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Sura al-Qalam

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This article is an introduction to the Sura al-Qalam; to read its text see text:Sura al-Qalam.
Sura al-Qalam
al-Mulk← →al-Haqqa
سوره قلم.jpg
Sura Number 68
Juz' 29
Revelation Number 2 or 5
Makki/Madani Makki
Verse Count 52
Word Count 301
Letter Count 1288

Sūra al-Qalam (Arabic: سورة القلم, the pen) is the 68th sura of the Qur'an. It is a Makki sura, and with respect to its content, it counts as one of mumtahanat. It consists of 52 verses. It occurs after Sura al-Mulk in the 29th juz' of the Qur'an. Its content includes assuaging Prophet Muhammad's (s) worries about accusations made by polytheists against him, calling him to be patient, prohibiting him from following the polytheists, and reminding him about their punishments after the resurrection. Verse 51 of this sura, known as Wa In Yakad Verse, is known as the verse of evil eyes.


Since this Quranic sura involves the word, "al-Qalam" (pen) in its first verse where God has sworn to the pen and what is written by it, it came to be known as "Sura al-Qalam". And since it begins with the disjoined letter, "n" (nūn), it also came to be called "Sura N/al-Nun" or "Sura Nun wa l-Qalam".

Number of Verses

Reciters and exegetes of the Qur'an agree that this sura has 52 verses, 301 words, and 1288 letters. With respect to its volume, it counts as one of the mufassalat suras; it is about one half of one hizb of the Qur'an.

Verse 4 of Sura al-Qalam written in Nast'aliq font by Ghulamhusayn Amirkhani

Order and Place of Revelation

In the traditional order of compilation, Sura al-Qalam is the 68th sura of the Qur'an, and in the chronological order of revelation, it is the 5th or the second Quranic sura. It is the 29th and the last Quranic sura which begins with al-muqatta'at (disjoined letters), and the 10th Quranic sura which begins with swearing. Many exegetes of the Qur'an take this sura to be wholly Makki, and others take verses 17 to 33 as well as verses 48 to 50 to be Madani and the rest to be Makki.


Themes of this sura can be classified as follows:

  • Specific characteristics of the Prophet Muhammad (s) and emphasis on his remarkable moral character.
  • Bad characteristics of polytheists and the enemies of the Prophet (s).
  • The story of "Ashab al-Janna" (Owners of the Garden) and warning the polytheists.
  • Reminding the resurrection and the punishments of polytheists.
  • Advising the Prophet (s) to be patient and resistant against the polytheists, and prohibiting him from following them.

Content of Sura al-Qalam[1]
A warning to people who accuse the Prophet (s) of insanity
First topic: verses 1-13
The wrongness of the claim of insanity about the Prophet (s)
Second topic: verses 14-33
The failure and disgrace of the Prophet's (s) enemies
Third topic: verses 34-50
The inevitability of the punishment of the Prophet's (s) enemies in the afterlife
Fourth topic: verses 51-52
Accusation of insanity is a sign of the desperation of the unbelievers in the face of the Qur'an
First point: verses 1-7
The reasons why the Prophet (s) was not insane
First point: verses 14-16
The afterlife disgrace of people who deny the Qur'an and the Prophet (s)
First point: verses 34-41
Believers and unbelievers will not have the same fate
Second point: verses 8-13
The Prophet's (s) duty with respect to his opponents
Second point: verses 17-32
The disgrace of the arrogant unbelievers in this world, just like the stingy gardeners
Second point: verses 42-43
A picture of the disgrace of the unbelievers on the Day of Judgment
Third point: verse 33
The huge punishment of the unbelievers in the afterlife
Third point: verses 44-47
The gradual punishment of obstinate unbelievers
Fourth point: verses 48-50
The necessity of patience until the time comes for the punishment of the unbelievers

Story of the Owners of the Garden

Verses 17 of Sura al-Qalam onwards report the story of some wealthy people who had a green, flourishing garden in Yemen. The garden was owned by an old man who made a living from it and gave the rest of the products to people in need. After his death, his children decided to take the whole benefits of the garden for themselves and not give anything to the poor people. Because of this, a thunderstorm stroke their garden and set it on fire. As a result, nothing was left from the garden. One of the brothers called the others to God and they repented from their behavior. The verse 33 of this sura points out that ignorance of people in need has such a punishment as a consequence.

Wa In Yakad Verse

Main article: Wa In Yakad Verse

Verses 51 and 52 of this sura are known as "Wa In Yakad Verse" or the "Verse of Evil Eye". Many people in Iran put boards or cloths containing this verse on the walls of their houses or work places, because they believe that it helps to prevent evil eyes. However, some scholars, such as Morteza Motahhari, believe that this verse, or having it in one's house or work place, is irrelevant to evil eyes, although evil eyes do have effects.

Great Morality of the Prophet (s)

Verse 4 of Sura al-Qalam is another well-known verse concerning the great morality of the Prophet (s).


There is a hadith from Imam al-Sadiq (a) concerning the virtues of reciting Sura al-Qalam: if someone recites this sura in his obligatory or mustahab prayer, God will protect him against poverty and he will be immune to the pressure of the grave.

According to another hadith, the reward for reciting Sura al-Qalam is equal to that of a person the fulfilment of whose wishes is postponed by God. It is also said that if this sura is written on something and is put on a damaged tooth, one's toothache will calm down then.


  1. Khamagar, Muhammad, Sakhtar-i suraha-yi Qur'an-i karim, Mu'assisa-yi Farhangi-yi Qur'an wa 'Itrat-i Nur al-Thaqalayn, Qom: Nashra, ed.1, 1392 Sh.


  • The material for this article is mainly taken from سوره قلم in Farsi WikiShia.