Surah As-Saff: Reading and Tafsir and Download

This page contains all verses of surah As-Saff in addition to Interpretation of all verses by Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Hafiz Ibn Kathir). In the first part you can read surah الصف ordered in pages exactly as it is present in the Quran. To read an interpretation of a verse click on its number.

Information About Surah As-Saff

Tafsir of Surah As-Saff (Tafsir Ibn Kathir: Hafiz Ibn Kathir)

English Translation

Whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth exalts Allah, and He is the Exalted in Might, the Wise.

English Transliteration

Sabbaha lillahi ma fee alssamawati wama fee alardi wahuwa alAAazeezu alhakeemu

Which was revealed in Madina

The Virtues of Surat As-Saff

Imam Ahmad recorded that `Abdullah bin Salam said, "We asked, `Who among us should go to the Messenger and ask him about the dearest actions to Allah' None among us volunteered. The Messenger sent a man to us and that man gathered us and recited this Surah, Surat As-Saff, in its entirety."'

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَـنِ الرَّحِيمِ

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

Chastising Those Who say what They do not do

We mentioned in many a places before the meaning of Allah's statement,

سَبَّحَ لِلَّهِ مَا فِى السَّمَـوَتِ وَمَا فِى الاٌّرْضِ وَهُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ

(Whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever is on the earth glorifies Allah. And He is the Almighty, the All-Wise.) Therefore, we do not need to repeat its meaning here. Allah's statement,

يأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ لِمَ تَقُولُونَ مَا لاَ تَفْعَلُونَ

(O you who believe! Why do you say that which you do not do) This refutes those who neglect to fulfill their promises. This honorable Ayah supports the view that several scholars of the Salaf held, that it is necessary to fulfill the promise, regardless of whether the promise includes some type of wealth for the person receiving the promise or otherwise. They also argue from the Sunnah, with the Hadith recorded in the Two Sahihs in which Allah's Messenger said,

«آيَةُ الْمُنَافِقِ ثَلَاثٌ: إِذَا وَعَدَ أَخْلَفَ، وَإِذَا حَدَّثَ كَذَبَ، وَإِذَا اؤْتُمِنَ خَان»

(There are three signs for a hypocrite: when he promises, he breaks his promise; when speaks, he lies; and when he is entrusted, he betrays.) And in another Hadith in the Sahih,

«أَرْبَعٌ مَنْ كُنَّ فِيهِ كَانَ مُنَافِقًا خَالِصًا،وَمَنْ كَانَتْ فِيهِ وَاحِدَةٌ مِنْهُنَّ كَانَتْ فِيهِ خَصْلَةٌ مِنْ نِفَاقٍ حَتْى يَدَعَهَا»

(There are four characteristics which if one has all of them, he is the pure hypocrite, and if anyone has any of them, he has a characteristic of hypocrisy, until he abandons it.) So he mentioned breaking the promise among these four characteristics. We mentioned the meaning of these two Hadiths in the beginning of the explanation of Sahih Al-Bukhari, and to Allah is the praise and the thanks. Therefore Allah implied this meaning, when He continued His admonishment by saying,

كَبُرَ مَقْتاً عِندَ اللَّهِ أَن تَقُولُواْ مَا لاَ تَفْعَلُونَ

(Most hateful it is with Allah that you say that which you do not do.) Imam Ahmad and Abu Dawud recorded that `Abdullah bin `Amir bin Rabi`ah said, "Allah's Messenger came to us while I was a young boy, and I went out to play. My mother said, `O `Abdullah! Come, I want to give you something.' Allah's Messenger said to her,

«وَمَا أَرَدْتِ أَنْ تُعْطِيَهُ؟»

(What did you want to give him) She said, `Dates.' He said,

«أَمَا إِنَّكِ لَوْ لَمْ تَفْعَلِي كُتِبَتْ عَلَيْكِ كَذْبَة»

(If you had not given them to him, it would have been written as a lie in your record.)" Muqatil bin Hayyan said, "The faithful believers said, `If we only knew the dearest good actions to Allah, we would perform them.' Thus, Allah told them about the dearest actions to Him,saying,

إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ الَّذِينَ يُقَـتِلُونَ فِى سَبِيلِهِ صَفّاً

