This page contains all verses of surah Yunus in addition to Interpretation of all verses by Maarif-ul-Quran (Mufti Muhammad Shafi). In the first part you can read surah يونس ordered in pages exactly as it is present in the Quran. To read an interpretation of a verse click on its number.
Surah Yunus is among the Makki Surahs. Three of its verses revealed after the Hijrah to Madinah have been called Madani.
In this Surah too, the proof of the basic objectives of Qur'an, and Islam, such as the Oneness of Allah, the mission of His Messenger and the inevitability of the Hereafter, has been provided. Since it has been presented in the background of the universe of our experience and observation, it becomes easy to comprehend. Along with it, some lesson-oriented historical accounts and stories have been introduced to warn people who do not pay heed to the open signs of Allah Ta` ala. As a corollary, the text refutes shirk whereby heedless people start ascribing partners to the pristine divinity of Allah - and also answers some related doubts. This is a gist of the subjects taken up in the Surah. A careful look at these will help us understand the interconnection between the previous Surah, At-Taubah, and the present one. Surah At-Taubah was making a strong statement when it opted for breaking through the powerful cordon of kufr and shirk to achieve the same objectives through material means by waging Jihad against deniers and disbelievers. And since the present Surah was revealed in Makkah before the injunctions of Jihad came, these objectives have been explained and proved only by arguments and evidences very much in accordance with the law of the Makkan period.
The Surah opens with the letters: Alif, Lam, Ra الر). Known as ` isolated letters.' Many Surahs of the Qur'an begin with these. Debates on investigations made into the meaning of letter combinations like الم (Alif, Lam, Mim), حٰمٓ(Ha, Mim) and عٓسٓقٓ(Ain, Sin, Qaf) by commentators are lengthy. But, we also have the authentic verdict of the Sahabah, the Tabi'in and the righteous elders of the community (salaf سَلَف) about these ` isolated letters.' According to them, these are secret symbols or signs. In all likelihood, the Holy Prophet ﷺ was confided with their meaning but he elected to disclose to his community only those areas of knowledge and insight which their minds could bear by and which, if remained unknown, would impede the normal living of his people. Nothing that Muslims must do is dependent upon knowing the secrets of such 'isolated letters,' nor do they have to miss anything by not knowing them. Therefore, the Holy Prophet ﷺ too did not tell his community about their meaning as being unnecessary for them. Therefore, we too should not go about digging into it - because, it is certain that had the knowing of their meaning been expedient for us, our master, who was mercy personified for the whole world, would have never hesitated in telling us about it.
In the first verse: تِلْكَ آيَاتُ الْكِتَابِ الْحَكِيمِ (These are verses of the Wise Book), the word: تِلکَ (tilka: these) points out to the 'ay at of this Surah which follow. 'The Book' refers to the Qur'an. To describe its attribute, the Qur'an has used the word: حَکِیم (hakim) at this place. It means the Book of Wisdom.
The second verse refers to a doubt expressed by the Mushriks, and provides its answer. In a nutshell, these people had, out of their ignorance, somehow decided that a Messenger or Prophet who comes from Allah Ta ala should not be a human being (al-bashar), instead, he should be an angel. The Qur'an has refuted this absurd idea of theirs on several occasions from different angles. In one such verse, it was قُل لَّوْ كَانَ فِي الْأَرْضِ مَلَائِكَةٌ يَمْشُونَ مُطْمَئِنِّينَ لَنَزَّلْنَا عَلَيْهِم مِّنَ السَّمَاءِ مَلَكًا رَّسُولًا ﴿95﴾ said: (Say, Had there been angels walking in peace on the Earth, We would have certainly sent to them from the heavens an angel-messenger!" - 17:95). In sum, the mission of a messenger cannot be accomplished unless there is a mutual homogeneity between this messenger and those to whom he is sent. Angels are homogenous to angels and human beings to human beings. If the purpose is to send a messenger for human beings, only a human being has to be made a messenger.
