sūrahs are directed at the leadership of the Quraysh, and its evident from their contents that like the previous sūrahs they were revealed in Makkah in the phase of Indhār-i-`ām of the Prophet’s mission.


Sūrah Burūj

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيْمِ

وَالسَّمَآءِ ذَاتِ الْبُرُوْجِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْمَوْعُوْدِ  وَشَاهِدٍ وَّ مَشْهُوْدٍ  قُتِلَ أَصْحَابُ الْأُخْدُوْدِ  النَّارِ ذَاتِ الْوَقُوْدِ  إِذْ هُمْ عَلَيْهَا قُعُوْدٌ  وَّهُمْ عَلَى مَا يَفْعَلُوْنَ بِالْمُؤْمِنِيْنَ شُهُوْدٌ  (٧-١(

وَمَا نَقَمُوْا مِنْهُمْ إِلاَّ أَنْ يُّؤْمِنُوْا بِاللهِ الْعَزِيْزِ الْحَمِيْدِ  الَّذِيْ لَهُ مُلْكُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وِالْأَرْضِ، وَاللهُ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ شَهِيْدٌ  (٩-٨)

إِنَّ الَّذِيْنَ فَتَنُوْا الْمُؤْمِنِيْنَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَاتِ ثُمَّ لَمْ يَتُوْبُوْا فَلَهُمْ عَذَابُ جَهَنَّمَ وَلَهُمْ عَذَابُ الْحَرِيْقِ  إِنَّ الَّذِيْنَ آمَنُوْا وَعَمِلُوْا الصَّالِحَاتِ لَهُمْ جَنَّاتٌ تَجْرِيْ مِنْ تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَار، ذَالِكَ الْفَوْزُ الْكَبِيْرُ  (١١-١٠(

إِنَّ بَطْشَ رَبِّكَ لَشَدِيْدٌ  إِنَّهُ هُوَ يُبْدِئُ وَيُعِيْدُ  وَهُوَ الْغَفُوْرُ الْوَدُوْدُ  ذُوْ الْعَرْشِ الْمَجِيْدٌ  فَعَّالٌ لِّمَا يُرِيْدُ   (١٦-١٢)

هَلْ أَتَاكَ حَدِيْثُ الْجُنُوْدِ  فِرْعَوْنَ وَثَمُوْدَ  بَلِ الَّذِيْنَ كَفَرُوْا فِيْ تَكْذِيْبٍ  وَّاللهُ مِنْ وَّرَائِهِمْ مُّحِيْطٌ  بَلْ هُوَ قُرْآنٌ مَّجِيْدٌ  فِيْ لَوْحٍ مَّحْفُوْظٍ  (٢٢-١٧)

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Ever Merciful.

This Heaven with its forts1 [whose observation posts are ever watching over you], and the promised day [which is an evidence upon itself]2, and every one who sees [this world with an observant eye]3, and whatever he is seeing4-- all of these bear witness [that the Day of Judgement is bound to come5. So] doomed are the companions of the fuel-filled ditch of fire6 when they sat on it7 [in Hell] such that they are [now] seeing8 [with their very eyes the consequences of] what they had been doing with the believers [in this world]9.  (1-7)

And [the fact is that] they [-- the disbelievers –] became their enemies merely because they believed in Allah, the Mighty, the Praiseworthy, to whom belongs the kingdom of the Heavens and the earth, and [they should well know and so should the believers that] Allah is watching every thing10.  (8-9)

These people who persecuted these believing men and women11 and never repented, for them is the punishment of Hell, and the torment of burning12. [On the other hand], these people who remained steadfast13 to their faith and did righteous deeds, for them are the gardens of Paradise in which rivers flow. This, in fact, is supreme success.  (10-11)

Severe indeed is the grip of your Lord. [So O Prophet! They must not have any misconception.] He alone begins and [when this is a fact then] He alone will bring back14. He is all-Forgiving [if they repent]. All-Loving, Lord of the throne, the Exalted, the [absolute] Doer of what He intends15.  (12-16)

Has the story of the forces reached you [who were overcome with similar arrogance]? Of the forces of Pharaoh and the Thamud16. [Then, is this something to be denied. No! Certainly not!] In fact, these disbelievers have decided that they will continue to deny. And the fact is that Allah is surrounding them from all sides. [This is not something to be denied]. In fact, this is the Glorious Qur’ān [secure from the tampering of the devils]. It is [inscribed] in a preserved tablet.  (17-22)


Sūrah Tāriq

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيْمِ

وَالسَّمَآءِ وَالطَّارِقِ  وَمَا أَدْرَاكَ مَاالطَّارِقُ  النَّجْمُ الثَّاقِبُ  إِنْ كُلُّ نَفْسٍ لَّمَّا عَلَيْهَا حَافِظٌ  (٤-١)

فَلْيَنْظُرِ الْإِنْسَانُ مِمَّا خُلِقَ  خُلِقَ مِنْ مَّآءٍ دَافِقٍ  يَّخْرُجُ مِنْ م بَيْنِ الصُّلْبِ وِالتَّرَائِبِ  إِنَّهُ عَلَى رَجْعِهِ لَقَادِرٌ  (٨-٥)

يَوْمَ تُبْلَى السَّرَآئِرُ  فَمَالَهُ مِنْ قُوَّةٍ وَّلاَ نَاصِرٍ  (١٠-٩)

وَالسَّمَآءِ ذَاتِ الرَّجْعِ  وِالْأَرْضِ ذَاتِ الصَّدْعِ  إِنَّهُ لَقَوْلٌ فَصْلٌ  وَّمَا هُوَ بِالْهَزْلِ  (١٤-١١)

إِنَّهُمْ يَكِيْدُوْنَ كَيْدًا  وَّأَكِيْدُ كَيْدًا  فَمَهِّلِ الْكَافِرِيْنَ أَمْهِلْهُمْ رُوَيْدًا  (١٧-١٥)

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Ever Merciful.

