سورة النمل   

Surah Name: An-Naml Meaning: The Ant

  • Revealed at Makkah
  • Total Number of Rukū / Sections 7
  • Total Number of Āyāt / Parts 93
  • Sūrah / Chapter number 27
  • Rukū / Section 6 contains Āyāt / Parts 16
  • Siparah/ Volume 19 & 20


وَقَالَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا أَئِذَا كُنَّا تُرَابًا وَآبَاؤُنَا أَئِنَّا لَمُخْرَجُونَ

Waqala allatheena kafaroo aitha kunna turaban waabaona ainna lamukhrajoon(a)

Those who disbelieve say: When we have become dust we and our forefathers, shall we, verily be brought forth?


لَقَدْ وُعِدْنَا هَذَا نَحْنُ وَآبَاؤُنَا مِن قَبْلُ إِنْ هَذَا إِلَّا أَسَاطِيرُ الْأَوَّلِينَ

Laqad wuAAidna hatha nahnu waabaona min qablu in hatha illa asateeru alawwaleen(a)

Assuredly we have been promised this before, we and our forefathers. Nothing is this, but the fables of the ancients.


قُلْ سِيرُوا فِي الْأَرْضِ فَانظُرُوا كَيْفَ كَانَ عَاقِبَةُ الْمُجْرِمِينَ

Qul seeroo fee alardi fa(o)nthuroo kayfa kana AAaqibatu almujrimeen(a)

Say you-SW: Travel in the land and behold how has been the end of the culprits.


وَلَا تَحْزَنْ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا تَكُن فِي ضَيْقٍ مِّمَّا يَمْكُرُونَ

Wala tahzan AAalayhim wala takun fee dayqin mimma yamkuroon(a)

Grieve you-SW not over them, nor be straitened on what they plot


وَيَقُولُونَ مَتَى هَذَا الْوَعْدُ إِن كُنتُمْ صَادِقِينَ

Wayaqooloona mata hatha alwaAAdu in kuntum sadiqeen(a)

And they say: When will this promise be fulfilled, if you are truthful?


قُلْ عَسَى أَن يَكُونَ رَدِفَ لَكُم بَعْضُ الَّذِي تَسْتَعْجِلُونَ

Qul AAasa an yakoona radifa lakum baAAdu allathee tastaAAjiloon(a)

Say you-SW: Perhaps close behind you may be what you would hasten on.


وَإِنَّ رَبَّكَ لَذُو فَضْلٍ عَلَى النَّاسِ وَلَكِنَّ أَكْثَرَهُمْ لَا يَشْكُرُونَ

Wainna rabbaka lathoo fadlin AAala a(l)nnasi walakinna aktharahum la yashkuroon(a)

Verily your Rabb-SWT is full of Grace for mankind, yet most of them give not thanks.


وَإِنَّ رَبَّكَ لَيَعْلَمُ مَا تُكِنُّ صُدُورُهُمْ وَمَا يُعْلِنُونَ

Wainna rabbaka layaAAlamu ma tukinnu sudooruhum wama yuAAlinoon(a)

Verily your-SW Rabb-SWT knows what their breasts conceal and what they disclose.


وَمَا مِنْ غَائِبَةٍ فِي السَّمَاء وَالْأَرْضِ إِلَّا فِي كِتَابٍ مُّبِينٍ

Wama min ghaibatin fee a(l)ssamai wa(a)lardi illa fee kitabin mubeen(in)

And nothing there is hidden in the heaven and the earth but it is in a Book manifest.


إِنَّ هَذَا الْقُرْآنَ يَقُصُّ عَلَى بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ أَكْثَرَ الَّذِي هُمْ فِيهِ يَخْتَلِفُونَ

Inna hatha alqurana yaqussu AAala banee israeela akthara allathee hum feehi yakhtalifoon(a)

Verily this Quran recounts with truth to the Children of Israil much of what they contend with.


وَإِنَّهُ لَهُدًى وَرَحْمَةٌ لِّلْمُؤْمِنِينَ

Wainnahu lahudan warahmatun lilmumineen(a)

And verily it is guidance and a mercy to the believers.


إِنَّ رَبَّكَ يَقْضِي بَيْنَهُم بِحُكْمِهِ وَهُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الْعَلِيمُ

Inna rabbaka yaqdee baynahum bihukmihi wahuwa alAAazeezu alAAaleem(u)

And verily your-SW Rabb-SWT shall decide between them by His-SWT Judgement, and He-SWT is the Mighty, the Knowing.


فَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللَّهِ إِنَّكَ عَلَى الْحَقِّ الْمُبِينِ

Fatawakkal AAala Allahi innaka AAala alhaqqi almubeen(i)

So put your trust in Allah-SWT ; verily you-SW are on manifest truth.


إِنَّكَ لَا تُسْمِعُ الْمَوْتَى وَلَا تُسْمِعُ الصُّمَّ الدُّعَاء إِذَا وَلَّوْا مُدْبِرِينَ

Innaka la tusmiAAu almawta wala tusmiAAu a(l)ssumma a(l)dduAAaa itha wallaw mudbireen(a)

Surely you-SW cannot make the dead hear, nor can you-SW make the deaf hear the call when they flee turning their backs.


وَمَا أَنتَ بِهَادِي الْعُمْيِ عَن ضَلَالَتِهِمْ إِن تُسْمِعُ إِلَّا مَن يُؤْمِنُ بِآيَاتِنَا فَهُم مُّسْلِمُونَ

Wama anta bihadee alAAumyi AAan dalalatihim in tusmiAAu illa man yuminu biayatina fahum muslimoon(a)

Nor can you-SW lead the blind out of their error. You-SW can make none hear save those who believe in Our Signs and who have submitted themselves.


