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


Sūrah Mursalāt and Sūrah Nabā form a pair sūrah as regards the subject discussed in them. Sūrah Mursalāt  substantiates the Day of Judgement through evidence in the world around man, through historical events and through the signs of power and wisdom of the Almighty in the creation of man, while its counterpart, Sūrah Nabā validates this claim, in particular, through various manifestations of Allah’s providence in the world around man. In both sūrahs, alongside arguments, an element of reprimand and admonition is evident from every verse. The sūrahs are directed at the leadership of the Quraysh and it is 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 (sws).

The central theme of both sūrahs is to validate the day of Judgement, and to warn the Quraysh with its reference.


وَالْمُرْسَلَاتِ عُرْفًا  فَالْعَاصِفَاتِ عَصْفًا  وَالنَّاشِرَاتِ نَشْرًا  فَالْفَارِقَاتِ فَرْقًا  فَالْمُلْقِيَاتِ ذِكْرًا  عُذْرًا أَوْ نُذْرًا  إِنَّمَا تُوعَدُونَ لَوَاقِعٌ (١-٧)

فَإِذَا النُّجُومُ طُمِسَتْ  وَإِذَا السَّمَاء فُرِجَتْ  وَإِذَا الْجِبَالُ نُسِفَتْ  وَإِذَا الرُّسُلُ أُقِّتَتْ  لِأَيِّ يَوْمٍ أُجِّلَتْ  لِيَوْمِ الْفَصْلِ  وَمَا أَدْرَاكَ مَا يَوْمُ الْفَصْلِ  وَيْلٌ يَوْمَئِذٍ لِّلْمُكَذِّبِينَ (٨-١٥)

أَلَمْ نُهْلِكِ الْأَوَّلِينَ  ثُمَّ نُتْبِعُهُمُ الْآخِرِينَ  كَذَلِكَ نَفْعَلُ بِالْمُجْرِمِينَ  وَيْلٌ يَوْمَئِذٍ لِّلْمُكَذِّبِينَ (١٦-١٩)

أَلَمْ نَخْلُقكُّم مِّن مَّاء مَّهِينٍ  فَجَعَلْنَاهُ فِي قَرَارٍ مَّكِينٍ  إِلَى قَدَرٍ مَّعْلُومٍ  فَقَدَرْنَا فَنِعْمَ الْقَادِرُونَ  وَيْلٌ يَوْمَئِذٍ لِّلْمُكَذِّبِينَ (٢٠-٢٤)

أَلَمْ نَجْعَلِ الْأَرْضَ كِفَاتًا  أَحْيَاء وَأَمْوَاتًا  وَجَعَلْنَا فِيهَا رَوَاسِيَ شَامِخَاتٍ وَأَسْقَيْنَاكُم مَّاء فُرَاتًا  وَيْلٌ يوْمَئِذٍ لِّلْمُكَذِّبِينَ (٢٥-٢٨)

انطَلِقُوا إِلَى مَا كُنتُم بِهِ تُكَذِّبُونَ  انطَلِقُوا إِلَى ظِلٍّ ذِي ثَلَاثِ شُعَبٍ  لَا ظَلِيلٍ وَلَا يُغْنِي مِنَ اللَّهَبِ  إِنَّهَا تَرْمِي بِشَرَرٍ كَالْقَصْرِ  كَأَنَّهُ جِمَالَتٌ صُفْرٌ  وَيْلٌ يَوْمَئِذٍ لِّلْمُكَذِّبِينَ (٢٩-٣٤)

هَذَا يَوْمُ لَا يَنطِقُونَ  وَلَا يُؤْذَنُ لَهُمْ فَيَعْتَذِرُونَ  وَيْلٌ يَوْمَئِذٍ لِّلْمُكَذِّبِينَ (٣٥-٣٧)

هَذَا يَوْمُ الْفَصْلِ جَمَعْنَاكُمْ وَالْأَوَّلِينَ  فَإِن كَانَ لَكُمْ كَيْدٌ فَكِيدُونِ  وَيْلٌ يَوْمَئِذٍ لِّلْمُكَذِّبِينَ (٣٨-٤٠)