The same subject has been taken up in this verse in a different manner. The text sees no reason why would people wonder that a human being was made a messenger? Why was a human being entrusted with the mission of warning the disobedient ones against the punishment of Allah? Why was the task of heralding the good news of His re-wards to the obedient ones assigned again to a human being? This kind of wondering deserves a counter-wonder, for sending a human messenger to the human race is perfect commonsense.
Good news to believers has been given in this verse by saying: قَدَمَ صِدْقٍ عِندَ رَبِّهِمْ (that they will have a perfect place with their Lord). The initial meaning of the word: قَدَم (qadam) used here is ` step' as in English. Since 'qadam' is the medium of a person's effort, and advancement in its wake, therefore, a higher rank is called a 'qadam' in a figurative sense. Then, by attributing 'qadam' (high rank, place of honor) to صِدق ` sidq' (perfect as being true, certain, abiding, everlasting), it was emphasized that the high rank they were to get was real, certain, established, abiding and everlasting. This was not something like the ranks and offices of the mortal world. To begin with, it is never certain that one would get these at all. If, as a result of some extra effort, one does get one of these, their continuity cannot be certain. In fact, what is certain is that these will vanish in time. Sometimes, this could happen within one's lifetime. But, when comes the time to die, one goes empty-handed. All ranks, offices, blessings remain behind. So, the word: (sidq) includes the sense of certainty, and also that of being perfect and everlasting in it. Therefore, the sentence means: 0 Proph-et, give believers the good news that they will have a perfect place with their Lord, an asset that is certain and lasting.
Some commentators have said: Through the introduction of the word sidq at this place, an indication has been given that these high ranks can be achieved only through truth and absolute sincerity. Mere verbal claims of having faith and a formal recital of the Kalimah of 'Iman is not enough, until one embraces the faith, truly and duly, verbally and emotionally and intellectually. It will invariably result in adherence to good deeds and avoidance of the evil ones.
In the third verse, the Oneness of Allah (Tauhid) has been proved through the undeniable reality that there is no associate or partner to Allah Ta` ala when it comes to the creation of the heavens and the earth and then to the management and operation of this entire universal system. When this reality stands established, how could someone else be made an associate or partner in His pristine Divinity or in worship for Him and in obedience to Him? In fact, doing so is the highest conceivable injustice.
It was said in this verse that Allah Ta'ala has created the heavens and the earth in six days. But, the day as we know it denotes the time from sunrise to sunset - and it is obvious that the sun did not exist be-fore the creation of the heavens, earth and stars. How then could sunrise and sunset be calculated? Therefore, intended here is the measure of time utilized in between sunrise and sunset.
Making this huge world composed of the heavens, the Earth, the planets and the universe as a whole, ready and functional (a virtual turn-key job, so to say), can only be attributed to the Being who is the purest of the pure and exercises power that is absolute. When He in-tends to create, He needs no raw materials in advance or any staff to assist. Such is the station and degree of His perfect power that He, as and when He intends to create what He wills, creates instantly, with-out any raw materials or personnel or technical support. The time duration of these six days has only been chosen in consideration of His particular wisdom. Otherwise, it was also within His power that He could have created the heavens and the Earth and what it contained in a single instant.
After that it was said: ثُمَّ اسْتَوَىٰ عَلَى الْعَرْشِ (then He took a straight position on the Throne). That which stands proved from the Qur'an, and Hadith is that the Arsh عَرش (Throne) of the Rahman رَحمٰن (the All-Merciful Allah) is some created object which encompasses the entire heavens and the Earth and the whole universe thereof. Thus, seen conversely, all that there is fits into the room inside it. Knowing anymore about its reality is beyond any human effort. No doubt, scientific knowledge in our time is at its zenith. Man is getting ready to reach planets comparatively nearer with mixed measures of success. However, scientists still confess that the distant planets are so far away from us that information about these through available instrumentation cannot be relied upon as a mirror of reality. Then, there are stars in the firmament even light from where has not yet reached our Earth - even though, as we know, the speed of light is 1, 86, 000 miles per second. When this is the graph of human limitations in scaling planets and stars, how could human efforts to find out what we know as the heavens farther and higher from stars and planets be taken as credible (or even reasonable). And finally, what is believed to be the ` Arsh of the Rahman - encompassing all there is, even above what is termed as the seventh heaven - is a reality seeking access to which through technical ingenuity needs no comment.
