Depths of Surah Al-Hijr: A Tapestry of Guidance & Resilience - 7 minutes read

Surah Al-Hijr, the 15th chapter of the Holy Quran, stands as a majestic pillar within Islamic scripture. Literally translating to “The Rocky Tract,” the Surah’s name originates from verse 80, referencing the ancient city of Mada’in Saleh, known for its pre-Islamic dwellings carved into massive rock formations.

A Surah of Profound Messages (Quran 15:1-99):

Composed of 99 verses, Surah Al-Hijr, classified as a Meccan Surah, was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) during his time in Mecca, before the Hijrah (migration) to Madinah. The Surah is a rich tapestry woven with profound messages for Muslims:

  • Divine Oneness and the Majesty of Creation: The Surah opens with a powerful declaration of the Quran’s authenticity, swearing by the stars and emphasizing Allah’s absolute power and control over creation (Quran 15:1).

Alif-Lam-Ra. [These letters are one of the miracles of the Quran, and none but Allah (Alone) knows their meanings]. These are the Verses of the Book, and a plain Quran. (Quran 15:1)

  • Subsequent verses delve into the miraculous nature of the Quran, challenging disbelievers to produce anything like it (Quran 15:8-11).

We send not the angels down except with the truth (i.e. for torment, etc.), and in that case, they (the disbelievers) would have no respite! (Quran 15:8)
Verily We: It is We Who have sent down the Dhikr (i.e. the Quran) and surely, We will guard it (from corruption). (Quran 15:9)
Indeed, We sent Messengers before you (O Muhammad SAW) amongst the sects (communities) of old. (Quran 15:10)
And never came a Messenger to them but they did mock him. (Quran 15:11)

  • The Surah then highlights the natural world as a testament to Allah’s majesty, urging reflection on the creation of the heavens and the earth, the mountains, and the flow of water (Quran 15:21-24).

And there is not a thing, but with Us are the stores thereof. And We send it not down except in a known measure. (Quran 15:21)
And We send the winds fertilizing (to fill heavily the clouds with water), then caused the water (rain) to descend from the sky, and We gave it to you to drink, and it is not you who are the owners of its stores [i.e. to give water to whom you like or to withhold it from whom you like]. (Quran 15:22)
And certainly We! We it is Who give life, and cause death, and We are the Inheritors. (Quran 15:23)
And indeed, We know the first generations of you who had passed away, and indeed, We know the present generations of you (mankind), and also those who will come afterwards. (Quran 15:24)

  • Narratives of Steadfast Messengers and the Fate of Disbelievers: Surah Al-Hijr acts as a bridge, connecting the struggles of past prophets with the challenges faced by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in Mecca. It recounts the statement of Iblis made to Allah (SWT) to Misled Mankind (Quran 15:37-41).

[Iblis (Satan)] said: “O my Lord! Give me then respite till the Day they (the dead) will be resurrected.” (Quran 15:36)
Allah said: “Then, verily, you are of those reprieved, (Quran 15:37)
“Till the Day of the time appointed.” (Quran 15:38)
[Iblis (Satan)] said: “O my Lord! Because you misled me, I shall indeed adorn the path of error for them (mankind) on the earth, and I shall mislead them all. (Quran 15:39)
“Except Your chosen, (guided) slaves among them.” (Quran 15:40)
(Allah) said: “This is the Way which will lead straight to Me.” (Quran 15:41)

  • The Surah also narrates the story of warnings delivered by Lot (AS) to his people who indulged in immoral practices, ultimately leading to their destruction (Quran 15:59-77).

And the inhabitants of the city came rejoicing (at the news of the young men’s arrival). (Quran 15:67)
[Lout (Lot)] said: “Verily! these are my guests, so shame me not. (Quran 15:68)
“And fear Allah and disgrace me not.” (Quran 15:69)
So As-Saihah (torment – awful cry, etc.) overtook them at the time of sunrise; (Quran 15:73)
And We turned (the towns of Sodom in Palestine) upside down and rained down on them stones of baked clay. (Quran 15:74)
Surely! In this are signs, for those who see (or understand or learn the lessons from the Signs of Allah). (Quran 15:75)

  • These stories serve as a stark reminder of the importance of unwavering faith and the consequences faced by those who reject the message of Allah. The Surah also includes the story of the Thamud tribe, who disbelieved the message of Prophet Salih (AS) and were punished with a devastating earthquake (Quran 15:78-84).

