UNDERSTANDING THE QUR’AN SERIES
The Qur’an is a compilation of the verbal revelations given to the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ over a period of twenty-three years, starting when he was 40 years old. The Qur’an is the primary source of guidance for Muslims and it lays down the law and commandments, codes for social and moral behavior and contains a comprehensive religious philosophy.
The main division of the Qur’an is into 114 Surahs (Chapters) and 6,348 Ayaat (Verses) divided into 30 roughly equal Juz (Parts). The language of the Qur’an is Arabic, and although it has been translated into virtually all languages, only the Arabic scripted “book” is considered as the Qur’an. The text of the Arabic Qur’an has remained unchanged since it was first compiled over 1400 years ago.
The Understanding the Qur’an series seeks to provide a summary of each Surah (Chapter). It is not a translation of the Qur’an, rather it is an overview of the main themes of the Chapter and groups of Verses within each Chapter. The intent is to spark interest among readers and to encourage them to engage with the Qur’an and to take guidance therefrom.
Qur’an text: https://www.islamreligion.com/category/77/summary-of-Qur’anic-chapters/
Images: Google search: Qur’an manuscript, Qur’an cover, Old Qur’an images
CHAPTER 2, AL-BAQARAH (THE COW)
Surah Al-Baqarah (The Cow) is the longest chapter in the Qur’an and the title comes from the story of the cow discussed in verses 67 to 73. Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said that everything has its peak and the peak of Qur’an is The Cow. It flows easily from one subject to another and its primary audience includes the believers, the Jews of Medina and the hypocrites. The Median chapters focus on building a strong Muslim society and this chapter deals with many social, cultural, economic, political and legal issues.
Verses 1-7 A Book of guidance
Verses 8-20 The hypocrites
Verses 21-29 Worship God Alone
Verses 30-39 The story of Adam
Verses 40-52 Remember God’s favors
Verses 53-62 Covenants with the Children of Israel
Verses 63-74 Broken covenants including the sacrifice of the cow
Verses 75-93 Revelation rejected
Verses 94-110 Faithlessness
Verses 111-121 Religious prejudices
Verses 122-132 Abraham the leader
Verses 133-145 The religion of Abraham
Verses 146-154 A new direction
Verses 155-167 Punishment for disbelief
Verses 168-177 Righteousness explained
Verses 178-195 Rules for the believers
Verses 196 -203 The pilgrimage
Verses 204-212 Embrace Islam and reject Satan
Verses 213-242 Instructions for life
Verses 243-260 Stories and reflections
Verses 261-283 Charity and contracts
Verses 284-286 Faith and supplication
CHAPTER 3, AALI-IMRAN (THE FAMILY OF IMRAN)
Surah Aali-Imran (The Family of Imran) takes its name from the story of Prophet Zachariah, Mary and her son Prophet Jesus in verses 33 to 64. The family of Imran was a blessed family that also included the Prophet Christians refer to as John the Baptist, thus this chapter has particular relevance for Christians and does indeed address itself to them. The Family of Imran was revealed in Medina after the pivotal Battle of Badr and is in some ways a sequel to the previous chapter, The Cow. The Cow was addressed primarily to the Children of Israel (the Jews) and in the Family of Imran the invitation is extended to the Christians. Thus, the chapter begins by inviting the People of the Book (Jews and Christians) to the truth of Islam and goes on to warn the Muslims to take heed of the religious degeneration that plagued the two earlier communities.
Verses 1- 6 Qur’an confirms previous revelations
Verses 7-13 Precise or symbolic?
Verses 14 -20 An invitation
Verses 21-30 Fear retribution
Verses 31-41 Family matters
Verses 42-52 The story of Jesus
Verses 54-69 A true explanation
Verses 70-80 Who is trustworthy?
Verses 81-92 A reminder
Verses 93- 101 God knows everything
Verses 102-109 The best community
Verses 110-120 Misbehaviour
Verses 121- 129 Victory is in the hands of God
Verses 130-145 A test
Verses 146-152 Remain steadfast
Verses 153-159 God forgives
Verses 160-168 True believers or hypocrites?
Verses 169- 179 Grace and bounty
Verses 180-195 An illusion
Verses 196 -200 Patience rewarded
CHAPTER 4, AN-NISA (THE WOMEN)
Surah An-Nisa (The Women) is named for the many references throughout the chapter to women. When the Muslims migrated to Medina they were no longer a persecuted minority. Medina became an established Muslim community with Prophet Muhammad ﷺ as its leader. Laws were being introduced to the fledgling community with regard to women, marriage, commerce, finance, international relations, property and inheritance. There were also tensions between the Muslim community and some of the People of the Book and all these themes and subjects are covered.
Verses 1-10 Instructions
Verses 11- 14 Inheritance
Verses 15-33 About women
Verses 34-42 Serve God
Verses 43-57 Prayer and those cursed
Verses 58-70 Obey God and His messenger
Verses 71-87 Take care
Verses 88 –100 About fighting and emigration
Verses 101-104 The prayer
Verses 105- 126 Wrongdoers only harm themselves
Verses 127-140 Fear God
Verses 141-162 Repent to avoid a painful punishment
Verses 163-176 Jesus was a Messenger
Verses 105- 126 Wrongdoers only harm themselves
Verses 127-140 Fear God
Verses 141-162 Repent to avoid a painful punishment
Verses 163-176 Jesus was a Messenger
CHAPTER 5, AL-MAIDAH (THE FEAST)
Surah Al-Maidah (The Feast) relates to food, and a central theme is the regulation of lawful and unlawful food, obedience to which is considered as part of the pledge between God and the believers. It also talks about hunting for food during the pilgrimage. God had also taken pledges from the Jews and Christians and the chapter deals with what they did to their pledges. Some passages deal with the afterlife and the verdict of the messengers on the behavior of their communities. Jesus is mentioned when his disciples asked him to pray to God and of his renouncing any claim to divinity.
Verses 1-6 Legislation of contracts, offerings to God, pilgrims, and inviolable months, food, ritual bath, ablution, and dry ablution
Verses 7-32 God’s covenant, favors, and command of doing justice, some conditions of the People of the Book, Moses’ experience with the Jews, Adam’s two sons, and inviolability of the human soul
Verses 33-40 Ordained punishments, punishment of highway robbery, fearing God and drawing close to Him versus disbelieving in Him, punishment of theft, and repentance
Verses 41-50 Obligation to judge by what God has revealed, Jews and the Torah, Jesus and the Gospel,
Verses 51-86 Muslims allies are God, His Messenger, and the true believers, practices and beliefs of the People of the Scripture, exceeding the limits in religion and following whims, a positive and negative example
Verses 87-108 Good things which God has made lawful, ruling on oaths, wine, gambling, and some other prohibited practices, hunting, directions to the believers, testimony at the time of bequest
Verses 109-120: Questioning messengers on the Day of Resurrection about the people’s responses, reminder of miracles of Jesus and the story of the table, dialogue between Jesus and His Lord on the Day of Resurrection, good consequences of the truthful
CHAPTER 6, AL-AN’AM (THE CATTLE)
Surah Al-An’am (The Cattle); some translations use the more encompassing word livestock. The title comes from the discussion about livestock in verses 136- 39. In a similar way to other chapters revealed in Mecca we find the emphasis on monotheism or the Oneness of God. The name of God, Allah, is mentioned seventy times in this chapter, whilst idolatry and polytheism are strongly condemned.
Verses 1-10 The things you mock may become your reality
Verses 11-18 God has the ultimate power; fear Him
Verses 19-30 A warning to liars and hypocrites
Verses 31-35 God advises Prophet Muhammad ﷺ
Verse 36-41 See the Signs
Verses 42-50 Strong Warnings
Verses 51-60 God knows everything
Verses 61-70 Worship God and be grateful
Verses 71-73 Idols are of no benefit
Verses 74-83 Prophet Abraham ponders the universe
Verses 84-90 Abraham’s legacy
Verses 91 Torah was also revealed by God
Verses 92-107 The signs are clear
Verses 108-117 Islam is the truth but do not insult or mock other beliefs
Verses 118-121 Rules about meat consumption
Verses 122-140 Lies and inventions result in punishment
Verses 141-150 God’s bounty
Verses 151-165 God’s commands and His Mercy
CHAPTER 7, AL-A’RAAF (THE HEIGHTS)
Surah Al-A’raaf (The Heights) is one of the longer chapters found at the beginning of the Qur’an. It is generally accepted that it was revealed in Mecca. It is named after the height of the barrier that will divide the saved and the damned on the Day of Judgement. It begins by reassuring Prophet Muhammad ﷺ that the stories about disobedient communities of the past should serve as encouragement to the believers to take heed and repent before the great Day is upon them.
Verses 1- 10 Take lessons from history
Verses 11-18 The story of Adam and Satan
Verses 19-25 Acceptance of repentance
Verses 26-32 A warning
Verses 33-41 The closed gates
Verses 42-58 A Day of Fulfilment (Judgment)
Verses 59-73 The stories of Noah and Hud
Verses 74- 94 The stories of Saleh, Lot and Shuaib
Verses 95-100 A lesson to learn
Verses 101-126 God sends Moses to Pharaoh
Verses 127-137 Plagues afflict Egypt
Verses 138-143 God rescues the Children of Israel and talks to Moses
Verses 144-147 God tell Moses that he was chosen to hear God and receive His message; Those who deny the signs of God will be kept distracted and the meeting in the Hereafter will become worthless.
