My translation of chapter 94 & 103

Written by Urfan Ul Hassan. February 2022

Root-words: Arabic words have a common root that describe the core meaning of the word. For example, the words book (kitaab), writing (kitaaba) and library (maktaba) have the same root: K-T-B. This root means: to sow together, sow together pages, law and order, he wrote (scattered thoughts).

See this article for an overview on intellectual perspectives and interpretations of the Qur'an.

Chapter 94:

This chapter has 8 verses and it expresses the importance of being patient when following God's laws. The results will present and manifest in physical reality over time. The best result is the development of one's character after conquering adversity.


Traditional: Did We not expand for you, [O Muḥammad], your breast?

My translation: Have we not made you comprehend the right path by the way of intellect?

Comment: The original text does not mention "Muhammad"; the verse applies to every human.

Root: shin-ra-ha ش ر ح: to open, make clear, expand, comprehension, accept the right thing, courage to adopt right path.

Root: sad-dal-ra ص د ر: chest, essential part, leader, come back, heart, intellect.


Traditional: And We removed from you your burden

My translation: And We removed from you your burden

Root: waw-dad-ayn و ض ع: drop something, put it down, placed, remove.

Root: waw-zay-ra و ز ر: sanctuary, high mountain one can go to for safety, burden, big responsibility.


Traditional: Which had weighed upon your back

My translation: Which had made you exhausted on your journey because of your constant effort.

Root: nun-qaf-dad ن ق ض: break, open, break agreement, weak camel because of constant travel, ruins.

Root: za-ha-ra ظ ه ر: back, transport, wealth, highlighted, overpower, help.


Traditional: And raised high for you your repute.

My translation: And We elevated your character as you took these messages to heart (and thus lived by them).

Root: ra-fa-ayn ر ف ع: to elevate, bring closer, make manifest, raise the voice.

Root: dhal-kaf-ra ذ ك ر: make something safe, present in heart, memorize, reminder, fame.


Traditional: For indeed, with hardship [will be] ease

My translation: So indeed with hardship there is also comfort.

Root: ayn-sin-ra ع س ر: discomfort, difficulty, hardship, lack of openness.

Root: ya-sin-ra ي س ر: soft, easy, abundance, comfort, it became easy, to open and be easy.

Comment: Hardship builds your character in such a way that things you perceived as difficult before, suddenly become and feel easy.


Traditional: Indeed, with hardship [will be] ease.

My translation: Indeed, with hardship is comfort.

Root: ayn-sin-ra ع س ر: discomfort, difficulty, hardship, lack of openness.

Root: ya-sin-ra ي س ر: soft, easy, abundance, comfort, it became easy, to open and be easy.


Traditional: So when you have finished [your duties], then stand up [for worship].

My translation: So when you are relieved (at the end of every journey and success), keep working hard in life.

Root: fa-ra-ghayn ف ر غ: empty, pour, attend with full concentration, intend.

Root: nun-sad-ba ن ص ب: keep something straight. Support. Hard work. Stress. Hard life.


Traditional: And to your Lord direct [your] longing.

My translation: And seek Him who Guides and Sustains your evolution.

Root: ra-ba-ba; :ب ب ر Nurture, develop, look after something beginning to end.

Root: ra-ghayn-ba ر غ ب: vast, wide, wish strongly for something, vastness of intent.

Chapter 103:

This chapter has 3 very short verses. The chapter forces the reader to reflect on how time suddenly runs out, especially for those who do not live by God's laws in their life. The Qur'an then gives a solution as to how to dominate this time that is raging away.


Traditional: By time,

My translation: (Think about your own experience and reflect on the eras of history) Time that suddenly runs out, bears witness

Root: ayn-sad-ra; ع ص ر: Time or era, press, long period, raining clouds.


Traditional: Indeed, mankind is in loss,

My translation That man is by default in a condition that leads to the stagnation of individual personalities and of nations.

Root: hamza-nun-sin; أ ن س: man, evident, familiar, comprehend/believe.

Root: kha-sin-ra; خ س ر: lost, annihilation, fail, loss of all things (material and non-material, for example loss of honor; psychological qualities or virtues).

Comment: In my understanding and opinion: This verse brings the reader's attention to the fact that human beings are born into this world like other animals. Those who limit themselves to this ideal will not be able to see a higher goal to their existence; they won't recognize the existence of the soul or that God's laws operate in the universe. Feelings and instinct will dominate in such societies; nations and individuals will thus never reach their highest potential. 

Humans can experience and clearly recognize their higher nature by living in tune with God's laws, for example by behaving virtuously. Humans can reflect on their own personal development after living by God's laws (striving for virtues); this means that actual virtuous behavior and thinking is important, not the performance of rituals. You don't steal even when no one sees you, because it will stagnate the development of your soul. You are thus less concerned with consequences on society or punishment.

Humans that realize that the universe is operating after God's natural laws will willingly develop a behavior that focuses on virtues. Behavior and thinking that is virtuous will bring success over time. Think of Socrates' virtue ethics, Nietzsche's concept of "Ubermensch" and Kierkegaard's concept of "leap of faith".


Traditional: Except for those who have believed and done righteous deeds and advised each other to truth and advised each other to patience.

My translation: Except those who trust in God's laws and thus intentionally work toward righteousness; they support each other to be steadfast until the results of their efforts appear in physical reality.

Comment: Righteousness = Virtues = All good qualities in humans: Toughness, bravery, justice, moderation, forgiveness and others. I recommend reading Socrates and virtue ethics.

Root: hamza-m-n; ن م أ: belief, trust, peace, accept, protected from fear.

Root: ain-mim-lam; ع م ل: action with intent, work, skill.

Root: sad-lam-ha; ص ل ح: create balance, peace, harmony, act righteously.

Root: waw-sad-ya; و ص: joined, to join, intertwined plants, be adviced.

Root: ha-qaf-qaf; ح ق ق: undeniably proven right, appear as a solid event or become reality.

Root: sad-ba-ra; ص ب ر: striving consistently, steadfast, firm, (patience).