Sura al-Saffat

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Sura al-Saffat
سوره صافات.jpg
Sura Number37
Revelation Number56
Verse Count182
Word Count866
Letter Count3903\

Sūra al-Sāffāt (Arabic: سورة الصافات) is the thirty seventh sura of the Qur'an. It is a Makki sura located in juz' twenty three. "Al-Saffat" means those who stand in a line. It is said that it refers to angels in line or believers who perform prayer. The main topic of this sura is monotheism, warning polytheists and giving good news to believers. In this sura, the story of sacrificing Isma'il (a) and parts of the history of the prophets (a), including Noah (a), Abraham (a), Isaac (a), Moses (a), Aoron (a), Elias (a), Lot (a) and Jonah (a) are mentioned.

One of the famous verses of this sura is the verse "Salam-un 'ala El-Yasin..." which is also pronounced "Al-i Yasin", and it is said that it refers to the Ahl al-Bayt (a) of the Prophet (s). According to hadiths, if a person recites this sura on Friday, he will be safe from any harm, afflictions will be away from him in this world, and his daily sustenance will reach the maximum limit.


  • Naming

Sura al-Saffat is called so because the word "al-saffat" is mentioned in its first verse.[1] "Al-Saffat" means those who stand in a line.[2] It is said that it refers to the angels ranged in the sky or believers in the line of prayer or jihad.[3]

  • Order and Place of Revelation

Sura al-Saffat is among Makki suras and was fifty sixth sura revealed to the Prophet (s). This sura is thirty seventh sura in the Qur'an now,[4] located in juz' twenty three.

  • Number of Verses and Other Features

Sura al-Saffat has 182 verses, 866 words and 3903 letters. Regarding volume, this sura is among Mi'un suras (having about hundred verses).[5] Al-Saffat is the first sura beginning with a swear.[6]


According to Tafsir al-Mizan, the main topic of this sura is monotheism, warning polytheists, giving good news to believers and mentioning the destiny of both groups.[7] Based on Tafsir-i Nemuna, Sura al-Saffat speaks about five topics:

  1. Groups of angels and a group of disobedient demons against them and their destinies
  2. Disbelievers and rejecting the prophethood and the hereafter and the destiny of their actions on the qiyama
  3. The histories of some prophets (a), including Noah (a), Abraham (a), Isaac (a), Moses (a), Aoron (a), Elias (a), Lot (a) and Jonah (a)
  4. Believing in kinship of God and jinns and God and angels which are among the worst types of polytheism
  5. Victory of the army of the truth over the army of disbelief, polytheism and hypocrisy and their infliction of divine punishment
Content of Sura al-Saffat[8]
Falseness of the beliefs of polytheists and superiority of sincere believers over them
First speech: verses 1-70
the answer to the question of disbelievers about the possibility
of the occurrence of the Judgment Day
Second speech: verses 71-148
Superiority of sincere worshipers of God and their reward
Third speech: verses 149-170
Falseness of polytheists beliefs about God
Fourth speech: verses 171-182
Final victory of monotheists over polytheists
First answer: verses 1-15
The power of God in creation and management of the world
Introduction: verses 71-74
God's precedent in punishing the ignorant and rescuing the sincere
First belief: verses 149-157
Believing that God has daughters
First issue: verses 171-175
God's precedent in helping the prophets (a) and believers
Second answer: verses 16-21
The power of God in resurrection of humans
First example: verses 75-82
Rescuing Noah (a) and his followers
Second belief: verses 158-166
Believing that jinns are children of God
Second issue: verses 176-179
Definiteness of the punishment of disbelievers
Third answer: verses 22-39
The punishment of polytheists and their worshipped ones in the hell
Second example: verses 83-113
God's reward for the sincerity of Abraham (a)
Third belief: verses 167-170
Rejection of the Book of God
Third issue: verses 180-182
God is beyond the false beliefs of polytheists
Fourth answer: verses 40-70
Superiority of the faithful over polytheists in the hereafter
Third example: verses 114-122
God's favor upon Moses (a) and Harun (a)
Fourth example: verses 123-132
God's favor upon Elias (a)
Fifth example: verses 133-138
Rescuing Lut (a) and his followers and destruction of disbelievers
Sixth example: verses 139-148
God's favor upon Yunus (a)

Sacrificing Isma'il (a)

The Great Trial by Mahmud Farshchiyan

In verses hundred to 107 of Sura al-Saffat, the story of the mission of the Prophet Abraham (a) for sacrificing his son is mentioned. In these verses, it is mentioned that in a dream, Abraham (a) saw that he (a) has to sacrifice his son and when he decided to do so and placed his son's forehead on the ground, God called him that, "You have indeed fulfilled your vision! Thus indeed do We reward the virtuous!." So, a great sacrifice (a ram according to commentaries) was made instead. God calls this event "a manifest test".

