38 - Saad

6 Tafsir(s) related to verse 38.1


Sād: God knows best what He means by this [letter]. By the Qur’ān bearing the Remembrance, that is, [bearing] the Pronouncement; or [what is meant is that the Qur’ān is a Book] of renown (the response to this oath has been omitted, in other words: ‘It is not as the Meccan disbelievers say, that there are many gods’).


Ṣād. By the Qurʾān endowed with the Remembrance!He said:That is, endowed with healing power (al-shaʾn al-shāfī) and sufficient admonition (al-waʿẓ al-kāfī).His words:

Ibn Al Kathir

وَالْقُرْءَانِ ذِى الذِّكْرِ

(By the Qur'an full of reminding.) means, by the Qur'an which includes all that is in it as a reminder and a benefit to people in this life and the Hereafter. Ad-Dahhak said that the Ayah,

ذِى الذِّكْرِ

(full of reminding.) is like the Ayah,

لَقَدْ أَنزَلْنَآ إِلَيْكُمْ كِتَـباً فِيهِ ذِكْرُكُمْ

(Indeed, We have sent down for you (O mankind) a Book in which there is Dhikrukum) (21:10). i.e., your reminder. This was also the view of Qatadah and of Ibn Jarir. Ibn `Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, Sa`id bin Jubayr, Isma`il bin Abi Khalid, Ibn `Uyaynah, Abu Husayn, Abu Salih and As-Suddi said:

ذِى الذِّكْرِ

(full of reminding.) "Full of honor,'' i.e., of high standing. There is no contradiction between the two views, because it is a noble Book which includes reminders and leaves no excuse and brings warnings. The reason for this oath is to be found in the Ayah:

إِن كُلٌّ إِلاَّ كَذَّبَ الرٌّسُلَ فَحَقَّ عِقَابِ

(Not one of them but denied the Messengers; therefore My torment was justified.) (38:14). Qatadah said, "The reason for it is to be found in the Ayah:

بَلِ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ فِى عِزَّةٍ وَشِقَاقٍ

(Nay, those who disbelieve are in false pride and opposition).'' This was the view favored by Ibn Jarir.

بَلِ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ فِى عِزَّةٍ وَشِقَاقٍ

(Nay, those who disbelieve are in false pride and opposition.) means, in this Qur'an there is a reminder for those who will be reminded and a lesson for those who will learn a lesson, but the disbelievers will not benefit from it because they

فِى عِزَّةٍ

(are in false pride) meaning, arrogance and tribalism,


(and opposition.) means, they are stubbornly opposed to it and go against it. Then Allah scares them with news of how the nations who came before them were destroyed because of their opposition to the Messengers and their disbelief in the Scriptures that were revealed from heaven. Allah says:

كَمْ أَهْلَكْنَا مِن قَبْلِهِم مِّن قَرْنٍ

(How many a generation have We destroyed before them!) meaning, disbelieving nations.


(And they cried out) means, when the punishment came to them, they called for help and cried out to Allah, but that did not save them at all. This is like the Ayat:

فَلَمَّآ أَحَسُّواْ بَأْسَنَآ إِذَا هُمْ مِّنْهَا يَرْكُضُونَ - لاَ تَرْكُضُواْ وَارْجِعُواْ إِلَى مَآ أُتْرِفْتُمْ فِيهِ وَمَسَـكِنِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُسْأَلُونَ

(Then, when they perceived (saw) Our torment, behold, they (tried to) flee from it. Flee not, but return to that wherein you lived a luxurious life, and to your homes, in order that you may be questioned.) (21:12-13). Abu Dawud At-Tayalisi recorded that At-Tamimi said, "I asked Ibn `Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, about the Ayah:

فَنَادَواْ وَّلاَتَ حِينَ مَنَاصٍ

(And they cried out when there was no longer time for escape.) He said that it was not the time for them to call or flee or escape. Muhammad bin Ka`b said, concerning the Ayah:

فَنَادَواْ وَّلاَتَ حِينَ مَنَاصٍ

(And they cried out when there was no longer time for escape.) "They called for Tawhid when their lives were over, and they resorted to repentance when their lives were over.'' Qatadah said, "When they saw the punishment, they wanted to repent when there was no longer time to call out.'' Mujahid said:

فَنَادَواْ وَّلاَتَ حِينَ مَنَاصٍ

(And they cried out when there was no longer time for escape.) "It was not the time to flee or escape.'' Allah says:

وَّلاَتَ حِينَ مَنَاصٍ

(when there was no longer time for escape.) meaning, there was no time to escape or run away; and Allah knows best.