(Verily, Allah loves those who fight in His cause in rows) Allah stated what He likes, and they were tested on the day of Uhud. However, they retreated and fled, leaving the Prophet behind. It was about their case that Allah revealed this Ayah:

يأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ لِمَ تَقُولُونَ مَا لاَ تَفْعَلُونَ

(O you who believe! Why do you say that which you do not do) Allah says here, `The dearest of you to Me, is he who fights in My cause."' Some said that it was revealed about the gravity of fighting in battle, when one says that he fought and endured the battle, even though he did not do so. Qatadah and Ad-Dahhak said that this Ayah was sent down to admonish some people who used to say that they killed, fought, stabbed, and did such and such during battle, even though they did not do any of it. Sa`id bin Jubayr said about Allah's statement,

إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ الَّذِينَ يُقَـتِلُونَ فِى سَبِيلِهِ صَفّاً

(Verily, Allah loves those who fight in His cause in rows (ranks)) "Before Allah's Messenger began the battle against the enemy, he liked to line up his forces in rows; in this Surah, Allah teaches the believers to do the same." He also said that Allah's statement,

كَأَنَّهُم بُنْيَـنٌ مَّرْصُوصٌ

(as if they were a solid structure.) means, its parts are firmly connected to each other; in rows for battle. Muqatil bin Hayyan said, "Firmly connected to each other." Ibn `Abbas commented on the meaning of the Ayah,

كَأَنَّهُم بُنْيَـنٌ مَّرْصُوصٌ

(as if they were a solid structure.) by saying, "They are like a firm structure that does not move, because its parts are cemented to each other."

English Translation

O you who have believed, why do you say what you do not do?

English Transliteration

Ya ayyuha allatheena amanoo lima taqooloona ma la tafAAaloona

English Translation

Great is hatred in the sight of Allah that you say what you do not do.

English Transliteration

Kabura maqtan AAinda Allahi an taqooloo ma la tafAAaloona

English Translation

Indeed, Allah loves those who fight in His cause in a row as though they are a [single] structure joined firmly.

English Transliteration

Inna Allaha yuhibbu allatheena yuqatiloona fee sabeelihi saffan kaannahum bunyanun marsoosun

English Translation

And [mention, O Muhammad], when Moses said to his people, "O my people, why do you harm me while you certainly know that I am the messenger of Allah to you?" And when they deviated, Allah caused their hearts to deviate. And Allah does not guide the defiantly disobedient people.

English Transliteration

Waith qala moosa liqawmihi ya qawmi lima tuthoonanee waqad taAAlamoona annee rasoolu Allahi ilaykum falamma zaghoo azagha Allahu quloobahum waAllahu la yahdee alqawma alfasiqeena

Musa admonishes His People for annoying Him

Allah states that His servant and Messenger Musa, son of `Imran, to whom Allah spoke directly, said to his people,

لِمَ تُؤْذُونَنِى وَقَد تَّعْلَمُونَ أَنِّى رَسُولُ اللَّهِ إِلَيْكُمْ

(Why do you annoy me while you know certainly that I am the Messenger of Allah to you) meaning, `why do you annoy me even though you know my truth regarding the Message that I brought you' This brings consolation for Allah's Messenger for what the disbelievers among his people and others did to him. And it orders him to be patient. This is why he once said,

«رَحْمَةُ اللهِ عَلَى مُوسَى لَقَدْ أُوذِيَ بِأَكْثَرَ مِنْ هَذَا فَصَبَر»

(May Allah have mercy with Musa: he was annoyed more than this, yet he was patient.) By it believers are prohibited from harming or bothering the Prophet in any way or form. As Allah the Exalted said,

يأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ لاَ تَكُونُواْ كَالَّذِينَ ءَاذَوْاْ مُوسَى فَبرَّأَهُ اللَّهُ مِمَّا قَالُواْ وَكَانَ عِندَ اللَّهِ وَجِيهاً

(O you who believe! Be not like those who annoyed Musa, but Allah cleared him of that which they alleged, and he was honorable before Allah.) (33:69) And His saying:

فَلَمَّا زَاغُواْ أَزَاغَ اللَّهُ قُلُوبَهُمْ

(So, when they turned away, Allah turned their hearts away.), means, when the Jews turned away from following the guidance, even though they knew it, Allah turned their hearts away from the guidance. Instead, Allah placed doubts, suspicion and failure in their hearts, just as He said,

