What does the chapter of al-Muddaththir mention?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Its name comes from the word "muddaththir" mentioned in the first verse. Muddaththir means wrapped up in the mantle.

The Messenger of Allah is ordered in the chapter to warn the people who are in the way of denial and mischief, to magnify Allah, not to feel conceited for their good deeds, not to expect, in giving, any increase and to be patient; then, the punishments to be given to deniers are mentioned along with the comparison of the good and the bad.

The reason for the revelation of the chapter of Surah al-Muzzammil and al-Muddaththir is the same and related to the proclamation of the duty of prophethood. Although the beginning of this chapter was sent down before the chapter of al-Muzzammil, it was placed after the chapter of al-Muzzammil in the Quran because the connection of chapter of al-Muzzammil with reasons and beginnings is more open and the connection of the chapter of al-Muddaththir with the purpose and aim is clearer and man’s movement from inside to outside is more comprehensive in it.


It is the seventy-fourth chapter of the Quran. It consists of fifty-six verses, two hundred and fifty-five words and a thousand and ten letters. The last letters of the verses are alif, ha, nun, dal and ra. It is among the verses that were sent down in Makkah; it was sent down after the chapter of al-Alaq. It is also narrated that it was sent down after the chapter of al-Muzzammil. However, it is unanimously agreed that the first verses that were sent down are the first part of the chapter of al-Alaq. (Ibn Kathir, Tafsirul-Quranil-Azim, Istanbul 1985, VIII, 277-278). Its name comes from the word "muddaththir" mentioned in the first verse and meaning wrapped up in the mantle.

After the first verses of the chapter of al-Alaq were sent down, revelation ceased for a while (fatratul-wahy). The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) became very sorry and did not know what to do. Jabir Ibn Abdullah narrates the following from the Prophet (pbuh) while mentioning that period: "Once, I was walking and I heard a sound from the sky. When I looked up, I saw the angel that had come to me in Hira sitting on a throne between the sky and the earth. I was frightened and returned home at once. I said, ‘Wrap me! Cover me!’ Thereupon, Allah sent down the chapter starting with ‘O thou wrapped up in the mantle’."

Another narration showing the dilemma of the Makkan polytheists while determining their attitude toward the Prophet (pbuh) in a very interesting way is as follows:

It was the season of hajj and groups of people started to come to Makkah from all over the Arabian Peninsula. Makkan polytheists were seeking ways of keeping the people away from the Prophet in panic. They were helpless in the face of the striking style of the Quran and were worried that the people who heard this divine message would be influenced by it and believe in the Prophet. Thereupon, the notables of the Makkan polytheists including Abu Lahab, Abu Sufyan, Walid ibn Mughira and Nadr Ibn Harith gathered in Darun-Nadwa. The following conversation took place among them: "The days of hajj approached. The envoys of the Arab tribes started to come. Besides, they are asking about what Muhammad says since they have heard about him. You say different things about him. Some of you say he is mad, some say he is a soothsayer and some say he is a poet. However, all Arabs know that one person cannot have all of those three attributes. Therefore, let us decide on one thing to say about him.” One of them said, "Let us say he is a ‘poet’.” Walid objected to it: "I have listened to many poets. Muhammad's words do not resemble any of them." "Let us say he is a ‘soothsayer’.” Walid said, "A soothsayer sometimes tells the truth and sometimes lies. Muhammad never tells lies." They said, “Let us say he is mad”. Walid said, “Mad people attack men. Muhammad has never done anything like that."

Walid left and went home. The people there thought Walid gave up being a polytheist. Thereupon, Abu Jahl went to his house and said to him, “O Abd ash-Shams! What is wrong with you? Quraysh agrees on something but you oppose it. They think you left your religion by bringing some evidences. Walid said, “I do not need evidence for it. I have thought: Why do we not call him a magician? For, I have heard that he sows seeds of conflict between a father and his son, a man and his brother and a wife and her husband, and separates them from each other. Thus, I have decided that he is definitely a magician.” They spread this word in Makkah. When the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) heard it, he returned home in sorrow and lay down by being wrapped in his mantle. Thereupon, the verse ‘O thou wrapped up in the mantle’ was sent down. (For, those narrations, see al-Qurtubi, al-Jami Li Ahkamil-Qur'an, Beirut 1967, XIX, 59-61)

