Surah Nazi'at in Arabic with English Transliteration and Translation

79. An-Nazi’at (Those That Rise) – النازعات

An-Nazi’at is the 79th surah (chapter) of The Holy Qur’an. It consists of 46 ayat (verses) that were all revealed in Mecca.


THIS late Meccan surah, revealed shortly after the preceding one, takes its name from the word an-nazi’at in the first verse.

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ


Surah An-Naziat Ayat 1

وَالنَّازِعَاتِ غَرْقًا

Wan naazi ‘aati gharqa

1. CONSIDER those [stars] that rise only to set,1


1 For my rendering of the adjurative particle wa as “Consider”, see first half of note 23 on Surah Al-Muddathir [74]: 32.

The early commentators differ widely in their explanations of verses 1-5 of this surah. The most popular
interpretation is based on the view that the descriptive participles an-nazi’at, an-nashitat, as-sabihat, as-sabiqat and al-mudabbirat refer to angels and their activities with regard to the souls of the dying: an interpretation categorically rejected by Abu Muslim al-Isfahani, who—as mentioned by Razi—points out that the angels are never referred to in the Qur’an in the female gender, as is the case in the above five participles, and that the present passage cannot be an exception. Almost equally unconvincing—because somewhat laboured—are the explanations which link those five participles to the souls of the dying, or to warriors engaged in holy war, or to war-mounts, and so forth. The clearest and simplest interpretation is that advanced by Qatadah (as quoted by Tabari and Baghawi) and Al-Hasan al-Basri (quoted by Baghawi and Razi), who maintain that what is meant in this passage are the stars—including the sun and the moon—and their movements in space: and this interpretation is fully in tune with many other passages in the Qur’an in which the harmony of those celestial bodies in their multiform orbits and graded speeds is cited as an evidence of God’s planning and creativeness. In accordance with this interpretation, the participle an-nazi’at occurring in the first verse denotes the daily “ascending” or “rising” of the stars, while their subsequent “setting” is indicated by the expression gharqan, which comprises the two concepts of “drowning” (i.e., disappearing) and, tropically, of the “completeness” of this daily phenomenon (Zamakhshari).


Surah An-Naziat Ayat 2

وَالنَّاشِطَاتِ نَشْطًا

Wan naa shi taati nashta

2. and move [in their orbits] with steady motion,2


2 I.e., passing from constellation to constellation (Zamakhshari).


Surah An-Naziat Ayat 3

وَالسَّابِحَاتِ سَبْحًا

Wass saabi-haati sabha

3. and float [through space] with floating serene,


Surah An-Naziat Ayat 4

فَالسَّابِقَاتِ سَبْقًا

Fass saabi qaati sabqa

4. and yet overtake [one another] with swift overtaking:3


3 This is apparently an allusion to the different speeds of the orbiting stars (Al-Hasan and Abu Ubaydah,
as quoted by Razi), as well as to the extent of their orbits in relation to one another.


Surah An-Naziat Ayat 5

فَالْمُدَبِّرَاتِ أَمْرًا

Fal mu dab-bi raati amra

5. and thus they fulfil the [Creator’s] behest!


Surah An-Naziat Ayat 6

يَوْمَ تَرْجُفُ الرَّاجِفَةُ

Yawma tarjufur raajifa

6. [HENCE,4 think of] the Day when a violent convulsion will convulse [the world],


4 I.e., upon realizing the above-mentioned evidence of God’s almightiness and, therefore, of man’s subjection to His ultimate judgment.


Surah An-Naziat Ayat 7

تَتْبَعُهَا الرَّادِفَةُ

Tatba’u har raadifa

7. to be followed by further [convulsions]!


Surah An-Naziat Ayat 8

قُلُوبٌ يَوْمَئِذٍ وَاجِفَةٌ

Quloobuny-yau maaiziw-waaji-fa

8. On that Day will [men’s] hearts be throbbing,


Surah An-Naziat Ayat 9

أَبْصَارُهَا خَاشِعَةٌ

Absaa ruhaa khashi’ah

9. [and] their eyes downcast…


Surah An-Naziat Ayat 10

يَقُولُونَ أَإِنَّا لَمَرْدُودُونَ فِي الْحَافِرَةِ

Ya qoo loona a-inna lamar doo doona fil haafirah

10. [And yet,] some say, “What! Are we indeed to be restored to our former state—


Surah An-Naziat Ayat 11

أَإِذَا كُنَّا عِظَامًا نَخِرَةً

Aizaa kunna ‘izaa man-nakhirah

11. even though we may have become [a heap of] crumbling bones?”


