Chapter Scripts

Surah Ghafir 40:11-20

40:11 [Whereupon] they will exclaim, “O Our Sustainer! Twice hast Thou caused us to die, just as twice Thou hast brought us to life! But now that we have acknowledged our sins, is there any way out [of this second death)?”


Lit., “He of the throne of Almightiness”. For the meaning of the term arsh, see note 43 on 7:54.

40:12 [And they will be told] “This [has befallen you] because, whenever the One God was invoked, you denied this truth, whereas, when divinity was ascribed to aught beside Him, you believed [in it]! But all judgment rests with God, the Exalted, the Great!”


Lit., “the Day of the Meeting”. – For my rendering of ar-ruh as “inspiration”, see note 2 on 16:2, as well as note 71 on 2:87.

40:13 He it is, who shows you His Wonders [in all nature], and sends down sustenance for you from the sky, but none bethinks himself [thereof] save those who are wont to turn to God.


Regarding the problem of “intercession” (shafa ‘ah) and its meaning in the Qur’an, see note 7 on 10:3.

40:14 Invoke, then, God, sincere in your faith in Him alone, however hateful this may be to those who deny the truth!


God’s omniscience is shown here as the reason why there can be no “intercession” with Him in the commonly-accepted sense of this term (cf. surah 10, note 27).

40:15 High above all orders [of being] is He, in Almightiness enthroned. By His Own will does He bestow inspiration upon whomever He wills of His servants, so as to warn [all human beings of the coming] of the Day when they shall meet Him. 


i.e., saints, whether real or imaginary or angels. (The pronoun alladhina is used only with reference to sentient beings endowed with reason).

40:16 The Day when they shall come forth [from death], with nothing of themselves hidden from God. With whom will sovereignty rest on that Day? With God, the One who holds absolute sway over all that exists!


As regards Qarun, who is said to have been a follower – and subsequently an opponent – of Moses, see 28:76 ff., as well as the corresponding note 84. For a discussion of the name “Hamin”, see note 6 on 28:6

40:17 On that Day will every human being be requited for what he has earned: no wrong [will be done] on that Day: verily, swift in the reckoning is God!


Lit., “those who have come to believe with him”.

40:18 Hence, warn them of that Day which draws ever nearer, when the hearts will chokingly come up to the throats, no loving friend will the evildoers have, nor any intercessor who would be heeded.


My interpolation of the word “alleged” is necessitated by the obvious sarcasm of Pharaoh’s remark.

40:19 [For] He is aware of the [most] stealthy glance, and of all that the hearts would conceal.


Cf. the parable of the believer in 36:20-27 and, in particular, the corresponding note 15.

40:20 And God will judge in accordance with truth and justice, whereas those [beings] whom they invoke besides Him cannot judge at all, For, Verily, God alone is All-Hearing, All-Seeing.


Lit., “a liar”. As regards my rendering of musrif as “one who wastes [or “has wasted”] his own self”, see note 21 on the last sentence of 10:12. Thus, the anonymous believer spoken of here argues that the message brought by Moses is so convincing that, by itself, it is proof of his not being “one who wastes his own self” – i.e., destroys himself spiritually – by a spurious claim to divine inspiration.


The divine scriptures are God’s beacons to the world. Surely God offered His trust to the heavens and the earth, and the hills, but they shrank from bearing it and were afraid of it. And man undertook it.
Back to top button