وَنُقَلِّبُ أَفْئِدَتَهُمْ وَأَبْصَـرَهُمْ كَمَا لَمْ يُؤْمِنُواْ بِهِ أَوَّلَ مَرَّةٍ وَنَذَرُهُمْ فِى طُغْيَانِهِمْ يَعْمَهُونَ

(And We shall turn their hearts and vision away, as they refused to believe therin for the first time, and we shall leave them in their trespass to wander blindly.) And His saying;

وَمَن يُشَاقِقِ الرَّسُولَ مِن بَعْدِ مَا تَبَيَّنَ لَهُ الْهُدَى وَيَتَّبِعْ غَيْرَ سَبِيلِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ نُوَلِّهِ مَا تَوَلَّى وَنُصْلِهِ جَهَنَّمَ وَسَآءَتْ مَصِيراً

(And whoever contradicts and opposes the Messenger after the right path has been shown clearly to him, and follows other than the believers' way, We shall keep him in the path he has chosen, and enter him in Hell, what an evil destination it is!) (4:115), and, Similarly Allah said;

وَاللَّهُ لاَ يَهْدِى الْقَوْمَ الْفَـسِقِينَ

(And Allah guides not the people who are rebellious.) (9:24)

The Good News of `Isa about Our Prophet and that His Name is Ahmad

Allah said;

وَإِذْ قَالَ عِيسَى ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ يبَنِى إِسْرَءِيلَ إِنِّى رَسُولُ اللَّهِ إِلَيْكُم مُّصَدِّقاً لِّمَا بَيْنَ يَدَىَّ مِنَ التَّوْرَاةِ وَمُبَشِّراً بِرَسُولٍ يَأْتِى مِن بَعْدِى اسْمُهُ أَحْمَدُ

(And when `Isa, son of Maryam, said: "O Children of Israel! I am the Messenger of Allah unto you, confirming the Tawrah before me, and giving glad tidings of a Messenger to come after me, whose name shall be Ahmad.") `Isa said, "The Tawrah conveyed the glad tidings of my coming, and my coming confirms the truth of the Tawrah. I convey the glad tidings of the Prophet who will come after me. He is the unlettered, Makkan, Arab Prophet and Messenger, Ahmad." `Isa, peace be upon him, is the last and final Messenger from among the Children of Israel. He remained among the Children of Israel for a while, conveying the good news of the coming of Muhammad, whose name is also Ahmad, the Last and Final Prophet and Messenger. After Muhammad, there will be no prophethood or Messengers. How admirable the Hadith is that Al-Bukhari collected in his Sahih from Jubayr bin Mut`im, who said, "I heard the Messenger of Allah say,

«إِنَّ لِي أَسْمَاءً: أَنَا مُحَمَّدٌ، وَأَنَا أَحْمَدُ، وَأَنَا الْمَاحِي الَّذِي يَمْحُو اللهُ بِهِ الْكُفْرَ،وَأَنَا الْحَاشِرُ الَّذِي يُحْشَرُ النَّاسُ عَلَى قَدَمَيَّ، وَأَنَا الْعَاقِب»

(I have names. I am Muhammad and Ahmad. I am Al-Mahi through whom Allah will eliminate disbelief. I am Al-Hashir who will be the first to be resurrected, with the people being resurrected Hereafter. I am also Al-`Aqib (i.e., there will be no Prophet after me).") Also Muslim collected this Hadith from Az-Zuhri from Jubayr. Muhammad bin Ishaq recorded that Khalid bin Ma`dan said that some Companions of Allah's Messenger said, "O Allah's Messenger! Tell us about yourself." He said,

«دَعْوَةُ أَبِي إِبْرَاهِيمَ، وَبُشْرَى عِيسَى، وَرَأَتْ أُمِّي حِينَ حَمَلَتْ بِي كَأَنَّهُ خَرَجَ مِنْها نُورٌ أَضَاءَتْ لَهُ قُصُورُ بُصْرَى مِنْ أَرْضِ الشَّام»

(I am the (result of the) invocation made to Allah from my father Ibrahim and the good news `Isa delivered. When my mother was pregnant with me, she had a dream in which she saw a light emanating from her that radiated the palaces of Busra in Ash-Sham." This Hadith has a good chain of narration that is supported by other similar narrations. Imam Ahmad recorded that Al-`Irbad bin Sariyah said, "The Messenger of Allah said,

