50 - Qaf

6 Tafsir(s) related to verse 50.1


Qāf: God knows best what He means by this [letter]. By the glorious Qur’ān, [by] the noble [Qur’ān], the disbelievers of Mecca have [certainly] not believed in Muhammad (s).


Qāf…[With this word] God, Exalted is He, made an oath by His strength (quwwa) and omnipotence (qudra). In its outer meaning it refers to the mountain which surrounds this world, which is the first mountain God, Exalted is He, created. Then after it, He created Mount Abū Qubays, which is the mountain which rises above Ṣafā. Beyond this, by a distance of one year’s journey, is a mountain behind which the sun sets, just as He said: until it [the sun] disappeared behind [night’s] veil [38:32]. It has a face like a human face and a heart like the hearts of the angels in gnosis (fi’l-maʿrifa). His words:

…By the glorious Qurʾān.He said:This means that it is honoured above all other speech.His words:

Ibn Al Kathir


(Qaf.) which is one of the letters of the alphabet that are mentioned in the beginning of some Surahs, such as,


(Sad.) (38:1)


(Nun. ) (68:1)


(Alif Lam Mim.) (2:1),


(Ha Mim.) (40:1), and


(Ta Sin) (28:1) and etc., Mujahid and several others said this. We also discussed this in the beginning of the explanation of Surat Al-Baqarah, and therefore, it is not necessary to repeat it here.

The Disbelievers wonder at the Message and Resurrection Allah said,

وَالْقُرْءَانِ الْمَجِيدِ

(By the Glorious Qur'an.) means by the Honorable and Great Qur'an, which,

لاَّ يَأْتِيهِ الْبَـطِلُ مِن بَيْنِ يَدَيْهِ وَلاَ مِنْ خَلْفِهِ تَنزِيلٌ مِّنْ حَكِيمٍ حَمِيدٍ

(Falsehood cannot come to it from before it or behind it: (it is) sent down by the All-Wise, Worthy of all praise.)(41:42) The subject of the oath contained in this Ayah is specified afterwards, even though it does not appear by word, emphasizing prophethood, resurrection and affirming that they are true. There are similar kinds of oaths in the Qur'an, whose subject is included in the meaning but not by word, such as,

ص وَالْقُرْءَانِ ذِى الذِّكْرِ - بَلِ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ فِى عِزَّةٍ وَشِقَاقٍ

(Sad. By the Qur'an full of reminding. Nay, those who disbelieve are in false pride and opposition.)(38:1-2) Allah said here,

ق وَالْقُرْءَانِ الْمَجِيدِ - بَلْ عَجِبُواْ أَن جَآءَهُمْ مُّنذِرٌ مِّنْهُمْ فَقَالَ الْكَـفِرُونَ هَـذَا شَىْءٌ عَجِيبٌ

(Qaf. By the Glorious Qur'an. Nay, they wonder that there has come to them a warner from among themselves. So the disbelievers say: "This is a strange thing!'') They wondered at the wisdom behind sending a Messenger who is a human being. Allah the Exalted and Most Honored said in another Ayah

أَكَانَ لِلنَّاسِ عَجَبًا أَنْ أَوْحَيْنَآ إِلَى رَجُلٍ مِّنْهُمْ أَنْ أَنذِرِ النَّاسَ

(Is it a wonder for mankind that We have sent Our revelation to a man from among themselves (saying): "Warn mankind.'') (10:2), meaning, this is not strange, for Allah chooses Messengers from angels and humans. Allah the Exalted and Most Honored mentioned that the disbelievers also wondered about the Resurrection and discounted its coming,

أَءِذَا مِتْنَا وَكُنَّا تُرَاباً ذَلِكَ رَجْعُ بَعِيدٌ

(When we are dead and have become dust. That is a far return.) They said, `after we die, disintegrate, with our organs torn apart and we become dust, how can we be brought back to our original shape and bodies,'

ذَلِكَ رَجْعُ بَعِيدٌ

(That is a far return.) `it is not likely that it will ever occur.' They thought that Resurrection was far from happening and will never occur. Allah the Exalted responded to their statement by saying,

قَدْ عَلِمْنَا مَا تَنقُصُ الاٌّرْضَ مِنْهُمْ

(We know that which the earth takes of them.) meaning, `We know what the earth consumes of their dead bodies.' Where and how the bodies disintegrated, what they turned into and how they have become, all of this is never absent from Allah's knowledge.

