Sūra al-Najm (Arabic: سورة النجم) is the fifty third sura of the Qur'an. It is a Makki sura located in the twenty seventh juz'. This sura is one of the four suras which have obligatory sajda and are called 'Aza'im. One of the issues mentioned in this sura is the story of the Ascension. In this sura, God blames polytheists because of worshipping idols and speaks about the Hereafter.
Two of the famous verses of this sura are verses three and four which say that the Prophet (s) does not speak out of his own desire. These verses are referred to as evidence for proving his infallibility. Also, verses eight and nine are famous which describe the distance between the Prophet (s) and God or angel Gabriel within two bows' length. About the merits of recitation of Sura al-Najm, it is narrated that the reciter will become beloved among people.
This sura is called al-Najm or "Wa l-Najm" because in its first verse, God has sworn upon "al-najm" (star).
- Order and Place of Revelation
Sura al-Najm is fifty third sura of the Qur'an in the order of its current compilation and twenty third sura in the order of revelation. It is among Makki suras. Some believe that Sura al-Najm was the first sura the Prophet (s) recited publicly and loudly in Mecca after revealing his invitation to Islam.
- Number of Verses and Words
This sura is one of the four suras which have obligatory sajda that are called 'Aza'im. In this sura, after hearing or reciting verse sixty two, it is obligatory to perform sajda. Another ruling about these suras which have obligatory sajda is that it is forbidden for a junub person to recite these suras (or the verse which requires performing sajda).
Major topics mentioned in Sura al-Najm:
- The truth of revelation and the direct contact of the Prophet (s) with angel Gabriel and negating that the Prophet (s) would say anything other than what revealed to him.
- Mentioning the Prophet's (s) Ascension.
- Criticism of the polytheists' belief in idols and worshiping angels.
- Openness of repentance to polytheists and that everyone is responsible for his actions.
- The hereafter and bringing proofs for it.
- The painful destiny of previous nations who were stubborn and insisted on their opposition against the truth.
Historical Stories and Reports
In verses seven to eighteen of Sura al-Najm, the story of the Prophet's (s) Ascension is narrated in which, it is mentioned that the Prophet (s) drew near Sidrat al-Muntaha and Jannat al-Ma'wa and saw some of the signs of God. Also, in verses fifty to fifty three, perishing the people of 'Ad, Thamud, and people of Noah and Lot is mentioned.
The Prophet (s) Only Speaks Out of Revelation
|“||"Your companion has neither gone astray nor gone amiss. (2) Nor does he speak out of [his own] desire (3) it is just a revelation that is revealed [to him]"||”|
|— Qur'an 53:2-4|
According to Tafsir-i nimuna, that the Prophet (s) does not speak out of his own desire, is not only about the verses of the Qur'an, but it also includes the sunna (speeches and actions); thus, some consider these verses a reason for validity of the Prophet's (s) sunna as a reference. Also, this verse is used to prove the Prophet's (s) infallibility. In Tafsir al-burhan, there are several reports saying that when the Prophet (s) spoke about the position of Imam Ali (a) or his succession, some said that the Prophet (s) spoke about his cousin out of his own desire; thus, the first verses of Sura al-Najm were revealed.
Distance in Ascension
|“||"Then he drew nearer and nearer (8) until he was within two bows' length or even nearer"||”|
|— Qur'an 53:8-9|
These verses speak about the story of the Ascension when the Prophet's (s) distance reached within two bows' length or even nearer. Some said that it referred to the distance between the Prophet (s) and angel Gabriel. Some others considered it the distance between the noble Prophet (s) and God in his spiritual intuition.
Reward through Effort
|“||"And that nothing belongs to man except what he strives for"||”|
|— Qur'an 53:39|
It is mentioned in commentaries that benefiting from intercession of others in the form of forgiveness and charities are actually the results of the person's own actions; because if the person did not become a believer, he would not receive any intercession and people would not ask for his forgiveness. Also, it is said that this verse considers the person's efforts required for reward, not reaching conclusion; so, if a person makes good efforts, but he does not reach the final conclusion, still God will reward him. In the discussion on determination and free will, this verse is referred to for proving the free will and freedom of human's choice.
Merits and Benefits
|For the full text, see text:Sura al-Najm.|
About the merits of recitation of Sura al-Najm, it is mentioned in hadiths that the reciter will become beloved among people; and whoever recites Sura al-Najm every day or every night, will live among people honorably and will be beloved by them.
- Maʿrifat, al-Tamhīd fī ʿulūm al-Qurʾān, vol. 1, p. 313.
- Maʿrifat, al-Tamhīd fī ʿulūm al-Qurʾān, vol. 1, p. 237.
- Makārim Shīrāzī, Barguzīda-yi tafsīr-i nimūna, vol. 4, p. 575.
- Khurramshāhī, Dānishnāma-yi Qurʾān, vol. 2, p. 1253.
- Suyūṭī, al-Durr al-manthūr, vol. 6, p. 424.
- Khurramshāhī, Dānishnāma-yi Qurʾān, vol. 2, p. 1451.
- So prostrate yourselves to Allah and worship Him!
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