بِسْمِ اللّٰهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْمِ
Surah Al-Buruj Ayat 1
وَالسَّمَاءِ ذَاتِ الْبُرُوجِ
Wassamaaa’i zaatil burooj
1. CONSIDER the sky full of great constellations,
Surah Al-Buruj Ayat 2
Wal yawmil maw’ood
2. and [then bethink thyself of] the promised Day,1
1 I.e., the Day of Resurrection.
Surah Al-Buruj Ayat 3
Wa shaahidinw wa mashhood
3. and [of] Him who witnesses [all], and [of] that unto which witness is borne [by Him]!2
2 By creating the universe, God “bears witness”, as it were, to His Own almightiness and uniqueness: cf. Surah Al ‘lmran : 18—”God [Himself] bears witness that there is no deity save Him”—and the corresponding note 11.
Surah Al-Buruj Ayat 4
قُتِلَ أَصْحَابُ الْأُخْدُودِ
Qutila as haabul ukhdood
4. THEY DESTROY [but] themselves,3 they who would ready a pit
3 For an explanation of this rendering of qutila, see note 9 on Surah Al-Muddathir : 19-20.
Surah Al-Buruj Ayat 5
النَّارِ ذَاتِ الْوَقُودِ
Annaari zaatil waqood
5. of fire fiercely burning [for all who have attained to faith]!4
4 Lit., “those responsible (ashab) for the pit of fire abounding in fuel”. In order to explain this parabolic
passage, the commentators interpret it—quite unnecessarily—in the past tense, and advance the most
contradictory legends meant to “identify” those evildoers in historical terms. The result is a medley of stories ranging from Abraham’s experiences with his idolatrous contemporaries (cf. Surah Al-Anbiya : 68-70) to the Biblical legend of Nebuchadnezzar’s attempt to burn three pious Israelites in a fiery furnace (The Book of Daniel III, 19 ff.), or the persecution, in the sixth century, of the Christians of Najran by the King of Yemen, Dhu Nawas (who was a Jew by religion), or the entirely apocryphal story of a Zoroastrian king who burnt to death those of his subjects who refused to accept his dictum that a marriage of brother and sister was “permitted by God”; and so forth. None of these legends needs, of course, to be seriously
considered in this context. As a matter of fact, the very anonymity of the evildoers referred to in the
above Qur’anic passage shows that we have here a parable and not an allusion to “historical” or even
legendary events. The persecutors are people who, having no faith whatsoever, hate to see faith in others
(see verse 8 below); the “pit of fire” is a metaphor for the persecution of the latter by the former: a phenomenon not restricted to any particular time or to a particular people but recurring in many forms
and in varying degrees of intensity throughout recorded history.
Surah Al-Buruj Ayat 6
إِذْ هُمْ عَلَيْهَا قُعُودٌ
Iz hum ‘alaihaa qu’ood
6. Lo! [With glee do] they contemplate that [fire],
Surah Al-Buruj Ayat 7
وَهُمْ عَلَىٰ مَا يَفْعَلُونَ بِالْمُؤْمِنِينَ شُهُودٌ
Wa hum ‘alaa maa yaf’aloona bilmu ‘mineena shuhood
7. fully conscious of what they are doing to the believers,5
5 Lit., “as they sit over it, the while they witness all that they are doing…”, etc.
Surah Al-Buruj Ayat 8
وَمَا نَقَمُوا مِنْهُمْ إِلَّا أَنْ يُؤْمِنُوا بِاللَّهِ الْعَزِيزِ الْحَمِيدِ
Wa maa naqamoo minhum illaaa aiyu’minoo billaahil ‘azeezil Hameed
8. whom they hate for no other reason than that they believe in God, the Almighty, the One to whom all praise is due,
Surah Al-Buruj Ayat 9
الَّذِي لَهُ مُلْكُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ ۚ وَاللَّهُ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ شَهِيدٌ
Allazee lahoo mulkus samaawaati wal ard; wallaahu ‘alaa kulli shai ‘in Shaheed
9. [and] to whom the dominion of the heavens and the earth belongs. But God is witness unto everything!
