This page contains all verses of surah Al-Ghaafir in addition to Interpretation of all verses by Maarif-ul-Quran (Mufti Muhammad Shafi). In the first part you can read surah غافر ordered in pages exactly as it is present in the Quran. To read an interpretation of a verse click on its number.
Surah A1-Mu'min: Characteristics and Merits From here (40) to Surah Al-Ahqaf (46) starts a series of seven Surahs that begin with the isolated letters: حم (Ha Meem). These are called: اَل حٰمٓ('Al Ha Mim) or حوامیم (hawamim). Sayyidna ` Abdullah Ibn Masud ؓ said, اَل حٰم ('Al Ha Mim) is: دیباج القرآن (dibaj-ul- Qur’ an): Dibaj, in Arabic, is the cloth of pure silk, and here it signifies embellishment. Mis'ar Ibn Kidam says, 'These are called: عَرَایٔس (ara'is: brides).' Sayyidna Ibn ` Abbas ؓ said, 'Every thing has an essence. The essence of the Qur'an lies in اَل حٰم ('Al Ha Mim) ' or said, حوامیم۔ (hawamim).' All these reports appear in Fada'il-ul-Qur'an by the great scholar, Abu ` Ubaid Qasim Ibn Sallam.
And Sayyidna ` Abdullah (Ibn Mas` ad) ؓ said that the example of the Qur'an is similar to that of a person who started out to look for a place where he and his family could live. Here, he finds some green open land and is pleased with it. Then, he moves ahead, and finds gardens and settling places far more verdant and growth-prone. He says, 'I was wondering about the greenery produced by rains that I saw first, but these are more wonderful'. Then, it would be said to him, 'The first all green layout is like the Qur'an in general, and the gardens and lodges are like اَل حٰم (` Al Ha Meem) from out of the Qur'an.' Therefore, Sayyidna ` Abdullah Ibn Masud ؓ said, 'As for me, when I, during the recitation of the Qur'an, arrive at: اَل حٰم (` Al Ha Meem), it is as if I am enjoying myself.'
Protection against everything unwelcome
Al-Bazzar, quoting his own chains of authority in his Musnad, reports from Sayyidna Abu Hurairah ؓ that the Holy Prophet ﷺ said, "A person who has recited the 'Ayah of Kursiyy and the first three verses (1-3) of Surah Al-Mu'min up to:إِلَيْهِ الْمَصِيرُ (ilaihil-masir: To Him is the return) early during the day, he (or she) will, on that day, remain safe from everything bad and painful.' It has also been reported by Tirmidhi, though, one of the reporting links in the chain of authority is doubtful. (Ibn Kathir, page 69, volume 4)
Protection against an enemy
There appears a narration from Sayyidna Muhallab Ibn Abi Safrah ؓ in Abu Dawud and Tirmidhi through a chain rated as 'Sahib' in which he said, 'it was reported to me by a person who had himself heard the Holy Prophet ﷺ saying (on the occasion of some Jihad concerning a night vigil) that 'should you be attacked at the time of night, you recite: حٰم لَا یُنصَرُونَ (Ha Mim la yunsarun) which means reciting (Ha Meem) and praying that the enemy does not succeed. Then there are some narrations in which this formulation appears as: حٰم لَا یُنصَرُوا (Ha Meem la yunsaru -without the letter: of (nun) at the end) the outcome of which is that, 'should you say: حٰم (Ha Meem), the enemy will not succeed.' From this we learn that حٰم (Ha Meem) serves as a fortress against the enemy. (Ibn Kathir)
A strange event
