The Surah takes its name from the word dukhan which occurs in verse 10.
Its period of revelation also could not be determined from any authentic tradition, but the internal evidence of the subject matter shows that this Surah too was sent down in the same period in which Surah Zukhruf and a few other earlier Surahs had been revealed. However, this Surah was sent down somewhat later. Its historical background is this: When the disbelievers of Makkah became more and more antagonistic in their attitude and conduct, the Holy Prophet prayed: O God, help me with a famine like the famine of Joseph. He thought that when the people would be afflicted with a calamity, they would remember God, their hearts would soften and they would accept the admonition. Allah granted his prayer, and the whole land was overtaken by such a terrible famine that the people were sorely distressed. At last, some of the Quraish chiefs among whom Hadrat Abdullah bin Masud has particularly mentioned the name of Abu Sufyan came to the Holy Prophet and requested him to pray to Allah
to deliver his people from the calamity. On this occasion Allah sent down this Surah.
The introduction to the address revealed on this occasion for the admonition and warning of the people of Makkah contained some important points, which are as follows:
"You, O People of Makkah, are wrong in thinking that the Quran is being composed by Muhammad (upon whom be Allah's peace). This Book by itself bears the clear testimony that it is not the composition of a man but of Allah, Lord of the worlds."
"You are making a wrong estimate of the worth of this Book. You think it is a calamity that has descended on you, whereas the Hour when Allah, out of sheer mercy, decided to send His Messenger and His Book to you was highly blessed."
"You are foolishly involved in the misunderstanding that you will fight this Messenger and this Book and will win, whereas the fact is that the Messenger has been raised and the Book sent down in that particular Hour when Allah decides the destinies, and Allah's decisions are not so weak that they may be changed to a person's liking, nor are they based on ignorance and folly that there may be the likelihood of a mistake or error or weakness in them. They are rather the firm and unalterable decisions of the Ruler of the Universe, Who is All Hearing, All Knowing and All Wise. Therefore, they cannot be treated lightly.
"You yourselves acknowledge that Allah alone is the Master and Lord of the earth and heavens and of everything in the Universe and also admit that life and death are only in His power, yet you insist on making others your deities, for which the only argument you offer is that that had been the practice since the time of your forefathers, whereas if a person has the conviction that Allah alone is the Master, Sustainer and Giver of life and death, he can never entertain the doubt that there can be other gods also beside Him, who can be worthy of worship. If your forefathers had committed this folly, there is no reason why you also should continue committing it blindly. As a matter of fact, their Lord too was only One God, Who is your Lord, and they also should have worshiped only Him, Whom you should worship."
"The only demand of Allah's Providence and Mercifulness is not this that He should feed you, but also this that He should arrange guidance for you. For this very guidance He has sent His Messenger and His Book."
After this introduction, the question of the famine that was raging in Makkah has been discussed. As already mentioned, this famine had occurred on the Holy Prophet's prayer, and he had prayed for it so that when the calamity befell it would break the stubbornness of the disbelievers and then they would listen to the rebuke. It looked as if this expectation was being fulfilled to some extent, for some of the most stubborn enemies of the Truth, on account of the severities of the famine, had cried out: "O Lord, avert this torment from us and we will believe." At this, on the one hand, the Holy Prophet has been foretold :"These people will not learn any lesson from such calamities. When they have turned away from the Messenger, whose life, character, works and speech clearly show that he is Allah's true Messenger, how will a mere famine help remove their disbelief?" On the other, the unbelievers have been addressed, so as to say : "You lie when you say that you will believe as
soon as the torment is removed from you. We shall just remove it to see how sincere you are in your promise. There is a graver disaster about to fall upon you. You need a much more crushing blow :minor misfortunes cannot set you right."
In this very connection, a reference has been made a little below to Pharaoh and his people, implying that those people also had met with precisely the same trial as the chiefs of the disbelieving Quraish are now afflicted. To them also a similar noble and honorable Messenger had come; they also had seen those express pointers and signs which clearly showed that he had been appointed by Allah; they also had gone on witnessing one sign after the other but they did not give up their stubbornness, till at last they made up their mind to put an end to the Messenger's life, and they met their doom, which has since become an object lesson for the people for ever.
After this the theme of the Hereafter has been taken up, which the disbelievers of Makkah vehemently denied. They said: "We have never seen anyone rising back to life after death. Raise our forefathers back to life if you are true in your claim about the life hereafter." In response to this, two arguments for the Hereafter have been presented briefly (1) That the denial of this creed has always proved destructive for the morals; and (2) that the universe is not a plaything of a thoughtless deity, but it is a wise system and no work of wisdom is ever vain or useless. Then the disbelievers demand to bring their forefathers back to life has been answered, thus : "This cannot be done every day to meet the demand of the individuals, but Allah has appointed a time when He will resurrect all mankind simultaneously and will subject them to accountability in His Court. If one has to protect oneself there, one should think about it here. For no one will be able to save himself there by
his own power, nor by the power of any one else."