وَعِندَنَا كِتَـبٌ حَفِيظٌ

(and with Us is a Book preserved,) `that keeps all records. Therefore, Our knowledge is encompassing and the Book of decrees has everything precisely recorded in it. Al-`Awfi narrated that `Abdullah bin `Abbas commented on the statement of Allah the Exalted,

قَدْ عَلِمْنَا مَا تَنقُصُ الاٌّرْضَ مِنْهُمْ

(We know that which the earth takes of them,) "It refers to what the earth consumes of their flesh, skin, bones and hair.'' A similar view was recorded from Mujahid, Qatadah, Ad-Dahhak and several others. Allah, the Exalted and Most Honored, explained the reason behind their disbelief, rebellion and discounting the possibility of what is truly possible,

بَلْ كَذَّبُواْ بِالْحَقِّ لَمَّا جَآءَهُمْ فَهُمْ فِى أَمْرٍ مَّرِيجٍ

(Nay, but they have denied the truth when it has come to them, so they are in a Marij state.) This is the state of all those who defy the Truth: whatever they say and utter after denying the Truth, is utterly false. Marij means, in disarray, in a confused state and defying the characteristics of the Truth. Allah the Exalted said in another Ayah,

إِنَّكُمْ لَفِى قَوْلٍ مُّخْتَلِفٍ - يُؤْفَكُ عَنْهُ مَنْ أُفِكَ

(Certainly, you have different ideas. Turned aside therefrom is he who is turned aside.)(51:8-9)

Kashf Al-Asrar

Qāf! By the splendorous Qur'an!

Ibn ʿAṬāÌ said, “God swears an oath by the strength [quwwa] of the heart of His beloved, MuḤammad, inasmuch as he carried the discourse that left no trace in him, because of the elevation of his state.”

When someone has a dear friend, in every state he seeks his approval. He always looks at him, he whispers his secrets to him, and he swears his oaths by his spirit and secret core. He speaks of him much, and he watches out for him at home and while traveling, in sleep and in wakefulness. He considers whatever he does beautiful, and he never holds back talk and “Peace!” from him. The generous Lord, the ever-merciful king, showered the realities of these meanings on His beloved, the Seal of the Prophets, so that the world's folk would know that in the Exalted Threshold, no one has the rank, level, and distinction held by that paragon. The engendered beings and existent things are all for his sake, and His love for all is love for him.

Your creation and your upraising are as but one soul [31:28]. It has been said that this means, “for one soul,” and what is meant by this soul is MuṣṬafā's essence. In all states, He sought his approval, as He says, “And in the hours of the night glorify, and at the ends of the day, that perhaps thou mayest approve” [20:130]. He sought his approval in the kiblah: “Now We shall turn thee toward a kiblah that thou shalt approve” [2:144]. He sought his approval in intercession for the community: “Thy Lord shall bestow upon thee so that thou shalt approve” [93:5]. He swore by his life: 'By thy life' [15:72]. He swore by the strength of his heart: “Qāf! By the splendorous Qur'an!” He swore by the limpidness of his love: “Sād! By the Qur'an possessing the remembrance!” [38:1]. He swore by the place of his feet: “Nay, I swear by this land!” [90:1]. He swore by his face and hair: “By the bright morning! And by the night when still!” [93:1-2].

He never veiled him from His gaze: Surely thou art in Our eyes [52:48]. Who sees thee when thou standest [26:218]. In sleep and wakefulness He kept him protected: And God will protect thee from the people [5:67].

He was his sufficiency in all of his states: Does God not suffice His servant? [39:36].

