Then, it is undertaken by Us to explain it. [75:19]

Tafseer of Surah al-Kahf

with 5 comments

In the name of Allah, the All-Merciful, the All-Compassionate.

Surah al-Kahf is Makkiya, and has 110 verses.


This Surah comprises the following themes: discussion of Tawheed and Risalah, the perishing nature and detestability of the dunya, punishment and reward of the afterlife, condemnation of arrogance and disputation, falsification of shirk, and some stories indicative upon Tawheed, Risalah and resurrection, as future explanations of relationship between verses will make clear. The interconnectedness of these themes is quite clear in that they all contribute to the strengthening of faith. The previous Surah ending on and this current Surah beginning with hamd is sufficient for the relatedness of the two Surahs.


Risalah, the source thereof, and comforting its bearer PBUH – Verses 1-8

Prelude and the story of Ashab al-Kahf in brief – Verses 9-12

The Story of Ashab al-Kahf in detail – Verses 13-17

Rest of the story – Verses 18-21

Methodology in responding to controversial issues – Verses 22-26

Further Benefits – Ashab al-Kahf Story Related

Some Etiquettes of Propagation – Verses 27-31

Story with regards to degrading wealth and elevating actions – Verses 32-44

Perishing of the Dunya, Lasting of the ‘Uqbaa and Awesomeness of Judgment Day – Verses 45-49

Articles of Disbelief and Punishments for those that reject – Verses 50-59

Story of Musa and Khadir (part 1) – Verses 60-70

Story of Musa and Khadir (part 2) – Verses 71-82

Story of Dhul Qarnain – Verses 83-98

Perishing and Remaining, Reward and Punishment on the Day of Judgment – Verses 99-110

Written by Yusuf Mullan

June 17th, 2009 at 12:47 pm

Posted in Official

5 Responses to 'Tafseer of Surah al-Kahf'

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  1. “Our main priority in translating the work is to preserve its accuracy and convey the maximum possible exegetical benefit, even at the expense of English rhetoric, sometimes resulting in awkward language.”

    Salaam. I think the above statement is a bad idea. The aim of translation is to convey the MEANING of the text to the reader. Accuracy should be measured not by a word-to-word correlation between to texts, but by checking to see if readers of the original Urdu text and the translated English text UNDERSTAND the same thing. A case in point is the Urdu translation of the Quran by Moulana Shabbir Uthmani. You’ll notice he adds exegetical gloss to the text to make it clearer – since the aim of translation is to convey meaning, not words.

    I would advise you to purchase the book THINKING ARABIC TRANSLATION. It covers the concepts connected to translation and would show you the most useful translation method.



    6 Jul 09 at 1:45 pm

  2. Here’s my translation of your text, with padding left out. I follow the principles laid out in the book Thinking Arabic Translation:

    “This Surah covers the following topics:
    Temporality and fickleness of life
    Punishment and reward in the afterlife
    Arrogance and argument
    Stories on tawheed, risalah and the resurrection.

    These themes are interconnected, all leading to a firmer faith. The previous chapter ends by praising Allah and this one starts by praising of Allah, emphasising the connection between the two.”


    6 Jul 09 at 1:53 pm

  3. JazakAllah khairan for the comments and suggestions. Of course, there are many places where deviating from the original for the purpose of clarity is fine. Knowing where to do this and where to stick to an exact rendering is a skill which improves with practice. The reference you mentioned is appreciated. I’ll be looking into it, insha Allah.

    Obviously we wouldn’t be doing this without any feelings about whether people reading are even understanding what is being said. That comment was a simple disclaimer mainly targeted to those portions of the work where a sentence needs to be long because of multiple conjunctions being used within the verses themselves. Splitting the sentence into numerous smaller sentences disregarding the conjunctions (which are present in the verses) is not something we would do.

    Also, if you’ve had a chance to read the original, you’d notice that it too is written in a style which many Urdu readers would consider awkward. The average reader who is not used to Hazrat Thanvi’s sentence style may not understand the reason behind this. Hence, at least two attempts at “tasheel” (simplification) have been made: one by Mufti Shafi which is incorporated in his Ma’arif al-Quran, and the second by Maulana Zafar Ahmad Usmani. Both Tasheels lose much of the exegetical benefit though, as those who have had a chance to browse them are aware of.

    Yusuf Mullan

    6 Jul 09 at 4:01 pm

  4. JazakAllah.
    Very well said Mawlana Yusuf sahib.
    I completely agree.

    Hakim al-Umma’s Bayaan ul Quran is unique.

    I hope and pray that ‘masail e tasawwuf’ will also be translated, inshaAllah.


    9 Jul 09 at 4:57 am

  5. JazakAllah khairan Dr. Hanif sahib for drawing attention to Masail al-Sulook.

    I spent some time yesterday reading the related portions from the Surah Maryam verses and noticed that it would be quite manageable insha Allah to translate these portions and add them in with the posts, or create seperate pages dealing with the masail related to each Surah.

    Yusuf Mullan

    10 Jul 09 at 2:05 pm

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