This Surah takes its name from vv. 46-47 in which mention of A'araf occurs.

Period of Revelation

A study of its contents clearly shows that the period of its revelation is about the same as that of Al-An'am, i. e., the last year of the Holy Prophet's life at Makkah, but it cannot be asserted with certainty which of these two was sent down earlier. Anyhow the manner of its admonition clearly indicates that it belongs to the same period. As both have the same historical background the reader should keep in view the preface to Al-An'am.

Topics of Discussion

The principal subject of this surah is "invitation to the Divine Message sent down to Muhammad" (Allah's peace be upon him), which is couched in a warning. This is because the Messenger had spent a long time in admonishing the people of Makkah without any tangible effect on them. Nay, they had turned a deaf ear to his message and become so obdurate and antagonistic that, in accordance with the Divine Design, the Messenger was going to be commanded to leave them and turn to other people,. That is why they are being admonished to accept the Message but, at the same time, they are being warned in strong terms of the consequences that followed the wrong attitude of the former people towards their Messengers. (Now that the Holy Prophet was going to" migrate from Makkah the concluding portion of the address has been directed towards the people of the Book with whom he was going to come into contact. This meant that the time of migration was coming near and the "invitation" was going to be extended to mankind in general, and was not to be confined to his own people in particular as before.

During the course of the address to the Jews, the consequences of their hypocritical conduct towards Prophethood have also been pointed out clearly, for they professed to believe in Prophet Moses but in practice opposed his teachings, disobeyed him and worshiped falsehood and consequently were afflicted with ignominy and disgrace.

At the end of the Surah, some instructions have been given to the Holy Prophet and his followers for carrying out the work of the propagation of Islam with wisdom. The most important of these is that they should show patience and exercise restraint in answer to the provocations of their opponents. Above all, they have been advised that under stress of the excitement of feeling, they should not take any wrung step that might harm their cause.

Subject: Invitation to the Divine Message

Topics and their Interconnection

In this passage, the people have been invited to follow the Message sent down to them through Muhammad (Allah's peace be upon him) and warned of the consequences of its rejection. 1 - 10

The story of Adam has been related with a view to warning his descendants against the evil devices of Satan who is ever ready to mislead them as he did in the case of Adam and Eve. 11 - 25

This passage contains some Divine instructions, and contrasts these with Satan's instructions, and depicts a graphic picture of the results and the consequences of the two. 26 - 53

As the Message has been sent down by Allah (Who is the Creator of the heavens and the earth and everything in them), it should be followed, for it is like the rain He sends down to give life to the dead earth. 54 - 58

Events from the lives of some well-known Prophets - Noah, Hud, Salih, Lot, Shu`aib, Moses (Allah's peace be upon them all) -- have been related to show the consequences of the rejection of the Message, and the addressees of Prophet Muhammad (Allah's peace be upon him) have been admonished to accept and follow the Message in order to escape perdition. 59 - 171

As the Covenant with the Israelites was mentioned at the end of the preceding passage, the whole mankind has been reminded very appropriately of the Covenant that was made at the time of the appointment of Adam as the Vicegerent of Allah so that all of his descendants should remember it and accept and follow the Message that was delivered by the Holy Prophet. 172 - 174

The example of the one who had the knowledge of the Message but discarded it, has been cited as a warning to those who were treating the Message as false; they have been exhorted to use their faculties to recognize the Message; otherwise Hell would be there abode. 175 - 179

In this concluding portion of the Surah, some deviations of those who do not use their faculties properly to understand the Message have been dealt with and they have been admonished, reproved and warned of the serious consequences of their antagonistic attitude towards the Message of the Holy Prophet. 180 - 198

In conclusion, instructions have been given to the Holy Prophet, and through him to his followers, about the attitude they should adopt towards those who reject the Message and deviate from it. 199 - 206