Kashf Al-Asrar


The word ṣād is the key to His name Self-Sufficient [ṣamad]. The Self-Sufficient is He who is hallowed beyond encompassment by the knowledge of the created thing and incomparable with comprehension by the recognitions.

He is saying, “I am the Self-Sufficient and have no need for anyone. I am the One and have no associate. I am the Compeller, and no one has the color of union with Me. I am the Owner of the kingdom, and no matter what I do, no one has the gall to protest or a way to fight.”

Abu'l-Ḥasan Kharaqānī said, “He cut up the hearts of the sincerely truthful and turned their livers to water through waiting, but He gave Himself to no one.”

Whence do water and dust become privy to talk of union with that which has no beginning and no end? What access do the attributes of the newly arrived things have to eternity? How can that which was not, then was, then was not, perceive the majestic presence of the Possessor of Majesty? That chevalier said it beautifully:

“They opened a door to the garden of union with You so that people would fall into coveting You.

They plundered so many of the spirits of the great ones, but not one put his foot at the top of Your street.”

It has been said that the Real is the Self-Sufficient, and the meaning of the name is that the servants should lift up their needs to Him, consign their occupations to Him, and entrust themselves to Him; and He, in His unneediness, will look upon the needs of everyone and be sufficient for their every occupation.

When the tawḤīd-voicing, faithful servant has this belief, He will take as his shelter nothing but His threshold and will not disgrace himself at the door of any poor and paltry thing. “A created thing seeking aid from a created thing is like a prisoner seeking aid from a prisoner.”

It has come in the traditions that tomorrow a man of this community will be brought forward, and many sashes of unbelief will be removed from his waist-I mean sashes of the heart, not outward sashes, for anyone who attaches his heart to a creature has bound a sash around his heart. O chevalier! There is no mount quicker than the mount of MuḤammad the Arab, and no playing field vaster than his playing field.

Heaven and earth were made from the dust beneath his feet, God's spirit was made to sit like a chamberlain at the edge of his carpet, and the Holy Spirit carried the banner of his sultanate on its shoulders. Despite all the greatness, status, and rank that were his, it was said to him, “O MuḤammad, beat the drum of your own incapacity! Say: 'I do not own benefit for myself, or harm' [7:188]. Say, 'There is nothing in the hands of MuḤammad. The benefit and loss of the servants is only by the decree of the divine predetermination.' Thus will it

be known to the friends that the drink of tawḤīd cannot be mixed with mortal nature.”

“If anyone was worshiping MuḤammad, surely MuḤammad is dead. If anyone was worshiping God, surely He is the Living who does not die.”

It has also been said that ṣād is an oath sworn by the limpidness [ṣafāÌ] of the friends' love: How exalted is the individual and how great the servant by the limpidness of whose love the Exalted Lord swears an oath! This is the broken-hearted and indigence-colored soul before whose indigence all the wealthy of the world are one speck. All the obedient acts of the obedient and all the beautiful deeds of the proximate are ransom to one instant of the burning of his indigence. He has no water on his liver and no utensils in his house; all he has is a burnt heart. His work in this world has not been taken care of, but how will that harm him? For the throne of his good fortune is placed in the garden of proximity, and the majesty of the Unity swears an oath by the limpidness of his love: “ṣād!”

ʿAbdallāh Bustī was one of the great shaykhs. At the beginning of his desire when he was accepted by this talk, he held many title deeds against the people, but he gave them all back and absolved them of all liability. Then the thought of Mecca occurred to him. He consulted with his pir and asked for counsel. The desirer must have a pir, for it is impossible to walk on the road without a pir. The pir must be such that if the desirer should go ten times a day to the tavern, the pir should have no fear but should go after him and bring him out and be tender to him.

