The Pen (Al-Qalam)
In the name of
Allah, Gracious, Merciful.
1Nun. By the pen and by the record which men write.1
2You are not mad or possessed, by the grace of your Lord.2
3No, verily, for you is a reward unfailing:
4And you stand on an exalted standard of character.
5Soon will you see and they will see.
6Which of you is afflicted with madness.
7Verily, it is your Lord that know best which has strayed from
His path: and He knows best those who receive true guidance.
8So hearken not to those who deny.
9Their desire is that you should be pliant; so would you be
10Need not the type of despicable man ready with oaths.
1Nun wal qalami wa ma yasthurun
2Ma anta binimati rabbika bimajnun
3Wa inna laka la airan ghaira mamnun
4Wa innaka laala khuluqin azhim
5Fasatubshiru wa yubshirun
6Bi ayikumul maftun
7Inna rabbaka huwa alamu biman dhal la an sahilih wa huwa alamu
8Fala tuthiil mukazibin
9Wadu lau tud hinu fayud hinun
10Wa la tuthikul la hallafim mahin
1. The editors of the “Noble Qur’an”
keep feeding us the same line when it comes to foreign letters at the
beginning of Chapters of the Qur’an, “These letters... are one of the
miracles of the Qur’an, and none but Allah alone knows their meaning.”
George Sale and Maulana Ali share the opinion, using other commentators for
references, that the letter signifies an inkhorn (inkwell) or a fish because
the blood of certain fish is good ink. And that since pen and writing follow
almost immediately. This rendering makes sense.
2. Muhammad was thought to be mad or possessed
by a demon, this chapter tries to explain that he was not. The people may
have seen some evidence in him to draw such conclusions.
1). His claim that
the devil part in him was taken out of him by Gabriel, washed in the water
of Zamzam and placed back in his heart (Mishkat-ul-Masabih Volume IV page
2). He became heavier under
inspiration ; Sahih Al-Bukhari’s Hadith 6.116 narrated by Zaid bin Thabit,
Zaid added: Ibn Um Maktum came while the Prophet was dictating to me and
said, “O Allah’s Apostle! By Allah, if I had the power to fight (in Allah’s
Cause), I would,” and he was a blind man. So Allah revealed to his Apostle
while his thigh was on my thigh, and his thigh became so heavy that I was
afraid it might fracture my thigh. Then that state of the Prophet passed and
Allah revealed: “Except those who are disabled (by injury or are blind or
3). He hears the ringing of bells
and he sweats profusely; Sahih Al-Bukhari’s Hadith 1.2 narrated by Aisha:
(the mother of the faithful believers) Al-Harith bin Hisham asked Allah’s
Apostle “O Allah’s Apostle! How is the Divine Inspiration revealed to you?”
Allah’s Apostle replied, “Sometimes it is (revealed) like the ringing of a
bell, this form of Inspiration is the hardest of all and then this state
passes off after I have grasped what is inspired. Sometimes the Angel comes
in the form of a man and talks to me and I grasp whatever he says.” ‘Aisha
added: Verily I saw the Prophet being inspired Divinely on a very cold day
and noticed the sweat dropping from his forehead (as the Inspiration was
4). The sounds of bees buzzing is
heard when he is under inspiration, Al-Tirmidhi’s Hadith 2483 narrated by
Umar ibn al-Khattab; When inspiration was sent down to the Prophet (peace be
upon him), a low sound was heard near his face like the humming of bees. One
day when inspiration was sent down to him and we had waited for a time, it
left him, then facing the qiblah and raising his hands, he said, “O Allah,
give us more and do not give us less; honor us and do not humiliate us; give
us and do not withhold from us; choose us and do not prefer others to us;
please us and be pleased with us.” He then said, “I have had sent down to me
ten verses which will provide entrance to Paradise for those who recite
them.” He then recited, “The believers have been successful” and continued
till he had completed ten verses. Ahmad and Tirmidhi transmitted it.
5). His face
changes color; Sahih Muslim’s Hadith 5766 narrated by Ubadah ibn as-Samit,
When wahi (inspiration) descended upon Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon
him), he felt a burden on that account and the color of his face underwent a
change. These are signs and symptoms of one possessed by a demon and so they
formed their opinion about him being a mad man or demon possessed.
11A slanderer going about with calumnies.
12Hindering all good, transgressing beyond bounds deep in sin.
13Violent with all that base born.
14Because he possesses wealth and sons.
15When to him are rehearsed Our signs “Tales of the ancients” he
16Soon shall We brand the beast on the snout!
17Verily, We have tried them as We tried the people of the garden
when they resolved to gather the fruits of the garden in the morning.3
18And made no reservation.
19So there came on the garden a visitation from your Lord all
around while they were asleep.
20So the garden became by the morning like a dark and desolate
21As the morning broke they called out one to another.
