سورة الأعراف   

Surah Name: Al-A'raf Meaning:The Heights

  • Revealed at Makkah
  • The foundation of Islam is on the transparent belief in the Unity of Allah-SWT . The relationship between man and Allah-SWT is such that the former must present his needs only before Him-SWT display his utter humility and insignificance. The theme of the preceding Surah is further expanded here, with emphasis on the importance of the Prophethood because no one can, on his own, comprehend Allah-SWT's Magnificence. He-SWT is beyond human senses. Allah-SWT's Cognition is a feeling induced into the human heart, and this honour is conferred upon the subtle hearts of His-SWT Prophets-AS through Revelations. They distribute these blessings amongst their followers, through a process known as Tazkiyah. In other words, the heart that receives this light is purified and capacitated to comprehend the Divine Book and the Wisdom. Thus the cognition of the Prophet-AS‘s paves the way to the Cognition of Allah-SWT ’. This Surah discusses the importance of Prophethood, supporting it with both logical and chronicle evidence, in the light of history of the preceding nations and their Prophets"-AS their conduct and the end results thereof. Towards the end is the discussion on the Unity of Allah-SWT ’. Also listed are some of His-SWT ’ Commands to facilitate His-SWT Cognition through obedience

  • Total Number of Rukū / Sections 24
  • Total Number of Āyāt / Parts 206
  • Sūrah / Chapter number 7
  • Rukū / Section 19 contains Āyāt / Parts 6
  • Siparah/ Volume 8 & 9


إِنَّ الَّذِينَ اتَّخَذُواْ الْعِجْلَ سَيَنَالُهُمْ غَضَبٌ مِّن رَّبِّهِمْ وَذِلَّةٌ فِي الْحَياةِ الدُّنْيَا وَكَذَلِكَ نَجْزِي الْمُفْتَرِينَ

Inna allatheena ittakhathoo alAAijla sayanaluhum ghadabun min rabbihim wathillatun fee alhayati a(l)ddunya wakathalika najzee almuftareen(a)

Those who took to themselves the calf: presently will overtake them wrath from their Rabb-SWT and abasement in the life of world. Thus do We requite the forgers.


وَالَّذِينَ عَمِلُواْ السَّيِّئَاتِ ثُمَّ تَابُواْ مِن بَعْدِهَا وَآمَنُواْ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ مِن بَعْدِهَا لَغَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ

Wa(a)llatheena AAamiloo a(l)ssayyiati thumma taboo min baAAdiha waamanoo inna rabbaka min baAAdiha laghafoorun raheem(un)

And those who committed evils, and thereafter repented and believed, verily your Rabb-SWT is thereafter Forgiving, Merciful.


وَلَمَّا سَكَتَ عَن مُّوسَى الْغَضَبُ أَخَذَ الأَلْوَاحَ وَفِي نُسْخَتِهَا هُدًى وَرَحْمَةٌ لِّلَّذِينَ هُمْ لِرَبِّهِمْ يَرْهَبُونَ

Walamma sakata AAan moosa alghadabu akhatha alalwaha wafee nuskhatihahudan warahmatun lillatheena hum lirabbihim yarhaboon(a)

And when the anger of Musa-AS was allayed and he took up the tablets, and in the inscription thereon were guidance and Mercy unto those who have an awe of their Rabb-SWT .


وَاخْتَارَ مُوسَى قَوْمَهُ سَبْعِينَ رَجُلاً لِّمِيقَاتِنَا فَلَمَّا أَخَذَتْهُمُ الرَّجْفَةُ قَالَ رَبِّ لَوْ شِئْتَ أَهْلَكْتَهُم مِّن قَبْلُ وَإِيَّايَ أَتُهْلِكُنَا بِمَا فَعَلَ السُّفَهَاء مِنَّا إِنْ هِيَ إِلاَّ فِتْنَتُكَ تُضِلُّ بِهَا مَن تَشَاء وَتَهْدِي مَن تَشَاء أَنتَ وَلِيُّنَا فَاغْفِرْ لَنَا وَارْحَمْنَا وَأَنتَ خَيْرُ الْغَافِرِينَ

