Surah 'Abasa in Arabic with English Transliteration and Translation

80. ‘Abasa (He Frowned) – عبس

‘Abasa is the 80th surah (chapter) of Al-Qur’an. It consists of 42 ayat (verses) that were all revealed in Mecca.


REVEALED at a very early stage of the Prophet’s mission, this surah has always been designated by the predicate with which its first sentence opens (‘abasa). The immediate cause of the revelation of the first ten verses was an incident witnessed by a number of the Prophet’s contemporaries (see verses 1-2 and the corresponding note 1 below).

بِسْمِ اللّٰهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْمِ


Surah ‘Abasa Ayat 1

عَبَسَ وَتَوَلَّىٰ

‘Abasa wa tawallaa

1. HE FROWNED and turned away


Surah ‘Abasa Ayat 2

أَنْ جَاءَهُ الْأَعْمَىٰ

An jaa-ahul ‘a-maa

2. because the blind man approached him!1


1 One day, as recorded in many well-authenticated Traditions, the Prophet was engrossed in a conversation with some of the most influential chieftains of pagan Mecca, hoping to convince them—and, through them, the Meccan community at large—of the truth of his message. At that point, he was approached by one of his followers, the blind Abd Allah ibn Shurayh—known after his grandmother’s name as Ibn Umm Maktum—with the request for a repetition or elucidation of certain earlier passages of the Qur’an. Annoyed by this interruption of what he momentarily regarded as a more important endeavour, Muhammad “frowned and turned away” from the blind man—and was immediately, there and then, reproved by the revelation of the first ten verses of this surah. In later years he often greeted Ibn Umm Maktum with these words of humility: “Welcome unto him on whose account my Sustainer has rebuked me (‘atabani)!”

Indirectly, the sharp Qur’anic rebuke (stressed, in particular, by the use of the third-person form in verses 1-2) implies, firstly, that what would have been a minor act of discourtesy on the part of an ordinary
human being, assumed the aspect of a major sin, deserving a divine rebuke, when committed by a prophet; and, secondly, it illustrates the objective nature of the Qur’anic revelation: for, obviously, in conveying God’s reproof of him to the world at large, the Prophet “does not speak out of his own desire” (cf. Surah An-Najm [53]: 3).


Surah ‘Abasa Ayat 3

وَمَا يُدْرِيكَ لَعَلَّهُ يَزَّكَّىٰ

Wa maa yudreeka la’allahu yaz zakkaa

3. Yet for all thou didst know, [O Muhammad,] he might perhaps have grown in purity,


Surah ‘Abasa Ayat 4

أَوْ يَذَّكَّرُ فَتَنْفَعَهُ الذِّكْرَىٰ

Aw yazzakkaru fatanfa ‘ahuz zikraa

4. or have been reminded [of the truth], and helped by this reminder.


Surah ‘Abasa Ayat 5

أَمَّا مَنِ اسْتَغْنَىٰ

Amma manis taghnaa

5. Now as for him who believes himself to be self-sufficient2


2 I.e., who does not feel the need of divine guidance: a reference to the arrogant pagan chieftains with
whom the Prophet was conversing.


Surah ‘Abasa Ayat 6

فَأَنْتَ لَهُ تَصَدَّىٰ

Fa-anta lahu tasaddaa

6. to him didst thou give thy whole attention,


Surah ‘Abasa Ayat 7

وَمَا عَلَيْكَ أَلَّا يَزَّكَّىٰ

Wa ma ‘alaika allaa yaz zakka

7. although thou art not accountable for his failure to attain to purity;3


3 Lit., “it is not upon thee (‘alayka) that he does not attain to purity”.


Surah ‘Abasa Ayat 8

وَأَمَّا مَنْ جَاءَكَ يَسْعَىٰ

Wa amma man jaa-aka yas’a

8. but as for him who came unto thee full of eagerness


Surah ‘Abasa Ayat 9

وَهُوَ يَخْشَىٰ

Wahuwa yakhshaa

9. and in awe [of God]


Surah ‘Abasa Ayat 10

فَأَنْتَ عَنْهُ تَلَهَّىٰ

Fa-anta ‘anhu talah haa

10. him didst thou disregard!