All the details of the story are not mentioned in these verses. Even, it is not stated that the son of Abraham (a) in this event was Isma'il (a), and only some of the details are mentioned.[9] Shi'a believe that the son to be sacrificed was Isma'il (a), not Ishaq (a).[10]

Famous Verses

  • 'Peace be to Elias!' (Verse 130)

There is a disagreement about the recitation of this verse. Some pronounce it "Al-i Yasin" which means the Ahl al-Bayt (a) and some others pronounce it "El-Yasin" which points at the Prophet Elias (a).[11] It is transmitted from Imam al-Sadiq (a), "Al-i Yasin refers to us, the Ahl al-Bayt (a), because "Yasin" refers to the Prophet (s)". According to Allama Tabataba'i, this hadith is true if this is pronounced "Al-i Yasin" which among the seven recitations is based on the recitations of Nafi', Ya'qub, Zayd and Ibn Amir.[12] Some Sunni scholars have transmitted from Ibn Abbas that "Al-i Yasin" refers to the Ahl al-Bayt (a) of the Prophet (s).[13]

Stories and Historical Accounts

The following events are mentioned in Sura al-Saffat:

  • Rescuing Prophet Noah (a) and his households, remaining his progeny and drowning others (verses 75–83)
  • Story of Prophet Abraham (a): breaking idols, forbidding idol-worshipping, casting Abraham (a) into the fire, sacrificing Isma'il (a), giving good news to Abraham (a) about having Ishaq (a) (verses 83 – 113)
  • Rescuing Prophet Moses (a) and Aaron (a) and their people and revealing book to them (verses 114–123)
  • Elias's (a) mission and inviting people to worship God, rejecting Elias (a) by people (verses 124–132)
  • Lot's (a) mission, rescuing him and his household, punishing his wife and his people (verses 133–137)
  • Jonah's (a) mission, his escape from people, living in the stomach of the fish, returning to his people, the faith of the people (verses 138–148)

Merits and Benefits

It is transmitted from Imam al-Sadiq (a) that if a person recites Sura al-Saffat every Friday, he will be safe from any harm, and afflictions will be away from him in this world; and his daily sustenance will reach the maximum limit; and Satan would not cause any harm to his property, body and children; and if this sura is recited either at night or during the day, the reciter will be resurrected as a martyr, and God will take him to the highest level of the paradise together with martyrs.[14]

External Links


  1. Makārim Shīrāzī, Tafsīr-i nimūna, vol. 4, p. 130.
  2. Ṭabāṭabāyī, al-Mīzān, vol. 17, p. 120.
  3. Ṭabrisī, Majmaʿ al-bayān, vol. 8, p. 296.
  4. Maʿrifat, Āmūzish-i ʿulūm-i Qur’an, vol. 2, p. 168.
  5. Khurramshāhī, Dānishnāma-yi Qur’ān, vol. 2, p. 1248.
  6. Makārim Shīrāzī, Tafsīr-i nimūna, vol. 4, p. 130.
  7. Ṭabāṭabāyī, al-Mīzān, vol. 17, p. 120.
  8. 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.
  9. Kulaynī, al-Kāfī, vol. 4, p. 208.
  10. Māzandarānī, Sharḥ furūʿ al-kāfī, vol. 4, p. 402.
  11. Thaʿlabī, al-Kashf wa l-bayān, vol. 8, p. 169.
  12. Ṭabāṭabāyī, al-Mīzān, vol. 17, p. 158-159.
  13. Suyūṭī, al-Durr al-manthūr, vol. 5, p. 286.
  14. Ṣadūq, Thawāb al-aʿmāl, p. 217; Baḥrānī, al-Burhān, vol. 4, p. 589.


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