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Sura al-Hijr

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This article is an introduction to the Sura al-Hijr; to read its text see text:Sura al-Hijr.
Sura al-Hijr
Ibrahim← →Al-Nahl
سوره حجر.jpg
Sura Number 15
Juz' 14
Revelation Number 54
Makki/Madani Makki
Verse Count 99
Word Count 658
Letter Count 2881

Sūra al-Hijr (Arabic: سورة الحِجر) is the fifteenth sura of the Qur'an. It is a Makki sura in the juz' fourteen. The appellation of the sura as "al-Hijr" is because of its reference to the story of the people of the Prophet Salih (a), that is, people of Thamud, in verses eighty through eighty four. They lived in a land called al-Hijr.

Sura al-Hijr talks about the origin of the world, signs of the resurrection, the belief in God, the punishment of wrong-doers, and the greatness of the Qur'an. The sura has references to the story of the creation of Adam (a), the prostration of all angels for Adam (a) except Iblis, the story of angels visiting the Prophet Abraham (a) and giving good tidings to him, the punishment of the people of Lot, and the story of Thamud.

A well-known verse in the sura is its ninth verse in which God emphasizes that He has sent down the Qur'an and that He will be its guardian. Many exegetes have cited the verse as evidence that the Qur'an is immune from any distortions. According to hadiths, one virtue of reciting the Sura al-Hijr is that if one recites the sura, he will be given rewards by God ten times greater than the number of the Muhajirun and Ansar.


  • Naming

The sura is called "al-Hijr" because it is the only sura in which the people of the Prophet Salih (a), that is, Thamud, are called "People of al-Hijr",[1] where al-Hijr was the land in which these people lived.[2]

  • Order and Place of Revelation

The Sura al-Hijr is a Makki sura of the Qur'an. In the order of revelation, it was the fifty-forth sura revealed to the Prophet (s). In the present order of compilation, it is the fifteenth sura of the Qur'an,[3] located in the fourteenth juz'.

  • Number of Verses and Other Features

The Sura al-Hijr has ninety-nine verses, 658 words, and 2881 letters. With regard to its length, it counts as one of the Mathani suras which is approximately equal to one hizb of the Qur'an. The Sura al-Hijr is the ninth sura that begins with disjoined letters (al-huruf al-muqatta'a).[4]


In Tafsir-i Nimuna, the content of the Sura al-Hijr is divided into six sections:

  • Verses concerning the origin of the world and the belief in God through reflection upon the creation;
  • Verses concerning the resurrection and the punishment of wrong-doers;
  • Significance, greatness, and features of the Qur'an;
  • Narration of different stories, such as the story of the creation of Adam (a), the prostration of all angels for him except Iblis, the story of angels visiting Abraham (a) and giving good tidings to him, the punishment of the people of Lot, and the story of the people of Thamud;
  • Warnings, good tidings, and effective advice;
  • Calling the Prophet (s) to resist against dangerous conspiracies of his opponents in Mecca.[5]
Content of Sura al-Hijr[6]
standing against those who ridicule the Prophet (a)
The first discourse: verses 1-9
Wrongness of the actions of those who ridicule the Prophet (a)
The second discourse: verses 10-48
Reasons why people ridicule prophets
The third discourse: verses 49-84
Punishment of those who deny the Prophet (a)
The fourth discourse: verses 85-99
Principles of resistance towards those who ridicule
The first point: verses 1-5
Unbelievers will regret their actions when they see the punishment
The first reason: verses 10-15
Sinfulness and stubbornness in the acceptance of the truth
The first point: verses 49-51
The tradition of God's mercy for, and punishment of, His servants
The first principle: verses 85-87
Ignorance of what they do
The second point: verses 6-9
Falsity of the attribution of madness to the Prophet (a)
The second reason: verses 16-25
Ignorance of the signs of God's Lordship
The second point: verses 52-60
God's mercy for Abraham (a) by sending angels down to him
The second principle: verse 88
Negligence of the wealth of unbelievers
The third reason: verses 26-68
Innate grounds of fighting the truth in the human nature
The third point: verses 61-77
Punishment of the people of Lot
The third principle: verses 89-93
Warning those who ridicule
The fourth point: verses 78-79
Punishment of forest-dwellers, that is, the people of the prophet Shu'ayb (a) (Jethro)
The fourth principle: verses 94-96
Telling the truth and relying on God's support
The fifth point: verses 80-84
Punishment of mountain-dwellers, that is, people of Thamud
The fifth principle: verses 97-99
Worshiping God

Occasions of Revelations of Some Verses

The First Line of the Congregational Prayer

There are two stories about the occasion of the revelation of the twenty-fourth verse of the Sura al-Hijr.[7] According to this verse, God knows "mustaqdimin" (preceding people) and "musta'khirin" (people who come later).

