The Surah taken its name from the word at takathur in the first verse.

Period of Revelation

Abu Hayyan and Shaukani say that this Surah, according to all commentators, is Makki, and this same is the well known view according to Iman Suyuti. However, there are some traditions, on the basis of which it is considered a Madani Surah, and they are as follows:

Ibn Abi Hatim has cited Abu Buraidah as saying that this Surah was sent down concerning the two tribes, Bani Harithah and Bani al-Harth, of the Ansar. The two tribes had first recounted the glories and illustrious deeds of their living men; then they had gone to the grave yard and bragged of the glorious deeds of their dead. Thereupon the Divine Revelation Alhakum at takathur came down. But, if the practice of the Companions and their successors concerning the occasions of revelation, is kept in view, this tradition is no argument to prove that Surah At Takathur was sent down on that very occasion, but it shows that this Surah fully applied to the act of the two tribes.

Imam Bukhari and Ibn Jarir have cited this view of Hadrat Ubayy bin Ka'ab: "We took the Holy Prophet saying: “If the son of Adam had two valleys full of wealth, he would long for a third valley; the son of Adam's belly cannot be filled but by earth, to be from the Quran until Alhakum at takathur was sent down.”

This Hadith has been regarded as an argument for Surah At-Takathur to be a Madani Surah on the ground that Hadrat Ubayy had become a Muslim in Madinah. But Hadrat Ubayy's this statement does not indicate in what sense the Companions regarded this saying of the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) as belonging to the Quran. If it means that they regarded it as a verse of the Quran, it cannot be acceptable, for a great majority of the Companions consisted of the men who were well aware of each and every word of the Quran; they could not have the misunderstanding that the Hadith was a verse of the Quran. And if its belonging to the Quran is taken to mean its being derived from the Quran, the tradition can also mean that when the Companions who entered Islam in Madinah, heard this Surah for the first time from the Holy Prophet, they thought that it had been revealed just then, and then about the Holy Prophet's above saying they formed the idea that it was derived from this very Surah.

Ibn Jarir Tirmidhi, Ibn al Mundhir and other traditionists have related this view of Hadrat Ali: "We were in doubt about the torment of the grave until Alhakum at takathur was sent down." This view has been regarded as an argument for Surah At-Takathur to be Madani on the ground that the torment of the grave was first mentioned at Madinah; no mention of it was ever made at Makkah. But this is wrong. In the Makki Surahs of the Quran, the torment of the grave has been mentioned at many places so clearly that there can he no room for any such doubt; for example, see Al- An'am: 93, An-Nahl: 28, Al-Muminun: 99-100, Al-Mu'min: 45-46, which are all Makki Surahs. Therefore, if anything is proved by Hadrat Ali's saying, it is that Surah At-Takathur had been revealed before the revelation of the above mentioned Makki Surahs and its revelation had removed the Companions doubt about the torment of the grave.

That is why, in spite of these traditions, a great majority of the commentators are agreed that this Surah is Makki. In our opinion this is not only a Makki Surah but in view of its contents and style it is one of the earliest Surahs to be revealed at Makkah.

Theme and Subject Matter

In it the people have been warned of the evil consequences of world worship because of which they spend their lives in acquiring more and more of worldly wealth, material benefits and pleasures, and position and power, till death, and in vying with one another and bragging and boasting about their acquisitions. This one pursuit has so occupied them that they are left with no time or opportunity for pursuing the higher things in life. After warning the people of its evil end they have been told us if to say: "These blessings which you are amassing and enjoying thoughtlessly, are not mere blessings but are also a means of your trial. For each one of these blessings and comforts you will surely be called to account in the Hereafter."

Source: Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an - The Meaning of the Quran



وَالَّذِينَ كَسَبُوا السَّيِّئَاتِ جَزَاءُ سَيِّئَةٍ بِمِثْلِهَا وَتَرْهَقُهُمْ ذِلَّةٌ ۖ مَّا لَهُم مِّنَ اللَّهِ مِنْ عَاصِمٍ ۖ كَأَنَّمَا أُغْشِيَتْ وُجُوهُهُمْ قِطَعًا مِّنَ اللَّيْلِ مُظْلِمًا ۚ أُولَٰئِكَ أَصْحَابُ النَّارِ ۖ هُمْ فِيهَا خَالِدُونَ

Sahih International

But they who have earned [blame for] evil doings - the recompense of an evil deed is its equivalent, and humiliation will cover them. They will have from Allah no protector. It will be as if their faces are covered with pieces of the night - so dark [are they]. Those are the companions of the Fire; they will abide therein eternally.

