English Translation and Commentary of the Holy Quran (2010)

by Maulana Muhammad Ali

Chapter 57: Al-Hadid — Iron (Revealed at Madinah: 4 sections, 29 verses)

Section 3 (Verses 57:20–57:25): Truth shall be Established


اِعۡلَمُوۡۤا اَنَّمَا الۡحَیٰوۃُ الدُّنۡیَا لَعِبٌ وَّ لَہۡوٌ وَّ زِیۡنَۃٌ وَّ تَفَاخُرٌۢ بَیۡنَکُمۡ وَ تَکَاثُرٌ فِی الۡاَمۡوَالِ وَ الۡاَوۡلَادِ ؕ کَمَثَلِ غَیۡثٍ اَعۡجَبَ الۡکُفَّارَ نَبَاتُہٗ ثُمَّ یَہِیۡجُ فَتَرٰىہُ مُصۡفَرًّا ثُمَّ یَکُوۡنُ حُطَامًا ؕ وَ فِی الۡاٰخِرَۃِ عَذَابٌ شَدِیۡدٌ ۙ وَّ مَغۡفِرَۃٌ مِّنَ اللّٰہِ وَ رِضۡوَانٌ ؕ وَ مَا الۡحَیٰوۃُ الدُّنۡیَاۤ اِلَّا مَتَاعُ الۡغُرُوۡرِ ﴿۲۰﴾

57:20 Know that this world’s life is only an idle sport and play and an attraction and boasting among yourselves and a race in the multiplication of wealth and children.1 It is as rain, whose causing the vegetation to grow pleases the tillers, then it withers away so that you see it turning yellow, then it becomes chaff.2 And in the Hereafter is a severe punishment, and (also) forgiveness from Allah and (His) pleasure.3 And this world’s life is nothing but a source of vanity.

سَابِقُوۡۤا اِلٰی مَغۡفِرَۃٍ مِّنۡ رَّبِّکُمۡ وَ جَنَّۃٍ عَرۡضُہَا کَعَرۡضِ السَّمَآءِ وَ الۡاَرۡضِ ۙ اُعِدَّتۡ لِلَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا بِاللّٰہِ وَ رُسُلِہٖ ؕ ذٰلِکَ فَضۡلُ اللّٰہِ یُؤۡتِیۡہِ مَنۡ یَّشَآءُ ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ ذُو الۡفَضۡلِ الۡعَظِیۡمِ ﴿۲۱﴾

57:21 Vie with one another for forgiveness from your Lord and a Garden as vast as the vastness of the heaven and the earth4 — it is prepared for those who believe in Allah and His messengers. That is the grace of Allah; He gives it to whom He pleases. And Allah is the Lord of mighty grace.

مَاۤ اَصَابَ مِنۡ مُّصِیۡبَۃٍ فِی الۡاَرۡضِ وَ لَا فِیۡۤ اَنۡفُسِکُمۡ اِلَّا فِیۡ کِتٰبٍ مِّنۡ قَبۡلِ اَنۡ نَّبۡرَاَہَا ؕ اِنَّ ذٰلِکَ عَلَی اللّٰہِ یَسِیۡرٌ ﴿ۚۖ۲۲﴾

57:22 No disaster befalls in the earth, or in yourselves, but it is in a book before We bring it into existence5 — surely that is easy to Allah —

لِّکَیۡلَا تَاۡسَوۡا عَلٰی مَا فَاتَکُمۡ وَ لَا تَفۡرَحُوۡا بِمَاۤ اٰتٰىکُمۡ ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ لَا یُحِبُّ کُلَّ مُخۡتَالٍ فَخُوۡرِۣ ﴿ۙ۲۳﴾

57:23 so that you may not grieve for what has escaped you, nor exult in what He has given you. And Allah does not love any arrogant boaster,

الَّذِیۡنَ یَبۡخَلُوۡنَ وَ یَاۡمُرُوۡنَ النَّاسَ بِالۡبُخۡلِ ؕ وَ مَنۡ یَّتَوَلَّ فَاِنَّ اللّٰہَ ہُوَ الۡغَنِیُّ الۡحَمِیۡدُ ﴿۲۴﴾

57:24 such as are miserly and enjoin miserliness on people. And whoever turns back, then surely Allah is the Self-Sufficient, the Praised.

لَقَدۡ اَرۡسَلۡنَا رُسُلَنَا بِالۡبَیِّنٰتِ وَ اَنۡزَلۡنَا مَعَہُمُ الۡکِتٰبَ وَ الۡمِیۡزَانَ لِیَقُوۡمَ النَّاسُ بِالۡقِسۡطِ ۚ وَ اَنۡزَلۡنَا الۡحَدِیۡدَ فِیۡہِ بَاۡسٌ شَدِیۡدٌ وَّ مَنَافِعُ لِلنَّاسِ وَ لِیَعۡلَمَ اللّٰہُ مَنۡ یَّنۡصُرُہٗ وَ رُسُلَہٗ بِالۡغَیۡبِ ؕ اِنَّ اللّٰہَ قَوِیٌّ عَزِیۡزٌ ﴿٪۲۵﴾

57:25 Certainly We sent Our messengers with clear arguments, and sent down with them the Book and the measure, that people may conduct themselves with equity.6 And We sent down iron, in which is great violence and advantages for people,7 and that Allah may know who helps Him and His messengers, unseen. Surely Allah is Strong, Mighty.


  1. This world’s life here means the material side of life. It is entirely a pursuit of unreality. Individuals as well as nations are, as it were, racing for the transitory goods of this life, for means of adorning the outside, for riches and gaiety, utterly neglecting the higher values of life which are pointed out in v. 21.
  2. The material side of life is here likened to the growth of vegetation which flourishes for a time and then decays. Even thus we see individuals and nations rising to prosperity and then falling back on evil days.
  3. Note how Divine forgiveness is constantly mentioned when punish­ment is spoken of, to show that the attribute of mercy is the predominant attribute of the Divine nature.
  4. The Garden or the Paradise is here said to be as extensive as the heavens and the earth, and a similar statement occurs in 3:133. It shows clearly that heaven and hell are not the names of two places, but are really two condi­tions, because if paradise were the name of a particular place, hell could not exist, as paradise would according to these verses extend over the whole of space.
  5. The book here means Divine knowledge. Disaster is here spoken of as befalling in the earth or in yourselves, i.e., it either affects the people of the world generally or the Muslims in particular. In view of v. 16, relating to the lapse of a long time and the hardening of the hearts of the Muslims, it is easy to see that the disasters which are predicted as befalling the Muslims in the latter days are due to their own falling off from the high standard of life which they were required to follow, and hence the remedy suggested is again the making of sacrifices as poin­ted out in v. 18.
  6. See 42:17 footnote and 55:7 footnote. Here the measure is spoken of as being sent down with messengers of God along with the Book. Now the Book contains the Divine commandments or the moral code of life, and the measure is therefore clearly the example of the Prophet, who by carrying out the Divine commandments shows how the directions contained in the Book are to be followed.
  7. Iron has proved of great utility to man and has played an all-important part in civilization. It should be noted that the sending down of a thing also means causing it to grow or bringing the means of it into existence. Hence we find this expression used in the Quran with reference to the clothes that man wears (7:26), and to cattle (39:6), etc. The mention of iron undoubtedly refers to the resistance against the enemy, which as a last resort had to be effected with the sword — that Allah may know who helps Him and His messengers, unseen. This help was rendered by the faithful by taking up the sword in defence of the faith.