Surah ‘Abasa Ayat 11

كَلَّا إِنَّهَا تَذْكِرَةٌ

Kalla innaha tazkirah

11. NAY, VERILY, these [messages] are but a reminder:4


4 Sc., of the existence and omnipotence of God. The Qur’an is described here, as in many other places, as
“a reminder” because it is meant to bring man’s instinctive—though sometimes hazy or unconscious—realization of God’s existence into the full light of consciousness. (Cf. Surah Al-A’raf [7]: 172 and the corresponding note 139.)


Surah ‘Abasa Ayat 12

فَمَنْ شَاءَ ذَكَرَهُ

Faman shaa a zakarah

12. and so, whoever is willing may remember Him


Surah ‘Abasa Ayat 13

فِي صُحُفٍ مُكَرَّمَةٍ

Fi suhufim mukar rama

13. in [the light of His] revelations blest with dignity,


Surah ‘Abasa Ayat 14

مَرْفُوعَةٍ مُطَهَّرَةٍ

Marfoo’atim mutah hara

14. lofty and pure,


Surah ‘Abasa Ayat 15

بِأَيْدِي سَفَرَةٍ

Bi’aidee safara

15. [borne] by the hands of messengers


Surah ‘Abasa Ayat 16

كِرَامٍ بَرَرَةٍ

Kiraamim bararah

16. noble and most virtuous.


Surah ‘Abasa Ayat 17

قُتِلَ الْإِنْسَانُ مَا أَكْفَرَهُ

Qutilal-insanu maa akfarah

17. [But only too often] man destroys himself:5 how stubbornly does he deny the truth!


5 For my rendering of qutila as “he destroys himself”, see Surah Al-Muddathir [74], note 9.


Surah ‘Abasa Ayat 18

مِنْ أَيِّ شَيْءٍ خَلَقَهُ

Min aiyyi shai-in Khalaq

18. [Does man ever consider] out of what substance [God] creates him?


Surah ‘Abasa Ayat 19

مِنْ نُطْفَةٍ خَلَقَهُ فَقَدَّرَهُ

Min nutfatin khalaqahoo faqaddarah

19. Out of a drop of sperm He creates him, and thereupon determines his nature,6


6 I.e., in accordance with the organic functions which man’s body and mind are to fulfil, and the natural
conditions to which he will have to adapt himself. Verses 18-22, although formulated in the past tense,
obviously describe a recurrent phenomenon.


Surah ‘Abasa Ayat 20

ثُمَّ السَّبِيلَ يَسَّرَهُ

Thummas sabeela yas-sarah

20. and then makes it easy for him to go through life;7


7 Lit., “He makes easy the way for him”. This is an allusion to man’s being endowed with the intellectual
equipment enabling him to discern between good and evil and to make fruitful use of the opportunities
offered to him by his earthly environment.


Surah ‘Abasa Ayat 21

ثُمَّ أَمَاتَهُ فَأَقْبَرَهُ

Thumma amatahu fa-aqbarah

21. and in the end He causes him to die and brings him to the grave;


Surah ‘Abasa Ayat 22

ثُمَّ إِذَا شَاءَ أَنْشَرَهُ

Thumma iza shaa-a ansharah

22. and then, if it be His will, He shall raise him again to life,


Surah ‘Abasa Ayat 23

كَلَّا لَمَّا يَقْضِ مَا أَمَرَهُ

Kalla lamma yaqdi maa amarah

23. Nay, but [man] has never yet fulfilled what He has enjoined upon him!8


8 In other words, man has failed to make adequate use of the intellectual and spiritual endowment referred to in verse 20. Whereas some commentators are of the opinion that this relates only to the type of man spoken of in verse 17 above, others maintain, with greater plausibility, that it is a reference to man in general—thus: “No human being has ever fulfilled all that was imposed on him as a [moral] duty” (Mujahid, as quoted by Tabari, with a similar statement attributed by Baghawi to Al-Hasan al-Basri);
or “From the time of Adam to this time, no human being has ever been free of shortcomings” (Zamakhshari, Baydawi). This is in tune with the Qur’anic doctrine that perfection is an attribute of God alone.