وَيَوْمَ نَحْشُرُهُمْ جَمِيعًا ثُمَّ نَقُولُ لِلَّذِينَ أَشْرَكُوا مَكَانَكُمْ أَنتُمْ وَشُرَكَاؤُكُمْ ۚ فَزَيَّلْنَا بَيْنَهُمْ ۖ وَقَالَ شُرَكَاؤُهُم مَّا كُنتُمْ إِيَّانَا تَعْبُدُونَ

Sahih International

And [mention, O Muhammad], the Day We will gather them all together - then We will say to those who associated others with Allah , "[Remain in] your place, you and your 'partners.' " Then We will separate them, and their "partners" will say, "You did not used to worship us,

فَكَفَىٰ بِاللَّهِ شَهِيدًا بَيْنَنَا وَبَيْنَكُمْ إِن كُنَّا عَنْ عِبَادَتِكُمْ لَغَافِلِينَ

Sahih International

And sufficient is Allah as a witness between us and you that we were of your worship unaware."

هُنَالِكَ تَبْلُو كُلُّ نَفْسٍ مَّا أَسْلَفَتْ ۚ وَرُدُّوا إِلَى اللَّهِ مَوْلَاهُمُ الْحَقِّ ۖ وَضَلَّ عَنْهُم مَّا كَانُوا يَفْتَرُونَ

Sahih International

There, [on that Day], every soul will be put to trial for what it did previously, and they will be returned to Allah , their master, the Truth, and lost from them is whatever they used to invent.

قُلْ مَن يَرْزُقُكُم مِّنَ السَّمَاءِ وَالْأَرْضِ أَمَّن يَمْلِكُ السَّمْعَ وَالْأَبْصَارَ وَمَن يُخْرِجُ الْحَيَّ مِنَ الْمَيِّتِ وَيُخْرِجُ الْمَيِّتَ مِنَ الْحَيِّ وَمَن يُدَبِّرُ الْأَمْرَ ۚ فَسَيَقُولُونَ اللَّهُ ۚ فَقُلْ أَفَلَا تَتَّقُونَ

Sahih International

Say, "Who provides for you from the heaven and the earth? Or who controls hearing and sight and who brings the living out of the dead and brings the dead out of the living and who arranges [every] matter?" They will say, " Allah ," so say, "Then will you not fear Him?"


فَذَٰلِكُمُ اللَّهُ رَبُّكُمُ الْحَقُّ ۖ فَمَاذَا بَعْدَ الْحَقِّ إِلَّا الضَّلَالُ ۖ فَأَنَّىٰ تُصْرَفُونَ

Sahih International

For that is Allah , your Lord, the Truth. And what can be beyond truth except error? So how are you averted?

كَذَٰلِكَ حَقَّتْ كَلِمَتُ رَبِّكَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ فَسَقُوا أَنَّهُمْ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ

Sahih International

Thus the word of your Lord has come into effect upon those who defiantly disobeyed - that they will not believe.

قُلْ هَلْ مِن شُرَكَائِكُم مَّن يَبْدَأُ الْخَلْقَ ثُمَّ يُعِيدُهُ ۚ قُلِ اللَّهُ يَبْدَأُ الْخَلْقَ ثُمَّ يُعِيدُهُ ۖ فَأَنَّىٰ تُؤْفَكُونَ

Sahih International

Say, "Are there of your 'partners' any who begins creation and then repeats it?" Say, " Allah begins creation and then repeats it, so how are you deluded?"


قُلْ هَلْ مِن شُرَكَائِكُم مَّن يَهْدِي إِلَى الْحَقِّ ۚ قُلِ اللَّهُ يَهْدِي لِلْحَقِّ ۗ أَفَمَن يَهْدِي إِلَى الْحَقِّ أَحَقُّ أَن يُتَّبَعَ أَمَّن لَّا يَهِدِّي إِلَّا أَن يُهْدَىٰ ۖ فَمَا لَكُمْ كَيْفَ تَحْكُمُونَ

Sahih International

Say, "Are there of your 'partners' any who guides to the truth?" Say, " Allah guides to the truth. So is He who guides to the truth more worthy to be followed or he who guides not unless he is guided? Then what is [wrong] with you - how do you judge?"

وَمَا يَتَّبِعُ أَكْثَرُهُمْ إِلَّا ظَنًّا ۚ إِنَّ الظَّنَّ لَا يُغْنِي مِنَ الْحَقِّ شَيْئًا ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ بِمَا يَفْعَلُونَ

Sahih International

And most of them follow not except assumption. Indeed, assumption avails not against the truth at all. Indeed, Allah is Knowing of what they do.

وَمَا كَانَ هَٰذَا الْقُرْآنُ أَن يُفْتَرَىٰ مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ وَلَٰكِن تَصْدِيقَ الَّذِي بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ وَتَفْصِيلَ الْكِتَابِ لَا رَيْبَ فِيهِ مِن رَّبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ

Sahih International

And it was not [possible] for this Qur'an to be produced by other than Allah , but [it is] a confirmation of what was before it and a detailed explanation of the [former] Scripture, about which there is no doubt, from the Lord of the worlds.