English Translation and Commentary of the Holy Quran (2010)

by Maulana Muhammad Ali

Chapter 71: Nuh — Noah (Revealed at Makkah: 2 sections, 28 verses)

Section 1 (Verses 71:1–71:20): Noah Preaches


بِسۡمِ اللّٰہِ الرَّحۡمٰنِ الرَّحِیۡمِ

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

اِنَّاۤ اَرۡسَلۡنَا نُوۡحًا اِلٰی قَوۡمِہٖۤ اَنۡ اَنۡذِرۡ قَوۡمَکَ مِنۡ قَبۡلِ اَنۡ یَّاۡتِیَہُمۡ عَذَابٌ اَلِیۡمٌ ﴿۱﴾

71:1 Surely We sent Noah to his people, saying: Warn your people before a painful punishment comes to them.

قَالَ یٰقَوۡمِ اِنِّیۡ لَکُمۡ نَذِیۡرٌ مُّبِیۡنٌ ۙ﴿۲﴾

71:2 He said: My people, surely I am a plain warner to you,

اَنِ اعۡبُدُوا اللّٰہَ وَ اتَّقُوۡہُ وَ اَطِیۡعُوۡنِ ۙ﴿۳﴾

71:3 that you should serve Allah and keep your duty to Him and obey me —

یَغۡفِرۡ لَکُمۡ مِّنۡ ذُنُوۡبِکُمۡ وَ یُؤَخِّرۡکُمۡ اِلٰۤی اَجَلٍ مُّسَمًّی ؕ اِنَّ اَجَلَ اللّٰہِ اِذَا جَآءَ لَا یُؤَخَّرُ ۘ لَوۡ کُنۡتُمۡ تَعۡلَمُوۡنَ ﴿۴﴾

71:4 He will forgive you some of your sins and grant you respite to an appointed term. Surely the term of Allah, when it comes, is not postponed. If only you knew!

قَالَ رَبِّ اِنِّیۡ دَعَوۡتُ قَوۡمِیۡ لَیۡلًا وَّ نَہَارًا ۙ﴿۵﴾

71:5 He said: My Lord, I have called my people night and day,

فَلَمۡ یَزِدۡہُمۡ دُعَآءِیۡۤ اِلَّا فِرَارًا ﴿۶﴾

71:6 but my call has only made them flee the more.1

وَ اِنِّیۡ کُلَّمَا دَعَوۡتُہُمۡ لِتَغۡفِرَ لَہُمۡ جَعَلُوۡۤا اَصَابِعَہُمۡ فِیۡۤ اٰذَانِہِمۡ وَ اسۡتَغۡشَوۡا ثِیَابَہُمۡ وَ اَصَرُّوۡا وَ اسۡتَکۡبَرُوا اسۡتِکۡبَارًا ۚ﴿۷﴾

71:7 And whenever I call to them that You may forgive them, they thrust their fingers in their ears and cover themselves with their garments,2 and persist (in denial) and are big with pride.

ثُمَّ اِنِّیۡ دَعَوۡتُہُمۡ جِہَارًا ۙ﴿۸﴾

71:8 Then surely I have called to them aloud,

ثُمَّ اِنِّیۡۤ اَعۡلَنۡتُ لَہُمۡ وَ اَسۡرَرۡتُ لَہُمۡ اِسۡرَارًا ۙ﴿۹﴾

71:9 then spoken to them in public and spoken to them in private,

فَقُلۡتُ اسۡتَغۡفِرُوۡا رَبَّکُمۡ ؕ اِنَّہٗ کَانَ غَفَّارًا ﴿ۙ۱۰﴾

71:10 so I have said: Ask forgiveness of your Lord; surely He is ever Forgiving,

یُّرۡسِلِ السَّمَآءَ عَلَیۡکُمۡ مِّدۡرَارًا ﴿ۙ۱۱﴾

71:11 He will send down upon you rain, pouring in abundance,

وَّ یُمۡدِدۡکُمۡ بِاَمۡوَالٍ وَّ بَنِیۡنَ وَ یَجۡعَلۡ لَّکُمۡ جَنّٰتٍ وَّ یَجۡعَلۡ لَّکُمۡ اَنۡہٰرًا ﴿ؕ۱۲﴾