إِنَّ الْمُتَّقِينَ فِي ظِلَالٍ وَعُيُونٍ  وَفَوَاكِهَ مِمَّا يَشْتَهُونَ  كُلُوا وَاشْرَبُوا هَنِيئًا بِمَا كُنتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَ  إِنَّا كَذَلِكَ نَجْزِي الْمُحْسِنينَ  وَيْلٌ يَوْمَئِذٍ لِّلْمُكَذِّبِينَ (٤١-٤٥)

كُلُوا وَتَمَتَّعُوا قَلِيلًا إِنَّكُم مُّجْرِمُونَ  وَيْلٌ يَوْمَئِذٍ لِّلْمُكَذِّبِينَ (٤٦-٤٧)

وَإِذَا قِيلَ لَهُمُ ارْكَعُوا لَا يَرْكَعُونَ  وَيْلٌ يَوْمَئِذٍ لِّلْمُكَذِّبِينَ (٤٨-٤٩)

فَبِأَيِّ حَدِيثٍ بَعْدَهُ يُؤْمِنُونَ (٥٠)

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

These winds when their reins are let loose1, then they blow dust all over2, and these winds which scatter [the clouds], then settle affairs separately3, then infuse [the hearts] with a reminder4 to leave no justification for some and to warn some5 , they bear witness that indeed the torment which you are being promised is bound to come6. (1-7)

So when the stars are dimmed, and the sky is cleft asunder and the mountains crumble into  dust7 and the appointed time of the Prophets’ appearance[before their Allah] arrives8. [Do you know] what day kept them [from this appearance]? -- this Day of Judgement. And what do you know what this Day of Judgement is?9 Devastation shall on that Day be upon those who deny.10(8-15)

[If they are denying, then they should tell that] did We not destroy those before them?11 Then did We not continue to put their successors behind them? Thus do We deal with such culprits.12 Devastation shall13 on that Day be upon those who deny. (16-19)

[Do you think that We will not be able to raise you once again]? Did We not create you from an insignificant fluid? Then We placed it in a safe abode till an appointed time? Thus did We estimate; how excellent  do We  estimate!14 [Then how  do  you deny]?15 Devastation shall on that Day be upon those who deny. (20-24)

Have16 We not made this earth one which accumulates the living and the dead?17 And firmly placed upon it high mountains and provided for you sweet water [by taking out springs from them]?18 [Then how do you deny?]19 Devastation shall on that Day be upon those who deny. (25-28)

Proceed now20 to that which you used to deny. Proceed to the  shadow  which  has  three  branches  [to  engulf you from all sides].21 It does not provide shade nor does it save [people] from the flames.22 [This fire], it emits sparks [as huge as] castles23 – as if they were like [a group of] yellow camels24 -- [You will see all this]. Devastation shall on that Day be upon those who deny. (29-34)

This is the Day when they shall not be able to speak, and nor shall they be allowed to [come before their Lord] while offering excuses.25 Devastation shall on that Day be upon those who deny. (35-37)

This is the Day of Judgement. We have gathered you and all those before you. Now if you can contrive a plot against Me, then do so. Devastation shall on that Day be upon those who deny.26 (38-40)

Indeed, the God-fearing [on that Day] will be amid shades and springs and the fruits they desire.  Eat  and  drink  with relish for the deeds you had been doing. Thus do We reward the well-doers.27 [Then] devastation shall on that Day be upon those who deny.28 (41-45)

Eat and enjoy yourselves [O Quraysh!] as well for a while. Verily, you are the wrongdoers.29 Devastation shall on that Day be upon those who deny. (46-47)

[Look at them! They have been blessed with all the favours of this world], and [in spite of this] when they are asked to bow down [before their Lord] they do not do so. Devastation shall on that Day be upon those who deny.  (48-49)

[These wrongdoers! They have denied the Qur’ān]. So what is it after this that they are going to believe?30 (50)



عَمَّ يَتَسَاءلُونَ  عَنِ النَّبَإِ الْعَظِيمِ  الَّذِي هُمْ فِيهِ مُخْتَلِفُونَ  كَلَّا سَيَعْلَمُونَ  ثُمَّ كَلَّا سَيَعْلَمُونَ (١-٥)