Wa(i)khtara moosa qawmahu sabAAeena rajulan limeeqatina falammaakhathathumu a(l)rrajfatu qala rabbi law shita ahlaktahum min qablu waiyyaya atuhlikuna bima faAAala a(l)ssufahao minna in hiya illa fitnatuka tudillu biha man tashao watahdee man tashao anta waliyyuna fa(i)ghfir lana wa(i)rhamna waanta khayru alghafireen(a)

And Musa-AS singled out of his people seventy men for Our-SWT appointment: then when the earthquake seized them, he said: Rabb-SWT : had You-SWT willed. You-SWT would have killed them afore and me also. Will You-SWT kill us for what the fools among us have done? It is only Your-SWT trial by which You-SWT send astray whom You-SWT will, and keep guided whom You-SWT will. You-SWT are our Patron. So forgive us You-SWT and have Mercy on us; and You-SWT are the Best of the forgivers.


وَاكْتُبْ لَنَا فِي هَـذِهِ الدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةً وَفِي الآخِرَةِ إِنَّا هُدْنَـا إِلَيْكَ قَالَ عَذَابِي أُصِيبُ بِهِ مَنْ أَشَاء وَرَحْمَتِي وَسِعَتْ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ فَسَأَكْتُبُهَا لِلَّذِينَ يَتَّقُونَ وَيُؤْتُونَ الزَّكَـاةَ وَالَّذِينَ هُم بِآيَاتِنَا يُؤْمِنُونَ

Wa(o)ktub lana fee hathihi a(l)ddunya hasanatan wafee alakhirati inna hudna ilayka qala AAathabee oseebu bihi man ashao warahmatee wasiAAat kulla shayin fasaaktubuha lillatheena yattaqoona wayutoona a(l)zzakata wa(a)llatheena hum biayatina yuminoon(a)

And ordain for us good in the world and in the Hereafter: surely we have been guided to You-SWT . Allaah-SWT said: as to My-SWT chastisement, I-SWT afflict therewith whom I-SWT will, and as to My-SWT Mercy, it comprehends everything. I-SWT will, therefore, ordain it for those who fear Allaah-SWT and pay Zakat and those who believe in Our-SWT Signs.


الَّذِينَ يَتَّبِعُونَ الرَّسُولَ النَّبِيَّ الأُمِّيَّ الَّذِي يَجِدُونَهُ مَكْتُوبًا عِندَهُمْ فِي التَّوْرَاةِ وَالإِنْجِيلِ يَأْمُرُهُم بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَيَنْهَاهُمْ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَيُحِلُّ لَهُمُ الطَّيِّبَاتِ وَيُحَرِّمُ عَلَيْهِمُ الْخَبَآئِثَ وَيَضَعُ عَنْهُمْ إِصْرَهُمْ وَالأَغْلاَلَ الَّتِي كَانَتْ عَلَيْهِمْ فَالَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ بِهِ وَعَزَّرُوهُ وَنَصَرُوهُ وَاتَّبَعُواْ النُّورَ الَّذِيَ أُنزِلَ مَعَهُ أُوْلَـئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ

Allatheena yattabiAAoona a(l)rrasoola a(l)nnabiyya alommiyya allathee yajidoonahu maktooban AAindahum fee a(l)ttawrati wa(a)linjeeli yamuruhum bi(a)lmaAAroofi wayanhahum AAani almunkari wayuhillu lahumu a(l)ttayyibati wayuharrimu AAalayhimu alkhabaitha wayadaAAu AAanhum israhum wa(a)laghlala allatee kanat AAalayhim fa(a)llatheena amanoo bihi waAAazzaroohu wanasaroohu wa(i)ttabaAAoo a(l)nnoora allathee onzila maAAahu olaika humu almuflihoon(a)

Those who follow the Messenger-SW, the unlettered Prophet-SW, whom they find described in the Torah and Injil which are with them; he-SW bids them to the proper and forbids them the improper, allows to them things clean, and prohibits them things unclean, and relieves them of their burdens and the shackles which have been upon them. Then those who believe in him-SW and side with him-SW and succour him and follow the light which has been sent down with him-SW; those: they are the prosperous.