71:12 and help you with wealth and sons, and make for you gardens, and make for you rivers.3

مَا لَکُمۡ لَا تَرۡجُوۡنَ لِلّٰہِ وَقَارًا ﴿ۚ۱۳﴾

71:13 What is the matter with you that you do not hope for greatness from Allah?4

وَ قَدۡ خَلَقَکُمۡ اَطۡوَارًا ﴿۱۴﴾

71:14 And indeed He has created you by various stages.5

اَلَمۡ تَرَوۡا کَیۡفَ خَلَقَ اللّٰہُ سَبۡعَ سَمٰوٰتٍ طِبَاقًا ﴿ۙ۱۵﴾

71:15 Do you not see how Allah has created the seven heavens alike,

وَّ جَعَلَ الۡقَمَرَ فِیۡہِنَّ نُوۡرًا وَّ جَعَلَ الشَّمۡسَ سِرَاجًا ﴿۱۶﴾

71:16 and made the moon in them (as) a light, and made the sun a lamp?

وَ اللّٰہُ اَنۡۢبَتَکُمۡ مِّنَ الۡاَرۡضِ نَبَاتًا ﴿ۙ۱۷﴾

71:17 And Allah has caused you to grow out of the earth as a growth,6

ثُمَّ یُعِیۡدُکُمۡ فِیۡہَا وَ یُخۡرِجُکُمۡ اِخۡرَاجًا ﴿۱۸﴾

71:18 then He returns you to it, then will He bring you forth a (new) bringing forth.7

وَ اللّٰہُ جَعَلَ لَکُمُ الۡاَرۡضَ بِسَاطًا ﴿ۙ۱۹﴾

71:19 And Allah has made the earth a wide expanse for you,

لِّتَسۡلُکُوۡا مِنۡہَا سُبُلًا فِجَاجًا ﴿٪۲۰﴾

71:20 that you may go along in it in spacious paths.8


  1. The meaning is: the more I call them, the more they flee. The call is not the immediate and effective cause of their flight, which is really due to the stub­bornness of their hearts. This is made clear in what follows. Exactly in the same sense a chapter of the Quran is spoken of as “adding uncleanness” to the unclean­ness of those in whose hearts is a disease (9:125); and on another occasion, exactly in the same sense, Allah is spoken of as increasing the disease of those in whose hearts is a disease (2:10).
  2. Covering themselves with garments is explained as covering their ears with their garments, denoting their holding back from giving ear, or as running away. Some take garments (thiyāb) as meaning the heart, as in 74:4, the meaning being that they cover their hearts, refusing to ponder over what is said.
  3. They are promised various blessings, if they turn to Allah, which really means that their doom shall be averted, for nations are no doubt destroyed when they indulge in evil inordinately, and they prosper so long as their good qualities preponderate.
  4. This is the Prophet’s address to an evil generation. They are told that they can rise to greatness by giving up their evil ways.
  5. The words undoubtedly speak of the evolution of man. It is clear from v. 17, where the first stage is spoken of as a growth from the earth, that the words here imply that man has been brought to the present state after passing through various conditions.
  6. Here man is described as having grown out of the earth as a growth, i.e., by a process of development. Thus verses 14 and 17 refer to that great process of development through which man has attained to the present stage of physical perfection.
  7. The new bringing forth is in reference to the Resurrection. It is called a new growth to show that it is not the same as man’s life on this earth but a new life, the life Spiritual. This growth begins in this life, but a complete manifestation of it takes place in the Resurrection.
  8. The spacious paths made for man’s earthly existence are an indication of the spiritual paths wherein a God-fearing man attains to spiritual perfection. But the mention of spacious paths is also to show that the making of spacious roads is necessary for human civilization.