It is derived from the word zukhruf-an which occurs in verse 33 of this Surah.

Period of Revelation

It could not be known from any authentic tradition, but a study of its subject matter shows that this Surah also was sent down in the same period in which the Surahs Al-Mumin, As-Sajdah and Ash-Shura, were sent down. It appears that the revelation of this series of the Surahs began when the disbelievers of Makkah were planning to put an end to the Holy Prophet's life. Day and night they were holding consultations in their assemblies as how to eliminate him, and even an attack on his life also had been made as has been clearly referred to in vv. 79-80.

Theme and Topics

In this Surah a forceful and severe criticism has been made of the Quraish and the common Arabs creeds and superstitions of ignorance in which they persisted, and their stubbornness has been exposed in a firm and effective way, so that every member of the society, who was reasonable in some degree, should be made to consider the evils in which the community was involved and its tyrannical treatment of the person who was trying to redeem it.

The discourse starts in a way as if to say: "You, by means of your mischiefs, want that the revelation of this Book should be stopped, but Allah has never withheld the appointment of His Prophets and the revelation of His Books because of the mischief of the people, but has destroyed the wicked people, who obstructed the way of His guidance. The same He will do again. A little further in vv. 41-43 and 79-80 the same thing has been reiterated. Though the people who were plotting against his life are meant, the Holy Prophet has been addressed to the effect: "whether you remain alive or not, We will certainly punish the wicked," and the people themselves have been plainly warned to the effect: "If you have decided to take an action against Our Prophet, We too will take a decisive action."

Then, it has been told what is the reality of the religion that the people are following so devotedly and what are the arguments on whose strength they are resisting Muhammad (upon whom be Allah's peace and Blessings).

They themselves admit that the Creator of the earth and heavens and of themselves and their deities is only Allah. They also know and admit that the blessings they are benefiting from, have been bestowed by Allah; yet they insist on making others associates of Allah in His Godhead.

They regard the servants as the children of Allah, and that too daughters, whom they regard as disgraceful for themselves.

They believe that the angels are goddesses; they have carved their images as females; they adorn them with female dresses and ornaments, and call them daughters of Allah: they worship them and invoke them for the fulfillment of their needs. How did they know that the angels were female?

When they are rebuked for these superstitions, they present the pretense of destiny and say :"Had Allah disapproved of these our practices, we could not have worshiped these images, whereas the means of finding out whether Allah had approved of something or not, are His Books and not those things which are happening in the world according to His Will. For under His Will not only idol worship but crimes like theft and adultery, robbery. murder, etc. also are being committed. Can this argument be used to justify as right and proper this commission of every crime and evil is the world?

When it is asked: Have you any other authority, apart from this wrong argument, for the polytheism of yours? They reply, "The same has been the practice since the time of our forefathers." In other words, this in their opinion is a strong enough argument for a creed's being right and true, whereas the Prophet Abraham, descent from whom is the only basis of their pride and distinction, had rejected the religion of his elders and left his home, and he had discarded every such blind imitation of his forefathers, which did not have the support of any rational argument. Then, if these people had to follow their elders only, for this also they selected their most ignorant elders and abandoned their most illustrious elders like the Prophets Abraham and Ishmael (on whom be peace).

When they are asked: "Has ever a Prophet or a Book sent down by God also given this teaching that others beside Allah too are worthy of worship? they present this practice of the Christians as an argument that they took Jesus son of Mary as son of God and worshiped him; whereas the question was not this whether the community of a Prophet had committed shirk or not, but this whether a Prophet had himself taught shirk. Jesus son of Mary had never said that he was son of God and that the people should worship him. His own was the same teaching which every other Prophet had given "My Lord as well as your Lord is Allah: so worship Him alone."

They were disinclined to believe in the Prophethood of the Holy Prophet because he was neither a rich man nor a person of high worldly position and rank. They said "Had Allah willed to appoint a prophet among us, He would have appointed one of the great men of' our two cities (Makkah and Taif). On that very basis, Pharaoh also had looked down upon the Prophet Moses and said: "If Allah, the King of the heavens, had to send a messenger to me, the king of the earth, He would have sent him with bracelets of gold and a company of angels in attendance. Where from has this mendicant appeared I am superior to him, for the kingdom of Egypt belongs to me, and the canals of the River Nile are flowing under my control. What is the status of this man as against me? He has neither wealth nor authority."

Thus, after criticizing each practice of ignorance of the disbelievers and rejecting it with rational arguments, it has been pointed out: "Neither has God any offspring, nor are there separate gods of the earth and heavens, nor is there any intercessor who may be able to protect from His punishment those who adopt deviation knowingly. Allah is far above this that He should have children. He alone is the God of the whole Universe: all others are His servants and not associates in His attributes and powers, and only such men can intercede with Him, who are themselves followers of the Truth and they also can intercede only for those who may have adopted obedience of the Truth in the world."

