English Translation and Commentary of the Holy Quran (2010)

by Maulana Muhammad Ali

Chapter 38: Sad — Sad (Revealed at Makkah: 5 sections, 88 verses)

Section 1 (Verses 38:1–38:14): The Enemy’s Discomfiture


بِسۡمِ اللّٰہِ الرَّحۡمٰنِ الرَّحِیۡمِ

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.

صٓ وَ الۡقُرۡاٰنِ ذِی الذِّکۡرِ ؕ﴿۱﴾

38:1 Truthful God! By the Quran, possessing eminence!1

بَلِ الَّذِیۡنَ کَفَرُوۡا فِیۡ عِزَّۃٍ وَّ شِقَاقٍ ﴿۲﴾

38:2 But those who disbelieve are in self-exaltation and opposition.

کَمۡ اَہۡلَکۡنَا مِنۡ قَبۡلِہِمۡ مِّنۡ قَرۡنٍ فَنَادَوۡا وَّ لَاتَ حِیۡنَ مَنَاصٍ ﴿۳﴾

38:3 How many a generation We destroyed before them, then they cried when there was no longer time for escape!2

وَ عَجِبُوۡۤا اَنۡ جَآءَہُمۡ مُّنۡذِرٌ مِّنۡہُمۡ ۫ وَ قَالَ الۡکٰفِرُوۡنَ ہٰذَا سٰحِرٌ کَذَّابٌ ۖ﴿ۚ۴﴾

38:4 And they wonder that a warner from among themselves has come to them, and the disbelievers say: This is an enchanter, a liar.

اَجَعَلَ الۡاٰلِہَۃَ اِلٰـہًا وَّاحِدًا ۚۖ اِنَّ ہٰذَا لَشَیۡءٌ عُجَابٌ ﴿۵﴾

38:5 Does he make the gods a single God? Surely this is a strange thing.

وَ انۡطَلَقَ الۡمَلَاُ مِنۡہُمۡ اَنِ امۡشُوۡا وَ اصۡبِرُوۡا عَلٰۤی اٰلِہَتِکُمۡ ۚۖ اِنَّ ہٰذَا لَشَیۡءٌ یُّرَادُ ۖ﴿ۚ۶﴾

38:6 And the chiefs among them say: Go and steadily adhere to your gods; surely this is a thing intended.3

مَا سَمِعۡنَا بِہٰذَا فِی الۡمِلَّۃِ الۡاٰخِرَۃِ ۚۖ اِنۡ ہٰذَاۤ اِلَّا اخۡتِلَاقٌ ۖ﴿ۚ۷﴾

38:7 We never heard of this in the former faith, this is nothing but a forgery.

ءَ اُنۡزِلَ عَلَیۡہِ الذِّکۡرُ مِنۡۢ بَیۡنِنَا ؕ بَلۡ ہُمۡ فِیۡ شَکٍّ مِّنۡ ذِکۡرِیۡ ۚ بَلۡ لَّمَّا یَذُوۡقُوۡا عَذَابِ ؕ﴿۸﴾

38:8 Has the Reminder been revealed to him from among us? Indeed, they are in doubt as to My Reminder. Indeed, they have not yet tasted My punishment.

اَمۡ عِنۡدَہُمۡ خَزَآئِنُ رَحۡمَۃِ رَبِّکَ الۡعَزِیۡزِ الۡوَہَّابِ ۚ﴿۹﴾

38:9 Or, do they have the treasures of the mercy of your Lord, the Mighty, the Great Giver?

اَمۡ لَہُمۡ مُّلۡکُ السَّمٰوٰتِ وَ الۡاَرۡضِ وَ مَا بَیۡنَہُمَا ۟ فَلۡیَرۡتَقُوۡا فِی الۡاَسۡبَابِ ﴿۱۰﴾

38:10 Or is the kingdom of the heavens and the earth and all that is between them theirs? Then let them rise higher in means.4

جُنۡدٌ مَّا ہُنَالِکَ مَہۡزُوۡمٌ مِّنَ الۡاَحۡزَابِ ﴿۱۱﴾

38:11 What an army of the allies is here put to flight!5

کَذَّبَتۡ قَبۡلَہُمۡ قَوۡمُ نُوۡحٍ وَّ عَادٌ وَّ فِرۡعَوۡنُ ذُو الۡاَوۡتَادِ ﴿ۙ۱۲﴾

38:12 The people of Noah, and Ād, and Pharaoh, the lord of armies, rejected (prophets) before them,

وَ ثَمُوۡدُ وَ قَوۡمُ لُوۡطٍ وَّ اَصۡحٰبُ لۡـَٔیۡکَۃِ ؕ اُولٰٓئِکَ الۡاَحۡزَابُ ﴿۱۳﴾

38:13 and Thamūd and the people of Lot and the dwellers of the grove. These were the parties (opposing Truth).

اِنۡ کُلٌّ اِلَّا کَذَّبَ الرُّسُلَ فَحَقَّ عِقَابِ ﴿٪۱۴﴾

38:14 Each one rejected the messengers, so just was My retribution.


  1. Dhikr means eminence here, as in 2:152. The calling to witness of the Quran possessing eminence indicates that the truth of the Quran will become manifest by the eminence to which it will raise those who follow it.
  2. That is, they did not heed the warning, but cried for help when punishment actually overtook them, and there was no escape from it.
  3. By a thing intended is meant that it is a thing which the Prophet intends to bring about but which he cannot, or that the appearance of the Prophet is one of the disasters decreed by fate.
  4. Their rising higher or ascending in means stands for having recourse to all the means they can think of. As they were powerful in the land and masters of it, they should find the best means to retain their power, and prove the warning of the Prophet to be false. They would not be able to do so.
  5. This is a prophecy relating to the discomfiture and overthrow of the opponents of Islam when they combine all possible forces against it. The Prophet is thus not only enjoined patience under his present sufferings, but he is further told that the opposition against him will assume yet more formidable proportions. He is comforted at the same time with the knowledge that the combined forces of opposition will be utterly routed and overthrown. This happened in the battle known as the battle of the Aḥzāb, or the battle of the Allies; see 33:22.