Verses 148-156 The wrath of God
Verses 157-158 Mohammad in the Torah and Gospel
Verses 159-168 The Children of Israel are tested
Verses 169-180 Including the covenant with the descendants of Adam.
Verses 181-188 “The Prophet is nothing more than a warner and bearer of good news” [own]
Verses 189-206 God created everything-worship Him
CHAPTER 8, AN-ANFAL (THE SPOILS OF WAR)
Surah An-Anfal (The Spoils of War) was revealed after the Battle of Badr. It is, for the most part, a lengthy commentary on the first battle between the believers and the Meccan disbelievers. The believers, some of whom were originally very reluctant to fight, won a great victory even though they were vastly outnumbered. Some then began to question the distribution of the war booty and thus the chapter is named The Spoils of War. God reminds them that He brought about the victory and details the distributions of the spoils. The chapter articulates the general Islamic principles of war and peace and uses them as a morality lesson.
Verses 1-27 God establishes a victory
Verses 28-40 God separates the bad from the good
Verses 42-58 Lessons from Badr
Verses 59-75 Disbelievers and believers are not the same
CHAPTER 9 TAUBAH (The Repentance)
CHAPTER 10 YUNUS (JONAH)
Surah Yunus (Jonah) was revealed in Mecca. It takes its title from the reference to Prophet Jonah in verse 98 and concentrates primarily on the Oneness of God. This chapter emphasises God’s power and His anger towards those who consistently deny the truth of His revelations and signs. Prophet Muhammad ﷺ is encouraged to be patient and to be aware that he is unable to force the people to believe.
Verses 1-10 A book of wisdom
Verses 11-20 Who is the most wicked?
Verses 21-30 God invites you to Paradise
Verses 31-40 Who will believe?
Verses 41-56 Losers in the Hereafter
Verses 57-60 Guidance has come
Verses 61-67 God witnesses everything
Verses 68-70 The consequence of lying about God
Verses 71-86 Stories from the past
Verses 87-95 Deliverance
Verses 96-103 Forced conversion is prohibited
Verses 104-109 Guidance has arrived, so choose
CHAPTER 11, HOOD (HUD)
Surah Hood (Hud) recounts the story of the Prophet Hud. While the last chapter dealt mostly with abstract questions related to the truth of revelation, this chapter illustrates the truth of those questions by referring to the histories of former prophets. Thus, it deals with the histories of Noah, Hud, Salih, Abraham, Lot and Shu’ayb (peace be upon them all). A cruel and persecuting enemy is warned of the fate that befell previous people. This chapter was revealed during the last four years of the Prophet’s life.
An attentive reading of this chapter will make you feel the effect of its stern warnings. God warns us through the different stories of the prophets, where those who put their faith in the outward appearance of the worldly life and rejected the message of the prophets were met with dire consequences. When God passes His judgment on people, He does not spare anyone, even the closest relative of a prophet. Only the prophet and his followers are saved.
Verses 1-7 Message of God
Verses 8-11 Polar attitude towards God’s favors
Verses 12 Prophet Muhammad’s ﷺ dealing with pagans
Verses 13-14 Authenticity of the Qur’an
Verses 15-16 Future consequences of present behavior
Verses 17-24 The two parties
Verses 25-49 Story of Noah
Verses 50-60 Story of Hud
Verses 61-68 Story of Salih
Verses 69-76 Story of Abraham
Verses 77-83 Story of Lot
Verses 84-95 Story of Shu’ayb
Verses 96-99 Story of Moses
Verses 100-102 Injustice
Verses 103-109 Scenes from the Day of Resurrection and divine solace to the Prophet
Verses 110-111 Warning against casting doubt in the books of God
Verses 112-115 Means of achieving success in the world and the Hereafter
Verses 116-119 God’s way in destroying unjust nations
Verse 120 The objectives of Qur’anic stories
Verses 121-123 Practical benefits from the stories of messengers
CHAPTER 12, YUSUF (JOSEPH)
Surah Yusuf (Joseph) was revealed after an Israelite asked Prophet Muhammad ﷺ what he knew about Prophet Joseph. The story of Joseph was not known to the Arabs at the time and it was part of a test the Jews concocted to test Prophet Muhammad’s ﷺ claim to prophethood. Stories in the Qur’an are usually told in small bites and revealed over several chapters; the story of Joseph however, is different. It was revealed in one chapter, from the beginning to the end.
The story of Joseph is framed by a three verse introduction and a 10 verse epilogue. It is generally agreed that it was revealed in Mecca in a year that is known as the Year of Sorrow. Prophet Muhammad ﷺ lost two of his closest supporters, his uncle Abu Talib and his beloved wife Khadijah. The story of Joseph confirms unconditionally that God has total control over all affairs. It is a story of patience in the face of adversity and trust in the face of sorrow.
Verses 1-3 The best story
Verses 4-18 Dreams and deception
Verses 19-22 Joseph is established in Egypt
Verses 23-30 The failed seduction
Verses 31-35 Joseph prefers prison
Verses 36-40 More Dreams
Verses 41-42 Joseph languishes in prison
Verses 43-57 Joseph’s innocence is established
Verses 58–66 A dream prediction fulfilled
Verses 67-76 The brothers return
CHAPTER 13, AR-RA’D (THE THUNDER)
Surah Ar-Ra’d (The Thunder) takes its name from the thunder mentioned in verse thirteen. It is a powerful and emotional chapter that appeals to the heart while making use of logic and reason.
Verses 1-4 Where is God?
Verses 5-15 God knows the obvious and the unseen
Verses 16-27 Who are the believers?
Verses 28-30 God’s promise
Verses 31-34 God is the One who guides
Verses 35-43 An invitation
CHAPTER 14, IBRAHIM (ABRAHAM)
Surah Ibrahim (Abraham) is a Meccan chapter that is named after Prophet Abraham who prays to God in verses 35 to 41. Throughout the chapter the ungrateful are condemned and the grateful praised and assured of their reward in the Hereafter. The chapter is a warning to humankind and a cautionary tale for the disbelievers.
Verses 1-13 The message
Verses 13-17 The suffering of the disbelievers
Verses 18-22 Satan rejects his followers
Verses 23-27 Reflect and ponder
Verses 28-34 God’s bounty
Verses 35-41 Prophet Abraham
Verses 42-52 A warning and a message
CHAPTER 15, AL-HIJR (THE ROCKY TRACT)
Surah Al-Hijr (The Rocky Tract) title comes from the Rocky Tract that is mentioned in verses 80 to 84. The majority of scholars believe this refers to the people of Thamud and the rocky tract is an allusion to their stone cities. Its topics and style are very similar to Chapter 14, Abraham, and it is believed that they were revealed at around the same time. In this chapter we learn about God’s boundless grace and the inherent danger in Satan’s plans for humankind.
Verse 1-Alif, Lam, Ra.
Verses 2-15 Lessons from the earlier nations
Verses 16-25 The Sustainer
Verses 26-44 Who is Satan?
Verses 45-51 Gardens for the righteous
Verses 52-84 The angels visit Prophets Abraham and Lot
Verses 85-99 Forgiveness and kindness
CHAPTER 16, AN-NAHL (THE BEE)
Surah An-Nahl (The bee) is named after the bee mentioned in verses 68 and 69.The bee is one of many examples mentioned in this chapter of God’s grace towards His creation. Up to verse 88 its contents are addressed to the idolaters and polytheists. In the concluding verses Prophet Muhammad ﷺand his companions are instructed how to act in the face of antagonism and persecution.
Verses 1-9 There is no true deity but God
Verses 10-21 God’s blessings for humankind
Verses 22-29 Punishment for arrogance
Verses 30-40 The good are rewarded and God’s promise is true
Verses 41-50 Reflection
Verses 51- 60 False worship
Verses 61-69 A warning to make things clear
Verses 70-81 God gives examples
Verses 82-89 The disbelievers will feel no respite
Verses 90-100 God commands righteousness
Verses 101-111 God does not guide the disbelievers
Verses 112- 117 Eat from the good things provided
Verses 118-128 Follow the example of the righteous and use wisdom when you talk about God
CHAPTER 17, AL-ISRA (THE NIGHT JOURNEY)
Surah Al-Isra (The Night Journey) is named for the miraculous night journey, from Mecca to Jerusalem, which Prophet Muhammad ﷺ undertook in the space of a single night. This journey is mentioned in the first verse and again in verse 60. It contains an articulate and easy to understand set of God’s commandments. The bulk of the Night Journey deals with two things, the Qur’an and Prophet Muhammad ﷺ and the nature of his prophecy. The Children of Israel are also mentioned.
