English Translation and Commentary of the Holy Quran (2010)

by Maulana Muhammad Ali

Chapter 61: As-Saff — The Ranks (Revealed at Madinah: 2 sections, 14 verses)

Section 1 (Verses 61:1–61:9): Triumph of Islam


بِسۡمِ اللّٰہِ الرَّحۡمٰنِ الرَّحِیۡمِ

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

سَبَّحَ لِلّٰہِ مَا فِی السَّمٰوٰتِ وَ مَا فِی الۡاَرۡضِ ۚ وَ ہُوَ الۡعَزِیۡزُ الۡحَکِیۡمُ ﴿۱﴾

61:1 Whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth glorifies Allah; and He is the Mighty, the Wise.

یٰۤاَیُّہَا الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا لِمَ تَقُوۡلُوۡنَ مَا لَا تَفۡعَلُوۡنَ ﴿۲﴾

61:2 O you who believe, why do you say things which you do not do?

کَبُرَ مَقۡتًا عِنۡدَ اللّٰہِ اَنۡ تَقُوۡلُوۡا مَا لَا تَفۡعَلُوۡنَ ﴿۳﴾

61:3 It is most hateful in the sight of Allah that you say things which you do not do.1

اِنَّ اللّٰہَ یُحِبُّ الَّذِیۡنَ یُقَاتِلُوۡنَ فِیۡ سَبِیۡلِہٖ صَفًّا کَاَنَّہُمۡ بُنۡیَانٌ مَّرۡصُوۡصٌ ﴿۴﴾

61:4 Surely Allah loves those who fight in His way in ranks, as if they were a solid wall.2

وَ اِذۡ قَالَ مُوۡسٰی لِقَوۡمِہٖ یٰقَوۡمِ لِمَ تُؤۡذُوۡنَنِیۡ وَ قَدۡ تَّعۡلَمُوۡنَ اَنِّیۡ رَسُوۡلُ اللّٰہِ اِلَیۡکُمۡ ؕ فَلَمَّا زَاغُوۡۤا اَزَاغَ اللّٰہُ قُلُوۡبَہُمۡ ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ لَا یَہۡدِی الۡقَوۡمَ الۡفٰسِقِیۡنَ ﴿۵﴾

61:5 And when Moses said to his people: My people, why do you malign me, when you know that I am Allah’s messenger to you?3 But when they deviated, Allah made their hearts deviate. And Allah does not guide the transgressing people.

وَ اِذۡ قَالَ عِیۡسَی ابۡنُ مَرۡیَمَ یٰبَنِیۡۤ اِسۡرَآءِیۡلَ اِنِّیۡ رَسُوۡلُ اللّٰہِ اِلَیۡکُمۡ مُّصَدِّقًا لِّمَا بَیۡنَ یَدَیَّ مِنَ التَّوۡرٰىۃِ وَ مُبَشِّرًۢا بِرَسُوۡلٍ یَّاۡتِیۡ مِنۡۢ بَعۡدِی اسۡمُہٗۤ اَحۡمَدُ ؕ فَلَمَّا جَآءَہُمۡ بِالۡبَیِّنٰتِ قَالُوۡا ہٰذَا سِحۡرٌ مُّبِیۡنٌ ﴿۶﴾

61:6 And when Jesus, son of Mary, said: Children of Israel, surely I am the messenger of Allah to you, verifying what is (already) before me of the Torah and giving the good news of a Messenger who will come after me, his name being Ahmad.4 But when he came to them with clear arguments, they said: This is clear enchantment.5

وَ مَنۡ اَظۡلَمُ مِمَّنِ افۡتَرٰی عَلَی اللّٰہِ الۡکَذِبَ وَ ہُوَ یُدۡعٰۤی اِلَی الۡاِسۡلَامِ ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ لَا یَہۡدِی الۡقَوۡمَ الظّٰلِمِیۡنَ ﴿۷﴾

61:7 And who is more unjust than he who forges a lie against Allah and he is invited to Islam. And Allah does not guide the unjust people.6

یُرِیۡدُوۡنَ لِیُطۡفِـُٔوۡا نُوۡرَ اللّٰہِ بِاَفۡوَاہِہِمۡ وَ اللّٰہُ مُتِمُّ نُوۡرِہٖ وَ لَوۡ کَرِہَ الۡکٰفِرُوۡنَ ﴿۸﴾

61:8 They desire to put out the light of Allah with their mouths, but Allah will perfect His light, though the disbelievers may be averse.