  • The Prophet (s) told his companions that "God and angels will send peace to people who stand in the first line of congregational prayers." Thus, his companions tried to stand in the first line of congregational prayers. People from the Banu Udhra tribe whose houses were far from the mosque decided to sell their houses and purchase houses near the mosque so that they could arrive in the mosque sooner and say their prayers in the first line. The above verse was revealed about them.[8]

On another story, a beautiful woman attended the congregational prayer behind the Prophet (s). Some men stood in the first line lest their eyes fall on the woman, but others stood in the last line so that they could occasionally see the woman. The verse was revealed about them.[9]

Seven Commercial Caravans and Seven Quranic Verses

The occasion of the revelation of the verse eighty-seven of the Sura al-Hijr is said to be as follows: seven tribes arrived in Medina with fabrics, perfumes, jewelries and other goods to make business with the Jews of Banu Qurayza and Banu Nadir. Muslims said: "If these goods were ours, we would be strong and wealthy and we could donate some money for the sake of God." The verse, "And We have certainly given you, [O Muhammad], seven of the often repeated [verses] and the great Qur'an," was revealed to suggest that the seven verses of the Qur'an are superior to the seven tribes.[10] There is a disagreement among exegetes of the Qur'an as to what "the seven verses" refers to. There are many hadiths according to which it refers to the Qur'an 1.[11]

Famous Verses

The verse nine of the Sura al-Hijr has been extensively cited by the majority of exegetes and scholars as evidence for the rejection of any distortion in the Qur'an.[12] In exegeses, the "dhikr" in the verse is interpreted as referring to the Qur'an.[13] However, it has been objected how a Qura'nic verse can be appealed to as evidence for the rejection of the distortion of the Qur'an itself, because the verse appealed to may have as well been distorted. The objection has been responded on the ground that proponents of the distortion of the Qur'an claim that some verses were removed from the Qur'an and they never claim that something was added thereto. Thus, this verse can be appealed to in order to reject their claim.[14]

Main article: Qur'an, 15:88

The phrase, "lower your wing to the believers", has been interpreted by exegetes as a command to humbleness and kindness, just as a hen opens its wings for its chicks.[15] Allama Tabataba'i believes that "lowering the wing" points to patience and tolerance for believers. Thus, the Prophet (s) is commanded to devote himself to Muslims and never detach himself from them.[16]

Main article: Qur'an, 15:98

Exaltation and praise of God are said to be ways of reducing the negative effects of catastrophes, impatience, and diatribes.[17] In this verse, God tells his Messenger to worship and exalt God in order to remove effects of sadness resulting from diatribes of unbelievers, because it will strengthen him and improve his tolerance. According to a hadith from Ibn Abbas, when the Prophet (s) was sad, he said a prayer and then expressions of sadness disappeared from his face.[18]

Main article: Qur'an, 15:99

Some exegetes have appealed to certain hadiths to show that "certainty" in this verse refers to the time of one's death, because of the certainty of death. Thus, the command to worship (in this verse) has been qualified with "until the time of death" because otherwise, one would count as obeying God if he worshiped God only once. With this qualification, however, one needs to worship God until his death.[19] Thus, they reject the view of some Sufis who have appealed to this verse to show that one can abandon worship after one arrives at certainty.[20]

Merits and Benefits

There is a hadith to the effect that if one recites the Sura al-Hijr, he will be given rewards by God ten times greater than the number of Muhajirun, Ansar, and those who ridicule the Prophet (s).[21] In some hadiths, the sura has been said to have certain effects. For instance, if one writes the sura on a piece of paper and carries it with him, his livelihood will increase.[22]

External Links


  1. Makārim Shīrāzī, Tafsīr-i nimūna, vol. 11, p. 4.
  2. Ṭabāṭabāyī, al-Mīzān, vol. 12, p. 185-186.
  3. Marifat, Āmūzish-i ʿulūm-i Qurʾān, vol. 2, p. 166.
  4. Khurramshāhī, Dānishnāma-yi Qurʾān, vol. 2, p. 1240.
  5. Makārim Shīrāzī, Tafsīr-i nimūna, vol. 11, p. 3.
  6. 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.
  7. "Certainly We know the predecessors among you and certainly We know the successors," Qur'an 15:24
  8. Ṭabrisī, Majmaʿ al-bayān, vol. 6, p. 514.
  9. Kūfī, al-Jaʿfarīyyāt, p. 178.
  10. Wāḥidī, Asbāb al-nuzūl, p. 283.
  11. Ṭabāṭabāyī, al-Mīzān, vol. 17, p. 191.
  12. Makārim Shīrāzī, Tafsīr-i nimūna, vol. 11, p. 18; Ṭabāṭabāyī, al-Mīzān, vol. 12, p. 101.
  13. Ibn Abī Ḥātam, Tafsīr al-Qurʾān al-ʿaẓīm, vol. 7, p. 2258.
  14. Jawādī Āmulī, Nizāhat-i Qurʾān az taḥrīf, p. 89-92.
  15. Ṭabrisī, Majmaʿ al-bayān, vol. 6, p. 531; Ālūsī, Rūḥ al-maʿānī, vol. 7, p. 323.
  16. Ṭabāṭabāyī, al-Mīzān, vol. 12, p. 192-193.
  17. Ṭabāṭabāyī, al-Mīzān, vol. 12, p. 192-195.
  18. Makārim Shīrāzī, Tafsīr-i nimūna, vol. 11, p. 142.
  19. Ṭabrisī, Majmaʿ al-bayān, vol. 6, p. 534.
  20. Makārim Shīrāzī, Tafsīr-i nimūna, vol. 11, p. 143.
  21. Ṭabrisī, Majmaʿ al-bayān, vol. 6, p. 501; Kafʿamī, al-Miṣbāḥ, p. 441.
  22. Baḥrānī, al-Burhān, vol. 3, p. 329.


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