Verses 1- 8 A journey by night
Verses 9-21 God sees everything
Verses 22-40 Some commandments
Verses 41-52 Explanations
Verses 53-60 God advises Prophet Muhammad ﷺ
Verses 61-65 Adam - Iblees
Verses 66-70 Humanity is ungrateful
Verses 71-84 The truth
Verses 85- 96 A man with a message
Verses 97-100 Resurrection
Verses 100-111 Truth in the form of the Qur’an
CHAPTER 18, AL-KAHF (THE CAVE)
Surah Al-Kahf (The cave) takes its name from the story of the people who fell asleep in a cave, told in verses 9 to 26. It contains three stories and a parable while opening, and closes with references to the Qur’an itself. It is believed to have been revealed as a comfort because the fledgling Muslims were suffering ongoing torment and persecution at the hands of the ruling classes of Mecca. It was also sent down to answer three questions that had been put to Prophet Muhammad ﷺ in order to test him.
Verses 1-13 A straightforward book
Verses 14-26 The sleepers in the cave
Verses 27-31 Make a choice
Verses 32- 44 A moral tale
Verses 45- 59 Reminders
Verses 60-82 Moses and Khidr
Verses 83-102 Dhul Qarnayn
Verses 103-110 Worship is for God Alone
CHAPTER 19, MARYAM (MARY)
Surah Mayyam (Mary) is taken from the story of Mary, mother of Jesus in verses 16–35. It begins with an account of the birth of John and of Jesus, the last representatives of prophecy in the house of Israel. The claim that Jesus is the son of God is firmly denied, as is the assertion of the pagans of Mecca that the angels are God’s daughters. It then mentions the missions of some earlier prophets, showing that only human beings are raised to reform the world. This chapter was recited to Negus (Christian king of Abyssinia) in the presence of hostile ambassadors of Quraish, in the fifth year of Prophet Muhammad’s ﷺ advent, nine years before Hijrah, by Ja’far, the head of the Muslim refugees, whereupon, according to the earliest Muslims chroniclers, the king and the bishop wept saying, ‘Indeed, this revelation and that of Moses proceed from one and the same source.’
The Qur’an makes us believe in the power of God in such a way that it enables us to see beyond the predictability of cause and effect. Although God has made this universe in such a way that for everything there is physical reasoning but at the same time God has also made miracles happen which make us realize that God is not dependent on these laws. We find in the Qur’an such examples which make us "see" this power, so that the closer we come towards Him with love and submission, the more belief we have in our hopes and dreams turning into reality.
Verses 1-11 Story of Prophet Zechariah
Verses 12-15 Prophet John
Verses 16-22 Mary and her pregnancy with Jesus
Verses 23-26 Birth of Jesus
Verses 27-33 Jesus speaking in the cradle
Verses 34-36 Reality of Jesus
Verses 37-40 Disagreement of factions over Jesus and their status on the Day of Resurrection
Verses 41-47 Story of Abraham and his father
Verses 48-50 Abraham’s leaving his people and those who invoked other than God
Verses 51-55 Characteristics of Moses and Ishmael
Verses 56-57 Characteristics of Prophet Idris
Verses 58 Other prophets from among the descendants of Adam, Noah, Abraham, and Israel
Verses 59-65 Conditions of the successors that came after the prophets
Verses 66-75 Deniers of resurrection, their punishment, and attitudes
Verses 76 Reward of the guided
Verses 77-95 Annulling plurality of the deities and the ascription of sons to God
Verses 96-98 Conclusion
CHAPTER 20, TA-HA (TA-HA)
Surah Ta-ha discusses the story of Moses and Adam, exhorts Prophet Muhammad ﷺ to patience and prayer, and reminds us of the consequences of disbelief.
Verses 1-8 The mission of the Qur’an and the attributes of the One Who sent it
Verses 9-99 Story of Prophet Moses
Verses 100-114 The punishment of those who turn away from the Qur’an and some spectacles from the Day of Resurrection
Verses 115-127 The story of the angels bowing down to the ground before Adam and warning him against Satan
Verses 130-132 Directions to the Prophet
Verses 133-135 The stubbornness of the polytheists and its consequences
CHAPTER 21 AL-ANBIYA (THE PROPHETS)
Surah Al-Anbiyah (The Prophets) is one of the longer chapters of the Qur’an and its title comes from the subject matter from verses 48 to 91, stories, and lessons from the lives of many of the more notable prophets. This chapter was revealed in Mecca and thus it stresses that Prophet Muhammad ﷺ was a human being like all the earlier prophets and that his message was the same, the oneness or unity of God. It also warns, as do many chapters, of the inevitability of the Day of Judgement
Verses 1-9 Accusations and lies
Verses 10- 24 Falsehood blown away
Verses 25- 47 Every soul will taste death
Verses 48-70 Brief stories of the prophets
Verses 71-77 God saves those who believe
Verses 78-88 …And those who cry to Him in distress
Verses 89-112 Great news for the believers
CHAPTER 22, AL-HAJJ (THE PILGRIMAGE)
Surah Al-Hajj (The Pilgrimage) gets its title from the reference to the rite of pilgrimage that Muslims believe was initiated by Abraham. The theme is introduced by condemning those who barred believers from access to the Sacred Mosque and is followed by permission to fight when attacked. The chapter begins with the Day of Judgement and repudiates those who worship idols, later describing them as powerless to even create a fly. In the end, the chapter urges Muslims to endure in following the faith of Abraham.
Verses 1-24 Day of Resurrection and people’s attitudes towards it, horrors of the Day of Resurrection and some proofs for that Day, people’s attitude towards divine guidance, discussion with those who are desperate for triumph, divine justice between different parties, recompense of both the disbelievers and the believers
Verses 25-37 The Sacred Mosque and its status, obligation to Hajj, goal of honoring the sacred sites of God, for each faith community there are sacred rites
Verses 38-70 God defends the believers and legitimacy of fighting, taking lessons from the destruction of the old people, people’s attitude toward messengers and toward the Qur’an, reward of the Emigrants, proofs of divine power, nations have different rituals and acts of worship
Verses 71-78 Polytheists worship of idols, honoring God and professing His Oneness and choice, religion of your father Abraham, God named you Muslims before
CHAPTER 23, AL-MU’MINUN (THE BELIEVERS)
Surah Al-Mu’Minun (The Believers) is based on the reference to believers was revealed during the middle stage of the Prophet’s residence in Mecca. It was the climax of famine in the region. The bitter conflict had begun between him and the disbelievers, though persecution had not yet begun.
Verses 1-11 Qualities and the reward of the believers
Verses 12-22 Manifestations of the power of God and affirmation of life after death
Verses 23-56 Prophet’s call to God’s path
Verses 63-92 Polytheists
Verses 93-119 Conclusion
CHAPTER 24, AN-NUR (THE LIGHT)
Surah An-Nur (The Lights) was revealed in Medina and concentrates on establishing the good manners and morals that will ultimately benefit the new Muslim society. It establishes regulations for marriage, modesty, appropriate household behaviour, and the manners and necessity of obedience to Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him. The title of the chapter is taken from verses 35 in which God is described as the light of the heavens and the earth. While the central theme of this chapter is educating the Muslim community, it flows effortlessly from prescribing mandatory punishments to gently inviting us to reflect on the signs God has placed for us throughout the universe.
Verses 1-9 Compulsory Punishments
Verses 10-26 A lesson
Verses 27-34 Manners
Verses 35 The verse of light
Verses 36-45 God’s radiant light…
Verses 46- 64 Obey the Prophet - permissions granted
CHAPTER 25, AL-FURQAN (THE CRITERION)
Surah Al-Furqan (The Criterion) comprises of seventy-seven
Verses. It refers to the Qur’an being the book that differentiates between right and wrong. It is from the pages of the Qur’an that we are to learn the difference between what is good and what is bad. This chapter was revealed in Mecca and begins with a condemnation of all forms of polytheism. It deals with the doubts and objections being raised by the disbelievers and describes the power of God. The chapter ends with the qualities of the believers.
Verses 1-9 Distinguishing right from wrong
Verses 10-16 A fire prepared
Verses 17-24 Deities deny divinity
Verses 25-34 Regrets
Verses 35-44 Those who rejected the revelations
Verses 63- 77 Mannerisms of the believers
CHAPTER 26, ASH-SHU’ARA (THE POETS)
Surah Ash-Shu’ara (The Poets) comprises 227 short verses and was revealed in Mecca and is primarily concerned with the Oneness of God.
Verses 1-9 Clear revelations
Verses 10-68 Moses and Pharaoh
Verses 69-104 Prophet Abraham
Verses 105-140 Noah and Hud
Verses 141-191 Saleh, Lot and Shuaib
Verses 191-227 Revelation
CHAPTER 27, AN-NAML (THE ANTS)
Surah An-Naml (The Ants) opens with a description of the Qur’an as joyful news for the believers and a severe warning for the non-believers. We then encounter several short narratives concerning prophets and the communities that did not believe their warnings. These narratives are illustrated with examples of God’s power and the contrasting lack of power possessed by the things they worship other than God. There are descriptions of the Day of Judgement and the chapter closes by reiterating the beginning verses - the Qur’an is good news for the believers but a warning to others.