So, up to this point, the third verse has told us that Allah Ta` ala created the heavens and the earth and the whole system of the universe in six days, and ` after that He took a position on the Throne'. (The last sentence is a word arrangement in English for the words of the text: ثُمَّ اسْتَوَىٰ عَلَى الْعَرْشِ [ thumma 's-tawa ala 'l-'arsh ] which should be understood in the light of the comments appearing below).
This is certain, and evident enough that Allah, the high and the true, is above and beyond the human concepts of body and mass and of all attributes and characteristics they may have. Neither does His existence relate to any direction or form, nor is His stay in a place like the staying of the things of the world where they belong. Now then, how are we to explain the nature, mode or manner of His staying, establishing or positioning on the ` Arsh or Throne? This can be explained only by saying that these are from what is called ` mutashabihat' (statements of hidden meaning) in the terminology of Qur'an, a phenomena that cannot be comprehended by human reason. Therefore, about it, says the Qur'an: وَمَا يَعْلَمُ تَأْوِيلَهُ إِلَّا اللَّـهُ ۗ وَالرَّاسِخُونَ فِي الْعِلْمِ يَقُولُونَ آمَنَّا بِهِ (no one knows its interpretation except Allah. And those [ who are ] well-grounded in knowledge say: "We believe therein; - 3: 7) - and just do not bother to go digging out its reality. Therefore, there is a standard approach in all such matters where the attribution of Allah Ta` ala has been made to a place or form, or where words, such as hand, face and shank, have appeared in the Qur'an for Allah Ta` ala. The ` Aqidah (belief) of the majority of the ` Ulama of the Muslim Ummah is that one believes these words to be true in their place, and believes what Allah Ta` ala means by them is correct, and believes that the concern to know about its nature and reality should be set aside as being beyond one's ability to comprehend it.
As for the later day ` Ulama who have suggested some meanings to these things, they have done it only in a degree of probability, even in their own sight. They simply suggest - perhaps, it may mean this. They never say that the meanings they have given are certain. As obvious, probabilities disclose no reality. Therefore, the only simple and straight creed (maslak مَسلَک) is that of the Sababah (Companions), the Tabi` in (Successors to Companions) and the Salaf (the righteous and worthy forebears and elders of the Faith). They were satisfied to live with the approach of entrusting the reality of such matters with Di-vine Knowledge.
This brings us to the next statement: يُدَبِّرُ الْأَمْرَ (He manages all matters). It means that, positioned on the Throne, He Himself manages all universes by virtue of His power. Then, comes the succeeding sentence: مَا مِن شَفِيعٍ إِلَّا مِن بَعْدِ إِذْنِهِ translated as: ` There is no intercessor except after His permission.' It tells us that such is the majesty of Allah Ta'ala that even a Prophet and Messenger cannot intercede on behalf of anyone, on their own, before Him - unless Allah Ta` ala Himself grants them the permission to intercede, without which even they could not do that.
The fourth verse describes the ` Aqidah of 'Akhirah (Belief in the Hereafter) إِلَيْهِ مَرْجِعُكُمْ جَمِيعًا (Towards Him is the return of you all). The announcement is asserted by saying: وَعْدَ اللَّـهِ حَقًّا (a real [ and true ] promise from Allah). That it must be as promised has been explained through the simple logic of: إِنَّهُ يَبْدَأُ الْخَلْقَ ثُمَّ يُعِيدُهُ (Surely, He originates the creation, then He will bring it again). The sentence is telling us that there is nothing surprising about it and that there is no sense in worrying about as to how this entire universe would start pulsating with life after it has been eliminated. The reason is that the Sacred Power who has the mastery to create something the first time, without any pre-existing matter and without any prototype of form and shape, should hardly find any difficulty in creating once again everything He had made then unmade.
