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Sura 7
Aya 1

Chapter 7

The Elevationsal-Aʿrāf ( الأعراف )

206 verses • revealed at Meccan

»The surah that depicts the final separation of the believers and unbelievers on the Day of Judgment by an unscalable edifice called The Elevations that veils them from one another; but upon it stand men and women who can see both the people destined for Paradise and those fated for Hell, while their own harrowing verdict remains as yet undeclared by God. It is named after “the Elevations” (al-Aʿrāf) mentioned in verse 46 ff. The surah begins by addressing the Prophet Muḥammad, reassuring him about his revelations, and closes emphasizing the fact that he merely repeats what is revealed to him. It warns the disbelievers of their fate via numerous stories of disobedient communities of the past, in the hope that they may take heed and repent before it is too late. Both subjects also serve to give encouragement to the Prophet and the believers.«

The surah is also known as The Battlements, The Faculty of Discernment, The Heights, The Ramparts, Wall Between Heaven and Hell

بِسمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحمٰنِ الرَّحيمِ

Yusuf Ali: In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.


Yusuf Ali

Alif, Lam, Mim, Sad.1
  • This is a combination of four Abbreviated Letters. For Abbreviated Letters generally, see Appendix 1 (at the end of Sūra 2). The combination here includes the three letters Alif, Lam, Mim, which occurred at the beginning of Sūra 2, and are discussed in n. 25 to 2:1.
    The additional letter Sad occurs in combination here and in Sūra 19, and by itself at the beginning of S. 38, and nowhere else. The factor common to S. 1, S. 19, and S. 38 is that in each case the core of the Sūra consists in the stories (qasas) of the Prophets. In this Sūra we have the stories of Noah, Hud, Ṣālih, Lot, Shu'ayb, and Moses, leading up to Muḥammad, and in S. 38, the stories of David, Solomon, and Job similarly lead up to Muḥammad, occupying three out of the five sections. Sūra 19 consists almost entirely of such stories. Can we understand Sad to stand for qasas, of which it is the most characteristic letter? In this Sūra 7, we have also the spiritual history of mankind traced-the Beginning, the Middle, and the End, which, as explained in n. 25, might be represented symbolically by Alif, Lam, Mim. If so, this Sūra, dealing with the Beginning, Middle, and End of man’s spiritual story, and illustrating it by the stories of the Prophets, might well be represented symbolically by the letters, Alif, Lam, Mim, Sad. But no one can be dogmatic about these symbols. (R).