Verses 1-6 Joy or retribution
Verses 7-14 Moses and Pharaoh
Verses 15-44 Solomon and the Queen of Sheba
Verses 45-58 Saleh and Lot
CHAPTER 28, AL-QASAS (THE NARRATION)
Surah Al-Qasas (The Narration) takes its name from the twenty-fifth verse in which the Arabic word for narration is used. The Narration is also a suitable title because the chapter tells a detailed story about Prophet Moses. Its main theme is the punishment that comes to those who are arrogant and spread corruption. This chapter and the two preceding it go together to tell the complete story of Prophet Moses. Polytheism is condemned, and Prophet Muhammad ﷺ is reminded that he cannot make the people believe but nevertheless he must remain steadfast in his mission.
Verses 1-21 Prophet Moses and Pharaoh
Verses 22 –43 Return to Egypt
Verses 44-50 Prophet Muhammad ﷺ does not narrate from himself
Verses 51-61 In Mecca
Verses 62-70 Polytheists will be left helpless on Judgement Day
Verses 71-75 Who can create other than God?
Verses 76-82 The story of Qarun
Verses 83-88 Reassurance
CHAPTER 29, AL-ANKABUT (THE SPIDER)
Surah Al-Ankabut (The Spider) discusses belief, the fundamentals of faith and the Oneness of God. It takes its name from the description of the spider’s house building skills in verse 41. It is believed that this chapter was revealed to strengthen and encourage the new Muslims who were, at the time, suffering severe abuse and oppression. A clear link is established between all the messages and the message of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him.
Verses 1-13 Belief dictates behavior
Verses 14- 27 Noah - Abraham
Verses 28-35 The story of Lot
Verses 36-40 Shuaib - Moses
Verses 41-59 God is All-Knowing
Verses 60 -69 The signs that make things clear
CHAPTER 30, AR-ROOM (THE ROMANS)
Surah Ar-Room (The Romans) opens with a reference to the defeat of the Byzantines (also known as the Roman Empire) at the hands of the Persians (613–14 CE) in Syria, and the subsequent victory of the Byzantines in 624 CE. The chapter urges people to reflect on their own creation and the heavens and earth. God’s power to give life to a barren land is an indication both of His ability to raise the dead and of His mercy to mankind. The disbelievers are warned to accept faith before it is too late, and Prophet Muhammad ﷺ is urged to persevere and to ignore the bullying of the disbelievers.
Verses 1-7 Promise for the believers to gain victory
Verses 33-45 Attitude of the polytheists to joy and harm, and universality of the Islamic message
Verses 46-59 Proofs for God’s power and oneness, ungratefulness toward divine favors, unbelievers and the people of faith on the Day of Resurrection
Verse 60-Urging the Prophet to be patient
CHAPTER 31, LUQMAN
Surah Luqman is named after the sage Luqman, whose advice to his son features in verses 13 to 19. The chapter opens with a description of the believers and strongly condemns those who attempt to lead others astray. Luqman was revealed in Mecca at the height of the Muslim persecution and the young Muslims are extolled to disobey parents when they try to lead them away from Islam. The disbelievers are warned about the consequences of their actions and Prophet Muhammad ﷺ is told not to be saddened by their actions.
Verse 1 These are among the fourteen opening letters
Verses 8-11 A truthful promise
Verses 12-15 Advice to the youth
Verses 16 -19 Wise counsel
Verses 20-26 An admonition
Verses 27-30 The Most Great
Verses 31 -34 Beware of Satan and the delusion of this world
CHAPTER 32, AS-SAJDAH (THE PROSTRATION)
Surah As-Sajdah (The Prostration) whose main theme is the Oneness of God and title comes from verse fifteen, in which the true believers bow down in worship. This verse is one of fifteen places in the Qur’an where the worshippers should bow down, or prostrate during recitation. The beginning of the chapter emphasizes the truth of the Qur’an and by the end Prophet Muhammad ﷺ is told to pay no attention to those who cannot see the significance of God’s signs.
Verse 1 -3 Without doubt
Verses 4-11 The creation of Adam and humankind
Verses 12-22 On the Day of Judgment
Verses 23-30 Similarities between Revelations
CHAPTER 34, SABA (SHEBA)
Surah Saba (Sheba) title comes from verses fifteen to twenty-one in which the community of Sheba is punished for their ingratitude. It concentrates on the fundamentals of faith and pay particular attention to belief in the Day of Judgement and the Hereafter. The chapter also deals with the absurd allegations of madness directed at Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him.
Verses 1-9 God is All Knowing
Verses 10-14 David - Solomon are grateful
Verses 15- 21 The people of Sheba are ungrateful
Verses 22-30 One God, no partners!
Verses 31-39 A warner for every community
Verses 40-54 Prophet Muhammad ﷺ tells the truth
CHAPTER 35, FATIR (ORIGINATOR)
Surah Fatir (The Originator) title comes from the first verse in which God’s power of creation is affirmed. It was revealed during the period in which the small fledgling band of Muslims was suffering from persecution and oppression at the hands of the Meccan elite. This chapter is alternatively known as The Angels, also from the first verse where God mentions the wings of the angels. God’s power is confirmed and contrasted with the powerlessness of idols. The idolaters receive a warning and the Prophet is comforted.
Verses 1-10 God has power over all things
Verses 11-14 God the Creator
Verses 15-26 God is free of all needs
Verses 27-37 Abundant blessings
Verses 38-45 God knows the unseen and sees everything
CHAPTER 36, YA SIN
Surah Ya-Sin is named after the first two letters of the chapter which are "ya" and "sin" (pronounced seen) focuses primarily on the belief in the Oneness of God and the consequences of either believing or disbelieving in that basic principle. Chapter Ya Sin has many short verses and its recitation with short pauses is very emotional.
Verses 1-12 The revelation of the Qur’an is a warning to humankind
Verses 13-29 The example of the three messengers
Verses 30-40 Those who deny the resurrection fail to the signs
Verses 41-51 Reminders and warnings
Verses 52-58 A scene from the Day of Resurrection
Verses 59-65 God addresses the disbelievers
Verses 66-76 The Qur’an is a warning, a gauge between right and wrong
Verses 77-83 The Creator is the Only One to bring back to life
CHAPTER 37, AS-SAFFAT (THOSE RANGED IN ROWS)
Surah As-Saffat (Those Ranged in Rows) was revealed before the migration to Medina tended to concentrate on monotheism; the Oneness of God. This one is no exception and thus establishing a firm faith is its aim. This chapter also covers other issues; it affirms the Prophethood of Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, and refutes pagan beliefs.
Verses 1-10 God is One
Verses 11-39 The disbelievers
Verses 40-74 Paradise or Hell?
Verses 75-148 Scenes from the past
Verses 149-182 Superstitions denied
CHAPTER 38, SAAD
Surah Sad emphasizes the fundamentals and basic concepts of Islam and discuss the Oneness of God, the Day of Judgment, and the previous prophets. It compares the arrogance of the unbelievers of Mecca to the arrogance found in previously destroyed nations, and with the arrogance of Satan.
Verses 1-17 God swears an oath
Verses 18-29 David
Verses 30-48 Solomon and Job
Verses 49-64 In the Hereafter
Verses 65-88 A conversation
CHAPTER 39, AZ-ZUMAR (THE GROUPS)
Surah Az-Zumar (The Groups) comes from the word Zumar mentioned in verses seventy-one and seventy-three. The majority of chapters revealed in the Meccan period dealt with the fundamentals of faith and this one is no exception. This chapter contrasts the believers with those who ascribe partners with God. People are free to choose, we are told, however choosing the right path before it is too late is urgently recommended.
Verses 1-20 Refuting polytheism
Verses 21-35 Actions have consequences
Verses 36-54 Make a choice
Verses 55-75 Those driven in groups
CHAPTER 40, GHAFIR (THE FORGIVER)
Surah Ghafir (The Forgiver) examines the fundamentals of faith. It reminds us of God’s signs and favors and gives glimpses from the story of Moses and Pharaoh with life-changing lessons for us. It also provides reassurance to Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him.
Verses 1-23 Signs and revelations
Verses 24-38 An excellent speech
Verses 46-60 God’s promise is true
Verses 61-85 God’s creation
CHAPTER 41, FUSSILAT (EXPLAINED IN DETAIL)
Surah Fussilat (Explained in Detail) examines the fundamentals of faith. The title ‘Explained in Detail’ refers to an Arabic term used to describe the Qur’an in verses three and forty-four. The chapter presents some of God’s signs and warns against denying them. It also explains what happens to the unbelievers that refuse to acknowledge the truth and submit to God.
Verses 1-12 God creates the universe
Verses 13-25 Learn from the past
Verses 26-44 Consider your options
Verses 45-54 How far astray are you?
CHAPTER 42, ASH-SHURA (THE CONSULTATION)
Surah Ash-Shurah (The Consultation) is derived from the word consultation that is mentioned in verse thirty-eight describing the characteristics of a community of believers. Being a Meccan chapter revealed before the migration to Medina it concentrates on the fundamentals of faith, in this case, God’s all prevailing power and wisdom. Prophet Muhammad ﷺ is reminded that he cannot force people to believe and that he is only required to deliver the message.
