Sura al-Muddaththir

Priority: b, Quality: b
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This article is an introduction to the Sura al-Muddaththir; to read its text see text:Sura al-Muddaththir.
Sura Number74
Revelation Number4
Verse Count56
Word Count256
Letter Count1036\

Sūra al-Muddaththir (Arabic: سورة المدّثّر) is the seventy forth Sura of the Qur'an. It is a Makki sura of the Qur'an which was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (s) at the beginning of his Bi'that. The word, "muddaththir", means wrapped up in clothes, and it refers to the Prophet (s). In the early verses of this sura, God orders the Prophet (s) (who felt very cold as a result of the great shock of his first revelation and thus, was wrapped up in clothes) to rise and warn people.

According to many hadiths, part of this sura was revealed about al-Walid b. al-Mughira who had called the Prophet (s) a magician. In this sura, God points to the greatness of the Qur'an, warning people who deny it and take it to be a magic.

The verse thirty eight of Sura al-Muddaththir is a well-known verse according to which "Every soul is hostage to what it has earned". According to some hadiths, if a person recites this sura, he will receive ten rewards for every person in Mecca who believed in or denied the Prophet (s). Or if someone recites this sura in his daily prayers, God will reward him with the company of the Prophet Muhammad (s) and he will not undergo any misery or suffering in this world.


  • Naming

This sura is called "Muddaththir" because it begins with the verse, "O you the 'Muddaththir'". The word, "muddaththir", means wrapped up in clothes. It is addressed to the Prophet (s). It was revealed when the Prophet (s) was feeling cold after the shock of receiving his first wahy and asked his wife lady Khadija (a) to cover him with clothes. In the early verses of Sura al-Muddaththir, God orders the Prophet (s) to rise and warn the people.[1]

  • Place and Order of Revelation

Sura al-Muddaththir is a Makki Sura of the Qur'an. It was the forth sura which was revealed to the Prophet (s). It was revealed after Sura al-Muzzammil and before Sura al-Hamd. In the traditional order of compilation, it is the seventy forth sura of the Qur'an,[2] located in the juz' twenty nine.

  • Number of Verses and Words

Sura al-Muddaththir has fifty six verses, 256 words, and 1036 letters. It is one of the Mufassalat suras (the ones with short and numerous verses). It is a relatively short sura.[3]


'Allama Tabataba'i takes Sura al-Muddaththir to involve three main themes:

  • First, God orders the Prophet (s) to warn people. It is obvious that it is one of the early orders after Bi'that.
  • Second, it refers to the greatness of the Qur'an.
  • Third, it threatens people who reject the Qur'an and take it to be a magic, and it reproaches people who refuse to comply with the call of God[4].
Content of Sura al-Muddaththir[5]
Warning deniers and offenders of the Qur'an
First topic: verses 1-10
Training the Prophet to stand against the deniers of the Qur'an
Second topic: verses 11-48
Unbelievers' offenses to the Qur'an
Third topic: verses 49-56
Unbelievers' reasons for opposing teachings of the Qur'an
First point: verses 1-2
Standing and warning the unbelivers
First point: verses 11-30
Attributing magic and falsehood to the Qur'an
First reason: verses 49-50
Hatred of innate teachings of the Qur'an
Second point: verse 3
Remembering the Great God
Second point: verses 31-48
Ridicule the Qur'an's speaks about the warders of hell
Second reason: verse 52
Arrogance against God's principles
Third point: verse 4
Purifying soul and body
Third reason: verse 53
Not believing in hearafter
Forth point: verse 5
Abstain from all sins
Forth reason: verses 54-56
Not wanting to take advantage of the Quran
Fifth point: verse 6
Not granting a favor on anyone
Six point: verses 7-10
Being Patient in preaching religion

This sura also enumerates the characteristics of people who go to the Heaven and the hell as well as arrogant people. A moral point in this sura is that one should not donate in the hope of a greater reward.[6]

Occasion of Revelation

In his exegesis of the Qur'an, al-Mizan, 'Allama Tabataba'i writes: "according to many hadiths, the verse eleven of Sura al-Muddaththir and its following twenty verses were revealed about al-Walid b. al-Mughira. It has been transmitted in two ways:

  • People of the Quraysh gathered in Dar al-Nudwa and Walid, who was known as a wise, tactful person, encouraged them to come to a unanimous position about the Prophet Muhammad (s). The Quraysh sought to call him a poet or a soothsayer or mad, but al-Walid b. al-Mughira said that none of these fit him, because Qur'anic verses do not look like poems, or soothsaying or madness. He preferred to call the Prophet (s) a magician!
When the Quraysh left Dar al-Nudwa, they began calling the Prophet (s) a magician whenever they met him. The Prophet (s) was saddened, and then verses eleven to twenty five of Sura al-Muddaththir were revealed.[7]
  • The Prophet (s) sat in Hijr Isma'il and recited the Qur'an. One day, the Quraysh asked al-Walid b. al-Mughira to express his opinion about what the Prophet (s) recited. Al-Walid b. al-Mughira approached the Prophet (s) in order to hear the Qur'an and told him: recite some of your poems for me!
The Prophet (s) said that these were divine words and then recited verses of Sura Fussilat for him. After hearing the verses, al-Walid got goose bumps, and went home without going to the Quraysh. The Quraysh thought that he converted to Muhammad's (s) religion. Thus, they went to Abu Jahl and told him the story. Abu Jahl asked al-Walid whether Muhammad's (s) words were poems or rhetoric. Al-Walid rejected both views and said that he needed time to work out his view. He finally called the Prophet (s) a magician and said: "tell everyone that Muhammad's word is magic, because it captures one's heart".[8]

