English Translation and Commentary of the Holy Quran (2010)

by Maulana Muhammad Ali

Chapter 74: Al-Muddaththir — The One Wrapping Himself Up (Revealed at Makkah: 2 sections, 56 verses)

Section 2 (Verses 74:32–74:56): The Warning


کَلَّا وَ الۡقَمَرِ ﴿ۙ۳۲﴾

74:32 Indeed, by the moon!

وَ الَّیۡلِ اِذۡ اَدۡبَرَ ﴿ۙ۳۳﴾

74:33 And the night when it departs!

وَ الصُّبۡحِ اِذَاۤ اَسۡفَرَ ﴿ۙ۳۴﴾

74:34 And the dawn when it shines!

اِنَّہَا لَاِحۡدَی الۡکُبَرِ ﴿ۙ۳۵﴾

74:35 Surely it is one of the gravest (misfortunes),

نَذِیۡرًا لِّلۡبَشَرِ ﴿ۙ۳۶﴾

74:36 a warning to mortals,

لِمَنۡ شَآءَ مِنۡکُمۡ اَنۡ یَّتَقَدَّمَ اَوۡ یَتَاَخَّرَ ﴿ؕ۳۷﴾

74:37 to him among you who will go forward or will remain behind.1

کُلُّ نَفۡسٍۭ بِمَا کَسَبَتۡ رَہِیۡنَۃٌ ﴿ۙ۳۸﴾

74:38 Every soul is held in pledge for what it earns,

اِلَّاۤ اَصۡحٰبَ الۡیَمِیۡنِ ﴿ؕۛ۳۹﴾

74:39 except the people of the right hand.

فِیۡ جَنّٰتٍ ۟ؕۛ یَتَسَآءَلُوۡنَ ﴿ۙ۴۰﴾

74:40 In Gardens, they ask one another,

عَنِ الۡمُجۡرِمِیۡنَ ﴿ۙ۴۱﴾

74:41 about the guilty:

مَا سَلَکَکُمۡ فِیۡ سَقَرَ ﴿۴۲﴾

74:42 What has brought you into hell?

قَالُوۡا لَمۡ نَکُ مِنَ الۡمُصَلِّیۡنَ ﴿ۙ۴۳﴾

74:43 They will say: We were not from among those who prayed,

وَ لَمۡ نَکُ نُطۡعِمُ الۡمِسۡکِیۡنَ ﴿ۙ۴۴﴾

74:44 nor did we feed the poor,2

وَ کُنَّا نَخُوۡضُ مَعَ الۡخَآئِضِیۡنَ ﴿ۙ۴۵﴾

74:45 and we indulged in idle talk with idle talkers,

وَ کُنَّا نُکَذِّبُ بِیَوۡمِ الدِّیۡنِ ﴿ۙ۴۶﴾

74:46 and we called the day of Judgment a lie,

حَتّٰۤی اَتٰىنَا الۡیَقِیۡنُ ﴿ؕ۴۷﴾

74:47 till the inevitable caught up with us.

فَمَا تَنۡفَعُہُمۡ شَفَاعَۃُ الشّٰفِعِیۡنَ ﴿ؕ۴۸﴾

74:48 So the intercession of intercessors will not avail them.

فَمَا لَہُمۡ عَنِ التَّذۡکِرَۃِ مُعۡرِضِیۡنَ ﴿ۙ۴۹﴾

74:49 What is then the matter with them, that they turn away from the Reminder,

کَاَنَّہُمۡ حُمُرٌ مُّسۡتَنۡفِرَۃٌ ﴿ۙ۵۰﴾

74:50 as if they were frightened donkeys,

فَرَّتۡ مِنۡ قَسۡوَرَۃٍ ﴿ؕ۵۱﴾

74:51 fleeing from a lion?

بَلۡ یُرِیۡدُ کُلُّ امۡرِیًٔ مِّنۡہُمۡ اَنۡ یُّؤۡتٰی صُحُفًا مُّنَشَّرَۃً ﴿ۙ۵۲﴾

74:52 No, everyone of them desires that he should be given pages spread out3

کَلَّا ؕ بَلۡ لَّا یَخَافُوۡنَ الۡاٰخِرَۃَ ﴿ؕ۵۳﴾

74:53 By no means! But they do not fear the Hereafter.

کَلَّاۤ اِنَّہٗ تَذۡکِرَۃٌ ﴿ۚ۵۴﴾

74:54 Indeed, it is surely a Reminder.

فَمَنۡ شَآءَ ذَکَرَہٗ ﴿ؕ۵۵﴾

74:55 So whoever wishes may be mindful of it.

وَ مَا یَذۡکُرُوۡنَ اِلَّاۤ اَنۡ یَّشَآءَ اللّٰہُ ؕ ہُوَ اَہۡلُ التَّقۡوٰی وَ اَہۡلُ الۡمَغۡفِرَۃِ ﴿٪۵۶﴾

74:56 And they will not be mindful unless Allah please.4 He is Worthy that duty should be kept to Him and Worthy to forgive.5


  1. The light of Truth would shine forth, we are told in these verses (32–40), but not without a grave misfortune to those who refuse to go forward, and this is a warning. Those who go forward, on the other hand, will not be affected by that, the gravest of misfortunes, for the people of the right hand will be in Gar­dens, every soul being pledged for what it earns. The prophetical strain adopted here regarding the doom of the opponents is continued to the end of the chapter.
  2. Note the reply to v. 42 — What has brought you into hell? It is neglect of two chief duties: we did not pray and we did not feed the poor. These are thus the two pillars of faith, service of God and service of humanity.
  3. Everyone of them would have a revelation granted to him direct from heaven. This they said repeatedly: Why does not Allah speak to us? (2:118).
  4. In the Quran God does not compel people to adopt one way or another. He points out the right course from the wrong and leaves it to the choice of the individual: So whoever wishes may be mindful of it (v. 55); We have truly shown him the way; he may be thankful or unthankful (76:3). Similar verses abound in the Quran. The statement, and they will not be mindful unless Allah please, means that Allah is pleased to guide those in the right way and to make those mindful who open their hearts to receive it. Note how clearly the verses preceding it depict the condition of those who do not even listen to the Reminder: What is then the matter with them, that they turn away from the Reminder, as if they were frightened donkeys, fleeing from a lion? (verses 49–51). See also 76:30.
  5. God is Worthy that duty of Him should be observed and therefore whoever fails to observe that duty must suffer. But God is not a hard taskmaster; if man fails to observe his duty, God in His unbounded love comes to his help and covers his faults with His vast forgiveness. The epithet here used — Worthy to forgive — indicates that forgiveness is in His nature; even if man does not ask for forgiveness, He forgives.