50. Qaf (Qaf)
Revealed in Makkah, most probably in the fourth or fifth year of the Makkan period, this sūrah of 45 verses takes its name after the letter Qāf (Qaf) in the first verse. It mentions many phenomena in the universe that indicate God, and then concentrates on the afterlife. It also presents episodes from the lives of peoples who were destroyed in earlier times. God’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, frequently read this sūrah during the Prayers of the religious festive days and sometimes during the Morning Prayer.
In the Name of God, the All-Merciful, the All-Compassionate.
1. Qāf.1 By the Qur’ān most sublime. (We have indeed, in spite of what they say, sent it to you to warn people that they will be raised from the dead to account for their lives).
2. But they deem it strange that a warner from among them has come to them, and the unbelievers say: “This is something strange!
3. “When we have died and become dust (you say that we will be raised from the dead)? That is a far-fetched return!”
4. We know for certain whatever the earth corrodes of them (to the most minute particle); with Us there is a book recording and preserving (incorruptibly).2
5. Rather, they have denied the truth when it has come to them (and done so willfully and persistently), so they are in a dire state (utterly confused about how to explain their rejection, and about how to prevent the acceptance of others).
6. But do they, then, never observe the sky above them (to ponder Our Knowledge and Power; and reflect) how We have constructed it and adorned it, and that there are no rifts in it?
7. And the earth – We have spread it out, and set therein firm mountains, and caused to grow thereon every lovely pair of vegetation.
8. (All this is a means of) insight and reminder for every servant (of God) willing to turn to Him in contrition.
9. And We send down from the sky blessed water with which We cause to grow gardens and grain to harvest,
10. And tall and stately date-palms with ranged clusters,
11. As a provision for the servants. And We revive with it a dead land: even so will the dead be raised and come forth (from their graves).
12. Before them, the people of Noah denied, and the companions of ar-Rass, and the Thamūd;
13. And the ‘Ād, and the Pharaoh;3 and the people among whom Lot was sent as Messenger;4
14. And the companions of al-Aykah; and the people of Tubba‘.5 Every one of them denied the Messengers and My threat was duly fulfilled.
15. What! Did We show failure and weariness in the first creation (that We will not be able to repeat creation after its destruction)? Rather (knowing that it could never be so), they are in a tangle (of thought and argument) about a new creation (after the destruction of the old).
16. Assuredly, it is We Who have created human, and We know what suggestions his soul makes to him. We are nearer to him than his jugular vein.
17. Remember that the two recording angels (appointed to record his speech and deeds), seated on the right and on the left, receive and record.
18. Not a word does he utter but there is a watcher by him, ever-present.
19. And the stupor of death comes in truth (being the established decree of God for life). That is, (O human,) what you were trying to escape.
20. And (in time) the Trumpet will be blown. That is the Day when God’s threat will be fulfilled.
21. And every person will come (before the Supreme Court) with one (angel) driving, and one (angel) bearing witness.
22. “Indeed you were in heedlessness of this, and now We have removed from you your veil, so your sight today is sharp.”
23. And the one (the witnessing angel) who accompanies him says: “This is (his record) that I keep ready with me.”
24. (The sentence is pronounced): “You two, throw into Hell everyone persistent in unbelief, obstinate (in rejecting the truth);
25. “Who impedes the doing of good (preventing himself and others); and who exceeds all bounds (of right and decency); and who is lost in doubts and implants doubts (in others);
26. “Who sets up another deity beside God— so cast him into the severe punishment.”
27. His companion (the devil who accompanied him in the world and seduced him into evil) will say: “Our Lord! I did not cause him to rebel and transgress, but he himself was far astray.”
28. God will say: “Do not dispute (with each other) in My Presence! I had warned you (of this Day) before.
29. “And the decree6 from Me will not be changed, and I am in no wise one who wrongs (My) servants.”
30. On that Day, We will say to Hell, “Are you filled (to the full)?”, and it will say, “Are there (yet) more (to come)?”7
31. And Paradise will be brought near for the God-revering, pious; not (any longer) is it far.
32. “This is what was promised for you – for everyone who was penitent, careful in keeping his duties (to God).
33. “Everyone who stood in awe of the All-Merciful though unseen (beyond their perception), and has come with a heart contrite and devout.