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

Pinning Hopes on Others than Allah-SWT is Disgraceful

Allah-SWT has laid down a rule that all those who indulged in worshipping the calf will be subjected to His-SWT Wrath and also humiliation in this worldly life. In other words, those who surrender quickly to the force of circumstances renounce the door of Allaah-SWT and rely on other than Him-SWT; who make their own intelligence and wisdom a guide and a refuge, will have to face twofold punishment in this life. Firstly, His-SWT Annoyance, which results in waywardness and a distortion of beliefs. Secondly, in the form of humiliation and distress; both these aspects can be witnessed in today’s society. Especially, the Western society, estranged to Allah-SWT, presents a perfect example of the aforementioned dilemma. Their beliefs have been completely distorted and they have lost their morality and sense of honour. Chastity and virtue have gone with the wind because of their habitual indulgence in immorality. This is the Divine Reciprocation of fabricating lies against Him-SWT . According to Tafsir-e-Mazhari the invention of rituals and innovations in the name of religion amounts to fabricating a lie against Allaah-SWT and would be punished accordingly. Yet there is one hope of salvation and that is through repentance.



Repentance involves reformation of one's beliefs and conduct. The Bani Israil had to suffer death in atonement. Those slain were deemed as martyrs and the survivors were forgiven, as discussed in al-Baqarah. But for the Ummah of the Holy Prophet-SW this Divine Law has been relaxed; for it only expects from the sinner to correct his beliefs, to sever ties of submission with all save Allah-SWT, and to practically obey Him-SWT . Once this is done, Allaah-SWT is Forgiving and Merciful for He-SWT does not deprive the truly repentant of His-SWT Mercy, no matter how grave a sinner he might have been. When Prophet Musa-AS ‘s anger subsided, he picked up the tablets having Torah inscribed on them, because these were not only a source of guidance but also a means of attaining Divine Blessings, being the Words of Allah-SWT,


Benefiting from Divine Scripture

To benefit from any book, acquaintance with the greatness of the author is imperative; otherwise the desired results are not realized. This acquaintance is stirred by reading or learning the book. Through a highly subtle phenomenon, reading the Divine Scripture fuels the drive to recognize Him-SWT and His-SWT Attributes. This blessing is acquired from the Holy Prophet-SW, the very source of the Divine Book. Given this cognition, guidance and grace flows out from the Divine Book. This is why the duties assigned to the Holy Prophet-SW have been arranged in a sequence starting from "Recitation of the Ayat followed by "purification of the soul (Allah-SWT's Cognition) and lastly ''teaching of the Scripture and Wisdom" (guidance and grace). These blessings are conferred upon those who dread the very thought of annoying their Rabb-SWT .


When Prophet Musa-AS presented the Torah to Ban! Israil they raised questions on its authenticitv as a Divine Scripture. They said that they had not heard it being revealed. Prophet Musa-AS was very upset. He-AS decided to request Allaah-SWT to allow him to bring along selected persons from Bani Israil so that they also hear the Divine Speech. His request was conceded and he headed for Mount Tur along with seventy selected persons from all the tribes of Bani Israil. As recounted earlier, they said how could they know by merely hearing the voice who the speaker was. They asked Prophet Musa-AS to bring Allaah-SWT before them so that they could speak to Him-SWT and verify the Torah that it was indeed the Divine Word. It was a great favour that Allaah-SWT had agreed to speak to them. Had they been contented with it they would probably have been unique in status amongst the entire mankind other than the Prophet-AS’s to have spoken to Allaah-SWT directly.


Demands Beyond one's Calibre are Suicidal

But unfortunately they forgot their own standing while demanding to behold Allaah-SWT . For this arrogance they were duly punished with death. It has been experienced in Suluk too that some seekers demand something beyond their capacity, for instance, appointment as a deputy or spiritual mentor. As a result they lose whatever they had acquired and not only do they go astray but become a source of derailing others. Allaah-SWT surely bestows spiritual stations proportionate to the given capacity, but to demand far above one's capacity is very unwise indeed.