«إِنِّي عِنْدَ اللهِ لَخَاتَمُ النَّبِيِّينَ، وَإِنَّ آدَمَ لَمُنْجَدِلٌ فِي طِينَتِهِ، وَسَأُنَبِّئُكُمْ بِأَوَّلِ ذَلِكَ: دَعْوَةُ أَبِي إِبْرَاهِيمَ، وَبِشَارَةُ عِيسَى بِي، وَرُؤْيَا أُمِّي الَّتِي رَأَتْ، وَكَذَلِكَ أُمَّهَاتُ النَّبِيِّينَ يَرَيْن»

(I was written with Allah as the Last and Final of the Prophet, even when Adam was still clay. I will tell of the first good news announcing my advent, the (result of the) invocation to Allah made from my father Ibrahim, the good news `Isa conveyed, and the dream that my mother saw. The mothers of all Prophets see similar dreams.") Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Umamah said, "I said, `O Allah's Messenger! What was the first good news of your coming' He said,

«دَعْوَةُ أَبِي إِبْرَاهِيمَ، وَبُشْرَى عِيسَى، وَرَأَتْ أُمِّي أَنَّهُ يَخْرُجُ مِنْهَا نُورٌ أَضَاءَتْ لَهُ قُصُورُ الشَّام»

(The (result of the) invocation to Allah made from my father Ibrahim and the good news `Isa conveyed. My mother saw a light emanating from her that filled the palaces of Ash- Sham in a dream.)" Imam Ahmad recorded that `Abdullah bin Mas`ud said that the Messenger of Allah sent eighty men, including `Abdullah bin Mas`ud, Ja`far bin Abi Talib, `Abdullah bin `Urfutah, `Uthman bin Maz`un, Abu Musa, and others, to An-Najashi. The Quraysh sent `Amr bin Al-`As and `Umarah bin Al-Walid with a gift for An-Najashi. When they, `Amr and `Umarah, came to An-Najashi, they prostrated before him and stood to his right and left. `Amr and `Umarah said, "Some of our cousins migrated to your land; they have abandoned us and our religion." An-Najashi said, "Where are they" They said, "They are in your land, so send for them," so An-Najashi summoned the Muslims. Ja`far said to the Muslims, "I will be your speaker today." So, the Muslims followed Ja`far and when he entered on the king he did not prostrate after greeting him. They said to Ja`far, "Why do you not prostrate before the king" Ja`far said, "We only prostrate for Allah, the Exalted and Most Honored." They said, "Why" He said, "Allah has sent a Messenger to us from Him, who ordered us not to prostrate to anyone except Allah, the Exalted and Most Honored. He also ordered to perform prayer and give charity." `Amr bin Al-`As said, "They contradict your creed about `Isa, son of Maryam." The king asked, "What do you say about `Isa and his mother Maryam" Ja`far said, "We only say what Allah said about him, that he is Allah's Word, a soul created by Allah and sent down to the honorable virgin who was not touched by a man nor bearing children before." An-Najashi lifted a straw of wood and said, "O Ethiopians, monks and priests! By Allah, what they say about `Isa is no more than what we say about him, not even a difference that equals this straw. You are welcomed among us, and greetings to him who sent you. I bear witness that he is Allah's Messenger whom we read about in the Injil. He is the Prophet who `Isa, son of Maryam, foretold the good news about his advent. Live wherever you wish. By Allah, had I not been entrusted with the responsibilities of kingship, I would have gone to him, so that I could be honored by carrying his slippers and his water for ablution." The king ordered that the gifts of the idolators be returned to them. `Abdullah bin Mas`ud soon returned and later on participated in the battle of Badr. He said that when the Prophet received the news that An-Najashi died, he invoked Allah to forgive him. Allah said,

فَلَمَّا جَاءَهُم بِالْبَيِّنَـتِ قَالُواْ هَـذَا سِحْرٌ مُّبِينٌ

(But when he came to them with clear proofs, they said: "This is plain magic.") this refers to Ahmad, who was anticipated, in accordance with the early Scriptures and early generations, according to Ibn Jurayj and Ibn Jarir. When the Prophet appeared bringing clear signs, the disbelievers and rejecters said,

هَـذَا سِحْرٌ مُّبِينٌ

(This is plain magic)

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