Verses 1-9 All power belongs to God
Verses 10-19 The truth is made clear
Verses 20-31 A harvest in the Hereafter
Verses 32-43 Forgiveness is better
Verses 44-53 Only deliver the message. God retains all control
CHAPTER 43, AZ-ZUKHRUF (GOLDEN ORNAMENTS)
Surah Az-Zukhruf (The Consultation) is derived from the word consultation that is mentioned in verse thirty-eight describing the characteristics of a community of believers. Being a Meccan chapter revealed before the migration to Medina it concentrates on the fundamentals of faith, in this case, God’s all prevailing power and wisdom. Prophet Muhammad ﷺ is reminded that he cannot force people to believe and that he is only required to deliver the message.
Verses 1-9 All power belongs to God
Verses 10-19 The truth is made clear
Verses 20-31 A harvest in the Hereafter
Verses 32-43 Forgiveness is better
Verses 44-53 Only deliver the message. God retains all control
CHAPTER 47, MUHAMMAD
Surah Muhammad title comes from the mention of Prophet Muhammad’s ﷺ name in verse two.
It focus on the establishment of a functioning Muslim society. This one is no different and tackles several subjects including war, what happens to those who try to prevent others from converting to Islam and the futility of opposing God and His Prophet. At the time of revelation, the disbelievers had succeeded in driving Prophet Muhammad ﷺ and his followers out of Mecca, however, by doing so they sealed their own fate.
Verses 1-11 Those without a protector
Verses 12-19 Disbelievers and hypocrites
Verses 20-28 And their deeds are worthless
Verses 29-38 God is free of all needs
CHAPTER 48, AL-FATH (THE VICTORY)
Surah Al-Fath (The Victory) is derived from words in the first verse that reveal the subject matter, a great victory in the form of a truce with the disbelievers of Mecca. This is known as the Treaty of Hudaybiyah, signed at an area known as al-Hudaybiyah. The chapter was revealed while the Muslims were on their way back to Madina after the signing of the peace treaty, and approximately three years after the chapter preceding it, Muhammad.
The general atmosphere of this chapter gives the impression that the Muslim community has matured over the past three years. They are no longer being put to the tests mentioned in the previous chapter and are growing increasingly strong. Throughout the chapter, Prophet Muhammad ﷺ is assured that the treaty is a great breakthrough. The hypocrites and idolaters are condemned, and the chapter concludes with praise for the believers.
Verses 1-10 Success for the believers
Verses 11-17 Choosing to disobey results in punishment
Verses 18-28 Swearing allegiance pleases God
Verses 29 A description of the believers
CHAPTER 49, AL-HUJURAT (THE PRIVATE DWELLINGS)
Sutah Al-Hujurat (The Private Dwellings) takes its title from the reference to the private rooms of the wives of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ in verse four. It concentrates on establishing and educating the first Muslim community and this one is no exception. It is said that it was revealed after a deputation arrived in Medina and called to Prophet Muhammad ﷺ from outside his wives’ apartments.
This chapter is an attempt to teach the fledgling community good manners, manners that befit a believer. Firstly, in respect to behavior towards God and His Messenger, Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. Next, in respect to community living, the believers are warned against behavior that might corrupt the tightly knitted social fabric. They are warned against the dangers of tribalism and nationalism. And finally, the believers are told that faith is more than words; it is action in respect to those words.
Verses 1- 5 Show respect
Verses 6-8 A reminder
Verses 9- 10 Justice
Verses 11-13 One family
Verses 14-18 A true believer
CHAPTER 50, QAAF
Surah Qaaf deals with the Resurrection and the Day of Judgement. The chapter both opens and closes with the mention of the Qur’an. The disbelievers in Mecca are warned and Prophet Muhammad ﷺ is reassured through previous generations of disbelievers. Creation is cited as an indication of God’s ability to bring the dead to life again and emphasis is placed on the powerlessness of man on the Day of Resurrection. The Prophet would recite this surah from the pulpit during the sermon of the Friday congregational prayers.
Verses 1-11 The polytheists deny Resurrection and the Qur’an refutes their arguments
Verses 12-15 A reminder of the preceding nations that denied Resurrection
Verses 16-18 The creation of man and God knowing all that he is capable of and recording of all his words
Verses 19-30 The throes of delirium of death and the conditions of the torment of the Hereafter
Verses 31-35 The delight of the pious and their description
Verses 36-45 Threatening the deniers of Resurrection and directions to the messenger
CHAPTER 51, ADH-DHARIYAT (THE WINDS THAT SCATTER)
Surah Adh-Dhariyat (The Wind that Scatter) discusses basic Islamic concepts. It deals with the Hereafter and presents us with an invitation to accept the Oneness of God. The name comes from the winds that scatter dust mentioned in the first verse. The verses of this chapter have been described short pithy sentences that teach us to free our mind from earthly pursuits and yearn for the Hereafter.
Verses 1-6 God swears by the winds
Verses 7- 19 A second oath
Verses 20-23 Marvels and wonders
Verses 24-46 Tales from the lives of the prophets
Verses 47-55 God’s power
Verses 56-60 Why we are here
CHAPTER 52, AL-TOOR (MOUNTAIN OF TOOR)
CHAPTER 53, AN-NAJM (THE STAR)
Surah An-Najm (The Star) is taken from the invocation in the first verse, ‘By the star as it sets.’ This is the first chapter that the Prophet publicly recited in which both the believers and disbelievers prostrated at the end.
Verses 1-18 Affirming the authenticity of revelation and commending the Messenger
Verses 19-31 Mere conjecture avails nothing against the truth
Verses 32-41 Clarifying the qualities of the good doers and censuring the polytheists
Verses 42-62 Allah alone is the One Who manages the affairs of the universe
CHAPTER 54, AL-QAMAR (THE MOON)
Surah Al-Qamar (The Moon) takes its title from the first verse that mentions the incident of the ‘splitting-of-the-moon.’ That incident took place in Mina, close to Mecca, five years before the Prophet’s migration to Madina.
Verses 1-8 The Day of Resurrection and the heedlessness of the polytheists
Verses 9-42 Evil was the end of the preceding nations that belied their Messengers
Verses 43-55 Threatening the polytheists and giving glad tidings to the pious
CHAPTER 55, AR-RAHMAN (THE MOST MERCIFUL)
Surah Ar-Rahman (The Most Merciful) takes its title from the divine name, ‘The Most Merciful,’ and hence the entire surah speaks of the mercies and blessings of God.
Verses 1-16 Blessings of God are manifested in the Qur’an and the created beings
Verses 17-25 God’s blessings in the horizons
Verses 26-32 Some subtle blessings
Verses 33-36 Both human and jinn are helpless in comparison to the power of God
Verses 37-45 The evil end of the defiant unbelievers
Verses 46-78 The delight of the pious in the Hereafter
CHAPTER 56, AL-WAQI’AH (THE COMING EVENT)
Surah Al-Qaqi’ah (The Coming Event) is taken from the opening verse and is also the central theme of the chapter. The event about which there is no doubt, the Day of Judgment, when the people will be divided into three distinct groups; those who are particularly close to God, the believers and the unbelievers.
Verses 1-10 Three distinct groups
Verses 11- 26 Those near to God
Verses 27-40 The winners
Verses 41-56 The losers
Verses 57-74 Ponder God’s Majesty
Verses 75-87 There is no escape
Verses 88-96 An absolute truth.
CHAPTER 57, AL-HADID (IRON)
Surah Al-Hadid (Iron) takes its name from the reference to iron in verse 25 and was revealed in Medina after the establishment of the Islamic nation. It is an exhortation to the believers to give generously at this most critical stage in the history of Islam. The chapter begins with six verses that read as if they were revealed in Mecca, that is, they are a glorification of and introduction to God and His all-encompassing power. It goes on to encourage the believers into the correct behaviour, decries the fate of the hypocrites and mentions some of the previous prophets. The chapter closes by referencing the behaviour of the People of the Book.
Verses 1-6 Glorifying God
Verses 7-11 Give in God’s name
Verses 12-19 Those discernible by the light
Verses 20-24 God knows everything
Verses 25-29 Clear evidence
CHAPTER 67, AL-MULK (THE SUPREME POWER)
Surah Al-Mulk (The Supreme Power) begins with the mention of God’s Kingdom (‘Mulk’ in Arabic) thereby giving it the name. Revealed in Mecca in the initial stages of opposition after Prophet Muhammad’s ﷺ mission had just begun, the surah (chapter) challenges the disbelievers with declarations of God’s total power over them, and everything else, in this world and the next. It describes the regret the disbelievers will express on the Day of Resurrection (verses 9–10, 27). It alarms those who are ignorant of God and the life to come.
Verses 1-5 Some manifestations of the power of God
Verses 6-11 End of disbelievers and their confession of sins
Verses 12-15 God’s promise, knowledge and bounties
Verses 16-22 Challenging and rebuking the polytheists
Verses 23-27 Power of God in terms of creation and gathering people in Hereafter
Verses 28-30 Deliverance and provisions are in the Hands of God
CHAPTER 70, AL-MA’ARIJ (THE WAYS OF ASCENT)
Surah Al-Ma’Arij (The Ways of Ascent) is named for the different paths and ways in which the angels ascend to God. These are mentioned in verses three and four. The Ways of Ascent was revealed in Mecca and thus discusses the fundamentals of faith. In this particular case, God describes the Day of Judgment. Many of these shorter chapters describe different aspect of the Day of Judgement and the Resurrection. Particularly because the disbelievers of Mecca refused to accept as true that a Day of Judgment was possible, and they mocked Prophet Muhammad ﷺ asking him to hasten the punishment if it was a real threat.
