English Translation and Commentary of the Holy Quran (2010)
by Maulana Muhammad Ali
Chapter 53: An-Najm — The Star (Revealed at Makkah: 3 sections, 62 verses)
Section 1 (Verses 53:1–53:25): Eminence to be Attained by the Prophet
بِسۡمِ اللّٰہِ الرَّحۡمٰنِ الرَّحِیۡمِ
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.
وَ النَّجۡمِ اِذَا ہَوٰی ۙ﴿۱﴾
53:1 By the star when it sets!1
مَا ضَلَّ صَاحِبُکُمۡ وَ مَا غَوٰی ۚ﴿۲﴾
53:2 Your companion is not in error, nor does he deviate.2
وَ مَا یَنۡطِقُ عَنِ الۡہَوٰی ؕ﴿۳﴾
53:3 Nor does he speak out of desire.
اِنۡ ہُوَ اِلَّا وَحۡیٌ یُّوۡحٰی ۙ﴿۴﴾
53:4 It is nothing but revelation that is revealed3 —
عَلَّمَہٗ شَدِیۡدُ الۡقُوٰی ۙ﴿۵﴾
53:5 One Mighty in power has taught him,4
ذُوۡ مِرَّۃٍ ؕ فَاسۡتَوٰی ۙ﴿۶﴾
53:6 the Lord of strength. So he attained to perfection,5
وَ ہُوَ بِالۡاُفُقِ الۡاَعۡلٰی ؕ﴿۷﴾
53:7 and he is in the highest part of the horizon.6
ثُمَّ دَنَا فَتَدَلّٰی ۙ﴿۸﴾
53:8 Then he drew near, drew nearer yet,7
فَکَانَ قَابَ قَوۡسَیۡنِ اَوۡ اَدۡنٰی ۚ﴿۹﴾
53:9 so he was the measure of two bows or closer still.8
فَاَوۡحٰۤی اِلٰی عَبۡدِہٖ مَاۤ اَوۡحٰی ﴿ؕ۱۰﴾
53:10 So He revealed to His servant what He revealed.9
مَا کَذَبَ الۡفُؤَادُ مَا رَاٰی ﴿۱۱﴾
53:11 The heart was not untrue in seeing what he saw.
اَفَتُمٰرُوۡنَہٗ عَلٰی مَا یَرٰی ﴿۱۲﴾
53:12 Do you then dispute with him as to what he saw?
وَ لَقَدۡ رَاٰہُ نَزۡلَۃً اُخۡرٰی ﴿ۙ۱۳﴾
53:13 And certainly he saw Him in another descent,
عِنۡدَ سِدۡرَۃِ الۡمُنۡتَہٰی ﴿۱۴﴾
53:14 at the farthest lote-tree.10
عِنۡدَہَا جَنَّۃُ الۡمَاۡوٰی ﴿ؕ۱۵﴾
53:15 Near it is the Garden of Abode.
اِذۡ یَغۡشَی السِّدۡرَۃَ مَا یَغۡشٰی ﴿ۙ۱۶﴾
53:16 When that which covers covered the lote-tree,
مَا زَاغَ الۡبَصَرُ وَ مَا طَغٰی ﴿۱۷﴾
53:17 the eye did not turn aside, nor did it exceed the limit.
لَقَدۡ رَاٰی مِنۡ اٰیٰتِ رَبِّہِ الۡکُبۡرٰی ﴿۱۸﴾
53:18 Certainly he saw some of the greatest signs of his Lord.
اَفَرَءَیۡتُمُ اللّٰتَ وَ الۡعُزّٰی ﴿ۙ۱۹﴾
53:19 Have you then considered Lāt and Uzzā,
وَ مَنٰوۃَ الثَّالِثَۃَ الۡاُخۡرٰی ﴿۲۰﴾
53:20 and another, the third, Manāt?
اَلَکُمُ الذَّکَرُ وَ لَہُ الۡاُنۡثٰی ﴿۲۱﴾
53:21 Are the males for you and for Him the females?11
تِلۡکَ اِذًا قِسۡمَۃٌ ضِیۡزٰی ﴿۲۲﴾
53:22 This indeed is an unjust division!
