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 3 (Verses 38:27–38:40): Solomon and his Enemies


وَ مَا خَلَقۡنَا السَّمَآءَ وَ الۡاَرۡضَ وَ مَا بَیۡنَہُمَا بَاطِلًا ؕ ذٰلِکَ ظَنُّ الَّذِیۡنَ کَفَرُوۡا ۚ فَوَیۡلٌ لِّلَّذِیۡنَ کَفَرُوۡا مِنَ النَّارِ ﴿ؕ۲۷﴾

38:27 And We did not create the heaven and the earth and all that is between them in vain. That is the opinion of those who disbelieve. So woe to those who disbelieve on account of the Fire!1

اَمۡ نَجۡعَلُ الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا وَ عَمِلُوا الصّٰلِحٰتِ کَالۡمُفۡسِدِیۡنَ فِی الۡاَرۡضِ ۫ اَمۡ نَجۡعَلُ الۡمُتَّقِیۡنَ کَالۡفُجَّارِ ﴿۲۸﴾

38:28 Shall We treat those who believe and do good like the mischief-makers in the earth? Or shall We make the dutiful like the wicked?

کِتٰبٌ اَنۡزَلۡنٰہُ اِلَیۡکَ مُبٰرَکٌ لِّیَدَّبَّرُوۡۤا اٰیٰتِہٖ وَ لِیَتَذَکَّرَ اُولُوا الۡاَلۡبَابِ ﴿۲۹﴾

38:29 (This is) a Book that We have revealed to you abounding in good, that they may ponder over its verses, and that those who have understanding may be mindful.

وَ وَہَبۡنَا لِدَاوٗدَ سُلَیۡمٰنَ ؕ نِعۡمَ الۡعَبۡدُ ؕ اِنَّہٗۤ اَوَّابٌ ﴿ؕ۳۰﴾

38:30 And We gave to David Solomon. Most excellent the servant! Surely he ever turned (to Allah).

اِذۡ عُرِضَ عَلَیۡہِ بِالۡعَشِیِّ الصّٰفِنٰتُ الۡجِیَادُ ﴿ۙ۳۱﴾

38:31 When well-bred, swift (horses) were brought to him at evening —

فَقَالَ اِنِّیۡۤ اَحۡبَبۡتُ حُبَّ الۡخَیۡرِ عَنۡ ذِکۡرِ رَبِّیۡ ۚ حَتّٰی تَوَارَتۡ بِالۡحِجَابِ ﴿ٝ۳۲﴾

38:32 so he said: I love the good things on account of the remembrance of my Lord — until they were hidden behind the veil.

رُدُّوۡہَا عَلَیَّ ؕ فَطَفِقَ مَسۡحًۢا بِالسُّوۡقِ وَ الۡاَعۡنَاقِ ﴿۳۳﴾

38:33 (He said): Bring them back to me. So he began to stroke (their) legs and necks.

وَ لَقَدۡ فَتَنَّا سُلَیۡمٰنَ وَ اَلۡقَیۡنَا عَلٰی کُرۡسِیِّہٖ جَسَدًا ثُمَّ اَنَابَ ﴿۳۴﴾

38:34 And certainly We tried Solomon, and We put on his throne a (mere) body,2 so he turned (to Allah).

قَالَ رَبِّ اغۡفِرۡ لِیۡ وَ ہَبۡ لِیۡ مُلۡکًا لَّا یَنۡۢبَغِیۡ لِاَحَدٍ مِّنۡۢ بَعۡدِیۡ ۚ اِنَّکَ اَنۡتَ الۡوَہَّابُ ﴿۳۵﴾

38:35 He said: My Lord, forgive me and grant me a kingdom which is not fit for anyone after me;3 surely You are the Great Giver.

فَسَخَّرۡنَا لَہُ الرِّیۡحَ تَجۡرِیۡ بِاَمۡرِہٖ رُخَآءً حَیۡثُ اَصَابَ ﴿ۙ۳۶﴾

38:36 So We made the wind subservient to him, running gently by His command wherever he desired,

وَ الشَّیٰطِیۡنَ کُلَّ بَنَّآءٍ وَّ غَوَّاصٍ ﴿ۙ۳۷﴾

38:37 and the devils, every builder and diver,

وَّ اٰخَرِیۡنَ مُقَرَّنِیۡنَ فِی الۡاَصۡفَادِ ﴿۳۸﴾

38:38 and others fettered in chains.4

ہٰذَا عَطَآؤُنَا فَامۡنُنۡ اَوۡ اَمۡسِکۡ بِغَیۡرِ حِسَابٍ ﴿۳۹﴾

38:39 This is Our free gift, so give freely or withhold, without reckoning.

وَ اِنَّ لَہٗ عِنۡدَنَا لَزُلۡفٰی وَ حُسۡنَ مَاٰبٍ ﴿٪۴۰﴾

38:40 And surely he had a nearness to Us and an excellent destination.


  1. The believer is guided by the principle of the accountability of human actions and of a significance underlying everything that exists in heaven or earth. The disbeliever, on the other hand, makes mischief, as he believes that he will not be any the worse for it, and thus ignores the law of cause and effect, which pre­vails in the universe.
  2. By the mere body that was put on his throne is meant either his son Rehoboam, who lost the allegiance of all except a single tribe of Israel (1 Kings 12:17), or Jeroboam, who led the revolt against the house of David, and, on becoming king of ten tribes, set up image-worship in Dan and Beth-el, the two calves being supposed to be images of Jehovah (1 Kings 12:28), and also began the worship of molten images (1 Kings 14:9). Thus both Rehoboam and Jeroboam answer the description of a body (without real life) thrown on Solomon’s throne. See also 34:14 footnote.
  3. The previous verse speaks of the imbecile heir-apparent to Solomon’s throne. Hence we find Solomon praying here for a spiritual kingdom, for that is the only kingdom which is not in danger of being spoiled by an heir. The glory of Solomon’s temporal kingdom was not maintained after his death; nor has a king like Solomon appeared in Israel. By anyone after me is meant anyone in Israel, not the whole world.
  4. The description given here of the devils shows clearly that the desig­nation applies to men of foreign tribes subjected to Solomon’s rule, because it was the latter who were forced into labour by Solomon. The words every builder and diver and others fettered in chains make it clear that the jinn and devils who are related to have been subjected to Solomon were only human beings. See also 34:12 footnote 3.