Surah ‘Abasa Ayat 24

فَلْيَنْظُرِ الْإِنْسَانُ إِلَىٰ طَعَامِهِ

Falyanzuril insanu ilaa ta-amih

24. Let man, then, consider [the sources of] his food:


Surah ‘Abasa Ayat 25

أَنَّا صَبَبْنَا الْمَاءَ صَبًّا

Anna sabab nalmaa-a sabba

25. [how it is] that We pour down water, pouring it down abundantly;


Surah ‘Abasa Ayat 26

ثُمَّ شَقَقْنَا الْأَرْضَ شَقًّا

Thumma sha qaqnal-arda shaqqa

26. and then We cleave the earth [with new growth], cleaving it asunder,


Surah ‘Abasa Ayat 27

فَأَنْبَتْنَا فِيهَا حَبًّا

Fa ambatna feeha habba

27. and thereupon We cause grain to grow out of it,


Surah ‘Abasa Ayat 28

وَعِنَبًا وَقَضْبًا

Wa ‘inabaw-wa qadba

28. and vines and edible plants,


Surah ‘Abasa Ayat 29

وَزَيْتُونًا وَنَخْلًا

Wa zaitoonaw wanakh la’

29. and olive trees and date-palms,


Surah ‘Abasa Ayat 30

وَحَدَائِقَ غُلْبًا

Wa hadaa-iqa ghulba

30. and gardens dense with foliage,


Surah ‘Abasa Ayat 31

وَفَاكِهَةً وَأَبًّا

Wa faki hataw-wa abba

31. and fruits and herbage,


Surah ‘Abasa Ayat 32

مَتَاعًا لَكُمْ وَلِأَنْعَامِكُمْ

Mata’al-lakum wa li-an’amikum

32. for you and for your animals to enjoy.9


9 The implication is that man ought to be grateful for all this God-given bounty, but as a rule is not: and this connects with the subsequent evocation of the Day of Resurrection, already hinted at in the reference to the recurring phenomenon of life-renewal.


Surah ‘Abasa Ayat 33

فَإِذَا جَاءَتِ الصَّاخَّةُ

Faiza jaa-atis saakhah

33. AND SO,10 when the piercing call [of resurrection] is heard


10 I.e., as God is able to bring forth new life out of a seemingly dead earth, so is He able to resurrect the dead.


Surah ‘Abasa Ayat 34

يَوْمَ يَفِرُّ الْمَرْءُ مِنْ أَخِيهِ

Yauma yafir-rul mar-u min akheeh

34. on a Day when everyone will [want to] flee from his brother,


Surah ‘Abasa Ayat 35

وَأُمِّهِ وَأَبِيهِ

Wa ummihee wa abeeh

35. and from his mother and father,


Surah ‘Abasa Ayat 36

وَصَاحِبَتِهِ وَبَنِيهِ

Wa sahi batihee wa baneeh

36. and from his spouse and his children:


Surah ‘Abasa Ayat 37

لِكُلِّ امْرِئٍ مِنْهُمْ يَوْمَئِذٍ شَأْنٌ يُغْنِيهِ

Likul limri-im-minhum yawmaa-izin shaa nuy-yughneeh

37. on that Day, to every one of them will his own state be of sufficient concern.


Surah ‘Abasa Ayat 38

وُجُوهٌ يَوْمَئِذٍ مُسْفِرَةٌ

Wujoo huny-yauma-izim-musfira

38. Some faces will on that Day be bright with happiness,


Surah ‘Abasa Ayat 39

ضَاحِكَةٌ مُسْتَبْشِرَةٌ

Dahi katum mustab shirah

39. laughing, rejoicing at glad tidings.


Surah ‘Abasa Ayat 40

وَوُجُوهٌ يَوْمَئِذٍ عَلَيْهَا غَبَرَةٌ

Wa wujoohuy yauma-izin ‘alaiha ghabar a

40. And some faces will on that Day with dust be covered,


Surah ‘Abasa Ayat 41

تَرْهَقُهَا قَتَرَةٌ

Tarhaquha qatarah

41. with darkness overspread:


Surah ‘Abasa Ayat 42

أُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْكَفَرَةُ الْفَجَرَةُ

Ulaa-ika humul-kafa ratul-fajarah

42. these, these will be the ones who denied the truth and were immersed in iniquity!


Source: The Message of the Quran by Muhammad Asad (Leopold Weiss)