Sura 68
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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 pliant.

10Need not the type of despicable man ready with oaths.

Bismillahi Rahmani Rahim

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 bil muhtadin

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 367).

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 lame etc).”

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 over).

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 cries.

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 spot.

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

21Fatanadau mushbihim

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 our way:

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 wrong!”

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 down?

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 righteous.

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 makzum

49Lau la an tadarakahu nimatum mirrabihi lanubiza bilara I wa huwa mazmum

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.

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