Understanding Surah Al-Tariq – Meaning and Significance

Surah Al-Tariq is the 86th Surah of the Quran which consists of 17 Ayahs. It focuses on the concept of the power of Allah SWT that He can revive humanity and hold us accountable on the Day of Judgment. And calming the believers down that Allah is by their side, even if some tyrannies torture them (As mentioned in the previous Surah), Judgment Day will come and they will be revived and asked about their actions towards them.

This article will give you a detailed explanation of the meanings, benefits, and themes of Surah Al-Tariq. It will give you additional tips to recite Surah Al-Tariq as well.

Significance of Surah Al-Tariq

Explanation of the special status of Surah Al-Tariq in Islamic Tradition

Surah Al-Tariq is a Meccan Surah that was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH in Mecca. And it is one of the Al-Mufassal Surahs which gives warning to the disbelievers of Judgment Day and what will happen to them in it.

It was revealed by Allah to firm the hearts of the believers in their first phase of Islam and to warn the disbelievers that they will be accountable for their doings and their denying of the truth as well.

Importance of reciting Surah Al-Tariq and its benefits

Reciting Surah Al- Tariq is a good deed that strengthens our relation to Allah and he will reward you because of it as the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said,

 “Whoever recites a letter from the Book of Allah, he will be credited with a good deed, and a good deed gets a ten-fold reward. I do not say that Alif-Lam-Mim is one letter, but Alif is a letter, Lam is a letter and Mim is a letter”.


And reciting Surah Al- Tariq in prayer with reflecting on its deep meanings helps us continuously remember Judgment Day on which we will be asked about our recorded deeds so we will always be aware of It and choose to always do good choices preferring the afterlife and its rewards.

Structure and Meaning of Surah Al-Tariq

Surah Al-Tariq is the 86th Surah of the Quran which consists of 17 verses and is placed in the 30th Juz’ in the Mushaf. The Surah begins with an oath by Allah, swearing by the sky and the night visitor (Tariq) which has a relation to the previous Surah (Al-Buruj).

Surah Al-Tariq is regarded as one of the Al-Mufassal Surahs which is distinguished by the shortness of its verses and its speech about the limitless power of Allah SWT.

Explanation of the meaning and significance of the verses in Surah Al-Tariq

By the heaven and the nightly star!

Allah SWT is taking an oath of the sky and the nightly star, to make them witnesses to what He is going to say.

‘Traiq’ is an Arabic word that comes from the verb ‘traq’. It stands for the one who walks at night to reach a specific destination to knock on the door The ‘traiq’ is a star that appears only at night when darkness prevails.

And what will make you realize what the nightly star is?

When Allah SWT asks this question, He refers to our limited abilities to understand or imagine the great things He SWT is describing due to our narrow knowledge. And He SWT is emphasizing the fact that He is the Creator of everything, so we should seek knowledge from Him only.

It is the star of piercing brightness.

Then Allah explains what He SWT meant by ‘Al-Tariq’. He said that it is the star that pierces the darkness of the night sky with its light.

This image indicates that the true words of Allah (the Qur’an) came as a light to guide humanity, just as the stars guide night travelers in their journeys. Even if some humans try to hide and fight that light, their weak trials will fail and the light revealed by Allah SWT will prevail.

There is no soul without a vigilant angel ˹recording everything˺.

Then Allah SWT declares what He had taken an oath with. That every soul on earth has a guardian angel that writes down every single thing we do. Even our intentions and the good or bad deeds followed by them. As the Prophet Muhammad PBUH said

“He who intended to do good, but did not do it, one good was recorded for him, and he who intended to do good and also did it, ten to seven hundred good deeds were recorded for him. And he who intended evil, but did not commit it, no entry was made against his name, but if he committed that, it was recorded”.


And this verse has a double goal; to calm believers down that their good deeds are recorded and they will be rewarded for them, and to frighten the disbelievers that every single bad deed they do will be punished in the afterlife because of their denial of the true path of Allah.

Let people then consider what they were created from!

So Allah SWT brought another example to those who are sceptical and cannot believe in the unseen guardian angels that save everyone. Allah ordered him to look carefully at what he is created from.

He SWT used the word ‘insan’ from the original verb ‘nasa’ which means to forget, that humans are created to forget a lot, so they must be reminded of their origins all the time if they exceed their limits.

˹They were˺ created from a spurting fluid,

That human that denies the truth and plans for fighting the true words revealed by Allah and whoever follows it should be reminded that he is created from water that gushes through the private parts of his parents.

“The Prophet (PBUH) spat in his palm then pointed to it with his index finger and said: “Allah (SWT) says: ‘Do you think you can escape from My punishment, O son of Adam, when I have created you from something like this?”

Stemming from between the backbone and the ribcage.