Thabit Bunani says, 'I was with Sayyidna Mus` ab Ibn Zubayr ؓ in a certain section of the city of Kufah. I walked into a garden to make two raka’ at of salah there. Before I would start my salah, I recited the verses of Ha Meem Al-Mu'min (40:1-3) حم ﴿1﴾ تَنزِيلُ الْكِتَابِ مِنَ اللَّـهِ الْعَزِيزِ الْعَلِيمِ ﴿2﴾ غَافِرِ الذَّنبِ وَقَابِلِ التَّوْبِ شَدِيدِ الْعِقَابِ ذِي الطَّوْلِ ۖ لَا إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ ۖ إِلَيْهِ الْمَصِيرُ ﴿3﴾ up. Of a sudden, I saw a man in Yemeni attire astride a white mule standing behind me. This man said to me, 'when you say: غَافِرِ الذَّنبِ (ghafiradh-dhanbi: Forgiver of sins), with it, you should pray: یاغَافِرِ الذَّنبِ اِغفِرلِی (ya ghafiradh-dhanbi, ighfirli: 0 Forgiver of sins, forgive me). And when you say: (qabilit-tawbi: Accepter of repentance), you should pray: یا قَابِلِ التَّوْبِ اقبَل تَوبَتِی (ya qabilata-tawbi, iqbal tawbati: 0 Accepter of repentance, accept my repentance). After that, when you say: شَدِيدِ الْعِقَابِ (shadidil-'iqabi: Severe in punishment), you should pray: یَا شَدِيدِ الْعِقَابِ لَا تُعَاقِبنِی (ya shadidal-` igabi, la tu'aqibni: 0 Allah, severe in punishment, please do not punish me). And when you say: ذِي الطَّوْلِ (dhit-tawli: Source of all power), you should pray: یَا ذِي الطَّوْلِ طُل عَلَیَّ بِخَیرِ (ya dhat-tawli, tul ` alaiyya bikhayr: 0 source of power, bestow the best on me).
Thabit Bunani says, 'After having heard this good counsel from him, when I looked back at him, there was no one there. Looking for him, I went to the gate of the garden. I asked people there if they had seen a person in Yemeni attire passing through here. Everyone said that they had not seen anyone like that.' In another narration from Thabit Bunani, it has also been said that people think this person was Sayyidna Ilyas (علیہ السلام) while it has not been mentioned in the other. (Ibn Kathir)
The effect of these verses in reforming people, and a great directive of Sayyidna ` Umar ؓ
Ibn Kathir has reported on the authority of Ibn Abi Hatim that there was a man of strong and dignified bearing among the Syrians who used to visit Sayyidna ` Umar ؓ . When he did not show up for a longer than usual period of time, Sayyidna ` Umar inquired about him. People said, 'ya amiral-mu'minin, please do not ask about him. He has become a drunkard. Sayyidna ` Umar ؓ called his scribe and dictated a letter to him in which he said:
من عمر بن الخطاب الی فلان بن فلان ۔ سلام علیک فانی احمد الیک اللہ الذی لا اَلٰہ اَلِّا ھو غافر الذَّنب و قابل التَّوب شدید العقاب ذی الطول لَا اِلٰہَ اِلَّا ھُو اِلَیہِ المَصیرُ ۔
"From ` Umar son of al-Khattab to --- son of ---. salamun ` alaik, peace on you. After that, I praise Allah before you, other than whom there is no god worthy of worship. He is the One who forgives sins and accepts repentance, the One who is severe in punishment, the One who is the source of all power. There is no god but He. To Him is the ultimate return (of all)."
Then he turned toward those around him and said, 'Let us all join in to pray for him that Allah Ta’ ala reverses his heart and accepts his repentance.' Sayyidna ` Umar ؓ had instructed the messenger who was to deliver his letter that he was not to hand over the letter to the person addressed until such time that he became sober, and that he was not to hand over the letter to anyone other than the person intended to receive it. So, when this person received this letter, he read it repeatedly and thoughtfully while realizing that it carried a warning of punishment against him with a concurrent promise of forgiveness for him. Then he started weeping. Finally, he stopped drinking and made such a firm taubah that he never touched it again.