In the previous chapter, the terrifying upheaval that will take place in the universe on the Day of Judgement was described. This chapter aims more at the psychology of the Day; the human soul rather than the universe is the setting. Fear takes hold of the human soul and induces an inner panic.
Verses 1-18 The truth about the Hereafter
Verses 19-35 Qualities of the righteous
Verses 36-44 The unbelievers’ attitude
CHAPTER 71, NUH (NOAH)
Surah Nuh (Noah) is devoted to the call of Prophet Noah to his people. God tells us Noah’s story whose patience was tested to an extraordinary limit yet he stayed firm in his conviction and continued to work for God till the end.
Verses 1-14 The call of Noah
Verses 15-25 Noah reminds his people of the proofs for the Oneness of Allah and their attitude
Verses 26-28 Noah invokes God against the disbelievers
CHAPTER 72, AL-JINN
Surah Al-Jinn concentrate on teaching the basics of Islam. They focus on the Oneness of God and the consequences of ignoring the message. The first fifteen verses give an account of a discussion by a group of jinn after they heard a recitation of the Qur’an. This chapter shows us how the Islamic faith appears to those from a different world. The disbelievers of Mecca had previously accused Prophet Muhammad ﷺ of learning his new faith from the jinn. Here we see that this is clearly not correct. We are given an accurate description of the jinn and many of the ideas and superstitions that surround them are shown to be false. The final part of the chapter is addressed to Prophet Muhammad ﷺ.
Verses 1-7 Some jinn accept Islam
Verses 8-10 The jinn cannot see the unseen
Verses 11-15 Many different paths
Verses 16-19 Pay attention to the warnings
Verses 20-24 Deliver the message
Verses 25-28 The message is protected
CHAPTER 73, AL-MUZZAMIL (THE ENFOLDED)
Surah Al-Muzzamil (The Enfolded). The subject matter of the first nineteen verses indicates that it was revealed in the earliest part of the Prophet Muhammad’s ﷺ mission while he was being prepared to shoulder the responsibilities of living and teaching others to live in the Islamic way. Verse twenty is believed to have been revealed in Medina when the rules and regulations of a functioning society were being established.
Verses 1-8 Prayer at night
Verses 9-14 Trust in God’s plan
Verses 15-19 A reminder
Verse 20 The All-Knowing
CHAPTER 74, AL-MUDDATHTHIR (THE ONE ENVELOPED IN HIS CLOAK)
Surah Al-Muddaththir (The One Enveloped in His Cloak) begins by addressing Prophet Muhammad ﷺ directly and goes on to remind the disbelievers of the consequences of their lack of faith. The first seven verses are generally accepted to have been revealed in the very early period of revelation in Mecca, whilst the rest of the chapter was revealed after Prophet Muhammad ﷺ began to spread the message from God.
Verses 1-7 Wrapped in his cloak
Verses 8-31 The obstinate disbelievers should take heed
Verses 32-56 The disbeliever’s foolish attitude
CHAPTER 75, AL-QIYAMAH (THE RESURRECTION)
Surah Al-Qiyamah (The Resurrection) deal exclusively with the fundamentals of faith, and this one concentrates particularly on the Day of Resurrection and humankind’s habit of denying its inevitability. The name of the chapter is taken from the first verse, and it also describes the theme and subject matter. It is believed to be one of the earliest chapters revealed, and its style indicates that the concepts and teachings were presented to the people of Mecca in brief yet forceful sentences. This chapter predominantly addresses those who deny the Hereafter and replies to their doubts and objections.
Verses 1-15 The inevitability of the Day of Resurrection
Verses 16-19 Prophet Muhammad ﷺ and the Qur’an
Verses 20-30 Opposite outcomes
Verses 31-40 Arrogant rejection and the power of God
CHAPTER 76, AL-INSAN (HUMANKIND)
Surah Al-Ihsan (Humankind) is to inform humankind of their true position in the world and suggests that he (each human being) should adopt an attitude of gratefulness. After addressing humankind, the chapter goes on to describe Paradise in great detail contrasting the end results for both the evildoers and the righteous. This chapter is a serene discourse encouraging people to turn to God, obey Him, seek His pleasure, remember His favors, and work to avoid His punishment; and it is sometimes referred to as Time (Ad-Dhar).
Verses 1-3 At one time we did not exist
Verses 4-10 Some qualities of righteous people
Verses 11-22 For those in Paradise
Verses 23-26 Remember your Lord
Verses 27-31 People are free to choose but bear the consequences of their decisions
CHAPTER 77, AL-MURSALAT (THE WINDS SENT FORTH)
Surah Al-Mursalat (The Winds Sent Forth) takes its name from the first words of the first verse, ‘By the winds sent forth.’ It strings together a series of images from this life and from the Hereafter and punctuates them with a sharp admonition, ‘Woe on that Day to those who deny the truth.’ This rebuke is repeated ten times. The Winds Sent Forth describes events that will precede the Judgment.
Verses 1-15 An Oath
Verses 16-19 The past repeated
Verses 20-28 A home for the living and the dead
Verses 29-40 The dreaded command
Verses 41-45 The righteous are honored
Verses 46-50 An opportunity for guidance
CHAPTER 78, AN-NABA (THE GREAT NEWS)
Surah An-Naba (The Great News) the title of the chapter is taken from the second verse, and its name denotes its subject matter. The word Naba implies the news of the Resurrection and the Hereafter and the entire chapter is devoted to this theme. The Great News opens by listing God’s gifts to humankind; it then gives a stern warning about a day of resurrection and an accounting for one’s deeds and behavior.
Verses 1-4 A question of belief
Verses 5-16 God’s generosity towards humankind
Verses 17- 30 A description of the Day of Resurrection and Hell
Verses 31-37 Gifts for the righteous
Verses 38-40 On the Day of Truth
CHAPTER 79, AN-NAZIAT (THE EXTRACTORS)
Surah An-Zaziat (The Extractors) is named from the Arabic word in the first verse, Naziat. This word is most often translated as angels, particularly the angels charged with extracting the souls from the dead. The Meccans of the time emphatically denied the Resurrection thus The Extractor’s subject matter confirms the Day of Resurrection as strenuously as the previous chapter. The Meccans however did not deny the existence of the angels; therefore God swears by the angels that the reality of the Day of Resurrection cannot be denied.
Verses 1- 5 An Oath
Verses 6-14 A severe warning
Verses 15-25 Moses and Pharaoh
Verses 27-33 God the Creator
Verses 34-41 A permanent abode
Verses 42-45 And they asked about the Hour
Verse 46 A lifetime is but a moment
CHAPTER 80, ABASA (HE FROWNED)
Surah Abasa (He Frowned) as revealed in Mecca and relates the story of when the Prophet was speaking to some pagan notables, hoping to convert them, a blind Muslim man came up to learn from him, but in his eagerness to attract them to Islam, the Prophet frowned at the blind man. The Prophet was reproached by God. In the second section, there is condemnation of man’s ingratitude. People become self-satisfied and forget their origin and final return to God.
Verses 1-10 A kind approach
Verses 11-16 The message and virtue of the Qur’an
Verses 17-32 Reflection and contemplation
Verses 33-42 When the deafening blast comes
CHAPTER 81, AT-TAKWEER (SHROUDED IN DARKNESS)
Surah At-Takweer (Shrouded in Darkness) emphasizes the fact that people will be confronted by their deeds on Judgement Day, asserts the truth of the Qur’an, and calls people to the right path. It opens with a powerful description of events on that Day, and the title of the chapter is taken from this description.
Verses 1-14 The reality of the Day of Resurrection
Verses 15-29 The reality of the revelation
CHAPTER 82, AL-INFITAR (THE SPLITTING)
Surah Al-Infitar (The Splitting) is named from the word in the first verse, Infitarat, which means to split or cleave asunder. Chapter 81 was revealed around the same time and both chapters are closely associated. Their subject matter is similar and together they give a very clear vision of the Last Day.
Verses 1-3 A Powerful Event
Verses 4-5 The Resurrection
Verses 6-8 A Wonderful Creation
Verses 9-12 Recording Angels
Verses 13-16 Righteous or Wicked?
Verses 17 -19 Consequences
CHAPTER 83, AL-MUTAFFIFIN (THOSE WHO DEAL IN FRAUD)
Surah Al-Mutaffifin (Those who Deal in fraud) threatens those who deal in fraud with a severe punishment in the Hereafter and contrasts that punishment with the delights that await the righteous.
This chapter can be divided into four distinct parts. The first part addresses those who deal in fraud and reminds them that they will stand before God. The second part establishes their guilt and aggression. The third part describes the rewards the righteous should anticipate, and in the final part the believers are consoled and the disbelievers warned. The name of the chapter is taken from the first verse.