This Heaven [which encompasses you from all sides], and those also which come in the night [which are persistently watching over you]17 -- And what do you understand what those who come in the night are? shinning stars -- they bear witness that every soul has a guardian over it.18 (1-4)

 [Still they say that their Allah will not raise them up one day]. Then let man reflect from what he has been created19. From a spurting fluid that comes out from between the bones of the back and the chest20. [He should behold that if His Lord can create him in such a manner, then] surely, He is capable of creating him again. (5-8)

On the day, when secrets of the hearts are scrutinized21. Then, neither will be have any power nor will be have any helper22 (9-10)

And this sky, when rain bursts forth from it and [as a consequence of which] this earth splits asunder [at the sprouting of the vegetation]23, bear witness that this is [Our] decisive word [about the Day of Judgement]. It is no jest.24 (11-14)

[About this day O Prophet!] they are scheming a plot [by making fools out of the people] and I am also scheming a plan [that I catch them when they are left with no excuse].25  So leave these disbelievers [O Prophet!], leave them a while.  (15-17)





1. A reference to the forts and citadels of the Heavens in which the angels have been stationed by the Almighty to keep an eye on this world.

2. The Day of Judgement is such an obvious reality that it needs no evidence. A person is intuitively aware of it.

3. That is every person who observes and reflects on the world round him.

4. That is the signs of power, mercy, wisdom and providence of the Almighty which are so evident and manifest in this world as well as the law of retribution so apparent and perceptible to every keen eye.

5. All these phenomena point to the fact that a day must come when man shall be rewarded or punished for his deeds.

6. This is a note of severe reprimand sounded to the arrogant leadership of the Quraysh who were oppressing and persecuting the Muslims. They are warned that if they do not abstain from their harassing and hostile behaviour they shall be flung into the raging pit of Hell whose fire will not extinguish or lessen in intensity.

7. The past tense is often used in literary language to express the certainty of an event which is to happen in future.

8. This is a depiction of an event as if it is happening right now.

9. The implication being that on the Day of Judgement the Quraysh will sit beside the ditch of Hell and observe their ultimate abode before being cast into it. Making a person observe the torment he is to suffer before he actually faces it obviously doubles the effect of the punishment.

10. That is the Almighty is ever watching the storm of persecution the Quraysh have unleashed on the believers and He is also observing the steadfastness of the believers. The attributes of the Almighty – the Mighty, the Praiseworthy – mentioned in these verses on the one hand give glad tidings to the believers and on the other warn the persecuting Quraysh.

11. Women have been specifically mentioned here because as the weaker sex they were being particularly targeted by the Quraysh. The Arabic word fitna translated as persecution means the oppression and coercion done to a person in order to force him to abandon his faith.

12. That is besides other forms of torment, they shall also face the torment of fire.

13. The verb āmanū (those who professed faith) has been used in its ultimate sense.

14. A common argument cited by the Qur’ān for the Day of Judgement.

15. That is neither does He need any one nor can anyone stop Him from doing anything.

16. The verse refers to two prominent examples from history to prove what has been stated in the previous verses. The Pharaoh and his people and the Thamūd were destroyed because of their denial. The Quraysh must keep in mind that they will meet a fate no different if they persist in their refusal.

17. The beginning of this sūrah has a marked similarity with the previous one. Both open with a similar note.

18. The system and order found in the sky above man and the observation posts found in its stars bear witness that this world is neither without a creator nor has man been created to be left unaccountable for his deeds; on the contrary, the Almighty has assigned His guards and sentinels with the duty of watching over the affairs of this world. Nothing is hidden from Him. Consequently, a day shall come when everyone will be held answerable for his deeds, and no one will be able to escape accountability.

19. This is one doubt which the disbelievers would raise about the Day of Judgement. The Qur’ān, at various places, has invited them to reflect on their own creation so that they have an idea of how easy it is for the Almighty to create them a second time.(See, for example, 80:17-22)

20. That is the substance of man’s creation is not found in a place which lies outside the dominion of the Almighty: it is found within man himself.

21. In other words, even the good and evil intentions found in a person’s heart will be brought to judgement.

22. A person will have no one to plead for him or to defend him. He will stand alone before the Lord of the Heavens and the earth to face the consequences of his deeds.

23. In the previous verses, the Day of Judgement was substantiated through man’s own being; now an argument is given from the world around him.

24. Creating life from death should not be considered an improbability. Every person can observe this phenomenon by his very eyes in the world around him: just as a dead piece of land is brought to life by rain when new plants and vegetation sprout, so shall the dead remains of men be brought to life by the Almighty. This phenomenon is an evidence to support the Qur’ānic claim about Day of Judgement, which claim is obviously no joke at all.

25.The scheme of the Almighty is that a little respite given to the disbelievers will leave them with no plea. The resemblance between the end of this sūrah and that of the previous one is worth noting: The scheme of the Almighty mentioned in this verse was referred to by the following verse at the end of Sūrah Burūj: `And the fact is that Allah is surrounding them from all sides.’

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