Overview - Surah 20: Ta Ha (Ta Ha)

Surah Introduction

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The subject matter of the Surah is to assure the Prophet and his followers that the message of the Qur'an will eventually succeed.  The story of Prophet Moses is mentioned in detail.  Then it is mentioned how the enemies of Islam are opposing it and what will be the consequences of this opposition for them.


  1. Prophet Muhammad is told not to feel distress because of the denial of the unbeleivers.  Allah knows everything.  Remember the story of Moses.  Allah called him to the Prophethood and gave him special signs.
  2. Prophet Moses' prayer.  Allah commanded Moses and his brother Aaron to go to Pharaoh and give him the message.  Allah mentions His favors upon Moses.
  3. Prophet Moses goes to Pharaoh. The challenge with the Egyptian magicians.  The defeat of the magicians and then their conversion.
  4. Allah saved the Children of Israel from Pharaoh. Prophet Moses goes to Sinai.  Samiri misleads the Israelites and they worship the calf.
  5. The anger of Prophet Moses.  Samiri confessed his evil action and he was punished.
  6. The Day of Judgment. No intercession will help without Allah's permission.  The opponents of the Prophet.
  7. Devil misleads human beings.  Some references to the story of Adam and Iblis.
  8. The evil doers will be punished.  Be patient and offer regular prayers.

Surah TaHa takes its name after the disjointed letters from the first Ayat.

It has 135 ayat.


Total Ayat135
Total Words *1334
Root Words *334
Unique Root Words *14
Makki / MadaniMakki
Chronological Order* 45th (according to Ibn Abbas)
Year of Revelation* 5th year of Prophethood
Events during/before this Surah*
Physical beating and torture of some Muslims - 1st Migration of Muslims to Abyssinia, Public Invitation to Islam - Persecution of Muslims; antagonism - ridicule - derision - accusation - abuse and false propaganda., Revelation begins - Private Invitation to Islam , Revelation begins - Private Invitation to Islam , Revelation begins - Private Invitation to Islam
Events during/after still to occur*
2nd Migration to Abyssinia,Boycott of Banu Hashim Yr 1,Boycott of Banu Hashim Yr 2,Boycott of Banu Hashim Yr 3,Death of Abu Talib - Death of Khadijah - Stoning at Ta'if - al-Isra wal Mi'raj - Night Journey,1st Pledge of Aqabah,2nd Pledge of Aqabah,,Migration from Makkah to Madinah - Building of Masjid Nabi in Madinah - Treaty with Jews of Madinah - Marriage of Prophet to Aishah,Change of Qiblah from Jerusalem to Makkah - Battle of Badr,Battle of Uhud,,Battle of Ahzab - Expedition of Banu Quraydhah,Treaty of Hudaiybiyah - Letters to Kings and Rulers,,Conquest of Makkah - Battle of Hunain,Hajj led by Abu Bakr - Expedition of Tabuk,Farewell Hajj by Prophet - Death of Prophet - End of Divine Revelation
Names of Prophets Mentioned
Adam, Musa, Harun
Surah Index
Aaron, Adam, Adam (tree of knowledge) , Children (of Israel) , Disbelievers (bear what they say in patience) , Earth, Earth (condition of at the time of resurrection) , Golden Calf, Hell, Iblis, Judgement (Day) , Knowledge (obligation upon man to obtain and impart) , Madyan, Manna, Materialism (envy forbidden) , Moses, Moses (duel by sorcery with Pharaoh’s magicians) , Moses (parting of the Red Sea) , Mountains, Pharaoh, Pharaoh (punishment of) , Prayer (of Moses) , Prayer (times of day of) , Qur’an, Qur’an (don’t approach it in haste) , Qur’an (revealed in Arabic) , Red Sea (parting of) , Resurrection (Day) , Resurrection (of humans) , Resurrection (of soul) , Samaritan, Sea, Weather (rain)

Central Theme

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This Surah begins by defining the purpose of the revelation of the Qur’an: “(O Muhammad) We have not sent down to you the Qur’an that you be distressed but only as a reminder for those who fear [God]. A revelation from He who created the earth and highest heavens.

After this introduction the Surah abruptly moves on to relate the story of Prophet Moses without any apparent relevancy and without even hinting at its applicability to the events of the period. However if we read between the lines we realise that the discourse is addressed very relevantly to the people of Makkah. But before we explain the hidden meaning of the discourse we must keep in view the fact that the Arabs in general acknowledged Moses as a Prophet of God. This was because they had been influenced by the large number of the Jews around them and by the neighbouring Christian kingdoms. Now let us state those things which are hidden between the lines of the story:

  1. God does not appoint a Prophet by celebrating the occasion in a formal ceremony to announce that such a person is being appointed as a Prophet. On the contrary, He bestows Prophethood in a confidential manner just as He did in the case of Prophet Moses. Therefore you should not consider it strange if Muhammad has suddenly been appointed as a Prophet, without any public proclamation.
  2. The fundamental principles presented by Prophet Muhammad, Monotheism (Tawhid) and the Hereafter are just the same as were taught to Prophet Moses.
  3. Prophet Muhammad has been made the envoy of the message to the people of Quraysh, just as Prophet Moses was entrusted with the mission to go to Pharaoh. These are the mysterious ways of God. He catches hold of a wayfarer of Midian on his way to Egypt and says Go and fight with the greatest tyrant of the time. He did not provide him with armies and provisions for this mission. The only thing He did was to appoint his brother as his assistant at his request.
  4. The people of Makkah are reminded that Pharaoh employed the same devices against Prophet Moses as they are employing against Prophet Muhammad; jest, objections, accusations and cruel persecutions. It should also be noted that God’s Prophet was victorious over Pharaoh who possessed large armies. Incidentally the Muslims have been comforted that they should not be afraid of fighting against the Quraysh despite the fearful odds, for victory is from God. At the same time the Muslims have been exhorted to follow the excellent example of the magicians of Egypt who converted and remained steadfast in their Faith, though Pharaoh threatened them with horrible vengeance.
  5. An incident from the story of the Israelites has been cited to show in what ridiculous manner the idolatry of false gods and goddesses starts and that the Prophets of God do not tolerate even the slightest tinge of this preposterous practice. Likewise Prophet Muhammad is following the former Prophets in opposing polytheism (Shirk) and idol worship.