Verses 1- 6 Morality is a part of faith
Verses 7-17 Recording the deeds of the wicked
Verses 18-28 A record of righteousness
Verses 29-36 The believers are consoled and the disbelievers warned
CHAPTER 84, AL-INSHIQAQ (THE SPLITTING APART)
Surah Al-Inshiqaq (The Splitting Apart) begins with a powerful opening takes its title from the first verse in reference to the ripping apart of the heavens, one of the events on the Day of Judgement. This is followed by an address to humankind, a description of significant scenes of life in this world, and then closes with the consequences of those who deny the message and those who accept it.
Verses 1-5 Scenes from the Day of Resurrection
Verses 6-15 God speaks to humankind
Verses 16-19 Scenes from the life of this world
Verses 20-25 An expression of wonder
CHAPTER 85, AL-BURUJ (THE GREAT CONSTELLATIONS)
Surah Al-Buruj (The Great Constellations) is taken from the first verse and refers to God’s power over the entire universe. It is God’s total power that is the recurring theme. The Great Constellations focuses on the essentials of faith and the importance of belief.
Verses 1-4 An oath
Verses 5-9 A story
Verses 10-11 The Hereafter
Verses 12-18 God’s supreme power
Verses 19-22 Surrounded by God
CHAPTER 86, AT-TARIQ (THE NIGHT VISITOR)
Surah At-Tariq (The Night Visitor) was revealed in Mecca at a time when the disbelievers were doing everything in their power to defeat and disrupt the message brought by Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him. The Night Visitor takes its name from a word in the first verse. This chapter covers two themes; that man must appear before God and that the Qur’an is the decisive indisputable word of God.
Verses 1-3 An oath
Verses 4-7 Ponder the miracles
Verses 8-10 Secrets laid bare
Verses 11-14 And in conclusion another oath
Verses 15-17 The best of planners is God
CHAPTER 87 AL-A’LA (THE MOST HIGH)
Surah Al-A’la (The Most Highh) includes the basic foundations of Islam and affirms that these foundations have well established roots in the previously revealed messages.
Verses 1- 3 Praise God
Verses 4 - 5 Imagery
Verses 6-7 Prophet Muhammad ﷺ will not forget
Verses 8-9 "We will ease you towards ease"
Verses 10-13 The Great Fire
Verses 14-17 Remembrance - Prayer
Verses 18 - 19 One Origin
CHAPTER 88: AL-GHASHIYAH (THE OVERWHELMING EVENT)
Surah Al-Ghashiyah (The Overwhelming Event) comes from the first verse. The Overwhelming Event is another name used for the Day of Judgement. The Arabic word Ghashiyah means something that covers entirely. Thus this overwhelming event will both overwhelm and cover the entire earth.
Verses 1-7 On that Day
Verses 8-16 Gardens of Paradise
Verses 17-20 The Wonders of nature
Verses 21-26 Admonition and accountability
CHAPTER 89 AL-FAJR (THE DAWN)
Surah Al-Fajr (The Dawn) takes its name from the first verse of the chapter. It was revealed in Mecca at a time when the Muslims were being persecuted. It begins with God swearing an oath that the tyrants of Mecca will be dealt with like those of the past. It then goes on to compare the destinies of the grateful and the ungrateful.
Verses 1-5 An oath
Verses 6-14 Consider the past
Verses 15-20 Social welfare
Verses 21-30 A powerful admonition
CHAPTER 90, AL-BALAD (THE CITY)
Surah Al-Balad (The City) is named for the word in the first verse ‘Al-Balad’, the city (Mecca). It was revealed when the disbelievers had convinced themselves it was acceptable to oppress and harass Prophet Muhammad ﷺ and his followers, especially the weaker members of society. The miraculous nature of the Qur’an is shown here when it manages to explain a vast subject, the true position of humankind, in just a few sentences. Each person is offered two distinct paths, one towards good, the other towards evil, and each individual is able to exercise free will by choosing his own path. He should therefore seek to do good deeds rather than indulge in arrogance and wastefulness.
Verses 1-3 Mecca, Prophet Muhammad ﷺ - humankind
Verses 4-7 This world is a test
Verses 8-10 Free will
Verses 11-16 What will make you understand?
Verses 17-18 Paradise
Verses 19 -20 Hellfire
CHAPTER 91, ASH-SHAMS (THE SUN)
Surah Ash-Shams (the Sun) comes from the description of the sun in the first verse and is primarily concerned with the establishment of faith and laid down the foundation beliefs of Islam. The central theme of this chapter is the choice between purifying or corrupting the soul, and the nation of Thamud is used as an example of corruption.
When recited in the Arabic the first fifteen verses have a rhyming style. These few short verses encompass a great truth, the nature of humankind and their inherent abilities to choose between right and wrong and decide their own fate.
Verses 1-10 Success or failure
Verses 11-15 The people of Thamud
CHAPTER 92, AL-LAYL (THE NIGHT)
Surah Al-Layl (The Night) adds yet another dimension to the basic foundations of Islam and closely resembles that of the preceding chapter. It looks at two different ways of life and explains the contrast between their ultimate ends. God warns that there are consequences for any path a person chooses to follow. Therefore, He offers us guidance to help us make the correct choices.
Verses 1-3 Three oaths
Verses 4-7 Those on the right path
Verses 8-11 Those who choose the wrong path
Verses 12- 13 God provides guidance
Verses 14-17 A warning
Verses 18-21 Those who are well content
CHAPTER 93, AD-DUHA (THE FORENOON)
Surah Ad-Duha (The Forenoon) was revealed in the very early period of revelation and addressed to Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him. God reassures him that he had not been forgotten even though there had been no revelation for some time. The temporary lull in revelations caused Prophet Muhammad ﷺ much grief and stress, thus the subject matter is designed to console Prophet Muhammad ﷺ and relieve his anxiety and distress. It reveals God’s tenderness and mercy and is a message of affection that soothes Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. The chapter reveals God to be benevolent; soothing pain and trouble, and filling humankind with contentment and hope.
When this chapter was revealed it came as a flow of mercy and compassion. It restored Prophet Muhammad’s ﷺ strength and reassured him.
Verses 1-4 An oath followed by reassurance
Verses 5-8 Three favors
Verses 9-11 Three demands
CHAPTER 94, ASH-SHARH (THE OPENING UP / THE EXPANSION)
Surah Ash-Sharh (The Opening Up or The Expansion) is taken from the first verse. It was revealed shortly after the previous chapter and is a continuation of the reassurance and encouragement given there to Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him. It gives us a glimpse of God’s love for Prophet Muhammad ﷺ and explains the measures He has taken out of concern for His messenger. There are also the glad tidings that relief will soon be upon Prophet Muhammad ﷺ.
Verse 1 Illuminating Prophet Muhamad’s path
Verses 2 - 3 Lightening Prophet Muhammad’s ﷺ burden
Verse 4 Exaltation of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ
Verses 5 - 6 Ease after every hardship
Verses 7 - 8 Longing for God and seeking solace in Him
CHAPTER 95, AT-TEEN (THE FIG)
Surah At-teen (The Fig) comes from the first words of the first verse and focus on the basics of Islam particularly the nature of the Hereafter. We are reminded that all messengers of God went through hardship. We are also taught that human beings are created in an excellent way and are able to endure hardship. People can reach high levels of both endurance and faith by following the examples set by the messengers. Although short, this chapter is one of the most in-depth chapters in regards to the nature of humankind. God created humankind to be in perfect harmony with faith. If people deviate from the straight path, they risk sinking to the lowest depths imaginable.
Verses 1-3 Three oaths
Verses 4 - 5 Human nature
Verses 6-8 Righteousness and judgement
CHAPTER 96, AL-‘ALAQ (THE CLINGING FORM)
Surah Al-ʿAlaq (The Clinging Form) first five verses are considered by most to be the first verses of the Qur’an to be revealed; the remaining verses were revealed later in the Meccan period when opposition to the revelation arose among the leaders of the Quraysh. This initial revelation is said to have taken place during the last third of the month of Ramadan, in 610 of the Christian era, twelve years before the migration to Madina (Hijrah) in 622, which marks the beginning of the Islamic calendar.
Verses 1-5 An injunction to read, seek knowledge, and learn how to write
Verses 6-8 The nature of man and his forgetfulness of the Hereafter
Verses 9-18 Threatening the transgressors
Verse 19 Comforting Prophet Muhammad ﷺ
CHAPTER 97, AL-QADR (THE NIGHT OF GLORY / POWER)
Surah Al-Qadr (The Night of Glory / Power) is famous for its declaration regarding the Night of Power (Laylat al-Qadr), during which the Qur’an was first revealed. This is universally believed to have occurred during the month of Ramadan, as stated in Qur’an 2:185.
Verse 1 The beginning of the revelation of the Qur’an
Verses 2-5 The virtues of the Night of Decree
CHAPTER 98, AL-BAYYINAH (THE CLEAR EVIDENCE)
Surah Al-Bayyinah (The Clear Evidence) covers a number of themes including the coming of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ why it was necessary to send him with a new revelation, and the importance of respecting and acting upon knowledge. This chapter takes its title from the closing words of the first verse-the clear evidence.