ہُوَ الَّذِیۡۤ اَرۡسَلَ رَسُوۡلَہٗ بِالۡہُدٰی وَ دِیۡنِ الۡحَقِّ لِیُظۡہِرَہٗ عَلَی الدِّیۡنِ کُلِّہٖ وَ لَوۡ کَرِہَ الۡمُشۡرِکُوۡنَ ٪﴿۹﴾

61:9 He it is Who has sent His Messenger with the guidance and the Religion of Truth that He may make it prevail over all religions, though those who set up partners (with Allah) are averse.7


  1. It is an exhortation to those who professed belief in the Truth to make their actions correspond with their assertions. The triumph of Truth, which is so definitely foretold in this chapter, could not be brought about by boastful talk but by great deeds of sacrifice, and hence this prelude. Mere words, if not carried into action, are hateful to God. It is deeds that open the way to success.
  2. They had to fight in self-defence; see 2:190 etc.
  3. See 33:69 footnote.
  4. We are here told that Jesus had given the good news of the advent of a Prophet whose name was Ahmad coming after him. That our Prophet was known by two names Muhammad and Ahmad is a well-known fact of history. As regards the sayings of Jesus, we have to depend on a Greek translation, in which we find the word Paraclete, which is translated in English as Comforter. How­ever, the use of the word Paraclete in the Greek version, or that of Comforter in the English version, does not show what the actual word in the language spoken by Jesus was. But all those qualifications which are given in John 14:16 and 16:7 are met with in the person of the Holy Prophet Muhammad. He is stated to be one who shall abide forever, and so is the Prophet’s law; for after him comes no pro­phet to promulgate a new law. He is spoken of as teaching all things, and it was with a perfect law that the Holy Prophet came. And clearest of all are the words of John 16:12–14: “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when he, the Spirit of truth, has come, he will guide you into all truth; for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak; and he will tell you things to come. He will glorify me, …”. Now, this prophecy about the Spirit of Truth, which is the same as the Comforter, clearly stated in John 14:17, establishes the following points: (1) Jesus could not guide into all truth because his teaching was directed only to the reform of the Israelites, and he denounced only their crying evils; but the teaching of the Com­for­t­er would be a perfect one, guiding people into all truth, and the Quran is the only book which claims to be a perfect law. (2) That he would not speak of him­self, but what he shall hear he shall speak; the words conveying exactly the same idea as those of Deut. 18:18: “And I will put My words in his mouth”, a qualifi­ca­tion which is met with only in the Holy Prophet Muhammad. (3) That he will glorify Jesus, and the Holy Prophet did glorify Jesus by denouncing as utterly false all those calumnies which were heaped upon Jesus and his mother. Another point worth mentioning is that the different prophecies about the Holy Prophet really refer to the different phases of his life. The two aspects of the life of the Holy Prophet are jalāl and jamāl, i.e., an aspect of glory and an aspect of beauty, the first finding its manifestation in the name Muhammad and the second in Ahmad. Each of the two great prophets, Moses and Jesus, prophesied about the Holy Prophet in words expressing that aspect of his life which was in consonance with his own nature — glory finding greater expression in Moses, who was prophet, lawgiver and king at the same time, and beauty in Jesus, on account of the beauty of his moral teachings, while both these elements were combined in the person of the Holy Prophet Muhammad.
  5. The Holy Prophet Muhammad is referred to here, as the next verse clearly shows.
  6. The words, “he who forges a lie against Allah and he is invited to Islam”, refer to the rejectors who called the truth an enchantment. It was these people that were invited to Islam, while the Prophet was an inviter, as he is else­where called, for instance, 3:193, 20:108. Their poly­theistic beliefs are repeatedly called a forgery in the Quran. Or, the Christians are meant who were invited to the Truth, but they forged a lie that Jesus was the son of God and that he took away their sins.
  7. Verses 8 and 9 contain two different prophecies. The first is that all attempts to annihilate Islam will fail, and they did fail. In the second it is affirmed that Islam will be made the predominant religion, the truth of which was witnessed by Arabia in the lifetime of the Holy Prophet. But both prophecies have a wider significance. Attempts are still being made to annihilate Islam, and the Divine promise is that all these attempts shall be brought to naught; while the predomi­nance of Islam over all the religions of the world would in time be established, as clearly as it was in Arabia.