Surah al-A`raf (The Elevated Places) 7 : 166

فَلَمَّا عَتَوْا۟ عَن مَّا نُهُوا۟ عَنْهُ قُلْنَا لَهُمْ كُونُوا۟ قِرَدَةً خَٰسِـِٔينَ

Translations

 
 Muhsin Khan
 Pickthall
 Yusuf Ali
Quran Project
So when they were insolent about that which they had been forbidden, We said to them, "Be apes, despised."

1. Lessons/Guidance/Reflections/Gems

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Explanatory Note

We note here how the Qur’ān equates disobedience with denying the faith, and refers to this as `wrongdoing’, or `transgression’. This occurs very frequently in the Qur’ān, which gives these terms a different concept to what is used in the works of scholars of later generations.

The dreadful suffering inflicted on those scheming people who disobeyed God was to transform them into despicable apes. They forfeited their humanity when they abandoned their will, which could control their desires. They simply sank into the world of animals.

Hence, it was a befitting punishment that they should be given the appearance of apes.

How did they become apes, and what happened to them thereafter? Did they perish, as would every creature that is transformed into another shape? Or did they procreate in the form of apes? There are so many different reports in books of Qur’ānic commentary. However, none of these questions is given an answer in the Qur’ān, and we do not have any authentic statement by the Prophet to give answers to them. Hence, we will not delve into these areas.

The same order which initiates creation and gives creatures their forms and shapes was given in order to bring about a change of form or a transformation. The word used in all these cases is, “Be”, and whatever God desires immediately takes place. “We said to them: ‘Turn into despicable apes,’” with the Arabic text using the formula, “Be despicable apes”. (Verse 166) That was sufficient for them to be apes that are despicable, and to live in humiliation. That was the order that no power could repel, issued by the One who always accomplishes His purpose.

2. Linguistic Analysis

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Frequency of Root words in this Ayat used in this Surah *


3. Surah Overview

4. Miscellaneous Information

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5. Connected/Related Ayat

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6. Frequency of the word

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7. Period of Revelation

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A study of its contents clearly shows that the period of its revelation is about the same as that of Surah 6: al-An’am (The Grazing Livestock), i.e. the last year of the Prophet's life at Makkah, but it cannot be asserted with certainty which of these two were sent down earlier. The manner of its admonition clearly indicates that it belongs to the same period. [Ref: Mawdudi]

It is considered the longest surah revealed during the Makkan period. Some consider this surah to have been revealed after Surah 38: Sad. [Ref: Tafsir al-Maudheei, Dr. Mustafah Muslim, vol. 3, p. 2]

8. Reasons for Revelation

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9. Relevant Hadith

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10. Wiki Forum

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11. Tafsir Zone

 

12. External Links

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