Famous Verses

  • Verses 38 and 39

According to al-Mizan, these verses seem to imply that God has the right to be obeyed by one's faith and actions. Thus, if one has faith and does righteous actions, he will have fulfilled this pledge; otherwise, he will remain under the obligation.[9] According to hadiths cited in Tafsir al-burhan, "people of the right hand" refers to the Shi'a of Amir al-Mu'minin 'Ali (a).[10]

  • Verses 42 to 46

In the sermon 199 of Nahj al-balagha, Imam 'Ali (a) appeals to these verses to demonstrate the importance of prayer, taking it to be a condition for the acceptance of other actions. According to al-Mizan, "musallin" in this verse does not refer to the prayer; rather it refers to any worships for or talks to God. Thus, it includes the prayer as well as any other worships in other religions.[11] According to some hadiths, "musallin" means followers, and thus, people of the hell are punished because they did not follow the Imams (a).[12]

Merites and Benefites

According to Majma' al-bayan, if someone recites Sura al-Muddaththir, he will receive 10 rewards for everyone in Mecca who believed in or denied the Prophet (s).[13] There is also a hadith from Imam al-Baqir (a) according to which if someone recites Sura al-Muddaththir in his obligatory prayers, God will reward him with the company of Muhammad (s) and he will not undergo any misery or suffering in this world.[14]

And according to a hadith from the Prophet (s) cited in Tafsir al-burhan, if a person frequently recites Sura al-Muddaththir, he will receive a great reward, and if he asks God to help him memorize the whole Qur'an, he will not die until he memorizes the whole Qur'an. A similar hadith has also been transmitted from Imam al-Sadiq (a).


External Links


  1. Khurramshāhī, Dānishnāma-yi Qurʾān, vol. 2, p. 1259.
  2. Maʿrifat, Āmūzish-i ʿulūm-i Qurʾān, vol. 1, p. 167.
  3. Khurramshāhī, Dānishnāma-yi Qurʾān, vol. 2, p. 1259.
  4. Ṭabāṭabāʾī, al-Mīzān, vol. 20, p. 79.
  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. Khurramshāhī, Dānishnāma-yi Qurʾān, vol. 2, p. 1259.
  7. Makārim Shīrāzī, Tafsīr-i nimūna, vol. 25, p. 221-222.
  8. Ṭabāṭabāʾī, al-Mīzān, vol. 20, p. 92.
  9. Ṭabāṭabāʾī, al-Mīzān, vol. 20, p. 96.
  10. Baḥrānī, al-Burhān, vol. 5, p. 530.
  11. Ṭabāṭabāʾī, al-Mīzān, vol. 20, p. 97.
  12. Kulaynī, al-Kāfī, vol. 1, p. 434; vol. 2, p. 382.
  13. Ṭabrisī, Majmaʿ al-bayān, vol. 10, p. 171.
  14. Ṭabrisī, Majmaʿ al-bayān, vol. 10, p. 171.
  15. Baḥrānī, al-Burhān, vol. 5, p. 521.


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  • Khurramshāhī, Bahāʾ al-Dīn. Dānishnāma-yi Qurʾān wa Qurʾān pazhūhī. Tehran: Dūstān-Nāhīd, 1377 Sh.
  • Kulaynī, Muḥammad b. Yaʿqūb al-. Al-Kāfī. Qom: Dār al-Ḥadīth, 1429 AH.
  • Makārim Shīrāzī, Nāṣir. Tafsīr-i nimūna. Tehran: Dār al-Kutub al-Islāmīyya, 1374 Sh.
  • Maʿrifat, Muḥammad Hādī. Āmūzish-i ʿulūm-i Qurʾān. [n.p]: Markaz Chāp wa Nashr-i Sāzmān-i Tablīghāt, 1371 Sh.
  • Ṭabāṭabāʾī, Mūhammad Ḥusayn al-. Al-Mīzān fī tafsīr al-Qurʾān. Second edition. Beirut: Muʾassisat al-Aʿlamī li-l-Maṭbūʿāt, 1974.
  • Ṭabrisī, Faḍl b. al-Ḥasan al-. Majmaʿ al-bayān fī tafsīr al-Qurʾān. Beirut: Muʾassisat al-Aʿlamī li-l-Maṭbūʿāt, 1415 AH.