Surah An-Naziat Ayat 12

قَالُوا تِلْكَ إِذًا كَرَّةٌ خَاسِرَةٌ

Qaalu tilka izan karratun khaasirah

12. [And] they add, “That, then, would be a return with loss!”5


5 Implying derisively (Zamakhshari) that in such a case they would be proved wrong in what they now
consider a “reasonable” assumption.


Surah An-Naziat Ayat 13

فَإِنَّمَا هِيَ زَجْرَةٌ وَاحِدَةٌ

Fa inna ma hiya zajratuw-waahida

13. [But,] then, that [Last Hour] will be [upon them of a sudden, as if it were] but a single accusing cry—


Surah An-Naziat Ayat 14

فَإِذَا هُمْ بِالسَّاهِرَةِ

Faizaa hum biss saahirah

14. and then, lo, they will be fully awakened [to the truth]!


Surah An-Naziat Ayat 15

هَلْ أَتَاكَ حَدِيثُ مُوسَىٰ

Hal ataaka hadeethu Musaa

15. HAS THE STORY of Moses ever come within thy ken?6


6 Connecting with the preceding passage, the story of Moses (which appears in much greater detail in Surah TaHa [20]: 9-98) is cited here as an illustration of the fact that everyone will have to answer on Judgment Day for whatever he did in life, and that it is the main function of every prophet to make man aware of this responsibility.


Surah An-Naziat Ayat 16

إِذْ نَادَاهُ رَبُّهُ بِالْوَادِ الْمُقَدَّسِ طُوًى

Iz nadaahu rabbuhu bil waadil-muqad dasi tuwa

16. Lo! His Sustainer called out to him in the twice-hallowed valley:7


7 See note 9 on Surah TaHa [20]: 12.

For the meaning of the particle idh at the beginning of this sentence, rendered by me as “Lo!”, see Surah Al-Baqarah [2], note 21.


Surah An-Naziat Ayat 17

اذْهَبْ إِلَىٰ فِرْعَوْنَ إِنَّهُ طَغَىٰ

Izhab ilaa fir’auna innahu taghaa

17. “Go unto Pharaoh—for, verily, he has transgressed all bounds of what is right-—


Surah An-Naziat Ayat 18

فَقُلْ هَلْ لَكَ إِلَىٰ أَنْ تَزَكَّىٰ

Faqul hal laka ilaa-an tazakka

18. and say [unto him], ‘Art thou desirous of attaining to purity?


Surah An-Naziat Ayat 19

وَأَهْدِيَكَ إِلَىٰ رَبِّكَ فَتَخْشَىٰ

Wa ahdi yaka ila rabbika fatakh sha

19. [If so,] then I shall guide thee towards [a cognition of] thy Sustainer, so that [henceforth] thou
wilt stand in awe [of Him].'”8


8 Implying that so long as man is not fully aware of the existence of God, he cannot really discern between what is morally right or wrong; and since God is just, He does not punish anyone who has not yet attained to such a discernment (or, as expressed in the preceding sentence, “to [moral] purity”): cf. Surah Al-An’am [6]: 131—”thy Sustainer would never destroy a community for its wrongdoing so long as its people are still unaware [of the meaning of right and wrong]”.


Surah An-Naziat Ayat 20

فَأَرَاهُ الْآيَةَ الْكُبْرَىٰ

Fa araahul-aayatal kubra

20. And thereupon he [went to Pharaoh and] made him aware of the great wonder [of God’s grace].9


9 Lit., “showed him the great wonder”, i.e., of the guidance which God, in His measureless grace, offers
even to the most recalcitrant sinner.