أَلَمْ نَجْعَلِ الْأَرْضَ مِهَادًا  وَالْجِبَالَ أَوْتَادًا  وَخَلَقْنَاكُمْ أَزْوَاجًا  وَجَعَلْنَا نَوْمَكُمْ سُبَاتًا  وَجَعَلْنَا اللَّيْلَ لِبَاسًا  وَجَعَلْنَا النَّهَارَ مَعَاشًا  وَبَنَيْنَا فَوْقَكُمْ سَبْعًا شِدَادًا  وَجَعَلْنَا سِرَاجًا وَهَّاجًا  وَأَنزَلْنَا مِنَ الْمُعْصِرَاتِ مَاء ثَجَّاجًا  لِنُخْرِجَ بِهِ حَبًّا وَنَبَاتًا  وَجَنَّاتٍ أَلْفَافًا  إِنَّ يَوْمَ الْفَصْلِ كَانَ مِيقَاتًا ٦-١٧)

يَوْمَ يُنفَخُ فِي الصُّورِ فَتَأْتُونَ أَفْوَاجًا  وَفُتِحَتِ السَّمَاء فَكَانَتْ أَبْوَابًا  وَسُيِّرَتِ الْجِبَالُ فَكَانَتْ سَرَابًا  إِنَّ جَهَنَّمَ كَانَتْ مِرْصَادًا  لِلْطَّاغِينَ مَآبًا  لَابِثِينَ فِيهَا أَحْقَابًا  لَّا يَذُوقُونَ فِيهَا بَرْدًا وَلَا شَرَابًا  إِلَّا حَمِيمًا وَغَسَّاقًا  جَزَاء وِفَاقًا  إِنَّهُمْ كَانُوا لَا يَرْجُونَ حِسَابًا  وَكَذَّبُوا بِآيَاتِنَا كِذَّابًا  وَكُلَّ شَيْءٍ أَحْصَيْنَاهُ كِتَابًا  فَذُوقُوا فَلَن نَّزِيدَكُمْ إِلَّا عَذَابًا (١٨-٣٠)

إِنَّ لِلْمُتَّقِينَ مَفَازًا  حَدَائِقَ وَأَعْنَابًا  وَكَوَاعِبَ أَتْرَابًا  وَكَأْسًا دِهَاقًا  لَّا يَسْمَعُونَ فِيهَا لَغْوًا وَلَا كِذَّابًا  جَزَاء مِّن رَّبِّكَ عَطَاء حِسَابًا (٣١-٣٦)

رَبِّ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَمَا بَيْنَهُمَا الرحْمَنِ لَا يَمْلِكُونَ مِنْهُ خِطَابًا  يَوْمَ يَقُومُ الرُّوحُ وَالْمَلَائِكَةُ صَفًّا لَّا يَتَكَلَّمُونَ إِلَّا مَنْ أَذِنَ لَهُ الرحْمَنُ وَقَالَ صَوَابًا  ذَلِكَ الْيَوْمُ الْحَقُّ فَمَن شَاء اتَّخَذَ إِلَى رَبِّهِ مَآبًا  إِنَّا أَنذَرْنَاكُمْ عَذَابًا قَرِيبًا يَوْمَ يَنظُرُ الْمَرْءُ مَا قَدَّمَتْ يَدَاهُ وَيَقُولُ الْكَافِرُ يَا لَيْتَنِي كُنتُ تُرَابًا (٣٧-٤٠)

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

What is it that these people are inquiring about31? Is it something concerning the Great News about which each person has a different view32. [All their estimates are baseless]. Nay! they shall soon come to know [in this world]33. We repeat: Nay! they shall soon come to know [in the next world as well]34. (1-5)

[They should behold:]35 Have  We  not  made the earth as a

cradle36 and made the mountains [its] pegs37? And not created you in pairs38? And not made your sleep a means of comfort [for you]? And not made the night a clothing39 [for you] and the day a time to earn [your] livelihood? And not built above you seven sturdy [skies]? And not placed [in them] a glowing lamp [---this sun]40? And not sent down abundant water41 from dripping clouds that We may bring forth grain and vegetation and gardens of luxurious growth? [All this clearly testifies that] indeed the Day of Judgement has an appointed time. (6-17)

