Note: This is post #6 in our series of Tafseer of Juz ‘Amma, and insha’Allah our last post from Surah Iqraa.

In verses 9 and 10 of Surah Iqraa, Allah says:

أَرَأَيْتَ الَّذِي يَنْهَى

عَبْداً إِذَا صَلَّى

Translation: Have you seen the one who forbids a servant when he prays?

The Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) used to make sujood to Allah in the courtyard of the ka’bah in early times in Mecca, and nobody would stop him. Abu Jahl used to get very, very angry. Once, when the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) was doing this, Abu Jahl saw him, and swore he would not let this continue.

So he advanced, with the intention of harming the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam). As the people watched, suddenly, his face changed, and he retreated, screaming.

The people said: What’s wrong with you?

He said, “Didn’t you see what I said?” They said no.


He said: “I saw a ditch of fire and terror and wings waiting to rip me apart.”

The Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) said: “Those were the angels. If he had advanced another step, they would have ripped him limb from limb.

[This hadith is recorded mainly in Saheeh Muslim here, and a shorter version in Saheeh Bukhari here.]

There are two things about this verse that are obvious from the Arabic, but not so from the English translation.

The first is: ta’ajjub, which means like wonder or amazement. This verse is ta’ajjub–like wonderment. “Do you see the person who prevents a slave from worshiping?” Like how ridiculous is this person who wants to prevent others from worshiping Allah.

The second is: a question. The ayahs are phrased as a question. Why? So we can think about it. Ponder about it. Usually, we just gloss over the questions; but they’re there to make you think.

Action Items:

  • Think about it. When was the last time you saw someone preventing others from praying? How did that make you feel? What did that preventing-person get out of it?
  • Sujood Ash-Shukur. Hop onto that prayer mat and make sujood to Allah to thank Him that you don’t have people like that around; that you can pray whatever you want (Dhur/Asr/Maghrib/etc.), whenever you want (lunch break? in the middle of a meeting? during an exam?) and nobody tries to stop you.

Wallahu ‘alam.


  • Touched by an Angel: Tafseer of Juz ‘Amma. By Muhammad Alshareef. 2009.