When Sayyidna ` Umar ؓ learnt about the effective manifestation of these words, he said to people around, 'In such matters, you too should do the same. When some brother falls into some slip of conduct, think of ways to bring him back to his normal and better self. Prompt him to turn to Allah, to place his trust in Him, to rely on His mercy. Pray to Allah for him, pray that he is enabled to repent and make his taubah. And do not become an accomplice of Shaitan against him (that is, if you chide him or infuriate him and thereby estrange him from his religion, then, you would actually be helping the Shaitan). (Ibn Kathir)
For people who work for the betterment of Allah's creation and serve in the field of tabligh and da'wah, this verse offers great guidance. Here is a person you would love to become a better person. First, you yourself pray for him. Then, use soft ways to bring him towards that betterment. Do not be aggressive towards him, for it would do no good to him, in fact, it would amount to helping the Shaitan, for he would push him onto more ways of error.
Explanation of Verses
Some commentators have said that: حٰم (Ha Meem) is the name of Allah Ta’ ala. But, in the sight of early authorities, these isolated letters (al-huruf-ul-muqatta` at) are all from the category of: مُتَشابِھَات (mutashabihat: of hidden meaning). Their meanings are known to Allah Ta’ ala alone - or, that they are a secret between Allah Ta’ ala and the Holy Prophet ﷺ .
The expression: غَافِرِ الذَّنبِ وَقَابِلِ التَّوْبِ (ghafiridh-dhanb) in verse 3: all literally means the one who puts a cover on sins (in the sense that they are no more seen or known by anyone), and: قَابِلِ التَّوْبِ (gabilit-tawb) means: He who accepts taubah or repentance. These two expressions appear separately, though the sense of both appears to be almost the same. The reason is that by saying: غَافِرِ الذَّنبِ (ghafiridh-dhanb), the purpose is to indicate that Allah Ta’ ala does already possess the standing authority and power to forgive the sin of a servant even without taubah - while forgiving those who repent is yet another attribute of Allah. (Mazhari)
The word: طَول (tawl) which follows immediately in: ذِي الطَّوْلِ (dhit-tawl) literally means vastness and being need-free. Then, it could also mean power or favor. (Mazhari)
In verse 4, it was said: مَا يُجَادِلُ فِي آيَاتِ اللَّـهِ إِلَّا الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا (No one quarrels about the verses of Allah, except those who disbelieve.). This verse declares quarreling in the matter of the Qur'an an act of kufr (disbelief). And the Holy Prophet ﷺ has said: اِنَّ جِدَالأ فِی القُراٰنِ کُفرُ (Surely, quarreling (jidal) in the Qur'an is kufr.' (Reported by al-Baghawi, al-Baihaqi in ash-Shu'ab from Sayyidna Abu Hurairah ؓ ; and reported by Abu Dawud and al-Hakim who has rated it as 'Sahib- Mazhari)
It appears in Hadith that, on a certain day, the Holy Prophet ﷺ heard two persons quarreling about some verse of the Qur'an. He got angry, and came out with his blessed face showing the signs of anger. He said, 'communities before you were ruined because they had started quarreling in the matter of the Book of Allah.' (Reported by Muslim from ` Abdullah Ibn ` Amr Ibn Shu'aib - Mazhari)
This جِدَال (jidal) declared as: کُفر (kufr) by the Qur'an, and Hadith, means throwing taunts, passing sarcastic remarks, engineering disputes over self-invented and absurd doubts, or to give such meaning of a verse of the Qur'an as is counter to other verses of the Qur'an and to the binding textual imperatives of Sunnah - something that amounts to alteration in the Qur'an. Otherwise, any honest inquiry about something ambiguous or vague, or trying to find a solution of a difficult word or expression, or to mutually investigate and discuss possibilities while deducing injunctions and rulings from the text of some verse are things not included under this jidal, in fact, it is an act of thawab (reward) in its own place (al-Qadi al-Baidawi, Qurtubi and Mazhari).