The Day42 when the trumpet is sounded and all of you come forth  in  multitudes and the sky is flung open and therein appear gates all over and the mountains are set in motion so that they become a mirage. Verily! the Hell lurks in ambush, a place for the transgressors. They will abide therein for ages. Nothing cool will they taste therein nor will they have anything to drink save hot water and pus. A recompense according to their deeds. These people are those who did not expect any account [of their deeds] and had recklessly denied Our revelations, [whereas] We have counted all their doings by writing them down. So taste [you O people! ] We shall only increase torment for you43. (18-30)

However, for the God-fearing,44 there is great success on that Day. Gardens [to dwell in] and grapes [to feast on] and blooming maidens of equal ages [to be charmed with] and overflowing cups [to be drunk in their companionship]. They will not hear therein any idle talk or any false accusation. This will be the reward from your Lord -- exactly according to their deeds.(31-36)

[A reward] from the Lord of the heavens and the earth and all that lies between them; the most Gracious – there is no one who  has  the  authority  to  speak  on  His  behalf45.  On the Day when Gabriel and the angels will stand arrayed [before Him]. [The Day] when only they will speak whom the most Gracious allows and who speak the truth. That Day [O People!] is sure to come; therefore, now whoever wishes can make his abode towards his Lord46. We have forewarned you of an imminent doom on the Day when a man will see all that he has sent forward, and the unbeliever will cry: O would that I were dust! (37-40)





1. Here the Qur’ān has compared stormy winds with horses whose bridles are let loose. This subtle comparison alludes to the fact that these winds are under the control of the Almighty who unleashes them whenever He wants to.

2. This is the next phase of such stormy winds: they cause havoc by blowing dust all over.

3. These verses refer to cloud steering winds. At one place they may cause rain while at another they may propel the clouds away to leave it dry and drought ridden.

4. That is reminder of the absolute authority of the Almighty.

5. This is the purpose of this reminder: people who are engrossed in their indifference are left with no pretext to deny the truth while those who are heedful take heed from it.

6. Both these types of winds bear witness to the Day of Judgement by becoming a symbol of the absolute authority of the Almighty and of His reward and punishment.

7. A graphic description of the commotion which will take place on the Day of Judgement.

8. All the Prophets (sws) will be summoned to give account of the duty assigned to them. They will be asked whether they fulfilled the responsibility of warning their people and of their response.

9. The interrogative style adopted in these verses serves to express the awesome and overwhelming nature of something.

10. This verse is an independent sentence in spite of its deep link with its previous verses. It is repeated after almost every paragraph of this sūrah, and has a specific meaning at each instance and embraces a number of aspects.

11. This is a historical argument in favour of the Day of Judgement, and refers to the fate of the previous nations which were destroyed as a consequence of denying their respective Prophets (sws).

12. That is the Almighty’s law about such nations has always been the same. The Quraysh must not forget this. They too shall meet a similar fate if they persist in their denial.

13. The word ‘devastation’ has a very comprehensive meaning here. It encompasses the various forms of punishment meted out to the previous nations.

14. The authority and wisdom with which a person is proportioned in all respects is so very evident in his existence.

15. That is negating the re-creation of man in spite of observing the authority and wisdom of the Almighty is sheer imbecility on their part.

16. The manifestations of Allah’s providence in the earth are now presented as evidence on the Day of Judgement.

17. This earth not only nourishes and nurtures the living, all the dead are safely lodged within it. When the time comes, it will dislodge them so that they can encounter the fate which awaits them.

18. The mountains play a very essential role in balancing the earth in its orbit thereby making it a firm and stable place to live in. Supplying man with water is another service provided by these mountains.

19. That is this denial is in spite of seeing such profound testimonies of Allah’s providence and control.

20. These verses now depict the Day of Judgement as if it has arrived. The rage and fury in the address is too apparent to be described in words.