This low and weak water also gets out from a weak part of the human body this is a reference to the power of Allah that He SWT is Capable of creating everything. And that makes a disbeliever think that the One Who did that is also Capable of reviving us on Judgment Day.

Surely He is fully capable of bringing them back ˹to life˺

Allah speaks of a liquid entering the body of a woman and a child coming out of her. So Allah says that something dead (the male productive fluid) enters and exits as (an alive newborn).

In the same way, Allah causes the dead to go into their graves and He causes them to live again on the Day of Judgment whatever condition they may be in.

On the Day all secrets will be disclosed.

This verse is related to the former Surah (Al-Buruj), in which Allah described the scene of the disbelievers torturing the believers while witnessing what they did to them and then they tried to hide their crime as any other oppressive nation. Allah replies in this Surah that even well-kept secrets (saraa’ir) in this life will be easily exposed by Allah SWT in public on the Day of Judgment.

Then one will have neither power nor ˹any˺ helper.

At that difficult time when the oppressive people, who did wrong to others, or even themselves need to defend themselves for the awful crimes they did, they will have no internal power to ask for someone’s help, nor external help to get them out of that hard situation.

By the sky with its recurring cycles,

This is another oath that Allah takes by the sky which returns the rain over and over again. When the rain comes, it pierces the earth forming rivers and oceans. And soon these oceans dry out (evaporate) causing the previously evaporated rain (raj’) to return to the sky.

And the earth with its sprouting plants!

The Earth is slightly cracking by the order of Allah bringing out its fruits so man can enjoy them and continue to live, and without this cycle, all people will perish. Allah compares our creation to the creation of plant life since we are all created by the same Creator.

Surely this ˹Quran˺ is a decisive word,

Then Allah asserts that the Quran adjudge between the true and false, the good and the bad. This mentioning of the Quran after the rain and what it does to the earth refers to the revelation, which Allah reveals also from the sky, and its effects on people and how it separates them according to the amount of their benefit from it. As mentioned in the following Hadith;

And is not to be taken lightly.

Allah is telling us that this Qur’an is not worthless speech, but it’s something which produces beneficial results. As Allah SWT says

“˹For˺ We will soon send upon you a weighty revelation.”

Surah Al-Muzzammil

The heaviness reclaims extra effort to get them fully and deeply. This Qur’an leads to real action based on knowledge.

They are certainly devising ˹evil˺ plans,

The deniers had always wanted to get rid of the true message of Islam and whatever leads people to follow it since it threats them and their worldly interests. So they tried to assassinate Allah’s Messenger (PBUH), through the Quraysh in Makkah, and the Jews in Medinah and misleading people by telling lies about the Quran.

but I too am planning.

And Allah SWT is planning a plan that will take over all their hidden plans.

Allah SWT did not direct any speech to the disbelievers and this humiliates them that they did not even worth it.

So bear with the disbelievers ˹O Prophet˺. Let them be for ˹just˺ a little while.

Allah SWT tells His Messenger to go easy and hold on to the disbelievers for a little while because He has a future plan for them, as the Prophet will immigrate and many battles will happen and many things will change. So Allah tells the prophet not to pray against them like the prophet Nuh for example because Allah had made his plot.

Interpretation and explanation of key themes and motifs in Surah Al-Tariq

There are three major themes of Surah Al-Tariq;

  • Every human being’s deeds are recorded by the guarding angels.

“There is no soul without a vigilant angel ˹recording everything˺.”

  • Allah SWT is Capable of reviving all the creatures once again after their death to appear before Him on Judgment Day.

“Surely He is fully capable of bringing them back ˹to life˺.”

  • The Holy Quran which is guarded by Allah is a conclusive Word of Him and It adjudges between truth and false.

“Surely this ˹Quran˺ is a decisive word,”

There are two other deep themes of Surah Al-Tariq that resulted from deep reflection on the verses of the Surah;

  • Journeying.

This theme has been stated in the first three verses that talk about the stars and how they guide the night travellers in their journeys by mapping the locations of the bright stars to reach their destination.

Similarly, just like the stars, the Quran can lead them to their right destination in their lives and the afterlife if they follow It. Since the two of them are the creations of God.

Also, this theme was stated in the journey of the male fluid that comes out of the father’s body along the path to impregnate the mother’s body through the gushing water. Allah explains the process of human creation that can be regarded as a journey saying,

“And indeed, We created humankind1 from an extract of clay,”

“then placed each ˹human˺ as a sperm-drop1 in a secure place,”

“then We developed the drop into a clinging clot ˹of blood˺, then developed the clot into a lump ˹of flesh˺, then developed the lump into bones, then clothed the bones with flesh, then We brought it into being as a new creation.1 So Blessed is Allah, the Best of Creators.”