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


وَإِلَىٰ ثَمُودَ أَخَاهُمْ صَالِحًا ۗ قَالَ يَا قَوْمِ اعْبُدُوا اللَّهَ مَا لَكُم مِّنْ إِلَٰهٍ غَيْرُهُ ۖ قَدْ جَاءَتْكُم بَيِّنَةٌ مِّن رَّبِّكُمْ ۖ هَٰذِهِ نَاقَةُ اللَّهِ لَكُمْ آيَةً ۖ فَذَرُوهَا تَأْكُلْ فِي أَرْضِ اللَّهِ ۖ وَلَا تَمَسُّوهَا بِسُوءٍ فَيَأْخُذَكُمْ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ

Sahih International

And to the Thamud [We sent] their brother Salih. He said, "O my people, worship Allah ; you have no deity other than Him. There has come to you clear evidence from your Lord. This is the she-camel of Allah [sent] to you as a sign. So leave her to eat within Allah 's land and do not touch her with harm, lest there seize you a painful punishment.


اور قوم ثمود کی طرف ان کے بھائی صالح کو بھیجا۔ (تو) صالح نے کہا کہ اے قوم! خدا ہی کی عبادت کرو اس کے سوا تمہارا کوئی معبود نہیں۔ تمہارے پاس تمہارے پروردگار کی طرف سے ایک معجزہ آ چکا ہے۔ (یعنی) یہی خدا کی اونٹنی تمہارے لیے معجزہ ہے۔ تو اسے (آزاد) چھوڑ دو کہ خدا کی زمین میں چرتی پھرے اور تم اسے بری نیت سے ہاتھ بھی نہ لگانا۔ ورنہ عذابِ الیم میں تمہیں پکڑ لے گا

وَاذْكُرُوا إِذْ جَعَلَكُمْ خُلَفَاءَ مِن بَعْدِ عَادٍ وَبَوَّأَكُمْ فِي الْأَرْضِ تَتَّخِذُونَ مِن سُهُولِهَا قُصُورًا وَتَنْحِتُونَ الْجِبَالَ بُيُوتًا ۖ فَاذْكُرُوا آلَاءَ اللَّهِ وَلَا تَعْثَوْا فِي الْأَرْضِ مُفْسِدِينَ

Sahih International

And remember when He made you successors after the 'Aad and settled you in the land, [and] you take for yourselves palaces from its plains and carve from the mountains, homes. Then remember the favors of Allah and do not commit abuse on the earth, spreading corruption."


اور یاد تو کرو جب اس نے تم کو قوم عاد کے بعد سردار بنایا اور زمین پر آباد کیا کہ نرم زمین سے (مٹی لے لے کر) محل تعمیر کرتے ہو اور پہاڑوں کو تراش تراش کر گھر بناتے ہو۔ پس خدا کی نعمتوں کو یاد کرو اور زمین میں فساد نہ کرتے پھرو


قَالَ الْمَلَأُ الَّذِينَ اسْتَكْبَرُوا مِن قَوْمِهِ لِلَّذِينَ اسْتُضْعِفُوا لِمَنْ آمَنَ مِنْهُمْ أَتَعْلَمُونَ أَنَّ صَالِحًا مُّرْسَلٌ مِّن رَّبِّهِ ۚ قَالُوا إِنَّا بِمَا أُرْسِلَ بِهِ مُؤْمِنُونَ

Sahih International

Said the eminent ones who were arrogant among his people to those who were oppressed - to those who believed among them, "Do you [actually] know that Salih is sent from his Lord?" They said, "Indeed we, in that with which he was sent, are believers."


تو ان کی قوم میں سردار لوگ جو غرور رکھتے تھے غریب لوگوں سے جو ان میں سے ایمان لے آئے تھے کہنے لگے بھلا تم یقین کرتے ہو کہ صالح اپنے پروردگار کی طرف بھیجے گئے ہیں؟ انہوں نے کہا ہاں جو چیز دے کر وہ بھیجے گئے ہیں ہم اس پر بلاشبہ ایمان رکھتے ہیں

قَالَ الَّذِينَ اسْتَكْبَرُوا إِنَّا بِالَّذِي آمَنتُم بِهِ كَافِرُونَ

Sahih International

Said those who were arrogant, "Indeed we, in that which you have believed, are disbelievers."


