This page contains all verses of surah Al-Mulk in addition to Interpretation of all verses by Maarif-ul-Quran (Mufti Muhammad Shafi). In the first part you can read surah الملك ordered in pages exactly as it is present in the Quran. To read an interpretation of a verse click on its number.
The Virtues of Surah Al-Mulk
Prophetic Tradition has named this Surah as Waqiyah (protector) and Munjiyah (saviour) as well. In a Tradition, the Holy Prophet ﷺ is reported to have said:
ھِیَ المانعۃ المنجیۃ تنجیہ من عذاب القبر
"It [ the Surah ] is the protector and saviour which will rescue and redeem him who recites it from the torment of the grave." [ Transmitted by Tirmidhi who has graded it as 'liasan, gharib' as quoted by Qurtubl ]
Sayyidna Ibn ` Abbas ؓ reports that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said:
"It is my heart's desire that Surah Al-Mulk be in every believer's heart." [ Tha` labi ]
Sayyidna Abu Hurairah ؓ narrates that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ has said:
"Verily, there is a Surah in the Book of Allah (Qur'an) containing thirty verses that will intercede on behalf of him who recites it until he is rescued from Hell and admitted to Paradise; and it is Surah Tabarak." [ Qurtubi cites it from Tirmidhi ].
تَبَارَكَ الَّذِي بِيَدِهِ الْمُلْكُ وَهُوَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ (Glorious is the One in whose hand is the Kingdom [ of the whole universe ], and He is powerful over every thing...67:1). The word Tabaraka is derived from barakah, which literally means 'to grow' or 'increase'. When it is related to Allah, it signifies 'to be highest in all respects' and it conveys a meaning similar to Allahu Akbar 'Allah is the Highest'.
بِيَدِهِ الْمُلْكُ (in Whose hand is the Kingdom): The word Yad (hand) is attributed to Allah at many places in the Qur'an, whereas He is beyond having a body, limbs or organs. As a result, the word must, of necessity, be taken as one of the mutashabihat. We need to believe in its reality, but it is not possible for anyone to grasp its exact nature. It is improper to pursue this subject. The word Mulk (Kingdom) refers to the Kingdom of the whole universe, of the heavens and the earth and of the mortal world as well as of the Hereafter.
The verse under comment refers to four of the Divine attributes. Firstly, His existence; secondly, His comprehending all the attributes of perfection and being most Exalted; thirdly, His being the ruler of the heavens and earth; and fourthly, His having power over everything. The verses that follow are adduced as proofs of these attributes, which become clear by pondering over the creation of Allah. Therefore, the next verses refer to the various types of creation in the universe as proofs positive of the existence and Oneness of Allah and His all-encompassing knowledge and power. To begin with, reference is made to those proofs of the divine omnipotence that are available in human beings themselves who are the noblest creation in the universe. The words الَّذِي خَلَقَ الْمَوْتَ وَالْحَيَاةَ (the One who created death and life) are meant for this purpose, (as will be explained shortly). Then, several verses (3 to 5) invite consideration to the creation of heavens to find proofs of Allah's omnipotence. Thereafter, verses 15 and 16 call our attention to the creation of the earth and its benefits. Lastly, the creatures living in the heavenly atmosphere, that is, the birds are mentioned in verse 19.
In short, the basic subject of the Surah is to prove the existence of Allah and His perfect knowledge and power by inviting consideration to the marvels of this universe. However, as a subsidiary subject, some other realities are also mentioned like punishment for unbelievers and reward for believers.