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


وَجَعَلُوا لَهُ مِنْ عِبَادِهِ جُزْءًا ۚ إِنَّ الْإِنسَانَ لَكَفُورٌ مُّبِينٌ


Dan mereka menjadikan sebahagian dari hamba-hamba-Nya sebagai bahagian daripada-Nya. Sesungguhnya manusia itu benar-benar pengingkar yang nyata (terhadap rahmat Allah).

أَمِ اتَّخَذَ مِمَّا يَخْلُقُ بَنَاتٍ وَأَصْفَاكُم بِالْبَنِينَ


Patutkah Dia mengambil anak perempuan dari yang diciptakan-Nya dan Dia mengkhususkan buat kamu anak laki-laki.

وَإِذَا بُشِّرَ أَحَدُهُم بِمَا ضَرَبَ لِلرَّحْمَٰنِ مَثَلًا ظَلَّ وَجْهُهُ مُسْوَدًّا وَهُوَ كَظِيمٌ


Padahal apabila salah seorang di antara mereka diberi kabar gembira dengan apa yang dijadikan sebagai misal bagi Allah Yang Maha Pemurah; jadilah mukanya hitam pekat sedang dia amat menahan sedih.

أَوَمَن يُنَشَّأُ فِي الْحِلْيَةِ وَهُوَ فِي الْخِصَامِ غَيْرُ مُبِينٍ


Dan apakah patut (menjadi anak Allah) orang yang dibesarkan dalam keadaan berperhiasan sedang dia tidak dapat memberi alasan yang terang dalam pertengkaran.

وَجَعَلُوا الْمَلَائِكَةَ الَّذِينَ هُمْ عِبَادُ الرَّحْمَٰنِ إِنَاثًا ۚ أَشَهِدُوا خَلْقَهُمْ ۚ سَتُكْتَبُ شَهَادَتُهُمْ وَيُسْأَلُونَ


Dan mereka menjadikan malaikat-malaikat yang mereka itu adalah hamba-hamba Allah Yang Maha Pemurah sebagai orang-orang perempuan. Apakah mereka menyaksikan penciptaan malaika-malaikat itu? Kelak akan dituliskan persaksian mereka dan mereka akan dimintai pertanggung-jawaban.

وَقَالُوا لَوْ شَاءَ الرَّحْمَٰنُ مَا عَبَدْنَاهُم ۗ مَّا لَهُم بِذَٰلِكَ مِنْ عِلْمٍ ۖ إِنْ هُمْ إِلَّا يَخْرُصُونَ


Dan mereka berkata: "Jikalau Allah Yang Maha Pemurah menghendaki tentulah kami tidak menyembah mereka (malaikat)". Mereka tidak mempunyai pengetahuan sedikitpun tentang itu, mereka tidak lain hanyalah menduga-duga belaka.

أَمْ آتَيْنَاهُمْ كِتَابًا مِّن قَبْلِهِ فَهُم بِهِ مُسْتَمْسِكُونَ


Atau adakah Kami memberikan sebuah kitab kepada mereka sebelum Al Quran, lalu mereka berpegang dengan kitab itu?


بَلْ قَالُوا إِنَّا وَجَدْنَا آبَاءَنَا عَلَىٰ أُمَّةٍ وَإِنَّا عَلَىٰ آثَارِهِم مُّهْتَدُونَ


Bahkan mereka berkata: "Sesungguhnya kami mendapati bapak-bapak kami menganut suatu agama, dan sesungguhnya kami orang-orang yang mendapat petunjuk dengan (mengikuti) jejak mereka".

وَكَذَٰلِكَ مَا أَرْسَلْنَا مِن قَبْلِكَ فِي قَرْيَةٍ مِّن نَّذِيرٍ إِلَّا قَالَ مُتْرَفُوهَا إِنَّا وَجَدْنَا آبَاءَنَا عَلَىٰ أُمَّةٍ وَإِنَّا عَلَىٰ آثَارِهِم مُّقْتَدُونَ


Dan demikianlah, Kami tidak mengutus sebelum kamu seorang pemberi peringatanpun dalam suatu negeri, melainkan orang-orang yang hidup mewah di negeri itu berkata: "Sesungguhnya kami mendapati bapak-bapak kami menganut suatu agama dan sesungguhnya kami adalah pengikut jejak-jejak mereka".