Surah An-Naziat Ayat 21

فَكَذَّبَ وَعَصَىٰ

Fa kazzaba wa asaa

21. But [Pharaoh] gave him the lie and rebelliously rejected [all guidance],


Surah An-Naziat Ayat 22

ثُمَّ أَدْبَرَ يَسْعَىٰ

Thumma adbara yas’aa

22. and brusquely turned his back [on Moses];


Surah An-Naziat Ayat 23

فَحَشَرَ فَنَادَىٰ

Fa hashara fanada

23. and then he gathered [his great ones], and called [unto his people],


Surah An-Naziat Ayat 24

فَقَالَ أَنَا رَبُّكُمُ الْأَعْلَىٰ

Faqala ana rabbu kumul-a’laa

24. and said, “I am your Lord All-Highest!”10


10 Cf. Surah Al-Qasas [28]: 38 and the corresponding note 36. Pharaoh’s claim to divine status is the cardinal sin whereby “he has transgressed all bounds of what is right” (verse 17 above).


Surah An-Naziat Ayat 25

فَأَخَذَهُ اللَّهُ نَكَالَ الْآخِرَةِ وَالْأُولَىٰ

Fa-akha zahul laahu nakalal aakhirati wal-oola

25. And thereupon God took him to task, [and made him] a warning example in the life to come as well as in this world.11


11 Lit., “in the first [life]”. See last sentence of Surah Al-A’raf  [7]: 137—”We utterly destroyed all that Pharaoh and his people had wrought, and all that they had built”—and the corresponding note 100.


Surah An-Naziat Ayat 26

إِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ لَعِبْرَةً لِمَنْ يَخْشَىٰ

Inna fee zaalika la’ibratal limaiy-yaksha

26. In this, behold, there is a lesson indeed for all who stand in awe [of God].


Surah An-Naziat Ayat 27

أَأَنْتُمْ أَشَدُّ خَلْقًا أَمِ السَّمَاءُ ۚ بَنَاهَا

A-antum a shaddu khalqan amis samaa-u banaaha

27. [O MEN!] Are you more difficult to create than the heaven which He has built?12


12 Lit., “or the heaven… “, etc. The “heaven” is here, as in many other places in the Qur’an, a metonym for “cosmic system” (cf. note 20 on Surah Al-Baqarah [2]: 29). The above verse is an echo of an earlier, more explicit passage—namely, Surah Ghafir [40]: 56-57, which should be read together with the corresponding notes 40 and 41. Both these passages refute the “man-centred” view of the universe by pointing out man’s insignificance as compared with the vastness and complexity of the whole God-created universe.


Surah An-Naziat Ayat 28

رَفَعَ سَمْكَهَا فَسَوَّاهَا

Raf’a sam kaha fasaw waaha

28. High has He reared its vault and formed it in accordance with what it was meant to be;13


13 See Surah Al-A’la [87]: 2, which is the earliest instance, in the chronology of Qur’anic revelation, of the use of the verb sawwa in the above sense.


Surah An-Naziat Ayat 29

وَأَغْطَشَ لَيْلَهَا وَأَخْرَجَ ضُحَاهَا

Wa aghtasha lailaha wa akhraja duhaaha

29. and He has made dark its night and brought forth its light of day.


Surah An-Naziat Ayat 30

وَالْأَرْضَ بَعْدَ ذَٰلِكَ دَحَاهَا

Wal arda b’ada zaalika dahaaha

30. And after that, the earth: wide has He spread its expanse,


Surah An-Naziat Ayat 31

أَخْرَجَ مِنْهَا مَاءَهَا وَمَرْعَاهَا

Akhraja minha maa-aha wa mar ‘aaha

31. and has caused its waters to come out of it, and its pastures,14


14 The term “pasture” (mar’a) connotes here, metonymically, all herbal produce suitable for consumption
by man or animal (Razi).


Surah An-Naziat Ayat 32

وَالْجِبَالَ أَرْسَاهَا

Wal jibala arsaaha

32. and has made the mountains firm:


Surah An-Naziat Ayat 33

مَتَاعًا لَكُمْ وَلِأَنْعَامِكُمْ

Mataa’al lakum wali an ‘aamikum

33. [all this] as a means of livelihood for you and your animals.15


15 Implying (as in Surah ‘Abasa [80]: 24-32) that man ought to be grateful to God, and should always be conscious of His being the Provider: hence the subsequent return of the discourse to the theme of resurrection and ultimate judgment.


