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Holy Quran Section > English Translation and Commentary of the Holy Quran by Maulana Muhammad Ali (Table of Contents) > Chapter 44 (Al-Dukhan- The Drought) > Section 1 (Verses 1 to 29)



Section/Ruku 1 [Verses 1 to 29]: Lighter punishment followed by severer:
Chapter 44: (Al-Dukhan: The Drought)
(Revealed at Makkah: 3 sections; 59 verses)

1. Introduction:

This is the fifth chapter of the Ha Mim group. It is known as The Drought, from the prophecy of the drought contained in v. 10. This prophecy is followed by another indicating that a severer punishment would follow, if they did not repent. The case of Pharaoh, who was drowned because he hardened his heart, is then cited. The remaining two sections of the chapter are devoted to a description of the condition of the righteous and the wicked. The chapter is, as it were, an explanation of the nature of the doom which awaited the opponents.

2. Translation:

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.

1 Beneficent God!

2 By the Book that makes manifest!

3 We revealed it on a blessed nighta — truly We are ever warning.

4 Therein is made clear every affair full of wisdoma

5 A command from Us — truly We are ever sending messengers —

6 A mercy from thy Lord — truly He is the Hearing, the Knowing,

7 The Lord of the heavens and the earth and what is between them, if you would be sure.

8 There is no God but He; He gives life and causes death — your Lord and the Lord of your fathers of yore.

9 Nay, in doubt they sport.

10 So wait for the day when the heaven brings a clear drought,a

11 Enveloping men. This is a painful chastisement.

12 Our Lord, remove from us the chastisement — surely we are believers.

13 When will they be reminded? And a Messenger has indeed come, making clear;

14 Yet they turned away from him and said: One taught (by others), a madman!

15 We shall remove the chastisement a little, (but) you will surely return (to evil).

16 On the day when We seize (them) with the most violent seizing; surely We shall exact retribution.a

17 And certainly We tried before them Pharaoh’s people and a noble messenger came to them,

18 Saying: Deliver to me the servants of Allah.a Surely I am a faithful messenger to you.

19 And exalt not yourselves against Allah. Surely I bring to you a clear authority.

20 And I take refuge with my Lord and your Lord, lest you stone me to death.

21 And if you believe not in me, leave me alone.

22 Then he called upon his Lord: These are a guilty people.

23 So go forth with My servants by night; surely you will be pursued,

24 And leave the sea behind calm.a Surely they are a host to be drowned.

25 How many of the gardens and springs they left behind!

26 And cornfields and noble places!

27 And goodly things wherein they rejoiced!

28 Thus (it was). And We made other people inherit them.

29 So the heaven and the earth wept not for them, nor were they respited.a

3. Commentary:

3a. The revelation of the Holy Qur’an on a blessed night has a deeper meaning beneath it than the mere fact that the revelation began on the blessed night which is elsewhere called lailat al-Qadr (97:1), one of the last ten nights in the month of Ramadan. The night stands for a time of darkness, and hence a time of ignorance, when true knowledge had disappeared from the world. A prophet’s advent is always preceded by such darkness, and when the Holy Prophet made his appearance, such darkness prevailed in all countries of the world. This night is called a blessed night because in it the world received the greatest manifestation of Divine light. [Back to verse 3]

4a. Divine revelation distinguishes truth from falsehood and reveals the treasures of wisdom to men. [Back to verse 4]

10a. Dukhan means smoke, or mischief, or dearth, or drought, or hunger (LL). The commentators agree on the basis of highly trustworthy reports that its meaning here is drought. According to T, dukhan means jadab, i.e., dearth or drought, and ju‘ or famine, for (the drought brought on such misery that) the hungry man beheld smoke between him and the sky. Others, however, say the real reason why hunger is called dukhan is that because of the dry earth in a drought dust rises, creating a dusty atmosphere, which is likened to smoke (LL). The chapter, as the whole tenor of it shows, belongs to the early Makkan period. The suggestion that this verse and those that follow, up to the 16th, or according to some only vv. 15 and 16, belong to Madinah, is entirely without foundation. The statements made in these verses are all prophetical, and such is also the statement of v. 15, We shall remove the chastisement a little, because the removal of the drought was followed by the "violent seizing", which brought on the conquest of Makkah. The Hadith has the following reference to it: "When the Prophet invited the Quraish to Islam, they rejected him and opposed him; so he prayed, O Allah, help me against them with seven years like the seven years of Joseph. So famine and distress overtook them and all their resources were exhausted, until they ate dead bodies, and a man used to look to heaven, and he saw between him and it something like smoke on account of hard affliction" (B. 65: xliv, 4). [Back to verse 10]

16a. The prophecy here seems to refer to the constant defeats in battle that were to be suffered by the Quraish, beginning with the battle of Badr, and resulting in the final overthrow of their power by the seizure of Makkah. Ibn Masud says that by violent seizing is meant the day of Badr (B. 65: xliv, 4). The discomfiture of the power of the Quraish began with Badr, and that power was utterly broken with the conquest of Makkah. [Back to verse 16]

18a. Moses wanted the Israelites to be allowed to leave Egypt. [Back to verse 18]

24a. Rahw has several significances. It means an intervening space between two things (T), the sea or the river in this case being an intervening space between the Israelites and the Egyptians. It also means calm (T), it being implied that there was no storm in the sea when it was left by the Israelites, so that the Egyptians, finding it calm and motionless, followed the Israelites. Or rahw may signify moving along easily, referring to the Israelites going along without fear of being overtaken. [Back to verse 24]

29a. The weeping for a dead man signifies the remembering of his good qualities or actions, which often bring tears to the eyes. The heaven and the earth wept not for them because they had neither the love of God in their hearts, nor had they done anything for the good of men, so that their good qualities should have been remembered either in heaven or on earth. [Back to verse 29]



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Section 2: Good and evil rewarded

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Chapter 43: Zukhruf (Gold)

Chapter 45: Al-Jathiyah (The Kneeling)

Holy Quran Section > English Translation and Commentary of the Holy Quran by Maulana Muhammad Ali (Table of Contents) > Chapter 44 (Al-Dukhan- The Drought) > Section 1 (Verses 1 to 29)

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