These two verses mention some signs openly visible in the universe of our experience. They are evidences of the perfect power and eloquent wisdom of the most exalted Allah. They prove that the Lord Almighty is fully capable of bringing about the end of this universe, reducing it to particles, then reassembling the particles and bringing everything back to life, all anew, making everyone account for one's deeds and get punishment or reward as enforced. And when He does that, it will be nothing but reasonable and wise. Thus, these two verses are an extension of what was said briefly in verse 3. Mentioned there was the creation of the heavens and the earth in six days, the positioning on the Throne and the management of matters. The later proved that He did not, after having created the universe, abandon it to survive on its own, instead, He manages, directs and controls everything, all the time, every moment.
The opening statement of verse هُوَ الَّذِي جَعَلَ الشَّمْسَ ضِيَاءً وَالْقَمَرَ نُورًا firm (He is the One who has made the sun a glow and the moon a light) is a part of this very system and its management. Both words: ضِيَاءً (diya' ) and نُورً (nur) mean glow and light, therefore, many master lexicographers have taken these as synonyms. ` Allamah al-Zamakhshari, al-Tibi, beside some others, said: Though the sense of light is common to both words, but نُور nur is general. Whether strong or weak, dim or clear, every light is referred to as nur, while ضُوء و ضِیَاء (daw' and diya' ) refer to light that is strong and clear. One needs both kinds of light. For the usual business of life, the sharp and clear light of the day is required, while the com-paratively dim light of the night is preferred for ordinary chores. If the day had nothing but the pale light of the moon, business will be affected adversely, and if the sun were to keep shining also during the night, sleep and chores that must be taken care of at that time alone would be disturbed. Therefore, nature made arrangements to provide both kinds of light by giving sunlight the degree of daw' ضُوء and diya' ضِیَاء and let it manifest itself at the time when people are busy in business, vocation or other avenues of livelihood. And the moonlight was made to be gentle, pale and pleasing and the night was appointed to be the time of its manifestation.
The Holy Qur'an has differentiated the lights of the sun and the moon variously at several places. In Surah Nuh, it was said: وَجَعَلَ الْقَمَرَ فِيهِنَّ نُورًا وَجَعَلَ الشَّمْسَ سِرَاجًا ﴿16﴾ I (And made the moon a light therein and made the sun, a lamp - 71:16). Again, in Surah al-Furqan, it was said: وَجَعَلَ فِيهَا سِرَاجًا وَقَمَرًا مُّنِيرًا 1f (and placed in it [ the sky ] a lamp, and a shining moon - 25:61). 'Siraj' means lamp and since the light from a lamp is its own and not borrowed from somewhere else, therefore, some commentators have said that ضیا (diya' ) is the intrinsic light of something while (nar) is extrinsic light derived from something else. This semantic approach appears to be influenced by Greek thought, otherwise it has no lexical basis and the Qur'an too has not given any categorical verdict about it.
Zajjaj takes diya' to be the plural of daw'. Perhaps, this may be indicative of the Sun being a compendium of the seven colours of light which show up in the post-rain rainbow. (Al-Manar)
Another manifestation of Divine power related to the system of the sun and the moon appears in the second sentence of verse وَقَدَّرَهُ مَنَازِلَ لِتَعْلَمُوا عَدَدَ السِّنِينَ وَالْحِسَابَ ` and determined for it stages, so that you may know the number of years and the calculation (of time).' The word قَدَّرَهُ ('qaddara' ) is a derivation from تَقدِیر (taqdir) which means to maintain something at the level of a particular quantity and measure in terms of time or place or attributes. To keep the timings of the night and the day at a particular measure, the Holy Qur'an has said: وَاللَّـهُ يُقَدِّرُ اللَّيْلَ وَالنَّهَارَ (And Allah determines [ the measure on the night and the day - 73:20). That spatial and travel distances have been kept at a particular measure finds mention elsewhere. In Surah Saba,' it was said about the habitations lying in between Syria and Saba': وَقَدَّرْنَا فِيهَا السَّيْرَ(and We determined between them the [ distance on journey - 34:18). And about quantitative measures in general, it was said: وَخَلَقَ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ فَقَدَّرَهُ تَقْدِيرًا (and created everything then determined a measure for it, determining precisely - Surah a1-Furgan, 25:2).