It also deals with a number of details about the history of faith. Prophet Muhammad ﷺ was essential to the reform of people since all of humanity had fallen into disbelief. The discord and conflict among the People of the Book did not arise out of ignorance rather they chose conflict even after they had been given clear evidence. And the religion of God is and has always been the same.
Verse 1 What brings about change
Verse 2 - 3 What is the clear evidence
Verse 4 Those that came before
Verse 5 The true religion
Verse 6 The worst of creation
Verse 7 The best of creation
Verse 8 Eternal delight
CHAPTER 99, AZ-ZALZALAH (THE EARTHQUAKE)
Surah Az-Zalzalah (The Earthquake) emphasise establishing an Islamic society. The earlier Meccan chapters presented the fundamentals of Islam in a concise and effective way, this included the final Judgment. This is one of a series of chapters that deal with scenes from the Day of Judgment. (Others include chapters 81, 82, and 101.)
Verses 1-3 Terror on the Day of Judgment
Verses 4 and 5 The earth bears witness
Verses 6-8 The Results
CHAPTER 100, AL-ADIYAT (THOSE THAT RUN)
Surah Al-Adiyat (Those that Run) is named from the words of the first verse describing charging war horses, or those that run. At the time of revelation, there was chaos and turmoil. Inter-tribal skirmishes and raids were a daily occurrence; thus the sight and sound of war horses was something that the people no doubt knew very well. The subject matter is designed to show how evil a person can become if he constantly denies the Hereafter.
Verses 1-6 An oath by magnificent horses
Verses 6-8 People are ungrateful
Verses 9-11 Intentions and actions have consequences
CHAPTER 101, AL-QARIAH (THE STRIKING HOUR)
Surah Al-Qariah (The Striking Hour) focuses on the fundamental beliefs of Islam. We are presented with scenes from the Day of Judgment and confronted by the possibility of a shocking outcome in the Hereafter. It deals with what takes place on that momentous Day and what it will lead too.
Verses 1-3 A startling blow
Verses 4-5 Moths and mountains
Verses 6-7 Heavy scales
Verses 8-9 Light scales
Verses 10-11 The abyss
CHAPTER 102, AT-TAKATHUR (STRIVING FOR MORE)
Surah At-Takathur (Striving for More) takes its name from the first verse and contain stern, sometimes violent, warnings with an emphasis on belief in God and the Day of Judgement, and descriptions of Paradise and Hell. They were revealed during the first years of the mission of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ when ignorance and polytheism were at their peak. We are told the reason why people will have such a terrifying end and God offers them advice.
Verse 1 The piling up
Verse 2 Pay attention now
Verses 3 - 4 Seeing the reality
Verse 5 Understand with certainty
Verses 6 - 7 With your own eyes
Verse 8 Questions
CHAPTER 103, AL-ASR (THE TIME)
Surah Al-Asr (The Time) summarizes the path to success in a few words.
Verses 1-2 The condition of the disbelievers
Verse 3 The condition of the believers and the basics of salvation
CHAPTER 104, AL-HUMAZAH (THE BACKBITER)
Surah Al-Humazah (The Backbiter), deal extensively with the concept of Hell. However, although there are ten more chapters to follow, this is the last one that mentions or describes the fires of Hell. Here Hell is described in such a way that we are able to experience its ferocious power with all our senses. One significant lesson is that success does not lie in the accumulation of wealth rather it lies in the remembrance of God.
Verse 1 A woeful situation
Verse 2 - 3 Great wealth does not make you immortal
Verses 4 - 5 Do you know what the crusher is?
Verse 6 A fire kindled by God
Verse 7 A fire raging over the heart
Verses 8 - 9 Towering columns
CHAPTER 105, AL-FIL (THE ELEPHANT)
Surah Al-Fil-(The-Elephant) refers to a very famous incident that took place in the Arabian Peninsula in the same year Prophet Muhammad ﷺ was born. It demonstrates how God protected the land that was to become the focal point of the last revelation. It is described briefly because it was an event still clear in the minds of those living in Mecca and the surrounding areas. The entire city had to be evacuated because of the coming aggression.
This chapter was revealed in the very earliest days of revelation. When Islam was first presented to the people of Mecca they were all non-believers. Although it was revealed for all people in all times, the Meccans were the first to hear the message. Yes they believed in God but had put intermediaries between themselves and God. The early revelations taught the people that God was One; He has no intercessors, partners or associates.
Verse 1 The Army of the Elephant
Verse 2 Futility
Verses 3-4 Flocks of birds
Verse 5 Devastation
CHAPTER 106, QURAISH
Surah Quraish refers to the tribe of Quraish mentioned in the first verse. The Quraish was the ruling tribe in Mecca at the time of the birth of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him. They were a tribe of merchants and were the custodians of the Kaba. The chapter has a particularly close association with the previous chapter The Elephant.
Verses 1 - 2 Safety and security
Verses 3 - 4 Worship and be grateful
CHAPTER 107, AL-MA’UN (THE SMALL KINDNESS)
Surah Al-Ma’un (The Small Kindness) is named after the final words of the final verse. A small action apparently insignificant but holding much weight in the eyes of God. The chapter is concerned with two of the core teachings of Islam, how you pray and how you give. These two things show your connection to the Hereafter and whether or not you believe with certainty in the judgment of God.
Verses 1-3 Those who deny the Judgment
Verses 4-7 Those who are heedless in prayer.
CHAPTER 108, AL-KAWTHAR (ABUNDANCE)
Surah Al-Kawthar (Abundance) exclusively concerns Prophet Muhammad ﷺ seeking to cheer him up and assure him of happier prospects in his struggle. It represents a glimpse of his life and the course of his mission in the early period at Mecca. God threatens his enemies with destruction while directing the Prophet to the path of thanksgiving. It deals with the plots and insults directed against him and the divine message he conveys. The chapter is an example of God’s protection of His servant, Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, and the few who followed him and believed in God.
Verse 1 God’s blessings on Prophet Muhammad ﷺ
Verse 2 Commanding the Prophet to be sincere in worshipping God and offering sacrifice to Him alone
Verse 3 God defends His Prophet Muhammad ﷺ
CHAPTER 109, AL-KAFIROON (THE DISBELIEVERS)
Surah Al-Kafiroon (The Disbelievers) was revealed to cut all arguments short and to firmly distinguish between one the Islamic form of worship and others, and was revealed in a decisive, assertive tone.
Verses 1-5 The believers denounce the disbeliever’s false gods
Verse 6 Belief and disbelief and religious pluralism
CHAPTER 110, AN-NASR (THE HELP)
Surah An-Nasr (The-Help) is believed to be one of the last revealed and is taken from the word ‘help’ (nasr) that occurs in the first of three verses. When we read the chapters of the Qur’an chronologically we find that this chapter is directly connected to both the previous and the following chapters. In the previous chapter ‘The Disbelievers’ (Al-Kafirun), Prophet Muhammad ﷺ is told to separate completely from the people of Mecca who refused to embrace Islam. In ‘The Help’ Prophet Muhammad ﷺ and those who followed him are guaranteed victory.
Verse 1 The victory belongs to God
Verse 2 The message is clear
Verse 3 How to seek forgiveness
CHAPTER 111, AL-MASAD (THE PALM FIBER / THE FLAMES)
Surah Al-Masad (The Palm Fiber / The Flames) was revealed as a counterattack against Abu Lahab’s, the uncle of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, and his wife’s hostile campaign. God took it upon Himself to say the final word on behalf of His Messenger. Together with his wife, Abu Lahab was one of the most hostile opponents of God’s Messenger and the ideas he propagated.
Verses 1-3 The punishment of Abu Lahab
Verses 4-5 The punishment of his wife
CHAPTER 112: AL-IKHLAS (SINCERITY)
Surah Al-Ikhlas (Sincerity) affirms the uniqueness, independence and nature of God.
Verse 1 Say: “He is Allah, the Unique.”
Verse 2 “Allah, the Self-Sufficient.”
Verse 3 “He does not give birth, nor was He born.”
Verse 4 “And there is none equal to Him.”
CHAPTER 113, AL-FALAQ (THE DAYBREAK)
Surah Al-Falaq (The Daybreak) is the penultimate chapter in Qur’an and is the first in a pair of chapters that were revealed at the same time. Their subject matter and themes are similar and they are known together as the ‘chapters of refuge’ against harm caused by envy and jealousy and the evils that are out of our control.
Verse 1 Seeking refuge with the Creator of everything
Verse 2 Refuge with God from all evil
Verse 3 Protection from the evil that comes out in the darkness
Verse 4 Protection from sorcery
Verse 5 Protection from jealousy
CHAPTER 114, AN-NAS (THE PEOPLE)
Surah An-Nas (The People) is the final chapter of Qur’an and is named for the last word in the first verse where God refers to Himself as the Lord of all the people. It urges believers to seek refuge from the one who is the most jealous and causes the most jealousy and envy in the hearts of the people-Satan. In this chapter, the evils are such that we are liable for them ourselves thus to a certain extent these are the greater evils, as we can control them.
Verse 1-3 The Lord, King, and God
Verses 4-6 The whisperer