Overview - Surah 70: al-Ma`arij (The Ways of Ascent)

Surah Introduction

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It talks about the ways of the ascent of the Believers.  The rise of truth will be gradual, but it is sure. The Surah talks about the problems of human beings in general, but those who believe their character is different. It warns about the coming doom of the disbelievers.

The Surah takes its name from the Ayat, مِّنَ اللَّـهِ ذِي الْمَعَارِجِ "[It is] from Allah, owner of the ways of ascent." [70:3].

There are 44 Ayat in this Surah.


Total Ayat44
Total Words *217
Root Words *110
Unique Root Words *3
Makki / MadaniMakki
Chronological Order* 79th (according to Ibn Abbas)
Year of Revelation*
Events during/before this Surah*
Events during/after still to occur*
Names of Prophets Mentioned
No Prophets names are mentioned in this Surah
Surah Index
Adversity (patience during) , God (a thousand human years) (fifty thousand years), Angels, Astronomy (sunrise) , Astronomy (sunset) , Chastity, Gabriel, Grave, Hell, Humankind (born with a restless disposition) , Judgement (Day) , Judgement (Day) (like tufts of wool), Judgement (Day) (like molten lead), Prayer, Sexual Relations, Slaves

Central Theme

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It admonishes and gives warning to the disbelievers who made fun of the news about Resurrection and the Hereafter, and Hell and Heaven, and challenged the Prophet to cause Resurrection with which he threatened them to take place if what he said was true and they had become worthy of the punishment in Hell by denying it. The whole Surah is meant to answer this denial. The Surah opens with words to the effect: “A demander has demanded a torment, the torment which must befall the deniers; and when it takes place, there will be none to prevent it, but it will take place at its own appointed time. God has His own way of doing things, but He is not unjust. Therefore, have patience, O Prophet, at what they say. They think it is far off, but We see it as near at hand.” Then it is said: “Resurrection, which they desire to be hastened out of jest and fun, is terrible, and when it comes, it will cause great distress to the culprits. At that time they will even be prepared to give away their wives and children and their nearest kinsfolk in ransom to escape the punishment, but they will not be able to escape it. Then the people have been warned to the effect; “On that Day the destinies of men will be decided strictly on the basis of their belief and their conduct. Those who turn away from the Truth in the world and amass wealth and withhold it from the needy, will be doomed to Hell; and those who fear the punishment of God here, believe in the Hereafter, keep up the Prayer, discharge the rights of the needy out of their wealth, strictly avoid immoral and wicked deeds, practice honesty in all their dealings, fulfill their pledges and trust and bear true witness, will have a place of honour in Paradise.”

In conclusion, the disbelievers of Makkah who rushed in upon the Prophet from every side as soon as they saw him, in order to make fun of him, have been warned to the effect: “If you do not believe, God will replace you by other people who will be better than you,” and the Prophet has been consoled, so as to say: “Do not take to heart their mockery and jesting; leave them to indulge in their idle talk and foolish conduct if they are bent upon experiencing the disgrace and humiliation of the Resurrection; they will themselves see their evil end.”

Connection of the name of the Surah and its Ayaat

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The ascending of the Angels in the heavens. The urging of the believers to ascend the grades the heaven and work harder to earn the higher ranks of Paradise.

Connection between the beginning and the ending of the Surah

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  • In the beginning of the Surah, Allah tells the Prophet to have beautiful patience [70:5] and towards the end, He tells him, "So leave them to converse vainly and amuse themselves until they meet their Day which they are promised." [70:42].

Manuscripts / Inscriptions

Connection of the Surah to the Surah before/after it

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  • In Surah al-Ma'arij [70:5], Allah advises the Prophet to have beautiful patience. The following Surah is on the Prophet Nuh who had much patience with this people for the great of time he spent in their midst. 

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 Day of Judgement has been mentioned at least 9 times in this Surah. Ayat, [70:1], [70:6], [70:7], [70:8], [70:11], [70:26], [70:42], [70:43] and [70:44].
Total Word Count per Ayat (shows how many words per Ayat) *

Unique Root Words to this Surah only

3 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
ٱلَّذِى 12 1464
ي و م 6 405
س أ ل 4 129
ع ذ ب 4 373
ك و ن 4 1390
ص ل و 3 99
ر ب ب 3 980
ك ف ر 2 525
ع ر ج 2 9
م ل ك 2 206

Period of Revelation

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The subject matter bears evidence that this Surah too was sent down in conditions closely resembling those under which Surah 69: al-Haqqah (The Manifest Reality) was sent down.

Background Reasons for Revelation

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Relevant Hadith

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Tafsir Zone

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Miscellaneous Issues

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