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Sūrah Mulk
Qur'anic Exegesis
Javed Ahmad Ghamidi
(Tr. by:Dr. Shehzad Saleem)


Surah Mulk forms a pair with Surah Qalam with regard to the subject discussed in them: In Surah Mulk, the Quraish have been warned of the Day of Judgement while in Surah Qalam they have been warned of the punishment which a nation necessarily faces in case it denies the Prophet (sws) directly assigned to it.

Addressees of the Surah

Though the Prophet (sws) has also been addressed at various places in this surah, a little deliberation shows that in all places it is actually directed at the Quraish.

Period of Revelation

It is evident from the subject discussed in the surah that it was revealed in Makkah during the phase of Inzar of the Prophet's mission.

Central Theme

The central theme of Surah Mulk is to explain to the Quraish that the way this world has come into existence and for the purpose it has come into existence show that it will necessarily culminate on the Day of Judgement. Therefore, they should not take themselves to the point of no return when they will have no option but to confess their crimes and to face the consequences of this confession. They should be fearful of the Almighty Who can seize them even now in any way and at any time.

The arguments, in this surah, have been mainly drawn from the manifestations and signs of the Almighty's mercy, power and providence which every person can behold around him.

بِسْمِ اللّهِ الرَّحْمـَنِ الرَّحِيمِ

تَبَارَكَ الَّذِي بِيَدِهِ الْمُلْكُ وَهُوَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ الَّذِي خَلَقَ الْمَوْتَ وَالْحَيَاةَ لِيَبْلُوَكُمْ أَيُّكُمْ أَحْسَنُ عَمَلًا وَهُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الْغَفُورُ (١-٢)

الَّذِي خَلَقَ سَبْعَ سَمَاوَاتٍ طِبَاقًا مَّا تَرَى فِي خَلْقِ الرَّحْمَنِ مِن تَفَاوُتٍ فَارْجِعِ الْبَصَرَ هَلْ تَرَى مِن فُطُورٍ ثُمَّ ارْجِعِ الْبَصَرَ كَرَّتَيْنِ يَنقَلِبْ إِلَيْكَ الْبَصَرُ خَاسِأً وَهُوَ حَسِيرٌ (٣-٤)

وَلَقَدْ زَيَّنَّا السَّمَاء الدُّنْيَا بِمَصَابِيحَ وَجَعَلْنَاهَا رُجُومًا لِّلشَّيَاطِينِ وَأَعْتَدْنَا لَهُمْ عَذَابَ السَّعِيرِ وَلِلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا بِرَبِّهِمْ عَذَابُ جَهَنَّمَ وَبِئْسَ الْمَصِيرُ (٥-٦)

إِذَا أُلْقُوا فِيهَا سَمِعُوا لَهَا شَهِيقًا وَهِيَ تَفُورُ  تَكَادُ تَمَيَّزُ مِنَ الْغَيْظِ كُلَّمَا أُلْقِيَ فِيهَا فَوْجٌ سَأَلَهُمْ خَزَنَتُهَا أَلَمْ يَأْتِكُمْ نَذِيرٌ  قَالُوا بَلَى قَدْ جَاءنَا نَذِيرٌ فَكَذَّبْنَا وَقُلْنَا مَا نَزَّلَ اللَّهُ مِن شَيْءٍ إِنْ أَنتُمْ إِلَّا فِي ضَلَالٍ كَبِيرٍ  وَقَالُوا لَوْ كُنَّا نَسْمَعُ أَوْ نَعْقِلُ مَا كُنَّا فِي أَصْحَابِ السَّعِيرِ  فَاعْتَرَفُوا بِذَنبِهِمْ فَسُحْقًا لِّأَصْحَابِ السَّعِيرِ (٧-١١)

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَخْشَوْنَ رَبَّهُم بِالْغَيْبِ لَهُم مَّغْفِرَةٌ وَأَجْرٌ كَبِيرٌ  وَأَسِرُّوا قَوْلَكُمْ أَوِ اجْهَرُوا بِهِ إِنَّهُ عَلِيمٌ بِذَاتِ الصُّدُورِ  أَلَا يَعْلَمُ مَنْ خَلَقَ وَهُوَ اللَّطِيفُ الْخَبِيرُ (١٢-١٤)

هُوَ الَّذِي جَعَلَ لَكُمُ الْأَرْضَ ذَلُولًا فَامْشُوا فِي مَنَاكِبِهَا وَكُلُوا مِن رِّزْقِهِ وَإِلَيْهِ النُّشُورُ (١٥)

أَأَمِنتُم مَّن فِي السَّمَاء أَن يَخْسِفَ بِكُمُ الأَرْضَ فَإِذَا هِيَ تَمُورُ  أَمْ أَمِنتُم مَّن فِي السَّمَاء أَن يُرْسِلَ عَلَيْكُمْ حَاصِبًا فَسَتَعْلَمُونَ كَيْفَ نَذِيرِ  وَلَقَدْ كَذَّبَ الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِهِمْ فَكَيْفَ كَانَ نَكِيرِ (١٦-١٨)