And the dwellers in the wood [i.e. the people of Madyan (Midian) to whom Prophet Shu’aib was sent by Allah), were also Zalimun (polytheists and wrong-doers, etc.). (Quran 15:78)
But As-Saihah (torment – awful cry etc.) overtook them in the early morning (of the fourth day of their promised punishment days). (Quran 15:83)

  • Eschatological Warnings and Comfort for Believers: The Surah delves into themes of the Day of Judgement, reminding believers of the importance of righteous deeds in preparation for the hereafter (Quran 15:32-36).

“It (Hell) has seven gates, for each of those gates is a (special) class (of sinners) assigned. (Quran 15:44)
“Truly! The Muttaqun (pious and righteous persons – see V.2:2) will be amidst Gardens and water-springs (Paradise). (Quran 15:45)

  • Vivid descriptions depict the awe-inspiring power of Allah on the Day of Judgement, urging contemplation on the transient nature of this worldly life (Quran 15:85-90).

And We created not the heavens and the earth and all that is between them except with truth, and the Hour is surely coming, so overlook (O Muhammad SAW), their faults with gracious forgiveness. [This was before the ordainment of Jihad holy fighting in Allah’s Cause]. (Quran 15:85)
Look not with your eyes ambitiously at what We have bestowed on certain classes of them (the disbelievers), nor grieve over them. And lower your wings for the believers (be courteous to the fellow-believers). (Quran 15:88)

  • However, the Surah also offers comfort and reassurance to those who have faith. Verses emphasize Allah’s mercy and forgiveness for those who sincerely repent (Quran 15:46-48).
“(It will be said to them): ‘Enter therein (Paradise), in peace and security.’ (Quran 15:46)
  • The Surah concludes with a powerful declaration of the Quran’s preservation by Allah, ensuring its message remains pure and uncorrupted throughout time (Quran 15:9).
Verily We: It is We Who have sent down the Dhikr (i.e. the Quran) and surely, We will guard it (from corruption). (Quran 15:9)

Beyond the Text: Practical Applications for Muslims

Surah Al-Hijr is not merely a collection of stories and warnings; it offers a practical guide for Muslims in navigating the complexities of life. Here are some key takeaways:

  • Strengthening Faith: By reflecting on the stories of past prophets and the unwavering nature of their faith, Muslims can solidify their own belief and commitment to Islamic principles.
  • Importance of Good Deeds: The Surah emphasizes the significance of righteous actions in this life to prepare for the Day of Judgement. Muslims are encouraged to be generous, kind, and just in their dealings with others (Quran 15:99).
  • Facing Adversity with Resilience: The narratives of prophets who faced persecution and rejection offer inspiration and strength for Muslims navigating challenges in their own lives. The Surah teaches that with unwavering faith and trust in Allah, Muslims can overcome adversity (Quran 15:46).

Finding Strength in the Stories:

The Surah offers specific examples of resilience:

  • Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) Perseverance: The Surah serves as a reminder of the struggles faced by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in Mecca. Despite enduring ridicule, threats, and even physical harm, he remained steadfast in his mission to convey the message of Islam (Quran 15:80-82). This unwavering commitment serves as an example for Muslims to persevere through difficulties, knowing that Allah will ultimately grant victory to those who are patient and true to their faith.

Finding Solace in Divine Support:

“And We shall remove from their breasts any sense of injury (that they may have), (So they will be like) brothers facing each other on thrones. (Quran 15:47)
  • By turning to Allah in times of difficulty and seeking guidance through prayer and supplication, Muslims can find the resilience and perseverance needed to overcome challenges. The Surah emphasizes that
Declare (O Muhammad SAW) unto My slaves, that truly, I am the Oft-Forgiving, the Most-Merciful. (Quran 15:49)


  • Surah Al-Hijr provides a powerful message of resilience in the face of adversity. By drawing inspiration from the stories of past prophets, seeking solace in Allah’s support, and actively engaging in righteous deeds, Muslims can navigate life’s challenges with unwavering faith and unwavering trust in the Divine.