Sura Abasa

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This article is an introduction to the Sura Abasa; to read its text see text:Sura Abasa.
Sura Abasa
Sura Number80
Revelation Number24
Verse Count42
Word Count133
Letter Count553\

Sūra ʿAbasa (Arabic: سورة عَبَسَ, literally: He Frowned) is the eightieth sura of Qur'an. It is a Makki sura of Qur'an which is located in the thirtieth juz'. This sura is called Abasa because it starts with the word. This sura is about the value and significance of Qur'an, man's ingratitude toward God's blessings, the horrifying incidents of the Resurrection Day and the fate of humans in that day.

In the first verses of this sura, God condemned a person who treated a blind person badly. There are disagreements among the exegetes about the identity of the condemned person; whether he was Prophet Muhammad (s) or someone else.

The thirty four to thirty seven verses of this sura are important, as they describe the Resurrection, when people will flee from their relatives including their brothers, mothers, fathers, spouses, and children. As stated in narrations, those who recite Sura Abasa will be happy and pleased in the Day of Judgment.


This sura is called Abasa (He Frowned) as it starts with this term. It is also called A'ma (Arabic: أعمی, blind) and Safara (Arabic: سَفَرهscribe), which are stated in the second and the fifteenth verses. A'ma means Blind and Safara is the plural form of Safir which means the angels who writes the actions of humans.[1]

Place and Order of Revelation

Sura Abasa is a Makki sura and it is the twenty fourth sura which was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (s). It is the eightieth sura of Qur'an[2] in the thirtieth Juz'.

Number of Verses and Characteristics

Sura Abasa has forty two verses, 133 words, and 553 letters. It is one of the mufassalat suras which have relatively short and numerous verses.[3]


Although Sura Abasa is a short sura, it discusses diverse subjects and it emphasizes on the Resurrection Day. Its content can be summarized into five topics:

  1. Severe God's condemnation of the person who treated the blind person badly; he was also seeking the truth.
  2. The value and significance of Qur'an.
  3. Ingratitude of men to God's blessings.
  4. Mentioning gifts of God in order to encourage humans to be appreciative.
  5. Mentioning horrifying incidents of the Day of Judgment and the fate of believers and disbelievers in that day.[4]
Content of Sura 'Abasa[5]
Warning the arrogant people who consider themselves independent from God
First topic: verses 1-16
How the time of witnessing the actions will come
Second topic: verses 17-42
Falseness of the idea of those who think they are independent from God
First point: verses 1-10
Do not put the wealthy disbelievers before the poor believers
First point: verses 17-23
Human's dependence on God in all stages of life
Second point: verses 11-16
The Qur'an has been revealed to awaken the humans
Second point: verses 24-32
Human's dependence on God in the provision of food
Third point: verses 33-42
Belittlement and chastisement of sinful disbelievers in the hereafter

Occasion of Revelation

Person Who Frowned

Different explanations about occasion of revelation of theses verses have been given in Sunni and Shi'ite commentaries on Qur'an:

  • According to Sunni point of view, Prophet Muhammad (s) invited a number of Quraysh leaders to a meeting in order to convince them to convert to Islam. Meanwhile 'Abd Allah b. Umm Maktum a blind and poverty-stricken man approached Prophet Muhammad (s) and asked him to recite some verse of Qur'an for him to learn the truth. He interrupted Prophet's (s) speech a number of times which made Prophet (s) upset and he frowned away.
Prophet (s) thought the chiefs of Quraysh would say only slaves and blinds are supporters of Muhammad (s). Then the Prophet (s) ignored 'Abd Allah and continued his discussion with Quraysh chiefs. After that, these verses were revealed to Prophet Muhammad (s) and he was criticized for his poor behavior to the blind man. Later on, Prophet Muhammad (s) always praised and revered 'Abd Allah and he said: "Praise to the person for whom I was criticized for."[6]
  • According to Shi'ite point of view, these verses were revealed about a man from Banu Umayya who was sitting with Prophet Muhammad (s). When 'Abd Allah b. Umm Maktum entered, the man drew himself aside, not to get his dress dirty. He also frowned away and grimed. Then the verses were revealed and he was condemned for his behavior. The story is narrated from hadith by Imam al-Sadiq (a).[7]
Some of Shi'ite scholars including al-Sayyid al-Murtada and 'Allama Tabataba'i refused to accept the first viewpoint about the occasion of revelation of the verses.
'Allama Tabataba'i stated that those verses don't have obvious signs proving that Prophet Muhammad (s) was condemned by God, however there are signs that someone else was the addressee. Prophet Muhammad (s) did not even frown at disbelievers let alone at believers. In addition, God has praised Prophet's (s) behavior in Qur'an 68 (Sura al-Qalam), which was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (s) before. Also God ordered Prophet (s) earlier in numerous verses to treat believers modestly and neglect their appearance and their privileges. Regardless of what has been discussed, logically frowning upon the poor is a condemned behavior which is highly improbable that Prophet (s) would display such behavior.[8]