أَوَلَمْ يَرَوْا إِلَى الطَّيْرِ فَوْقَهُمْ صَافَّاتٍ وَيَقْبِضْنَ مَا يُمْسِكُهُنَّ إِلَّا الرَّحْمَنُ إِنَّهُ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ بَصِيرٌ (١٩)

أَمَّنْ هَذَا الَّذِي هُوَ جُندٌ لَّكُمْ يَنصُرُكُم مِّن دُونِ الرَّحْمَنِ إِنِ الْكَافِرُونَ إِلَّا فِي غُرُورٍ أَمَّنْ هَذَا الَّذِي يَرْزُقُكُمْ إِنْ أَمْسَكَ رِزْقَهُ بَل لَّجُّوا فِي عُتُوٍّ وَنُفُورٍ (٢٠-٢١)

أَفَمَن يَمْشِي مُكِبًّا عَلَى وَجْهِهِ أَهْدَى أَمَّن يَمْشِي سَوِيًّا عَلَى صِرَاطٍ مُّسْتَقِيمٍ  قُلْ هُوَ الَّذِي أَنشَأَكُمْ وَجَعَلَ لَكُمُ السَّمْعَ وَالْأَبْصَارَ وَالْأَفْئِدَةَ قَلِيلًا مَّا تَشْكُرُونَ  قُلْ هُوَ الَّذِي ذَرَأَكُمْ فِي الْأَرْضِ وَإِلَيْهِ تُحْشَرُونَ (٢٢-٢٤)

وَيَقُولُونَ مَتَى هَذَا الْوَعْدُ إِن كُنتُمْ صَادِقِينَ  قُلْ إِنَّمَا الْعِلْمُ عِندَ اللَّهِ وَإِنَّمَا أَنَا نَذِيرٌ مُّبِينٌ  فَلَمَّا رَأَوْهُ زُلْفَةً سِيئَتْ وُجُوهُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا وَقِيلَ هَذَا الَّذِي كُنتُم بِهِ تَدَّعُونَ (٢٥-٢٧)

قُلْ أَرَأَيْتُمْ إِنْ أَهْلَكَنِيَ اللَّهُ وَمَن مَّعِيَ أَوْ رَحِمَنَا فَمَن يُجِيرُ الْكَافِرِينَ مِنْ عَذَابٍ أَلِيمٍ (٢٨)

قُلْ هُوَ الرَّحْمَنُ آمَنَّا بِهِ وَعَلَيْهِ تَوَكَّلْنَا فَسَتَعْلَمُونَ مَنْ هُوَ فِي ضَلَالٍ مُّبِينٍ  قُلْ أَرَأَيْتُمْ إِنْ أَصْبَحَ مَاؤُكُمْ غَوْرًا فَمَن يَأْتِيكُم بِمَاء مَّعِينٍ (٢٩-٣٠)

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Ever Merciful.

Very Great and very Benevolent is He in whose hands is the kingship of the worlds, and He has power over all things.1 [He] Who created death and life that He might test you2 as to which of you is best in deed. And He is also Mighty and Forgiving.3 (1-2)

He Who created seven heavens one above the other. You will not find any fault with what has been created by the Most Gracious. Then look again: can you see any flaw? Look again and again. Your look will come back to you worn out and overcome.4 (3-4)

[This is Power and Control] and [along with it are manifestations of Mercy such that] We have adorned the lowest heaven with lamps [and with it exists a system of surveillance also such that] We have made them [-- these lamps --] a means of bombardment on the devils.5 And We have prepared for them the torment of the Blazing Fire.6 And for those who [denied the Day of  Judgement and   in   this  way]  denied  their Lord there  is  the punishment of Hell and what an evil abode it is!7 (5-6)

When they will be cast into it, they shall hear it roaring and seething. It will almost be bursting with  rage. Every time a multitude is cast into it, its keepers will ask ‘Did no warner come to you?’ ‘Yes’ they will reply ‘but we rejected him and said ‘Allah has not sent down anything; you are only in grave error.’ And they will say ‘If only we had listened or used our intellect, we would not have been among these dwellers of the flames [today].’ In this way, they will confess their sin, so [now] cursed be these companions of Hell.8 (7-11)

 [On the other hand], for those who feared the Lord even though they did not see  Him,9 there is  indeed  forgiveness  and a great reward. [And listen O People!] Whether you speak secretly or openly, He verily has full knowledge of all that is in the hearts.10 Would He not know Who has created? He is Very Discerning and Well-Acqainted. (12-14)

He Who made the earth an obedient camel; so walk about in its shoulders and eat from His subsistence11 and remember [that when He has done all this to sustain you, He shall never leave you without taking an account]. You shall [definitely] rise up before Him. (15)

Are you not afraid of Him Who is in the heavens that He may thrust you in the earth? and you would suddenly see it running very swiftly. Are you not afraid of Him Who is in the heavens that He may send upon you a stone hurling wind? So now you

shall know how My warning is.12 And those also who were before them denied [in a similar manner and you saw] how terrible was my curse.13 (16-18)