11Hammazim ma syain binamim
12Mannail likhairi mutadin atsim
13Utul lin bada zalika zanim
14An kana za mali wa banin
15Iza tutla alaihi ayatuna qala asathirul awalim
16Sanasimuhu alal khurthum
17Inna balaunahum kama balauna ashhabal jannati iz aqsamu layash
rimun naha mushbihin
18Wa la yastatsnun
19Fathafa alaiha tha ifum mirabbika wa hum na imun
20Fa ashbahat kasharim
3. The farmers were not supposed to harvest all
their crops, but they did anyway, not leaving any for the poor as the next
verse implies. And so they were punished (19).
[Commentary continues below.]
22“Go to your tilth in morning if you would gather the fruits.”
23So they departed conversing in secret low tones, saying.
24“Let not a single indigent person break in upon you into the
garden this day.”
25And they opened the morning strong in an unjust resolve.
26But when they saw the garden they said: “We have surely lost
27“Indeed we are shut out!”
28Said one of them more just: “Did I not say to you `Why not
glorify Allah?’ “
29They said: “Glory to our Lord! Verily, we have been doing
30Then they turned one against another in reproach.
31They said: “Alas for us! We have indeed transgressed!
22Anighdu ala hartssikum inkuntum sharimin
23Fanthalaqu wa hum yatakhafatun
24Alla yadkhulan nahal yauma alai kum miskin
25Wa ghadau ala hardin qadinin
26Falam ma raauha qalu inna la dhallun
27Bal nahnu mahrumun
28Qala ausathuhum alam aqul lakum lau la tusab bihun
29Qalu subhana rabbina innakun nazalimin
30Fa aqbala baduhum ala badiya tal awamun
31Qalu ya wailana inna kunna tagin
[Commentary continues below.]
32“It may be that our Lord will give us in exchange a better
garden than this: for we do turn to Him”
33Such is the punishment; but greater is the punishment in the
hereafter if only they knew!
34Verily, for the righteous are gardens of delight in the
presence of their Lord.
35Shall We then treat the people of faith like the people of Sin?
36What is the matter with you? How do you judge?
37Or have you a book through which you learn
38That you shall have through it whatever you choose?
39Or have you covenants with Us on oath reaching to the day of
judgment that you shall have whatever you shall demand?
40Ask them, which of them will stand surety of that!
32Asa rabbuna ayubdilana hairam minha inna ila rabina ragibun
33Kazalikal azab wa laazabul akhirati akbar lau kanu yalamun
34Inna lilmut taqina inda rabihim jannatin naim
35Afanajalul muslimina kal mujrimin
36Ma lakum kaifa tahkumun
37Am lakum kitabun fihi tadrusun
38Inna lakum fihi lama takhayarun
39Am lakum aimanun alina a baligatun ila yaumilqiyamati inna
lakum lama tahkumun
40Salhum ayuhum bizalika zaim
[Commentary continues below.]
41Or have they some partners in Allah? Then let them produce
their partners if they are truthful!
42The day that the truth shall be laid bare and they shall be
summoned to bow in adoration but they shall not be able.
43Their eyes will be cast down, ignominy will cover them; seeing
that they had been summoned before to bow in adoration while they were whole
and had refused.
44Then leave Me alone with such as reject this message: by
degrees shall We punish them from directions they perceive not.
45A respite will I grant them: truly, powerful is My plan.
46Or is it that you do ask them for a reward so that they are
burdened with a load of debt?
47Or that the unseen is in their hands, so that they can write it
41Am lahum surakau falyatu bi suraka ihim inkanu sadiqin
42Yauma yuksafu ansaqiwa yudauna ilas sujudi fala yastathiun
43Kasiatan absaruhum tarhaquhum zilah wa qad kanu yudauna ilas
sujudi wa hum salimun
44Fazami wa may yukaz zibu bihazal hadis sanastadrijuhum min
haisu la yalamun
45Wa umli lahum inna kaidimatin
46Am tas aluhum ajran fahum mimmagramim mustaqalun
47Am indahumul gaibu fahum yaktubun
[Commentary continues below.]
48So wait with patience for the command of your Lord and be not
like the companion of the fish when he cried out in agony.4
49Had not grace from His Lord reached him, he would indeed have
been cast off on the naked shore in disgrace.
50Thus did his Lord choose him and make him of the company of the
51And the unbelievers would almost trip you up with their eyes
when they hear the message; and they say: “Surely he is possessed!”
52But it is nothing less than a message to all the worlds.
48Fasbirlihukmi rabika wa la takun kasahibil hut iz nada wa huwa
49Lau la an tadarakahu nimatum mirrabihi lanubiza bilara I wa
50Faj tabahu rabbuhu fajaalahu minas salihin
51Wa iyyakadul lazina kafaru layuz liqunaka bi absarihim la ma
samiuz zikra wa yaquluna innahu lamajnun
52Wa ma huwa ila zikrul lil alamin
4. The reference here is to the prophet Jonah
who was swallowed by a big fish.