Revealed at Makkah.


THE story told by the Muslim writers to account for the occasion upon which this chapter was revealed is related by Sale as follows "A certain blind man, named Abdullah Ibn Omm Maktum, came and interrupted Muhammad while he was engaged in earnest discourse with some of the principal Quraish, whose conversion he had hopes of; but the Prophet taking no notice of him, the blind man, not knowing he was otherwise busied, raised his voice and said, 'O Apostle of God, teach me some part of what God hath taught thee;' but Muhammad, vexed at this interruption, frowned and turned away from him, for which he is here reprehended. After this, whenever the Prophet saw Ibn Omm Maktum, he showed him great respect, saying, 'The man is welcome on whose account my Lord hath reprimanded me ;' and he made him twice governor of Madina."

NoŽldeke doubts this story, with very good reason. This Ibn Omm Maktum belonged to one of the most influential families of the tribe of Quraish, whereas the drift of the passage makes us expect a man of the common multitude.

The chapter relates to the obduracy of those unbelievers, who fail to recognise and obey the God who creates and preserves them.

Probable Date of the Revelations.

All authorities agree in regarding this chapter as an early Makkan Sura. NoŽldeke places it in the early part of his first period. Muir makes it one of the first Suras enunciated by Muhammad as a public preacher.


Principal Subjects.

Muhammad rebuked for frowning on a poor blind Muslim... 1-11
The Quran written in honourable, exalted, and pure volumes ...12-15
Man cursed for turning aside from his Creator . . . 16-23
It is God who provides man with food . .. 24-32
On the judgment-day men will desert their nearest relatives and friends . . . 33-37
The bright and sad faces of the resurrection-day .. . 38-42


R 1/5.

(1) The Prophet frowned and turned aside (2) because the blind man came unto him: (3) and how dost thou know whether he shall peradventure be Cleansed from his sins, (4) or whether he shall be admonished, and the admonition shall profit him? (5) The man who is wealthy (6) thou receivest respectfully ; (7) whereas it is not to be charged on thee that he is not cleansed: (8) but him who cometh unto thee earnestly, (9) seeking his salvation, and who feareth God, (10) dost thou neglect. (11) By no means shouldst thou act thus. Verily, the Quran is an admonition (12) (and he who is willing retaineth the same); (13) written in volumes honourable, (14) exalted, and pure; (15) by the hands of scribes honoured and just. (16) May man be cursed! What hath seduced him to infidelity? (17) Of what thing doth GOD create him? (18) Of a drop of seed (19) doth he create him: and he

(1-1l) Muhammad is justly praised for the magnanimous spirit shown in this passage. Throughout his career we rarely after find him courting the favour of the rich or the great, and he was ever ready to recognise merit in the poorest of his followers.

(13-15) Written in volumes. "Being transcribed from the 'preserved table,' highly honoured in the sight of God, kept pure and uncorrupted from the hands of evil spirits, and touched only by the angels. Some understand hereby the books of the prophets, with which the Quran agrees in substance."- Sale, Zamakhshari.

(16) Man be cursed. This expression is limited to the unbelievers by what follows. Jesus prayed for his enemies; Muhammad cursed his.


formeth him with proportion; (20) and then facilitateth his passage out of the womb: (21) afterwards he causeth him to die, and layeth him in the grave; (22) hereafter, when it shall please him, he shall raise him to life. (23) Assuredly. He hath not hitherto fully performed what God hath commanded him. (24) Let man consider his food; in what manner it is provided. (25) We pour down water by showers; (26) afterwards we cleave the earth in clefts, (27) and we cause corn to spring forth therein, (28) and grapes and clover, (29) and the olive and the palm, (30) and gardens planted thick with trees, (31) and fruits, and grass, (32) for the use of yourselves and of your cattle. (33) When the stunning sound of the trumpet shall be heard; (34) on that day shall a man fly from his brother, (35) and his mother, and his father, (36) and his wife, and his children. (37) Every man of them, on that day, shall have business of his own sufficient to employ his thoughts. (38) On that day the faces of some shall be bright, (39) laughing, and joyful; (40) and upon the faces of others, on that day, shall there be dust; (41) darkness shall cover them. (42) These are the unbelievers, the wicked.

(33) See note on chap. lxxix. 13. The first blast, however, is referred to here. See Prelim. Disc., p.135.

Table of Contents
Answering Islam Home Page