Surah Takwir in Arabic with English Transliteration and Translation

81. At-Takwir (Shrouding in Darkness) – التكوير

At-Takwir is the 81st surah (chapter) of Al-Qur’an. It consists of 29 ayat (verses) that were all revealed in Mecca.

THE conventional designation of this very early surah (most probably the seventh in the order of revelation) is derived from the verb kuwwirat, which occurs in the first verse and introduces the symbolic image of the Last Hour and, hence, of man’s resurrection.

بِسْمِ اللّٰهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْمِ

Surah At-Takwir Ayat 1

إِذَا الشَّمْسُ كُوِّرَتْ

Izash shamsu kuwwirat

1. WHEN THE SUN is shrouded in darkness,

Surah At-Takwir Ayat 2

وَإِذَا النُّجُومُ انْكَدَرَتْ

Wa izan nujoomun kadarat

2. and when the stars lose their light,

Surah At-Takwir Ayat 3

وَإِذَا الْجِبَالُ سُيِّرَتْ

Wa izal jibaalu suyyirat

3. and when the mountains are made to vanish,1

1 See Surah TaHa [20]: 105-107 and the corresponding note 90; also note 63 on Surah Ibrahim [14]: 48.

Surah At-Takwir Ayat 4

وَإِذَا الْعِشَارُ عُطِّلَتْ

Wa izal ‘ishaaru ‘uttilat

4. and when she-camels big with young, about to give birth, are left untended,

Surah At-Takwir Ayat 5

وَإِذَا الْوُحُوشُ حُشِرَتْ

Wa izal wuhooshu hushirat

5. and when all beasts are gathered together,2

2 I.e., when they crowd together in terror of the manifestation of the Last Hour, or as Mu’tazili commentators maintain—in order to be indemnified by God for man’s cruelty to them (Razi). It is also said that the animals which were loved by human beings will live in the hereafter together with those who loved them (Zamakhshari). This interpretation is evidently based on Surah Al-An’am [6]: 38—”there is no beast that walks on earth and no bird that flies on its two wings which is not [God’s] creature like yourselves”—followed almost immediately by the words, “Unto their Sustainer shall they [all] be gathered.”

Surah At-Takwir Ayat 6

وَإِذَا الْبِحَارُ سُجِّرَتْ

Wa izal bihaaru sujjirat

6. and when the seas boil over,

Surah At-Takwir Ayat 7

وَإِذَا النُّفُوسُ زُوِّجَتْ

Wa izan nufoosu zuwwijat

7. and when all human beings are coupled [with their deeds],3

3 I.e., when none will be able to divest himself of responsibility for his past deeds.

Surah At-Takwir Ayat 8

وَإِذَا الْمَوْءُودَةُ سُئِلَتْ

Wa izal maw’oodatu su’ilat

8. and when the girl-child that was buried alive is made to ask

Surah At-Takwir Ayat 9

بِأَيِّ ذَنْبٍ قُتِلَتْ

Bi ayyi zambin qutilat

9. for what crime she had been slain,4

4 The barbaric custom of burying female infants alive seems to have been fairly widespread in pre-Islamic
Arabia, although perhaps not to the extent as has been commonly assumed. The motives were twofold: the fear that an increase of female offspring would result in economic burdens, as well as fear of the humiliation frequently caused by girls being captured by a hostile tribe and subsequently preferring their captors to their parents and brothers. Before Islam, one of the foremost opponents of this custom was Zayd ibn Amr ibn Nufayl, a cousin of Umar ibn al-Khattab and spiritually a precursor of Muhammad (cf. Bukhari, Fada’il Ashab an-Nabi on the authority of Abd Allah ibn Umar); he died shortly before Muhammad’s call to prophethood (Fath al-Bari VII, 112). Another man, Sa’sa’ah ibn Najiyah at-Tamimi—grandfather of the poet Farazdaq—achieved equal fame as a saviour of infants thus condemned to death; he later embraced Islam. Ibn Khallikan (II, 197) mentions that Sa’sa’ah saved about thirty girls by paying ransom to their parents.

Surah At-Takwir Ayat 10

وَإِذَا الصُّحُفُ نُشِرَتْ

Wa izas suhufu nushirat

10. and when the scrolls [of men’s deeds] are unfolded,

Surah At-Takwir Ayat 11

وَإِذَا السَّمَاءُ كُشِطَتْ

Wa izas samaaa’u kushitat

11. and when heaven is laid bare,

Surah At-Takwir Ayat 12

وَإِذَا الْجَحِيمُ سُعِّرَتْ

Wa izal jaheemu su’-‘irat

12. and when the blazing fire [of hell] is kindled bright,

Surah At-Takwir Ayat 13

وَإِذَا الْجَنَّةُ أُزْلِفَتْ

Wa izal jannatu uzlifat

13. and when paradise is brought into view:

Surah At-Takwir Ayat 14

عَلِمَتْ نَفْسٌ مَا أَحْضَرَتْ

‘Alimat nafsum maaa ahdarat

14. [on that Day] every human being will come to know what he has prepared [for himself].

