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Sura 77
Aya 33
كَأَنَّهُ جِمالَتٌ صُفرٌ

Muhammad Asad

like giant fiery ropes!1
  • Lit., "like yellow twisted ropes", yellow being "the colour of fire" (Baghawi). The conventional rendering of jimalat (also spelt jimalat and jimalah) as "camels", adopted by many commentators and, until now, by all translators of the Qur'an, must be rejected as grossly anomalous; see in this connection note 32 on the second part of 7:40 - "they shall not enter paradise any more than a twisted rope can pass through a needle's eye". In the above verse, too, the plural noun jimalah (or jimalat) signifies "twisted ropes" or "giant ropes" - a connotation that has been forcefully stressed by Ibn Abbas, Mujahid, Sa'id ibn Jubayr and others (cf. Tabari, Baghawi, Razi, Ibn Kathir; also Bukhari, Kitab at-Tafsir). Moreover, our observation of the trajectory of shooting stars fully justifies the rendering "giant fiery ropes". Similarly, my rendering of qasr, in this context, as "[burning] logs" - instead of the conventional (and utterly meaningless) "castles", "palaces", etc. - goes back to all of the above-mentioned authorities.