When ʿAbdallāh Bustī spoke of his thought about going to Mecca, the pir said, “That's good, but be careful not to feel secure from your own soul.” ʿAbdallāh wrote this advice on his heart and set out on foot. He went from his house as far as Kufah, and then his soul wanted lawful fish. He made a pact with his soul that, if he should fulfill this desire, the soul would have no other wish until he reached Mecca.

In Kufah there was a donkey mill, and a man was sitting there. He said to him, “How much do you pay for this animal?” He said so much. ʿAbdallāh said, “Be a good man and let this animal out for a day and tie me in its place.” He gave himself for the wage of one silver dirham and went into the donkey mill and did the work of an animal. He took the dirham, bought bread and fish, and ate. Then he said to his soul, “For every wish you have, you must work one day in a donkey mill so that you may have the wish.”

O chevalier! You must put all the tools of your ability to work so that incapacity appears. When incapacity appears, all work will itself turn its face to you, for “The incapacity to perceive is perception.”

The Pir of the Tariqah said, “Alas the Friend who keeps on stirring up the dust of trial! Water is pouring from the springhead of my eyes. He is a fire who burns the spirit and heart, a teacher who teaches nothing but trial and iniquity. His hands are always bloody from killing lovers, for His room is not inside the street of well-being. Wherever He takes up residence, He wants the spirit as repast. Safety becomes lost in trial, detachment in preoccupation.”

Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an

Although like all other enigmatic letters (mugatta'at) it is difficult to determine the meaning of the letter Suad also, yet the interpretation of it given by Ibn 'Abbas and Dahhak is quite plausible. According to them, it implies: Sadiq-un fi' qauli-hi, or Sadaqa Muhammad-un: Muhammad (upon whom be Allah's peace and blessings) is Truthful: whatever he says is the very Truth.

The words dhi-dh-dhikr of the Text can have two meanings: (1) Dhi sharaf: the noble Qur'an; and (2) Dhi at-tadhkir: the Qur'an which is full of admonition, or the Qur'an which serves as a reminder, or arouses a heedless person.

If the interpretation given of suad by Ibn 'Abbas and Dahhak is accepted, the sentence would mean this: "By this noble Qur'an, or by this Qur'an which is full of admonition, Muhammad (upon whom be Allah's peace) is presenting the Truth, but the people who persist in their denial, are in fact, involved in arrogance and stubbornness." And if suad is taken as one of those enigmatic letters whose meaning cannot be determined, then the answer to the oath is omitted, which is indicated by "but" and the sentence following it. The meaning then would be: "The reason for the denial of these disbelievers is not that the religion which is being presented before them is unsound, or that Muhammad (upon whom be Allah's peace) has shown some slackness in the matter of presenting the Truth before them, but their own boasting and bragging, their haughtiness and stubbornness, and this is borne out by this Qur'an itself, which is full of admonition. Every unbiased person who studies it will admit that fill justice has been done in it to the task of making the people understand the Truth.

Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs

And from his narration on the authority of Ibn 'Abbas that he said upon the interpretation of Allah's saying (Sad.): '(Sad.) He says: Sad by the Qur'an, i.e. repeat the Qur'an until you distinguish between faith and disbelief, the prophetic wont and blameworthy innovation, truthfulness and lying, the lawful and the unlawful, good and evil; it is also said that Sad stands for barring (sadd) from the guidance, i.e. the barring of the people of Mecca from the Truth and guidance; it is also said that it stands for Abu Jahl; and it is also said that it stands for truthful (sadiq) in his speech; and it is also said that Sad is one of Allah's names; and it is also said that it is an oath by which Allah swore (By the renowned Qur'an) by the Qur'an which possesses honour and clarity of exposition; it is an honour to those who believe in it and it is a clear exposition of the people of old as well as of future generations of people. Allah swore by the Qur'an,