Surah At-Takwir Ayat 15

فَلَا أُقْسِمُ بِالْخُنَّسِ

Falaaa uqsimu bil khunnas

15. BUT NAY! I call to witness the revolving stars,

Surah At-Takwir Ayat 16

الْجَوَارِ الْكُنَّسِ

Al jawaaril kunnas

16. the planets that run their course and set,

Surah At-Takwir Ayat 17

وَاللَّيْلِ إِذَا عَسْعَسَ

Wallaili izaa ‘as’as

17. and the night as it darkly falls,

Surah At-Takwir Ayat 18

وَالصُّبْحِ إِذَا تَنَفَّسَ

Wassubhi izaa tanaffas

18. and the morn as it softly breathes:

Surah At-Takwir Ayat 19

إِنَّهُ لَقَوْلُ رَسُولٍ كَرِيمٍ

Innahoo laqawlu rasoolin kareem

19. behold, this [divine writ] is indeed the [inspired] word of a noble apostle,5

5 By “calling to witness” certain natural phenomena which are familiar to man because of their permanent
recurrence, attention is drawn to the fact that what we call “laws of nature” are but the observable elements of God’s plan of creation—a plan in which His revelations (referred to in this and the subsequent verses) play a decisive role: and so, by implication, the divine writ granted to Muhammad is as intrinsically “natural” as any other phenomenon, concrete or abstract, in the realm of God’s creation.

Surah At-Takwir Ayat 20

ذِي قُوَّةٍ عِنْدَ ذِي الْعَرْشِ مَكِينٍ

Zee quwwatin ‘inda zil ‘arshi makeen

20. with strength endowed, secure with Him who in almightiness is enthroned;6

6 Lit., “with Him of the throne of almightiness”. It is to be noted that the Qur’anic term ‘arsh—of which the above is the earliest occurrence in the order of revelation—invariably signifies God’s absolute sovereignty and almightiness (cf. note 43 on Surah Al-A’raf [7]: 54).

Surah At-Takwir Ayat 21

مُطَاعٍ ثَمَّ أَمِينٍ

Mutaa’in samma ameen

21. [the word] of one to be heeded, and worthy of trust!

Surah At-Takwir Ayat 22

وَمَا صَاحِبُكُمْ بِمَجْنُونٍ

Wa maa saahibukum bimajnoon

22. For, this fellow-man of yours is not a madman:7

7 See Surah Al-Qalam [68], note 3. The characterization of Muhammad as “this fellow-man of yours” is meant to stress his absolute humanness, and thus to counteract any possibility on the part of his followers to deify him. (See also note 150 on Surah Al-A’raf [7]: 184.)

Surah At-Takwir Ayat 23

وَلَقَدْ رَآهُ بِالْأُفُقِ الْمُبِينِ

Wa laqad ra aahu bilufuqil mubeen

23. he truly beheld [the angel—beheld] him on the clear horizon;8

8 This is evidently a reference to the Prophet’s vision of the Angel Gabriel which ended the break in revelation (fatrat al-wahy) mentioned in the introductory note to Surah Al-Muddathi [74]. See also Surah An-Najm [53]: 5 ff. and the corresponding notes.

Surah At-Takwir Ayat 24

وَمَا هُوَ عَلَى الْغَيْبِ بِضَنِينٍ

Wa maa huwa ‘alal ghaibi bidaneen

24. and he is not one to begrudge others the knowledge [of whatever has been revealed to him] out of that which is beyond the reach of human Perception.9

9 Sc., “and so he conveys this revelation to you”.

Surah At-Takwir Ayat 25

وَمَا هُوَ بِقَوْلِ شَيْطَانٍ رَجِيمٍ

Wa maa huwa biqawli shaitaanir rajeem

25. Nor is this [message] the word of any satanic force accursed.10

10 For my occasional rendering of shaytan as “satanic force”, see first half of note 16 on Surah Al-Hijr [15]: 17.

Surah At-Takwir Ayat 26

فَأَيْنَ تَذْهَبُونَ

Fa ayna tazhaboon

26. Whither, then, will you go?

Surah At-Takwir Ayat 27

إِنْ هُوَ إِلَّا ذِكْرٌ لِلْعَالَمِينَ

In huwa illaa zikrul lil’aalameen

27. This [message] is no less than a reminder to all mankind—

Surah At-Takwir Ayat 28

لِمَنْ شَاءَ مِنْكُمْ أَنْ يَسْتَقِيمَ

Liman shaaa’a minkum ai yastaqeem

28. to everyone of you who wills to walk a straight way.

Surah At-Takwir Ayat 29

وَمَا تَشَاءُونَ إِلَّا أَنْ يَشَاءَ اللَّهُ رَبُّ الْعَالَمِينَ

Wa maa tashaaa’oona illaaa ai yashaaa ‘al laahu Rabbul ‘Aalameen

29. But you cannot will it unless God, the Sustainer of all the worlds, wills [to show you that way].11

11 I.e., “you can will it only because God has willed to show you the right way by means of the positive
instincts which He has implanted in you, as well as through the revelations which He has bestowed on
His prophets”: implying that the choice of the right way is open to everyone who is willing to avail himself of God’s universal guidance. (Cf. a similar passage in Surah Al-Insan [76]: 29-30.)

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