Surah Al-Buruj Ayat 10
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ فَتَنُوا الْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَاتِ ثُمَّ لَمْ يَتُوبُوا فَلَهُمْ عَذَابُ جَهَنَّمَ وَلَهُمْ عَذَابُ الْحَرِيقِ
Innal lazeena fatanul mu’mineena wal mu’minaati summa lam yatooboo falahum ‘azaabu Jahannama wa lahum ‘azaabul hareeq
10. Verily, as for those who persecute believing men and believing women, and thereafter do not repent, hell’s suffering awaits them: yea, suffering through fire awaits them!6
6 Lit., “through burning”
Surah Al-Buruj Ayat 11
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ لَهُمْ جَنَّاتٌ تَجْرِي مِنْ تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ الْفَوْزُ الْكَبِيرُ
Innal lazeena aamanoo wa ‘amilus saalihaati lahum Jannaatun tajree min tahtihal anhaar; zaalikal fawzul kabeer
11. [But,] verily, they who attain to faith and do righteous deeds shall [in the life to come] have gardens through which running waters flow—that triumph most great!7
7 This is almost certainly the earliest Qur’anic reference to “gardens through which running waters flow”
as an allegory of the bliss which awaits the righteous in the hereafter.
Surah Al-Buruj Ayat 12
إِنَّ بَطْشَ رَبِّكَ لَشَدِيدٌ
Inna batsha Rabbika lashadeed
12. VERILY, thy Sustainer’s grip is exceedingly strong!
Surah Al-Buruj Ayat 13
إِنَّهُ هُوَ يُبْدِئُ وَيُعِيدُ
Innahoo Huwa yubdi’u wa yu’eed
13. Behold, it is He who creates [man] in the first instance, and He [it is who] will bring him forth anew.
Surah Al-Buruj Ayat 14
وَهُوَ الْغَفُورُ الْوَدُودُ
Wa Huwal Ghafoorul Wadood
14. And He alone is trulyforgiving, all-embracing in His love,
Surah Al-Buruj Ayat 15
ذُو الْعَرْشِ الْمَجِيدُ
Zul ‘Arshil Majeed
15. in sublime almightiness enthroned,8
8 Lit., “He of the sublime throne of almightiness (al-‘arsh al-majid)”. For my rendering of al-‘arsh as “the throne of almightiness”, see Surah Al-A’raf : 54 and the corresponding note 43.
Surah Al-Buruj Ayat 16
فَعَّالٌ لِمَا يُرِيدُ
Fa’ ‘aalul limaa yureed
16. a sovereign doer of whatever He wills.
Surah Al-Buruj Ayat 17
هَلْ أَتَاكَ حَدِيثُ الْجُنُودِ
Hal ataaka hadeesul junood
17. HAS IT ever come within thy ken, the story of the [sinful] hosts
Surah Al-Buruj Ayat 18
Fir’awna wa Samood
18. of Pharaoh, and of [the tribe of] Thamud?9
9 Sc., “both of which were destroyed because of their sins”. The story of Pharaoh and his forces, and their destruction by drowning, is referred to many times in the Qur’an; for the story of the Thamud see, in particular, Surah Al-A’raf : 73 ff. and the corresponding notes 56-62.
Surah Al-Buruj Ayat 19
بَلِ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا فِي تَكْذِيبٍ
Balil lazeena kafaroo fee takzeeb
19. And yet, they who are bent on denying the truth persist in giving it the lie:
Surah Al-Buruj Ayat 20
وَاللَّهُ مِنْ وَرَائِهِمْ مُحِيطٌ
Wallaahu minw waraaa’ihim muheet
20. but all the while God encompasses them [with His knowledge and might] without their being aware of it.10
10 Lit., “from behind them”, an idiomatic phrase denoting a happening imperceptible to those whom it
Surah Al-Buruj Ayat 21
بَلْ هُوَ قُرْآنٌ مَجِيدٌ
Bal huwa Quraanum Majeed
21. Nay, but this [divine writ which they reject] is a discourse sublime,
Surah Al-Buruj Ayat 22
فِي لَوْحٍ مَحْفُوظٍ
Fee Lawhim Mahfooz
22. upon an imperishable tablet [inscribed].11
11 Lit., “upon a well-guarded tablet (lawh mahfuz)”—a description of the Qur’an to be found only in this
one instance. Although some commentators take it in its literal sense and understand by it an actual “heavenly tablet” upon which the Qur’an is inscribed since all eternity, to many others the phrase has
always had a metaphorical meaning: namely, an allusion to the imperishable quality of this divine writ.
This interpretation is pointedly mentioned as justified by, e.g., Tabari, Baghawi, Razi or Ibn Kathir, all of whom agree that the phrase “upon a well-guarded tablet” relates to God’s promise that the Qur’an would never be corrupted, and would remain free of all arbitrary additions, diminutions and textual changes. See in this connection also Surah Al-Hijr : 9 and the corresponding note 10.
Source: The Message of the Quran by Muhammad Asad (Leopold Weiss)