The proofs of the divine knowledge and power found in the man himself are indicated in the following two words:
The Reality of Life and Death
خَلَقَ الْمَوْتَ وَالْحَيَاةَ (...the One who created death and life...67:2) Out of the human conditions, only two phenomena, i.e. life and death are mentioned here, because they cover all of human conditions and actions of his entire life. The creation of 'life' is quite obvious, because life is a positive reality that can be the object of creation and bringing into existence. However, one may ask how 'death' can be 'created', while it is a negative concept that refers to a state of non-existence. In answer to this question, the leading commentators have come up with different explanations. The most plausible one is that 'death' is not a state of pure non-existence. It actually refers to the removal of soul from the body and its transfer from one place to another. Thus it is a positive phenomenon. Just as 'life' is a phenomenon that relates to a human body, 'death' too is a phenomenon that overtakes him. Sayyidna ` Abdullah Ibn ` Abbas ؓ and other leading commentators have mentioned that 'life' and 'death' are two corporal entities. 'Death' has the corporal shape of a ram, and 'life' that of a mare. This statement apparently interprets the authentic Tradition which states that when the inmates of Paradise will have entered Paradise, and the inmates of Hell will have entered Hell, death will be brought in the form of a ram and will be slaughtered near Sirat (the Bridge) and it will be announced that there shall be no more death, and every one shall remain in the same state eternally as he or she will have attained. It may not necessarily be deduced from this Tradition that 'death' is a corporal entity in the mortal world also. There are many abstract conditions and actions in this world, which will assume concrete shapes and bodies in the Hereafter. This is verified by many authentic Traditions. 'Death', which is a condition that overtakes man, will also assume the shape of a concretised ram and will be slaughtered. [ Qurtubi ]
Tafsir Mazhari has stated that although 'death' is a negative phenomenon, it is not pure non-existence. It is a state of non-existence for a thing that will at some time come into existence. All such non-existent things have shapes in the World of Similitudes عالم المثال [ lam-ul-Mithal ] before coming into existence in the realm of creation عالم الناسوت[` Alam-un nasut ]. Such non-existent things are called a: الاعیان الثابتہ al-A` yan-uth-Thabitah. On account of these shapes, they do have some sort of existence even before they come into perceived existence. The existence of the World of Similitude [` Alam-ul-Mithal ] has been proved by the commentator through various ahadith. And Allah knows best!
Various Categories of Death and Life
It is stated in Tafsir Mazhari that Allah, with His Supreme Power and Consummate Wisdom, has divided His creation into different types. Each one is awarded 'life' befitting its type. The perfect and consummate life is awarded to man, which has been invested with the capability to recognise the Divine Being and His Attributes to a specific degree. It is on the basis of this recognition that he is made liable to carry out the sacred laws of Shari` ah, which has been termed by the Qur'an as a 'trust'. The heavens, the earth and the mountains feared to bear the burden of this trust but man, on account of his God-given capability, bore it. The antonym of this type of 'life' is the particular type of 'death', which is mentioned in the verse:
أَوَمَن كَانَ مَيْتًا فَأَحْيَيْنَاهُ
'Could it be that the one who was dead and We gave him life. [ 6:122] '
In this verse, a non-believer is referred to as 'dead' and a believer as 'alive', because a non-believer has wasted his 'recognition of Allah' that was the essential characteristic of this type of life. In other types or species of creation, this quality of life is absent, but they do possess senses and capability of movement, which is the second category of life. The antonym of this degree of life is the 'death' referred to by the Qur'an thus:
كُنتُمْ أَمْوَاتًا فَأَحْيَاكُمْ ۖ ثُمَّ يُمِيتُكُمْ ثُمَّ يُحْيِيكُمْ
'...you were lifeless and He gave you life, then He will make you die, then make you live again. [ 2:28]
In this context, 'life' refers to the ability to sense and move, and 'death' refers to its cessation. Some of the existent entities do not even possess the ability of sensing and movement. They merely possess the capability of growth as in the case of trees and vegetables. 'Life' is attributed to them as well in a limited sense (of growing), and as opposed to this, their 'death' is to lose the ability to grow. In this sense, the Holy Qur'an has used the words 'life' and 'death' in the following verse:
يُحْيِي الْأَرْضَ بَعْدَ مَوْتِهَا
'...how He brings the dead earth back to life. [ 30:50] '.
These degrees of life are confined to humankind, the animal kingdom and the vegetable kingdom. No other species of creation possesses these qualities of life. Therefore, idols made of stones are referred to in the Qur'an as
أَمْوَاتٌ غَيْرُ أَحْيَاءٍ
'- dead, having no life_[ 16:21]
Nevertheless, inorganic matters too have a special (though very limited) element of 'life', which is necessary to the concept of existence. It is due to this element of 'life' that the Holy Qur'an says
وَإِن مِّن شَيْءٍ إِلَّا يُسَبِّحُ بِحَمْدِهِ
'...And there is not a single thing that does not extol His purity and praise. [ 17:44]
This analysis also explains why 'death' in the above verse has been mentioned before 'life'. The reason seems to be that death or non-existence is the state that comes before life. In other words, everything that came into existence was the beginning in a state of lifelessness or non-existence, then it was awarded life.