He joined him with the revelation everywhere and in every state. He was asleep when revelation came: “O enwrapped in thy cloak! [74:1]. O enwrapped in thy robe! [73:1].” He was on a camel when revelation came: “Today I have perfected for you your religion” [5:3]. He was in the road of battle when revelation came: “O people, be wary of your Lord-surely the quaking of the Hour is a tremendous thing” [22:1]. He had come out of Mecca to Juhfah when revelation came: “He who made the Qur'an obligatory upon thee shall restore thee to a place of return” [28:85]. He was in the cave when the Exalted Lord disclosed him as the second of two, when the two were in the cave [9:40]. He was grieving when revelation came: “We indeed know that thy breast is straitened by what they say” [15:97]. He was happy when revelation came: “Surely We opened up for thee a clear opening” [48:1]. He was in Jerusalem on the night of the miʿrāj when revelation came: “And ask those We sent” [43:45]. He was in the presence of Two-Bows' Length on the carpet of joy when he heard without intermediary, “Then He revealed to His servant what He revealed” [53:10].

Passion came and gave spirit and heart to the Beloved.

The Object of passion gave me a spirit from His own spirit.

Such were the wines that He gave in concealment

that one drop will not be given for a hundred thousand spirits.

The chevaliers of the Tariqah and lords of recognition have voiced another secret in the meaning of Qāf. They say that Mount Qāf, which is known to surround the world, is the work of the Qāf with which He has surrounded the hearts of the friends.

In this world, when someone wants to pass beyond Mount Qāf, his feet are held back and it is said to him, “There is no road beyond Qāf and no way to pass over it.” In the same way, when someone has stepped into the realm of the heart and the desert of the breast and wants to take one step outside the attributes of the heart and the world of the breast, his foot is held in the heart's station.

It is said to him, “Where are you going? I am right here with you. 'I am with those whose hearts are broken for Me.'”

The Pir of the Tariqah said, “O God, if I have, why don't I catch a scent? And if I don't, to whom shall I voice this longing? O God, when someone is given one look, his intellect takes flight. How can he who sees You constantly with the eye of the heart have any rest?”

This is a marvelous work-someone who gazes on Him and also seeks Him from Him. He is together with His seeker, so what use is seeking? This is why the Lord of the Worlds says, “We are nearer to him than the jugular vein” [50:16]. This verse alludes to the Real's proximity to the servant. As for the servant's proximity to the Real, that is as He says: “Prostrate thyself and draw near” [96:19].

MuṣṬafā said, reporting from the Real, “The servant never ceases drawing near to Me through supererogatory works until I love him.” At first the servant's proximity to the Real is through faith and assenting to the truth, and at last it is through beautiful doing and realization.

“Beautiful doing is that you worship God as if you see Him, for if you do not see Him, He sees you.” This report alludes to the heart's encounter with the Real, the secret core's convergence with the Unseen, and the spirit's contemplation during hidden, whispered prayer.

The Real's proximity to the servant is of two sorts. One is proximity with all creation through knowledge and power, like His words, “And He is with you wherever you are” [57:4]. The other is proximity with the elect of the Threshold through the characteristics of kindness and the marks bearing witness to gentleness, like His words, “We are nearer to him.”

First He gives the servant proximity to the Unseen so as to keep him back from the world. Then He gives him proximity through unveiling so as to keep him back from the world's folk. Then He gives him true proximity so as to keep him back from water and clay. He decreases the marks bearing witness to the servant and increases the marks bearing witness to Himself such that, just as he was at first, so also he will be at last-attachments cut, causes dissolved, traces nullified, limits come to nothing, allusions ended, expressions negated, reports effaced, and the one Real subsisting in His rightful due. And God is better and more subsisting [20:73].

I saw my beloved with the eye of my heart. He said, “Who are you?” I said, “You.”

You have passed beyond every limit

by effacing “where,” so where are you?

Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an

The word "majid" is used for expressing two meanings in Arabic: for expressing the high rank, status, honor and dignity of a person, and for saying that somebody is highly generous, charitable and beneficent. This word has been used for the Qur'an in both these meanings. The Qur'an is great and glorious in the sense that no book of the world can be brought up against it. It is a miracle both in its language and literary excellence and in its teaching and wisdom. Humans were helpless to produce the like of it at the time when it was sent down and are likewise helpless even today. Nothing of it could ever be proved wrong in any age, nor can anything of it be proved wrong in the present age. Falsehood can neither attack it from the front nor from the rear, and defeat it. And it is generous and beneficent in the sense that the more a man goes on trying to gain guidance from it, the more of guidance it goes on giving him, and the more he follows and obeys its commands and instructions the more he continues to be blessed with good, things of the world and the Hereafter. There is no limit to its benefits and advantages where a man may become independent of it, and where it may cease to be beneficial and useful for him.

This sentence is a unique example of eloquence. In it a vast subject has been compressed into a few brief words. The object for which an oath has been sworn by the Qur'an has not been mentioned. In stood, a subtle gap has been left and the sentence is resumed with "nay". If one thinks a little and also keeps in view the background in which this has been said, one comes to know what-is the subject of the gap that has been left between the oath and "nay". In fact, what has been sworn of is this: "The people of Makkah have not refused to acknowledge the Prophet hood of Muhammad (upon whom be Allah's peace and blessings) for any sound reason but for the highly unsound reason that a member of their own kind and an individual of their own nation has conic to them as a Warner from God and this is something highly surprising for them; whereas what would actually be surprising was if God had remained unconcerned about the well-being and adversity of His servants and made no arrangement whatever to warn them; or had sent a non-human to warn the human beings; or a Chinese to warn the Arabs. Therefore, this basis of the denial is absolutely unsound, and a reasonable person cannot but admit that there must exist some arrangement from God to warn the servants, and in the form that the Warner himself should be a person from among the people to whom he is sent." As for the question whether Muhammad (upon whom be Allah's peace and blessings) is the person whom God has sent on this mission, no other evidence is needed to settle it but this glorious and beneficent Qur'an, which he is presenting; this is by itself enough to provide a proof of it. This explanation shows that in this verse an oath has been sworn by the Qur'an to impress the point that Muhammad (upon whom be Allah's peace and blessings) is really the Messenger of Allah and the disbelievers' surprise and wonder about his apostleship is misplaced, and the fact of the Qur'an's being "majid" is a proof of this claim.

This was the second cause of their surprise, the first being that a member of their own kind and clan had arisen with the claim that he had come as a warner to them from God. They were further surprised that the person was warning them to the effect that all men will be raised back to life after death and they will be produced all together in the Court of Allah where their deeds will be subjected to accountability and they will be rewarded and punished accordingly.

That is, "If it cannot be comprehended by intellect, it is their own narrow mind to blame. It does not mean that Allah's knowledge and power also should be narrow. They think that it is in no way possible to collect the scattered particles of the bodies of the countless human beings who have died since the beginning of creation and will die till Resurrection. But the fact is that Allah directly knows each of those particles in whatever form and in whichever place they are. Furthermore, a full record of this is being maintained in the Register of Allah, which has not left out any particle un-recorded. Then, as soon as Allah commands, His angels will forthwith take out every particle from wherever it is with the help of this record, and will make up the same bodies once again in which human beings had lived and worked in the world."

This verse also is one of those verses which point out that the lift hereafter will not only be a physical lift as it is in this world, but the body of every person also will be the same which he had in this world. If it were not so, it would be meaningless to tell the disbelievers: "We know very well whatever the earth consumes of their bodies and We have a Book which preserves everything. " (For further explanation, sec E.N. 25 of Surah Ha Mim As-Sajdah)  "

Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs

And from his narration on the authority of Ibn 'Abbas that he said in the interpretation of Allah's saying (Qaf.): '(Qaf.) He says: it is an azure mountain overlooking this world, and the colour of the sky takes from it; Allah swore by it, (By the glorious Qur'an) and He swore by the glorious, noble Qur'an,