In connection with this Court of Allah, mention has been made of the fate of those who will be declared as culprits and of the rewards of those who will be declared as successful. The discourse has been concluded with this warning: "This Quran has been revealed in simple language in your own tongue so that you may understand it; yet if you do not understand it and insist on seeing your evil end, you may wait; Our Prophet too is waiting. Whatever is to happen, will happen at its own appointed time."
En el nombre de Allah, el Misericordioso, el Compasivo.
¡Por el Libro Clarificador!
Lo hicimos descender en una noche bendita; en verdad somos advertidores.
En ella se distribuye todo asunto sabio.
Mandato que procede de Nos.
Nosotros somos Quienes lo hemos enviado.
Como misericordia de tu Señor, Él es Quien oye, Quien sabe.
El Señor de los cielos y de la Tierra y de lo que entre ambos hay,
si tenéis certeza.
No hay dios sino Él, da la vida y da la muerte, es vuestro Señor y el Señor de vuestros primeros padres.
Sin embargo ellos juegan en la duda.
Aguarda el día en que el cielo aparezca con un humo evidente
que envolverá a los hombres. Ése será un castigo doloroso.
¡Señor nuestro! Aparta de nosotros el castigo, realmente somos creyentes.
¿Pero cómo recordarán si ya les vino un Mensajero explícito
y se apartaron de él y dijeron: Es un poseso que recibe instrucciones?
Apartaremos el castigo por un tiempo breve, puesto que reincidiréis.
El día en que acometamos con máxima violencia, en verdad que Nos vengaremos.
Ya antes de vosotros habíamos puesto a prueba a la gente de Fir’aún, a la que le llegó un noble mensajero:
Dejad ir conmigo a los siervos de Allah, realmente soy para vosotros un mensajero fiel.
No os rebeléis contra Allah, os traigo una prueba evidente.
Me refugio en mi Señor y en el vuestro de que me lapidéis.
Y si no me creéis, dejadme en paz.
Y rogó a su Señor: ¡Estos son gente de mal!
¡Sal de noche con Mis siervos porque vais a ser perseguidos!
Y deja el mar abierto, porque van a ser un ejército anegado.
¡Cuántos jardines y fuentes dejaron!
¡Cuántos cultivos y qué noble posición!
¡Y qué deleites de los que gozaban!
Así fue. Lo dejamos en herencia para otra gente.
Ni el cielo ni la Tierra lloraron por ellos ni se les esperó.
Así fue como salvamos a los hijos de Israil del castigo infame
de Fir’aún. En verdad él destacaba entre los que se exceden.
Y los elegimos, en virtud de un conocimiento, por encima de todos los mundos*.
Y les dimos signos que constituían una evidencia.
Y seguro que éstos van a decir:
No existe más que nuestra primera muerte y no se nos devolverá a la vida.
Haced que vengan nuestros antepasados si es verdad lo que decís.
¿Pero es que son acaso mejores que la gente de Tubba'* y sus antecesores a los que destruimos? Ellos hicieron el mal.
Y no hemos creado los cielos y la Tierra y lo que entre ambos hay para jugar.
No los creamos sino con la verdad, sin embargo la mayoría de ellos no sabe.
Es verdad que el Día de la Distinción será el término fijado para todos ellos.
El día en que ningún amigo cercano podrá hacer nada por el otro ni habrá auxilio.
Sólo para aquel de quien Allah tenga misericordia; es cierto que Él es Poderoso, Compasivo.
Ciertamente el árbol de Ẓaqqum*,
será el alimento del malvado.
Cual metal fundido, se derretirá en sus vientres
como el hervor del agua hirviendo.
¡Agarradlo y llevadlo a rastras en medio del Ŷaḥim!
Luego, verted sobre su cabeza parte del tormento del Ŷaḥim.
¡Gústalo! Tú que eres el invencible, el noble*.
Esto es, en verdad, aquello de lo que dudabais.
Ciertamente los temerosos (de su Señor), estarán en una situación segura:
En jardines y manantiales.
Vestirán de raso y brocado y estarán enfrente unos de otros*.
Así es. Y los uniremos a unas de piel blanquísima y grandes y hermosos ojos.
Pedirán toda clase de frutas; a salvo.
En ellos no experimentarán la muerte, sólo la que ya conocieron*. Y Él los habrá librado del castigo del Ŷaḥim.
Favor de su Señor. Y ése es el gran triunfo.
Y realmente lo* hemos hecho fácil en tu lengua para que pudieran reflexionar.
Así pues, espera porque ellos están en espera.