وَإِذَا وَقَعَ الْقَوْلُ عَلَيْهِمْ أَخْرَجْنَا لَهُمْ دَابَّةً مِّنَ الْأَرْضِ تُكَلِّمُهُمْ أَنَّ النَّاسَ كَانُوا بِآيَاتِنَا لَا يُوقِنُونَ

Waitha waqaAAa alqawlu AAalayhim akhrajna lahum dabbatan mina alardi tukallimuhum anna a(l)nnasa kanoo biayatina la yooqinoon(a)

And when the word concerning them shall come to be fulfilled; We-SWT shall bring forth a beast of the earth speaking to them, that of Our-SWT Signs the people have not been convinced.


In The Name of Allah-SWT the Most Gracious, The Most Merciful

The basis of their doubt and denial of Akhirah is the question that when death will reduce them to dust, like their predecessors, how will they be raised again? They argue that such things had been said before and were now being repeated. They were nothing but tales outside the pale of reality. The Holy Prophet-SW must tell them that while they are adamant on denial, they might as well ponder over the fate of those who did so earlier. They are welcome to travel around to see how the preceding infidels had been destroyed. Allah-SWT's Creative Powers have been explained earlier. Now the limitations of intellect are explained beyond which is the domain of faith.


They ask the Holy Prophet-SW to tell them the time when the Doomsday would occur. If not, how could they accept that it will take place at all. So he-SW must tell them that it is possible that some portents of it, in the form of Allah-SWT's punishment, may be lurking right behind their backs. They may be seized any moment. So they must not make haste in asking for the doom. It is indeed out of His-SWT kindness, being extremely Merciful, that respite is given. It is the people who are mostly ingrates. He-SWT knows all what they conceal deep in their hearts, as well as what they display. His-SWT Knowledge befits His-SWT Magnificence. The secrets of the heavens and the earth and the unseen are inscribed even in the Guarded Tablet. In fact, many unseen facts have been explained by the Quran. For instance, there were disputes over some events amongst the scholars of Bani Israil and none of the parties could give the correct account. The Quran explained all with complete authenticity including definite guidance for the future. It is not an ordinary book but a Divine Mercy for all those who embrace Islam.


The time is running out fast. It may be unknown to the people but it is in Allah-SWT's Knowledge and He-SWT will arbitrate between them. He-SWT is all Prevailing, Whom no one can prevent from doing what He-SWT wants, and is All Knowing, nothing can be concealed from Him-SWT .


These infidels, who refuse to listen to the Holy Prophet-SW, may well be compared to the dead, so how could he-SW make the dead listen to his-SW words? Or to the deaf who turns his back and walks away, or the blind who cannot find the way by listening to the directions. However, the words of the Holy Prophet-SW will only benefit the blessed who believe in His-SWT Revelations and become Muslims.


Hearing By The Dead

These Ayat do not refer directly to the hearing by the dead, as it is only an analogy. It cannot be concluded that the infidels could not hear the Holy Prophet-SW. However, they could not derive any benefit from him-SW just as a dead body cannot execute a given command of piety. Similar was the condition of the infidels, so it refers to such hearing which is beneficial. Then a comparison has not been drawn with the living, rather, it says that the Holy Prophet-SW can only make those hear who have become believers. In other words, it is only a believer who can benefit from what he-SW teaches.


Whether the dead can hear or not is an issue over which a difference of opinion amongst the Companions-RAU is on record. This has been explained in a simple manner by the author of Mu'arif al Quran, Mufti Muhammad Shaft-RUA. The fact is that opinion differs with regard to varying situations, occasions and particular individuals, and not over the basic question whether the dead can hear or not. As all the Ayat concerning this topic are addressed to the infidels alone, it does not establish that the dead cannot hear. There are, however, Ayat that support hearing by the dead, such as those pertaining to the martyrs, which establish that they are alive and are duly provided. It is also revealed that they rejoice over the noble deeds of their survivors in the world. This means that the Ruh not only understands but is also aware of the conditions of those left behind. It may be argued that this applies only to the martyrs, yet it does establish one fact that not every dead is deprived of hearing. Hadhrat ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar-RAU justifies the hearing by the dead relying on Ahadith. The Holy Prophet-SW directs that whenever the believer pass by the grave of fellow believers, they must offer greetings which are duly reciprocated.


However, it is also a fact that not all the dead can hear, nor can every one hear them. It is entirely upto Allah-SWT , that whoever He-SWT wants to hear He-SWT makes them hear, and whoever He-SWT chooses to be heard His-SWT words are heard by them. The same rule applies to the living. Everything happens by His-SWT Will.


Beast From The Earth

When the Promised Hour draws nigh, there will emerge a strange beast from the earth, which will talk to the people. It is only then that those who did not believe in its occurrence will realise, but the respite to repent would have ended. The Holy Prophet-SW identifies some signs of the commencement of that Day. Two of these are the rising of the sun from the West and emergence of this beast from the earth. However, by then the lime to repent would have gone past, and this strange beast and its conversation with people would only leave them wonder struck. They will then realise the magnificence of Allah-SWT's Omnipotence, but the chance to become believers would have been gone. The emergence of this beast would be followed closely by the establishment of the Doomsday. Human behaviour today has reached the point where they object to the words of wisdom conveyed by the Prophets-AS as well as His-SWT Scriptures, while they thoroughly believe in jugglery.