The word: مَنَازِل (manazil) in the verse under study is the plural form of مَنَزِل (manzil) which essentially means the place one arrives at on a journey, its stage or destination. Allah Ta` ala has appointed specific limits for the movement of the Sun and the Moon, each of which is called مَنَزِل manzil or stage. Since the Moon completes its orbit of the Earth every month, the count of its stages comes to thirty or twenty nine. However, since the Moon is not visible at least for a day, therefore, its stages are usually known as twenty- eight. The orbit of the Sun is complete in a year and it has 360 or 365 stages. During the Arab Jahiliy-ah, and by astronomers and mathematicians as well, particular names were given to these stages as borrowed from stars located in their proximity. Being above such technical nomenclatures, the Holy Qur'an has simply referred to the distances the Sun and the Moon cover in specified number of days.
In the verse under discussion, the words: قَدَّرَهُ مَنَازِلَ (and determined for it stages) have been used with a pronoun in the singular form - although, being referred to here are the stages of both the Sun and the Moon. Therefore, some commentators say that, no doubt, what has been mentioned here is in the singular form, but in terms of the reference to each single one, it includes both. Examples of this usage abound in the Qur'an, and Arabic idiom.
Some other commentators have said, ` though, Allah Ta` ala has determined stages for the Sun and the Moon both but, at this place, the purpose is to describe the stages of the Moon only. Therefore, the pro-noun in قَدَّرَهُ (qaddarahu: determined for it) refers back to the Moon. The reason for this specification is that one cannot find out the stages of the Sun without the help of relevant instruments and calculations. Sunrise and sunset follow the same pattern every day throughout the year. A simple observation cannot tell anybody in what stage the Sun is on a given day. This is contrary to the case of the Moon. It’ s states are different every day. By the end of the month, it is just not visible. By observing such changes, even uneducated people can figure out the dates. For example, let us say the date today is March 8. Now, by just looking at the Sun, nobody can tell whether it is the 8th or the 21st. The case of the Moon is different. One can find out the date even by looking at it.
In the cited verse, the purpose is to tell people that man's own interest is also tied to these great signs of Allah Ta` ala since the count of years, months and its dates can be kept through them. No doubt, this calculation can be made from the Sun and the Moon both. Years and months, both Solar and Lunar, are universally known. Then, the Qur'an has also mentioned in Surah al-'Isra' (Banu Isra'il):
وَجَعَلْنَا اللَّيْلَ وَالنَّهَارَ آيَتَيْنِ ۖ فَمَحَوْنَا آيَةَ اللَّيْلِ وَجَعَلْنَا آيَةَ النَّهَارِ مُبْصِرَةً لِّتَبْتَغُوا فَضْلًا مِّن رَّبِّكُمْ وَلِتَعْلَمُوا عَدَدَ السِّنِينَ وَالْحِسَابَ
And We made the night and the day two signs. Then made the sign of the night disappear, and put the sign of the day with the light to see, so that you may seek bounty from your Lord, and that you may come to know the number of years, and the count (of time) - (17:12).
Here, ` the sign of the night' means the Moon and ` the sign of the day,' the Sun. It is only after having mentioned both that it was said that you can find out the number of years and the dates of the months from these. And in Surah Ar-Rahman it was said: which tells us that we can calculate the date, the month and the year through the Sun and the Moon both.
But, the calculation of month and date through the Moon is based on observation and experience. On the contrary, when done through the Sun, the calculations are so complex that no one other than regular mathematicians would understand them. Therefore, after having mentioned both the Sun and the Moon in this verse, when the Qur'an talks about having determined their stages, it elects to say: قَدَّرَهُ (qaddarahu: determined for it) using the pronoun in its singular form, whereby mentioned there were the stages of the Moon only.