Surah Al-Mu’minun
  • Secrecy

In the previous Surah, Al-Buruj, the disbelievers were causing torture to the believers and were bearing witness to their murders. However, when nations commit such crimes, they tend to hide and protect the evidence of their actions. Nonetheless, Allah says,

“On the Day all secrets will be disclosed.”

So, even these closely guarded secrets (saraa’ir) will be exposed and revealed to the public on Judgment Day.

Also, the Arabic word ‘kayd’, which means secret evil planning, matches the theme of secrecy of the Surah.

Reciting and Memorizing Surah Al-Tariq

Tips for memorizing Surah Al-Tariq

1. Make an effort to comprehend the meanings of Surah Al- Al-Tariq by reading its Tafseer.

2. Listen to a skillful reciter of this Surah regularly.

3. Recite the Surah during prayer every day as a form of practice.

4. Request your Quran instructor to review and evaluate your memorization and understanding of it.

The importance of understanding the meaning and context of Surah Al-Tariq verses

Understanding the meaning and context of Surah Al-Tariq verses is crucial for several reasons.

  • It helps us to comprehend and reflect on the message of Allah conveyed through the Surah allowing us to apply the teachings of the Surah in our daily lives and become better Muslims.
  • A deeper appreciation of the historical and cultural background in which the Surah was revealed can help us to understand the challenges and struggles faced by the Companions of thy Prophet and how they overcame them so this inspires us in the current phase if we face the same problems of them.
  • It can also help us to avoid misinterpretations or misunderstandings of the Surah. So, we can avoid misapplying or misusing the teachings in our lives.

The importance of seeking guidance from qualified teachers or mentors

Seeking guidance from qualified teachers or mentors is crucial as they possess the necessary knowledge and experience to guide and mentor individuals in the right direction.

Their guidance can help individuals overcome obstacles, gain new perspectives, and achieve their goals. Additionally, mentors and teachers can provide valuable feedback and support, which can enhance an individual’s personal and professional growth on their way to Allah.

Benefits and Virtues of Surah Al-Tariq

Surah Al-Tariq is a reminder to everyone that his deeds, whether it is good or bad, are recorded.

It also reminds us that the hidden evil planned by the disbelievers is visible to Allah SWT and He is planning also for punishing them.

In addition, It causes awakening and fear from Allah SWT as the one will certainly die one day and will meet Allah asking him about his deeds.

This encourages the one to do their best and repent to Allah to forgive them before Judgment Day so that no one can help him or even himself.

Common Misconceptions and Clarifications

We will find that there are a considerable number of people who search for the miracles of Surah Al-Tariq and seek to obtain the benefits of these miracles to improve their affairs and conditions. However, in reality, what is often reported about the miracles of this Surah is not correct, and many errors are spread that Muslims should be cautious of and avoid due to the lack of accurate texts.

Explanation of common misconceptions about Surah Al-Tariq and its recitation and clarifications of them

Some of these misconceptions include:

1. Whoever recites it will be given ten rewards for each star in the sky.

This is one of the misconceptions that has spread among people regarding the miracles of Surah Al-Tariq, based on a weak Hadith from Abu bin Ka’b, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Prophet PBUH, said: “Whoever recites it, Allah will give him reward equal to the number of stars in the sky, ten rewards for each star.”

2. It can be recited seven times for healing from magic or possession.

The entire Quran is a blessing and a cure, and it is also believed among people that Surah Al-Tariq is a means of healing from magic and possession or protection from them.

However, we cannot confirm this as there is no reliable Islamic text in the Quran or Sunnah that confirms this. Rather, a Muslim can recite it with the intention that the entire Quran is a cure, without specifying a certain number.

3. It helps reunite fighting individuals.

It is also believed among people that the miracles of Surah Al-Tariq can help reconcile feuding individuals. However, there is no evidence to support this claim.

Importance of seeking knowledge from reliable sources

Muslims should be careful when it comes to believing in the miracles of Surah Al-Tariq and should only rely on reliable Islamic text.

The importance of seeking knowledge from reliable sources cannot be overstated. In today’s world, where information is willingly available at our fingertips, seeking knowledge from unreliable sources can lead to misinformation, which can have serious consequences.

Reliable sources of knowledge are those that have been verified and are backed by evidence. These sources can include academic journals, reputable news outlets, and books by recognized experts in their fields. By seeking knowledge from reliable sources, we can ensure that we are making informed decisions based on accurate information.

In addition, seeking knowledge from reliable sources is essential for personal growth, informed decision-making, and a better understanding of the world around us.


To conclude, understanding the themes of Surah Al-Tariq and reflecting on It can remind us that we are not alone if we face any harm by the disbelievers and reciting it calms us down and encourages us to do our best and let go of the thinking of the evil acts done by the truth deniers knowing that the plan of Allah made for them will take over all their plans.

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