Thus the story of Moses has been used to throw light on all those matters which were connected with the conflict between the Prophet and the Quraysh. Then at the end of the story the Quraysh have been briefly admonished, stating that the Qur’an has been sent down in their Arabic language for their own good. If they listen to it and follow its admonition, they will be doing so for their own good but if they reject it, they will be met with an evil end.”

After this the story of Prophet Adam has been narrated, as if to tell the Quraysh that they are following the way of Satan, whereas the right way for a man is to follow his father Adam. Adam was beguiled by Satan, but when he realised his error, he plainly confessed it and repented and again turned back to the service of God and won His favour. On the other hand, if a person follows Satan and sticks to his error stubbornly inspite of admonition, he only harms himself.

In the end, the Prophet and the Muslims have been advised not to be impatient in regard to the punishment to the disbelievers, since God has His Own plan concerning them. He does not seize them at once but gives them sufficient respite. Therefore you should not grow impatient but bear the persecutions with fortitude and go on conveying the Message.”

In this connection, great emphasis has been laid on prayer (salah) so that it may create in the believers the virtues of patience, forbearance, contentment, resignation to the will of God and self analysis, for these are greatly needed in the service of the message of truth.

  • The Muslim have been advised to learn lessons from the life of Musa and his struggle against the Pharaoh of his time

Connection of the name of the Surah and its Ayaat

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Connection between the beginning and the ending of the Surah

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  • The reminder [dhikr] for those fear Allah -  إِلَّا تَذْكِرَةً لِّمَن يَخْشَىٰ "But only as a reminder for those who fear [Allah]." [20:3]
  • Turning away from His dhikr [reminder] will cause depression -  وَمَنْ أَعْرَضَ عَن ذِكْرِي فَإِنَّ لَهُ مَعِيشَةً ضَنكًا وَنَحْشُرُهُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ أَعْمَىٰ "And whoever turns away from My remembrance - indeed, he will have a depressed life, and We will gather him on the Day of Resurrection blind." [20:124]

Manuscripts / Inscriptions

Connection of the Surah to the Surah before/after it

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The Virtues of the Surah

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Special Features of the Surah

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Important key and unique words of the Surah

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  • The Love of Allah:  وَأَلْقَيْتُ عَلَيْكَ مَحَبَّةً مِّنِّي "...And I bestowed upon you love from Me.." (20:39)
  • (20:40) is the longest Ayat of this Surah with 33 words,

    إِذْ تَمْشِي أُخْتُكَ فَتَقُولُ هَلْ أَدُلُّكُمْ عَلَىٰ مَن يَكْفُلُهُ ۖ فَرَجَعْنَاكَ إِلَىٰ أُمِّكَ كَيْ تَقَرَّ عَيْنُهَا وَلَا تَحْزَنَ ۚ وَقَتَلْتَ نَفْسًا فَنَجَّيْنَاكَ مِنَ الْغَمِّ وَفَتَنَّاكَ فُتُونًا ۚ فَلَبِثْتَ سِنِينَ فِي أَهْلِ مَدْيَنَ ثُمَّ جِئْتَ عَلَىٰ قَدَرٍ يَا مُوسَىٰ "[And We favored you] when your sister went and said, 'Shall I direct you to someone who will be responsible for him?' So We restored you to your mother that she might be content and not grieve. And you killed someone, but We saved you from retaliation and tried you with a [severe] trial. And you remained [some] years among the people of Madyan. Then you came [here] at the decreed time, O Moses." (20:40)
Total Word Count per Ayat (shows how many words per Ayat) *

Unique Root Words to this Surah only

14 unique root words that do not appear in any other Surah *

Top 10 Most Frequent Root Words used in this Surah

Root Word Frequency
in Surah
in Qur'an
ق و ل 59 1722
ر ب ب 27 980
إِلَىٰ 18 742
أ ت ي 17 549
أ ل ه 13 2851
ق و م 12 660
أ ي ي 11 382
ع ل م 10 854
ه د ي 10 316
ل ق ي 10 146

Period of Revelation

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Background Reasons for Revelation

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Relevant Hadith

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  • The Qur'an is but a reminder for those who fear Allah.
  • In the Hereafter, the life of this world shall appear to be no more than a day or a part of a day.
  • Story of the Prophet Musa (pbuh) as a Messenger towards Pharaoh and his chiefs.
  • Famous prayer of the Prophet Musa (pbuh) before starting his mission.
  • Dialogue between the Prophet Musa (pbuh) and Pharaoh.
  • Confrontation of the Prophet Musa (pbuh) and Pharaoh's magicians, who after witnessing the miracles accepted Islam.
  • A scene from the Day of Judgement.
  • The Qur'an is sent in the Arabic language for easy understanding, so read it and say: "O Rabb increase my knowledge."
  • The story of Adam's creation and Shaitan's temptations.
  • Those who do not read The Qur'an and follow its directions shall be raised to life as blind people on the Day of Resurrection.
  • The disobedience of a Messenger is a means to fall into fitn [trials] (20:97)
  • Establishing the Prayer is a means to increase Rizq [sustenance] and for happiness in this world and the here-after (20:132)
  • Do not envy others their worldly riches.

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Miscellaneous Issues

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External Links

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