Famous Verses

Man's Food

Verse twenty four of this sura invites people to observe their food:

According to exegeses, here 'observe' means thinking and paying attention about how is the food of humans prepared or thinking about whether the food is halal (permissible) or haram (forbidden).[9] According to some narrations, here ta'am (food) means the knowledge which supplies the food of soul. Then man should think carefully from whom he takes his knowledge.[10]

Fear of the Resurrection Day

In verses thirty four to thirty seven the intensity of the panic in the Day of Resurrection is described:

According to exegeses of these verses, the feature of the Day of Judgment [11] and the fear and panic of the Resurrection Day makes people not only to forget their close relatives, but they flee from them.[12] These actions happen after the second deafening blast by Israfil which is stated as "al-sakhkha" (the deafening blast) in verse thirty three.[13] 'Ali b. Abi Talib (a) recited this verse in his supplication in the mosque of Kufa and he asked God for mercy in the Resurrection Day.[14]

Merits and Benefits

It is narrated from Prophet Muhammad (s) that if someone recites Sura 'Abas, he will be happy in the Day of Judgment.[15] It is also narrated from Imam al-Sadiq (a) that if someone recites this sura, he will be gain blessings of God which is an easy task for Him.[16] In addition Imam al-Sadiq (a) said if someone recites this sura while it is raining, his sins will be forgiven to the number of the drops of rain.[17] Besides, in other exegeses different merits have been mentioned for reciting this sura of Qur'an including having a safe trip[18] and finding a lost person or thing.[19]

External Links


  1. Khurramshāhī, Dānishnāma-yi Qurʾān, vol. 2, p. 1261.
  2. Maʿrifat, Āmūzish-i ʿulūm-i Qurʾān, vol. 1, p. 166.
  3. Khurramshāhī, Dānishnāma-yi Qurʾān, vol. 2, p. 1261.
  4. Makārim Shīrāzī, Tafsīr-i nimūna, vol. 26, p. 121.
  5. 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.
  6. Ṭabarī, Jāmiʿ al-bayān, vol. 30, p. 33.
  7. Ṭabrisī, Majmaʿ al-bayān, vol. 10, p. 664.
  8. Ṭabāṭabāyī, al-Mīzān fī tafsīr al-Qurʾān, vol. 20, p. 231-232.
  9. Makārim Shīrāzī, Tafsīr-i nimūna, vol. 26, p. 145.
  10. Baḥrānī, al-Burhān, vol. 5, p. 584.
  11. Ṭabāṭabāyī, al-Mīzān fī tafsīr al-Qurʾān, vol. 20, p. 343.
  12. Makārim Shīrāzī, Tafsīr-i nimūna, vol. 26, p. 157-158.
  13. Makārim Shīrāzī, Tafsīr-i nimūna, vol. 26, p. 157; Ṭabāṭabāyī, al-Mīzān fī tafsīr al-Qurʾān, vol. 20, p. 343.
  14. Qummī, Mafātīḥ al-jinān, p. 576.
  15. Ṭabrisī, Majmaʿ al-bayān, vol. 10, p. 661.
  16. Ṣadūq, Thawāb al-aʿmāl, p. 121.
  17. Nūrī, Mustadrak al-wasāʾil, vol. 6, p. 210.
  18. Baḥrānī, al-Burhān, vol. 5, p. 581.
  19. Kafʿamī, al-Miṣbāḥ, p. 182.


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