21. Since angels will be pushing the wrongdoers towards the flames of Hell from behind, their three sides -- front, left and right – will be filled with smoke coming out of these flames. Only the back direction will be secure from it because they will be propelled forward from it.

22. Any misconception which the word ‘shade’ may cause is dispelled forthwith.

23. The comparison of the sparks emitted by these flames with castles is to bring out their extent, size and tinge. It should be kept in mind that castles are normally constructed on elevated land; they shine when viewed from a distance and the colour of their upper portion is entirely different from that of the lower one. Huge flames of fire, if one deliberates, present a similar view from far off.

24. Again the comparison is very apt and subtle.

25. On that day, such sinners will have nothing to say. They might be philosophize and indulge in sorts of nonsensical ramblings in this world, but soon they will be summoned before the Lord of the heavens and the earth where they will have to helplessly hear His verdict.

26. That is when they will not be able to say anything in defence the only thing left to encounter would be their destruction.

27. This, by contrast, is the fate of the righteous. Compare with ‘Thus do We deal with the culprits’ earlier in the surāh.

28. This contrast of fates will further bring out the ruin of the wrongdoers

29. The Quraysh are warned that all their wealth and riches are transient and since they are also wrongdoers, they will not enjoy a similar life of affluence in the Hereafter.

30. Actually, these are words of solace and comfort for the Prophet (sws). For after denying something as great and superior as the Qur’ān, nothing can melt the hearts’ of the Quraysh. The Prophet (sws) should rest assured. He has fulfilled the responsibility which had been entrusted to him.

31. The sūrah starts off in a harsh tone which emanates from the interrogative style adopted here by the Qur’ān. When the leadership of the Quraysh saw the influence of the Prophet’s message (sws) on the masses, they tried to belittle it by ridiculing the bedrock of this message – the Day of Judgement. For this, they posed various questions and raised doubts about it as is referred to in the next verse.

32. The words ‘Great News’ obviously point to the Day of Judgement, about which the polytheists of Arabia had conflicting as well as contradictory views. One of these was that if ever they would be raised to life again their deities would intercede for them. Another contention was that since maintaining an exact account of the deeds done by each and every person was impossible, no such Day would come. Still another opinion was that if ever such a Day would come, they would be afforded with a similar life of affluence they were leading in this world. We have alluded to a few of these conflicting opinions, which otherwise have been extensively dealt by the Qur’ān.

33. This refers to the punishment a people face in this world if they deny the Prophet (Rasūl) sent to them.

34. This alludes to the punishment they would encounter in the Hereafter if they deny the Prophet sent to them.

35. While brushing aside the conflicting views referred to earlier, the sūrah in the next few verses strongly substantiates the Day of Judgement by presenting some manifestation of Allah’s Providence in the world around man in the form of a number of questions which can only be answered in the affirmative. All these manifestations point to the fact that man would one day be held accountable for all the favours he had been blessed with by the Almighty.

36. How this earth is nurturing and nourishing man is so very obvious to the keen mind and the observant eye.

37. Just as nails and pegs fasten and steady a joint, these mountains have steadied the earth preventing it from loosing its poise and balance.

38. The solace and comfort a husband and wife receive from one another is another great sign of the Almighty’s Providence.

39. The night covers a person like his apparel and provides him with peace and protection.

40. The heavens and the sun provide man with innumerable benefits.

41. Rain is a great favour of the Almighty. Man’s sustenance in this world is heavily dependent on this phenomenon of nature.

42. After substantiating the Day of Judgement, the next few verses draw a graphic picture of the upheaval which will take place on that Day and with it depict the fate of the wrongdoers.

43. Here a future event has been referred to as if it were taking place at the moment, creating a powerful effect.

44. According to the general style of the Qur’ān, a parallel mention of the fate of the God-fearing follows.

45. This and the next two verses strongly negate the philosophy of mediation and intercession. The angels whom the polytheists believe to be their intercessors will themselves respectfully stand before the Almighty on the Day of Judgement. No one will have the position to speak on behalf of the Almighty. Only they will speak whom the Almighty permits and they too will not be able to utter anything false.

46. That is adopt the right path and thus secure the refuge of the Almighty on the Day of Judgement.

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