Thus the group accompanying Prophet Musa-AS were seized by thunderbolt and earthquake. Prophet Musa-AS raised his hands in prayer and begged: O’ Allaah-SWT ! Had You-SWT willed You-SWT could have destroyed them long ago, as they had repeatedly erred. I am myself Your-SWT humble slave who could have been destroyed too if You-SWT had so willed. But O’ my Rabb-SWT ! This death penalty is too big a trial for their follies. You-SWT know the Bani Israil. They will blame me of getting their representatives killed."


Divine Protection against Trials Must Be Sought.

Allah-SWT is all-Powerful. If He-SWT willed, He-SWT could have caused others to be guided after witnessing the ill fate of seventy arrogant representatives. And if annoyed, He-SWT could have caused the Bani Israil to wander astray in ignorance thereby ignoring real reason of the death of group and resort to accusing their Prophet"-AS. So Prophet Musa-AS begged Allaah-SWT to shelter them against His-SWT trials, for He-SWT was their Helper and Friend. He prayed Allaah-SWT for Mercy and Forgiveness; He-SWT being the Most Merciful. This Mercy may be displayed so to make virtue and piety the hallmarks of their character, in order to earn reward in the Hereafter. "We turn to You-SWT the One and the Only Being for penitence." In other words, it is important to seek His-SWT Protection against trials as well as to seek worldly and eternal bliss from Him-SWT by turning to Him-SWT in repentance and pinning all hopes on Him-SWT .


So Allaah-SWT addressed Prophet Musa-AS: "Not all wrongdoers are punished by Me-SWT , but some of them are so thoroughly arrogant and rebellious that they ask for it. Though every wrongdoer deserves to be punished, but I-SWT overlook. My-SWT Mercy is so overwhelming that no amount of sin can exceed it". But it must be remembered that Allah-SWT's special Mercy is attained only by those who observe Taqwa; a state of the heart repeatedly explained before. Although the wrongdoer and the non believer also benefits from the Divine Mercy common to all in this world, and is given respite to enjoy the wealth, health, progeny, power and numerous other blessings, yet eventually he remains deprived if he does not repent. The special Divine Mercy is only for those, who have enlightened hearts and are aware of Him-SWT; those who earn lawfully and spend in His-SWT Cause and hold the correct beliefs.


Payment of Zakat

The obligation of Zakat is always mentioned simultaneously with the faith to emphasize the fact that a believer, besides worship, strives to earn his living lawfully. He does not covet the wealth of others, rather helps the poor and the needy. However, Zakat is only payable when he holds assets liable to it. But sadly enough, a large number of religious scholars become content with Zakat as source of livelihood and shirk regular work. Whereas payment of Zakat is a token of consummation of faith and the beauty of Islam, and only those genuinely incapable of earning a livelihood qualify to receive it.


Companions-RAU  and Ummah Praised

Allah-SWT asserts that these qualities will be possessed by those contemporaries of the unlettered Prophet-SW who will accept his-SW Message and obey him-SW. The term "unlettered" refers to a person who can neither read nor write and is generally considered a shortcoming. But the Holy Prophet-SW worked such wonders of extraordinary wisdom that the entire mankind fails to present a parallel. Forty years of his-SW noble life, as witnessed by the Makkans, he neither attended a school nor any sermon. But after he-SW declared his-SW Prophethood, not even a single subject remained un-addressed. Whatever he-SA said about on a particular issue proved to be the final word. So being unlettered became a matter of excellence for the Holy Prophet-SW The qualities of the unlettered Prophet-SW have been so vividly described in the Torah and the Bible as to reveal his-SW complete personality. Although these Scriptures stand badly mutilated today his-SW eulogies and repeated mention is still retained. The scholars have compiled books comprising those references and it is amazing that the Jews and Christians have not contradicted them, which itself is a living evidence of the validity of Islam. Otherwise they would have kicked up much dust against the Quran. The Commentators recount a number of references in this regard, which are being skipped here for fear of protraction.