قَالَ أَوَلَوْ جِئْتُكُم بِأَهْدَىٰ مِمَّا وَجَدتُّمْ عَلَيْهِ آبَاءَكُمْ ۖ قَالُوا إِنَّا بِمَا أُرْسِلْتُم بِهِ كَافِرُونَ


(Rasul itu) berkata: "Apakah (kamu akan mengikutinya juga) sekalipun aku membawa untukmu (agama) yang lebih (nyata) memberi petunjuk daripada apa yang kamu dapati bapak-bapakmu menganutnya?" Mereka menjawab: "Sesungguhnya kami mengingkari agama yang kamu diutus untuk menyampaikannya".


فَانتَقَمْنَا مِنْهُمْ ۖ فَانظُرْ كَيْفَ كَانَ عَاقِبَةُ الْمُكَذِّبِينَ


Maka Kami binasakan mereka maka perhatikanlah bagaimana kesudahan orang-orang yang mendustakan itu.

وَإِذْ قَالَ إِبْرَاهِيمُ لِأَبِيهِ وَقَوْمِهِ إِنَّنِي بَرَاءٌ مِّمَّا تَعْبُدُونَ


Dan ingatlah ketika Ibrahim berkata kepada bapaknya dan kaumnya: "Sesungguhnya aku tidak bertanggung jawab terhadap apa yang kamu sembah,

إِلَّا الَّذِي فَطَرَنِي فَإِنَّهُ سَيَهْدِينِ


tetapi (aku menyembah) Tuhan Yang menjadikanku; karena sesungguhnya Dia akan memberi hidayah kepadaku".

وَجَعَلَهَا كَلِمَةً بَاقِيَةً فِي عَقِبِهِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْجِعُونَ


Dan (lbrahim a. s.) menjadikan kalimat tauhid itu kalimat yang kekal pada keturunannya supaya mereka kembali kepada kalimat tauhid itu.

بَلْ مَتَّعْتُ هَٰؤُلَاءِ وَآبَاءَهُمْ حَتَّىٰ جَاءَهُمُ الْحَقُّ وَرَسُولٌ مُّبِينٌ


Tetapi Aku telah memberikan kenikmatan hidup kepada mereka dan bapak-bapak mereka sehingga datanglah kepada mereka kebenaran (Al Quran) dan seorang rasul yang memberi penjelasan.

وَلَمَّا جَاءَهُمُ الْحَقُّ قَالُوا هَٰذَا سِحْرٌ وَإِنَّا بِهِ كَافِرُونَ


Dan tatkala kebenaran (Al Quran) itu datang kepada mereka, mereka berkata: "Ini adalah sihir dan sesungguhnya kami adalah orang-orang yang mengingkarinya".

وَقَالُوا لَوْلَا نُزِّلَ هَٰذَا الْقُرْآنُ عَلَىٰ رَجُلٍ مِّنَ الْقَرْيَتَيْنِ عَظِيمٍ


Dan mereka berkata: "Mengapa Al Quran ini tidak diturunkan kepada seorang besar dari salah satu dua negeri (Mekah dan Thaif) ini?"

أَهُمْ يَقْسِمُونَ رَحْمَتَ رَبِّكَ ۚ نَحْنُ قَسَمْنَا بَيْنَهُم مَّعِيشَتَهُمْ فِي الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا ۚ وَرَفَعْنَا بَعْضَهُمْ فَوْقَ بَعْضٍ دَرَجَاتٍ لِّيَتَّخِذَ بَعْضُهُم بَعْضًا سُخْرِيًّا ۗ وَرَحْمَتُ رَبِّكَ خَيْرٌ مِّمَّا يَجْمَعُونَ


Apakah mereka yang membagi-bagi rahmat Tuhanmu? Kami telah menentukan antara mereka penghidupan mereka dalam kehidupan dunia, dan kami telah meninggikan sebahagian mereka atas sebagian yang lain beberapa derajat, agar sebagian mereka dapat mempergunakan sebagian yang lain. Dan rahmat Tuhanmu lebih baik dari apa yang mereka kumpulkan.


وَلَوْلَا أَن يَكُونَ النَّاسُ أُمَّةً وَاحِدَةً لَّجَعَلْنَا لِمَن يَكْفُرُ بِالرَّحْمَٰنِ لِبُيُوتِهِمْ سُقُفًا مِّن فِضَّةٍ وَمَعَارِجَ عَلَيْهَا يَظْهَرُونَ


Dan sekiranya bukan karena hendak menghindari manusia menjadi umat yang satu (dalam kekafiran), tentulah kami buatkan bagi orang-orang yang kafir kepada Tuhan Yang Maha Pemurah loteng-loteng perak bagi rumah mereka dan (juga) tangga-tangga (perak) yang mereka menaikinya.