Since great attention is paid in the injunctions of Islam, practically in all situations, to ensure that abiding by them is easy for everyone - educated or uneducated, urbanized or rustic - therefore, reliance has usually been placed on lunar year, month and dates in its laws. Thus, it is the lunar calendar that operates in all matters of Islamic obligations and duties, such as, Salah, Sawm, Zakah, ` Iddah etc.
This does not mean that using the Solar Calendar is impermissible. In fact, one can choose to use the Lunar Calendar in the case of Salah, Sawm, Hajj, Zakah and ` Iddah in accordance with the Shari’ ah, but use the Solar Calendar in commercial and vocational activities. However, this is subject to the condition that the Lunar Calendar must continue to be in use among Muslims on a collective basis, so that the occasions and timings of religious obligations such as Ramadan and Hajj are in common knowledge at all times. This is to avoid the terrible situation in which Muslims just know no other months but January, February etc. Muslim jurists, may the mercy of Allah be on them, have placed the responsibility of keeping the Lunar Calendar alive and functional on Muslims as Fard al-Kifayah (collective obligation).
And there is no doubt about it that the Calendar used in the Tradition of the blessed prophets and in the Sunnah of the Last among them, the Holy Prophet ﷺ and in the practice of his rightly-guided Khulafa' was no other but this very Lunar Calendar. Using it, following in their footsteps, is certainly an effective cause of blessings and rewards for modern day Muslims as well.
In short, the verse points out to the perfect power and wisdom of Allah who created two inexhaustible treasure troves of light so harmoniously synchronized with the rest of the creation. And then, He determined ideal measures of their movement which help us find the time frame we are in, the year, the month, the day and its hours right up to every second. Neither does their movement vary, nor do they go ahead or remain behind, nor do these God-made marvels of what we call machines need any workshop appointments for repairs, nor greasing, nor replacement of worn-out parts. Someone in eternity had asked them to move and be good. This they are doing even today.
For added warning, it was said at the end of the verse (5): مَا خَلَقَ اللَّـهُ ذَٰلِكَ إِلَّا بِالْحَقِّ ۚ يُفَصِّلُ الْآيَاتِ لِقَوْمٍ يَعْلَمُونَ (Allah has not created all this but for something right. He elaborates the signs for a people who understand). It means that Allah did not create all these things in vain. There is great wisdom behind it, and certainly numerous are the benefits they bring for human beings. These are elaborated signs. They are loud and clear. They are telling the truth to people who are blessed with reason and insight.
Similarly, it was said in the second verse (6) that there are signs in the coming of the night after the day and the day after the night, and in everything Allah has created in the heavens and the earth. These are open proofs (of the Oneness of Allah and the inevitability of the Hereafter) for those who fear Allah.
That they are proofs of the Oneness of Allah (Tauhid) is not difficult to see. He has the power to make things happen. He makes things as no one can. He creates everything without the help of materials, personnel and prototype, and has the mastery to operate them under a system that never breaks or must be replaced.
And they are proofs of the 'Akhirah (Hereafter) because Allah is a great creator. He created, in His infinite wisdom, objects of such pro-portion and efficiency for the benefit of human beings. Then, He made them follow a remarkably stable system. Now, it is not possible that He would have created human beings, who are the served ones in this universe, just for nothing, or just to eat and drink, or in some other nonchalant manner without assigning any duties to them. When it stands settled that some restrictions must apply to the served one of this universe, it also becomes necessary that those who observe or do not observe these restrictions should face an accounting of what they have done, sometime, somewhere. Naturally, those who do observe these shall be rewarded and those who do not shall be punished. Then, it is also obvious that things do not work like this in the present world of our experience. Here, reward and punishment do not follow that pattern. It is quite likely that a criminal here may be living better as compared to someone God-fearing, righteous and innocent. Therefore, it is necessary to have a day for the accounting of deeds, rewards and punishments. This is what Qiyamah (The Last Day) and 'Akhirah (Hereafter) are.