اِنۡ ہِیَ اِلَّاۤ اَسۡمَآءٌ سَمَّیۡتُمُوۡہَاۤ اَنۡتُمۡ وَ اٰبَآؤُکُمۡ مَّاۤ اَنۡزَلَ اللّٰہُ بِہَا مِنۡ سُلۡطٰنٍ ؕ اِنۡ یَّتَّبِعُوۡنَ اِلَّا الظَّنَّ وَ مَا تَہۡوَی الۡاَنۡفُسُ ۚ وَ لَقَدۡ جَآءَہُمۡ مِّنۡ رَّبِّہِمُ الۡہُدٰی ﴿ؕ۲۳﴾
53:23 They are nothing but names which you have named, you and your fathers — Allah has sent no authority for them. They follow only conjecture and what (their) souls desire. And certainly the guidance has come to them from their Lord.
اَمۡ لِلۡاِنۡسَانِ مَا تَمَنّٰی ﴿۫ۖ۲۴﴾
53:24 Or shall man have what he wishes?
فَلِلّٰہِ الۡاٰخِرَۃُ وَ الۡاُوۡلٰی ﴿٪۲۵﴾
53:25 But for Allah is the Hereafter and the former (life).
- The best-known significance of najm is star, and when used as a proper noun it signifies the Pleiades. In the setting of the star the opponents are warned of the calamities which would soon overtake them; their star of fortune was about to set. A less-known significance is that the meaning of the word najm is a portion of the Quran, and the word hawā (“sets”) means its revelation. The meaning in this case is that every portion of the Quran when it is revealed is an evidence that the Prophet is not in error — he is in the right. ↩
- By your companion is meant the Prophet, who had led among this very people a life of unblemished purity. There are two statements made here; being in error on his part is denied in the first to show that he had a true knowledge or he did not err in theory, and deviation from the right course is denied in the second to show that he acted according to that knowledge, or his practice accorded with the theory. This verse is a conclusive proof that according to the Holy Quran the Prophet was perfectly sinless. ↩
- The pronoun “it” here refers to the najm or portion of the Quran spoken of in v. 1. The Quran was not his word, for he spoke not out of his own desire; it was the word of God. ↩
- The One Who taught him was God Himself as plainly stated elsewhere: “The Beneficent — He taught the Quran” (55:1–2). ↩
- The Holy Prophet is spoken of here as having attained to perfection because the Almighty Himself was his Teacher. ↩
- The Prophet’s being in the highest part of the horizon is in reference to the resplendence of his light, which was to illuminate all corners of the world — a prophecy that he will shine out in the full brilliance of his light as the midday sun. ↩
- The verse points out that the Prophet attained the utmost nearness to God which it is possible for man to attain. ↩
- The expression “measure of two bows” indicates close union. The two bows seem to indicate the Holy Prophet’s twofold perfection, i.e., his nearness to the Divine Being and his humility in his relations with people. ↩
- The word mā (“what”) in “what He revealed”, according to all commentators, indicates that a mighty revelation was given to him. ↩
- This indicates a place beyond which human knowledge does not go. The significance conveyed by the words is that the Prophet’s knowledge of things Divine was the utmost which could be vouchsafed to man. ↩
- Verses 19–21 are made the basis of a false story that the devil interfered in the revelation at this point, so that instead of v. 21 the Holy Prophet read the words: “These are exalted females whose intercession is to be sought”. But the insertion of these few words in a chapter which is wholly directed against idolatry is quite out of place: v. 23 condemns idols; v. 26 denies their intercession; v. 28 condemns the giving of names of female deities to angels, and so on. It is further asserted that 22:52 was immediately revealed to explain that Allah nullified the devil’s interference, but there is a period of at least eight years between the revelation of this verse and that of 22:52. Moreover, if the Prophet had made any such compromise, it could not have been a sudden event, and traces of it would have been met with in other chapters revealed about the same time. But a perusal of these shows clearly that the Quran’s condemnation of idolatry was never marked by the slightest change. ↩