وَلِبُيُوتِهِمْ أَبْوَابًا وَسُرُرًا عَلَيْهَا يَتَّكِئُونَ


Dan (Kami buatkan pula) pintu-pintu (perak) bagi rumah-rumah mereka dan (begitu pula) dipan-dipan yang mereka bertelekan atasnya.

وَزُخْرُفًا ۚ وَإِن كُلُّ ذَٰلِكَ لَمَّا مَتَاعُ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا ۚ وَالْآخِرَةُ عِندَ رَبِّكَ لِلْمُتَّقِينَ


Dan (Kami buatkan pula) perhiasan-perhiasan (dari emas untuk mereka). Dan semuanya itu tidak lain hanyalah kesenangan kehidupan dunia, dan kehidupan akhirat itu di sisi Tuhanmu adalah bagi orang-orang yang bertakwa.

وَمَن يَعْشُ عَن ذِكْرِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ نُقَيِّضْ لَهُ شَيْطَانًا فَهُوَ لَهُ قَرِينٌ


Barangsiapa yang berpaling dari pengajaran Tuhan Yang Maha Pemurah (Al Quran), kami adakan baginya syaitan (yang menyesatkan) maka syaitan itulah yang menjadi teman yang selalu menyertainya.

وَإِنَّهُمْ لَيَصُدُّونَهُمْ عَنِ السَّبِيلِ وَيَحْسَبُونَ أَنَّهُم مُّهْتَدُونَ


Dan sesungguhnya syaitan-syaitan itu benar-benar menghalangi mereka dari jalan yang benar dan mereka menyangka bahwa mereka mendapat petunjuk.


حَتَّىٰ إِذَا جَاءَنَا قَالَ يَا لَيْتَ بَيْنِي وَبَيْنَكَ بُعْدَ الْمَشْرِقَيْنِ فَبِئْسَ الْقَرِينُ


Sehingga apabila orang-orang yang berpaling itu datang kepada kami (di hari kiamat) dia berkata: "Aduhai, semoga (jarak) antaraku dan kamu seperti jarak antara masyrik dan maghrib, maka syaitan itu adalah sejahat-jahat teman (yang menyertai manusia)".

وَلَن يَنفَعَكُمُ الْيَوْمَ إِذ ظَّلَمْتُمْ أَنَّكُمْ فِي الْعَذَابِ مُشْتَرِكُونَ


(Harapanmu itu) sekali-kali tidak akan memberi manfaat kepadamu di hari itu karena kamu telah menganiaya (dirimu sendiri). Sesungguhnya kamu bersekutu dalam azab itu.

أَفَأَنتَ تُسْمِعُ الصُّمَّ أَوْ تَهْدِي الْعُمْيَ وَمَن كَانَ فِي ضَلَالٍ مُّبِينٍ


Maka apakah kamu dapat menjadikan orang yang pekak bisa mendengar atau (dapatkah) kamu memberi petunjuk kepada orang yang buta (hatinya) dan kepada orang yang tetap dalam kesesatan yang nyata?

فَإِمَّا نَذْهَبَنَّ بِكَ فَإِنَّا مِنْهُم مُّنتَقِمُونَ


Sungguh, jika Kami mewafatkan kamu (sebelum kamu mencapai kemenangan) maka sesungguhnya Kami akan menyiksa mereka (di akhirat).

أَوْ نُرِيَنَّكَ الَّذِي وَعَدْنَاهُمْ فَإِنَّا عَلَيْهِم مُّقْتَدِرُونَ


Atau Kami memperlihatkan kepadamu (azab) yang telah Kami ancamkan kepada mereka. Maka sesungguhnya Kami berkuasa atas mereka.

فَاسْتَمْسِكْ بِالَّذِي أُوحِيَ إِلَيْكَ ۖ إِنَّكَ عَلَىٰ صِرَاطٍ مُّسْتَقِيمٍ


Maka berpegang teguhlah kamu kepada agama yang telah diwahyukan kepadamu. Sesungguhnya kamu berada di atas jalan yang lurus.

وَإِنَّهُ لَذِكْرٌ لَّكَ وَلِقَوْمِكَ ۖ وَسَوْفَ تُسْأَلُونَ


Dan sesungguhnya Al Quran itu benar-benar adalah suatu kemuliaan besar bagimu dan bagi kaummu dan kelak kamu akan diminta pertanggungan jawab.

وَاسْأَلْ مَنْ أَرْسَلْنَا مِن قَبْلِكَ مِن رُّسُلِنَا أَجَعَلْنَا مِن دُونِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ آلِهَةً يُعْبَدُونَ


Dan tanyakanlah kepada rasul-rasul Kami yang telah Kami utus sebelum kamu: "Adakah Kami menentukan tuhan-tuhan untuk disembah selain Allah Yang Maha Pemurah?"