English Translation and Commentary of the Holy Quran (2010)

by Maulana Muhammad Ali

Chapter 39: Az-Zumar — The Companies (Revealed at Makkah: 8 sections, 75 verses)

Section 5 (Verses 39:42–39:52): Punishment cannot be Averted


اَللّٰہُ یَتَوَفَّی الۡاَنۡفُسَ حِیۡنَ مَوۡتِہَا وَ الَّتِیۡ لَمۡ تَمُتۡ فِیۡ مَنَامِہَا ۚ فَیُمۡسِکُ الَّتِیۡ قَضٰی عَلَیۡہَا الۡمَوۡتَ وَ یُرۡسِلُ الۡاُخۡرٰۤی اِلٰۤی اَجَلٍ مُّسَمًّی ؕ اِنَّ فِیۡ ذٰلِکَ لَاٰیٰتٍ لِّقَوۡمٍ یَّتَفَکَّرُوۡنَ ﴿۴۲﴾

39:42 Allah takes souls (of human beings) at the time of their death, and of those that do not die (He takes) during their sleep. Then He withholds those on whom He has passed the decree of death and sends the others back till an appointed time.1 Surely there are signs in this for a people who reflect.

اَمِ اتَّخَذُوۡا مِنۡ دُوۡنِ اللّٰہِ شُفَعَآءَ ؕ قُلۡ اَوَ لَوۡ کَانُوۡا لَا یَمۡلِکُوۡنَ شَیۡئًا وَّ لَا یَعۡقِلُوۡنَ ﴿۴۳﴾

39:43 Or, do they take intercessors besides Allah? Say: What! Even though they control nothing, nor do they understand.

قُلۡ لِّلّٰہِ الشَّفَاعَۃُ جَمِیۡعًا ؕ لَہٗ مُلۡکُ السَّمٰوٰتِ وَ الۡاَرۡضِ ؕ ثُمَّ اِلَیۡہِ تُرۡجَعُوۡنَ ﴿۴۴﴾

39:44 Say: Allah’s is the intercession altogether. His is the kingdom of the heavens and the earth. Then to Him you will be returned.

وَ اِذَا ذُکِرَ اللّٰہُ وَحۡدَہُ اشۡمَاَزَّتۡ قُلُوۡبُ الَّذِیۡنَ لَا یُؤۡمِنُوۡنَ بِالۡاٰخِرَۃِ ۚ وَ اِذَا ذُکِرَ الَّذِیۡنَ مِنۡ دُوۡنِہٖۤ اِذَا ہُمۡ یَسۡتَبۡشِرُوۡنَ ﴿۴۵﴾

39:45 And when Allah alone is mentioned, the hearts of those who do not believe in the Hereafter shrink, and when those besides Him are mentioned, lo! they are joyful.2

قُلِ اللّٰہُمَّ فَاطِرَ السَّمٰوٰتِ وَ الۡاَرۡضِ عٰلِمَ الۡغَیۡبِ وَ الشَّہَادَۃِ اَنۡتَ تَحۡکُمُ بَیۡنَ عِبَادِکَ فِیۡ مَا کَانُوۡا فِیۡہِ یَخۡتَلِفُوۡنَ ﴿۴۶﴾

39:46 Say: O Allah, Originator of the heavens and the earth, Knower of the unseen and the seen, You will judge between Your servants in that in which they differ.

وَ لَوۡ اَنَّ لِلَّذِیۡنَ ظَلَمُوۡا مَا فِی الۡاَرۡضِ جَمِیۡعًا وَّ مِثۡلَہٗ مَعَہٗ لَافۡتَدَوۡا بِہٖ مِنۡ سُوۡٓءِ الۡعَذَابِ یَوۡمَ الۡقِیٰمَۃِ ؕ وَ بَدَا لَہُمۡ مِّنَ اللّٰہِ مَا لَمۡ یَکُوۡنُوۡا یَحۡتَسِبُوۡنَ ﴿۴۷﴾

39:47 And if those who do wrong had all that is in the earth and as much as it again, they would certainly offer it as ransom from the evil of the punishment on the day of Resurrection. And what they never thought of shall become plain to them from Allah.3

وَ بَدَا لَہُمۡ سَیِّاٰتُ مَا کَسَبُوۡا وَ حَاقَ بِہِمۡ مَّا کَانُوۡا بِہٖ یَسۡتَہۡزِءُوۡنَ ﴿۴۸﴾

39:48 And the evil (consequences) of what they earned will become plain to them,4 and what they mocked at will beset them.

فَاِذَا مَسَّ الۡاِنۡسَانَ ضُرٌّ دَعَانَا ۫ ثُمَّ اِذَا خَوَّلۡنٰہُ نِعۡمَۃً مِّنَّا ۙ قَالَ اِنَّمَاۤ اُوۡتِیۡتُہٗ عَلٰی عِلۡمٍ ؕ بَلۡ ہِیَ فِتۡنَۃٌ وَّ لٰکِنَّ اَکۡثَرَہُمۡ لَا یَعۡلَمُوۡنَ ﴿۴۹﴾

39:49 So when harm afflicts man he calls upon Us; then, when We grant him a favour from Us, he says: I have been given it only by means of (my) knowledge. No, it is a trial, but most of them do not know.

قَدۡ قَالَہَا الَّذِیۡنَ مِنۡ قَبۡلِہِمۡ فَمَاۤ اَغۡنٰی عَنۡہُمۡ مَّا کَانُوۡا یَکۡسِبُوۡنَ ﴿۵۰﴾

39:50 Those before them did say it indeed, but what they earned did not avail them.

فَاَصَابَہُمۡ سَیِّاٰتُ مَا کَسَبُوۡا ؕ وَ الَّذِیۡنَ ظَلَمُوۡا مِنۡ ہٰۤؤُلَآءِ سَیُصِیۡبُہُمۡ سَیِّاٰتُ مَا کَسَبُوۡا ۙ وَ مَا ہُمۡ بِمُعۡجِزِیۡنَ ﴿۵۱﴾

39:51 So the evil which they had earned befell them. And those who do wrong from among these, the evil which they earn shall befall them (also), and they shall not escape.5

اَوَ لَمۡ یَعۡلَمُوۡۤا اَنَّ اللّٰہَ یَبۡسُطُ الرِّزۡقَ لِمَنۡ یَّشَآءُ وَ یَقۡدِرُ ؕ اِنَّ فِیۡ ذٰلِکَ لَاٰیٰتٍ لِّقَوۡمٍ یُّؤۡمِنُوۡنَ ﴿٪۵۲﴾

39:52 Do they not know that Allah amplifies provision for whom He pleases, and restricts (it also); surely there are signs in this for a people who believe.


  1. It is clear that it is not the animal soul that is taken away in sleep; it is the soul that stands for human consciousness. In death both are taken away. The statement further makes it clear that the word tawaffā is applied to the taking of the soul and not to the removal of the body from one place to another. See also 21:95 and 23:100.
  2. Elsewhere the Quran says: “And most of them do not believe in Allah without setting up partners (with Him)” (12:106).
  3. What they never thought of signifies the overthrow of their power in this life and the manifestation of the evil results of their deeds in the Here­after.
  4. The fact that the heaven and hell of the next life are only manifes­tations of the spiritual realities of this life is stated here in clear language. The evil consequences of what they do are hidden from the eye in this life, but they shall become plain in the next life.
  5. Wonderful indeed is the certainty of the tone in which these pro­phecies are worded, when all around there was not a single ray of hope for Islam, and its enemies were in the ascendant.