English Translation and Commentary of the Holy Quran (2010)

by Maulana Muhammad Ali

Chapter 29: Al-Ankabut — The Spider (Revealed at Makkah: 7 sections, 69 verses)

Section 2 (Verses 29:14–29:22): Noah and Abraham


وَ لَقَدۡ اَرۡسَلۡنَا نُوۡحًا اِلٰی قَوۡمِہٖ فَلَبِثَ فِیۡہِمۡ اَلۡفَ سَنَۃٍ اِلَّا خَمۡسِیۡنَ عَامًا ؕ فَاَخَذَہُمُ الطُّوۡفَانُ وَ ہُمۡ ظٰلِمُوۡنَ ﴿۱۴﴾

29:14 And We indeed sent Noah to his people, so he remained among them a thousand years save fifty years.1 And the deluge overtook them, and they were wrongdoers.

فَاَنۡجَیۡنٰہُ وَ اَصۡحٰبَ السَّفِیۡنَۃِ وَ جَعَلۡنٰہَاۤ اٰیَۃً لِّلۡعٰلَمِیۡنَ ﴿۱۵﴾

29:15 So We delivered him and the inmates of the ark, and made it a sign to the nations.

وَ اِبۡرٰہِیۡمَ اِذۡ قَالَ لِقَوۡمِہِ اعۡبُدُوا اللّٰہَ وَ اتَّقُوۡہُ ؕ ذٰلِکُمۡ خَیۡرٌ لَّکُمۡ اِنۡ کُنۡتُمۡ تَعۡلَمُوۡنَ ﴿۱۶﴾

29:16 And (We sent) Abraham, when he said to his people: Serve Allah and keep your duty to Him. That is better for you, if you know.

اِنَّمَا تَعۡبُدُوۡنَ مِنۡ دُوۡنِ اللّٰہِ اَوۡثَانًا وَّ تَخۡلُقُوۡنَ اِفۡکًا ؕ اِنَّ الَّذِیۡنَ تَعۡبُدُوۡنَ مِنۡ دُوۡنِ اللّٰہِ لَا یَمۡلِکُوۡنَ لَکُمۡ رِزۡقًا فَابۡتَغُوۡا عِنۡدَ اللّٰہِ الرِّزۡقَ وَ اعۡبُدُوۡہُ وَ اشۡکُرُوۡا لَہٗ ؕ اِلَیۡہِ تُرۡجَعُوۡنَ ﴿۱۷﴾

29:17 You only worship idols besides Allah and you invent a lie. Surely they whom you serve besides Allah control no sustenance for you; so seek sustenance from Allah and serve Him and be grateful to Him. To Him you will be brought back.

وَ اِنۡ تُکَذِّبُوۡا فَقَدۡ کَذَّبَ اُمَمٌ مِّنۡ قَبۡلِکُمۡ ؕ وَ مَا عَلَی الرَّسُوۡلِ اِلَّا الۡبَلٰغُ الۡمُبِیۡنُ ﴿۱۸﴾

29:18 And if you reject, nations before you did indeed reject (the Truth). And the duty of the Messenger is only to deliver the message clearly.

اَوَ لَمۡ یَرَوۡا کَیۡفَ یُبۡدِئُ اللّٰہُ الۡخَلۡقَ ثُمَّ یُعِیۡدُہٗ ؕ اِنَّ ذٰلِکَ عَلَی اللّٰہِ یَسِیۡرٌ ﴿۱۹﴾

29:19 Do they not see how Allah originates the creation, then reproduces it? Surely that is easy to Allah.2

قُلۡ سِیۡرُوۡا فِی الۡاَرۡضِ فَانۡظُرُوۡا کَیۡفَ بَدَاَ الۡخَلۡقَ ثُمَّ اللّٰہُ یُنۡشِیُٔ النَّشۡاَۃَ الۡاٰخِرَۃَ ؕ اِنَّ اللّٰہَ عَلٰی کُلِّ شَیۡءٍ قَدِیۡرٌ ﴿ۚ۲۰﴾

29:20 Say: Travel in the earth then see how He makes the first creation, then Allah creates the latter creation. Surely Allah is Powerful over all things.3

یُعَذِّبُ مَنۡ یَّشَآءُ وَ یَرۡحَمُ مَنۡ یَّشَآءُ ۚ وَ اِلَیۡہِ تُقۡلَبُوۡنَ ﴿۲۱﴾

29:21 He punishes whom He pleases and has mercy on whom He pleases, and to Him you will be turned back.

وَ مَاۤ اَنۡتُمۡ بِمُعۡجِزِیۡنَ فِی الۡاَرۡضِ وَ لَا فِی السَّمَآءِ ۫ وَ مَا لَکُمۡ مِّنۡ دُوۡنِ اللّٰہِ مِنۡ وَّلِیٍّ وَّ لَا نَصِیۡرٍ ﴿٪۲۲﴾

29:22 And you cannot escape in the earth nor in the heaven, and you have no protector or helper besides Allah.


  1. The Bible gives 950 years to be the age of Noah. It is not improbable that the span of man’s life may have been greater in his earlier history than at present, and Noah may have attained an extraordinary age among his compatriots. But there are indications that the reference here is to the abiding for 950 years of the law preached by Noah, his place then being taken by Abraham, as the mention of Abraham immediately afterwards shows.
  2. The law of creation and destruction of things, which is constantly work­ing in nature, finds an expression in the lives of nations: a nation is brought into existence, then it is swept away and a new nation raised in its place. It is to this law that the verse refers as a warning to the idolatrous Makkans that the time had now come when their place would be taken by another nation. This is made clear in the verses that follow. It should be noted that verses 18–23 are paren­thetical, being an address to the opponents of the Holy Prophet. The Quran fre­quently adopts this method of warning in the middle of another narration, for its object is not to relate a story, but to warn those who opposed the spread of Truth as revealed to the Holy Prophet.
  3. Elsewhere, the words travel in the earth are always followed by then see what was the end of the rejectors, instead of which we have here how He makes the first creation, then Allah creates the latter creation. This shows that what is meant here is the disappearance of one nation to give place to another. (Editor’s Note: There may also be a hint here that by travelling in the earth one can find evidence of evolution, as Charles Darwin discovered by his travels.)