Another explanation of mentioning 'death' before 'life' could be that the verse itself has declared that the purpose of creating human death and life is 'test',
لِيَبْلُوَكُمْ أَيُّكُمْ أَحْسَنُ عَمَلًا
'...so that He may test you as to which of you is better in deeds. [ 2]
This test is more important and is of greater significance in 'death' rather than in 'life', because the one who thinks of death constantly will have the tendency to do more and more righteous deeds. No doubt, the element of test is available in 'life' too, because every step of one's life reminds him of his own inability and powerlessness as against Allah's absolute power, which creates in him the tendency to act righteously. The thought of death, however, is most effective in correcting one's conduct. Sayyidna ` Ammar Ibn Yasir reports a Prophetic Hadith which says:
کفٰی بالموت وَاعِظَاً و کفٰی بالیقین غِنَی
"Death is sufficient as a preacher, and certitude is sufficient as a cause of being free from needs." [ Transmitted by Tabarani ]
This signifies that witnessing the death of friends and relatives is the most effective preacher. If that does not exert any influence on one, nothing else will. And he whom Allah has granted the wealth of faith and certitude is the most need-free person.
Sayyidna Rabi` Ibn Anas ؓ has stated that the thought of 'death' makes man disgusted with this world and makes him inclined towards the Hereafter.
لِيَبْلُوَكُمْ أَيُّكُمْ أَحْسَنُ عَمَلًا (...so that He may test you as to which of you is better in deeds.... 67:2). It should be noted here that Allah did not say 'which of you does more deeds', but said 'which of you is better in deeds'. This indicates that it is not the quantity of actions that counts, but rather the quality of actions, that is, their being righteous and acceptable in the sight of Allah. That is why man's actions will not be counted on the Day of Judgment, but they will be weighed. In some instances, the weight of one action would be heavier than a thousand actions.
What is a Good Action?
Sayyidna Ibn ` Umar ؓ said that once the Holy Prophet ﷺ recited verse [ 2] and when he reached the words "better in deeds", he stopped and explained that 'better in deeds' is the person who abstains most from the things Allah has forbidden and is always ready to obey Him. [ Qurtubi ]
ارْجِعِ الْبَصَرَ هَلْ تَرَىٰ مِن فُطُورٍ (So, cast your eye again. Do you see any rifts?...67:3). Apparently, this verse shows that it is possible to see the nearest sky with the naked eyes. Sky, in this context, does not necessarily refer to the bluish atmosphere seen over the earth. In fact, the sky may be very much higher than this, and the bluish colour may be that of the upper atmosphere, as claimed by the scientists. This, on the other hand, does not necessarily imply that the sky cannot be seen at all. It is possible that the bluish atmosphere, on account of being transparent, may not block the vision of the actual sky. However, if it is proved by any evidence that the sky cannot be seen with eyes, then the 'casting ones eyes' in this verse would refer to 'intellectual observation'. [ Bayan-ul-Qur’ an ]
وَلَقَدْ زَيَّنَّا السَّمَاءَ الدُّنْيَا بِمَصَابِيحَ وَجَعَلْنَاهَا رُجُومًا لِّلشَّيَاطِينِ (And We have decorated the nearest sky with lamps, and have made them devices to stone the devils, and We have prepared for them the punishment of Hell....67:5). The word 'masabih' (translated above as 'lamps' ) stands for 'stars'. The fact that the sky is decorated with stars does not necessarily imply that they should be studded with them inside or under the sky. The decoration is available also to the situation when the stars are far below the sky in space as modern research has proved it by observation. This is not contradictory to the classical interpretation.
The statement '[ We ] have made them [ stars ] devices to stone the devils' probably implies that some fiery matters originating from the stars are used to shoot at them, and the stars themselves remain intact in their position. Since this illuminated matter seems to the common people as 'falling stars'. [ Qurtubi ]. This further shows that devils who attempt to eavesdrop on celestial conversations for information are driven away before they can reach the stars. [ Qurtubi ]. Thus far evidence and proofs of Allah's consummate knowledge and power were adduced with reference to the various types of creation. In the verses that follow the subject of punishment for unbelievers and of re-ward for believers and the obedient is taken up, thus:
وَلِلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا بِرَبِّهِمْ عَذَابُ جَهَنَّمَ (And for those who disbelieve, there is the punishment of Jahannam ...67:6). The subject runs through seven verses. Thereafter, the subject of Divine knowledge and power is revisited.