This incident is interesting in that it reveals the contradictory mood of the Makkan polytheists and the deniers who dedicated their lives to the enmity of Islam and those who lived in the ages after that. As it is seen, when Walid ibn Mughira said, "Muhammad never tells lies", everyone who was there approved it by keeping silent. It also means the confirmation of the divine message brought by the Prophet. Accepting the impossibility of a person's lying makes it necessary to believe in what he says. Then, why do the polytheists insist on their denial? No matter how strictly a person denies in appearance, he cannot save himself from the feeling that he is concretely under the siege of the earthly and otherworldly realities that Allah predestinated. In that case, he is in a conscious revolt against Allah to some extent. The denial of unbelievers due to some worldly interests caused them to be oppressors; this formed a curtain that prevented them from understanding Islam.

The reason why they insisted on their unbelief was not their doubts about the trueness of Islam. Their high ranks in the community and their wealth caused them to see themselves superior to other people. Since they regarded themselves as the most honorable ones in the community, they thought Allah would have to give this supreme task of prophethood to them.

Their minds dirtied by the impurities of the life of Jahiliyya could not understand how the prophethood could be given to a person like Muhammad (pbuh), who was humble, who was not rich and who did not claim to be a leader. Their envy and jealousy toward him caused them to insist on their heresy. This is expressed as follows in the Quran: "Forsooth, each one of them wants to be given scrolls (of revelation) spread out!" (52)

The chapter addresses the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), whom Allah Almighty chose as a prophet in order to save people from the darkness of polytheism and oppression and the persecution of tyrants and to guide them to the true path, as well as all believers at the beginning of the chapter as follows: "Arise and deliver thy warning." (2) This address will always be remembered by the believers until Doomsday. Allah Almighty orders Muslims to make jihad and struggle in order to make people driven toward Hell return to the religion of Allah and to be ready for the troubles to be encountered in this way.

Before starting this work, a physical and spiritual preparation is necessary. The points that Allah emphasizes while giving these orders containing this discipline give us with the basic elements upon which a Muslim should rest his life in his journey of jihad: "And thy Lord do thou magnify! And thy garments keep free from stain! And all abomination shun! Nor expect, in giving, any increase (for thyself)! But, for thy Lord´s (Cause), be patient and constant! " (3-7)

After that, the unbelievers’ obstinate resistance against clear evidences by showing ingratitude to the blessings given by Allah is mentioned; then, it is stated that the unbelievers will be called to account on the Day of Resurrection, which is a very tough day, for everything they did: " Soon will I visit him with a mount of calamities!" (17).

In the verses that follow, the irrational evaluations made by unbelievers while denying the Prophet are condemned and they are cursed by divine damnation. They attributed a name to the Prophet and described the Quran as a human word. A special hell was prepared for this type of people different from the other unbelievers: "Soon will I cast him into Hell-Fire "(26). Allah vows and emphasizes that Hell, whose penalty nobody can deny, is a means of warning for those who go to extremes in their lives; those who are heedless are warned by the answers of the people who were rewarded with Paradise given to the questions asked by the people of Hell about what caused them to fall into this state. They answer that question as follows: "They will say: ‘We were not of those who prayed; Nor were we of those who fed the indigent; But we used to talk vanities with vain talkers; And we used to deny the Day of Judgment, Until there came to us (the Hour) that is certain.’"(43-47)

The incoherence of the attitudes of the deniers of against Islam is mentioned and it is stated that there is no hope of salvation for them; it is also stated that the Quran is advice for those who can use their minds and that people are free to take or not to take the advice of the Quran: "Let any who will, keep it in remembrance!" (55) Allah finishes the chapter with the following verse, which shows clearly that the fate of man is in His hand, that those who commit major crimes against Islam shall not be guided and that those who were guided were given the blessing of Islam because they deserved it: "But none will keep it in remembrance except as Allah wills: He is the Lord of Righteousness, and the Lord of Forgiveness." (56)


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