تو (سرداران) مغرور کہنے لگے کہ جس چیز پر تم ایمان لائے ہو ہم تو اس کو نہیں مانتے

فَعَقَرُوا النَّاقَةَ وَعَتَوْا عَنْ أَمْرِ رَبِّهِمْ وَقَالُوا يَا صَالِحُ ائْتِنَا بِمَا تَعِدُنَا إِن كُنتَ مِنَ الْمُرْسَلِينَ


آخر انہوں نے اونٹی (کی کونچوں) کو کاٹ ڈالا اور اپنے پروردگار کے حکم سے سرکشی کی اور کہنے لگے کہ صالح! جس چیز سے تم ہمیں ڈراتے تھے اگر تم (خدا کے) پیغمبر ہو تو اسے ہم پر لے آؤ

Sahih International

So they hamstrung the she-camel and were insolent toward the command of their Lord and said, "O Salih, bring us what you promise us, if you should be of the messengers."

فَأَخَذَتْهُمُ الرَّجْفَةُ فَأَصْبَحُوا فِي دَارِهِمْ جَاثِمِينَ


تو ان کو بھونچال نے آ پکڑا اور وہ اپنے گھروں میں اوندھے پڑے رہ گئے

Sahih International

So the earthquake seized them, and they became within their home [corpses] fallen prone.

فَتَوَلَّىٰ عَنْهُمْ وَقَالَ يَا قَوْمِ لَقَدْ أَبْلَغْتُكُمْ رِسَالَةَ رَبِّي وَنَصَحْتُ لَكُمْ وَلَٰكِن لَّا تُحِبُّونَ النَّاصِحِينَ


پھر صالح ان سے (ناامید ہو کر) پھرے اور کہا کہ میری قوم! میں نے تم کو خدا کا پیغام پہنچا دیا اور تمہاری خیر خواہی کی مگر تم (ایسے ہو کہ) خیر خواہوں کو دوست ہی نہیں رکھتے

Sahih International

And he turned away from them and said, "O my people, I had certainly conveyed to you the message of my Lord and advised you, but you do not like advisors."

وَلُوطًا إِذْ قَالَ لِقَوْمِهِ أَتَأْتُونَ الْفَاحِشَةَ مَا سَبَقَكُم بِهَا مِنْ أَحَدٍ مِّنَ الْعَالَمِينَ

Sahih International

And [We had sent] Lot when he said to his people, "Do you commit such immorality as no one has preceded you with from among the worlds?


اور اسی طرح جب ہم نے لوط کو (پیغمبر بنا کر بھیجا تو) اس وقت انہوں نے اپنی قوم سے کہا کہ تم ایسی بےحیائی کا کام کیوں کرتے ہو کہ تم سے اہل عالم میں سے کسی نے اس طرح کا کام نہیں کیا

إِنَّكُمْ لَتَأْتُونَ الرِّجَالَ شَهْوَةً مِّن دُونِ النِّسَاءِ ۚ بَلْ أَنتُمْ قَوْمٌ مُّسْرِفُونَ

Sahih International

Indeed, you approach men with desire, instead of women. Rather, you are a transgressing people."


یعنی خواہش نفسانی پورا کرنے کے لیے عورتوں کو چھوڑ کر لونڈوں پر گرتے ہو۔ حقیقت یہ ہے کہ تم لوگ حد سے نکل جانے والے ہو

وَمَا كَانَ جَوَابَ قَوْمِهِ إِلَّا أَن قَالُوا أَخْرِجُوهُم مِّن قَرْيَتِكُمْ ۖ إِنَّهُمْ أُنَاسٌ يَتَطَهَّرُونَ

Sahih International

But the answer of his people was only that they said, "Evict them from your city! Indeed, they are men who keep themselves pure."


تو ان سے اس کا جواب کچھ نہ بن پڑا اور بولے تو یہ بولے کہ ان لوگوں (یعنی لوط اور اس کے گھر والوں) کو اپنے گاؤں سے نکال دو (کہ) یہ لوگ پاک بننا چاہتے ہیں