Surah An-Naziat Ayat 34

فَإِذَا جَاءَتِ الطَّامَّةُ الْكُبْرَىٰ

Fa-izaa jaaa’atit taaam matul kubraa

34. AND SO, when the great overwhelming event [of, resurrection] comes to pass—


Surah An-Naziat Ayat 35

يَوْمَ يَتَذَكَّرُ الْإِنْسَانُ مَا سَعَىٰ

Yauma Yata zakkarul insaanu ma sa’aa

35. on that Day man will [clearly] remember all that he has ever wrought;


Surah An-Naziat Ayat 36

وَبُرِّزَتِ الْجَحِيمُ لِمَنْ يَرَىٰ

Wa burrizatil-jaheemu limany-yaraa

36. and the blazing fire [of hell] will be laid open before all who [are destined to] see it.16


16 Cf. Surah Ash-Shu’ara’ [26]: 91—”will be laid open before those who had been lost in grievous error”: thus reminding man that suffering in the hereafter (“hell”) is the inevitable consequence of spiritual self-destruction through deliberate wrongdoing.


Surah An-Naziat Ayat 37

فَأَمَّا مَنْ طَغَىٰ

Fa ammaa man taghaa

37. For, unto him who shall have transgressed the bounds of what is right,


Surah An-Naziat Ayat 38

وَآثَرَ الْحَيَاةَ الدُّنْيَا

Wa aasaral hayaatad dunyaa

38. and preferred the life of this world [to the good of his soul],


Surah An-Naziat Ayat 39

فَإِنَّ الْجَحِيمَ هِيَ الْمَأْوَىٰ

Fa innal jaheema hiyal maawaa

39. that blazing fire will truly be the goal!


Surah An-Naziat Ayat 40

وَأَمَّا مَنْ خَافَ مَقَامَ رَبِّهِ وَنَهَى النَّفْسَ عَنِ الْهَوَىٰ

Wa ammaa man khaafa maqaama Rabbihee wa nahan nafsa ‘anil hawaa

40. But unto him who shall have stood in fear of his Sustainer’s Presence, and held back his inner self from base desires,


Surah An-Naziat Ayat 41

فَإِنَّ الْجَنَّةَ هِيَ الْمَأْوَىٰ

Fa innal jannata hiyal ma’waa

41. paradise will truly be the goal!


Surah An-Naziat Ayat 42

يَسْأَلُونَكَ عَنِ السَّاعَةِ أَيَّانَ مُرْسَاهَا

Yas’aloonaka ‘anis saa’ati ayyaana mursaahaa

42. THEY WILL ASK thee [O Prophet] about the Last Hour: “When will it come to pass?”


Surah An-Naziat Ayat 43

فِيمَ أَنْتَ مِنْ ذِكْرَاهَا

Feema anta min zikraahaa

43. [But] how couldst thou tell anything about it,17


17 Lit., “wherein [or “whereon”] art thou with regard to stating it (min dhikraha)?”


Surah An-Naziat Ayat 44

إِلَىٰ رَبِّكَ مُنْتَهَاهَا

Ilaa Rabbika muntahaa haa

44. [seeing that] with thy Sustainer alone rests the beginning and the end [of all knowledge] thereof?18


18 Lit., “its utmost limit”, i.e., the beginning and the end of all that can be known about it. Cf. Surah Al-A’raf [7]: 187 and the corresponding note 153.


Surah An-Naziat Ayat 45

إِنَّمَا أَنْتَ مُنْذِرُ مَنْ يَخْشَاهَا

Innamaaa anta munziru maiy yakshaahaa

45. Thou art but [sent] to warn those who stand in awe of it.


Surah An-Naziat Ayat 46

كَأَنَّهُمْ يَوْمَ يَرَوْنَهَا لَمْ يَلْبَثُوا إِلَّا عَشِيَّةً أَوْ ضُحَاهَا

Ka annahum Yawma yarawnahaa lam yalbasooo illaa ‘ashiyyatan aw duhaahaa

46. On the Day when they behold it, [it will seem to them] as if they had tarried [in this world] no longer than one evening or [one night, ending with] its morn!19


19 As in many other places in the Qur’an (e.g., in Al-Baqarah [2]: 259, Al-Isra’ [17]: 52, Al-Kahfi [18]: 19, Surah TaHa [20]: 103-104, Al-Mu’minun [23]: 112-113, Ar-Rum [30]: 55 etc.), this is a subtle indication of the illusory, earthbound nature of man’s concept of “time”—a concept which, we are told, will lose all its meaning in the context of the ultimate reality comprised in the term “hereafter” (al-akhirah).


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