In the last sentence of verse 4, it was said: فَلَا يَغْرُرْكَ تَقَلُّبُهُمْ فِي الْبِلَادِ their [ prosperous ] movements in the cities should not deceive you.). The kuffar (disbelievers) from the tribe of Quraish used to travel to Yemen during winter and to Syria in summer with their trading caravans. They were held in esteem all over Arabia because of their services to Baytullah at Makkah, therefore, they remained safe during their travels and profited from their commercial ventures. This was the backbone of their wealth and territorial power. That this state of affairs with them kept continuing despite the challenge from Islam and the Holy Prophet ﷺ was a matter of pride for them - 'Had we been the culprits in the sight of Allah, all these blessings would have been taken away from us!' This situation could have made even some Muslims easy victims of doubt. Therefore, in this verse, it was said that Allah Ta’ ala had granted them a temporary respite in His wisdom and under His expedient consideration. So, let Muslims not be deceived by this leash given to them. Once this period of respite is over, they are going to be visited by a punishment, and this territorial power of theirs is going to be taken away from them. This started from the Battle of Badr, and up to the Conquest of Makkah, the foreboding manifested itself fully and conclusively within a span of six years.
In verse 7, it was said: الَّذِينَ يَحْمِلُونَ الْعَرْشَ وَمَنْ حَوْلَهُ (Those who are bearing the Throne and those who are around it). The present count of angels who bear the Throne (arsh) is four and, on the day of Qiyamah (the Day of Judgment), they will be eight, and only Allah knows the number of angels around the ` arsh. Some Hadith narrations give the number of their rows that reaches several hundred thousand. They are called: کرّوبِی (karrubi, [ Heb. Kerubh or kerub ], plural: [ Eng. Cherubin, or Cherubim, Heb. Cherubim ]). They are angels close to Allah. In this verse, it has been said that all these angels close to Allah pray for all believers, particularly those who repent from their sins and follow the Shari'ah of the Holy Prophet ﷺ . Either Allah Ta’ ala has appointed them to perform this task, or their nature is such that they keep praying for the good servants of Allah. Therefore, Sayyidna Mutarrif Ibn ` Abdullah Ibn Shikhkhir said that out of all servants of Allah, the angels of Allah are the foremost among those who wish well for believers. Firstly, they pray for them. They implore Allah to forgive them, to save them from the punishment of Jahannam and to admit them to the everlasting gardens of Jannah. Along with it, they also pray for: وَمَن صَلَحَ مِنْ آبَائِهِمْ وَأَزْوَاجِهِمْ وَذُرِّيَّاتِهِمْ those as well who did good from among their fathers and wives and children. - 40:8), that is, also admit anyone from among their fathers and forefathers, and their wives, and their children - who meet the criterion of goodness that makes them deserving of forgiveness, a criterion that requires that they should have departed from the mortal world while adhering to their 'iman or faith - yes, admit them too with the same believers into the Jannah.
This tells us that one's 'iman or faith is the basic condition of salvation (najah). After 'iman come other good deeds. The relatives of Muslim believers - fathers, grandfathers or wives and children - even if they are ranked lower than them, such is the munificence of Allah Ta’ ala that He would, in deference to them, also let the relatives of a lesser rank be along with them in Jannah, so that their happiness becomes total and complete as it has been said in another verse of the Qur'an appearing elsewhere:... (We will join their children with them - At-Tur, 52:21).
Said Ibn Jubayr has said, 'When a believer goes to Jannah, he will ask about his father, son, brother and others, and would want to know where they are. He will be told that their deeds were not like yours (therefore, they will not be there). He will say, 'whatever good I did (was not for me alone), in fact, it was for me and them both.' Then, the command will come, 'admit them too into the Jannah.' (Ibn Kathir)
After having reported this Hadith narration in Tafsir Mazhari, the author said, 'this 'mawquf (a Hadith mawquf or restricted tradition from a Companion who does not connect it to the Holy Prophet ﷺ) has the same authority and force as 'marfu" (a Hadith marfu` is a tradition attributed to the Holy Prophet ﷺ) and is explicit on the point that 'doing good' that is held as a pre-condition for having this privilege means 'Iman' or adhering to the true faith.