34. “Now enter it in peace (secure from any trouble or distress). That is the Day of immortality.”
35. Therein will be for them everything that they desire, and in Our Presence there is yet more.8
36. How many a generation We have destroyed before them who were mightier than these in prowess, and overran other lands! But was there any place of escape (for them when God’s punishment became due—is there ever)?
37. Surely in that is a warning reminder for anyone who has a heart (that is truly alive), and who gives ear (to the one conveying this reminder), with eyes able to see well.
38. We assuredly created the heavens and the earth and all that is between them in six days, and nothing of fatigue touched us.9
39. So (with confident reliance on Our promise and Power), bear with patience whatever they say and glorify your Lord with His praise before the rising of the sun and before its setting;
40. And during (some part of) the night, too, glorify Him, and after the prostrations.10
41. And wait with ears able to hear for the Day when the Caller will call out from a place near—11
42. The Day when they will hear the Blast in truth (as a predetermined decree of God that must happen). That is the Day of the coming forth (when the dead will be raised from their graves).
43. Surely it is We Who give life and cause to die, and to Us is the homecoming.
44. That Day the earth will be rent asunder away from them, and they, hurrying out of it (will come to the gathering). That will be a gathering easy for Us.
45. We know best whatever they say, and you (O Messenger) are not one to compel them (to faith). So remind and warn by the Qur’ān him who fears My threat.
1. Information was given in note 1 to the first verse of Sūrat al-Baqarah about Hurūf al-Muqatta‘āt, the disjunctive, individual, or abbreviated letters that come at the beginning of some sūrahs. Qāf is one of them. It can additionally be said here that Qāf implies elevation and may be referring to the Qur’ān.
2. The unbelievers claim that the dead bodies are mixed into the dust, and become dust, and that it is, therefore, inconceivable that it can be known and distinguished to whom which particles (of dust) belong, and so it is impossible to reconstruct individual bodies. But the Qur’ān answers that God knows everything down to the particles, and every event in the universe down to the motion of the particles. All is recorded in a book that is recording and preserving, and is protected from any interference.
3. The verse mentions the Pharaoh alone, without any reference to his aristocracy or his people. This is because as a dictator the Pharaoh was responsible for their denial and was almost as sinful as all of them put together.
4. The original of this sentence is the brothers of Lot. In many verses, the Qur’ān presents the Messengers as brothers of their people because each was chosen from among his people and, therefore, was of the same race as them and spoke the same language. Stressing this point here for Lot, upon him be peace, and his people is to remind us that any relationship with a Messenger that is not based on faith can never save one from perishing unless one believes.
5. See, on the companions of al-Aykah, 15: 78, note 15; and on the people of Tubba‘, 44: 37, note 10.
6. This decree states that God will put into Hell those who follow Satan and disbelieve or associate partners with God (17: 63; 32: 13). For the disputes which will take place in Hell between Satan or the devils and the people of Hell, and between the disbelieving wrongdoers and those who follow them, see: 38: 85; 34: 31–33; 37: 50–57; 40: 47–52.
7. Everything will be alive in the Hereafter (29: 64), so Hell will speak there (25: 12, note 4). This question and answer is to emphasize that Hell can comprehend all those who have deserved it. For it will finally be filled to the limit (32: 13).
8. God Almighty declares: “I have prepared for My righteous servants in Paradise such blessings that neither eyes have seen them, nor ears have heard them, nor minds have ever conceived of them” (al-Bukhārī, “Tawhīd,” 35; Muslim, “Jannah,” 4-5).
9. This statement categorically rejects the Biblical assertion that God needed to rest on the seventh day, an assertion that effectively nullifies the idea of an omnipotent God.
10. In verse 39, the Morning Prayer, the Noon and the Afternoon Prayers, and in verse 40, the Evening and Late Evening Prayers are ordered. Glorification after the prostrations refers to the supererogatory Prayers after the prescribed ones (except the Morning and Afternoon Prayers), and saying words of glorification (Subhān Allāh), praise (al-hamdu li’llāh), and exaltation (Allāhu akbar). The Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, earnestly advised utterance of these phrases 33 times each after each Prescribed Prayer.
11. The Caller is the Archangel Isrāfīl who will blow the Trumpet. What is meant from a place near is that everyone in the world will hear the sound of the Trumpet as if it were being blown just next to them.