One of the Prophetic Excellences

Another virtue of the Holy Prophet-SW announced is that he-SW enjoins good and forbids evil. Though this task is performed by all the Prophets-AS and is befitting to the exalted office of Prophethood yet it is unique that whoever is associated with him-SW develops an affinity towards good and a repulsion for evil. This, in fact, is also the standard to judge a Shaikh excellence. If the above effect is attained in his company to some extent, it is certainly worthwhile to follow him. Otherwise, he does not deserve to be a Shaikh or a guide.


Elaborating further on his-SW virtues, it is said that he-SW will also permit what is pure, for many good things were forbidden to Bani Israil as punishment, such as the fat of permissible animals. He-SW will forbid all sorts of filth such as the consumption of carrion, blood, wine and wealth acquired by unlawful means or the bad habits etc. In other words, after raising of the Holy Prophet-SW the criterion of virtue and evil will be the Shari'ah enforced by him-SW .


Criterion for Good and Bad

Whatever is permitted by Shariah is good and what it defines as permissible is the best. And what is banned by the Holy Prophet-SW is bad. Whatever is forbidden by Shari'ah cannot be of any material benefit to mankind. The next distinction of the Holy Prophet-SW revealed is that he relieves the people of their burdens and shackles. This refers to the austere restrictions enforced on Bani Israil as a punishment for their arrogance. For instance, they were not permitted to wash their soiled clothes but had to cut the dirty portion off, they had to amputate that part of the body involved in sin as an atonement; they could not take any spoils of war. These and many more restrictions were annulled by Islam to free the mankind.


The Shari'ah that the Holy Prophet-SW brought lays down the most convenient way to live. His-SW introduction is followed by a word on the qualities of those who accepted his-SW Message, the Companions-RAU. They were the very first addressees of this Revelation, and were a living example of all the positive qualities. They accepted his-SW Message and held him-SW in the highest esteem. They served him-SW and assisted him-SW in every detail and followed the light he-SW had brought.


The Excellence of Prophethood

Believing, here is synonymous to the respect and adoration of the Holy Prophet-SW. In other words, obedience and adherence out of compulsion is not the underlying aim: rather a devotion stemming out of affection and fond love is demanded. A believer should have so much love and respect for the Holy Prophet-SW in his heart that he develops a distaste for all that is disliked by him-SW. Obeying the Prophet-AS’s has always been obligatory, but for the Holy Prophet-SW obedience based on respect, esteem and adoration is mandatory. That is why the Quran repeatedly stresses on the etiquettes to be observed in his exalted audience.


The level of respect for the Holy Prophet-SW is judged by the extent of assistance and support offered to him-SW in the accomplishment of his-SW mission. For example, amongst the duties of the Holy Prophet-SW were to convey the Message of Allaah-SWT to mankind and to eliminate injustice and oppression from the face of the earth. The Companions-RAU exerted ceaselessly and took this Message across the globe, and eradicated tyranny and oppression from every comer of the land. Even today, faith demands from the Muslims that they should exert all efforts to propagate and spread the beliefs in their pristine purity for upholding Islam. Not only should piety be practiced but it should also be enforced through sincere struggle.


To Follow Sunnah is Obligatory

And those who follow the light of the Divine Book leading onto the clear path, in contrast to all the winding roads of darkness, are indeed successful in both the worlds There are two aspects of Sunnah Firstly are the matters related to worship. Observing and practicing them according to the Sunnah is obligatory. Secondly, are the matters of habit i.e. the practices adopted by the Holy Prophet-SW as habits. Following these is the best way of attaining Barakah, though it is not mandatory. This is because habits vary across times and regions. For instance, clothing and food may vary but care must be taken that one does not adopt the ways of the non believers in the process. Here the following matters have been revealed in a sequence.


Firstly, adherence to the Prophethood as mentioned in the very outset because faith, practice and belief in the Quran as Allah-SWT's Book depends on obedience and adherence to the Holy Prophet-SW. Therefore, it is obligatory to adhere to the Sunnah. Secondly, the tenets of Islam handed down by him must be accepted in toto without any alterations. And finally the respect and ardent love of the Holy Prophet-SW which would compel the believer to obey him-SW and to offer his very life for the fulfillment of his-SW mission. This indeed is the key to Paradise.