Have these people not seen the birds [flying] above them with wings outstretched and they [in a similar manner] also draw them in. None save the Most Gracious is holding them. Indeed He keeps a watch on all things. (19)

[You demand punishment so speak up] ‘What army do you have who will help you against the Most Gracious?’ [They know that there is none]. Indeed, these disbelievers are in mere deception. [Speak up] ‘Who will give you sustenance if He withholds His sustenance [which pours down on you from the heavens]?’ [They are aware that there is no one]. Yet they persist in rebellion and in denying the truth. (20-21)

[This happened because like animals they walked face down]. So is he who walks grovelling on his face rightly guided or he who walks upright on a straight path? [Alas!] tell them ‘It is He Who has raised you up [as human beings] and given you ears, eyes and hearts [that you may understand the truth.] Yet seldom are you grateful.’14 Tell them ‘It is He who has  sown you in the earth

[so that He may reap what He  has  sown  and  separate  the chaff  from  the  wheat]. And  [for this]  towards  Him  you  shall [certainly] be gathered.’15 (22-24)

[And even after hearing all this they say] ‘When will this promise be fulfilled if you are truthful?’ Tell them ‘Its knowledge is only with Allah and I am only an open warner.’16 [This is what they say now], but when they see it drawing near, the faces of these disbelievers will turn gloomy and it shall be said to them ‘This is what you had been asking for.’ (25-27)

[They say that they are just waiting for the turn of fortunes for this Prophet]. Ask them ‘Have you ever thought that if Allah destroys me and my companions or has mercy on us [what will you gain? for even in this case] who shall save the disbelievers from an afflictive doom?’ (28)

Tell them ‘[We are making no claims for ourselves. Yes! definitely] He is the Most Gracious. We believe in Him and in Him we have put our trust [so we are hopeful that He shall have mercy upon us].’ But [listen ye also] ‘Soon you will know who is in manifest error.’ Tell them ‘Alright, just think if all the water you have sinks down into the earth, who will then bring out for you unsullied springs of water.’ (29-30)








1. This verse actually states the conclusions which a perceptive mind should reach when it contemplates on the various manifestations of this universe. The attributes of the Almighty mentioned in this verse negate the philosophical concept according to which He is regarded as only the first cause and Who has no further role in the affairs of this universe. They also serve to rebut the foolish notion that He is irresponsible and that He has created this universe for His entertainment and enjoyment. On the contrary, there is evidence scattered all about -- as is stated further down in the surah -- which points to the wisdom behind this act of creation. His benevolence and His power speak out that He is not indifferent to the good and evil of this world and can definitely make it reach its fate.

2. An apt statement which clarifies the misconception that the sorrow and suffering present in this world are inconsistent with the benevolence of the Almighty. Because this world has been created as a trial for man, grief and distress are meant to test him.

3. Since He is Mighty, none among those who deserve His wrath once the period of trial ends shall escape from His punishment and since He is Forgiving all those who deserve His mercy shall in no way be deprived of it.

4. The Almighty Who has this might and power can easily do whatever He intends. Creating mankind a second time is no hard task for Him.

5. This bombardment which is in the form of meteorites and which is directed at Satan's army when they try to creep up in the skies to overhear divine commandments shows that the Almighty is at all times taking care of all the affairs of this universe and has not left them to others.

6. A parallel mention of their fate in the Hereafter.

7. Once the fate of Satan and his accomplices has been mentioned, a small digression occurs to highlight the similar fate some people will reach -- people who denied the Day of Judgement inspite of beholding the signs of the Almighty's power and mercy.

8. The admission on the part of the sinners will make their punishment a perfect act of justice.

9. That is, who instead of demanding to see in order to believe in Allah, believe in Him by contemplating on the various signs and indications which point to His existence.

10. This statement is an assurance to the believers and a warning to the disbelievers for both bad deeds and good deeds done however secretly will be rewarded accordingly.

11. This is a metaphorical mention of the providence present in this world which nurtures and nourishes the inhabitants of the earth. One must remember that a camel was of tremendous utility and immense service to the people of Arabia -- the foremost addressees of the Qur’an. The complete picture which emerges if one keeps in view the subtle choice of words in mind is that of lice groping for nutrition in the furry skin of a camel.

12. The argumentative tone of the surah gives way to stern words of reproach to shake and ruffle its foremost addressees.

13. The Quraish have been directed to seek a lesson from history.

14. A person who walks face downwards sees immediately what is beneath his feet and is unaware of the direction he is taking. Like an animal, he cannot think beyond his immediate needs and despite being blessed with higher faculties does not employ them to seek the truth.

15. The parable of the farmer is again a reminder of the Day of Judgement. Other heavenly scriptures, particularly the Bible, have also alluded to this parable very effectively. (See Matt. 13:24-30, 36-43)

16. The surah closes on the note with which it began: the power and control of the Almighty so manifest in the world around us.

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